Jrwatkins It's good to be green when you're an A-list celeb. Don't spoil the surprise, but "eco-advocates" including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhall, Justin Timberlake, Tobey Maguire, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey and Sting can look forward to receiving hand-delivered gift baskets on Earth Day next week. The baskets will be filled with green consumer goods including lotions, lip balms and salves from Winona-based J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary (available at Target). This isn't the first celebrity kiss-up for Watkins – the company showered stars with its products at the 2008 Academy Awards as well. FYI: just because they drive the  Prius doesn't mean they can't afford soap.

Envision Forget New York. Major fashion designers ought to take their collections on the road. (Imagine: "Now playing in Dubuque: Michael Kors Fall '09!!!). They've been talking about selling tickets to Fashion Week anyway – it's not that much of a leap. Let's just take Minneapolis, for example. We've got fab venues, from museums to hotels, to stage shows – and it's got to be less expensive than the Bryant Park tents. We've got local hairstylists who travel to NY to participate – keep 'em home. And we've got interest. Oh, do we ever. I attended Saturday's Envision Spring '09 at the Graves Hotel. And besides wondering why the show needed to start at 11:20 p.m., I found myself more captivated by the crowd than the runway. Not to slight the participating designers and boutiques – they're great and working so hard to put Mpls on the map for fashion design. But we're still a small scene, and if you attend local shows regularly, they start to look the same. Same small handful of designers (pictured: Joynoelle – which should have been the finale, not the opening). Same unimpressive models. Yet every event – and get ready, we're headed into MN Fashion Week – draws a major crowd. Envision was especially impressive: young women in chic party dresses up to there, straight guys trying to be all JT in Fedoras. They are hungry for more than one Midwestern city can deliver on its own. Imagine if the fashion world brought us New York quality shows. These good looking, enthusiastic fashion seekers would go wild. Perhaps some might even be inspired to pay full price.

Just getting set to write a little guide for Spaces magazine about the ever-improving shopping at Selby and Snelling in St. Paul when I received word that Flirt lingerie boutique is leaving Grand Avenue to take a spot next to Patina at 177 Snelling Ave N. Owner Jessica Gerard says the new space will be more intimate and charming, with a fire place to boot. She's also bringing in new lines including Blush, In Boom and Nataya. The move will happen in June. But first, a moving sale at Flirt on Grand starts May 1 with 40 percent off much merchandise. AliShops.com will have all the details in Sales/Specials.

More moving news expected from Drama very soon. Stay tuned!

Summonsed by the boss

The boss at FM107.1 motioned through the studio glass for me to come see him when I finished chatting on-air with Kevyn Burger yesterday. Was it something I said? I definitely didn't curse. Too much talk about my hair, perhaps? I approached his office confident, yet curious. He dialed up his Facebook page. Pointed to a picture of his 12-year-old daughter wearing a gauzy scarf. "My daughter wanted me to ask you if this looks okay." Indeed it did, I told him - lightweight scarves are the must-have accessory for spring. Just doing my job.

Mentioned as a footnote to the news that Ensemble is closing (Sales/Specials for details) that a new store would be taking the space. Having talked to the owner of up and coming children's organic clothing line Oscar & Belle, I can tell you this sounds like an ideal fit for Linden Hills and a great addition to the Twin Cities shopping landscape. Sold mainly in boutiques on the coasts, the Minneapolis-based brand is ready to raise its profile. The shop will feature the full clothing collection (newborn to 5T) along with new additions like crib bedding and diaper bags. The style is simple and classic, the material is eco-friendly and it's all made right here in Minnesota. You won't have to wait long: the opening is scheduled for May 16. AliShops.com will have all the details.

Will the miserable construction atSpalon Montage in Edina ever end? Yes!, CEO Mitchell Wherley promised me today. In about 45 days. Watch for a full month of specials and promotions commencing in mid-June.
I'm full of salon/spa tidbits as I write this week's Savvy Shopper column. I'll have a list of new deals and discounts recently introduced to lure cautious consumers back to the salon. One that really feels like justice: Juut has cut the prices on blowouts. Prior to this month, a blowout cost as much as a haircut at Juut, which struck me as highway robbery – especially as my favorite Juut stylist's cutting fee rose to – gasp – $90. Now, a 30-minute blowout starts at $35 and costs about half the price of a cut. Smart move. Much more to come in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, April 12.

Britney drama in Mpls: a broken nail!

Lisa Loveless got the call after 6 p.m. Friday. A "guest" at the Chambers needed an acrylic nail filled ASAP. Loveless, a manicurist at Studio 411 in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis (612-374-1477) ran over to find the broken nail belonged to Ms. Britney Spears. Unfortunately – er, thankfully – the drama ended there.  Britney was quiet and casual in Ugg boots and a t-shirt. She had no entourage in the room, Loveless said, and she attempted a bit of small talk, asking where Loveless works. She sipped a Starbucks and took one call, which seemed to be "family and jokey," Loveless said. She didn't attempt to pay…the hotel handled that. (The concierge asked for a bill; Loveless says she did ok for herself. A fill in the salon is $40). Loveless did note that Britney's nails looked a little beat up from having fakes on and off. Why isn't that surprising?

Shopping 3/50

I've got the scoop in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press about a buzz-worthy effort to get consumers shopping at independent stores. Check it out, and then weigh in. Retailers are very excited about the 3/50 Project – but will shoppers share their enthusiasm? I think most shoppers care, in theory, about boutiques…but how much they actually shop them is another story. Hopefully this will at least make shoppers think twice before passing the corner gift store on their way to Target. Anything I know I can buy at a boutique without grossly overspending, I've been making an effort to do so – even if it means an extra stop. It's worth it. A city without cool stores would be a sad, bland place to be.
For more insight, tune in to Shop Girls this Saturday, April 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We'll talk to the founder of The 350 Project.

The next morning

After sleeping on the waves, it's looking more like a tornado. Sigh. And I'm judging a model try-out tonight! Ah well, seeing me should boost their confidence.

My hair is longer than ever as I – like so many nervous consumers – stretch the weeks between cuts. I've always wanted it this long, but would get too impatient and frustrated and cut it off (now it's a national holiday if I can coordinate an hour without children or work during salon hours). The truth is, my hair has never been the problem. Operator error is my curse. I'm just not good at doing my hair. I've been wearing it straight because it took years for me to learn how to use the straightening iron and I figured out that once I got it sort of calmed down, it would stay that way for days. "Natural" is, of course, a joke. Without styling, my hair looks like a crazy person. I've inquired, from time to time, about going wavy, but was put off by the steps involved in looking like you spent no time on your hair. Even Gisele doesn't wake up with those amazing waves, stylists say. And then they reconsider. Okay, maybe she does. But most people (i.e. losers like me) don't. I spent a recent beach vacation imagining my wet hair all loose waves and sex appeal, but in the mirror, it was more aftermath of electrocution. I complained to my stylist tonight that nothing works. He promised the length would help my thick locks fall more gracefully into place. Not true. My long bangs don't swoop like Katie Holmes'. And on top of it, the hair I lost during pregnancy is back – and wreaking frizzy havoc all around my face. "You're just bored," my stylist diagnosed. So he cut off an inch, did some rounding or straightening of layers or something and then diffused, diffused, diffused and scrunched, scrunched, scrunched. The result? No one will notice those frizzies now, nor do I need to worry about my bangs going the right direction. It's a little bit lioness, and I think I'm ok with that – tonight anyway. Of course now, the straightening creams, smoothing serums and irons I've spent years amassing are out the window and for the first time in my life with thick hair, I've been told to buy volumizer and get a diffuser. So much for cutbacks. Roar.