Last Minute Gift Ideas For the Guys in Your Life

Is it just me or are guys just hard to shop for?  I feel like every Christmas and every birthday, I'm faced with the same dilemma when I'm trying to shop for presents for hubby or my dad.  I don't need anything, they say, but what I really want to know is what they really want.

When Mark's asked me to put together a blog post about the best gifts to give the awesome dad's in our lives, it brought me back to my childhood of giving my dad socks and underwear (that my mom would buy) every birthday and Christmas, haha!  That can get kind of redundant, no?

If you're not familiar with Mark's (formerly Mark's Work Warehouse), they carry outfits suitable for everyday wear and are considered Canada's top jean retailer with brands such as Levi's, Silver and Buffalo.  With such a range of variety, it's time to make Mark's your one-stop shop for your last minute gifts for your dad, hubby, brother or uncle.  Choose from a huge selection of jeans, dress shirts, sweaters, shoes and outerwear - there's something for every guy on your list!

Personally, I'm loving these complete outfits that the Mark's team has put together:
Shirt | Jeans | Wallet | Watch | Belt | Socks | Boots

A gift guide wouldn't be complete without a few personal choices picked out by moi:

1. Boots | 2. Jeans | 3. Socks | 4. Pyjamas | 5. Belt | 6. Never Iron Shirts | 7.  Robe | 8. Slippers | 9. Scarf | 10. Winter Jacket | 11. Beanie | 12. Gloves | 13. Ugly Christmas Sweater

And, thanks to Mark's, I was able to add a pair of boots to hubby's shoe collection!

Who else is doing their last minute Christmas shopping today (insert raised hand emoji here)??  

Happy Shopping!

Kristina xo

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Mark's.  All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Mark's, and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation in order to complete this post.  


Family Winter Gear Gift Guide

This post could not have come at a better time!  Vancouver was hit hard with a blast of Winter last week and, apparently while I'm writing this post, it's started snowing outside again. It took me three hours to get downtown last Monday morning and I had to leave my car at my mother-in-law's after work because it was pretty much snowed in (also, props to the good samaritan on Patterson Avenue in Burnaby for pushing my car and countless others out of the snow.  Without you, I would have been {a} stuck, and {b} extremely late for my first seminar that my brand new employer signed me up for!).  You could say that the entire city is in typical "Vancouver snow" panic mode!

Well, make it the entire city except for my kids and probably every other kid in Greater Vancouver!  They couldn't wait to get outside in the snow and make snowmen, snow angels and anything to do with snow (unfortunately, I was at work and didn't get any photos of them, but I heard that they had a blast!).  Snow has definitely been a rarity in Vancouver over the past few years and I don't think anyone took the 'snowfall warning' seriously until they saw the roads covered in that white stuff.

Luckily, Jadon and Zoe were fully prepared for the cold front thanks to a shopping trip to Sport Chek a few weeks ago.  In true mom fashion, I purchased new winter jackets a couple sizes too big for the kids to grow into, but (surprise!) I also treated myself to some new winter gear!!

I'm sure you guys are knee deep into your holiday shopping, and maybe some of you have yet to start, so I'm sharing my favourite winter gifts for the entire family - and everything can be found online or at your local Sport Chek!

1. Boy's Jacket:  Firefly | 2. Women's Winter Boots:  Sorel | 3. Women's Parka:  Helly Hansen | 4. Girl's Beanie:  The North Face | 5. Scarf:  McKinley | 6. Men's Winter Boots: Ugg | 7. Girl's Jacket:  Firefly | 8. Ski Goggles:  BollĂ© | 9. Kid's Gloves:  The North Face | 10. Helmut:  Giro | 11. Woman's Beanie:  The North Face

I'd love to hear how you and your family #GiveABetterGift this holiday season in the comments below!


Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Sport Chek.  All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Sport Chek, and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation in order to complete this post.  


Celebrate the Holidays with Image Optometry

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which could not be more true.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life that may not have mattered as much to me in my 20’s.  I’m talking one-on-one lunches or date nights with hubby, ten minutes of alone time (that would be me in the shower), or just taking in the beauty of my surroundings.

I’ve been near-sighted since grade school and my vision has always been closely monitored by my optometrist with yearly eye exams.  It’s been very important for me to ensure that my kids receive the same care, since vision-related issues can be hereditary.  For now, our optometrist has recommended that Jadon and Zoe both limit their screen time to 20-30 minutes a day, in hopes that it will correct Jadon’s slight prescription for far-sightedness and prevent him from having to wear glasses at such a young age.  Zoe is also being closely monitored, as her myopathy (muscle condition) may affect her vision/eye muscles in the future.

As for me, I recently started experiencing discomfort while wearing my contact lenses.  I’m not going to lie – I’m an avid user of contacts and I’m not shy about it!  I do have a pair of glasses, but prefer to wear them in the evenings only as they can get quite uncomfortable throughout the day around my ears (having hearing aids doesn’t help either!).  A few years back, an optometrist found bumps under my eyelids which were caused by prolonged use of contacts.  Fast forward a few years and it seemed that the bumps had returned with a vengeance.  A visit to my optometrist last week confirmed my suspicions and also showed something that had never happened before:  my prescription had a slight change – for the better!  Could this mean that my eyes are leaning towards 20/20 vision with each visit to my optometrist?  Probably in my wildest dreams, but at least I have reassurance that my eye health is in great hands!

About Image Optometry

Aside from being the official eye doctors of the biggest sports teams in BC, Image Optometry is the largest, most affordable eye care company in BC. They pride themselves on providing affordable eye care and a unique service to their customers by allowing them to try on glasses and contacts before they commit to their purchases.  Think online prices with bricks and mortar service!

Vancouver Canucks Christmas Deal

Are you thinking of what to gift to your loved ones for Christmas?  Image Optometry, the official eye doctors for the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps teams, are offering a Christmas deal that you cannot miss!  

Book an eye exam between now and December 31, 2016 for $89.95, and you’ll receive a free pair of glasses, if needed.  Bring a friend for an eye exam at the same scheduled time and receive a pair of Vancouver Canucks tickets* to one of the following games:

Jan 4th - Canucks vs Coyotes
Jan 15th - Canucks vs Devils
Jan17th - Canucks vs Predators
Feb 2nd - Canucks vs Sharks
Feb 4th - Canucks vs Wild
Feb 19th - Canucks vs Flyers
March 9th - Canucks vs Islanders
March 16th - Canucks vs Stars

*Appointments for the Canucks ticket deal must be booked by December 31, 2016


new hockey season, new hockey gear!

The first time Jadon stepped on the ice, you could see the uncertainty, the fear of falling and the moments where he just wanted to give up because he just couldn't quite get it.  Pretty much normal feelings for anyone when they're trying something new, but am I ever glad he didn't give up (those pep talks come in handy!).  His first on-ice experience was at a local community centre for a learn-to-skate class.  In about 8-10 classes, the only thing he learned was how to shuffle himself across the ice.  Luckily, I bumped into another mom who recommended a learn-to-skate hockey class at a premier skating rink close to our house.  Supposedly, the instructors from this hockey class had their young skaters skating by themselves by the second or third class.   This I had to see!

So off to the new skating rink we went for Jadon's first hockey class.  It wasn't anything spectacular - he didn't learn how to skate backwards let alone forwards.  He basically stood in one spot while the rest of the 3-4 year olds in his class skated professionally around him.  I felt bad.  So bad.  You see, Jadon is a perfectionist.  And I could see him just standing on the ice in pure fear.  Thankfully, the coaches recognized this and got him a walker so he could learn to move around the ice.  No such luck.  Jadon just didn't want to fall down.  Of course, the coaches were right on top of it, sat him down on the back of the net and took him for a ride around the rink.

The rest is history.

Now that the new hockey season is gearing up, its time for some new hockey gear!  We teamed up with our favourite sporting goods store, Sport Chek, to get Jadon ready for his Fall hockey season.  He's not playing on a team right now, but he is perfecting his hockey techniques in a skills class.  I took the kids to our local Sport Chek so Jadon could get fitted for his new hockey gear and ended up debating spending close to three hours to make sure everything fit properly.  Trust me, hockey gear is no joke!  Thankfully, I had a very patient and knowledgable hockey shop expert helping me pick out the right sizes and making sure the gear fit properly.  Here's a look at what Jadon ended up with (or equivalent).  He already had the hockey bag, but we love it so much, we had to add it to our must-have list:

1. Bauer Supreme S160 Junior Hockey Skates | 2. Bauer Lil Sport Youth Hockey Helmet Combo | 3. Bauer Vapour X700 Elbow Pads | 4. CCM QuickLite 230 Hockey Gloves | 5.  Bauer NLP7 Core Neck Guard | 6. CCM QuickLite 230 Hockey Pants | 7. CCM Ultra Tacks 2.0 Shoulder Pads | 8. CCM Tacks 4052 Shin Guards | 9. CCM Mesh Jock Short | 10. GRIT HTSE Hockey Tower | 11. Bauer Supreme 170 Composite Stick

Next Summer, we'll be putting Jadon in a 3-on-3 hockey team so that he can get some practice playing in a team environment.  After that, it looks like early morning practices and lots of coffee will be a normal part of our schedule for years to come!

Once you have all your hockey gear, don't forget to take advantage of Sport Chek's free skate sharpening and stick cutting services.  Don't worry - if you didn't buy your gear from Sport Chek, you can still access these services for a small fee.  Plus, save up to 25% off mix and match protective equipment (see in-store for more details) - we took advantage of this promotion and it made a huge difference!

Junior Hockey Skate Exchange Program

Since young hockey players are constantly growing, Sport Chek wants to ensure that their skates fit properly for optimal comfort and performance each season.  That's why they offer their Junior Hockey Skate Exchange Program!  Here's how the program works:

  1. Buy any new junior hockey skates at Sport Chek.
  2. Bring back your junior skates in good condition within 12 months of purchasing, accompanied with the original receipt and receive 50% credit of original purchase towards your next junior hockey purchase at Sport Chek; or
  3. Bring back your junior skates in good condition within 24 months of purchasing, accompanied with the original receipt and receive 24% credit of original purchase towards your next junior hockey purchase at Sport Chek.
It's that easy!  For more information on the Junior Hockey Skate Exchange Program, visit your nearest Sport Chek location.


Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Sport Chek.  All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Sport Chek, and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation in order to complete this post.  


IndigoKids Holiday Wishlist Picks

Eeek!!  I can't tell you how excited I am to be writing this post!  I've been a fan of the Canadian company Indigo for years, watching them grow from my neighbourhood bookstore into a dream lifestyle brand/store that is a haven for people from all walks of life.  From their lifestyle line to their carefully curated lifestyle products, Indigo never fails to surpass my expectations time and time again.

As a mother of two young kids, I at times find myself roaming the mall aimlessly until I ask my kids where they want to go and their first answer is always INDIGOOOOO!!!  So, off we go making a beeline straight into the IndigoKids section where my little ones could spend hours (if I let them!) looking, playing and reading while I take a moment to relax.  Given Jadon and Zoe's enthusiasm about Indigo, you can only imagine how thrilled they were when I told them they could create an IndigoKids Holiday Wishlist of their favourite books and toys:

1. Cinderella Royal Dream Dollhouse | 2. Paw Patrol Ryder Pad | 3. The Crayons' Book of Colors | 4. American Girl Ashlyn Doll | 5. Beauty Case | 6. Ada Twist Scientist | 7. Mix It Up!

I’ve always been in love with the fact that IndigoKids is the perfect holiday destination and one-stop shop for all of my kids’ (and cousins and friends on our holiday lists!) wishlist items.  Not only that, but did you know that IndigoKids offers a FREE gift wrapping service all year round to make your shopping experience that much easier?  Checking it once and checking it twice – it’s such a relief knowing that everything will be checked off my list early with a shopping trip at IndigoKids (and that should give me more time to make my own wishlist, wink wink)!

IndigoKids Open House - Saturday, Oct. 22nd

Want to get a head start on your holiday shopping and spend some time with the family?  IndigoKids is hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 22nd at participating Indigo and Chapters locations (excluding Coles and Indigospirit stores).  There's fun for the entire family, including storytime, hands-on play, activities, giveaways and more!

Don't forget to check out Jadon and Zoe's full list and more hand-picked holiday wishlists from Indigo's favourite Canadian Bloggers!


Disclosure:  I am part of the IndigoKids Holiday Wishlist influencer program.  All opinions in this post remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of IndigoKids, Indigo, and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation in order to complete this post.