What She Really Really Wants
Today’s gift ideas are all about finding gifts for that special lady in your life – whether we’re talking about your mom, wife, sister, daughter, or even your very very best girlfriend, I can pretty much promise at least one of these gift ideas will not only work, but straight up blow them away. As I was compiling this list, I realized I really wanted to feature a lot of Canadian brands, as an opportunity to help you break away from some of the more expected gift sources. While not everything on this list is from a Canadian brand, a good majority of it is – so if you’re doing a ‘support local / independent business’ drive this season, hopefully I can be of help!
Daily Om Duffle – $128 @ lululemon
You guys. I’m not kidding when I say I probably look at 1,000+ gift ideas leading up to the Christmas season, and this one? This is probably up there in the top 10 for my very very favourite suggestions this year. Yoga goddesses lululemon are the masterminds behind these sleek duffel totes, which pull triple duty as the world’s most beautiful workout bag, a great overnight bag, or as a carry-on for your next cross-country trek. From the yoga standpoint, it features ingenious design innovations like removable straps to stow your yoga mat, a separate phone pocket so you don’t have to go digging around post-class, and a removable pouch to keep your sweaty gym clothes or shoes separate from the rest of your gear. From a straight-up luxury standpoint, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful and practical tote that goes well past the yoga studio – with striking colour combinations, pretty printed linings, and little extras like waterproof material, an easy-close zipper, and little metal feet to keep the bottom of your bag protected…I really can’t gush enough about this one guys. Buy it! Wish for it! Want it!
Haitian Hand-Beaded Necklace – $100 @ World Vision
Give the gift that gives back – you’ve heard that one before right? Well this pretty beaded necklace really gives back on multiple fronts. For one, it’s a fair trade product that supports the livelihoods of Haitian families, in the form of training, loans and materials to help sustain their artisan business. For another, no two necklaces are alike, but all have a ethnic tribal flare to them that would work equally well for your fashion-forward twentysomething sister and your too-chic grandma that loves a good necklace (or three). Finally, $40 of your purchase is actually worth a tax receipt – making this a gift that actually gives back to you as well. Now that’s a fair trade.
Ruffle Bra & Panty – $40 / $29 @ Dear Frankie
Another Canadian offering on this list: this too-sweet bamboo bra & panty set from eco-friendly lounge and lingerie line Dear Frankie. Available in six girly colours, these adorable pieces are a little bit naughty, but also incredibly flirty, girly, and flattering – giving even the flattest of pancake derrieres a lift thanks to the pintucked seam on the panties. Knock his proverbial socks off and buy them for you with him in mind, or hint hint hint how much you’d like a set of your own. Bonus for guys? These delicate intimates aren’t sized with your traditional bra cup measurements, meaning he can get away with taking his best shot at what your fit is and not have to paw your underwear drawer.
Bioderma Collection – $13 – $43 @ Shopper’s Drug Mart, Rexall, and Pharmaplus
I love when luxury skincare products are so accessible you can pick them up at your local drugstore. Such is the case with Bioderma, a French dermocosmetic brand that’s one part forward-thinking science of skin lab, one part fountain of youth, and one part your empathetic best friend that just wants you to look amazing. Their whole background hangs on their dermatologist-prescribed products for sensitive skin, which are now readily accessible to the public through their Sensibio skincare line. The line isn’t just for sensitive skin however: under the Bioderma umbrella are a half-dozen collections designed to treat any type of skin issue from oily to baby to aging to sun protection. The cool thing about Bioderma as a whole (aside from its accessibility) is the fact it’s got science to back it up: you aren’t just buying some fluff brand because it has pretty packaging – you’re giving someone a gift that’s literally doctor-prescribed. Whether you opt to pick up a hand cream or lip balm as a stocking stuffer to give it a whirl or go all out with a product line gift basket, you really can’t go wrong.
Wrap Coat with Large Hooded Collar – $940 @ Sentaler
Rendered in a breathtaking and universally flattering winter white, this baby-soft alpaca and wool wrap coat would pretty much be the ultimate gift to unwrap this holiday season for any lady on your list. The oversized hood pulls double duty – you can use it to keep your ears protected from blustery winds, or prop it up to make a cocoon-like neck warmer when you’re heading to your car from the shopping mall, or talking a brisk walk at lunch. Sentaler, for the record, has a huge collection of beautiful luxury outerwear I strongly recommend you peruse – if you’re unsure of her size, the capes are actually one-size-fits-all!
Animal Prints – $110+ @ Animal Blueprint Company
If she’s an animal lover, pay tribute to a beloved pet with one of these blueprint-inspired line drawings of one of dozens of dogs, cats, and even horses. Each poster-sized print highlights key physical and personality traits of the breed, as well as the history. An extra neat feature is their ‘American Mutt’ series; an extra-special collection dedicated to all this big-hearted folks that simply melt at the sight of a puppy begging to be taken home from the pound. Simply pick out the pup that best matches your lady’s, select a frame, and presto you’ve got an instant, heart-tugging gift she won’t find anywhere else.
Canada Goose Aviator Hat – $224.99 @ Altitude Sports
Every gal worth her fashion salt knows that Canada Goose is the covetable winterwear brand worldwide. Naturally as a company familiar with Canada’s polar climate, their gear is padded and stuffed and puffed with the finest materials to ensure you’re as warm as can possibly be. You’ve probably heard the stat about how much heat we lose from our head when it’s not covered? Wrap your lady’s noggin in one of these coyote-lined, vintage-style caps and she’ll stay toasty warm all winter long. Available in tons of colours (although note, not every shade is at the retailer I’ve linked you with) to match her parka – perhaps a Canada Goose one is in order for Valentine’s? – and two sizes, this hat is the perfect mesh of style and smarts.
Jane Basch Freeform Script Monogram Necklace – $126+
Swoon. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw made wearing your name around your neck a ‘thing’ a decade ago, designers have been looking for ways to capture that magic again. Florida-based designer Jane Basch has managed to do JUST that with this incredibly designed monogram necklace, available in a range of sizes and finishes to match any very lucky lady’s style. Every necklace is hand cut and made to order, making this a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Gift it to your new wife as a commemoration of her changed last name, or present it to your mom as a piece of timeless elegant jewelry that will easily become a precious heirloom.
Moisturizing Socks & Caviar Nutruriche Luxurious Foot Cream – $29.99 each @ Elizabeth Grant
Cracked heels are a particularly prominent problem during the blustery winter months, but these non-slip moisturizing socks are designed to keep out the cold and nourish your tootsies back to good health – ideally in time for sandal season. Of course, they work best when keeping the ultra-soothing and ultra-smoothing power of Elizabeth Grant’s luxe foot cream locked in, for a one-two punch your feet will not be able to resist. I love this is a sweet choice for your hard-to-buy for mother-in-law, or as a rejuvenating choice for your world-weary wife (and mom of your kids).
Being Erica Seasons 1 -4 on DVD – $29.99 – $32.99 each @ CBC Shop
Let me get one thing out of the way: I don’t care if you haven’t heard a whisper about this show in your lifetime: BUY IT. You will love it. I promise. And I should know – I’ve literally turned a dozen of my friends (ladies AND gents) onto the show, all of which have consumed it at a ravenous pace. Need more convincing? Here’s the synopsis: a thirty-something Toronto gal’s life has gone wildly awry, until a near-death experience lands her in a mysterious form of therapy, where she’s able to time travel to redo her life’s biggest regrets, in hopes of correcting her present-day course when it comes to feeling fulfilled in love, work, friendship, and herself. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, insightful and fun, all wrapped in a big bow that’s like a love letter to our nation’s biggest city. I often call it Canada’s (arguably better) answer to Sex and the City, and I genuinely can’t say enough good things about it. Start her off with Season 1, but be prepared – she’ll honestly be clamouring for Season 2 after a few episodes, so consider getting the whole set, especially given the series officially wrapped up in late 2011. Heads up – if you choose to bring Erica into your life via CBC Shop (it is available at other DVD retailers nationwide), make sure to place your order by December 17th to guarantee holiday delivery!
Sequin Pant – $250 @ Rachel Sin
I’ve noticed a red carpet trend as of late, and can I just say, I’m totally in support? Namely, it’s wearing pants for a night on the town, and it’s a style you can pull off even if you aren’t a celebrity, as with these amazing sequin pants from Toronto designer Rachel Sin. Instead of baring your legs to the elements, look ultra-fashionable in a pair of stovepipe slacks that are simply dying to be taken out to a Christmas party, birthday fete, or of course, New Year’s Eve. If you work in a creative environment – like fashion or marketing – you can even dress ‘em down to be apropos for work with a crisp blouse and wedges.
Houndstooth & Plaid Watches – $75 each @ Timex.ca & The Bay
To me, a watch is not just a timepiece, it’s a fashion accessory – and as any good dresser knows, you can’t have just one accessory to go with every outfit. That’s why I love these leather-band printed watches from Timex. The classic houndstooth and plaid patterns have a sweet schoolgirl charm to them, and add a touch of youthful whimsy to any ensemble. Equally neat is the clean, crisp face to ensure you’ll never be late for that first date or big job interview.
Tarte Carried Away Gift Set – $70 @ Sephora
It’s amazing that this glittery little travel tote can carry nearly $700 worth of makeup (for a fraction of that price) – but it can! Luxury eco-friendly cosmetics brand Tarte has rolled out one of the ultimate make-up collections this holiday season, with eight sheer glosses, twenty-four full-sized amazonian clay eyeshadows, a universally-flattering blush and brush, lash-friendly mascara, and a finishing powder, all housed in a Moroccan-style carrying case. The entire set is actually perfect for travel to create a range of looks. You’re literally just a few products away from being able to create a full face! This set has been flying off the shelves in Sephora stores nationwide, so be sure to snap yours up before it disappears for good!
Agent Reclaim for Danier Leather – $24 – $225
More Canadiana from the truly talented Shannon O’Hara, who I first wrote about over a year ago. Since then, Shannon has teamed up with Canada’s premiere leather goods shop Danier Leather to create an exclusive line of handcrafted bags – all from vintage Danier pieces! These slouchy, oversized totes can be worn in a number of different ways, from slung over your elbow with the short straps to hauled over your shoulder with the long ones. Each piece is truly one-of-a-kind, and you can rest easy knowing they’ve got an eco-friendly aspect to them as well. The Danier collection is available exclusively at the following Danier Leather boutiques: GTA (Fairview Mall, Mapleview Mall, Yorkdale Mall, Sherway Gardens, Eaton Centre, Promenade Centre, Toronto Dominion Centre, Vaughn Mills) and BC (Metrotown and Robson Street), but you can also pick up Shannon’s regular collection in her Etsy shop at any time of year.
Barkboard Rustic Chalkboard – $38 – $78 @ Olive Manna
Made in the good ol’ US of A, these rustic chalkboards will make a statement in anyone’s home. Each board – just like each tree it comes from – is 100% unique, with the inner rings on proud display under a rewriteable chalk surface. Place it in your kitchen to jot down ‘tonight’s menu’, or hang it in the front hallway to leave sweet messages for your loved ones. Available in a small, large, and ‘list’ size, this is the type of gift she’ll be truly flabbergasted you tracked down for her.
Now that I’ve told you what she wants (what she really really wants), it’s time to tell you what I really, really want: to give away the world’s best prize package to one incredibly lucky reader. For reals, I believe this is the highest-valued prize package I’ve ever given to one single reader! The package clocks in at a tidy $680, and includes:
– $115 in Bioderma products
– A customized Jane Basch monogram necklace
– A $100 gift card to spend at Rachel Sin
– One high-waisted shaper thong from Dear Frankie
– A reclaimed leather pochette from Agent Reclaim
– A pair of Elizabeth Grant‘s moisturizing foot socks & Caviar Nutruriche Luxurious Foot Cream
– And all four seasons of my very favourite show, Being Erica, from CBC Shop!
Tantalized? Dazzled? EXCITED? I sure am, so here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by December 28th with the gift idea in this post for women you really really REALLY want (or want to give).
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 29th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry #1: Ladies are all about sharing with their girlfriends. So with that, I’m offering you the opportunity to refer as MANY friends as you want to enter the contest. Simply have them leave a comment on the post with their own favourite pick, plus be sure to have them give you a shoutout in their comment. They’ll earn an entry, you’ll earn an entry, and maybe you’ll split the prize if one of you wins it. Oh, and I can see your IP address, so don’t even try to cheat.
5) Bonus Entry #2: Like ANY of these brands on Facebook and leave a comment on their wall (you’ve got no obligation to mention the CGG) to earn up to seven more bonus entries. To make your life easier (possibly), I’ve linked to their respective Facebook pages in the prize description above.