Linden Hills boutique Ensemble is bowing out of the retail biz. Owner Larissa Larson says the decision was based on family, not finances. Larson, who opened the store with her sister but has been running it herself the past couple of years, has decided to stay home with her little boy. “Ensemble has done extremely well, even during these tough economic times," Larson said. "We feel very lucky that this is a choice we can freely make.” Visit Sales/Specials for closing sale details.
This is the rare retail story that seems to have a happy ending. Word has it the Ensemble space, which is connected to Dunn Brothers, has already been leased by local organic children's clothing company Oscar & Belle, slated to open June 1. Stay tuned for more details.

There should be a law against calling a store an "outlet" when it isn't. We all know (or should) that you can't assume the deals are legit at an outlet mall – I warn shoppers about that all the time. Still, there's something about that term that makes even an educated bargain shopper hopeful. I fell for the sign at the "Lighting Outlet" in Golden Valley. What a joke. The prices were no better than Lowes, which is where I ended up finding a fixture I preferred – "full" price and all.

I had to ask. Interviewing Sarah Silverman's sister, author Jodyne Speyer, about her book "Dump 'Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from your Best Friend to your Hairdresser," I addressed what I thought was the obvious question: Did Silverman read the book before dumping longtime beau Jimmy Kimmel?
"No other reporter has asked me that!" Speyer said during our chat on Shop Girls on FM107.1. She added that the breakup happened before Silverman had read the book. "It's hard to have a public relationship," Speyer said. "It's not fun living in L.A." It can also be tough being "Sarah Silverman's sister" – especially when you're trying to promote your own book. Speyer says cameras follow Silverman everywhere. "She plays it up – she's too nice." I suggested Speyer hold a copy of her book when lunching with her sister – could be the most direct path to the pages of People.
As for Kimmel, Speyer has nothing but kind words. "There are four daughters in our family, but we always say that my dad's favorite daughter is Jimmy. We're holding a space. Maybe there's a future there."

 Toys on your shopping list? It's worth scooting over to Creative Kidstuff today: everything – yes everything – is 27 percent off!


 I share a fashion frustration with Harlem Globetrotter Aundre "Hot Shot" Branch: We both have legs disproportionately long for our torsos. It can happen at any height. So, I avoid tucking in. At least where I stand, it's not so difficult to find pants that are long enough. Poor Aundre didn't even bother to look for his size when we went shopping today at Mall of America. And worse yet, the guy doesn't do custom. What's left? Read all about it in my "Shopping With…" column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next Sunday, April 5.
By the way, Branch's teammates roll into town for a couple of games April 10 and 11 – and don't assume tickets will be easy to come by. That Globetrotters track suit caused quite a commotion at the MOA. I suppose practicing our spins outside of Nordstrom could have had a little something to do with it…

Jcarlefashfeud Gotta say, the Fashion Feud was fun. Good crowd, but not pushy and sweaty. City chic, but not overdone. Two up and coming local designers, Kimberly Jurek and Jenny Carle, with an hour to create an outfit on stage out of a pile of "mystery" fabric. And people really watched. Kjurekfashfeud They could have done more with it: an emcee to offer some color commentary along the way and interview the designers as they frantically sewed, a panel of judges rather than going entirely by screams. But still, the concept has potential and on a crowded calendar of local fashion shows,this designer-driven event is a stand out. Catch the full report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and look for details about the Fashion Feud finals on

Pull Out a Plum salon and mini-boutique at 50th and France has closed, as has The Garden Sampler in Linden Hills.

Know the value of your gold before you try to sell. To calculate, visit

Get a bob! Easier to maintain than layers, says Wendy Iles.She swears that I could wear one, despite my unruly layers. I don't believe her, even though she has worked with Penelope Cruz and Chloe Sevigny, but I am at least pondering the notion.

Here's a great way to fund your next shopping spree and clean out your jumbled jewelry drawer. Haupt Antiek Market, a Rosemount antique market open just four days per month, is hosting a "Gold Party." People are invited to bring in broken gold jewelry or unwanted items and get paid for it by jewelers on the spot. Party times are tonight, Thursday, March 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Take pride in following: has been declared a Trendsetter by Check it out, and while you're there, take advantage: Shopittome keeps track of sales on your favorite brands so you don't have to. And with all the time you'll save scouring the Internet for deals, you might consider picking up extra hours to pay for the fashions you're going to want to buy. (But honey, it was such a good deal, not buying would have been a crime…)