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Thursday
Dec182014

The Little Things | Under-$30 Gifts

A scene from ELF. Classic.

Originally posted in The CLOSET

It's always the last little things that take the longest. The randoms. The extras. The add-ons. You know, those under-$30 things that take up all your time and quickly add up to you splashing an extra few shots of rum into your egg nog after the kids have finally nodded off. Hypothetically speaking.

Whether it's stocking stuffers yet to buy, add-on presents you forgot to purchase, or gifts for the random people who help you throughout the year that you just haven't gotten around to picking up, I've done up a list of the perfect under-$30 gifts. You can always do gift cards (word from my teacher friends is that GC's are the best), but it's always nice to have personal options to wrap up, too.

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Friday
Dec122014

Gifts that Empower | Far & Wide Collective

All photos via Far & Wide Collective

Gives and gets are doubly met thanks to Far & Wide Collective, a brilliant Canadian company founded by Hedvig Alexander. She lived in Afghanistan for 7 years working in international development, and after seeing the amazing creative talent of the women who lived there, decided to switch gears. Her dream? Create a sustainable business model to connect artisans and female entrepreneurs in developing countries with the international market, changing both invidividual lives and whole communities in the process.

One look at Far & Wide Collective's online marketplace and I was hooked. With beautiful handmade works by artisans from countries like India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico and Swaziland, every piece tells its own compelling story. From jewelry and accessories to truly unique home décor accents, the expertly curated site is both fashionable and philanthropic, so you can pick up beautiful gifts while empowering the talented artisans who make them.

A gift is so much better when there's a story to go along with it, don't you think? Read on for a few of my favourite finds on Far & Wide Collective right now, ready to pick up just in time for the hols. Love this!

Enjoy and happy Friday!

A woman at work at Zarif Design, which employs 50 Afghan women and men who, from their homes and one workshop in the old city of Kabul, revive traditional Afghan textiles.

Black Warrior Bracelet, $86.  Inspired by the traditional bracelets worn by the warriors, this glass beaded flexible cuff with recycled plastic boning is woven together with recycled thread in Tanzania.

Black Beaded Collar Necklace, $53. This necklace is made from rolled-up recycled magazines. Can you think of a more perfect gift for the fashion maven? Made by Quazi Designs in Swaziland. 

Lapis Star Bracelet, $50.  The Aayenda jewelry line is designed by Afghan students who are trained and mentored in jewelry-making and gem-cutting in India.

Hedvig Alexander, founder of Far & Wide Collective, at the opening of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

A series of beautiful handwoven sisal baskets from Kenya. 


 

Gold Plate Aquamarine Studs, $120. Made in Afghanistan by artisan Shugufa Yousofzai.

Colourful Otomi pillows from Mexico. The designs on these pillows and blankets (not pictured) are said to be inspired by ancient wall paintings found in the nearby caves of Tenango de Doria, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. They provide an income, some independence and a sense of community to the female artisans who create them.

White Jamdani Kaftan, $195. Made by House of Wandering Silk, which partners with a cooperative of 1,400 women in India, bringing them an improved economic status, medical assistance and a sense of community.

Friday
Dec122014

HOLIDAY '14 | 20 Gifts that WOW

via Pinterest

Originally posted in The CLOSET

It's never easy to find that perfect thing. Since time is of the essence, I thought I'd try to help, and since I know you have places to go and things to do, I'll keep this intro brief. These 20 gifts will wow them, from the highly sentimental to the just plain awesome. Oh, and be sure to check back next week for the most genius stocking stuffer ideas. Happy Shopping! 

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Thursday
Dec112014

Black + Camel + Gold

Pom Pom Toque, Joe Fresh | Mirrored Sunnies, similar American Eagle | Sweater w Gold Zips, J.Crew | Gorjana Gold Necklace, Shopbop | Camel Coat, Jones New York | Fingerless Gloves, Joe Fresh | Polka-Dot Pants, Joe Fresh | Ankle Boots, GAP.

I love wearing all black but find that unless you change up the textures, it can get really boring, really fast. Which is why I am loving these tone-on-tone polka-dot pants from Joe Fresh. Even if you don't like printed bottoms, the print and the price are palatable. I like to top my black off with a classic camel coat (you need one), and, of course, some cheap, cheerful ski-bunny accessories like these fingerless gloves and pom pom toque, also from Joe Fresh. And while I like certain statement necklaces, the whole massive statement jewel necklace worn over a done-up blouse, worn over a sweater, is all starting to look a little bit been-there-worn-that. My new fav thing? A long gold pendant necklace. I currently own a few beauties - the one pictured is Gorjana from Shopbop, and I also love the Rebel Pendant from Stella & Dot.

As you know, I don't do a lot of outfit posts here (which is why you should follow me on Instagram, svp), because my husband is not the most willing photographer. I don't get what he does with all his time. As if starting a business is more important than taking pictures of my outfits. Honestly....men ;)

Um, is it Friday yet?

Thursday
Dec112014

HOLIDAY '14 | Your Under-$200 Guide

Photo courtesy American Eagle

Originally posted in The Fashion Scoop

Walking through the mall this month is like a really great binge-watch of Netflix. There's drama (MO-OM, you are SO embarassing!), there's intrigue (will she like it? will she loathe it?), and of course, that edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting terror (only 20 days left?!).

It goes without saying that the clock starts ticking more insistently than usual this time of year, leaving even the most organized among us in a panic. But is this all necessary? Can we just take a collective step back and put this in perspective? Can we try for a minute to remember what this is all about in the first place? Um, no. No we can't. Because unless you're a Saint or happen to reside in Whoville, presents are part of the big Christmas/Holiday/Chrismukkah package. Plus, it's fun to buy things for other people. As long as we're prepared. 

I've found 50 stellar gifts to please the picky, to wow the un-wowable, each for under-$200 so you can keep on budget while you're at it. Scroll through the slideshow below for my top gift picks and dial your panic button down a notch. Remember, it's your presents...er..I mean presence that counts...

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