Lands' End Canvas puts a new twist, and an updated fit, on the classics. Keep limbs limber and dazzlingly denim-wrapped with a versatile pair of women's slim leg jeans ($49.50), whose lithe, fitted look makes it possible to wear them on the job without sacrificing the stretch needed to juggle workplace soccer balls. A shirred v-neck cardigan ($49.50) or chunky cable cowlneck sweater ($69.50) keeps lady torsos tastefully attired, while dapper gents can sheathe their shoulders in the timeless style of a Shaker shawl cardigan ($59.50). Men looking to winterize can don a wool pea coat ($170), whose plentiful pocketry eliminates the need to tote car keys in clunky male purses or on easily tangled leashes. A broad array of accessories, including shoes, bags, scarves, and gloves, provides the cherry on top of any sartorial sundae.
It's not every day that online shopping includes as much personal attention as you get from Stoneside Blinds. In most areas, their online-shopping process starts off with a free house call from a designer, who helps clients pick out materials and styles for their window dressing. Once the client has made their choices, the company can send out teams to measure the window frames and, later, install the final product for a flat fee; fees are waived for orders over $1,000. Their handiwork, and the blinds themselves, are backed by a rigorous guarantee that lets customers change their minds within 30 days and safeguards against defects up to a year later, so customers never have to cover up faulty blinds with a poster of their backyard. The only online part of their signature process, really, is placing the order. Minutes after the order is placed, the team at the production warehouse gets to work making it a reality, whether it's roller shades in a custom fabric, sleek solar shades, or classic wooden blinds.
Picture Works is a full-service framing store with an expansive selection of frames, mats, and glass that turns ordinary memorabilia into wall-worthy works of art. Display snapshots from weddings, first birthdays, and obedience-school graduations with 16"x20" customized pieces featuring acid-free matting ($36), foam core backing ($10), and 1-inch wooden frames ($74). 32"x40" posters of your 10 favorite hair bands can be enclosed in metal ($89.99) or wooden ($119) frames, adding a touch of professionalism to glam-metal shrines. Precut mats and frames can enhance paintings and diplomas, and neglected rec rooms can be decorated with framed jerseys ($299+) once worn by Olympic table-tennis champion Jan-Ove Waldner.
Founded by John McCue in 1933, McCue Garden Center has passed down through three generations of tree tenders and plant whisperers. Now, 79 years later, the family's center has blossomed to include two locations: the garden center in Woburn, and McCue's Flower Outlet in Billerica. Along with a knowledgeable staff, the McCue family helps visitors at each of the locations select healthy flowers, shrubs, and trees from the nursery or organic soils and fertilizer from the store, and oversees an adjoining florist shop, which churns out colorful arrangements and lovely long-stemmed roses daily. They update the store's ample inventory to suit the seasons, with selections such as statuary, flowers, and vegetable plants in the summer and fresh balsam Christmas trees, wreaths, and poinsettia-shaped snow cones in the winter. In addition to celebrating the earth's constant revolution with a rotating array of seasonally appropriate plants, they host a wealth of holiday festivities, from October's corn maze to spring's Easter-egg hunt.
iRobot's creations lend an invaluable hand in a wide range of situations, from military drills to spring-cleaning sprees. However, the company's most famous robot is the Roomba, a circular vacuuming robot that tidies up floors with remarkable self-sufficiency. Roomba models leave their charging docks and roll across floors to suck up dirt and debris. With their advanced sensors, they are able to scour entire rooms while avoiding obstacles.
Roomba's extended family includes the floor-scrubbing Scooba, the mopping Braava, the gutter-cleaning Looj, and the pool-cleaning Mirra. As for iRobot's other inventions, they help out with assorted business and security tasks, such as communication, reconnaissance, and heavy lifting. The company?which was the brainchild of a team of roboticists from MIT?has sold more than 10 million robots since its founding in 1990, and it continues to encourage innovation with both its products and its educational outreach programs.