Make the Holidays EASY with #ButterballMakesItEasy!

November 30, 2015

I’m no martyr. Never have been, and never will be! I *love* shortcuts – and if there’s something I can do to make the holidays easier, I’m all for it. After all, why spend time fussing in the kitchen when you could be toasting the season with spiked eggnog?

BB5019_PinPic_11See that over on the right? That’s one of my holiday tips. And it’s a damn good tip, because not many people know that frozen cookie dough is not just for eating. You can actually – gasp – bake it, too.

Gingerbread cookies. Shortbread cookies. Sugar cookies and even peppermint cookies. All made in advance, and baked when you need them! You’re welcome :)

Of course, my *best* tip is to save time (and space in your refrigerator!) by cooking a Butterball Stuffed Whole Turkey.

Pre-Stuffed with delicious homestyle stuffing, this turkey cooks up tender and juicy every time. And it cooks from frozen! The turkey goes from the freezer to the oven without any thawing. So, you’ll spend more time with your family, and less time elbow-deep inside a turkey.

This holiday season, I’m teaming up with Butterball Canada for a very special series of RT to WIN giveaways! Tune in on Twitter every Monday and Wednesday for the next three weeks. You’ll see some of my best #ButterballMakesItEasy tips, and have a chance to win $10 Butterball Gift Certificates and $50 SHOP.CA gift cards. It’s easy to enter, and I’m hoping to make your holidays easy, too! Good luck all!

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Cyber Monday: Grab the BEST Gifts at Best Buy!

November 29, 2015

Ah, Cyber Monday. I just can’t quit you.

This past Friday, I had the enviable opportunity to shop at Best Buy Canada with my very own private tour guide – Tyrone Powell, also known as Ty the Best Buy Guy. He took us through the store and highlighted the very best deals, which I’m happy to share with you today!
DSC_1863Picture above, House of Marley home audio. Aren’t the items just gorgeous? Love the island vibe. And practically everything is on sale!

First and foremost, click here for the Cyber Monday flyer. The sale begins at 12:01 AM online at, or you can shop in-store during regular store hours. You’ll find incredible deals on everything from home entertainment to mobile phones; laptops to Blu-ray movies.  (more…)

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Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s an #IDOL3Holiday Twitter Party!

November 28, 2015

Tech the Halls! We’re starting off December with a holiday Twitter Party you won’t want to miss!

Introducing the ALCATEL ONETOUCH IDOL3 5.5″ Smartphone. Simply put, you get more… for less. Offering dual-front facing speakers featuring JBL Audio, a 5.5-inch Full-HD display with technicolor enhance technology and a 2910mAh battery to power through a full day’s use, the IDOL 3 may just be the best experience for your money.

A fabulous first phone for tweens and teens, it also comes packed with other unique features, such as a fully reversible user interface, a 13MP main camera and 8MP wide-angle front camera. Okay, you get a lot more for less.

Want to learn more? Join the #IDOL3Holiday Twitter Party on Tuesday, December 1, 2015!
Idol3Holiday Graphic v3Besides getting all the inside scoop in IDOL3, one of the hottest tech gifts for the holidays, you’ll also have a chance to win 1 of 5 AMAZING prize bundles at over $400 each. Think smartphone. Think signed sports jerseys. That’s all I’m saying for now… you’ll have to join the party to join the fun!

There is NO RSVP; simply tweet on the #IDOL3Holiday hashtag between 8PM and 9PM EST on Tuesday to participate in a fun tech talk! See you then and good luck!

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The Truth is… Some Deals are Too Good to Pass Up!

November 26, 2015

So, here’s the thing. I’ve already come clean about succumbing to Black Friday sales, but I’m a firm believer that life is short, and sometimes, you just have to treat yourself.

(And sometimes, treating yourself covers a lot of surface. Er… can cause good feelings to surface. Okay, I’ll say it. I want a Microsoft Surface Pro 4.)

Because let’s be honest, it’s fun to shop for yourself – and for everyone on your list – when you know that you’re getting a good deal. And with the holidays right around the corner, we know retailers from all over the web are going to be wooing you with their best discounts, so it can be tough to know where to start looking.

Good news, folks, I’ve got a few insider tips, so stick with me if you want to know where to click first.
Store_BF_1127_1920x720_EN_USHere’s the scoop. I have it on good authority that is going to launch a bunch of exciting sales next week, and I’m committed to sharing the savings with you. So, check back here on December 1, and then every day for the next 12 days, for details about the latest deal.

Can’t wait to save? Check out Microsoft’s online store NOW through next Monday for their best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Whether you’re buying for a gamer, a budding photographer, a fitness fiend or someone in between, you’ll have no trouble finding something for just about every tech lover you know – like this Dell Inspiron 15 Signature Edition Laptop! It’s just $599.00, down from $1,049.00. You’ll save $450.00! WOW!  (more…)

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It’s Time to Shop the Neighbourhood!

November 25, 2015

It’s Ba-ack! Mark your calendars, friends! On Saturday, November 28, 2015 – grab your smartphone, your wallet and a latte… it’s time to Shop the Neighbourhood!

They Say: For a third year, Shop The Neighbourhood encourages support for small businesses by promoting local shopping and offering free online and mobile app advertising to participating stores and services.

I Say: It’s the best excuse to go shopping, ever!
STN_Promo_image (2)I believe in give and take. This year, I’ll absolutely partake in online shopping. To counter that, I’m also happy to show support to some of my favourite local businesses. I’ll be in Burlington this Saturday shopping the neighbourhood… and bringing you some of the best sales and offers!

Want to get in on the fun? Here’s what you need to do.

First, download the YP Shopwise app. (YP Shopwise will act as your personal shopper, alerting you to an exclusive deal or promotion in your proximity, and will even provide directions to the store.) Then, on Saturday, November 28, 2015, make a local purchase and take advantage of exclusive event deals offered by the businesses in your neighbourhood. (more…)

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Adventures as Big as their Imagination: Disney Infinity 3.0

November 23, 2015

A long time ago in a basement far, far away…
DSC_1818aI love this picture. I love pondering what’s going on in my son’s mind – the story line he has created; the world that comes alive purely from his vivid, unadulterated imagination which knows no boundaries. And I love that I can provide him with the toys that encourage this recklessly creative behaviour, because I’m reminded of another visionary who once uttered these now famous words:

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Oh, Mr. Walt Disney, the things my son can dream.  (more…)

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Gift Giving Guidance That Won’t Turn You Into A Grinch

November 23, 2015

I can’t believe I’m admitting this… but I’ve already succumbed to Black Friday sales.

Now, before you “tsk tsk” or otherwise tell me I’m a weak individual, you should know that I thought long and hard before I made the purchase. (Just kidding. I literally jumped online, bought the boots and then sent out a link to my friends so they too could score a great deal.)
shoesAnd while it was completely convenient for me to shop online on a Saturday morning in my pajamas, therein lies the dangers of online shopping: it’s simply too easy to spend money. If, for example, my girlfriend had told me about this sale in-store, I would have had to (1) decide if it was worth the trip, (2) get ready to face the cold, (3) find parking at the mall… okay, you get my drift.  (more…)

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It’s Snot Your Imagination: The Ins and Outs of Sick-Etiquette

November 21, 2015

Ah, flu season. Why are you a thing?

I suppose it comes with the territory of being Canadian; as children strap on hockey skates and parents pull on their warmest toques, so shall the influenza virus make its way through schools, businesses and homes alike. It’s clockwork, it takes no prisoners, and it really, really has poor timing – striking when you’re mostly likely to least expect it.
(Well hello there, co-workers! Stock photos like this exist for a reason!)

Yes, flu season is here, and there IS such a thing called Sick-Etiquette. Simply stated, it’s a collection of unspoken rules that you should abide by during cold and flu season, and I’m happy to share them with you today!  (more…)

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Have You Taken the #PanagoChallenge?

November 21, 2015

This ones’s a no brainer. It’s the weekend, you’re bound to be hungry, and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that deliciousness awaits. It’s the Panago Pizza #PanagoChallenge!
mainNow, there are just a few days left, which is why I want every one of my readers to do three things. First things first, find out if there’s a Panago near you. Second, recognize that should you accept this challenge, you’re about to embark on a gastronomic journey to pizza supremacy.

It’s a FACT: Once you go Panago, you never go back.

“Say hello to the next era of great pizza. Hot, bubbly, delicious – a whole lot tastier plus a tad bit healthier. Everything fresh. Nothing fake. Even organic juices. Panago is everything you want. Nothin’ you don’t. All at affordable prices.” – Sincerely, Panago Pizza.

Third, take the #PanagoChallenge.

All you have to do is tell Panago Pizza which of their featured fall pizzas is your fave. Use the #PanagoChallenge hashtag on social media for the chance to win FREE PIZZA for a year! And I feel uniquely qualified to add my two cents, because I’ve tried all six pizzas. It’s true! From smoky BBQ Chicken to savoury Steak & Mushroom Melt – we ate, we pondered, we hashtagged.  (more…)

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Lighting a Cigarette. Loading a Gun.

November 19, 2015

Today, my heart hurts.

My heart hurts for the people of France, still reeling from the senseless violence and destruction that has forever impacted their bodies, minds, and spirits. My heart hurts for the people of Beirut, who faced the same destructive chaos just days before, with only a fraction of awareness and support from their allies around the world.

Yes, my heart hurts. But it is also very, very fearful.

Because we all know that Canada is not immune to the tragedies experienced by other countries. And every day, as I kiss my children goodbye and watch their little bodies bobble away with a spring in their step, I think of another mom, in another country, who loves her children just as fiercely; who has the same hopes and dreams – yet a very different promise for a brighter future. And even though I can’t fix the world, I can be aware of the violence happening in my own city.

Maybe even in my own backyard.
policWhile I’ve been obsessed with events happening a world away, I haven’t paid enough attention to the crisis over illegal tobacco in Ontario. And I’m not alone.

Almost half of Ontarians are unaware that illegal tobacco is fueling gun and drug trafficking.

In Canada, the production and sale of contraband cigarettes is on the rise with over 50 illegal factories across Ontario and Quebec, capable of producing up to 10,000 cigarettes every minute. (more…)

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Imagine: The Freedom to Travel Anytime, Anywhere.

November 17, 2015

Sounds blissful, doesn’t it?

For most Canadians, travel is an affordable luxury. With so many destinations, budget options, package deals and ways to book a vacation, a holiday is within reach, even if it’s a staycation in your own city.

But for those struggling with their vacay fund, there’s one foolproof way to ensure well-deserved time off is within reach: reward yourself. With the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, you can earn THREE (3) TD Points for every $1 you spend on purchases using your Card – that’s a return of up to 1.5% on your purchases!

And, if you apply by January 4, 2016 and are approved, you could get this special welcome offer:

– A Welcome Bonus of 20,000 TD Points when you make your first purchase with the Card – that’s worth $100 in travel savings through Expedia For TD

– A $150 credit from Expedia For TD when you make a travel purchase of $150 or more through Expedia For TD using your Card by June 15, 2016

Now that you know how to make travel a possibility, let’s inspire you with where to go and what to do! Join the @TD_Canada #TDInfiniteTravel Twitter Chat on November 19, 2015 at 8PM EST!
TDInfiniteTravel GraphicIn addition to a fun travel chat with a “Travel Anywhere, Anytime” theme, we’ll also be giving away 5 (five) gift codes valued at $50 each. There’s no RSVP for this chat; simply tweet to win!

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Better Health Together!

November 17, 2015

Every month, it’s the same old, same old. I make the trip to my local lab, have my blood drawn and tested, and hope I don’t hear from my doctor. Such is life while managing an ongoing health issue.

If he needs to see you, we’ll call, the nurse at my doctor’s office says.

Which I suppose is well and good, except often, I’d like to know what my blood work says – even if I’m in the clear. As a patient, don’t I have the right to see the results from my own tests? Of course I do. And now, I can. Last Tuesday, as I rolled my sleeve down and prepared to leave the lab, the technician handed me a leaflet with a tracking number.

You can now access your results online, she said with a smile.

Sweet success! I simply had to create an account and provide the info I received, et voila! In 24 hours, I became part of the digital health initiative.
INFOWAY_TWITTER (2)What is digital health?

It’s an easy, secure and digital way to manage you and your family’s health! Simply put, digital health allows authorized health care providers to quickly access your health information in order to make important decisions about your care. Think about it: if you still have a traditional paper medical file, it does not follow you everywhere you go. So, in the unfortunate event you had to make a trip to the emergency room or a walk-in clinic, the attending doctor would not have access to your complete health record.

But imagine if they did! With digital health, this is possible.  (more…)

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Travelling this Winter? Make Screening a Breeze!

November 17, 2015

My family is no stranger to airports. In fact, I think of myself as somewhat of an expert on the subject of family travel. Yes, we’ve survived plane delays. Yes, I’ve prepared for mid-flight meltdowns. No, I haven’t figured out how to ditch the kids for a glass of champagne in business class (working on it).

The weather outside may be frightful, but travelling this winter can be delightful! Whether you’re packing for a winter wonderland with the kids or escaping the cold, these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will make airport security a breeze.

755c69b81df0d5b1fd9c8b280d6242981. Pack liquids, aerosols and gels properly: Only liquids, aerosols and gels that are 100ml or less are permitted in your carry-on. Place these items in a single 1L clear, resealable plastic bag so the screening officer can easily see the contents. Any containers over 100ml should be placed in your checked baggage.

2. Know the age restrictions for baby food: Beverages and food (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice, purées) for children under the age of two are exempted from the liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions. These items should be packed so that they can easily be removed for inspection.

3. Bring solid snacks for the family: While you can’t bring yogurt or peanut butter, you can carry solid food items, such as sandwiches, granola bars and fruit through security when travelling within Canada. You can also bring a refillable drink container to refill once you pass through security.

4. Have medications ready for inspection: Prescription and essential non-prescription medications (e.g. cough syrup, decongestant spray, contact lens solution) are allowed. You can bring them in quantities greater than 100 ml in your carry-on but must show these items to the screening officer for inspection.

5. Leave gifts unwrapped: If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped as their contents may need to be inspected. During the holidays, some airports offer post-security gift wrapping service.  (more…)

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Let’s Celebrate the Holidays with #FPHolidayMoments!

November 14, 2015

Year after year, the unofficial start of the holiday season begins with one thing – Fisher-Price’s Holiday Twitter Party! This time around, we’re celebrating your #FPHolidayMoments. Because whether it’s baby’s first Christmas or the first time your toddler leaves cookies and milk for Santa, you know Fisher-Price, the most trusted toy brand in the world, has you covered.
FPHolidayMoments GraphicSo, what’s on your little one’s wish list this year? “Must-have” items include Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Smart Stages Speedway, a motorized playset which recognizes Puppy-and other Smart Speedsters race car characters. And we can’t forget Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet, baby’s first tablet that introduces letters, first words, animals and more. Finally, every little boy and girl would love to see their very own Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy under the tree!

I’m sure you can already guess what I’ll say next… we’re giving away all these toys – and more! – at the #FPHolidayMoments Twitter Party! In fact, we’ll have approximately $900.00 in toy bundles up for grabs – that’s right, each winner will take home multiple toys! It’s a party you won’t want to miss!

To participate, simply RSVP below for a chance to win (CAN only). See you on Wednesday night!  (more…)

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Defending our Daughters from Dietainment

November 13, 2015

Recently, I posted a photo of my beautiful niece on Instagram with the following caption:

The thing is, my niece looks so much like me, sometimes I pretend she’s all mine. “I have a girl! I have a princess.” But then I remember that one day, this beautiful little girl will turn into a beautiful woman and that’s a bit too scary. So I kiss her and hug her and spoil her and hand her back to my brother damn quick. 
DSC_1598aAs she grows, I want to protect her from the pressure to live up to society’s version of perfection when it comes to body image. And one of our best defenses against Dietainment is knowing it when we see it. Unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment are easy to miss, because they often hide in plain sight. Examples of Dietainment include messages or advertisements that do the following:

– Promise unrealistically fast weight loss that sounds too good to be true
– Lack valid scientific research to support claims
– Use over-the-top, implausible headlines like “slim down your belly fat in just a week”

Bella is still young, but if you have a daughter, granddaughter or niece who is at an influential age, you can help break the cycle by being a positive role model for the young women in your life!  (more…)

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Welcome to #ChristmasCentral!

November 12, 2015

My husband and I don’t always agree on everything. In fact, more often than not, we have a ying-yang thing going on. However, right around this time, as the snow flutters to the ground and Christmas carols play softly on the radio, we both agree that The Home Depot Canada is Christmas Central.

From holiday trees (real and faux) to stunning ornamental décor, outdoor inflatables to Griswold-worthy lights, they’ve got you covered – with unbeatable prices and selection both online and in-store. Browse their Christmas Savings Central gallery and find festive touches that will perfectly fit your space. And, with contemporary, distinctive items from the exclusive Martha Stewart Living Collection, you’ll be the most stylish stop on Santa’s route.

This season, you can also access Ideas and How To’s – everything from holiday decorating tips to how to set up an outdoor holiday light show. And if you still need a little inspiration and advice, they’re throwing a Twitter Party with design maven Janette Ewen!
Join us on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 for the #ChristmasCentral Twitter Party, hosted by @HomeDepotCanada and @Janette_Ewen. In addition to the AMAZING prizing noted above, you’ll also have a chance to have your holiday decorating questions answered by a style expert! Simply tweet your question(s) to Janette or Home Depot Canada using the hashtag #ChristmasCentral. If selected, your question may be featured (and answered!) LIVE on the Twitter Party!

There is no RSVP for this party; simply join the conversation at 8PM EST on Tuesday night. Winners will be randomly selected; see full contest rules and regulations here.

And now, excuse me while I browse these gorgeous Indoor Holiday Decorations!

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The Scents of Happiness: Holiday Memories

November 12, 2015

Last year, I spent a little too much time trying to get things just right.

“How long are you going to spend on that mantle?” my husband asked.
“Until it is right,” I replied tersely.
“What does that mean?”
DSC_0241 (1)To tell the truth, even I wasn’t sure. But growing up, my mom’s Christmas decorations were always perfect, year after year. I marvel at the way she was consistently able to recreate the same holiday feel; shiny foil buntings, hanging from the entranceway. A tree expertly trimmed with tinsel and decorated with ornaments. Lights and streamers adorning every available surface. The scent of clean floors and crisp white linen. (more…)

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Toronto, it’s the 111th Santa Claus Parade!

November 11, 2015

At Toronto’s very first Santa Claus Parade in 1913, Eaton’s arranged for Santa to be pulled by live reindeer, which had been imported from Labrador specifically for the Parade. The reindeer had a dedicated veterinarian who looked after them and supplied their special diet of moss. That year, children along the route started to march through the city along with Santa, stopping to dance and sing as they went. They dropped letters to Santa into baskets on poles carried by bearers, and every letter with an address received a personal response from Santa.

Today, there are more than 25 animated floats with themes ranging from Harry Potter to Hockey Night in Canada. More than 200 Celebrity Clowns lead the Parade and raise about $200,000 annually, while around 2,000 costumed participants march happily through Toronto’s streets. Because of its popularity, Toronto police have asked Parade organizers to extend the route by one mile in order to spread out the crowds of spectators.
1H0A4114 2 copyToronto’s Santa Claus Parade is the longest running children’s Parade in the world, broadcast across North America, as far away as New Zealand, Norway and Ireland. This year marks its 111th celebration!

“The Santa Claus Parade is a highlight for the City of Toronto, which brings joy and entertainment to people across Canada every year,” says Peter Beresford, Santa Claus Parade President and CEO. “Our continued partnership with MLSE helps ensure the Parade is at its magical best.”  (more…)

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Babysitting My Bella: A Play Date with Play, Stow and Go!

November 11, 2015

The very best thing about being an aunt to a sweet little girl is the ability to watch her grow, explore and learn about the world around her, one step at a time. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of babysitting my two-year-old niece Bella, and I don’t know who was more excited! I got to pinch her chubby cheeks and watch her toddle around, and she had a chance to play with the new PLAYSKOOL Play, Stow and Go toys, the ultimate in portable entertainment. They’re a mom’s – and this babysitter’s – dream!

Hey there little princess! Look who’s joining us for the drive to Aunty Lena’s!
DSC_1621aIt’s PLAYSKOOL All Day Elmo! This cuddly and interactive Elmo toy has 150+ responses, plus eight games and activities to help keep her engaged. And when playtime is over, Elmo can become a loveable friend for Bella to cuddle – because with a squeeze of Elmo’s nose, he can play a soft lullaby with gentle music. It took only a few moments for my niece to get acquainted with Elmo, and then, they became fast friends!  (more…)

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Now THAT’s What I Call EPIC.

November 11, 2015

With great power comes great responsibility….

Oh wait, that’s a quote from Spider-Man. However, it’s rather a fitting opening line for this blog post, because with this website, I have both power and responsibility. (And my kid happens to be wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt.) You see, I have the power to get my hands on some of the hottest toys for Christmas 2015, and I have the responsibility to tell y’all which ones are at the top of my list.

Friends, the LeapFrog Epic may just be number one. Discover the tablet experience that adapts as your child grows and offers endless possibilities for exploration, learning and play. And, if it can entice smiles like this –
DSC_1627You know I’m all over it.

Okay, so first things first. The LeapFrog Epic is the next generation of LeapFrog tablets. Suitable for ages 3-9, it’s a unique Android-based tablet experience that grows with your child. Featuring a customizable and playable homescreen and a safe, out-of-the-box web that expands when they’re ready to explore more, it’s the perfect union between fun and learning. In fact, I’ve never been so pleased to see Reid learn through play; the games are just addictive enough, the lessons pose the right amount of challenge and the gaming possibilities are virtually endless.  (more…)

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