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Santa Baby: Slipping Something Under the Tree

surpriseIt’s that time of year. Shopping for your sweetie. Women have the edge on this one. Men seem to have less romantic notions of what should appear after the landing of the eight tiny reindeer.

Women on the other hand are dreamy eyed and romantic. We may not share it with you gentleman, but trust me, this is what we talk about during our wine and yoga pants nights…

I wish I may

I wish I might

Find a robin’s egg blue box

Under my tree tonight

It’s not that difficult really. We like shiny things, things that smell nice, and other stuff that falls under the category of ‘want’ not ‘need’.  Often neediness is confused with wantiness. Strong women are not needy – they can take care of their basic needs. Strong women are wanty, but wouldnt’ dare ask for anything.

So, if you guys want to know what we sit around dreaming you quantify your undying love with, flag this list. Trust me, I’ve saved the best for last…a.k.a., #6.

  1. First of all, we want romantic dates. Take us to the Christmas market. Take us to a Christmas show. Take us home and take it all off…

christmas-market

2. Every woman wants to smell delicious. You can’t go wrong wrapping up her favourite fragrance. Buy it in layers and wrap it in something soft.

perfume

3. Shiny things.  Just new? Try this…

heart-bracelet

 

A little more sure? Try this…

keys

Getting seriously serious??? See #1 and go window shopping during your romantic stroll so that you know what her dreams were made of as a little girl.

Was it this?pink-ringor this ?big-enough-to-skate-on

 

4. We love romantic cards and notes. Seriously gentlemen – get thee to a Hallmark store. Five bucks can make you the most romantic guy on the planet and she will love it.

hallmark

5. First Christmas together? First Christmas in your new home? First Christmas with a new little one? There’s an ornament for that…

first-christmas-ornament

6. As promised, I’ve saved the best for last. What all women want is to feel like your woman at Christmas time. We want to be hand in hand with our man. We want to go to sleep with you on Christmas eve and wake up with you on Christmas morning. We want to see you smile when you open the gifts that we give to you, and we want you to know that you are loved.

coffee-morning

 

 

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Christmas Shopping & The Meaning of Life

christmas shoppingThis one goes out to the Costco employees at the Laird Road location in Mississauga.

Thank you for reminding me to be kind and friendly this holiday season.

Your rude behavior and obvious annoyance at being bothered by your customers has made me rethink how I show up in the world every day.

In other words, you’re a shining example of how I don’t want to be.

The art of living truly is about mastering how you show up in the world wherever that place may be; home, work, school, or even Costco.

Trust me darlings, I too would rather be at home relaxing with a cocktail than being locked in a metal, windowless box spending my hard earned money with a bunch of people who feel the same way.

Before you ask, yes, I have worked retail, and yes, I know how annoying people can be.

Also, in case you thought I was independently wealthy, I have to work  as hard as you do for my money.  By the way, newsflash, I can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars, somewhere else for the very same products. If dealing with customers is such a pain in the ass, try dealing with no customers and no job.

Your brand of misery is the reason why people are giving up their materialistic Christmases of gluttony and trading them in for the simple joy of spending time together.

Spending time and energy buying stuff from people who are rude really doesn’t scream Merry, or Joy, or Peace on Earth.

The more I interact with you, the more I resent spending an hour finding a parking spot, being jostled like cattle through your aisles, and then ending the long-journey-of-consumer-monotony with a cashier who doesn’t know how to engage in a polite greeting, look me in the eye, and throws my conveniently-mega-packaged purchases into my cart like they’re trash.

Wishing that you and yours find the joy of the season where you least expect to find it; your own, every-day life.

 

 

 

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Sunday Morning Meditation: Book Love is Nothing Unless You Give it Away

booklove
The Little Engine that Could, Frog and Toad, Anne of Green Gables….

Sunday morning. Yah, I’m not a morning person. Not at all.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to appreciate the quiet of morning. It allows me to sip my coffee at my little writing desk or on the patio when the weather is warm, take in the sunshine, and contemplate what is.

Sunday I try to read the paper, do some writing, and if I’m really lucky, I can quiet my mind enough to read a book. If I’m not working.

When I’m on a roll, I devour books like Fred Flintstone devours Whateverosaurus ribs.

I love sharing that passion for reading with little ones, especially those who are so tiny that they sound out each word letter by letter.

When they finally make sense of an entire word or an entire sentence, their faces light up like they’ve unlocked the secret door to a new kingdom. And they have.

I remember the joy in reading Shel Silverstein’s, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and the bittersweetness of life captured so poignantly in the The Giving Tree, in such a simple way that even a small child could relate to. I rediscovered Silverstein’s work as an adult in such giggly classics as My Uncle Oswald. If you need a laugh, you need this book.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

~Shel Silverstein~

My favourite books as a child were; The Little Engine that Could (which as turned into a mantra of mine), Frog and Toad, and Anne of Green Gables. What were yours?

Years ago, I struggled to read. I was not the first kid in the room to raise their hand at circle time to give it a go. No, I suffered from shyness, and was sent for remedial help. Today I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature. We all come to reading, knowledge, and the wonder of the world around us in our own time.

Wishing you the joy of reading, and the magic of sharing that joy with a young person. Happy Sunday…

PS; For the adults out there, some favourite books that I would suggest are:

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald G. May, Bring Me the Rhinoseros by John Tarrant, and The Heart of the World by Ian Baker, Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version, Moon over Marekesh by Nazneen Sheikh and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (because we all need to be reminded that there is magic in life).

Wishing you the joy of reading, and of sharing that with some of the younger people in your life.

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Luxe Gifts For Women

You know how I feel about over-spending, over-shopping, and basically being taken, hook, line and sinker by the flashy adverts extolling excess, gluttony, and greed. If you don’t, I’ll summarize; It’s hogwash.

However, should you require a very special gift for the Princess in your life, and don’t know where to begin, let me help you.

If you’re going to go overboard, do it whole-heartedly with abandon.

You may also require a bank loan, 12 shots of Christmasy tequila, or, perhaps a new lady-love with lower expectations. But we don’t judge here do we ladies? No. We just dole out advice, and then sit back with your dainty crystal-wear filled with some wonderful southern comfort.

So, for those looking for that je ne sais quoi over-the-top-glitz-gift, I offer up a list of indulgent gifts and experiences.

Luxe Gifts for Your Christmas Princess

1) A sparkly bangle. Think of it as a 50 Shades reminder of your hold on her.

14 Carat Gold, Twisted Diamond Bangle
14 Carat Gold, Twisted Diamond Bangle

2) How about a nice little weekend property in the Cayman Islands. Just connect with one of the locals and voila – she’s putty in your sandy hands.

Nothing says, "I love you", like a few cool million.
Nothing says, “I love you”, like a few cool million.

3) Ok, let’s not get carried away. How about a simple handbag?

Leiber Precious Rose Bag - $92,000  This unique little gem boasts,  1,016 diamonds(42.56 carats), 1,169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines. LIke your lady-love, there is only one of these to be had.
Leiber Precious Rose Bag – $92,000
This unique little gem boasts, 1,016 diamonds(42.56 carats), 1,169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines. LIke your lady-love, there is only one of these to be had.

4) How about Maison Victor’s diamond ring-ed dildo. Ideal for the couple who travel independently. Nothing says I love you like 8 inches of white gold and diamonds.

For just over $55,000, it's the gift that just keeps on giving...
For just over $55,000, it’s the gift that just keeps on giving…

5) One of my favourite romantic gifts is a case of something bubbly, labeled with dates and events during which you will pop the cork and enjoy a bottle of something cool and refreshing with your lady-love. Think events like; First Snow Storm , Valentine’s Day, Evening before our Winter Get-Away…..

For the woman who expects the best, why not try a moderately priced bottle of Dom Perignon, which you can order through our local Ontario Vintages?

I was an arts major, but even I know that 12x$222.95 = getting lucky for sure!
I was an arts major, but even I know that 12x$222.95 = getting lucky for sure!

6) For Princess you are just beginning to court, how about a nice, unassuming box of chocolates? How about some Knipschildt truffles? Recognized as the most expensive chocolate in the world….half a dozen should do it! Add a bottle of Dom, and you’ve provided a little snackie-poo for the princess’s next bath.

Delicious!
Delicious!

 

7) If you’re ready for a commitment, why not pop the question and offer you hand in matrimonial bliss, along with this humble symbol of your undying adoration from Tiffany?

The answer will be yes, yes, YES!!!
The answer will be yes, yes, YES!!!

 

 

8) If your Princess is a bit of an intellectual like myself (I prefer being called, “Duchess”, as Princess is too naïve for me), how about a good book? Perhaps one of two copies of  Ptolemy’s 1477 Cosmography? Don’t ask me how, where or if this is available, but you’re a man right? There’s nothing like overcoming a challenge to impress your little lady. Go for it cowboy.

Knowledge - Priceless!
Knowledge – Priceless!

 

9) If you can afford these gifts, your Princess’s number one complaint will be that you don’t get to spend enough time together. So, why not buy her the gift of companionship. After all those who say that money can’t buy happiness, just don’t know where to shop darling!

Search your local directory for escort services near you. She may be offended at first, but trust me, after spending a few days with her new BFF, she’ll be living in paradise. Besides that, what will she do if she has to change the batteries in her new toy – I’m sure this gentleman could help while you’re out-of-town.

hohoho

 

10) How about a little getaway to Nygard Cay to  refresh and rejuvenate the princess. If you can’t go, I’m sure you can find an escort to keep her company and see to it that her needs are met.

nygard cay

 

 

 

 

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Secret Santa For Your Sweetheart

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.
English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My shopping is finished before mid-November. My wrapping is complete within a week of putting up my tree (also in November), and my schedule is chock-a-block with Christmas get-togethers by the time the calendar is turned to the month of December.

And then I think of just one more gift. Just one more person who could use a little treat.

That one more person is often the current apple of my very hard to catch beautiful blue eye.

First there is the question of whether to buy a gift at all.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? What if they get all awkward and all, “I forgot your gift at home,” or, well, just weird.

But what if they don’t? What if they genuinely love the idea that you thought enough of them to offer them something at Christmas time?

What if, whether or not they turn out to be the love of your life or not, you end up brightening up someone’s life during the season of mystery, light and goodwill. Either way, going out on the gift-giving limb is win-win, situation.

Are you afraid of rejection or having your pride hurt? Sissy. If, at this stage we don’t go after what we want, we’ll be lonely old pitiful souls.

So, I have decided that this year, I will be buying the man who puts a twinkle in my eye and a little skip in  my middle-aged step a small gift to let him  know that he is in my heart.

For the ladies and gentleman out there who aren’t ready to hop into the sack, profess their undying love, nor are ready to give up getting to know someone special, I offer you a list of things you may wish to offer as a small token of your affection;

1) A beautiful pair of gloves or mittens with a little note..think something like, ” Wishing you a warm and cozy holiday,” for the more bold, you may like to try, “These are to keep your strong, capable hands warm so that you can warm me up later tonight.”

2) Cologne/Perfume; a small bottle. Perhaps offer to dab a little bit behind their ear and then take a slow breath next to their skin to inhale the scent. For the more bold lovers out there, buy yourself a wonderful new scent, dab a bit on your décolletage, direct their schnoz to your perfumed fleshy heaven and ask them if they like it.

3) Homemade baking. We’ve all heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but women also appreciate a man who knows how to stir up something sweet.

4) An ornament. Be prepared to explain why it’s special and why you chose it for your sweetheart.

5) Music. Let them know which song reminds you of them and why.

6) Take them out for a walk or a movie or a quaint cup of coffee. Time, after all is a wonderful gift, and one that everyone appreciates.

7) A wine, scotch, bourbon or beer tasting. Go out and have some fun. Let them know that you know what they like, and you want them to  enjoy themselves.

8) A cozy blanket. Again, I suggest a note for the meek, ” Wishing you a warm and cozy Christmas.” For the less meek, “Hoping we can get into some trouble under the covers.”

9) An advent calendar with notes tucked inside. For the meek, include something pithy, generic and inspirational from tumbler, etc. For the less meek, leave a daily hint as to where to find you under the mistletoe on a certain date, at an exact time – clothing optional.

10) Give them a calendar for the new year with notes and dates you’ll spend together, written throughout the months of the year.

Whatever you decide to do, just DO something.

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‘Hard to Buy For’ Gift Suggestions

“Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.”
~Gary Allan~

I don’t usually wake thinking of my neighbours, but for the past month, I’ve been thinking about them every morning before the sun comes up. I don’t even know them, but they’ve really been on my mind.

This particular neighbour has blessed our neighbourhood with a whining dog that they put out every morning at the crack-of-if-I-weren’t-still-naked-in-bed-I’d-get-up-and-kick-your-too-lazy-to-walk-your-dog-ass.

What kind of gift do you give to  a neighbour like that to express your gratitude?  I’m sure you have these type of  ‘hard to buy for people’ on your list as well.

As I rolled over and cursed God for giving me such wonderful neighbours, I thought the perfect gift would be a Kijiji advert for a free dog. After all, these neighbours are likely lovely people, what with their desire to share their puppy-love with everyone.

They must just feel guilty about giving up their furry family member because they don’t have time to care for the pooch properly. Yes, I think it will be placing the pup with a ‘loving  home’. Surely this will bring joy to the new owners. Ah yes, the gift of joy. What could be more Christmasy?

Then there’s the ex-boyfriend who just won’t let go. Should I get music? A movie? Perhaps a shirt and tie? No, I  think this year I’ll go with a full-blown paid dating profile, including a published telephone number. What better gift to give someone than the gift of love?

I also feel a particular kinship with the Asian guy who sits across from me at the cafe every weekend. Every Sunday he comes in and plops down beside me ( not before giving me a weird look and then pretending I’m not there). Every Sunday he diligently reads the newspaper, tossing sections on the floor, all the while picking his nose.

We see one another every week, and I kinda feel like I should give him something. You know, like the mailman and the guy who shovels the snow. This year, I’m going to go out on a limb and give the nosepicker a packet of tissues and a private lesson on how to bend over and clean up his public newspaper mess. Hopefully this too will translate into the gift of love, as in, he may have a shot at making human contact if he uses a tissue and isn’t a slob.

Then there’s the young barista boy who thinks I have a cougar crush on him because I’m kind. Getting my coffee has turned into something really weird and not-so-sexy-Mrs.-Robinsonish. I think I’ll bring in my latest love interest so the poor boy can relax. Yes, this year my chubby-little-boy-barista gets the  gift of peace.

Last but not least, we all have the difficult task of buying for our friend who puts their career first. Ahead of their family and friendships, and general human instinct to be kind and ethical. You know who I  mean, a comrade of the same-sex who’d sell their mother’s soul to the devil to get ahead or make buck. I have to confess that this one had me stumped. Until tonight.

“What could I possibly give this gentle spirit that they didn’t already have?”, I asked myself while watching a batch of unattractive men gab over coffee. Networking. Yes! Networking for the woman/man on their way up the corporate ladder. I decided that I would help them pursue their dream of meaningless-status-lording.

Since I am a social butterfly, and they’re socially incorrect,  I will make up really lovely cards with their name and number, generously handing them out with a smile and a wink to  wierd fellows/ladies like the  men who inspired the idea. Yes, the gift of networking. But since it’s Christmas, let’s call it friendship.

‘Tis the season for love, joy, peace and friendship. If you are struggling to find the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person on your list, just give me a ring. I’m sure we can come up with something  fabulous that won’t break the bank, and will be a perfect way of expressing your gratitude.

After all, without challenging relationships, we would have no opportunity to cultivate loving kindness.

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Christmas Shopping Etiquette

Today  was the  opening day of a warehouse sale  by ‘invitation only’. Bumper to bumper carts flowed in a steady stream mimicking rush-hour traffic, through aisles packed with Christmas candy, toys, and a plethora of tacky bits and bobs that either lit up, or were rolled in sparkles.

Line-ups snaked down the far aisle, essentially making it impassable for anyone other than those in line to pay.  I chose a shorter line up, and that’s where I got my first taste of the chaos and survival of the fittest mentality that takes over every grocery store and shopping centre from now until the new year. Not 60 seconds in line, I had a cart wedge itself quite firmly in the crack of my bum.

I breathed in, and I breathed out. Ahhhhh, yes. ‘Tis the season.

I have a few suggestions to keep the madness at bay this year as you forage your way through the minefield of holiday shopping. If you area  man, please read to the end where I have a special suggestion just for you.

1) In a check-out line up, keep your cart, or self, at least 30cm away from the person in front of you. Being so close someone can feel your breath on their neck will not speed things up, it will only increase Effexor sales.

2) Retailers need to prioritize their customers. Price matchers who gobble up time need a separate line until the end of January if not forever.

3) Shop in the morning. You got it. It saves loads of time. I’m not a last-minute shopper by any means, other than one more major gift, I’m ready to go, but I still need groceries every week. If stores open early, head out half an hour earlier, pack a cooler in the car to keep things at the right temperature, and you’re all set.

4) Remember the golden rule, be patient and gentle OR just go home.  Breathe, and remember how awful it must be to live as angry and impatient as the woman who has her shopping cart rammed up your butt.

5) Simplify your holiday. I don’t care what so-and-so-thinks. Just do what really brings you and your loved one joy. Go skating, bake cookies, read by the fire, drink wine and make wild passionate love instead of exchanging gifts. Simplifying makes you sexy and lovable.

6) Sing along to the Christmas music in the stores. It’s bound to a) make you more relaxed, and b) keep others at a safe carting distance.

7) Just buy half a dozen extra bottles of your favourite vino, and a few boxes of chocolates. You never know when you’re invited to a last-minute get-together or someone drops in. If you don’t end up giving away the wine or sweets, you’ll always use them later on. What a lovely reward for being prepared!

8) Have your payment ready. Debit? Credit? Store points card? While you’re waiting in line dig through that tickle trunk of a purse you carry and get organized.

9) Drink. Just before you head out into the grand game of getting, take a moment at a restaurant at the mall and have a glass of vino. It will slow you down, make you jolly, and voila – life is good.

10) One of my favourite shopping spots is www.chapters.indigo.ca Make a wish list and encourage your loved ones to do the same. That way you can share lists, and order on-line. I have my purchases delivered to my office, and it cuts down on a huge amount of stress.

If you need a bit more insight into the art of gift-giving, please see “Gifts Reveal the Giver“.

Now, for that little tidbit I promised you wonderful www.andshelaughs.com  men; JEWELRY.   It doesn’t have to be Tiffany, and it couldn’t be more simple. We love you anyway, and we love to sparkle for you.

Happy Christmas!