Thursday, September 27, 2007

Think Pink

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Bike enthusiasts can show their support by picking up the popular Saris “Bones” bike rack in a lovely pink color. Saris, a Madison-based bike rack and performance cycling company, will donate five dollars from every rack purchased to the Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Budget Bicycle Center has the rack in stock and Williamson Bicycle Works can special-order it for you. Both shops retail the rack for $150. Machinery Row Bicycles also sells Saris products, according to Saris’ website.

Budget Bicycle Center, 1230 Regent St. 251-8413.
Williamson Bikes & Fitness, 640 W. Washington Ave. 244-5037.
3729 E. Washington Ave. 244-2453.

Machinery Row Bicycle, 601 Williamson St. 442-5974.

Doggone Good News

bad dog frida is celebrating its one-year anniversary this Sunday, September 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I’m sure owners Carmen Alcalde and Sue Hunter will have their five dogs on hand to celebrate their howling success.

The bright and cheery store was a welcome addition to the Atwood neighborhood that previously lacked a store with “really cool things for good dogs and their people.” Check out the celebration (the first fifty visitors score a goodie bag) and find twenty-five percent off most items in the store, raffle prizes and “tasty treats for dogs and humans!”

If you’re interested, read my column here or watch a Window Shopping TV segment on the bow-dacious shop.

bad dog frida, 2094 Atwood Ave. 442-6868.

Fall Fashion

Today is the HospiceCare Butterfly Gala Fashion Show. I am excited to see what Woldenberg’s has chosen for the models who will strut their stuff. Yours truly will be on hand to model several outfits, as well as to cover the show and score interviews with the models, Woldenberg’s staff and HospiceCare employees.

The plan is that these interviews AND fashions will be showcased in a “Tomorrow’s Trends Tonight” segment on Monday, October 1 on My Madison TV’s News at Nine with Teri Barr. WISC-TV3 in conjunction with Madison Magazine will also post this segment as soon as possible on and

Woldenberg’s, 702 N. Midvale Blvd. 233-4300.

Store Closing

Yost’s Bridal Salon located off of University Avenue in the Walnut Grove Shopping Center has closed.

Stylemaker Q&A Next Week!

Katy’s American Indian Arts on Monroe Street has been around for an amazing thirty-three years. Part of that is no doubt because owner Katy Schalles is so warm and friendly you just want to stop in and chat with her and hear about the beautiful artifacts and jewelry she carries, not to mention the interesting stories behind where she finds them.
Next week, I’ll bring you a Q&A with Schalles.

Katy’s American Indian Arts, 1817 Monroe St. 251-5451.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Column

Read my October column here on The Kitchen Gallery, a new kitchen accessories store on Williamson Street.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Stores!

Fontaine, a new design firm and home furnishing studio is opening on Saturday, September 22. I’m eagerly awaiting what this store will look like as the concept sounds interesting. According to the press release, the store will carry home d├ęcor accessories, like vintage Christmas ornaments up to a new chandelier. Ooh la la! The store will also do fresh floral arrangements. The store’s owner Barry Avery says the store was named after his maternal grandmother, Ione Fontaine Wiltgen.

Speaking of stores named after a grandmother (what a weird coincidence!), Dottie Rose, a vintage furniture and clothing store, is also named after owner Melissa Ernst’s grandmother(s). Ernst, a whippersnapper at nineteen years old, is a Middleton resident and opened the store recently.

Just down the street from previously mentioned Fontaine is Forza Gallery, a gallery dedicated to “servicing the needs of the local creative talent.” Forza was opened in early September by FoRCE, or the Foundation of Retaining Creative Energy. This local arts group puts on fun events like Arts Crawls, which happen the first Friday of each month.
Artists interested in displaying work at Forza need to go through an application process; twelve artists will be chosen every year by the FoRCE’s board of directors.

Say ‘bonjour’ to L’Occitane en Provence, opened September 20 at Hilldale Shopping Center. This upscale French bath and body brand has an air of luxury with its elegant store layouts and beautiful orange and brown packaging (it doesn’t sound pretty but it is ☺). Scents will remind shoppers of European countries, like a lavender face moisturizer and olive scented face scrub.

Fontaine, 811 E. Johnson St. 310-8004.
Dottie Rose, 1835 Parmenter St., Middleton. 831-9099.
Forza Gallery, 825 E. Johnson St.
L’Occitane, 638 N. Midvale Blvd.

Fancy Furnishings

Left: Chest by Anna Millea. Right: Chair by Earl Walker.

Last year marked the first time the Fine Furnishings Show was brought to Milwaukee. This year’s show promises an “Arts & Crafts Revival,” which, according to show materials, took place from 1890–1929 and drew inspiration from England, Japan and the regional traditional crafts of America. I attended last year’s event and lusted after thousand-dollar coffee tables, funky Dr. Seuss-like bookshelves and exquisite handcrafted kitchen items. The show will peddle furniture, decorative accessories and original art. Regional artists from Madison, Milwaukee, Door County and Chicago will be there in addition to over 150 artisans from across North America.
Fine Furnishings Show, September 29–30. Midwest Airlines Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. 401-816-0963.

Did You Say … Shoes??

I have been informed that the Marshall’s on the east side has all of their shoes on clearance as they remodel their shoe section into a new shoe “mega-store,” similar to the Middleton store. The store will open September 27 and have an entire new stock of shoes on hand! I think that says it all: excuse me while I um, go run an “errand” … be back in an hour or two!
Marshall’s, 2117 Zeier Rd., 242-1444.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Demolition Day

I attended a media event yesterday on Phase Two of Hilldale’s redevelopment. The main, er, event? Knocking down Hilldale Theatre to make way for The Heights (top), a 112-unit condo building, a Whole Foods Market (bottom) and Hotel Indigo, an eight-story contemporary hotel.
I have a feeling that youngsters might have enjoyed the demolition of Hilldale Theatre even more than the gathered adult spectators. The machine that did the honors looked like a giant claw from one of those games at the arcade that players use to snatch a stuffed animal.
At the event, the claw first knocked into the front entrance of Hilldale Theatre, knocking down the overhang and eventually eliciting a spectacular crash of glass from the front windows. For some odd reason, it was pretty enjoyable to witness. It’s definitely not something you see every day—and kids at heart probably remember playing with a miniaturized version of that big machine.
More importantly, Phase Two is the final step in the redevelopment of Hilldale’s thirty-seven acre site that includes Sundance 608, Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., Fair Indigo, Macy’s, Sushi Muramoto and more. More on this in our November issue.
Hilldale Shopping Center, 702 N. Midvale Blvd.

Macy's Magazine

Speaking of Macy’s, did you know that the department store came out with a new magazine appropriately titled M? I checked it out and I must say that I was impressed with the clean layout, fashion spreads, useful tips and product features. Although the pub peddles items only available at Macy’s, the magazine doesn’t feel like it’s, shall we say, a walking advertisement for Macy’s (even though it is).
Fashionistas will appreciate “What Not to Wear” advice from the Style Network’s Clinton Kelly and mini profiles on hot new designers that the department store will carry at its flagship State Street location in Chicago.
The magazine will be put out quarterly and will be available at Macy’s North stores (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) and will also be mailed to 500,000 Macy’s customers this month.
Macy’s, 702 N. Midvale Blvd., 232-2525.

Is Fashion Frivolous?

On the heels (no pun intended) of New York Fashion Week (Sept. 5–12), I wanted to include a tidbit from The New York Times (subscription required) on an article discussing the differing opinions of what fashion means in our society.
“There is a suggestion that fashion is not an art form or cultural form, but a form of vanity and consumerism,” says Elaine Showalter, the feminist literary critic and a professor emeritus at Princeton, who’s cited in the article. Those are, she adds, dimensions of culture that “intelligent and serious” people are expected to scorn.
Although I think that there is more to life than fashion, what you wear is an expression of who you are. Fashion is also a vital piece of society’s cultural puzzle that includes arts and entertainment, politics, business and so forth that’s fortunately or unfortunately (however you look at it) becoming more and more prevalent. I think what’s most important in navigating the world of fashion is understanding that everyone has a different style and attitude and we should respect that.
I think retailers (Madison retailers included) are addressing the individualism of shopper’s tastes more these days by carrying smaller and more niche designers and opening boutiques that cater to particular tastes (urban/streetwear, upscale prep, college/juniors wear) and so forth.
What do you think?

Cold Weather Yummies

Gail Ambrosius’s dark chocolate baby sea turtles are some of the most adorable candies I’ve ever seen—and they’ve got caramel and pecans inside! Somehow dark chocolate seems to fit with cooler weather on the way: for many, chocolate is the requisite comfort food that just might warm up a belly. So comfort yourself with Gail’s many other dark chocolates, like the gold-bellied Buddhas ($5/for two) or a single chocolate bar for $3.50–$4. Or pick up one of her stickers that says “Because chocolate can’t get you pregnant.” Hilarious!
Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, 2086 Atwood Ave. 249-3500.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Very Vera

My apologies for not posting last week. Magazine deadlines were calling! I will post regularly again this Thursday.
I did want to post a follow-up on the Vera Wang line called Simply Vera that Kohl's department stores are carrying.
The Wall Street Journal ran a Q&A with Wang last week on her new line. She addressed a question about what was on her mind launching her new line. Here's one of my favorite quotes from her:
"I don't consider it a jump down, I consider it a jump across to a much bigger world. Being able to dress so many more women, to me as a designer, is a privilege. Sure, I love the new collection [runway] show. There is nothing like it. But if I can't see my work on more people what did that mean ultimately for me as a designer? Fashion is also about being able to reach more women. Isn't that the ultimate goal? Are you dressing 20 people in the world? Or are you dressing the world? I would argue that both are possible."
Wang goes on to elaborate that women are much more label-conscious and fashion-savvy than ever before. I think Wang has got it right that even if you don't have the big bucks to wear Dior or Marc Jacobs, you can still pull together an excellent outfit from any of Madison's fine local retailers or national retailers like Target (carrying big-name designers Libertine and Devi Kroell currrently) and Steve & Barry's (carrying Sarah Jessica Parker and Amanda Byne's lines).