Vintage Finds From ScreenDoor in Asheville

There’s a store in Asheville that’s been on my “must” list to check out for some time now called ScreenDoor. With more than 25,000 square-feet of furnishings, decor, hardware, clothing and accessories for you, your home and garden, it’s not the most kid-friendly shopping locale. So I waited until my parents were visiting and Jed was in school. That way I had someone along with me to elbow and scream, “Oh my God! Look at this!” but not someone at which to yell, “Don’t touch that!”

I’m definitely putting it on my list of places to take friends and visitors. Even if you’re not in the market to buy something, the store is full of decorating ideas for repurposing, reusing and upcycling. And you never know what you might leave with. I didn’t walk in there looking for a metal roller skate to go on a shelf in our upstairs alcove, and yet…

I also got this jacket for $18! I just LOVE the color and the stitching.

No, Dad, it’s not real leather. (He asked. Thrice.) It’s vinyl and it’s from KMart with a circa 1970s “Satisfaction Always” on the tag. Upon seeing and touching it, Dave remarked he always wanted to know what it was like to hug the seat of a Gran Torino. I say he’s lucky to have a wife who gets stoked by a new-to-her plastic coat!

I wish I’d taken a picture of my most favorite thing I saw. Right when we walked in, there was a pair of ambulance stretchers repurposed as chaise lounges with a matching stretcher repurposed as a coffee table. (For the table, they had used the base of the stretcher and topped it with glass… SO clever). They were all sold and the price tags were torn off so I have no idea what they went for, but not only were they great conversation pieces, they actually looked chic!

I also found some wooden textile spools that I’m going to go back and buy this weekend. I plan on turning them into a coat rack. If it goes well, I might start making them and selling them as a side business! I came up with the idea myself, but upon Googling, it turns out I’m not original. However, I do have the resources and know-how to do it well and for less than I’ve seen them on other websites. So when I do it and if you like what you see, let me know! I will happily take your order:)



Fashion Show Fitting

A week from today, I’ll be doin’ my little thing on the catwalk for Diamond Brand Outdoors‘ Diva Night. It’s a fun event that raises money for Girls on the Run of WNC.

I haven’t been in a fashion show since I was four, when I did one with my mom for charity. I’m pretty sure it involved an 80s pantsuit for me and a lot of blue eyeshadow and big hair for my mother. But this one promises to be a lot more up my alley. I had my fitting yesterday, and I get to sport about seven different looks including hiking, running, yoga, and a couple of very covetable day dresses.

Diva Night chick in charge, Sarah Merrell.

I’m kinda nervous as I’ve never been much for being on stage in front of others. I’m just thankful that none of my looks require heels… the beauty of a fashion show for the outdoors industry!

"Sneak" peek at my running look!

If you live in the Asheville area, you should come check it out. There’s going to be live music, local food, and 20% off your store purchase for the evening. All for just five dollars and for a great cause! Plus there’s the chance you’ll get to see me face plant on the runway. Priceless.

Get the Diva Night details on Diamond Brand’s Facebook page.

Speaking “stylist”.

After months (and months) of growing his hair out, Dave is finally getting it cut this morning. Of course I had to make the appointment. When we got married, I didn’t realize that “wife” also meant “personal assistant” 🙂

He goes to this cool, vintagey place in West Asheville called The Blue Ribbon, where (you guessed it) you get an ice-cold PBR with your haircut.

He wanted me to go with him, but I had to work. He’s always afraid he doesn’t know how to talk to hair stylists… that he doesn’t know how to describe what he wants. Since I couldn’t go with him and hold his hand, I wrote him a note to give to his stylist:

Dear Amber,

Thank you for taking on my husband’s unruly mane. He asked me to write you a note expressing what he wants done to his hair. I may have taken a few liberties:)
1. He wants to keep the length, but doesn’t want it to look like a Jew ‘fro. So if possible, please keep the length, but take out the volume. 
2. If he needs to use a styling product, he will, but he’s low maintenance (if you can’t tell). Choose the best one and he’ll buy it.
3. Make sure it’s not too long in the back (i.e., no mullet).
4. If keeping the length sans volume simply won’t work with his hair type, just do your best to make him look as much like Robert Downey Jr. as possible.
He told me I wasn’t allowed to take before and after pics, but I lifted a “before” pic of him from his blog taken last weekend. He’s the one on the left, with the bushy beard and hair bursting out of his trucker hat:
We will see what he comes back with!

A kid-friendly hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It was bluebird day in Western North Carolina and my body has been screaming for some fresh air and exercise. So when my Friday morning playgroup asked for ideas for an activity, I suggested a hike. I just joined recently, but so far we’ve been meeting up indoors due to weather. It’s always a place that’s great for the kids to burn off energy, but as much as Jed runs around, and as much as I chase him, it’s never  a fulfilling, endorphin-inducing activity for me.

Others agreed that a hike sounded good (“perhaps we’ll join you another day…”) while some were on lockdown due to a widespread sweep of the flu, so in the end Jed and I were on our own. No worries. I was on a mission.

In my research for a toddler-friendly hike, I found a super cool program in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation called Kids in Parks. It’s an initiative to increase the physical activity of children and their families, improve nutritional choices and connect kids to the Blue Ridge Parkway. They have Hiking TRACK Trails, designed to get kids outside and enjoying nature. There are nine of them in the area plus one Nature Trail Disc Golf Course.

Jed and I checked out their trail at Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville Visitor Center. It’s a 1.4 mile loop, and they offer brochures you can print out with different “adventures” you can do with your kids along the way, like Nature’s Hide & Seek and Tracking Tree Treasures, some of which are available as brochures at the trailhead. And the Visitors Center itself is SO nice! It’s a beautiful, LEED-certified building, with friendly staff and little exhibits set up in the main foyer. We didn’t make it past the foyer, but they also have a movie theater that shows films about the Parkway… like our own little Epcot!

I’m so glad I brought our Kelty child carrier with us. The way Jed was sprinting the first several yards, I thought I’d be forced to take up trail running, but he quickly asked me to “pick you up.” A 1.4 mile loop with a 30+ lb baby on your back is quite the workout! The trail is fairly well-marked and always has the sounds of the Parkway in earshot, so those who share my “Into the Woods” imagination need not be spooked if you go it alone. Not ideal for my perfect hike (I go for views and more out-of-the-way trails, which usually go hand in hand), but when a child is involved, the hike has to be for him, not you, as I learned from the tips on the Kids in Parks website. We talked about the pine cones and the different shapes and sizes of the trees. But mostly, Jed wanted me to catch up with the doggies who passed us about 20 yards into our trek. Mush, Mommy, mush!

I feel so lucky to have something like Kids in Parks in our backyard. Do you have a kid-friendly hike to share from your area?

Neighborhood Toy Store Day

The word on Facebook from the wonderful folks at Asheville Grown, is that today is Neighborhood Toy Store Day. The top two things other than food that I like to buy local when I can are books and toys. There’s a certain charm to neighborhood toy and book shops that could never be replicated in a big box, and I find it worth paying any extra mark-ups necessary in order for them to thrive. But today, we’ll focus on the toys:) And just in time for some (early?) holiday shopping. With all the talk of Black Friday turning into Black November, perhaps, it’s not as early as I think to get a jump on my gift list!

According to the NTSD site, participating stores in Asheville include a new store downtown called Curio (tagged “for the cute and curious” — it looks cute and I’m curious!), Once Upon a Time in Biltmore , and Dancing Bear Toys is going to have raffles and refreshments in honor of the day! While they’re not listed on the NTSD site, my favorite local toy store, The Toy Box, is celebrating with an appearance by Santa from 11-1 and a showing of the Top 10 Toys of the Year.

Do you have a favorite local toy store in your area? Share in a comment and spread the local love! And even better, visit them today for some holiday shopping:)