December 5th, 2013
The only thing that feels better than giving a great gift is knowing that proceeds from the purchase are helping others, too. Herewith a selection of gifts (all under $40) that will make you the hero of the gift exchange.
A designer mug? Yes, please! This collaboration between Keurig and Pink Tartan’s Kimberley Newport-Mimran ($19.99) is as chic as can be and all profits go to the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation. At Keurig.ca
The rich cocoa butter formula deeply moisturizes and 100% of the purchase price of Lush Charity Pot Hand and Body Lotion ($22.95) goes to support charities around the world. Hello, perfect stocking stuffer! At Lush.ca
We’re pretty much obsessed with mercury glass, so we’re buying Pottery Barn’s Candle Pot ($29.50) and Votive Set ($19.50) in multiples. Hey – we’ve been good. Plus, a portion of the proceeds go to children’s hospital charities. At PotteryBarn.com
Almost everyone has a need for a reusable water bottle – but not many help to build wells. This 500ml glass water bottle ($29) from Obakki features a silicone sleeve and 100 per cent of proceeds go to drill water wells in South Sudan. Drink up! At Obakki.com
You've been wearing your heart on your sleeve with Cause We Care bracelets. Now the Vancouver charity has teamed up with La Notte to create this limited edition T-shirt ($35) benefiting local families in need. Now you can wear your heart on your… heart. At Aritzia.com
Tradeworks employs women at risk in their Vancouver Downtown Eastside Women’s Workshop and trains them in life, employment, and carpentry skills. These refillable maple wood pens ($40) are made from reclaimed Canadian hardwoods and include engraving at no extra cost. Give this to someone who can write a story as meaningful as the one behind the pen. At Tradeworks.com
December 4th, 2013
You knew the inevitable was coming: an invite to an ugly sweater party.
But with the plethora of options, it seems that finding something that is tacky enough to stand out has become increasingly difficult. This year, you can DIY the fug with with the Ugly Christmas Sweater Kit ($20), which provides a red sweater, felt accessories (think snowflakes and reindeer), glitter glue, jingle bells, pom poms and a sewing kit. Remember, when going for ugly, more is more.
Because if Bridget Jones taught us anything, it's that true love can be found wearing a reindeer jumper.
$20 online at www.spencersonline.com
December 3rd, 2013
It's not often that a too-cool contemporary designer who sells in high-end US department stores like Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman opens a pop-up shop in North Vancouver (and even less often that the designer hails from Bowen Island).
But that's exactly what's happening on Lower Lonsdale with Raif Adelberg, the eponymous store open until December 24, 2013. Cashmere is his signature fabric (and a family business) - but think punk, not posh; sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are heavily represented.
And sticker shock is definitely a shopping hazard - Tees run upwards of $700 and we spotted a toque that topped the $370 range. But no one ever said luxury was cheap.
139 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver, http://www.raifadelberg.com
December 2nd, 2013
Winter months can be tough: we tend to work longer hours, exercise less and spend most of our time indoors.
All of this can lead to stress and anxiety, and even worse, skin issues. One magical little plant soothes it all: relax with L’Occitane Lavender Foaming Bath ($29 at L’Occitane, left); nourish your skin with Weleda’s Lavender Relaxing Body Oil ($21 at Whole Foods, right); refresh with Green Beaver’s Natural Deodorant ($5.99 at Choices); and escape with Urban Spa’s Lavender Sleep Pillow ($13.99 at well.ca).
December 2nd, 2013
If you’ve ever found yourself in the drugstore aisle completely perplexed by the ingredients in face cream, this app is for you. Think Dirty helps us see past the label (because sometimes, “natural” is a bit of a misnomer) and get the real dirt on what’s in our favourite beauty products. Simply scan the barcode (there’s over 12,000 products in their database) and you’ll instantly get a level rating that examines toxicity and allergens. Don’t see your go-to shampoo? Send them the label, and they’ll do the research for you.
Style.com has long been the online authority of all things fashionable. Live streaming of fashion shows, photos from the most fabulous parties in all the land, and detailed trend reports and street style dissection makes this an invaluable sartorial resource.
We never want to miss a big story, but we don’t always have time to scour the web for trending stories. Enter Zite, which invites you cherry pick the topics that pique your interest, and they do the rest. It’s like a carefully curated magazine delivered right to your smartphone.
How long is that layover? And what time does your flight leave? Avoid the mad dash to the airport for with Tripit, a mobile travel assistant that saves all of your arrangements (flight times, car service, hotel reservations, calendar sync) in one place, so you aren’t stressing about missing that 7 a.m. breakfast meeting.
Dining:Best Buy Mobile offers the best choice of phones and networks, informed and impartial advice, and a free upgrade check. You can now find Best Buy Mobile at all Best Buy stores and as standalone stores in malls across the country. Learn more at BestBuyMobile.ca
When it comes to finding the best dishes in the city, no one loves dishing more than chefs. The most celebrate chefs in North America (Mario Batali, David Boulud, Vij, David Hawksworth) pinpoint specific meals at their favourite restaurants, from noodle bars to fine dining Italian, for Chefs Feed. Warning: don’t browse on an empty stomach.
November 30th, 2013
We’re thinking if the kids are dressed in super cute pajamas, we might be that much more excited to wake up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning.
This editor is kind of obsessed with Om Home’s Jasper pajama set in yellow. We love that it is not treated with any chemicals, they are a Toronto company, and you can hand these down to the next child regardless of gender. Sizes 6 months to 10 years, $39 at Om Home.
Danish brand Popupshop does a mini version of adult pajamas complete with button down front and piping. If Mom and Dad can find matching versions, the pictures will be too cute. Sizes 1 to 10 years, $78 from Sweet William.
Another great Vancouver brand, Parade makes super cute printed rompers and this owl motif is one of our favourites. They are made from organic cotton and wash very well (we know from experience) this is a great sleeper for the family member whose going to wake you up at 4 a.m., Christmas morning or not. Sizes 6 to 18 months, $28 at Parade. http://paradebaby.com
—Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
November 29th, 2013
Rain or Shine is bringing megawatt smiles to faces with its artisanal ice cream, made in-house (literally in the back kitchen) from locally sourced and fair trade ingredients (including JJ Bean espresso beans and honey from Campbell's Gold Honey Farm in the Fraser Valley).
Flavours here are a delight, from 'keepers' like Salted Caramel and Blueberry Balsamic to 'seasonal flings' like Spiced Apple Sorbet and the beer-based Powell St. Porter (from $4.50). There's a creativity to the combinations here — you can order a flight ($9 for four flavours), or you can drop by on Taco Tuesday, when the ice cream comes on a waffle taco with a topping and whip cream ($6).
Everything about this place has local and community at heart, right down to the refurbished old tractor seat stools and the counters, made out of reclaimed wood from the Olympic Village.
If it was our way, we'd have ice cream three times a day.—May Globus
102-1926 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver, 604-428-7246, www.rainorshineicecream.com
November 28th, 2013
If there's anything the people of Vancouver love, it's a good cup of coffee and a ride around town on their bikes.
Catering to just that, Musette Caffe's new Chinatown space is highly influnced by cycle culture.
While the espresso bar and banquette remain from its past life as Everything Cafe, the place has been jazzed up by a Lee and Hayden chandelier crafted from bike parts, vintage cycling bibs and two-wheelers hanging from the wall.
On the menu, there's everything to keep energy up, from 49th Parallel coffee and tea ($2.95) to Italian Paninis (from $6.95) and granola bowls ($4.50). Another big bonus is the place is licensed, so Kronenbourg brews ($6) and glasses of wine ($6) are available for tipping back, too.
Just don't drink and bike. —May Globus
75 Pender St., Vancouver, www.musettecaffe.com
November 28th, 2013
The Orlando airport is one of the busiest in the world and guess what: Not everyone is heading to the theme parks. So what unique experiences are in-the-know travelers going for? Here’s the inside scoop.
the culture lover
As home to Rollins, one of the United States’ top regional colleges, Orlando’s upscale Winter Park district offers plenty of culture. The hands down must-see is the Morse Museum, home to the most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the world.
the food fanatic
To please a refined palate, a reservation at Luma, in Winter Park (pictured), won’t disappoint: A menu featuring locally sourced ingredients that changes daily guarantees an inspired, memorable meal. Street food lovers will be well served at Hawker’s, a bustling spot in downtown Orlando that specializes in Asian fare. (We’re still dreaming about the curry sauce served with the Malaysian flatbreads). And the buzz-iest opening on the Orlando foodie scene is East End Market, which has brought the area’s top artisan food producers and farmers under one roof.
the thrill seeker
For an adrenaline rush, look beyond the obvious roller coasters: Think space shuttle liftoff simulation at the Kennedy Space Center, where you can also get up-close-and-personal with Space Shuttle Atlantis, or a few exhilarating laps on a race track with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. And for the ultimate hair-raising Florida experience? Boggy Creek’s hour-long airboat ride… at night. If hundreds of gator eyes peering at you doesn’t get your heart racing, we don’t know what will.
all of the above
Tick everything off your wish list in one fabulous hotel stay – yes, really! The newly opened Alfond Inn (from $169) is decorated with modern art supplied by students and alumni of Rollins College, is home to Hamilton’s Kitchen (acclaimed chef Christopher Windus is at the helm) and is a stone’s throw from Winter Park’s historic channels – perfect for paddleboard exploration with Paddleboard Orlando. The cherry on top? The Alfond Inn is owned by Rollins and profits go directly to funding scholarships for top students.
Who needs theme parks, anyway? —Christine Laroche
November 27th, 2013
Sasha Fierce, Bey, Queen B…
Whatever you call her, there’s one thing you can’t deny: Beyoncé’s got staying power and star power. Her two remaining Canadian shows on the Mrs. Carter World Tour, November 30 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and December 13 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, are the most sought-after tickets in town.
How do we love her? Let us count the ways.
5. A new batch of photos on her personal (but not too revealing) Tumblr is enough to shut down the office for a few hours.
And don’t even get us started on how cool she was when her hair got caught in a fan.
4. In 2011, she fired her dad as her longtime manager so she could be her own boss - like the song says, she’s an independent woman.
3. She shares our love of Rosebud Salve. (Mrs. Carter uses it to prime lashes before curling them.)
2. Her family is cool. Her mom’s a fashion designer, her daughter’s name is Blue Ivy and we’re downloading tracks from her fashion plate sister Solange’s new album, Saint Heron. Oh, and she married Jay Z.
1. Bootylicious, Single Ladies, Irreplaceable, Run the World (Girls), Crazy In Love, Bonnie & Clyde, Halo… and she’s only 32.
All hail Queen B.