Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Luxurious Stay At The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

When you check in to a Four Seasons Hotel, no matter where you are in the world, you know you'll be experiencing the most luxurious, memorable stay—and incredible service from the moment you check-in.

I had the chance to review the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, situated in the upscale Yorkville neighbourhood. This hotel is one of the tallest in the area, at 55 storeys—and it is breathtakingly beautiful as soon as you walk in the front doors. The flowers in the lobby area are so colourful and welcoming. The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto was designed by Yabu Pushelberg, so I instantly felt like I was back at the Four Seasons New York. There were many similarities between the two properties, like the incredible service one can only expect to receive at hotels of this calibre.

Yorkville is known for its fine shopping—from luxury boutiques to department stores like Holt Renfrew—to fine dining, and the Four Seasons Hotel is a perfect addition to the neighbourhood. It's no surprise that this beautiful luxury hotel in Yorkville was the first in Canada to receive the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating.

Here's what I loved about the Four Seasons Toronto:

Unwinding in the spa: When choosing which hotel I want to stay at, I always check to see if they have a spa and a swimming pool. I usually travel with my family, including my children, and they always love spending time in hotel pools. The Four Seasons Toronto has a 30,000 square-foot state-of-the-art spa, one of the largest in Toronto, with 17 spacious treatments rooms, two steam rooms, and a salon with hair, manicure, and pedicure stations. A hair salon in a hotel spa is my dream come true... there's nothing better than getting a for a full-body massage, followed by a blow-dry, and at this spa, you can indulge in both services. The pool is large and next to it, an outdoor terrace overlooking Toronto.

Relaxing in the rooms: The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has 259 rooms, including 42 suites. The spacious rooms are simply beautiful, with floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable couches, and luxurious beds. My favourite part is the dream bathroom—a large granite room with a deep, fast-filling tub, separate glass-walled rain shower, extra-long vanity counter, and an in-mirror television to enjoy while taking a bath. The rooms at Four Seasons are relaxing, calming, and ultra-luxurious, and the turn-down service at night is the best—it's the little extra touches that make staying at a Four Seasons so memorable.

In-room and restaurant dining: I always like to experience the in-room dining options when I'm reviewing hotels, and the Four Seasons Toronto did not disappoint, from their perfectly brewed latte to their delicious breakfast parfait; it was a great start to my day. The resto-CafĂ© Boulud is a well-known hot-spot in Yorkville, too, located on the second floor of the Four Seasons Hotel. The menu, inspired by Chef Daniel Boulud's family's meals in Lyon, France, will make you feel like you're having lunch in Paris. The kitchen features a rotisserie, apparently the only one of its kind in downtown Toronto, with both vertical and horizontal spits. You'll love the delicious French cuisine. Once you're finished dining, make sure to check out d bar, on the main floor of the hotel, for after dinner cocktails, wine, or snacks. (A DJ also plays late into the evenings).

During your next trip to Toronto—whether you're travelling with your family, escaping for the weekend with your loved one, or getting away with friends—do yourself a favour, and book yourself a stay at the luxurious Four Seasons Toronto in Yorkville.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary night at the Four Seasons Toronto as part of my review of the property. All views and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

From Italy With Amore

Anyone who knows me can attest I'm not a huge fan of cooking, as much as I enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. However, I'm lucky to have a husband, parents, and in-laws who can cook amazingly well. Despite the fact that I don't love getting dirty in the kitchen, I'm great at making a few meals my children (thankfully!) love, and most of those meals are Italian.

I was so excited to be invited to Toronto this week along with several other bloggers to indulge in an authentic taste of Italy, and meet and learn from Italian Chef Massimo Bruno. We took part, as well—preparing some pretty simple recipes that I know will be a huge hit at home. Best of all? The meals we learned to cook involve only a few key ingredients, so prep time is simple, and takes almost no time at all to actually cook... and serve. (Which is perfect when you're heading home late from work and the children are starving). We sampled delicious Italian cheese and appetizers, drank wine, and got our hands a little dirty preparing food in a really fun atmosphere.

I primarily shops at Loblaw's, so I was so happy to learn that I can find authentically Italian ingredients at my favourite grocery store, including extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tuna in olive oil, pasta, strained tomatoes, and a huge variety of cheeses. The From Italy with Amore program, now in stores, showcases 350 products certified as authentic by the Italian Trade Commission. Some products I love include Mutti Passata, Delverde Pasta, PC Tuscany Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rio Mare Tuna in Water (or Olive Oil), PC Splendido Balsamic Vinegar of Modena—2 Leaf.

With Loblaw's as my go-to store and knowing they carry only the best for my authentic Italian cooking nights, I'm ready (with some new recipes in mind!) to surprise my family with a delicious meal they'll love. After all, we are Greek and Italian... Mangiamo!

Disclaimer: In partnership with Loblaw's, I have been compensated for my post and social shares. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Taking Care Of Your Skin With Dermis Advanced Skin Care And Medi Clinic

I'm serious about taking care of my skin. That's why I love trying new products, and sticking to my skin care routine every morning and night. (I'll never not wash off my make-up before bed!). There are many fabulous products I love using that help keep my skin looking good, and as I get older, I realize there are more ways to help take care of my skin to keep it looking—and feeling—incredible.

I was recently introduced to Dermis Advanced Skin Care and Medi Clinic, and attended their 11th Annual Customer Appreciation Event to find out more about the products and services they provide.

I spoke with the owner, a truly educated and experienced woman, who answered all my questions, and told me about the services their clinic provides customers. The list of services varies from lifting and firming to deep cleansing and exfoliation, acne skin treatments, Botox and Juvederm injections, and so much more—like wrinkle and scar reduction. Everyone's skin has different needs and if you're unsure of what you need, you can go to Dermis for a free consultation, and have all your questions answered. I believe taking care of your skin and your body from the inside out can truly make a difference in how you feel about yourself. There's nothing better than feeling confident in the skin you're in, and giving yourself some extra TLC when you can.

I love that Dermis also provides laser hair removal, an excellent and efficient service that leaves your skin smooth forever. Dermis only uses the Cutera Excel HR laser, which is the latest laser approved by both Health Canada and the FDA, featuring brand new dual-wave technology and triple Sapphire cooling for comfortable treatments.

Even after one initial visit to find out about what types of services I'd be interest in, I felt comfortable and trusted the owner and her team. With over 10 years of experience and a Medical Director and Nurse Practitioner on-site, it's a comforting feeling knowing you'll be taken care of by the best while you take care of yourself.

Thanks for the great service, Dermis—I'll be back soon.

Disclaimer: I received compensation as part of my collaboration with Dermis Advanced Skin Care and Medi Clinic. All views and opinions are my own.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Get Spooked With Season Two of Stranger Things On Netflix This Halloween

With fall definitely in the air now—cooler temperatures, the beautiful changing colours on the trees, the return of pumpkin-flavoured everything—it's time to start think about Halloween. I always loved Halloween but when I became a mom it became even more fun for me, because I found there was nothing cuter than dressing up my boys in adorable costumes, going trick-or-treating, and helping my little ones consume all their delicious candy. (As a parent, that's totally allowed, you know!).

This year, we've got something else to be excited about: the return of Stranger Things on Netflix. Our boys are older now—12 and nine years old—and we all watched Stranger Things together months ago when it first came out on Netflix. My boys loved it, and it wasn't too scary for them, though there were definitely some jump-out-of-our-seats scenes.

This Halloween, we have a plan: go trick-or-treating to as many homes as possible, come home, turn off the lights, get under the blankets, (sugary treats in hand) and start watching Season Two of Stranger Things.

I love that we can watch as many episodes as we want on Netflix in one night. We probably won't get through the entire series on Halloween night, but I know it'll only be a matter of days before we're finished Season Two. Have you watched Stranger Things yet? If you haven't, I highly recommend it, because it's an incredible series, from the story to the acting. (And it's great seeing Winona Ryder again—she's as talented as ever!).

There is truly always something to enjoy on Netflix, and it is the only way our family watches television, whether it's a series we love, like Stranger Things, or a movie. And now that colder days are here, we all have more time to stay indoors and catch up on all the great shows and movies on Netflix.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive special perks and products.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stepping Out In Style With Roz + Loki Dress Shirts

Sometimes, getting dressed for work every morning can be more challenging than fun. Although closet is full of clothes—countless dresses, pants, and sweaters—often I feel I have nothing to wear, and finding the perfect outfit in my closet isn't always easy. As much as I look forward to waking up each day, getting my children ready for school, and heading downtown to work, trying to decide what to wear can be frustrating.

I recently discovered roz + loki, a company that designed a truly innovative and high-quality dress shirt that's the perfect addition to a stylish outfit for the work day... and after-work dinner and drinks.

These shirts come in a variety of styles and colours (I love the black one I received) and they are the perfect addition to any woman's wardrobe; they are comfortable, form-fitting, stylish, and made with Supima cotton that resists pilling, fading and tearing, and 10% lycra for that form-fitting look. Best part? They're made in Canada. The shirts retail for $200 and they'll easily become a wardrobe staple. Sometimes, spending money on classic pieces of clothing is worth it, because you'll definitely wear these items over and over again.

I love wearing this shirt with a pair of skinny black pants and ankle boots for fall. The shirt falls longer than most typical dress shirts, with a jacket-like finish at the back for that extra polished look, whether you're wearing it tucked or un-tucked. There is even an extra absorption layer in the underarm area to prevent staining, which I think is simply brilliant.

Not only are you supporting a great Canadian company and looking super stylish when you're dressed in a roz + loki shirt, you're also giving back, because $10 from each shirt sold goes to either Sick Kids Foundation or Make A Wish Foundation. I love supporting both these organizations. When you know your money is supporting a good cause, it's guilt-free shopping at its best.

Happy shopping, everyone.

Disclaimer: I have collaborated with roz + loki for my review. All views and opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Put Your Best Foot Forward For Fall

I have enjoyed every minute of this September heat wave, but today there was a chill in the air and it's clear that fall is back, much to my dismay.

As much as I wish summer would last forever, I'm going to embrace the good things that come with fall: enjoying the colours of the changing leaves, leaving the windows open for that early morning breeze, and transitioning my closet to fall–I love comfy sweaters and skinny jeans, dresses worn with tights, and knee-high boots. All types of boots, actually. Putting away the summer wardrobe is never easy, but having some great boots to take you through the change of seasons makes it a little less painful. My favourite stores to shop at for boots and shoes for fall include Nine West, Ecco, GEOX, Aldo, Le Chateau, and Call It Spring.

Here are some boots I'm loving:

ECCO: For high-quality boots that will last longer than the snow on the ground, ECCO is where you want to shop. Guaranteed style, comfort and warmth for winter days that are just around the corner. Ecco is a must for those who love to look good and love good quality.

GEOX: GEOX is known for breathable, high-performance shoes and boots for the entire family. For the last couple of years, I have found my favourite pair of stylish knee-boots, the one fashion accessory every woman needs in her closet for fall. (I just love the look of a little dress with tights and knee-boots).

Le Chateau: Canadian company Le Chateau has everything you need for fall and winter, including an incredible selection of shoes and boots that are always in style. From block heels to stilettos, there is something at Le Chateau for every fashionista who doesn't want to break the bank while looking good.

Call It Spring: I was recently introduced to Call It Spring, and I love the many styles of boots and shoes they have in-store. It definitely doesn't have to be spring to shop here, and I love the affordable prices. Call It Spring has a great selection of boots for fall and winter, and they also have stylish and oh-so-pretty heels for every occasion, too, from black to blue and every other colour in between.

Aldo: Aldo Shoes is one of my favourite go-to places to shop for shoes no matter the season, and they always have an incredible selection of boots for fall and winter, whether you're looking for something casual and comfortable or dressy and elegant. I love these suede platform-heeled booties that look perfect with skinny jeans and an oversized sweater–the perfect fall outfit.

Nine West: I usually shop Nine West for my heels, but Nine West also carries an excellent selection of boots to keep you warm throughout the fall and winter months. Nine West is known for comfort, style, and quality, so when you're splurging on boots, it's worth it, because they'll last season after season. I love their gorgeous selection of ankle booties, too–they go perfect with black tights and a little black dress.

Native: Native is a great shoe company that's also environmentally conscious and vegan. Their vision in footwear is "Keep it Lite", and these practical boots for fall and winter will make you feel like you're walking on air–they're seriously that comfortable. At affordable prices and with the ease of online shopping, Native is a great idea for fall.

Happy shopping, everyone! I hope you find just what you're looking for this fall.

Disclaimer: I partnered up with Nine West, Ecco, GEOX, Aldo, Native, Call It Spring and Le Chateau for my Daytime Ottawa segment, and received product for my review. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Making Your Every Day Sparkle With La Marca Prosecco

What makes your every day sparkle? It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, if you think about it. For me, it's truly the simple things that make my every day sparkle; things like goodnight kisses from my boys. Laughter with friends and family. A gorgeous, sunshiny day. Summertime. Watching my children sleep. Days when I fall asleep to the sound of the ocean waves. A hug from an old friend.

Of course, it's also enjoying a night out on the town, or hosting friends for dinner. What makes these occasions even more special is enjoying a glass or two of La Marca Prosecco. La Marca Prosecco has been the drink of summer for my friends and I. Whether mixing it with orange juice, or drinking it plain, it's always a delicious addition to any occasion, and such a great way to celebrate big and little moments. It just adds that extra sparkle, don't you think?

I'm go happy to be a La Marca Prosecco Brand Ambassador because not only am I able to celebrate the every day moments in my life with La Marca Prosecco, I'm also able to share this happiness with my friends.

I was able to treat my mom and sister to a day at the spa (thank you, The Ten Spot, and La Marca Prosecco, for the pampering and pedicures!) while we sipped La Marca Prosecco.

I love that I introduced my friends to La Marca Prosecco, and I get so excited every time they tell me they picked up a few bottles at the LCBO because they love it so much now. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it's also really affordable, at under $20 a bottle. (That's reason enough to celebrate alone!).

What makes your every day sparkle?

Disclaimer: I am a La Marca Prosecco Band Ambassdor and I receive special perks and compensation as part of my partnership with La Marca Prosecco.

Time To Netflix And Snuggle This Fall

Now that fall is almost here, I've starting to once again enjoy evenings at home cuddled up on my couch with a warm blanket, watching Netflix, after dinner and a bike ride. As much as I love shop for gorgeous boots and sweaters, sip a warm latte, take in the beautiful fall sights and colours, and indulge in a favourite Netflix show... or two.

Oftentimes, we watch Netflix together as a family; my boys usually select the movie we'll be watching, but it's always something we all want to see, like Rogue One.

Sometimes, though, it's nice to sneak in some solo Netflix time, so my husband and I can catch up on our favourite shows. (It's always better watching something you love together, like Breaking Bad. I`m still not over the brilliance of that show!).

Did you know that sneaking in some Netflix is basically the new bingeing? In fact, over half of Canadian moms admit to sneaking in TV me-time while juggling a busy schedule, with some even hiding from their kids for a moment of peace. (I get you, moms!). I work full-time, have two active boys in grade 7 and 4, and sometimes, I need a little down time, too.

According to a recent Netflix survey, moms and dads are feeling less stressed and more refreshed and 16% say it makes them feel like a better parent by sneaking in me-time.

What shows are you looking forward to watching this fall? I can tell you my entire family is so excited for Season Two of Stranger Things. We really loved the first season, and we plan on spending Halloween huddled around the television (with all the yummiest Halloween snacks) to watch Season Two. I`m not sure how many episodes we`ll make it through, but hopefully quite a few... just enough to get spooked on Halloween. If you haven't watched Stranger Things yet, I totally think you should, because guaranteed you'll love it. And if you watch it now, you'll be ready for the second season in a few weeks.

What are you sneaking in on Netflix?

Disclaimer: I'm part of the Netflix Stream Team. As part of my affiliation with Netflix, I receive special perks. All views and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back To School In Style With Sport Chek and Canadian Tire

Summer is my favourite season–I love hot, sunny vacation days, hours spent around and in the pool, bike rides with my children, BBQ's with friends and family, and outdoor concerts and patio nights. It doesn't get much better than that. Somehow, we're just days away from school starting again, even though it seems like yesterday I was celebrating my children's last day of school. Although I'm a summer girl at heart,  I still love fall, and back-to-school. It's definitely time to get everyone into a regular routine again.

One of my favourite things about back-to-school is the shopping, of course; and even though it's not me heading back to class (I wish it was, sometimes) I still love getting my boys ready. This year, my oldest son is starting middle school–grade 7–and my youngest son, grade 4. 

To make everything go as smooth as possible, and to help alleviate the stress that sometimes comes with the start of a new school year, I partnered with two of my favourite stores: Sport Chek and Canadian Tire, for all our back-to-school needs. From clothes to shoes, to storage containers and furniture, Sport Chek and Canadian Tire truly have it all. 

Sport Chek is my go-to store for all athletic gear and clothes, and my boys received the perfect items to start the school year off right: cool running shoes from Vans and Under Armour, comfortable and stylish pants and shirts from Adidas, and backpacks large enough to hold everything my children need for the year. Some new sweaters from Adidas and jackets from North Face completed their back-to-school package, and now they are so ready to start school looking stylish.

To help get our home organized, we received a new CANVAS Clara Desk and CANVAS Blair Office Chair from Canadian Tire for my youngest son's room. He is so excited to start doing his homework in his room now! (The desk is lovely and large enough for a computer, and the chair is so comfortable I often find myself bringing my laptop to his room to get my work done, too). 

Canadian Tire is the perfect place to stock up on storage containers, as well; for the house, and for the children's lunch boxes. (The Rubbermaid Sandwich Lunch Box Set is perfect for kids and great for adults to bring to work, too!). 

I'm a big fan of shopping at stores that make the experience easy for me and my children, and Canadian Tire and Sport Chek never disappoint; from excellent service to having all the necessary items I need for my children and for my home, it's always a pleasure (and so simple!) to shop these stores, especially for the start of a new school year. 

Thank you so much, Canadian Tire and Sport Chek, for making the transition so easy and fun. Here's a wonderful school year, moms and dads! 

Disclaimer: I received products as compensation for this post from Spork Chek and Canadian Tire. All views and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Find Your Bliss At The Iconic St. Regis Bal Harbour

When travelling, I take full advantage of being on vacation mode. This means where I stay is as important as where I go. Splurging on accommodations is something to consider when you're travelling to south Florida–especially in Miami–because there are so many fabulous hotels that will make you feel like you're a million miles from home.

Just a short drive from downtown Miami you'll find the exclusive and luxurious village of Bal Harbour, home to the iconic St. Regis hotel—recently named the best hotel in south Florida. There are not many St. Regis hotels in the world (50, to be exact) yet each one offers the same incredible service in a luxurious setting where you can truly unwind and feel a bit like royalty. You'll even receive a glass of champagne upon check-in.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour, recently awarded the coveted Forbes Five-star and AAA Five Diamond award, is an oceanfront haven of elegance, and the place to go for people with impeccable taste for the good life–good food, service, views, and accommodations. Where else can can you find a hotel that has world-class dining, 24-hour butler service, an incredible full-service spa, and two infinity pools overlooking the Atlantic ocean? Even the elevators are luxurious here: instead of pressing a button, simply swipe your key on the computer screen by the elevators and you're told which one to get into.

Although this hotel attracts an affluent crowd from around the world, anyone can stay here. It is the perfect hotel for couples looking for a very romantic getaway, and it's equally perfect for families travelling with children.

Here is why your visit to south Florida should include a stay at St. Regis Bal Harbour:

The Pools: The hotel has two gorgeous infinity pools overlooking the Atlantic ocean; one for families and children, near the beach, and a tranquility pool for adults only–perfect after you've dropped your children off at the St. Regis Children's Club. The service by the pool is amazing. I was offered ice water and sunscreen as soon as I sat down.

You can rent a cabana or an oceanfront day villa, which comes complete with a daybed, bathroom with shower, marble floors, television, a wet bar, fridge, air conditioning, and private loungers and dining table, all with ocean views.

The Remede Spa: The 14, 000 square-foot Remede Spa is stunning (t's so easy to fall in love with the Yabu Pushelberg-designed interior) but the service is what's best.

I recommend indulging in a luxurious one-hour massage. It was one of the best I've ever had and just what I needed to recharge my batteries. You can also enjoy services in the couples treatment room, refresh yourself in the luxury soaking tub for two, and cool off with a private rain shower. There are 11 treatment rooms, a Vichy shower room, saunas, and steam rooms. If you're feeling up to it, check out the St. Regis Athletic Club. (The only exercise I do on vacation is swimming in the ocean and pools).

The rooms: The large oceanfront guest rooms are breathtaking; the entrance, hallway and bathrooms are all marble, and the huge walk-in closet with floor-to-ceiling mirrors will make you want to move in.

My favourite part of these luxurious rooms is the large balcony with ocean views. The couches on the balcony are so comfortable you'll want to fall asleep under the stars, with nothing but the sound of the ocean lulling you to sleep. Pure paradise. Again, it's the service that really stands out; no matter you need, you will receive, whether you forgot a toothbrush or need a crib for your baby.

The dining options: Make sure to spend a few hours in the St. Regis wine vault, enjoying drinks after sunset. It's best to do this after you've enjoyed dinner, though; Atlantikos is the newest restaurant at St. Regis Bal Harbour, and once you step inside you'll instantly feel like you're in Greece, specifically on the island of Santorini. This authentic Greek dining experience with fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean and Aegean Sea will take you a delicious culinary journey, thanks to Chef Anastasios Chasekioglou. You can also enjoy the breakfast buffet at Altantikos featuring waffles, crepes, eggs, bacon, yogurt, fresh fruit, baked goods, and much more. We dined outside by the pool area, soaking up the warm Florida sun.

For something more casual but equally delicious, try BH Burger Bar, where you can customize your own burger, gourmet hot dog, or wings. (The Truffle Parmesan Tater Tots are an amazing side dish!).

For desert or an afternoon tea, check out La Gourmandise, an authentic French cuisine experience with delicious pastries you won't regret eating. La Gourmandise offers the largest tea selection in Miami, too.

What to do: With so much to explore in the St. Regis Bal Harbour, you'll never want to leave, but make sure you step outside and cross the street to experience the world-famous open-air Bal Harbour Shops. 

This luxury shopping mall is like no other, with every store you can image: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Cartier, Rolex, Valentino, Fendi... you get the idea.

Shopping and people watching is not all you can do here, though; you can dine at Carpaccio's, (one of my favourite Italian restaurants) and maybe bump elbows with a celebrity or professional athlete, or try The Grill overlooking the parking lot of Lamborghini's and Ferrari's. Le Zoo will whisk you away to Paris with their tasty menu and great service. We celebrated my son's 12th birthday here. For lunch, head to Makoto, a fine Japanese restaurant and one of the country's highest-grossing eateries. Whether you're ordering the sake or edamame, you won't be disappointed.

Once you're finished shopping and dining, check out Unscripted, Bal Harbour Village's art program. They partnered with renowned Miami literature organization O, Miami, on an exhibition called "Post Haste", comprised of four linked poems along Bal Harbour's beach-walk. The exhibit is on view until October 31, 2017.

Thank you, Bal Harbour, and St. Regis, for once again exceeding my expectations. The memories made here will last a lifetime, and I can't wait to come back to experience it all over again.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure With Netflix

It’s already mid-July, and summer is flying by. As usual, summer is a busy time for us, with camp, activities, and enjoying the great outdoors every day. My boys spend have spent most of their summer days swimming, which is wonderful. However, we’ve also had quite a few rainy days this month, and that calls for indoor activities. While we do limit our TV watching in the summer months, there is always something on Netflix I know my boys will love, and it’s our go-to for days and nights where we want to just chill and relax.

My youngest is a pro at navigating through Netflix—and oftentimes he’s the one selecting what we’ll be watching, whether it’s a TV series, movie, or documentary. (And we're never disappointed!).

Something cool and new Netflix has come out with is Interactive Storytelling. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books we read when we were kids? Well, Netflix has come up with a similar concept, allowing children to be in complete creative control of what their characters end up doing—and saying—by giving them the ability to choose from multiple paths for their characters to play out on screen. Isn’t that so neat?

Because of the many different endings and “choice” points, kids are able to watch the same title over and over again without hearing or seeing the same exact story. The kids get to choose their own adventure. They can do this for Puss In Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. (And coming up next year, they can look forward to doing this with Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout).

Netflix really did their research here, and the feedback  has been so positive—both from a kids’ perspective, and from parents, too.

Hey—we all need some downtime, even in the summertime. And there is no better way to relax than catching up with your favourite characters on Netflix.

Disclaimer: As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I receive special perks. All views and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Travel Essentials

Now that summer is here, many of us are getting ready to go on vacation. I can't wait to hit the beach again in Miami, and just relax, because it's been such a busy few months and I need some time to unwind... and enjoy the sound of the waves with sand between my toes.

I've put together a list of my must-have travel essentials, and showcased them on CTV Ottawa. I think these are the perfect items to pack along with you for your vacation.

Here's what you shouldn't leave home without:

La Roche-Posay sunscreen: La Roche-Posay is a trusted name in skincare worldwide, and their Anthelios sunscreen, both for children and adults, provides incredible protection against the sun's harmful rays. The company has also come out with the My UV Patch, to make it easier for everyone to understand and track the amount of UVA and UVB rays they're being exposed to. Just download the My UV Patch app, apply the ultra-thin sticker to your skin, scan it, and let technology do the rest. Once you create your online profile, your patch will track how much sun you're being exposed to, and will let you know when you should re-apply sunscreen. I love that it lasts on your skin for five days, and it's even safe for those with the most sensitive skin.

COVERGIRL: The new Vitalist Elixir Foundation from COVERGIRL is a dreamy foundation that goes on smooth and gives you great coverage with a built-in SPF 20. I love that this foundation comes in many different shades, for every skin type. And it's totally affordable, too.

COVERGIRL truNAKED Jewels Palette: This is a fabulous eye shadow palette with gorgeous colours to make your eyes pop for summer. With this palette, there is no other eye make-up you need to pack on your trip, because it gives a natural look or a smoky look, depending on what you're looking for.

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream with SPF 30: When packing is limited, save a step and use this two-in-one moisturizer and sunscreen.

Olay Daily Facial Wipes: These are the perfect wipes to bring on vacation with you, and they're super effective at taking off make-up at the end of the day.

Carry Clean Sonic Toothbrush: This is a great and easy to pack toothbrush perfect for vacation, with 32,000 sonic vibrations per minute.

Conair Mini Pro Straightener: This is a must-have travel essential, and even though it's small and easy to carry, it delivers excellent results. It heats up to 356F, or 180C, and the half inch ceramic duel voltage plates are perfect for on-the-go fixes.

ALDO: I love shopping at Aldo for shoes, bags, and accessories, and this is my go-to store for all my summer needs. Aldo has some adorable beach bags for your summer vacation, and jewellery to go with every outfit you're planning to pack.

Sears Canada: If you're short on time but need to shop for your upcoming vacation, check out Sears. This department store has it all, from swimwear to luggage, to make-up and clothes. The best part? The prices can't be beat.

Gaiam: If you're into yoga and working out every day, then you'll want to pack the Gaiam foldable travel yoga mat in your suitcase, because it takes up less space than the typical yoga mat. Gaiam also sells a great travel bag for your yoga mat, and all your work-out essentials can be bought online to make it easier for you.

Tuck Shop Trading Co.: Looking for a cute and unique bathing suit to pack on vacation? has some adorable pieces made in Canada.

SkinCeuticals: SkinCeuticals is an amazing skin-care company that's sold across Canada in medi-spas, or online. I love these products because they help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, moisturize the skin while protecting it, and give lasting results.

Two must-have-for-summer SkinCeuticals products I recommend is the Photo Corrective Masque, because it provides relief to the skin after being exposed to the sun all day, and it's gentle enough to use daily, and the Physical Matte UV Defence SPF 50, an amazing sunscreen with a little tint, so you can skip the foundation, and use this as a primer when you're applying light make-up for your days on the beach.

Jitter Spinners: So, fidget spinners and jitter spinners are all the rage with kids these days, and my house if full of these toys. But they're also great for adults, too, and totally addictive. They're the perfect toy to play with to pass the time in airports and on long flights, and they're actually a great stress relief, too, especially for people who are nervous to fly.

Clarins: This great skincare company is loved around the world and has products for all skin types. A great beauty essential to pack in your carry-on is the UV 50 Multi-Protection Tint. It's like a foundation with added protection against the harmful effects of UV rays, with a little tint for excellent coverage.  Clarins Lip Oils come in a variety of colours, and give your lips added moisture and shine. I love the hint of colour, too. Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser is a perfect cleanser to use every day.

Caudalie: Caudalie, another skin care company loved worldwide, has plenty of great products to keep your skin feeling and looking amazing, even on vacation. The Vinoperfect Essence provides a healthy glow, post-sun, and gives you a flawless looking complexion; it's also hydrating and soothing. The Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is Caudalie's number one cult favourite and a best-seller around the world; this serum works well at boosting radiance and helps even out your skin tone while moisturizing.

Elizabeth Arden FourEver Bronze Bronzing Powder: A perfect bronzer for summer that also has a highlighter and blush built in. Elizabeth Arden's Dare to Bare shimmering body oil is also perfect for enhancing your summer tan.

If you'd like more information on any of these fabulous products, send me an email. Otherwise, happy travels!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrating Canada 150: Where To Stay And What To Do This Summer

With Canada Day just a day away, this country is buzzing with excitement with Canada 150 events, and there has never been a better time to take a vacation–or staycation–in Canada. I was recently on Breakfast Television in Montreal talking about the great things to see and do, and where to stay, in Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto.

Ottawa is obviously the place to be to celebrate Canada Day, but if you want to avoid the crowds, not to worry; there is a lot going on after July 1st, too.

Here's what you can enjoy:

Sky Lounge: Taking place between July 7th and 22nd, this is an exclusive culinary experience that will take the brave 150 feet in the air to discover Ottawa like never before; you'll get to experience a dining experience presented by chef Stephen La Salle, from Andaz Hotel's Feast and Revel delicious restaurant. You can choose between a a cocktail option with appetizers and Canadian wine, or a gourmet three-course dinner. You'll be strapped in Formula-1 style seating, with a six point harness for ultimate safety, so don't worry; just be sure to go to the bathroom before you take to the sky!

Inspiration Village: Made up of sea containers in the Byword Market, you can check out this awesome display from now until September 4th. You'll also be able to snap a selfie by the big OTTAWA sign. Inspiration Village will be the place to be this summer, and you can enjoy special exhibits and performances showcasing Canada’s province and territories.

Ottawa Welcomes the World: Embassies and high commissions in Ottawa are showcasing their country’s heritage at the Aberdeen Pavillion and Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park over the next several months. Everyone is invited to dive into a unique multicultural journey of food tasting, musical celebrations, performances, and more. It kicked off with Greece in March and continues right through to December.

Where to Stay: There is no better place to be this summer than Andaz Hotel. This stunning new luxury-boutique hotel right in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core is the place to stay in Ottawa. With an amazing gourmet restaurant, Feast and Revel, featuring locally inspired cuisine, you'll feel like you're on a vacation far from home. After dinner, head to the gorgeous rooftop lounge, Copper Spirits and Sights, on the 16th floor, where you’ll see the most stunning views and sunsets in Ottawa. 

If you're heading to Toronto with the family, here's something you can all enjoy:

The Redpath Waterfront Festival: This festival is taking place from June 30-July 2. Presented by Ports Toronto, this is the place to celebrate Canada Day and Canada’s 150th in Toronto. It's a jam-packed weekend festival with water front activities as well as live music and delicious food from local chefs. 

Where to stay: The Hazleton Hotel, right in the heart of Yorkville, is a luxury boutique hotel and the perfect place to stay whether you’re travelling as a couple, with friends, or with the entire family. Of course, being right in the heart of Yorkville, you're surrounded by luxury boutiques and great restaurants  including the restaurant ONE; the perfect place to people watch, especially during the summer months. I love the personalized service, the in-room dining, and the fabulous spa at this hotel. You can also enjoy the TD Jazz Festival taking place until July 2nd, too. 

Not only in Montreal celebrating Canada 150; the city is also celebrating Montreal 375. Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this charming, historic city, including: 

Montreal International Jazz Festival: This world-famous jazz festival is going on until July 8th, and it's 10 incredible days of musical celebrations in the heart of Montreal's downtown core. For details, check out 

Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton Montreal is my favourite hotel in Montreal, and one of my favourite hotels in the world. It's actually the first Ritz-Carlton in the world, (the original Ritz was in France) and it's been around since 1912. Although the hotel has gone through incredible renovations, this famous hotel (also called the "Great Dame of Sherbrooke") hasn't lost any of its charm. The lobby area, also called the Palm Court, is a great place to enjoy high tea and people watch. The beautiful spa and rooftop pool with views of the city makes a stay here even more enjoyable. My children always feel welcome here, and the attention to detail make our stays even more memorable; the personalized cookies waiting in our room upon arrival, the swimming pool, and the friendly service is what makes the Ritz-Carlton so special. 

However you're celebrating Canada 150, I hope it's a good one. We have so much to be thankful for! Happy Birthday, Canada.

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