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.

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.

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.

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!

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: 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: Wedding Edition

I wanted to share some local love with the amazing team that helped me pull together my dream wedding! And I can’t stop gushing over how perfect everything was, it was so beautiful, I seriously look at pictures and can’t believe that was OUR wedding!
Local Love - Wedding Edition - the bee life
Bouquet Studio. What sold me on our florist, Amy was her knowledge and love for what she does. We first talked in early 2017 for over an hour; talking through our initial vision before having a lot of details finalized – her suggestions of different greens and florals to use within each of the pieces were spot on.  Not to mention she helped envision a grand space with different centerpieces; allowing me to have some of my dreams fulfilled from a floral perspective, including peonies!

Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes. Quickly becoming a household name in the suburbs of CLE, I’d swooned over KEC cakes and sweets on instagram for over a year plus.  Our compromise was to have a special cake made just for B and I and then give our guests other sweet treats – but we picked the Hand Painted Florals Cake from KEC’s Buttercream Collection; we were able to select colors, the flavors this helped us make a statement especially after topping it with our custom cake topper.

Borrow Rentals. This was definitely one of our splurges, but it was SO worth it.  We really wanted to make a statement with our sweetheart table, which included needing a grand chair – once we toured the Borrow Rentals showroom, we fell for the double wide Settee.  We also ended up renting a few 60″ mirror table toppers to make a statement and play into the space of our venue with the amazing ceilings.  Finally we picked out the Gigi chairs for lounge seating with a cute side table, they were the perfect touches and just enough. Furniture rental for weddings is pure genius.

Campbells Sweets Factory.  We used another local sweet spot to help us fill our hotel Welcome bags with delicious popcorn and also a sampling of cake pops for guests at the reception. The flavors we got; Buckeye, Chocolate Cheesecake and Wedding Cake were eaten right up, they were so delicious!

Little Mondays. Although this isn’t local to CLE – I worked with an artist out of NYC who is a friend of a friends; she helped us create a few custom pieces for our wedding day.  These were also splurges, but for me it’s all in the details. We had a series of our favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes, hand drawn for added accents around our venue. She also created a wedding map for us to include in hotel Welcome bags for guests, sharing the days events and also pieces of our love story!
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We also had cookies that were made and brought from my hometown by a family friend who is very talented at making pretty AND delicious cookies.  She made 100 cookies for us that included our hashtag, wedding date, a W-initial and just a pattern – these were the finishing touches to our sweets and coffee table!

It was all the details that made this special for us, and all the details that came together and blew me away. Not only did these lovely teams help bring our vision to life, the customer service and passion was in line with how we felt for our wedding day! We are so thankful and lucky to have found amazing vendors for our special day.

Bee Holiday Hacks – Shop Local

My latest holiday hack is to help with any last minute shopping you may have. It will help you avoid long annoying lines, super rude people, maybe some traffic and will keep you close to home.  What is it you ask? Shop Local!
bee-holiday-hacks-shop-local-the-bee-life(And for all my 216 readers, I’ve got a few local ideas for you!)

The Local T-Shirt Company: Whether this is a present for someone close or out of state, share your local love or the 2016 NBA Championship – grab a sports specific shirt or just a classic 216 for your loved ones.
216 Shout Out: GV Artwork || CLE Clothing Co.

The Local Restaurant: Give the gift of good food and a nice night out, especially for friends who might be saving for a wedding, have a new baby or just like to go out and try new places! Consider a spot with other destinations around like a downtown area, museums or theater district.   Pair this gift card with a bottle of wine you won’t disappoint.

The Local Clothing Boutique: Grab some fun accessories or a cute dress for the fashionista’s in your life – smaller boutique’s in your area will have unique pieces that can’t typically be found in larger department stores, plus the fabric and quality are amazing!
216 Shout Out: Wandering Wardrobe  || Banyan Tree

The Local Print Shop: This is another way to share some local custom love and hometown flair and is perfect for someone who might’ve moved away or new homeowners. You can find a lot of custom options on Etsy (maybe plan ahead next year) so get on instagram and find some local shops that have awesome local pieces!
216 Shout Out: Cuyahoga Collective || Foundry Woodprints 

A Local Experience: Find a local pottery shop or painting studio, even consider a spot for cooking classes or a bed and breakfast for a day trip or quick getaway.  This will be a present that can be used later in the season at the receivers will

The Local Sweet Spot: Looking to bring a part of your city home for the holidays? Find a local spot that has sweets like popcorn, cookies or other sweet treats and get there early to grab some goodies and snacks to bring home!
216 Shout Out: Campbell’s Sweets

Hopefully your last minute shopping is close to home and easy these next few days as you prep for the big day!  And if you’re celebrating with family after the 25th – don’t rush and spread out your shopping to take advantage of some after Christmas sales and supporting local small businesses!

Happy Shopping Local!

Local Love – Banyan Tree

Sharing some local love to all my CLE readers; and giving them some inspiration for upcoming Christmas shopping while #ShoppingLocal.  Banyan Tree was first mentioned on The Bee Life from the Best of CLE recap – I finally  made it to their brick and mortar in Tremont it was everything I imagined and more!

Banyan Tree is your one stop shop for adorable unique cards, organic baby swaddles and soft cuddles, unique statement and everyday jewelry, holiday dresses to comfy lounge ware, personalized home decor and fun gifts! You’ll be able to get big gifts for a number of people on your Christmas list AND find fun stocking stuffers or thoughtful gifts for all your loved ones. It will be hard not to shop for yourself!

Banyan Tree is a non-stop shop for those perfect gifts especifally if your trying to find something for those hard to shop for family/friends!  You’ll also be visiting Banyan Tree for future baby gifts, anniversary cards, clothes, wedding and birthday gifts.

If you can’t make it into the shop you can also shop online! Although I would highly recommend visiting the store (Tremont or Uptown), the staff and environment is so inviting and warm – plus there is much more to look in the store!

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.

A Weekend of CLE

This past weekend was a busy one, but it was so much fun!

It started on Friday, with Cleveland Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Best of Cleveland party! This was the fifth year I’ve attended the #BestofCLE and every year it gets better. There was one point in the night when I was in complete awe, looking around at the hundreds and hundreds of people just dancing and partying – and thought “This is my Friday night.”

In case you’ve never been to the #BestofCLE; it’s a gathering of all of Cleveland’s best restaurants, boutique’s, bakeries, clothing shops, car dealerships, clubs, and apartments. Samplings of great food, drinks and beers, along with other little goodies and discounts!  This year, I was all about the sweets, so I really only consumed a number of cupcakes and sushi over the course of the evening (I know, a horrible combo).

My Stops: 

Campbell’s Sweets Factory – I grabbed one of their ‘Wedding Cake’ flavored cupcakes, because it’s my favorite and it is delicious!

A Cookie & A Cupcake – Mini cupcakes! I went for a chocolate and vanilla, this little shop in Tremont never disappoints.

Main Street Cupcakes – It was their birthday, which meant sprinkles all over their cupcakes, which in my opinion is a perfect combination.

Jack Frost Donuts – I did not have these, simply because I would’ve been in a sugar coma. They had full-size, elaborately decorated donuts they were impressive and so beautiful (picture below).

A bunch of our friends were at the party so we had a fun time catching up with them, dancing and singing and sipping some cocktails! This party never disappoints and my absolute favorite part was when DJ EV came out, I seriously could’ve danced the entire night.  The music was so good.

Saturday AM we woke up to run the Dawg Pound 5k – it was an unwelcoming 43 degrees out with some intense winds, although it was much better than the cold rain we had last year.  A group from my office met up early to go down to the start line, the weather did not keep away the sold-out crowd.  The course was similar to last year, a good route with minor hills,the wind definitely tempered down once you got running, which was a good thing! B and I ran the whole time to finish just under 30-minutes, not bad for not training!  Then the group of us went up to a favorite local spot, Nauti Mermaid for Bloody Mary’s and brunch! The Bloody Mary came out with a fresh fried, Lake Erie perch, it was surprisingly delicious, the food was amazing too.  It was a fun start to our Saturday!

After our jam packed fun, it was pretty low-key and relaxing for the rest of the weekend. The #BestofCLE and the Dawg Pound 5k are definitely two of the reasons why I love Cleveland so much and why I love the month of October!

Happy Monday!

Appendix:

click here: 2015 Best of Cleveland’s Participating Winners 

Local Love

One of the things I love about my city is that we have so many awesome local companies and the best part is that they’re strictly that, local companies. Here are a few of my favorite locals;

CLE Clothing Co.
Local clothing with unique designs specializing in all things CLE, especially our amazing sports teams.  What makes these tees so great is how soft they are, it’s absolutely incredible. My favorite t-shirts are from CLE Clothing Co., and their instagram account is the go to place to get updates and stay current on the latest releases and sales.

Cleveland Vegan
Although I have only tried their chocolate chip cookies and some other sweet treats, I would recommend this place to anyone.  They sell variety of their bakery items at other local grocery stores, their brick and mortar store is always packed – and serve a wide offering of vegan options.  We’ll be taking a trip in the near future.

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream
Thanks to Mitchell’s I am officially an ice cream snob.  Mitchell’s uses locally sourced ingredients and has seasonal flavors like; Strawberry Rhubarb and Fresh Peach. Not to mention year-round flavors include Carmel Sea Salt, Toasted Pistachio, and Cookie Dough.  I also love that they offer vegan and low-dairy/yogurt options – which is great for dietary restrictions, plus sprinkles are free!

Dawg Pound 5k
Last year this was the Bernie Kosar Shuffle (5k) – not many 5k’s have amazing swag or a kick ass metal, but here in Brown’s town we do.  A sea of orange and brown; regardless of the weather will be running the downtown streets at this year’s Dawg Pound fun run.  A group of coworkers and friends are all signed up for this October, it’s going to be a blast!

Foundry Woodprints
Brings vintage images to life by his unique technique of ‘printing’ on wood – this amazing collection of century old photography is incredible and brings this city back to an era of it’s true roots. We have a few of these pieces around the house and absolutely love them.

What are some of your local loves?