Small Business Saturday Shopping Guide

Supporting our local small businesses, whether they be adorable boutiques, a coffee spot or favorite bakery, has never been more critical than it has been this year. Many of these businesses were forced to shut down, adapt and maneuver through new restrictions, cleaning requirements and much more. So, I’ve been trying to support my favorite spots as much as possible, whether it’s an extra $20 into the tip jar, or opting to spend a little more money at a boutique vs. going to a bigger box store. Luckily for you, I’ve put together a shopping guide to help support local Cleveland businesses this Small Business Saturday (November 28th) and throughout the holiday season!

Brewella’s is a neighborhood favorite for us because it’s so close to home and delivers delicious treats, like crepes, and always have incredible seasonal menus — I’m anxiously awaiting their Christmas menu to drop! Brewella’s is also home to an incredible vibe with lots of fun and unique collectibles available for purchase. When in doubt, a gift-card is always a great stocking stuffer and easy way to support local.

Home for the Holidays. This pop-up shop always makes a splash each year — and this year you can even shop online and do curbside pick-up! Home for the Holidays curates local vendors and goodies into one place, making it a shop small, shop on steroids. And they’re stocked with gifts for everyone including your furry friends. My personal fave is finding hand painted Cleveland-themed ornaments!

Meatboxlocal brings local, Ohio farmed meats to your front door. This is a great gift that you can ship to friends and family you might not be seeing this season. With a variety of beef and chicken options, this is the perfect way to stay stocked on those meats – while ordering from the comfort of your own home. Plus, the meat is hormone free, grass-fed with free deliveries made weekly within a 50-mile radius from CLE.

Two Cafe & Boutique is truly a treat, for more than one reason! First, it employs individuals with exceptionalities to help bridge them into local workforce. Two, its cafe is farm-to-fork, serving breakfast and lunch with seasonal menus and the freshest ingredients. Three, the boutique sources lines that are for a cause while supporting other businesses in the US. The boutique is also the perfect spot for that hard to get person, a show stopper gift and stocking stuffers.

I’ve been shopping at Lovely Paperie & Gifts and sister store Babycakes Children’s Boutique this entire pandemic — even more than previous years. Why? When I’ve popped in-store to shop, it’s never crowded like big box stores, making this a place I feel safe shopping at! Both of these stores offer special keepsakes, thoughtful gifts and the perfect card for any milestone, holiday or just because. Plus nationwide shipping, in-store or curbside pick-up are available!

Besides finding the perfect gift at any of these spots, grabbing a gift card is another super easy way to instantly support your favorite small biz, and gifting your favorite spot to your favorite people! I’m planning on grabbing smaller amount gift cards from a few other favorite local spots to gift to friends/family and stuff stockings like Nature’s Oasis, Milo & Me, and Mitchell’s Ice Cream. I’m also hoping to shop a few new local spots this year that I’ve been following on Instagram!

And if you’re shopping in person this season, don’t forget your mask, hand sanitizer and a little extra space to those shopping around you!

Local Love: Home for the Holidays Pop-Up Shop

Looking to shop local this holiday season? Look no further — the Home for the Holidays Pop-up Shop is back! Going into it’s fourth year open, it’s found various homes in the neighborhood over the years.  And this pop-up shop supports all things local, by sourcing gems from small business makers in one place!

The best part is you’re not only supporting one local business you’re supporting 40! Home for the Holidays has a variety of gift options for everyone on your list, from baby, to dog mom, to husband or dad, coworkers, and of course your bestie.  Gifts include home goods, local snacks, honey, skincare, christmas themed, barware, and local gear, Home for the Holidays is truly a one stop shop!

With sections throughout the store it’s easy to navigate based on whoever you may be shopping for.  I personally gravitated to the pet section where there was a mix of goodies for your favorite furry friend, like toys and treats and then treats for mom like dog-themed candles and dog mom wine glasses!  And if you’re a human mom, or have a few sweet babes in your life you’ll be trying to decide between some adorable nursery or baby decor from lovefrombrooklyn or handcrafted blankets from Unsalted.
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Moving on to the men in your life. With plenty of amazing hand crafted options like CLE themed beer steins or leather coasters, key chains and valet trays from William & James Leather Co. (William & James also has some pretty amazing earrings available at Home for the Holidays shop, too!) You can also snag a Great Lakes Brewery bottle opener made from actual beer taps.  There are local tees, sweatshirts and winter gear with all his favorite local teams that make for a home run gift.

Speaking of jewelry, beyond unique one of a kind pieces from William & James — there are also copper and ceramic Ohio state necklaces, inspirational bangles and bold earrings that will truly make a statement.  There are also customizable pieces for a more personalized gift and even better stocking stuffer!
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HomeHolidays-beelife(4)To kick off my holiday shopping I stopped in to grab a few items and get inspired for more gifts, the best part is they are continually restocking and adding in new pieces. I grabbed a few handmade ornaments from GGDorothy Art, one of a Cleveland sky line (for us!) and then an Indians ornament for my aunties (shhh! it’s not Christmas yet).  I also grabbed a fun NYE card for a dear friend, a tea towel from Tart Boutique and sweet baby bows from lovefrombrooklyn.  I can’t wait to head back in the coming week to grab a few more goodies and see what new items are in stock at the shop!
HomeHolidays-beelife(1)Home for the Holidays is open Thursday – Sunday until December 23rd, so make sure to plan your trip for any and all of your holiday shopping, last minute gifts and something truly unique for your favorite people.  So if you stop in be sure to say hey to Maureen, the awesome owner behind Home for the Holidays, she is so sweet and hospitable!

Stay up to date with the latest from Home for the Holidays on Instagram and Facebook.

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DIY – Wooden Couch Sleeve

Ever have those pins that you saved at the beginning of Pinterest-time and have always wanted to make? I’ve wanted to make a wooden couch sleeve for a long time — it seems like an easy, practical solution without having side tables everywhere.  But our main living room furniture has rounded arms and these wooden couch sleeves definitely seem better suited for a squared off arm.
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I knew I would be able to make this fairly inexpensively as long as we had some scrap wood laying around — and luckily we did! I was able to utilize tools that we already had, so this project cost me $0.  And with our basement makeover, our furniture downstairs had squared off arms with a lower side table that only serves part of the seating, I thought this would be a perfect addition to our ‘finished-unfinished’ space especially with the natural rustic wood piece.

What You’ll Need:
– Scrap wood
– Table saw
– Sandpaper
– Satin/Gloss Clear Coat Spray Paint
– Nail gun
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Step-by-Step:
1. Determine the length of your main top piece based on your furniture. I decided on 13″ long and kept the original width of the board. You’ll want your sides to be the same length, width of sides can be all equal or shorter.

2. Using a tape measure and straight edge, draw a straight line for your top piece, then cut with table saw. For the sides because my scrap wood was older, I cut the same length and it pretty much split down the middle to make two smaller pieces.  I liked the more unfinished, raw edges as I wanted to keep the integrity of the older wood.

3. I then sanded the pieces on both sides and all of the edges.  Again, I liked the color of the wood – I just needed to work out a few rough spots and clean it up. After sanding, be sure to wipe down the pieces with a cloth to get rid of extra dust.
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4. I then did a top coat with Satin finished spray paint — that I happened to have at the house already.  Spray top coats are a little trickier to see full coverage until dry – so for that reason you may need to do a few coats depending on the finish and coverage you want (above picture before spray, bottom after spray).  I did two coats on the main top and sides, and one on the underneath part.

5. Once I was content with the top coat it was putting everything into place with the nail gun.  I opted NOT to use wood glue for two reasons (1) being lazy (2) we don’t have clamps, so we would’ve nailed in place shortly after gluing like we did for our floating shelf. This was a two person job to ensure the nails went in securely.  We put the sides in a bit so they would be snug against the couch, since I opted to keep the top the original width of the wood, avoiding too many cuts.

Pro-tip: I made sure all my cut edges were in the back of my piece, so the original rough edges would be facing out. I also determined my top early on when measuring and cutting pieces.
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This is the perfect addition to the space, and it’s sturdy for an afternoon cup of coffee, the remote or a glass of beer watching the game! Although we have a super cute trunk side table in this space, it’s much lower than the couch and chair so it isn’t exactly convenient for ongoing sipping. This couch sleeve is also portable, so it can move around depending on which spot you’re in or who needs it. I love how it turned out and it’s imperfections!  Plus — this could also be a sweet Christmas gift for just about anyone.

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Bee Holiday Hacks – My Go-To Gift

I’m going to fill you in on another little secret of mine, it’s the gift I give every year… and sometimes even to the same people! But trust me, it’s anything from lazy, unoriginal or impersonal.  My go-to gift is ornaments! Growing up, every year we would get an ornament before the holiday – my brother collected the Puppy Love series from Hallmark, and I was usually a mix-match but usually went for the Barbie series from Hallmark.  Regardless, every year unboxing the ornaments and carefully finding a place for them on the tree is one of my favorite parts of the holidays, so I like giving that gift to others as well.
Holiday Hack - Ornaments - bee life blogOrnaments hold special memories, can mark significant moments or important dates, places traveled or a moment in time.  From an engagement, wedding, anniversary, to a lost pet or a new house our lives are captured into sweet little keepsakes to trim our Christmas tree year after year.

How I Make My Ornaments: I like to switch up my base for my ornaments whether it’s a large clear glass globe, wooden circular ornament (I used real wood we cut), shaped wooden ornament, or a round plaster ornament.  From there I like to search my nearest and dearest friends social accounts and find a few perfect pictures from the year that could easily be translated onto an ornament and make copies at a print-in-seconds Kodak machine.  Mod Podge is my best friend when it comes to putting these photos onto the wooden ornaments or ceramic.   I’ll add gold glitter around the edges so you can’t see where the picture doesn’t overlap – most important part is adding the year!   With my wooden ornaments I drill a whole so the ribbon can string through to be hung.  For glass globes, I’ll fill with glitter or sequins, or even ribbon or string and write on the outside – from fun hashtags, to new homes addresses, these are classic ornaments that are so simple and fun and make a big statement.
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Creating special ornaments of friends kids or dogs, special events, or anniversaries – I use stickers, gold markers and fun ribbon to add the finishing touches to these unique ornaments year after year, and my favorite part of all of it all is seeing these ornaments on our friends trees each year.   On top of making ornaments I do love shopping Hallmark’s ornaments each year and finding fun keepsakes for my family or even for B and I to hang on our tree.

What’s your favorite ornament?

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Local Love – Holiday Edition

One thing I love about my city is all the great local talent and shops we have!  Here are some of my favorites, with a little holiday twist for your last minute shopping, baking, and hosting ideas!

(Links in main headers)

Snicklefritz Bakeshop
These cookies are to die for, seriously the best cookies I’ve ever had! Not to mention the attention to detail and designs are perfectly custom – she even offers cakes. I especially love these Christmas Story inspired batch she created.  If you ever want some special and custom cookies for a party and to make everyone’s taste buds scream, check out Kendra at Snicklefritz Bakeshop.

The Wandering Wardrobe
Originally a food truck turned into a clothing boutique touring local neighborhoods and festivals, she now has a ‘small box’ boutique within walking distance of my office! Perfect for a holiday outfit or fun winter wear that’s unique and limited quantities!  You can even shop online if you can’t make it to her locations.  Perfect for every fashionista in your life or if you need a little something special to wear!

Lucy Williams Illustrations
If you want something super unique, custom and insanely beautiful – check out Lucy Williams Illustrations.  Her hand-drawn letters and illustrations are simple and elegant, an import to Cleveland she’s dived head-in illustrating for many brands and companies, including one of my favorite’s Mitchell’s Ice Cream.
Email her at: lmwilliamsillustration.com
Instagram @lucymarshall

CLE Clothing Co.

Yes – I’ve bragged about these guys a few times before on my blog. They’re clothing and shirts are the softest I’ve ever felt! I seriously wear mine religiously.  Every year they release some Christmas (and CLE) specific pieces that are perfect for any gift giving ideas for friends and family!

Share some of your local brands and stories in the comments below! Whether they’re near or far, I love seeing people’s ideas and dreams coming to life.