Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WaySpa Gift Cards: Always The Perfect Gift To Give (And Enjoy!)

Right now,  I'm enjoying some sunshine and warmth in south Florida with my family. This is our tenth time staying at the Diplomat Resort and Spa, and we're having a fantastic time—building sand castles, shopping, enjoying delicious dinners out on patios, and swimming.

Before I left for my annual vacation down south, I used my WaySpa.com gift card for a pedicure—a must before wearing summer sandals and flip flops again! I went to Holtz Spa in Ottawa for a pedicure with my mom and my sister, since we were all travelling to Florida together, as we often do. Getting together and enjoying a day at the spa was so much fun, especially because we were so excited to be going away, far away from winter. 

Spa days alone are great, but even more fun is enjoying the pampering with friends or family. And WaySpa gift cards are the ultimate gift of relaxation and rejuvenation, no matter the reason or occasion. I love when girlfriends get together for a day of spa pampering, and a great way to show a friend you care is to treat them to a gift card for a spa day—and WaySpa gift cards are perfect, because they're used at over 2,000 spas and you can choose the amount you want to gift. 

Another great reason to give the gift of a spa day? Valentine's Day, of course! Right now, you can receive 15% off WaySpa gift cards for that special day. I think a great way to show someone you love and care about is to give them the gift of a spa day so they can unwind, relax, and feel like new again. Valentine's Day (which is just around the corner) is a great way to get together with your loved one for a day of intimacy at the spa. Gifts don't have to be hard, and everyone appreciates some TLC from the spa!









Disclaimer: I am a WaySpa.com Brand Ambassador. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tips To Get You To A Fantasic New You

We're already halfway through January; this month is just flying by. I like to start each year by making necessary positive changes that'll last longer than 31 days, even though sometimes it can be challenging.

Here are some ways you can make this your best year ever:

Spread the word

Share your goals, desires, and/or resolutions with your friends and family. Not only will you gain support from your loved ones, it'll also encourage you to keep yourself accountable. (Trust me, this works!) Sometimes a nice nudge or reminder from a friend will help keep you on track on the days you feel like giving up.

Set yourself up for success

With the new year, we tend to set overly-ambitious goals for ourselves, so it's better to not set expectations too high. Sometimes, creating smaller goals over the duration of the year will give you better, lasting results. No crash dieting! (I've been so guilty of that in the past!) If you're looking to get fit and healthy, take it one step at a time; drink an extra glass of water every day, (I always start the day with drinking a tall, cold glass of water) take the stairs, work out a few times a week, and make sure you're taking your daily multivitamins. It's easier than you'd think—just keep them somewhere where you'll always be reminded to take them. I love the delicious easy-to-chew Vitafusion MultiVites Gummies, especially because they taste so good. It's almost like a treat. I include my children in the task of taking our daily multivitamins together—they really love the L'il Critters Gummy Vites, especially because they can choose the flavour they want. It's nice to know it doesn't take too much to stay healthy, especially in the cold, winter months. Before you know it, these minor adjustments—drinking more water, taking multivitamins, taking the stairs, and working out—will become effortless routines in your daily life.



Have fun

One of the best things about New Year's resolutions (or goals) is that it's all up to you. Make it fun, and be a little creative. Turn your exercise into a hobby and your organizing into a DIY project—you can do it! Achieving your goals will feel like a breeze when it's something you look forward to.



Disclaimer: I'm honoured to be part of the Church & Dwight Blogger Ambassador Program. I receive compensation and special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. All views and opinions are my own.

Friday, January 16, 2015

From Miami to Orlando: Luxury Resorts For The Family

Brr... it's been an incredibly cold winter and I'm over it already. Thankfully, my family and I are heading south to warmer temperatures, soon. I'm counting down the days—we all are, actually. I need the sun, the warmth, and the sound of the ocean waves waking me up every morning.

I was on CTV Ottawa Morning Live talking about travel tips when you're travelling with the kids, and I had to mention three amazing resorts that I'll be visiting during my upcoming vacation to Florida. Having travelled to Florida many times with the little ones, I know what works, and what doesn't.


These resorts are amazing, family-friendly, and very accommodating—and I know they'd be perfect for you, too—whether you're travelling with children, or not.

1. Diplomat Resort and Spa: We can't wait to be back at the beautiful Diplomat Resort and Spa. (For our 10th time!)  The Diplomat has been so kind to us over the years, providing us with amazing perks like upgraded rooms, corner suites, spa services, cabanas, free wi-fi, valet services, and so much more. The resort is incredibly beautiful, with never-ending ocean views and two pools: an infinity pool, and and lagoon-style pool, below.

Soon, I'll be testing out their New Year, New You Spa Package: "A special New Year, New you package invites guests to experience a one-hour personal training session to help start their New Year off right, along with a refreshing 80-minute Diplomat Fit Massage and 50-minute Firming Facial. The experience concludes with a shellac manicure and pedicure, leaving guests polished and new." Um... yes, please. I cannot wait! Read more about the Diplomat Resort and Spa here.



2. Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour: Luxury, relaxation and more—I can't wait to visit and review the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour for the first time. If it's anything like the Ritz-Carlton in Biscayne Bay, I know I'll love it. This stunning luxury beach resort has so much to offer, from private suites to a 10,000 square-foot spa where you can get pampered, to the beautiful, outdoor heated swimming pool with private cabanas.

Bal Harbour is my favourite place in Florida and I know this escape will be amazing. After all, it's down the road from the Bal Harbour Shops and my favorite Italian restaurant—especially for people and celebrity watching—Carpaccio's! The Ritz-Carlton is a stunning resort for adults and children alike. They even have a Ritz Kids Club, too—the kids learn as they're kept busy, through four pillars: land, water, environmental responsibility, and culture, and there are other fun and educational activities for the children, too, like a summer reading program, a book and movie library, board games, gaming systems, and more. There is also, of course, plenty to keep adults busy, as well, from lounging around the pool and beach area, to enjoying the fine dining and spa services. The bathrooms at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour were voted one of South Florida's sexiest... don't you agree?




The first time I was in Orlando, I fell in love—with Disney World, sure, but more with the resort we stayed at—the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. I never forgot the stunning pool area with massive waterfalls, the Kids Club, and the huge, spacious lobby. I was only 12, but wow—what an impression it left! The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is a 1,500-acre resort, surrounded by 21 acres of lakes and lush landscaping, just one mile away from Disney World. It's hard to leave the resort, though, let me warn you.

What you can enjoy while you're at the Hyatt: Enjoy the spacious guestrooms with private balconies, play 18-holes on any of the four championship Jack Nicklaus designed golf couress, play tennis with certified tennis pros, swim in the 800,000 gallon lagoon-style pool, go on a hike or a family bike ride, enjoy the water slides, or go rock climbing. You can also relax in the Marilyn Monroe spa, go paddleboating, and enjoy the many yummy restaurants.



From Miami to Orlando, these resorts have all you need for the perfect family vacation.

I'm be re-capping my vacation and giving full reviews on each resort upon my return. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Brand New Diplomat Resort Is Waiting For You

Every winter (and sometimes summer) we travel to south Florida to relax, spend time oceanside, and enjoy the fabulous Diplomat Resort and Spa.  In a couple of weeks, we'll be heading back to our favourite south Florida resort, and I can't wait to leave winter behind.

Going on vacations with my boys and my family (and taking a break from the harsh, cold weather) is  important to me, and every new vacation gives us many new wonderful, lasting memories. This trip to the Diplomat Resort and Spa will be our TENTH, believe it or not. (That should give you some indication about how much of a great time we have at this resort.) The first time I stayed at this resort, I was pregnant with my second baby boy. (He considers that his first vacation!).

I started travelling when I was a baby, and my boys have been travelling since they were infants, too. Because of this, travelling with them has always been pretty easy, no matter how far (Greece) or close (Florida) we go.

I'm looking forward to enjoying our week at the Diplomat Resort and Spa, especially because it is now a Curio Collection by Hilton resort.  I want to see any changes that have taken place, but I most look forward to returning to the things I love best: the stunning, never-ending views of the Atlantic Ocean, the beautiful lobby, the 24-hour fitness studio, the Spa, the Kids Club, plenty of dining options, and of course, the infinity pool and lagoon-style pool.






Here is some additional information about the Diplomat Resort and Spa, in case you're looking to plan a trip here soon!

Quick Facts:
  • The Diplomat Resort and Spa is South Florida's premier resort.
  • It is located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
  • 10 minutes from Fort Lauderdale Airport.
  • 30 minutes from Miami airport.
  • Near Hollywood's historic ocean front boardwalk.
  • 10 minutes from dining, casino, and nightlife at The Village at Gulfstream Park. (This is a favourite place for us to go to in the evenings—lots of safe space for the kids to run around, great dining options, and a lot of great stores.)
  • 10 minutes from Aventura Mall (My favourite mall!)
  • At the resort, there are many great places to eat, too—the Lobby Bar, the Cafe, Fresh, Diplomat Prime, Rivals, Splash Bar and Grill.
  • Poolside cabanas and beachside rentals (jetski, kayak, paddle boards, v-ball, and more.
  • Kids Club—so much fun!
  • 2 gorgeous pools: the infinity pool, and the lagoon-style pool. 
If you have any questions about booking a vacation to the Diplomat Resort and Spa, please contact me—I'd love to answer any questions you may have!


Disclaimer: I received special perks from the Diplomat Resort and Spa. All views and opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

50 Shades of Grey At The Golden Globes (And Other Random Thoughts)

I don't often watch television (mostly just Netflix) but I always make time to watch the Golden Globe Awards, and the Academy Awards. It reminds me of all the movies and television shows I should get around to watching!

Anyway...

Here are some of my random thoughts from the Golden Globes:  

1. Everyone looked so good, so glowy, and so tanned, and, well, clearly the spray tan isn't going away any time soon!

2. Cindy Crawford on the red carpet. She is the ultimate, most drop-dead gorgeous supermodel ever.

3. KATE HUDSON. Perfection. How sexy did she look in that white low-cut Versace dress?

4. J.LO. She was a goddess. (And did we see some chemistry between her and Jeremy Renner?)

5. Reese Witherspoon. Always a favourite of mine on the red carpet.

6. Patricia Arquette made me teary with her speech.

7. Can I get through Boyhood without sobbing uncontrollably?

8.  I miss Breaking Bad. A lot. Sob.

9. Catherine Zeta-Jones is as stunning as ever.

10. KEVEN SPACEY. YES! YES! YES! (For his House of Cards win!)

11. George Clooney has been in many, many great movies. He is so worthy of receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award.

12. Tina and Amy!

I'm glad Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes again, because they're just brilliant and absolutely hilarious.


Anyway, the Golden Globes are as much about the fashion and who wore what best as it is about who goes home with the award. And I think so many men and women were simply gorgeous on the red carpet, but...

Here's who I think rocked the red carpet at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards!

It was 50 shades of grey (and silver) at the Golden Globes. So many beautiful women were wearing some shade of grey, and looking totally stunning, too.

Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Dakota Johnson (the 50 Shades of Grey leading lady herself), Amy Adams, and Diane Kruger—they all looked drop dead gorgeous!






Kate Hudson was smoking hot—she looked beyond sexy in her Versace dress. Seriously, though, how good does she look?


I really loved Emma Stone's look, too—she wore it so well. She always looks adorable.


Definitely looking stunning tonight? Kate Beckinsale. I loved her dress, and her hair, and her entire look. 


One of my favourite looks of the night was J.Lo. Her dress, her "golden globes", her hair, and her make-up.


And of course, leave it to the supermodels to show everyone how to really rock the red carpet... Heidi Klum, and my favourite supermodel EVER, Cindy. Crawford. She just alway looks beautiful, doesn't she? 


Honourable mentions go out to Emily Blunt, Anna Kendricks, and Jennifer Aniston—they all looked lovely, in very pretty dresses I would wear. (Especially the dress Jennifer wore.) 

Who do think rocked the Golden Globes last night?



Images: People.com, VanityFair.com, Just Jared.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Designer Shades At Smart Buy Glasses

I have a thing for designer sunglasses—I literally cannot get enough. I stock up, and justify my purchases because I always wear my sunglasses, no matter the season. I just don't wear my sunglasses at night. (Ha!)

When I was approached by Smart Buy Glasses to review a pair of designer sunglasses from their website, I instantly said yes. After all, how could I turn down a brand-new pair of Gucci shades? The timing was perfect, too, becuase I can bring my new Gucci shades with me on my trip to Miami in two weeks.


I've already started wearing these new classic Gucci shades, though—and I love them so much.


I found Smart Buy Glasses to be a really straightforward site to use and shop at—they have an amazing variety of sunglassses and prescription glasses at great prices.

Whether you're looking for Gucci, Bolle, Ray-Ban, Fendi, Givenchy, D&G,  Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Valentino, Michael Kors, or Kate Spade—plus dozens more—this site has it all. They provide a huge range of glasses and sunglasses, as well as plenty of sports glasses, like ski googles, too. Paired with great customer service and quick delivery, this site is a great place to do your online shopping!

"Our customers can always rely on us for a vast selection of optical products from the latest eyewear trends to the classics that never go out of style. We pride ourselves in offering our customers great deals daily and guarantee an enjoyable shopping experience.100 day returns, price match guarantee.
SmartBuyGlasses is part of the SmartBuyGlasses Optical Group, one of the world's leading online designer eyewear retailers with operations in Canada, USA & Italy."
I'm totally satisfied with my new sunnies, and I know you would love shopping this site, too, especially if you love online shopping and quick delivery. Smart Buy Glasses is really passionate about keeping their customers happy. I would defintely shop for my next pair of glasses at Smart Buy Glasses.




Disclaimer: I was gifted a new pair of designer sunglasses of my choice from Smart Buy Glasses. All views and opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Surprise The Kids With Nerd Block Jr.

We're over the excitement and craziness of the holidays, and we've settled back into our daily routine quite nicely. Despite the freezing cold temperatures we've been dealt, I'm thankful for our daily routine. After school, although we're busy with activities and tennis lessons and Cubs, I always find time to spend quality time with my boys, so we can talk about our day, and truly connect. I cherish every moment—truly.

I miss my boys when they were toddlers and young children; but now, it's an entirely new world of fun. I love seeing and learning about the things they are interested in; reading, writing, building LEGO, playing Mario Kart and Minecraft and spending time on their iPads actually playing educational games and learning while they're online. My oldest son is devoted to science and math; my youngest son loves to use his imagination with play, writing, and creating. They are very different, and yet similar in many ways; for example, they both love video games, and challenging each other.

I was recently approached by a great Canadian-based mystery subscription company called Nerd Block. It's basically a mystery box for "geeks" and "nerds", where subscribers receive a box filled with toys, collectables, and a custom t-shirt every month. It's considered "Comic Com in a box, every month." Sound fun, doesn't it?

New to the Nerd Block family is Nerd Block Jr., which is catered to children and contains age appropriate toys. I was sent a sample box for my boys, filled with Super Mario Bros. and Minecraft items, and they loved it. I think Nerd Block Jr. is an excellent surprise to give to kids, and to give as gifts for friends, especially if they live far away; what a perfect surprise to receive in the mail! You can customize your box, and if children have different interests, you can get a girl box or a boy box, if you want. You can choose to subscribe for three, six, or 12 months; totally up to you. I love that you can pick your theme, too, so you don't receive items you don't want.


To find out more, check out the Nerd Block Jr. Facebook page. I think you'll love it as much as my children did! I think a special monthly subscription service that delivers a surprise box of items that children are interested in is such a cool idea.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shoppers Drug Mart To The Rescue This Winter


I know it's just the beginning of winter, and although I loved the holidays and all the fun that comes with winter (and all the shopping and cozing up in front of the fireplace!)  I'm actually really missing summer... In the summer, I don't have to worry about winter clothes and boots and dry, pale skin, and getting dressed in the morning is so much easier... little dress and flip flops, and out the door, into the sunshine!

Since summer and warmer days are gone for now, I have to take extra steps in making sure my skin is still looking its best, and I love heading to Shoppers Drug Mart to stock up on my winter must-have products. Shooppers Drug Mart is Canada's ultimate destination for skin care, especially during the cold, dry winter months. I'm constnatly applying hand cream to my hands! Shoppers Drug Mart  carries a wide selection of skin care products and they offer complimentary skin care consulatations in-store by their Beauty Experts, so you can feel really confident in knowing that the products they recommend will be perfect for you. I know people who have very sensitive skin, so making sure they're buying the proper products is really important.  Say good-bye to dry skin and winter skin woes!

Shoppers Drug Mart has excellent skin care products, including products by Biotherm, Shiseido, Lancome and more. I can't wait to try the Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Eye Balm. One of my favourite new skin care products is the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum, which I use twice day a day under my moinstureizer. I love it. (it's a product that takes care of the things your skin needs taking care of, from red spots to blemishes, fine lines and more. It's a miracle serum, truly!) I'm also really looking forward to trying the Biotherm Aquasource Cocoon, because I've heard amazing things.



For my dry hands during the winter months, I love using Jergens Vitamin E Replenishing Moisturizer and Vaseline Total Moisture Dry Skin Lotion.



I love that Shoppers Drug Mart has such a wide selection of new skin products for everyone in my family too. Best part? Earning Shoppers Optimum Points on participating skin care products.

Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Experts offer in-store complimentary skin care consultations using the beautyRx tool. This Skin Analysis consists of a Moisture Checker, which measures your skin hydration levels, and a Video Microscope which magnifies your skin's surface by 30 times to help diagnose your skin type. Based on your results, the Beauty Expert will suggest which skin care producst are best for you, so you know what you're buying will really do the trick in dealing with your winter skin!

This winter, check out Shoppers Drug Mart for a large variety of skin care products for yourself and your family, take advantage of of your very own skin care consultation and collect those amazing Optimum points while you're at it!







Disclaimer: Although this post has been generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, the opinions and language are myown, and in no way do they reflect Shooppers Drug Mart.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Onward, 2015.

Christmas has come and gone, for another year. It was truly wonderful—we celebrated every day, with friends and family, and made new memories. The holiday season is my favourite because of all the great times we experience together, and it always warms my heart to see my boys so happy. We are all partied out, and I am totally in detox right now from all the food and drink consumption. (But the holidays are never a time to worry about that, right?)




We all made it past midnight on New Year's Eve as we counted down to 2015 with the entire family at the Greek dance, as we always do, and now, looking onward to 2015, there is so much I want to accomplish. I don't like to make New Year's resolutions, but rather, goals to try to achieve.


Happy New Year, everyone! Hope your 2014 was wonderful, and here's to an even more wonderful 2015. May all your dreams come true.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Latest From Netflix Canada

I love Netflix, and so do my children. In fact, I honestly cannot remember the last time I watched television any other way. All my favourite shows—and my children's—are on Netflix. It's a beautiful thing! I'm thankful to be starting another year as part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. The other day, we received a package from Netflix (always a nice surprise) packed with goodies to get the kids excited about the brand new Netflix original series, All Hail King Julien.



We received a gift card to Boston Pizza as well as a fun party kit filled with favours to get the viewing party started. A lot of party favours are New Year's Eve themed, so we had fun with them a little early. (We just couldn't wait to get the party started!)

King Julien is an original and totally hilarious (and insane!) new series on Netflix. A favourite character from the Madagascar franchise, King Julien takes on the jungle's craziest adventures in this funny new series, along with his loyal sidekicks, Maurice and Mort, and many new animals you'll soon fall in love with.


My oldest son watched all the episodes already, (he liked them SO much!) and he is willing to watch them all over again with his younger brother—isn't that sweet? He's already asking me when there will be new episodes to watch... he's hooked already.

Thank you Netflix, for once again, providing my family with quality entertainment and laughter. Here's to an amazing 2015!



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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Five Reasons Why A WaySpa Gift Card Makes A Great Holiday Gift

It's the season for baking, shopping, wrapping, cooking, hosting, partying, attending Christmas concerts, and celebrating with family and friends. It is a busy month, to say the least, and I love giving gifts that I know people will love and really appreciate—like a gift card to WaySpa.

I love spa days and I love being a Brand Ambassador for WaySpa, because it's my job to test out different spas every month and blog about my experience. It's aways a wonderful and relaxing time, and I think that a gift card to WaySpa would make an excellent gift for everyone on your shopping list.


Here are the TOP FIVE  reasons to give the gift of a WaySpa gift card this holiday season to the people on your shopping list:

1. It's a simple way to shop—just go to Wayspa.com and with a click of a button, your gift card has been purchased.

2. You don't have to worry about wrapping your gift. Just put your gift card in a cute little box, or inside a holiday card, and you're good to go. No need to worry about making the perfect bow. 

3. Stress-free shopping—everyone, and I mean everyone—appreciates a day at the spa, whether it's for a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, a blow-dry, or a facial. 

4. It's a gift that's really appreciated this time of year because it's calorie-free! Save the cookies for the exchange, and give the gift that's all about pampering.

5. WaySpa is the world's fastest-growing online spa marketplace in partnership with over 2000 spa around the world, and offers great prices to the best salons. If you're looking for a perfect last-minute gift, purchases can be delivered digitally and emailed (or printed directly from your computer after you've made your purchase.) Last minute shopping made easy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tales From Toronto

My boys are the best travelers, whether traveling by car, train, or plane. We just spent three days in Toronto for a pre-Christmas getaway—to attend my mom's art show, visit the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, and to see my best friends—and we had a great time.

 Chevrolet Canada gave me a 2015 Traverse to test drive for an entire week, and we were able to take this awesome vehicle to Toronto for our trip. The kids, of course, loved it, and we were thankful for all the room, too—thank you so much for the sweet ride, Chevrolet Canada!



We arrived to our favourite Toronto hotel, the Marriott Bloor Yorkville. This was our third stay (and my fifth) at this hotel in Yorkville, and our third stay in the Presidential, two-level suite. Our first visit was during my 35th birthday and the hotel treated us to not only the suite, but champagne, cake, flowers, treats for the children, and balloons, too.

The kids truly love all the room, and I like that we can invite friends and family to our suite, too, to chill out, have dinner around the table, and run around. The service at this hotel is great, and I love the Yorkville location. The best part is that all the shops are connected underneath the hotel, so we don't have to wear boots or bring our coats when we want to grab a coffee at Starbucks or go shopping. Truly a great thing in the winter time!
 



We celebrated my dad's birthday (and my Name Day) at Spuntini's in Yorkville with the family while the guys went to a Raptors game. This is my favourite restaurant in Toronto, along with Sotto Sotto and Ciao, and the food and service was perfect and delicious.


The next day, we went to The Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, which was truly such an incredible experience—it was the highlight of our getaway, and we all enjoyed seeing all the fish and especially the sharks and stingrays. It was so cool! (You can read my full review here.)


We attended my mom's art show that evening, at Artworld of Sherway, and my best friends met me at the show. (Thanks, Marcie and Suzanne and Eamon!) The kids hung out together while we connected again, and then we went out for a yummy dinner at Sherway Gardens.



 

Of course, no trip to Toronto is complete without a walk around Yorkville— it's especially beautiful this time of year with all the dazzling Christmas lights and window displays. While we split up—two went to the Royal Ontario Museum, and two shopping in Yorkville—it was such a  nice time, and a great day to be outside walking around.


 My little trooper even held his own shopping bag on our walk back to our hotel!


 
Lunch on the Danforth for Greek food was the perfect ending to our little weekend getaway and we can't wait to visit Toronto again. It's become one of my children's favourite places to visit that's close to home.
 

Thank you, Marriott Bloor Yorkville, for the memories once again!

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