I Think I Missed My Calling

October 18, 2010 01:12 by ehouston

I went to the mall this morning.  Yes, the mall!  I never shop at the mall and only occasionally end up getting dragged there by a well meaning friend or relative who wants me to see all the amazing things the mall has to offer.  I have a past life as, well, let’s just say the term Mall Rat comes to mind.  However, once high school ended I was pretty much over the mall.  In fact, most of my clothes during that time actually came from thrift stores, so I didn’t really ever shop at the mall.  It was just a place to hang out.  Now it brings to mind crushing crowds of people that stop mid-step to stand in the middle of a store or isle way discussing some article of clothing none of them should be wearing while holding up all of us that need to actually get in a store and out.  I was only there to exchange an item and hopefully find something more appropriate for my son to wear in an upcoming portrait.  Unfortunately, the store where we had to return the item would only offer an instore credit and they have very little to choose from.  It was funny, the girls section was literally almost four times the size of the boys section.  Come on designers!  Give us moms a break will ya’?

Anywho, after searching and coming up empty handed I figured we would peruse the rest of the mall to see if any other shops had just the right thing.  Most of the malls here in the Richmond, VA area are of the open air variety and are sometimes nice to stroll through in decent weather (read, not the dead of winter or mid-summer).  Also we arrived early enough that the crowds were not over the top yet and we could actually stroll.  Another note about this particular mall is that they are dog friendly.  Now, while this normally gives me the heebie-geebies because, like with babies, with dogs comes poo!  They have staff that keeps the place quite clean considering, but still the fact is, it’s just kind of gross.  If you can get past that issue than it can be a lot of fun to see all the cute dogs running around.  The Little Guy was having a field day pointing and chirping on and on every time he saw another dog. 

We managed to get through several children’s clothing stores and a nice quick lunch at Panera when I decided I just had to make a run through Anthropologie.  Gawd, I LOVE that store!

La Boheme Butter Dish

Laundry Day Dish Towel

Calandria Armchair, Albano

Splendid Vinca Sweatercoat

Ruffled Plaid Dress

(All photos from the Anthropologie website)

I decided that if I had it to do all over again I would have tried really, REALLY hard to get a job working as a display designer for that place.  From what I understand they are pretty much into hiring the young, right out of art school types, but I would have rocked that place!  Once, long ago, I worked in a fun little retail store and we had a small display window that I had a great time decorating for the holidays, etc.  Anthropologie is one of those stores that creates amazing displays throughout the store, not just the windows.  I think I would have had a field day at that place.  It seems like so much fun to work there. 

Since I am old now and totally uncool, I will just tell myself that the display designers probably only make peanuts and it would not be worth my time.  (I am totally lying to myself, but the first step is admitting it, right?)

So, what is your favorite shop?  Did you miss your calling in life too?

Kitsch Krafts

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An Unexpected Reminder of Home.

November 22, 2008 15:50 by ehouston

Among the many adventures I had today one involved finally getting over to The Hill Center in Green Hills to browse several shops I have been wanting to see.  One is the Anthropologie shop that opened up more than a year ago.  My love affair with this store started by catalog years ago, moved to the online shop and has now culminated in a drive to visit, in person, the wares that I drool over from afar.  So, whenever I am near a brick and mortar I try to make the time for a quick stop.  Today I walked into what seemed like a little itty-bitty version of what I have seen in MI and NC, but the further you walked in the more nooks and crannies you could find.  I really liked the styling they have going on this season.  Like so many things right now it had a very woodsy, 1970's vibe happening.  Of course I instantly fell in love with nearly everything I saw immediately upon entering the doors.  Then, my eye wandered to a nice little wooden box with some unassuming cards.  A closer inspection revealed that they were Gwen Frostic prints in a box set put together for the store.  I was amazed, tickled and my heart warmed a little when I saw this. 

The reason for the warm feeling is that Gwen Frostic prints come from the little town that I was born in way up in northern Michigan.  She created simple, but elegant drawings of the surrounding wildlife and then made prints of them for everything from wall art to mini purse-sized calendars.  Although she passed away years ago her little shop is still turning out these sweet little cards and all the other wares.  You can even take a tour if you want when you come through town. 

My favorite fat little racoon.  This is a rubber stamp you can buy.

Another cute stamp...the Bunny's Behind.

(Check out the site for more, and better, images of her prints.)

These cards have been a staple in my family for years. I can remember my mom buying just the right print and writing warm holiday wishes, or the sincerest of sympathy notes on Gwen's cards.  In fact, earlier this year my aunt that still lives in the area sent me a quick note on the cute little Racoon print card.  I am glad to see these cards are out there and the company is having success in a wider market, but no matter what big city these cards are sold in they will always say home, in a little tiny town, to me.

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