A Minute in the City 10-6-20: Keep a light on

In May of 2018, my husband and I treated ourselves to a night at the Fox to see The Phantom of the Opera. It had been awhile since I’d set foot in the place, preferring smaller stages like the Rep. But once I stepped into the lobby, I was overcome by its…well, opulence. I turned to my husband and said, “This has got to go in next year’s calendar.”

But it wasn’t until I toured the theater six months later that I realized just how over-the-top it was. One of the three remaining movie palaces built by the late William Fox, the Fabulous Fox was designed in the dazzling – one might go so far as to say unsettling – Siamese-Byzantine style. There’s not a square inch of the theatre that escapes decoration, not a moment of the theatre experience that fails to overwhelm, and not a penny spared in its construction, renovation, or expansion. A trip to the Fox is a trip.

Here are a few takeaways from my bookend visits in 2018:

First, that carpet! The Fox’s carpet has an elephant motif woven into it, and each trunk is raised for good luck. That’s understandable, right? But did you know that each of those elephants must face the stage to wish the actors well? That means lots of extra carpet had to be ordered to keep all those trunks in alignment as they wound through the theatre and up the stairs!

Second, the Fox has ghosts. I chose William Fox’s widow, Eve Leo, to grace the October page of this year’s calendar, because it was her taste that dictated the theatre’s gaudy decor. Ms. Leo, who died in 1962, still pops in for a visit now and then, usually wearing a blue suit.

Finally, I learned that the Fox, like most theatres, keeps a “ghost light” burning, even when the theatre is dark. It stays lit to keep the ghosts happy between productions and to keep the living safe before the rest of the lights are turned on.

I’ve spent my theatre-going years on the “house” side of the stage, so the ghost light was a new concept to me. And in this dark year, I find that concept comforting. For the cast and crew members who rely on the theatre for employment, for the businesses that rely on a thriving economy, for the quarantined who rely on both business and the arts to keep their spirits aloft, it is critical to keep a light burning.

For seven months now, I’ve kept the lights on at A YEAR IN THE CITY, creating artwork for new cards and calendars, binding and boxing the products I already have, believing that somehow someday we’ll be back. Some mornings I feel like Eve Leo walking into the theatre when it’s dark. But as soon as I start working, my mood brightens. Creativity always lights the way.

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The Fabulous Fox Theatre is featured in my 2020 YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. Signed prints, calendars, and cards are available in St. Louis shops and online at ayearinthecity.com/shop.

A Minute in the City 7-21-2020: A New Class of Learners

Last fall I attended a recital of SLSO principal cellist Daniel Lee at the World Chess Hall of Fame. It was an amazing reminder of just how wealthy our city is in terms of talent. We have world class musicians here, chess champions, notable athletes, historians, authors. And spaces to honor and celebrate them all.

This spring many of those spaces went dark as COVID chased us into our homes continue. But celebrities of all stripes – some of them local – were kind enough to light up the internet with their talents. Last week, thousands of school children joined them, parked in front of their computers for their daily Zoom calls.

I had the distinct honor of hosting two of these children for their first week of school, and I will continue to do so for as long as I can. At eight and three, my grandkids are learning what it means not only to learn, but to be sociable during a pandemic. And, because their minds are young and malleable, they are figuring this out faster than the rest of us.

After all, they have spent a significant portion of their lives in quarantine – 1/16 and 1/7, respectively. As sad and weird as that seems to us, it has become almost normal to them. They are figuring it out. They are taking stock in the smallest victories. They are showing us how to stay open to the possibilities.

I watched with amazement this week as my grandson deftly shared his computer screen with his teacher to trouble-shoot a technical issue. During this exchange, teacher and learner talked about Legos and movies. (You know…all the important stuff that life is made of!) Down the hall, my husband – who works in IT – was also sharing his screen, also going over a problem with a colleague. The ­­­­­parallel was not lost on me.

It just isn’t that long a span between school and the working world. This historic year, as troubling as it is, may fast-track the process and give us a new class of self-starters, curiosity-seekers, and world-class talents. Future musicians, athletes, historians, and authors are stumbling over the building blocks of their crafts right now. Aspiring chess players are sitting over their boards with knitted brows, planning out plays and contingency plans. I am one of them.

At the very beginning of COVID, I begged my husband to teach me chess. We both needed something to push our anxieties out of the way, and I needed to connect with the game I was featuring in my 2021 calendar.

Our games are painfully slow. Sometimes hours turn into days. And sometimes we throw up our hands and say, “I don’t know!” because we just can’t see how it’s all going to play out.

Our chess game is a metaphor for COVID. But, like our grandchildren, we’re learning. We’re taking stock in the smallest victories. And we’re trying, trying, trying to stay open to the possibilities. Maybe that next move will take us to a better place.

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The World Chess Hall of Fame is featured in my 2021 YEAR IN THE CITY calendar and is also available as a print and a bookmark. All can be purchased through Q-Boutique at the World Chess Hall of Fame or online at ayearinthecity.com.

 

A Minute in the City 7-21-2020: Someone said YES

When I created the picture of the Eads Bridge for my calendar, I was struck by the fact that everything in it – from the horse and buggy to the steamboat to the bridge itself – looked pretty much the same as it had a century before. I never once thought of it as nostalgic. I only thought of it as timeless. James Eads’ signature project was – and is – one of the greatest engineering feats of all time.

Which is impossible if you consider the odds. The Mississippi River has always been known for ice floes in the winter, which had to make passage and bridge-building problematic during the seven years it took to build the Eads. The Mississippi also had a wicked current of 3.8 meters per second, which was pretty much off the charts. And then there was the fact that the chief engineer on the project had never built a bridge in his life. But someone said YES to James Eads.

Eads was 13 when his family lost everything in a steamboat fire. His dad suffered a business failure soon after and left the family. So young James dropped out of school to work at a dry goods store and was given access to the owner’s library, where he read everything he could get his hands on about physics, mechanics, and engineering.

When he was 22, Eads designed a salvage boat and presented it to two ship builders. He had no experience in building ships, and he had no capital for the project, but they said YES. Let’s do this thing.

Eads’ knowledge of the Mississippi earned him the nickname “Captain Eads” among river men https://farmacie-romania.com/viagra-pentru-femei-pret/.  He built diving bells from wine barrels and special boats to retrieve goods from sunken ships. He himself did most of the diving, having studied the currents for half his life. He really knew the river.

But a bridge. Really?

YES. Despite the fact that Eads did not hold a high school diploma, it was his design that would first cross the Mississippi to connect Missouri to its eastern neighbor. It was his design that would change the course of the industry, replacing wrought iron with steel as a primary load-carrying material. And it was his design that would earn him distinction as one of the top five engineers of all time, alongside Leonardo da Vinci, James Watt, Ferdinand de Lesseps, and Thomas Edison.

The accolades have continued for almost 150 years since the Eads Bridge was dedicated in July of 1874. But there were players beside Mr. Eads who made it happen: the shop owner who tapped his curious brain, the ship-builders who adopted his plan, the city of St. Louis, which chose a rookie for this world-class project.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the part of the story that makes the Eads Bridge such an icon for me. Patience and hard work can get you there, but it really helps when someone gives you the opportunity to up your game. The yea-sayers in the James Eads story were also heroes. I’ve been lucky to have a few of my own.

 

The Eads Bridge is the subject of my July 2020 calendar page. For prints of Eads Bridge and other St. Louis attractions or to buy the new 2021 A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar, please visit ayearinthecity.com.

A Minute in the City – June 5: The Show May or May Not Go On

It’s art show season! One of the few opportunities we have to meet artists and learn about their work. But this year, the pandemic has postponed or cancelled several high-profile shows at a time when we’re stuck at home, staring at blank walls.

As a regular exhibitor, I can tell you that there is still a way to bring new life to your walls, bookshelves and coffee tables. And there’s still a way to connect with artists who may see this time differently than you do.

If you feel reluctant to start a conversation with an artist, you’re not alone. Being face-to-face with the person who not only created the work, but is selling it, can be awkward https://farmacie-romania.com/viagra-pentru-femei-pret/. First, if you’re not an artist yourself – or sometimes, even if you are – you may feel uncertain about the medium or the lingo. So turn it over to the painter, the metalsmith, the textile artist. Most welcome the chance talk about their creations.

Second, you may like an artist’s style, but not the price tag. Don’t let that stop you from sharing what you like about their work. Money is not the only currency here. It really helps artists to understand their audience.

Finally, keep an open mind about the person behind the art. Artists are as different as the pieces they create. It is not unusual to meet executives or truck-drivers who have somehow managed to carve out time to do the thing they love most.

But how do you start a conversation with an artist when you don’t have a venue? How do you invest in their work during a pandemic?

  • First, visit event sites, such as explorestlouis.com and select a show. Even if the show is cancelled – and many are – you can still find links to artists’ galleries. Shop around!
  • If you find an artist you like, email them and line up a phone conversation. Talk to them about the pieces you’re interested in. Talk to them about the blank walls and shelves in your home. Ask about commissions.
  • If there’s a particular piece you have fallen in love with, get the dimensions from the artist. Measure your space to make sure it’s going to fit.
  • Finally, when your artwork is delivered, take stock. You now have a joyful remembrance of a most perplexing year. And you now have a friend in the arts who has brought new life into your home.

 

A YEAR IN THE CITY calendars, cards, and prints by Janet Muhm feature some of St. Louis’s most beloved places. Janet is currently scheduled to exhibit at Art Outside (Schlafly Bottle Works, Sept 4-6), Greentree Festival (Kirkwood Park, September 19-20), and Unique Boutique (John Burroughs School, November 21-22). You will find examples of her work at ayearinthecity.com or you may contact her directly at janet@ayearinthecity.com

A Minute in the City – April 20: Redefining yourself

Several years ago, my husband bought a really nice bike and started training for his first trans-state, multi-day ride. The only previous training he’d done was in his childhood, popping wheelies in the driveway with his friends. But he’d read a blog or two about distance cycling, and he seemed to think he was up to the challenge. Turns out, he was right. Over the course of the next several years, he would complete five state rides.

In this time of quarantine, you hear a lot about people taking up new hobbies, tackling new challenges, discovering gifts they never knew they had. In short, redefining themselves.

I prefer to think of the practice as un-defining. Whatever titles I may have listed on my resume, they have nothing to do with the hapless gardener, the reawakened musician, the late-night walker I am becoming. The boundaries imposed by my past titles are immaterial. Today I am like a child eating ice cream for the first time, without any idea of what it’s going to taste like.

The practice of un-defining is nothing new to me. I’ve broken my own boundaries many times to augment whatever was going on in my professional life. In 1994, I started swimming. In 2001, I wrote a novel. In 2014, I began learning Spanish موقعنا. I was driven by all of these things, but I had no goals or metrics to gauge my success. It was enough to engage in a new activity. It was enough to take the plunge and allow myself to fail.

My avocations have taught me a lot. First, they’ve given me an appreciation for the real swimmers and authors out there – and those who have mastered multiple languages. These people are my heroes. But my hobbies have also given me the courage to pursue things that I am not cut out for. Because, for once, it’s not about succeeding. It’s about living a fulfilled life.

Most of us have been hunkered down for a good month now, which is a challenge in itself. But, if 30 days makes a habit, it stands to reason that our stay at home orders may give us a long-awaited chance to redefine – or un-define – ourselves, removing those deeply-rutted barriers that keep us from exploring new things. Our new hobbies will not pad our resumes, but they will redirect our energy and bring unimaginable joy. That is my wish for our world.

 

 

A Minute in the City – April 6: A Year in the City Like No Other


It was already going to be a different year for me. I had been accepted into juried shows for the first time, signaling a slight shift in my business toward the fine arts. I had begun taking on commissions. And I had invited shop owners to weigh in on images for my calendars and cards.

And then came COVID-19. Within a month, the juried shows were cancelled or postponed. The brick-and-mortar shops that carried my products were closing temporarily. And just like that, my two main revenue streams were interrupted.

Yes, interrupted. Not lost, not abandoned, not gone-for-good. Just interrupted.

A good part of what keeps me going right now is the belief that our world will return to normal – albeit a new one – in the not-too-distant future. I’m preparing for that day in the following ways:

  • I’ve completed the 2021 calendar and have had it printed. I am already binding and hope to have 100 copies on the shelf in a matter of weeks, so YES – 2021 will happen!
  • I have kept my online store open at ayearinthecity.com/shop and am continuing to take orders for those items already in stock: 2020 calendars, unframed prints, bookmarks, and cards. New products will be added when the time is right, that is, when life gets back to normal. I’ll be posting previews of my new products on social media as soon as that happens.
  • My production area has been cleaned and readied for the 2021 calendar and cards. This is actually nothing new, since I have always kept a clean, dedicated space for print, binding, and packaging materials. Now, however, I will wear mask and gloves when packing orders!

Of course, all of this is contingent on my own health, and I never take that for granted. But my calendar has always been an exercise in forward thinking and an investment in hope. So I look to the future with optimism.

On that note, I am beginning to work on the 2022 calendar. Yes, you read that right… 2022! Like many of you, I am finding that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, and that my love of our city only grows as the weeks go by. I will continue to shelter in (my happy) place and share my illustrations on social media for as long as we’re in this. Please share them, if you think they will bring joy to others. And please stay well, STL!

A Minute in the City 3/17/2020 – Keeping the Spirit of St. Louis Alive

I don’t need to tell anyone that these are unsettling times. Each day comes with a new case of jitters as the Coronavirus story grows. To combat the news, I am taking walks, playing music, watching movies, and throwing myself into my work.

My new calendar went to the printer today, about two months earlier than it had in past years. It may be my favorite calendar yet, if only for the quiet and calm it brought me when I needed it most. There is solace in creativity and hard work.

And that’s a good thing. Because, beyond the obvious health scares created by COVID-19 are the impending economic problems. It’s a nerve-wracking time for small business, and I am responding by writing a big check to the printer. Sometimes it’s important to invest in hope.

This month’s blog wasn’t supposed to be about Coronavirus. It was supposed to be about The Spirit of St. Louis, the single-engine plane that made the first solo flight across the Atlantic almost 100 years ago. I knew the story, because I’d seen the Jimmy Stewart movie. And I knew the plane, because I’d seen a replica at the airport and later, at the Missouri History Museum.

I visited the history museum in 2017 to study The Spirit of St. Louis for my first Year in the City calendar, but on my first walk-through, I couldn’t find it. When I asked the museum guard where it was, he smirked and pointed directly over my head. There it was, all 2100 pounds of it. I just needed to look up.

A full two years later, I learned that Charles Lindbergh, who piloted that plane, was a controversial figure. This rattled me, because I had always thought of him as a national hero. So I watched the movie again, trying to square my new findings about this man with the larger-than-life character portrayed by Jimmy Stewart. In the end, I decided to hold onto the parts of Lindbergh’s story that could teach me something. And this is what I learned: First, that it’s wise to travel light, because the things you carry can only weigh you down. Second, even if you can’t see where you’re going – and Lindbergh, having neither windshield nor radar, could not – you can still get to where you need to be. And finally, you can always start a new journey, even if conditions are less than optimal.

It is not a bad flight plan for the times we’re living in. We can rise above the fear, divisiveness, and anxiety of this moment. We just have to keep looking up.

Stay well, everyone.

 

The Spirit of St. Louis appeared on the May page of A Year in the City calendar in 2018. Prints are available for purchase, either as individually packaged calendar sheets or as framed, archival 16 x 20 giclees. Please visit ayearinthecity.com for more information.

A Minute in the City 2/22/2020 – Citygarden

When I was in college, my professors used to ask this question: WHAT IS ART? My classmates and I would be sitting on the concrete floor of the art school contemplating projects that we’d stayed up half the night to finish. Most of us were still wearing the clothes we’d slept in.

The truth is, I really didn’t care what art was or wasn’t at that point in my life. I had known from the age of eight that I wanted a practical career as an artist, and I was ready to get on with it. But some of my classmates would stare out the window when the question was posed, as though looking for the answer in the trees. Their pondering sometimes caused our morning critiques to drag into the afternoon.

Here’s the thing. My classmates were way ahead of me. They knew at a young age that you couldn’t be a true artist if you were goal-driven like I was. You had to see the things in the periphery and in the rearview mirror. You had to allow yourself to be distracted, especially by things that were tugging at you emotionally. Tunnel vision was not an option.

Public art makes that argument in a big way in St. Louis, and it’s not just because its installations are so huge. It’s because they are put into places where life is happening, where they have the best shot at becoming part of the big beautiful periphery of daily life.

I think in particular of Laumeier Park when I say this, because of the way the art is woven into the woods there. You’ll turn a corner and boom, there it is: a sculpture that makes you feel like you just discovered something no one else has ever seen. It’s not only that the art is saying, “Look at me!” It’s also that it’s saying, “Look at that tree over there. Look at that hill.  Life is happening. Don’t forget to watch for it.”

Citygarden does the same thing, but here the art points to kids playing in fountains, businesspeople on lunchbreaks, elegant downtown buildings marching along its borders. Would we take all this in were it not for the sculptures that got our attention in the first place?

Especially downtown where business has a way of consuming us, art gives us respite from our work. It forces us to take a breath, to do a reset, to give us clarity and balance so we can have fulfilling lives.

For those of us who approach each day with a lengthy to-do list, art is a life-giving force. What I wouldn’t give to sit down with my college professors and tell them.

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Since it opened in 2009, Citygarden has attracted millions of visitors. The sculpture Eros Bendato by Igor Mitoraj was the subject of my April 2019 calendar page. For prints of Citygarden and other St. Louis attractions or to buy my current A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar, please visit ayearinthecity.com.

A Minute in the City 1/1/2020 – Soulard Market

It’s fresh start time, everybody! Time to set out to be your best self, to shed that extra weight, to drop a bad habit or two.

But wait. What if this year, instead of losing, you set out to gain something of value? To build on your life-already-in-progress, to add enrichment and adventure to your day-to-day? A YEAR IN THE CITY has done that for me since I started it in 2017. Right from the start, I took the winding road to places unknown, and soon they became a part of me.

I realize that there aren’t too many people who have the luxury of taking impromptu field trips as a part of their job. And, to tell you the truth, neither do I. My days consist of creating calendar art (a year ahead of printing), posting to social media, packaging, binding, meeting with printers and retailers, and going to shows and signings. But I always need new material, and so I venture out.

I’m very lucky that excursions are a built-in part of my to-do list. Connecting with the place in which I live gives me a deep sense of contentment and belonging. I remember a time before A YEAR IN THE CITY when I couldn’t find time to look up from my computer. It was during this period that a writer friend of mine shared a piece he’d written on winter hiking. He talked about frost flowers – a phenomenon I had never seen. His writing was so vivid, I felt guilty that this wonder had passed me by.

It is that same reaction that I often get when people see my calendar at shows espanolcial.com. “I haven’t been there forever!” they’ll say, looking at Eckerts or Steinberg Rink or Soulard Market. “Is it still the same?” “Do they keep it up?” “I really should go back.”

Yes, actually. You should. There are precious benefits to scheduling a few local day trips around St. Louis each year.

First, the benefit of personal enrichment. Yours. You owe it to yourself to relish in this beautiful, historic, inventive place. But you also owe it to your family and friends to share the adventure with them. When you do this, new stories are sure to be born.

But the ripples go out further, and the meaning grows deeper. When we introduce ourselves to new places in the community, we begin to shape that community for others. When we change the way we see our home, we change the way that others see it, too.

And so, on this first day of a brand new year, I’d like to challenge you to take a day trip in St. Louis. Then share your findings – and your photos – on facebook.com/ayearinthecity. Together, let’s resolve to make a fresh start for our city and ourselves!

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Established in 1779, Soulard Market is the oldest operating public market west of the Mississippi. It is open four days a week, year-round. Soulard was featured on the March page of my first A YEAR IN THE CITY calendar. For more information or to buy a current calendar, please visit ayearinthecity.com.

Shopping the Shops: Places you’ll find A YEAR IN THE CITY…and so much more

It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and if you’re like me, you’ve only got a few things left on your list. But chances are, your last-minute gifts are going to be purchased in stores, rather than online. Personally, I think that brings an added measure of joy.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of shop owners and managers since I started creating A YEAR IN THE CITY. They are outgoing people who really care about their customers. If you venture out this weekend, please stop by and give them a friendly hello. And to Abby, Angela, Michelle, Gail, Stephanie, Jaynelle, Anne, Peggy, Claudia, Patty, Emily, Susan, Holland, Julie, Cory, Kelly, Mary Beth, Sarah, and Mary (x3), my grateful thanks for all you do to support the city… and A YEAR IN THE CITY!

And thanks to all you shoppers for your support of my products! You’ll find A YEAR IN THE CITY – and so much more – at these St. Louis locations! For your convenience, here’s an “at-a-glance” of each.

Abigail’s Gift Boutique – South Hampton has always been a haven for small businesses, and Abigail’s fits right in. Abby offers lots of kitchen and bar ware, funny/snarky gifts (including a hysterical collection of socks) and a big beautiful children’s area.

ArtMart – For as long as I’ve been practicing art, Artmart has been there to inspire me AND to remind me of all that’s waiting to be discovered. This store caters to painters, sculptors, draftsmen, doodlers… you name it. But they also double – OK, triple – as a gift shop and frame shop. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, plan a nice long visit. I allow a full hour every time I go!

Book House – Where do I start? That’s what you’ll say when you walk into Book House in Maplewood. Floor-to-ceiling shelves on the main level are accessed by sliding ladder.  A large stairway near the entrance is lined with books. Rare first editions and collectibles are displayed at the front of the store. No matter what you’re looking for, Michelle and her staff can help you find it!

Bowed Farms – Though it’s a little off the beaten path (east and north of the West End), Bowood has become a well-known secret among St. Louisans. Per its name, its main business is plants, and they are fabulous. It is also home to Café Osage, where you can enjoy “garden-infused” menu items for breakfast or lunch.

City Museum – There is so much to see at City Museum, it’s easy to miss their gift shop. Don’t. Tucked right behind the ticket counter, the gift shop carries eclectic gifts, knick knacks, and tees, so you can take part of this rich experience back home with you. In addition to the main shop, the museum also sells shoelaces and necklaces woven on vintage machines on the second floor.

Dog town Gallery – Cute story about this one. My father-in-law, Frank Muhm, sold his memoir (entitled Passage to2838) to owner Jaynelle Haynes. Unbeknownst to me, he also sold Jaynelle on my calendar when it was first printed. Thanks to both of them, I have a presence in the friendly Dogtown area. Jaynelle’s gallery is proud of its Irish roots and is located – fittingly – next to Seamus McDaniel’s on Tamm.

Down by the Station – I had long been a customer of Down by the Station before I approached the owners in 2017, and I still consider it a great honor to have my calendar in their shop. DBTS carries beautiful jewelry, accessories, home goods, barware, and stationery items, as well as a sweet array of gifts for kids in the caboose. Part of the great walkable Kirkwood shopping experience, DBTS is a must-visit.

Dunaway Books – Like a good book, Dunaway is waiting to be discovered. Three stories of stories draw in readers of all ages for hours at a time. I am personally intrigued by the library-like lower level, where you can find stacks of sheet music for all instruments. Because Dunaway is part of the South Grand shopping district, you’ll lots of cool places to eat after you browse!

Lamp Mansion – Anyone who has toured, dined, or slept at Lemp Mansion seems to have a story to tell. But it’s not all about the ghosts nützliche quelle. You’ll also find lots of history, amazing food…and A YEAR IN THE CITY at the back of the house.

Main Street Books – A hot spot of St. Charles Main Street, this indie book store caters to readers of all ages and interests. Looking for a banned book? Check here first. Main Street also has a wonderful children’s/young adult section upstairs.

Missouri History Museum – Architecturally speaking, Missouri History has one of the most inviting shops I’ve seen. If you enter the museum from the south, the shop seems to spill out into the entryway, as though pretending to be a gallery. And, in a way, it is. I have found real treasures there, including a beautiful St Louis Cardinals tie for my son-in-law and books on Missouri for my father-in-law. The shop, like the museum, will surprise you. You can’t imagine how much there is to love about this big beautiful state of ours!

Novel Neighbor – The word curious comes to mind when I step into the Novel Neighbor in Webster. This seemingly tiny shop is actually “long on story” with a back room and kids’ room that will delight all. The next-door events center and bathroom have earned this shop some well-deserved press, but it is their books and gifts that keep readers coming back.

Sign of the Arrow – I’ve always been amazed at the cross-section of people who buy A YEAR IN THE CITY. And, when I say that, I think first of Sign of the Arrow, which is a needlepoint business. But the thing that continually draws me to this shop is its charitable focus. Since the shop was founded 50 years ago, it has donated all of its proceeds to charity.

Stone Soup Galleries – Making the best of underutilized space, Stone Soup operates out of Chesterfield Mall. From its bright, beautiful space at the foot of the Chesterfield Cine elevators, you’ll find the work of local artisans, including milliners, woodworkers, glass artists, print makers, and jewelers. Check it out before or after the show.

Subterranean Books – Subterranean is a jewel of the Loop with regular events and signings that draw diners and movie-goers along this iconic stretch of Delmar. Alex, Gena, Griffin, Kelly, Sarah B, Sarah T…and Teddy the dog are super-knowledgeable about good reads and store inventory. Subterranean  was one of the first shops to carry A YEAR IN THE CITY.

Union Studio – When Union Studio started carrying A YEAR IN THE CITY, its owner and manager took time to get to know me. They do the same with their customers. They understand the people who shop their store and always look for products that will delight them. Union Studio is all local, featuring the work of painters, metalsmiths, leatherworkers, and clothing designers. And through the shop’s Warm Welcome project, artists are given an opportunity to give back to the community.  You simply won’t find a more personal and civic-minded shopping experience anywhere.

Urban Matter – I had the pleasure of selling my wares at the South Grand Fall Fest this past summer, just a block away from Urban Matter’s new digs. Owner Mary has a great eye for unique gifts, and she’s a master of staging. An absolutely beautiful shopping experience and a great new addition to South Grand.

Washington University Bookstore – Geared toward students of all ages – including perpetual “students of life” – Wash U’s bookstore has a wonderful vibe to it. Beyond branded apparel, you’ll find trendy gifts and great new titles to please everyone on your list. Parking is a challenge, but it’s well worth the walk around and through this gorgeous campus.

Thanks again to all of these retailers for their help in getting the word out about A YEAR IN THE CITY. And to all of you reading this, Happy Shopping to all… and to all a good night!