Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How To Host A Modern Family Reunion (With The Help Of Catelli)

Now that spring is almost here (we'll get through this last snowstorm, I promise!) it's time to start planning ahead to warmer days. There is so much to look forward to, like spending countless hours outside with friends and family. Remember those days? Hot, summer days that turn into nights, endless laughter, kids splashing in the pool, and adults enjoying cold beverages and delicious food... it's all coming back—and I'm so excited, because we've had a long winter.

When it comes to preparing a big bash with the extended family, Catelli Pasta has some great ideas for making your next reunion a special one. Not only is Catelli helping families across the country come together in a special way, with incredible recipe ideas that'll make the preparations even easier, they are also running a contest as a thank-you to celebrate their 150th birthday. (How timely, as it's Canada's 150th birthday as well!).

The Canada-wide Catelli Family Reunion Contest offers three generous reunion packages (each valued at $10,000) to be gifted to help families host their own unique and special reunions complete with a delicious pasta feast served by a celebrity chef.


To enter, all you have to do is log onto www.catelli150.ca and share why you want to bring your family together. Maybe you haven't seen each other in a while, maybe you're celebrating a special milestone birthday, and maybe you just want to bring everyone together for a good time. The contest runs until April 4th.


"We've been inspired by families across Canada for the past 150 years," says Claire Labrom, Brand Manager for Catelli Pasta. "Family is why we do what we do—what motivates us to create wholesome meals Canadians can connect over. So for us, the best way to celebrate our shared birthday is to say than you by reuniting Canadians with the people that inspire them, just as Canadian families have inspired us."


Catelli Pasta has some delicious and easy recipes on their site, too, so you can find something perfect the entire family will love. We've put a few of these to the test, and we love everything we've tried, especially the Rigatoni Veal Bolognese.






Once you've figured out what to prepare as the main meal, it's time to get creative with the family reunion you'll be hosting.


Here are some tips that'll help make your night of entertaining a success:


1. Get creative with the family reunion name: What 'family' means today is different for everyone—it's not always a shared last name. Have fun with the invite by giving the event a name that means something to the group. (Maybe a name of a city you all travelled to together to bring back the memories?). Reunion slogans never go out of style—reunited and it feels so good!


2. Add a touch of nostalgia: #ThrowbackThursday is a trending hashtag for a reason—people love to remember where they came from, even if it means sharing that embarrassing hair-cut from years gone by. Get guests excited in the weeks leading up to the event by sharing some classic photos on social media.


3. Make festivities fun: Take a cue from a cherished pastime and leave a Polaroid camera by the guest book for family members to snap some fun pictures to include with their message. For the social butterflies, design a SnapChat filter to enhance the sharing experience. You can even create a unique and catchy hashtag where everyone can capture the action and reminisce post-celebration on Instagram.


4. Celebrate with a local inspired menu: Use more fresh and local ingredients. If you're hosting a potluck, challenge guests to cook their meal with their favourite local ingredients, too.


5. Introduce pasta appies: Put a fun twist on everyone's favourite pasta dishes by making them mini. Pre-twirl spaghetti on appetizer forks, bake macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin, or serve pasta salad in tiny mason jars. Pasta appies are something everyone will enjoy, and you can make a big batch ahead of your big bash.


6. Elevate the plate: Take your cooking up a notch and make your guests feel extra special by adding simple yet elegant garnish. Char lemon halves or infuse your own olive oil with favourite flavours to wow guests with modern trends. It doesn't have to be complicated.


7. Toast with a twist: For the family reunion, ask the oldest and youngest to share the toast. (How sweet is that?) At a more intimate affair, go around the table sharing a short memory of past times together and a wish for the future.


8. Personalize the memento: Get creative with a  keepsake to mark the occasion. Follow-up with a simple picture frame with a beautiful picture of each guest or the entire group from the occasion.


However you decide to celebrate this spring and summer, I hope it's fun, delicious, and stress-free. Here's to entertaining and cooking ease... and making new memories to last a lifetime.




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

Friday, March 10, 2017

Avoiding March Break Meltdowns (And A Fujifilm Instax 300 Camera Giveaway)


It’s such a relief March is here, because we’re one step closer to spring—and saying good-bye to the cold and snow. March is all about looking ahead to sunny, warmer days and March Break, a time to reconnect with the entire family.

Since we do our winter travel during the months of January and February, we stick close to home during March Break. Staying home means finding ways to keep the children happy, active, and busy, to avoid March Break meltdowns.

Children often turn to their parents for suggestions on what to do if they get bored, and sometimes, we don’t have ideas to cure them of the dreaded boredom. Despite how fun March Break is, it also means we don’t get much of a break to do the things we need to do (like working, cleaning, and cooking) so it’s essential to have a solid plan in place. Although nothing can substitute one-on-one time with a parent, books and educational toys that get children’s creative juices flowing are great ways to keep kids busy, too.
Here are some tips on surviving March Break meltdowns:
Get kids outside. It’s probably the last full week there will be so much snow to play with, (here’s hoping!) so make the most of it—get them building the last snowman of the year, go sledding one more time, and head downtown for a walk around the market, ending the day with hot chocolate.
Take the children to the many great museums in Ottawa for some indoor fun. Most museums have great March Break events going on to keep kids busy and learning in a fun environment.
Have a movie night—during the day! Keep the shutters closed, pop some popcorn, and put in a family favourite flick.
Allow your children to discovery the world of play and creativity with some great Duracell battery operated toys, like the Fujifilm Instax 300 camera that’s available at Walmart, and let them take endless photos of the fun they’re having on March Break.

Stock up on Duracell batteries, to make sure the toys and electronics are powered up for endless hours of play.
When we’re home with the children for the holidays, we make sure we’ve got plenty of Duracell batteries on hand because they always come in handy. Duracell gives parents the power to prevent March Break meltdowns—and I’m thankful for that!
I’m giving away a Fujifilm Instax 300 camera and Duracell batteries so your kids can keep busy during March Break and throughout the summer months. To enter to win, just leave me a comment telling me how you’re spending your March Break. I’ll pick a winner, randomly, on Thursday, March 16th.  (Retail value: $149.99).

Good Luck!


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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Brighten Up Your Spring Beauty Routine With Olay and COVERGIRL

I like changing up my beauty routine every few months, and now that it's almost spring, I love freshening up my make-up bag. Flawless skin is always in fashion, no matter the season, whether you're going for a matte finish or a dewy glow—and achieving a good base is key, along with properly moisturizing your skin. After all, we had a rough winter and we're all in need of some major moisture repair and brighter shades of colour to welcome the warmer months back into our lives.


I thought I'd share some of my must-have products from Olay and COVERGIRL that are sure to become spring essentials:



COVERGIRL truBlend Bronzer: If your vacation tan is fading, you can still keep the glow going! For a bronze goddess look, use this bronzer as the final step after you've put on your make-up. For a look that glows even more, mix the bronzer with your moisturizer to add some shimmer and all-over colour. The truBlend Bronzer provides a natural looking glow and complements all complexions. I love that it's dermatologically tested and suitable for sensitive skin, too.


COVERGIRL truNaked Eyeshadow Palette in Nudes: The truNaked Eyeshadow Palette in Nude is my ultimate favourite eye shadow palette—not only does this palette have eight easy-to-blend shades in pretty neutrals to take you from day to night effortlessly—it is also incredibly affordable, at under $15.00.


Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash: I love silky-smooth skin throughout the year, and one of my favourite moisturizing body washes is the Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash in Shea Butter With new lock-in moisture technology, the results are long-lasting, moisturized, clean and smooth skin.


Olay Regenerist Miracle Boost Concentrate: I love using a great serum before applying my moisturizer, morning and night, and this Miracle Boost Concentrate does a great job penetrating the skin for added moisture. It provides great hydration for younger looking skin, and helps firm and lift skin.


Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream: This is a great moisturizer to use, day and night, and it's perfect for sensitive skin. With great renewal benefits that firm and lift for younger looking skin, results can be seen within one day. I love that it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while hydrating the skin.


If you're shopping for your spring beauty essentials, make sure you pick up these products, because they work well and are super affordable.


Happy shopping!






Disclaimer: In working with P&G, I receive compensation or products for my review. All views and opinions are my own.

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