You've Got To Give A Little

The holidays are all about giving a little back!

You've Got To Give A Little

Shop Till You Drop! Black Friday! Deals! 50% off! Cyber Monday! Must! Buy! All! The Things! Okay, so the truth is, I did some on-line shopping, and I did some in-store shopping, because well, the deals were too good to pass on, even here in Canada. And even though some of the shopping wasn't for me, "Giving Tuesday" has a nicer ring to it than "Black Friday" don't you think?

This is the season for giving, after all, and this time of year, nothing makes me happier than giving and teaching my children the importance of giving.

Want to make your gift last more than a season? Here are a few ways I love to give:

Plan Canada: The other day, my children and I sat down and went through the Plan Canada catalogue we received in the mail. My boys decided that one of their gifts this year will be donating clean water for a family. I can't think of anything else more worthwhilie to spend $75 on. Other gifts like "Newborn Check-up" are also available for only $12. This gift helps ensure moms and their new babies receive a visit from a community health worker to ensure the baby is growing and the mother is recovering well. Want to spend $17? Great, you just provided a classroom with the essentials! From maternity beds to malarian nets, there are tons of amazing gift options to choose from, and helping to select the gift you want to give with your children is a great experience, too.

UNICEF: I love mailing holiday cards to everyone I love. It's one way of giving to friends who live far away, and it's a great way to stay in touch with loved ones in a more intimate way than through emails. I love supporting UNICEF Canada by mailing out their holiday cards. This year they've expanded their holiday cards program through a new partnership with Hallmark. You can find a wide variety of UNICEF cards at IKEA, Pier 1, Loblaws, Ten Thousand Villages, and Walmart. I'm especially proud that my mom is once again a featured UNICEF artist this year, too.

Save the Children: Donating to Save the Children is truly a great gift to give; this organization works to help the world's most vulnerable communities by saving "one child at a time." Through our donations, they're able to provide lifesaving care for newborns, feed hungry children, and help educate children. They also respond to major disasters.

terra20: Ottawa's newest eco-friendly department store is a fun place to shop, because it's always guilt-free shopping! Everything in the store is eco-friendly, and some products you can buy that give back in great ways are: Ecojet, Go Clean, S'Well, and WeWood.

I also love supporting and giving to my local children's hospital and giving to the Youville Centre and Toy Mountain here in Ottawa. What about you? What are you doing for Giving Tuesday? What charity do you love supporting this time of year?

Before the register rings, be sure to visit our Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find this year’s hottest toys, gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life and shopping tips that will save you time and money.

Tender Tootsies: Winter Boots and Shoes

Comfy and Cost Effective

Tender Tootsies: Winter Boots and Shoes

I love shopping for new shoes and boots. Especially when they're within my price range.

As a mom, when I'm shopping for boots and shoes, I not only look for style, but for value and comfort. Shoe shopping has become more of a sensible choice for me. The last thing I want is to get tired and crabby wearing the wrong footwear when I'm spending hours with my children. That's why I was so happy that Canadian company, Tender Tootsies, heard about my shoe obsession and sent me some new shoes and boots to try. Can I just say... I'm in love!

One of the most comfortable pairs of flats I now own are from Tender Tootsies, which was no surprise to me since the company is known for delivering comfortable, affordable footwear that also make you look—and feel—great! 

The flats I was given (and have fallen in love with) are called Livia. They're available online and at WalMart for only $35. I wear these flats all the time now—in the office, to pick up my children from school, to the movies, and when I'm shopping. My new flats are a leather slip-on and have a super comfy flexible stretch to them. I can literally wear them all day long. I think part of why these shoes are so comfy is the insole, which supports and cushions my arch. Style-wise I compared them to my Tory Burch Reva flats to my friend the other day, except Tender Tootsie are much more affordable. It's not often I find a Canadian shoe company (owned and operated!) that sells affordable, stylish and comfortable foot wear! Talk about one-stop shopping. They also have a red carpet collection too, which is a little sexier style-wise, but still comfortable.

Now that the days are colder and I'm outside playing with the children, I'm starting to wear boots. It can be challenging to find a pair of winter boots that will keep your feet warm and keep you looking cute. Winter boots are Tender Tootsie's specialty. They have a huge selection of stylish and toasty warm winter boots. From tall riding boots (I love the Avery Riding Boot) to low slip-on boots like the Darlene, there is something for everyone's taste and style.

No matter what style I picked, every pair from their Winterlicous collection is water-resistant, heat-retaining with anti-slip outsoles; essentials to brave a Canadian winter.

I had a tough time deciding which pair of boots to test, but decided on the Glenda—it's a mid-height pull-on boot (yay for no zippers!) with a warm fleece lining and a non-slip outsole. Basically, I'll be living in these boots until spring. They are available at Sears and are only $79.99.

When I find new products and companies I love, I'm happy to share the news with you. Tender Tootsies really does offer a great combination of comfort, value, and style—and being that they're Canadian and have been around since 1944 (!!), that makes me an even happier customer!



Tiffany & Co. Holiday Gifts For Under $200

A blue box with a white bow... what more could a girl ask for?

Tiffany & Co. Holiday Gifts For Under $200

My love affair with Tiffany & Co. started around the time I saw Breakfast At Tiffany's. I love Audrey Hepburn, I love this classic movie, and I love Tiffany's! A lot.

In fact, 90% off all my jewellery is from Tiffany & Co. Most pieces have been gifts from my husband, some pieces have been given to as presents from my children, a few pieces I've bought myself, (it's always okay to treat yourself!) and some have come from my parents, to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays and graduations. Sadly, over the years, I've lost a few pieces, and one day, I will replace them. But for now, I wear my Tiffany jewellery on rotation and I still love everything I own.

You might think that Tiffany & Co. is utterly expensive, and for the most part, you'd be right, but there are tons of beautiful items you can buy from Tiffany & Co. that are affordable. Not only affordable, but timeless and classic. I gave my six bridesmaids and maid of honour thank you presents from Tiffany & Co. when I got married. My bridesmaids received heart keychains, and my maid of honour received the Return To Tiffany necklace. I knew these would be gifts they'd use and love for years to come.

And before you throw out that Tiffany & Co catalogue you received because you think it's out of your price range for gift-gifting or gift-receiving, think again! There are many things you can get in a beautiful blue box for under $200 this holiday season!

Here are my Under $200 Top Picks from Tiffany & Co.:

Tiffany 1837 bar pendant in sterling silver: This necklace is number one on my holiday Tiffany wish-list! It's only $140, so I don't feel too bad about asking for it, and I know I will wear it all the time. (Hi, Santa!)

Return to Tiffany mini double heart tag pendant in silver with enamel finish: This is also on my 'must-have' list because I love, love, love it. Isn't is so pretty? It's only $140, too. Very affordable!

Band ring in sterling silver with Tiffany Blue enamel finish: This is one of those rings you'll probably wear day after day, year after year, with no need to ever really take it off. Before you know it, this ring will become a staple on your hand, and you won't ever even need to buy another ring again! See how easy it is to justify the $165 cost? Worth it!

Tiffany Locks heart lock in sterling silver with enamel finish: This beautiful heart lock (isn't the turquoise stunning?) would make a great addition to any Return to Tiffany bracelet. I have the C and D letter locks that I received one Mother's Day from my boys. I love having their initial's on my bracelet, and I wear my bracelet every single day. This heart lock would make a great addition, and it's only $140.

Paloma Picasso Love bracelet in sterling silver: This beautiful bracelet would look good on anyone! I love the word "love" on the bracelet, and I think it would make a great gift. It is very unique, too. This bracelet is just under $200, priced at $195.

There you go, friends. My picks for best gifts under $200 from my beloved Tiffany & Co. Another great gift for the wine lover in your life? A set of Tiffany & Co. wine glasses, for only $30 each. How awesome and gift-worthy is that?

Happy shopping!

Before the register rings, be sure to visit our Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find this year’s hottest toys, gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life and shopping tips that will save you time and money.