b’s christmas wish list 2012: a little bit of this, a little bit of that

It was so much fun to do one of these wish lists last year that I couldn’t resist making up another one this year. It’s always so hard when you start your holiday shopping to restrain from whipping out your credit card whenever you see a great sale or something you just have to have right now. Here’s a few of the items that are on my own list- and as you can see, they’re quite random. The thing they do have in common? I own none of them. Here’s your hint, people. Hint. Hint. Hint.

B's Christmas List

1) Fresh Sugar Lemon 1 oz. Eau de Parfum Spray from Sephora ($24.50 CAD). I’m one of those people that doesn’t get incredibly excited about perfume. In fact, I’ve been wearing the same one for the past five years. (It’s Very Irresistible by Givenchy if anyone cares. I’m also out of this one if anyone cares to buy it for me!) This one seems like it’s polar opposite- it’s fresh and fruity, as opposed to floral and romantic, and will probably make a great daytime scent to tide me over until the summer. (www.sephora.com)

2) Joyce Bud Vase from cb2 ($2.95 CAD). S came over the other day and commented on how he thought my apartment would have had more flowers considering I love them so much. He’s right- I do love them- and with my extensive collection of vases I don’t really have much of an excuse. This bud vase would fill a void that’s seriously lacking and is perfect for holding all those small little blooms that don’t always fit when you go to arrange your own flowers. I usually end up putting them on a shotglass in my nightstand, but I think we’re all past that whole “shotglass-on-a-nightstand” thing, right? (www.cb2.com)

3) Set of 2 Acacia 12″ Salad Severs from Crate and Barrel ($9.92 CAD). Sadly, as I discovered the other day when creating my festive fruity salad I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have anything to toss it with. These babies from Crate and Barrel are sleek and modern, not to mention well-priced. I could see myself owning these for a long time. Did I mention they would look awesome with my deep glass serving bowl? (www.crateandbarrel.com)

4) Kantha Diagonal Stripe Pillow Cover from West Elm ($24.95 CAD). I need more pillows to accompany my two pale blue ones from Pier One. They’re getting pretty lonely on our giant sectional. These would give the living room a vibrant pop of color that it desperately needs. An even better bonus? Most of the pillows from West Elm are removable zipper covers so I can throw them in the wash whenever one of the dogs has loved it a little bit too much. (www.westelm.com)

5) Pride and Prejudice Journal from Indigo ($18.00 CAD). If you know me at all then it’s no secret that Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve been feeling pretty stressed lately and the only thing that seems to be keeping me calm and keeping me going is writing in my journal. Let’s hope I don’t need a new one by the new year. (www.indigo.ca)

6) Measuring Headges from Anthropologie ($36.00 USD). This is seriously the most ridiculously cute thing I have ever seen. I cannot fathom actually being able to use these for fear of breaking them, or somehow tainting their cuteness. I’m pretty sure I would just stick them high up on a kitchen shelf for all the world to see and coo at them madly. (www.anthropologie.com)

7) Collage Watch in Turquoise from Anthropologie ($68.00 USD). This was the probably the sixtieth thing on the Anthropologie website that I wanted, but I had to include it on my list because it is so strange to me that I would be lusting after a watch! I’ve never been much of a watch person, and in this day and age when people use their cell phones (myself included) it seems like owning a watch is merely a status symbol, like if you have a beautiful Michael Kors, or if you’re Flava Flav. This one is delicate and pretty and looks more like a bracelet than anything which is probably why I’m so tempted to wear it day after day after day. (www.anthropologie.com)

8) Polka Dot Crazy Socks from Old Navy ($3.99 CAD). Crazy socks are totally my thing. I have ones with cupcakes, ice cream cones and a growing collection of Hello Kitty. Because, hello? It’s Hello Kitty. She’s also a thing for me. This crazy couple will fit in nicely with my fuzzy sock family which currently consist of a pink pair and a purple pair that always mysteriously end up hidden in random places in my apartment. Doggies: I’m looking at you. (oldnavy.gapcanada.ca)

What’s on your wish list this year? I’d love to hear all about it. Drop me a line at thetwentiesproject@gmail.com!

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the romantic cliché and how to avoid it

conversation hearts

Image courtesy of ppchero.com

To all the boys out there: we ladies feel your pain. As much as us die-hard romantics out there love it when you plan something special for us for Valentine’s Day, we understand how hard it is to read our very complicated minds (and our not-so-very subtle hints) in order to pull off a wonderful Valentine’s Day. (Or maybe you ditch the day all together and watch sports with your friends while your girlfriend fumes. It could happen.)

But to me there is nothing more painful than sitting through a date where your significant other has gone to the trouble of seeking out every single romantic cliché in the book and orchestrating it all to be part of some mega-date to demonstrate that they are, in fact, the most PERFECT boyfriend ever and this will be the most PERFECT Valentine’s Day in the world DAMMIT.

Okay, there are other things that are more painful. And really, we do appreciate your efforts. But dude, I guarantee that there is better way to use all of those romantic clichés. Here are some of the don’ts for the Valentine’s Day dinner and when it’s more appropriate to use them.

Cards

These are okay, but only because we’re shocked that you can actually pull off a handwritten note. We weren’t even sure that you could read, let alone write.

Sorry that was mean. If you do want to give your valentine just that- a valentine- make sure it’s sweet and to the point. She does not need a novel extolling all her virtues. (Although that would be nice.) Instead, try to make it funny and personal- “I love it especially when you get spaghetti sauce on your nose.” We like that. It sounds more like you.

Flowers

Out of all the Valentine’s Day clichés, I have actually never received a bouquet of flowers from a boyfriend, EVER. Unless you count the time the guy I was dating showed up late for our date because he was running late, and then went and bought flowers to apologize for being late, which made him show up even later. It was nice, but we still ended up skipping dinner in order to make the movie. Lame. So if you’re a guy that actually gives his girlfriend flowers, ever, who are you? Why aren’t you dating me?

Bouquets of flowers are great and I myself love giving them to people, but they require a certain amount of thought into the person’s taste and preferences. Valentine’s Day bouquets mean roses and that in turn means, “Hey! I didn’t put any thought into what I got you at all! You just have to like this because it’s for Valentine’s Day!”

Why not surprise her with flowers making Sunday brunch at home, or pick out a bouquet together on a whim when you’re out for a walk? Even if you don’t get the taste exactly right, she’ll probably still be flattered. Unless she’s afraid of plants.

Chocolates

I pretty much need to have something chocolate every day otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d die. I know a lot of other girls who feel this way as well. But please, don’t give us a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Everyone gives each other chocolates on Valentine’s Day- co-workers, single friends wanting to eat their feelings in Hershey’s Kisses- everyone.

When is a good time to surprise her with a little box of yum? When she least expects it. Surprise her with a few truffles when you know she’s had a rough day at work, or when she’s having her period, or basically any day ending with a “y”.

Promises You Don’t Intend To Keep

Just don’t. Don’t promise me that you’ll love me forever, or take me to Vegas, or name a star after me once you go back to school and become an astro-physicist. Be yourself and talk about normal things during your Valentine’s Day celebrations. Maybe leave the complaints about work to a minimum. Or how attractive the girl over at the next table is. Actually, just don’t talk about her at all.

The thing about all these fancy promises and declarations of love is that a lot of the time it won’t matter that much if they happen or not. A boyfriend once promised me he’d write a book at me. I’m still waiting on that one and frankly, if it gets published I’m not sure I’d really care anymore (unless he didn’t change my name). On the flip side, my current boyfriend promised me he’d empty the dishwasher today. That one I deeply care about.

Perfume

Do you know what perfume she wears? (Hint: it’s probably in her bathroom or with all her make-up in the bedroom. Sometimes detective work is everything.) If you know what it is then this is probably fine as a gift, especially if she’s running low. Have you known her forever and have a good idea of what her taste is? That’s probably okay too.

But if you have no ideas about perfume whatsoever, or if you don’t know what perfume is, you should at least be man enough to admit that to yourself and avoid it altogether. Again, perfume is a really personal preference and if you buy it for her she may be forced to like it and will only wear it every time you go on a date together.

Lingerie

Do you know what her cup size is? Do you even know what cup size means? Unless you feel brave enough to guess, or to venture into Victoria’s Secret with fruit and telling the bra specialist she’s “this big” just don’t go there. We all know you don’t care about the underwear. You’re just waiting to get it off of her.

Don’t get me wrong- none of these things are necessarily bad presents. And we do appreciate the effort-we do. But if you really must buy a gift on Valentine’s Day, it is infinitely more romantic to give a gift that is thoughtful than a gift that is deemed “romantic”. Make sense?

Often it’s the “doing” that’s more romantic than the “giving”. Give your stressed-out girlfriend the gift of the take-out food of her choice by candlelight and a funny movie. Agree to follow your bookworm girlfriend around her favourite used bookstore and hold the pile of books you’ve offered to get her. Ultimately it’s the time spent together and the moments shared that we remember the most, rather than how good that last truffle tasted.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Got any more ideas for a romantic Valentine’s Day? Think B is totally off the mark? Did you catch the Beauty and the Beast reference in this post? Send us a valentine at thetwentiesproject@gmail.com.

s-etiquette: birthday bitches

Dear S,

A co-worker of mine has been planning her birthday house party for months. Which is great, but a week before the date of her party she changed her mind and moved the party to a fancy restaurant instead. Neither my bf or I have room in our budgets to pay for a fancy sit-down dinner and drinks for the both of us, as well as the birthday girl. This is not even a milestone birthday and she’s not even a close friend of mine!

How do I get out of it without offending her.

Sincerely,

Girl With No Excuse

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from the desk of L.: a wedding dress to match?

"Oh hey, I'm Kate Middleton! I look sexy and yet so elegant the frickin' Queen lent me her tiara!!"

Whenever anybody starts talking to me about weddings, I’m always game to hear about the visual aspects of the event so I can fantasize. The venue, the colour story and the dress (of course!) are all very fine and dandy but the juiciest tidbit of information for me to devour is the theme. And I have no idea why. Maybe I like the way I can shamelessly praise (or critique) their creativity (or lack thereof) without repercussions, maybe I enjoy the challenge of creating my own better version of their wedding in my head, or maybe I just need a good laugh in the way that only ‘27 Dresses’ can give me. Regardless of whatever bitter and spiteful motives I subconsciously have, it really got me thinking like a bride. A very fashionable bride. Not for long, I promise. But enough time for me to have a seriously scrumptious question pop into my head:  Does the style of your wedding dress have to match the style of your wedding?

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New Ideas for the New Year

When it comes to fashion, especially around various North American holidays, art seems to imitate life. Weather forecasts aside, spring brings in showers and stylish flowers… as well as skirts, khakis and pastels, while cords are a fall back-to-school staple and cable knit is king come winter. Good observation, huh? Yet this presents a problem, especially this week while we’re all trying to figure out what the heck we’re going to wear for our New Year’s Eve celebrations- you can never wear the same thing twice, you can never wear the same thing as someone else (similar to prom) and if one more person wears an LBD and silver chandelier earrings, I will make the rumoured world ending of 2012 come true.

I personally think of New Year’s as the bitchy, over-critical friend of all of the different holidays- quite often we find ourselves in slightly awkward and very public situations where we’re required to look our best, be at our funnest and somehow secure that picture perfect kiss at the stroke of midnight, all while getting paparazzi’d by friends and strangers alike who unfortunately can accurately document what number of martinis you’re up to. A lot of fun, a lot of pressure. So naturally, based on the bitch that is New Year’s, many people (girls and guys alike) start going nuts trying to find the perfect outfit for the 31st.

That being said, I thought to myself, being the little homebody (who’s only been out for New Year’s twice in my life) that I am, in addition to being the self-proclaimed fashionista that I am, maybe it’s time for a person like me looking from the outside in to give a little fresh perspective. Remember earlier when I proposed that art seems to imitate life? Can we not apply that to New Year’s Eve festivities as well? Tuxes, LBDs, silver chandelier earrings, excessive sparkles? Can we not liken these things to nighttime and winter, all topped with glitter and shine from Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa? SNORE. We all know the mission we’ve been given fashion-wise on NYE, so now that we know what’s stale and boring, let’s turn this weather-mimicking mess into a big stylin’ bang to start the brand new year. Here are some tips and tricks:

- Since your pic will be getting snapped all night long, choose an outfit that involves a colour or colour combination that looks fantastic with your skin and hair. Some colours genuinely look great on you, but put a flash and a wide-angle lens on it and you might look like you’re attending the party in between jaundice treatments. Try on some possible options, take multiple pictures at multiple angles and lighting settings and enlist a trusted friend to give you an honest opinion.

- Also take this time to play up a strong feature that you’re proud of. So many women choose short tight dresses because it’s a trend that bombards us in every store we wander into, but frankly, not all of us are blessed in the legs department. Or the looking good in a second skin dress department. And you aren’t doing anyone any favours, including yourself, by pretending you are. Pick one feature or appropriate body part you love and create an outfit that gives it the attention it deserves!

- And speaking of dresses… little does everyone know, you don’t actually have to wear a dress on New Year’s! Guys, that includes you. Skirts, sleek pantsuits, jumpsuits and even a fantastic pair of jeans are all fresh and interesting alternatives to the tried and true dress. Wow, it doesn’t even sound cool anymore.

- Sparkles and shine have been worn over and over again for too long. In the spirit of trying something new in 2012, think texture. Whether that may be in the form of a feather skirt or a brocade-inspired pair of pants, creating visual interest by using different materials as opposed to using different finishes is an easy and fool-proof way to breath new life into your NYE outfit (and your wardrobe too!) Using texture as a fashion tool can also look really cool if you decide to try a monotone or tone-on-tone outfit.

- Finally, if you insist on wearing all black, so be it. But please, for the love of Pete, choose a different metallic other than silver. Why not gold? Or bronze? Copper? Gunmetal? Pewter? (Or otherwise known as “metallic greige”, according to a former co-worker of mine. Again, you want the Mayans to be right about the world ending in 2012? Call it “metallic greige”. I dare you.) Here’s a sneaky tip for red-heads: ROSE gold. Mhmm. You’ll love it. And please choose different accessories than chandelier earrings. Like, hm, I don’t know… a necklace? A bracelet? STUDS?  Have fun with your accessories, that’s what you bought them for!

Make it a New Year’s resolution to try something different- what have you got to lose? It’s one night out of a whole year, so make it count and remember that although there’s a lot of pressure to dress to impress, what’s most important is that you feel good and have fun.

I think my New Year’s resolution is to educate people on proper names of colours. And maybe also to calm down.

Want more tips for a smashing New Year’s Eve outfit? Do you not know what an LBD is? (Shame on you.) Are you the president of the “I Hate Silver Chandelier Earrings” club? I want to hear from you! Drop me a line at l.twentiesproject@gmail.com!

the five rules for surviving new years eve

credit to megzcakes.ca

I have been trying to order a pizza for the last hour but it would seem all the online ordering has been halted for the holidays, and I am just too ashamed to speak to someone over the phone. There is nothing more depressing than having to order a pizza this late because you have only just realized you have absolutely nothing edible in your kitchen cupboards. I spent the last few days staying with my family …

… and they have lots of food. Like most twenty-somethings during the holidays we decided we could probably forgo grocery shopping until after Christmas. It made sense; we would both be away and the having food, no one was eating, around seemed wasteful. This was an extremely stupid decision, considering I was only gone for three days and now will probably die during the night once my stomach begins consuming itself …

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l’s christmas list: having myself a merry little christmas

So as many in the Twenties Project might not be aware of- yes, not only am I L, but I also moonlight as B’s little sister. Our parents are lucky, huh? Yeah, we don’t think so either. But regardless of the grief we have caused them with our brilliant and sometimes chaotic existence, I decided to stay true to the code of little sisters everywhere by copying B and making my own Christmas wishlist post. I hope wonder if we’re also wearing the same sweater as I write this…

Furthermore, I thought it would be appropriate to step up to the podium for all the guys and gals out there who have a really really really… and oh yes, REALLY hard time slowing down and taking a break from the rollercoaster that life usually turns out to be. As one of those people, I understand how hard it can be to shop for us around Christmas time because we would rather wear ill-fitting sheer white pants then tell you what we really want gift-wise. Why? The secret is that we’ve convinced ourselves that we don’t actually need anything; well, besides the satisfaction of fully completed to-do lists, and maybe in my case, $1800 for my dental surgery (**All I want for Christmas is my wisdom teeth out, my wisdom teeth out, my wisdom teeth out….**).

That being said, here’s the trick for shopping for us this Christmas season- encourage us over-achievers to stop and take a breath.

1. Philosophy ‘Cinnamon Buns’ and ‘Classic Fudge Cake’ Bath and Shower Gel ($16.00 CAD each). Not only will these encourage me to take yummy and luxurious bubble baths, but there’s also a recipe for cinnamon buns and classic fudge cake right on the bottle if a delicious smelling bath isn’t enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. And knowing me, I’d probably take advantage of the best of both worlds, natch. (www.sephora.com)

2. RENS White Sheepskin Rug ($39.99 CAD). How can anyone not feel like royalty curling your toes into this rug when you roll out of bed on a cold winter’s morning? I also feel like my feet would hate me less after a while. (www.ikea.ca)

3. iPad (starting at $519.00 CAD). Alright, so I’m kind of cheating because this will totally encourage me to not relax. But then again, the more I have every second of my life planned out, and all on one ingenious device, maybe there will be more moments where I have nothing to do… wow. (www.apple.com)

4. Chapters/Indigo Gift Card (price varies). Mmm, books. One of the few things that I’m good at still indulging in is snuggling down for a good read- well, as good as one can snuggle on the subway. (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/giftcards/)

5. Tiffany & Co. Key Pendant and Chain (this combination, $330 CAD). Not only does every girl deserve to have something from Tiffany’s, what girl wouldn’t also love to keep the key to her heart safely around her neck? (www.tiffany.ca)

6. A Walk-In Closet. Well, you wondered, I answered.

How are you going to relax and indulge during your time off this holiday season? I’m taking tips at l.twentiesproject@gmail.com

b’s christmas list: basics and blasts of colour

Sometimes during the holidays it can be so easy to lose yourself in all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Between working and battling the shoppers to find all the perfect gifts, I always find myself feeling a little down about a week before Christmas. So, I decided to try and perk myself up with a little Christmas mood-board making to remind myself that it isn’t just about surviving family dinner- I’m going to get a little somethin’-somethin’ as well! Here’s some of what I’m wishing for and some that are wishful thinking.

B's Christmas List1. Sunshine Bird Votive Holder from Urban Outfitters ($4.00 USD). This little candle holder is sure to brighten up my day! (www.urbanoutfitters.com)

2. Domino 3-Piece Left Arm Sofa Sectional in Binth Grey from Crate and Barrel ($4,458.15 CAD). I saw this sleek, modern sofa when I was in Crate and Barrel the other day and immediately fell in love. Normally this is so not my style, but sometimes opposites attract. Now only to find the person generous enough to give me such a sofa so I may put it in my imaginary condo. (www.crateandbarrel.com)

3. Craft Stripe Hot Water Bottle in Red from Indigo ($19.50 CAD). Indigo has come out with some beautiful accessories for the home recently and I’m completely obsessed with this water bottle and matching cosy. I’ve literally asked everyone for one this Christmas. I’m either going to get five, or none. (www.chapters.indigo.ca)

4. Antique Silver D-Tier Stand from Pottery Barn ($169.77 CAD). This cupcake stand is just wonderful. I think I’d buy cupcakes just to place them on the stand and gaze at them (www.potterybarn.com)

5. Hello Kitty Red Sparkle Nail Polish from Sephora ($10 USD). I’m obsessed with Hello Kitty- not in a “Hello-I-have-a-Hello-Kitty-toaster-kind-of-way” but in a “I-love-your-Hello-Kitty-T-shirt-I-have-four” kind of way. This makes me so happy. (www.sephora.com)

6. Lacy Jacquard Dishtowel Set at Anthropologie ($32 USD). Having no kitchen makes me a little obsessed with kitchen things. These dish towels, much like everything at Anthropologie, are gorgeous and are probably much too pretty to use. (www.anthropologie.com)

7. Skimmer Candlestick from IKEA ($9.99 CAD). It’s no secret around these parts that I’m an IKEA-whore, but for all you non-believers out there who think they only make cheap, modern things that click together to assemble, check out these candlesticks. They’re just so classic. But for cheap. Me likey. (www.ikea.ca)

8. Satsuma Body Butter from The Body Shop ($18 CAD). Made with ethically farmed ingredients, this lotion is probably my favourite of all time and smells amazing. I used to wear it so much people would be able to smell me coming down the hall before they saw me. I don’t care. They loved it. (www.thebodyshop.ca)

9. Butterfly Charm Earrings from Forever 21 ($4.80 CAD). These delicate little earrings are so sweet and so my taste, plus the shot of bottle-green gives this great find from Forever 21 an unexpected antique-y feel. (www.canada.forever21.com)

10. Malm 6-Drawer Dresser in Medium Brown from IKEA ($199.00 CAD). I’ve been lusting after this set of drawers for awhile, mainly because I want any other dresser but the one I currently own, but also because of the sleek design. The handles are sort of molded into the shape of the dresser and are surprisingly easy to pull out. (www.ikea.ca)

11. Felt Animal Ornaments from West Elm ($4.35 CAD). These felt animal ornaments are absolutely adorable and would make the perfect companions for my duck and pig felt ornaments from En Gry & Sif. They have ridiculously beautiful stuff. But then again, so does West Elm. (www.westelm.com)

What’s on your Christmas list? Let me know! I can be reached at thetwentiesproject@gmail.com.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun.

There are twelve days left to make a last mad dash to the mall, tie up loose ends and wrap up the merriment before the thrill of the coming new year takes hold. So with twelve days left before C-Day what can you do to maintain your sanity and embrace the spirit of the season? Take it one day at a time.

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