Thursday, November 3, 2011

Santa Shops the 'Burgh (Shopping Local for the Holidays) - Penhollows

It's around this time of year that family emails start to fly about who got what for who (whom?) this Christmas.  I'm going to be the first to admit, that I am grotesquely lucky to be a part of a family who both wants to, and can afford to be this generous come holiday time.  I count my blessings every day, and never take it for granted.
That being said, a girl gets a little stressed as the tally begins to pile up, and my Christmas present closet (Yes, I have one of those. Please don't judge) remains bare.  This year not only have I gotten a head start, but I am also trying a little experiment; buying all gifts from locally owned shops.  Yes, it's a little less convenient than whipping through the Amazon Wish Lists at the eleventh hour and taking advantage of free prime shipping, but it is an inconvenience that is far less than not being able to put any gifts under the tree at all.  


My first stop was close to home, yet it was only the second time I had set  foot inside the door.  Shame on me.  Penhollows is the perfect place for those stuck on the "impossible to buy for" people on their lists.  I have a number of those. I won't name names (ahem, dad), but they are always the last ones checked off.  How could you not find something in a store that looks like this!


Penhollows has definitely evolved over the course of its last four years on popular South Highland Avenue in Shadyside.  Originally,their offerings leaned heavily toward books and vintage items sourced primarily from New England Auctions.  Although both of those categories still have a heavy presence in the store, new items inspired by owner Roger's travels across the country (New York in particular) now round out the amazing selection.  In addition to the Home Store, Penhollows also operates a Design Center next door, open Tuesday-Thursday and by appointment.  Adding to the atmosphere, their current Art Show features the work of Pittsburgh native Virgil Cantini, a prominent local artist who worked in a variety of mediums.  A trunk show will be transitioning the store into the holidays.  mmulberry Jewelry (designed by local artist Mary Navarro) opens this weekend with a reception on Friday 11/4 from 5-8PM, and carries on through Saturday 11/5 from 11-5PM, and Sunday 11/6 from 12-4PM.  Select pieces from the collection will be available throughout the holidays.  Of course, there are still those books.....




Now, lets get back to some shopping.

This year, I'm totally delighted that my "impossible to buy for" person was the first one checked off of my list! (Hey dad, that means if you are reading this SPOILER WARNING)........



For Dad
Whiskey Stones. $25 for a set of stones, $60 for a set of stones plus tumblers
Diluted Whiskey = Bad.  Use these chilled stones to keep your spirit pure.  Literally.  I may accompany these with a bottle of Aged Rye from Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District.  Boom.  I'm a "rock" star.



For a family
Fire Starters. $38 for a box of 20
Each year we try to out-do ourselves with a themed gift for each of the families of the BF's five siblings (that means 15 nieces and nephews, many of whom  have also started families of their own!). These fire-starters come adorably packaged in a "dynamite" box and will be the perfect gift along with the makings for some S'Mores (with Marshmallows from the Marshmallow Factory of course!)



For the Hostess
Scented Soaps $10/ea.  Soap Dish $16
These quaint soaps will make the perfect gift for my friend who throws the greatest party every year!  Hand-made by a Bronx florist right down to the paper wrapping, the holiday scents are incredible.  One whiff of the Frankincense and Myrrh and the floodgates will open for all of your Holiday memories to pour right in.  Plus, at only $26 for the soap and dish combined, you're thoughtful, but not broke!



For Grams
Floris Sandalwood Patchouli Candle $60
Even though they are one of the oldest perfumers in the world, $60 for a candle is a luxury that few of us would indulge in for ourselves.  That's what makes this Floris candle the perfect gift for the person who likely has spoiled you all of your life, and deserves a little luxury of their own.



For the Biggest Pittsburgh Cheerleader (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.)
Pittsburgh-themed Decoupage Plates -$40-$195
Created by Decoupage artist Carol Kaas exclusively for Penhollows, these whimsical takes on Pittsburgh's eccentricities are the ideal gift for the 'Burgh fan in your life.  I can't imagine who that might be.......



Penhollows is located at 244A South Highland Avenue in Shadyside.  Their hours are Monday through Saturday from 11am-5pm and Sundays from 12pm-4pm.  They release a great gift guide every holiday, so if you can't make the trip in, be sure to get onto their mailing list pronto by calling 412-665-0767 or visiting their website.


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