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 – National Donut Day

The world needs a little happiness right now, and I think we can start small with some delicious local dones! In honor of National Donut Day, I wanted to highlight our go-to gourmet donut shop, Brewnuts. Not to mention, it’s hard not to smile and swoon over the bright, beachy and pink decor that makes Brewnuts, even if it’s just to get donuts to-go.Brewnuts(1)
Brewnuts has been able to continue to serve the great City of Cleveland even during hard times like COVID-19 and this past weeks BLM movements; they’re always a sound voice and ally for the entire community. The husband and wife duo breathe Cleveland which is evident in all that they do. Since food places had to transition to take out only, or close in mid-March, Brewnuts jumped right on board. They embraced the new guidelines including spacing out their waiting line with pink tape and sharing the latest updates through their Instagram.

Brewnuts offers a delicious weekly or bi-weekly rotating menu featuring the most decadent flavors that make you want to go every single week! You can also always count on them for pop culture themed dones, they’re latest? A Tiger King themed done. When social outings and events were a thing, Brewnuts always hosted fun themed parties to coordinate with their dones or just to support and celebrate fun Cleveland thingsBrewnuts(2)
So, let’s get back to the main event – National Donut Day! Brewnuts of course has an incredible line up to celebrate National Donut Day featuring their top 12 fan favorite flavors: Cookie Dough Cheesecake Filled, Key Lime Pie Filled, Vegan Maple Cream Stick, Vegan Peanut Butter Oreo, Champagne Gummy Bear, Banana Golden Graham Nutella, Cake Batter Frosted, Cereal Milk + Fruity Pebbles, Funfetti Buttermilk Bar, Strawberry Sprinkle, Classic Glazed and Maple Bacon.

Um, YUM!

We also went there last week because they had a few must-have flavors including my favorite animal cracker fry cake and B wanted the brownie sea salt caramel. We also got Strawberry Shortcake and Vegan Blue Razz Lemonade. Our pro-tip especially with the take out options, and if you’re planning to go over the weekend, make sure to go early like when they first open — that way you can make sure to get your pick of flavors and maybe even avoid waiting in a longer line!
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Brewnuts is the perfect spot to bring friends or family who may be visiting from out of town, even if it’s for take out! The donuts are big enough to share, but also not too big to finish one yourself, no shame! Brewnuts is our go-to post-race spot and is the perfect spot for a little celebration or a night cap.  Also you must follow Brewnuts on Instagram so you can swoon over their dones and get the latest scoop on menu updates and even when they’re sold out for the day!

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Local Love – Mother’s Day Edition

Hey CLE Bees! If you’re in need of some last minute Mother’s Day gifts, I have a few local faves that are perfect, while offering limited human interaction and most importantly something sweet that mom will love — even if you’re racing against the clock! Psst. Just in case you forgot, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10th.

Lovely Paperie & Gifts in Rocky River, Ohio. This is always one of my favorite go-to spots for a special card or gift — and Kate the owner has definitely adapted with times to make sure everyone can still gift the perfect gift with that Lovely Paperie touch anyone who frequents has come to know and love. Kate teamed up with a few other local vendors and created a number of Mother’s Day Gift Sets — she’s offering shipping, curbside pick-up and even local porch drop offs! We were able to ship and pick up to spoil our momma’s and it was so easy. Also, you can still shop online for all other occasions from cards, to gifts or even something for you — so be sure to check-out Lovely online for those birthday celebrations, anniversaries and other special occasions that always pop-up! Shop Lovely Here. LovelyPaperie_MothersDay
Images courtesy of Lovely Paperie & Gifts and Emily Millay Photography

Boundary & Thorn in Lakewood, Ohio. I’ve shared lots of love for B&T on the Bee Life and Lucy the owner and creator has the perfect Mother’s Day cards. She is also selling her inventory made easy thanks to her Instagram Stories you can shop directly on there and she is also offering porch pick-ups in Lakewood! Looking for something more than a card? Lucy also has beautiful letter prints, her Happiest Hour cocktail prints, Kitchen Punnies and botanical pieces, make sure to check out her Instagram and website to shop!
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Images courtesy of Boundary & Thorn

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. I’ve been so excited to see some local favorites opening back up and offering online ordering and takeout items, especially Mitchell’s! This is the perfect way to surprise mom with an ice cream party at home, tote and all, while still being able to pick out all of mom’s favorite flavors. As long as you order by 4pm, you’ll be able to pick-up the very next day — so this is an easy fix if you haven’t been able to figure out a surprise for mom yet or are craving some homemade ice cream! Shop Mitchell’s Ice Cream here.
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Image credit: Mitchell’s Ice Cream

Mother’s Day Cupcake Bouquet by A Cookie & a Cupcake. This local bakery is offering another sweet surprise, that I also think would pair nicely with a card and ice cream – it’s a Mother’s Day half dozen cupcake bouquet. Flavors include red velvet, chocolate and vanilla — plus they’re beautifully decorated with floral designs and colors! These are just $21, available to order if you call-in and you can also order through Grubhub or UberEats! Weekly Cupcake Kits are also available for curbside pick-up or drop-off through select food delivery services and with different themes each week! Order and shop here.
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Images courtesy of A Cookie & A Cupcake

Although we may be social distancing and not spending Mother’s Day with our mom’s this year like we have in previous year’s there are so many awesome local shops that could use our support during this tough time, while still making Mom feel special and giving her a sweet treat for her special day! Happy Mother’s Day!

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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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Local Love: Valentine’s Edition

Hello, Cleveland lovers! Guess what – Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away… eeek!  Are you ready? If not,  I have some of my favorite local spots that would be perfect for a coffee date, heart-felt card or a romantic date night.
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Brewella’s: Decorated to the tee for the day of love, you might just fall in love with someone here.  Whether it’s a gift card, a coffee date for one of their seasonal latte’s (with homemade strawberry whip cream) or a breakfast date for crepes – Brewella’s will not only deliver in delicious drinks and eats, they’re festive pink and red decor will make you melt! Explore the coffee shop from their instagam.

Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes: KEC just dropped their Valentine menu, the key for this is ordering ahead to make sure your sweet treats are secure for your sweetie for the big day!  Not feeling all the kitchy V-day sweets?  KEC has a collection of customizable cakes for any occasion and other delicious treats stocked daily! Check out the Valentine menu here or tease your sweet tooth with KEC’s insta feed.

Boundary & Thorn:  The kitchen punny line of prints are so cute, and not to mention a little frisky!  This would be a fun little gift to give to a gal pal or sig-o, one of my personal favorites from the Coffee Punnies by B&T is “Wanna French” with a french press – it especially makes me think of B since we always make a french press on the weekends!  Boundary & Thorn also specializes in custom projects (dog portraits, wedding invites, holiday cards!) beyond her shop items! Shop B&T’s instagram feed.

Lovely Paperie & Gifts: Hey guys, listen up for this one! This would be a great place to bring your gal pal on a little shopping spree, to let her pick out a Lillie Pultzer piece, a monogram bracelet, or maybe some Kate Spade? If a shopping spree sounds a little too extravagant, they also have an assortment of stunning Valentine cards that would make anyone’s heart melt.  Ladies, they also have gifts for your guys too! Shop Lovely virtually here.

Distill Table: If you head to Distill you have to order one of their handcrafted cocktails, made with all locally sourced ingredients that will not only make your tastebuds giggle but the presentation will turn you to a heart eye-emoji.  The red velvet booths will make you want to cozy up with your Valentine while you enjoy all delicious and local food!
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So if you haven’t even thought of Valentine’s Day yet, maybe some of these local spots will inspire you – even if you’re not reading from CLE.   These are a lot of my favorite local shops that I like to frequent as often as I can especially for special occasions, looking for one of a kind gifts or for just some delicious local eats (or coffee, LBH)!

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Image Sources: Group image sourced from shops instagram feeds and linked within content.  

Local Love: Brewnuts

One of our favorite local spots is a donut shop with a bar!  Brewnuts was a much anticipated donut shop that teased locals with gorgeous gourmet donuts on their amazing instagram, custom orders and limited releases until opening their shop late summer of 2017, which has been a favorite since – especially with their colorful and trendy decor.

Brewnuts has a weekly rotating menu of unique, classic and seasonal flavors paired with fun events throughout the year around movie releases (like Jurassic Park), latest trends (Harry Potter day), holidays (Friendsgiving) and Cleveland centric sporting events.  In addition to cool events and tasty donuts, you can get great local beers which are also often times included in the donut recipes themselves! Whether you just want one donut or are going for a half dozen (which I highly recommend doing) you can’t go wrong, with impressive flavor line-ups it’s hard choosing just one!

A few of my favorite donuts to date include; the Animal Cracker Fry Cake (heavenly), their signature Strawberry Sprinkle and Maple Bacon and Vegan Cookie dough.  Lately when we stop in, in addition to grabbing a dozen donuts I’ve been ordering a mimosas and B usually grabs a beer or Bloody Mary, yum!! The best part is if you can’t stick around, the donuts taste just as good at home as they do at the shop.  In addition to having an awesome menu at their brick and mortar location, Brewnuts also does custom letter orders or private events like weddings – and they have gold glittery donuts… *swoon*

If you’re ever in town, have friends visiting, or simply just because, this is an awesome spot to try something different and fun and support a local Cleveland business. The donuts are big enough to share, but also not too big to finish one yourself! Brewnuts is our new go-to post-race spot and is the perfect spot for a little celebration.  Be sure to check out Brewnuts on instagram so you can swoon over their donuts and get the latest scoop on upcoming events and menu updates!

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Local Love: Brewella’s

The cutest little coffee and crepe shop opened up near us that we’re pretty sure this might become a new go-to spot, especially on the weekends.  With an inviting store front Brewella’s isn’t just your typical coffee shop, they also sell collectibles and use them as decor around this quaint shop that is an instagramers dream for the next swoon worthy decor photo. 

Let’s talk Crepes. With over nine different flavors of savory and sweet you can’t go wrong with either pick – I guess it just depends on what mood you’re in! We devoured the sweet chocolate, banana and peanut butter crepe, the ham & gruyere cheese, and then the egg, spinach and cheese.  Not only are their options for just about anyone, the batter of the crepes is so light and airy that you don’t feel stuffed after eating this delicious and generous serving! They also give you fancy vintage folks to eat with – playing right into that collectibles vibe.

Coffee talks. Between B and I our go-to’s are the hot drip coffee (for me) and the iced coffee (for B).  They serve Phoenix coffee and it’s quite tasty if I do say so myself.  They’ve even introduced a couple season drinks to the menu like the Jack-o-Latte and Hot Apple Cider, which are on my list for our next sit-down visit!

Brewella’s started as just being opened on weekends but are now open 6-days a week, woo – more opportunities for crepes! Whenever we’ve visited on the weekends there is a full house as it’s definitely become a neighborhood favorite for most as the atmosphere is so inviting and there are little nooks to cozy up in with a loved one to enjoy some coffee and crepes and chats.

Cheers to new neighborhood hangouts!

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Local Love – Two Cafe & Boutique

This weekend I finally got a chance to visit the Two Cafe & Boutique in Chargin Falls. From the outside what appears to be your typical farm to table cafe, quickly turns into something special when you walk in. Two Cafe & Boutique is a training center for individuals with exceptionalities allowing these individuals real work experience and employment within a fully integrated setting.
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So let’s talk about the cafe. With a full breakfast and lunch menu you’re sure to find something you’ll like. I ordered the Apple Peanut Butter and Bacon Toast with some organic brewed coffee. Both of which were phenomenal. Allie had the Avocado Toast with Chopped Egg and said she would’ve had another! In addition to a robust coffee menu, fresh smoothies are also available and a variety of pre-bottled beverages. The lunch menu also looked great, especially once I saw what a few other people ordered. So many options! So little time – a trip back is definitely in the books for the future.

The boutique has a variety of organic facial and beauty products in addition to candles, jewelry, clothing and kitchen decor – all sourced in line with Two’s mission and values.  They’re constantly sourcing new products in additional to updating their cafe menu seasonly!  There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, the cafe is a great spot to grab something to go, hunker down on some work, or a catch-up with good friends.

As their website says; “The cafe is not only a place you can count on for healthy and local food. It is a place where you can truly make a difference in the world.”

Local Love – Nature’s Oasis

Today’s Local Love is highlighting one of our latest go-to spots for an easy breakfast or late lunch on the weekend – and lately a few impromptu dinners!  With a full menu of options, Nature’s Oasis is the one-stop shop for any meal, delicious (hot or iced) coffee or a fresh made to order smoothie.
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Our go-to food orders are any number of the toast options like the Avocado toast, Energy-Boosting Breakfast toast or the Hummus toast… YUM!! There are also wraps, salads, other breakfast favorites and even carrot hot dogs, with any given number of monthly specials! All options are or can be vegan friendly, dairy free and are locally sourced. My favorite smoothie is the Oasis smoothie, it’s fresh, delicious, light but filling! All of the food portions are generous and filling.

Not only is the food delicious but the environment is welcoming and relaxed you’ll usually see someone working, friends catching up, families grabbing an order to-go or couples hanging out! Occasionally there are live performers on the weekends, plus there is a market too with hundreds of local products, including gifts featuring local made goodies, from candles, to mugs, cards and soaps.  Whether you shop or dine at Nature’s Oasis you’re supporting local business.

In case you couldn’t tell B and I, love Nature’s Oasis! The staff is friendly and it’s just a place you just like to go, that happens to serve delicious healthy eats that are local and good for you!