Shops

401. Candle Wick Shoppe – March 19, 2019 – Ferndale, MI

March2019CandleWickShoppe1 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe3 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe2 (2)After cozy journaling time at Civitas Coffee House in Hazel Park on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-March, I continued on to downtown Ferndale, where I visited a place I’d long been curious about: Candle Wick Shoppe.

The store sells all kinds of high-vibing products: candles, crystals, essential oils, incense, books, jewelry, and other goodies. According to its website, reiki sessions are also offered through the shop.

While at Candle Wick Shoppe, I enjoyed interacting with the friendly sales clerk, who helped me pick out my purchases. I went with a smoothly polished and satisfyingly hefty rose quartz stone, a rainbow-luminescent stone called opalite, and a tall blue candle dedicated to the third-eye chakra.

I love crystals for their different meanings and their beauty, and I’m obsessed with candles (I burn them daily), so I was happy to add to my collection of both – as happy as I was to soak up the calming, positive energy radiated by Candle Wick Shoppe.

175 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.candlewickshoppe.com

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398. Three Cats Café – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019ThreeCatsCafe1 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe2 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe4 (2)After my visit to the lovely Leon & Lulu on a Friday night in mid-March, I continued on to the Three Cats Café, its sister business just next-door.

I was enchanted with the place. The Clawson-based establishment is more than a café housed in a former movie theater, its glittery marquee intact and its street-facing ticket booth still present, complete with a “talking” vendor mannequin rattling off facts about the place. It’s also an expansive shop selling artwork, mugs, handmade cards, and other perfect-for-gifting goodies, much of which are locally made and/or Michigan-centric.

The café counter of Three Cats Café is in the front of the building, near the entrance, while the shop/seating area is behind it. The nature of my visit (a pre-dinner-date jaunt) didn’t allow me to sample any of the café’s delectable-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other goodies (though the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese w/ Cup of Tomato Basil Soup on its current online menu is hitting me pretty hard with the cravings right now!). Instead, I opted for a cappuccino from its menu of coffee and tea drinks.

This cappuccino was steamy, creamy, foam-laden deliciousness that I enjoyed while sitting at a table in the Three Cats shop/seating area. It’s a brightly colored, aesthetically pleasing space, an ideal place to retreat from the outside world and relax. I could feel myself unwinding with every sip.

116 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.threecatscafe.com

397. Leon & Lulu – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019LeonandLulu2 (2)March2019LeonandLulu3 (2)Leon & Lulu, what a breath of fresh air you were for me!

I’d been wanting to visit the Clawson-based store since I’d learned about it several years prior, and having some time to kill before a nearby dinner date with a friend on a Friday night in mid-March, I decided to check it out.

It’d been a rough couple of weeks for me from an emotional standpoint. I was in need of that giddiness I get from visiting an awesome new place. And I definitely got it when I stepped inside Leon & Lulu.

The place is a cornucopia of brightly colored, aesthetically beautiful delights! Upon stepping inside Leon & Lulu’s large storefront, I immediately felt the relief of the baddie feelings melting away, replaced by a jolt of excitement.

An employee greeted me immediately, and when I told him it was my first time visiting the shop, he welcomed me and explained how the building was a former roller rink (a disco ball from back then is still suspended from the ceiling).

I got to exploring. Leon & Lulu is packed with artwork, furniture, and other home goods; clothing, jewelry, and bags; pottery, candles, and potholders emblazoned with snarky sayings. It also stocks books, toys, funny socks, stationary, handmade greeting cards, Michigan-centric items, and loads more.

Leon & Lulu is one of those places where you can go to get a fabulous, one-of-a-kind item that makes the perfect gift. Many of the products it proffers have a humorous bent, such as a book it recently featured in an Instagram post titled The Best Places to Pee: A Guide to the Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland.

After about a half hour of browsing, I opted to go the humorous route with my purchase, buying an oven mitt decorated with a drawing of a 1950s-esque woman cooking and the caption “droppin’ a new recipe on your ass.”

The explosion of creativity on display at Leon & Lulu, the beauty and the whimsy of the items sold, and the friendly customer service that I received provided much-needed emotional respite to me that night, and for that, I am exceptionally grateful. My visit there was a reminder of the power of exploring to positively shake up one’s life, to get the good energies going. Whatever mood you’re in, this one is definitely worth a visit!

96 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.leonandlulu.com

390. House of Pure Vin – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019HouseofPureVin1 (2)February2019HouseofPureVin2 (2)House of Pure Vin!!!! What a delight this wine shop is. It also has the distinction of being the 50th – and final – locally-owned, new-to-me place that I visited in Detroit proper during Blog Year Five (which ran from February 8, 2018 through February 7, 2019). My 50-visits-in-Detroit-in-one-year goal was achieved!!!!!

When I walked into House of Pure Vin, one of the owners welcomed me and urged me to browse the carefully curated selection of reds and whites from wineries all over the world. She later joined me mid-browse and offered me samples of a few wines that were out to taste, then showed me the room where tasting events are held and explained the shop’s wine club.

House of Pure Vin’s monthly wine club is offered in two tiers. The Beaujolais membership is $35 a month and allows subscribers the choice of two bottles of wine per month, plus the ability to attend store-run tastings and events exclusive to club members. Additionally, a patron of this membership tier is afforded the ability to schedule two private wine tastings a year for himself/herself and up to nine guests. It also affords a 10 percent discount in-store. The Grand Cru wine club membership is $75 a month and allows the choice of two bottles of exclusive-tier wines (wines not offered in-shop) per month; four annual private tastings for the subscriber and up to nine other guests; invites to store-held events exclusive to club members; and a 20 percent discount in-store. Monthly wine selections can be picked up in-store by club members or shipped to their homes for an additional fee of $10 per month.

I appreciated the owner of House of Pure Vin who I met during my visit for taking the time to give me a personal tour of the store, explaining the wine club membership and tastings, and giving me free samples. At the end of our interaction, I was very tempted to join the Beaujolais-level wine club! I find it quite reasonable in value, and it’s a someday-goal that I hope to achieve in the near future, belonging to a wine club, as I LOVE wine and wouldn’t mind stepping up my sophistication around it and veering away from those budget-bottle grocery store varieties!

I did conclude my visit at House of Pure Vin that day by purchasing a bottle of one of the wines I sampled, a lovely white-wine blend (called Oriana) by Washington-based winery Brian Carter Cellars. It’s still sitting in my improvised wine cellar (a basement closet), awaiting a special occasion. That special occasion may simply turn out to be a beautiful summer’s evening sometime very soon. 🙂

1433 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.houseofpurevin.com

389. Bird Bee – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019BirdBee2 (2)My barrage of visits to cap off my visit-50-places-in-Detroit initiative for Blog Year 5 of 100 Places in the D continued on February 3 with a stop at Bird Bee, a clothing store for women and those who enjoy wearing clothing traditionally identified as female.

The shop was loaded with beautiful and stylish jeans, blouses, sweaters, dresses, and other apparel and accessories, as well as gift-worthy items such as candles and cocktail accessories. While I didn’t make a purchase, I enjoyed browsing its wares and chatting with the friendly sales clerk about a recent café opening that the city was abuzz about, that of Cannelle by Matt Knio (which – spoiler! – will end up on this blog once I catch up to mid-May).

1228 Griswold St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.shopbirdbee.com

388. The Farmer’s Hand – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019Farmer'sHand2 (2)February2019Farmer'sHand3 (2)After lunch at Folk and shopping at Mama Coo’s Boutique on a sunny Sunday in early February, I stepped into The Farmer’s Hand, the Corktown grocer adjacent to the restaurant and vintage clothing store.

The tiny shop showcases a thoughtful curation of locally-produced fruits, veggies, cheeses, and other grocery goods, such as Mindo Chocolates (produced in Dexter) and my perennial obsession, Gus and Grey jams (one of Detroit’s finest exports, in my opinion!). Baked goods, salads, sandwiches, and other ready-made items are also available for purchase, as are coffee and tea. A window-facing counter allows patrons to eat, drink, and relax in-shop before heading out to face the rest of their day, foodie fuel in hand.

1701 Trumbull Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.thefarmershand.com

387. Mama Coo’s Boutique – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019MamaCoo's2 (2)Mama Coo’s! I visited this cute shop back in early February and have lately been pondering a return jaunt. Considering that five months have elapsed since my first visit (!), I’m due!

The Corktown-based store is one of those thoughtfully-curated spaces around which you can rotate multiple times and find new items catching your eye with each revolution. It sells jewelry, magnets, candles, crystals, buttons, handmade greeting cards, vintage clothing, and other striking goodies.

Multiple items intrigued me, and I went for all four of them: a packet of soothing-scented incense sticks; a polished nugget of rose quartz; a magnet emblazoned with “The Patriarchy Isn’t Going to Smash Itself” and drawings of female historical figures and superheroes; and the best candle I have ever smelled, a concoction that included scents of peppermint and lavender – and was it eucalyptus? I burned it up long ago and don’t remember what it was called or who produced it, but it was AMAZING, the kind of candle you take a big whiff of before you head out the door for the day to give you a boost – and now I’m legit penning into my planner a return visit to Mama Coo’s at the remembrance of it!

The employee working the counter at Mama Coo’s that day was so friendly and lovely, too, chatting with me about the history of the shop and the building it is housed within (which she said the owner’s grandparents had lived in at one point years ago).

In short: Mama Coo’s Boutique is a gem, one worth a first visit, a return visit, and many more beyond that!

1701 Trumbull Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www. mamacoosboutique.com

383. Pewabic Pottery – December 30, 2018 – Detroit, MI

december2018pewabicpottery1 (2)december2018pewabicpottery3 (2)december2018pewabicpottery4 (3)Pewabic Pottery, how excited I am to finally be acquainted with you!

I knew that the pottery studio and shop established in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry and Horace Caulkins had a rich history in Detroit and had long wanted to visit. I didn’t realize until I pulled up to the building on a sunny Sunday afternoon in late December 2018 that it is a National Historic Landmark, with an exterior as gorgeous as the handcrafted goods housed inside.

Entering Pewabic’s first-floor showrooms, I was enchanted by the array of beautiful handcrafted ceramic goods made both in-house and by featured outside artists. I browsed the decorative tiles, vases, ornaments, urns, and serving dishes and selected a snowflake ornament and a sea-foam-green glazed decorative tile that reads “Detroit is Beautiful” to take home with me.

After making my purchases, I walked up to the second floor, where I perused ceramic pieces and written plaques outlining Pewabic’s history.

I’m keeping this post immensely short and sweet for me, because as you may have noticed, this is my first time posting here in over five months (WTF, Self???), and I’m simply happy to be back on the blog and finally showcasing this Detroit gem. It is definitely worth a visit, both for the simple pleasure of browsing the meticulously crafted goods and for the opportunity to support the local artisans who make them.

10125 E. Jefferson Ave.

Detroit, MI 48214

www.pewabic.org

374. Marcus Market – October 27, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018Marcus2 (2)October2018Marcus1 (3)After a latte-sipping visit to Urban Bean Co. one rainy Saturday afternoon in late October, I wasn’t ready to go home, so I decided to jaunt over to Marcus Market to check it out.

I’d expected the Midtown/Cass Corridor-based business to be an indie grocery shop à la the now-defunct (R.I.P!) Parker Street Market. It is that, but it’s also a liquor store – and a purveyor of smoothies – and tacos!

As witnessed during my late-afternoon visit, the liquor-store aspect appears to be the most popular – at least among the college-student demographic. There were loads of young adults making alcoholic beverage purchases, presumably in preparation for Saturday night (ah, I remember those days!). Marcus Market has a wide selection of liquor, craft beer, and wine.

It also offers a variety of grocery items (bagged coffees, juices, snacks, soups and other canned goods, etc.) and goods you’d find in a drugstore (such as school supplies).

And then there are the two counters toward the back of the store, where the smoothies and tacos, respectively, are offered!

Who doesn’t love a fresh smoothie? I will say, however, that the food counter I’m most excited by in Marcus Market is the one that offers tacos, because that is helmed by El Taco Veloz, a Mexican restaurant based in Southwest Detroit that I’ve yet to visit but learned about this year and SO want to check out. Their tacos are supposed to be BOMB – and you can see from online reviews of Marcus Market that people are digging the ones they’ve ordered from the satellite location of El Taco Veloz located there.

I want to have the full El Taco Veloz experience at its original location in Southwest Detroit (where you order from a food truck and then eat in the dining area in the building behind it), so I did not partake of it within Marcus Market. But isn’t it awesome that Marcus Market helps peddle these purportedly glorious tacos – and so much other stuff?

4614 Second Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

371. Sfumato/Castalia – October 18, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018SfumatoCastalia1 (4)October2018SfumatoCastalia2 (2)October was a busy month of visits for me (11 in total!). And when I called upon a gorgeously-kept Victorian manse one Thursday evening in mid-October, I got two visits for the price of one via Sfumato/Castalia, a perfume shop by day and cocktail bar by night.

I’d stumbled across this unique establishment while searching online for naturally made perfumes sold in the area. I was in need of a new scent but wanting to veer away from traditionally-made perfumes with their oft-synthetic ingredients. Sfumato’s site popped up in my search results, and I was psyched to learn that a perfumery creating signature scents from plant-based ingredients resided right in Midtown.

According to Sfumato’s website, its scents are concocted from “trees, flowers, herbs, and spices.” This is evident when you step into its basement-level shop and sniff sample sticks of the eight perfume varieties currently for sale.

Four perfumes reside in Sfumato’s Signature collection, and four are deemed Black Label. An eight-milliliter bottle (dubbed the Travel size) of a Signature scent is $30; a Black Label variety in that size is $40. Sixty-millileter Standard size bottles run $90 and $120, respectively.

And then there are the perfume flights – the route I ended up taking. I couldn’t decide which of Sfumato’s scents I liked the best, so I decided to get to know the four Signature varieties (Epiphany, Gravitas, Siren Song, and Survival Instinct) better via the flight option, which proffers one-milliliter sample vials of each for $15 (the flight containing the four Black Label perfumes is $20).

Three and a half weeks after my visit to Sfumato, I’m down to the dregs of those four vials of Signature scents, and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of them. I find wearing the herbal, woodsy, citrusy, luxurious plant-based scents both soothing and exotic.

It’s a close call between Gravitas, Survival Instinct, and Epiphany as to which one is my favorite, but my snap-judgment verdict at the moment is that it’s Epiphany, with its aura poetically described on Sfumato’s website of “intense greenness with hints of dew-covered moss and life ready to step into the sunlight. An elegant party that always pleases, no matter who attends. The scent of myself, delivered divinity on a fresh spring day.” How can one not feel transformed by the wearing of a scent with a description such as that?

As the wearer feels transformed by the donning of Sfumato’s enchanting scents, so Sfumato itself transforms into something else entirely. In the evenings, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, its shop counter turns into a bar rail, and it becomes Castalia, the cocktail bar.

And as one might expect, Castalia is not your typical cocktail bar. Each of its signature alcoholic beverages have been inspired by one of Sfumato’s scents. When you order one, it’s served to you with a napkin sprayed with the scent that inspired the drink. You’re encouraged to sniff the napkin as you sip the drink to mingle the olfactory experience with the tasting experience. Non-alcoholic versions of each cocktail are also available.

I decided on the cocktail that paired with the Mocha Valentino Black Label perfume, the Cacao Manhattan, and savored the rich notes of chocolate, coffee, and spice in the whiskey-based drink as well as in the scent that accompanied it.

While as a perfume shop Sfumato’s tiny interior had been welcoming, I especially adored the environs as a bar. With its dusky lighting and stone walls, it was intimate and cozy; the bartenders were the consummate hosts, friendly and charming. What an ideal place to enjoy a warming cocktail and the rich scents that accompany it on a dreary winter’s evening (or any evening, really)!

3980 Second Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.sfumatofragrances.com

www.castaliacocktails.com