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

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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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Advent Calendars We’d Like to Open

With December 1st right around the corner and the countdown to Christmas on, we thought we’d share our roundup of awesome advent calendars.  Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, these calendars are a great excuse for a daily treat!

The Basics

For the traditionalists out there, there are plenty of advent calendars to dole out your daily serving of chocolate while you count down to Christmas. If you’re only going to get one small piece, then it’s our opinion that the Dollar Store varieties just won’t do – you need the real deal! Laura Secord and Lindt are classics for your great quality milk chocolate. And here’s a tip: In the basement of Sears at the Eaton Centre, there is a Lindt discount store that is selling them cheaper than most other retail locations!

Kinder Surprise also makes a fun calendar, but we’ve been on a serious hunt for some dark chocolate and have come across two obliging chocolatiers: Victoria B.C.’s Rogers’ and the U.K.’s Montezuma (also offering other delicious flavours like Lime & Chilli, Orange & Geranium and Coffee!).  If you tend to overindulge on the weekends, consider leaving your calendar at the office.  Not only is it out of site, Mondays will suddenly become a lot sweeter!

From left to right: Laura Secord, Lindt, Kinder SurpriseMontezuma, Rogers’

The Boozies

If chocolate isn’t your thing or your simply looking for a more grown up way to get through the holidays, you’re in luck.  Master of Malt has put together a pretty impressive Whiskey Advent Calendar.  Behind each of the 24 doors is a different 1 oz. sample of whiskey, including a 50-year old scotch whiskey, which retails for £350 a bottle! (roughly $555 CDN).  For gin lovers, there’s also a Ginvent Calendar available (for about half the price).

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A Big Muchos Gracias and some Weekend Happenings

Happy Friday, Friends!

This has been a big week for us – after a couple of months of blogging to get some content going and some fussing around with our appearance, we shared For the Love of Awesome with our friends on Facebook.  So far we’ve had a great response and want to thank all of you who have been following us, helping promote us, and generally being patient with us while we photograph everything in sight.  THANK YOU!!!

For those of you who are new to the blog: if you’re interested in the latest hot spots in Toronto, the new music we’re listening to, the recipes we’ve successfully recreated in our kitchens and fashion we’re coveting, this blog is for you.

Can we make this a dialogue, though? Let us know what you like! Let us know what you’d love to see more of! And since we are new to this blogging business, tell us about technical issues we may not be aware of! You can comment on any post by clicking on the post’s title.

Perhaps most importantly, let us know this isn’t all for nothing. If you like what you’re reading, please share our website and blog posts with your friends. We hear it’s good karma :) We’ve tried to make it easy for you by letting you sign up to receive new posts by email (see the panel on the right), and by providing links to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in each post.  You’ve already been a big help in spreading the love – keep it up!

Have a wonderful weekend, people!

Here are some fun things to keep you busy and enjoying the summa summa!