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

Crafty Shopping: A Guide to Somerville’s Holiday Craft Fairs

By Nancy Anderson, owner of Canis Major Herbals, with additions by the editor

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


Somerville onesie, with letters from, respectively: MA license plate, Orange line, McKinnon's, Rosebud, Rockin' Bob's Guitars, Somerville Theatre, Sligo, StellaBella, and Fenway Park

If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season and want to support your local businesses and artisans (an excellent choice, by the way), Somerville definitely makes it easy to do both in one stop. From open studios to craft fairs to your neighborhood hipster craft goods store, there is an abundance of fun, inventive, creative, and certainly unique stuff to ogle in the coming weeks. (Oh, and admission to all of the following events is free.)


December starts off with a veritable smattering of events all over Somerville. Mudflat Studios, at 81 Broadway, is offering an Open Studio and Sale from Dec 2nd through the 11th. Hours are…

Friday, December 2nd: 6 - 10pm

Saturday & Sunday December 3rd & 4th: 10am - 6pm

Monday – Friday, December 5th – 9th: noon - 9pm

Saturday & Sunday, December 10th & 11th: 10am - 6pm


Want to help support local high school students?

On December 2nd, from 6-9pm, the West Somerville Neighborhood School Craft Fair and Vendor Show, billed as “a vendor and craft show featuring crafters with unique creations,” features over 25 local artisans and vendors, offering a wide assortment of handmade items such as homemade jams, specialty chocolates, children’s gifts, hair feathers, beading and accessories, Wish Pearls, jewelry, kitchen tools, candles, holiday pins, ornaments and decorations, and much more. The event will also include free samples, and contributions from each table will be raffled off. All proceeds benefit the WSNS students, so head on over to 177 Powderhouse Blvd!

And don’t forget about the middle schoolers!

The Kennedy School near Porter Square will be having its 2nd annual Gift Fair on December 5th from 5:30-8:30pm. Browse handmade jewelry, bath and beauty products, accessories, ornaments, candles, and more! Be sure to get some pizza and stop by the bake sale to benefit the middle school government.

Winter Craft Market!

On Saturday, December 3rd, head down to Union Square Plaza and Precinct Bar for Union Square Main Streets’ Winter Craft Market, between 11am and 4pm. USMS lists “a variety of handmade products including jewelry, pottery, housewares, knitwear, toys, ornaments, perfume, and more.”

While you’re in Union Square, head over to the Washington Street Open Studios between noon and 5pm to partake of yet more excellent artwork.

Local Artist Markets!

The Burren is featuring a few Saturday Local Artist Markets in December. SLAM Holiday Artist Markets are running December 3rd, 10th, and 17th, all from noon to 4pm.

A Snow Mall!

Don’t miss the 2nd annual Snow Mall at Arts at the Armory on Dec 11th from noon to 6pm, where 40 hand-selected vendors will fill your every holiday need. Arts at the Armory is at 191 Highland Ave.

Bad-ass Comics!

But what do you get for one who has everything? And the one who has everything, we mean the comic-lover who has back issues of just about every popular release you can think of. You need reinforcements, so get to the Comicazi Con & Bad-ass Bazaar at the Dilboy VFW on Sunday, December 4th from 10am-4pm. But whether you’re buying for the comic aficionado, noob, or someone who has never picked one up in their life, you’ll find something for everyone - comics penned by local artists, toys and figures, jewelry and fine crafts, baked goods, even crocheted superhero hats! (Ok, and we lied - this event is the only one on the list that’s not free. But come on, if you really don’t have the measly $4 admission, you can always just beat up one of the nerds and steal their lunch money, amiright?)

Shifting All Season

And, of course, don’t forget to stop in and browse the always unique goods at…


416 Highland Ave in Davis Square
Mon - Wed: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Thu: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm - 6:00pm


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway in Ball Square
Now open Mondays for the holiday season!
Monday - Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm

Check out the new photo paintings by Marshall featuring your favorite local haunts. Head to the gallery before December 4th to enter a raffle to win a free photo painting of your own original photograph! Check out some photos of other items currently for sale below.


Jane Proctor Pottery



Gentle Vessels by V Van Sant



Horse Statues


Originally posted on...December 2nd, 2011

Shift Your Shopping Week Event Calendar

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

Shift Your Shopping Week starts this Friday, folks, and lasts through Dec. 11! That’s 10 whole days of holiday fun! We’ve put together a calendar of events for you for the week, so that means no excuses (we’re looking at you, last minute gift buyers).

December 3


The picture says it all

Groundwork Somerville: Maple Syrup Brunch Fundraiser

Join GWS on December 3 at The Independent in Union Square for the third annual Maple Syrup Project Fundraiser! Brunch will be served from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 20% of proceeds will be donated to the Somerville Maple Syrup Project.

Artisan’s Asylum Grand Opening

Come join the Artisan’s Asylum Saturday, December 3, 1-5pm. The new facility will be open to the public all afternoon, with tours and exhibits and food and full Asylum services finally available. You’ll be able to check out the facilities, meet the staff and members, see all the work members are doing, sign up for daily and monthly memberships, register for our next round of classes, and purchase gift certificates and unlimited class passes just in time for the holiday season.

Support local artisans and craftspeople

Support local artisans and craftspeople

Union Square Winter Craft Market

Winter Craft Market in Somerville’s Union Square offers distinctive, handmade holiday gifts for everyone on your shopping list! From 11am to 4pm, Precinct will be filled with local vendors, including Albertine Press, Susanna Brown, Citizen Chain, Community Growing Center, Dinofrio Handbags, Jennifer Durkin, Esoterica Jewelry, Forest Karma Soap, Funky Monkey Colorworks, Emily Garfield, Alice Grossman, Jo Jo, Rocklen Designs, Salamander Arts, Silverfalls Designs, Three Graces Designs, Union Press, Union Square Main Streets, and Emily Weisman.

Libana: Artisans of India 2011 Holiday Marketplace

On December 3 (10am-6pm) & 4 (11am-6pm), head to the Third Life Studio in Union Square for an Indian-inspired craft fair right in your own backyard! Come for a weekend of food, fun and cameo performances by Libana, while you browse the array of global Fair Trade crafts, festive scarves and imports from India, and Libana CDs and merch. Proceeds will benefit the women artisans of Barefoot College in Rajasthan and SEWA in Gujarat.

Washington Street Art Center Winter Open Studios and “My Blue Heaven” by Gretchen Ann Graham

Join the Washington Street Art Center from 12-5pm for the 7th annual Winter Open Studios. Come by and support local artists in your community as WSAC kicks off Washington Street Saturdays. There’ll be plenty of art, snacks, and affordable small works for gift giving. Then, be sure to come back in the evening from 6-9pm for the opening reception for “My Blue Heaven” Photographs by Gretchen Graham (also on view Saturdays in December from 12-4pm).

The Burren: SLAM Holiday Artist Market

For truly unique gifts this holiday season, the Saturday Local Artist Market (SLAM) is holding three holiday markets on December 3, 10, & 17 from 12-4pm. You’ll find a great selection of crafts including painting, photography, jewelry, textiles, glass, ceramics, handmade soaps, artisan foods and much more. A different mix of artists will exhibit each Saturday, so you’re sure to find that one-of-a-kind gift. When you get hungry from all that shopping, The Burren will also be offering $5 lunch specials on market day.

December 4

Discover the bounty of Windsor Street!

Discover the bounty of Windsor Street!

Albertine Press: 561 Windsor Street Open Studios

Meet the denizens of Somerville’s hotbed of creative businesses - from chocolate makers to letterpress printers and everything in between. Shop local for the holidays and maybe take up fencing while you’re at it! This event is free and open to the public. It will take place on Sunday between 12 and 4 pm at various studios throughout the building 561 Windsor Street, Somerville. Free parking is available.

QRST’s “Yard Sale”

During the Open Studios from 12-3pm, QRST’s will be having a “yard sale” of all brand new blank apparel odds and ends! Brand new t-shirts only $2, polos for $4, sweatshirts & sweatpants for $5, and ALL American Apparel brands are only $5 per piece. QRST’s will also be offering ALL of their online store apparel at 50% off. Purchase anything from a coffee mug to local Boston band t-shirts.

E. Scott Originals & CarrieSewFancy: Everyday Glamour

From 5-9pm above Carrie’s Fancy Sewing Studio, join e. scott originals jewelry and CarrieSewFancy clothing for an evening of glamour! New collections will be unveiled, presents will be purchased, drinks will be drank, good times will be had!

December 5

Knucklebones’ Epicenter of Athletic Services Grand Opening

Knucklebones is pleased to announce the GRAND OPENING (Stage 1) of Knucklebones’ Epicenter of Athletic Services! To celebrate this special day, they will have free athletic games and activities from 9am-6pm on Monday, December 5th for ages six months to six years.  Come by and meet the KB team, register for upcoming classes, find out more about our retail and, of course, play with the coolest and most unique athletically inclined products around.

Chocolate. ‘Nuff said

December 10

Taza Chocolate Holiday Fiesta

Taza’s free Holiday Fiesta is coming! Join them December 10 & 11 from 11am-5pm for two days of sampling, sipping and shopping for locally made treats. Warm up with some Taza hot chocolate, enter the raffle to win free Taza Chocolate prizes, and shop for Factory Store Limited specials. Counter Culture Coffee, Somerville Brewing Company, and Sofra Bakery will also be there at different point in the day to sample their own tasty holiday treats


Snow Mall - Holiday Marketplace

December 11

Arts at the Armory: Snow Mall

Take a break from the malls and support local artists and craftspeople at the second annual holiday marketplace- SNOW MALL. Peruse all manner of local crafty goods for free from 12-6pm in the Armory’s performance hall. Get an in depth look at some of the vendors on the Snow Mall Facebook page.


Originally posted on...November 29th, 2011
1 comment

Somerville Holiday Events 2011

By Sam Coren

Tis the season for The Slutcracker Photo: Liz Laneri

There comes a point during every holiday season when it hits you. After so many hours of cooking, decorating, family drama, and general chaos you just need to get out of the house and do something fun. Good thing there are plenty of options right in the neighborhood this season to help you escape the craziness and bring back some good old fashioned holiday cheer!

Check out some of these upcomming holiday happenings around town:

December 1st

DARBI’s Midnight Madness in Davis Square 6pm-midnight

Were you a trooper and decided to avoid Black Friday like the plague? The “shop local for the holidays” spirit of Plaid Friday carries on this Thursday with DARBI’s annual December Midnight Madness shopping event. Some businesses will offer coupons or specials to shoppers during the event.

At least 14 local businesses, primarily retail stores and restaurants, will take part this year. Confirmed participants include Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Magpie, Artifaktori, Kickass Cupcakes, Davis Squared, When Pigs Fly, The Boston Shaker, Suneri, Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club, Buffalo Exchange, Found, Comicazi and Sunshine Lucy’s.

In addition, Zipcar will have a special booth set up in Statue Park throughout the event. Plus, Thalia Tringo Real Estate will host an art opening, “Elements and Artifacts,” featuring photographs by T.L. Litt and food and drink from local eateries.

December 2nd - 24th

The Slutcracker (Somerville Theater)

Everyone’s favorite Burlesque production of The Nutcracker is back for another season! Pick a date this December to see The Slutcracker performed live at the Somerville Theater for a night of raunchy adult fun. Don’t wait on getting tickets, folks, they’re already selling like hot cakes. Even cooler? The Boston Ballet is giving a 25% discount to Slutcracker patrons for tickets to their production of The Nutcracker. That way grandma and the kids can also enjoy the story of The Nutcracker without the intentional wardrobe malfunctions.

December 3rd

Artisan’s Asylum Public Opening (10 Tyler St) 1pm-5pm

Artisan’s Asylum is a non-profit community craft studio dedicated to supporting and promoting the teaching, learning and practicing of craft of all varieties. They’ll be throwing a free public housewarming party on December 3rd to celebrate the opening of their amazing new facility on Tyler St. with free tours of the space and exhibits. While you’re there, be sure to meet the instructors and  learn more about their upcoming classes.

December 3rd & 4th

Libana presents Artisans of India Holiday Marketplace

Libana is a global music ensemble that illuminates the creativity, vision, and spirit of the world’s women through  the performance  of traditional and contemporary music and dance. They’ll be hosting and performing at an India Holiday Marketplace in Union Square on 10am - 6pm Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th from 11am - 6pm.  What will there be? Fair trade crafts, scarves and imports from India, Libana merch, and much more.

For more info including directions check out their handy flyer:

December 15th

The Weisstronauts’ Holiday Jubilee with The Rudds at Radio

The Weisstronauts will be playing their 12th annual Holiday Jubilee at Radio in Union Square to kick off the release of two new CDs, the full length “19 Something 9” and the EP “In Memphis 2.” Get ready for new tunes, holiday tunes, special guests (Hillbilly Holiday and The Rudds) and other celebratory goodness! Please note that the ‘nauts will be performing 2nd that evening and they’ll have tons of new merch available for purchase at special holiday prices.

December 16th

PA’s Lounge Annual Christmas Party 

If you miss the holiday tunes at Radio the night before, PA’s Lounge will be hosting their annual Christmas Party the next day. Details are still TBA but if it’s anything like last year’s party, good tunes and good brews should be plentiful so bring some friends and let loose.

December 23rd

Johnny D’s Holiday Party with Funky White Honkies

The Christmas Eve-Eve party kicks off at 10pm at Johnny D’s. Led by the fearlessly un-selfconscious and immensely talented Dinty Child, (perhaps best-known for being a member of Boston roots/rock masters Session Americana), the Funky White Honkies are a rag tag band of fine New England music veterans. More of a ‘tribe’ than a band, the Honkies have been around for years, providing a gorgeously joyous and free dance experience for people of every age, leanings, stripe, and style. With it’s large, rotating band of expert players, and under the spontaneous direction of Dinty, the Honkies converge for one purpose only: to get down and get dirty, laying down a set of grooves that start loose, and build inexorably to nothing less than pure, transcendent jazz/funk/punk fueled cacaphony.


Originally posted on...November 28th, 2011

Plaid Friday & Shift Your Shopping Live Blogging

We’ll be doing some live updating on the blog today, bringing sights, sounds and thoughts from local businesses and shoppers throughout the day.

10:30 AM - Plaid Friday coast to coast

We’re seeing lots of great stuff going on around the country.

If you haven’t heard what it’s about, check out the Plaid Friday website

Seacoast Local was on New Hampshire Public Radio today, in addition to a lot of other media coverage

Some businesses in New Hampshire are offering discounts for customers wearing plaid

Cambridge Naturals, right across the border, put together a great window display for Plaid Friday

Plaid Friday & Shift Your Shopping retail display FTW!

And if you missed it, here’s the official Somerville Shift Your Shopping Theme Song, composed by our friends Michael J Epstein and Sophia Cacciola

And to the best of our knowledge, no one has been trampled or pepper sprayed at a local business yet

11:30 AM - Gift Guides and Opinions

If you’re reading this, you probably already know why  you should Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season, but just in case, here’s some opinions on why it’s important

Our ED in this weeks, DigBoston - Community Forum


And the editor at DigBoston, David Day, on the Shift Your Shopping website, talking about why it’s time to exercise our power with our wallets

Last Year’s Plaid Friday Op-Ed in the Globe

…now that you’re REALLY convinced, here’s a couple of gift guides to help you find some great local gift options:

DigBoston Guide to Going Plaid

SLF Gift Guide - Part 1


1:00 PM - Relaxed and Awesome, the Local Shopping Experience and a Some of those Moving Pictures

In a quick tour around the ville, we did not see any trampling, camp sites waiting for entry into stores or pepper spraying.  We did see jovial and good natured folks in some of our local businesses ready to serve their community and their customers.

Here’s Kofi from The Boston Shaker, with a great book option, PTD about a New York City speakeasy and their Sodastream line of home made soda kits.


Lookin good in that Plaid Kofi!

dSquared is known for its beautiful window displays, here’s their current setup.  Nice right!

dSquared rocks the window display

And here’s some video love, this clip from the news in Oakland

…and our Plaid Friday video from last year!

…meanwhile, two for-profit enterprises, both promoting local, are squabbling.

3:00 PM - final update of the day with maybe one more coming tonight

In our final update of the afternoon, here’s a few more ideas on places to Shift Your Shopping

Somerville Grooves in Union now has a sign to proclaim their vinal awesomeness

Some great gift ideas from Grand

Monadnock Buy Local is doing awesome stuff with Plaid in NH

…and how about you?  Feel free to post comments, experiences or photos in the comments below or tweet us / post to facebook










Originally posted on...November 25th, 2011

A Holiday Message from Slow Food: Shift Your Eating!

By Erin McIver

Erin McIver is the president of Northeastern University’s chapter of Slow Food. Check out the Slow Food NU blog, and be sure to keep an eye out for the companion blog post we’ll be writing for them!


Read on to find out what Slow Food is all about!

Slow Food is a way of life that has grown out of an international movement to change our current food system and bring us back to a way of eating that is good for our bodies, our society, and our Earth. We believe that food should be good, clean, and fair for all. This means that the food we eat should taste good, be culturally appropriate, and be made with some tender love and care. Food should also be clean, and thus be nutritious and have a positive impact on our local ecosystem. Lastly, food should be fair. We believe that food is a universal right, and therefore, regardless of income everyone should have the ability to access it. This also means that food should exist in a system that is fair to those who produce it.

Slow Food NU, a local chapter run out of Northeastern University, and Somerville Local First are like two peas in a pod. We at SFNU encourage our members to support local farmers by shopping at the local farmers’ market. We were even able to get CSAs on campus for the very first time through the new NU Farmers’ Market. Shopping at the farmers’ market builds community between students and farmers, allowing students to be nourished by fresh, local foods and keeping small farmers thriving in business.

However, there is more to slow and local food than simply supporting our local communities. There is a global consideration we must make as well. When we step into the grocery store, we see a huge array of produce at our fingertips. But, we all know that bananas and avocados do not grow in New England - those things are being shipped across to the globe to get to our local markets. Food that you find at the supermarket has on average travelled 1,500 miles to get there. By eating what is in season, we can decrease the environmental damage caused by shipping foods in gas-guzzling 18-wheelers. Shopping locally also ensures finding fresher ingredients. That supermarket tomato has been picked days and days before reaching your kitchen. In order to compensate, genetically modified (GM) tomatoes have been produced to last longer and look fresher, but they certainly don’t taste any better than that farmer’s tomato that was plucked from the vine yesterday. Plus, no one really knows the long term effects of GM crops on humans - but we do know it is not looking too good for the environment.

So, what IS in season in New England right now for us to do our part to be good to our bodies, society, and the Earth? Let’s see: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Chard, Cranberries, Fennel, Kale, Leeks, Parsley, Parsnips, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Rutabagas, Winter Squash and Turnips. Root vegetables seem to have been shunned throughout history, leaving them to be considered the food of peasantry. However, these vegetables contain no fat, little calories, and are a great source of protein and antioxidants. They are, in fact, a truly noble food! Our unfamiliarity with this class of vegetable has made us apprehensive and unwilling to experiment, but there isn’t anything you can’t do with them! Braise them, grill them, roast them, mash them, make them into soups, cookies or even chips!

Whether you’re a root vegetable fanatic or a newbie, try this delicious and simple recipe for Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice and Onion Stuffing suggested by Slow Food USA for this holiday season. So load up on ingredients from your local farmers’ market or co-op, and do your part by helping out yourself, your community, and your Earth.


Serves: 8

  • 4 medium-small butternut squashes (about 1 pound each)

    Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice and Onion Stuffing

  • 3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 heaping cup chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Sliced fresh sage leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons season blend , or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Halve the squashes and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place them cut side up in shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with covers or more foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm.

In the meantime, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop the pulp and stir it into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.

Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until well heated through.

VARIATION: To add drama to this presentation, try this recipe with other squash varieties. Hubbard squash, delicata, sweet dumpling and golden nugget are just a few of the stuffable edible squashes available.

Found on: Slow Food USA, Thanksgiving 2011


Originally posted on...November 22nd, 2011

The SLF Shift Your Shopping Holiday Gift Guide - Part 1

As we approach the real kickoff of the holiday shopping season, SLF is pleased to offer a series of blog posts highlighting great local gift options, all in the name of helping you Shift Your Shopping!

Below, you’ll find 10 great items to get your thoughts rolling, with prices, descriptions and photos.  We hope they spur some good ideas for you and help make it easier for you to Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season.

We’ll have follow up posts in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.  And if we missed something great in the meantime, feel free to suggest it in the comments!

Local Arts & Crafts

Albertine Press

2012 Calendar

2012 Calendar

Our 2012 letterpress wall calendar will take you on a trip around the world with postcards to send to your friends and family when you’re done. Every month features an original sketch from a different city in the USA and around the world - when you’re ready to flip the page, cut along the dotted line and you’ve got a ready-to-mail postcard. Bon Voyage!

We will be featuring the inspiration behind each city on our blog throughout November:

Price: $30

Ogusky Ceramics

Compost Jar

Compost Jar

For the folks that love to compost, this 7″ tall functional handmade jar to hold all your kitchen waste is perfect!

This jar holds close to one gallon and includes a lid that fits right on top. It also has a handle made from sturdy braided wire. And the front states ‘compost’ — so you clearly know what is inside — and is created using vintage letterpress stamps.

Price: $110

Three Graces Designs

Fresh, contemporary jewelry handcrafted from sterling silver

Price Range: $25-$250

Om Nom Nom

Taza Chocolate

Taste of Taza Gift Set

Taste of Taza Gift Set

Item: A Taste of Taza gift set

A Taste of Taza is the ultimate Taza Chocolate gift.  This elegant cigar-style gift box is brimming with a generous assortment of our organic stone ground dark chocolate. From our fresh Roasted Cacao Nibs, to our perfectly unrefined 80% Stone Ground Bar, A Taste of Taza lets serious chocolate lovers experience the full range of intense flavors and bold textures of Taza Stone Ground Chocolate.

Contains: 1 - 1.75 oz. bag Organic Roasted Cacao Nibs, 1 - 3 oz. 60% Stone Ground Bar, 1- 3 oz. 80% Stone Ground Bar, 4 - 2.7 oz. Chocolate Mexicano Discs (Orange, Cinnamon, Guajillo Chili, Cacao Puro), 1 - 8 oz. can Chocolate Covered Nibs.

Price: $49.50

Item: Mexicano Classic Collection

The Taza Chocolate Mexicano Classic Collection celebrates the centuries-old Mexican stone ground chocolate tradition that inspired founder Alex Whitmore to create Taza Chocolate. A perfect, any-occasion gift for the serious chocolate lover.

Contains: 6 - 2.7 oz. Chocolate Mexicano discs, one each of Guajillo Chili, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Salt & Pepper, Coffee, and Salted Almond.

Price: $27

Fashion & Apparel


If you need tshirts, caps, jackets or any other type of apparel - we are your complete source for your apparel needs. QRST’s also has an online store of licensed apparel from some of the best Boston bands from the 80s. Morphine, The Neighborhoods, The Del Fuegos, The Rat (club), The Atlantics and much more online at QRST’s is also a licensed seller of Harvard apparel.

Price Range: $7.5-15


Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Jewel neckline sleeveless dress with grey print paneling down the center of the front and back with black side panels which create a slimming effect along with a black front strip.

Price: $282

Liza dress

Tailored sheath dress ideally suited for power meetings or a night out. Comfortable cotton with a touch of Lycra for stretch when you need it.

Price: $320

Shape Up and Relax

Bow Street Yoga

The joyous and love-filled holiday season can sometimes be hectic! Give the gift of yoga and melt the stress of the your loved ones. Giftcards available in any amount, from a single class to a year of yoga bliss.

Price Range: Starting at $15

Corpbasics (CBC) Fitness & Training Club

Holiday Gift Card: Give the gift of fitness this holiday season! Good towards the purchase of Corpbasics fitness classes or personal training sessions. Also valid towards our 12 week “Get Fit” programs.  Gift cards are available for purchase online or in our studio.   Questions should be directed to Kristen at [email protected] or by calling 617-628-8400.

Price Range: $25-$150

Mass Metta Massage Therapy

One hour massage gift certificates will be on sale during the month of December for $60 (normally $75) and if you buy 4 at this price, you get one for yourself free!

Price Range: $60-$240

Massage Therapy by Judith Prager

Offering CDs for relaxation and stretching and gift certificates for massage in the heart of Davis Square. Achieve relaxation, relief of pain and injury. Soothing, energizing, 30+ years experience. 1 hour and 1.5 hour sessions

Price Range: $15-$85

The Training Room

Personal Training & Group Exercise Classes

The Training Room is a local, privately owned fitness studio offering personal and small group training, kettlebell training, cycling and group fitness classes. There is no membership required to train or participate in a class. Our convenient online scheduling system allows you to book ahead and reserve your space in class or purchase training and class packages right from your home or office.

Price Range:  $12-$90

For Four Legged Friends

Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too

Yeowww Candy Cane

Yeowww! Candy Cane Over size (over 8”) and stuffed full of Yeoww Catnip. This toy is quite the mouthful. Festive colors and fuzzy fabric are sure to inspire Kitty this holiday.

Price: $10.99

Nature Naps Beds are oval, purrfect for those finicky cats and pampered pooches. Made from soft, cozy designer fabric.
Easy to clean. Made in the USA

Price Range:  $22.99-$59.99

Chilly dog Sweaters: Do not let your dog out in the harsh weater of New England. Buy them a Chilly dog Sweater. Comes in an array of different designs and solid colors. 100% organic wool and original, hand knit sweater for dogs.

Price Range: $25.99-$42.99


Originally posted on...November 21st, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner: Made by Somerville

Yeah, trytophan’ll do that to you…

Ah yes, it’s Thanksgiving time again. For a lot of people, the holiday means time off work/school, football, and a delicious spread. For others, it means stress, stress, stress. Maybe you got stuck hosting more people than you can handle this year. Maybe you have to accommodate a few last minute moochers and tailgaters.

Or maybe you’re unable to make it home this year, and you’re just a little nostalgic for the holiday tradition. Or maybe you and the fam are just playing it low key this year.

Whatever your plans this year, the ‘Ville has countless options to ensure your Thanksgiving meal is stress-free and melancholy-free, minus none of the delectability. Check out these local Somerville businesses that are taking care of the food, so you don’t have to.


Open on Thanksgiving Day

Brunello Bistro is offering a no fuss, no muss traditional turkey dinner. Dig into all your favorites accompanying the bird, including mashed potatoes, squash, green beans, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pie – without the all day cooking undertaking. Or choose from the 4-course special menu for some of their more typical fare.

Dinner served 12pm-7pm, starting at $29.95/person ($14.95/child)

Pork pâté, poutine, pecan and chocolate ganache tart…croque-monsieur? This is how Thanksgiving should be! Foundry on Elm’s Chef Derek Clough sure isn’t serving your mama’s Thanksgiving meal – why not treat yourself to something a little gourmet this holiday. And don’t worry diehards, there’s a turkey dinner option on the menu – cider-brined and free range, of course.

Dinner served 12pm-8pm, prices vary. View the full holiday menu here

Not into the whole turkey thing? Or meat of any kind, for that matter? For the vegans and veggies with the unsympathetic families, you don’t have to starve this holiday. Head to True Bistro for a vegan Thanksgiving Day smorgasbord the likes of which you’ve never seen. Who knows? Their four course spread with options like chestnut-stuffed yuba roulade and vegan pumpkin cheesecake may just convert some of the nonbelievers.

Dinner served 2pm-8pm, $60/person, add $30 for wine pairings. By reservation only


Take-Out Options

Prefer to eat at home and catch the game? Or maybe you’re trying to fool everybody into thinking you are a turkey chef extraordinaire. Fair warning: if you choose Redbones to supply your Thanksgiving meal, they’ll all call your bluff. Only the BBQ masters themselves could serve up such a high caliber bird, slow smoked to perfection. You never knew turkey could be this moist! Don’t forget the fixin’s – choose from candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, collard greens, succotash corn pudding, and sweet potato and pecan pie.

Order by Monday, Nov. 21 for pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 23

JJ Gonson of Cuisine en Locale has gotten together with Kate Stillman of Stillman Farms to help you out with your last minute Thanksgiving needs. It’s not too late to order a bird you can feel good about – Stillman is offering fresh and frozen free range turkeys throughout the holiday season, and the En Locale crew is whipping up some premade sides, like cranberry maple sauce and winter squash mash. The full list can be found on the order form. There are several pickup options, but we recommend you head out to Stillman’s New Braintree on Sunday, where they’ll be offering a farm-cooked pre-Thanksgiving supper.

Sunday Supper, Nov. 20 @ 3pm, $25/person (kids eat free). Turkey pickup locations & dates listed here; sides can be delivered via Metro Pedal Power or picked up at the JP Farmers’ Market 11/22.

Save room for dessert! Petsi Pies is taking orders for just about every kind of pie you could want to finish off your Thanksgiving meal. With options like Apple Pear Cranberry, Brown Butter Pecan, and Mississippi Mud, you may find yourself going straight for dessert first. But hurry – preorders close tonight!

Order by Friday, Nov. 18 @ 7pm. Pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 22 or Wednesday, Nov. 23


If you find yourself not cooking dinner this year, why not spend part of the day volunteering? Many organizations need volunteers on and around Thanksgiving Day to help provide meals to those in need. In Somerville, the food pantries at the Elizabeth Peabody House and the Somerville Homeless Coalition hold annual Thanksgiving events. And if you can’t donate your time, donate a meal – food banks like the Greater Boston Food Bank hold food drives and turkey drives this time of year.

To serve another good cause (provided that you are ever able to eat again after Thursday), join Groundwork Somerville at The Independent for their annual Maple Syrup Brunch Fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 3, 10am-4pm. 20% of the proceeds will go to GWS’s Somerville Maple Syrup Project . The theme ingredient of the day is…you guessed it: maple syrup, complete with maple-inspired cocktails. Just call it Death by Syrup. Reservations highly recommended.


Originally posted on...November 18th, 2011

Calling all Local Businesses - Go Plaid this Year!

While we work every day in Somerville to build a strong local economy and to support our local business community, this message is intended for businesses both in AND around Somerville.

The Shift Your Shopping campaign, started in Cambridge and Somerville in 2009 has now gone national, coalescing groups from around the country to encourage everyone to Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season.

Part of our 2010 campaign, which we’ll be promoting again this year is Plaid Friday, an alternative to the Big Box/Corporate Black Friday idea.  Like much of the Local Movement, this is innovation came from our brothers and sisters from across the nation, created in 2009 by our friends in Oakland.

Plaid and New England...goes together well don't you think?

Check out this op-ed from last year’s campaign, explaining why the message makes sense for Greater Boston and beyond.

So, if you’re a local business owner, what can you do?  Promote it!  Here’s how:

-Include something in an email newsletter

-Offer a discount for customers wearing Plaid

-Promote via Facebook & Twitter.  To make it easy, here’s a template for both:

(consider linking to Shift Your Shopping facebook page and website)
This Holiday Season, we encourage you to Choose Local & Independent! Instead of the frenetic Black Friday experience, participate in Plaid Friday and Shift Your Shopping.

This Holiday Season, we encourage you to Choose Local & Independent! #PlaidFriday #ShiftYourShopping

…oh.  And while we have chosen not to endorse Small Business Saturday, we do encourage you to Shift Your Shopping on that day too….and we suggest you pay in cash to save the local merchants the transaction costs from credit card purchases.

SLF and Local Business Leaders from around the nation

Originally posted on...November 16th, 2011

‘Tis the Season: On Shifting Your Shopping

By David J. Day

There’s been a lot of talk these days about Occupy, the 99%, Moving Your Money, the Koch Mafia and the end of Democracy. All of these are a part of an ongoing dialog, and I, for one, am enthusiastic that topics of such great magnitude are being discussed and brought to the consciousness of a nation.

         Now it is time to act.

Come on guys! There's even an old timey holiday movie referencing this stuff...George Bailey: one of the 99%!

A great deal of good was done this summer, but the engine of our economy, our democracy, of the very nation we love, is holiday shopping. And in this time of economic crisis, there may be no more important holiday shopping season. It’s estimated that you as an individual are going to spend $704.18 on gifts this season. OK, maybe it’s not that much-but with such a tremendous amount of urgency in the air, where you put that money could make all the difference in the world.


As a resident of the greater Boston area, I’ve seen what localization can do. Entire city squares can be transformed. Industries can be revitalized. Local shops grow into local chains.

         But we can’t stop there.

The time has come, especially during this crucial winter, to make a decided effort to not just shift our shopping 10 percent, or move our money to a local bank (both great things to be sure), but to consider each and every spend as an empowered movement in and of itself.

This season, it’s all about the gifts you give. Look for local artists and buy what they’ve got. Hit the butcher shop on the corner and ask them if they have gift certificates. Looking for a snazzy winter coat? Consider going vintage. Have a friend whose car needs repair? Ask them to borrow it for a weekend and take it to the local body shop. The ideas, as varied as the locally-owned businesses all around you, are endless.

As we are all becoming aware, corporations make political moves to squash your neighborhood. They turn labor into commodity. They squeeze each and every industry they touch until they are unbleeding stones. And, if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see they are as eager to take your holiday shopping money as ever before: running massive sales, deepening discounts, lengthening layaways, and holding morning sales events that will redefine the term “Black Friday.” They want your money so desperately, they will spare no expense.

         Don’t give it to them.

It’s as much about our community as ever before. Encourage others to do the same-I think you’ll find everyone more than receptive of the message. Let’s turn the holidays of 2011 into a referendum on the world we want to live in, not the one they want to rule. The most powerful weapon you have is your pocketbook.

        Use it wisely.

Originally posted on...November 9th, 2011

The Gang’s All Here: NELBF Fall 2011

By Danielle Kennedy

On October 21, New England Local Business Forum (NELBF) returned to its roots in Portsmouth, NH for its 8th semiannual gathering. What started three years ago in the same city with a handful of local business leaders had grown on this sunny fall day to a collaboration of 30+ people from 17 Local First networks representing every state in New England. This year, NELBF was even graced by two special guests, American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) cofounders Jeff Milchen and Jennifer Rockne, all the way from Big Sky Montana.

After a morning meet-and-greet over coffee and pastries (locally catered, of course!), we all settled into Portsmouth’s gorgeous LEED Green Certified library for introductions and the morning panel, How Local Business Owners Can Engage the Movement and Customers. The great thing about Local First networks is that so many of the leaders are local business owners themselves. And who better to address the issues local businesses face than a lineup of four leader/proprietors themselves?


NELBF members engage in a panel discussion with Tom Roberts, Michael Kanter, Dave Warner, and Jody Breneman

A couple of the panelists reminded us that Local itself can be a branding in marketing. Tom Roberts of Beach Pea Bakery in Kittery, ME reminded us that pragmatism was key in this sense; while independent business has a duty to be socially responsible, it is still a business in the end and all would be for not if it is not successful commercially. Jody Breneman, co-owner of family-owned and run G. Willikers! Toy Shop in our host city told owners to keeping generating buzz about their small business: “Just keep talking about it.” For Jody, Buy Local is all about the small shifts. She shared an anecdote about a local couple on their way to buy a particular Christmas gift for their son at Toys”R”Us. Upon hearing a radio spot reminding them to buy local for the holidays, the couple, reminded, turned around the car and headed straight for local G. Willikers! instead.

This point brings me into the most important discussion of the day – that of the 2nd annual region collaboration on the Shift Your Shopping holiday campaign and the first national partnership on the campaign. The campaign originally started in response to the American Express Small Business Saturday (to which SBN Boston executive director Laury Hammel half-jokingly suggested the slogan this year: “Support Small Business Saturday – Use Cash”). The credit card company ignored the demands and stipulations of NELBF, so we figured local does local better anyway and launched Shift Your Shopping.

How do you do local on a national scale during the most commercialized time of the year? Our SYS website (designed by Somerville’s own Andy Pyman of Truly Good Solutions – and newest SLF board member!) will have a focus on individual community stories. It’s always about the local, people! With this campaign, we want to show that the individuals’ local stories are part of something bigger. In the spirit of Occupy, we encourage consumers to Populate Main Street. As American Express and the like try to jump on our bandwagon, our biggest challenge as the grassroots is make sure you as the public stay informed and understand true ways to support local.

Wrapping up a productive day, a group of us did what we do best and support local business, the Portsmouth Brewery. What struck me about the NELBF gathering was that rather than a conference, it felt like an intimate get-together of like-minded friends – and it was. As one NE Local First leader proclaimed over Portsmouth brews, “We’ve brought 17 organizations together. New England really has something special here.”


Local friends bonding over some local drink

Originally posted on...November 2nd, 2011

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