Think small and local this season!

IMG_0984

*Pre- read FYI* I just wanted to let you know that I am not sponsored or affiliated with these outstanding places in any way!  I do this because I love sharing places and things I find!

It’s that time of year already!  Parties, coffee dates and gift lists galore.  It is at times much easier to walk in to –>insert what ever boxed store here<– and grab this and that just to get it over with.  But what if you took a longer look at your Christmas list and at the people on it and thought about something just right for them!

Sometimes the conventional route is the way to go to do just that but perhaps there is someone on your list that would love a special book from Epic Books on Locke St S or J.H. Gordon Books on Kind St E.

Canine companion on your list?  My Dogs Cafe on Locke has treats for your pouch and Whiskey Tan online offers some gorgeous collars!

Perhaps you can find an extra special  toy for a child on your list at Barefoot Babies on Ottawa St N or Citizen Kid on Locke.  Some of my kids favourite things have been the quirky ones I have found in small shops!

The maker on your list just might love a little something from Needlework, Mixed Media or Handknit Yarn on James St N or perhaps a gorgeous skein of hand dyed yarn from Hello Stella.

If you’re crafty why not try and make something special for your loved one?  I know as a maker I hardly ever receive hand made things though they are my favourite!  I think people just figure I could make it myself so they choose another route.  Not true!  Makers love other handmade things ❤

Confections – my favourite.  Cake and Loaf on Dundurn is my usual go to for sweets and savoury eats of all kinds.  You can also find other wonderful gifts for the coffee lovers in your life there with a great selection of Detour Coffees and other goodness like honey.  Check out Cake and Loaf at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market for some different things too!

Chocolate on James has a wide variety of fun sweets for people of all ages.  Chocolate suckers are always a hit with the kids I know!

Harrington Lane Farms Village Shop and Harrington Lane Village in Waterdown can package up some delicious eats for you if you contact them ahead of time!  Who doesn’t love the gift of food?  They also have gift certificates!  You can also find the perfect cut of meat here or in a place like Honest Meat Co on Ottawa St N for your holiday entertaining eats.

If you’re looking for some wonderful local roasted coffee or brewing equipment check out Relay Coffee on Concession!  And while you’re at it get a hand poured beverage to warm you up!  My favourite is the maple latte 😉 …They also have a space in the Hamilton Farmer’s Market!

Mela Bath has some fantastic bath products for adults and kids alike.  Lilah and Max get so excited for the “ice cream scoop” bath bombs and whipped body butter!  They are my favourites too.  If you catch her before her Christmas deadline she does deliveries in the greater Hamilton area!

The gardener in your life would love a seed set from Matchbox gardens in Caledonia!  Hanna grows certified organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on her beautiful farm using sustainable farming practices!  These are seeds you can feel good about buying!

If you’re looking to get together for some good eats and a cuppa something great places like Cannon Coffee Co., Mulberry Coffee House on James St N, Finch on Locke, Cafe Oranje on King St E and Vintage Coffee on King St E, Durand Coffee on the corner of Charlton and Caroline, Work Progress Kitchen on James St N and Ward IV Coffee Bar on Main St E (I haven’t been yet but they look SO fun).  Another I haven’t been to but have heard GREAT things about is the vegan cafe Hearty Hooligan on Ottawa St N!  I could go on for days I think about coffee shops.  I love a solid latte 😉 .

Do you have someone who prefers tea to coffee on your list?  Monarch Tea Co – seriously love the packaging and the tea is heavenly – can be found in shops around the city such as the Mustard Seed Co op as well as online!  Pair that with a sweet handmade mug and you have the perfect gift!

This city is full of fantastic places to eat!  So if you are looking at dining out with friends and family maybe think outside the boxed brands and check out places like The French on King William, Mesa on James St N, Mattson and Co on Locke St S, Aberdeen Tavern on Aberdeen!

In the mood for a burger try Hambrgr on King William also on Ottawa St N or Delirious Burger on King St W now on Locke too!

Sometimes some good old fashioned comfort food is in order during the holiday hustle!  You can most definitely find that at Gorilla Cheese on Ottawa St N.  The Burnt Tongue on Locke as well as Cannon offers warm soupy goodness among other things.  Take home a bowl of awesome after a day of shopping!

There really are SO many other great places for food in the city.  Hamilton Farmer’s Market has oodles of great places to get some eats like Pokeh which you can also find uptown on Concession!  Many of these places offer gift cards too!

I could yammer on all day about the wonderful places I have been or hope to check out soon in search of great gifts like Thuya Floral Arts who’s Instagram is nothing short of beautiful but than no one would read it 😉 .

Giving gifts that are a little different and supporting local ventures when possible is something I strive to do regularly.  Christmas really is the perfect time to get out there and see what the city has to offer! James St N, King St E, Westdale, Ottawa St N, Locke St – are all wonderful places to wander in search of the perfect something!

I hope this helps you in your quest to find the gift that will wow or warm the heart of a family member or friend on your list this year!

Happy Shopping, dining and entertaining this holiday season!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Kindness matters

FullSizeRender 23A year ago on October 18th was one of the hardest days of my life.  It was the day we had to say goodbye to my old boy Toby.  In what had already been a year packed full of heart ache with the loss of our old girl on the 4th of April, finding out that our time with Toby was limited and everything in between – I was pretty broken.  The thing is, to me, dogs are much more than just an animal.  They are my people and if I being completely honest I prefer them to most humans.  The unconditional love dogs offer us just can’t be replaced and so losing my companion of 16yrs changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate.

Two days after Toby passed away I walked in to one of my favourite coffee shops – Cake and Loaf (who knew 😉 ).  I was trying my damnedest to keep it together but I just couldn’t.  Tears just fell despite my best efforts to keep them in and I told the lovely soul behind the counter about my loss.  I didn’t expect anything but what I received was irreplaceable. Sincere and heart felt condolences.  My feelings were validated and I felt human again for the first time since I said my goodbyes…  Really for the first time in the longest year of my life.

What this wonderful human did not know is that even before this moment she was already a part of my story.  I had been in many times before feeling wretched on the inside but smiling on the outside and was always treated with complete and authentic kindness.  It’s that kindness I received from her and some other fantastic staff that have kept me coming back especially on my worst days.  Those are the days when they really make a difference without even knowing it.

Life moves onward and things change but we make these connections with each other all of the time.  Sometimes they last only in that minute and others carry through for a life time.  I used to think I didn’t really need a whole bunch of friends and maybe that is so but one thing I have learned is how valuable our relationships with one another are, both big and small.  I know that my words and actions toward others really can make a difference because those of others have forever changed my life.

People come and go from one another life.  Sometimes we are pulled apart and separated for years only to find each other again at what seems to be just the right time.  Some people stay away forever while others never leave.  All of these moments matter though, all of these people matter.  They are part of our next painting, article or song – we carry them with us always in this beautiful chaotic life.

I never expected to find friendship while buying coffee but I most definitely did.

cbde7-jessica