Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cashmere Care
(from J.Crew Cashmere Affair- August 30, 2011)

Who better to advise on cashmere care than the ladies at The Laundress New York?  We got the inside scoop from Lindsey and Gwen, the brains behind the eco-friendly line of specialty detergent and fabric-care products, on how to make our cashmere last forever (and save money doing it!).
We are sick of spending money on dry-cleaning bills! Walk us through how to hand wash a cashmere sweater.
First of all, dry cleaners use all sorts of chemicals on clothes and are expensive.  One bottle of The Laundress New York for J. Crew cashmere wash is only $18 and you can get upwards of 32 washes out of it.  Cashmere is a luxury good that’s meant to last and should be treated with care, so hand washing is the best option for keeping your cashmere like new.  Caring in between washing and wearing is just as important too.
What’s the best way to store cashmere?
Always clean your items before storing.  Do not store your sweaters in plastic- use cotton bags that close with zippers.  Plastic creates an environment for moth breeding- perfume, body oils and other products, such as deodorant, are food for the bugs!  Bugs will not eat through cotton.  Spray with The Laundress New York for J.Crew cashmere spray, which is a natural moth and bug repellent, in between washing, wearing and storing.
What are some other must-know cashmere-care tips?
Pilling happens from wearing, not washing.  Pilling is not necessarily a sign of poor quality; it’s actually the cashmere naturally shedding.  A good pill remover is essential and we have tried them all, which is why we designed The Laundress New York for J.Crew sweater comb.  To remove odor from wearing, storing or previous dry-cleaning, soak with water and vinegar for half an hour.
What’s in your cashmere treatment?
All The Laundress products are naturally derived, nontoxic and 100 percent biodegradable and do not have any artificial colors.  The Laundress New York for J.Crew cashmere wash is a coconut soap base scented with lavender extracts and is exclusively made for J.Crew.  Not only does it smell amazing, but it is also a natural moth and bug repellent.
Here’s our step-by-step guide for hand washing your cashmere (it’s easier than you think!).
·         First, de-pill by combing the areas with The Laundress New York for J.Crew sweater comb.
·         Examine the sweater for stains and pre-treat with a stain solution if necessary.
·         Turn inside out (stains and odors mostly build up on the underarms and inside of garments).
Hand Washing
·         Prepare a basin of cool/tepid water plus two capfuls of The Laundress New York for J.Crew  cashmere wash.
·         Submerge and press gently with your hands and let soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
·         Rinse the sweater well, pressing out the excess water, but do not wring.
·       Using a flat drying rack is the best or lay a towel flat and place the sweater on top of it in its natural shape to dry- never hang cashmere because it will distort the fabric and ruin the fit.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shopping a French Market with Gwen...

Shopping a market in France - especially in Provence is an amazing experience!  Especially for someone like me who gets excited just by the beauty of produce on display. The food is all local and absolutely beautiful and delicious!

We came prepared with recipes, so we were ready to be cooking in the local style. My friend and design/cooking guru who owns “Bloom” in Sag Harbor swears by this book - she told me to read it cover to cover!

I love this throw, beach blanket, pareo, etc...I bought one at the market and have used it every weekend since - from my lounge chair to table cloth. I wish I got one for all my friends!

buy it here ] 

You can’t shop without a traditional French market tote!

 [ buy it here

While a panama hat isn’t indigenous to France - straw craft and millinery is. I walked away with my new favorite city hat!

Espadrilles are just such “happy” shoes - they just scream holiday!

 [ buy it here

While I must admit I was jaded about lavender since it is practically everywhere - there really is NOTHING like authentic French lavender.  Lindsey and I did a side by side of the French and some from here together at the office and it was just sad!

The south of France is the soap Mecca. From traditional Marseilles soap to argon oil and olive oils. I love these raw blocks on the twine.

Even the onions are a piece of art!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Laundress Recommends...

After receiving several phone calls and emails asking for our recommendations on laundry products and accessories, we at The Laundress decided it was time to offer our clients our top picks for steamers, irons, ironing boards etc.  Working with Jiffy Steamer, Rowenta and Brabantia to supply you with the tools we find to be most effective, from Steamers to Laundry Bins, we think you’ll be satisfied with the research we’ve done and the products we’ve selected.

When it came to recommending a steamer, we immediately knew our first choice. Gwen has had her Jiffy Steamer for years and it’s still the most effective steamer in our office (we have A LOT of steamers and have tried them all through and through).  

The J-2 is the newer model of Gwen’s Jiffy, we know you’ll love it. She’s had her steamer for 15 years-that’s a pretty solid return, let alone the money saved!

We desperately tried to find a small steam unit for those without access to a full size laundry room or for those with little storage space, we thought Rowenta’s Pro-compact steamer would be the perfect choice, but we lost steam mid-test. 

We tried to find the perfect travel/handheld steamer to recommend, our testing included: Conair Pro Garment Steamer, and Rowenta’s Travel Steamer…

In addition, we tested and have already returned the HSN Travel Steamer, Samsonite Dual Voltage Steamer, and Micro Pro Garment Steamer.

Jiffy Esteamer is our top choice if you MUST have a handheld.

Our next task was to find the perfect iron. Our original thought was to offer two irons- a top of the line model for those serious ironers and a model that was suffecient at quickly getting the job done.  We pulled out all the stops and tested a variety (no joke) of steam irons….

To start our “Iron Off” we went right for the big dog, Rowenta’s top of the line steam iron- the Steamium.  We were really impressed with how efficiently creases and wrinkles were removed but we weren’t totally in love with the design… it was really clunky and on the heavy side. We also weren’t sold on the benefits of the bells and whistles.

Our second test iron, that wouldn’t break the bank, but did a decent job at pressing garments, was Rowenta’s Effective Comfort Iron…

It worked well enough but we still weren’t sold; we wanted something that everyone would be satisfied with.

Our third test (third time’s the charm) was Rowenta’s Pro Master Steam Iron, this fell directly in the middle of our price spectrum, but was just as effective, we think, as the Steamium Iron and we were MUCH happier with the design and weight.

We proceeded to test the remaining samples that we had here, all lower price points but we decided they were simply a waste.  

Thus our decision was final with the Pro Master as this iron was the best for the money.

After our big “Iron Off” Gwen’s interest was now sparked, we were curious to see the difference between the regular steam iron and the two-in-one pressure iron and steamer.  We originally strayed away from these due to cost, but figured it was at least worth testing, especially since our small steam unit test was unsuccessful, and we’re SO glad we did because we’re seriously obsessed!  

Check out how effortlessly this pressure iron and steamer removes wrinkles and creases, we couldn’t believe it!

This took ironing to a whole new dimension and for someone like Gwen who never irons and only steams, this speaks volumes.  She had an industrial vacuum board in college and she remembers this to be better!

We thought this to be a great option in replacing the handheld steamer and small steam unit (since we did not like any), as it can also be used vertically on hanging garments.  

We loved the pressure iron and steamer so much that we also requested a sample of the deluxe model (I’m pretty positive Rowenta LOVED us at this point).

The deluxe version works amazing, as expected, but aside from heating up faster (2 minutes versus 10) and having a bigger water tank, we really didn’t think it necessary to spend twice as much! The first model worked just as well.
 We were completely infatuated, an iron and steamer all in one- it’s perfect for those that do a lot of steaming.  This unit won’t replace a regular steamer for working beds and curtains, as moving and rigging it to those areas wouldn’t be convenient, however, if necessary, it could be done.

After selecting our two new irons, we now had to find the perfect new Ironing Board (we’ve had them all) that could support both our regular steam iron and our new pressure iron and steam unit.  After reviewing several ironing boards in the Brabantia catalog we were torn between two. Upon receiving the sample boards at our office, the decision was almost a no brainer.  

The 124 x 45 cm Ironing Table with a solid steam unit holder was the perfect fit.  It adjusts to four different heights, provides maximum ironing space and can hold your steam unit, or those clothes that are pressed, folded and ready to be put away. The white frame looks super chic when topped with our signature black and white ironing board cover!

Obviously we couldn’t stop browsing the catalog once we started, so here are the perfect Laundry and Trash Bins. We instantly feel in love with this retro slim line matte black trash bin and because we all need a bin in our laundry and utility rooms it better good!

Gwen chose this white laundry bin, she was obsessed that it came with a lid to hide all your dirty items; the inner removable laundry bag was just an added bonus. She immediately confiscated the sample and placed it in our office laundry room.

After all of our testing and research we’re so excited to finally be offering these products and we hope that you are all satisfied with our “ultimate selection”.  We know you expect the best and we would not recommend anything but, with that in mind we’re still on the lookout for the perfect drying rack!

…stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One of our favorite blogs is Tricia Foley's, In the Country.

We visited her last week - be sure to read up on it here.


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