Rod’s Hallmark offers gift-givers a myriad of attractive options, from dainty ornaments and well-crafted glassware to sparkling jewelry. With the holidays a swiftly approaching, ominous glow on the horizon, Hallmark is releasing 100 new Keepsake ornaments ($7.95 and up), with soon-to-be treasured tree-danglers including the Peanuts characters on ice and the Switzerland edition of the Santas Around the World collection. Freshen up your living room or shrine to Ben Stein with autumnal scents from Yankee Candle ($1.99–$24.99). Davinci Jewelry makes the ideal gift for your special anyone, with alluring beads ($6.99), necklaces ($19.99), and bracelets ($10.99) for your perusal. And, of course, Hallmark offers a wide array of gift and greeting cards for virtually every conceivable holiday, from recordable birthday cards to oddly specific missives that congratulate grandmothers on accidentally escaping from maximum-security prison.
Insight Eyecare Specialties equips patients with major brands of both European- and American-designer frames in various styles and colors. Each set of peepers is matched up with eyewear that provides the right look and fit while maximizing visual clarity. Browse top-flight designer frames such as Prada ($249–$349), Coach ($209–$369), and Versace ($219–$299) or alleviate a droopy brow with Nike ($209–$249) and Guess ($149–$209) eyewear. Insight Eyecare also boasts a selection of single-vision lenses ($65+) and assorted shades for shielding eyes against falling drops of sun. With frame materials ranging from titanium and stainless steel to plastic, customers can find blinkers to fit all budgets and lifestyles, whether they’re looking for glasses to wear occasionally or for a durable pair that can withstand territorial duels with bighorn rams.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Clothes and furniture find new life at Red Racks Thrift Stores. Through donations, the staffers at the store's 13 locations fill their racks and shelves with thousands of second-hand items for kids and adults, including name-brand garments from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, The Loft, and Donna Karan New York. They also stock furniture and other miscellaneous goods, such as books and home décor.
And something odd happens when these items arrive at checkout—the register doesn't ring up any sales tax. That's because Red Racks is a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds go to benefit the Disabled American Veterans, an organization that has advocated on behalf of veterans for more than nine decades. Red Racks' altruistic mission has proved successful so far—the inventory of each store typically turns over every 3–4 weeks.
A glass bottle of milk sways to and fro, its lid hooked to a loop around the deliveryman's wrist as he carries a box of Fresh Connect KC's locally sourced produce to the front door. Hungry homeowners pry their weekly boxes open to reveal mélanges of local produce, grown in accordance with Fresh Connect's unique beyond-organic standards, verified through visits to each farm, which span from small family enterprises to farming programs for inner-city youth. When the ground begins to freeze, Fresh Connect turns to farther-flung farms for each order, sourcing only certified organic produce with a life-long desire to travel. While the contents of each order are bound to the seasons, members can alter their weekly shipments in advance through an online portal, where a preference list feature helps keep unbeloved vegetables from appearing. Beyond fresh produce, Fresh Connect also fills boxes with local eggs, cheeses, meats such as sausage and bacon, and pastries from local bakeries.
Hands dig into the springtime earth, heaving up tufts of Missouri dirt cooled by the nearby waters of historic Jowler Creek. The year is 2004 and Colleen and Jason Gerke are trying their hands at winemaking, planting 250 norton grapevines in the ground near their home. Today, the 7-acre plot of land houses more than 3,000 vines, protected by insect-consuming chickens, rodent-hunting hawks and owls, and weed-noshing sheep who graze at carefully managed intervals. The sustainable vineyard sprouts grapes used to concoct eight award-winning wines—from dry to sweet—which are crafted with solar-powered devices. Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery regularly hosts tours for up to 20 people, where patrons spend approximately 90 minutes observing the crash-diet techniques grapes undergo before squeezing into Jowler Creek's trademark baby blue sealed bottles.
The knowledgeable nursery and landscape staff at Full Features Nursery transforms mere lawns and gardens into living works of art with a bountiful assortment of plants, trees, shrubs, and other assorted greenery. A team of outdoor architects beautifies homesteads with speedy delivery and installation of bulk mulch ($40/cu. yd.), decorative rock ($84+/cu. yd.), and self-sustaining steam geysers. The expansive 20-acre, three-greenhouse nursery nurtures a host of plant life, such as annual cell packs ($1.99/four-pack cell) and sun, shade, and native perennials ($7.99+). In addition to peppering gardens with smaller plants, patrons can work to balance their biosphere’s carbon trade deficit with the secure deposit of a tree available in deciduous, evergreen, ornamental, or fruit flavors ($55+).