The Him & Her Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Another frantic season of Christmas shopping is upon us. Hopefully these few suggestions will help you out. Click on the images below to bring you directly to a page where you can purchase the item. Happy internally-stressing shopping!

Your friend,

Jon

For Him

  1. Grey Hoodie
    This zip hoodie by J. Crew brings the recipient a classic layering staple. Nothing says easy comfort like this piece. Send this one to your lazy friend who needs to upgrade their raggedy sports team hoodie. 
  2. Henley
    Studies have shown these long-sleeves automatically up a man's attractiveness. Give your partner this one by Club Monaco with the option of wearing a single (and only) button undone.
  3. Messenger Bag
    For your smart friend, present this bag to prove being studious doesn't mean you have to be wearing a Jansport Back Pack. Filson's twill material is known for being sturdy, perfect for those heavy text books. 
  4. Speakers
    After the snow has melted, picnics or sport games in the park will never be the same without some tunes. Compact and robust, the Bose Soundlink Mini sounds great and has an awesome battery life. Grab it in Carbon, it's the sleekest. 
  5. Flask Funnel
    For the one friend who drinks too much and needs to save up a bit. This flask funnel will help those shaky hands when filling up a flask. Here's one from Izola, the recipient can thank them later for avoiding any sticky messes.
  6. Facial Scrub
    This one is for your friend who likes to pamper themselves. This scrub by Origins is a popular one with the guys and has a great fresh scent promising to brighten up any face. Buy it for your boyfriend, and use it when he's away.
  7. Tuque
    Keep your loved ones warm with Edmonton's finest Nowhere Fast Brand. Crafted in Canada, this tuque/beanie will keep those ears from falling off.  
  8. Cologne
    Get your mates to hold off on the Old Spice body spray and switch it for this scent. An alternative to Chanel Bleu, Jo Malone's Oud and Bergamot scent provides a sophisticated upgrade. Or give it to your partner, you can thank me later.
  9. Field Notes
    The organised friend will love you for this. Field Notes provide a water-proof and tear-proof note book that fits perfectly in the back pocket of any denim. Great for lists and numbers. Your forgetful friend might need a 3-pack too. 
  10. Belt
    For the family member who always has their pants sagging. Unless they are going for that angsty teen skater look, this timeless belt by Gap will go with any pant in their closet. 

For Her

  1. A Scarf
    This dip-dyed cashmere scarf will easily please any neutral pea coat wearing friend of yours. Show them some love with this piece by The White Company, infamous for comfy luxury. 
  2. Wool Sweater
    Club Monaco does no wrong with knit wear, here is a safe bet for your sister or cousin. The Cristelle Sweater is a great alternative to the classic cable knit. Baby it's cold outside.
  3. Body Butter
    Save up for mum, she's more important than you know. Say thank you for raising you with Laura Mercier's Body Butter. If your mum is a sucker for sweets, get her the body butter from the creme brulee range, she'll love it.
  4. Candle
    Shout out to Canadian brands, specifically Litchfield Shop for capturing the Canadian mountain air with this candle. Send this candle to your outdoor loving friend, she won't be disappointed.
  5. Cheese Board
    Up your lady friend's wine and cheese night with this cheese board set from Oliver Bonas. No one is ever too old for some classy cheese and crackers. Optional bottle of wine may be provided if you want extra brownie points. 
  6. Throw
    All of my girlfriends are forever in a state of cold, especially during the winter. Help your friends out by getting them a good throw for those chilly evenings from Old Faithful Shop. And for you mates out there, this will encourage some definite cuddling opportunities.
  7. Like Crazy Movie
    For your cheesy friend, get them this romantic film featuring the late Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. This film is so intimately shot that at points it made me feel uncomfortable, but quickly turned appropriate. It's a gooder' for those friends who love a good emotional rollercoaster.
  8. Jewellery
    Another Canadian creator, Hunt Amor makes a great minimal ring for your jewellery loving friend. Send these rings to your detail-oriented girl who is a sucker for the subtle beauties.
  9. Planner
    For your organised or design loving friend, this planner by graphic designer Marjolein Delhaas will leave them excited for the new year. 
  10. Vest
    A classic quilted vest by J. Crew needs a spot in any girls closet. Let her know to layer with knitwear or flannel and act accordingly.

May 2015: UBC, Good Coffee, and Even Better Music

After finishing up my junior year at Uni, I decided to move out further west to the beautiful city of Vancouver for the summer. Not only for a job opportunity, I moved to see how well I could do on my own. This summer I'll be doing research at UBC investigating the wonderful world of silicon photonics and its biomedical applications. I've been living here for a month, but it feels like I'm just moving in. I've started my routines, found my coffee shops, set grocery days, and I can't believe I'm already a quarter way through my summer. Quick side note: everyone here dresses very well, and has forced me to step up my outfit game. Another side note: bus drivers in Vancouver are so nice it makes me sick. I've already come to terms that the humidity, although good for my lungs, will forever keep my skin a tad dewy as long as I live here. Anyways, let us proceed.

University of British Columbia is by far one of the most gorgeous campuses I've ever visited. Just walking down Main Mall, with the trees and flowers in full effect. The mountains peaking in the back ground just left me breathless. I've always seen the school setting as a stressful and tense environment, but not this one, I'll tell you that much. New buildings, old ones, all stand in sync with one another. It's quite the site. I also went to Wreck Beach, a clothing optional beach, and that was the first time I've ever been to a beach of that sort. The idea of it being 5 mins away from campus would make it difficult for me to do work if I attended UBC.

I'm living in the heart of Downtown. The main difference that I've noticed between Edmonton's downtown and Vancouver's is that Vancouver's doesn't die down after dinner during the weekdays. Living walking distances from shopping centres, great cheap restaurants, art galleries and Robson Square, I have a hard time figuring out what to do with my days off. There is always some sort of protest or gathering in Robson Square, which always keeps for an interesting walk around.

One of the more touristy things I've done whilst being here is visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge with a couple of my class mates from a workshop I attended. Paul and Parisa from McGill joined me in visiting the bridge. I'm not a big fan of heights, but this was definitely worth it. I think what really got me was the fresh air. There's nothing like it. The bridge wasn't as high as I thought it would be, but I had more fun attempting to swing it.

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Kristin, a bartender from Transcend in Edmonton, recommended I go to Revolver for coffee, seeing as I needed a new spot to go to after leaving Edmonton. This was one of the best advice I could have followed. With a simplistic menu, no fancy caramel maple frappes here, it made it easy for the coffee to do the speaking for itself. Instead of asking what flavour of syrup you wanted in your latte, they ask you what kind of espresso you wanted. They have a menu of local and non-local roasts and that's what I greatly appreciated. Such a great atmosphere. Beside the shop is their Archive, an open concept workspace that I l love. I know I'll be spending a vast majority of my time here. Some of the best coffee I've ever had.

James Vincent McMorrow and LANY at the Media Club on May 16, 2015

Flume and Sleepy Tom at Stanley Park on May 21, 2015

Milky Chance and the Family Band at The Vogue Theatre on May 22nd

Gilligan Moss and Glass Animals on May 25th, 2015

P. Morris and Shygirls at The Electric Owl on May 27, 2015

I think my favourite thing about Vancouver so far is the music scene. Seeing some of artists i've been dying to see has been great. Smaller bands tend to skip over Edmonton. There are so many great venues on Granville street. I would go to a small intimate bar over a massive sold out arena show any day, and I'm glad Vancouver has both. I've already made some friends that happened to be at the same shows as I. Summer time is time for live music, and although I won't be going to Osheaga this summer, I think I'll be just fine with all the live acts coming to town.

So far Vancouver has been great, besides the PST. Going from a 5% tax to a 13% tax, definitely takes a toll on the bank account. Anyways, I'm looking forward to working here and exploring Vancouver. Going on a couple hikes is next on my to-do-list. I'm excited for a couple of my friends to visit me as well. Here's to a great summer filled with adventures and new experiences.

Your friend,

Jon

March 2015 Wish List

Thought I'd add a new addition to the blog with these "Wish Lists"! Looking for presents for that special guy in your life, look out for these guys and hopefully you can get an idea for what to get them. These are just items that I've been eyeing this month and might just go and purchase for myself. They range from fashion to technology, geeky things all the way to books. I enjoy reading these in magazines and other blogs, so hopefully you do too! Click on the links below to take you to the products. Let's start shall we? March Faves

  1. Golden Bear Suede Jacket: One pricey son' of a gun. Crafted in San Fran, this is just a beauty. A classic revamp that is timeless in my eyes. I've seriously had my eyes on this since it first popped up on Club Monaco's site. Definitely something worth working for.
  2. Wings + Horns Leather Slip-On: Another closet staple I'm surprised I don't have. Easily can find a knock-off cheaper pair, but W and H know what they're doing with this one, so why wreck a good thing?
  3. Slim-Fit Linen Shirt: With those warmer months headed our way, linen will definitely be a necessity in my life. Keeping us looking put together, but keeping us aired out. Great tone and texture done by CM here.
  4. Transit Hoodie: Been looking for some gear that can take me to and from the yoga studio. This simple and minimal hoodie does the trick. Looks comfy as hell as well.
  5. Surge Short: I've been digging going to hot yoga, but I only have one pair of shorts that I bring with me. I'd like to have another in the bag just in case the old ones are still wet from the class before. You know me, never afraid to show a little leg.
  6. Studio Kit: Another issue that I have is that my gym bag is really disorganised. I've been showering at the yoga studio as of recent, and I look like an idiot scrambling around for my moisturizer and body lotion. This guy should do the trick to keeping me a tad more put-together after a class.
  7. Musk Eau De Toilette Spray: I've recently purchased the Musk Body Cleanser and I've been in love with the scent. It's spring time, so I'm in the market for a new cologne with the season change. I think I may have just found the perfect match. (If not, I'm going back to TF's Azure Lime, too pricey though.)
  8. Bears Den, "Islands": Something I've been wanting to add to my vinyl collection as of recent. I recently revisited their stuff, and I think they'd sound great on vinyl. I'm on the hunt!
  9. No-Tie Shoelace Replacements: Stumbled upon these neat guys in a magazine not too long ago. I think they look great with a pair of trainers and makes them look much sleeker. Seeya later laces, hello hickies.
  10. Umbrella: This bright umbrella is going to come in handy this spring with all the rain. I can't seem to find my old one, but I'm digging the orange in this rain blocker. Pop of color anyone?
  11. Lapel Stays: Fashion tip: do not have pancake collars. I'm not having much time to properly iron my dress shirts, so these lapel stays are going to keep the collars looking crisp.
  12. Assorted Coffee Books: Been thinking about the future as of recent and the near moving out that I'll be doing. Really think I'd like these guys on a coffee table when I move out. (At Large Magazine,THE OUTSIDERS: THE NEW OUTDOOR CREATIVITY BOOK, How To Be A Man by Glenn O'Brien)
  13. Mini Note Books: Nothing says satisfying like crossing something off of a to-do list. I tried keeping these lists on my phone, but this was quickly replaced by my agenda, because I truly do love crossing them off physically. These guys fit great in the back pocket.
  14. Wild & Wolf Folding Board: Man do I love being organized. My OCD is easily satisfied with this handy tool. Nothing makes me happier than perfectly folded shirts. I need this. Asap.
  15. Note Cards: Nothing says 'you care' more than a hand written note. I think we're losing this in our daily lives, especially with our heavily enthused mobile phone lives.
  16. West Beach Candle: Walking to Kit and Ace makes me extra happy when this candle is burning. I've always been obsessed with clean and clear scents. Quite pricey, but maybe I'll save up for it some time soon.

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Her

Alrighty fellas, it's your turn to step up. Here are some guaranteed crowd pleasers for your lady friends, girlfriend, sisters, and mums. Oh and I mean this could help you fellow girls pick out some lovely gifts for your bfflz4lyfe this holiday season! Some of these items are definitely winter-proof for our cold season. Many of these gifts were influenced by my friends. I've also chosen these picks for there very female-friendly usage. Hope you find something you are looking for! Click the links to order online in time for Christmas. Happy Shopping! Enamel Compact Mirror by Kate Spade

If your female friend is a makeup wearer, they will definitely thank you for this handy and compact mirror by Kate Spade. And if your friends are anything like mine, they'll go crazy over its tiffany blue detail and cute "Let your hair down" wording. Our ladies always have their make up checks, so let's save them a trip to the bathroom for a mirror by giving them one of these.

Philomena by Martin Sixthsmith (Movie and Book)

I happened to stumble upon this movie during my holiday in Australia last spring, and I was left pleasantly surprised at how heart-warming and comical it was. This true to life story follows a BBC writer finding a story in a older woman who had her child sold by an Irish nunnery in the 1950s. Throughout the movie the two team up to find her lost son who was taken away to the United States, which oddly brings the two individuals closer. I know, it sounds not the most exciting, but your mum or grandmum may enjoy it just as much as I did! Grab them the book or the movie for Christmas, I guarantee they'll love it.

Creme de Corps by Kiehl's

Girls love being soft. Especially with the cold winter ahead, our skin tends to get ultra dry. So wrap them up one of my favourite skin cream lotions of all time. It's super nourishing and hydrating, best used after a body exfoliant. This is definitely a go-to gift of mine because everyone loves it, lads and girls. But I'm sure the girl in your life will love you more for it and will use it everyday.

Capri Blue Jar Candle from Anthropologie

The average female has at least 43593485739 candles in their household, so let's feed the obsession. This is one of my favourite scents done by Anthropologie. Have you ever walked into Anthro and just wished your room smelt like their store? Not too sweet, and definitely not floral. It's high hints of citrus and fresh laundry will keep your mum or girlfriends happy. These come in mini sizes too, so do yourself a favour and pick one up for yourself whilst purchasing one for your friend.

Diamond Mosaic Scarf by Wilfred at Aritzia

Aritzia hit the females hard with an item in which I like to call a "twofer". With this piece, not only do they get a cute scarf, but also a mini blanket. Yes, this scarf is large enough to be worn as a blanket (visit the site for styling ideas). Keep your friends warm this season with this neutral toned pink scarf and they'll be thanking you for all the compliments they'll receive!

Striped Passport Case by J. Crew

One thing I'm sure everyone can agree on is that our female friends are more likely to be the organized ones. This trendy Passport Case by J. Crew will fuel the stereotype for your lady friend. Give this to that special holiday traveller and wish them a safe trip to wherever their warm destination may be. And remind them to bring you something back.

Women's Cabin Sock by Roots

I'm sure you've seen them all over campus, the girls who tuck their jeans into wool socks like these in their winter boots or uggs. Definitely popular among our teen girl friends, keep their feet warm with these socks done by our Canadian friends at Roots. Socks are a good gift for our female students having to trudge around campus in the snowy winter.

The Steeper by David's Tea

This lovely device will truly be taken advantage of by your tea loving mums, grandmums, and sisters. Plus, if it's in your household, you'll get to use it as well. Skip giving another tea mug and give the gift of home steeping. Also, grab them a packet of your favourite tea if need be.

Milk Frother (Foamer) from IKEA

"I'll have a skinny vanilla latte extra whip with an extra pump of peppermint... oh and extra foam." Ladies love foam, so get them this inexpensive milk foamer from IKEA. They're going to love you for bestowing the power of home foaming to them, and they might even make you a warm drink with extra foam the next time you're at their place.

Rylie Shirt by Club Monaco

A classic piece to any wardrobe. These quality made denim shirts by Club Monaco is always a safe bet when shopping for your sister or close friends. They go with anything and everyone needs a good denim top. Tell them to toss their raggedy denim shirt from Forever 21 and get them one of these washes.

Girls are much more difficult to shop for, because I'd say they are a tad more pickier than your average male. Hopefully these gifts give you an idea and help you pick out some rad gifts for your friends and family. Show how much you love them by getting them quality gifts that they'll use for a long time. Feel free to share this with your friends and family to help them as well! Or even hint them onto something you yourself would like to receive for Christmas. Also, feel free to leave a comment and some feed back if you'd like. Also check out my other social network links on the side bar! Happy Holidays!

Jon

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Him

With the Christmas season kicking off, I thought I'd help you folks shop for the perfect gift for your brother, father, friend or boyfriend. These picks all have my safety seal of approval in a sense that every guy needs at least something on here and will love you for getting it for them. Keeping in mind that I live in Canada, a lot of these picks have been influenced with the -40 degrees celsius weather in mind. Don't forget that Christmas is also an excuse to get the recipient to dress, smell or even look better. Hope you find something you are looking for! Click the links to order online in time for Christmas. Happy Shopping!

WALLACE & BARNES DONEGAL WOOL SWEATER by J. Crew

Tired of the recipient outwearing his high school hoodies? This sweater won't only keep him warm, but definitely up his sweater weather game. Perfect for layering, this sweater looks great with a tee underneath or with a white button up.

THE LEATHER FLASK by Club Monaco

This 8-oz sucker will definitely replace his old bent up college flask. The leather details make it socially acceptable to bring his own liquor out to places and events.

LOG CABIN SOCKS by Roots

When was it ever a bad thing to receive socks for Christmas? I can never have enough! Especially during winter. Get your brother or father socks that don't have any holes in them and keep their toes warm during the winter.

NOIR COLOGNE by Tom Ford

Swap your brother or your boyfriends AXE body spray for this guy. Not only will they be attracting girls, they'll be covering up their musky gym sweat. Promote a more classier smell, and not the pre-teen scent.

FACIAL FUEL ENERGIZING SCRUB by Kiehl's

One of my all time favourites. I've purchased this for a couple of my guy friends and they love it. Save the recipient a season of flaky dead, dry skin and help them keep their skin looking healthy. Also a great pre-shave step to lift the hairs to be shaved soon after.

CUFFED LEATHER GLOVES by Zara

Nothing says classy as hell like a new pair of leather gloves. Leave the mitts at home and dress to impress with these bad boys. Great for driving and making the wearer seem important.

THE REVIVAL PANT by Lululemon

Why do girls get to be the only ones who get to be comfy 24/7 with their leggings? These bring comfort to a whole new level. Your recipient will never stop loving you after trying these suckers on. I mean, they might not even ever take them off.

ASCOT TWEED SLIPPER by Ugg

I'd hold off for getting this for your brother or boyfriend, get this for someone who deserves it, like your pops. You'll definitely be the favourite child if you aren't a single child. Your mother might have an issue with him wearing these to get gas or take out the garbage, but whatever.

QUIET COMFORT ACOUSTIC NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES by Bose

A pricier purchase, but great for the gym and studying. These guys make them feel like they're on adderall. They feel great on the ears and your guy will definitely be thanking you for the great quality of sound. They'll never need to purchase a new set for a very long time, and I mean, you could steal them or borrow them once in a while.

CLUB MASTER FLASH LENSES by Ray-Ban

I like to call this a "double thanks". Not only will he thank you at Christmas, but also 6 months later in summer. Retire his god-awful white rimmed sports sunglasses and get him stylin' it up with these flashy club masters, a classic with a modern twist.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful for you folks and that you got an idea for that certain someone. To be honest, finding the perfect gift for your friends and family is my personal favourite part of the Christmas season. It's a fun challenge and a great way to thank the love ones in your life. Please leave a comment because I love to hear feedback. Have a fantastic holiday season and stay warm folks!

Jon

Travel Essentials: Vancouver

IMG_6964 I recently had the opportunity to go Vancouver for a total of 17 hours this past week to see one of my favourite artists Sam Smith (photos to come). Left half way through my classes on a Wednesday and came back on Thursday just in time for my lab. I've never been so rushed in my life, but this super quick trip was worth it for me. I had the thought of uploading some things that I always bring with me whenever I'm travelling: some jewelry that goes with any outfit, and of course, the skin care essentials. One of my biggest issues is having to bring my skin care products with that 100 mL limit, so I prioritized what I could bring, and ta-da! I named this post Vancouver's edition, cause I feel like at some point I'm going to make a new "Travel Essentials" post where I decide to bring new stuff that is more efficient or whatever. I'm sure not many of you are interested in what I lug around in my carry-on, but if you are, keep reading ahead! I've linked all the products and items as well.

1. Daniel Wellington Watch

One of my all time favourite purchases. This watch has been everywhere with me. Daniel Wellington's minimalistic design sits well with me, and I find it to be a very "timeless" piece that goes with anything. The black leather straps and rose gold detail adds a touch of sophistication to any look.

2. Liberty United Cuff

I'm proud of this specific piece. Essentially, Liberty United is an American founded company in which they transform bullets into jewellery. The bullets are taken from confiscated illegally owned guns found in the States. Part of the proceeds go to help reduce gun violence in the US, and the buyer gets to choose where they would like to donate the proceeds to. Not only is it a modern take on the man bracelet, it's bold and pairs well with my watch above.

3. Khiel's Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer

On most flights, I tend to snooze, it's inevitable. Waking up from a nap in the air, my eyes tend to puff up. This de-pufferizer by Khiel's instantly reduces puffiness around my eyes and cools them down. It's a mini stick but super handy. It also works well after a long night of partying. The next morning, apply some of this bad boy on after washing your face, and say good bye to those awful hang over eye bags.

4. Tom Ford Moisturizer

When I'm up in the air, my skin gets super dry. Also, especially after long flights, I like to give my face a nice splash and rinse with water before landing. Although a tad on the pricier side, Tom Ford's moisturizer has the perfect balance of moisture and matte effect for my semi-oily and dry face. It quenches my skin without leaving an oil spill. With the light fragrance, the moisturizer is light and feels as if it isn't on your face after soaked up by your skin. This travel size is just the right amount, cause all you need is a pea-size droplet for your face.

5. Carpe Diem Ring

A simple pinky ring that I've been enjoying as of recent. I picked it up in Australia where I had a nice chat with the owner and creator of the men's jewelry line, a fellow Canadian living in Australia. Definitely check it out guys, he does men's jewelry well.

6. Warby Parker Glasses

Of course I can't go anywhere without my second pair of eyes. Although I wear contacts, my paranoia always kicks in and I imagine something getting in my eye and in the attempt of trying to remove said object in my eye, I may or may not just rip my contact in the process... Thus, keeping my glasses with me wherever I go.

7. Tom Ford Azure Lime

This scent is perfect for the spring and summer time. However, with the seasons changing, I'm in the market for a new fall/winter scent, so expect this to change. But for now, I'm still rocking this super light, and semi-fruity cologne. Not too old-manish smelling, but definitely more sophisticated than your Axe spray on.

8. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion

Sure I could live without a proper cleanser and toner, but along with my moisturizer, SPF is always on my priority list. Here's a tip gents, if you don't want to look like your father in 20 years, start wrinkle prevention early. There will be no need to "rescue" and "rejuvenate" your skin if you don't have the wrinkles to deal with in the beginning. So start early and slap that sunscreen on your face. It doesn't hurt that it reduces your chances for skin cancer too. I don't go too harsh, but a 50 SPF should do the trick.