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Shop Local: One Hour, Three King Street Boutiques, Three Gifts

Zoe, Lou Lou Boutique and Red Barn Mercantile make shopping for gifts a breeze.

I felt like I was playing a game of beat the clock. I needed to purchase three gifts today and only had about an hour in between my schedule of going to the gym and meeting friends at the pool.

I have three weeks until I go back to work, and I am packing in as much working out, socializing and pool time as possible. I needed a housewarming gift, a birthday gift for a thirtysomething girlfriend, and a gift for a five-year-old girl.

My plan was to visit three of our local boutiques: Zoe, Lou Lou Boutique, and Red Barn Mercantile. When I scored a prime parking spot on King Street, I suspected it was a sign that it was going to be a good shopping day. Or so hot that nobody else was leaving the house.

I thought I might purchase a giftcard at Zoe since it can be difficult to select clothing or accessories for someone else, but when I happened upon the John Wind silver initial necklaces, I knew I had found the perfect gift for my friend (who is a very classic dresser and enjoys monograms as much as I do).

While I was there, I chatted with the lovely owner, Susan Gerock, and tried on some of the new fall merchandise. The new Red Engine Curvy Fit Denim is fantastic (thank goodness for the return of the bootleg!) and there were several other new denim styles as well.

The fall Rebecca Taylor merchandise is just gorgeous and I love the basic T-shirts and leggings by Velvet that she stocks. Moms will enjoy knowing that Susan has added a toy basket near the dressing rooms which kept Sophia entertained the whole time I was there.

As if all that is not enough incentive to visit Zoe, most of the remaining spring and summer fashions are 50% off. And if you’ve shopped there before, don’t forget to bring in your re-usable Zoe tote for a discount on your purchase!

My next stop was the new Lou Lou Boutique. Considered a “local chain,” Lou Lou has five accessory stores in the D.C. and Northern Virginia area. I went in looking for some cute hair accessories and jewelry for a little girl who is every bit as interested in such things as my own daughter.

Frankly, it was difficult to focus on the gift because I wanted to check out every inch of the store since it was my first visit. This boutique is a wonderful addition to King Street. Overflowing with handbags, clutches, jewelry, hats, and every accessory a girl could ask for (at a huge variety of price points), it’s nearly impossible for any self respecting accessory lover to visit without buying something.

There is a nice selection of children’s bows, headbands, and jewelry and Sophia made her selections for her friend (and for herself) quickly.

She was content to lounge on their sofas trying on jewelry while I perused the store. I found a cute sunhat for the pool, which I have been looking for all summer, and fabulous Dolce Vita sandals for myself and felt I exhibited great restraint in not going home with a handbag! The ladies who work in the store were incredibly friendly and tolerant of Sophia’s enthusiasm for trying on lots and lots of headbands.

With 15 minutes to go, we dashed into Red Barn Mercantile where the biggest problem in gift buying is deciding what kind of gift. Something for the bathroom (a “lifetime supply” of toothbrushes or dreamy candles and soaps?), the office (binders and antique storage bins anyone?), or the kitchen?

I ended up with a set of charming vintage looking bowls and napkins. This is also the perfect place to children's gifts because they are very well stocked with new children’s items right now including a soft tea set that Sophia was obsessed with and the most glamorous felt magic wands I’ve ever seen. Somehow a cute little Rubber Ducky from Spain made its way into our bag. I think I will give it to my friend in case she ever wants to invite Sophia for a sleepover (wishful thinking, perhaps).

Rhonda Ryan August 03, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Love John Wind Jewelry.... perfect for the classic girl!

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