Friday, July 18, 2008

Retail Therapy

I was recently corresponding with my dear friend, Dutchbaby, and a few of her lines really caught my imagination. This is what she said, "I got my hair cut and bought a packable, travel sun hat today - I feel very "au courant". I ate at the Popover Cafe and ate a Chicken "Pop" Pie - it was so good, I forgot my name. I resisted buying the art deco retro jewelry and handbag---so far. Retail therapy - it's a potent drug."

Isn't it just?

I've been taking pictures lately in the little gift shops I've been visiting during my lovely, girlfriend play dates. In honor of that most potent of drugs, retail therapy, here are a few peeks at some my favorite shops in this corner of Missouri.

Until I started teaching at 31, I always had two jobs. One, for an income, and one for love. I never made any money at the job I had for love alone because I always picked a perfect little gift shop. My Dad described them as, "carrying everything you don't need, but really, really want." I would always spend more than my salary right there in the shop. I learned so much working with all the talented woman who owned those lovely shops. Most of all, I learned to do what you love and to create beauty in every environment.

I also learned firsthand how much heart and soul goes into even the simplest of things. I learned never to take some one's talent for granted and to pay be willing to pay a person for their skill. I began to cringe at the too-frequently-muttered phrase, "That's so simple, I could make that myself." Maybe you could, but don't say it out loud. Please.

I learned that if you admire a person's shop, their art, their personal style, speak up - tell them. We often think that the people we admire are a breed apart. That they are different from us in some significant way. We think that if we can recognize their talent, they surely must have abundant confidence in it themselves. That is not always true.

Even in the cases when it is true, people need compliments. We all do. Honest compliments are one of the essentials of the Good Life. Right up there with hugs and a great lipstick. Yes, we could live without them, but why would be want to?

Browsing in a gift shop is one of life's great joys. Time spent in the right shop is a perfect way to pass the time in a dreamy, pleasant sort of way. I love the chance to touch, hold, smell all the goodies someone else has chosen. I love to see how someone else chooses to display merchandise. I love to shop in tiny stores with amazing vignettes. It is inspiring to observe how someone talented can tell a story with just a few objects. I love the chance to let my imagination play and have free reign to recreate my own home. I enjoy chatting with the shop keeper and having the opportunity to make new friends.

What about you? Where do you spend your retail therapy hours?

Happy weekend, my friends. May you have plenty of retail therapy opportunities, just when you need them.


The Feathered Nest said...

Relyn, what a wonderful post! Being a former shop owner, I so love what you said ~ the money, time and care that it takes to have a little store makes it all worthwhile when you have a customer walk in with your attitude... Appreciative, grateful and understanding! xxoo, Dawn

Jessica said...

I spend many hours looking around shops. I like to go to little villages around here and look through the shops on their Main St. When I travel, the local gift shops are my first stop. There are so many great finds there.

studio wellspring said...

i'm a total window shopper ~ my eyes always desire more than my pocket book could ever provide. but i still really enjoy looking what's new & seeing lovely things that people discover & display.

Beth said...

I love a little retail therapy every now and then....but around here, there's just not very much....very disappointing !!! When we lived in St. Louis that was never a problem....there were so many cute little shops to go to !!!

So for now....I still put Anthropologie at the top of my list....but give me an antique store any day or a flea that's my kind of shopping !!!

robin bird said...

OMGosh! i love those patchwork pillows and paper umbrellas! i completely appreciate your recognition that so much heart and soul of a person goes into what might appear to others the smallest of things. i love to go into antique shops, florists and garden centers. always inspiring!

Oldies, but Goodies