Shop Stop – Runway Boutique L.A.

You know when you dream about the perfect shop that could literally be your dream closet? Where every item is something you would wear and every corner is full of so many goodies that your arms are overflowing when you finally make your way to the register? Well, my dreams came true when I finally visited Runway Boutique L.A. last month!

I have been following the shop on IG for a few years and finally got to experience it in real life and it is such a treasure I had to share it with you.  Owner, Fatima Dodson has curated a truly eclectic shop full of vintage, contemporary and unique handmade items.  There are amazing pieces everywhere you look and while her regular prices are very reasonable there are also fun sale racks and trunks to browse through.

I made out like a bandit on my first visit to the shop and I can’t wait to go back!  If you are in Los Angeles and looking for one of kind gifts or that unique piece to add to your wardrobe, look no further and if you are ever visiting Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and make a stop at this wonderland. You can thank me later.

img_9275

I asked Fatima to share a bit more about the shop and you can read our conversation below.

Q. What inspired you to open Runway Boutique L.A.?

A. My mom was a designer and artist and growing up she made my clothes. I have always loved fashion especially unique items. I started out styling my friends and then worked doing styling and costumes in the film industry.  I love mixing vintage and contemporary fashion and I wanted to share that with more people so I opened my shop.

img_9271

Q. You have a literal runway in the middle of the shop. Do you have fashion shows?
A.  Yes, it’s a functioning runway. A couple times a year we have fashion shows. I love stories so there is usually a theme behind them. It’s also been a place for up and coming designers to showcase their work.
img_9272
Q. You have such a beautifully curated selection of items with such variety.  How do you decide what makes it into the shop?
A. I always look at fabrication, material, structure and how a garment is made as well selecting items with color and print. We are known for having lots of prints and colors.  Californians are laid back and classic in how they dress and I wanted to encourage them to incorporate prints and colors into their wardrobe so the store is full of that.
img_9282
Q. Do you sell only vintage or new items as well?

A. We sell vintage, new, contemporary and handmade. Combining these creates a unique style. I don’t think one should wear vintage head to toe, but rather mix items that enhance one another. I provide workshops at the shop on how to mix and match, to show people how to incorporate items into their wardrobe. We help people find something new, something different. The store is merchandised as a treasure hunt, with various items mixed together to inspire you.

img_9279

Q. What’s your advice to someone who has never worn vintage? How can they incorporate it into their current wardrobe?

A. First, wear something you are comfortable in, that identifies with your style and colors you like. Its very important to mix and accessorize a vintage piece something modern so you don’t look like you stepped out of another era.

img_9273

Q. Your shop is full of one of a kind pieces. How often are new items added to the shop?

A. We get new items daily. Our turn over is fast. We sell on Instagram and online, as well as in the shop so items move fast. We have clients that come in a few times a week and there is always something new.

img_9276

Q. You and I discussed the idea of curating one’s wardrobe. How would you recommend someone start the process of curating their wardrobe to reflect their style?

A. I would start with organizing your closet. Color coordinating helps you see what you have a lot of, what you gravitate towards, what accessories you have and what you don’t wear any longer.  Often times we forget we have some amazing pieces that are lost in our closet.  If you are looking to experiment and change up your wardrobe I suggest finding inspiration from images that you would like to try and save them. With this lookbook you can start to incorporate items into your existing wardrobe. Don’t copy the looks, just pull inspiration from them and make them your own.

Q. Your inventory is very thoughtful, with a balance of prints, colors, textures and styles. Is Runway Boutique for every woman?
A. Yes. We do have classic pieces for more conservative dressers and wild prints for the more adventurous. Our clientele is very diverse and has grown over the years. Runway Boutique L.A. is for those women who are open to trying something new with fashion. Those that are maybe afraid to step out of the box or afraid of rejection. My hope in having this shop is to encourage women trying something new and to show them how being open and taking risks in one part of your life can lead to changes in other parts of your life. It’s not just about fashion, it’s about empowerment.
You can visit Runway Boutique L.A. at 807 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or shop on their website.  I also recommend following on Instagram to stay up to date on all their amazing events!
img_9286
Owner of Runway Boutique L.A., Fatima & myself at the ‘Shop My Closet” event last month!
If you check out Runway Boutique, I’d love to know what you think and if you have a favorite shop you think I should check out I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Advertisements

Vintage Vibes

I’ve always appreciated vintage clothing and accessories but have never worn a lot of it because it’s definitely more challenging to find larger sizes in the bohemian styles I am drawn to.  I love thrift shops and the hunt of finding something amazing among the racks.

Last week I went to drop some donations at my local Goodwill and figured I’d take a look at the store.  I was instantly drawn to these amazing vintage prints. When shopping, I see prints, patterns and colors first and then I see what the item is along with the cut and size. I loved the high neck and flowy sleeves of this dress. I ended up buying 2 vintage floral dresses for $15!

Moral of the story, keep your eyes peeled and stay open minded because you never know where that special piece of wardrobe magic may find you! Happy Hunting!

I’d love to know the most unexpected place you found clothing or an accessory that you fell in love with?

IMG_6493

IMG_6520

IMG_6519

IMG_6512

IMG_6513

IMG_6508

IMG_6504

{Dress & Clutch/Vintage via Goodwill, Belt/Ross, Shoes/Earrings/Downtown L.A., Bracelet/From India}

What I Bought In Ensenada

For many, Ensenada is town to get crazy in, drink a few cervezas (or 12), let your hair down and act a fool. I recently stopped in Ensenada on friend’s birthday cruise and while we were there to party, I am always on the hunt for interesting and unique items.

IMG_4572

The main street of Calle Lopez Mateos is chock full of tiny cafes, street vendors and small shops.  It’s short enough that you can stroll one side, browse the wares and come back to something you fell in love with, without having to go very far.

IMG_4549
These little masks are made from coconut husks, hand painted and decorated.

While some of the street vendors and shops are selling items that are traditionally Mexican,  like hand tooled leather bags, turquoise and silver jewelry and sandals, many are selling tourist junk. Jewelry and handbags from China, sarongs from Indonesia, etc. The more places I travel, I am noticing this is becoming a common trend and it breaks my heart.

As we walked down the street, a colorful window, full of dancing Day of the Dead couples and metallic skull banners caught my eye and I had to stop. Little did I know I had discovered the most amazing, two story shop, selling handmade art and wares from all over Mexico. Jackpot!!

Bazar Casa Ramirez, carries all handmade products crafted from the hands of Mexican artists. Different states and regional influences are found in the art dotting the walls, the dishes on the shelves and the bags hanging on the racks. This store is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

IMG_4590

store shots

IMG_4588

I was immediately drawn to these hearts, handmade in Michoacan. I loved the color and decorative metal pieces. It was explained to me that all the metal pieces are “Milagros” or miracles, used by the grateful to offer thanks for prayers answered. There are symbols representing fertility, health, happiness, safety, and you can rub the one you are in need of as you say your prayers. Being a person who lives in gratitude this piece really connected with me so I purchased it.

IMG_4924

I also loved these small straw bucket bags, which are made locally in Ensenada. It’s the perfect size to fit your essentials for traveling or a Summer music festival and I love the pop of color. I may change the strap to a longer one so I can wear it cross body.

IMG_4930

I fell in love with the coconut masks we passed on the street and they had a few in this shop as well. I’m a fire sign and a collector of masks so this little “Fire God” caught my attention and held it. He came home with me too!

IMG_4907

The last items I bought were these tin Day of the Dead ornaments, from Oaxaca, to add to my travel inspired Christmas tree next year.

IMG_4927

I bought all of these beautiful handmade items for less than $50 and couldn’t be happier with my treasures!  Bazar Casa Ramirez is located at Calle Lopez Mateos 498-3, Edificio Ramirez, Ensenada, Baja California. They don’t have a website, so you’re just gonna have to get there in person! I promise, it’s worth the trip!

What I Bought In Cozumel

Living in Southern California, Mexico is my backyard.  I have visited South of the border more than a dozen times, with repeat visits to many cities.  Cozumel is one of those cities.

IMG_5092

 

I have visited Cozumel at least five times, each as a destination on a cruise.   I am an avid cruiser, with over 20 cruises under my belt and I know that cruising is not a way to truly experience a country.  You are there for only a few hours and many of the excursions are manufactured, tourist experiences.  That being said, I love to spend my short time in port, shopping for local, handcrafted items and on a cruise you have just enough time to find some treasures and get back to the boat.

Over the years, they have invested in creating an inviting, one stop shopping plaza in the cruise terminal in Cozumel.  There are a few restaurants, lots of shops selling silver, t-shirts, and tequila.  Having traveled and shopped extensively in different countries, I avoid the items that I know are not made in the country I am visiting and are sold to unknowing tourists as locally made (I am seeing this more and more, everywhere and it’s getting harder to find unique, handmade items. Sad sign of the times.)

There are however, a few gems in the plaza that I picked up items from.  Being a California girl, I don’t find many occasions to rock cowboy boots but I can’t resist a new pair of shoes, so we headed into Rogers Boots, specializing in leather products of all kinds from boots to handbags, wallets, belts and hats.  They have a beautiful array of boots for men and women in every color of the rainbow with different designs and textures.

IMG_5097

IMG_5098

Being the bargain shopper that I am, I headed to the back of the store where they have a clearance section.  All the boots were $100 per pair and while I loved the designs of the regular priced boots I couldn’t justify spending more than 100 bucks on a pair of shoes I know I won’t wear that often.

IMG_5096

IMG_5102

I ended up with these feminine, peachy boots that I think will pair well with a denim dress in the Summer.  My husband also bought a pair of faux stingray black boots.  We are officially ready for a honky-tonk, if one ever rolls into L.A.  They also had a beautiful selection of clutches.  Besides the great selection and helpful staff, the best part of shopping here, is all their products are made in Mexico.

IMG_5325

Another item I always pick up when in Mexico is beach bags.  There are a few stores in the cruise terminal plaza that sell bags.  They have such a variety of shapes and colors at very reasonable prices. I bought these two bags for $12 and $15.

IMG_5327

In my opinion, the highlight and must visit store is Los Cinco Soles.  It is a huge shop specializing in products that are made in Mexico.  The store is brimming with beautiful displays of festive jewelry, hand painted dishware, embroidered clothing,  cheerful toys and everything in between.  I bought these cute worry doll bracelets (one for me, one for my niece) and these beautiful hand painted clay ornaments for our travel inspired Christmas tree, each one signed by the artist that created them.

IMG_5323

IMG_5321

Though the humidity and sun were oppressive on our last visit to Cozumel, which minimized our shopping excursion there, we still managed to pick up some colorful, authentic Mexican treasures.  Mexico is rich in craftsmanship and artisans, you just have to search them out. Wherever your next destination, I hope you’ll take the time to treasure hunt!

IMG_5095

Cozumel, Mexico.
Cozumel, Mexico.

I took all the photos in this post.

What’s In My Bag? New Orleans

IMG_4142

I’m headed to New Orleans and I want you to tell me what to bring home!  I’m off to check out the flea markets, thrift shops and hidden treasures and you get to create my shopping list.  It can be quirky, fun, funky or traditional.  I want your best ideas!  I’ll pick 5 items from your suggestions and will do a giveaway when I get back.   Join me in the shopping fun!! I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Hot sauce, postcards, mannequins?  Ok, the mannequin would require purchasing another plane ticket so that's out.
Hot sauce, postcards, mannequins? Ok, the mannequin would require purchasing another plane ticket so that’s out.

Vintage dresses, alligator heads and Mardi Gras beads, oh my!

Handmade in Jamaica

I love to shop when I travel.  Exploring the local markets and quaint boutiques for authentic items is one of my favorite activities.  I love the hunt, learning the stories behind the items, meeting the artists who craft them and most of all being able to bring back a tangible part of a far off place. I find all kinds of treasures when I travel and in this section, “Travel Treasures”,  I will share with you my unique finds.

I have traveled to the Caribbean many times. Sometimes for a week’s stay on one island and other times island hopping on various cruises.  I love the Caribbean.  The azul waters, the swaying palm trees, the warm trade winds that feel like a lover’s embrace. The jovial energy, the jammin’ music, the vibrant, sun-kissed people of the islands, all make me love traveling to the Caribbean.

On a trip to Antigua I picked up these beautifully scented travel candles from Starfish Oils.  They are handmade in Jamaica, with yummy scents like Sweet Jamaica, Love and Tranquility, all of which take you instantly to a hammock on a Caribbean beach.  I purchased all three scents and I didn’t burn them for years.  I wanted them to last forever. I would open them and take a whiff and be transported to the islands.

Photo credit: www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: http://www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Sweet Jamaica Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Love Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com

 

Photo Credit: Starfishoils.com
Tranquility Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com

I did eventually burn them and they smell wonderful.  The small sizes are great for traveling or for giving as gifts.  They are sold individually for $12.50 for the 8 oz size or they have a set of all three scents for $24.00.  You’ll find them for sale on different islands but if can’t make it there, you can order online at www.starfishoils.com and they will ship to you.