December 18th, 2009
When it comes to chocolate gift giving, skip the Pot of Gold this year and opt for something much more deliciously fabulous.
At the new Epiphanie Chocolate the scent of fresh cocoa wafts in the air as you’re surrounded by tiny works of art that also happen to melt in your mouth.
Choose from dozens of different pieces (from $1.75 each) made from the finest gourmet chocolate mixed with fresh ingredients, natural flavours and nuts. Our pick is the cheeky lip-shaped cream ganache blended with milk for a light caramel taste (pictured).
And while you’re deciding, sip on a cup of Richly Dark, Ecuadorian Delight or Mayan Spice hot chocolate ($6 each) made with low-fat milk and cane sugar so it’s a guilt-free treat.
Epiphanie Chocolate, 1417 11th St. SW, Calgary, 403-370-4592, www.epiphaniechocolate.com
December 18th, 2009
Presenting Editor-in-chief Sarah Bancroft's great-great-Grandmother Matilda's gingerbread cookie recipe, originally from Heligoland. The secret to its crispiness? See ingredient #2. Yum!
Matilda's Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 c butter, softened
1/4 c bacon fat, cold
1/2 c white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbls ground or fresh grated ginger
Cream together butter and bacon fat, adding sugar.
Add egg and molasses, mix again.
Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.
Mix flour mixture into butter mixture gradually.
Form dough into ball, flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll out with a dusting of flour into 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut with cookie cutters and lift onto baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
December 17th, 2009
Newly opened Pretty Little Things is a treasure trove of unique finds, one-of-a-kind gems and vintage finds. Off the beaten track, in the historic Ramsay neighbourhood, it’s the perfect setting for the romanticism of bygone eras.
Open only Friday to Sunday, owner Debbie Dalen spends the rest of the time scouring the city for the vintage jackets (fur-collared pea coats or leopard-print coats), home items (classic tea sets), new beauty finds (Nanette Lepore perfume) and off-the-wall knick-knacks (glittery skulls). New clothing, children’s items, books and stationery round out the eclectic collection and each item includes a handwritten note by Dalen suggesting creative ideas for its use.
That sparkly skull: we’re thinking a last-minute gift for the gal who has everything.
Pretty Little Things, 2010 11th St. SE, Calgary, 403-237-5344.
December 16th, 2009
With Santa’s extreme travel schedule, it’s no surprise his carbon footprint is out of this world. To help jolly old St. Nick offset that print, go green with Amenity Home’s new holiday collection.
Put the final touches on your Christmas décor with the eco-friendly and modern stockings ($55), table runners ($105) and ornaments ($9), made from softly textured hemp and organic cotton in a print inspired by pine needles scattered on the forest floor.
Because Santa’s got to do what he’s got to do.
At Riva’s, The Eco Store, 1534 17th Ave. SW, Calgary, 403-452-1001, www.rivasecostore.com
December 15th, 2009
For your mom, sis or BFF, we’ve got a gift for every woman in your life. Herewith, our Top 5 gifts (from save to splurge) for the gals.
Fill her stocking to the brim with delectably scented body polish from the newly launched Joe Fresh Bath line ($5 each). Choose from lemon, pomegranate, grapefruit or nectarine or, better yet, throw in all four. At Real Canadian Superstores, www.superstore.ca
If Christmas is about feeling like a kid, Julie Morstad’s fairytale illustrations take us back to the whimsies of childhood all year long. Choose from a selection of archival 8x10 or 11X14 prints (from $60) for the art lover in your life. At www.juliemorstad.com
Channel your inner Parisian with a nautical-inspired top, because something striped never goes out of style. This long, lightweight knit striped sweater ($85) from American Apparel is perfect for layering and a chic addition to any wardrobe. At www.americanapparel.net
The “It Bag” may be out but an oversized clutch is always a sophisticated alternative for carrying essentials day or night. A favourite among celebs this soft, buttery Onna Ehrlich clutch (from $225) has plenty of pockets and an optional wrist strap. At Mealan, 1518 Fourth St. SW, Calgary, 403-457-4020, www.mealan.com
December 14th, 2009
With a packed party season, sometimes day-to-night is your only option.
So when it’s race time from the office to party, to after-party, sprinkle a little Dust It by OSiS ($22.50) to give your tresses a boost.
The lightweight matte powder absorbs oil while giving your hair more volume and a textured finish without weighing it down. And the small bottle fits perfectly in our clutch for easy access when things get flat.
We think of it as our own fairy dust for the mane.
At Alanti Hair Group, 12445 Lake Fraser Way SE, Calgary, 403-271-8466.
December 11th, 2009
You say coffee, we say Phil and Sebastian. The beloved Calgary Farmers’ Market duo just opened their first coffee shop in the heart of Marda Loop.
The sleek and narrow space has distressed wood floors, funky chandeliers, communal wood tables and a wrap-around bench that extends the length of the café. The lime espresso machine, surrounded by pretty young things typing away on their Macs, adds an impressive pop of colour.
With half a dozen delectable coffee offerings and a small bites menu in development, we'll be spending a lot of time with the boys in the loop.
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Company, 2043 33rd Ave. SW, Calgary, www.philsebastian.com
December 11th, 2009
While we still can't convince the wee ones that an RESP contribution constitutes a gift, we're always in search of presents that will foster their future.
Tired of plastic gizmos that get abandoned before Boxing Day, we turned to Canadian site www.babynaturopathics.com. With adorable modern banjos by Plan Toys (pictured, $29.50), pint-sized natural wood pianos from Germany ($159), and even a skyscraper set for the future city planner ($57), there's plenty of old-fashioned fun to be had.
And if she grows up to be a doctor, ($33.50) well, that RESP will sure come in handy.
December 10th, 2009
Every year, when the cards start coming, you promise to send out your own well wishes the following December. And every year, the 24th creeps up a little too quickly.
But this year, good intentions will be fulfilled as you make your way to The Social Page. The stationery and giftware shop has just moved from their small 17th Avenue store to a much larger space packed with cards, paper, gifts and gadgets.
Work with in-house designers to create your own unique holiday greeting or pick up stationery for tackling DIY projects at home. For those who prefer baby steps, the shop also carries a variety of cards that are ready to be signed, sealed and delivered.
The Social Page, 1010 Eighth St. SW, Calgary, 403-245-8868, www.thesocialpage.ca
December 9th, 2009
Nearly 65 years after its original publication, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) continues to inspire readers with its simple yet profound observations on life and human nature.
The newest incarnation, The Little Prince Pop-Up ($29) tells the classic tale of the pilot, the prince and the planet in grander proportions with the whimsical illustrations literally popping off the pages.
Just in time for gift-giving season, pick up copies for Little Prince first-timers, or those that have read it 100 times.