Hi guys! I don’t usually like to make excuses for lapses in blogging–I’d rather continue on with good content when it exists to be shared–but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the grand jury decision in the Mike Brown case pretty much zapped any desire I had to share happy thoughts online last week. Blog posts and instagram photos seemed pretty fucking silly and even insensitive at the time, so I just sat back and tried to be a good ally. Listened. Grieved. Shared the smartest opinions and insights I could find and most importantly, spoke up in situations where victims wouldn’t feel safe to.
While I’m reserving my anger for the corrupt police system and the real victims in this situation, I still mourn the losses of local businesses to rioters and want to help rebuild any way I can. This year’s Small Business Saturday felt especially important to me, so I wanted to share the little tour I took of my favorite STL shows and shops.
My first stop was the Rock and Roll Craftshow! This local favorite has been rockin’ for 11 years and is the second biggest handmade shopping event in the area after Strange Folk Festival. The show is curated by organizers department store style, so shoppers collect all their goodies at their leisure and check out at the end all in one stop. It’s always a really fun, inspirational show–I feel like I always discover new makers and artists and am constantly seeing things that make me go “OMG! Why didn’t I think of making that?!” Unique items like swings made from old skateboard decks, tea wallets, handmade cat toys, clever upcycled jewelry… the list is miles long.
If you’ve been following the protests and riots in the STL area, the second neighborhood you’ve probably been hearing about (besides Ferguson), is South Grand/Shaw. There was a second shooting there in early October that brought similar feelings and desires to protest, so it’s become another hotspot for protesting activity–this also means that sometimes things get out hand, people get angry, and shit goes down.
I have a few friends with shops on South Grand, so that was my next stop. Thankfully, broken windows were the worst they had to deal with–besides fear of the rowdy crowds on their doorsteps. Wonderful volunteers have been painting and beautifying the boarded up windows all week–how cute is the little dress form mural at Parsimonia?! My favorite vintage shop still looked adorable and lively on the inside, just a little more dark and cozy. :)
Autumn at the Upcycle Exchange is a creative genius always and decided to turn her boarded up, broken windows into a faux food truck! You could buy coffee, warm cookies, or make a $10 donation and get one of each, plus a $5 gift card! Is that not the best?
My last shopping stop of the day was West County Mall to finally check out the new Foundrie location! You guys. It is so pretty. And sparkly. You’d never know it used to be a Claire’s. UPGRADE!
I hope you guys are using Cyber Monday to not just score some sweet deals at big box stores, but throwing some love to small businesses, too. Plenty of amazing artists are running promos on Etsy–get out there and try to throw some money at some hard-working people who really deserve it!
Also, I tried to throw in lots of helpful links if you’re interested in learning more about the situation in STL and why people are so riled up. It’s weird to live here right now and I’m feeling so many feelings. I’m frustrated at our present but optimistic for our future and happy so many people are sharing my feelings of anger, but also of generosity and hope. Black lives matter. xo