Photograph by Luigi Ciuffetelli
Tonya Zimmerman Gale is busier than you.
Don’t believe us?
She’s the aesthetic director behind Oby Lee’s Coffee Roastery in Rehoboth Beach, her husband’s java hotspot.
By the time this magazine goes to print, you should be seeing Tonya’s Tummy—an organic, tried-and-true belly cream that prevents post-baby stretch marks—burning up the phone lines on QVC.
She has a house-flipping business with a twist; she and her associates literally move a house from one locale to another.
And she’s the creative force behind the up-and-coming Minky Monkey line, a children’s storybook series with corresponding clothing.
Oh, and there’s that matter of playing mom to 7-year-old twin boys and a 6-year-old daughter.
What’s this frenzied fashionista’s must-have piece?
“Anything one piece is fantastic,” says Zimmerman Gale. “I can get in a dress and go. And I love the classic look of a skirt, heels and a nice blouse. Everywhere I go, it seems like people don’t wear skirts anymore, and I can’t figure out why.”
If you’re wondering how a woman this busy gets around in heels, it’s a product of years of practice.
“I can’t give heels up,” Zimmerman Gale says. “Even when I was pregnant, I was still dressing up. Being dressed up makes me feel like myself. I’d lose a part of myself if I wasn’t.”
Sticking to her guns is something for which she’s famous. “I’ve been working on Tonya’s Tummy since I was 18 in chem class, lighting things on fire,” she says. “I’m just drawn to creative endeavors.”
Her creativity is consistently put to the test, whether it’s deciding on tiles and color for the roastery or making clothes for her children.
“If I don’t see what I’m looking for out there, I just make it,” she says.
Even her sons are catching on.
“If we go shopping, they say, â€˜Everything looks the same for us. It’s not fair. You have so many options,’” Zimmerman Gale says. “It’s unreal to hear a child say something like that, but it’s true.”
She may have myriad choices, but Zimmerman Gale gravitates toward the same basic pieces: classic pants, skirts, and tailored blouses in timeless colors such as black, gray and cream.
“I love the styles of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn,” she says. “I’m not this bright purple, sparkly person.”
She stocks her closet with threads from Ralph Lauren, bebe, BCBG, Ann Taylor and items she scores on trips to New York.
Her favorite piece ever? A vintage Louis Vuitton bucket bag she spied at a little store tucked away in Greenwich Village more than a decade ago.
“Every time I have it, I feel great,” she says. “It’s falling apart, but I’m trying to keep it so I can give it to my daughter some day.”
Though the Rehoboth Beach girl takes full advantage of the outlets on Route 1, she is no stranger to splurging.
“I love Tiffany’s,” she says. “Anytime I get a gift in a little blue box, I just know it’s going to be good.”
Staying true to her keep-it-simple style, Zimmerman Gale doesn’t flip for accessories, but she does adore various layers of pearls laced around a woman’s neck, especially against a black cocktail dress.
“That whole â€˜Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ look, there is just something about it,” she says.
The on-the-go mom keeps her hair all at one length, making it easier to wash and walk. “I’ll put on some moisturizer, neutral brown eye shadow, black liner—anything MAC.” When in the mood for an edgier look, she digs MAC’s collection of metallics.
What’s up next for Zimmerman Gale?
She’s planning a trip to Italy for her and her family.
“I want my kids to see all the fashion houses, and I want to come home with great fabrics for us to use.”
Moms just don’t come any cooler.
Love, Love Me Do—Or Don’t
While couples cozy up on romance’s big day, you, stalwart single, should renew your commitment to yourself—by shopping, of course. Check out these great finds. by Amy Kates
Nothing says “I love you” like a heart-shaped box filled with stale chocolate. Add the color-coded map that guides the lucky giftee how best to plan his or her caloric overload, and it’s no wonder we swoon.
Start with the peanut-butter filled, of course, and end with the oblong nut confection that no one can figure out.
But lucky for you, you’re single—so your start is devoid of peanut butter. It’s more of the fresh, clean-slate variety.
Bonus—you don’t have to go out shopping for the “perfect” gift for Valentine’s Day, the most contrived of all holidays.
So what to do? Go shopping for yourself, of course.
Not that we condone sitting at home Friday night watching time creep by while your couple friends toast over gnocchi at Toscana, but if you’re going to do it, do it in style. Vamp up your minute hand with a trip to The Finishing Touch (488 E. Main St., Middletown, 376-6417).
I dare you not to fall in love with the gorgeous Paris-themed wall clocks. Bold in black, red and white, and so this-second with their vintage French hotel theme, these oversized clocks do more than tick and tock. They set the tone for your decor. The black and white clock that now hangs over my television goes for $40, and the larger version sells for $80.
With its array of kitsch-meets-rich goodies, Pistachio Gifts (8A
, 652-4438) has singles at heart—and it’s even got Fido covered.
Guys, treat man’s best (single) friend with his own little black book, filled with the names of the cutest pooches on the block. The brand is Fab Dog, and the little black book sells for $15, with matching accessories such as a leopard thong ($13) and bra ($14).
While your dog is occupied, feel free to cook away. “Man Your Grill: Cooking ’n’ Grillin’ with Beer” ($20) is the go-to guide for a man’s man. Beer with dinner every night of the week? Check. Nagging girlfriend not included.
At Bloom (92 E. Main St., Newark, 454-7266), unattached girls who just wanna have fun can do so, guilt free, then simply wash it off later. Carrying an extensive line of flirty, pink-overload Dirty Girl products such as soap, lotions and body washes, Bloom makes it easy for you to suds away the nightmare blind date your best friend set up (prices vary).
Emotional baggage foiling your relationships? Ladies, carry yours in a purse by The 3 Sisters. Made of genuine vinyl LPs, they’re found at Forney’s Jewelers (106 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 877-734-3425).
The bags get their half-moon shape from a record cut in two, stitched together with matching fabric, then finished with a ball chain so you can carry it on your shoulder. They’re not just good-looking; they function well and, being vinyl, they can handle the day-to-day battering of any single’s dating life.
Be sure to check out Saks Thrift Avenue (800 Brandywine Blvd., Bellefonte, 762-1702) and Rags to Riches (5714 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-5997). You won’t be disappointed. Make a day of it. Celebrate single, fabulous you. You deserve it.
Additional research by Deanna Candeloro.
The Merchants Attic Sale is held at Rehoboth Beach
Toys in the Attic
Rehoboth’s Merchants Attic Sale grows because it always offers something for everyone.
Treasure can be found at the beach in the most unusual places. Insiders know that the annual Merchants Attic and General Public Garage Sale in Rehoboth Beach is one great place to look.
Offering a mix of handmade collectibles, merchants’ excess inventory and “mom and pop garage and attic” items, the sale has become a beach tradition since its introduction in 1996.
“The diversity under that roof, it keeps it different every year,” says Carol Everhart, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.
She’s seen it all over the past 11 years of the sale. Everhart remembers a vendor who exclusively sold knobs and one who sold only buttons. “We say everything but the kitchen sink,” she says. “We have actually had a kitchen sink.”
The Merchants Attic Sale was originally created as a community event and a chamber fundraiser at a time of year when cash flows were low, Everhart says. Popularity has grown so much since that it has been expanded to three dates. Visitors go to the area just for the event.
“There is something in all of us that likes to treasure hunt,” Everhart says.
This year the sale will be held February 23, March 22 and April 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Hall at 229 Rehoboth Ave. Admission is a penny or a donation. Proceeds go to a chamber event or a local charity. Thirty-three vendors will be on hand. For more, call 227-2233. —Carrie Townsend
Tie Him Up
Jazz up that old suit with the neckties that bind—silk, that is.
Daisy pattern, $59.50, at Jos. A. Bank Clothier, Greenville
Floral pattern by Piatelli Platinum, $85, at Mystique, Wilmington
Oval pattern, $64.50, at Jos. A. Bank Clothier, Greenville
Limited-edition Burgundy, lavender and gold floral by FabergÃ©, $110,
at Carltons, Rehoboth Beach
Best of Class purple swirl English super Jacquard by Robert Talbott, $128, at Carltons, Rehoboth Beach.