#StayfreeChallengeContest

Oh boy was this a fun one!

It is a rite of passage that nary a woman is unscathed from.  Although the time of onset is varied, the outcome is the same.  Women of the world can either jump in jubilant joy or they can commiserate together all united in the same experience.

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Yes, that is right.  Her period.

Companies spend large amounts of money developing and marketing the next best thing for women.  Wings this, abosorbant that, thick or thin, discreet or bulky–all in efforts to attract and retain women shoppers.

I was recently a lucky #StayfreeChallengeContest kit winner and was provided with an entire kit to essentially create my own commercial demonstrating how well the Stayfree product works.  Thank you to Stephanie Holland, Beauty Writer at www.beautyinfinitum.com  for this opportunity.

The kit came recently in the mail and thank goodness that all pieces were wrapped in plastic envelopes as the blue liquid had leaked into the sealed package.  I wonder what Canada Post would have thought if it had leaked through? #womenproblems

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My daughter is 13 years old and she jumped at the chance to help me out for this challenge.  She was very into it and even commented about what a great idea it is to send out these kits to really try the products out and compare them.  I was the photographer while she conducted the experiment.  She read each instruction carefully and made sure that we followed the rules explicitly as written.  Below are our results for both Stayfree and a competitor’s brand of maxipad.

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We tested the Stayfree pad first and had no moisture on the blotting paper.

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We conducted the exact same experiment with a competitor’s brand of pad and had different results. Moisture appeared right away on the blotting paper.

In the end we found that the Stayfree brand was far more absorbant than the competition’s brand of pad.  The Stayfree pad stayed fairly thin while the other pad became puffy and bulky.  I have never used Stayfree as my preferred brand before, but after this challenge I am ready to go and try their products out!

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Here is our final picture. The true irony of the heavy book my daughter chose to use in this challenge did not hit us until I took this last picture.

I was provided this #StayfreeChallengeContest kit free of charge and the opinions expressed and pictures taken are all my own.

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#rootsavedme L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up

I have reached an age where ‘sparkles‘ in my hair are a common occurrence.  ‘Sparkles’ is the affectionate term my children use for the grey hair that tries to invade my medium brown hair.

I recently received an Influenster Vox Box during the L’Oreal Paris Root Cover-Up campaign.  I received this complimentary product for testing in exchange for my reviews and all ideas expressed are my own.

This product arrived to me at a great time as I was in between colour visits to my local salon.  I was quite excited to see the Vox Box arrive in my mailbox and was eager to give it a try.

This root cover-up spray works like a dry shampoo or hairspray and was quite easy to use. Aim at the roots, push the depresser and spray away.  The coverage was decent and the smell of the product was not terribly offensive.  As I was spraying I made sure to move the can side to side to ensure even coverage.  This spray comes in a variety of colours which you can see in the pictures below.  The sample I was given matched my hair very well for which I was pleased.

In the end I did find that the spray was able to cover up most of the grey hairs that had sprouted in my part at the top of my head.  I will use it again when between colourings to extend visits to the salon and hopefully save some money.  I wouldn’t use this product if you were planning on going swimming or getting wet as it only lasts until the next shampoo.

Thanks to @influensterCA and @influensterVox  for the opportunity to try out this product.  You can search the following hashtags on social media to find other reviews and pictures of this product from testers like myself. #rootsavedme and #beautyquickie

More reviews can be found here on the Walmart Canada website.

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#tryandregagnon Meal Replacement Bars

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My family and I received a sample of the Nutriforme Decadent Fudge meal replacement bars courtesy of @ChickAdvisor to try and boy were we happy to do so!  These bars are produced by the Adrien Gagnon company. The wrapper was easy to read and attractive to the eye.It is compact and travels well too. The bars come in a variety of other flavours such as chocolate chip, caramel crunch, coffee crunch, crunchy peanut, and fruity blast. There also is a line of bars that have extra protein in them.  Their products can be purchased online via the Adrien Gagnon link above or at the end of the post.

I unwrapped the first bar and cut it up into 5ths so that our whole family could try it at the same time. Upon first glance it looked delicious. There are a couple visible layers of chocolate and rice crisps in the bar. The bar also had a lovely chocolate smell to it. We all tried the bar and raved about it. The chocolate was very tasty and not fake tasting like other food supplement bars.

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The rich fudge taste came through and is what most of my family liked best about this meal replacement bar. Even though I often only ate part of a bar in one sitting (my kids gobbled up the rest) I sure felt satisfied with only eating a part of it at a time.

I highly recommend this meal replacement bar as it tastes much better than competitors.

https://www.adriengagnon.com/

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Park Hyatt Toronto

I have been afforded the opportunity to travel to Toronto on many occasions in both my personal and professional life.  I had heard of the Hyatt name before and had even stayed at one of their hotels in Detroit at the Hyatt Place Detroit/Utica.

Last year I was introduced to the Park Hyatt Toronto courtesy of ETFO, the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario, as this hotel is close to their provincial office.  I stayed there twice in 2015 due to provincial workshops that I was attending to upgrade my skills.  Each time I stayed there I was wowed by the staff, the comfort and the ambiance.

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 I was fortunate to win a free night at the Park Hyatt thanks to a very generous donation that the hotel made to our AMETFO auction in support of our 3 local women’s shelters.  The Park Hyatt graciously donated a night at the hotel along with 2 tickets to Medieval Times Dinner and Show. To say that I was thrilled was an understatement as I knew how wonderful this hotel is.

When the time came to book my free night I called upon Gail Aihoshi, assistant to the General Manager, for assistance as she looks after these types of bookings.  Gail made my booking an absolute breeze and looked after every single need I had, especially travelling with my family.  She went above and beyond to ensure that my family and I had an incredible stay at the Park Hyatt.

We booked for one night during our kids’ March Break from March 17-18.  Upon arrival, my six year old exclaimed that, “This is the most nicest place I have ever stayed at!”  I would agree with him.  The Park Hyatt is elegant, sophisticated and possesses a air of grandeur without feeling stuffy or pompous.

Gail had looked after us well and our family was extremely surprised and thankful to find a few treats waiting for us in our room upon arrival.  We had spent the day at the Ontario Science Centre  and were tired when we checked in. The special chocolate dipped licorice and the tasty cookies hit the spot.  We were most grateful to her for her kindness and help celebrating a much needed family mini-vacation after a busy hockey season. The rooms are well appointed and my husband raved about the Le Labo toiletries–he is begging me to find out where to buy them! Everything from the beds, to the chairs to the bathrobes were luxurious and comfortable.

As I had been to the Park Hyatt a couple of times before, I knew what the view was like from The Roof Lounge and wanted to take my husband there.  We settled our kids in for the night and we ascended the elevator 18 floors to The Roof Lounge.  This lounge has incredible ambience.  It is part library, part cigar lounge and part study.  The food is amazing and the cocktails and beer selection even more so.  This lounge is strictly 19+ after 5PM.   My husband and I capped off a busy day in Toronto with a night cap.  The staff here were attentive and helpful in suggesting a libation worthy of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

In preparation for our family of 5 trip to Toronto, I had warned my 11 yr old son that we were staying in Yorkville and that he may have the opportunity to see many of the exotic cars he loves.  We wandered the Yorkville area after receiving great advice from the concierge about a local Korean restaurant we could try.  While exploring the area, my son Scott’s heart nearly dropped from his body as in front of him was one of his favourite cars…

 

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Needless to say Scott spent much of our stay with his nose pressed to the hotel windows snapping pictures and shouting out the names of all of the cars he witnessed drive by.  My apologies to our neighbours for his excitement! We don’t see many of these cars in our small town in Southern Ontario.

Overall, our family had an amazing stay at the Park Hyatt Toronto.  The staff here go above and beyond to make sure each guest is comfortable during their time at the hotel.  Each employee had a smile on their face and were eager to help make our stay better. You could tell they genuinely enjoyed their work. Our family appreciated the little touches and were thankful for the team approach to customer satisfaction.  I cannot wait to go back to stay at the Park Hyatt Toronto and look forward to booking my next stay.

Park Hyatt Toronto

4 Avenue Road

Toronto, ON

M5R 2E8

www.parkhyatttoronto.com

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#TryVinyluxWeekly

Thanks to @ChickAdvisor and @CND_Canada I was given the opportunity to review the new CND Vinyl Weekly Polish. I was given the products at no cost in exchange for a review. I was over the moon excited to try out this polish as I had never even heard of this brand before. I have been comfortable using my usual name brand polish and have not strayed. When I was telling friends about this product -new to me- that I was about to test, there were oohs and ahh and ‘I LOVE that brand’. This started my testing out on a very positive note. I was looking forward to trying the polish.

I love the look of painted toe nails and mine are coloured almost around the calendar. I was sent a bottle of polish and the top coat. At first glance I wondered about the colour. The top coat comes in a dark bottle which threw me off for a minute and the polish was #161 Burnt Romance. Darker than I normally use at this time of the year, but I was happy to try a new colour.

After prepping my nails, I applied the polish. The instructions said to use 2 thin coats but I found that I needed to use 3 thin coats to have the coverage I desired. The polish went on easily without blobbing or running. The top coat was equally as easy to apply and I love the shiny polished look that resulted.

I would happily recommend this polish system to others. My colour is ‘tough as nails’ and lasting a long time. This is important as I don’t have time to keep changing colours due to chipping or colour fading.

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Cupcakes for Easter

Easter weekend has been a blur of get togethers with family and friends with bits of great weather and a ton of laughs. Sun and laughter really are an amazing tonic for good health.

My children and I were driving around Bayfield, ON after a family luncheon looking at the various cottages and houses. We even took a couple sneak peaks at Lake Huron too!

While driving down the quaint Main Street, we happened upon The Pink Flamingo cupcake bakery and gift shop.  An acquaintance of mine, Erin Bolger (aka The Happy Baker),  was the previous owner and I had been wanting I check it out, especially after her fantastic performance on Sugar Showdown: Princess Cupcakes.  The kids and I could hardly choose flavours and in the end chose almost one of everything!


 The favourites ended up being lemon with pink lemonade icing, Boston cream and chocolate. These cupcakes were moist with tastes to tempt your tastebuds. Needless to say, they were a hit!

http://www.thepinkflamingobakery.com
Erin has recently sold her business to Sharon Thompson and the bakery can still be found in Bayfield, ON.

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Conquering the Counter Clutter

Clutter happens.


I recently posted this picture of my kitchen island counter on Facebook stating that this was one of my goals to tackle during March Break. My counter had become a catch-all and dumping zone for everything from grocery flyers, empty containers, school work and toys.

Copy of File_008I did not know what a reaction this picture would have!  Some were amazed that so much stuff could occupy such a small area.  My organized friends couldn’t wait to see the after and cheered me on.  Another group of friends were so thankful that their home felt normal after seeing this picture.  Each commented that they have a spot in their house that looks just like this.

I must admit, I don’t enjoy my counter looking this way, but life has been hectic lately with 3 kids in hockey and teaching full time. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I got that counter cleared and organized.  The blue bin felt the brunt of this clean-up and I want to set a goal to sort things more regularly and NOT let it get this bad again.  We’ll see how that one goes…

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This is what my island counter really looks like in its pristine condition.  March 14, 2016

Want help getting your own home organized?  Home Storage Solutions is one of my favourite go-to websites and I also get monthly emails giving suggestions for conquering clutter one day at a time.  Below are two links so that you too can get organized. Next goal: to put the calendars to use!

http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/organized-home.html

52 Weeks To An Organized Home: Join The Weekly Challenges

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Home Tester Club

I love having the opportunity to test products for various companies online. The Home Tester Club is one that you may or may not be familiar with. You may know the Brand Power logo and commercials that you see on TV better.  In December, Home Tester Club was running a 12 Days of Christmas contest on Instagram.  I entered on the 12th day and was the lucky winner of a Kindle!  Thank you so much Home Tester Club and Brand Power.

You can find out more information and/or join the Home Tester Club at:

http://www.hometesterclub.com/ca/en

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#momondaysLondon

Last night I experienced yet another first in my life.  I attended my first #momondaysLondon event at the Western Fair Carousel Room.  I had no idea what to expect and went in with an open mind.  A friend of mine had posted on Facebook last month that she had a fantastic time at the February Event. By chance another friend had also mentioned a similar event in a different city. We chatted about it and decided to give the London event a whirl.

The doors opened at 5 and by 615 the room was beginning to fill.  It is best to buy tickets ahead of time and even better-buy a table of 8 so that you can all sit together.  Seating is assigned ahead of time–yet another reason to buy a table. There were refreshments and snacks for purchase during the entire evening as well. Each attendee received this programme that outlined each of the 6 speakers, the charity of the night and a warm welcome from Paula Morand, Emcee and Victoria Craig, Producer.

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This month’s programme.

To say the energy in the room was electric would be an understatement. There was an eclectic mix of people with a variety of backgrounds.  The momondays webpage states that you meet the nicest people and I would have to agree.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with those around me and everyone was happy to share their reasons for attending and what they do.  The networking potential was incredible.

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Victoria and I getting ready for the show.

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The speakers took to the stage before the show started for a photo op.

Each speaker was allotted a specific amount of time to share their story.  This is part of what made the night so powerful.  Everyone has a story to tell and these 6 brave speakers made a committment to share theirs.  If you would like to speak at a local momondays event you can find more information HERE. Paula Morand was the wonderful emcee of the evening and kept things rolling.  The evening always follows a similar itinerary. Half of the speakers share their story, an intermission (including a fun game for prizes) and the remaining speakers have their time to share their story.

Last night each story was unique. Each speaker had a slightly different style and message to deliver.  Some made us laugh, some made us gasp and some made us think. A wonderful mix of life stories that included some sort of takeaway message. I can’t wait to attend another #momondaysLondon!

For more information about #momondays you can visit their webpage at

www.momondays.com

 

 

 

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Garnier Skin Active & Micellar Water

I was one of 500 lucky Canadian women to be chosen by @ChickAdvisor to test both of these products during their recent Garnier Canada campaign.

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It was like Christmas again opening up my package!

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Moisturizer (from ChickAdvisor)
If you’re concerned with the evenness of your skin tone, this non greasy formula is designed to smooth dull, rough skin so it looks polished, even-toned and more radiant. It contains an antioxidant complex of vitamins C and E as well as gentle exfoliating Lip-Hydroxyl Acid (LHA).

Garnier Micellar Water (from ChickAdvisor)
This all-in-one cleansing water is engineered to remove make-up, cleanse, and refresh the skin without rubbing or rinsing.

My Thoughts (as shared on my Chick Advisor reviews):

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Moisturizer: I have spent the past couple of weeks trying out Garnier’s brightening and smoothing moisturizer courtesy of ChickAdvisor. First off, I like the size of the container and the pump works well. The pump can be twisted to the side to close for traveling.

I must admit, the first time I used the product I pumped out too much moisturizer. This product has excellent coverage and only a small amount is needed. I really love the scent as well. It makes me feel happy to smell it. The smell is not overpowering but noticeable at first. My skin feels healthy and young after applying the product. My skin has a visible healthy sheen and I know that it is protected from the elements outside with the SPF. I tried applying foundation over top and had no issues. The foundation had excellent coverage due to my skin’s moisture level. I highly recommend this product to others.

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Garnier Micellar Water: I will admit, I was apprehensive about this product and the claims made for its ability to do a tough job. Removing make-up and cleansing/toning a face is hard work! This was only my second experience with a product such as Garnier’s Micellar Water product. Ironically it was the week before receiving the test kit that a cosmetologist at a local drug store had used a similar product on my face. I was skeptical then, but she sang the praises of this type of product.

I have been using Garnier’s Micellar Water very regularly and have tried it with both makeup on and a naked face. I was amazed at what was on my makeup pad at the end of the day when I cleaned my so called naked face. It removed the day to day dirt build up easily. I also used it to clean my face after a full makeup application including foundation, eyeliner and mascara. The water did a decent job but did leave a trace of mascara and eyeliner.

I had been involved in a community cabaret show and had stage make up on and it took 95% of that off too. I even tried using the product to take off a temporary tattoo on my 6 yr old. It actually worked not too badly.

Overall, the Micellar water is non-greasy and does not leave an oily residue on you face like some other products do. It works well for day to day facial make up removal and to freshen up your face after a long day. It partners well with the Garnier SkinActive moisturizer. I will continue to use this product after my test sample is completed.

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