Packed with party supplies and gifts, Whimsy has a special knack for inflating handheld blimps of all kinds. Helium addicts can peruse the shop's lengthy catalogue, grabbing an over the hill balloon ($2.99) to celebrate a relative's birthday or successful mountain climb. A floating eyeball balloon ($7.99) thanks optometrists for a job well done, and a 3-D dirigible bumblebee, lobster, frog, or turtle ($9.99 each) lets pet lovers practice their nurturing skills and trick-training abilities. Whimsy takes orders by phone, email, or fax.
An affordable and monumental selection of plush beds, sturdy end tables, and stylish home accessories mingles good-naturedly in Ashley Furniture’s wondrous warehouse. Pick up an Aero ivory armless chair ($216.77) and use it to accent your next book-club meeting’s discussion of Lego Star Wars. Augment somnolence with mattress sets from household brands such as Sealy and Simmons and finish flooring your sleep space with a Roarke Masai 5'x8' rug ($162).
With more than 50 years in the business under its belt, Banting's Nursery continually colludes with Mother Nature to smuggle extra oxygen into the air with an array of fresh plants. Twig and vine enthusiasts looking to foray into gardening will delight in exploring a wide selection of adoptable flora, from citrus trees and tomato plants to colorful flowers. The shop's knowledgeable shrubologists can explain the sunlight preferences and water lifestyle choices of beauties ranging from the tropical hibiscus ($12.95 for a 3-gal.) to the plumbago ($5.95 for a 1-gal.). Three gallons' worth of knockout roses ($19.95) double as a flying-fisted home security system, and the fragrant, pale-petaled frost-proof gardenia rolls its eyes blithely at winter's advances ($14.95 for a 3-gal.).
Offering a head-spinning variety of cups and other party-planning accessories, Party Cup Express sees to it that rambunctious revelers let loose with remarkable receptacles in hand. Tailgate in style with a set of 25 16-ounce black-and-gold souvenir cups emblazoned with the fleur-de-lis ($10), craft memorable baked goods with a crawfish cookie cutter ($3.95), or keep beverages frosty with a set of six Water Meter coozies ($6). Dazzle passing pedestrians and increase the chances of picking up a hitchhiking Drew Brees with a Saints Super Bowl Champions license plate ($5).
Mattress Direct culls a variety of mattresses in textures ranging from firm to plush from brands such as Tempur-Pedic and Serta. Serta's iComfort, for example, evenly distributes support across the body with microsupport gel capsules nestled in its memory foam; a specialized material prevents overheating and the resulting unpleasant lava-chase nightmares. Mattress Direct's stock of bed frames, bed linens, and pillows allow patrons to assemble complete bedroom sets in one trip, and an express delivery service prevents the hassle of renting a moving truck or outfitting each leg of a new bed with a rollerblade.
The professional consultants at Compass Furniture have been steering bewildered patrons through a labyrinth of contemporary and traditional styles, finishes, and fabrics for 35 years. Avoid an empty nest by filling it with top brands, including Broyhill, Schnadig, Bassett, and Serta. The 80,000-square-foot showroom helps decorators envision the final floor plan, displaying entire sets arranged as if they were already in the home. Pick a proper dinner setting with a four-piece dinette ($199.99+) so that you no longer have to wait for the tranquilizers to kick in just to entertain in the neighbor's dining room. If morning brings the frustration of having to wrestle an onslaught of rebellious springs, consider a new mattress ($139+), or give up on bedding altogether and pledge allegiance to a sofa ($299+).