Shipping delays, supply chain crises, inflation, oh my! There has never been more reason to shop local. Aside from the obvious fact that local businesses need our support more than ever, on account of the rollercoaster ride of store closures over the course of the last 20 months, shopping local puts a smile on the face of an actual person: the shop-owner, a friend and neighbour in our community.
For that reason, I wanted to highlight some of the Ottawa area boutiques that I patronize on a regular basis and point you in their direction as you plot out your holiday shopping this season. This list features something for everyone on your list. To sweeten the deal, each of these businesses have agreed to donate an item featured item in this gift guide and one lucky Ottawa area resident will WIN the entire contents of this guide, talk about finishing your Christmas shopping early. Head over to my Instagram account to enter the giveaway!
Whether you are the lucky individual who takes the cake on this incredible giveaway, I hope you’ll pay these stores a visit this season. And if you can manage it, shopping in-person is always more fun than simply clicking “add to cart.”
If you’re not in Ottawa, many of these vendors have shipping across the province and beyond – so be sure to head to their online stores and pick out something special for the ones you love.
Listen here, I live in a 600-square-foot condo and countertop space is at an absolute premium. As a result, I have instituted a moratorium on countertop appliances that I don’t deem *essential*. So, on my counter you’ll find a kettle, a food processor and the king of small appliances: a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. This multipurpose tool is the culinary centre of any kitchen that wants to smell of freshly baked cookies, cakes, pizza or whatever else you’re dreaming up. Spoil the ambitious baker or culinarian on your list with this beautiful mixer from Chef’s Paradise, the kitchen and barware store that has been keeping Ottawa’s home cooks and professional kitchens well-stocked for 100 years. For an extra 10% discount on your purchase, use code “Tipple2021” at checkout and feel the savings! As part of this giveaway, Chef’s Paradise has graciously donated one of these KitchenAid Stand Mixers!
Have a friend, family member or colleague who loves craft cocktails? Give them the gift of discovery and creativity by sending them a cocktail kit from Bar From Afar. One great thing to come out of the pandemic is increased availability to cocktail kits from local restaurants, bars, and mixologists. The team at Bar From Afar creates incredible kits oriented around a common base spirit or theme and include all the tools and ingredients you’ll need to shake and stir up boozy deliciousness from the comfort of home. Delivery options are available in Ottawa and Toronto. Naturally, I’d recommend the Taste & Tipple X Bar From Afar Birthday Cocktail Kit that we teamed up to create together and features this stunning “Colour of Money” agave-based cocktail pictured above. As part of this giveaway, the team at Bar From Afar has graciously donated a $100 gift card.
Give the gift of luscious locks. I’ve been visiting Fernando Cellini Hair Salon on Murray Street in the ByWard Market for over a decade. Every six weeks, like clockwork, you’ll find me in the chair getting my colour refreshed by Sonia Lattanzia followed by a flawless cut from Frankie De Caria. All of the stylists at Fernando Cellini are enormously talented and they have introduced me to a whole host of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are tailor-made for my hair. Whether you want to treat someone on your list to a glorious blowout before the holiday party circuit or gift them some top-notch products to make sure they are best-tressed throughout 2022, Fernando Cellini should be top of mind. As part of this giveaway, Fernando Cellini has graciously donated a hair wash with treatment, blowout, and a set of products hand-picked for your or your gift recipient’s unique hair needs, valued at $250.
It wouldn’t be a love local gift guide if I didn’t shoehorn in some shameless self-promotion. Did you know I have my own line of merch? Well, now you do. At the moment my humble online shop offers a selection of embroidered t-shirts and sweatshirts bearing my signature iconography and cute catchphrases – like Shook, Salty, Old Fashioned, Butter Me Up, and Al Dente. All the garments are embroidered, not iron-on, so you can sport your Tipple pride for years to come. As part of this giveaway, I’m including one of my sweatshirts in your preferred colour, style, and size, valued at $60.
Whether you’re looking for a hostess gift or have someone on your list who loves fresh winter greenery, spruce up their space with a stunning holiday arrangement from Westboro’s Flowers Talk Tivoli. Everything from show-stopping centrepieces to DIY garland kits can be found at this local florist. I recently picked up a wreath and holiday arrangement to get my space looking more festive for the holidays. As part of this giveaway, Flowers Talk Tivoli has contributed a floral arrangement valued at $75.
Whether you’re buying for a busy mom who could use a day off or your boyfriend who desperately needs to be introduced to the wonders of a fresh pedicure, give them the gift of pampering with a gift card or service from The Ten Spot – Glebe. Ever since this one-stop beauty spot opened its Glebe location, I’ve been a regular customer. My go-to service is a gel pedicure because I’m too impatient and clumsy for a regular pedicure, I need the get-up-and-go flexibility that a gel pedi provides (your polish won’t budge after curing under the UV lamp). You can get everything from trendy brow lamination to a facial, manicure or laser hair removal at The Ten Spot! I got laser hair removal on my underarms and bikini a few years ago and it was one of the best investments I’ve made to streamline personal grooming and guarantee I’m ready for bikini season, all year round. As part of this giveaway, The Ten Spot – Glebe has donated one laser hair removal session for underarms, valued at $90.
The non-alcoholic spirits category is growing by the day and I’m delighted to see more zero-proof purveyors entering the Canadian market. Elgin Street home and kitchenware destination Pot & Pantry boasts an array of non-alcoholic options from Ceder’s and Lyre’s to make spirits bright this holiday season, without the hangover. You’ll find a fantastic mocktail recipe in my 2021 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar featuring Lyre’s American Malt Style non-alcoholic spirit. As part of this giveaway, Pot & Pantry is gifting 3 bottles of Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits of your choosing, valued at $120.
Too often gift baskets are somewhat underwhelming. La BOTTEGA Nicastro in the ByWard Market has made gift baskets great again. For 25 years La BOTTEGA has made a name for itself with its generous and filled to the brim baskets full of imported and local food products. They have a variety of gift baskets for every palate and price point. “The Classic Italian” features some of the best Italian ingredients you’ll find this side of Rome, including award-winning foods such as imported Italian pasta, Italian pesto sauces, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, imported dark chocolate, Italian espresso coffee, Italian biscuits & more. “The Dolce” is designed for sweet tooths, “The Classic Antipasto” is built for charcuterie lovers, and “The La BOTTEGA Top Shelf” is well-suited to the most discerning gastronomes. As part of this giveaway, La BOTTEGA Nicastro has generously donated a large Classic Italian gift basket valued at $150.
JV Studios in Wellington West is one of my favourite year-round destinations for gifts, cards, and treat-myself occasions of all sorts. Owner Jasmine Virani is an incredibly talented jewelry designer and has her own creations on display alongside those of Leah Alexandra, Kara Yoo, Bluboho and more. In addition to a stunning selection of jewelry, JV Studios carries gifts ranging from candles and ceramics to puzzles and scarves. I would highly recommend perusing their selection of cards for hilarious, charming, and on-trend holiday greetings. As part of this giveaway, JV Studios has included a pair of Jasmine Virani earrings, pictured above, and a $50 gift card, total value of $118.