musings

Winning at Life: #MyWeekend with Lincoln MKZ

It’s not often that I accept car review opportunities. Frankly, for a long time, it just didn’t make sense. I liked my cars. I had no reason to test out a new ride. I didn’t want to gush about a car I’d never purchase (don’t you hate that?) and had no business telling you to purchase. End of story.

Welcome to Fall 2014… and now, we’re in the market for a new car. For the most part, I’ve kept an open mind, but I’ll be honest; the car needs to have a certain “level of Lena” for me to be satisfied. Truth is, I work really hard.. and from time to time, I like to reap the rewards! So yes, we’re in the market for a family vehicle (sedan, SUV or crossover) with luxury features, at a moderate price (Range Rovers need not apply).

We currently have an SUV, but with no longer a need for a double stroller (hooray!), we’ve once again included sedans on our wish list. Hence, when Lincoln asked if we’d like to take the MKZ 3.7 for a long weekend – appropriated dubbed #MyWeekend – I enthusiastically obliged. Marketed as “nothing you’ve ever seen before from Lincoln” – and starting at a reasonable $42,355 for a luxury-class vehicle – it accomplished something that no other loaner vehicle has been able to do in a very long time.

It got my attention.

My Weekend 1Was it the refined lines of the signature Lincoln split-wing grille, and its unified, modern design? Perhaps it was the SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, which provides access to important information with a vivid 8-inch touch screen on the centre stack. Of course, it could have been the impeccable craftsmanship, with careful attention given to every detail. In the end, I realized the MKZ 3.7 is just one of those cars that will blow the socks of anyone and everyone who sits inside (even my car-snob brother, who was won over after just one ride).  (more…)

food

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Dip

My husband and I are pretty set in our ways.

“I don’t like red peppers.” – Me
“I don’t like feta cheese.” – Him

However, if you saw us inhaling my sister-in-law’s Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Dip last night, trust me, you wouldn’t know it. Creamy and flavourful, with just the right amount of heat, the dip is a perfect late-summer appetizer and pairs wonderfully with barbecue and beer. My SIL admittedly scooped the recipe from Emeril Lagasse and adapted it as her own, serving it with Twistos (so good!).

Roasted Red Pepper DipWe were well into noshing on the dip when I decided I simply had to blog it, so forgive the “eating-in-progress” photo. And if you happen to have leftovers, do this:

- Use it as a spread for sandwiches and wraps
- Heat through and toss it with freshly cooked pasta
- Use it as a topping for baked potatoes
- Spread it over a pizza crust in lieu of tomato sauce; top with roasted veggies

Of course, you could always simply enjoy round two of dipping. Click here for the recipe - Enjoy!

fashion

Your Fashion Fix: Welcome to Canada, Chico’s!

One of the wonderful things about living in Canada is the plethora of fashion choices at our disposal.

Trendy or contemporary! Classic or fad! Comfortable or club wear! Business casual or haute couture! The options – and available retailers – are seemingly endless. And so, when I tell you that Chico’s has made their way north of the border, you may ask: “What’s so special about Chico’s? What sets them apart?”

I suppose the simple answer is that Chico’s offers everything I look for in my day-to-day wardrobe: chic prints, one-of-a-kind details, quality staples and just enough “oomph” to stay on-trend without being too “15 minutes of fad”.

I was recently invited to attend the Grand Opening of Chico’s first Canadian store, which just happened to be at one of my favourite malls, Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga! Within moments of arriving at the brand new store, located on the upper level outside Hudson’s Bay, I could tell Chico’s had found its home in Canada. A stunning, dark modern façade decorated the exterior, while inside, a chic and elegant shopping experience awaited.

Chico's Square One Shopping Centre(Above, Chico’s donates $10,000 to Stand Up To Cancer, one of their chief philanthropic partners. This season, they’ve also collaborated with the charity and Harper’s BAZAAR, with a portion of the sales ($10.00) from this luxuriously soft and silky scarf to be donated to Stand Up To Cancer from August 18, through October 31, 2014.)  (more…)

family

Tips: How to Handle a Hot Superhero

The sun is high in the noon sky, casting rays of powerful heat onto the civilians below. As you make your way through the hoards of mortals gathered by a galactic structure, a broad shadow looms, covering the land in darkness. Wary – but determined – you amble forward, stepping across the threshold. And instantly, you’re transported into another time. You’ve crossed the “cosmic bridge” into Asgard.

One of the highlights of our #DisneyVacayCA at Disneyland, California was the ability to get up close and personal with some of our favourite Superheroes at Innoventions. Located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park, Innoventions is a 5,000-square-foot home of the future, where you can learn how the advancements of today—and the technology of tomorrow—seamlessly interconnects within the home, the surrounding community and the whole world.

It also happens to be the home of Thor, the Mighty Avenger!

“Ready yourself for a thunderous encounter as you come face-to-face with the crown prince of Asgard.”

Hint – he’s hot. No really, I know he’s Thor and all – and never once did he break character, so it’s all good for the kids – but really, kudos to Disneyland for this casting decision. Someone up there decided that a young Brad Pitt-lookalike made perfect sense for the role, and set out to find him. Well, he’s there folks. From 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day.

“Begin your journey by first entering a fascinating display where you can learn about the rich culture and history of Thor’s home planet. Examine the walls where you’ll find formal portraits of Thor and Loki, in addition to other treasures and artifacts—including the fabled book of Yggdrasil.”

Yes, there’s the anticipation. In fact, no one does anticipation better than Disney – from the many “artifacts” of Asgard on display (recognizable props from the Thor movies, such as weapons used by the Warriors Three and Heimdall) to the possessions of the dark elves, we’re given a glimpse into Thor’s world. And then, upon entering the Bifröst, the voice of Odin himself can be heard, welcoming us at the gateway to Asgard. Finally, Odin’s throne room opens – revealing Thor standing in splendour.

So… how do you handle a hot superhero?

Tip #1: Bait the hot superhero into a sidelong glance. You know, the type where he looks at you from the corner of his eye. Confirm his hotness, and then move over to a more central location to get a better photograph.

Thor: Treasures of Asgard DisneylandTip #2: Creatively blur out your husband (accidentally on purpose?) and focus on the hot superhero. Note that your 6-year old is touching his mighty hammer, Mjolnir – which Thor is also touching – which means that in a way, Thor is actually touching you. Be secure in this knowledge and accept it as truth.  (more…)

Contests

Back to School: Set Me Up Best Buy!

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Back. to. School. If you’re a parent, those three words rule your world right now! And with the kiddos set to enter the classroom for another year, the crunch is on to get ready, get prepped, and go!

You’ll likely be partaking in a little shopping – and, you’ll have a choice on where to spend your hard-earned money. So, what should you look for in a retailer? Let me make a case for Best Buy – they’ve got everything to set your kids up for success this back to school, making it easy for you to shop for what you want, where you want and how you want all at the lowest possible price.

i. Lowest Price Guarantee: Best Buy’s Lowest Price Guarantee to customers is the best in Canada. They guarantee it both in-store and online.

ii. Reserve and Pick-up: Customers can reserve their product online without entering any credit card information and pick up their item at the store of their choice in as quickly as 20 minutes.

iii. Assortment: Nobody in Canada can offer a better selection of products.

iv. In-store Pick-up and Web kiosks: If they don’t have something in-store, their Blue Shirts will assist customers to purchase the product online at one of the in-store web kiosks and have the product shipped to their home or the store for easy pick-up.

Okay, so maybe you’ve considered Best Buy for your electronic needs. But not only does Best Buy have all of the latest and greatest in technology for back to school, they also carry a wide assortment of backpacks, lunch bags, school supplies, musical instruments, educational toys and more. It’s true!

FACT: Best Buy carries more than 300 backpacks online from top brands including JanSport, Swiss Gear, Roots, TUMI, OGIO, High Sierra and many more in a number of different styles, sizes and colours to suit every student going back to school.

BTS_Backpack_Campaign_ElementarySchoolFACT: Best Buy carries over 3,500 school and office supplies online so while you are shopping for your new laptop or tablet, you can also get your pens, notebooks and pencil crayons all at the same place.  (more…)

Contests

Back To School in Style: #HeritageB2S Twitter Party

What are you doing on Wednesday night? No, seriously – what are you doing? Because there’s only ONE thing you need to do. Trust me on this. Clear your schedule. Call the babysitter. Set your PVR.

Newsflash: the ONLY place you’ll want to be is the #HeritageB2S Twitter Party at 9:00pm ET on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014. Because, in addition to sharing tips and tricks to make the new school year as stress-free as possible, we’ll be giving away a MacBook Air Laptop, valued at $999.
macbook-air-large-image
(It’s okay if you need a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor. I get it, I really do!) We’ll also have $700 in gift cards from Oliver’s Labels and Target to give away, with seriously amazing denominations such as 2 x $50, 2 x $100 and 1 x $200 in Target gift cards. Now that’s how you’re supposed to start off the school year – winning at our Twitter Party! See full details here.

Be sure to follow our sponsors @HeritageFunds and @OliverLabels – and RSVP below for your chance to win!  (more…)

family

Disney Baby: Baby’s First Bath

Hands up if you freaked out the first time you bathed your baby by yourself. What a coincidence! ME TOO! Our experience *may* have included Ryder peeing all over my chest as I cradled him. And sputtering the equivalent of baby obscenities as I poured water over his head. And screaming bloody murder as I tried to towel dry his tiny body. In fact, it’s best that I put the memory out of my mind completely.

Then again, it’s not like Ryder let the hospital nurse off the hook either -

first bathHahaha! True story, I just told Ryder that this is the same bowl we now eat popcorn in (it isn’t). I’m sure I’ve put him off popcorn for life. But seriously, is that really what 6 lbs 13 oz looks like? So tiny!!

Obviously, learning to bathe your baby can be a little scary – there’s a lot to juggle and of course you want to keep your little one safe. But as long you’re properly prepared, bath time can be a great bonding experience and a whole lot of fun! Disney Baby has some great tips on how to protect and pamper your little one in the tub, and some adorable products to help you to do it! From towels and toys to cleansers and creams, Disney Baby has you covered.

Tip #1: Start small. Your baby is little, so his bathtub should be too! When you start bathing a baby, it’s easier to do it in the sink, or using a small plastic tub. That way, you won’t have to kneel or lean awkwardly over the side of a big bath while keeping your baby upright. Some baby tubs, like this adorable Winnie the Pooh one, feature built-in toys, ensuring that bath time is fun for everyone.

Tip #2: Get some tub toys. For older babies, the bath can be a great place to learn and explore. Once your little one has graduated to a big tub, introduce them to some squirt toys, fun floaties or sponges. Disney Baby has a great selection of these, featuring characters like Nemo and Friends. Toys can keep your baby distracted and happy, helping make bath time a breeze.

Tip #3: Ditch the daily dips. Babies don’t need to bathe everyday – in fact, daily baths can dry out or damage your little one’s skin. It only takes two or three baths a week to ensure that baby stays squeaky-clean, as long as you stay vigilant about keeping face, hands and diaper area clean between washes. These Finding Nemo washcloths are the perfect way to keep baby fresh between bath times.

Tip #4: Lock in that moisture. If your baby does have dry skin, rub on a little moisturizing lotion, cream or oil post bath. There are plenty of products out there that both you and your baby can use!

Tip #5: Keep baby warm. Wet babies can become easily chilled, so throughout bath time it’s important to keep your little one warm. Ensure that bath water is around 37 degrees and that the air in the bathroom is comfortably warm as well. After the bath, wrap baby up in a soft, clean towel and give him a little snuggle! A Winnie the Pooh Bathtime Wrap keeps baby feeling cozy and looking cute.

Were you nervous about bathing your baby for the first time? Do tell!

family

Back to School: If I Could Turn Back Time

It happens every August. The flyers circulate; the commercials repeat, the clothes beckon. And for just about two minutes I wish I was returning to school. I see myself packing a stiff new backpack filled with sharpened pencils and spiral notebooks. I marvel at the texture of brand new erasers and the firm snap of three-ring binders. I make a promise to pack my bag every night, instead of struggling to jam things together in the morning.

I miss back to school. 

And the feelings of nostalgia only become more intense as I witness the parade of über stylish, über cool binders, notebooks, organizational tools, locker accessories, lunch bags and more. So I got to thinking… what if I could turn back time? What if I could choose my back to school supplies – but have the benefit of this year’s technology, fashion and functionality? Here’s what I’d select.

Fashion FixYes folks, the ombre trend has migrated from tresses to notebooks! And I could be happier – especially since it’s combined with neon and animal prints, also hot for 2014. It’s the trilogy of trends! And glitter binders? Sign me up.  (more…)

family

Now is the Time for You: Introducing Healing Mix

My cup runneth over. I have more than enough for my needs; good health, a roof over my head, and copious amounts of love, luck and laughter. I’m constantly on the go – I travel with my family, act as the official school chauffeur, am a grocery store ninja and work at all hours of day (and sometimes night). Often, friends and family will say to me, “You’re a machine! How do you do it all?” And I’ll smile, and say I enjoy being busy.

But the truth is, I’m tired all the time. In fact, from the moment I gave birth to Ryder six years ago, I’ve never felt truly rested. First, it was the stress of post pregnancy – nighttime feedings, hormonal imbalances, and postpartum blues that ebbed and flowed for almost a year. Then, it was keeping up with a feisty, curious toddler… while caring for his newborn baby brother. And later, it was balancing both boys and my inhuman drive to succeed – and while it’s been great for business, there have been casualties along the way: my health, stamina, diet, energy… you could say I’m constantly juggling a few too many balls in the air.

Does this sound familiar? I’m so pleased to introduce you to Now for Mothers Healing Mix, a Superfood for ALL moms taken from the first day of giving birth continuously for up to six years afterwards. Healing Mix is a natural and organic recovery formula that conveniently and safely provides mothers with a solution to the exhaustion they feel after pregnancy. It is the perfect solution for mothers who are looking for a healthy way to boost their energy after a sleepless night. In fact, the satiation factor is so high that it proves to be a healthy meal replacement aid, when juggling time becomes difficult, without requiring any preparation. It is a good source of nutrients and healthy fats that help regulate hormonal balance as well as promote healthy brain development in newborns during breastfeeding.

Clearly, it’s a fabulous way to boost a mom’s post-pregnancy health. But why is it particularly effective for moms, even years after giving birth? The continuous benefits of Healing Mix includes:

- Stimulates energy flow and increases metabolism
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels for sustained energy
- Assists in reducing congestion and phlegm in the body
- Aids in flushing toxins from the system

Bonus: You can take Healing Mix any way you like. Take it on its own or with a warm beverage; sprinkle it on oatmeal or a healthy cereal. You can even mix it in a smoothie or yogurt (my fave). The choice is yours.

Healing Mix is available at Loblaw Companies Stores across Canada (Atlantic Superstore, Extra Foods, Loblaws, Loblaw Greatfood, Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaw Superstore and Zehrs). Click here to find a retailer.

Want to learn more? We’re sharing the scoop (pun intended) at the @NowForMothers #HealingMix Twitter Party on Tuesday, August 26th at 8:00pm ET. To thank you for joining the conversation, we’ll be giving away 6 x $50 Loblaw Companies Gift Cards , and a GRAND PRIZE of a $250 Loblaw Companies Gift Card!
Now for Mothers Twitter Party GraphicThe Twitter Party is open to all residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority in their province. There is no RSVP; simply follow @NowForMothers and tweet on the #HealingMix hashtag to win.

You need to be at your very best after pregnancy to enjoy every precious moment with your little one. As a mom, you need to be nurtured too. Join us on Tuesday night for a fun, informative chat!

Contests

Back to School: We’re #Eggcited4Eggs!

There are a LOT of things to obsess over with back to school around the corner. I’d list them all… but I don’t want to scare you away! And if you’ve got a kiddo or two (or three, or four…) chances are, you already know the drill.

One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about? Getting healthy, delicious – and most importantly, easy to make – meals on the breakfast table and in their lunch bags. And we’re here to help! With tips, tricks and the very best recipes from @eggsoeufs, you won’t want to miss the #Eggcited4Eggs Twitter Party on Thursday, August 28th at 8:00pm ET! (See official rules here.)

EFC - Twitter Party Graphic Promo Graphic - Final BIn addition to a fun-filled chat, we’ll also be sharing information about a new partnership between Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) and Breakfast Club of Canada. In Canada, one out of seven children goes to school on an empty stomach. As part of its commitment to social responsibility, EFC has partnered with one of the country’s major nutritional programs, Breakfast Club of Canada, which provides thousands of breakfasts to children every day.

“As farmers, we take our responsibility toward our community very seriously. Through this partnership, more children across the country will have access to a healthy start,” says Peter Clarke, Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada. “Every child deserves a complete breakfast before attending school and we are very proud to be partnering with Breakfast Club of Canada for such a great cause.”

To thank you for joining the conversation, we have some prize packs that will definitely get you #Eggcited4Eggs! RSVP below to join the fun, and see you on Thursday night!  (more…)

family

We’re Back from Our #DisneyVacayCA!

Ryder is zooming around the room simulating roller coasters. Reid is singing “Let it Go” at the top of his lungs. My husband is clicking through hundreds of photos. It can only mean one thing – we’re back from our Disneyland vacation!

And it’s only right that I just come out and say it: it was our BEST family vacation EVER. Truly! From beginning to end, we were treated to a flawless experience that is consistent with Disney’s excellence in service, entertainment, value and family fun. Plus, we had a chance to tour some of the most scenic beaches of Southern California – I can’t wait to tell you all about it! (But first: laundry.)

In the meantime, I wanted to share my favourite picture from our vacation – my two little guys in Cars Land. It’s rare that I can get both boys to simply pose for a photo, but in this case, they were so excited about “meeting” Mater that they wrapped their arms around each other and smiled for the camera. I can’t believe I got this in one shot! They must have been “racing” high on adrenaline – or “fueled” by excitement! (Do you see what I did there? I’m so punny!)

Cars LandAnyhoo, please bear with me as I get back into a groove; the 3-hour time change owned me today. Seriously, I napped twice!! OMG. But I’ll certainly be back to share all the highlights from our epic #DisneyVacayCA. Until then, have a magical day!

beauty

30 Days of Beauty = 30 Fabulous Looks!

One of my favourite pastimes is trying to decode a celebrity’s “signature beauty look”. Often, it’s very easy – Gwen Stefani’s red lips, Lauren Conrad’s winged eyeliner, Beyoncé’s long blond extensions – but sometimes, it’s downright challenging. Think Christina Aguilera – who loves to completely overhaul her image every few seasons. Or Katy Perry, who can sport blue hair one night… and blonde hair the next. And I must pay homage to Madonna, who has been a beauty and style chameleon for decades.

I too have a signature beauty look. Can you guess? (The question is probably easier to answer for those who see me on a regular basis.) My favourite look is precisely lined eyes, cheeks defined with bronzer instead of blush, and dewy, nude lips. In fact, you could say I watched Jennifer Lopez’s If You Had My Love music video a few too many times in 1999… and decided the look was one worth hanging on to. But you know what? For tanned girls, it’s a classic beauty combo that never goes out of style.
Shoppers_drug_mart_Logo-e140831503938330 Days of Beauty has returned to Shoppers Drug Mart! In its 4th year, this national event (the biggest of the year!) runs now until September 14th, 2014.

0176-14-30-DOB-BB-alu-e1408314937903Pop into your local Shoppers Drug Mart throughout the month, where 30 Fabulous Looks will tell the story of 30 Days of Beauty through visuals, instructional “How-To’s”, and exciting 1-day only offers as well as campaign offers on all of your favourite beauty brands. Online, you can check out behind-the-scenes videos available on youtube.ca, and visit www.30daysofbeauty.cawhere you can uncover the 1-day offer for each day and be schooled on how to achieve all thirty of the 30 Fabulous Looks.

(Guess that’s a challenge to broaden my beauty horizons!)

BONUS: An exclusive gift with purchase is available August 23-August 29, 2014 when you spend $75 or more on Cosmetics, Skin Care or Fragrance. A beautiful Cosmetic Pouch, filled with over 25 beauty and fragrance samples, is fabulous and free!

And rest assured, the team of beauty experts at Shoppers Drug Mart is there to help, so if you have any makeup or skin care questions, it’s the perfect time to drop in for a consultation. Customers can even book a 5-minute makeover in-store and ask for their favourite 30 Days of Beauty look!

I stopped by Shoppers Drug Mart multiple times during the event last year, and I can attest that the savings are fabulous. Have a fave Cover Girl mascara? Like to stock up on your trusted Lancôme moisturizer? Bookmark www.30daysofbeauty.ca to stay on top of the offers and promos, so you’ll know when to pop in. (I think I still have a few unopened lip glosses from my haul last year.)

Tell me – do you have a signature beauty look?

Although this post has been generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Shoppers Drug Mart.

Contests

Back to School with #airmilesshops!

I have fond memories of back to school shopping with my parents. Shuffling from store to store; checking the flyers, prices and sales, wading through crowds of kids and frazzled parents.

My boys won’t have the same memories – because I’ll be completing ALL their back to school shopping online! And with www.airmilesshops.ca, it’s easier than ever to reward yourself - from August 25th until September 1st, Collectors earn 5x reward miles just for shopping at their favourite online stores through #airmilesshops!

Earning AIR MILES reward miles while shopping online through airmilesshops.ca is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step One: Sign In – Sign in with your AIR MILES Collector Number and click “Shop Now”
Step Two: Shop – You will be taken to the retailer’s online site and shop as you normally would
Step Three: Earn – You will earn 1 AIR MILES reward miles for every $20 you spend!

All you have to do is remember to sign in through the portal and you’ll automatically earn rewards. And since your privacy and security is of the utmost importance, each and every retailer that is under the “virtual roof” of airmilesshops.ca uses a secure SSL checkout. Hence, you’ll always have peace of mind when shopping online – especially during the hectic back to school season.

So beat those crowds, grab the best deals, and get ready to WIN – join us for an @AIRMILES #airmilesshops Twitter Party on Monday, August 25th at 8pm ET. We’ll share tips and tricks for finding the hottest back to school gear and showcase the latest and greatest from top fashion retailers like Old Navy, The Gap, TOMS, Hudson’s Bay and more! Plus, we’ll be giving away some pretty sweet prizes, guaranteed to receive an A+ for awesomeness.

AIR MILES back to schoolRSVP for a chance to win, and see you on Monday night! 

*Please be sure to enter your Twitter Handle “@yourTwitterhandle” in the Link/Blog Title field, and your Twitter URL “www.twitter.com/yourtwitterhandle” in the Link Field* (more…)

family

When They Sleep Better, I Sleep Better.

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

This post was sponsored by the makers of BENADRYL®. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s a warm summer night, and the day has been long. Play dates, splash pads, dining out, oh my! I’m just about ready to put my feet up and relax, when my husband gives me “that look”.

Oh no, I think to myself. Not tonight.

Sensing my hesitation, he raises his eyebrows and nods solemnly. “Yes”, he says before I can turn away. “You can’t avoid it tonight. Come on, Lena, no excuses.” I flinch. “It’s your turn to put the boys to bed.”

Ugh! Bedtime at my house is the worst. thing. ever. Sometimes it’s cute - tiny feet padding into our room after lights out; a tiny figure climbing onto our bed. But it’s endearing for about five minutes… and then the screaming begins.

“Get back to bed!”
“No more water! Time to sleep!”
“I’ve already read three stories! Go to bed!”
“Stop fighting! You’re supposed to be sleeping!”

Benadryl Sleep(Captioned Above: “Can’t trust my boys to actually go to bed. Found Ryder sitting in a bucket reading a book to Reid, who somehow got his hands on two cookies – WTH?”)

I could go on, but I won’t. I’m not sure why my boys are so opposed to bedtime – to tell the truth, if this is foreshadowing into their teen years for curfews, I am downright terrified. But even though I hate the ongoing fight, I really do have their best interests at heart.  (more…)

musings

#ThrowbackThursday #tbt: The Model

In 2014, I will be participating in #tbt courtesy of the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small–in–One printer, the ultimate choice for scanning and printing. Ultra powerful and ultra slim, it produces stunning borderless photos and documents quickly and affordably. Featuring the ultimate in wireless printing, the XP-810 makes it easier than ever to print from your iPad, iPhone, tablet or smartphone, whether in your home or out and about.

My morning giggle came courtesy of a photo I unearthed of my husband, back in September 2009. You know how they say it’s healthy to laugh at yourself from time to time? I’d rather laugh at my husband. He’s such a good sport!

Blue SteelSunglasses at night? Check. Photo shoot pose? Check. Tri-coloured wool socks? Every male model needs a pair of those. But what actually has me guffawing with glee is the fact that was a serious, bona fide pose for him. Like, he wasn’t trying to be funny or ironic! He was simply mugging for the camera. Of course, at the time the photo was taken, I don’t think he had any idea I’d one day feature him in a throwback post. Love you babe!

food

Food + Family = The Flavour of Together

As a child, I truly believed summer was filled with long, lazy days. As a parent, I appreciate all the work that goes into creating those long, lazy days for my children. Camp has to be researched and booked. Play dates need to be organized. Vacations have to be scheduled, and then executed, with the least amount of drama. Road trips must be mapped out. Whew! All so we can milk every moment of sunshine, warm weather and patio time… and create the illusion of a perfect, endless summer.

Of course, one of my favourite ways to savour the season is to enjoy a good barbecue with friends and family! I’m always looking to elevate my food in simple and stress-free ways. That’s why I adore Club House La Grille. With a delicious selection of seasonings, rubs, marinades and BBQ Sauces, La Grille will make you the hero of the grill!

Now be honest. Hands up if you’ve paid $10+ for a “gourmet” burger. I know, right! Since when did an order of a burger, fries and drink cost $15.65! And just what constitutes gourmet? While I’d like to believe the quality of the meat patty is improved, some restaurants will simply play up the toppings to justify the inflated price. Special cheese? That’s a gourmet burger. Avocado spread? That’s a gourmet burger. Secret sauce? That’s a gourmet burger.

Well friends, I’m here to show you how to make the most delicious “gourmet” burger featuring Club House La Grille Wild Whiskey Smoked BBQ Sauce. Sweet and smoky barbecue flavours, along with herbs, spices, and a splash of whiskey are blended with the tanginess of tomato and sweetness of molasses, to create a rich, bold BBQ flavour. It’s the perfect way to elevate a burger, and trust me, it won’t break the bank either. I use turkey burgers in my recipe, as I find the pungent, smoky sauce complements the milder-tasting meat nicely.

#FlavourStory4 turkey burger patties
1 bottle Club House La Grille Wild Whiskey Smoked BBQ Sauce
4 hamburger rolls, toasted
4 slices gouda cheese
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce

Barbecue turkey burger patties for 12-14 minute on medium heat, or according to manufacturer’s directions if you’re using frozen patties. During the last two minutes of grilling, add gouda to the burgers to melt the cheese. Place hamburger rolls (cut side down) on indirect burners to toast them lightly.  (more…)

Contests

Do You Prefer to Live #ONatural?

It’s not a fad, or a trend. It’s not backed by the celebrity du jour. It won’t come with a long list of cautionary side effects. It’s not a miracle cure, and will never claim to be one.

It is found in nature, and perfected by science. It’s homeopathic medicine.

Introducing Orange Naturals. They make professional quality, naturopathic health products that are convenient to use and easy to understand. Designed by licensed, Canadian naturopathic doctors, Orange Naturals combines the core components of natural medicine into a line of professional-grade, yet family-friendly, naturopathic products.

Want to learn more? I’m so pleased to be co-hosting the #ONatural Twitter Party with @OrangeNaturals. Together, we’ll share information on their best homeopathic health products, including tinctures, supplements and ND shakes. And… the prizes will be amazing. Trust me.

Orange Natural Twitter Party GraphicRSVP below for your chance to win, and we’ll see you on Wednesday night!  (more…)

family

#DisneyVacayCA: Disneyland, Here We Come!

The kids are running around, my bedroom is a disheveled mix of suitcases, clothing and lightsabers, and I’ve got a to-do list taped to no less than four doors in my house… but it’s all awesome because we are headed to DISNEYLAND!

disneyland-guide_596x334I’m on a t-minus 5 day countdown until we leave for the #DisneyVacayCA media trip to Disneyland, California. We’ll enjoy a stay at the stunning Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which boasts a breathtaking 6-story lobby constructed of stone and wood plus stately American Craftsman-style décor in all rooms. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a premium hotel that celebrates the grandeur of the great outdoors.

grand-californian-overview-g14Of course, we’ll spend tons of time in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park (three days of fun!), so you can bet this Disneyland newbie will be all over the attractions. And speaking of attractions, you do know I have two Disney Cars fanatics, right? I predict we’ll be spending a LOT of time in Cars Land!  (more…)

musings

Their Not Interchangeable and Never Will Be

If you caught the grammatical error in my post title, Hallelujah! We can be friends.

I found this post from August 2010 – almost four years ago to the day!

“Lately, I’m finding more and more people simply don’t take the time to use the words there, their and they’re in their proper context. Frankly, unless you’re in second grade and have yet to learn the subtleties of grammar and pronunciation, you really have no excuse. There, I said it. It all comes down to this silly notion that intelligence is constantly conveyed in everything that we do.”

Okay, I was pretty self-righteous, no?? But you know what? I’m not going to apologize for it. I am a proud grammar cop! And in the last four years, I can only say I’ve become worse – kind of like a crotchety old man on a park bench. Back to my post -

“I wouldn’t dare insult you by posting the different uses of the three words; I’m under the assumption that we all know what they mean and how to correctly insert them into a sentence. What I am going to say, especially to the violators, is please, take a moment to proofread your work. Anal-retentive perfectionists such as myself (who clearly have a lot of time on their hands) take offense to those who don’t show respect for the English language. Some actually exhibit a marked rise in blood pressure when confronted with this popular grammatical error. Trust me, they’re out there.”

I went on to bash people like only a blogger with mildly inflated readership can do, but over the years, I’ve learned to bite my tongue and reserve judgement for whale poachers and fashion criminals.

As such, I had put the post out of my mind almost completely – until recently, when Weird Al Yankovic validated every. freaking. word with his new single and video, Word Crimes. It’s like he wrote it for me, and other grammar snobs (we tend to stick together, since few people can stand us).

So go on, give it a listen. And may I just say – Weird Al owned Robin Thicke here. It’s pretty bad when the parody is better than the original, just sayin’. (With that, enjoy your weekend friends!)

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves?

Contests

Enjoy the Flavour of FREE: #AIRMILESCash

Now raise your hands if you blinked… and found yourself in August. Yeah, me too!

It’s safe to say that the summer is in full swing, so it’s definitely time to kick back and relax. Whether it’s with family, friends or your significant other, this season is officially the best time to take a break and treat yourself. However, with demanding schedules for many of us, there’s often not enough time to plan a carefree outing. (Or, if I decide to bring the kids… it’s an outing, but not necessarily carefree. Lesson: leave the kids at home.)

But don’t fret – it’s easier than ever to break away from the grind with the newest AIR MILES Cash feature!

Heads up, peeps, because if you’re a foodie, you’ll want to take note: You can now redeem AIR MILES reward miles instantly online for any Cara Restaurant – think Swiss Chalet, Milestones Grill & Bar, Montana’s Cookhouse, Kelsey’s and Harvey’s…. and East Side Mario’s, Casey’s Grill + Bar, Bier Markt and Fionn MacCool’s from the Prime family of restaurants. That’s a whole lotta deliciousness – time to enjoy the flavour of FREE with AIR MILES Cash!

With these new mouth-watering dining options to choose from, it’s a snap to share the reward with family and friends. Forgot to send a birthday gift to a steak lover on the east coast? No problem! You can use reward miles in your AIR MILES Cash balance to redeem for electronic vouchers (called ‘eVouchers’). Simply redeem 95 reward miles for $10 towards your purchase with a Reward Partner of your choice – up to $750 worth of reward miles per day. That’s more than enough for your next night out at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, one of the latest Sponsors to join current partners such as Cineplex and Starbucks. Bring on your appetite!

Want to learn more? We’re serving up a fun-filled chat with @AIRMILES at the #AIRMILESCash Twitter Party!

AIRMILES Cash Graphic v2Join the fun on Tuesday, August 12th at 8pm ET. To whet your appetite, of course we’ll have some ah-mazing prizes up for grabs. Plus, we’ll give you all the scoop on AIR MILES Cash eVouchers, the latest Reward Partners, and more! (See our official rules.)

RSVP below for your chance to win, and we’ll see you on Tuesday night!

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