Monday, November 30, 2009

Downtown Shopping Spree

Well, I've just gotta say that I'm a mighty lucky girl. I recently had a birthday, and several people in my life gave me the perfect gift- gift certificates for downtown merchants! I had quite a time spending them, and I thought I'd share my fun with you.

I began my spree at, where else- The Cafe on Broadway. A person needs some sustenance before embarking upon heavy duty shopping. When I entered, the heavenly aromas wafting from the kitchen made me feel as if Mrs. Claus herself was there, hard at work. I was close- it was Shelby, the Cafe's amazing baker (or should I call her "The Cake Whisperer?") Here's the rundown on all of the wonderful treats that will fill the bakery case this week, just in time for the Christmas parade: zucchini bread, banana-chocolate chip bread, cranberry-orange bread, peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies, chocolate crinkles, peppermint butter cookies, and iced sugar cookies, to name a few. Get them while they're hot, since they won't last long! (Please note that during the parade, the cafe will offer only carry-out service.) For my shopping treat, I chose a frosty mango smoothie. Not exactly the first beverage you might think of in this chilly weather, but I figured the vitamin C would give me a helpful boost.

Books on Broadway- $10
With drink in hand, I strolled next door, to Books on Broadway. What a welcoming haven. I could have spent all day browsing. I stopped first to look over their cookbook sale- I love to cook, especially from vintage cookbooks. Here are two charming and affordable contenders (only $3 each):

Moving on, my eyes were drawn to the craft/DIY section. There I found Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham, a book that's high on my personal wish list. It was $20, a great price, but a little out of my price range, so I decided to keep looking.

I was drawn to the kids' section, since I have a preschooler at home, and also because I've always loved the stories and illustrations myself. Olivia and the Missing Toy was a contender, and also Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice. I was completely charmed by the Shel Silverstein collection, taking me back to my own childhood. When I was little, I once found a sidewalk's "end", and felt it was somehow magical, thanks to Mr. Silverstein's lovely book of poetry.

With all of my indecision, I let my son help me decide. Together we chose: Chicken Soup With Rice, by Maurice Sendak ($5.36), The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka ($5.99) and Spike and the Cowboy Band by John Patience ($2.48). We'll spend many enjoyable hours together with those books.

Four Corners Frame & Design-$20
Before even entering the shop, I knew what I would purchase from this paper-lovers' heaven. Calling cards! I've been wanting some for while, because I've often found myself in situations where one might come in handy. The tricky part was deciding upon a design. There were so many to choose from! I finally chose one with wide vertical stripes, in brown, white, orange and pink. The design was called "Brachs" and looked a lot like those yummy pink/brown/white striped coconut candies.

At $8.95 for 20, I had some money left over and there were certainly other products that caught my eye:

Beautiful bird note cards

Doesn't everyone need a chic "portable pad"?

I ended up choosing several packs of recipe cards, in a very cute design, from the Sale table for only $3.50 each. Holly was super helpful as always, and I had a lot of fun picking out fonts for my calling cards. I can't wait to see them in print! My son also had a delightful time with Holly's treasure trove of Thomas trains. What a lovely way to spend a blustery afternoon.

Occasions- $30
This was a tough choice. There were numerous items that caught my eye. Here are just a few:

Lovely Blenko "water bottles"- the perfect shape for pouring. Isn't the dark green one great?

Christmas in a jar- White Fir and Orange Clove candles from Trapp Private Gardens

Cucina soaps, lotions and sprays. The Sanguinelli orange and fennel lotion was a favorite, as was the ginger and Sicilian lemon with its vibrant scent of fresh ginger. Only 65 cents for a purse-sized sample!

Say 'hello' to these fabulous Christmas plates by Rosanna. $42/set of four.

I painstakingly decided upon a three-piece set of enamelware nesting bowls in a peaceful cream color with lids, and a stylish silver business card holder in anticipation of my new calling calling cards from Four Corners. Shopping while drinking "Christmas Cookie" coffee made the experience even sweeter.

Emelia's- $20
It was an easy decision to end the day relaxing in peaceful elegance. I called up my sisters and suggested a night out. My very favorite part of Emilia's is the bar area. It's so beautifully designed, and it's the perfect place for spending time chatting with friends. I ordered a lovely cherry coke and the Mazza Plate ($13.59)- the big one, not the mini since I planned on sharing. To me, it's the perfect Emelia's menu item, since you get to sample lots of specialties. Hummus, babakanoosh, tabouleh, olives, feta cheese, sarma (rice pilaf and seasonings wrapped in grape leaves) and lots of pita triangles for dipping.

While there, I found out that Emelia's will be having an official Grand Opening on Thursday, December 10th and there will be a Happy Hour starting at 4:30. Their usual Happy Hour is from 5-6. I know I certainly spent several happy hours at Emelia's!

Oh, and did I mention that I was able to save 10% at each location by using my trusty Main Street Holiday 2009 Coupon Card? If you haven't already, make sure to pick yours up at participating downtown locations and save big until December 31st.

Hope to see you at the parade this Saturday!

Very sincere Thanks to Harmony, Hope and Karyn for making this wonderful shopping adventure possible!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Primavera Garden Club

As I was driving down University Street this morning, I noticed a group of women hard at work decorating the newly finished gazebo in City Park. Intrigued, I stopped for a closer look. It turns out that members of the Primavera Garden Club were continuing their annual tradition of decorating the gazebo for Christmas. The club has been in action since the 1960's, and Catherine Skyler, the group's founder, is still a member.

At monthly meetings, members discuss gardening, flowers, and new gardening products. They participate in yearly garden tours, potluck dinners, and most importantly, they are the keepers of City Park's green spaces and also the Pauline Henry Memorial Garden located by the library. The chilly weather did not deter this group from their decorating, and the finished product will be enjoyed by many this holiday season. I am so grateful for their dedication. It continues to warm my heart when I meet so many people who love our town and who contribute to its beauty and charm.

Pictured (from top row, left) are Primavera Garden Club members Ellie Zwaryck (former Main Street Director and Farmer's Market Manager), Lynn Phillips, Dorothy Eich, Susi Gilbert, Sue Allen, Sandy Martin, Marilyn Holliday, and Barbara "Bunny" Russel. If you are interested in learning more about the Primavera Garden Club, contact Susi Gilbert at 220-8993.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 Holiday Open House

It's official- the holiday season has begun! Although it was a drizzly and dreary day, that didn't stop leagues of holiday shoppers from enjoying all that Main Street merchants had to offer. I know that I am certainly in the Christmas spirit after spending the afternoon visiting numerous downtown shops for this year's Holiday Open House event. Here are some highlights:

Always chic, always stylish- Amandromeda.

These joyful balloon creations from The Balloon Closet would make a delightful addition to any holiday gathering.

The Balloon Closet has expanded their inventory to include chocolates, salt water taffy, penny candy and the full line of Jelly Belly flavors. I personally am very excited about that news, as I'd been driving all the way to Tontitown for my Jelly Bellys!

Happy snowmen in the front window of Broadway Flowers.

More Christmas finery at Broadway Flowers.

The lovely front window of Curves, in their new location.

The charming front window of Four Corners Frame & Design.

Lydia, from Occasions, spreads some holiday cheer.

I love this Santa tree at Occasions!

The bakery case at The Cafe on Broadway, featuring a Pumpkin Marscapone Cake, topped with candied ginger. (They're open until 10:00 tonight if you need to try a piece- I'd highly recommend it.)

Cafe owner Carolyn Robinson, demonstrating a Bodum French Press. The cafe carries a wide array of coffee and tea products for your home.

A string quartet entertains relaxed cafe patrons with holiday music.

A delightful collection of tea pots, mugs and cream & sugar sets at the Cafe.

Let the festivities begin!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Update

Here's the gazebo in City Park, undergoing some restoration. According to the Herald Leader, the work is being done by Lowe's employees, and High School students of agriculture and mechanics. What a great project! It will be wonderful to see it completed.

Also, I wanted to provide a last minute reminder of the numerous events taking place this weekend. Here are some highlights:

First of all, the downtown Second Saturday tradition will continue on the 14th, with extended business hours and live music in the early evening in front of the old Post Office by Travis Cheney & friends.

Also on Saturday is the Siloam Springs Museum's 40th anniversary party, beginning at 2:00. View the 40th anniversary exhibit and also enjoy some birthday cake. The Rexall Rangers will be performing at the Sager Creek Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. for a fundraiser concert and western supper to benefit the Siloam Springs Museum. The concert and supper are being sponsored by CenturyLink. Cost is $12 for adults; $6 for children 12 and under. The Western Supper is being catered by Suzy's Dogwood Catering and includes: ham and beans, cornbread muffins, sliced tomatoes, onions, iced tea, coffee, water and peach cobbler with fresh whipped cream topping. No reservations are required. If you want additonal information, call the museum at: 479-524-4011 or email:

November 15th will herald the official Siloam Springs' Annual Holiday Open House event, with downtown businesses in full swing from 1-4. There are many establishments serving refreshments and offering discounts. I have to put in a special plug for The Cafe on Broadway, as I stopped by there this evening for a preview. I had the most amazing, delicious beverage EVER- the Pumpkin Pie Latte. Mine was iced with soy, and it was like Thanksgiving in a glass. I've long been a fan of fall coffee flavors- like Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but this was like nothing I've ever had before. The cafe is opening at noon on Sunday with their full menu, and there will be a string quartet playing Christmas music, beginning at 3:00. While I'm on the subject... have you heard the news that the Cafe on Broadway now serves their famous paninis all day long? This is big news!

Hope you'll be able to enjoy these great events.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcome to Emelia's!

Photo by Melanie Wilkins
The eagerly awaited day has arrived: Emelia's Kitchen is open for business! Monday evening was the official grand opening, with a fabulous party for a wide array of invited guests. There was a glorious buffet, and also musical entertainment. The elegantly appointed atmosphere, awash in the glow of candlelight provided an excellent venue for mingling, dancing and dining. Here are some highlights of the evening:

Downtown movers and shakers Ron Drake of DRC, Shelley Simmons of Main Street Siloam Springs, and Realtor Christina Drake, owner of Local Flair Art Gallery.

The evening's entertainer, Arthur Hervey. He was incredible! He is currently an entertainer at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, while also maintaining residency in Siloam Springs with his lovely wife Randy. I just visited his website, and I am completely amazed by his range of talent and experience. I mean, he has sung a duet with James Brown. Seriously! Now that he's local, I can only hope there will be more opportunities to check out his act.

The young lady in the green skirt also performed during the event. Her name is Alexis Wilkins, and she is a tremendously talented singer. She divides her time between Fayetteville and LA, where she attends the School of Rock. She is pictured with George Ouyoumjan, owner of Emelia's, and her mother, Melanie Wilkins. Talent certainly runs in their family, as Melanie took many of the lovely photos featured in this post. Many thanks again, Melanie!

Rachel Beck from the St. Francis Clinic and Quiznos owners Monica and Eliud Saldivar.

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Photo by Melanie Wilkins
Mayor David Allen congratulating George Ouyoumjan and Sara Lusher, the owners of Emelias'.

Photo by Melanie Wilkins
Ron Drake and George overseeing the party.

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Photo by Melanie Wilkins

Here is a group of satisfied revelers: Starting with Kathy Coleman (the woman in pink) and moving to the right, Sharon and Bob Wasson, Nancy and M.L. “Moose” Van Pouke, Sue Ellen and Jack Chase and Carla Wasson.

Emelia's Kitchen serves a wide variety of dishes, from aged Rib Eye ($28.99), Orange Roughy ($21.99), and Mediterranean Pasta ($21.99) to Falafels ($7.59), Gyros ($7.59), and their homemade Armenian Hummus ($6.99). They are open for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 11-2, dinner Tuesday -Thursday from 5-9, dinner Friday and Saturday from 5-10, and brunch on Saturday-Sunday from 9-2. They are located at the corner of University and Mt. Olive. Call 524-4411 for reservations and more information.