Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Y'all know I'm one of those mothers who doesn't buy into the yummy mummy phenomenon. Parenting is tough stuff and, while rewarding, is not for those who enjoy sleep, leisure, agreement or the presumption of peaceful meals.
On this note, I have recently discovered:
Motherhood in NYC: An acerbic and incredibly well-written account of family life in the Big Apple. Marinka is from Russia and has some incredible insights about being a "new American" (she's been an expat for much of her life) and a modern woman. She does not sugar coat the parenting experience, which thrills me, to be honest. And she's hilarious. Note: You do not need to be a mother to like this blog. In fact, the less you idealize kids, the better!
Is There Any Mommy Out There: Authored by a mother of 3 and soon to be 4 (all under the age of 4, I think - still new to the blog and figuring out the time lines), this woman deserves an award for optimism and fortitude! She's really living the new mom experience and, while she's obviously nuts about her kids, she isn't opposed to telling you some hair-curling tales.
Update: I was right the first time - it's 3 kids, soon to be 4 all under the age of 4. Thanks for clarifying, Anymommy!
Check 'em out and let me know what you think!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Nonetheless, onward and upward. (I feel vaguely like I'm rearranging deck chairs, but worse things have happened.)
What I want to tell you about, while I still can, is how truly unsavory the sales were today. I mean, I know the glory of Boxing Day has been on the wane for a few years now, ever since the market went to pre-Xmas sales. (Remember how you used to have to actually pay full price for your presents?) But really, I saw better deals in the 2 weeks before Christmas than I did today at a diverse cross-section of retail outlets.
And you know how Club M roped me in with its 75% off bullshit. Well, most everything I saw was a max of 20% off and most of the things there were far less $$ in my 30% off-30% off forays of early December. When I noted to an SA, that the sign proclaiming that the (admittedly divine) cashmere scarves were down from $109 was false - said scarves were only ever $99 at full price - he gave me some half-assed explanation and admitted that the sale was less than spectacular, esp. if you'd bought half the store up by Nov. 28.
Please, CM peeps. First your website blows and now you're dabbling in false advertising?! You know I love you but really...
But wait, there's an upside. Some places were truly packed out in my little town. M0851 was like Pearson Airport-on Xmas Day-crowded. There was not a pair of sale-priced men's gloves to be had anywhere. And, for all my shopping hopefulness - and hope-dashedness - I spent 30 bucks. And that was on fancy raw cheese from the fancy boutique grocery store in the chichi area. (30 bucks doesn't really get you that much cheese but my parents were arriving today and, as my husband is incapable of serving dinner before 7 pm (thanks for cooking, Sweetie!), I had to ply the 'rents with high-fat snack foods.)
OK, gotta sign off. Just wanna say, while shopping ennui is, well, filled with ennui, it sure is nice to the bank account. And check back for more posts. Because I intend to be picked up by the metaphoric Carpathia.
Peace out. K
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I hope you have the most restful, enjoyable time with whomever you have the chance to spend the next few days. Whether or not Xmas and New Year's are your holidays of choice, they're a great time to eat for pleasure and chill.
Over the next few days, when family comes to visit, I don't know if I'll have the opportunity or motivation to blog. Of course, it's always when I think this that the most terrific ideas hit me over the head :-)
Check in occasionally and let's see what I come up with. But I will certainly be back to the "regular schedule" (whatever that is) in the new year.
Love, K xo
PS: Thank you for reading, commenting and inspiring me to write. I appreciate it more than you can know.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So sassy next to fur:
So rich in red:
Someone's lucky sister may be the beneficiary of these incredibly well-priced Club Monaco babies... Fortunately, for the sake of holiday surprises, she all-too-rarely reads this blog!
Monday, December 22, 2008
So my previous post introduced the myth of breast size as an asset. The reality is - and image consultants will charge a lot of money for this little life-changing fact - that symmetry and proportion are everything. Most skinny girls with big tits are either artificially skinny or artificially endowed. And it does look unnatural - even if, in rare instances, it's is entirely natural for the woman in question. Likewise, women with full abdomens or straight waists who have very tiny breasts can look disproportionate.
Most women have one breast that's larger than the other. Statistically it's the left breast that's more likely to be larger. No mind. I know that this can be very distressing and (more to the point) technically challenging for some - especially if the disparity in size is more than half a cup. But a good bra can manage all these niggling challenges: reining in, lifting up, shaping, evening out etc.
This post is specifically for my friends Sal and Hammie, who asked me to focus on lingerie for the very small busted woman. In my books that's someone who tops out at a 34B. FYI, many women wearing a 34B are really a 32D so they don't count. Point is, don't assume your breasts are actually the size you think they are until you get professionally fitted.
Brief Sidebar: For the record, I think small to moderate breasts are between a 30-34 B - D. In my books, you don't have large breasts till you are in the DD and up. And keep in mind, a 30DD is the same cup size as a 36C. Back size influences cup size quite dramatically. So when you wear a 36 back to fit into a C cup when you are really a DD cup with a 30 back your breasts look saggy, pendulous, unsupported and crappy. Just like when you wear an A cup and you try to fit into a small B because that's all that's available in the style you like - or because your back size is very small but the store only sells a 34 and up you end up swimming in the cups - it's gonna look meh.
Where's this going? Tiny breasts need the same attention as large ones in a world that only caters to the (ever diminishing numbers of) moderates. Often small breasted women have small backs or special needs and a lingerie store that understands this is the place you want to be. It may cost a lot of money to dress your breasts to their best advantage, but trust me it's life changingly, confidence inspringly worth it.
Figleaves is a great place to look for things you like, but you should only buy from a retailer that can fit you in those bras to ensure that they are right for the shape of your breasts. Asymmetric breasts need a less flexible cup. Small pointy breasts have different needs than flat ones.
And please, please, please listen up: This isn't the post to find you frillies for less. I'm all about spending on the important stuff - and stuff that makes your tits look great is right up there. Once you find that tremendous bra, get the matching bottoms! Do you have any idea how hot you're going to look in a matching set? No? Then try it on! The illusion of symmetry produced by matching top and bottom is worth its weight in gold. If you get bottoms to suit the shape of your ass and lower abdomen, coupled with that perfect bra, you will be a sexpot vision.
On with the show...
Demure Every Day Set
OK, I love the wide-set strap. And I am very partial to a balconette. I love how delicate a strap can be on a girl with small breasts! The underwire will give lift and a nice plumpness in the upper breast. It's not tremendous in producing cleavage, but it's demurely sexy. And the undies, while not my regular style, are not super low or high cut.
Fleur T is a brand I'd never heard of till I started searching for A and B cup bras. I discovered it on this interesting site: AA Lingerie.
Sexy Every Day
I desperately searched for this in black and here's the best I could do:
I've seen it in the CK store in black and it's smoldering! I hate white undies - they show through clothing, they tend to bring out the pallor in women. So I'd never advise shelling out the bucks on white. Though men seem to like white lingerie for some reason...
T Shirt Sexy
OK, I said I wouldn't show anything gel enhanced, but this bra looks like just the sort of thing that girls who want cleavage are generally thinking about.
I own a few Panache bras and they are really excellent in construction and fit. I can't imagine that this is false advertising, even though I don't want it to be said that I'm promoting padding. Oh, and I should mention that I don't think the bra fits the model very well. The underwire is riding too low. This is likely a case of wrong bra for the ribcage but it could be in the design. That's why you gotta try it at the store.
Let's tell it like it is: Agent Provocateur, which borders on fetish, has some of the hottest stuff out there. Behold...
And finally, how I love this!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Then Hammie followed with: I am about 75% more boobagely challenged than Sal. I could leave my water bra upstairs and come down and eat ice cream without Mr Hammie noticing I've gone.
Of course, what's a lingerie-pushing fashion blogger to do under these circumstances? How could I fail to take up this challenge?
For starters, I have to concede that I'm not a small-breasted woman. Y'all know that. And while I appreciate my busty shape, it's not always a champagne picnic being a girl with rather observable breasts. For one thing, it precludes me from wearing all kinds of super sexy tops and swimsuits and provactive costumes from Victoria's Secret. Whereas, my smaller sisters are all fire engine hot in demure ruffles and plunging V necks, I'm like something out of Hustler, August 1992.
And, really, there are so many gorgeous high-end lingerie lines (La Perla, Agent Provacateur, Stella McCartney) and still dozens more moderately priced brands (Elle McPherson, Huit, Princesse Tam Tam) that cater to women with small to moderate-sized breasts (so many more than cater to large breasts which really need rigging to present optimally). I'm frankly jealous of the options.
I mean, at her worst, the small breasted woman looks flat, maybe wan. Badly turned out, the large breasted woman looks, well, fat - nay, potentially pendulous. So let's put things in perspective: The grass really is always greener.
Having got this off my chest, I recognize that 99% of all women of all breast sizes are concerned to make them higher and rounder and fuller or more saucily shaped. We all want luscious tits. Yes? In fact, just this morning I was at a terrific brunch wherein two entirely gorgeous women of two entirely different breast sizes and shapes (but on the small to medium size) both advised they were thinking of having lifts. To each her own, of course. But if a good bra can do the trick, I say it's a very promising start.
Let me also mention that Sal is the first one to give us terrific tips on how to maximize confidence based on minimizing the focus on areas we'd prefer to de- (or re)-emphasize. Tips I appreciate tremendously! And in this vein, I really do believe that cleavage is one of the easiest body parts to play up.
Note I didn't say "big up". Because I actually don't think "bigging up" is the best exercise in dressing small breasts. All breasts are gorgeous. Sure, some are more Playboy than others, but no sexual partner who's lucky enough to see yours is anything other than thrilled at the prospect. I think the best way to address - and dress - the small breast is with beautiful shaping and matching tops and bottoms. Then you've got symmetry on your side - which is much more correlated with beauty than size.
I know that small breasts can be emphasized with water or silicone inserts, padding or by undoing convertible straps at the back and re-affixing them in a cross-over design. I don't know that I want to go there. If I had a tiny chest, not only would I be flaunting my assets behind see-through chiffon, I would be thrilled to be considered attractive on the basis of well-turned outness, size notwithstanding. Oh, don't get me wrong, my tits are large - and they're nice, so I've been told. But I'd be just as happy with less endowment.
One of the hottest women I know - and I know my fair share - casts a metropolis-sized sexpot glamour largely on the basis of her comfort-level with herself. Her tremendous confidence - that unshakable belief that she is hot incarnate - makes her so magnetic that she reaps confidence- inspiring feedback in spades. So it's a fabulous, sexy feedback loop she's got going. It's a strategy one really can't teach, much though I wish you could. Point is, her breasts - while lovely - are neither huge nor "perfect". But they are covetable nonetheless.
In my next post, I will show some beautiful, practical, sexy, saucy bras that my small-breasted alter-ego would love to own. I can't guarantee that they'll be designed to make those tits look large. Just to make them look lovely.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Those who know me know that, in my universe, sex is a high priority item. This being a family blog, I don't dwell on it. But my head's in the smut 80% of the time. Which is only about 50% as often as my husband's. Alas for me (at least right now), sex is all too related to leisure. Sex and leisure are so entwined, in fact, I have to remind myself occasionally that -as a full-time professional with a child and few family support structures - leisure is, well, a leisure. But sex is a choice.
Of chaos. Of family. Of kitchens needing constant tending because everyone is eating, like, nonstop and the cleaning is endless. Of feeling sick after. Of maybe loathing everyone you come into contact with. Of little opportunity for true (or even crappy) intimacy with your significant other.
The key is in managing a way to feel free, bad ass, unfettered. Even if it's for 10 minutes. Even if you have to ignore the whining children whom this sexy feeling has somewhat counter intuitively precipitated. Even if you need to hide in the likely suboptimal broom closet (see above).
And, since this is a fashion blog, let's remind you that it is to your full advantage to wear only the most gorgeous lingerie starting right now until, well, forever. Or until New Year's Day. At the risk of seeming glib and reductionist: you have to feel hot to be hot. And hot undies may well do the trick. (Ahem, cashmere and latex and fur and mesh are also good. But this is Sexmas 101. I don't want to shock you.)
No harm in working the delicious complexity of unfettered desire. If you've got some time, I mean. The frisson of lust is a force to be reckoned with, after all; a joyful life and passion are encoiled.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
You don't need a PhD in K-Line to guess that I got this at Club Monaco.
It was on sale from $130.00 to $69.00. And since the sizes were starting to disappear, I decided to purchase rather than wait and potentially be disappointed. I do have a feeling it may be marked down again over the next couple of weeks, which is why I'll be hanging onto the receipt.
I have had my eye on this cherry-red-meets-fuchsia-meets-orange mini for some time. It is a most unusual material for a skirt, which is lined and can be worn all seasons. I'm seeing it with hot pink tights, black boots and a black turtleneck. Or maybe with bright yellow - for a clash of the ages?
Gotta say, though, in case the photo doesn't make this clear: This thing is frickin' short.
Monday, December 15, 2008
As we move inexorably closer to Santa's visit, here's a look at our tree. Some crazy compulsion to get everything done by December 1, has given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look at it, even avec cadeaux, for 3 whole weeks. Gotta say, it's infinitely preferable to my regular model, wherein presents are frenetically wrapped at 11 pm on December 24 - and frenetically ripped open by 5 am on December 25.
Observe the handiwork:
Please notice the pretty and colour coordinated wrapping...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
On Friday, I went back to Club Monaco (that sale of sales is being sporadically reintroduced and the prices are so crazily good I have been on the hunt). More to come on that soon...
But speaking of being on the hunt: While "not looking", I found this tremendously, fantastically, unbelievably sexy fur vest at Rudsak.
I won't lie, I've had my eye on it for a while. Like in a "there is no way I will buy this decadent thing but I bet it would look great on" kind of way. But when the price went down by 30% - and everything but XS had sold - I decided it was time to pounce, or lose. Having recently passed on a full length, perfectly fitting vintage mink - in mint condition - because I didn't feel like paying a totally reasonable $150.00, I really didn't feel like this one should get away.
(OK, enough with the animal puns...)
Within 5 minutes I thought of 16 ways to wear this with everything, turning it into the most practical garment in my closet. Did I mention it makes me feel like Stevie Nicks in the good days? Or that people everywhere have been asking me to try it on? Or that it's blissfully warm - and slim - under everything?
I haven't made such a thrilling purchase in a long time. I can tell this thing will long outlast the "fur vest" trend for me.
Amusingly, the SA advised with the slightest undertone of pinch - when I commented I was surprised (frankly) that fur had sold so well in Rudsak's demography - that apparently "Americans have been buying them". Hilarious. I mean, if he'd said that Russians or Scandinavians or, hell, residents of northern Quebec were snapping them up - well, that would seem plausible. But now I have this vision of hoards of chilly, chic Americans at customs explaining to the guards that they've been visiting to cash in on the great fur vest deal happening in TO this week. There's nothing like openly judging your client base for wearing merch you sell. Especially if it allows you to get out a bit of cross-cultural prejudice!
Friday, December 12, 2008
So, there's this cafe I go to in the mornings to get my cappuccino. I won't lie, I am ever so slightly motivated not only by the excellent coffee made by the lovely woman with the best hair ever, but by the gorgeous and dapper owner of the place, Francis.
Francis - whose name I didn't actually know until this morning - is always so perfectly styled. So individual. So fodder for Scott Schuman. And his smile is pure excellence. It brings out more than just a few, ahem, unclean thoughts.
Whatever. I'm married, not dead.
Today, for the first time, I get up the nerve to say to him - blather-like - Um, so sorry to bother you at work but, um, my name is Kristin and I write this fashion blog and I think you always look so fabulous. I mean, you are fabulous. I mean your clothes are fabulous and you wear them so well and your smile - I love your smile with that cap you're wearing. Um, can I take your picture for my blog.
Actually, I wasn't this articulate, but you get the vibe.
The only problem is that I forgot my camera phone this morning. I never forget the phone. Ever. Not because of the phone feature but because of the camera. And I fucking forgot it.
Digging through your bag like a nut while trying to look cool after inarticulately complimenting a sexy guy and asking to take his picture is, well, like some subplot on 30 Rock.
Perhaps the only thing that could have made it more uncomfortable was me following it up with: "Honestly, I'm so not trying to pick you up. See, I'm married!" Then holding up my left hand and realizing I'd also forgot my wedding ring...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Meet our latest tree...
Last week, my daughter's daycare did it's Xmas fundraiser aka Evening of Savage Children Running and Screaming Mercilessly for Two Hours under Unflattering Fluorescent Lights.
Somehow, we managed to transport this 40-pound prize a mile in the freezing rain without a car. All the credit goes to my spouse, spatial-reasoner extraordinaire, who actually managed to fit it into his bicycle pannier with uncanny skill. And to my daughter who ran behind him collecting stray ornaments that fell off in transport.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- The President's Choice salty caramels are as awesome as I feared they would be. Do yourself a favour and avoid them. Or just buy them, eat the box and get it over with.
- I haven't forgotten this is a fashion blog, despite the proliferation of art, design, food and political posts. The hols just seem more about pretty interiors than clothes I can't wear because the weather is so wretched. Fear not, I will return to my first love as the season abates. (Or sooner if I'm inspired...)
- Work and life are hitting a bit hard right now, and precluding me from doing carefully thought out pre-posts, so I've decided to think of December as "Whatever The Eff I Come Up With" Theme Month. Now that's catchy!
- Daily Outfitting, a really appealing blog, has got me coveting this:
Miss Mars, $48.00
Did I mention it costs $48.00?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
This is really not the kind of thing I imagined would interest me overly. People of the Victorian era don't call to me figuratively (or actually - I'm happy to say!). And yet, on going to this photo archive of three Belgian early colour photo experimenters, I was positively carried away. Never mind that these old pics are in colour - which lends them a modern resonance I couldn't have imagined. But they are beautifully composed. Like next-wave Impressionism.
Thanks to Sally Jane for posting on this topic.
Even if this isn't your thing you should give it 3 minutes. And if you're not sucked in, I'd really like to know about it.
PS: You must enlarge this photo for full satisfaction.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Having said this, it occurs to me that 90% of my lovely readers may be in the dark about Canada's current and most contentious political crisis well, maybe ever. It seems it's not so on the global radar screen - or airwaves or newspapers or anywhere.
It's being called the Coalition Crisis and, in true Canadian spirit, it's fairly polite for um, a crisis.
Here's an informative article to apprise you of the rather complicated situation. It happens to be written by former co-worker and bigtime political blogger, Michael Stickings.
PS: As of 10 minutes ago, the Governor General prorogued Parliament for the next 7 weeks...
Mind you, were I the kind of girl who went to fancy champagne parties, this is most certainly what I'd wear:
The tuxedo top of this dress is silk, the skirt portion (to which it is attached) is wool.
In case you are wondering why I haven't posted some lovely image from the web, well, La Belette called it when she said that Club Monaco represents itself wretchedly online. Truth is, I couldn't find an online photo. I had to go to the actual store, whip out my cell phone, and shoot this for y'all.
Which, btw, they didn't like. As if I cared.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
And, in truth, for every bad President's Choice product, I've tasted 15 excellent ones.
Imagine my glee on discovering (thanks to Ms. Espanya) these dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt! That's salty, caramel, chocolate goodness. Nature's perfect taste combo.
Please forward the cause by visiting Tanya's site and begging her to give away a free box to the most compelling candidate. And if you can't convince her, you may be able to convince me :-)
Thanks, Tanya, for cutting at the last shreds of my healthy holiday lifestyle plan...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Here are a couple of photos of my fave work lunch spot. It's a bistro, quel surprise. It serves the best quiche in the city - made with crumbly buttery crust and lots of cream (as it should be). And you can choose between a lovely, huge salad on the side or frites - or both. I get the salad so that I can feel virtuous!
Last time I was in, reading a magazine to clear my head of work matters, the proprietor brought me an unexpected chocolat chaud, just because I am sweet (says he)! Talk about a high tip quotient :-) I love the French.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Contrast this to my husband's childhood memory: articficial tree with ever-blinking rainbow-coloured lights, multicoloured tinsel, garland, cello wrapped candy-canes and terrific, if eclectically wrapped, presents.
I know it sounds like I'm judging. (Secretly, that's cuz I am.) And while I realize this hints at my bratty unwillingness to accept all the many ways to enjoy a Christmas tree, I think we should blame my mother for instilling me with such a strong sense of how things are supposed to look.
Dontcha love how I've managed to ding everyone for my own intransigence?
So, natch, being long-married and tired of fighting, Scott and I have worked out a kind of compromise on the tree front:
- It is fake (to save the trees from needless death) but
- It is bushy and 9 feet tall but
- It may have green lights but
- They will not flicker but
- There is garland but
- No tinsel
- And the presents will be wrapped in complementary paper and ribbon
- Until that runs out whereupon S will use whatever he can find but
- Those equally loved presents will go to the back of the tree behind the matchy ones.
Now you see why we try to go away at Xmas - whereupon there is only harmony in our family.
My question for y'all is, do you have a tree? If yes, how does it work (real, fake, mini, grand)? Is the tree an extension of your fashion philosophy? I'm so intrigued to know...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
It encapsulates the steely strength and elegant grace which coexist in so many women.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Then it's the most dangerous time of the year.
Yes, I know, I'm breaking my own Xmas shopping rules left, right and centre. I'm a bad role model. But I have some cool stuff.
While sourcing some great loot for great friends, I discovered - and yes, purchased - this:
The piece, by Polli is actually much more delicate and lovely than this photo suggests. The chain, in particular, is much better... Each stainless steel pendant is thinner than a credit card but strangely tough. This one lies very nicely against my chest without calling too much attention to either itself or to my tits (except Hilary disagrees, she wants you to know, that it doesn't call attention). And yet it's substantial. I love its nod to the natural world, though it's constructed from a very industrial product.
Polli, which I had never heard of until a couple of weeks ago, is an Australian company comprised of two Sydney-trained industrial designers who bring sustainability and a Danish-meets-Japanese sensibility to their rather broad-ranging collection. Can the Aussies do nothing wrong?!?! One of my absolute fave TO stores bar-none, the chameleonic design stuff-meets-everything else Ziggy's at Home, sells a number of these pendants and earrings at rather reasonable prices. And Polli's website also provides a well-organized online shop.
Maybe one of the women in your life needs a little bauble over the holidays? Maybe you do?
I keep telling myself I'm going to give it to someone who's been really good...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
And did I mention that I adore the light grey colour. And the chain. So "rock star on her day off, wandering the streets of Paris, smoking Gauloises and eating pastries".
The most fun part, other than that I own it and love it, is that I discovered it (the only one in the store) in the hands of another woman who was carting it around, putting it up against other merch, looking for a match.
With steely intent, I willed her to put it down. And 2 minutes later I succeeded.
Waiting the appropriate 5 second grace period (ya know, for second thoughts), I swooped in around her and grabbed it with contortionist precision. I mean, the woman gasped audibly.
Alas, her time was done. And I ran off to the cash with nary a look behind me. (Does this make me coldblooded?)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So Xmas is coming. Geese are starting to freak out. So are most men. This year, I've advised my very generous but not-given-to-gift-buying-when-the-target-holidays-occur husband that I need a little something other than a nicely wrapped computer battery. Of course, I don't need a thing. But, when everyone else is opening those gorgeous, thoughtful gifts I've lovingly sought out with just them in mind, I'd really appreciate a bit of the same.
My husband is intimidated by holiday shopping. He loathes it. He's afraid of stores. He's afraid to buy things for me because I do all the discretionary purchasing in our lives (and 90% of the rest of it) and he hasn't needed to develop the skill. Secretly, I enjoy being the boss of the shopping. But it doesn't bode well when I want a little treat. Note: Scott has given me some of the most lovely gifts I've ever received - from jewels to, ahem, electronics. He just only buys when the inspiration hits him. Otherwise it's just not his thing.
While it vaguely defeats the purpose, I feel so responsible to help him get through the challenge that I have a) presented him with a list of stores containing items I enjoy, b) spoken with a couple of key SA's who have kindly offered to guide him if he visits them and c) explicitly indicated the kind of items I like - and "need" - in various colour palettes that might be useful.
"Why don't you just go buy the things, wrap them and give him the bill?", said my mother good-naturedly. You see, she knows me. And she knows him. And trust me, I'm tempted to do it. But I have to let the little tadpole swim into the sea.
It's times like these, I recognize my bourgeoisie is painful.
But here's the thing. I don't want something cher. (Cher, of course, is relative and I'm obviously speaking only from my own economic perspective... What's affordable to me may be out of someone else's price range. Lord knows, much of what I see is out of mine.) I'd just like something lovely and thoughtful. One thing. And preferably it should smell, feel or fit nicely.
A propos of giving gifts - let's focus on the giving rather than the buying - you do not need to spend a lot to thrill someone you care about.
To wit, here are some reliable stores for gifts at various price points:
Holt Renfrew (Canada)
Ziggy's At Home (Toronto)
Suite 88 Chocolatier (Montreal)
The Gap (for Ts, jammies, kid's stuff, undies, skinny turtlenecks and scarves)
David's Tea (Toronto)
AGO Gift Shop (Toronto) - or any good gallery gift shop
Chapters/Indigo (Canada) / Borders (US)
You will note that many of these are rather lovely stores, selling rather lovely merch. But you don't have to buy the evening gown for 15K. You can buy a lipstick from the Bobbi Brown counter and have it nicely wrapped for free. You can buy the cashmere socks or a well-designed tube of hand cream and save approximately $14,970.
And here are a just a few gift options for the various people in your life. Please remember - it's not about how much you buy or what you pay. It's about how thoughtful and sensory - and beautifully presented - your token of affection manages to be. If you wouldn't want to receive it, please don't give it:
For your kids' teacher, housekeeper, daycare staff - and anyone else who helps you to logistically function in your life:
- Fine chocolate - the bigger the box the better.
- Hand milled soap and body products made with fine essential oils.
- Gift cards (Chapters, iTunes) - but only if you can't be more personal.
- A spa treatment - but only if you know the person fairly well.
- A book about a subject that interests the giftee.
For Your Mother:
- Really the choices are endless, but how about fine leather goods (bags, wallets)
- Lovely tea pot and cups - don't forget to include some tea.
- Cashmere scarf
- Unique jewelry (it comes in all price points)
- Clothing if you are sure of her size and style
These gifts can get pretty pricey. But I've bought my mother some beautiful antiques, over the years, that are treasured and yet cost less than $30.00.
For the Men:
- Wallets and other leather goods
- Gadgets (iPhone, video games, techy stuff)
- Hats, scarves - preferably merino or cashmere! (Remember you can find this on sale.)
- Leather gloves
- Cologne - something you know he likes
- Affordable crystal wine glasses
These gifts can also range in price quite substantially. I just bought 4 Riedel cabernet glasses for my father, wrapped by the boutique in a fantastic tube to look like a Christmas cracker, for $40.00 all in. And they're crystal.
For the Kiddies:
- Books, books, books!
- Educational toys from Chapters and the like
- Diaries with keys
- American Girl stuff (My daughter calls hers a Canadian Girl!). Not the least $$ on the list. So maybe leave these for the grandparents!
- Clothing from H&M Kids, Gap and other affordable stores
- Boots and slippers
- Gorgeous iced cookies
- Lip balm and hand cream - little girls love this!
- Special outing to see a musical, ballet or special Christmas movie (or other cultural event)
- Art Supplies
The price point here is often very reasonable. You can get a nice kid gift for $10.00. Or spend a living fortune...
PS Happy Almost Thanksgiving to my American family and friends!