Friday, March 30, 2012

what you can afford after the Mega Millions drawing

With the Mega Millions Jackpot at $640 million, we started thinking. Assuming, after taxes and opting for a lump sum, you netted about $290 million, what could you do at next summer, with that money?

Let's say you want to go small. Perhaps you'd like to buy a "few" envirosax" to make the world a greener place. Well, with $290 million, you could afford 29 million $10 sax - that's enough to hold 1,276,000,000 pounds of produce, or enough watermelons so every single person in the US could enjoy a whole melon today and another half melon tomorrow. 

How about some fun socks? You'd have enough money to put 3.5 pairs of $10 socks on the feet of every single person in New York City. 

Is that not enough impact? Maybe you'd like to celebrate your winnings with others. At only $5 apiece, you could buy enough of these crystal candle holders to celebrate the third birthday of every single child born in India for the next 9 months!

What about the Saratoga Thoroughbred Racing Needlepoint belt? The average male requires a 36" belt and stands 5'6". If you bought $290 million worth of these $165 belts, there would be enough belts to stretch around the earth over 2.5 times. 

Sometimes it can be an ugly world out there and we want to beautify it.  A little odor control would go a long way. These $38 candles from Aquiesse burn for a 100 hours each. With $290 million you could enjoy a full year's worth of fresh scent on every individual square foot of land across 2 whole acres. 

All it takes is a dollar and a dream!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men of Saratoga

With the season premiere of Mad Men last night fresh in our minds, we decided to take a look around next summer to find those items that Don, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Roger, and Joan would most like. Some of these items they may already have, but we're sure, if they do, we could find something else for them.

We think Betty would love this fruit basket, it's got her sophisticated flair, and it's the perfect place for her to store the lemons that go so well in her regular "afternoon" drink. 

We've seen how Pete has treated that couch in his office. Now that he's finally getting to move to a better office with more windows, maybe he'd like something a little lighter and airier. This one's perfect. It's Danish Modern and would be a great contrast to the Corbusier pieces in Roger's office. 

In the picture below we have a few different items for a few different people. Peggy would love to install this clock in Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price. It might finally get everyone down to work so she can land that Heinz account. 
Don is by no means a teetotaler, but some tea in the white Bauer tea pot might be just what the doctor ordered. If not, he can return to his regular drinks served in the blue Russel Wright pitcher. We just hope Megan doesn't bring home the yellow Bauer cookie jar. It might remind Don of when Betty caught him with his hand in the proverbial jar. 

Finally, we know Joan would love to pick up this leopard print bag from Scout. She could walk into the office three weeks from now and remind everyone in the secretarial pool who the queen of the jungle really is!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring has sprung at next summer

Well, spring, as they say, has sprung. In reverence to the season we so eagerly look forward to each winter, we've posted some of next summer's signs of spring. 

We know everyone was anticipating spring for a while now because all the walkers on Broadway seem to stop and giggle when they see our peeps-filled vase with the blooms of spring. 

But these aren't the only blossoms blooming. Come inside and see the Daisy Dish while you think about the indoor and outdoor parties you'll be throwing soon. 

Although we're still seeing a lot of brown on the ground and in the trees, we've begun to see more and more green - and green is the color of spring!

While green may be the first color that comes to mind, remember spring is the time of rebirth and all the colors begin to come out during spring. Just look at all the colors in these placemats and our space-saving stacking mugs (the perfect size for a medium-sized Keurig cup).  

Easter will be here before we know it. Next summer already has the perfect gifts. These pillows' bright colors are a subtle reminder of the spirt of spring, while the Easter eggs are a bold reminder of the season. 

But why should your head and back enjoy all the Easter fun? Let the rest of your body join in the revery with Easter soap. One bar has three bunnies hopping through floral-fragranced, Easter-egg filled grass. The other is a giant easter egg filled with fruity jelly beans.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Design within limits

A few weeks ago we returned from the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF). After getting a chance to think about our trip down to New York, I've realized something about our store - something that makes me appreciate it even more. When we opened back in 2008 we were most concerned about finding unique, well-designed products. With each season we've honed what it is we search for at the show. If you're a regular reader of our blog or visitor to our stores, you know that today we seek good design at a good price.

When we go down to the City we like to visit some of the big hallmark retailers - Bergdorf Goodman, Roche Bobois, etc. I came away this year with something I've understood for some time, but had never really been able to articulate - It's easy to do luxury, over-the-top retail. It's hard to do value retail, but it's also much more interesting and satisfying.

The image below is one of Bergdorf's Holiday windows. It's extravagant and luxurious. But it's easy when money is no object. Given the budget, many of us could create something as opulent. There's little challenge in that. Seeing this sort of thing year after year however, offers little excitement. It doesn't really impress me (and frankly, in these difficult times, I find some of it a bit offensive). This got me thinking of other areas where restrictions, rather than limiting, produce better results.

Chef and author, Anthony Bourdain, claims that the best chefs come from the  times when good quality food is hard to get, or from countries that can't afford the best meats or vegetables. Such chefs, he explains, are forced to be more creative. The must work with low quality food and turn it into high quality meals. That, he says, is the sign of a true chef. (By the way, I'm pretty sure he's wearing heels in this photograph). 

The great Florida Development, Seaside, is known as one of the best examples of new urbanism in the world. It is also probably the first use of Modern Form Based Code. Form based code is a means or regulating development to create a specific urban form. At Seaside the developers wanted to create a "traditional seaside community" so they imposed strict zoning regulations to achieve that look and feel. Early Seaside architects found the zoning very restrictive and difficult to work in, but those same restrictions led great architects, like former Yale School of Architecture Dean, Robert A.M. Stern, to create the home below. 

"We had to think about getting the maximum amount of space out of a minimum amount of floor area," Stern said while trying to adhere to the communities strict design requirements which limit height, roof slope, and materials.

On a simpler level, I was reminded of this idea upon seeing a photograph of Oregon's Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. It's got about 1,000 feet of above-tree-line skiing, something we in the east rarely get to experience. I used to imagine how much fun it would be to ski above tree-line. There are no limits, you can go wherever you want. But after having skied some amazing places around the world, I've discovered, what I find most fun is glade skiing. It's the most challenging, it makes you a better skier, and it's exhilarating.

Limits do not restrict us. They create opportunities for us to be even better. The next time someone is limiting you, don't get upset, think instead of what you can conquer and accomplish.