Thursday, May 21, 2015

P&G in Cincinnati

I spent the last two days in beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio, thanks to P&G. I had the chance to learn all about Tide HE Turbo technology at P&G's Research and Development Headquarters.

But first, Cincinnati... not a city that was on my personal bucket list, but one that I am very glad I got to see and experience. I left with many happy memories and I can't wait to visit again. The city is charming and beautiful, with great history and a cool vibe. It's also very clean, which I loved. The people were super friendly, and the hotel I stayed at—21C Museum Hotel—was amazing. It was modern and hip and had a great roof top bar with fantastic city views. And very comfortable beds.

I flew to Chicago and from there, landed in Kentucky, which is actually where the Ohio airport is located. (I did not know that... I thought I got on the wrong plane and ended up in the wrong State!) Now I can say I was in three States in one day.  Anyway, Kentucky, from what I saw of it, was charming and lovely and now I want to move there... in a pretty little farm house with lots of beautiful, lush green trees on my property, and, of course, the classic white picket fence.



21C Museum Hotel had a giant yellow penguin greeting me in front of my hotel room. This really helped me not get lost going back to my room. (Thanks, yellow penguin!)


The view from the roof top bar of the 21C Museum Hotel were lovely, too. (Hello, Macy's!)


The city was just lovely.


And this is the bridge I was dying to drive over... and had the chance to as I was leaving the city. I only wish I had taken a better picture, but it was an overcast afternoon.


Okay, enough about awesome Cincinnati. The picture below is why I was brought to Ohio! This is the Resesarch and Development building for P&G and Tide. How cool to step inside... and learn all that I did. I truly can't wait for the chance to go back to see more. To actually be employed by P&G would be a very neat thing, too. Seriously, my entire life I've been devoted to P&G products (Crest, Olay, Cover Girl, Pantene, Pampers, Tide, and the list goes on...) so to be a P&G Mom, it's a very special thing indeed.


Touring this building and seeing and meeting so many researchers and scientists who work hard every day to give us the products we've come to know and trust was a very special treat.

I was blown away seeing all the work that goes into developing a new product, like Tide HE Turbo. I think it was equally impressive that I met the team behind the new Tide HE Turbo products, too. Needless to say, everyone at headquarters looked clean because they are the experts when it comes to cleaning clothes. And they do tons of laundry as part of their research. It smelled so very fresh in the entire building! We were shown a few great presentations and some cool experiments that got us thinking about laundry in a new way.

High-efficiency washing machines are becoming the norm in Canada. (Almost half of Canadians own an HE washing machine.) HE washing machines are incredibly advanced, but many HE washing machine owners are still looking for improved laundry performance, because most of the time, they are not using the right product or the right amount to do the job. To get the best results, consumers need to use the right amount of detergent, and use detergents specifically designed for HE washers.

Not all detergents are created equal; many other brands say they are for HE washers but have actually not changed the formula of the detergent. HE Turbo is a new standard for laundry detergents that uses smart suds technology, and attacks dried-on stains better than before. It's the number one recommended detergent by washing machine manufacturers, too. Also, it's safe for all washing machines. I love that it uses far less suds than before, thanks to the new Smart Suds technology. The suds disappear almost immediately. This means that less water is being used, which is very important. Also very important? You're getting incredibly clean clothes, even on a quick cycle, because of the fast-activating ingredients... yay!


We even got to put on the white P&G lab coats to take part in a science experiment, too. It was so cool. Here's where you can see the difference:

video



The suds in the new Tide Turbo HE were instantly gone. It was so cool to see. We learned a lot, and had so much fun. Thank you for the most interesting and informative day, Tide and P&G!

(More) Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites Goodness

You all know I'm no master chef—or baker—in the kitchen. However, I make up for that in other ways. Recently, though, I found an amazingly easy recipe, one that even my children love helping me make. It's a snack that's packed with so much goodness, and is so delicious, and healthy, I don't mind making them every week.

The Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites of Goodness that I made recently were a huge hit in my house. I love that I'm able to make my boys a delicious snack that they love eating, and I think it's great that we can incorporate different ingredients in them to make them taste different each time. And total bonus? They're no bake snack bites. So they take no time at all to make.

Here's another recipe I love: the Kraft Honey Pistachio Peanut Butter Snack Bites. These are so yummy, you won't even realize there is no chocolate in them!

These are just as simple to make. Here's what you need:

  • 1/2 cup Kraft Peanut Butter with Honey
  • 2/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
All you have to do is mix the peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients, put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, and roll into 1-inch balls, using about 2 Tbsp. for each. Voila!


If you entered the My Peanut Butter Snack Bites Makes It Yours Photo Contest, we're pleased to announce the winners. The winners are: Maria Medeiros, Debbie Flynn, Rebecca Hart and
Shanaz Allia. Congratulations, and thank you for entering!

Follow the conversation by following #MyKPBsnackbite on Twitter and for more delicious
recipes visit www.sticktogether.ca.

Enjoy your Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites!



Disclaimer: Although this post has been generously sponsored by Kraft Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Kraft Canada.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stepping Out In Style With Hudson's Bay Company and I.N.C

There are a million reasons I love spring and summer, and shopping for new clothes is on top of that list.

I love dressing for this weather, and I love clothes that can be worn different ways for when I go out with the girls for drinks, for when I'm just hanging around with my children, or heading into work.

What I look for when I'm shopping is versatility in the pieces I buy. And shopping the I.N.C line at Hudson's Bay is one of my favourite things to do, because they always have just what I'm looking for. Versatility. Style. Comfort. I can always find something totally appropriate—whether it's for work, going out, or just kicking back with the family.

I received the most amazing package from Hudson's Bay Company, filled with the season's must-have fashion items—from jeans to a bright pink top with zipper detail, to a lacy white top (that is so sexy, worn alone, or with a sweater) to the most stunning two-piece palm leaf very Mad Men inspired outfit that I could not wait to wear.

The Skinny Leg Crop Jean, of course, could be easily paired with any of the tops I received. Talk about versatility!

 
I had a charity fashion show to attend a few nights ago, and I had the perfect outfit to wear to the show—the Printed Square Neck Scuba Tank and the Stretch Foliage Pencil Skirt (I think it's so Mad Men, no?) I got so many compliments on this outfit, and the best part? I can pair the skirt with the white top, or pair the top with the jeans for a more relaxed look—perfect for an evening enjoying a glass of wine with friends.
 



Another favourite look of mine from the collection was this Embellished Tie Front Peasant Top. It is the perfect, breezy top to wear for casual afternoons, shopping, a lunch date, or hanging out with family and friends. It's comfortable and so, so pretty. I love the details on the front of the top, especially. This was worn with the jeans and cute wedge heels.




Of course, pieces that can be worn from the office to dinner are my favourite, because they are so practical. I instantly fell in love with the white and green Trapeze Contrast Knit Cardigan as soon as I tried it on. The green colour on the white is perfect for spring. I wore the sweater over the white Stretch Lace Two-Piece Top.

To dress things up after work, I took off the sweater, added a statement necklace to the white top, and put on some higher heels. These two pieces should be in everyone's closet! They can be worn again and again, and I think white for spring is summer is absolutely essential.



I.N.C. is a great line to shop because of the variety of pieces they have. From dresses to pants to sweaters to tops, you'll definitely find something you love this season. And because the pieces are so practical, yet stylish—so versatile, yet unique—you won't have to buy an entire new wardrobe. A few new pieces from I.N.C. is all you need to get you through your spring and summer days.

Oh! And here's a total bonus: in honour of the line's 30th anniverary, the pieces are available for 30% off, in-store and online, from May 15th to May 21st. (No promo code required!) Not only are the clothes fabulous, the shopping is made easy, too—and who doesn't love a great sale like 30% off? That's guilt-free shopping!

Disclosure: I am part of The Hudson's Bay Company and I.N.C campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Get Ready for Summer Giveaway with Pantene, Olay and Crest

After hectic mornings getting the kids out the door for school—a time I cherish, despite how busy it is—I take the scenic route to work. The weather has been perfect, and I love that I'm surrounded by so much beauty on my drive. Windows down with my favourite music playing is always a great start to my day. May is my favourite month, because it's the beginning of summer.  Nothing makes me happier than stepping outside in a little dress and feeling the hot sun on my skin. Sadly, spring and summer go by in the blink of an eye, and because of this, I do as much as I can to take it all in, by staying outside as much as possible. Sunny skies, hot temperatures, and a light breeze... absolute perfection. Nights on patios with friends, pool parties and backyard BBQ's, vacations... all things to get really excited about. Here's something else to get excited about: a spring and summer beauty routine.

Now that the harsh months of winter are behind us, it's time to treat ourselves to the right hair and beauty products so we're fully ready to step out in style. There is no better time than now to get back into a good beauty routine with the right moisturizers and products that'll help you have the smoothest skin and the shiniest hair.


P&G has some great solutions to help get you ready for fun in the sun.

Here are some awesome new P&G products I'm loving:

The Pantene Dry Defy system is designed for women with really dry hair that's lost it's natural movement and shine. It's perfect if your hair is feeling a little lifeless from the winter. (Hello, that would be me!) This is a three step system that helps replenish lost moisture. The three step system includes an intense hydrating shampoo and conditioner, as well as a Velvet Crème Infusion, which absorbs into hair and starts working right away, leaving hair soft and velvety for all those mid-afternoon strolls, patio lunches, and trips to the park... or to the mall, to pick up a new pair of shoes, because really, we can never have too many cute wedge heels!

I like to lighten up my blonde highlights in the spring and summer. I love the new Pantene Fade Defy because it really helps my hair colour stay resilient and vibrant. (Yay!) This collection includes a shampoo and conditioner formulated with three amino acids found naturally in the hair’s core that help colour form more intensely in the hair fibre. You can apply Fade Defy Vibrant Color Magnifying Gloss afterwards to seal it in and avoid damage, too. Now you can blow-dry away.

Want to rejuvenate your skin? Experience Olay’s new Fresh Outlast Body Washes formulated to work with skin’s natural pH. This body wash comes in four premium scents, like Cooling White Strawberry & Mint, made with essential oil fragrances. The smell is heavenly and delicious. You'll have totally kissable skin after using this body wash.

Longing for pearly whites? You can whiten your teeth with the new Crest 3D White® Brilliance Toothpaste which works to enhance your smile’s beauty with an Illuminating Complex. Pair it along with new Crest 3D White Brilliance Boost –a polishing treatment designed to amplify your smile’s brilliant whiteness. I do this two step teeth cleaning routine every morning and night to help brighten my smile.

Pantene, Olay, and Crest want to help kickstart your spring regime with a gift box including all the products I'm mentioned here! Valued at $80, the giveaway includes:
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom.  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. This contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.

By entering this contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize. Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.
 
This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program. However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway. If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. All winners must be from within Canada.

Good Luck and enjoy the gorgeous weather!

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's An HE Turbo Twitter Party!

Now that warmer days are here, there's really no need to ever be indoors—unless it's to sleep, and even then, it's with the windows open, so the sounds of summer can be heard. This weather, you guys... it's perfection. Finally, after the longest winter ever, we're able to kick back and soak up the sun.

The only thing keeping me indoors is... argh—never-ending piles of laundry that somehow, despite the fact that we're wearing less clothing than we did in the winter—seem to keep piling up. (And maybe it's because my boys seem to roll in mud, like, every day, going through so many t-shirts and short every day!)

There is no magic solution to laundry, unless someone else is doing it for me, but the next best thing is using a product that's going to make my job more efficient so I can get back to doing the things I really love. It's a fact that laundry is the most time consuming household chore, so Tide has come up with a solution.

HE Turbo Clean detergents truly save time, water, and energy by using proprietary, quick-dissolving Smart Suds™  technology that help prevent HE Washing Machines from running addition rinse cycles. Basically, The Smart Suds™ technology in HE Turbo Clean detergents won’t carry over suds, meaning that an HE washer won’t go into additional rinse cycles that add up to 25 minutes to cycle time and waste up to 10 gallons of water.

Does this mean less time waiting for the laundry to be done? Indeed it does! So get the sangria ready, because you'll be spending more time on the patio than in the laundry room this summer. I can talk to you more about this exciting news, but you'll have to wait until Monday to hear more.

I'm excited to be moderating a fun Twitter Party on Monday, May 11th at 9:00pm EDT. We'd love for you to join us for the #HETurbo Twitter Party. I promise, it'll be fun, and we're giving away some fabulous prizes... like what?

Like...

Seven Tide HE Turbo Clean bundles and over $1500 in Visa Gift Cards. That's a lot Visa Gift Cards! 

The Grand Prize winner will be taking home a Tide HE Turbo Clean bundle and a $500 Visa Gift Card.



All you have to do is RSVP below for a chance to win. Don't forget to enter your Twitter handle in the Link/Blog Title field, and your Twitter URL, too, in the Link Filed.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Burst into Spring with Shoppers Drug Mart and Enter for A Chance to Win!

Lately the weather has been absolute perfection, with warm and sunny days. I simply cannot get enough of how nice it is outside, finally.

Spring is most definitely in the air and summer is close behind, which is my favourite time of the year. I love spring for so many reasons—we get to stay out late, enjoy the sunshine, and feel the warmth on our skin. I also love spring a lot because it's always the perfect excuse to go shopping, to stock up on spring essentials!

Shoppers Drug Mart has everything I need to take care of myself and my family. They have a huge selection of products, no matter what you're looking for; from home decor, to cards and gift ideas, to children's products and, of course, all the beauty products I desire. Shoppers Drug Mart continues to be my one-stop place to shop, and this spring, there is so much to shop for. Shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart is effortless, easy, and doesn't take up too much of my time. The service is always great, which really helps, but more importantly, the products I know, trust and love are always available for me to purchase.

Here are my favourite Burst into Spring products from Shoppers Drug Mart that I totally love for spring... and I know you will, too.

Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream: Olay didn't become the number one female facial skin care brand for nothing; Olay is always a great skin care product that works beautifully on my skin and face by providing amazing protection from the elements while keeping my skin hydrated and looking energized. I was able to buy Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream and I love that I can use both day and night. The Tone Perfecting Cream instantly brightens my skin and helps reduce the appearance of dark spots over time. Total bonus.





Life Brand Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50  is the perfect sunscreen for my entire family. I always stock up on this sunscreen for the spring and summer and use it on all of us, for perfect protection, knowing it's also not harmful for our skin. (We used this in Greece last summer, too, and it really helped our skin stay sunburn free!)




Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer: I picked up this skin moisturizer recently and I love it—I love it because it does  a great job of keeping my skin feeling smooth, soft, and silky, while at the same time giving my skin that extra glow it needs for spring. The scent is sweet and it's super easy to apply. It also comes in different shades, depending on your skin colour—so it will be matched perfectly to your skin and give you just the right amount of glow.




Crest 3D White Brilliance Mesmerizing Mint Toothpaste: The most important thing you need for any season? A beautiful smile. I am addicted to Crest 3D White Brilliance Mesmerizing Mint Toothpaste; it's the perfect minty taste and keeps my teeth looking white, and feeling clean.




Venus Swirl Razor with FlexiBall Technology: Smooth, silky skin is so important for spring and summer, because I pretty much live in little dresses as soon as the weather warms up. And because I'm always in a rush with my children,  I love the Venus Swirl, because it's easy to use (meaning it contours over all the curves of my skin without any mishaps, and it always leaves my skin smooth.)







There are so many fabulous Burst into Spring products available at Shoppers Drug Mart that'll certainly get you in the spring shopping mood, but what's even more amazing is that when you spend $10 or more at Shoppers Drug Mart you can win 1 of 3 prizes of $10,000. For details, visit your local Shoppers Drug Mart store or shoppersdrugmart.ca/spring.

And when you're shopping in-store, you'll be able to earn Shoppers Optimum Points on almost every purchase. (You can also join in the conversation on Twitter. Just use the hashtag #BurstIntoSpring!)

I've got a great giveaway for you, too! Just leave me a comment below telling me which Shoppers Drug Mart Spring products you want to try this spring and you will be entered to win a gift basket full of Shoppers Drug Mart Spring products.

Happy Spring Shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart—and Good Luck!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Stella and Dot Mother's Day Engravable Necklace Giveaway

Mother's Day is around the corner and while I'm not overly sentimental, I love giving (and receiving) on this special day.

What I receive from my boys that I love and appreciate the most are personal tokens of love and affection that come from the heart. A handwritten card is pretty much all I need to make me completely happy on Mother's Day, or any day of the year, for that matter. The gifts my boys give that come from the heart mean so much to me.


When I receive other types of sweet gifts, I'm also very thankful. Gifts like spa treatments,  luxurious hotel stays, and jewellery always make great gifts.

I was given this gorgeous personalized necklace by my Stella and Dot Independent Stylist, Kristy Price, recently, and I wear it almost every day.


It's the perfect engravable necklace and it goes with almost everything I wear. It was a special early Mother's Day gift I received, and now I want to give you a special Mother's Day gift, too!


I'm giving away an engravable necklace just like the ones above to one of my readers. The necklace is valued at between $64-$74 dollars, and you can choose which one you want for yourself once I pick my winner. (You can check out the options here.)

If you win, you'll not only receive a beautiful neckacle, you'll also receive a catered Style Session (with wine and cupcakes provided!) for a fun night with friends.

I'll pick a winner randomly on May 10th. 

To enter: Leave me a commenet below telling me what your favourite Mother's Day gift is! (Please include your contact information.)

Note: This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, however, only those living in Ottawa will be able to enjoy the second part of the giveaway—the catered Style Session.

Good Luck!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Admit it... you lie. You probably lie every day and forgive yourself for it, because sometimes, well, you just gotta lie. I'm not talking about big, bad lies—more the little lies that don't really hurt anyone. Sometimes you might be stretching the truth a little, and that's okay. We are all guilty of this.

Like telling your friend she looks perfect in that dress.

Or coming up with a wild excuse for why you weren't able to attend the school council meeting. (Yawn.)

And, of course, the little white lies we tell our children.

Being the mom of two young and curious boys, I've lied before... like hiding the chocolate so I can enjoy it myself after the kids have gone to bed ("Sorry boys, there is no chocolate in the house!") or convincing myself I better eat the last cookie, because if there are no cookies in the house, my boys will eat something healthy. I've lied to my boys and told them the stores were closed  because I didn't really want to go to Toys R Us for another Nerf gun.

We all do it, and it's mostly harmless. I mean, really—telling our children Santa is real? And the Easter Bunny? And the Tooth Fairy? We're all liars! As my boys have gotten older, they've figured out the difference between fact and fiction, and they know there is no Santa. Or Tooth Fairy. Or Easter Bunny. (It kind of broke my heart when they stopped believing in Santa.)

Lying to my kids isn't as easy as it used to be, because they are older and wiser... they can read, and they can figure out most things for themselves, now.

Speaking of lies, Netflix is currently featuring some great movies and TV shows that'll make your lies look very innocent.

Check out the new Netflix original series, Bloodline—it's about a family and the very dark secrets they keep. The Canadian Press calls Bloodline "... a searing family drama." I think I'm going to have to check this show out soon.  (It stars Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights, too.) It's set in the Florida Keys, and the series follows a family caught between the ugly truth and the terrible lie that covers it all up. I'm always looking for something new to watch on Netflix, so this sounds perfect... and a little scandelous, too. (Definitely not one to watch with the kids. I'll be watching with my secret chocolate stash... once they're asleep.)


Two other movies I love are also on Netflix right now—Liar, Liar, and Mean Girls. I've watched both several times, and I these two movies a lot.



There are some great options for the kids on Netflix, too, related to lying and honesty—episodes of Super Why, Curious Geroge, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and The Adventures of Chuck & Friends.

I love that every month, Netflix has something new for everyone to watch—and I'm always looking forward to what's to come on Netflix!



Disclaimer: I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix and as part of the Netflix Canada Stream Team. All views and opinions are my own.


                             
                     
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Putting On The Ritz At The Ritz-Carlton Montreal

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of staying at and reviewing the stunning Ritz-Carlton, Montreal with my family. Montreal has always been one of my favourite cities because of its history and culture, and also because it is charming and beautiful.

Not many hotels are linked to the history of the city in which they are located; the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is one of those hotels. After all, it's not called the "Grand Dame of Sherbrooke Street" for nothing. This hotel is an iconic part of Montreal. The hotel first opened its doors in 1912 and perhaps that is part of its charm.


The lobby area (also called the Palm Court) is a great place to people watch and enjoy afternoon tea. The Palm Court makes me feel like I've stepped into the world of Gatsby. There is also a Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar in the Palm Court – exclusive to the Ritz-Carlton Montral and the first of its kind in Canada. (I'll have to come back for that!)


I stayed at this hotel a couple of  times before the renovations that took place between 2008-2012.  The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is one of Canada's most award-winning hotels, and it is actually only one of four hotels designed by César Ritz himself (in addition to London, Paris, and Madrid.) It's luxurious, for certain—and the service is like no other from the moment you walk in the historic doors.

The old charm of the hotel combined with the comtemporary design (I love that they've kept some pieces of antique furniture in the rooms—I think it adds to the charm) makes a stay here very memorable. You'll never want to leave. The boutique rooms and suites blend historic elements with modern features in an effortless way.






The rooms are luxurious and breathtaking. My children loved the washrooms the most—from the large tubs and TV's to the heated toilet seats, they were so happy. Our two connecting rooms were very spacious and the boys enjoyed a scavenger hunt in our room as soon as we arrived.



What they loved even more than the amazing bathrooms and candy, though, was the rooftop saltwater pool. With views of downtown Montreal, this pool was breathtaking and a great place to relax with a book, too.




I loved the cute and soft robes they were given to wear to and from the pool. It's the little things the hotel thought about that made this stay so lovely.


Later in the evening, the boys were treated to an in-room movie complete with drinks and popcorn. It was perfection.




Although there is so much to do in Montreal, (we walked around Crescent Street, had dinner at an excellent Greek restaurant, and more) we enjoyed being inside the Ritz-Carlton the most. There was no need to leave.




 
We were also treated to a delicious breakfast at the renowned Maison Boulud restaurant the next morning, too. The restaurant features an open-kitchen concept and modern cuisine with a twist. It's a great place to eat, whether you're enjoying breakfast or dinner. There is a fine wine menu, too, as you can see...


I loved the features and attention to detail in the hotel rooms; the heated bathroom floors, the beautiful views and large windows in the rooms, the neutral colour scheme, the Nespresso machine and turndown service, complete with slippers and lavender hand lotion, the pillow menu, the towel warmer, and the motion sensors that activate lights at night. Absolutely everything was perfection, including the service.

Thank you so much, Ritz-Carlton Montreal, for this incredible stay. We truly loved every single moment, and can't wait to be back soon.

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