Turquoise mascara and bottles of lotion. Purple nail polish and hair tonic potion. These are a few of our favorite things and we can buy them all at House of Beauty , a place where color-lovers in Philadelphia can find a mecca of products. They have the most extensive selection of nail polish we’ve seen in the city ranging from mustard yellow to electric magenta and if nail color isn’t enough, they also have racks of weaves and wigs.
House of Beauty, 1122 Chestnut St. 215.238.9191
For money-conscious folks who love going to dinner dressed to kill as much as getting sweaty running the trails of the Wissahickon, the City Sports buy-one-get-one shoe sale is necessary shopping. Not only can you pick up a great pair of running shoes for an upcoming race but you can also nab a pair of sandals, ballet flats or casual sneakers to slip on for the required post-race victory brunch. You’ve worked hard, you deserve it. Just like you deserve to eat that pile of French toast after you cross the finish line.
City Sports, 1608 Walnut St. citysports.com
We love the city equivalent of the garage sale, and one of our favorite areas to go thrifting is in the South Street District between Fourth and Fifth streets. Within a four-block radius, shoppers can thumb through the second-hand big-label fashions at Bella Boutique, dig through everything from vintage kitchenware to ’60s frocks at the Curiosity Shoppe, spruce up their closets with the carefully selected vintage pieces at Wilbur Vintage and discover all sorts of treasures they might “need” at Philadelphia AIDS Thrift. With all the money you save by shopping second-hand, you might even be able to afford a beer or two at Tattooed Moms when you’re done.
Wilbur Vintage, 716 S. Fourth St. 215.413.5809. wilburvintage.blogspot.com; Philadelphia Aids Thrift, 514 Bainbridge St. 215.922.3185. phillyaidsthrift.com; The Curiosity Shoppe, 529 S. Fourth St. 215.413.2301. areucurious.org; Bella Boutique, 527 S. Fourth St. 215.923.8174
For as long as there have been used bookstores, there have been used bookstore cats. Book Trader’s dearly departed Earl Grey once ruled as the city’s most regal bookstore cat. These days, it’s Bookhaven’s Holly that wears the crown. Friendly, fluffy and gray with white paws, the 14-year-old Holly—who’s been at the store for about eight years, estimates owner Rolf Andeer—can usually be found near the front door, greeting you as you walk in, or, in these cold winter months, perched atop a floor heating vent amid the stacks.
Bookhaven, 2202 Fairmount Ave. 215.235.3226
The cozy, well-stocked Avril 50 is a gold mine if you’re trying to get your hands on hard-to-find titles published both here and abroad, particularly those relating to art, music, politics, fashion and philosophy. Proprietor John Shahidi knows what’s what: When asked about two obscure, semi-annual international fashion mags, he instantly knew where they were published and when he was expecting them in. He’s quick with the recommendations, brews up a tremendous pot of gourmet coffee and espresso drinks and stocks plenty of international tobacco products, chocolates, teas and newspapers. You can easily spend hours browsing or chatting with John, but if you do, make sure to purchase something to help keep this shop alive.
Avril 50, 3406 Sansom St. 215.222.6108.
You’re walking around Center City and suddenly you have to take a leak, or, heaven forbid, drop the kids off at the pool. Unfortunately, many of the public restrooms in town make the loo in Trainspotting look like a suite at the Ritz-Carlton. You need two things: clean and safe. The restrooms at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square fit the bill. They’re clean and don’t smell like feces or the gagworthy scents some joints use to (unsuccessfully) cover up the smell of feces. And there’s always security guards wandering around the store, so you can usually do your thing in peace without worrying about getting jacked by thugs.
Barnes & Noble, 1805 Walnut St. 215.665.0716. bn.com