Friday, December 12, 2014

Attention, Canada! Luxury Holiday Shopping in the Real and Virtual Worlds

 You These Days     
I know, I know, you’re too busy Christmas shopping to read about Christmas shopping. But hold up – following are some terrific ideas for gifts that are stylish, healthy, ecologically sound and all-Canadian and bound to please everyone from hipsters to soccer moms and all age groups.
Consonant Skincare
I’m really impressed by the Consonant Skincare line that was developed in Toronto by two men with chemistry backgrounds. The products are handmade, 100% natural, non-irritating, non-perfumed and are loaded with health giving botanical ingredients. Not a single synthetic ingredient such as parabens, sulphates, petroleum ingredients, phthalates and silicone. Not a whiff.  And why no scent?  Essential oils which are the source of scents both natural and synthetic can be major skin irritants.  Lavender kills skin cells according to Paula Begoun.  Even so, there is a natural elemental smell to the products.  The makers say the products are designed to work in harmony with body chemistry to work as efficiently as possible. I enjoy using the Natural Foaming Face wash which mysteriously removes dreaded eye makeup where so many other products fail.  The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 35 is a dream.  You know how regular sunscreens give your skin a white cast and photographs ghostly?  Not this stuff. Its translucent flesh tone is truly a breakthrough in sun care.  Check out the wealth of healthy, soft, gentle products online and make up your beauty shopping list.  The Consonant flagship location is located at 2479 Yonge St. in Toronto and you can also order online through  Consonant throws special offer events and pop-ups on a regular basis.
Brick and mortar shops are traditional, but Etsy provides a massive marketplace of huge variety of products online.  But the thing about their products is that they are made by passionate individuals who wish to bypass the expense and trouble of literally “setting up shop” in the real world to offer stuff up at lower prices, with greater creativity and variety all in one place. The catalogue of Holiday products is impressive, a culmination of genius ideas from artists and innovators, curated for you. Another great plus is that Etsy offers high style and innovative products to those who live away from design centres like Toronto and Vancouver.  You too can own nice things and au courante things even if you live in the frozen tundra.   and you can also sell your wonderful things there as well, as long as you made them and develop your own brand. Now there’s a tempting idea!
Etsy Colour

Cool stationery and papers are the passion of Kleinberg, Ontario-based moms Alison and Samantha, so they created Party Stakes and pretty in ink, twinned sources for decorative tableware, stationary, décor and cards and all the statement notes you’ll ever need. What makes paper goods festive?  Sparkles.  And boy do they have sparkles.  You can place a party stake, a decorative 3-d “flag” in a cake, a flower arrangement or on a wall that can shout or whisper a name, a birthday, a motto, an event and an expression of love.  pretty in ink is designed to bring out our inner kindergartner with rubber stamps and fancy inks for style conscious letter writers and gift makers. Use them for envelope return addresses, a book mark or insignia, wrappings, calling cards, business cards, and whatever you darn well want to stamp.  They make special stationery that is stampable in various collections and colours.   
Website: www.,
Don’t feel guilty about buying nice things. Gilt can remove the sting and fulfill that top end beauty and design aficionado inside you. It is a unique online service offers top end designer merch at a reduction, with a wide range of well, just about anything you can put on your body from facial preparations to watches, designer shoes and handbags and clothing, lots of clothing.  Style encompasses just about every trend from holiday glittery to sophisticated and utterly tasteful. And let’s not forget babies. Yes, Gilt provides baby things and only the best.
Jenny Bird Hand Pieces

Canadian designer Jenny Bird says her calling to jewelry making was too “poignant” to ignore. And this Ontario farm girl turned Manhattanite has thrown her creativity into Jenny Bird creating wonderfully dynamic and interesting contemporary jewelry, the likes of which I haven’t seen before. From three finger rings and palm rings/hand pieces to primitive chains and medallions, her line is eye popping. It is simply and thoroughly different and manages to combine new techniques and details with gorgeous items that make you think of Vikings, the early Egyptians and Romans, Aztecs and even 80’s punk.  Cleopatra would have worn Jenny Bird.  The line is carried internationally in 600 stores and of course Hollywood has caught on, as celebs take to her very cool gear. It has to be seen to be appreciated, here
Evoke the Elements Perfume

Another great homegrown, unique and new-age inspired line is Evoke the Elements Within 100% Pure Botanical Perfume. Cruelty free, light, natural and glorious, the line has the aromatherapy, prepared with ingredients carefully selected to boost balance, digestion, self-esteem, to purify the blood, ease chronic stress and benefit the lungs, among other good stuff. Five scents – earth, water, fire, wood and metal, are designed to help with specific ailments or deficiencies while the scents soothe in their own completely sensory ways. The scents are soft and inviting, never over-the-top. Sophistication and ease of use are key. Evoke the Elements uses ingredients like lime, cedar wood, roses, cloves, bergamot, ginger, eucalyptus and coriander, among other, and are meant to be dabbed on certain pulse points in order to do their work which is to make you smell wonderful and feel great.
By the Bunch
A living gift is a blessing, and I don’t mean a puppy or a kitten, although that would be sweet too. Flowers and plants speak a universal language of natural pleasure and wholeness.  They connect us to the ground and bring beauty to any environment, and it’s a universal passion, everyone loves flora.  The Toronto-based By the Bunch is a custom floral design group that pays close attention to seasonal, local and exotic trends to create bespoke and prepared arrangements. Classic and contemporary design, the finest plant material and personal attention and care are all part of the landscape at By the Bunch. so when planning a gift, an event or dinner at home, flowers always set the pace.
Salonière by Jason Lee

If you shop the One-for-You-and-One-for-Me way, then a visit to Toronto's  Salonière and award-winning Jason Lee is the treat you can give yourself, a bit of a hairstyle, colour, treatment, whatever, as a little thank you to you. And it’ll get you in the holiday spirit. Let’s face it; everything is easier when your hair looks good, right?  And Jason knows his stuff. He can give you’re a trendy look or a classic look, and he goes to great lengths to make sure his clients feel welcome and warmed.  It’s the holidays, photo-readiness is non-negotiable. Heck, you could even get someone a gift card.


1 comment:

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