My Christmas Wishlist 2015

Hey folks! Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, both Daughter and I got that terrible flu and it’s been busy at work plus all the Christmas shopping I have been doing. Actually, it’s been a mixture of birthday and Christmas shopping as I realized I have five family birthdays in December – craziness!

Anyways, in honour of Black Friday, I thought I would post my Christmas wish list. My real wish list, the one I will also be sending to my husband and my mother. If only I could have everything off of it…..

Apple Watch, starts at $449 CAD

AppleWatch

Now this is definitely the item I will not be getting for Christmas. Especially since I “need” a new iPhone more than an Apple Watch. But aren’t they pretty to look at?

MAC brush 196, $42

Macbrush196

I saw this foundation brush at a MAC counter and have been lusting after it ever since. But my family constantly complains that I buy everything and don’t leave them anything to buy me, so it’s on my list. [See mom, I listen… sometimes…..]

Paderno spiralizer ($40 for three blade model shown)

Spiralizer

I bought the Inspiralized cookbook earlier this year and realized it’s made so much better by buying a spiralizer. This isn’t the exact one they use in the book but I think it’s close and Paderno is a great brand. Pretty excited for all the low carb meals I’ll be able to make with this baby! The link above is to Amazon.ca but I think it’s also available at Home Outfitters.

Foldio (large, $90; small ~$50)

Foldio

I just found this earlier this week but I WANT WANT WANT it! It’s a fold-up light box that quickly sets up for an instant studio in your home. As someone who has no dedicated blogging space and is in desperate need of some bright lights to take pictures for her blog, this is perfect.

Mukluks, $180

Halfmukluk

I have asked for these mukluks (from Manitobah Mukluks) for about four years in a row. I’m not sure why I don’t just buy them myself. They are gorgeous and warm and are exactly what you need for surviving winters in Manitoba.

Matt and Nat Tia in Petal, $168

Tiapetal

I know I posted this briefcase earlier this year in the Grape colour but once I saw this pale pink, I knew I needed this colour instead.

What’s on your wish list? I’d love to hear, please leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

How to Organize Your Christmas List

A couple of weeks ago the Sears Christmas Wish catalogue arrived in the mail and I felt a flood of memories coming back. I loved writing my Christmas wish list. I would spend hours looking through the catalogue and writing down the things I wanted.

Now that I’m an adult, my Christmas wish list is a little faster to write but it’s my gift list that I spend the most time working on before the holidays. I buy presents for nine nieces and nephews and six of those have birthdays between August 30 and Dec 25th. Add in my husband, Daughter, parents, siblings, in-laws and Great Grandma and my gift-giving list is exceptionally long. Of course, I also shop for clients and help my MIL and Great Grandma buy presents for the assortment of grand- and great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of presents!

Over the years I have created what I think is the close-to-perfect list. It has everyone’s name on it, the budgeted amount I spend on them, ideas for that year, the actual gift once I’ve bought it, the actual amount I’ve paid and a catalogue of everything I’ve bought for Christmas in the last four years so I don’t buy repeat gifts.

Here’s the jpeg version of my Excel worksheet:

GiftGuidep1GiftGuidep2

Once someone’s been crossed off the list and I’ve finished shopping for them, I highlight their gift. I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting some kind of symbol when it’s wrapped but I never get around to it.

I like to keep a total of what we spent each year so I know if we are spending more than the budget.  In 2011 we got married and there wasn’t much money leftover for gifts so everyone got framed photos of the wedding. The next year we added Daughter to our family so we spent quite a bit more. 🙂

If I feel this list isn’t going very well or I’m forgetting to work on it, I write up a list of people’s names that I put in a conspicuous place in my house. It also helps to remind my husband how many more gifts there are to buy and that he can help with the list too. It definitely helps with the feeling of accomplishment when you get to cross names off of that list!

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My goal is always to be done shopping or at least have everything ordered by Dec 1. The theory is so that I can deal with any last minute client crises and have plenty of time to wrap too. Plus it’s always nice to be shopping during December and not feel that panicked feeling that’s clear on everyone else’s faces. Inevitably tho, I’m still picking up one last gift on Dec 24.

Does that help you feel more ready to conquer the Christmas season? What tips do you use to help you feel more organized during this busy time? Happy Shopping!

2015 Advent Calendars

Hey folks! How was your Halloween? Ours was so great. Since Daughter is now 3, she actually understands what trick-or-treating is all about. We went out with another mom and daughter. The other toddler was 2 and kept trying to eat the candy while we were walking around. Needless to say, they were both adorable.

November seems to signal the beginning of the Christmas season. Decorations have been lurking in the corners of stores for a week or two already, hidden slightly behind the Halloween decorations. Now they are front and centre or were being unpacked by staff. I went shopping yesterday and was surprised/impressed by the quick change over that stores were making into the biggest holiday season of the year.

I have been debating getting Daughter an advent calendar over the last couple of years. It seems fun to have something she would be able to open each day to count down to Christmas. However, being that she is still small, I haven’t been crazy about feeding her a chocolate every day. Yesterday I found several non-chocolate advent calendars and thought I would share them with you.

  1. First of all is the coveted Lego advent calendars. I saw both the Lego City and Lego Friends calendars and Google assures me there is also a Lego Star Wars one out there too although I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. (ToysRUs.ca, $39.99 for Friends and City, $49.99 for Star Wars)LegoFriendsAC LegoCityAD
  2.  Playmobil advent calendars seem to be as equally popular and hard to find as the Lego ones once the season gets underway. Toys R Us has five sets: Christmas Room; Santa’s Workshop; Fire Rescue Operation: Unicorn Fairyland; and Playmobil 1.2.3 Advent Calendar. (ToysRUs.ca, $29.99)PlaymobilGirlACPlaymobilAD
  3. I had no idea that Play-Doh did advent calendars until I found this one yesterday. It comes with five small cans of Play-Doh and several stampers and cutters and lots of other small items needed to make Christmas cookie-like shapes and patterns. Super cute! (ToysRUs.ca, $21.99)PlayDohAC
  4. Not to be out-done, Mega Bloks makes an advent calendar as well. This year, the theme is Minions/Despicable Me. It doesn’t seem to be based on one particular movie or theme but just randomly mixing Minions and Christmas. Which I’m sure will be fine for the Minion-maniac in your house. (ToysRUs.ca, $39.99)DespicableMeAD
  5. The last toy one, the Little People advent calendar, was the one I was most interested in for Daughter. It seems to be the only one specifically geared towards toddlers. And while it is super cute, it doesn’t seem to coordinate with any of the other sets that you can buy regularly, which is a bummer in my opinion. (ToysRUs.ca, $49.99)LittlePeopleAC
  6. If you aren’t interested in giving your kids a bunch of stuff to countdown to the holidays, you might like this one by Melissa and Doug. The sturdy wood Christmas cutout allows you place the ornament of your choice on each day until you have a fully decorated tree on Christmas. (Chapters, $24.99)MelissaandDougAC
  7. And no Advent Calendar list would be complete without mentioning the David’s Tea advent calendar. This 24 piece tea gift has cute, gold tins hidden behind each door. Each tin holds enough tea for 2 cups and includes both seasonal and everyday teas such as Snow Day, Hot Chocolate, Cardamom French Toast, Mulled Wine, Sweet Almond Green, Santa’s Secret, Sleigh Ride, and Gingerbread Cookie. This one does sell out quickly so if you are thinking about buying it, I would get your hands on one soon. (DavidsTea.ca, $40)DavidsTeaAC

Those are the ones I felt were worth mentioning here. I know there are also some makeup ones but there either wasn’t enough information on them at this point or you couldn’t buy them in Canada yet. (Head over to see Julie’s sneak peeks of some at Swatch and Review). Starbucks has one (and it is gorgeous) but it’s filled with just chocolate, so I didn’t include it.

Any other that I missed? Leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

S’well Water Bottles

Hey folks, I’m back. Sorry about the long absence. I took a class this spring and between that and work and mom/wife/daughter duties, May and June flew by with no blogging. I did get an A+ in the class, so I hope that’s some consolation for you, knowing I was still working hard even though I was not blogging. Anyways, I’m glad to be back and I have some great ideas for posts and looking forward to blogging on a more regular schedule.

Without further ado, I would like to talk about S’well bottles today.

S’well is an American company that makes high grade stainless-steel, vacuum-sealed bottles for water, coffee, tea or whatever. According to their website:

S’well bottles are beautifully crafted composed of non-leaching and non-toxic 18/8 stainless steel, that keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, while giving back to those in need. S’well is a charitable community member and proud partner of charitable organizations. As the premier fashionable and reusable water bottle, we have found that our customers love these bottles worldwide. S’well is currently sold in 35 countries worldwide in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean Islands, South America, the Middle East, and throughout Asia.

I got introduced to S’well bottles by The Style Bar in Osborne Village. Regan, the owner, gushed about the bottles when they came in and convinced me I needed to have one.

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Of course I have a bright pink one, what other colour would I have chosen??

I do think the bottle is as good as they say. I have been on the search for the perfect water bottle for most of my adult life and I feel this one is the closest. I have the 9oz size and I like the physical size as it fits easily in my purse or gym bag and is light when I am running around with it at bootcamp. That being said, I drink more than 9oz of water in any one sitting so I feel a larger one would be more useful.

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And so far, when I have put the lid on properly, I have not had any leaks. It’s been upside down in my car, in my gym bag, it’s fallen out of my stroller… still leak-proof. I’ve had it a couple of months now (maybe four, I can’t remember exactly) and haven’t had any problems.

Now, the only downside I can find is the price. $30+ for a water bottle is pretty pricey in my opinion. Now that I’ve seen the excellent quality, this is definitely is a case of you get what you pay for.

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Verdict: I really love mine. I’m glad I bought it but would really think hard before purchasing a second in another size just to have around.

Another option: buy it as a gift. Your friend/SO/parent/family member will be thrilled at the amazing bottle they got and you can break out of the rut of buying them a bottle of wine, again.

Sophia Webster shoes

When I got married (almost) four years ago, we were in a huge black/white/beige rut for fashion. Colour was just not available. Except for red. And I think you only have to look at my website theme to figure out that I’m a pink person, not a red person. I scoured websites and stores, bugged my friends who worked in footwear, did everything I could think of to land myself the perfect pair of shoes for my wedding. Alas, it was all to no avail. I ended up getting married in a boring, though nice, pair of strappy white platform wedges from Fergalicious.

Anyways, I wish that I had known about Sophia Webster then. So, I don’t want you to miss out. Here are some shoes I wish I could’ve worn at my wedding:

SWangelgold SWangelgoldflats SWaztec SWblackswirl SWflamingo SWpinkfur

While I’ve linked these images back to the Sophia Webster US site, some styles are also available at Hudson’s Bay site as well.

What did you wear or are planning to wear at your wedding? Happy Shopping!

More new stores coming to Polo Park

Hey folks, some exciting shopping news for Winnipeg. We’ve know for awhile that H&M was coming to Polo Park this fall. And if you’ve been to the mall lately you can guess that it will possibly cover two floors on the wing nearest to Hudson’s Bay but close to centre court. Today Polo Park’s Facebook page announced several stores that will be joining the H&M opening in the fall. Here is the quote from their website:

We are pleased to confirm that Urban Outfitters and Anthropolgie will be opening their first stores at Polo Park later this year, a first for the Winnipeg market. They join H&M, who previously announced the opening their first Winnipeg store this fall. New retailers to the shopping centre mix also include Nine West, Thomas Sabo, Fossil, Journeys, WATCH IT! and Pandora.

The website goes on to say this redevelopment will cost $49 million and add 114,000 square feet of new retail space with 25,000 square feet going to H&M. They will also be adding a mall entrance where the old Zellers entrance used to be and 370 feet of new skylights in the new area. The Facebook page also mentions The Disney Store returning to Winnipeg as part of this redevelopment. Wow! This is super exciting news for Winnipeg. Pair this with the news earlier this year that an outlet mall is coming to Winnipeg in 2017 by the new IKEA and we are finally becoming a shopping destination along with other major Canadian cities.

What stores are you excited about? Any that you think still need to come to Winnipeg? Happy Shopping!

Cross border shopping

So, this week I am SUPER ecstatic that I got an Anna doll. My kid is CRAZY about Frozen. She sings the songs, she asks to watch the movie, it’s ridiculous. I had no idea someone who wasn’t two yet could get so hooked on a movie. And just in case you think it’s the only movie we’ve shown her, she’s seen Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. Nope, Frozen, every time.

anna

So, since this is her favourite movie I have been wanting Anna and Elsa dolls. Apparently, so does every other Mom and Dad in the world. My friend Deanna just got a new job with Teavana (uh, so jealous!) and has been travelling all over the US and Canada for her orientation and training. And she has been amazing at checking every Disney store she comes across for these dolls. Seriously she has been to 6 or 8! Nothing, nadda, zip, zilch!

anna:elsa

Anyways, she advised me to keep an eye on the website as the Disney Store periodically releases Frozen stuff during the day. So yesterday, I happened to be checking around 2 pm and BAM, some Anna dolls became available. I jumped on one and some stuff I had saved in my favourites in case I put in an order (they are also having a pretty great 50% off sale). But as I was putting in my credit card information, I realized they wanted to charge me $30 to ship to Canada! Um, the doll only costs $20. Why in the heck does it cost $30 to ship it to me? And I bet that does not include duty.

So, I quickly typed in ‘Pembina Parcel’ into Google to get their address. Pembina Parcel in Pembina, ND and Connie’s Depot in Walhalla, ND are two shipping depots that specialize in deliveries for Canadians just across the border. Have your order shipped there, run across the line, pick it up, and come home with your items. Pembina Parcels charges a flat rate of $5 per parcel where Connie’s Depot charges $2.50 for small packages and $5 for large ones (at least they did the last time I used them a couple of years ago, couldn’t find accurate quotes on any of the websites that Google turned up). Keep in mind that it’s up to border guards to decide what, if any, duty and taxes to charge. I have found that if you don’t go during peak periods (i.e.. Sunday) they tend to wave you through and not bother charging you. Always better to be prepared to pay and not have to though.

I have used Connie’s Depot two separate times and my dad uses Connie’s all the time, especially for motorcycle parts and they are always great. I’ll let you know how Pembina Parcels goes but all the reviews are pretty good so I’m expecting it to be fine. Btw, I already love it because when I typed in their address, the Disney Store decided to only charge me $7 to ship instead of $30. Plus, I’ll take the day and head over to Grand Forks with my SIL, do some other shopping, have lunch and head home.

And I’ll have an Anna doll. Happy Shopping!