Bliss Thru Shopping: Revisiting local favorites from 2014

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We love local stores.

We love New Year’s resolutions much less. Er. This year, loathe even comes to mind. (Yes, we need to exercise more, eat better, organize, get more sleep, spend wisely and have more fun. Hopefully, in 2015 we’ll hit at least three of those six. Fingers and knickers crossed.)

So instead of making resolutions in this, the last Bliss of 2014 — and, man, how did that happen? It was March five minutes ago — we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit some of our favorite local shops from 2014. You know, to reminisce. And to see what we’ve missed.

Like coleslaw-ready kelp. Finger-less gloves from Nepal. Double-entendre beer. (Because single-entendre is just so 2013.)

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Five stores. Two hours.

It’s go time.

* Heavy Seas’ Holy Sheet Ale, pint, The Vault, $10.49

The name is either a thinly veiled curse or a reverent allusion to the Holy Ghost. It probably depends on how much of it you drink.

* Arrogant Bastard Ale, pint, The Vault, no price tag

Because you don’t need to know the price.

Sorry, just channeling the amazingly named drink. It takes a deft hostess to gift or serve this. We aspire to such deftness.

* Fiore aged balsamic vinegars, 200 ml, The Vault, $12

In various flavors, including fig and vanilla. Lesson of the year: Vinegar lovingly aged up to 12 years is gourmet. Vinegar neglectfully aged up to seven years in our kitchen pantries is not.

* Gryffon Ridge salt, Forage Market, various prices 

Made in Dresden Mills, this salt has Maine cred. Certified by MOFGA, it’s got organic cred. And with flavors like black truffle, ghost pepper and Merlot, you get the gourmet cred. We have no idea how we missed this in our Foraging earlier this year. Truffle salt blinders, apparently.

* Ocean Approved slaw-cut kelp, 11 oz., Forage Market, $4.75

Add, um, mayo, carrots and all natural things? Bring this and you will have the most interesting side dish at your next dinner party, hands down. Tell them you waded into the ocean to pick it yourself and fought off a thresher shark — right before that recent mani-pedi — and you’ll own the room.

* Ricker Hill carbonated cider, six-pack, Forage Market, $8.65

A kind elf left some of this cider in the newsroom not too long ago, so we can personally attest to its awesomeness. Pour into a champagne glass and celebrate the New Year with a toast to all things bubbly and good.

* Lost Horizons hat or finger-less gloves, Bella Fiore, $33.50 each

Handmade in Nepal, these knit finger-less gloves and lined, ear-flap hats come in a variety of colors. They’re cool-looking but seem warm-wearing.    

* Yest black and purple tunic, Bella Fiore, $68

Rouched in the right spots, sleek in others, super cool. Bag Lady had never heard of the brand before, but a bit of keen detective work (um, OK, Google) finds it’s European. Most likely. Yest’s online prices are in euros and color is colour, so there’s that.

* Beaded bracelets with wooden clasps, Bella Fiore, $14

The carved, artsy wooden clasp takes it from being tween to office chic. There are very few pieces of jewelry that can say that.

* Curly Girl Design wall art, EllieAnna Purse, $22.50

Funky, colorful cartoon art likely to appeal to girls and ladies. One favorite features a room full of shoes and the quip, “Home is where you hang your heels up.” (Just ignore the dangling preposition and focus on the cute blue pumps.) 

* Decorative clothespins, EllieAnna Purse, 3 for $1

One side has been gussied up with plaids and other fun designs. So simple and just a little bit of extra fun whether you’re hanging laundry or pinching closed bags of chips.

* Nonslip elastic headbands, EllieAnna, $8

A ribbon on one side, a strip of velveteen on the other. For delicate noggins.

* Leetie Lovendale Lucite earrings, EllieAnna, $12

In greens, purples and you-name-it, chunky but understated.

* Wilton whoopie pie molds, Saucy Pots, $14

Struggle no more: Use this for uniform tops and bottoms. For the middles you’re on your own.

* Handmade children’s aprons, Saucy Pots, $12

Sewn by a local seamstress, these kid-sized aprons are adorable. In a variety of prints/themes — including tractors, dinosaurs, princesses, space and Hello Kitty — to appeal to a variety of kids.

Pair with:

* Nordicware kid-sized alligator rolling pin, Saucy Pots, $8.50

Warning: Do not approach unless you are ready to be awww’d.

* Baxter Brewing drinking glass, Saucy Pots, $8

Mason jar-esque with an exaggerated lip. Always a bit different, that Baxter.

Best find: 2014

It’s been a good year for us, and we hope it’s been a wonderful year for you. Here’s hoping 2015 is fabulous.

Think twice: About stopping in at Downtown Handmade & Vintage

Unfortunately, the cute little shop by Forage on Lisbon Street has closed. We hear she’s going to be selling online, but we have few other details. Abe Lincoln bandages and mustache on a stick, we’ll miss you.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who want to know what happened to the fingers in the finger-less gloves) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at baglady@sunjournal.com and shoppingsiren@sunjournal.com.

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