I’m a Philly girl. My love of our local talent is fierce and deep (don’t read that the wrong way). There’s no shortage of beautiful people crafting and presenting beautiful things here — none whatsoever. My mind and heart are blown, regularly, just walking our streets and visiting our events.(Those were the days, right? When we did that?)
The thing that gets me the most is the people behind the things. People living out the beautiful ideas in their minds, making them something we can touch, hear, feel, experience… — and the tastemakers too, the people who can edit all the things into a collection of swoon-worthy objects. That’s what gets me; where it matters most, is getting to know the people.
Small Business LOVE Philly: Shop Local & Support A’s Faves
We’re pretty real here in Philly. Here are a few spots where you can virtually visit some amazing Makers. They either have sites you can shop online, or you can message them and they’ll work with you like they’ve known you forever, too. That’s how we do here in the city of LOVE — the one big, socially distanced — happy family we are.
Reach out to Rae Paz, and you will find a new best friend, of the forever sort, named, Dana. She’s the single best jewelry stylist + editor + source EVER. She’s a mom of two adorable kiddos, a daughter, a sister, a friend and just a great soul. I’ve never left a run-in or meet-up with her without my face hurting from shared laughs — her zest for life is contagious and her sense of humor is on point. The best gifts I’ve personally given girlfriends, and received myself over the past 15 years — have all been through her. And yes, I absolutely feel like a superhero for a minute when partners and spouses of friends reach out for gift suggestions, I put them in touch, and Dana waves that magical wand she seems to have and helps them achieve new levels of brilliant gifting, and she makes it easy — no stress — and even fun for them. Everyone wins. She has range, so don’t be hesitant to look and she’s as real as real gets, so don’t be afraid to ask for the impossible — she’s got you.
Look Up. I always look up when I enter design events here in Philly, and often, to my delight, I see OVUUD magic. There is a special place where function and art meet in perfect balance — he’s found it. Shana teases me sometimes about the short poems I write about things I love. Without going overboard, and waning poetic about light fixtures, I will say this: this one is personal for me. While I don’t own one of these yet, as they aren’t in my budget range, there are locations in my own home fitted with electrical cover plates, holding space for someday. It’s all or nothing for me. I’m not shopping for alternative fixtures. I would like one of these, crafted by him, right here in Philly, that bends the light just so. There’s a savings account trying to accumulate sufficient discretionary art spend cash. I’m going to wait for it and work for it at the same time. These are worth the wait. Ben, if you are reading along, you are the Light (Ben)der of my dreams — surely this is the first time you’ve heard that, right?
Art is easy: it moves you or it doesn’t. I like to be MOVED. For me, it’s texture, layers and complicated simplicity, that can’t be contained in a category that do that. I like white, and colors, and that moment where you aren’t quite sure what you are looking at, but you just can’t take your eyes off it, because of the way it makes you feel. I like art that’s really, really, hard to not just reach out and run your fingers over the texture of (not that we’d ever do that-touch the real art with fingers-nope-never-especially-not-now.) Not only are Matthew’s paintings easy on the eyes, and genuine works of art (so, so, so many layers and techniques) but he as a person is nothing short of an absolute pleasure. He’s brilliant, fun, and funny in the quietest most understated of oozes a certain kind of not-at-all-intimidating-cool-kinda ways. There’s always a certain gigantic brilliant energy surrounding him, but he’s also always just so freaking calm, with a shy smile and knowing nod of encouragement. He probably is a little shy in actuality. Lucky for us, what’s inside all comes out on his canvases. Follow him on Instagram, dm him inquiries, and one day when we’re all lucky enough to leave the house again, visit a local gallery or make a studio appointment.
The clutchest clutches. Nailed it – in one short sentence! I just love a clutch. I love one as much with jeans and a t-shirt as I do all dressed up. Something about carrying one makes me feel, just a little more pulled together, in a good way. I also, tend for all black in my clothing, usually and mostly. So these clutches, were super exciting to me because they were all so different, than one another and than any others I had ever seen – and they are just so freaking fun!!! I bought 3 at my first show. I chose one for myself, and then one with each of my girls in mind for our share closet. That was years ago and they remain in heavy rotation and some of the most borrowed-by-my-friends items in my own closet. I can’t wait to go out again one day/night. And yes, I will be carrying one of these when I do. Simran and Gayatri (go ahead and guess how this collaboration came to be a company name with a double entendre) are just lovely humans and the craftsmanship in their bags is just exquisite. File under preparedness now, for future fun.
Other than a few favorite restaurants, a few favorite friends, an independent film obsession, my ophthalmologist and gynecologist, my brothers, and folks, a big old bell, and to get down the shore, L&H is the ONLY reason I travel East of Broad. Are you Philly enough to roll your eyes and giggle with me right now? I’m from East of Broad. Relax. The brick and mortar shop should be on your next walking tour of Philly Historic sites. Brian and his family have deep roots here and what they’ve done with their beautiful space is just as amazing as what the gorgeous goods they stock it with. Ask for a tour, they’ll walk you through it — just like you are Philly Family, and then he’ll chat you up, and toss a pair of the socks, his kids created, into your bag, for your kids — and you’ll be fast forever friends. If there were only one store, if someone said, the world is ending, you may get dressed in ONE store, this would be my one. That’s not something anyone says? Right?
The liquor stores are closed my friends. There is only one thing getting me through these days, and it’s coffee. OK, fine, we all cheat with our Nespresso machines, and whatever other shortcuts there are…but if you ask us where we want to meet for coffee and which coffee we actually want to drink at home when we use all the kitchen tools and go the long road, it’s La Colombe. My favorite is Corsica: Dark Roast, Chocolate, Red Wine, Spices reads the description. Yup, that’s me. Their shops are gorgeous, one more than the next. Their headquarters is exceptional and a great place for a party, ask S. (wink, wink) The baristas? Those people practice an exceptional art, with crazy confidence, in the most unassuming of ways. I mean, when one of your owners is French (hard stop, need we say more?) and the other might hold the world speed record for a single crossing of Antartica (go ahead and fact check, or just watch the movie—yes, there is a movie,) and when neither of those things are the most interesting thing about either of them (spoiler, their wives are the most interesting things about both them them, and their kids too,)…you best just get to work making the best coffee ever. Genuinely, in the most beautiful of ways in which I can not wait to socially remove distance, meeting for a coffee at La Colombe is just a treat beyond treats, always. For now, we order bulk online and make at home. And are grateful for it.
I’m not sure where this whole crazy thing ends exactly. What I do know, is that if I’m grateful to be HOME somewhere in the world, it’s right here, in Philly, with all my people (well-socially-distanced, of course.)
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distraction via pretty visuals during these crazy times. xo A