Just the mere thought of roaming the aisles of the mega-stores, with their jammed parking lots and jingle-cats music, is giving you a holiday-headache. Don’t despair! We’re psyched to bring you three brand-new retail options where you can shop, calmly, for those little people in your life. Now, make your list, and check it thrice, because these three new stores are very nice.

128_1Walking in a Whimsy Wonderland

Downtown Kirkland’s known for many things; beaches, art galleries, hip boutiques, cozy restaurants, and impossibly fit people. Now that you’re part of the stroller-brigade, you’ve noticed something lacking…a great children’s shop. Until now. Local gal Rosalynn Sumners (yes, the ice-skating champion), just opened Kirkland’s cutest boutique, Bella Bambini, in a fab downtown location. Storybook charm prevails in this cozy shop with hand-painted wall murals and whimsical gift ideas bursting at the seams. We love the pirate backpacks for kids by Stephen Joseph, the Baby and Toddler Bistro Box, and the selection of stylish weather-proof blankies from locally-based Rugged Idea. Customers can utilize Bella Bambini’s services for custom design work such as tufted headboards, valances, murals, and more. PS— Be sure to also take a peek next door at Bella Tesori (Sumner’s new home interiors store)!
Bella Bambini
1 Lake Street, Downtown Kirkland

128_2Sugar…Oh Honey, Honey
Whether you’re cleaning out closets in anticipation of the holiday influx, or you’re pregnant and want to pick up a few gently used items to supplement your wardrobe, head over to Sugarlump; Madison Valley’s yummy new consignment shop. Occupying the same space as a former consignment shop, Sugarlump has a new owner, a new face-lift, and all new inventory. We spied maternity items from Olian, Sweet Pea, and Belly Basics, slings & carriers, as well as little girl Hanna Andersson & Lilly Pulitzer dresses and toddler suits for boys. Extra points for play table by the dressing room where Junior can look at books while mom tries on clothes. Customers will also find brand-new items such as Babylegs, See Kai Run shoes, Jack & Lily leather booties, hairclips and diaper bags. Need a quick gift? Check out the Curious George or Eric Carle boxed book sets and the First 1000 Days Baby Journal by Olympia artist, Nikki McClure. Did we mention Sugarlump is right next door to Bella Dolce Bakery for an extra slice of yum?
2709 E Madison St, Seattle (Madison Valley)

128_3Toyland, Toyland
Nestled on the corner of a quiet residential street in Madrona, you’ll find Precocious Toys. Owner Monica Coulter wanted to carry a range of toys for all ages and, sure enough, we found great toys for Little Ones as well as fun gifts for the tween set. Ideas include locally-based Eye Can Art (all sorts of art projects in a can),, and finely-crafted wooden toys made by Seattle non-profit, The Giving Tree. Coulter says family games seem to be the hot gift for 2007. Check them out for yourself at “Game Night” on the first Thursday of every month; complete with snacks & prizes. Kids will love the play corner with an enormous chalkboard, and fun-house mirror to keep them entertained while you shop. Also, sign up for the store’s newsletter to keep posted on upcoming clothing swap events. Kids will get a hoot out of adding their comments to the online or in-store product reviews
Precocious Toys (Business Closed)
701 34th Ave, Seattle (Madrona)

RT Newsflash!!
If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, run, don’t walk, to the newsstand to grab a copy of Seattle Magazine’s December ‘Best Of’ issue. The issue is chock full of juicy insider tidbits, including a whole page on best local artisan chocolates. Of course, we were jazzed to flip to the ‘Kids’ section and find Red Tricycle voted “Best Parenting Web Resource” (aww, shucks). Read the article here.