Holiday Gift Guide: The Fashionista

Shopping for the fashionista on your list is both simple (she wants clothes & accessories of course!) and impossible (but which ones? what size?  what does she already have???).  While we can’t help with everything, we’ve put together a list of special items at a variety of price points.

under $25


1) This has been a major year in nail polish.  Sounds strange, but it’s true.  Manicures became a new art form in 2012 and nail polish is an easy and inexpensive way to accessorize an outfit.  Many nailpolish companies release holiday collections and cosmetic stores like Sephora are a great place to pick up gift sets.  For something really special, pick up a bottle of OPI’s “It’s Real” – clear nailpolish with real 18 karat gold flakes and help her dazzle through the holidays.

2) Cocktail rings are one of our favourite accessories for the holiday season and given their large size, typically fall into the costume jewellery (i.e. relatively inexpensive) category.  Big chains like Forever 21 and H&M are always great sources for super cheap accessories, but many of the rings at smaller local boutiques like Love of Mine and the Made You Look accessory shop also come in around the $25 mark.  Parkdale’s many vintage shops are also an awesome source for blingy costume jewelry.

3) Coloured/textured/patterned tights are something that the fashion forward set can’t have too many pairs of in the winter time.  Hue is queen when it comes to tights – look for them at the Bay – there you’ll find every colour and pattern under the sun.  American Apparel is also a great resource if you want to take things up a notch – they have a whole line of tights with two different coloured legs.

4) Belts are a great way to totally change up an outfit and can easily be found for under $25.  H&M is a great place for basics, while Urban Outfitters has some beautiful embellished waist belts.  The stock at Durumi & Chocolate Shoes is constantly changing, but I would always pay them a visit any time you’re in the market for unique, reasonably priced accessories.

5) Standing around at holiday parties in 4 inch heels can be tough on even seasoned heel wearers.  Give her feet a break at the end of the night by sticking a pair of foldable flats in her stocking.  Even if she wouldn’t be seen leaving the house in them, she’ll be thanking you when she pulls them out of her purse at the end of the night.

6) We wrote about inexpensive statement necklaces earlier this month and one of my favourites from that collection was the sparkly pearly collar necklace by H&M.  Collar necklaces are available everywhere right now and they give just the right amount of bling to an otherwise boring outfit.

under $100

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Holiday Gift Guide: The Foodie / Home Chef

As Toronto quickly becomes cemented as a Foodie town, we’ve got no doubts that you’ve got a budding chef or food connoisseur on your list of people to buy for this year.  We’re big fans of food ourselves and have put together this guide with our own loves in mind!

under $25

1) Perfect for stocking stuffers, small gifts, or thank-yous to holiday hosts, fancy salts, vinegars and oils are a gift that will always be appreciated and never be wasted.  There are gourmet shops around the city selling these items, some at a premium, some at a discount. For salts and great spice blends in pretty packaging, check out The Spice Trader on Queen St. W. or order online. Crescendo just opened in the Distillery Market and is known for its incredibly flavored oils and vinegars.  For bargain prices, check out HomeSense!

2) We’ve both been to the wine and cheese classes offered by the Leslieville Cheese Market, and they are fun, informative and delicious.  Even better, they’re $20! For your beer-loving foodie, beer and cheese classes are also offered. ($20)

3) A wine saver pump is a great gift for your favorite wine-o’s. The wine vacuum takes out the extra air from an open bottle of wine, helping slow down the oxidation process so the wine keeps longer. I know we all love to polish off bottles, but sometimes a nice wine is great to savour! (from $10)

4) There are cookbooks for every taste, whether your foodie is focused on being healthy, trying to master the perfect chilli in the slow cooker or hell bent on learning to make macarons. Chapters is a one stop shop, but there are some great smaller stores staffed with people who can really speak to the books to help you pick out the perfect one. Try The Good Egg in Kensington Market, you’ll want to browse for hours!

5) Seemingly every time we head up to a cottage with a food loving gang in tow we manage to fill the trunk with excessive food and supplies.  Heaven forbid we go two days without our precious sea salts!  Pick up this Mobile Food Survival Kit and help simplify the travels of your foodie friends. ($25)

under $100

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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Person Who has Everything

Got one of those pesky people on your shopping list who seems to have everything (or worse, not like anything)?  You’ve come to the right place!  We’ve rounded up a list of gifts – from the quirky to the luxurious – sure to please even the most difficult friends and relatives.

under $25

1) You’ve heard it from us before – Etsy is a gift giving goldmine.  If you know anything at all about a person’s likes or dislikes, simply type it into the search bar and wait for the magic to happen.  You can also browse by type of item (i.e. art, housewares, accessories, etc.) or get your inspiration from the site’s daily handpicked items.  If you don’t know where to start and are in need of ideas, simply click on Gift Ideas and check out the amazing curated collection, organized by topic/recipient.

2) For the person who truly wants for nothing, a donation made in their name is a wonderful way to honour them while giving back to those in need.  If the individual has an organization close to their heart, that’s a great place to start.  If not, Plan Canada is a fantastic non-denominational organization doing amazing work world wide.  Plan has an array of “gifts” available, from home birthing kits to cows.

3) Unless the person you’re shopping for is a total stick-in-the-mud, a board game is a fun and easy gift idea.  Many of the classic games (Scrabble, Monopoly, etc.) are available as special editions, particularly around the holidays.  For the social butterfly, simple games like Jenga and Pictionary can be loads of fun at parties and don’t require much in the way of concentration.  A new version of a childhood favourite can also be a fun way to shake things up (turns out Clue is a fundamentally different game when played as an adult).

4) One thing that people don’t seem to have much of these days are printed photos.  If your person who has everything is a digital camera user, chances are it’s been some time since they’ve sat down with a photo album of memories.  Getting some favourite shots printed or compiling an album is a priceless gift that will stay with the person forever.

5) For the hipster who has everything, steal some shots from their instagram account and turn them into super cute square fridge magnets.  Only $14.99 for a sheet of 9 with free worldwide shipping via Stickygram.

6) Although art can be tough to buy for another person, a small, unique print is also a great gift for someone who seemingly has everything.  Society6 features the work of thousands of artists from around the world and small prints are typically under $25.  If you’re not sure you’re ready to pick out a wall hanging, you’ve also got the option to turn i-phone cases, tees and tote bags into custom works of art.


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Holiday Gift Guide: The Music & Film Lover

For our second instalment of holiday gift guides, may we present you ideas for the music & film lover!

Under $25

1) Yes – tickets to concerts can cost you less than $25. This is especially true when you get your tickets from our favorite record shops, Rotate This and Soundscapes, who cap those nasty surcharges at no more than $3 per ticket. Every music lover loves being exposed to new and exciting music, so why not give the gift of a live show, and maybe even your own fabulous company!

2) (New) vintage band tees are back and hotter than ever. This Jimi Hendrix one is from, believe it or not, H&M. We’ve all got our favorites and I doubt picking out one for your music lover would be too hard. Right now, I’m seriously coveting this one. ($17.95)

3) Many die-hard music fans keep their ticket stubs. Often times, that means they are buried away in different boxes in different homes. Help bring some order to your music lover’s life by gifting a ticket stub journal.  I’ve got all of my concert ticket stubs, in fact, I still have my ticket to my first concert ever: Aerosmith’s Big Ones tour in 1993 :) ($14.95)

4) Record albums are often beautiful and under appreciated work of art. Help showcase a music lover’s favorite album by gifting these record album frames . ($15 or 2 for $20)

5) For those music fans (like Kelly and I) who wish they had the skills to join in on impromptu jam sessions, a harmonica is the perfect gift. No talent necessary to be your own rock star.  (from $20)

Under $50

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Holiday Gift Guide: The World Traveler

I attended my first holiday party this Sunday which can mean only one thing – I’m already way behind in my Christmas shopping!!!  If you’ve gotten started but you’re stuck on some of the harder to buy for people on your list, stay tuned.  We’ve got a week’s worth of gift guides coming your way!  Up first, gifts for the World (or frequent) Traveler!

Under $25

If your traveler is off to a particular destination, travel guides are an awesome (and usually inexpensive) gift.  I’ve always been partial to Lonely Planet, but they do tend to get outdated quickly and often miss some of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations.  Before you buy, I recommend doing a google search or two to see what people are saying about the guides for that particular area of the world.  More generally, Lonely Planet also makes some awesome world books – I have a huge hardcover Travel Book with gorgeous photos and a one page info guide on every country in the world.  Robyn recently posted about some fabulous travel books that are helping her dream up her next adventure.

If you don’t know where the recipient of your awesome gift is headed, or if they don’t have any particular destination at all, we’ve compiled a list of items under $25 that are great tools for the traveler, many which would be as useful at home as away!

1) Luggage tags save you the hassle of having to full out paper labels every time you travel and also help you distinguish your luggage.  These classic Moleskin tags come in four colours and the trusty hardcover and signature elastic strap are sure to keep them securely attached.

2) One of the drawbacks of traveling alone is returning home with a camera full of scenic shots or too-close selfies.  The flexible tri-pod by Gorillapod is super-light weight and allows you to attach your camera to just about any surface/object/etc. and take sturdy timed shots.  Tripods are available for all different sizes/models of cameras, including SLRs.

3) A classic Victorinox swiss army knife is pretty damn useful no matter what you’re doing, but it becomes even handier when away from home without any of the basic tools you’d usually have on hand at home.  They come in a whole variety of colours and complexities, with the classic red retailing for just $19.99 at Canadian Tire.

4) This world map is an awesome gift who anyone who has traveled a lot even if they have no plans to leave again any time soon.  This map lets you scratch off all of the places you’ve visited, revealing a colourful patchwork underneath (available online via Uncommon Goods, Urban Outfitters and other retailers).

5) With the luxurious days of traveling with multiple heavy suitcases free of charge far behind us, a portable luggage scale is a pretty handy device.  This one by Heys is apparently the world’s lightest, so after making sure you’ll be allowed on your plane out, you can take it with you to make sure the souvenirs you picked up along the way haven’t weighed you down.

6) Even if you’re not normally a journal person, unless you’ve got a photographic memory I would never get on a plane without some sort of notebook to keep track of the places you see, things you eat, and people you meet.  There’s nothing worse than coming home from an adventure with 700 photos and not being able to identify anything you captured.  The I Was Here version is an illustrated, guided travel journal that encourages users to explore and appreciate the easily overlooked details (available at Urban Outfitters and among other retailers). 

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