How To Get Pot. Ted. I mean, POT-TED.

[We resume posting submissions from out three finalists in our search for a new Editor here at ATLA. Here's our second post submission from Grace of Pasadena. Tell us what you think.]

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There are two things I feel I ought to share with you before launching into this lovefest that I'm about to bring you. One: I am not an avid shopper, even though I find myself shopping quite a bit. But I've never really thought of shopping as a purely social event, i.e. going out with some friends for a Jamba Juice while picking out a flimsy outfit at Forever 21 (back when I was in high school, that drink was Orange Julius and that shop was Deb. And 99.9% of the clothes there were highly flammable). Two: I'm not exactly keen on gardening (although I'm taking steps to amend that). I know it's supposed to be very therapeutic and stress-relieving and all, but when half your backyard dies at a slow funeral march of two weeks no matter how much watering or shading or sunning or fertilizing that you do, it's not exactly "therapeutic." I killed an entire flowerbed of marigolds, ok? MARIGOLDS. The desert's most hardiest flower ever. And I'm not exactly sure how I managed that either.

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So you can imagine how stupendous it was for me to find POT-TED, a shop dedicated to flipping a sad outdoor spot like mine into a happy, chic entertaining mecca, bursting with style and personality. It's the kind of shop you want to show off to all your friends and coo over the foo dog garden statues and outdoor rugs. It's also the kind of shop to go to if you ever need to buy a housewarming gift and a set Crate & Barrel ice tea spoons seems lame. This gem is located in Atwater Village across the street from LA Bread (ooh, cinnamon rolls!) and a few doors down from Big Foot Lodge (ooh, happy hour...!!). But don't get distracted (fresh baked carbs and cocktails can wait...for this, at least). Because the minute you walk in, the little voice in your head will scream, "I WANT THAT! AND THAT! AND THAT! And...is that an outdoor clay fireplace that I can relax in front of with a glass of red wine when it gets a wee bit cooler? And it's 30% off? OK, THAT too!"

Co-owner Mary Gray is friendly and seems to take a genuine interest in her customers. She's happy to point out some new things she and her partner Annette Gutierrez have been offering in the shop: colorful doormats and crates constructed from leftover flip-flop remnants ("Those factories would toss them out otherwise"), cheeky tiles embedded with vintage treasures ("Great stuff, usually from flea markets"), and artfully weathered pin-up girl signs that celebrate LA's eastside neighborhoods ("Come Test the Waters! Echo Park"). And while these ladies have a great eye for merchandise for the shelves, the coolest thing comes from their own designs: custom-made tiled tables for your patio. These affordable tables come in a variety of sizes and shapes; and Mary and Annette will work with you on color, style, and design.

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In short: this place rules. It's not snooty, pushy, or overly designed; rather it's a bit like a nursery boutique that's been edited with quirky and impeccable taste. For a self-avowed non-social shopper with a black thumb, I walked out of there with one hand dialing my friend's number and the other clutching a fantastic pot while reconsidering marigolds. But maybe this time I'll take Mary's suggestion and try succulents...

-Grace

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