Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2017

Let’s say you’ve got a beauty junkie in your life.

Someone that takes at least 30 minutes to get ready, someone who plans their makeup before their outfit (or even coordinates them, which is pretty next level), someone who knows the difference in tones between red lipsticks or someone who enters Sephora and actually knows what they’re looking for.

What do you get this person for Christmas?

Firstly, don’t underestimate the power of a good snoop. See what brands they seem to like, items they go through quickly. Listen to them when they talk about makeup. Maybe there’s something they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, but something they’ve always wanted.

While you can always go the gift card route — tried and true, though a little uninspired —  you could also dive headfirst into Christmas-shopping-mania and find the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life.

We can help you there.

tarte Limited Edition Treasure Box

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This is a wildly-well-priced gift set from a wonderful makeup brand, containing almost everything you need to do a full face of makeup except for foundation. tarte’s makeup is good, in the nature of full disclosure they are one of my favourite brands, and is entirely vegan if your beauty junkie is concerned with the ingredients of the product. This guy will keep on giving: the potential for a lot of use, over a long period of time.

Find it here.

Juliette Has a Gun Discovery Kit

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Fragrance is so specific to every person that it’s hard to get it right unless you know someone really well. A good solution to that, of course, is to bombard them with so many scent options they have no choice but to find one they really like (and possibly regift the rest.) Mini perfumes are perfect to take on the go, not to mention Juliette Has a Gun have some wonderfully unique and gorgeous scents available. This is the perfect way for someone to be introduced to the brand.

Find it here.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Set

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So yes, scent is specific to every person, but come on, I think everyone likes Tom Ford. His makeup brand is the pinnacle of luxury. The packaging! The scent! The price tag! This is a splurge gift for sure, only for those who have made peace with a high budget, but if you know your intended gift receiver is a bit of a lush, the you know this gift will be a hit. Like, when you wear this, you smell expensive.

Find it here.

Sephora Favourites Give Me Some Nude Lip

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If you can’t decide on one lipstick to get someone, or if you go spying in their makeup collection see so many brands you don’t even understand how its possible, I will point you in the direction of the Sephora Favourites lip set. This gift set has lippies from Kat Von D, Buxom and Bite Beauty and contains both liquid lipsticks and, well… lip-sitcks. And they’re all nudes so they’re guaranteed to actually be used. Basically the perfect gift for the person you have no idea what to get for.

Find it here.

Fenty Beauty

Okay, so we all know Rihanna is a goddess who can do no wrong, and it was a surprise to absolutely no one that there makeup collection is damn good. Even if someone already has pieces from the collection, it seems unlikely someone would say no to getting more Fenty Beauty. Nearly everything from the collection is a safe bet, but may I point you towards:

Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette
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Glittery eyeshadows galore in beautiful, limited edition packaging.

Find it here.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlight in Trophy Wife
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The greatest highlighter to have ever been made. Whoever wears it will literally look like a million bucks. Like a stack of gold coins.

Find it here.

MAC Rossy de Palma Collection

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“Limited edition” and “collaboration” are words that are pretty exciting and hysteria-inducing in the beauty community and MAC is on top of the game. Their collabs are always timely, well-made, and beyond tempting. They do have a few available right now, such as the Nicki Minaj and Robert Lee Morris collections, and, while both are exquisite, my personal favourite is the collection with Spanish actress Rossy de Palma partly because she’s fabulous and partly because the packaging is so luxe.

Find the collection here.

MAC Snow Ball Pigment and Glitter Kit

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If you know your gift-intended loves some glitz and glam in their life, why not give the gift of glitter? MAC pigments are famous for their staying power and potency and these colours are perfect for the winter. Not to mention they come in a cute little disco ball clutch for even more glam.

Find it here.

Colorpop Yes Please! Palette

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Colorpop is a well-made, incredibly fairly-priced makeup brand, so most of their products are good for the more modest budget but will make a huge impact. The Yes Please! palette is a real show-stopper for the brand. The palette was on Nylon’s beauty hit list of 2017 and features 12 gorgeous warm-toned shades, guaranteed to look good on everyone.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Advent Calendar

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At this point, it’s getting close to the wire, but I had to include one beauty advent calendar, firstly because they are just the best and secondly because they are so difficult to find in Canada that we all need to share the good ones when we are able to find them. L’Occitane’s advent calendar is pretty iconic already, at a decent price point for the amount of high-quality products you get from it. This year they’ve also put out a premium advent calendar for the big spenders, but the original is a great way to introduce someone to the brand if they’ve never tried it before.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Divine Collection

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For the skincare fanatic in your life, L’Occitane is a good way to go, and their Divine collection is a particularly well-advised gifting idea. It’s anti-aging, but you won’t necessarily offend anyone by giving it to them because the products in this line are also moisturizing, luminizing and all-around nice-skin-makers. (That being said, maybe don’t gift this to anyone who is real sensitive about aging.) The set contains an all-over cream, an eye cream, a cleaner and a face oil — a full skincare routine ready to go.

Find it here.

Inspired Soap Works Velvety Salve

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Lastly, I’ve got something pretty different from everything else we’ve talked about on here. Inspired Soap Works is a smaller Canadian company with a big impact, selling hand-made affordable skincare products. One of their last launches are a line of salves for the entire body, from head to toe. The salves are formulated without water, so despite them coming in small packages, they really will go a long way. These are the ideal ~stocking stuffers~.

Find it here.

Quench Your Online Shopping Thirst With Something a Little Different

One of the saddest things any Canadian fashionista goes through is the heartbreaking realization that some of the world’s best-kept fashion secrets don’t ship to Canada, leaving one with the option of either hitting up your local mall/retail store or shopping your same old generic online shops. But fashionistas want something new. Sure you can style an entire outfit from Zara into a one of a kind outfit that no one may ever think of, but there is only so much a person can do with a top that 857 other Canadians may own. Fortunately, with a little research and dedication, one can find a plethora of online shops that not only ship to Canada but also provide Canadians with stunningly fashionable clothing that’s fashion week ready and, most importantly, affordable. Here are some fun and existing stores and online shops that will have your closets and bank accounts jumping for joy.



Depop started as a social media platform for PIG magazine readers to share and buy clothing online. It soon blossomed into the trendiest seller to buyer fashion market on the internet. Boasting thousands of sellers selling tens of thousands of pieces every day, Depop has everything from custom made canvas bags to vintage band tour merch all at extremely affordable prices.

The benefit: Depop boasts some serious one of a kind collectable items that no one on your block is bound to own.

The drawback: If you don’t act fast, highly sought after items are swept up just as fast as they’re posted.



Mango comes straight to you from Spain, one of Europe’s best kept fashion secrets. After sadly leaving the Canadian market over a decade ago, Mango has remained one of Europe’s most illustrious high-street fashion retail powerhouses. With an exciting array of trend-relevant and season-ready clothing, Mango has something for everyone looking for that high fashion piece that doesn’t come with the high fashion price tag.

The benefit: Mango offers great prices on stylish clothes paired with a great return and shipping policy.

The draw back: Not your greatest bet when looking for a clubbing dress or something a little more risqué.



Move over Forever 21, Missguided is a British brand that encompasses what it means to be the quintessential fashion it girl. One can find everything from sexy party dresses to super on trend athleisure wear. Filled to the brim with every trend imaginable, fashionistas can re-create looks from Gosha, Chloe, Gucci, and Vuitton with just a click of a button. Apart from the great selection of clothing and accessories, Missguided boasts some of the best perks and sales of any online shop out there.

The benefit: Missguided has everything from $100 discounts to student discounts.

The draw back: The heavy trend based shop can sometimes feel a little juvenile.



Hailing from Ibiza, Desigual is another Spanish brand that aims to bring the international fashion community top notch, high-quality clothing. With runway ready dresses and seasonal collections that are actually made for their runway shows, Desigual may be one of the easiest ways to wear high fashion runway clothing without having to actually dish out runway dollars for high-quality clothing.

The benefit: Desigual has high-quality merchandise that comes from the runway as well as an amazing sale section.

The draw back: Prices can sometimes be a tad bit higher than most high-street fashion brands, but it’s nothing too steep.



Shopbop may seem like your ordinary online designer shop, but unlike other sites that do the same, Shopbop offers curated collections put together from some of the fashion world’s best brands. One can find everything from Alexander Wang, Acne, Tome, and Alice + Olivia. The prices often match the labels they’re attached to, but the curated collections, personalized style recommendations, and sales are too good not to pass up!

The benefit: SHhopbop offers personalized style recommendations for its shoppers.

The draw back: The prices can often be a lot higher than most of the other online shops on the list.

Needle & Thread


Needle & Thread is one of the greatest finds on the web. Boasting a stunning collection of gowns, jackets, tops, and even wedding gowns that resemble couture creations from some of the worlds greatest couture houses, Needle & Thread is the closest thing you can get to haute-couture without having to drop $30,000 on a custom made wedding or celebration gown. It even has a small but growing selection of homeware goods that carry the same level expert embroidery that their clothing displays.

The benefit: Needle & Thread is one of the only online shops that sports some of the most stunning weddings gowns ready for international shipping available on the web. Making finding the perfect one-of-a-kind gowns a cinch.

The draw back: Like Shopbop, the prices at Needle & Thread are higher than the other sites on this list.

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Artsy Gifts Under $100

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

A new exhibition at Northern Contemporary Gallery features hundreds of art pieces under $100!

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Looking for an inspirational gift for your artistic friend? Acrylic Sugar Skull, Coffin Jewelry Boxes, Drake-inspired painting, and many other interesting and affordable pieces are waiting for you at the art-show, Under 100.

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

The exhibition introduces you to talented North American artists and makes your holiday shopping entertaining in itself.

“You can get something that is really unique,” said Emily May Rose who runs the gallery. “Every kind of theme is covered because we did no theme for the show.”

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Rose said they wanted to make it affordable for people to buy gifts for their friends and family. The artists could submit a work of any theme and medium, but it had to be priced $100 or under.

The idea worked out perfect. The gallery was full with customers on Dec. 8, the first day of the exhibition. They were scanning the walls with juicy paintings, breathtaking photos of Toronto, and funny digital illustrations.

Photo: Jordan Prentice

“People mostly chose to do reproductions of their work like prints because you can set the price a little bit lower for those,” Rose said. “You can’t really do a big painting and sell it for under a hundred dollars.”

Some of the artists decided to use shampoo jars and broken pieces of cups in their mixed-media-works.

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

An OCAD University student Kevin Pham submitted two digital illustrations and one watercolour painting that he did for school. He said the exhibition is a good opportunity for him to show some of his work and get gallery experience.

“This one is about my grandmother,” Pham pointed at his watercolour painting. “She passed away. So this is her caring for thirteen kids.”

Photo: Sveta Soloveva

Rose said her favourite artist in this show is Ann Somers who submitted six pieces.

“She has a very painterly but still graphic style,” Rose said. “She did a lot of pop-culture references like Kim Kardashian or Stranger Things TV show and little Drake pieces. Those were very cute.”

From left to right: Kevin Pham and Chantal Hassard. Photo: Jordan Prentice

The exhibition runs until Dec. 22, at the Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.

Joshua DAVID Boutique

Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Recently, the Yonge & Eglinton area has become the new fashion scene, with new independent boutiques and established retail stores scattered along the street. While wandering throughout the North Toronto area, Joshua DAVID shop is capturing the effortlessly chic vibe better than anyone.

Co-founders Joshua Fagan and David Archer opened the very first boutique seven years ago in Montreal. Their goal is to integrate young promising designers and labels such as Alice+Olivia, Paige, and The Kooples, with the high street fashion.

Over the years, this boutique has become very successful and is now recognized by all the local fashionistas. Given the great response they got in Montreal, David and Joshua decided to expand the store’s operation and opened their second location in Toronto last year.

At their first-anniversary celebration Novella had the pleasure to meet David Archer, one of the co-founders, and got to ask him a few questions to learn more about Joshua David boutique:

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Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Liat Neuman: What is the concept behind Joshua David boutique?

David Archer: We decided to create a boutique that would consistently offer exciting new products from established and emerging designers to our loyal customer base and, also help them find what they need without spending too much time in the department store, which requires going through a bunch of racks and clothing. We live in a world full of choices, and that can be overwhelming. Our job is to facilitate everything, so the customers can easily find what they are looking for.

L.N.: Is there any particular reason why you decided to pick this location at the Yonge and Eglinton area?

D.A.: A lot of our customers from Montreal have family living in Toronto, and they recommended this area for our boutique. They know our voice, so we took their advice. However, we spent a year in Toronto before choosing the final location, tasting different neighborhoods in order to make sure that this was the best place for us.

joshua david collection
Photo Credit: Summer Yang

L.N.: What makes Joshua DAVID different from other similar boutiques in Toronto?

D.A.: Our store is unique because is coming from our guys’ perspective. We are always chatting with our clients to find out what they are looking for. We have objective eyes. Also, we have a close relationship developed over the years with our costumers. We have three different generations of the same family that is still shopping with us because we know what will work for each of them.

L.N.: How does the future for Joshua DAVID look like?

D.A.: I would like to see more of the private collection and maybe bring more accessories. I don’t want to lose the personal touch, so we prefer to focus on having a great store, than just opening more and more stores.

L.N.: As a buyer, could you tell us a little bit about the process that you have to go through to pick the pieces that will be showcased in the store?

D.A.: When Joshua and I are buying we always keep our customers in mind. We are going to fashion rooms and fashion weeks and pick the pieces that match our clients’ lifestyle For instance when we see a dress that our customer will probably love, we will take her size and a few months later we will invite her so she can see it and try it on.

L.N.: What are your most popular and trendy pieces in your store for this season, Spring 2016?

D.A.: I had one stunning sleeveless long vest that was totally sold out. Layering is popular too, and these two pieces in blue that look like jumpsuit from theory is another favorite set. Also, I love the jewelry line by Canadian designer, Jenny Bird. Her spring collection is inspired by architecture, and I find it very modern yet translates very well from day to night during this time of the year.

David Joshua details
Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Joshua DAVID carries everything a modern chic wardrobe needs, all in a friendly atmosphere and the support of their fantastic professional team.

Photos by Summer Yang Art.

Yorkville Village is Getting a Facelift

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The upscale and always chic Yorkville Village is getting a face lift this Summer 2016 and you won’t believe the changes! Building upon the already established Hazelton Lanes, the chic shopping complex will expand into its own downtown mini shopping haven that will cater to new brands such as, Judith & Charles and Ofelia, along with existing stores such as TNT, Andrews and philip. Sure to make an impact on the thriving shopping complex as it revamps its appearance and retailers, anticipate a one-stop-shop experience as the new facility will house everything you will need from fitness, with Equinox gym, groceries from Whole Foods, and a new food court that will cater everything from Italian to Asian fusion inspired delicacies.

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With changes already underway for its June 2016 grand upgrade, Yorkville Village will be another staple in the downtown core that will have many running to its doors with open arms; and wallets. Not just stopping with the new interior of the facility, but its exterior will be just as extravagant. With a patio on the outside of the luxury mall and dual entrances, the shopping destination will be transformed into a shopping experience everyone will want to witness first hand.

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Taking a closer look at the retailers of the new and improved Yorkville Village, Novella has a one-stop-shop guide for you on existing menswear retailer philip, and new retailers Ofelia and Judith & Charles. Offering a little something for everyone is what Yorkville Village prides itself on, and we’re here to give you a little dose of that while you plan your visit to the shopping centre.



This third generation men’s wear business has been in a staple in Canadian men’s fashion for many years, and continues to keep the family business a float with a variety of brands such as, Paul Shark, Armani Collezioni and John Varvatos, while carrying their own in-house philip label attire and accessories. From what started with owners, and siblings, Philip and Leandra Zappacota’s grandfather years ago with his bespoke tailor shop, the company has transformed the coveted store and brand into a fashion one-stop-shop for the dapper gent wanting to make a statement.

Adding the title of image consultant to their list of duties is nothing to the Zappacosta siblings as they enjoy styling their clients in the latest trends offered to them from their philip store. “When we’re image consulting, we really get a sense of who we’re looking after. So that may involve going to their home and studying their wardrobe, getting a feel for their career and their aspirations and goals in dressing. And from there we customize a look and wardrobe for them,” says Philip Zappacosta. And always making sure every client feels like family, creating a rapport with each customer as they walk through their glass doors is everything to the duo as they create an experience for their growing clientele. “You meet your match with your clients,” says Leandra Zappacosta, “and that’s why it’s about building a relationship with the client because you do get along with them and you get one another.”



Housing three notable German brands – Laurel, Luisa Cerano and Riani – Ofeila is the sophisticated woman’s go-to for all things, casual, chic and sleek. With one store in Montreal and Yorkville Village being the first store to house all three brands in Toronto, Ofelia is ready to expand throughout all of Canada and bring European threads to women who want to set themselves apart from the crowd. The bright lights, light coloured walls and intricate ceiling fixtures cascading down upon the spacious store automatically transform your mood into a calming and relaxed state, while the sophisticated atmosphere where minimalism and colour meet welcome you with clean cut pleated dresses and elaborate floral accessories. “The Ofelia customer would be an older woman from 40 and up” says owner of Ofelia and manager David Lugassy, “the pieces are more toned down, and the younger generation likes to step it up.”

Luisa Cerano – keeping things casual and semi-formal, the statement pieces of this brand are their well-tailored suits and comfortable denim. Sticking to more neutral tones so pieces can be easily mixed and matched is a must with the Luisa Cerano brand, as the art of adding your own personal style to each piece can seem as though you are painting a blank canvas.

Riani– keeping things fun, flirty and colourful, the Riani brand brings a sense of youthful vitality to each dress, dress shirt and skirt set. With the use of subtle prints such as polka dots and stripes, Riani is utilizing the classic print to be mixed with trendy colours. Key pieces for the brand are their shoes, which are made to be matched with the corresponding Riani pieces, and the brands dresses, which can be worn from day to night. Also, their reversible pieces, from skirts to dresses and cardigans, proves that Riani is for the woman who is ready to take the town by storm at any time of the day.

Laurel – branching from the famous Escada brand, the Luisa brand is a step above a designer collection and offers comfort and simplicity with every piece. Noted for their great fitting pants, Luisa aims to please when it comes comfort and simplicity. Always debuting a different style T-shirt each season, as well as the basic black, white and red, the blank canvas effect of the brand offers clients to mix-up their attire with the brands elaborate jewelry pieces.


Judith & Charles

Structure, clean lines and a minimalist approach to fashion is all that comes to mind when taking a first glance at Montreal brand Judith and Charles. With warmer weather on its way, the Judith and Charles Spring/Summer 2016 collection offers an array of yellow hues and white chromatic designs that exude a sense of newness and refreshment to the colour palette of the brand. A favourite amongst Canada’s first lady, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the brand offers clients a range of styles that shift from the traditional pants suit, to the popular A-line cocktail dress. “Our customer is the working woman who is busy and travelling for work. As well as on the weekends she likes to have fun and go casual, and likes to spend time with family and find good quality pieces,” explains Judith and Charles store manager Carla Tulk. While sticking to traditional pieces, the brand also caters to the young fashion goers of today with trendy pieces that will sure have all eyes on you. From tuxedo styled full length jumpers, to monochrome open style coats, Judith and Charles has a piece that will suit any woman’s personal aesthetic and will be sure to have those pieces for years to come.

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Now with all these exciting features coming to Yorkville Village everyone has the chance to experience the luxury of the upcoming shopping destination. Whether you’re a gentleman who wants to give your wardrobe a facelift, or a woman who is I need of a wardrobe colour spruce-up, new and existing retailers will have exactly what you’re looking for. And with all of your lifestyle amenities under one roof, it want be hard to get carried away with all the things you have to do. Workout, shop and eat all under the same complex? Yes please!