Better Homes and Gardens 2014 Best New Beauty Products Giveaway!

As a beauty blogger, I love getting the chance to try the latest products people are buzzing about, because many of these products quickly get added to my "must-buy, must-have" shopping list.

I was excited when Better Homes and Gardens Magazine contacted me to try the Best New Beauty Products 2014. Over 80,000 consumers took part in a research study conducted by BrandSpark International and Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and these consumers selected the 29 most appealing and innovative new beauty products of 2014. I got to put these great products to the test! (I love my job, truly.)

Best part? I get to give away these fabulous beauty products to one of my readers! 

Here are the products I received: 

SensatioNail Starter Kit: I am terrible at doing my own nails, so I go for manicures every two weeks. I've fallen in love with getting shellac nail polish, because with the LED nail lamp, the polish dries quickly and my nails lasts for a week without chipping. This new SensatioNail Kit is perfect for people who don't have time to wait for regular nail polish to dry. The SensatioNail Starter Kit comes with everything you need for 10 gel applications, even the Pro 3060 LED Lamp, designed to safely and quickly flash-cure your favourite Gel Polish, sealing in the colour to a "glossy, damage-proof, mirror-like finish." After 10 manicures, you can buy the Essential Kit and the colour of your choice and you're good to go again. The starter kit sells for $59.99.

Dove Go Fresh Body Wash: I love Dove Body Wash, and the new Dove Go Fresh Restore Body Wash is "...infused with Dove's unique's NutriumMoisture technology, which moisturizes and nourishes skin."  It smells fresh, with scents of blue fig and orange blossom—so yummy. 

Pantene Age Defy: This is the greatest Pantene shampoo and conditioner for damaged, over-processed hair. This new shampoo and conditioner helps hair act (and feel) up to 10 years younger. It helps fix damaged hair, lacklustre colour, dryness, thinning, breakage, split ends and frizz. It even restores smoothness and shine. What more do you need in a shampoo and conditioner? Absolutely nothing!  These are my two new favourites.

Regeneration Extreme Eye Complex: This is considered the best new eye cream on the market right now. It reduces puffiness and dark circles, and retails for $65.00. It helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, too. Even if you're tired, nobody will know. I love this eye cream—a lot!

Cover Girl + Olay Eye Rehab CC Cream:  This is the best new eye cream under $40.00. It conceals while improving skin tone—total bonus.

Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15: A moisturizer and CC cream plus sunscreen, in one bottle—perfect for travelling, so you don't have to over-pack the beauty products. (Which will also leave you more room in your suitcase for that extra pair of shoes!)

Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1:  This great foundation is also an primer, concealer, and sunscreen for your skin—and the matte finish covers extremely well, without looking like a heavy foundation. 

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil:  I love using this oil on my hair because it adds shine, reduces frizz, and smells absolute divine! It is just as good as the original Moroccan Oil I use on my hair, and it's totally affordable. The Suave Moroccan Oil keeps my hair smooth all day long.

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick: This is a great long-lasting lipstick. I love the colour, too. It's neutral enough to be worn with anything, and I love wearing this shade of lipstick with a smoky eye. 

OPI Liquid Sand: This is OPI nail polish is sparkly and shiny. I love the gold and I took forward to wearing this colour in the summer, with a little white dress, sandals, and a golden tan. 

A lot of these products have been added to my "favourites" list. What are you most excited about trying? Do you have a favourite among these great beauty products?

Enter here to win these great new beauty products: 

Good Luck!


Cruciani Bracelets: The Hottest Accessory From Italy

I love shopping for and discovering new accessories. With stylish accessories, you don't have to spend a fortune to change your look from day to day. A new pair of shoes, a cute pair of sunglasses, and some colourful jewellery can transform your look effortlessly. I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up so I can embrace spring fashion and accessories—enough with winter already!

One of the hottest fashion accessories in Europe is the Cruciani bracelet, which is made in Italy—the fashion capital of the world.

All the way from Italy, Cruciani bracelets have the fashion industry, celebrities, and people from around the world buzzing. These gorgeous Made in Italy lace bracelets come in a wide variety of colours, and each one is as beautiful as the next. They have become the must-have fashion accessory for men and women with over 12 million sold worldwide. 

Cruciani bracelets have been spotted on the arms of Beyonce, Kate Middleton, Heidi Klum and many other celebs. (Beyonce even posted a picture on Instagram wearing her Cruciani bracelets!)

These cute lace bracelets have become a global phenomenon. Tourists and locals stock up on them during the summer months in Italy—they're the fashion accessory to have, after all—and I've been given two of them, one in black, and one in turquoise. I love them, and I think they'll be super fun to wear during the summer months.

I'm also giving away a Cruciani bracelet to one of my awesome readers—this way, you'll be totally ready for spring and summer, too!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner of this giveaway will be able to select the bracelet of their choice over at

Good Luck, my fashionable friends!


The Ultimate Girls Day Out At The National Women's Show

Looking for something fun to do with the girls?  Get your best friends together for the National Women's Show, back by popular demand at the Ottawa Convention Centre this March 29th and 30th!

Bring your best friend, your sister, and your mom and shop 'til you drop at over 250 exhibits. (Make sure you're wearing comfortable—yet stylish—shoes!) And don't worry, you won't be shopping on an empty stomach—you'll get the chance to eat some fabulous food, and taste some delicious wine, too. Yum!  If you want a break from walking around, sit down and enjoy some fashion shows, and meet some celebrity guests, too.

You'll also learn health, wellness and beauty secrets, you'll see some great cooking demonstrations, and even go home with some home renovations ideas. Looking for somewhere to vacation this summer? This show has that covered, too! There are great goodie bags that'll be given out at the National Women's Show, too, featuring great products from Kellogg's, Nestle's Skinny Cow, John Freida, and so much more. Of course, you'll be taking home great samples of products throughout the day, as well, and there are tons of great contests to enter, too.

If you like to attend the National Women's Show, you can enter to win tickets here! I'm giving away 4 sets of tickets to my readers.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Note: Please leave your name in the comment section along with a way I can reach you. Ticket can be picked up at the National Women's Show!)

If you would like to purchase addition tickets at a reduced cost, just enter the promo code LouLou at check-out for $3.00 off your ticket price!


In A New York Minute

I love being busy.  I love cities that are awake, alive, and full of action. Cities like New York, the city that never sleeps. I love the hectic pace of New York, seeing people everywhere constantly doing something, even if they're just sitting on a park bench in Central Park, taking it all in. And there really is so much to take in when you're in NYC—always. 

I just got back from a few days in the Big Apple with my mom and sister. A girls trip to see A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington on Broadway was the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of spring. I've been to NYC seven times, and each time, I love it more than the time before. This city is just so cool. I've been having a love affair with NYC my entire life, starting when I was a child and falling in love with the movie Annie.

I had the great opportunity to review and stay at Omni Berkshire Place Hotel, and once we arrived, we hit the streets and basically walked for two days straight—as one should, when they're in New York. Why waste time in a taxi when you can see so much more by foot? (I started off in stylish boots, switched to flats, and ended up wearing a new pair of flip flips. But it was okay—it was actually warm enough to wear flip flips in NYC!)

Here's a summary of our trip to NYC in pictures:

We went to Magnolia Bakery. It was my sister's first time, and she loved the cupcakes. I did, too. I'm not a huge cupcake fan, but I think they are better than anywhere else I've tried. I always go with vanilla.

We went to Bloomingdale's to shop, and knowing I would be coming home to our never-ending winter, (sigh) I picked up a new coat. Of course.

The weather in NYC was perfection while we were there. We even enjoyed coffee outside, on a patio. And we didn't get cold! It was amazing. Of course, we're coming from months of minus 40C, so anything warmer than that, and we think it's summer.

We took in the sights, from Upper East Side, to Rockefeller Centre to the New York Public Library. 

We went to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre early enough to stalk talk to Denzel's personal driver. He told us where to stand after the show so we'd meet Mr. Denzel. Seeing this play in the intimate, old theatre was a great experience. Seeing Denzel performing so close to me was pretty awesome. After the show, I was front of the line to meet him and shake his hand. My hands were shaking afterwards, and I was debating if I should ever wash my hand again. (Of course I did.)

We ate dinner at great restaurants, we imagined we lived in Manhattan, and we had our own adventures, as we always do when we travel together.

Memories? Made. New York City is everything... and really one of my favourite places to visit. Can't wait for more adventures!

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York,
New York, New York... (Jay Z and Alicia Keys)


Omni Berkshire Place: Luxury Hotel In The Heart Of Manhattan


 When you're traveling to New York City, where you stay is important. I love being in the centre of it all, somewhere central to all the things I love—Fifth Avenue for all the shopping, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Broadway Theatres.

I just got back from my favourite trip to New York City. I had the amazing opportunity to stay at the gorgeous Omni Berkshire Place Hotel right in Midtown Manhattan, in the luxurious Madison Suite, overlooking 52nd Street and Madison Avenue, steps away from the places I mentioned above.

A few words come to mind when I think about the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel: Classy. Elegant. Traditional. Modern. Clean. Chic. Basically, everything I want in a luxury hotel.

As soon as we walked into the Omni, we were greeted by a gorgeous flower arrangement, which perfectly matched the spring-like temperatures outside. (We were so lucky with the fabulous weather during our stay in NYC—we even had coffee on a patio... outside!)

The front desk staff were extremely friendly, and we were checked into our suite on the 10th floor right away. Concierge was also very helpful during our stay, and even printed our Broadway tickets and made dinner reservations for us.

When we opened the door to our 781 square-foot suite, it instantly took our breath away, especially because we're used to smaller hotel rooms when we stay in New York City. This suite was massive—and so beautiful.

The suite had a separate living room with a gorgeous pull-out sofa, several chairs, a desk (where I did some writing, feeling very much like Carrie in Sex and the City!) and three very large windows, with a ledge I would sit on, overlooking the bustling, busy streets below. It was an absolutely stunning room—luxurious in every way.

Our beautiful master bedroom had built-in closets, a large window, and an oversized bathroom with a separate shower and soaking tub, with huge Italian marble countertops. 

Our very posh suite was so lovely, we almost didn't want to venture outside. I was quite content looking out the window, listening to the busy streets below. 

I loved the attention to detail in our room, right down to the drapes and paint colour on the walls of our suite. (If you're wondering, it's Sherwin-Williams Realist Beige, and yes, I am painting my bedroom walls the same colour now!)

The Omni Berkshire Place Hotel provided us with more than a suite to stay in during our trip to New York City—we were given an authentic New York City experience, one that made us feel like we were true residents of the city. 

We were treated to some bubbly and chocolate covered strawberries on our first night, welcoming us to the hotel. It was the perfect way to start celebrating our weekend in NYC. 

 Cheers, Omni Berkshire Place Hotel!

I'm already planning our next escape to New York, because I know the perfect place to stay. Without hesitation, the only place I'm staying when I'm in the Big Apple is the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel. It's luxury in the heart of all the action, with personalized service and attention to detail you won't find at bigger hotels in the area. 

Here are some other great features about the Omni: 

  • Omni Sensational Kids program: Upon check-in, children receive a backpack filled with fun items like toys and books, and children also receive milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first night and can even borrow games, books, and toys to make their stay feel even more like home. (Great to know for when I do bring my kids next time!)
  • 24-hour business centre.
  • 24-hour in-room dining.
  • 100% non-smoking luxury hotel.
  • Pet friendly accommodations (25 lbs or less.)
  • High-speed wireless internet access.
  • Fireside Restaurant and Bar.
  • Select Guest Loyalty Program.
  • Winner of TripAdvisor's 2012 Certificate of Excellence.
  • 396 guest rooms, and 42 suites. 

Thank you so much for everything, Omni Berkshire Place—everything was perfection! I can't wait to come back for another perfect stay in my favourite city.

Disclosure: Omni Berkshire Place Hotel covered the cost of our suite during my stay in NYC. All opinions and views are my own. 

Seed Heats Up Thursday Nights (Plus A Chance To Win A Trip to L.A.!)

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After the children go to bed, I love to catch up with my husband over a glass of wine, read a good book, or watch one of my favourite shows on television. I stopped watching shows that completely depressed me last year. Shows like Grey's Anatomy? No more. I could only handle so much heartache, you know? Action packed shows, like Breaking Bad, I can handle—and love. I also love a show that can make me laugh. Shows like Seinfeld, Friends, Modern Family and City's original comedy, Seed. This show is funny, and it's back—you can catch a brand-new episode on City TV tonight at 9:30 p.m.

There are laughs every week as you get to know and follow the lives of three very different families, who are united—whether they like it or not—by Harry, their formerly anonymous... sperm donor. Yes, you read that correctly—it's quite the show, packed with hilarious moments that'll make you laugh.

Still need more convincing that you should start watching Seed, if you're not watching yet? Seed was voted Canada's number one comedy by TV Guide in 2013, and was ranked number two in TV Guide Canada's best shows in 2013. Pretty impressive, right? It's basically Canada's Modern Family.

Also? You could win a trip to L.A. to meet Harry! I'd love to get away to L.A. right about now. You can enter the contest here, and here. It's that simple.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.


Playful and Delightful Bedding For Your Little One

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When I found out I was pregnant both times, I was overcome with happiness and joy. I enjoyed everything about being pregnant, especially preparing for the arrival of each baby by creating a beautiful space for them to call their own. After all, I knew I'd be spending countless hours in the nursery with my children, and I wanted it to be very special and unique for them both.

I took my time with the selection of furniture, crib mattresses, paint colours for the walls, decor, and bedding. I was especially picky about what kind of bedding set to get—I didn't want anything too "cute", and I didn't want to go with something that had characters on it—I wanted something unique, classic, and beautiful. I was lucky enough to find what I was looking for both times, at a speciality baby store in Ottawa, and at Pottery Born Kids. The search for modern, stylish and classic bedding can be a very difficult task, though.

I recently discovered a Canadian company called Atelier Edele, created by a mom of two who was struggling to find bedding sets that suited her style. Her idea was to create artistic, unique bedding sets for babies and children using organic cotton. Her bedding sets are exceptionally soft, and you can even order swatches online, for free, to test out before committing to buying a set.

Bonus: The company offers free shipping for North America, and there is a 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy. The bedding sets can be purchased in stores in Montreal and Ottawa, and shopping online is really easy, too—in fact, most orders are processed online.

I fell in love with the simple designs of Atelier Edele—looking at all the pretty sets gave me a serious case of baby fever—and that's a dangerous thing!

The baby collection consists of five crib bedding sets that have been created with the collaboration of local artists. Each bedding set is designed and manufactured in Canada, with an exceptionally soft "interlock" organic cotton.

The company's baby blankets show illustrations that were created with passion and blend perfectly in any nursery with their simple, timeless patterns. The blankets will last forever, and are reversible, too. They are large enough so that they can transition out of the crib to a traditional bed, and will surely become your child's beloved blanket for nap time.

You can see the Atelier Edele bedding sets in person at the Toronto One of a Kind Show, March 26th to 30th.

Happy shopping, friends!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.


Brookstreet Hotel: Perfect Stay For The Entire Family

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I had the chance to stay at the Brookstreet Hotel a couple of years ago with my best friends for a girls weekend getaway. It was summer, and we lounged around the pool all afternoon, and enjoyed the yummy food at Perspectives Restaurant. Although we were just in Kanata, a few minutes from downtown Ottawa, I felt like we were on vacation somewhere far away.

The rooms were gorgeous with beautiful views and floor to ceiling windows—modern, clean, spacious. And the beds? So incredibly comfortable.

It was a wonderful stay, and I couldn't wait to go back again.

I'm very thankful to say that I was given the opportunity to stay at and review the Brookstreet Hotel during March break with my family. This time, my husband and two boys came with me for a very memorable stay. We even kept the stay a surprise and didn't tell our boys until the day we left for the hotel.

They were so excited—they love adventures, hotels, and vacations. Although we didn't have to travel far to get to the Brookstreet Hotel, it still felt like we were away, enjoying a little mini-vacation before school started again.  Family trips and getting away together is so important. My childhood is filled with memories of family trips, whether they were small weekend getaways or far trips overseas.

Perspectives Restaurant in the Brookstreet Hotel offers some of the finest dining in town. (In fact, since opening in 2003, Brookstreet's Perspectives Restaurant has received rave reviews from food writers and numerous distinctions including the CAA/AAA four-diamond award.) There is also the Options Jazz Lounge with live music throughout the year. Of course, the Brookstreet Cafe also serves quick bites and Starbucks coffee—yay!

During March break, Brookstreet Hotel put together some really fun activities for the kids, including a St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt, a craft afternoon, board games, and an awesome movie night where Frozen was shown.

We were treated to a spacious junior suite, which was very roomy. The boys took full advantage of the warm, saltwater pools, and they played (and played!) at the arcade. We enjoyed watching Frozen with popcorn in front of a warm fireplace, and the food was amazing. We had a great little weekend getaway—the perfect way to end March break!

Disclaimer: We received a complimentary stay at the Brookstreet Hotel including special perks. All views and opinion are my own.


The Blacklist

I love great television. My favourite shows include House of Cards, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Blacklist. I love shows that keep you watching and wanting more, shows that keep you on the edge of your seat, and deliver non-stop suspense and action—shows like The Blacklist. 

If you're not already watching The Blacklist, on Global, you should start—as soon as possible! Seriously, take my word for it—you will love it. (And guys... I'm never wrong!)

The Blacklist is about Raymond Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. He mysteriously turns himself in and offers information on everyone he has ever worked with before, under one condition—that he only works with a new FBI agent, Elizabeth "Liz" Keen, played by Megan Boone.

Raymond Reddington is played by James Spader, who has been in Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, Crash, Secretary, and other great movies. Of course, I know him best as Steff from Pretty In Pink, a movie I've see over a hundred times.

Are you looking forward to watching The Blacklist? I'm excited for a brand-new episode on March 17th!

I've also got a great giveaway for fans of The Blacklist—if you'd like to win a t-shirt and mug, just leave me a comment below. (One person will win the mug and t-shirt, and I have three additional t-shirts to give away, too—good luck!)

Happy TV watching!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post. All views and opinions about The Blacklist are my own. 


The Muppets Most Wanted: Giveaway!

Going to the movies is one of my favourite activities to do with the family, especially now that my children are older—six and eight years old—and are able to sit through an entire movie without so much as a complaint. We loved Frozen and The Lego Movie, and now we are pumped to see Muppets Most Wanted.

Muppets Most Wanted is going to be two hours of non-stop laughter, I'm sure. Tina Fey, Christoph Waltz, Salma Hayek, Lady Gaga, Stanley Tucci, Zack Galifianakis and Ricky Gervais all in one movie, along with Kermit and Miss Piggy? I'm loving it already!

Muppets Most Wanted hits theatres on March 21st, and I'll be attending the advanced screening   next week, on March 19th. I'm also giving away THREE family four passes so you can come see the movie before everyone else, too! 

To enter, just leave me a comment below telling me who your favourite Muppets character is and you'll be entered to win.

This giveaway is for Ottawa (and area) residents, and I'll randomly selected winners on March 16th.

Good Luck!

Luscious Locks With Matrix

As someone who is forever trying to find great products for my naturally curly hair, when I come across something that works, smells great, and does what it's supposed to do—I just have to tell everyone. I love sharing good news, you know?

I was so happy to receive an awesome package from Matrix a few weeks ago.

I put the hair products to the test, and I really loved the shampoos and conditioners I tried. (I received the Fall In Love With Your Colour and Repair Your Broken Hair sets.)

These shampoo and conditioner sets help assist with all your hair care needs, from adding volume to keeping your colour vibrant. They're designed to cater to what your specific hair needs are—helping repair heat-damanged hair (like mine!) and by giving you smoother, shinier hair that smells really, really delicious.

The five Together Forever sets by Matrix retail for $16.00, and are only available in salons, but I'm giving away a set to one of my lucky readers!

I'm giving away the Add Some Heat To Your Life shampoo and conditioner set. I promise you will love it.

To enter, just leave me a comment below telling me what you love the most about your luscious locks!

I'll pick a winner randomly on March 17th.

Good Luck!
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