I am a big proponent of supporting local artisans and businesses. Especially when it comes to gift giving, I think this is a great way to invest in the local economy and show that you really put thought into a gift! I’ve collected some of my favorite businesses, artisans, and restaurants for you today- simply establishments that I love to support. Hope you enjoy!
Photography- After having personally received a photography package (sitting fee and gift certificate) as a gift earlier this year, I can’t recommend this enough! Professional photography is a wonderful gift, as are professional prints- this is especially a great gift for a couple who is expecting, newly engaged, or a family with children. Here’s a few local photographers that I have personally worked with, and highly recommend:
Jenna Shriver Photography: Jenna is not only a talented photographer, but a dear friend as well. Jenna is the mastermind behind Matt and I’s latest session of maternity photos (which you can see here) and does an incredible job from start to finish, creating beautiful images for her clients’ homes!
Karlie Nicole Photography: Not only do Karlie and I share a name, but we work together, go to church together, we pretty much just love each other. It was a huge blessing to have Karlie’s creative eye capture Matt and I’s press photos last fall for Five and Dime- she did an incredible job!
Bonus for my readers in Florida..
K. Mali Photography: Kristy and her husband, Josh, are dear friends of Matt and I’s. Kristy is one of the fastest growing photographers I have ever seen- she truly has recognized her gift and passion and run with it- and a good thing, too! Kristy elegantly captured out first set of maternity photos, and we could not be more pleased with them.
Another quick and easy gift idea is a gift certificate to a local restaurant. We are blessed with some great ones around here; these are a few of my favorites!
Papa Joes– Everyone loves Papa Joes. Even Joe Flacco loves Papa Joes. I’m writing this currently at 9am and all I want is their tacos! Delicious, authentic mexican food in the heart of Westminster- but moving to a fun new location on 140 coming soon! If you are ever there and they offer Mole enchiladas as a special, do NOT turn it down!
Birdies– This is Matt and I’s favorite breakfast and coffee spot. Their drink menu is astounding, the staff is friendly, and the place is brimming with beautiful local arts and crafts, from jewelry to coffee mugs! A great gift for a student, a couple, or someone who spends lots of time working in coffee shops.
Martha and Mary’s- This one is actually in Reisterstown, but completely worth the drive. Martha and Mary’s is a subtly-Christian-owned restaurant, complete with fun biblically-named menu items- but not so much that it’s lame. The menu is extensive, with anything from pizza to jambalaya to massive salads and great quesadillas.
The Flying Avocado– Again, a wee bit of a drive in Owings Mills, but this is hands down my favorite restaurant. The Flying Avocado features vegan and vegetarian menu items, as well as delicious offerings for meat eaters as well (the lamb sandwich is a personal favorite). They also have an extensive smoothie menu and delicious baked goods!
Johansson’s/Olordans– if you’ve never been to either of these restaurants, you are really missing out! Both owned by the Johansson family, these great eateries sit just a block apart, but offer two distinct experiences that are equally as enjoyable. O’Lordan’s is an authentic Irish pub, serving amazing Irish food (the Guinness beef stew is phenomenal) as well as Irish beers on draft. Johansson’s is an English-style pub, with tons of amazing microbrews on draft (ask for samples!) and delicious pub food, from crabs to burgers to pizzas. They also have amazing entrees if you’re up for something more fancy. Johansson’s is Matt and I’s go-to date night location- especially since we can walk there!
Jerseymaids– I have such a crush on all of Jerseymaids’ products. Lauren’s jewelry is beautifully crafted, and she is releasing new products and lines all the time! One of the most unique offerings she has is custom silhouette jewelry- a perfect gift for a mom, mother of the bride, you name it. I also really, really love her newest Galaxy line- from bangles to headbands to dangly earrings, this stellar (literally) collection is both unique and whimsical. Jerseymaids also offers home decor items, such as lamps, pillows, and coffee mugs, too!
Eastern Lights– The sister store (literally, these ladies are sisters!) of Jerseymaids, Eastern Lights is curated by my friend, Annmarie, who hand makes unique Galaxy-themed clothing and accessories! I am the proud owner of a pair of galaxy leggings that I absolutely adore, and they always get me tons of compliments. She’s getting ready for a big shop relaunch, so get ready- it’s about to get awesome!
Sowing Seeds Botanicals– Because my mother owns this company (which inherently makes me a bit biased) I have had the pleasure of testing many of SSB’s products (see the review previously published on this blog here) and I have to say, they really are great! If you’re looking for a truly handmade, local spa or beauty gift, you can’t beat a collection of SSB’s products.
Furnace Hills Coffee Company– The only kind of coffee we drink in our house! We love Dave, Erin, and the rest of the Furnace Hills crew, and their coffee is just as wonderful. Dave created the company as an employment opportunity for his daughter, Erin, who has Down Syndrome, and other adults with special needs. The proceeds from their coffee blends often go to other charities, as well- an orphanage in Ukraine, missionary efforts in Indonesia, developmentally disabled men and women in Ethiopia.
Ben May Clay– I’ve met Ben a few times through my friend Grace, and I absolutely love his work. I am a sucker for pretty pottery and Ben’s does not disappoint! I have my eye on some of the thumbprint tumblers and the oil warmer. And how awesome is the knitting bowl?? Ben’s pottery is made right here in Westminster, a stone’s throw from my apartment. It doesn’t get much more local than that.
Soft and Cozy Baby– I’ve talked about my love for Soft and Cozy before here, but it’s worth mentioning again! This store is beautifully curated with quality items for babies and children, many coming from excellent companies or local artisans. They just started carrying these adorable, locally made slippers called Polliwogs- I am dying to get a pair for our little girl! It’s worth mentioning that SCB has a great gift card exchange program- so, if you get a card for a big box store, you can take it there and get full store credit instead!
Coffey’s Music– My husband reminded me to include Coffey’s, and he is totally right! For the musician (or, ahem, aspiring musician) in your life, this is a great place to find a gift- even a gift certificate for lessons! They have a wide variety of instruments at different price points, and knowledgeable staff members and teachers on pretty much any subject involving music. Perfect gift idea= ukelele. They have a bunch of beautiful ones- and who doesn’t want to learn how to play the uke?
Center Street Yoga– Westminster’s newest yoga studio, and the only one offering hot yoga options every day of the week. Located in Gold’s Gym, the studio is beautiful and conveniently located in Town Mall of Westminster. I’ve taken almost every class offered at CSY, and they are all superb- some of the best workouts of my life! Many times, CSY runs a Groupon for a significantly discounted bundle of classes, so make sure you check that out. A bundle of 10 or 20 classes makes an amazing gift!
The Mustard Seed– This family-owned Christian book store is absolutely filled to the brim with awesome gift ideas- from books to music to wall hangings and other decorative items, the store is thoughtfully curated and truly would have something for everyone on your list.
Serpent Ridge Vineyards– Just a few minutes outside of Westminster, this little vineyard is a total gem in hiding! Their wines are phenomenal and are sure to charm even the most educated palate- we know because our most knowledgeable wine friends swear by their wine! My personal favorite is the Basilisk, Matt likes the Cabernet.
Starry Night Bakery– Featured on The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this is your chance to give the gift of amazing cupcakes. Just do it!
Meltdown Pottery– Formerly known as The Pottery Loft, Meltdown now offers an exciting array of arts and crafts experiences. Not only could you go and handmade a gift for someone, but you could make a night out of it- gift them with an experience by taking them and creating togethe!
Gypsy’s Tea Room– While this maybe could qualify as a restaurant, an afternoon at Gypsy’s is really more of an experience. Fun to give as a gift certificate, even more fun to enjoy together! The food at Gypsy’s is absolutely phenomenal ( I still dream of an onion soup with gouda cheese that I had almost a year ago) and the tea selection is unparalleled. I’ve even had my husband go with me, and he enjoyed it, too!