Kidding Around and its sister store, Just Kidding Around, peddle timeless, traditional toys to foster creative play and stimulate the minds of youngsters ranging from infants to teenagers. The stores' helpful, knowledgeable staff members guide customers toward toys for every sensibility. The Schylling little farmer garden tote ($21.99) arms budding botanists with a pint-sized spade, a shovel, and a watering can for putting out garden gnome campfires. A host of music-making toys, such as the miniature Woodstock Chimes Chimalong xylophone ($22.99), sate tuneful yearnings, whereas a Make-Your-Own Sock Puppet kit ($19.99) enables tots to create a soft and fuzzy new group of friends they can bring to life using nothing more than their hands and an authentic British accent. Board games ($12.99–$59.99) for all ages facilitate friendly competition, elevating family game nights above the level of push-up contests and disco dance-offs.
The key to Zazzle.com?s success isn?t a 3,000-strong stock of T-shirts, phone cases, and accessories?it?s the fact that customers can express themselves on products before they're printed and shipped, generally within 24 hours. The website?s user-friendly design interface allows customers to affix their favorite pictures to messenger bags, scrawl personalized messages on coffee mugs, or insert their favorite movie character into family portraits. Zazzle.com also showcases designs from creative customers around the globe and big names such as Disney, Marvel, and The Who. Each product is made to order and bears a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
For new initiates into the world of Japanese anime and its attached culture, Image Anime Co., in Chelsea, is a good place to start. Since 1992, the shop has been supplying locals with comics, dvds, models, toys, costumes and other novelties inspired by popular series like Robotech, Sailormoon and Transformers. Just the visual impression of the colorful collections of product in the glass cases, on shelves, and hanging from walls can’t help but intrigue even the most casual drop-ins to this checkered space. The staff is more than happy to discuss the minutia of anime and point customers in new directions.
The moms behind the scenes at Bluum.com sift through the endless array of beauty and baby-care products on the market to compile a unique care package each month. They especially keep an eye out for organic and natural products and artfully arrange each month's treasure trove in a bright read box. Along with figuring out which products make their skin feel great or their babies' tummies gurgle with delight, members can help each other navigate the wealth of options by posting reviews on the Bluum website. The baby gifts in each box are hand-selected for the baby's age, stage, and gender.
FAO Cafe, where palate owners take in the flavor of handmade desserts and sugar-sprinkled coffee drinks, sits within the treasure troves at world-famous toy store FAO Schwarz. Guests can marvel at Sarah's Cupcakes ($4.50), which crumble under the weight of teeth faster than a bolt of lightning shot out of a cannon. Put make-believe tea-party skills to use with coffees from illy, which harvests arabica beans from South America, Central America, India, and Africa to conjure lattes ($4.10–$5.10), espressos ($2.60–$4.10), and cappuccinos ($3.85–$4.85). FAO Cafe's kitchen team also puts out a spread of locally crafted Doughnut Plant donuts ($3.50–$3.75), which are made from scratch and enough mental focus to ignore a nearby refrigerator morphing into a person. Visitors can also nibble other taste-bringers such as ice cream, shakes, cookies, and brownies.