Blended… Drizzled… Layered… With Nutella!

April 29, 2015

Freddoccino made with Nutella. Banana Nut Muffin made with Nutella. Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich made with Nutella. Cheesecake made with Nutella. Bagel made with Nutella.

NUTELLA ALL THE THINGS!

Nutella is coming to Coffee Culture on Friday, May 1st! And when you combine Coffee Culture’s fresh, high quality foods and beverages with the “oh-my-gah-so-good” flavour of Nutella, you know you’re on to something good.

But why go on, when I can simply let a picture do all the talking?
Twitter Party (Nutella) April 2015 (2)(True story: I think that might be the most drool-worthy Twitter Party graphic I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’ll wait while you ogle a bit; I certainly don’t blame you!)

Love what you see? Join us for the #CoffeeCulture Twitter Party on Friday, May 1st at 12pm EDT. We’ll share the latest menu obsessions featuring Nutella, learn about your favourite indulgences, and of course, have some fabulous prizes up our sleeves!

BONUS: Attendees will be privy to a very special BOGO coupon… that’s all I’ll say for now! You’ll have to attend to get the scoop.

RSVP below for a chance to win, and we’ll see you on Friday afternoon.  (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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Investing in the Strength of Women and the Dreams of Girls

April 28, 2015

Did you know that half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16?

I’m proud to support the Canadian Women’s Foundation. They specialize in helping women and girls move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence – and are the only national foundation in Canada dedicated to giving women and girls a chance for a better life.

Why focus on women and girls?

Improving gender equality improves economic and social conditions for everyone.
Women and girls deserve a chance for a better life—free from violence, poverty, and stereotypes.
Women and girls face different kinds of economic and social challenges.
Helping women and girls is cost effective and creates very successful outcomes.

YOU can help. This May, raise hope for women who have experienced violence by purchasing specially marked Shop for Hope products at WINNERS and HomeSense stores.

Net proceeds from Shop for Hope product sales go directly to the Canadian Women’s Foundation Campaign to End Violence. Your contribution helps support over 445 women’s shelters and funds community violence prevention programs across Canada. This May, shop to make a difference in the lives of women and children – Shop for Hope!

Let’s start the discussion. Join us for the @cdnwomenfdn #raisehope Twitter Chat on Thursday, April 30th at 9:00pm EDT. We’ll celebrate women, share ways you can contribute, and of course, show off the latest Shop for Hope products (and give away six prize bundles, too!).
raisehope Graphic v2RSVP below for a chance to win, and see you on Thursday night.  (more…)

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Find the Chef. Follow the Chef. Signatures Restaurant, Toronto.

April 26, 2015

When travelling, it’s one of those things you’d like to take for granted: finding a world-class restaurant in the hotel where you are staying. Because whether you’re enjoying a romantic dinner à deux, or meeting colleagues for drinks and a brainstorming session, your hotel’s preferred dining options should be stellar ones. Look for a warm environment, an innovative menu and of course, an avant-garde chef.

Look no further than the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville.

Savour marvellous cuisine and stylish settings within each of the restaurants and bars at this acclaimed Toronto Yorkville hotel. Choose from the award-winning Signatures restaurant, which features seasonally inspired International and Mediterranean fare served in a sleek, colourful atmosphere; the swanky, see-and-be-seen Proof Vodka bar; and SkyLounge, an outdoor patio tapas restaurant which was selected as the best patio in Toronto.

And what do the three eateries above have in common – besides their convenient location inside the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville? The restaurants are all under the watchful eye, talented hands and culinary artistry of Chef Andrew Frastacky.
signaturesPictured above: Marinated octopus and tomato salad, with black olive crumble, baby basil and olive oil. The octopus is tender, melt-in-your-mouth divine with the correct amount of acidity for a perfectly balanced bite. I’ve dreamt about this dish at least a few times per week since our visit in March. Chef Andrew prepared a tasting menu for the #FamilyTravelCA crew, and I’m pleased to take you through some of my favourite dishes today, all of which will be featured on their NEW Spring/ Summer 2015 menu.  (more…)

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Peer Pressure is (Probably) Okay

April 25, 2015

In fact, it’s probably good for you, too.

It all started when Zeba of Ella Pretty Blog assured me that I should totally buy the Michael Kors “Colette” Medium Leather Messenger in Sun. Normally, I wouldn’t necessarily be swayed – it takes me forever to make a new handbag purchase, and even then, I create spreadsheets to analyze pros and cons – however, it was just before my birthday and I thought hell yeah, I totally should buy this.

Solidifying my decision was the fact that it was sold out everywhere (trust me, we checked!) which of course, created an inflated sense of “need” based solely on the fact that I couldn’t “have” it.

Introducing michaelkors.ca. YES! An online MK shop for Canadians, where (for a limited time) you can take advantage of FREE ground shipping to Canadian addresses, plus, the Canadian prices are on par with the US. It was literally a sign from the handbag gods that I happened to discover the online shop at the exact moment I decided to purchase a Michael Kors messenger bag, so I threw caution to the wind and smacked my credit card down onto the virtual checkout.

And four days later, ta-da! Sunny days ahead.
michael kors colette medium leather messenger toteI’m so happy with this purchase. Not only is it the perfect size – holding my oversized wallet, sunglasses and phone with ease – but I love that I can wear it messenger-style, as a shoulder purse, or remove the strap completely and use it as a tote. Plus, it brightens up practically every outfit that I’ve paired it with! See? Peer pressure is probably – no, definitely – a good thing from time to time.

Outfit: Jean Jacket, Express; Black Top, Marshalls; Leggings, Sweet Legs; Shoes, Tory Burch.

Have you made any impulse purchases this season? Do tell!

(Psst! With the warming weather returning, I think it’s time to bring back the covet list. So many things I want, need, have to have! It’s a good thing I’m fabulous with my finances… always practice safe spending, friends!)

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SupportHER: Where We’ve Been. Where We’re Going.

April 24, 2015

She’s always been there for you.

She’s the first call you make when you have good news; the last person you text before going to bed at night. She will give it to you straight (“Yes, your butt DOES look big in those jeans”) and will cut anyone who dares to cross you (insert: ex-boyfriend). She’s always had your back, and you’ve always returned the favour. She’s a SupportHER.
#SupportHER High Tea Event - The King Edward Hotel  (2)Think about the relationships you have with the most important females in your life. And think about how you relate to one another; how you communicate, and most importantly, how you support each other in times of crisis. Does it begin with a visit? A worrisome text? Does your loved one reach out to you immediately for solace and comfort? Or do you instinctively know something is off – after a phone call goes unanswered, an email ignored – and it’s up to you to uncover what is wrong.

How can you show support in a way that is acceptable, and appropriate, to the person who needs it most?

No two women are the same; some – myself included – will immediately shy away from open communication, while others will need to rely on the strength and kindness of loved ones to make it through. And for a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the need for tailored support is particularly significant.
#SupportHER High Tea Event at The King Edward Hotel (2)Recently, I hosted an intimate High Tea Experience at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. Surrounded by local influencers, and the women who support them – mothers, daughters, friends and extended family – we touched on a topic that we simply don’t discuss enough: how we can be a SupportHER. How we can be there for our loved ones who are living with breast cancer, and ensure we give them what they need (emotionally, physically and spiritually) to help see them through their treatment.

Because today, women are living with breast cancer, and they are surviving.  (more…)

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Cluck You, Mila Kunis

April 22, 2015

EDIT: As predicted, the lawsuit is indeed frivolous, and Mila’s response is cluckin’ awesome.

In the wee hours of morning, I read an article on TMZ which had me scratching my head, wondering if I was indeed still asleep.

Mila Kunis Sued – You Stole My Chicken, So Cluck You.

Instantly, I (incorrectly) assumed that this had something to do with an errant package of organic chicken breasts at Whole Foods Market, or a similar misunderstanding of LA-style proportions.

So, you could have knocked me over with a feather (pun totally intended) when I learned that Mila is actually being sued by a former childhood friend – I’m talking about a friend from 25 years ago, making Mila just 6 years old – who claims that Mila stole her beloved pet chicken. What ensued was years of pain, suffering and anguish, and eventually, therapy, which Kristina Karo (the quack in question – again, totally punny) now claims Mila is responsible for.
0421-mila-kunis-kristina-doggie-karo-getty-instagram-4(^^ That’s a TMZ photo. In case you’re wondering, the chicken’s name was “Doggie”.)

You can read the full article here, which includes quotes like “Kristina says Mila’s conduct has prevented her from pursuing the American dream,” and “Kristina now needs shrink money, and a little extra for all the emotional distress … in all, $5k.”

Now whether I believe this is a frivolous lawsuit is besides the point, because all I want to do is discuss the issue of sh*t little girls do. Little girls make you feel bad about wearing pink when everyone else is wearing purple. Little girls take their skipping rope away just as it becomes your turn at Double Dutch. And sometimes, little girls steal your chickens.

Grow up. Move on. Buy another chicken to show you’ve grown up and moved on.  (more…)

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Time to Celebrate! It’s a #housie Twitter Chat!

April 22, 2015

You’ve seen me share my #housie. You’ve been enticed to share your own with this amazing contest. And now, it’s time to celebrate homeowners with a #housie Twitter Chat!Housie GraphicJoin us on Thursday, April 23rd at 8pm EDT as we chat about buying a first home, design and decor, and of course, all the little things that make your space uniquely yours. And, since we love a good before/after, we’ll be giving away SIX (6) $100 Amazon.ca Gift Cards to help you spruce up your digs!

RSVP below for a chance to win, and see you on Thursday night. (more…)

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Attn Foxy Ladies! It’s a Foxy Originals Sample Sale!

April 19, 2015

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, and happen to love fresh, fashionable and ALWAYS foxy jewelry, have I got a sale for you.
10452958_10152787083498015_4288149784710178308_oIt’s the Foxy Originals Spring Sample Sale! Taking place on April 24th and 25th this year, you’ll find Foxy Jewelry at 80% off, and Jeannie Lottie Brand purses at huge savings too! (Honestly, do not adjust your computer screen. You read that correctly.)

There are two things you need to know, so pay attention and I promise you’ll thank me later.  (more…)

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You Asked… H&R Block Listened! Time for DIY x 2!

April 17, 2015

It’s less than two weeks away, friends… the deadline to file 2014 income taxes. Sure, you *could* curl up into the fetal position, denying the mountain of receipts and paperwork you need to tackle. Or you could suck it up, download H&R Block’s FREE Online Tax Software, and call it a day.

See? I said the good “f” word. FREE.

Now, chances are, if you’re still waiting to file, you may have some questions for the experts at H&R Block. And they are willing to assist! Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Download H&R Block’s FREE Online Tax Software.

Step 2: Prepare your tax return. With an easy interface, access to round-the-clock support and an accuracy guarantee, it just makes sense to give H&R Block’s Online Tax Software a go!

Step 3: Write down any questions you may have, and bring them to the #FileFreeOnline Twitter Chat on Wednesday, April 22nd at 8:00pm EDT. An entire team of experts will be on the chat to offer last minute clarifications, answer your tax-related questions, and give you the final push you need to file your tax return!
FileFreeOnline GraphicTo thank you for joining us, of course we’ll have a ton of gift cards up for grabs – 5 x $100 Visa Gift Cards, and a GRAND PRIZE of a $250 Visa Gift Card! RSVP below for a chance to win, and see you on Wednesday night!  (more…)

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Find Your Oasis

April 17, 2015

10 years ago, I viewed the appearance of spring-like weather with nothing more than a renewed excitement for warmer days ahead. Coats became jackets; boots were swapped for ballet flats, and every pink lipstick in my beauty arsenal was moved to the top of my makeup bag.

Today, the promise of higher temps still brings about all those exciting changes, in addition to one more: revealing more of my “winter body”, once safely ensconced in bulky, cold-weather clothing.

Let’s just say that Dolman-sleeve sweaters are an upper arm’s best friend.

Alas, before we know it, Canadians will be treated to our long-awaited summer, and this year, I plan on being a few steps ahead of tank top season.

First and foremost, I’ve lost 20 pounds! (If you’re sick of me mentioning it, I apologize. But this is BIG news in my life, and I plan on gushing about it for a while… and then a little longer.)

Second, I’ve rediscovered physical activity. No, I haven’t joined the gym or signed up for a boot camp just yet… but I have decided that as long as I’m moving at least as often as I’m sitting, I’ve achieved a good physical balance in my life.
DSC_0740Finally, I’ve made breakfast a priority. Perhaps I should clarify: I’ve always enjoyed breakfast, but now, I ensure that I have a GOOD breakfast. Tons of fruit and whole grains. Low-fat dairy and lean protein. It keeps me going throughout the most hectic part of my day – morning – and gives me the fuel I need to think clearly and stay on plan.

And with almost every breakfast, I enjoy a low-calorie, low-fat and nutritionally-dense fruit smoothie.

This season, try my Cranberry Razz Smoothie. It’s made with Oasis Nutrisource, a great tasting cranberry juice cocktail that offers an alternative to sugar and sucrose (stevia) with no compromise on fruit taste – and only 40 calories per serving. What a refreshing way to get healthy!  (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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It’s Time for #RandomActsOfPizza!

April 16, 2015

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

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

First, start with the perfect crust – and don’t expect a cheese-filled one, yuck! They’re not about gimmicks, just the best pizza dough ever. Whether it’s the chewy Original Hand-tossed, Italian Thin, or the healthier Multigrain – which comes in thick or thin, Panago Pizza’s crusts are a big part of what makes their pizzas so tasty.

Next, select a sauce. Sweet, savoury, light or exotic, they’ve got it! Sure, you could stick with the classics, like Italian tomato or pesto, but you can also indulge in chipotle cilantro, cheezy cheddar, coconut curry or butter chicken.

But what’s a pizza without brilliant cheese? Pick one or blend ‘em for that bohemian artisan feel. Choose from five different types of cheeses, each are perfect for any style of pizza or personal taste.

Hungry yet? You haven’t even selected your toppings!

Be adventurous. It’s time to put the finishing touches on your masterpiece. Often, I’ll stick with spicy pepperoni and sautéed mushrooms, but sometimes I like to walk on the wild side.  Capicollo, caramelized onions, wild pink shrimp  or fire-roasted tomatoes, anyone?

And now that you’re in the mood for a hot, fresh Panago Pizza, it’s time for #RandomActsOfPizza!
Panago Pizza GraphicJoin us on Monday night as we unite pizza lovers across Canada for a scrumptious foodie chat, showcasing some of the most drool-inducing creations from the experts at @Panago_Pizza. And, if you need further incentive to come, two words: FREE PIZZA. Three more words: LOTS OF IT. In addition to giving away FIVE (5) “With Our Compliments” gift cards valued at $45 each, a grand prize winner will walk away with a $100 gift card – and a free Pizza Sweater!! << Game changer there.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a #RandomActsOfPizza Party if we didn’t give away #RandomActsOfPizza!

RSVP below for a chance to win, and we’ll see you on Monday night.  (more…)

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Protect Yourself! WIN a Fellowes Powershred 63cb Shredder

April 15, 2015

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

It’s annual. It’s unavoidable. And sometimes, it’s a pain in the behind. It’s tax season.

If you’ve already completed your 2014 income tax return, congratulations! Hopefully by now you’re enjoying your refund, or have paid the amount owing and put it out of your mind. And if you’ve yet to file your taxes… two weeks, friends! The deadline is in two weeks.

Of course, you may have a small reminder of tax season… papers, documents, receipts, invoices, agreements…. and what should you do with it all? If your gut reaction is simply to throw it in the trash, STOP! You may be putting yourself at risk for identity theft.

The answer? Shred, shred, shred.

I’m once again pleased to partner with Fellowes Canada, the global leader in paper shredder design and engineering, providing the highest quality personal and general office business shredders on the market. With their innovative “Jam Blocker” technology and Energy Savings System, they’ve earned a reputation as the “World’s Toughest Shredders”.

Now y’all know I love my Fellowes Powershred 63cb Cross-Cut Shredder; it’s a staple in my home office. Features:

– Jam Blocker blocks jams before they start
– SafeSense Technology stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening
– Energy Savings System provides optimal energy efficiency 100% of the time – in use and out of use
– Shreds 10 sheets per pass into 5/32”x 2” cross-cut particles (Security Level 3)
– Shreds for up to 8 minutes before a 20 minute cool down period
– One year product warranty and five year cutter warranty

I’ll never tire of saying this: every home needs a shredder. And Fellowes makes it easy and affordable to safely dispose of all your personal records, thereby reducing the chances of being a victim of identity theft. Every tax season, I put the shredder to the test with a whole year’s worth of statements and receipts. I’ve shredded old credit cards. I’ve shredded documents with staples and paper clips. I’ve even shredded CDs – yes, CDs!  (more…)

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The Road Less Traveled: Discover Loreto, Mexico

April 13, 2015

Earlier this year, I was offered a wonderful, unique opportunity to spend a week in luxury at The Islands of Loreto, Mexico. Located on the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula, the region boasts 155 miles of pristine coastline, 465 square miles of sea and the “Sierra de La Giganta” mountain range. Translation: Paradise on Earth.
16523314548_661468dfe5_z (2)Alas, an entire week away from my school-aged children is rarely in the cards, and this media trip was no exception. However, I couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste, so I enlisted my friend Elaine Atkins to take the trip and report back, and gratefully accepted photos from the talented Sheri McDonald, who I’m seriously considering hiring as photographer for all my upcoming vacations. Breathtaking! 

When most people think of Mexico, they either think Cancun or Cabo, and often associate Mexico with partying and crowds in their early 20’s.

While that may be appealing in our younger days, I think it’s safe to say that once you’ve reached full blown adulthood you want your vacation to be about the experience and the memories that will stay with you forever – not so much about the ones you’d rather forget!

When planning your next vacation, you’ll want to put Loreto, Mexico on your list. Water, mountains and beautiful scenery surround you wherever you go, and while tourism is growing in the area, it is very much a place looking to preserve its small town culture and the natural beauty of Loreto Bay.
16520335440_729fbf8671_zHow to Get There: Direct flights are available through the Calgary International Airport via WestJet. A connecting flight from Toronto or Vancouver to Calgary is easy enough to find, and if you’re looking to leave through the US, there are flights leaving directly out of LAX.  (more…)

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How To Spring? We’ll Show You!

April 10, 2015

After a long – okay, extra long – cold, unforgiving winter, there are some things that *must* be done:

1) Ladies, whip out your razor. You know what to do with it.
2) Is it safe to take the winter tires off? Somehow, I am not confident we’re in the clear just yet.
3) The patio set and barbecue. Locate them, and keep them on standby.
4) Grab your favourite cleaning solutions and supplies. It’s time for a good spring cleaning!

Will you be partaking in a little scrub-and-shine fest this season? I’m pleased to report that my spring cleaning is underway, and this year, I can find everything I need to sponge, swab and scour from Walmart Canada. Like the Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer Trigger, which makes cleaning simpler, faster and easier. Or the super-versatile Vileda Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket; whether you need to wash wood, ceramic or vinyl floors, the Easy Wring System makes it a breeze.  As always, Walmart is your one stop shop for all your spring cleaning needs and household essentials.

Do you have spring cleaning tips or techniques you simply can’t keep to yourself? Join us at the @WalmartCanada #HowToSpring Twitter Party on Tuesday, April 14th at 8:00pm EDT!
HowtoSpring GraphicWe’ll share our best tips, tools and techniques for making your home summer-ready, and showcase the products to get you there. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Walmart Canada Twitter Party unless we had amazing prizes up for grabs – over $1000 in prizes! We’re giving away their most sought-after cleaning products and store gift cards – don’t miss it!

RSVP below for a chance to win, and we’ll see you on Tuesday night. See official rules here.  (more…)

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Protect Your Smile!

April 10, 2015

There are some things I never take for granted. Clean water, fresh air, good food, and healthy teeth. ALWAYS healthy teeth.

Think about it. Healthy teeth lead to a healthy smile, which is by far everyone’s best beauty asset. And, just like a classic designer handbag, fresh, clean breath is always in style.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been *mildly obsessed* with oral health. After two years of braces, several allergies to cavity fillings and eight tooth extractions (including four impacted wisdom teeth), I’ve had my share of dental dilemmas. So I always pay particular attention to staying on top of my oral hygiene; let’s face it, we rely on good dental health for everything from the food we eat to the way we speak. Think of your mouth as the gateway to your overall health, and your teeth as the guards. Wouldn’t you want them to be strong and healthy?

(Also? I love hard candy. Teeth, don’t fail me now!)

Part of my oral hygiene regime is to visit a dentist every 4-6 months, like clockwork, without exception. And it’s a family thing; I started taking both my boys to the dentist before they turned two years old! At the time, the dental hygienist simply counted their teeth and checked for “sugar buds”. Now, they get the full treatment – scaling, fluoride wash and power cleaning!

And cool sunglasses, of course.
wwwIt’s no secret: regular dental appointments are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they affect your family’s quality of life. By visiting your Ontario dentist and taking other proactive measures, you can skip the costly and painful treatments that result from neglect. (An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure… take it from someone who has had four cavities!) And thanks to the Ontario Dental Association, you can learn your dental care options and find a dentist near you online.  (more…)

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Your Spring Reboot

April 9, 2015

Hello, April… so nice to meet you. It’s time to sit back, reminisce about the long, cold winter, and look forward to a fabulous new season. And since we’re already more than a week in, how about some of that warmer weather that’s been promised to us?
promo-april15-homepagesI know, I know – patience is a virtue. But after that long (really long) winter we just survived, you can’t blame me for wanting to press “fast forward” to summer! However, just before the season arrives, there are few things that we’ll need to do:

1) Spring Cleaning. Ugh! My least favourite part of the reboot. Each spring, I rediscover the same things about myself; I am a hoarder, I am disorganized, and I am particularly lazy when it comes to dusting shutters. Spring cleaning is bad for my self-esteem!

2) Winter Spoils. My stamped concrete driveway is a little worse for wear after road salt from our boots has had its way with the porous material. Similarly, my roof’s shingles have seen better days… perhaps being blanketed with cold snow for five months+ will do that. Taking inventory of the items that need to be refurbished and repaired is necessary to ensure your home stays beautiful (and functional).

3) Summer-Proofing. We’ve waited SO LONG for the warm weather to come… you definitely want to make sure your home is ready for summer. Each spring, in addition to replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms, replacing outdoor bulbs and clearing your gutters, have you ever considered purchasing a Protection and Maintenance Plan for your air conditioner and/or heater? Here’s my story.  (more…)

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, Every Time

April 9, 2015

I wouldn’t call myself an expert baker, but if I make a recipe often enough, I like to perfect it.

I can make perfect chocolate chip cookies. 

And I want you to make them, too! That’s why I’m sharing my tried-and-true tips for yielding a batch of delicious, chewy cookies that will make you famous at bake sales and family gatherings. (After all, life is all about street cred.)
IMG_2423 (2)Tip #1: Find the perfect recipe. My go-to recipe is Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Anna Olson. Says Anna: “Tried, tested and true. My secret ingredient is cornstarch to make chewy-centred cookies! If you want crispy cookies, omit the cornstarch and replace the baking soda with baking powder.” If I’m honest, I’d like you to throw away all your chocolate chip cookie recipes and simply make these ones going forward. Yes, they’re THAT good.  (more…)

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Celebrate Your Abode with a #Housie!

April 6, 2015

It’ll be eight years since we moved into our first home… and when given the choice to love it or list it, we ALWAYS love it.

The serial re-decorator strikes again! This time, I’ve made over my sitting room into a place I can unwind and relax when the boys are in bed… and let’s face it, since “unwind and relax” are rarely in my vocabulary, I enjoy every moment!

Do you love your home? Join the celebration of new homeowners! Share your own #housie.

So, how do you housie? Simply Record a 360° video selfie of your new home (or outdoor space). Keep your video short — no more than 20 seconds! Then share it to Twitter or Instagram to join the TD #housie tour. I tried several times, unsuccessfully, to capture both myself and the sitting room in my iPhone frame, but in the end I had to let my house shine and popped in for a cameo.

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

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

As for my next project? We’re working on a few things simultaneously – the laundry room, the backyard, finishing up the front and creating a new office space in our loft. Remember, it’s never boring Chez Lena!

This video and post is sponsored by TD, though my opinions and thoughts as always are my own.

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