Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Second Saturday: April 2010

Spring seems confused in Sacramento.

We kicked off April with a wet and dreary Easter Sunday. Mother Nature followed that up with gray skies and chilly breezes for Second Saturday.

Second Saturday in Midtown Sacramento

Still, it looked like Midtown businesses, galleries and outdoor vendors got a decent amount of traffic from this monthly shopping affair.

Outside of Plum Blossom


Things That Are Useful: Landscaping Edition

I don’t want to brag or anything, but generally, I’m a pretty good googler. I find stuff. I mean, it’s not rocket-science to type in a sentence describing what you want to find and hitting “enter” right?

Enter my lame problem: we’re trying to figure out what to plant in our dang yard. I don’t do plants. I know the names of the handful of things I find pretty (ooh, a rose – yeah, I got that one nailed), but past that, not so much.   I suppose an afternoon with a camera or paper and pen at an actual nursery would’ve proved useful, but that requires leaving the house. No good.

Finally, after fruitless google searches (lots of ads out there, not so much info), I flickr searched my way to the oracle of local landscaping flora. 

So this is a public Thank You to Green Acres Nursery and Supply (Roseville and Sacramento) for having what seems to be a comprehensive set of photos and names and even growing tips and specifications for Stuff You Might Like In Your Yard.  Helpful and pretty, too.  Excellent use of flickr resources!

Local gifts at a big box store? Who knew.

While making an infrequent bulk-supply run at Costco the other day, I was surprised to see for sale gift cards for the Paragary Restaurant Group – that’s places like Paragary’s, Spataro, Esquire, and R15.  The cards, sold in packs of two $50 cards for around $75, give you a discount on a night out and give you a chance to support a more-or-less local business. (I say more-or-less not because there’s any question that it’s local, just because I think “local business” conjures up an image of a more struggling mom-and-pop operation than Randy Paragary’s Sacto restaurant mafia.)

I didn’t expect to find the local fare among the many gift cards Costco offers at a discount (stuff like movies, Starbucks, etc).  Good idea though.  And who doesn’t appreciate a discount – the Dow just fell below 8000! Ack. Be frugal. Happy Slim Holidays.

Corti Bros. is safe for now

As you’ve probably heard. However, I was suprised to learn just how far Corti’s reach went: all the way to the Bay Area and beyond and into the hearts, minds, and kitchens of some of California’s leading epicureans.  Didn’t know what we had until it was (almost) gone.



I did a quick search of the blog, and I can’t believe no one has mentioned Beers Books before. They’re at 915 S Street, right between 9th & 10th. This puts them across the street from tasty Chinese food at Gam Lei Sig and right by several bars. This was all a big part of me moving into the neighborhood, let me tell you.

In particular I’d like to talk about their “sidewalk sale”. One of the things I love about warmer months is biking past Beers on my way home from work and looking through new $1 hardcovers and 50 cent paperbacks. Just this week I picked up hardcovers, in decent shape, of The Confusion and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell for $1 each.

If you’re in the neighborhood, I recommend checking the place out.

The faces of Safeway: same map, different feel

Last night I stopped at the Safeway on Del Paso Road to pick up a few items. I regularly frequent the newer R Street Safeway (the one with the horse), and figured this one on Del Paso Road would be similar.

The similarities were eerie. Every aisle was pretty much a twin of the R Street, although Del Paso had much more room to maneuver. The Del Paso site also had a teeny bit more product–particularly in the vitamin/weight loss aisle. (Hmmm?)

What interested me more were the differences. The Del Paso store was nearly empty at 9 PM, and there was beaucoup parking. Lighting was dim. Store patrons walked as if you should move out of the way in an empty aisle–synonymous with the gas guzzling behemothic vehicles that hog the road sprawling in a nearly empty parking lot. It was a Safeway for zombies…look out Frankenstein!!

I think the Horsy Safeway is much livelier, friendlier, and just more of a busy beehive. I’ll skip the Del Paso ghost town Safeway in the future, thank you, and support my midtown fave.

Records for DVD’s

Records houses an extensive collection of LPs, and with a name like “Records,” you’d expect that. What you wouldn’t expect, or I didn’t at least, was there library of movies. Interested in Ki-duk Kim’s Bad Guy, Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, Chan-wook Park’s Lady Vengence, or Tetsuro Takeuchi’s Wild Zero? I wasn’t either, until I happened upon them in Records. If you want a movie that’s… well… odd, go to Records. They do odd. And, they’re all rentals! So if you hate the movie you’re only out three bucks.

Records offers those cinematic peculiarities Blockbuster and Hollywood don’t have the space to house. Peruse their shelves, and you’ll find some gems mixed in with some “what-the-hell-is-this-schlock.”

This Peacock has dignity: Royal Peacock speaks

I’ve been out of town, so when I came back and opened my inbox, I found this passionate letter, waiting to be approved as a comment on my earlier blog about midtown tattoo shops. I guess there’s a hierarchy of shops…unbeknownst to moi, the tattoo-shop-critic amateur. And believe me, I’ll be the first to say I am no expert on these shops. I walk by, I read the sign, I make a judgment based on what I see…from the outside. I noted the seemingly excessive amount of tattoo parlors in midtown, and in passing singled out one of the newer, more visible shops. This elicited the following letter (copied verbatim from my inbox):

The British Are Coming! To A Target Near You, Apparently

It kinda snuck up on me last week.

I was strolling through the Target on Riverside, picking up some odds and ends, and found myself in the cosmetics department, pondering whether I wanted to waste more money on eye shadow I’ll never wear. The cosmetics section – as you may or may not know – is generally divded by brand: Revlon, Cover Girl, Neutrogena . . . Boots.


Yep – there above the kiosk was this logo:


I didn’t realize it was out of place until I placed it in my mind: Boots is a British drugstore chain – or “chemist” as they call ’em in old Blighty – that sells all manner of products, including its own brands. Now Target’s got ’em, which has the British ex-pat community chattering with delight.

I’ve never really shopped at Boots when I’ve been in England, so I can’t imagine starting to go brand-crazy now. But if you’ve always wanted rosy English cheeks and perfectly British-moisterized skin (and didn’t feel like saving money on the discount Kate-Moss-hawked Rimmel brand), then you may be in luck!

Now, if only they’d stock products from Superdrug*:


Because their logo is cooler and I can’t say the name without saying like superfly or superstar – with all the inflection those superwords require.

Tattoo shops squared: Midtown

It is with great regret that I noticed the Unicef store on P Street is closing, and the shop has a sign “For Rent” in the window. The regret I feel is that I have walked by that store a thousand or more times in the last 8 or 9 years, thought it looked interesting, but never went in. If you’re at all like me, then no wonder they’re closing.

Meanwhile, the tattoo place next door to Unicef is still open. There is also a new tattoo shop open just down the street at 21st and P. It’s called…”The Royal Peacock”. Hmmm, decidedly fitting moniker.

But this prompts me to ask: how many tattoo shops can you have per square mile? Isn’t there a limit? (It’s one of those questions like ‘how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin?’) Don’t forget the body piercing/tattoo shop down here on 29th and S as well.

Here’s a novel idea (or not) for an all-in-one Midtown Shop Extravaganza: open a tattoo shop that sells gourmet coffee, hamburgers, and sushi. Massage and yoga available for extra. And maybe you can get a Britney (i.e. head shaving) while you wait.

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