Do you remember your favourite gift as a child? Mine was the doll I received from Santa when I was six years old. Her name was "Bizze Lizzie" and I specifically requested her on my wish list, instead of the Baby Alive my sister was obsessed with. When I opened my perfect present, I couldn't believe my eyes - there she was, the special dynamo with blonde ringlets that actually moved her own iron and carpet sweeper back and forth. Oh, the irony. Nowadays those are the two household chores I dread the most.
But isn't gift giving amazing? Whether you receive something as simple as a free coffee, that must-have item you suddenly can't live without or the perfect present you've pined for, the feeling just can't compare.
That's why we've put a special spotlight on gift giving in this issue of Ottawa At Home, from unique discoveries, easy ways to give back and profiles of exceptional people with unique talents.
For Ulya Jensen, her gift is sharing her design expertise. The Ottawa-based interior designer is currently filming a new show for HGTV with home renovating guru Peter Fallico, but she took time out of her busy schedule to give us a tour of her renovated space. The once dated and cramped bungalow has been opened up and given a light, airy feel.
We also catch up with Marlene Shepherd, the owner and operator of Shepherd's Fashion Accessories. While she makes it her business to find the ultimate blouse, skirt or necklace you can't wait to give yourself, Marlene shares how she's decided to give herself the gift of time this year.
In this issue we've also compiled a list of Fab Finds that would make Santa proud. From tasty treats, outrageous furniture and elegant jewelry, they're sure to satisfy everyone on your shopping list. Plus we offer simple tips to make party planning a snap, easy ways to make over your home in one weekend and don't miss our tour of Ottawa's favourite dessert spots. This exploration of the sweetest treats in town will have you forgetting calories ever existed.
It's also the season to cook up a storm and we've feature six mouth-watering appetizers, plus special recipes from three of Ottawa's husband-and-wife restaurateurs. These co-owners live, work and play together, all while creating magic in the kitchen.
If you're looking for a special way to give back, you'll be inspired by the story of two good friends who have created a way to recycle old furniture while giving new Canadians a fresh start in life.
I hope this issue helps you rediscover the joy of giving, whether it's trying out a spicy new recipe on friends, making an impact on someone's life or simply finding the perfect gift. This year I'm hoping to treat myself to a robotic vacuum or a contract with a professional cleaning crew - that is if I can't track down "Bizzie Lizzie" on eBay.