December 16, 2014
Gift cards are a great option for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life.

Readers React: Where to Buy 

Gift Cards This Season        

 By Belle Du Chene

Still have some shopping to do? Panicked over what to get Uncle Charlie or sister Sue? Gift cards may be the answer, and to help you (and us) out, we asked our Facebook fans for the best local places to buy them. 

Many of the suggestions centered on health and beauty. As Katie Theulen said in recommending Penelopie Beauty Bar: "Everyone deserves to get pampered over the holidays!" Daphne Christensen suggests The Spa at West Glen because "if you buy a $100 gift card, you get $20 in Spa Bucks free!" And at Sahar's Salon and Day Spa, you can buy a card through its website--you choose the amount and the design, and the spa will send it to the recipient for you. 

On the food and drink front, Sylvia DeWitt promises that "everyone (will) find something they like" at The Juice Co. on 42nd Street in the Shops at Roosevelt. Jessica Gabriel Tursi suggests a gift card from The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, while Carrie England recommends Zanzibar's Coffee Adventure. An unexpected idea: Ladora Bank Bistro along Highway 6 (about 82 miles east of Des Moines). 

We learned from Jenna Eckstrom that at the Des Moines Art Center, gift cards can be used for memberships, classes or in the museum shop. And in the "who would've thought" category is a gift card from Willis Auto Campus, which Josh Dreyer says would be "good for any service or accessories purchase."

If you have any more ideas, let us know on our Facebook page. And we encourage you, as Jody Valentine put it, to shop "local, local, local" this holiday season.


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Splash owner Bruce Gerleman dances with guests at a previous SplashDance.

Dance at Splash 

By Wini Moranville   

For one night only, the city's premier seafood restaurant will morph into a tony nightclub known as SplashDance.


On Dec. 21, Splash Seafood Bar & Grill's main dining room will become a dance floor, with a disc jockey from BC Productions spinning the tunes. Sip sparkling wines selected by certified sommelier Ben Nelson, and enjoy an appetizer spread of delights from both Splash and Jethro's, overseen by Executive Chef Dom Ianarelli. Rex Schulze, winner of the Iowa Restaurant Association's 2014 Iowa Mixologist Championship, will be on hand to shake up craft cocktails at the cash bar.


"It's like an adult prom," says Marketing Director Mike Holms. "[It's] an option for adults who want to dress up and let their hair down. The music is great and the food is fantastic."


I've also heard these pop-up parties referred to as being like "the best wedding reception you've ever been to--without the annoying kids and drunken relatives." However you describe it, the event sounds like a great way to celebrate the season with friends, without anyone having to do the heavy lifting of hosting the party.


Doors open at 7 p.m., and the cost is $25 per person, which includes the appetizer buffet and the complimentary sparkling-wine table. Casual-elegant attire is recommended.

Splash is at 303 Locust St.; 244-5686;

fyi: Mark Your Calendar

  • Celebrate the season at World Food Prize Hall of Laureates' holiday open house Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event will feature live music by Grace Church Ensemble, holiday decor, and the chance to view the World Food Prize Foundation's artwork and exhibits. Go to for details.
  • Gateway Market's Wine Club kicks off in January and will offer two membership levels. The "green card" ($50 a month) includes a two-glass set of Riedel stemware, a reusable six-bottle wine bag, a 10 percent discount off wine purchases and two select bottles of wine per month. The "black card" ($100 a month) includes the same stemware and reusable bag, a Riedel decanter, a 15 percent discount off wine purchases and four bottles of selected wine per month. Learn more here
  • Registration is open for winter classes at the Des Moines Social Club. Among the offerings are circus arts, dance and fitness, performing arts, literary courses, programs for youths and family, music and visual arts. All classes are held at the Social Club, 900 Mulberry St. Learn more about scheduling and cost by visiting or email your questions.

P.S.: Sages Over 70 Recap 

By Belle Du Chene 

From left to right: Connie Wimer,
Kristi Knous, Kris Maggard and
Sara Bonney.
Last Thursday, Business Publications 
Chairman Connie Wimer and Magazine Manager Kris Maggard presented a $6,000 check to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines to support the Sages Over 70 Fund. The money was raised through the 2014 Sages Over 70 event and represented a 20 percent increase over last year.

"The Sages Over 70 Fund supports the current and future opportunities and needs in our community through the Community Foundation's annual grant-making programs," said Kristi Knous, president of the Community Foundation. "Gifts to the Sages Over 70 Fund are a lasting legacy to the Greater Des Moines community, just like the achievements of those honored as Sages Over 70."

This year's Sages Over 70 honorees are Chuck Betts, J.C. "Buz" Brenton, Don Brush, Judy Conlin, Patty Cownie and Stan Reynolds. dsm thanks everyone who helped make the event possible. 

To learn more about this year's Sages, check out this video

Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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