Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2015

Dear Friends,

May the holidays refresh your spirit and bring you new inspiration and happiness. May the splendor of the season fill your heart with peace. Wishing you the joy of family, the happiness of friends, and the love of Christmas!
12338671_1539820429665520_332789539_nOver the next several days I’ll be enjoying food, family and the festivities of the season – and hope you’ll be doing the same. Unlike past holidays, this year I’ll be back sooner than later; I have a few fabulous giveaways and reviews I just can’t keep to myself. So, see you in about 72 hours?

I also hope you’ll partake in a Christmas carol, cookie and cocktail! After all, ’tis the season! My recommendations – O Holy Night, shortbread and a peppermint martini.

Have a wonderful week, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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How will YOU Make it Easy this Christmas?

December 23, 2015

If you’ve been following me on social for the past three weeks (and you really should have been!) you may have noticed me sharing my best Butterball Canada #ButterballMakesItEasy tips and tricks.
dec 16Those who joined the fun had a chance to win amazing prizes from Butterball and SHOP.CA! Last week, I posed the question to my Facebook fans:

“What is your BEST tip to make the holidays easier?”  (more…)

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In the Moment: Tremblant Edition

December 21, 2015

It was perfectly set up. My boys were to take their very first ski lesson in gorgeous Mont Tremblant while I indulged in a relaxation massage at the Le Westin Resort & Spa. My husband, a novice skier who was keen to introduce our boys to winter sports, was in charge of bringing them to the bunny hill and overseeing their lessons. We had a plan.

“Take pictures!” I said.
“You know I will!” he replied.

However, 15 minutes before my massage commenced, I received a phone call from my husband informing me that he and the boys had been separated into different groups at the hill. “They’ll be okay,” he assured me.

And I knew they would be. They were signed up for private ski lessons and the instructors at Tremblant Snow School are world-class. I knew they were in the best hands possible. Except all of a sudden… I realized what I would be missing. I would miss seeing my boys navigate down a slope on skis for the very first time. I would miss capturing their expressions of satisfaction as they learned a new skill. I would miss an important “first” that I’d never get back. And I didn’t want to do that. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t understood the significance before that moment.

I made a game-time decision to cut 25 minutes off my massage. Throwing on my winter wear and slinging my camera around my neck, I rushed to the bunny hill in time to catch my boys’ first ski lesson, already in progress.
DSC_2214aThere’s Ryder, a naturally gifted athlete who gained the confidence to go down the hill solo on only his third descent. And there’s Reid, learning to balance and conquer his fear of heights with help from a Snow School instructor. I shouted at them from the sidelines and they looked my way, breaking into huge grins and waving with glee.

It’s a morning I’ll never forget…  it’s living in the moment, Tremblant edition.

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You Haven’t Seen the Last Deal at MicrosoftStore.ca!

December 18, 2015

ONE WEEK. Christmas Day is officially one week away! And with the holidays just around the corner, if you think you’ve missed all the great deals, think again. On the heels of their 12 Days of Deals campaign, MicrosoftStore.ca launched its Holiday Super Sale today, so you STILL have a chance to snag the cool tech everyone’s talking about – all from the comfort of your couch!
MSCA-Surface-Mod-D2-Save-250-SP3-BFCM15-desktopThe Holiday Super Sale runs from December 18 through December 20, and quantities are limited. But don’t worry…their Boxing Week sales are right around the corner! Check out MicrosoftStore.ca on December 24 at 6 p.m. ET for yet another great opportunity to save until January 4.

If you’re looking for deals on the best wearable tech, PCs, tablets, game systems and more, this should be your first stop. Cross holiday gifts for friends and family off your list, and even pick up a little something for yourself!

Remember, MicrosoftStore.ca experts are available 24/7 by phone or online to lend a hand, and they offer FREE shipping and FREE returns on every item, every day. (Psst! Right now you get free expedited shipping on all orders to ensure you tech the halls in time for Christmas.) Don’t delay!

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The Force Awakens… the Star Wars Fan in All of Us

December 17, 2015

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Some parents hide candy from their kids. Others place parental controls on web pages, television channels and app privileges. Some parents even enjoy a glass (or three) of wine when the kids have retired for the night.

Every morning, after we’ve dropped our children off to school, my husband and I creep downstairs to the basement… clear a path in our storage room… and pull out our Star Wars deluxe animatronic figures from Thinkway Toys.
DSC_2016Exclusive to Toys R Us, these completely interactive, animatronic figures speak to the Star Wars fan in all of us. With dozens of points of articulation plus training and battle modes, they provide hours of role play fun (trust me, I’ve been there) and are eerily accurate thanks to digital data based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens(more…)

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Upgrade Your Christmas Experience: Santa’s Tiny Big Town

December 16, 2015

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and have been waiting in an overcrowded, poorly organized and uninspiring lineup to visit the big man before the holidays… you are doing it all wrong.

Upgrade your Christmas experience! Visit Santa’s Tiny Big Town at Vaughan Mills, a new immersive holiday showcase that includes one-on-one time with Santa, a fun animated video featuring Santa’s elves and light show which brings the Magic of Santa to life.
IMG_1278Upon entering Santa’s Tiny Big Town, children of all ages will experience the wonder and magic of a classic Christmas village. From decorated trees to snow-topped roofs, it’s so easy to get into the spirit of the season!  (more…)

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Gift Ideas to Make the Holidays Happier from Hamilton Beach

December 14, 2015

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

There are three categories of gifts I *always* struggle with: hostess gifts, gifts for college kids, and gifts for myself. Think about it: the hostess gets a bottle of wine, the 20-something gets a gift card and I get, well, nothing – because I always forget to treat myself. It’s predictable, it’s BORING, and it’s time to switch things up!

This holiday season, I’ve selected my favourite items from Hamilton Beach that are sure to please the special people in your life. Practical, affordable and always a hit with foodies of all skill levels, be sure to put these must-haves on your last minute shopping list!

Breakfast Wrap Maker. It’s the handy breakfast appliance you don’t know you need until you have it… and then can’t live without it. Now you can enjoy a piping hot breakfast wrap ready in just five minutes with the Breakfast Wrap Maker. This convenient appliance is easy to use and it does all the cooking for you – so why skip breakfast or run to the drive-thru?

And even though it was designed to cook wraps, it can do so much more – stuffed pancakes, omelettes, crepes and even personal pizzas are possible. Be sure to check out Julia Gabriel’s DIY Crêpe Bar using the Breakfast Wrap Maker – and enter for a chance to win, too!
Breakfast-wrap-2The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Wrap Maker retails for $59.99 and is available at Walmart or online at hamiltonbeach.ca. It makes a great gift for college kids!  (more…)

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WDW: May the Force Be With You. (And Also With You.)

December 13, 2015

(Hands up if you’re Catholic and this *always* comes to mind? Yeah, me too.)

Celebrate, my young Padawans! New Star Wars offerings have landed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, just in time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens which hits theatres on December 18, 2015. From interactive exhibits to galactic-themed food, discover new and updated Star Wars experiences that bring you closer to the epic saga than ever before.
SW1Now, where do I begin? Grab a “Hoth” chocolate (Get it? Hoth? I kill me!) and settle in, because I’ve been geeking out and can’t wait to share the fan fodder with you!  (more…)

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Celebrate the Season: Disney Junior is Back in Canada!

December 13, 2015

It has officially been the BEST ten days of my boys’ lives in recent history.

Disney Junior Channel is back in Canada! This past week, we’ve had a much-anticipated reunion with all our favourites  – Doc McStuffins, Captain Jake and The Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Miles from Tomorrowland and Sofia the First – and we’re so looking forward to the brand new series The Lion Guard!

It’s so easy to love Disney Junior, because it brings the magical, musical and beloved Disney storytelling and characters to television. I love to see my boys stretch their imaginations and creativity as they identify with, idolize and develop their own interpretations of their favourite Disney Junior characters. Whether it’s commanding the high seas as Captain Jake or learning a new dance routine with Mickey Mouse, they just can’t get enough!

This holiday season, I’m pleased to share my excitement for Disney Junior toys! We know that every child has a unique set of skills, interests and needs, which is why my top toy picks for the season are designed with different personalities in mind. Choosing gifts that complement your little one’s interests will not only ensure the holidays are a hit, it will also help your child learn and grow through the power of play.
DSC_1962To make it easier for holiday shopping and gift giving, Disney Junior toys can be separated into three main categories: those that are perfect for the adventurer, those our little fashion lovers will adore and finally, those designed for natural nurturers(more…)

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Best Beauty: Clairol Root Touch Up by Nice ‘n Easy

December 13, 2015

It’s no secret that I like to multitask. In fact, if I don’t have at least 20 items on my “to-do” list, I consider it a slow day. And I find it particularly satisfying that whenever I speak with friends, colleagues and clients, their first reaction is, OMG Lena, you are so busy!

(I prefer this 100 times over So Lena, what have you been up to?)

12093701_1661637730781623_847648523_nHence, I thrive on deadlines, flip the bird at eight hours of sleep and am that crazy mom, holding onto granola bars with her teeth while she secures her kid in his car seat. I take business calls from soccer practice and write blog posts on my iPhone. And then, only when I’m sure everything can and will get done according to plan, I realize I’ve forgotten about five other things. Yikes!

I begin to shuffle. Blog posts are pushed back. Dinner dates get cancelled. And my monthly hair appointment? It’s always, always, always the first thing to be rescheduled.

After all, *how* can I afford myself the luxury of two hours in a stylist’s chair when there are deadlines to be met? Dark roots and peek-a-boo grays. It was a thing. (Past tense, people! Read on!) (more…)

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Comfort Food in a Breeze with Almond Breeze!

December 13, 2015

Hot chocolate in a large mug. Homemade chicken noodle soup. Meat lasagna with baby mozzarella. And, rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon. These are a few of my favourite things!

This winter, warm up to this Quick Cinnamon-Almond Rice Pudding, courtesy of my friends at Almond Breeze. With just five ingredients and ready in under ten minutes, you’ll take a trip down memory lane with the goodness of homemade rice pudding. *Insert Christmas Carols!*
Almond_Rice_PuddingBecause the rice is precooked, you simply need to assemble the ingredients to let the flavours marry.  (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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Save Time, Money and Sanity with UGO Wallet!

December 13, 2015

It’s bound to happen to you at some point. Heck, it happens to me all the time.

I’m out and about shopping at my favourite stores. I’ve loaded merchandise into my cart; I’m congratulating myself on finding the *perfect* sweater and trendiest heels. I’m even feeling a little smug, knowing that I have a gift card to offset some of the costs. And just as I reach the checkout, in full I am so awesome mode, I remember… what I’ve forgotten.

I forgot to bring the gift card!

Has this ever happened to you? Sure it has. Because despite our best intentions, life is busy, and we don’t always want to lug around a heavy wallet filled with stuff. I mean, what if your wallet was nicked? You’d be giving away not only your identity… but your gift cards! To Sephora! To Winners! To Milestones! Those belong to YOU, dammit!

Enter UGO Wallet. The app now allows you to quickly add your loyalty and gift cards to your smartphone, and if you have a compatible phone, you can add participating credit cards to make small payments easily at many retailers with just a tap of your phone. Then, organize them any way you want so you can easily pull ‘em up right when you need them. By storing the cards on UGO Wallet, they are always easily accessible and you never have to worry about missing an opportunity to use them. Bonus: You can use every bit of your balance – and who doesn’t want to maximize all their spending potential?
DSC_1938Uploading your gift card to UGO is as easy as 1-2-3. First, make sure you have the UGO Wallet app! It’s completely free and takes seconds to download. Next, select your vendor and follow the prompts to either scan or manually input your gift card number. The app will return an error message if you try to upload the wrong bar code or serial number, so it’s pretty foolproof. (more…)

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Lindt The Halls! Warm Up with Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate

December 13, 2015

T’is the season to celebrate! It’s time to deck the halls, trim the tree and of course, eat the chocolate! All the chocolate. But not just any chocolate… only the smoothest, richest, most delectable chocolate will do – one that melts tenderly in your mouth and gently caresses all your senses.

Oh, Lindt – you do make my holidays bright.

And this Christmas, we’re all in for a treat! Featuring 24 Days of Christmas inspiration, Lindt’s The Season magazine offers recipes, crafts and how-to articles which will add a touch of magic to your holiday season. For more than a century, Lindt’s Swiss Maîtres Chocolatiers have been passionate about creating unique and delicious chocolate experiences. Lindt’s The Season gives you an inside peek into their confectionary mastery!

Inspired by this recipe for Swiss Classic Hot Chocolate, I decided to try my own twist on a family classic with a rich, velvety and aromatic Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate.
DSC_1862aFeaturing Lindt Swiss Classic Surfin, the original luxurious dark chocolate created by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879, the smooth hot chocolate base is accented with savoury cinnamon and spicy cayenne. It’s a feast for the senses and sure to become a favourite over the holiday season!  (more…)

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 12!

December 12, 2015

It’s December 12, which means Microsoft’s last 12 Days of Deals promotion is upon us! I hope you’ve had the chance to pick up some great products at low prices and have put a good dent in your holiday shopping.

Today only you’ll save $250 when you buy the ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP550 LA. Normally $799, you can nab yours for only $549!
en-INTL-PDP-Asus-TP550LA-UH51T-QF9-00059-LargePrepare to flip out: With a display that rotates from 0 to 360 degrees, the Transformer Book Flip covers every angle. For work, use it like a traditional laptop. For games, change it into a tablet. For watching movies or viewing presentations, just flip it to a convenient angle for easy screen sharing. It has plenty of power, too, with 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive and a fifth-generation Intel Core i5 processor that makes it 30% more efficient than previous models. Using less power = having a longer battery life, guys!

In case you need more convincing, its brilliant 15.6-inch display delivers bright colors and dark blacks, and has lots of space for getting hands on with Windows 10 touch apps. It also has studio-quality sound full of clear highs, enhanced bass and increased volume. Carols never sounded so good!

A few other perks include a versatile DVD drive and the ability to hook it up to your HDTV for big-screen excitement! Get this last deal while you can!!

Even though this is the end of 12 Days of Deals, keep checking MicrosoftStore.ca for more discounts throughout the holiday season. Because they offer free shipping, free returns and 24/7 expert support year-round, you’re bound to find the perfect solution for all your tech needs.

You know I love a good deal. Hope you’ve enjoyed these last 12 too!

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 11!

December 11, 2015

The holiday countdown is on, which means the clock is ticking for you to take advantage of Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals! We’re on Day 11 and the latest promotion is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.

MSFT Deal 11 - $50 Gift Card (2)Today only you’ll receive an additional $25 to spend on apps, music, movies, games, TV and more with the purchase of a $50 Windows gift card. Shopping for everyone on your list can be tough – especially with only a couple of weeks to go – so this is a great option to make your life a little easier.

Not only will your friends and family be able to treat themselves to something you know they’ll love, you also have the option of putting a little something extra in your own stocking! If you do decide to keep the $25, remember to redeem it by January 31, 2016 and get spending within 90 days. Your $50 gift card doesn’t have an expiration date, though, so your loved ones can pace themselves… IF they can even wait!

And don’t forget: MicrosoftStore.ca offers free shipping and free returns year-round AND, for a limited time, you can receive free expedited shipping starting on December 16. Delivery of all orders placed by 11:59PM EST on December 20 are guaranteed by December 24.

Questions or concerns about your product? Microsoft experts are available 24/7 by phone or online to help. Happy shopping!

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 10!

December 10, 2015

We’re down to the wire now, folks! There are only 3 days left to SAVE BIG with Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals, so think fast about the last few gifts on your shopping list!

This time you’ll save $150 on the Acer Aspire R11, on sale today only for $379! It’s the perfect gift for the techie on your list because it’s one of the coolest multi-purpose PCs out there.
MSFT Deal 10 - Acer Aspire R11 (2)With its 360-degree hinge, the Acer Aspire R11 flips your view full circle so you can use it in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different ways! Work in Notebook mode, share in Display mode, watch in Tent mode and play in Pad mode – it’s a laptop, screen and tablet all in one. If you’re looking to streamline how many devices you have around the house, this is a great way to go about it.

Its versatility makes it the perfect device for collaborating and sharing. Less than an inch thick and weighing only 3 pounds, the R11 keeps you connected anywhere. Not to mention that it also has a full-size keyboard, so typing is always comfortable! Plus, the R11 comes with an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive (which means excellent performance and storage), and ships with Windows 10. What more can you ask for?

I’m sure you know by now, but just a reminder that you always get free shipping and free returns at MicrosoftStore.ca. Their experts are also available 24/7 to help you pick out the perfect gifts for friends and family!

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 9!

December 9, 2015

Have you been enjoying the daily deals I’ve been posting? I certainly hope so! But for those who have been patiently waiting for the ONE deal they won’t be able to refuse… here it is, friends! TODAY, save up to 40% off select Dell products, including PCs, monitors, and more at MicrosoftStore.ca!
MSCA-Sales-Mod-A-12Days15-D9-DellDay-desktopMy pick? Has to be the Dell Inspiron Signature Edition All-in-One. Ultra-thin and distinctly refined, the stylish Dell Inspiron 24 all-in-one gives definitive elegance to a powerful and expansive PC experience. Boasting a 23.8-inch Full HD touchscreen with wide-viewing angles, it’s perfect for working interactively on the intuitive display or for kicking back with your favorite TV show. We’ve owned a similar model for three years and  I can vouch for the quality! And today, you’ll save $400!

If you have a gamer in the family, today’s a great day to pick up the Dell 27 Gaming Monitor. You can grab it on sale for $599.00 – that’s $450 off the regular price. Upgrade to a crystal-clear, jitter-free gaming spectacle with a QHD display packing powerful graphics certain to impress the pixel perfectionists. (I have no idea what that means but my gamer brother is in seventh heaven.)

Shipping and returns are always free at MicrosoftStore.ca. If you’re unsure which Dell computer is for you, chat online with one of Microsoft’s experts who can point you in the right direction. Remember, they’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 8!

December 8, 2015

Only a few days left for 12 Days of Deals! Have you been taking advantage of the daily discounts?

Today’s promo is another great sale: Save $350 when you buy the Lenovo Flex 3 14. Normally $1,149, you can order it from MicrosoftStore.ca for just $799. If you’re keeping a close eye on your holiday budget, but still want to spoil someone you love (or upgrade your own tech!), you should definitely check out this deal!
MSCA-Sales-Mod-A-12Days15-D8-LenovoFlex-desktopWorking on a project? Giving a presentation? Relaxing with a movie? The Lenovo Flex 3 can handle whatever you have on the go. It also has a touchscreen that flips 360 degrees, so your laptop can easily become your tablet and your tablet can stand as a tent – basically, it adapts to your every need!

Less than an inch thick, it’s lightweight enough for you to toss it in your favourite bag and take everywhere. What’s more, the 14-inch Full HD display delivers rich colors, sharp graphics and wide viewing angles, allowing you to catch the tiniest details. Data transfer is faster than ever too, so it can absolutely keep up with you!

The Lenovo Flex 3 comes with Windows 10, a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and all-day battery life, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in back-to-back meetings. (Even better, you can binge watch your favourite series without interruption.)

Remember this deal is for today only, but shipping and returns are always free at MicrosoftStore.ca. If you’re still trying to find the perfect laptop, consider chatting with one of Microsoft’s experts who can point you in the right direction. They’re available 24/7!

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Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals: Day 7!

December 7, 2015

If you still haven’t found the perfect computer, MicrosoftStore.ca is giving you another chance! Day 7 of 12 Days of Deals offers another great laptop sale, this time saving you $300 when you buy the Acer Aspire F5! Originally $799, you can scoop it up for $499 – such a steal!!

(I don’t know why anyone would ever buy anything full price this time of year…)
MSCA-Sales-Mod-A-12Days15-D7-AcerAspire-desktopWith a huge 15.6-inch HD touchscreen, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive, this laptop is perfect for when you need to get some work done or want to have a little fun. It’s like supermom in computer form: powerful, fast and reliable.

The colours are super sharp, which means the graphics are awesome, but the best part is that everything runs so quickly and smoothly. What makes it even cooler is that it actually uses less power too. And, not only can you store tons of digital files, but it has a handy DVD drive for playing your fave movies, and the backlit keyboard means you can cozy up in the dark and still see where to type.

Shipping and returns are always free at MicrosoftStore.ca, and there is 24/7 expert support in case you need some help. Make sure you scoop up your new computer this holiday season! Wrap it up and put it under the tree, or boot it up and keep on shopping!!

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