Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy To Be A ShoeMe.ca Shoe Style Ambassador (Plus A Shoe Giveaway!)

Shopping, as you all know, is a passion of mine. I love sharing shopping news with my readers and friends and letting everyone know about fantastic deals, new products I love, and great new sites that are worth checking out. When it comes to retail therapy, there is nothing quite like shoe shopping.


Several weeks ago, I was approached by Shoeme.ca and was asked if I wanted to be their Shoe Style Ambassador. I said YES! YES! YES! quickly, without hesitation, because, well, shopping and shoes? What's not to love? Sigh...

Shoeme.ca is an online Canadian shoe store that carries all the brands you love: Nine West, Sam Edelman, Geox, Hush Puppies, Stride Rite, Timberland, UGG, ECCO, Crocs, Converse, Donald J Pliner, BCBG, and so much more.

    They have such a great selection of shoes for everyone in your family—women, men, and children—and they provide amazing customer service, like free express shipping, (I received my shoes in one day!) and free returns. Shopping online has seriously never been easier.  I've been disappointed before because some of my favourite stores don't ship to Canada. With ShoeMe.ca, you can buy shoes for anyone, and the only problem you'll have is deciding which pair of shoes to buy, because of the great selection.

    I had the hard job (I love my job!) of selecting a new pair of shoes I could wear this season, and it was tough to decide. I narrowed down my search to only Nine West, and went from there... but still—which ones should I choose?


    I love both these pairs of Nine West shoes, but I went with the second pair, below. I love a great pair of beige platform heels, and I know I'll be able to wear them with all my dresses this summer. 


    I love wearing them with a LBD, with skinny jeans, and with basically... everything!



    I'd love for you to experience how awesome ShoeMe.ca is, too, so I'm giving away a pair of shoes!

    Yes, any pair of shoes from ShoeMe.ca! It should be a pair for you, because you deserve it, but feel free to select a pair for your kids or anyone else you feel like shopping for.

    Enter here:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Please note: This giveaway is for Canadian residents. Good Luck, everyone!


    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Hair Damage Criminal: Guilty!

    I am guilty of being a hair "damage criminal." Weekly blow-dry's are a routine part of my life, and I love using my flat iron almost every day. (I know, so bad, right?) My hair is very damaged because I have been highlighting it blonde since I was 16 years old, and my weekly blow-dry's at the salon by my favourite hairdresser does not help my damaged hair situation! When I'm not at the salon, I'm using my blow-dryer at home.

    I've noticed this year that I had been losing some of my hair because of the damage from the colour and blow-drying, and I've started taking better care of my hair now, to make it stronger—and healthier—like it once was. I've used a lot of products at home, and have seen some results, but nothing as good as the results I have seen with using Fructis Damage Eraser by Garnier. 

    I wasn't sure it would really "reconstruct my hair's strength's by 90%" but after using it repeatedly for a few weeks, I have absolutely noticed a huge difference. I'm losing less hair when I brush it, and my hair feels and looks healthier. I don't even feel bad using my flat iron anymore, because my hair feels so much healthier.


    Along with the Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser, I've also been using the Damage Eraser Shampoo and Conditioner. They are now my favourite hair care products, and I've even brought the shampoo and conditioner to my salon to show my hair stylist.

    The Fructis Damage Eraser is not only the latest in hair care innovation from Garnier, it's made specifically for someone just like me: someone with over-processed, heat-damaged hair. It's amazing and has truly rejuvenated my hair. I used it, I loved it, and I will use it again and again because my hair isn't as damaged as it once was.


    It also smells so delicious, and now that summer is here, it's a great time to take that extra step to make sure hair is healthier, because on top of repeated blow-drying and flat-ironing, I'll be in and out of the ocean and pools, which will inevitably lead to some hair damage. Garnier to the rescue!

    If you visit the Garnier website you can find out even more about the new Fructis Damage Eraser product line, and enjoy a limited time trial offer, to see how much you'll love the product yourself! (I promise you'll love it as much as I do!)




    Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Garnier L'Oreal Canada via SheBlogs. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not indicative of the opinions or positions of Garnier L'Oreal Canada. 

    Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

    I've been married for ten years, and this June will mark my 11th wedding anniversary.  I was married in the summer of 2003 and preparing for my wedding was like a full-time job, from selecting the perfect wedding dress (thank you, Justina McCaffrey!) to selecting the venue that had the most delicious food with the biggest dance floor. We had a big, glamorous Greek wedding, and it's a day I'll always remember—it's still one of my most favourite days ever.

    Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and I have to say, my husband did a great job choosing my engagement ring. It's a diamond solitaire, six-prong set in white gold. Selecting and paying for a diamond engagement ring can be super stressful, though, especially with all the other expenses that come with weddings.


    I love that Canadian Diamond retailer Spence Diamonds offers a great payment method for couples who are trying to be financially responsible with their wedding preparations.


    The new online Spence Payment Plan gives shoppers the option to create the diamond engagement ring they really want—completely customized! How does this work? You select any diamond engagement and any diamond you want. When you pay just 15% down plus a small fee, you have a full year to pay off the remainder of the balance. This is also interest-free, which is an even better thing.

    Basically, this is how the new payment plan works:

    1. Select the engagement ring of your choice.
    2. Pay 15% down, plus a $175 prototype fee, and you'll then have 12 months to pay off the balance, interest-free.
    3. Spence Diamonds will manufacture a prototype of the ring you have purchased, a perfect "double" of the ring you'll end up with a year later. (This ring isn't real gold and doesn't have a real diamond, but it will look real, and you'll receive the real ring that's being custom made when the final payment has been made.)
    4. You will get back your $125 after you return the prototype ring, once your real ring is ready.


    More about Spence Diamonds:

    Spence Diamonds was founded in 1978 in Vancouver, Canada, and has retail locations across Canada (in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto.) Spence Dimaonds is proud to offer its customers the best possible value for top quality diamonds, the ability to create their unique handcrafted diamond engagement ring, a personalized education on diamond grading and the industry's most comprehensive no-charge guarantee. More information on Spence Diamonds, Canada’s largest Canadian-owned diamond jeweler, can be found at http://www.spencediamonds.com.

    Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post, however all views and opinions are my own.

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Shopping With Ease, Thanks To The Yellow Pages App

    Like most of you, I wake up at 6 a.m. and go to bed after midnight, and basically, don't stop moving from the moment I wake up. It's so true, that once you're a parent, you do more before 9 a.m. than you ever thought was possible. Days are always busy, our schedules and packed, and it seems we're booked until October, already. This can be both a very good thing, and a not so good thing.

    I love anything that helps me navigate my day with ease, helping me make decisions while I'm on the go, and I love the convenience of an app that answers any questions I may have. Like Yellow Pages. Yellow Pages just launched the newest version of the YP app which is really helpful, and helps make even my shopping experiences better than ever.

    I was in need of a fresh blow-dry one day, (hair emergency!) but couldn't make it to my usual salon downtown, so I just did a quick search with the YP app and voila... I had a hair appointment booked in minutes, at a cute and trendy salon just a few minutes from home!




    The YP app is available is available on Adroid and Apple Store, and allows you to discover events and find great local businesses that are offering great deals, products and services close to you, wherever you are.

    You can even search for things like hours of operation, payment methods, user reviews and more, which is so helpful when you're wanting go try something new. Everything is there for you to make the best decisions and to improve your shopping or dining experience. This new app also gives you the opportunity to share your discoveries with your friends on social networks and through text messages and email. Isn't that great?

    You can even find the closest Chinese take-out restaurant, too. Perfect for a movie or TV marathon watching night. Breaking Bad, anyone?



    The best part? The Yellow Pages app allows you to save money on gas—and with gas prices what they are, this is brilliant. The map-integrated feature on the Yellow Pages app shows you where to find the cheapest gas close to you. I won't purposely drive out of my way to find the cheapest gas, but this app makes things easy, and I know ahead of time in which direction to head.



    I love using the Yellow Pages app because I only have a few hours a day to myself, when my kids are in school, and I like to make the most of my time. With this app, I can see where the sales are, where the cheapest gas is, and the hours a store is open. This app is very helpful, and very easy to use. I love it. You can find things easily by searching, and all the answers are at your fingertips.

    The YP app totally helps me figure things out, and if you have a busy schedule, too, you will love it. It's free, and it's helpful.



    Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All views and opinions are my own. 


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    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Retro Rewind On Netflix

    I love looking through everyone's Throwback Thursday pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It makes me feel so good to know that I wasn't the only one rocking weird and wacky hair! It's a fun way to bring back memories of my youth, too, and to share with my friends and family pictures that have been sitting around in photo albums for far too long. 


    I love everything about the 80's and 90's, including the music and the classic movies. Ghostbusters is still my favourite Halloween movie of all time, and I just introduced my children to the movie Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, because I knew they would love it, and I was right! My eight year old really enjoyed it because he loves everything that has to do with science. It's such a cute movie, and made us talk about what we'd do if we were smaller than ant-sized. 

    I love that you can watch your favourite classic movies on Netflix right now—it's the very best blast from the past. 



    This month on Netflix, you can watch classics like:

    Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    Ghostbusters
    The Mighty Ducks
    Heathcliff
    The Secret of Nimh
    He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
    The Facts of Life
    The Smurfs
    Diff'rent Strokes

    I'm totally going to start watching The Facts of Life again—I loved that show so much when I was younger! 





    What retro show or movie are you just dying to watch again, and which one do you think your children will love?


    Disclaimer: I'm part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix. All views and opinions are my own.





    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    Books To Read This Summer

    The first novel I read was Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. My mom picked it up for me at the school book fair. I didn't put that book down until I was finished reading—two days later. 

    Every since I was a child, I've had a love affair with books and reading, even though for a few years the only books I read were Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, and The Baby-Sitters Club. (I think I'm a cross between Stacey, Claudia, and Mary-Anne.) Reading is a passion of mine, and reading is why I never get bored. There is always something to read, and I love getting lost in the story. In many pictures you'll find of me from summer vacations, you'll see me smiling, with a book in hand. Books came everywhere with me. 

    Thanks to Penguin Canada, I have a lot of great books to read this summer, and I'm so glad. I'll be on a very long flight soon, heading to Greece with my family, and I know reading will help pass the time on the long flight. I love a good book on the beach, too.


    Make room in your beach bag for these great books, and leave a few by your reading corner for rainy days:

    Me Before You, Jojo Moyes: I read this book in two days. Me Before You is one of those amazing books that you won't be able to put down, and you'll lose track of time until you realize it's 2 a.m. and you have to be up at 6 a.m. But it's worth the lack of sleep, trust me. It's unexpectedly romantic, lovely, and sad, and well worth the read. It'll stay with you for a long time after you've finished the last page.

    Studio Saint-Ex, Ania Szado: Rules of Civility is one of my favourite books, (and the best book I read in 2013) and apparently, Studio Saint-Ex is just as good. It's set in the 1940's, and it's about "... twentieth century fashion, French expatriates in Manhattan during World War II, the miracle of creative genius and the lives of the great writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery and the women he loves." Sounds amazing, no? 


    Naked Imperfection, Gillian Deacon: Gillian Deacon is a much loved award-winning Canadian broadcaster and environmental writer. Naked Imperfection is her personal and brave story of her breast cancer diagnosis and her strength and courage moving forward. I've started reading it, and it's an excellent book. I'd recommend it to anyone. 

    Then and Always, Dani Atkins: This is book I am just dying to start reading. (I love the pretty cover, too.)  It's going to be the first book I start as soon as I get on the plane. I'm pretty sure I'll be finished reading it before we even land! "Absorbing, surprising, and heart-rending, Dani Atkins's debut novel follows a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life... just not the one she remembers." 


    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin: I have heard the best things about this book, so I can't wait to start reading this story about a book store owner, and his life. "As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read and why we love." 

    The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer: The Interestings was named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Chicago Tribune, and this book has been recommended to me by friends who are avid readers, so no doubt I'll love it. Also, it's my kind of story: "The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed." This books deals with friendship, power, money, talent and more. Oh, I know I'm going to love it! 



    Happy reading, everyone!


    Disclaimer: Penguin Canada sent me a package of amazing books that I'm reading (and will be reading over the next couple of months.) Thank you Penguin Canada for making this reader so happy.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Keen Shoes: Follow Your Feet (And Make Your Own Adventure)



    As a mom, every day is an adventure. When I wake up in the morning, I never know what the day will bring, but I know it will involve some excitement, even if it's getting my kids out the door on time for school.  (That can be a work-out in itself!) Now that the weather has warmed up, it's hard to keep my children inside, which is a very good thing. We've been craving warmer, carefree days for a long time now, and we love spending as much time as possible outside, exploring the great outdoors.

    Taking a walk after dinner, spending time at the parks in our neighbourhood, and exploring the forest in the ravine near our home is an evening ritual for my family during spring and summer.

    Although I'm a fan of heels of all kinds, and only wear heels when I'm out of the house—yes, even to the grocery store—I've come to realize that I have to put comfort first is when I'm out exploring with my boys. Because going down a ravine in heels is just not wise, you know? (I don't want to break a heel!) Also, flats and sandals can be stylish and cute, and of course, completely comfortable.

    I received a pair of KEEN sandals as part of my involvement with the 2014 Chatelaine Tasters and Testers program, and the first thing I thought when I saw the shoes was how comfortable they looked, and how they were definitely coming to Greece with me this summer.

    They reminded me of my favourite sandals that got me through quite a few summers in Europe, where I spent many hours of every day walking around the towns and villages I was exploring.


    Wearing these sandals on the warm days we've had so far this spring has been great for my feet. I'm even able to catch up to my boys when they are riding their scooters or bikes, I can feel safe about exploring uneven ground, and I don't have to worry about breaking a heel.

    Every evening as we explore the great parks and walking paths in our neighbourhood, it's a journey. We talk about our day, laugh, and play games. It's exercise, it's fun, and it's our time to bond, something that's so important when you consider how busy our days can get with school, work, and extra-curricular activates that have us driving around to lessons and classes instead of spending time together, without a set agenda.


    Swinging at the park, riding our bikes, and just taking walks with my family are important to me, and make each day memorable. What I'm wearing on my feet can increase the "fun" factor, too. My KEEN sandals are perfect for this season.


    Disclaimer: As a member of the Chatelaine Tasters and Testers Program, I receive compensation and products for review. All views and opinions are my own. 


    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Happy Mother's Day to everyone, especially to my wonderful mom, who does so much for me and my boys (and my sister and her children, too!) every single day. From helping us take care of our children, to cooking home-cooked delicious meals for us, and traveling with us, we are blessed to have her in our lives.


    I'm thankful every single moment that I've been given the gift of being a mom to my two amazing boys. They make me laugh every single day, and they make my heart burst with pride and happiness all the time. 


    Even when my six year old tells one of his teachers that I am a fire fighter, because "Mommy, what if he doesn't know what a blogger is?"

    Being a mom is the hardest, most emotional, never-ending, rewarding job in the universe, so today, pat yourself on the back, sleep in, (ha!) and treat yourself—to coffee while it's still warm, to a deserving massage, and to extra long cuddles with your little (or big) ones. 

    Enjoy your day, whatever you decide to do. 

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    The Complete Mother's Day Gift Guide For Every Mother

    Mother's Day is almost here and that means I'll be spending the day with my family, thankful for the great gift of being a mom to the two greatest boys. Although the most meaningful gifts are those made with love, like personal cards and crafts, receiving something extra is always nice. After all, every mom deserves something special on Mother's Day.

    I've put together a complete gift guide for Mother's Day, featuring products I think will speak to every mom out there. Here's my Mother's Day segment on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, so you can see and hear for yourself how great these products are. I couldn't talk about everything in length on-air, but I've got the full rundown for you here.




    The complete Mother's Day Gift Guide:

    Books: Books as gifts are always a good idea—for any occasion, especially Mother's Day. If I only received books as presents for the rest of my life, I'd be very happy. Here are some books that are great to give and to receive for Mother's Day: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, and Then And Always by Dani Atkins. I can't wait to start reading these! Only one problem: Which one do I start first? 



    Kobo: If I had to be locked in a store overnight, I'd want it to be a bookstore, or a department store.  I love having a pile of books to read on my night table. I get nervous if I don't have at least three books ready to be read, and I hate coming to the end of a great book. I love the experience of shopping for books, but many of my friends enjoy reading books and magazines on a Kobo. The Kobo Arc 7 HD delivers the highest resolution pixel density which provides a a great display that offers sharp text and vivid colours. From now until Mother's Day, you can save $20.00 off this Kobo at any Chapters/Indigo, plus $30.00 in ebooks and emagazines

    Ste. Anne's Spa: A spa day is the perfect gift for Mother's Day. Ste. Anne's Spa is one of Canada's most loved and popular spas. Why not ask for a weekend away with your girlfriends? A gift card to Ste. Anne's Spa is a beautiful idea. If you can't make it the spa, bring the spa to you! Ste. Anne's Spa has their own skin care line called Skin Nourishment. The hand cream is delicious, and the face cleanser, toner, and daily moisturizer work really well, too. Using these products will make you smell—and feel—like you've spent the day at the spa, even if you've never left home. 



    Etsy.com: I love Etsy, and like Pinterst, I get lost in a world of online beautiful things for hours. Online shopping can be a dangerous thing! A gift card to Etsy.ca is a great way for mom to select the gift she wants, whether it's a new print for the house, a new pair of hand-made earrings, or a special frame. 

    Wee Piggies and Paws: Wee Piggies makes beautiful sterling silver jewelry with your child's handprint. They also make great crystal keychains with your children's photos inside. So cool. Such a great gift idea for a new mom, don't you think? So original and beautiful!



    Shoes: As a ShoeMe.ca Shoe Style Ambassador, I get to test out new shoes from amazing brands like Nine West, Sam Edelman, BCBG, and Keds. Right now, you can receive $50.00 off any purchase of $100.00, and enjoy free shipping. When I placed my order, I received my shoes the next day. Just enter the code CTV50 when you're checking out. This offer is good until May 7th, 2014. 




    Clarisonic: I've heard many amazing things about the Clarisonic skin brush and a few of my closest friends use theirs all the time. Their skin is noticeably more radiant, so even before I put it to use, I knew first-hand that it really did work. The Clarisonic's band new Deep Pore Decongesting Solution  comes with a cleanser, a uniquely designed brush head and a decongesting clay mask. You'll have flawless looking skin in no time at all. This Clarisonic retails for $200.00 and is available online at Clarisonic and at Sephora stores.



    Lemon Lily Tea: Gifting tea to someone, especially a mother, grandmother, or mother-in-law is a great gift idea. Lemon Lily Tea is a Canadian company that makes organic, all-natural tea and sells over 150 different kinds of tea (including Earl Grey Darjeeling, Egyptian Chamomile, Apple and Cinnamon, and Maple. The tins the loose-leaf teas come in are simple adorable, too.


    Krups: The new Krups Lattecino is the perfect product for adding a touch of something extra at home. As much as I love my Starbucks and Second Cup, I can't make it to my favourite coffee shops every day on the mad dash out in the morning. The Krups Lattecino comes with an attached milk frothed that can steam and froth milk, so you can make cappuccino's and latte's at home. The Krups Lattecino sells for $149.99 and is available for purchase online at krupsonlinestore.ca and at select home retailers. 

    Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4x: It's almost bikini season, and that means we need silky-smooth skin to go with our bathing suits and bikinis! This product is the only Canada Medical Device Licensed hair removal laser for at-home use, and costs only a fraction of what you'd be paying for the same type of service at the spa or dermatologist's office. You can see results in as little as two weeks. It's available at triabeauty.ca, and at Sephora, and retails for $515.00. 

    Art: Oringial art work is one of the most unique gift ideas. Mother's Day is a great day to give your mom a piece that'll stay on her walls forever, and it's something that can will lose its value. Art is priceless. I love the new spring pieces by artist (and my mom) Katerina Mertikas. Also a great idea? A membership to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Even a gift card to shop the AGO store is a great idea, because there are so many unique, hand-crafted items to choose from. The AGO is also a non-profit organization. 




    Mereadesso: A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a tea at Chateau Laurier with the owner and creator of Mereadesso. The Mereadesso moisturizer is a day, night and under-eye cream as well as a primer and serum, all in one. It's perfect for traveling, because it makes your beauty routine super convenient. You can buy this great moisturizer at mereadesso.com. The all-in-one moisturizer sells for $120.00. 


    WaySpa.com: I love WaySpa.com because you can choose your spa treatment and salon of choice (from salons across North America) conveniently online. A gift card for a massage? Yes, please! 




    Hamilton Beach Hand Blender: Kitchen gadgets are a great Mother's Day gift idea. Great for Father's Day too, of course, but right now it's May, and the thought of a new hand blender makes me really excited! I don't bake or cook all the time, but lately, I'm finding myself in the kitchen more than ever, probably because my boys love baking with me. The Hamilton Beach Hand Blender is perfect, compact, and really helps make spending time in the kitchen enjoyable. 


    Hamilton Beach 4-Slice Toaster: I have two kids who almost always want the same breakfast in the mornings. In my house, most mornings are hectic, and we're always rushing out the door to head to school. This 4-slice toaster is perfect, because I can get breakfast made in no time at all. It's stainless steel, and looks great with all the other stainless steel appliances in my kitchen. 





    Sobey's gift card: What goes great with new kitchen appliances? How about a Sobey's gift card so you can go shop for all the yummy food you want? I love grocery shopping almost as much as I love shopping for shoes, and I'm not kidding. Why not try some of the new Jamie Oliver foods, too, to add something new to your kitchen routine? 

    No matter what you're giving or receiving this Mother's Day, I hope it's a special one, and I hope you do it what you love best! If you'd like more information on any of these products, just leave a comment below, or email me.

    Disclaimer: I received products and gift cards to review and keep for Mother's Day.  All views and opinions are my own, and I only promote the products I truly love, use, and would give to other people as gifts. 

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