Beauty, Enhanced: My Journey With Juvederm

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Disclaimer: I am partnering with Allergen for this campaign and I am being compensated for my blog posts and treatment sessions.

I recently wrote about my consultation with Dr. Caroline Tosoni–a leading medical aesthetics expert and owner of Ottawa's top cosmetics clinic, Tosoni MD. During my consultation, Dr. Tosoni explained the benefits of Juvederm and how long each treatment would last. She answered all my questions (Will it hurt? Can I wash my face and put makeup on after? Is it safe?) and she put my mind to ease. I am thrilled to be working with Dr. Tosoni (and the Allergen team) so I can share my experience with my followers.

Many people I know have done wrinkle-reducing injections like Juvederm, but don't openly talk about it. Is it because we associate these procedures with an older demographic? The truth is, women are starting to take care of their skin with Juvederm in their 20's as a preventative measure to help reduce the onset of fine lines. Juvederm can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles when we're in our 30's and 40's, too. I think it's an empowering feeling, to take control of how we look and feel, and do things for ourselves to help enhance our natural beauty.

I was scared of my first Juvederm appointment, despite Dr. Tosoni's calm demeanour and expertise. I was nervous for the procedure, as I tend to be wary of needles, but the most incredible thing of all was that it did not hurt–not one bit. I expected some pain, and I was bracing myself, but I felt nothing. It lasted a few minutes on each side of my face, and then the procedure was finished. With Juvederm facial fillers, the results are visible right away, and I was thrilled with my results. My skin is smoother, my lines have diminished, and I feel more beautiful and confident.

During my appointment, Dr. Tosoni asked me what I wanted. (I wanted to reduce the fine lines around my face). She talked to me about what treatments would be best for me, based on what I wanted to achieve: a more youthful, less tired look. With a little Juvederm, this look was achieved in just a couple of appointments. I loved seeing the results from my treatments and can't wait for my next appointment!

I believe feeling great helps you look great and looking great makes you a happier person overall. When I'm working out, eating well, and taking care of my appearance, from my hair to my body to my skin, I feel like my best self–and skin treatments like Juvederm help me achieve this. It's a personal journey for everyone, and it's all about a customized approach. For more information, visit Juvederm.ca.

Many of you have asked me questions about Juvederm, so I put together some answers: 

What kind of Juvederm facial filler products are there?

There are different varieties of Juvederm facial fillers, depending on what you're trying to achieve:

  • Juvederm Ultra is great for filling in mid-dermis, for treatment of superficial lines. 
  • Juvederm Ultra Plus gel is for deeper wrinkles and augmenting areas like the cheeks, where skin is thicker and the product is placed more deeply.
  • Juvederm Voluma is used to restore fullness for a more youthful look.
  • Juvederm Volbella is used to bring fullness back and shape the lips as well as treat skin depressions in the under-eye area.
  • Juvederm Volift is used to soften and restore natural-looking volume to smile lines. 
What Juvederm product was used on you?

For my first Juvederm appointment, Dr. Tosoni used Juvederm Voluma. 

Was it painful?

It really was not painful at all! Juvederm contains paint-reducing lidocaine. You can feel the needle going in, which doesn't hurt, and then you don't feel anything at all. It's just a bit of discomfort, but barely. I love that treatments deliver instant results, and minimal recovery or downtime.

How long do the results last?

Juvederm has been clinically proven to last one to two years, depending on which product you use. The treatments are also reversible, if you don't love your results. (But seriously, what's not to love about smoother, more youthful looking skin?).

What's in Juvederm?

The key ingredient in Juvederm is hyaluronic acid (HA) which is derived from a naturally-occuring sugar in the body, which combines with the water in your skin to smooth lines and wrinkles and add volume.

If you have any additional questions, let me know! I'd be happy to answer them for you. I loved my experience, and would highly recommend this for anyone looking to enhance their natural beauty.

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Escape to Atlantis Paradise Island

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Ten years ago, we visited Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas for the first time. Our boys were much younger, and we didn't enjoy all the resort had to offer (like the water slides) but we still had a wonderful vacation, and planned on going back when the children were older. A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of travelling to Atlantis again with our entire family, including my sister, her children, and my parents. I was invited to this amazing resort for a media review, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity and the wonderful memories we made.

From the moment we arrived to Bahamas (and were driven to the resort by limo–my boys thought this was so cool!) until the day we checked-out, we had a blast.  I don't think it's possible to visit Atlantis and have a bad time; it's a resort that truly offers something for everyone, whether you love to swim, golf, explore, shop, or relax.



Bonus: the weather was perfection the entire week we were there. We made the most of our vacation, enjoyed all the pools, dined at fabulous restaurants (Nobu and FISH were our favourite) went down the water slides and relaxed on the lazy river. Early mornings were spent at the Marina Village, where we enjoyed our Starbucks overlooking the water and incredible yachts docked on the waterfront. After dinner always included walks through the Marina Village again, with a stop at Ben and Jerry's.


If you're looking for a resort that's perfect for kids of all ages, with tons of things to do–countless dining options, swimming pools, entertainment, kids activities, a vibrant marine life, water slides and shopping–Atlantis Paradise Island is the perfect destination. If you're looking for an adults-only, luxury getaway–again, I recommend Atlantis because The Cove, the most luxurious hotel on the property, is in a class of its own, with an adults-only pool, outdoor gaming pavilion, and beachside dining.

Here's my breakdown of Atlantis Paradise Island:

The Beach

Unless I'm travelling to a big city like New York or Paris, vacation for me is all about the beach life. At Atlantis, everywhere you look, you're surrounded by the ocean, and the dazzling, turquoise water. We were blessed with amazing weather, and spent most of our time swimming in the ocean and the pools. The water was just perfect–incredibly clear, warm and inviting, and totally relaxing. The kids put on their snorkel masks and saw so many fish, too–making their experience a little more magical.





Dolphin Cay

Atlantis Bahamas is home to a world-class marine habitat dedicated to conservation, rehabilitation, and education. Dolphin Cay opened in 2007 to provide a safe haven for 17 stranded dolphins whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dolphin Cay is one of the word's largest open-air, man-made marine mammal habitats. The 14-acre environment includes an 11-acre lagoon complete with coves and sandy beaches, 7 connected 'residential' pools, a state-of-the-art education centre and an animal rescue hospital. Every visit to Dolphin Cay supports the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, creating and promoting solutions for a wide range of marine conservation challenges. We had the chance to go behind the scenes and visit the baby sea turtles in the animal hospital, too–they were so adorable.


Where To Stay

Before deciding on where to stay at Atlantis, you should familiarize yourself with the resort map, (something you can do online before booking your stay) so you get an idea of where you think you'll be spending most of your time. The truth is, no matter where you stay, you'll explore and enjoy the entire resort during your vacation, anyway. Get ready to do a lot of walking, though–it's huge!

The iconic Royal Towers are the centre of it all, and the most popular place to stay at Atlantis. The Royal is the busiest of all towers, and home to many great stores, like Gucci, Rolex, Tory Burch, and MAC. The Royal is also home to the marine habitat, the huge aquarium (called The Dig), the casino, and restaurants, like Nobu.


The Beach is the oldest tower, and the most economical place to stay, and although it's the furtherest away from all the action, it still has stunning ocean views from the balcony of the rooms.


The Coral, closest to the Marina Harbour, is where we stayed. I chose this tower because of the brand-new renovated rooms–they were bright, clean, airy and spacious, with amazing views of the resort and ocean.

We loved the balcony views and how close we were to the Marina Village–we walked there every morning to enjoy breakfast. (Seriously, is there anything better than an iced coffee under the hot sun in February? Sigh.) The Coral pool–also newly renovated–was one of our favourite pools at Atlantis. We got to enjoy a day in the poolside cabana, too. Bonus: This pool include a swim-up bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as popsicles.




The Reef, closest to The Cove, is the more elegant tower, with relaxing pool areas and stunning beach views. We loved spending time here, swimming and enjoying the ocean. It was a nice break when we needed some relaxation after hours on the water slides at Aquaventure.



The Cove

The Cove is my favourite part of Atlantis. This luxurious hotel and open-air lobby is simply breathtaking. The Cove and Paradise Beach surround this hotel, making you feel like you're on your own private island. The beach is one of the nicest I've ever seen; it reminded me of Seven Mile Beach in Cayman Islands. From the open-air lobby, to the endless beach views and restaurants, like Mosaic (perfect for breakfast buffet!) The Cove is the place to stay if you're looking for an elegant vacation on the beach. The Cove has an exclusive adults-only pool, too, that's equally breathtaking–and a lot of fun.

The Cove has 20 private beachfront cabanas, created by designer Lulu DK. We had the incredible pleasure of enjoying a beachfront cabana at The Cove for two days, and it was absolute paradise. Our cabana had an outdoor dining area with loungers, an indoor living room with couches, a TV, a bathroom, and a private outdoor shower. The back doors opened to our own private beach, with the most stunning views. We had personalized service all day long, too, where we were able to drink and eat (from the Sip Sip menu) without having to leave the comfort of our cabana. I seriously never wanted to leave, and the kids had the time of their lives. When they needed a break from the sun and ocean, they relaxed inside the cabana, or ventured to the pool area by The Reef. The Cove beach cabanas was the highlight of our vacation to Atlantis.





Aquaventure

Aquaventure is what Atlantis is famous for. This one-of-a-kind water park features over twenty million gallons of water, high-speed water slides, a mile-long river ride with rolling rapids and wave surges, 20 swimming areas, and various kids pools.

Atlantis also has 11 stunning swimming pools. We spent our days going from the beach to the pools, walking around the entire resort, and enjoying all the water slides. My youngest son's goal was to swim in all the pools and do as many water slides as he could, and we had so much fun checking pools off our list. The water park is pure enjoyment, and perfect for those who love excitement and thrills. It took a lot of courage to go down The Surge, but we did it, (again and again!) and loved it.




Dining

One reason I don't love staying at all-inclusive resorts is because I like leaving the hotel to explore different restaurants in the city I'm visiting. Atlantis Paradise Island isn't an all-inclusive resort, but it has over 21 restaurants and bars for guests to choose from scattered throughout the resort and Marina Village. I had no complaints about staying at Atlantis for dinner every night because there were so many great options to choose from: from Italian to Asian to classic Bahamian dishes, the choices were endless. There are plenty of casual-dining options, like Marina Pizzeria, as well as fine dining, like Seafire Steakhouse. Atlantis also features a number of celebrity chef restaurants: Sip Sip, (one poolside, and one in the sand) FISH, and Nobu.

Our most memorable dining experience took place at world-renowned Nobu, where we dined on delicious Japanese cuisine. I've always wanted to try this popular restaurant and I was so glad we were invited to dine here. We enjoyed many different dishes that were brought to us by the head chef. He explained each dish with great care, and we awaited each plate with anticipation. The food was absolutely delicious and we especially loved the Bahamian lobster, the sea bass,  and the sushi. The best part of this dinner was the incredible Wagyu beef. This dish was the definite highlight, and made my 13 year old very, very happy. The sharing dessert plate we had (after we finished countless plates of perfect Japanese food) was the cherry on top of this incredible culinary experience.



FISH was our second favourite restaurant, (and one of the newest at Atlantis) located in The Cove. Master Chef Jose Andres was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People and Outstanding Chefs by the James Beard Foundation. He's an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, author, and educator, and it was a great honour to dine in his beautiful restaurant. We enjoyed delicious Bahamian seafood, steak, and salads, and the service was excellent.



We also enjoyed classic Bahamian food at Frankie Gone Bananas, Italian at Carmine's, the Marina Pizzeria, and Chop Stix, for Chinese food. From outdoor dining to the more formal restaurants, we loved the choices we had at Atlanits Paradise Island. You totally work up an appetite, too, with all the walking and swimming you do throughout the day!

We had the most wonderful vacation at Atlantis, and we are already planning our next vacation to Paradise Island. Thank you for taking such great care of us, Atlantis. You made our vacation memories perfect!


If you have any questions about Atlantis, please feel free to email me. I'd be happy to answer any travel related questions you have about booking your stay at this beautiful, tropical resort.


Disclaimer: I partnered with Atlantis Paradise Island on this media trip, and I received special perks for my review. All views and opinions are my own. 
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Enhancing Your Natural Beauty With Juvederm

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Disclaimer: I am partnering with Allergen for this campaign and am being compensated for my blog posts and treatment sessions.

I go for weekly blow-dry's. I highlight my hair every couple of months. I go for manicures and pedicures every two weeks. I work out regularly. I take vacations as often as I can, for work or pleasure. I indulge in getting massages. I do this because I have learned there is nothing wrong with taking care of myself and putting self-care on the never-ending to-do list.

When I turned 40, I started thinking about the things I wanted to do to continue improving myself. Eating well, working out, and taking care of my appearance are all important things to me, along with being the best mom, wife, and friend I can be. I lead a busy life, working several jobs in communications and social media and being a mom to my two boys. Life is busy, but I make it a priority to take care of myself.

I also started thinking about my journey with aging, and started considering enhancing my appearance with injectables, like Juvederm fillers, to help smooth away the fine lines on my face I didn't love. Many of my friends and people I know have already had treatments, from wrinkle reducing injections to Juvederm fillers, and I've always loved their results. I starting giving this some serious thought.

When I had the chance to try Juvederm facial fillers, I said yes. After all, I had nothing to lose, it was something I was already thinking about, and I wanted to see what the results would be, and how it would help improve my appearance and confidence in myself. I've never been against people doing what they feel is right for them as long as they were happy with themselves, inside and out. I'm here to tell you: ladies (and gentlemen) there is nothing wrong with you doing what feel right for you, whether that means enhancing your appearance or exploring treatment options to help you achieve your physical and emotional goals, to make you feel your best. After all, there is nothing sexier than a person with confidence.

Although I was nervous for my consultation with Ottawa's renowned Dr. Caroline Tosoni, she calmed me down, and explained all the treatments she could offer me. Although I don't need a lot of work, I am going forward with this and I can't wait to see the results after my first appointment. I am still nervous about needles going into my skin (and on my face!) but she's a trusted doctor who has been doing this for years. She's the expert, and I trust her expertise. She's received nothing but the best reviews from her patients, and the work she does is incredible. She took her time answering my questions, explaining the process to me, how long each treatment would take (minutes) and how long the results would last (months!).

To find out more, visit Juvederm.ca. You'll be able to read about treatment options, whether you're looking to plump your lips a bit, or smooth away wrinkles, things that are easily achievable with the help of Juvederm. You can also check out the Juvederm Visualizer app to get a sneak peek at what your results would be with the help of Juvederm facial fillers. To find a clinic near you, check out the clinic locator.

I look forward to my first appointment, and I'll be writing all about it here on my blog. Be sure to follow along, and feel free to message me if you have any questions.
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Not So Basic Basic Invites

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I've always loved stationary and selecting the perfect cards, invitations, and thank you notes for all occasions. I'm a paper girl, and still read books—no e-readers for me! I could spend hours in a bookstore or a stationary store, and equally love shopping for pretty stationary and cards online.

Even now, I will always buy and send out thank you cards to important people, and for those who do things that deserve a little extra thanks, beyond the basic email. There is something special about receiving a card or letter in the mail, and I still take great pleasure in buying and sending out cards and invitations knowing it'll most definitely brighten someone's day, too.

From personalized Christmas cards to wedding and baby shower invitations, I love companies that offer countless options for people like me, who have trouble deciding what design or colour to go with. Basic Invite is a fabulous website I recently discovered that has countless options of stationary, business cards, and invitations—something for absolutely every occasion.

Whether you're looking for wedding invitations, thank you cards, business cards, or baby shower invitations (they have the cutest designs—I especially love the moon and star baby shower invitations and the sock monkey baby shower invitations—they almost make me want to get pregnant again!) Basic Invite has so many options.

Here's what I love best about shopping Basic Invite:

Almost Unlimited Colours: Basic Invite has millions of colours to choose from, allowing customers unlimited colour options with instant previews online. Once you finally select the design you love, you can change the colour of each element on the card to over 180 different colour options making sure the card is exactly how you want it, right down to the smallest detail. This can be time consuming, but totally fun; I can get lost in designs and colour selection, but the end result is totally worth it!

Custom Samples: Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print, as well as the paper quality, before they place their final order. I love that you can customize every single detail for every event, and the instant online previews are super helpful.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes: Who knew even envelopes could be fun? Basic Invite is super colourful when it comes to envelopes, making invitations stand out even more—you can select the colour of envelope you want to go with your invitation . All of their envelopes are peel and seal, too, so they can be quickly and securely closed.

Address Capturing Service: Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or any other social media platform, to request their friends and family's addresses which will be stored in the customer's account and can be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on Christmas card orders, too.

Bonus: Right now, you can receive 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51.

Happy card shopping, friends!

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Basic Invite and have received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.

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Chateau Laurier: Ottawa's Most Luxurious Hotel Celebrates Winter With A Wildly Winterlude Package

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I love exploring luxurious hotels in every city I visit–it's one of my favourite thing to do. Some people aren't hotel people; I'm not one of those people. I even love staying in hotels in the city I live in. Staycations are fun, and a great way to re-discover things about your city all over again. Sometimes, a staycation is all you need to feel like you're on vacation.

Chateau Laurier is Ottawa's most luxurious hotel located minutes from Parliament Hill, Rideau Centre, the Byward Market and Rideau Canal, and it's one place I love visiting. It holds a special place in my heart because it's where my husband and I stayed after our wedding, before we left for our honeymoon to Aruba, and it's where my sister got married. We also love spending summer evenings on the Wilfrid's patio, taking in the glorious sunset while drinking champagne.



I had the pleasure of staying at the Chateau Laurier last month, to experience and review the property's multi-million dollar guest room renovations. We stayed on the Fairmont Gold floor, which was quite impressive, with private check-in on the 4th floor and personalized service. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast and the Nespresso bar (along with fresh fruit, nuts, candies, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages available for Fairmont Gold guests throughout the day). From 5 to 7 p.m., Fairmont Gold guests can also enjoy the delicious and complimentary appetizers and desserts. The Fairmont Gold experience–often described as a 'hotel within a hotel'–was fabulous and made our stay that much more memorable.

My husband and I had the chance to go to Zoe's, an Ottawa hot-spot, for cocktails and appetizers, and I loved the ambiance–from the great service to the gorgeous views overlooking the downtown core, it's become one of my favourite places to grab drinks at night.




With Winterlude around the corner, you can check-in to Chateau Laurier and experience their Wildly Winterlude Package, taking place from February 1st to the 17th. You'll be steps away from the world's largest skating rink, and you can take in the ice carvings and snow sculptures. Once you're finished Winterlude-ing, head back to Chateau Laurier to warm up with some hot chocolate and dinner at Wilfrid's. The Wildy Winterlude Package includes weekend accommodation and complimentary coupons for BeaverTails and hot chocolate. (After all, it's not Winterlude without BeaverTails!).

Fairmont Chateau Laurier is the place to stay if you're looking for luxury accommodations, a romantic weekend getaway, or a fun family adventure. This charming and historic hotel is a beautiful landmark in Ottawa and a vital part of Canadian history.

Thank you, Chateau Laurier, for treating us to a fabulous staycation. We can't wait to come back!
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Making An Impact With Campaign Monitor

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Whether you're new to blogging or online marketing, there is always something new to learn, and there are always ways you can improve your reach and engagement with your audience. I believe what you deliver to your readers is always important, and should always be authentic; I only write about things I'm passionate about; parenting, style, travel, and beauty—and I'm always honest with my reviews and opinions. I've been blogging since 2007 and I love that I've been able to turn my hobby into a business—one I continue to try to improve on every day. We are often inundated with information on a daily basis, across all social media platforms, so it's important to stand out, by continuing to provide timely and relevant content to your readers, and by doing something different—that's guaranteed to increase readers to your site, as long as you remain true to your own voice.

Whether you're just starting out or looking to grow your already established audience base, using a resource like Campaign Monitor can help immensely.

Campaign Monitor is a global technology company that provides an email marketing platform that is easy to use yet extremely powerful. Campaign Monitor provides more than 250,000 customers the tools they need to make lasting impressions on their audiences through the use of email.

As a content creator, I never gave much thought to sending out email newsletters like many of my friends in the blogosphere, until I discovered this great company. Campaign Monitor takes the hard work out of planning email content for your audience, and delivers excellent results. I had the chance to try it out, and I love how straightforward and simple of a process it was to get started.

Campaign Monitor gives you everything you need to run beautifully designed, professional email marketing campaigns to grow your blog, and your business, with help along the way, if you need it.

Here are some highlights:

1. With Campaign Monitor, you gain access to hundreds of mobile-optimized professionally designed email templates that resonate with your specific audience. The email templates look good; it's the initial look that prompts people to continue reading, as is often the case for me. Their email templates command attention—there are so many pretty designs to choose from.

2. It's simple to use. You can create gorgeous email campaigns and newsletters that will get results, by using the simple and easy-to-use drop-and-drag email builder, and you can choose from hundreds of professionally-designed templates. You can make them your own for a completely branded email campaign that looks great on every device, too. All template are fully tested and mobile ready. You just have to build it once, and use it on any device.

3. By using Campaign Monitor, you can grow your email list, and reach a bigger audience. All you have to do is use signup forms to build your audience and introduce yourself and your business or blog to new customers. From your website (to your store!), Campaign Monitor's tools allow you to do it all from wherever you are, making it super convenient. You can even bring in new subscribers from your website by choosing a variety of signup forms.

4. Campaign Monitor allows you to use your existing social media engagement to build your list of email subscribers, by simply adding a button to your Facebook page or by creating an offer for email subscribers. Campaign Monitor also provides a white label service for agencies to use for their clients' social channels, allowing you to leverage your social following.

5. If you're looking for new ways to help grow your audience, Campaign Monitor partners with the world's best tools to grow your email list, like WordPress. You can add a simple, branded-subscription button on your website to easily convert your online visitors into newsletter subscribers.

6. It's affordable. Using Campaign Monitor to grow your audience base (and to keep your regular audience coming back for more!) is affordable. It's only $9/month, and this fee includes 2,500 emails across campaigns, automated emails, customer support via email, and all core marketing features (drag-and-drop email builder, professionally-designed templates to launch completely branded email campaigns, and more) as well as basic marketing automation. With this monthly cost, you will also get an overall view of your email marketing analytics with out of the box reports for key KPIs, subscriber growth, and engagement.

Disclaimer: I received compensation for my post. All views and opinions are my own.
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The Endy Mattress Review

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We recently completed a master-bedroom makeover which included a new king-size Casper mattress that I reviewed last year. We love the mattress and our renovated bedroom. Our children's rooms were next; our son needed a new mattress, and the timing couldn't be more perfect, because I was asked to review and test out the Endy Mattress. I instantly said yes to this partnership, having read so many great things about this Canadian company.

The Endy Mattress Review

After a few months of sleeping on the Endy Mattress, my son has declared it's the best mattress he's ever slept on–and he truly has had the best sleep ever, hardly waking up throughout the night.

The Endy Mattress has received great buzz over the last few years–it's Canada's highest-rated and best-selling online mattress–so this peaked my interest; what was it about the Endy that everyone loved so much? I was so excited to finally put it to the test in our house. Our bedtime ritual includes me laying next to my son in bed; it's where we talk about his day, read books together, and snooze. Sometimes I fall into such a deep sleep I don't even make it back to my bedroom–that's how comfortable and supportive the Endy Mattress is.


Soft versus Firm

The Endy Mattress is a little softer than the Casper mattress, which I think is more firm. At first I wasn't sure if the Endy was for me, but after a few weeks of trying it out, I got used to it, and would equally love it in my bedroom. Thankfully, we have the best of both worlds in our house now.

If you like a firm mattress, the Casper might be the better choice. If you love the feel of a softer memory foam mattress that also provides great support, the Endy Mattress is the perfect one for you. The Endy Mattress is really comfortable, but unlike other memory-foam mattresses, you can also comfortably sit on the edge of it without feeling like you're going to fall off. It still has a good firmness to it, and provides great support.

Sleep Cool 

The Endy Comfort Foam has a unique open-air cell structure, designed to provide great support while reducing pressure and contouring to the body. The foam's top layer allows heat to dissipate from the body faster, providing a cooler sleep.

Sheets and Pillows 

Not only does Endy make a great mattress, they also make pillows, sheets, and pillowcases. The sheets are made from 480-threat count, 100% sateen-weave cotton. They're totally silky-smooth, soft, and wrinkle-resistant. (No ironing needed!) The sheets and pillowcases have been engineered to be the perfect balance of luxury feel and breathability. I noticed how easy it was to slip on the fitted sheet, too; there is an Endy logo on the sheets, which align with the Endy logo on the mattress. The fitted sheet has a super strong elastic band that keeps the sheets in place all night long. Best sheets ever? Yup!

The Endy pillows are plush, soft, comfortable, and very supportive. They feature a 100% cotton cover with a microfibre fill to give you the feeling of down, with the support and structure of a shredded memory foam core. You can customize your Endy pillow, by removing or re-adding extra foam to create the perfect pillow for you. (You can store the extra foam in the mesh bag that comes with the pillows, turning it into a travel pillow).

Shipping and Delivery

Shipping is free across Canada's 10 provinces, and receiving your Endy Mattress is the best part–it gets delivered right to your front door–compressed, rolled, and shipped in a box not much larger than a hockey bag. Once you receive your Endy Mattress, all you have to do is open the box, unroll it, unwrap the plastic wrapping protecting the mattress (the box comes with a cutting tool, too) and watch it expand to its regular size right away. (It'll reach its perfect comfort within a week). It's easy to set up and move around, too. We carried the box upstairs with no problem at all.

Price Point and Warranty 

Mattresses are usually very expensive, which is why people have such a hard time deciding what to buy. It often entails shopping around from store to store, trying out mattresses for a few minutes, and then having to decide. It's not exactly stress-free shopping. The best thing about Endy is that it's so affordable. A double mattress is 775 dollars, a queen-sized mattress, 850 dollars, and a king-sized mattress is only 950 dollars. A comfortable, well-made mattress that'll last for years, that's also easy on the wallet? Sold.

The Endy is covered by a 10-year warranty. For 10 years after your purchase, manufacturer defect is covered by warranty. Endy offers a one-time replacement or repair of the original mattress purchased. This includes all components of the mattress.

If you are looking for better sleep and need a new mattress, I highly recommend the Endy. It's comfortable, Canadian-made, and totally affordable. If you aren't fully satisfied, you can return it, hassle-free, thanks to Endy's 100-night trial. (If you have any specific questions, check out Endy's helpful FAQ section on their website).

We are very satisfied with our Endy Mattress, and I would definitely buy one for my other child, as well. It truly is better sleep, guaranteed.

You can save $50 off your mattress purchase, too! Just enter LOUKIA50 online when you're checking out.

Disclaimer: I partnered with Endy to review and test out their mattress, pillows, and sheets, and received all products in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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The First St. Regis In Canada Opens Its Doors In Toronto

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Canada's first St. Regis has finally arrived in Canada, making a grand entrance in downtown Toronto. With personalized butler service, a lobby bar, 124 spacious suites, a two-level spa, large swimming pool, and a stunning restaurant on the 31st floor, the hotel definitely caters to those who love fine dining, relaxation, and luxury.

I was thrilled to find out Canada was getting their very own St. Regis, but even more excited when I was invited to review the new hotel a few weeks ago. I've had the pleasure of experiencing the St. Regis Bal Harbour twice, and I instantly knew that my experience at St. Regis Toronto would be equally as memorable–for myself, for my husband, and for our children.

Fine Dining 

The newest restaurant that's causing a lot of buzz in Toronto is LOUIX LOUIS, on the 31st. floor of St. Regis Toronto. It's the perfect place to indulge in your most desired cravings, from caviar to champagne, and everything in between. The menu features items like whole truffle chicken, maple squash soup, seafood platters, snapper, and more. Perhaps one of the most delicious aspects of dining in LOUIX LOUIS is experiencing the 13-layer chocolate cake, called The King's Cake, which comes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. There is also a secret garden terrace that can be enjoyed during the warmer months, with breathtaking views of downtown Toronto.


Rituals

The first St. Regis opened in New York City in 1904, and is still considered one of the finest hotels in America, and around the world. (After all, not many hotels come with personalized, around-the-clock butler service). There are 48 St. Regis hotels worldwide, from Abu Dhabi to Bal Harbour, and each hotel offers guests a truly exquisite experience. St. Regis strives to make every aspect of every moment perfect, and this is noticeable from the moment you check-in.

Every St. Regis around the world celebrates three daily rituals, an integral part of the brand:

The Bloody Mary ritual: This cocktail was actually founded and first created in St. Regis New York, and now, every hotel creates this drink as their speciality cocktail, with a local spin.

The Evening Ritual: This ritual takes place in every St. Regis at 5 p.m., and consists of a ceremonial champagne sabering in the lobby bar, where every guest that's of age can enjoy a glass of champagne

The Afternoon Tea Ritual: The afternoon tea ritual caters to both young and older guests, and can even be enjoyed poolside in some locations. It takes place on Saturday and Sunday.

Stunning Rooms and Service

We stayed in a two-bedroom suite, on the 28th floor of the hotel. Our suite had floor-to-ceiling windows, a dining room, a living room with fireplace, two large bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large foyer.

Our suite was stunning–and spacious enough for the four of us to truly enjoy. We arrived to some special treats, including personalized Christmas ornaments that took my breath away. It's the little things this hotel does that makes you feel like a most welcomed guest. Every detail is thought of, and children are equally welcomed, too; we had a video game console in our room with games, and our butler offered my youngest son a build-a-bear experience; his bunny even came with a St. Regis Toronto t-shirt, an excellent keepsake to remember our stay. For my older son, they welcomed him with a charcuterie board, something he thoroughly enjoyed. The in-room dining is also delicious, and the menu is quite extensive, catering to all tastes.





We spent time poolside, enjoyed the fine dining, and made the most of our time in our gorgeous suite. We were able to grab a quick bite to eat for breakfast, along with coffee and juice, in the Astor Lounge, the lobby bar, before we departed.


St. Regis is modern elegance, setting a new standard of luxury in Canada. The only disappointing thing about the hotel is having to say goodbye.

Disclaimer: I was offered a  two-night stay at the St. Regis Toronto, to experience all that is new at this hotel, including dinner at LOUIX LOUIS. All views and opinion are my own. 

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National Geographic Kids Celebrates 10 Years of Weird But True! Books With A Canadian Contest

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Disclaimer: I received products for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and the page may contain affiliate links. 

When I was pregnant with my first-born son, I started shopping for children's books to fill the bookshelves in his room. I fell in love with reading when I was in the fourth grade, and have been an avid reader every since–I always have a couple of books on the go. I wanted to instill a love of reading in my children from an early age, and thoroughly enjoyed shopping for the books I hoped my children would enjoy. Reading books became an important part of our daily ritual, and my children continue to enjoy reading now that they're older.

My boys love reading the National Geographic Kids Weird But True! books, because these books provide a wealth of information and they're fun and easy to read. They're great books to travel with, and perfect to keep around the house for guests to enjoy, as well. These colourful books are a great way to encourage a love of reading in children, and also encourages curiosity about the world around them; from science to food and travel, there is something in these book every child will be drawn to, no matter their age. When kids have had too much screen time, these books make an excellent break from technology where they learn in a fun and entertaining way.

The Weird But True! books not only encourage children to read and learn more, but these books also give back; a portion of all books purchased help support National Geographic's exploration, conservation, research, and education projects.

These books–now over 25 in the series–inspire children to explore the world through text and visual images. We loved flipping through Weird But True! Canada, Weird But True! Animals, Weird But True! Christmas, and Weird But True! 10. Each book is fun to read, and children learn so many interesting facts, as well.


Weird But True! is celebrating its 10th anniversary of the original Weird But True! series, and to celebrate, the 1-10 series has been totally updated with new covers and 50 more facts that'll appeal to a new generation of young readers. These books are available in-store or through  natgeokids.com/wbtbooks. They make great keepsakes for children, and are great to gift, as well, for birthdays, holidays, and end-of-school year celebrations.

Weird But True! Canada Contest

Kids aged 6-14 are invited to enter the Weird But True! Canada contest to submit their own verifiably weird facts about their hometown, province, or country at natgeokids.com/wbtcanada, until January 31st, 2019. Good Luck–and happy reading!
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2019 Resolutions

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What are your goals for 2019? Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves with resolutions, but I think it's important to have some goals you want to achieve as the new year begins.

I always set fitness and healthy eating as top goals for myself, but I've made a lifestyle change over the last few months with regards to eating better and staying on top of my fitness routine, so my goals for 2019 will be to stay on top of my never-ending workload, by keeping my editorial calendar up-to-date, getting through my inbox in a realistic matter, and working on things I love, that I can share with my readers and audience.

Here are some ways you can make positive changes to your workload in 2019:

1. A stronger focus on personalization: When you're writing your blog or sending out email newsletters, remember to keep it personal. What started as a personal blog for me in 2007 turned into a business a few years later, and though I don't often blog about personal stories anymore, I keep my posts honest, review the things I love (whether it's beauty products or hotel stays) and share my personal opinions about the things I write about. Remember to deliver content that is tailored to your audience.

2. Increased awareness surrounding data security and privacy: Marketers and bloggers should expect 2019 to bring more security-savvy consumers who expect greater levels of safeguards in the products they use to reach their audience. Campaign Monitor, a leading provider of email marketing services, anticipates this trend and is continuously working on implementing security controls to help customers meet or exceed the needs of their subscribers.

3. More opportunities to practice accessibility: New technology like Google Home, Alexa, and Siri will end up changing how people interact with their email. There are a lot more things being read to you and you can now respond via voice, rather than with text. Make sure your emails can be read by voice-assisted devices, and use strong and compelling copywriting.

4. Authenticity will be the key to marketing success: Authenticity will be key to standing out in other people's inbox. People still love reading blogs that are authentic. With more brands than ever sending emails, the standard 'best practices' will not set you apart from everyone else. Take the extra steps to get to know your audience and customers and send relevant, targeted content based on their needs. Maybe even ask your followers and audience what they'd like to see from you in 2019!

5. Back to the email marketing basics: Email marketing is having a big moment and that's going to only get bigger in 2019. Keep things simple and have a solid content calendar in place. Don't forget: you have to get and keep people on your email lists for the content to matter.

6. Grow your list: The pressure on marketers and bloggers to grow their subscribers and email list will continue to rise and the methods for sourcing subscribers will become increasingly creative. Smart marketers and content creators will think critically about the lifecycle of their subscribers; with the subscribers interests in mind, you can grow your lists organically and encourage engagement for a longer period of time.


Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Campaign Monitor, and all views and opinions are my own. I have received compensation for my partnership with Campaign Monitor.
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