Monday, July 21, 2014

Baby, You're A Firework! (On Meeting Katy Perry)

Music, travel, shopping, family and friends... these are the things I love the most in the world, so imagine my excitement when I received an email while on vacation in Greece with my family, from my friends at Cover Girl inviting me to the Katy Perry concert back home... PLUS an exclusive meet and greet with the gorgeous pop star herself? I was so excited! Best news? I wouldn't have to miss the concert because I would be returning from Greece just a day before the big show.

First step? Make sure all my Cover Girl make-up was in order. Lipstick? Check! In Bombshell pink, of course.

I didn't know what to wear—jeans and a cute top? Black dress? Little skirt? I ended up wearing a bright yellow dress I bought at Zara in Athens, (the Zara in Europe is so much better than here, for some reason) because Katy is usually bright and colourful so I thought it would be fitting for her show.

My hubs declined my invite to take him to meet Katy (is he crazy or what?) so I took my sister to the sold-out show—she is a huge Katy Perry fan! We had a blast—we partied and sang and danced as hard as the teenagers, and didn't fall asleep like the young kids at the show. We had excellent seats in the 100 section, close to the pit, and we felt so cool being escorted down the "secret way" to the room that was set up for the Katy Perry meet and greet.

Katy Perry put on an excellent show—it was super fun and I've been listening to all her songs non-stop since the concert. (My boys love Roar—it's now my six year old's favourite song!)

My blogger friend Jane was there with her daughter, too, (there were about ten of us there for the meet and greet) and then Katy came into the room about 10 minutes after her show looking like a goddess. I have no idea how Katy looked so gorgeous after dancing and singing for two hours to a crowd of 18,000 fans, but hey, maybe that's why she's a superstar? I mean, just look at her—she is flawless! I was pretty starstruck, and I know I checked out her boobs, because they were really nice. Just being honest, you guys.

I love that she took the time to meet us, and I had a really great night—it was just what I needed to get over my depression that my Greece vacation was over. 

Disclaimer: I received tickets to the Katy Perry concert in Ottawa plus the chance to meet Katy Perry thanks to Cover Girl. I was not required or asked to write this post or mention any Cover Girl products, but being the huge fan of Cover Girl and Katy Perry, it was my pleasure to post this! Thanks for a memorable night, Cover Girl!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Vacation In Greece (With Pictures!)

There is nothing more amazing than traveling—near, far, and as frequently as possible. I love to get away as often as I can, with my family. My two boys are amazing travellers and they love the adventure of travel, too. Often we travel as a pack: my husband, my kids, me, my parents, my sister, and her family. It's a great thing, because you always have fun company, the kids have cousins to play with, and we have build-in babysitters.

We all just got back from a three week vacation to Greece, and it was perfect in every way. I'm so thankful and happy that we all got to experience this together, and I can honestly say it was my favourite vacation ever. Memories to last a lifetime...

I've been to Greece many times, so for me it felt like going home again. It was great that we were all able to make it happen this year, and it was especially memorable because it was our children's first time heading overseas to see where their family is from, and to see their grandparents' homes, and their great-grandparents', too. The history and culture of Greece is second to none, and they loved learning and touring the ancient ruins, including fortresses and the Parthenon in Athens.

We went to my grandparent's city of Tripoli for a few days, where we made day trips to the picturesque cities of Loutraki and Nafplio to swim in the gorgeous sea. The boys loved the sea, even more than the ocean in south Florida, because the water was way more calm. We stayed at Palatino Rooms and Apartments, less than a block away from my grandparent's home. It was such an adorable place to stay, and very clean. We had an apartment with a bedroom and lots of room for the four of us. We had a full kitchen, and two balconies, too.

From Tripoli, we all headed to my father's city of Patras, my favourite city in Greece, and the one that holds the most memories for me—from my childhood, to my teenage years and my early 20's. We reconnected with all our cousins, took the kids to my favourite hotel, Porto Rio, and had a blast swimming all day and eating the amazing food that Greece is known for.  Oh, I miss the food already!

After Patra, we went to my in-law's beach house in Kanali, near Prevesa. They build a stunning home right on the sea and it felt like home, instantly, to our boys. We went into the city of Prevesa a few times, and to Parga, another favourite city of mine in Greece. 

My husband than took me away for a mini-getaway to the island of Lefkada—absolutely stunning island, by the way—where we stayed at the gorgeous Ionion Blue resort. Our suite even had a private pool overlooking the sea. It was like a mini second honeymoon, and I was so proud of myself for being able to leave the kids in another city without freaking out! The break was well worth it.

We ended our vacation in Athens, and stayed at the Ledra Athens hotel where we relaxed around the roof top pool and toured the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Acropolis museum. A must-see if you're Athens, by the way. My kids loved it.

Now we all can't wait to get back to Greece, hopefully next summer, or the summer after that. After all, it is a very expensive vacation, but it's so worth it... the kids now have amazon memories to last a lifetime. I'll write in more detail about our trip later on, but if you have any questions relating to travel in Greece—from where to stay, shop and eat—just let me know. I'm a wealth of information about Greece, my motherland, and I've been to enough cities to declare myself a Greek travel expert!

Till next time...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sex Tape (The Movie)

Going to the movies is one of my favourite things to do, and sometimes, going to the movies to see a good comedy is just the thing I need to get out of a funk... like, say, a funk one would get into after returning from a summer in Greece! Sex Tape (the movie, you guys, the movie!) is a must-see funny movie starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal and it's also a perfect date night movie—or a great movie to go see with your girlfriends, which can be followed by drinks and shared stories of embarrassing things that have happened behind closed doors and in between the sheets. I'm sure we all have an embarrassing story or two or three we've shared with our closets buddies that, after the fact, can be very, very funny. (Like say having a friend walk in on you? Mmm-hmm.) 

Hubs and I just got back from Greece, and while we were there with our entire family we were able to get away for a couple of days to the island of Lefkada, and it was time away that very much needed. Time to re-connect as a couple is so important, and so is finding new and exciting ways to keep things hot and steamy all the time. We had a a suite at our resort with our very own private pool overlook the sea. It was... heavenly... and very romantic and sexy.

Although we didn't make our own Sex Tape, (or... did we?) I love that the movie is about a couple who tries to ignite the spark in their relationship again and things get a little crazy and... well, you'll have to see the movie to find out what happens next! I especially love how relatable the movie is.

If you've had enough fun in the sun and need a break, make sure to check out Sex Tape, because I promise you, you'll be laughing until you can't laugh no more! It's so, so hilarious. (Check out the trailer here.)

Enjoy the movie—hopefully you'll leave the theatre inspired to heat things up when you get home!

Disclosure: I am part of the Sony Pictures—Sex Tape Movie program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Selling And Buying Online: Local, Easy, and Fun!

Whenever I'm in the mood to really clean my house—which is something that happens all the time, really—I love purging things I no longer need or want. Sometimes this can be a painful process, especially when I'm cleaning out my closet and trying to decide what to toss, keep, or donate.

Another option is selling items that are still in excellent condition online. This makes me feel less guilty about getting rid of things I have no use for anymore. A great, easy-to-use local site that I love to use is It's easy to post items online, and the best part is you know you're hitting a local market so you have a higher chance of actually selling your items—whether you're selling clothes, accessories, jewellery, or household items and appliances. It's very straightforward to use, even for someone posting items for sale online for the first time, and I love that you can even search for specific services, like babysitters and cleaning services here. is a free classifieds site that's a great resources for so many things, from buying, searching, and selling. You can find whatever you're looking for. Check it out—you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Get Under The Sheets With Your Favourite Netflix Show

Summer is here and that means the television probably won't be turned on at all during the day. When the weather is nice out, we're never indoors—we're travelling, we're out exploring, and we're just taking in all the wonderful things that summer has to offer. And there is a lot to enjoy during our very short summer here in Ottawa.

No matter how busy my days are, once the kids are asleep and my work is done, I love relaxing under the sheets with my favourite Netflix shows—House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, (have you seen Season Two yet? I'm so bummed I had to miss the screening in Toronto with the Netflix Stream Team!) and of course, my most favourite show of all time—Breaking Bad.

I became addicted to Orange Is The New Black instantly, and of course, the same thing happened to me with Breaking Bad—can you say obsessed? I watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad in a few weeks. I watched three episodes a night and only stopped myself from watching more because I wanted to make it last as long as I could—but it still didn't last long enough, because I miss Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, a lot. Sob!

Now that summer is here, I can slow down a bit, and re-watch my favourite episodes of House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and Orange Is The New Black whenever I feel like it. And while I'm watching? Maybe I'll even be sipping something delicious, like this awesome Orange Is The New Black inspired cocktail, called the Orange Chill.

What you need:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 or 4 mint leaves
1 12 oz (355 ml) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 12 oz (355 ml) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 oz rum
Sparkling water or soda

How to make it:

In a small pot, place the water, sugar, and mint leaves over heat. Stir it up, baby, and make it simmer until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let it cool. Toss the mint leaves.

In a Tupperware container, mix the two juice concentrates and the "syrup" you just made. Put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Watch some Breaking Bad.

Or watch any other awesome Netflix show, like Suits, or Shameless, or Friday Night Lights (I'll be starting this series soon, because I've heard great things about it!)

Take out the orange mixture and use a fork to "rake" the surface of the slushy mixture. Scoop some out, put into a cocktail glass, and top with a shot of rum.

Add some sparking water or soda, and enjoy—while watching your favourite episode of Orange Is The New Black.

Happy Netflix watching, friends!

Disclaimer: I'm part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with Netflix. All views and opinions are my own. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The End Of Another Chapter

It's June, my most favourite month of all. Summer is finally here, the weather is beautiful, there is an excitement in the air because school is coming to an end for an another year, and it's vacation time. June is also a very bittersweet time, filled with cha-cha-cha-changes.... both good and bad.

I volunteer at my children's school often, and right now, the kids are wilder than usual, the walls are no longer filled with art, projects and crafts, and the countdown to summer vacation is on. I've stopped caring about packing the perfect school lunch, and just randomly throw pieces of food in the lunch bag and go.

My oldest son is finishing grade three, and he's already said good-bye to one of hist best friends who just moved to Nova Scotia. Promises were made to stay in touch, via emails and text messages, and already they are texting non-stop. It's adorable to see, even though it breaks my heart a bit, too.  His other best friend is going to a different school next year. But at least they'll still have each other—they're just a two minute drive away from one another.

I know my son will feel these changes when school starts again in September. He'll be without his two closest buddies, and he'll be starting French Immersion. I know he'll be fine—after all, he's very well-liked, he's smart, and he's incredibly kind to everyone. With his personality, I know he'll be okay, but still—my heart feels a bit sad because, well, change can sometimes suck.

Saying goodbye to friends is not my favourite thing.

I reminded my son that my best friends never went to the same school as me, and I survived. And even now, many of my closest friends live in other cities and countries.

School is over this week, and then we're heading to Greece. My youngest son will be finished kindergarten... and next year, he'll be in grade one. I'm excited, and sad, because he's growing up way too quickly. I have loved working from home this year because I've been able to take my kids to school, and I've loved hanging out with my littlest before his afternoon kindergarten class. I made volunteering in the classrooms a priority this year, too. It has been a pleasure seeing friendships formed this year for my youngest son. He's got a lot of great friends, and both my boys had the greatest teachers this year.

The days are long, but the years are short, and I feel this so strongly as I see my boys growing up so quickly right before my eyes. I  wish I could press pause on time, because I didn't think it would go by this fast... and although we're enjoying all the moments, it's scary how quickly the years go by.

Take it all in... cherish all the moments, and make memories to last a lifetime. The memories will always be there, even though life will always be full of change—the welcoming kind of change, the bittersweet kind of change, and the sad change.

I am so proud of both my boys on successfully finishing another year of school. They are amazing little people who make my heart so happy every single day. I'm also very thankful that they go to a wonderful school with amazing teachers, wonderful friends, and awesome, involved parents. It makes  all the difference.

Here's to a fun and safe summer, everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ottawa's Best Kept Shopping Secret

I'm a shopaholic, but I don't have a real strategy when it comes to shopping. I usually just walk into my favourite store or department store, and buy what I love. Sometimes I'll even avoid looking at the price tag if I really love something, because it might be too painful to see how expensive it is. This is not a good strategy, you guys.

My favourite stores to shop at are Club Monaco, Gap, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, and BCBG. BCBG dresses are my favourite, but they are so pricey....

But... did you know you can buy your favourite BCBG dresses for more than half off? Ottawa's best kept shopping secret (well, Gatineau, but same thing, really!) is the BCBG outlet. A friend told me about this a few years ago and ever since then I always go shopping at the BCBG outlet for special events, or just because I feel like shopping.

Everything in this store is 30-70% off, so you're really saving big on gorgeous BCBG evening wear, tops, skirts, jackets, shoes, and accessories.

Today I picked up a BCBG watch, normally $300, for $69.00.  Not a bad deal, huh?

I also scored some perfectly soft and comfortable black ballet leather flats, perfect for my long flight to Greece next week! These were only $22.00. Original price? $200.00! These even fold up nicely in your purse, and come with a pretty black bag, too, so if you're dancing all night in your heels, make sure to pack these!

And since white is the new black this season, I couldn't leave without a new little white dress, pictured below. This pretty dress was 70% off the original price, and I bought it for under $100.00.

I'd say that was a good shopping day, no?

I almost bought these shoes for $60.00, but I decided I didn't need another pair. But you should totally get them, because they're fabulous. And cheap!

I love sharing happy shopping news with my readers, so if you're in the Ottawa area, head over to the BCBG outlet in the Les Promenades Gatineau, just a short drive from downtown.

I promise you, you won't leave empty handed, and you'll feel great because you'll be saving a ton of money, too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Keep The Memories Alive With A Photo Book From Blurb

I love looking through old photo albums with my children, reminiscing of days gone by. The old albums at my parent's house and even my grandparent's home are filled with photos from my childhood, vacation photos, and pictures of all my birthday parties, complete with bad hair and awesomely tacky 80's clothes.

I remember coming back from summer or winter vacation and running to the photo store to develop our rolls of film, anxiously waiting for that one hour to pass before we could have the pictures in our hands. The days before the selfie were much different, because we didn't really even know how many of our pictures would be "album-worthy."

I know we take way more pictures now of our children than our parents took of us, thanks for our smartphones we have at the ready to snap pictures, all the time. The problem is, I have thousands of pictures of my children and family but hardly any albums or pictures printed out. 

Thanks to Blurb, I just created a beautiful photo album with our recent vacation pictures. I love that Blurb instantly connects to my saved photos on my computer, Instagram, and Facebook. I take so many pictures when we're on vacation, and I just created an album with some vacation memories of our trips from the last few years. I know I'll be making another album (or two, or three!) when we return from our summer vacation in Greece.

I love this beautiful hardcover photo book so much!

The picture quality inside is great, too.

A photo album documenting vacation memories is a great book to leave on your coffee table so everyone can flip through when they come over. It's a conversation starter, and more than that, your memories are right there in front of you, always. I love giving Blurb photo books as presents, too—because believe it or not, even my parents and in-law's aren't printing out pictures anymore like they used to. Pictures and photo books are always a great gift idea. 

It's so easy using Blurb to create a hardcover or softcover photo book, and it's also very affordable. You can even share your Blurb photo book with family and friends on Facebook, your blog, or your website. 

Now that summer is here, it's the perfect time to get your holiday photos together and make a great book with all your memories. If you've been putting this off, I can help you.

I have a coupon to give to one of my readers worth $50.00 to create a perfect photo book!

Enter here to win a Blurb photo book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Family Travel Tips (With Help From CATSA)

I love everything about travelling except long line-ups at airports. If' you're prepared you can save a lot of time, though—and if you're travelling with children, you're going to want to make note of these great travel tips that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has shared with me, just in time for summer vacation.

Gearing up for a family trip?

Flying with family is no simple task. Getting everyone packed, organized and ready to go through security with little fuss can present quite a challenge. Thankfully, the CATSA has a few pointers to help make your summer travel experience run smoothly.

Know how to carry-on

Children get hungry for snacks. You know this and you want to be prepared. Solid foods such as apples, granola bars or sandwiches can be packed in your carry-on for the plane ride. Any liquid food, such as yogurt, pudding or peanut butter, must be in containers of 100ml or less and placed in a clear, closed, resealable one-litre plastic bag.

If you’re traveling with a baby (under the age of two), items such as baby food, breast milk, formula, water and juice are exempt from the 100 ml limit and do not have to be placed in a plastic bag. However, you must present these items to the screening officer for inspection.

Other personal items to keep the kids entertained, like iPods, tablets and toys, can go in your child’s carry-on baggage. Be sure to leave toys that look like weapons (e.g. water guns, toy grenades, etc.) at home.

Check wait times

Preparing for your departure is easier with CATSA’s online wait time indicator. Wait times for security screening checkpoints major airports provide extra convenience when planning your trip.

Breeze through security

Did you know there is a Family/Special needs lane? This lane is for passengers who need more time or help with their belongings to get through security. Check when you arrive if this lane is available.

Make sure your family wears easy-to-remove outerwear, clothing without snaps, metal buttons or studs and be sure to limit jewelry to small items such as earrings. Let your child walk through the metal detector if they are able to do so on their own.

Travelling with the family pooch?

Contact your airline in advance to find out about their policy for passengers travelling with pets. If your pet is travelling in the cabin with you, remove it from its carrying case, send the carrying case through the x-ray scanner, hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.

Follow these tips and the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy your family vacation.

Additional travel advice can be found online at, on Twitter (@catsa_gc), or on Pinterest (

Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you by CATSA. I received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Top Summer Travel Destinations

Are you as excited as I am for summer vacation? With only a couple of weeks left before school is out and we head overseas to Greece, I thought it would be a great time to talk about travelling with the entire family.

I was on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, talking about some of my favourite holiday spots—locations that are perfect for the entire family.

Here's the link if you wanted to watch the entire segment!

Here are some highlights from the destinations I talked about on CTV:  

  • Heavenly Spa by Westin.
  • 6,500 yards of championship golf course (and you can take private or group lessons.)
  • Complimentary shuttle serve from the beach resort to the golf courses.
  • Ten clay tennis courts with six lighted courts for evening games.
  • One of the 50 Best Tennis Resorts in the world, and USPTA Professionals area available for private or group lessons.
  • Westin Kids Club for kids 4-12 (Arts and Crafts, Swimming, Beach sports and exploration, movie nights, golf, tennis.)
  • 2 pools: infinity pool and lagoon-style pool with cabanas. 

  • Famiy friendly resort with a brand-new Westin Kids Club.
  • Luxury 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites, all with waterfront views and private screened in decks.
  • Full kitchens in rooms along with washers and dryers.
  • Large lagoon-style pool.
  • Marina with water sports.
  • Secret "poutine menu" for travelling Canadians prepared by a Canadian chef.

  • Over 20 pools, including three children's pools and a lazy river.
  • Dolphin Cay to watch the dolphin show and swim with the dolphins.
  • Huge casino and shopping area.
  • Marine Habitat, with over 50,000 marine animals.
  • 21 restaurants and bars.

  • Relaxed, casual beach town.
  • Anchorage By The Sea is a great family resort with an indoor and outdoor pool, and a small children's wading pool, with ocean views.
  • Hike or walk along the Marginal Way which boasts spectacular views of the ocean and Marginal Way is easy enough for young children to walk through, too.
  • Perkins Cove is a bike or car ride away, and it's a charming little fishing town. It's a quaint area that has a lot of shops, restaurants, and famous lighthouses. 

  • Short drive from Ottawa.
  • Great hotels, pools, activities and a fun gondola ride.
  • Amazig bike paths with a wide range of trails for everyone from beginner to expert.
  • Park-National du Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentians is great for hiking and camping.
  • Quaint mountain village, world-class sporting and cultural and even a great nightlife.

  • Massive 84 degrees indoor water park with 100,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, amazing slides, zero-entry pools, a wave pool, and more.
  • Outdoor pool.
  • Scoops Kids Spa (and a spa for adults.)
  • Grand lobby for story time in pi's.
  • Great food options in the restaurants.
  • Outdoor mini golf.
  • Arcade.
  • Rooms with bunk beds.
  • Peach picking in Niagara Falls.

Hope I've inspired you to get out and enjoy summer with your family. If you need any information about any of the places I've talked about, feel free to email me. 

Happy travelling!

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