This is the weekly Style File, featuring what’s on the radar of The Globe’s lifestyle desk – from travel to home and design, wellness, fashion or beauty. Sign up for The Globe’s arts and lifestyle newsletters for more news, columns and advice in your inbox.
Light up your life
What could be more romantic than standing hand-in-hand watching nighttime skies move with ethereal waves of colour? If you’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights this is your year as scientists are predicting knockout displays. According to a recent Expedia survey, 71 per cent of Canadians consider this trip a must-do, it’s more popular than going on a safari in Africa (44 per cent) or heading to Japan for cherry blossom season (43 per cent). Increased solar activity in 2024 is creating celestial spectacles at northern latitudes all over the world. By comparing hotel searches from 2022 and 2023, Expedia noted that interest in Churchill, Man., as a Northern Lights destination is up by 110 per cent. That’s a lot but doesn’t come close to interest in Lapland, Finland, at 370 per cent – where the long, dark winter can mean more time to see those dancing skies. Expedia reports other top destinations for aurora hunting include: northern Norway, Iceland, northern Sweden and even the Canadian Rockies. Or consider cruising in a moving observatory up the Norwegian coastline. Until the end of March, Hurtigruten cruise line’s Northern Lights promise means if the lights don’t show – the next cruise is free. – Catherine Dawson March
Personalized gifting gets easier
Finding the perfect gift for someone special in your life isn’t always easy – especially if that person already has everything they seem to need. A new study from Etsy found 75 per cent of people believe being a good gift-giver is important because it shows that person how much they mean to you. And yet, the same consumers believe gift-giving is hard, with almost two-thirds saying it requires a great deal of effort to find a present that resonates. Indeed, the survey found men think finding the perfect gift is just as stressful as doing their taxes! To make the process more enjoyable, Etsy has launched an interactive gifting hub called Gift Mode. By combining artificial intelligence with human curation (ie. you put in cues such as “sister” and “birthday,” and include some of their interests such as “The Music Lover,” “The Adventurer,” or “The Pet Parent,”) the app then curates gift ideas to match the personality of the recipient. Gift Mode selects from more than 200 personas, each with diverse listings from all of Etsy’s makers, categories, and more than 100 million items in inventory. Josh Silverman, Etsy CEO, says the interactive gifting hub helps to solve two of the most vexing problems for givers: “One, finding the perfect gift, something that feels creative and personal even if the giver doesn’t know a ton about the recipient. Two, relieving the stress around procrastination and the gift arriving on time.” For more information visit etsy.com/ca/gift-mode. – Gayle MacDonald
An understated gem
A Toi et Moi ring, meaning “you and me” in French, is one of the most popular – and historic – ring settings in the world, first gaining attention with the diamond and sapphire beauty that Napoleon Bonaparte gifted his wife Josephine in 1796. Recently, Canada’s Brockton Gems, a boutique female-owned business based in Toronto, introduced a vintage, sustainable version of the age-old classic which caught the eye of Sarah Jessica Parker. At Etsy’s 2023 Design Awards, the Sex and the City star chose it as winner in the wedding-style category. Called the Modern Moi et Toi Engagement Ring, it’s the perfect symbol to propose spending a lifetime together, especially if you like the idea of using reimagined vintage gems. Taren Wilkins scours the gemstone market looking for an eclectic mix of jewels spanning hundreds of years of design. Her collection includes true vintage, repurposed vintage, modern coloured gemstones and non-traditional diamonds (champagne or salt and pepper) often set in recycled gold. The common thread in all her work is “modern simplicity and timeless design,” says Wilkins, who left a career as a lawyer and started a second life studying gemology at the Canadian Gemological Association in 2015. The Modern Moi et Toi Engagement Ring starts at $4,500. For more information, go to brocktongems.com. – Gayle MacDonald