Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

You know those people who always have their holiday shopping done months ahead of time? Yeah…I’m not one of those people. I’m more of a “run to the mall on Dec 23” kind of girl. I would like to share some gift-giving ideas with you. These amazing products would make wonderful presents at any time of the year!

Caroline Néron
This Montreal-based fashion designer and offers a wide selection of stylish necklaces, rings, bracelets, wallets, handbags, earrings, watches and fragrances. Her line has something special for the fashionista in your life. Caroline Néron offers high quality but affordable products for women, men and even a new collection for tweens. This is a cool Canadian brand that has my support!  

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My Affordable Holiday Gift Ideas!

By: Alison Silveira

Earlier this week, I brought you my top picks for big ticket holiday gift ideas. This time, I would like to share some affordable holiday gift ideas with you.

One year for Christmas, my sister-in-law, Charlene gifted me with the holiday collection from David's Tea. Twelve exquisite teas were presented in a beautiful crimson box. I enjoyed all of the flavourful teas and shared them with my work colleagues to warm us up during our winter woes. David's Tea is offering new gift sets, including 'the best of 2016', which features 12 delectable teas, such as apple strudel, coconut cream pie and sweet almond green to name a few. Your friends and family deserve the best, so why not give the 'best of 2016' from David's Tea? This gift box retails for just $26.00.   

I am not a fan of using any synthetic fragrances, as I try not to consume products with many chemicals or strong scents. Saje Natural Wellness offers products that are plant based, vegan, contain no synthetics and are not tested on animals. I adore their Pocket Farmacy, and no, that is not a typo. A collection of five soothing and revitalizing essential roll-on oils come in a compact and convenient carrying case. My favourites include the peppermint halo headache remedy and the stress release tension reducing remedy. I roll the product on my temples, my neck and down to my shoulders and they smell and feel incredible. The Pocket Farmacy retails for $59.95. 

This gorgeous printed scarf from Scotch & Soda is detailed with fringes and dotted with stars. It has a soft finish and is stylish and versatile, as you can wear it to work or even to a trendy restaurant. It's playful, girlish and fun and retails for $65.00.

OGX's extra strength argan oil of Morocco shampoo is made with silk proteins and it provides the ultimate hydration for drab, dry locks. We know that excessive heat styling damages and dries out hair, but this shampoo leaves hair soft, strong and voluminous. Pair it with OGX's extra strength argan oil of Morocco conditioner and you have a one-two punch for luscious, luxurious locks! At $8.00 a bottle, it certainly won't break the bank!

My Top Big Ticket Holiday Gift Ideas from Amazon.ca!

By: Alison Silveira

For the healthy, gourmet chef in the family, I recommend the KitchenAid Spiralizer Plus. With peeling, coring and slicing capabilities, prep work becomes easy as pie! A lot of similar gadgets on the market are inexpensive, but they are not durable, nor do they function as easily as the electric KitchenAid Spiralizer. I have a hand-held spiralizer at home, which I use to make zucchini noodles, but it can be quite burdensome on my wrist. The KitchenAid is a highly reputable brand and this gift would make any home cook happy. It retails for $150.00

Did you know that Amazon.ca has its own jewelry collection? This gorgeous pair of 14k gold Tahitian cultured pearl and diamond earrings would suit mom perfectly. Elegant and stately, mom would look like the queen that she is when she wears these special earrings. Go ahead and spoil mom! The pair retails for $395.00. 

Dads can be difficult to shop for, as they seem to have everything! My dad is an avid and voracious reader, but he's running out of bookshelf space to store all of his books. That's why the Kindle Oasis makes the perfect gift for him. This sleek, thin e-reader comes with a leather charging cover, which means the battery can last for months! I was concerned that reading on a screen could lead to strained eyes, but with the high-resolution display, the Kindle Oasis reads like paper, with crisp, laser quality text. What's more is that there is a built-in adjustable light, which means dad can read at anytime. The Kindle Oasis retails for $399.99. 

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I've heard it said that you should never buy a woman cleaning products as gifts. However, the Neato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum is an exception and is definitely at the top of my Christmas wish list. I'm not complaining about my luscious locks, but the downside to having long, thick hair can be getting it all over the bathroom floor. It's cumbersome to remove it, but not with this powerful gadget. I have seen this silent, but mighty little vacuum in action and it removes hair along with dust, dirt and other debris quickly and easily. The Wi-Fi capability lets you control the vacuum from wherever you are and you can clean all floors and carpets without lifting a finger. At $699.99 it's a pricey, but worthwhile investment.

For the adventurous traveller in the family, the GoPro HERO Session Video Camera is a must-have! It's small, simple and captures stunning images and videos, including under the sea, as it is waterproof to 33 feet. There's only one button on it, so it's super user-friendly and it can be mounted to a ski helmet or a surfboard. With 1440 pixels per inch, it records sharp, high-resolution video and takes 8-megapixel photos. It's highly durable and can withstand excessive weather conditions. The GoPro HERO Session Video Camera retails for $279.99. 

For these and other great gift ideas, visit amazon.ca

Urbery: Weekly Shopping Has Never Been Easier!

By: Alison Silveira

Weekends are for enjoying the company of family and friends, having fun, relaxing and, yes, grocery shopping. When I was in university, my housemates Kevin, Rob and I used to do most of our grocery shopping at Kensington Market. I enjoyed the pleasurable experience of buying fresh meat at European Deli (now Sanagan's Meat Locker), sampling jalapeno Havarti at Cheese Magic, discovering exotic fruits and vegetables from Oxford Fruits and choosing an assortment of authentic Montreal bagels from My Market Bakery.

Nowadays, I have many more responsibilities and even one-stop shopping at a grocery store can be quite time-consuming. Waiting in long lines and lugging home heavy grocery bags are definitely cutting into precious weekend rest and relaxation time. So what's a girl to do? 

Try Urbery, of course! It's a same-day delivery service for groceries, alcohol from the LCBO and Beer Store, and over-the-counter pharmacy and household products. I recently used this time saving service and it was quick, convenient and easy.

I signed up for an account and ordered products from Loblaws at Urbery.com (a smart phone app is also available), chose my desired delivery time slot and paid securely online. The services was absolutely outstanding! My friendly grocery guru delivered my groceries right to my door with a smile. There were a couple of items that were unavailable online, but I added it to my wish list and they were delivered to me!  

The service offers free delivery on orders over $65 and charges a $10 fee for alcohol delivery. Delivery can be completed on the same day within two hours of order placement. I was able to track my delivery in real-time and interact with my personal shopper via text. Urbery offers a 100% freshness guarantee, ensuring that customers always receive only the best and freshest products. 

I highly recommend Urbery, especially if you are extremely busy or are looking to free up time in your schedule. While the service may be a little more expensive, it affords you the luxury of time to prioritize the things that matter. 

An even better reason to try Urbery is that you can get $25 off your purchase of $65 or more by entering code STAYINGIN. Give it a try.

Happy shopping! 

 

TPG Holiday Workshop: Gifts Galore!

By: Carly Spears

It’s still sunny and I am enjoying the summer while it’s here, but I am also getting ready for the holidays! I recently attended TPG’s Holiday Workshop, which highlighted some of the latest up and coming trends for holiday gifts this season. 

Here are a few of my favourites:

Cilque

I’ve never been one to spend a lot of money on my bedding. My motto is that as long as they’re remotely comfortable, I’ll probably have an okay sleep. With that said, while chatting with delightful founder and CEO about her products, I literally could not stop touching the eye masks. This was incredibly intriguing because the bright light pouring into my bedroom every morning really gives meaning to the phrase ‘rise and shine,’ and not in a positive way. With that said, I find most eye masks to be extremely uncomfortable, defeating the purpose of being able to go back to sleep once the sun is out! Made from premium 100% mulberry silk charmeuse, these machine-washable, hypoallergenic eye masks are definitely one that I would want in my gift box this season. 

Micro Pedi

Everyone knows that, while your manicure chips in one day, toenail polish tends to last forever, even through the worst of times. Sometimes, you just need a pedicure to shave off that rough skin on the bottom of your feet. This is especially true in the summer when pounding away on those hot flip flops or concrete by the pool. I’ve often had this debate: do I go and pay for a full pedicure or, do I just wait it out until I need new polish. Admittedly, I usually tend to wait it out and I seriously hate every minute of it. 

I recently got to try the new Micro Pedi and, I have to say, it’s a wonderful alternative. This battery-run easy-to-use system simply sands off any dead skin building up at the bottom of your feet. While it won’t fully remove any large calluses as the razor at the salon might do, it definitely smoothes out any extra unwanted skin on the surface, tying you over your next necessary polish change. 

Nadege

Strolling on through the workshop, it was impossible to miss the grand spread that Nadege had set up. Ranging from savoury eggplant and goat cheese-filled croissants to a wide variety of French macarons, p’tit choux and dessert tarts, Nadege’s ultra-buttery mini creations should be on everyone’s list for entertaining their guests this season. 

Cavinona

To wash down the Nadege pastries, I was offered a glass of Contadi Castaldi – a brand I had not been familiar with prior to the event, and rightfully so! Cavinona is a unique Ontario-based wine agency which imports unique Italian wines not otherwise available for purchase in the LCBO. While commonly serving restaurants exclusively, their online ordering system actually allows consumers to get a taste of Italy, too! 

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, the sparkling brut was subtle yet flavourful, without being overly sweet. At only $38.99 per bottle, this is a wonderful and affordable alternative to Champagne for the holiday season. 

Medium Watches

Finally, I get to take a peak at the brand new watch brand: Medium. While fairly simple in their general design, I absolutely love the look of these watches. As someone who does not own multiple watches, the simpler white and black variations really caught my eye. With that said, for someone who does own a watch for each outfit, interchangeable straps would certainly allow for a wide variety of colour combinations. I particularly love the turquoise paired with the black face and silver accents. Available in a variety of face and strap colours, these sophisticated yet elegant watches are the type of accessory that men, women, watch-wearers and non-watch-wearers can all appreciate as an addition to their wardrobe.  

Genuine Health

Up for another quick snack, I approach Genuine Health – set up with shots of green supplements and a variety of fermented proteins+ bars. Skeptical of most vegan and meal-replacement protein bars, I was pleasantly surprised at the enjoyable flavour of these, especially since they’re gluten free, soy free and vegan! Obviously opting for the peanut butter chocolate version, my taste buds were almost (not quite, but almost) fooled into thinking it was a sinful chocolate bar-like snack. While these are probably not a holiday gift I would typically think to give to someone, I definitely wouldn’t mind snacking on the peanut butter chocolate bar stashed in my purse for when those banquet-style corporate holiday parties hit. 

Carly Spears is a marketing and communications professional who writes about and photographs food from Toronto and on various travels around the world. Follow her on Instagram @thechewreview