Wondering where the shoppers are at 5 p.m. on a Saturday? Hirshfield’s. That’s right – the reason you had such an easy time getting a reservation at Nick & Eddie is that most Minnesotans stayed home to paint.
Seriously, I couldn’t believe the line at 4:50 p.m.: Dads and kids, twentysomething guys, young couples, women in their 50s — all eager to stock up before closing time. I was right there with them, along with my 3-year-old, who didn’t want to leave after discovering the play area (yes, even paint stores have toys these days!). I was just impressed by how quickly the guys behind the counter mixed that paint and moved us out. Guess someone had other weekend plans.
My mission at Hirshfield’s was to buy a big dose of boring. My husband spent the evening covering up our lime green kitchen wall and dining room stripes in the hopes that our house, on the market for a few months now, might actually sell. Don’t get me started on why a little paint supposedly stands in the way of a home sale and why people prefer a house of bland.
Being quite pregnant, I had no choice but to stay away from the paint fumes. Dateless and depressed, I holed up in the bedroom with HGTV. Which is how we got into this mess in the first place.
I’ve got to get out more often.

As alluded to in a previous post, I got a peek at the Uber Outlet at 60th and Lyndale in Minneapolis, which is scheduled to open next week. It’s big. There will be fitting rooms and a play area for kids, but the decor will be simple to keep to the focus on deals – maternity and baby clothes as well as other categories, like accessories. I’ll have an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next week about the growing number of local retailers that favor outlets over in-store sales, and more specifics on the Uber Outlet will be posted at AliShops.com. But let me leave you with one more pertinent detail: while the Uber Outlet will sell clearance goods from Expecting Uber Baby and Uber Baby at the Galleria, much of the merchandise will be brought in especially for the outlet. On the one hand, it’s another much-needed destination for better quality clothes at affordable prices. On the other, it could be a bit disappointing to those hoping to find deals on merchandise they specifically saw at the Galleria. What do you think?

Last week, I promised the scoop on Baby Grand’s new store on Mainstreet in Hopkins and I have not forgotten…it’s just taking a bit longer to open than owners had hoped. The new target is this weekend. But call first. Meanwhile, swimwear shop Nani Nalu is frantically preparing for its move from Ridgedale Center to 50th and France on Feb. 1. The new shop promises an expanded selection and a few surprises – check back next week for that story. Then on Feb. 5, the folks behind Expecting Uber Baby will open their Uber Outlet (I’m getting a sneak peek this week, so I’ll let you know what to…expect.) And in March, Uber Baby will open at the Galleria with a new focus on children’s shoes. Then in April, Hot Mama heads west for its latest addition: a Wayzata store.

And we haven’t even hit spring! Lots more shopping news to come – and this is the place to find it first. Wondering about a specific store opening or what will become of a vacant store front in the Twin Cities? Let me know and I’ll try to get you the details.

Tip of the day: don’t go lingerie shopping with a Victoria’s Secret angel when you’re seven months pregnant. Doesn’t do a lot to boost one’s self-image. I met up with model Selita Ebanks for a little lingerie talk before her appearance at the Mall of America Victoria’s Secret store earlier this week. She’s been an "angel" – sort of like a sorority, with less clothing, the usual scrutiny and more perks – for three years. Honestly, I hadn’t heard her name before the publicists started calling me about her appearance. But apparently, others know her, because two hours before she was scheduled to start signing autographs, fans – and not just the drooling male variety – were lining up outside the store. Selita was charming – even in her total adoration of Victoria Secret and all of its products.  I’m inclined to believe her – all she has to do is point at something in the store and it’s hers. Read all about it in my "Shopping with…" column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next Sunday, Jan. 27.

In case you missed it on the biz pages, Isaac Mizrahi is leaving Target. He’s moving on to a more lucrative  – and challenging – undertaking: trying to revive Liz Claiborne.
Analysts are saying it’s a big blow to Target, which reinvented its image as a trend retailer with the introduction of Mizrahi’s exclusive collection five years ago. Isaac Mizrahi for Target sells as much as $300 million annually, according to the New York Times.
I was impressed by the line when it debuted, and season after season, I find myself drawn to a jacket or dress. But honestly, I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually bought an Isaac Mizrahi item at Target. Like so many of the retailer’s fashion lines, it’s always better in the flashy ads than in the fitting room. Don’t get me wrong – I love that Target continues to take fashion risks and introduce the public to edgy designers most people couldn’t afford (or find). But perhaps this shake-up is a good opportunity to take a step back and make sure there’s substance behind the style.

Beauty and style guides land on my desk virtually every day and generally get stacked in a dusty pile. Sure, some of them include a useful tip or two…but rarely enough to warrant purchasing. I can, however, wholeheartedly recommend the new "How Not to Look Old" – and not just because I advised author Charla Krupp on which Twin Cities salons to spotlight in the city-by-city beauty guide at the back of the book. (The mere fact that she includes cities between NY and LA is a triumph.)

Krupp, a veteran beauty editor and frequent style expert on the Today show, has managed to stay real after years in the fashion biz. She’s more concerned about spider veins and hair loss and disguising a less-than-taut tummy than the next runway collection or miracle cream. "Aging sucks," she writes. "The question is, what are we going to do about it?" Her book is honest, humorous and packed with useful tips on everything from managing wrinkles to wearing the right shapewear.

One of the big lightening rods seems to be Krupp’s advice on
hosiery. "For some reason," she told me this week, "women didn’t know
not to wear nude hose!" Krupp is a fan of fishnets and opaques. For
dressy occasions, she says to go with bare legs (spray-on tanner helps)
or consider nude fishnets. If your dress happens to be black, very sheer black stockings could work.

Beyond the seemingly endless hosiery debates, Krupp stirred up a bit of controversy on my radio show, "Shop Girls" a few weeks ago when she advised women over 40 not to go gray. A flurry of calls followed from women reluctant to commit to hair color for the rest of their lives. Sure, maintenance is a bitch, but Krupp is goal oriented: lightening your hair takes 10 years off your appearance. Yes, we’ll save your spot while you call the salon.

Which one? Well, for those Minneapolis beauty listings at the back of Krupp’s book – what pressure! – I suggested Jon English, Denny Kemp, Root Salon, Brian Graham Salon and Juut at Gaviidae, especially master stylist Woody Theis, who got up early to style Krupp’s hair when she was in town recently. (It’s blond.)

Lucky magazine finally figured out what we’ve known all along: the Twin Cities boasts an impressive bevy of independent boutiques. In the February issue, on newsstands Wednesday, Lucky features Minneapolis and St. Paul among "the best new cities to shop." They singled out 15 independent stores: some obvious, like Ivy, Stephanie’s, Bluebird Boutique and the Walker Shop; and a few intended to prove they really did their homework, like Salon Rouge for beauty products and Swank Interiors for vintage furnishings. (Get the full list in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.) There are some glaring omissions: StyledLife, Cherie, Corazon – but, then, there would be no way to adequately capture the entire scene on one page…that’s what AliShops.com is for.
Actually, Lucky indirectly contributed to the launch of AliShops.com. I used to provide local shopping news for the magazine’s website, until they decided a few years ago to cut Minneapolis. That’s right – they kept Denver, and axed the Twin Cities. I told them that was crazy – this is a creative, cosmopolitan city, filled with interesting, innovative retail concepts and fashionable residents. Seems they’re finally catching on. Better late than never.

A good tailor is hard to find – and for some, hard to admit you need since adding $20 in alterations to any garment is no one’s idea of a good time. But any fashion expert will tell you to factor the price of tailoring in to every purchase. A good fit makes all the difference.
This is the month to test that strategy at Glamour Tailors (3515 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-825-2085). While I can’t speak from personal experience, many very particular fashionistas and boutique owners recommend the place. They do everything from original hems on denim to custom designing to men’s tailoring. And this month, when you pay full price for one alteration, the second (of lesser value) is half-price.