Where to find the best gifts in Toronto this Holiday Season

*This article was originally published in a lawyerly magazine I write for on the side- but since my creativity well is running mighty dry, And you can buy most of this stuff online also, thought I’d repost it here. Enjoy!

The holiday season is upon us, and with all of the parties, potlucks, and year-end tax restructuring, who has time to schlep around from store to store in search of the perfect gift? So to save your friends and family from socks and Starbucks cards, here’s a roundup of the best places in Toronto to find thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list.

For the foodie

The Good Egg (267 Augusta Avenue).
This Kensington Market outfit has everything you need to make your kitchen Instagram-worthy: rare cookbooks, artisan-crafted aprons, Le Creuset cookware and a vast collection of kitchen gadgets you never knew you needed.

And while you’re in Kensington, check out Toronto Popcorn Company  (147 Baldwin Street). This shop devoted strictly to popcorn (which I thought only existed in my dreams) offers over 100 unique and delicious flavors — from maple bacon, to caramel pina colada. Single bags are $4 and you can even mix and match (in a stroke of genius, I once combined pizza and cookies and cream).

Via Torontolife.com

 

For the CanCon enthusiast

Drake General Store (various locations).
From maple syrup-scented candles to mountie-printed adult onesies, Drake General Store has everything you need to show your Canadiana-loving friend some true patriot love.

And for some distinctively Toronto gear, check out Drake’s newly opened OVO store near Trinity Bellwoods (899 Dundas Street West). There you’ll find a wide assortment of printed toques, tees and hip hop gear to keep your friends and family proudly repping #The6.

For the little ones

Kol Kid (647 Queen Street West).
This indie kids’ retailer specializes in unique children’s clothing, accessories, and killer toys you may or may not want to keep for yourself. My nieces especially love the handmade moccasins and Taro Gomi activity books.

For the ladies

While you’re strolling down Queen West, drop by Coal Miner’s Daughter (744 Queen Street West), a cute boutique specializing primarily in pieces by Canadian clothing and jewelry designers at reasonable price points. (I’ve got my eye on these sweet Labradorite Rings).

For dudes

Montreal-based retailer Frank & Oak just opened up shop in Toronto (735 Queen Street West) with its line of hip and affordable menswear. Browse their collection of colourful khakis, elbow-patched cardigans and incredibly sophisticated grooming products as you sip an Americano from their fancy in-store café.

For the audiophile

For the hi-fi fanatic on your list, check out the new and improved Sonic Boom (215 Spadina), a bigger, badder version of the beloved music store that combines both the former Annex and Kensington Market locations. With nearly 12,000 sq feet of vinyl, CDs, and merchandise (there’s a section devoted entirely to music-themed literature), even the most discerning Rob Gordon types will be impressed.

For the bookworm

Check out Type Books (883 Queen Street West) for a well-curated selection of staff favourites that put “Heather’s Picks” to shame. Type carries a broad collection of small-press and independent titles, including tough-to-find newspapers and magazines. And for the bookworm-in-training, head uptown to Mabel’s Fables (662 Mt. Pleasant Road), a whimsical, fairy-tale inspired children’s book store that you might just want to move into. Located in an old, two-story house, Mabel’s carries hundreds of titles organized by age group and is known for its incredibly helpful and inspired staff.

For the unconventional

Blue Banana (250 Augusta Avenue). This two-story artist collective in Kensington Market is filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind gift ideas: jewelry, house wares, vintage décor; there’s even a wall filled with gourmet hot sauces for the Sriracha-obsessed. Labor of Love (242 Carlton Street) in Cabbagetown is also a great spot for eclectic gifts, and carries a diverse collection of handmade jewelry, quality paper goods, and adorable kitsch (like this fixie bike pizza cutter).

Question of the day: Who is the hardest person on your list to shop for?

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Coffee Talk

Did anyone else automatically think of Linda Richman when they read the title of this post?

linda

No? Just me?

So I flew into Halifax around midnight last night and crashed on my sister’s couch for the night.

I was then  awoken at 6:30 a.m. (that’s 5:30 Toronto time) by my 8-year-old niece Lola standing approximately 10 centimetres from my face, whispering “BREE” emphatically.  I jumped about a foot, and was justifiably freaked out before realizing it was her.

“You grew your nails long”, she remarked. “They look nice.”

She then proceeded to hop up on the couch with me and start downloading games on my iPhone.

Photobucket
The culprit

Ahh, the joys of home.

Needless to say, after that lovely little wakeup call, I needed some caffeine, stat.

At home in Toronto, I’ve got a Keurig, which my (other) older sister bought for me as a gift during a recent visit. I had mentioned to her I wanted one, and she went out one day while I was at work late and picked it up for me.

via keurig.ca
via keurig.ca

I cried when I got home and saw it. Long-term stress can do these things to you.

Anyway, since then Mr. K (a little term of endearment I like to use for him) and I have been in an intense love affair. Together, we have almost entirely eliminated those painful 30-60 minutes between initial wakefulness and walking through the door at Starbucks.  Now, I have Starbucks  on  tap (or in k-cups, as the case may be,) 24 hours a day.

Does life get any sweeter?

Now, if I could only figure out how to eliminate all those alcohol-less moments between 9-5.

Photobucket

I even bought a travel mug for ease of transport. I hope the world doesn’t end tomorrow, or that will be a colossal waste.

And I don’t even mind that the damn machine takes up approximately 78% of the counter space in my 500 sq foot condo. Since coffee holds about 78% of my heart, I feel it’s proportional.

Anyway, this morning, I had no such Keurig luxury and instead was forced to bundle up and walk my tired ass to Starbucks in the freezing cold. (if you think I didn’t wear my pajamas for this endeavour, then you’d be wrong).

I grumbled to myself as I walked, cursing the snow and the damp Nova Scotia weather. Had I sprayed these new boots already?  I hoped so.

But I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed my Starbucks experience. Granted, everyone in Nova Scotia is at least 10 times nicer than everyone in Toronto (sorry, Torontonians), so I really shouldn’t have been. The barista met me with a smile and a cheery good morning, and when I asked for Soy milk in my coffee, he responded “Sure. After all, it is Christmas!”

like this but a guy
like this but a guy

I left happier, more energized, and significantly more caffeinated.

On the walk home, it hit me: I think I actually miss the take-out coffee experience. When you live alone and work long hours, you start taking pleasure in the limited social interactions you have every day.  Even if they are with complete strangers. And while my new Keurig has added a level of convenience and hyper-caffeination to my life, it has also served to cut out yet another connection I used to maintain with the outside world.

lonely

I thought about all my homies at my local Starbucks in Toronto. I hope they are doing well. Maybe I’ll start dropping by for the occasional latte on the weekends or something, just to say hello.

I guess it’s really just another byproduct of our generation: the more technology we create, the less face-to-face interaction we maintain. It’s all a little bittersweet, and I’m a little melancholy about it.

What I should really be focused on, though, is the fact that in a couple of days, I will be off to my parent’s house in a small town where the closest Starbucks is almost 2 hours away. How is this even possible?? Instead, I will be forced to drink the cigarette-butt infused tepid bathwater that is Tim Horton’s coffee (sorry, all other Canadians), and two chocolate glazed timbits to wash it down with. I’m willing to bet, however, that the small talk at the drive-thru will still be worth it.

Question of the Day: Do you make your coffee at home, or get takeout? What’s your favourite kind?

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my holiday mixtape giveaway!!

mixt2

And jut to eliminate any confusion, the “mixtape” title is pure hipster irony. It’s actually a CD. There may have been less manual labour involved, but I promise it was still made with plenty of love!

Nothing Says Love Like A Mixtape (Giveaway!)

Around this time of year, I start to get a little sentimental. I think about my family, my friends, my Starbucks barista, my Thai delivery guy, and everyone else who makes this sad, lonely existence a little bit more bearable every day.

Oh, and of course, all of you! Blogging keeps me (at least somewhat) happy and sane, and I love having readers like you guys who accept the challenge of wading through my mindless drivel every day. (I recognize this may be just a manifestation of your own self-loathing. I’ll still take it.) Reading your comments and all of your own hilarious posts keep me inspired on a daily basis, and for that I’d like to say thank you.

……………With a mixtape!!

mixt2

For those of you who have been following lately, you will be pleased to know that after much annoying posting about it research and consideration, the track list for Breezyk’s 2012 Year In Review Mixtape has officially been finalized!

My inaugural year in review mixtape features 16 of my favourite tracks from albums that debuted in 2012, and is a solid mix of indie, pop, hip-hop and other cool hipster genres that you’ve probably never heard of. (See some example tracks here, here and here)

It was tough work cutting it down to 16 tracks though. There might be a B-Side. Stay tuned.

Anyway, I am giving away 5 of these puppies to you lucky readers! (I realize it’s sort of presumptuous to think that 5 of you would even want it.. but let’s just play along shall, we?  I was up until 2:00 a.m. making this thing)

If you want to enter, leave a comment below telling me what you want for Christmas. Bonus entries are available if you follow the Camel Life on Facebook (see the sidebar) or on Twitter @thecamellife.  Tis the season of shameless blog promotion!

I will pick 5 lucky winners at random who will be mailed a copy of my mixtape, along with a hand-written, non-denominational, environmentally conscious, fiscally responsible, gluten-free Holiday card. And maybe even a gender-neutral Easy Bake Oven. We’ll see.

easybake2

Contest Remains open until Friday, December 21, 2012 at 5:00p.m. Eastern Time. Good luck!

Question of the Day: What do you want for Christmas?  

(or, if you don’t celebrate Christmas – what’s one thing you’re currently coveting?)

And just as a teaser, here’s track #4 for your listening pleasure:

On How I Ruined Christmas

The year was 1994, in the month of December. My best friend and I had just settled into a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos when the topic of Christmas arose.

“I hope I get SuperTalk Barbie,” I yearned. “Did you know she can say over 100,000 things?”

Truth
Truth

“Well I already know what I’m getting for Christmas,” replied my best friend, “because I snooped and found it all”.

I was incredulous. At 9 years old, I was a play-by-the rules-type of kid. I did my homework religiously, never talked back to my parents, and had an unwavering, self-imposed bedtime of 8:00 p.m. The idea that someone would snoop for their Christmas gifts seemed an affront to almost everything I believed in.

“But you couldn’t have found them all!” I pleaded. “What about the ones Santa brings on Christmas Eve?”

“Oh Bree,” she said, shaking her head, “You’ve got a lot to learn.”

She led me down the hall towards her parent’s room, checking to make sure they were firmly entranced by the TV on the way. She motioned for me to “Shhh” as we tiptoed into the bedroom and opened the closet door. There stood a large bag full of Christmas delights: Barbies, shiny new clothes and a few wrapped packages.

A pile of Christmas gifts in colorful wrapping with ribbons.

“That one’s The Lion King,” she said, gesturing to the colourfully wrapped package I was holding. “I already steamed it open and wrapped it back up.”

I was overwhelmed with emotions. Despite this stark evidence to the contrary, I refused to believe that Santa was nothing more than an elaborate hoax. Maybe her parents just didn’t understand how the whole process worked. Did they even have a chimney? Perhaps they had worked out some sort of alternative delivery arrangement with Santa and were simply holding these presents in escrow on his behalf.

santa2
Seriously. That bag probably gets real heavy on Christmas Eve.

But try as I might to justify it, once this brain worm had been implanted, it was like inception. I needed to see for myself.

I waited until my mom was out grocery shopping and my dad was fussing with the Christmas lights outside to make my move. Given that I was a complete novice in gifting espionage, I didn’t quite know where to start, but figured I’d begin with the usual suspects. After striking out in the closet, under the bed and in the basement, I knew there was only one place left to look: the attic.

I had vowed never to set foot in our attic again after my two older brothers had locked me up there with a horrifying life-size Raggedy Ann doll almost 5 years prior. But sometimes, even your own rules are meant to be broken.

I took a deep breath, pulled the cord that released the rickety old ladder and began my ascent. Through the near pitch -darkness, I could make out a fuzzy pink blanket covering something big and oddly misshapen. I tip-toed closer, careful not to make a peep, and yanked the blanket off.

There before me lay Christmas morning: almost three weeks early. There was SuperTalk Barbie; just as I had dreamed of! There was a GT snow racer, a brand new SEGA genesis for my brothers, nerf guns, even a BopIt! And of course, the mother of all gifts: a giant, 12 disc rotating CD player (which, in 1994, was no small potatoes). It even had a double tape deck!

CDp2

But then a funny thing happened. Instead of feeling validated like I had expected, I felt sick to my stomach. My initial excitement over being able to tape a tape quickly faded and left me with nothing but guilt and anxiety. I had ruined Christmas. There would be no surprises now. And worst of all, this seemed indisputable proof that there was indeed, no Santa Claus. We had a chimney. And it worked just fine.

Riddled with guilt, I tried everything in my power to clear my conscience. I wrote tearful admissions in my diary. I became Santa’s biggest playground defender. I even went to confession. But no amount of Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s could repress the memory of what I had done.

When Christmas morning came, I smiled with a heavy heart as we headed into the living room to see what “Santa” had brought us. “Look!” said my mom, pointing to the CD player excitedly, “Santa must know how much you like making mix tapes!”

I nodded forlornly as I watched my siblings tear open packages, their eyes glistening with delight at each new surprise. Oh what I would have given to experience that feeling myself!

excitedc
Not me

“Hey guys,” said my dad, “come look on the roof! I think the reindeer left hoof prints!” I knew, of course, that there had been no reindeer. I had heard my dad up on the roof himself the previous night as I lay awake sleepless. He had spent almost an hour creating the perfect “tracks”. I was going to fake this surprise if it killed me.

I never did come clean to my parents about what I had done, and although I never snooped again, I still live with the residual guilt. I don’t know what, if anything, I can do to repay this karmic debt, but I do know that when I become a parent, I’ll be certain to find a better hiding spot.

I mean come on mom and dad, have you never SEEN this movie?
Really mom and dad? The attic? Have you SEEN Christmas Vacation?

Question of the Day: Did you snoop for your Christmas gifts growing up?

Crafting: Not for the Faint of Heart

So this weekend I confirmed a suspicion I have had for a very long time: I really, really suck at crafting.

To all of you ladies of Pinterest  out there making holiday wreaths out of used q-tips, the classified section of the newspaper and the blood of a male unicorn; I salute you.  Because I am straight-up hopeless with a glue gun.

Let’s back up a little bit, shall we? Remember this summer when I blogged about my experience at Adult Summer Camp? Well, this weekend  I attended another event put on by that crazy group of PeterPan children: a pubcrawl… for charity.

I know. I thought this type of thing only existed in my dreams, too. But guys, it REALLY HAPPENED.

There were about 75 of us total, and we were supporting Santa Comes to Bay Street, a charitable organization that sponsors needy families during the holidays. The plan was to pub-crawl to various bars around Toronto, and on the way stop at Toys R’ Us to purchase gifts for the children we had been given to sponsor.

I was matched with an 8-year-old girl named Vivian.  How amazing is that name  for an 8 year old  by the way? I wanted to buy her a fur, some pearls and a bottle of Chanel No. 5 because that’s what a bad-ass b*tch with a name like Vivian deserves.. but she said she wanted art supplies, so pencil crayons it was.

Anyway, back to the crafting part. We were encouraged  to dress in festive costumes for the event, and were told that ugly Christmas sweaters would NOT do.

I had a group of about 6 friends going, and my friend Lia suggested that we all go as Christmas Trees. She had made this costume before and assured us that it would be really cute. (And, more importantly, would make for fantastic Facebook photos.)

Since it was pretty labour intensive, I was volun-told I would be assisting with the preparation.

I tried to warn her that arts and crafts were not my forte. Growing up, my mom banned almost all craft projects from our home due to their inherent messiness.  For our creative endeavours, we were limited to the use of construction paper, crayons and safety scissors. Glitter was strictly prohibited. White glue was permitted only on special occasions; and under strict supervision.

Because of this, I became very insecure about my crafting abilities, and developed a strong aversion to arts and crafts in general. Plus, I’ll be honest, part of me always thought that once you start crafting, it’s only a matter of time before you turn into this:

But these tree costumes weren’t going to make themselves. so I had to suck it up.

So we set off on a Toronto-wide blitz of craft and fabric stores in search of supplies. Prior to this, I hadn’t been inside a fabric store since grade 7 Home Economics class, when I ambitiously chose to make a series of pillows spelling out “BREE” from a hideous blue and white floral fabric. Obviously this was a disaster and my letters were completely illegible, but I displayed them proudly in my room anyway. Once, I showed them to a confused friend, who asked: “Why do you have pillows that spell NERF? do you really like Nerf guns or something?”.

After that, I switched to shop class.

So basically, I had no idea what to do in places like Michaels and Fabricland. So many decorations! So much glitter! My mom would have an aneurism. Luckily, however, I was dealing with a crafting pro.  At one point I asked her how we would get the decorative stars to stay onto our tree-topper headbands, and she looked at me, with dead seriousness, and said “You’d be surprised at all the things you can hot glue onto yourself.”

Indeed, I would be.

Soon we got to work cutting, trimming, and ironing while eating frozen pizza and listening to the Justin Bieber Christmas album. I know what you’re thinking. Best.Friday Night. EVER. But I’m sorry to tell you it was not. My lack of crafting ability quickly became a bone of contention, and we proceeded to spend the next 6 hours fighting and making passive aggressive comments at each other. It’s not my fault they don’t make proper left-handed scissors, Lia. And like, sorry I never learned how to decoupage; I was kind of busy getting a law degree.  Sheesh.

Plus she kept “accidentally” burning my fingers with the hot glue gun. Likely story.

I didn’t take many pictures of the whole experience because, quite honestly I planned on repressing it.. but here’s an artistic rendering of what I looked like the entire time:

Despite the fact that it literally almost ruined our friendship, in the end I think we came up with some pretty sweet costumes:

Will I have a future in crafting? Probably not. But hey, at least I can say I gave it a shot. And I’ve still got the hot-glue gun scars to prove it.

Question of the Day: Are you good at crafts?

It’s (Baby) Alive!

Well my friends- the turkey has been carved; the gifts unwrapped; and sadly, the once magically whirring little flecks of gold have all but fallen to the bottom of my champagne flute..

Christmas is over for yet another season- and now all that remains is  a food hangover, a feeling of anti-climax, and if you (like me) are currently cohabiting with a 7 year old- lots and lots of really annoying toys.

A laser operated race car;  an Ipod Touch (I KNOW); a Nintendo DS with exceptionally powerful speakers- it’s all enough to make you go a little crazy.

But by far the worst offender of all is a seemingly innocuous little doll known as  Baby Alive.

Now, I’m not much of a doll person in general (I always preferred Barbie and her self-esteem destroying unrealistic body proportions) and most of my niece Lola’s many dolls freak the hell out of me… but this one takes the cake.  On a scale from 1 to Creepy, I give this thing a “really f**king creepy”.  Not only does it look like the exponentially more terrifying lovechild of  Chucky and his Bride and have the voice of a demon-possessed Care Bear,  it also eats, drinks, and (wait for it) goes #2 in its diaper.

Jigga whaaaat??

Yep. You heard me correctly.You feed it this disgusting green concoction, followed by several bottles of water (is this starting to sound like “Baby Eating Disorder” to anyone else??) and then watch as the miracle of digestion unfolds. I took pictures…but because I like you guys, I’m not gonna show them to you. Instead, I’ll just give you the official description from Hasbro’s website:

For real mommy moments, MY BABY ALIVE gives girls the experience of taking care of their very own baby. She says more than 30 phrases, including “I love you Mommy!” When she says, “I’m hungry,” your little girl will know it’s time to mix up a bowl of her special doll food and spoon-feed her. After she drinks a bottle of water to wash it all down, it’s time for a new diaper! She’ll even let your little girl know when she’s sleepy, and close her eyes when she goes down for a nap. Just sit her upright and she’ll open her eyes to play all over again!

My first thought on seeing this doll in action (besides, someone better short circuit that motherf**kers wiring before I lose my shit up in here) was… how is this an acceptable toy for children??  My mind went back to all of the controversy this summer surrounding that Breastfeeding Doll that simulates the act of nursing. Critics said that doll went too far- how is this is any different?  Isn’t this a pretty open and shut case of TMI?

I did some research, and as it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Both the Breastfeeding Doll and Baby Alive  have been criticized for `giving kids more details than they are ready for`, and focusing on `too much information, and not enough imagination`.  The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has also boycotted the doll on the grounds that it ruins children’s creativity` and makes the child the prop, rather than the toy.

Hmm. this was an angle I hadn`t really considered before…and as I looked over at Alyssa (Baby Alive`s name.. duh), who is currently wearing Lola`s Skull Candy headphones and listening to St. Jude`s Bear Hospital on a portable DVD player while Lola scrolls through music on her iPod touch and plays her Nintendo DS, I can’t really decide whether I agree or disagree with this hypothesis.

The counter-argument here is that more information may not be such a bad thing. Take MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, for example. Initially criticized for “glamourizing teenage pregnancy”,  since the show debuted in 2009, it has been credited with the largest decline in teen pregnancy rates  in the United States in 10 years. Apparently seeing Macy have to quit the dance squad and Jenelle get into brawls with other bitches on her front lawn turned teens off the idea of having babies.  (Guess they didn’t stay tuned long enough to see the boob job Farrah’s stint on Teen Mom paid for… oops better keep my mouth shut lest she diss me on twitter)

Anyway-it`s true that since getting Alyssa, I`ve already heard Lola utter such phrases as `”wow- she`s a lot of work” and “ewwwwww”  a number of times… but where do we draw the line? Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for giving kids a healthy dose of reality (which is why my future child will exclusively watch E! and Bravo based programming) but is birth control really necessary for 7 years olds?  and if it is, then we`ve got a much bigger problem on our hands, here. (Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Baby Alive is actually sponsored by Orthotricyclin…. or the underlord of my own, personal hell. Definitely one of the two).

I guess as with everything there is a fine line- and I should probably just suck it up and spend my time focusing on what lipstick I`m going to wear on New Years Eve  (I’m thinking Mac’s “Lady Danger” .. but it’s early days yet) rather than the pros and cons of the Baby Alive doll. Hey- after all, at least is not a Reborn.

Sweet dreams, bloggies. Muhahahaha

Question of the Day: What do YOU think of the Baby Alive doll?

The Old Woman and the Jungle (or, what I’ve been up to this Holiday season)

So, you’ll all be pleased to know that I made it home safe- and only mildly scarred by the fact that my  Montreal to Halifax flight involved a loss of power; a one hour de-icing process on the tarmac; and a seatmate who had several full-on panic attacks during the flight (one even requiring the use of an air sickness bag for breathing). Air Canada, you are a de-light.  

Anyway- the sad thing is that after all of that excitement, I’ve spent the past couple of days largely doing nothing whatsoever. I know. I really should’ve spread that shit out. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing- I have been getting up to a few antics…. including:

  • Hanging out with my niece, Lola.

Man I missed this kid. She’s always up for a good time. Yesterday, for example, we wrote and starred in an original play entitled “The Old Woman and the Jungle” (rumoured to be hitting broadway in late 2012). I don’t wanna give the whole thing away here- but I can tell you that it involves apple picking; a cat named Crumple Ears; and an unlikely friendship.  

  • Watching a lot of daytime TV.  It is a sad but true reality, that just yesterday I watched about 8 hours in a row of television. I’ve decided that I find pretty much every presenter on tv either extremely offensive or annoying…. Rachel Ray, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz , almost every Chef on the Food Network, Jeremy Kyle-  I want to punch them all… but yet I can’t stop watching it. I feel far too compelled to find out how to make a decorative centrepiece fashioned entirely out of donut holes.. or a wreath made of toilet paper…. or that cancer cure I never knew existed right there in my cupboards.

*I don’t actually want to punch Jeremy Kyle. I want to give him an award for being the most badass TV personality of all time, and having the balls to say to his guests things like “GUESS WHAT?? Your wife’s a liar as well!!!”

  • Not wearing anything but pajamas and/or sweatpants. Two words: aaawwww yeeeeeeeeaaa
  • Eating. A lot. mostly chocolates, things involving cheese, and/or holiday baked goods. But I don’t really discriminate…. if it contains more than my recommended daily intake of calories- I’m interested.
  • Arguing with my mother about our Christmas tree.  So, this year my mom decided that she was done with the nonsense of cleaning up needles, and decided to switch up our beautiful, regular live tree for an artificial one. Now, I don’t really have anything against artificial trees as a concept– what I do have a problem with though, is this artificial tree:

Shit looks like Charlie Brown’s pygmy reject that went on a hunger strike in protest of being its own damn self.  Needless (pun intended) to say, it has become my own personal mission to annex this tree from our home… which shouldn’t be hard, given that I clearly beat it in both physical stature and holiday cheer.

So that’s what’s been happening with BreezyK- stay tuned for more of these extremely high quality literary updates on my life.. or, do yourself a favour and don’t.  Hope you guys are all having a wonderful holiday season- and let me know:

What have you been up to??

I’ll be home for Christmas…. Eventually

Holla peeps- I am currently en route home to Nova Scotia for Christmas, and blogging to you live from my oversized armchair at the  Toronto City Centre Airport.. enjoying some free chocolate shortbread cookies  and a refreshing diet coke. A girl could get used to this. Well, minus the 80,000 other extremely agitated Christmas travellers who all have somewhere to be “like, YESTERDAY”, and by the smells of things have just recently completed really hot and sweaty workouts. I don’t blame them. The treadmill makes me agitated too.  

Anyway, apologies for being MIA this past week… I could give you a lot of excuses about why I was absent, but really, it’d be more accurate to say I was just drinking.

Literally. I’ve been drunk this entire time.

Jokes. Well that did happen, but a lot of other sh*t went down too. Like my ghetto-ass laptop deciding to finally up and quit itself a few days ago… and being balls to the wall busy at work this past week.

So as a result of all this I ended up doing all of my Christmas shopping in one day.. 4 days before Christmas. Kidz- lemme tell ya. This is not an advisable strategy. At least if you want to maintain any modicum of sanity whatsoever. True to character, shit was ridiculous at the mall and the place was just teeming with crazies. I even had 3 (count em – 3) separate couples ask me to take their picture in front of the Swarvoski Crystal Christmas tree at the mall. I strongly considered silently taking their cameras, karate chopping them over my good knee, and directing their asses to this post…. but in the spirit of Christmas, I just smiled and said  “Say cheese, motherf**ckers”.

*Update: my flight was just delayed for 30 minutes. Which is awesome, because my new nextdoor neighbour is really rocking an intoxicating combo of Purr by Katy Perry mixed with stale cagrettes and Aussie extra hold hairspray.

Anyway… just because I know you want to hear them, here are some more  stream of consciousness really important thoughts I had while Christmas shopping:  

  • Where do they find the people who work at “The Source”? (or, likely any other electronics stores). I was in there the other day (re: my janked up laptop) and with the exception of Michael McDonald being blasted from all of the TV screens, the whole thing was eerily similar to that scene from the 40 year old virgin. During the course of my shopping experience, I was helped by 4 customer service representatives, all of which whose seriousness I questioned. Like, are you really serious about  that haircut right now? that exasperated sigh.. those fingernails that haven’t seen the business end of a good pair of clippers in quite some time now?  Honestly- if anyone can tell me where they do their recruiting, I’d be pleased to know. I have a few questions for these people.

K gotta get on the plane. BRB

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Travel, travel update y’all: BreezyK now coming at you from the glamorous, and super French Montreal Trudeau Airport. (Yes, I took a connecting flight from Toronto to Nova Scotia. That’s cause youngest child over here couldn’t get her shit together to book a direct flight before they went up to $80 million dollars and a bag of cocaine a pop. Don’t judge). Not much to report from the first flight,, except that it was hella turbulent, and a french dude in a suit sat beside me and read the Financial Post the whole time like his job depended on it. (It probably did. He had an air of importance about him). He did lend me a pen though, which I proceeded to use to write these jokes about him down on paper. Sucka.

Anyway, back to stuff about the mall that makes me go whaaaayt?

  • Bath and Body Works. Why does anybody even like this place?  People go apeshit for it, but I kinda think it sucks the big one.  It’s not cheap, but the labels look budget- and to be honest, it all smells like something my prior next door neighbour would wear. (See above).
  • I think I might start buying lottery tickets.  I walked by a lottery kiosk at the mall  just as some bitch was winning $10. she looked happy. I’d like to feel that way.

Anyway- shit’s getting ready to board here, so that’s gonna have to be all. If you’ve made it this far- then thanks for sticking through the extended bout of schizophrenia that was this post. Next time you hear from me I’ll be breathing in fresh Nova Scotia air, followed by hiding all the sharp objects in my house so I don’t kill myself/other members of my family. (Kidding. I’m not kidding)

Question of the Day: Are you Travelling this Holiday Season?

Happiness is Only Four Easy Payments Away…

With the holiday season quickly approaching, along with it comes the pressure to get that special something for everyone in your life. Unfortunately, for many of us, this involves removing our trusty Snuggies, braving the elements, and heading out to the mall, where it’s a constant battle against the multi-child strollers, commission-thirsty retail clerks and unescorted men at Victoria’s Secret.  Sigh. 

Kitties can brave the elements to make snow-cat people. Humans can't.

Well, friends, I’ve got just the thing to cure all of your retail-induced holiday blues (if that amazing cat picture didn’t). Here to tell us all about a GREAT alternative to facing the malls this season is my friend Stephanie (who frequent readers already know as my wine swilling, German-speaking partner in crime). I practically begged her to write a guest post about this topic.  She resisted at first- until I offered her my entire collection of framed 8×10 Kim K headshots. You’re welcome, guys.

Enjoy!

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 The other day, while  getting ready for bed, I absent-mindedly turned on my television. From the other room, I could hear the words “for only four easy payments, you can own one too!”.  The Shopping Channel. My television was tuned to the Shopping Channel.I made my way back into the living room to turn the television to a channel more suited to my taste, perhaps CNN (okay, more like E! or Slice)- but, before I could reach for my converter, I became suddenly fiaxated by what the Shopping Channel was trying to offer me. A deluxe speaker set? In any colour I wanted? On sale for the holidays? I can pay in INSTALMENTS? No way.

I sat down on my couch. I’ll just watch for a few minutes, I told myself. Two hours later,  I was no closer to turning in for the night. I had already ordered the speaker set and was feeling surprisingly gratified. Why had I not done this sooner?

 The people at the Shopping Channel had been so courteous and thoughtful over the phone. They let me customize my order exactly the way I wanted, and they even guaranteed me on-time holiday delivery. How nice! Before I hung up, I was directed to their website- where I could peruse other amazing offers, including that day’s “showstopper”. (Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? That’s because it is!). Within no time I was on my computer searching through a multitude of amazing offers and unique products. Obviously, I ordered the “showstopper”  (a Dean Martin Show DVD set, for those who are curious) before heading off to bed at around 2:30AM.

He's the toast of the town.. the Cat's Pajamas- and now in Stephanie's very own living room!

Thrilled about my new shopping discovery – or, more accurately, my shopping adventure – I regaled BreezyK with this amazing breakthrough the next day. I could see her wheels begin to turn as she asked me carefully thought out questions (she’s too considerate to  say what I’m sure she was actually thinking: this girl has finally flipped her lid). (ed note: I was thinking this) Why Dean Martin? Had I ever even seen the Dean Martin show? Did I seriously order two items in one night during the wee hours of the morning? When did I plan on fulfilling my destiny of  becoming a cat lady?

Fine points, they may have been…but I was in love. I loved getting home from work and tuning in to see what innovative and ground-breaking product the Shopping Channel had to show me. A reversible non-stick grill and griddle with thermolon volt! A luxe ultra-thin twistable camcorder with quilting pattern! A black and crystal leather bow tie collar with matching dog leash! Who dreams this stuff up? They deserve a medal.

Ed note: Ummm how could you forget to include the exquisite and extremely authentic Jackie Kennedy jewellery collection? This Ballerina brooch that simply screams "First Lady" is just dripping with glamour, and could be yours for just $29.99!!!

The Shopping Channel had thought of everything. They accepted returns, offered next day delivery, and  guaranteed happiness. And need I mention the three magical words: Easy. Pay. Option!!! I also felt uber-productive. With the holidays around the corner, I was facing the major dilemma of getting all my Christmas shopping done. Now I could shop while I cleaned, shop while I cooked, I even shopped while I brushed my teeth!

Sure, some did not approve or understand my new calling. My doorman looked at me with great pity every time I picked up a package adorned with the Shopping Channel logo. My friends discouraged my daily habit of scouring the website for new deals. Even my Mom said, “Oh Stephanie, don’t do that to yourself. You’re not 75.”

The naysayers would just have to deal. I was finding all sorts of treasures. Just today, after monitoring the site for over a week waiting for the stock to replenish, I ordered a frozen treat maker aptly called “Yonanas”. This is genius, okay? You put frozen bananas, strawberries, pumpkin, you name it, into this clever little machine, and it spits out (what looks to be) a really delicious softserve-like treat. No wonder this baby was sold out due to overwhelming demand! The Shopping Channel is the only place to get one like it in Canada – it even comes with popsicle molds and a container. You cannot beat this deal: four easy payments of $13.74! Amazing!!!

So, while the rest of you are running around the malls like crazy people, trying to figure out what to get every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your life, I am done my shopping, sitting comfortably and contently amidst piles of Shopping Channel boxes, and wondering what new treasure are waiting for me for only four easy payments!

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Thank you so much Stephanie for the great story- and guys, make sure to show her some love in the comment section for taking the time out of her busy schedule of setting up her new (Shopping Channel purchased) Royal Doulton Holiday Figurine Collection and taking pictures of me on her blackberry to write this post. 😉 LOVE YOU STEPH!!! 

Question of the Day: Have you ever bought anything from the Shopping Channel?

oh and P.S.... not sayin I want this for Christmas but...... I want this for Christmas.

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