Birthday Gratitude!

Just a BIG THANK YOU to all of our wonderful customers, my amazing staff, and my incredibe family who have supported me for the last 23 years!

Opened in the late Spring of 1994, we have started out as an etsy-like handmade craft gallery in Brookline Village and then moved into the North End in 2004, just as the Greenway was rolling out. We dropped the “gallery” concept and evolved into our current aesthetic and mix of clothing, jewelry, home goods, apothecary, small-batch edible treats, baby gifts, and global cookbooks!

I moved the shop three times, re-designed the shop displays a gazillion times, made a ton of neighborhood friends, watched my dedicated staff grow from college students to 30-something professionals and parents, witnessed ever-changing style trends and survived the ups and downs of a volatile economy. Yes,  it’s been a long haul and I am so grateful for the kick-ass moment I had in ’94 to jump head first into owning this business!

Xoxo, m

 

Patterns and Textures

Confession – I wear mostly solid black, all day, every day. However, summer comes rolling in, my winter mood mood brightens and my eye lovingly gazes at bright florals, soft pastel paisleys and multi-colored pom poms. The store transitions from neutral palettes to a festival of summer brights and patterns!

A year ago, we traveled through northern India and I was struck by the neon bright embellished saris, head scarves and sparkly gold jewelry that women wore. Interestingly, jewelry became a common language and an easy way to begin to cross cultural barriers. I always wear long dangly earrings and thin gold necklaces and upon arriving in small rural desert towns (that few Americans visit and no English is spoken), I often found myself surrounded by crowds of women and children, reaching out and touching my jewelry. I loved their intricate textured earrings, rows of delicate bangles and colorful scarves and I would reach back, smiling and nodding, in that universal connection that women can make.

So, a little inspiration kicks in and Shake now has a summer stock full of beautifully pattererned dress, tops and scarves and jewelry with tassels and beads! Here are just a few faves,

xoxo, M

 

 

Spring🌱🌱🌱

It’s really and truly SPRING! We are so happy to be putting out all of our beautiful spring collections, which have been hiding in our back room, waiting for winter to thaw and delicate blossoms to start peeping through the soil! We are loving denim, off the shoulders, bold florals, ruffles and rompers! here are a few of our favorites!

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Meal Planning with Shake’s Cookbooks!

Sundays come rolling round and weekly meal planning begins. When I am super organized (which does not happen as often as I wish!) I literally get my morning coffee, gather my favorite recipe books, plan out meals and draft a shopping list? I bring breakfast and lunch to work every day so planning for leftovers is key!

Infusing things is my newest obsession…flavoring vodka by adding toasted rosemary or fresh cucumber, making simple sugar or honey syrups with ginger, lime zest, and cinnamon …all great ideas to boost flavors in homemade cocktails or sparkly waters!

Host a Spring Gathering

Well, Spring has finally come knocking on our door and, after months of dreary, grey and raw cold, New Englanders can take a deep breath and enjoy the warmth and sunshine! Since everyone pretty much hibernates through the winter, I always feel like I want to host an April gathering, re-connecting with friends who we haven’t seen in ages. This calls for pulling out our favorite seasonal cookbooks, collecting white ceramic platters, marble cutting boards, special small gold  dishes, artichoke candles and setting a beautifully landscaped table!

“Forest Feast Gatherings”  has beautiful vegetarian focused menus and decor suggestions! This weekend, I’m hoping to use their “Cocktail Party” menu featuring rose spritzers, kumquat gimlet punch, avocado-tahini crostinis, truffled cucumber rounds and spicy chocolate almonds!

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Galentine’s Day❤❤❤

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and it is one of my favorite holidays. Whether you are partnered or single, to me, it is a day that is simply filled with gratitude for the love of the people who are most special in our lives. Yes, it has been over-commercialized, but behind that, is the simple call to action to tell people you love how much you appreciate them. And…chocolate plus flowers helps😊

Shop Re-Design!

New displays
New displays

January is always a time for goal setting and new beginnings. For the last two years I have imagined re-doing the shop displays but was hesitant to take the leap. After our super busy holiday season, I decided to just go for it and we installed new display tables and constructed a wonderful pipe and flange wall system that gives us so much more organized space!  Stop by and check it out!

Snow Days

Snow days
Snow days

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Yes it’s freezing and snowing outside but our beloved bloggers take one for the team! Hats off to Katie Salerno(📷) and Kate (Prep of Boston) for modeling new pieces from Splendid and Misa Los Angeles!  Piping hot chocolate is well deserved💕

Ho Ho Ho – Stocking Stuffers

It’s Christmas morning…Santa has gobbled his cookies, slurped his cup of milk, arranged beautiful wrapped packages under the tree and filled each stocking with little treats!

It’s the little things that are sometimes the best! Here are a few of our top Stocking Stuffer picks….

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We have lots of unique and special ornaments and love these tiny glass globes filled with winter holiday scenes.

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Hand poured in Vermont, we love Aunt Sadie’s Xmas tree fragranced candles!

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We have a large shelf filled small notebooks and twig pencils, perfect for doodles and dreams.

Holiday gifts for Cheffy Friends

 

We all have that one friend who loves to entertain and we know when the invite arrives that we will be treated to wonderful cocktails and food, artfully displayed like a magazine photo shoot.

Every cook is slightly obsessed with beautiful and inspiring cookbooks and they make the perfect gift!  We have a great selection of global recipe books, with beautiful photos and new ideas

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Flowers💐💐💐

I’m obsessed with always having fresh flowers in the house – on the kitchen table, on the windowsills or as a centerpiece on the dining room table when we have gatherings with friends. I especially love small vases and most often cut the long stem flowers down to size somthey fit into the little arrangements that I create. I often re-purpose small creamers or tealight votive holders!

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Velvet and Glam for Holiday!

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This fall, fashion has given a happy nod to velvet and a bit of glam! We are excited to see these luxe velvets and slight shimmery textured fabrics on runways and in the shop! Off the shoulder and “cold” shoulder tops still dominate and we are finding more women experimenting and loving the look! Two favorites include Misa LA’s black velvet and Ella Moss’ pale pink top.

North End Salumerias! A short guide to north end shopping!

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Since moving my shop to Boston’s North End (“Little Italy”) neighborhood 12 years ago, I have had so much fun wandering through the small streets, discovering hidden gems, including a few mom and pop old world salumerias. We love entertaining at home and often spend hours cooking for friends, but on a busy work day it can be tough to find the time. In a quick trip to the local Italian charcuterie and cheese shop, I can gather Piave cheese, Fennel Sopressata, Castelvetrano green olives and Rosemary Crackers and be ready with appetizers in a flash! settingnit up is always my favorite part and I love to use the slate board from the shop forma distincitve presentation!

Favorite places include Monica’s Mercato on Salem Street, Depasquale’s on Hanover and Salumeria Italiana on Richmond Street!

Small Vases for Flowers

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I am a huge fan of fresh flowers in small vases! Whenever I get a giant bunch of gorgeous long stem flowers, I find my trusty garden scissors and cut them down so they can fit them in small containers! I love the look of assorted vases in a line down the center of a dinner table! Featured here is the Serpentine Vase from Roost and a few ceramic and milky glass jars from Creative Co-op.

Be your own “boss babe”

Decanter set, christmas gift idea

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Processed with Snapseed.

Be a Boss Babe!

We recently started collaborating with a local photographer, Katie Salerno, who has been doing many of our fashion and styled shoots with local bloggers.  Katie recently left a corporate job to follow her passion  and build her own solo photography business, focusing on family, wedding, and bridal  portraits, as well as fashion shoots.    Starting your business takes a leap of faith and a certain deep knowledge that you are kick ass enough to pull it off.

I am frequently asked how I started Shake, 22 years ago. I had been practicing law, doing civil litigation for three years and then running a women’s criminal justice project for five. On the side, I was painting furniture and small home decor with a friend, selling our work in local shops and through makers markets. I had always been drawn to art and creativity, having studied a bit at the museum school in Boston.  When the project I was running ran out of funding, I hit a roadblock.  I didn’t want to go back to doing litigation, hating the adversarial nature of it, yet I felt compelled to stay in a field that I had chosen and studied for. I found myself applying for jobs that I did not want and the turning point for me was getting a lucrative job offer and declining because I  couldn’t imagine myself continuing in this field.

So, on a random weekday morning, having coffee with a friend, I watched a landlord put a “for rent” sign up in a small shop in Brookline  and I literally walked across the street and rented it for year .  I had been secretly imagining opening up a  shop, but I had never worked in retail and really knew nothing about it. However, in that exact moment I let go of all my fears and just jumped into it headfirst, eyes open.  I am usually not impulsive and I am very risk-aversive with money but honestly I had no doubt that this would work. I called everyone I knew who made cool things and asked if they would give me things on consignment, paying them only when the items sold. I gathered friends and we built shelving, painted and fixed up the place so I was open in about a month.  Since that date in June 1994, I’ve had to move twice and now have a beautiful shop in Boston’s North end, having run a successful business for over two decades all by myself!

If anyone reading this is wondering if they can do it, take a leap of faith and know that you can.

Check out Katie’s website

Setting up shop

img_3865 One of my favorite things to do in my shop is come in super early (yes, before the sun even rises) and set up all of the displays! I love  the creative burst of energy that actually starts months before at various designer trade shows, open studios, and local handmade craft markets, where I begin the process of imagining next season’s displays. In this business, I am always a season or two ahead,( so, as of this moment in October, I am planning Spring!)

As I shop for beautiful clothes, candles, tabletop, cookbooks, etc..I plan out themes, often based on color, holidays, seasons or specific feelings/images like “comfy, home,” “winter cabin” “rosegold and white,” “paris flower markets” or “moroccan bazaar.” I love visualizing months in advance how it will al come together and flow. So, on these crazy early mornings, double espresso in hand, I move every single item in the shop to its perfect home! I did a massive store turn around about two weeks ago, will do it again next week and then mid November, you can find me at 6 am up to my ears in tinsel, glitter, ornaments and pine scented candles setting up new displays with all things Christmas!

Xoxo