I don’t spend much time in malls anymore, which is odd because they used to be among my favorite places. Not only because I spent years working there, but because I love people-watching and shopping. Lately, well, they just don’t seem to have the same ‘magic,’ so I’ve had to search for other magical places.

I went to the Galleria the other day to visit the Hallmark store. (I’m sure it had an actual name.) Gone. It had a better card selection than Dierbergs. Can’t you always tell when someone takes the time to really shop for a card? It is so much nicer than the ‘just ran into Walgreens and this was the first one that said Happy Birthday, so here it is’ card. (Yes, I am card judgmental.) I was very disheartened; now where was I supposed to pick up the funny, sassy, somewhat mean birthday cards I send to my family? Was I actually going to have to hand-write something? Yes, I know that’s a lost art, but my writing is nearly illegible, so even if I did record my thoughts and wishes, no one could read them. I came home and looked at a recent card I’d picked up in Florida, which was a perfect expression of my personality: the right amount of sassy, ignorance and love. It is hard to get that combination. So I ordered some online at emilymcdowell.com. Check it out. I much prefer to shop for my cards in a brick and mortar store, so if anyone has suggestions, email me.

My next stop was a boutique in Kirkwood named Ginger & Mary Ann on West Jefferson Avenue. I’ve talked about my shopping challenges before, and to be honest, I am in a bit of a rut. My ‘uniform’ is straight-legged jeans, short boots and a flowy shirt. It is a fine look, but I’m bored with it. So I decided that instead of going to the mall, I would try to shop at a locally owned boutique and see if I could get out of my comfort zone. I met two friends there who had been instructed not to let me purchase jeans and/or flowy tops, but to make me try on interesting, new styles they would never expect me to pick out on my own. This included the ‘cold shoulder’ top. (Hated it. I know, who doesn’t have great shoulders? Apparently me!) Also, palazzo pants (was ready to hate them, but loved them). And there was this really bright, geometric-print coat that I never would have put on because, really, shouldn’t a coat be black or navy? I spent about two hours trying things on, getting opinions, consulting with the owner of the shop (Pam Debandt) and coming to the conclusion that shopping this way was pretty darn fun.

The other great shopping thing that happened this week was running into my daughter’s former kindergarten teacher, who now creates her own skincare line, Angel House! (It’s three degrees of separation in St. Louis, not six.) Angelique Bey, who taught my daughter how to read, is now providing people with lotions and potions to make their skin soft and supple. She has a whole line that is all natural and smells amazing! Check it out at angelhousestl.com.

I’ve lived in St. Louis my whole life and often forget about some of the great places we have here. ‘Keep Calm and Shop Local’ is my new motto.

Contact Patty at phannum@townandstyle.com.