This is the latest post in our regular series, Five Finds, in which Texas Monthly editors and contributors share favorite discoveries from our coverage of the state’s style, design, and travel scenes—and more. From off-the-radar boutiques to design trends that inspire us—and everything in between—we’ll share these gems with you at least once a month.
1. Madewell’s Experiential Shop
Madewell chose Austin for its its first Madewell Commons location, which opened at the end of July at 1327 South Congress. The new retail concept features a flexible store design that will be constantly changing as it hosts local makers, panel discussions, workshops, live music, and more, including the recent DIY wall-hanging workshop with Austin’s Ellen Bruxvoort of Fibrous. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, visit Madewell Commons. —Lauren Smith Ford
2. The Prettiest Rocking Horse
Last Christmas, Casey and Liz McGlaun refurbished a wooden rocking horse they’d built for their daughter a generation ago, with no intention of launching a business. But after their “Bandito Gold” updates went viral on Facebook, inquiries came from around the world. The Palo Pinto homebuilders suddenly had a side gig, Palo Pinto Rocking Horses, taking forty hours per custom-ordered horse. Then Casey, a former bull rider and PRCA Texas Circuit Rookie of the Year 1984, developed a bucking-bull version on a convex base that rocks and spins. While the horses are more elaborate—with detailed saddles and tack, and real manes, tails, and horseshoes—all are masterpieces made from Texas-sourced wood, typically hundreds of years old. “Lumber today isn’t the same. It’s grown and treated differently,” says Casey. Orders can be modeled on real-life animals, down to their markings and brands. Horses from $1,800, bulls from $1,100. —Jean Scheidnes
Custom creations from Palo Pinto Rocking Horses.
The casita deck at Fire Song Ranch in Spicewood.
3. Gaia’s New Digs
Gaia for Women, the Dallas-based fashion and home accessories retailer (named for the Greek goddess of the earth) that works with refugees in the DFW area to make style-forward jewelry, handbags, pillows, and more, moved into a new space uptown. The converted carriage house serves as the company’s design studio, workspace, and its first retail store. In addition to the Gaia collection, it also carres a curated assortment of other give-back, artisan-made lines to complement the collection. The new space will host events and workshops, some led by Gaia’s dynamic founder, Paula Minnis. —L.S.F.
4. New Hill Country Retreat
There’s a fresh lodging in Spicewood called the Fire Song Ranch. Set on fifteen acres, the ranch has two accommodation options—a rustic yet luxurious casita with an expansive 600-foot deck, or NDotto, a safari tent stocked with all the necessities for a relaxing weekend escape—a hot tub, outdoor shower, and vintage board games. —L.S.F.
5. Frames for Kids
Just in time for back-to-school shopping, the hippest-of-hip eyewear brand Warby Parker is bringing its brand for the minis, Warby Parker for Kids, to Dallas’s NorthPark Center and Fort Worth’s West Bend, with a junior collection for eight years and older and a junior junior collection for kids between the ages of four and seven. The brand uses a one-for-one model in which, for every pair of frames sold, a pair is distributed to a child in need, through nonprofit partners and Warby Parker’s Pupils Project. Preview the new collection at Warby Parker.—L.S.F.
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