Park Play And Community Spirit

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One of the things I loved the most about being a child was spending countless hours at the park near my house, playing on my own or with my friends. I had three parks all within walking distance of where I lived, and I have great memories of the time I spent at all of them. 

I'd go to these parks as a child and get lost in the world of imagination, swing with my friends, play in the sand, and go down the slide, over and over again. As I got older, my best friend and I would hang out on the park bench, talking for hours about all the important things in our lives, while watching our friends play basketball or soccer. Now, I go to the same parks with my children, and the memories come flooding back as if it were yesterday. Whether they're kicking the soccer ball around, riding their bikes around the paths, or playing tag around the play structure, I love seeing them lost in the world of outdoor play.



Although my children love playing at the same park I did when I was a child, it's not new like it once was; the wood is old, the paint is chipping, and the slide is not as safe as it used to be. I'd love to see this park made new again for the children who use it. After all, there's nothing greater than seeing kids outside, playing and happy.There are actually a handful of  parks I know in my community that are in need of major repair.

Being actively involved in our community has become a priority for me since I've become a mom. I love the neighborhood we live in, and I love doing what I can to make things better for the little ones in our community.

This is why I am excited to be part of the Kraft Celebration Tour. They recognize the passion and community spirit that brings people together while promoting healthy and active lifestyles across this great country of ours and they want to help your community.



The mission is simple: 

They want to create something new or make something better in your community. 

Kraft and TSN will visit 10 communities across the country to make some amazing transformations happen. Since 2009 the Kraft Celebration Tour has awarded $1,000,000 to  40 communities across Canada. This money helped build skateboarding parks, upgraded sports fiends, improved boxing facilities and renovated community centres. 

You can nominate your own community online from now until June 7th. 

Just visit kraftcelebrationtour.ca and submit photos and a short essay explaining what sports and a healthy lifestyle mean to your community, and why your community (and park) should win $25,000. Let them know how it will encourage community spirit and passion for sports, play, and an active lifestyle.

The winning communities will receive a live broadcast from TSN's news program, SPORTSCENTRE, as well as $25,000.

I love this idea so much, and I'm passionate about seeing positive changes happen in the community I live in. Not only will this encourage everyone to get involved, it will most certainly get kids more active. After all... if they build it... they will come.

Good Luck!




Disclosure: I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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The Google Nexus 7 Tablet

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As the mother of two boys, my house is home to many electronic devices. From the newest Nintendo DS, to ipads and ipad minis, my boys are what I'd call very tech-savvy. More than me, even. I had to ask my seven year old for help recently about something I couId not figure out on my iphone, and he came to my rescue. I was quite impressed. My five year old has better skills using my Canon camera than I do. Times have certainly changed!

I surprised my children the other day with the Google Nexus 7 tablet by ASUS, which was sent to me from Staples. I was so excited to receive this, and it has been a huge hit in my house. Of course my two boys fought over who would get to use it first, but after they decided to take turns and share (sigh!) they started playing around with it right away, and they loved it. I couldn't wait to check it out myself!


The Nexus 7 tablet is sleek, slim, and easy to use, even for the little ones in your family.

Here are some of my favourite things about the Google Nexus 7 tablet by ASUS:



- The Nexus tablet has up to 9.5 hours of battery life and comes with a high resolution screen, and a 7" display.

- The tablet is very easy to use. It was easy enough for my children to understand, too.

- It is a great size; not too big, not too small, and just a little thicker than the ipad mini, in comparison.

- It is the first tablet to feature Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. "The Nexus 7 enables you to intereact more intuitively and faster. Nexus 7 was made for Google Play which provides numerous apps. Nexux 7 also comes with all your favourite Google Apps."

- Nexus 7 brings apps, movies, games and more to life. It's not ony for work! It's great for the entire family.

- The Nexus 7 was primarily designed with gaming in mind, and was created for mobile gamers.

- It is affordable, and sells for only $239.00.

- The Nexux 7 comes with all the Google Apps like Gmail, Chrome, Google+, and YouTube. Everythign syncs easily across your smartphone and computer, too. Total bonus!

Would I recommend this tablet to my friends who were looking to buy one? Absolutely. It has everything they'd need (and everything the kids need, too). It's a sleek device that is easy to navigate and figure out, even if you're not as tech-savvy as most are these days. It's a great tablet for anyone, no matter how experienced they are with new technology.

The best part? The price. At just over $200.00, it's so worth it.



Disclosure: I received the Nexus 7 tablet from Staples.ca to review and to keep.
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Give A Little Bit (And a Givopoly Giveaway)

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It's no secret—I love to shop. I love to shop not only for myself and for my children, but for my friends and other family members, too.

I love special occasions because it means I get to go shopping for the perfect gift for the people I love. Whether it's shopping for a gift for my child's friend, or a gift for my mom or best friend, I enjoy looking for things I know they'd love and appreciate.

Besides hitting my favourite mall to find the perfect gift, I love shopping at Givopoly. Givopoly is a local gift concierge—a gift and gift basket delivery service. How amazing is that? Givopoly has over 70 partners and has over 1000 gifts to choose from that can be delivered the very next day.


So let's say you just now remembered tomorrow is your best friend's birthday? No worries—check out the amazing gifts online at Givopoly, select your gift, and your friend will be calling you to say thanks the very next day!

Like many of you, I don't have the luxury of spending hours in a mall shopping for the perfect gift, even though I'd love to be able to do just that. Luckily I can go to Givopoly and select a gift for literally any occasion. A huge bonus? Supporting local businesses. I love that. It's a fast, easy way to shop locally.

You can select the items you want by occasion, gift type, and price point—making online shopping even easier than it already was. Did I mention they deliver, too? I love that.

From retro candy from Ottawa's favourite candy store, to yummy cupcakes, and artistic gifts like personalized art for a child's room, there is something here for every special person in my life.

There's even a huge selection of toys from one of Ottawa's finest toys stores, Tag Along Toys, another blog patron of mine. I love the quality of toys they carry, and these are perfect gifts to send to a friend who just had a baby, or for a friend who has a child celebrating a birthday!

I love that Givopoly brings together all these fantastic local businesses, while making shopping easier for their customers.

Givopoly wants you to experience their fabuous online store, too! I'm giving away a $50.00 gift certificate for you to use as you wish on anything they offer! Just leave me a comment below telling me how you'd spend it (would you buy a gift for your mom, for your husband, for a best friend?) and I'll pick a winner randomly on Wednesday, June 5th!



Happy Shopping, everyone!
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In Search Of Ottawa's Greatest Mobile Photographer

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First Facebook, then Twitter, and now it's Instagram. I'm totally addicted... are you? 

I call Instagram "Picture Twitter" because it's basically Twitter... with pictures. One of my favourite commercials on television right now is the iphone commercial showing people from around the world snapping pictures. It gets me so emotional every time I see it. Of course it does. 


I love seeing my friends on Instagram, and all the great photos they take. Seriously, there are so many talented photographers out there, and so many of them just happen to be my friends!

Ottawa is a city that loves the arts, and great photography, too, so I'm excited to share the news about a great new mobile photography contest with you:

This Saturday, May 25th, from 11 to 2, Billings Bridge will be hosting an afternoon of entertainment, refreshments, and prizes in support of the Ottawa School of Arts.

This event is also dedicated to insipiring creativity in the community and accelerating expression for those with a passion for arts.

The challenge for Ottawa residents?

Instagram your most inspiring and imaginative pictures for your chance to win an amazing Billings Bridge and Blacks Photography prize!

Take 10 photographs and post them on Instagram between May 23 and May 26 and tag them #gobillings.

Make sure one of those photos is in front of your favourite Billings Bridge store, and you'll be entered to win the Grand Prize valued at over $2,500. Sweet deal, huh? It's a snap to enter, really!


The Grand Prize includes:

Your own Instagram Art Gallery Showcase at Billings Bridge
A spread in Metro newspaper
$500 worth of Instagram products from Black's Photography
$500 Gift Card for Billings Bridge

How amazing is that?

The winner will be announced on Monday, May 27th.

I love contests that not only involve the community in awesome ways like this, but also give back. I think supporting the Ottawa School of Arts is so very important. Art is a huge part of my life, and always has been—kind of hard to avoid when your mom is a famous artist!

What pictures will you be taking? I've got my camera ready to shoot... Ottawa is gorgeous, so inspiration is everywhere for me!

Good Luck and Have Fun!





Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post.
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Entertainment 101: Setting The Stage With Ease

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Now that summer is almost here, I plan on having guests over all the time to enjoy the gorgeous weather outside and making good use of my patio furniture and newly renovated kitchen. I love entertaining in my home, no matter the season, but there's something so laid-back and wonderful about having guests over when the weather is nice out. 

Because I work full-time and take care of my two children and all their summer activities—swimming lessons, tennis, camp, playdates—I like to try new things in the kitchen that won't take hours to prepare. At the same time, I want to serve my guests food and appetizers they'll love.

I love that Triscuit crackers go well with everything—served as a side with a cheese platter, dipped in homemade salsa, or used to melt cheese on top of. That's one of my favourite snacks—mine, and my boys! Whether it's the Original Triscuit crackers you're munching on, or the Thin Crisps (my personal favourite) you and your guest will be plenty satisfied... take my word for it.

I love having girlfriends over for a Ladies Night, where we sip wine, eat yummy food, talk about our new favourite movie (hello, The Great Gatsby anyone?) while our children run around playing in the backyard without a care in the world.

I'm having a group of girlfriends over next week, and I  plan on making the Greek Antipasto Dip and the Easy Salsa—thanks to Triscuit for providing the easy recipes on their Facebook page, I'm able to get this done in no time at all. Trust me, I'm not a fan of spending more time than necessarity doing anything other than eating when I'm in the kitchen!



Triscuit crackers are so yummy, and my children devour them when they're in the house. Sometimes, I've even had to hide the Triscuits from them—we've all done this, right?



With Triscuit crackers, my stage really is set for entertaining. And that allows me more time to enjoy my friends when they come over to my place to visit.



Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, but all views and opinions are my own.
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Before And After

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I still enjoy...

Going on vacations.
Buying new shoes.
Spending time with my family and friends.
Swimming in the ocean.
Watching my favourite TV shows.
Getting lost in Saks.
Going for my weekly blow-dry.
Pedicures. Manicures. Massages.
Dinners out.
White wine.
Sitting in my favourite chair with a good book.
Going to the movies and eating popcorn.
A night out with my closest friends.

However... no matter what I'm doing, there is one thing that is always on my mind—my children. No matter what, I'm thinking about them, and hoping they're okay.


As soon as I became a mom, life shifted for me in a way I never expected.

There is only before and after.

Life before children was mostly worry-free, in the sense that I had no one to worry about 24 hours a day, for all of eternity, except myself. I could be irresponsible, if I wanted to. I could stay out as late as I wanted to. I could sleep in if I was tired.

Life after children is wonderful in an infinite number of ways, but the never-ending worry that comes with it was something no one prepared me for. No one can prepare you, really, no matter what you read or hear from your family and friends. The biggest change of your life happens once your baby is placed in your arms.

I was walking around in an unfamiliar state once I got home with my new baby. I never thought I'd sleep again, and I never though I'd leave the house again. I didn't want to see a single human outside of my family. I didn't want to hear from anyone. Of course, as the days and weeks went by, things got much easier, in many ways, but the shift never went back to what it was before. Of course, with baby number two, things were much more easy to handle, but still...


A friend of my mom's once said to her: "My daughter never had children. She'll never know the love of having a child of her own, but she'll also never know the worry that comes with it."
It's the times when your child is sick, when you're in the hospital too scared to even look at the doctor, the times when you can't even put a single piece of food in your mouth because you know you'll just throw it up from the worry you're feeling, that are the harderst parts of motherhood.

And here's something—it'll never, ever go away, that worry. And here's another thing—every age comes with its own set of challenges, fears, and worries. It's the hardest job in the whole world. It's a constant job. We are on 24 hours a day. 

Of course it's worth it.. I never imagined my adullt life without children, and I feel blessed, beyond measure.  But becoming a parent is such a life-changing experience you can't prepare for no matter how hard you try.

We are all in this together, I suppose—we're a special league of superheroes. I'm just trying to figure out what colour my cape is today.
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Gonna Make You Sweat

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Every morning I wake up at the same time as my children and the mad rush begins—shower! Make-up on! Fix hair! Find something to wear! Dress the children! Run downstairs! Make breakfast! Make lunches and snacks! Beg the children to brush their teeth! Pack the backpacks! When will I learn to get up and get ready before the children? Hopefully one day soon... seriously.

When I'm stressed to the max about getting everyone out the door on time, I thank goodness that I don't sweat it—I handle it! Seriously, I'm thankful for the awesome Lady Speed Stick Power because it provides long lasting protection to help me not lose my cool, so to speak, when I'm in stressful situations like the daily mad rush out the door with two children. It works.

I recently reviewed two new Lady Speed Stick products and they worked like a charm, helping me through all my daily crazy sweat-inducing situations at home, on the way to school and to work, and in any situation you can imagine.



Lady Speed Stick is so awesome, they decided to spread the love, too. They're giving away six baskets full of Lady Speed Stick products!

Just click here to enter! Simple, right? Totally not sweat-inducing! Just tell us... what makes you sweat?

Come on... we want to know! And, okay, we want to laugh along with you, too. Was it a blind date you went on? An unexpected visit from my mother-in-law? Leaving the house with two different shoes on? (Yes, this has happened to someone I know!)
Lady Speed Stick truly offers long-lasting superior protection, and I love the invisible Lady Speed Stick—no need to worry about stains anywhere on my clothes, no matter what colour I am wearing! It's also available in four different frangrances (yum!)  to keep you feeling fresh from morning to night.


Here's a coupon you can use, too. You're welcome! And remember... don't sweat it—no matter the situation—handle it!


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I received compensation from Colgate. All views and opinions are my own.
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15 Reasons I'm Awesome

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I'm awesome. Because I'm a mom.

Here are 15 reasons why:


1. I survive—in fact I can function—amazingly well on three hours of sleep a night. I know this to be true because it's been my reality for the last seven years, give or take an hour (or two).

2. I can carry more in my arms than the average human at the same time. We're talking a suitcase, a child, a bottle of water, a purse, two sweaters, a pair of running shoes, snacks, passports, and a stroller. While walking down a broken escalator trying to catch a flight.

3. I host playdates with children and I let them invade my entire house.

4. I live with little dictators and I am a calm and rational person in spite of this.

5. I can put together impossible LEGO creations.

6. I eat Goldfish crackers off the floor for dinner.

7. I put all sorts of weird things in my mouth to clean them.

8. I have endured listening to many hours of that annoying brat, Caillou, without breaking the television set in a fit of rage.

9. I have accepted the fact that I only need 3% of my bed to sleep on.

10. I'm okay with waking up with little feet in my face.

11. I am able to change sheets without waking a child who is sleeping on top of these sheets. This is gold medal-worthy, friends.

11. I  know everything there is to know about Minecraft. Sort of.

12.  I still play Super Mario Bros.

13. I sometimes hide food from my children.

14. I have broken up epic sibling battles while driving through scary snow storms.

15. I have gone on vacations and boarded planes witth two young children without any assistance from anyone, and have lived to tell the tale.

What about you—how does being a parent make you even more awesome than you were before?

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Start Spreading The News

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I don't know how I'd handle breakfast in my house if my children were picky eaters. Thankfully, I've lucked out in that department—I have children who consider breakfast their favourite meal of the day!

It's always a mad dash in the mornings at my house, so knowing that my children have a favourite food to eat for breakfast is a huge help. 

My boys love cream cheese, and I love how easy it is to prepare breakfast beacuse of this. We spread Philly Cream Cheese on bagels, tortillas, pita bread, and toast, and with a side of fruit and maybe some oatmeal, breakfast is served! Anything to make things run smoothly in the morning, I'm a fan of.

When I saw the new  Chocolate Philly I knew it would taste incredible—and yup, I was right! It's so, so good. You really do have to try it for yourself. I promise—you'll love it.


My favourite way to enjoy my Chocolate Philly? Spread on a warm, toasted bagel, with a side of strawberries. (Great for dipping, too, of course!) Or, on a tortilla, wrapped up, with strawberries inside. So yummy! Here's the best part—with Chocolate Philly you not only get the dairy goodness of Philly, you're also getting the deliciousness of pure milk chocolate—with half the sugar and calories that other similar products provide. So, you're eating healthy, too. Win-win, right?

You know what goes great with a Philly Chocolate breakfast? Enjoying that breakfast in... bed. That's right. In bed. Served to you by your loved one. I know, I don't remember the last time I ate breakfast in bed, either. Philly has a fun Facebook contest going on right now, where you post a status update saying that if you get 20 likes, your sweetheart will then serve you breakfast in bed. Voila.. the pressure is on, and delicious, Chocolate Philly will be yours to enjoy in your comfort zone!

Philly also has a great coupon offer on their Facebook page starting on May 21. Check it out, because you don't want to miss a great offer like this.

Chocolate and cream cheese were totally meant to be together this way... now go spread the news (and the love) yourself!









Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, but views and opinions are my own. And I love my Philly cream cheese!
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Sun Safety With Coppertone

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Summer is finally here! Well, almost. It's May, the weather has been fabulous, the grass is growing, and the pools are open for the season. My boys have taken full advantage of this, already, and it's not even June yet. No complaints from me. Not even one. I will not say a negative thing about the weather until it starts getting cooler again.

Summer is so easy, don't you think? No more snowsuits, boots, messy slush, hats, mitts, scarves... it's just flip flops, sunscreen, and go!

I was flown to Toronto for the day a couple of weeks ago to attend the Summer Lunch and Learn Event on Sun Care and Allergy Symptoms Management with Coppertone, Aerius and hydraSense. It was a very beautiful event that was also very informative. It was great speaking to a doctor and allergy specialist about the effects the sun has on our skin, and especially the effects of the sun on the skin of our young children. It is so important to be aware.



Since becoming a mom, I'm keenly aware of the importance of staying safe when we're outside in the sun. I'm no longer the girl who lays out in the sun wearing a bikini with nothing more than sunscreen with an SPF of 4. I'm now the responsible mom who stays better protected while spending time in the shade, whenever possible. Besides, I don't have the time to just relax in the sun—my boys never sit still to allow that to happen!

I've long ago packed away the oil and have embraced sunscreen with protection of at least 30 SPF or higher. I slather it on my boys, too, and prefer to use a higher SPF on them. I use a generous amount too—did you know each time you apply sunscreen, you should use a golf ball sized amount? At least that's easy to remember! Sunscreen is the number one way to protect yourself from sun damage.

Here are some Summer Sun Safety Tips for you:

Cover Up: Try to wear long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim. Wear protective sunglasses, too. I also buy protective swim shirts for my boys to wear when they're swimming outside—the added protection is great peace of mind for me.

Use Sunscreen: Of course we all know the importance of sunscreen and protecting our skin, right? You should be wearing at least a bottle with SPF of 15 or higher. I use 30 SPF on me, and usually something as high as 60 for my children. Make sure to re-apply every two hours, and every hour if you're in the water, even if the sunscreen is water-resistant.

Find Shade: I used to love spending time in the sun, but now I actually prefer staying in the shade if I'm outside all day, on the beach, by the pool, or just walking around in the great outdoors. If you're going on a picnic, try to pack an umbrella with you, and stay in places that offer plenty of shade, like parks with nice big trees.




Now, go enjoy summer safely. Your skin will thank you!

Disclaimer: My travel arrangements to and from Toronto were paid for, and I received Copperone, Aerius, and hydraSense products to use and review, but all thoughts, views, and opinions on this topic are my own.
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The Great Gatsby: My Review

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When I was in high school, I read The Great Gatsby for the first time. I remember liking it, but not loving it. I decided to visit my past and read the book again, and this time, I loved it. Loved. I didn't want it to come to an end, and now I'm in the I-just-finished-the-best-book-ever mode, where I refuse to pick up another book because I'm scared I'll look at the words and not feel as connected and not love it as much.

This is of course nothing new for me, as I easily become obsessed fall in love with things: movies, songs, books... and I sort of expect everyone to feel what I'm feeling, too. To hear that some people didn't love The Great Gatsby, the book, or the movie? I don't get it. I get annoyed.

"What do you mean you don't want to see it again RIGHTTHISSECOND?"

"How could you NOT love it?"

"You haven't even read the book yet? What are you waiting for?"

I saw the movie. And it was beautiful. And chilling. And sad. All the really important parts were done so, so well. I was holding my breath for the last 30 minutes of the movie. Really, it was that good. I loved Leo as Jay. He played a great Gatsby. And Tobey was perfectly cast as Nick. Carey was a fabulous Daisy, right down to her voice.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, one of the best American novels of all time, is a must-read for everyone. Only then can you begin to appreciate (or, dislike) the tale come to life on the big screen. I don't understand what there was to not like about the movie, though, because I thought it was done incredibly well.


I think being that he was such a modern man, Fitzgerald would have loved this take on Gatsby--after all, Jay Z is on the soundtrack--and what an amazing soundtrack it is, by the way.


Do I give the movie two thumbs up? Absolutely, old sport... absolutely. Although you can't create the past exactly as it was before, you can try, and this movie does a great job of that. The costumes, the lavish settings, the acting--I thought it was perfection.



I just want to talk about how much I dislike Daisy with everyone I see. And how I keep trying to change the ending in my head, just so it's not so damn sad.

Now excuse me while I stock up on flapper dresses and get lost in the soundtrack, while I search for my grade 11 essay on The Great Gatsby. I'd love to see what my thoughts on the story were, back then.


“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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Random Thoughts: From Abercrombie to Gatsby

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My Hair:

It's no big surpirse—I love being blonde. What started off as a few highlights when I was 16 years old turned into me having a head full of blonde hair a few years later. The thought of going dark scares me almost as much as the idea of cutting my hair does, but having to do my colour every month was getting to be a bit much. This week I took a brave step and let my hair dresser add low-lights to my hair. Okay, it was more of an intervention, but that's all behind us now. I love my new hair colour! A lot! I'm still blonde, but with more depth and definition, I guess.


 
Abercrombie & Assholes OR Abercrombie & Filth

When I was younger, I shopped at Abercrombie, mostly because as a Canadian I loved shopping at stores we didn't have here. Also, because I thought some of their t-shirts were cute and funny, like the "Dependently Wealthy" one that's still somewhere in my closet. Of course, once I passed a certain age I stopped shopping at Abercrombie, not because I couldn't fit into the clothes anymore, but because obviously there were far better stores to shop at for someone my age. Also, it's dark and a bit smelly in Abercrombie, no?

So you all must have heard about some guy named Mike Jeffries? He's the CEO of Abercrombie, and he makes Pete Campbell look like the the world's best human in comparison. Apparently, Mike doesn't want ugly and fat people shopping at his store, because his store is only for the "cool kids". Huh?  I have a huge problem with this idiot sharing his opinion publicly like this, because first of all? Abercrombie is NOT all that, and second of all? He's promoting eating disorders in young children. Newsflash: Not everyone is skinny. Not everyone looks the same. Who is HE to decide what's attractive and what's not attractive? And can we talk about how he, as an adult, is encouraging bullying, self-doubt, and depression in young people? I don't accept his stupidity. I'll no longer buy clothes for my children from that store. And I shop a lot, so take that, Abercrombie and Filth. This is not about being authentic; it's about being an asshole and as someone who represents a store that young people spend their parents money in, you f*cked up, dude.

 


 

Busy (Busy!) Week: 

This week—this month, actually—is really, really busy. I know we're all busy, but seriously, I don't think schools take into account that some parents also have full-time jobs, because whoa, the hours we've spent on homework and projects this week! My seven year old did as much work last night as I did in four years of university. Okay, slight exaggeration, but you get my point. This, after what was an incredibly busy week at school that included a book fair, a volunteer recognition assembly, an open house, and an all-day field trip that I happily volunteered for. I love that I'm able to volunteer in the school as much as I do. Being present this way for my boys makes me happy, and they love when I'm there, too.



Mother's Day:

What do moms want for Mother's Day? I put together some great gift ideas on my shopping blog, but truly, all I want is what I cherish the most from my children: something from the heart. My five year old was excited to give me the gift he made for me at school, and my heart almost exploded from love and happiness. There's nothing else in the world I need.



The Great Gatsby:

I read the book in high school (like everyone else I know) but I don't remember it well enough, so I'm reading it right now. I can't wait to see the movie tomorrow night. It looks Oh-my-God-incredible. Is it all hype? Is the book that great? Will the movie be amazing? We'll soon find out...




Hotel California:
I made it through three days of awesome fun in Laguna Beach at Mom 2.0! I mean, I made it through hearing about, reading about, and seeing pictures from my friends of how fabulous Mom 2.0 in Laguna was. No, really—it was nice to see how much fun everyone was having, and the location was simply gorgeous. Next year, I'll be back. I have my ticket for Mom 2.0 2014 already, and so do a lot of my favourite people, so that makes me very happy. One word of advice to my friends who blog and work in social media and want turn their passion into something more? Don't miss the chance to go to Mom 2.0 next year. It is so very worth it.

Greek Easter:

The reason I wasn't in California, as most of you know, was because it was our Greek Easter weekend and as usual, it was a beautiful weekend of fun, family, and food. Emphasis on FOOD. And more food. Greek Easter is really about the food, after all. Did I mention the food? And since Easter took place in May this year, and since it is an unseasonably hot May, the kids swam all day and had the best time of their lives. The lamb was good, too!

Shoe obsession:
I currently love Tieks and need a pair, like, yesterday. Only problem? I can't decide what colour to get. IMPOSSIBLE decision. So I blogged about it, naturally. See why I am having such a hard time deciding on a colour? I hate decisions!


And... that's all from me. For now. Time to kick back and relax, because the weekend is here. Okay, maybe there won't be any time to relax, but still, the weekend is here, so have a good one, friends.

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Hot Days, Cool Treats

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Seems like only yesterday I was complaining about the cold weather. It pretty much was yesterday, though. We skipped spring, and suddenly, summer has arrived! You won't hear me complain about the weather until probably the end of October, when things start getting cold and miserable again. What can I say? I'm a summer girl, 12 months a year.

While I'm currently stuck in my office working, my five year old is enjoying himself swimming at his grandparents beautiful heated pool. Great way to cool off after school, isn't it? I'm counting down the hours until I can join him and his older brother.

You know what goes great with summer, and swimming? Cold, delicious frozen yogurt. And because I'm in such a great mood, I thought I'd treat you to some Menchie's frozen yogurt, because... well, it's yummy, and good for you.

Actually, you'll not only receive coupons for free Menchie's froyo, you'll also get a cute little gift basket filled with other things, too, like pencils, stickers, t-shirts, and more... something the kids will love!

Just leave me a comment below telling me your favourite way to cool off in the summertime, and you'll be entered to win!

This contest is open to Canadians, and I'll pick a winner on Monday, May 6, 2013.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. 
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Old School Blogging: Pop Culture

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A lot has changed in the blogging world over the last couple of years. Certainly a lot has changed for the better, but I sometimes miss the days when we used our blogs as a bigger platform than Twitter. Remember blogging, back in 2009? Although Twitter has been amazing for me and my blog as a business, I still miss old school blogging. 

I'm happy to join in with my friend Elaine this week to host another Old School Blogging meme. I'd love it if you joined in, too. Let's kick it old school, shall we?

And let's talk about one of my favourite things: entertainment!

After all, I love movies. A lot. And TV shows, too.

1. What was one of your favourite shows as a kid? Why?

I can't pick just one! My favourite television shows when I was a kid were The Facts Of Life, Who's The Boss, Growing Pains, and my two all-time favourites, The Cosby Show, and The Wonder Years. (Which I just discovered on Netflix, so now I'm watching it all over again!)  I loved The Cosby Show because Bill Cosby reminds me of my dad. I love The Wonder Years because it was so real. The writing was amazing, and it reminds me of days gone by. It makes me totally emotional, too. I am such an old soul.



2. Which actress(es) do you see on the red carpet and kinda wish you could be for a day (or three)?

I really love Kate Hudson. I think she is an absolutely positive, gorgeous, glowing actress, and she makes being a mom look so effortless. I think she has great style, too. She always looks incredible!

 

3. Which actor do you wish you could hang out with?

I love Kevin Spacey. He is one of my favourite actors of all time. I just saw The Usual Suspects again a few weeks ago, and it reminded me how much I love him. Johnny Depp is pretty fantastic in everything he's in, too. And Robert De Niro.
 
4. What is one (or two or some) of your favorite movies that you have seen in the last few years?

I don't watch as many new movies as I'd like to because life is so hectic right now, but I loved Les Miserables, Argo, Pitch Perfect, and um.. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Days. Yes, really. (Mom of two boys, remember?)

 
5. Who is one celebrity out there now that you could totally do without? That you wish would just disappear?

I don't even want to say her name, but her initials are L.L. And she's annoying. But so is the media, for their inability to stop talking about her.

6. Have you ever met a celebrity? If so, who? What did you say/do when you met them?

I met Mario Lopez at a private BlogHer party in 2011 in San Diego! Come on, that totally counts, because I loved Saved By The Bell.  I met Clint Eastwood and Rene Russo when they were filming In The Line Of Fire in Washington, D.C. I think I managed to say one or two words to them. And I met Pharrell in Bal Harbour, Florida, shopping in Louis Vuitton. He was very nice and obviously has great taste!




7. What shows do you look foward to watching every week?

I love (love, love) Mad Men. I finally sat down to watch it last year, and I think I watched season one through five in under a week. I was instantly addicted (and, okay, maybe a little obsessed) and now I get very excited for Sunday nights. Homeland is my other favourite show and does crazy things to my heart rate and stress levels. But it's worth it, because it's an incredible show.


What about you? I'd love to hear your answers! Isn't old school blogging fun?
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Summer Camp Memories

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One of my favourite movies is Troop Beverly Hills. I can actually recite the entire movie by heart, in case you were wondering. Although I am not crazy about camping now, (roughing it anything less than a four-star hotel!) when I was a child, I loved it. I have vivid memories of my first experience sleeping in a tent for a few days—good memories, but also frightening memories, because I was convinced a bear was going to attack me and my friends. I slept in between my two best friends one night and I felt like they provided me with enough protection so that I was able to fall asleep. The next night, however? I wasn't in the middle and of course with my over-active imagination, I couldn't stop thinking I could hear a bear. Yeah... I didn't sleep much that night! I much preferred the days of camping when we stayed in cabins, in more civilized bunk beds.

Despite my sleeping arrangements, the fun camp memories have stayed with me throughout the years. I remember going shopping with my father to find the perfect camping equiment—sleeping bag, backback, and the proper clothes and boots. The first time I went away to camp I was nine years old. I remember getting on that bus, and waving good-bye to my parents. I was excited, nervous, scared... and ready to have some fun!

I remember all the songs we'd sing on the long bus rides getting to the lake to swim, or the place we were going to go hiking. Although I usually attended camp with my best friend, making new friends was all part of the wonderful experience, and it was always bittersweet, saying good-bye to the friends I wouldn't see again until next summer.

Now that I'm a mom of two young boys, I spend a lot of time researching the proper camps to send them to in the summer time. Although they're still too young to do overnight camp, (they're five and seven years old) they have been going to summer day camp for the last couple of years and they—and I—love it!

From swimming to songs, crafts, and sports, their days are packed, busy, and fun.

Cooking hot dogs on a stick over a fireplace... making s'mores... and doing craft after craft—some of which I still have, by the way—were all part of my amazing camp experirence and now, I see the same joy in my childrens' faces, when I pick them up from a day of camp. They're so exhausted from their fun-filled day they can barely stay awake past dinner time, even though the sun is still shining outside.

Muskoka Woods reminds me of the fun I had at camp when I was a child. Doesn't this video make you want to be a child again, at least for a few weeks?

This is the type of camp I know I'd have loved to go to. Their mission? "To inspire youth to shape their world." Pretty positive, no? From water sports to media and arts, and leadership and team building programs, Muskoka Woods is the perfect summer camp destination for children and youth. Also? Fun is their trademark. The best part? No tents! Guests stay in clean, fully-enclosed cabins with bunk beds! Yay!

If you want to sign up your children for camp this summer, it's this easy.

All this talk about summer camp makes me wish I was a kid again—when it was all about fun, fun, and more fun. Seriously... wouldn't you love to go back in time to re-live some of those awesome, first-time memories? Now you can live vicariously through your children...

Happy and safe camping! 


Disclosure: I am participating in the Muskoka Woods Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own, as always.
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