If you’ve been following us from the beginning, chances are good that you remember shopNOLA 2012. Because we are passionate about connecting moms with local businesses and brands, last year we decided to compile a “favorite things” list for New Orleans area moms in advance of the holiday season. We figured that it might give our readers some new ideas and also encourage local versus online shopping. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there are so many ways to support the local New Orleans economy and small businesses during the holiday season! (Though if you’re out of town, please note that almost all of the vendors below would be glad to ship to you!)
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the post last year, we decided that we’d do it again. Some are brands we’ve worked with several times, and some will be new to you. We’ve purposely looked high and low across the city for unique businesses with fabulous customer service. In order to participate, New Orleans Moms Blog required all vendors to provide a product for us to review (if we were not already familiar from previous reviews/giveaways) because it is important to us that we have firsthand experience with companies and products before we recommend them to our readers. Vendors were also required to provide a product to give away. Businesses also paid a nominal fee to cover the time and resources it requires to effectively compile a post of this complexity, but all opinions expressed here are our own. And, we can assure you that every last one of these recommendations has the New Orleans Moms Blog “stamp of approval,” and we personally solicited all companies for inclusion.
So, without further adieu, we bring you shopNOLA 2013!
For the New Orleans Foodie
1) Langlois Culinary Crossroads drives home the fact that in New Orleans we live to eat. Guests at Langlois are treated to an entertaining and interactive culinary experience that ends with a restaurant quality meal you can easily recreate at home. Their brunch classes would be an amazing gift! To get your taste buds working, check out this sample brunch menu: pecan praline bites, smothered andouille and grits, poached eggs and bananas foster bread pudding. Gift idea is one brunch class (valued at $79).
2) NOLA Pie Guy is also known as Nate Winner, the kind guy who some of you will get to meet in person tomorrow evening at our Wine Down and Clear the Clutter event. He offers fresh hand-crafted pies for delivery and pick-up in New Orleans. Perfect for your co-worker or neighbors, right? One bite of his pie goodness is never quite enough! Gift idea is a homemade Chocolate Chess Pie for Pick Up at PJs on Magazine (valued at $20).
3) Destination Kitchen offers foodie crawls, bachelorette parties, birthdays, nights out on the town, moms night out, date night and girls’ nights for locals AND visitors! Give the gift of Destination Kitchen: fun foodie tours on St. Charles Avenue, The French Quarter, Oak Street, Custom Food & Cocktail Experiences and Hosted Dinner Parties. Gift idea is one ticket to the French Quarter, NOLA Foodie For A “1/2” Day ($55 value). Additionally Destination Kitchen is offering all NOMB readers a Holiday Special: 10% savings special for groups of 5 or more; reserve by December 31, 2013 using the code: dkmomsshop.
4) Feed Me Eat Pretty specializes in unique cocktail mixers, fruit syrups and simple syrups. Think delicious goodness like blueberry pepper jelly and Louisiana cane simple syrup. Locally, you can purchase via Good Eggs (which is kind of like Etsy, a virtual farmers market with only Louisiana made and grown items) and nationally for shipping via Etsy. You could create an awesome gift basket with these goodies or even stuff them in your loved ones’ stockings and then whip up some super classy cocktails later in the day! Gift idea is a set of four seasonal flavors (valued at $28).
Handmade New Orleans Baubles
1) Beatrix Bell (who some of you will recognize from our 1st birthday party and is a mama herself, working from home in Algiers Point) creates handmade wearable works of art. What Louisiana lady would not like this black and gold state of Louisiana necklace with 24K gold filled chain? It’s just perfect for a night at a Saints game or as everyday wear with a t-shirt and jeans. If black and gold is not your thing, it can be found in multiple other enamel colors. Gift idea is the black and gold state of Louisiana necklace (valued at $46).
2) Ellen L (who you may remember from our launch week giveaways way back when) creates beautiful jewelry that is specifically inspired by influential people and friends in her life. A New Orleans native herself, she creates necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even custom pieces. Her Instagram feed in particular is drool worthy. Gift idea is a beautiful gold plated adjustable ring with cobalt blue leather inset (valued at $42).
3) The Bead Shop Did you catch the whole NOMB team wearing the NOLA MAMA necklaces at Moms Night Out in August? You, too, can share the love for your favorite city by buying this necklace for those you love. These handmade NOLA charms are available in NOLA MAMA, NOLA KID and simply NOLA. You can now purchase for those on your list online or in the store on Magazine Street. Gift idea is a NOLA MAMA necklace (valued at $12.99).
For The New Orleans Kid That Has EveryTHING
1) French Quartour Kids provides local tours that are geared specifically towards a child’s level of interest and understanding. This holiday season they have an extra offering that would make an amazing holiday experience. Give your kids (or someone else’s) the experience of A Kid’s Creole Christmas Tour. The tour goes throughout the French Quarter and will be offered daily during the Holiday Break. Gift idea is one tour of the winner’s choice for one parent and child (valued at $40).
2) From the makers of locally known Kalencom, there is a new brand called HADAKI that creates “affordable luxury and fashionable functionality.” One of HADAKI’s most popular products, the insulated lunch pod, is perfect for school-aged kids who need to pack lunches and/or snacks but who want to get rid of the boring (not to mention costly over the years) brown bag! Gift idea is the Insulated Lunch Pod (valued at $24).
3) City Park Movement and Art was started because of the owners’ personal love for dance and movement, freedom of expression, art, teaching and community. City Park Movement and Art strives to create an atmosphere of laughter, friendships, confidence, imagination and a safe space to explore creativity. What better gift than an entire session of once a week classes (with the performance fees included)? Gift idea is one spring session class (any type of class except toddler time) running January through May (valued at $250).
4) Thibodeaux School of Music offers a top quality musical education experience for children of all ages. Little ones can learn to love music in the award-winning Kindermusik program, and for ages 6 and up they offer private lessons on ALL instruments. Gift idea is winner’s choice of one month of Kindermusik classes (valued at $80) or one month of private music lessons (valued at $100).
5) Palm Tree Playground is the perfect place to head for a rainy day, hot day, a birthday party, or just to have a great time indoors. With 50% off play passes, this is a total steal for the kids in your life. Seriously, you ought to just buy it for your own kids (or stash up for 2014 birthday season) right now! The passes are pre-wrapped in holiday decor and ready to give, making your gift giving that much easier. Gift idea is 1 pre-wrapped holiday pass package good for 5 visits (valued at $15).
6) Posh Paint Pub, located in Old Metairie, is a great local studio that you can head to with your child to paint pottery, create ornaments or hand and foot print art, and even attend holiday camps. It’s perfect for those rainy and/or hot New Orleans days. Gift idea is a pottery painting experience at the Posh Paint Pub; bring another mom and child, too! (valued at $50).
7) The Studio School of Dance subscribes to teaching through positive reinforcement and nurturing in order to produce a life-long respect and love for dance, as well as very happy and well-trained young dancers. In addition to standard ballet, they also have specialized offerings, including Mommy & Me, which is specialized for ages 1-3, and Zumba classes for dance loving moms! Gift idea a Mommy & Me 5 class package ($50 value) and a Zumba 5 class package ($30 value).
Fun For The Entire New Orleans Family
1) Little Pnuts, started right here in New Orleans, is a unique subscription toy company that sends Special Deliveries full of eco-friendly, sustainable, natural and organic toys to arrive on your Little Pnut’s doorstep year-round. This December, Little Pnuts will be sending a Limited Edition Holiday Special Delivery. Holidays are about family togetherness, and the Limited Edition Holiday Special Delivery will encourage and enhance that feeling with even more fun, laughter and play. If you are interested in subscribing for a year’s worth of Special Deliveries make sure you sign up by December 10th to guarantee that your Limited Edition Holiday Special Delivery will be under the tree. Gift idea is a Limited Edition Holiday Special Delivery (shipment in December), featuring products geared toward family togetherness and to enjoy the holidays with laughter and play (valued at $65).
2) A dual/family membership to NOMA to experience the arts at New Orleans Museum of Art is a wonderful gift to consider. Members at this level receive free admission for one adult, plus children or grandchildren under 17, in addition to a long list of discounts and perks. NOMA also has a ton of child friendly programing. Gift idea is one dual/family membership (valued at $75).
3) Louisiana Children’s Museum (the fabulous host of our 1st birthday party many of you attended) offers iconic exhibits ranging from the Winn-Dixie grocery store to the optometrist and the train table. If you haven’t been, you are missing out! We are fairly certain this is a museum that can keep your kids occupied on those hot summer days or year-round with their amazing programming. A family membership for a year of fun would be a wonderful gift to give. Gift idea is a Family One Membership (valued at $55).
4) The Parenting Center sits right on the gorgeous Audubon Park uptown (or within the JCC in Metairie) and has fun galore for New Orleans families. Do you know someone that is looking for a place to hang out with their children or grandchildren? Members of the Parenting Center can visit one of two playrooms, Uptown or Metairie, and attend weekly parent/child music and art experiences. Classes are also available for parents of children of all ages. Think topics like “Snuggles & Struggles” for those trying early days. Gift idea is a one year membership (valued at $100).
5) Christie Froom Photography offers the gift of memories with photography by this amazingly talented local mom. What family would not love to have a photographer present at their 2014 parties and events? Give the gift of priceless family photos. Gift idea is 2 hours of event photography for 2014 (valued at $450).
A Night Out in New Orleans
1) Creative Sitters is pretty much a mom’s dream come true. You may remember Teeny and her crew from our Easter Egg Hunt. As moms ourselves, we can think of no better gift than that of reliable childcare! Creative Sitters is available throughout the holiday season for traditional babysitting assignments, childcare at holiday parties, or they can even create a “kid zone” at your holiday party for all of your little guests. Several moms on our team regularly pay Creative Sitters to watch our children, so there is no better assurance than that. Gift idea is a 2 hour babysitting gift certificate (valued at $30).
2) Pearl Wine Co (see lots of you there tomorrow night!) is a great space to visit with friends for happy hour or to head with your significant other for a date night. We love that they serve free red beans on Tuesdays (yes, Tuesday), feature manicures and martinis on Mondays, and have lots of other great happy hours and wine tastings. Leora also has an amazing selection of wine and holiday gift baskets for all of your gift giving needs. They even offer delivery! Gift idea is a holiday gift basket of assorted wines (valued at $50) for pickup at Pearl Wine Co.
3) Blo is a fabulous blow dry bar located on Magazine Street (near Whole Foods) that will make any New Orleans woman feel absolutely fabulous. We had an absolute ball getting our hair done there before our 1st birthday party and received dozens of compliments. Looking to give (or receive) the gift of great hair for the holidays? Why not consider a gift card to Blo? Gift idea is a $35 gift card (one free blo out – this does not include tip and can only be used toward a service, not products).
For the Expectant New Orleans Mom
1) Loomed NOLA imports a wide variety of cloth textiles from Turkey (yes, the country!) including pestamels, dishcloths, scarves, robes and bedcovers. They also offer a unique product that is an amazing and luxurious gift for new moms: the Serendipity Pestamel. The Serendipity Pestamel is a baby swaddling blanket and nursing cover-up in one. Why purchase one of the known brands when you can have such a unique version from right here in New Orleans? The Serendipity also has a great weight and feel as a swaddling blanket, and it comes with the added benefit of being made from organic cotton, which will be uber soft next to sensitive baby skin. Gift idea is a Serendipity Pestamel (valued at $58).
2) NOLA Maternal Instincts is heaven on Earth. For real. If you are looking for a gift for an expectant mom, postpartum mom, new mom, yourself (yes, you deserve it) or any woman, these massages are an amazing treat. Once you’ve tried Jessica’s massages you are unlikely to go elsewhere – we promise! Gift idea is 60 minute massage (valued at $75).
3) A mom herself, Nurse Nikki offers services such as health consultations, lactation counseling, baby planning, and even provides private or group CPR classes. While we realize many people like to shop from a baby registry, this is a unique and practical gift that a new mom will relish for months after baby arrives. Gift idea is a Healthy Baby Bundle which includes Child and Infant CPR/Choking class for you and a partner/friend (pre-baby) AND 1 hour Lactation Counseling session after the baby arrives (valued at $130).
4) Zuka Baby specializes in natural parenting products such as cloth diapers, slings, carriers, nursing products, as well as natural toys. This holiday season they are carrying an awesome new line of toys by Hape that all have a retro feel, are made of renewable materials, and come with a little storybook, too. Gift idea is a Hape Smart Car and Driver (valued at $20).
5) Zizu Bijou provides parents and caregivers a fun environment to learn the ancient art of infant massage. Modern evidence-based research supports its many benefits for both adults and babies. Group classes and private sessions are available. Gift idea is the winner’s choice of a one hour private session or a series of two Balanced Baby group classes (each option is valued at $75).
Dress Them in New Orleans’ Finest
1) Angelique Kids, a boutique on Magazine Street right across from Blo, carries high quality, original and unique clothing for newborn through ages 16. They also carry nursery necessities, locally made keepsakes, shoes, toys and even maternity and transitional wear for moms. They are also one of the few local boutiques that carry the Tea collection, which we love! Gift idea is a gift certificate (valued at $50).
2) Four Girly Girls specializes in classic smocked clothing for both boys and girls. We think their holiday smocking options are pretty darn cute! Owned by two local moms, Melissa and Brooke also strive to offer some non-smocked and more original clothing choices as well. While we just met these two, we could not be more impressed with their responsiveness, professionalism and customer service. Gift idea is a gift certificate (valued at $35).
3) Nolafionnah, owned by a darling New Orleans mom of two girls, Jessica Ertel, offers amazing hand sewn works of art. Whether you desire something custom (she’s happy to do that) or one of her amazing creative designs (her turkeys were all the rage for Thanksgiving time) we are absolutely positive that you will be satisfied with your order from this local company. Gift idea is a gift certificate (valued at $40).
4) Smocktions carries adorable and uniquely New Orleans smocked attire. We know, we know: not all of you are fans of smocked clothing. But we know that lots of local moms love the look! Check out their Christmas Streetcar dress that they will be selling prior to the holidays. Gift idea is the winner’s choice of any item in stock (up to a $37.50 value).
5) Small Habit, started by local mom of 3, Lindsey Cifreo, hand sews fun and fresh skirts and clothing for your little ones! We don’t know about y’all, but we see her famous Saints skirts all over the city on Saints Sundays! Patterns are typically bright, fun and trendy, and the full skirts are simply adorable. Christmas tree pattern skirts and shirts would be a great holiday gift for the little girls on your list! (She makes shorts for boys, too). Gift idea is a gift certificate (valued at $50).
Uniquely New Orleans Stocking Stuffers
1) NOLA Tiles, owned by a New Orleans couple as a fun side business, creates lots of fun whimsical takes on our city’s famous street signs. The baby blue and light pink children’s NOLA Tiles are exclusively offered through New Orleans Moms Blog. Use them as Christmas ornaments, hang them around the house, or remove the ribbon and display on a small plate stand. Gift idea is one personalized NOLA Tiles plaque (valued at $25).
2) Haybands are the perfect stocking stuffer for the NOLA girl in your life this season. Whatever print or style of hair band you seek, most likely Haybands has it or they can create it for you custom. Check out the Haybands website for all of your hair accessory needs. Gift idea is a years worth of Haybands for every NOLA season (six sets valued at ~$70).
3) Theodent creates chocolate flavored toothpaste for kids. If you are struggling to get your kids to brush their teeth this could be a solution for you! Every kid on our team has tried it and most LOVE it. We thought this would be a creative and healthy stocking stuffer! Gift idea is a year’s supply of Theodent (valued at $60).
4) City Dining Cards and Drink Deck allow you to support locally owned food and drink establishments in New Orleans. Whether you’re creating a progressive dinner with friends or planning a lunch date and looking for the perfect spot, grab City Dining Cards featuring 50 $10 discounts to top locally owned restaurants and eateries. And, if you just can’t think of the next great spot to grab a drink. turn to Drink Deck New Orleans. From cocktails, to beers, to wines … they’ve created a bar crawl in a box featuring 50 free drinks to locally owned bars. At just $20/deck, these are the perfect stocking stuffer for the adults on your list! Fun bonus :: 5% of their proceeds go toward a local charity that has a significant impact on educating our youth: The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Gift idea is a set of both decks (valued at $40).
5) French Market Coffee is roasted right here in NOLA just a few miles from their namesake, the French Market. While chicory is always an awesome gift from NOLA, we love that French Market Coffee now comes in K cups, too! The perfect size for stocking stuffing! Gift idea is a French Market gift box (valued at $80).
6) BouDe, based right here in Louisiana, is touted as “the most convenient way to keep flushable wipes right where you need them.” This convenient container of wipes hangs under your toilet paper holder … can you say potty training genius? A few of us used this while we happened to be potty training and it was pure magic, though the convenience lasts well beyond potty training! BouDe can currently be purchased in Walgreens. Gift idea is a family pack of three boxes of BouDe (valued at ~$24).
For the Stylish New Orleanian
1) ALG Style is any woman’s dream come true. Whether you need someone to come into your closet and style you a la What Not To Wear or whether you’ve wished your entire life to have a personal shopper, these stylish girls have you covered. We realize that a service like this sounds unattainable and out of reach, but we assure you that it is NOT just for the rich and famous. Gift idea is a one hour outfitting session with the stylists and personal shoppers of ALG Style (valued at $100).
2) Hattie Sparks is a stylish boutique right off Maple Street uptown that carries an eclectic mix of casual yet luxurious clothing and accessories, as well as a large collection of unique home accent pieces. Visit Hattie Sparks to find a curated collection of hot local designers including Loomed NOLA, Krewe Du Optic, and chotskies from (although not local) Jonathan Adler. Don’t blame us when you spend your life savings in there, though! Hattie has truly created a unique and inspiring shopping experience. Gift idea is a Margaret Elizabeth square cut bangle in onyx (valued at $80).
3) Sarah Ott Designs creates NOLA themed jewelry, scarves, accessories and shirts for both adults and children. Her NOLA LOVE bangle bracelet is the perfect present for the stylish New Orleanian on your list. Whether you have a daughter going away to college or want to send a touch of NOLA love to a family member in another city, her gold bangle is a great holiday option. (Many of her creative offerings would also fit well in a stocking!) Gift idea is one NOLA LOVE bangle (valued at $26).
4) Kay-la Handbags creates fine crafted handbags, multi-tasking makeup bags (which are lined and serve great double-duty in diaper bags), as well as southern style t-shirts for adults and kids. They take custom orders and are passionate about creating fine bags that are suitable for any situation. Gift idea is a fall clutch (valued at $44).
Personalized Gifts from New Orleans
1) Pasketti offers affordable hand-stamped accessories personalized to your needs. We especially love their line of New Orleans themed charms. Her work would also make a fabulous gift for a grandmother or special woman on your list. Gift idea is a NOLA themed charm bracelet and a NOLA charm necklace of the winner’s choice (total value $25)
2) NOLA Baby Prints creates unique ceramic hand and footprints for babies and children. These unique ceramic impressions will be a keepsake that you, or even a grandparent, can cherish for a lifetime. Gretchen is also just about the sweetest woman you’ve ever met and truly pours her heart into these unique works of art. Gift idea is a full size fully customized plaque (valued at $89.95).
3) The Bead Shop truly has limitless possibilities for jewelry creation but we really love these birthstone necklaces. Customize one for yourself, with all of your babies’ special birthstones OR for a special mom friend or a grandmother! You could even make matching mother daughter necklaces with each other’s birthstones. All gemstones are genuine. All pieces are handmade. You can purchase now purchase for those on your list online or in the store. Gift idea is one birthstone necklace (valued at $15.99)
4) Design a Latte is the mecca of monogrammization (is that a word?). Let Design A Latte Boutique carry on the New Orleans tradition of our beloved Christmas icon, Mr. Bingle, with this personalized appliqué t-shirt. You can also accessorize for the holiday season with an adorable Mr. Bingle garden flag, a kitchen towel or a ruffle apron! Gift idea is a Mr. Bingle Personalized applique t-shirt (valued at $24).
5) Let’s pARTy NOLA specializes in custom invitations, personalized gift tags, handmade birthday supplies and gifts. We especially love their holiday photo props (hint: you’ll see them in photos from tomorrow’s evening at Pearl Wine), custom coloring books, personalized notepads, ribbon bound doodle pads, and of course Santa’s Magic Key (the perfect door hanging for a house without a chimney). Many of us have used her coloring pages as birthday party favors or classroom gifts (e.g. instead of Halloween or Valentine’s Day candy). Gift idea is a “It’s great to be a NOLA kid” A to Z coloring book (valued at $10), a doodle pad (valued at $8) and Santa’s Magic Key (valued at $8).
6) Origami Owl is a unique, personalized jewelry line. You choose a Living Locket and then fill the locket with charms that describe you … your family, your hobbies, your passions, your dreams. For a bit more flair, you can add crystal dangles, inspirational tags and more. Create a Living Locket that tells YOUR special story. Gift idea is a gift card (valued at $75).
Because a New Orleanian Never Shows Up Empty Handed
1) Sweet Olive Soap Works is a local soap maker with to-die-for soaps. Perfect as stocking stuffers or hostess gifts or “just because,” we love Sweet Olive Soap Works because they are local, smell amazing and are packaged adorably. Bonus points for any present that comes boxed so sweetly that it needs no wrapping paper. Gift idea is the Fleur de lis Collection Gift Box (valued at $19).
2) Frere Jean Louisiana Seasoning is a touch of our city for anyone on your holiday list. Louisiana is known for its seasonings, right? What better item to show up at a party with than a multi-pack of Fere Jean Louisiana Seasonings? Gift idea is one year’s worth of Fere Jean Louisiana Seasoning (three multi-packs, valued at $35 total).
3) NOLA Mom Print. We might be biased (because we created it) but we think our NOLA mom print would be a great hostess gift for all of those holiday parties you have to attend this year. It is available in a variety of sizes, and you could even add a cute frame to fancy it up! Gift idea is one 11×14 print (valued at $18).
4) Grove Street Press specializes in Letterpress, Design and Joie de Vivre. If you are a self-proclaimed “paper snob,” we assure you that this company will exceed your expectations. Based right here in New Orleans, they also just came out with a line of Christmas cards that allow for a family or holiday photo to be attached. Gift idea is a set of Personalized Equestrian Stationery (valued at $80).
5) KISSYFISH creates custom graphic design for your life. We love the unique NOLA-centric designs that this company creates: Storyland, carousels, zoo animals, streetcars and many more! Gift idea is a set of various New Orleans inspired notecards and gift tags (valued at $48).