Joys of June: Five Favorite Finds to Spice Up Your Summer

1. Not Your Average Olive Oil

We recently learned there’s a place where you can find just about every kind of olive oil you can imagine. Strippaggio in the Promenade at Chenal offers 100 percent extra-virgin olive oils, as well as whole fruit- and herb-infused oils and balsamic vinegars from artisans around the world. What we love most is the tasting bar where you can compare more than 50 varieties of oils and vinegars, in addition to the new special flavor pairings each day. Get some food inspiration with special recipe cards that complement pairings. Find more information about Strippaggio’s offerings at

2. Good Beads

When we first saw the fabulous creations of Christy Bourns, we fell in love with her bold and beautiful jewelry. We recently learned that in addition to her stamped metal jewelry, Bourns creates pieces using beads gathered from a trip to Rwanda. While in Rwanda, Bourns worked with the Bridge2Rwanda team, which is featured here (How’s that for symmetry?)

The full collection is slated to be available this month. You can see more on her Facebook page,

3. Sesame Street Meets South Park

What can be better than a satirical play that resembles Sesame Street but has a South Park twist? Avenue Q brings its often racy, always funny puppets to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre stage this month, and you can rest assured that you will laugh out loud. The show is a satirical look at issues and anxieties leading up to adulthood where the characters ultimately discover how difficult and limited the real world is. It opened off-Broadway in 2003, but later transferred to Broadway and ended up winning three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. One of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, the musical runs at The Rep from June 5–30. For ticket info, call 378-0405 or visit

4. Duds for Dad

With Father’s Day this month, it’s time to think about a cool gift for dad (if you haven’t already!) at Mr. Wicks Gentlemen’s Shop in Little Rock. Summer is all about color, so why not brighten up his wardrobe a bit with a Southern Tide knit shirt? Not only is comfort key with these shirts, but they’re something  he’ll want to keep wearing because of the high quality and classic style. 

Or, add to his tie collection with a patterned Robert Talbott bow tie. In a variety of bold colors and patterns, they’re must-haves for summer events. Dads of all ages will love the über-comfortable Southern Tide Flipjacks. Lined with microsuede and featuring a no-slip rubber sole, these shoes are perfect for all of his outdoor adventures this summer. Find all of these stylish and sophisticated gifts at Mr. Wicks Gentlemen’s Shop in The Heights or online at

5. Life-Changing Read

Looking for a good summer read? We’re intrigued by the New York Times bestselling memoir Life After Death by Damien Echols, one-third of the famous West Memphis Three, who was convicted (some say falsely) of three murders and spent nearly 18 years on death row in Arkansas. Echols shares his story in full — from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of inmates and the deplorable living conditions. He also shares the enduring patience, spirituality and perseverance that kept him going while incarcerated for nearly two decades. The book is available locally at Wordsworth Books & Co. and Barnes & Noble.

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