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Friday, December 2, 2016

Handpicked Home for The Holidays: Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon at my friend Piya's shop in White Rock, The Handpicked Home, for her #THHfortheholidays Pop Up shop. We had so much fun kicking off the holiday season with treats from Edible Canada and shoppers having the chance to enter not 1 but 2 raffles with more than $600 in goodies (one lucky shopper won themselves a beautiful wood watch from Tense watches) with proceeds benefitting a local animal shelter. Every time I walked around the store I couldn't help noticing something new and thinking 'who could I give this to?'. With the holidays fast approaching I'm trying to get through my shopping list before things get too crazy and since I opted not to do a gift guide this year I thought I'd share some gift ideas from her shop instead. I went through THH and picked out some of my favourites for men, women, & kids to help you think of gifts for everyone on your list and support some great BC and Canadian brands in the process. Everything featured can be found at Piya's shop, so if you see something you like you know where to find it. One stop shopping at it's best!

For the Men

I don't know about you, but I find guys the hardest to buy for. When you ask them what they want and all you get is 'I don't need anything', it can be tough to think of ideas. So that leaves you the option to load 'em up with things that you think they'll love. You'll be a star for being creative with ideas and for giving them something they didn't even know they wanted and they'll get something they won't be able to live without once you give it to them. Win- win gift giving at it's finest. 

Gift Ideas:
- if he's into clothes: think things like tees, socks and ties in fun prints. These sound like really basic ideas, but there are endless options out there to suit the guy(s) you're buying for. Just think of his personality and what he likes and go from there 
- if he's outdoorsy: think cold weather cozy items like gloves/ mitts, scarves & hats or items that come in handy like a water bottle or thin wallet for days when he doesn't need more than a few cards (perfect if he's into hiking or other activities where packing light is preferred)
- if he's on the rugged side: think grooming items like an old- fashioned shaving kit, beard oil & body spray. Even if he's not into using products, most guys with beards seem to like to groom them and what better than with some masculine toiletries?
- if he loves his man cave: anything related to beer or his favourite drink will probably be a hit (like that magnetic beer top remover) or get him something to add to the ambience (ie improve the decor) like some signs or prints to hang on the wall
- if he's not a morning person: a cheeky mug and some good quality coffee with other edible treats is a simple and fun idea (what guy doesn't like to eat?)

For the Ladies

I feel like I can always think of ideas for the ladies on my list, it just comes down to their personal style and trying to find something I know they'll like. While I find it harder to come up with ideas for guys, they're usually easy to please once you think of something. With ladies I find it's the opposite: you might have a variety of ideas, but finding something that suits their style can sometimes be the toughest part. Fashion, home, and pampering items are my go- tos when it comes to shopping for the ladies on my list, it just comes down to what their taste is like for making my gift choices.

Gift Ideas:
- if she's into fashion: like with the guys, I don't think you can go wrong with a t- shirt in a fun print, but how about something like a sweater or cozy hat to up her cold- weather style game? Or ask what her fashion bucket list is and help her achieve her style goals
- if she's all about the details: for the ladies who always seem to have the perfect #ootd right down to the accessories, some shades, a pair of earrings or a necklace might be the perfect addition to her accessory collection. Think of things like colours, textures, and materials to find something unique and different
- if her house should be in a magazine (or she wishes it looked that way): gifts for the home can be a lot of fun. Things like throw pillows and blankets, candles, and decor items like vases and prints are perfect when you want to give something to help personalize a space
- if she's a girly- girl at heart: I feel like ideas for this kind of lady are endless. Think things like makeup and beauty products you know she loves, jewellery, accessories, etc. 
- if she's a bit of a tomboy: if you know some gals that don't mind getting messy, think of things she can bring along for her favourite outdoor activity. A good quality water bottle (can you tell I love them?) or gear for her hobby of choice will be well- loved and used
- if she's really hard to buy for: if you've got some super- picky ladies on your list, I don't think you can go wrong with a nice bottle of wine and a pretty card with a personal message that shows you care. Think of a favourite inside joke or quote to write in the card and remind her why you're such an awesome friend/ daughter/ mother, etc

For the Little Ones

Let's face it, there is so much cute stuff out there for kids right now! Whether you want to give clothes, something fun, or something practical, you won't fall short of ideas if you check out some of the local brands we've got here in BC. If toys aren't something you want to give or the parents don't want the clutter, there are lots of other sweet things to give to your favourite little ladies and fellas. Sizing and seasonality for clothing is good to think about when buying clothes, and checking with parents to see what they need/ want can help narrow your choices. Other than that, it really is limitless and a lot of fun to buy for the babies and kids on your list

Gift Ideas:
- if they need clothes: this is always a great choice since you know parents appreciate keeping closets stocked (it can be hard to keep up, they grow so fast!). Ask about current sizes and if you're thinking forward a few months, keep in mind the season it'll be worn in (ie don't buy cozy fleece items that will likely fit in the Summer- ask Mom & Dad for sizing suggestions)
- if you want to give something fun: little ones can be entertained by the simplest things, so you don't have to over- think these kinds of gifts. Something to encourage learning, books, age- appropriate jewellery and toys, items for playing dress up, and things for the bath are a few ideas.
- if you want to give something practical: other than clothes, things like blankets, bedding, shoes, bath items, and age- specific gear (ie teething items for babies, a dinner set for toddlers) are great gifts if you'd prefer to spend your gift budget on things that will get a lot of use

Hopefully some of these ideas help you check off some of the people on your holiday shopping list! If you see something you love, pay Piya's shop a visit and enjoy shopping local this year.

The Handpicked Home
1406 Johnson Road, White Rock, BC

Twitter: @handpicked_home

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Festive Popcorn

It's that time of year when everything is starting to feel festive and Christmas spirit starts to take over. Will and I are still big kids at heart and get into the mood early with things like festive cocktails, decorating, and lots of Christmas tunes (I don't think it gets any better than doing holiday baking while pumping your favourites in the background). If you've got some parties coming up or need some festive stocking stuffer/ teacher gift ideas, this popcorn is perfect. I made mine minty- what's more Chrismtas- y than candy canes?- but you can choose whatever holiday treats you like for your mix. It's simple to make and looks super cute when finished off with some Christmas wrapping or served in cute paper cups at a party. Just try not to eat it as you go or you won't have any left! ;)

4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup mint chocolate chips
1 cup mint candies (this will equal approx 1/4 cup when crushed)

1. Once your popcorn is popped and cooled (you don't want it to melt your candies), separate your various ingredients into bowls.

2. Unwrap your candies and place on a piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment over the candies and using a rolling pin crush them into small pieces.

3. Now for the fun part! In a bowl or jar, begin mixing your ingredients together in layers starting with popcorn at the bottom. Do this until you've mixed everything up together and your container is full. It looks super cute stored in a mason jar with a lid or...

... wrapped up in a cute container like a Chinese take- out box to give as a gift!

... finish it off with some pretty ribbon or twine and some Christmas greens for an easy party favour or teacher's gift.

Like it? Share it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Walk This Way: Kickin' It With Liam {Review}

A little random fact about the younger of my two little blondies: at 19 months, Liam still isn't walking unassisted. It's just in the past few weeks that he's started taking his first steps by himself and the laughter and smiles we get are pricless as he gets more and more confident. And as much as I'll be glad when he's walking- this boy takes his sweet time!- I know I'm in for it big time when he's running around. He's already getting into mischeif Ari never did and I can only imagine what he's going to think up; this mama won't be sitting still!

With him learning to walk, having good footwear for him has been a focus. I wanted some shoes with hard soles for the cold and wet weather ahead, but also some with softer soles that would help his feet adjust to walking, helping him grip the floor/ ground. Shoes with leather or suede soles are perfect for this and when I had the chance to try out a cute pair from Aston Baby, the timing couldn't have been better. 

These shoes are made with a leather upper and suede sole with a velcro closure to keep little ones from pulling their shoes off (and of course Liam loves to do this!). Made for babies 0- 18 month old in mind, they were designed with 3mm semi- soft suede for the sole to protect little toes and make them slip- resistant (another importnat thing to consider when looking for shoes for little ones taking their first steps). As with the other products Aston Baby carries, these shoes combine classic and modern style and are built to last. I picked out the navy pair for Liam (these are available in 4 colours) since I thought they would be perfect for his Fall and Winter outfits, and so far they've survived my little guy putting them to the test. Scroll to the end of this post for product details. 

Shoe features:
- leather upper with semi- soft 3mm suede sole
- faux- buckle velcro closure
- classic t- bar design
- available in 4 colours: navy, mustard, red, and white

If you're looking for a pair of baby shoes to help your little one take their first steps, or the perfect baby shower gift, visit the Aston Baby website to see all four colours these shoes are available in and make sure to check out their other items including baby gifts & gift bundles.

Find them on social media:
Facebook: Aston Baby
Instagram: @astonbabyonline
Pinterest: Aston Baby

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fashion Feature: Chews Boutique

When you're running around in a romper in November, you know you must be on the West Coast. No snow here folks, and on the day we shot the photos for this blog post it almost felt like Summer was back. In November. Chews Boutique launched earlier this month, offering up a variety of adorable pieces all priced under $70. Everything is selected by owner Chelsey to be comfortable and stylish with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. With everything from tops, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear, Chews has pieces for every aspect of your closet, and you won't break the budget treating yourself. We got together just after the online shop opened to style a few of the pieces from this recently launched collection, and lucked out with a rain- free day to run around taking photos. If you're on the look out for pieces that offer up easy style, make sure you check out this awesome new online boutique. See below for 5 looks styled with Chelsey and Chews Boutique.

Antler necklace- JQ Vancouver
Hat, leggings & shoes- my own

Shoes- my own

Choker necklace- JQ Vancouver
Shoes- my own

Neckalce- JQ Vancouver
Bag- borrowed from Chelsey

Side Knot Top- $38.50 
Hooded Vest- $55.50 
Shoes- my own

If you're like me, a few of the pieces from Chews have made it onto my Christmas wishlist. Everything is comfortable, stylish, and affordable- how can you go wrong? I hope you love this new collection as much as I do, the hard part will be narrowing down your choices! Also- make sure you keep an eye out for more pieces being released in the coming weeks as Chelsey will be adding new pieces to the shop regularly.

Special thanks to Akane Kondo for shooting the photos for this collab!

About Chews 
Chews Boutiqie was established by owner Chelsey Andrews to offer a unique take on wardrobe basics. Offering up a variety of pieces that invokde effortless style with a minimalist and modern feel, Chews aims to offer pieces that will becomes staples in their shopper's closets at an affordable price point. To view current selection, visit the Chews website.

Follow Chews on social media for the latest releses and special discounts:
Facebook: Chews Boutique 
Instagram: @shopchews

Photo credit: Akane Kondo Photography
Instagram: @akanekondophoto