DIY or DIFM (Do it For Me)? Hardwood Installation with The Home Depot Canada

February 16, 2017

If you’re lucky enough to know a general contractor or someone who specializes in flooring installation, I am really, really, jealous.

Seriously. A home reno that involves a flooring install is a BIG deal, and it involves time, money and a general upheaval of your living conditions. And, when you have to trust the work to strangers, it makes it all the more ominous: will I like the results? Can I trust the quality and workmanship? You’re gluing what to where and how?

Yeah, it can get a little ambiguous.

Thankfully, you’ve got me – I’ve recently survived a hardwood install! Today, I’ll tell you what you need to know to make it as painless as possible.pic1Tip #1: Buy Your Own Wood. If you call a contractor, chances are they will offer a selection of hardwood or engineered hardwood for you to peruse, and may even try to lure you with their “contractor’s discount.” Don’t be persuaded, unless they present you with a sample you love at a price you can live with. There are other options, promise.

You see, the selection at The Home Depot Canada is unsurpassed! From the type of flooring to the species and finish, YOU get to decide what is best for your home. And remember this advice: ALL wood species are suitable for everyday use. An associate in the flooring department can help you find a look and finish that you’ll love.  (more…)

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New Year, New Home: Top Five Factors When Selecting Hardwood Flooring

January 16, 2017

From my previous post, Love It or List It? The Case for Decision-Making Renos, you’ll know that after nine long years with our berber carpet on our home’s second floor, it was time for a change.
HD1However, settling on the perfect hardwood flooring – even when you’re simply matching one floor to the next – is not a quick and simple process. There are many variables that can influence the colour, type and price of the flooring you choose. Today, let’s go over the Top Five Factors When Selecting Hardwood Flooring. (more…)

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Tips for a Sparkling and Safe Holiday

December 2, 2016

The Griswolds, we are not. In fact, while I was tempted to show you a photo of our current holiday lighting setup, I can’t – because I made my husband take it down. Yep, he’s been tasked with a do-over.

(Don’t roll your eyes at me! I just want our Christmas to be merry and bright – in an orderly, colour coordinated, non-fire hazardish fashion.)

So instead, here’s a picture of what I have in mind for my husband. Take note, dear!Hahaha. Now that I’ve been served with divorce papers, let’s get real about the topic at hand.

The festive season is here, and soon we’ll be busy decorating our homes for the holidays. When starting your holiday décor shopping for lighting, decorations or gifts, please keep electrical safety in mind! While Christmas lighting and electrical decorations (I see you, neon Santa) do contribute to the splendor of the season, they can also significantly increase the risk of fires and electrical injuries if not used safely. (more…)

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The Home Depot Canada: Welcome to Christmas Central!

November 15, 2016

It’s only a small percentage of my readers, but they do exist. The people who have no idea that The Home Depot Canada is the BEST place to find beautiful and whimsical, classic or contemporary holiday décor.

Still in the dark? Come join me in the light. Lights. Christmas lights.
christmas-lights-232x174Recently, I had an opportunity to attend The Home Depot Canada’s holiday preview, which was chock full of design and décor inspiration for every taste (and budget). Whether you’re looking to be the talk of your neighbourhood with standout lighting, add some sparkle to your classic collection of ornaments or liven your space with some Canadian-grown greenery, The Home Depot Canada is #ChristmasCentral(more…)

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Love It or List It? The Case for Decision-Making Renos

November 4, 2016

Next July, we will have been in our home for 10 years.

Our home was supposed to be a “starter home”. The first real estate purchase as an entry point into the market; a tidy semi-detached house in the suburbs that would be a stepping stone to a more expansive property down the road.

Except, while we were unpacking boxes and re-stocking kitchen cabinets, I was running to the bathroom with bouts of sickness.

Folks, I am a statistic. We conceived a honeymoon baby.

Suddenly, the dark hardwood we had selected for our main floor was doomed to show scratches from children’s toys. The expensive, hand-woven berber carpet on the second floor would no doubt be victim to spills and stains. The money we had spent on builder upgrades – oh, all the upgrades! – should have been spent on strollers and diapers. However, we had no choice but to plough ahead, effectively turning our starter home into our “TBD” home.
img_1343It didn’t make sense to move. The boys were growing and the house grew old with them. As predicted, the hardwood floors became scuffed and the carpet bore stains. But, we also put a lot of love into the home, finishing the basement, landscaping the front and updating the back with a stamped concrete patio.

And every so often, we got the itch to move.  (more…)

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Create Cold-Weather Curb Appeal from Recycled Rubber Products

October 26, 2016

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to residents of Ontario, Canada only.

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

Okay, not quite yet. But it IS getting cooler – much cooler! – and with winter around the corner, Canadians are doing their best to get their homes ready for the season. The patio furniture is stored; flowers are uprooted from their beds and decorative urns are emptied and stashed away.

Is it just me, or are Canadian homes lacking a certain curb appeal over the winter months?

I know, other than holiday decor, the northern climate doesn’t exactly allow for a host of ornamental options. However, there are a few simple ways to create curb appeal during the cold-weather months, and I’m happy to share them with you today!

1. Start with a Solid Base. Winter lacks a certain greenery, but with earth-savvy planters, you can infuse a little life into an otherwise bare space. Crescendo Urns, made by Multy Home, are a great option – they’re made using Ontario recycled tire rubber that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill.

(You may recall an earlier post, Simple Steps to Mini Garden Success with The Home Depot, where I featured the multi-season slate rubber urn – pictured below.)
dsc_1031aBecause this planter is designed to withstand the cold weather – with no cracking or fading – it will take you through all seasons seamlessly. You can also find recycled rubber mulch from a variety of Ontario-based manufacturers to fill the base which drains rapidly and efficiently, resists mold, mildew and fungi, and is also non-toxic.  (more…)

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot? Here’s How to Stay Cool

August 20, 2016

Ah, summer. The season of popsicles and patios, sunscreen and sno-cones. And for many Canadians, forget the Beach Boys – the soundtrack of summer sounds a little like this:

Hummmm.

That’s the sound of an air conditioner, running around the clock.

If you’re like me, summer in Ontario can often be about trying to stay comfortable and keeping your energy use in check.  After all, the less energy used, the less we pay, so it’s important to be aware of the many things we can do to form good usage habits.
fanOf course, the most obvious way is to set our thermostats a few degrees warmer, which will instantly reduce stress on our air conditioners (and energy bills!). However, there’s much more you can do, and it’s actually easier than you think! I watched an interesting animation on the new Save on Energy website about a family who was finding it hard to keep their home cool during these hot summer months. Since our current heat wave looks like it’s here to stay – for at least a little longer –  I wanted share some tips for keeping your house cool:

– Open your windows and enjoy the fresh summer air while you cool off without air conditioning. This is particularly effective early morning and late night when summer breezes can really help reduce the home’s temperature.  (more…)

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The Chic Retreat

April 7, 2016

If you didn’t attend our #TimetoRefreshContest Twitter Party last night, it may already be too late.

On trend pieces for home décor? Check.
Affordable prices? Check.
A desire to purchase everything in the collection? Check!

And, it is selling out like crazy. I may have placed a piece or two in my shopping cart last night!
824pmLENAIntroducing the Chic Retreat collection from Walmart. A limited offering for Spring 2016, this style driven collection offers a full range of linens, furniture, décor and accessories, making it easy and affordable to decorate an entire room or simply add a piece or two to update existing décor in bed, bath and living.  (more…)

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Making the Most of #EverySecond.

February 5, 2016

They’re competitive and loud and rarely respond unless I scream. They’re argumentative and ornery and way too sensitive about the silliest things (He’s looking at me, mom! He’s LOOKING at me!). They push my buttons, push for a later bedtime and always push each other.

Yet, they’re the heart of my home. They breathe so much life, excitement and vigor into my day. And when I catch them sitting together – because they just can’t stand to be apart – I remember that beyond the spats and bickering, they truly are the very best of friends.  I am truly blessed to share every second of my day with them.

You may watch the video and think, so what? It’s just two boys simply going about their day, exploring their interests. And you’re not incorrect. But I see so much more.

I see two brothers who need physical contact to reassure themselves of each other’s presence. I see two friends who delight in the other’s company, even if they’re engrossed in separate hobbies. I see two boys who have settled into the biggest chair in one of the warmest, most comfortable areas in our home – a place they always feel safe, secure and loved.  (more…)

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You May Just Flip for a Fleep

January 6, 2016

Mail delivery mattresses.

I’ve been open to them in the past. In fact, I’ve been more than intrigued about the entire process. After all, I am nothing if not welcoming of change, and in 2016, we do things a little bit differently.

We “talk” to our friends by typing. We eat food that has been genetically modified. We listen to music on the same machine that can do our taxes. We order a mattress over the Internet and it arrives by mail. And, it’s fleepin’ PERFECT.

Introducing Fleep. It’s the ONLY dual comfort reversible mattress sold online, and this 100% Canadian mattress features the two most popular comfort levels (soft ‘n perfect or firm ‘n perfect), which together satisfy over 95% of the population.
DSC_2308Above: child model not for sale.

First, you will need to decide if you prefer soft or firm support. Chances are, you already know the answer to this… but if you’ve never slept on a memory foam mattress, this may be a process of trial and error. Thankfully, you have time to decide; Fleep offers a 111 night trial – that’s more than three months! – so you have plenty of time to try out both sides and choose the comfort level that suits you best.

(To give your body time to get completely comfortable, Fleep recommends that you test each side of your Fleep for 30 days. After all, you’ve got 111 days to make your choice. Compared to the typical 10-minute trial period you get when you’re shopping at the store, that’s 111 more reasons to flip for a Fleep!)  (more…)

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Divide and Conquer Your Laundry! Introducing LG TWIN Wash

December 13, 2015

Mind. Blown. I know LG created this washer for me, because it has my life written ALL. OVER. IT.

Picture it: A huge, muddy pile of the boys’ clothes. A handful of my delicates, idling at the bottom of the clothes hamper. Two hours until bedtime and only one washing machine in the house. Sounds familiar? Of course it does. Because if there’s one thing we know about laundry, it’s that the chore has to be completed load by load. (by load… by load… by never ending load.)

Until now. Introducing the LG TWIN Wash, a multi-tasker’s dream! For the first time ever, Canadians can cut back on time spent doing laundry so they have more time for things that matter. The innovative TWIN Wash laundry system allows you to do two separate loads of laundry at once; do a big load in the front-loading washer up top while the smaller LG SideKick unit simultaneously washes a second load down below. Genius!
WM9000HVA_WD200CV TWIN Wash Pair_3QR Drama Lifestyle (2)If you’re starting to get excited – and maybe even mildly flushed with desire – congratulations, you’re a multitasking mom.  (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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A Homier Place for Homework with Grand & Toy

September 15, 2015

“I have homework,” Ryder announced, bending to undo the velcro on his running shoe.
“It’s the second day of school!” my husband exclaimed, looking at me in confusion.
“Welcome to grade two,” I countered, already clearing off the dining table.

The dining table. The place where I completed my homework as a child, and the one place I’ve been trying to keep sacred now that the kids have resumed school. But, it’s a losing battle. Because my boys like to be near me; in the kitchen, in the heart of the home. Even though I’ve previously set up a “study area” in our second floor loft, I’m embarrassed to admit that the boys have never completed their homework there, opting instead to crash at the dining table as I fix dinner.

And just when I thought I was doomed to another generation of “dining table” students, I found the *perfect* solution at Grand & Toy!

Get ready to save on school and office must-haves. They’ve got a wide selection from the most popular brands, including everything I needed to create a homework nook in my dining room. I’m fortunate to have an open concept home, which means that I can have a separate table for the boys’ homework and a separate table to eat! Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Grand & Toy offers stress-free and convenient online shopping for school essentials, especially those items that may have missed your back-to-school list. You can save on hundreds of supplies, large and small, with savings of up to 70% off select items. And, ordering is a breeze!

Here’s what I selected for my homework nook:
grandandtoy1. Star Quality Alnair Bench Desk. A durable work surface for the boys with a solid metal base, plus it has a scratch and dent-resistant finish (necessary for school-aged kids). It’s just the right size for two little students, and just the right sale price at $169.99!  (more…)

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DIY Photo Gifts: Totally Unexpected, Totally Awesome

July 13, 2015

Until recently, when I thought of “photo gifts”, the first thing that came to mind was the dreaded, oh-so-predictable photo mug.

If you work in an office setting, I’m sure you’ve seen one (or fifty) of them; a faded wraparound photo featuring (most often) a child or a family. Sometimes, you’ll find the words “World’s Best Dad” emblazoned across the top, and in time, the image will wash out to resemble an abstract watercolour.

It’s time to think outside the photo mug.

Introducing Staples Photo Gifts. Full disclosure: yes, they have photo mugs. But they also have totally unexpected, totally awesome photo gifts that are perfect for family, friends or just because!

Here are my faves:

Canvas (Full Photo Wrap): Create an eye-catching work of art by printing your favourite photo on a canvas print. Your photo will be printed on archival quality stretched canvas and comes ready to hang. This canvas is Full Photo Wrap with your image wrapped around the edges.

iPhone 6 Case: Protect your iPhone 6 in a stylish way with a mobile case decorated with a fun photo. Cases are made out of form-fitting plastic and feature your selected photo on the back, printed from edge to edge.

Mousepad: Keep a treasured moment at your fingertips with a personalized photo mousepad. This mousepad measures 7.5″ x 9″, and is made with a non-slip black foam rubber bottom and a comfortable cotton top. Your photo is printed edge to edge across the top.

But if you REALLY want to think outside the box, may I present… the Photo Puzzle.

Recently, we visited Walt Disney World. And one of the boys’ favourite attractions was the brand new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Well, upon exiting the ride, a very life-like recreation of Snow White’s cottage is situated in the background. Ryder and Reid insisted on posing for a photo, and even rushed to check the camera display after the picture was taken. They loved it.
DSC_0955aI began thinking about ways I could immortalize the memory for them, but simply printing a copy of the photo seemed rather uninspiring. And then it dawned on me; I could combine one of their favourite past times with one of the their favourite memories by creating a photo puzzle! Eek – it was so perfect!

With Staples Photo Gifts, you can choose from a 30 or 110-piece puzzle. Since the boys are skilled puzzle enthusiasts, I settled on the 110-piece version. Simply upload your photo, perform any necessary edits or cropping, et voila! Your photo gift can be shipped free to your home (free shipping on orders over $45) or you can opt for in-person pickup at a Staples Copy & Print Centre near you.  (more…)

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Patio Perfection? It’s Possible with The Home Depot

July 7, 2015

I want to have it all.

I want a gorgeous outdoor dining set that’s functional, stylish and ever-ready to entertain guests for a scrumptious barbecue feast on any given weekend.

I want a modern, luxe outdoor sofa set that reflects my personal style and preference for quality finishes, allowing for relaxation and friendly conversations, wine glasses in hand.

And I want to have them both in a suburban backyard with limited space. Crazy, right?

But who says I can’t have it all. I can – and I do – courtesy of a little shuffling on my part and this stunning Settina 9pc Estate Collection from The Home Depot Canada.
DSC_1077I’ve been working on turning my backyard into an oasis for some time now. First, we designed a stamped concrete patio and furnished it with a beautifully intricate outdoor dining set from The Home Depot. Next, I adopted a green thumb, and with the help of a foliage master, created a mini garden to flank either side of the patio. My backyard retreat was finally coming together! It was just missing one thing: a place to stretch out and relax. However, given the limited size of our patio, I was unclear about my options.  (more…)

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Planning Your Next Kitchen? Create Your Style Board Today.

June 30, 2015

We know it’s the heart of the home; the place everyone naturally gravitates towards to connect with one another. And, we also know that appliances are not the sexiest purchase you’ll ever make.

However, when planning your next kitchen, I just have one question for you:

What do you envision?

Do you love contemporary or classic materials? Will it be airy and open concept, or quaint like a country farm house? Should you opt for crisp, stainless steel appliances, or stick with tried-and-true (and now, trendy) white? And most importantly – will you undertake the renovation yourself, or trust your transformation to a professional?
panasonic_kitchen-whiteWhether your next kitchen is months or years away, it’s always important to create a style board. Style boards are a jumping off point; their purpose is to evoke the feeling of the project (color palette, design, layout, etc) and provide inspiration for mixed media. Wondering where to begin? The design experts at Panasonic Cooking’s Your Next Kitchen are here to help!

Design your dream kitchen by selecting your favourite swatches from paint, backsplashes, appliances and more. Here you’ll be able to mix and match colours, textures and finishes to suit your tastes and preferences. Or, you can select a preset style: choose from Contemporary, Eclectic, Modern, Traditional or Asian.

Are you Eclectic?
nexykitchenI must admit, there’s just something about the combination of yellow paint and subway tile that speaks to me. And that’s why I love the preset styles – I can browse through combinations of colours and materials that I may not necessarily come up with myself.  (more…)

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The New Way to Shop for Sleep.

May 24, 2015

Apologies in advance if I blow your mind, but some mental readjustment is necessary.

Think about your last experience shopping for a mattress. (Can you think that far back? It’s not something you do often, I know.) Chances are, you were confronted with the following dilemmas:

1. Which brand/ model of mattress. This brand promises 50% more support! That brand has a nuclear-tech lining. It can all start to sound so gimmicky… am I right?

2. Why the heck are mattresses so expensive? I mean, yes, a good night’s sleep is *technically* priceless, but sometimes the price of a mattress is *actually* $3,000…

3. Ahem, how will I get this thing home? (I’m not really into the whole mattress roped to the top of the car thing.) Oh, okay – now I just need to pay outrageous home delivery fees, for my gimmicky, overpriced mattress.

It’s no wonder Canadians rarely replace their mattresses, often waiting until they reach sinkhole-like proportions before being inspired into action. (I count myself in this group.) Recently, however, I was turned on to a new way to shop for sleep.
GoldenRetriever_alt (2)Introducing Endy Sleep. Beautifully crafted, affordable mattresses delivered directly to your door in a compressed, easy-to-move box. (Rest assured, this is the future of mattress buying.)  (more…)

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Simple Steps to Mini Garden Success with The Home Depot

May 21, 2015

You know how some people have a green thumb? I have a black thumb. The black thumb of foliage death. And for years, I avoided any mention of gardening, flowers, landscaping… you name it. In fact, if it wasn’t for Frank Ferragine and his deviously straightforward advice, I probably would have been garden-less for yet another year.

I was peer pressured by Frankie Flowers, folks. Peer pressured!

He said I could totally do it. He offered simple steps. He recommended the right products to get the job done. And he gushed how it would turn into a family tradition that my boys would cherish.

He was right, of course. And as a member of The Home Depot Canada #HDBlogSquad, I was more than up to the task.

Sad, clay-packed flower beds? Check.
Overgrown grass and weeds? Check.
Patches of death on the lawn? Check.

A mom with an award-winning garden and penchant for landscaping? SECRET WEAPON.

Oh yeah, I enlisted the big guns. I called mommy and asked her to spend a day gardening with us. And why not? If we’re going to turn this into a family tradition, it might as well be a multi-generational tradition.

First things first. I picked Frank’s brain. Yep, I had a chance for a Q&A with the gardening guru himself! And I’ll be frank (pun intended), he is a master at his craft. Easy-to-follow, succinct and relevant advice – with product recommendations – that turned what I once considered an ordeal into a fun day outdoors.

Introducing… our very anti-climatic flower bed. Sans flowers, of course.
DSC_0968Yeah, that’s what we had to start with, times two. When we first designed our patio, I envisioned gorgeous flower beds filled with bright colours on each side… but I never realized that dream. Because I’m lazy. And don’t know what I’m doing.  (more…)

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Is it Time for an Upgrade?

April 28, 2015

There are things I upgrade all the time.

My cell phone. My handbags. My hi-lites, patio cushions and iTunes collection.

I love to be on the up-and-up of the newest technology, the latest trends, and of course, the most sought-after products of the moment. It may not be your cup of tea, but that’s what makes everyone different, right?

But, how often do you upgrade your small appliances – like vacuums? Conventional wisdom says, “As long as it’s working, why do you need a new one?” And I’m not here to find ways to empty your wallet; rather, let’s have a congenial discussion on some of the reasons you’d want to make the investment.
dysonTime. Older technology small appliances like humidifiers, fans and vacuums often take longer to get the same job done. How many times have you pushed a hand vacuum over the same area multiple times, or cut the same area of lawn twice? While it’s tempting to make do with an older product, the smartest thing to do is place a value on your time spent. What could you be doing if you weren’t fussing with an inferior machine?

Performance. Closely related to time, the performance of a small appliance is one of the main reasons consumers tend to upgrade in the first place. Imagine if we all used manual washboards, or made coffee with a French press! With technological advances comes improvements in performance and automation. And when a product performs well, your quality of life improves.  (more…)

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Celebrate with a #housie and WIN!

April 16, 2015

Note: The following contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec, who have reached the age of majority in their province. See complete rules here. 

My first home was actually a mansion.

It was modern, with three floors and spacious rooms. And unlike my present home, it came almost fully furnished… but the husband was sold separately. (And the place was pink – did I mention that?) It was the Barbie Dream House, of course.

At one point, I wondered if my perception of a “dream home” would be skewed by a plastic toy from the 80’s. Would I need the picket fence and three-car garage? Should all homes come with a private elevator? Thankfully, when I set foot inside my brand new abode – complete with furniture I worked to purchase, and a husband I worked to put a ring on it – I was completely, utterly in love. And that’s when I realized that when a home is YOURS – whether it’s a new home you’ve purchased, the first condo you’ve rented, or the forever home you just can’t bear to leave – THAT’s your dream house.

Love your home? Why not show it off with a #housie?

You may have caught the hashtag on Twitter or peeked inside homes on tdhousie.com. Here, you’ll find home owners from across Canada celebrating their favourite rooms and outdoor spaces, showcasing their personality, decor, and of course, what makes their space unique!
11088406_10153812148299126_23929010960894144_nSo, how do you take a #housie? It’s simple!

1. Record a 360° video selfie of your home (or outdoor space)

2. Keep your video short — no more than 15 seconds

3. Share it to Twitter or Instagram to join the TD #housie tour (make sure your account isn’t private)

4. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #housie (otherwise it might not show up in the tour)

5. Go to tdhousie.com to see your #housie, enjoy the #housie song, and celebrate all the amazing places we call home

Check out the full guidelines so you can be sure to be included in the #housie celebration.

Still sitting on the fence? Here’s a little inspiration – I’ve got FIVE (5) $200 Amazon.ca Gift Cards to give away to readers who upload their #housie before April 30th! Simply follow the instructions above and share your #housie on Twitter or Instagram. Then, copy the status link and paste it in the comments section of this blog post so we can check it out!  (more…)

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