A Topsail Guide to the Holidays: The Best Way to Shop

A Topsail Guide to the Holidays: The Best Way to Shop

 

So what is the best way to shop for the holidays? Locally, of course. When you shop local and buy local, not only are you helping to support small business owners in the Topsail, NC area but you’re also giving the gift of uniqueness and local flair that you won’t find at the big retailers—whether you shop the mass markets online or in-store, it just isn’t the same.

In support of the “Shop Small” movement and to encourage you to shop locally, we’re highlighting the best shopping in the Topsail, NC area where you’re sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list.

This is Part 2 of our Topsail Guide to the Holidays, so if you missed Part 1 on the best festive Topsail events, you can read all about it here!

Topsail Hometown Christmas Local Discounts

Hometown Christmas is a Shop Local campaign in the Greater Topsail Area that runs through December 20th where local Chamber of Commerce businesses give back to the community through charity drives and giveaways,  holiday open houses, Santa sightings, special holiday events and more—while also promoting the Shop Small movement by providing discounts to local shoppers in the Hampstead, Sneads Ferry, Holly Ridge, North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach areas.

Visit the Topsail Chamber of Commerce Hometown Christmas page or like and follow Hometown Christmas on Facebook for the latest updates and information. There are a many specials happening right now, so don’t miss out!

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Topsail Beach Lovers

Would you like some holiday gift giving inspiration for the special people in your life? We have them! Here are some really unique and very memorable gift-giving ideas for everyone on your list. Our local Topsail retailers have a little something for everyone. Make your list and check it twice!

Here are some of the best Topsail gift ideas that you can shop for and buy locally:

  • Adopt or sponsor a sea turtle on behalf of someone: The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center offers the gift of adoption or the chance to sponsor a sea turtle in a loved one’s name. The sea turtle hospital gift shop also has a nice selection of gift items for the sea turtle lovers in your life.
  • Artwork or handcrafted  items: Give the gift of artwork from a local NC artist, hands-on classes, art supplies or frame something special to give as a gift this season. Art Exposure and Coral Cottage Boutiques are wonderful places to shop for some artistic local treasures. Carolina Shores Natural Soaps offers handcrafted skincare and beauty products made in Carolina with the highest quality ingredients and perfect for gift giving.
  • Gourmet NC food specialties: Give the gift of local flavor and a taste of NC with gourmet treats from some of our favorite places. The Bumblebee Market and Mia’s Marketplace offer local and regional flavors that are sure to please.
  • Home & garden decor: From hammocks and rocking chairs to tide clocks and weather instruments, you can give the gift of Topsail style by shopping at Beach Furniture Outfitters, The Gift Basket/Topsail Island Trading Company, Southern Emporium, and It’s a Topsul Thing where you’ll find plenty of ways to give a gift of the beach or find that whimsical conversation piece that brings a little bit of Topsail to any home or outdoor space.
  • One-of-kind jewelry: Many of the local gift shops also sell handcrafted jewelry from local artists. You can also visit Tommy J Designer Jewelry (formerly Mystic Treasures) for rare and unique jewelry designs created on-site. They also offer state-of-the-art custom design services for a personalized gift like no other.
  • Pampering: Give the gift of pampering! Everyone loves a little time to relax and receive some TLC. Our Topsail area day spas and wellness services are wonderful ways to show someone you care. Give the gifts that they most likely won’t give to themselves!
  • Restaurant or shopping gift cards: You can’t go wrong with a gift card to one of your favorite Topsail Island restaurants or local retailers. Gift cards make those hard-to-shop-for people in your life much easier to find gifts for.
  • Sports outfitters, lessons or experiences: Topsail Island offers plenty of places to find gifts for the sports enthusiasts in your life. Stop by Herring’s Outdoor Sports, Southend Outfitters, or any of the local surf shops and see what they have to offer. Whether it’s actual sporting goods, brand name activewear, fishing gear, surfing lessons or a paddling excursion out on the local waters, the local sports shops have a nice selection of gift options.
  • Sweet treats: Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? We have some delicious little Topsail shops and eateries that offer amazing gift giving opportunities. Whether it’s a gift card or an actual treat you’re giving, there are plenty of ways to do it. Check out our favorite places to find the yummiest sweet treats on Topsail Island.
  • Topsail area day trip or cultural experience: Don’t underestimate the power of an experience this holiday season. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and provides a lasting memory that will be cherished for a lifetime. Choose from local adventures like a visit to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, hop aboard the Battleship USS North Carolina, or take a day trip to Poplar Grove Plantation. These are only a few of the many local experiences and adventures you can share with those you love.
  • Topsail beach vacation for your family: Last but certainly not least, you can always give your family the gift of a Topsail beach vacation to look forward to next year. Plan it early and you’ll also give the gift of anticipation as you count down the days until you’re all here on our beautiful Topsail beaches with your toes in the sand. Check out these vacation planning tips to help get you started!

 

 

Topsail Island Gift Shops & Local Retailers

If you’d like to read more about our Topsail Island businesses, take a look at the Topsail Chamber of Commerce List of Retailers and Gift Shops for some local favorites. All that’s left to do is shop ’til you drop. We have what you need here in Topsail, NC for everyone on your holiday list. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

Where’s your favorite place to shop locally in the Topsail, North Carolina area? We would love to know! Our comment section is always open. 

 

 

Perfectly Cool Treats You Need on a Hot Summer Day

Perfectly Cool Treats You Need on a Hot Summer Day
 

Hot summer days call for cool, refreshing treats to munch on wherever you may be—on the beach, in your Topsail beach rental, or on the go. Today we’ve rounded up some of the easiest and tastiest foods to munch on this summer whether you’re at home or on vacation. These recipes are sure to please and there’s something for everyone and every palate. Best of all, they can all be made right in your Topsail vacation rental kitchen. Here are our favorite cool summer snacks and the recipes you need to make them.


Cool Homemade Dips

Cool Homemade Dips

Skip the store-bought dips and opt for a more delicious—and more healthy— version of your favorites. These yummy dips are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients that are filling while being kind to your waistline.

Serve them with raw veggie sticks (carrot, celery and even broccoli and cauliflower all work well), or cut up a wholemeal tortilla/slice of flatbread into ‘chips’ and lightly toast under the broiler for 5 minutes for a healthy alternative to the potato and corn variety.

Take a peek at these 7 delicious low fat dips and whip up a few this summer.


Cool Cucumber Slice Sandwiches

Cool Cucumber Slice Sandwiches

There’s nothing like the crisp coolness of a fresh cucumber. And summertime always offers up an abundance of these tasty, healthy snacks whether you have them in your own garden, buy them at the local farmers’ market, or pick some up at the grocery store.

So how about a cool, crisp cucumber sandwich?

Who needs bread when you can use slices of cuke. Brilliant, really. These snack-sized sandwiches can be filled with your favorite lunch meat and cheese and are sure to be a family favorite. Just remember that if you plan to make these little darlings ahead of time, to keep all of the elements separate until you’re ready to eat them so they don’t get soggy. The crunch is very necessary!

You don’t really need a recipe for this one, but here’s more about how best to make and enjoy these Sliced Cucumber Sandwiches.

Personal Veggie & Dip Cups

Personal Veggie & Dip Cups

Veggies and dip are nothing new, but novelty is the key ingredient here. Instead of a huge platter of raw vegetables with a community bowl of dip, try something a little different—personalized veggie and dip cups.

Kid-friendly crudite means that your family will be getting their fill of fresh vegetables without the fuss. Choose their favorite dip and a few of their most loved veggies (and sneak in a few new or unfamiliar ones) and put it all in a small, single-serving size cup. You can be fancy and choose glass or keep it simple and choose to use disposable ones (which is obviously the best choice for a beach snack).

You just might be amazed at how much your kids eat all thanks to the novelty of how it’s presented to them. Parenting win!

You can read more about these Personal Veggie & Dip Cups and how to make your own quick dip here, too.

Pioneer Woman’s Frozen Fruit Cups

Pioneer Woman’s Frozen Fruit Cups

The Pioneer Woman never steers you wrong! So it’s not surprise that her take on fruit cups is an absolute crowd pleaser. Everyone loves fruit cups anyway, but go ahead and take them up to another level of coolness (literally and figuratively) by serving them frozen.

They make a perfectly cool snack, a healthy summertime dessert, and even a refreshing breakfast alternative that is boldly colorful and wildly fun to eat.

You can find the Pioneer Woman’s Frozen Fruit Cup Recipe right here.

Frozen Fruit

Frozen Fruit

You know what they say: the simplest things are often the best things in life. This simple snack is cold, crunchy, satisfying and healthy. All you really need is fruit and a freezer, so it doesn’t get much easier than that.  The fruit lasts longer this way, too, and makes a quick, portable snack for your beach days or any day you’re on the go.

The technique is pretty straightforward.

  • If you’re using grapes, just pull them off the vine. If you’re using watermelon, pineapple or any other larger sized fruit, cut them into bite sized pieces. If you’re using berries, well, you don’t have to do much of anything other than rinse them.
  • Pop them in a zip-top bag with enough space so the fruit can lay in a single layer.
  • Throw the bag in the freezer, flattening it out so the fruit doesn’t stick to each other in a clump.
  • Freeze for 2 hours, or more.

You’re welcome! We were reminded of how simply delicious and totally refreshing frozen fruit can be from this Frozen Grapes snack idea.


Minty Cucumber Water

Minty Cucumber Water

It’s summertime so that means you should be drinking a lot of water anyway to stay hydrated on these hot, sunny beach days. Instead of plain old water, though, we recommend that you flavor it up a bit and make it even more refreshing—and much more flavorful.

Minty Cucumber Water is just what you need to keep cool and hydrated all summer long. Finely slice a small cucumber and add to a large jug of iced water or sparkling water. Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped mint leaves. The delicate flavor of cucumber seeps in, offering a refreshing alternative to plain water.


Frozen Yogurt Drops

Frozen Yogurt Drops

Maybe you’re old enough to remember those candy dots that came on sheets of wax paper, or maybe you’re not. Either way, these yogurt drops are reminiscent of that classic favorite, but happen to be a lot healthier. They definitely make for a fun beach vacation snack.

The kids are going to love eating these—and can help you make them, too.

All you need to do for these Frozen Yogurt Drops is mix together a cup of your favorite Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp honey. Divide between 3 bowls and add a different food coloring to each. Pour into a zip lock bag and snip a corner off. Pipe little drops of yogurt onto a lined baking tray and freeze until firm. Store in zip locks bags and store in the freezer to nibble on as required. Easy, fabulous, kid-friendly and family-approved!

Yogurt and Granola Trifle

Yogurt and Granola Trifle

Is it a breakfast or is it a dessert? We’ll leave it up to you to decide! It can go either way in our opinion, and it also makes a perfectly acceptable after-beach snack to help you cool down after a hot day on the sand.

In a small trifle bowl (that’s recommended, but you can even do it in individual servings if you prefer) layer the fruit, granola and yogurt in two layers, starting with the fruit on the bottom then granola followed by yogurt. Chill for fifteen minutes or up to a few hours, and then serve.

You can make your own granola pretty easily or just buy some readymade for convenience. Either way, you’ll want to try this Yogurt and Granola Trifle Recipe this summer.


Frozen Candy Bars

Frozen Candy Bars

Sure you’ve eaten candy bars. Who hasn’t? But have you ever tried a frozen candy bar? Well, you should. It’s a satisfying summer treat that only requires you to buy your favorite candy bar and put it in the freezer. The result is a cold, crunchy snack that is a nice juxtaposition to the usual chewy satisfaction of a room-temperature candy bar.

So go ahead and try it and see how you like it. If you’re interested, there are opinions on which candy bars are better eaten frozen.


No-Bake Cookie Dough Pops

No-Bake Cookie Dough Pops

Cookie dough on a stick? Oh yeah! We’re in! You also had us at “no bake”.

These cookie dough pops are a fun and tasty no-bake summer snack. They’re perfect for a vacation treat, for parties and other special occasions—and they make a fabulous addition to kids’ lunch boxes. The cookie dough is made with no eggs, so it’s perfectly safe to eat.

The pictured cookie dough pops above were coated with milk chocolate, white chocolate, and peanut butter candy melt coatings. Use your favorite coating flavors and colors, or use almond bark. Decorate the pops with sprinkles, more mini chocolate chips, finely chopped nuts, or colored sugars. The options are endless, really.

The additional non-food items you’ll need are pretty minimal:

  • 18 to 20 lollipop sticks
  • 1 square or round piece of styrofoam (for drying the lollipops)
You can find the complete No-Bake Cookie Dough Pops Recipe here.

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Frozen Lemonade Pie

What’s better than summertime lemonade? Frozen lemonade pie, of course.

This simple summertime lemonade pie is made with a 3-ingredient filling (yes, only three!) and a graham cracker crust. This version is made with sweetened condensed milk, but you can also make it with ice cream.

All you need to do is beat together the lemonade and condensed milk, fold in whipped topping, spread the mixture in the graham cracker pie crust, then cover and freeze. Take the pie out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving time and you’re good to go. Super yum!

You can find the Refreshing Frozen Lemonade Pie Recipe here.

 

So, who’s hungry? And what are you making first? We hope you enjoy these cool treats! Let us know your favorite. 


Perfectly Cool Treats You Need on a Hot Summer Day