A Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers

I know that most guys struggle to do the Christmas shopping. While us moms probably take on the bulk of the shopping for the kids and extended family, you probably struggle just as much to show that special someone in your life just how important they are. While she may have given you a few hints for her present, you’re left to your own devices when it comes to her stocking. I’ve reviewed many an online list for stocking stuffers only to wonder – who wants that crap?!

Fret not! I present to you…


A Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers 

  1. Games – stuff in a game you can play together, like Cards Against HumanityScrabble Slam or Bananagrams Pictured: Cards Against Humanity
  2. Soap or bath products – while bath products and lotions usually scream “generic” to me, I do appreciate a good quality handmade soap or some scented bath products. Skip the lotions – we’re too picky about those! Pictured: Saltspring Soapworks Pure Soap
  3. A cookbook or cooking magazine – I’m a sucker for new cookbooks, so I love these. I am addicted to the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazines – healthy and easy for the family. Pictured: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
  4. Gloves – whether you go for leather or cute or specialty touchscreen gloves, it’s hard to go wrong here. Pictured: Agloves
  5. Ornament – get a classy new ornament or something very much to her taste: Hello, Doctor Who ornamentPictured: Swarovski 2013 Crystal Star Ornament
  6. Lip Gloss – talk to her Mary Kay consultant by phone or email or take a recent photo in to any good make-up store (Sephora, MAC) and they’ll help you choose the right colour!  Pictured: Mary Kay NouriShine
  7. Eye Shadow – while you’re buying make-up, grab some new eye shadow in a new shade or, if in doubt, some new mascara. We can always use more! Pictured: Mary Kay Mineral Eye Color
  8. Candy – go to a specialty candy store for a little gift bag or jar of assorted candy. That extra touch goes a long way. Most specialty stores will have grab bags pre-packaged and wrapped! Pictured:  Sugar & Co. Bonbon assortment
  9. Chocolate – it’s so important, it gets its own category. Forget candy bars and go for the dark chocolate bar or specialty chocolates. Pictured: Thomas Haas Chocolate Bar
  10. Scratch & Win – while I don’t want to encourage gambling (particularly for kids), I quite love getting some scratch and wins in my own stocking. Pictured: BCLC Scratch & Win tickets
  11. Scarf – easy to find just about anywhere, it’s a nice alternative to socks in a stocking! Pictured: Stella & Dot Union Square Scarf 
  12. Charm it Up – start a Pandora charm bracelet or a simple charm necklace – if she has one already, perfect! It’s easy to add a new charm. Pictured: Pandora bracelet starter
  13. Coffee – grab some fresh coffee or quality loose leaf tea. Skip the grocery stores and look for specialty cafes and stores. Pictured: Moja Coffee Roaster Series 2013

This list should fill up your stocking quite nicely, without adding in junk products or useless kitchen gadgets and candles. Of course, if you know your wife really wants a new spatula, go wild!

Rockwater Secret Cove Resort Tenthouses

Last weekend, we took a toddler-free trip to the Sunshine Coast to stay at the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort. This was our first time taking two nights (three days) away from Aiden; in the past we’ve spent one night in Vancouver and one night in Whistler. We had been to Rockwater once before, several years before we had Aiden, and had fond memories of how peaceful and relaxing it was.

It took us about 3 hours from our house to reach the resort, including ferry wait and crossing, which is quite reasonable for a Vancouver getaway. You need to drive about 45 minutes from the ferry terminal to the resort, located near Halfmoon Bay. The resort offers access to many outdoor activities as well as the on-site spa services. Our goal in going to Rockwater was to relax completely – we didn’t want to play tourists this trip, we just wanted to relax. And that we did!

6780927544 fbae084d89Our tenthouse suite

We stayed in one of the luxurious tenthouse suites. Far from what you’d imagine of anything that has the word ‘tent’ in it, the tenthouse suites offer all the high-end luxuries of resort hotels (king bed, soaker tub, fireplace, heated floors) and then some (check out this view). You won’t find such privacy or stunning views at any other hotel!

My views, though, mostly consisted of this:

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I spent a rather embarrassing amount of time in that tub – and I read 2 books over the course of 3 days, so that should tell you a little something about just how chilled out we were during our stay. It was fantastic to rest my pregnant self in the tub or nestled in a pile of pillows on the bed next to the fire. So nice!

6927046363 54f1aa4217The view from our tenthouse balcony

Each tenthouse offers its own breathtaking vista of Secret Cove. Whether you’re enjoying the view from your bed or your deck, it’s easy to forget there are other tenthouses near you. Our first night we had a major wind storm, which did disturb our rest a little bit – quite noisy, as you can imagine, from within a tent. Our next night was perfectly restful (though I am apparently incapable of sleeping in anymore).

Ianiv spent some time when it wasn’t raining to enjoy the deck (I was in the bath, of course) and take some photos. At night, he spent some time stargazing as well – it was breathtaking! It’s easy to forget how much of the night sky we miss seeing when we live in the city – I only wish we could have taken a photo of that to share with you!

We ordered room service one morning from our tenthouse and took our other breakfast, and both dinners, in the Rockwater restaurant. Review forthcoming.

Check out all our photos from our stay here.

Disclosure: we were given a discount for our stay at Rockwater, though our choice to stay here and our review were not swayed by this.

Fun at Modern Mama Brunch

This past weekend, I went with Nicola to the Modern Mama brunch held at the Brock House for Pregnancy Awareness Month. I didn’t attend any pregnancy events with my first pregnancy, so it was all new to me, in a way. It’s different being pregnant with people you know, that’s for sure!

Check out our complimentary portrait – I also won a newborn photoshoot with the same photographer.

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Modern Mama hosts events for to-be or new families on topics ranging from fashion to parenting. For example, they are just about to host an event on sleep featuring the same sleep consultant we used with Aiden.

Despite the fact that I’m not a new mama, and this is not my first pregnancy, I did manage to learn some new things from the set of speakers that were on hand for the brunch. I learned, for example, that belly support after birth does have a more-than-just-aesthetic purpose (thx FitnessDoula). Go figure!

Disclosure: I was invited to the Modern Mama event but was not asked to write a post. I also have a continued working relationship with the sleep consultant featured in their next event.

My Fresh Produce Clothing

Fresh Produce, a retailer known across the US in stores such as Macy’s, recently expanded their online store to ship to 200 countries, including Canada. I was approached to try a few of their outfits, to review how their clothes fit in with my lifestyle as an active mama. The clothes are marketed as breezy, colourful and comfortable, and though not all of the clothes are my style, there are some great classic basics and colourful items to add to your wardrobe.

Here’s me modelling the Wrap Me Up Dress in one photo, and the Knit Coastal Wrap Cardigan over a Cami and Basic Leggings. I was able to size myself perfectly, which was not bad for my first attempt at online shopping for clothes! The pictures don’t do the outfits justice, especially the first one (should have previewed that before asking my husband to upload it!), so follow the above links.

The dress is great, though I’ve never worn a dress with sleeves before. As a wrap dress, I love that the interior is stitched closed so that I don’t need to pin the bust (a major issue for me and most wrap dresses). The cardigan drapes nicely down the front and drew several compliments. The leggings stayed up, which is more than I can say for other brands, even though I tend to not wear the full length leggings like these. I look forward to getting a lot of use out of these clothes to mix & match with my current wardrobe.

Although I didn’t get it, one of my favourite items of theirs is this skirt/dress, as I think the pattern is great and I love outfits that are multi-functional like this. I have one skirt/dress that I just love and I loved that it was great for when I was pregnant with Aiden as well.

Disclosure: I was sent these outfits for review, though my opinions are my own.

Rogers Chocolates at The Village

A couple of weeks ago, Jessica and I indulged our love of chocolate at the new Rogers Chocolate store in The Village at Park Royal. This is the 8th retail store for Rogers Chocolates in BC, and it’s quite an impressive store: both with an old-timey and sophisticated feel. The Village is definitely becoming the place to go to treat yourself!

See more photos here

Now, if only The Village had an awesome kids toy / baby stuff store, we’d be set!

Disclosure: We were invited to the opening, but the opinions of this review are my own.