As the owners of Love Letters, sisters Molly, Abbey, Carlie, Jessica, and their mom Gayle combine colorful, monogrammed gifts and accessories with a touch of southern style. Nifty needlework is included in each price, dancing across fetching baskets and blankets to add a personal touch and an easy way to identify humor. Donning many colors and prints, the Market Tote ($35) ably carts cargo such as groceries, beach supplies, and smaller totes filled with still smaller totes. Food-fight instigators confidently clutch Scout bags and bins ($28–$32), whose recycled materials wipe clean with ease. Quilted Stephen Joseph backpacks ($28–$35), carefully crafted for young scholars and toy-toters, safely support kid-sized copies of War and Peace. An array of fort-building fodder is also available, such as Aden + Anais blankets ($18–$50), whose organic muslin base keeps tots warm while monograms help parents remember which fruit they chose to name their children after. Grown-ups delight in the Occasionally Made portable bar ($38–$40), adding a touch of charm to mall parking-lot tailgates.
Wing Eyecare's peeper specialists outfit customers' fashion-conscious focusers with hundreds of plastic, metal, and rimless designer frames ($189+). Customers can peruse the vast array of optical enhancers by designers such as Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, and Prada before inquiring about single-vision lenses ($203) and x-ray upgrades. Sunglasses by Oakley, Vera Bradley, and Tommy Bahama, among others, defend sensitive baby blues by obstructing bright sun sparklies. All of Wing Eyecare's sunglasses options provide customers with 100% UVA and UVB protection to keep delicate eyes safe from the aggression of the sun's ultra-violent rays.
Red Dog Pet Resort & Spa founder Ray Schneider understands why his clients would want to pamper their pups with massage and reiki sessions or warm-water swims. As he told Dan Monk of the Business Courier, "It’s a relationship that’s very hard to explain. When you have a dog, you can understand it.” The Blue Ash resident and entrepreneur created the sprawling, 25,000-square-foot pet hotel—and its second location in Boston—because he realizes the lengths to which people will go to care for their furry friends.
Swathed in upscale atmosphere, the spa is outfitted with all the comforts of home and more; after touring the facilities, Jeff Elkus of David's Voice said, "I wish the last resort I visited had half the amenities of Red Dog." Dogs can stay in private, themed boarding suites with flat-screen TVs and owner-monitored webcams. They exercise and socialize in climate- and airflow-controlled play areas, romp in a three-acre dog park, and don buoyancy vests to soothe achy joints in the heated aquatic center. The hotel also offers multilevel lodging for cats, as well as canine grooming and training services.
Schneider hired and trained a staff for around-the-clock supervision and care. Dogs who are aging, have health issues, or secretly write reviews for Frommer's get special attention in a room with a fireplace and stretch lounges.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Kramer's Sew & Vac specializes in sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, and it's been vending these wares since 1947. Bring in a faulty machine for a quick fix, or peruse a selection of new sewing machines from Bernina and vacuums from Miele. Kramer's also meets the needs of the sewing community with regular classes, which teach quilting and embroidery skills via traditional methods and on the computer.
A Shade Better's show room glows from wall to wall with lamps and decorative illuminative accouterments. Keep Edison's ever-burning flame radiating beneath a large collection of lampshades ($14+), which distribute light evenly and serve as dunce caps for undisciplined candles. A range of lamps ($54+) mounted beneath bulbs promises to inflame the darkest of corridors, igniting a blaze of light from an array of Asian-inspired designs and animal-themed styles. Show your lamp and gifted child that you love them by crowning them with a decorative finial ($4.99+), from traditional adornments to dragon-shaped designs.