Archive for Spotlight City

Wander The Wood

“It’s a beautiful community to truly wander.”

Wander the Wood is a local endeavor that was created by Nancy McGee, the owner of Fun in the Sun in downtown Kirkwood, Missouri.  Wander the Wood or @wanderthewooddtk is an Instagram page which promotes the area’s rich and diverse local scene, but Nancy would like to see it grow to include its own Facebook page and website.  As a local shop owner and community leader (Nancy is on downtown Kirkwood’s Special Business District Advisory Board) she saw the need to promote the city she loves.  She was inspired by the social media presence of other local business districts that she’s visited throughout the country.  The “work together to be stronger” concept that these areas promoted resonated with her, so this past fall she created the Wander the Wood Instagram page.

Nancy curates the posts as she “wanders” through the downtown Kirkwood business district discovering and interacting with other local businesses.  Her main goal is to create a buzz for the area in an effort to increase traffic to these local establishments.  She highlights local dining, events, and the beautiful architecture in the area to entice people to make a day strolling and discovering every charming nook.

Nancy would eventually like to see beautiful “Instagram worthy” murals on exterior building walls similar to those she’s seen in other areas.  She believes this added feature would bring more young people and added exposure to the area.

Nancy’s inspiration for Instagram worthy murals comes from many forward thinking businesses like koho boutique in St. Louis, MO

Currently Nancy handles every aspect of @wanderthewooddtk but she has been speaking with Kirkwood High School to possibly have students (aka the masters of Instagram) take on some of the posts and marketing.  She’s open to ideas in order for it to grow and become a well known source for all things local DTK.

When Nancy isn’t wandering the streets of Kirkwood, she’s busy managing her shop, Fun in The Sun.  The shop has been a staple in downtown Kirkwood for seven years but Nancy’s original plans were to open a shop by the beach. Fortunately she decided to bring the beach to Kirkwood!  Fun in the Sun is about sixty percent men’s clothing and carries brands such as Fish Hippy, Southern Tide, Johnny O, Vineyard Vines and The Normal Brand.  With a limited list of men’s local clothiers in the Lou, Nancy would  like to be the local destination for men to shop.

The biggest hurdle for local shops, and one of the reasons Nancy started Wander the Wood, is to combat the online shopping trend.  She believes that people will eventually view online shopping like they do frozen TV dinners. She has faith that people will once again appreciate the experience, the little touches such as gift wrapping, loyalty programs and human interactions.  With all this in mind, she’s trying to hurry it along in the most creative way with Wander the Wood!

Follow @wanderthewooddtk to discover all that beautiful downtown Kirkwood, Missouri has to offer!

“Downtown Kirkwood is a beautiful community to truly wander.” – Nancy McGee

 

 

FASHIONABLY LOCAL – SOFT SURROUNDINGS

My time, my place, my self, our city!  Women’s fashion and lifestyle brand, Soft Surroundings, is proud to be founded and designed right here in St. Louis!  BoutiqueNAV welcomes this growing, “Fashionably Local” business to the site!  Take a look into the #LiveSoft company!

Saint Louis owned, Soft Surroundings, was originally established in 1999 as a catalog distribution business.   The catalog featured flattering and flowing lounge wear for woman of all ages.  The idea was to come home after a long day and change into something more comfortable, but still remain stylish in globally inspired fashions.

In 2005  Soft Surroundings opened their flagship store which is still located in Brentwood, Missouri.  Since then, the company has grown to 57 stores nationally, with 2017 being it’s biggest year for growth!  They are on a mission to help women around the country #LiveSoft, and with their growing store front presence, they’ve made it easier.  Now customers can feel, and try on, the luxurious fabrics that are so carefully selected by the St. Louis based design team.

Soft Surrounding designers search globally for inspiration to bring customers unique looks that stay true to their brand and their “Live Soft” mission.  We heard from many of the designers just how much they love working for Soft Surroundings.  The climate within the company seems just as inviting as the stores themselves.  Check out what Sarah has to say:

“After working for a brand in Arkansas, I was ready to be closer to home and move back. The culture in St. Louis and at Soft Surroundings is a lot about family. We are a family here. We have respect for each other. I love designing for a customer who is in a special place in her life and designing garments that she is excited about. I know that she appreciates the time that goes into the details and quality of the pieces we design and sees them as investment pieces. I like that we are more of a slow fashion brand, designing pieces that our customers will cherish for years or even the rest of their lives.” – Sarah Clay, Product Development and Design Supervisor

A visit to each store promises a small boutique feel.  The store is stocked with such treasures as the jewelry collection called “Robin’s Travels” which is sure to inspire.  Pieces are carefully hand selected from all over the world with the Soft Surroundings customer in mind.  We love the bling and the cute logo too!

You’ll find a beauty specialist at each store to help you find the right products for your skin.  Whether you are shopping for skin care or makeup they offer free trials and applications of any product.  Jane Iredale is one of the more popular skin care lines from Soft Surroundings but we discovered a wonderful line called Blue Copper that has a beautifully, light fragrance.  We also sampled an age defying skincare product called Fillerina.   Lauren, a skin care specialist (with amazing skin) applied Fillerina on both of our faces.  She explained that it works as a topical filler (no needles!)  We were sold!  Plus the store was offering a buy one product and get one at 40% off!  We’ll let everyone know how it works out!

During our visit to the flagship store in Brentwood we found so many beautiful things and gift ideas!  Here are a few of our faves but we could have stayed all day!

Last but not least, each store carries a unique selection of furniture to complete your “live soft” world, including beds, bedding, lounge chairs, home accessories and more.  Large items may be shipped at no charge (!!!) if ordered within the store (excluding any items over 400 lbs).

Soft Surroundings is a true asset to their Saint Louis hometown.  The company gives back to our area as sponsors for local charities such as The St. Louis Alzheimer’s Association, Cardinal Glennon and Celebrate Style among so many others.  Their mission to support local is what BoutiqueNAV is all about, which is why BoutiqueNAV is thrilled to join forces with Soft Surroundings in their campaign to show local pride:  My time, my place, my self, our city!  We are fashionably local STL!

Click below to see inside the world of the Soft Surroundings design team and their amazing process.   For products and more information: Soft Surroundings

SNEAK PEEK VIDEO

 

BoutiqueNav-igates Kansas City, MO

MARCH 29 – APRIL 1, 2017

Kansas City Fashion week took place March 29-April 1st, 2017. BoutiqueNAV took to the road to support our designer friends and to check out other emerging, talented designers featured each night. During our whirlwind few days we visited some amazing local boutiques in the area and met new friends along the way.  We came back to the Lou excited for our next trip there (possibly this fall for the next KCFW).  There’s so much more to see!  Check out a few of these great places  on your visit to KC!

WORLD’S WINDOW

332 W 63rd St, Kansas City, MO 64113

(816) 361-2500

World’s Window was the very first shop we visited upon our arrival.  A local friend directed us to Brookside, located just minutes from downtown, KC. The shops and restaurants in Brookside all have a uniform red and blue awning.  Charming!  The shop has been locally owned for 39 years and began as a world artifact shop.  It has transitioned into a lovely boutique while retaining some of it’s original flair.  Step within and you’ll find an eclectic mix of religious artwork, jewelry, accessories, gifts and gorgeous apparel.  We particularly love that they carry generous sized clothing!

SHOP BEAUTIFUL

320 W 63rd St, Kansas City, Missouri

(816) 444-3322

Next door to World’s Windows is Shop Beautiful and it truly is!  Lovely items to behold!  Take a look!

 

A STORE NAMED STUFF

316 W 63rd St, Kansas City, Missouri 64113

(816) 361-8222

Just a couple of steps down from Shop Beautiful is A Store Named Stuff.  We literally could have spent all day there! We met one of the owners, Sloane Simmons, (her sister, Casey, is co-owner).  Sloane gave us these great shopping bags that say “Pursue Good Stuff” which is pretty much what we do all of the time.  We had the best time! There really is good stuff in that store like hilarious gifts, home decor and fabulous jewelry.  A must visit!

THE (NEW) DIME STORE

314 W 63rd St, Kansas City, MO 64113

(816) 523-3140

Walk a little further down the sidewalk and you’ll come to The (New) Dime Store.  It’s chock full of fun.  You’ll take a walk down memory lane with some of the offerings they have like candy from days gone by (they have those sugar cigarettes – remember those?)  They even have whole craft room in the back!  You’ll want to spend a lot of time here!

SHOPGIRLS

6245 Brookside Plaza, Kansas City, MO 64113

(816) 363-0229

We had a blast in this little shop with the fun name.  We also made some new friends while we played dress up.  They showed us local love by giving us a few other good places to visit in KC!  We’ll definitely be back and hope they come see us in the Lou!  We have a few great places in mind that we’d like to show them!

SEX + ICE CREAM

1515 Walnut St #9, Kansas City, MO 64108
We were referred to this little, downtown boutique by Shopgirls.  Of course we wanted to have peek based on the name (who wouldn’t?)  We were hooked once we saw the glitter booties!  Sorry to say you won’t find ice cream there (or the other) but you’ll find something much better – some pretty cool fashion designed by Nicole Leth, the owner, as well as some curated merchandise for the edgier side of you!

STANDARD STYLE

451 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112

913-685-4464

Day 2 we ventured to the Plaza area where there are a still a few locally owned shops.  Standard Style is one such boutique along with their brother store, Baldwin, located down the street.  Both stores are owned by the Baldwin family.  The stores specialize in jeans because they have their own brand with great styles called Baldwin Denim.  Standard Style has a spacious, airy feel which perfectly showcases beautiful items from labels such as See by Chloe, Alexander Wang, Rag and Bone, Theory, Helmut Lang and Tibi.  There are a range of price points from other brands however and the store is simply beautiful!

BALDWIN

340 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112

(913) 312-2377

Baldwin is just down the block from Standard Style.  The store is unisex so some things crossover between the two shops but this has a more casual vibe.  It’s a smaller store and emphasizes men’s wear and denim.

NIALL

612 W 48th St, Kansas City, MO 64112

(816) 301-7987

Move over Rolex – there’s a new luxury brand to “watch” out for!  Niall is punctual, Niall is stylish and Niall is locally made in KC.  We came upon this little shop going to lunch and GG did a double take because she has a special place in her heart for that name.  So we walked in to find out the scoop and, lo and behold, it’s a locally made watch brand!  We love that!  Come to find out, the owner is not named Niall but he is a very distant relative of King Niall of Ireland.

MOXI

300 W. Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, Mo  64111

(816) 561-5115

We were so excited to visit the Kansas City location of Connections To Success!  We work with the St. Louis location and feature them on our on our site (Fashion for a Cause).  We can’t say enough good things about the great works this organization does and of the people who tirelessly give of themselves every day to make local lives better.  We loved meeting all the KC staff – they are fun!  Of course we had to shop the Moxi truck because they have wonderful pieces for a steal, and when you buy them, you just feel good about it because all your purchases go to help this organization!  Guilt free shopping!  Check out what we found!

ART 4 U

110 Main St, Parkville, Missouri

(816) 383-0574

AM headed out on her own the next day and discovered a wonderful Ukrainian Art Gallery and Boutique in Parksville, MO just minutes outside of KC.  Check out her finds below!

RUNWAY SEVEN

Zona Rosa Town Center, 8751 NW Prairie View Rd, Kansas City, MO 64153

(816) 505-0752

AM visited this chic store in Zona Rosa, MO just 20 mins from downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Runway Seven is locally owned but has 17 stores in 7 states!  AM had so much fun with Lenna at Runway Seven!!!! Check it out!!!

WE ARE SINCERELY YOURS

711 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108

(816) 304-6507

AM visited Danielle at We are sincerely yours. She has a collection of cool vintage and local designs giving the store a unique flair! Danielle is so inspiring and pro local! Her shop is such a gem and just minutes away from downtown KC!

BOB JONES SHOES

1914 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

(816) 474-4212

When in KC, make sure to visit Bob Jones Shoes. It’s a 57 year old local business with more shoes (for men and women) than anyplace you will have seen before!!! There are fabulous shoes from Fly London to Italian made luxuries….plus beautiful handbags and whimsical socks! It’s truly Shoe Heaven and you’ll need shoes to go with the great outfits you found while shopping local in KC!

 

CW BOUTIQUE

6325 Lewis St #104, Parkville, MO 64152

(816) 584-2746

AM’s last stop was CW Boutique, located in the heart of beautiful, historic Parkville, Missouri not far from downtown KC.  She had tons of fun playing dress up here!  It’s always a bonus when you get to try on shoes with your outfit and CW carries an assortment of cute shoes!

CW Boutique, KC MO

You may have deduced that KC is a fabulous place to visit and easy to get to from the Lou.  If you get a chance to go during KCFW you’ll see what an amazing job they do putting together this week long event. We had such a terrific time and hope to visit these local shops again this fall as well as discover some new ones!

Gretchen Gannon & Ann-Marie Brown of BoutiqueNAV

 

Charleston, SC

Charleston is a majestic, southern city that should be on every bucket list. If you’ve never visited, or haven’t been back in several years, it may to time to plan a low country vacay!Charleston, SC is abundant with rich culture, southern charm, tasty low country cuisine and (of course) fabulous shopping! All of this magnificence and it’s less than a 1/2 hour drive from several beautiful beaches!

Within the last five plus years, the city of Charleston and its surrounding townships have seen tremendous growth. This revitalization has generated new local restaurants, hotels and shops that are cropping up at a pace only to be matched by all the new terminals at Charleston’s airport!

One of the benefits of downtown Charleston is its pedestrian and bike friendly streets which are overflowing with quaint shops, galleries and restaurants. King Street is the most popular shopping destination, but any street off of King will have great finds waiting to be discovered.

Downtown Boutiques of Note

(To get you started…there are so many more!)

Dining

(once again – these are just a few of note but there are so many!)

Fine Dining: 82 Queen
Romantic Dining: Chez Nous
Creative & Award Winning: f.i.g.
Fun & Funky Market and Café: Caviar and Bananas
Family: Fleet Landing
Southern Comfort: Hominy Grill
Alfresco/Rooftop: Husk

Image via www.tripadvisor.com

Image via www.tripadvisor.com

If you find yourself on one of the streets south of Broad near the Ashley River, you’ll discover the most amazing historic homes with lush courtyards. Walk a bit further toward the picturesque waterfront with parks, fountains and the famous Rainbow Row and you’ll have discovered what locals consider “the Battery.”

Downtown is just one of the many wonderful areas of greater Charleston. There are several charming places close by that are a must when visiting the area. Here are a few worth checking out!

Isle of Palms:

One can’t visit Charleston without heading to the beach. Isle of Palms or IOP (as the locals call it) has amazing public beaches that are just 25 minutes down Highway 17 from downtown. The island has homes of all sizes on or near the beach available for rental through Dunes Properties or Island Reality. There is a new Harris Teeter market on the Island for grabbing supplies along with several restaurants.

Notable Dining:
Isle Of Palms

Best local cuisine (It doesn’t look like much from the outside but….trust us):
Acme Lowcountry Kitchen
Best view:
Morgan Creek

Wild Dunes:

The Lettered Olive

Sullivan’s Island:

When you cross the bridge at the other end of Isle of Palms, you’ll be on Sullivan’s Island which is a quieter more residential island. Do not be fooled however, it has some of the best dining in greater Charleston packed into about two blocks and a couple of noteworthy shops. Most of all this is a place to visit and soak in the vibe because it’s just fabulous.

Shopping:

Almost Pink
Sandpiper Gallery
(If you love local art look no further than this adorable gallery)
Goldbug

Notable Dining:

Best Burger & Fish Tacos (ever):
Poes Tavern
New and noteworthy!:
The Obstinate Daugher
Best healthy food for bikini beach bod:
GoGoGreens
Locally owned Irish pub:
Dunleavy’s Pub

Mount Pleasant:

Just over the bridge from downtown Charleston and on the way to Isle of Palms is Mount Pleasant. It’s home to a variety of restaurants and has an outdoor mall which has a few “worth a peek” local shops interspersed. Of note: Famous Author Sue Monk Kidd is from here and Boone Hall Plantation (where Blake Lively and Ryan Reynalds were married) is located here. If you are dying to grab a signed copy of The Secret Life of Bees, The Mermaid Chair or The Invention of Wings – you’ll most likely find one at the Barnes and Noble in Mount Pleasant.

Local shops:

Teal
Mary Mojo Boutique
Gwynn’s
(locally owned dept. store)

Dining in Mt. Pleasant:

Fine Dining / Scenic Area:
Old Village Post House
Best Shrimp & Grits:
The Kitchen

Image via www.havenscharlestonrealestate.com

Image via www.havenscharlestonrealestate.com

SHEM CREEK

(an area of Mount Pleasant)
Over the bridge from Sullivan’s Island on Mount Pleasant is a charming fishing area called Shem Creek with several restaurants located on the waterway. It’s a given that dolphins will swim by while you are enjoying your shrimp and grits or she crab soup!

Places of Note:

Tavern and Table
Red’s Ice House

Prepare For Your Charleston Trip:

Where to Stay:
The visitors bureau has a great website for lodging and much more:What to eat:
Seafood! Fresh and locally caught fish is abundant! Charleston signature dishes: She crab soup, shrimp and grits, oysters and clams when in season.

Must See Sites:
The market stalls downtown, The Citadel’s Friday afternoon dress parade is open to the public. Check here for times. Rainbow Row, The Battery, Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place, Fort Sumter, Eco Tours of Barrier Islands, The beach!

Books to read to get you in the right frame of mind:
Anything by locals Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe or Sue Monk Kidd

Weather and Tips for packing:
Winter can be very cold (anywhere from the 30’s – 50’s) so you’ll want a fleece or coat and warmer clothing but there are isolated days where the weather can be in the high 60s or 70. Spring and Fall months have optimal weather when it’s low humidity in the 70s and low 80s. Summer can be extremely hot and muggy especially in July and August.

Of note:
if you have curly hair – just go with it. It will not stay straight or styled in the salt and humid air. Tip: Pack a variety of cute hats!

Style notes (Dress like a local):
In the warmer months locals are in daytime casual because everyone is either going or coming from a beach. Typical modes of attire are cover-ups and flip flops with a swim suit or shorts and a t-shirt. Style after 5:00: Summer dresses, Lilly Pulitzer anything and jack Rodgers sandals. Filmy tops with dressy shorts or white jeans is chic for going out to dinner.

Don’t leave without:
Taking in rainbow row and walking the battery to see the historic homes, going to the beach, seeing dolphins, eating some of the best seafood ever

Souvenirs to bring home:
A sweet grass basket made by a local artisan in the market
A painting by a local artist – there are so many but look for Jonathon Green’s work which celebrates the vibrant Gullah culture!

Best time to visit:
May / June. September / October

To really soak in Charleston and its culture, visit during the Spoleto festival in May.