Disney Baby: Baby’s First Bath

August 24, 2014

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!

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Back to School: If I Could Turn Back Time

August 24, 2014

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…)

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Now is the Time for You: Introducing Healing Mix

August 22, 2014

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!

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Back to School: We’re #Eggcited4Eggs!

August 21, 2014

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…)

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We’re Back from Our #DisneyVacayCA!

August 20, 2014

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!

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30 Days of Beauty = 30 Fabulous Looks!

August 19, 2014

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.

30 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.

 

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Back to School with #airmilesshops!

August 19, 2014

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…)

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When They Sleep Better, I Sleep Better.

August 14, 2014

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…)

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#ThrowbackThursday #tbt: The Model

August 14, 2014

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!

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Food + Family = The Flavour of Together

August 12, 2014

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…)

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Do You Prefer to Live #ONatural?

August 12, 2014

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…)

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#DisneyVacayCA: Disneyland, Here We Come!

August 11, 2014

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…)

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Their Not Interchangeable and Never Will Be

August 8, 2014

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?

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Enjoy the Flavour of FREE: #AIRMILESCash

August 6, 2014

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!

(more…)

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Food Hackers Unite! #IAmFoodHacks Twitter Party

August 6, 2014

“Get these. Do this. Done.” Sounds pretty simple, but do YOU have what it takes to elevate a meal, perfect a cooking method, or create an epic flavour fusion?

As you’ll recall from my post – Are YOU Kraft Canada’s Ultimate Food Hacker? – Kraft Canada is searching for our nation’s #IAmFoodHacks ULTIMATE Food Hacker. The selected winning candidate will be Kraft Canada’s official Food Hacker, develop new Food Hacking recipes and drive food hacking content through Kraft social channels. (BONUS: This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes with a one year contract including a total of $25,000 in compensation and a generous monthly food allowance designed to inspire creative food hacking solutions.)

Well, the finalists have been chosen, and it’s time to put their food hacking skills to the test! They’ll be the special guests at the #IAmFoodHacks Twitter Party on Monday, August 11th at 8pm ET! (See official rules here.)

IamFoodHacks v2At the Twitter Party, we’ll share our best tips and tricks – hacks, if you will – with a keen emphasis on creating delicious food, expanding your knowledge of cooking techniques, and combining simple ingredients for quick and easy meals. And just as you answer our questions, so will the finalists… so be sure to send some love (RT’s, mentions) if you like what they have to say! (You *could* say this is their official “Twitterview!”)

As always, there will be fabulous prizes up for grabs – RSVP below for your chance to win. And, start thinking of your own food hacks and get ready to share- we’d love to hear them! See you on Monday night!  (more…)

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Piri Piri Spiced Chicken Drumsticks

August 4, 2014

It’s the long weekend, so of course we’ve been barbecuing.

This time around, my husband challenged me to find an award-winning recipe for a spicy, fragrant piri piri spice mix to coat our Maple Leaf Prime Naturally Chicken Drumsticks. Well, it turns out it wasn’t such a challenge – a quick Google search produced only a few spice mix recipes, so the field to choose from was quite narrow. Let’s just pretend this one’s award-winning, shall we?

Piri Piri Spice MixThanks to the good folks at Foodmania, I loosely followed the instructions for their Piri Piri mix. Now if you didn’t know, Piri Piri (a Swahili word that means “pepper pepper”) is one of the hottest flavour trends! Reminiscent of the famous sauce from Portugal, its rich and unique blend of warm earthy spices, herbs and vegetables brings a spicy, tangy character to chicken and fish dishes. Here’s what you’ll need:

16 Maple Leaf Prime Naturally Chicken Drumsticks
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
½ teaspoon powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil

You can (and should) taper the cayenne pepper to suit your taste. Also, if you can find packaged dried lemon peel (I’ve only found it in the US), or you have some homemade dried lemon peel on hand, you should absolutely add 1/2 teaspoon to the spice mix. Otherwise, simply hit your cooked Piri Piri chicken with a generous splash of fresh lemon juice before serving.

Mix all the spice mix ingredients together in a medium bowl. This recipes yields about 1/4 cup, so, remove one heaping tablespoon and store the rest in an air-tight container. If you love the mix, next time, double the spices and store in the fridge for up to two months.

In a large zipper-style bag, add drumsticks, olive oil and spice mix. Close, and toss to coat. Adjust amount of seasoning depending on how intense you’d like the flavour to be. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours, but no less than two.

Barbecue over medium, indirect heat for approximately 30-35 minutes, turning frequently. Enjoy!

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Grab A Taste Of The Big Leagues

August 4, 2014

It was a day like any other day, when two little league teams in urban Ontario arrived for what they thought would be a routine evening baseball game. On the field: the Scarborough Stingers vs. the North York Blues.

Little did they know this would be the most memorable game of their lives – “A Taste of the Big League”.

In celebration of Baseball Day in Canada on August 10, Schneiders employees, in partnership with the Toronto Blue Jays, surprised the Scarborough Stingers and North York Blues with a once-in-a-life time “big league” experience – upgrading their baseball diamond, inviting Ace the Blue Jays Mascot, play-by-play announcers, and bringing scores of fans, Schneiders volunteers, hot dogs and sausages to make the little league game larger than life.


Says Cam, a 9-year old player with the Scarborough Stingers: “Mommy, do you think that is what the Blue Jays players feel like? I mean, everyone cheering for you and wanting you to do well? It makes you feel like a hero, and like you want to try with your whole heart to do well, even though you know you may not win. That was the best sports experience of my life. My whole team felt special.”

Be still my heart! Is that not the most enduring quote ever? “You want to try with your whole heart to do well” – I feel like this saying belongs in a Disney movie. Truly, such a wonderful experience for all the lucky players.

Schneiders, you done me proud. Not only are Schneiders Country Naturals Jumbo Beef Wieners the yummiest way to light up a barbecue; Schneiders also happens to be the official hot dog of the Toronto Blue Jays! Now THAT’s when you know your product is a home run.

So… do you love the video as much as I do? Thanks Schneiders!

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Are YOU Kraft Canada’s Ultimate Food Hacker?

August 1, 2014

Are you a ninja in the kitchen? Can you take a meal from bor-ing to brilliant! by swapping an ingredient or two? Maybe you’re the queen of one-bowl meals, prepping and cooking dinner with lightning fast precision. Or, perhaps you’ve found the most versatile way to use ordinary cooking appliances (waffle sandwiches, anyone?).

Kraft Canada knows that consumers have never been more committed to eating better, yet busy lifestyles force many to make compromises for the sake of convenience. Enter food hacking — a growing movement aimed at helping moms cook tasty meals, using unexpected twists and elements of inspiration.

Food Hacking is serious business. It’s not just a fancy title for a foodie who can Instagram a picture of their meal. It’s an emerging food trend and social conversation. And it’s something Kraft Canada is helping to amplify, showing consumers that when it comes to meal preparation, it can be as easy as “Get these. Do this. Done.”

To bring Food Hacking to a new level, Kraft Canada is launching a national talent search for our nation’s #IamFoodHacks ULTIMATE Food Hacker. This is the real deal! A real PAYING opportunity with real credibility. The selected winning candidate will be Kraft Canada’s official Food Hacker, develop new Food Hacking recipes and drive food hacking content through Kraft social channels. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes with a one year contract including a total of $25,000 in compensation and a generous monthly food allowance designed to inspire creative food hacking solutions.

Need some inspiration? Check out this One-Pot Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta. Everything goes in at once! The water, the seasonings and the pasta. Bring to a boil, then 12 minutes later you have a pot of perfectly cooked pasta!

IamFoodHacks220 g spaghetti, uncooked – 3 cups water – 1 cup halves cherry tomatoes – 1 onion, thinly sliced – ¼ cup Kraft Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing – ½ cup fresh basil, divided – ¼ cup Kraft 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese

Bring spaghetti, water, tomatoes, onions, dressing and ¼ basil to a boil in large skillet. Cook on medium heat 12 min. or until spaghetti is tender and most of the water is cooked off, stirring and turning spaghetti frequently with tongs. Add cheese; mix lightly. Top with remaining basil. And just like that: Get these. Do this. Done.

So, you think you have what it takes? HURRY! It’s your last chance to enter the Kraft Canada #IamFoodHacks contest. For official competition guidelines and complete program details, visit: http://offerpop.com/foodhacks 

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Summer Hair Care: The Choice is CLEAR

August 1, 2014

When it comes to beauty essentials, I’m a creature of habit. Although my position as a blogger allows me to review a variety of products, at the end of the day, I tend to stick with my tried and true favourites. In fact, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see that my product recommendations for beauty products are few and far between… simply because I feel like a fraud if I endorse a different beauty product every other day.

Hence, if I’m talking about something, chances are, I use it. A lot.

Now when it comes to CLEAR Scalp & Hair, I love introducing it into my beauty rotation to “shake up” my routine. I’m a firm believer that your body can get used to the products you repeatedly use, which over time, lessons their effectiveness. In the case of hair care, I generally switch my stand-by products every few months with a quality system, such as the CLEAR Intense Hydration line.

CLEARResilient, beautiful looking hair starts at the foundation. CLEAR Intense Hydration Shampoo, Conditioner and Deep Nourishing Mask are clinically proven to help replenish the scalp with essential 24 hour hydration, making hair resilient to dryness for soft, silky tresses. CLEAR Intense Hydration products are infused with Cactus extract, a known hydrator.

It’s very hard to put into words exactly how much I truly enjoy CLEAR Scalp & Hair. I love the luscious fragrance which lingers on after my hair has dried. I adore how the shampoo lathers with ease and the conditioner rinses clean away with minimal effort. And I’m convinced the texture of my hair has improved since I started regularly using the Deep Nourishing Mask.

But if I had to name one thing that has me sold on CLEAR Scalp & Hair, it’s that I just have many more good hair days when I use the products.

It’s not complicated. I spend less time heat styling my hair, because my locks are more tamed. I find fewer hairs in my comb and brush, because my hair seems to resist breakage. And most importantly, I receive more compliments about the overall healthy appearance of my hair.

(Even my husband notices! And he’s, like, impervious to most things beauty-related.)

So take a long look at your hair, and your hair care routine. Do you need a break from your every day? Try CLEAR Scalp & Hair. I’m quite confident you’ll be impressed with the results. And remember, for a limited time, you can try it for less! Here’s a coupon for $3.00 off your purchase of a CLEAR product.

Visit www.clearhaircare.com.

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#FlavourStory: The Great Canadian Grille-Off!

July 31, 2014

Some people vie for the best car. Others, the best lawn or garden. And for a long time, in a room full of strangers, I needed to have the most frivolous designer handbag. (It’s okay, you can roll your eyes at me.) And my husband? Well, it’s simple – he needs to be the best grill master ever. Honestly! He’s constantly comparing his barbecuing expertise with every person he meets. And – shhh – he judges people based on theirs. I know he does.

You could say that he’s the perfect candidate for a Grille-Off! Introducing the Club House La Grille Spice Challenge. Throughout the summer, eight celebrity chefs from across Canada will compete in four culinary duels to determine the BEST barbecue recipes using Club House products.

Grille-OffWhat’s in it for you? Well, besides the opportunity discover new and delicious recipes that you can steal for your own backyard barbecues, if you vote for your favourite Great Canadian Grille-Off recipes, you’ll have the chance to win a $500 pre-paid credit card! And, you’ll also be automatically entered to win the grand prize: a sizzling summer grilling party hosted by a celebrity chef for you and five lucky friends. PLUS, you’ll get a $2,000 pre-paid credit card to put towards the grill of your dreams!

This week, we’ve got two amazing Toronto chefs going head to head; Chef Joanna Tymkiw debuts her Crispy Thai Tacos using Roasted Garlic and Peppers Rub Marinade, while Chef Rocco Agostino presents his Montreal Rubbed Flank Steak Speducci featuring Montreal Steak Spice Rub Marinade. And great news! I just happen to have a copy of their recipes to share with you!

Chef Joanna: “Toronto has a colourful blend of ethnicities and cultures which is celebrated throughout my cuisine. The city offers the newest fusion food creations which you’ll find anywhere, from renowned restaurants to foodie favoured food trucks. I believe a recipe featuring warm weather fare like tacos with the refreshing yet satisfying elements of Thai cuisine is sure to be a hit with home cooks.”  (more…)

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