Remembering the Beauty of Shopping Local

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

“My prediction. [Our] mall has only 2-3 years left on this earth. I’m being generous.” That’s what a the Facebook status of a friend read last month, and it generated quite the discussion. Most people were shocked and disagreed. Those people apparently hadn’t heard the stories in the news lately that malls all over the nation have been closing up shop for good, leaving vacant, ghostly shopping centers in their wake. Some people aren’t surprised by the decline of American malls. Online shopping is at an all time high, but more than that, people seem to gravitate towards a more boutique experience at specialty stores run by cheerful (and helpful) small business owners. Are all malls doomed? Certainly not. But the way we shop is definitely shifting, and as I considered my own reclusive shopping habits, I felt a bit sheepish, and, well… guilty.

The friend who made the provocative prediction for our mall owns a local boutique here in North Canton, Ohio, and has experienced success in the few years her shop has been running. It made me think… do I care so much if the mall closes down? Nah. Maybe a little. For nostalgic reasons, and local economic implications. But what about small businesses like hers? I had been hoping for years that a vintage clothing shop would open locally, and BAM, now we actually have some really great ones! But here I am scouring Etsy and British retailers (ahem, ASOS) instead of heading in to support my neighbors— and heck, getting out of this house once in a while!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio
Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Part of the reason I neglect shopping outside of the home is because of the cold, blistery winters in Ohio. I’d much rather snuggle up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee, and slowly click through pages of clothing, rather than bundle up myself, and my children, making the trek into the elements with sneezing, coughing children who don’t always listen and behave. Considering the aforementioned struggle, online shopping seems much more appealing, doesn’t it? I can cut right through to the shops stocked with clothes that suit my taste, and use search engines to find specific sizes and styles of vintage. Then I can make wish lists and carefully consider how to allocate every dollar. Sounds pretty ideal? But then I decided to just bite the bullet and get out of the darn house and go shop locally at the shops that would break my heart should they ever close down. And it made me remember. 

I remembered why I love getting out and visiting local shops! For the same reason I loved mall shopping back in the late ’90s. It was a fun experience. A bit of a treasure hunt. A delightful time with friends, considering what discoveries we might take home with us that very moment, with no wait for the postal delivery person. And knowing that dollar goes towards the friendly faces of the local shop owner, the local shopgirl, and the local coffee shop, where those shop girls might go on their break. It just all feels right. Almost like a good deed. And any time I can turn a shopping experience into a good deed, it makes it, dare I say, a fulfilling experience! More than just a consumeristic transaction.

So what about you guys? Do you have any local shops you haven’t been to in a while, or maybe haven’t been to at all? If you have been planning to buy something new, I encourage you to get out of the house and see what you can find somewhere local, rather than resorting to the convenience of online shopping. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a deal!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

This post (and my shopping experience!) was made possible by Evenflo, who let us try out their new Sibby travel system. I have been wishing for a stroller in a nice, classic design. Like a little black dress, only… a stroller. We love the classic design of the Sibby stroller, and Lucy really gets a kick out of riding along on the back. It’s more compact that a double stroller, which makes it perfect for taking on our shopping excursions. Thanks, Evenflo! (All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.)

Also, thanks to Colette’s Vintage— the best vintage shop in the Canton/Akron area— for staying open late and being so gracious with my children. We found some treasures that I love, and to my surprise, Lucy loves as well! She asked to try everyone on as soon as we got home, and then asked if she could wear her new dress to bed. Follow Colette’s on Instagram and Facebook to peep their latest oldie goodies!

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

PHOTOS BY EASTERDAY CREATIVE

Glamping in Wine Country

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

They say that your thirties are the best years of your life… which may have something to do with why I saved a trip to wine country until I hit my thirties. Because, oh my goodness. This trip definitely wins the spot of #1 vacation I have ever had. Perhaps it was the combination of the wine, the scenery, the California weather, and the great company of friends, but I’m certain that it wouldn’t have been as fabulous if it weren’t for our amazing glamping accommodations!

For the second leg of this Ohio gal’s very first trip to California, I stayed at a fabulous ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley. (Check out the first leg of the trip at this mid century cabin in Big Bear Lake!) The grounds are lush, immaculately maintained, and furnished with a group of bell tents that make even those who are camping-shy eager to brave the elements in luxury. (Uh, brave the elements…. I mean, look at these tents— you certainly don’t need to be brave, but that’s the whole point of glamping, right?) It was such a thrill for me, and just wait until you see some more of the grounds! It was such a nice experience, I’d like to go back soon with Phil.

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

The family-owned ranch has a couple of public spaces available to guests, including a large pool, hot tub, massage hut, massage hut, cozy living area, and public hall. The staff was always available, and as friendly as can be. Meals are served in the dining hall (no cooking over a fire— unless you want to!), as well as snacks throughout the day. Wine, refreshments, and other treats were available for for purchase in the dining hall. Let me just say I was never wanting for more wine. :)

Meals were optional, and because my friends and I ventured into the downtown Sonoma area during the afternoon and evening, we only enjoyed breakfast at the meal hall, which included a large spread with lots of delicious and healthy options, even options for those with dietary restrictions. But we did take advantage of the fresh coffee available throughout the day.

A highlight of my visit was playing games around the campfire at night, where we met other guests and enjoyed our wine and treat purchases from earlier that day. Hanging out with my friends in the tents was a lot of fun too. Never wanted that night to end!

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

This was the first trip I packed everything I needed into a carry-on. It was really nice not worrying about luggage getting lost, or taking time at the baggage claim area at the airport. I decided to buy this new suitcase so I could travel in style, and it’s a decision I certainly do not regret. Look how cute it is! Fits right in with the stylish tents, eh?

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

While we didn’t visit any vineyards, we did visit some of the restaurants and wine shops in the town square of Sonoma, which is such a charming area— and I don’t think that’s just the wine talking. I really can’t wait to return and do it all over again!

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Glamping in Sonoma Valley, California

Thanks to Glamping Hub and the hospitable staff at the ranch for hosting me and my friends! I truly cannot recommend this spot enough. Book your own trip in the Sonoma bell tents at the Glamping Hub website right here.

Glamping In Big Bear Lake, California

Modern Big Bear Lake Rental Cabin

I always thought California would be such a cool place to visit. But so, so far away, the idea of visiting intimidated someone like me who isn’t exactly well-traveled. It turns out, though, that I was right! California is so cool! And I got to see so much of it in my recent trip with Glamping Hub.

I flew from Ohio to LAX, met up with three of my dearest friends, and drove up through the mountains to Big Bear Lake, where we had the chance to stay in this amazing mid century cabin. We enjoyed the view of the mountains and forest, but also the amenities of a modern home with civilization just down the road. What a fun trip it was!

Modern Big Bear Lake Rental Cabin

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

If this place seems pretty grand for a cabin, well, that’s because it is. The airy great room and openness of the stairs and walkways makes the home feel airy and modern. But somehow it felt cozy and homey as well. My idea of a mountain cabin, that’s for sure!

We played games, cooked food together, explored the town and antique shops, soaked in the hot tub, and tried to watch movies (inevitably talking overtook the movie-watching experience.) Such a couple couple of days in Big Bear, and a perfect way to recharge without kids or responsibilities to worry about for a bit.

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

This was actually my first experience flying alone, renting a car alone, and organizing a trip on my own. I guess this is what being a grown-up is like! Ha! It was a great experience, and working with Glamping Hub to find cool places to stay in California made the experience even more exciting. The hosts of the cabin were very helpful, providing useful information about the house we were staying in, and the best places to visit in the area. I’d love to head back soon, and am already planning my return!

After staying in Big Bear, we drove up the Pacific coast to Sonoma, which was also quite an experience. I’ll share more about that part of the trip soon. For now, check out how cool this cabin is! And you can book a visit this this Big Bear Lake cabin right here, if you’re interested.

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

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Glamping in Big Bear Lake, California

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