Cambridge and Somerville Local First - 2011 Coupon Book - Shift Your Shopping to Local First

Davis Square Retail Therapy: A Visit to Magpie

Aug 11 10:08 am

By Alison Preston


Wear your Somerville pride over you shoulder!

I can’t believe that the past six months have gone by so quickly. When I took this assignment in February, I never knew all the lovely businesses in Somerville I would discover. With a Somerville Local First/Cambridge Local First coupon booklet, I’ve been using the included savings with my coupons to learn about local businesses, while having a great time. For someone who moved here less than a year ago, I feel very lucky to have taken this journey.

For part six in this series, I had a dilemma. I’ve been through all the sections in the SLF coupon book and for my final series post I wanted to mix it up a bit. After some research, I discovered a coupon from Magpie for 20% off one item in the retail and gifts section of my SLF coupon booklet, and so my last journey took me to Davis Square for some post-work retail therapy.  Magpie is a cozy shop—and by cozy, I mean I felt right at home when I walked in, and was immediately drawn to the merchandise. As Magpie’s tagline shares, they carry: “Shiny things for your nest.”  I couldn’t have described it better myself.  Magpies are known to be attracted to shiny things, which are used to build a nest to attract a mate.

Though I won’t be using the items I bought at Magpie to attract a mate, plenty of shiny things caught my eye that were begging to be purchased. Some of their specialties include jewelry, cards, and baby clothes, but as you can see from my pictures, Magpie has so much more. From wallets to pottery and headbands to candles, soap and clothing, there is a lot to choose from. I was especially drawn to the postcards, with beautiful shots from a local artist. I can’t decide if I can give them away, and so instead they might end up in a framed collage on my wall.  In the end, I purchased the postcards and a great baby bib to use as a future gift.


Locally-themed postcards, some with a touch of wit


Shiny Things for Shiny People!


Attract a Magpie mate with a fashionable handmade headband

The greatest part about Magpie’s merchandise? It’s all handmade. As they share on the website, Magpie is “a gift store that carries hip handmade crafts, goods by indie designers and works by local artists.” So, by shopping at Magpie, you’re giving a double whammy of support by buying from a local shop and supporting great artists. So scoot on over to Magpie and browse their shiny wares.


Ah, to be a magpie... Stop by Magpie in Davis Sq and you'll know the feeling!



Magpie: Local money spent w/ coupon: $10.00 | SLF savings: $2.00 | Total savings: $38.64


Food, Wine, and Fun at Dave’s Fresh Pasta

Jul 11 1:38 pm

By Alison Preston

Two months ago I took a break from food and drink to relax in a hot tub at Inman Oasis, then it was onto Mass Metta Massage Therapy. Of course, my food obsession can’t be ignored for long. In my next SLF adventure, the journey went back to Davis Square, for an exploration of Dave’s Fresh Pasta, with 20% off any purchase from the specialty foods & grocers section in the SLF coupon booklet. A few months back during my visit to The Boston Shaker. I mentioned my plan to a Boston Shaker employee, and she advised to eat before going shopping or fall prey to the yumminess that is Dave’s Fresh Pasta.


Dave's: Bringing you all the finest meats and cheeses!

Dave's: Bringing you all the finest meats and cheeses!




My limited knowledge was that of fresh pasta, and I had my charge card out to buy. But upon entering, my senses were pleasantly overwhelmed by a collection of unexpected sights, sounds, and smells:

  • Fresh pasta
  • Vosges chocolate (my favorite Chicago chocolate company)
  • Homemade sauces
  • An olive selection from my wildest dreams
  • A grocery section to fulfill daily shopping needs
  • A take-out counter to order fresh sandwiches and other treats
  • A small sit down area to feast on your purchase

Dave’s is truly a one-stop shop. Ten years ago, Dave’s began as a small fresh pasta shop, and the store has expanded twice. The first expansion happened six years ago, with the second happening two years ago.

The most unexpected and exciting part of the shop? Wine. Hello! Who loves wine? Me. So after a careful selection of tomato pasta and spinach pasta, I navigated through the food towards the wine area of the store.  And of course, what goes best with pasta? Wine.


Wine, Wine, everywhere Wine

Wine, Wine, everywhere Wine

I was pleased to find the majority of the bottles within the $10 - $20 range. I hold a high appreciation for a nice (and perhaps pricey) bottle of wine, but what I appreciate more is a nice bottle of wine that my budget can afford more than once a year. The wine shop started as a small area five years ago with around 100 bottles. Flash-forward to the present, and Dave’s offers an expanded collection of 275 bottles and bi-weekly wine and cocktail events to educate the community while sipping wines and having a great time. The last wine tasting of the season is coming up on June 9th—so call 617.623.0867 to check for availability. Or if you miss the wine tasting at the store, private wine tastings are also available. Who doesn’t like a wine event at home?

I ended up with a bottle of Polluce Lazio, a red wine for only $11 (that’s even before my discount). The staff was friendly and had plenty of suggestions to make my trip a breeze. I’m excited to try my pasta and wine for a feast with my fiancé very soon—so head over to Dave’s Fresh Pasta for your own sensory inducing experience.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta is located at 81 Holland Street in Davis Square, Somerville, MA  02144. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information on daily and weekly specials and in-store events.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta: Local money spent w/ coupon: 15.96 | SLF savings: $3.04  | Total savings: $16.64


Mellowing Out SLF Coupon Style: Mass Metta Massage

Jun 23 10:35 am

By Alison Preston

This month’s business exploration has reduced me to jello. After weeks of working over 40 hours, planning a wedding and searching for a new apartment, I received a Thai massage from Emily at Mass Metta Massage.

Getting Meditative at Mass Metta Massage

Getting Meditative at Mass Metta Massage

Backing up a little bit, I’m writing a series of posts celebrating participants in the SLF coupon booklet. For only ten dollars you receive over $1,000 in discounts. My journeys thus far have taken me to The Independent, The Boston Shaker, Inman Oasis, and now to Mass Metta Massage. With all the great massage places offered in the Health and Wellness section of the coupon booklet, it was tough decision where to go. For Mass Metta Massage (MMM), the SLF coupon booklet offers $20 off a first session. The website shares:

“Emily’s approach to bodywork is greatly influenced by her background in dance. The importance of body awareness, good posture, and flexibility were emphasized in her past training at the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education and these themes are evident in her work today.  Ballet sparked her interest in kinesiology and has informed her understanding of the human body.”

Emily’s background in dance sparked my interest, as did her offering of Thai massage. As a former dancer retired due to numerous injuries, I was excited to find someone who could understand my past injuries and help with my ongoing healing.

Located off Davis Square at 862 Broadway, Mass Metta Massage is snuggled into a small strip of shops. When I arrived at the space, we chatted a bit while Emily prepared her floor mats (Thai massage is done on the floor). Emily’s background as a dancer is evident during her treatments. She is graceful yet strong a she moves your limbs, elongating muscles and releasing the tension from your body. As a disclaimer, I know one session wouldn’t cure all the ailments I brought with me, but the massage was a start on the way to a more relaxed and healthy state of mind.

Try a Thai Yoga Massage!

Before my treatment, I spoke with Emily about the goals she hopes to achieve with her clients. As I know from previous massages and other forms of positive touch, the body responds positively to human contact. Through the power of healing one can experience through massage, Emily hopes that she can bring people to a level where they can facilitate their own healing, while creating body awareness and understanding.

Mass Metta Massage offers Swedish and Deep Tissue table massage as well as Thai massage. Thai is done with the client fully clothed on the floor, and a treatment includes the massaging and stretching of the muscles. There’s no need to be a flexible pretzel for Thai Massage, the goal is to bring awareness and teach the body where it needs to be, no matter what level of flexibility.

So whether you’re a seasoned massage client or a newbie who wants more body awareness, I highly recommend calling Emily for an appointment—she’ll have you floating on a cloud in no time!

Mass Metta Massage: Local money spent w/ coupon: 70.00 (this includes tip) | SLF savings: $20.00  | Total savings: $36.64

Local Relaxation: A Visit to Inman Oasis

May 03 1:03 pm

By Alison Preston

Unwinding in the jacuzzi.

The journey to explore local business continues.  My first two expeditions with a SLF/CLF coupon book included delicious food and supplies for my next cocktail. For part three of my journey, I will jump into the realm of relaxation at Inman Oasis with a coupon for 10% off all services.

Inman Oasis, a Feng Shui designed wellness center that provides the ultimate in relaxation has been a part of the Cambridge community for almost six years. Started in September 2005 by Jo K. Gray, a practicing licensed massage therapist, and Renée C. Farster, a businesswoman, artist, and hot tub enthusiast; the combination of massage and hot tub offerings was a perfect fit.

After a long week at work, my fiancé and I decided to have our own relaxing moment in one of Inman’s private hot tubs. The space is simple and inviting, with comfy wicker chairs and an extensive collection of plants in the waiting area. If you don’t bring music along for your service, Inman offers an extensive list of music on their iPod. We decided on our soaking selections and were led back to the tubs.

The staff at Inman Oasis.

There are two choices for a hot tub soak: a Japanese style tub or a jacuzzi (fiberglass) tub. I spoke with Jenny, front desk staff and bookkeeper, to learn the benefits of each tub. From our chat I learned the jacuzzi tub is best for pain or injury, as the number of jets is higher (50+) and the jets are stronger. The Japanese style tub offers a more relaxing experience, with only 4 jets that move at a calm pace. Both rooms offer a private shower, big cozy robes and water to keep clients hydrated during the service.

Cleanliness is an attribute I always appreciate at a spa, feeling like no one else has ever been in the space. Our room was super clean, as if we were the first ones in—and I know Inman had other appointments booked. We were given the jacuzzi tub to release our tight muscles, and we turned on all the jets immediately while changing into our bathing suits. It’s been awhile since my fiancé and I have had a hot tub all to ourselves, so the lack of bodies and abundance of relaxing tunes were very inviting. Tip: Don’t sit for long periods of time, or you will get woozy. A good length is ten minutes, with a short soak in the shower, and then climbing back in. Don’t be that person who attempts to sit in the tub for a full half hour - you’ll probably get woozy when exiting, which is not so relaxing. The staff will also alert when 5 minutes are left, so sit back and forget about the time.

Afterwards? We were puddles of mush. The walk back towards the red line train was silent due to mushy brains, and back at home we were ready to cozy up and relax. In the future we will definitely return for a hot tub/massage combo, as the hot tub is great for relaxing tight muscles before a massage. Thank you to Inman Oasis for a rejuvenating experience! Check back next month for my next adventure….

Inman Oasis: Local money spent w/ coupon: 36.00 | SLF savings: $4.00 | Totalsavings: $13.60 - Coupon booklet is paid for!

Inman Oasis is located in Inman Square at 243 Hampshire Street in Cambridge (right next to Rosie’s Bakery). After you use your SLF coupon, visit the website for monthly specials:


Cheers to everything local! A Journey to the Boston Shaker

Mar 22 11:38 am

By Alison Preston (@themoxstopshere)

Glassware Display

Last month, I began an adventure. The challenge: use the 2011 SLF Coupon book and explore local business. As a new resident to the Boston area with the coupon book as my map, I am sure to discover fun stops around the city while supporting local business.


While turning the pages of my SLF book, I noticed a 20% coupon from The Boston Shaker. As a cocktail enthusiast, I’ll admit my skills lie with drinking more than creating. As my tastes for a Manhattan and an old fashioned have developed, so has my interest to create and understand the ingredients. From recent research I was curious about bitters, and The Boston Shaker in Davis Square was a great place to continue my quest to find out more.

This cocktail supply shop was born as Adam Lantheaume, proprietor, grew tired of not finding all the supplies for a good cocktail in one centralized location. At The Boston Shaker, you can find everything from vintage glassware that Adam discovers, to cocktail creation supplies, books, and professional grade glassware to hold your drinks.

A Variety of Shakers of Course!

I was greeted by Jessica, who was eager to help with my education. After a short introduction to the shop, I had already noted two pluses for a new enthusiast:

The shop layout always has the customer in mind. Items are displayed to be approachable for expert mixers as well as new enthusiasts.
The Boston Shaker is only stocked with items well loved by the employees. In my opinion, when love is a part of the process, you can be certain the quality is exceptional and customers will return for more.

As I stated earlier, my main interest for this trip was bitters - a staple in numerous cocktails. The Boston Shaker provides an eclectic selection of bitters with varying tastes and intentions behind each brand. I learned that bitters not only add something special to a cocktail, but also possess herbal properties and stimulate digestion. To help with my decision, we did a tasting of different products. As I learned from Jessica, bitters aren’t usually enjoyed alone, but mainly in addition to other spirits. To test, we followed these steps:

• Smell the bitters, taking in the scent at the beginning and end of a whiff. This might be the best way to test the flavor.



• For further examination, I touched my finger to a sample cup and put a small drop on my tongue to observe the taste.

Some varieties taste similar to their smell, while others are completely different. My advice when choosing? Before your visit have a particular drink or season in mind, and go from there. I decided to purchase Bitterman’s Boston Bittahs for some warm weather cocktails I plan to concoct.

With friendly faces and encouraging staff who can educate you in cocktail creation, head over to The Boston Shaker - a one of a kind stop in Somerville. With warm weather on its way, stay tuned to see where I end up next!

The Boston Shaker is located at 69 Holland Street in Somerville, MA. Follow them on Twitter for the most up-to-date information on the shop and cocktail tastings.

We’re tracking Alison’s purchsases and savings on her journey,  here’s where she’s at so far.  Two coupons and she’s almost made her investment in the book back!

The Independent: Local money spent w/ coupon: $33 (includes tip) | SLF savings: $6.00
The Boston Shaker: Local money spent w/ coupon: 14.40 | SLF savings: $3.60  | Total savings: $9.60

The 2011 Local First Coupon Book: Get up, get out, and explore local business!

Feb 28 1:13 pm

The Independent Somerville Lunch

Fresh local food for lunch? Yes, please!

One of Somerville Local First’s community bloggers Alison Preston (@themoxstopshere) was given a challenge: Grab a copy of the new Somerville and Cambridge Local First coupon book and write about where the discounts take her! This is the first of six posts chronicling her adventures in local savings. Stay tuned to the SLF blog to find out where she goes next!

As sunny days become more frequent, it’s time to get off the couch, throw on a coat and explore your neighborhoods. I’m very excited to help highlight the 2011 Somerville and Cambridge Local First Coupon Book and even if a small period of cold weather still lingers, the book inspires me to head outside. For only ten dollars, you receive over $1,000 dollars in discounts, and a chance to support local business. As a new transplant to Boston, my coupon booklet is a map and I’m the local explorer on the go. My journey is your journey, so please follow as I discover six local businesses over the next six months.

For my first exploration experience, I chose The Independent in Union Square situated at 75 Union Square in Somerville. My choice came from the simple need to eat, and the coupon offered 20% off lunch. Immediately upon my arrival I could tell my choice was right on.

Here are my top five reasons why I will be back and why you should visit The Independent:

  • The Independent offers (as they promise on the website): “a casual, comfortable neighborhood restaurant and pub located in the heart of Union Square.” The dark wood and simple decor was very inviting and cozy, as was my friendly, knowledgeable server who made me feel right at home. The space is great for a date, as well as for a drink with friends after work.
  • The fare is not your typical bar food. New chef Mark Cina creates seasonal dishes with an attention to detail while also using local, sustainable, fresh ingredients, a BIG plus in my book.
  • You must try: the Stuffed Peppadew small plate. Peppadews resemble mini red bell peppers, sweet with a hint of heat. The Independent presents them on a plate stuffed with avocado puree and jicama salsa, and the tiny bites are flavorful and a refreshing start to a meal.
  • The beer and cocktail lists are other areas that show evidence of a careful eye and attention to variety. Offering a diverse selection of beers, from regional favorites like Harpoon and Narragansett to a selection of Belgians for beer connoisseurs, I took time to choose whilst I enjoyed reading about selections I didn’t recognize. Cocktails run from standard to inventive and are graced with fresh squeezed juices and house made syrups. I can’t wait to come back when the temperatures warm to have a cocktail with the windows open.
  • When entering an eating establishment for lunch, it is so much nicer to hear selected music instead of a TV or top 40 blaring. A few big screen TVs are located by the bar, which are great for sports nights, but I offer a big thank you to The Independent for playing Radiohead instead of Britney Spears or a sports update during my meal.
The Independent Cocktail Menu

A cocktail menu that gets creative with the classics.

Even on my first visit, I felt right at home at The Independent and I will definitely be back. For an eclectic menu, friendly service, and a great drink selection, The Independent should be on your map when exploring new spots around Somerville. Stay tuned for my next post when my map of coupons leads me another Somerville gem.

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