Basket Case

At some point, everyone has to make a gift basket right? So, it’s really helpful when you find a store that does much of the work for you! That’s how I felt when I walked into Cost Plus World Market the other day. This store offers an entire gift basket kit, which includes the basket, stuffing, a clear bag that fits over it, twine and a small gift card, for $9.99! Um, DONE!

It’s not like you can find baskets very easily these days, and this kit has everything you need except for the actual gift contents and maybe a giant bow and whatever other accessories you want to add. It made my life a little easier and I so appreciated it! By the way, this gift basket will be available for raffle at Salpointe’s Homecoming this weekend!

Salt of the Desert

Recently, a few very sweet friends told me they missed my blog posts (I will say alcohol was involved…), but I thought well, what the heck—I’ll just try again!

And I’m excited to brag about this fun Tucson company, Agave Pantry, which curates the best seasoning salts that make awesome gifts for your fave chef friends. Agave Pantry make a Chef’s Set ( with rosemary salt, piquant salt and cardamom salt) and also a Baker’s Set (cardamom rose salt, lavender salt and Sonoran desert salt). The company also makes delicious cookies, caramels and cakes, which I haven’t tried yet, but the pictures look amazing.

I’ve sent the salt sets to a few friends and the very best part is that they come with the cutest little clay spoon to get the spices out of the jar. Brilliant! Also, the packaging is very stylish and its nice to support a local T-town company!

Tis the Season to Embellish

If you have not been to La Plaza Shoppes lately, you need to check out the expanded new location of Embellish! Now, next to Desert Artisans Gallery and two doors over from Posh Boutique (which if you love designer resale, you should be checking out daily), is the new Embellish store and it’s the best place to buy luxe presents and hostess gifts right now! I’ve been to a few Santa gift exchanges of late with many a beautiful Embellish gift among the mix and high on the steal list.

Owner Dawn Scully is brilliant in choosing all of her offerings, including some of the best candles, jewelry and holiday decor in all of T-town. Also, with her expanded digs, there are numerous additions like designer-inspired bath sets and jewelry plates, and an entire room of culinary and home goods. Plus, you’ll always get an amazing smile and a welcome every time you come in. Last minute holiday gifts needed? You need to visit Embellish.

Game, Set, Match

Retailers have remembered our demand for comfy and cute during the pandemic by flooding the stores with tons of loungy, matching short sets this summer that are perfect for post-pool, post-beach relaxation. The T-town choices are everywhere, from Target to TJ Maxx. Online options, on Steinmart.com (yep, it’s still alive online) and boutiques such as Red Dress Boutique are even more stylish. Definitely a trend to stock up on!

Pretty in Pink at Francesca’s

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Some pinkalicious pieces are now front and center at Francesca’s at La Encantada!

Blush hued-dresses, blouses and tops are featured throughout the store, with some especially cute versions for Valentine’s Day! The Foothills store also has constant sales, alternating between percentage-off days and BOGO days during this pandemic winter. If pink is not your thing, there’s also a lot of camo clothing right now.

Piece by Piece Wear: From Street Chic to Luxe Lounge

Walking into Piece by Piece Wear in St. Philip’s Plaza is nothing short of walking into your stylish best friend’s amazing closet.

And, according to owner Julie Penny, that’s entirely by design.

“It should be like shopping with your best friend,” said Penny, the engaging force—you meet her and you love her—of this Tucson boutique since the 90s. “I want it to be a great experience!”

And because Penny has customers ordering items from Piece by Piece from as far as New York and Louisiana, it’s clear that experience has cemented an incredibly loyal fan base. Her Facebook and Instagram feeds are not only filled with her luxe new arrivals, but also genuinely ecstatic reviews from first-time and longtime shoppers alike.

“My goal is whenever you get something from me, it becomes your go-to piece,” said Penny. “I want it to be like, ‘What did I wear before this?’”  Ultra-soft lines such as Sundry, Tart Intimates and sumptuous tees by JET John Eshaya are just the start. “I want it to feel soft. I touch everything. It has to be soft to start, and then I look at it.”

“It all starts with what I want to wear and what my friends want to wear,” she said. In fact, every single piece of clothing at Piece by Piece is handpicked by Penny.

A science major at DePaul University, she credits a stint at a designer consignment store for her fashionable fate. “I just fell in love with fashion.” She and her husband moved to Arizona after she joked that frost began forming inside their apartment windows in Illinois. Though they initially thought Phoenix, Tucson’s inclusive community and charm won them over. “Everyone here says hello and smiles at you.”

Penny has since been a devoted promoter of all things local. She is the exclusive carrier of Tucson designer Annie Hammer’s jewelry line and mosaic stones by Rox, another talented local artist.

When the pandemic hit and closed so many Tucson businesses, she made sure to continue selling her items online and personally delivered them to her loyal customers. “It’s what kept me alive,” she said. Even now, when she can’t travel to her usual markets because of COVID-19, she treasures her designers and representatives who come to her, even customizing their lines for what her shoppers want.

“I love shopping at Julie’s store,” said Mindy Thomas, a frequent Piece by Piece shopper. “It’s my favorite place in Tucson to get cute, on-trend pieces. I always leave with a smile on my face, spending my money locally and looking fashionable.”

Oh, and right now, there’s a rare 50% off sale going on–the perfect time to discover your new favorite store!

Fashion, Beauty News around Tucson

A few things heard around T-town:

Do you like Burberry? Check out Posh Boutique on Instagram, @shopposhboutique, for some awesome, pre-loved, luxury finds, and grab them before they’re gone! Recent arrivals include Burberry rain boots and stylish shoulder bags!

Until tomorrow, Bluemercury is offering a complimentary wellness bag of eight samples with any purchase over $120. For more info, click here

Did you know W Boutique offers closet edits? Inquire about styling services at its St. Philip’s Plaza digs.

The Green Monkey Boutique has re-located to Plaza Palomino, leaving its previous spot at River Center.

Slides Rule at Nordstrom Rack

In these pandemic times, is there nothing better than the slide? It’s the perfect slip-on shoe to take you from your Zoom meeting in the living room to your business lunch in your kitchen with no one the wiser. With origins from ancient Rome and adapted in 1970s Germany to a more sporty style for athletes, the slide can now thank 2020 for adding fur for comfort.

One Tucson retailer is currently offering every color and style imaginable.

Nordstrom Rack on Wilmot has every variation from ballet pink faux fur to black faux fur to leopard. Also, hidden in the show racks are bright pink Fila brand slides and more. Thick heel, thin heel and some with better arch support than others, ranging in price from below $20 and up, the slides are in great supply right now, but may dwindle with demand. Definitely check them out!

Free People Opens at La Encantada

It’s no secret that La Encantada is a T-town treasure.

In terms of sophistication, it’s what elevates our Southern Arizona city. The experience and elegance of shopping and eating at La Encantada is, quite frankly, a freaking joy. Despite losses over the years of Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade, this shopping center works so hard to bring beautiful stores onto its grounds, recently welcoming West Elm, Madewell and Sundance.

So, even in a pandemic, the addition of the stylish new Free People store is something to relish. Taking over the vacated premises of Brooks Brothers, the posh new location boasts beautiful boho pieces that uphold the retailer’s vibe of “femininity, courage and spirit.”

The Free People shopper is “smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic,” according to the company’s website. “A girl who likes to keep busy and push life to its limits, with traveling and hanging out and everything in between.” They also mention a girl who is 26 years old, however, I refuse to believe that leaves out all the plus-26 women in this town who are very young-looking, stylish and amazing, as well!

Check it out next time you are out and about and while you’re there, head into bluemercury for the last of its incredibly packaged holiday gifts!

Bag It Up at Posh

Today, Posh Boutique is offering an amazing pandemic deal for shoppers. Grab a bag, fill it with up to 10 items (select merchandise) and pay just $20! I was just there yesterday and y’all, there are DVF and Michael Kors dresses for $2! Not to mention cute tops and bottoms. Racks and racks of deals that you can fill your bag with and spoil yourself! And while you’re there, you can check out some cute full-price items too, including new Louis Vuitton arrivals and an incredible lot of new silk scarves that just came in. Happy Saturday!