#yeg Spotlight: Holiday Gift Guide 2015

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and I’m excited once again to share my list of a few local favourites that I will be shopping and gifting for the holidays (you can check out my round up of last year’s locals here, who are producing wonderful things yet again this year!)

I know not everyone gets excited about Christmas music immediately following Halloween, or the decorations popping up faster than you can say “boo!”. But, truth be told, I am totally one of those people that has Christmas movies and mugs on rotation all year round. Regardless of where you stand on the Christmas excitement meter, the task of shopping for the holidays can be daunting; even dreadful at times. But if you’re making a commitment to shop locally, and that’s something you enjoy anyway, then I hope to inspire even the slightest bit of cheer with my collection below.

Clockwise:

Transcend Coffee Subscription
Coffee. Delivered to your house. Need I say more?! This local shop has made gift-giving to the serious coffee lover so much easier. You select the type of subscription you want, length of time you wish to send coffee to the recipient’s home, and Transcend takes care of the rest of the logistics. I have almost signed myself up many times…

The Skinny
For all of those impeccably dressed little ones in your life. This shop carries everything from cute and modern swaddle blankets to outfits that make you want to request the same in adult sizes. All of the shop’s items are curated by the lovely (in every sense of the word) Erinn, and can be shopped either online or from their trendy, underground storefront in Vacancy Hall of the Mercer Warehouse.

Top Knot Style
I recently gifted one of these luxurious and beautiful cowls to my sister for her birthday, and it’s taking everything in me not to order one of everything else for myself and the rest of my family! All hand made, right here in Edmonton!

Pura Botanicals
I have yet to experience the beauty and serenity of Pura’s brand new space located on 124 Street, but what I know from pictures and experiences of friends of mine that have been, I can’t wait to discover more. Eco-friendly, sustainable, and effective skin care is a gift everyone must experience, right?

Berg and Betts
Stylish accessories made from the heart. This local company truly works magic with their hands as they transform scrap leathers into beautiful watches of various styles, and tassle necklaces that are highly coveted by any fashion girl at heart.

I don’t want to end this post without mentioning the holiday markets, because that is where you can get your hands on even more uniquely Edmonton goods:

Make It Edmonton – November 26-29
Cory Christopher Christmas Market – now until December 20
Royal Bison – November 27-29 + December 4-6
Shop the Loft – December 12

It’s fun and exciting to me to find that perfect holiday gift for the special people in our lives, but it’s giving, in general, that excites me the most. In keeping with our family tradition of giving back, this year we have decided to donate to the organizations that will be supporting Syrian refugees coming to Edmonton. An unavoidable issue in the news these days, this is something that lives very close to my heart. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter, granddaughter and niece of immigrants, who faced similar struggles (though the circumstances for coming here were different, in some cases). Or maybe it’s because we have a young family of our own and can’t help but see our own daughter in the faces of the young children and their families on the treacherous journey to a better life. Either way, if my family’s contributions help make even the slightest difference, then it’s something we’re ready to dive right into. Here are the links to some information we found helpful, and where/how to donate:

Direct help in Edmonton: Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Canadian Red Cross

UNHCR Canada – The UN Refugee Agency

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re having a great week! xo

Kassey
//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences\\

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And the winners are…

Happy Friday, guys! I’m so excited to announce the winners today. Without further delay…

Giveaway

EMILY S. & CATHY M.

Congratulations, and thanks for your support! You will soon have one of these hot tanks in your hot little hands, so stay tuned for an email from me.

If last week’s interview with Sandy sparked an interest, and you’d like to stay in the loop of what’s next for How’s My Down Dog, give her a follow over on Instagram and Facebook.

Wishing all of you a wonderful long weekend!

xo,
Kassey

Inspired || How’s My Down Dog?

In light of my recent giveaway with Sandy, I thought this would be a good opportunity to begin, yet, another series where I feature cool people doing cool things all on their own. There is so much of this that goes on under the radar, why not spread the word as best as you can?! Here’s a little more about Sandy, how she got the idea for the yoga tanks, and a little more about her fabulous self!

Tell us a bit more about these cool tanks. How did you get started and why?

The idea for the shirts is inspired by my yoga teacher – Jeff Mah. His classes really focus on the foundation of yoga poses and how to refine your practice to avoid long term injury. We spend a lot of time in class talking about the foundation of downdog. So, while in downdog one day, I thought it would be cute to print “how’s my downdog?” on a shirt, like “how’s my driving?”. Then I started giggling to myself and people stared…

Has yoga always played a role in your life? If not, what is it that keeps you going and loving it?

I started practising yoga (seriously) about 5 years ago. Depending on where I’m at in life, I practice anywhere from one to five times a week.

I love yoga because you can really craft your practice to make it work for you. For instance, I was training for a leg of the Canadian Death Race with my sister this year, so instead of my normal Vinyasa/power flow practice I opted for Yin or Restorative.

It’s also a major challenge and never gets stale. There’s always a something new to learn, whether it be a new pose or how to get your hamstrings to stop feeling like they’re going to snap like a twig (I’m still working on this).

You balance this, plus your day job as Principal at Bassett Digital Consulting. Any tips or tricks to making it all happen so smoothly?

If you have the luxury of working for yourself from home, I would suggest that … You don’t have to wear pants!

Seriously though, it’s a matter of prioritizing. What are you going to do today that will help you achieve your goals? Then sort out what needs to get done and what can wait.

Also, don’t over extend yourself, be realistic, and manage expectations. I have worked in a project management capacity for many years so I am able to set fairly realistic deadlines for projects that I’m working on.

Favourite spots to do yoga in Calgary and in Edmonton?

Calgary – One More Breath (see jeffmah.com for more details on where and when), Bodhi Tree, Yoga Mandala

Edmonton – Moksha Yoga (go see Meghan Butler), Noorish Yoga in Garneau

If you’re ever in Canmore check out the Yoga Lounge

Favourite indulgence?

Cheese, wine and beer.

I actually read a book about cheese mongering once, called “Living Life on the Wedge”

Best piece of advice for someone looking to start yoga, or take their practice to a more serious level?

For someone wanting to start I would suggest a yoga sampler. Try a bunch of classes and different studios. See what you like and what you don’t like. It’s fairly cost effective to check out new studios. Most intro passes will get you an unlimited week or month for pretty cheap. Know that there is a yoga out there for almost anyone, you just have to find your sweet spot.

Also, don’t get discouraged. It’s called a yoga “practice” for a reason. Some poses will come naturally and some will not. If you keep at it and practice regularly, you’ll be amazed at your progress. I know people who, when they started, weren’t able to touch their toes and now they’re in full hanumanasana (full splits).

Let’s all try and say hanumanasana three times fast! It was so fun working with you, Sandy, and getting a bit more of an inside scoop on how this all came to be! And for you, dear readers, don’t forget you still have a few days left to enter for a chance to win one of these yoga tanks. Just follow the link below to enter your information:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and have a great week!

xo,
Kassey

Giveaway || How’s My Downdog?

Giveaway

Happy Thursday and Happy Giveaway Day!

I’ve teamed up with my friend Sandy, the cool and talented gal behind How’s My Downdog? yoga tanks, and we’re giving away not one, but two to two lucky readers!

I had the good fortune of meeting Sandy (that’s her ^) many years ago through a childhood friend, and we have crossed paths and caught up many times since. When we started chatting about joining forces and putting this giveaway together, I was all too excited. Without saying too much here, as I’ve got a fun spotlight post coming up on her and all of her coolness next week, I’ll get straight to the good stuff – entry details!

It’s quick and easy – follow the link below and enter your information, and then cross all of your fingers and toes that your name is drawn! This contest runs until August 28, so don’t let the week get away from you. Winners will be chosen on August 29, at which point I will get in touch with you directly to obtain further details and information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to you all, and allow me to be the first to wish you a lovely weekend!

xo,
Kassey