Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shower Them With Love

Pink is my favourite colour. Today, I'm wearing a pink scarf in support of Anti-Bullying Day. Even though many of us are wearing pink today, this one act alone is sadly not going to stop children from being bullied.

Thankfully, there is so much more we are doing to stop bullying from taking place in schools, like the #NoMoreBullies campaign and awareness.

When I was in grade seven, I was bullied, and it was awful. However, after school, I was able to go home, and cry into my parents arms. I was comfortable telling them everything. I was so lucky I had their love, support, and guidance, to help me through the rough times. It's heartbreaking to me to know that some children who are bullied in school don't have anyone to turn to at home.

The other night, I watched one of my all-time favourite movies, again—Dead Poets Society. If you've seen this (surely you have?) you'll know that one of the  main characters takes his own life because of his awful situation at home with his father. This movie breaks my heart so much more now that I am a mom of two boys, and it's a great reminder that our most important role as parents is not only to teach our children right from wrong, but to be there to listen to our children, and support them.

If we don't support our children, and encourage them to chase their dreams, then we are not doing our job very well. I can't imagine not supporting my kids, no matter what they choose to do with their lives, no matter where their hearts take them.


Here's what we need to be doing as parents:

Lead by example. Be a kind, good person. Do good for others, and expect nothing in return.

Do not bad-mouth anyone. Learn how to bite your tongue. Children hear everything and your actions can also speak louder than words.

Teach your children that it's never okay to make fun of another person, especially because of their appearance or inability to do things as well as them. (No matter what that is.) No one, especially a child, should be made to feel bad because of what they look like! The end.

Make sure your children know it's important to tell an adult—their teacher, their parents, an older sibling—if someone else is bothering them, calling them names, or making threats to them. They need to know there is always someone they can turn to for help if they're feeling bad.  Let them know YOU will always be there to hear them, no matter what. Their secrets should always be safe with you.

I truly believe if a child is loved at home, they won't bully other people. I wish there was a clear and easy solution to this problem, but there is none. We can only do our best, and remind our children every day that we love them, and teach them the importance of being kind to other people.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Winning Fashion

Watching the Oscars when you've seen every nominated movie is awesome. I haven't seen more than two Oscar nominated movies in a single year since having children, but hey, I still tune in and watch, because I love to see what everyone is wearing, and also, watching any awards show (or TV in general) while on Twitter is totally awesome.

This year's Oscars were not exciting at all, I'm sad to report. I miss Billy Crystal. And Steve Martin. Heck, I even miss James Franco! Also, Argo was a great movie and entertaining to watch on a plane, but Best Picture? Not really. And that's um... all I have to say about that. Oh, also? I really need to see Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained. Now, let's talk about the important stuff, like who wore what! And who looked hot... and not.

Who do I think looked amazing at the Oscars?

Maria Menounos! I don't think she's gone wrong, ever. She's gorgeous. And, okay, yes, she's also Greek, but I promise I am not biased at all. I love this dress, the colour, and her hair. Flawless.


Jennifer Aniston! LOVE Jennifer Aniston, and love her in red. Just like Maria, Jennifer always looks great on the red carpet. From her hair to her dress she was perfection. Oh, she's also Greek.


Sandra Bullock! So sexy, and classic, and beautiful. Loved her dress.

  
Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence! They both looked lovely in their flowy dresses. Jennifer in Dior and Amy in Oscar de la Renta... these two were dazzling and stunning.

And... Nicole Kidman. I love Nicole... her hair, her voice, and her gorgeous body. She's such a star on the red carpet and on screen, too.


Even though there were many gorgeous looks on the red carpet, there were a few looks I was not in love with...

Like Reese Witherspoon. She's usually always on my best dressed list, but the cut and the material of her Louis Vuitton dress was just not right for her.


 I was also not digging the back of Jennifer Garner's dress....


Overall, this year the Oscars were a yawn-fest, but it was still fun watching, especially since I could fast-forward through half the show.

Who do you think looked amazing?



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Smooth, Silky Skin (And A Giveaway For You!)

How is it the shortest month of the year is the month that seems to go on forever?

Regardless of the fact that February has been the busiest month ever, it is still here. I'm so totally over winter.Thankfully we're now just days away from a new month, and you know what March means? It means we'll be able to say spring is really and truly around the corner.

I was able to escape to south Florida with my boys and family several weeks ago, and putting on my little dresses and bikinis and flip flops felt so good. Of course that meant I had to make sure I had soft, silky, sun-kissed skin. To help get super soft skin I used the Schick Intuition Pure Nourishment Razor.

My favourite part? The yummy coconut smell. Coconut milk and almond oil are two ingredients in this awesome new razor that will give you the absolute perfect shave while moisturizing all in one easy step. A soft, perfect, close shave, and soft, yummy smelling skin? Perfection! Time to put on that little black dress...

Now I get to pass this awesome gift on to you. Well, I'm not giving you my razor of course, but I'm giving you all your very own brand new Schick Intuition Pure Nourishment Razor! Yup! You get one, and you get one, and you get one too! I feel like Oprah today. YOU ALL GET ONE!


You will all get a new Schick Intuition Pure Nourishment Razor... how cool is that? You'll be one step closer to being totally ready for the warmer months.

Just leave me a comment below telling me why you're looking forward to spring and make sure you leave your email address, too, so I can contact you!


Disclaimer: I received a Schick Intuition Pure Nourishment razor and I’ve been compensated for my time to run this rate and review opportunity.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Books I Love

I'm usually awake well past 1 a.m. because that's when I actually find time to read for pleasure. You know, after a day of working, writing, blogging, responding to emails, taking care of the children, cleaning the house, helping with homework, and catching up on Mad Men/Homeland/Downton Abbey? Right.

My love affair with books and reading began in grade three (or four) when I read Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume. I was never without a book in hand, and I read Wuthering Heights when I was 14 and vacationing in England, thinking it was the perfect backdrop to the story.

Just like music soothes the soul, I find reading has the same effect, unless you're reading 50 Shades of Grey. Seriously, the amount of errors in that book were too many to count and also, it was pretty much the worst book ever written. Sexy? More like... shudder. Let's not get into all that I disliked about that book; read this awesome post if you want to know how I really feel about 50 Shades Of Eye-Roll.

I love picking up a book and getting lost in the story, but I hate coming to the end of a great book. I sometimes find it hard to start a new book right away, for fear that I'll forget the book I just finished. I have several favourite books I read again and again, though, because they're so great... and because reading them once just wasn't enough.

Here's a list of some of the books that have a special place on my bookcase:

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) - This is one of my favourite books of all time. I love Paulo Coelho, and his writing is poetic. These are just a few of the quotes I love from the book:

"The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” 

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

A Prayer For Owen Meany (John Irving) - Irving is one of my favourite authors. The World According To Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer For Owen Meany are all favourite books of mine, and if you're like me, you won't be able to put down this book, not even to check twitter in between pages. It's really thought-provoking and very captivating... you'll be lost in this story from the very first page.

Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt) - I actually can't read Angela's Ashes again, because it's too sad, but I remember everything about this book—it has really stayed with me and I recommend it to all my friends. It's worth the read, even though it's the most depressing autobiography I've read.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

Despite living a poverty-stricket life, and despite going through so much personal tragedy, Frank McCourt went on to become a teacher, and a bestselling author.

Water For Elephants (Sara Gruen) - I'm not into romance books, but this book was beautiful and touching and lovely, and well, you really should read it, and then you really should see the movie, because, well, Robert Pattinson.

Other books worth adding to the your home library, not including the Twilight series and The Hunger Games trilogy? (Don't lie—I know you have those books somewhere in your home!)

The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
Atonement (Ian McEwan)
Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
The Stand (Stephen King)
To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

This is, of course, just a sampling of the book I love to read.

What books are in your top ten?
What book do you always suggest friends read?
What is on your night table right now?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happenings In My World

The long weekend is finally here, Monday is Family Day, and there's a lot going on.

Also? There was a crazy meteor blast that hit the skies in Russia yesterday, and I was completely freaked out, probably because I found out in the middle night and couldn't get back to sleep. Also?



I was on CTV Ottawa Morning earlier today talking about all the fun events happening around town, and if you missed my segment, I've got the video right here! Check it out, because I've got a lot of information for you on how to keep busy this weekend.


What's there to do in Ottawa this long weekend? Winterlude! It's the last weekend of Winterlude, and the weather has been great so far. Yummy Mummy Club will be in town, too, taking part in all the festivities. From Snowflake Kingdom (I was just there this morning with my big boy and his school!) to Crystal Garden and skating on the canal, there is a lot going on. Beavertails and poutine are a great way to end the day, of course.

Museums are open on Monday as well, and many are offering free admission for children. I know the Museum of Nature and the Science and Tech museum have a lot of fun activities planned for kids.

And of course, I'll be hosting the 2nd annual Old Navy Family Day Festival in Rideau Centre, and Erica Wark will be there as well, helping anyone with style and wardrobe questions. I'm totally going to ask Erica how I can get over my fear of wearing bright coloured pants!

Yesterday was a busy day too, because I was invited to a lunch at Lowe-Martin with Canada Post where I met author Marie-Louise Gay and got a sneak peek at the upcoming commemorative stamp being released featuring the art of her famous Stella books. When|I was a child I collected stamps, so when we were given a tour of the building that makes all the stamps, I thought it was very, very cool.


Phew! It has been a busy few days, a meteor hit earth, and the weekend is just as crazy, from the CHEO gala to my sister's 30th birthday bash to keeping busy with the kids and hosting Family Day at Old Navy. I hope whatever you've got planned this weekend, you have fun and stay safe!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kid Reviewed, Parent Approved: Travel With Thomas Cook And A Giveaway!

My children are amazing little travellers. We started travelling with them when they were very young, and now, at the ages of seven and just turned five, they've flown almost a dozen times each.

They love everything about going away on a vacation—from packing their suitcase (with my help, of course!) to people-watching in the airport, even. When they find out they're going away, they get can barely contain their excitement—I'm the same way!

I think taking frequent (or, at least once a year) vacations with children is so important. How does the saying go? "Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." I believe this to be true. The memories made on vacation are memories that last a lifetime, and the fun a family can have on vacation? Well, it's worth it—it's absolutely priceless.

I love going places where kids come first—where I know they'll have as much as the adults.

Thomas Cook thought of everything when they put together the Kids Reviewed, Parent Approved vacation packages. With destinations for the whole family to Aruba, St. Lucia, Turks & Cacios, Cuba, Jamaica, and Mexico—at breathtakingly beautiful resorts—everyone is guaranteed to have the vacation of a lifetime. Parents will have some peace of mind (and enjoy a stress-free vacation) knowing everyone will have a great time.


The unique Kid Reviewed, Parent Approved program offers video reviews of top destinations from a kid's perspective, expert advice from knowledgeable Kids First travel specialists, and exclusive offers. I think it's so cool that everyone can get involved with planning their next family vacation by watching the video reviews for tips from the kids who have experienced the destination themselves!

Also, when you book your Thomas Cook Kids First vacation, you'll receive up to $500 in added value, including:
  • $50 VISA gift card
  • $25 Indigo gift card
  • $25 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card
  • Free seat selection
  • Free airport lounge pass
  • Free Kids First activity book
  • 1 year subscription to Today's Parent magazine
  • Park 'n Fly savings
The gift cards will come in so handy before leaving for your vacation, because you'll be able to stock up on the suncreen, magazines, and new books for the kids to read while travelling to your destination. Also seat selection? So important when you're travelling with the little ones!

Thomas Cook would love to give away one of these fabulous travel packages to one of my readers, too!

To enter to win this package, please leave me a comment below telling me which Thomas Cook vacation destination you'd love to take your family to. I wll randomly select a winner on February 20th, 2013.

For a bonus entry, follow Thomas Cook on Twitter at: @thomascookca

For more information of booking a Thomas Cook Kids First vacation, check this out!

Disclaimer: I was sent a Thomas Cook Kids First vacation package.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Grammy Awards 2013: Fashion Hits And Misses

I love music almost (maybe even more) than shopping. Although I'm not a music pro, I cannot live without my music. I prefer long road trips alone so I can listen to my songs in peace, with the volume super loud, and the windows down. You know, if it's not -40 out.

Another thing I love about music? The Grammy Awards. I love it for the music, of course, and also for the fashion, because that's seriously half the fun of watching award shows, no? Everyone's favourite stars hit the red carpet at the 2013 Grammy Awards decked out and looking gorgeous and glamourous despite receiving a memo telling them to cover up, everyone still looked very sexy.

Anyway, here are my pics for Best Dressed at the 2013 Grammy Awards!

Maria Menounos: I may be biased because I'm a fellow Greek, but every time I see Maria on the red carpet, she looks stunning. I especially love the colour of her dress (I'm currently really into yellow) and she's always got a great smile on her face, which is always the best fabulous accessory.



Carrie Underwood: With a sweet shout-out to her Ottawa Senators NHL hubby, Carrie looked beautiful, as always. I love her style. She always wears the most flattering, sexy dresses, and she has fabulous hair!



Rihanna: Although nobody was impressed with her choice of date (really, girlfriend... we all know you can and should do better!) Ri-Ri was stunning and sexy in a red Alaia. I was loving her long, flowing hair and now I have a craving to go ombre, too. She was the lady in red. And super sexy.



Taylor Swift: Okay, shout-out to Taylor Swift, because I actually loved her Grecian style long white dress. A huge improvement from her look at the Golden Globe Awards. I even loved the braid. Well done, Taylor!



Katy Perry: Along with the colour yellow, I also have a huge obsession with seafoam and mint green. Katy Perry looked as hot as a firework at the Grammy Awards, even though clearly she didn't get the memo. It's okay though. I approved of her dress, and she was a total head-turner.



Beyonce: After her solid performance at the Superbowl, Beyonce once again stole the show, this time in a sexy black and white suit. Beyonce is beautiful and fierce and proved you don't have be in a revealing dress to look absolutely sexy.



Adele: Even though we all love her to pieces, Adele was not wearing the most flattering dress at the Grammys. She's super talented, super beautiful, and super funny. She's a star, but she wasn't dressed like one last night. Adele, if you're hiring, I'd love to be your stylist! We'd have so much fun shopping together!



Who do you think was Best (and Worst!) Dressed at the 2013 Grammy Awards?

Images from People.com.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

You Are Invited!

I could write a book about all the things I love about blogging and social media, and how thankful I am for all the wonderful things that have happened because of my involvement with blogging over the years. It's been a real "pinch me, I'm dreaming" ride so far, and it's only just begun...

I'm excited to announce that once again this year, I have been asked to host the Old Navy Family Day Festival at Old Navy, Rideau Centre, in Ottawa.

The Family Fun Day event takes place at Old Navy Rideau Centre on Monday, February 18th, from 1 to 4 p.m.



It's fun for the entire family, so make sure to bring your children along so they can show off their dance moves on the Twisted Twister Dance Floor, and get all crafty at the Super Cool Creation Lab while you shop. After that, why not strike a pose on the Flying Photo Floor? A fabulous DJ will also be on hand spinning the tunes.

Of course all this fun and excitement is going to make you and your little ones a little tired, so make sure to head over to our crazy cookie and juice bar for a little pick-me up. The cookies are so delicious.

And hey, as an added bonus? When you spend $50 or more you'll receive $10 off and receive a very special gift bag. I can't say what's inside yet, but you'll love it. And of course, this event comes at the perfect time, because the new spring line from Old Navy is to-die for adorable. Seriously, you are going to be stocking up on some great items. My personal favourite? The Diva skinny ankle pants. I cannot get enough!

Anyway, I hope you're able to attend this event with your family. I'll be there welcoming you and your little ones for an afternoon of great fun!

See you there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

From Paradise To Reality

I'm back from a gorgeous one week vacation in south Florida. I went with my boys, my parents, and my sister and her family. We had a wonderful time, and it's been so hard adjusting to winter again. I'm pretty much on the verge of tears all day long. Going from summer to winter mode is the hardest thing to do, you guys. From this view every morning from my balcony to views of nothing but snow, snow, and more snow... it's just downright painful!




For one week, I didn't have to make beds, do laundry, make lunches, serve breakfast, put on winter gear, or take the kids to school. Instead, I got to swim in the ocean, collect shells for my boys for our growing collection back home, swim in the two pools, one, an infinity zero-entry pool overlooking the ocean, and the other, a huge lagoon style pool with a waterfall, eat dinner at favourite restaurants, watch my boys run and play in the beautiful outdoors, and, of course, shop. My dad even found us a seahorse on the beach, which was so cool.


































This was our 6th stay at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa. We've been coming here since my oldest son was two years old. This resort is a happy, familiar vacation spot for my boys now, and they love coming back. I love making new memories with them every year.






Before we left for our vacation, I received a wonderful email from the Westin Diplomat telling me they'd be treating me and my family to two pool-side cabanas during our stay, with a fabulous lunch and dessert for all included. This was a wonderful treat, and we enjoyed using the cabanas for some down-time for the kids where they were able to eat their lunch and watch TV in between jumping in the pool. The power of social media continues to amaze me every day.













Upon our arrival to the Westin, we also received a wonderful delivery of fruits, cheese, crackers, and delicious cupcakes to our room, welcoming us.

I love hotels that are attentive and go the extra mile to welcome their guests.
Thank you, Westin Diplomat. We will of course be coming back.

We went to the Miami Zoo, which was so much fun for my boys because they got to see two of their favourite animals, the Komodo Dragon and the Cuban Crocodile. It was fun to bike through the outdoor zoo and see my mom out of her comfort zone (Bal Harbour Shops) and on a bike.

Of course, I did some shopping, too, but shopping with children is not anything like it used to be. Thanks to the friendly staff at Nordstrom in Aventural Mall, I managed to grab a few must-have items I wanted while my boys happily played with their LEGO swords.

I ran through Bal Harbour Shops quicker than ever before, lamenting the days I would shop for hours on end with no one telling me it was time to go.




It was one awesome week. Sure, it was also exhausting, because even though I'm on vacation I'm still a mom who is on vacation with her children, and so all pina coladas were consumed basically standing up while applying sunscreen to little faces and breaking up fights. Still, it was the most fabulous holiday, and now, I'm just dreaming of the days when I'll be warm again...

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