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!


  1. Hi! I've been following your blog for a few weeks now, and left my first comment on an old post, so I don't know if you've seen me here before. But I was jst wondering...
    Calling Cards are soemthign I've been hearing about anew, a lot recently. I thought they were a thing of the past when a visitor 'came calling' and gave their card to the doorman for announcing/presenting the visitor.
    So these days, is it the same sort of thing, or are they basically just business cards for anyone that doesn't want to specify a business/job title? I was just curious, and would love to see how yours came out! Happy Christmas Time :)

  2. Thanks for reading, Krystal.
    I like your question about calling cards. My impression is that they are often used as a substitute business card nowadays, but wouldn't you love to see them return as an announcement for visitors? I'm picturing a little silver tray by the front door, with a pile of cards that let you know who was thinking of you that day. Maybe we should endeavor to revive that practice?

  3. Heidi,
    I felt like I was actually in Siloam when I read your post. You are absolutely great at this. Miss you. The Northeast says 'hello.' :)

    Shelley (Noyes)