Travel

Celebrate Small Business Saturday at These Dallas Shops

Make a big impact by shopping small.

Photo courtesy of Simply Elegant
Photo courtesy of Simply Elegant
Photo courtesy of Simply Elegant

Black Friday has taken all the joy out of the holiday season-unless getting into a physical altercation with somebody over a $150 big-screen TV sounds like fun to you. We’d much prefer a more civilized gift-buying experience and that’s why we’ll be waiting to do as much shopping as possible on November 27-AKA Small Business Saturday.

Taking place every year the day after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop local and support the little retailers that often struggle to keep their doors open. Sure, we realize you’re never going to find a handcrafted laptop made from locally sourced components at your favorite neighborhood boutique, but we all know when it’s appropriate to patronize big-box guys and when it’s time to throw your cash right at Mom and Pop themselves. Shopping small and local counts for restaurants and bars, too, so please keep that in mind when you break away from the Thanksgiving table this week for meals out with family and friends.

Of course, we encourage you to support the businesses listed below any time of year, warming your soul with the knowledge that you’re helping put money in the pockets of real people instead of funding a CEO’s sixth house or joyride to outer space. Expect everything from quirky gifts and fashion to spa services and cocktail kits perfect to satisfy everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Makers Connect
Makers Connect
Makers Connect

Makers Connect

East Dallas
Makers Connect near White Rock Lake and the Dallas Arboretum makes it easier than just about anywhere else to support local artisans with more than 65 makers selling their wares from a space on Garland Road, as well as the ability to order custom items in some cases. Best of all, they’re located right across the street from two other great indie businesses-Good Records and Aquarium Boutique-should you need a vinyl version of the Hamilton soundtrack or a giant angel fish tree-topper complete with its own goldfish bowl.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase gift cards online.

Photo courtesy of MIXY
Photo courtesy of MIXY
Photo courtesy of MIXY

MIXY

Multiple locations
Celebrate the season with a boozy concoction in hand thanks to this Dallas-based cocktail kit company. Within one Mason jar, you’ll find everything you need to craft a bar-worthy beverage (just add your own liquor from home or throw in a bottle if you’re giving it as a gift), including seasonal mulled wine, spiced cider, and other festive tipples.
How to support: Order online or purchase in-store at local outposts including Sample House, Favor The Kind, The T Shop, Patina Green Home & Market, Neighborhood Goods, UNT CoLab, and The Kitschy Cupboard.

Photo by Luis Martinez
Photo by Luis Martinez
Photo by Luis Martinez

Matthew Trent

Preston Center
If we’ve learned anything from that “Santa Baby” song, it’s that lots of people like a little bling under the tree. For more than 30 years, Matthew Trent has been cranking out extra special pieces (including classics like Romeo Hoops and Burnt Edge Dangles) that will surely put you way higher up on the Nice List this year.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Photo courtesy of Pilates Methodology
Photo courtesy of Pilates Methodology
Photo courtesy of Pilates Methodology

Pilates Methodology

State-Thomas
Give the gift of fitness (or get a jumpstart on New Year’s resolutions yourself) with private, semi-private, and small group classes that showcase traditional Pilates techniques at this mother and daughter-owned studio.
How to support: Book classes for yourself or purchase gift cards online.

Simply Elegant Dallas - Floral Design
Simply Elegant Dallas – Floral Design
Simply Elegant Dallas – Floral Design

Simply Elegant

Victory Park
Brighten up any room with floral bouquets from a shop known for tasteful-yet-creative arrangements, with many available for same-day delivery. Personalize your selection or snag a specially designed masterpiece featuring everything from succulents or orchids. Or give them a budget, opt for the Designer’s Choice, and prepare to be wowed with the results.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Karinwisemancollection
Karinwisemancollection
Karinwisemancollection

Karin Wiseman Collection & The Frocksy

Garland
You get two shops for the price of one at this fashionista one-stop-shop. At Karin Wiseman Collection, gather bagfuls of jewelry designed by the store’s namesake, plus vintage home decor, barware, and small gift items like candles, soaps, and lotions. Meanwhile, the Frocksy specializes in women’s vintage clothing and accessories. Enjoy goodie bags at participating Downtown Garland stores on Saturday, plus free bubbly and karaoke at these two concepts.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase Karin Wiseman online.

Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Cellar
Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Cellar
Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Cellar

Neighborhood Cellar

Bishop Arts District
Offering 10 years of sommelier experience, owner Ian Montgomery shares his love of wine while emphasizing affordable bottles. Shop for vintages to serve at holiday parties or dinners and enjoy a glass or two while you relax post-Black Friday.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

LUXURY ON LOVERS
LUXURY ON LOVERS
LUXURY ON LOVERS

Luxury on Lovers

Park Cities
Stop in to pamper yourself with services catered specifically to men or women and a few that anyone can enjoy, whether it’s a double glow facial or some Botox to freshen things up before party season commences. Gift certificates make it easy to treat others to a little relaxation or self-improvement. Plus, starting December 1, they’ll be running one 12 Days of Christmas special per day.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or book services and purchase gift cards online.

Deep Vellum Books

Deep Ellum
Remember IRL bookstores? The fine folks at Deep Vellum Books have been keeping the harder-to-find retail mainstay alive since 2013, highlighting books published under their own imprint. Buy a custom mug and receive a free cup of coffee or tea while you meander through the store and soak in all that new-book smell.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Weed Spot
Weed Spot
Weed Spot

The Weed Spot

Bishop Arts District
The name says it all. Sure, marijuana isn’t legal in these parts, but CBD in its many relaxing forms (including Delta-8 and Delta-10) can be purchased almost anywhere. This fun Bishop Arts destination specializes in everything from body products and novelties to edibles and drinkables like CBD-infused coffee and tea beverages for enjoyment while you’re in the shop or to take home.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Tapelenders

Oak Lawn
Located in the heart of the gayborhood, this enduring gift shop has transitioned from the heyday of VHS and DVD rentals to a go-to spot for funny, kitschy merchandise, rainbow-themed everything, men’s underwear and swimwear, plus all sorts of intimacy products for every possible sexual orientation, LGBTQ+ or otherwise. You might even still find a video or two lying around.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping.

Photo by Jane Kim
Photo by Jane Kim
Photo by Jane Kim

Biagio Wine & Spirits

Victory Park
Discover more than bottles of wine and spirits (though they have plenty of those) by customizing your order, selecting a carefully curated gift basket, or scoring local delivery for parties of any size. This locally owned shop packs a potent punch into its smaller-than-the-chain-stores operation and their knowledgeable staff can help you discover an unexpected joy under just about any screw cap and cork.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Photo courtesy of SculptHouse Dallas
Photo courtesy of SculptHouse Dallas
Photo courtesy of SculptHouse Dallas

SculptHouse Dallas

Inwood Village
Save up to 75% this weekend on a variety of items, including athleisure clothing for men and women (including their wildly popular fringe sneakers), as well as a nice selection of gift items. Gift cards for boutique shopping as well as on-site CardioSculpt or StrengthSculpt workout classes are also available.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase gift certificates and book classes online.

Photo courtesy of Vivi's Victory Park
Photo courtesy of Vivi’s Victory Park
Photo courtesy of Vivi’s Victory Park

Vivi’s Victory Park

Victory Park
Vivi’s is a locally-owned shop that caters to all of their clientele’s needs, carrying an assortment of products from clothing to meet every mood and one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and loved ones to pet toys and adorable accessories. They also provide in-store monogramming, gift wrapping, and more.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase online.

Photo courtesy of Black Optical
Photo courtesy of Black Optical
Photo courtesy of Black Optical

Black Optical

Knox District
Do you see what I see? Those aren’t just the lyrics to the song, but the inspiration behind sunglasses and other eyesight-related gifts from luxury eyewear brand Black Optical. After all, we can pretty much guarantee that giving someone a gift card for a new pair of prescription or non-prescription beauties will be both memorable and practical.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or purchase gift cards online.

Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.

Village Baking Co.

Knox District; Lower Greenville
Show up to any holiday event with a gorgeous Chocolate Truffle Cake or other patisserie item and you’ll be loved by all in attendance. And if you’re always the person delegated to bring the dinner rolls, awe the haters with the most delightful loaves, whether baguettes, spicy jalapeño-cheddar, or Meyer lemon-rosemary.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping.

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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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