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Guest Blogger

Jennie Marshall

Born and raised in the City of Champions, this U of A alumni loves exploring the amazing food, fashion and art scene that is abundant in YEG! An avid football fan, sporting events are always a priority. From wine bars to window shopping she is always out & about in River City looking to try something new, with her finger-on-the-pulse of our vibrant city. 

You can find Jennie on TwitterInstagram, Snapchat, and weekly on Shaw TV. 

Old Strathcona Neighbourhood Gift Card?!

Wednesday November 30 , 2016

Extra, extra, read all about it: Old Strathcona now has Electronic Gift Cards! That’s right, just in time for the holidays, you can now give (and hopefully get), the gift of everything that is awesome in historic Old Strathcona. I received my #OldStrath e-Gift Card and was overjoyed to start spending. Knowing that all my purchases were going to be supporting local - well, that was even better! I decided to spend a whole day in the neighbourhood using my gift card.

My experience kicked off with lunch at one of the oldest standing restaurants on Whyte Ave; Chianti. For over 35 years this Italian kitchen has been serving up Italian dishes in the historic “Old Post Office" building. My veal parmigiana, topped with capicola, with a side of spaghetti drowning in delicious marinara sauce, was the perfect start to the day; I was warm and fuelled up to shop!

The first boutique I went to is the cute and quirky, Plaid Giraffe. Amongst the beautiful jewellery, Matt & Nat hand bags, Spanx, and crazy gift items you can’t find anywhere else, the Plaid Giraffe has a self-proclaimed Nerd Corner where you can find earrings, necklaces and bracelets for Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, Doctor Who and Hunger Games fans. Let's just say, my Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw loving gal pals are now crossed off my Christmas List. 

I then popped into Ten Thousand Villages to get some gift giving inspiration by browsing their beautiful, handcrafted gifts imported from third world nations. And I obviously couldn't resist hitting up Bamboo Ballroom to see what the newest fall/winter trends were either. Needing a little boost, I grabbed a refreshing Powerhouse Smoothie, made with pineapple, mint, coconut milk and low-fat frozen yogurt, from Freshii between shops.

Feeling refreshed, I strolled way down the Ave to Wild Prairie Soap Company and bought four absolutely delightful smelling soaps. Everything in the shop is 100% all natural and so fragrant, I just can not get enough! From the Viva Vanilla, the patriotic Oh Canada, which is made with maple, a lovely lavender that will lull you into a slumber, and the spicy citrus soap made with rosehip and grapefruit - talk about being squeaky clean! While I was in Wild Prairie, owner Tanya Zurock told me about, what I am sure is going to be the “must have” stocking stuffer of the year: Poutine lip balm! That’s right, Wild Prairie teamed up with La Poutine to make a gravy and cheese curd scented lip balm… which of course I had to get.

I also received a sneak peak at the new brew-bar they created for Situation Brewery using real Stout beer that is locally brewed, here in Edmonton, at Situation’s Gateway Blvd location. With all this talk of ales and lagers, well, I was ready for a beer break with a friend! So, I meandered down to Situation and pulled a seat up at the bar.

Ater navigating my way through the amazing line-up of Craft beers at Situation, I decided a little pampering was needed - so I headed to Healing Waters Spa for their legendary Weary Feet Pedicure. For $70.00, this 85 minute pedi is exactly the right amount of relaxation and rejuvenation. My toes were perfectly polished and ready to dance the night away!

Which brings me to my final destination of the day - well, evening by this point; Accent Lounge! This quaint, European style resto is the perfect place to tuck into on a chilly winter eve in Edmonton and enjoy a glass of vino with one of their award winning appies. My fave on the menu; the Steak Tartar, it is a must have! Bon appétit. 

Shopping in Old Strathcona offers Edmontonians an amazing alternative to major shopping centres, and by receiving the Old Strathcona Electronic Gift Card, I spent a whole day supporting local, and having the opportunity really shop, explore, experience, eat and drink, in one-of-a-kind locations. So what are you waiting for? Customize your e-Gift Card and send it to anyone, anywhere via text, e-mail or Facebook without even leaving your couch, or getting out of your stretchy pants. And who knows, maybe you’ll even receive one, too!