December has finally arrived, and with it is the season of gift giving. Personally, I always find Christmas shopping – or shopping for any reason – very difficult and very frustrating. Maybe it's because I'm a guy, but there just seems to be so many stores and so many sales that I always get pretty overwhelmed, especially when it comes to shopping for children. In an attempt to ease the pain of holiday shopping, I have reached out to three local businesses around Regina to tell me a little about who they are and what they have going on this holiday season. Have you ever visited these locations? Let me know about it in the comments below!
1. Kids Trading Company
Located in the south end of Regina, Kids Trading Company has been a part of the Regina community for the past 15 years. Here you can find a mixture of new and gently used children's clothing, shoes, toys and accessories.
Enjoy shopping in a local store where the friendly staff knows the products and can help you find what you need, like warm winter boots from Kamik or waterproof mittens and fleecy hats. Brands like Desigual, Hatley, Yogini, Billabong and Mexx will give you lots of options for great quality clothes in the latest styles. Need a baby gift? Shop their baby section for the cutest sleepers and practical accessories like Amber teething necklaces and muslin blankets.
For Christmas their Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty, Aloka Sleepy Lights or maybe a pair of Padraig slippers will make someone on your list very happy! While you shop, your child will have fun playing with their train table, or reading a book in our big, comfy chair.
You might be interested in their consignment program, where you can earn money from your child's outgrown clothes, shoes and toys. Shopping their second hand section makes so much sense too, with great quality brands at affordable prices that were outgrown long before they were worn out.
While you're here, be sure to sign up for their free rewards program! They will give you a store credit worth 10% of what you spend in the store after only six visits - and did I mention that your member card stays in the store so you don't have to give up any wallet space?
Dessart Sweets is a retro candy and ice cream store in the heart of the Cathedral area. They specialize in retro candy (remember Lucky Elephant popcorn?), Dutch licorice, imported candy from the UK and the US and they have the largest selection of Jelly Bellys in Regina.
Christmas is a fun time of year to visit to get unusual stocking stuffer ideas. They carry Dutch specialty items like Taai Taai and Speculaas cookies as well as a huge selection of Dutch licorice.
Be sure to check out their soda selection too! You'll find over 20 different kinds of root beers and sarsaparillas, Pop Shoppe sodas and the whole line of Boylan's sodas.
Grace Avery-Parkman is a traditional and digital illustrator based out of Regina, Saskatchewan. Grace graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Regina in 2015, and is currently busy creating all kinds of original artwork and running her little shop, “Forest Floor Arts”. She loves making plush toys, art prints and other small goodies and sells her work across western Canada at farmer's markets, art sales and comic conventions. Grace also teaches art classes, and enjoys crocheting and playing ukulele.
In 2014, Grace began selling her work locally and has since attended numerous events with her handmade goods. Watercolor painting has become her medium of choice in recent years, and she currently has a catalogue of over 50 original art prints. The subjects of her paintings range from mermaids to monsters, and she loves fantasy.
Most recently, Grace has begun designing and sewing original handmade art dolls. She sells both printed dolls- which are adorned with cute watercolor characters, and entirely hand-painted dolls. Grace also self-published her first full-length graphic novel in May 2016, titled “Lesser Beasts”. She hopes to publish a new book in 2017, alongside a slew of new dolls and prints.
Long before I started my blog, many, many years ago, I visited Innsbruck, Austria. I was on a Contiki trip through Europe and visited a plethora of locations such as Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Lucerne and Innsbruck, just to name a few. It was an incredible experience and one that I think was a transformative moment in my life.
Off the record (or, on the record now, I guess), of all the places I visited, the only one I didn't like was Innsbruck. I couldn't get into it. We visited it in late March, so the weather wasn't the best. The trees didn't have any leaves on them, the grass was brown, and everything had a post-winter grey look to it. After visiting Munich and spending the night in St. Goar, my mind wasn't thinking about Innsbruck at all. Instead, I was more excited to go to Venice the next day, and the Vatican the day after that. My time in Innsbruck was uneventful, and all I wanted was to get back on the road.
That was in 2011, and now it's 2018. Has my opinion on Innsbruck changed? I would say yes. I'm more mature now and if I went back, I would better appreciate what I was seeing. As I've gotten older, I've been less impressed by the massive buildings and more enthralled by the history that created them.
Last week Ford Canada flew my sister Krystal and I out to Prince Edward Island to take part in their Cross-Canada #FordEcoSport Tour. We were only the fifth of fifteen groups that will take part in the tour, so be sure to follow the hashtag to see what everybody is getting up to as well.
Our section of the tour was probably one of the longest in the program, as we had to drive from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to Saint John, New Brunswick, then to Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec and ending in Quebec City. The whole distance is about 1,020 kilometres, which is about 10 hours of driving, assuming we didn't stop to see anything along the way.
After a long, dark, frigid winter, Canadians love the few months of summer we get every year. Once the snow melts and the mud dries, we are out hiking, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, climbing and exploring this wonderful country of ours.
Of all the provinces to explore, Alberta ranks at the top of many adventurers' list. From hoodoos to waterfalls, mountains to valleys, deserts to tundra and everything in-between, Alberta offers any outdoorsman the perfect place to embrace nature.