Earthbound in Panama City Beach, FL!

This month, we’re chatting with Mandy, the store manager of our location at Pier Park in Panama City Beach, Florida, about all of her favorite things to do in PCB! Learn about the best restaurants and dives for oysters, fish, donuts and more. Have fun at festivals ranging from biker rallies to pirate fest! Panama City Beach is primarily known as a party town and Spring Break Central, but it also hosts plenty of fun for families, seafood aficionados, music lovers, and beach combers.

Panama City Beach, FL by Cordey, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license

Q: Is there any cuisine your city is known for? Where’s the best place to get it?

A: Seafood of course! Apalachiacola oysters, Redfish and Pompano. We have a lot of locally owned eateries such as Dusty’s Oyster Bar, Sandbar Seafood & Deli, J. Michael’s Restaurant and Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market. The best places are the small restaurants like Finns Island Style Grub, Mike’s Diner (nowMike’s Cafe & Oyster Bar), Thomas Donut & Snack Shop, Fatty’s Sandwich Shop and Flamingo Joe’s Grill & Seafood.

Thomas' Donuts and Snack Shop by downing.amanda, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license

World Famous Dusty's Oyster Bar by scottshepard, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license

Q: What’s the music scene like? Where do you go to catch a concert or go dancing?

A: We have a great free concert series in the summer on Thursday nights in Aaron Bessant Park right behind the mall. Club La Vela and Spinnaker Beach Club are the big dance clubs and there are countless bars to go to.

Sin Seven @ Club Lavela 2 by Nikki Hedrick (850 Music), used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license

Q: What’s something fun to do with children in your town?

A: We have dozens of places for mini golf, go karting, and deep sea fishing. We also have a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and WonderWorks, which are amazing for every age!

Spring Break by Ted Reese, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike license

Panama City Beach - Fishing Boat by Chris McCorkle, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license

Q: What museums, theaters, galleries or other cultural activities do you recommend?

A: We really don’t have a lot of  “culture” here, per se. Panama City Beach is known as the “Redneck Riviera”. A lot of families come here in the summer, but we are better known as a party town and Spring Break Central. We have events throughout the year like the Seafood & Music Festival, Cajun Fest, and Thunder Beach Biker Rally, among others.

Thunder Beach by Nikki Hedrick, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license

Panama City Beach by Brent Moore, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license

Q: Where’s the best place to be after midnight in your city?

A: Most bars here are open until 4 AM, and of course the beautiful Gulf is always a great hangout spot.

Bella vista by Steve Driskell, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license

Q: What’s the best time of year to visit? Why?

A: I love the early Fall here. The days are toasty warm, you can still swim in the gulf, and the nights are in the 60°s usually, which is great bonfire weather. There are also fewer tourists, which makes it much easier to get around town and there are shorter wait time in restaurants.

Q: What’s one unique thing about your city that a visitor absolutely should not miss?

Pier Park because it is a unique outdoor mall, and the location of our store! Mardi Gras in February or March is amazing, and so is the free Pirates of the High Seas Fest in October over Columbus Day weekend.

Miracle Strip by Shannon, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license

IMG_0926 by ddrace, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike license

Photo Credits:
“Panama City Beach, FL” ©2011 Cordey, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license
“Thomas’ Donuts and Snack Shop” ©2008 downing.amanda, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license
“World Famous Dusty’s Oyster Bar” ©2013 Scott Shephard, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license
“Sin Seven @ Club Lavela 2” ©2012 Nikki Hedrick (850 Music), used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license
“Spring Break” ©2011 tedreese, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike license
“Panama City Beach – Fishing Boat” ©2006 Chris McCorkle, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license
“Thunder Beach” ©2013 Nikki Hedrick, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license
“Panama City Beach”  ©2012 Brent Moore, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license
“Bella vista” ©2007 Steve Driskell, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives license
“Miracle Strip” ©2013 Shannon, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license
“IMG_0926” ©2009 ddrace, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share-alike license

DIY: Orange Pomanders & Cranberry Garlands

Pomanders and Garlands

Surprise! It’s your turn to host Christmas! (Or maybe you’ve known for months and just procrastinated! We won’t judge!) But now it’s crunch time and you need to decorate on the double time!

We’re making quick, easy and cheap decorations from grocery store ingredients that will make your home smell lovely through the holidays!

Supplies

Supplies:

Orange Pomanders-
-3-5 Oranges – For size variety try tangerines or cute little clementines!
-1-2 Tablespoons of whole cloves for each orange.
-Pen or sharpie to mark on orange skin.

Cranberry Garlands-
-1 bag fresh cranberries.
-Embroidery thread – Color doesn’t matter but you may want festive red or green!
-Embroidery needle – You’ll want a larger size – 1-5 for this!
-Scissors

Steps:

Orange Pomanders-
1- Using a pen or Sharpie, make dots to guide your design. Stars, rings, vertical lines or swirls all look good!
2- Begin pushing whole cloves, stem-first, into your design. Leave just the bud poking out.
We found it was easier to make a general outline of the design first, then fill in the gaps so your lines are as straight as possible. Be sure to take a nice deep breath as you’re working- ahhh! These smell so good!

Pomanders

3- You can leave your pomanders as sitting decor, or tie them with ribbons and hang them! Over a few weeks they will gradually shrink and harden, but continue to smell great!

 

Cranberry Garlands-

1- Cut a long piece of embroidery thread and thread your needle. Your doubled up thread should be approximately the length of garland you want to make.
2- Gently push the needle through the cranberries lengthwise. Avoid using any soft, squishy, or otherwise sketchy looking cranberries. They should all be firm and red with no black discoloration.
3- As you add more cranberries, slowly pull your threaded cranberries towards the end of the embroidery floss. They can be delicate and if you pull to vigorously the thread can pull through the sides of the berries, so be gentle!

Cranberry Garlands

4- When you have a sufficiently long strand, drape your strand in with Christmas greenery, on your mantle, or above a doorway. Enjoy!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

We’re well into the holiday season and just a few short days away from Christmas day. Swing by your nearest Earthbound and finish off the last of your shopping in one easy stop! Here are just a few ideas from among our diverse collections:

Tea Set from Earthbound

Rabbit Sushi Set from Earthbound

We have tea sets, sushi sets, noodle bowl sets, and sake sets, perfect for anyone with a love for tea or Asian cuisine. See more here.

Bird Motif Jewelry Boxes from Earthbound

Peacock Jewelry Box from Earthbound

Jewelry boxes make a fantastic gift for almost any lady. Get bonus point for giving it with some jewelry too!

Gift Box Jewelry from Earthbound

Gift Box Jewelry from Earthbound

Our gift box bracelets and necklaces are the easiest gift of all to give! Just wrap them up in their included gift boxes. See more styles here, and even more in stores!

Chi Mandala Tee from Earthbound

We Out There Tee from Earthbound

We have some great styles of graphic tees this season! These mandala and moon cycle styles are two definite favorites. Everybody needs t-shirts in their wardrobe!

Southwest Woven Sweater from Earthbound

Green Open Knit Sweater from Earthbound

Warm the hearts of your gift recipients with sweaters that will warm their bodies!

Reindeer Tassel Hat from Earthbound

Faded Cable Knit Hats from Earthbound

We have so many styles of hats, gloves and scarves for keeping guys and gals toasty. Check them out here.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

This time of year, there is nothing better than giving a gift that comes from the heart. Why not pull double-duty and wrap that special something in a unique and personal paper made by you? And did we mention this is friendly to the environment as well?!

What you will need:
-Paper shopping bags (you can use Earthbound bags, grocery bags, etc.)
-Paint and/or markers
-Scissors
-Tape
-Fabric scraps and/or twine, string, yarn, etc.
-Stencils (optional)

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

1. Lay out your paper and measure how much will be needed for the gift.

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

2. Draw or paint your design on the front of the paper. Here we used stencils with a foam brush to apply some basic paint in fun holiday shapes.

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping  DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

3. Add any finishing touches.

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

4. Wrap as you normally would.

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

5. For extra pizzazz, we used a strip of torn fabric as the bow on this gift. Simply snip at the width you would like your faux-ribbon and pull downward to create an organic edge. Tie around your gift and voila!

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

6. Fashion some name tags out of your paper scrap, using a hole-punch and string to attach. BAM! Your personalized gift is ready for giving!

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

The best part of this project is that there is absolutely no wrong way to do it. You can get as creative as you want! Just walk around your house and look for items to trace, ornaments to attach, or glitter to sprinkle on. We promise the person getting this gift will be smiling well before they tear into that beautiful, repurposed paper!

DIY Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

Still looking for that perfect gift? Hop on over to your closest Earthbound location for an endless array of gift-able goodies!


If you need a little more inspiration, here’s how a few customers have reused our shopping bags for their own gift wrap!

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping by @yourpeachpie Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping by @_abriese

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping by @kaylaroams

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping by @yourpeachpie

Instagram photo credit goes to @yourpeachpie, @_abriese & @kaylaroams

What We’re Listening To

What’s better than holiday music? Holiday music that’s a little off the beaten path of course! There’s nothing wrong with our old friend Bing Crosby and his longing for specific weather conditions on Christmas, but have you heard Otis’s version? You should because it’s great. Here’s what we’re listening to at Earthbound this season:
Otis Redding – White Christmas
Los Lonely Boys – Carol of the Bells
2000 Miles – The Pretenders
Put the Lights on the Tree – Sufjan Stevens
And of course, the obligatory….
Wham! – Last Christmas

EB Fashion Blogger for December: U LALA

The lovely ladies at U lala partnered with EB for a second great look!

In their own words:

We thank our lucky stars for whoever made the boho look a thing, because with clothing this chic, comfortable and unique—there’s no way we’ll ever grow out of our love for the look. (Yes, that’ll be us one day rocking the silk turban and jingling all the way to bingo with a wrist full of Earthbound bangles.)

For this look we stuck to the basics that every boho goddess has made the staples of her wardrobe: breezy bottoms, relaxed tops and tons of fun accessories. We knotted a relaxed graphic tee and paired it with a colorful tassel necklace for a combo of eclectic charm and individuality. At Earthbound Trading Co., & U-la-la.com, we know girls aren’t meant to look like the mannequin; pops of personality are what style is all about. And to prove that point a little further, we just had to add a to-die-for hand chain and a stack of colorful friendship bracelets. (If that ring/bracelet doesn’t get you some serious boho street cred, we don’t know what will.)

Choosing bottoms can get tricky, but this elastic waist and subtle pattern was a no-brainer. High-waisted pants that are as comfortable as they are flattering give you the allusion of mile-high legs (even if you are 5’2”). Can you say cha-ching? And we ended our look with the cardinal rule of looking cool: always top it off with an “I-just-threw-this-on-and-look-casually-fabulous” beanie. Trust us, it’s the perfect chill-girl accessory/bad hair day cover up.

U lala December Guest Blog!

U lala December Guest Blog!

U lala December Guest Blog!

U lala December Guest Blog!

[*Interested in becoming an Earthbound fashion blogger? Send a link to your blog and a little something about yourself to blog@earthboundtrading.com]

EB Team Spotlight: Kris at McCain!

EB Team Spotlight time! Kris has been with Earthbound for ages, working at and managing several store locations in Arkansas and Missouri. She recently transferred to our Little Rock, Arkansas store at McCain Mall as the Store Manager, and we know the store and its team will benefit from her awesome leadership! When nominating her for a blog spotlight, one district manager said that Kris “has an amazing aura about her” and we can’t help but agree. Read on to learn more about this creative chica!

Kris at the McCain Earthbound

Q: Describe yourself in ten words or less:
A: Ooooh tough ones first, ok… Overly talkative yet excellent listener, creative to the point of heathenary (I like to make up words, like HEATHENARY), deeply philosophical and profoundly hysterical. Is that good? [Editor’s note: good, but a great deal more than ten words!]

Q: What do you love about working for Earthbound?
A: I was hired on as a seasonal employee a LONG time ago, and immediately fell in love with the mission statement I read. Once I started working I fell deeper in love with the atmosphere we have with our products, coworkers, and the amazing people who shop in our stores. When I am having a bad day due to whatever, I submerge myself into my customers and focus on making THEIR day the best and in return I get great satisfaction in realizing I am just a speck in the vast universe and my problems are not that bad. In short, the positive vibes! And where else can I waltz with a random customer and they actually like it!??!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
A: Making our own adventure with my sunshines (Kelten, age 10 and Izzy, age 6), listening to the indie-alt-folk station on iTunes radio (I’ve heard “The Stable Song” off of our Acoustic Cafe Cd on there!) while baking (usually with flowers and other edible plants no one thinks of putting in food but the French); debating light topics including but not limited to: religion, ethics, consciousness, parallel universes, politics, and the ever-so-great controversy: paper vs. plastic; painting and other messy activities, and of course, yoga!

Q: What song have you been jamming out to lately?
A: SUCH a loaded question. I am totally stuck in the 90’s musically. The Violent Femmes and The Pixies are 2 bands I must listen to daily. The newest (still over 10 years old) music I dig is Iron and Wine and my favorite song is “Beneath the Balcony” from their EP and my favorite album is “The Creek Drank the Cradle“.

Q: What’s your greatest dream in life?
A: Being able to take my kids around the world to let them experience all the fantastic cultures that make up our world and then retiring to a missile silo and living off the land. Isn’t that pretty much standard?

Q: You’re stranded on a desert island. Excluding food, water and means of escape, what three items (one being an Earthbound product) would you take?
A: Obviously I would HAVE to have a swiss army knife, I would also need a radio that is solar powered for sure because I have to have my tunes, and I would also want one of our katanas because that would give me that extra edge of “Amazonian Woman that don’t take no mess from no one persona” that I would need to fulfill the role amongst the other creatures on the island.

DIY: Felt Animal Holiday Decorations

ow is the time to make holiday crafts- we’re making versatile crafty critters for ornaments, gifts and décor!

Felt Animals

These felt critters can be as simple or ornamented as you choose; they can be made with craft felt from an arts and crafts store, or from upcycled wool felt made from thrifted wool sweaters. We used a combination so we could get some earthy textures plus the exact colors found in craft felt.

There are three parts to the tutorial:

I- Basic Felt Animals
II- Embroidering your Felt Animals
III- Felting wool sweaters to make your Felty Critters (If you want to make your own upcycled felt, follow these steps first.)

Part I – Basic Felt Animals

Supplies:

-Downloadable templates- We made templates for a fox, owl, songbird, squirrel and bonus leaf. Check out the templates so you know what colors of craft felt you’ll need.

Click here to download the Templates.

-Craft Felt- Available in many colors, pick whichever strike your fancy, but you’ll probably want a variety of natural browns, reds, white, black, yellow and tan.  If you want to use your animals as Christmas ornaments you may want to buy stiffened felt; it’s right next to the regular felt, but noticeably stiffer.
-Heat Bond- This comes in many brands and sizes, Stich Witchery, etc. You’ll be cutting it down to little pieces, so any size will do. Be sure to keep review the instructions on the packaging.
-Scissors- Yep, you’ll be needing some of these.
-Iron & Ironing Board- Use with adult supervision. You’ll want to turn off the steam option.
-Seamstress chalk – This is useful for marking on dark colored felt.
-Ballpoint pen – This is a little easier to use than the seamstress chalk for outlining your templates, but it’s not washable so you’ll want to make sure you cut inside the lines (that is, cutting off the lines) if you use pen.
-Pillow case or hand towel – Use this between your iron and felt, and your felt and ironing board- you don’t want any stray heat bond getting on your iron or ironing board.
*Optional – Embroidery thread and needles – we used a variety of colors to match the felt, and size 1-5 needles.

Basic Supplies Templates

Steps:

1- Print and cut out your templates. Click here to download the Templates.
2- Place your templates against your felt, outline with seamstress chalk or ballpoint pen – If you bought stiffened felt, you’ll want to use it for your large ‘body’ pieces.
3- Cut out each felt part; remember to cut off any ink lines. For very small pieces like eyes and beaks, a little free-hand trimming may be needed.

Cut Templates tracing

4- Cut the heat bond into small pieces to match your felt pieces.
5- Turn all of your felt pieces marked-side down, so any stray ink or chalk lines will be on the back instead of the front.
6- Place the heat bond between your layers of felt and iron to activate the bond. Follow any specific directions on the box regarding iron temperature. *Use the pillow case to protect your iron and ironing board from the heat bond.
7- Trim any uneven edges.

Using Heatbond 1 Using Heatbond 2

So you have a few animals made, now what? If you used stiffened felt you can use ornament hooks to make Christmas ornaments, or heat-bond on a loop of felt as a hanger, as shown here.

Ornament Loop 1 Ornament Loop 2
If you used softer felt you can applique (with more heat bond!) your animals onto throw pillow cases, sweaters, or use to decorate gift wrap.

II- Embroidering your Felt Animals

You can use embroidery felt to decorate your animals. Here are a few examples. This can be tricky on stiffened felt so you may want to embroider your upper layers of felt (the songbird’s wing or owl’s belly) before heat bonding them to a stiffened piece.

Embroidered Examples

III- Felting wool sweaters to make your Felty Critters

So you want to turn your craftiness up to 11? You can also make your own felt from felted wool sweaters. Felting is a process that shrinks the wool so it pulls in very tight, making a dense material that can be cut without fraying.

Felt Sweaters

Steps:

1- Find sweaters for felting at a thrift store; look for as close to 100% wool as you can find. It should be dry-clean only. Washable wool is pre-shrunk and won’t felt.
2- You will want to wash and dry your sweaters inside a pillow case held shut by a rubber band in order to protect your washer and dryer from excess lint. Be sure to clean the dryer lint trap afterwards, as well.
3- Wash in hot water, rinse in cold. You’ll want to add your usual amount of laundry soap, and optionally, a tablespoon of baking soda as well. Tossing a pair of jeans or a few towels will cause more friction and help the felting process along.
4- Dry your sweater on high heat.
5- You will know your sweater is sufficiently felted when the weave is very tight, the fabric dense, and it holds a clean edge when cut with scissors. If it needs further felting, repeat the washing and drying process. (You may as well go ahead and wash your sheets and towels while you’re at it!)
6- When everything is felted nice and tight, cut your sweaters down into large, flat pieces and proceed with the “Basic Felt Animals” instructions.