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053: Why Shopping Small Matters

Hello! Welcome to episode 53 of I’d Rather Stay In. This week, we’re talking some more about why shopping small matters, both to the business owners and to local economies.

Quick links

Wish Upon a Shop – Bracelets and mask chains

Verdilune – Metalwork jewelry

Paper + Craft Pantry – Stationary

Feliz Modern – Gifts, art and decor

Retrofit Culture – Vintage and handmade items

Confituras – Small-batch jams

Whitney Winkler Art – Watercolor art and home goods

Plume Candles – Hand-poured soy wax candles

Portland Leather Goods – Handmade leather bags and products

Episode transcript

Welcome to I’d rather stay in the podcast for cozy introverts. Where are your hosts Megan Myers

and Stephie Predmore.

This week’s topic holiday gifting and supply chains.


Hey Stephie how’s it going this week?

Well, I have two things to say. One is that my husband has been into making hot sauce lately, huh?


Um, I can’t remember if we’ve talked about this on the podcast or not.

We have talked about his hot sauce obsession, I

believe cause collection. Yeah. So he has quite a collection of hot sauce. He has like over 50 kinds of hot sauce. Like I’m not shitting you that is not an exaggeration. That’s an actual number. takes up an entire cabinet. That’s fine. And so now he’s been into making hot sauce. And he is currently making some jalapeno hot sauce and the back stairwell that leads like down to the kitchen smells very spicy right now.

Did he like roast some stuff up? Or is it just like the fermentation

he was fermenting it. And then the last one he fermented no problem. And then this one, it was fine this morning. And then he checked on it tonight. And it was like, there was like a little spot of mold on it. So then he had to do some quick research. Like, can I salvage this? And I think the answer was yes. But he has to like he had to like process it like immediately. So it didn’t ferment as long as it was supposed to. And he’s changed up his plan. I don’t really know what he’s doing. But there’s a lot of blending happening and I can smell spicy things coming up the stairwell

the dogs

a Anya is in the bedroom, just like I was just gonna stay away from the blender Reus? Reus gives no shits, because he never ever does. God bless that dog. Um, the second thing I was going to say is that so Eden is at that like mimicking age, which is so cute. And Cora does this very weird flat sort of like my, like Meow? Mm hmm. And whenever she does it around Eden, like she’ll do her like, wow. And then Eden looks at her and she’ll go, Ah, like, Oh my god, are you trying to mimic but the noise that cat makes? Like,


are you and then Cora will like cuz sometimes if you like kind of squeeze chorus back, she’ll do it and then we’ll like squeeze her back.

The baby will go. Ah,

it’s the cutest thing. She’s doing it tonight while she was eating dinner, and Alex was like messing with the cat. And I was a key in my pants. Laughing It was so cute. Like, well, this is it reminds me of how when our niece was little she’s eight now but when she was really little my in laws taught her that bird say cuz that’s kind of what it reminds me of. Like, I don’t think this child is gonna know that cat say meow. I think she’s gonna think that say, Ah,

well, do you think it’s interesting that, you know, I don’t know if it was like this when you were taking Spanish classes. But you when you learn another language, they tell you that they animals like make a different noise they do. And they’re like, but do they speak a different language? Like two French cats say different words than American cat?

Yes, it’s because I have a little I have some little Spanish like books for her like baby books. And one of them is animals. And instead of having the name of the animal it has the sound of the animal makes and yes, some of them are different. Like some of them are the same. But just like spelled the way you it would be in Spanish. But yeah, some of them are just straight up different sounds. And I’m like that is so weird to me.

So yeah, so that’s why it’s been very funny to me. But yeah, what’s new with you?

Uh, oh, not really a whole lot. Actually.

That’s good. There I

buy mine went completely blank just now.

happens more often than you would expect. It is true.

I’ve been doing some stuff in the kitchen lately, which I have been getting had been getting out of a groove on and it feels really nice.


it’s not what’s going on. Well, today was not like a good recipe day, but that’s fine. Let’s

you learn.

Yeah, we’ll have hit and miss recipe days. I remember one time I was working on like a dinner roll recipe. It kept flopping and I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going wrong. And then I realized, like, I was just like, straight up not including an entire ingredient. Like, it was like water or something to it. Like wasn’t even, like the dough was still okay. But then it wouldn’t work when it like it wouldn’t rise and it was baking, and I was getting really frustrated. Like what the fuck is going on? I was like, Oh, you dummy. You basically forgot to put like the flower in your cookies. What is happening? Oops. Yeah, so we all have those days. Those are the days where I just like, I’m like, you know what, I have to stop. I have to stop. Because if I keep going, I’m just gonna get more angry and wasting ingredients. Maybe I’ll go do something else.

Yeah, the good thing is that I realized like, why it was wrong. And it wasn’t just like, the times that I cry over pie crust, because it’s just not coming together. Yeah. So it was much better than that. And also last week, I made a bundt cake and it came out of the pan perfectly. And if anyone out there is a aficionado of Bundt cakes, it was like it was known to be a tense moment. Yeah, it wasn’t even just like a standard bundt cake,

either. It was like one of those twisty twirly ones. It was like a pretty one. Yeah. So I was very impressed with the bundt cake.

I was very, very happy. And also my friend was very impressed with the how the Instagram story turned out. Because I decided to record me taking the cake out of the pan, just in case it turned out. That’s a foresight. I

just want to applaud you for having the foresight to even think of that, because I never think about it until like later. Like that. I would reenact it.

I was like content. I’m actually doing content. By the way that Instagram broke it up because I just did it in the regular video app, which you should always do because it it shows up the right orientation. Yeah, that’s true. But when I put it in Instagram stories, Instagram, broken into two stories, and it broke it right at the part like right before it like came out of the pan. Oh, uh huh. So it was like one story and then you had to wait till the next one to see it come out. It was like perfect timing. And I was very impressed. suspense.

Yeah, what’s gonna happen next? Ah, yeah.

Yeah, so great. To have that.

You know what, you got that go? That’ll I can carry you for at least two weeks?

I feel like it could. And then you know, we have Thanksgiving in two weeks. So

yeah, we do. Mm hmm. You guys, we are doing Thanksgiving together this year. And last year, we did an entire episode on Thanksgiving. And this year now that we live in the same town, but we are having a little quarantine Thanksgiving together. So I told Alex, I was like, we finally found our people. Because you messaged me. And you were like, do you have a spreadsheet or document? Thanksgiving menu planning? Yeah. And I was like, Oh, my God, you are my people. Because no one else understands my obsessive menu planning and why this is like the most important meal of the year. So I’m very excited to have a partner in crime

who gets it. It’s important. It’s very important stuff. Also, because we live so close to each other. We can use both of our stoves and ovens.

Yeah. And we’re excited about that.

I can just like make Bob tote things to your house while I’m still cooking. It’s excellent.

Then the boys can come over and snack on charcuterie. And you can be like, get out of my kitchen by going out of my house. Leave

me alone,

I guess throw them in the basement and they won’t care. But that’s true. Either way, it’s gonna be a good day. I’m excited.

I know. I’m excited too. So holidays are coming up. You know, we’ve got Thanksgiving. And well, I guess by the time this goes live, it’ll be like, a week. Yeah, a week until Thanksgiving week. But as we record this, we’ve got a couple weeks until the week of Thanksgiving, and the Christmas is right around the corner. And so we wanted to talk about holiday gifts. But we know that with COVID things are looking a bit different on that front and the way that we’re shopping and who we’re seeing and what we’re buying. And we’re all about buying from small businesses. Anyway, we talked about it all the time. But we wanted to take a look at something that comes into play a little bit more during the busy shopping season and that Megan knows a freakish amount about supply chains.

I don’t know freakish amount about it, but you can stay with us. gonna be super, super boring. It’ll you’ll, you’ll learn something. We’re not gonna go on forever about supply chains. It’ll just be an overview.

Just important things that you should know. Yeah,

I think it’s important. Everybody knows about where the stuff that they’re buying comes from.

Right? Cuz I don’t actually sound level one. I don’t think we think about that right now. Like, when we’re ordering from Amazon, it appears, right? Like if we go to the store and we buy something, we’re like, well, that came from Kroger, cool. We don’t really think about how it gets to that place and how it gets from that place to us at right cetera. So I think that is important to think about, especially around the holidays, when we’re doing more shopping, and things are a little crazier, and we have an opportunity to be mindful with our dollars.

Yeah, especially this year, when like every dollar you spend is even more important,

so much more important. So


first discuss what a supply chain actually is. Okay? Cuz I think people hear that word, and they’re just like, but an easy example is to look at the food system. So you and I both get a CSA share, Community Supported Agriculture from the same farm actually. And so basically, that is all league on the supply chain. Okay, the link between us and the farmer, because we get it directly from the farmer. But if you go get your apples from Kroger, then that Apple comes from Kroger’s distribution center, and the distribution center, maybe gets it right from the farm. And that’s two more links, basically, so and that each, each link in the supply chain adds on more costs. There’s more people involved, that adds on fuel and air pollution basically, and like, every single step of the way, as add more and more inherent costs, basically.

Very Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon situation, right? I

don’t know, like, are

you old enough to know about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

I am old enough to know about the six degrees? Okay.

I was not sure. For anyone out there. That might not be old enough. It actually because it came out in like the mid 90s. And it was a huge deal. But basically, it was the idea that like every actor is within Six Degrees of Kevin Macon because they’re all in movies together. And so my theater director actually is only like two degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Because he was an extra Braveheart and then, like Braveheart, or that Mel Gibson was in a movie with Julia Roberts and Julie Roberts is in movies with Kevin Bacon. So anyway, yes. So it’s kind of like that. But with like products. If that makes sense? Oh, it sure does. Um, but anyway, you might remember like, earlier this year, everyone absolutely lost their minds trying to buy toilet paper, and sanitary wipes and flour. And it wasn’t necessarily that these things were just completely not available. But it is because of the supply chain, like the stores ran out. So they had to go back to the distribution centers. But because the distribution centers were so busy sending them out to all the stores, they ran out. So they had to go back to the manufacturers to get it. So it was really difficult to get the products and the pieces of the products where they need to go. So like, we had Kim on, she used to work at Target and the denim line. And she used to go on these, like supply sourcing trips, which took her to places. Like I think she went to Taiwan, once she’s been to Egypt, she’s been all these amazing places because of her job. Because as it turns out, like you need all these parts to make a pair of jeans. Yeah, so products are not made like you go to Target. Target sells their own brands of jeans, but they don’t like grow their own cotton, right to make jeans, like the cotton comes from Egypt. And then the zippers come from the zipper factory in Japan. And then the dye for the jeans comes from some other place,

right and the thread and the rivets

Yeah, and all of those pieces need to be at the place at the same time to be able to make the jeans to ship to the stores. And so the problem comes is that when you are trying to source all these materials, you don’t want to have too many of those materials. That Cuz if you have too many of like zippers, then you just have a bunch of zippers while you’re waiting for cotton. Sure. And what do you do with all those zippers? Like, do you?

I don’t know. It’s not really a lot of things you could do is zippers.

Especially because like Jean zippers are pretty specific. I don’t use Jean zippers on another product necessarily. So while you’re waiting for your cotton to come in to use your jeans, something could happen to make people’s interest in jeans go down like a pandemic, where we all are stuck at home and decide jeans suck. zippers are the worst thing. So then you have all these extra zippers. But there’s some company out there who maybe makes lounge pants with zippered pockets who doesn’t have zippers, right. And so there’s this crazy like supply chain problem where the wrong people have the things basically, right. And I realized I could just talk about zippers a lot.

So many servers drinking every time you said zipper, they’re either very drunk or very hydrated, depending on whether

it is a word that has now lost all meaning zippers. But the point is, is that products all inherently have these issues to go along with them. If you have an iPhone or a MacBook, or any computer basically like those products that are inside of your computer come from like, I don’t know, 50 different places, right? It’s crazy. So I feel like talking about supply chains makes you automatically go to thinking about Amazon.

Yeah, I think that that’s because I think that that’s one of the bigger supply chain issues, right. But we’re one of the biggest places where we can talk about supply chains, and also one of the places where people do a lot of holiday shopping.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting, actually. Because so Amazon has actually like, created their own supply chain system, which is wild. Yeah. So they, I mean, they have to still get the products into their warehouses, but they have built this in crazy, incredible network of distribution centers all over the country, so that people can get their two day prime delivery and not be cranky, cuz Americans have demands. Yes. And they want it now.

First of all problems, right.

When we moved away from Texas, actually, they were building a enormous warehouse. From like, you can see it from our house. Oh, really?

Yeah. Because Well, there’s like empty fields between like our house and where they’re building this, but you could see it in the distance. And I was like, cool. I could see a big warehouse. But they build them all over the place. And that’s one of the enables them to be able to ship all these things quickly and efficiently. They have their own delivery truck drivers, they have all these things. So the companies send their products directly to Amazon, so they don’t have to deal with it. And actually, a lot of small businesses use Amazon for this too, which I was surprised by. I recently ordered some new photo backdrops from a small business, and she has them all shipped through Amazon. She’s like all of my sales go through Amazon. And she it’s easier for her as a small business. But on the other hand, so I ordered, I ordered three backdrops. They’re all very large, but lightweight backdrops. And because of the way Amazon does their warehousing and packaging. They ship them all separately. Enormous boxes cool. And they all arrive separately, one arrived one day to arrive another day. So it might be efficient on one end, but it’s not necessarily efficient on the receiving end.

Right. And in terms of sustainability and environmental friendliness, and all that

kind of stuff. Exactly. Because even if if you’re buying a lot of stuff on Amazon, which basically all of us are. Even if you’re buying many things on the same day, they’re not necessarily going to show up at your house together on the same day in the same box.

Yes, I sometimes like it’s hit and miss. So yeah, they do. Sometimes they all come together. And sometimes they come in like 87 small boxes and you’re like what is happening?

It’s all because of which distribution center it has to come from. So in theory, it should all come from the same distribution center, but because there are so many distribution centers around the country, not all of them have all the same things. So like, in our case right now, like probably I don’t know where the closest distribution center is. So this is really an example. But like, if we order something if we order like five things tonight, like probably two of them will come from Chicago. One will come from Peoria, another one will come from St. Louis. And another one will come from Indianapolis, even though we’re like, all equidistant? Sure.

Yeah, that makes sense.

It’s interesting, because it’s up and down. Like it seems efficient, but it’s also not efficient at the same time,


But also, there are millions of products done,

it depends on what definition of efficiency you’re looking at.

Right? for Amazon, it is incredibly efficient. But for like, if you are like us, looking at getting something and you open a box in this enormous box for something super tiny, or you get 16 different shipments for your Christmas order. That does not feel efficient. It is it feels less efficient than running to target and buying all those things at once.

Yes, yeah. Yeah. If you’re, if you’re looking purely at it from a How quickly can this get to me? standpoint, then Sure, it’s fine. Especially depending on where you live, and what is like what is easy for you to get to, like, if you live in a two horse town that doesn’t have anything or you have like a really crappy target or something, then yes, like getting the products to you may be more efficient, but in terms of the way that is getting to you, and like you said, all the boxes that you have to deal with, and the shipping materials and the drivers that have to get it to you like those things are far less efficient.


Far less efficiently than they could be.

Right. The other thing that I always try to think about is that, like, whenever Amazon does, like Cyber Monday deals or they do their

Prime Day

Prime Day thing, I the sale though is go crazy, because people go crazy for sales. Even though spoiler alert, most things are like jacked up prybar prior to those days, and then won’t go on sale. Like that’s how most stores operate. It’s not a big deal. Um, or it’s a loss leader, which we don’t need to get into either, cuz that’s

a whole other thing into an episode of Meghan.

Let’s talk about sales. Um, but the problem that I always think about is that there’s been studies where all these days where people are expected to do crazy internet shopping, and they do the injuries at Amazon warehouses. And I assume other you know, big box stores that do online shopping warehouses, right, the injuries have been increasing exponentially, like each year. Because as the years go on, and people just get more and more expectant of a crazy deals be faster and faster shipping. The drive from these companies to ship out more and more boxes each day, has like really put a strain on the workers and the workers are not benefiting right from these extra policy of like getting all the stuff out. Like they don’t i don’t think they’re paid super great.

No for what they’re doing, or they’re not. And I mean, so I think when it comes to, for example, Black Friday,

Mm hmm.

Um, I, you know, I think there’s been a little bit of a movement in recent years, because black friday had gotten so insane. Yeah, and you know, where Black Friday deals would start on Thanksgiving. And you would have people literally working from 6pm on Thanksgiving until like noon on Black Friday, you know, these crazy shifts overnight. And I think that there’s been a little bit of a movement of these big some stores, quote, like taking a stand, and then they’re not going we’re not going to open on Thanksgiving, like we want to treat our employees like people and blah, blah, blah. And so there’s a little bit of awareness of because you go to the store, you see the human beings or, you know, the The people that are working at Target or Best Buy or whatever, are your family members that have to leave Thanksgiving dinner to go do this. And so we think about the human element there. But I think when the packages just magically show up from the Amazon fairy, on our front porch, we forget that like the Amazon fairies name is Fred. And he has three kids and a wife at home.

Right? It’s not just like, randomly,


It’s showing up.

Yeah, it’s not done via robot. It’s not done via fairy dust. It’s an actual human person. That is packing, you know, going finding the stuff packing the box.

Yeah, too.

And the,

the thing I have a problem with that is that the stores are like, like, do what you said it, they’re like taking a stand, like, you just should not be open on Thanksgiving. Just don’t be open.

Don’t be crazy that you’re not like a hero, right? That has to be like, oh, we’re applauding you for not being open on Thanksgiving. So your employees can spend time with their family is like this? No.

That shouldn’t even be a thing.

Yes, correct. It’s, it’s wild to me. Yeah.


what do with this information, Megan.

So I do so I do understand the need and the why people need to buy from big box stores buy from Amazon, I still shop at amazon. And not a perfect person when it comes to buying things. Right. Especially now living in it. I do live in a smaller town than what I used to. And it’s harder to find stuff. Yeah, um, but I think the important thing is to where you can support your local businesses. Yeah. Um, and I know that one of the biggest things that people complain about is that if they, you know, buy whatever it is at their local business, it costs more.


One of the main driving factors of people buying on Amazon is that it’s cheaper. So like, they want to, they want to buy a new book, you know, it is 1395 on Amazon. But at a bookstore, it’s a cover price. So that’s usually, you know, at least $20 for a 1395 book, right. And so I know that’s hard to like, wrestle your mind with.

Mm hmm.

But two things about that.


we all have enough shit. For the most part, most people have enough crap that we do not need more crap. Yes, um, therefore, if you are buying less crap, you can spend more

on it, you can look at higher quality,

right? Or just the fact quantity, right? Just the fact that if you are buying your Christmas book gifts at your local bookshop, small businesses generate a $68 return for each hundred dollars spent with them within your local economy. And if you shop at a national chain, like at Target or Barnes and Noble, it’s only $43. So big difference. Yeah, it’s a big difference. I know. It also it’s a big difference, but also doesn’t seem like that much of a difference on both levels. Like it’s $25.

Yeah, way math when you look at it, right, when you look at it from like, $100. Right. $25. But it adds up, though,

yes. So if Yeah, it really adds up. And I think people are always wondering, like, what does that what does that mean that it generates local economy return. So it means that like, it’s not only that you are paying for the wages of the people who work at that store, but also like the store, so the store will take that money and invest it back into the town by paying like the town taxes and paying for the town services and the people who own the store will also use other local stores like going to local restaurants. And it all like cycles around like that or,

or they go to a they use a local bank,

right, they use a local bank or they might use another local store to like buy tissue paper or things like that. So it’s kind of It’s all connected. The other thing that I thought was super interesting is that businesses with fewer than 20 employees actually make up 89% of us employers really so most of the people that you will work with in the country work for small business versus a big corporation. I don’t know if that includes franchises to be honest. Because I know some branches are because like, Oh, yeah, really is. Because a lot of freight like if you’re a franchisee you like Own your McDonald’s, right? I mean, maybe not. We actually don’t know how that works. But if you franchise a store, you own the store.

Yeah. Well, I think it depends on the business like the on the store itself? Because I think, yes, you print each one’s different. Right?

Yeah. So that’s why I said McDonald’s. I don’t actually know if McDonald’s does it that way. I don’t know. Some of them. Do. Some of them. Don’t

believe Colbert’s does, okay. Yeah. So we have this information. Mm hmm. As we’re thinking of our holiday shopping, how can let’s How can we use this? Let’s think about shopping small, right? local businesses, small businesses. You know, here’s the thing, like you said, Everyone has enough shit. So, for the most part, a lot of the people that you are interacting with probably don’t really need anything. Right? So when you’re giving them something, it’s really more of, you know, aside from like, parents and grandparents and you know, what we’re looking at like kid Christmas, although even for kid Christmas, I think that we can be a lot more mindful about the things that we’re getting and how much we’re getting. You know, when we’re looking at, like our friends and our family members, a lot of times our holiday gifts are really just a little bit more of like, Hey, I love you. Let me show you how I love you by giving you a little something. Right. And so I personally think it’s always more meaningful to try to purchase something that was handmade or locally made or both. And it might mean that you don’t get like a huge gift, but most people don’t care.

Yeah, I mean, I, I love giving gifts to people. Mm hmm. But also, I’m one of those people who there is, I try to be very, very thoughtful about the gifts that I am giving. Not just that if it’s like from a local shop, but like, Is it something that they can that I know that they’re going to either love or that they definitely want or that they can use up and therefore no longer have, which I always enjoy? Like, food gifts are great, because it goes away? Eventually. Yes.

It’s very useful. Yeah, eat it. Yeah, you’re a really great gift giver. I always love getting gifts from you, because you are very, you are very thoughtful. And I always actually love getting gifts for you too. Because I know that you appreciate that kind of thing. And so it’s fun for me to like put together a little gift for you of things that I like, cuz I can put thought into it and know that you will appreciate the thought that went into it instead of being like, Oh, yeah, here’s this thing by

Yeah, like, I got you a book on tape, right? I don’t know, like, whatever, whatever the latest hot book like I got you this book. like okay, whatever.

I 20s

Twilight is right. I do like books, but like, I like a gift from me for a book would be like something that you know that I would like because I like doing something exactly like I got last year I got you a bread baking book because you love to make bread. And I was like this will be a great resource. Exactly. I actually

already purchased one of your holiday gifts. Oh, God. So much pressure. It’s fine. I’m like really on top of Christmas this year, but I actually I have On top of Christmas, because I have been trying really hard, particularly this year, because so many small businesses are struggling, I’ve been trying to think of ways that I can buy things that are not necessarily from like, chains, like what are small businesses that I can support. And I know that, that means that sometimes it takes the shipping takes longer, sometimes it takes longer, if you are ordering something that is not ready to ship that’s been custom made for you. And so it requires a little bit of thinking ahead, like that can if you’re ordering something online from a small business, you do have to think ahead a little bit more than you do if you’re ordering from Target or Amazon or whatever. Night. So you know, you have to be a little bit more organized. But I ultimately think that is worth it. A lot of I’m trying to think a lot of the, I think pretty much. Most of the gifts that I’ve purchased for this year, I’m either making or have come from like smaller shops, smaller businesses. Yeah. And I think the only exception to that is I got some pajamas for Ed that I’m wrapping up as part of her Christmas. But they weren’t really purchased as Christmas. They’re just like, gonna be the right size for her like right around Christmas time. So I’m like, just call it part of her Christmas, because she’s gonna be less than a year old and won’t give a shit.

She’s not gonna know,

she’s not gonna know. But that’s I think the only I think that’s the only one but, you know, think start thinking about it now. And a lot of small businesses and shops, online shops, they’ll have some, like, ready to ship options, they’ll have things and they’ll let you know, hey, this is the deadline to get it by Christmas. Yeah. So you know, just pay attention to those deadlines. If you’re tight on time, go for something instead of getting something custom made, see if they have any ready to ship options. And, you know, there’s, there’s also, I guarantee you there are shops in town, I know that in person shopping could be a little hit or miss right now. But I can also guarantee you that those small businesses are being like doubly careful about germs right now. Because they can’t afford to close down. Like they literally cannot afford to have anything go wrong. And so I know they’re being so super careful. So a lot of them, a lot of the small businesses around here will have like either a home delivery option, or like a curbside pickup options still. So that’s something to look into, if you’re not super keen on going inside. Because of COVID. You can, you know, see if they have you know, pay an extra couple bucks, and they’ll deliver it to you with you know, without having to go through the postal system, they’ll just come drop it on your porch, or if you can do a curbside pickup or something like that. So there’s lots and lots of options, where you can be supporting small businesses supporting your local economy and staying safe at the same time.

Yeah, the other thing I like to do is there’s some stores where you can kind of like if you follow them on social media, you can kind of get a feel for like when they’re not busy. Mm hmm. Because I super am a super browser person. And so online shopping isn’t always like the best Yeah, experience for me because I’m like, I need to like see it in, right. Like, you can’t tell what size something is online. You know, it is it is hard. So further, a lot of stores I like to try and find a time when like, there’s no one else there. Mm hmm. Like either like right when they open or like, you know, mid afternoon on a Thursday or something like that.

Those are good times

you can always call head to and be like, hey, I want to come in except, you know, COVID so when you’re not busy, you can maybe like schedule a time. There was a store in Austin, who, earlier this year they were like doing, they were open by appointment, which I thought was really a good idea. Yeah, so that’s always options too.

Yeah, I like that. Yeah, there’s definitely there’s definitely some shops that are doing, you know, shop by appointment hours or whatever. So because again, they, they know that they need to be accommodating their customers and they want to keep up that business. So they’re likely to be accommodating and understanding and, you know, figure out a way that they can, they can help you get the things that you need, in a way that is really safe.


So Steffi. While we are talking about small shops and gifts on the horizon, what are some of your favorite shops.

So a friend Kathleen, who was on our Harry Potter episode, she and her friend Kristen just opened a jewelry shop called wish upon a shop there. And I’ll link to all of this in the Quick Links for the in the transcript, but there are wish upon a shop Co. And they make really pretty bracelets and mask chains. So if you’re someone that is, you know, running a lot of errands or you have to work and you’re taking your face mask on and off, they make really pretty change so that you’re not having to just like throw it down, and then you’re losing it or you’re dropping it or whatever. But they’ve made them really nice. So they are kind of a statement piece. And they make really cute stuff. Very, some of it is very, like 90s vibe, which is super cute. And so there’s a little something for everyone there. I super love their stuff.

Yeah, I was on that website the other day and trying to figure out what I would get. And I could not narrow down it’s hard to

choose. It’s also cute, and they’ll do totally custom stuff. They’ve got some really cute holiday pieces right now. So I because they’re super into the holidays, they do a lot of Harry Potter stuff and Disney stuff. And there’s just stuff in Golden stuff and bright colors. And yeah, they’re super adorable. They’re there. And it’s interest that one, but that’s an interesting one for me as well, because so Kathleen is a photographer, and Kristen is a personal trainer. And so both of them took like a major hit to their businesses with COVID, obviously, and because those are two things that she couldn’t really do for four months, earlier this year. And they started making jewelry and then it just sort of spiraled into this, like, Hey, we can like do this. And so they have and they’ve like already been featured on their local Sacramento news and just some really fun stuff. So

I love

them. I’m proud of them. Yeah, that’s

really cool.

So what are some others that you love? So I actually just got a necklace from the store called Verity Loon. That actually our friend Lindsey, who we had on talks about crafting, she shared them on Instagram the other day, and I was like Lola gorgeous. Yeah, I have to buy something from there. And also that was another place where I had like, had to really think about oh narina delve

into their website you sent me the link and I opened their website and I was like, Oh my god, somebody thinks I can’t close it.

Um, yeah, so I ordered myself a little gift and then I’ve been wearing it like every day since cuz it makes me really happy. So she makes jewelry. She makes some that are like reclaimed metal pieces. And then she uses a lot of stones. Like semi precious stones like the one I have is Amber. Various other things she mixes cute ones with like moss and like in like inside of resin or something like that. I don’t know how to explain it. But our work is really really beautiful. There’s lots of like turquoise and all sorts of stuff. And also she she is like when I whenever I buy a package from a small shop and that is so down. But like they always package it really cutely and like tie little bow on it and left hand right you know, just like that.

I know.

Yeah, I love when I get something that where it’s just like you could tell that they packaged it with such care.

Yeah. Because that’s literally like this is what they’re they’re doing what they love. That’s not just like a random job for them. Yeah, I love that. I love um I recently got a gift package from a friend in Austin from a store called papercraft and pantry. It’s what it sounds like it’s a store that sells like stationery and cute stickers and little buttons and erasers and shop. Yeah, like basically the cutest little stationery store ever. Everything that she sent me was either food themed or cactus themed, like secular themed, like perfect. So their stuff is all super cute. There’s this really cute store in San Antonio called Felice modern that has the most adorable festive color like jewelry and home goods and just fun things like you look at it and just makes you happy. Uh huh. Like all of their earrings. I was like that just looks so cute and fun and I want all of it Yeah,

I love all the like very bright colors it’s very text like it’s very San Antonio like I yeah, I don’t know how else to describe it. I’m on there

right like if he’s ever heard if you’ve like been to the Riverwalk, and you know, there’s like, you know, all those cafes with their umbrellas out and stuff like that’s just the fun vibe like the lights up and everything and it makes me think of that one restaurant we went to one of the one of the Mexican restaurants the lights everywhere. lb kado. And yeah, it was very cute. I love that store. So cute.

We’ve got one here in town called retrofit culture. And she has tons it’s like a fun mix of handmade items and locally made items and vintage stuff. She just really thoughtfully curates everything that’s in there and she has a lot of plants right now. She

has a lot of

plants right now she has opened. She started launched their website after COVID started so you can purchase some of their things online and have them shipped. But I also just really love the space that she’s in. So I always love just going in there and browsing and it’s that sort of my that is my favorite go to store here in Bloomington when I need a gift for somebody. I because she’s always got cute jewelry and candles and T shirts and just all sorts of fun stuff.

I am actually wearing the T shirt that I got from there right now.

I’m wearing a T shirt I got from there too.

What do you know?

We did not plan that

we did not plan that. And you’re you have a friend that has a biscuit and jam shop in Austin called combi Taurus, but she also has an online shop for jams.

Yeah, she does have an online shop and she also has a jam subscription club. So guys, it’s really good jam.

And he’s like, Dude, it’s like different stuff. It’s not just like strawberry jam. It’s like strawberry balsamic preserves, and Apple Rosemary jam and ginger pear preserves. Like,

it’s so oh man,

the ginger pear is so good.

Oh, it’s so

my gosh, she has like flavored salts and stuff that she does. She’s She’s baller.

Yeah, I

actually need to do a subscription for myself now that I don’t live there anymore. Because I need to get it. It’s like a flavor of the Month Club basically with jam. And it’s amazing because the all the jams are so good. She’s been in business for

five years now.

She just had a birthday and I can’t remember which birthday it was. And I feel like a terrible friend remembering this right now. But um, I’ve been supporting her like the entire time of her j like from start to finish like when she very first started selling her jam at the farmers market. So like today and I’m very proud of her.

She jams made some fucking baller biscuits. They are great if you are in Austin. Ever. You need to go and have a biscuit because we were there. I think I had one that had pimento cheese on it and oh my god, that was good. And I’m kind of a biscuit snob. Yeah, I

mean, it’s weird because Austin actually has multiple places where you can get a really good biscuit. But like her shop, the only thing they make there is jam and biscuits. So like you know, it’s gonna be good. Yeah. Yeah. Really good.

Love that so much. I see. You know, I love art and I could name like 100 different places where I bought art that I really like. But Whitney Winkler is one of my favorites. She’s a watercolor artist. And she you can get, you know, prints you can do commissioned work from her job. She has really branched out in the last couple years. And she pairs up with a lot of other artists to turn her paintings into wearable items and giftable items. And she’s worked, you know, she’s put, you know, her painting on to fabric, and she’s done upholstery on chairs, and she’s made pillows, and she’s done headbands, and tote bags and earrings and all of these really, really cool things. So those are, you know, if if you’re not sure if you have like a friend and you’re not sure, like, what their art style is on their wall, like she has a lot of stuff, like coasters and earrings and stuff that are it’s a little less like, here’s a piece of art for your wall. And we’re like, here’s a piece of usable art. Mm hmm. And I love all of the things that she does. She does some really cute I actually ordered a Wisconsin Christmas ornament from her for our tree because Eden was born in Wisconsin. So I ordered a Wisconsin Christmas tree ornament from her shop this year,

that is much better than getting like a cheesehead ornament.

I’m sure that will probably somehow appear on the tree at some point in the next however many years. I thought that was better too. And then there’s a shop called plume candles. They actually are out of Central Illinois, I think the Peoria area but they are handmade soy wax candles. And one of the cool things about them is that all of their packaging is recyclable. So obviously you know they packaged it in a really lovely jar and you can always recycle that or reuse the jar or whatever. But like they even use those dissolvable packing peanuts. Have you ever gotten something shipped in those?

Yes, they are very weird. They’re

so weird. But also so cool. It’s so cool. Like if guys if you’ve never had these before? I don’t I think they’re made with like

orange shirt. Yeah, I

think it’s like something with cornstarch and basically like you just like can dump them into the sink and just like spray water over them and they dissolve. It’s the wildest shit and I love it. But yeah, they’re they’re made out of the area and they do like some seasonal I almost said flavors but that would be sense because it’s a candle so like right now they have a pumpkin one and an autumn orchard one and then they have some others that are a little bit more evergreen year round sense but they’re they’re

really nice. Awesome. One other store that maybe not for like you know a lot of gift giving, but maybe a special someone in your life. Portland leather goods You and I both have purses from there because I was obsessed with yours and so to buy one for myself. Um, but they’re like really super buttery soft leather. Totes and wallets and other small leathery things. That sounds really gross but uh, you know,

I think I got a well i think i got Alex is like toiletry kit thing for travel from there. Yeah, I mean it’s really nice. I I’ve gotten several I’ve gotten several items from them and it’s always really nice.

Yeah, I really love my bag. I so before I got this one, I had been using a leather tote I got from maidwell Hmm. And I remember how many how long I used it before I got the one from Portland leather but the one from Portland leather. Like was cheaper and also has held up so much better like the craftsmanship is just fantastic. I’m really nice and like it’s supposed to get a little bit like dinged up on the leather but it doesn’t look like it’s all dinged up like my maidwell toe looks dinged up

yeah this is like it looks weathered in that well loved


Yeah, their stuff is really really nice. Yeah, maybe it’s a gift for yourself like,


go for it. Love.

Get yourself a new purse, treat yourself. That’s right. Don’t forget about yourself a Christmas Oh, don’t

forget about yourself all because also, you could just leave the tab open as your husband is hopping on the computer to do whatever. Click here.

I mean, it’s true. My number knows what to get me. So I do also want to mention that like, yeah, and then I’m like, I would like my knives sharpened please. Which is literally what I’m going to ask for this year. Please get my knife sharpened professionally. We mentioned you mentioned homemade gifts earlier. Yeah. And I just want to like, circle back around to that to like, wrap this up here is that like, you don’t need to necessarily buy gifts for people, right? I know, we just talked about buying local, and all that stuff. But like, as we said in our gift giving episode last year, don’t put so much pressure on everything.


Sometimes people would love something lovely and handmade. Even if it’s like a loaf of bread. Yeah. You know,

I think a lot of people may be getting bottles of hot sauce from us this year at all?

Apparently. So

no, but I mean, for sure. And you know, and again, like if you have kids like Dude, they don’t

need stuff.

They don’t Oh my god, anything

like they don’t need anything. get them involved in helping make stuff for other people.


like, that’s super fun. I mean, I’m gonna, I’m roping you into here in the next week or two helping me do some handmade gifts for family members with Eden. So we’ll see how that goes. You know, like, I’m trying to think of things that are going to be more meaningful and less stuff. Nobody needs stuff.

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s nice to like you, like, certain things. Like my friend, her mom, passed away last year. But before she died, she made this beautiful art piece for me. And so I got I received it at Christmas last year. And it’s hanging in my house. And every time I see it now, I think about her and I think about my friend. And it’s just such a lovely reminder of people that are special in my life. Yep. So like, that’s the kind of gift that like people actually like, Yes, sir. You know, they’re not a monster. See, going into my dining room and seeing the art that my friend mommy or the thing that my friend’s mom made, like, that’s really lovely. And like when we decorate our Christmas tree, and I open an ornament that like my kids made or like, the ornament that you got me for Christmas one year, like those are all really lovely things that remind me of my friends and my family. So like, those are the kinds of things that we should be focused on. For sure. We really should.

I mean, yeah, I like because I have met your friend and I didn’t get to know her mom. But I see the piece that her mom made and like I think of her and so you know, it like spreads out. There’s like a web of good feelings from stuff like that. So

yeah, I love it. And that is what the holiday season is all about really good feelings. They

What’s bringing us joy?

really is. So speaking of good feelings. Yes. That’s bringing you joy this week, Megan?


I feel like I’m silly saying this, because like, two hours ago, we had this crazy thunderstorm over here. But I wanted to say the weather because the weather this last week was really lovely.

It was really

love. Like I feel probably unseasonably warm for Central Illinois in November. But it was like 70 plus degrees and sunny every day. It was really, really lovely. Yeah, I went for a long walk on Sunday. It was the kids going for a bike ride. It was It was great. Yeah, we and I think like with all the drama has happened, like, had the fact that the sun was shining, like helped

oh so much. Yeah, we took the baby down to the park. And she she went in the swing for the first time and Oh, it was it was she loved it or scared.

Was she afraid of it? She

liked it. Yeah, she liked it. And I had her in the like baby swing for a little bit by herself and then she like wanted to be held so then I had her on my lap in the regular swing, and she thought that was great. She was like, This is amazing. Yeah, she really liked and then when I put we put her down the slide a couple times and then she got hungry and it was dinnertime and then it was thumbs that it was all over then it was like I need to enter. Right now. Thank


That sounds right.

Yeah. What is bringing you joy from that? Uh,

well, I feel like almost on the opposite end is tiny baby sweaters.

Oh my gosh, I need baby sweaters are

the best. I ordered her a couple sweaters. And they arrived yesterday. And they’re so cute. They’re so little and they’re so cute. And Amina. She’s not even like little little anymore. And they’re still so so cute. And I cannot wait to watch them. Cuz. Oh my gosh, they’re just they’re just so adorable. And there’s just something about like, there’s just something about a baby and like a little pullover sweatshirt or sweater or situation. Yeah, it’s just so adorable.

My favorite piece of clothing we had when Max was a baby was that we had a little like old man cardigan with like leather patches on the sleeve. I was dying every time like I bought it. I promise. Sure it costs way too much money. But I was like, I cannot buy this sweater that you are only gonna wear like four times. But it’s so cute. I should actually see if it’s like I still have it. It’s like one of the few things that we saved so I don’t know what size it is, but I’ll have to see if maybe even would fit in it. Where grandpa sweater little

leather arm patch sweater. Yeah, so cute. I love it. Just things that are cozy just makes me want to like cozy up and watch a movie with her which will only work for like 30 minutes. Then she gets antsy, but it’s fine. Yeah. We’ll get there. That’s fine. Someday she’ll be like all snuggly like maxon citizen will actually watch a movie with me. That is true. He’s very snuggly. snuggly.

It’s also like a heat magnet so well. Like a cat.

He’s just a big cat slide,

basically is he wakes us up in the morning. crawls into the bed. Yeah,

me. Yeah,

he’s like a cat. Listen, he is seven years old. I will take all the snuggled like

yet Oh yeah, cuz they sadly won’t last. May

Next week’s episode

we’re not no babies don’t keep No. Sadly. Well, next week, we are going to return to another favorite topic. Christmas movies. Yes,

we’re gonna be doing a special crossover episode with one of our friends. Our friend on a from five tree Christmas. So join us back here as we dive into all things cozy, cheesy Christmasy. All of it. In the meantime, leave us a review on Apple podcasts and listen to us on your favorite platform. You can also follow us on social media at IRSIpodcast or send us an email at we’d love to hear from our listeners. Bye

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