A frequent winner of Diablo magazine’s Best Maternity Couture Shop in the East Bay award, Stork’s Nest delivers a chic bundle of maternity and baby clothes and nursery accessories. Maternity clothes in a variety of styles, from seersucker dresses ($96) to vertigo pants ($64), snuggle up to their baby-size offspring. In addition to chromosome-specific Baby Brother onesies ($33) and Toni Tierney bluebird dresses ($51), gender-neutral clothes such as Trumpette knit hoodies ($27) keep both boys and girls stylish and un-naked. Stork's Nest also carries a cozy collection of nursery accessories from chenille baby blankets ($32–$64) to mobiles that sing nightly Metallica lullabies.
Studio Seven Arts, voted Best Art Gallery of 2011 by Diablo magazine's readers, is bedecked in one-of-a-kind fine art, handcrafted jewelry, and eclectic crafts, fostering an inspiring backdrop to their custom-framing services. The staff members curate a collection of American art pieces, including locally made creations, displaying handcrafted fine jewelry and skillfully made crafts that can be both functional and decorative—much like a scarecrow in a sundress. The gallery’s in-house framing artisans draw upon 25 years of experience to build custom frames for such treasures as paintings, photos, diplomas, and mirrors of any shape or size. Frames can be outfitted with wood to match any room’s décor, and with a variety of glass options that can block the bleaching effects of sunlight and scribblings of pets who feel they ought to be in all the family photos.
Though LillyEllenDesigns has sold hundreds of jewelry pieces stamped with family names, there's only one name behind the business—Karey. Working on her own, Karey punches, sands, and stamps all of the discs that go on her necklaces and key rings. The stamping process is what turns them into personalized keepsakes, and she can add children's names, birth dates, and even entire messages to her pendants.
Some of the discs commemorate events, such as a wedding or holiday, and others honor relationships, whether it's between parents and their children or teachers and their most trusty protractors. Karey also makes customizable jewelry for kids, including necklaces with charms such as flip-flop sandals, flowers, and ladybugs.
Launched more than three decades ago, Site for Sore Eyes now operates in more than 35 showrooms throughout the Bay Area. Staffers at every location share their dedication when pairing customers with head-turning eyewear and contacts. The company offers a $25 warranty that secures all of its products, replacing broken frames for free and furnishing half-price replacements for glasses that are lost, stolen, or transformed into an acorn squash. In case eyes require prescription tweaks, each shop sits next door to California-licensed Sterling VisionCare doctors of optometry.
Charmelle 28 features high-quality lingerie from renowned European designers such as Aubade, Marie Jo, Lise Charmel, and PrimaDonna. Delicate camisoles, lacey bras, and seamless panties fill the store’s racks and tables at two area locations, where expert staffers are on-hand to make recommendations and take measurements. Charmelle 28’s stock of underthings also includes low-key sleepwear as well as hosiery and more risqué bustiers.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand—despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase—is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.