Friday, December 5, 2008

New Colleen Kelly collection

OK, I know it's been a really long time since I posted anything. What can I say, real life does tend to get in the way. Anyway, I noticed that Colleen Kelly has introduced its new collection for 2009. There are some designs I really like, such as the lamé magikini and the jungle flame microsling, even though my previous experience with this brand wasn't particularly satisfactory.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Taking a break for a while

As I'm sure everyone understands, I, like everyone else, have an offline life too. I wish I could find the time to post more often or post about more topics relevant to my blog. However, I find myself in a situation where I'm too busy to post new material or bother to buy new swimsuits to write reviews about. Don't worry, I'm doing fine; it's just that, for the time being, I have to go on a hiatus. Long or short, we'll see. It'll all depend on my mood.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just got back from Skyros...

Hi everyone. My boyfriend and I just got back from Skyros. Sorry, no pictures from him - he's a dyed-in-the-wool filmwaster and he's vowed that he'll be using film until the last roll of his favorite black & white stuff expires.

Well, we went to Skyros for five days. OK, my hiatus from the blog was much longer than that, but I was really, really busy with work, vacation preparations and everything. There are some things I noticed about Skyros. You take the ship from Kymi (on Evia island - it's about 2 hours' worth of driving from Athens) and in two hours, you're there. The island hasn't been wrecked YET by "development" and tourism, although this summer we had some serious forest fires there. As far as I was able to tell, tourist business owners on Skyros pay great attention to detail and you're not treated to the trashy and tacky feel and look that you get in Chania and, much worse, Platanias. The food was generally good - and I'm notoriously hard to please. The beaches were clean and pleasant to swim in. There are some isolated ones, too. Oh, don't forget to enjoy the view from the castle!

Now, let's talk about the beaches... All of them are nice. There are nudist opportunities, too. I'll elaborate on these later. Now, time for me to continue unpacking! See you all later!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Continuing my ruminations or... MySpace Blues

Picking up where I left off in my previous post, I have to say that I've often felt the weight of the onslaught of messages from a crowd of guys that hoped to be able to date me; some of them were particularly creepy, mind you. I'm pretty sure most girls out there know exactly what I mean: the moment a woman joins a forum or makes her presence known in a forum is the moment that the vast majority of the males in that forum will start hitting on her.

And you know what? Never mind the official stats on illiteracy and literacy; it seems these stats don't apply in the online world. Most of the guys out there simply cannot read or cannot be bothered to read another person's profile. Even if the profile states that the person owning the profile is in a relationship or married or otherwise signifies that the profile's owner is not available romantically or sexually, it just doesn't matter. The guys will still flood your inbox or private message box with hundreds, even thousands of messages trying to score with you. It doesn't matter if you're half a world away from them (for instance, some 5,000 miles away from them) and have no intention at all to even think of booking a plane ticket to go and meet them, it doesn't matter if you're attached to someone or not, it doesn't matter if you're not into online relationships or not, there's an amazingly large crowd out there literally bursting at the seams to approach you no matter what.

Of course, I was always aware of this - I'm not a newbie in internet forums and other online communities, after all. But that's what drives women away and makes them stop participating in discussions. It doesn't make us feel comfortable at all. And, what's worse, it's often extremely frustrating. During the past few days, I attempted to expand my blog's presence to one of the most prolific social networks: MySpace. I created a profile and started reposting a number of my original posts using its blog facility. Guess what? I was quickly inundated with "friend requests" and TONS of messages asking me where I live, whether I'm single or interested in getting a new companion etc... Ugh. None of all those people bothered to read my profile or my blog. Obviously, this is not what I wanted; my aim was to promote my point of view. I didn't want a menagerie of potential suitors. If I wanted this kind of thing, I'd appear topless, wearing only my Alphamoda "Kimolos" strap-only microkini bottom and a pair of 7" high stripper-style platform mules in a night club, although I'm pretty sure no one would have the nerve to approach me in that context, because men have become utter wimps nowadays, standing at attention in the clubs holding a glass of booze in their hand and merely looking at the women; they only flirt with women online, "protected" by the might, "anonymity" and fortification of their keyboard and computer screen - the latter basically hiding their faces and eyes.

So, my MySpace experiment crashed and burned. It went down faster than the Titanic... So, I deleted my MySpace profile and account and said goodbye to that kind of BS, returning to the safety of knowing that, here on Blogger, someone will actually read this blog. Of course, this means that there's no chance in Hell that I'll try promoting my blog on other social networks such as Hi5 or OkCupid or FaceBook. Enough is enough.

Danae

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Men and women in thong- and microkini-related internet communities

I've been watching the thong and microkini scene ever since I started wearing thongs on the beach some ten years ago or so. I've always been surprised and amazed by the fanaticism displayed by many members of the various thong- and microkini-related forums; perhaps unsurprisingly, those fanatical and militant members were all males. For some inexplicable reason, they felt the need (?) and urge (?) to act as "champions" of some sorts for various companies that were already well-established then in this niche (because, let's face it, microkinis are actually a niche market) and "defend" them from the "threat" of new manufacturers.

There were, in particular, a few people who kept going overboard, always ready to jump the gun and claim that practically all entrants in this market after 2000 were "ripping off" Wicked Weasel - as if mr. Gifford, owner of Wicked Weasel, with his stardom (former bassist of rock band Midnight Oil) and his company's existing reputation for quality, needed the assistance of a few internet trolls. Really, those incidents were stupid, downright stupid.

Then, there was another troll who kept spamming the various boards regarding another manufacturer, this time a manufacturer of (almost exclusively) men's micros. This time, the company in question is Dore Gabriel.

I really don't get it; we girls don't start flame wars in forums, don't spam for whatever brand. We never feel the need to embark on a crusade to defend our favorite brand of clothing or our favorite car maker. We just buy and use what we want and that's it. It's the men who feel somehow obliged to preach the gospel of abominations like Volkswagen, Jeep, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel or Mercedes - not the women. It's the men in the forums that (used to) attack anyone who even dares mention a company that competes with Wicked Weasel or Dore or whatever. And they do it with such passion that you'd think they've got shares of the companies they spam, troll and start flame wars for.

Really, why can't men be more mature and laid-back about the whole thing? If you like something, use it, say why you like it and be done with it. If you don't like it, don't spam the forums with posts where you keep saying how much you hate it. Express your opinion, fine. But once is enough; I don't want to see a thousand essays where you basically repeat how much you hate brand X or Y, even if you never had the slightest experience with them. Really, it's time for many men to start thinking with the head they've got on their shoulders, not the one that's hanging between their legs.

And you know what the best part is? When the various thong- and microkini-related forums end up becoming veritable warzones where any kind of at least semi-intelligent discourse has been drowned by the tidal wave of flaming and trolling, the men wonder why women won't bother to post. How idiotic is that? Let's say I liked Dangerous Curves or Alphamoda and wasn't a Wicked Weasel client or fan. What do you think my chances of survival would be in an environment where anyone who wasn't a fan of Wicked Weasel and Dore (and, to a lesser extent, Koala) was a legitimate target for a barrage of expletives by various "high and mighty" forum members and even moderators?

Thankfully, those days are over. The problematic forums have now been closed for a very long time and their worst members have either been banned or marginalized and there are a few good and well-managed communities. But still, the damage has been done and I honestly don't see women easily taking the plunge to participate in the discussions. Not to mention women's aversion to the onslaught of private messages from desperate non-thongers who pose as thongers and try in a pathetically unelegant manner to "score" online with a girl. Yeah, right. Hasn't it ever occured to those bozos that a woman that feels beautiful enough to wear a thong on the beach can have any man she wants and perhaps she already has one in her life? And haven't they ever wondered if women actually have a good bullshit detector and can tell a real thonger from a geek living with his parents and munching Doritos in front of his PC while his display's acreage is split between the forum in which he desperately tries to hit on some "babe" and some random porn website?

And now, to something that will upset Dore fans:

I've long considered buying a few swimsuits from her for my boyfriend. I had read many favorable comments about her products' quality, her willingness to accommodate custom orders and I also liked the fact she has access to numerous print patterns. I even was willing to overlook the trolls whose stupidity had a detrimental effect on the image I had of Dore. But try as I might, I never figured out her numerous websites. Badly-written, terribly disorganized and, for the most part, with photography that does the products no favors. I can't understand why Dore never bothered to take a notepad and a pencil and organize her website and her webpages in a logical, usable fashion that'll actually assist the potential buyer. Instead, what she had been doing for too long was create more and more websites and domain names, while her internet presence is not really serviceable. I don't doubt that her swimsuits are excellent, but I want to see a website that I can easily navigate and order from - even if it's pretty basic.

OK, that's it for now... See you all later.

Danae

Friday, June 27, 2008

New colors from ALS Bikinis

I saw today that US-based manufacturer ALS Bikinis now offers all of its swimsuit designs in a comprehensive range of "limited edition" patterns, in addition to their already existing ones. I really liked the "fire fishnet". I'm pretty sure it would be incredibly hot with their 0331 g-string bikini, which is the one I really prefer from their range.

Danae

Agiokampos, Larissa

This time, I'm taking you away from Crete, as we're going further up north, in the region of Thessaly. Seeing that my boyfriend had some work to do in his homecity, I followed him and we took the opportunity to go swimming in some of the nearby beaches.

OK, not so "nearby", actually; Larissa is in the middle of the Thessalian plain, and the only access it has to the sea is through the beachside localities of Agiokampos, Velika etc. Further to the north, there are some other popular beaches and resorts, such as Neoi Poroi, Platamonas, Agios Panteleimonas and Skotina.

Agiokampos is basically a vast beachside resort, crammed between the sea and the mountain, and extending from the former royal hunting grounds of Polydendri all the way to cape Dermatas of Velika. Being about an hour's worth of driving away from Larissa, it gathers lots of people, although it's nowhere as bad as Neoi Poroi (pronounced Néi Pori) and Platamonas. It couldn't be, actually, since the entire beachside area that encompasses Agiokampos, Velika and Sotiritsa has a length of 14 km (8.75 miles), so there's room for everyone. There are plenty of beach bars, taverns and restaurants there to cater to your wishes and you'll even find quiet corners on the beach, if you don't feel like mingling with the noisy crowds. The beach is practically huge, although it doesn't look like it while you're driving by. It's got a mixture of sand and pebble, so you'll have to decide where you'll lay your beach towel down. The waters are usually clear and clean - thankfully, it's a long way from the muck of the Thermaikos Bay and the water doesn't stay shallow for too long. After walking for about five meters into the water, you're actually swimming instead of walking. Compare that to Agia Marina or Neoi Poroi, where you walk for about 100 meters in knee-deep waters with a soft sandy seabed that becomes murky and filthy-looking as you keep walking and avoiding a huge crowd of people splashing in the now-muddy waters.


Photograph taken from http://www.agiokampos-larissas.gr

Thus, Agiokampos is worthy of being recommended. Clear waters, a huge beach with room for everyone... OK, can you don a thong there? Sure you can. Swim and tan topless? Yep. Go micro? Certainly, as long as it's not one of the "straps-only" designs. Go nude? I don't think so, as the whole area is inhabited.

Danae

Friday, June 13, 2008

Falassarna, Crete

One of the most famous beaches in the region of Chania is Falassarna (you can also find it written as Falasarna). I'm going to say it yet again, of course, that thonging and topless sunbathing/swimming are permitted on practically every beach here in Greece - and, as I've mentioned before, I only know of one beach where toplessness isn't allowed (Loutro, in the south of Crete). Falassarna lies in the westernmost part of the Chania region and going there is rather easy - just take the "highway" to Kastelli (Kissamos) and then continue through the small town all the way to the west. In a village named Platanos, you'll see the signs leading you to the beach.

Falassarna is considered to be one of the nicest beaches on the isle of Crete. It's long, sandy, with crystal clear waters and is practically divided in two beaches: the big beach and the small one, which is located further up north. Unfortunately, tourist development has struck Falassarna as well, with various pensions having been built in places where I'm not sure it's legal to build. The umbrella/beach chair rental plague has afflicted Falassarna as well; now the small beach has very limited space for those who want to be left alone and enjoy the sun and its rocky part, which once was somewhat popular with nudists, has recently become the lair of a few incredibly obnoxious gawkers; this part also cannot be recommended, because of the trash and the tar.

This leaves us with the "big beach". Again, umbrella and beach chair rentals... But, thankfully, there is a generous part still left vacant and you can enjoy your swim there. However, let me inform you that you really should avoid Falassarna on weekends, as it's one of the most popular destinations for one-day excursions and you'll be certainly annoyed by noisy families with screaming kids and yelling moms. Also, before you decide to go there, take a look at the weather forecast: on windy days, you're pretty much guaranteed to get sandblasted.

Falassarna also has some archaeological/historic interest and there are some ruins nearby: around 6th century B.C., Falassarna was founded (named after the mythical nymph-local heroine Falassarna) as the only harbor in west Crete and thrived between the 4th and 3rd century B.C. Around 365 B.C., it seems that geological movements raised the area and the lagoon in which the harbor was built became irrelevant.

Given the sheer size of the area, I'd need a large number of pictures to give you an idea of what Falassarna really is like. A small sample can be seen in this picture from Crete TOURnet:


Danae

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Alphamoda "Antiparos" bottom and "Milos" top

I'll admit that Alphamoda is perhaps my favorite microkini manufacturer, for reasons I have already explained. When you get a great range of options, good quality and really good service at prices that won't break the bank, you just can't complain.

Now, the designs I am reviewing are from last year's buying spree; it's a microkini set I put together using the "Antiparos" microkini bottom and the "Milos" top. The Antiparos is a really sexy design that has recently inspired The-Bikini.com's designers and, as is the case with all of Alphamoda's designs, you can select from a range of different backstyles and you can also decide what color the straps will be. Regarding the backstyles, you can choose from the entire range of Alphamoda's backstyles, depending on how conservative or revealing you want the rear part to be. I chose a "triangle" back, which is basically a very narrow thong. Due to the nature of this design, tie-side straps are not available.

It's an incredibly sexy little number that turns heads and gets people talking no matter where you turn up wearing it. Like all Alphamoda's designs, it's unlined, so it really clings very well to your skin and dries fast after you get out of the water. Keep in mind, though, that the lack of lining non-shiny (matt) light colors get rather sheer when wet. This means that you do need to think about hair removal down there; I personally laser everything from the neck down: wax is generally effective and so is electrolysis, but both can be painful (actually, wax is painful) - another stopgap measure is one of Braun's hair removal devices, but those do hurt a bit too, because what they do is pluck the hairs away. If you don't want your suit to turn sheer when wet, either go for a darker color or, if the color must be light, go for the shiny option, which, however, has a smaller range of colors. It doesn't cost more, looks fantastic and is just as durable and well-fitting. I really recommend dishing out the extra €0.80 and buying it with metal rings, as they look gorgeous with it and enhance its appearance. There's another gotcha with the lighter colors, caused by the lack of lining: it's NOT for "those days of the month". But then again, why would you swim at such a time?

Other than the photos on Alphamoda's order forms, I'm giving you another photo, which shows a model wearing the "Antiparos", but not with the "Milos" - her top is the "Naxos".


Now, for the top: Although triangle tops are considered de riguer, I've already got plenty of them and wanted a change. So, I opted for the "Milos", which is a small bandeau top (note that the white fabric is a bit sheer even when dry) and flatters women with a moderate or large bra size. It also comes with an additional strap that you can use as you can see in the pictures. Although I haven't felt the need to use the strap, it's practical - and the top is really practical, too. You can wear it pretty much everywhere, even when out on the town - the fact that it's Alphamoda's most "conservative" top design helps here quite a bit.

On both pieces of the set, the fabric feels soft, comfortable and luxurious, but the fit is still snug and secure - without ever digging into your body (unless you've ordered the wrong size, which would be your fault, given the fact that a sizing table is available). I haven't had "happy accidents" with this set, which shows that it's made to fit nicely and safely onto your body. I understand that some women will be concerned about the "Milos" hiding some skin and making tanning deeply down the cleavage harder; well, this can only be a problem if you live in an area where topless sunbathing is prohibited. I don't have this problem in my area and just go topless anyway. The bandeau deserves to be more popular.

The prices for both these pieces are very good: the "Antiparos" costs €13.80 (€14.60 with metal rings), which translates to roughly $21.7 (or $22.9 with metal rings) with today's equity, while the "Milos" costs €12.90, which today is about $20.3. Now, what can one make of these prices? Well, let's consider the fact that the whole microkini set is handmade to order by a meticulous craftswoman in Greece (as opposed to being mass-produced in a factory somewhere in the middle of nowhere), the available options (which can go beyond the ones you can choose in the online order forms - all you have to do is email Alphamoda and Irini, the designer/maker, will cooperate with you to give a more personal touch to your swimsuit, usually at no extra charge), the low shipping costs and the quality and durability of the product for a bit. If you shopped for an equally well-made swimsuit elsewhere, you could easily have paid double and triple that price. Really, it's good value.

Since I bought it, a year has passed and it hasn't so much as torn a thread, regardless of where I wore it and what I did while wearing it. It's made to easily cope with everyday use on the beach, unlike some other overhyped and overpriced products I've seen (and bought) in the past.

Verdict: Once again, full marks go to Alphamoda for both the product and the service. Very highly recommended.

OK, that's it for today. I'm off to the beach! See you all later!

Danae

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I think I've seen this one somewhere before

Today, a friend of mine who subscribes to spanish swimwear manufacturer The-Bikini.com's mailing list forwarded to me a notification he received of two new designs they launched recently. It's the "assymetric" string and a tank top and you can see them here. I like the sheer fabrics and all, but I really think I've seen the bottom before. Actually... The bottom is almost identical to Alphamoda's "Antiparos". Compare for yourselves:

The-Bikini.com's newly-launched "Assymetric":


The Alphamoda "Antiparos", launched a few years ago (in 2004, if I remember well):


Are the similarities a coincidence? I think not. Well, I won't go out and say "oooh, look, so-and-so ripped off Alphamoda (or any other brand)". Far be that from me; I've seen it happen in various forums with certain members always aggressively, incessantly, irritatingly and troll-like accusing other companies of copying Wicked Weasel. The similarities between The-Bikini.com's new design and Alphamoda's "Antiparos", however, are very obvious. And, as much as I like the idea of sheer fabrics, I still prefer Alphamoda's own take, which (a) is the original design, (b) offers many more options as to what the end product will look like (strap color, ring type, backstyle), (c) is made to really good quality standards, (d) I've been very satisfied with Alphamoda's friendly and prompt customer service and (e) Alphamoda's original design costs a good deal less: €13.80 (€14.60 with metal rings) as opposed to The-Bikini.com's proposition which costs $28 (€18.16). I must say I've yet to buy anything from The-Bikini.com myself - I've heard words of praise regarding their quality and I've seen a friend of mine in one of their suits; they do look nice, but, as I have no personal experience with them yet, I won't claim their quality is lower, higher than, or equal to Alphamoda's; I believe they're similar in terms of quality. Then again, and assuming that they're both pretty much equal in terms of quality, I can only say that Alphamoda, with its customization options, low shipping costs and lower prices, offers greater value.

Danae

Monday, June 2, 2008

Agia Marina Beach, Crete

Yesterday, I decided to go for my first swim this summer. The most convenient, as far as distance is concerned, beach is considered to be Agia Marina, about 6 km from Chania. The various travel guides will have you believe that it's a really wonderful beach etc. Well, like I said, it's convenient. It extends from Kato Stalos all the way to Platanias and from that point onward to Maleme and Kolymbari, albeit each time with the respective regional names from the nearby villages and communities. Here, I'm going to talk about the main Agia Marina beach, i.e. the part from Kato Stalos to Platanias.

It's one long, sandy beach with very fine-grained sand that sticks to your feet with the slightest droplet of water or sweat and is a serious pain to clean up. Although it's a habitat for the endangered sea turtles and keeps getting awarded a Blue Flag each year, I've yet to see the slightest sign of protection provided to the turtles. Certainly, the noisy beach bars with their bright lights, the (mostly) permanent umbrellas from the ubiquitous beach chair rental businesses and the 24/7 human presence on the beach do nothing to let them lay their eggs in peace. It really amazes me that it's always awarded a Blue Flag. It looks like the Greek tourist industry has made a huge mockery of Blue Flags and the people in the EU still haven't gotten wind of what's going on here.

There are lots of beach bars on this beach. Too many, if you ask me. The worst offender, of course, is the most popular, named "Ammos & Ilios" (Sand & Sun); finding a (horribly mangled and tatty) beach chair there is practically impossible on most days, it's overpriced (as is everything in Greece thanks to the mafia-like tactics of the oligopolies that rule the country and have sucked the blood out of everyone ever since the drachma was replaced by the euro) and incredibly noisy and crowded, with the jerks playing "beach tennis" being a major pain in the ass to every beachgoer. Really, you can't even walk on the beach without risking getting hit by a beach tennis ball.

The waters are really shallow; you have to walk for about 100 yards into the sea until the water's reached your waist or your chest, depending on where you tread. The seabed is sandy - and the strong currents mean that the sand easily shifts from under your feet, often catching swimmers by surprise. If you decide to swim there, be careful and alert - the currents are strong and we have at least ten drowning victims there each year. Also, in the afternoon, after the sand and everything has been stirred and shaken by the crowds splashing in the waters, the waters get really muddy.

As for getting there, it may be only 6 km from Chania, but there's too much traffic - and slow traffic at that. Just be patient. It'll take you anywhere from fifteen minutes to half an hour to reach Agia Marina, depending on the traffic (and the occasional accident). Of course, then you'll have to find a place to park your car. When you do, make sure you take advantage of your luck; who knows, you might also get to win the lottery.

As usual with all Greek beaches, thonging and toplessness are OK here, although very few of the local people (only women) wear thongs. It's the fear of the Power of Gossip, you see. I personally don't care - I wear my thongs and microkinis everywhere.

Overall, would I recommend this beach? No. I don't like it at all. Then again, if your idea of going to the beach is noisy beach bars, you'll like it. Personally, I've grown out of this whole thing.

Danae

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And my point is proven.

My "thongs, crop-tops, sexiness and feminism" article sparked the interest of some feminist trolls that decided to come over this way in order to badmouth me for promoting a certain "internalized image of an acceptable female form", because I mentioned that the hardline feminists don't care at all about their bodies, health and appearance, because everything that can be considered cosmetic is "misogynistic".

The hate-mail I received from those self-proclaimed authorities of women's rights proves my point exactly: that they are only good at being pedantic and shoving their own rules and ideas down everyone's throats. As if the fashion industry with its waif-like, cocaine-snorting ideals wasn't enough, we have the other extreme, that of the hardline feminists. How are women supposed to be balanced individuals then? We are taught to hate ourselves. The fashion industry keeps telling us we're too fat. The hardline feminists tell us that every sign of sexuality, desire and beauty is "misogynistic" and "chauvinistic". Hardline monotheist religion practitioners tell us that sexuality, beauty and desire is a sin - and they also tell us, with the tale of Adam and Eve, that all that's wrong with the world is the women's fault.

I'm tired of all this. Naturally, no comments from any of these people will be approved in this blog. I've really had enough of the "orderers-about"; I've had enough of those people, whatever they are, whose only purpose in life is to run other people's lives. Thus, I'm not going to give them a chance to spew their misanthropic stuff HERE. I don't hate men, I don't hate other people, and I'm not going to allow their hate to seep through my blog. Not now, not tomorrow, not EVER.-

Danae

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thongs, crop tops, sexiness and feminism

Last night, I rediscovered this article from the "Guardian" and thought it really does have a point. There seems to be a controversy, sparked by the publication of Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvinist Pigs", among feminists and "ordinary" women about whether dressing sexy, acting sexy, being sexy empowers a woman or not. Hardline feminists argue that this is degrading to women, who are selling themselves short and succumbing to the male ideal of the woman as a mere sex object, while other women say they no longer have much need for "empowerment".

Kate Taylor, the article's author, says:

We're not trying to be empowered. The twentysomething women I know don't care about old-style feminism. Partly this is because they already see themselves as equal to men: they can work, they can vote, they can bonk on the first date. For younger women, raunch is not about feminism, it's just about fashion.

Another reason for the rise of raunch is that women are rediscovering the joy of being loved for their bodies, not just their minds. Today sexes mix a lot more than they used to, so boys grow up having girls as friends. They tend to listen to what women have to say, and when they marry they don't consider sharing the housework to be castrating. Instead of desperately longing for the right to be seen as human beings, today's girls are playing with the old-fashioned notion of being seen as sex objects.
She really does have a point. Having lived my teens in the '90s, I was educated, as is the case with all women my age, in a mixed-gender school, I had both girls and boys as friends, I shared many precious childhood and teenage moments with both sexes. I remember that, when there was something that caused me great grief and I needed to talk about it to a friend I really could trust, I chose to talk about it to a boy who was my best friend. In my relationships, I've never had a single boyfriend who thought that helping with the housework was degrading to his "male power" or "sissyfying".

In the real world, which Ariel Levy clearly fails to see, because she's too busy yelling at everyone about how degrading sexuality is to women, things have changed a lot since the days of Nixon. Is this really a man's world we live in? I'm not quite sure about it. We've got tons of lads' magazines, many more than you could find in the '60s - and with far more revealing ads. But, really, who's the one that gets exploited here? Nowadays, women get paid a lot of cash to take their kit off and pose for the camera. Nude or sexy photoshoots can do a lot to launch a career or bring someone back from oblivion. So, really, who's getting exploited? Is it the women that pose nude or scantily dressed or the guys who, with their reaction to the display of pink, pour cash into a woman's bank account (and also bring revenue to the mag's publishing company)?

And, furthermore, what if, according to Taylor, a woman's "own, specific self" is a thong-wearing, Playboy-T-shirted specific self who thinks lap-dancing is a laugh and likes getting wolf-whistled at by builders? What if a woman spends hours in the gym to create a body she is proud of? Is that a waste of time, time she should have spent in a university library? No.

She's got a point, you know. And let's talk seriously now about "castrating" men. Maybe this whole lecturing, pedantic, anti-sexual feministic ideal with the hardline feminists (or feminazis, as I think they should be called) did a lot more damage to relationships between men and women. We keep complaining about men having become wimps, not taking the initiative to approach a woman, to flirt and everything, for fear that they might get chewed out for being "chauvinist pigs". Now, this is NOT feminism. This is NOT my idea of a balanced, fair and equal relationship between men and women. I want men to respect me, not fear me. With their hysteria, hardline feminists have made men fear women.

Taylor continues by saying - and I wholeheartedly agree:

It has always been like this, and it always will be, because men's achilles heel is that they go to pieces when a woman drops her top. Old-style feminists never understood this, but their way is not the only way to achieve equality with men. The world is different now, and we should follow the trends instead of waving the banners of 20 years ago.

That version of feminism will never regain its popularity as long as its proponents insist on lecturing, instead of leading. We should be working together to support women in this country and across the world whose rights are still ignored, instead of squabbling and catfighting. Men are great at working together; they are self-congratulatory and supportive. We are not. That is our true weakness, and feminism exemplifies this flaw - witness the countless factions, all fighting for different things, from sex-positive feminists, who believe nudity is OK, to third-wave feminists, who think eyeliner is misogynistic.

The final blow to Levy's, Bell's and other hardline feminists' rants is kept for last, as is always the case with the best part:
If a thong makes you feel fabulous, wear it. For one thing, men in the office waste whole afternoons staring at your bottom, placing bets on whether you're wearing underwear. Let them. Use that time to take over the company. But even if you wear naughty lingerie for you, for no other reason than it makes you feel good, that is reason enough to keep it on. True feminism should celebrate femininity, and make you feel wonderful to be born a woman. It's a shame some feminists today can't do the same.
Amen to that, sister!

Now, is this related to microkinis and thonging? Yes, it is! I've had some hardline feminists at work try to lecture me about the fact I wear thongs and microkinis on the beach - the same old, past their sell-by date, arguments about how I succumb to the chauvinistic ideal that sees women as sex objects and not as human beings. Of course, these hardline feminists haven't done a single thing to help a female colleague and protect her against discrimination of any kind. They never will; they're only good at being pedantic, sex-fearing, idiotic little dictators that also "happen" to be fat, unwashed, hairy and rude to everyone that has the misfortune of crossing their path with theirs. They don't celebrate or promote femininity, they don't feel good about being women. In reality, they'd like to be (and have become) the female equivalent of the rude, vulgar, dirty and violent bumpkin that beats his wife to a pulp everytime he gets home from work.

So, girls, don't listen to the preaching of the sex-fearing slobs. Celebrate your femininity; love your bodies, take care of your health and your beauty and, if wearing a thong or a microkini makes you feel sexy, go ahead and do so.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Preveli beach, Crete

This beach is on the south side of Crete (Greece's biggest island). You take the "highway" from Chania to Iraklio and, at the exit to Spili and Rethymno (NOT the first exit to Rethymno), you turn right. DON'T take the direction to Rethymno, but keep going right to Spili. At some point, further on down the road, you'll see the sign to Preveli. The last two photos were kindly contributed by some friends of mine, the others were taken from crete.tournet.gr.


If you're into visiting monasteries and churches, you can visit the monastery before you go to the beach; I personally can't be bothered with this kind of thing, because, once you see behind the formalities, it's all just a tourist industry that gives the church (and not the people) LOTS of money for nothing. And I'm especially angry at the church for its plans to ruin the area of Cavo Sidero (which not only features highly endangered flora species, but is protected by the NATURA 2000 program, which, sadly, has NEVER been respected by most "businessmen" and authorities in Greece due to our obsession with "development" and our fanatical belief that the only valid industry and source of income is tourism) with a huge golf course that will be built - with the government's blessing - by the provocatively wealthy Toplou Monastery and its partners in environmental crime, a company named "Minoan Group" and another named Loyalward. See more here. Really, I advise against wasting money on greedy monasteries and such - but if, despite all that, you're still so inclined, who am I to argue?


Anyway, further on down the road from the monastery, you'll see some signs leading to a parking area managed by the monastery (yes, you pay for that). From that point on, there are stair steps going downhill to the beach. This is the most well-known route to the beach and, as is the case with all paths and trails in rocky places, you'll need to be reasonably careful. Mind you, climbing upstairs back to your car might be somewhat tiring. There's also another path leading to the beach, but I haven't taken it yet.


But why on earth would one go through all this trouble? First of all, it's not your usual "fashionable" beach with the ultra-noisy beach bars. It's a mostly sandy beach at the delta of a river named Kourtaliotis, reminding a lot of tropical lagoons thanks to the many palm trees that grow there. There's also a path of some sorts that you can follow up the river until some point at least. The sea is really nice, with clean, cold waters. As is the case with nearly all Greek beaches, swimming and tanning topless is perfectly OK. You might also see people - mostly women - thonging there. As you're facing the sea, there are some rocks on the left side. You can tan nude there, no one will bother you. There's also a boatride and umbrella/beach chair rental business and I think I saw a cafeteria or something similar as well. There are also regular routes by boat to the beach, although I haven't taken one yet. They say these amenities are overpriced, but I've never used them, as there's no reason to: just lay your beach blankets or towels under the trees on the east side of the beach and you're done. Now, don't expect Preveli to be a secluded place: it' can easily get crowded but, thankfully, it's not noisy and it doesn't have the kind of riff-raff you'll find in other places.


Can I recommend Preveli? Yes, it's a really nice place to go to, with interesting nature, nice waters to swim in, a river to hike up along (follow the black plastic pipes, they've left them there to guide hikers) and there are also some other places you can check out along the way. The route to the beach is pleasing to the eye, too. And, of course, it's microkini-friendly and topless-friendly; as I already mentioned, there is even a small part where nudism can easily be practiced. I recommend, though, that you visit it on weekdays and avoid the dreaded month called August: in August, everything is way overcrowded and even the most secluded, quiet, relaxed beaches can become hell-holes with screaming, rude "parents" yelling at their spoilt kids and leaving tons of trash behind. One final word of warning: ALL beaches on the south side of Crete are affected by north winds, as the many gorges and canyons of the island seem to accelerate the wind and make things much worse down south.

Danae

Friday, May 23, 2008

Perivolos beach, Santorini

Let's talk beaches, shall we? Now, I understand that thong-friendly beaches aren't in abundance in the US and even some exotic destinations have legislations that don't really encourage thonging, much less going on the beach in a microkini. Here, however, it's an entirely different story. A woman here can actually go topless on most beaches; the only "no toplessness allowed" beach I know of is the beach of Loutro, a small village in the south of Crete that you can access only by footpaths (the E4 path, most famously) or boat. Really, on the vast majority of beaches here in Greece, you can sunbathe and swim topless, wear a thong, a g-string or even a microkini; it's not just for the Paradise and Super Paradise beaches in Mykonos. My first outing in my CK lace winged one-piece microkini was on Agia Marina beach in Chania, at the noisy and overcrowded Ammos & Ilios (Sand & Sun) beach bar, as a matter of fact and I've worn my microkinis pretty much everywhere ever since, just as I've been doing before, when my swimsuits were more conservative thongs and g-strings.


Perivolos is a large beach on the south side of Santorini, about 3km from Perissa. Easily accessible by bus or car, there are plenty of beach bars there and - thankfully - they're not as noisy as they are in other places. Some of the beach bars are really upmarket, mind you. There are some good taverns and restaurants nearby. As Perivolos, Agios Georgios and Perissa beaches don't have boundaries between them, you can choose to walk the entire beach area if you wish. Perivolos is often referred to as "The Black Beach", because of its black volcanic pebbles. I know most people are used to the sand, but this kind of fine pebble still feels good to walk on and it doesn't get muddy or stick to your body like fine-grained sand does. The waters are crystal clear and very clean.

As you'd expect from a Greek beach, thonging is A-OK there. No one will bother you or give you a hard time for wearing a thong, g-string or microkini. The fact that the music from the beach bars isn't excessively loud means that you can actually relax on the beach and it seems that overcrowding is something that just can't happen here. However, the road by the beach is narrow and parking spaces are relatively few, which can lead to some small traffic jams nearby.

During my stay in Santorini, Perivolos was one of my two favorite beaches. I really loved swimming there and the laid-back atmosphere created by the friendliness of the staff at the beach bars really helped a lot. Very, very highly recommended. BTW, my profile pic was taken on Perivolos. The photo provided in the article taken from greeka.com, a website that specializes in providing information on the Greek islands.

Danae

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Men in thongs, g-strings and microkinis? Yes, please!

This is certainly something many people wouldn't expect. I often hear other women say "OK, I might wear a thong on the beach - a secluded one, of course - , but I don't want my boyfriend to wear one". When I ask them why, they start the same old rhetoric I'm really getting tired of: "oh, come on, thongs are for queers" or "don't you think a thong is a bit too much for a guy?" etc. Now, I know that the mere thought of a guy in a thong might be enough to make certain people hurl. Well, I have news for you: it's those idiotic dork shorts that generally make me hurl. First of all, they're entirely impractical. How men can swim in these brake-chutes that get filled with water and impede swimming is beyond me. These things are downright dangerous, because they make swimming require far greater effort than it should. Then there's the other thing: I just plain love seeing a man's body. Men's bodies are beautiful and I love seeing them.

Of course, it goes without saying that the man should look reasonably good and have the kind of self-confidence that'll allow him to strut his stuff in a thong, a g-string or a microkini. Also, I've had enough of the "thongs are for fags" stuff. Get real: there's no kind of clothing that is specific or exclusive to any sexual preference. I've seen many gay men in dork shorts and at least half the male thongers and microkini wearers I've seen are straight. And don't forget the gay men working in corporate positions and wear ties and suits. Are we to say that ties and suits are gay? No, not at all. Then, understand that wearing thongs, g-strings and microkinis doesn't make a guy gay, just as the same swimwear preference doesn't make a woman a slut or a prostitute. Enough with the crappy stereotypes already!

Besides, the thongs, g-strings and microkinis we now know and love aren't really a new invention: they have their roots in garments worn by people all over the Earth thousands of years ago and, what's more, they were worn almost exclusively by men. So, it's not like we're talking about a recent "fad". Another advantage of thongs, g-strings and microkinis is the maximization of the tanning area. Personally, I sunbathe mostly topless; I also swim that way quite frequently. I don't like tan lines on me or on others; they're ugly and they're a sign that the person featuring them is too self-conscious, too shy and/or hasn't come to terms with his or her body. So, I prefer my guy to have an all-over tan. Do thongs do away with tan lines? Not entirely. They minimize them greatly, but they don't completely remove them. G-strings are a much better bet. And the best of all in this department are, of course, microkinis, which cover just the bare essentials.

"But", I hear someone say, "aren't microkinis and g-strings a bit too risque?". Well, there are those people who think thongs, g-strings and microkinis are risque. On the other hand, there are also sexy people with nice bodies and self-confidence. ;-)

Danae

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alphamoda "Mykonos" microkini bottom and "Kassos" microkini top

Now, I'm going to write a few words on the bikini set I'm wearing on my profile photo, which is made by Greek microkini manufacturer Alphamoda, which makes both men's and women's swimwear. Alphamoda does not make bikini sets in which you get a package top and bottom deal, but, instead, lets you mix and match. Of course, this means that:

  • You can buy either just the top or just the bottom or both.
  • You can mix and match the top and bottom as you see fit.
They have organized their women's range in four distinct lines:
  • "Classic" - this is a collection of tops and bottoms that are generally skimpier than most of the suits you'll find in most lingerie/swimwear stores. Basically, they are sexier renditions of well-known and loved styles.
  • "Hot" - skimpier than the "Classic" ones, some are well-established designs (such as the "Mykonos" that I'm reviewing in this post or the "Kythnos", which, aided by the seam down the middle of its front, gives a camel toe effect that many people, including me, find very sexy) and includes what is Alphamoda's most original and unique design so far (and one of my personal favorites), the "Antiparos".
  • "Extreme" - Now these are seriously skimpy. For those who only know Wicked Weasel, most of these suits are seriously in the same league as the famed "Microminimus": very, very narrow, covering only the barest of the bare essentials. The most well-known design of this range is the "Halki", which I intend to purchase this summer.
  • "OUTline" - This is Alphamoda's response to the trend for "fabric-less" ladies' swimsuits that started a few years ago by Double Take MicroWear, a trend that was also followed at around the same time by a few other well-known companies. These swimsuits are just straps and rings, nothing else; they provide no cover whatsoever and, in my eyes at least, wearing them seems pointless, except for those very special moments on a deserted beach with your significant other. The various "exposure" swimsuits for men made by a few companies such as Koala can be seen as the male counterparts; Alphamoda, however, seems to have decided not to mirror this collection in its men's swimwear section.
As you can see by browsing on the website, Alphamoda uses names of Greek islands to name its swimsuits. Now, I mentioned earlier that you get to mix and match your bikini bottom and bikini top to suit your taste. The choices don't end here, though: for bikini bottoms, you get to choose whether the straps will be tie-side or fixed, the color of the straps and the backstyle. Alphamoda offers 8 different backstyles, although which of these are available for each design depends on the line in which it belongs and its own nature. It would be, of course, illogical to specify a "Symi" with a "Rio" back! Choices common in both tops and bottoms are the size (thankfully, because I never liked the "one size fits all" policy adopted even by some of the most well-known purveyors out there), the ring type (you can choose between metal and plastic rings, which is the only option for which you will be charged extra: 0.80 euro), the color of the fabric and the color of the straps. And if you so wish, you can even email them to request unlisted options as well, such as straps taken from a different size than the rest of the suit or threads of a different color to the fabric, to add some contrast. Spoilt for choice, aren't we? Please note that all the swimsuits are unlined, as this generally provides somewhat better fit. This, however, means that some colors can get very sheer when wet. Perhaps some people would like to have lining in their suits.

Now, my own "Mykonos" bikini bottom is white, with black tie-side straps, a string bottom and black threads on the white fabric. The color scheme continues with my top, which also has metal rings. The "Mykonos" bikini bottom has adjustable width in the front, so you can choose how much coverage you'll get - let me inform you, though, that you won't get much coverage anyway. Alphamoda makes microkinis; even its more "conservative" gear is skimpier than average.

Here are two photos of the "Mykonos" bottom with a g-string back, but fixed straps, as posted on Alphamoda's "contest" page; it is combined with what seems to be their "Naxos" top.




As you can see from the second photo, the "string", (and the same applies to the "g-string" and "D-string") back is not the thin spaghetti strap you find featured on some other manufacturers' swimsuits. This makes it fit a bit more snugly, but it's still really comfortable.

Although the website could do with a revamp and better photography, the service provided is prompt, quick, polite and very friendly; attributes that shouldn't go unnoticed and unrewarded. What's more, the shipping costs are reasonable. While you won't get the "buy over $100 of goods and the shipping is free", you'll never get be charged $30 or more for shipping. Really, paying $30 to have a featherweight envelope (approx. 100 gr) shipped to me doesn't look right. And if the manufacturer or retailer can afford to ship me an envelope weighing 200-300 gr containing $100 worth of goods, then I get the idea that the product is overpriced; and many are indeed overpriced for what they offer. I complained about the non-elastic and easily tearable threads on my Wicked Temptations teardrop microkini; really, those threads aren't for swimwear - you can repair a pair of pants with them sew a button in place, but, as their elasticity is zero, they're not for the elastic straps used in swimwear. Just pull a bit on the straps and the seams will break. It happened to me. It makes you think that you're paying $20 or $30 for something that really cost $3 to make.

Fortunately, this is not the case with Alphamoda: the fabric is of good quality - and I happen to personally know the textile supplier Alphamoda's owner shops from; the stitchwork uses elasticated threads and is durable enough to withstand regular use on the beach; the finishing touches are on par with pretty much every other manufacturer out there; and, furthermore, rather than just putting the swimsuit in a nylon bag, Alphamoda goes the extra mile and uses mesh purses that make for a really nice touch of quality.

In use now, the overall fit of the microkini set was excellent; it stayed in place as it should, looked fantastic and very sexy and I know I'll use it this summer too. In fact, I'm sure it'll last me at least three more years. I like wearing it, I get great comments from people who see it and I know it's one of the best swimsuits I've ever bought.

But what are you going to pay for this? Well, I'm in Greece, Europe, in the Euro zone and so, if I bought this set today with the aforementioned specification, the "Mykonos" bottom would cost me 11.30 euros and the "Kassos" top would cost me 11.60 euros. That would be 22.90 euros, plus 4.90 to 7.60 euros for the shipping, depending on the preferred method. Use XE.com for currency conversion, because the equity changes daily. I understand that the euro is pretty strong compared with the dollar, but the prices are still very competitive in absolute terms and if you incur the fact that you really aren't paying $30 for a $3 suit, but instead get a handmade microkini, made according to your own specification and with really good quality materials, the deal seems unbeatable; really, it's a far cry from some overpriced products out there. Add to that the fact that the final price you'll pay is not doubled by overinflated shipping costs and you really can't go wrong with Alphamoda.

Are there any gripes, though? Yes. I'd like to see a greater fabric variety: floral, animal and/or camo prints, mesh, fishnet... And a "spaghetti strap-style" string/g-string back would be really nice too. But anyway, I got really good microkinis (the "Mykonos" & "Kassos" set is just one of them - I'll write more about the rest later on) from Alphamoda and I've been very satisfied.

Verdict: Really good products at very competitive prices, combined with friendly and quick service.

Danae

Monday, May 19, 2008

Microkinis are IN

Regardless of what the fashion press keeps babbling about, microkinis are in. I really don't care who likes it and who doesn't - they just are. Just take a look at the multitude of microkini manufacturers all over the internet; if microkinis weren't favored by a considerable number of people, do you seriously think any businessman or businesswoman worth his or her salt would bother to start a business of this kind? You can even take a look at your bog-standard, conventional, conservative fashion magazines: although "thong" and "g-string" are two very dirty words and, thus, banished from their editors' vocabulary, the swimwear they show us every month or week or fortnight, depending on how frequently the magazine publishes a new issue, tries to be as skimpy as possible: although most "normal" brands shy away from producing thong and g-string bikinis, most of them are seriously low cut and the backs try to be as narrow as possible without allowing anyone to call them "thong backs".

Of course, this is all utter nonsense. If you want to make a skimpy bikini, go ahead and make it - and promote it in such a way that women will want it. Then again, perhaps this "no thongs" policy has something to do with thonging being effectively prohibited throughout most of the USA, which is one huge market for swimwear.

Anyway, the point I want to make is that people want smaller swimwear and this is reflected in designers' attempts to circumvent whatever restrictions are imposed on them by "the powers that be" and make them smaller than last year's collections. Guys want us women to wear thongs and microkinis. OK, some don't want their woman or daughter to wear a thong (much less a microkini), but they drool over other men's women or daughters wearing them. How pathetic and hypocritical. And most women want to wear them, too. Some wish they had the body or the self-confidence it takes to wear them. Others wish their significant other allowed them to wear one. And even those who go out and say "oh no, I'd never wear a thong on the beach, it's too risque", secretly wish they had the guts to wear one. And if you hear any woman saying that microkini-wearing women are sluts, well, don't touch her face: her make-up will rub off and you'll see how green envy has made her.

All right then, so why doesn't the fashion press embrace microkinis and thongs? I think the answer's easy: they're actually mainstream magazines, also read by people who believe in a set of ideas they call "morality" (i.e. "I'd rather my children thought babies are delivered by storks, but I do like to read about how to make my sex life kinkier, although I think sex is a sin and would prefer my children to watch a movie where someone brutally kills a few thousand people instead of a movie where someone lovingly caresses a nude woman") and also have a tendency to think that thong bikinis are worn only by porn actresses. If you were the editor of such a magazine, owned by a big media conglomerate, and if you knew that any controversy with the more hypocritical part of society could get you fired, would you risk it? I think not.

To be entirely honest with you, although I always thought I'm pretty open-minded, I initially was a bit unsure about wearing a thong. I was 20 years old then and a boyfriend of mine brought it to my attention; he asked me how I'd like to wear a thong on the beach, since I already wore thong and g-string undies and my prefered kind of shorts for the summer were tiny cut-off jeans or really tiny hotpants. I told him I wasn't sure about it, but I'd give it a try. Well, a few days later he bought me a Triumph thong bikini bottom: purple, with a bow tie on the back made of gold sequins. It was cute and sexy; pity Triumph doesn't make thong swimsuits these days. I wore it quite a lot for three summers and loved it. Well, that was it: I became a thong convert. And, of course, I've always made full use of the fact that here in Greece women are allowed to tan and swim topless.

But it was only when I first saw what microkinis were like that my jaw dropped. I was in utter awe. Of course, I didn't go "oh, what sluts these women are, wearing practically nothing". I loved the look of those suits and wanted to get some and wear them on the beach. Well, that didn't happen until last year, when I actually bought some - I've already written reviews about two of them. Well, that was it; I became a microkini convert. And if the beach doesn't lend itself to microkini wearing, I just wear a thong; besides, it's not like whatever little kids may be on the beach haven't seen their moms in thongs or don't know their moms wear thongs. They're not blind, they've definitely seen the laundry, so they know that mommy wears thongs and perhaps they've even seen mommy in her thong or g-string panties. Are thong and g-string swimsuits, or microkinis actually, more revealing than that? Not really. With this in mind, there's really no valid reason why a nice-looking woman (not necessarily a supermodel) wouldn't want to wear a thong or a g-string on the beach. Perhaps it's many women's fear of gossip. Well, just ignore it. Don't let the holier-than-thou morons run your life. It's your life, live it as you want, not as some uppity bitch wants you to live it.

Now, is there any reason why a woman shouldn't wear a thong or a microkini on the beach? Yes. Actually, three of them:

  1. "Those days of the month". Yes, the period.
  2. Aesthetic reasons. I'll be blunt here: although I'll never claim that a woman has to be a supermodel to wear a thong on the beach (I know I'm definitely not; most fashion designers would kick me out telling me what a fat pig I am) and although I know most girls nowadays have nice-looking bodies that can perfectly well look fantastic in a thong or a microkini, if you can't be bothered to take care of your body and your appearance, do us a favor and refrain from wearing thongs and microkinis on the beach. Please.
  3. Attitude reasons. Being sexy requires a certain kind of attitude. You have to love your body, you have to really like your appearance; you need to be able to make your sexy clothing become the icing on the cake of your own sexiness that comes from within. What does this mean? You really shouldn't expect to become sexy just because you wore a thong. And, of course, you have to be comfortable with the fact that large parts of your body are revealed when you walk the beach in a thong or microkini.
Anyway, the summer's getting started here and I can't wait for my chance to hit the beach. I suggest you do the same... In microkinis! There's nothing sexier than them!

Danae

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wicked Temptations Metallic Chip G-string set (discontinued)

One of the microkinis I bought last year was a - now discontinued - metallic chip g-string set from well-known manufacturer and online reseller Wicked Temptations, because it appealed visually to both me and my boyfriend. In fact, I do think that the teardrop is one of the sexiest shapes for bikinis.

To give you an idea of what it's like, here's a photo (yes, that's me)...


I really loved the way it looked. And Wicked Temptations' service is fast, too. However, the bikini had two fundamental design flaws. What are they?

  1. The threads in the spaghetti straps have ZERO elasticity and are prone to getting torn if you don't handle the straps VERY gently. Really, try to tie the straps a bit more securely and you're asking for trouble.
  2. Teardrop designs largely depend on the fabric's tendency to cling to the skin, especially when wet. The fabric normally used for swimwear (80% nylon, 20% lycra - known as spandex in the US) clings very well when dry and even better when wet. The metallic fabric has zero clinginess. If you want it to stay in place, you need Bikini Bite. Furthermore, its flexibility is very limited compared to the "normal" fabric.
The first problem raises serious doubts about the swimsuit's longevity and durability. The second could be enjoyable, if you're feeling particularly naughty, if the fabric had any flexibility. It doesn't though, and the "happy accidents" are given a rather unsightly appearance.

Furthermore, metallic fabrics really don't take kindly to being used in seawater. They're not for swimming, they're not for intense activity. They get really tatty very easily and so are best reserved for "special occasions".

So, how would I rate it? Well, I did wear it often. I liked the way it looked, but definitely not the way it fit or its durability. Its price was reasonable, at approximately $30 (US currency), but the shipping costs doubled the final price I paid.

Verdict: Could be a lot better with a different choice of materials.

Danae

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Colleen Kelly Lace Winged One-Piece microkini

I've been wearing thongs since I was 20. I've always loved their look and feel. Plus, I've always thought that I should show off my body while it looks good. As microkinis (also called micro bikinis) started to become more popular and widespread, my interest in them grew. However, for various reasons, I kept postponing the purchase of any swimsuit of this kind. Last summer, I took the plunge and ordered - among quite a few other microkinis from various companies - the "lace winged one-piece" microkini from Colleen Kelly (it's item #1311 in the "Sexier" category of their 2007 collection).

In the late 1990s, Colleen Kelly, before starting her swimwear business, competed in various bikini contests in South Florida. In bikini contests, the design of the bikini goes a long way to determining whether the model will win or not. However, as most of those swimsuits were custom-made, the cost of obtaining and maintaining a comprehensive collection was high. So, she started making her own designs and, gradually, her interest shifted to making sure that other models wore her products. Over time, her suits were used in photoshoots for magazines such as Muscle and Fitness, Oxygen, Flex, FHM, Stuff and Ironman.

As you can see from the attached photo at the company's website, it's Y-shaped and it looks like a very sexy teddy.


Beautiful, isn't it? However, what the photo doesn't show is that the fabric (lace) doesn't leave much to the imagination. Really, it's almost sheer. This doesn't show that much on the photo, because it seems to have had its contrast boosted. In reality, the colors are somewhat lighter. Also, those ordering from outside the US should keep in mind that shipping costs aren't included in the price and they're not particularly low.

Now, really, this lace fabric lends itself much better to lingerie, not swimwear. How on earth was I going to show up on a crowded beach in a practically see-through swimsuit? Also, the fitting was a bit loose. Every time I moved, my nipples slipped out of the top part and the lace strap down the middle made sure that, "down there", there would be plenty of "happy accidents".

What was I thinking? Unlike the thongs I'd been wearing on the beach until that day, this one clearly didn't want to stay in place; as my best friend put it, "these are for the insane, not just the uninhibited". But we both agreed it's seriously sexy. For herself, she had bought a few bikini sets from Alphamoda (I'll write about them later, as I've used them too) and we decided to strut our stuff together in our new microkinis.

If you think it takes courage to don a thong and wear it on the beach, wait till you try a microkini: not only is coverage absolutely minimal, but several of them - such as this particular design - have a mind of their own and won't stay in place, inadvertently (?) revealing what they're supposed to cover. You see, many microkinis haven't really been designed as garments, but as photoshoot props. Such is the case with this one. Also, keep in mind that models and photographers make sure that the swimsuits stay put by using a special spray called "Bikini Bite".

Unfortunately, I found out about "Bikini Bite" when it was already too late. Then again, the exhibitionist in me prevailed and I decided to live with the suit's idiosyncracies, accepting them as features of the design and proudly go to the beach and do anything I'd normally do without bothering if I suddenly became partially uncovered. This is definitely not the easiest thing to do, because you have to have incredible self-confidence and be at ease with your body.

Anyway, that's what I did - and there were many "happy accidents". As you can guess, the guys couldn't take their eyes off of me and my friend, and I swear I could hear jealous girls hissing. A couple actually left the beach as the guy's eyes strayed our way, much to his lady's chagrin... And, of course, while swimming, my breasts became bare. Then came a rather nasty surprise. The lace fabric doesn't take kindly to being used in the sea. Actually, after five uses on the beach (with swimming and tanning), the suit sarted looking tatty and threadbare if you came too near and, sadly, it won't be used this summer. I must admit, though, that I had tons of fun wearing it and that all those "happy accidents" aren't always a bad thing.

Would I buy again from Colleen Kelly? Well, yes. But this time, I'd go for a different, better suited to swimwear, fabric. Their service was quick, the suit looked lovely - although it wasn't designed with practicality in mind - and I had a great time wearing it.

Danae

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What on earth are microkinis, anyway?

OK, so you've read my welcoming post and you're wondering what microkinis are. As the name implies, they're really, really skimpy bikinis. In fact, they're as skimpy as they come. Microkinis are a breed of micro bikinis for men and women that are designed so that they cover only the barest of the bare essentials. Actually, they're so skimpy that they easily make the sexy thongs on sale in high-street swimwear and lingerie stores look downright conservative.

What? Microkinis for men? Oh yes, indeed. They're extremely tiny versions of thongs and g-strings that bear more than a passing resemblance to the garments worn by "primitive" tribes throughout the world - and you'd be surprised by their variety.

The term "microkini" was coined in 1995 by a female member of the now-defunct Microkinis forum to describe the ultra-minimalist swimwear provided by a (then) small number of businesses, most of them home-based. But how did microkinis emerge? Sometime in the '70s, nudism was banned on the popular Venice Beach in California. This led beachgoers to come up with a way of "tricking" the new regulations: they started making their own skimpy swimwear using leftover fabrics sewn together with twine or even fishing line.

Sometime in 1975, a local bikini shop addressed the market niche created by the first microkini wearers (although that term still hadn't been coined) and their makeshift swimsuits, by launching the first line of properly-made micro swimwear. These swimsuits caught the eye of various adult film actresses and actors, who started using them in their films; also, various men's and fitness magazines started using them in their photoshoots, and in increasingly revealing and extravagant forms. Thus, this new swimwear genre began to gain popularity. Nowadays, there are plenty of manufacturers, most of them with web-based businesses, providing almost every kind of microkini you can think of, including designs that, instead of providing even that tiny coverage that you would expect to see, do their best to display and expose the wearer's assets in all their glory - these are sometimes called "display suits" or "exposure suits" - and the prices are usually very attractive.

Microkinis are a must for every man or woman confident and uninhibited enough; they are incredibly sexy; they provide just the minimum coverage provided by most beach regulations - this makes them the best solution for an all-over tan without having to go to a nude beach. They adorn their wearer's body in a fanstastic and very flattering manner; for your trips to exotic destinations in tropical and/or suptropical regions, where you and your significant other will go to have the time of your life, they are the most erotic garments you can wear. And, if you're feeling particularly naughty, you can don an "exposure suit" that covers nothing at all and tantalize your lover.

In my blog, I provide an extensive list of links to microkini manufacturers' e-shops. Use and peruse them for your pleasure - and your lover's... And remember:

Microkinis are skimpy, sexy, erotic, raunchy, crazy... But, above all, they're FUN!

Danae

Welcome!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my blog, which is dedicated to my favorite kind of swimwear: microkinis!

So... Enjoy this blog and I hope to entice you all into embracing this fun, sexy and beautiful kind of swimwear!

Notice: All photographs posted on this blog that were taken from websites are copyrighted by their respective owners. Only my own pictures are mine.

Danae