Happy 100th Birthday Chuck Williams October 02 2015, 0 Comments
100 years ago today, Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma was born. Some of you might know that my background in retail merchandising began at Williams-Sonoma and I've always been a huge fan of the company. Chuck is an interesting man who bought a hardware store in Sonoma in 1953 and at that moment he started it all. He was a creative and inspirational foodie, who traveled with friends to Europe post-war by steamship and noticed the gorgeous, quality cookware and edibles in Milan, Paris and Florence that in America, we just didn't have access too.
Williams-Sonoma became Chuck's "hardware store" meets "specialty european cookware" retail creation. In the '70's he launched his catalog business and it was not long before he sold Williams-Sonoma, and the company went public some years later. Chuck stayed on the board, and was active. He's made a name for himself as a cookbook author and it is rumored that he still sometimes edits Williams-Sonoma catalogs. Today WSI is a global company with over 6 brands and hundreds of store locations from Sydney, to Kuwait.
In my early days at Williams-Sonoma, I was working as a low level merchant setting up products and training to be a buyer. Someone at our office organized a holiday party which involved a good old fashioned bake-off (a baking contest). I'm not much of a baker, but I decided to throw my hat in the ring and bake some classic and understated shortbread cookies which I rolled in pistachios with cardamom. Similar recipe here. Chuck showed up to judge the bake-off! At the event, all the baked goods were tasted by a panel and Chuck (being a mid nineties man) was very soft spoken and quiet. He didn't weigh in much on the contestants or goodies until all the prizes were given out. "My cookies didn't stand a chance", I thought to myself. Prize winners included cakes shaped like our best-selling sofas with pantone perfect marzipan upholstery, and cupcakes expertly dressed in fancy buttercream frosting, cookies bedazzled with toppings and boasting century-old family recipes. At the end of the judging, recognizing Chuck had been very quiet in the process, someone said to him, "well, thanks for coming, any final words?".
He slowly leaned over, reached down to the table and grabbed one of my shortbread cookies and held it up in the air, he exclaimed "this is the best darn cookie I've ever tasted!" I couldn't believe it! No awards, but honorable mention it is!
I'll never forget the smile on my face in that moment and pride that ran through my body. A silly small human moment. Happy birthday Chuck and cheers to your hardware store turned great American dream. You will always be remembered at our stoves and pantries as you've inspired many great American meals.
Photo credits: Taste, Williams-Sonoma Inc.
Lite + Cycle Sun Stick September 10 2015, 0 Comments
Owner of Lite + Cycle, Kristi Head's latest creation is to die for and (consistent with her luscious candles) she doesn't skimp on quality.
It is so yummy and the answer to your peeling nose problems. Just chuck it in your bag and keep it handy all year long because you never know when you're going to want sun protection on your hands, face or ... anywhere.
Recipe - Cacao Honey Granola September 10 2015, 0 Comments
You won't be surprised to hear that we practice what we preach when it comes to our edibles. We're constantly marking Almond Butters out of stock to slather on toast and chopping up single origin chocolate for baking and nibbling. We call it "perks of the job". That said, sometimes it doesn't seem quite fair not to share it when we create something delicious with our very own goods.
Cacao Honey Granola
- 6 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can also use coconut oil or walnut oil)
- 1/2 cup Wild Sage Honey
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds are all good candidates)
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Handful of Cacao Beans (husked/shelled and broken up into nibs)
- Feel free to add a splash of vanilla extract, some seeds (chia, flax or even sunflower), and cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. There is a lot you can do with this recipe so feel free to play!
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix Oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, spices, salt, with honey and oil in a large bowl. If you need more moisture to fully coat the dry ingredients, add a splash more of oil. Turn out onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes increments stirring in between until batch is at desired golden toasty appearance. Cool on drying rack. Once cool add cacao nibs, dried fruit. Voila! Serve with yoghurt, milk, ice cream, as a snack by itself, or even on an acai bowl.
The Chicken Tax - The Real Reason You've Never Seen A Truck Like Ours August 18 2015, 0 Comments
Customers are always wondering about our Volkswagen Vanagon Truck. Not only do they wonder how we had the crazy idea to morph it into our "rolling shoppe" for our store, but they wonder why they've never seen that specific model before.
Usually we ask customers if they can think of one foreign truck on the market. No? You can thank the "Chicken Tax".
In the early sixties, the U.S was exporting a huge amount of chicken to Europe which was driving down the price of locally grown birds in the French and German markets and putting farmers out of business. To protect their poultry industry, a tariff was placed on the importation of U.S. chicken to France and West Germany. As a response, in 1963 there was a 25% tariff placed on potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light trucks to the U.S. under Lyndon B. Johnson.
Recently we found this awesome NPR episode on "Planet Money" that explains more about how chicken forever changed the auto industry in the U.S.
Honey & Turmeric Facial Mask - For Glowing Summer Skin July 08 2015, 0 Comments
Do you ever find out about a secret that's just too good to keep? Well this one just can't be kept quiet anymore.
One of our favorite uses for our Wild Sage Honey is as a main ingredient in a homemade facial mask that can help reduce inflammation, acne, blemishes, and reduce scarring as well as provide the skin with antioxidant properties and anti-redness. This mask can also help with rosacea, wrinkles and fine lines. Sounds like a miracle right? Turmeric and Honey masks have been used in ancient Chinese and ayurvedic Indian Medicine and when used often can really provide amazing complexion results.
- 1 tsp natural yoghurt
- 1 tsp Wild Sage Honey
- 1 tsp Turmeric
(Optional squeeze of lemon for slight skin lightening)
Mix together and apply to clean dry face (don't forget to put it under your eyes). Leave for at least 20 minutes and keep clear of any clothing as turmeric does stain.
Rinse completely with warm water. Your face might be slightly and temporarily yellow sort of like an "oompa loompa" or Bart Simpson so be sure to use a toner afterwards to reduce the look of yellow skin. Use up to three times a week. See results after a few weeks.
Enjoy the glow!
Emily Proud: Watercolor Originals for Half Hitch Goods June 24 2015, 0 Comments
Emily Proud is a California native who is taking the San Francisco art scene by storm with her unique watercolor style, color use, and ability to exercise control. She plays with fine lines as well as looser intentional bleeding and shading, pushing her medium. Emily plays with various techniques and the inherent properties of watercolor in order to establish a very unique look across her collection of work.
We have been lucky enough to get a hold of four of her original works that represent the lightness of summer. If you fall in love with one of these please snap it up quickly, they are all one-of-a-kind.
Trunk Show X Mohinders June 23 2015, 0 Comments
We can't wait to showcase these gorgeous, detailed shoes by Mohinders made by hand in India. Constructed of high quality leather, durable and comfortable soles, not to mention a totally unique look! Come on out and meet owner, Michael Paratore with us at Proxy In Hayes Valley S.F. this Saturday. Details below....
Dainty Gold Jewelry by Hortense June 17 2015, 0 Comments
The most delicate and simple 14k gold Hortense necklaces and bracelets hit the online shop this week! We are loving the new colors of "Wish Me Luck" Bracelets which are a staple. Her gold necklaces in rose and yellow gold with such simple designs you can make a subtle impact with just the right amount of sparkle. Made in California by hand.
Photo by Charlie Gressett for Design Sponge
Super Fly: Sailing Ship Kites June 01 2015, 0 Comments
New for summer: Designed in Brooklyn at Haptic Lab and made by artisans in Bali our sailing ship kites are the most quintessential summer decor element not to mention an homage to "play". So get off your phone and get outside with the breeze on your back and fly one of these ship kites (choose white or indigo).
Checkout simple assembly video below...
Launching Our Newest Collection: For The Littles June 01 2015, 0 Comments
Introducing: The Madre Gift Box For Mother's Day April 30 2015, 0 Comments
We are proud to announce our first gift box offer with Mother's Day in mind. We have to admit, it's pretty killer. Details for ordering are here. Order by Sunday May 3 for USPS delivery or available for local SF pickup as well. Quantities limited!
Men: Notoriously Hard to Buy For? March 18 2015, 0 Comments
They can't be that hard to buy for, Men. So why is it always so tricky? Our theory is that it is because they are particular and they don't want a lot of "stuff" around.
We think men are easy to buy for, take it from us: When buying gifts for men, try to focus on delicious edibles, luscious body products, a nice beard oil, and even a great tea. Then every few years, guys love a new belt or leather item, or even something extraordinary and one of a kind. Like one of our handmade items but want to order something special and slightly different? No harm in asking. For special orders or for guidance just send us a note email@example.com. We're always happy to help!
Trunk Show X AYK March 10 2015, 0 Comments
Come out and shop our collection and not to mention the divine leather goods by AYK. We are raising awareness for designer Angie Kim's Kickstarter to take her handmade bag business to the next level. Best part is, all you have to do to donate is buy a bag (queue the drool!).
Hope to see you all there! We will be out with our collection on Sunday March 15th too (just no AYK) so hope you folks can make it on Saturday.
Baby I'm Yours - Barbara Lewis February 03 2015, 0 Comments
She still has it now, 50 years later - Barbara Lewis, Baby I'm Yours.
Cupid's Bodega - A Valentine's Day Shopping Event February 03 2015, 0 Comments
Trunk Show X Lilikoi Design + Letterpress December 09 2014, 0 Comments
Come out and meet us for a special trunk show at Proxy this Sunday in San Francisco on our truck with Lilikoi Design + Letterpress. Designer Andria Sato will be with us showing her holiday cards and giftables. Also, if you come on down, you can hand print coasters on the spot. See you there!
Black Friday Deals You Won't Want To Miss November 27 2014, 0 Comments
Black Friday can be really overwhelming, here are some local deals that you won't want to miss out on in the bay area (and most are online too for out of towners!). We know you've been “shopping small” all year long, and now is the time to continue that trend. Time to kick start your holiday shopping with deals, and using your purchase power to make an impact for small businesses. Here are some of the deals we know about....
- Half Hitch Goods: 11/28-12/1, take 20% off all orders $150+ with code BLACKANDWHITE
- Seed Store: 11/28 20% off jeans and jackets. 11/29 free gift wrap a free tote with any purchase over $100 and 20% off accessories. 11/30 raffle and a kid’s gift and card making station with Milk and cookies (11a-2p). 12/1 free shipping online and 20% off on all orders
- Cara Bella Skin Care: Offering discounted signature facial ($45 regular $150) and peel ($49 regular price $400) now - 11/30
- Foggy Notion: 11/28 Hosting a trunk show with Key & Kite showcasing wooden pendant jewelry, and decorative objects
- Anomie: 30% off all orders $50+ on 11/28; 20% off all orders $50+ from 12/1-12/7
- Reliquary: 11/28 free RELIQUARY tote bag giveaway to anyone who spends over $200. Plus 10% off online on 12/1 with code HOLIDAZE
- Merch: 11/28-12/1 10% off jewelry
- Legion: 11/28-12/6 teaming up with St. Anthony’s. Donate a gently used jacket or coat, get 20% off any new item
- Sweet & Spark: 11/28-12/1 25% off with code SHARETHESPARK25
- Acrimony: 11/28-11/30 30% off online and in store; extra 10% off on Friday only (that’s 40% people!)
- Podolls: 11/28-12/1 20% off all Podolls Brand online and in store; free shipping and a “Slowness Is Beauty” tote bag with purchase over $150
- Gather: 11/28-12/1 20% off orders $200+, and 10% off orders $100+ online and in store with code HOLIDAYKICKOFF10
- Freda Salvador: 30% off in store and online 11/28-12/1
- Dish: Free perfume with every purchase 11/28-12/1
- Social Studies: 15% off purchases $100+, 20% off purchases $200+ and free gift with purchases over $300
HELEN LEVI - BROOKLYN, NY November 20 2014, 0 Comments
Almost two years ago Helen Levi introduced herself, I took one look at her work and it resonated immediately. We decided to work together. I think I was her second wholesale account or maybe first five.
I wanted to take a minute to write a little bit about our connection with Helen and if you aren't much of a reader, skip down to the pictures below. Britton took some photographs of Helen's pottery studio when we were in Brooklyn in the spring. Since March, we've been saving the photos to release when we were back in stock on her goods. Well, we are back in stock (but not for long!). Shop the collection here.
Helen's aesthetic is grounded in the contrast in settings of her past. She grew up between the chic and modern city of Manhattan, and a rustic country residence in rural New York. The polarities come through in her work, for example, perhaps in her decision to juxtapose clean simple glazes with dark brown rustic clay, contrasting tones and colors, or giving sleek glazes an organic drippy effect on a modern silhouette.
Similarly, when folks ask about the aesthetic of Half Hitch Goods, I always try to describe it. Essentially, it's all about the tension between polarities that we are drawn to with the Half Hitch look. Anytime you mix: rustic with clean, modern and vintage, bright and dull. You have a tension that is magnetic. That is the "je ne sais quoi" that Helen's ceramics embody as well. Usually we attain this through our mix of goods, but in regards to Helen, her ceramics are a total embodiment of that which is "Half Hitch".
Expect The Unexpected
No two pieces are alike, in fact Helen is not interested in replicating things, or repeating, or even attaining perfection. We share the love of that distance from perfection. It is easy for us to embrace, as it's more natural for all of us.
An Every Day Art
Ceramics are an art with purpose, instead of being conceptual, her pieces are more physical. Less about the idea of the art and more about the process, and the physics of the finished product. I love to think of Helen Levi Pottery as an art frozen in time and artful things you are meant to live with.
All of our pieces by Helen Levi have been made individually by Helen, and most of them were co-designed. We work together on dreaming up functional and emotional pieces that you'll find useful in your daily your life. Embrace and treasure the lack of precision in Helen's pieces and in your life. See the collection here.
Popcorn Party November 20 2014, 0 Comments
Entertaining is always something we wish we could do more of. When budget and time are an issue, try making a simple duo of sweet and salty popcorn for your guests and build out a little easy snack spread. It's simple, inexpensive, not to mention delicious. We made two kinds of popcorn for a "Lady Shop Owners Social" we hosted the other night: Salted Caramel and Parmesan Truffle Oil. Here's what you'll need and how to do it.
- Truffle Oil (if you prefer savory with a little finely grated parmesan)
- Caramel Sauce (if you go the sweet route, even add a little bit of vanilla salt)
Trunk Show X Young In The Mountains November 12 2014, 0 Comments
Two Year Anniversary Promotion October 30 2014, 0 Comments
Hey everyone, it's been a wild last couple of years! Thanks for joining us on this crazy journey while we find the most high quality products, grounded in stories and meaning. Today only (Thursday 10/30) take 20% off all orders over $100 with code CHEERS2YEARS. Don't delay or we might run out of what you are eyeing!
Trunk Show X Ella Lou October 21 2014, 0 Comments
Non-Perishable Goods - Portland, OR October 16 2014, 0 Comments
It was the tail end of the summer, and we were dying to hit the road again. We headed north until we got to Portland and paid a visit to one of our design partners Shay Carrillo and Elizabeth Baena of Non-Perishable Goods.
Arriving, we noticed an amazing vintage Dodge van in the driveway with total #campvibes and we knew we were in the right place. We went around the side of Shay's home to the back to discover a little green oasis and a perfect little garden party was all set up and waiting for us. Fresh figs that matched back to the olive green linens with Stumptown cold brew and gluten-free pastries. So impressed with the presentation and company, we sat and instantly connected. Having all lived in San Francisco at one point, we had a lot in common. We discussed our mutual love for beautiful, hand crafted things, and told stories of how we came to do what we love, and love what we do. I learned about how the two partners met, and about their shared love for indigenous craft and U.S. made items as well. Shay and Elizabeth blend their efforts, passions and sensibilities to come up with NPG, their textile and design company.
Inspired by their energy, knowledge and journey. Here is a glimpse at their garden workspace below. Shop our collection of their cocktail napkins and everyday napkins as well as children's crayon wallets. Also, (at the very bottom...) see our recent feature with their cocktail napkins in the new Gluten Free Forever Magazine.
The Northern Sky // Britton Caillouette October 15 2014, 0 Comments
I guess you could say it is sort of a myth that Britton and I work together on Half Hitch Goods. My husband and by default, silent partner (Britton Caillouette) is my photographer for most of what you see on our Journal here and he certainly offers daily help, opinions and support with the business. But Britton is actually also a film director. Here is his most recent release that I thought might get us all ready to ride the mountains this winter. The short film is called The Northern Sky. It is described as "...An intimate, raw and unique look inside the mind of snowboarder, shaper, and surfer, Taro Tamai. It’s a movie that snowboarders, surfers, and anyone with a work ethic alike can enjoy and appreciate."
Brit is known for his intimate portraiture and documentary style approach to filmmaking. He made a critically acclaimed film called Sliding Liberia, a few years ago with Nicholai Lidow. The film is nearly impossible to obtain a hard copy of, but if you can view, is amazing. He's always stewing on many creative ideas but currently is working as a commercial director signed with Farm League. It seems odd to post this about him, maybe boastful and not humble. But sometimes I'm so proud of his beautiful work that it seems so selfish not to share it. Known for going to the belly of the beast, to deep parts of the world that are rarely photographed, it seems most relevant to explore his work today in light of all of the war, disease and unease that the world is facing at the moment.
From our family to yours, enjoy!
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