The Painted Penguin showcases a t-shirt design studio as well as the art of ceramics, inviting participants with any level of experience to unhurriedly paint their bisque and plaster pieces in the company of friends, family members, or particularly chatty coffee mugs. When designing their own pieces or attending any of The Painted Penguin's parties, customers can enlist the help of staff members, who are always on hand to provide tips or inspiration.
The purveyors of the written word at Books For Less carry more than 100,000 discount titles, feeding page-hungry readers a steady diet of new best-sellers and used volumes. Bibliophiles can obtain contemporary fictional tales, such as Twilight by Stephanie Meyer ($4.80 for paperback), and non-fiction hits, such as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell ($9 for paperback)––a cogent treatise on the proper way to upend cows. A stiff-backed copy of Nicholas Sparks's Safe Haven ($13.50) quells word appetites while serving as a mobile ironing board.
Since equipping the world with its first wood-slat recliner in 1928, La-Z-Boy has branded itself as a well-known producer of high-quality furniture, including their signature recliner, loveseats, ottomans, upholstered sofas, accent tables, and much more. The Urbana oval end table ($249 and up) is genetically engineered to keep junk mail off the ground and blocks the couch's attempts to stretch out into the hall. A host of recliners, sofas, sectionals, the demi stationary chair and sleepers are also waiting to invade homes with their tasteful presence.
While his wife weaves together boughs to craft holiday wreaths, Dan Skelton draws on more than 20 years of horticultural experience to tend to freshly cut fraser firs. Strolling through an aromatic forest of evergreens from North Carolina, guests choose a tree of the perfect height and width to fill a lonely living-room corner or barricade Scrooge's front door. The fragrant plants festoon festive abodes in a variety of sizes, from 6-foot-tall present shelterers ($40+) to 10-foot-tall ornament hogs ($125+). Revelers augment holiday spirit with 24-inch wreaths hand-woven from emerald branches of fresh pine. Holiday gifts and décor nestle inside a cozy cottage, and visitors gather around a fire to warm chilly fingers by roasting marshmallows, sipping steaming mugs of hot cocoa, or sharing baby photos of their mittens. For every tree sold, GardenWright Nurseries makes a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Kid to Kid is an upscale children's and maternity resale store that buys clothing, toys, furnishings, and baby gear before selling it back at affordable prices. Before making the cut, all clothes and shoes must be deemed certifiably elite in stylishness, cleanliness, and newishness. Items are hand-selected by discerning staffers who put them through an intense screening process in which the gems make the rack and the duds are sent back. Back-to-school shoppers can find brands such as Gap and Gymboree, and moms-to-be can find fashions for themselves and their baking buns. Each piece of equipment and every toy is squeaky-clean and well-mannered, always poised for an invite to the most exclusive teddy bear picnics.
Keeping feet comfortable is as simple as finding the right shoe. This is the central tenet of New Balance's philosophy. And that belief is backed up by experience—the company got its start in the early 1900s by selling arch supports to Boston police officers and restaurant servers who spent hours on their feet each day. New Balance eventually expanded into the realm of athletic footwear and apparel, but never lost sight of its mission to create shoes that provide the support necessary for maximum performance.
To ensure that customers find footwear that fits like a glove, New Balance employs dedicated specialists. The team members perform comprehensive assessments by examining the feet from every angle, collecting as many as 88 different measurements, and even analyzing the clients' natural gait. They then select the perfect shoe, whether the wearer seeks a basic cross-trainer or equipment for a specific sport, such as baseball or a full-contact spelling bee.
Beyond finding the right pair for virtually any feet, New Balance also dedicates itself to embracing environmentally and economically conscious practices. One out of every four shoes that the company produces is either made or assembled in the United States, a system that provides jobs for roughly 1,300 people. Additionally, all of their packaging is made using recycled paper products as well as eco-friendly, soy-based inks.