Monday, November 29, 2010

Shop Local: Secret Garden Books

It's my birthday! And I'm demanding I get my way today: Please go out and buy yourself something nice at an independent bookstore. If you are in Seattle, you might consider shopping at today's Shop Local shop, Secret Garden Books in Ballard. Already gushed about Ballard here, but this post is devoted exclusively to Secret Garden gushing.

First off, Secret Garden always has lovely display windows as those are usually done by chic crafter Dawn:

And it's not just Dawn that's crafty, the store has a great display table of signed craft books and crafty wares. So lovely it almost wipes away the nightmare that is me knitting...

Secret Garden has also upped its purchase of holiday cards this year, and they are all winners. Some vintage reproductions as well as lovely ones by Egg Press caught my eye.

I asked Christy McDanold, the owner, what her favorite books of the season are, and she brought me over to the children's book holiday display.

Christy has lots of favorites, but this season is loving:
And for almost all ages as a gift, WORK SONG by Ivan Doig.

Suzanne, Secret Garden's event guru, was thrilled to tell me about some faboo gift ideas—all of the titles below are signed by the author:
Not signed, but also Suzanne approved are CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS by Peter Brown, MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonsen, and JUST KIDS by Patti Smith.

You'll also be able to get your cider on at Secret Garden. Ballard businesses are having a holiday party this Saturday, December 4th, and Santa is supposedly dropping by and there will be FREE horse-drawn hay rides.

Speaking of horses, maybe you want to get a jump on your resolution to join a book club? Secret Garden's meets December 16 with OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petterson. Try this club, they don't bite! That's the Vampire Books Book Club and they only meet after store hours.

Secret Garden Books
2214 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107

Holiday Hours
Monday - Saturday 10 - 8 
Sunday 12 - 5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shop Local: Queen Anne Books

Good afternoon, shoppers. I'm so excited to share this Shop Local series with you—because it's all about one of my favorite things—great, independent bookstores.

First up is the hilltop heaven known as Queen Anne Books. So lovely in the snow:

Did you know Queen Anne Books offers free gift wrapping year-round? That they offer personalized shopping in person OR over email? That besides helping you pick out a gift, they will pack AND ship it? That you can place orders on their website 24/7?

You must go visit in person, though, if only for your stomach's sake. Queen Anne Books has a new neighbor, Le RĂªve French Bakery, and Tegan of QAB says it is delightful. Tegan also mentions the hot chocolate at El Diablo Coffee next door, which you must then compare to the thicker sipping chocolate at Chocopolis down the street...

Which puts me in the mood for cookbook shopping. Queen Anne Books has a bunch by local authors like:

If you stop in at Queen Anne Books on December 3rd, they're having a big holiday party where you can meet the author of and sample treats from The Meat-lover's Meatless Cookbook by author Kim O'Donnel.

But maybe you are reading this because you need kid book recommendations? Well, Tegan and QAB have those in spades, or snowflakes, as the case may be:

Tegan's favorite kids' book of last year was Zorgamazoo by Paul Weston, and she highly recommends the audio version as it is read by the dulcetly toned Alan Cumming.

So, remember, December 3rd, you are going to Queen Anne Books for free bites, an additional 15% off merchandise in the store, and from 3 o'clock on, the rest of Queen Anne is having a holiday party, too. Don't forget the cocoa taste testing!

1811 Queen Anne Avenue N # 103
Seattle, WA 98109-2850
(206) 283-5624

Holiday Hours: Monday through Friday: 10 am to 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am to 5:30 pm


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My love letter to Ballard and some good news!

Hey, you guys! 

I'm thrilled to announce Cocoastomp items are for sale at Venue in Ballard.

What is Venue you ask? It is a delightful store/studio space. Here's a quote from their site:
The collection at Venue includes home accessories, personal accoutrements, artisan chocolates, fine art and many creative gifts. Because we have work studios on site, you have the opportunity to meet the artists from time to time and perhaps commission them to do custom pieces for you. 
How cool is it they have on-site art studios? And tons of classes like felting or calligraphy or even chocolate making? So cool.

But what's most wonderful about Venue? The owners. Diane of Venue has been nothing but encouraging and I can't tell you what an impact that has on an artist. Or maybe I can—it's flipping inspiring.

What is Ballard you ask? Only potentially the greatest neighborhood in Seattle. I hope you'll duck into Venue to do a bit of holiday shopping. And you're right next door to a thousand, other great local shops. SERIOUSLY:

The Field House may be the most beautifully curated shop in the city. And it has a candy section. Check out sister store Blackbird and their amazing apothecary section which has colognes you actually want to smell.
Secret Garden Books (which'll be featured in its own post soon) is full of perfect paged gifts.
Cookie has all your baking needs.
Sonic Boom Records can't be beat for its beats.
Clover is my favorite toy store in the city.
Lucca not only has a kickass holiday window this year, they are full of incredible finds, like an antique wooden Tintin and stationery that makes you want to write to somebody.

Not only will you shop in Ballard, but you'll eat and drink and make merry:
Cupcake Royale which has pumpkin cupcakes.
Caffe Fiore where I do spend hours because of their perfect coffee and the loveliest tables/lighting in town.
La Carta de Oaxaca is the best Mexican food and margaritas in the state. I'll leg wrestle you on this.
Ocho for tapas, a drink called The Donkey Tongue, and reliably good background music.
The Back Bar at Bastille is the perfect place for masterminding criminal plots.
And for fun! Majestic Bay Theater or Sunset Tavern or Tractor Tavern or pool at BalMar.

I'm forgetting places, I know, but this is a start. Hope you are all gearing up to shop local this holiday season!