Sunday, May 23, 2010

For the Best Vera Bradley Wallets, Look for Vintage


For over two decades Vera Bradley has produced a variety of wallet styles and, of course, patterns.
Vera Bradley has produced some of the best wallets over the past few decades. But because many of the most recent variations have lost some of the great features, the most discriminating people may find it worthwhile to track down vintage designs.
There are three basic interior wallet configurations, which broadly go from "best and oldest" to "worst and most recent":
  • Quilted Cloth;
  • Non-Quilted Cloth; and
  • Nylon.
Specifically, this means that as Vera Bradley introduces new wallet styles and refurbishes the old, the trend is to go from quilted interiors to:
  • nylon interiors (Turn Lock Wallet, Clutch Wallet, Zip-Around Wallet (which has always had a nylon interior)), or less egregiously,
  • non-quilted fabric interiors (Wallet With Strap).

Older Wallet With Strap with quilted interior on left; Zip-Around Wallet with its nylon interior on right
The look and feel of the quilted fabric is an enormous part of the appeal of Vera Bradley, which contributes to their softness and gentleness, both visual and textile. And unfortunately, this trend in the evolution of their wallets mirrors the evolution of the larger pieces as well, where one is also seeing the elimination of more and more of the quilted features.
So until Vera Bradley rights this direction, the most discriminating people would be better off to look for vintage.

Older Wallet With Strap and quilted cloth on left; current Turn Lock Wallet with nylon on right

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Local Milk and the Hot Milk Cake It Inspires


One way to bring texture into one's life is to seek out a local dairy farm and buy your milk directly. Often they sell other products as well such as cheese, yogurt, and soap.

The benefits of this are enormous, including: the exceptional freshness of the milk; the personal relationship that can develop with the farmer; and of course the relationship that can develop with the cows. It is especially interesting if one can find a farm that produces raw milk - the never touched by human hands milk that goes directly from the cow to the bottle without being pasteurized.

It is also reassuring when cows are eating the grass from the fields that are fertilized with their own manure. From the Spring through to the Fall, the milk takes on a more yellow hue, enabling you to actually see the result of this natural cycle.

Hot Milk Cake Recipe (This is a hearty cake, not fluffy cake.)
4 eggs
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup whole milk scalded with 1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Add sugar, beat again. Add everything else and beat until you cannot stand it any longer. (The longer you beat, the better it will be.)

Put in greased 9 x 13 glass pan. Bake at 350 - 375 degrees, depending on your oven.

Start checking after 30 minutes. Baking time varies. Knife in center should come out clean.

It is best with the "Perfectly Chocolate" frosting recipe on the Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa can.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Great Items to Be Brought Back: L.L. Bean Natural/Navy Birdseye Sweater

I love this sweater. When both men and women see it, they want one for themselves.
  • The fabric content is soft because of the 80% cotton, and tough because of the 20% acrylic.
  • The boxy cut is perfect; neither fitted, nor oversized.
  • It features the ultimate timeless color combination - natural with navy. Women can feminize it by pairing it with a pretty polo shirt underneath. Men (and women) can tilt it towards the masculine side by wearing it over navy or white.
A fortunate few were able to procure this unique item several years back; the Birdseye Sweater (made by Alps in the US) was a store only item in Freeport. L.L.Bean would please the purists by not only offering this item for men as well as women, but also offering it in a wool blend as well. (L.L. Bean once offered a very similar wool version.)

This is what L.L. Bean should be doing more.

L.L. Bean Natural/Navy Birdseye Sweater with the Ralph Lauren Elite Blue Long Sleeve Polo Shirt