Sparkling semiprecious beads, Kazuri beads, and Swarovski crystals line the shelves of Kellie’s Bead Boutique, waiting to be strung into bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. The shop’s ever-changing selection evolves according to seasonal fashions and nearly imperceptible shifts of dark matter. Similarly, jewellery-making classes regularly change so that teachers can help students craft new statement pieces. The class instructor and shop owner, Kellie Sutton, also crafts her own line of jewellery, which is sold internationally.
With a hefty collection of children’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, Monkey Business swathes tykes in fashionable getups and snug transportation. Started by two local mothers, the baby boutique swaddles newbies in cotton cocoons from Mexx ($12.99+) and Noppies and dresses miniature metatarsals in Converse sneakers and Jack and Lily soles ($29.99). After ushering their bundles to a cooler climate, proud owners can tote the stork’s copilots in equipment such as aden + anais blankets ($24.99+), canopy strollers from BOB, or gilded picnic baskets with overall-strap seatbelts, which make spit-up seem cute and tantrums sound like an opening sonata. In addition to crowning toddlers with Pink Axle hats, Monkey Business also stimulates budding neural pathways with a bounty of educational toys and games.
At Babydoll Boutique, lingerie experts accentuate frames with complimentary bra fittings and spectrum-spanning sizes from designers such as Hanky Panky, Chantelle, and Bravado. Lacy thongs ($24) guard against panty lines and Naked men's boxer briefs ($38–$44) swathe nether-regions in seamless Italian microfiber. After clients are measured for the proper bra size, Babydoll Boutique’s helpful staff can choose a Chantelle Hedona bra to enforce natural contours sans seams, padding, or support panels ($89); new mothers relish the Bravado nursing bra's soft, stretchy fabric ($50). A Belly Bandit body slimmer ($69+) hugs post-pregnancy torsos with an elastic band that encourages the body to regain its pre-pregnancy circumference and ability to dive through closing elevator doors. Babydoll Boutique's fitters strive to flatter every type of figure, and happily assist with mastectomy fittings and special orders. Though not required, customers can in advance for appointments. Though not required, customers can call in advance for an appointment.
With an extensive repertoire of scrapbooking and photography techniques and products, Photo Express flourishes creative minds with a full-day design camp and online photo memorabilia. Between 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., student artisans can enrich their right brains in the indulgent Day For You as instructors enlighten pupils with scrapbooking layouts, a Copic card tutorial and an interactive photography workshop. After indoctrinating imagination muscles with popular scrapbooking methods and designs, guests can celebrate their new aesthetic skills by creating a double page scrapbook layout or decoupaging their neighbour's cat. Equipped with mounting basics, up to 20 clipping disciples subsequently cultivate their talents in a card decorating class, enlisting artisan Copic markers to embellish the luxurious paper line. Photo Express also inspires participants with a photography lecture and presentation to endow students with superior Polaroid skills and sunset-stalking strategies. After an energizing group lunch, nourished patrons can explore their scrapbooking goodie bags to decorate their favourite photos and preserve a book's worth of memories.
Bean Around Books connects curious minds with literary gems in a tidy, friendly atmosphere awash in the aromas of freshly brewed teas. The shop shelves an array of new and used books—from romance and mystery to sci-fi and self-help—that currently include page flippers such as the Star Trek Titan series ($5+) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code ($15) in a special illustrated edition. Customers hunting for a rare first edition of Chicken Soup for the Salad-Shunning Soul can enjoy more than 25 loose-leaf teas in the seating area, or take home infusions that include varieties such as luscious mango ($11.99/100 g), green ginseng ($11.49/100 g), and Ilam artisanal oolong ($15.99/100 g) from Nepal. In the seating area, guests enjoy plentiful room in which to sip their earl grey while practicing Sherlock Holmes impressions or surfing the shop’s free WiFi. Bean Around Books also features the work of local artists and visiting writers, and an assortment of handcrafted jewellery.