Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Angela Moore Jewelry for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Last year I told you about 5 Ways to Raise Ovarian Cancer Awareness through Jewelry, and one of those ways was by purchasing a bracelet from the Ovarian Cancer Awareness collection of Angela Moore, who by the way you can now find on Facebook.

Well this year I’m letting you know that Angela Moore has *many* more Ovarian Cancer awareness pieces–and 15% of proceeds from their purchase go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund ALL YEAR LONG.

So while it’s great that you show your support for ovarian cancer awareness this month, you can also bookmark the site and head back for holiday and birthday gifts as well.

Here are some of this year’s selections with prices below their images:

Ovarian Cancer Awareness watch by Angela Moore


Ovarian Cancer Awareness earrings by Angela Moore


Ovarian Cancer Awareness hairtie by Angela Moore


Ovarian Cancer Awareness pendant by Angela Moore


All Angela Moore creations are hand-painted and one of a kind, so in addition to supporting a great cause, you’re also getting a gorgeous, original piece of jewelry that you’re sure to receive many compliments on–which, of course, offers you a great opportunity to spread the message about ovarian cancer (feel free to memorize the facts from the OCRF in the O Foods Contest announcement)!

I’m loving that pendant. Which is your favorite?

And, ahem, have you made your O Foods recipe yet or posted the announcement?

Cool Beans! Customized Party Favors and Gifts through PartyBeans

PartyBeans.comAll aboard for PartyBeans!*

What are PartyBeans you ask?

They are personalized, custom party favors and gifts through the Jelly Belly Candy Company; besides jelly beans, you are also welcome to fill your gifts with M & Ms or mints.

And yes, you can order as many or as few PartyBeans containers as you like–even just one!

You can choose from pre-designed, themed graphics or include your own photo on the container free of charge.

I found out about through an e-mail from Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and ordered containers of pink and blue M&Ms for my niece and nephew for Easter–with this photo of our sweet Pasqualina on the lid:

Just chewing on Flickr

They arrived within a week and were a big hit, and this is why I’m recommending PartyBeans to you.

To be clear, I’m not receiving anything in return for spreading the word about PartyBeans; I just wanted to pass along a unique, fun gift idea…great for any occasion!

PartyBean on!

Have you ever ordered PartyBeans?

Can you recommend other personalized gift companies?

*Note in the comments that Jacques has informed us that PartyBeans only ships within the United States.

New Zealand Nature Company: In Praise of Excellent Customer Service

New Zealand Nature CompanyWe all like to spread the word when a company does us wrong, as well we should so we can warn others, but today, I’m sharing some good news about New Zealand Nature Company because they done good–real good–and they deserve huge props, especially one customer service representative named Bettina.

Back at the end of October, I decided to treat myself to a warm, snuggly pair of boots for the winter since I generally have to wear two to three pair of socks *while inside the house* from November to March or so. These old houses in southern Italy get *cooooold*!

Supertread sheepskin boots from NZ Nature Co.The previous winter, when I was lamenting that I had freezing feetsies, a friend from New Zealand recommended the New Zealand Nature Company, and since I was still in love with these Supertread Sheepskin Boots a year later, I went for it.

I normally don’t spend even half this much on shoes, but I knew these would last for years, they were something I sorely needed, and they would also serve as my birthday and Christmas presents to myself.

The order went smoothly, other than my indecision regarding what color to get (I settled on chocolate), and I loved that I could even pay via PayPal as I don’t use credit cards.

But their delivery estimate of 10-14 days to Italy came and went. I was patient since I’ve been around the Poste Italiane block, but when the end of November came and went with no boots, I got in touch with the company.

Bettina was also convinced that the boots weren’t coming, so she immediately claimed insurance on the first pair and send off a new pair as soon as the ones I had chosen were back in stock.

How awesome is that?

Supertread sheepskin boots from NZ Nature Co on FlickrA few weeks later, I got my new boots in the mail, and I swear to you, I’ve only taken them off to sleep ever since. They are *so* warm and comfy, and I don’t know how I survived a Calabrian winter without them.

New Zealand Nature Company, established in 1996, sells boots, clothes, beauty and personal care items, bedware, jewelry, stationery, and more, so if you want great products at great prices with *excellent* customer service, do give New Zealand Nature Company a try.

I’m not getting anything in return for this glowing recommendation–just the satisfaction of passing along the word about a fabulous company.

AND they are running a sale now until January 31–

20% off Supertread Sheepskin Boots


40% off Selected Silk and Other Clearance Items!

Prices include airmail insured shipping (choose your currency), and if you’re getting boots, do pay special attention to their charts as they use NZ sizes.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am kind of considering getting another pair of boots now that they’re on sale, but I will be sure to warn Bettina first.

Please share your positive online shopping experiences
in the comments or on your own blog!

CONTEST: get your exclusive bella bags by marcía here!

The other night I was strolling around the Internets at my dear, sweet, beloved P‘s request, looking for what I’ll call a man bag. They’re quite popular here in Europe and great for the summer as pocket space is rather limited.

I picked up a nice canvas one for him at the market last week, but he’s already looking toward winter and the rainy season, so I’m on a mission to find a nice leather pouch–a cross between a fanny pack and a small purse–kind of looks like a camera bag.

Anyway, I typed in “borsetta di pelle,” which means small leather purse, and I stumbled across one of most wonderful sites I’ve seen in a long, long time: Bella Bags by Marcía.

These are some of the cutest, most original, most fun [insert more positive, superlative adjectives here] bags I’ve seen, and I immediately thought of all of my wonderful readers who might also enjoy a Bella Bag or two or three, etc.

So I contacted the bella Marcía, and starting now until 19 August, you can get your very own Bella Bag at 15% off just by entering the coupon code “bleedingespresso” at checkout!

bella bags by marcia e-party invite

These bags and other accessories make fabulous gifts–birthdays, baby showers, holidays, thanks for being my friend days, or, you know, just for yourself when you want to carry around a bag that no one you know will have.

And we *do* love to be unique, don’t we?

Also, for those of you who are green-minded (go you!), Marcía has ultra-cool organic shopping bags made of 100% organically grown cotton that are only $14.00 a piece:

bella bags organic shopper

Here are some more of my personal favorites:

Beach Bag (now on sale!)

bella bags beach bag

Hand Bag (now on sale!)

bella bags hand bag

La Borsetta

bella bags la borsetta

Book Bag

bella bags book bag

Gym Bag

bella bags gym bag

There are lots of different, unique choices from fabric to shape–yoga mat baggift certificate so that special gal can choose her own bag. anyone?–and you can even give a

If you don’t see the exact one you want but have a great idea, Marcía will work with you on a customized bag as well.

Also, throughout the contest, do check back on the site for new additions!

Once I saw the Bella Bags site, I was planning on featuring Marcía’s bags on here anyway, but then I saw that I could earn a free Bella Bag by hosting an online party. I assure you, though, this is not my reason. And a contest was born.


Through this sale, if I happen to earn enough Bella Bag points for a freebie, I will randomly pick a name from those who comment on THIS POST up until (and including) 11:59 p.m. (that’s 23.59 to some of you) (CEST) on 19 August; the name selected will get a free Bella Bag (I’ll pay for shipping).

Each name will only be entered once in the random drawing, and you can live anywhere in the world to enter.

But there’s more! Even if I *don’t* earn enough points, I’ll go ahead and spring for a bag myself and then pick a winner (same guidelines as above on eligibility and selection).

To be clear, that’s ONE winner, either sponsored by your purchases or by mine. Bag is always my choice, though, so for your sake, I do hope we have similar tastes.

Sound good? Any questions, please leave them in the comments or email me.

As I wrote to Marcía, supporting creative entrepreneurs is important to me because I truly admire anyone with the talent and drive to forge ahead doing what they love.

On that note, if any of you creative entrepreneurs out there would like to be featured here (I’m looking at you Jane!), shoot me an email and we can work something out.

And to my fellow bloggers, why not host an e-party of your own to support the wonderful creative souls that surround us?

Now you should:

(1) Leave a comment here for your chance to win a Bella Bag;

(2) Tell your friends, family, and fellow online addicts to come over here and comment as well (and, you know, have a look around if they so desire); and

(3) Go over to Bella Bags by Marcía and buy a Bella Bag of your own. Be sure to use the coupon code “bleedingespresso” at checkout for the 15% discount, and this way you’ll be *sure* to have the coolest bag to close out the summer…or already have a head start on your holiday gift list.

Happy shopping and in bocca al lupo!


[tags]bella bags, bella bags by marcia, contests[/tags]

sisterhood of the impossible-to-find pants

I find clothes shopping in Italy rough, and I know I’m not the only one.

It’s not just the sales clerks that either (a) won’t leave you alone to browse or (b) won’t wait on you even when you ask.

It’s more about finding the right clothes in the right style with the right fit at the right price.

Aw, I’m just going to say it: there isn’t a pair of pants in Italy that I like, that will fit me, and that will not cost more than a plot of farmable Calabrian land.

No, I haven’t scoured every store from the Alps to the Aspromonte, but I’ve been here almost four years, and I’ve never (that’s mai) bought a pair of pants here. I’ve been able to get along with my basic, if somewhat outdated, wardrobe up until now, but another complication has been added to the mix.

Over this time, I’ve lost somewhere around 35 pounds (16 kilos) in total. It’s been gradual because I haven’t actually been dieting, per se. Eating better? Absolutely. Moving more? For sure. And so as my lifestyle has changed, so has my pants size, and as I realized last week, the old ones just aren’t even passable anymore.

Isn’t this supposed to be the fun part of losing weight–when you get to go out and buy new clothes in a size you never thought you’d see?

Yeah well, it hasn’t been enjoyable for a variety of reasons, one being that I have no idea what size I actually am. Even in American sizes, I’m not sure, but at least I know what I’m not based on my current clothes.

Sure there are handy little online conversion charts to help, but you know what? Even when I try on pants of the European sizes I (allegedly) used to be (35 pounds/16 kilos ago), they don’t fit!


I’ve concluded that it’s a problem of body type and shape rather than of size; for instance, if I find a pair of pants that fit my thighs and bum, the waist is enormous. Anything that would fit my waist requires squeezing my legs into them until my torso is held up by two salsiccie (sausages).

Not a good look on anyone, I don’t think.

Then there’s a little thing called “length” and Italians only believe in one, so it’s off to the tailor’s to spend more euros if you aren’t whatever that height is!

And don’t even get me started on the low-rise fad that won’t die.

On that subject, let’s talk a little more about la moda. Even if I could find a pair of pants that fit, finding them in a style I like would be quite difficult. Plain old jeans (oh, I don’t know, like from the Gap) are hard to find. Many have sequins or other stitching to liven them up.

Apparently I prefer my jeans rather deadened.

I’ve never been a big fan of bedazzled anything, but now, pushing 31, well, I find such jeans even less appropriate (although many of my Italian colleagues older than me don’t see a problem).

I haven’t mentioned the cost yet, but believe me, clothes are not cheap here (except for the staples like socks and underwear which you can get at the weekly market). I’m simply not willing to spend a small fortune on a pair of slutty-looking jeans (yeah, I said it) that make it difficult to breathe and sit at the same time, all while showing the crack o’ my bum to the world.

And so I’m stuck in pants limbo.

Ordering online is an option, but for how long it would take something to get here (if it arrives at all) coupled with how expensive it is to ship and, oh, have I mentioned that I have no idea what size I am? Probably not worth the hassle.

I think I just may have to spring for a cheap Ryan Air flight to London where it is rumoured (get it?) that women built like me exist.

Either that, or, fellow expat women, sisters if you will, it’s time to start an importing business.

Che ne pensate?
(What do you think?)


[tags]shopping in italy, pants, trousers, jeans[/tags]

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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