Nothing like a little early morning gift buying competition for Fox 9 News to get the shopping started before sunrise. Found some really festive gifts at ATAZ like a set of Santa and Rudolph plates for $36 and mini silver ornaments in a green box stamped with Fa La La (it's all about the packaging). If you need hostess gifts, dash to Crate & Barrel for for mini Santa bags filled with rice krispie treats or chocolate - $9.95 or $11.95. StyledLife has value priced gifts already wrapped and good to go - I fell for the patent leather gloves, just $38. And if you know a fur lover, they've got these cool mini fox and minks under $50 that you could wrap around a wrist or neck. Ampersand's Apothecary is stocked with $50 under 50. And I'm feeling the magic of the season (or, better about a bad hair day) in this fur trimmed $90 cap from Len Druskin. Shop on!
Sale shopping may be the latest fashion, but Nordstrom'sover-the-top Neiman Marcus-style gift packagesare selling.If you were planning to buy your sweetie a $6,150 Michael Buble VIP concert experience, too late - all 12 sold out, as did three VIP Grammy Awards experiences priced at $14,710. The $18,900 Ultimate Super Bowl trip is going fast, too. Still remaining: a custom wedding gown by designer Jason Wu for $22,230, a couture design by Isabel Toledo for $21,550 and a Stiletto Spy School session in Vegas for $10,000. Sorry, no coupons available.
Something exciting is brewing in the former EuroNest space on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park: local retailers and designers are teaming up for a holiday shop called The Guild. June , Style Minneapolis, Kico Kids and Organic Divas are participating, along with respected dealers whose goods aren't always available, like fossil curator Laurie Luehmann, stylist Gwen Leeds and Pam Mondale's jewelry and accessories. Goods will be integrated - no booths. "Picture ABC Carpet and Home - first floor," says Ann Garrity of Organic Divas. Clothing and accessories will have their own space, which Garrity compared to Bendel's second floor. Aim high! The store is scheduled to be open Nov. 3 to Dec. 31. But if it's a hit, there could be more to come in 2010.
It's easy to get caught up in the designer chocolates at Max's. But there are other reasons to check out this St. Louis Park shop, which offers an elegant mix of jewelry, art and chocolate. Max's was recently named one of the top retailers of 2008 by Niche magazine. The award recognizes retailers who are committed to fair business practices and to growing the North American craft community. Only 33 galleries and stores throughout the country received the honor. Seems the occasion calls for...well, chocolate!
Posted by Ali Kaplan on August 05, 2008 in Gifts & Cool Stuff| Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
So what of the old Uber Baby space on Lyndale, across the street from Bachman's? On Tuesday, April 1, it will reopen as Our Little Secret, the quaint accessories and home decor shop owned by Nancy Nelson, wife of the late Bill Carlson of WCCO. It's a tough time for Nelson, but her store is a welcome diversion and she's excited about moving it four blocks north to this higher profile address. It was only a few weeks ago that I bumped into Nancy and her distinguished husband at the store - despite his illness, Bill was beaming with pride.
With every annual department store event, from Glamorama to Christmas, there's speculation about whether or not Macy's is going to ruin it. But have no fear: Macy's does the animated holiday show tradition proud this year with its magical version of "The Nutcracker." I got a sneak peek Thursday night during the media preview party. Heard lots of comments that this year's display is really top-notch. The show in the 8th floor auditorium of the Minneapolis store opens to the public on Saturday and runs through the end of the year. Be sure to hit the gift shop at the end of the show - it's much more than silly souvenirs. You'll find a really nice assortment of vintage toys, stocking stuffers, gourmet candies and a few accessories for the grownups. My mom zeroed in on the $59 embroidered toiletry bags with lots of interior compartments. She recently saw the exact same bags at Ampersand - priced around $15 higher. Go mom!
Would you believe I almost left town without a gift for the friends who invited us to stay at their home in the mountains? Dashed to the Galleria at 8 p.m. last night (great time to shop! No one there, and the center is open until 9 p.m.). I was headed to Ampersand, where I know I can always get pretty guest napkins or towels in a lovely holder - not the kind of thing one usually buys for herself, but nice to have for company and fairly easy to pack! But on the way, I felt the pull of ATAZ. Such a happy place to shop. They're featuring some stylish bamboo kitchen accessories and bowls that are reasonably priced, but not the kind of thing I wanted to deal with packing. The Forte tea sets make for another handsome gift (except my husband told me these friends are more beer than tea), and you can't go wrong with a striking picture frame. Yet at the last minute, I grabbed a game: Table Topics. I liked it as much for the simple, but intriguing conversation starters that I'm sure will get us through any weekend lulls, as for the contemporary clear acrylic container the cards come in. Sold!
When I have more time, I'm a big fan of buying hostess gifts - especially with a Minnesota theme - at the General Store of Minnetonka.
I stopped by the Summer Salsa Party last night at Russell + Hazel's flagship store at 44th and France in Edina. The place was packed with extremely well-dressed women. This was not the jeans-and-lingerie top crowd. Most of the women, who looked to be professionals in their 30s to 50s, were wearing chic pantsuits or playful dresses with killer heels. And free margaritas weren't the only draw - these girls were buying! The 20 percent off store-wide discount was enough for me to finally pick up the clear acrylic address holder I've been eying for some time. So much more attractive than a bulky black Rolodex. The sleek desks and colorful paper sets inspire more than an organized office -- it's the organized lifestyle we're all seeking, where everything seems so tidy and modern. Locally based Russell + Hazel, sold nationally, treats office supplies like a fashion statement (introducing a new color palate every season), and clearly, people respond. I couldn't help thinking that if Alfred's - the former "boutique department store" that occupied this great space - had been able to draw such a crowd, it would still be in business.
Anyone who has recently purchased a wedding gift at Macy's knows the department store no longer provides free gift wrap for items purchased off a registry. As a consolation, they offer boxes and ribbon -- which, to be fair, has long been the standard at Crate & Barrel. But here's the caveat: those boxes come in just three sizes - none of which accommodated the $559 worth of All-Clad cookware (a rather common wedding gift) my mom and some friends recently purchased for a bride. The sales associate acted like she could do my mom a "favor" by wrapping the items for $6.50 apiece. Plus tax. Instead, my mom took her business to the dollar store, where she purchased gift bags for a total of $3. But how ridiculous that she should have had to do that. Little perks like gift wrap are the reason people shop at department stores. Strip the store of that, and there's not much left.
A girl's got to multi-task. So on a recent Sunday morning, I took my 2-year-old along to Fairy Godmother (yes I really do visit every store I write about). The owner had encouraged me to stop by. She mentioned the 5-foot-tall statue of Mother Mary, the books on spirituality and menopause, the greeting cards and the famous Tingle Department. I was intrigued, and only the tiniest bit concerned that I could get arrested for bringing my child to a place like this. My concerns were alleviated even before we entered, by the plastic frog toys on the $1 table just outside the store. How very G-rated! Inside, the manager immediately pulled out a basket of puzzles and toys to occupy the child while I took a peek inside the Tingle Department, which does indeed live up to its name. (Any toy you ever heard mentioned on "Sex and the City," they sell it here.) Of course this shop is run by women -- who know how to mix spirituality and sexuality in a tasteful, even family-friendly way. Across the street, Better Than Ever is also doing its part to accommodate moms. The back of the consignment boutique has a generous children's play area featuring a kitchen and toy cars. Not something I would have expected. It's great to see more retailers realizing that a few toys will allow Mommy to actually shop. Just ask my kid.