Monday, January 31, 2011

Mom and Me at the Gift Show

Aren't my mom, (aka Mrs Birch Store) and I cute? We just spent an exhausting yet inspiring weekend together, along with Pam and Anne, at the gift show in Snow York City. We raced around like birch banshees until our feet hurt (well, my mom's didn't hurt - apparently these feel good even after ten hours upright!)

Y'all should be very excited for the spring arrivals - new goodies from some of our favorite vendors along with special finds we can't wait to share with you. I'm talking modern and traditionally designed fair trade treasures (many of which support amazing causes) from around the globe: Irish capes; Kenyan bags; Nepalese cashmere; Lithuanian linen; Israeli Jewelry; woodland creatures from Chiang Mai; Peruvian alpaca sweaters as well as good old made in the USA delights! So many special new things, I'm giddy just thinking about it.

I think we walked for miles, and of course had to pass on a few oddball items. Does anyone think the Birch Store should sell these???

My favorite part of the weekend? When my mom suggested she should do some blogging as well. She told me, "We could go back and forth blogging. It would be like Joan and Melissa Rivers.... Only I'm Melissa and you're Joan."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whip January Away With Some Mighty Fine Leather!

Hello? Hello?
Is this radio signal even going out?
Trapped in a brownstone: it's Snowmageddon 2.0 and I don't even own a shovel


Womp, womp.
A month of feeling fat and broke.
Time to tighten those figurative belts?
This skinny belt wraps around twice and can be worn at the waist or hips. Wear with jeans, dresses, skirts or leggings. I heart the slim buckle (it reminds me of a vintage tie bar) and the slender price:
Also available in black.

Feel like you need something even tougher ? Try this one; it has grommets.

This friend also wraps around twice or can be unsnapped for a classic once-around look. Doing double-time. Take that January; you're likely to be whipped out of here in a matter of days!

Both are sized: S/M (fits 32-36" hip) and M/L (fits 36-40" hip)

Call 518.576.4561 or email for details and shipping information.

***Stay tuned: my mom, Pam, Ann and I are headed to the gift show this weekend in NYC. We'll walk for miles and eat overpriced hot-dogs all in the name of scouting out the best, exciting new treasures to bring to y'all. I'll be sure to post photos and luring bits of news!***

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clean Your Dirty Dogs!

True Story:
Here I am sitting in front of the computer trying to decide what to cover in this post, when I hear a terrible retching coming from the floor. Dorothy, my darling dapple dachshund, is, ahem, regurgitating her dinner on the rug. Not once, not twice, not three times nor four, but FIVE times. All on the rug. Not just her dinner, but mine as well. (Apparently someone got into the lamb saagwala while I wasn't looking.) Joke's on her? Or, me. As I soak and dab at this mess, Dorothy is trying to gobble up the giant piece of lamb and unchewed kibble she has just deposited all over the nubby rug. Um, Gross. You kiss your mother with that mouth???
Dogs are dirty.

They must be cleaned.
This shampoo and conditioner are the best. The scent is called WOODS, and it's lovely: fresh and earthy (but not hippie-ish ). The ingredients are 100% natural, mostly organic, pH balanced for dogs, and dye and sulfate-free. It's made from all kinds of delicious hard-working ingredients: green tea extract to keep the bugs away, rosemary and peppermint to stimulate and heal skin and jojoba oil and wheat protein to moisturize and protect. Dorothy, when she's not wrecking my rug, receives a lot of complements on her soft , shiny coat. And you guys, I am not even kidding, I have used it myself when I've run out of shampoo and conditioner. Worked great, smelled great. Am I over-sharing? It says right on the bottle: Good for dogs, people and the environment, just don't drink it or use it on your cat! Now, if I can just get Dorothy to brush her teeth...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Purses and Ponies

Photo by Tony Anderson; styled by Maya Judd

I don't know about you, but I need a workhorse for a purse. A Clydesdale, but a Clydesdale disguised as a Shetland Pony that's really a pack mule in a Blue Stallion's body. (Horse digression? Bear with me.) I need a purse that can carry a book, a notebook, a wallet, a phone, keys, hand cream, lip balm, a water bottle, maybe a spontaneous purchase, a collapsible bag (for more purchases) and sometimes my dog, but doesn't make me look like a ridiculous person lugging her life around,
and still looks sharp when nearly empty.

I've found my pretty pony. I'm committed. I've actually had the same one in suede since 2007, but since a purse of mine is required to ride the subway, sit on the floor at restaurants, and unfortunately get spilled on at shows, I'm very excited that it now comes in soft buttery leather (a harder working material than suede).


It's a classic, slouchy "hobo" bag. It's the unstructured, expandable slouchiness that allows it to accommodate all those things you must have on you because you might need them and still look good on those days you leave the house with all you actually need (license, Amex, phone and keys). The roomy interior has a zipper pocket, (which is currently storing the THIS CANNOT GET LOST Knicks vs Heat ticket of my husband's) and two other well sized pockets (so you don't have to go digging for that ringing phone). The entire top zips closed, so you don't have to worry about your entire life spilling out into the world when you send it through the airport security belt. The comfy strap has a 10" drop, which means it works in the summer with a tank top as well as in the bulky winter, and is attached by two harness rings – perfect for clipping on treasures so you can be a horse of a different color. Maybe Craft a pompom or attach a fox tail, (which I do believe can be purchased from our very own local taxidermy shop for $15).

Call 518.576.4561 or email for details, other colors and shipping info.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Problem of Winter Leggings Solved

Photo by Raymond Kleboe circa 1960 from Getty Images

"Wintry mix" anyone? This cutesy weather phrase is defined by a mixture of freezing rain, ice pellets and snow! Ack! It's terrifying out there. My dog literally took one look out the open door and ran in the other direction! Unfortunately, some of us don't have that luxury; we have to go out there. (Fortunately not to "make our business calls," but still...)

This brings us to the question of WHAT TO WEAR? We've all come to love the legging. They're comfortable and flattering and easy to wear. I am especially drawn to them this time of year as the streamline-fit of a legging down below can balance out the bulk of winter-wear up top. Unfortunately, heading out into a wintry mix with a thin layer of cotton/spandex on your legs leads to a sad double-stick ice pop wearing boots. (I googled it, no images; you'll have to use your own imagination on this one!) The Birch Store to the rescue! I present to you: the iLux Fleece-Lined Legging. My mom put these in my stocking and before I left Keene Valley for the mean streets of Brooklyn, I went to the store to pick up a second pair!
Here's why they're perfect:

1. They are WARM and cozy (soooooooooo soft inside). This time of year I want to crawl into a fireplace curl up and go to sleep and not come out until April, nah, May. These leggings feel like that fireplace.

2. They do not look sporty. The outside of this dreamy legwear has a matte finish, not shiny, and the leggings are lined in fleece. This is not "Turtle Fur" for your legs. (Remember the 80s? Or was this a "Vermont only" thing?) Yes, sportswear has come up with solutions to this beast called winter, but I am in the business of discussing fashion. I enjoy cross-country skiing, but that is not how I want to dress when going out. (Though I did wear them cross-country skiing. They were a toasty dream, plus I looked cute. ANYway, moving on...)

3. They are black and COMPLETELY opaque. Black leggings are flattering and go with everything.

4. Depending on how tight you wear your jeans, these can also be used as a cozy layer to prevent wind-whip caused by wearing un-layered jeans in the winter.

5. They're only $28.50

*Please note: there is a butt and crotch seam. If you like to wear your leggings with something that does not cover your bottom at all, these are not for you. If you like to wear your leggings with tunics, long cardigans, dresses, skirts, etc. you owe it to yourself to get these leggings. Popsicles in boots are not fashionable.

Sizes S/M and M/L Also available as footed-tights.

Call 518.576.4561 or email for details and shipping.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Merit Badges for your Bathroom

Hey everyone, I got a new shower curtain. Do you think that's boring news? Well, it's not.
Look at it:

You guys! It's boy scouts' badges! It makes me happy. I keep sending my guests into the bathroom to look at it. Thus far, everyone agrees: it's dreamy. I guess it's actually old-school badges. The Boy Scouts of America have been around for 100 years now, and, well, times have changed: the charming flaming logs have been replaced by a fireman's hat (I guess flames don't incite safety?)and merits such as Tracking or Signaling have given way to badges for Dog Care (I'm not making this up) and Computers. Me? I never was a girl scout. I was a brownie, when I was five. I pretty much remember it entailing sitting in a basement crafting clothespin people.(Don't get me wrong, minus the church basement that STILL sounds like a good time, and in fact, is pretty much how I spend my Wednesday nights.) I was a scout in my own right, though. Too bad ATIS didn't hand out badges. Oh well. I guess I'll be content to work toward these.

Boy Scout Badge Shower Curtain from The Birch Store, $55. Soft unbleached poly/cotton canvas. (Feels and looks like cotton, not creepy polyester; the poly just helps to make it water & mold resistant.) Buttonhole eyelets. Packaged in a cute 8” x 10” printed sham. 72" x 72" Please call 518.576.4561 or email for details and shipping.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Boy-Faced-Deer Cruet. Yep, really.

Isn't this weird and special and must-have-y? Don't you wonder what this little boy did to get turned into a boy-faced deer? Isn't it a dear? Don't you want to put soy sauce in it? Or maybe homemade salad dressing? Do you want to know my go-to salad dressing recipe? It's sort of perfect. Passed down from my Dad's side. I eat it daily. I am willing to share it with you. It's easy. Ready?

Crush a clove of garlic with the back of a fork.
Add salt and pepper and **mustard powder** (this is key, not just a dijon situation)
Mush it all around into a paste.
Add your most delicious olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon.
Whisk about until emulsified.
Adjust ingredients to taste.