August has been a jam-packed month for birthday (mine included, can I get a “heck yeah” from my fellow Leos?) and so I’ve need to scoop up some fun, locally made gifts for friends and family. This month, local Etsy makers have been essential for finding just the right thing. 

For my good friend who celebrated her 30th with a festive snoball party in the park (we all got go-cups as well!) I found the perfect pair of acrylic snoball earrings from Garnish NOLA. They are lightweight, sparkly and unique. Other great finds in her store are a pair of iridescent magnolia flowers, shiny cool mirrored disco ball earrings, throwback fun vinyl record hair clips (and earrings) and some sassy “You Suck” lollipop earrings for your cheeky friend or soulmate. She also has plenty of Halloween selections for those of us already getting ready for fall and spooky season. Plus, 10% from each sale goes each month to different local non-profit. Ten percent of August sales are set to benefit Feed the Second Line. Win-win!

MItzisDaughter proved to be the perfect storefront for my sassiest of friends. The store is unapologetically “crass AF” and delights in it with a cool and empowering attitude that is not for the faint of heart. These hand stamped delights proclaim a wearers allegiance to Taco Bell, Popeyes, cheese and even pickles, or make bold statements supporting mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, women’s health issues and more. 

Finally, for my candle crazy friend, NovelDesignHome in Metairie has 100% vegan soy candles packaged in recycled glass containers with locally inspired scents such as “Crawfish Boil” with “notes of lemon, allspice, celery, black pepper,” “Louisiana Saturday Night,” reminiscent of bonfires, whiskey, tobacco and vanilla, “Bananas Foster,” “Crème Brulee,” and, my favorite, “Ghost B Gone” patchouli and Black Magic candle, just to name a few. There’s something for everyone.

Of course, we also have a plethora of great brick and mortar shopping, from Magazine Street to Oak Street, the French Quarter and out to Metairie Road. As the summer draws to a close, be sure to keep shopping local and give our local businesses a boost. What’s your favorite local Etsy or brick and mortar shop for festive gift giving?

Lagniappe: Boiled Peanuts

Not to be found on Etsy, but I also have a birthday for a family member who traditionally “doesn’t want anything.” We usually gift him some delicious food item, such as a nice cake from a local bakery or ice cream from a neighborhood spot. This year, we are going savory. He loves boiled peanuts, and after a search around town turned up empty, we decided to cook up our own spicy batch. We picked up some bags of raw peanuts at our local Rouses, plus a few pouches of shrimp and crab boil, loaded it all up in a big pot and let it boil. The house smelled like the best crawfish boil ever (and without any fishy after-smell). You can also do something similar with edamame in the shell, which don’t need to cook quite as long. I didn’t use a recipe, but if you’d like one, here’s Food Network’s Alton Brown’s version

Hello Halo-Halo

If you are interested in cooking something slightly more interesting than boiling peanuts, chef Cristina Quackenbush owner of Milkfish NOLA, along with the Pilippine-American Womens Association of Louisiana and Bayou Culture Collaborative, are presenting a Halo-Halo Workshop, August 27, 2-4 p.m. at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Halo-halo is a unique and colorful dessert from the Phillippines that turns our local idea of a sno-ball on its head, featuring shaved ice, evaporated milk and layers of add-ons like jams, fruit, coconut and more.