GIFT GUIDE | Valentine’s Presents for Your Lover, Your Partner, and Your Pals

GIFT GUIDE | Valentine’s Presents for Your Lover, Your Partner, and Your Pals

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Valentine’s Presents for Your Lover, Your Partner, and Your Pals

February 14th, a day that is both loved and loathed in equal amounts, is fast approaching. It’s day in which romance is king despite the holiday possibly having a dark history. It’s said that Emperor Clausius II, an ancient Roman, executed two men on February 14th, both named Valentine. The Catholic Church then created a celebration to honour their martyrdom and called it… you guessed it: St. Valentine’s Day. (Read more about that on NPR’s The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day.) Bloody history aside, it’s a day that is shoved in our faces before we even reach New Year’s Eve. I wanted to present a sex positive gift guide for any type of relationship, including the one you have with yourself. A possibly fictitious holiday isn’t required to celebrate the love you have with any of the people in your life. If acknowledging the holiday is not an option, then take this as a list of great items that are all TPS approved. So here it is, the ultimate list of Valentine’s Presents for Your Lover, Your Partner, and Your Pals. (Or even yourself!)

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Steamy Literature

You know what’s really sexy? Knowledge. It’s even more hot when that knowledge is in the field of sexual health and relationships. What is hotter than that? I’ve spent a bit of time these past few months reading a few attitude shifting books.

Take for instance, Cuffed, Tied and Satisfied: A Kinky Guide to the Best Sex Ever by Mistress Jaiya. Not only does it go into depth about introducing kink into your sex life, whatever that may mean to you, it also offers helpful suggestions about keeping an open mind and dialog about needs and wants. It breaks down the difference between willing to do something, wanting to do something, and consensual play. A very informative read indeed.

The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton is yet another must read especially for those interested in open and other nonconventional relationships beyond the limits of traditional monogamy. Whether this appeals in a personal context or not, it’s a riveting read that can foster an open mind towards an otherwise socially poo-pooed concept.

Lastly, Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out by Jessica Graham is a captivating read I would recommend to ALL women of any age as well as men. Every one is all about being “mindful” these days but does that trickle into their sex lives? It certainly should!

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A Touch of Kink

Power dynamics can be fun to play with in general. When you introduce some accessories to the mix, it can take it to a whole new level. Bijoux Indiscrets has a little something for everyone! Not only are their products well designed, their Maze line is 100% vegan! I can attest to the quality of the pieces. They even arrive in sleek black boxes. Opening each item is a sexy task I will happily do any day. Right now they’re even offering 30% off of items in their Valentine’s section which is worth checking out. Now this is a “naughty” little idea for a Valentine’s presents for your lover, your partner, and your pals! Bonus – some of the pieces are totally wearable in real life too. Their harnesses can look pretty bad ass paired with the right dress!

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Decadent Treats

Call it cliché but chocolate and champagne are classics, period. Chocolate can never go out of style because it is constantly evolving. Take for instance the brains behind CXBO, a chocolatier out of Toronto they’re constantly pushing the boundaries of flavour and design. Each piece of chocolate they create is an art piece in itself. I would love to meet the person who wouldn’t be stoked to receive a box of their Rose Petals Collection. Here are the flavours: Passionfruit Caramel, Rose Caramel, Cinnamon Caramel, and Pink Salted Caramel. Don’t even get me started on their Love Bar; there should be rose essence in EVERYTHING! Pair that with a glass of Veuve Clicquot in a delicate Kate Spade Grace Avenue flute. VOILA! Valentine’s magic!

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The Toys

When considering what a good gift might be, there’s one category that will be both well used and well loved. Here’s the real Valentine’s presents for your lover, your partner, and your pals. This list will check off all those boxes 😉 This isn’t a definitive list, of course. For more ideas head on over to my Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Body Positive Friend.

For The Gals

Every one of your women friends needs an incredible vibrator. Lelo does not mess around when creating amazing sex toys and the Mona Wave is everything you could want. It combines vibrations with a come hither type wave motion. Pretty dreamy, right? Add in the Lelo Sona and you’ll never leave your bedroom again.

 

And The Guys

There is plenty of information on the internet regarding prostate pleasure and health. I can’t speak to it first hand for obvious physiological reasons. That said, Lelo’s Loki Wave is the male version of the Mona Wave, a product I can attest to.

And Then The Couples

There are two couples toys that are worth investing in immediately. Firstly, the Mio by Je Joue. It’s a vibrating cock ring that packs a lot of punch. Then the Lelo Tiani 3, a remote controlled couples toy than can be enjoyed at a distance but also while together. It’s all about enhancing the intimacy, not detracting from it. Hot tip: Lelo is currently having a 50% off sale. Their products are priced to their quality so this is a deep discount to jump on!

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Pretty Little Lacy Things

Lastly, the lingerie. It’s not cheesy if it’s gorgeous. Whenever I wear a matching lacy set, I can’t help but feel good. Blush Lingerie has been a longtime favourite of mine and that won’t be changing anytime soon. I’m especially digging their sheer desire and the loveswept collections. Both lacy but completely different vibes. In addition to being gorgeous, they’re also comfortable which is key.

What are some of your top recommended Valentine’s Presents for Your Lover, Your Partner, and Your Pals?

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GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru

GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru

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Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru

My final installment of the holiday gift guide series for 2017 is about health, of course. Everything begins and ends with good health! I’m positive there are a few people on your list who immediately came to mind when reading the headline. Here’s a few holiday gift ideas for a health guru in your life.

MUSE MEDITATION

It is no secrets the immense health benefits that accompany the act of meditating. However, I know it is sometimes difficult to get motivated to start. Enter Muse, a meditation app and headband that’s so sophisticated. If you’re anything like me and need to see hard numbers when it comes to self improvement. This is the app for you if that statement is a resounding yes. It guides you through your meditation with nature sounds, when your mind begins to drift, you’ll be notified by the weather sounds intensifying. Bonus: the app has an alarm function that notifies you when it’s time to meditate.

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VEGETARIAN COOKBOOKS

Naturally, cookbooks are synonymous with healthy living. The food we consume is the foundation of healthy living! Thus cookbooks are high on the list of holiday gift ideas for a health guru. While plant based eating is ideal, even eating vegetarian can improve your health in so many ways. A couple books I have been turning to quite regularly have been Vegetarian Heartland, New Feast, and my most favourite, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition. It even includes some added vegan recipes! All three books are accessible to varying skill levels too.

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STAY HYDRATED

One of the best gifts I have received was a high end water bottle from my Mother last year. It has traveled to Morocco and back. It kept my water cold for 24 hours. When I got ill abroad, I was able to keep my hot eucalyptus water steamy for 12 hours. It is magic! Insulated steel water bottles are the way to go. Lamose is a locally owned Edmonton company designing water vessels. They even have the option of etching any design onto the bottle should you want to personalize it!

HONEY & MATCHA

For that person who has everything, get them consumables! Things they will actually use up and won’t crowd their life. I’m a huge fan of high quality honey as a gift. Nude Honey is an excellent brand which I recently went into depth about on this honey post. Raw honey is superior in so many ways! Especially when it comes to taste. Another consumable gift idea is individually packaged  Teapigs matcha sachets for a grab and go green tea! Or a tin of their matcha which is 100% ground green tea leaves from Japan.

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SMELL LIKE THE WOODS

SCHMIDT’S

I recently discovered this line of deodorants and soaps that smell like getting lost in a forest in the PNW. That’s how good they are. You’ll be smelling like a dreamy pine with Schmidt’s Oh Christmas Tree deodorant but without the mess of pine needles. Their Lavender & Sage soap is equally as potent. I am immediately reminded of driving through fields of lavender!

WOODLOT

This woodsy theme continues with the addition of candles and essential oil from Woodlot. I mean, it’s in the name! Their Wildwoods candle is one of my all time favourites. It’s made of natural coconut and soy wax. It smells of balsam, fir, and clove. They’ve recently launched essential oils as well. I love their Cascadia blend. It notes are Fir, cedar, and patchouli essential oils.  DEEP BREATH.

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GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Body Positive Friend

GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Body Positive Friend

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Body Positive Friend

We’re moving into an era where the shackles of shame are being released. The way our bodies function and their needs shouldn’t be a cause of shame to us any longer. Easier said than done, of course. However, I’m trying to make small changes within my own life. Be it checking the tone of my internal dialogue to recognizing when I’m feeling shame and identifying why. When I first decided to make this guide, I was hesitant due to the optics of being open about sexuality. What would people think of me? I then realized this is about sharing products I enjoy and others might too. So here it is. This is the gift guide for the empowered woman in your life or the one who needs a boost to realize that being body/sex positive shouldn’t be shameful. Here are some holiday gift ideas for your body positive friend.

LUSH MASSAGE BARS

I’m starting this off easy, like dipping a toe in a pool. Ease into this gift. I am a HUGE FAN of Lush Massage Bars. Not only are they the least messy way to oil up for a massage, every one smells so damn good. And they can also be used as a moisturizer too – perfect for travel! I first tried one out when I went to the Lush Spa in London for a massage. My life changed. A personal favourite is the Wiccy Magic Muscles. It smells of cinnamon and has a layer of aduki beans that help deepen the massage.

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Lil’ Rabbits

What better a gift than the gift of a good orgasm? Yup, we went from massage bar straight to little vibrating friends. They are adorable in a not tacky I-would-leave-this-displayed-on-my-night-table kind of way.

On the left is the Form 2 by JimmyJane. It’s palm sized but packs a lot of punch with a motor in each ear. It has some pretty intense vibration patterns, 4 different ones to be exact. And 5 power levels. It charges on the white base so no battery changing is necessary. There’s a reason why its won so many awards. 😉

The Je Joue Rabbit Bullet Vibrator is also very portable and offers 5 speeds with 7 different vibration patterns. Lots of variety! Bonus: they’re both waterproof too should a relaxing bath come up. I would like to commend both for the intuitive AND attractive designs as well.

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THE WORKOUT

I have become more aware of the importance of having a strong pelvic floor in more recent years. There’s a host of benefits to doing kegel exercises: deeper orgasms, helping with childbirth, and better urinary control post birth. Partially sexy, partially practical. The best part of the Je Joue Ami set is that it’s progressive. You can actually track your muscle improvement when moving up a size. They’re made of soft silicon too so they’re comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Do your yoni right by these!

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MANAGING THE MANE

The world of pubic hair is all over the place. A personal preference spectrum goes from completely bare to 70s muff. All of which are perfectly great if you’re happy with it! I found some rad products that are useful for any ‘do you choose for your pubes. Enter Fur, a line specifically designed to soothe/groom the pubic area. This trio is a dream to use. Firstly, the Fur Oil, a blend of antibacterial essential oils helps to soften the pubic hair while cleaning the pores. Secondly, the Stubble Cream is great for shaven areas with its rich blend of oils and butters. Lastly, the real hero product of them all, is the Ingrown Concrentrate. It comes with a little finger mitt to help exfoliate in the shower! If you have ingrown issues, which every woman I’ve ever known has dealt with this, Fur will heal and minimize the problem.

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TURN UP THE BASS

This was my first experience in the sex toy world. I can confidently say it was mind blowing. I liken it to standing near a speaker while watching your favourite band play. THE BASS! What am I talking about? The Sona by Lelo (which is currently 50% off on their site right now). It sonically stimulates the clitoris. It’s waterproof, it’s quiet, it’s ergonomic for your hand!  Seriously, stop reading this and go treat yourself.

IN A FORTNIGHT

I like to treat myself to wearing fancy lingerie on a normal day. It’s like a secret present to yourself. Fortnight, a Canadian designed and made brand, is always my go-to for this. It fuses gorgeous design with comfort like this set, the Ivy Classic Bra and Bikini Underwear in champagne of course.  I’ll be writing about them at length soon enough but in the meantime, here’s a blog post, The Great Escape, about the amazing bathing suit from them.

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SEXY KNOWLEDGE

And finally, a book that will blow a mind. Side note: this whole blog post was just about things that blew my mind this year. Perhaps I should reconsider the title of it. I digress. I devoured this book in days reading up on how monogamy was introduced with the advent of agriculture. How, originally, our society was based on nomadic people who would forage and look after everyone in their group. Another really cool thing that came out of agriculture? The oppression of women. So on a heavy note, I leave you with this excellent read: The Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means For Modern Relationships.

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Decadent Hobo

GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Decadent Hobo

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Holiday Gift Ideas for a Decadent Hobo

Since I was the one who coined the term “decadent hobo” I have the authority to definitively say what the holiday gift ideas for a decadent hobo are. I immediately think of Stevie Nicks circa Fleetwood Mac Rumours era. Or Pamela Des Barres in her first memoir I’m With The Band and her time being in the first all-girl rock group, Girls Together Outrageously. Now that have you have a taste of what type of lady this pertains to, let us begin.

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ROCKS & CANDLES

The first thing any self respecting boheme needs are rocks and candles to set the atmosphere. I suggest earthy woody smells, ones that smell like nature with mystery. Woodlot makes organic coconut & non-gmo soy wax candles with heavenly names like Cascadia and Wildwoods. My favourite candles are Woodlot because of their long burn time and incredible blend of essential oils. I can always get behind anything with patchouli as an ingredient, of course.

Rocks are another wonderful holiday gift idea for a decadent hobo. They could be into crystal gridding or even just love to have them around as decor. I love scrolling the gem section of The Witchery as well as Cave & Canyon. Both shops have an incredible selection of jaw-dropping specimens.

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MOODY LIPSTICK

If her lips aren’t already stained in wine, she is most certainly wearing a dark lip shade. My suggestion would be Diorific Rouge Khol in Bold Amethyst from their Holiday Kiss Collection. It is the most flawless deep purple matte lipstick that comes in the most opulent tube. Perhaps a perfect holiday gift idea for a decadent hobo? I believe so.

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BRUNCHING PAJAMAS

I spend a decent amount of my life swanning around in pajamas and thus, so does a decadent hobo. I’m the decadent hobo, if you haven’t already gathered that. Once upon a time, I would wear anything I had around, torn gift-with-purchase beer boxers, volunteer swag, or old band t shirts. It’s the dawn of a new era of luxury, this decadent hobo has upgraded to matching pajama sets. I feel most elegant in my Bed to Brunch floral pjs. I treasure them because I could actually go from bed to brunch should the opportunity of a unexpected breakfast pop up leaving me limited prep time.

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BOOKS

A decadent hobo should have a plethora of books strewn across her apartment. The latest addition to my personal library is the epic photography tome of the golden age of groupies. My favourite photographer, Baron Wolman and his book Groupies and other Electric Ladies belongs on any decadent hobo’s coffee table. Pamela Des Barres recent release, Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin’ Memoir is also a must read. Especially if you’re interested in penning a memoir of your own!

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ROSE GIN

Finally, rose gin, preferably consumed from a tea set inherited from a deceased grandmother, is the ultimate drink of choice. Dillon’s Rose Gin is so good, it can be enjoyed on ice with a bit of soda water. I add some mint leaves just to class it up a bit. A garnish always adds a touch of class.

In conclusion, this was basically just my Christmas list I didn’t bother to send to santa. Thanks for reading! Those are all my holiday gift ideas for a decadent hobo (AKA me)  🙂

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Host

GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Host

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Holiday Gift Ideas for a Host

It is highly likely that you’ll be invited to more than a few gatherings this holiday season. With the flood of invitations comes the tricky navigation of being a good guest. While I recently listened to an excellent podcast, Every Little Thing interviewing Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter on how to be the ultimate guest, sometimes we need to step outside of the box when it comes to a host gift. Of course it’s always easy to default to a bottle of wine or an appetizer. However, it is high time we strive for a wow factor over the obvious. Why not give your host a gift they will be able to enjoy on their own time? A gift just for them. Here are a few holiday gift ideas for a host:

A FANCY CALENDAR

The holiday season is barely started but you’re helping them dive right into the new year with a gorgeous yet functional gift. The best way to plan days with the ultra functional and attractive Rifle Paper Appointment Calendar ($33). is the most attractive and functional calendar. It features the classic floral illustrations RPC is known for all on heavy weight of paper which you can then use the backside of at the end of the year (hello recycling!) The gift of organization is an underappreciated one.

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WOODSY SMELLING CANDLES

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a fire place, so a good smelling woodsy candle is a great stand in. This Nest Fragrances Hearth Classic Candle ($50.80) is a great alternative. It smells like smoky wood and frankincense. We all know my stance on the miracles of that essential oil as evidenced in my post The Beauty of Frankincense. I digress. This candle will burn 50+ hours and make a home smell like a wintertime hearth. In addition, the glass it comes is stunning and can be used in many ways when you’re done burning the candle. A few repurposing ideas are: a pen holder, plant pot, or make up brush container. Who knew the 3 R’s of waste reduction could look so good!

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GOOGLE HOME

What better way to help your host with their future parties than with a Google Home (on sale for $79 right now!)!? They have the ability to control the music on their Spotify, ask last minute food prep questions, and find out what’s on their calendar. with Google Assistant. What a treat that would be! It’s almost as if we’re living in the world the Jetson’s dreamed up! Next stop, food in pill form. 😉

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LOCAL LOVE

During the holiday season shopping local can be a gift for multiple people: the local shop, the local designer, and the recipient. It helps stimulate the local economy when you support local shops – that’s a no-brainer. It’s a double whammy when you buy locally made goods from a local shop – there should be a shopping local bingo game.  A couple of my recent loves from Edmonton are General Concern’s hand rolled incense in Orange Bergamot ($12) and Concrete Cat’s Tyche incense holder ($50).

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MORE THAN JUST WINE

Yes it’s so easy to bring wine but how about taking it up to the next level? Why not bring a COCKTAIL CADDY! Now there’s a wonderful holiday gift idea for a host! A cocktail party in a convenient box! But what if that cocktail caddy was made by a distillery in Alberta too? I still consider that shopping locally. The Eau Claire Distillery Cocktail Caddy ($99.95)  includes their Christmas Gin that’s infused with frankincense and myrrh. Are you sensing an overarching trend? It even has two copper mugs perfect for a ginny cocktail by a fireplace (or a woodsy candle). Head on over to The Pretty Secrets Instagram today for a chance to win this caddy!

In conclusion. every holiday gift needs to be useful, reuseable, or have frankincense in it. Bonus points to the items that are all three. What are your tried and true holiday gift ideas for a host?

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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Holiday Gift Guide Part IV

Holiday Gift Guide Part IV

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Alright pals, here’s the last gift guide rolling in a week before the big day! Truth be told, I start planning these gift guides at the end of September and it takes a while to compile, curate, and group them into themes. I especially like to find smaller, obscure brands that are making items that will add some surprise to a gift. 

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For the Outdoor Enthusiast

Like I was saying about smaller brands, Juniper Ridge has been on my radar for a couple of years now and they’re always making mind blowing scents for their products – all of which are foraged by themselves! Woodlot was new to me this year, but every time I smell the Cascadia soap bar, I’m immediately transported to the PNW on a dewy morning; it’s that good. 

Cheyanne Lace Boots – Sorel | Bering toque – Burton | A Christmas Story flask – In Blue Handmade | Mallard pin – Slack & Mellow | Allen sunglasses – Komono | Frankincense Lip Balm – Leaves of Trees | Lavender & Aloe Vera deodorant – Neal’s Yard Remedies | Prickly Pear Cactus patch – Valley Cruise Press | Mixed Note Pack – Field Notes | Work Horse gloves – Burton | wool socks – Hibou | Big Sur Trail Resin Cologne – Juniper Ridge | Cascadia Soap Bar – Woodlot |

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For the Gent


The real standout here are the Daneson flavoured toothpicks made of birch – one of the flavours is bourbon for goodness sake! Valley Cruise + Slack & Mellow are the two pin companies making beautifully illustrated flare for my jackets.
Champagne Glasses – Riedel | Siskkiyou Backpacker Cologne – Juniper Ridge | Black Coated Canvas Shearling slipons – TOMS | Frankincense Argan Lotion – Leaves of Trees | Puffy Shirt pin – Valley Cruise Press | Flavoured Birch Toothpicks in the Every Blend 6 Pack (including bourbon, single malt, and Ginger Honey) – Daneson | Roll With It pin – Slack & Mellow | marble iPhone 6s case – Madotta | Aftershave Oil – Province Apothecary | Champagne – Moet & Chandon

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For the Man Friend 


Field Notes has to be one of my favourite stationery companies out there. The paper is high quality and I love their classic designs. The Steno Pad in particular is my go-to when trying to plan a story. The In Blue pizza flask needs no explanation aside from the fact of why not? Why wouldn’t there be a slice of pizza on a flask?

Lifty Gloves – Burton | Plattan Adv Wireless Headphones – Urbanears | Whisky Soaked Heart patch + Viceroy Cigarettes pin – Slack & Mellow | Steno Notepad – Field Notes | Pizza Flask – In Blue Handmade | Diana F+ Cortina Camera – Lomography | Whisky – Collingwood | scarf – Simons | Star Wars Book of Sith & The Jedi Path – Chronicle Books