shopping local with Amber

December 21, 2011

Hi there! Amber here… I tried something new for my Christmas shopping this year and I would like to tell you all about it! (Well, not ALL, about it… some of my friends and family read this blog and I want them to be surprised when they open my gifts!)

I decided early on in November that I would only shop LOCAL and USA-Made this season. And boy oh boy, did I challenge myself! At first, it was really quite frustrating to go to a store and flip over a product and read “Made in China”. Did you ever notice how most things that surround us are made somewhere else!? Next time you’re out and about, take a peek at what’s in your cart and where it came from – you might be surprised!

After making my list and narrowing down where I would go and who I would shop for at which store, it really became fun and more like a treasure hunt. It was so exhilarating looking under my tree and knowing that ALL of my gifts came from independently owned shops OR that they were made in the USA!

Shop local this holiday season!

Some things I learned while shopping…

  • Even big box stores have USA made products. When I would check out, the employee would ask if I found everything ok, and I’d usually respond with “I found this product made in the USA, but I wish you had more USA made products”. Even putting a little bug in their ear is good. My hope is that they will hear that a couple times this holiday season and make the case known that people are interested in USA made products!
  • Locally owned shops have things Made in China… I did buy a game at Creative Kidstuff that was made in China, but since they are owned locally and only have stores in MN and IA, I still supported the local economy and kept my money here vs. elsewhere.
  • Shopping online doesn’t keep any of my dollars in the community or even the state! So that option was completely out!
  • By shopping at small, family owned stores like PaperHat, Patina, Vintage Glam, and The FlowerMill, I am helping the community be unique and keep creative, local businesses here! And they are so fun to shop at!
  • Most products that are made somewhere else have “Made in China” or “Made in Vietnam” in teeny-tiny print on the back of it. Products that are made here, proudly have the “Made in USA” logo on the front!

It was fun and very rewarding knowing that I did my part of shopping local. Not only did I stay on budget and support local businesses, my friends and family will all get something fun and unique this year!

I made some of my gifts this year too... my little niece will LOVE her play food I made out of felt!

DID YOU KNOW:

When you spend your dollars at an independent, local business, you keep more money in your town by supporting your community’s social services, schools, your public library and local non-profits… How so?

Locally-owned businesses return about 80% of each dollar to their community (whether it’s to their employees, accountant, lawyer, local handymen, graphic designers, local artists…etc.). And each dollar spent at a local business will return up to five times that amount within your community through city taxes, employees’ wages, and purchases of materials, supplies and services at other independent businesses.

On the other hand, chains and franchises give back around 20% to the community. hmm…

Overall, it was a great experience and I’d really like to do it again next year. I’m hoping there will be even more shops and places to try!

Happy Holidays!

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Did you know that when you spend money at a local shop over 60% of it stays in the community, shopping at big retail stores and chains about 40% stays here, and if you shop online virtually NO money stays in your local community? Even if we all bought one gift at a local shop this year it would make a difference!

shop local this holiday season!

Some of our favorite places to shop locally for unique gifts:

support your local community while getting unique gifts!

orange is the winner!

November 1, 2011

You voted on our color poll for your favorite color of the season and the winner is…

To find these orange items, keep reading!

Orange is a stimulating color. It is also often called a power color. Use it re-energize your mood and increase your creativity.  Some believers in folklore also say that if you need any kind of change in your life, all you have to do is burn an orange candle for 7 nights and it will happen!

Pendant Light: Design Within Reach

Wing Chair: Anthropologie

Parachute skirt: Athleta

Leather belt: Banana Republic

Patterned drapery panels: Anthropologie

Outdoor camping grill: Crate and Barrel

October is breast cancer awareness and we’re doing our part…

To help bring awareness to women’s health please enjoy our collage of pink items found at shops in and around the Twin Cities that you could use in your home.

Bringing breast cancer awareness to the design community, one pink item at a time.

1. Hot Pink cuckoo clock at Patina Stores.

2. Watermelon coffee table by local furniture make BluDot.

3. Bright pink vinyl placemat at Patina Stores.

4. Magenta based lucite table lamp at Room and Board.

5. Rose sheepskin fluffy accent pillow from Room and Board.

6. Marimekko storage tin at Crate and Barrel.

7. Fuscia table lamp at Design Within Reach.

8. Pink side chair from Crate and Barrel.

9. Perforated metal stool at Design Within Reach.

Which one of these items is your favorite?

4th of July fun!

June 30, 2011

The holiday weekend is just around the corner!

We’ve pulled together some fun red, white, and blue fabulous items to get you in the mood for Independence Day! Take a peek…

  1. Show up dressed in style to your 4th of July picnic with this dress from Anthropologie! (It would be so cute with a flashy red belt and necklace!)
  2. These embroidered napkins from Pottery Barn are just what you need for setting the table.
  3. Baseball is about as American as you can get. Why not serve your lovely fresh fruit and snacks in these baseball serving bowls from Patina?
  4. Heading out to a picnic? This fold down blue table is just the ticket for setting up a snack bar. You can find it at Crate and Barrel.
  5. Pack up your napkins and silverware in this neat caddy from Crate and Barrel.
  6. Fire up this Premier Weber blue grill and throw on your favorite brats, veggies, and hamburgers.
  7. No Fourth of July picnic is complete without fresh strawberries and blueberries. Stock up at your local farmer’s market before heading to the lake!
  8. What a cute (and patriotic) tote bag to toss your things in on the way to the beach. You can find this gem at Anthropologie.
  9. Bomb Popsicles. They are an Independence Day must! Sounds like you’ll need them – it’s going to be a scorcher!
  10. While you’re preparing your holiday weekend goodies, don this cute red, white and blue apron from Patina.
  11. Set your brunch table with these lovely cut-out vinyl place mats from Patina.

Cheers everyone! Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

the color purple

May 19, 2011

Today I’m taking a little color inspiration from the pretty purple Royal Candles and Geraniums flowers  that are outside of my office window…

Purple at home: 12 light chandelier by Cyan Lighting, abstract animal print wallpaper by Romo, and Theatre two seater sofa by DWR.

Purple in Life: carry-on luggage and garden hose sprayer from Crate & Barrel, and lavender infused sleeping blanket from Patina Stores.

Purple in fashion: watch by Marc Jacobs, leather heels by Michael Antonio, and Floral wrap scarf from Anthropologie.

What are you taking inspiration from today?

Q & A with Amber

May 3, 2011

Q & A with Amber! 

The CityPages came out with their ‘best of’ list a couple weeks ago, so why can’t we do the same thing?  When Amber was asked, “what’s your favorite…” Here’s what she had to say…

A few of Amber's faves...

1. Artist  Mondrian. I love his use of bold color and black lines to distinguish space.

2. Bar for unique cocktails Bradstreet Crafthouse in the Graves Hotel.

3. Color Red. The color red makes me happy; it adds a snappy pop of color to any outfit!

4. Chair My favorite is an orange mid century modern chair I got from my grandma. I love the shape and the color. My grandma has great taste!

5. Design period Mid Century Modern. I love the clean lines and innovative use of materials.

6. Flower Gerbera daisies and Spider Mums… they remind me of springtime.

7. Gift shop Patina; they have something for everyone. 

8. Guilty pleasure watching Glee… shhh don’t tell anyone! 🙂  

9. Hobby Being crafty; I am in a “Stitch N’ Bitch” club – we get together once a month and create everything from candles to sock monkeys! 

10. Jewelry anything vintage – usually found at Hunt and Gather in Edina or other thrifty places.

11. Museum Milwaukee Art Museum; designed by Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, and Santiago Calatrava. It even has ‘wings’ that open and close during the day!

12. Musical Artist Dessa – she is a lyrical acrobat!

13. Restaurant of the Moment I’ve been really digging Urban Eatery. They took over the old ‘View’ restaurant in Calhoun Beach Club, and it’s run by the Crave guys. They have yummy food, a sexy atmosphere, and a great happy hour!

14. Summer Activity Spending time at the lakes. Depending on your mood, you can bike, play volleyball, have a picnic, or just relax and people watch. I love it.

15. Spot for retro furniture and accessories Spinario Design in Northeast. They have it all!

16. Spot for new and trendy home accessories Roam on Glenwood in Minneapolis. 

17. Winter Activity Seeing the British Advertising Awards presented at the Walker Art Center; they are always so interesting. I’m not much for the cold outdoors!

What are some of your favorites? Stay tuned for Holly’s answers…