The Happiest Party on Twitter: #DisneyTBT

August 6, 2015

If you’ve ever gazed upon Cinderella’s castle, held Mickey Mouse’s hand or took a journey under the sea with Ariel, you’ll know the power of Disney vacation memories.

Tell me, what is your favourite Disney throwback?
IMG_0960aI admit that one of my favourite ways to de-stress is going through photos from past Disney vacations. Nine out of ten times, it inspires me to book my next one! And as long as my boys believe in the power of wishing upon a star, we’ll be sure to return to the place where dreams come true.

A request: Find your very best Disney vacation photos. Mark Thursday, August 13th, 2015 at 8PM EDT on your calendar.

Today, at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, you can experience the magic with your entire family. Disney Parks Cast Members deliver one-of-a-kind experiences to millions of guests annually, and if you’ve been planning a family vacation to this world-class entertainment and recreation center, this one’s for you –

I’m pleased to invite you to the #DisneyTBT Twitter Party, on Thursday, August 13th at 8PM EDT. It will be a fast-paced, fun-filled party where we want to see your very best Throwback Thursday photos… Disney-style! Share your park pictures, thrill-ride stills, poses with characters, or show us your throwback Disney-themed toys or costumes. The possibilities are endless!  (more…)

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Discover a Healthier Way to Delicious

August 6, 2015

METROSEXUAL. [Noun] met·ro·sex·u·al \ˌme-trə-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl: a usually urban heterosexual male given to enhancing his personal appearance by fastidious grooming, beauty treatments, and fashionable clothes.

Thank goodness for my husband. As a bona fide metrosexual, he pays attention to things that most men don’t (or won’t, or can’t). He tells me when my hilites are due for re-touching and my wardrobe requires updating. He purchases moisturizer with the same finesse he uses to purchase power tools, and when my self-tanner is almost done, he knows to buy a replacement because he understands that the struggle for perfectly bronzed skin is real.

However, the most beneficial thing about being married to a self-aware man: he’s vain. Truly, it’s a GOOD thing! My husband helps me stay on top of my health and fitness; he’s often the “diet police” in the household, yanking carbs from a grip like an ogre snatches candy from a baby. I’ve accused him of raining on my junk food parade more than once, but in the end, I can’t fault him for being a better person, at least health-wise.

So, a couple of months ago, just in time for Father’s Day, I presented him with a small appliance that was near the top of his wishlist: the Philips Airfryer. Featuring Rapid Air Technology, the Philips Airfryer circulates hot air with speed and precision for perfect results with less oil.

Spoiler Alert: These chicken drumsticks were “fried” in the Philips Airfryer. DELICIOUS.
DSC_1053Let’s pause for a second. YES, even though it’s called the Airfryer, come on, you really didn’t expect to fry food with just air, did you? Remember the saying, man cannot live on air-fried food alone. (Or something like that.) The truth is, you do need a bit of oil to get the unit going, but, perspective please! The amount you use is only a tablespoon or two, and even that amount is drained from food while frying. What you’re left with is crispy, flavourful food that is healthier for you, too.  (more…)

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#TDThanksYou Then and Now

August 4, 2015

From test drive, to owning a ride.
From building blocks, to building a business.
From tree house, to first house.

Think about your then and now. And then think about how far you’ve come.

At TD Canada, they’ve been there through some of their customer’s biggest life moments. To say thank you, they turned a trip to the bank into a journey through their years together.

What are some of life’s major moments that have inspired your then and now? Join us for the #TDThanksYou Twitter Chat on Thursday, August 6th at 8:00pm EDT. We’ll celebrate your best throwbacks, recall the times you felt lucky in life, and of course, have a heartwarming chat centered around gratitude.
TDThanksYouTo thank you for joining us, we’ll give away five (5) x $100 Amazon Gift Cards. To participate in the chat, simply follow @TD_Canada and join your hosts @Listen2Lena, @FeistyFrugal, @Kidsumers and @SassyModernMom while tweeting on the #TDThanksYou hashtag.  (more…)

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Inspired to Travel? Get $250 Closer to Your Dream Vacay

August 3, 2015

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

If you haven’t noticed the influx of travel posts on my blog lately, then you haven’t been paying attention. (Tsk, tsk.) The thing is, the whole point of accepting family trips, taking photos non-stop and then sharing our experiences is to inspire you, my readers, to take your own dream vacation!
11326439_391282444403300_2002966964_nOf course, I realize that sometimes, it’s easier said than done. So, I’m here to help! Courtesy of my friends at TD Canada, here’s your chance to win a $250 Visa Gift Card! Now *I know* you could be totally boring and use it on groceries or a new rug for the family room, but I sincerely hope that you’ll put it towards travel. Go somewhere! Do something!  (more…)

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Hands Up if you Love a Good #VarageSale!

August 2, 2015

I know what you’re thinking. What’s a VarageSale?

Hold onto your hat (but only if you don’t want to sell it) – because VarageSale is like a virtual garage sale on your phone! It’s a FREE marketplace app that allows families to buy and sell pre-loved items with their neighbors. Started by an expecting mom in 2012, VarageSale has evolved into a worldwide movement that touches the lives of millions. Visit VarageSale at, or download the mobile app, available on iOS, Android and Kindle devices.

Millions of members love the VarageSale app for its ease of use, convenience and safety. Use it to:

– Buy items you love at a fraction of the retail price
– Make money decluttering your home and selling unused items
– Buy and sell with people you can trust
– Have fun connecting with people in your community

Want to learn more? We’re celebrating the Ontario launch of #VarageSale with a Twitter Party this Wednesday, August 5th at 8PM EDT. We’ll be talking about clutter, organization and favourite finds. (Psst – we hope you’ll download the app before Wednesday to check out how VarageSale works!)
unnamedOf course, it wouldn’t be a Twitter Party without great prizes! We’ll be giving away four (4) $150 Visa Gift Cards and one (1) grand prize of a $400 Visa Gift Card throughout the party. This party is open to Ontario residents only. RSVP below to be eligible for prizing.

See you on Wednesday night!  (more…)

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Healthier Habits for the Summer

July 31, 2015

It’s summer. Hallelujah!

And just in case you hadn’t noticed (how’s the weather under that rock?), people are vacationing, dining out, drinking on patios and festival-hopping in full force. Honestly! Some days I need to stay off Instagram, where I’m constantly reminded of friends’ summertime travels and exploits.
10865108_422184224655700_1749091094_nThe above photo is courtesy of my blogging bestie Stephanie Holmes, who’s currently in Turks and Caicos. I know, right? You can say it. I was totally thinking it too.

However, I’m not mad at her, because we’re off to Niagara Falls for the long weekend! There, we’ll get wet at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, enjoy a special meal in the revolving dining room at Skylon Tower, and even take in a little cross-border shopping action (I miss Target!).  (more…)

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Chiles Rellenos with Ranchera Sauce

July 31, 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.

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. Today, she shares one of her favourite dishes at Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa. Named as Baja, California’s first “Million Star Resort” after the approximate amount of stars you can see on a clear night, this dream location is a mere 40 minutes to the town of Loreto.
20150226_100536 (2)Introducing Chiles Rellenos – a dish that is alone worth taking the trip to Loreto, Mexico. The chile relleno is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the city of Puebla. It consists of a stuffed, roasted, fresh poblano pepper (a mild chili pepper named after the city of Puebla), sometimes substituted with non-traditional Hatch chile, Anaheim, pasilla or even jalapeño chili pepper. In its earliest incarnations, it was described as a “green chile pepper stuffed with minced meat and coated with eggs”. In current cuisine, it is typically stuffed with melted cheese (such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca), seasoned with canella and covered in an egg batter or corn masa flour and fried. Although it is often served in a tomato sauce, the sauces can vary. (Source) (more…)

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17 Things to Love about San Antonio

July 30, 2015

As many of y’all know, I recently earned the opportunity to be a Texas Traveller! Alas, after a family illness, we weren’t able to take the trip. So, I did the next best thing – I enlisted fellow fabulous #FamilyTravelCA member Andrea Traynor from Mommy Gearest to experience Texas on my behalf! Take it away Andrea!

I can’t say that San Antonio was on my bucket list. But having recently spent three days there, standing in for Lena, it should have been. And it should have been way up there on the list, too.
SanAntonio - RiverWalk1Because San Antonio, Texas is simply, fabulous. Rich in history, it boasts world-class restaurants that even the most discerning foodies will appreciate, is a retail-therapy dream and caters to just about any kind of traveller (doing well in both the romance and action-packed activity departments).

There’s a lot to love about this city in the southwest, y’all. Here are 17 things that’ll make you want to book your own bucket-list visit.  (more…)

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Let’s Chat About the Playground! #PolyHealingIndex

July 30, 2015

You don’t know what fear is until you let two young boys loose at the playground.

“Don’t jump – it’s too high!”
“Watch your step… no pushing!”
“Slow down, you’re going to bump into something or someone!”
“STOP! Just STOP!”

(All words bellowed by me at one time or another while taking my kids to the local park.)

And you know what? I’m not alone. According to a recent survey of 500 Canadian moms with at least one child between the ages of 2 and 10, 71% have pain on the brain according to POLYSPORIN’s Healing Index, with the majority expressing that they are concerned about their children getting hurt while playing. In fact, 8 out of 10 mothers monitor their children closely with the aim to prevent any kind of physical harm. Sounds like you? Me too!

However, I know that the playground is an important place for child development, and want my kids to have freedom when playing even if it leads to getting hurt. Minor cuts and scrapes are part of being a kid! And I do realize that while accidents aren’t always preventable, I can do my best to kiss those boo-boos better.

Are you a helicopter parent? Like me, do you fall into the trap of being “too cautious” with your children? Join @PolysporinCA for the #PolyHealingIndex Twitter Party, where we’ll chat about the value and benefits of outdoor play!
Promotional Image2 (2)Co-hosting the chat is Dr. Shimi Kang MD (@drshimikang), author of #1 Bestseller The Dolphin Parent. She’ll be on hand to share her best tips for letting go of those parental fears, and if minor mishaps do happen, how to treat/comfort the kiddos.

Of course we’ll have some amazing prizes up for grabs! We’re giving away 4 x #PolyHealingIndex prize baskets valued at $90 each. In it, you’ll find a variety of Polysporin products, plus a $50 Walmart Gift Card! RSVP below for a chance to win, and we’ll see you on Tuesday night.

See official rules. (more…)

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Joie de Vivre: Summer Sizzles at Mont Tremblant

July 30, 2015

Friends, welcome to the middle of summer.

The point where you’re either congratulating yourself for enjoying a month of heated freedom… or, feverishly trying to save the remainder of a not-so-memorable half season. If you’re in the latter camp, I’ve got the solution for you.

What if I told you that you could experience an unforgettable mountain getaway and enjoy a multitude of summer activities? And, that this getaway was easily accessible to Ontarians – in fact, only 1-hr away from downtown Toronto?

From outdoor sports to live entertainment, spa to beach, Mont Tremblant has it all.
IMG_3146aWe all recognize Tremblant as a world-class winter destination. However, it’s also the perfect summer spot for families of all sizes, offering endless outdoor activities, sublime dining experiences, thrilling adventures and a unique opportunity to connect with nature.

Here’s how to spend 48 hours with your family in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.  (more…)

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What Happens When it’s Time for a Tire to Retire?

July 28, 2015

Today is a very special day for my husband and I – it’s our home anniversary! Yep, we’ve been in our present abode for eight long years. Back in 2007, things were different: the streets and driveways were composed of dust and gravel, we lived under the hum of constant construction, and we waited with baited breath for a strip of grass and a (sad-looking) standard issue tree.

Then, we had nine months to enjoy our new home before our first baby arrived, and completely turned our lives inside out.

The next few months were a blur. Being preoccupied with a newborn, I didn’t have a chance to really appreciate all the small, subtle happenings that were changing my subdivision into a community. Doors and garages were re-painted to reflect the homeowner’s personality. As the construction dust settled, parents began to take walks and children began to ride their bikes along the quiet streets. And finally, with the creation of a local playground, a meeting place for kids and parents alike was established; on any given summer night, the playground was teeming with happy children and smiling moms and dads.

And to this day, it takes five attempts to pry my kids away from the swings, sand and monkey bars.
11417349_574269846056425_881783580_nWhy are local playgrounds and parks just so integral to childhood? It’s because they help create community, and your community is your home. It’s where you get together with friends, play with your children, and cheer-on your local sports team. And you depend on your community spaces to be clean, safe and durable – as do your fellow neighbours.

But what if your local space is beginning to look a bit (wait for it) TIRE-d looking?

The Community Renewal Fund offered by Ontario Tire Stewardship gives communities the opportunity to build spaces using sustainable materials made with recycled rubber from Ontario tires. The Fund is a great way to build memorable spaces while supporting the local economy – and the environment.  (more…)

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Hello Summer! #LetsDoPicnic with Maple Leaf Foods!

July 24, 2015

What happens when you have an incredible, summer food-themed Twitter Party with all your favourite brands? You do it all over again, of course!

Join @MapleLeafFoods, @PepsiCanada, @LaysCanada, @TostitosCanada and @WonderBreadCA for the #LetsDoPicnic Twitter Party on Wednesday, July 29th at 8pm EDT!
#LetsDoPicnic Twitter Party Image (2)Now I know what you’re thinking: The last party was insanely good! How can you top it? Well, let’s start by upping the prize value – with over $1500 in prizes available to be won! – and you know we’ll be serving up scrumptious picnic food suggestions you won’t want to miss.

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

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Vacationing with Kids? Piece of Cake.

July 23, 2015

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only. 

The original concept for this post was to share my very best tips for vacationing with kids. After all, I’ve got kids… and I’ve travelled with them…. so that makes me supremely qualified to dole out advice, right? Right?

The thing is, I wasn’t always down with family travel. I actually avoided it for years, rationalizing that any vacation where you’re forced to bring your kids along is NOT A VACATION at all. If my suitcase was headed down south, the last thing I wanted to pack next to my swimsuit was swim diapers.

However, that’s in the past. Because somewhere along the way, I realized that vacationing with kids is not scary at all! In fact, with a little preparation and a lot of patience, it’s actually one of the most rewarding things in life. And after I sucked it up and took that first family vacay, we’re somewhat stealth travellers. Case in point: since 2012, my kids have been on an airplane 18 times. Crazy!
20140819_115521 (2)So maybe I haven’t quite reached “expert” status, but I’m certainly confident enough to share my favourite tips for vacationing with kids. It’s just what worked for us – and for those families embarking on their first trip together, I’m hoping my suggestions will work for you too.  (more…)

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What’s Better Than Vacation? A SKECHERS Shoecation, Of Course!

July 22, 2015

Now, y’all do know that I wear SKECHERS absolutely everywhere, right?

Of course I do! For cruisin’ around the neighbourhood and doing errands, you’ll find me in my Glider shoes. When I’m pounding the pavement at Walt Disney World, you know I’ll be sporting the GOwalk 3 – they’re lightweight, breathable and keep my feet comfy all day. On a beach vacay? Can’t hit the sand without my GOwalk Move sandals – perfectly stylish and supportive! And as I travel from destination to destination, I always wear my (very aptly named) Travelers. The soft, durable nylon sandals are easy to get on/off in security lines, and transition seamlessly from airplane to boardwalk. So, where in the world are your SKECHERS shoes? We want to see where you travel with SKECHERS! Simply post photos to Instagram of your SKECHERS on vacation, using the hashtag #ShoecationSweepsCanada. Just for sharing your photo, you could win a travel prize pack that includes:

One (1) pair of Skechers shoes of winner’s choice (sizes and styles based on availability)
One (1) Peter Thomas Roth Shampoo
One (1) Peter Thomas Roth conditioner
One (1) DK Eyewitness Travelers Guide Travelers Book

The total value of this gift pack is approximately $150, and they’ve got EIGHT to give away! A new winner is announced every Monday starting on July 13th, 2015. So, you can enter now through August 28th, and if you share your pictures all summer long, you’ll have more chances to WIN!  (more…)

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Chili Chocolate Peanut Butter Popsicles

July 22, 2015

Kick your snacking up a notch! Inspired by the Mexican heat, these popsicles – or palatas – bring together the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, with a spicy kick to your palate. This summer treat, found on the Peanut Bureau of Canada‘s websitewas a huge hit at our recent Twitter Party, and I know that many of y’all were hoping that I would post the recipe. Well, ask and you shall receive! Permission to drool… now.
Chili Chocolate Peanut Butter PopsiclesFor the little ones, the amount of cayenne pepper can be reduced or omitted. However, if they can take a little heat, the pungent spice of the cayenne truly elevates the flavour of these sweet and creamy popsicles. And, for more ah-mazing recipes featuring peanuts, be sure to visit the Peanut Bureau of Canada online. Enjoy!  (more…)

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Keeping Kiddos Clean with Kandoo

July 19, 2015

There are several things I believed before I had kids.

I believed that a child could be calmly negotiated with. I believed that “time outs” would be observed with quiet resignation. And for some reason – honestly, I don’t know where I got this idea – I believed that kids only got sick in winter. (I know, right?)

Newsflash, Lena: Kids get sick ALL THE TIME. And it’s almost worse in summer!

First, they’re spending more time outdoors, which means that they’re also spending less time washing their hands before snacking. Then there’s summer camp, which introduces kids to a bevy of new, unfamiliar children and new, unfamiliar viruses. And of course, the warmer months are the perfect time to travel, so we often find ourselves on airplanes, in hotels and at well-populated (read: germ-infested) attractions.

So, how can you keep kiddos healthy during the best two months of the year? I trust Kandoo Flushable Wipes and Personal Care Products and Boogie Wipes to help keep my kids squeaky clean. Here are my best tips for making hygiene a priority – and fun! – this summer.
kandoo11. Kandoo Soap at Every Sink. My kids love the brightly coloured, sweetly scented Moisturizing Hand Soap from Kandoo. It has a wide base and a large foaming pump so they can get clean on their own. To reinforce routine hand washing, I place a Kandoo hand soap at every sink in the house – even if mom and dad have our own soap there, too. It’s a gentle reminder that each sink is a “station”, and whether they’re coming in from the outdoors, have finished eating or are through using the toilet, it’s time to clean up. Bonus: the brightly colored foam lets my boys know when they’re covered with soap, for a better clean. Now they just need to get better at cleaning under their fingernails!  (more…)

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Summer Movie Mania!

July 19, 2015

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Hooray for summer! Endless days, warm and dreamy nights, and a chance to watch the year’s BIGGEST blockbuster movies! Tell me, what was the last film you enjoyed on the big screen? We LOVED Inside Out and Minions, both incredible family movies that had us in stitches (and at times, a little teary-eyed! Shh… don’t tell my kids).

And since my husband and I are movie buffs, of course we love movie trivia, tidbits and other fun facts. Feeling nostalgic, Cineplex Entertainment recently polled Canadians about all things summer camp flick related. See if you agree with the results!

What Canadian movie-star would make the best camp counsellor?
myers• Mike Meyers (35 per cent)
• Ryan Reynolds (23 per cent)
• Martin Short (21 per cent)

Now what would YOU do if your son or daughter spent the summer with Mike Myers? I think they’d be quite the comedian by the end of camp! However, Ryan Reynolds? I know he’s a funny guy, but he’s also… um…. HOT. I currently drop off my kids to day camp wearing sweats and a baseball cap. Not sure how I’d feel if Ryan greeted me at the door… *powders nose and sucks in tummy*.  (more…)

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Master the Art of Nude.

July 17, 2015

Have you ever wondered why some women have eyes that “pop”? They’re bright, well-defined and expressive…. and sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what their secret is. A skilled makeup application? A teeny bit of Botox? Gasp – full blown plastic surgery?

It’s that je ne said quoi, n’est-ce pas?

I won’t keep you in suspense. You see, some women have simply mastered the art of nude.
IMG_3197Introducing L’Oreal Colour Riche La Palette Nude 2. Inspired by makeup designers’ ‘Must Have’ palettes, the La Palette Nude 2 offers everything you need to master the art of nude eye shadow. Ten highly pigmented shades range from light to dark to flatter every skin tone in three shadow finishes: shimmery satin, buttery matte & lustrous sheen.  (more…)

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Sandals Ochi: Treat Your Taste Buds

July 17, 2015

Last month, I was afforded the exclusive opportunity to visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica on behalf of Sandals. Unfortunately, I was not able to make the trip, so I did the next best thing; I asked fellow#FamilyTravelCA member Sheri McDonald to experience the resort on my behalf. Today, she’s pleased to share the multitude of gourmet dining options at the resort!

If there’s one thing that always comes to mind when I think “all-inclusive”, it’s the food. It’s an opportunity to try types of cuisine that are new to me, and to step outside of my comfort zone. Ordering several dishes to share with everyone at the table is a fantastic way to try as much as possible, too!
20150530_115811Sandals Ochi doesn’t disappoint when it comes to their dining options. With 16 restaurants and bars on the property, there is something to please everyone.

Of course, if there’s one thing that comes to mind when you think “all-inclusive”, it’s buffet dining. Visit Vista Gourmet and the Sky Terrace, where you enjoy your meal while gazing at the ocean. Here, you’ll find nothing fussy or overworked; just simple dishes that let the natural flavors of fish and seafood shine through. It is the perfect spot for a quick and satisfying meal.
IMG_0254Feeling the steady Ocho Rios breeze is inevitable while lounging at Sky Terrace, Vista Gourmet’s outdoor dining area that sits high up on a rocky cliff. Bliss!

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Finding Your Perfect Balance

July 15, 2015

I think we can all officially say it… summer is here! And many Canadians are basking in the warmer weather, the longer days, and for those that have suffered this winter: the official end of cold and flu season.

However, even though we’re spending more time outdoors and ideally eating an abundance of fresh, local produce, sometimes our diet falls short of our nutritional goals. With many Canadian families juggling work, summer camp, sports activities and more, despite our best intentions, it’s easy to succumb to less desirable meals and snacks – ones that don’t provide the balanced nutrition that our bodies crave.

A balanced, healthy diet feeds your body with the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other key nutrients you need. Think of the times when you’ve felt your best – chances are, you were eating well, keeping stress levels low, and finding time for physical activity. And if you find yourself needing a little extra push, supplements can definitely help fill the gap.Year round, Canadians depend on a variety of supplements to keep them feeling their best. Think of supplements as an insurance policy; they help ensure that you’re always at your optimal health, especially when life is hectic and a balanced diet isn’t always an option.  (more…)

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