16 Unique Last Minute Gifts for Women from UncommonGoods

Anyone who’s ever shopped with me knows that I’m a sucker for a great gift store. The more quirky, handmade goods, the better. The Secret Agent learned this when we travelled to California last year, and I dragged him into every cute looking gift store from Venice to Palm Springs.

Usually I buy my gifts in brick and mortar stores, so my curiosity was peaked when UncommonGoods contacted me about their products. UncommonGoods is an online store that carries creatively designed products from emerging designers, seasoned artists and artisans working collaboratively in a low income countries. The result is an online community chock full of fun, quirky and beautiful made products that each come with their own story. A quick peruse of the site and I found everything from unique Home Decor  and Personalized Wedding Gifts to gorgeous handmade jewelry.

UncommonGoods is also a socially responsible company that sells sustainable, ethical and cruelty free products – something that’s very important to me. They founded the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation at checkout. They’re also a founding member of B Corporation, an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases. You can read more about their story here.

If you’re still looking for the perfect last minute gift, here are some of my favorite gifts for women (or men!) from the store. 
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For the friend who’s always instagramming tacos.

  • Mismatched Taco and Hot Sauce Earrings: Does your BFF hashtag everything with #tacosarelife? Do you want to let them know that you think you guys go together like Carne Asada and a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce? These adorable taco & hot sauce earrings should do the trick.
  • Break the Bank Piñata: Help your taco-obsessed buddy save up for more tacos with this handy piñata piggy bank. Because #financialresponsibility and stuff.
  • Tacosaurus Knee High Socks: If you have someone in your life who writes or reads a lot…or maybe just really, really loves tacos (me!), these cozy socks are perfect for keeping warm.
  • DIY Tamale Kit:  Fun story: I love tacos (duh) and I love Tamales. One of the things I miss most about Toronto is the Nicaraguan restaurant near my old house that made amazing jumbo sized Tamales. I’d eat them at least once a week. Sadly though, it’s next to impossible to find a good tamale in my hometown. Enter the Tamale making kit! This is perfect for your friend who loves Latin American comfort food or is a total foodie (or both!)

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For the woman who loves reading in bed  and a night of cocktails in equal measure.

  • Bedside Essentials Pocket: I love to read and binge watch shows to my heart’s content, but I hate it when I misplace my remote, headphones or e-reader. This elegant grey felt much helps keep all of your bedside or couch-cuddling essentials handy. Slide the sturdy flap between your mattress and foundation or under your couch cushion, and the soft, open pocket holds everything from books to remote controls.
  • Pineapple Tumbler: Perfect for the hostess with the mostess, this gold pineapple shaped tumbler screams tropical inspired glamour.
  • Simple Sun Studs: I adore these gorgeous gold earrings. They’re incredibly minimal, but I can’t help but think of the Great Gatsby whenever I see them.
  • Simple Sun Necklace: Annnnnd….there’s a necklace too! Both of these pieces are perfect for anyone who loves a touch of understated glamour.

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For that special lady friend who enjoys meaningful, handmade items.

  • Rough Diamond Solitaire Ring: If I was to buy myself a diamond ring, it would look something like this. I adore the combination of organic, imperfect lines and a sparkling stone.
  • Serotonin Necklace: This modern sterling silver pendant is a sophisticated interpretation of our “happiness” molecule, serotonin. As someone who is serotonin deficient, this pendant seems extra special to me and serves as the perfect reminder to be kind to myself when it comes to my mental health. Run your fingers over the braille whenever you need reassurance that everything is going to be OK.
  • “She Believed She Could” Sterling Silver Ring. I love, love, love jewelry that comes with extra meaning. This handcrafted silver ring that’s engraved with the words “she believed she could, so she did” is a wearable reminder to chase your dreams.
  • Floral Batik Kimono Robe. I love me a good robe. Wrap yourself in a bouquet of lush lilacs, blushing hydrangeas, and fuchsia orchids with this gorgeous abstracted robe handmade by artisans in Indonesia.

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For the quirky home decor junkie.

  • Handwoven Friendship Basket: Hand-woven by craftswomen using traditional techniques, these cathedral-shaped “friendship” baskets are the signature vessel of Rwanda and add a beautiful, unique touch to any room.  While you’re at it, check out some of the other gorgeous handmade baskets available.
  • Neon State Art: Let your love for a beloved state shine with this neon wall art. The iconic silhouettes of your choice of New York, Florida, or California are rendered in radiant neon tubing accented with an illuminated heart. I’m biased to the California one, natch.
  • Hand Embroidered State Pillow: I saw these vintage inspired embroidered State pillows at a store in Santa Monica and have been obsessed ever since.
  • Black Cat Pillow: a cat lady at heart, I couldn’t resist this pillow that looks just like my Matilda. The pillow is knit from 100% baby alpaca wool by a self-managed collective of women in Bolivia. Production of these pillows provides a living wage that helps bring health care and education to their families.

Which gift is your favourite?

*This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods. All views are my own because that’s how I roll. Thanks for supporting the branded posts that support this blog. 

Kicking The Holidays Off with a Sexy Gift Guide from Unbound

Now more than ever, I’ve realized how important it is for me to support brands that align with my values. Unbound is one of those brands. You may remember them from a few months ago when I reviewed their Unbound Delta Box (with rave reviews!) Since I wrote that post, I’ve fallen into a full on brand crush with the ladies at Unbound. They’re a 100% a female owned & operated company, they’re sex positive and they’re feminists. And while there’s lots of great sex-positive female business owners out there, Unbound is one that suits my design aesthetic perfectly. Like, if I was going to create a sex store, it would look exactly like theirs – cheeky product photography and all. (Also, can we talk about how I want to buy EVERYTHING from their lingerie section?)

That’s what I’m elated to announce that I’ve partnered with Unbound this holiday season to create a sexy gift guide for you. People are always asking me for suggestions on what to buy for themselves and their partner. This gift guide is chock full of sexy suggestions and my favourite toys. The best part?

Use SIMONEKATRINE25 at checkout to get 25% everything listed below.

(a great deal if you’ve finally decided to pull the trigger on a new pricy vibrator.)

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Curious about why I chose these items? Here’s the ‘skinny’ on everything in the gift guide-

1. Follies Bergere Soft Underwire Bra: What I love about this piece is that it’s sexy yet incredibly wearable. Wear it in the bedroom or under a tee, so the straps are semi visible along the neckline.

2. Body Straps: I’m obsessed with this barely there “lingerie” set. Ridiculously sexy and fits a variety of different bodies.

3. Follies Bergere G-String: Unless your partner hates wearing thongs, you can’t really go wrong with a high-quality, simple black g-string. Gartner belt sold separately.

4. Handcuff Bangles: I think the name says it all. I love dual purpose accessories and these are totally bad-ass.

5. Holiday Box: Get your jollies off with this curated Holiday box of sexy goodies. And yes, that’s a candy cane shaped dildo. You’re welcome.

6. The Crave Vesper: You might remember this one from my review of the Crave Vesper. A luxe vibrator that’s also a chic piece of jewelry? Yes, please.

7. We-Vibe Tango: This little bullet vibe is still one of my favourite sex toys, period. It’s compact, ridiculously powerful and perfect for toe-curling, pin-pointed sensations.

8. BDSM Box: Curious about BDSM but not sure where to start? This curated box has got you covered.

9. iScream Dildo: Because this wouldn’t be a Skinny Dip gift guide without at least one item that’s just slightly ridiculous. Freeze this popsicle shaped dildo for temperature play or just use it on it’s own. Perfect for a gag gift or the person in your life that already has everything!

10. Lelo Ina Wave: Read my original review here. The Ina Wave is still one of my favourite toys. Now you can grab one at a discount.

11. Viviane Babydoll: When it comes to buying lingerie online and/or for someone else, I’m a huge fan of pieces that aren’t too structured and have some stretch. This sexy chemise from Oh La La Cheri fits the bill. This would look amazing on a variety of different body types, and it comes in regular and plus size.

12. Womanizer Pro: A terrible name for a sex toy, but a wonderful product. I’ll be reviewing this soon! TLDR: instead of vibrating, this toy “sucks” your clitoris. The end result is delicious and feels like a million sugar plum fairies taking flight.

Got a question? Let’s chat!

Shoe Addicts: Meet the Shoes.com Store in Toronto

When people ask me what I miss most about Toronto, I usually mention the shopping. During the time I lived in the city I was extremely spoiled when it came to my retail options. I never shopped online because if I needed something, I could literally step out of my door and find it. My office was located a stones throw away from stores like Zara, H&M and Holt Renfrew (Canada’s answer to Neiman Marcus or Saks.) If I wanted to browse Chanel and Prada on my lunch break, I could. Even when I started working from home, I could easily walk down to Queen St West or take a short subway ride to a bunch of different shopping areas.

While shopping in Victoria, BC isn’t terrible – we have a decent selection of vintage stores and indie boutiques – when it comes to name-brand items (like finding that sought after pair of Nikes that you’ve been jones-ing for), the selection often leaves a bit to be desired. Since moving back to the West Coast, I find that I do way more shopping online.

Since Zappos no longer ships to Canada and buying from the States can involve hefty duty fees and/or ridiculously pricey shipping, I do a lot of my shoe shopping via SHOEMe.ca – a Canadian online retailer based out of Vancouver. So, I was really excited to find out that that ShoeMe.ca had recently opened a brick and mortar Shoes.com store on Queen West (my old stomping grounds!) Since I wasn’t able to be there in person, their lovely PR manager gave me a tour of the new space via FaceTime.

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The 3000 square foot space, designed by Canadian architecture and interior design firm, Dialog, originally opened as a pop-up shop in November 2015 and has since become a permanent store.

It probably seems counterintuitive that a company would open a physical store after achieving online success (isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?!) but Shoeme.ca wanted to bring the digital experience to life for their customers.  By the sounds of it, they’ve done just that.

The front space of the Toronto store is named the ‘Home Room’ and reflects the products and messaging of the Homepage on SHOEme.ca. The mirrors in the Home Room create an optical illusion of an endless selection of shoes, just like the online experience.

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The middle of the store is called the ‘Dressing Room’. This space host 5-6 new brands every two months with the goal of allowing customers to discover the styles, stories and the people behind new brands, while rediscovering brands they know and love.

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However, my favourite part of the space has to be the ‘Editors Room’ which is located at the back of the store. Designed as a community space for workshops, speaker sessions and/or taking a break from shopping over a coffee with friends, the Editor Room also displays curated collections of local handmade products by well-known Toronto makers.

Coffee + Shoes = Swoon.

Behold this South Western themed curated vignette that makes my West Coast girl spidey-senses tingle.

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Also located at the back of the store are computer stations where you can access the Smart Shopper tool. Instead of browsing through 1000’s of shoes, Smart Shopper is an AI-powered shopping experience that uses visual intelligence technology to show right product, to the right consumer, at the right time. As you click on product images, Smart Shopper rapidly learns your unique style preferences. The tool identifies and draws connections between hundreds of shoe attributes, creating a deep understanding of the individual’s personal style preferences.

To fuel my shoe addiction and so I could test out the Smart Shopper tool for myself, the lovely team at Shoeme.ca sent me a gift certificate. A few minutes and clicks later, I was lead to the Steve Madden Nilunda sandals – a gorgeous pair of shoes that I didn’t even know I needed.

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steve madden nilunda black

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About a week later, my shoes arrived and I was able to wear them out for drinks with friends to celebrate my 36th birthday. Made of real suede, the leather is super soft and the heel is the perfect height. These are honestly some of the most comfortable heels I own.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my SHOEme.ca shopping experience (both virtually and online.) I try to always support Canadian retailers, so that my money stays in Canada. So, while I probably won’t be able to stop by the brick & mortar Shoes.com store anytime soon, it’s great to see companies pushing the envelope when it comes to creating new and better shopping experiences for Canadians.

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