Thursday, April 14, 2011

Elle Decor gives tips on shopping flea markets

A veteran flea market shopper offers his techniques for going in with a plan and leaving with what you came for

We caught up with interior designer Scott Sanders who has been shopping the Brimfield Antique show for 13 years to get his advice on how to prepare for your day of shopping, navigate the hundreds of vendors, and sift through the thousands of items to ensure you don’t walk away empty handed.

Dress in layers. With pre-dawn arrivals and afternoon departures, temperatures can vary wildly at outdoor shows. Sanders recommends multiple, lightweight layers that you can easily take on and off.

Leave your Rolex at home. Don’t wear expensive clothes, jewelry, or watches. “If you are trying to negotiate, you’ll have a better chance if you’re dressed down.”

Come prepared, but travel light. Sanders recommends bringing a backpack with water, a snack, sunscreen, and a hat. “It sounds like you are going into the army,” says Sanders of his list, but he warns, “You don’t want to bring anything extra, you might be walking around for six hours.”

Wear comfortable shoes. Sneakers are essential. If you arrive early and spot something you really want, be prepared to go for it. “People run!” says Sanders of the eager shoppers who will literally race to a booth once the show has opened. “The first time I saw it, I was in shock.” Now, Sanders admits, he has become one of them.

Bring a friend. To cover the most ground, shop with a companion. “You can divide and conquer.” Sanders has often divvied up the aisles with a friend—he’s even used walkie-talkies to communicate at the bigger shows.

…But don’t take your clients. While he’s taken clients to Brimfield on a few occasions, Sanders cautions against it—especially if you’ve never shopped the show yourself.

Bring cash. Even in the age of mobile credit card machines, cash is still the standard at flea markets. “Cash forces you to make choices,” says Sanders, noting that if you go in knowing how much you want to spend, cash will keep you focused on that number.

Get there early—really early. If you’re determined to find specific items or really good pieces at great prices, Sanders advises getting there 30 to 45 minutes before the show officially opens.

Case the joint. While you might wonder what you can do before the show opens, Sanders recommends you walk around the perimeter, scope out the booths, and create a game plan for where to begin.

Stay focused. “Have your list of the five to ten things you are looking for and really stay focused on those items, otherwise you can get off course,” advises Sanders.

Gravitate toward what you like. If you like the aesthetic of a particular booth, stop and scan the booth thoroughly. Skip the booths that aren’t to your taste and linger in those that are—you’ll have a much better chance of finding what you’re looking for.

Know your limits and pace yourself. Don’t be overzealous—if there are 100 booths, don’t assume you’ll make it through every one. “That would take days, and you’d be fried after the tenth one,” says Sanders.

Be nice and introduce yourself. The best way to navigate any market is to be friendly and talk to vendors about what you are looking for. “This is what they do for a living!” says Sanders, who notes that dealers often have things that aren’t on display and that they can send you photographs of pieces after the show. Plus, booth owners are a tightly knit group—one good dealer can tip you off to another.

Bargain gracefully. Think about how much an item is worth and how much you are willing to pay. “You shouldn’t offer half the asking price; if you are insulting the dealer, you’re not going to get very far,” cautions Sanders. Instead, make an offer of two-thirds or three-quarters of the full price, and nicely say, “This is really what I can afford.” Sanders also notes if you buy several items, dealers are much more likely to offer a bargain.

Use lateness to your advantage. While the early birds get their pick of the show, there are some advantages to cruising the last day of a multiday show. “Dealers are much more willing to negotiate on big items,” says Sanders, noting that smaller items are easy to pack up and sell at the next market. Larger pieces can be difficult, not to mention expensive, to transport.

Develop an exit strategy. Novice shoppers often overlook the logistics of how to transport large pieces home after the show. “You need to go with a vehicle that makes sense for what you plan on buying: a car, a van, a paneled truck,” warns Sanders, who notes that in addition to transportation, you’re going to need someone to help with the heavy- lifting and a plan for where the piece is going to be stored.

Design sites/blogs of interest

These are the must see:  mix of celebrity and cool people’s homes cool homes very few professional designers lots of DIY real mix of everything, but beware it can suck up hours. professionally done interiors. Everything is very chic and very expensive
These are for rainy days: Kevin Sharkey does interiors for Martha Stewart’s site.  Not life changing but well shot. is about things for spaces and less about spaces, but fun shopping is another shopping site and like the ebay museum everything is fantastic and pricey cleaner version of apartment therapy-can be dull lots of fashion mixed in with the interiors This one has real potential, but can be hit or miss.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Craigie on Main, Cambridge MA

Ted Gallagher describes this as  a contemplative but light aperitif w layers of vermouth, our house rose, gin & Cynar. We think off it as a more floral alternative to a Martinez or Manhattan, accessible with a touch of bitterness; it’s our tribute to Alphonse Mucha, the Czech painter who began the art nouveau style of painting. The tastes and the season all seemed to point in his direction. The recipe follows below: 
1 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Junipero Gin
1/2 oz. Coteaux du Vendomois Rose (our house rose at Craigie)
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica formula
1/4 oz. Cynar
Dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters

Two Great Winter Drinks

Thanks to Craigie On Main Bartender Supremo John Mayer for providing the recipes for these Winter Warmers
De Guello“DeGuello” is a Spanish(ish) trumpet call that has a long history of military use.  Most notably, it was used in the battle of the Alamo. 1836. Just like the story, the cocktail is dark, brooding and tilted in the favor of the Spanish/Mexican players
3/4 oz. Scorpion Mezcal
3/4 oz. Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz. Punt e Mes
1/2 oz. Old Monk Rum
1/4 oz. Demerara Simple Syrup
5 drops Angostura Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled lowball glass. Garnish with a flamed orange twist.

Winter EquivalentA warm and warming libation to combat the snow
3/4 oz. Appleton Reserve Rum
3/4 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz. Applewood-Smoked Velvet Falernum  (WHAT???)1/2 oz. Galliano
3 dashes Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Combine ingredients in a warm teacup and add hot vanilla Rooibos tea
Serve the drink with a toothpick on the side holding two Smoked Mexican Salt Marshmallows.

Cucumber Gin Gimlet

From Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Beverage Manager
3 slices cucumber
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
3/4 oz yellow chartreuse
3/4 ox lime juice
1 drop orange blossom water
Muddle 3 cucumber slices with pinch of salt.  Add remaining ingredients and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Add to the list a Weekender Bag!

Reading The Style Blogger and add to the list of wants is a Weekend Bag.  Leather, generous size, but just enough for 2 nights.

Also the grey flannel suit is NOW on the list.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The hunt begins

Summer 2011
Tall thin glasses /Collins glasses
Table cloths
Dinner plate sized Transfer ware
Foo dogs

Carbon Steel knives
Kentucky Derby glasses
Dining/Kitchen ware in

 Bamboo: outdoors furniture, patterns on ceramic
Punch bowl:
Heavy cut glass under $5

Enameled bowls, paperweights, ashtrays
Busts/figural sculpture
Hats- looking for a straw boater
Large wood baskets
Side tables
Dining room chairs
Dining room table
Tin lined small baking molds
Shirts-16-34/35, 15-32/33
Pants 32-35x32
Shoes 11-12
Jackets 40R + 42L
Leather gloves

 Greek key patterned anything
ikat fabrics
Indian bedspreads
Seltzer bottles/chargers
Whipped cream- dispenser/top
Table lamps
Lampshades/ Asian
Low stools/foot rests
Tiered stand candy sized
Oil paintings
Furs (esp. Lamb’s wool) -for pillows
Tent (modern)
Fireplace set
Cast iron

70’s color palate: Gold Orange Royal blue Turquoise Aqua Sea foam

The style blogger gives some guidelines about shopping vintage


 The most stylish guy you know probably wears used clothing. However, shopping at vintage, second-hand and thrift stores is a very different experience than shopping in department stores. It can certainly be overwhelming looking at racks and racks of used clothing. So here are some helpful tips:

1. Do your research. Search online for the vintage stores in your area with the biggest selecion / best prices. Keep in mind that some of the more popular vintage stores can get pricey, but this does not mean the clothing is better quality.

2. Know what you are looking for. Before you head to the store, make a list of things you would like to add to your wardrobe. For the most part these stores are arranged by "type of clothing", for example all the denim jackets are in one section, so a list of what you are looking for can help you navigate the usually jam-packed racks and piles of clothing. If you've never shopped vintage before or are unsure what to pick up, here are my top vintage go-to picks...
  •  denim jacket (the classic levi trucker is my favorite)
  •  denim/chambray shirt
  •  black or gray leather jacket
  •   military utility jacket
  •   authentic wool Navy peacoat
  •   levis 501 jeans
  •   lace-up boots
  •   chunky cowichan cardigan sweater
  •   brown antique-looking leather belt
  •   flannel casual button-down shirts (plaid/check patterns are the most popular right now)
3. Inspect the clothing. If you find something you like, make sure to look it over for holes, rips, stains, etc. Look on the inside for fraying seams as these could easily let go. Smell the fabric to make sure it doesn't smell like grandpa (or worse).

4. Try it on! Fit is even more important when wearing vintage, you don't want to look like you're wearing your big brothers hand-me-downs.

5. Get to know the person who runs the joint.
These stores are usually owned and operated by one or two people, and they are usually the coolest, most interesting people you can meet. They're also the buyers for the store so if you can't find what you're looking for, odds are they can pick it up on their next buying trip.

6. Wash it before you wear it. You don't know where it's been, or how long it's been sitting around getting musty in the store.

7. Don't go full vintage right away.  Wearing vintage from head to toe is risky. If you're new to vintage shopping start working your "new" pieces into your wardrobe slowly by matching them with staples you already have.

Good luck, and happy shopping.

Yours in style,


Nonnative- A men's wear line have put together a great video showing off the style.  This photo from the shoulders up is just what I want to be.