Mother's Day Gift Guide

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As a mom of two adorable, smart, and funny boys, my favourite thing about Mother's Day is... well, just being able to spend time with my children. After all, they're my entire heart and world, and they fill me with so much joy every day it feels like my heart might burst. And every day, I am in awe of how much they've grown, and how they're becoming their own independent people. I cherish all the time we have together, and love that they still want me to put them to bed every night. I know this won't last; so I'll enjoy it while I can.

Of course, anything hand-made with love from my boys is the ultimate Mother's Day gift, but what else would a mom love on Mother's Day? I was on CTV Morning Live talking about the great gifts I'd love to receive... and give... this Mother's Day.

Here are some great gifts to give for Mother's Day:

A luxurious getaway: I was on a press trip to Toronto recently and I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Any stay at a Ritz-Carlton is guaranteed to be a luxurious experience, with service unlike any other. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto is right downtown, and the rooms are gorgeous, complete with ceiling to floor windows and stunning views of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario. The rainforest shower and oversized bathtub with TV built-in to the bathroom mirror and heated floors? Also very amazing. While treating mom to a night or two away at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, how about also treating her to a spa day a the My Blend By Clarins spa, located on the 5th floor of the hotel? It's North America's only Clarins Spa, and you can also indulge in the indoor saltwater pool, too, before or after your treatments.

An at-home spa day: Who doesn't love a spa day? How about changing things up and treating mom to an at-hom spa day this year? All you need are the right tools—like the MICRO Pedi and MICRO Nail set to give you a perfect salon-like manicure and pedicure. You can buy these at Shoppers Drug Mart. Finish with some gorgeous news nail polish from CND. The new Flirtation collection and Spa line is a perfect for your pampering date with mom.

Tee time: High tea is a great idea, but so is getting out and golfing now that the weather is nicer. I love Adidas Golf and their cute clothes and shoes made for golfing. If your mom loves to golf, or is trying it out this year for the first time, buy her a cute golfing outfit, shoes, and hat from Adidas Golf to complete her look on the green.

Pamper mom: A good skin care routine is so important to me, and probably my favourite night time ritual is washing off my make-up and using my favourite beauty products. Two of my favourite products to use are Clarins and SkinCeuticals. Both have incredible products for moms and women of all ages, and you can customize what you need for your skin type.

The Clarins Multi-Active duo is specially designed for women in their 30's with a busy lifestyle and a hectic schedule. The moisturizers feel heavenly to put on and you can see and feel the results almost instantly. The Clarins Double Serum is one of their most popular and best-selling products ever and can be used for anyone from their 20's and up.

SkinCeuticals is fairly new to me. I was first introduced to this skin care line in Bal Harbour when I was reviewing Gee Beauty. SkinCeuticals is a great skin care company dedicated to providing advanced skincare backed by science. These products are used in salons, med-spas, and by dermatologists across North America. My favourite products? Serum 10 and C E Ferulic. These serums are amazing and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and defend against environmental damage. They are ideal for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
For more on SkinCeuticals, check out my post here.

Kitchen gadgets: A new stainless steel coffee maker from Kitchen Aid would make anyone happy. Especially me, because I cannot live without my coffee. And more coffee. And more coffee. A juicer from Hamilton Beach is also a perfect Mother's Day gift. I love this juicer, and I love knowing we're getting all sorts of goodness in our shakes.

Books: Books are always a great gift idea, and I love receiving books for Mother's Day. Chapters Indigo is my favourite place to shop for books and all sorts of beautiful things like candles, notebooks, scarves, bags, and mugs.

For the sporty mom: I can never have enough work out clothes, and I'm loving the new sports bras by Anita. These sports bras are cute, stylish and provide excellent coverage and support. You can pick them up at many fine boutiques and Nordstrom Ottawa.

 Happy shopping... and Happy Mother's Day!

New On Netflix: Pee-wee's Big Holiday

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There are quick a few shows I used to watch as a child that still bring back memories, either because I loved the show itself, loved the characters on the show, or loved listening to the theme song. (Dallas for that theme song—or The Wonder Years—none of us can ever forget those, right?) Of course, one of the shows I remember watching as a child was Pee-wee's Big Adventure. How fun (and ridiculous!) was that show? I remember I'd watch it with my friends whenever we had play dates.

Well, Pee-wee is back—again—and this time, a different generation of children are watching. This time, Pee-wee is back and he's not in his familiar surroundings anymore—no more small-time routine for Pee-wee!

Pee-wee's Big Holiday started streaming on Netflix in March, and in this movie he meets a mysterious stranger, Joe Manganiello. After that, Pee-wee goes on a very big adventure where all sorts of crazy, unexpected things happen to him.

We had a little viewing party at home (thanks to Netflix for supplying all the goodies that kept my children interested the entire time!) and the boys loved it. My eight year old was especially hooked and watched the entire movie right before bed one night. It made me smile thinking of the years that I used to watch Pee-wee. This was a great movie, with a lot of fun that kept the kids entertained the entire time. A little action, a little adventure, and a whole lot of typical Pee-wee fun.

If you're not sure what to stream next for your family, make it a fun movie night—make sure you've got the popcorn and candy ready—and get lost in fun Pee-wee adventure that's sure to make you smile, laugh, and remember your younger days.

Disclosure: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive special perks and access to shows with the  Netflix Canada Stream Team. All views and opinions are my own. 


The Latest From P&G: A Quick Review

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I am a P&G mom. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities as well as compensation. The opinions in this review are, as always, my own.

As a P&G mom, I receive many great product that I put to the test every day at home. The great thing is, I've always loved using P&G, so this partnership has been the most natural fit for the last couple of years. Crest is the only toothpaste we'll use, Pantene is the best conditioner for my over-processed, naturally curly hair, (seriously, nothing works better than Pantene, and as a beauty blogger, believe me when I tell you I've tried every high end hair care product out there!) and well, we couldn't live without our Bounty paper towels. From kitchen essentials to beauty essentials, P&G is the name I know and trust to never disappoint.

I put a few products to the test and I'm here to tell you: you need these in your life!

Swiffer Duster 360: The Swiffer Duster is my favourite for cleaning and dusting hard to reach places like in between the blinds in my house. I love using it to dust my bookcases, and in my children's rooms where they have a lot of LEGO on display! It works so well trapping the dust and keeping everything in place. It's a chore made easy and I use it daily in my house.

Pantene Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner: I'm a beauty product junkie, and I love to try it all. My bathroom is ridiculous with the amount of hair care and make-up products, but what can I say? I love it. Pantene Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner has been incredible on my over-processed hair. It's truly incredible at locking in the moisture, taking away any frizz, and making my  hair feel and look shiny and healthy.

Charmin Ultra Strong: Toilet paper, you guys... there are brands I love and brand I'd never buy, and Charmin is one brand that my whole family loves using. I've got boys who are thankfully old enough tot take care of themselves in the bathroom without my help anymore, and it is definitely re-assuing to know this toilet paper is so strong, even they can get the job done perfectly well.

In addition to the fact that these products do the job they're supposed to do, they're also very affordable. P&G is my go-to band for everything around the house, and for saving my hair, too!


On Trend For Spring: What You Need To Buy

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The most wonderful season of all is here, you guys... spring. And by spring, I mean almost summer, which means it's time to re-evaluate what's in your closet to make room for all the new pretty things you'll need to rock this season.

Step one: Empty out your closet. Dedicate a day to pulling everything out of your closet and drawers, and make a few piles: keep, toss, and donate. I did a major closet purge recently and it felt so good... especially because of all the room in my closet now! Hello, new clothes...

Step two: Go shopping. Not sure what to buy? Here are some of my favourite things right now to make it easier for you!

Here are some must-have pieces for spring:

A new pair of jean capris: I received these cute jean capris from Haggar Caanda, and they're super comfortable and fun to wear with a little t-shirt and wedge heels. This Dream Capri, as it's called, is a 5 pocket bi-stretch denim that comes out the dryer wrinkle free (yay!). I love to accessorize these capris with turquoise, and add a little scarf, too. The perfect spring outfit! These jeans are available at The Bay and at Haggar Canada at Tanger Outlets.

Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops: I am most excited for this trend this season. Like, totally, madly in love with everything I see that's off-the-shoulder. I fell in love with this Tory Burch off-the-shoulder dress at Nordstrom and bought it right away. I can't wait to wear it... over and over again! Check out Nordstrom, Aritzia, and Zara for more off-the-shoulder dresses and tops, in blue, white, and black.

Pretty pink pumps: I love these shoes. They're from Aldo, and they're the perfect pair of summer heels to add to your wardrobe. The beauty is these shoes can go with so many different outfits, from a classic little black dress to jeans and a sexy top for a night out on the town, you can style them any way you want. Aren't they perfect in pink? They come in black and nude, too. Maybe buying all three is a good idea?

Choker necklaces: Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops AND chocker necklaces are on trend at the same time, and I couldn't be happier. Almost anyone can pull off both looks, and I love changing up my accessories for spring and summer. These chokers are under $20 at Aldo. And I'm stocking up!

The perfect beach accessory: Summer is around the the corner, which means I'll be lounging by the pool every day I can. I am loving HADRY! These head scarves come in a variety of patterns and colours. HADRY is the best fashion accessory to spare your hair while you're in the sun and water. And you'll looks super stylish, too!

Gingham: I love the look of gingham; it always looks so clean and fresh, and now is the time to wear the heck out of it. From dresses to tops, you'll find gingham everywhere right now.

Other trends I'm loving for spring:

Denim shorts
Pastel colours
Lots of fringe
Bright colours

This season is all about having fun, enjoying the colours you wouldn't normally wear during the winter months, and spending as much time as you can outside. From off-the-shoulder tops to flowy little dresses in pretty colours and sandals, spring is certainly shaping up to one amazing season. And hey, of course, any LBD is always in style, too.

Happy shopping!

Win A Trip To The Mayan Riviera with Menchie's

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It's finally here! Spring, we've been waiting. This weekend was so gorgeous, I bet everyone spent it outdoors. The sun was shining, and it was actually... hot outside.

There is so much to look forward to now that warmer days are here... walks to the park, bike rides, flip flops, tanned skin, drink on the patio, BBQ's with friends and family, and... frozen yogurt, of course!

I love taking my children to Menchie's as an after-school surprise or just because we're craving something delicious and cold. (And with the new Skor flavour, it'll be hard to keep us away!)  I love that Menchie's yogurts are gluten-free, vegan, and certified Kosher. Everyone can enjoy Menchie's, and with over 128 flavours and 50 toppings to choose from, you're sure to find one you'll keep coming back for! The Menchie's Smoothies bar is awesome, too—made with 100% natural fruit, and four servings of fruit per 16 ounce cup. Sweet! And healthy!

Right now, you can scratch and win (no purchase necessary) for a chance at winning a 7 night round trip for 2 to the 5-star Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa in the Mayan Riviera. How amazing is that? For full contest details, check this out. When you "scratch" to win on your mobile device or laptop you're scratching for instant prizes, too, like $1 off yogurt purchase, 20% off yogurt purchase, 25% off yogurt purchase, and buy one get one 1/2 price yogurt. (Note: contest is open to legal residents of Canada who are age of majority in their province/territory of residence at entry.)

SO what are you waiting for? Now that the days are getting warmer and the sun is brightly shining, head over to Menchie's and treat yourself... and don't forget to scratch and win because a vacation to the Mayan Riviera is a great reason to smile! 


Absolutely Ageless With Aveeno

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I'm always looking for great skin care products, because I'm always being asked by friends what my favourites are. I love recommending products that are affordable and deliver good results.  A great product and company I trust is Aveeno, so I was happy to be asked to review their new Absolutely Ageless collection.

The new Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Collection includes a daily moisturize with SPF 30, restorative night cream, eye cream, nourishing cleanser, and intensive renewal serum. These products work together to deliver real great results for healthier, more youthful looking skin.

Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer SPF 30: This moisturizer did a great job providing maximum moisture to my face, especially where it was needed most. It smells delicious, too, probably because of the blackberry leaf extract that's in the product, which helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.  I noticed a difference in my skin in only a few days. The best part? It has SPF 30 built in,  so you don't have to worry about wearing additional sunscreen when you're outside. This was my favourite product of all the ones listed here.

Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream: This night cream is a great product to use at the end of a busy day, after you've washed off your make-up. It's a little thicker than the day cream, and works quickly to hydrate dry skin over night so you wake up with softer, smoother skin.

Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Eye Cream: Eye cream is essential for me, and I think any women in her 30's should start using an eye cream every day. This cream improved the visible signs of aging around the eyes by reducing the appearance of eye puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines.

Avenue Absolutely Ageless Nourishing Cleanser: This is a great cleanser to use on its own or with the Clarisonic. I loved this cream because it worked really well on removing my make-up and left my skin feeling clean, refreshed, and not dry at all.

Avenue Absoutely Ageless Intensive Renewal Serum: I always use a serum right before my daily moisturizer. It helps keep my skin feeling soft, moisturized, and healthy looking. It's a great thing to use every day as part of your beauty care routine.

These products work well, and are affordable, too. (They range in price from $24.99 to $29.99 and can be purchased at most drug stores and grocery stores.)

Skin that feels and looks healthy, more youthful looking, and nourished is a wonderful thing. Especially when it's easy on your wallet, too.

If you'd like to try these new Aveeno products, click here for a coupon that'll save you money when you're shopping.

You can also find Aveeno on Facebook and YouTube, too, so make sure to follow along so you'll always be in the know!

Disclosure: I received compensation and product for my review. All views and opinions are my own. 

Putting Tide To The Test (And A Giveaway!)

Disclosure: I am a P&G mom ambassador. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and have been compensated to put Tide to the stain test. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

Spring is here, even though the weather hasn't been warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors yet. And what's with all the snow? Despite the less than seasonable weather, I'm still excited for spring. So excited, in fact,  I went somewhere I don't often go... to the gardening store.  I bought the supplies I needed to start planting some indoor herbs and plants, since it's not warm enough to do any outdoor gardening yet. The truth is, I don't have a green thumb, but I thought I'd start somewhere, and planting some herbs isn't that difficult. I love doing things that my boys can get involved in, too.

I'm not afraid to get dirty, either—I'm a die-hard Tide fan, and Tide Ultra Stain Release works miracles on clothes that are covered in dirt. Even white t-shirts! Trust me, I'm raising two boys and after a day playing outside, it's a miracle that their everyday stains actually get out, no matter what they're wearing.

Once I got what I needed to grow my indoor garden (potting soil, seeds, and cute little pots) I placed my herbs by my living room windows where they'll get the most sunshine. Thankfully, keeping indoor herbs means I don't have to worry about the temperature. And of course, being the amateur that I am when it comes to gardening, I got a little... messy. No worry, though—Tide easily removed all the stains. Even on the white t-shirt I wore.

How did I get rid of my stains? I removed the excess dirt from my shirt, rinsed it cold water, and washed my shirt with Tide after soaking it in cold water for half an hour. (For tougher stains, simply use the Zap! cap as a pre-treatment, then get back to your regular washing.)

Tide removes over 100 stains in one wash, so even if I'm dealing with a load of children's dirty clothes, I have nothing to worry about. Tide Ultra Stain Release is incredibly powerful and removes the toughest stains.

It's kind of hard to believe how great Tide Ultra Stain Release is unless you put it to the test yourself, so I'm giving away a P&G Fabric Care Gift Basket so you can put Tide to the test, too, and tackle those tough everyday stains. I can't wait to hear how much you love it.

To win, just leave me a comment below telling me what you love about spring. I'll randomly pick a winner on April 15th.

Win Tickets To The National Women's Show

It's spring, but it's supposed to snow tomorrow. That's just not sitting well with me, because I'm ready for warmer days—days where I can just put on a little dress and cute wedge heels and meet my girlfriends for a drink on a patio or shop... outside... without freezing!

Even though the weather isn't great, you can still grab your friends and do something fun indoors—like head over to the National Women's Show at the Shaw Centre.

You can shop your heart out at over 250 exhibits, discover the latest fashion trends, watch a few fashion shows, enjoy some tasty treats and drinks, and plan you next getaway (somewhere warm, I hope) with the help of travel pros.

It can be a bit overwhelming heading into the Shaw Centre for the National Women's Show, but they've divided up into sections so you can make sure to visit what you're most interested in:

Festival of Fashion
Business and Career Centre
Beauty and Wellness
Travel and Adventure
World of Taste
House, Home, and Design

Just a word of warning: wear comfortable (yet stylish!) shoes because you'll be spending the day on your feet. 

You'll also receive a gift bag filled with amazing things, too, so make sure you get there early to grab yours.

I'm giving away 8 tickets to the Ottawa Fashion Show so you can go have some fun with your friends while keeping warm indoors. 

Just leave me a message below telling me what you're most looking forward to doing at the National Women's Show! I'll pick winners on April 8th. 

Tips For A Healthier Smile

I love that spring has finally arrived. Spring means getting organized, packing away the winter clothes and welcoming warmer days into our lives. It’s the perfect time to declutter, rearrange furniture, keep the windows open, and make and keep annual appointments for a clean bill of health. 

Along with our visits to the doctor for our annual check ups, I make sure we visit the dentist regularly, too. And believe it or not, my children love going to the dentist. 

Every time they've gone, since they were very young, they've loved the experience. We go to a family dentist and everyone working there treats my children so well. Making kids feel welcomed and relaxed is important in helping them have a positive experience when they’re sitting in the chair being examined.

Regular visits to the dentist is the secret to a great experience, and regular visits most certainly take away the fear of seeing your dentist. There are simple thing you can do to maintain healthy teeth (which result in a beautiful smile) and achieve a healthier lifestyle, overall.

Things like:

  • Regular visits to the dentist.
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day (and flossing!). 
  • Eating a well balanced diet (limit the sugar intake!). 
  • Staying away from things that will have a negative impact on your health and mouth, like smoking. 
  • Check your mouth on a regular basis to get familiar with what is normal for you. That way you'll be able to tell your dentist at your next appointment. 
  • Replace your toothbrush often.
  • Stay physically active (this will help reduce your levels of stress, too). 
Live by example, and your children will follow in your footsteps by eating well, staying active, and brushing their teeth. Visiting the dentist won’t be a chore or a painful, scary experience if it’s something you often do. Usually after a child’s first visit, each visit after will be no problem at all. I can’t tell you how much my boys love visiting their dentist! 

Also, regular visits to the dentist mean that most dental diseases, like tooth decay, are easier to treat and will cost you a lot less time and money if you're getting your teeth checked on a regular basis. 

Since it’s Oral Health Month, it’s a good time to make sure you’re making your teeth a big deal. It’s alway a great time to see your dentist, and there is no better spring accessory than a dazzling, healthy, white smile. 

If you don’t have a dentist? Click here to find one close to you. 

Disclaimer: Although this post has been generously sponsored by The Ontario Dental Association, the opinions and language are my own.
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