Friday, December 09, 2016

Cookbooks Holiday Gift Guide

Cookbooks make a great Christmas gift. You can give them to experienced cooks, those just starting out, and even to someone you pulled in the holiday gift exchange that you don't really know and have no idea what to get them! They make useful gifts but not just any cookbook will do. I've rounded up ones I have personally tested (I'm pretty sure I have every Martha Stewart book she had ever released), a few that friends of mine have tested, and ones I am dying to get my hands on. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

One of A Kind Show, Toronto

Last weekend the One of A Kind Christmas Show was held in Toronto. I had never been to the OOAK show before and wanted to check it out, and I knew just the girl to show me around. My friend Kendra of Kendra Bester Design, Interior Designer, baker and all around great gal, has attended the OOAK show many times and knew exactly what booths to hit. We had a wonderful time walking and talking, checking out some new-to-us vendors, and even chatting with a few of them! I love when you can meet the artisan and share in the passion for their product, it's always inspiring and informative! Today, I thought I would share a few of my favourite vendors from the show. They all have websites and sell in either online shops or through a store so you can pick up a few one of a kind items for your Christmas shopping. I know Kendra and I sure did!

Noble Woodcraft

You can follow carver Jeff on IG at @Noble_Woodcraft. Jeff hand carves useful kitchen items like mixing spoons (above), cheese boards and the like using a traditional Scandinavian design. I bought one of the blue mixing spoons for AMH and we've already used it a few times and love it! 

Artifact Skin Co. 

Artifact sells an assortment of hair and skin products. The masques and tonics (to be used afterwards) not only smell lovely but they come in the cutest packaging (perfect for gift giving!). I am dying to try the Mer-Mer MONOÏ Glossy Mane Hair Masque. This time of year dries my hair so this super hydrating mask is much needed. And after smelling it, gardenia blossoms and Polynesian coconut oil, I was sold! I'll have mermaid hair just in time for my Mexico trip! 

Dot & Lil 

Dot & Lil is a bath and body line handcraft in Montreal. They have a cute vintage feel to them and their packaging will make you smile. But the best part is the scent of their products. Kendra and I bought gravitated to the incredible Peach Blossom & Citrus soap. Like we literally only put it down and stopped smelling it to buy our own. I can't wait to try it out and smell like peaches The soap has bamboo charcoal and exfoliating poppy seeds so it should serve me well this winter (even if you have dry skin, remember to exfoliate. It will help, I promise!).


Gotamago, the Toronto based stationary company, was a busy booth! Their calendars, tote bags, Christmas card packages, and incredible Toronto panorama cards (below) were popular but since this was a Christmas market, it was their present gift tags that were the big draw (Kendra and I bought quite a few).

Their holiday cards are as cute as can be and this one would be perfect for the whiskey connoisseur in your life. I regret not picking up that one but the good news is they gave us a discount code to use on a future purchase! (use code VERYMERRY for 10% off!)

Pepper B. 

Pepper B. owner and textile designer Danni, is as cute as the pillows and fabrics she creates. Danni talked to us about her designs and creations and how best to display them, which clearly she knows a lot about given that her booth was the best looking one of them all! Her blue velvet pillows drew me in and the navy graphic dots pillow kept me there. I also loved her carry/make-up bags. As a frequent traveller I use these often and you could feel and see the quality in these ones! (use code OOAK16 for 15% off your next order, valid Jan 1 2017+Jan 31 2017)

Smells like Canada

Smells like Canada is, you guessed it, candles that smell like Canada. They are not currently taking orders as they sold out of many scents during the One of a Kind sale, but head over to their website and enter your e-mail address to stay up to date on their releases. With scents like Toronto Smoke, Red Deer Rose, Muskoka Campfire, and a very sweet maple syrup candle, they will make you beam with pride every time you light them. I can't wait until they restock! 

Harris Loungewear

Harris Loungewear was founded in 1925 in a small town I am quite familiar with, Tillsonburg, Ontario. I love visiting Oxford County on the weekends and while the original shop is no longer there, they sure have carried the small town hospitality with them. The company sells men's loungewear and since I have a house full of boys, I was very interested in the line. Their clothing is made from Bamboo which they say "enhances softness breathability and absorbency while wicking away moisture and preventing skin irritation." It all sounded good to me and I was sold the second they mentioned that their shirts have a little extra length. I am surrounded by men (at work and at home) who constantly complain about how shirts are just not long. Problem solved! There are shirts, pants and boxers in black, navy, light blue and green. If you have any hard-to-buy-for lads in your life, you might want to check Harris Loungewear.

I managed to pick up a few treasures, and Kendra did too! I hope you will check out these vendors and maybe find a one of a kind Christmas gift for someone special on your list! 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

#CTLCookieExchange - Hershey Peanut Butter Blossoms

It's week three of our #CTLCookieExchange and while last week I promised a more grown up cookie...The Youngest just returned from his adventures in Europe and the first thing he, and his big brother asked for, was these Hershey Peanut Butter Blossoms! How could I say no to these cute little (okay, not so little) teenagers! One request from them and I was off to the store looking for the largest pack of Hersey Kisses I could find (I bought two packs of 200g). 

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pretty Candles

Celebrating This Life

Pretty candles always make a great gift item. An uplifting scent is perfect as a get well gift or something warm and spicy as a holiday hostess gift would be greatly appreciated by the gift receiver. So many candles are housed in the most beautiful containers meaning you can still enjoy them long after the candle has burned (you can reuse the vessels for holding pens or make up brushes!).

Monday, December 05, 2016

Christkindl Market

Hat | Gloves | Coat | Boots | Bag | Sweater (old, similar) | Jeans | Necklace (old, similar) | Lipstick Blake's Red |

Friday, December 02, 2016

Winter Pink

Twinning with my favourite butter tart bakery. I love wearing pink in the winter, or any season for that matter. It's one of my favourite colours!

Jacket (similar) | Sweater | Jeans | Boots | Purse | Hat | Necklace (similar for less)| Lipstick (Fuchsia)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

CP Holiday Train

The CP Holiday Train rolled into small town Ayr, Ontario this week and kicked off the holiday season by reminding us that this is also a season of giving. The purpose of the CP Holiday Train is to spread cheer through their decorated train, provide entertainment through their musical performances at each stop, and to collect food donations for local food banks throughout North America. All the money and food donations collect at each stop, stay in that area. 

This year CP is raising awareness of heart disease, as it is a growing health challenge in North America. They are asking for healthy food donations at their stops and encouraging you to also donate to your local food bank. The items most in need are: 
  • grain products
  • vegetables & fruit (canned but ask your local food bank if they accept fresh)
  • milk products 
  • meat & alternatives

The CP Holiday Train is a great family activity, especially for little ones. The Oldest and I stood along the tracks with many (many, many) little ones who were beyond excited to see the "choo-choo with the lights" go by. The crowds gathered around performance stage were incredibly large, something I was not expecting from such a small town, but the I totally understand given who the performers are: Dallas Smith (who I saw this summer and was amazing!), Odds, Kelly Prescott, Doc Walker and Colin James! *They don't all perform together, check your stop to see who will be performing. 

There is still time to see the CP Holiday Train for yourself, they still have stops in Illinios, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Saskatchewan, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. ending on December 17, 2016. You can check their schedule here.

And one last plug, this season please remember to give generously to your local food bank. Let's help our neighbours have a Happy Christmas!