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Best of the Cities 2010

Yes, that ballpark rocks. And, getting there on the Northstar line is pretty cool. That kestrel is awful funny. And did you try the Vincent burger at the park? Those are just four reasons to celebrate the new stadium and the Twin Cities. Read on to discover 100 more reasons to love the place you live.

Best of the Cities 2010
Photo by Thomas Strand

(page 6 of 7)

Locally Made Products

A plan for some local economic stimulus

This inside version of a flea market/art fair, First Mondays at the Commodore is held the first Monday of the month, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., October through June, at St. Paul’s legendary Commodore Hotel. Shoppers browse vintage jewelry and clothing, antique collectibles, and assorted artisan wares, while non-shoppers will enjoy the art-deco bar, once frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald. • The Commodore, 79 Western Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-1751

Curated by Judy Wilds Shimota, the W7 Collective popped up in the Historic Pilney Building as a way for artists to showcase their wares in an occasional-store setting. We’ve seen cheeky stationery by Vandalia Street Press, gorgeous photography by Shanon Gass, edgy jewelry from Infrared Studios, and more. Don’t miss the launch parties and occasional open evening. • 1032 W. Seventh St., St. Paul, W7collective.com

The Grand Hand Gallery has solidly anchored the Grand Avenue & Dale Street intersection for years now, and is as good as it has ever been. Gallery owner Ann Ruhr Pifer curates beautiful collections of clay, glass, and wood pieces, as well as jewelry, paintings and other fine crafts. And at least half her space is devoted to local and regional artists. • 619 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-312-1122, thegrandhand.com

Sarah Sweet and Angela Scandin’s shop is whimsical, and we don’t use that term lightly. From the front-window swing to astro-turf carpeting, shopping at I Like You is like a romp in a very stylish park. And if you feel inspired by the crafts you see, take one of their classes, held in the back area of the store. We guarantee you’ll find something to like. • 501 First Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-208-0249, ilikeyouonline.com

Women’s Boutique

Picky Girl

Thank you, Elizabeth Varghese, for being the picky owner. Thank you for opening up shop on Grand Avenue, and for topping yourself every year. Thank you for showcasing local design talent—and not just one token designer. Thank you for maintaining such a well-edited mix, and for showing us what our closet should look like. Thank you for considering price, but not sacrificing quality. And most important, thank you for always being honest when we step out of the dressing room and ask for your opinion. • 949 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-4107, pickygirlmn.com
 

Natty Accessory

Pierrepont

Hicks bow ties The world is just a better place when the terms natty and dapper are bandied during discussions regarding men’s dress. Gentlemen, listen up: If there’s one skill you need to master this year, it’s how to tie a bow tie. Bows are back, in no small part thanks to Pierrepont Hicks, a husband-and-wife team based in the Twin Cities. Smart checks and crisp tartans—a dapper-dresser’s paradise. • pierreponthicks.com
 

Men’s Boutique

BlackBlue

BlackBlue is a stylish men’s shop that men won’t be afraid to shop in. Nothing poofy or weird here. Just classic, stylish men’s clothing that manages to feel simultaneously slightly throwback and very, very modern. They carry Tretorns, original Penguin, Pendleton, Hyden Yoo, Alternative Apparel, and Fred Perry. And there’s a small selection of women’s items and vintage. Did you hear that, ladies? • 614 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-260-5340, blkblu.com
 

Bridal Boutique

L’Atelier Boutique

For the ultimate bridal experience, point your feet toward Selby and walk through L’Atelier Boutique’s doors. Vera, Oscar, Lela, and Carolina are all waiting to be tried on and loved—the moment you know that this is the dress. Owner Amanda Kautt has exacting taste and makes it feel as though you are the only woman to pass through her doors with a wedding on the brain. As for accessories, don’t miss the Penny Larsen jewelry and Mahvash flowers. • 493 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-602-9492, lateliercouturebridal.com
 

Budget Haircut

Juut New Artists Academy

You’ll get the full salon experience—tea, a soothing head massage, and peppermint aromatherapy—but not the salon price tag. For just $25, you can get a haircut through Juut’s New Artists Academy where young professionals hone their skills with top-level guidance. You’ll look great—and so will your bank account. • 2947 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-332-3512
 

Green Beauty

Nature of Beauty

If you think eco-friendly beauty means you’re stuck swirling and buffing with Bare Minerals and you’re never going to have any color on your face or a signature fragrance—think again. Terri Bly and her crackerjack team have set up a shop-within-a-shop at Eco-Tique. Find glorious red gloss by Coleur Caramel, skincare from Israeli line Buta’i, luxe bamboo brushes by Ecotools, and even hair dye! It’s like a whole new ecologically beautiful world, and Bly and company are your ambassadors. • Eco-Tique, 1045 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-3127, natureofbeauty.com
 

Paper Goods

Lunalux

Attention, paper addicts (as Lunalux owner Jenni Undis calls personalized-stationery and card fanatics): Stationery Saturdays continue at Lunalux’s Loring Park studio. At open houses each month, you can watch as Lunaluxers use antique lead and wood type to create a unique design, ink up the press, and print personalized stationery Gutenberg-style. The shop’s top reputation for custom-designed, letterpress-printed invitations, stationery, calling cards, announcements, and more continues to grow. • 1618 Harmon Pl., Mpls., 612-373-0526, lunalux.com
 

Perfume Shop

La Petite Parfumerie

Elite fragrances, beauty products, and handbags are no longer just for the French. Serge Lutens, Fragonard, Hermés, and more are all available in downtown Excelsior. Owner Diane Wissink seems to wave a magic wand and bring Twin Cities beauty junkies exactly what they’ve wished for, including Bond No. 9, Acqua di Parma and Creed fragrances, skincare from Caudalie and Kiehl’s, and Diptyque candles. • 287 Water St., Excelsior, 952-475-2212, lapetiteparfumerie.com
 

New Shop

The Guild

The Guild: A Professional Design Collective—the best new entry in the Twin Cities sputtering home-décor retail market—started life as a pop-up boutique during the holidays last year. Fortunately, Pam Mondale had the good instincts to make it a year-round venture. The Guild offers goods and services, selling vintage and new home furnishings, jewelry, and clothing, as well as the expertise of local stylists, designers, and home stagers. Nowhere else will you find Organic Diva cosmetics alongside home accessories from Nola Home, furniture recast by upholsterer Debra Pesek, and styling inspiration courtesy Jim Hansen—all in one 3,500-square-foot space. • 4414 Excelsior Ave., St. Louis Park, 952-378-1815, guildcollective.wordpress.com
 

Art Photos

Viewville.com

Affordable art is just a click away at Viewville.com, an online gallery dedicated to unearthing the work of outstanding photographers and selling gallery-quality prints that are matted and ready to frame at reasonable prices—many under $100. Original work by local and nationally known photographers makes this easy-to-shop site a visual treat. And the shooters themselves receive 50 percent of each sale. • viewville.com
 

Recycling

Wood from the Hood

Few Twin Cities sights are more disheartening than big orange X’s painted on the trunks of trees once proud parts of our urban forest. Those trees often end their days chipped into mulch or hauled to a landfill. Unless Rick and Cindy Siewert, the owners of Wood from the Hood, get their hands on them. They mill the trunks of felled trees into flooring, wood architecture, furniture, picture frames, and more. • 612-581-0252, woodfromthehood.com
 

Mad Men Chic

Past Present Future

Pack-rat extraordinaire Steven Mogol has hundreds of pieces of furniture and other objects (a conservative estimate) in a Minneapolis warehouse, home base of Past Present Future. There, he stockpiles midcentury (and older) office furniture: metal desks, file cabinets, chairs, credenzas, bookshelves, you name it. Find a desk you love, and he’ll restore that stolid metal lump to its original luster—or into a screaming-yellow showstopper or electric-blue work of art worthy of the hippest décor. • 336 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls., 612-870-0702, pastpresentfuture.net
 


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