Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide - Hallmark Gifts Under $25

As a member of the Hallmark Press Pause Blogger Panel, I am sharing with you some ideas for Mother's Day gifts under $25. And not because mothers don't deserve to be spoiled rotten with luxurious gifts from time to time. But because we can celebrate those who make our lives special by "pressing pause" and connecting with them in meaningful ways, whether it be with a simple card, a special keepsake or a recordable storybook. Shown below are my top four gifts for mom that won't break the bank.

  1. Mother's Day Snippets and Stories - This spiral-bound book features book cloth spine, handmade paper cover with gold bronze pattern, 25 designed 4-color pages, pocket pages, foldout pages, two glassine envelopes and 11 die-cut embellished tags. Special Offer: $24.95 
  2. Mug/Stationary Bundle with Coordinating Pen - These special stationery and mug bundles are available in three different designs. They make a perfect gift for Mom or even that favourite teacher. (Nudge, nudge!) Special: FREE with any purchase of $30 or more, or $7.95 each with each purchase of three Hallmark cards MSRP: $14.95 
  3. Magnetic Memo Board Burlap - Reminder notes, random happy notes, or sweet nothings. Keep all your notes in one place with this handy memo board that includes a satin ribbon for hangings, and a set of six coloured magnets for displaying notes. $24.95
  4. Thanks, Mom: Letters, Poems and Short Stories of Gratitude - For the book-lover, share some of the many reasons to thank Mom with this first-ever book created by Hallmark fans like you. Read touching letters, poems and short stories that'll make you reflect on just how much moms do for the ones they love. $14.99

My personal favourite out of the four, and what I found to be most practical, is the Magnetic Memo Board. And since I love it so much, I have agreed to give one away to a lucky reader of Toronto Teacher Mom. Simply complete the Rafflecopter form below to be eligible to win.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Goldwell Kerasilk: From Frustrating to Fabulous

There's a new hair smoothing treatment in town. And they call it Kerasilk.

Goldwell Kerasilk.

Earlier this month, at a VIP launch party hosted by Haartek Salon in Toronto, Goldwell introduced the first customizable long-lasting hair smoothing service - Goldwell Kerasilk Keratin Treatment. Guests in attendance were among the first to witness the incredible transformations. We watched first-hand as salon stylists worked steadily to apply the two-component system on different women, each of whom had hair with varying degrees of curl and damage.

The process involves selecting Keratin Shape and Keratin Smooth according to client's desired shaping and smoothing results. For instance, the client can select maximum smooth to reduce frizz and minimum shape to keep the curl. After the client's hair is washed, the hair is sectioned off and the balm is then applied and allowed to sit for 15 minutes. The hair is then blown dry and flatironed. After a final wash, the Kerasilk sealing serum is applied to seal the KeraShape technology and minimize scent. After a final blow dry, their hair was transformed from frustrating to fabulous. The photo below demonstrates the drastic difference.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Puppet Time!

While participating in the #MOMPConf Twitter chat last month, I ended up winning a really cute Kids' CBC gift basket that included a Hockey Night tuque and glove set, a CBC t-shirt, and other paraphernalia. Included in the basket was a really cute Artzooka Paper Bag Puppet Kit (only $7.99 at DeSerres) that my kids absolutely loved. It came with four printed paper bags and all the facial features and body parts to decorate them with using double-sided tape squares. My kids put together a little puppet show for us last night which happened to be my husband's birthday. It was really cute to watch, especially since my 8-year-old fed my 5-year-old all of his lines.

What I loved most out of everything that was included in the gift basket was the official Mamma Yamma puppet. Squee!

Participating in Wordless Wednesday? Link up your post below.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Win a Free 6-Month Netflix Subscription!

In case you haven't heard, Netflix has released new episodes of Turbo FAST - the first-ever Netflix original series for kids. Join Turbo and his Stunt Team members - Whiplash, Burn, Smoove Move, White Shadow, Skidmark and Chet - as they take off on new adventures. 

(L to R) Skidmark, Turbo, Whiplash and Chet in "Turbo FAST." Photo courtesy of Dreamworks/Netflix

To celebrate the new release, I have teamed up with Netflix Canada to offer you a chance to win a free 6-month Netflix subscription along with a Turbo-themed party watching kit. Simply complete the form below to be eligible to win. I have also provided a link to a set of eight Turbo FAST colouring pages that you can download and print. Just click on the thumbnail below.

To enter to win a 6-month subscription to Netflix Canada and some Turbo-themed swag, please complete the Rafflecopter form.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It should come as no surprise to you that, when it comes to Marvel Studios characters as portrayed on the big screen, Thor holds a special place at the top of my list of favourites. Credit this to his long, golden locks of hair, his chiseled physique, his kind-hearted personality, or what have you. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to jump alongside him as his next leading lady. (I am still awaiting the call from Marvel Studios. Any day now.) After having watched Marvel's The Avengers, which set the all-time, domestic three-day weekend box-office record at $207.4 million, I soon found myself interested in the Captain America storyline. And I swear, it had nothing to do with the ultra-buff specimen known as Chris Evans. Nothing at all.

The Marvel Studios production of Captain America: The First Avenger was jam-packed with amazing visuals, incredible action sequences and a really good storyline. The transformation of small and scrawny Steve Rogers into a tall and muscular super-soldier still baffles my mind but is an excellent example of the power of movie magic. The latest release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues to demonstrate the flawless infusion of computer generated imaging but goes above and beyond in developing in-depth characters and a twisted plot line rooted in political conspiracy.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier picks up after events in New York with The Avengers and sees the return of familiar faces. Chris Evan reprises his role as the super-hero, of course, who works alongside Scarlett Johansson, returning as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow. 


The chemistry between the two characters is mediocre at best but their potential romance on-screen plays backseat to the Cap's new-found friendship with Sam Wilson also known as Falcon. The introduction of Anthony Mackie's character is a strategic and essential move since the actor brings with him a sense of integrity, humour and an infectious smile. The fact that he is obviously athletic proved to be an asset as his role required a fair bit of wirework, flying as high as 70 feet up in the air.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy 50th Birthday, Nutella!

You know when you taste a familiar food and it brings back memories of your childhood? That's how I feel about Nutella. The feeling of nostalgia is quite strong, to be honest, but it is always a welcomed feeling since it reminds me of my mother. Many were the occasions that I look back upon as special because my mother knew how much I loved Nutella on toast and she just loved watching me chase it down with a glass of milk. It wasn't until I met my husband, however,  that I discovered banana Nutella crepes at Cafe Crepe on Queen Street. It was like love at first sight! Then, roughly a year later, while on our honeymoon in Paris, France, I simply could not pass up the chance to savour a Nutella crepe prepared on a Parisian food truck. Even then, the taste of Nutella reminded me of my youth. 

As this year marks their 50th anniversary, Nutella is encouraging Canadians to share their own Nutella stories and fond memories at NutellaStories.com. When you share the love online, you have a chance to win a $10,000 trip to Italy and one of thousands of instant prizes like Nutella earbuds, photo frame magnets, key chains and USB keys. Canadians are also invited to attend one of their local birthday celebrations:
  • April 25-26: Montreal 
  • May 2-3: Quebec City
  • May 9-10: Vancouver
  • May 17-18: Toronto 
The festivities end on May 18 in Toronto with a big finale celebration, which will be part of an even larger international anniversary celebration. Sounds like an occasion special enough to break out the Nutella, doesn't it?

It goes without saying that, since I {heart} Nutella, I am quite thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for a special 50th anniversary Nutella gift basket. Simply leave a comment on this post sharing your personal memories and Nutella stories for a chance to win. If you share your story on NutellaStories.com, you will receive bonus entries. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your entries to be counted.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Ultimate Blog Party 2014

My name is Diana and welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party 2014! This incredible event is hosted by the wonderful ladies at 5MinutesForMom.com and it is the perfect opportunity to discover blogs new and old, and win prizes, too! The UBP is in it's 8th year and I loved it so much when I first participated in it back in 2010 that I joined once again in 2011, 2012 and 2013

From left to right: Myself and Oprah. Just to clarify. ;)

To all of my readers, why not take a load off and check out what it's all about. For all of you UBP blog hoppers, thanks for stopping by and please stay a while. You might discover six weird things you didn't know about me or how I met Covergirl P!NK backstage during her Toronto concert. And if you like crafts, feel free to stop by my other blog Diana's Designs where I share my handmade card creations. In the meantime, I hope you'll share a little something about yourself and how you started blogging. Looking forward to partying with you!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014