Going to the mall can be a major pain in the ass. The bane of my existence are the long lines at the dressing room. And when you finally get in there with your big pile of clothes, the terrible lighting highlights every bit of cottage cheese; you stand there in your underwear feeling defeated by a crappy light bulb. It's all very Bridget Jones.
Kamie Archinal is saving women from wanting to punch dressing-room mirrors with her mobile boutique It's a Luv Thing. She had a brick-and-mortar shop of the same name in Encinitas for seven years, but the challenge of maintaining hours and keeping it stocked with cool merchandise was tough for the single mom. So, she bought a 1971 Volkswagen bus and turned it into a mobile boutique she can take wherever, whenever.
Moore got in the vintage game in 1980 in New York City. She says she and Boelhouwer are the perfect ying and yang for their business.
I'm not a big fan of baby showers. I spend most of my time at the snack table taking way more than my portion of cucumber sandwiches and wishing I could get drunk. It might stem from a baby shower where one of my aunts confused me for my older sister who at the time was seven months pregnant. That bitch. Anyway, I found myself at a baby shower for my good friend Mary recently. It was actually really fun because it wasn't ridiculously girly and we were encouraged to drink spiked berry tea.
Mary and her husband, Andy, have decided to wait until the birth to find out the baby's gender. They want it to be a surprise, which is great. However, shopping for a baby gift that's gender neutral isn't that easy. Luckily, Mary and Andy aren't gender nazis. They won't refuse to put blue on a baby girl, which I love about them. It still made things a bit tough, but guests seemed to take on the challenge when it came time for presents. One person gave them vintage children's records that she'd framed to hang in the nursery. Other great ideas were classic children's books, lullaby CDs featuring songs by The Beatles and little soft slippers.
The baby shower inspired me to look into cool gifts that can be used for a girl or boy. I found Lullababes, a local company headed by stay-at-home mom Melissa Magee, who makes blankets for kids of all ages. The blankies are made with patterned fabric, cozy fleece and warm shag and trimmed with satin ribbon, making them soft and comfortable. They come in three sizes: Baby Babe (40"x30"), Between Babe (4'x6') and Big Babe (5'x9') and start at $75. A little pricey for a blanket that will inevitably be covered in poop and vomit, but it's a lifer. The kid will probably end up taking it to college.
You can browse the styles in stock or fill out a form for a custom order. Magee will do her best to match it to your exact specifications. While, for the most part, the designs seemed to be very much for boys or girls, there were a few in the online shop that were gender neutral while avoiding the cliche of yellow duckies. I liked the Sassy Stripes and Lots of Dots designs, because they really could be draped over a chair in a boy's or girl's room. They're both simple with a cute pattern. For something a little edgier, Lullababes also has the Fluid Serenity style and Scrolly Skulls. They're a bit more grown-up and work for the parents who don't want to feel like parents. Wait, isn't that all parents? Hi-yo!
For other cool, genderless baby gifts, I recommend Magical Child (967 S. Coast Highway 101) in Encinitas. If you live in, or happen to be in, North County, it's full of crazy-cute baby gifts that will melt your cold, bitter heart. There's everything from toys and books to clothing and accessories for the little ones.
South Park's Mythology Eco-Boutique (2365 30th St.) is another place with insanely adorable baby stuff that departs from the traditional boy/girl styles, prints and colors. Every time I pass the store, I see onesies hanging in the window that make my uterus cry lonely tears. Like this one, and this one, and, oh my God, this one. Are you gushing yet? Because I am.
It's the end of the week and your bank account is a little bit chunkier, thanks to your paycheck showing up through direct deposit. What a great invention. Going to the bank on pay day is the worst. So now that your wallet is a little fatter, head out to these great shopping events to spend a bit of your hard-earned dough. Awesome bonus: Spending that dough will be doing some good at these events.
When you're on the hunt for cute women's clothing and handmade gifts and accessories made by local artists all set in a beautifully decorated environment, where do you go? When I asked a few friends, they went down the list of usual suspects: Downtown, Uptown (Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, etc.) and bits of North County, like Encinitas and Carlsbad. Not once did one of them gasp, roll their eyes and exclaim, "Ummahgawd, you have to go to Vista!"
Hannah Le is trying to change that with her new-ish boutique, Metaphor, located at 222 E. Broadway in Old Vista Village, which as of late has gotten spruced up with some legitimately hip businesses. In fact, Metaphor is right next door to a record store and just down the street from Mother Earth Brewing Co. All fall under the definition of what's cool. The shop opened up a little over three months ago and carries an eclectic mix of women's clothing, gifts, perfume, jewelry, greeting cards and all those other things that make the ladies lose their shit. Still, I had to ask Hannah the question that many others have asked.
"I've had several people ask me 'why Vista?' And my response has always been why not Vista?," she explains. "When I came to the area to scout out a place with my business partner, I noticed there was a lot of potential in the area. So far it's been great. The city of Vista's been doing a lot to revitalize area. The community has been really embracing new businesses coming in. Vista, I feel, is getting a whole new makeover."
Le is stoked to give customers a chance to buy unique items without having to go to Encinitas, and her loyal fans are equally happy about that. Among the goods she carries are knitted felted purses by Donna Steffen and jewelry by local designer Fox and Finch, who uses vintage items to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Le handpicks everything that is sold in her shop, which is a cross between Anthropologie and Free People only way more affordable. As someone who absolutely loves Anthropologie but can't afford any of the non-super-discounted items that someone probably got stabbed in then returned, this is music to my ears.
"I try to keep it reasonable," Le assures. "I've had a few customers be hesitant about coming in, but then they look at our prices and see it's affordable. So they're happy they discovered our store. That's what drives people."
One thing I hate is when a shop owner says their goods are affordable and then tells me a simple summer dress is $65. While for many that might be a good deal, for this broke-ass girl it's not gonna happen. I'm a 5 for $20 Target underwear kind of lady. I keep it classy and cheap. But Le is pretty legit about her pricing. Dresses go for under $40 and, on average, blouses are $17 to $28. Metaphor, she says, doesn't have any products over $50. Halle-freakin'-llujah! While I'm not one to drive out of my way when I'm shopping, I just might make an exception for Metaphor.
Know a cool shop that should be Urban Scouted? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send her a tweet.