Banner's Hallmark hosts unique gifts and Hallmark greeting cards that creatively accent any holiday or special occasion. In the absence of sufficient stashes of construction paper for homemade coupon books, offspring can bestow upon hard-working patriarchs a puzzle-themed photo card personalized with an ingratiating image of the family ($3.49). Assorted gifts include décolleté-decorating jewelry, such as DaVinci beads ($6.99 each), and a library of recordable storybooks ($29.95 each). In the home-goods department, comely chalices provide sturdier drinking alternatives to sippy cups and wineskins made out of swiss cheese. Prices and selection may vary based on location.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
For more than a decade, Middle C Music has equipped songcrafters with the instruments and expertise needed to articulate their own sonic expressions. Racks of guitars and ukuleles hang from the shop’s walls, along with accessories such as sheet music, songbooks, and extra sets of limbs for playing double guitars. Orchestral instruments by the likes of Bach, Jupiter, and Cannonball are available for purchase or month-by-month rentals. The shop also curates a team of musical experts of various disciplines for weekly lessons and Rock Band camps, where kids spend five days learning to play as an ensemble and spin their own interpretations of rock classics.
For 50 years, the owners and staffers of Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing have encouraged the artists of their community. They visit local fairs and set up booths for kids to color and craft, and they do workshops, demos, and classes for artists of every age. As their name implies, they also outfit art makers of all skill levels with top-of-the-line materials, such as Gamblin oil paints, Prismacolor pens and markers, and custom frames perfect for saving favorite art pieces or memorializing a sibling's failure to color within the lines.
L'Eclat de Verre's skilled technicians specialize in putting the finishing touches on precious works of art. Each image-wrangler has completed four years of framing school, mastering 18th century, contemporary, and rare fourth-dimensional techniques. Since no two pieces of art are alike, the method of construction will vary depending on what is being framed. All framing methods are conservation quality and use acid-free materials to ensure long-lasting displayability. For those looking to add a finishing flair to their pieces, more than 800 varieties of textured and handmade papers from all over the world are available as matting choices. As with wholesale pizza parlors, prices vary from piece to piece, with 8"x10" objects ranging from $85–$210 on average, 16"x20" objects ranging from $170–$380 on average, and 24"x36" objects ranging from $310–$625 on average.
Flaxella sprinkles its menu of wholesome bites with flaxseed, a natural source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy omega-3s. Start the day with an invigorating flaxseed mocha ($3.25–$3.95) or a sunrise sandwich, which tops a croissant with a fresh egg and a serenade from a rooster ($3.75). The veggie delight sandwich whisks antioxidants to mouths on a rainbow of red tomatoes, yellow squash, and roasted green zucchini ($6.50). Instead of dining in a sleeping bag, make lunch snugglier with the Dakota Roll-Up ($5.75) or a bed of romaine salad with a chicken-salad pillow and a flax-vinaigrette blanket ($6.25).