Thursday, December 1, 2016

Luxury In New York City, Four Seasons Style

There is nothing more magical than spending the holiday season in the city that never sleeps. A trip to New York City is always a great idea, but when you travel to New York City in November and December, it's even more incredible. Although I've been a dozen times, it's never enough, and I start planning my next trip while I'm still there. Walking down Fifth Avenue to check out the beautifully decorated store window displays and skating at Rockefeller Center while looking up at the famous Christmas tree makes a trip to New York City during the festive season a must for those who to love to travel.

Where you stay in New York City is important, and can make the trip even more memorable. I had the great pleasure of staying in the luxurious, brand-new Four Seasons New York Downtown in November with my family, and it was absolutely delightful. It's exactly what you'd expect a stay at the Four Seasons to be; incredible service, luxurious rooms, (we didn't want to leave the Hudson Suite!) and in-room dining that can't be beat. Plus, a world-class spa, a 24-hour gym, and a state-of-art-lap pool with stunning views of the city. It's truly a vacation on its own, blocks away from the Brooklyn Bridge, close to Wall Street and the World Trade Centre, and next to the new Oculus. If you love Soho and the Meatpacking District, you're in the right area. A short subway or taxi ride will get you into Midtown Manhattan in minutes, too.



We checked into the Four Seasons and instantly fell in love with the spacious Hudson Suite. The bottle of champagne and chocolate cake waiting for us in our suite was the perfect treat to receive after our travels to New York City.


The rooms in Four Seasons New York Downtown have incredible views of the city. Our Hudson Suite was extremely spacious, with a large entrance-way, unique artwork adoring the walls, a guest bathroom with shower, and a private bedroom with a stunning, large master bathroom, complete with deep soaking tub, handheld shower faucet, separate glass-enclosed shower, and an in-mirror TV to enjoy while you're relaxing in the tub. (Yes, there were two separate bathrooms in our suite). After hours of walking the streets of New York, there is no better way to unwind. The large closet (a room in itself) gave us the space we needed for our luggage, carry-on bags, and coats.








The dining room in the main part of our suite was perfect for our family, and we enjoyed many of our meals here. Situated in the living room area with views of the city surrounding us made our in-room dining experience that much more incredible. The free-standing pantry and refrigerated private bar was a pretty sight, too, and I loved the stylish work area complete with charging stations and huge windows offering a stunning view of the city. Imagine working here every day? A dream come true.



In New York City, dining options are endless, and sometimes stressful; the beauty of staying at Four Seasons New York Downtown is that you can you enjoy incredible food in the comfort of your room, giving you more time to explore the city and less time worrying about where you're going to eat. When you're travelling with children, the choice of healthy in-room dining is a nice treat to consider. Four Seasons executive chef Shaun Acosta is the master chef behind the incredible in-room dining experience. I loved that we could order from the menu 24-hours a day and experience the menu in the comfort of our suite. CUT by Wolfgang Puck is considered one of the finest restaurants and bars in downtown NYC, and quite the hot spot; another great place to dine when you're staying at Four Seasons New York downtown.


The breakfast was delicious; organic eggs, thick, cooked-to-perfection bacon, breakfast potatoes, fresh bread and jams, fresh baked muffins, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola... you get the picture. But if you don't, this picture should help you understand:



It was the perfect meal to start our day, and one that kept us going for hours. We also enjoyed lunch in our room; fresh salad, delicious sandwiches, even New York style hot dogs. While I normally dine out when I'm in New York City, I had no complaints about eating in this time, because the food was really so good, and so convenient.


A special treat in our room after my spa experience (while the boys swam) was milk and homemade donuts by the chef for my boys, and a bottle of wine, cheese, and bread for us to enjoy



The pool and spa at Four Seasons New York Downtown is also something you need to experience. Again, the service was excellent, the pool was relaxing and beautiful, and the massage was pure bliss. When you spend the day sightseeing, it's such a nice treat to come back to your hotel to relax in the spa.






Everything about our stay at the new Four Seasons New York Downtown was perfection, from the service to the food to the spa and especially the comfortable, spacious rooms.

Thank you for everything, Four Seasons. You truly made our trip to New York City wonderful, and I can't wait to come back soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Give Back With CanadaHelps This Holiday Season

It's giving Tuesday, and I love the idea of giving gifts that give back. CanadaHelps is a registered non-profit charity—basically, a one-stop shop for donating and fundraising online for any registered Canadian charity.


Our mission is to promote – and ultimately increase – charitable giving in Canada. Because we’re a non-profit our fees are typically half that of the for-profit alternatives. We do this servicing Canadian donors, charities and corporations.


If you're out of ideas and you've already checked out my holiday gift guide, but still haven't found what you're looking for, I'm giving away THREE $10 gift cards to CanadaHelps that you can gift to anyone you want to give them to.






Here's what you have to do:




1. Go to CanadaHelps.org and find a charity you'd like to support by doing a search.
2. Choose Charity Gift Card as your method of payment at checkout.
3. Feel great about giving back and giving someone a gift they'll love and appreciate.





Whether you want to support local charities, or international charities, the choice is yours. You can choose your charity of choice by category, too: Education, International, Health, Environment, Social Services, Arts and Culture—making it easier for you to choose something specific you know your recipient would appreciate.






I'll give the codes to the first three comments I receive here or on Facebook—just tell me who want to give this gift to, and please leave your email address or Twitter handle so I can give you your code.




Happy giving!




Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Complete 2016 Holiday Gift Guide (Plus A Giveaway!)

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and yet, it's also the most stressful time of the year for some people. While I love to shop, I know many people don't find pleasure in walking through the mall in December, looking for the perfect gifts to give the people on their list. I've put together a holiday gift guide that'll help narrow down the choices of what to give the people you love this holiday season—from luxurious gifts like a getaway to The Hazelton Hotel to books and skin care products, there is definitely something here for everyone on your list.


Luxury gifts

The Hazelton Hotel: I love to travel, and I love gifts that have to do with travel. Even if it's a staycation, or a weekend getaway, I can't think of a better gift to give someone you love. I had the pleasure of staying at The Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville, Toronto, and I think this is a perfect gift to give. You can unwind and re-connect in the luxurious rooms and suites, enjoy the incredible spa treatments (the Hazelton Signature Scrub and Spa Pedicure are my personal favourites!) and dine at ONE Restaurant—the food there is amazing. Executive Chef Mark McEwan's cuisine is delicious. ONE also offers 24-hour in-room dining. Dining at ONE was one was perfection–the drinks, the food, the service, and the ambiance.





Rimowa: Luggage is not something people usually consider giving when it comes to gifts, but I can't think of a better gift to receive than a high-quality piece of luggage that will last for years. Rimowa is certainly the best there is when it comes to suitcases, and their well-designed luggage would make a perfect present for anyone who travels for work or pleasure.


One-Stop Shopping

Chapters-Indigo: My favourite store is Chapters-Indigo; before I had kids, I would spend hours walking through the aisles of books and picking up things I needed like gift wrap and cards, and cute home decor items. Once I became a mom, the store became more special to me because my children love books and reading, and spending time in Chapters-Indigo, as well. Chapters-Indigo knows how to make the holiday season extra special and festive, and it really is the best one-stop shop to get everyone on your list a little something special, whether it's books, electronics, hats and scarves, purses, toys, games or accessories for the home. 




HomeSense/Marshalls/WINNERS: One-stop shopping is key if you're pressed for time this holiday season. Shopping at WINNERS, Marshalls, and HomeSense totally takes the stress off of holiday shopping, because you can always find something special for the people on your list. The best place to shop for wrapping paper, gift boxes, tissue paper and gift cards is HomeSense, because they have such a huge variety of items, and they also have some incredible holiday decor items for the home, too.

I buy a new Nutcracker from HomeSense every holiday season; it's become a tradition for me, now. A great gift to give? A unique ornament for the tree. HomeSense has so many beautiful ornaments for the holidays! Another great thing about shopping at HomeSense, WINNERS and Marshalls? The prices. They just cannot be beat.



Stocking Stuffers

Cold-Q: As soon as the weather gets cold and the snow falls, illness is pretty much guaranteed to hit your family. Pop Cold-Q, an all-natural oral spray, into the stockings that hang by the fireplace in your house to help your family stay healthy and virus-free this holiday season. (Especially important if you're going to be traveling!). Cold-Q can be bought at most drug stores.

Clinique Happy Collection: Fragrance is always a great idea, and Sears has some cute fragrance sets in store right now that make a great stocking stuffer. Because of its small size, the Clinique Happy Collection is the perfect fragrance kit to pack in your carry-on when you`re getting away this winter. Sears is a great place to find everything you`re looking for this holiday, season, too, at very affordable prices.

Skin Care

SkinCeuticals: I was introduced to Skinceuticals at Gee Beauty Boutique in Bal Harbour, and I fell in love with the products right away. I love using quality products that help improve the appearance of my skin. Skinceuticals has a simple mission: to improve skin healthy, and to provide advanced skincare backed by science. SkinCeuticals products can be purchased through dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and at medical spas or online. Some of my favourites to give and receive: the Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 moisturizer. This anti-aging cream helps improve your skin`s appearance and provies 24 hour hydration—something we all need more of during the dry winter months. I also love their patented C E Ferulic, a vitamin C Antioxidant Serum, which improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while brightening your complexion.


Clarins: Clarins products always make a great gift, and I love using their best-selling Double Serum. A great option to give as a gift (or treat yourself!) is the Clarins Advent Calendar. Better than chocolate every day in December until Christmas, you open a special gift from Clarins. It's the gift that keeps on giving... for 24 days! The advent calendar includes great skin care products, make-up, and three full-sized products, as well. It's sure to be best-seller, so make sure to get yours quickly.


Caudalie: I love the simplicity of Caudalie products, and how since the company's creation, they've always favoured natural and environmental friendly active ingredients. Caudalie always comes out with great gift sets for the holidays too.


Great Gift Ideas

Baskits: If you want to give a gift that you know will be appreciated, but don't have time to go shopping, check out Baskits.com. Baskits.com is Canada's leading gift service company and they make amazing and unique baskets for everyone on your list—for kids, for co-workers, for friends or for your family. These baskets are filled with lots of great luxury products, and you can even personalize your basket. They also deliver across North America. A few of my holiday favourites: Nutcracker, Sleigh, and Celebrate with Champagne.






Polar M600: The Polar M600 is a great smartwatch that fits every lifestyle and allows users to personalize their workouts and keep track of their health and fitness. It retails at Best Buy and Sports Experts for $399.00.

Cilque: Here's a unique and luxurious gift idea: silk sheets. Cilque is a Canadian brand that makes 100% silk bedding and apparel that adds a touch of glamour to the bedroom and your night time routine. Cilque uses premium 100% mulberry silk charmeuse in all its products, and the benefits are great too; silk prevents sleep creases and is more gentle on the skin than other types of sheets. These silk sheets are also hypoallergenic. The beauty sleep set retails for $99.00. For more information, visit www.cilque.com.

MICRO Pedi for Her and Him: I go for frequent pedicures, but I know many people prefer doing it themselves at home. The MICRO Pedi is a safe at-home, painless alternative to a salon pedicure that works just as well. It's available at Shoppers Drug Mart, and retails for $29.99.

NHL '17: Perfect for the game lover in your house, the new NHL '17 for Xbox One and PS4 makes the perfect stocking stuffer. Improved features include tape-to-tape passing, puck pick-ups, pivots, and everything else you'd love in a hockey game. NHL '17 retails for $79.99, and the Duluxe Edition is $99.99. I'm giving away a copy of NHL '17 for the Xbox. Leave me a comment below telling me who you would gift this to!

Hudson's Bay Limited Edition Barbie: This gorgeous Barbie is not just for children; this Barbie is perfect for anybody who loves style and fashion! This limited-edition Barbie is wearing a classic HBC striped coat and matching pencil skirt, black turtleneck, and cute ankle boots. Of course, accessories make the outfit, and this Barbie is rocking a pair of glasses and has her cute pet poodle, Hudson, with her, too. This Barbie retails for $59.99 and is available at The Bay.


Bulletproof 360 coffee: When it comes to stocking stuffers, coffee is a definite winner! And if you are looking to impress the health conscious coffee lover in your house, try Bulletproof coffee. Bulletproof Coffee is "upgraded" coffee, blended with grass-fed unsalted butter and Brain Octane Oil which is derived from Coconut Oil. Bulletproof Coffee is full of all the good stuff you need to fuel you all day long.

Adidas Golf: I'm not much of a golfer, but I know next summer I will be, because I love all the golf gear Adidas makes for men and women, no matter the season. Adidas Golf has some great jackets that are perfect to gift the golf lover in your life. 

Second Cup: Next time you're enjoying your latte at Second Cup, pick up some of the cute holiday themed tumblers and mugs and gift them to people you like. I love the idea of giving a gift card for Second Cup inside a mug as a hostess gift, too. Second cup also makes the best hot chocolate, perfect for staying warm around the fireplace this holiday season, watching your favourite Christmas movie. I'm giving away a $25 Second Cup gift card, too! Just leave me a comment below telling me one thing you love about holiday shopping. 


Happy shopping, everyone! If you have any questions or need more information about any of the products I talked about here, please drop me a line and I'd be glad to help out.


I'll pick a Second Cup and NHL '17 Xbox winner randomly on December 1st. Please don't forget to leave your email address in the comment section, too! (One winner per prize). 




Disclaimer: I have received products and compensation for this post.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Support Count For Nature With Tide Purclean

I've been using Tide purclean for several months, and I'm loving it. (Especially the Honey Lavender scent). As a mom of two very busy boys, it seems like laundry is never-ending in my home, but it's nice to know I'm using a product that's better for our environment. I wasn't sure if Tide puclean would work as well as original Tide, because it's a "green" detergent; however, Tide purclean doesn't compromise green for clean—even though it's the first bio-based detergent with the cleaning power of Tide that we've all come to trust and love.

To celebrate this step in the right direction, Tide partnered with Canadian singer-songwriter and advocate for the environment, Nelly Furtado, to introduce the brand's new partnership with WWF-Canada, in support of the "Count For Nature" movement, which encourages Canadians to help wildlife thrive by taking action to benefit nature.


“As a parent, I consider the products, and their ingredients, that I use at home and with my family, as well as making sustainable choices whenever I can. This includes how we conduct our laundry—washing with cold water, limiting the amount of loads per week, and choosing the right laundry detergent,” said Furtado. “I’m thrilled that a brand I trust, like Tide has created an environmentally-friendly laundry detergent that actually works, but is also gentle on fabrics. I’m honored to team up with them as they launch Tide purclean and work with Tide to bring attention to WWF-Canada’s Count for Nature movement, and invite Canadians to take action with me.”

Until November 30th, every time you tweet to @Tide sharing an action you've taken to help the environment, and use both #purclean and #CountForNature, Tide will donate $1 to WWF-Canada's Count For Nature Campaign. (And here is a coupon for a few dollars off your next bottle!) 


No matter what you're doing—from using Tide purclean, to recycling or planting new trees, you're doing something positive for the environment. I love that Tide gets it. Not only does Tide purclean work as well as regular Tide with stain removal and keeping whites white, it's also hypoallergenic, free of dyes, chlorine, and phosphates, and is 65%  bio-based, made using renewable energy sources. The detergent is also produced at a zero manufacturing waste to landfill facility using 100 percent renewable wind power electricity and the bottle is also 100 percent recyclable. Pretty impressive, right? I love products that make it easy to do good things for our environment, and I know Tide purclean is an easy switch to make. The solution to building a healthy future is our responsibility, after all.


Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post. All views and opinions are my own.





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sparkle This Holiday Season With Rent Frock Repeat

Shopping is a great pleasure of mine—as long as I'm not shopping for something specific the night before a big event. I always find the greatest dresses when I'm not looking for something in particular, but when it's time to find a dress for a special event? Forget about it—there never seems to be anything perfect in stores, and it can be an overwhelming process that stresses me out.

Thankfully, Rent Frock Repeat—the store where you can rent designer frocks for a fraction of the price—collaborated with me and helped me find the perfect dress to wear to Boobyball. I wanted to wear a long gown, but didn't want to buy another long dress that would just end up sitting in my closet looking pretty on the hanger. The beauty of working with Rent Frock Repeat is that you can truly go as wild as you want for your special event, while knowing you didn't break the bank for your special night out.  Also, it is a great way to ensure you're not in the same dress as someone else.







Rent Frock Repeat took the worry and stress out of shopping for me. My consultant had several dresses already waiting for me to try on when I arrived for my fitting. (I had selected some of them online before my appointment to speed up the process). The only difficult thing was deciding on the dress because many frocks were great options. I went with my first choice, which was the first dress I tried on. It fit perfectly, and it was everything I was looking for that I could not find anywhere else. (Long, low-cut, classy, black, lacy).





How do you use Rent Frock Repeat?

Easy. First, register online—it's a super simple process. Once you've registered, take the time to browse the countless number of dresses online, select your favourites, and book a free, private fitting in the Toronto or Ottawa showroom. If you're out of town, you can also phone or Skype with a consultant who will walk you through the process.


Next? Wear it. Love it. Take a million pictures. Return it. (Rent Frock Repeat takes care of the dry cleaning, too).

Seriously, think about it—why buy yet another dress you'll only wear once or twice, when you can rent the hottest designer dresses for a fraction of the cost? It's guilt-free shopping at its best. And the dresses are so amazing. You are guaranteed to find at least 3 dresses you'll fall in love with.

To help you start your holiday shopping at Rent Frock Repeat, you can enter LOULOU15 when you're renting your dress for a 15% discount.


Happy shopping, friends. I hope you love your Rent Frock Repeat experience as much as I did. Can't wait to go back to stock up on pretty dresses for the holiday season!






Thursday, November 10, 2016

Costco Canada Twitter Party

The bigger the better, right? I think so. Especially when it comes to shopping and stocking up on the things you need. Like cosmetics, books, handbags, jewellery... oh, wait—necessities, right. I love shopping at Costco for all the things I mentioned, but also for the true necessities like food and household items. Fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, bread, cheese, crackers, and awesome party platters that are perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Costco is also my go-to store for Tide, (I do so much laundry, I NEED Costco-sized Tide bottles!) Pantene, Crest, and Bounty paper towels. It's amazing how much money I save simply by shopping at Costco.

A brand-new Costco just opened its doors in Barrhaven and I had a chance to get a personal look at the huge warehouse store a few days ago at the pre-Grand Opening VIP party—and I was impressed! It's got all the things you'd normally find your local Costco store, but more. Because it's brand-new, there are some extra special deals right now, like... are you ready for this? Louis Vuitton handbags. That's right. And yes, they're real. (People have messaged me non-stop since I posted the pictures on Instagram and Twitter).

To celebrate Costco's new store openings in Ottawa, Waterloo, and Saskatoon, we're having a Twitter party! Join us on Tuesday, November 15th from 8:00-9:00 PM EST. We'll be giving away some great prizes, too! (You must be a Canadian resident, age of majority, and RSVP in order to win).





Please RSVP here: 



Disclaimer: I have received compensation for my involvement in this campaign and to attend and support the events by P&G. All views and opinions are my own.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Win Tickets To CF Rideau Centre Breakfast With Santa

The festive season is just around the corner. I know it's hard to believe, but it's already November, and soon, we'll be shopping for everyone on our list, attending parties, and enjoying all the sights and sounds of the holidays, while dreaming of a white Christmas.




My boys (they're eight and 11 years old) don't believe in Santa anymore, and haven't for a few years; but that doesn't mean they've lost the joy or magic of the season.




For those of you who have younger children who still believe in the big jolly man in the red suit and would like the chance to see him up close and personal, I'm giving away a family four pass to the first CF Rideau Centre Breakfast with Santa event, taking place at the Shaw Centre on Saturday, November 19th.


All the proceeds are going to Easter Seals Ontario to help purchase expensive mobility equipment to kids with physical disabilities. I love supporting Easter Seals any way I can, and had a blast participating in Dancing With the Stars for Easter Seals a few years back. This time, it's even more about the kids.








What's in store for you at this fun, festive event? A delicious buffet breakfast, lots of fun activities for the kids, and a chance to spend some quality time with the CF Rideau Centre Santa. You can also take your professional photo with Santa, and enjoy a high-energy kids fashion show featuring the latest styles from CF Rideau Centre.




Doors open at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast being served at 9:00 a.m. A family four pass is $80.00, individual tickets are $30.00, and grandparents (who may want to join in on the fun!) and kids under 12 are $25.00. Children under one are free. You can get your tickets at www.easterseals.org.




Bonus: You can win a $500 CF Rideau Centre Shopping Spree! Talk about making holiday dreams come true...


If you'd like to win a family four pass to Breakfast with Santa, leave a comment below telling me what you love about the holidays. I'll pick a winner randomly on the afternoon of November 11th. Please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!





Good Luck!

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