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Showing posts from October, 2014

Giving Back Through Art

Last week, a terrible thing happened in Ottawa that affected us all. In the span of a week, we tragically lost two soldiers, one of whom was shot down as he stood sentry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Ottawa's War Memorial. It was an incredibly difficult day , and week. However, through darkness, comes light. And as Canadians, and residents of this amazing capital city, we came together in beautiful ways. We went back to work the next day, in the downtown core. We payed respect by leaving flowers, notes, and stuffed animals at the War Memorial. We wore red, and we put on our poppies a little earlier. We saluted our fallen soldier on the Highway of Heroes. We mourned the loss of a young man, because of all he represented; life, joy, youth, and a proud love for his country. He was a also a single father, and now, he's left behind a young child, a little boy who will always know what a brave man his father was. My mom, artist Katerina Mertikas,  quickly got to work

From Old School NES To The Brand New Nintendo 2DS (Plus A Nintendo Giveaway!)

It was Christmas Day, many, many year ago, when my sister and I received our very first NES. (Thank you, Santa mom and dad!) Remember this? Of course you do! (And if you don't, clearly you're too young!) The NES started my love affair with Nintendo, and that Christmas Day, I'm not sure my sister and I did anything other than play Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. All. Day. Long.  I'm admitting this to you here, because I'm honest—I never actually completed the original Super Mario Bros. all the way through, and 8-4 is still impossibly hard to finish. (Just don't tell my kids; I'll lose all my gaming credibility!) I spent many, many hours playing these two games, and then Gameboy came along and I got lost in a Tetris world. Now? I've got two new Nintendo lovers in my house—my two boys, who are almost seven and nine years old. Yup, they have a love for Nintendo that's larger than life, and they love to play everything from Animal C

Love To Ottawa

Today is an exceptionally hard and difficult day in Ottawa.  There are a few days which stand out to me as turning points in our loss of security and innocence; of course, 9/11, of course the school shootings at Columbine and Connecticut. Those wounds are still not healed. Today, I believe this city lost its innocence, too. This wonderful city—the capital of Canada—usually a safe, beautiful city where nothing bad happens... We leave our homes unlocked, we bike to work, we walk to school, we go out at night not having to worry about gun violence, for the most part. Today things changed and I'm sure many of us are still in shock over the shootings that happened at Parliament Hill, the War Memorial, and in the downtown core. Gunmen on the loose. Lockdowns in all downtown buildings. Stores locked up. Lockdowns, even, in schools. We feel helpless. Sad. Emotional. So much love to everyone in Ottawa today, especially to the family of the soldier who was killed at the War Memorial.

Weather The Winter With Tana (And Win a Shoe Shopping Spree!)

Many things make me happy: snuggles with my children, vacations to warm destinations where I'm lounging on a beach with a drink in hand, rainy afternoons where I'm lost in a good novel, dinners and wine with friends, and shoe shopping. Yes, shoe shopping always makes me happy, no matter the season—spring, summer, fall or winter—because no matter the season, there is always something just so perfect that I must shop for. Even though we're enjoying the crisp days of fall, winter is literally just around the corner, and if I'm not dressed warm, I'm pretty miserable being outside. I also get really sad when I'm wearing a favourite pair of boots and they get destroyed because of the salt and snow... all because I didn't properly protect them. And trust me, I've ruined quite a few pairs of boots over the years. Living in a city that has such harsh winters, I have learned my lesson—if I'm going to wear boots I love outside during the winter months, I ha

Me Time = Spa Time With WaySpa

September was a hectic month, and October is off the charts crazy—in a good way, though. Life is busy, you guys. From school to work to after school activities and everything in between— phew! Some days I eat all my meals standing up, if I remember to eat at all. Despite the craziness of life which we can all relate to, I've got no big complaints. Even at my busiest, I make sure to take time for myself to unwind and relax. A bonus to being busy is not feeling guilty about taking some "me time" and treating myself to a day at the spa. Actually, it's guilt-free also because it's my job to explore spas and salons in my city as part of my duties as a WaySpa Ambassador! That's right, it's hard work, but someone's got to do it. This month I checked out AmeriSpa  at the Hilton Lac Leamy , and the views were spectacular. I've stayed in this gorgeous hotel before, but hadn't experienced the spa yet. They have a full service spa with views of Lac-L

Support The Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects

Whether it's a busy weekend of activities or evenings packed with extracurricular activities, eating out can be very convenient when you're on the run and need to get a hungry family fed. Sometimes, our days are too busy to prepare a great meal to eat at home, and those are the days we grab food on the go. As long as we're eating together as a family, that's all that counts. We love eating at Boston Pizza  because of all the good they do to help some very worthwhile charities and local schools. Boston Pizza Kids Cards are still available for purchase until November 2nd , and they only cost five dollars. (So go buy a few, you still have time!) Five dollars gets you five free kids meals , which is totally awesome, especially for those nights where you're running from school pick-up to after school activities—you've got dinner covered and already paid for. Also, if you register your Kids Cards with MyBP , you'll get a sixth Kids Meal for free. It's simpl

Saying No Is The Hardest Part

I think Tom Petty got it wrong. While waiting can sometimes be the hardest part, I think that saying no to great experiences is most definitely the hardest part of all. I was invited to go to The Outer Banks, North Carolina, this week, on an amazing press trip to explore everything The Outer Banks has to offer... and there is so much to see and do there! I was, at the same time, invited to go to Denver, Colorado with Bridgestone on a fun adventure test driving cars on ice—in the Pepsi Centre. How fun is that? (With some great bloggers that I already know, too.) While I'm beyond thankful at these amazing opportunities, I just couldn't make it happen this week, because of my commitments at home with my children and their schedules. I tried to juggle things around, but this week, I needed to be home to take care of things here. I believe sometimes that what is meant to be, is meant to be, but believe me—saying no is no easy task, especially when the opportunities are

A Thankful Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, the holiday where we reflect on all the things we're thankful for. I'm thankful every day, especially for my family, especially for my two boys who make my heart burst with love every day. I'm thankful I live in Canada, for our amazing health care, and for our freedom. I'm thankful for the little things, and I try not to take anything for granted. I'm thankful for so much—and my list stays the same pretty much every year. I'm thankful, also, for great friends, and for a blogging career that has given back to me in ways I never imagined. Of course, being Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for getting together with family and eating all the delicious food. The best part? Calories don't count when it's a holiday! This Thanksgiving, I was given the opportunity to go shopping at Target to see all the great things they have in store this season, and there were so many great things that captured my eye—cute booties, cosy s

Escape To The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I was only 12 years old the first time I fell in love with a resort. I was in Orlando with my family and we were staying at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress , and to this day, the resort is one of my favourite places to stay—and the memories I have from that vacation, although so many years ago, are very vivid in my mind, still. I'm so excited, because this winter (it's coming, you guys...) I'm fortunate to be going to the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress with my family to review the resort—so thankful I've been invited to write about my favourite place to stay in Orlando! The award-winning Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is located one mile from Disney World and it's close to Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. The 1,500 acres Grand Cypress resort has gorgeous guest rooms and suites and it's located along 1,000 feet of white sandy beach of private Lake Windsong. The 800,000 gallon, 1/2 acre, free-flowing lagoon pool has 12 waterfalls (the waterfalls and the

Follow Your Bliss

I'm home after a few inspiring days at BlissDom Canada . I've been doing the blog conference thing since 2010, and each time I attend a conference, I leave with a lot of great things—new work, making contacts, networking, seeing friends and making new ones, or finding inspiration. Sometimes, all of these things happen at the same time, which makes attending conferences very worthwhile. I have a lot of great BlissDom Canada memories. I was asked to be a Community Leader at BlissDom Canada again this year, and to lead three micro-sessions. The topic of my micro-session was From Blog To Business , and I talked about how you can take your passion for blogging and writing and turn it into something more—and even make a living from blogging. Yes, it can be done! We talked about working with brands, how to approach people you want to work with, when it's okay to work for free, and why sometimes, it's better to say no—even if you're turning down a free trip or money.

Healthy Snacking on the GO

Summer is behind us, the kids are back in school, and we've settled into our fall routines quite nicely. The relaxed days of July and August are behind us and the rush of September is over. Mornings can be especially hectic when we're running late. I try to make lunches the night before, but some days, that's just not possible. And even though the kid are organized, and well-fed, I sometimes forget to eat breakfast or lunch. I spend a lot of time in my car every day, running around from appointments to errands, and I love knowing that if I grab a SunRype Okanagan  Energy bar, I'm going to feel completely satisfied. First of all, they taste great. Secondly? They're healthy. And that makes me feel great when I'm eating on the run. After all, I have enough guilt issues to deal with because I shop a lot—I don't need to add more things to feel guilty about! SunRype has always done a great job in providing simple and nutritious options for people who are c