Tag Archives: shopping

In Love With: Bringing Christmas to Birmingham

So I know the economy’s tight when the hardware store in Mountain Brook Plaza is out of canning equipment. The jars and cookers that used to languish under an inch of well-meaning dust are gone. It’s proof that everyone is hunkering down into a bad patch. Which totally stinks when Christmas is just around the corner.

At a time like this, big box stores with their super sales, coupons, and aggressive ad campaigns seem like a boon for stretching Christmas dollars. However, Macy’s and Walmart don’t need your cash as much as many of our homegrown merchants do. This year, more than ever, remember the independent shops that give our city its amazing character. Affordable treats can be found almost everywhere, and each choice makes our Birmingham economy stronger – and keeps our friends and neighbors in business. You won’t face the same ugly mall traffic as at our venerable shopping centers. And hey, now that gas is back to 1993 levels, you have no excuse not to bypass the one-stop stores…

Here’s a rundown of some of the places I’ll be hitting as I shop:

What’s on 2nd and Urban Standard‘s boutique (downtown Birmingham)

Red Rain, At Home, Homewood Toy and Hobby and Collage in Homewood

Atmosphere and Interiors Market in Pepper Place

Jonathan Benton Booksellers (Mountain Brook Village) and The Alabama Booksmith (Homewood)

• The gift shops at the Botanical Gardens and Vulcan Park & Museum

Hanna Antiques close to Lakeview

Village Wine Market in English Village

Tria Market and V. Richards

Happy Holidays, everyone. Be safe and shop smart!

In Love with: School Days and Dog Days

Growing up in Virginia, we had a law that school couldn’t start until the week after Labor Day. Apparently, the thinking went that high schoolers were a vital source of labor for the end-of-summer tourist boom at our historic sites and amusement parks, and thus should not be herded into school any earlier than need be. Why that applied to grade schoolers, I don’t know, but I blissfully reaped the benefits all 12 years that I could. So it’s mystifying to me that students here are already in their fourth week of school, and my teacher husband is gearing up to give his first test. What kind of topsy-turvy world are we living in where “Winter Hours” at the library start on August 17?

Because my internal schedule is so mixed up, I’ve had two warring desires in my brain. The first is to hurry and do all the summer stuff I missed out on this year. (Lounge at the pool! Drink mojitos on the patio! Visit friends at the lake!) The other is to buckle down and do something good for my brain, dammit, because it’s time to start thinking seriously again.

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In Love With: Unabashed Femininity

I go a little stir-crazy this time of year, when the holidays have been filed as blurry memories and spring seems like a distant dream. I’m tired of layering bulky sweaters until I look like the StayPuft Marshmallow man, sick of static electricity, and done with the dry skin and splitting hands. The only recourse I’ve discovered is to dose myself well with unabashed femininity and wait it out.The first step is visiting Three Sheets in Homewood. This bastion of domesticity is crammed with lovely bedroom and bathroom things to touch, smell and try out. More often as not, I end up treating myself to a bath oil or fizzy bathbomb, since the beddings are too far out of my price range to do anything but caress. In the early stages of winter-ick, just a short visit, and maybe a Deep Steep lotion, is enough to pry me out of it.

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