Affordable European fashion. It might sound like an oxymoron, but accessible chic is what Joey Gatliff, 22, of Fraser has brought to downtown Birmingham. The newly opened Via Bella boutique looks as if it belongs on the cobblestone streets of Europe. But the price tags tell another story. The European flavor comes courtesy of Gatliff’s Italian heritage, as well as from experience helping his uncle with two stores in Belgium. The boutique carries Tom & Eva Paris, Sergio, Todzi, and Jolyvia, among others. Look for shoe and bag prices in the $50-$85 range. Via Bella, Birmingham; 248-594-4567.
Heart of the Matter
What do you get when you cross Lance Armstrong’s “Livestrong” and a New York icon with Motown loyalty? A heart you can wear on your sleeve. Ink Apparel, the retail creation of Paul Marcial, Steven Mansour, and Al Zara, sells I (Heart) Detroit bracelets, debossed bands available in black or white. Like all Ink Apparel, a portion of the proceeds go to Focus: HOPE. $5; at Motor City Harley-Davidson, Farmington Hills; 248-473-7433, and online at inkdetroit.com.
Footloose for the Summer
Fashionable and comfortable are two words not always found in the same sentence. But they’re practically synonymous when describing the Beach Bandal. The locally made thong-style sandals offer the option of interchangeable upper straps in a variety of colors (a plus when traveling). Founded in 2008, the Commerce Township-based company manufactures and distributes the flexible footwear. $34.99-$40/Beach Bandals, and $11.99-$14.99/additional straps. Information and stores: Bandals.com.
Take a Dip
Tortilla chips and salsa have become as common at American picnic buffets as lemonade and deviled eggs. And local makers of the import from Mexico are only too happy to satisfy north-of-the border appetites. Roseville-based Chuck and Dave’s makes gourmet salsas in varying degrees of spiciness, along with chips and a variety of other dips. Though the company opened for business just six years ago, its products are now sold throughout the Midwest. $3.49-$4.99, at area retailers. Information and stores: chuckanddaves.net.
Get Fired Up
Barbecuing may sound like the lazy days of summer, but dealing with charcoal and ash can be anything but laid-back. A new eco-friendly alternative eliminates that mess. Flamedisk, which resembles a Jiffy Pop pan, fits into most grills — charcoal and gas — and burns for up to 40 minutes without sacrificing the charcoal taste. It uses ethanol, a renewable biofuel, which emits far fewer harmful gases than its charcoal and gas counterparts. And its small size makes it convenient for travel. Another plus: It’s almost fully recyclable. $4.99, at Meijer stores; ugogrill.com.
Catch the Wave
Summer temps are too high and the living’s too casual to spend time fighting humidity-induced curls. Rather than flat-ironing locks or concealing frizz beneath a hat, Rino Marra, co-owner of Figo Salon in Birmingham, suggests trying Shu Uemura Art of Hair Liquid Fabric. The mineral-texture spray, which can be applied to wet or dry manes, allows men and women to embrace their waves and curls without looking like Bozo. $34, Figo Salon, Birmingham; 248-723-7990.