Friday, October 31, 2008

Going Green Plus My Best Buys

The catchphrase “going green” is all but overused these days. You might even be sick of hearing it. But let’s face it: using fewer resources and reducing the amount of trash that hits the landfill is always a good thing, even if you’re sick of hearing about it!
And retailers are still going at it, selling more green products than ever. Take Fair Indigo’s recycled fleece pullovers, jackets, hats, scarves and mittens. Baby can even get in on the act with the recycled fleece buntings!
According to Fair Indigo’s newsletter, “Our fleece reduces oil consumption, toxic emissions and keeps soda bottles from filling up a landfill because it’s made from 50 percent post-consumer plastic.”
I think it’s so fascinating to know the former lives of some of the green products on the market today—a fleece made from a soda bottle? A cosmetic brush made out of bamboo and recycled aluminum (check out EcoTools at Walgreen’s)? A handbag made out of rice paper (but looks like leather, found at Atticus)?
Since green products are becoming so pervasive these days we might not even notice if a product is green—and that can be a good thing. Items are becoming so fashionably made that a T-shirt out of organic cotton or reusable shopping bags (so much more chic than paper or plastic!) are just, well, everyday things.
Like a fleece that once housed your Coca-Cola. (Above: men's recycled fleece jacket, $59)
Fair Indigo, 702 N. Midvale Blvd.

With Epoch now closed, Anthology is carrying one of the vintage shop’s best-sellers, items by local artist Rebecca Light. Talk about green: Light makes pins and rings out of vintage buttons as well as embellished sweaters out of vintage fabrics and embellishments. Example: on a visit to Epoch a while back I spied a Banana Republic orange cardigan with cute ribbon sewn down the front. And a pair of men’s polyester pants sewn into a chic pencil skirt. And another pair of seventies-ish plaid pants that were made into a really cute A-line skirt. Who knew “old man” stuff could be turned into a hot outfit?
P.S.: If you didn’t read my November column on Anthology, read it here.
Anthology, 218 State St. 204-2644.

So don’t accuse me of being behind the times: I know Sephora opened in July. And I visited it a while back, only I forgot to include something about it on my blog! The shop at West Towne Mall is quite a bit smaller than other Sephora stores I’ve been in; but that’s OK, because we have a Sephora! Yay! I don’t tend to write about chains much but Sephora is very exciting because it’s a one-stop shop for all of the hot cosmetic and fragrance brands out right now, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in Madison (Sephora brand products, Make Up For Ever, Smashbox and NARS, for example).
I use NARS blush and bronzer so when I spotted a two-for-one blush and bronzer palette for $37 my eyes bugged out. You see, the bronzer alone is $29; the blush, $25. For all of you who can’t imagine spending that much on makeup you might want to skip the rest of this entry ☺
For the rest of you: I’m telling you, these products are worth it. NARS’s Laguna and Casino bronzers are universally flattering. The blush choices are either Sin or Orgasm (Orgasm is their best-selling blush). Each product delivers the right amount of bronzy color and peachy-pinkness, with a bit of shimmer. Pick from either the Laguna/Orgasm palette or the Casino/Sin palette. It’s a sure way to perk up your skin this winter. And for $37 the product lasts quite a while so you get a good value for your money. There, I’ve justified purchasing them now.
Another product worth trying out: face primer. Top makeup artists use primer underneath makeup to make makeup “stick” and last longer, plus, primers cut out shine, which is essential for photo shoots that can last all day. But you don’t need to be a model to use primer, try one out from Sephora. They were courteous enough to let me sample two of their Sephora brand primers: one gave my skin a lumiscent glow, the other cut out shine and gave my face a matte perfection.
Laura Geller is known for her primer, as is Smashbox. If you want to find one that’s less expensive, try Sephora’s “Tricks of the Trade” perfection primers ($17). They too, work very well.
Sephora, 71 West Towne Mall. 827-5958.

Another shop I haven’t written about: American Apparel on State Street. This long-anticipated retailer is finally open so you can get your fill of striped tube socks, V-neck tees, leotards, leggings and more. Yes, many of the men’s and women’s items appear a bit … eighties to me, but that’s AA’s aesthetic: funky, updated versions of classics like an off-the-shoulder tunic and a striped rainbow T-shirt dress. Regardless, I own American Apparel gear and I like their stuff a lot. Their basics appeal to me: the long, fitted tanks, workout sweats, T-shirts and polo dresses.
The stuff that I won’t be picking up: the multicolor disco ball-esque shiny bodysuit, their teeny tiny swimsuits and a polyester pullover dress that looks like it was constructed out of hospital scrubs.
One thing to applaud American Apparel for: all of their garments are made in the U.S. under fair working conditions (despite the affordable prices). Employees make fair wages, have subsidized health insurance, free onsite massages and more.
(Above: What I won't be picking up: the "Shiny Bodysuit," priced at $34).
American Apparel, 502 State St. 250-8100.

Upcoming Events

Atticus Holiday Open House
When: November 6, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Atticus and JTaylor, 18 and 18 ½ N. Carroll St.
Details: Come kick-start the holidays. Atticus will offer 20 percent off of dresses all day plus 20 percent off owner Kristin Wild’s top ten gift ideas. Champagne, cheese from Fromagination and homemade fudge will be on hand. Next door, John Taylor will serve single malt scotch and food.
Contact: Atticus, 204-9001.

Macha Election Night Art Show
When: November 4, 6 p.m.–?
Where: Macha Teahouse+Gallery, 1934 Monroe St.
Details: Check out Craig Grabhorn’s exhibit titled “The Winning Voter.” Attendees can meet the artist and hang out at Macha to wait for election results. Personally, I’d go for the cupcakes: their pastry case features a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
Contact: 442-0500.

Madison Holiday Market
When: November 7, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
November 8, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
November 9, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Details: With over 120 merchants in one place, shoppers can browse apparel, crafts, food items, décor and more for holiday giving. Proceeds benefit the Madison Ballet. General admission is $7.

Midnight Madness Event
When: November 28-30
Where: Johnson Creek Premium Outlets, 575 W. Linmar Ln., Johnson Creek
Details: It’s the outlet’s biggest sale of the year. Stores are offering additional savings off their everyday low outlet prices. Stores will have extended hours and savings for early shoppers, like at the Polo Factory Store. Shoppers will save 20% on a purchase of $150 or more from midnight to 10 a.m. on Friday, November 28.
Contact: 920-699-4111.

Downtown Madison Holiday Open House
When: November 29, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: State Street and the Capitol Square
Details: Free holiday trolley rides, gift bags, caroloers special offers and complimentary refreshments at more than forty shops and restaurants. Kids’ activities include gift wrapping, cookie decorating and holiday photos. The free weekend trolley will continue every Saturday in December.
Contact: 443-1974.

Fourth Annual Holiday Craftacular
When: December 6, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Madison Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave.
Details: Those of you who loved The Glitter Workshop will have the chance to peruse goods from local artists, many of which still sell at local retailers since The Glitter Workshop closed. Find cute gifts and stuff for yourself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fashion Fridays

Here's a pic from the Fashion Fridays event on October 17.
Pictured with me is Suzanne Smelcer, a former Madison Magazine intern, now an editor with Her outfit was by BCBG from Macy's and her shoes by Loeffler Randall from (where else?) bop.
My outfit was also from bop: the dress was by Alisha Levine and shoes were by Ruthie Davis. The shoes were really fun, by the way: they were nude T-strap patent leather heels with mirrors under the heel! Very fun!

State Street Changes

Just as our November issue came out on Thursday (10/23) I found out from Sachi Komai (owner of Anthology) that Epoch at 214 State St. would be closing for good this weekend. In my November column, I mentioned State Street's 200 block as having a mini retail resurgence: Anthology opened, Little Luxuries relocated to a bigger space and Epoch took over Little Luxuries' old space.
Epoch's last day will be October 25.

New Shopping Content!

From our November 2008 issue:

Window Shopping: Put it on Paper
Anthology on State Street is a labor of love for sisters Sachi and Laura Komai. Having worked together at Little Luxuries for years the sisters always knew they'd open up their own shop. What they didn't know is it would be on the same block as their old employer—Little Luxuries.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weekend Events

Everyone should really hit up our Food and Wine Show this weekend. I mean, really, there are no two activities better than eating and shopping, yes? And you can do both (yes, I said both), at the Food and Wine Show. That means sampling cheese while sipping on a sample of Wollersheim’s Praire Fumé. Or nibbling on some pumpkin ravioli while watching the Dueling Chefs competition. I look forward to this show all year, and you should, too.

Madison Food and Wine Show: October 17, 5–9 p.m., October 18, 12–7 p.m., October 19, 12–4 p.m. $37 advance/$42 DOS. Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way.

Fashion Fridays is tomorrow night so dig out your plaids (for the night's theme, "London Calling") or your next most fashionable frock and don it for tomorrow night’s show. See you there!
Fashion Fridays, October 17, 7:30 cocktail/shopping reception, 8:30 runway show. The Commercial Penthouse, 2450 Rimrock Rd.
9:30 p.m. after-party at Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St.">

Hot Buys

I may not have shared my love of Fontaine, a home furnishings and accessories store, on this blog before. Owner Barry Avery’s eye for smart design and well-edited selection of looks ranging from organic to Hollywood luxe can tempt any shopper.
Avery is carrying a new product line, Lollia, which consists of bubble bath, hand crème, soaps and candles. I’ve seen Lollia products at other stores (not locally) and have admired their beautiful packaging and heavenly scents. Avery’s carrying the “Inspire” scent (also called 1000 Flowers) in shea butter hand cream and bathing salts and the “Wish” scent (Sugared Pastille) in hand cream, fragrance spritz and bubble bath. He’s also carrying the Poppy Nectar candle.
Featured in national mags like Bazaar, InStyle Weddings and Shape, now Madison can indulge in these yummy scents, too. Prices range from $6.95–$59.95.

Fontaine, 811 E. Johnson St. 310-8002.

Looking for a cute baby gift or a holiday gift for a special tyke? Check out the Joobles collection from Fair Indigo. Made of organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes, these one-hundred percent adorable stuffed toys, hats and mittens, and cotton cardigans are sure to be a hit. I love the vibrant colors. And you can’t beat the construction practices behind them; according to Fair Indigo’s website, “The Joobles are made fairly in Lima, Peru, at a family-run facility where dad grows the cotton and mom runs the sewing operation.” Sounds like a family affair! (Top: Jiffy the giraffe hat and mittens, $39; bottom, Icy the penguin, $29).

Fair Indigo, 570 N. Midvale Blvd. 661-7662.

Our Food and Wine Show is this weekend, but you can continue to celebrate and savor cheeses and other exotic foodstuffs long after we close up shop. Fromagination, the Square’s yummy cheese shop, is hosting events throughout November and December to help customers select cheeses for holiday parties and items for gifts.
November 13, 4–7 p.m.: Let the cheesemongers at Fromagination help you create the perfect cheese plate for Thanksgiving.
December 4, 11, 4–8 p.m.: Get a head start on holiday shopping at the Gift Fair. The shop will have tables set up so customers can walk around and talk and taste while they shop.

Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St. 255-2430.

Who is the most famous “T” you can think of? Personally, I’d say Mr. T (“I pity the fool!”) or Ice-T. There are others, though, like Ford’s Model T, or maybe a T-bone steak. But I digress. Macha Teahouse has a wall of Famous T’s because…they’re a teahouse! They want customers to guess who their new “Famous T’s” are on the wall (and yes, Mr. T is already up there). Customers will be entered to win a teapot and one pound of their favorite tea.
Customers are also encouraged to tell Macha in one hundred words or less what the teahouse means to them. All customers will be given something for entering and the top three entries will be featured on their website—not to mention awarded prizes!
Both contests are to celebrate the teahouse’s one-year anniversary.

Macha Teahouse, 1934 Monroe St. 442-0500.

Holiday gift ideas are already landing in my inbox, folks. We in magazine land can quickly get tired of the holidays since we cover them in October and November, and then experience them yet again in December…ha! Not to sound like Scrooge, because shopping for others is fun.
Two places to look for art-inspired gifts: MMoCA’s Museum Store and With gifts in a variety of price ranges, you can get something for anybody, whether she’s a fashionista (jewelry and handbags), a kid (kids’ books and art) or foodie (artful kitchen accessories).
Both retailers have kept price consciousness in mind and are offering gifts for less; Artful Home’s “100 under $100” keeps your wallet in mind and MMoCA’s large variety of inexpensive gifts under $25 can satisfy most anyone on your list.
Artful Home has even gone one step further and categorized gifts into easy sections like: “Customer Favorites and Ornaments” (plus the 100 under $100 section); a “Shop by Personality” section; and “More Ways to Shop,” including by Price, Recipient, Occasion and “In Time for 12/25”—a selection of artist-made items that can ship in time to arrive by December 25.

Terry Boehner, the Museum Store’s marketing assistant provided me this list of gifts under $25 that include:
Cute animal-shaped banks, $18.
Wood bud vases, $13.50. “Really popular,” says Boehner.
Buddha Boards, $11.50. (“A Zen art concept: image appears when you paint water on the board, it disappears when water evaporates,” says Boehner.”)
Don Drumm pewter leaves, $17.
Wind-up salt shaker, $20.50.
Singerman & Post earrings, $22. (Designs of colorful Mylar film transferred to light metal.)
Kids’ books, $6–$8.

MMoCA Museum Store, 227 State St. 257-3222.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I was at an event the other week talking with another attendee. Naturally, we got on the subject of clothing. “I’m a handbag girl,” she said. “But my best friend is a shoe girl.” Folks, I’m a shoe girl. Reason being, switching handbags every day just gets too time-consuming. For special events I’ll work in a cute clutch, but for everyday use I sport the same handbag all season. Switching shoes every day … a lot easier. Especially if you have patent shoes in pink, yellow, blue, black, red and nude like myself (among many other pairs that I have). I mean, you’ve got to show all of the shoes equal love!
Those of you who are shoe people will want to attend the “If the Shoe Fits” auction and fundrasier to benefit The Center for Patient Partnerships on Thursday, November 6.
Seriously, you have to check out the shoes that will be up for auction ( Designed by artists from across the nation, these fantastical works will surely fetch some bucks as a one-of-a-kind sculptural piece for the home.
A coworker and I have jokingly said that we’re going to install shelves in our respective apartments to display our favorite shoes. If you buy one of those beauties from the auction, you’ll probably want to do just that.
(Photos: Top, "Arc en Ceil" by Mark Evans; bottom, "Spike Heel" by Charley Brown).

If the Shoe Fits Auction and Fundraiser (to benefit the Center for Patient Partnerships), November 6. 5:30–8:30p. Nakoma Golf Club, 4145 Country Club Rd. 265-6267.

Anyone who hears the words “Fashion Week” and “Madison” might scratch their head. Whaaat? Madisonians, fashionable? C’est vrai! And what better way to showcase Wisconsin retail and our city style than at Fashion Fridays, an event being held next Friday, October 17, in the “Commercial Penthouse” at the Novation Campus, 2450 Rimrock Rd.
The event is a runway show and shopping shindig for those with a passion for fashion. Participating retailers include Patricia Shoppe, N.e.w.d. Clothing, Maverick Clothing and Milwaukee-based Fred Boutique and Red Heel.
The theme is “London Calling” and press materials share, “The third installment calls on the looks of London as the season’s hottest trendmakers including plaid, houndstooth, equestrian, military and punk.”
Indeed, Kristi Moe, producer of Madison Fashion Week and Fashion Fridays, is even handing out a “Best Dressed” award at the Cardinal Bar after-party to the person that best epitomizes the “London Calling” theme.

Moe has shared this schedule of the event with me:
7:30-8:30 Shopping reception
8:30-8:45 First runway show (two fashion lines)
8:45-9:00 Live music set
9:00-9:15 Second runway show (two fashion lines)
9:00 Doors open at the Cardinal Bar for the after-party

Tickets range from $15 (reserved seats) to $200 for a table. I will attend the event and report back to you on my thoughts and what looks I liked.

Fashion Fridays, Friday October 17. 7:30 p.m.–? Runway show: The Commercial Penthouse at Novation Campus, 2450 Rimrock Rd. After party: The Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St.

I attended the Madison Symphony Orchestra League’s “Overture of Style” event on October 2 at the Edgewater Hotel. (If you’d like to view pics, here’s the link). As emcee of the show, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the fashions earlier in the day. Woldenberg’s provided all of the ready-to-wear, evening and fur coat fashions that were featured. I coveted a deep purple sweater with baubles sewn onto the neckline and cute color-block skirt, both by French designer Sonia Rykiel, and a spangly Badgley Mischka flapper-inspired cocktail dress and a deep emerald green silk blouse with ruffles down the front. The show went off without a hitch and the models did a nice job showcasing Woldenberg’s fashions.
Shown here is a picture of me in the David Meister cocktail dress Woldenberg’s was kind enough to lend me for the event. Constructed of silk with a one-shoulder silhouette and pleating at the waist, this dress would be appropriate year-round for a daytime or nighttime event. Now, if I could just convince the boutique to let me keep the dress … ☺

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

I met Tanatnan Chaipang the other week at our “Sips and Shops” event. Chaipang recently opened Eastside Bazaar, a store on East Johnson Street. Chaipang told me she sells her own handmade jewelry, as well as wall hangings, masks, purses, paintings and more. According to her website ( Chaipang’s merchandise comes from West Africa to Southeast Asia. I plan to stop in soon and when I do, I’ll let you know!

Eastside Bazaar, 836 E. Johnson St. 260-0244.