The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride and Prejudice Meets the Present

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This is the line that begins the timeless Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Most literary critics would think of this line as a reflection (or a satire) upon relational values of Jane Austen’s time and place in history, but to the average reader, it sets the premise of the love story it is today known to be. However you read Jane Austen, this year celebrates two hundred years of existence for Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps it’s a truth universally acknowledged now that a lot has changed in society since Austen wrote it. Being so far removed from Austen’s time in this day and age certainly puts a damper on fully understanding this beloved classic, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brings it all to the twenty-first century.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries portrays the Austen classic in a very contemporary way, and still remains true to the tale. It is a one hundred episode blog series on Youtube that is hosted by the headstrong, independent Lizzie Bennet. In each short episode she unfolds a dramatic scene from Pride and Prejudice with her intelligent best friend, Charlotte Wu; her perfect sister, Jane; their wild-child sister, Lydia; their restless, southern-bell mother and aloof father; the rich and sweet Dr. Bing Li, and many other characters from the novel. Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen, or you’re trying to understand what’s going on in Pride and Prejudice, it is fun, enjoyable, and easy for anyone to follow. The modern aspect is a big help in understanding the plot and dated references.

Though rich, single men may not always be seeking marriage these days; nor might unusual women be anxious to snatch them up, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries bridges the two century time span to enlighten and entertain students and lovers of classic literature. All the modern aspects of the series, like the web-blogging medium, the colorful characters, and the pop culture craving for drama, are tuned to reflect the classic novel, which makes great entertainment for the literary enthusiast, a wonderful supplement or resource for studying Pride and Prejudice. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries introduces the classic to modern times.

Winky Designs Iconic Edition

Winky Designs is a fun and quirky new company that has been delighting people with its slap watches and other cool designer products for a good while now. Their latest addition to the Winky family of products is a line of slap watches that feature icon images rather than numbers like you would find on any other boring old clock. They literally have a nag for taking the ordinary and turning it into something fantastic and functional! The new line features three new and “iconic” designs. These designs are the camera, travel, and computer icons. We got our hands on one of the Iconic Camera watches, and the first thing we have to comment on is their superb packaging. The packaging has vibrant orange and white colors and boasts a neat side label that looks like a nutrition facts label that has useful information about the watch printed on it.

The watch itself is clever beyond words. The iconic images printed on the inside compartment of the watch are crisp and clear. The material that the watch is made of is a very soft and comfortable silicon material that is a pure black color. There is also a classy silver ring around the centerpiece of the watch that draws one’s eye to the watch. You are sure to get noticed when you wear a Winky Designs product, and that’s a good thing because this has to be without a doubt one of the coolest watches to ever be made. This watch along with the other two designs in the Iconic Edition collection are most certainly going to be the next big thing in accessory fashion. Be sure to head on over to their Facebook page and like it or follow them on their Twitter for the latest info on their amazing products!

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Toast Pop Guy’s Favorites: Modern Black

Modern is a great look for anyone, and of course we all have our favorite things. It just so happens that I love modern things quite a bit. I like minimal and simplistic looks as well as items that contribute to the overall style of the modern look.

(1.) Sony Piiq Earbuds – Sony has developed a new line of earbuds by the name of Piiq that not only look great, have great sound, and offer neat functions not accompanied by most other earbuds, but they also have a wide variety of choices at a very affordable price. ($13 directly from Sony)

(2.) Blackberry Bold 9650 – I’m not necessarily suggesting that you go to your cell phone provider and switch your phone over for a Blackberry, you still have to have a phone that works for you and what you like (ex. keyboard, touch screen, camera, etc.), but do keep in mind that a good looking phone is half the battle most of the time. ($550 w/o contract)

(3.) Capsule Case Wallet – Capsule Case has been making a great alternative to the traditional wallet for quite some time now! Though I have trouble fitting cash in mine sometimes, it is perfect for credit and business cards. Keep looking classy and modern while saving the functions you need in a wallet. They offer many different colors in their line of modern wallets, but I like to keep it simple and so I went with a traditional black color. This wallet not only looks fantastic, but feels sleek and appropriately sized in your hands and pocket. ($15 varies by store)

(4.) Moleskine Sketchbook – If you’re like me, you love to sketch, but you hate carrying around a huge sketchbook with pages that smudge your wonderful works of art. Well, that’s where this little guy comes in handy. Moleskine makes my favorite line of books on the market, their paper is top of the line and does not smudge your work, especially when you use a sharpie pen (I love those!). They offer notebooks, planners, and many other types of books, as well as sizes, but you can’t go wrong with the medium sized Moleskine Sketchbook. ($15 varies by store) 

 

9 Space

Home decor is something that is hard to determine feelings about since it is always an ever-changing market full of new products, but one company, 9 Space, seriously knows what they are doing. With a team of very talented designers there is not any surprise that they offer a vast catalogue of specialty home decor items. The items that they offer are not only full of design elements, but they also are very useful household items! Everything from textiles to bath robes is offered by 9 Space!

Their style appears to be very modern and minimal and they seem to derive design principles and aspects of their products from elements of nature or manmade likeness. For example you can see in their catalogue that they have taken specific images to compliment their products. Their catalogue is very professional and beautifully designed! It’s pretty easy to see whey 9 Space should be your next choice in decorating and filling your home with good looking and useful items! Check out their online catalogue!

Furniture With Soul

A common problem with interior and exterior design anymore is the commercialization of it all. C.G. Sparks is one place to shop if you want to avoid all of that. Unique furniture that serves a purpose is what they specialize in. In fact their slogan is, “Furniture With Soul”. Their goal with the furniture choices sold by them is to have sold you a piece that will spark a story or imagination. It’s easy to take a look at the many different products and imagine an amazing history for each and every one of them.

For some, it’s hard to break away from the retail experience of visiting your local home decor shop and buying some well known brands, but for others who are more interested in having a long lasting piece of furniture that is as interesting as it is visually pleasing, the choice is easy. C.G. Sparks also has a neat advantage that it’s “big-box store” competitors can’t boast about, they donate to many causes that share their common goals ad visions.

They have assembled what they consider to be the finest crew possible, so you know that the pieces that the find to sell you are going to be high quality and long lasting. It’s great to be able to make a purchase that looks great and that you know will last a long time. It simply comes down to the principle of selling timeless furniture that can stand the test of time.

UZO Umbrellas

One doesn’t generally take into consideration what kind of umbrella they are using in todays market. There is such a problem with mass production of cheap quality products, that the most functional are left unnoticed. UZO Umbrellas is making a large impact in changing that. The way you see umbrellas will never be the same. Think about it, an umbrella is quite possibly one of the most useful accessories to have when leaving the house on a dreary day, but it can be a frustrating one if you are using a cheaply made one.

Taking the umbrella a step further, UZO Umbrellas is turning this useful accessory into a fashion statement with their brillant line of colors to choose from. One major feature that makes a UZO Umbrella better than most all others is it’s ability to protect the user from rain completely by leaving no part of the area above your head exposed. It was brilliantly thought of and conceived by Ronald Obmaces, a fantastic designer and engineer.

What other umbrella company with those features can boast about owning 24 patents worldwide? None come to mind. It’s quite easy to see why the UZO Umbrella would be a magnificent choice to keep you dry and looking better than anyone else holding an umbrella on a rainy day.

Signature DNA Unleashed

How much do you love your pet? Do you love them enough to buy their DNA? Don’t go calling me crazy just yet, one company on the market is literally giving you the opportunity to own your pet’s DNA as a piece of art. Signature DNA Unleashed is a company that specializes in taking your animals spit and turning it into a memorable piece of art that you can keep forever. They take the pattern for your four legged friend’s DNA and place it over a picture of your pet in a way that makes it a masterpiece each and every time.

Don’t worry about placing your pet’s DNA in the hands of an untrained person because the process is done in a lab made specifically for Signature DNA Unleashed and the whole procedure is made possible by a trained professional in the DNA field. The whole process of making the art takes about 2-3 weeks, and get this, you can even give it as a gift! If you know someone who loves their pet and want to give them the gift that is sure to be a surprise and one that they will cherish forever, then give them the gift of Signature DNA Unleashed!

How does the process work? It’s quite simple really. You buy the DNA Collection Kit from them and it includes the step-by-step instructions that guide you through the entire process of collecting your pet’s DNA. While the kit itself is only about $20, the art can be pretty expensive, for example the $200 Picture Personal product, and their other options go all the way up to $699 for the most expensive art they offer of your furry friends DNA. When you think about it, that’s not really too much to pay for an everlasting memory of mans best friend!

A Whimsical Twist on Practical Houseware

Wolfum creator Annabel Inganni spent nine years in apparel design before her designs took an interesting turn in 2010. Inganni is now creating household items like linen napkins, bookends, and coasters, but her flair for the unique provides a whimsical and stylish twist to these seemingly traditional pieces.

Los Angeles based Wolfum makes simple, everyday products from organic cotton, recycled poly twill, and FSC certified walnut. Quality materials mean lasting items, and lasting items mean less replacement and waste. If that wasn’t enough, bold patterns and colors like sage, olive, and navy adorn each hand-made product.

Wolfum’s collection of unique linens have a timeless appearance, with patterns that could have easily been taken from a trunk of beloved vintage items or used to embellish a modern tabletop. Wolfum’s colorful animal bookends and wall hangers also add a fanciful feel the the collection. Tigers, rabbits, coyotes, and a slew of other creatures in a variety of delightful patterns and colors would be perfect for a child or adult.

Whether it’s a mix-and-match collection or a coordinated set, Wolfum products are Inganni’s answer to a boring room. U.S. made and built to last, Wolfum’s whimsical products can be purchased at California shops like ST&NDARD GOODS and La La Ling, as well as Wolfum’s website.

Solé Bikes

Solé Bicycle Co. was created by two best friends in college who were fixated on making things more simple, and better yet using the small things that were accessible already. They wondered a simple question that they soon found the answer for, why were these simple and elegant bicycles so expensive and not easy to obtain? They wanted to change this and make a bicycle company that offered simple, unique, and affordable bicycles to the entire world. To this date they have sold and shipped bicycles to all every single state in the United States and to over 20 other countries.

When you think of bicycles, the image of a clunky and expensive bike usually comes to mind, Solé Bikes are unique in the fact that they are designed simply and made to accomplish everyday tasks such as getting you where you need to go with some of the highest quality materials available. It goes without saying that Solé Bikes have much more “sole” than most other bicycles in the market today. It seriously comes down to making a product that we all know and love easier to use and better looking, which is something that Solé Bikes accomplish with pride!

It’s not only healthier to ride a bicycle everywhere you go, to work, shopping, school, etc., but it is also much more particle and inexpensive! Think about it, would you rather spend time getting in a car, starting it up, shifting gears and doing all of that complicated stuff just to go down the road for one thing you may be needing, or would you rather grab your stylish bicycle and ride it, not using any gas at all, and get the same results? I think the answer is quite obvious. Solé Bicycles make affordable and good looking bicycles for the masses, it’s a no brainer, if you want a bike with “sole” then Solé is the way to go!

NOOKA Mindstyle

Looking for something different to accessorize with? Nooka has the answer! They have created an entire company based on the idea of being different and looking great while doing so. The products that they sell boast a modern and simplistic look, while also pertaining to the functionality of everyday use. They create fun and creative ways to make everyday task, such as checking the time on a watch, more exciting. Their lines range from watches, to eye-ware, all the way to other types of apparel. Their product lines have grown over time, and new and innovative products are definitely in the future of Nooka.

While some may say their products are a little too ahead of our time, meaning they look too futuristic, Nooka thinks otherwise and is proving that with their continuing success in the world of modernism. Most of their products are a little more expensive than their competitors, but that is simply because the quality and design is superior at Nooka. It may cost a little more to get a Nooka product, but you seriously get the look that you pay for. While I must admit some of their products will more than likely make you stand out everywhere you go, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Nooka makes products specifically for those who want to stand out.

Celebrities are more than willing to wear Nooka products and show off the brand, in fact Miley Cyrus has been seen wearing their sunglasses with everyday clothes, making them the focal point. It’s not hard to see how Nooka is taking this generation by storm, and it’s not too hard to see how they will only continue to succede in a world where being different and looking ahead of your time is not only acceptable, but celebrated. With the mindset of “mindstyle”, Nooka is making a lasting impression.