7x7 editors pick their favorites from the latest shops, goods, and happenings in the Bay Area and beyond.
Into The Woods
From Alite, the SF-based adventure gear company that brought us the modular Sexy Hotness sleeping bags (they can be zipped together for easier, er, cuddling), comes The Outpost, a new concept store in the Mission. Besides shopping the brand’s nifty outdoor equipment, you can stop in for a cup of coffee in the cafe or research local hikes and campfire recipes in the resource section. The Outpost (Mission)
Well-heeled tattoo buffs will be glad to know that, thanks to footwear mogul Christian Louboutin, their precious ink can step up into the prestigious world of red soles. The new Tattoo Parlor, ensconced in the Maiden Lane boutique, offers bespoke tattoo-inspired embroideries on new pairs of Loubis. The service, which takes three months to complete, emerged from the shoe designer’s admiration for permanent body art and the daring required to wear it. Prices start at $1,066; Christian Louboutin (Union Square)
The new free app Wunwun will deliver “anything” (fine print: no more than 30 pounds and available to be purchased with an Amex card from a shop or restaurant in SoMa, FiDi, Civic Center, Dogpatch, or the Mission) to your door via bike messenger for free and within an hour. Wunderbar.
In keeping with its customized body and beauty treatments, Pac Heights spa International Orange—a favorite haunt of such celebrities as Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow—has recently transitioned its group yoga program into a more private affair. Whether you’re struggling to keep still in basic Mountain pose or trying to master an advanced asana such as Firefly, a one-on-one lesson with an instructor means that you can progress at your own pace—and your inferiority complex won’t experience a flare-up. International Orange (Pac Heights)
Ya, You Betcha
Frances McDormand made a name for herself in such cerebral classics as Blood Simple and Fargo (her chipper crime fighter Marge Gunderson remains one of cinema’s most endearing heroes). See the Oscar and Tony winner in conversation with Dave Eggers at City Arts, where they will surely discuss, among other things, how to perfect a Minnesota accent. Dec. 2; Nourse Theater (Hayes Valley)
Tucker Nichols’ cup runneth all over: The local artist recently installed “Flowers for Sick People” at the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Infusion Center in Mission Bay; released Crabtree, a joyous picture book about a charming hoarder (McSweeney’s); and cofounded Plumb, a company that sells whimsical notebooks created by esteemed artists. But wait, there’s more. At Gallery 16, Nichols presents his first solo exhibition since 2010, which will surely feature his vibrant, cartoonish works. At press time, though, he was mum about an overarching theme. “I have a strong aversion to making artwork I’ve already described in any way,” he says.
Jan. 23–March 6; Gallery 16 (SoMa)
When you’re in a home designed by local decorator Jay Jeffers, you’re bound to see an energetic Sherie Franssen work hanging on a wall. The SoCal painter’s new show, “The Gorgeous Nothings,” on display at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, features her trademark abstractions of compelling colors and lively brushstrokes. Self-destruction is ever present on the canvas: “When things are going really well, I need a disruption,” says Franssen. “I need to set something up just to break it down. I want that kind of excitement.” Dec. 11, 2014–Jan. 31, 2015; Dolby Chadwick (Union Square)
Joy Within Reach
Crave, the SoMa-based design studio creating elegant foreplay accessories, has recently released the Vesper, a discreet, nail-shaped pendant-slash-vibrator plated in precious metals—either silver, rose gold, or 24-karat gold—for a pleasure principle that’s perfectly posh.
Coinciding with its 10th anniversary celebration as the Bay Area’s most respected craft and design exhibition space, Shibumi Gallery in Berkeley is hosting a two-day pop-up in which jewelry and textiles by local artists can be acquired at 10 percent off their stickers. Be sure to ogle curator April Higashi’s work, especially if you're on the road to betrothal. Even the most noncommital fiancée-to-be couldn't say no to one of her raw-textured 22-karat gold diamond engagement rings. Dec. 11–13;
Shibumi Gallery (Berkeley)
Local epicurean Vanessa Larson conceptualized her pantry subscription service, Saffron and Kumquats, while living in Paris, where she valiantly suffered an immersion in global cuisine. She offers a once-a-month, ethnically inspired box of provisions, which arrives at your door complete with recipes that provide a tasty overview of a culture’s gastronomic traditions. Look for black turtle beans and a chipotle-cumin spice mix in the Mexican box; they’re just waiting to be transformed into refritos and pork poblano stew. $120 for six-month subscription
Inspired by the good work happening at La Cocina, Omar Mamoon—a former volunteer at the SF-based nonprofit, which helps female immigrant entrepreneurs start their own food businesses—created Dough & Co., your new source for ready-to-bake gourmet cookie dough. Besides the virtuous ingredients in the chocolate chunk recipe (Madagascar vanilla, two kinds of chocolate, a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes), the mix uses zero preservatives and a ground chia seed mixture instead of eggs, which means that when you get the urge to break off a chunk of the raw stuff, you can go forth and savor. $99 for a one-month supply
What Lies Beneath
This month, Italian lingerie label La Perla will cut the ribbon on its first boutique in the city, a Union Square space designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, whose portfolio includes brick-and-mortar locations for Prada and Miu Miu. Lacy underpinnings will be displayed on gilded metal hangers (we’ve got our eye on the floral mesh collection from F/W ’14), and big spenders can try them on in the luxe espace privé: With sumptuous amethyst walls, tulle paneling, and confessional-inspired fretwork, we’re imagining this VIP lounge will emulate the ultimate boudoir. La Perla (Union Square)
Sparkle and Shine
Graff Diamonds in Union Square looks like a grand Beaux-Arts bank that sells jewels fit for monarchs, but their new Icon collection starts at just $5,000. We love the repeating-fan motif, inspired by the legendary “Hair and Jewel” coiffure designed in 1970 by the company’s founder, Laurence Graff. The simple geometry nods to the hairstyles of 18th-century Versailles and is adorned with “only the finest white diamonds.” A décolletage’s dream.
Graff Diamonds (Union Square)
The revolutionary heated outdoor Helios bench, by SoMa–based Galanter and Jones, now comes in a cozy loveseat. Although body contact isn’t the sole source of warmth, the intimate dimensions of the cast-stone lounge strongly encourage it. $4,200
Friends With Benefits
Can’t make your pal’s birthday party at Blue Plate? Buy her a celebratory bottle of Prosecco by proxy with Gratafy, an app that allows you to surprise friends and family with food and drink from a slew of local bars and restaurants. If you like your gifts with a philanthropic fringe benefit, try For Goodness Sake, which sells top-dollar private label wares, such as leather clutches and throw blankets, from a mobile gallery, donating a minimum of 25 percent of every purchase to charity. For Goodness Sake throw blankets, $270 each
Look no further than Berkeley’s new lifestyle shop Social Studies for such obscure handcrafted provisions for the home as incense pyres by Blackbird, Fig + Yarrow herbal steams, and charcoal facial soaps by Binchotan. And you thought your digs were well appointed. Silly goose. Social Studies
In just 14 days, the Kickstarter campaign launched by local photographer Al Barna and his wife, Randall Ann Homan, to fund a book about SF’s vintage neon signage, reached its $11,000 goal, proving that in a time of major changes in the city skyline (hello, Transbay!), these radiant relics are part of a brilliant and beloved urban legacy. In San Francisco Neon, released this month, you’ll find stories about signs that mark such spots as Doc’s Clock in the Mission and the glorious Castro Theatre. $33
ACRONYM OF THE MONTH
Origin: On your own time. A brusque directive, frequently used during times of low mental bandwidth, to indicate tasks to be performed outside of the present moment.
"Please search for your birth mother OYOT."
This article was published in 7x7's December/January 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.