FRESH by Brookshire’s

FRESH by Brookshire'sI was already impressed with Brookshire’s before the opening of Fresh.  The Tyler, Texas based grocery company not only stocks an impressive range of grocery products but also actively engages in service to their community and is one of the largest employers in East Texas.  And while sometimes their slightly higher than average prices can be a bit of a turnoff, I’d still choose Brookshire’s over the competition any day of the week.

This Spring, Brookshire’s opened their new concept store, FreshFresh is to Tyler what Whole Foods is to the larger cities out there, only Fresh is owned by East Texas’ own Brookshire’sFresh offers tons of fresh and unique produce, specialty cheeses, flavorful prepared foods, beautiful fresh flowers, a bakery, cooking demonstrations, a taco stand, deli, and a gelato station (plus much, MUCH more).  You can even purchase a glass of wine or bottle of beer to enjoy either while shopping or while listening to live music on the patio.  I love to read food blogs, and many of the specialty items I’ve read about were nowhere to be found in Tyler, even at my beloved Drug Emporium.  Now I can just run over to Fresh and pick up anything I could ever dream of, including Fresh’s own homemade tortillas and freshly popped rice cakes.

FRESH by Brookshire'sThough Fresh is under the Brookshire’s umbrella, they do not participate in the Thank You Card program, and discounts and good deals can be hard to find.  That being said, if a can of black beans costs 20 cents more at Fresh I’ll still happily pay it because to me, the experience justifies the higher prices. While some from larger cities may complain that Fresh still pales in comparison to Whole Foods… I’m from Tyler and I think Fresh is pretty darn cool.

hours: Sun – Sat 6am-10pm

FRESH by Brookshire’s
6991 Old Jacksonville Hwy
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 747-3503

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

FRESH by Brookshire's

Sweet Gourmet

My go-to place to shop when I want to find a unique gift for a colleague or friend is Sweet Gourmet. They carry the best specialty food items around, have excellent customer service, and in many instances have made my job much, much easier.

When I needed to provide 10 gift baskets for the Saudi royal family Sweet Gourmet pulled out all the stops and arranged 10 of the most impressive spreads I’ve ever laid eyes on. When President Bush came to town it was a no-brainer to have Sweet Gourmet fix him up with an assortment of Tyler’s finest snacks which I later saw his staff carry to his car. I imagine he enjoyed some Firecrackers on his way to the Cowan Center where he was delivering his speech.

My favorites items to get at Sweet Gourmet are Lammes Longhorns, Texas Firecrackers, D.L. Jardine’s Salsas, and anything Godiva. I would recommend Sweet Gourmet to anyone and will continue to utilize their services as often as I possibly can.

hours: Mon – Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12:30pm-5pm

Sweet Gourmet
4554 South Broadway Avenue
Tyler, TX 75703-1305
(903) 534-0840


SephoraFinally Tyler has a Sephora!   The cosmetics, skincare, and haircare retailer has partnered with JCPenney’s and has opened a store inside the department store.

Now we all have a reason to go to Penney’s aside from the easy access to the mall and the always plentiful parking.  The Sephora store located inside offers a modified product selection that is not quite as extensive as their full stores, but still offers us an option other than Ulta for higher end cosmetics and beauty products.

Today is the grand opening at the new Sephora and starting at 10am goodie bags will be gifted to the first shoppers who come check it out.  I am telling you now that I WILL be one of those who gets a goodie bag!

Sephora Smashbox






Sephora Sephora

Sephora Sephora


4401 S Broadway
Tyler, TX
(903) 561-3333

Jewels & Jeans

DSC04974Tyler welcomes another new clothing store…  This time it’s a Gresham transplant, Jewels & Jeans.  Located on Old Bullard, next to one of Tylerites’ favs, Sonoma Grill, Jewels & Jeans is a small women’s clothing boutique offering a pretty decent selection of jeans, and a small variety of tops, jewelry and accessories.  Jewels & Jeans carries Citizens of Humanity, Seven for All Mankind, Paige, Miss Me, and my current favorite, Joe’s Jeans.

DSC05006In my opinion, the thing this store has going for it is its jeans selection.  For being such a small store, they really do offer a good variety of brands and styles, and they had some good stuff on their sale rack for pretty decent prices.  I don’t recall seeing  as many big brand names in their tops section, other than basics by Michael Stars, but they had some really cute stuff.  Overall, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you are looking for a good pair of designer jeans

DSC05007Jewels & Jeans
5850 Old Bullard Road
Tyler, TX 75703-4341
(903) 939-9151

Racquet & Jog

DSC04973A co-worker recently expressed his curiosity over us Tylerites’ obsession with Racquet & Jog t-shirts.  I remember back when I first moved to Tyler, I too, was confused by the popularity of these brightly colored shirts.  Initially, I assumed Racquet & Jog must be a local athletic store that had an awful lot of employees.  However, I kept seeing more and more of these shirts all over town, and not only in Tyler, but on vacations and in airports too, so I realized there must be more to it.

DSC04970As it turns out, Racquet & Jog is a local athletic and clothing store, with locations in Dallas, Austin, Longview, and Tyler.  The store in Tyler carries a good variety of jeans, swimwear, athletic wear, cool novelty tees, and accessories in addition to a decent selection of athletic apparel.  Brands they carry include Junk Food, Dogeared, Vix, BB Dakota, and Roxy. They also offer an impressive collection of mens and womens shoes, including Frye, Rainbow, Yellowbox, Havaianas, and Dolce Vita.  And yes they have Uggs!  This store has an overall cool vibe, and definitely appeals to the younger crowd.  Of course, amongst all the racks of clothing is a huge table of all different colors and styles of Racquet & Jog t-shirts.  It is a bit of an unspoken rule that every Tylerite must own at least one of these. I have owned approximately eight of them, in all different colors.  My current favorite is a gray Alternative Apparel v-neck Racquet & Jog t-shirt, but I have several others currently in rotation.  Any given day at Rose Rudman is like a Racquet & Jog fashion show with walkers and runners sporting their shirts.

DSC04964Racquet & Jog is very active in promoting local athletic events. They sponsor races such as the Premier Turkey Trot and the YMCA Reindeer Run, and the East Texas Striders running club.  Be sure to stop in Racquet & Jog for athletic gear for your next race and get a t-shirt if you don’t have one already!

Racquet & Jog
5403 South Broadway Avenue
Tyler, TX 75703-1397
(903) 561-4703‎


DSC04668Hopefully everyone has had a chance to drop by Tyler’s new Ulta to check things out, but for those of you who have not, let me tell you what you are missing.  Ulta is a cosmetics, fragrance, and beauty retailer with a full salon and a huge selection of cosmetics and beauty brands ranging from  upscale lines such as Smashbox, LORAC, and Stila to drugstore brands like L’Oreal and Revlon.  In addition to their awesome assortment of cosmetics, Ulta also carries hair care lines like Ojon, Phyto, and Frederic Fekkai and a great variety of skin care and fragrance lines.

DSC04681In addition to an amazing range of beauty products, Ulta also offers a full service salon, and a Benefit cosmetics eyebrow bar, where the talented Jillian designs and measures the perfect brow shape for your face, then waxes, plucks, and trims away until you are left with perfectly customized brows specifically created for your unique face.  Men and women are encouraged to come in and take advantage of this service.

DSC04676Ulta obviously offers a collection of beauty products that can keep most product junkie women busy for hours, but there is also a pretty impressive selection of guy stuff here too.  Ulta carries several just for men skin and hair care lines such as Jack Black, Billy Jealousy, and Anthony Logistics.  You can also find a good variety of colognes here, such as John Varvatos, Lacoste, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more.  Ulta also carries a huge selection of women’s fragrances.

Ulta’s recent opening was timed perfectly for the holiday shopping season.  Sign up on their emailing list for tons of great coupons.  I signed up, and I have already gotten awesome offers such as 20% off any item, and a couple of save $3.75 on any $10 purchase coupons.  I can see myself doing lots of holiday shopping here, both for gifts to give to others, and for gifts to give to myself!

5510 S. Broadway
Tyler, TX, 75701
(903) 581-7318

Drug Emporium

DSC04627So, I thought some of you could be wondering what my favorite place in Tyler is to shop, and you might be surprised at the answer.  Yes, I love Spinout and Dillard’s and Bridgette’s, but the store where I can spend hour after hour browsing and buying is none other than grocery mecca, Drug Emporium.

Seriously, I LOVE this store.  They have recently remodeled their whole grocery section, and they have a huge variety of health and organic foods you can’t get anywhere else in Tyler.  They also offer Tyler’s best selection of snack and energy bars, a plethora of vitamins and supplements, organic, goat, soy, and almond milk, a good selection of nut butters, many different kinds of granola, and a wide selection of Amy’s Kitchen foods.  A few of my favorites include Oikos Greek Yogurt, coconut water, Amy’s Goddess salad dressing, Barney Butter almond butter, Larabars, Hansen natural sodas, quinoa, steel cut oats, and MUCH more.  They even have a table set up everyday with sample cups of a few things so you can try before you buy.

hairBut wait, there’s more.  Drug Emporium also carries a HUGE selection of salon brand hair care products.  Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, Nioxin, Bed Head, Moroccan Oil, and Sebastian are just a few of the lines they carry.  I can stare at the wall of products for hours just trying to decide what the next product to be welcomed into my hair care arsenal will be.  There is even a huge OPI display in the nail care section with a great selection of colors.  Drug Emporium also offer a wide selection of natural products like JASON, Tom’s and Burt’s Bees.

As you can see, there is much more to Drug Emporium than meets the eye.  Hidden behind their nondescript store front is SO much more than a convenience store or pharmacy.  Do not judge this book by its cover.  However, shoppers should beware.  It is easy to spend lots of money in Drug Emporium, but sadly they do not accept credit cards. Make sure you take an appropriate form of payment (cash, check, or debit) with you so you can take some of this fabulousness home with you.

Drug Emporium
5614 S Broadway Ave.
Tyler, TX 75703-4356
(903) 534-9766

Heart & Soul

DSC04587This weekend marked the grand opening of Tyler’s newest upscale clothing boutique, Heart & Soul.  Located in the Times Square shopping center right next door to Julian’s, Heart & Soul offers a variety of lines for men and women, including True Religion, Monarchy, Sky, and Betsey Johnson.

DSC04598The boutique itself is small, private and lushly decorated in rich fabrics in shades of black and white.  The clothing has an edgy feel with lots of distressed denim, embellished tees, and sequined dresses.  Heart & Soul even offers True Religion

sunglasses and a small selection of footwear and blinged out jewelry and belt buckles.  If there was a Real Housewives of Tyler reality show, I have a feeling they would do their shopping here.  Though clothing here is on the expensive side, with some pairs of jeans costing up to the $300 point, there are also reasonably priced items in the store to fit all budgets.

We would like to wish Heart & Soul the best of luck, and we hope they are around for years to come!  They offer a shopping experience previously unavailable to us Tylerites.  It’s definitely worth a look for anyone in the area.

DSC04605Heart & Soul
5201 S. Broadway Ave. Suite 112
Tyler, TX, 75703

Tyler Candle Company

tylercandlesHave I ever mentioned how much I like Tyler Candles?  Well, I do.  I absolutely love them, actually.  They come in tons of awesome scents, have adorable packaging, and they are very strong smelling.  Not to mention, the candles are actually made right here in Tyler, Texas.

I don’t even know where to start on which scent I like the best.  Their most popular is High Maintenance, which is described as a floral, woody blend combined with patchouli and vanilla with a heavy musk undertone. Very sophisticated and truly addictive!  Another one I love is Diva, which described as a warm and complex fragrance overflowing with delicious fruits and rich florals. Rich aromatic chocolate and amber complete this luscious blend.  It reminds me of Thierry Mugler’s legendary Angel perfume.  Cowboy and Beach Blonde are two more great ones.  Like I said though, there are tons of fragrances to chose from making it extremely difficult to pick a favorite.

In addition to several different sizes of votives and jar candles, Tyler Candle Company also offers Woodwick Reed Diffusers, Auto Glam fragrance for cars, and Mixer Melts scented oil and melters.  Because the candles are heavily fragranced, I have found that it tends to create a messy wick, but that is easily cured by trimming off the fragrance residue before re-lighting the candle.  I strongly urge anyone who hasn’t experience these candles for themselves to check them out.  They are available at Karen Horton and Company and The Potpourri House.  These also make great gifts for the rapidly approaching holiday season.  Good luck trying to pick just one!


spinout1When I first discovered Spinout a couple of years ago I could not believe my eyes. I had no idea there was a place in town where you could find brands such as Juicy Couture, True Religion, T-Bags, Rachel Pally, Shoshanna, etc. I thought I had died and gone to retail heaven. I had been under the impression that as long as I was living in Tyler I would be destined to a life of internet shopping, never being able to see the items I so strongly lusted after in person. Sure, there are some other nice boutiques in Tyler. However, none of them have the current, hot right NOW selection that Spinout offers. Although they are primarily an adult clothing store, for children they even offer a good selection of Juicy Kids!

Spinout first opened in 1986 as a paint-your-own tee shirt store (hence the name Spinout). Through the years it evolved into Tyler’s leading boutique for stylish and unique finds. Spinout remains a family owned business, and the mother/daughter team that run it travel to NYC and LA on a regular basis to stay on top of the latest trends.

Be sure to check out Spinout online at, but you also really need to pay a visit to this store in person, especially if you love designer clothes as much as I do. You will be amazed!

117 E. 8th
Tyler, TX 75071
(903) 526-2226