Bags! and plus-sized shopping, and good food

Gwen Stefani’s company, Harajuku Lovers, has some pretty funky bags available at Macy’s. While checking in to Macy’s yesterday to get some cosmetics, I was struck by the gratuitously cute bags, but what really struck me was the LeSportsac bags. Holy crap! Supercute Tokidoki bags overwhelp the cute of Harajuku Lovers. The price is a bit higher, but then again, this is better design and more durable (at least, more durable looking.) I bought a shoulder bag for going around Japan in a month. I was so impressed with the designs on the LeSportsac bags, that I purchased a another designer bag for the spring designed by French designer Fafi.

What’s a bit cool, is that according to the FAQ on LeSportsac.com, It seems to say that they’re manufacturing is done in the Southeast US (which is where I’m natively from). Now, perhaps I’m reading that wrong. I did look in my bag for the “Made in…” tag, but I couldn’t locate it. Fucking cool. My main concern if they are manufacturing in the US is if their workers here are fairly treated and fairly paid. I know that there has been stories of undocumented workers coming to KY through the horse racing industry, and I am concerned that some undocumented workers may take manufacturing jobs and work in poor conditions due to coercion and desperation for very little pay. This warrants further research.

Now on the plus-sized shopping front, I am increasingly annoyed that Seattle’s downtown area does NOT have any plus-sized clothing options (that I’ve been able to find) besides the limited sections in Macy’s, Nordstroms and Ross. Ross is definitely on the low-end and not for serious professional clothing. Macy’s and Nordstroms are not cheap, and though good deals can be found, the selection in sometimes spotty, and I’d like more of a cool choice than variations on the goddamn peasant blouse. Seriously. At least in Chicago I had the options of the department stores AND stores like Avenue and Lane Bryant (which are on the mid-end and considered in Chicagoland as being not the “kind and quality” of retailer they wanted in their center. While some of it is size-bias, it’s also a socioeconomic bias and just the quality-of-goods biased. It’s not Fashion Bug low-end, but it’s also not the quality you’d find in the plus-sized Calvin Klein (oh my, do I have a marvelous Calvin Klein plus sized dress!), Jones New York or Nine West. I know that downtown Seattle likes to cater to the more affluent (hence, most of the cheap shopping is at least 4 miles from city center!), and I also know that Seattle is judged a more fit city than Chicago according to an annual poll done by Mens Fitness magazine. Does that really mean there’s no market for plus sizes downtown? I walked into the Old Navy downtown and looked for their plus-sized section (the website indicates that they do exist!) and found out that I would have to drive outside of the city limits to Tukwila to find plus sizes.

It’s not like I’m not making strides to be more fit and hopefully fit into smaller clothing, but while that’s in process, it sure would be nice to try on clothing that would be fashionable for the weekend and comfortable and cost-effective for work. I checked out the Elisabeth (Liz Claiborne’s specialty plus-size brand) to see if they were building any stores in the Pac. NW, only to find out their closing all their stores.

And by the way, I do not think that poor fashion choices for large folx encourages healthy living and weight management. I think that feeling good, and feeling like you look good and have choices are part of building a healthy self-esteem. I think that a healthy self-esteem is critical for long term health and weight managment. In fact, I think that the healthy self-esteem and feeling good about yourself, at any size, is more important than eating fat-free, or no-carbs or a strenuous exercise program. I believe that if you feel good, REALLY good about yourself, and can live in your skin, feel your tummy get full and be OK with saying no, but indulging occasionally, that you can do great. In fact, making sure that I’m eating good, yummy food and have really tastey food available makes me less likely to eat tons of bland crap until I’m overful because the only redeeming quality is that it’s there.

I’ve recently fallen in love with the classic vegetarian cookbook, the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Just as I was finding the URL for the book, I went to Ms. Katzen’s website and found out she has a weight loss book out now. That’s worth checking out considering that I am delighted with the Moosewood Cookbook. Last week I made two recipes, a Carrot Ginger Soup and Polenta Pie. Both of them were vegetarian and sublimely delicious. And filling! Both of the recipes I made with food purchased at PCC in Greenwood. Even more awesome is that both recipes used locally grown, organic produce and organic spices.

I really am beginning to believe that if you eat well and enjoy your life, you’re not going to fill your life with crap. (This, of course, includes not owning a TV and being a more deliberate consumer.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ills of society and how the past century or so has brought this idea of synthesized progress filled with ridiculous shelf-life foods, beauty cremes, fad diets, “The Secret” -esque philosophy and dogmatic programs to Living The Good Life (TM). Maybe it’s not all that big a deal. Maybe we’re making more problems by trying to solve them. Maybe — just maybe — like garbage collection and landfills have allowed us to live a high-waste existence that we don’t notice because it’s not under our noses, we’re pushing things off to the outskirts not realizing we’re still drowning in shit.

Oh my, I’ve gone from posting about shopping to ranting!! Well, that’s Sunday mornings for ya!

Have a good week, y’all!