Somerville Local First


Shift Your Shopping


Shift Your Shopping - Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season

Shift Your Shopping - Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season

Shift Your Shopping, started in Somerville & Cambridge in 2009, is now a national campaign encouraging our community to Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season.  As customers, we are about to collectively spend a large portion of our annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. If you join us in shifting those dollars to locally owned, independent businesses, we’ll generate 2-3 times as much economic activity in our community than if we had spent our money at a national chain.

Check out this page and our blog below for stories about local events and great gift ideas, and the Shift Your Shopping campaign site for stories from across the nation

Shift Your Shopping in 2012!

We’re excited to announce the launch of the 2012 Shift Your Shopping Campaign.

We’ll have much more to share about this exciting holiday initiative, but for now you can enjoy this post from Joe Grafton, originally posted at the launch of the North American Shift Your Shopping website in 2011.

If you’re just finding out about the local movement, then this campaign is already succeeding.  Over the past 10+ years, business owners, community organizers, researchers and countless others have come together, setting out to build a new economy.  Shift your Shopping is just the latest manifestation of this work, and another step in collaboration that so defines the people involved in this movement.

Throughout this site, and through this North American campaign, you’ll find a great deal of information, research, data and stories that paint a compelling and convincing picture.  It’s not hard for us to see that the economic system we’re currently pursuing isn’t working for people, but what’s so exciting, and we hope is a key learning for you as a result of this campaign, is that there is an alternative.

Local economies, populated by a diverse and resilient local business community, offer more to our communities and to our own lives.  I’ve always believed that, since our purchasing decisions are in our control,  it’s maybe the most effective way for us to ‘vote’ in our society.  Depending on the estimate, consumer spending represents 60-70% of the economy every year and, while holiday shopping is just a part of that, our purchasing in the holiday season is a major economic driver.

So, this year, I encourage YOU to make a shift.  Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, take a stroll down down Main Street.  Instead of buying from a mega-online retailer, find an independent retail outfit that can offer you the same online ease.  And instead of purchasing all the latest retail products produced far away, consider buying fewer gifts, more thoughtfully, made by local artists or craftspeople…who might also be your neighbor.

In the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out lots of stories, gift ideas and options for you to Shift your Shopping in the 'ville

In the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out lots of stories, gift ideas and options for you to Shift your Shopping in the 'ville

The local economies movement is growing by the day, this is just another step in the process.  Main Street works…it always has.  We’re just remembering something we collectively forgot.  And if you want to help spread the message, we’d love your help.  Here’s a couple things you can do:

  • Share the SYS website via Facebook or Twitter
  • Tag your tweets with #shiftyourshopping
  • Talk to people in your life (Social Networking 0.0?) about buying locally, why you’re doing so this holiday season and why its important
Your community will thank you.

Originally posted on...November 3rd, 2012

The fiddles are coming, the fiddles are coming!

by JJ Gonson

Ah, winter, we barely knew ye!

Even though this winter was somewhat less than horrifying from a shoveling perspective, it was still a long time of darkness on our neighboring farms, during which there was no eatable food coming from the ground. The farmers in New England are pretty good at keeping food around for us during the less than fertile months. Potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, onions and cabbages are all remarkably well designed by nature to last through the winter, when properly stored. But, yummy as those foods are, they simply do not compare with a brand new sprout, cut fresh from the soil.

The positive side of the early spring we are enjoying is the also early appearance of the first foods that push up through the soil when the ice recedes. One of the most unique to this part of the country is the fiddlehead fern. This curly little shoot loves the dark, wet soil near moving water, in wooded areas, and is easy to forage so long as you know what you are looking for. There are many kinds of ferns, but the one we eat is the baby frond of the Ostrich fern. The are best harvested when the stem has reached a length of a couple of inches, but the frond has not yet begun to unfurl. Cut them near to the ground to get as much of the stem as possible. When you harvest them they may be covered in a brown papery substance that will be washed away in preparation.

Fiddleheads are very high in antioxidants, iron, fiber and Omega 3 and 6, making them an important nutritionally powerful package after the dullness of the winter months. They are delicious, nutty and crunchy, but they must never be eaten raw. They contain a toxin that is removed in cooking but can make you very sick if you do not prepare them correctly first. This fact may make them appear labour intensive, but they are worth it. Here is how you prepare them to use in salads, or to sauté as a side dish. Happy spring!!

Boil a pot of water big enough to completely submerge all of your fiddleheads (blanch), and prepare a large bowl of ice water to shock them in after.

While the water is boiling, rinse the fresh fronds in another bowl of clear water. Swish them around actively to remove the papery covering and any dirt. Repeat this process at least twice, or as many times as it takes to get rid of all of the brown bits. If the ferns are particularly dirty this could take three or four active washings. The brown stuff will sink and the ferns will float, so try to fish them out, leaving the goo behind.

Once the water is clear, drain the fiddleheads and trim the base of the stems, where they were cut from the ground.

Plunge the cleaned sprouts into the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then remove them and immediately submerge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Your fiddleheads are now safe to eat and cook with. From here you can put them in a salad, pickle them, sauté them with green garlic, or just snack on them as they are- spring’s first perfect snack.

Originally posted on...May 15th, 2012

Local is a Two-Way Street

Shopping locally can have its benefits!

A friend of mine approached me the other day and asked, “‘I’ve been getting into biking lately, and I want to support my local bike shop. But when I check prices online, it’s usually cheaper. Why should I pay the higher prices just to shop local?”

I took this as a teaching moment and talked to him about how spending his money locally is better for the economy and how price shouldn’t be the only determining factor. A local bike shop could add a lot of value to his shopping experience in ways an online retailer could not. But something concerned me about his situation. What if his particular local bike shop wasn’t giving him a reason to shop locally?

We often put the success of the local movement on the customer. We use slogans like “Shift Your Shopping” and “Buy Local”. But I believe the small, local business is just as responsible for the success of the local movement and the local economy as the customer.

The big online retailers have two main advantages over the small local business: Price and Convenience. They know this and do whatever they can to promote it. The lure of shopping during your lunch hour without leaving your desk, or taking advantage of a special on-line only sale can be very seductive. In tough economic times, these are compelling features. But this doesn’t mean that the small, local business can’t compete.

Make It Personal:

The big retailers, whether online or a physical location, aren’t able to foster personal relationships with their customers like a local business can. Getting personal service from a national retailer is often rare for a variety of reasons, and sadly, it’s something many of us have gotten used to in exchange for low prices.People prefer to buy from people they like and can relate to. The local store can take advantage of this by providing personal service, before, during and after the sale. Don’t sell people stuff, help them buy it. Listen to what the customer’s needs are and find solutions that are unique to them. Never miss an opportunity to communicate with them. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can help as well as email newsletters and blogs. Let them know when you have something you think they would like. Make the customer feel like you are their personal store.


Chances are that you started your business because you are extremely passionate about it. You wouldn’t open a camera store, for example, and not love cameras and photography. Use that passion and knowledge to be the local, go-to expert for your customers. Use social media, your website or blog to post useful tips and information. A camera store could host free photography classes or give out a beginner’s guide to taking good pictures with every new camera purchase. Customers who respect your knowledge will be much more likely to return when they need advice and will trust your judgement on future purchases. Plus, people will enjoy their purchase more if they know how to get the most out of it. You already have all this knowledge, so put it to good use.

Offer Items Not Available at the Big Retailers:

The big retailers are able to offer low prices because they purchase in volume. As a result, they don’t carry some items because the supplier can’t produce the volume they demand. This provides you an opportunity to carry those items that a big retailer can’t or won’t carry. Usually items that are “green”, natural, organic, hand-made, or locally, independently produced or manufactured, are created on a small scale and are not attractive to the big retailers. Seek out those hard-to-find unique products and be their local source. Not only will you be helping other local companies, but it could help you carve a unique niche in the marketplace.

Just telling people to “shop local” isn’t enough. Local businesses need to do their part, too. It is too easy for customers to be lured into the seduction of low prices and convenience shopping. As local businesses, we need to find ways to add value to the goods and services we provide in ways that big national retailers can’t. Whether it’s through developing personal relationships with your customers, providing help and information, or just offering what the big guys can’t, we need to give customers a reason to “buy local”.

Originally posted on...February 21st, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions: Skip the Diet, Take a Class!

By Elise Ramsay


Every January, people make grandiose promises to themselves and are then smothered by “resolution” content on the Internet. This post seeks to inflict neither upon you!

Ignore the “R word” for a moment and simply reflect on your experience in the local community last year. Perhaps you Shifted Your Shopping and supported Somerville businesses in the traditional sense: buying goods. However, there are many more businesses in the community than just those that peddle scarves, booze, or muffins (mind you, those still remain January essentials). This year, consider supporting local businesses in another, unique way.

Many Somerville businesses offer workshops and classes on everything from risotto to acrobatics (though perhaps a bad idea in that order). By taking one of several great classes around the area, you can learn a new skill as well as have some quality interaction with the members of your community. Support businesses while learning a bit about the people behind each one. So much learning! It’s good for you, unlike that boring diet you abandoned last year. Here are some great classes to get you started:


Eat and Drink:


Cooking Classes at Dave's Fresh Pasta. Photo Cred:

Dave’s Fresh Pasta is offering a gluttonous lineup in 2012, including method or dish-specific classes such as Deep Fried Cooking, Pasta Making, Sauce Making, Risotto & Gnocchi, and Mozzarella Cheese Making with the owner of Fiore di Nonno! In addition, they’re offering edible tours of various regions of Italy, such as Tuscany, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont. Classes range from $50-$60, while wine tastings paired with food, such as Italian Wine and Pasta Night, Spicy Beer Night, and Wine & Pizza Night, range from $40-$50. Call 617-623-0867 or visit their website for details.


The Boston Shaker is offering Craft Cocktail Techniques classes, the first of which is 1/18 from 7:30-9:30pm. With each class ($70, taught by Adam, the owner) you’ll also get a Basic Shaker Kit to take home with you! See their Facebook page for more information.


ArtEpicure has a packed schedule of cooking classes, including options for private or semi-private classes for your own group of people. A traditional class ends by eating the meal you’ve made, so go hungry! You can even tailor a class to your own specific foodie interests, if you wish. The variety of options is vast, so check out their website for detailed information.


Get Physical:

Broga is the brilliant synthesis of yoga and traditionally male-friendly exercise. In their words, it’s male-oriented yoga “where it’s okay if you can’t touch your toes.” If you’re a guy who has been interested in yoga but apprehensive about venturing into a Lululemon-clad room, try a Broga class ($15 drop-in, $100 for 10) at 10am or 12pm Saturdays at the Somerville Armory. While Broga is geared toward men, women are welcome to attend as well. Read more about the idea here.


Broga at the Somerville Armory. Photo Cred:


Aircraft Aerial Arts offers “taster” classes for those interested in learning the basics of aerial silks, static trapeze, and hoop. These classes are only $25, which seems more than worth it for the amazing story you’ll have of trying your hand at circus artistry. Check their website for updated taster classes.


Hone Skills:

Camera Eye Workshops offers classes in both photography and photo editing for all levels. Do you know the basics of photography but want to take your work to the next level? The Camera Eye Seminar I is a unique and creative approach, “where students will explore photographic seeing and visual thinking.” Other classes focus on contemporary portraits, Photoshop, lighting, and more. More information can be found here.


Union Press offers letterpress workshops that several designer friends swear by. They are planning one for late January and several in February, so keep an eye on their Facebook page and website!


Union Press Letterpress Workshops. Photo Cred:


In 2012, take the opportunity to become even more connected to your community by taking some of these classes and exercising your brain!


Originally posted on...January 20th, 2012

Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Last Minute Gifts for Everyone Else!

By Elise Ramsay

One of the potential stressors of the holidays is the dilemma of finding gifts for people you might not know so well. From in-laws and distant relatives to bosses and coworkers—you don’t always know their taste, and you don’t want your gift to bore or offend. No need for anxiety! These options are safe bets for just about anyone:


Ornaments are a great option for those who celebrate Christmas, especially if the recipient is someone who might appreciate a memento of you for years to come (parents of a significant other, for example). These leaf ornaments are each made from a real leaf that is preserved in gold, silver, or copper.

Still Life leaf ornaments, Davis Squared – $24-31


Another nice neutral choice is this set of 12 snowflakes laser cut from birch.

Roost snowflake ornaments, Davis Squared – $17


For a slightly more personal touch, this sweet “Bird in Love” glass ball and felted acorns (miniature ones too!) will add sweetness to any tree.

Glāk Love “Bird in Love” ornament, Magpie – $17

Felt acorns, Davis Squared – $8 large, $4 small


Let’s face it—you should probably also pick up some miniature acorns for yourself, just because.

Felt acorns, Davis Squared – $8 large, $4 small



Candles? Trust! When done right, they add instant coziness and holiday atmosphere. Plus, scent is closely tied to memory, so you’re also giving them the gift of nostalgia. This “Frasier Fir” variation smells just like a Christmas tree and comes in a variety of sizes.

Frasier Fir candle, Davis Squared – $12-$17


As good as trees and wreaths smell, there’s nothing like the warm spicy comfort of more edible holiday treats. You’ll have to resist nibbling on this “Quince Spice” candle, though, no matter how tempting!

Quince Spice candle, Davis Squared – $22


For a neutral scent, these natural beeswax owls, pinecones, and twigs are whimsical yet classic.

GreenTree candles, Magpie $8-$26

GreenTree candles, Magpie – $8-$26



This time of year, calendars are everywhere. Many stores in the area offer beautiful editions by artists and designers—calendars that are no longer boring gifts, but pieces of art! Some favorite finds include:

“Boots On & Ready” by Atherton Lin, which offers an illustrated trip through England in each month’s design;

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie – $18

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie – $18


Julianna Swaney’s “Bird Children,” which is delicate and refined;

“Bird Children” calendar by Julianna Swaney, Magpie – $15


and APAK’s “Space Garden,” which is somehow surreal, pretty, and cute at the same time.

“Space Garden” calendar by APAK, Magpie – $14



Do you know anyone who recently had a baby? If so, you’re very lucky to have an excuse to shop around for miniature booties and furry things (betraying some personal jealousy here). Local Somerville shops have an abundance of cute baby items. This clever one from Egg-A-Go-Go (made in Boston) just scratches the surface of the adorable onesies.

Egg-A-Go-Go onesies, Magpie – $18-$24


One of these animal spoons from Beehive Kitchenware (in Fall River, MA) would make a very special baby gift—plus, there is something so endearing about the back side of the spoons showing the “backside” of the featured critter!

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons, Magpie – $28 each. Photo cred:

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons (backside), Magpie – $28 each. Photo cred:


It’s never too early to begin unicorn education, so why not include this print to kick-start the kid’s imagination?

“U is for Unicorn” by Matthew Porter Art, Magpie – $18


Finally, there is no better snuggle buddy than these stuffed animals by Jelly Cat—they come in a variety of species and are so soft, you just might buy one for yourself (no judgment).

Jelly Cat stuffed pig, Davis Squared – $20



Some other unique items for anyone and everyone include these wonderful locally made terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky. The miniature environments need very little maintenance and provide a desperately needed burst of green life in the winter months.

Terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky, Magpie – $10-$40


Another nice housewarming or host/hostess gift is this pair of glasses that are festive but not over the top.

Glasses, Consignment Galleries – $6


Grand has prints from several local artists like these clever messages on creativity from Union Press and this seasonal photo by Erik Dasque.

Union Press prints, Grand – $15 small, $25 large

Union Press prints, Grand – $15 small, $25 large

Erik Dasque photograph, Grand – $50. Photo cred:



For the final touch, local Albertine Press holiday cards in a variety of minimalist designs that can be found at several shops around the area – double the local!

Albertine Press set of 6 cards, Grand, Blue Cloud Gallery, Magpie – $15. Photo cred:


This set by Julianna Swaney is a unique alternative to classic holiday cards; it celebrates the spirit of giving among all kinds.

Holiday card set by Julianna Swaney, Magpie – $15



Always a great “when in doubt” gift option? Food! Don’t worry, local deliciousness got its own post – check out the food gift guide post here!



416 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Davis Squared

418 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway

Somerville, MA 02144


Consignment Galleries

363 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Originally posted on...December 22nd, 2011

Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Foodie Edition

By Elise Ramsay

They say that experiences are the gifts that really stick with people, and there are few better experiences than devouring some amazing local food! Whether you’re looking to contribute to a holiday party or find an exceptional gift, Somerville’s food purveyors have delicious edible options. Here are some of the many offerings by local bakeries, markets, and more:


3 Little Figs

One of the most exciting new additions to the Somerville food scene is the “Mediterranean-inspired” 3 Little Figs on Highland Ave. They focus on locally sourced and natural ingredients to create treats both traditional (Spinach Pie, “Greek Candy” farina cake, Galaktoboureko, Kookla) and creative (Apple Cider Donut Muffins, Avocado Tea Cake).

Mini donut muffins, $4

Mini donut muffins, $4

Granola, $6

Granola, $6


3 Little Figs is a family owned business that couldn’t be friendlier or more welcoming—it is abundantly clear that each item is made with care. Support them and spread some of that warmth to your own family and friends this holiday by picking up some treats, big and small. Their holiday ordering menu includes large-scale items like a pan of Spinach Pie ($50) or a whole Frosted Squash, Maple & Yogurt Bundt Cake ($25), but you can easily add some “figgy” goodness to any gift arrangement by picking up some of their assorted scones, muffins, and cookies. Check out their catering menu for more options, which also includes vegan items.


3 Little Figs Holiday Menu. Photo Cred:

Ginger bombs, $5

Ginger bombs, $5


Petsi Pies

Petsi Pies is the ultimate stop for real—as in, no fillers, no mixes, all natural—pies of every kind imaginable. They of course have incredible sweet pies, with holiday specials such as Eggnog Custard ($22), Salted Caramel Apple ($22) and Chocolate Peppermint Cream ($25). The Plum Gingerbread ($15) also sounds deliciously festive, and is available in individual sizes as well ($2.50). On the other hand, Petsi Pies offers savory pies like Spinach Ricotta, Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese, Mushrooms with Potatoes and Gruyere and more, all for $22 and perfect for brunch. Consult their holiday ordering menu for more details, or stop in to pick your own assortment of pastries and other delights.


Petsi Pies. Photo Cred: Andrew McFarland at 883/in/photostream/


When Pigs Fly

Stumped about what to bring to the holiday feast, and don’t want to add yet another dessert? Creative breads from When Pigs Fly are always a wild hit. With flavors like Veggie Potato Latke, Sicilian Green Olive & Hot Cherry Pepper, and the addictive seasonal special Savory Cranberry (tastes like stuffing!), this bread can change an entire meal.

Savory Cranberry Bread, $6

Savory Cranberry Bread, $6


If you’re looking for a sweeter holiday option, the Jingle Bread (rum-soaked raisins, almond paste, hazelnuts, cran-raspberries) makes for a very decadent breakfast. But seriously, you must try that Savory Cranberry. Go!

Jingle Bread, $6


Sherman Market

A great gift option is an arrangement of local edibles. At Sherman Market, throw together a post-Christmas breakfast basket with maple syrup, pancake mix, and granola, all local.

Maple syrup, $8

Pancake mix, $4

Granola, $8.75/lb


On the savory side of things, they have fancy salts, ravioli, and the most amazing pasta sauce you’ll ever try: Red Gravy by Valicenti Organico (really, get this immediately). Their prepared food also offers some delicious and unusual dips such as green hummus and roasted red pepper with feta that would bring flavor and personality to any appetizer spread.

Valicenti Organico ravioli (frozen), $10 approx

Valicenti Organico Red Gravy, $9.75


Salts, $12/lb & $20/lb


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

Get a basket, walk into Dave’s Fresh Pasta, and you’re pretty much good to go with a plethora of items to impress even your snobbiest foodie friend. Grab some handmade fresh or frozen pasta and sauce for a personalized meal-in-a-gift. For something a little easier to transport to a party, get some local cheeses (burrata by Fiore di Nonno!), cured meats, and olives. Preserved figs and some of Dave’s famous holiday panforte are special sweet accompaniments. Some of Dave’s holiday specials are truly decadent: roasted duck tortelloni, butternut squash and ricotta gnocchi, caviar, and more. While you’re there, pick up some wine to serve with your platter, utilizing the expert advice of the friendly staff.


Panforte. Photo Cred:



For a food related option that isn’t perishable, give a cooking class! ArtEpicure offers many different varieties, including private couple’s classes. Class topics include everything from Authentic German Cooking to Italian Vegan, and the focus can also be customized to a specific theme or requested dish. Look to their list of classes for details. Know someone who prefers to stick to eating and would rather just watch their meal prepared? ArtEpicure also offers demonstration dinners, which are educational without requiring participation until it comes time to eat. Each class and demo is about three to four hours, with a final meal afterwards.

Classes: $85/person

Couples classes: $200


Taza Chocolate

Taza is already featured on many other lists, but deserves a mention! The perfect gift for a Taza novice is the Taste of Taza ($50), sampling some of their signature products. Mix and match individual goodies to throw into any holiday basket or stocking, including tickets to a factory tour ($5 per person). If you can’t make it to their factory store, Taza products are sold at many shops in the area, including Dave’s Fresh Pasta and Sherman Market.

Taste of Taza, $50


Savoring East Somerville

This book is a wonderful collection of the community’s food and the faces behind it. Savoring East Somerville features local restaurant owners and employees alongside signature recipes–it perfectly captures the vibrancy and warmth of the local food culture.

Savoring East Somerville, $15 at Grand 


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

81 Holland Street

Somerville, MA 02144-2738


Sherman Market

22 Union Square

Somerville, MA 02143


Taza Chocolate

561 Windsor Street

Somerville Ma 02143



1 Fitchburg St

Somerville, MA 02143


When Pigs Fly

378 Highland Avenue

Somerville, MA 02144


3 Little Figs

278 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Petsi Pies

285 Beacon Street

Somerville, MA 02143



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Originally posted on...December 19th, 2011
1 comment

Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Gentleman, I Gift You…Somerville!

By Elise Ramsay

Many gift guides for men suggest some fairly outlandish options: Waterproof everything! Noise-cancelling hats! Who are these gifts for? For the real men in your life, ignore online gadget deals and head out into your own neighborhood. Here’s what to get for that guy who is:


…a respectable nerd who likes to indulge his inner kid:

You can’t get much more Somervillian than a superhero made of Marshmallow Fluff. In Fluff Boy, local artists share the illustrated journey of young Jimmy overcoming obstacles to become the fluff-filled hero. For a true Somerville-phile, one of the best parts of Fluff Boy might be the hand drawn ads for local businesses that accompany the comic.

Fluff Boy comic, HUB comics, $5


Add a dose of super-heroics to his daily life with this infographic t-shirt organizing every documented superhuman ability.

Pop Chart Labs Superpowers shirt, Magpie, $22

Superpowers shirt detail, Magpie, $22


Shifting gears (pun intended) from caped crusaders to circuits, this set of robot prints by Emily Dumas is an awesome way to add a pop of color to his place.

Robot prints, Magpie, $40


Even jeans-and-t-shirt guys need to dress up every now and then, and these ties by Mister Nutter strike the perfect balance between casual and sharp. They have a great story, as well — most items (they have cycling caps, too!) are made from fabrics woven locally and “civil war reproduction fabrics.”

Mister Nutter ties, Magpie, $60

Mister Nutter tie, Magpie, $60. Photo Cred:


If he’s really adventurous with his home decor, he’ll like Freaky Fleece’s pillows in funky shapes like floppy disks and eggs. Let’s face it, he’d probably like to fall asleep on a bacon pillow — make that dream come true!

Freaky Fleece pillows, Magpie, $30-$50


…an ambitious amateur chef:

Perhaps this guy finally moved into a place with a decent kitchen, or maybe he’s had one for a while–either way, he’s looking to hone his skills. Help him class up the place with this slate cheese board, perfect for serving cheese and charcuterie assortments from Dave’s Fresh Pasta or Sherman Market.

Slate cheese board, Dsquared, $24


A great cocktail should always accompany such a platter, and there’s no better way to get his bar started than with The Boston Shaker’s Bar Builder set. Is he already a seasoned mixologist? Check out their Parisian or Whiskey Lover sets to add a specialized touch.

Bar builder set, The Boston Shaker, $50. Photo Cred:


If he’s more of a beer guy, go for this great poster; it organizes every variation on ales, lagers, and more.

Beer poster, Magpie, $25. Photo Cred:


Continue the gastronomic education with The Geometry of Pasta, a book that combines graphic design with an encyclopedic breadth of information on countless pasta shapes (with recipes!).

The Geometry of Pasta, Dsquared, $24.95


Give him the chance to try his own hand at some noodles in a cooking class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta. In addition to pasta courses, there are classes entitled “Deep Fried Foods,” “Risotto & Gnocchi,” and many more on the schedule. Just make sure you benefit from his new-found culinary genius!

Cooking class at Dave’s: Deep-fried foods 1/25, $50 + Risotto & Gnocchi 1/10, $50. Photo Cred:


…a sophisticated guy who retains his cool.

This guy might wear a suit more regularly than the aforementioned lads, but he’s down to earth nonetheless. To keep him warm and stylish, go for a handmade scarf by Well Suited Design. Local designer Christopher Dersosier makes each from classic suiting and menswear, making them perfect for the guy who might not be caught dead in a scarf of the knitted variety. There are also solid print options for the patchwork-averse.

Handmade scarves by Well Suited Design, Dsquared, $30-50

Scarves by Well Suited Design, Dsquared, $30-50


This beautifully understated print by Union Press would be an easy addition to his home or office.

Union Press print, Grand, $50. Photo Cred:


A louder option is this poster on the origins and intersections of rap names, perfect for your dad who is inexplicably into hip-hop (sorry, Dad) or your music-snob friend.

Pop Chart Lab Rap Names poster, Magpie, $25. Photo Cred:


Who said superheroes should have all the fun? Get him started on Incognito, a series of graphic novels about a super-villian.

Incognito graphic novel, HUB comics, $18.99

Pair this noir comic with a clever cocktail using his new bitters kit from The Boston Shaker, and this guy will be even cooler going into the new year.

Bitters kit + book, The Boston Shaker, $85. Photo Cred:


It should be mentioned that a great gift option for all guys (who like an alcoholic beverage now and then) is as simple as a trip to Downtown Wine and Spirits. Ask the employees to help you find an interesting beer, wine, or liquor based on what you know he already likes. They couldn’t be more helpful and have a dizzying array of unique options. Get out there and Shift Your Shopping!



416 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


HUB comics

19 Bow Street

Somerville, MA 02143


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

81 Holland Street

Somerville, MA 02144


Davis Squared

418 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


The Boston Shaker

69 Holland Street

Somerville, MA 02144


Downtown Wine & Spirits

225 Elm Street

Somerville, MA 02144


Originally posted on...December 13th, 2011

The SLF Shift Your Shopping Holiday Gift Guide – Part Deux

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11.  Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit

We’re halfway through the holiday shopping season, and more than halfway through Somerville’s Shift Your Shopping Week, so we thought, what better time to give you Part 2 of our SLF member gift guide? For those of you who may been missing out on all the sweet events going on this week, you can still pick up some great finds around town on your own time.

Did we miss something great that you think deserves the spotlight? Is your local business featuring a special item or sale that we haven’t about? Let us know in the comments!



Grand has a wide assortment of household items and crafts. Use ‘em for stocking stuffers or gifts, or make someone really happy at the office Secret Santa. Stop in this weekend for Sip & Shop Saturday and get 20% off everything in store!


Owl Kitchen Timer









Cheery little owl kitchen timers. The perfect stocking stuffer!

Price: $5

Coffee Mug












Graphic coffee mugs in a variety of designs. Each comes packaged in its own gift box.

Price: $12


Nervous System jewelry













Unique stainless steel earrings and necklaces from local designers.

Price: $25-60


Vinyl Wall Clock















Rock around the clock! Glass front 8 inch clock.

Price: $14


Dreamlights Solar Lamp




















Made to resemble a jar full of fireflies, this flickering lamp features a solar powered lid.

Price: $32


The Boston Shaker

The Enthusiast Bar Set

Here’s a bar kit from The Boston Shaker with some of our favorite items. When we’re mixing drinks at home, this is the gear we’re often reaching for — high quality, durable and a pleasure to use. Includes all of the key components for a basic home bar set up along with a copy of Gary Regans’ classic “The Joy of Mixology,” a go-to cocktail resource. All packaged up for easy gifting to the craft cocktail lover in your life.

Price: $98



Blue Cloud Gallery

Photo Paintings by Marshall: Dali
















Photo Paintings by Marshall of local establishments. All your favorite places produced on a canvas frame and varnished to seal in a painterly look. In a variety of sizes and prices.

Price: $20-350



Pick up some shiny things for someone else’s nest at Magpie!


Holiday Postcards by Oh My Cavalier! (a set of 10!)















Magpie has several boxed card sets, such as the one pictured above by Oh My Cavalier, as well as ornaments – perfect for the holidays!

A Year in Pattern by Angela Traunig












Check out the cool art prints by Angela Traunig of Ferntree Studio, then contribute to her Kickstarter campaign to make two new children’s pattern designs every week for a year!


Davis Squared

Inflatable Wreath!










Davis Squared has it’s usual line of products, as well as some holiday themed items. Pick up some photo ball ornaments for the tree, or with this inflatable wreath, celebrate the holidays all year long…in style.


Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too

Treat the furriest member of the family to something special too (no, we don’t mean Uncle Phil). Stinky’s is running a Customer Appreciation Celebration through December 24 (while supplies last). Purchase any brand of dry dog or cat food, and receive a free can of Wervua Dog Food and Wervua Cat Food In A Pouch.

The first eight dog customers that buy dry dog food will receive a surpise gift for your dog.


For your foodie friend, many of our restaurant members are offering gift cards for the holiday season. Check out some great spots on our members page.


Originally posted on...December 9th, 2011

Not Your Generic Gift Guide: For the Ladies

By Elise Ramsay

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11.  Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit


There’s no better time to make a point of shopping locally—with the Red Line construction this holiday season, businesses in the community need our attention more than ever. Luckily, Somerville has all the gifts you’ll ever need for the ladies in your life. Here’s what to buy for:


Your friend/girlfriend/daughter who has a taste for drama:

Artifaktori is delightfully lit up for the holidays by sparkling dresses and accessories. This sequined dress and mink hat (with a pom-pom, no less!) are too fun and holiday-perfect to miss.


Vintage dress, Artifaktori, $60


Mink fur hat, Artifaktori, $50


Equally bold are these gorgeous gold earrings in the shape of curved feathers by Erica Weiner at Magpie.


Bent feather hoops by Erica Weiner, Magpie, $50. Photo Cred:


She will also likely love “A Very Helpful Guide To: GAGA,” a hilarious comic book by local artist Laurel Leake that dissects the pop drama queen with witty illustrations.


GAGA comic, HUB comics, price unlisted (under $10)

GAGA comic interior preview, HUB comics. Photo Cred: ukzl


Your younger cousin/daughter/sister in high school or college:

She will be sick of reading textbooks, so give her eyes a break with Blankets, an excellent graphic novel for people who aren’t necessarily into comics. It provides a captivating romance, plus it’s not Twilight.


Blankets, HUB comics, $39.95


For a unique alternative to mass-produced printed tees, Magpie offers shirts by raeburn ink. The intricate patterns are pretty incredible and are hand printed in Massachusetts, to boot.


raeburn ink shirt, Magpie, $44


raeburn ink detail, Magpie, $44


Great accessories can be found at e. scott originals, where the forget-me-knot rings are cute as singles and even more eye-catching when stacked.


forget-me-knot rings, e. scott originals, $25 each


Another safe bet is this pair of dragonfly studs by Erin Croft Graves, which will undoubtedly appeal to a wide variety of personal styles.


dragonfly studs, Erin Croft Graves, $50


dragonfly stud detail, Erin Croft Graves, $50. Photo Cred:


Finally, there’s something to be said for the survival of non-digital planners, and there aren’t many that make organization more badass than Slingshot. Available at Magpie in a variety of punk-y colors, Slingshot promotes humor and esoteric knowledge as well as time management.


Slingshot! planner, Magpie, $6.50


Your graphic designer/crafty friend who already has every cool thing, ever:

Give them this DIY-tastic felting kit by Woolbuddy that produces cute companions of varying species.


Woolbuddy kit, Magpie, $24


Snag a pre-made buddy of your own while you’re at it.


Woolbuddies, Magpie, $18


Does she have an ever-expanding Pyrex and vintage housewares collection? This fantastic green Fire-King bowl at Consignment Galleries is just the “retro unnecessary” she needs.


Fire-King bowl, Consignment Galleries, $20


Most of her jewelry is of the quirky object variety, so she will dig these chair studs at Artifaktori (made by a local designer).


Locally-made chair earrings, Artifaktori, $55


Another offbeat option she’ll be all over is a piece from Jade Moran’s series inspired by intersecting power lines and rooftops. These couldn’t get more local—each item is based on a photograph taken around the area.


Birds, Gears, & Telephone Wires necklace, Jade Moran, $125-$275. Photo Cred:


Since she probably already has Blankets on her shelf, her comic gift of choice should be any or all of the “Geraniums and Bacon” series by local artist Cathy Leamy. Each issue contains musings on various topics in a witty and imaginative voice.


Geraniums & Bacon, HUB comics, $3 each


Geraniums & Bacon interior preview, HUB comics, $3. Photo Cred:


Your sophisticated/funky/artsy mom:

The shared studios of Erin Croft Graves and Ruchika Madan offer countless possibilities, including the beautifully simple Bubbles bracelet and Peapod dish.


Bubbles bracelet, Erin Croft Graves, $150


Peapod dish, Ruchika Madan, $22. Photo Cred:


For a handmade classic look, this lariat with leaves from e. scott originals is the perfect necklace she can wear with just about anything.


fall leaf lariat, e. scott originals, $70


Get adventurous at Artifaktori with this vintage lace long-sleeved top—it’s one of those daring items that she’ll look great in yet wouldn’t usually buy herself.


Vintage lace top, Artifaktori, $60


On the household side of things, she will appreciate this incredibly ornate candlestick, also at Artifaktori (it really doesn’t even need a candle, it’s so cool).


Vintage candlestick, Artifaktori, $35


Finally, for a sweet touch at the price of a stocking stuffer, this glass chick container is something she can make room for just about anywhere.


Chick dish, Consignment Galleries, $4



416 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Consignment Galleries

363 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144



22 College Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


e. scott originals

199B Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Erin Croft Graves

Ruchika Madan

259 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


HUB comics

19 Bow Street

Somerville, MA 02143


Jade Moran

257 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Originally posted on...December 7th, 2011

Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving: A Holiday Donation Guide

By Kathleen Hornby

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11. Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit


I don’t know what it is about the holidays this year, but the idea of buying dozens of gifts makes me feel a little queasy. Maybe it’s a side effect of Occupy Boston, or shoppers using pepper spray on Black Friday (seriously?). All I know is, I’m out.

Unfortunately, that makes even the great Shift Your Shopping campaign a quandary. There must be a happy medium between Buy Nothing and Buy Local.

Turns out, there is: make a donation to a local nonprofit in your loved one’s name and everybody wins.  You’ll look good, your family and friends will be happy, and you won’t have to wrap a thing.

Keeping it local is easy – Somerville is chock full of do-gooders, and Somerville Local First has a list of nonprofit members to get you started. Here are a few of my personal favorites:


  • RESPOND, Inc. This is a good one for the ladies (and enlightened gentlemen) on your list. RESPOND is New England’s first domestic violence agency and the second oldest in the nation. It was also just named Nonprofit of the Year by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce.

More importantly, RESPOND provides emergency shelter and community services to domestic violence victims and survivors of all ages, genders, races and religions. The online donation form makes it easy to give a gift of any amount in honor of anyone you choose.


  • Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC). Also known as the people who brought you the Somerville 5k Road Race. SHC does it all: food pantries, emergency shelter, case management and affordable housing.

Like RESPOND, SHC has a handy dandy online donation form that lets you decide how much to give, and on whose behalf. Plus, if you’re engaged, you can register with SHC instead of Williams-Sonoma.


  • Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). This is for the environmentalist in your life. Full disclosure: I’m a kayaker. Rivers are my playgrounds. That being said, it’s hard not to be concerned about threats like sewage contamination and localized flooding – especially if you’re among the half million residents in the watershed’s 22 communities.

In addition to supporting MyRWA’s work, a donation of at least $16 will get you a spiral-bound 2012 Mystic River calendar if you add “calendar” to the notes section of the online donation form. Keep it for yourself, or give it to the donation’s honoree.

A Word from SLF: We here at SLF appreciate all the great work our nonprofit members contribute to the community. But as a nonprofit organization ourselves, we can’t do our work to support their efforts without your support. We hope you’ll consider us when planning your holiday donations this year. Or for the locavore on your gift list, pay for their SLF community membership, with varying levels of support and perks!

Originally posted on...December 5th, 2011

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