Reflections, 2012: A Year In Review

2012 passed by so incredibly quick, don't you think? It seems like only yesterday I wrote a post about the changes I would make in 2012. Some of them came true, others did not, so this year, I am not making any big promises that I cannot keep.

The year ended with immense tragedy that we're all still struggling to make sense of. December was more emotional than other years, filled with lots of tears, laughter, and happy times with the entire family. The only thing I have learned from all of this is how important it is to cherish every moment. And that's my only resolution for 2013. I'm going to enjoy it all. Or try to, anyway. And I'm going to remember the importance of putting things in perspective. When you do that, you see how you really have nothing to complain about. And that everything you need... you already have.

Here are some of my 2012 highlights:

This year, I discovered my new favourite show ever, Mad Men. And then I discovered another incredible show, Homeland. And now I cannot wait for 2013 so both these shows can start again!

I talked about the Wonder Years, and the importance of friends.

And I made a list of the 36 things I love.

Thanks to some amazing sponsors, I attended Mom 2.0 in beautiful Miami. This was one heck of a conference filled with incredible, inspiring speakers and attendees.

Of course, what would the year have been like without a war or two on something as ridiculous as... Nutella? That's right, things got heated in the kitchen.

I shared with the world my embarrassing celebrity childhood crushes  because well, as a blogger, that's what I do... I share my most embarrassing stories with you, so you can laugh
at with me.

I also wrote about all the songs that define me, because I am passionately in love with music.

Volkswagen Canada sent me to Mont Tremblant to be their official blogger for the 24 hour skiing event, and over 2 million dollars was raised to help sick children. It was such a great honour to be a part of that, and it was awesome to go skiing again.

I co-hosted the morning show on DAWG FM here in Ottawa (with an old friend I worked with years and years ago!)

I talked about the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

I blogged about what I want my boys to remember when they're older.

I made new amazing memories in south Florida with my family.

I had a great night out and shared many glasses of wine with Mr. Wolf Blass. Yes, the man behind the Yellow Label is just as charismatic as you'd imagine. He's quite inspiring, too.

I happily continued to blog about everything to do with shopping on my Yummy Mummy Club shopping blog.

I blogged about my love for Canada... and continue to give thanks for living in this awesome country.

I went to NYC for BlogHer 2012. I had an amazing time, and even danced with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

I attended and was a speaker at the third annual BlissDom Canada conference in Toronto. That was one amazing and memorable weekend in 2012.

I wrote about the truth about motherhood. We're all in this together, after all.

And I talked about the lazy, hazy days of summer. And also, how to vacation with children.

Mastercard sent me shopping, too. It was a blast!

I hosted a few events, I cheered loudly at every single one of my son's soccer games, and I didn't miss one swimming lessons that my boys atteneded. It's not only the big things that made 2012 a memorable year; it's the little things, too, those day-to-day events that take place that make the great memories.

My wish for this upcoming year is that everyone has more time to enjoy it all... and I hope for so much peace in the world.

Cheers to 2013!

Heartbroken And Horrified

This afternoon, I will pick up my seven year old son from school and tell him about the heartbreaking, horrific, senseless tragedy that took place in a school similar to his, in a neighbouring country, in a city that now has to come to terms with this unimaginable tragedy.

Edited to add: When I saw my son's smiling face after school I could not bring myself to say anything to him. Instead, I just hugged and kissed him and let him run off to play with his friends, keeping my eyes on him the entire time.

Tonight I will once again be thankful for this day, and I will hug my children tight. Every day is precious. Every moment we have should be cherished.

28 people dead... 20 of them small children. This is what happened today in an elementary school in Connecticut. Beautiful, innocent, perfect children, in school—in school—shot dead by an evil person, shot dead with weapons that should not exist, since it has been proven, time and time again, that guns do more harm than good. I've written before about gun control, and now more than ever, something needs to change. And fast.

As a wise women said online today: "America, I don't give a rat's ass about your Right to Bear Arms. You need to stop the insanity now -- no one is safer in your country for having a gun. Your daily news proves it."

Every time something like this happens—Columbine, shootings in malls, snipers in D.C., movie theatre shootings, on and on and on—my faith in all that is good diminishes.

How can any of us feel safe in our normal day-to-day activities like going to work and dropping our children off at school, knowing that's where they'll be safe?  How can we protect our children from the evil that is out there? What can we do now that this tragedy has taken place, except offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their poor, poor grieving families?

I wish I had answers.
I wish I could do more.
I wish I could turn back time.

I wish these parents didn't have to live with this nightmare, I wish the children didn't have to suffer.

 I wish guns didn't exist.

We don't need any more stories like this. We don't need more senseless tragedy at the hands of some unrighteous, unknown, crazy person who took it upon himself to destroy lives for no reason at all. All because he had access to a couple of guns.

I've cried on and off since Friday, I've hugged my children tighter, and I'm just overwhelmed with grief over this nightmare of a story.

My heart is heavy. Less than two weeks before Christmas.

I'm heartbroken.

Thoughts and prayers going out to a much-loved fellow blogger, who lost her nephew Noah in this senseless tragedy. You can also head over to Noah's Art of Hope Fund to make a donation.

"The funds received will be used to provide counseling services, education and basic needs for the children at this time of grief. Noah leaves behind his twin sister and three other siblings."

Bless all the children and their families.... may something like this never, ever happen again.

12 Awesome Things About 24h Tremblant

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When Volkswagen Canada asked me to join them at 24h Tremblant as their official blogger and team member, I very enthusiastically said yes. I'm Volkswagen's biggest fan, and 24h Tremblant is one incredible weekend with one mission: to raise money for children who need it the most.

24h Tremblant is a 24 hour non-stop friendly skiing (and snowboarding) relay that takes place on the mountains of Mont Tremblant. Throughout the night, teams compete to cover the most terrain and ultimately aim to raise the highest amount of money for very deserving children's charities.

Volkswagen Canada was the main partner of the 12th edition of 24h Tremblant, and I was so proud and honoured to be there as part of their team. Thank you, VW!

Being in Tremblant was emotional, fun, exciting, and so worthwhile. The energy from the participants, the smiles on the children's faces, and the encourangement and cheers from everyone watching as team members skied for 24 hours non-stop was an awesome thing to be a part of. What an experience!

Without further delay, here are... 12 Awesome Things About the 12th Edition of 24h Tremblant:

1. Over $2,045, 391 was raised during this year's 24h Tremblant, which far surpassed last year's total of $1,832, 200.

2. 215 ski and snowboard teams along with 38 walking teams took part in this year's event.

3. All together there were 2,000 participants, all united for the same cause.

4. Proceeds from 24h Tremblant benefit Foundation centre de Cancérologie Charles-Bruneau, The Ottawa Senators Foundation, Foundation Martin-Matte, and The Tremblant Foundation.

5.  For every picture submitted to Volkswagen's 24h Worth Thinking About, VW donated $10 to 24h Tremblant. I recorded my thoughts on video, too, talking about who I was thinking about during the 24 hours.

6. The 24h of Skiing is North America's biggest sporting fundraising event.

7. Volkswagen Canada raised $84,705 for the 2012 24h Tremblant. Amazing!

8. Seeing people come together to ski, cheer, and support their teams all for the children who need it the most? That was what this weekend was all about. The love of the children brought everyone together, got everyone out, and the end results were outstanding.

9. This weekend got me skiing again. It had been many, many years but I am so thankful VW made me get out there and do my thing. Now I'm determined to get on the slopes as many weekends as possible this winter!

10. 24h Tremblant was founded by Jacques Villeneuve, and over the last 12 years, the 24h of skiing has raised more than $12 million making it the biggest event of its kind in skiing history.

11. The organizers, sponsors, ambassadors, and partners helped make this past weekend such a success.

12. The weather was perfection the entire weekend! It even started snowing, making the beautiful weekend even more festive. Seeing the children laughing, playing, having snowball fights, skiing, and enjoying the weekend festivites brought a huge smile to my face and was a perfect reminder about why we were there in the first place.

Next up? Tremblant's 24h of cycling, taking place September 6-8, 2013. I'm getting my bike helmet ready from now!

Thank you so much, Volkswagen Canada, for giving me the opportunity to come take part is this  most worthwhile, amazing weekend in Mont Tremblant. The good you do for the charities and children who need it the most brought tears to my eyes throughout the weekend, and my children saw first-hand how great things can happen when people come together this way.


How To Avoid A Holiday Shopping Hangover

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Tis' the season for spending, my friends. For me, it's so hard to stay within a reasonable budget during the holidays. After all, I have children with lists and a big family to shop for. Not to mention all the new decorations and wrapping paper I need! And the stamps, and the Bailey's and a new sparkly outfit and ..well, you get the idea. December is brutal on my wallet, and every year I try to think of ways to save money so I'm not weeping into my credit card bill come January. I mean, I'll already be dealing with a case of the winter blues, so I don't need "I need to sell my house because I spent too much money in December!" as something else to be blue about, right?

Mobilicity recently conducted a survey about holiday shopping, and results showed that 58% of Canadians say they spend more than they should during the holidays. 59% (that would be me!) say they make impulse purchases which of course leads to feelings of guilt and a bad case of Holiday Shopping Hangover. Not surprising, really, since 1 in 5 Canadians are also binge shoppers.

I have put together some helpful tips for you (and I!) to save money over the holiday season so we don't have to deal with a huge Holiday Shopping Hangover in January.

Three Tips To Avoid A Holiday Shopping Hangover:

1. Make a list, and check it twice. You know who you have to shop for and you know what they want. Stick to the list and don't buy more than you have to. When you stick to your list, you'll avoid buying things you don't need.

2. Do some comparison shopping. If you think the store you frequently shop at is selling the items you need for a great price, do yourself a favour, and look around some more before you make your purchase. You'd be surprised how many great deals you can find if you just take the time to look around! (You can also use apps to help you navigate your holiday shopping—some apps help you track the best sales, and alert you when the things you want go on sale, even.)

3. Get creative. My favourite gifts to receive are the ones that come from the heart. A thoughtfully written holiday card sent to me from a best friend is more special than any gift wrapped under the tree. And any gifts that my children make for me are also gifts that I treasure more than anything else, even the gifts that come in little blue boxes! Bake some cookies, offer your services to a loved one, and voila... you've saved money while still giving a pretty thoughtful gift!

Content courtesy of Mobilicity, Canada’s smart mobile carrier. Find out how to avoid a holiday shopping hangover and reduce your monthly spending all year round with unlimited data, talk and text, without contracts and hidden fees at Now that’s smart!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post that I was compensated for, brought to you by Mobilicity.

Radio Ga Ga

Well, I'm off to to the ski hills for 24h Tremblant... look out! I'll be doing some night skiing with my VW team all in support of some amazing children's charities. I'll be keeping you updated all weekend, (and blogging as VW's official blogger!) and I might tweet from the chair lift, too. Hey, I know it's not a good idea, but how can I resist?

This Friday morning started off great, too—I got the chance to co-host the morning show with Dylan Black on 101.9 Dawg FM. The two of us actually used to work together years and years ago... and we even graduated from the same college, too.

Good times!

Can't wait to do that again! I do miss working in the world of radio...

Oh! And be sure to check out the new issue of Ottawa Family Living Magazine—I wrote a feature article called Fabulous Moms!

Happy weekend, friends.

On Top Of The World

I've got some exciting news to share... Volkswagen Canada asked me to be their offical blogger for 24 Hours Tremblant! That's right, you guys. I'm being sent to my favourite ski resort in Mont Tremblant, Quebec this weekend as part of Team Volkswagen. I'll be reporting back with all the exciting things that are going on, and I'll be tweeting about how nervous I am to be back on the ski slopes again. Let's just say I haven't gone skiing in a very long time... and um, how will I ski down the hills while tweeting without falling? All joking aside, I'm beyond honoured that VW asked me to take part this way. After all, I'm a car girl, and most definitely Volkswagen's number one fan.

The 24h of Skiing is actually North America's biggest sporting fundraising event that's already raised over 10 million dollars for children's causes. This year marks the 12th annual edition and will once again take place on the slopes of Tremblant. 3 days of fun, festivities, free concerts, an absolutely stunning atmosphere during festive December, all for the cause of children? I'd say that's one awesome weekend, no?

Volkswagen is proud to be participating in the Tremblant 24h of Skiing December 7-9 once again. You can help, too. Tell VW who you're thinking aboutand join their online gallery to help raise funds. For every picture you submit about a child in need, Volkswagen will donate $10 to the Tremblant 24h of Skiing. So incredible.

Of course, Tremblant is also known for amazing dining experiences, and of course, great shopping... so even when I'm not skiing, we'll be enjoying all Tremblant has to offer... like delicious crepes and breathtaking views.

This was my view the last time we were in Tremblant. It's a gorgeous vacation destination no matter the season, but during the holidays, it's even more magical. I can't wait to be there again, and to experience the excitement of 24h Tremblant in person. Even if I can't quite remember how to ski, the entire weekend will be beyond memorable. I'm so glad my boys will be there again to see all the action, all for a very good cause!

Stay tuned for more information about this amazing event!
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