Enter to Win a Valentine’s Day Be Mine Pamper Kit!

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Who doesn’t love to get pampered? Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to give yourself a little TLC, and I am giving away the perfect package to spoil yourself on the blog!

For a cozy night in, Calgon has the perfect set to create a relaxing bath and provides moisturizer and body mist for after. Add to your at-home spa experience with Dr. Teal’s lavender Epsom salts and enjoy a peaceful night at your own private paradise.

For a romantic night out, keep your lips soft and kissable with Lypsyl in Original, Cherry or Tropical Oasis. And for the finishing touches, add some drama with Wet n Wild’s infinite amount of pink and red lipsticks, lip glosses and nail polishes. For an added dimension to your look, try Body Fantasies body mists for a great scent to match your great look.

Now that you know what’s included, enter to win this Valentine’s Day Be Mine Pamper Kit below!

The contest starts on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 11:00pm and ends on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 at 11:00pm. The contest is open to Canadian residents only, with one entry per person.

To enter, comment “I want to win the Be Mine Pamper Kit!” On this post. One winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 on the blog.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids Tour + Avocado Mousse and Fresh Smoothie Recipe!

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On Tuesday I went on a tour of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids on Bloor Street West in Toronto to see what new and exciting things they have in store right now. Everyone on the tour had a great time, and I wanted to share with you some great recipes we tried, and what we found in-store!

First up we started at Williams-Sonoma where our Culinary Specialist Jennifer showed us how to whip up some amazing treats!
 

 
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We tried out a very healthy smoothie called a Ginger Berry Pom. I have experimented with smoothies in the past (some great, some not-so-great!), but I had never added pomegranate or ginger to a smoothie. The result was a nice fresh kick at the end of a sip. Here is the recipe:

 

 

Ginger Berry Pom

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Juice Solution – Erin Quon & Briana Stockton
Ingredients:
2 tangerines, peeled and seeded
2 red apples, cored
2 cups pomegranate seeds
2 cups raspberries (fresh when in season, frozen when not)
1 inch piece organic young ginger 1 tbsp. honey

Method:
Blend ingredients in blender and serve immediately.
 
 

Jennifer also showed us how to make a delicious chocolate mousse using avocado. I really love avocado, but with chocolate? I was skeptical. The mousse turned out amazing, and it’s a really simple recipe.

 

 

The Chocolate Rocket

Adapted from The 52 New Foods Challenge – Jennifer Tyler Lee
Ingredients:
2 medium Hass avocados
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup skim milk 1 tsp. almond extract Maple syrup to taste (minimum 1 tbsp.)
Pinch of salt
Whipped cream and macerated strawberries

Method:
Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Using a spoon, remove the flesh and place in food processor or blender fitted with the metal blade.
Add the cocoa powder, sugar, milk, extract, maple syrup and salt and process for 2 minutes, or until smooth and no chunks of avocado remain.
Chill for 10 minutes before serving with whipped cream and macerated strawberries.

 

 

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I had never heard of macerated strawberries before, but they were delicious. Basically it’s a great way to get as much flavour and taste out of your strawberries as possible.

 

 

Macerated Strawberries

Ingredients:
2 pints fresh strawberries, trimmed
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
Sugar to taste (minimum 1 tsp.)

Method:
Slice trimmed strawberries into a large bowl and add lemon juice, zest and sugar to taste.
Toss and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes for more juice.

 

 

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These strawberries we so tasty, and I could see myself eating a bowl with or without the mousse.

Jennifer even taught us how to make our own whipped cream which I had never made before!

 

 

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
½ pint 35% whipping cream
½ tsp. Tahitian vanilla extract
½ tsp. sugar

Method:
Whip cream in stand mixer on high with whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
Reduce speed and add vanilla and sugar just until combined. Serve immediately.

 

 

Overall these were very easy recipes to try, and the presentation of all of them were lovely as well. They are a must-try for sure!

We also sampled a cake made using Williams-Sonoma Red Velvet Bundt Cake Mix, and cookies made using Williams-Sonoma Red Velvet Cookie Mix. I love the cake and cookie mixes from Williams-Sonoma. They are so easy to put together, and they taste like you baked something from scratch. I use their mixes when I want to impress friends with my amazing baking skills (after hiding the boxed-evidence in my garbage).
 

 

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Our next stop was to Pottery Barn next door where we learned about some of this season’s trends.

One of the more popular purchases at this time of the year at Pottery Barn are their decorative baskets. They are a functional way of decorating since they double as storage. Pottery Barn has many different styles and textures to choose from, and for some of us with small spaces it’s a great way store something in a pretty way.

 

 

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Next up we learned the anatomy of a bed. Have you ever bought a bedding set from a store, and then once you got it home it looked nothing like the display you saw when you purchased it? It’s probably because you didn’t buy enough pieces. It’s all about layering. To create this perfect look you would start with a fitted and flat sheet, then a quilt. Next up two plain euro-shams in solid colors. Then you would need your patterned shams to start the layering process.

This bed has two duvets – one would likely be your actual plain duvet, with a patterned duvet on top to match your patterned shams.

Finally a color on top, in this case a blue pillow, matched with the same color on the bottom of the bed which ended up being a throw pillow. Voila – the perfect Pottery Barn Bed!

 

 

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At Pottery Barn Kids it was all about layering again. Did you know that there are in-store designers to help you with your purchases? They are the people who can help you make sure the bedding you purchase in-store will look amazing when you get it home. It’s hard to know what you need to buy and not buy, especially when you are on a budget. Don’t be afraid to ask for expert help, because it’s available!

We took a look at the Monogram department in-store which was neat to see since I have taken advantage of this option with Pottery Barn Kids before. This is the only store in Ontario with a monogram machine, and if you bring your item into this store it can be ready in as little as 20 minutes! They only monogram Pottery Barn Kids products that they have in-store or online (just in case an error is made so they can replace it).

 

 

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This season there are lots of new superhero-themed items at Pottery Barn Kids, including new bedding styles and décor.

 

 
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The kid’s Valentine’s Day items were absolutely adorable! Their table settings for Valentine’s Day and for Easter were all about layering – just like making the perfect bed.

 

 

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Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn are right next door to each other on Bloor Street, with Pottery Barn Kids just at the top of the stairs of Pottery Barn. There is no way you can just visit one of these three stores. I’m so happy that they are open for business on the Bloor Street strip. It’s like a trifecta of awesomeness that draws you in. I had a great time shopping around!

For more information on Williams-Sonoma vist www.williams-sonoma.ca
For more information on Pottery Barn visit www.potterybarn.ca
For more information on Pottery Barn Kids visit www.potterybarnkids.ca

 

 

Real Dad’s Don’t Babysit, Do They?

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As a Mom there are definitely more than a few more things that seem to land under my job description compared to my son’s Father. That being said, our job to raise our son is equal. Sure I am the one who shops for my sons clothing, I am usually the one who makes all of the meals (conveniently because my husband burns everything – smart way to take yourself out of the equation), and I take our son on most of his playdates since they tend to be with the children of my girlfriends. When it comes to everything else like teaching him how to ice skate, dropping him off or picking him up from school, or our new venture of potty training, my husband and I split these tasks down the middle.

So why is it that when I have a dentist appointment after work, I ask my husband if he can babysit? It just sort of pops out of my mouth without me thinking. Babysitting to me implies that someone like a grandparent or relative is filling in or watching your child when you can’t, but that really isn’t what I am asking my husband to do. I am really just letting him know I won’t be home and he’s on his own. He isn’t taking over my role – he’s just doing his own alone.

My husband hates it when I slip up and call it babysitting. It offends him, and says me not being home does not mean he is babysitting – he is doing his job.

He’s totally right. From day one he has been very involved with everything when it came to our son. Every feeding I did for the first three weeks after my son was born my husband would come with me just to keep me company. When he went back to work after those three weeks he would still sporadically pop in for a 3am feeding to check on us. He couldn’t exactly help me out with the feeding, but he wanted to be there to help me with anything I needed. His favourite line is always “what can I do to help?” when I am turning around in circles in the kitchen trying to get my life together.

So why is it when I want to take my son to the zoo on the weekend I ask him if he want’s to come instead of planning it with him? This also drives him crazy. It’s like I have this idea burned into my brain that my job is to do everything, and if he can help out or come along it’s a bonus.

What I think I have figured out is that from the time I became pregnant things already weren’t split between us 50\50. I had to carry a small little human inside of me for 9 months, and don’t think for a second I let him forget it. I gave up some of my favourite things to eat and drink for the sake of our son’s health, and then there was the whole giving birth thing, and as soon as that was all over I had to breast feed.

A part of me must have decided from the beginning that this whole parenting thing was mostly up to me since I was already doing more than my share of work.

What I need to do is get that chip off my shoulder. My husband does everything right – as long as he’s not working he goes to every birthday party with me because he says he wants to help me out, he may not cook for the family but he does all of the dishes, he often packs our son’s breakfast snack for school (we have been in a competition to see who’s snack our son likes better), and he steps up do some of my usual responsibilities when I can’t.

It’s not fair to think that everything is my responsibility when he has quite a bit himself, and what he doesn’t do is likely because I am the one who wants to do it! The least I can do is put myself in his shoes and treat him like the equal partner he is and consider the way he feels when I ask him to “babysit” or make plans and invite him later. I know I would be more than a little upset if he did the same to me. I know Mom’s have a lot put on their shoulders, and often it seems like it’s too much, but when I sit back and think about it most of what I have on my shoulders I may have decided to take on myself because I wanted to.

Review of wet n wild’s Cover All Correcting Palette

Review of wet n wild's Cover All Correcting Palette

 

 

I’ve really been intrigued by the trend of contouring and highlighting with makeup. I’ve wanted to try it myself for a long time, but those palettes are hard to find! I was actually on a waiting list for quite a while for one particular palette from Sephora, and I still haven’t made it to the front of the line.

Luckily I was chosen to test out wet n wild’s new Cover All Correcting Palette before it launches this February 2015. The palette includes a circle of concealers to balance imperfections. There is a yellow concealer to cover under eye circles or bruising, a purple concealer to normalize skin and cover any overly yellow spots on your skin. The green concealer is a neutralizer to cover blemishes or any red spots, and finally what I was super excited about – the white highlighter!

 

 

Review of wet n wild's Cover All Correcting Palette

 

 

The suggested retail price of the Cover All Correcting Palette is only $4.99 which is unbelievable considering what amazingness this palette will bring to your life!

To apply the concealer I used wet n wild’s foundation brush called Build a Foundation (suggested retail $3.99) because I liked the way I could paint the concealer on my problem spots. Not a lot of concealer was needed to cover my trouble spots which was nice. Very little would conceal my under-eye circles, which is one of my major trouble spots. I tend to have a bit of redness at the sides of my nose, so I used the green neutralizer to lessen the redness. I haven’t needed to use the yellow cover concealer yet.

The highlighter is awesome!

I used it down the middle of my nose to try and make the illusion that it was straighter, and on my chin to accentuate it and make my lips look bigger. I added more highlighting above my lip to also make the illusion that my lips were larger, and on my forehead to flatter and help bring dimension to it. Finally I added a highlighting line on my cheekbones to accentuate them. I blended in the highlighter with the wet n wild foundation brush and a pressed powder, and voila! I really think the highlighter can be very flattering, and changed the look of my face.

 

 

Review of wet n wild's Cover All Correcting Palette

 

 

Review of wet n wild's Cover All Correcting Palette

 

 

This Cover All Correcting Palette is a new essential in my makeup bag. I feel like any facial trauma I wake up to can be remedied with this palette. Late nights, breakouts, sun damage, or other skin issues can be temporarily erased with this awesome palette.

 

 

Review of wet n wild's Cover All Correcting Palette

 

 

Look for the wet n wild Cover All Correcting Palette to launch this February 2015 at your local make up retailer!

www.wnwbeauty.com