Rave: long weekend

The first long weekend of spring! You can practically taste the beer on the patio now.

Whether you celebrate this time with Easter eggs, Matzoh balls, splashing colour on someone’s face or some other way, enjoy this day off by taking a walk outside, scout out some crocuses and be thankful that it seems (fingers crossed) that the snow is gone for the year.

Rave: holiday playlist

Despite your stance on how early holiday music should be played in public (read various pieces about that here and here), you can’t deny that less than 1 week out, it’s now time. We’ve pulled together a not-so-obvious holiday playlist for your enjoyment. It includes some classics, some rare tracks, and healthy dose of Canadian musicians and some songs that you just gotta love despite the cheesiness. We’ll be playing this all day long on the fourth floor.

And for an added bonus: one of the best collaborations ever.

Enjoy!

Do Me A Solid: TOMS Give Shop

A few weeks ago, we were invited to check out a creative holiday pop-up shop that wasn’t all about sales, shopping or spending money. The TOMS Give Shop was instead about giving back to all of the people that have supported the charitable company since its inception. And with the recent, tragic news from Connecticut, we thought we’d share a positive story about helping children, especially at this time of year.



The Give Shop was held just a hop, skip and a jump away from our office, so we headed over after work one day to check it out. Inside, we found an adorable set-up of activities and information about the work that TOMS does, all themed in a spirit of the holidays.



There, you could have a photo taken with some amazing props (reindeer antlers, Santa aprons, ugly Christmas sweaters and more), which you’d then bring over to another station to make your very own snow globe.

Abby and Natalie.


Natalie makes a snow globe.



There was a spot where you could fill out a pledge – something that you planned to do more of or be better at in the new year, in exchange for a small gift from TOMS.

Write a pledge – and stick with it.



There were tasty drinks, cupcakes and spots to sit and read all about good stuff that’s happened with TOMS since the company began in 2006.

You know we love a good DIY cupcake.



You very likely know what the TOMS mandate is (in fact, we’ve mentioned it on here before), but here’s the background: founder Blake Mycoskie was travelling in Argentina when he noticed that many of the children he saw were barefoot. TOMS was born, with the basic premise that with every pair of shoes purchased, another would be given to a child who needed them. Within his first year, Myscoskie returned to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes to distribute – a pretty healthy start.


Since then, TOMS has donated millions of pairs of shoes to children in more than 40 countries around the world.


They work with humanitarian organizations that have a long-term presence in the country they’re giving to, and don’t give once and leave. Since children grow out of shoes, they work to establish relationships that allow them to continue providing shoes to a community. They work with local businesses to make sure they’re not negatively impacted, and children who receive TOMS get them as part of a bigger health and educational program.



Most importantly, they’re pretty rigourous about ensuring that no children are involved in manufacturing their shoes, and hire third-party sources to verify that there is no child labour and everyone receives fair wages.


Fun fact: there is no Tom that inspired the name. It’s a shortened form of “Shoes for a Better Tomorrow”.


For more about how TOMS gives, check out their Giving Report. They also host the annual “One Day Without Shoes” event to raise awareness about their work, details of which are here. They’ve also recently launched the One for One Movement with eyewear, providing glasses for people in need.


All images courtesy of Rooftop Agency

Rave: Holiday Cosmetics Guide

The holiday season is upon us, which we on the fourth floor take as an opportunity to sparkle shamelessly. Not that we really need any help with that but these festive holiday cosmetics certainly don’t hurt. Here are a few of the beauty goodies we definitely wouldn’t return come Boxing Day! 


MAC Cosmetics – Guilty Passions Collection

We don’t feel guilty about loving these muted holiday colours.

These mini kits for lips and eyes are a must-have for the Yuletide season. The warm, versatile shades are great for daytime and can transition easily for an evening of holiday cheer. Plus, how could we not be tempted by these these adorable little boxes? They would make a great gift (not that we’d blame you if you kept them for yourself.)

OPI James Bond Collection

“Do you like wild things, Mr. Bond?”


This season you can have all the drama and colour of James Bond literally at your fingertips. Channel your inner bond girl with any of the 12 shades (all named after Bond movies!) and top it all off with the 18-karat gold-flecked top coat that comes in a shiny gold bottle, called The Man With the Golden Gun.

Urban Decay Holiday 2012

The Dangerous Palette

If you feel like going a little bolder with your eye colour, Urban Decay’s holiday collection offers a smack of colour that will make you stand out at all your festive parties. You can try pairing any of their seasonal palettes with their colourful Ocho Loco 24/7 Glide On eye pencils for a look that will have you in high demand under the mistletoe.

Chanel Eclats du Soir


If ever in doubt, Chanel is ALWAYS an appropriate gift! Just as pretty in the signature black packaging as it is when applied, a nail polish or lipstick from their limited edition holiday collection definitely beats a tired old Starbucks gift card. The new nailpolish, Malice, is a standout piece.

Laura Mercier Art Deco Muse



Just looking at the shiny reds, shimmering bronzes and glimmering golds of the Laura Mercier Art Deco Muse collection puts us in a festive mood. The holidays call for tradition; we suggest a classic red lip, dark eyeliner and shimmery lid as a toast to the season.





These are just a few of the many pieces that would have us smiling were we to receive them (hint, hint!). We’ve been very good this year…


DIY: Wine glass charms

December is here! The first snow has fallen, many houses are already twinkling with lights and, oh boy, the holiday parties have begun. Don’t worry – there’s no need to stress hosting – this holiday season we are sharing our tricks. Take a look at our tips from earlier this week on stocking a home bar and giving gifts that don’t break the bank. We’ve got one more trick for you right here, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3. Unique wine glass charms are functional and pretty so why not try this DIY out next time you’re having people over for wine?








Time Needed: Two minutes.


Tools: Hinge clasp hoops and charms and/or beads.


All the supplies you need.

 Thin earrings will work if you can’t make it to the craft store to get hoops. Just make sure they have a hinge closure like this.



Step 1: Gather your preferred adornments and hoops.




Step 2: Add the charms to the hoops.



Step 3: Use.





There you go, another fast and easy trick. It might even save you, and your manicure, from washing a few glasses.

Rave: Easy Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And
unfortunately for many, it’s also the most expensive.  Luckily, we thrifty ladies on the fourth floor have compiled this list of easy, inexpensive DIY gifts for the lucky ones
on your “nice” list.



Ed. note: We’ve got lots of DIY ideas this week, in the spirit of making things for your loved ones this holiday season (nothing says love like something homemade, amirite?). Stay tuned for how to stock a home bar and a super easy wine charm DIY!


Lace Earring Holder

Not only
is this piece easy to recreate and adorable, it’s also serves a very important
purpose. Your BFF will love it. Just get your hands on a vintage picture frame (think Goodwill or
Value Village), a piece of lace, and a staple gun.
1.     Cut the lace to fit your frame
(leave a little extra – better to have too much than too little.  You can cut the excess off later)
2.     Pull
the lace taut across the frame, being careful not to rip it.  While keeping the lace tight, staple from
side to side and in the corners
3.     After
it’s stapled tightly all the way around, hold your frame on its side and staple
down toward the edges of the frame. Do this all the way around the inside of
the frame. This makes the lace pop forward in the frame, so you can hang earrings easily.
4.     Cut
off any excess lace in the back, et voila! Might want to make one for youself, while you’re at it.

Big
Ball Pantyhose Necklace

We can thank our girl
Martha Stewart for this quirky gem.
All you need is a pair of sheer pantyhose, some scissors and a few colourful
rubber balls. Here’s what you do:

11.  Cut legs
off stockings. On one leg, tie a knot about six inches from toe. Place balls
inside stocking leg, one at a time, stretching stocking and tying a knot after
each. Repeat with second stocking leg.
22.  Knot legs
together end to end to create necklace.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

This
homemade sugar scrub is a great, eco-friendly exfoliant that can be used on
your whole body, especially your dry winter hands and feet. Measure out three cups of white granulated sugar
, one cup of grapeseed oil
and peppermint oil. Mix the ingredients together, adding more
oil until you reach the desired consistency. Portion it out into mason jars, add a holiday gift tag and its ready to
rock. Note: You can use any essential oil to scent your scrub but we like
peppermint this time of year to put us in a festive mood.

Important tip: Don’t overthink it! Sometimes simple is best. Everyone
knows that the way to somebody’s heart is through their stomach. A cookie exchange is a great holiday party
idea and everyone leaves with a bevy of holiday treats ready to be gifted. Invite six to 10 of your closest creative bakers (not you, rice crispy square girl) and
have everyone bring a dozen of their best recipe for each of the guests (don’t
forget an extra batch for tasting at the party) and then swap. 

And
for your naughty list?

Nothing’but a classic lump of coal. 😉

Rave: Happy first Anniversary Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens!

It’s
been a whole year since Loblaw gave new life to the historic Maple Leaf
Gardens, and today the store is kicking off Food’s Greatest Celebration – a weekend
of can’t miss activities and contests. 


Photo credit: JJ Thompson/medianeeds.ca
Pretty ballet dancers 

After four days of construction, 1,000 tiles of gingerbread, 5,000 mini candy canes and 700 pounds of candy (!!), the 17-foot President’s Choice® Giant Holiday Gingerbread House was unveiled and all lit up in twinkling lights early this morning. Was it ever a sight to see…

Photo credit: JJ Thompson/medianeeds.ca

Santa Claus is spending the day greeting guests from the President’s Choice® Giant Holiday Gingerbread House. Been good this year? Starting today until the end of the holiday season, Santa and his elves will be on hand inside the gingerbread house every weekend, ready for photo ops and to get a sneak peek at what’s on your Christmas list.

The
Marty Oakes Trio starts off a weekend of live music today until 3 p.m., with the
Ryan Oliver Jazz Duo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 1. The Mary Mac Duo wraps things up on Sunday, December 2 with a performance from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. With the soundtrack set, you’ll be ready to
take part in daily contests (like today’s pizza making challenge) led by top
food experts for your chance to win a ton of prizes.


Photo credit: JJ Thompson/medianeeds.ca

This lucky shopper was one of the first 400 customers through the
doors at 7 a.m. today – and won
$5,000 worth of Loblaws gift
cards!


You
know we can’t stay away from a celebration, and with this much to see, hear and
taste this weekend at the Loblaws Store at Maple Leaf Gardens – you know where to find us.  




#loblawscarlton1yr

*Reg’d TM. Lic’d use.