Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Guide

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!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Latest From P&G: A Quick Review

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!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On Trend For Spring: What You Need To Buy

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!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Win A Trip To The Mayan Riviera with Menchie's

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! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Absolutely Ageless With Aveeno

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. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Save Your Skin With SkinCeuticals

Taking care of our skin is really important, and now that winter is over, it's time to get our skin ready for spring and summer. I'm a huge believer in taking preventative measures to help fight skin damage, and to keep our skin looking youthful and healthy.  I was recently introduced to SkinCeuticals, one of the most trusted names in skin care. These products are amazing. Changing up your beauty routine with each changing seasons is a great idea, and when you find products you love... keep using them!

I was introduced to SkinCeuticals when I reviewed Gee Beauty in Bal Harbour. Here are the products I received and love using every day:

Serum 10 

This serum is ideal for sensitive skin and works quickly to restore healthy looking skin, Serum 10 AOX+ neutralizes free radicals, defends against environmental damage, and helps fight the appearance of aging. Here's the best part: once absorbed into your skin, this serum can't be washed off; it continues working for 72 hours, making it an excellent addition to your skin care routine. Price point: $100.00. 

C E Ferulic 

This is the product I was most excited to try, because I heard such great things about it. C E Ferulic contains 15% pure vitamin C, 1% vitamin E, and 0.5% ferulic acid to strengthen skin's natural protection from free radicals induced by environmental stressors like UVA/UVB, infrared radiation, and pollution, which leads to visible signs of aging. C E Ferulic also reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles while brightening skin's complexion. This is the serum everyone in their 30's and 40's should invest in. Price point: $166.00. 

A.G.E. Interrupter 

A.G.E. Interrupter is an advanced treatment that fights the visible signs of aging. It improves skin's appearance, reduces the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles, and restores moisture to the skin while firming up the skin. It's perfect for dry skin and works well on all skin types, too. 
Price point: $174.00. 

A.G.E. Eye Complex 

A.G.E. Eye Complex is a three-dimensional anti-wrinkle eye cream that contains a unique combination of ingredients to reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, and crow's feet. Visible signs of aging are most evident around the eyes; A.G.E. Eye Complex is designed to improve the appearance of aging and it helps improve the effects of glycation around the eyes while hydrating the skin. Price point: $107.00

Resveratrol B E 

This antioxidant night concentrate serum supports skin's natural antioxidant defence system to improve the appearance of radiance and elasticity, and it helps diminish the visible signs of aging. Price point: $166.00. 

For more information about these products, please feel free to email me, or read more about the great skin care products on

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Flirty Hair For Spring And A Pantene Giveaway

Okay, you guys... spring has arrived and I am so excited. My children are, too, and we're already back to our usual routine of taking a long walk after dinner around the neighbourhood with a stop at our favourite park.

Soon the weather will be nice enough to wear flip flops, play basketball in the street, and go for frozen yogurt after school. I love everything about spring and summer—even the process of getting ready for the new season, like making room in my closet for new dresses and shoes, buying new make-up, and taking care of my hair that gets oh-so-damaged and dry during the winter months.

I wear a lot of hats (literally and figuratively) and as much as I love the look of a nice winter hat, I'd much rather be rocking an oversized sun hat on the beach, or letting my hair flow free in the wind as I drive with the windows down.

Okay, time to get spring ready. First step?  Some TLC for my hair. Pantene to the rescue—again. Seriously, take it from someone who has gone through a lot of damage with her hair—Pantene works incredibly well and gives your hair exactly what it needs while treating the problem areas instantly.

Here's a great way to get healthy hair: Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner. Bye-bye flat hair, and hello, bouncy hair.  Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioners addresses four specific hair needs: hydration, smoothness, boost, or strength.

3 minute miracle

The Pantene Expert Collection is fabulous, too, and has been reformulated to provide instant results even for the most challenged or damaged hair... like mine.

The Pantene Expert Collection includes Age Defy, Intense Hydration, Intense Smooth and Intense Colour Care—perfect of my hair, because it removes impurities that can dull hair colour and protects and enhances the colour vibrancy.

I'm so excited for everything spring has to offer... great weather, patio nights, a new spring wardrobe (hey, a girl can dream, right?) and hair products that are going give me smooth, frizz-free, healthy hair all spring and summer long!

I would love for you try these fabulous Pantene products that I love so much, too, so I'm giving away a package to one of my readers.

I'm giving away:

Pantene Expert Collection Shampoo
Pantene Expert Collection Conditioner
Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner

Leave me a comment below telling me why you're excited for spring. I"ll pick a winner randomly on March 31st. 

Oh, and by the way, you can pick up some Pantene coupons to save on your next shopping trip, too—just head on over to and start saving. More money for shoes, am I right?

Good Luck!

Disclosure: 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. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ritz-Carlton Toronto: An Unforgettable Experience

If you're looking for a luxurious hotel with incredible service in the heart of downtown Toronto, look no further than the Ritz-Carlton.

Having stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal and the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, I knew I was in for a treat when I was invited to join Toronto Tourism on a Luxury Press Tour and a stay at the Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto opened its doors in 2011, and still looks brand-new. The hotel is not only beautiful, but the service is second to none—exactly what you'd expect from a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

It's the little things that stay with me once I've checked out that make me come back for more—the attention to detail, the friendly service, and the special care given to children. This five-star luxurious hotel not only caters to adults, but to children, too, and this is important to me.

Here's a bonus I loved: the hotel offers complimentary car service (a beautiful Audi) to take guests around town.

A cheese cave, exceptional cuisine, a world-class spa, an indoor saltwater pool, and the club lounge are just some of the things you'll enjoy during your stay. Whether you're travelling for business or pleasure, this hotel caters to your every need. The Ritz-Carlton is within walking distance of the Ripley's Aquarium, the CN Tower, Roy Thompson Hall, and Rogers Centre. The hotel is across the street from where Toronto Fashion Week takes place, too.

The rooms: 

Once I checked into my deluxe hotel room on the 18th floor I noticed the spectacular view from the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Ontario and the CN Tower. (Watching the lights change on the CN Tower at night was so cool!) My room was spacious with heated floors in the bathroom, an oversized bathtub, a separate rain-shower, and an in-mirror bathroom flat-panel TV so you can enjoy your favourite show while soaking in the tub.

Spa My Blend by Clarins: 

The Spa My Blend by Clarins is a a world-class spa on the 5th floor of the Ritz-Carlton. Ranked number one on the Travel and Leisure 2013 World's Best Awards list of Top Hotel Spas Overall, it's easy to see why when you arrive. Spa My Blend by Clarins first launched in Paris, and Toronto is only the second luxury spa of its kind in the world. Whether you're enjoying the signature My Blend facial or other Clarins services personalized for you, you'll feel relaxed and pampered the entire time. I loved being treated to a one-hour relaxation massage.

After your massage, treat yourself to the Spa My Blend's Champagne Nail Bar for a luxury pedicure or manicure, and then take a dip in the beautiful saltwater pool—a combination lap and relaxation pool. My youngest son and I made good use of the pool during my stay. There is also a 24-hour 2,700 square foot fitness centre on the 5th floor, as well.

Club Lounge

Guests staying on the 18th, 19th, or 20th floor of the Ritz-Carlton have access to the Club Lounge. This spacious lounge facing Lake Ontario offers complimentary treats, including a complete breakfast buffet, snacks, lunch, hors d'oeuvres, alcoholic beverages and tasty desserts. The Lounge is the perfect place to relax, work, (with computers and free wifi) or play a board game while watching TV. (Even if you're not a child, you'll appreciate the cookie bar and candy bar, too—I know I did!)

TOCA Restaurant

If you love fine dining, cheese, and wine, you'll love TOCA. TOCA offers Italian cuisine—delicious, mouth-watering food everyone will love. The most popular dish at TOCA is the Signature Ravioli, which I got to enjoy for lunch during my stay. Try it—you'll love it.

2 Michelin starred Chef Oliver Glowig has worked in Munich, Capri and Rome and now makes Toronto his home, where he creates his delicious house-made pasta dishes for guests to enjoy. Make sure to take a tour of the impressive "Cheese Cave", too.

Ritz Bar

Looking for a place to hang out after dinner or a show? The Ritz Bar is where the action is. The new Peruvian menu offers tasty appetizers which we enjoyed duriing our stay, like the Hanger Steak Anticuchos, Aji De Gallina Tequenos, (basically a spicy chicken spring roll) and Papas Fritas. The Pisco Pasion cocktail was delicious, too.

My three day stay at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto was one of my most pleasurable hotel experiences; I felt like I was a million miles away on vacation. From the spa treatments to the fine dining and incredible service, the Ritz-Carlton is one of my favourite hotels of all.

Coming up: a full review of the restaurants I got to enjoy while on my trip to Toronto, including TOCA, Sassafraz, and The Shore Club.

For more information, feel free to contact me or check out the website at

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Giving Back With Lindt (And A Chocolate Giveaway For Easter)

Spring is finally here. It's been a long winter, the snow is (mostly) melted, and I'm ready to toss all the winter gear in a box. Yes, you could say I'm ready to embrace all that spring has to offer—mild weather, sunshine, the great outdoors, and wearing flip flops and little dresses again.

The beginning of spring always begins with Easter for me—and what better way to celebrate Easter than to indulge in chocolate? Good chocolate. Lindt chocolate, to be exact.

I don't want to be the only one eating chocolate, though. I'll go workout at the gym, while you enter my contest, because...

I'm giving away a Lindt Easter Basket filled with your favourite chocolate treats:

50g Milk Gold Bunny
100g Chick
90g Happy Easter Bell Box
138g Lindt Crystal Gift Egg
100g Lindor Mini Egg Pack (Milk Chocolate)
Mini Gold Bunny 5-pack (Milk chocolate)

Lindt is celebrating the launch of a beautifully written illustrated storybook app called "The Bell that Rang In Easter." It's free to download from iTunes and Google Play. Just go to to download your free copy. It's simply adorable and the kids will love it. You can also share your Gold Bunny Easter traditions using the hashtag #GoldBunnyStory.

The best part? Lindt is donating $1 for every app downloaded to the Children's Aid Foundation. (Up to $50,000.)

If you'r in the Toronto area, make sure to head out to Square One Shopping Mall (until March 26th) because Lindt Canada is hosting a fun-filled Easter event where families can enjoy a reading of the story by award-winning author, Ashley Spires, immersed in a 1,400 square foot display filled with life-sized scenes of the digital book. There will also be colouring stations, photo opportunities, and personalized gold bunnies for everyone to enjoy. (And guests that show that they have the app downloaded will receive a special Easter surprise.)

To enter to win the basket of Lindt chocolate, just leave me a comment below answering the following question: What is the name of the Bunny in the story? (Hint: You'll find the answer on the first page!) 

I'll pick a winner randomly on March 25th.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

#PCPointer March Break Travel Tips And Twitter Party

Are you ready? March Break is just days away, and that means we've got to keep the children busy. Heading somewhere tropical and warm is always a great idea, but so is saving money, whether you're travelling or staying closer to home.

Join President's Choice Family Finance Advisor Rubina Ahmed-Haq, Chief Family Advisor Kathy Buckworth, and myself, MrsLoulou, on Twitter on Thursday March 10th from 8-9pm EST for a Twitter Party that'll help you save money this March Break. We'll be sharing some great tips on helping you save money using financial tools, too.

We're also giving away some PC Gift Cards ($600 worth!) to help you save money with whatever you've got planned this March Break.

Let's chat more tomorrow night—I can't wait to share to some helpful travel tips with you.

There is no RSVP required for the Twitter Party—just follow @PCFinancial and use the hashtag #PCPointer to join in the fun. See you tomorrow night—and Good Luck!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Focus On The Facts

A trip to the grocery store can actually be a fun way to get kids to understand the importance of eating well and what "serving size" really means. (Uh, not the entire jar of Nutella in one sitting, for example.)

Teaching children good eating habits from a young age is necessary, and Focus on the Facts makes it easy for parents to do that. This tool is designed to increase awareness, use, and understanding of the Nutrition Facts table and help people make informed food choices for their families.

The campaign encourages Canadians to "Focus on the Facts", by starting with the Serving Size and then using the % DV (Percent Daily Value) to choose the nutrients you want a lot—or a little—of. This way, you can consume the foods that have more of the nutrients you want to consume, like fibre and calcium, an less of those you don't want—like saturated and trans fats and sodium. (Basically, 5% DV or less is a little, and 15% DV or more is a lot.) It's an easy way to be aware of what you're consuming and it's a great way to make sure you're eating healthy.

I'm giving away a $100 grocery gift card (to either Loblaws, Metro, Sobey's, Cosco, or Walmart) so the next time you're grocery shopping for your family, you'll be inspired to make better food choices. 

Just leave me a comment below telling me something you're doing to keep your family healthy.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. Winner will be selected randomly by March 14th, 2016.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The opinions and views on this blog post are completely my own. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Staying Healthy From the Inside Out with Nature's Bounty

Every year, I talk about making resolutions and sometimes, I don't follow through. Pretty common, right? However, this year—2016—I made realistic resolutions about taking better care of myself, starting from within.

That means spending more time actually working out and being active, and not just talking about it. This means using my gym membership more than I did a year ago, and it means getting out and having fun with my children. There's nothing like having fun while staying active, like taking bike rides with the family, playing soccer, swimming, or skiing.

I'm also eating better. It's amazing how even minor changes make me feel good right away; sure, I have cheat days where I indulge in dessert or chips, because you have to enjoy everything, in moderation; but overall, eating better makes me feel better, and sets a good example for my children.

I'm taking daily vitamins, too. My favourite vitamins are Nature's Bounty, especially Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies with Biotin. These vitamins have made my hair look thicker, shinier, and smoother. Also? I've noticed a lot less hair loss in my brush. Amazing. These vitamins have helped clear up my skin, leaving my skin glowing, and my nails stronger—no more breakage! Overall, my skin and hair look awesome, and I know it's got so much to do with the Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies. I took the 30 day challenge with Chatelaine, but I'm still taking them, every day, with breakfast.

Taking care of yourself shouldn't be complicated or hard. All you have to do is make a few minor changes in your daily life to see results almost instantly. Eat better, move your body, and take your vitamims!

Here's to a better you in 2016!

Disclaimer: I am part of the Chatelaine Tasters and Testers Blogger Program. I am compensated for my work and all views and opinions are my own. 

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