Some shops beckon subtly. It’s the cute cardigan in the window, the 70 percent off signs taped to the front door, the I-heard-Cindy-got-a-great-yurt-here. Then some beckon less subtly. Like shop owners who implore in e-mail, “Please check out us!” Twice. With a tasteful year or two between.
Chuck’s Corner would fall into that latter category. But still, it turns out, both in their notes to us and in signage, it’s a shop that seriously undersells itself. Located on Sabattus Street across from Hannaford, its outside says Beanie Babies, bawdy T-shirts and gag gifts. Sure, there’s that. But Bag Lady and Shopping Siren were amazed to find scads of adorable dollhouse furniture, more stuffed animals than you can shake a stick at and a promising line of nature-made products we’d never heard of.
Which was good. Because there was Mother’s Day to shop for.
• J.R. Watkins Natural Home Care Window Cleaner with “conscience-cleansing power,” 24 oz., $4.69
Bear with us here: We’re not proposing mom wash the windows on Mother’s Day. We’re proposing that you, non-mom, wash the windows for her. In pretty scents like lavender or aloe and green tea. And using short, non-streaking strokes, please. Purified water and coconut oil are two of the three listed ingredients.
After finding a wide offering from the J.R. Watkins line, we Googled and found it’s a 142-year-old company with an all-naturals flare in home, beauty and food. It all looked great. Though the imitation pineapple extract ($4.89 for a 2 oz. bottle at Chuck’s) might be slightly less naturally pineapple than one might first assume. Propylene glycol, mmm.
• London Fog traveling toiletries bag, $2
So handy for the mom, or the anyone, on the go. Fill with toothpaste, soap and brushes or hide a ticket to somewhere swank in one of the pouches. We’re always looking for hidden tickets. And gems. No luck yet.
• George W. Bush bobblehead doll, $12
Great for Mother’s Day because mom, um, likes … bobbleheads? Former presidents? Creepy-looking middle-age man dolls? We don’t know, but we’re sure she’ll love it. Also, please take a photo of the look on her face when she opens the box and send it to us.
• Wooden back massager, $4.95
Rollers on the end of a handle. So simple yet so likely to cause instant exclamations of, “Oh my god, that’s the best invention ever!” Must be gifted with the promise of at least an hour of free back-massaging labor. Hey, she labored for you.
• Umbrella hat, $1
Is your mom the silly sort? Will she find herself in the sun or rain in the coming months? Will she be attending any fairs? We have a winner.
Best find: Ty stuffed animals, various prices (mostly $6 to $11)
Super soft, super adorable. Camo Beanie Baby with dog tags for the military mom. Small, plush brown bear for the nature-loving mom. Rabbits, cats and dogs for the pet mom. Grab a stuffed animal, any stuffed animal. You can’t go wrong.
Think twice: “Super B*tch” pink embroidered ball cap, $8
Actual * not included. Mom’s special gift should never, ever require someone to replace a letter in an attempt to be tasteful.
Of note: Lobster compost
After mentioning Coast of Maine’s lobster compost in last week’s column (great for growing flowers and vegetables, drawn butter optional), Shopping Siren got an e-mail from Coast of Maine urging her to check out the company’s lobster compost video. Well, of course! We always love a good lobster compost video. In two minutes and 40 seconds we learned that lobster compost contains calcium, humic acid and is good for plants that like sweeter soil. Also, that tomatoes grown in lobster compost have beady eyes and wicked claws. You’ll have to watch for yourself to see if we’re only making that up.
Maine snubbed, stilettos out in cold
Good-Buy Girl and Bag Lady giddily stumbled into a Payless Shoe two weekends ago looking for the Christian Siriano shoe line that our favorite “Project Runway” winner designed for Payless … only to be told by a clerk that stores in Maine don’t carry them. Our best bet was, she said, online (where BOGO sales would still apply). Or Boston.
The injustice of it seared like a bare hand pressed on a hot burner. But for shoes.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who want to wish all doggy moms a Happy Mother’s Day) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.