ALL POSTS IN Shopping

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Aside from buying fresh, natural foods, there are other reasons you should check out your local farmers’ market. Visiting Knoxville’s outdoor farmers’ market is one of my favorite fall pastimes. I can purchase items I don’t normally find at the store, and I’m helping out the local farming community. Plus, it’s fun! Some of my favorite finds include: challah bread, cage-free eggs and an assortment of jams.

Farmer's Market Bread

The smell of bread and sweets always draws me to the market. Many of the vendors even offer recipes.

Cruze Farm Stand

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First, let me start you off with two quotes:

  • “Men I may not know, but shoes, shoes I know.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
  • “The best way to a woman’s heart is through her sole.” – Anonymous

So true, so true. I love shoes in every style, shape and color. (My desktop background is even an image of vintage shoes from Designlovefest.) And each week or two when I add a new pair to my tiny closet, I imagine I’ll one day have my dream Carrie Bradshaw closet to display each and every one. With the DIY trend spreading into the fashion world, I may need that extra-large closet sooner than I thought.

DIY Designer Shoes - BurberryBurberry-Inspired Embellished Heels

Recently, fashionistas on a budget started buying regular heels and giving them a handmade touch with paint or embellishments to turn them into designer favorites for much, much less. Check out some of the best DIY designer-inspired heels we’ve found on the web.

More DIY Designer-Inspired Heels

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One of the really great things about my job is the chance to preview new products before they make it to stores. Usually it’s a candle or pillow but every now and again it’s something unexpected but totally fun — like these pet costumes from Target!

While I don’t exactly plan on taking my pups trick-or-treating, I couldn’t resist dressing them up for fun. Target’s expanded their already (super!) adorable selection for 2012 so if you haven’t considered decking out your dog before – this may be the year.

Here’s my little girl, Sophie, modeling one of the new costumes that just hit the shelves. She’s a 3-year old Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle) and, as you can tell, she’s pretty jazzed to be mommy’s little piggy:Sophie in her pig Halloween costume

 Not to be outdone, Madeline, my 9-year-old Bichon Frise, strutted her stuff as a cheerleader: Madeline in cheerleader costume

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Have $20,000 laying around? If so, this Hammacher Schlemmer tree house would make for a great back-to-school gift for your kids. Since it’s such a large purchase, maybe you could just save it for Christmas?

Log Cabin Tree Lodge

Do I have you yelling, “Yeah, right!” yet?

OK OK, calm down. Perhaps this is a fantasy purchase for most parents, but still — it’s pretty amazing. Can you even imagine how your little tykes would react to something like this?

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I discovered DwellStudio bedding a decade ago by stumbling into one of those perks of living in New York City: the sample sale. At the time I’d never spent more than $30 on a set of sheets (thank you Ikea!), but I immediately knew that this bedding, with its not-your-mom’s patterns and material quality, would be an investment I wouldn’t regret.

dwellstudio entrance christiane lemieux

Look at those ram door pulls! And right: Christiane Lemieux

Now, more than ten years later, the company is opening its first flagship store in SoHo. Founder and Creative Director Christiane Lemieux has expanded the DwellStudio line to include furniture, home accessories, baby and children’s furnishings, along with their bedding staples. I got a chance to preview their new space and see their line of furniture in person for the first time. Such a treat!

dwellstudio bedding and textiles

Bedding display on shelves painted the perfect shade of slate gray.

The store feels as if you’ve stepped into someone’s very well curated home with vintage finds mixed in among the company’s line of modern products. I am still gaga for the bedding and can attest to its resilience over time. That first set I invested in still looks as fresh today as it did in 2001. It would even work well with any of the newer patterns. The sofas are luxurious and classically neutral enough to play well with pieces you already own.  The baby and children’s line is darling without being saccharine. But most impressive to me was the wall of DwellStudio fabrics which seem to have been designed to let you mix patterns like a pro despite not actually being one.

dwellstudio furniture

I couldn't fit this sofa in my bag, but I tried.

If you’re in New York, or plan to be, you can check out the store yourself starting today. Tell me in the comments if you have any designers that you still love after all these years.

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I’m a self-confessed Justin Timberlake fan and have been since the 90s – you know, the ‘N Sync days? So, when I heard that Justin was teaming with celebrity stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley to launch HomeMint, a collection of home goods and art, I kind of freaked out, naturally.

Justin is an international artist, style icon and entrepreneur, and now, he’s officially marching into the design world as HomeMint’s designer and curator. It may seem like unlikely territory, but to him it feels natural. “HomeMint combines my love of architecture and interior design with my passion for technology and social media to create a brand that offers aspirational designs for the home at accessible prices,” he says.

homemint justin timberlake estee stanleyJustin Timberlake, designer/curator of HomeMint

Justin and Estee designed some of the pieces in the collection and curated others, seeking inspiration from European design and blends of different styles of architecture. The collection, that officially launched today, features everything from bohemian throw pillows and ceramic storage jars to Thonet dining chairs and Indian Ikat hand-tufted rugs. The exclusivity and uniqueness of many of these products are where Justin and Estee’s expertise is evident.

At today’s launch event at The Mercer Hotel in New York City, the two discussed the line’s look and feel, having both male and female curators. Justin certainly brings a level of masculinity to the collection, although feminine elements still remain intact. While Estee finds the masculinity apparent through the dinnerware and throws, Justin thinks the collection’s layering presents his strongest influence but adds: “There’s nothing like a woman’s touch to a home.”

So, I’ve already picked out a few of my favorite HomeMint items. (Well done, JT. Well done.) What I love most is how unique each item feels, along with the European flair. They’re all right on trend, but still feel like they could last in your home for ages.

homemint justin timberlake home goods pillowsSpeckled silk pillow in orange and pink (top); Jacobean print pillow in orange (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley artwork sage vaughnArtwork: New Wave by Sage Vaughn

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley antique rugsAntique Russian hand-woven rug (top); Antique Moroccan hand-tufted rug (middle); Turkish hand-knotted rug (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley decorative skullsDecorative brass (left) and silver (right) skulls

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley celadon vase ironwood snake accessoriesCeladon carved vase with cover; Large and small ironwood snakes

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley tarascon dishwareHand-woven Moroccan basket; Tarascon cereal bowl and mug; Blonde hickory cutting board

HomeMint shoppers can purchase these products at non-member pricing or pay a monthly membership fee of $9.99. Members receive exclusive pricing, early-bird access to limited edition items and a personalized showroom of products each month, matched to their particular style.

Check out the brand-new collection and let us know what you think. Are you surprised by Justin’s taste? Were you expecting the pieces to be different? Let us know in the comments below.

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It’s that time of year again — when you show your mom how much you appreciate her. Since Mother’s Day is approaching (and since I’m in a good mood), I thought I would share more than one delight today to help you pick the right gift.

For the mom with a green thumb: Your mom won’t need much of a green thumb to keep this tillandsia plant by Terrain alive. The kit includes everything you need from the actual plant to the tear drop glass.

Tillandsia Plant

For the culinary mom: If your mom loves to cook and appreciates a nice bouquet of flowers, then this kitchen utensil bouquet by AlwaysFits.com would be a great gift to give. The set comes with all the essential utensils a cook needs, and you can display it as a bouquet on the counter when it isn’t in use. So clever.

Kitchen Utensil Bouquet

 

For the eco-friendly mom: This patterned compact tote bag by Blue Avocado is an eco-friendly way for your mom to carry her lunch. It comes in different colors and is made with recycled materials. I may have to add this to my own wish list.

Eco-Friendly Tote Bag

For the tea-loving mom: If your mom loves iced tea, then this cafe-style iced tea brewer by Olive and Cocoa is the ultimate gift. You make the hot tea in the top pitcher and pour it over ice into the bottom pitcher for freshly made iced tea. Tea never looked or tasted so good!

Iced Tea Brewer

And to really top off your mom’s special day, throw her a memorable, elegant brunch. Do you have any special plans for your mother this year? Tell us in the comments below.

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When Blu Dot was first starting out, they got their logo design in exchange for building a custom treehouse. So you might say that the company was founded on an ethos of swapping. Which is lucky for the rest of us, because BluDot is having another virtual Swap Meet, starting today!

swap meet logo

The poster states “All reasonable trades considered,” and they’re not kidding. They’re seeking talents, devices, oddities, tasks, taxidermy, collections, crafts and whatnot in exchange for their gorgeous modern chairs, sofas, lamps and more. Last year there were tons of artistic and eccentric bids accepted, like a spork collection and a secret handshake. It’s got me wondering if I can parlay something like my grandmother’s treasured green chili recipe into that Lily Pad Coffee Table I had my eye on!

five swaps on bludot swap meet

How about you? What would you trade for some Blu Dot goodies?

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Everything’s coming up Seuss! Today is the 108th birthday anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), and also marks Read Across America Day and the opening of the 3D-CG Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie in theaters. Do you like Seuss in a book? Would you like it as a look?* Check out this sweet Seuss suite from the Loews Portofino Bay hotel in Orlando.

Though my Internet research hints that these rooms may have been converted to other family-fun themes recently, you can carry Seuss style into your own kids’ room with a few simple elements. Start with a color scheme of crisp white accented by bold primary colors, as in these Seuss-like designs. Feeling artsy? You can try painting the classic characters on the walls, but no one would blame you if you went with these easy Dr. Seuss decals instead. Whimsical furniture that’s just a little off-balance is a must. Top it all off with super-cute Seuss bedding and accessories, and your kids will feel as though they’ve stepped into the pages of their favorite book.

*(I’m sorry, but it’s mandatory that all references to Dr. Seuss contain some Green Eggs and Ham rhyming.)

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A good thrift store becomes a great thrift store when you can maximize your spending power. Discount days are perfect for getting more bang for your buck.

Some stores run daily or weekly sales. Often times, sale items are identified by color tags. I find it difficult to keep up with the ever changing sale days and colors, so I have a notebook to write down which days have which colors and what percentage off I can expect.
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We’ve done a lot of work on our apartment recently, but one area that regrettably remains untouched are the closets. And they are a horror show. (When I say I have skeletons in my closet, I mean literally — the Martha Stewart skeletons that I use as Halloween decor keep falling out of my hall closet when I open it. And don’t get me started on the nightmare that’s barely containing my wardrobe.) So, when I spotted this “closet” in the Australian retail store Green With Envy, that is what I turned.

david hicks closet

Designer David Hicks (not that David Hicks, this David Hicks) gave this dressing room area all the touches I’d dream of if I had a walk-in closet of my own: Art Deco lines, a sophisticated-yet-decidedly-feminine color scheme, a dramatic display rack of clothes and comfortable seating. Shopping usually feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I’d try on tons of togs if it meant spending time here.

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So, The Twelve Days of Christmas actually start ON Christmas Day (or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me), but I’m gonna try something a little different here and kinda do a countdown with the famous carol leading up to Christmas. And in keeping with my own interpretation of the chronology, I’m also going to get a bit less-than-literal with the gift recommendations. Starting with this whole “partridge in a pear tree” affair.

partridge pear tree

I think a pear tree sounds lovely (mmm, pear tarts!) and partridge a bit less so, but honestly, not many people have room for either these days. That’s why I think these cool retro brass partridge figurines and Jonathan Adler graphic pear pillow make a pleasant alternative. If my true love showed up with these, I wouldn’t regift them, is what I’m trying to say.

 

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on HGTV.com, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.

svpply

This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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It’s party season! If you are planning on attending holiday parties this year, be sure not to show up empty handed. I’ve compiled 10 Fabulous Gift Ideas for the Hostess to share with you. These are easy to find, easy to order or just might inspire you to find something similar. Let’s start with edible gifts. Sweets and treats are abundant this time of year and they are especially great when they come with pretty packaging. Baking yourself? Buy cute plates like the elf one and present your goodies on the plate.

english toffee cratehot chocolatejingle elf platescaramel peanut bark

I always love personalized gifts! Think ahead and order monogrammed gifts for any upcoming events you are attending. The monogrammed mugs can be filled with candy, treats or a gift card and wrapped with cellophane and ribbon for a perfect hostess gift.

emma mugfern in burlapmonogrammed soap

Delight your hostess with scented candles or body products. She’ll need the stress relief once the party is over!

parties for hosting, holiday candlesstress relief

What do you usually bring when you attend a holiday party? Tell me in the comments below! I would love to hear your ideas.

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While I sometimes enjoy thrifting alone, going with a friend can be a whole lot better.

'i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Shopping with a buddy gives you an opportunity to get a second opinion right on the spot about an item.

What’s I Heart Thrifting Day?

Of course, this will only work if you value that person’s opinion, so make sure your friend is one you trust. You need someone who can even be truthful and let you know when you don’t need something, too.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Small groups are an excellent way to cover more ground a a very large flea market. Put together a list of what everyone is seeking and you can easily text or send a quick picture if you find something on the list.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

How great is it to smile with a friend about one of your awesome scores or share thoughts on the seller whose prices were sky high?

So what are your perks for having a thrifting buddy or group?

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When I was growing up, my family always used to ask me for my Christmas wish list about a month in advance, and it would be a whole big production. This year, I think I’m going to save everyone the trouble and send them a link to Zinc Door. Done and done. I’ve always admired Wendy Estes and Tiffany Harris’ other site, the more traditional Layla Grace, but you know when you look at a certain catalog or walk into a certain store and think, “Oh, these people just get me”? Zinc Door is like that. The vibe is modern, eclectic, fun and still sophisticated at the same time. (It’s got echoes of Kelly Wearstler, if I do say so myself.) Case in point? This Branch Cabinet.

branch cabinet

It’s industrial, yet organic at the same time. I’m a total sucker for anything tree-related (a product of being from Pennsylvania?), but the aluminum branches are not just decorative. How clever that they’ve been incorporated into the design as the media cabinet’s legs! This is a little much to expect Santa to leave for me, but really, I’ll take anything from Zinc Door. I just hope the elves are listening.

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Guys, I meant to tell you about Michelle Armas‘s energetic abstract paintings a long time ago, when I first was tipped off to their existence by Cassandra LaValle of Coco + Kelley, I really did. But I’m a little selfish. Her paintings always seem to sell very quickly, and I didn’t want my favorite pieces to be snatched up before I had a chance to consider them. I apologize for withholding information. To make amends, I’ll give you this hot tip: Michelle’s got a new Etsy store.

droid painting

Okay, I’m still protecting my best interests. This wild riot of color and motion (“Droid”) is one of my favorite $100 paintings on her Etsy page, but not my absolute favorite. I hope you don’t guess which one I’m crushing on before I buy it, or I’ll be crushed.

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When I first started thrifting for my apartment, I filled my shopping cart with everything that caught my eye. Too many times, I’d leave an item behind to give myself time to consider it, only to come back to find that someone else had bought it.

Thrifters Gotta Have Patience

But the real trick isn’t throwing everything in your cart just to keep someone else from picking it up. It’s editing before the item even goes in your cart.

Vintage BowlYes, this vintage bowl is gorgeous. But do you really need it?

The first thing is to ask, “Do I really want this? Where will I place it?” If you say yes to the first question and give a quick response to the second, I would say it’s a keeper. However, if you don’t have a place for it, and/or it doesn’t give you the happy feeling, let it go.

I admit to having way too many dishes. I used to buy inexpensive pieces because they were my style. Many of those pieces are still sitting in the bag the cashier placed them in. If you don’t entertain regularly, or display dishes as soon as you get home, chances are you won’t ever use them. So edit your cart and take out those pretties. Heartbreaking, I know. However, it’s for the better.

How to Display Dishes if You Just Can’t Part With Them

Double check what’s in your cart to make sure you don’t already have something similar. Unless you collect canisters, ask yourself whether it’s necessary to have two sets.

Do you edit while you shop? What are some of your tips.

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I’m getting a little older, so Urban Outfitters isn’t one of my go-to stores these days, but every so often something pretty will catch my eye and put it back on my radar. Like these cherry blossom curtain tie-backs.

cherry blossom tie back

The curly brass branches are a striking color, and the white enamel blossoms look so delicate against that glowing backdrop. They’re feminine and fun, and at only $14(!) each, you really can’t go wrong. Just promise me you’ll leave the ironic tees to the 25 and under set, yes?

  • Tell Your Friends

It has been said many times that patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, neither patience nor virtue can be bought in stores. If you have it, then you should put it to good use when thrifting.

design star thrifting

HGTV Design Star contestant Mark Diaz thrift shopping.

Thrift stores in general don’t have an overstock of items, that once gone are replenished. The inventory is updated as often as things are brought onto the floor. A moment of patience can change your life in a thrift store.

Many people go into a thrift store and see nothing they want in the first five minutes and say, “There’s nothing here for me.” However, the moment they leave could very well be the moment the exact item they desire comes from the back room.

True story: I was shopping for a client’s room and was about to walk out the door. As I walked down one aisle, I saw an easel. This easel had not been there while I was shopping moments earlier. I immediately inquired and bought it.

Another true story: I was again shopping for a client and saw a mirror that had just come onto the floor. I told one of my assistants to inquire about a price. Unfortunately they didn’t. It was already sold by the time I could ask for the price myself; just that quick.

It’s not a race to see who can snag the best deal, it’s about being patient and not being in such a rush to leave. There is no set time when inventory is brought out. There is no planogram for the new and incoming items.

If you are leisurely shopping, I say giver yourself an hour to just watch the store. See if the associates are bringing anything out. I am not by any means suggesting you stay there all day (although I know some people who do spend that long). I am simply encouraging you to be available to what may be “The Find” for you.

So tell me. Do you leave a thrift store if you don’t see anything that catches your eye upon arrival?

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