Join Us For An #UrbanBarnBarrhaven Twitter Party on March 5th!

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I'm excited to announce that I'm working with Urban Barn again as their Spokesperson and Brand Ambassador for Ottawa's newest store in Barrhaven! That's right, Ottawa— a third Urban Barn is opening on March 7th, and you can expect to see all the usual gorgeous items for the home in the new store. What's in store at Urban Barn this spring? Think fresh, think colourful, think vibrant. You can sail away with navy and yellow pieces, accessorize with pops or bright orange and aqua, and transform your favourite room with neutral greys and soft green hues.

To find out more—and to win amazing prizes from Urban Barn—please join me as I host a Twitter party on  Thursday, March 5th, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m EST.  I'd love for you to join me, @MrsLoulou,  and @FeistyFrugal as we'll be chatting about getting the home ready for spring—out with old and the cold, and finally, in with the new—new furniture, bright colours, and home decor ideas designed to brighten up any space of your home! The new spring collection at Urban Barn is perfection.

Urban Barn has all the pieces I need for my home, and I love how they change things up for each season. Sometimes, all you need are a few items for the home to make things feel and look brand new.

During the Twitter party, we'll be giving away some great prizes! You can win:

Echo Wall Clock valued at $249
Brockman Jewellery Box valued at $69
Three $50 gift certificates
One Grand Prize of $100 gift certificate

Here are the details you need to know:

Twitter Party: Thursday, March 5th at 8 PM EST
Follow: @MrsLoulou, @FeistyFrugal, @Urban_Barn
Hashtag: #UrbanBarnBarrhaven

And here is a special promotion for those of you joining us during our Twitter Party tonight, for 15% off furniture that you can redeem in-store on Grand Opening Day, Saturday, March 7th! Happy Shopping!

Please RSVP below. See you soon—can't wait!
See you soon!

Welcome Back, House Of Cards.

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Are you ready?

I'm ready. I think. Do you remember how season two of House of Cards left us? I do.


House of Cards returns today on Netflix. Based on how things ended, we can expect another exciting season, especially since Frank is now the POTUS. And what's in store for Claire? Well, you've got to watch to find out!

I'm excited (and nervous!) to welcome Frank Underwood back in my life. Claire, not so much, because I'm terrified of her. (Even though she has a great wardrobe.)

I get obsessed with great television shows—like the best show of all—Breaking Bad. I think I watched all five season in less than three weeks. I'm pretty sure I'll be finished House of Cards before the weekend is over.

For the last couple of years, I haven't watched anything on TV unless it's been on Netflix Canada,  because I'm never left disappointed.  I can watch Orange Is The New Black, catch up on Mad Men, watch Breaking Bad again and again, and of course, indulge in House of Cards. I also enjoy watching the great family movies and TV shows that are perfect to watch with my children.

There are plenty of entertaining shows and movies to watch on Netflix Canada with the kids, and movie nights (or nights where we all agree to watch the same show on Netflix—like Full House—are always a good time, too. We cuddle together on the couch in front of the fireplace when it's cold outside. (And baby, it's been cold outside!)

Coming up this March on Netflix Canada: some amazing movies (like Cruel Intentions!) and TV shows, so stay tuned and I'll tell you all about what you can expect, soon.

 For now, happy binge watching House of Cards!

Disclaimer: I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix Canada as part of the Netflix Canada Stream Team. All views and opinions are my own.

Love To Shop? Join Me For a #Flipp4Life Twitter Party (And Win!)

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What's your favourite app? I love Instagram and use it more than Facebook and Twitter. I love apps that are helpful and easy to use, and one of my new favourite apps is Flipp. If you love to shop—like I do—this app is for you. Actually, let me rephrase that: if you love to shop AND love to save time and money—this app is for you!

Flipp is available on the iphone and Android and the new 2.0 version of Flipp includes a unqiue Shopping List feature to help you check things off your list as you're shopping. Seriously, how many times have you been in the grocery store only to get home to realize you forgot the one thing you were there to buy? Happens to me all the time, but with the Flpp app, no more. The Shopping List is great because as you add items to your list, Flipp will find all the local deals for you—all the deals you don't have to look for in the paper flyers anymore.

Flipp is simply the easiest way to browse flyers—over 400 retail flyers from national chains as well as hundreds of local stores to help you find the latest sales in your community.

Flipp. Search. Clip. Shop. Save. It's really that simple.

Join me tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. for the #Flipp4Life Twitter party. We are going to be celebrating the newest feature, The Shopping List, and we'll be giving away TWO $250 VISA gift cards, to get you even more in the shopping mood!

See you on Twitter! Don't forget to follow me, @MrsLoulou, and @getflipp so you don't miss out on the fun.

Disclaimer: I received compensation for my work with Flipp. All views and opinions are my own.

Oscars 2015: Best Dressed

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The Oscars are my Super Bowl, and tonight I started getting ready at the crack of dawn. Actually, that's not entirely true. I was up at the crack of dawn, but I wasn't getting Oscar-ready. I love watching the Oscars at home, with tissues by my side, since I always shed tears for the winners. (I also shed a tear because I wish I was at the Oscars, too, in a gorgeous designer gown, walking the red carpet and quickly doing an outfit change in my hotel room for the after-parties. I mean! How much fun would that be?)

The best part of the Oscars, of course, are the gorgeous gowns everyone is wearing. Who wore what best is almost more important than who took home the Oscar.

Here are the gowns I LOVED at the 2015 Oscars:

Nicole Kidman. She sparkled. I loved her dress, her hair, her everything. To me, she is always perfection. And she was stunning.

Julianne Moore. I always, always love Julianne Moore. I think she's an amazing actress and she's flawless on the red carpet. Just look at her Chanel dress! Stunning.

Reese Witherspoon. I adore her and I loved her in Wild. Wild was the best book I read in 2014, and the movie was incredible. Even though Reese wasn't wearing my favourite gown at the Oscars, she still looked great.

Jennifer Aniston. I love that she stepped away from black for the Oscars! Her dress is absolutely amazing. So sexy. And her dress was the perfect colour to match her skin tone and hair.

Gwyneth Paltrow. Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything? Uh, definitely not when it comes to what to wear to the Oscars. I loved her dress. I  think Gwyneth was wearing one of the prettiest and most feminine dresses of the night. She looked stunning in pink, and that rose! Love it.

Margot Robbie. Wow. Her dress, her lipstick, her hair, her statement necklace. Love this entire look. Her accent is pretty sexy, too.

Sienna Miller. Sienna is always stylish, and beautiful, and tonight her black dress was absolutely gorgeous.

Jennifer Lopez: Her dress was amazing and so pretty—and so was her makeup, and her hair, and her golden tan.

Who do you think looked amazing at the Oscars?

Congratulations to all the winners! (I still need to see Birdman, Boyhood—if I ever find the courage, since I know I'll cry the entire movie—The Theory of Everything, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.)

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From Miami to Orlando: A Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Experience

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Florida is always a good idea—especially in the winter. This year, we decided to extend our winter vacation down south and drive to Orlando after a week of fun on the beach at the Diplomat Resort and Spa and at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour in Miami. We took a road trip to Orlando, which was only three hours away. Planning was easy; we decided to fly into the Fort Lauderdale airport, rent a vehicle, and leave from Orlando once our vacation was complete. My children are expert travellers and are always ready for an adventure!

I was on Daytime Ottawa talking about some great resorts for family travel, and I loved that I was able to share our experience with the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. It is the perfect resort to go to with the family.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, which I've written about before, is paradise. We were treated to a complimentary media stay and we enjoyed every minute—my children are already talking about their next trip to this gorgeous resort. They truly cannot wait to be back.  I stayed here when I was 12 years old, during my first trip with my family to Disney World. I remember how much my little sister and I loved it, and because of our good memories, I thought this resort would be the perfect place to stay for my children's first Disney experience. The best part about this resort is that it is close enough to all the theme parks at Disney, but far enough away so that you still feel like you're on a tropical vacation.

Check-in was a breeze, and we were offered complimentary champagne as we waited to get the keys to our hotel room. The lobby is something to see at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress; its beautiful, open-concept design is modern and bright, and the resort even has a mascot—the very colourful Macaw named Merlot that greets guests. Merlot was a favourite with the kids. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has undergone renovations to all the rooms and suites and to the main lobby, but the look and feel is very much the same as you'd expect at a Hyatt—clean, modern, and bright.

As my boys and husband quicky went to swim in the heated pool, I went to the new Marilyn Monroe spa; I was treated to a much needed blow-dry after all the days I spent in the ocean. The spa is beautiful, and the service is great. It's something you'll have to check out for yourself when you book your vacation.

 There are so many family activites to take part in and enjoy at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress that you definitely have to plan at least two days just to stay at the resort when you're planning your Disney trip. Families can enjoy the jogging and bike trails, the tennis and basketball courts, the rock climbing walls, the splash zone, and the water slide. There is also a Camp Hyatt for the kids, so there is no excuse for you not to treat yourself at the Marilyn Montroe spa.

We enjoyed many fun activites during out stay. We went on a family bike ride with my sister and her family, we played golf, we went paddle boating on Lake Windsong, we relaxed by the pools and we swam, of course, in the huge heated pool, surrounded by gorgeous water falls.  My kids enjoyed the water slide the most, and I enjoyed watching them have the time of their life. It's what vacations are all about, after all.

We spent one entire day at Disney World, (which I'll write about soon) but for the rest of our stay in Orlando, we didn't venture far from the resort, because there was so much to do, and because it so fun. Downtown Disney is only a few minutes away, so there is always something to do, whether you're staying at the resort or exploring the area around Orlando.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is the perfect resort for families travelling to Orlando for the first, second, or third time—and with so many great activites, plus the breathtaking pools and waterfalls, you'll be wanting to come back in no time. I know we will be back soon, too. Thanks again, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. We had such a memorable vacation!

For more information about the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, check out their website.

Happy travels!

Hello, Beautiful... Here's a Giveaway For You!

I just got back from an amazing quick trip to Toronto. Thank you, Almay Canada, for flying me to Toronto and for putting me up in the ultra-cool Hotel Le Germain at Maple Leaf Square, so I could attend the beautiful breakfast event at Aria. It was a lovely treat, and a pleasure being there in person. Are you ready to talk makeup? (And win some great beauty products from Almay, too?)

Almay is a brand we all know and love, but did you know that Almay was the first hypoallergenic cosmetics brand? Almay uses hypoallergenic ingredients, and tests all products with dermatologists and ophthalmologists. This is really important to me, becuase what I put on my face as part of my beauty routine has to pass a few tests—and Almay passes, with flying colours. Almay is celebrating its hypoallergienic heritage with a fresh take on beauty—pure beauty.

Almay understands that women and moms are busy—we wear many hats, and accomplish more before 9 a.m. than is sometimes humanly possible! We juggle full-time jobs, meet deadlines, attend meetings, get the children ready for school, take our children to their after school activities, volunteer, run the household, and, somehow, we make time for ourselves.

Almay knows that mornings are busy, and they've helped simplify my beauty routine with a few beauty product must-haves, like:

Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup: Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup is a great foundation that is very lightweight, complete with SPF 15. The perfect start to your beauty routine.

Almay One Coat Get Up And Grow Mascara: Mascara can be tricky; many different brands promise amazing things for your lashes but few actually work as well as they say they do. I had my make-up applied by a make-up artists and was blown away by how great Almay's mascara worked on my lashes, especially because it's a completely affordable product. This mascara really lengthened the look of my lashes and the anti-breakage pro-vitamin formula helps protect my lashes too. (Also, mascara applied on lower lashes? A look I was scared to try before, but now, I love!)

Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick: You guys, I own hundreds of lipsticks. I know I'm not alone here; shopping for lipstick is fun. Of course, very few become personal favourites of mine, and even fewer can do two things at once: moisturize my lips, and give great colour. This lipstick by Almay does both these things! I am in love with Almay's new Butter Kiss Lipstick because of the great colours and also because it's a product that does what it is supposed to. It's a creamy lipstick that is hydrating, with ingredients like jojoba, coconut oil, and vitamin E. There are 12 shades to choose from, and each lipstick is under ten dollars. Amazing.

Almay Intense I-Colou Smoky-I Kits: These eye shadow kits are perfect for creating a mistake-proof (seriously!) eye look, from day to night. This pretty eye shadow trios are easy to apply, last a very long time, and come in four shades for Blues, Browns, Hazels, and Greens, although you can definitely mix and match them to get the desired colour you want.

The Almay Eyeliner is a great smudge-proof eyeliner that lasts all day. So even if you're in the office in front of a computer all day, your eyes will look as great at 5 p.m. as they did when you first applied your make-up in the morning.

I'm also a fan of the Almay Makeup Removers for eyes and face, because they are very gentle. They also do a great job of taking off my eye make-up at the end of the day with irritating my eyes.

Not only did I discover new makeup with Almay, but I also had the pleasure of meeting the authors of How To Feed A Family—these two busy moms (and bloggers) are the new faces of Almay Canada, and hearing them talk about how they find balance in their life (with great tips like packing lunches the night before, keeping everything by the front door, cooking dinners that become lunch the next day, and using the weekend to do some batch cooking or baking, so you'll have something for the kids to eat during the week) was helpful. Laura Keogh (former Beauty Director of FASHION Magazine) and Ceri Marsh (former editor-in-chief of FASHION Magazine) were lovely to speak to, and have motivated me to cook more. (Thanks, ladies!)

We even got to take home cookie mix, and pick our own toppings. A beautiful breakfast event in Toronto, in a room full of amazing, smart ladies, while testing out the latest beauty products by Almay? A perfect day.

I'm giving away something special from Almay, for one of my lovely readers, too! Enter to win a package that includes the book How To Feed A Family, and the latest beauty products from Almay Canada.

Just leave me a comment below sharing one tip that helps you get out the door in the morning! Please remember to leave your contact information, too.

Winner will be selected randomly on February 27th.

Good Luck, beautiful!


Sweet Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

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Valentine's Day is a few days away and I've got some thoughtful gift ideas—to give and to receive!

I was on CTV Morning Live talking about these great gifts. You can watch the segment here.

Here are some great gifts for Valentine's Day:

Romantic Trip For Two: Who needs diamonds if you can escape to a warm, sunny destination? The memories of a great vacation are better than diamonds! I just got back from the Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour, Miami, and it's the perfect place to escape to if you're looking for a little romance and fun in the sun, if even just for a weekend. Besides, Miami is only a three hour flight from Ottawa. You'll be greeted with a glass of champagne when you arrive, and from there, you'll get lost in a world of luxury and romance, with bedrooms boasting gorgoeus views of the Atlantic Ocean, a heated pool, amazing service and food, and a personal driver to take you to the Bal Harbour Shops. Perfection, no?

Sweet Cupcakes: Cupcakes are always a good idea. I love that Valentina's Sweet Treats delivers cupcakes so you can surprise your loved one, and I especially love that these yummy cupcakes can be custom-ordered and designed. It's such a sweet, personal idea!

Chocolate Love: Sure, chocolate is a typical gift to give on Valentine's Day, but it's not so ordinary when it comes from Purdy's Chocolatier. Who doesn't love Purdy's Hedgehogs, or their delicious Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels? Best. Chocolate. Ever. Purdy's has a variety of special Valentine's Day tin boxes to choose from, and they also gift wrap with pretty pink or red wrapping paper... with hearts, of course.

Books To Love: Books are my favourite gift to receive—for my birthday, for Christmas, or for Valentine's Day. I'm currently lost in the book Lost and Found, and here are some other great reads by Penguin Books Canada to add to your must-read list: Etta and Otto and Russell and James, The Raven, and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? Curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace is a most excellent way to spend a winter day—even on Valentine's Day!

Beauty In A Box: A unique and lovely gift to give (and receive) is the Cupid box from BeautyGram. I love this Canadian company, because they create such unique, adorable boxes, packed with so many special treats! I featured the Cupid box on CTV, but you'll notice on the website you can choose from a variety of boxes and themes, and you can even make your own box for that special someone. The  Cupid box includes a Kutula Kiss Friendship Bracelet, a Lucia candle, Barefoot Venus Ruby Red Bath Bliss, SpaRitual Nail Polish, BeautyGram Pink Heart Sweets, and the Signature BeautyGram Chocolates.

The Gift Of The Body Shop: I've always loved The Body Shop, and I love that with each season or occassion they come up with new gifts to give. For Valentine's Day, The Body Shop has put together some yummy-smelling packages featuring The Body Shop Smoky Poppy collection. It's sexy and seductive!

Spa Day: I can never get enough of spa days, and I'm very fortuante to be a  Brand Ambassador. I love giving and receiving WaySpa gift cards, because these gift cards can be used at thousands of spas and salons, so you're sure to find the perfect spa for you or your loved one. Everyone needs a good massage once in a while!

Show A Friend You Care: I love to surprise my closest friends with gifts, and the new L'Oreal Professional Mythic Oil and L'Oreal Professional Vitamino Color Shampoo and Conditioner make great little gifts that show you care... about hair care! If you're having a great hair day, you'll surely have an excellent Valentine's Day, right? Also a cute gift idea? A MYTAGALONGS Beauty SOS Kit, which contains everything you'd need to bring with you on your Valentine's Day date! Inside the cute case, you'll find 2 black hair elastics, dental floss, cleansing wipes, bobby pins, bandages, earring backs, nail polish remover wipes, double sided tape, a comb, a nail file, tweezers and a sewing kit. Consider yourself date-night ready!

Fashion Forward: Why not pick up something pretty from Shepherd's (locations in Rideau Centre, Trainyards, and Tanger Outlets) to wear on Valentine's Day? Shepherd's has a huge selection of designers to choose from, and excellent service to help you put together the perfect look for the special night.

Happy Valentine's Day! xoxo


Nordstrom Ottawa Beauty Bash

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On March 6th,  Nordstrom Ottawa will finally open its grand doors in Rideau Centre. 

Nordstrom is my favourite department store—Nordstrom carries all the amazing brands I love, from shoes and beauty products to accessories and clothes. Also, the service is always excellent. I frequently visit and shop at south Florida's Aventura Nordstrom, but now I won't have to travel to get my shopping fix.

I actually just got back from south Florida and came home to this gorgeous box from Nordstrom Ottawa, filled with the best beauty product must-haves—in anticipation of the upcoming Nordstrom Beauty Bash. 

To celebrate the grand opening, Nordstrom is hosting an early-morning Beauty Bash outside the main mall entrance on Friday, March 6th, at 7:30 a.m.,  lasting until the store opens at 9:30 a.m. 

Customers are invited to enjoy complimentary skincare consultations, demonstrations, and makeup lessons, and everyone will have the chance to meet with beauty and fragrance experts from Chanel, NARS, Burberry Beauty (exclusive to Nordstrom in Ottawa), Chantecaille (also exclusive to Nordstrom), Jo Malone, Creed, La Mer and so much more. How fun!

As a bonus, the first 2,000 customers to visit the Beauty Bash will receive an exclusive commemorative tote bag, while supplies last.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the great brands and products you'll find when you shop Nordstrom Ottawa, including my new favourite products that I was so fortunate to receive:

AMOREPACIFIC 'Time Response' Eye Renewal Creme: This is a powerful anti-aging cream that renews the area around the eyes taking years off in days. The advanced 24-hour time release formula restores collagen products, increases skin's antioxidant production and speeds up cellular regeneration to address all aging concerns including fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles while improving skin firmness. This product retails for $275.

La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil: La Prairie is just as luxuriously wonderful as you'd expect; it's a sheer treatment filled with age-delaying fortifiers that strengthen skin's resilience, transforming your complexion into a beautiful, radiant one that thrives in stressful conditions. "The oil is formulated with a patent-pending complex of Alpine flora to renew the look of firmness and smooth the appearance of wrinkles, keeping you looking younger, longer." This product sells for $360.

Guerlain 'Terracotta Joli Teint': This new Terracotta sunny duo leaves my face looking tan and glowy even in cold winter days. This fluid foundation with ultra-light texture melts instantly into your skin, goes on like a powder, and creates a perfectly sun-kissed complexion while protecting skin with SPF 20. Retail price is $60.

La Mer Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream: I was so excited to  use this coveted much-loved moisturizer and I'm already in love—this legendary Creme de la Mer "...has the power to transform the skin with its ultra-rich, dewy formula. In a short time, firmness improves, lines, wrinkles and the look of pores become less visible and skin looks virtually ageless. Even the driest complexions are renewed and rejuvenated." With the nutrient-rich Miracle Broth, the heart of La Mer's profound powers of transformation, skin is immersed in moisture, sensitivities are soothed, and radiance is restored. This product sells for $180.

Kate Somerville 'ExfoliKate' Intensive Exfoliating Treatment: Now you can treat yourself to a Kate Somerville Signature Facial at home! This is a great exfoliating cream that leaves skin clean, revealing a smooth, glowing complexion. Sell for $27.

Nars-Dual Intensity Blush: I'm a lover of Nars; especially for blush! (My favourite is Orgasm.) This blush comes with two shades—the ultimate in versatility. It's the only blush that delivers two different finishes: Translucent Veil or a Second-Skin Watercolor Effect. Sells for $52.

Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick Compact in Pastel Pink: I love Bobbi Brown cosmetics, and this blush is such a pretty shade of pastel pink. It provides an overall brightening effect, "a lit from within glow" plus a hint of pretty pink. You can use it on the cheeks for a soft blush or all over the face, for veil-like luminosity. This blush is $54.

Armani 'Maestro' Fusion Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15: This is an ultra-lightweight formula that is easy to apply, leaving skin moisturized and conditioned for a flawless complexion with just a drop. It's great coverage with a natural finish, and this product won Allure magazine's 'Best of Beauty' award for Best Medium Coverage Foundation. A good foundation can be hard to find—and this product does not dissapoint at all. It's officially my new must-have foundation. Sell for $68.

Chantecaille 'Faux Cils' Longest Lash Mascara: This mascara is so brilliant, I don't even have to use an eyelash curler before I apply it. It's a high-performance, super-volumizing mascara that is better than false eyelashes—really, why go through the trouble when this product works so well? It intensifies lashes, plumping them for a super-dramatic effect that is healthy and stunning, making your eyes the focus of your face. Sells for $50.

Clarins 'Double Serum' Complete Age Control Concentrate: This is my favourite serum, and I use it faithfully. "This double serum's innovative, dual-chamber system combines two age-defying formulas into one groundbreaking serum that reactivates skin's vital functions." The results? Firmer skin, reduced wrinkles, more even skin tone and less visible pores in just a few weeks. Yes! Sells for $85.

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil: This lightweight fast-absorbing oil nourishes, hydrates, and revitalizes skin. I love that it can be used on clear skin, under moisturizer, over moisturizer, or added to moisturizer. Sells for $41.

I've tried these amazing products and I love them all. My skin is feeling and looking great, and I'm looking forward to shopping at my favourite department store very soon, where I can stock up on my must-have spring beauty products.

The big Nordstrom Gala is coming up, too, on Wednesday, March 4th, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and United Way Ottawa. I am so excited to be attending the Nordstrom Gala—I'll give you all the details of the glam night soon!

Thank you, #NordstromOTT, so much!

How Will You Spend Valentine's Day?

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Valentine's Day is a day to spend with your loved ones, doing the things you love best, whether it's going out for a nice dinner, staying in and cozying up by the fireplace with a nice glass of wine, or getting away for a ski weekend and fun outdoors.

What are Canadians really doing on Valentine's Day, though?

Believe it or not, 91% would rather cuddle up with a movie on the couch or make dinner at home than spend money on dinner out—and I'm totally part of that 91%! Especially in this wicked winter weather, where all I want to do is stay indoors... until April.

However you decide to celebrate the day of love, I hope you have a wonderful time that's full of sweet moments, chocolate, and extra hugs and kisses.

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

In The Lap Of Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour Miami Delivers

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We just returned home after a 10 day vacation in Florida. We escape every winter and come back with lasting, beautiful memories. This trip was even more amazing than other trips, because I had the opportunity to stay and review the stunning Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour.

What can I say about my luxurious stay? It was perfection, from start to finish—and I was very, very spoiled. I arrived to the Ritz-Cartlon Bal Harbour for a site inspection, and I instantly fell in love with the clean, spacious resort lobby—and not just because of the complimentary champagne upon arrival.

The grounds were beautiful and clean, and the pool was large, with Atlantic Ocean views all around. The beach, although not private, is quiet and peaceful—the perfect place to relax, swim, and unwind. I noticed right away the attention to detail at this resort, including the stainless steel bottles of sunscreen for guests to use. The staff at the Ritz-Carlton were helpful, friendly, and always smiling.

We checked into our ocean view room, and afterwards, my mom and I were taken by personal driver to the Bal Harbour Shops for a complimentary lunch at Makoto, where we were treated to the yummiest Asian food. It was delicious, and I felt like a celebrity. Personal driver to my favourite place of all, the Bal Harbour Shops, to lunch? Sigh. Pure bliss.

We relaxed the rest of the day, and I swam with my boys, enjoying the warm weather and Florida sunshine, and then we got ready for dinner—at J&G Grill in the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, right across the street from the Bal Harbour Shops.

I had the chance to review the Remede Spa at the St. Regis last year during my visit, and the St. Regis is also pure luxury; a posh and extravagant resort that'll take your breath away as soon as you walk in. You will feel like royalty the entire time you're here.

This was by far my favourite dining experience. Our boys were well behaved, and we were treated to so much delicious food from the dinner menu. My children give this restaurant two very enthusiastic thumbs up. While this is a perfect restaurant for romance, it's also suitable for families. I love places that make children feel welcome, too, and the J&G Grill treated my boys very well.

From appetizers to the main course to dessert, everything was perfectly prepared. The J&G Grill in the St. Regis Bal Harbour is considered a four star dining experience, and I completely agree—four stars for exceptional service and food. Beyond, beyond.

We dined on caviar, black truffle pizza, (to die for!) tuna tartare, black truffle cheese fritters, and the juiciest 1855 prime filet mignon. As if that wasn't enough, we had an array of dessert, including a warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and a salted caramel ice cream sundae with peanuts, popcorn, and chocolate sauce. Yes, seriously. And believe me, it all tasted even better than it sounds.

Our personal sommelier (who was so nice!) kept the wine flowing with each course. I have a list of all the wine we had, because I now have new favourites, including a 2013 Patz & Hall Chardonnay.

Later that night, my husband and I retreated back to our room at the Ritz-Carlton. The bathroom, complete with a TV built into the mirror, was gorgeous and large, and the shower and bathtub had full ocean views.  Heavenly.

 The next morning, breakfast was delicious—as expected! I even had fresh coconut milk to start my day. With a mimosa, naturally.

My day and night in Bal Harbour, and my stay at the Ritz-Carlton was one of my most enjoyable, relaxing, and perfect experiences ever. I loved every single moment, and I am so very thankful I was given the chance to experience this.

I'll be talking about the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour on my upcoming CTV Ottawa Morning Live Valentine's Day segment, too, because I can't think of a more perfect way to spend Valentine's Day.

Thank you, Bal Harbour, thank you Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, and thank you to the wonderful J&G Grill for all you did to make my vacation so wonderful.

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