Confessions of this Shopaholic: I forgot how lovely it is to browse a store and buy something based on a whim. Is that a strange thing? If so, it's strange and awesome. I had a recent visit to the San Juans, specifically Orcas Island, even more specifically, Eastsound Village, which is one of the most charming, adorable towns EVAR. It's become a regular summertime visit for me and on my recent trip to Eastsound, I had more time to browse about and it was mah-velous, dahling.
I love a good shopping session, but given budgetary constraints, online shopping is more prudent, since you have more time to compare prices and I think the slowing down of the purchase also gives pause for thought, like, am I going to regret that pink poncho a few months down the line? So, yes, hooray for moderated self control and free shipping on returns. But online shopping is tactical; it's harder to really browse unless you have an idea of what you're looking for, so it puts retail blinders on you. This tunnel vision is removed when you're browsing an interesting shop, which is what happened when I was in Eastsound. I wandered several stores, but two definitely caught my eye -- the adorable gift shop Amelie, in the Outlook Inn on Main Street, and Pop-Up Print Shop on North Beach Road, a haven for silkscreen geeks.
I was completely spellbound by the lovingly-curated Amelie, a little walk-in shop off to the side of the main check-in desk at the Inn. They have jewelry, cards, toys, candles and all the wonderful sweet nothings you never knew existed, but the second you see it, You Must Have It. Everything is so unique and eye-catching, and there's several items from local artists. I wanted the whole store, but I settled on some funny socks with a hop plant design on them -- for the Mister, of course. They're made by Sock it to Me, an Oregon-based sock company and I love their funky designs. The hop socks will join the luchador and mustache-man socks that Brock already owns.
My friend who was with me on this browse-a-thon pointed out the Pop-Up Print Shop and the second I saw the design of the Washington State ferry boat with a giant squid getting all-up-on's over the high seas, I had to have it. How could you not love this shirt design? They are a screenprinting shop where you pick a blank t-shirt hanging from several racks -- can choose size, color, style -- and then select a design that they'll screenprint on the spot. It's a pretty fast process, I saw several shirts get made and they were ready to wear almost immediately. There's a few designs, like the squid/ferry design, that they have to make at their studio because it requires a larger screen, but they had several of those on their pre-printed rack of clothing. It's a cool setup and for all the shirts that show off where you've been, it's a rare opportunity to get your souvenir shirt printed right in front of you.
Put away the computer and get out there this summer so you can check these shops out, along with all the cute stores in Eastsound Village. We get so used to buying things online and losing the connection with the shopkeepers. Walking from place to place and chit-chatting with the people minding the stores was a reminder to get out from behind the desk. Along with great shopping finds, we also came away with interesting stories about the items they sell and awesome food and drink recommendations around town. So get on out there and explore, Jaunty browsers!
Jaunty Fine Print: iPhone photos by Denise Sakaki