How To Wrap The Perfect Holiday Present (With Video!)

Leave a Comment
It's time to get ready for the holidays! I love celebrating all things festive—decorating the house, baking cookies with my boys, (even though I'm terrible at it) attending and hosting parties, shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on my list, and wrapping the presents.


Yes, I absolutely love wrapping presents. I spent many hours working as a gift wrapper in the mall when I was in university, and I've loved gift wrapping ever since. You can definitely get creative with wrapping. I love using different textures and types of wrapping paper, and I always use ribbon to make a pretty bow, finishing off with something special, like a personalized ornament or homemade gift tag.



Here's my gift wrapping segment I did on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, showing you how you can become an expert gift wrapper, too. (This video is not new, but all the tips and tricks I share in the segment are as good as new!)



It's not hard, I promise.






Here are some other gift wrapping tips:



1. Get creative with your wrapping. If you know someone who loves to travel, wrap their gift in a map of the world, or their favourite city with a big red ribbon. You can top the gift off with a small Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty ornament, and voila—you've got a creative and thoughtful gift for your travel-loving friend! I usually buy all my gift wrap, boxes, ribbons and bows from HomeSense or Michael's.



2. Stock up. No, I'm not taking about stocking up on wine and bubbly, although that's a great idea this time of year. I'm talking about stocking up on gift wrapping supplies! Before you start wrapping, make sure you've got everything you need—scissors, scotch tape, and an assortment of wrapping paper, ribbon, and name tags.



3. Make one of a kind tags. You can make your own gift tags but using old holiday cards. I also love using small ornaments as personalized gift tags, too—the possibilities are endless!



4. Make the bows. Bows are easier to make than you think. Simply tie the ribbon as you would a shoelace, and use fresh greens or other ornaments to "dress up" the gift. It doesn't have to be complicated.






To get in the mood, once you've got your table and gifts ready to be wrapped, put on some holiday music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and remember—it's the thought that counts, so have some fun, and get wrapping! 

SHARE:
0 comments

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes: A NYC Holiday Tradition

Leave a Comment
I've been back from New York City only a few days, but I miss it so much. It was a wonderful trip, as all trips to NYC are, and we had an incredible stay at the Langham Place, right on 5th Avenue.

A highlight of our weekend in New York City was being invited to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes. This season marks the 83rd (!!!) year of the production, and it's  one of America's most beloved and anticipated holiday shows—and a family tradition.

The Christmas Spectacular first hit the stage on December 21, 1933 at Radio City Music Hall, and since then, over 75 million people have enjoyed the show.

And what a show it was...



The 2015 edition featured the dazzling, incredible Rockettes and their popular dance numbers, including everyone's favourite, The Parade of The Wooden Soldiers.

In 2012, while I was in NYC for the annual BlogHer conference, I was invited to dance with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall with some of my other blogger friends. I've had incredible opportunities and experiences over the years of my blogging career, but dancing in the studio at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes was the best. That day, we learned the steps to the Wooden Soldiers dance, and it was hard. Very hard. And we were only taught a small portion of this incredible routine.





The entire show was incredible, and my boys loved it. A lot. I'd post some videos I took of the show,  but I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else looking forward to seeing the show for the first time.

It's something you have to see for yourself. You'll see why everyone loves it, and why it's the best Christmas tradition of all. It got us in the holiday mood, instantly. It was truly spectacular.





The holiday season in New York City is everything you can imagine, with the entire city sparkling and alive with the lights and sounds of Christmas, and watching the legendary Rockettes do their thing on stage at Radio City Music Hall was the perfect way to end our NYC adventure.

For ticket information to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starting the Rockettes, click here. 

Thank you for the experience, Rockettes! We loved it!


SHARE:
0 comments

P&G Holiday Beauty Bundle Giveaway

15 comments
Despite the cold weather and falling snow, I love this time of year because the holiday season is a great time to catch up with friends and family, celebrating the season creating new memories.

I look forward to the festive parties, and whether I'm hosting friends or going out, my favourite part is getting ready for the night. (Any excuse to shop for new lipstick, a new dress, and new shoes is a good thing, right?)

This holiday season, I'd love to help you sparkle and shine so you can look your best, too. I'm got a great giveaway with P&G that I'd love you to win—just in time for the holiday season!



I'm giving away some great products from COVERGIRL, Oral B, Crest, and Pantene.

Here's what you'll receive:

  • 2 Oral B PH Crossaction Manual TB Soft Toothbrushes
  • 1 Crest 3D White Brilliance Boost Polishing Treatment
  • 1 Pantene Daily Moist Renewal Shampoo
  • 1 Pantene Damage Detox Shampoo
  • 1 Pantene Damage Detox Conditioner
  • 1 Pantene Pro V Weekly rehab creme
  • 1 COVERGIRL Outlast moisture mauve lipstick
  • 1 COVERGIRL Outlast long-wear moisture red lipstick
With all these fabulous products, you're guaranteed to feel and look your best as you get through your very busy calendar of festive events. Everyone needs a great red lipstick, and you'll love the COVERGIRL Outlast long-wear moisture red lipstick—it's perfect for stealing that special kiss under the mistletoe! 

To win, just leave me a comment below telling me something you're excited about this holiday season. I'll randomly pick a winner on December 1st. 



Disclaimer: I am a P&G mom. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

SHARE:
15 comments

Langham Place State Of Mind

Leave a Comment
New York City—a city I can't get enough of, no matter how many times I visit. I always fall in love with all the city has to offer—from Broadway shows to fine dining, luxury hotels, and, of course, the shopping. It's more than all that, though; this city is alive in a way no other city is. It truly is the city that never sleeps.

This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to stay at and review the beautiful and luxurious Langham Place hotel, right in the heart of Manhattan. Thank you, Langham Place, for the special invite!

We stayed in a beautiful Family One Bedroom Suite. This upscale hotel is in the perfect location on 5th Avenue, steps away from Empire State Building, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Central Park.



Langham Place in NYC offers something for everyone, from families to couples, and no matter who you're travelling with, Langham Place delivers. And the views? They simply can't be beat. Here's something unique to Langham Place, too: the hotel has flexible check-in and check-out times. Our room was ready for us early in the morning, and late check-out was no problem at all.



Gorgeous views from the bedroom of our suite.




























My family and I (including my mom who helped out with the boys for one night) stayed in the Family One Bedroom Suite on the 25th floor, which was perfect and spacious. We had a private bedroom with a king sized bed, and floor to ceiling windows with great city views. Our room had a separate living room area, with a queen-sized sleeper sofa, private laundry facilities (I even did a load of laundry during our trip!) and a modern, fully-equipped kitchen (with a Nespresso machine) and Miele appliances.

New York City is meant to be explored on foot, so needless to say, we walked for hours every day, enjoying Central Park, the New York Public Library, Times Square, and so much more. My boys loved their first visit to New York City, and I loved seeing the city through their eyes. Their excitement made this trip even more special for me.



It was nice having a suite to come back to every afternoon for a quick rest. It was our home away from home. We had plenty of room to relax, use the kitchen for a healthy snack break, and make good use of the large bathtub.

My seven year old loved the large bathroom so much he took six baths during the three days we were there! The bathroom in our suite has a double vanity, separate rainfall shower, and a deep soaking tub—pure heaven. The bathroom also has a built-in television in the mirror, and a divider that opens up so you can look out the bedroom windows.











I was impressed with the great service at Langham Place. Concierge was helpful in selecting the perfect restaurant for what we were looking for: great food in a busy, family-friendly restaurant near Times Square. (We loved Bond 45!) The food was amazing, and it was perfect for people watching, even though we didn't spot Sarah Jessica Parker, a regular.

Here's something exciting: Langham Place has a house car, a Quattroporte Maserati, that is available to take you around the city if where you're going is not within walking distance. My oldest son loved the ride with his dad to One World Trade Center in the hotel vehicle.

Breakfast at Langham Place was delicious—we used the Private Dining option and had breakfast brought up to our room every morning, as we discussed all the things we were going to do each day. It was nice to hang out in our room, enjoy the delicious food, and plan our day.




I appreciated the attentive, around-the-clock service at Langham Place and my boys loved Langham Place, too. They've been fortunate to travel to many fine hotels, and this hotel, in their new favourite city, made quite the impression on them.  They enjoyed the afternoon hot chocolate with marshmallows, Swedish fish, and pretzels waiting for them in the lobby after a busy day of walking the streets of NYC. (And the grown-ups appreciated the complimentary coffee, tea and biscotti in the lobby every morning, too!)

Langham Place is also home to the Michelin-starred restaurant Ai Fiori. If you love French and Italian cuisine, it's a perfect restaurant choice for dinner.

If you're planing on making your next visit to New York City a family trip, Langham Place has two great offers for families: Cultured Kids and Family Fitness.

Cultured Kids

Cultured Kids is a menu of add-ons that can be combined with the Family Getaway Package on weekends, which includes accommodations, complimentary Continental breakfast, and an additional $50 credit for use any time at Measure Lounge, a complimentary roll-away bed, and complimentary valet parking for one car.

This family getaway package starts at $795, and the menu add-ons are:

  • A specially arranged tour of the Chelsea gallery district with Langham Place partner, Little Collectors, a New York based company whose mission is to expose children as young as three to contemporary art. This option includes a gift box from Little Collector, with a framed print for the child's room and a fun creatively-fueled toys for children.
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen of the Michelin-starred restaurant at Langham Place, Ai Fiori, hosted by the Executive Chef and his team of culinary artists. This includes early-bird diner reservations between 5-7 p.m.
  • Architectural wonders tour, which includes a map of significant buildings that can be viewed from any of the Langham Place's Empire View rooms and suites, and expedited passes to skip the line at the Empire State Building ($50 per person, $200 for a family of four.) 
Family Fitness

Langham Place also offers a family fitness program where guests have the opportunity to incorporate outdoor and indoor fitness activities with family fitness expert Steve Ettinger.

Steve Ettinger has created itineraries for guests, based around a customized walking map of Midtown Manhattan and incorporating local landmarks, like Bryant Park and Central Park, with stops along with way to optimize sightseeing as well as outdoor fitness for the family.

Guests who book the Family Fitness package also receive:

  •  A specially curated gift bag created by Ettinger, which includes a branded nylon backpack, water bottle, and a copy of "Wallie Exercises" a children's book written by Steve Ettinger. 
  • The package includes accommodations in either a Family Place room, or the Family One-Bedroom Suite, 
  • Family Fitness guests receive a specially curated menu of healthy treats at every turn-down, and guests can book individual training sessions with Steve Ettinger for $175 per hour. 
Langham Place in NewYork City was the perfect hotel for our weekend getaway. From the location to the service and spacious rooms with incredible views, we loved every second of our stay, and we can't wait to visit again. 

For more details on the Langham Place, be sure to catch me on CTV Morning Live on December 9th. You can also book your stay on their website.

Thank you, Langham Place—we had a wonderful, memorable time!
SHARE:
0 comments

How You Can Stop Dietainment

Leave a Comment
I recently sat down and had a difficult discussion with my children. I talked to my boys about how certain messages they are being exposed to—when they are online, reading magazines, or watching television—are unhealthy. The messages I'm talking about are the ones that say young people have to look a certain way to be accepted; how dieting is good; and how young people can lose weight, quickly, to attain the "perfect" body.

These unhealthy, negative body messages affect both boys and girls, and these messages are everywhere—targeted to children under the age of 16.

I'm so glad Multi-Grain Cheerios launched a campaign to raise awareness about unhealthy body image messages—which are disguised as "harmless entertainment"—because it's time we do something to stop these harmful messages. The ads we see in magazines, online, and on television are making young people lose confidence in themselves and in their healthy bodies.

Dietainment is what I'm talking about; and the more we talk about it, the sooner we'll be able to #StopDietainment, and change the conversation from negative to positive.



So far, over 16, 714 people have signed the online petition to stop Dietainment. I would love to see those numbers continue to grow, so the message is heard loud and clear. We are much better off living in a society that puts the focus on things other than trying to attain the "perfect" body. Let's change the message, and help our children grow up feeling happy, healthy, and confident.

Let's be the change we're talking about. Let's create a world without dieting, for the next generation. We can all do our part to make this a reality, by taking a stand for what we believe in, by doing the right thing.


Disclosure: I am part of the #StopDietainment campaign with Multi-Grain Cheerios, and I have received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own. 

SHARE:
0 comments

November Night Out With COVERGIRL

Leave a Comment
It's been unseasonably warm for November. I haven't started complaining about the weather like I usually do this time of year, but don't worry—cold, snowy days are coming, along with all my posts about how much I dislike the weather.

Even though there is no snow on the ground, I miss summer. I miss the carefree days and wearing nothing but flip flops and a little dress. I miss staying out late at night, on a patio, with family and friends, and I miss evenings at the park with my boys.

Now that November is here, it's complete darkness by 4:30 p.m. and I'm finding it difficult to stay upbeat, so last week, I got ready to go out with my girlfriend for a night out. Sometimes, all you need is an excuse to get dressed up, put on your favourite lipstick, listen to some music, and laugh the night away with friends.

I'm telling you—make-up and a night out with good friends is an excellent way to not let the colder weather and shorter days bring you down.

My go-to lipstick right now is by COVERGIRL. I love wearing Colorlicious lipstick in Enchantress Blush and Bombshell Pink. Both these shades of pink are my favourite. I love wearing Enchantress Pink during the day and Bombshell Pink at night. And paired with a smoky eye? Perfection!







Getting ready to go out is half the fun, whether you're going out with your hubby or friends. Turn up the music as you're getting ready, (Katy Perry!) pick out your favourite little black dress, and wear your favourite COVERGIRL lipstick to complete your look. (Skinny jeans, sexy boots, and a cute top will work, too.) I love that COVERGIRL'S Colorlicious lipstick has a colour to match every outfit and mood, with four different colour families to choose from: nudes, reds, pinks, and plums.

No matter what you're doing this November, make sure to take some time out for you before holiday craziness begins. All you need is the right shade of lipstick and you'll be ready to dance and laugh the night away.

P.S. Stay tuned for a great P&G beauty giveaway coming your way, just in time for the festive season! 



Disclosure: I am a P&G mom. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own. 
SHARE:
0 comments

Make It A Good Night With GoodNites

Leave a Comment
Parenthood. We're in it together. When I was a new mom, I was thankful for my support group: my family, my friends, and my online community. It was comforting knowing that no matter the time of day or night, there was always someone there who would listen to me.

It's important that we're not only equipped with a great support system, but also, with the tools and resources we need to help us get through whatever issue we're dealing with on the journey of parenthood.

With most things in life, this is something you should keep in mind: This, too, shall pass.

Here's an issue that my family experienced a few years ago, and when I reached out to friends, I was surprised to hear that they, too, had experienced this with their children: bedwetting. Yup. It's a common, yet unpleasant, part of life.

The truth is, you're not alone if you're going through a bedwetting phase with your child once they are over four years old—it's actually way more common than you think. (It's something that happens to one out of six children.) I get it, though—it's not easy to deal with—especially in the middle of the night. Bedwetting is a normal part of childhood, though, and quite common. It's also a phase your child will outgrow, so they should never be made to feel bad about this.


I perfected changing sheets on a queen sized bed with my four year old still in bed, asleep. I got so good at taking off the sheets, rolling my child to the unmade part of the bed, making half the bed, rolling him back, and then finishing the job. Of course I didn't love doing this in the middle of the night, but I was certainly not upset that my child was wetting the bed, because I was sure it was just a phase that he'd outgrow—and he did. What was important to me was making sure my child knew I wasn't upset with him, and getting him back to sleep as quickly as possible if he did wake.

Staying dry throughout the night can be a challenge for some children. Nocturnal enuresis (the fancy medical term for bedwetting) is not something your child can be trained out of.


If your child is bedwetting, here are some things you can do to help the situation: 
  • Make sure children are going to the bathroom before they go to bed. This became part our night-time routine, along with showering and brushing teeth.
  • Limit fluid intake before bedtime. We limited our child's fluid intake around bedtime. 
  • Use GoodNites so your children can sleep comfortably throughout the night. This, in turn, will allow you to have a good night of sleep, too!




GoodNites came to the rescue for my family when my child was, on occasion, still wetting the bed. We relied on GoodNites for a good night of sleep. These disposable underwear were stretchy and provided just the right amount of protection my child needed—they were the right fit and absorbency that guaranteed our child would not be waking up in the middle of the night to wet sheets. They were comfortable, and gave us the peace of mind we needed.

You'll get through this. After all, it is just a phase, and this, too, shall pass. But in the meantime, isn't it great to have a product you can use to help you get through this phase with ease and comfort? 





Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Goodnites®. Thoughts and opinions are my own. 
SHARE:
0 comments

The Ontario College of Teachers Helps Put Parents' Minds At Ease

Leave a Comment
Although I have school-aged children, I remember my days of being a student vividly. I remember the friends I had, what subjects I loved best, and the special teachers who helped me become the person I am today. It seems like yesterday I was a student in school, and now, my children are students themselves—in grade two and grade five.

The years go by quicker than I ever imagined possible, and from the moment my oldest went to kindergarten I wanted my kids' experience in school to be a positive one, despite the occasional first-day-of-school-tears.


As a mom, it's important for me to know that at the end of a long school day, it was a good one for my boys.




The first day my oldest son started school was rough for me and for him. He cried, and didn't want to leave me. And I cried because I felt the same way! It was because of his loving, patient, and caring teacher that I was able to let go—and it was because of her that he thrived from the first day of school. I'm still thankful for her because she'll always be the one teacher that stands out in my mind as the reason my son now loves school as much as he does.



Thankfully, we've continued to have great teachers for our children so far. These teachers have helped my boys love school, while at the same time challenging them and comforting them when they need extra attention.

Children learn and grown and have to figure out so much on their own when they're in school for six hours a day. Knowing they have a teacher who is properly skilled to guide them in the right direction—and a teacher who can also be firm with them when required—is important to me. That peace of mind is everything. Knowing they are in good hands allows me to go on about my day without having to worry about how they're doing in school. (Although, of course, as parents, we still worry a little, and have our share of work to do helping our kids with homework, and guiding them when they have issues they need to talk about.)
That peace
of
mind
is
everything. Knowing they are
in
good
hands allows
me
to
go
about
my
day without having
to
worry
ab
out
how
they're doing
in
school. (Although,
of
course,
as
parents,
we
still worry a little, and have
our
share
of
work
to
do
helping
our
kids
with homework, and guiding them when they have issues
they need
to
talk about.)

That peace
of
mind
is
everything. Knowing they are
in
good
hands allows
me
to
go
about
my
day without having
to
worry
ab
out
how
they're doing
in
school. (Although,
of
course,
as
parents,
we
still worry a little, and have
our
share
of
work
to
do
helping
our
kids
with homework, and guiding them when they have issues
they need
to
talk about.)
What I like is that the Ontario College of Teachers  is there to regulate teaching in Ontario by licensing teachers, setting high professional and ethical standards, and approving teacher education programs. The College also set ethical standards and issue teaching certificates (which can be suspended or revoked), and they also investigate and hear complaints about members. Essentially, the College is accountable to the public for how it carries out its responsibilities.

You can learn more about your child's teacher and the College at oct.ca. You can even learn more about the teachers in your child's school on the public register, "Find a Teacher," which is on the College's home page, and for more information, you can also sign up for The Standard, the College's public newsletter.

The Ontario College of Teachers is helpful for parents and teachers alike—by making sure that teachers receive the right tools to help children achieve great things, and by communicating to parents about what's happening within the field of public education. The College licences, governs, and regulates the Ontario teaching profession and all teachers working in publicly funded schools must be certified members in order to teach in our province. These are things I like knowing. My children are in good hands when they're in school.



Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post from The Ontario College of Teachers. All views and opinions are my own. 
That peace
of
mind
is
everything. Knowing they are
in
good
hands allows
me
to
go
about
my
day without having
to
worry
ab
out
how
they're doing
in
school. (Although,
of
course,
as
parents,
we
still worry a little, and have
our
share
of
work
to
do
helping
our
kids
with homework, and guiding them when they have issues
they need
to
talk about.)
SHARE:
0 comments

Holiday Traditions

5 comments
Christmas Eve has always been my favourite night of the year, ever since I was a child. It's a night that's filled with traditions and it always make me feel nostalgic.


We gather at my parent's house, sit in front of the fireplace by the Christmas tree, and talk the night away. Of course, in between all the talking there is also plenty of eating, (Greek style, of course) drinking, (I love red wine) and laughing, as we reminisce about holidays past.

While the adults talk, the children play and watch their favourite holiday movies—usually Home Alone and Elf, on repeat— as they anxiously wait to open their presents.

Our memories are happy ones that make us laugh, as we remember stories we'll never forget—like that one Christmas Eve we had unexpected visitors at my parent's house. No, not Santa, but the nice folks from the fire department!



A few years ago, my son was taking a nap at my parent's house, and when he woke up, his leg was stuck in the crib. I tried getting his leg free, but nothing was working. He started crying, and I started to panic. We called 9-1-1 and while talking on the phone, we managed to free his leg. Operators sent over emergency workers anyway. It wasn't the man in the red suit that caught my oldest son's attention, but the shiny red fire truck parked outside my mom's house on Christmas Eve.

My grandmother rushed to the front door with a plate of delicious Greek pastries for the kind fire fighters, and after we shared a few laughs, they were on their way, and we continued to enjoy the festivities.

I have vivid memories of holiday traditions, especially those involving my grandmother and mother preparing our Christmas Eve feast—a feast consisting of lamb, potatoes, Greek chicken rice soup, cheese pies, salads, fresh baked break, vegetable dishes, and of course, plenty of wine. (Dessert? Let's not even go there.)

Not only are my parents and grandparents busy in the kitchen, they are busy everywhere—making sure the house is spotless and clean before we gather for dinner and a long night of celebrating. In case you didn't know, cleaning is the most important thing to Greek people, right after eating. I have certainly learned about keeping a tidy home from my family.

Certain scents evoke memories in me, like the smell of PineSol (what we use on everything from our hardwood floors to our granite countertops) and my grandmother's Greek chicken rice soup—both scents instantly take me back to my childhood.

Since become a mom, some of our traditions have changed; we no longer attend midnight mass but we still enjoy a wonderful Christmas Eve with everyone, which includes opening presents. (Scene: Gifts being tossed around the room, giggling children, and voices yelling out "Thank you, I love it!" to "Loukia got more presents that I did!" to "Where is the coat I bought your father? Shoot, I forgot to wrap it!") There is always mass confusion, but lots of laughter.

Other holiday traditions I love? 

Decorating the tree with my family. My children each have their own "side" and I let them put up ornaments any way they want to. While we're decorating, we're also sipping hot chocolate with Christmas music playing in the background.



Sending out (and receiving!) holiday cards. It's still such an important part of the season for me.



Baking cookies—no matter how terrible a baker I am, this is a tradition I enjoy with my kids.











I hope my holiday traditions get passed down to my children, too. After all, the holidays are all about  good times spent with those you love the most.

















Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PineSol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, PineSol is a longstanding tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, PineSol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents: mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon, and a sparkling wave. You can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood. 
SHARE:
5 comments
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home
BLOG TEMPLATE CREATED BY pipdig