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Tag Archives: Barnaby Street Shoppes

Holiday Help: Getting Started – Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

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Holiday Help: Getting Started  –             Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

This is the time when we cling to the last glimmer of summer. The kids are back in school. The big box stores have, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise available.  But why do ‘they’ rush the holidays so much?  It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season you think.  Why can’t Thanksgiving goodies not appear on shelves until October 31st? Why can’t the Christmas and Hanukkah season kick off on Black Friday?  After all there is the better part of four months to do all that needs to be done to make the holidays special and create memories.   Why rush life away?  Why all the commercialism? Why be a pawn of some number crunching merchandiser tucked away in a big box home office?

Being relatively new to retail sales, I initially held firm to the thought that the end of one fall holiday signaled and actually permitted the next fall holiday to appear on shelves. During my first few years, I had a new shop in an developing area and witnessed people came in starting the last week in August ‘to just look’.  They indicated they’d ‘be back.’  Didn’t see them until the New Year.

I slowly came to realize that ‘just looking’ in August is code for ‘I-want-to-get-my-holiday-gift-giving-shopping-done-but-I’m-not-admitting-that-to-anyone-yet’ and their lives really did get so busy where they didn’t have time to come back until the Christmas wrapping papers had been recycled.

The truth is both retailers and consumers have pushed and pulled one another to the current reality where you can (and should) do your fourth quarter shopping by early September.

The 100 days will fly by and be filled with lots of “to-do’s” including those that get added to your list at the last minute by other people.  Gifts To Go has developed a four part approach to helping you stay sane by pacing yourself looking at the entire holiday season and developing your personal plan of attack. We’ll publish one of the four parts each month now through early December.

The series posts will appear as follows:

  • September 2016 – Holiday Help: Getting Started
  • October 2016 -Holiday Help:  Budgeting, Shopping and Traveling
  • November 2016 –   Holiday Help: Shipping and Packing
  • December 2016 – Holiday Help:  Gift Wrapping and Presentation

And now, let’s get started .   This month’s task is to sit quietly with a pen/paper or iPad and think through each of the bullet points we raise below. Once you have your responses sit with your significant other (and anyone else with the clout to alter your plans) to combine your thoughts and resolve any differences.  Here goes:

  • To whom will you be giving gifts?  Immediate family/household? Extended family within an hour’s drive?  Extended family living more than an hour away? Friends? Kids’ friends? Co-workers? Teachers? Service providers such as hair stylists, delivery persons, landscapers, drivers?

It’s too early to be overly-concerned about what those gifts will be, you want to determine who gets gifts first and then work on Budgeting and Shopping in Part Two.

  • Where will you be spending the holidays (consider Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hanukkah)? Will your significant other and other immediate family members be with you? Will you be the host? Will you be traveling? Will you need a pet-sitter? Do you need extra chairs for the dining room table?  Do you have sufficient place settings? Will you want to repaint the living room?  If you’re not at home, will you be staying with friends or family or hotel? Will inclement weather possibly affect your plans?  Do you have a celebratory back up plan if so?

It’s important to iron out the ‘where’ and ‘who’ question with everyone who might have an opinion that could impact you (spouse, college aged children, in-laws, close friends).  Don’t wait for them to start the conversation with you.  We recommend getting this one settled early as we’ve seen too many holiday plans turned upside down and budgets blown when a sister and her new husband decide at the last minute they were joining you at your home.

  • Will you participate in multiple celebrations?  In different locales?  Are you aware of all the people involved in each festivity?  When will each occur? Will you need a ‘divide and conquer’ plan where you and your significant other are in different locations on the holiday due to family/friends in different areas? Will you then celebrate again when you reunite?

When you’re comfortable you have identified and resolved the ‘who, where and when’ questions, start to tackle the ‘what’ question before we take your holiday planning one step further next month by establishing a budget and creating the to-do lists.

 

 

 

Chicken Fajita Recipe Fit For An Arizona SuperBowl Gathering

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Garlic Chipotle Dip
Hosting a SuperBowl Party in the Valley of the Sun this year?  You can’t miss with this delish and simple Chicken Fajitas recipe from our friends at Halladay’s Harvest Barn (coincidentally a New England small business in the heart of Vermont).

Start with a 20 minute marinade of: 1.5 pounds of cubed chicken breast meat, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic and the juice of a lemon or lime. I recommend the lime juice because it has a fresher taste.

Drain the marinade and saute the chicken in 2 Tbsp garlic oil (or add some garlic to your olive oil).  Set the sauteed chicken aside.

Next saute until tender strips of sliced red and yellow pepper in the oil.  Add 1 Tbsp Halladay’s Harvest Barn Garlic Chipotle Dip, 4 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup salsa and 1/4 cup water. Simmer on low heat until thickened and remember the fresher the salsa, the better.  Add the chicken to re-heat and meld the flavors for 5 minutes.

Serve this fragrant dish atop a bed of greens with warmed tortillas and top with sour cream.

Add a glass of one of our fabulous Arizona brewed beers such as Four Peaks, Arizona Wilderness, San Tan Brewing or one of the many new micro breweries and you’ll host a memorable SuperBowl bash!

Need some Halladay’s Harvest Garlic Chipotle Dip mix?  Stop by our shop at 11340 W Bell Road, Suite 128, Surprise, AZ or Follow Us on Facebook for more gift, book and hostess ideas.

Press Release: Small Business Saturday Book Fest & Toy Drive Launch

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SURPRISE, Arizona (November 11,2014) Gifts To Go, located on the Bell Mar Plaza, announces a Small Business Saturday Book Fest and the launch of their annual toy drive to benefit the El Mirage Firefighter Charities on Saturday, November 29, 2014.

The Book Fest features discussions and autograph sessions with local authors, raffles and discounts. “Reading is fun,” says shop owner Tammy Fraser, “and it is going to be a fun day for everyone. We have great authors scheduled and will offer out-of-the-ordinary specials including discounts hidden inside books” she shared.

John L Ketchum, author of the popular John Bodie Detective Series (Vengeance in Vallejo, Karaoke Killer and Where’s the I in I and J’s?) and Aubrey Finley Patriot Series (2020 Patriots Revenge and soon to be released, 2021 The Search) will discuss his nine published novels ($15.00), along with his military and investigative careers from 9am to 11am. Mr. Ketchum, a retired Army Lt. Colonel and recipient of prestigious military awards including two Purple Hearts, also coordinates three writers groups and is an active participant in others.

During the 10am to noon time period, Laura C Browne will be available. Readers throughout the country may recognize Ms. Browne for her work as a business coach, corporate trainer, speaker and non-fiction author helping others achieve greater career success. She will focus on Annie Clark and the Pearls of Wisdom ($8.95), her delightful novel for girls ages 9-13 which has been praised by Publishers Weekly. Ms. Clark will donate a personalized copy of the book to the winner of a raffle held on November 29. The free copy will substitute a pre-teen’s first and last names in the role of Annie Clark in the title and throughout the novel. Additional personalized copies can be purchased for $49.95 and must be ordered in advance. Raffle tickets can be obtained by visiting Gifts To Go now through the Book Fest.

Multi-award winning time travel writer Ann Goldfarb will visit from noon to 2pm. Ms. Goldfarb, a former teacher, staff developer and school principal, is the author of seven mysteries for the teen to adult audience. Her books, including the recent The Time Borrowers ($11.95 to $12.95) are rich with science and history and include valuable study guides making them great selections for home and classroom reading.

Romance writer, Brenda Whiteside, will share the story behind the story of her six romance stories ($13.95 – $16.95) from 1pm to 4pm. In addition to novels Ms. Whiteside’s pens a frequent blog for her fans. Her works include Sleeping with the Lights On, Amanda in the Summer, The Morning After, Honey on White Bread and an anthology of short stories, “Warm Christmas Wishes”.

From 3pm to 5pm, Rev. Susan Henley, will share her spiritual expertise and books, Sara Beyond the Veil, A Spiritual Look at Dementia ($12.99) and Because of Sean, The Story of a Mother’s Courage ($13.99). Rev. Sue is an ordained Spiritual Peace Minister, counselor and Reiki Master. She can be found around the valley performing weddings, baptisms, funerals and helping her clients achieve a state of well-being.

The El Mirage Firefighter Charities have again partnered with Barnaby Street Shoppes, the retail incubator where Gifts To Go and the USPS Contract Postal Unit is located, to collect donations of new, unwrapped toys and books for local children’s holiday celebrations. Gifts To Go will provide an entry ticket to Laura C Browne’s raffle of a free, personalized copy of Annie Clark and the Pearls of Wisdom to persons who bring in toys and books for the Firefighter Charities.

Barnaby Street Shoppes and Gifts To Go/USPS Contract Postal Unit are found next to the 5 & Diner Delux at 11340 W Bell Road, Suite 128, Surprise, AZ. They are normally open Monday – Saturday from 9am to 5pm but have added Sundays from 10am to 1pm on November 30 and Dec 7, 14 and 21. Please direct questions to Tammy at 602 -403-0646.

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Can’t make it to our Small Business Saturday Book Fest?  No worries, we’re adding all these great reads to our website so you can browse and purchase online. And, as you know our USPS Contract Postal Unit will get your online purchases out to you the day your order is placed!

Caped Crusader Hits The Streets…And The Envelopes

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BatmanBat Sheet

Another USPS stamp that evokes a favorite childhood memory.  I recall jumping off the school bus and racing into the house to watch the fabulous Batman and Robin on my grandma’s color TV with my uncle.  It was a daily after school ritual.  Eventually led to my uncle and me making plaster of Paris molds of the caped crusaders in grandma’s laundry room.  A delightful time for me but I recall it didn’t end so well for him as there was residual plaster  problems in the laundry room.

I believe I’ve seen only one of the modern day Batman movies as I never moved from the after school TV show  to either comic books or the ComicCon era.  Nonetheless I’m captivated with the newest USPS stamp release and thought it worthy of a bit of blogging attention.

The following text is taken from USPS.com and speaks to the sheet details. “For 75 years, Batman has protected Gotham City from the forces of evil. Since his debut, he has become one of the most iconic super heroes in history. This year, the U.S. Postal Service® chronicles the evolution of the character, from his origins to present day.

This new issuance showcases eight unique designs in a sheet of 20 stamps. Four versions of the iconic DC Comics super hero are depicted from four eras of comic book history. In addition, there are four incarnations of the Bat-Signal.

The first row of stamps features Batman with his fists clenched. This muscular, determined Caped Crusader has spent the Modern Age of Comics defending Gotham City from its most notorious villains.  The second row of stamps displays Batman dramatically staring up at the Bat-Signal. By the Bronze Age of Comics, artists had encased the super hero’s spare black bat emblem with a yellow oval. The insignia became the crime fighter’s trademark.
The third row of stamps shows Batman swooping into the frame with his cape flying behind him. The image, from the Silver Age of Comics, accentuates the super hero’s signature glowing white eyes and utility belt. The bottom row of stamps highlights Batman as first envisioned by creator Bob Kane during the Golden Age of Comics. The super hero’s black cape and cowl and gray suit formed his iconic visual identity.

A column on the left side of the sheet includes four different circular stamps. Each is affixed with a different Bat-Signal, the spotlight Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon sent into the night sky to summon Batman.

The background illustration features a silhouette of Batman standing on a bridge with the skyline of Gotham City looming above him. The flip side of the sheet features two illustrations of Batman and text about the history of the character.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp sheet. ”

My favorite portion of the sheet is the left hand selvage side that shows a shadowy Batman in the central Gotham City, watching and protecting.  And, the four different circular Bat-Signals are cool additions to the sheet but I do caution all purchasers to be sure to avoid discarding these simple, round stamps as they appear at first to be paper-art stamps that child might use rather than true Forever stamps but they are in fact Forever stamps.

 

Stayin’ In Touch

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Stayin’ In Touch

It is so true that you can learn (and re-learn) the best things from just talking to other people.  A post office customer just purchased a book of stamps to send her grandchildren.  She fears their lives, filled with electronic gadgetry, move too quickly and much transpires throughout their days that she’ll never know about.  If she doesn’t send them ‘old-fashioned’ postage stamps and specifically ask them to write her a letter at least once a week or when they have something to share, she’ll miss out on the seemingly little events that shape their lives and personalities.  Her final comment “things change too quickly to keep up unless you make a concerted effort to keep up” rang true for me as I try to raise this Gifts To Go child.

So,I am now making a concerted effort to communicate two programs I’m running just for fun of it – One and Done and Friday Fun.

One and Done is a new category on my website at onlinegiftstogo.com where a single new product is featured every Monday.  I’ll mark the product down and it will be available for purchase throughout the week unless it is sold out.  When it is gone, the category is Done until the following Monday.  Two hints about shopping my online store: 1)  shipping, using the United States Post Office of course, is always a flat $6 to any US address and 2) if you live near our retail location at 11340 W Bell Rd, Ste 128, Surprise, AZ, you can opt out of the shipping charge by clicking the choice to pick up your purchase in-store.

Friday Fun is a question I pose on Gifts To Go’s Facebook page every Friday morning between 8am and 9am.  Each week there is a prize given to the first person to answer correctly.  Generally the prize is a 15% or 20% discount shopping spree anytime before 5pm the following day.  I have to exclude local artwork, post office products and services, custom gift baskets and items already on sale but everything else is available for the discount. 

You are invited to share in the fun every Monday and Friday!  Enjoy!

 

 

Kiddos Summer Boredom Stressing You Out? Register for Not All Monsters Are Bad Storytelling & Painting Event

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NEWS from Gifts To Go

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tammy Fraser
602-403-0646

ACCLAIMED ARIZONA CHILDREN’S AUTHOR DEBUTS NEW BOOK AT WEST VALLEY EVENT

SURPRISE, Arizona (July 7, 2014) Conrad Storad, acclaimed Arizona author of more than 50 children’s science and nature books will debut his newest release, Monster in the Rocks, in the west valley on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at a children’s event.

The event will start at 1pm at the Barnaby Street Shoppes on the Bell Mar Plaza at 11340 W Bell Road, Suite 128, Surprise, Arizona. Described as a C.U.R.E (creative, unique, relaxing and educational) for summer boredom, this event is the collaboration of Gifts To Go and Painting 4 Fun, both resident businesses of Barnaby Street Shoppes.

Monster in the Rocks educates children about desert creatures, particularly the Gila monster, and reinforces the importance of staying safe by obeying moms and dads. The book also challenges stereotypes as the real troublemaker in this entertaining tale isn’t the Gila monster after all.

Mr. Storad will read to participating children at 1pm then sign a copy of the book for each child to take home. Children will then join an instructor led stroke-by-stroke class to create an acrylic painting of their own Gila monster on an 8” x 10” canvas.

Parents and guardians of children aged 4 and older are welcome to register for the event while seats are still available. The $25 cost of the event includes the educational storytelling with Conrad Storad, an autographed soft cover copy of Monster in the Rocks, painting instruction and the child’s Gila monster painting ready for hanging or display.

For more details or to register visit either the Gifts To Go or Painting 4 Fun Facebook pages. The Events section on these pages includes a Find Tickets link that provides the details. Alternatively, call Tammy Fraser at 602-403-0646 or Dianne Gibson at 623-889-4439 for more information.

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Press Release: New West Valley Writer’s Group Forming

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NEWS from Gifts To Go

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tammy Fraser
602-403-0646

SURPRISE, Arizona (May 19, 2014) West Valley residents and writers, John L Ketchum and Pauline Mounsey, are forming a new west valley writers group. The group’s purpose is to form a team to provide editing and constructive feedback on member’s written work.

In addition, the group will create an educational forum for members to share knowledge of all aspects of writing, publishing and selling.

“We’re looking to create a casual, informed group of writers who help each other navigate the process regardless of their experience”, said John L Ketchum. “We all bring individual expertise to a writers’ workshop,” Pauline Mounsey added, “and we all have something to share with others. I consider myself a facilitator, rather than an instructor, for helping participants share knowledge with each other.”

The writers group will meet twice a month on Saturday afternoon at Gifts To Go located on the Bell Mar Plaza at the intersection of Bell Road and Avenue of the Arts, Suite 128, Surprise, Arizona. Prior to each meeting, the members will meet for lunch at the 5&Diner Delux next door to Gifts To Go. The next meeting is Saturday, June 14.

Persons interested in finding out more should call John Ketchum at 623-466-6227 or Pauline Mounsey at 480-225 1585.