Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Get Under The Sheets With Your Favourite Netflix Show


Summer is here and that means the television probably won't be turned on at all during the day. When the weather is nice out, we're never indoors—we're travelling, we're out exploring, and we're just taking in all the wonderful things that summer has to offer. And there is a lot to enjoy during our very short summer here in Ottawa.

No matter how busy my days are, once the kids are asleep and my work is done, I love relaxing under the sheets with my favourite Netflix shows—House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, (have you seen Season Two yet? I'm so bummed I had to miss the screening in Toronto with the Netflix Stream Team!) and of course, my most favourite show of all time—Breaking Bad.


I became addicted to Orange Is The New Black instantly, and of course, the same thing happened to me with Breaking Bad—can you say obsessed? I watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad in a few weeks. I watched three episodes a night and only stopped myself from watching more because I wanted to make it last as long as I could—but it still didn't last long enough, because I miss Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, a lot. Sob!


Now that summer is here, I can slow down a bit, and re-watch my favourite episodes of House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and Orange Is The New Black whenever I feel like it. And while I'm watching? Maybe I'll even be sipping something delicious, like this awesome Orange Is The New Black inspired cocktail, called the Orange Chill.

What you need:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 or 4 mint leaves
1 12 oz (355 ml) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 12 oz (355 ml) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 oz rum
Sparkling water or soda

How to make it:

In a small pot, place the water, sugar, and mint leaves over heat. Stir it up, baby, and make it simmer until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let it cool. Toss the mint leaves.

In a Tupperware container, mix the two juice concentrates and the "syrup" you just made. Put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Watch some Breaking Bad.

Or watch any other awesome Netflix show, like Suits, or Shameless, or Friday Night Lights (I'll be starting this series soon, because I've heard great things about it!)

Take out the orange mixture and use a fork to "rake" the surface of the slushy mixture. Scoop some out, put into a cocktail glass, and top with a shot of rum.

Add some sparking water or soda, and enjoy—while watching your favourite episode of Orange Is The New Black.

Happy Netflix watching, friends!


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. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The End Of Another Chapter

It's June, my most favourite month of all. Summer is finally here, the weather is beautiful, there is an excitement in the air because school is coming to an end for an another year, and it's vacation time. June is also a very bittersweet time, filled with cha-cha-cha-changes.... both good and bad.

I volunteer at my children's school often, and right now, the kids are wilder than usual, the walls are no longer filled with art, projects and crafts, and the countdown to summer vacation is on. I've stopped caring about packing the perfect school lunch, and just randomly throw pieces of food in the lunch bag and go.

My oldest son is finishing grade three, and he's already said good-bye to one of hist best friends who just moved to Nova Scotia. Promises were made to stay in touch, via emails and text messages, and already they are texting non-stop. It's adorable to see, even though it breaks my heart a bit, too.  His other best friend is going to a different school next year. But at least they'll still have each other—they're just a two minute drive away from one another.

I know my son will feel these changes when school starts again in September. He'll be without his two closest buddies, and he'll be starting French Immersion. I know he'll be fine—after all, he's very well-liked, he's smart, and he's incredibly kind to everyone. With his personality, I know he'll be okay, but still—my heart feels a bit sad because, well, change can sometimes suck.

Saying goodbye to friends is not my favourite thing.

I reminded my son that my best friends never went to the same school as me, and I survived. And even now, many of my closest friends live in other cities and countries.

School is over this week, and then we're heading to Greece. My youngest son will be finished kindergarten... and next year, he'll be in grade one. I'm excited, and sad, because he's growing up way too quickly. I have loved working from home this year because I've been able to take my kids to school, and I've loved hanging out with my littlest before his afternoon kindergarten class. I made volunteering in the classrooms a priority this year, too. It has been a pleasure seeing friendships formed this year for my youngest son. He's got a lot of great friends, and both my boys had the greatest teachers this year.

The days are long, but the years are short, and I feel this so strongly as I see my boys growing up so quickly right before my eyes. I  wish I could press pause on time, because I didn't think it would go by this fast... and although we're enjoying all the moments, it's scary how quickly the years go by.

Take it all in... cherish all the moments, and make memories to last a lifetime. The memories will always be there, even though life will always be full of change—the welcoming kind of change, the bittersweet kind of change, and the sad change.

I am so proud of both my boys on successfully finishing another year of school. They are amazing little people who make my heart so happy every single day. I'm also very thankful that they go to a wonderful school with amazing teachers, wonderful friends, and awesome, involved parents. It makes  all the difference.

Here's to a fun and safe summer, everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ottawa's Best Kept Shopping Secret

I'm a shopaholic, but I don't have a real strategy when it comes to shopping. I usually just walk into my favourite store or department store, and buy what I love. Sometimes I'll even avoid looking at the price tag if I really love something, because it might be too painful to see how expensive it is. This is not a good strategy, you guys.

My favourite stores to shop at are Club Monaco, Gap, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, and BCBG. BCBG dresses are my favourite, but they are so pricey....

But... did you know you can buy your favourite BCBG dresses for more than half off? Ottawa's best kept shopping secret (well, Gatineau, but same thing, really!) is the BCBG outlet. A friend told me about this a few years ago and ever since then I always go shopping at the BCBG outlet for special events, or just because I feel like shopping.

Everything in this store is 30-70% off, so you're really saving big on gorgeous BCBG evening wear, tops, skirts, jackets, shoes, and accessories.

Today I picked up a BCBG watch, normally $300, for $69.00.  Not a bad deal, huh?


I also scored some perfectly soft and comfortable black ballet leather flats, perfect for my long flight to Greece next week! These were only $22.00. Original price? $200.00! These even fold up nicely in your purse, and come with a pretty black bag, too, so if you're dancing all night in your heels, make sure to pack these!


And since white is the new black this season, I couldn't leave without a new little white dress, pictured below. This pretty dress was 70% off the original price, and I bought it for under $100.00.


I'd say that was a good shopping day, no?

I almost bought these shoes for $60.00, but I decided I didn't need another pair. But you should totally get them, because they're fabulous. And cheap!


I love sharing happy shopping news with my readers, so if you're in the Ottawa area, head over to the BCBG outlet in the Les Promenades Gatineau, just a short drive from downtown.

I promise you, you won't leave empty handed, and you'll feel great because you'll be saving a ton of money, too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Keep The Memories Alive With A Photo Book From Blurb

I love looking through old photo albums with my children, reminiscing of days gone by. The old albums at my parent's house and even my grandparent's home are filled with photos from my childhood, vacation photos, and pictures of all my birthday parties, complete with bad hair and awesomely tacky 80's clothes.

I remember coming back from summer or winter vacation and running to the photo store to develop our rolls of film, anxiously waiting for that one hour to pass before we could have the pictures in our hands. The days before the selfie were much different, because we didn't really even know how many of our pictures would be "album-worthy."

I know we take way more pictures now of our children than our parents took of us, thanks for our smartphones we have at the ready to snap pictures, all the time. The problem is, I have thousands of pictures of my children and family but hardly any albums or pictures printed out. 

Thanks to Blurb, I just created a beautiful photo album with our recent vacation pictures. I love that Blurb instantly connects to my saved photos on my computer, Instagram, and Facebook. I take so many pictures when we're on vacation, and I just created an album with some vacation memories of our trips from the last few years. I know I'll be making another album (or two, or three!) when we return from our summer vacation in Greece.

I love this beautiful hardcover photo book so much!


The picture quality inside is great, too.



A photo album documenting vacation memories is a great book to leave on your coffee table so everyone can flip through when they come over. It's a conversation starter, and more than that, your memories are right there in front of you, always. I love giving Blurb photo books as presents, too—because believe it or not, even my parents and in-law's aren't printing out pictures anymore like they used to. Pictures and photo books are always a great gift idea. 

It's so easy using Blurb to create a hardcover or softcover photo book, and it's also very affordable. You can even share your Blurb photo book with family and friends on Facebook, your blog, or your website. 

Now that summer is here, it's the perfect time to get your holiday photos together and make a great book with all your memories. If you've been putting this off, I can help you.

I have a coupon to give to one of my readers worth $50.00 to create a perfect photo book!

Enter here to win a Blurb photo book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Family Travel Tips (With Help From CATSA)

I love everything about travelling except long line-ups at airports. If' you're prepared you can save a lot of time, though—and if you're travelling with children, you're going to want to make note of these great travel tips that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has shared with me, just in time for summer vacation.

Gearing up for a family trip?

Flying with family is no simple task. Getting everyone packed, organized and ready to go through security with little fuss can present quite a challenge. Thankfully, the CATSA has a few pointers to help make your summer travel experience run smoothly.



Know how to carry-on

Children get hungry for snacks. You know this and you want to be prepared. Solid foods such as apples, granola bars or sandwiches can be packed in your carry-on for the plane ride. Any liquid food, such as yogurt, pudding or peanut butter, must be in containers of 100ml or less and placed in a clear, closed, resealable one-litre plastic bag.

If you’re traveling with a baby (under the age of two), items such as baby food, breast milk, formula, water and juice are exempt from the 100 ml limit and do not have to be placed in a plastic bag. However, you must present these items to the screening officer for inspection.

Other personal items to keep the kids entertained, like iPods, tablets and toys, can go in your child’s carry-on baggage. Be sure to leave toys that look like weapons (e.g. water guns, toy grenades, etc.) at home.

Check wait times

Preparing for your departure is easier with CATSA’s online wait time indicator. Wait times for security screening checkpoints major airports provide extra convenience when planning your trip.

Breeze through security

Did you know there is a Family/Special needs lane? This lane is for passengers who need more time or help with their belongings to get through security. Check when you arrive if this lane is available.

Make sure your family wears easy-to-remove outerwear, clothing without snaps, metal buttons or studs and be sure to limit jewelry to small items such as earrings. Let your child walk through the metal detector if they are able to do so on their own.

Travelling with the family pooch?

Contact your airline in advance to find out about their policy for passengers travelling with pets. If your pet is travelling in the cabin with you, remove it from its carrying case, send the carrying case through the x-ray scanner, hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.

Follow these tips and the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy your family vacation.

Additional travel advice can be found online at catsa.gc.ca, on Twitter (@catsa_gc), or on Pinterest (pinterest.com/catsagc.)



Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you by CATSA. I received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Top Summer Travel Destinations

Are you as excited as I am for summer vacation? With only a couple of weeks left before school is out and we head overseas to Greece, I thought it would be a great time to talk about travelling with the entire family.

I was on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, talking about some of my favourite holiday spots—locations that are perfect for the entire family.

Here's the link if you wanted to watch the entire segment!



Here are some highlights from the destinations I talked about on CTV:  

  • Heavenly Spa by Westin.
  • 6,500 yards of championship golf course (and you can take private or group lessons.)
  • Complimentary shuttle serve from the beach resort to the golf courses.
  • Ten clay tennis courts with six lighted courts for evening games.
  • One of the 50 Best Tennis Resorts in the world, and USPTA Professionals area available for private or group lessons.
  • Westin Kids Club for kids 4-12 (Arts and Crafts, Swimming, Beach sports and exploration, movie nights, golf, tennis.)
  • 2 pools: infinity pool and lagoon-style pool with cabanas. 


  • Famiy friendly resort with a brand-new Westin Kids Club.
  • Luxury 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites, all with waterfront views and private screened in decks.
  • Full kitchens in rooms along with washers and dryers.
  • Large lagoon-style pool.
  • Marina with water sports.
  • Secret "poutine menu" for travelling Canadians prepared by a Canadian chef.

  • Over 20 pools, including three children's pools and a lazy river.
  • Dolphin Cay to watch the dolphin show and swim with the dolphins.
  • Huge casino and shopping area.
  • Marine Habitat, with over 50,000 marine animals.
  • 21 restaurants and bars.

  • Relaxed, casual beach town.
  • Anchorage By The Sea is a great family resort with an indoor and outdoor pool, and a small children's wading pool, with ocean views.
  • Hike or walk along the Marginal Way which boasts spectacular views of the ocean and Marginal Way is easy enough for young children to walk through, too.
  • Perkins Cove is a bike or car ride away, and it's a charming little fishing town. It's a quaint area that has a lot of shops, restaurants, and famous lighthouses. 


  • Short drive from Ottawa.
  • Great hotels, pools, activities and a fun gondola ride.
  • Amazig bike paths with a wide range of trails for everyone from beginner to expert.
  • Park-National du Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentians is great for hiking and camping.
  • Quaint mountain village, world-class sporting and cultural and even a great nightlife.


  • Massive 84 degrees indoor water park with 100,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, amazing slides, zero-entry pools, a wave pool, and more.
  • Outdoor pool.
  • Scoops Kids Spa (and a spa for adults.)
  • Grand lobby for story time in pi's.
  • Great food options in the restaurants.
  • Outdoor mini golf.
  • Arcade.
  • Rooms with bunk beds.
  • Peach picking in Niagara Falls.



Hope I've inspired you to get out and enjoy summer with your family. If you need any information about any of the places I've talked about, feel free to email me. 

Happy travelling!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Get There Faster With The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

The two two things I love the most in this world, besides my family and friends, of course, is shopping and travelling. I love using my credit card when I go shopping because sometimes I don't want to know the damage I've done until later on... perhaps that doesn't make me the smartest shopper on the block, but I can find great deals when I'm out shopping, so that counts for something, and if I'm using the right credit card, every time I shop, I'm getting something back that repays me in a huge way—like earning free flights and vacations!

Because I'm an avid Visa user, I love that with the TD Aeroplan Visa InfiniteCard, I can actually earn miles so I can start travelling sooner—isn't that wonderful? I love to travel, whether it's to somewhere new, or to a favourite vacation destination for me and my family, like south Florida. What happens to me is I start craving a new vacation as soon as I'm home from a vacation, because, well, I love to travel and I am always looking forward to the next time I can get away!

With the TD Aeroplan Visa InfiniteCard, I receive a welcome bonus of 15,000 Aeroplan Miles, which gets me to my chosen destination even faster!

With over 150 Aeroplan partners  and brands, and with 100 online retailers through Aeroplan's eStore, earning miles has never been easier. You'll earn 1.5 miles for every one dollar you spend on gas, grocery, and drug store purchases just by using your cards, and you can even early 1 mile for one dollar you spend on all other purchases using your card.

Bonus: there are also special offers tailored to your card usage, and great benefits from Air Canada, too, like your 1st checked bag is free! (How great is that? I think it's fabulous!) You'll also receive priority check-in when travelling on an Aeroplan flight reward, operated by Air Canada.

I don't know about you, but if I'm going to be using a credit card, it might as well be worth my time, and earning miles to travel has never been easier!




Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I have received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Birthday Party Ideas In Ottawa

I love planning my children's birthday parties, and most of the time, we have the celebrations in our home, even though kids are loud and crazy, because I love entertaining in my house. (Wine helps, too!)

Usually with my oldest son we have his birthday party outside, since it's during the summer, and luckily, we've always had great weather. 

We have a lot of fun with his parties—from ice cream stations to a cotton candy machine and popcorn machines, the kids always have a blast playing outside, and inside, too. We have games, crafts, and so much more, and it's such a memorable time. 

For the last several years, we've had a great big pool party at my in-laws house, because they have a beautiful big backyard, with a great sized pool for all the kids (and adults!) to enjoy. 

Nothing like a summer birthday party that includes a BBQ, friends, and swimming, right? We like to go all out for the cakes, too! Every year it's something different for both our boys, depending on what they're loving that year, from sharks to Minecraft. (Yes, you can even eat the shark's head!)


My favourite creation was my oldest son's Minecraft cake last year—it was exactly what he wanted, and it tasted amazing, too.


For my youngest son who loves animals, especially crabs and alligators, we ordered him a crab and alligator cake last year, and he loved it so much. It went along with his Little Ray's Reptile Zoo party. Little Ray's come over to our house, complete with a full-sized alligator, a python, a falcon, a scorpion and a tarantula. I was scared, but the kids had the time of their life!


We work with a wonderful cake lady who always create for us exactly what we want. My other favourite cake was the huge treasure chest cake she made, complete with chocolate pearls, for my son's pirate-themed party. Everything was edible, actually—it was so unique and cool!


This past January, to celebrate my little one's sixth birthday, we had a great Ottawa magician come over to entertain him and his little friends. He was great, and came highly recommend from many of my friends. I knew the kids would have a blast with him. He's also a great balloon creator, and the kids all got to take home whatever they wanted, from flowers to animals! If you're looking for a great magician for your child's birthday party, or even for a baptism, check out this great Ottawa magic man! You won't be disappointed.


There are so many wonderful things to do for children's birthday's in Ottawa, from entertaining in the home with magicians, animals, or just having a classic outdoor pool party. If you don't feel like entertaining in the home, you can always check out Ottawa's many museums because they offer great birthday party package, too. We love visiting the Children's Museum, and they have fun birthday party packages for kids from three to 12 years old. 

My favourite loot bag idea? Books, and Mabel's Labels Loot Bag Combos! We have ordered these for a few parties and they're a huge hit with everyone. 


Whatever you decide to do, have fun, and happy celebrating!

Blog Designed by: NW Designs