Give The Gift Of A WaySpa Gift Card

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Can you believe we are only days away from December? November has been the busiest month, and before we know it, the holidays will be here—and we'll be rushing around as always trying to buy those last-minute holiday gifts for everyone on our list.

I start my holiday shopping early (in fact, I am mostly finished shopping for my children!) but there are always a few gifts I leave for the last minute. Partly because I'm busy, and partly because I actually do enjoy the last-minute hustle of shopping for gifts in December. Tis' the season, after all.

This year, I'll be giving the gift of WaySpa to many special people on my shopping list, because without a doubt, it'll be the gift that they'll love the most. Seriously, who doesn't love (or deserve) a day at the spa, whether it's for a manicure and pedicure, a fresh blow-dry or a one-hour full-body massage?


As a WaySpa Brand Ambassador I'm very fortunate because I'm given the chance to try out different treatments at the spas that are affiliated with WaySpa every month. (It's truly an amazing job, I must say.)


I love going for massages at Holtz Spa and AmeriSpa, and I look forward to trying out the amazing services at The Spa in the Windsor Arms Hotel and at The Spa at The Hazelton hotel in Yorkville the next time I'm in Toronto.

 
WaySpa is a one-stop online spa marketplace for everyone, whether you're looking to book a facial, body treatment, hair cut or mani-pedi in your city, or even to a city you're travelling to. Why not be be prepared and pre-book your spa appointment before you even arrive at your destination? WaySpa can make that happen—just go online and book the service you want at the location of your choice and you're done!

A day of pampering is so important for your well-being, especially when there is so going on with the kids, work, after-school activities and more. Take the time to treat yourself, and while you're at it, give the gift you know the people on your shopping list will love you for!




Disclosure: As a WaySpa Brand Ambassador, I recieve compensation/gift cards and special perks to try out spas and services. All views and opinions are my own.

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Nordstrom Is Hiring—Plus, Get Your Tickets To the Nordstrom Gala Now!

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You all know how much I love to shop—and if there was a way for me to shop for a living, well, that would be my full-time job. Since I don't yet make my living as a "professional shopper" I have managed to keep shopping an active part of my life by working as a shopping blogger and expert, and as a Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson for brands and stores I love to shop at and do business with. Next best thing, right?

As you also know, Nordstrom (my favourite store EVER) if finally opening in Rideau Centre this coming March. I am beyond excited for this, because Nordstrom is my go-to department store whenever I'm traveling in the United States. (Special shout-out to the amazing staff at Nordstrom in Aventura Mall!)

I think having a job in Nordstrom would actually be a dream come true, because I'd be spending time in my favourite store, doing what I love—helping people find things they need and want—and getting paid for it. Not a bad gig, right? Well, if you're interested in working at Nordstrom Ottawa, you're in luck, because they're hiring!

I attended the pre-gala Nordstrom celebrate last night, and it was great to see many familiar faces and meet some great people from Nordstrom. I am so excited for the Nordstrom Gala that will be taking place on March 4th, a couple of days before Nordstrom opens to the public.

A gala night in Nordstrom... perfection! There will be a dinner, dessert, live entertainment, a fashion show, and shopping, of course. Shopping in an evening gown while sipping champagne... perfect night!





Tickets to Ottawa's Nordstrom Gala are now on sale, and oh my gosh, you guys—they're selling fast. You better get your ticket before it's too late.

The best part? The $100 ticket gives back in a huge way. 100% of ticket sales are going to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and to United Way, split 50/50. A glamorous night out as you help these two amazing organizations—can't think of a more worthwhile way to spend an evening!

See you at the Nordstrom Gala!

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Old El Paso Giveaway! Ole!

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I love cooking, and preparing meals for my family. I am an organized chef in the kitchen, and cookbooks surround me. I'm Canada's Martha Stewart!

Oh, who am I kidding? I actually do not love cooking. I sometimes remember my family needs to eat dinner on my drive to pick up the boys from school—oops! And, cookbooks, for the most part, scare me.


However, despite the fact that I'm no expert in the kitchen, I feed my family well, and I am great at making a handful of meals—meals that my children love, and meals that are healthy. I like to make sure my kids are eating healthy Greek meals a few nights a week, and we eat fish at least once a week, too. We also loving our "Mexican" themed nights where we eat fajitas or quesadillas. To the rescue? Old El Paso, of course.


Old El Paso has been around for as long as I can remember, and they've just launched their new premium Restaurante product line, so even when we're eating Mexican at home, it feels like we're eating at our favourite Mexican restaurant. These new products come in three flavours, so there is something yummy here for everyone: Baja Fish, Steak Carne Asada, and Chicken Tinga.

We all loved the Chicken Tinga best, and it made cooking and dinner time fun, and easy. I don't often blog about cooking but when I do, it's because something went right and I didn't burn the house down... and Old El Paso has done it again, and I was a #MexicanChef in my kitchen. Ole!

I want you to experience how fun and easy it is to cook with Old El Paso, so I'm giving away a Mexican Dinner Essentials package to one of my lucky and fabulous readers, valued at $100! 

This giveaway will include one box of each of the new Restaurante kits, along with a $75 VISA gift card so my winner can purchase all the essential ingredients they need to create and cook their own Mexican meal at home! 

Let me know what your favourite Mexican meal is on Twitter, and make sure to include my Twitter handle, @MrsLoulou, and hashtag  #MexicanChef to be entered to win. Easy, right amigos?

Good Luck! I'll pick a winner randomly on Twitter on November 25th.



Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post, however all views and opinions are my own.
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From Minecraft to Fashion Plates: The Best Gifts For The Kids This Holiday Season

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What's number one on your child's holiday wish-list? For my nine year old, anything Minecraft; for my six year old, anything LEGO. Mix it up with some science sets, crafts, and books, and holiday shopping will be a breeze this year—more time for you to enjoy your holiday beverage as you snuggle up by the fireplace!

Here are some cool gifts kids will love to unwrap this holiday season, making you the BEST PARENT EVER.

Minecraft Creeper Backpack:  My son has been asking for a Minecraft backpack since before school started this year; I haven't been able to find one until now. (Thanks for sharing this, Cool Mom Picks!)


Bonus: Minecraft Wrapping Paper! I think wrapping up my oldest son's gift in this paper will be totally cool, right?


Minecraft plush toys: My boy (of course) has most of these, and I love adding to his collection. These are great for stocking stuffers, too and perfect to give as gifts.


Minecraft hoodie: Jinx.com is my go-to place to purchase all Minecraft items that I sometimes can't find in stores, and this hoodie is perfect for my big boy. We're always happy with our online purchases from Jinx, and they have a huge selection of Minecraft everything, from shirts to posters to stickers—everything your little Minecraft fan could ask for.


Minecraft t-shirt: My son has a poster of the elements on his closet; his love for science is great, even greater than his love for Minecraft. This Minecraft elements shirt is absolutely perfect for my little man!



Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection: What a great addition to your child's library! I love that these book come in a nice set now, too.


LEGO Minecraft The Cave: There are quite a few great Minecraft LEGO sets, which I love, because it's combining two things my boys love into one great gift. This one is new, and just the perfect gift to give.

LEGO City:  My six year old (like most six year olds, I guess!) has an impressive LEGO collection his room—and he keep running out of shelf room. He loves everything LEGO Batman, Ninjago, and Chima, and he's asked for a few pieces from LEGO City for Christmas, like this Arctic Icebreaker.




Snap Circuits: Snap Circuits are fun, and keep the kids busy for a very long time. There are several different kinds of Snap Circuits, and they are easy to build. "Using the hand-crank dynamo, solar panel, and wind turbine, kid will light up an LED, power a clock, charge a rechargeable battery, run a small radio, measure the energy created on an analog meter, and much more!" I also love that parts are compatible with other Snap Circuits sets.

Baby Grand Piano: If your child loves music, why not get this beautiful piano from Tag Along Toys? I love it!


Fashion Plates: Oh my God, you guys! Fashion Plates are back! Forget the kids... this is on MY want-list this holiday season. Hours of fun... do you remember?



What are your children asking for this year?

And what's on your wish list? I'll be writing my wish-list soon... included on that list? A hot, sunny, beach getaway...

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Happenings

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Can you believe it's mid-November already? I can, because it's damn freezing outside! Time to bring out my Canada Goose parka. Sob. Bright side? The holidays are around the corner! I don't feel ready yet, but here we are—with only weeks to go before Christmas. Last night the kids and I got the house ready and put up some holiday decorations, so now things are starting to feel festive inside.

It's been an incredibly busy time for me, and I am so excited that I have partnered with Urban Barn as their Brand Ambassador and Spokesperson as the store expands in Ottawa with a second location in Kanata.

I love Urban Barn—and I am always inspired with all the stuff they sell, from the bedroom and dining room sets to the home accents. I want to re-do my entire house with everything Urban Barn! I had a fun segment on CTV yesterday where I talked about different looks for the holidays, from hosting a New Year's Eve adults-only party, to how to make your dinner table look festive if you're doing a traditional dinner at home.



I also had so much fun hosting the Urban Barn twitter party the other night, in celebration of Urban Barn's Kanata location opening—especially the part where we were trending in Canada. Wow!

I'll be hosting an in-store Holiday Style Session on Sunday, December 7th, from 10:00-11:00 a.m.,  at the Urban Barn Kanata on Hazeldean Road, and you're all invited to attend! I can't wait to share my tips and tricks with you on how to make your home holiday-ready. (More to come on this soon.)

After CTV I headed over to Daytime Ottawa (where I always love co-hosting the show with Derick!) to talk about how I turned my blog into my business. (Here's a hint: determination, passion, love, and a lot of hard work!) 



Other great news to share: I am the new Community Manager and Online Editor for Momstown Ottawa! I'm thrilled to have joined this awesome team, and I truly love Momstown. It's such  great website and resource for moms, and I'm happy to have been hired in this role. I love Ottawa and I love being a mom, so hopefully I'll provide the kind of quality content people have come to know and love when visiting Momstown.ca. 

Lots of good things going on right now, and busy is always a good thing. I hope you're having a great November, too!


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Gifts Made Easy With Shoppers Drug Mart

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It's November, which means we can now officially start talking about and getting ready for... the holiday season! Aren't you excited? There are two times of the year I'm the happiest: summer, and Christmas. I am starting to plan my shopping lists—for myself, and for those I'm buying for this year. I always love shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart because they have a huge selection of gift ideas for my friends, family, neighbours, teachers, and anyone else on my shopping list. This year, shopping is even easier at Shoppers Drug Mart with the new gift finder which is available online.

With so many fragrances, gorgeous gifts, yummy treats and the latest toys and electronics, Shoppers Drug Mart has GIFTS MADE EASY for everyone—and it's one-stop shopping—total bonus!

I think I'm a smart shopper, especially for the holidays—I make my lists early, I know who I'm shopping for, I ask my kids to prepare their "must-have" lists and I even start shopping before Halloween. However... I also wait for the last minute for a lot of my purchases, because I love the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping a few days before Christmas, and because sometimes, I just run out of time. I love that I can pick up last minute holiday gifts for people on my list at Shoppers Drug Mart, including stocking stuffers.

This year, Shoppers Drug Mart has even created an online "destination" so you can filter hundreds of gift ideas by price, categories or even for the type of person you're shopping for, so your holiday shopping can be completely stress-free. Every Shoppers Drug Mart location also has some great in-store sales, promotions, and exclusive holiday gifts sets (ooh la la!) from November 12th to December 25th. (So even if you're a last minute holiday shopper, like myself, you have nothing to worry about.) Plus, most locations are open late!

Mark these dates down in your calendar, too; they are the dates of the Holiday Gift guide launches:

"Give Beauty, beautyBOUTIQUE by Shoppers Drug Mart"—Available now.
"Get Set for the Happiest Holidays!"—November 15th.

And keep an eye out of three additional gift guides/beauty books available in late November and December.

I've created my own "wish-list" from Shoppers Drug Mart... if Santa is listening!

1. Fragrance Sampler and Certificate Collector's Edition For Her: I could spend hours is Shoppers just trying different fragrances, and every year, I add a new "favourite" to my perfume collection. Last year it was Prada Candy and this year... well, I'm just not sure yet! I've always loved the smell of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue, but there are others I love as well. This Fragrance Sampler set is perfect because it comes with a deluxe sample of ten of the best-selling women's fragrances so you can try them out at home and when you've selected your favourite one, use the gift certificate that comes with this kit to buy a full size bottle.


2. Quo by Orly 18 piece Mini Nail Polish Set: I love nail polish—to receive, or to give, any time of the year, but especially for the holidays. I love this set because it comes with so many great colours, and a big selection of pink shades, which are always my favourite. I also love the festive glitter polish, that'll be perfect for celebrating New Year's Eve, no matter what I'm wearing.


3. Eye Studio Mascara Sampler: This kit is perfect for every single friend I know because we're always on the look out for the perfect mascara. I go through favourites, but I love to try out new brands to see what else is out there and if there is something that's even better than the one I'm currently using. This kit comes with seven of the best-selling mascaras by top brands like Smashbox, Benefit, and more. I would love to gift this to my BFF!


Shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart is one thing, but winning the items on your shopping list is even sweeter. From December 1st to the 24th, visit the Shoppers Drug Mart website and play the Unwrap to win game for a chance to win great prizes from beauty, fragrances, skin care sets to toys, electronics and gift cards. (They are giving away 15 great prizes daily, (360 in total) so you have an excellent chance of winning!)

Also, make sure to join the #SDMHolidays contest on twitter, and retweet for a chance to win 1 of 10 $100 Shoppers Drug Mart gift cards! Contest ends November 21st, so you've got to get in on the fun now—so you don't miss out.


There are great gifts at Shoppers Drug Mart for the Modern Man in your life, too—you can find the perfect gift for your husband or father at Shoppers Drug Mart, from fragrance to grooming essentials like the Gillette ProGlide Holiday Pack (perfect as a stocking stuffer!) and even great electronics gear.

Of course, Shoppers Drug Mart also happens to be my go-to store for all the yummy treats for the holidays... like my favourite chocolates, Turtles, Toffifee, and Toblerone—my favourite holiday chocolates! There are so many great sets just ready for giving away to The Entertainer, co-workers, the mail man, the FedEx delivery guy.. and even your hair dresser. I love how there is so much I can get from one store., inclduing Advil, because after all that gift wrapping, that's what you'll be needing.

This holiday season, I'll be shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart. It's #giftsmadeeasy, every day.


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

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H&M Opens Its Doors in Place d'Orleans (Plus, An H&M Giveaway!)

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One of the main reasons I loved travelling to south Florida and to D.C. frequently was for the shopping. Of course, the warmer weather was always a wonderful bonus, and yes, even the weather in D.C. is better than the weather we have here in Ottawa—but really, shopping was always a highlight of my travels.

Ottawa just didn't have enough awesome shopping for me, you see, but recently, so much has changed and all the shopping centres I frequently visit here in Ottawa have been or are under massive renovations. These renovations mean new stores have opened up, like some of my personal favourites: J.Crew, Nordstrom (coming soon!) Express and H&M! 

I'm so excited because H&M is opening its second Ottawa location this November 13th in Place d'Orleans and I can't wait to get shopping. I love Place d'Orleans because it's close to home for me and also, free parking is a huge bonus!



This H&M is going to be massive, you guys—20,000 square feet—and it'll carry a huge range of the quality fashion we've come to know and love at amazing (truly, truly amazing) prices, for men, women, and children, including a maternity and sports line. Something for everyone!

To celebrate the grand opening of this second Ottawa location, H&M will offer the first 300 customers in line on November 13th with an "Access to Fashion Pass" which will reveal a gift card of $10-$300 in value, for use in-store that day.

I'll be doing some shopping before the doors open at the H&M breakfast on opening day, and I can't think of a better way to start my day.

To help spread the excitement of this very awesome day, I'm giving away a $50 gift card to one of my fabulous readers!

Just leave me a comment below telling me why you love H&M.

Contest open to all residents of Ottawa, as gift card must be picked up in-store. Winner will be selected randomly, and notified via email. Please include your contact information in your comment below. 

Thank you!

Disclaimer: I have been compensated for this post and for working with and promoting the new H&M in Place d'Orleans. All opinions and views are my own.
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Dare2Give

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I'm a giving person. I love the holidays because I love to give presents to everyone I love, from friends and family to other special people in my life. But more than that, I love to give where it really counts—I love to volunteer for charities, and I love to give whenever I can, to a few organizations close to my heart, like CHEO and UNICEF, to name two. I love helping organizations that help children, and I also give in other ways, too—I donate to whatever charity event my family or friends are doing something for and I'll give when I'm out at events that benefit worthwhile organizations.

So many Canadians give their time, talent, and money to different charities and by doing so, it makes us better as a whole. Research shows that one of the main reasons people decide to to give is simply because they were asked. It's hard to say no, especially when you're asked. Also, giving feels good, doesn't it?

Dare2Give is the latest in the My Giving Moment Campaign which is inspired by the Governor General of Canada, and the campaign is asking Canadian 'givers' to dare others to donate or volunteer with them. By daring friends and family, Canadians can double their giving impact and will help make Canada a more caring nation. Current 'givers' will have a chance to win big for their favourite charity, including a grand prize of a television commercial.

So I dare you, my friends—I dare three of you—to continue to make Canada even better by giving and by daring others to give, too—dare someone else to give. Imagine how much good we could do if we each challenged, and accepted, to give, donate, or volunteer our time in a worthwhile way?

By daring your friends and family you have a chance to win for your charity of choice, which would be such a sweet thing. This giving contest is going on until December 14th, 2014, so you should start daring others as soon as you can. The more we give, the better we feel, and the more we help others. You could even dare your sister or best friend to buy coffee for the person behind them in Starbucks. Imagine how much it would brighten that person's day? And image that person pays if forward? It's always a win-win situation!

I dared my sister to buy a stranger a coffee.
I dared my best friend to buy holiday cards that give back to charity.
And I dared my boys to be extra kind to one another for one entire month.

Easy challenges that can make a difference! And then I asked each of them to dare three people they know to give to give back in some way.


Visit the Dare2Give website for information about the contest and enter the number of people that you've dared below to be eligible to win!



Disclaimer: Although this post has been generously sponsored by Rideau Hall Foundation, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Rideau Hall Foundation.
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Get Cozy With The New Urban Barn in Kanata (And Twitter Party With Us On November 12th, 9-10 p.m.!) #UrbanBarnKanata

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Hey, Ottawa—I've got some great news for you! Urban Barn—everyone's favourite furniture store—is opening its doors in Kanata on November 15th, on Hazeldean Road in the Grant Crossing mall. (From 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., so you have plenty of time to shop!)

A new Urban Barn in my city makes me very excited, and I've already started planning out my dream rooms—I'm renovating my family room, bedroom, and dining room and I couldn't think of a better place to get all the furniture and home accessories I need. My children are growing up and it's time for me to starting thinking properly about home decor again—the timing is just right, and I can't wait to start shopping.

I have spent so much time online recently, looking at all the gorgeous rooms and furniture from Urban Barn,  trying to narrow down which couch to buy... or which new bedroom set I desperate need. Often, though, I find even more inspiration walking through the store—it helps with the decision making process. Even more reason to be excited for the new Kanata location on Hazeldean Road.

Urban Barn Kanata will be celebrating their grand opening day by giving the first 50 visitors a $20 Urban Barn gift card and 20% off all home accents. Total bonus? Everyone who goes to Urban Barn that day will be entered to win a $1,000 Urban Barn shopping spree. I know, right? Totally amazing!



There are so many beautiful pieces I want to add to my home from Urban Barn, from lamps to end tables,  and I love that they always have the very best contemporary furniture and home decor to suit any style—whether it's modern, or classic, you can find whatever it is you're looking for at Urban Barn.

And now that the holidays are around the corner, there are so many beautiful accessories and items that would be perfect for entertaining in the home—from decorations to new cosy throws for the couch to make things look even more festive, inventing and warm.


To help celebrate the grand opening of the new Urban Barn Kanata, I'll be hosting a Twitter party on November 12th, and I'd love for you to join us! We'll be chatting about home decor, the new store, and getting ready for the festive season. We'll be giving away some amazing prices, too—you are not going to want to miss this Twitter party! Use the hashtag #UrbanBarnKanata to join in on the fun.

Note: This Twitter party is open to ALL Canadians, not just for people who are living in Ottawa/Kanata. The more, the merrier!

I have an exclusive gift for you, too—here's a coupon (see barcode image below!) so you can enjoy 15% off furniture at Urban Barn Kanata. You can print it out or show a screenshot of this coupon to enjoy 15% off! (This 15% off includes items on sales, cannot be combined with other offers, and excludes custom products.)



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