Must-Have Summer Sandals


Summer Staple: Sandals
Although I've known of Melissa Shoes for quite a while, there has yet to be a pair that I really wanted to own. Sure the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania hearts are adorable and I marvel at the Campana swirly flats, but nothing has made me reach for my pocketbook. I respect their sustainability practices, fair labor choices and that their shoes are vegan, waterproof, recyclable and biodegradable. What's not to like? But now that the buzz around the Jason Wu collaboration is too loud to ignore I took a dutiful look at their website to discover the "We Are Flowers" Summer 14 collection has quite a number of styles I'd happily wear all summer long. After digging a bit more, (not all styles are offered in any one place but your best bet is I culled a few of my favorite flats that could easily see me through the hot summer months.

Melissa Shoes


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I've never met a Melissa shoe I didn't like. I was first introduced to the brand many years ago by way of Cameron Marks, a modern boutique in Santa Cruz, Calif. Back then, I snatched up a pair of these green-friendly, sustainable shoes that come out of Brazil and offer dozens of styles, many of which are co-designed by high end fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu. Combining recyclable plastic, Melflex technology (making them odorless and hypo-allergenic), and an architectural/modern design, there's no reason why a vegan should be wearing unstylish shoes these days. And, good news! You can finally purchase their flats, heels, and more at Melissa's online shop, or if you're in Santa Cruz, you can pick up three of these varieties at Cameron Marks. The top left cream shoe (Optical) sells for $70, the upper right cream and red shoe (Patchuli II) sells for $139.95, and the bottom right brown glitter flat (Campana Papel III) sells for $80. With summer around the corner, I can attest to these being the perfect warm weather shoe and a stylish option to boring flip flops. 
Find Melissa shoes here or at Cameron Marks, 402 Ingalls Street, No. 7 & 15, Santa Cruz, (831) 458-3081. 

Are You Using Protection?


Suit Up


I can see the dazzling Pacific Ocean from my beach bungalow. With the view also comes a parade of sunbathers on their way to spend hours playing in the water and roasting in the sun. Many of them will go home looking like tomatoes, having enjoyed their sun-filled day, but without protecting their skin. Here are some suggestions for how to stay stylish in the sun and use protection while you're at it.

This adorable retro/vintage-looking bikini from ModCloth will give you a natural tummy tuck while still letting you flaunt your curves. I have these black cobweb-style plastic shoes from Melissa which are easy to tuck into a beach bag and are comfy to walk in. (They're a great alternative to lazy-looking flip flops.) A sunhat is essential so pick a charming one like this straw version with a black fabric band from Pale pink sunglasses will increase your glamour factor. And finally, coat your face with Kate Somerville's high-end sunscreen. (Or, if you're on a budget, try any variety from Neutrogena.) 

Here's a tip: Before you even put on your bathing suit, lather up from head to toe in a powerful SPF. If you're the type who prefers a burst of color, Kate Somerville offers excellent self-tanning towelettes that won't leave anyone asking, "Orange you glad you got a tan?" This summer, use protection—and stay fashionable while you're at it.