Coolidge Corner Halloween Window Decorating Contest

Halloween contest_web

For the Love of Beauty

Elegance comes from being beautiful inside as outside.
Coco Chanel

Whether we revel in beauty products or go au naturel, we all have used some sort of product – plum lipstick or scented oil shampoo – on our natural canvas to enhance our beauty, femininity, and confidence.  Many of these products are readily available online or at big retail chains, but ultra special ones like the pure freshness of Italian Fa deodorant or the rainbow collection of Zoya natural nail polishes are usually found at independent stores such as Beauty & Style.


For over 20 years, Vicki White and Susan Fox have had an unwavering determination and passion, first working at local beauty stores and finally at their own boutique, Beauty & Style, with the goal of empowering women to feel more beautiful, confident, and elegant despite the rise of the likes of Sephora, Birchbox, and  A nice selection of beauty products from haircare to nail polishes from around the world can be found in this understated, independent store that is tucked away at the crossroads of Coolidge Corner and JFK Crossings.


When you feel like you need a little something to enhance your natural self, stop by Beauty & Style to explore the secrets that this store has to offer. Vicki and Susan will make your trip and experience worthwhile. You might find yourself selecting the perfect nail color for the season, testing out mineral makeup, or touching one of the oldest and best rubber-cushion hair brushes, the Mason Pearson.


Beauty & Style
326 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 734-2111

What inspired you to open your store?

We love makeup and beauty products, and we wanted to run our own business. It was a natural step for us since we knew the industry inside out to take the leap of faith to open Beauty & Style.



What do you like best about owning a store?

We love new products and how they make people feel. A lipstick can brighten someone’s day and a shade of polish can enhance their style. When we look at a magazine and see something great, we want to be the first to have it in store. More importantly, we love that our customers become our friends.


Do you like this location?

We both grew up here and graduated from Brookline High School. This is our community – we want to be a part of and support it.


What makes your store unique?

We are one of the oldest mom and pop beauty supply stores with products from around the world. We constantly update our store to provide the latest in beauty products to our customers. People from all over the world come through our store.


How do you balance everything as business women?

We do the best that we can as working moms. Sometimes we feel like hamsters in a cage that keeps on going. We are constantly thinking about the business.


What inspires you?

Making individuals feel and look good inspires us. It is the one thing that drives us every day. We just love beauty products. Smelling and touching these products can transform you; that’s enough to inspire anyone.


What would you advise other women?

Being a business owner is not for everyone. You must have the passion and perseverance to weather the ups and downs of a business.

What’s your favorite product?

We love skincare and makeup, and we explore different lines all the time.

What products would you recommend for this year?

We recommend products based on a customer’s preference, skin and hair conditions, and their expected results from the products. Generally, we would advise everyone to wear SPF year-round. The ultraviolet rays can really damage your skin.

What are your favorite local shops?

We love our community, and we try to support the merchants in this neighborhood.

Rock Your Confidence and Style with Vintage Chic


Self-expression in the form of embracing the latest social trends such as fashion and music often limits us from truly being unique and different. Hilken Mancini is the epitome of individuality through her life’s passion as a punk rocker, thrift shopper, co-founder of Punk Rock Aerobics, purveyor of vintage chic clothing, and founder of Girls Rock Campaign. She fronted the Boston-based rock band, Fuzzy, in the 1990’s and developed an interest in thrifting for great finds at affordable prices during her free time while on tour. With a collection of fashionable treasure troves combined with the need to earn some cash, an opportunity arose for her to sell some of her finds in a small area of a men’s only thrift store, Gumshoe, before becoming the owner of the entire store renamed 40 South. Getting dropped from her record label, she decided to create an anti-exercise class, Punk Rock Aerobics, which led her to become passionate about rock camp. With this interest, Hilken traveled to Oregon during the summers to teach girls music at a rock camp where it serendipitously led her to find her business partner and founder, Nora Allen-Wiles, of Girls Rock Campaign Boston.

                  Hilken Mancini, Owner of 40 South and Founder of Girls Rock Campaign 

Today, you will find Hilken inspiring and embracing self-expression through fashion at her carefully edited vintage boutique and music through the Girls Rock Campaign Boston both of which are located at 40 South Street in Jamaica Plain. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming display of rusted metal security shield on the windows with a big number 40 above the door. Once you walk in, you will find a hidden gem of fashion forward to classic pieces. In the back room is where the magic takes place with Girls Rock Campaign.


Want to learn how to rock some confidence and style? Venture to Jamaica Plain to unearth some vintage and modern clothing and accessories at an affordable price, while supporting an economical and ecological lifestyle. At the same time, check out how their kick-ass non-profit, Girls Rock Campaign, that “empowers girls to believe in themselves by providing a supportive community that fosters self-expression, confidence, and collaboration through musical education and performance.” If you never had a chance to express yourself musically, the same organization runs Ladies Rock Camp Boston. Learn more about what inspires Hilken below.

40 South
40 South Street



What inspired you to open your store? 

I was in a band called Fuzzy in the early 1990’s and I toured a lot. When you’re in a band, you don’t have a lot of money. You would get $10 to $15 for dinner and free time to go thrifting. I became inspired with the idea of discovering new things.


This specific store was a men’s only vintage store that was never opened. The owner was my next-door neighbor, Otto, who became my friend. Otto gave me an opportunity to put a rack of women’s stuff on the side and he showed me the way around the business. I would continue my discovery of stuff, clean them up, and put them on the rack. Eventually, the neighbor moved on to work with higher-end apparel.


What do you like best about owning a store?

Being completely independent. I also love clothing. When I find a vintage Pendleton dress, I get a high and endorphins are released. I love connecting people with the stuff and this is fun. When I had an important concert, I wanted to connect with the audience with the pieces that I found. I do have an Etsy store, but I like to connect with people more.


Where do you source your clothes? 

The sourcing of the business is the hardest part. All vintage stores such as Oona’s and Artifaktori have their own ways of finding their inventory. I go thrifting, hunting for things anywhere, including from people who passed away.


What makes your store unique?

I think every vintage store is unique. It’s because it’s mine and I find it and I put it out there. It’s my taste, my style, and my eye. When you have a store, you order pocket books from manufacturers, and it is your style but you did not make the piece. I find one piece for the store. Every person who has a vintage store has their own uniqueness in the way they source and find their items.


How do you balance everything as a business woman?

I make it work even with a boyfriend, dog, a business, and an organization. I don’t have kids and this is my baby. I made that decision. 40 South is my first born and Girls Rock is my second born. I’m obsessed with both my store and organization, and think about them all the time. If I were to have a kid, I would have to give up one of my babies.

What inspires you?

People. I like helping people and I want them to look and feel good. That’s why I’m not good with e-commerce given the disconnect. I have an Etsy store, but there’s no connection with my customers there. Similarly with online, someone can buy my piece and I wouldn’t know who they are. E-commerce is cool, but it is unhumane. Women like to be nurtured, and I help them get there through my store and camp. Not having kids is probably why I nurture them.

What would you advise other women? 

I would tell girls and women not to compare themselves to anyone else. If you are looking to be like others and fit in, you have to remember that you have to be yourself and do it your own way.

How would you describe your store?

It is kind of trashy rock’n roll that has become classier throughout the years. Each piece is handpicked with a diverse collection of men and women’s clothing and accessories. My prices aren’t high because of that. I’m not a high-end vintage boutique. Since I come from a DIY and rock’n roll aesthetics, I will always find something and make it work with what I have.


I have to keep the store fresh and up to style, and I’m always adding something new. Unlike unorganized thrift shops where clothes and household supplies were donated, I carefully curate, inspect, purchase, and clean the items before displaying the pieces in color-coded or styled specific sections of the store.

What is Girls Rock Campaign? 

I was doing punk rock aerobics in Portland, Oregon in 2000 at the original punk rock organization. While in Oregon, I met Nora, originally from Somerville, while smoking cigarettes, and we became smoking buds. Both Nora and I bonded. The second summer of the camp, we went out to lunch and said that someday we would do girls rock in Boston.  Several years passed and nothing ever unraveled from that conversation.  When I turned 40, my best friend, now Nora’s girlfriend, asked me now that I’m 40, where do I want to be. I said that I wished I could start a girl’s rock camp at which point I cried.  I told myself that I’m going to call that girl, Nora, and maybe she will move back to Boston and start a rock camp for girls with me. Both Nora and I were thinking of starting the camp, but we were scared to talk about it. On my 40th birthday, we did it.

IMG_4354                   Nora Allen-Wiles, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Rock Campaign

Abeille – The Joy of Creating


Many of us map out our lives in 5 to 10-year increments, starting off with a 4-year college plan followed by a career path in some profession that we think is set in stone and that will make us happy. This leaves us without much room for unexpected adventures . . . until one day we diverge off the mapped path and take the road less traveled (but more rewarding) as Lisa Trachtman did.

Lisa never expected to leave her fun-filled job at a global technology company to explore her creative side as a boutique and studio owner of Abeille in Brookline Village.  Taking this serendipitous and unplanned journey has allowed her to uncover the joy of creating – from her Hot Moroccan hand-made earrings (sold in the store and at Bloomingdales) to building out the floor and walls of her studio. Nearly everything in this unique and adorable shop has been handmade with love by Lisa, her staff, or other locally sourced artists.

While the store has been around for 5 years, we only recently discovered this hidden gem, which has surprised us on each and every visit. Our favorite pieces in the store are the leather wrapped semi-precious and precious stone bracelets, which you can learn to make in their Leather Weave Wrapped Bracelet classes. There’s one on Small Business Saturday, November 30th, at 1:30 PM. Register for it soon before it fills up.

If you have passed by Abeille but have not stopped in, we encourage you to BEE adventurous and visit this wonderful store; you never know what you will find, but we guarantee that it will be nothing short of extraordinary.




45 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02445

What inspired you to open your store?

Life! I came from a background where I had two cellphones and a laptop while running a 24×7 global technical support division. I traveled often and rarely took a moment to relax. For many of us, life is too fast paced.

So I wanted to create a place and safe haven that would allow others to escape – whether it is to make jewelry or explore a store full of treasures. We understand that hectic frenzy and provide a full-service solution for shoppers on the go.

Since I’m a do-it-yourselfer, Abeille has allowed me to create everything from jewelry to building out the back room from the floor to the walls. My husband and I added a floor and walls lined with shelves. The do-it-yourself is in all facets of this store and my life.



What does Abeille mean?

Abeille is French for bee. I love bees! My long-term goal is to be a bee-keeper once my son is old enough to help.

Bees are beautiful creatures with an amazing community that works together. Being a mom and a business owner, I believe, it takes a community to raise a family, and I believe in this community helping each other.

What do you like best about owning a store?

I truly love being part of the community. Owning this store and living in the neighborhood has allowed me to become a part of this community.  While I live in the Lincoln school district, I have become intrinsically connected to the Pierce and Saint Mary’s schools, activities and families.

What makes your store unique?

We support over 50 local artists. Many of our pieces are one of a kind. Every jewelry piece can be personalized and customized. This uniqueness makes it special. It’s not uncommon that we shorten or add something to any of the pieces for our customers.


A wide selection of hand-made jewelry, gifts, and clothing.


Beautiful glass plates made in Brookline by Jill Winitzer


Re-awakened Hats by Nancy Atkins


A collection of hand-made silk and felt scarves

How do you set yourself apart from big retail chains or online commerce?

Personalization! We know our customers. We know their wish lists. We also focus on the traditional loyalty program where we extend exclusive offers to our customers.

As a local store, we contribute 50% back to the community. We hire from Brookline – accountant, insurance agent, web designer, photographer and our team. For my personal purchases, I shop local first.

You mentioned that you work with a group of cancer patients, can you tell me more about that? 

We are proud to partner with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. We share our jewelry making skills with teen and tween patients and care providers at Dana Farber and Children’s Hospital. This month, Dana Farber invited us to participate in their annual teen weekend. Thirty girls spent an activity filled weekend in Boston. The Abeille team along with members of the Boston Volunteer Group, provided a one-on-one jewelry making experience with each of the girls while they were awaiting a professional photo shoot. It was amazing!

How do you balance everything as a mom and a business woman?

I hardly sleep. I eat kale three times a day and it keeps me going. I also have an amazing husband who is an amazing father. I have a great staff whom I consider my family.  I adore them and I’m very thankful to have them be apart of my life.

What motivates you?

I’m one of those people who is constantly doing something. I enjoy life and get the most out of it. For me, that’s interacting with people and sharing what I love.

What would you advise other women?

Running your own business is not for everyone. Before pursuing something non-traditional, you need to ensure you and your family are on the same page. Being in it together is really key to ensuring success and happiness. My husband and I both run our own businesses, and we help each other.

What are your favorite items in store that would be great holiday gifts?

There are so many great items in the store, but here are my latest picks:

1) Candles by Kirsty Allore ($26) made in Cambridge, MA. My favorite is the Tuberose. Pomodoro across the street uses these candles in their restaurant.



2) Hand-painted Boston ornaments ($28) are a great gift for anyone, especially for the Red Sox lovers.


3) Zodiac Constellation Necklaces ($38) made by a California designer.


4) Mixed-metal layered necklaces ($48 – $88). We make them ourselves. I love this collection of necklaces!


5) The Hot Moroccan Swarovski Earrings are made by me. They are sold at Abeille for $68 as well as at Bloomingdale’s. These earrings are replicas of vintage Swarovski crystals.


6) Organic cotton screen printed ninja shirts ($32) by Uni-T in Natick.


7)  An Li Liu hand printed t-shirts ($28). I love the owl print tees.


8) Handmade Nuno felted wool and silk scarf ($60). These scarves are absolutely beautiful!


Coco Baby: The Art of Creating a Boutique and Community Space



Coco Baby
1636 Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02118

Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you. In order to realize her passion and dream, Nicole Vale relish the risk of going from a comfortable corporate environment to that of a small boutique owner. During the past two years, there has been no limit to her ambitions to create and define her store, as Nicole has transformed a previous baby store into her own special boutique and community space. Every detail of the store – from the white contemporary lightings to the well-curated kids’ apparel – embraces unique designs for the style-conscious and eco-friendly parents. The store now offers a wide selection of high quality, hand-selected, made-to-order kids’ apparel, and is as aesthetically beautiful and charming as its surrounding South End neighborhood.


The local and community feel of the South End resonates throughout the store on the first level and downstairs in the community space known as the Little Lovage Club (formerly Coco Baby Play Space).  Jess Runnals, founder of Lovage Babyblends and Little Lovage Club, created a place to “share, learn, and love” for babies, children, and adults. Special events such as birthday parties and South End New Mom’s Group and weekly classes from Spanish to baby sign language are available to the local community.


With the holidays around the corner and the colder weather fast approaching, support local and stop by Coco Baby to pick up a lovely holiday outfit or cute cold weather accessories. Visit the Little Lovage Club and let your little ones play with the classic toys while shopping at Coco Baby.


In the meantime, learn about what keeps Nicole, a mother of two, inspired and tenacious in running Coco Baby.

What inspired you to open your store and leave the corporate world?

I always wanted to have a boutique. When I had my baby, Coco, I used to shop at this baby store where Coco Baby now resides. When I learned that the owners were moving away, I immediately asked if the store was for sale, and it wasn’t. But I still bought it from the owners anyways. In 8 weeks from the time I made my inquiry, I had the keys to the store. Initially, I was running the store and working at the same time, and it was too hard so I took a risk and focused all my energy and time on the store.

My children are an extension of my style. I wanted a store for moms who are style conscious and to select products that represent a level of style that these moms would feel proud of.  I also have a strong philosophy and belief that quality is important, so the products have to last. For example, my daughter, Camille, still wears Coco’s stuff.


How do you do it all?

I’m the luckiest girl. My husband is so supportive of my dream to run a business. He believes in me. He is the best dad ever, making breakfast for the girls, taking them to school, and cooking dinner for the family. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if it weren’t for my husband.


What do you like best about owning a store?

I love the creative outlet. The ability to create these beautiful images, beautiful store, express my style, express my children’s style. Owning this store feels like a gift everyday. I have a vision and I want to execute on it. It is hard to do that in a corporate job because you have a specific function.  As a business owner, I have to wear many hats and use both my analytical and creative side. I also love the sense of community here. I love my customers.




What do you think differentiates you from big box retailers and online stores?

Coco Baby has styles that are hand selected by me and cut-to-order. I bring in styles and I’m not afraid of being fashion forward and mature with the selection. I focus on products that have an eco-conscious manufacturing process, made in the U.S., and/or organic. We bring a lot of the brands to the Boston market before others. I really want to have a unique selection of baby clothes for kids 0 – 5 years.

The playroom downstairs fosters our values and sense of community. There’s no better way to share our space with the community than the Little Lovage Club.  The space was opened in October 2011 and Jess took over the space in August 2013.





What are your favorite local shops?

I love Modern and Lekker for home & decor. I shop at Olives and Grace where they carry local artisan gifts.  I am excited about L’Ecole Nuit that opened up on Mass Ave near Shawmut.

What outfit do you recommend for the holiday season? 

I love this dress and cardigan combo with leggings. It’s perfect for the holiday season.


This beautiful dress would be like wearing a Monet.


What events do you have coming up?

This month, Coco Baby will be opened late every Thursday until 8 PM. Stop by  for late shopping, champagne, cookies, and trunk shows this holiday season. RSVP to one or all of these events now!

November 7, 2013 – Samantha Faye Trunk Show

November 14, 2013 –  L’Ecole Nuit Lingerie

November 21, 2013 –  Sidetrack Products Green Line Cast Iron Subway Trains

Black Ink for Back to School

Black Ink offers what they call “unexpected necessities.” There is no easy way to classify all of the unique finds from this store. They range from small knick knacks to children’s toys and other essentials. With back to school around the corner, we decided to stop in and see how this local shop can help get you ready. Rather than heading to Target or Walmart, stop by Black Ink on Beacon Hill or Harvard Square and pick up some unique items, while supporting your local economy!

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Black Ink Boston
101 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-3883

Black Ink Cambridge
5 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 497-1221

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Stamps and notebooks2013-08-05 17.13.01

Gadgets for the new school year2013-08-05 17.13.11All sizes of notebooks and planners from $2.50 to $18.50

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Pencil case for $182013-08-05 17.15.22

Fun pens and cards in all colors

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Funky umbrellas in cool patterns for $20

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Take-out lunch container for $14.50

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Papers for covering textbooks

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Papers for covering textbooks
2013-08-05 17.17.56Fun ribbons to decorate

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Wrapping paper that can be used to cover textbooks

Continue to check back this month to see what other goods they have before school starts!

Baby Koo – Finding the Right Products at Your Local Baby Store

Inspiration. Passion. Friendship. 

Our personal needs are often incubators for pursuing our passion and dreams. In the case of Karina Meleger, a mom herself, unable to find eco-friendly products that she can touch and feel inspired her to create one of Boston area’s best modern nursery and baby store. Her customers have called her, “a lifesaver!” for her love and knowledge to curate and find the best baby products for each one of them based on their budget and lifestyle.  If she doesn’t have a particular product or information in her store, she openly refers her customers to other local baby stores.  Karina’s bottom line is to make life easier for the parents, and “If I can make it easier, then I did my job.”

Baby Koo
188 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464


While it is hard to build, sustain, and manage a small retail business, Karina absolutely loves what she does best – building strong relationships with her customers and serving as a no-nonsense resource on all eco-friendly, safe, practical, and stylish baby products and gears. “When you love what you do, it’s not work,” according to Karina. And the long-hours and chaos of running a retail business are eclipsed by the images of her customers’ newborn children sent from the hospital. That alone makes it all worth it!

Learn more about what inspires Karina and what are the best baby products! Great tips for parents-to-be.


What inspired you to open your store?

When I was pregnant, I was unable to find eco-friendly baby products in one place in the Boston area. Everything was online, and that made it hard to touch and feel the items. Not knowing anything about babies and not being able to find what I wanted for my child, I had a vision to create a baby store that carried safe, beautiful, and environmentally friendly products.


What motivates you?

I love coming to work and I can honestly say that I’m lucky. It’s a happy business. I enjoy what I do. My customers and the gratitude on their faces inspire and motivate me. The most gratifying moment of my job is when I get baby pictures emailed to me from the hospital. They CC me together with their family. To me, that’s inspiring. To me, it’s the relationship.


How do you decide what products to carry?

I carefully select items by where and how they are made, and they have to last and serve multiple purposes. I carry a large selection of furniture that is clean and beautiful. I don’t believe you have to spend a fortune to get a good product. If you are label hungry, that’s another thing. There are so many brands out there that perform better than mainstream products and cost half as much as what’s out there. I find a number of my vendors on Etsy, many of whom are innovative moms making beautiful products.

Sometimes I find great items on the streets that other moms are using. I often ask other moms and my customers what do they love and what they can’t live without.


What do you think differentiates you from other baby stores?

Unlike chains and big box stores, I try to understand my customers’ lifestyle and budget and I curate to a select number of products for them, rather than showing them the entire selection. I usually ask questions like:

  • What is your style?
  • How do you live?
  • What is your living space like?
  • Are you walkers or drivers?

What are your favorite local shops?

In Newton, I love Union Street. There are so many beautiful stores on this one street. In Brookline, I love Village Baby. I don’t carry older kids’ clothes so I love what they have.


What products would you recommend new parents?

If you are planning to nurse, the Breast Friend pillow is the best.

For toys, there’s nothing eco-friendly about this one, but I love the Mozart Cube.  It was the BEST gift that was given to my daughter, and I really want others to experience the same joy that my daughter, husband, and I had playing with it. If you love music, this is a must.


For strollers, my best advice is for parents to be honest with themselves.  If you’re not a walker already, you might not need to spend money on an all terrain stroller.  You can buy a simple and affordable umbrella. If you want to know about my favorite brands, I would say Peg Perego from Italy, Mutsy from the Netherlands, and Mamas & Papas from the UK.

For car seats, I love the Recaro booster, which is the only booster that comes with a harness, and it was sanity for my daughter on long trips.

For cribs, I like Spot On Square. It is a US family-owned company made in Scandinavia. The quality is amazing!

For winter hats, I love Tuff Kookooshka, which is made locally on Cape Cod.

For diaper pail, I recently found this stainless steel, non porous pail – by Ubbi — that won’t absorb ordor or require any filter. The best part is that you can use any trash bags, including your plastic grocery bags.









Treasures at Our Local Bookstore – Brookline Booksmith

While most people love the idea of “love local” and enjoy the vibrant communities that they live in, they do not necessarily equate their spending to supporting local stores that make their very neighborhoods vibrant. Often times, we find it easier to click a few buttons online than going to the store to make a purchase. Or we may find things cheaper online than at our local stores. There are actually great items (almost hidden treasures) at very reasonable prices at our neighborhood stores.  We decided to spend a few hours at our local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, in Coolidge Corner to discover and share wonderful finds that we love with you.

brookline booksmith 3

The Brookline Booksmith opened in 1961 with the slogan, “Dedicated to the fine art of browsing.” They have stayed true to that slogan ever since with people of all ages browsing the tables and shelves of books and unique items that you wouldn’t expect to find at a local bookstore.  Brookline Booksmith has everything you need to get through your summer reading list and to stock up on new gear for the school year!

You can find all of 2012’s Bestsellers in hardcover and paperback at the Booksmith.  While some online commerce sites like Amazon may have better prices, it’s clear that not by any striking difference (see table below). What really counts is the impact that any number of these books may have directly on the community. Rather than buying The Imperfectionists from Amazon for $12.29 (not including shipping), you can spend a few extra dollars and support the Booksmith. No one wants to see a local bookstore go out of business, especially when it’s the place to hangout and discover cool things.  Without supporting these local stores, even if there’s a slight price differential, our neighborhoods would not be the same. Imagine walking down Coolidge Corner and not seeing the Brookline Booksmith.

2012’s Bestsellers Price at Brookline Booksmith Price on Amazon
1. The Hunger Games 10.99 5.64
2. Fifty Shades of Grey 15.95 8.19
3. Catching Fire 12.99 10.28
4. Mockingjay 17.99 10.97
5. Bossypants 7.99 8.09
6. The Happiness Project 14.99 11.98
7. Fifty Shades Darker 15.99 8.19
8. The Imperfectionists 15 12.29
9. The Tiger’s Wife 15 12.02
10. This is How You Lose Her 26.95 18.78
11. Fifty Shades Freed 15.95 8.19
12. Game of Thrones 9.99 10.8
13. I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar 9.99 8.83
14. State of Wonder 15.99 12.46
15. Go the F*** to Sleep 14.99 9.64
16. The Night Circus 15 11.49
17. Managing Oneself 8.95 8.5
18. The Sense of an Ending 14.95 11.61
19. Tinkers (author is coming soon!)  14.95 10.11
20. You Are Here 14 11.39
21. A Clash of Kings 8.99 9.22
22. Cloud Atlas 15 12.74
23. Gone Girl 25 12.84
24. The Housekeeper and the Professor 15 11.67
25. In the Garden of Beasts 16 12.33

Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-6660

During our exploration at the Booksmith, we uncovered some hidden treasures from Piccadilly Essential Notebooks to hardcover classics. Check out our finds below.


Bargain Books at Better Prices than Online

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Art Supplies for the Van Gogh in You

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Decorating with Letters

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Keeping Organized with Recycled Bags

Pencil and change purses from $5 to $5.95

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Great Classics on Sale

Beautiful hard cover classics like Wuthering Heights for only $4.99

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Fun and Colorful School Supplies

Lily Pulitzer iPad 2 case for $32
Lap desks for $26

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Floral Notebooks 

Printed decomposition notebooks for $4.95 to $8.95

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Cute Journals and Notebooks 

Scripts notebooks from $3.99 to $7.99 in all colors and sizes

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Maps to Explore the World from Your Room

Maps for dorm room or study lounge for $25

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Eco-Friendly Lunch Bags 

Lunch boxes from $18 to $28

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Coffee on-the-go

Travel mugs for the early mornings for $13

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Moleskine Planners

Moleskine planners are great to keep track of your social and academic schedule.  The Booksmith carries various calendars, colors, and sizes.

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Explore the basement!

Be sure to check out the basement for used books!

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Fire Opal – A Gallery of American-Made Treasures

Inspired. Artisan. Dream.



From non-profit managers to local business owners, Sue Stein and her husband, Steve Murakishi, have been pursuing their passion to bring an artisan gallery of the best American-made jewelry, clothing, pottery, and home decor to two vibrant communities — Brookline and Jamaica Plain — since 1984.  While both stores offer similar handcrafted products, they have different personalities and collections to reflect their respective communities. Sue carefully curates a selection of beautiful clothing and jewelry for the Brookline location, which emanates charm and sophistication as you walk into the store. Steve brings out an eclectic and fun vibe in the hipster chic Jamaica Plain store that carries a wide selection of home decor from modern metal artwork to classic baroque mirrors as well as a plethora of wedding bands and fun jewelry.

We quickly and completely fell in love with these stores and their pieces after learning about how each one is created by the artist and selected by Sue or Steve. We hope you will stop in to say hi and admire old-fashion artisan crafts that have been redefined for the modern woman and man.

What inspired you to open your store?

“Fire Opal has been around 29 years. I previously worked in non-profit management and a gallery years ago. I discovered this world of jewelry and working with artists and loved it immediately. When this store was for sale, I thought it was a great fit and I decided to buy it.”

What are your most popular products?

“We focus a lot on clothing and jewelry, and everything is made in the US from over 200 local artists. It’s sort of a small American craft gallery. Clothing and engagement rings have really grown over the past few years. We choose every single piece based on colors, texture, how tailored it is to the body, and the versatility of the piece. When picking jewelry, we’re really picking a body of work that can go together really well. Because of this, the store is about 40% jewelry and 40% clothing.”

What do you think differentiates you from big box retailers and online stores, like Etsy?

“Etsy is not curated, so you have to weed through everything to find the interesting pieces. We find the real interesting pieces and bring them all here. What is so important with jewelry is the sizing and the quality, and you can’t tell that over the internet. You are also often stuck with the purchases you make even if something is wrong, whereas we just send it back to the artist to fix the issue.”

How would your existing customers describe your store?

“A lot of our customers like being able to come in, whether it’s for a gift or something for themselves. They’ll be able to find a large selection, all of great quality, and without having to go to the mall. The store is eclectic, but in a well curated way.”

What motivates you everyday?

“The challenge to keep a small business going, and keep a vibrant community around it.”

What are your favorite local shops?

“The Pod in Brookline Village and Tiny Hanger around the corner. I love shopping when on vacation, and I think a lot of our customers are that way. They hear about the store from friends or family, and then come back every year when they’re visiting.”

Brookline Location

The Brookline location offers a large selection of modern jewelry that stands out among the rest because of its elegant, yet practical appeal for all women.

Coolidge Corner
320 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 739-9066





JP Location

The Jamaica Plain location radiates a funkier vibe than its sister store in Brookline.  Like its culturally diverse and vibrant neighborhood, the store is a blend of different unique items that are hipster chic with a larger selection at different price points.

638 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 524-0262








A Dream Closet – Vintage Jewelry and Modern Boutique

Vintage. Chic. Worldly.

Inspired by her mom’s antique jewelry store in Edgartown, MA, Leaf Shea opened her Brookline boutique 19 years ago.  At first glance, it appears like a vintage consignment store, but this cozy and super eclectic shop is filled with unique treasures from around the world such as Moroccan belts, Turkish stoned jewelry, Swedish organic silver jewelry, and all new chic apparel. It’s a girl’s dream closet with pieces that are guaranteed to solicit compliments each and every time. The local shop is tucked away in Coolidge Corner waiting to be uncovered by the adventurous modern vintage fashionista.  If you are looking for something special for you or a friend, stop by Vintage and explore a world of treasure at this Brookline boutique.

1382b Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 739-3265

About Leaf Shea


What inspired you to open your store?

“Well my mother had a business and I worked all my teen years. I was working in the film business in Los Angeles and I hated the way people treated each other, so when my mother asked if I wanted to open up this store, I took the opportunity. When I first opened, I started carrying a lot of antique jewelry, and then began carrying clothing. Traveling influenced me a lot because I’ve been all over Europe, all through Mexico, and I love the different trends from all over the world.”

What do you like best about owning a store?

“I like the flexibility, with having a family and everything. It’s not like I’m trying to make a lot of money, I just love the people and the community. Coolidge Corner is great because you can walk down the street and know people. If it weren’t for the community, this store wouldn’t be here.”

What makes your store unique?

“I think that we just make people feel really comfortable. We help put together outfits, blending modern looks with antique jewelry. I mean a lot of people get compliments on the things they buy here. We’re not pushy; we let them shop at their leisure. It’s kinda like a big closet, with a great big jewelry box to put outfits together. ”

How would describe your store?

“We blend the new and old together. With new boutique clothing and antique vintage jewelry.We also carry lines from all over the world, like Sweden, Turkey, and India.”

What are your favorite local shops?

” Brookline Brooksmith. I like that it’s a real old-fashioned bookstore. It’s comfy and cozy, and doesn’t have the sterility of big stores like Barnes & Noble.”