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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Body Shop Must-Haves of the Summer

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer collection

Say hello to happy skin with the new Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer collection from the Body Shop. It's pretty much common knowledge that vitamin C helps to maintain the health of your skin. But now you can take your morning orange juice ritual a step further and go for an added glow with the help of the camu camu berry. Sourced from the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, the camu camu berry has up to 60 times the vitamin C power of an orange. And it is likely the reason why I love the Vitamin C collection so much. It can help clarify your skin to reveal a natural healthy glow while energizing and hydrating the skin. This gel cream moisturizer boasts a fresh and lightweight formula that not only feels great when applied to the skin but also smells great, too. You can also get an instant glow fix with the new Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer. Its silky formula provides an instant glow with a fresh rosy tint. It's like skincare and makeup in one! Personally, I'd recommend sticking with the moisturizer, especially since you get more bang for your buck. A 50 mL jar of moisturizer retails for $25 and a 25 mL tube of enhancer retails for $20. Recommended read: How to get your glow back.

The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Detox collection

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Splatoon For Nintendo Wii U

Splatoon For Nintendo Wii U and Amiibos

Last month, Nintendo released its latest action shooter Splatoon, a family-friendly game that promotes cooperative play. In this game, players choose a customizable Inkling character that can transform into squids and swim through their own ink. The goal of the game is to claim as much turf as possible by splatting opponents and cover the level with their team's coloured ink. 

Nintendo Wii U Super Mario 3D World Bundle Splatoon Amiibo Pro Controller

To test out Splatoon, Nintendo generously sent over a Wii U bundle which included the coordinating amiibo set. My little Nintendo kid reviewers were overjoyed to be able to try out some new Wii U games and also play some of their old Wii favourites. Setting up the console was pretty straightforward. The only thing was that we still have an old tube TV so I had to use the AV cable from our old Wii. The Wii U bundle only includes the HDMI cable. Configuring the system was easy enough thanks to the Quick Start Guide but I felt it was a very long process. Either that or I was just plain anxious to get playing. Once the Game Pad and Wii U Pro Controller were paired with the console, we were able to follow the on-screen instructions and then registered using the Nintendo Network ID I had recently set up for our Nintendo 2DS


My seven-year-old son was the first to try out Splatoon. There are lots of ways to play but he prefers the four-on-four online "Turf War" mode. This is when he gets to team up with players from around the world to cover the most ground with their team’s ink. Using the Wii U GamePad controller, he can see a top-down view of the map as it is covered in ink in real-time. Learning to manoeuvre through the level and getting used to the large controller was tricky for him at first but fun to watch him twist his body as he waved the controller from side to side. Since we've installed the Wii U, Splatoon has been his game of choice and now he is a pro with the GamePad controller.

Me: What do you like most about Splatoon?

Paolo: I like how you can roll over the other characters with the giant paint roller and how you get to play with other teammates. 

Me: What do you like the least about the game?

Paolo: I don't like how we sometimes lose. (Insert sad face here.)

The "Ranked Battle" mode uses a player's wins in 4-on-4 multiplayer matches to rank and match players in a highly competitive online battle. In “Battle Dojo,” players can take on friends in a local 1-on-1 battle. One player plays on the GamePad controller, while the other plays on the TV using a separate controller. Whoever pops the most balloons wins! Splatoon also has a single-player campaign that teaches players how to splatter, swim, leap, hide and climb walls, while trying to defeat the Octarian army. And finally, the Splatoon amiibo figures (sold separately) can be used to gain access to special challenge stages. By tapping Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy and Inkling Squid amiibo figures to the GamePad, players can receive special missions to unlock weapons and gear that you won't find anywhere else in the game.

Meet & Greet With Chef Stefano Faita

Meet & Greet With Chef Stefano Faita Nutella Summer Truck Tour #AddALittleJoy

Yesterday, the kids and I headed to the Toronto Zoo to check out the Nutella Summer Truck Tour. It was part of the #AddALittleJoy campaign I am working on and so it was a special treat to be able to interview Chef Stefano Faita of Montreal. He was on site helping prepare samples of waffles and fruit skewers drizzled with Nutella. I asked him what his favourite Nutella recipe was and was half-expecting him to say it was his Nutella Croissant French Toast recipe. He replied that he loves them all but that he was particularly fond of the Nutella Breakfast Panini with ricotta cheese since it brought back memories of the panini his grandmother would make for him as a child. Me? I'm adding both these recipes to my must-try list.

Nutella Summer Truck Tour Toronto Zoo #AddALittleJoyNutella Summer Truck Tour Toronto Zoo #AddALittleJoy

If you're in the Toronto area this week, the nationwide Nutella Truck Tour will be at the Toronto Zoo until July 2 before making its way to Quebec City. Bring the kids to have some fun and even have personalized labels printed out on site. Also, don't forget that I am giving away FOUR Nutella prize packs. But get those entries in today as it closes at midnight.


Monday, June 29, 2015

The Microsoft OneNote Project - Ensuring Success For All Students

It goes without saying that carefully planned implementation of technology in the classroom can benefit students in many ways. In fact, I believe that technology is crucial in the education of our 21st century learners. Today students can gain greater insight more quickly and work together more efficiently than ever before, all the while developing collaborative, communicative and creative thinking skills through the use of technology. But what about students with special needs?


Recently, the Toronto District School Board teamed up with Microsoft on an initiative that will help ensure success for all students, in particular those that require assistive technology. Part of this initiative is the Microsoft OneNote Project which was designed to help students with learning disabilities alleviate anxiety and help them focus on learning, all the while preparing them for their transition to high school. Every student can benefit from it but those who are dyslexic, have ADD/ADHD, or other learning disabilities can achieve greater success by using this program.

Since organizational skills can improve the learning process, the OneNote software is an excellent tool to help students get organized and, in turn, build their confidence. Modelling the use of the software is also key, which is why Angie Scarano-Iuorio, Assistive Technology Central Coordinator with the TDSB, has put together an internal task force that provides resources, training and workshops to help teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. It's all in the name of helping to pave a new road to higher success for all students. 

Kyle, a OneNote pilot project student, shares the benefits he has experienced from using Microsoft OneNote in the following video:


How OneNote helps students:

  1. Students can take notes faster, create keyboard shortcuts and customize the tool bar for their specific needs. 
  2. It keeps all of their information in one place and accessible to them wherever they might be.
  3. They can take notes while recording lectures that can be played back at a later time.
  4. OneNote automatically saves student work.
  5. The search feature is extremely easy to use.
  6. All of their classes can be tabbed at the top and then subsets of the tab on the right to access or add any information needed for the classes.
  7. OneNote can help students who have accessibility issues feel empowered and more organized.
  8. They can take these skills post-graduation into a work setting (ie. put together proposals, create business plans, work on engineering designs, develop lesson plans)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Introducing UGO Wallet Moblie Payment App

Attention, shoppers! How many times have you switched wallets and then found yourself at checkout looking for a loyalty card you swore you had placed in your new one? Maybe it's your credit card you couldn't find. This has happened to me on numerous occasions. I tell myself that if I plan on shopping at a store where I use a loyalty card, I'll just pull it out of my old wallet beforehand. But that rarely never happens. The alternative of lugging around a bulky wallet isn't an option for me, either. Surely, there must be a better solution. Enter UGO Wallet, a free mobile payment app where you can store loyalty cards within a single app on your smartphone. How convenient is that!

UGO Wallet Moblie Payment App #UGOWallet

And just when I thought the app gods had answered my prayers, UGO Wallet takes it a step further and combines loyalty card organization with credit card storage all in one place. Since this mobile payment app has the capability to store your tap and pay TD credit card or PC Financial Mastercard, you can use it for virtually any transaction via select compatible NFC-enabled phones, usually up to a $100 limit. So, if you know the store accepts Visa payWave or Mastercard PayPass, you can rely on UGO Wallet to make your purchase easier. No more scrambling through your purse while at the register. 

UGO Wallet Moblie Payment App #UGOWallet

It's nice to know that UGO Wallet helps to simplify things by de-cluttering your wallet and ensuring that you never miss out on the opportunity to save or collect points. The other day, I used UGO Wallet to collect PC Plus points at my local Valu-Mart and pay for my purchase. As part of this campaign, I was sent an HTC One M8 courtesy of UGO Wallet since the app is not compatible with my current phone, the LG G3. Installation and setup was a cinch as was uploading a digital copy of my loyalty cards. In less than fifteen minutes, I had added eight rewards cards and had begun setup of my TD Visa, which took about another ten minutes for verification.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cooking with Master Chef Graham Elliot #TasteFresh

Cooking with Master Chef Graham Elliot #TasteFresh

Last month, I had the great privilege of cooking with Master Chef Graham Elliot at the Nella Cucina Cooking School here in Toronto. This exclusive experience provided us with the chance to prepare recipes from his new cookbook Cooking Like A Master Chef using Walmart’s revamped fresh food. One of my favourites was his Pan-Seared Salmon With Cabbage Cole Slaw and Whole Grain Mustard. I hope to share the recipe with you very soon. It was SO good!

Cooking with Master Chef Graham Elliot #TasteFresh

My daughter really wanted to come with because she is a huge fan of Master Chef and when I mentioned this to Chef Graham, who is incredibly nice in person, he recorded this special message for her:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nutella Summer Truck Tour and a Breakfast Banana Split Recipe

Nutella Summer Truck Tour and a Breakfast Banana Split Recipe #AddaLittleJoy

You know when two things come together so perfectly, it was like it was always meant to be? That's how I feel about Nutella and banana. I love Nutella and banana on toast. I love Nutella and banana with crepes. And now I have a new combo to add to my breakfast menu that just blew me away: Nutella Breakfast Banana Split! What can I say? I go bananas over Nutella and banana. Nuts, isn't it? If I feel a little ambitious over the weekend, I may even attempt Chef Stefano Faita's current recipe - Grandma's Nutella Breakfast Apple cake. I am hoping he will have some samples available when he comes to Toronto as part of the Nutella Summer Truck Tour. More on that in a bit. Right now, let's get back to how you can add a little joy to your breakfast with a recipe that will wow your family.

Nutella Summer Truck Tour and a Breakfast Banana Split Recipe #AddaLittleJoy

Nutella Breakfast Banana Split Recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Nutella
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) muesli cereal or granola
  • Other great topping ideas: cherries, strawberries, coconut, and chopped nuts.

Directions:

  1. Split banana down the middle to make a "boat."
  2. Add 3 dollops of yogurt down the middle of the banana and spoon 3, 1 tsp (5 ml)-sized dollops of Nutella on top of yogurt. 
  3. Sprinkle with muesli or granola and enjoy immediately with a glass of orange juice. 
Nutella Summer Truck Tour and a Breakfast Banana Split Recipe #AddaLittleJoy

Isn't that amazingly simple? The kids gave me two thumbs up on this one and my daughter doesn't even like bananas! My version is a mini version since I don't have any bowls that were long enough. And, instead of Greek yogurt, I used plain vanilla yogurt since I wasn't sure the kids would like the consistency of it. Because regular yogurt is a little more runny than the Greek kind, my Nutella Breakfast Banana Split didn't look as perfect as in the photo featured on the addjoy.nutella.ca site (which is full of other delicious breakfast recipes) but that didn't stop my kids from digging right in. The granola I used had bits of coconut and chopped nuts in it and added a nice crunchy texture.

Nutella Summer Truck Tour


To help add a little joy to the mornings of Canadians, Nutella will be heading out on a Nutella Truck Tour this summer. The tour runs from June 27 to August 12 and will be a great opportunity for you to try fresh samples of waffles and fruit skewers with Nutella. Best of all, Chef Stefano will be making special appearances at each of the city-stops of the Nutella Summer Truck Tour. These events are perfect for the whole family since there will be personalized Nutella labels printed on-site, coupons, fun games with instant prizes, a personalized photo experience and kid-friendly activities for those waiting in line for samples. The schedule is listed below but you can find more information by visiting addjoy.nutella.ca. 
  • Toronto: June 27 – July 2 at the Toronto Zoo 
  • Quebec City: July 10 – 12 at the Festival d’été 
  • Edmonton: July 23 – 26 at K-Days 
  • Montreal: August 8 – 12 at Balloon Canada