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wonders never cease

Downton, oh Downton

It's January. Cold, dreary, undemanding January: a perfect month for blatant nesting and binge watching the most delicious period drama ever. The scenery! The history! The amazing Maggie Smith and her oh-so-quotable zingers! But, most of all, the glorious fashion. The period is now 1925, our very favorite fashion era, echoed in the collection in the shop at this very moment. Art meets history meets life. We'll be savoring every moment of this bittersweet last season.

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Gift Guide: The Francophile.

For the Francophile on your list ... (aren't we all a little in love with France?)

1. Liberty Cheese Set, $46   2. Paris Sketchbook, $24.95   3. Merci Card by Garance Doré, $5   4. Paris Travel Sewing Kit, $24   5. Eiffel Tower Necklace, $18   6. Belle Calligraphy Kit, $30   7. G. Dupont Flask by Trixie + Milo, $33   8. Eiffel Tower Bookends, $65   9. Draw to Learn: Français!, $9.95   10. Madeline Bag Tag, $10

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Host Guide: For the Gents

The Gentleman Host: He's welcoming you into his home. He's serving you dinner and sharing his private reserve. Good grief, he's probably even letting you stay in his guest room. And yet, his reward is a thank you note, or perhaps something from the "hostess gift" section in the supermarket (read: the fancy Pepperidge Farm cracker assortment).

May we submit some gifts worthy of your fine host:

1. Brew Bar, $10   2. Mortar + Pestle, $40   3. Bottle Axe, $22   4. Distilled, $19.99   5. Tequila Shooter Set, $64   6. Tallow Candlestick, $42   7. Carlsberg Tumbler Set, $22   8. Canvas Wine + Beverage Canteen, $24

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Empowering Women Through Design

New in the shop: a wonderful collection of leather bags, hand-printed textiles, and handcrafted jewelry from Raven + Lily. Boldly aiming to alleviate poverty among women, this Austin-based company means what it says: Raven + Lily currently helps to employ over 1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages, providing a safe workplace, sustainable income, health care, education, and a chance to break the cycle of poverty. As if that weren't great enough, the fruit of their labor is beautiful, a tribute to "slow fashion." 

These stunning leather bags are made by hand in Ethiopia from locally-sourced leather, following fair trade standards and honoring an eco-friendly commitment. Also from Ethiopia: necklaces and bracelets hand-beaded from melted-down bullet casings, transforming what was once meant for harm into beautiful jewelry and empowering HIV+ women living near the Entoto Mountain. Hand-tooled leather earrings are made by women in Northern India; hand-woven and hand-embroidered textiles are made by women in Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Guatemala and India. Some of our favorites: supersoft jogger pants made of recycled jersey in Cambodia and a hand-screened cotton tees and tabletop accessories from in Central India. 

On the topic of why they produce with artisans, not factories, Kirsten Dickerson, founder of Raven + Lily, says: "We don't work with factories and we don't mass produce in the typical "fast fashion" way. We also don't make crafty items. We make gorgeous, modern designs that reflect the beauty and culture of the women in our partnerships. I can say this because the credit goes to my design team and the women in our partnerships. They are all rockstars in the most epic way." And, to emphasize her commitment: "We are in this business to see women break cycles of poverty and develop long-term partnerships to see women empowered. If this isn't happening, we aren't interested in continuing ... and I'm not joking one bit."

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Uncensored Part 2: Songs for Banned Books & Freedom

We are pleased and honored to be co-hosts for UNCENSORED, a party to kick off Banned Books Week and to benefit the DC Public Library. Books are such a vital part of our lives and our business; we are deeply alarmed when the people who oversee the education of our children deign to limit access to them.

For this playlist, we’ve chosen songs named for great books that have been banned or challenged by school systems in the US. We hope you'll read (we’ve included a choice passage from each work), listen (spotify player below), enjoy -- then join us this Friday night at Martin Luther King Library for music, art and crafty cocktails. Tickets are available online or at the door.



Animal Farm by George Orwell
1. Animal Farm – The Kinks
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell


Howl by Allen Ginsberg
2. Howl – Florence + The Machine
“What is obscenity? And to whom?”  
 Allen Ginsberg


The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
3. The Call Of The Wild – David Byrne
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” – Jack London


Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
4. Stranger In A Strange Land – Blitzen Trapper
“The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time - and then shut up.” ― Robert A. Heinlein


Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
5. Gone With The Wind – Ella Fitzgerald
“After all, tomorrow is another day!” ― Margaret Mitchell


Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
6. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – The Pones
“Perhaps it is impossible for a person who does no good not to do harm.” ― Harriet Beecher Stowe


Beloved by Toni Morrison
7. Beloved – April Smith and the Great Picture Show
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ― Toni Morrison


The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
8. Catcher In The Rye – Datarock
“I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.” ― J.D. Salinger


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
9. Huck Finn – The Statesboro Revue
“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons  attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” ― Mark Twain


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
10. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Buffy Sainte-Marie
“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.” ― Dee Brown


Native Son by Richard Wright
11. Native Son – John Hiatt
“You asked me questions nobody ever asked me before. You knew that I was a murderer two times over, but you treated me like a man...” ― Richard Wright


Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
12. Go Tell It On The Mountain – Bob Marley & The Wailers
“It’s a long way,” John said slowly, “ain’t it? It’s a hard way. It’s uphill all the way.” ― James Baldwin


Ulysses by James Joyce
13. Ulysses – Mason Jennings
“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.” ― James Joyce


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
14. Lolita – Throw Me The Statue
“He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.” ― Vladimir Nabokov


Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
15. Where The Wild Things Are – Moon & Sun
“Oh, please don't go—we'll eat you up—we love you so!” ― Maurice Sendak


The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
16. Malcolm X 
 Miriam Makeba
“The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” ― Malcolm X


Moby Dick by Herman Melville
17. Moby Dick – Led Zeppelin
“Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me.” ― Herman Melville


Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller
18. Tropic Of Cancer – Megan Reilly
“I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it.” ― Henry Miller


The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. The Sun Also Rises – The Ventures
“How did you go bankrupt?"
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
― Ernest Hemingway


The Words of César Chávez by Richard J Jensen
20. César Chávez – El Vez
“When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of men we are.” ― César Chávez


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
21. Scarlet Letter – Atlas Trees
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne


1984 by George Orwell
22. 1984 – Van Halen
“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.” ― George Orwell

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Uncensored, Part 1: A Benefit for the Library

Banned Books Week -- a great big provocative celebration of the freedom to read -- is coming right up (September 27 - October 3rd), and that means the 2nd Annual UNCENSORED party, a fantastic evening that kicks things off here in DC this coming Friday, September 25th, at MLK Library. The building is filled for the evening with live music, provocative art, and literary-inspired cocktails. 100% of the ticket price goes to the DCPL Foundation to fund programming and services throughout the city. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. (I'm honored to be an Event Chair, along with a very cool group of DC creative folks!)

Can we talk for a minute about the HUGE importance of the DC Public Library?

Our branch libraries are vital hubs in communities throughout Washington, DC. They provide books, of course  -- and passage to the immense worlds contained within their pages. But they also provide a safe place for people of all ages to gather and learn and enjoy programming that covers a vast spectrum, from early reading to yoga to filmmaking to 3D printing to financial planning. They provide wireless workspaces, conference rooms, networking opportunities.  They are staffed by experts who truly know their communities' interests and needs. These libraries and librarians are part of the intricate web of places and people who make our lives good here in DC. 

A while back, we produced a music CD and organized a launch concert at the 9:30 Club to benefit the DC Public Library Foundation. What an amazing night (slideshow below ... )! We had a lot of help from our friends, local musicians who've since gotten famous and scattered around the country. It is hard to believe that was eight years ago ... it was the start of a beautiful friendship with DCPLF. Which brings me back around to how excited I am to be part of the UNCENSORED Kick Off Party.

Please join us!


Oh, and-- this post is Part 1 because Part 2, coming up Wednesday, is Joe's doozy of a Banned Books Play List. Come back!

- Anna Fuhrman

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wonders never cease