Holiday Countdown - Gift Edition Part 2

This gift collection is created for the young professional man, living in the big city, working away in some media world capacity (because that's apparently the majority of dudes I know). The guy who likes nice things yet won't often splurge on himself, but who deserves it nonetheless.

It doesn't matter if you are the wife, girlfriend, mother, or sister who is bestowing any of these gifts upon the 20 to 30 something year old man in your life, because all of these are pretty safe bets. Trust me, he is probably in dire need of some of these things anyways.

This list is really just a start, because I could have kept on going with some other must haves and luxuries like a timeless leather belt, a minimalist leather wallet, black cashmere gloves, a plaid scarf, a canvas laptop bag, a real shaving kit, a proper matching pajama set, a double set of high quality white sheets to have on the go, a chefs knife, sea salt collection, a set of matching white towels, a classic watch, quality chocolate from Mast Brothers, a smoked wood chip kit for the BBQ, or perhaps a subscription to a weekly organic food box or monthly butcher delivery service.

Just remember, giving a gift to the male in your life doesn't automatically have to require a trip to Best Buy. Although, there's some really cool shit at Best Buy as well :)

1. Muttonhead Camping Hoodie - $136 - This classic hoodie is made in a sweatshop free factory in Toronto. This dual layer camping hoodie is 100% waterproof and lined with a super soft fleece. It functions like a hoodie but has the warm protection of a jacket, perfect for our unpredictable Canadian weather.

2. Dillon's Bitters - $16.95 - I know very little about bitters, except that it's a thing and I should figure it out already. Most guys will want to experiment with some of these flavors, so why not give a collection for the budding mixologist in your life. Dillon's Bitters are made local in Beamsville Ontario, and you can find them for sale in specialty food stores across Canada.

3. Chemex Coffeemaker - $62.95 - This six cup coffee maker has been a classic since 1939 and even holds a place in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art. This little glass marvel makes a bitter free tasting cup of coffee in less than 4 minutes and makes you look like a professional at home barista.

4. Limited Edition Military Blanket - $249 - This 100% wool blanket is an instant classic that will not only look great in the home but also keep him warm for the next 50 years.

5. Møller Trolley - $1725 USD - This beautiful solid wood walnut trolley can serve as a bar, side table, or even a printer stand. A classic piece of furniture he will treasure forever. 

6. Beard Tonic - $27 - Let's be honest. Most men aren't into grooming, even though the rise of the metrosexual would have us believe otherwise these days. Most men scoff at the idea of applying moisturizer on their face, let alone face oil. But sadly, our male counterparts are living with cracked, dry, and flaky skin that needs some nourishment. Beard oil is not just for the beard, it's really to help repair his dry skin underneath all that hair.

7. Large Ice Cube Maker - $11.95 - This is a great gift for a guy who likes to drink whiskey, yet these large cubes are a perfect addition to any cocktail. 

8. Alpaca Duvet - Nice duvets are a luxury item that most guys won't get themselves. This one is made in Canada, and instead of using feathers or down, it features 100% Peruvian Alpaca fiber. As the store states on their website "Alpaca fiber is warmer, lighter yet stronger than wool and resistant to saturation that is nearly water-repellent. It is also lanolin free making it hypoallergenic" -- perfect for the guy who gets sniffles or allergies throughout the year.  This duvet will also help regulate body temperature and is suitable for sleeping underneath year round. Call the store directly to inquire about pricing.

9. Jasper Oxford Shirt - $55 - This Frank & Oak slim fitting shirt in 100% cotton is a wardrobe staple. Plus this light grey color feels fresh and will work with any hair color or skin tone. Perfect for all seasons.

10. Duffle Bag - $424.99 - For the man who goes on business trips, weekend getaways or who frequently hits up the gym. His old ripped apart hockey bag won't cut it, but this Filson Duffle in Otter green says he's a fully grown up man. Water repellent with two way brass zippers and leather pulls.

11. Fair Isle Socks - $38 - These socks are comfy, warm and say Christmas. Great as a stand alone gift or a stocking stuffer.

12. Sweatpants - $150 - Every guy needs to have a nice new pair of sweatpants. Please. Do it for me. Or you. Or them. It doesn't matter as long as they have a pair of new sweatpants. If they are still wearing the same sweats from high school or college, this should be the first thing they receive this year. This pair from Naked & Famous is clean and classic and made from 100% cotton.




The Adorable World of Orla Kiely

I first encountered Orla Kiely's products when I lived in London, was dirt poor, and I immediately wanted to buy EVERYTHING. I think I was browsing upstairs at John Lewis, hoping to score some deals on some bedding and towel options for my new place (and by new, I mean the ex council flat I had just rented along with 3 complete strangers where I was to be living in the smallest of 4 bedrooms, which may have been a closet with a small window), and wham, Orla's products hit me right in the face. The bright colors, patterns and whimsical prints made me feel happy and safe, and offered a cheerfulness that I so desperately needed.

Perhaps it's because I was completely exhausted, hungry, alone and about to head back to my new home, with it's impossibly tight quarters, and was dreading climbing back into the bed that offered stained sheets from the previous tenant (with an equally suffocating polyester duvet and pillow combo) that I handed over my credit card in complete disregard to prices that I couldn't afford, and treated myself to a lovely new queen sized set of pillow covers from Orla's line that I still have today.

While I couldn't afford the whole set, I finished off the bed with crisp white cotton linens and a down filled pillow and duvet, and topped it off with a teal cotton coverlet from Habitat. I dragged everything home, set it all up, and plopped on my new bed. I know it might have be silly to spend money on such a small luxury at a time when I probably ate one meal a day, but it was the only piece of comfort I owned and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

I'm still a huge fan of Orla's today, and have since received a sugar container as a gift that I proudly display in my kitchen in Toronto, and I purchased "Home", Orla Kiely's book that came out earlier this year. And if you are not familiar with her designs, make sure to check out her website for a multitude of product offerings - everything from clothing to shoes to housewares. At this time, nobody that I know of stocks Orla Kiely's designs in Canada (with the exception of Chapters Indigo for her stationary / gardening goods), but if you are lucky enough to go stateside, she has a wonderful shop in Soho and of course, many shops in the UK.