Take a course in Inspiration 101

You know that creativity itch? Sometimes it comes out on the rainy days, or after a nice long walk at the beach and you find that perfect shell for a necklace. Or you see a new look in a magazine, what if I tried that? Maybe you need to save some money, what is better than a homemade gift? Nothing says I care, and I thought about you better than that. Who doesn't like to try new things? Maybe you are the type that prefers to soak up the creativity of others - nothing wrong with that - I know that I could never cut my own hair! I will show you five random ways to inspire, be inspired, or plain just appreciate the art of life.

photo credit: Meghan DiNapoli (Second Time Around, Newbury St)

Updated: June 28, 2010

Let's give it the ol' college try...

Second Time Around

176 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

I am always inspired to put a new spin on my outfits when I step into Second Time Around. Every time I am there I find something new that catches my eye. I immediately begin to rack my head for potential outfit matches so that I can justify a new purchase. I love the feeling of scoring a new piece of jewelry (especially earrings) that everyone asks about because it is just that unique. If this shop is not your cup of tea be sure to look out for others, thrift shops (especially STA) are a refreshing break from the mainstream typical mall fashions.

Will Charles Salon

11 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

The staff at Will Charles Salon are beyond talented and can take one look at you and match the best look. You want just a cut? Well they will give you a cut worth every nickel and penny. All of their stylists are trained in precision and patience to create a stunning look. Or if you want to add color, you truly could not be in better hands as they will artfully mix and create a look that will surely turn heads. A trip to Will Charles Salon can help turn your head into a work of art. Just add your smile.


100 CambridgeSide Place, Space E114, Cambridge, MA 02141

Sephora is my art playground, and my face is the canvas. If you want to try a fresh look I recommend talking to one of their salespeople who will give you a free mini makeover and teach you about the products they are applying. Or just wander the store and try the different products, but make sure you take advantage of live help - ask lots of questions! Bring your favorite magazines and actresses to try and recreate a look you admire. Makeup can easily be washed off so if you make a mistake, just try again. Sephora also sells prepackaged kits designed to create specific looks as you follow step by step instructions. One of my favorite ways to spend a rainy day is shopping in Sephora and then going home and playing with all my new purchases (and old ones too!).

Penzey's Spices

1293 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

A spice store might seem slightly out of place on a list that includes makeup, hair, and clothes, but not if you consider the fact that of pairing a great meal with a great look. You are embraced with the welcoming aromas of exotic spices from the minute you walk in the door. Everything from over 5 different types of cinnamon to specialty pepper flavorings can inspire even the least experienced chef in training! Add a little spice into your next meal and your guests will be raving. My personal favorite? California seasoned pepper - a mix of red and green pepper, garlic, tellicherry to name a few - spices up eggs, potatoes, salads, meats, in a subtle but flavorful manor. Check it out before your next date at your place and add some creativity into your recipe books.

Brookline Booksmith

279 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

My final suggestion is Brookline Booksmith. The store is in a great location, and full of used and new books alike. Authors often come and speak, do readings and signings of their work - leaving you with questions, answers, and maybe the yearning to read more, or write your own book. If you cannot find something they will happily help and you will know you are supporting a local business. Check out the cooking section for some books to make new foods, and then head back to Penzeys for your needed supplies. I enjoy picking out books in the new section and checking the basement for used copies so I can then save money and buy more books. Whatever your style, interest, or desire you will be sure to find what you are looking for at Brookline Booksmith.