Monday, June 17, 2013

I grew up taking trips to American beaches on the East Coast.  The beaches of my childhood were forty story Holiday Inn's across the street from a four hundred yard stretch of sand, populated by twenty rows deep of day camps for extended families.  Each had every available float, game, squirt gun and snack.   Don't get me wrong, I love American beaches; boardwalks with saltwater taffy and carnival games, driving into town for mini-golf and a movie when the family got too sunburned on the third day to stay in the water a minute longer.   In January we took a trip to Tulum and my idea of what a beach could be was fundamentally changed.
If you haven't been yourself, Tulum is likely the place all of your friends have been telling you to get to over the last couple of years.  The water is a five shades of turquoise and so clear that you can take a kayak or paddle board out to the reef and see straight to the bottom.  Everyone that goes turns into a devoted evangelist, and for good reason.   We loved it so much that we went back for a short three day trip in June.   While it's a region you could explore for a lifetime, you can still pack a fulfilling and relaxing trip in just a few days.
It's a short flight into Cancun.  A taxi will cost you about $100 each way and you can get a car for around $150 for the week.  Beyond the obvious savings off the top you will find yourself needing to restock water, bug spray and sunblock at the supermarket in town, so having a car is super convenient. I would recommend just doing a carry-on and grabbing toiletries at the supermarket as well.  You'll be in a swimsuit all week and every restaurant is casual so you can pack light.  You'll get through customs much quicker and be on your way in minutes.

We loved Mezzanine so much that we couldn't imagine looking for another hotel this time.  The entire staff of the hotel and restaurant was the same between trips, which in an industry with such high turn-over, speaks volumes about the place.  From your amazing two story room you'll get a view of the jungle from one side and a jaw-dropping beach on the other.  The design of the exterior spaces of the hotel are absolutely perfect.  There are several small vignettes that are connected but seem completely private.   The restaurant is, hands down, the best Thai food I have ever eaten and their breakfast and beach fare are on par too.

The sunrises are stunning and absolutely worth waking up for.  Mezzanine delivers a basket of delicious coffee to your door every morning which makes the wake-up even easier.  I recommend taking a walk up the beach after your sunrise coffee.  There is a corner about quarter of a mile north after which you'll see a Mayan temple on a cliff over the ocean.  I take that walk several times a day and it never loses its magic.
If you are there in the summer the heat is pretty intense.  The ocean is so warm that it only provides marginal relief but luckily the entire region is dotted with cenotes.  Cenotes are these magical swimming holes created where a network of underground rivers opens in various places.  They are bathed in light and surrounded by lush jungle vegetation.  You typically pay someone who mans them a few pesos to enter.  Each one is so different that it's really worth traveling around and viewing as many as you can.
La Zebra is a hotel and restaurant run by the same folks that own Mezzanine.  It's great traditional Mexican food, and I would highly recommend it as a lunch stop.  Other noteworthy dining options are Posada Margherita which serves up fresh (as in they start making the pasta when you order) Italian.  Our favorite pick for drinks and dinner has got to be Hartwood.  Everything is cooked on a wood burning oven or grill in an open air kitchen with local, fresh ingredients.
The height of summer is technically their slow season so if you go in the summer you'll find the beaches absolutely empty (as opposed to mostly empty) and several of the restaurants are closed.  Personally I feel like the restaurants that can bring in enough business to stay open during the off season (or still demand a wait like Hartwood) are the ones worth going to anyway.
Day two you'll probably want to check out the Tulum ruins.  To be honest, they are pretty underwhelming.  You can't really go on or through anything and it's somehow 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the city.  But it's close and it's one of those things you feel like you should do since you're there even though I am telling you not to, and it doesn't really take very long, so why not?  If you have more than a few days there are some really amazing Mayan archeological sites in the area that are worth seeing.  
We were taking a walk along the rocks one day (in January) and met this dude.  He is one of the raddest dogs I have ever met.  You'll see a lot of sad dogs wandering along the highways and felt like this sweet boy probably had a similar life, but then the next morning we saw him running up the beach with his owner and got the sense that he had a pretty awesome life.  He joined us for our walk and I was really excited when we crossed paths again this last trip.   If you meet him, say hi for us. 

The beach road ends at the Sian Ka'an biosphere.  There is one hotel down there, situated on strip of sand between the bay and ocean.  They have a roof top bar where you can take in a pretty incredible sunset overlooking the bay.  
While everything is off the grid and powered by solar or wind, wi-fi is still surprisingly fast and available.  If you are in an industry where you can work remotely it's a wonderful and inexpensive place to change your workplace scenery for a bit.  We are already planning a third trip down, maybe we'll see you there. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alter Ego

We were inspired by the Superhero theme for Origins Game Fair 2013, going on this week in Columbus. So we thought, what if the superhero alter ego's were shopping here? What would they buy?
1. Marin Hat - in store only
6. Baxter Tortoise Shell Comb - in store only

4. Pintuck Pencil Skirt - in store only
5. Black Enamel Ring - in store only
6. Black Burlap Toms - in store only

1. Vintage Horse Shoe Horn - in store only
5. Chrome Badger Shaving Brush - in store only
1. Isabel Dress - in store only
4. Invisible Ink Pens - in store only
6. Canaflecha Bangle - in store only

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

this has nothing to do with anything

On the local "news" this morning, they showed Kelly Clarkson's Since You Been Gone video as it is apparently her birthday.  That video always makes me laugh.

You might not know that before Josh was the king of the Tigertree empire, he was a commercial and video actor.  He happens to be the drummer in the aforementioned video and he made some pretty good commercials in his time.

He is going to be mad at me for posting this, but check him out as the star in the below Italian car commercial, the guitar player in the garage band in a Pepsi commercial and of course as the drummer in that catchy little tune from the original American Idol!

(Sorry, Josh.)

Renault Car Commercial
Pepsi Super Bowl Commercial
Kelly Clarkson "Since You Been Gone" Video

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring TOMS are Here!

While there are a faithful few who sport TOMS shoes year round in our chilly Ohio climate, for most of us breaking out our favorite styles is a sure sign that spring has come.  This season, we have some new limited run styles to add to your arsenal and we are stocked up on the classics as well.  

Women's seasonal styles include:

Village Stripe Women's Wedge

Black Chambray Desert Wedge
Denim Stripe Classics
Silver Crochet Classics

Pink Ikat Classics
Navy Umbrella Stripe Classics

We also have the classics available in Natural Burlap, Black Burlap, Olive, Ash, Red, Chocolate, Black and Navy.

Men's seasonal styles include:
Shiraz Umbrella Stripe Classics
Earthwise Moss Classics
Burgundy Suede Cordones

Men's classics are also available in Navy, Natural Burlap, Black Burlap, Natural, Olive, Red, Ash, Black and Chocolate.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Website Update!

Last week we finally got all of our photography equipment set up at the house so we can take better photos for the website!  Within a few weeks, we plan to have most of the inventory in the store available on the website which is a huge leap from the maybe 10% that was represented online before.  
(June is pretty pumped about the new photos too.)

We are also working on a complete revamp of the website which will utilize these new photos and make it easier to shop with account logins, more detailed product information and lots of better search options.  You are on pins and needles, I can just tell.

You can watch our progress (and keep us accountable!) at

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Real Store

Its kind of weird that even though Josh and I have dedicated every waking minute of the last six years to Tigertree, it still comes as a shock to us when we realize what our little retail baby has become.  It seems like out of nowhere we became a two story, 3,000 square foot shop with departments ranging from stationery to apothecary to vintage industrial furniture.  All of the sudden, a lot of our "aw shucks" methods of business running just aren't cutting it.  No more closing the store in the middle of the day so we can ride bikes downtown to eat lunch.  No more shoving important paperwork into boxes and not looking at it again for years.  And most recently, no more having the worst inventory accounting system possible with barcodes that don't scan and a single register that leaves customers waiting in line when there is a rush.  

This week, we switched the store over to a new Point of Sale system and did a physical inventory of the store.  We also relabeled every.  single.  item.  

(Don't let that teenager Facebook picture face fool you, Brittany loved the tagging!)

What this means for our in-store customers:

-Faster check out times
Our new tag printer is awesome and slanted/cut off bar codes are a thing of the past.  With the old system, we had a habit of just writing out the SKU on tags instead of printing bar codes since they so rarely worked.   Now everything in the store has a barcode that WORKS which means you don't have to hear us mumble "sorry...  I'm just trying to find this in the system.."  Another exciting thing about the new system is that since it is cloud based, we can check customers out from any computer or tablet.  During peak season, we will be able to have multiple registers open throughout the store.  Yeah, just like the Apple Store.  Pretty fancy.

-Receipt Options
This may not sound that exciting, but I think you will be happy to know that if you would like us to create an account for you to store your receipts in our system rather than losing them in the car when you need to make a return, we will be able to do that.  Also, we now have the option of emailing receipts!

What this means for our online customers:

-Real Time Inventory Updates
Our new system links our inventory directly to our website, so the availability of items online will always be an accurate reflection of what we have in the store.  We used to have to update all of the inventory manually which resulted in us sending out a lot of emails apologizing to online customers about how we were sold out of the item they purchased.  I am so glad to be done with that!  Now as soon as an item is sold in the store, the website inventory for that item will be updated. 

I realize that all of this may not sound like that big of a deal, but I promise that it will make the shopping experience for both our Columbus and worldwide online customers a much smoother one.  

Thanks so much for dealing with our growing pains over the past few years as we move ever closer to becoming what we have been often (and excitedly) referring to lately as a "real store."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Travel Bags

We are headed to Atlanta this afternoon to check out their International Gift and Home Furnishings Market show.  In otherwords, in the middle of the hot summer, we are venturing into even hotter terriroty to pick out the gifts that you will give this Christmas.  We will do our best to make you look good, promise.

In the meantime, I wanted to brag a little on how great our travel bags are.  Josh is sporting the Incase Nylon Tech Backpack (left) that he never travels without.  After swtiching bags every trip for years in search of a comfortable, good looking backpack, he landed on this one and it seems to have stuck.  We have this bag available in four colors at the shop, you should really stop in and see them.

I have a little Orla Kiely combo going with the Weekend Bag in Shadow Stem and the Business Bag in Small Car Print.  I really cannot say enough about either of these.  I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of the Weekend Bag, but every time I leave the house, this is the bag I seem to grab.  I used to take day and weekend trips packed into the free promotional totes that are given away at trade shows; I feel so much more organized, comfortable, and just generally less pathetic looking with this!  The computer that I am typing on now is protected on my travels by Baggu's recycled canvas case.  We have these in two colors and the shop now and on a slightly related note, I am so excited about Baggu's new dot print which will be available in the shop later this week!  We will be getting in the iPad covers for the first time; they will be available in the dot and sailor stripe prints. 
More updates on the way soon from the show!