Top 5 must-haves for your next holiday party

It’s my favourite time of year, I think we’ve established that already. But just to remind everyone, I LOVE the holidays. I love getting creative with gift-giving (aka shopping!), indulging in all the delicious treats that seem to come with the season, and I especially love throwing a good holiday party for all my friends.

I know you’ll make great use of these five tips for your next holiday party!

1. Music to set the tone.

To get yourself in the mood, you have to put on some holiday tunes while you get ready. Personally, I like to check out the seasonal collection of CDs at the Millennium Library (2nd floor) for an eclectic mix.

Library music

2. A signature scent.

I love working a delectable signature scent into my ensemble – it’s an important accessory! Which is why I could only narrow it down to two favourites. Hermes Rouge ($134) and Des Merveilles Elixir ($145), both from Perfume Paradise. I suggest putting a little dab right behind each ear once you get out of the shower, and let the compliments about your subtle yet sophisticated choice wash over you all night.

Perfume

For your man, spritz him with Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce ($114) and thank me later.

Abercrombie

3. Chic table setting.

It’s coming together. It’s sounding good, you’re smelling fabulous, now it’s time to set the table. This one takes some thought. Will you have a theme? What’s the nature of the event? Classic and classy? Casual and friendly? Upscale cabin in the woods? Whatever you’re looking for, Glucksteinhome at Hudson’s Bay downtown has some beautiful tables set up for inspiration, and some even more beautiful sales. I’m a fan of the Alpine Cabin series – plaid tablecloth (regular 69.99) and napkins (19.99), now 40% off – you can dress them up or down.

Table

4. Make your own floral arrangement

Not a DIY-er, you say? Nonsense. I love leaving it to the experts too, but it feels good to make something beautiful for yourself (or someone special). Plus in this case, the experts at Freshcut Downtown will be guiding you along every step of the way.

What: Create a beautiful centrepiece to take home for the holidays!

When: December 16, 5:30 PM

Where: Freshcut Downtown (Portage Place)

Cost: $25 plus tax, portion of proceeds go to Change for the Better

Space is limited! Call 204-943-6514 to reserve your spot!

FullSizeRender

5. Wine.

Need I say more? Fenton’s Wine Merchants at The Forks has you covered – even if the MLCC strikes this holiday season. I suggest anything red or white, sparkly or pink, frequent re-fills and a plan for a safe ride home.

Wine

Wish you had something special for your next holiday party? Snap a photo and put it on your #downtownwishlist by tweeting or Instagramming me (@downtownpeggy) or posting on my Facebook wall! Remember to use the hashtag #downtownwishlist. You have to #finditdowntown!

Happy holidays!

Farewell to the old…

Lineup at the Paddlewheel!
Lineup at the Paddlewheel!

So, I was one of the many, many, many people who headed over to the Paddlewheel last Thursday for a final dish of cubed jello and a goodbye. If you were one of those who flocked there with me in the last few days, you know what I mean about “many, many, many” people – if you missed out, here’s what I’m talking about:

It took us almost 45 minutes to make it to the grill counter – I don’t think the Paddlewheel has been so busy for decades. And what made that 45 minutes wait totally worth it – besides the anticipation of cubed jello at the end of it – was hearing all the reminiscing going on in line around me. One middle-aged businesswoman came by with her elderly mother, and said that the first time she remembered being there, she was only 5 years old, holding her mother’s hand going down the line, and now it was her turn to bring her mother there. And when the news cameras came in, one person frantically dodged behind others in line, and I heard them whispering frantically that they had taken time off work to make it down to the Paddlewheel on its last day, and they couldn’t have their face appearing on the news in case their boss saw!

It shows just how much the restaurant meant to people – but no matter how many of us loved it when my grilled cheese, coleslaw and sweet pickles were done it was time to say goodbye. It reminded me to make sure I keep visiting my favourite places – especially the little hole-in-the-wall family restaurants, and the diners that I think will always be around because I just can’t imagine them NOT being there. Change is good, but it’s nice to take a moment to remember all the great times we had there – so via twitter, some more Paddlewheel memories – if you’ve got one of your own, share it!

Paddlewheel tweets 1 Paddlewheel tweets 2 Paddlewheel tweets 3

What should go in the Bay?

I think this is one of the big downtown questions right now, don’t you?

Change is part of what makes downtown great, in my humble blogger opinion. I like that there are new stores and new restaurants to visit – but of course, sometimes it means that something old has to go so something wonderful and new can grow. It’s sad, but it’s an opportunity too – if the Chocolate Shop restaurant hadn’t closed, for example, we wouldn’t have the incredible Arkadash bistro downtown.

A whole lot’s been appearing in the papers in the last couple of days about The Bay Downtown – the Target takeover means the Zellers downstairs is closing, so there’s more space open downstairs as well as some open upper floors. I’m sad they’re closing, but that also means there’s a big opportunity to think about what should go there. Is it office space, more space for the University of Winnipeg, something else entirely?

Some people think it should be renewed retail –

incentives are provided for manufacturers to locate in Manitoba and create employment opportunities. Why not a retail department store? Particularly when the property in question is a historic building that all would agree is an irreplaceable landmark in the urban centre.

The May 1 Globe and Mail reported the Bay is considering the concept of “a store within a store.” More specifically, the Bay might invite Bloomingdale’s (an upscale U.S. department store owned by Macy’s) to operate within HBC department stores in Canada.

I have no doubt this concept is under consideration for the downtown stores in Toronto, Vancouver and, perhaps, Calgary.

– Charles Huband, “The Bay is key to downtown renewal,” Winnipeg Free Press May 2012

Comments in the most recent article have lots of ideas, like mixed use. One of the most popular comments:

Grocery and pharmacy in the basement, retail on the main and second floors, condo’s and or offices on 3, 4 and 5, restaurant(s) with roof top patio on the 6th.

– Robert4

Now, don’t have the perfect answer – although I have to admit I like both the above ideas! – but I think it’s one of the most amazing buildings in the city, and finding the right fit for it could lead to some amazing things. So what do you think? What do YOU want to see sharing space with the Bay downtown?