Sunday, October 27, 2013

Props to Shops!

I mentioned in a previous post how important it is to shop at small businesses. They will provide you with personal customer service, knowledge and creativity that you cannot get from the big box stores. It will also help many of them put a meal on the table for their families. I would rather do that then help the CEO of Walmart buy another vacation home. So this holiday season, I will be featuring several independent run businesses that deserve your support.
I am mentioning Carey at Gypsy Threads first. She has recently helped me out of a Blogger pickle that I got myself into. Notice how there was a span of almost a month with no blog....yea, I'm a technology ding dong and Carey saved the day. By the way, Google has no customer service. See, those big companies don't care about you or me like the small companies do.
Carey has an incredible shop on Etsy. I met her when I was desperate to get my daughter's Daisy patches sewn on (because the whole "iron on" thing is a big fat lie)! Her workmanship is impeccable, check out her shop and see for yourself:
Sexy as hell, right! Carey uses vintage fabrics to create beautiful items to treat yourself to.
Great detail! Put this on your holiday wish list!
The next group of shops made generous donations to a charity very dear to my heart, FARE. My son (the artist) suffers from severe food allergies. He has life threatening allergies to Peanuts, all tree nuts, all legumes, peas and lentils. We participate in a  yearly allergy walk to raise funds to help with research and education of food allergies. At this event there is also a raffle, several shops have donated, and I am sincerely touched! There are more items coming, and I will give props to those lovelies in my next blog. I am continuing to support small businesses during this holiday shopping season, and I hope you do too!
Stacy has an Etsy shop called Freak Show Follies, and it will make your head explode with how wicked cool her creations are!
True artist.
Check out her shop here:Freak Show Follies
In time for Halloween! Seriously, how kick ass is this?
Real spider! Now this is what I call a statement piece.
My next lovely lady is Rhoda. She has an Etsy shop, Crystal Heart Factory and she makes  really beautiful jewelry with Swarovski crystals, pearls and more. One of my favorite things she makes is her "awareness" items. Breast Cancer awareness, Autism awareness, etc. What a great personal gift to give to someone.
Give her a looksee! Crystal Heart Factory
For Breast Cancer Awareness. Bee-yoo-tee-full
Check out that workmanship! Won't find this at Walmart.
And last, but not least, is Jean. Jean has a shop on Etsy, Intealect, and she makes some gorgeous jewelry. If you need a wonderful, handmade, unique gift for someone special, you need to take a peek

One of my faves. Love those fall colors!

So Pur-ty!
All of these shops offer custom work. Can you believe it! Custom! You definitely will not find that at Walmart, Target, Kmart...
Please shop local and support the little guys. We need love too!
I promise that you will not be disappointed with anything you receive from the above mentioned shops. They will arrive beautifully packaged and be one of a kind!
Oh and (shameless plug) don't forget to shop my shops too! My coupon codes are good to the end of the year. (click on my shops on the side bar...can't miss em)
Books4me (Vintage Book Market) saves you an extra 15%
Vintage4me (Circa Company) will save you an extra 10%
Shop shop shop!
If you are a small shop owner and have any holiday deals going on, please feel free to add them to my comment section. Share the love, people!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Favorite Book Store

My favorite book store is not Barnes and Noble, not Amazon, and not Borders. My very favorite place to browse through books is Sam's Books which is located in the Oldsmar Flea Market. Sam's Books is owned and operated by Sharon Micek. She has been in business there for 21 years! I am telling you that there is no reason to pay retail for books, because she has what you are looking for!
She mostly specializes in children's books, but she has something for every age group there. I love the flea market anyhow, and when I discovered this gem of a shop about 8 years ago, I was hooked!
It is insanely packed from floor to ceiling, wall to wall in a maze of book shelves, and plenty of chairs to sit on while you browse through a book or two (or 100). I have been a regular customer of hers for years, and if I only know a partial title of a book, she will find it. And when I like a particular author, she will gather those books for me as well as make recommendations for other books that are similar. She is familiar with  illustrators, book genres, and writing styles of certain authors.
If you are a fan of books, this place will make your head explode! If you decide to visit Sam's Books (and I recommend you do), plan on spending about an hour there. At least. Bring your kids and let them pick out some books. They are more likely to read when they are able to pick out their own book from such a wide variety of books. And they can get a large bag full of books for the same price as one book from Barnes and Noble.
Also, I want to add, that Sharon is a pretty cool lady. I always have enjoyed my chit chats with her over the years.
Both my kids are stellar readers and I credit the large selection of reading material that I have always provided being part of the reason. The other reason is my kids have big brains.
Okay, now here is the part that I encourage you to shop local mom and pop shops: Do it! It's so important to support small businesses, especially come holiday time! Most of the books that Sharon carries are only a buck or two each! Kids chapter books for a fraction of the cost of retail, you just can't go wrong!
Sam's Books is located in the Oldsmar Flea Market, 180 Racetrack Rd. (on the corner of Hillsborough Ave), She is there Thurs-Sun, and she will ship. Her number is 813-818-1884 or you can email her with any questions,
Are you a book hoarder too? Are your books spilling from the shelves, piling up on your nightstand? Do tell!
***For the next month, I will be featuring small businesses to support for the holiday shopping season. Most will be online stores, which will make your holiday shopping less stressful and chaotic.***