By Darrah Le Montre, staff writer
Los Angeles, CA (RPRN) 5/28/2009 — With summer upon us and the economy still looking drab, women everywhere are finding ways to stretch their shopping dollars — seeking items and experiences that are just as luxurious as when Paris Hilton reigned supreme. Luckily, there are some fabulous female-owned businesses out there that promise to help us do, just that.
For those in coupledom, Lavish Lifestyles is a personal concierge service that enables busy twosomes to indulge in dates that are scrupulously pre-planned by founder Cynika Drake.
â€œOur members want to go beyond dinner and a movie. Sometimes they have a plan and just need someone to make sure itâ€™s flawlessly executed. Other times, theyâ€™re relieved when we come up with an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary,â€ explains Drake.
Having worked in the service industry for 10 years, this New York ex-pat has luxury on a budget down pat.
Drake reveals, â€œItineraries range from the extravagant, i.e. a private Learjet whisking you and a guest to San Francisco for a night of opera, to the more simply romantic, like dinner and a jazz ensemble in your own home. The hands-down favorite so far is â€˜The â€˜Fairytale Itinerary.â€™ We surprise the couple with a whole romantic evening. Neither one of them knows the plan, so they really experience something together.â€
Lavish Lifestyles has relationships with vendors and offers discounts on services as part of a two-tier annual membership.
Some professional and personal benefits include:
â€¢Personally arranged domestic and international travel
â€¢Recommendations on various places of interest
â€¢Concierge secured tickets for major music, sporting and theatrical events
â€¢Savings on everything from hotels to spa treatments
â€¢Hands-on decorating in your home, hotel, or specified location
Drake says, â€œjust because we are experiencing tough economic times doesnâ€™t mean you have to stop dining at your favorite restaurant, start skipping your monthly spa treatments, or even pass on a romantic weekend getaway.â€ Amen.
For those fashionistas looking for vibrant threads to rock their closet that wonâ€™t be found on every other concert-goer this Saturday night, check out Mami Afrika, African-inspired womenâ€™s wear.
After traveling to Kenya and collecting a multitude of fabric, lead designer Wawi Amasha returned to California and began creating a single dress. From that dress, her alternative spin on native African clothing emerged into a full-blown clothing company.
Amasha said, â€œMy goal is to change the way people think about African fashion. I use fabric found from all over Africa. I mostly use â€˜The Khanga,â€™ a cloth also known as Lesu, which is a simple piece of often brightly colored rectangular cloth, which is wrapped around the body. I offer designs that represent our African tradition but with a modern twist. These designs are fun, funky, and fabulous. They are to be enjoyed by women from all walks of life, especially those not afraid of color.â€
Aside from Angelina Jolie, many other females are flying the luminous skies, and thus a niche item has popped up that is quite engaging. Abingdon Watches is the only female pilot watch currently available. Ranging from $250-$400, these feminine versions of typically male designs are inspired by prominent female pilots. Two models are available including the minimalist, â€œAmeliaâ€ and high-glam â€œJackie.â€
Pilot and founder of Abingdon Watches, Chelsea â€œJuiceâ€ Welch struggled with a bulky menâ€™s watch before emerging as an innovative designer.
She says, â€œMore women are flying today than ever before and the aviation watches available today just arenâ€™t styled for a ladyâ€™s wrist. We want to give women the opportunity to have a watch that is more feminine looking but functions as well as any other aviation watch â€“ if not better.â€
Abingdon Watches are available on their site and ship to the US, Great Britain, Scandinavia, European Union and Australia. Chelsea recently received a special letter from someone deployed in Afghanistan who had a watch sent to an aspiring female pilot in the states.