Shopping in Santa Monica

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Main Street

Main Street’s motto, ‘a world away from ordinary, a block away from the beach’ lures us on day one. First stop: fashion/design store, Hip’tique. Down the block we scan Weego Baby, hoping to spot Pink who’s rumoured to be on a spree. We miss the pop star but gets a big hello from ‘that bald guy from Lost’ en route to sister shop Weego Home. After purchasing some wall decals she’s off to Urban Country and Obsolete for jaw dropping one-of-a-kind design objects with price tags to match.

To keep up stamina, make a one-handed snack of Sunny Blue’s omusubi (triangular sushi ball) or pizza from the open window at Wildflour.

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Brentwood Country Mart

Since 1948 Brentwood Country Mart—the rambling red barn and its upscale shops—have been a go-to location for celebs and yummy mummies alike. Turpan specializes in exceptionally designed housewares. Calypso Home St. Barth prompts design envy with its funky mix of earthy, organic textiles and globally influenced furnishings. Roberta Roller Rabbit carries block print home and body fashions. Don’t go home without fresh flowers from Botany.

Dabble’s BCM experience is perhaps most memorable thanks to her chance encounter (modest collision really) with The Mentalist star, Simon Baker.

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Montana Avenue

Upscale shoppers flock to trendy Montana Ave to rub elbows with local celebs like Marcia Cross and Adam Sandler or to design drool at shops from 7th to 17th. Fuel up with coffee from Caffé Luxxe, then head to Stephanie Grace for table top accessories. Whimsical Jonathan Adler never disappoints and neither does Mary Steenburgen’s Rooms & Gardens with its cozy global furnishings. Euro chic from Shabby Chic, Pom Pom and Rosemarie McCaffrey Antiques complete the day.

At lunchtime, snag a sidewalk table and order the shrimp tacos from Babalu or chill out with a frozen Pinkberry. 

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3rd Street Promenade

People watching and shopping are equal draws at the pedestrian friendly outdoor mall known as 3rd Street Promenade. Big name brands such as Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie anchor the shopping, which starts at Wilshire Blvd. Walk towards Broadway for more shopping in the recently revamped Santa Monica Place with its signature Nordstrom and Kitson stores.

The Promenade has abundant food choices. Splurge on trendy Sushi-Roku or find a comfy seat on the outdoor patio at Sonoma Wine Garden.

Santa Monica’s Top 5 Design Spots

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Beachy Chic

Interior designer Erin Mercer explores the stylish streets of Santa Monica and gains new appreciation for serious design in the laid back beach town.

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1. Linger for an hour or two at Brentwood Country Mart and make sure to save time for Calypso Home St. Barth. Global inspired furnishings and accessories are artfully displayed in the gracious setting.

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2. Design enthusiasts adore the mad mix of urban clothing and home decor at Hip’tique. Sassy pillows with expressions like ‘call your mother’ mingle with funky light fixtures and accessories. For the record, the jewelry is pretty tempting too.

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3. Let’s not squabble over technicalities. Although Urban Country and Obselete are a few steps out of Santa Monica and into Venice, they are must visit design destinations. Urban Country features a funhouse mix of vintage and industrial rarities while Obsolete’s focus is artwork and unique objets d’art. The price tags are equally serious, but design inspiration is free.

4. Owners Asher and Jessica Richter of Weego Home are rightfully proud of the locally made custom furnishings their Main Street shop brings to the ‘hood. Shopping here is rewarding and fun.

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5. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day shopping Montana Avenue. Pom Pom ranks high for casual European charm. The linen napkins, bedding and tabletop selections are exceptional.

For more about Santa Monica, visit: Dabble does Santa Monica, Issue 2 May/Jun 2011.

Nashville’s Top 5 Design Spots

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Design in the Mix

From the urban vibe downtown to vintage on the city’s fringe, interior designer and Dabble Design Contributor Nyla Free is astounded by choice in Nashville.

1. Make your way to the intersection of 8th and Douglas Avenues for a fine selection of design shops. Epiphany is a favourite for European charm. Visit Pre-to-Post for its eclectic mix of kitsch and vintage, Classic Modern for groovy retro and the Cane-Ery for antiques in varying stages of rejuvenation.

2. Trendy Hillsboro Village is a destination for noshing (expect line-ups at Pancake Pantry and Fido) and shopping. Start at Social Graces where cool stationery and gifts are beyond tempting. Work your way down the block towards Pangaea for Spanish influenced accessories and end at Retropolitan with its contemporary furniture and fab pillows. Hungry? Stop for frozen yogurt at Sweet Cece’s.

3. Nyla made her biggest purchases at Wonders on Woodland, bringing home spaghetti lights from the 1950s and a 1940s’ vase. Next door, Art & Invention Gallery is an artisan treasure trove.

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4. A former laundry warehouse in trendy Edgehill is home to Nest, with its upcountry chic furniture and accessories. Wander through adjacent shops and make sure to stop for lunch at the colourful Taco Mamacita. (Margaritas are 2-for-1 on Wednesdays.)

5. Set in a rambling roadside farmhouse, Three French Hens is named for the trio of friends who set up shop together. Occasional chairs, guest towels, bulletin boards and vintage jewellery make a visit well worth the 30-minute drive to Nolensville.

3 Sites Inspire, Plan and Share

Travel news, insider info and new gadgets from Anne Taylor Hartzell.

Travel inspiration starts innocently enough – you see a photo, a post from a Facebook friend, a great travel deal in your inbox, or have a conversation over dinner – and the trip is suddenly on. But where to stay? Where to eat? Where to play? We rely heavily on trusted resources to answer these questions and ensure a winning trip.

Travel Geek - Liquid Image Explorer Series 3

Liquid Image Explorer Series 5.0MP www.liquidimageco.com
Get camera ready for summer snorkelling trips. The world’s only swim mask with handsfree integrated digital still camera and video.
US$98.95 from Amazon.com

Noteworthy Sites:
Amble www.louisvuittonamble.com
From the brand that defines luxury, Louis Vuitton’s Amble allows you to plot stops at favourite restaurants and stores on your journey, creating your own city guide. Explore hidden gems in Celebrity Ambles, download the iPhone app, and capture highlights of your trip.

Where I’ve Been www.whereivebeen.com
What started as a wildly popular and fun interactive world map on Facebook has blossomed into a community to inspire and share travel ideas. Traveler Scrapbooks are virtual trip planners to share with friends.

IgoUgo www.igougo.com
IgoUgo’s thorough travel reviews and stunning photos spark wanderlust. Connect with your Facebook account and tap into more than 9,000 destinations worldwide.

Gadgets on Dabble’s Radar:

Travel Geek - Sony Camera

Sony 3D Bloggie HD Camera
www.sony.com
Imagine capturing the whale in 3D as it breaches by your boat during your trip to Alaska. 3D imagery is no longer just for Disney Pixar. Sony’s Bloggie changes all that. Video or still image recording, 2D or 3D capability. $249.

Apps for the Road:

Travel Geek - White Noise Lite2

White Noise Lite
www.tmsoft.com
Catch some Zs when jet lag threatens by choosing from 40 soothing sounds, like Ocean Waves or Tibetan Singing Bowl. Free to try; upgrade to full version $1.99.