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Showing posts from December, 2013

Next Issue Canada: All Your Favourite Magazines At Your Fingertips

What's your guilty pleasure? One of mine is reading magazines with my earphones on, relaxing on the beach without a care in the world. The one thing I don't love is packing all my favourite magazines to take on vacation... they end up taking up too much space, I lose them, or they get covered in suntan lotion. Here's an amazing new app subscription I love:  Next Issue Canada  an awesome and very practical app that allows you to have unlimited access to dozens and dozens of magazines for only $9.99 a month. With the click of a button, you have access to over 100 magazines, including back issues. (Love that idea, especially if you're a magazine junkie like me!)   From Chatelaine to In Style to Entertainment Weekly, the Next Issue Canada app has all the magazines you know and love. Some great articles I read this week online from Next Issue Canada? A fun interview with Britney Spears in the latest issue of In Style magazine, (with a peek at her favourite ward

Merry Christmas And Everything In Between!

The Christmas countdown is officially on! Even though it has been the busiest month, it has also been a month filled with a lot of awesome. From the children's Christmas concerts and special afternoons in the classrooms, to the festive parties and get together's with friends and family, December is one of my favourite times of the year, despite the cold and snow. (And oh, boy, did we get a lot of snow!) I'm excited for the next few days, but maybe not as excited as my children are. Seeing their excitement this week is very heartwarming, and is a great reminder about what the season is all about.   Even though a lot of us are busy getting all our last-minute holiday shopping done, let's remember the true meaning of the season. Wishing you all the most amazing Christmas and holiday season filled with lots of love and laughter. Here's to making sure our glass is always full with Bailey's... or wine... or champagne. Cheers to a wonderful, happy, and

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide For Kids

The Christmas countdown is on! The school concerts and holiday events are over, and although I'm mostly ready, there are still a few last-minute gifts I have to pick up, presents to wrap, cookies to bake, and parties to attend. Yes, this is what I'd call one very busy week... but I'm not complaining at all! Here are a couple of great last-minute gift ideas for the children on your list: LeapPad Ultra: A few months ago, I was sent to Toronto to attend a LeapFrog event at Harbinger's head office with Amber Mac. We got to preview a whole bunch of awesome LeapFrog toys for kids of all ages. A hot item that a lot of children will find under their Christmas tree this year? The LeapPad Ultra . This is a great tablet designed for kids aged four to seven. The LeapPad Ultra is totally kid-appropriate, and kid-tough. You can drop this tablet a hundred times, and nothing will happen to it! It features a kid-safe web browser that parents can trust, and works with Leap

Unexpected Delight At Hampton Hotel (And A Hampton Hotel Holiday Giveaway!)

I love everything about the holidays—the beautiful decorations, the festive parties, shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on my list, and most importantly—re-connecting with family members from out of town. There is something absolutely magical about this time of year. Although travelling is my favourite thing to do after shopping, travelling during the holidays can be a little... stressful, to say the least. Thankfully, I'm not going anywhere in December, but I am welcoming family members from Washington, D.C. My children are excited to see their cousin again, and I'm looking forward to catching up with my family from south of the border. Hosting extended family members can be a bit tricky and overwhelming during the holidays, when to-do lists are already a mile long, though. I love helping my guests with their accommodations, and I know when I book them at a Hampton Hotel near my home they'll be well taken care of when I'm not with them. Hampton Ho

Awesome Stocking Stuffers Ideas (And My CTV Segment To Get You In The Shopping Mood!)

Are you out of ideas on what to get the kids or your loved one for their stocking this year? Well, don't worry. I've got some great stocking stuffer ideas everyone will love—items that are unique, practical, and affordable. (Even things I want to find in my stocking this year... hint, hint, Santa!) Here's my segment from CTV Ottawa Morning Live where I showed some amazing items from Tag Along Toys and HomeSense. There is something here for everyone in your family! Happy holiday shopping, friends. If you need a personal shopper, you know where to find me. Thanks for the great items I got to show on-air, Homesense and Tag Along Toys ! Also! I feel like Santa's helper right now... the amazing items I showed from Tag Along Toys? I'm giving them away to one of my lucky readers! Leave me a comment below telling me what you want in YOUR stocking this year, and you'll be entered to win! (Local residents only for this giveaway, please. Winner will b

Stress-Free Holiday Shopping With The RBC Avion Holiday Boutique

I consider myself a shopping expert, and through my many years of experience I've learned a few tricks about not getting totally burned out when holiday shopping in a busy mall. Searching for the perfect gift for everyone on your list in a crowded mall with long line-ups can be draining for everyone— even the most seasoned shoppers. Wouldn't it be perfect if there was a place—in the mall—you could go to,  to re-charge your batteries? A place where you could enjoy a cup of coffee, drop off your coat, and even get your gifts wrapped... free of charge? No, seriously, I'm not dreaming! A place like this does exist, my friends. And it's called the Avion Holiday Boutique . The Avion Holiday Boutique is a special place (a place of zen, if you will) where tired and overwhelmed shoppers (especially those shopping with young children!) can get a break from the hustle and bustle of the mall. The Avion Holiday Boutique runs until December 31st, so you have plenty of time to tak

Saving With AIR MILES During The Holidays

I'm a card girl.  By this I mean I hardly ever leave the house with cash, because shopping is more fun when I don't see how much I'm actually spending! I'm also a huge fan of AIR MILES , because I can whip out my little blue card at many of my favourite stores knowing I'll be getting something back. I use my AIR MILES Collector card when I'm shopping online at , too, which is a total bonus during the holidays. Also? I just redeemed for my plane ticket to south Florida for my winter family vacation with my AIR MILES reward miles. The entire flight! Merry Christmas to me... Up until December 24th, AIR MILES is giving you even more reason to love them. When you're busy shopping for the holidays—whether it's for food to entertain your guests, presents for your children and loved ones, or even new ornaments for the tree—you will be earning even more with AIR MILES—you'll receive 25 Bonus reward miles for every AIR MILES Cash re

Self(ie) Control

Best friends know your deepest secrets, and they never judge. Conversations with best friends last into the early morning hours, and the laughs never stop.  I love my best friend because she knows me more than anyone else, and vice versa. Best friends are also brutally honest with one another. Kind of like sisters. Last year my best friend and I got in my car to go out, and I took out my iPhone to take a selfie. "Lou," my best friend Suzanne said to me. "Don't do it. You take too many selfies! You don't need to. You're beautiful. Put the phone down."  Me: Silence. Blink. Blink.   "Um, Suzanne? I do NOT take a lot of selfies! I hardly ever take selfies!"  Suzanne: "Give me your phone. Okay, here's a selfie. And another one. And this one. And here. And here's a selfie of your face with the caption "Having a great day at the beach!" You can't even see the beach. You take too many selfies, babe."  Me: &q

Keep Holding On (And Sing Along For A Good Cause)

I love doing my part and giving back to causes and charities I think are important. And I love spreading the word about important causes, too. The Women's College Hospital Foundation has teamed up with Canada's sweetheart, Avril Lavigne, to create a cover song of "Keep Holding On" which includes the voices of Canadians across the country. The remixed (and very awesome) song is available on iTunes and the proceeds from every single download go towards supporting the Women's College Hospital and women's healthcare. I could not think of a better way to support Canadian talent, while helping Canadian women at the same time. You can find the song here, on iTunes . Have a listen, and then download it—you'll love it, because it's a beautiful song that you won't be able to stop singing. Trust me, I speak from experience. Ahem. A little bit about the Women's College Hospital : The Women's College Hospital is the only independent, acad

Holiday Greeting Cards

Running to the mail box is always a lot more exciting in December, because bills are replaced with holiday cards from friends. Instead of receiving bills (oh, the joy!) my mail box is full of holiday greeting cards from friends and family. Nothing brings a smile to my face like checking the mail in December and getting a card from a friend I haven't talked to in a while. I love placing the cards around my fireplace mantle, adding to the holiday décor. There are so many great options at where to get holiday cards from, like You Print . I love the card selection that You Print has and I love the idea of personalized cards. Fast, quick service, great selection of cards you can customize, and super affordable prices? Yes, please! It makes the shopping part easy and painless, and you get the cards you want delivered to your front door. I love shopping holiday cards through You Print because of how easy and affordable it is, and also because I love all the great options. It is a

Mastermind Toys Giveaway!

I haven't really started Christmas shopping for my children yet, (or for anyone else, for that matter!) but there are a few stores I know I'll be hitting to get all that I need—like Mastermind Toys. I'm a pretty efficient shopper, and I'm one of those people who actually enjoys shopping even on December 24th. 'Tis the season, after all! As children get older (my boys are eight and almost six years old) their likes and wants change, making it a bit more challenging to shop for them. However, I love challenges, and I love finding perfect gifts for the two most deserving people in my life—my children. My eight year old loves Minecraft. A lot. He also loves science and chemistry, and anything to do with the Elements. He's also reading "real" books now—novels—which makes me incredibly happy, so checking things off his list is not too hard. My almost six year old loves music and movies. He's a character, this child of mine! His new interest is geo

Five Tips On Staying Healthy During The Holidays

December is here, and Christmas is just weeks away. I'm getting super excited, and so are my kids. It's pretty much the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the time of year we might veer a little off the healthy road we're used to. It's easy for our expenses to grow in the month of December, but our waist line doesn't have to! There are simple things we can all do—children included—to stay healthy , even during the oh-so-tempting month of December. Here are five tips on keeping the entire family healthy during the holidays: 1. Bake cookies, from scratch. Find a really hard recipe so that you'll be too exhausted to take even one bite once they're out of the oven. Isn't this a great way to save calories? 2. Get outside! Have a "who can make the best snowman" competition with the kids. You'll be surprised how many calories you'll all burn. (Be fair. Let them win!) 3. Get some zzz's. Sleep is so important, especi