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coffee + cre8tive [apr 18 06]

There’s so much beauty to be found in the simple things. A daffodil. Freshly sharpened colored pencils. A squeeky rubber ducky that makes your little one giggle. Always find joy in the little things. That’s what my mother taught me as we walked in the woods behind our house to collect flowers to bring home to our rock garden, where we spent hours digging and talking girl talk. We’d lay on our backs in the grass looking up at the night sky chatting about the meaning of life, boys, and my day at school. She’d take me to the coast after school where we’d run with our dogs, or sometimes when I had a school holiday, we’d go go to the shore in the middle of the night to watch the sea turtles as they arrived to lay their eggs, hundreds of them dragging themselves onto the shore. It was magical there beneath the night sky. Most of all, I remember her hand in mine when I needed it the most.

I think of the simple things my father did, too. Sending me flowers when I broke my leg. Handing me $10 ‘just because’ and taking me to my favorite book store to spend it. Bringing me to visit his office where I’d sip chocolate milk and watch him work on his blueprints for hours. Letting me sit on the top deck along the toe rail of our boat so I could stare into the water at the jellyfish. Making Saturday morning breakfast together, complete with grits and pancakes. Simple things always made me so happy. I can’t imagine life any other way. I’m sure you’re the same, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. So, what about you? What do you remember as you look backwards, what simple pleasures brought you the most joy?

(photos from the beautiful cardamon designs, who feature lovely personalized cards for home or business.)

Posted in uncategorized on April 18, 2006

Shopping San Francisco: Part 1 – The Mission

Written By: Anh-Minh Le, NEW! decor8 Contributor
Learn more about Anh-Minh here.


Hi there! This is Anh-Minh, reporting from the San Francisco Bay Area. Holly has been kind enough to let me take up a little bit of real estate on her awesome blog. So as part of a new series at decor8, I?ll give you the scoop on some of the best design resources around these parts. Whether you?re local or planning a visit, hopefully you?ll find the write-ups to be useful!

Since there are great galleries and shops all over San Francisco, I?ve decided to break things down by neighborhoods. In the first installation of this series, I?m focusing on The Mission District ? specifically, the Valencia Corridor. This is by no means a comprehensive list; it?s just a selection of some of my favorites.

(Other S.F. neighborhoods will be showcased in future posts. And I?m planning to go beyond the city limits and explore the shopping drags of Berkeley, Burlingame and more.)

The Mission

Once upon a time, this was a predominantly Latino area. But, in the late ?90s when the Internet boom happened, the Mission was a prime candidate for gentrification. Now, while still maintaining its roots, the neighborhood has become home to a plethora of wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques.

Thanks to two fairly new storefronts, the Mission is a great destination for finding affordable local artwork for your home. Local Patron carries everything from jewelry and clothing to paintings and ceramics. But, you must act quickly: This is a temporary shop that is currently scheduled to shut down in late May. Artist-Xchange, while still focusing on local folks, is heavy on art for your walls and ceramics for your tabletops (including the fabulous work of Joanna Mendicino).

Just a few doors down from Artist X-Change is CandyStore, which is sort of like a one-stop shop for all things adorable. You can find clothing (I love local designer Talla?s patterns!), shoes, stationery, accessories, ceramics, pillows and so much more. And yes, the boutique does indeed sell candy ? in vintage glass canisters that are so charming and retro.

The stretch of Valencia between 15th and 16th is where you?ll find two Therapy stores right next door to each other. One primarily carries sofas, pillows and other accessories. The other space is mainly a clothing boutique, with more home accessories and tchotchkes mixed in. Be sure to check them both out.

If you?re in the market for some vintage goods, my go-to in this neighborhood is The Touch. Feel free to haggle with them ? I always do! I picked up my Danish-style coffee and dining tables here, and love them both. (It?s a little tough to find info on this store, so I?ll tell you that it?s located at 956 Valencia Street.) X-21 Modern is another good vintage spot. Be sure to give yourself some time here; the store?s 9,000 square feet are jam-packed.

Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own history and personality. And in the Mission, you?ll find the only vegan boutique in the city. Otsu is proof that you don?t need to use animal products to make great things. My top picks here include the Little Otsu cards and Chris Duncan?s patchwork birdies.

Other shops worth mentioning: Aldea which also has an online store, Paxton Gate and Rayon Vert (located at 3187 16th Street, it?s more than just a flower shop!).

One of the best things about shopping in the Mission is that if you need a break ? to indulge in a leisurely meal or just refuel ? there is no shortage of eateries here. Mmm? Crepes at Ti Couz? Mojitos at Luna Park?

(images Aldea, Local Patron, Artist X-Change.)

Posted in guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on April 17, 2006

Kerry Cassill

I’ve long been a fan of designer Kerry Cassill textiles. Her collection, easily spotted by the paisley symbol used on the tags on all of her work, has a strong Indian influence that is simply stunning. Her collection developed with this theme in mind due to an inspirational trip to Paris, where she spotted Indian fabrics and fell head over heels with their rich colors and patterns. She then ventured to India to learn more, and this is when her career in textile design took flight. Today, she is a popular designer with a huge following of fans that adore her patterns, like myself.

You can view her designs online or visit her store, lala, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, CA (here’s a sample itinerary). While in Laguna, make sure you reserve time to stroll around to browse all the stores around lala, break for lunch, and don’t miss the postcard perfect ocean views. We were there last June and met up with some German travelers for lunch, visiting from the Munich area. Laguna is a hot spot for Europeans, as it has the reputation of being paradise on earth here in America. In addition to lala, if you’d like to know where Kerry Cassill textiles are sold in your local area, click here.


(images from kerry cassill)

Posted in uncategorized on April 17, 2006

Paper + Cup


Jennifer from Portland, Maine wrote in to tell me about this great stationery company owned by her friend in Brooklyn called Paper + Cup. Minhee?s letterpress and silkscreen work is most impressive, I think you’ll enjoy snooping around her online store, so have fun! Thanks Jennifer for the tip!

(images from Paper + Cup)

Posted in uncategorized on April 17, 2006

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