Travelogue: Maggie in Barcelona

At the end of last month, I did my bi-annual¬†buy trip to Milan. I had realized that since I am going all the way over to another continent, I might as well get out and visit other cities while I’m in Europe. This time, I spent 48 hours in Barcelona. My purpose was¬†to mix in with the locals, shop the neighborhoods, and gain some inspiration. To see what new thing I could find and possibly bring back to our Ballard shop.

Travel Tip: arriving at the airport and getting into the city is quite easy. They have a shuttle that leaves every 5 minutes from the airport to Plaza Catalunya and back to the airport. If you take the shuttle Aerobus you can be in and out of the city in 30 minutes.

Like I said my goal was to shop as much of the city as I could in 2 days. I managed to walk various neighborhoods, including Eixample, el Raval, Barrio Gotic, el Born and Gracia. I walked briefly through Las Ramblas, but I wanted to find unique shops and not chain stores. Turns out getting around Barcelona by foot is quite easy!

The shots below are just some of the pictures from my phone camera. Not all the pictures I took were post worthy. Click the photos below for more details. Thanks for visiting and have a relaxing weekend!

 

 

Mondays, Maggie Muses: A Visit to Nonostante Marras

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, away from the city center, away from the Brera, the Duomo, and the hustle and bustle of a typical downtown corridor lies a magical and wondrous place. Antonio Marras has created a place full of old world charm and whimsy. It is called Nonostante Marras. Translated as “despite¬†Marras”, this shop is where Antonio¬†showcases his RTW clothing line. But the experience is so much more than shopping a typical¬†designer¬†boutique.

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nonostante marras exterior

Its humble entry leads you to an open courtyard filled with plants and if you wander for a little bit you will see Snow White and the seven dwarfs standing guard. Glance past the old factory windows, and you get excited at the thought to see what lies inside.

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Friday ~ Free Ballard: Curtis Steiner

Many of you know that our shop is located in a really great Seattle neighborhood known as Ballard.  In all its history and hoopla, Ballard is also our home and we’re dedicating Fridays to telling everyone why we love it here. 

Those of you who are local Seattlites, may already know of Curtis Steiner’s beautiful shop and gallery. So, please bear with us as we tell the world why Curtis Steiner is the crown jewel of our Ballard neighborhood. If you ever come to shop our little¬†street, his gallery¬†is a must stop on your next shopping adventure. It is a feast for the eyes and a truly a magical space.

From his beautiful hand drawn cards, to his carefully curated collection of turn of the century ephemera and his intricate and delicate designed jewelry it’s easy to get lost in this world upon entering the¬†doors.¬†At any given time you can visit Curtis Steiner¬†and find something that you had not noticed before. Each little vignette is carefully arranged and always displayed flawlessly. Even the drawers of the back counter have little treasures to admire and explore.

Curtis¬†also exhibits and rotates other local artists 5 to 6 times¬†a year. Currently showing are “Paper Cuts” by Jessica McCourt. Beautiful gold paper is transformed into intricate maritime portraits with careful cuts. In November, for the 9th year in a row, Patty Grazini’s paper sculptures will¬†return to the gallery. The show promises to be as exciting and inspiring¬†as in years past.

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Curtis’s ability to discover beauty in the littlest of things and his attention to detail in everything he does is rare and inspiring. Just peruse¬†his Instagram feed and his Pinterest boards and quickly understand why we admire his artistry. Even his pictures taken on his “walks with Mortimer” are ethereal.¬†Curtis is an ¬†artist¬†of many, many talents and we are so fortunate to have him as an anchor in the neighborhood.

Curtis Steiner is located at 5349 Ballard Avenue NW РSeattle WA, 98107

Mondays, Maggie Muses: 17 Gift Suggestions

It’s that time of year again… we have been busy stocking up our shop and our website with some really neat gift ideas. For those of you who might not be familiar with our shop, re-souL is located in a neighborhood of Seattle called Ballard. ¬†It is a charming and fun community with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, and the perfect place to spend an afternoon shopping for the holidays.

So with that in mind, we have teamed up with a pair of our favorite neighbors to bring you the ultimate shopping guide. If you are in the Seattle area, come see us! If not, no worries, you can shop with us online.  Links to the pictures and our websites are listed below. Thank you for shopping with us and happy holidays!

BALLARD HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

BALLARD NEIGHBORHOOD
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

GIFTS UNDER $50

(1) Rifle Paper Co. 2014 Travel America Calendar ($26) at Drygoods Design

(2) Blue Wovens Fat Quarter Bundle ($22) at Drygoods Design

(3) Dorothy Cheng Triple Ampyx Ring Ring ($50) at Velouria

(4) Hansel from Basel Socks ($12-$28) at re-souL

(5) R&L Goods Extra Large Notebook ($32) at Velouria

(6) Rifle Paper Co. Polka Dot Tin Recipe Box and Recipe Cards ($34) at Drygoods Design


GIFTS UNDER $100

(7) Areaware Wooden Alphabet Set ($72) at re-souL

(8) Iris Guy Sofer Earrings (ranging from $52-$74) at re-souL

(9) Jessalin Beutler Cat Eyes Circle Scarf ($78) at Velouria

(10) Essential Travel + Starter Sewing Kit ($65) at Drygoods Design

(11) BYAMT x Mimot Teal Clutch ($55) at Velouria

GIFTS OVER $100

(12) Gidigio T-Strap Pump in Oxblood ($298) at re-souL

(13) Learn to Sew Trilogy ($140) at Drygoods Design

(14) Nikki Jacoby Valkyrie Cuff ( $175) at Velouria

(15) Aunts & Uncles Goody Aqua Leather Handbag ($350) at re-souL

(16) Feral Childe Smock Dress ($296) at Velouria

(17) MyWalit Medium Purse Wallet ($148) at re-souL

SHOP RE-SOUL | SHOP VELOURIA | SHOP DRYGOODS DESIGN

Milan; the Good, the Sad and the Ugly

Another season, another trip to Milan (sigh). ¬†Wait, that doesn’t sound right. ¬†I promise that it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. ¬†Sure, I go to Italy usually twice a year to work with vendors and factories. ¬†But it’s really hard work. ¬†It’s a long travel day, endless walking, there’s jet lag and other side effects and I’m really only there for 4 nights. ¬†I get up early and start working, so I never really get fully adjusted before it’s time to turn around and go back to Seattle.

But even if my internal clock is backwards and my feet feel like little loaves of bread, I do take time to visit the city of Milan. I take in some sights, find some new places and check in on the old favorites. I have mixed feelings about this last trip to the city, so I am calling this post “the Good, the Sad and the Ugly”.

On this trip, I hit all my appointments and got all the work done and then I had my whole last day free to roam the city. ¬†So I spent the day shopping the windows of Milan, wandering the streets high and low. ¬†I battled the crowds and I meandered on the side streets, I’m getting good at knowing the ins and outs of Milan and I’m a pro at the subway (metro).

Starting with the good:  Milan has so much classic architecture!  I can walk through the Galleria time after time and still amazed. The Duomo is stunning, it bursts high into the sky making me feel minuscule in comparison. I never tire of walking around in this area.  The perfect melting pot of neoclassical architecture with new and modern shops makes for very pleasant window shopping, despite the congestion of locals and tourists.

I have a new favorite fashion store, it’s called “& Other Stories” and they have everything you could want! Jewelry, accessories, clothing and make-up. ¬†It’s like I walked into a fashionable person’s closet, color coordinated and curated by a professional stylist and it’s all very reasonably priced. I am regretting that I passed a little black dress and next time I will have to save my pennies so I can be impulsive.

I live for the boutique windows.  The italians are very creative and I can always count on the shops to have interesting  (and sometimes funny) windows full of inspiring ideas.  I loved the simple yet attractive neon window in a Brera showroom and of course the murdered gnome in the Navigli actually made me laugh out load.

Moving on to the sad, which is led by Chinese imports and an infiltration of big box chain stores. ¬†I was in Porta Ticinese, across the street from¬†from¬†Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio. ¬†This street has always attracted me for it’s historic neighborhood feel and a healthy mix of independent retail. ¬†This time, I was looking at an American Apparel shop and it was disconcerting to say the least. ¬†The indie retailers on this street used to inspire me and now I feel like it’s become homogenized, taken over by the corporations. ¬†I had¬†a similar feeling while staring in the windows of my favorite Milan shoe retailers. ¬†The shops that once sold fine Italian footwear are now full of fast fashion items made in China. ¬†There are stores that I once aspired to emulate, and now they are full of brands that you would recognize from department stores in the US.

Seeing all this saddens me but it also makes me feel grateful too. I feel really blessed that our shop can still offer beautiful handmade shoes and unique goods, because stores like ours are few and far between not only in our country but in Italy as well. Thank you to our customers for shopping with us and demanding quality goods, it’s our passion and we love to bring you all the things we hold dear and love.

Okay, now on to the ugly. ¬†Graffitti, it’s everywhere and seriously out of control! Historic monuments tend to be sacred and yet, anything remotely public domain is covered with paint. Most of it is senseless tagging and there are a few attempts at something artistic but there is so much that I am desensitized and it’s all ugly. ¬†I passed by a shop owner painting over his tagged store front and I thought, “Wow, that’s really great, he is handling the problem head on” and later I realized that the store front was a paint shop. Well, I guess he was obliged, I just hope his paint job will last longer than a week.

To end on a good note, my favorite thing about the city of Milan is its neighborhoods. ¬†Navigli, Centro Storico, Corso Como, Porta Ticinese and the Brera each have their own character and charm.¬†¬†The piazzas, parks and gardens paired with the architecture of the buildings make it a pleasure to stroll and enjoy. Every time I visit, I try to discover a new area but I’m always frequenting my favorites. ¬†Milan is a busy metropolitan area and it may not be the first choice destination for travelers but what I have learned over the years of visiting, if you take the time to get to know the city, Milan has all the excitement and charm of other famed Italian cities, just in a different way.