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Write Ons

Indie Week 2013 Recap

I had an awesome time during Independents Week 2013. Over 300 members of Local First Arizona offered 20% discounts to patrons with Golden Coupons. Here’s the rundown of every place I visited last week.

ZiaStop #1 – Zia Records
Apparently if you went to high school in the Phoenix area in the 90’s, Zia Records was your go-to place to buy and sell movies and music. The shop was huge and had a massive variety of products, including a ton of pop culture paraphernalia. I wished they arranged the DVDs in the sales bins so you could read the spines and not have to flip through each case. I walked out with a copy of Argo – one of the movies on my “must buy” list.

Pink SpotStop #2 – Pink Spot Ice Cream
Anyone who knows me knows that I love ice cream (ICE KREM!) I’d never been to Pink Spot and Indie Week gave me a chance to check it out. They have a limited selection but a lot of creative flavors. I also enjoy the inviting quiet ambiance of the place.

Stop #3 – Urban Cookies
When I heard that Urban Cookies has gluten-free cupcakes I knew I had to check them out. Urban CookiesIt was a moist chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. It was heavenly. The shop is adorably tiny and the staff is super sweet.

Stop #4 – Write On’s
This stationary and gift shop has been part of my family for decades. It’s the only place I go for greeting cards. Indie Week gave me an excuse to stop by and stock up.

Stop #5 – Arizona Fun Services
Ever since I saw a head-to-toe spandex body suit, Write OnsI wanted one. My partner-in-crime and I have had several discussions about what types of flash mobs and pranks we could do with these. Arizona Fun Services is the only shop that has ever let me try one on. They didn’t have the colors we wanted in our sizes but they took our names and numbers and will let us know when they get their next shipment. This costume shop is huge with a wonderful selection of costume pieces. I will definitely be back.

Body SuitStop #6 – The Dhaba
I fell in love with this Indian restaurant when I came here for lunch with Local First Arizona. I don’t know what most of the food is but it’s all delicious. We ate way too much and it was totally worth it.

Stop #7 – Melrose Pharmacy
I had heard of Melrose Pharmacy but I had never been here. It’s a charming little shop that is primarily a pharmacy with small retail area compared to other drug stores that are mostly retail and a little pharmacy.

0702131205Stop #8 – Changing Hands Bookstore
I love Changing Hands – the diverse book selection, the other items they sell, and their wonderful events. I rarely buy books because I usually check books out from the library if I only plan to read it once. However, when there’s something I want to own, it’s a great place to go. And I love that they buy used books. I have a stack of books from my minimalism project that I Duck and Decanterwill be bringing to them with the hopes to exchanging them for store credit.

Stop #9 – Duck and Decanter
I love Duck and Decanter. It’s a wonderful deli that has edible gluten-free bread and delicious sandwich options. They have excellent desserts too including amazing fudge. They have indoor and outdoor seating which makes it a wonderful place to enjoy a meal with friends.

Stop #10 – Jamburritos 
JamburritosI love food trucks. I think the owners are determined and make themselves stand out in wonderfully delicious ways. I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down so I can get back to Food Truck Friday without having to worry about melting. Jamburritos is my hands-down favorite food truck. The Cajun-Mexican food is awesome and the staff is so sweet. I made the trek out to the Downtown Farmers Market (which is also awesome) just to pick up lunch.

So that was my Indie Week 2013. I had an awesome time and it was definitely worth it to make my schedule work around these awesome deals. If you used your Golden Coupon somewhere in Arizona this week, I’d love to hear about it.

Excited for Independents Week 2013

Independents Week is coming up June 30 – July 7, 2013. I’m really excited for this week of celebrating independently owned business by getting awesome discounts. Since I joined Local First Arizona last year, I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of supporting local businesses. When you shop locally, not only are you supporting “the little guy,” you’re keeping more money in the local economy. I was amazed when I learned that for every $100 you spend at a big box store, only $43 stays in the local economy. When you spend $100 at a local business, $73 stays in the local economy.

LFA Infographic

To celebrate Independents Week, Local First Arizona created the Golden Coupon program where dozens of Local First members are offering a 20% discount if you shop with the Golden Coupon.  The list is pretty extensive and diverse.

Here are some of the places I’m most excited about using my Golden Coupon:

The Dhada: This little Indian restaurant in Tempe will blow you away. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Indian food; everything here is fantastic. This was the first place I made sure was on my calendar for Independents Week. Some of the other great restaurants that are accepting Golden Coupons include Fez, Coronado Café, House of Tricks, Tryst Café, and Duck and Decanter.

Urban Cookies: I’ve been looking for an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth. This is an award-winning bakery and they make gluten-free cookies and cupcakes.

golden-couponAZ on the Rocks: I really like this rock climbing center in Scottsdale. The staff is friendly and they have auto-belays so you can climb by yourself if you are so inclined. I’m really happy that this place is on the Golden Coupon list.

Zia Records: Independents Week will hopefully be my first of many trips to Zia Records. They are known for being a great place to buy and sell CDs and DVDs and for finding obscure items that aren’t available in other stores or hellaciously expensive if you buy them online.

Write On’s: This charming stationary and gift shop in Phoenix is part of my family. This is my go-to place when I need a greeting card or a classy gift. The women who work here are like a set of aunts. I love shopping here.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the full list of Arizona businesses that are accepting the Golden Coupon for Independents Week. It’s a great excuse to try someplace new and explore what’s available your community. Yes, even Carter Law Firm is participating in this year’s event.

For those of you who don’t live in the Phoenix area or are looking to get out of dodge, a lot of businesses in the Cottonwood, Flagstaff, and Tucson areas are also accepting the Golden Coupon.

Update: Be sure to check out these last minute additions that are accepting Golden Coupons – Jamburritos, Brand X T-shirts, and Changing Hands.

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Visiting the Hat

It’s the holiday season and everyone has their own traditions. Some people send cards. Some people bake. Some people give to donations to charity in lieu of gifts. I visit a hat.

Helen Louise Carter “Grandma Lou” 1924-2003

My grandmother, Grandma Lou, was a beautiful woman – on the inside and out. She had the most generous and loving spirit that lit up a room. She had a closet filled with beautiful clothes and she never left the house without “putting on her face.” As she aged, her hair started to thin. Not letting that stop her, she invested in various wigs, head wraps, and hats to wear on the days she didn’t have time or desire to meticulously curl and fluff her hair. She became so well known for her hats that at her funeral, her 17 grandchildren walked up the aisle, each wearing or carrying one of her hats, and placed them on her casket.

Grandma Lou was a prolific sender of cards. Her calendar was filled with reminders about birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special events. She never forgot to send a card. She was a frequent flyer at her stationary and gift store called Write Ons. She was there so much she became family to them, and was even invited to the staff’s holiday party. She adored them and they adored her.

When I moved to Phoenix, Write Ons became my card store too. In the first year after Grandma Lou died, I would walk into Write Ons when I missed her and just burst into tears. The women there understood.

Grandma Lou’s Hat – 2012

In her hat collection, Grandma Lou had a Santa hat. Her rule was she couldn’t wear it under “double-digit December” meaning December 10th. When Grandma Lou died, we gave Write Ons her Santa hat. If you turn out the white trim, you can see traces of her make-up on the white faux fur. They placed the hat on an angel and added it to their Christmas display.  They start decorating the store for Christmas in November, but the angel and Grandma’s hat doesn’t come out until December 10th.

I make a year trip to the store in December just to see Grandma’s hat. This year I happened to be there as they brought it out. The hat doesn’t smell like her anymore but the inside of the white trim is still stained with her foundation and powder.  I hugged the angel and carefully carried it through the store to its spot on top of the highest shelf. It’s comforting to know that the joy she added to the holidays is still with us.

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