you wish! : christmas shopping in the burg.

In hindsight we’re not sure if it was a good idea to take four kids downtown last Saturday morning to show us what they want for Christmas.

Them: “You mean we’re not actually buying anything today??”
Us: “No.”
Them: “For real?”
Us: “Yes.”
Them: “Wait, you mean ‘yes, for real’ or ‘yes, we’re buying you something?'” (hopeful expressions)
Us: “We’re not buying anything today.”
Them: “For real?”
Us: “Ugh.”

But, we did take them window shopping. And now we’re going to tell you about it and show you what the kids picked out!! We met at Earth & Tea Cafe at 10ish to get some caffeine in our veins and map out a game plan. Man, that place is so niiiiiiice. The pretty tapestries on the wall… the cute lanterns everywhere… that little “lovers’ lair” in the corner–you know, the big square cushion with a curtain all the way around it? Rowl!

earth&teacup earth&teaWhile the kids argued over where to go first, we gals started yammering about our hair… See, Danielle recently cut her bangs, Brandy’s are growing out, and I have a head full of bangs. Then Danielle showed us how she can’t stop shaking her head because she likes the way her bangs swish-swish against her forehead. She’s a bobble head. On the way to a brain injury.

We finally got our list together and headed to our first destination, the Explore More Children’s Museum, which is just down from Earth & Tea. Not only can you buy someone a year’s membership to the museum for $95, but they have a really great gift shop in the front with rare toys you don’t see at larger chain stores. Here are a few:

explore more 4 explore more 3 explore more 2 explore more 1Next, a quick stop at Ten Thousand Villages. Personally, I wanted everything in there. Cal’s favorite was the giant stack of rugs. Blake’s favorite was this instrument:

ten thousand villagesOf course, everyone was excited to get to Dragonflies Toys. They’re by the parking deck, next to Downtown Books. Pretty much all the kids want all the toys in there. In fact, we should just see about moving in. Here are their Dragonflies wishes:

It's a cell phone eraser (ha ha) and a pencil that smells like cinnamon.

It’s a cell phone eraser (ha ha) and a pencil that smells like cinnamon.

for building thangs.

for building thangs.

dragonflies 3

she’s a family gal.

dragonflies 2

To Cal, from Bree!

To Cal, from Bree!

Danielle saw something she wishes for at Shenandoah Bicycle Company:

note the bangs :)

note the bangs :)

As we walked to Larkin Arts, we couldn’t help but go into James McHone Jewelry. The kids were a little antsy in there, so we couldn’t stay long, but he’s really got a spectacular selection of unique pins and brooches, pendant, bracelet charms, and much more. Danielle and I perused all his beautiful antique jewelry, pausing briefly at a shiny case of rings… and dreaming briefly about fairytale weddings… Well, maybe it was just me. Okay, this is getting awkward.

ornaments for humans.

ornaments for humans.

Onto Larkin Arts. If you haven’t been in there, you have to go. There’s so much to see. I love the way art supplies look on the shelf. Rows and rows of paints. Boxes and boxes of oil pastels. Neatly stacked fresh, white canvases. Then down the hall is a gallery space, and further down is a classroom and several artist studios. Anyway, the kids found lots of cool gift ideas there…

larkin arts 3 larkin arts 2 larkin arts 1… and I found one of my favorite things EVER: wooden boxes! Specifically, cigar boxes. And only $5 each! I don’t know why I have such an affinity for wooden boxes, but I bought four of them without any use in mind at all.

larkin arts 4Our final stop of the day (and believe me, there were many other places we could have gone, but SOMEONE was getting cranky) (okay, it was me) was the always fun, always quirky Glen’s Fair Price Store. You can get your camera repaired there, or you can get a Halloween costume, or you can buy vintage candy or any kind of hat you can imagine or even a bag of rubber worms. They have everything. You can’t come out empty handed.

glens fair price 3

If you see her walking around with this thing, don’t touch it. It shocks your hand! Sorry we terrorized the other customers with it.

glens fair price 4

I mean, nothing beats the snake scepter.

how nice of them to offer a snack and drink!

how nice of them to offer a snack and drink!

well, this is embarrASSing.

well, this is embarrASSing.

And then we were tired and hungry. So we strolled on down to Jess’ Quick Lunch to stuff ourselves with chili dogs. With just ten shopping days left until Christmas, we hope this gives you some gift ideas for the people you love. And you give to everyone when you shop local. See you out and about!

jess quick lunchho ho hatsCopyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

healthy, happy h’burg no. 7: PULP

You can judge the quality of food by the sounds my son makes when he eats it. He hums while he eats. He’s done it since the day he was born. And he doesn’t even know he does it, because when you say, “Hey! Quit humming!” he doesn’t even look up. He just keeps eating and humming. Focused. Oblivious. Oh, the unapologetic joy of a five year old.

He was quite noisy on our recent trip to PULP—the smoothie bar located inside Shenandoah Bicycle Company (which is downtown between Dave’s Taverna and Clementine). They feature four açai bowls ($6 each and two people could easily share), or you can build your own. It’s like a smoothie, but thicker, which is why it’s served in a bowl. Because we had not the patience to discuss with the children what they actually wanted, we ordered one of each. 6 people + 4 açai bowls = a chorus of whining about having to share… but soon it was a veritable spoon/smoothie free-for-all. “Gimme some!”  “Can I try yours?”  “Mom, he’s not sharing!”  Sheesh, people. Let’s calm down now. We’re all here for the same reason: YUMMY.
Brandy’s favorite was the O.G.—a sweet blueberry açai bowl. Bree got the Ruby (strawberry), but she soon migrated to Blake’s (The Braley’s—tangy raspberry), and Cal took over the Ruby. Ella got the Short Mountain, which I LOVED because it tasted just like ice cream. She shared with me, sweet girl.
Everyone was quiet for quite some time.
Except Cal, who was humming.

Pulp also serves tea, so when you’re freezing from having eaten an entire açai bowl yourself, you can warm up with one their nine varieties of hot tea. And while you sit there, feeling better by the second from all the powerful, superfood nutrients coursing through your veins, you can be inspired by your surroundings—bikes.

Brandy and I both got our bikes at Shenandoah Bicycle Company. In fact, we bought the same bike (different times—she got hers first). The only difference is color—hers is blue, and mine is… like a champagne color. Oh, and mine is bigger, because I am an unusually loooooong person.

Wow—I really strayed from the topic there. Obviously we need to do a piece on the bike shop itself. So, we’ll be back! And next time, I’m getting that Short Mountain.

And I’m not sharing, so you can just STEP BACK, friend.
Now that spring is here, we’re all excited to get back outside, get moving, and feel young again. Stroll on down to PULP, kill your winter sluggishness with a nutrient-packed treat, and maybe you’ll ride out of there on two wheels… and with a happy belly.