Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Retired in Ann Arbor: Traversing the Alps or the quad at Bivouac

Bivouac has the best motto:  OUTFIT YOUR LIFE.

Here you will find the best selection anywhere, of--
boots, jackets, fleeces, t-shirts, sweaters, gloves, tents, mittens, socks, shoes, packs, dresses, down, sleeping bags, pants, hoodies, jeans, base layers, beauty supplies, belts, mittens, hats, neckwear, sunglasses, equipment, insulated, soft- and hard-shell, vests, sandals, snowshoes, slippers, gaitors, wallets, adapters and converters, buckles and clips, first aid, climbing gear, laptop bags, hammocks, kid carriers, flashlights, cooking equipment... you get the idea.

Do you think you can do better by shopping online?  Check out their guarantee below:

Price Match Guarantee guarantees the lowest prices! Item for item we will match all competitors prices including mail order and internet offers! Just email with the subject PRICE MATCH. Include the item number you want to purchase as well as the size and color. Also include where you found the item for cheaper (store name or internet URL). When approved we will email you back a coupon code which will adjust the price of the item you want to purchase.

* This is applicable to Bivouac products whose size and color are corresponding and the same as the product you wish us to match.

It works!  We've tried it.

Bivouac is having a big sale from now until midnight on Friday--  check out their great website here.

The store is packed with items that would make great gifts (for those on your list, or for you, if you must...).

I'll be there for Midnight Madness on Friday-- see you there!

I love this t-shirt!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last Sunday afternoon, I paid a visit to the Sunday Artisans Market in Kerrytown.  Even though the weather was not too pleasant, there were a few hearty souls out there shopping.
I discovered an artist with an interesting history, and a pretty funny proposition for Michigan fans.

First the story-- the artist's grandfather was William Cochran, the captain of the 1915 University of Michigan football team.  (note to self:  did Michigan beat Ohio State in 1915?  WAS there an Ohio State in 1915???)

To honor both him, and all enthusiastic Wolverine fans, (I almost said RABID Wolverine fans, but that picture is just a little too scary) she created this image of the Wolverine.

So what is Gulo-Gulo?  It's the Latin, scientific classification for the Wolverine.  Apparently, the wolverine is the only animal with the same names for genus and species--
True?  or  Legend?  If you can confirm or deny-- leave a comment, please.

So what was the funny part?  The artist suggests that we adopt GULO-GULO as a chant-- and as a 'secret handshake' method of saying hello and good-bye.

An Ann Arbor ALOHA!!
 I love these birds--all from Michigan.

Be sure and visit the Sunday Artisans Market next Sunday--
maybe the weather will be a little better?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Vintage, artisan, eco-funky

Found is one of my favorite shops all year round, but I think I like it best each year, after it goes through its conversion to a Christmas wonderland.

It is full of cute little ornaments-- and Mary is offering her Merry MultIples discount again!

Great Michigan pillows

Vintage style Santa box $8
Snowflakes $9
So what might you find in addition to cool decorations?
Typewriter key bracelets, bottlecap earrings, "fork art" angels and colorful mirrors created from painted twigs. Old cameras, snapshots and baskets woven from recycled movie film. Antique buttons, keys, doorknobs and picture frames. Dishes from Gramma's attic, linens, furniture. Square candles, great fake flowers, handmade cards. Dick & Jane-era kids' stuff and a cabinet full of tiny treasures. Assemblage by Michigan artisans, books, print blocks. Unique accents for home, office or cottage.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles." ~Sonja Henie

Princess Designs is the perfect shop if you would like to give jewelry, but don't have a diamond budget.  Rather than buying costume jewelry (in a mall store...), check out the thousands of semi-precious options in this small Kerrytown shop.

Hundreds of beautiful pendants

Michigan copper and petoskey stone jewelry

Guys:  With a choice of 7,000 pairs of earrings, all of your female giftees could be delighted, with one swipe of your Visa.

BAM.  Shopping done.
(And even better, when you buy 3 pairs, the 4th is free.)

Beautiful amber rings

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 3! It's all about the ho ho ho!

Kerrytown has been getting all dressed up for Christmas this weekend, and Santa will help celebrate the official start of the Christmas season with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Kerrytown courtyard.  Be sure to join the fun at 5PM on Sunday afternoon.

What to do until then?  There are a huge selection of fun shops in Kerrytown-- as well as the Artisan market, open from 11-4.

Check out the huge 3D snowflakes in Hollander's window-- Kit contains 3 for $11 
Today, our featured shop is Hollander's.  I started looking at the great selection of Christmas cards and decorations-- and ended thinking of the gifts I could buy!  Here are some of my favorites:

Christmas cards not found in chain stores

Tools for artists

Luminaries-- 4 for $11

Hundreds of kinds of paper

Cool travel themed gifts

Journals that just may inspire you to write

And don't forget to check out their class schedule-- it could be the perfect gift for that person you love who values experiences over possessions.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 2 of 30: Small Business Saturday: pragmatic and artistic

Drive in to have your large purchases loaded
 Today we feature 2 local businesses that are participating in Small Business Saturday:  Downtown Home and Garden and Ann Arbor Arts Center.

Bird feeders and wind chimes
Downtown Home and Garden is one of our favorite shops in Ann Arbor, and we seem to find never ending excuses to go there.  If you have a gardener in your family, this is the go-to place for outdoor supplies.  Downtown Home and Garden is such a rich shopping destination, that today I will only cover some items that they have in their outdoor section of their store.  (I'll cover the indoors in a later blog).

And when you're there, be sure and say 'hi' to our local celebrity, Louis the cat.

Stormy Kromer clothing
Made in Michigan!
Stop by when you are in Ironwood for the daily tour.

Gifts for the gardener-- with small and large
hand grips and replaceable parts
Gifts for the garden
Pickle ornaments  $4
In my family's German tradition, the first child to
find the pickle on the tree gets an extra present--
which has lead to stampedes from big kids and small.

Selections for a cozy fireplace.

Moose:  $7.50

Ann Arbor Art Center
Ann Arbor Art Center has a beautiful art studio next door to the gift shop.  Lessons can be purchased, as well as art from the shop.
Socks knitted on an antique loom $20
Lessons and studio time available

Sneak peek-- Michigan Band practice, Friday night

It was so nice this evening, that we set off to the last band practice of the season.
Bonus!  They were in the stadium, and we snuck a couple of pictures to share with you--

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 1 of 30-- Shop local in Ann Arbor

1915 map of Ann Arbor township-
with farm owners identified  $85
For day 1 of our local shopping adventure, I am suggesting a deliciously obscure shop on Liberty:  Westside Bookshop.  This is a perfect antidote to Black Friday madness.  Think romantic, think one-of-a-kind, think Sam Spade atmosphere...

2 barrister bookshelves of first editions

Coffee table books for all interests

Nice hard cover copies of your favorite classics.
In these days of e-readers and e-mail, getting a nice old hardcover book could be as special as getting a hand written letter on nice stationary.  

And what other shop has Emily Dickinson on their  window?

Have a nice lunch, and relax this afternoon....