shopping

Whimsical Summer Plates

Speaking of summer—have you seen these new plates from Anthropologie?

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw them, because they depict my favorite season and all the related activities that make me so happy.

Like crab boils

F34964338_069_b

…and music and dance that remind me of my Latin America trips

F34964338_095_b

…and spending time on the water.

F34964338_041_b

Now if only I had beach house where I could use them at a summer dinner party…

F34964338_069_b15

(Images via Anthropologie)

New Orleans-Themed Toms

I don’t often blog about products, but I couldn’t resist posting about these Toms. The design is a map of New Orleans.

NATURAL TOMS X MAKE IT RIGHT WOMEN'S CLASSICS

You know how much I love maps. And Toms are pretty much the only shoes I wear.

This particular pair is a collaboration between Toms and Make It Right, a nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt to build affordable, LEED Platinum certified homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward—which never fully recovered from Katrina.

I visited New Orleans for the first time, a year and a half ago, and loved the city. I was only there for a few days, but didn’t go to the Ninth Ward. To be honest, I didn’t want to be one of those “disaster tourists” who gawk at places hit by unfortunate events.

I would like toВ see the Make It Right houses, on my next trip, though. Some, like this one, are designed by firms based in New Orleans…

Waggoner and Ball Architects are located in New Orleans and designed this home.

…or nearby Baton Rouge.

Trahan Architects are based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and designed this home.

Others were designed by architects from Tokyo…

Shigeru Ban Architects are based in Tokyo, Japan and designed this home.

…and Ghana.

Constructs Architects are based in Accra, Ghana and designed this home.

Frank Gehry’s firm designed one, too.

Frank Gehry and Partners are based in Los Angeles, California and designed this duplex home.

At first, I was jarred at how starkly modern these homes are. I especially loved New Orleans’ historic architecture, and these houses seem to contrast so much. But after looking at the photos a few times, I could see design elements often found inВ more traditional NOLA homes—slatted wood, vibrant colors, porches.

Either way, Make It Right’s mission is undoubtedly rooted in good. I’m reserving my final opinion on the homes’ aestheticsВ for when I see them in person. 😉

(AndВ here’s one more pair of travel-worthy TomsВ I stumbled across.)

(Images via Toms and Make It Right)

Palermo SoHo

As pretty as Recoleta was, it wasn’t exactly a shopping mecca. Sure, there was a pretty boutique here or a nice chocolate place there, but I didn’t stumble upon an area where there was row after row of cool, local shops.

At the puerta cerradas, I started asking people where to go shopping—and everyone suggested Palermo Soho, especially around Gurruchaga and Armenia.

So on one of my last days in BA, I took the subway to the Plaza Italia stop and started walking down Gurruchaga. Within a few minutes, I was loving the neighborhood. The streets were pretty, tree-lined and quiet, and I started seeing sidewalk cafes and cute shops.

Lots of cute shops. Enough to keep me browsing for hours.

I wandered into a number of cool places, including:

Bonito Portezuelo, on Gurruchaga, which sells handmade pillows, woven toys, chairs made from cacti, and other items crafted in the northern part of the country.

bonito portezuelo 1

bonito portezuelo 2

bonito portezuelo 3

…I couldn’t quite figure out what you were supposed to do with those pom-poms on strings. If you know, please tell me!

Also on Gurruchaga was Elementos Argentinos, which sold beautiful, handmade rugs, blankets, shawls and other textiles, also from northern Argentina.

elementos argentinos 2

You could even commission them to create a rug in the style and colors of your choice.

elementos argentinos 1

I was tempted to buy a few pillows, but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing them home. I came close to picking up one of the gorgeous llama throws, as well.

elementos argentinos 3

Reina Batata Bazar Boutique, a showroom of stylish home goods, was a few doors down: Think Anthropologie-esque plates, flatware, serving bowls and the like, all crammed into one bright, airy shop. I don’t know what they were spraying in there, but the air smelled like amazingly sweet baked goods. (They, unfortunately, wouldn’t let me take pics, though you can see their wares on their website and Facebook page.)

I’m a sucker for locally made soaps, so I was drawn into Sabater Hnos. They had soaps in what appeared to be every scent, size and color. I picked up a lavender bar for myself. (After using it, I wish I had gotten more! The fragrance is fresh and light, and the lather luxurious.)

sabater hnos

On Gorriti, I stumbled down a sunny alleyway brimming with plants.

galeria paul

I followed the path and ended up at two awesome stores.В TealosophyВ had some of the best-smelling teas I’ve come across. After sniffing spoonfuls from half the store, I purchased a bag of Monsoon Wedding, a lemongrass/mint chamomile tea.

Paul French GalleryВ was a few feet away. Its space was filled with stylish, minimalist home goods—lots of clean lines, stark white and neutrals. The kind of stuff I’d buy for my apartment, if I were in the market for such items.В (Neither place allowed me to take photos.)

Later in the day, I found Seco Rainwear. I was immediately smitten with their whimsical patterns…

seco 3

…and cute shoes.

seco 2

But I was most excited when I saw an array of bikinis in what appeared to be my size. Within minutes, I was trying on and buying one—the perfect souvenir for a beach bum like myself!

seco 1

By the end of the afternoon, I’d walked up and down nearly every street in the neighborhood. Though I stopped into dozens of stores and was thrilled with my purchases, I didn’t do nearly as well in the food department. I was starving by the time I got to Palermo, so I ate at the first outdoor place I saw—Bartola Corner. The food was underwhelming and the servers surly. And it’s unfortunate because I was too stuffed after that to sample the sweets or eats at any other nearby places that looked way more appetizing!

Maybe next trip…

plamero street 2

(P.S. — If you’re visiting Palermo any time soon, check out mapasbsas.com for more info on where to shop and eat.)

Official NYC Swag

You can find street vendors hawking NYC paraphernalia on practically every corner, but did you know that there are two stores that sell official NYC merchandise? I didn’t, but discovered that while I was going down an internet rabbit hole, the other day.

There are two aptly named CityStores, run by the NYC government: one at the Manhattan Municipal Building and one at City Hall. I’ve yet to visit either (maybe I’ll stop by the next time I get called to jury duty!). But their online shop shows that they’re selling some kitschy yet cool stuff.

Like this tote:

The Brooklyn Bridge Bag

and these coasters:

Set of 4 Manhole Cover Coasters

and this City College subway tile:

City College Subway Tile

and this sanitary grade onesie! (Of course, there’s a Grade Pending shirt, as well.)

Grade A Baby Onesie!

They’re also hawking those awesome Metro Cuffs I wrote about a few months ago:

metrocuff

Best of all, they have a number of wedding items—and fresh flowers!—for those who get married at City Hall. I especially love the Emergency Bow Tie.

(Images via CityStore)