Jet Set Pet Must-Have: Cloud 7 for Tumi Dog Carrier

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First class travel accommodations for the pampered pooch

It’s a running joke in my family that Isabelle, my 10-pound Cavapoo, has more frequent flyer miles than most people. She’s been traveling with me since she was just a wee pup, and is a rather unflappable flyer.

In her six and a half years of life, she’s gotten her paws wet in both the Pacific and the Atlantic ocean, enjoyed high tea at the Fairmont Vancouver, posed for pictures outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, cruised Route 66 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe and lunched in Edgartown.  It might sound over the top to bring her, but it’s actually more economic, less traumatic, easier to plan and just plain fun for everyone if she comes along.

There’s one piece of equipment that none of this travel could happen without: a pet carrier bag.

Being the pretentious aesthete and indulgent dog mom that I am, I don’t want Isabelle to jet set in just any old dog bag, so when it came time to buy her a new one this summer, I looked everywhere to find something that offered both form and function. I explored the high fashion route, but–in addition to the exorbitant price–a designer like Louis Vuitton doesn’t specialize in pets and therefore doesn’t understand the nuanced needs of canines. Plus, I wanted something that was not only attractive but also made for travel with a lightweight and durable build.

Enter the Cloud 7 for Tumi Pet Carrier.

This uber bag is collaboration between Cloud 7, a luxe German pet interiors company, and Tumi, the stalwartof high-end, high-quality luggage. Between both companies’ expertise, there’s no detail of pet travel that this carrier overlooks.

I was so intrigued with the bag that I contacted the company to learn more. Not only did they graciously allow me to interview Petra Jungebluth, fashion designer turned founder and designer of Cloud 7, but they also generously gave me a sample bag.

I was blown away by the beautifully crafted bag. It’s slate-hued fabric exterior is sleek and understated, it’s chocolate brown leather detailing is luxe and sophisticated and it’s ingenious design features–such as a shoulder strap that detaches to become a  leash and a back pocket perfectly sized to fit travel papers–exemplify the level of thought put into the design.

Isabelle’s reaction? When she wasn’t having fun sitting up to peek out of the convertible top vent she was dozing off to sleep atop the cushy lambswool lining–in my book, falling happily to sleep is the highest review a dog can give a pet carrier. In the Cloud 7 for Tumi Pet Carrier she can snuggle up in first class accommodations even when our seat is in coach!

DSC_5991Tumi for Cloud 7 Pet Carrier - Designer Pet Carrier - Tumi Pet Carrier - Cloud 7 - Dog Carrier - Dog Airline Bag -  Pet Airline Carrier

Why it’s worth the $375 price tag…

  • High-quality, durable construction and fabrications that Tumi is known for, such as leather detailing and a plush, removable lining–This bag is going to last a longtime and will patina handsomely with age

  • Thoughtful canine-centric design features like a shoulder strap the detaches to become a leash, a convertible top vent/dog lookout and a back pocket for storing dog travel documents

  • Sophisticated, gender-neutral design that looks great hanging from a dog mom or dog dad’s shoulder (we had some awkward moments when Chris traveled solo with Isabelle in her pink Juicy dog bag)

Tumi for Cloud 7 Pet Carrier - Designer Pet Carrier - Tumi Pet Carrier - Cloud 7 - Dog Carrier - Dog Airline Bag -  Pet Airline Carrier

What is Coud 7?

I was so enamored by the Cloud 7 for Tumi pet carrier (and the entire gorgeous Cloud 7 for Tumi collection) that I had to learn more about the Berlin-based company. Check out my Q&A with Cloud 7 founder and designer Petra Jungebluth to learn how this former fashion designer turned to the dogs and what tips she has for traveling with your four-legged friend.

TE: How did you get into fine dog interiors?
PJ: I had been working in Fashion Design for many years and when returning back to Germany I felt it was time to begin something new. I started to design a collection of dog accessories prototypes for our own dog Johan and the feedback I got was very encouraging to take this seriously. The initial idea was to design dog products that are perfect for the physics and needs of the dogs and at the same time look nice in a sophisticated home interior.

TE: How did you come to collaborate with Tumi?
PJ: TUMI approached us because they had seen our designs and asked us if we could design a special collection for the traveling dog. TUMI as a leading brand for luxury travel accessories and our knowledge for dogs needs as well as our mutual approach for highest quality just seemed to be a perfect match.

TE: Where do human luggage and canine luggage most diverge?
PJ: For the Flight Carrier, the most important thing for the dog is giving him space. Airlines have quite strict regulations for carrying a dog into the cabin, so we found a smart way to trick around these. Next is good ventilation in the bag, which we have solved with a circulation system. And of course the dog needs to feel that he is not alone by himself, so we included mash windows to allow constant eye contact to its human mate. And for the comfort of the pet owner we have designed the carrier as light as possible and with a shoulder strap that easily turns into a dog leash when getting off board.

TE: What are the elements of fine pet accessories?
PJ: Simply very good and durable materials, a good lying surface or mattress that doesn’t get flat and hard after a while. And for all our Cloud 7 products we are very strict on using only fabrics from controlled and organic farming. A much as for humans we believe also the dog shouldn’t be in touch with chemicals. To us this is also a human aspect that we don’t want to be involved in production processes that are not showing respect to the people working for you.

TE: What items should every pet owner have when traveling with their dog?
PJ: I think it is simply ensuring that the dog gets the same comfort en route than what it is used to at home. We have designed a wide range of products for these occasions like a stylish looking foldable Travel Bed with a lying surface of pure sheep’s wool, a city or puppy carrier for the small dog when going shopping or taking him in the car as well as waterproof bowls for the meals away from home.

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A Step Above the Rest: Ankle Strap Ballet Flats

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Plant your feet on stylish ground with the shoe of the season

If there’s one footwear trend I can’t get enough of right now, it’s ankle strap ballerinas. Elegant, versatile, and a little edgy, this style has it all. Plus, how often is the “it” shoe a flat? My bunions are rejoicing.

I recently set out to find my perfect pair; this one was a little too pricey, this one a little too cheap. This toe too pointy and this strap too thick. Like an overzealous Goldilocks, I pulled together 9 fabulous pairs to satisfy every predilection and budget.

Check out the above image and style details below to find your pair that’s “just right”!

Starting from the top step…
Valentino Rockstud Ballerinas, $852
Lanvin Ballerina Flats, $695
Alexander McQueen Double Wrap Ballerina, $650
Belle by Sigerson Morrison Sable Flat, $195
KG by Kurt Geiger Leah Point Toe Flat Shoes, $133.30
Splendid Women’s Isabel Flat, $87.20
Circus by Sam Edelman’s Benson Ballet Flat, $55.96
Report Signature Spike Ballet Flat, $39.97
J.P. Original Corp. Dessert Dash Flat in Licorice, $29.99

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The Reformed Bridesmaid

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Rejoice! Reformation has proved, once again, that bridesmaid dresses can be eco-friendly and elegant

I’ve been a huge fan of Reformation clothing for some time now. Not only are their fabrics eco-friendly (they use only repurposed vintage, deadstock and new, sustainably made materials), but they create some show-stopping pieces.

Their signature style can best be described as elegant bohemian, realized in whimsical maxi dresses, flirty skirts and hip outerwear. One would feel as at home in a Reformation frock galavanting in the East Village as she would grabbing drinks in Malibu.

Thankfully for all you ladies with a roster of newly engaged besties, Reformation has sunk its teeth into the wedding market. They recently released their second wedding collection which features a delicious assortment of bridesmaid dresses. The shapes are fresh and chic while simultaneously fitting the “timeless” bill required of wedding style, and they’re available in a palette of rich neutrals as well as several fun floral print options for the adventurous bride.

Best of all,  these gowns are  so darn beautiful that you’ll be tempted to purchase them even if you’re not in the wedding party! They are a tad pricy, however; Gowns start at $288.

Check out the full collection here and a few of my favs below…

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How to mix a cocktail at home like a pro

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Want to seem terribly debonair the next time you have guests over? Mix them a drink with the learned ease of a mixologist and the rich taste of a handcrafted cocktail.

Wanting to achieve this level of happy hour prowess myself (and wanting to save money from being spent on overpriced drinks at the local prohibition-style bar prepared by a dude with perfectly barbered facial hair and a vest), I looked up the three major mistakes amateurs bar tenders make. Read on and serve up.

1. Use high quality ice

It’s a no-brainer that better ingredients make better cocktails. You wouldn’t order a Taaka martini at a nice meal when you could have Grey Goose. The same applies to ice. It’s more than frozen water chilling your drink, it’s an ingredient, and the quality of the ice affects the flavor of the drink.

Great ice starts with clean, purified drinking water. If your tap water has a chlorine aftertaste, so will your ice and subsequently your drink. Before you pull ice out of the freezer and plop it into your drink, make sure it’s new and fresh. If left too long in the freezer, it will start to get freezer burned and take on the taste of food around it. Yuck.

Next, consider the type of ice. Cubed, cracked, shaved and blocked ice are the primary types of ice used in cocktails. When selecting which type to use in your drink, you must consider the specific drink at hand. Those made entirely or almost entirely of spirits are best mixed with shaved ice, as it’s small surface area causes it to melt faster, creating desirable dilution. For cocktails that include vermouth, juice, seltzer, water or egg, opt for ice cubes. Dilution is undesirable in this case, and cubes’ large surface areas means they take longer to melt. This type of drink also works well with the stylish ice form of the moment: ice balls. Frozen drinks, like daiquiris or coladas, do best with shaved or cracked ice as the blender can most easily break them down. Finally, for liqueurs that are served as a slurry, like chambord, fill a glass with shaved ice and pour the liqueur over.

2. know when to shake it and when to stir it

There’s a certain cache to ordering your martini “shaken, not stirred” but there are times when stirring is preferable. Cocktails comprised of distilled spirits, which include most hard liquors, or that add very light mixers only, should be stirred as it is they are gentle spirits and shaking is thought to “bruise” these liquors.

Now, for cocktails that include hardier ingredients, such as juice, simple syrup, sour mix, cream liqueurs, you can give it a good shake.

When looked at through this lens, James Bond’s preference for his gin martini “shaken, not stirred”–a rough preparation for a delicate drink–seems symbolic of the spy’s violent tendencies; he does after, all, have a license to kill and a gun under his pillow.

3. Don’t Skimp on the small flavors

This is a loaded category, but I’ll summarize the best I can. Those ingredients listed in quantities of “dash” or “hint” at the end of the recipe count much more than their serving size suggests.

A couple dashes of bitters, an alcoholic liquid made from herbs and citrus fruits, make a big impact on the overall flavor of the drink. Omitting this ingredient is like skipping the herbs in salad dressing or the salt on eggs. They help the flavors meld and add a complexity that takes a drink from dull to delicious. Likewise, when a recipe calls for a slice of fruit or fresh herbs, include them. Pull out the flavors by slapping the herbs between your palms to release the oils or muddling the ingredients at the bottom of a mixing glass.

These small ingredients create nuances in the flavor profile of the drink that make a big, impact, and take a DIY cocktail from amateur to pro level.

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Obsessed: Smashbox Master Class Palette III

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Smashbox Master Class Palette III

32 eyeshadows + 3 blushes + 3 contour powders = must-have

It’s hard for me to admit, but my makeup look got tired this summer. Wearing the same colors day in and day out, regardless of how high quality or lovely the products are, gets boring. To remedy my situation, I ventured into that black hole of beauty: Sephora. It’s the place where one enters to simply purchase a lipstick but winds up emerging an hour later, broke and disoriented, with an entire stockpile of new makeup. (read about my unrequited love for Sephora here).

While I would typically steal myself against the tempting racks of beauty goodies, on this day, I entered with an open mind. It was time to break out of my makeup rut and spice up my routine. Sure, I could’ve gone for a quick fix with a shocking new lipstick color, but I wanted something more long term that would allow me to experiment with my look on a daily basis.

Failing to be impressed by the latest seasonal Bobby Brown palettes, I moseyed through the aisles, exploring the latest brands and offerings–this color wasn’t pigmented enough, this brand was too expensive–until I found it: the Smashbox Master Class Palette III. Angels sang as I opened hardcover case to reveal two glorious pages of makeup.

Smashbox Master Class Palette IIIThe pages divided the set into two parts: a color palette and a neutral palette. Four columns of vivid eyeshadows descended from lightest base hue to deepest liner hue on the color side. Beneath them sat a row of peachy blushes. The neutral palette featured an essential mix of 16 matte and shimmer shadows that could be worn alone or mixed with colored shadows to create endless looks.  Beneath the neutral shadows was the set’s piece de resistance: three essential contour powders for sculpting and highlighting every inch of your face.

Overwhelmed? I needn’t have been. Tucked into the front cover were four pages of “how to” instructions breaking down the entire palette, including 3 dazzling makeup looks and an illustrated  guide on the basics of contouring. Not only could I make my makeup routine fresh and vibrant with this set, but I could also contour like a Kardashian! I was sold.

I’ve had the kit for about three weeks now, and I’ve done more experimenting with my makeup  in this short time than I have in the entire year. Where I would stick with safe subdued colors on my lids for day, I now play with dazzling pinks and greens and where I would default to a standard smoky eye for night, I now swap the grays for intense cobalt blues.  At night, I up the drama with sweeeping contours that make my cheekbones pop.

Thanks to the Smashbox Master Class Palette III, I’m entering the new season with a makeup look (or should I say “looks”) that is anything but boring! And, at just $65 for the whole set, I can officially say that this is the best bang for my beauty buck, I’ve received in a long time.

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The September Issue

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Vogue US September 2014

The fall fashion bible has arrived!

The definitive guide to fall fashion–and the most highly anticipated issue of the year–has hit newsstands around the globe, each country offering up its own take on the season’s trends. Check out the international covers below!
Vogue Spain September 2014 Vogue Russia September 2014 Vogue Paris September 2014 VOGUE Brasil SEptember 2014 vogue japan september 2014 Vogue Australia Sept 2014 Netherlands VOgue September 2014 VOGUE ITalia September 2014 vogue-china-september-2014-fan-bingbing-patrick-demarchelier-article

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