This Week: Avoid lame gifts with Elfster, shopping and drinking go well together, sneaker pimping in Union City, tons of local artists hawking their goods for the holidays, and Jessica Simpson's new line of hair extensions require special ranting.
You have been warned.
Who: Shabnum Norling, 31, of Oakland. Occupation: Works in advertising.
Spotted: Shopping for stiletto boots at Tootsies shoe store on College Ave. Wearing: Vintage black boots, "Love" skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters, purple turtleneck sweater, and olive green puffy vest with fur collar from Forever 21.Favorite places to shop: H&M, Ambiance, Crossroads Trading Co., Forever 21, and Dolce & Gabbana (if she had her wish -- and the cash to make it come true). Her season's must-haves: Stiletto heels, skinny jeans, white items, and gold. Her style: "Miami style," edgy. Fashion icons: Gisele Bundchen, D&G, J-Lo, Lindsay Lohan, Sophia Loren.
Fashion inspiration: InStyle, Vogue, Project Runway, and the Sundance Film Festival for cold-weather fashion ideas. Fashion tips: Have confidence; wear things that fit, only care about what you think, and think out of the box! Faux pas: "I don't like the whole goth look." Also, too tight jeans, too much midriff.
Late-Night Shopping: We've always dreamed of a place to shop after-hours. You know, stumble out of the bar, head into a store, and try on clothes. Now, our dreams have come true. Well, sort of. Check out "Fourth Friday, Late Night" on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. A string of stores, cafes, and galleries stretching from Dwight Way to Ashby Avenue will be open till 9 p.m. every fourth Friday of the month. Stores include Twisters Vintage, Juniper Tree, Evarize, Sea Salt, and Good Vibrations. We're told there will be food, drinks, art, music, fashion, and, our favorite, "special sales."
When: Tonight! Friday, Nov. 24 until 9 p.m. Where: San Pablo Ave. between Dwight Way and Ashby Ave. in Berkeley.
New Items at Afterglow: Afterglow owner Amy Cools (featured in a former installment of Buy Curious), reports some hot new items in her Oakland boutique: jewelry designs from Julie's Glass Imagination and Tapiseria, plaid pocket baby-doll tunics from Camilla Slater Bolland, hoodies for toddlers big and small from Oaklandish, sexy boy-shorts and tunic dresses from Porcelynne, and wooly fingerless gloves from Lindsay Melnyk.
Where: Afterglow, 4233 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon- 6 p.m.
Sneaker Hawks: Check out this mega sneaker showcase, "Can I Kick It? Sneaker Showcase", in Union City this weekend. Buy, sell, or trade your hottest kicks while DJs Shortkut, Rah2K, and Dynamix work the turntables. Plus exclusive private collections, cash prizes for the best sneaker collection, "Can I Kick It?" models meet-and-greet, gift bag giveaways, and live performances. Call 888-490-7711 for more info. When: Sat., Nov. 25 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 32083 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City.
Want a Secret Santa? OK, dumb question. We wish our "Secret Santa" was this dude, but in the meantime, we'll settle for Elfster. The Oakland-based Web site is a free service that makes it easy to arrange "Secret Santa" gift exchanges. Co-workers and friends can view your wish list, and ask questions such as shoe size and favorite color anonymously. We haven't tried it yet, but we're willing to do anything to avoid receiving gifts like this.
Sample This: Skip the mall this weekend (c'mon, Macy's is always having a sale) and deck both your halls and your jewelry box with fabulous finds from the twice-yearly San Francisco Design Center sample sale. Billed as a "bargain hunter's paradise," it offers the rare chance to snag impossibly cool stuff that costs way more than you'd ever spend. $6 admission. When: Sat, Nov. 25, 10-5, Sun, Nov. 26, 10-4 Where: Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street.
Check out these events selling arts and crafts from local artists.
Berkeley's La Pena Cultural Center hosts their annual Womyn of Color Arts & Crafts Show, chock full of jewelry, textiles, paintings, and sculptures. Free. When: Sat. Nov. 26& Sun. Nov. 27, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Where: 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
Oakland artists Bruce Pizzichillo and Dari Gordon will be selling one-of-a-kind glass vases, bowls, and sculptures in their studio. For more info, call 510-832-8380. When: Fri. Nov. 24, Sat. Nov. 25, and Sun. Nov. 26, Sat. Dec. 2 & Sat. Dec. 9, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 2680 Union St., Oakland.
The Berkeley Potters Guild will display the works of 16 local artists. When: Sat. Nov. 25 & Sun. Nov. 26, Sat. Dec. 2 & Sun. Dec. 3, Sat. Dec. 9 & Sun. Dec. 10, Sat. Dec. 16 & Sun. Dec. 17, Mon. Dec. 18-Sun. Dec. 24; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: 731 Jones St. at Fourth St. in Berkeley
Simpson's HairDo Is a Total Don't Jessica Simpson's line of shoes aren't nearly as nasty as we expected they'd be (we'd even rock a pair or two), but she's crossed the line with her latest business venture. Yes, we're all aware that she's a huge fan of extensions (as are half the women in Hollywood, and no doubt most leading men get help from the hair-growth fairies). But does the world really need HairDo, as the starlet's new collection of hair pieces is so cleverly called? No, it does not.
"A bad hair day is when my hair feels thin and stuck to my head," she explains in Sophisticate's HairStyle Guide December issue. Well, we hate to burst your bubble, Jess, but your hair literally is stuck to your head. In fact, you know what, sweetie? You're selling people your idea of a bad hair day. Ever think about that?
A truly bad hair day in our book is when a shiny mass of our hair falls out in public because attaching it properly without a cosmetology degree and eight years of relevant experience is next to impossible. For a few minutes of amusement, check out the how-to videos, in which Jessica's biz partner and hair slave, Ken Paves, stands by while mute, smiling models who obviously crammed for hours attempt to put on the hairpieces without his help (and without busting a smile, or breaking into tears).
If you still can't resist the notion of bulking up on top, you can shop for the wiglets online or head to Blooming Beauty Supply at the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. But come armed with plentiful cash or credit: you'll pay about $90 for a wad of synthetic hair, and $400-$500 for a clean clump of the good old human stuff, made to order.
Every Friday, Buy Curious posts photos of the fashion fabulous of the East Bay, as well as news on store openings, closings, new items, and sales. We want to hear from you! Tips? Send them to us!and Kathleen Richards