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Shop Like a Design Blogger: Sanity Fair

Today's installment of the ongoing Shop Like a Design Blogger series is courtesy of Skyla from Sanity Fair. Skyla's blog was one of the first blogs I started reading and it has remained a favorite. Not only does Skyla have incredible style, but she's also a wonderful writer with a wicked sense of humor and a definite Southern sensibility. I thoroughly enjoy her educated, witty take on fashion, interiors and design.

* * *

There are so many great stores to choose from (and so many that have already been ably covered here) that I've narrowed the list by choosing a theme: the unexpected. The stores I find myself frequenting are the ones that practice the old partial reinforcement technique we all learned about in high school psychology: they've surprised me once or twice, and I'm back looking for more. Since we're talking about shopping and not decorating, my list of favorites won't worry over pesky details like representing a variety of items or what sources are best for certain styles. Instead, this is a treasure map in the form of a list: follow the path to each place and you're sure to find something special.

VIVRE. If I were going to break into a warehouse (notice to the FBI and your humorless redactions: this is hypothetical) it would be the Vivre storehouses, which I imagine are rather something like the underground chamber in the movie National Treasure. After slipping past the wobbly bridge and flaming torches (which have been somehow magically burning for 100 years, just like in the movies), we'd find vast piles of Christofle sterling, Lalique vases, Hermes pillows, and Mesi Jilly jewelry. Or, you can just pony up with your American Express at and get the same goodies right now, sans sand and booby traps.

FAVORITES include this Marie Christophe chair, originally designed for Roger Vivier's show windows to display a new bag for Carla Bruni (how's that for pedigree?), loads of coral jewelry, and gold zebra bowls by Waylande Gregory Studios. And if you can't quite spring for Vivre prices? Go ahead and dream - the unexpected is inspiring.

ANTHROPOLOGIE. Anthropologie is the "all things to all people" of interior design, embracing everything from mid-century modern to eighteenth century French in one gasp. Quirky and unique, their stores are staged in venues that show off the wares in unexpected ways: beds with canopies of newspaper, knobs resting on piles of pebbles, necklaces held to cardboard displays with stick pins. They've endeared themselves to countless customers who rely on their unreliable style, and guaranteed that, whatever your taste, you'll find something to love.

FAVORITES are the hardware and kitchen items, which bring the element of the unexpected into mundane daily chores. Open your bathroom cabinets by pulling on a bronze hermit crab knob, or measure sugar for the morning cup of joe with seashells.

IOMOI. If a pattern maker and a monogram machine got married, they'd have Iomoi. Everything in the store is just waiting for a personal touch - monogrammed bags, match boxes, trays, stationary, and plates - and the patterns are as unique as your initials. Camels, monkeys, elephants, pagodas, tassels, and airplanes rendered in brilliant colors and smart styles cover every surface. The trouble with this store is decision-making; I'm almost paralyzed by the wonderful choices.

FAVORITES include home entertaining items like lucite-rimmed trays, matchboxes, and ice buckets. Your guests will never have seen anything like them!

WEST ELM. I've always loved West Elm, although to my surprise, when I looked about for my WE acquisitions, it was hard to tell. This store slipped onto the "unique" list because my favorite West Elm features are the soothing, neutral palette and trim graphic patterns - just what you need to showcase special finds. Their furniture is well-made, and lighter of heart (and weight) than most stores in the same price range; they avoid the mis-measurement issues of home stores such as Pottery Barn. With it's whale-size sofas and court-side coffee tables, PB seems to be laboring under the impression that it is decorating an actual barn.

FAVORITES on my list include the overlapping squares pattern (available in chairs, headboards, and daybeds), and the lacquer parsons pieces, which look smashing with a variety of decor styles.

TARGET. Target's offerings are as many-layered as the rings in its ubiquitous bullseye: where else are classic British prints (Liberty of London), lime-green mixers (KitchenAid), and bamboo handled brushes (Sonia Kashuk) going to co-exist under one roof? And all for a low, low price? Target's designer collaborations are proof that the only thing standing between a little money and a lot of taste is a touch of creativity.

FAVORITES: my Target acquisitions are generally of the unplanned, guilt-free variety. While you may not be passing your purchases on to the next generation (although, I would argue a few designer collaborations are so worthy), this is the place to shop for seasonal decor, such as beach and holidays, or accent pieces like trays, vases, and tableware. My motto for visiting Target is the same for visiting the pool: always do a lap. You never know what you'll find on the next aisle!

(KitchenAid mixer, Thomas O'Brien tray, Miss Trish of Capri sandals, Dwell Studio bedding, Liberty of London plate, Sonia Kashuk brush.)

I hope you found some new treasure here to inspire you - or were reminded of some special possession that brightens up your home. A big thank you to Averill for letting me participate in this very special series! It's a delight and an honor to be on Odi et Amo.

xoxo, Sanity Fair

Next Week's Guest Blogger: Laura from JourneyChic.

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