I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the shopping gene. There are a lot of people (women mostly) who quite happily shop recreationally and therapeutically, for whom the hunt for cool stuff is like a game, and who get an emotional lift out of buying new things. I’m the opposite—shopping is a struggle, I never find what I’m looking for, and if I do, I usually talk myself out of it. Oh, I spend plenty of money on entertainment, food, little trips here and there—just rarely on stuff that has to come home with me and stay there (I like stuff that can get used up). On the other hand, I am in love, love, love with creative store merchandising. You know, the artful displays in upscale stores that make everything look so great. I’m drawn to the colors, the textures, the patterns, and love when stores turn their displays into picture-perfect still lifes, or display rows of the same item in many colors. Oh, I’m never tempted to buy, because I know if you choose one little item to buy, once you get it home and it’s no longer sitting in its perfect arrangement of related items, it loses its magic. At least for me, it does.
I love to go into places like Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel just to look at the displays. I rarely buy anything at Chico’s, but I love the way they arrange the clothing according to color, and I love to finger the fabrics. In Fredericksburg, Whittingham’s on Caroline Street is the cream of the merchandising crop, with amazing theme windows that change every month. And my new favorite is World Market, which has been open in the Cosner’s Corner shopping center for about a year. It’s kind of like Pier One meets Ikea’s Marketplace: furniture, housewares, rugs and pillows, gourmet food, wine, bath items, jewelry, baskets...just aisles and aisles of cool things to look at and not buy. I never get tired of stopping there for a quick look at the latest stuff, and they give free samples of coffee, too.
I love candle displays, but face it: you will never, ever use up all of the decorative candles you already own.
I love to look at these wooden bowls and plates. The colors are so vibrant. But you know when you get that one red bowl home, you're going to wonder what the hell you were thinking.
My dishes are white. I love to look at this colored dishware, but I don't think I could ever commit to it.
Here's one thing I can't resist: unusual pastas.