It had been on my bucket list for way too long: oyster shucking. Among my favourite aphrodisiacs – er, I mean, delicacies – oysters are a total treat for me. (After all, they can be super pricey served pre-shucked at restaurants.)
So colour me lucky that on a recent trip to Victoria, I got a lesson in oyster shucking from Chef Instructor of the Vancouver Culinary Institute Debbie Shore at the Vancouver Island University Deep Bay Marine Field Station (where they research sustainable aquaculture and the preservation of coastal ecosystems).
Have you ever gone to a Christmas tree farm to cut down your own tree? It’s quite the adventure (and gives my husband an opportunity to use his tools!). For me, there’s nothing better than the scent, feel and look of a real tree. For the past couple of years, we’ve been going to Clembrook Christmas Farm in Milton, Ontario. The family-owned farm grows a selection of pines, spruces and firs, my favourite being the Canaan fir (very similar to the balsam and Fraser). It also has pre-cut varieties if you’re not particularly handy with a saw.
In today’s digital age, the tools we use to get through the day have changed dramatically in the past 10 years. My handwriting has deteriorated because I so rarely pick up a pen, relying instead on my laptop, iPhone and iPad for communication. I never write things down on a paper calendar. All appointments, meetings and plans get synced from my computer to my phone. Handwritten letters have virtually disappeared, replaced by emails, texts, Facebook messages and … tweets … ? There are so many digital tools available to us today that pen and paper seem almost archaic. Quaint. Passe.
How adorable is this little cotton onesie depicting Le Petit Prince? Perfect for fans of the literary classic who want to make sure the joy of reading is spread around the globe, the onesie’s manufacturer will donate a book to an African community in need for every purchase.
This great gift and other charitable collaborations are available on TOMS Marketplace, which offers stylish, sustainable and affordable products from 30 socially responsible brands that give back to people and communities in need with each product purchased.
For a long time now we’ve talked about color-blocking walls to create a dramatic look to a room. Color-blocking essentially refers to paint one wall in your room a different color than the rest. The more contrast between the colors (a dark red wall in a taupe room) the more dramatic the effect. When I was at Winward last week, a to-the-trade silk flower supplier, I saw this perfect vignette that modified color-blocking by creating a smaller scale “block” on the wall.
I know this idea isn’t breaking the mould, but I love a useful and thoughtful handmade gift. Baking and cooking kits are the perfect budget-friendly Christmas gift idea for everyone on your list because anyone can enjoy it regardless of their culinary skill level!
There is one store on Bloor St in Toronto (also known as the “mink mile” because of the number of expensive boutiques along the street) that is a must-see during the holidays. Tiffany & Co, which has just unveiled their stunning new store, has quickly become the Mecca of retail dreams during the holidays. Better still, the iconic Tiffany blue is used as their new statement color for the holidays. I went to check out Tiffany’s holiday decor for inspiration and was delighted with what I found.
This week, my obsession with the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer in Pistachio is stronger than ever. I’ve been coveting this beauty for a long time but I’ve always stopped myself from purchasing it because of a lack of counter space in my apartment (it NEEDS to be on display).
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Pistachio, $350, Sears, sears.ca.
Over the weekend I went to a friend’s condo and couldn’t help but take a picture of her simple, but stunning holiday display. All you need is a glass cloche, a tray and a few Christmas ornaments and Voila – you have an instant Holiday display. For added details she used ‘mixed metal’ ornaments (so on trend!) and a vintage tray from her grandmother. Love the whole look, definitely going to recreate this at my place this year.
What are your simple and fun go to Holiday decor tips?