Holiday Gift Guides – Men’s Gifts

Today we’re bringing you the latest installment of our Gift Guide! We know it can be hard to shop for the men in your life, so we have compiled a list of gifts to inspire you.


All of these items are available now at Above & Beyond. Click HERE for the full version of our Gift Guide for men’s gifts that go beyond new dress shirts and tools.

Holiday Gift Guides – Stocking Stuffers

From now until Christmas, we will be sharing our gift guides with you. Perhaps this will help make your Christmas shopping a little bit easier, or maybe it will inspire you to start checking things off of your list!

gift-guideAll of these items are under $25 and they are available now at Above & Beyond. Click HERE for the full version of our Gift Guide for some stocking stuffer ideas that go beyond toothbrushes and candy canes.

Christmas Cards – A Thoughtful Tradition

Christmas cards are a tradition that we at Above & Beyond adore. It’s such a lovely time of year to pen a note to the people you care about. We know that the tradition is fading as emails and social media sites make it easier to keep in touch and send a quick note at the end of the year. We are suckers for some traditions though, and can’t help but still appreciate the sentiment of sending and receiving a hand-written card in the mail at Christmas.


Christmas cards have been around since the 1800s and were first produced and distributed in the UK. Did you know that the world’s first commercially produced Christmas card was designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843? They continued to be popular into the 1900s when two brothers, Joyce and Rollie Mark, founded Hallmark Cards to market their self-produced Christmas cards. Christmas cards gained popularity during the war years as loved ones sent personalized holiday greetings to the soldiers. Nowadays, people opt to send a Christmas card as a tangible card, a Christmas letter, an e-card or a personalized photo. Although the internet now exists, many still take the time to mail a Christmas greeting of well-wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or writing Christmas cards for the first time, we came up with some helpful tips for this year’s Christmas correspondence. So pour yourself some eggnog and put on a Christmas album, because we’ve got some suggestions on how to make this batch of cards the best you’ve ever sent.

1- Don’t procrastinate. Whether you’re sending 7 cards or 87, make sure you fill them out sooner than later. This will allow enough time to write any personalized greetings you may want to write. The holidays are such a busy season, you don’t want to have to rush to get them done in time. Be sure to leave lots of time for the cards to reach their destination via mail. card

2- Christmas letters are a great way to update friends and family you don’t see very often. The age-old tradition of sending a Christmas letter is still alive. This is a great space to detail the highlights of your past year (and your family’s) – but don’t brag. No one wants to read that!

3- Proof read your envelopes! A typo in your card is not that big of a deal, but a simple spelling mistake in the recipient’s address could be. Be sure to double check addresses and names before putting your cards in the mail.

4- Don’t forget to include your return address. This will allow your recipient to know who sent the card immediately. More importantly, it will ensure they have your most up-to-date address.

5- Add a personalized note. Even if you don’t wish to write a lengthy letter inside your cards, be sure to add a simple note of warm wishes. This makes your card seem personalized.

6- Get your holiday photos done now. If you intend to include a family picture, be sure to get it taken soon to allow enough time for the photos to be ordered and for your cards to reach their recipients before Christmas.


Be sure to stop by Above & Beyond to check out our selection of beautiful Christmas cards from Papyrus. We have boxed sets and individual cards. Happy writing!



Mid-Century Modern – Everything Old Is New Again

Mid-century modern is back. A lot of you ask us what trends we are seeing at the buying shows and how they can be incorporated into everyday living spaces. This week we thought we would talk about the design style that has become popular decades after its inception. Mid-century modern is everywhere right now. It has become more prominent over the past decade, and its popularity shows no signs of fading.

You’ve probably heard these design-world buzzwords tossed around a lot, but what exactly is Mid-century modern? It is a term used to describe the design movement within architecture and interior, graphic and product design in the middle decades of the 20th century. It is a broad term, but it applies to the modern design movement from roughly the mid-thirties to the mid sixties. Looking for a visual reference? Think Mad Men.

Here is a picture of the award winning set design from the hit AMC show:



In particular, mid-century modern furniture is very trendy right now. It is characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes and functionality. We are seeing this style of furniture popping up in all of our suppliers’ catalogues, including the custom-made furniture company, Stylus.

jets-sofa-mdJets sofa

myer-sofa-mdMyer Sofa

Our lighting suppliers also offer fixtures inspired my mid-century design. Look for Sputnik inspired shapes or wire frames.

Click HERE for more mid-century modern lighting.

We understand that some people are hesitant to incorporate this design trend. Trust us, we understand. It seems like we were just getting rid of the second-hand furniture that we grew up with when this design style became trendy again. Or maybe you decorated your living room accordingly the first time mid-century was around.

Here is an example of mid-century modern design, as shown in House Beautiful issues from 1960.



However, the reinterpretation of mid-century that we are seeing today is a bit different. Gone are the days of the olive greens, browns, oranges and mustard yellows of the sixties. We are seeing furniture in neutrals -plenty of greys- and in fun textures, like velvet. In furniture, look for boxy sofas, clean lines and walnut finishes. The revival of this design style can be incorporated into a room in big or small doses. Incorporate golds or silvers, and contemporary lamps and accessories to keep your room from looking dated.

We love this Brooklyn apartment that incorporates mid-century modern into a beautiful living room:



If you’re not ready to re-do your entire room in this style, you can mix and match pieces to add an eclectic or curated feel to any room. Try adding a mid-century modern wooden accent chair, or an accent table.

These gorgeous pieces are from one of our furniture suppliers, Neuvo Living.

Although mid-century modern is popular again, the truth is that many mid-century pieces have transcended trends. In fact, some never went out of style – or production. The Eames chair was designed in the 1950’s by the husband and wife duo, Charles and Ray Eames. It remains popular today and has never gone out of production and has certainly inspired many knockoffs, too.



Love it or hate it, it seems as though mid-century modern is one style that is not going anywhere. What do you think? Will you be incorporating this trend into your living spaces?



  • Feature image SOURCE:

Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year 2017 Has Been Announced

Benjamin Moore just announced that Shadow 2117-30 is their Colour of the Year 2017. As 2016 starts to come to a close, we always anticipate the design institutes’ new colours of the year. We simply love the rich, moody hue of Shadow 2117-30. A far cry from last year’s Simply White, Shadow 2117-30 is a deep, saturated amethyst purple that will add sophistication to any space.

“Emotional connections with this color evoke nostalgic memories of light on space and color.”




We think Shadow 2117-30 would make a beautiful addition to an entryway or a living room. It pairs beautifully with gold accents and luxe textures, such as the newly-popular velvet. Pair Shadow 2117-30 with white trim to create a contrast and make a room seem more modern, as in the room below. Or, for a dramatic statement, paint your baseboards and trim with Shadow 2117-30 as well.


As we discussed on the blog last week, dark tones are making a comeback in colour palettes for your walls. Don’t be afraid to make a statement with dark walls. “Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year, Shadow 2117-30, is allusive and enigmatic — a master of ambiance.” Dismiss the age-old rumour that dark colours make a room seem smaller. This regal plum is the perfect tone for all of you who are sick of all greys, beiges and ‘greiges’.

We would love to see Shadow 2117-30 paired with dark wood and beautiful, dark sofas for an inviting and sophisticated living space. This colour will also pair well with neutrals to add drama to any room.

To choose the Colour of the Year, the design team at Benjamin Moore took inspiration from art, cultural influences, and lighting. They studied colour usage to identify key colour families and emerging trends. Watch this video from Benjamin Moore’s designers to learn more about the decision-making process:

We can’t wait to see this gorgeous hue appear in decor pieces and accent pillows. So what do you think? Will you be incorporating Shadow into your decor?

An elusive participant in a theatre of light, a profile, a silhouette, a SHADOW.

Paint it Black – Using dark paint colours to make a statement

It’s no secret that beige and grey have been the most prominent wall colours the last few years. Perhaps you’re looking for a change, or you’re looking to incorporate another colour into your home. Painting is one of the easiest ways to give a room a makeover and sophistication.

This week, we want to discuss a growing trend that we love – dark walls. We’re talking black, charcoals greys, dark greens and blues. Dark paint is not new, but we are seeing increasing numbers of our favourite designers opting for dark paint colours, and for a good reason. Rich, dark tones add depth and warmth to any room. Painting your bedroom a dark colour does not mean it will be dark and dreary. Take, for instance, this cozy master bedroom painted black:



Rich colours can immediately pull a room together and tie together different styles of furniture and decor.  Create a beautiful backdrop for showcasing your art and furniture, or your books:



It’s time to dismiss that age-old myth about dark colours making spaces seem smaller. Dark walls can actually make a room seem more spacious. These dark hues are such a bold and deliberate choice they are an easy way to make a statement in a small room, such as this gorgeous bathroom:



Besides its ability to add drama to any room, we love dark paint’s ability to function as a sort of neutral as well. Black walls can be just as minimal as white, beige and grey. Perhaps you already have a room decorated in neutrals or you have accessorized with a particular colour scheme. Try adding a dark hue to your walls for a modern update. You’ll find that your neutral furniture will pair well with a dark colour, and that it can add a modern twist to any room.



Many people are hesitant to opt for dark paint colours. This is completely understandable – they can be an intimidating design choice to make work. We recommend using a matte finish to create a sophisticated and welcoming look. We also recommend using large swatches or testing large patches of paint in your home before deciding on a colour. This will help you to see what the colour looks like with your room’s lighting before you commit.

If painting your whole room a dark colour still seems like too much of a commitment, we recommend a statement wall. Adding a dark tone to one wall can easily create a bold and beautiful statement, just like in this living room:



We think dark paint colours are here to stay and we love them. If you’re wondering what to pair with your newly painted room, stop in to see us. We would love to see your decorating projects. Happy painting!


GOURMET du VILLAGE – A delicious new addition to our store!

Happy Monday! We are very excited to announce that we now carry Gourmet du Village at Above & Beyond. It’s a delicious new addition to our store and it makes entertaining simple.

Their award winning dips are so easy to make. Just add a cup of sour cream, a cup of mayo and combine the dip mix for a flavourful homemade dip. It’s delicious with chips or veggies. Alternatively, you can add it to a sandwich or mix it into mashed potatoes.

Already thinking about ladies’ night for this weekend? One of Gourmet du Village’s newest creations is their assortment of Brie Toppings. They pair beautifully with baked Brie and Camembert – which all pairs perfectly with wine.


Looking for something to make these tasty treats in? We carry Gourmet du Village brie bakers and dip dishes. Gourmet du Village makes beautiful specialty cookware that we are excited to have in stock. bakery_cake_in_a_56bcf58f8b5c4_150x15041taumruarl

Gourmet du Village makes a great gift. Dips and seasonings make a great hostess gift. We think these cakes in a mug would make an awesome birthday gift!

Have you tried beer can chicken? Gourmet du Village has an excellent seasoning mix for making the perfect beer can chicken. We also carry the roaster for the BBQ to make a delicious dinner for the family.

If you’re wondering what to have for dessert, how about some delicious Hot Chocolate Custard Pudding? You can make this recipe with any of Gourmet du Village’s hot chocolate mixes:

Hot Chocolate Custard Pudding


The amount of corn starch can be increased/decreased to produce a more/less solid custard according to your preference. This recipe produces a medium one, perfect for serving as a dessert pudding.

For a sauce-type version, increase the milk to 3 cups (750 ml).  Delicious served over fresh fruit, vanilla cake, etc.

  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) Corn Starch
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) sugar
  • Contents of one pouch Gourmet Village Hot Chocolate Mix (any flavour)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) homogenized milk
  • ½ to 1 tsp (2.5 – 5 ml) vanilla

Combine the corn starch, sugar & Hot Chocolate Mix in a medium saucepan.

Gradually add the milk, stirring well with a spoon or a wire whisk until well-mixed.

Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously to ensure that lumps do not form. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat down, so you do not overboil.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding will thicken as it cools.

Cool a little and serve warm by itself, over fruit or cake.

If you wish to serve it cold, pour into the serving dish, cover, and chill.

Microwave Oven Method:

Making the pudding/custard in the microwave oven makes it very quick and painless. I use a 2 quart Pyrex glass bowl and whisk the custard vigorously after every 2 minutes.

Cook on high (full) power at first for two minutes; whisk well.

Cook again for 2 minutes. Whisk again.











Last Minute Thanksgiving Prep

Are you hosting Thanksgiving diner this year? It can be stressful cooking dinner for the whole family, so we’ve compiled a list last minute of things you may need.

Perhaps you’ve got everything you need for dinner, but are now wondering about what to put on the table. We love the look of simple table settings and adding some simple autumn accents such as small pumpkins or gourds, some battery operated lights across the centre of the table, and a few candles for ambiance.

The new Gordon Ramsay dishes are featured on our table for Thanksgiving. We also have some cork backed placemats in store that add a festive touch to any table.


When setting the table for a large group, we like to have a few butter dishes and salt & pepper shakers on the table. Here are a few of our favourites we have in stock:

     img_5751 img_5750

We also have the turkey basters and gravy boats that you may have forgotten you need.

       img_5753 img_5755

This Dual Roaster from Cuisipro is another one of our favourite gadgets that makes cooking a turkey dinner easier. It converts from traditional horizontal roaster to side-by-side vertical roaster and can be used in a conventional oven or on the barbecue.


Send us pictures of your tables! We love to see how you decorate for the holidays.

Just a reminder that we are open until 5:00 today and will be closed on Sunday and Monday. Have a great long weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Pie – A Thanksgiving Classic

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, we know that dinner plans are well under way. We thought we would share one of our favourite pie recipes with you. Here’s a delicious recipe for a Thanksgiving classic – Pumpkin Pie. Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings



  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.