It doesn't matter what the wallet or the scale says, there's always something to buy at Ma Petite Shoe, a new store in Hampden that sells funky shoes and French truffles. "It's just the two best addictions in one place," said owner Susannah Siger, who also owns women's boutique Oh! Said Rose four doors down.
Don't go expecting your typical department / drug store offerings, however. "We're definitely not going Gucci / Prada," Siger said of the shoes -- fanciful Italian leopard-print loafers and wild black, flame-licked boots from such makers as Sesto Meucci and Hype. Men's and women's shoes by hipster John Fluevog are expected in this month. "We're going for something distinctive, affordable, fun and playful."
As for the chocolate, there are no plain old M&Ms to be had here. But you will find truffles and chocolate bars from Michel Cluizel, who also makes caramel-centered mushrooms and miniature wedding cakes from chocolate for wedding favors. And for a little gooey cup of nostalgia, try the Valomilk candy cups, two addictive marshmallow-filled chocolates that have legions of vocal fans.
Ma Petite Shoe is located at 832 West 36th St., Hampden, 410-235-3442. Visit the Web site at www.mapetiteshoe.com.
Be a painted lady
Make makeup meltdowns a thing of the past with Sephora's new Aquatint cheek and lip stain.
Designed to give an intense wash of pigment to cheeks and lips, Aquatint can leave your complexion looking flushed or light and luminous, depending on how much you choose to apply. Just paint the transparent liquid on with its brush applicator and smooth in with your fingertips or a sponge, Here's the best part -- even though it's called a stain, Aquatint won't leave smooch marks on cheeks, lip rings on wineglasses or stains on clothing.
Available in brown, rose, light pink, peach, purple and auburn for $14 at www.sephora.com.
Lovely little luxuries
Cashmere sweaters for $58? Leather ballet shoes for $22? Is it too good to be true?
Well, perhaps. These finds are among the offerings at Janie and Jack, a new chain of baby gift boutiques from the people at Gymboree that sell clothing in sizes Preemie to 3 Toddler made from fine quality fabrics. The styling is European with an American sensibility and the colors are primarily neutrals and pastels.
Eleven Janie and Jack stores opened this fall in California, New Jersey, Washington and Nevada. For now, Baltimore shoppers can buy online at www.janieandjack.com
Win a bag made for a star
Women have long lusted after Hermes' Birkin bag, created in 1984 for British actress Jane Birkin who once complained to Hermes president Jean-Louis Dumas that no one made a handbag that suited her needs.
The handmade bags aren't cheap. In fact they reportedly cost anywhere from $4,000 to $80,000 depending on the leather or skin used. And even if you had the cash and were ready to splurge, there's a waiting list for the bags.
Through Dec. 24, Bluefly.com is giving away one dozen Birkin or Kelly bags (named for Grace Kelly) - one bag per week - as part of a sweepstakes. Enter at www.bluefly.com.