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“Compassion is a verb” at Left Bank Books

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books   Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books

Turns out this idea began when Spike the Left Bank Books cat was ill. According to co-proprietor Jarek Steele: “We’ve only had the coats outside for a couple of weeks on and off. It started when I was on my way back from getting medicine for Spike just before he died. I was feeling pretty low & sort of staring into middle distance at a stoplight when I saw a rack outside a clothing store on Delmar (I think). It seemed like such a simple kindness, such a profound singular thing. Then I remembered we have an old tshirt display in our basement.
The next morning I stopped by St. Vincent De Paul on my way to work and bought 7 or 8 coats to give away.
The clerk was frazzled. It was just before Christmas. I waited in line and when I finally reached her we looked at each other, then the coats.
She started to tell me about her dad dying and how that foiled her plan to give away coats to the homeless this year. It seemed like this was a sign from the universe to slow down and listen so I did. We talked for about 15 minutes and when I left I knew this was a way we as a store could mourn Spike, honor the cashier’s loss and do something very quiet and simple that made things just a little easier for someone.
Within a day all the coats were gone. We’ve bought more and had some donated. I hope it helps.
Thanks and take care. Jarek”

A few more holiday gifts to consider

At The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson Ave.,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery crave the cup Bissinger's

How about a gift that keeps on giving for as many months as you desire? Alex Head, proprietor of The Vino Gallery, has started a Wine Club, which is sure to make your favorite someone bubble over with happiness.

There are two categories to choose from: Classic, $35 a month for 2 bottles of wine valued at $20 each, and Reserva, $75 a month for 2 bottles valued at $40 each. On the order form, see below, there is a wine preferences section so Alex and his staff can match your tastes with the perfect bottles from their collection of small batch wines from all over the world.

Wine Club members also receive 10% off purchases, 15% off cases (12 bottles), and 15% off at Vino’s Wine Bar.

Check Vino Gallery’s website for more information or follow this link to get a gift membership started.

At Bissinger’s, 32 Maryland Plaza,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery crave the cup Bissinger's

There are lots of last-minute gifts to choose at Bissinger’s CWE location including, clockwise from left: a keepsake holiday house filled with a 17-piece assortment of Bissinger’s hand-made candies, $30; 4″ milk chocolate Santas wrapped up with a big red bow, $5; Hand-painted Saint Nick, $19; A bag of foil-wrapped solid chocolate holiday presents, $25; old-fashioned Nonpareils, $29; and center, an 8-piece dark chocolate peppermint crème collection, $13.

Visit Bissinger’s website for hours and more gift ideas.

At The Cup, 28 Maryland Plaza Rear,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery crave the cup Bissinger's

Any combination of delicious holiday cupcakes from The Cup would be an easy choice for your holiday gathering. There’s a gingerbread cupcake decorated with a tiny gingerbread man cookie that’s topped with whipped cream frosting, and a delicious-looking “raspberry beret” beauty too, $2.95 each, $33 per dozen.

Limited edition cupcakes are $3.45 each (take a peek at these on the website), and check out gluten-free flavors too. The cupcake stand in the photograph is available for rent, and The Cup has lined up several delivery services too. What could be more convenient than that?

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  The Vino Gallery crave the cup Bissinger's

The Cup has expanded its gift selection to include party decorations, and nestled among them are old-fashioned Christmas stockings,$6.95, and an assortment of holiday-themed tea towels, $6.95, too.

Enjoy the holidays everyone!

A holiday gift guide for procrastinators Part II

Not surprisingly, Todd Lannom and Ginny Stewart, co-owners of Centro, 4727 McPherson Ave., have taken the minimalist approach to making gift shopping easy. There are simply three plywood tables at the front of the shop filled with beautifully designed, unusual gifts. Two tables hold items made in America, the third, selections from Italy.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Almost everything on the American table, above, was designed by artisans located in Brooklyn. Front: AreaWear by Bower designs clever geometric trivets that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The larger herringbone shapes, front, are $35 each. The smaller tiles far left (made of wood) and right, can be mixed and matched and used as individual coasters too, $18.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Top left: American designer David Weeks’ beechwood gorilla, $100, and bear, $90, have movable parts. The Balancing Block dog at the top of the photo is a Snake Block®, a classic toy composed of 24 wooden triangles with an elastic band throughout, $48.  Top right: Balancing Blocks wooden shapes from Fort Standard are also $48.

Bottom photos: The latest in art lamps: “Filo” from Foscarini with glass ornaments comes in 8 different color palates, $550. Right: Decorative American-made outlets with 3 different cord lengths are handsome enough to leave in full view. Some have USB ports as well, $59 to $179.

Check Centro’s website for more information.

Don’t pout if you still need holiday cards, gift bags, or gift wrap. You’ll find them at Cassie’s, 316 N. Euclid.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

From top: Boxes of Papyrus holiday cards are $14.95 to $24.95, Right: a large selection of holiday gift wrapping paper ranges from $8.95 to $9.95: Bottom: Gift bags are $4.50 and up. Cassies also has a perfume bar where you can create your own scents, see bottles above.

Head to Cassie’s website for hours and more information.

The Candle Fusion Studio, 4742 McPherson Ave., below,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Top left: At The Candle Fusion you can purchase ready-made holiday candles in scents such as Cozy Fireside, $22, Holiday Ale, Balsam Fir, Cranberry, Gingerbread, and Candy Cane, $18 each. Top right: Or you can blend your own scents to create your own candle.

Bottom: You can choose from a variety of glass jars and scented oils to create the perfect gift.

The shop does a brisk business hosting candle-making parties. For more information, visit The Candle Fusion website.

At Enchanting Embellishments, 4732 McPherson Ave.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Left: A show-stopping faux-fur vest from Furious Fur in shades of beige to brown is $129.95; colorfully patterned socks from Sock Smith for men & women range from $9.95 to $19.95.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

At Enchanting Embellishments, you’ll find zany Betsy Johnson Holiday Purses, $89.95.

Visit the website for more information.

At Shelton Davis, 4724 McPherson Ave.,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

you’ll find a selection of English tea caddies as old as King George I or George II, spanning the 18th to 19th century, $800 to $1200. Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Clockwise from top: Antique Venetian Glass bedside water carafe with glass lid, $145; a pair of French Art Deco jeweled perfume bottles, $375; English cut glass round perfume bottle with sterling silver top, $150; cut crystal perfume bottles with sterling silver tops, $275.

Visit Shelton Davis website for more information.

World Chess Hall of Fame carries a wide variety of gift items, and this Saturday everything is 20% off:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Left: Jaunty bow ties by Cyberoptix, $50. Right: Chess sets include top left: a 14″ folding magnetic set with travel pouch $119, WCHOF member price: $95.20, top right, 7 1/2″ square magnetic chess set, $59, member price, $47.20, and front, 10 x 5″ magnetic chess set, $79, member price $63.20.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Left: Ball point pens disguised as quill pens with stand, $12. Right: There is a large selection of children’s toys at WCHOF including top left: Ogobolli Rattles, $11 each; 6-piece Pound & Tap Bench for age 12 months, $33; and a magnetic puzzle for age 24 months, $28.

Check out World Chess Hall of Fame’s website for more information.

At Mike’s Bikes, 324 N. Euclid,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

Top: Striders for ages 2 to 5 years are $120, and bottom photo: Pop some batteries into Kazam “blinkies,” $100, and the trail will blaze as they push ahead.

Visit Mikes Bikes website for more information.

Wolfgang’s Pet Stop, 330 N. Euclid,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  World Chess Hall of Fame Wolfgang's Pet Stop Shelton Davis Mike's Bikes Enchanting Embellishments Centro Cassie's Scents Candle Fusion Studio

An assortment of freshly-baked holiday-themed dog cookies will be a welcomed treat for your four-legged friend this Christmas. Mix & match organic peanut butter, honey, and oatmeal, or choose one with liver, 4 for $5.

Wolfgang’s is also offering a small group (4-5 dogs) 1-hour dog training class on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. starting January 19, $150 (five sessions). For more information click here.

Don’t miss the last of this year’s Window Walk festivities taking place this Saturday, December 22.

Shop local and have a wonderful Holiday everyone!