Laruemarche
 I really just can not say enough about the shoe selection at La Rue Marche in Hudson, Wis. Don't get me wrong, I could buy a lot of clothes and jewelry at this feminine boutique, but every time I visit, it's the shoe table that has me oohing and aahing the most. Chic, wearable, colorful and best of all, original. You're sure to find styles and brands you won't see everywhere – or anywhere – in town. Lisa Shortridge knows what girls want to walk in, and how much we're willing to pay. 

I didn't buy a thing at the mall today, despite the amazing sales – or actually, because of them. The zipper pouch where I keep all of my coupons, discount vouchers and gift cards is literally overflowing. I've got 20 percent off of this, $30 off of that, $10 free when you spend $100, 25 percent off when you spend $50. Then you get to the stores and they've got 10 other promotions. It's all just too much. I couldn't figure out which discounts were better and which offers I could combine. But I didn't want to chance paying more than I should, so I just walked out. I figure, even if my discount cards expire, the store markdowns will only continue to improve.  

It’s the little things

The Roseville SuperTarget has new shopping carts - new to me anyway; it's not my usual store. They're red and basically the same size and design, but streamlined and more rounded (think Jeep Cherokee 10 years ago vs. today). Anyway, I just have to say, it was the most pleasant cart pushing experience I've had in ages. So smooth. Turned on a dime! Made it much easier to weave in and out of the ridiculous crowd (yes, people are shopping.)

Napoleon told me to prime

 napoleon
I used primer this morning, because Target's newest star, Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis told me to. I met the beauty king (don't call him a queen – he's married – and yes, he does his wife's makeup for special events) at the downtown Minneapolis Target store. He's in town this week for meetings at the bullseye headquarters about his budget line, NP Set. Perdis is a ton of fun – sassy, stylish and genuinely thrilled to make women – not just Debra Messing (who really does look that fab, he says) – look that good. "Not to prime is a crime!" he says. And who am I to protest? So, I used his Primer today. It should make everything else go on smoother, he says. And I suppose it did. I don't really know. The only thing I find that really makes a difference in my makeup is having someone else apply it. Still, the product did feel and smell nice. I'm now looking forward to Perdis' TLC  series debuting Monday, "Get Your Face On," where 12 aspiring makeup artists compete to be a Perdis protege. I just hope they have their own faces on. Perdis has no patience for people who don't try. Have they never heard of mascara?
Want to know why Perdis believes you should put your mascara on first? Read all about it in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next weekend!

Spotted StormSister Spatique owner Becky Sturm standing beside a display table at StyledLife at the Galleria and needed to know more. Seems the St. Paul beauty boutique is partnering with the Minneapolis accessories store. Sturm was presenting her stylish Timothy Han candles as part of a new StyledLife travel collection that also includes men's shades and luggage. Sturm hinted that there's more to come – from both retailers.  

Whether the goal is giving a boost to Twin Cities retailers and artists (who could really use it this year), reducing your carbon footprint, buying something more unique than the mass merchants sell or all of the above, shopping local is not only thoughtful, it's trendy this holiday season. Of course, AliShops.com is here to help you find the best of local shopping week in and week out.  But here are a few other resources for holiday shopping:

Made in Minnesota Gift Guide - A directory of hundreds of Minnesota-based artisans and locally made products of all kinds.

Textile Center Holiday Show & Sale – Featuring jewelry, art, mittens and more made by dozens of local designers.

MNFashion holiday boutique – Clothing, accessories and more from local designers.

Blue Sky Guide – A "Happenings" book for the tree hugger in your life. Featuring coupons for eco-friendly dining, travel, entertainment, shopping and more.

Etsy.com - You could spend the entire month searching around this site, but narrow it down with a search for Minnesota-made products – you'll find some great stuff.

This weekend in particular, several events highlight locally made gifts: No Coast Craft-o-Rama, Landmark Center Holiday Bazaar, Grand Meander, and the events go on and on. Click here for all the details.