Holidays 2014: Gift Guide

For some reason, this year, I am woefully unprepared for winter’s arrival, but since it’s practically end of November and there’s snow on the ground, I guess it’s time to snap out of my denial and start shopping. Full disclosure: I have yet to buy any presents, but I do have some ideas as to what I’ll be picking up for my loved ones this holiday season. And just in case you’re in the same boat, I thought I’d share some of my fave holiday gift ideas with you.

I glimpsed most of these back in July, during the annual holiday previews, and I have to say that this year in particular, those previews came in super handy. I got to learn about the existence of cool adult onesies, played with the Big Love Ball, and tried on the gorgeous Thomas Sabo infinity ring; I self-medicated with the all-natural Saje Pocket Pharmacy, and sipped on Inniskillin sparkling icewine. In short, I got to preview and test out a lot of the picks below, and I hope that this gift guide gives you some ideas for your holiday shopping this season. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and presents for him, her, and the kids, then this is a great place to start! Happy Shopping!

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1. Bombki Russian Christmas Ornaments (Net-A-Porter)
2. FLOWER Beauty Powder Brush (Wal-Mart)
3. TOMS for Target Candle (Target)
4. Falconwright Coin Purse (Falconwright)
5. Drake General Store Mountie Thermos (The Bay)
6. kate spade new york iPhone 5 Lucky Cat Case (Holt Renfrew)
7. Saje Pocket Pharmacy (Saje)
8. Big Love Ball 
9. Gap Calf Hair Tech Gloves (Gap)

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1. The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Doll (The Body Shop)
2. Shupette My Precious Glitter Set (Holt Renfrew)
3. Tiffany T Square Bracelet (Tiffany and Co)
4. Jenny Bird RiRi Collar Tri-tone (Jenny Bird)
5. Balenciaga Florabotanica Rollerball (Sephora)
6. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Indigo)
7. CHANEL Patchwork Shearling Bag (CHANEL)
8. ALDO FAHLSTROM Boots (ALDO)
9. Moschino iPhone 5 Case (Net-A-Porter)
10. Thomas Sabo Glam & Soul Ring (Thomas Sabo)
11. NARS Modern Future Roman Holiday Gift Set (Holt Renfrew)

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1. H&M Oh Deer! Sweater (H&M)
2. ALDO Wallie Shoes (ALDO)
3. 
Yo Sox Burger King Socks (The Bay)
4. KRUPS Barista Espresso/Coffee Machine (The Bay)
5. Samsung Gear 2 Smart Watch (Best Buy)
6. Grey Goose VX (LCBO)
7. Jack Black Cobalt Brush (Holt Renfrew)
8. Drake General Store Arborist Mountie Adult Onesie (The Bay)

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1. Indigo Expressions Pillow (Indigo)
2. Oster French Bull Toaster (Target)
3. Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography (Indigo)
4. Holiday Ribbon Dessert Plates (Indigo)
5. Inniskillin Vidal Sparkling Icewine (LCBO)
6. Byredo Parfums Loose Lips Candle (Holt Renfrew)
7. Nadege Pastries (Nadege)
8. David’s Tea for the Tree (David’s Tea)
9. HBC Collection Cuppa Teapot (The Bay)

 

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1. HBC’s Priscilla the Fox (The Bay)
2. Melissa and Doug Felt Food Taco and Burrito Set (SHOP.CA)
3. Tuck Shop Neighbourhood Toques (Mini Mioche)
4. Sugarbooger Doll Teether Set (Mini Mioche)
5. H&M Sweatshirt with Print (H&M)
6. GummyGoods Nightlight (Mini Mioche)
7. Ele and Ela Bib (Etsy)
8. Seedling DIY Snow Globe Kit (Indigo)
9. Uncle Goose Russian ABC Blocks (Uncle Goose)

What I Wore: Solange, Coco, and Minnie…Oh My!

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Another WMCFW season has come and gone, and this time I found myself at the tents every single day, and saw more shows than I normally would have. As such, my full fashion week recap is going to be up sometime next week, with my fave new designers, outstanding pieces, and fave collections, as well as the beauty recap from our contributor Aleyda. But for now, here’s a post about all of the fun outfits I wore to the tents last month.

Thanks to a slew of wonderful photographers like Ania Boniecka, Aleyah Solomon, Jenna Marie Wakani, Ryan Emberley and Stefania Yarhi, among others, I was able to document every look from a variety of angles and lenses…candid and not. It’s a bit of an exercise in narcissism, but hey, this is a style blog, what did you expect?! Let’s get to it, shall we?

On day 1, I ran into the lovely Talia Brown, and we were snapped together for FLARE Magazine. I didn’t bother with my outfit on day 1 – mainly because I had a very intense day at the office, so I simply swapped my ankle booties for a pair of ALDO heels, and my work bag for an ela clutch, and that was it.

After the shows, we were treated to a VIP party courtesy of Joe Fresh, with Solange Knowles on turntables. We were literally inches away from this stylish beauty, but I’m still not sure if waiting nearly 3 hours for the privilege was worth it. My feet were crying by the time I got home.

xx, attends the Joe Fresh Cocktail event on Monday, October 20th, 2014.solange-toronto-joe-fresh-style-blog-nelia-belkova

On Day 2, I actually managed to change out of my office clothes, and into a fun faux leather overalls from H&M. Knowing that a Minnie Mouse party was in the cards, I made sure to grab my trusty sequinned Minnie ears, which completed my look that day. To add a bit of Canadian flare to my outfit, I wore one of my fave falconwright clutches to the tents.

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Events: Blogger Bazaar Fall 2014

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Last month, by popular request we held our third Blogger Bazaar, this time – fall edition. With help from our awesome sponsors (Aime by Monica Mei, ALDO, Cake Beauty, Call It Spring, Civello Salon, Dermalogica, Essence, Flare Magazine, H&M, Lovefresh, Roots, smartwater, Trend Trunk, vitaminwater, and Yorkdale), we once again had epic swag bags to gift to our attendees, who showed up at the Soho House ready to shop.

On offer, was a selection of winter coats, party dresses, designer bags and shoes, jewelry, and so much more! We mingled with our readers and our friends, sipped on vitaminwater, played with Cake Beauty dry shampoo, shopped each other’s tables, and said good-bye to our preloved clothing and accessories. It was a fun afternoon for us, and we hope that those that were able to attend enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed organizing it.

And to thank you all for supporting Blogger Bazaar, we would like to give something back! Until October 31, if you instagram or tweet a photo of your fave bazaar purchase, using a hashtag #BLOGGERBAZAARTO, you will be entered to win 1 of 2 Yorkdale prize packs ($100 gift card and a valet parking pass). You can share more than one photo for more chances to win. Sounds good? Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

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What I Wore: Summertime Sadness

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This is my last outfit post from my birthday trip to France…I know I’ve milked it for months now, but I guess I just didn’t want to let it go. And now that it’s October, it feels pretty appropriate to say good-bye to summer, and hello to fall. Those of you that follow me on Instagram, already know that I dyed my hair, so the next outfit post will definitely show off that new side of me…but in the meantime, here’s the last bit of summer in October. 

I’ve always thought of Monaco as a very glamorous place. Before visiting, the word brought on visions of Grace Kelly, fancy hats, fast cars, and gleaming sailboats. But reality wasn’t quite as fabulous. Perhaps rainy weather had something to do with it, or maybe the fact that we visited on a Sunday, when all the shops and restaurants were closed, but I just didn’t love it.

Sure, there are a few pretty buildings to look at, and the views of the sea are pretty breathtaking, but underneath it all, it felt more than a little gauche – the casino that charges an entrance fee, show-offs in their tricked-out cars, horrible food at the only restaurant open for business, over-the-top yachts…none of it felt glamorous. Perhaps I would have a different view of the place, had we stayed overnight…apparently the parties and the clubs are a must-do in Monaco, but something tells me I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed those either. Do I sound like a crusty old lady yet?

Either way, we made the best of our little day-trip, enjoying the views and the public art, but to be quite honest, we couldn’t wait to run back to the train station to catch the next train back to Nice and our cozy, yet decidedly not-so-glam apartment.

Have you ever been to Monaco? Did you have a different experience? Share in the comments.

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What I Wore: Saint-Paul de Vence

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I am so hopelessly behind on posts, that even though I don’t even look like the photo above, I still have a few of these to go. And while it’s currently 13 degrees in Toronto, this post is all about summer heat and vacation glow. Seeing these pics makes me want to pack up my bags and hightail it out of Canada for a destination much warmer than Toronto. Alas, I just got back from New York, and as a 9-5er, vacation days are a precious, precious commodity not to be trifled with…so, I suppose fall is inevitable.

These photos were taken while on a day trip to Saint-Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera. There were beautiful art shops on every corner, delicious honeys and jams sold at charming little shops…The sun was scalding that day, so we made a pit stop at a small gelato shop, watching a local wedding at the nearby church. Happy faces, delicious ice-cream, honking limo, and lots of bougainvillea bushes is what I remember the most from that day. We walked up and down the winding cobblestone streets, completely charmed by this tiny town, and all of a sudden, the lengthy bus ride from Nice seemed really worth the hassle. If you’re ever in the area, try to stop by Saint-Paul de Vence. It won’t take very long to see, but you’ll be glad you did.

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What I Wore: Nice Would Be Nice

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This summer has been a bit of a letdown…at least weather-wise. Augtober is nearly over, and we maybe had 10 hot sunny days this month. All of this Canadian weather yo-yoing is making me wish I was still in Nice, soaking up the sun, lounging around on the pebbled beach, and eating way too much delicious food. I didn’t expect to like Nice as much as I did…but truth is – it was lovely – a perfectly relaxing getaway after the craziness that was Paris. And now, I am itching to get back to the South of France. Does anyone want to buy a little villa near Nice with me? Anyone?

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What I Wore: Let Them Eat Cake

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The Palace of Versailles has always been a place I wanted to visit eventually…what with all the drama, intrigue, excess, and history surrounding this royal château, I knew it would be worth the trek. The only reason that I have avoided visiting Versailles for so long is the fear of endless line-ups and tourists. Usually, with the exception of the Eiffel Tower, we try to stay away from crowded and touristy places, but this time around, we decided to just go for it.

As expected, the place was teeming with people…SO.MANY.PEOPLE! But not to worry, after about 30 minutes of waiting for our tickets, and then lining up to get in, we were finally inside Marie Antoinette’s stomping grounds! The palace was definitely very impressive, with rooms full of beautiful art, ornate doors (and ceilings, and floors), and of course, plenty of historic tidbits to glimpse and learn – totally worth it the wait.

But as cool as it was to see the Hall of Mirrors and the grand apartment de la reine in person, the gardens were a highlight for me. After hours of frolicking around, lying in the grass, sipping iced chocolate on Angelina’s terrace, and taking way too many photographs, I don’t think we covered even half of the massive grounds. I guess another trip to Versailles is in order…maybe next year!

Have you ever visited Versailles? What was your favourite spot? Share in the comments.

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What I Wore: Eye See Paris, Eye See France

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As you can see I am stretching my vacay posts out…mostly because I want to relive those fun moments over and over again, and that’s what these blog posts help me do. So, I hope you don’t mind too terribly.

This dress is one of my absolute faves. It was love at first sight, and after a quick alteration (it used to have a mock turtleneck), it was perfect – eye-catching and fun. I wore it in Paris to celebrate my friend Al’s birthday (Gemini sistahs), and after yet another visit to the Eye-ffel Tower, we spent the rest of the day in a leisurely state of bliss – enjoying a delicious lunch with a perfect view at Frame, grabbing a dessert at Laduree, hiding from the rain at CHANEL on Rue Montaigne, enjoying the scenery at Les Invalides, after hours of wandering around the city. It’s so easy to just do nothing in Paris. Every street oozes with charm, and every streetside cafe beckons you to seat down and take in everything and everyone around you. The city makes you both speed up and slow down, and I couldn’t love it more.

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Events: Blogger Bazaar Summer 2014

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Last month, I joined some of Toronto’s best fashion bloggers (Sharon and Tara backseatstylers.com, Kimberly thesoulsofmyshoes.com, Anita iwantigot.geekigirl.com, Hawley sidewalkhustle.com, Anya imtheitgirl.com, Liane etsy.com/ca/shop/thelostsea, Jessica everafterlacquer.com, and Monica aimeluxury.com) in the SALE OF THE CENTURY! Ok, maybe not. But it still felt pretty epic. Our second Blogger Bazaar, held at Toronto’s Soho House, was a huge hit. Lots and lots of readers, friends, and curious passerby showed up, shopped, sipped complimentary vitaminwater, met other like-minded aka fashion-obsessed peeps, and helped us find good homes for our new and gently used treasures. It was a fashion madhouse, and I loved every second of it.

As promised, we had amazing swag bags to give away, filled to the brim with goodies kindly provided by ALDOArtemano DecorCall It SpringDoveeLUXEessenceFLAREForever 21Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie ParisRootsTRESemme, and vitaminwater. But even better than free swag, some of the deals were just too incredible to pass up. One lucky girl scored a gently-used Burberry trench for less than $200. Another picked up a pair of Wayfarers for $50. And of course there were even more deals on pieces from Hermes, YSL, Isabel Marant, Marni, Proenza Schouler, Prada…you name it – all priced to sell. Impulse buys, well-loved staples that sadly no longer fit, vintage goodies, there were all kinds of treasures to be found, and a lot of you made them your own. At the end of the day, 10% of all sales were donated to the Corsage Project charity. Just a little something to give back to our community.

The best and most memorable part of this summer’s Blogger Bazaar was once again meeting and interacting with our readers. So many of you showed up and spent the time to support our little event, and for that I am incredibly thankful. Without you, the readers, our blogs would just be empty shells, but you make it so much more than that. Thank you! Hope to see you again at the next Blogger Bazaar this September!

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What I Wore: This is 30

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First of all, I apologize for the million photos in this post. Most of them feature my love affair with the Eiffel Tower from various angles and I just couldn’t narrow them down. Sorry (not sorry). With that said, this is what I wore on my first day of being thirty.

While in my early twenties, thirty-somethings seemed practically ancient to my silly young self, but I am happy to report that I don’t feel different, even though I am no longer the youngest person in the room. I also didn’t suffer too much anxiety over the big 3-0…after all, I consider myself extremely lucky to have a wonderful husband, supportive family, great friends, and of course, this little blog. Growing up, I used to make those “before 30″ lists, which included “swim with the dolphins” (done!), “skydive” (nope), “graduate” (yup), “get MBA” (not yet), “open an RRSP account” (check!), “visit the Amalfi Coast” (3 times), among many other cool/cliche/silly/important/unimportant tasks. And while I definitely haven’t checked off every item off those lists, I don’t feel like I let myself down because I didn’t complete them by the time I left my twenties. That just means I’ll have fun accomplishing them in my thirties.

Having said all that, entering a new decade wasn’t a daunting prospect for me. Back home, each new decade is welcomed with lots of fanfare and celebration, and so in that tradition, I also made quite a big deal about my birthday this year (according to le bf) and decided to jet off to Paris and the South of France to celebrate. And while I’ll have more travel posts coming, this is what I wore on my actual birthday.

That day, le bf and I wandered aimlessly around Paris (mostly around the Eiffel Tower, as you can see), enjoying the views, stopping in at random cafes for a drink, savouring a delightful lunch at Laduree, and a delicious dinner at Shangri-La Paris, wrapping up our night with an impressive Disney Dreams! show at Disneyland Paris. It was a sticky hot day, we walked so much, our feet were buzzing, my hair and makeup were a huge mess by the time dinner time rolled around, but we didn’t care – nothing could spoil this imperfectly perfect day. That night, I went to bed with a huge grin on my face…yes, I may be getting older, but the adventures along the way make it totally worth a wrinkle or ten. Bring it on, thirties!

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