Gift Shoppers’ Paradise

Ever walked into a store and had your jaw drop? That’s how I felt the first time I set foot in my next Scavenger Hunt shopping stop. Perfume Paradise doesn’t have a huge storefront, but don’t be deceived – step in the door and you’ll see an amazing wall stretching out with every heavenly-smelling bottle you can imagine on the shelves! I’m not exaggerating, they have over 150 starting  with the letter ‘A’ alone. I counted.

What does this mean for you and me, the gift shoppers? It means no matter how particular their taste, we’ll be able to find the perfect match for our giftees here.

For those who like natural products they’ve got one of the best selections in the city, with lines like Pacifica that are 100% organic, vegan friendly, completely allergen free, and smell AMAZING (the lines include things like body washes and roll-on perfumes – ideal stocking stuffer or gal pal gift material!).

They’ve even got the Amber Ball, a fabulous-smelling orb that double as artwork for your home – find out more about it here and check out the picture – they’re so pretty!

There are only 2 more days left in my Holiday Scavenger Hunt, so see you there soon!

Perfume Paradise
253 Vaughan Street
@PerfumeParadise

Love is in the air

I’ve always been a bit of a romantic and thus, I can’t help but love Valentine’s Day. I love to spoil (and be spoiled) and I’ve got a few ideas for you and your sweetie.

You could start with some relaxation time at Riverstone Spa, where they’re offering couples massages and romantic getaway weekends.

East India Company is hosting a 26 course buffet  with 7 salads, 7 desserts, chutneys, pickles and papadoms for $21.95 per person. It’s the biggest buffet they’ve ever put on and will start Friday and go until Monday night.  349 York Avenue, 947-3097

Check out The Keg for cozy comfort food guaranteed to keep you and your loved one warm. 115 Garry Street, 942-7619

When you book for 5pm and 5:30pm at Lobby on York, you and your sweetheart will receive a complimentary flute of bubbles. When you book at 8:30pm and 9pm, you get one dessert to share on the house! 295 York Avenue, 896-7275

Dessert Sinsations Cafe, 505 St. Mary Avenue, 284-4661
Valentine’s Day Menu, $55 per person
First Course: fresh baked assorted grain breads served with caramelized onions and herbed butters
Second Course: tart apple, walnut and citrus Bavarian & fresh field greens salad with feta or soup of the day
Entrée Course: filet mignon steak & fresh Atlantic lobster tail served with clarified butter, rosemary infused garden baby potatoes and winter root vegetables (shell fish allergies: substitute lobster with grilled chicken served with mojito salsa
Vegetarian Option: fresh spinach, marinated artichokes with herb infused feta and chevre cheese, wrapped in classic Greek pastry, and served with lemon risotto and winter root vegetables
Dessert Course: “Aphrodite’s Chocolate Ecstasy” sensual, rich, dark chocolate cake with chocolate glaze and double Callebaut chocolate crème de cacao mousse drenched in very berry coulis

Pony Corral, 444 St. Mary Avenue, 942-4414
Valentine’s Features
Feature Cocktail PINK LADY $5.99 Appetizers: CALAMARI $10.99, SAUTEED MUSHROOMS $9.99, CHICKEN LIVERS $9.99
Dinner Selection: CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF 12 oz NEW YORK STRIPLOIN & SHRIMP $34.99, COMBO SEAFOOD SUPREME $32.99 Lightly seasoned pickerel, grilled skewer of shrimp & calamari
Dinner Includes Soup Of The Day, Caesar Salad or Greek Salad Choice of Lemon Roasted Potato, French Fries or Rice Pilaf Vegetable Of The Day
Dessert for Two: Heart Shaped Chocolate Cake Topped With Raspberry Filling $10.99

Beachcombers, The Forks Market, 948-0200
Valentine’s Day Special All Inclusive Menu $29.95

The Velvet Glove, Fairmont Winnipeg, 985-6255
Valentines Day Menu (Feb 11-14), $55 per person
SOUP OR SALAD: VELVET GLOVE CREAM OF WILD MUSHROOM Or “NEVA HYDROPONICS” ARUGULA SALAD Baby Spinach, Fresh Strawberries, Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
INTERMEZZO: PINK GRAPEFRUIT SORBET Champagne & Fresh Basil
ENTREE: GRILLED STERLING SILVER FILET Wild Mushroom Ragout, Pomme Pont Neuf Or WEST COAST SABLE FISH Braised Spinach, Crushed Fingerling Potatoes, Tapanade Butter with Tomato-Saffon Jus Or PANKO-CRUSTED STUFFED BREAST OF CHICKEN Gorgonzola Cheese, Fig Jam, Fingerling Potatoes, Seasonal
DESSERT: VELVET GLOVE CHEESECAKE Raspberry Puree, Seasonal Berries Or DARK CHOCOLATE & GRAND MARNIER TORTE Black Cherry Gelato
FINALE: TUXEDO STRAWBERRIES

The following is available at The Chocolate Shop!

Secret Santa #6

It’s time for the final installment of Peggy’s Secret Santa! This week’s winner is Randy and he was nominated by his friend Linda, who had this to say about him:

Randy is an avid volunteer!  His desire to help and serve others is outstanding!  Although a retiree, Randy is known to be “up and at it by 6:30 a.m.” (sometimes earlier) and goes strong all day.

For CityConnexions, Randy assists immigrants/refugees transition into a new country.  Sometimes, he is the “welcoming committee” who personally picks them up at the airport.  He helps them find employment.  He picks up  donated items (furniture,household items, etc)and delivers the goods to their places of abode.  These are just a few examples.

For Samaritan’s Purse, Randy plays a pivotal role in promoting Operation Christmas Child and encouraging others to get involved.  Annually, he hosts a “neighbourhood shoe box packing party”, and also engages church and community folk to do the same.  Because of Randy’s efforts, 3,747 shoe boxes were filled this year for children aged 2-14!!  Shoe boxes are then delivered to countries ravaged by war, famine, extreme poverty, disease and natural disaster.

Randy is very deserving of Peggy’s Secret Santa.  Daily, he enriches the fabric of society by what he does for others.  If you ever have the opportunity to meet Randy and hear him share some of his real life stories, he will leave a lasting imprint in your heart!

Randy really did leave a lasting impression on my heart. He was so grateful for his nomination and kept telling me how he does these things because he loves to do them. I explained that’s exactly why he deserved this gift.

He was also completely overwhelmed by his gift. Throughout the process I’ve been touched by how happy all of my winners have been. I think it’s the people who give the most who are usually the most grateful for what they get.

Randy told me his wish was for “everyone to discover the joy of volunteerism.” I think that’s a really nice thought.

A little birdie told me that Randy is a huge Timmies fan, so I had to fulfill that by picking up a gift pack and gift card from Tim Hortons at the corner of Portage and Vaughn for him. He told me he actually has a collection of Tim’s paraphernalia going and he didn’t have these holiday mugs yet.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in Peggy’s Secret Santa. It has been so wonderful meeting all of my winners—each and every one of them has touched my life in a positive way and I know they are out there right now doing what they do best.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Beautiful Ballet!

Me hanging out with Nutcracker costumes

Christmas is just a few more sleeps away (I can’t help but feel like I’m six years old at this time of year), and last night I got to partake in that most anticipated of Christmas traditions, the Nutcracker Ballet.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet never misses a beat when it come to their productions and this one was no exception. Everything about it was absolutely breathtaking from the living room scene where the Christmas trees grows right before your eyes, to the magical forest where the snow glistened from the Northern lights to the tiny beams of light that sparkled on the dropped curtains during scene changes. Every details was accounted for.

I particularly loved the twist on the classic tale as it connected to Winnipeg and Canada. The show is set in a stately home on Wellington Crescent and featured quintessential Canadian scenes like a snowy pond hockey game and a battle on Parliament Hill.

Of course, the costumes were dazzling—elaborate and elegant with just the right amount of sparkle. And the audience couldn’t resist a collective “aww” when the oh-so-adorable little mice and angels took to the stage.

My favourite scene was in the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy where multicultural dances were performed including a new take on the traditional with a modern almost Egyptian-like routine. It added a delightfully unexpected element.

And, of course, since this is a show perfect for the whole family, a bit of comic relief for the kids came from Filbert the Bear, who was seen popping up behind windows and giving in to general silliness. (Definitely my kind of guy.) Check out this behind the scenes video of him during rehearsal.

The Nutcracker runs until December 28 at the Centennial Concert Hall. For tickets, visit the RWB box office or Ticketmaster.

Secret Santa #5

It’s Friday (yay!) and that means it’s time for another installment of Peggy’s Secret Santa. This week’s winner is Louise, who was nominated by her friend Linda. Here’s what Linda had to say:

Louise is a remarkable woman who unselfishly and constantly gives to others. Her “down time” is when she finally lays her head on the pillow.

I met Louise in 2007 when looking for suitable volunteer opportunities for myself and my father (a person with Alzheimer’s disease).  Louise introduced us to the Transcona Senior’s Congregate Meal Program where she works.  A week later, she welcomed us with a big smile, hug and open heart.

Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Louise better and am awed by her genuine spirit of giving to others year round.  Some examples of her extraordinary efforts include:
–  being the wife and caregiver to her husband who has MS
–  being an exemplary role model to her grandson
–  sitting with “end of life” persons in the absence of their family
–  taking seniors with specific challenges under her wing (providing transportation to/from appointments, hospital, etc.)
–  overseeing and helping make 600 sandwiches weekly for “Feed My Lambs” (ministry to street/homeless persons)
–  promoting of, and engaging others, in many charitable/humanitarian causes (Operation Christmas Child is one example)

One may think that Louise is retired.  She is not.  She does all the things listed above (and so much more) after her work day is done.

In my eyes, Louise is truly phenomenal.  She has enriched my life greatly in the short time I’ve known her.  I am proud to nominate her for Peggy’s Secret Santa.

So that’s Louise—as caring and giving a person as you could ever meet. Just to illustrate what a kind soul she is, I actually found her pruning the plants in our office when she came by to pick up her prize!

For Louise I picked up this beautiful pair of fur lined mitts from SF Imports in The Forks Market. She absolutely loved them and told me she has a scarf that perfectly matches them. (I think I’m going to pursue a career in personal shopping when this is all done.)

The nominations for Peggy’s Secret Santa are now closed. I have one more prize to give away next week. I ended up with close to 80 nominations and it was so hard picking just six. I have been overwhelmed at the number of selfless, giving people living in this city. You are all remarkable, and I sincerely wish I could award everyone with a prize. Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

Pretty little things

First off, congratulations to Michelle Pinsonn, who was the winner of my RWB Nutcracker contest! Michelle, you and a loved one will be enjoying the show come Boxing Day… or maybe that’s presumptuous of me. Maybe you’re going to take someone you don’t really like, which kind of makes no sense since this is an awesome prize. Although, it would make a great peace offering… anyways, I’ve gotten off topic. Enjoy the show! (Whomever you take.)

I’ve got a few lovely gift ideas for you today as well:

Stylish men, need stylish accessories and this Hugo Boss scarf is just the ticket. I picked it up at Hanford Drewitt on Broadway where they have tons of hot men’s clothing including suits and dress shirts and shoes and cozy sweaters.

Hugo Boss Scarf, $75

I picked up this very cute, handmade key chain from the Gallery Shops at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. There were all sorts of different designs available, but this bright red strawberry really caught my eye. She’ll never be digging around in her purse for her keys again with this!

Strawberry keychain, $30.99

And finally, I have a friend who is moving away from Manitoba soon (boo), but I thought I’d give her a little piece of our culture to take with her. Oseredok Museum—where they feature all things Ukrainian—has an adorable giftshop, where they feature… all things Ukrainian. There I picked up some authentic borscht, Black Pearl coffee (locally-roasted), cute little themed Ukrainian napkins and a tree ornament.

Grean Bean coffee ($14), borscht ($12), napkins ($5) and tree ornament ($3.50)

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Place Louis Riel has donated an awesome prize for me to give away to my loyal readers. All you have to do is go to this link, and fill out the form telling me why you love downtown. You’ll then be entered to win:
* A New Year’s Eve stay in an executive suite at the Place Louis Riel
* Complimentary parking for one vehicle
* Breakfast for two on New Year’s Day

Draw is December 20!

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As always, don’t forget the Pledge to Shop Downtown. Over the last two weeks, we’ve given away $100 gift cards for Portage Place, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Winnipeg Square. We’ve still got gift cards from The Forks Market and Riverstone Spa up for grabs! Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to learn how to win!

 

 

Getting into the spirit

Well the countdown is on. Christmas is only a couple of short weeks away and you can get into the spirit at Dalnavert Museum. They’ve got lots of holiday-themed entertainment happening in the next couple of weeks including performances of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol and a historical toy display.

Stop in as Dalnavert brings Christmas past to life with Victorian decorations, games and crafts along with some old fashioned story telling.

 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: a performance series of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale

Five different Winnipeg performers will be bringing the classic Christmas tale to life from Dec 14-23. Doors open at 6pm and performances begin at 7:30pm.

Dec 14 & 15: Celeste Sansregret
Celeste is a writer, producer and performer working in theatre, film and television. Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Dec 16 & 17: Ron Robinson
Ron’s 45 minute production offers the classic beloved scenes of ghosts and ghastly apparitions, linked by references to the Victorian period. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Dec 18 & 19: Debbie Patterson
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol combines the best of Debbie’s two favourite holidays. Yes, it’s about Christmas, but it’s also a ghost story! Approximate running time: 90 minutes. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Dec 20 & 21: Gordon Tanner
A strict traditionalist, Gordon will endeavour to read Dickens’ Christmas story in a manner that would warm even John Christian Schultz’s stony heart, with lots of accents and resonance and diction; the aural equivalent of figgy pudding, if you will. Approximate running time: 90 minutes. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Dec 22 &23: Ian Mozdzen
At Dalnavert this holiday season, Ian plans to channel humour, darkness, and physicality into a lively and fanciful performance of this Dickens’ holiday classic. Approximate running time: 90 minutes. Appropriate for ages 15 and up.

Tickets:  $20 (adults), $10 (ages 17 and under). To purchase tickets, contact the Manitoba Historical Society Dalnavert Museum at 943-2835 or Bookings@mhs.mb.ca.

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Place Louis Riel has donated an awesome prize for me to give away to my loyal readers. All you have to do is go to this link, and fill out the form telling me why you love downtown. You’ll then be entered to win:
* A New Year’s Eve stay in an executive suite at the Place Louis Riel
* Complimentary parking for one vehicle
* Breakfast for two on New Year’s Day

Draw is December 20.

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As always, don’t forget the Pledge to Shop Downtown. Over the last two weeks, we’ve given away $100 gift cards for Portage Place, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Winnipeg Square. We’ve still got gift cards from The Forks Market and Riverstone Spa up for grabs! Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to learn how to win!

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I have more prizes! I have a pair of tickets for the RWB’s performance of the Nutcracker on Boxing Day. If you’d like to win them, just become a subscriber at downtownpeggy.com and you’re automatically entered to win.

To subscribe, enter your email address in the right sidebar of this site. If you’re already a subscriber, then you’ve already been entered. Draw is December 15.

 

Secret Santa #4

It’s time for another edition of Peggy’s Secret Santa! This week I’ve chosen a lovely young woman named Ashley. She was nominated by her friend Denise because of her caring spirit and dedication to helping others. Here’s what Denise had to say:

Hello!

First off, happy holidays! The snowfall this weekend and general happy spirit around the city is what made me stop and take note of this interesting online contest. And I’ve got the perfect person that deserves to be a secret Santa recipient.

Her name is Ashley. Besides being a wonderful human being every day of the year, working with at-risk youth through various organizations around the city, my friend Ashley goes above and beyond during the holiday season.

For the past five years she has been the main organizer of the ‘Clothe the City’ coat and winter clothing drive. Clothe the City creates opportunities for everyone to stay warm during the holiday season by collecting and distributing new and gently used winter outerwear free of charge to Winnipegger’s in need. Ashley accepts garment donations, organizes venues, food and volunteers, as well as oversees operations during the event day.

Having volunteered at Clothe the City, I’ve witnessed first hand how this warm and caring girl transforms everyone around her, spreading a feeling of compassion that transcends beyond the holidays. I think that after giving so much to others, she deserves a little something special this holiday season as well!

Thank you for your consideration. I’m sure this contest will be a huge success!

There you have it. Ashley is a shining example of what young people can accomplish! With today’s especially cold weather, it becomes even more obvious how important Clothe the City is. It can be easy to take simple things for granted, forgetting that not everyone can afford a parka, gloves and toque when the temperature drops below freezing.

Since Ashley helps keep others warm, I decided to pick up a gorgeous scarf from H’Attitude (located on the second floor of Portage Place) for her. It is extremely soft and luxurious and even I couldn’t have predicted how nice that colour would look with her lovely red hair. So congrats Ashley, and thank you for keeping everyone warm!

Ashley wearing her new scarf

 

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Place Louis Riel has donated an awesome prize for me to give away to my loyal readers. All you have to do is go to this link, and fill out the form telling me why you love downtown. You’ll then be entered to win:
* A New Year’s Eve stay in an executive suite at the Place Louis Riel
* Complimentary parking for one vehicle
* Breakfast for two on New Year’s Day

Draw is December 20.

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As always, don’t forget the Pledge to Shop Downtown. Over the last two weeks, we’ve given away $100 gift cards for Portage Place, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Winnipeg Square. We’ve still got gift cards from The Forks Market and Riverstone Spa up for grabs! Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to learn how to win!

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I have more prizes! I have a pair of tickets for the RWB’s performance of the Nutcracker on Boxing Day. If you’d like to win them, just become a subscriber at downtownpeggy.com and you’re automatically entered to win.

To subscribe, enter your email address in the right sidebar of this site. If you’re already a subscriber, then you’ve already been entered. Draw is December 15.

Just a good day

I was going to start this post a little differently until I saw the coolest thing. Hot 103’s Ace Burpee has been listing the top 100 most fascinating Manitobans this morning on Twitter and lo and behold, he chose yours truly for number 96!

100 Most Fascinating MB’s of 2010: #96: Downtown Peggy (Never met her, but we’ve all heard of her. She seems pleasant and positive)

Wow, I’m just so honoured!

Here’s a couple of other ones I liked because I happen to know them and totally agree:

100 Most Fascinating MB’s of 2010: #84: Chef Ben Kramer (Runs Diversity Foods at U of W. Responsible. Creative. Awesome)

100 Most Fascinating MB’s of 2010: #82: Kevin Donnelly. (If you saw an event or show in 2010 at MTS Centre, it’s because of him)

100 Most Fascinating MB’s of 2010: #75: Anna Paquin (Star of True Blood on HBO) *Okay, I don’t know her, but I LOVE True Blood.

100 Most Fascinating MB’s of 2010: #62 Sylvia Kuzyk (Legend. Beautiful woman. Kissed Kevin O on the lips on live TV)

Ace is in the 70s now, so I’ll post some more as the day goes on.

Okay now that I’m done tooting my own horn…

On to New Year’s Eve! The Place Louis Riel has donated an awesome prize for me to give away to my loyal readers. All you have to do is go to this link, and fill out the form telling me why you love downtown in a few sentences. You’ll then be entered to win:

  • A New Year’s Eve stay in an executive suite at the Place Louis Riel
  • Complimentary parking for one vehicle
  • Breakfast for two on New Year’s Day

The total value of this is $200 and let me tell you, I recently went to view PLRs new renovations and the suites are amazing. The whole hotel is totally stunning—this is definitely a treat. Imagine taking in the fireworks at The Forks, clubbing it all night, going for a romantic dinner and then just walking back to the hotel, collapsing on your bed and welcoming 2011 in style. (Hey if you win, will you take me with you?) We’ll do the draw on December 20.

Here are some pictures I took at Place Louis Riel (sorry, they’re from my phone so they’re not the best quality):

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As always, don’t forget the Pledge to Shop Downtown. Last week we gave away a $100 gift card to Portage Place. On Wednesday we gave away a $100 gift card to Mountain Equipment Co-op and on Friday, we’ve got $100 for you to spend in Winnipeg Square. Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to learn how to win!

(PS-Next week, I’m going to also have gift cards from The Forks Market and Riverstone Spa.)

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I have more prizes! I have a pair of tickets for the RWB’s performance of the Nutcracker on Boxing Day. If you’d like to win them, just become a subscriber at downtownpeggy.com and you’re automatically entered to win.

To subscribe, enter your email address in the right sidebar of this site. If you’re already a subscriber, then you’ve already been entered. Draw is December 15.

Other treats

I’ve been doing a lot of talking about shopping lately, and today is going to be no different. I’ve been seized by the Christmas buying bug. Did you realize there are less than three weeks to go? Did I just send a wave of panic through you? Don’t worry, I’ve got some great ideas for gifts that are more experiential. I love this type of gift, because it’s often something the receiver can enjoy for months to come.

Strindberg Fest
This year’s Master Playwright Festival at MTC focuses on August Strindberg, a Swedish playwright known for his daring and experimental work. For just $75, you can pick up passes for all 18 shows happening during the week of Jan 20-Feb 6. This is the perfect present for the culturally inclined individual in your life.

An Evening with David Adjey
You’ve seen him on the Food Network busting the chops of would-be restaurant owners and now he’s making his way to Winnipeg. Happening Feb 9 at the Fort Garry Hotel, tickets are just $30. Any foodie in your life will love this—trust me. You can purchase tickets by emailing davidadjey@shaw.ca.

Art Classes at the WAG
Give someone the gift of creativity by signing them up for an art class at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Who doesn’t want to get a little dirty with the paint and clay? I myself have signed up for a class in January and I can’t wait! There are options for all ages, types and skill levels. Prices vary by class.

Spa Escapes at Ten Spa
You will be in someone’s good books forever when you get them a spa and yoga package from the Fort Garry Hotel. Send them on a weekend of bliss that includes dinner, hotel stay, yoga classes and spa treatment for just $159. Contact the hotel at 942-8251 for more details and to book.

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You can also give a special gift in Portage Place with their “Snowflakes of Hope” campaign. They are selling snowflakes for $2 and hanging them on trees in Edmonton Court. All proceeds are going to the Merkel and Dubois families as a result of two recent devastating tragedies—the father who lost his life trying to save his son’s life in a fire and the two parents who were killed in a car crash, orphaning their five children.

Snowflakes can be purchased at their customer service desk for the next two weeks and in Edmonton court from 11 am to 1 pm until Saturday.

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As always, don’t forget the Pledge to Shop Downtown. Last week we gave away a $100 gift card to Portage Place and this week we’ve got gift cards for Mountain Equipment Co-op and Winnipeg Square. Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to learn how to win!

(PS-Next week, I’m going to also have gift cards from The Forks Market and Riverstone Spa.)

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I have prizes! I have a pair of tickets for the RWB’s performance of the Nutcracker on Boxing Day. If you’d like to win them, just become a subscriber at downtownpeggy.com and you’re automatically entered to win.

To subscribe, enter your email address in the right sidebar of this site. If you’re already a subscriber, then you’ve already been entered. Draw is December 15.