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This is #3 in a series I’ve been doing about Shopping Local.  My hope is that others do this in their home town.  The other two posts are here and here. 
Mission Hills Area
Maison En Provence is a beautiful little store filled with household and other gift items hand picked by the owners from France.   Little lavender sachets to gourmet food items, there’s bound to be a nice gift for someone special. 
The Huddle doesn’t have a website.  What they have is old-fashioned diner style food.  Located at 4023 Goldfinch St, they offer no frills but it’s a great, inexpensive place to eat.  They offer gift certificates and they also sell their homemade jams and during the Holidays, PIES at $7 a PIE.  Did you miss that?  Homemade pie, the granddaughter affirmed she was still traumatized after last years experience, they roll out the dough and make them there.  And when we bought our Holiday pies, it was buy 3 get one free….
Olivetto is a cozy café and wine bar that I’ve been to a couple of times.  A great place for a girls night out, their truffle fries are delicious and I’m assured their wine selection is very tasty. 
Fridays in Mission Hills, there is a small Farmers Market that sells lovely food items for the Foodie on your list. 
Intrepid Shakespeare Company is offering a HUGE 50% off discount on their entire season subscription for 2012.  That’s an incredible deal when you see what it normally is (hint less than the price of movie tickets).  Offer valid 11/25-11/28 (Black Friday through Cyber Monday).  Use Coupon Code: 2012 when checking out online. 
Magazine Subscriptions – who doesn’t like a great magazine?  Just a few suggestions:  For writers or readers who like to take a walk in a different slice of life The Sun, to better living and how to simplify the everyday things Real Simple,  for those trying to incorporate healthy eating options into their lives Vegetarian Times.
Spiritual Cinema Circle sends spiritually uplifting and inspirational movies on a monthly basis and you keep the DVD.  I loved what they would send, often several short films and then a feature length movie on one DVD.  Great for families looking to spend quality time together. 
Here’s a post from a blog I follow instead of buy something, make something, includes suggestions, pictures and instructions. 
Your suggestions, comments and feedback are always important.


So after a recent chain email about not buying crappy things made in China for gifts, I thought I would create a list of local (San Diego) places to buy things and I’m also listing a few friends that sell online goods and what they are. 

1.  Toys/Fun Things:
Squid Hats/Funny Hats Josh Freeman makes these here in San Diego and sells them on Etsy.
So Childish is a boutique that sells children’s toys and clothing in South Park.  
Babette Schwartz is a fun store in Hillcrest that carries things to tickle your funny bone.  And while you’re in the neighborhood, check out some of the other stores that are nearby and locally owned. 

2.  Clothing/Jewelry/Accessories 
Moondog Treasures
My friend Susan is the talent behind Moon Dog Treasures, making malas, bracelets and necklaces.

Wink Parlour is Norma who works at Twiggs Coffee Shop and sells beautiful jewelry when she’s there (I know Friday mornings for sure).  Some of her pieces have unique stones, like green amber, which I had never seen.  She has a show on November 12th at 6:30 pm at Twiggs with other local artists.

Perspectives at Moonlight Beach is a boutique that offers one of a kind jewelry and accessories from local artists.   

Kristin Bags – I met Kristin in San Diego and I have one of her bags that people LOVE and want, she’s in the middle of making new designs at the moment but you can take a peek at her website to see some of the styles.  My bag is washable and gorgeous, she often makes them out of faux suede and vintage kimono material.  For those of you that know what mine looks like, it’s a Jipsee and it’s a large.  

Think organic has to be expensive?  Can’t buy something made here?  Try Vuori,  a local clothing company that in preparation for their 2012 line, is clearing out their t-shirt inventory at the low price of $10.  Hello!!!!
 Ecotopia in North County offers a variety of items, organic clothing, books, eco-friendly items.
Leaping Lotus is a 21,000 square foot home to a variety of vendors selling jewelry, furniture, home decor and numbers of gifts in Solana Beach.

3.  Restaurants/Coffee Shops – Want some ideas here they are:
City Delicatessan – They offer gift certificates in any amount, think about buying a gift certificate for a cake for someone who is always hosting parties. 
Big Kitchen – Judy the Beauty has been running this local eatery for a long time, great breakfast and eclectic atmosphere, you can’t have a bad time here!
Twiggs – my local coffee house favorite, they offer little coffee gift certificates and they’re also a bakery.
Saffron – one of the best places for Thai take out or dine in, DELICIOUS!
4.  Food/Wine Baskets etc – For a variety of tastes.
Rosie Lees British Foods in University Heights, 4657 Park Ave., she sells lots of delicious treats and even makes some herself, you must stop in she doesn’t have a website.
Chuao Chocolatier – they’re local and OMG delicious chocolate! Located in UTC Mall and Encinitas.
Meghini Winery is located in Julian, if you don’t want to drive out there, they ship to you or anyone else.  I shipped 2 bottles of their white dessert wine to my mom this year and she loved it.  

5. Hair Cut/Spa Services/Massage – there is this WONDERFUL thing called SPA WEEK and two of these places offered up their specials well after spa week was over.  So if you’re looking for a deal sign up for Spa Week and their newsletters, you won’t be sorry, the other was a generous donator to VDAY this year:
Envious Skin – in University Heights, small space, tranquil environment, great deals.
A Better Body Salon and Day Spa – in Clairemont, a little larger and great deals. 
World Spa – in University Heights offers unique treatments. 
David Cienfuegos – my hairdresser, if you didn’t know I am normally blonde and everyone comments on my natural red headed look, he works out of Frederick Michael Salon in Mission Valley but sets his own appointments. (619) 540-0462.
Rhianna Basore – a talented local actress day jobs as a stylists at HS Salon in Encinitas (760) 942-8888
Massage – Don’t buy a gift certificate from that chain massage store that is probably paying their staff $15 of the $100 you’re paying. 
Kat Masse (858) 245-4436 
James Armour (619) 318-4934
Renee Gauthier (510) 406-2000 Private studio in North Park also offers Yoga
Maya Montoya (619) 548-0455 (specializes in Thai Massage and yoga)

6. Fitness/Gym Memberships/Yoga – oh FYI I do private yoga classes in people’s homes, hit me up if you want more info but here’s some other suggestions:
There are a LOT of local gyms in San Diego that have websites and offer gift certificates.
Yoga Classes – I’m rating these according to my own experience and assessment of peoples needs
Gentle aka stiff, maybe not in shape, or needs more relaxation:  A Gentle Way Yoga in La Mesa. 
Most yoga studios also have Hatha or Gentle Hatha classes, if they don’t then keep looking but check these out:
-My teacher, Arturo Galvez, teaches at UCSD Rec department (great yoga packages through there) and has public classes at Liberty Station
OB Namaste in Ocean Beach offers a variety of classes including more challenging Vinyasa.
Full Circle Yoga on El Cajon and 39th offers a variety of Iyengar classes gets you knowledgeable and helpful instructors.  
Yoga Del Mar in Del Mar offers a variety of levels of classes in a variety of styles with knowledgeable and experienced instructors. 
Pilates – best kept secret in San Diego is Club Pilates, who offers inexpensive (think $11-$15 versus $45-65).  Multiple locations.  
Health and Wellbeing – Clea Shannon is enormously talented, she’s a yoga instructor, artist and she does nutritional consulting for living gluten free.  She does events at places like Whole Foods but she also does private consulting for wellness.  

7. Fine Art/Photography  – Don’t head to the big chain portrait studio for the family photo.  Do you have a friend who is an actor?  Need a nice portrait for your own website or business card?  Like Fine Art Photographs for your office or home?  Look no further than these two, Paul Savage who took my wedding photos and headshots and has a collection of Fine Art prints,  and Kymri Wilt who in her travels gets beautiful shots and also does headshots. The value of having a professional take your picture is worth every cent you pay.  It’s in their best interest to give you the best look.  They know what they’re doing from years of experience.  Having had terrible headshots, wasted money and wasted time, I can recommend both. 

My friend Cathleene Cienfuegos is an artist whose work is currently up this Saturday November 13th at Ray at Night in the Mystic Water Kava spot.  She will be having an artist reception on Friday November 18th and her work is available for purchase.   Some of her work is more abstract but her latest works incorporate mandala and yantra. 

8.  Books – think that used bookstores are a bad idea?  Did you know some of them also sell new?
*Blue Stocking Books – they sell new as well and their selection is eclectic and interesting.  They also will let you trade in your old books on account for discounts on your purchases. 
*Ebooks anyone?  Here’s a recommendation, and I’m hoping someone is reading this out there that might buy this for me!  Written by women who decided not to grow up, Whimsy for Wendys is a manual for all those looking to keep life fun! Another more spiritual and uplifting is the ebook from one of my yoga students on Amazon called It’s Time: The Path from Struggle to Grace, available on Amazon. 

9.  Beauty Products – 
SkinFolk sells at the Hillcrest Farmers Market and her stuff is so deliciously wonderful.  
Nubonau sells products like Intelligent Nutrients (founder of Aveda who has now created a line that is off the grid produced and amazing.  
10.  Other/Gift Certificate Ideas/Etc.
The San Diego Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum is located in Vista and offers tours for children and so much here.  They even sell the woven items like rugs and other items.  Small admission price makes a great gift for a family, maybe just check out their goods at their museum store. 

*Support local actors, directors and organizations.  While a show in December is great but everyone is usually so busy so January and February are great times and if you’re buying in advance its usually better.   Playwrights Project is an organization who has been developing young playwrights (teenaged) with their Plays by Young Writers Festival they do each year.  Contact them about getting advanced tickets.  InnerMission Productions produces VDay shows each year to raise money to end the violence against women and the ticket price is tax deductible.  San Diego Junior Theatre is youth theatre and they have 3 shows opening in January.  New Village Arts in Carlsbad has dedicated an entire season to using an ensemble of actors for their shows.  

The Athenaeum Art Library is a private library offering art classes, small membership fee and even a younger crowd art experience known as the AList. 
Cooking Classes – so many to choose from but check out Cups in La Jolla or Great News in Pacific Beach. 

My list may be incomplete.  You may have to comment on the stuff you find and where.  Please do!

Posted this yesterday more to follow later = SHOP LOCAL

While this rants a lot about China, I think it’s a great suggestion on alternative ways to give this yea.  I will be reposting another note with a list of where to buy toys and other great things locally here in SD that aren’t from a chain store and support local business:
Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles
of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
* Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
*Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
*Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
*Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
*There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy
eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.
* Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their
financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
* How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
*Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
*My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
*OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves.
They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
*Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
*Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
*Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city.
Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Christmas thoughts

A complicated time of year.   I went into a store yesterday and became very, very, present.  I made my way slowly, patiently and carefully through a crowded parking lot and a crowded store.  I watched as people often mindlessly rushed through, if you weren’t watching where they were going, they were going to run into you.  And then there were those that were not mindless but intentionally “I will mow you down to get through this store.”

I saw a quote today on Judith Hanson Lasater’s Facebook Page “No one has to change for you to be happy.

What I saw was a lot of people.  A lot of different people.  There for different reasons.  Some a little more miserable than others.  But a lot of people similar to me, politely making their way through a very busy store.  When there’s more of us around, we can see bad behavior.  But we can also see our inner light.  The ones saying “excuse me” or smiling or allowing people to cut ahead in line when they have fewer items.  It’s been my experience that whenever I feel like that I’m not going to get what I want or what I think I deserve, or be cheated out of something that I act exactly like that and it pervades my consciousness and therefore the interactions in my life. 

Yesterday, my heart opened a little wider.  Maybe someday, we’ll all get what we think we need.  Or realize we have exactly what we need right now.

Peace & Blessings to you all. 


As the Holidays approach, I am taking the time to think and reflect about the past year before I plunge into the season.  I say plunge because this is such a period of time where I can either be in the happiness or merriment of the season or swim through a turbulent and emotional fraught season of family drama and unhappiness.

I told my now fiance about how I loved Christmas the first Christmas we spent together.  He, did not, which was a problem.   One of the reasons I love Christmas is because I have made it my own.  A long time ago there were some not so pleasant times of Family turbulence and drama surrounding this Holiday.  And when that hurricane blew threw, I made a choice to spend the holiday away from the family for the first time.  I was 18.  It was one of those moments that I cherish.  I remember leaving the traditional family get together and going and spending time with people who were struggling with addictions and had no family to go to.  I was one of them.  And for those hours on Christmas Eve we talked and shared and ate and slept and we all stayed clean together.  And since then I have continued to make the Holidays my own.

I started making my own Thanksgiving Dinner at about 22.  I became an excellent cook and even put on the feast for my family.  I made homemade rolls from scratch, pies from the pumpkin I grew in my garden, fresh cranberry sauce and a turkey that people still ask me how I do it.  I would make dinners here in San Diego and invite people to spend Thanksgiving.  When I became a vegetarian and figured out I was gluten intolerant, I stopped.  And I whined and put on my vegetarian crown and stood on my soap box for a couple of years.  But then someone told me how they looked forward to my Thanksgiving Dinner, they usually didn’t go anywhere.  So I got off the box and shut up and made dinner again.  For some really grateful people.

The first Christmas I spent in San Diego, I had wanted to fly home but couldn’t.  My boyfriend at the time and I waited until Christmas Eve to do our shopping and oops, the stores all closed at 4 pm.  We had no gifts.  But what we did have was something my mother sent to me when she found out I didn’t have a tree.  We call it “Tree on a Wall.”  It’s a tree shaped, light infested artificial hanging that you can plug in and put on a wall.  I have kept it now for 13 years.  And the first Christmas that my fiance and I spent together, I had to convince him to let me put it up.  You see, he didn’t have Happy Holidays.  He usually hid out in his dark man cave until it was all over.  I convinced him to let me put up my decorations.  When I lit it up, he cried.  It was the first time he’d had a Christmas tree in 8 years.  I convinced him that Christmas and any Holiday can be his. 

You see, what I know now is what is missing usually from the Holiday season is love.  And you put love back into the equation and there’s the spark.  It doesn’t have to be family that you spend Holidays with, it can be the family that is around you in your friends.  It doesn’t have to be tons of presents under the tree, it can be that homemade fudge and cookies that you bring into work, and yes, you work on Christmas Day.  You see, even though I can’t eat the cookies or the bread or the cake anymore because I would get very sick, I still make them.  I made a friend’s mom absolutely happy when I made her homemade bread on Thanksgiving one year.  It came out perfect.  I never ate a bite.   But it came out that way because it was for her.  She needed that bread, her family had made it traditionally for years and there were only a few of them left, it brought her back good memories. 

So my message today is to do it for yourself.  Make your own Holiday.   Have your own tree on a wall, make your own Hanukkah Celebration, Happy Kwanzaa!  As I will be working on Christmas, I’ll be seeing lots of people who either are caught up in the happy merriment or pretty miserable.  But regardless, it will still be my holiday.