Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Shopping Secrets, the Penultimate Edition

Yes, denizens, if you have been compliant shoppers/deciders/list makers your holiday gift giving needs should be well on track to completion.  This is the last post before Thanksgiving; our original plan was to be finishing up odds and ends by next weekend.  In that spirit, this post will be an eclectic mix. If you're uninterested in the tips skip on down to the last paragraph - I have a favor to ask.

Before we get to that, let's talk about Brad's Deals.  I met them at BlogHer'11 and they offered me an Amazon gift card if I'd run their badge on The Burrow for a while.  Selling ad space on my blog was sorta cool, and sure enough they were right on time with the code for the gift card.  A company which pays its bills on time is a company with which I will do business.  There are all sorts of positive blurbs on the website, but I like their own description of what they do.  
Every day, we sort through thousands of coupons, sales and promotions but only publish the best 100 or so for our readers. Our standards are high. We publish only what we would recommend to close friends and family members
Brad's a personal assistant.  He's there to make your life easier.  You fill in the box labeled "What are you looking for?" and coupons and deals appear before your very eyes.  They are for stores and sites and items you might actually be interested in - Macy's, Land's End, Canon cameras - and they always tell you that "this is the best deal we could find by $40" so you know they've checked around.

They will send you a daily email if you ask.  Beware: the deals are so amazing and the shopping interface is so seamless your credit card balance may grow and grow and grow.  Doing the research for this post cost me $120.... so far.

For something a little different, I direct you to an offshoot of Brad's called Strange Deals.  This is the place to find custom painted Nikes

not Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutters 
but NINJAMEN Cookie Cutters

and, my personal favorite,
the $11 Yodeliing Pickle

Tell me you are not smiling right now.

On a practical note, I've been thinking about gifts for the people who tend to my life.  The manicurist, the UPS and USPS and FedEX people, the dry cleaner and the grocery cashier and the masseuse.  For some, it's a financial transaction, for others it's merely fresh home made brownies and a smile, but this year I'm making it just a little bit more personal.  CTG's Foundation has these very small, very pretty, very useful butterfly magnets and I'm going to add one to each gift this year.  You can, too, by clicking here.  They aren't up on the website, but an email request will work.

I'm going to suggest that you look around you for a neglected school and consider dropping off one of those tiny Christmas trees or poinsettias that are appearing in the grocery stores right now.  Attach a card thanking the staff for educating our children and sign your name or A Grateful Neighbor, and ask the lovely people behind the front desk if they would mind placing it in the staff room.  I guarantee that you'll make some very worthy people feel very special, even if just for a moment. And I promise, it is better to give than to receive.

Now, for the favor:  Next Saturday is Small Business Saturday.  Shoppers are encouraged to patronize their local merchants .... and that's where I need help.  I'd like to highlight local small businesses, but how can I find them without you?  If you comment below, anonymously or pseudonym-ously or actually as yourself, and leave the name and contact information I'll do the rest.  Don't worry about keeping up with the comments; I'll research them and post them next Friday so that you can shop on Saturday.  I know you are in Bloomington and Brooklyn and Chicago and Marin, you are in DC and its environs, Boston and Charlotte and Charleston.  You can't be the only ones there.... share the love...... let us in on your secrets.


  1. OMG, aren't the butterflies so amazing! I'm ordering a bunch for Christmas presents too.

    I just recently found Brad's Deals and love that site. I check it every day now before I go to sleep to see what the day's deals are. Magazine subscriptions for $4!

    Thanks for the tips today. I've been naughty and don't have any of my shopping done. :(

    Have a great weekend.

    Megan xxx

  2. I am sitting here in Phoenix reading your blog and munching on THE most delicious falafel sandwich at a local, family-run Mediterranean restaurant called Saba's on Tatum and E Bell Rd. I have to confess that I had the grilled veggie/feta sandwich the other day and HAD to return!

    Oh, but we are supposed to give you local shopping tips not food tips, right? How about finding your local Discovery Toys consultant online and ordering toys from her website? DT has provided thousands of children with high-quality educational toys for over 32 years ! With most consultants moms and (like me) former teachers and grandmoms, our small at-home businesses could use a boost! Support your local Toylady!

  3. My favorite quilting shop, The Quilter's Ranch in Tempe at the Southwest corner of McClintock Rd. and Warner!

  4. In Catalina, AZ, Catalina Ranch House, a gift shop with a little of everything:

  5. In Bloomington, Indiana, Goods for Cooks, a terrific kitchen and cook shop:

  6. Also in Bloomington, BluBoy Chocolates Cafe and Cakery:

  7. And the wonderful Howard's Bookstore in Bloomngton at 111 W. Kirkwood, and Caveat Emptor for used and rare books in Bloomington at 112 N. Walnut. No web sites, of course!

  8. A shameless plug for a friend... Sole Groove Dance Fitness in Flower Mound, Texas (near Dallas.) A set of class passes would make an excellent gift for someone who hates traditional exercise classes.
    Isn't that the cutest logo ever?

  9. I was planning to write a similar post because I think shopping local is so important--not just this weekend, but all year! I always try to find the local options first. Here are some Tucson Recommendations...

    For kids: Mildred & Dildred at La Encantada, The Kids Center on Pima/Swan, and a shameless plug for my hobby business--Barefoot Books. I usually do a lot of community events and fundraisers for schools in the area, but I'm pregnant this year so I'm limiting my business to online sales and appointment only shopping out of my house. See

    Summit Hut has 2 locations in town and has a wonderful selection of outdoor gear.

    Loop Denim at Casas Adobes Shopping Center is the ONLY place I buy jeans. Great selection and the best service ever.

    Restaurant gift certificates are great too. Some of our favorite restaurants in town are Magpies Pizza, Frost, Guadalajara Grill, Cafe Poca Cosa, El Charro, Beyond Bread

    My yoga studio is also a day spa--gift cards for yoga or body treatments always make a nice gift. Barefoot Studio is located on Thornydale near Ina.

    We have recently joined a CSA through a farm in Willcox, AZ--Sunizona Family Farms. A gift subscription for a weekly Farm Box would be an amazing gift that would "keep giving" throughout the year. It's easy to use and the produce and bread has been phenomenal so far.

    Finally, is a great source for handmade items, and you can search for local artisans too. Tucson has some talented artists! My profile can be found at (OK, one more plug, but I'm done now!)

    Looking forward to seeing your post, hope it's full of lots of great Tucson shopping options because I have a lot of work to do still...

  10. Oh, and I forgot 2 of my favorite 4th Avenue shops--Pop Cycle and Little Birds Nesting Company!


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