‘Tis the Season to #PurifyYourAir

September 11, 2014

Take a peek at the calendar. Allergy and flu season are here! And Canadians invest $9.1 billion annually in janitorial and sanitation supplies to clean surfaces, remove odours and kill germs with touch-free hand sanitizers – all of which address an issue that does not kill the key contributor to illness from air transmission. Because even with all these products, if your child has asthma, there’s a 1 in 4 chance he or she will be heading to hospital in September.

How scary is that?

Every year, up to 25% of the annual hospital admissions for asthma flare-ups among Canadian children occur in September. With the new school year approaching, so comes some of most frequent asthma triggers: germs, low use of appropriate asthma medications over the summer months increasing vulnerability, and unventilated classrooms that may contain dust, mould spores.

Most asthma exacerbations are caused from the air we breathe. The dirty truth is that inside air is five times more polluted than outdoor air and we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. Hopefully with preventative care we can decrease asthma sufferers’ reliance on steroid-containing inhalers as a first line of defence, an issue which has been receiving much dialogue among parents.

This is a subject I’m passionate about, as we have both allergy and asthma sufferers in our family. And that’s why I adore Fellowes AeraMax Air Purifiers. The ONLY Air Purifier to be certified by the Asthma Society of Canada, AeraMax units safely remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. That means cleaner, safer air for you and your loved ones.

Learn more at the @FellowesCanada #PurifyYourAir Twitter Party on Monday, September 15th at 8pm ET.
PurifyYourAir Twitter Party GraphicIn addition to providing you with information on how you can keep your air clean this fall and winter, we’ve also got some terrific prizes up for grabs:

2 x $100 Staples Gift Cards
2 x AeraMax 100 Air Purifier (value $189.99)
2 x AeraMax 200 Air Purifier (value $290.99)
1 x AeraMax 300 Air Purifier (value $349.99)

RSVP below for your chance to win. – and see you on Monday night!  (more…)

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Surprise! I’m California Dreamin’….

September 11, 2014

Psst! I have a secret. It’s not a HUGE secret, but it’s a pretty AWESOME one.

I’m currently in Los Angeles! 

Yup, I’ve been whisked away for a very special assignment for Proctor & Gamble. As a #PGMom, you know I’ve received a few amazing perks over the years… well, none could be more amazing than this!

Now I can’t give away the details just yet, but think photo shoot. And modelling. And North American campaign. Told you it was awesome, no? Pinch me!

As soon as I can share information about the campaign, you know I will! In the meantime, I’ll be squeezing in some pool time today at The Standard Downtown LA, my home for the next three days.

The StandardWhat are the odds I can score one of those red private cabanas? Wish me luck!

I’ll be back home Saturday night and it’ll be business as usual… in the meantime, I’m going to order room service, head out to soak up the sun (and do a little shopping!) and of course, strike a pose. Have a great weekend friends!

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Double Down on Breakfast!

September 10, 2014

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

It’s September. The kids are back in school. The days are getting shorter; the weather is getting cooler, the nights are long and spent huddled under the covers. It can only mean one thing: It’s time to get back into the groove. 

You see, summer is a luxury. Summer means lazy mornings watching television with the kids, while calmly sipping my second cup of coffee. I miss summer. I miss it A LOT.

These days, mornings are busy. And before I send the boys off to school, I need to ensure they’ve had a filling, healthy breakfast to build their stamina, stay focused, and be ready for an awesome day of learning. And I’ve found the small appliance I just can’t live without: the Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker.

Dual Breakfast Sandwich MakerWhy do we love it? Let me count the ways.

Your Favorite Breakfast Sandwiches – Use eggs, cheese, precooked meat and English muffins (or bread of your choice) to make quick, hot and tasty breakfast sandwiches in less than 5 minutes.

New Countdown Timer with Audible Beep – Cook your breakfast sandwiches to perfection and to your preferences, and know when it’s ready with the built-in digital timer.

Easy to Clean – Cooking surfaces are nonstick! And, the removable cooking ring with egg cooking plate is dishwasher safe, making for quick and easy clean up.

No Added Fat – Because the cooking surfaces are non-stick, you don’t have to add oils or butters to fry the eggs. So, your breakfast sandwiches are less greasy, and you can customize your sandwich to suit your dietary preferences, such as using egg whites only or substituting gluten-free bread.

Dual Breakfast Sandwich MakerWithout a word of lie, by the time it would have taken me to preheat a pan and fry an egg, I have two mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches ready to go – with minimal prep and maximum versatility. Ryder likes his sandwich with egg, straight up – while Reid is a bacon and cheese kind of guy. And although the Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker will not cook the meat for you, adding pre-cooked bacon bits, a slice of smoked turkey or even a few slices of pepperoni is as easy as can be.  (more…)

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DIY with Benjamin Moore

September 9, 2014

Normally, I don’t need a push to change things up. I am a serial re-decorator and proud of it! In fact, from year to year, we’ve changed at least one thing about our home at my insistence, whether it be re-painting the entire house, adding a backyard oasis, creating a live-in dining room or designing a man cave. It’s all me and it’s all because I thrive on change.

Think I’ve run out of ideas for my home? Ha! My husband wishes! I’ve got my eye on refinishing our second floor, cleaning out the laundry room, adding shelving to our walk-in closet and am strongly considering an enclosure for our front porch. And then, maybe I’ll give it a rest for a while.

Now the truth is, my fireplace was not on my list of things to overhaul. I mean, it’s just a fireplace, right? However, I recently came across a house listing where the living/dining area was described as having a “statement corner fireplace”. Wait a minute – I have a corner fireplace! But, it’s far from being a statement; painted in the same warm beige tone as the majority of my first floor, it actually blended into the wall with a decided lack of ambition. And that’s when I learned about Benjamin Moore’s new ben & ME promotion:

ben&ME BagFor a limited time (until October 5th, 2014), Benjamin Moore is offering exclusive ben & ME kits for just $109 (a $169 value)*. In the kit, you’ll receive:

• 2 gallons of premium paint with 1 quart for trim
• a sleeve roller, paintbrush, paint tray
• a drop cloth, paint can opener and green painters tape
How-To Guide and even a playlist to keep you on a roll!

Perspective: for just over a hundred bucks, you’ll have everything you need to add colour vibrancy, softness, glam or interest to a room you choose. And fall is the perfect season for change! To take advantage of the promo, pop into your local Benjamin Moore Signature store or visit the Ben & Me website to find your nearest participating dealer.

I’ll be honest – I’m living a charmed life, because my father-in-law is a professional painter! And, he just happens to be a Benjamin Moore enthusiast, trusting the brand for over 40 years for all his clients. To quote him, “you can’t find a better paint.” So, of course I asked for his expertise (and his perfected technique!) when painting something as finicky as a fireplace. Consulting the ben & ME How-To Guide, he asked that I share the 3 top tips that have served him well over the years:

1) Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. Prep your walls by sanding down any lumps or rough patches first. Then use a slightly dampened sponge to wipe all the dust away (don’t forget the trim). Clean walls ensure your tape will stick, and no dust will muck up your pretty paint job.

2) Protect Your Goods. You have stuff. Some of it may even be nice stuff. You don’t want paint on that stuff. So move it, cover it and you won’t have to worry about it. Don’t forget the floors too. Drop cloths are your friend.

3) Tape Trick. Here is a master taping secret: heat seal the tape’s edge (with friction!) by running a smooth tool like your finger, a spoon or a paint stick along the edge. Heating up the sticky stuff helps it form a stronger seal against paint seepage. You don’t want paint seepage.

Without further ado, here’s our statement-less fireplace, also known as the “before” photo:

ben & MEOkay, so we had a candy jar on the fireplace. And some haphazard candles. I know, I know! But the point is, the fireplace blended into the background, so there was no point in dressing it up. Our bad.  (more…)

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Friday Harbour: Turn Every Day into Friday

September 5, 2014

From time to time, my husband and I sit down and have a frank discussion about the life we want to live. What should we do? Where should we travel? How have we grown – as a family, as a couple, as individuals? And, what is the best way to maximize our income, while balancing life and leisure?

Lately, we’ve been thinking about investments – ones that make sense for us financially, but also make sense for our family. And at the top of the list: a weekend escape.

If you grew up in Ontario, chances are that you, or someone you know, has a summer cottage. Escaping the city has long been a summer tradition, with tens of thousands of commuters making the trek up north every Friday from May to September. And the options for cottages are limitless; traditional or modern, big and small. However, I’m *not exactly* the cottage type. While I love the lake, small town vibe and the opportunity to get away from the city, I still prefer the amenities of resort living – the luxe details, urban atmosphere, and most importantly, the ability to get away all year round.

Introducing Friday Harbour, Lake Simcoe’s most successful All Seasons community.

BOARDWALK CONDOS2At Friday Harbour, you’ll discover a four-season 600-acre waterfront resort with an ever-changing selection of recreation, entertainment and activities to enjoy, just 45 minutes outside the Greater Toronto Area. Now taking shape on the shores of Lake Simcoe just south of Barrie, Friday Harbour is accessible along major highways and by GO Train from Toronto.

Four Seasons of Lakeside Vacations: Today at Friday Harbour, the marina is being excavated to accommodate 1,000 boat slips – from runabouts to 100-foot cruisers. From here, boaters may choose to cruise the Trent-Severn Waterway, catch a few hours of fishing or practice their sailing techniques. Kayaks and canoes will skim along the shoreline; jet skis and wind-surfers will share the waves. In winter, this same body of water offers skating, cross-country skiing and ice fishing.  (more…)

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Thank God for Good Teachers

September 4, 2014

No really, it’s okay for me to thank God, because I’m Catholic. So it’s not blasphemy or anything.

And today I’m thanking Him for good teachers. Because if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I own a sweet little guy with a social anxiety disorder. (Remember this post?)

Getting him diagnosed was half the battle, and when we did, I spent a lot of time describing the condition to his teachers and school helpers – trying to communicate in a succinct way that he’s fully capable of speaking, but in social situations, he often chooses not to.

(In other words, so NOT like his mama.)

Hence, with a brand new school year and a brand new school, it was my responsibility to find some time to have a quick chat with his teacher. Warn her, if you will! You know, just casually inform that there’s a super cute kid who’s super smart and super silly but may have a problem borrowing a pencil crayon from a classmate. Even though he has no problem ripping it from his little brother’s hands. *shakes fist*

Well, this afternoon, I decided to break the news to his teacher, who had three full days to spend with him and therefore, would have likely cottoned on to the anxious kid with light-up shoes. (Empire Strikes Back shoes y’all! Totally bought them for my own perverse enjoyment.)

RyderI began the conversation with “So, how’s his anxiety?” – as if we had already had an in depth discussion about it and she knew all about his behavioural history. It was either that, or say: “You don’t know me, but I have a kid whom I can’t relate to and I kind of want to give you money because you take him off my hands for hours each day and I know you don’t know me from Adam but I’m putting all of my eggs in your basket with the hope you can make him talk at school cause Lord knows (again, not blasphemy) that he talks too much at home.” Riight… not happening. So let’s just say I was pretty happy with my opening.

However, within moments of chatting with her, she asked, “Is he a selective mute?” 

Hand on heart, I almost cried on the spot. Then I wanted to break out in a dance of joy. And I even briefly considered pausing and buying an expensive handbag online, because these moments of kismet need to be celebrated and nothing marks the occasion like Marc Jacobs.

After years of trying to describe his social disorder to teachers, parents, friends, strangers, you name it! …

Here was someone who understood. Who spoke Ryder’s language… even when he doesn’t speak.

I nodded my head enthusiastically and rushed to tell her everything I could about Ryder and his social quirks. And, by the end of our conversation, I walked away with a skip in my step, knowing that he will undoubtedly get the help he needs to emerge from his shell this year. I’m so happy! Thank God for great teachers.

p.s. That’s Ryder on his first day. Those eyes! Love him to pieces.

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A Summer of KINDER Smiles :)

September 4, 2014

And look at that! A completely appropriate smiley face in the post title.

strip (1)This past summer, I killed it. I told you I would! At the start of the season, I made a commitment to my family that we would seize every weekend and get out, enjoy the weather, take a dip in a pool, do something different, try something new, capture the memories, spend time together…all that and more. And we did it! We totally treasured every moment together (sometimes to a fault; let’s just say that I only have so much patience for two rambunctious boys) and made this summer count.

Don’t believe me? Just stroll through my blog from the past few months. See, told you so.

Looking back, it’s a summer for the scrapbook! And if you’re looking for fun way to share your summer smiles with family and friends, KINDER offers a cool little “Smile Booth” app on KINDER Canada’s Facebook Page. It’s a fun and interactive way for parents to capture and share moments of joy in a playful way. Once you’re a KINDER Fan, it’s just a few simple steps:

Step 1: Fan KINDER on Facebook
Step 2: Start your photo-strip
Step 3: Upload your photos
Step 4: Choose a fancy KINDER frame
Step 5: Choose a filter (make yourself look silly!)
Step 6: Save & share

My photos were slightly too small to apply the silly filters, but you can bet I’ll be zooming in and recreating the script for the boys. Sharing the photo strip is super easy, with a link to share on Twitter and/or Facebook available immediately upon completion.

Where did your summer travels take you? Was it the summer of Flora, Lynda, Jaime, Judy or Chandra? Or maybe… the summer of George? (Any Seinfeld fans out there?)

What was the single best memory from summer vacay 2014? Do tell!

 

I’m part of the Kinder Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.
The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Shell V-Power Formula for Driving Excitement

September 3, 2014

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Whether you’ve been on a road trip across Canada or cruising to your local watering hole, we bet you’ve been on some exciting drives this summer. That’s why Shell just launched the Shell V-Power Formula for Driving Excitement Contest – to honour and discover the best drives in Canada.

From now until September 9, casual road trippers and driving enthusiasts can enter to win a chance to make their exciting drive a reality at www.shell.ca/shellvpowercontest. One Grand Prize winner will receive a week-long luxury car rental and a year’s worth of Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline!

ShellYou can also win $100 in Shell Free Fuel Gift Cards here! Simply fill the form below with you qualifying entries.

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BACON MANia, Huntington Beach: Because, Bacon.

September 3, 2014

All I ever wanted… all I ever needed is here in my arms.
Words are very unnecessary… they can only do harm.

Enjoy the silence bacon.

Bacon MANia Food TruckPictured Above: Bacon MANia Food Truck’s “Jack Back Sammie” – Thick-sliced egg bread, crisped and stuffed with Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Hickory Smoked Bacon.

If you find yourself in the OC (Orange County, California), there are a few things you *need* to do. First, make your way down to Huntington Beach – Surf City USA. Then, take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk, and seek out BACON MANia Surf City, just steps from The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel. Here, you’ll dine on bacon, bacon and more bacon (with a side of bacon).

What’s on the Menu? Here are my picks of the bacon bunch:

STARTERS

Bacon Ball Trio: Three of our most delicious bacon-wrapped bites of brilliance – The Mac’n Bac’n (Cheddar Bacon Mac n’ Cheese), the Bacon Mignon (Petite Filet and Gorgonzola) and the PB&J (on crustless Wonder Bread). Wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon and Deep Fried.

Speedy Gonzales: Arriba! Whole jalapeno stuffed w/ Sharp Cheddar Cheese and wrapped with Applewood Smoked Center Cut Bacon. Sauced with our Spicy Chipayo.

Dog Nuts: Always served in pairs, this occasionally featured ball is a Greek Pepperoncini wrapped in Carne Asada and then wrapped in Applewood Smoked Center Cut Bacon!  (more…)

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Winning at Life: #MyWeekend with Lincoln MKZ

September 1, 2014

It’s not often that I accept car review opportunities. Frankly, for a long time, it just didn’t make sense. I liked my cars. I had no reason to test out a new ride. I didn’t want to gush about a car I’d never purchase (don’t you hate that?) and had no business telling you to purchase. End of story.

Welcome to Fall 2014… and now, we’re in the market for a new car. For the most part, I’ve kept an open mind, but I’ll be honest; the car needs to have a certain “level of Lena” for me to be satisfied. Truth is, I work really hard.. and from time to time, I like to reap the rewards! So yes, we’re in the market for a family vehicle (sedan, SUV or crossover) with luxury features, at a moderate price (Range Rovers need not apply).

We currently have an SUV, but with no longer a need for a double stroller (hooray!), we’ve once again included sedans on our wish list. Hence, when Lincoln asked if we’d like to take the MKZ 3.7 for a long weekend – appropriately dubbed #MyWeekend – I enthusiastically obliged. Marketed as “nothing you’ve ever seen before from Lincoln” – and starting at a reasonable $42,355 for a luxury-class vehicle – it accomplished something that no other loaner vehicle has been able to do in a very long time.

It got my attention.

My Weekend 1Was it the refined lines of the signature Lincoln split-wing grille, and its unified, modern design? Perhaps it was the SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, which provides access to important information with a vivid 8-inch touch screen on the centre stack. Of course, it could have been the impeccable craftsmanship, with careful attention given to every detail. In the end, I realized the MKZ 3.7 is just one of those cars that will blow the socks off anyone and everyone who sits inside (even my car-snob brother, who was won over after just one ride).  (more…)

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Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Dip

August 31, 2014

My husband and I are pretty set in our ways.

“I don’t like red peppers.” – Me
“I don’t like feta cheese.” – Him

However, if you saw us inhaling my sister-in-law’s Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Dip last night, trust me, you wouldn’t know it. Creamy and flavourful, with just the right amount of heat, the dip is a perfect late-summer appetizer and pairs wonderfully with barbecue and beer. My SIL admittedly scooped the recipe from Emeril Lagasse and adapted it as her own, serving it with Twistos (so good!).

Roasted Red Pepper DipWe were well into noshing on the dip when I decided I simply had to blog it, so forgive the “eating-in-progress” photo. And if you happen to have leftovers, do this:

– Use it as a spread for sandwiches and wraps
– Heat through and toss it with freshly cooked pasta
– Use it as a topping for baked potatoes
– Spread it over a pizza crust in lieu of tomato sauce; top with roasted veggies

Of course, you could always simply enjoy round two of dipping. Click here for the recipe - Enjoy!

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Your Fashion Fix: Welcome to Canada, Chico’s!

August 29, 2014

One of the wonderful things about living in Canada is the plethora of fashion choices at our disposal.

Trendy or contemporary! Classic or fad! Comfortable or club wear! Business casual or haute couture! The options – and available retailers – are seemingly endless. And so, when I tell you that Chico’s has made their way north of the border, you may ask: “What’s so special about Chico’s? What sets them apart?”

I suppose the simple answer is that Chico’s offers everything I look for in my day-to-day wardrobe: chic prints, one-of-a-kind details, quality staples and just enough “oomph” to stay on-trend without being too “15 minutes of fad”.

I was recently invited to attend the Grand Opening of Chico’s first Canadian store, which just happened to be at one of my favourite malls, Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga! Within moments of arriving at the brand new store, located on the upper level outside Hudson’s Bay, I could tell Chico’s had found its home in Canada. A stunning, dark modern façade decorated the exterior, while inside, a chic and elegant shopping experience awaited.

Chico's Square One Shopping Centre(Above, Chico’s donates $10,000 to Stand Up To Cancer, one of their chief philanthropic partners. This season, they’ve also collaborated with the charity and Harper’s BAZAAR, with a portion of the sales ($10.00) from this luxuriously soft and silky scarf to be donated to Stand Up To Cancer from August 18, through October 31, 2014.)  (more…)

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Tips: How to Handle a Hot Superhero

August 28, 2014

The sun is high in the noon sky, casting rays of powerful heat onto the civilians below. As you make your way through the hoards of mortals gathered by a galactic structure, a broad shadow looms, covering the land in darkness. Wary – but determined – you amble forward, stepping across the threshold. And instantly, you’re transported into another time. You’ve crossed the “cosmic bridge” into Asgard.

One of the highlights of our #DisneyVacayCA at Disneyland, California was the ability to get up close and personal with some of our favourite Superheroes at Innoventions. Located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park, Innoventions is a 5,000-square-foot home of the future, where you can learn how the advancements of today—and the technology of tomorrow—seamlessly interconnects within the home, the surrounding community and the whole world.

It also happens to be the home of Thor, the Mighty Avenger!

“Ready yourself for a thunderous encounter as you come face-to-face with the crown prince of Asgard.”

Hint – he’s hot. No really, I know he’s Thor and all – and never once did he break character, so it’s all good for the kids – but really, kudos to Disneyland for this casting decision. Someone up there decided that a young Brad Pitt-lookalike made perfect sense for the role, and set out to find him. Well, he’s there folks. From 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day.

“Begin your journey by first entering a fascinating display where you can learn about the rich culture and history of Thor’s home planet. Examine the walls where you’ll find formal portraits of Thor and Loki, in addition to other treasures and artifacts—including the fabled book of Yggdrasil.”

Yes, there’s the anticipation. In fact, no one does anticipation better than Disney – from the many “artifacts” of Asgard on display (recognizable props from the Thor movies, such as weapons used by the Warriors Three and Heimdall) to the possessions of the dark elves, we’re given a glimpse into Thor’s world. And then, upon entering the Bifröst, the voice of Odin himself can be heard, welcoming us at the gateway to Asgard. Finally, Odin’s throne room opens – revealing Thor standing in splendour.

So… how do you handle a hot superhero?

Tip #1: Bait the hot superhero into a sidelong glance. You know, the type where he looks at you from the corner of his eye. Confirm his hotness, and then move over to a more central location to get a better photograph.

Thor: Treasures of Asgard DisneylandTip #2: Creatively blur out your husband (accidentally on purpose?) and focus on the hot superhero. Note that your 6-year old is touching his mighty hammer, Mjolnir – which Thor is also touching – which means that in a way, Thor is actually touching you. Be secure in this knowledge and accept it as truth.  (more…)

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Back to School: Set Me Up Best Buy!

August 26, 2014

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Back. to. School. If you’re a parent, those three words rule your world right now! And with the kiddos set to enter the classroom for another year, the crunch is on to get ready, get prepped, and go!

You’ll likely be partaking in a little shopping – and, you’ll have a choice on where to spend your hard-earned money. So, what should you look for in a retailer? Let me make a case for Best Buy – they’ve got everything to set your kids up for success this back to school, making it easy for you to shop for what you want, where you want and how you want all at the lowest possible price.

i. Lowest Price Guarantee: Best Buy’s Lowest Price Guarantee to customers is the best in Canada. They guarantee it both in-store and online.

ii. Reserve and Pick-up: Customers can reserve their product online without entering any credit card information and pick up their item at the store of their choice in as quickly as 20 minutes.

iii. Assortment: Nobody in Canada can offer a better selection of products.

iv. In-store Pick-up and Web kiosks: If they don’t have something in-store, their Blue Shirts will assist customers to purchase the product online at one of the in-store web kiosks and have the product shipped to their home or the store for easy pick-up.

Okay, so maybe you’ve considered Best Buy for your electronic needs. But not only does Best Buy have all of the latest and greatest in technology for back to school, they also carry a wide assortment of backpacks, lunch bags, school supplies, musical instruments, educational toys and more. It’s true!

FACT: Best Buy carries more than 300 backpacks online from top brands including JanSport, Swiss Gear, Roots, TUMI, OGIO, High Sierra and many more in a number of different styles, sizes and colours to suit every student going back to school.

BTS_Backpack_Campaign_ElementarySchoolFACT: Best Buy carries over 3,500 school and office supplies online so while you are shopping for your new laptop or tablet, you can also get your pens, notebooks and pencil crayons all at the same place.  (more…)

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Back To School in Style: #HeritageB2S Twitter Party

August 24, 2014

What are you doing on Wednesday night? No, seriously – what are you doing? Because there’s only ONE thing you need to do. Trust me on this. Clear your schedule. Call the babysitter. Set your PVR.

Newsflash: the ONLY place you’ll want to be is the #HeritageB2S Twitter Party at 9:00pm ET on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014. Because, in addition to sharing tips and tricks to make the new school year as stress-free as possible, we’ll be giving away a MacBook Air Laptop, valued at $999.
macbook-air-large-image
(It’s okay if you need a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor. I get it, I really do!) We’ll also have $700 in gift cards from Oliver’s Labels and Target to give away, with seriously amazing denominations such as 2 x $50, 2 x $100 and 1 x $200 in Target gift cards. Now that’s how you’re supposed to start off the school year – winning at our Twitter Party! See full details here.

Be sure to follow our sponsors @HeritageFunds and @OliverLabels – and RSVP below for your chance to win!  (more…)

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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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