...and a Happy New Year!

I LOVE New Year's Eve!

It's one of my favorite nights of the year: a time to party, get glammed up, be with loved ones and vow to be a better person, all rolled up into one glittering, sparkling disco-ball of a night.


Things I Love: My New iPhone!

 I've dreamed of an iPhone for so long!

And now, I finally have one.

It's been two days and I'm in love with my 4S! I love the apps, the games, the sheer genius of it all. 

Steve Jobs and the Apple team sure did create an incredible product and I'm a very proud iPhone owner, even if I have yet to figure lots of stuff out!

And most of all, I adore Instagram! If you want to follow me, I'm Coffeeandheels there as well!


Coffee and Heels Closet: the Star Dress

I hope you've all had a fabulous Christmas!

Today I wanted to share a new find with you.

I loved Dolce & Gabbana's star print for FW11, so I've been on the lookout for starry finds since the fall collections hit the stores and back in Venice I finally found the perfect stellar dress:

It's the perfect dress style ( I love t-shirt or tank dresses with floaty skirts that hit just above the knee) and goes with absolutely everything, both winter and summer! And the best part? It was only 24,90 euro at H&M!

I mostly team it with tights and boots these days, as shown, but stay tuned for other styling suggestions, as this dress is quickly becoming a closet staple. It's time to see stars!


The Edit: Holiday Movies

First of all: happy holidays to all my wonderful readers! I wish you a marvellous Christmas, with lots of amazing veggie treats, soy hot chocolate, scented candles, a big, sparkling tree, and all the presents on your list! And of course, the people you love.

I'm writing this in my pyjamas, on my mom's living room couch, watching Snowglobe, a really cheesy but cozy Christmas movie. It's so girly and corny but still so bad it's good. And so I've got to thinking about holiday movies and why we love them. I think they create a certain atmosphere and become a part of the holiday season. And all of a sudden, it's not Christmas without them.

So here are my Fave Five (in random order!)

The Holiday

I love all the actors in this movie, I love its style and atmosphere. And I just think it's such a feel-good flick. Very girly, so get a group of girlfriends, make some gingerbread cupcakes and go for it.

The Preacher's Wife

                                                                      ... I mean, it's Whitney Houston.
I like that this movie is quite religious, but it's not too "preachy". It's simply a story about the good in people.

Nightmare Before Christmas

I LOVE anything Tim Burton, so this movie is just a treat. It's so original and beautifully made.

200 Cigarrettes

This is a New Year's Eve movie. It's funny, spirited, and easy to watch. And Kate Hudson's in it, so if you have a boyfriend he'll probably like it.

and this, I have to say, is my all-time favorite, and I can't imagine Christmas without it:

Love, Actually

This is the ULTIMATE holiday movie. My boyfriend loves it. My sister loves it. Most of my friends love it.
It's the most amazing, heartwarming piece of cinematic Christmas candy, and if you haven't seen it, go rent it RIGHT NOW. It will change your Christmas!

...so there you have it!

And one more piece of Coffee and Heels advice: no diets in December! Eat, drink, be merry and enjoy your Christmas!


Just Love by Sofie Mejeritcher, featuring David Camilli!

So I'm home.

And just for the record: there IS snow on the ground! Not too much of it, but don't listen to those who say it's not a real winter. Looks real to me!

I wanted to share some exciting news with you! It's not really news to me, as I've seen these two incredibly talented people work on it for a while now. But now my sister Sofie's first-ever song has officially hit the web - with a musical arrangement and guitar solo by my very own fiancé. I'm so proud!

Just Love started out as just a simple-but-sweet piano and voice piece by Sofie (not to brag, but my sister's a really good singer and songwriter) and when David heard it, he became slightly obsessed with the idea of coming up with a guitar solo for it. Well, to say David's a perfectionist isn't nearly enough, so instead of just a solo, he created a whole arrangement with acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards, and Cubase effects (by the way, I'm not an expert, but Cubase sounds like a huge pain in the butt) and here is the final result:

...the photo you see in the YouTube version is a picture of Sofie drawn by David last year for her graduation party!

You can follow Sofie's Swedish blog here

You can listen to all of David's music here


Going Home for the Holidays

It just hit me today: wow, it's almost Christmas.

I took a glance at the half-packed suitcase in the corner and the twinkly lights in our windows and realized that it's that time of the year again: fluffy snow, icy air, cinnamon coffee and the scent of pine. It's Christmas and I'm going home for the holidays. Tomorrow, to be exact.

Those of you who've been following me for a while know that my family lives in Stockholm and that the main reason why I love the holiday season is that I get to spend it in Sweden. There's such a special atmosphere there this time of year. And spending time with my family really is priceless.

So, this is just to let you know that I'll be gone for a couple of days. I'm leaving at the break of dawn tomorrow and I'll be in the Land of Snow until January 5th. Of course, I'll blog from there, but just so you know, if you don't hear from me as often as usual, it's because I'm sipping hot chocolate, wrapping presents and decorating a tree in a big, soft and snuggly vegan cardigan! And I wish you all a fabulous week.


Green Glamour Challenge: Lush Orange Blossom Perfume

Since I was old enough to steal my mom's Guerlain, I've always been a perfume-aholic. I love trying different scents, discovering new favorites and that magical feeling of spritzing on an amazing-smelling fragrance. As Coco Chanel said, a girl who doesn't wear perfume has no future!
As part of my new kick-ass cruelty-free lifestyle, I've been trying to switch to non-animal-tested fragrances, which isn't as hard as you might think. Body Shop has some really yummy ones, and if you're into something a bit more haute, there's always my hero, Stella McCartney, whose Sheer is on top of my Christmas list (more on my Christmas list in an upcoming post...).

I've blogged about Lush so many times you must be getting sick of it (or I'm just filling the world with more Lush addicts like myself), but I have to tell you about their new Gorilla Perfume range (I have no idea why they're called that!), made up of all-organic, all-natural, 100% cruelty-free and mostly vegan perfumes!

I walked into the shop in Venice (mostly because I saw a sign that said, "follow your nose...Lush is very close!" funny, and so on-point, being that the (intoxicating) Lush signature scent always leads me straight to the shop. When it comes to Lush, I've got the nose of one of those police dogs!) just to have a look around...and walked out with a carrier bag, as usual.

I spent half an hour smelling all the perfumes, driving the (very helpful and friendly) sales girls and my boyfriend (fiancè!) crazy. I finally settled on the Love...just to come back ten minutes later, when I'd realized it was way too spicy to really be "me", and exchange it for the Orange Blossom.

Described on the Lush website as "honeyed floral with sparkling citrus notes", Orange Blossom is everything I want in a fragrance: fresh, zesty, and feminine. And the scent of orange blossoms is typical of the Mediterranean and the south of Italy, which I really adore. I bought a small tester, but I think I'll soon go for the entire bottle! It really is a little bit of heaven.


All About The Ring!

...because half the point of getting engaged is the ring, right?

I already told you the story of how and where (if you missed it, just read the post below this one!) so I'm not going to bore you once again and I'll try not to be so sweet it's gross, but I'm just really happy. Really, really happy.

My ring isn't expensive at all (you'd be amazed) and it's really simple - just silver and a zirconia. That's very me: I'm not a fan of diamonds because of how horrible the industry is, and how many people die and suffer every year in the mines. So I've always wanted a zirconia ring. 

It's not tiny, but it's not old-lady huge either. It fits comfortably on my left ring finger (maybe too comfortably: it's a bit big, but since everyone's fingers swell in the summer, I'll just wait until warmer days and decide if I want to have it refitted) and the zirconia is really shiny. It twinkles!

It's round-cut: I know, I've always said I wanted a princess cut. But when I saw this ring, I just thought it was beautiful. I love its overall style and feel: casual and simple yet refined. It's everything I am: unpretentious, easy-going and romantic. Like the moment and the promise itself, it's precious because of what it represents.

Every time I look at it, I feel that cold wind in my face and the butterflies in my stomach. And I realize just how incredibly freaking lucky I am. This gorgeous, fearless, amazing man who could have his pick of any knockout girl out there actually chose ME. And now he says he wants to MARRY me. And I'm going to be an actual bride. In a wedding dress. If this isn't crazy, I don't know what is.


Love in Venice

Told you I'd be back.

Venice was, of course, magical.

There are so many things I love about this city (this wasn't my first time there, but it was the first time I went with David, and being a very romantic city, it was truly unforgettable to explore it with him), such as the total absence of cars, the breathtaking views and this special atmosphere that never really leaves the city. It's special.

We didn't get a map, and the only museums and art galleries we set foot in were the ones that we just happened to stumble across. The rest of the time, we just wandered aimlessly around the city, taking in the magical visuals, the Christmas spirit, and the amazingness that is this city.

Here are some highlights:


Taking a Tiny Break.

Dear sweet readers. In these last few days, I've really appreciated the very nice and uplifting comments you've left me. Since starting Coffee and Heels, I've learned so much - it's been a heck of a ride, and it's only been four and a half months. I've looked into veganism. I've started buying only cruelty-free beauty products. I've learned that there are alternatives to wool. And I've also learned that there are tons of amazing fashionistas with a conscience out there - I'm not alone in this adventure, there are many of us and we have a strong voice!
I've had an awesome November and was just getting started on an even more awesome December when some awful family matters struck (my grandmother passed away) and general life chaos took over my life. Just things that everyone goes through sooner or later, but nonetheless difficult to deal with. Things that bring up thoughts, questions. Things that make you tired of being scared and worried. Things that make you rethink some of your life choices. Things that may be just a little bit overwhelming.
So, as of today, Coffee and Heels, and myself, are going on a tiny little break.
Don't worry, I'm not abandoning you: I'm just running away to Venice with my man for a few days. A breath of fresh air and long winter walks in a beautiful city, and four computer-free days, is just what I need right now. I'll be back, as good as new, before you know it. Maybe even this weekend.
Have a nice week, my beautiful readers. And don't miss me too much!


GlossyBox - With a Touch of Cruelty-Free

When I found out that GlossyBox was coming to Italy, I was overjoyed. I mean, I really love the concept: you pay a small amount of money (in our case, 14 euro) every month and receive a cute little pink box with a selection of mini-sized beauty products, all of which are a surprise - you never know what's in the box before you get it.

I immediately wanted to sign up - but of course, I had my doubts: there was a big risk that all the products in the Box wouldn't be cruelty-free. And since I'm slowly committing to my new lifestyle, I didn't want to risk falling into a powdery-pink trap.

In the name of research, I decided to sign up and see how it went. I figured, if there weren't any cruelty-free products to be found, I'd simply cancel my registration and move on with my wonderfully animal-friendly life.

Today, I got the second GlossyBox, with tons of luxurious little surprises, among which a sweet-smelling body lotion, a burgundy lip gloss, and a CoSTUME NATIONAL scent!

...and:a silvery eye shadow by Lakshmi, an organic brand, an all-natural soap from Nour, a brand I don't know yet but am about to discover!

I'm happy that the GlossyBox team paid attention to the cruelty-free issue and went for natural cosmetics. I'd love to see more organic products with no animal testing in my future GlossyBoxes...I'll keep receiving them and, obviously, leaving feedback with the Glossy team. It's time for a cruelty-free beauty revolution!


Vintage Fur: Is It Okay?

I doubt I have to tell you what I think about real fur: if you read Coffee and Heels, you pretty much know that there aren't many things out there that I hate as much as the fur industry. There simply aren't many other industries that are as cruel, as wasteful, and as unnecessary as the fur trade. So this post is not my contribution to the  fur "debate" (if you think there even has to be a "debate", then this is probably not your kind of blog...even so, feel free to read Coffee and Heels and give me a chance to change your mind!) but a venture into a specific branch of the fur area: vintage fur.

I don't get that angry when I see old ladies on the street in fur coats: the truth is, they really don't know better. In their days, the fur industry was cruel, but it was still far from the horror it is now. And there weren't as many warm, functional, and fashionable alternatives to it. It's when I see young women in fur jackets, fur-lined accessories or shoes (don't get me started on those hideous UGG things) that I get really upset. And when I express my concerns about this to people I know, some react in what seems to me like a very weird way: "oh, I totally agree with you! Real fur is horrible! I do have a mink coat, though. But it's vintage, so it's okay!"

...say what?

Okay, so the animals you're wearing (yes, animals, plural) weren't abused, tortured and killed yesterday, but in the 70s, 80s or so. What about this makes the abuse, the torture and the killing okay? It's still a bunch of dead animals you've got on there. And if you agree with me that torturing animals for fashion is a horrible thing, shouldn't you be choosing faux alternatives?
Excuses that vintage fur-wearers make:

"But it was a gift".
If someone gave me real fur as a gift (I see that as highly unlikely, because if you care enough about me to buy me such an expensive present, that means you know me well. And if you know me well, I'm probably one of the most passionately anti-fur people you know), I would take that person aside and explain that I'm grateful, but I think fur is very cruel and I will not get any use out of their gift. Then, I would inform them of what goes on in the fur trade. Think about it: people that see you on the street don't know it was a gift. To them, you're just saying that killing and hurting animals for fashion is cool, stylish and acceptable.

"But it was my mother's/grandmother's."
Listen, I'm really sorry your mom/grandma passed away and I hope you feel better. But didn't she have a nice ring or a pair of earrings you can remember her by? If not then I would probably just keep the fur to myself and not wear it out on the street, because I'm not comfortable sending that kind of message to the world. But that's just me.

"But it's just a little. It's not like I'm wearing a full-length coat."
I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but animals are actually killed just to make that fur-lined glove/scarf/hood look a bit more "luxe". It's not like the animal was already killed/dead for other reasons and they just took the "leftovers" to make your accessory. Sorry.

"But it´s already dead, so why not enjoy it instead of wasting it?
I personally find this argument very empty and shallow: okay, then go ahead and eat meat as well, it's already dead, so why throw it away? It's not like you killed it. And while we're at it, why not use animal-tested cosmetics? The harm has already been done, so be my guest! Hey, as long as we're not the ones actually doing the killing, we can still all call ourselves animal lovers (insert obvious irony). I believe that if you think that something is wrong, you think it's 100% wrong. And again, what you're sending out to the world isn't, "this animal died thirty years ago", it's "this animal suffered terribly for the coat that I am wearing."

When someone is about to be sent to jail for murder, there isn't anyone going, "oh, you know, it's okay because he's not a serial killer NOW - he was twenty years ago!" If you believe something's wrong, it's as wrong "vintage" as it is new.

What to do? Go faux!
I don't blame you if you're a fan of the furry look - many people go crazy for it. But you know, when it comes to fashion, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada are rarely wrong - and they've all done faux fur in their fall/winter 2010 and 2011 collections. So there are plenty of other options!

When I interned with Swedish designer Patouf in 2009, Anna, the creative director, was in the middle of her winter collection, and she had this gorgeous faux-fur coat with a hood. It looked so luxurious and amazing. I tried it on and it felt fabulous. Then I had to carry it to a PR firm in the rain, and I was delighted to find out that even when it got rained on, it was free from that nasty wet-dog smell that's typical of real fur when the weather's rainy. Anna still makes amazing faux fur, and she's not the only one!

Some vegans think that even faux fur is wrong, as many people can't tell the difference. I agree and disagree: I don't wear faux fur myself, for that exact reason. But when other girls do, I applaud them for going faux! And if I were to ever wear a faux fur coat, it would be one of the beautiful, cruelty-free faux fur coats made with love by the talented Anna at Patouf.


What Are You Thankful For?

I've never paid any attention to Thanksgiving: I'm not American, and as a vegetarian I'm not loving all this turkey madness. Even when I lived in LA, me and my roommate just stayed in and watched movies all Thanksgiving weekend, because most of our friends had gone home to their families.
But I do like the concept of gratitude, so this year I thought I'd make a little list of big and small things I'm grateful for!
I'm thankful for....


picture by my sister Sofie
They say all girls dream of finding their prince (or princess, if you're a lesbian!), but I always thought I'd wind up a Samantha: 50, fierce, fabulous and single. Instead, I was lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams at 24 and fall hopelessly in love with him. And four years later I still can't believe it. Never in my life had I thought I'd be so lucky as to stumble upon a drop-dead blonde Italian, with green eyes and a six-pack, who plays guitar for a living and has the biggest heart and most fearless soul of everyone I've ever met. And that he actually likes me. No, he loves me. How crazy is that?

My Coworkers.

I have to say, I do have the best colleagues in the entire universe. Every Monday morning I walk (yes, walk, and it takes 30 minutes) to work looking at all the people passing by with facial expressions that say "I have to go to work and I'd rather throw myself under the bus" and I think, wow, I can't wait to chat to my friends and see what they've been up to all weekend. I love the coffee breaks and the cozy lunches at cute restaurants. I love having a drink with them sometimes after work, and this summer on my birthday, when I looked around the room, I was so happy to see it was full of people that I just adore with my heart. I love my job because of them.


I kept my New Year's resolution for 2011 and started volunteering at a homeless dog and cat shelter, and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Volunteering is the best feeling in the world and it just gives so much to you. When I come home after spending a Sunday morning at the shelter, my legs ache and I'm tired from dog walking, but I also feel fulfilled. I always feel like I can't be happy because there's just so much cruelty in the world, but after a day of volunteering, it's like a tiny, tiny bit of that pain has been lifted by my trying to help. And that's a feeling that no shopping can buy.

Things to Look Forward To.

Less than two weeks left until David and I are going on a mini-vacation to Venice! We've both been there before but not together, and as it's one of the most romantic places on Earth, I can't wait to explore it with him! Then, on December 21st, we're going to see my family in Stockholm for a snowy Christmas filled with candy and hot chocolates, and a very sparkly New Year's Eve! For me, looking forward to things is sometimes as fun as actually doing them.

Hot Chocolate.

Being a huge chocoholic, it might be a surprise that I wasn't particularly fond of hot chocolate before I moved to Italy. Sure, Swedish hot chocolate is nice and all, but it's too liquid and mostly tastes like milk, and I can't stand the taste of milk. Italian hot chocolate, on the other hand, is dense and thick and luxurious-tasting...and even comes in flavors like "dark" and "hazelnut". But for some reason, people here think you're a complete nutcase if you order/make hot chocolate if it's not December. So, I'm thankful that snowy season's coming up, so I can indulge in my new passion!

Red Lipstick.

For a long time, I didn't think I looked good in red lipstick. I'm too pale, I thought. Then I tried it on at a beauty store, just for fun. And wow. Really: wow. I'm not kidding, it's like I had a whole new face. It's like my pale complexion has a sense, instead of just being pasty-looking. Since then, I don't leave the house without my red lippie, and this weekend I'm getting a scarlet-red one from The Body Shop!

Good Books.

I just adore books. I dream of a day when I find myself in a room full of amazing books and I have nothing to do but read them all day. Currently reading: Candace Bushnell's Summer in the City. Review coming up!

My Beautiful City.

Don't ever say Milan is ugly/boring/gray when I'm around.

Magical Music.

20 years after Freddie passed, his voice lives on. And millions of us are grateful.

Huge, Chunky Knits...to wear with a cup of tea.

This is just what winter is about for me. And I am so in love with my new huge scarf from Zara, 100% acrylic and vegan!


...and all of YOU, my fabulous readers! I'm so thankful that you read Coffee and Heels. It's been four months since I launched this blog and I've gotten way better reactions to this little adventure than I dared hope. Thank you, really. Have an amazing weekend. Because you deserve it.



On Beauty Ideals (Written by a Real Woman)

I read this beautiful post by Swedish blogger and writer Annika Marklund on the thin girl vs real girl debate (yes, it's a little old, yes, I'm a little behind, yes, I've just discovered Annika's blog!) and I decided I just couldn't shut up about it.

I think Annika is right. I wrote my college thesis on beauty ideals in fashion communication, and I've been passionately active in the debate regarding super-slim models versus "real women", because I think that today's beauty ideals are very skewed and have the potential to make many girls very sick. But every time I talk about this topic, or hear anyone else talking about it, or read something about it, I can't help but get annoyed by the term "real women".

Why is it that "real" women are the ones with "curves", while all of slimmer womankind gets confined into this weird realm of what, fake womanhood?

Allow me to bare my soul for a minute here: I've had eating disorders for years. When I was bulimic (from age 15 to about 22) my weight was a rollercoaster. Thanks to an amazing therapist, an awesome nutritionist, lots of exercise and yes, anti-depressants, I now consider myself free from eating disorders and quite a healthy person. I go to the gym two or three times a week and am a happy vegetarian (aspiring vegan) with a passion for dessert. But here's the thing: my weight doesn't go up and down any more. My body has found its way to the shape it was always meant to have...and that happens to be a tiny waist accessorized with Marilyn-style hips and boobs. That's just how I was created, and these days I can eat pretty much anything without gaining an ounce (and I do, trust me!).  Does this make me an "unreal" woman? A "fake" one?  

I also find it quite pointless to defend voluptuous ladies with the washed-out argument of "men prefer girls with curves". A couple of years ago, a famous women's magazine had a survey on what guys liked in a woman. I'm sure it was super-scientific and all, but some parts of it looked like the women working at the magazine had done it just to feel better about themselves. It emerged from this survey that all men adored petite, curvy brunettes in sweatpants with no makeup. All of them. And they all found tall, slender, well-dressed women who went to the gym and liked makeup and jewelry repulsive. Right. Sounds very accurate, no? I'm definitely no Victoria's Secret model, but reading that survey, I felt like jumping in and defending pretty girls from this kind of jealous bashing.  First of all: guys, we love you, but we're not about to change ourselves to fit your "preferences". Second of all: guys do have preferences. Some like curvier ladies, while others prefer a slimmer body type. And third of all, as Annika says, when you fall in love with someone, you sure as hell don't do it because of the person's body type. I'm sure there are women out there who feel better reading surveys like that, but I think that mostly the women writing this are just kidding themselves. It's like a friend of mine who claimed she "preferred" a belly on a man, which I suspect had something to do with the fact that her boyfriend had love handles. It's also very offensive when magazines or blogs write things like "Men want a woman that looks like a woman, not like a washboard." Ouch. If that same magazine would write "Men want a woman that looks like a woman, not like a whale", believe me, there'd be hell to pay. But where's the difference?

When Vogue Italia did their "real women" cover, photographed by Steven Meisel, Italy and the world applauded Franca Sozzani for her "brave" choice. I still see it as yet another publicity trick. The models were beautiful and the photos by Steven Meisel were amazing. But why is it that every time a normal-sized model appears in a fashion context, attention has to be drawn to the fact that she is "curvy"? We don't see any headlines screaming "SKINNY IS BEAUTIFUL" every time Kate Moss is on some cover. It all just seems so very "look at us, we're so democratic, we even have a fat girl on our cover" to me. Choosing a cover model shouldn't be a "favor" to anyone. A model should be on a cover because she enhances and improves the image of the publication, not to make a political statement. And, once again, I hated the "Belle Vere" (real beauties) headline. What, exactly, is a "real" woman? To me, those models seemed just as airbrushed, spray-tanned, and groomed to perfection as the skinny ones. All "real" women are not "plus-size"!
I come from Stockholm, and there, magazines often try and put "real" women on the front line by having the magazine's editors and readers pose for the magazine (sometimes naked). I don't think that  this kind of editorial has ever had the result the editors were aiming to have, because of a tiny detail: women don't want to be ordinary. We don't want to see women "like ourselves" on the covers of magazines, because we don't want to be told that "ourselves" is an average woman. You don't aspire to be the frizzy-haired, saggy-boobed Plain Jane with the muffin top, do you? You aspire to be the fit, toned, tan, glossy-haired and successful glamazon who "has it all". For me personally, even if I know I have flaws and I love myself and am proud of myself exactly the way I am, aspiration is what keeps me trying to improve myself all the time, both on the inside and the outside. To become the woman I want to be. I assure you she's neither ordinary nor ordinary-looking. And there's nothing wrong with that. Aspiration is positive, as long as you aspire to positive things. Men's magazines seem to get this: you'll never see a picture of a balding Average Joe with a beer belly next to a headline that says: "Real Men! You can be just like him!". No, the readers of men's magazines all worship at the altar of the six-pack sex god with the big-shot job and the shiny car. And there's nothing anyone can do about that. We will never want to be average. We will always want to be extraordinary.

 The trick is, at least for me, to learn what is extraordinary for you. For me, extraordinary is inspiring people. And I believe you can do that in a size XL dress as well as a size XS one. As long as you're healthy, happy and feeling good about yourself, you're doing good. And as a fashion editor, I believe that the fashion industry, an industry that practically lives off of aspirational images, should try to convey a more positive message that makes people dream, not feel insecure and inadeguate. I love to see fantastic clothes on beautiful women like Freja and Chanel Iman. But next to them, I would love to see models that represent other body types - less skinny, less tall, less extreme. I'm still talking drop-dead-gorgeous, stunning models - only instead of calling them "plus size" and making a big "democratic" song and dance about it, let's just see what happens if "model" becomes a wider concept.  Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes - let's celebrate that.


Things I Love Travel: A Year in New York

I stumbled across this video because a friend of a friend shared it on Facebook, and I really fell in love with it:

A Year in New York from Andrew Clancy on Vimeo.

Andrew Clancy, who lives in New York, spent a year with a camera in his hand filming little things that happened around him in the city, ending up with this beautiful video.

I have no real connection to this truly unique, phenomenal city: I have only spent four days of my life in New York. But if even I am so moved by this video, I can't imagine how it touches someone who actually lives in New York or has close ties to the city.

Watching this video on a cold November afternoon in my little studio apartment here in Milan made me remember a part of me that's always been around but that I've tended to pack away for the last few months. I am a natural-born explorer. I love to travel, but I also love to live in new places. I love discovering those little pieces of a city that Andrew has so masterfully captured in his video: the people on the streets, the little restaurants, the shops, the subways, the bridges, the lights that fill up the night. I love to walk on new streets, smell new scents, taste new flavors and feel a new wind on my face, even if it's cold.

I have lived in only four countries in my life and I find them to be excruciatingly few. My soul actually hurts, aches with a desire to explore more, see more, live more. I suffer from abstinence of new beginnings. What I feel is an actual hunger for a new life, and it comes around every once in a while, just when I've gotten used to a comfortable existence of high heels and hot chocolates, cocktails and sunsets. I don't think there can ever be a place where I can stay forever and call it "home." Home for me is resting my head on David's shoulder. Wherever he is, that's where "home" is to me. Fortunately, he feels the same. About me and about the world.

I want to say "thank you" to Andrew for his video, for reminding me of this. Not because otherwise I wouldn't remember, but because this feeling of wanting to spread my wings is a natural high to me, and one of the many things that I call happiness.


Versace for H&M: Will You or Won't You?

As you know by now I have a huge soft spot for H&M. They're Swedish like me, they create stylish and wallet-friendly looks and so much of their stuff is cruelty free. I have a particular passion for the designer collaborations: my whole office is still making fun of me for being crazy enough to get up at 4 am for my Lanvin t-shirt last November. 

This year, though, Versace has left me with some doubts. 

First of all, the prints: where the heck are you going to wear this ?  If you're not a rave show maniac (I unfortunately am not), then I'm out of ideas.

Then there's the detail that part of Donatella's  eye-catching collection isn't vegan-friendly: so much of it is silk and, as you can read here, silk is a pretty cruel business. Many vegetarians hesitate on giving up silk because "they're just worms", and my answer to them is hey, that could have been you in a past life! All jokes aside, boiling any living being alive is definitely something that I don't approve of, so I'm not a fan of silk.

...cruelty-free silk farms do exist, though, (more info on that in an upcoming post), and we have no way of knowing (at least I don't) where exactly Versace or H&M's silk comes from.

What are your thoughts on Versace for H&M?


The Show Must Go On: Queen & Adam Lambert

When I first got to know my musician boyfriend, one of the first things he asked me was "do you like Queen?" My answer was, "obviously everyone likes Queen, duh," but in hindsight, knowing now what Queen mean to him, what I should have said was, "OH MY GOD I LOVE THEM!!!".

Queen is by far David's greatest musical inspiration and without a doubt his favorite band. When I asked him who would be in his dream band, he basically named all of Queen. Through his expert knowledge and palpable passion for this band, I've gotten to know more of their masterpieces (I don't call them "songs" - they're masterpieces) and some of them, like Spread Your Wings and Miracle, have become my favorites because they're incredibly meaningful and endlessly beautiful. 

...and of course there will never, ever be a singer like Freddie again. Ever.

But even if Freddie's immortal voice can't possibly be reproduced, it doesn't mean that Queen's music can't live on - the show must go on, including live performances! 
When tuning into the last minutes of the MTV EMAs yesterday (I spent the evening drinking questionable substances at one of David's friends' house, so I didn't catch the whole show. Will have to make up for it this week!), I had no idea what would happen - would Lady Gaga sing? Would they put on old Freddie records? If someone told me that Adam Lambert would be on stage my reaction would have been "...eh?" I do like Adam, but I couldn't quite picture him as a replacement for Freddie.

Boy, did he prove me wrong.

Adam Lambert completely blew us all out of the water last night, proving his pipes were more than up to the challenging task. He had some enormous shoes to fill, and he did so in the best possible way.

Freddie was amazing because he managed to light up the crowd, to make his audience fly with him. Every word he sang, every note, every inch of his masterpieces captured whoever was lucky enough to be listening and became immortal at once. 

Adam is a singer from a talent show. A guy who wears eye makeup. A huge voice. A pretty big personality, too. But I can honestly say I never expected this from him.

...and let's all just take some time to notice how incredible Brian May is.  The man is over 60 years old, guys. And he's also an animal rights activist!

Goes to show that no, real music is not dead. Sure, these songs are all about twenty years old. But still, when talents like Adam meet legends like Brian and Queen, great things are made. A part of me believes Freddie was watching the show from up there and smiling.



Things I Love TV: 2 Broke Girls

Hello, my name is Sascha and I am a tv-series-aholic. 
I have been since I was 10, when I fell head-over-heels in love with Zack from Saved by the Bell. Ah, Zack.

But back to 2011.
I've discovered some awesome new TV treats lately, and one of my newfound faves is 2 Broke Girls, a comedy created by Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King and comedian Whitney Cummings that deals with the unlikely friendship between hard-working, rough-talking waitress Max and ex-rich girl Caroline, who's forced to take a job as a waitress at the same Williamsburg diner as Max after her billionaire father loses everything in a scandal causing her to lose all her cash and all her friends. Forced to move into Max's (unrealistically huge) apartment, Caroline sets out to prove she's not a cookie-cutter spoiled rich girl: she's got big plans for herself and Max to start a cupcake business (Max happens to be a cupcake master) and hit the big time.

I wasn't expecting big things from this show, but after reading about it on Hello Giggles (you all do visit Hello Giggles at least once a day, don't you? If not, get on with it!), I decided to check it out and it was a very positive suprise. This show is funny and ironic, and the barely-20 minutes the episodes last are nowhere near enough.  See for yourselves:


The Kind Life: Why Alicia Silverstone is My Hero

There are some celebrities that I just admire from the bottom of my heart for their ability to use their power to do great, inspiring, amazing things as opposed to just going shopping all day and falling out of clubs with their boob jobs hanging out for all the world and tabloids to see (not mentioning any names...).  It's all about giving something to the world and not just to yourself.

Alicia Silverstone is such a celebrity and I've always loved her. 

This is the woman who gave us this:

...and this:

...and how can we forget this:

...now, I may be behind on this, but I've recently discovered Alicia's new web site The Kind Life, where she promotes a healthier living that's gentle both to you and to nature. Born from her book The Kind Diet, this website is all about finding a lifestyle that lets you "live your happiest and healthiest life to the fullest, all while taking care of mama Earth at the same time", which is an idea that I just adore. Alicia talks candidly about her issues with fur and wool, being a sugar addict  and eco new year's resolutions, just to name a few. Her style of writing is very direct and friendly and she's instantly likeable, just like you'd imagine. 

This site also features a little social network where you can sign up and be part of the Kind Life world, comment on posts and post links. I think this is an amazing idea, because this way you can get so many tips and advice, and you can share your knowledge with people and meet new friends.

Alicia's passion for her liftestyle is contageous. You can't help but want to be part of it, and it's truly inspiring to see a celebrity dedicate herself to a cause so fully. This girl really knows what she's talking about, and she wants you to listen.

Or maybe it's just me, and I happen to like "groovy" things.


Don't Buy This Magazine!

I have never bought Italian Amica magazine. I've never been a fan of their writing or styling. But recently, I got another reason to never, ever buy this magazine and to kindly ask all of you to boycott it as well.

On the cover of Amica magazine, we see the Russian model Irina Shayk wearing a fur coat and holding a baby tiger. The headline says: "I love animals: do I have to give up fur?"

...the obvious answer to that question would be big, fat YES. At least if we're talking real fur, one of the world's most cruel and eco-unfriendly businesses, where thousands of animals face a slow and painful death by electrocuting or being skinned alive. I don't need to illustrate all the horrors of the fur industry to you; in 2011, we all know what's going on. Except, apparently, Irina Shayk. And Amica magazine.

In the interview, which I read online, Irina talks about "hypocrites" that wear leather shoes and eat meat while boycotting fur. Personally, I have no clue who she's talking about: most vegetarians I know, including myself, wear faux-leather shoes. And even if that weren't the case, forgive me for defending meat for a minute (I haven't eaten it since I was 11), but the meat and leather industries are nowhere near as bad as fur, and Irina's ignorance makes her an utterly unfit interview subject (i'm not fond of her as a model either, but making her talk is just a big mistake).

In my opinion, this cover is a prime example of bad taste, not to mention disrespectful towards those of us that actually try to fight for a good cause. I'm very happy, though, that so many Italian women were outraged by this cover. Shows that there are many of us, and we're not giving up our fight. The world is ready for the cruelty-free revolution!

For those of you who can read Italian, here's a copy of the e-mail that I wrote to Cristina Lucchini, editor of Amica:


Cara Amica.

Non sei mai stata un'amica, ma ora sei diventata una nemica.

Non ho mai comprato la vostra rivista e di sicuro non intendo mai farlo.
Però avrei una proposta per voi, se mi posso permettere: trovatevi un po' di tatto, di classe e di gusto.

La vostra copertina con Irina Shayk è (non solo) nella mia opinione:
- di cattivo gusto
- dispettosa verso gli animali
- dispettosa verso chi, come me, combatte contro l'orrore dell'industria delle pellicce ogni giorno

...e se me lo posso permettere, l'unica cosa bella su quella copertina è il tigrotto.

Sono una web editor nel campo della moda e lavoro con alcuni dei brand più grandi del mondo. Sono anche giornalista freelance e ho collaborato con tre testate nazionali in Svezia, una tra cui Cosmopolitan Svezia,
la cui casa editrice ha vietato l'utilizzo di pellicce vere in tutte le proprie testate.

Non so se siete a conoscenza delle procedure con cui vengono prodotte le pellicce vere. Se non lo sapete, vi posso informare che per produrre un capo in pelliccia, gli animali vengono uccisi con elettroshock e/o
scuoiati vivi. Vi sembra una cosa che chi "ama gli animali" sosterrebbe? Mi sembra chiaro che questa copertina era nata per provocare: forse stanno scendendo le vendite? Capisco che la concorrenza con altre riviste è dura, però potreste almeno provare a non servirvi di esseri innocenti per attirare attenzione.

Nel 2011 ci sono moltissime alternative: designer come Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani e Miuccia Prada hanno tutti usato pellicce ecologiche nelle loro collezioni. Chi ama il look "peloso" può trovare tante alternative
cruelty-free (immagino che non sapete cosa significa, quindi ecco la traduzione: senza crudeltà). Stilisti che sono proprio all'avanguardia, come Stella McCartney e Rebecca Mink rinunciano alla pelle e alla pelliccia al 100%.
Io non mi riconosco nell'ipocrisia di cui parla la modella: non mangio carne e indosso solo scarpe/borse/accessori in ecopelle, come la maggior parte dei vegetariani. Non si tratta di essere "animalisti", ma di essere un essere umano consapevole. Uno che vive nel 2011, cosa che evidentemente Irina Shayk non fa. E mi sembra neanche voi.

La vostra (piuttosto penosa, a mio avviso) "difesa" a questo link http://blog.leiweb.it/cristina-lucchini/2011/10/25/a-tutti-gli-animalisti/ non chiarisce niente e vi rende negli occhi dei potenziali lettrici ancora più ridicole.
"Non tolleriamo la violenza"? Ma care Amiche, siamo noi "animaliste" che non la tolleriamo, ecco perchè abbiamo reagito così! Se non lo capite, fatevi qualche domanda.
"Vogliamo aprire un dibattito"? Ma...non ci deve essere un dibattito. Ci deve essere solo una chiara presa di posizione, contro la violenza e contro la crudeltà. E perchè mai qualcuno che compra la pelliccia vera "al mercatino" dovrebbe sentirsi meno un assassino di qualcuno che ne compra una da Fendi? Si tratta comunque di un animale ucciso in modi atroci. Questa è proprio ignoranza, cara Amica.

Non avete perso in me una lettrice, in quanto non vi ho mai lette. Però diffonderò attivamente il messaggio di non comprare la vostra rivista, iniziando dal mio blog www.coffee-and-heels.com

Insomma, pensateci. E vi consiglio vivamente di scusarvi con le poche lettrici che vi sono rimaste.

Mi scuso per eventuali errori grammatici, sono dovuti al fatto che sono straniera. Sì, sono russa.

Cordiali saluti,

...and for all of you that don't, it basically says what this post says: we are not okay with this and we will NOT buy your magazine until you take a stand against fur.