3030 University Avenue, San Diego
Self-described as a “functional goods, kitchen essentials, tabletop decorations, and gifts” boutique, Kaleidoscope opened in May by two retail mavens with more than 20 years’ experience and whom designed the original, very adorable sock change purse that has sold millions. Becki & Lee have succeeded in creating a vibrant, well-curated shop geared toward those looking for something unique but not wanting to break their piggy bank. French Bull’s patterned lazy susans and Romero Britto’s multicolored ceramic teaware comingle with Wild Woolies’ felt birdhouses and quirky, specialty books. Fantastic kid, pet, and clearance sections round out the selection of merchandise.
3925 Fourth Ave, San Diego
Think vegan, gluten-free cookies, pies, cupcakes, lemon bars, caramels, and fudge brownies worthy of second and third bites, and possibly hoarding to yourself aren’t possible? Thirty-year-old Jaime Schwartz, and her ecstatic customers, say otherwise. Since 2011, she has succeeded in turning Starry Lane into the country, corner-store bakery of her own allergy-ridden dreams. It’s a dream that has evolved with her customers’ desires — providing more varieties of chocolates, for instance, and candies and cookies around the holidays. Jaime’s kitchen is completely nut-, soy-, and dairy-free, and she buys ingredients from vendors who use those same practices, so you can indulge worry-free.
1029 University Avenue, San Diego
Rocking bed and other things
What happens when you win HGTV’s White Room Challenge? Well, in Burnz Fernandez’s case, he finally mustered up the confidence to open a store called establish. — his own “home & lifestyle studio.” Among the cylindrical-framed rocking bed, salvaged lantern, men’s jewelry, and embroidered footstools lay other things you want to buy. It’s all here: classic, collectible pop-up books; sweet yet sassy greeting cards; Fishs Eddy tabletop accessories; messenger bags made from used bicycle tubes; thomaspaul’s traditional-patterned melanine platters; colored, retro glassware; vintage typewriter laptop sleeves; and even child-sized, flat-packed, cardboard airplanes and racecars.
121 Broadway, San Diego
Let there be nutcracking
City Ballet of San Diego’s annual tradition of performing The Nutcracker lives to see a 19th year. Providing live musical accompaniment to Tchaikovsky’s classic and seasonally appropriate ballet will be the City Ballet Orchestra and Pacific Coast Chorus. Running from December 12–24, toes will be en pointe for a total of 12 performances with tickets ranging from $29 to $79. The price should be worth it. City Ballet’s performance will keep those visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing in your head well after the night before Christmas.
3013 University Avenue, San Diego
Brian Beevers, of Brian’s Farmers’ Markets fame, opened his second Simply Local store in November in North Park — to the delight of the throngs who are in L-O-V-E-love with the first location in Seaport Village’s the Headquarters. A touch smaller, the new North Park shop still carries thousands of items from more than 50 San Diego County vendors. The selection is vast: from pretzel caramels to Bella Vado’s organic avocado-oil products, intricately woven pendants to metal-smithed bracelets, tees and frocks to the softest Alpaca-made stuffed animals, and Aunt Be Botanical’s skin serums to Valazoz’s super affordable acrylic photo transfers on wood.
2232 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
Don’t miss the healy-feely section
When Scott the Gem Guy, certified gemologist, opened his doors in February, he had but one wish, “Make it Awesome.” Voilà, Cave of Wonders was born. Its strong jewelry presence consists of raw coral necklaces, turquoise cuffs, lots of jade, and even ethically harvested butterfly-wing earrings. There are gemstone wands for gem-charged water and a “healy-feely” section of polished gemstones and crystals. Then there’s the signed Princess Leia action figure, the Goonies movie playing on repeat, and petrified turtle poo. See, lots of awesome. Ask nicely and maybe you’ll get a credit on their 1981 Pac-Man arcade game.