Category Archives: Hysteria

Working up to Alexandria's Boutique Warehouse Sale

By Laura, special to the OTBD

With New Year’s resolutions and all, I’ve been upping the exercise regimen.  Now with February 5th fast approaching, I realized I needed some specialized assistance.  So I turned to Alexandria’s own Adrien Cotton of Fitness on the Run for some tips.

First, you ask, what’s February 5th?  It is, of course, Alexandria’s annual Boutique Warehouse Sale, held at GW Masonic Temple, from 9AM-4PM.  And, if you love to shop, love deals (more about this in a bit), this is the event for you.  As you can imagine, this is a very popular event so I need to be ready which brings me back to Adrien.

I told Adrien of my upcoming extreme shopping event and, after stifling the laughter, this is what she advised: “Start with some jogging in place (me: which is good because I plan on being there EARLY!). Then do some walking lunges. Do some neck loosening exercises and finally stretch your arms by doing a few dozen push ups. Then you’ll be good to go! Stretch afterwards!” 

So fellow shoppers beware, I am ready for the Boutique Sale and I have my eyes on the prize(s).  Here’s a sneak peak of a few of the goodies:

Tory Burch BootsTory Burch boots from The Shoe Hive
I’ve been lusting after boots like these for awhile now.  Originally $150, now only $30.  Now you’re seeing the wisdom of my pre-sale workout.  Plus The Shoe Hive has lot more Tory Burch and other styles for up to 80% off.  (No, that wasn’t a typo.)

An Ren coats from Gossypia
Olian Black Sweater Maternity DressI have it on good word that these flirty coats (and others) will be offered at significant discount, which means HUGE savings!

Olian Maternity Sweater Dress from Apple Seed
Okay, I’m not pregnant, but if I were, I’d be all over this one (only $76, down from $128) and the other fall and winter maternity and nursing clothes from Ripe, Maternal America, Japanese Weekend and more at 75% off.  Instead, I’m going to concentrate on Apple Seed’s winter baby items (coats and matching booties, diaper bags, blankets, and gifts) discounted up to 75% off.    Lots of friends with new babies.
Gold & silver intaglioGold & Silver from Mystique Jewelers
Just in time for Valentine’s Day.  “Honey, I know what you’re getting me!”  Gorgeous 18k gold and fine sterling silver intaglio with roman antiquity scene enhancer designed in Italy.  Mystique is selling the intaglio at 40% off the retail price of  $450.00.  Or maybe the 14k yellow gold and black pearl necklace from Lawrence Miller & Co. for $150.  Or maybe both!  :)

Foldable BasketFolding Basket from La Cuisine
Perfect for shopping at the Old Town Farmers’ Market, on Saturdays. Regularly $39, La Cuisine is offering the baskets for $15!

CC Couture Jeweled CoatClothing from Perwinkle
Periwinkle will be offering everything for 75% off.  Out of my way!  I have my eyes on this CC Couture Jeweled Coat. It is available in white and black.  Hmmm… decisions, decisions!

So you see I have my work cut up for me.  And there are so many more stores participating including:   DivaHysteriaRed Barn Mercantile, Stanton Gallery, TreatAndrea D’AmbrosiaQueen Bee Designs, Top It OffFinian’s Moon Interiors and Fornash. 

Anyway, back to my workout.  See you there!

The Perfect Shopping Saturday

I have lived in the DC area for nearly seven years. Yet, even though I am admittedly a shopaholic, it is a rare weekend that I ever venture outside of Old Town Alexandria. Why should I? A quick jaunt through the Old Town Boutique District always meets my shopping needs.

When you can find a dress straight from this season’s runway at a boutique like Treat or Hysteria and a pair of handmade leather heels from an exclusive Italian designer at Shoe Hive, the argument for getting in my car to drive 20 minutes on the beltway to a shopping mall or to head to Georgetown to fight for parking suddenly loses credulity.

I am not lazy. As the owner of a new small business, I work crazy hours and am glued to my Blackberry and laptop. My weekends are much coveted free time to hang out with my husband and relax.

For me, there’s nothing better on a Saturday morning than rolling out of bed, hopping on my Dutch-style bicycle, and heading to Old Town for the Farmer’s Market followed by an afternoon of shopping in the hidden gems of the city’s boutiques.

So, over the past two Saturdays, I formulated a mini quest to chart out the perfect shopping Saturday in the Old Town Boutique District. I had intended to do this in one day. Yet, I was faced with the difficulty of this venture by its sheer magnitude because there are 28 shops in the Old Town Boutique District.

I love the idea of shopping local, both to support the city’s economy and to explore the unknown within the familiar. I’m always amazed at the selection of unique design, impeccable craftsmanship, and sheer variety available with the shops that comprise the Old Town Boutique District.

Combining data from my two samples, here is my personal ideal shopping Saturday in the Old Town Boutique District. Since I am a fashion addict, this list is exclusively clothing and accessory-related, and covers only a small fraction of the other shops in this group. There is no purchase necessary on my Saturday agenda, as most of the fun (and hence angst for my husband) is in wandering around to discover things.

  • Begin with a leisurely coffee at Grape and Bean.
  • Get a designer consignment fix at either Mint Condition or Diva.
  • Browse finds from this season’s sample sales at Treat.
  • Wander up King St to stock up on makeup and beauty products at Bellacara, then check out lingerie and sleepwear at Bloomer’s (secret: it’s also the best place in the DC area to find Spanx).
  • Walk down to Arts Afire or Fibre Space to admire their handcrafted goods.
  • Heading back down King St, saunter down St Asaph St to look in window of Fitness on the Run in order to contemplate whether or not to trade in gym membership for a private studio.
  • While pondering fitness goals, go to Red Barn Mercantile to browse their quirky and unique home furnishings.
  • Favoring the fitness value of walking via window shopping, walk five blocks to S. Fairfax St. to check out selection of designer clothes at Hysteria.
  • Walk a quarter of a block south into a cute little brick courtyard to admire (and inevitably try on) shoes from familiar and little known designers at Shoe Hive.
  • Finally, drag tired feet a few more blocks north and then east to buy a much-deserved piece of dark chocolate or other sweet treat from The Sugar Cube.

My next quest? To tackle La Cuisine and their myriad of cooking resources.

Shopping Local for a Wedding in Italy

By Nancy Purves Pollard of La Cuisine 

My daughter Tatiana got married in Ascoli Piceno with over 100 well dressed Italian men and women in attendance.  How to dress as the prospective suocera (“mother-in-law” in Italian) with suitable chicness was easily accomplished right in my own neighborhood.    

The big day

Nancy in one of her new ensembles!

First stop: Donna Lewis  at 309 Cameron Street (703 548 2452)for a serious investment in clothing that I could wear to the wedding festivities and the rest of my life.  Chris Lewis primarily uses Belvest in Italy to do suits and dresses.  We went through books of swatches of beautiful fabrics and chose a deep blue herringbone linen and a black and gray seersucker.  He had both a shell dress and slacks made to go with two classic jackets. Plus one yellow sleeveless shirt in linen and a fancier black silk one. I wore these constantly throughout the two week trip.

Next stop:  The Shoe Hive.  I was so worried about losing luggage that I picked up a dandy gray and black canvas and leather bag by Sequoia at Shoe Hive, in which I stuffed some wedding clothes, just in case… Once I had the outfits squared away,  the rest of me needed to be fitted at The Full Cup.  After my uplifting experience, those too got packed in my anxiety bag.

Having been told by the sister of the bride that she did not want to see her mother running down the hotel in bare feet and tee shirt at night, I picked up a cool night shirt and Patricia Green  slippers along with the best panty hose I have ever owned (they never once had runs). 

The shoes!Earlier at The Shoe Hive,  I had gotten some cool dark gray wedges which also went into my anxiety bag.  Then I went to Hysteria next door, and picked up a blue patent leather clutch for the Big Day.  All the better to be prepared to sit down in a café for an aperitivo after all the stress.   Finally, a quick trip to Bellacara for a Bliss and Frederic Fekkai  fix, plus some cool  Sue Devitt make up including some very racy eye shadow. 

I didn’t lose my luggage, didn’t need  to shop in the duty-free store at the Charles DeGaulle Holding Tank, the wedding day was  gorgeous, and the mother-of-the-bride was molta chic!