5 Super (And Totally Local) Spots To Spend Your Tax Refund

You don't have to be a Mean Girl (Thanks to Vanderpump Rules this season for giving that term a brand new lease on life!) to appreciate an afternoon of shopping. For our purposes, let's also say you don't need a convertible (although one would be nice once this cold weather in the OS finally breaks!) or a direct route to the mall either. Especially because I'm guessing that you're most likely bored to tears right about now with your usual haunts and with buying stuff that everyone in your group already has.

Maybe you're thinking about putting that (tax) return check toward something a little unexpected, unique, different? That you don't have to be a Bravo reality show star to afford. (I mean honestly, who doesn't covet LVP's bedroom size closet full of Chanel and Hermes on RHOBH? Perfection.) Here's a list then of 5 favorite small - as in local - but mighty shops for your consideration, courtesy of some of this blog's savviest shoppers/contributors:

  1. "Recently re-opened after a break/relocation is Nonchalant Mom in Wakefield. Owner Carina Schott originally developed Nonchalant Mom as an online boutique in 2004, before they were a normal part of retailing, and began by mainly selling collections created by friends. Fast forward 12 years to the the new shop where you'll find an expertly curated selection of clothing for women and children, a sprinkling of eclectic items for the home, beautiful jewelry, and a small selection of apothecary. When you enter the bright cheerful shop, you're immediately drawn in by the splashes of brilliant color, racks of simple yet elegant clothing, lovely scarves and bags, and selections of beautiful and unique jewelry throughout. Add to that Carina's warm and welcoming smile and you'll be hooked. Nonchalant Mom is the perfect antidote to a rainy beach day, but visit once and I guarantee it'll become a favorite all year round." Tracey Keough Park of Trace Alchemy skincare, and one of the chicest people around 
  2. "Located in scenic downtown Bristol, this cozy and eclectic shop is one stop shopping at its best! While tiny in size, Kate and Company manages to be filled with great items for the home, including: Thymes candles, Stonewall Kitchen items, glassware, the best (and some hilarious) cocktail napkins, throws, chocolates, and unique jewelry (including RI's Kiel James Patrick's designs). You will also find a great selection of fashion forward and contemporary clothing and accessories perfect for everyday or a special occasion." Leslie Tente, Exceptional Baker, Cook & Crafter
  3. "The Veiled Crow is seriously a gem. Loren May is a gifted psychic medium offering tarot card readings, her own line of bath and body products, essential oil blends & more (all handmade by Loren). Remember the movie "Practical Magic" with Sandra Bullock? Her shop reminds me of the one in the movie. Whatever you need, she's got something to help!" Wax Queen & All Around Awesome Individual Alexandra Lepore
  4. "I hardly cheat on my own business and outfit myself daily in clothes that are my own original designs or from Gossip or Beatnik (I do love the special Vintage Loves line at Beatnik!), but I do frequent Teddy Bearskins for kids clothes and support local artists like Indigo Clarke & Jon Campbell (also sold at Beatnik) whenever I need a cool personal gift." Janelle Feigley, Boho Mama, Stylist, Designer & Owner of Gossip Inc. 
  5. "East Greenwich is another charming place to shop. If you're looking for the perfect hostess or bridal gift as well as locally designed jewelry, fashion accessories, and home decor, you will find it at The Green Door. Owner and visual display artist, Susan Swanson, also creates one-of-a-kind silk floral designs for the home. She will even visit your home to help create the perfect custom design." **Another fab pick from the lovely Leslie Tente**



+ These originally appeared as part of the My RI Life series that runs regularly on PattyJ.com.

This New Beer Has People Waiting On Line In Providence

On a frigid day in the middle of March, a day when the air hurts your face, a line of beer lovers stretched for an entire block on Providence’s West Side. They are waiting for a chance to take home Long Live Beerworkslatest IPA, Cereal Milk

The Cereal Milk IPA is a 6.5 ABV New England-style IPA with a touch of oats, passion fruit, and lactose. Based on its wildly popular namesake donut made by PVDonuts this beer is now available in cans and will soon be flowing from the tap. It all started one night over beers, a collaboration grown out of two local entrepreneurs loving each other's product.

LLB’s menu is obviously in flux due to limited supply so check their website and social media accounts for the most up to date information about what’s available! The brewery is open Wednesday through Saturday. PVDonuts sells hand-crafted donuts Wednesday through Sunday, 8am until they sell out!

Thanks for reading!

+      Colin Carlton


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Colin is a local author and freelance writer.

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Photo Credits: Photos of Cereal Milk IPA launch all courtesy of Colin Carlton

Cars & Stars: Behind The Scenes With People Who Drive For A Living

One of my favorite pastimes, whether I'm home or away on vacay, is quizzing people who drive for a living about celebs they've chauffeured. My main is usually along the lines of 'Who's the nicest person you've driven?' Followed shortly thereafter by 'Who's the worst?'

So, some of the nicest off stage are often the ones who are the most irreverent, the boldest, and the most in your face when they're on (stage) or in front of the camera. Case in point, Joan Rivers. #RIPJoan A dozen years or so ago, I was in a town car on my way to NYC when the gentleman behind the wheel confided to me that not only was Joan the nicest of any of his passengers, but that she had also gone out of her way to buy baby gifts for him and his wife in honor of their latest arrival. It didn't come as any big surprise then when the driver I was talking to this week told me the sweetest celeb he's ever driven is none other than Joan's daughter Melissa Rivers.

Ok, so maybe you wouldn't be surprised to find out that that same guy's most glam passenger was Alexis Carrington herself, Joan Collins. (Don't know who she is? You. Are. Missing. Out.) Something about her stepping into the car in full makeup, a stunning outfit, a hat, the whole kit and caboodle, but how about what he said about a certain singer who's rumored in the press to be a MAJOR diva? (Rhymes with Variah Varey.) Not the case. Nope. According to him, she was beyond gracious and a model passenger. 

Now, I'd love to reveal a few of the (alleged) worst peeps to drive, but I'd really rather not get hassled by lawyers and those dreadful cease and desist letters. Instead, I have something equally, if not MORE, important and that's the 4 things NOT to do in an Uber (or Lyft), town car or limo, courtesy of the drivers themselves:

  1. Smoking: Forget cigarettes, cigars, and those horrible vape things (Don't know if they actually smell or not. I just hate them.). Ugh. Do you know what it takes to get that smell out of a car? Maybe you'd also be surprised to hear about all the 20-something celebs who smoke in this day and age. #yuck #whatadirtyhabit
  2. Losing Your Lunch Or Dinner: It's far from ideal, but if you've been drinking and you suddenly feel like you're going to hurl? At the very least, roll down the window to avoid blowing chunks all over the backseat. Best case scenario, let your driver know, so they can pull over. For the record, the only other smell harder to get rid of besides cigarette smoke is in fact puke. 
  3. Followed Closely By This...Nothing like the smell of BAD food. Leave your smelly food at home! (It can wait.)
  4. One Last ThingLadies, put your mascara on in the bathroom at home. No driver wants black dots on the roof of their car. As for you gentleman, no one wants to smell cologne the whole way to the destination. One spray and THAT is it!


*This post originally appeared on the blog in March of 2016.