Shopping Tips to Inspire
Sep 14
I've been out and about a bit lately. Shopping. Doing the down and dirty research so you don't have to. What have I found? Well, some really nasty funny cards for starters.

September's First Thursday was a rather miserable affair (rain), but at one of the street vendors I discovered such cool cards that I gladly got soaked. While I freely encourage you to skip paper cards for whatever reason works for you (the environment, they're annoying, your penmanship is bad, whatever), I love to send random cards. Just because cards. Just because I finally used the foot scrub you gave me and I liked it. Or because I remembered that time you fell in the street and wanted to remind you how embarrassed you were. Those are moments that deserve commemorating!

But I'm not into boring cards. I like them more on the subversive side - or just plain rude. Rude is particularly terrific when combined with really nice paper, and perhaps vintage print. Sounds like too much to ask? It's not, as it turns out. Disrespectful cards are all over the place if you know where to look. And let me tell you where to start: with Emily Riley and her Etsy shop. She's based in Portland, so if you live here, you can check her out around town (I hear Hunt and Gather carries her cards - see her website for more info).

I'm particularly attracted to the Scottie dog asking "Are you on crack?" as well as the sweet bunny with the classic adage of "Fuck you". These cards will go to the most conservative people in my address book. Probably religious friends and the aged. They expect it from me. And I won't let them down. If you don't want to shop Etsy and you'd like to support someone local to your area, look for indie printers and small presses in your town. You might have to hunt a bit for the right sentiment, but many independents will do a custom run with your favorite adage ("What Fresh Hell Is This" is a classic, for example, and particularly good for coworkers). Start searching - the holidays are coming! You don't want to be stuck with bland cards from a box. (Who does?)

Immediately after First Thursday was one of my favorite Portland events of the year: Art in the Pearl. It's not too big, there's no crafty crap (like clothes for dolls or wine stoppers decorated with puppies), but plenty of art and jewelry. Over the years I've collected fantastic oils, watercolors, and jewelry at Art in the Pearl. This year I discovered an amazing clothing company, Ekologic. The owner, Kathleen Tesnakis, takes used cashmere sweaters, washes them, and cuts them apart. Using the pieces as a guide, she designs sweaters, skirts, mittens, shrugs, and more. She operates a zero waste studio, and - most importantly - the clothes are cool. Check out Pics 1 and 2 - sweaters and a skirt pieced together from used cashmere. There are bright colors, and also plenty of subdued hues, plus the clothes are body conscious. I bought the skirt in Pics 3 and 4, and while it won't make winter palatable, it will help my coolness factor (which always needs work).

There is a catch on this one, though. The Ekologic website isn't very good. It only shows a few items, and many "out of stock". These clothes are so fantastic, though, that I'm going to stick with the site and order more. My incentive? Ekologic has kept seven tons of used clothing out of the landfill. They're fighting the good fight, and doing it with style. Plus, the holidays are approaching. You know how hard it is to find eco-friendly gifts, right? You can fight the good fight, too, and turn all your pals onto eco-gifts. It's actually quite fun. I'm going to email Eko and tell them what I'm looking for. If they send me pics and we get a back and forth going, I'm betting I can find what I need. Out of used cashmere, thank you very much. Two of my favorite words. Used. Cashmere.
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