Christmas Wish List

stockingsIf you’re gonna buy a gift, either make it practical, or make it thoughtful.

Practical is something you know that the receiver wants or needs. Thoughtful is something that made you think of that person, and you want to give it to them.

Gift giving is not about stuffing stockings with filler, or re-gifting office party leftovers. It is meaningful or it is nothing. I  love receiving homemade gifts because it means someone took time to think of me, and I enjoy making gifts because it slows things down, and gives me time to be thankful for the people I love.

I ask for lists because I can’t make everything. One homemade gift for as many people as I can make for.

I still believe in Santa though. I like to think that the people I love get something  fun that they otherwise wouldn’t get for themselves.  That means that Santa still comes to my house. In the morning stockings that were flat and lifeless are stuffed to overflowing, and there are a couple of packages that weren’t under the tree the night before.

This year I have been asked for a list. So, here it is – with explanations. DO NOT say I didn’t give you any hints this year Santas…

 

Any team gear from my kiddo’s team – Go Gryphons!!!

mittens

 

I wear two kinds of perfume, and two kinds of perfume only. I am out of one of those kinds;

poeme

 

My favourite body wash;

 

comforter

 

Icy Squares for my stocking.

icy squares

 

 

The Hardware I picked out in NYC;

 

hardwaregold

 

My favourite slippers;

snoozies skinnies

 

 

So that’s all I can come up with really. Santa does still shop at Tiffany’s, right???

 

 

 

 

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Wharehouse Shopping & My Mortality

shoes

I’ve been feeling miserable as hell, but faking it quite well.

Sounds like the lyrics of a B-class rock song, but  it’s true.

I’ve been on the downhill slide of feeling like absolute shit for months, and mostly successful at ignoring it. Until yesterday. Yesterday was not a good day in the health diary of your-fabulous-one.

But here I am, at home, and not dead. Go figure.

Haruki Murakami wrote that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. It’s a particularly Buddhist quote and it resonates with me as does the fact that the natural state of our bodies is one of health.

So, today, faced with setting up more appointments that will see me sitting in dirty yet sterile looking waiting rooms, I decided that despite pain and suffering, I was going to get on with the business of life.  I mean, I have shit to do man.

Spring has sprung in our little corner of the world, and I fully intend on taking advantage of it.

 

Today after my appointment with the doctor, who confirmed that I am indeed NOT dead, I went to get myself a new pair of  shoes. While I was shopping at one of my sketchy wharehouse sales that make me feel the essence of living on one salary, cue the gunmetal steps with the wood two by four railing and bald fluorescent  lighting….

Anyway, I needed these damn walking shoes…at about twenty five steps into what I am convinced is the next best thing to illegal merchandise, the namesake of the wharehouse gets on the intercom and I shit you not, he says this…

….You’ll have to excuse me because I don’t speak Chinese, so you’ll have to put up with my English. To all of you who are tearing apart my store, I’m going to have my staff ask you to leave. I paid for this stuff and I don’t want you ruining it. I’d rather you shop somewhere else because I don’t need your business…

At first I was appalled, and then I almost died laughing. What a circus!

Often I’ve been accused of being too direct, too bold, too independent, too smart,  wearing clothes that are too loud, and having boobs that are too big.

“Have you ever thought of having those reduced?” Um, yah genius. Would you like to pay my bills while I heal? No? Then shut up.

"No, no, no! It's longer with a bigger blade!"Having been feeling loogy for the past few months, I’ve had some time to reflect. I’ve actually been scared. Yes, afraid. I’m not often afraid of things, but the thought of really, really bad news about your mortality can make you a bit anxious.

What I realized is that I have very few (if any) regrets. Other than having my finances in better order, or a little less clutter for my son to clear out, or maybe not being able to be a mom for longer, I really have had a life well-lived.

Most of that is because of my too-muchness. I have lived out the curious corners that most people avoid as they tread the safe line of social acceptance and keeping up with the Jones’.

what are you talking aboutSo I had to give kudos to the man who called out the rabid greed of warehouse shoppers today. I love being with people who know how to cut to the chase when it’s necessary. Life is, indeed, short.

The last thing I want to waste time on is bullshit, and the first thing I want to waste time on is good conversation, delicious food, wonderfully thoughtful company, playing, laughing and being present in the joy that the present moment has to offer.

For now I will cope with this ill-health in the best frame of mind possible, remembering the comforting truth that the natural state of my body is one of health, and that although I may be in pain, suffering is optional.  I will also wear bright clothing, speak my mind, and laugh at everything.

So, if you’re mucking up my present moment, I’m going to ask you to leave. I don’t need your business.

 

 

Gift Guide for Middle-Aged Women

its cold outside

its cold outside (Photo credit: carbonated)

In other words, what to buy for me this Christmas….just kidding. Sorta…

Although I may not be the same dress size, complexion, or ethnicity as every woman, I offer you a guide to buying for women who are between 38 and 45…or somewhere close to that.

1) Matching glove and scarf sets. Yes, we’re matchy-matchy. It’s our generation. Make it a bold colour with no pattern We will think of you every time we wear it, and have it for at least three seasons.

2) Spa dates. Yes, that’s right, schedule and pay for the whole fandango. If you get us a gift card we may not go. We’re busy you know, sandwiched between generations, working, and trying to juggle it all.

3) If you are buying for  the special lady in your life, just make it easy on yourself and buy jewelry. We like shiny things…that fit.

4) Beautiful mugs, pens, business card holders or a lightweight mirror compact for your purse. All of these things are useful and remind us of you when we use them every day.

5) Booze. Seriously. Something special, vintage or rare. For instance a lovely bottle of scotch, our favourite bottle of red, or even a bottle of fairly priced bubbly. If you are a lover, we will share with you after you’ve performed your mandatory duties. If you are a friend, we will toast with our tipples by the fireplace. If you are our boss, buy us one of each….No, I’m not kidding.

6) Treat us to a live performance, not you doing a randy striptease in your fruit of the loom at the end of the bed darling. No. How about a concert, a play, a Christmas concert.

7) Do something sweet and thoughtful. For example; buy twelve bottles of wine ( all different kinds, some for winter, some for spring, autumn and summer). Attach a cute tag to each one telling us when and where we’ll be drinking it together; “The first snow storm”, “The first day over 30 degrees”, “On our anniversary”….you get the idea.

8) Gift cards from our favourite lingerie shop. Whether it’s our every day bra’s or our finer pink and whites, we like to choose them ourselves.

9) Travel mugs. The be all and end all of every woman’s weekday routine. We like pretty ones…

10) Any trinket or gadget or book related to our favourite hobby….cycling? running? running? needlework? cooking? decorating?

This is just a primer folks. Whether you’re buying for your aunt or your girlfriend, we all love the thought that you put into the gifts that you give to us, and more than a gift, we appreciate the time that we get to spend with you. So don’t forget that.

 

Christmas Shopping Etiquette

santa etiquettI like to think that I live in a civilized city. I would say sophisticated, but the lady who licked her finger and then dipped it in the seasoning bin at the Bulk Barn today shattered that fantasy.

1) Use the tongs, the scoop and the sanitary utensils provided. I do not want your Christmas sniffles, the herpes you caught in grade 11, or any of your mucus on my french creams or snowballs.

2) If a line-up is so long that the line snakes outside, please don’t lean on the door to hold it open. Clearly the man who leaned on the door to the restaurant this morning for the weekly Sunday-breakfast crowd hasn’t read my blog.  Shut the door! Except…

3) …when you should hold it open for the person entering the doorway after you, the person pushing a baby stroller, or someone with their hands full.

4) This one goes out to the woman who takes her shoes and socks off and puts them on the leather chair at my local Starbucks while she manhandles every fashion magazine she can carry from the magazine rack to the chair;

People waiting for their shopping or coffee buddies in any café attached to a bookstore, please don’t pimp out the magazines, wiping your greasy-cranberry-scone-caramel-latte-fingers all over them so the bookstore takes a few-hundred dollar hit every freaking day. That loss-to-selfish-idiot-price is built into the cost of everything else in the store you selfish twit.

5)Thinking of relaxing at a movie? So was everyone else.  Arrive before the previews and shove your cell phone where the sun don’t shine; in your pocket or your purse.

6) You want to spend some quality time with a friend? Don’t just drop in. Call, set up a time, and don’t assume they want to have a visit with your significant other. If the invitation wasn’t extended to two, the host does probably mind (in your best whiny voice) ” if I bring……”.

7) If your love-dove-lady-friend is shopping for a little black dress, or anything else, keep your masculine self out of the women’s fitting room. I don’t care if you’re her father, brother, or paid escort. This is just creepy and perverted, and WE WILL TELL YOU.

8) Parking. Do not park with  your signal on so that the rest of the city traffic is backed up to the nearest country side-road. Drive to the end of the lot and park your freaking-car.

9) If your shopping cart is touching my sweet-patootie while we’re standing in line, something behind you  had better be on fire. Back the hell up.

10) Don’t be a Sunday driver Monday at 5pm. In other words, if you do not have to be out during the rush hour; at the grocery store, the big-box store, or any other store, just go at another time. Why get in the way of everyone who must work and use their precious after-work-before-home time to brave the holiday crowds for a bag of milk?

Please share this post so that the head-smack-needing-bulk-finger-lickers-and-treacherous-space-crowders read it too.

‘Tis The Season For Fancy Frocks ; Bonus Tip for the Gentlemen Included

sparkles…for parties and galas and fancy frocks- oh my!

Today my good friend and shopping mentor helped me pick out a new dress.

“Don’t let me spend more than an hour in here. Grab anything that you think might fit, and I’ll try it on, ” I said, already neck-deep in sequins and zippers. So began the hunt for a new fancy frock.

When you’re not a size 6, you are the price-tag’s bitch. You pay what you have to so you don’t look like Baby Huey in a onsie. On top of having gained weight, the boob fairy must have had a seizure when she shook the titty dust on me. I have capital-B-double-Oh-my!-BOOBS. I have not seen anything below my nipples and above my knee-caps since I was 12.  At this age, I’m never wowed by what looks back at me from the mirror.

I got to thinking last night that I really needed a new dress. Not because I coveted one. Not because I deserved one. Not because I was hoping to wow prince-charming.

I needed a new dress because I am beginning to feel a little like a sausage in the one I bought in honour of a romantic holiday weekend away.  That was two relationships ago, and the last relationship I was in ended about three years ago. So, that takes me back almost a decade.

Yes, you got it right. I’ve been wearing the same classic cocktail dress for a long, long time. Granted, I do have classic taste, I’ve gone up a size or two beyond the comfort level of my supportive undergarments.

My professional-quasi-social status requires a dress for at least one gala, and two Christmas parties this year. I can no longer go out and be worried about a ripple here, or how my spanx might be riding down when I sit and stand. I have to be on my game and focused on whomever I’m speaking with.

Trust me ladies, especially ladies of a certain age, ’tis the season. The party dresses are out and waiting for us to come and challenge them. Be brave, start your odyssey among the jewel-toned jungle of dress-racks and walls of accessories before all of the sized-for-real-humans are taken.

I also highly recommend taking a good friend, one who can zip and unzip you, bring you dresses that you never thought you’d look good in, and, if you’re like me, to coach you through the guilt of spending money on yourself. At times like this, our girlfriends are not our friends, they are priceless life coaches brave enough to get in the trenches and adjust our wiggly bits.

Shopping is not on my ‘Top 100 Things I Like To Do’ list. I have nothing but sincere gratitude for my gal-pal for not only coming with me, but having an eye for the dress I finally chose. What would we do without our girlfriends ladies?

Bonus tip for gentlemen: appreciate  your woman when you take her out, the world is still a tough place to be a lady and a professional. Be sure to pay her a sincere compliment, and remind her why she’s so special.

Wishing all of you a dress that makes you feel confident and even pretty.

 

 

 

2014: The List

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."  ~Walt Disney~

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
~Walt Disney~

Last year I had a total of three items on my 2013 To-Do-List.

Two of them were within my control, and I’ve checked those off. The third….let’s just say it’s a little more…it’s going to have to be an addendum to the 2014 list.

So far there are two items on my 2014 list, and the 2013 addendum of course. But I’m working on that one, making an effort to keep my mind and heart open to all possibilities.

Of the two items on the 2014 list, I will share only one of them with you my darlings. That’s right, it’s a lady’s prerogative to keep some things to herself and herself alone.

The number one item on my 2014 To-Do-List is to……(drum rolllllllll please!)….FUN.

Yes, this year I’m going to have more fun.

Yep. I know, I know. It seems like my life is one day of sunshine and rainbows after the next, but that’s not the case. 2013 saw its fair share of hard work, worries, and sleepless nights.

With a list of just two things and an addendum, I think I can manage a little more fun.

I’m not just talking about your run of the mill, go-to-the-fair-sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-in-the-shower kind of fun.

I’m talking about making the most of every moment and enjoying it. Having more fun at work, with my kiddo, while I tidy the house, and as I make my way through traffic every weekday morning. Now that will be a challenge.

I suppose the more intellectual folks our there may call it mindfulness, being in the moment or some such sophisticated spiritual way of being. I’m just going to call it “fun”.

This may take some later nights, a case of bubbles, and a sprucing up of my business suit inspired wardrobe, but I’m willing to do the work. Besides that darlings, laughter is sexy.

What’s on your list?

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Santa Baby, I Feel Pretty…

toesinbathThe wild and wonderful Mae West once said, “Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided“.

God bless Mae West!

‘Tis the season to cultivate your curves ladies.

‘Tis the season of Christmas parites, and getting cozy by the fire with the love of your life while the winter wind whips up a wonderful wonderland.

Sometimes, just like preparing for a much anticipated holiday, preparing to go out somewhere special is just as satisfying as the event itself.

Tomorrow night marks the first of four, yes, count’em, four Christmas parties that I will be attending during the next two weeks.

I’ve fluffed up my party dress, have my open-toed, black satin shoes ready by the door, and a new tube of lipstick waiting to be unleashed.

There’s nothing better than feeling pretty. Besides being intelligent, devilishly charming and totally independent of course, my wee little butter toffee puddings.

Being a strong, independent woman is the only way to go, and when you combine it with indulging in your sensuality, well, that, my darlings, is nirvana.

Instead of rushing through the holidays, take time for yourself.  If you indulge yourself in some of the pleasures of the flesh, I guarantee that your holiday season will be merry, bright, and full of possibility.

Always make time for your pedicure (mine was just finished in a lovely shade of In My Santa Suit), and for selecting just the right jewelry to accentuate your outfit, even if your outfit is jeans and a sweater.

I’ve been dutifully massaging new Peppermint Twist hand cream into my cuticles and on my hands all week.  Thanks to some really great lip balm , my lips are getting ready for what I hope to be a season of mistletoe-snog related workouts with a tall dark and handsome hottie..

Tomorrow, after work, a long, hot shower will wash away the shell of the hustle and bustle of every-day-life, and I will delight in preparing for my evening out.

Whether it’s for a night on the town like tomorrow, or a night in with your best friend and lover, take time to pamper the body that has carried you through the past year.

You may not be gracing the cover of Vogue in the near future, but your body deserves a little worshipping and loving this holiday.

Love yourself first, and the rest of the world will fall in love with you too.

 

 

The End of Homemade Christmas Cookies

making cookies with grandma

making cookies with grandma (Photo credit: sanzibar)

That’s right, if Forno Cultura’s secret gets out, it will be the end of homemade Christmas cookies as we know it.

Grannies, keep your babies and grandbabies out of the city. Tell them since the Ford fiasco,  they’ve shut down the roads, locked the gate until the whole thing settles down.I thought that we had a day in the downtown  that couldn’t get any better.

I thought that a beautiful brunch at Le St. Tropez, and a matinee performance of my favourite musical Les Miserable could not be topped.

I thought that was the best way to finish off a weekend of tree lighting, hot cider sipping and night time parades.

Until I stepped through the doors of Forno Cultura.

Sweet love of all that’s holy, may my soul be saved from the Italian devil of bakery heaven!

We were greeted with Amereti cookies, just slightly crisp on the outside, and oh-so-chewy-and-orgasmically satisfying on the inside

Sweets are sold by the kilogram, and could put a gal on the fast track to selling herself on the streets for just a taste of the dark chocolate, black olive deliciousness that leaves you neither satisfied nor wanting more.

Just like a thorough and proper lover, it leaves you contented. Sated. Feeling as if you know what the end of the world feels like, and it feels marvelous.

So, don’t tell your mamma or your granny, but there just simply is nothing better than the treats you’ll find down the stairs at 609 King Street West.

If you are a singleton, or more likely, half of a couple who is less than satisfied, go soothe your soul, espresso in one hand and sweet beloved cookie in the other, amid the warm aura of Forno Cultura, . It will make it all, everything, exquisitely,  bearable.

Who knew that the secret to happiness was the brine of black olives embraced by the  bittersweetness of chocolate?

Gift Guide for Teenage Boys

Cufflinks I: Men Prefer SWANK

Cufflinks I: Men Prefer SWANK (Photo credit: jessica @ flickr)

As the mother of a boy, I have always been disappointed by the lack of gift ideas for them. Unless they’re connected to the computer or video games, there seems to be a black hole of gift guides for the young gentlemen in your life.

So, as a gift to you this Christmas, I offer up a selection of possible gifts for teenage boys.

Gift Giving Guide for Teenage Boys

1) High quality finery such as a set of cuff links, a silk tie, a dress shirt, and dapper dress socks

2) A great set of headphones for their iPod/iPhone

3) A selection of classic rock.

4) Toiletries that will make him feel like the great gentleman he’s developing into being; shaving soap, shaving brush, cologne, nail trimming set

5) A classic book such as Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man & The Sea’

6) The gift of time; take him to a museum, gallery, dinner or concert

7) Sports Equipment

8) Fly fishing lessons

9) Bedroom makeover, including new bedding, new art, and new lighting

10) Again, the gift of time – instead of a gift card, take him for lunch, dinner, brunch, and to his favourite shop where he can choose an item of clothing of his choice.

Wishing everyone a joyful Christmas surrounded by people you love!