A new decade is right around the corner! I don’t know about you but New Years Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year. NYE is going to be full of excitement for what is to come in 2020 and there is no better way to ring in the new year than with an incredible outfit and great company. Annapolis Towne Centre has you covered for all of your parties from Roaring 20’s themed to watching the ball drop at home with friends. I scoured Boutique Rowe for the most glitzy, sparkly, shiny pieces sure to impress at your New Years Eve party.

I started my search at South Moon Under and was pleasantly surprised at how many sequins I found throughout the store. I was like a kid in a candy store, there were so many options. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong as long as you sparkle it up. I love shopping in South Moon Under because they also carry the appropriate undergarments and shoes you may need. My favorite pieces I found included this amazing two piece glitter set and this colorful sequin mini dress. Layer your outfit with a faux fur coat for an elevated look or dress down a sparkle top with fun flare pants, jeans and a casual jacket. It completely depends on your plans!   

Next, I walked over to Scout and Molly’s, a boutique next to the Baltimore Coffee shop. As a boutique that carries small amounts of the most special stylish pieces you can find around Annapolis, they are a must stop along the way. I’m always impressed by the unique designers they have in the store. Currently, they have the most incredible hand made designer statement earrings that are sure to add flare to any of your outfits. I tried a few pairs on with some pretty metallic and glittery tops. One of my favorite items in this store were a pair of tailored bright red pants. They were perfectly festive and would look fabulous with almost any metallic top. Scout and Mollys is having a great sale right now including some jackets that could be a great addition to any NYE outfit.

Image courtesy of the author

Last on my tour was Anthropologie. If you have any 20’s themed parties to go to this New Year, this is a great place to start. They always have trendy, yet timeless pieces. In the back section of their store I found some fun sequin midi length skirts that can be paired with a unique top such as this feathery looking tank. Their headbands are always some of my favorite accessories and I found a few super cute metallic ones to add to your look. My favorite outfit of the day ended up being a comfortable yet super holiday appropriate sequin tee shirt dress from Anthropology. It can be worn with tights and boots or with heels and a long coat over top. 

Image courtesy of the author

I absolutely love going out with a big bang on December 31st each year. Especially wearing something extra fabulous that you are sure to find at Annapolis Towne Centre! 

 

Blog written by Stephanie Nielsen.

The holiday season has arrived, and that means spending time with friends and family over good food and even better cocktails. Mix up some special drinks to serve at a holiday party or for a nightcap in front of a cozy fire. With a few staple items, simple recipes, and that perfect glass, you can add a few more traditions to your holiday festivities. 

Holiday Cocktail Bars

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Stock up on a few stable items that will get you through the holidays. Stop by Bin 201 Wine Sellers to fill your cabinet with plenty of holiday cheer! For most seasonal recipes, you won’t regret having vanilla vodka, bourbon, gin and wine on hand. And luckily Target, Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond carry all of the added mixers and ingredients to shake up your cocktail game.

Holiday Cocktails

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Recipes

Add a bit of sugar and spice to your cocktail menu this holiday season. Here’s a selection of simple, crowd-pleasing recipes that are guaranteed to get you in the spirit.

If you’re looking for some bar tools that are festive for the season, check out Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Pier 1 for a wide selection of mixers, muddlers and glassware. For a bit more of an extravagant look, stores such as Anthropologie and Paper Source are the perfect one-stop shops for unique pieces to adorn your home bar.

Holiday Cocktails

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Shake it up this year with some specialty cocktails that are simple enough to make at home. Whether it’s ingredients, shaker or fun glassware, you can find everything that you’ll need in the Annapolis Towne Centre.

 

Blog written by Kristin Dyak.

Lights, music, delicious food, and smiling crowds — everything you expect to see at an Annapolis Towne Centre event. Ever since their Summer Concerts, the Towne Centre has made it a point to keep the events coming, each time bigger and better than the last. And the close out of the year was no different. Fall Fest was fun for the whole family, the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony was truly magical, and Fire & Ice…well, keep reading.

Fire & Ice.

Image courtesy of Drawn To The Image.

Fire & Ice went above and beyond expectations in terms of entertainment by featuring light shows, live ice sculpting, stilt walkers, the LED Hoop Troupe, glass blowers… you get the gist. There was no holding back. Not to mention the delicious food trucks with everything from specialty pretzels to milk and cookies, and (if you were feeling DIY) s’mores pits. They were sure to include their iconic beer and wine garden featuring wine, lagers, and whiskey from Gordon Biersch.

Fire & Ice

Image courtesy of Drawn To The Image.

Guests of the event remained entertained throughout the night with the heavy mash-up of activities and demonstrations. While sipping on your hot cocoa, you could participate in snowflake ornament decorating and gingerbread craft decorating. Not to mention, there were many ways to document all of the fun times! A spectacular Fire & Ice throne was featured, drawing a line of eager attendees down the green ready to say cheese (or, in this case – FREEZE)! Plus, guests were also given the chance to take their picture at Santa’s Cottage. Now, this is not your standard meet and greet with Ol’ Saint Nick. 

Fire & Ice

Image courtesy of Drawn To The Image.

Every night from now to December 24, visitors of the cottage can enjoy a light dusting of live snow as they get crafty with seasonal activities, snack on holiday goodies, and pose for a special photo-op with the big man himself! The set-up is beautiful, and the perfect backdrop for this year’s Christmas card photos. 

Fire & Ice

Image courtesy of the author.

One of the highlights of the night — there was no reason to be stressed about parking. As a gift from the Annapolis Towne Centre, they offered complimentary valet parking with their Holiday Valet Lounge, presented by Brothers Services. This allowed all attendees to enjoy the festivities and warm-up as they waited for their car. 

Although this was their last event of 2019, the Annapolis Towne Centre has bigger and better things coming soon. Definitely stay tuned!

 

Blog by Lu Foster.

No Christmas gift stays closer to the recipient’s heart for years to come than one made by the giver’s hand.  Whether you are a clever or a clumsy crafter, a little help from the shops at Annapolis Towne Centre can enable you to make something memorable for a special friend, colleague, or family member or for the whole clan.  If your creative spirit leans more toward holiday décor or if it’s your child who is the craftsperson, the Towne Centre has that covered too.

Figuring out what to make is the first and biggest step in crafting gifts or décor, and several shops at ATC offer great ideas for projects of all sizes and degrees of complexity. A stroll through the Annapolis Art Alliance’s Pop-up Shop can provide inspiration and more because its clerks are artists whose work is displayed in the shop, and they can give you advice tailored to your skill level on various projects.  The only risk to visiting the Pop-up Shop is that you might also find some excellent gifts for some of the special people on your list (but hopefully that won’t cause you to abandon your own crafty ambitions).

Image courtesy of Annapolis Arts Alliance

Target offers how-to books for a wide variety of crafts and may be the best place in Annapolis for one-stop-shopping to buy the basics to make pretty much anything.  Target has glue guns, scissors, colored paper, felt squares, artificial flowers, ready-to-decorate wreaths, acrylic and watercolor paints, all sorts of sewing items, and picture frames to show off your photography or artwork.  Target’s endless number of kid-focused craft kits can give a do-it-yourself kind of child the opportunity to make personalized gifts (some of these kits are also suitable for use by busy parents).

Image courtesy of Target

The Paper Source offers the very best quality of paper—not just wrapping paper but pretty paper for projects of all kinds and all colors, including making your own Christmas cards.  If you want to go the simple route—something that you can rightfully say you made but has almost zero risks to the assembly—take a look at the shop’s craft kits for all ages that offer projects ranging from flowers and wreaths and holiday décor to soapmaking.  If making your own holiday cards is too much of a stretch, the store has a beautiful selection of ready-made cards, simple or elegant, funny or romantic, to accompany your special gifts.

Image courtesy of Paper Source

In addition to a wide selection of holiday décor, Bed Bath & Beyond has a large assortment of flower vases and containers both for storing craft materials and for displaying your creations. For example, the store’s assortment of Mason jars provides a just-like-grandma-used-to-make touch to your homemade jams, jellies, or dried bean soup mixes.  Need some pinecones for your project?  Bed Bath & Beyond has them!

Image courtesy of the author

Restoration Hardware can provide knobs and pulls for the crafter who enjoys furniture-making or repairing or if you just want to give your furniture or kitchen cabinets a fresh look.  RH also has some beautiful planters for greenery gifts and baskets that can showcase your creation.

Anthropologie offers decorative ceramic hardware for furniture that is especially nice is you want to provide some pop to your home.  Choose from the store’s assortment of pretty vases to highlight arrangements of fresh or dried flowers.

Image courtesy of the author

A selection of teas arrayed in a basket or on a tray with a pretty teapot and a couple of cups and saucers can allow you to express your creativity and show your appreciation of tea-drinking friends or family members.  The Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company has tea (and coffee) selections to suit everyone’s taste, with or without caffeine.  Moreover, the shop has a lunch counter offering a tasty selection of made-to-order sandwiches, soups, and desserts.  Take this opportunity to relax, get off your feet, have a bite to eat, and pat yourself on the back for being such a thoughtful crafter!

Some might say that around the holidays the best craft gift is an edible one, and Whole Foods has the ingredients for just about any type of cookies, candy, pie, cake, quiche, bread, etc., you’d want to make.  The store also has arguably the best assortment of live greenery and fresh-cut flowers in town, ready for you to arrange and put in a vase for your host or hostess or to brighten up your dinner table or kitchen.

Image courtesy of Whole Foods

So head to Annapolis Towne Centre and get ready for hours of holiday fun!

I long for the holidays meandering around stores with my Grandmother; touching a fabric, smelling a candle, tasting a chocolate sample, listening to holiday music being piped in to add to the festive mood. Shopping was an event. It appealed to the senses in a way internet shopping can’t. And you know what else those afternoons did? They created memories. Memories that I hold dear to my heart.

Recently, my mother and I decided to spend a few hours at the Annapolis Towne Center to recreate those days and tick off our shopping list. Here are just a few suggestions to please everyone on your list this year.

The Cocktail Lovers

Know a couple with the lovely Braxton Wine and Spirits Cabinet from Great Gatherings? Help them stock it with quality wines and spirits from Bin 201.

The Retro Gamers

Who WOULDN’T want to take a trip down memory lane with an air hockey table or standup arcade of Miss Pac Man and Galaga? Find both at Great Gatherings.

The Keepers of Your Secrets

My dogs know everything, and still love me. Naturally they deserve the best. Stop by Loyal Companion and pick up some treats, balls, collars and bully sticks for your furry friends.

The Ornament Maker

Pier 1 Imports is the perfect place to find just the right decorations that show off your festive spirit. From gorgeous new ornaments to holiday table accessories and unique gifts to seasonal accents, Pier 1 has something for everyone on your list.

The Anglers

All Tackle has everything the anglers need from rods to bait and tackle, all weather gear, a vast line of YETI items and books written by local authors. They also have a large selection of footwear and apparel to choose from.

The Resolution Maker

For those who stick to their resolutions, stop into Charm City Run and pick up their must haves to pound the pavement. Everything from new running shoes, apparel, gloves, socks and energy snacks.

The Planner

2020 is on our doorstep. Another year, and decade, to get it right. Paper Source has you covered for all of your datebook and planner needs. While there, pick up all of the holiday wrapping you’ll need to wrap up the haul you just scored in a single afternoon!

The Sunday Sauce Maker

Giolitti’s Deli reminds me of my Grandmother who religiously made Sunday Sauce. Know someone like her? Stop by and stock them up on everything you need to put together an Italian Festa!

The Cannibis Curious

Cannibis is the craze now, isn’t it? Visit About Faces Day Spa & Salon and check out their Cannibliss Organic Skincare line.

The New Mom

There is no end to the gifts that new moms deserve.

Check out Dear Mom wine from Giolitti’s – it is a no brainer; Patchology under eye patches (my favorite) from About Faces Day Spa and Salon; Pajamas and slippers from Anthropologie; and a cozy wrap from Lou Lou.

The Family

Put down the phones and play a board game as a family! Pick one up at Great Gatherings. Or, grab all of the home décor knick-knacks you need at Bed Bath & Beyond to show off how much you admire your loved ones.

The Caffeine Cravers

Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company made it easy to buy for my dyed-in-the-wool caffeine nut friends. With plenty of flavors of both teas and coffees, this stop is a must.

 

Blog written by Aimee Lubin.
All images courtesy of author.

Everyone talks about how Thanksgiving is overshadowed by Christmas celebrations. And, even more so, no one ever talks about smaller, yet still relevant, days! As an undiagnosed shopaholic, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are the days I get excited for! The rituals of getting out my reusable shopping bags, mentally prepping for long lines, and making gift lists (and checking it twice) are my way of getting ready for the holiday season. If you’re a seasoned holiday shopper, then you know that you’ll find more success going to one sole location rather than bothering with traffic and driving here and there. Lucky for you, I have all the ins-and-outs of how and where to do that: Annapolis Towne Centre.

Holiday Valet Lounge

First, let’s talk parking. Holiday shopping is meant to be merry and bright, not a hassle. So, skip the chaos of finding a parking spot this season and enjoy the Annapolis Towne Centre’s complimentary Holiday Valet Lounge – a special gift to you! Drop your car, shop the shops, and come back to a warm lounge as you enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, play some board games, and wait for your car to brought right to you.
The Holiday Valet Lounge, presented by Brothers Services, is open during the following dates:
November 29-December 1
December 6-8
December 13-December 24
Hours: M-Sa 11am-8pm, Su 11am-6pm

Charm City Run

Talk about local! Charm City Run is anticipating all of your gift needs and is offering a ton of sales – perfect for picking up some gifts for your sporty friends. Enjoy 20% off apparel with the purchase of 2 or more pieces; buy 3, get 1 free sock; and slashed apparel and shoe markdowns! Plus, if you spend $100 or more you’ll receive a  limited-edition reusable shopping bag-perfect for the rest of your shopping spree! Not hooker yet? They’ll be having offers onsite for so much more, like:

  • Winter 5K Training Groups Start – Last chance to sign up for training groups before prices increase!
  • Breakfast and decorations sponsored by Under Armour (buy on your own and send receipts to Lizzy for credit)
  • Ongoing Garmin promos ($100 OFF Forerunner 935, 945 & Venu; $50 off vivoactive 3 &4)
  • One day Garmin sale – Fenix 5 Slate Gray with Black band – $299 ($200 off)

 

Baltimore Coffee and Tea

A perfect pit-stop during your day is, of course, Baltimore Coffee and Tea! During the craziness of it all, they will be sampling local gourmets, like the amazing Popsations Popcorn, Michelle’s Granola and Scones, and Mouth Party Caramels!. They make a great quick munch to give you just that little extra shopping fuel or a gift for those in your life with a sweet tooth.

The Joint Chiropractic

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t able to be wrapped. The Joint Chiropractic are having a buy 10 visits, get 2 free offer from November 25th- December 2nd. Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage pain caused by everyday life or just a great way to spend a treat-your-self day!

About Faces Day Spa & Salon

Speaking of treat-your-self, About Faces Day Spa & Salon has a great Small Business Saturday sale where all (yes, ALL) retail products are 20% off! It’s the perfect place to find a gift for that hard to shop for niece or friend. Whether its haircare, body care, nail care, skincare… well, you get the gist.

Scout & Molly’s

Wandering into Scout & Molly’s while visiting the Annapolis Towne Centre is inevitable. And, during the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend, it will be even more irresistible. Not only will clearance items be 50% off, but sweaters will also be 30-50% off. Perfect for upcoming holiday parties, office festivities, or Christmas gifts!

Newk’s Eatery

Ah yes, it’s about halfway through your shopping spree and after lugging bags and running from store to store, you’ve worked up an appetite. After 4pm, stop in to Newk’s Eatery where you can take advantage of their mix-match 4 for $24 dinner special that is sure to hit the spot.

a la mode intimates

Everyone loves shopping with a drink in hand. From November 29th through December 1st, shoppers at a la mode are welcomed with bubbly beverages as they browse through savings of up to 75% off select merchandise!

Paper Source

So you’ve checked off everything on your list and now you’ve realized that you have been cycling through the same 6 wrapping paper’s tucked away in your basement. For Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Paper Source (Closed Thanksgiving Day) will be offering their signature Holiday Rolled Wrap and Holiday Boxed Cards BOGO at 50% off from November 27th through December 2nd.

Blog written by Lu Foster.

Thanksgiving is upon us and that means the start to the season of spending time with loved ones around a table covered in classic comfort foods. Although the holiday is filled with good times, preparing for such a feast can be stressful, especially when you’re running all over town to get things done. Luckily, Annapolis Towne Centre makes it easy to get all of your Thanksgiving shopping done in one stop!

Whole Foods

Prepare your fresh feast with some help from Whole Foods. This high-end grocery store prides itself on fresh ingredients and healthy prepared food to elevate any meal. Thanksgiving is no exception. Whole Foods offers bountiful produce to make the classic Thanksgiving side dishes. Organic turkeys are available through pre-ordering or near the butcher section. Be sure to swing by the Bakery for freshly baked pies, cakes and breads to round out your Thanksgiving feast. Although Whole Food carries delicious prepared items and quick alternatives, their fresh produce, meats and other essential ingredients are best used for homemade dishes. Visit the recipe section of their website to inspire your Thanksgiving menu.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Target

Target is a one-stop-shop for many occasions, including your Thanksgiving dinner. To start, Target sells several cookbooks that provide a guide as you craft your menu.

Once your recipes are selected, head over to the grocery section of the megastore to find everything on your list. Target offers a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, but it’s also a reliable place for quicker options. You will find classic, familiar brands such as Kraft’s Stovetop, Mrs. Smith’s pies and Idahoan mashed potatoes that warms the heart and stomach. Since it’s hard for anyone to complete a trip to Target and only get what’s on the list, be sure to stroll through the seasonal home decor aisles for those final festive touches.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Beverages

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without some adult beverages! After shopping for recipes and ingredients, add some beer and wine to your dine. Check out these local favorites in Annapolis Towne Centre.

  • Bin 201 Wine Sellers specializes in little known bargain wines, collectibles, and low yield vintners. All types of wine drinkers will find something that delights both their palate and wallet to accompany their holiday meal.

Thanksgiving Recipes

  • Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant has an exceptional variety of upscale wines. From sparkling to sangrias, Cooper’s Hawk will satisfy all of your wine needs for Thanksgiving and year-round with their all-inclusive wine club membership.

Thanksgiving Recipes

  • Gordon Biersch is conveniently located in Annapolis Towne Centre for the beer lovers at your Thanksgiving feast. Fill up a few growlers of their various beers on tap to enjoy while watching football during the day and that will take you through the meal.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Annapolis Towne Centre has it all no matter your budget and cooking ambitions. They have the recipes, tips, and ingredients to make a delicious meal for your special guests this coming holiday! Take advantage of the Towne Centre’s complimentary valet parking to make the most out of the holiday season.
Valet Hours:
November 29-December 1
December 6-8
December 13-December 24
Hours: M-Sa 11pm-8pm, Su 11am-6pm

 

Blog written by Kristin Dyak.

Even though winter is beginning to roll in, the Annapolis Towne Centre isn’t stopping the fun just yet. This holiday season they are keeping the festive energy going and will be hosting three signature events, and a few extra fun evenings!

Tree Lighting

Experience the magic together during the Annapolis Towne Centre’s annual Tree Lighting on November 23rd at 6:30 pm. Enjoy seasonal music, catch a glimpse of Santa, and grab a bite to eat as you sneak in a little holiday shopping before catching the spectacle with the whole family.

Santa’s Cottage

Make the season extra merry with a visit to Santa’s Cottage this season. Capture the spirit of the holiday from November 23rd through December 24th as you enjoy a special meet-and-greet with Santa on different themed days, complete with a photo op, arts and crafts, and live snow! Themed nights include: Ugly Sweater Party, Pet Nights, Pajama Party, and even Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Clause!

The Towne Centre will also be partnering with Toys for Tots, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and Kent Island High School to donate toys and a portion of sales from Santa’s Cottage will go to John Hopkins Children’s Hospital. Appointments to meet with Santa in advance are highly encouraged. Walk-in visits are welcome, though availability is limited. Make your appointment today.

Santa's Cottage

Fire & Ice

Take some time away from the busy holiday season for Annapolis Towne Centre’s Fire & Ice on December 7, 2019, from 4-8 pm. Embrace the winter with smores over a cozy fire, live music, a light show, on-site vendors, cocktails, shopping, and tasty bites. Tailored specifically for adults, this is your chance to break away from the responsibilities of the holidays and simply enjoy the season.

Fire and Ice

Ugly Sweater Party

If you have ugly sweaters, whether ironic or gifts from grandma, that are collecting dust in your closet; get ready to break them out!  On December 4th and 11th from 6-8, select restaurants and bars will be offering discounts on drinks to those sporting fun, goofy, and, most importantly, ugly sweaters! You can also hop over to Bin 201 for a special tasting, then to Santa’s Cottage for a photo op with the big man himself and live snow for an extra touch of holiday spirit!

Festive Friday

Ah yes, nothing to take you out of the holiday spirit like stressing about gift shopping. The Annapolis Towne Centre agreed and wants to change the game. This year, they are throwing Festive Friday on December 13th from 5:00 – 8:00pm where participating stores will offer special discounts. And while you’re setting your bags down for a mid-spree break, you can enjoy special entertainment, enter for a chance to win some giveaways, and head over to Santa’s Cottage for pictures with Santa.

The Annapolis Towne Centre is pulling out all the stops to keep this season jam-packed full of fun events for an exciting date night or fun family outing! Take advantage of the Towne Centre’s complimentary valet parking to make the most out of the holiday season.

Valet Hours:
November 29-December 1
December 6-8
December 13-December 24
Hours: M-Sa 11pm-8pm, Su 11am-6pm

Blog written by Lu Foster.

In the dark ages of the last century, expectations were low for anything more than a tablecloth and food as the décor on the Thanksgiving table.  Pops of color were the sweet potatoes and cranberries.  The baking turkey provided the mouthwatering scent—assuming Mom or Grandma didn’t let the pan of boiling potatoes run dry.

Decorating the dinner table is now an art known as “tablescape.”  The task is to view the tabletop as a canvas ready for a personal touch that will set the tone for the meal, provide conversation starters, and subconsciously make the food taste even better. If you Google “Thanksgiving tablescapes,” you’ll see a style spectrum bound at one end by a more formal look with neutral colors—grey, brown, gold, silver, and the palest of blue—and pops of dark green, and at the other end by the bright fall colors of a country-style Thanksgiving, with infinite variations in between.

Annapolis Town Centre provides everything the modern tablescaper needs to create a pleasing ambiance for Thanksgiving dinner. The proximity of its stores and restaurants and free parking mean that you can roam from shop to shop without stressing about time, running to feed the meter, or wondering where to get lunch.

Bed Bath and Beyond is a great place to start, regardless of where your tablescape vision falls on the spectrum.  You will find cloth or paper table linens and napkin rings that provide the basis for a fine Thanksgiving table. Pinecones and placemats shaped and colored like fall leaves are great for a traditional style. For a more formal style, maybe it’s time to upgrade your table settings. Check out the stores wide array of china patterns, glassware, and utensils.

If you are going for a traditional look, stop into Whole Foods for bright fall flowers and a pumpkin or two. Wine goes well on any Thanksgiving table, and Whole Foods’ wine team helps you choose by highlighting 24 best-in-class wines on their shelves. Also, look at the brightly colored baskets for holding wine, bread, or cookies. Across the street, Bin 201 provides additional wine selections and guidance on pairings.

Anthropologie has something for every tablescape.  For bright colors, take a look at the eartenware pottery. And if, as A hostess, you look forward to dressing up for dinner, Anthro has a gorgeous array of dresses, jackets and shawls.  For a more formal style, look at the gold-etched wine and water glasses and dried flowers in muted colors that would contribute elegance into a centerpiece.  Consider the scented candles throughout the store that would blend with the scents of cooking to create a warm atmosphere for your guests.

For bright, showy dried or artificial flowers to use in a centerpiece or garland, head to Target.  Check out their Thanksgiving-themed table linens and conversation pieces—dishes, trivets, pillows, etc.  If you envision tapered candles for your table, Target is the place to buy them.

Three shops, Smyth Jewelers, Great Gatherings, and Paper Source offer surprises that might be the very thing to complete your table.  Smyth and Great Gatherings both offer Maryland-themed ceramicware—after-dinner coffee and tea belong in mugs featuring the Chesapeake Bay!  Great Gatherings has Thanksgiving-themed serving plates on sale; Smyth has an excellent stock of silver-plated tableware to spark up any neutral color palate and will be receiving new Thanksgiving merchandise as the date grows nearer.  Paper Source is the place to go for place cards in any and all colors and for paper centerpieces.

Don’t miss the pop-up shop near Paper Source.  You’re bound to find something there for Thanksgiving – ranging from bright colored earrings to handmade pottery pieces from the work of the 29 Annapolis Art Alliance artists exhibiting there—and the selections change all the time.

Blog written by Jane Green.

All images courtesy of the author.

Ah, Fall. Summer’s over. School’s back. There’s a nip in the air and pumpkin spice is everywhere. We’re on the slippery slope straight to the holidays, and it’s almost impossible to not feel just a little bit festive. Which is exactly how I felt recently on a cool, early fall evening when my husband and I considered having friends over to light the fire pit on our patio. As inviting as it sounded to gather with friends around the warmth of the fire, our kitchen was bare and we had nothing to offer anyone for dinner.  There’s a reason why someone cleverly posted on Facebook recently: “Who knew that the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out what to cook for dinner every single night for the rest of your life until you die.”  Although equal parts humorous and dramatic, it does make a point. 

So, we rallied the troops and headed to Ziki Japanese Steakhouse in Annapolis Towne Center, a place where we could kick back, share some laughs while someone else cooked AND entertained us, all around, well, a fire!  

The minute we stepped into Ziki, we were met with the bustle of a Friday night crowd, a waitress whizzing by with a tempting plate of sushi, a vibrant bar scene, large hibachi grills scattered throughout the room, cooking utensils being tossed in the air like batons, smoking stacks of onion rings choo-chooing across the grill and gleeful diners trying to catch a flying shrimp or swig a stream of saki, hands-free. 

Ziki's Japanese Steakhouse

Image courtesy of the author

We settled around a hibachi grill big enough for the eight of us and placed our orders: some chicken, some filet, a little seafood, and one or two combos. Not able to resist the sushi, I ordered a few pieces myself. Out came the salad with ginger dressing and miso soup, which was perfect to warm up the soul. As the sushi arrived (and was quickly devoured), so did the hibachi chef. Part grill master, part showman, ours kept us easily entertained, yet still left us able to converse with each other as we would have back home around the fire.

Ziki's Japanese Steakhouse

Image courtesy of the author

Speaking of fire, the chef lit up the grill and then the show began. Flames! Spinning eggs! Yum Yum sauce! Noodles! Fried rice, sautéed veggies, various grilled meats and more of the aforementioned saki! (I said yes to the second go-around). 

Ziki's Japanese Steakhouse

Image courtesy of the author

Our chef was very mindful that one person at the table had a shellfish allergy. He kindly (and appropriately so) cooked and served her chicken before any seafood touched the grill. Once finished plating everyone’s meal, our chef said goodbye and left us to enjoy our dinner and each other.

Ziki's Japanese Steakhouse

Image courtesy of the author

It occurred to me that there was little difference between the fire pit at home and the hibachi grill at Ziki. Both are places that bring people together, around the warmth of the flames and in the company of those you love. Come winter, when our fire pit goes into hibernation, you’ll find us back at Ziki staying warm around the hibachi. 

Blog by Aimee Lubin.