Category Archives: The Shoe Hive

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!

A Car-Less Weekend

Jessica biking through Old TownThis past weekend I inadvertently did an appropriate follow up to my first column on the Perfect Shopping Saturday. Completely without design or pre-planning, my husband and I spent the entire weekend on bicycle and on foot, without using our car once. It proved to be the Ideal Summer Weekend in Alexandria.

Despite excellent metro access throughout most of Northern Virginia, the concept of going carless in Alexandria is nonetheless a bit of an anathema. While it is quite natural for residents of DC not to own a car, here in Alexandria, it’s a little different. Most people own a car and use it frequently, even if they commute to work via metro. Even in historical Old Town, in spite of limited parking spaces and rising parking meter prices, people still drive everywhere. I guess that we’ve got one foot in metropolitan living and one foot in suburbia. 

For me, the whole idea of not driving on the weekend always seemed ridiculous, particularly when you factor in food shopping and other errands. In my family, there’s also the difficulty of leaving the car itself. We own a MINI, which is, in my opinion, the world’s most adorable car. When the sheer act of seeing your car, never mind zooming around in it, induces a smile, all other forms of transport pale in comparison.

Nevertheless, when we woke up on Saturday morning, the beautiful weather, my Dutch-style bike, and my husband’s fixed-gear bike were beckoning. So, we threw on clothes and headed directly for the Farmer’s Market in Old Town Alexandria. There, we stocked up on fruits, vegetables, sunflowers, and more fruits and vegetables (I cannot get enough of either).

In August, the Old Town Farmer’s Market is heavenly. Between the free samples of peaches and apples, the cornucopia of in-season vegetables, the local vendors with their display of colorful crafts, and the delectable freshly-squeezed orange juice sold by a vendor on the eastern edge of the square, there’s nothing better. 

After the market, we then piled the fruits, vegetables, and sunflowers into my detachable basket and headed home. But, instead of locking up the bikes and heading out to run errands as we usually do on Saturdays, we merely dropped off the food and headed back to Old Town.

We grabbed lunch, walked around the Torpedo Factory, perused the cool products at Decorium and ArtCraft, then strolled up to get coffee at Misha’s. Naturally, we had to go to The Hours to admire their amazing selection of cocktail shakers and glassware. Eventually, we wandered back down towards the water, had a leisurely dinner, and caught a film at the Old Town Theater.

On Sunday, we followed a different pattern. In fact, we did something very weekend traditional: we slept in, and then cycled to Old Town for brunch at Chadwick’s. It was once again a gorgeously sunny day and the bicycles beckoned.

Lingering over brunch was very convenient, as it was suddenly opening time for most of the stores in Alexandria. In my world, boutique browsing is a natural accompaniment to Sunday brunch. Of course, being on bicycle did not stop me from shopping (really nothing can). Even though it was over 90 degrees, I found a wooly page-boy style hat at The Shoe Hive that is destined for fall cycling.

Yet, just when I thought that my weekend was set for a leisurely pace, my husband suggested that we cycle at least part of the way to Mount Vernon. This was an entirely mental suggestion because I was wearing a sundress and wedges with a shopping bag in tote. Nevertheless, I became convinced. So, we strapped my Shoe Hive bag to the back of my bike, bought some water, and headed down the Mount Vernon trail.

Suffice to say, my shopping bag received many disapproving looks from more serious road cyclists down the trail. For this reason, I took great pleasure in passing a number of people who were fully kitted-out in Lycra on their expensive bikes whilst I was in my wedges and on my heavier upright bike with my shopping bag.

Once completing a circle on the Mount Vernon Trail, my husband and I headed back to Old Town for a coffee and snack, and then rode over to Trader Joe’s to grab food for dinner. We then trekked home, completing an ideal weekend in Alexandria without ever putting our car key in the ignition.

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.

Almost Ready for my Closeup

Nancy ready for her close-up with those cheezy earrings and cool haircut.
Cheezy earrings &
cool haircut

By Nancy Purves Pollard,  Owner of La Cuisine and Old Town resident 

The Washington Post article about La Cuisine engendered some really interesting emails and after the ones about the copper pan I was holding in the photo, most of the others were about things completely unrelated to cooking!  They asked about where I got my hair cut, did I have it dyed and where did I get those cheesy earrings, and even a comment about the shirt I was wearing!  So, in thinking about their questions and comments and the photo shoot, and I realized that my close-up was locally sourced!  

Okay, so first about the hair.  My hair became naturally gray from raising two independently-minded teenage girls.  Thank God, they are now in their 30s!  But my hair savior is Scott Harris of Bangs & Burns  at 108 South Patrick Street.  Great hair cuts with no muss, no fuss; that is what I love. 

Donna Lewis

Donna Lewis

The Post wanted a picture of my shoes, which they later did not use and of course I had gotten those at The Shoe Hive.   For pedicures and manicures I have, after much wandering, found a great place at Always Sunny Nails & Spa at 210 North Lee  Street.  Very restful atmosphere with plain classical musical and very professional service.  The very cool black shirt came from Donna Lewis Clothiers down the block.  In fact, I get most of my work clothes from Chris. (Psst!, he has fabulous sales…) 

Nancy's Earrings!

Nancy's Earrings!

Now, I really do have a great collection of easily replaceable earrings, none of them have serious jewelry in them.  Some of my favorites are the twisted toothbrush heads that I picked up in Nuevo Mundo down the block  from me.  I have some fabulous Easter Bunny ones that I got at Gossypia but I only get to wear those one week a year.  The earrings I wore for the photo session were from BW Antiques & Collectibles.  My other go-to places for funky earrings are Imperfections, Today’s Cargo, and Trojan Antiques, all within walking distance.  Also, Today’s Cargo fixes my cheesy earrings when they lose backs, baubles, and general bling.  

So thanks to all the great local places that made me look good in the Post!

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes (and jewelry and handbags, too!)

I stopped in The Shoe Hive yesterday to check out the incoming fall shoes as well as the sale stuff.  The Shoe Hive is hands-down my favorite store in OT.  I always go here first when I’m looking for shoes, both for my clients and for me.  They also have great jewelry and handbags.  The thing about shopping at The Shoe Hive is this- shoes always fit and never make you feel fat.  So you’re pretty much guaranteed to come out feeling happy.  And, as usual, I did.  There were some great sale deals but I was pretty focused on the new stuff.  There are already gorgeous selections from Kate Spade, Butter, Cynthia Vincent, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg and more.  Topping my list were some orangey rust-colored heels by Butter (style name “Snookie,” presumably from the Jersey Shore which is hilarious) that are luxurious and sexy, a chocolate brown lace Kate Spade heel perfect for sophisticated cocktails, a gray clog-inspired heel by Cynthia Vincent that will look perfect with jeans, and the cutest shimmery blue leather clutch/wallet by Tory Burch.  The list goes on but those were my favorite.  The store is beautiful, the selection impeccable, and the service stellar.  I left with a purchase, as always, and can’t wait to go back in a couple of weeks to see what other exciting items have arrived.

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!