- We love this Classic Balance Bike at our house.
- Personalized photo games by Pinhole Press: memory, puzzles, and more… (We made this one.)
- Max the Raccoon (or another handmade cutie) from BRIKA
- This all-wood Fold-and-Go farm reminds me of the one I had in the ’80s, by Fisher Price.
- A playful wink in their bedroom—the Howkapow dog lamp.
- A Larry Gets Lost book about your hometown or someplace you’d like to visit—the pup gets lost everywhere from Los Angeles to Seattle, New York City to San Francisco…
- Stacking blocks that kids will love and that look good, too.
- Eco Dough, the closest you’ll get to the homemade playdough alternative, rumored to be less likely to dry-out.
- The Brio Pull Along Dachshund does an incredible job of staying upright, no matter how much he’s jerked around. No other brand of pull-along toy has compared.
- This Skootcase looks to be a case of “everyone wins!” at the airport. (I’ve been intrigued for a while.)
- A Janod Story Box Farm. The French company makes various themes of these sweet boxes of wooden figures (which are perfect for travel). We picked up the Firefighters Story Box in Paris, and Hudson loves it!
- Mahalo Ukulele makes a great gift for kids, precisely because it’s not designed to be a toy.
- Such a great price point for a classic moccasin: Minnetonka for JCrew Baby. (The entire new collection for babies is adorable!)
- An attractive Playmat—for under a baby’s play gym or a toddler’s train set.
- Who wouldn’t love The Original Slush Mug?
- Ubbas bath cups, to match their family’s form. (Here’s Hudson with ours.)
- A Playskool Digital Camera and Projector. How fun to get a glimpse of the world through a little one’s eyes!
- And, not exactly for the child, but new parents would love this beautiful Baby Milestone heirloom set.
It’s been my experience that while you don’t need to buy a lot of maternity clothes, you’ll be a lot happier (read: more comfortable) if you get a few key pieces that don’t make you feel like you’re waging a war to squeeze into your wardrobe every day.
Here’s what I think you really need (for cooler temps, with links to my go-to sources)…
I don’t always make it, but I have a standing appointment in my date book for the first Sunday of every month at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. If you’re in (or near) the Bay Area, it’s worth checking out. The food trucks and view of the San Francisco skyline would be enough to tempt me, but I usually have a few other goals in mind. One month, it was chairs. This month, it was art and textiles.
Just be sure to dress in layers: I was excited to break out a new Old Navy Color-Blocked sweater for the cool morning. But once the fog lifts and the sun comes out, one remembers that fall is the Bay Area’s summer!
Hudson discovered the joy of a tape measure and wanted to stop at every rug which, fortunately, was pretty convenient. Otherwise, I must admit, it’s gotten harder to truly scower the market, with a curious toddler in tow. He usually makes out best of all. (Remember the fire truck? There’s a new-old bulldozer in our midst now.)
In the mood to go on a treasure hunt yourself?
Here are the 15 flea and antique markets that are routinely named best in the country:
Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market
Rose Bowl Flea (Pasadena)
Alameda Point Antiques Faire (pictured)
Scott Antique Markets (Atlanta)
All Night Flea Market (Wheaton)
Chicago Antique Market
Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market
Brimfield Antique Show
Brooklyn Flea (location varies by season)
Raleigh Flea Market
Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market
Portland Expo Antique and Collectible Show
Nashville Flea Market
Austin County Flea Market
Canton First Monday Trade Days
127 Corridor Sale (654 miles along the highway, from Jamestown, TN, to Gadsden, AL)
How many of these have you been to? Any other favorites?
On me: Old Navy Color-blocked Crew-neck Sweater, Gap infinity scarf, Ray Ban Wayfarers, Vintage men’s jeans, and Brogues by Skin & Threads.
On Hudson: Old Navy Uniform Zip-Front Sweater, American Apparel sailor shirt, Zara jeans, and Converse classic Chucks.
This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s latest fashion lineup in store or online at oldnavy.com.
Remember that first trip to New York I told you about? The one where I went to H&M over and over because there were only a few stores in the U.S.?
Well this is a game-changer… all of H&M’s merchandise is on sale online now. Even the maternity, and the kids, and the home sections! I looked up the shipping and return policy, and it’s $6 each way with 30 days to return. Not bad!
[Shown: Patterned Kimono]
A few months ago, at the Alameda Flea, Hudson fell in love with this vintage pedal car, Vilac’s Fire Jeep. Look at that determination!
I found myself admiring all of the Vilac toys while we were in Paris this past week. While expensive, the beautifully painted, all-wood toys seemed like such well-made little treasures. The company has been making toys in the Jura mountains of France since 1911.
The children’s floor in the grand, old department store Le Bon Marche had me looking for excuses to bring home presents. If you’re looking for a fun place to shop in Paris with a little one (a place where you’ll be equally enchanted with the adult sections), I recommend a stop.
[The above were all sourced on Amazon, however: Vilac Race Car Toy; Vilac Large Garage; Vilac La Petanque Balls with Stripes; Vilac Mini Wooden Bus; Vilac Old Fashioned Sports Car Toy; Vilac Baby Car with Handle; Vilac Metal Car; Vilac Balloon Powered Wood Boat; Vilac Harmonica; Vilac Pull Toy, Dog]
BRIKA is a new online shopping site that features makers—artisans and designers—of modern craft by sharing their stories alongside their products with the hope of creating a connection between buyer and maker. The site’s founders hope to celebrate the value following one’s passions and building a beautiful life through well-crafted, everyday objects. I’ve been making note of some favorites.
Mariah Rich, for example, makes beautiful leather clutches, hand-cutting, sewing, and finishing them in her Portland Studio. After eight years of designing leather goods for other big fashion companies, she broke out on her own.
(Sidenote: I really need to come up with more occasions to travel light, and carry just a clutch. So beautiful.)
And Kristen Lombardi of Manimal makes the most adorable baby shoes. She found a Boy Scout’s manual at her local library that had a chapter on how to make moccasins; she sewed her first pair and was hooked.
BRIKA is offering a $15 credit to all new customers who sign up through this link.
(Which means that this infinity scarf–that artist Annie Duong made with her own daughters in mind–will cost under $10.)
This is a sponsored post. Thanks to BRIKA for supporting Hither & Thither.
I wandered into the accessories department at a high-end department store the other day and started browsing around among the Pradas and Proenza Schoulers… the “we start at $1300″-bag section. I remember thinking that one day, when I was a real grown-up, I would buy myself one of these beautiful, buttery bags, but that was when the highest number in my imagination was what seemed like an astronomical $400. Who knew?! Such a shame because the PS1 bag is really very lovely.
I asked the salesperson “what makes the $1500 Balenciaga bag cost that much” (even though I sort of figured I knew what she’d say: labor, quality of materials, label… the usual) “and the also fancy Marc Jacobs cost that much?”
She looked at me like I was crazy and then glanced at my bag (presumably to check whether it was vinyl). She practically spelled the name: “Balenci-aaaa-ga was Spanish. The bags are made in Italy.” Oh, but of course! That’s why! Aron and I were laughing about the rationale when he claimed: “now if there was some sort of lifetime guarantee… maybe then…”
Which is when I remembered that my other high-end dream bag DOES have a lifetime guarantee!
Isn’t the leather beautiful? Such a pretty color, and I can imagine the patina getting better with age.
J.W. Hulme bags are expensive, too (my favorite, the Mini-Excursion Tote on the left is $590 and the Legacy Shoulder Bag on the right is $370) but brand guarantees each of its handmade bags for life.
I know I may be getting ahead of myself, but it was 80 degrees and sunny in Southern California this past Saturday and it got me thinking.
Do you have a fashion image you have pinned on Pinterest and just keep coming back to, over and over again? This one’s mine. There’s something about this combination of cropped, slim army-green pants, tanned feet, and natural leather, gladiator sandals that says summer to me. And it’s what I’d like to be wearing come warmer days. Pretty please.
I think Gap and Jcrew have some pants that might fit the bill. The right sandals, however, can be more elusive. I’ve done some sleuthing…
My new shopping habit, Luvocracry, asked me to suggest a Valntine’s day gift I’d like to receive for the latest issue of To & From–they just released their 2013 Valentine’s Day gift guide. You can find the feature, here, on pages 10 and 11.
Here are a few other things I’d be happy to have on any gift list…
Teuscher Champagne Truffles (my favorite chocolates)
A bejeweled clutch (and somewhere special to take it tucked under my arm)
Something shiny and delicate with my loved one’s initial
Something shiny and less delicate (ideally with a romantic inscription)
Anything with “A Love Story” in the title (but especially this book)
A preview of summer (with plans for somewhere warm to wear it)
A bouquet of sharpened pencils (because you know I love that movie)
Body glow oil (because I’d never buy it for myself but would probably like to)
Underwear both of us can appreciate
A honey jar (even though I’m already so sweet–ha!)
Classic, valentine red drop earrings
Or A bouquet of paperwhites and a romantic movie.
We used to live in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, so walking the strip of shops between Fairfax and La Cienega on Third street was a regular routine (in between pancakes at Doughboys or a cheese board at Joan’s). One must-stop is always OK on Third (I hear they now have a location in Silverlake, too); and since we left, one of our musts from Nolita in NY moved in–Haus (oddly enough, not far from an outpost of NY’s Magnolia bakery).
8303 West Third Street
8211 West Third Street
A lot had changed since the the last time we were in Los Angeles, but the strip of Beverly between Fairfax and La Brea was still reliably packed with design store gems–Heath, Lawson-fenning, Modernica, Ige… Most are more aspirational than realistic, but at least I can afford the food to be found there, too–BLD, El Coyote, Milk, Buddha’s Belly, Terroni…
A new favorite shop had emerged: In a space once occupied by an electronics repair shop, Scotti Sitz has opened Garde, a carefullly curated selected of home goods and apparel. Everything had a stripped down, natural look–minimal without being cold. It didn’t surprise me to later learn that Sitz once worked for Calvin Klein. We spent a long time browsing; I was trying to bookmark all of the designers’ names in my mind when, thank goodness, she pointed out that everything is online.
We especially fell hard for these flax-rope lighting fixtures. I think they would look so awesome with our headboard, but I’m not sure I’m quite good enough at being neat-and-clean for the coiled rope on the floor to be appreciated as intentional.
Garde, 7418 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
More favorite Los Angeles shopping stops coming right up…
I’ve asked Mai Le–the street-style blogger and photographer behind the Fashionist–for some advice on shopping vintage. Mai and I met at Camp Mighty, where I found myself wanting to start every conversation with that cliché phrase “I love your shoes!” Her travel stories were as interesting to me as her gorgeous eye shadow and I was so happy when she agreed to school me in vintage shopping–with specific recommendations for San Francisco.
I don’t shop often, so when I do, I’m careful about what I buy and where. When I proposed highlighting my three favorite vintage shops in SF, Ashley suggested I provide tips for vintage shopping (which is different from thrift shopping, since items are already carefully chosen by the vintage shop). If you’ve never shopped for secondhand clothes, but are interested in affordably adding one-of-a-kind items to your closet for the new year, choosing a nearby vintage shop is a great idea.
Before I go shopping, I often look at magazines or Style.com to check out silhouettes and colors of the current or next season. It’s a small thing, but knowing what fit and or color palette you like will help guide your eye when deciding what to buy. Sure you won’t be able to find an Acne cocoon coat in this season’s brown, but it may be possible to find a lovely heather gray cocoon coat with the same silhouette (and pairing it with your Acne boots–you’re golden).
Beyond that, look at a vintage just like you would a new item: fit, no stains, well made, could wear as is (unless you sew, but try to not buy anything at a vintage shop that you have to work on extensively), and fabric. Ask yourself if you will wear it and if so, do the math needed for how many wears for it to be “worth it.” And remember to factor in if the item needs drycleaning. My amount is usually $2/wear or less (only for clothes though, I do different math for shoes).
Hopefully these tips will help you find many wonderful new items in 2013. You look gorgeous already!
389 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Amber and Leah and their consignors do a great job of staying ahead of the fashion curve in this cute shop located on Valencia Street. I was going in there so much, I started consigning as well. Most clothing items are in the $15-$40 price range.
651 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Kristin finds designer items from the 80s and 90s mixed in with clothes that are vintage in modern silhouettes. Located in the TL, she also hosts art shows in the shop and live music shows downstairs. She hosted my photo show in August and I’ve borrowed items for styling in the past. Items can range from $10-several hundred for her vintage designer goods.
473 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Clothes can be bought by the pound ($12/lb.) and specific decade. More digging has to happen here than at no or Vacation, but in 2009 I was really into 80s era Laura Ashley dresses and no other vintage shops carried them. So, if you know that you want a specific vintage item that is not fashionable (at all) you may be able to find it here. Also, if you’re into vintage gowns a la the Golden Girls, this shop might be for you. They have a lot of clothes by the pound and some have price tags that hover around $10-18.
Thank you, Mai!
It was a bit of a push, but we began the New Year in crisp, fresh sheets and a brand-new bed. Aron’s parents watched Hudson for a few hours while Aron disasembled and reassembled our old bed in a guest room for our friends, and I ran off to Macy’s to splurge on sheets* for our new one.
We found ourselves back in Berkeley this weekend, drawn toward the Bay in our quest to buy a car. We were successful–hooray!–and since we had to drive home separately anyway, I lingered on Fourth street a little longer than the fellas to browse. The succulents (a current fixation) drew me into The Gardener. Had we not just made one of the largest purchases of our lives, I might have been tempted to buy something, but I instead satisfied my consumer tendencies by snapping photos with my iPhone.
After years of pining, Aron treated me to a pair of Frye’s Dorado Riding Boots last year. Funny thing was–once they came, I realized that my trusty Madewell Archive Leather Boots were pretty darn awesome and that I didn’t need such an extravagant gift. I think he secretly sighed in relief, while I tried not to look back as I handed the boots over to UPS.
But this year I spotted some Frye lookalikes at Aldo and couldn’t help myself. A few of you asked about the boots I’m wearing on our trip to Apple Hill; those are the Aldo Laverdiere boots in the dark brown–which look suspiciously similar to the Frye Dorados, don’t you think? (But they cost a whole lot less.) I also think the Aldo Fantlants look exactly like the classic Frye Melissa Button Boot.
P.S. I wish everyone could have won the Radisson giveaway. I know you had to comment, but I loved hearing from so many of you! I’ll be announcing the winner on that post and contacting them by email. Thanks again!
We got to the Alameda Antiques Faire a little later than is ideal. Somehow it takes us at least an hour to get out of the house, no matter how much strategizing we do the night before. Add to that the reluctance to wake a sleeping toddler early and the hour drive to Alameda from Davis and–shazam!–it’s suddenly 9am. Suffice to say, we probably missed out on some of the best scores to be had on Sunday.
Still, we had a really nice time looking around–especially for rugs–and came home with a beautiful 60″ George-Nelson-bench reproduction. And some very nice readers stopped to say hello and welcome us to the west coast! How nice is that?!
Here were some of my favorite sights…
Of course the stunning views of San Francisco, across the bay, were one of the best parts of the morning. Somehow we’ve been really lucky lately when it comes to flea markets in amazing locations (like this one and this one).
P.S. We brought along detailed measurements of our home just in case. I love this “prepare for serendipity”-kit Victoria assembles for flea market hunts.
Hudson’s actual birthday was scorching hot (which was fitting, actually, considering he was born in a heat wave), and made our initial plan for a picnic in Central Park seem out of the question. We wanted to do something that he might choose if he could, so after loading him up on raspberries, we took a taxi up to FAO Schwarz. None of us had ever been and it seemed like one of those things one does while in New York. Right?
Actually, it was Aron’s idea and I was a little skeptical at first: it will be too crowded… he won’t actually get to run around… they won’t let him touch (i.e. lick) anything and he’ll just be upset… blah blah blah. But it was fantastic!
It wasn’t empty, but it never felt overcrowded. And because the store was, for the most part, filled with parents, you felt a little less concerned about his being stepped on. In fact, screeching mini-people were expected! We took a photo with the real toy soldier holding the door and found ourselves loving watching Hudson darting around the stuffed animals and gasping in delight.
Children of the Tom Hanks-in-Big generation, Aron and I both were curious to see the giant piano–and I couldn’t resist jumping on it with Hudson. (It was smaller than I’d imagined.)
Bouncy balls and train tables and giant nerds and giant lego people… it was quite overwhelming, but a lot of fun. And when Hudson collapsed into a sleepy heap on Aron’s chest an hour or so later, we walked across the street and looked around in the adult toy store, Crate and Barrel (though the real equivalent is more aptly the Apple Store, right across the plaza).
I get the sense that if you want to have a pleasant and not completely overwhelming experience visiting the legendary toy emporium, that you should try to visit on a weekday–the earlier the better. There did seem to be a mark-up (I laughed when I noticed a swaddle blanket with an MSRP sticker still in place beside the FAO label–the MSRP was lower!), but if you’re visiting from out-of-town and have your heart set on a one-pound gummy bear, I heard they will at least deliver things to your hotel for free.