Buy Curious: Shop. Recycle. Shop. Recycle


It’s Earth Day. It’s 4/20. Whichever left-of-center holiday you’re getting behind this weekend, Buy Curious serves up plenty of excuses to shop. This week: we spot a couple of mother-daughter teams engaged in shopping bonding on Fourth Street; Francophilia thrives in Old Oakland; a new blog highlights the best of East Bay shopping; drinking and fashion Walnut-Creek style; and a couple of sample sales to tame your bargain-shopping heart.

Like Mother, Like Daughter?
Who: Gina and Lori with daughter, Skyler, 7, and Berkeley, 3, respectively.
Where we spotted them: On their way into upscale kids’ clothing shop This Little Pig on Fourth St.
What they wore, and why: Skyler, sporting violet-hued sunglasses, a mini-kilt with a studded black belt, a fur-lined black puffy jacket, black knit tights and white boots, said her mom acts as her stylist, though Skyler did add the fur-lined patent-leather boots to her mom’s morning selection. Little Berkeley (who resides with her family in Vallejo) was rockin’ in a brown dress with flower appliques, a Little Mermaid necklace, tights and stellar brown leather boots. Lori, visiting from Orange County, said she felt underdressed. “I tried to explain how people here dressed,” said Gina, “but in Orange County, women wear high heels to go shopping.”

Boutique Spotlight: Mignonne
Old Oakland’s Mignonne is a treasure just waiting to be found. The French-inspired boutique, started by mother-daughter team Kimberlee and Johnelle Mancha, exudes that irresistible shabby-chic charm. Find everything from delicately-scented candles to natural body washes, fine Portuguese dishes to a restored vintage kitchen table. Best of all is the down-to-earth, friendly vibe created by the owners, who have a true appreciation for the city of Oakland.
Where: 1000 Jefferson St., Oakland

Blog + Shop + Oakland
Here’s a blog that speaks to Buy Curious’ heart: takes a straight-forward approach to shopping in the East Bay, namely clear, up-close photos of scrumptious goods inside boutiques, restaurants, and other noteworthy businesses. Though it’s only updated about once a week, we love their dedication to shopping local. Currently featured: Piedmont Ave. home store Make My Day, Oakland boutique AC Clothing and Bags, Montclair Malt Shop, and furniture designs from David Brunicardi.

OaklandGoods is a blog offshoot of NovoMetro, an experimental journalism site covering Oakland and Berkeley. The nearly year-old news site has given quite a bit of coverage to fashion lately. Check out photos from last weekend’s fashion show at the Crucible, a hit-list of hip baby stores, and this nice feature on West Oakland designer Cari Borja. Borja, a former Ph.D. student in anthropology at UC Berkeley and flamenco dancer, embellishes her clothing line with ripples of ruffles (in a post-modern, artsy versus frilly way). Her clothes are available at several East Bay boutiques, including Utopia, Siobhan Van Winkel, and Iniam.

Design Utopia at Medjool
This swanky San Francisco nightspot is opening its doors during the daytime for a designer sample spa/spa extravaganza. For $10, treat yourself to a manicure, massage, and access to loot from tons of local designers. Proceeds from the $10 entrance fee benefit children’s non-profit The Next Right Thing. (Got wildly amorous weekend plans? Don’t miss the East Bay’s own Ho on the Go a company that sells compact one night stand kits complete with undies and condoms.)
When: Sun., Apr. 22, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: 2522 Mission Street, San Francisco

Beer & Fashion Collide in Walnut Creek
Free Thursday night? Grab some friends and head to Pyramid Alehouse to watch Oakland A’s Nick Swisher emcee Unfiltered Fashion, a benefit fashion show “featuring Walnut Creek’s hottest bartenders, models and local boutiques.” (We have no clue who the city’s hottest bartenders and models are, but hey, why not go and find out!)
How much it’ll set you back: $25
When: Thurs., Apr. 26, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek

Good Riddance, IKEA! Spruce Up Your Pad for Pennies***
Save up to 75 percent on ultra mod furniture at Design Within Reach’s annual sample sale. Some of the goods up for grabs may be slightly damaged or irregular, yet they’re still highly usable. (Who can afford them as-is, anyway?) A Case Study Day Bed (in other words, a low-slung, minimalistic couch that’s more cool than comfortable) we bought for 50 percent off a few years back had a single perfectly round hole in the fabric (a cigarette burn resulting from too much partying in the showroom?). A cute pillow easily cloaked the defect. All sales are final, though, so choose wisely. Oh, and though you’ll have the option of having DWR deliver, you’ll save even more if you come prepared to lug your groovy new stuff home yourself.
When: Sat, Apr. 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sun, Apr. 22, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Same hours next weekend as well.)
Where: DWR Potrero Studio Warehouse, 2299 Alameda, San Francisco (415) 773-4624
***Buckets of them.

Recycle Your Relics
Got an old toaster lying around? Tape player? 8-track? (It’s OK, we won’t tell). This Earth Day weekend, take advantage of a free electronic recycling event in Berkeley.
When: Sunday, April 22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Alameda County Computer Resource Center, 1501 East Shore Highway, Berkeley


Read It and Weep. And Never Screw Up Again.
Here’s an opener we can totally relate to, from an article in yesterday’s New York Times: We all have coping rituals. Mine kick in when it’s time to pay bills. Before opening a credit card statement, I promise myself that I will not succumb to recrimination and self-loathing when forced to confront my spending habits.

We do this, too. (Though sipping a glass of wine while opening aforementioned mail works just as well.) Still, if you’ve ever had a charge you truly can’t pin down, the rest of the story is a must-read. You’ll learn why you should pay attention to what you sign up for online – not to mention every single line of your credit card statements. (Hint: Always read the fine print!)

Every Friday, Buy Curious dishes on the hottest fashion trends, news, and sales in the East Bay – and we want to hear from you! Tips? Suggestions for things you’d like to see? Questions for Buy Clueless, our advice column? Send it all to us. Email BuyCurious[at]EastBayExpress[dot]com