An Awesome Assistant at Hand with JOBY GorillaPods!

As a blogger, one area of this industry I felt I really needed to up my photography game. It was one of the goals I set for myself last year, and I think I have started to see the difference in my photos. I love putting together sets for my blog posts, but there are times I find it difficult to hit the shutter at certain angles or to take pics of myself by myself. This is why I decided to invest a “photography assistant” by buying a tripod. Since I need to take a variety of shots, my other half steered me in the direction of buying a JOBY GorillaPod!

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Out of the wide range of GorillaPod models JOBY has available, I chose their SLR-Zoom. It is specially made for the DSLR camera I use to take many of the photos I shoot for blog posts.

Below are the features and the specs of this GorillaPod:

  • Height – 6 x 6 x 31.8 cm.
  • Flexible legs that are able to wrap around objects while being able to hold camera equipment up to 6.6 lbs (3 kg) on almost any surface.
  • Over 24 leg joints with rubberized ring and foot grips make it easy to bend and rotate it 360° to improve stability in difficult terrain.
  • Being created out of durable Japanese medical-grade ABS plastic and German TPE, it allows for secure joints to stay firm and to grip on objects for years of use.
  • Its lightweight and portable design make it easy to pack and take on-the-go!

I have to say that I LOVE my GorillaPod! Before I had this tripod, I would have to wait for my other half or my eldest to be at home and available to take certain shots. Now, I am able to set up the shot I want and get to work!

I have put this tripod in so many different positions when a third hand was needed. It was such a relief to not have to worry about my camera crashing onto the floor if I had it mounted and positioned in a certain way.

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I have used my tripod for almost a year, and the leg joints are still as stiff as they were on the day I bought them. If I had to switch the position of my GorillaPod for a better shot, it was easy to change how I wanted the legs positioned and it stayed in place once it was in the right spot. My GorillaPod has also been bashed and dropped a few times, yet it is still intact.

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When my shoot was over, it only took a few minutes to straighten the legs on my tripod and tuck it away for the day or to put in my equipment bag to take with me. It does not take up a lot of space in my bag, and I do not feel its weight when I tote it around.

I was really impressed with the ease the JOBY GorillaPod SLR-Zoom. It is lightweight, durable and stays in place where I need it. This tripod is also able to hold up my camera in various positions without tipping. Setting up photo shoots is more of a joy to do now that I have this tripod as my assistant at hand!

Until my next post, Readers,

Reese.

Note: This is not a sponsored review post. I love sharing fabulous products with you, and this is one of them!

Fun & Festive DIY Bunting

Hey, Readers!

The big day is almost upon us. In my home, we are getting down to the last-minute items on our Christmas To-Do List, and we cannot wait to celebrate with family this year. Once the decorations were put up around our home, I felt that there was something missing from the space in front of the window in our dining room. After scratching my head for a few minutes, I came up with an idea to create a fun and festive bunting project to fill in this space.

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These are the materials you will need in order to pull this project off:

  • Cardstock in festive holiday colours (8.5 cm x 11 cm)
  • Jute
  • Cotton blanket
  • Blank/Computer paper
  • Tacky glue
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Box cutter (optional)
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • Marker (optional)

Why use cardstock? Here are two reasons why I stock up on this type of paper for crafts:

  • Construction paper is not as firm as cardstock. It tears easier, and buckles when wet or nicked a bit.
  • The colours pop more with cardstock than with construction paper.

Below are the instructions to use to create your own festive holiday banner.

1. Write out the word or phrase you want to use for your banner. This way, you can figure out how the different colours of cardstock you will need and the letter size you want.

2. Measure the space you would like to hang your banner with the measuring tape to make sure it will fit in the space and to finalize the letter size you want.

3. Figure out how big you would like your letters. I fiddled around with the fonts in the writing document application on my computer since I am not the greatest at creating them on my own freehand. I used the “Ravie” font at the 214 size for the letters I wanted. Print out the letters and cut them out. If you are running low on ink, use the same colour of marker to fill in the white spots. Note – If you have the talent to freehand the letters, write them out in the size you desire on the blank paper with pencil and them colour them in with a marker.

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4.After finding out how big I wanted my letters to be, put a letter up against the cardstock to see how much of it I would need as the background for the letters and to fold over the jute. I found out I needed two sheets of red cardstock and two sheets of green cardstock since the letters took up a little less than one-quarter of cardstock.

5. Cut the letters out of the piece of paper they were printed/designed on.

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6. Cut the pieces of cardstock to the size you need. For a straighter line, I used a box cutter, a ruler and a hard surface I did not mind getting nicks and scratching on to get a cleaner line for the background colours.

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7. Score the amount of cardstock you would like to use for the flap to attach to the jute with the box cutter so it will fold over easier. Make sure you score the backside of the cardstock so it looks rounded and will bend easier. You also use a draw a line with a pencil and ruler on this paper and gently fold it over to do this step.

8. Line up the letters with the corresponding colours of cardstock they will be attached to in order to avoid gluing a letter onto the wrong piece of cardstock.

9. Minding the clearance given to the section that will fold over the jute, glue the letters in the center of the cardstock.

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10. Once the glue is dry, stretch out a line of jute and align the letters along its length. This will help you figure out the spacing out the letters correctly and if more than one line of jute is needed. I allowed for 3 inches of space between each letter. I also left a generous amount of space at the ends so it can hang down. I think it looks nicer than if it was pinned at the end of the jute.

11. Measure the cotton blanket to cover all of the back flap and two inches above each of the letters on the cardstock.

12. Cut out the cotton blanket pieces and use tacky glue to attach them to the cardstock for a snowy and festive look.

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13. Find the center of the jute and place it in the middle of your work surface. I used a piece of twine to mark this spot just in case the jute shifted.

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14. Line up the word or phrase in the correct order.

15. Find the middle letter of the word or phrase on the cardstock to be attached to the jute and center it along the jute. Flip it upside-down.

16. Remove the twine on the jute and use your heated glue gun to attach the cardstock to the jute. Tacky glue can also be used if little ones are assisting in this craft. Press along the flap where the glue was used so it will stick together. Continue to add the cardstock to the jute working from the inside of the word or phrase to the first/last letter with the desired spacing. Allow to dry.

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17. Affix the banner to the surface you measured out at the beginning of this project, leaving some jute dangling off the ends. I used push pins and stuck them into the frame of the window to keep them from falling down. You can also use suction cup hooks or other non-hole forming aids to keep your work on the wall or banister.

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There you have it! This is how I created this fun and festive banner to help bring some holiday spirit to our home. There are so many ways you can put your own spin to this project. For New Year’s Eve, I would use shiny cardstock or trace the letter attached to the cardstock with glitter glue. You can add holiday pictures or symbols onto cardstock along the cardstock, or mix them in with the letters. This banner idea can also be used for birthdays or other occasions.

If you are in a pinch to add some more holiday flair to your home, this Fun & Festive DIY Banner project is easy and fun to create. It is more fun when the family is involved. I hope you enjoy putting together this project as much as I do!

What is your favourite holiday or festive DIY project to put together?

Until my next post, Readers,

Reese.

Favourite Family Christmas Traditions

Hey, Readers!

The patchwork of colour of fall leaves has made way for a brilliant blanket of snow. This is one of the signs that the Christmas season is in its way in my neck of the woods. It has always been one of my favourite times of the year, and it is made that much more magical with the addition of The Bosses. My Other Half and I scramble to make each Christmas special for our family with some of the traditions we incorporated from our childhood. They make the holiday season more festive and fun for all of us. Here are just a few of things we do at this time of year that gets us into the Christmas spirit.

Letters to Santa

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This activity serves three purposes for us parental units:

  1. It adds to the magic of Santa Claus for The Bosses
  2. We get a better idea of what to give them for their “fun” gifts; and
  3. Allows for more sibling bonding to happen.

Since The Bosses are still too young to write a complete letter to the Man in Red, my eldest helps them compile their lists and writes the letter on their behalf. We love hearing about some of the things our kids wants to receive for Christmas each year. My eldest has been in on “The Santa Secret” for a few years now, so we just ask her for a list of things she would like to see under the tree with her name on it. They also love placing the letter in the mailbox and receiving a letter back from Santa thanking them for their letter. My kids have a great time writing this annual letter and learning a bit more about one another.

Advent Calendars

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The Bosses LOVE the sweet surprises they find behind every door of their advent calendars! Each of my kids has their own calendar to open to discover the chocolaty Christmas shape waiting for them up until December 24th. They also love comparing their chocolates to one another and showing them to us before they pop them into their mouths. It also helps them count down the days until Santa makes his big ride.

Watching Holiday Specials

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This tradition is one I look forward to every year more than anyone else in my family. Once Thanksgiving is over, I wait on pins and needles for televisions stations to show their holiday specials to watch over and over again. I have been this way since my childhood, and my sister and I still call each other if a favourite one will be showing soon. I have shared this love with my kids, and they have their own favourites to watch, and it is a great opportunity to unplug for a while and plan a family movie night out of these television specials or holiday movies. My Other Half and I will even watch holiday films for bigger kids once the kids go to bed to unwind after a long day of Christmas prep.

Holiday Treats

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Whether it is sweet or savoury, our family loves to munch on holiday treats! We tend to wait to bake the cupcakes, brownies, and tarts until the week of Christmas, but there is always some form of holiday-themed snack to indulge in at this time of the year in our cupboards. When we do get down to baking for the holidays, everyone wants to roll up their sleeves to help. On Christmas Eve, we end up with a pile of snacks and treats we’re continually nibbling on past Boxing Day. These treats also add to our holiday special watching on Christmas Eve, making this night even more special.

Tree Trimming

The holiday season does not feel right in our home with having our tree up and decorated. The whole process is highly anticipated. Once it has been completed, lets the rest of the season fall into place for us. We have had both artificial and real trees in our home, but we prefer to get a real one in our home. The smell of a pine tree alone puts us in the Christmas spirit.

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Once the star and the lights have been placed around the tree, we all set to work putting golden horns, holiday characters and sparkly white snowflakes on our tree’s branches. The Bosses take great pride in helping with this tradition, only asking for help when they are unsure where to place an ornament.

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When this task is complete, the seat of choice in our living room is on the couch right beside the tree. We were able to bask in its awesomeness and its scent all evening long.

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Christmas is easily a fun time around our home. We are always looking for fun new ways to enjoy this time of the year together to become closer as a family. These family Christmas traditions are only a few that we enjoy, but are hands-down favourites for us to do each year. I hope that when our kids get older that they have fond memories of the activities we did together to get ready for Christmas and help us come up with new ones as they get older.

Dish with me: What are some of your some of your favourite family holiday traditions?

Until my next post, Readers,

Reese.

Family Favourite French Fries

Though we have been trying to introduce healthier meals to our family, there are times that we enjoy a Junk Food Night for dinner. We enjoy these nights in moderation, and they are always fun to eat.  When we do tuck into these meals, there is usually one side dish my other half and I make that is heavily anticipated over anything else: Homemade French Fries.

 

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Since my other half first tried his hand at them, we all have become HUGE fans! Curious to see how easy these tasty treasures are to cook? Take a look below to find out!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Russet potatoes (other potatoes will work as well, but Russets are the best)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt (extra salt may be used for seasoning after cooking)

Directions:

  1. Wash and chop potatoes to desired thickness. We like our about an inch thick. Fill a bowl ¾ of the way full of water, add salt to the water and stir to make a salt-water mixture.

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2. Add potatoes to the bowl so they can soak in the salt water.

3. Pour oil into a frying pan and heat to medium-high temperature.

4. Once the oil is heated, add half of the chopped potatoes gently into the pan making sure they are all laying on the bottom of the pan.

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5. Flip fries over when they start to turn a golden brown to cook on the other side.

6. Once cooked on both sides, drain excess oil using a sieve or strainer.

7. Extra salt or other preferred seasoning may be used to flavour fries.

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Repeat these steps with the remainder of the chopped potatoes until all  of them have been cooked.

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I dressed up my fries by placing them inside of a parchment-lined super-sized mug. These golden-brown gems are the perfect side to go along with homemade burgers, pulled pork, or batter-fried cod. Whenever my other half or I cook these fries, we are always sad when they are all gone! They are so easy to cook and are so delicious to eat. These French Fries are truly a family favourite! Try them out for yourself and enjoy!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Feeling at Home at the Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West!

Hey, Readers!

It had been a while since I had been home to see my family in Toronto. Since my aunt who I have not seen in about a decade was visiting “Grandma” (it’s actually my mom but she does not answer to this since she no longer has kids) for a few weeks, we decided to go home for a weekend to see her and my other family members! Instead of staying with one of my relatives, we decided to stay in a hotel. After doing a bit of research of hotels close to Grandma’s home, we decided to book a room at the Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West.

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The Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West boasts the following amenities for its guests:

  • Free high-speed Internet
  • Fitness Centre
  • Pool
  • Airport Shuttle

They also have four different rooms available to book:

  • 2 Queen-sized beds guest room
  • 1 King-sized bed guest room with a sofa bed
  • 1 King-sized guest room with a Whirlpool bathtub
  • 1 King-sized suite with a sofa bed.

We felt that the 2 Queen-sized beds guest room would work best for our family since it had two beds that were the same size we could all sleep on and enjoy.

After our long drive, we were so happy to reach our room. My little ones made short work of making themselves right at home in our room. They made sure that their entourage was comfortable and that our clothing was put away in their proper places. There was plenty of room for our clothes and my collection of shoes.

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The next things the kids and I had to try out were our beds and I am a HUGE fan of a tall bed. Each bed was firm and comfy. I had so much fun climbing into our beds every time I wanted to sleep or wanted to sit back and relax. As you can see, my kids found our beds adequate for our stay.

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This was one of the nicer bathrooms I have had in a hotel room in a long time. I loved that there was a privacy wall between the vanity and the toilet. There is literally enough room for three people to be in the bathroom at the same time (if this was necessary) without bumping into each other. The counter had so much space. It was able to hold all of our toiletries along with those that are complementary to the room.

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After a good night’s sleep, our tummies were grumbling. Since we had a few hours before meeting up with family, we decided to grab a bite at the hotel’s eatery, The Bistro – Eat.Drink.Connect™. I loved the set-up of their seating area. There were tables for those who wanted to get a bit of work done while they ate as well as three banquettes for families or small groups of people to share their meal. Each of the banquettes housed a television set so you could catch up on the goings-on of the day while you ate.

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Since we are used to a hearty sit-down breakfast on weekend mornings, we each ordered a scrambled egg breakfast. It came with strips of bacon, home fries, toast, and a cup of fruit (juice was separate). We were not disappointed with our morning meal. It was warm, yummy and ever so filling. This meal got us fueled well for our big day of fun.

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While our food was cooking, I had time to check out the hotel’s business centre. This area of the hotel was for guests to work if more space is needed to meet and work. Boarding passes could be printed off, desks and chairs are available for guests to set up shop to work. It is a comfortable and spacious work area.

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On the other side of the wall from the business centre was the hotel’s lounge area where guests are able to meet and greet friends. It is set up like a stylish living room with a roomy den side-by-side. There was so much room in this area that several groups could be there without feeling as though they would disturb each other. The two-sided fireplace was one of my favourite features of this room. It was warm and inviting. I wish it had a roaring fire in it when I visited, but the weather was too warm for it to be on.

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Our weekend was such a whirlwind affair that we did not have the chance to check out the fitness centre or the pool area. We were sad to check out of the Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West at the end of our mini family vacation. We enjoyed our breakfast at The Bistro – Eat.Drink.Connect™, the business and lounge areas are great for meeting and working, and our room really made us feel at home. The next time we visit our family in Toronto, we will be sure to book another room here!

For more information about the Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West, you can visit them on their website!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by the Courtyard by Marriott Mississauga-Airport Corporate Centre West to write this post. I’m just sharing my great experience with you!

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Cozy Roasted Chicken Thighs

Hey, Readers!

Yep. It’s fall again! The weather is cooler, and the ground is beginning to be sprinkled with multicolored leaves around our neck of the woods.

 

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One of my reasons why I love fall is for the change in seasonal dishes this season brings. Fall erupts with more of the comfort foods I enjoy eating. You know, those meals that make you feel good all the way down to your toes and that allow you to savour every minute of it until your plate is cleared.

My Other Half loves to be in our kitchen, whipping up his fabulous food creations for our family to sit, eat and enjoy. One dish I get excited about him making is his Cozy Roasted Chicken Thigh meal. It is colourful, flavourful and perfect for the cooler days of the year. It is a meal I always go back for seconds (and sometimes thirds) of when it is made, and can also serve as an intimate meal for two when scaled down.

 

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Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin (can also be done with boneless, but it is juicier with the bone)
  • 4 sausages links cut in half
  • 3 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 onion, loosely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, loosely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2 tbsp of rosemary and thyme
  • 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Drizzle a tbsp of oil on the bottom of the caserole dish. Layer the potatoes and the sweet potatoes and half of the onions and garlic on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme salt and pepper.

 

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  1. Place chicken thighs on top of the potato layer, seasoning with both herbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add halved sausage links around chicken pieces
  3. Sprinkle the remainder of the onions and garlic around the top of the meat, season with more herbs and seasoning.

 

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  1. Cover casserole dish with foil and place in oven for 55 minutes.
  2. Drizzle oil into a frying pan and set to medium-high heat. Place chopped tomatoes into the frying pan and season with the remainder of the herbs, salt, and pepper for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.

 

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  1. Place cooked tomatoes onto a cookie sheet and roast in the oven with the casserole dish for 45 mins or until the tomatoes are crispy.
  2. After 55 minutes have passed, uncover chicken and add tomatoes to the top of the meat.
  3. Turn the oven up to 375°F and place back into the oven for 20 minutes to allow for the chicken skin to crisp.
  4. Take casserole dish out of the oven. Spoon out the vegetables and meat onto each plate.

 

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  1. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each chicken thigh when plating.

That’s it! This is how my other half creates one of my absolute favourite dishes. This Cozy Roasted Chicken dish can also be made with the whole leg and is so delicious. It only takes a casserole dish and a frying pan to cook this dish and is a welcome meal during the fall and winter months. It has become a tradition to enjoy this meal on Christmas Eve to get ready for the Man in Red that evening. I can’t wait to devour this dish again!

 

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I hope that you enjoy My Other Half’s Cozy Roasted Chicken dish with your family this fall and winter! I’m sure they will love it, too!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

Step into Fall in Style with Shumaker!

Fall is here! With school back in session and full day work weeks the norm for a few months, wardrobes are beginning start to reflect the change in season. We all want to look our best, whether we are at the office, on campus or are running errands around town, and this is especially the case for our footwear. Not sure where to look to update your shoe wardrobe? Shumaker has a wide selection of shoes, boots, heels and sandals (for those that want to soak up those last rays of warm sunshine) for customers to choose from. They will be expanding this fall, opening eight locations over the next eight months!

 

 

 

 

With three generations of craftsmen and cobblers behind them, Shumaker is a footwear boutique for women and men that provides high-quality and contemporary shoes in their original collections. Shumaker believes in family values, unparalleled customer service, and a unique shopping experience. At Shumaker, they want customers to pay a fair price for their exclusive brands that no one else can match in order for their customers to feel free to try new looks and have fun with experimenting with their personal styles.

 

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Photo Credit: shumaker.ca

 

 

The Fall/Winter Collection of foot apparel are now available for you to peruse, try on and buy at Shumaker! There is such a large selection of shoes, booties, and boots to choose from that will compliment any wardrobe! Here are a few of my favourite picks for their collection:

Caprise in Tan

 

Rahee in Black

 

 

 

Mared in Khaki

 

Tapsi in Bordo

Like what you see? Below are the eight locations in Ontario you can visit to add to your fall wardrobe from Shumaker:

  • Place d’Orleans Orleans
  • Carlingwood Shopping Centre Ottawa
  • Lansdowne Place Peterborough
  • Erin Mills Mississauga
  • Georgian Mall Barrie
  • CF Lime Ridge Hamilton
  • CF Markville Markham
  • Quinte Mall Belleville

No matter what your style you like to rock, you will find a pair (or two) of quality footwear to buy and step into fall looking fabulous a with footwear from Shumaker!

For more details about Shumaker, you can connect with them on their Facebook, Twitter (@ShumakerShoes), and Instagram pages!

Disclaimer: I was generously compensated by Shumaker to share these details with you! All images were used with permission from Shumaker.

5 Quick Snack Stops to Pop Into In The Glebe!

Now that September is under way, kids are back at school and parents are back to work all over the city, including my neighbourhood, The Glebe. From bakeries and chocolatiers to coffee shops and grocery stores, there is such a variety of places in The Glebe for visitors and “Glebites” to shop, eat and play. I love visiting my favourite haunts close to where I live and work to pick up a quick bite to eat. It is also a great place to visit whether you are planning a trip to Ottawa or if you are acting as a tourist in the city.

 

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Have you ever been to this part of the nation’s capital?  If you are ever in this area of the nation’s capital and are feeling a bit feeling a bit peckish, take a look at five places along (and just slightly off of) Bank Street in The Glebe I like to pop into for a quick snack!

1. Second Avenue Sweets

Location: 151B Second Avenue

Price:  **

 

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For those of you who are not aware of this, I have a bit of a romance with croissants. Do you blame me?! When baked well, they are light, flaky and ever so buttery. One of my absolute favourite places to pick up one of these golden brown delights is at Second Avenue Sweets. Tucked away on Second Avenue along Bank Street, this bakery conjures up some of the best croissants in the city. They also bake up some really delicious cookies, bread, cakes, cupcakes and other amazing treats. Whenever my kids and I are ever in the area, they always ask if we can go in. They treat our visits as a real treat when they get to nosh on these baked goods. It is hard not to pop in when we are in the heart of the Glebe.

 

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2.  Wholefoods Market – Landsdowne

Location: 951 Bank Street

Price: **

 

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Landsdowne Park has been revitalized to become a multi-functional area for its visitors. It draws many people throughout the day. Many of them (like me) are frequent patrons of one of its shops: Whole Foods Market. Yes, it does sell produce, other food and lifestyle items, but they also have prepared food for those looking to satisfy their grumbly bellies with a meal for lunch or dinner. Beyond their deli counters that serve sandwiches, pizza, and other such delights, they also have soups and salads, as well as sides and main entree meals on hand for diners to choose from.

 

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Whole Foods Market uses a pay-by-weight system when ringing up your selections. I really enjoyed their Chicken Cacciatore on a bed of rice and a mix of two salads for my meal one evening. It was quick and convenient, so I could decide to dine-in or take it with me on-the-go!

 

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3.  Playa Del Popsicle

809 Bank Street

Price: **

 

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This next stop nestled in between Third and Fourth Streets along Bank Street is a seasonal business that helped to keep my kids cool this past summer in a fun way. This business is called Playa Del Popsicle. This food truck serves Sno-Cones and juices, as well as homemade popsicles for revellers to savour during the spring, summer or fall. What puts this business over-the-top is the cute and functional beach scene created in front of the food truck! We were able to sit back and relax while eating our frozen treats. It is a great escape for a few moments away from the blaring sun (or reality)!

 

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4.  Morning Owl – Bank Street

Location: 891 Bank Street

Price: **

 

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Need a cup of joe in the morning? Some baked goods or a fresh sandwich to fill that void in your belly? Then popping into Morning Owl Bank Stree in between Fifth Avenue and Holmwood Avenue is a must. All of their coffee is organic and direct trade. They also serve a variety of fresh-baked treats, drinks, and handmade sandwiches for breakfast or lunch. My kids love their hot chocolates and I am a huge fan of their Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie. It is soooooooo tasty!

 

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5.  Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut

Location: 769 Bank Street

Price: ***

 

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The last stop on this Glebe shop hop list is a place that chocoholics will love to hear about. Whether it is to get your chocolate fix or to pick up a gift for a special person in your life, Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut is the place go. They have so many different treats to put the smile on your face. I was in hot chocolate heaven with their selection of flavours to choose from. There were also a variety of truffles on display to dazzle your eyes as well as your stomach. Want something on the cool side? Take a taste of their gelato! There are also many other treats you can buy to gift or to take home for yourself. This shop boasted different seating areas for customers to settle in and enjoy their sugary vittles as well.

 

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Whether you live, work, go to school or are visiting The Glebe, this neighbourhood is such a great one to explore and grab a quick bite to eat. This family-friendly area of Ottawa makes eating around here feel casual and easy. The stops I highlighted all held their own personal identity and charm, but all held the same friendliness and care-free atmosphere. Hopefully, you will find yourself in this part of the nation’s capital and pop in for a visit!

Until my next post, Readers!

Reese.

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Stepping Up to the Barre at The Dailey Method Ottawa! #30DayBloggersChallenge

Hey, Readers!

As I have previously mentioned, I have started to take steps to make myself a better me this year. Though I have begun to take these steps, I feel as though I needed something extra to add to the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) routines I was doing to really take my workouts to the next level and to stay motivated in working out and becoming stronger. When I was asked by The Dailey Method Ottawa to take part in their #30DayBloggerChallenge, I was really excited to step up to the barre to see what it could do to improve my workouts and well-being!

 

The Dailey Method is unlike any workout routine I have ever tried. Unlike a cardio or HITT  routines, The Dailey Method focuses on ballet barre fitness. Jill Dailey was instrumental in bringing this brand of fitness to the forefront when she opened the doors to the first Dailey Method studio in San Francisco in 2000. The Dailey Method combines dance, yoga, kinesiology and pilates to provide an efficient and effective full-body workout. Now there are 57 studios spanning three continents helping students to achieve their fitness goals.

 

 

Before attending my first class, I did not know what to expect since I had never done any barre work. Once signed up to start my challenge, I used their handy app to get myself registered for classes week by week. This way I was making a commitment to myself not to skip it. I was also advised to come to classes 3 times a week in order to learn the moves used in this kind of workout and to start to see (and feel) results. You are also able to set up a reminder in your calendar so you do not forget about an upcoming class. I liked how I was able to learn a little bit about each of the classes and the instructor leading it on a specific day.

 

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Here are some of the things recommended to me that I took to heart before taking my first class at The Dailey Method Ottawa that I would love to share with you:

  • Go at your own pace; everyone has different strengths
  • Take as many breaks as you need; it’s YOUR time
  • Remember that it is not a competition; you’re surrounded by peers

This was me on my way to my first TDM Ottawa class

 

Reese Speaks The Dailey Method Game Face Photo

Yes, I was all business here! 😛

 

I was so excited and motivated to get going. From my first class to my last, I was not disappointed. The Ottawa studio is GORGEOUS! It was simple, bright and open. There are large windows along one wall of the workout studio and mirrors covering most of the remaining wall space. I loved the gorgeous wood floors throughout the space as well. It made each class easier to work out in.

 

 

There are various classes the Dailey Method offers students. These are the 5 different intensity levels of classes students can take at their Ottawa location:

  • Dailey Gentle (60 minutes)
  • Dailey Basics (60 minutes)
  • Dailey Barre (60 minutes)
  • Dailey Express 45 (45 minutes)
  • Dailey Interval 45 (45 minutes)

 

 

This is all you need to take a class:

 

Reese Speaks The Dailey Method Clothing

NOTE: The plant is just there for scenery. It would make for a very awkward weight during a class! 🙂  Mats, weights, and exercise balls are all available inside the studio for you to use.

 

That’s it, that’s all, Readers! I was advised to wear clothing that was form-fitting and comfortable so I would not have to worry about my clothing getting in the way during a class.  It is also so instructors can see whether you are executing each move correctly and to give guidance if needed.

I will not lie: Every class kicked my butt! All of the instructors I had the pleasure of meeting were extremely welcoming. They always noticed when there was a new face in their class.They went out of their way to introduce themselves, ask questions about whether I had any physical issues that may hinder my workout, and came over to anyone during the class to correct their form. They even made themselves available after each class to show me how to perform moves I was still not clear about how to do.

 

 

Each workout focused on little movements to get the desired workout for the part of the body being focused on. At the end of my first class, I was a bit wiped, drenched in sweat, yet SO happy I had attended!

Every class was a fabulous experience. Each class was not too big.I visited the studio during the morning hours, so the class sizes were smaller and more intimate.  I did not feel as though I ever got lost in a crowd.

After a few classes, I noticed I was stronger when doing my other workouts at home. I was able to challenge myself more and want to work out longer. I would highly recommend The Dailey Method Ottawa and cannot wait to step back up to the barre once my children are back in school!

 

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Whether you want to start working out or you are looking for a different kind of workout to start doing, I would suggest giving The Dailey Method Ottawa a try! These classes are amazing and inspiring, you get a full-body workout and your best is the goal of each class. New students signing up to try The Dailey Method Ottawa can also enjoy their $79 New Client Special for a month of unlimited classes. Trust me, it is a deal worth taking!

For more information about The Dailey Method Ottawa, you can visit their website.You also can connect with them on their Facebook , Twitter,and Instagram pages!

What is your workout of choice? Would you want to step up to the barre?

Disclaimer: I received a 30-Day Membership to The Dailey Method Ottawa in order to write this review. The views I shared are my own.

Checking Out All that Glitters at #GoldRush! – El Dorado in British Columbia!

Action. Adventure. Heartbreak. Upheaval. All of these themes are on display at GoldRush! – El Dorado in British Columbia at the Canadian Museum of History. Created by the Roya BC Museum, Gold Rush displays the transformation of a colony near the Pacific Ocean during the Gold Rush as it broke down the barriers of class and race in the pursuit of golden new beginnings. I got a chance to check o, ut all that glittered at this exhibit to share with you! Gold Rush! will be on display from April 8, 2016, until January 15, 2017.

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Visitors can see such items as the Turnagain Nugget, the largest existing gold nugget from British Columbia, as well as more than 280 objects on display from this era! Made up of five linked galleries, Gold Rush! aims to recreate the gold rush, getting visitors up close with the real history of gold in British Columbia.

During my visit to Gold Rush!, there was so much to discover! I was able to learn about this era from the first shouts of excitement over finding gold to it has impacted the histories of many nations all over the world.

 

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There are also gold pieces on display from distant lands where gold had been discovered years before that began to spur the search for golden riches in Canada.

 

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I then ventured to look at the tools of the trade during the gold rush. It was fun to see that an actual stagecoach that is on loan for this exhibit from the Historic O’Keefe Ranch up close, and all of the items a treasure seeker would use to try and strike it rich.

 

Reese Speaks Gold Rush Equipement Photo

I thought that Gold Rush! did an excellent job of sharing various integrating interactive methods for its visitors to learn more about this era.  There are screening areas, tablets with added information about certain aspects of the exhibit, and stations where visitors can learn hands-on about this time period and about gold. They were all interesting to take in and to try.

Reese Speaks Gold Rush Interactive Activities Collage Photo

I could not leave out the fashion of this era out this post! I know these pieces were designed over 150 years ago, but to see them in such great condition and still vibrant with colour was a sight to see! I especially loved the dress and parasol outfit. It was hard to shoot, but it was fun to have a snapshot of the time through fashion.

 

Reese Speaks Gold Rush Fashion Photo

 

A favourite part of the exhibit was seeing how much I was worth in gold. Based on the price of an ounce of gold, it converts your weight into a dollar amount. Based on my weight that day, I could go on a holiday somewhere or on a fun shopping spree!

 

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There was so much to take in at Gold Rush! Learning how this period shaped Canadian history was a great way to spend a visit at the Canadian Museum of History. Having so many artefacts from this time also brought what I learned more to life. An added bonus was seeing everything that glittered and made out of this precious metal! Gold Rush! is a fantastic exhibit for visitors to experience!

 

Reese Speaks Gold Rush Gold Items Collage 2 Photo

 

For more information about GoldRush! – El Dorado in British Columbia, you can connect with the Canadian Museum of History on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages!

Disclaimer: I received admission to the Canadian Museum of History to visit GoldRush! – El Dorado in British Columbia exhibit in order to write this review. The views expressed are my own.

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