Christmas Traditions: Charitable Gifts from the Heart

Ok, are these guys not the cutest?

They are leaning like they've had a little too much eggnog at the Christmas luncheon, no?

They also make a great gift from World Vision Canada.

No, you don't get to bring them home, but you can provide them to a family as a source of income and help bring economic resources to people who need them most. (For my American readers, you can visit World Vision USA. UK readers can visit World Vision UK. Australian readers can visit World Vision Australia. Other readers can find the correct links here.)

World Vision also sells tangible fair trade gifts if you want a little something something under the tree. I picked up this adorable Heart on Your Sleeve Sweatshirt from World Vision Canada. Because hearts and tartan are everything.

I'm also loving this heart-shaped cheese board.

Giving from the World Vision catalogue has been a long standing tradition in my family. You can hear me talk about it on today's See Hear Love show. Bonus: the Old Navy gold pants make another appearance. 

In the immortal words of Starbucks, go forth and Give Good. It will make a world of difference this Christmas!


*World Vision is a partner of See Hear Love, where I am a blogger. But I've loved them and supported them long before that!

Feeling the J Crew Love!

OK, J Crew has had some bumps over the years and we all wish we could get in a time machine and go back to the 2005 era of amazing Final Sales. But they've had some cute pieces of late and just like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, I really hope they make it!

Here are some cute pieces to carry you through holiday parties and into the New Year. Most of them are 40% off today with free shipping.

I have an old Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti dress that has a similar vibe to this Starry Tulle Top. I'd love this over jeans for a festive Christmas open house party. It's that fancy/not fancy thing that J. Crew has done so well in the past.

A true teenager of the 1980s, I am still obsessed with velvet hair bows. I used to have one that I sported with Laura Ashley dresses as a teen. So, obviously, I am obsessed with this one.

Is this not the cutest t-shirt? Champagne is always a good idea!

I'm thinking waaaay in advance here, but is this Wrap Skirt in Jacquard Hearts not adorable for Valentine's Day? It would be sweet at a New Year's Eve party too with a simple black t-shirt.

Are you taking advantage of any of the sales to build your winter wardrobe or are you still in the crazy of Christmas gift shopping?


Kate's Red Dress is Everything

I interrupt my bed rest for a moment to talk about Princess Kate's red dress. First off, thank you so much, Patricia, for telling me about the blog, The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. It's splendid and will provide excellent reading as the royal wedding approaches. Bonus: they cover royal fashion from all over the world! 

They showed Kate's berry-coloured Elodie Tunic Dress from GOAT and it is everything! The ruffle neck and cuff details: so festive!

Here it is, in a closeup.

So pretty.

Do you have a new holiday frock this season? Are you inspired by Kate's look?

Christmas Gifts for the Person Who Has It All - Day 12

Today is the 12th day of Christmas. According to the carol, it was quite a splendid day filled with drummers, pipers, lords, ladies, maids, swans, geese, golden rings, calling birds, french hens and a partridge in a pear tree*. I do hope Harry and Meghan's wedding encapsulates all of these elements! For such a lavish final day of gift ideas, I wanted a lavish list. I will not be receiving any of these items as my big gift is a new cistern - because we are glamourous like that - but I can enjoy them from afar.

A pair of Theodora Cuffs by Verdura is about as glam as it gets. They are limited edition so if you want to buy someone a set, you'd better get on the phone pronto.

Candice Bergen (yes, that Candice Bergen) will customize your designer tote for a fee that she donates to charity. I am obsessed with her dog paintings on Goyard totes. I'm pretty sure I need Teddy's face on my bag!

Click Bergen Bags to see more and follow her on Instagram.

I've loved the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches since forever. They are crazy spendy, but are two watches in one (you can see them flip in the little video in the link.) Unfortunately, Santa does not think I've been that good this year...

I'm on a mailing list for Tarquin Bilgen. I have no idea why since I've never had that kind of money to spend on things, but it's such a beautiful list that I love to get it nonetheless. Look at these French Empire Wall Lights from the 1820s. I love lions and gold! If you have £3,950 jingling around in your pocket, they could be yours.

As some readers know, I'm obsessed with the idea of an old farmhouse as a place to stash all of the kids during the holidays once we move into a smaller century home in town. I'm kind of digging this 1750s farmhouse, which scratches the itch for an old place, a place with some land, a barn, and a cute village within stumbling distance. The dining room, pictured above, is everything. Plus, Dutchess County sounds like a place I could hang my hat... One can dream!

Finally is a gift one could give - especially if you are a hockey team or a school or an office. You can help to fill a stable in the developing world to help an entire community. Pretty jewels and watches are lovely, but a meaningful gift that helps someone is the loveliest gift of all.

I've had so much fun pulling together these gift lists as I prepared for my surgery. I'm dipping in and out of social media now, but have to limit my time online until I get the green light from my surgeon. Going forward, I'll focus on some fun Christmas activities to enjoy as we count down to December 25!

If you missed the See Hear Love show on Peace yesterday, you can catch it on YouTube. We discuss connecting with God's peace during this crazy holiday season and I wear a side angle of gold pants on national TV and look slightly like a wrapped ham! There is lots of encouraging content and it's worth a view if you are a believer or are curious about faith...



* As it turns out, The Twelve Days of Christmas carol is not about filling one's home with people and birds after all, but rather alludes to more spiritual gifts. According to the UK Christmas Carol site, this is what the song really means:

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

That makes a lot more sense. I thought all of those birds seemed a bit much!

Christmas Gifts for the Art Lover - Day 11

If you have a friend who is an art lover, you'll know how hard it is to buy anything for them. If you share their taste, you can pick up a reasonably priced piece at Artspace or Citizen Atelier, but art tends to be a deeply personal thing and hard to buy for others.

Instead, you can gift them an art-themed item that will appeal to the most lofty of tastes.

I adore this teapot by Yinka Shonibare MBE at Artspace.

And this Pony plate by Maurizio Cattelan.

This Louis Bourgeois cup and saucer from MOMA's shop is cute.

For the more traditional art lover, The Metropolitan Museum of Art sells wonderful costume jewelry that is a nod to works of art within the museum.

The black and white pearl earrings are based on Venus in Front of a Mirror, by Peter Paul Rubens. They are a conversation starter, and Princess Diana reportedly owned sets in black and white.

My Go To is a Tim Walker book since I adore his playful photographs. The original edition is out of print but you can pick up Tim Walker Pictures (Alternative edition), which is a slightly smaller version of all of the same prints.

Wishing you an artful shopping experience!

PS: If you live in Canada, you can catch me on YES TV tonight at 8:30pm local time discussing Advent. You can also catch the show at

Christmas Gifts for the Cook - Day 10

I have a confession to make: I am not a cook. I am not a baker either. I do like to eat, however, which is why I so appreciate my friends better skilled in the culinary arts! Here is a list of gifts I think they'd love. 

Now, I just happen to think that the Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Tartan Round Dutch Oven is everything. It's just so very cute. It's totally worth me purchasing just to heat up my box of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup whenever someone in the house gets sick. And for the real cook, this would be divine. I have a cast-iron dutch oven in Le Creuset's much more boring blue shade and it cooks things up like a dream. And we all know that tartan makes everything even better. 

How adorable is this Snowman Pepper Mill? Doesn't he make you feel cheerful? I'll bet that any cook would love him. 

A lot of cooks seem to be very passionate about their salt. While there seems to be a forever argument about which salt is best, Fleur De Sel De Guérande is always a contender. At $7, it's a nice gift for the gourmet.

Instead of bringing a bottle of wine to your favourite foodie's home (how intimidating to select is that!), bring a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Acetaia Malpighi Balsamo of Modena was named best all-round vinegar by Bon Appetit. Whether your friends like to cook with it, dip bread in it, or pour it over ice cream, this gift is sure to please.


Today marks the second Sunday of Advent, a time when we think about Peace. Tomorrow, I'll be appearing on See Hear Love (and on YES TV in Canada at 8:30PM local time) to talk about peace. I hope you'll swing by to watch.

I hope you are having a peaceful season.


Christmas Gifts for the Après-Ski Set - Day 9

If you have skiiers on your list you might be lost for ideas. Instead of a new helmet or goggles, why not buy them something for after the lifts have closed? Even those who do not ski can après-ski with the best of them. Here are some ski-appropriate gift ideas for the people on your list.

What says ski chalet food more than cheese fondue? This Cheese Fondue Set by Emile Henri is as pretty as it is practical.

Nothing says cozy to Canadians more than Hudson Bay Company Point Blankets and we love this HBC Scottish Cape for sitting by the fire after a hard day on the slopes.

After a day of leg-punishing black diamond runs, there is nothing more soothing than a hot bath infused with mineral salts. AHAVA makes a Muscle Soothing Mineral Bath Salt that's sure to be welcomed.

Alp-n-Rock makes some of the coziest shirts around and their winter-themed crewnecks are lovely and warm and beloved by every skiier I know.

When I first saw quilted ski skirts, I thought they were the silliest thing around. Of course, I thought they were for skiing! But then, I bought one and they are absolutely genius. At the end of the day, you can shed your snow pants, throw this skirt over your long undies, and voila: you look perfect for après-ski! Lots of companies make them, but I love the ones by Skhoop.

Happy ski shopping!

Christmas Gifts to Help Someone Feel Better - Day 8

I just realized that these Christmas lists are sort of a Twelve Days of Christmas deal, even though the true twelve days run from Christmas to Epiphany. In terms of the gift ideas I've been blogging, we're on the eighth day.

I'm headed in for some more eye surgery and will have some mandatory downtime, which - just before the holidays - is sure to be frustrating. As I wrote this post, I thought about the types of things that might help those going through illness, pregnancy bedrest, or surgical recovery during the holidays feel a touch more merry and bright. While the eight maids a-milking could whip up some restorative White Russian cocktails, I think the following gifts might be better received...

Flowers are so very lovely at at this time of year and red roses are particularly splendid. This Very Merry Bouquet from The Bouqs is gorgeous and sure to cheer up someone's room.

Occitane makes gorgeous almond oil products. The Supple Skin Oil and Milk Veil smell wonderful and help offset the drying effect of too much time spent indoors.

Is there anything more cozy than Brora's Cashmere Bed Socks? No, there is not. If someone you know if bedridden for a time, these are beautifully soft socks would add some comfort to a less-than-lovely experience.

A bed jacket adds a touch of old-fashioned glamour to bedrest or a hospital stay. The Contessa Bed Jacket is very spendy, but the dramatic collar would certainly make one feel more like receiving guests.

I've scheduled some posts to run during my absence but comment publishing will be held until I'm back on my feet.

Take care!


Pantone Color of the Year - Ultra Violet

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel that helped choose Toronto's input into the colour of the year. It was an interesting process as, armed with magazine tearsheets, runway intelligence, and public sentiment, a group of us tried to predict what the future colours might be.

I've not had any involvement in that process recently, but I must say that Pantone's colour of the year, Ultra Violet - a deep, rich purple - seems inspired.

In a world gone crazy, a deep comforting colour that speaks to royalty (what a perfect colour for the year Meghan and Harry are married!) and mindfulness is most welcomed. Also, the famed Proverbs 31 woman dressed in purple gowns and she was everything.

For me, this colour screams Ralph Lauren velvet. Look at this sofa. Heaven on a pincushion!

via Pinterest

More Ralph Lauren. He just gets it right, doesn't he?

F/W 2013 via Pinterest

via Pinterest

The fact that I have a circa 2006 J. Crew Uptown Dress Coat in this colour is just a happy benefit.

It's photographing Indigo, but is a nice ultra-violet

If you want to hop on the bandwagon and get some of this colour into your world, here are some picks.

J Crew is still doing purple with its Eniko Topcoat.

This is a cute and wearable piece by Eileen Fisher.

This is a sweet Margaux Velvet Clutch by Kayu.

Yes, please, to the purple Prada Strappy Sandals. And they are even on sale!

This wallet by Mark Cross is on trend (also spendy - you might have nothing left to put in it!)

This Tahari dress would be cute for New Year's Eve. 

As would this Alfred Sung

Akris tends to get things right even though they are very expensive. This Waffle Knit Biker Jacket will be a winner this spring. 

Do you plan to hop on the Ultra Violet bandwagon?


Christmas Gifts for the Book Lover - Day 7

If you have voracious readers on your Christmas list, there are lots of things you can get them besides a stack of novels. Here are some gift ideas for the writers, readers, and librarians in your life:

Apparently, reading socks are much more popular in Canada than they are in the US. Who knew? (Actually, Julie Morgenstern knew...) If you've not experienced oversized fuzzy socks made to keep your feet warm while reading on a weekend afternoon, you do not know what you are missing! Indigo Books is the biggest purveyor of said socks in Canada and they ship to the US. This striped pair is adorable and goes with everything.

Anthropologie always has the cutest eye glasses and I'm very much hoping that - post corrective eye surgery - they will be all I need to see clearly. The Mosby Reading Glasses are particularly fetching and I'd like to have a few pairs scattered around the house.

I've not had a chance to test the scent, but the Bibliotheque mini candle by Byredo seems appealing. The promised undernotes of leather and vanilla are what's needed to remind one of old libraries.

I think the difference between a house and a home is the presence of books, so Damian Thompson's  Books Make a Home: Elegant ideas for storing and displaying books seems like a perfect gift for any book lover on your list.

Happy gifting!

Christmas Traditions: Charitable Gifts from the Heart

Ok, are these guys not the cutest? They are leaning like they've had a little too much eggnog at the Christmas luncheon, no? They...