A Swell pair: Ilene Rosenzweig and Cynthia Rowley instruct us in divining kitsch.
A Swell pair: Ilene Rosenzweig and Cynthia Rowley instruct us in divining kitsch.

Swell's Bells

On a recent trip to that retail Mecca known as Target, a sign grabbed our attention like a 4-year-old holds onto an ice cream cone for dear life. The letters spelled out opportunity, inspiration and glee with a simple message: Now Hiring Part Time/Seasonal Help. As a mid- to late-20s consumer, Target has an appeal like no other place to spend money. What's the attraction? Why the crazed look in the eye of any friend we invite to join us on our big chain-store excursion?

Target, especially now with Super Targets sprouting up, has just about everything you need in one brightly lit, spirit-sustaining and well-priced location. We were already smitten...and then Swell came along. With a swirly pink logo adorning its products, Swell is a girly-yet-mature, hint-of-'50s line of home décor exclusively sold at the store and developed by designer and Glamour style contributor Cynthia Rowley and former New York Times Sunday Styles editor and fellow Glamour style contributor Ilene Rosenzweig. Stripy sheets adorn our bed, washcloths and towels in assorted bright colors pepper our powder room, and we may or may not have picked up some snazzy Swell skivvies. That's our business. Thanks. The point is: We're converts.

The duo single-handedly has made it impossible to look to Target for holiday-season employment. If we donned the red and khaki to earn some gifting cash, they may as well just make our checks out to Target. The money would go right back in to support our obsession with impulse buys in the Swell department...and maybe clearance makeup. In short, we don't have a great amount of disposable income, so the holidays are a little stressful. An additional part-time gig doesn't leave a lot of time for shopping and wrapping, so we turn to Team R to give us some ideas.


Ilene Rosenzweig discusses her book Swell Holiday at a luncheon and book signing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St. Cost is $36 including tax and gratuity. Copies of the book are available for purchase. Call 214-742-8200 for reservations.

Enter Swell Holiday, Rowley and Rosenzweig's latest tome on making the season merry and bright. For a little cash, we can snaz up our party wear, give memorable re-gifts (admit it, everyone does it) and host a festive party that doesn't break the bank. For instance, a wide velvet ribbon can allegedly dress up a pair of favorite jeans for comfortable party wear (dunno about that one, as the first challenge would be finding the jeans). Nieces and nephews might appreciate a re-gift of our childhood books (if we weren't so attached to them). Wrapping couch pillows and furniture with ribbon to make them look like presents is an easy way to decorate without blowing funds (we can get into that one).

The book also details great combo gifts with themes like The Godfather and Audrey Hepburn style, unique wrapping ideas with no purchase required and recipes for snockering our guests appropriately. One-half of Swell, Rosenzweig, makes her way to Dallas for a luncheon and book chat/signing and will no doubt offer up some additional suggestions on filling stockings and maintaining sanity. Forget the list for a day and head to the Adolphus (after making reservations, as this lady takes "popular" to a new level) for a bite and a book. And with re-gifting allowed, who's to say that after we read that autographed copy, our sister won't enjoy finding it perched in alternative wrapping under the festively decorated palm tree in true Swell style?


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