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Martha Stewart Home Office photo 9994277b-030d-4c79-ba55-c501ddee31f1_zpse42192e4.jpg

Martha Stewart Home Office by Avery @Staples Product Review…

“I want to get organized”…. this is what I often hear at this time of year. I wanted to share with you a fantastic organizing product for your home office.. STAPLES Canada sent an assortment of items from the fabulous Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery available exclusively at STAPLES Canada. >>> read more

Oprah's Life Class

Get the lessons we can all use to lead our best possible lives. My journey discovering myself and learning what Oprah has to teach me while visiting Chicago. >>> read more

Small Space, Home Office, Big Impact

A client called me in to discuss ideas for organizing her basement and storage area. She showed me her back storage room. It had a variety of items. >>> read more

Good Food, Great Wine, Fun Friends

I told you a few weeks ago that I had the opportunity to host three of my blogger friends for dinner. So last Friday we got together at my house, chilled some wine, made a meal and had a wonderful time. Our #winewithchicken evening was hosted by these three great sponsors: Chicken Farmers of Canada, Chateau des Charmes Wines and Emily Henry. >>> read more

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#GMFamily Fun, New York City, Life Lesson 9/11

We relived the stories of that horrific morning with our children so that they could understand what we saw, how we felt, where we where. It was 11 years ago... We were incredulous about what was unfolding before our eyes..his would be our ‘Kennedy’ moment – the defining moment of our generation. >>> read more

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Simons–Best Store Ever!–15 Year Old Daughter's favourite Store #BonjourQuebec #DPROFamilyVaca #Shopping #Fashion

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _1Hey there readers this is that crazy, sporty middle child my mother always mentions in her blog posts... This is my first post ever for my mom so I don’t really know how this is going to go but luckily I’m going to be raving about my absolute fave store to you all that my sister, mom and I all have a passion for La Maison SIMONS.

Some may or may not know this store but let me tell you, it can always put a smile on my face.  If you don’t know about Simons, you will be well educated by the end of this post.

Simons is literally a store like no other. You cannot compare it to any other department store or say it is simple a clothing store where people just buy regular clothes.  This is SIMONS, the store that can provide you with the newest, coolest and most beautiful fashion trends in Canada.  Its a store for everyone’s style: hipster, Goth or mainstream. You will fall in love very quickly like I have done (so has my mom, you can read my mom’s review here).

Each time my family takes a trip to Quebec, we always find a day to go to our fave store.  Yes, a day... (or at least an afternoon).

Simon’s is a Quebec based store that is only now coming to Ontario...slowly but surely, don’t worry ladies & gentlemen its coming to a mall near you.  Click here for other locations.  I cannot wait for a Simon’s to come nearer to us, soon my closet will only be filled with Simon’s clothes.  Why do I like it so much?  I know whenever I put on a Simon’s outfit, it will be unique.  It has the best things and they are not things I have found elsewhere.  It is a store you can get lost in (you can easily spend hours upon hours there and never get bored).

Everything in the store is colourful and exciting.  It has clothes for women of all ages and more importantly, it gives them a great sense of style.  Even my beloved 80+ grandmother bought a few pieces at this store...teen to senior they have it all.

Walking through Simons for the first time may seem very overwhelming.  The bright white wall and the colourful clothes make it, literally, breathtaking.  One of my favourite brands in Simon’s is Twik (it is a fashion-forward line).  I did most of my shopping in this area and these are some of the items I picked up...don’t you just love them?

Here is my new A-line white skirt.  It looks and feels like leather and has these tiny pin-prick holes in the material.  I’m wearing it with my black crop top and my new VANS (I bought those at Little Burgundy Shoes– and they were a steal!).  I love mid-summer sales!

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _2

I love this flowy neon pink dress. It has thin straps and has layers of chiffon (that is what my mom said it was called). She also said that the dress just screams my personality – happy, bubbly & fun!

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _3

This was my first score at the Carrefour Laval Store a few days earlier: a khaki ‘combat’ jacket.  I love the length, simple details (the buttons, the pointed tail in the back and the hoody with blue and red polka-dots).  I’m wearing it with my new red ‘lips’ sweater.  Once again, fun, unique and we got a great deal on the sweater, it was just $10!

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _4 

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _5

My most favourite skirt is this black and white maxi-skirt with, not one but two, slits.  I paired it up with a cropped lace top. It was a great top to have in that super hot weather in Quebec City.

 Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _6  Photo 2014-07-14, 7 52 42 PM

One of my favourite areas in the store is their bathing suit section.  They have a great selection of one piece or two piece suits as well as cover-ups and shorts.  I was in the Carrefour Laval Simon store (in Montreal) with my soccer team and I had to buy this great bikini.  Do you like It? I tried what seemed hundreds of them...

Simons @DownshiftingPRO #BonjourQuebec #Fashion #Teens #Shopping _7

There it is... the story of SIMONS my favourite store and all the great things I bought in the Place St. Foy and the Carrefour Laval stores.  I guess I will just have to keep traveling to Quebec with my family so I can see the other locations...

Simons on Social Media:

Facebook

Twitter: @Simons (French) @Simons_eng (English)

Instagram

YouTube


This is one of a series of post from our #BonjourQuebec #DPROfamilyVaca Series.  This is an independent review of La Maison Simon.  No compensation was received.  This post was written by my 15 year old daughter.  I have to admit, I introduced her to Simons years ago and she MUST go if we are anywhere near a location.  We really do love it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Moving Out–Getting Ready for University of Ottawa #LinenChest helps me equip my small space

How many movies have a moving away scene; with the parents all teary-eyed, the van packed to the brim with boxes and a teenager making their final goodbyes before heading off to a distant city for a new life as a university/college student?  Really too many to count but as cliché as it seems, this fall I’ll be that excited and nervous teen “leaving the nest” and I’m sure it will be all too much just like the movies.

At the very end of August, I’ll be moving to Ottawa for post-secondary at the University of Ottawa.  I am really pleased with my decision as Ottawa gives me the opportunity to take my program in French immersion and also offers a CO-OP program.  Ottawa is a beautiful city and I am excited to see what adventures it has for me.

This, of course will be my first time living on my own which can make any teenager a little nervous but I think I’m ready for the challenge.  Having my own room, making my own plans, finding my own transportation and of course making my own food!  I’ll be sharing a kitchenette with the rest of my residence floor so I’ll have access to a fridge, microwave, stovetop and sink. 

Linen Chest  @DownshifitngPRO Kitchen Supplies_1

I am going to try and avoid too much fast food and make use of this kitchenette by making my own food, so I need a good amount of kitchen supplies like plates, cutlery, utensils and pans.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to steal anything from my parent’s kitchen without them noticing, so (not unfortunately) I get all new stuff!  I have made a list of things that I need to bring with me (which you can find at the end of this post).  Found the list on a website to help me gage what it is that I needed.  I add some items and took out some items but for the most part I know I have to hit a good Kitchen store to help me out.  I recently was able to check some items off the list after a trip to our local Linen Chest!

When my mom and I went to the Linen Chest a couple weeks ago we picked up some of the essentials to dorm living: 4 large plates, 4 small plates, 4 bowls, a mixing bowl, colander/strainer, a can/bottle opener, a juice carafe/water pitcher and some very handy silicone lids.  And of course, being the very colourful person that I am, everything is a very bright shade of blue, green, red or yellow!

Linen Chest  @DownshifitngPRO Kitchen Supplies Luminarc_1

My plates and bowls are a bright shade of blue and are from the Luminarc summer collection.  They are ‘extra resistant’ to breaking, dishwasher safe,  microwaveable, extra durable, and ready for some late night snacking and clumsy falls.  And my mixing bowl and colander are a fresh shade of green and are ready for countless servings of pasta and salads. 

 

Linen Chest  @DownshifitngPRO Kitchen Supplies Trudeau

I also really love the Trudeau Silicone lids that we found at Linen Chest.  They are a great way to cover up left overs saving me some much needed cash on plastic wrap and wasted food.  You see I am hoping to buy a mini-fridge so I can keep a few things right in my room instead of the ‘common-area’ fridge.  I’ve read to avoid leaving things in there as they usually go missing.

Linen Chest  @DownshifitngPRO Kitchen Supplies Trudeau _2

Overall we managed to get some great deals because they have an additional 20% off already reduced items so we scored all of this for less then $100 dollars so I still have enough money to pick a few more items. 

Lauren’s List for the Kitchen:

  • Bottle opener
  • Mugs
  • Glasses
  • Wine glasses
  • Shot glasses
  • Kettle
  • Knives, forks and spoons
  • Plates (both small and large)
  • Bowls (for cereal, soup, ice cream, etc.)
  • One-person casserole dish
  • Small frying pan
  • 1 small, 1 large saucepan with lids
  • Tin opener
  • Scissors
  • Sharp cutting knife
  • Cutting board - An extra cutting if you are cutting meat.
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheese grater
  • Breadknife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
  • Sandwich bags
  • Tupperware
  • Plastic mixing owl
  • Plastic Wrap/ Silicone lids
  • Tin foil
  • Strainer
  • Tea towels
  • Oven gloves
  • Washing-up stuff - Washing-up liquid / Dishcloth / Scrubbing brush
  • Tray - For carrying food to your room and to stop you making a mess if you're not eating at a table
  • Chopsticks

Check out Linen Chest on their social media accounts:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram


This is a sponsored post a Linen Chest Gift card was provided to purchase anything we wanted.  We decided to spend it wisely on our University bound daughter.  All opinions are that of @DownshiftingPRO blog.  Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro– Bayfield, Ontario–Hit & Miss -The Beer Was Good - Restaurant Review

We convinced my Aunt from Montreal to come for a visit.  I always like to take some sort of day trip to any number of lovely places within a few hours of London.  Last summer we went back to St. Jacob’s (a perennial favourite). 

Black DogThis time my sister, my mother, my aunt and I headed north to Bayfield, Ontario.  An idyllic, picturesque village on Lake Huron.  It is a lovely, lovely, place to spend a lazy summer afternoon.  We took our time, walking around and browsing and grabbing a quick bite to eat... or so we thought.

I blog, I use social media on a daily (o.k. probably hourly) basis.  I like to write about things I’ve done, places I’ve visited and food I’ve eaten.  It also means that I search for information about the same things from other people. 

I’m social. I work in social media. You can see where I am going with this.  As we drove up, I asked my sister to Google restaurant reviews for eateries.  She found The Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro on TripAdvisor.  I’m a big fan of TripAdvisor, I regularly contribute hotel, attraction and food reviews, so it is a website that I trust.  As she scrolled through the listing of reviews, here were some of the comments:

“Great Pub Experience”

“delicious, thoughtful eats in a lovely old building”

“The whole menu is amazing!”

It was rated as #2 on TripAdvisor.  That is always a good sign.  It was enticing when we drove by and the patio was full.  All good signs for a good eatery.  We decided that with the beautiful weather we would take advantage of the patio.  We asked for a table.  Told there would be a 20 minute wait. He took our name, we walked round a bit.  Killed some time window shopping. We returned 15 minutes later and then waited... and waited. and waited another 15-20 minutes to be seated.  It was going to be worth it. I was sure.  Besides, we were ladies of leisure that day just relaxing and taking the day off. 

Black Dog Pub and Bistro Bayfield @Downshiftingpro

Once seated, we reviewed the menu.  It is an extensive menu with a bit of everything for everyone.  Soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers. Nice combinations of ingredients. The Meatloaf sandwiched looked intriguing. veggie curry, Irish, British, Scottish or Welsh burgers, rigatoni with spicy sausage & eggplant ...   Great variety.

There was a $5 Ontario Beer special that we took advantage of... except the beer we ordered (which was still on promo) was a St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale from Montreal, Quebec.  I thought it was amusing to feature  a Quebec beer when you are promoting Ontario beer.  I shouldn’t complain because I really did love the taste of this beer.  Have one if you have a chance. Winking smile

As we were pretty hungry by this time we quickly decided on what to eat and we order the following dishes:

My mom had the one piece of the Fish and Chips (Haddock in a homemade beer batter):

IMG_20140710_133503[1]

Although the piece of fish was rather big, more then enough for my mother, I found that it was over-cooked.  The batter was very thick and there was a moderate amount of fish inside.  It was a pretty average-tasting piece of fish in my opinion.   Nothing special, nothing to send back. The fries were also a bit too done and were a bit heavy. I would have to say that I would not order this again.

My Aunt had the Roasted Beet Salad:

IMG_20140710_133427[1]

This beet salad had nice flavour and was a reasonable size.  There was lightly marinated beets with goat cheese, arugula and toasted walnuts.  My aunt opted for the milder dressing so we did not get a chance to taste the horseradish vinaigrette.  I love beets and roasted ones taste even better. 

It was a nice salad, but anything that I can make at home, fairly easily, is not a show-stopper for me.  If I returned, I would probably try the Cobb Salad instead (more depth and a greater variety of ingredients).

My sister had the Crispy Chicken Club (panko-crusted chicken breast, double-smoked bacon, avocado mayo, tomato, lettuce and an ace bakery Portuguese bun).  I didn’t take a picture of the Crispy Chicken club because, frankly, it didn’t look that great.  It was over cooked and tasted dry.  Nothing juicy about the chicken in that sandwich.  It sounded good to begin with (avocado mayo?... yum...unfortunately,  you could not taste it at all). One more dish that was nothing special.

I had the Welsh Burger and Caesar Salad (instead of fries):

IMG_20140710_133405[1]

First and foremost, I have to say that after tasting my  mother’s fries, I was pretty glad that I went with the Caesar Salad.  It had crispy bacon (yum) and the usual fixings’ but the dressing lacked flavour.  ADD some more Garlic please, Black Dog Pub... it is a Caesar after all, not a ‘Ranch’ dressing salad.

As we get to the burger we will make our way from top to bottom.  Artisanal bun (yummy), lettuce, tomatoes, pickles (standard stuff).  Then the fun stuff: a fried egg (good but would have been better if the yolk had not be broken already).  By the time it came to my table,  the yolk had soaked into the bun and spread over most of my plate.  Good taste but not a pleasant sight.  Then you hit the red dragon cheddar (good enough)... and then THE LEEKS...wait, where are the leeks?  They (and the fried egg) were the reasons I order this big daddy burger, I was pressed to find them.  I eventually found them, well hidden under the cheddar cheese. *sigh* Leeks cooked in butter have a subtle onion flavour and are a treat when done well.  This was not the case in my Welsh Burger.  They were super-thin, not very many and overshadowed by the cheese.

OK... We finally come to the “8 oz. grass-fed Canadian Beef” patty.  Oh... this is going to be good... I know it...

Disappointment yet again.

The beef lacked any good seasoning (it was pretty bland) and to top things off, they had cooked it well beyond the medium-rare that I requested.  This was well done and dry. Very, very dry.

Man ‘o man... I was so disappointed.  I was looking forward to a big juicy burger and all I got was bland, dried and uneventful.

Did I send it back?  I would have. Any other time, I would have sent it back but I didn’t because you see, we received our meal probably 55 minutes to an hour after we were seated.  Yes... ONE HOUR.  I knew if I sent it back, it would take forever to get a new one.  I was starving by now and that was not going to work.  Besides, how do you send back 3 out of 4 dishes?

It was frustrating enough that we had to ask when our meal was coming once the table of FOUR behind us was being served and they had arrived significantly after us.  “They are having salads”  is what she told us.  Really, that is what you have for us?  What about all those tables of two that have gotten their food?

What does that mean?  It means a mediocre meal was then brought to us.

So picture this: 

  • We waited 30 + minutes for our table
  • We waited 55 + minutes for our meal
  • They were full but not unreasonably full
  • Everything BUT the salad was over cooked

Ranked # two on TripAdvisor?  Not in my books.

Would I recommend The Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro? No. 

Why:  Overall the experience, the food and the service was underwhelming.

Rating:

Star and half Star out of five


This is an opinion piece and a restaurant review.  All opinions are my own... your experience may be different but I tasted all the dishes (I would have ordered any of them). 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Love @SimplyNatural #BBQ sauces–Part of #HealthyShopper $225 Gift Bag Giveaway

Keep is simple.

Keep it natural.

Keep it tasty.

This is my philosophy on cooking and that is all that I do.  I am the daughter of a Chef (yes, a real one that use to work in restaurants and private clubs).  That being said, I am not a fabulous cook.  I use good ingredients to keep my family healthy and happy.  As part of that equation, I have become a big fan of Simply Natural Sauces.  Last year I fell in love with their Salsa and Pasta Sauces (that you can get at Costco I might add...go...go...go).

This year in my Spring Healthy Shopper gift bag, I received three BBQ sauces to try out.  I decided to go with a standard and make some chicken drumsticks in the oven.  I asked my daughter to assist me. 

DownshiftingPRO #Chicken #SimplyNaturalSauces_1

Start with some very fresh drum sticks

Add some tasty Simply Natural BBQ sauce in either Tangy, Honey or Smokey...

DownshiftingPRO #Chicken #SimplyNaturalSauces_2

DownshiftingPRO #Chicken #SimplyNaturalSauces_3

Smother the drumsticks in yummy sauce and let them marinate for about
20 minutes...

DownshiftingPRO #Chicken #SimplyNaturalSauces_4

Place them on top of a roasting pan and then let them cook for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

I wish I could let you see the end results but as soon as they got out of the oven... THEY WERE GONE...

You still have time to enter the #HealthyShopper Gift Bag Giveaway with over $225 worth of products from great companies like:

Earth Balance, Maison Orphée, Simply Natural and coupons for Olympic Diary products.

 


The Healthy Shopper Coupon book has encouraged consumers to try high-quality natural and organic products at more affordable prices.  Its book Unjunk Your Junk Food has become a trusted source for helping families eat healthier and live better.

“It is the #1 coupon book for natural and organic products in Canada….We are passionate about the natural health industry and we practice what we preach. That is why we created The Healthy Shopper™ coupon book – to encourage more Canadians to pursue and/or maintain a more natural lifestyle while saving money.
As you know, natural products can be expensive. However, The Healthy Shopper™ Coupon Book  and our online E-coupons enable you to buy high quality natural and organic products in Canada at more affordable prices – therefore providing you with a wide range of healthy alternatives!”

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

WordlessWednesday–Funny things we saw on our #Quebec Adventures


@DownshiftingPRO Quebec Family Vacation _ 1

Creepy Store Mannequins in Baie St Paul Store


2014-06-30 12.33.31

@DownshiftingPRO Quebec Family Vacation _ 2

People caring their dog in a knapsack in Old Montreal


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Did You Know that I have multiple Twitter Accounts? @DownshiftingPRO @LinkedMoms ? Win $100 Amazon GC–Twitter Blast

@DownshiftingPRO Twitter header july 2014

DID YOU KNOW…

That you can follow me on a few different accounts?

My main account is @DownshiftingPRO

I share content from my blog as well as other resources.  Its where I interact the most and you can find me there 24/7… o.k. maybe 18/7…

My second account is @4LinkedLearning

I share content from my other blog and also content about social media points of interest.

My last and shared account with is @Linkedmoms

I share this account with Paula Schuck from Thriftymomma’s Tips @Inkscrblr – we communicate with our community about Sponsored Twitter Parties, Twitter chats featuring tips, resources and general topic info.  Our LinkedMom’s Blog has a list of upcoming twitter parties and how you can get a hold of us to host a party for you!

  • Posts go live at 11:59 PM EST July 8 – July 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST
  • Remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter
  • Contest is open to Canada and the US

You can also win a $100 Amazon gift card if you enter below…

amazonblast Makobi Scribe is bringing you this Amazon Twitter blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Enter to Win $300 USD via Paypal in the #SizzlingSummer Cash Giveaway

Welcome to the Sizzling Summer Cash Giveaway

Organized by: DownshiftingPRO

SizzlingSummer_Button_Final

Baby its Hot Outside.

Its time for another great Cash giveaway organized by  DownshiftingPRO and a group of Canadian Bloggers and they want to give you some spending money so you can have some family fun.

We are giving away

$300 USD

Cash via PayPal

Enter below

Remember: You can’t Win if You don’t Enter

 

 

Contest Rules: To enter, just use the Giveaway Tools form above.  In order to win, you must have a PayPal account (no other form of payment will be issued).  If it doesn’t load after a minute or so, refresh your browser.  Contest is void where prohibited.  Only one IP address per household is eligible to win. This giveaway is open to World Wide to PayPal account holders, aged 18 and older.  Giveaway ends August 6, 2014 at 11:59pm ET.  Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize otherwise a new winner will be chosen.  No exceptions to this rule. .  Good luck!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Do you Instagram? 5 Reasons Why Instagram is Gold for business owners– Win $100 Amazon GC–July 1-7 (Open Canada/US)

image

I love Instagram.  Once I understood the fun of using pictures to tell a story, a mood or just celebrate an event, I was hooked.

 I did a series of presentations for my fellow professional organizers in the spring introducing them to the virtues of working with Twitter.  The next logical extension to Twitter is Instagram.  Why? Instagram

Instagram is similar to Twitter in that you have followers and you can also follow people but for those that want to work with more then 140 characters and show a video or a picture, this is where you need to be.

Top 5 reasons Instagram is GOLD for business owners:

  1. Instagram is visual.  Whether you are taking a picture or showing a 15 second video, you have the ability to ‘showcase’ your products.  Nothing gets more interaction on Facebook and RT on Twitter then pictures.

    This short video gives a shout out to Gaylea Sour Cream. An ingredient that I used to make really yummy mashed potatoes.  It just give you a quick message without all the fuss of a commercial. 



    Since you have the capacity to share your Instagram post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare, you can share post multiple times in the platforms that love pictures.
  2. Instagram has the capacity to hold a written message that is longer then 140 characters.  Since a Twitter message has this restriction, you can use Instagram to say MORE. This means that you have the ability to give your clients more information about the product, where to buy, and how to find it. 

    image
  3. Hashtags are a staple of Instagram.  Sure you find them in Twitter and now even Facebook will let you search a topic using a hashtag. The popularity of hashtags cannot be underestimated.  When I post a food picture and add a #foodie hashtag, I get more Red heart and comments from Instagram users that are not necessarily following me.  What does that mean?  It means more exposure for you.  I also find that these people also tend to start ‘following’ you because we have a common ‘love’.

    Using multiple hashtags lets you cast a wider net for those that are looking for your product.  Say you sell furniture. You take a picture of a vignette you have set up then hashtag the #chair #sofa #endtable #cocktailTable #livingroom #familyroom highlighting #homedecor #homedecorating and #design. Can you see in that short example how many different ‘attention’ getters there are in just one post... Genius!

  4. Instagram lets you take videos too.  It can be a few seconds or up to 15 seconds.  I love the ability to make short, concise, targeted videos and then include the hashtag for the item in the description. 

    You can take one long consecutive video or short vignettes that will be all pieced together to create one message.  I tend to love these the most.  It is amazing how creative people can be.

  5. Instagram now has a bazillion apps that help you customize, edit, cartoonify (yes, I made up that word), collage and label your pictures so you can actually have multiple pictures in one Instagram post. 

    image

    So as a business, you can post various pictures of different shoes and then splash a banner across the front saying “TODAY ALL SHOES ARE 25% OFF”. 

  • Posts go live at 11:59 PM EST July 1-7 at 11:59 pm EST
  • You won’t win if you don’t enter
  • Make sure and look around at the wonderful Instagram accounts to find new and interesting people to follow.
amazonblast Makobi Scribe is bringing you this Amazon Instagram blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Stratford Festival–Crazy for You–Review

One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was because he loved going to the theatre.  His parents had seasons tickets to the theater in Vancouver when they were growing up.  I have always loved going to dramas and musicals when I was in Montreal but my true love of the theater developed each an every year that I have attended Stratford.

Crazy for YouThe last time my in-laws came to visit we went to the to see Elf at the Grand Theatre.  It was so much fun.  There is nothing like live theatre to bring a story to life. 

This year we decided to go to see the musical Crazy for You. 

This musical is a ‘rollicking’ good fun.  I have to say that the beginning of the musical is a bit weak with a few uneventful songs.  I have seen quite a few musicals and I don’t know if the male lead, Josh Franklin, was up for the part.  His voice was good but his dancing skills I thought were not as strong as some of the other dancers.  I think that when you have the lead in THE musical of the season you have to be top notch.  Not so with much with Franklin.  Polly Barker, played by Natalie Daradich also was a bit weak.  I don’t know, maybe I have higher standards but I clearly remember the 2012 production of 42nd Street with Jennifer Rider-Shaw as a stand-out performance of singing and dancing.

 

2014-06-25 22.54.50 

2014-06-25 22.55.35

All that set aside, the production takes on a whole new dimension when the whole ensemble of cowboys and show girls takes stage.  The production numbers are complex and must be managed precisely.  The Festival Theatre at the Stratford Festival is a almost a complete circle and is fantastic for these types of performances.  The Director and Choreographer, Donna Feore, used her talents well as the ensemble delivers entertaining and ‘show-stopping’ numbers.  This is her 20th season with Stratford and has directed and choreographed other wonderful productions including, Fiddler on the Roof, Charlie Brown, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oklahoma!, Oliver!

My daughter noted that some of the songs were also in the Broadway show that we saw a few summer ago, Great Work if You Can Get it staring Matthew Broderick.  It just goes to show that these musical productions do stay with your children.  My son, who is 13, absolutely loved Crazy For You.  The subtle (and not so subtle) jokes made him laugh out loud.  That is one of the main reasons we love going to the theatre with them.

Overall the production comes together best when the ensemble is on stage.  It has humour, great dancing and singing and is entertaining.  I would recommend that you go and enjoy the show.  We certainly did.

StarStarStar and a half Star

Crazy for You

The New Gershwin Musical
Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
Book by Ken Ludwig

Festival Theatre
April 21 to October 12
Opens May 27
Approximate running time:
2 hrs 42 min, including one interval

About the Musical
Sent to Deadrock, Nevada, to foreclose on a derelict theatre, banker Bobby Child falls for its owner’s daughter, Polly Baker. Can he reconcile the demands of duty and love – and his own dreams of dancing? “I Got Rhythm,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” are just some of the gems in this dynamic musical’s dazzling score.

Buy Now

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wordless Wednesday – @BlueJays Baseball with three generations: Grandpa, Son & Grandson #priceless

It Just Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This... Three generations of Ibbott men at a Blue Jays Game.  Very, very special moment for my son, my hubby and my father-in-law because my FIL lives in BC.  My son came back happy to have spent the day with his grandpa... Moments like this are #priceless.


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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Why a Furniture Store Needs to be on Pinterest + Win $100 Amazon Gift Card–Pinterest Blast

Furniture on Pinterest @DownshiftingPRO(3)There are so many ways that you can use Pinterest for business. If you are a furniture store why would you  not use it to promote your store?  In the spring I was with my ‘partner in crime’ Paula Schuck from @Inkscrblr and @LinkedMoms and we were shopping for different pieces of furniture for her office.  As we went from store to store we naturally were drawn to their Facebook pages, twitter and Instagram handles and of course their pinterest boards.

It is intuitive for both of us to find what we want on-line before we go to a store.  We tend to be very busy so narrowing down our options and saving on time is important.  Right?  We were surprised to find that a large furniture store (franchise locations in Canada and the US, so yes, very big) had virtually no presence on-line.  Is that possible?  Do you really think that social media is a fad?  You don’t have a budget for it? Honestly, you could pay for a social media expert with the sale of 3 or 4 sofas and you would reap the benefits of more customers walking through your doors.  The thing is, I bet you there are people that know absolutely nothing about your store because you don’t tell people about it.  Can you imagine if you actually showed them what you HAD in your store? Genius, right?  They’ll actually know you are a furniture store not a store with a big empty parking lot.

Why is Pinterest so important for business?  Because is is a visual bulletin board where people can keep their ‘swatches’.  If you currently  have people come into your store and show you the page that they ripped out of a magazine, this is no different because they may have found it on-line.  Showing you their ‘swatch’ on their phone or tablet is what a person looking for a piece of furniture does these days. 

So Mr. We don’t have the time and resources to DO social media... Hire someone.  Or better yet, find me on LinkedIN... Call me Smile.

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Here are the pictures I took while I was at the store.  I would love to  let you know the name of the store but I have to admit, I won’t be going to advertising for them as I found the store manager very ‘condescending’ when we asked if he had any social media accounts that we could follow.  We don’t have any use for it... Ok. 

You tell me:  Don’t you think that you may be interested if you saw these pictures on a Pinterest board or Instagram?  I know that when I add to either one of these platforms, they get added right away to Twitter.

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  • Posts go live at 11:59 PM EST June 22-28 at 11:59 pm EST

  • You can’t win if you don’t enter

  • I’m # 16 on the form so  be sure and make your way there and follow me on Twitter.

  • All Winners are posted on the Giveaway Tools Form when contest closes

amazonblast Makobi Scribe is bringing you this Amazon Pinterest blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.