Friday, October 09, 2009

The Hookup

Have you had the chance to get your hands on one of these purse hooks yet? I've been seeing these clever trinkets all around at craft stores and streetside fairs lately, but I never really stopped to learn more about them, or I would've probably already bought one before the people at sent me over a product sample to try out.

The idea is fairly ingenious. The hook is a simple clasp that can be pried open and twisted so that it forms an S-hook, which can secure your purse to a chair or tabletop. I've seen mostly the metallic variety--but I've also seen plastic, colorful and bejeweled types as well. The Hookup comes in either Platinum or 22-carat Gold. Rather than a circle (which is the shape I've mostly seen prior) it comes in the shape of a heart. It's a little bit nicer to look at, and I also imagine it holds up longer than its competitors due to the quality nature of the materials. It comes in a little pouch inside of a pretty jewelry box, and I think the presentation means that it would make for a great gift for someone, on top of just being a neat trinket to pick up for yourself. Although The Hookup can dangle off the strap of your purse and act as decoration, you can also store it in a pocket of your purse inside of the pouch, so it stays shiny and free of nicks. Between the packaging, the cute name, the quality materials and the heart shape, I really have to hand it to the marketers behind this product for making a variety of this tool that stands out above the rest.

I've been hawking this to all of my friends like some kind of infomercial; and watch out for me in a bar, because even if you are a perfect stranger I might feel inclined to show you how The Hookup works and talk about how cool it is, after a few beers. A bar setting is really, I'll admit, the first thing that popped into my head when I got my hands on this. I can never find the right place to set my purse, and after a few drinks it's harder to keep your eye on all of your belongings. I've had two friends get robbed in the city while keeping their purses on the table-top next to them, or on the floor by their feet, because there wasn't a decent place to stash their purses at a bar. I like that whether you're sitting in a booth, standing at a high-top bar table or leaning against the bar counter, your purse will be right there in plain sight. I was worried about the clasp slipping or not being able to bear the weight of my famously massive purses, but The Hookup is engineered quite well to be slip-resistant and hold up to 30lbs. of dead weight.

As you can tell, I highly recommend this product. I can guarantee that it's going to come in handy more than you'd expect, and you'll start wondering how you managed without it. Every time I head out for a night on the town without it, I want to kick myself--now that's the hallmark of a really useful product.

Sponsorship Transparency and the FTC

Hello Fellow Fashion-Lovers!

I wanted to write a quick letter with regard to the Federal Trade Commission's new regulations on blog advertising and sponsorship. I've been meaning to address the topic for awhile now, and with this recent bulletin, now is as good a time as any.

The official word is that the FTC will start cracking down on bloggers who are posting opinions and product reviews that are bought. This is part of a bigger effort to provide readers worldwide with honest, expert information. The FTC is worried that people posing as 'experts' in their field are actually paying lip service to companies who want their products and services to look and sound good. Bloggers must clearly indicate when an opinion or review has been paid for or in some other way sponsored via "material connection." This will go into effect December 1st, 2009. Some people find these new guidelines laughable, because it's true, there's no real way the FTC can crack down on bloggers who they suspect aren't obeying the rules. But I believe it is good to have prescriptive behavioral guidelines in place that would allow the commission to penalize those who break these laws, when caught.

I just want to let you know, straight-up, that Style Bard and Style Bard Shoes never have and never will sell you anything but an honest, editorial opinion. It has always been my personal policy not to let money or goodies dictate a product review. I will always let you know when I have received products by mail to review, or been compensated in some way for advertising. Most--but not all--of the banners in the sidebar, you can imagine, are in some way compensated. However, everything in the content of the blogs is my unendorsed opinion. If an article is paid, you will see the word "sponsored" either in the title, or within the first sentence of the blog post. If companies send me samples to review, I will indicate whether or not I am keeping the items--but please know that I would never let some shiny trinket in my possession affect my review. I do not and never will sell my opinion. I only allow companies to send samples for review so that I can then in turn provide my readers with firsthand information about the product. The first suggestion I make to potential advertisers is donating a prize to my readers; y'all should know that I do not make a penny on contests run on my blogs. If vendors want to give you guys free stuff? I am more than happy to facilitate that endeavor by negotiating a fair contract and advertising the contests. I get nada out of contests, and it's the first recommendation I make to fashion outlets who want to advertise to you. Furthermore, I do not accept advertising for products that are unrelated to your interests (such as cookware, or gadgets). And before I accept actual cash money to write about an item, on top of letting the prospective client know that I will be telling you it's sponsored in very forthright wording, I am very careful to negotiate what kind of verbiage can and cannot be used. I will not make it seem like I have seen or tried anything if I actually haven't. I will not make it sound like I personally endorse anything that I don't like. I will never say that ugly shoes are cute.

Oh yes--and I should also reassure SB and SBS readers that any and all marginal profit I make from these two websites? Is used to maintain these two websites. No; the Style Bard is not running out to the mall with her hard-earned advertising dollars (besides which, rest assured, we'd be talking about a jaunt to Forever 21 and not a spending spree at Saks). gets a significant chunk of advertising dollars; I'm next going to invest in a much more polished (and paid) newsletter account so that I can actually regularly update readers about what's going on, instead of sending sporadic emails. Let me say it loud and clear: I'm not here to make a profit. This website was always started because I wanted to write about fashion, and share my opinions with others. And though I've now branched from this blog to Style Bard Shoes and OMNY, all of my writing continues in the same spirit. Cause you gotta trust me--if I were in blogging for the money I'd have quit a long, long, long time ago.

Well, I think that says what I set out to say. I just wanted to let y'all know that you can always trust the content on Style Bard and Style Bard Shoes--and that's because I'm not some money-hungry commercialized bigwig blogger. I do it 'cause I love it, and I'm honest because I care. Not just because the FTC is telling me to.


[PS: Speaking of which, check back later today for a product review on!]

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Lil Sis just bought this cute dress at Express for only $14! I am so very proud of her.

(Sorry for the poor photo quality--it's straight from the dressing room! I'll update with a pic of her in it later, if she lets me.)

[ETA: The dress, on! Much better effect, I think.]

[ETA #2: More new clothes! Lil Sis also scored this shirt for $12.78!]

Friday, October 02, 2009

~Love. Want. Need.~ TOMS T-Shirt

I'm totally behind the agenda of TOMS Shoes--"using the purchasing power of individuals to help those in need." For every pair of shoes purchased, one pair of shoes is donated to a child in need. I'm very supportive of this generous and helpful arrangement. The problem is, I really don't like TOMS Shoes. I see them all the time, easily identifiable on the street despite their myriad of color and pattern options. There are definitely a few styles I would wear if I owned them, but I wouldn't buy them for myself. I'm not the biggest fan of casual shoes, or anything very sneaker-like. However, I was recently looking through the website and came across this great t-shirt. Simple though it may be, the shirt offers many appealing traits. I wouldn't mind promoting this brand. It looks very comfy. And it's female-cut, which means it's going to have a slightly longer torso (probably) which I need, and not be as box-shaped as a men's t-shirt. Plus, it's only $28, and a child in an impoverished country still gets a free pair of shoes thanks to my order! This is definitely on the holiday wishlit, and I strongly encourage anyone who's thinking along the same lines to go ahead and consider some products from TOMS as they shop for others this holiday season.

Visit TOMS Shoes to check out the full selection of shoes and products.