Apr 15, 2015

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.


As you know, I am not shy to admit I dye my own hair. I save money and buy DIY hair dye kits at the drugstore and my bathroom is my salon. Although I have done it for years, I am still skeptical when trying new products or changing brands, what colour to pick and what not to do. I recently had the opportunity to ask my questions to Stuart Ross, Vidal Sassoon Atelier Colourist and here is the helpful advice I received: 

1. What is your best tip to achieve that "fresh from the salon" look even weeks after using DIY at home hair colouring kits?

I tell my clients to wait at least 48 hours to wash after coloring hair, this allows the hair color to completely penetrate the hair shaft. In terms of maintaining your colour, water is the biggest factor in color fade, due the oxidative minerals in wash water that can cause free radicals and affect hair quality. Make sure you use a shampoo and conditioner designed to protect colored hair. Sun protection is also a big factor so don’t forget to protect your hair, VS Leave In Conditioner is a great way to do this. Heated styling can also play a part so try using a lower temperature when styling, and always use a heat protector product.

2. Is it ok to change at home dye brands each time you dye your hair or is it safer to stick to one brand? Why?

No two formulas for hair color are the same but Vidal Sassoon Salonist™ has been designed specifically to meet the needs of women who want to color their hair in the comfort of their own home, making the salon experience more accessible.

3. What's the difference between at-home dye and the kind salons use (other than the stylist’s expertise of course!!)?

In salons, colorists know that an essential component of great hair color is to treat roots and lengths separately because new hair growth and previously colored hair absorb color at different rates. Vidal Sassoon is now giving women the tools and techniques to do this at home in order to master the art of rich color with full depth and tone.

Inspired by the original salon genius Vidal Sassoon, Vidal Sassoon Salonist™ innovative 2-step technique means the home hair color system treats roots and lengths of the hair separately as done in salons. 

4. What is the best way to lighten your hair color after going a darker shade without resorting to bleaching?

Whether you are dyeing your hair darker or lighter, you should only lift two levels lighter or go down two levels darker. If you’re going lighter, a cool or ashy tone will counteract brassiness, which is an unwanted side effect of the lightening process. Since you are adding pigment when you go darker, hair can appear thicker and glossier. Lightening hair can have a similar effect but is caused by the texture of the hair shaft changing rather than the cuticle filling up.

5. What is your best tip for keeping your hair color vivid and full of life between dyes?

Develop a Personal Care routine, each of us are different and treat our hair accordingly. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. I think the best rule for maximizing the life of your Color is moderation - don't over-wash, over-style or over-stress your hair. Look after it and it will repay you.

6. What shade do you think is the "go-to" color for the spring/summer season? What's popular and what's not?


“This summer’s must-have look will see a return to believable, rich color, dramatic shades such as platinum blond as well as techniques including ombre and balayage will take a step back as people seek color with depth and tones. There also are some great benefits to this understated trend, as it is very low maintenance. It’s also easy to make the achieve this realistic color with Vidal Sassoon Salonist, this innovative new home hair color uses a 2-step technique to treat roots and lengths differently. This means that virgin roots absorbing color for the first time are treated differently to previously colored hair to achieve natural looking, rich all over color. With a range of 24 shades from classic golden blonde to rich, natural looking browns there has never been better time to rediscover your roots!”

I think after this e-mail interview and having used Vidal Sassoon at-home products before, I will definitely go with the new Vidal Sassoon Salonist. I think the hardest part will be deciding which shade to go for this time! 

For more information about Vidal Sassoon Salonist please visit the official Vidal Sassoon website!

WIN IT!

I want you to enjoy new Vidal Sassoon Salonist too and P&G was lovely enough to offer me up some full product coupons to give away to TWO (2) lucky AME readers! Enter using the ballot below!

Open to Canadians 18+ excluding Quebec. Mandatory entry must be done for extras to count. Winner will be drawn at random using GiveawayTools on April 29th, 2015. Valid email address and skill testing question to qualify. Winners have 48 hours to claim before prize is redrawn. More about giveaways can be found here

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected.



Good Luck!

Apr 13, 2015

When you're little, the world is a big place filled with endless possibilities for exploring and learning. There are so many things a little imagination can come up with when it comes to play time, it's no wonder they can play for hours!  


The Little People Animal Friends Farm has been around since 1978 and is an iconic toy that so many generations have had the chance to play with. Although this special playset has changed over the years, it still gives you and your toddler a great opportunity to learn and play together. 

The Little People Animal Friends Farm has lots of animals and farm fun, giving both you and your kids a chance to participate and learn as they play. By opening the barn door or the gate, you can hear animal sounds and a fun farm tune to help teach animals sounds. Your little farmers can help Farmer Eddie place the animals in their stalls by matching them to their pictures, learning matching and sorting skills. Drop the bale of hay (or even the animals!) through the silo for even more creative farming fun!

extra Little People not included. We have some from previous sets! :)
Just about everyone we know has grown up with at least one Fisher-Price playset and my kids are no different. Our youngest, Little M loves anything to do with Little People and animals. She loves to make believe with her toys, she loves learning, counting, matching, naming and so on. The Little People Animals Friends Farm is a perfect fit for her and I am happy to introduce her something I know she will enjoy over and over again.


As you can see in our video, she's right in there engaged in her imagination and Little People Animal Friends Farm!

This toy has brought so much learning and joy to so many little ones, Fisher-Price is helping children explore more by launching Little People World of Savings this April! Coupons are available at Walmart and Toys "R" Us. Coupons are available in aisle at Toys "R" Us for $5 off Farm & Home, $10 off any purchase of $55 or more, and $15 off any purchase of $75 or more. 

For more information about Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm please visit the official website!

WIN IT!

Explore the world of Fisher-Price Little People with your little one! One lucky AME reader has the chance to win a Little People Animal Friends Farm ($39.99 value) on behalf of #PlayAdvocates! :-D

Please fill out the entry ballot below to be eligible to win! Open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec). Mandatory entry must be done to qualify. One entry per household. Ends April 29th, 2015!

By entering this giveaway you understand the terms and conditions on AME. Your information will not be shared unless you are drawn winner in which it will be shared with representatives of Mattel.




Posted in participation with the Mattel #PlayAdvocates Ambassadorship. Complimentary product provided as a thank you. Prize provided by Mattel. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.

Apr 12, 2015

Kids repeat things they hear, they test limits and they say words even though they have no idea what they really mean and use them all wrong. There are times our kids say things that make us burst out laughing but other times they come out with things that can make our jaws drop and one of them is swearing. When I grew up, adults didn't hold their tongues. If they swore while the kids were in earshot, the kids knew better than to go around swearing or at least get caught swearing. It was a grown up thing just like it still is today although we hear kids younger and younger using bad language.


We do swear sometimes. I won't lie. It comes out, we are only human. When I stub a toe, slam a finger or get a cupboard door in the forehead that bad word censor just disappears. I've seen the looks on my kids faces when they hear me swear too. Shock like MOM, how could you say that! I'm to the point when I do catch myself swearing in front of them I apologize and tell them I should have used other words. Which is true, it's not nice to swear.

The first time my oldest said a "bad word" was when she was a toddler. We were going to the mall and some guy was on his cell phone and said "what the F-K" as we passed by him. Well, little K liked that phrase and instantly repeated it! Wonderful. Luckily we didn't make a big deal about it and she eventually forgot about it by the time we left the mall from shopping.

Another more embarrassing time is when she was in preschool and we got a call from her teacher. They let us know our little three year old swore. She spilled juice on her shirt and said "My F-ing shirt is wet!". We explained to her that was a bad word to use. Again, an isolated and innocent incident. K is almost 11 now and she is appalled when she hears swearing whether it be by us, by her peers or even in movies.

My son is a different story. He's always been an overall good kid, never one to do anything out of spite. He's not naturally mean. He never swore before and now recently he's decided to test out the swear word waters according to his sister. I thought she was maybe exaggerating the truth to get him in trouble. That was until I caught him in the act. 

We were playing with cars this weekend, we made a cool track and everything. I placed a car on the ramp to send it flying and he says "let's F this car up!". I wasn't sure if I heard him correctly, when I repeated it and asked if that's what I heard he tried to convince me he said something else. When he realized I wasn't buying the lie he gave up and apologized for saying that. I told him to please use other words. He could have used "mess this car up" or something else. I gave him a few examples off the top of my head. 

I'm not sure if it was the actual swear word or the violence of the phrase coming out of my 7 year old that bothers me more. I know kids will be kids etc but you don't have to F anything up to have fun. When I asked him where he heard that phrase he told me he and his friends at school have contests where they see who can swear the most. I felt my heart sink, oh boy.

I can tell him it's not a nice game, which I have. I can tell him not to play with those boys anymore, which I have. We had a long talk about how bad words don't sound nice, they can hurt people's feelings, they aren't words for kids to use and so forth. Will he listen? I don't know. I didn't yell or freak out about it, that never solves anything. I just talked to him hoping it doesn't just go in one ear and out the other. We can't wrap our kids up in a plastic bubble and protect them from the bad things in this world but we can guide them and try our best to educate them to make the right decisions. 

For now all I can do is keep an eye (or an ear) on him and correct if I hear it again like any other negative behaviour. I'm just hoping it's a phase and it doesn't become a habit for him or there isn't a more serious reason behind it. 

Have you dealt with swearing and your kids? I'd love to hear your advice! Leave a comment and lets chat! 

Posted by AME. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author.

Apr 10, 2015

Time goes by way too fast! There are only a few more weeks left until the BConnected Conference and I cannot wait! Before we know it we will be learning in amazing sessions, networking with brands we love and mingling with our favourite blogging friends! There is so much happening at BConnected you won't want to miss out!

If you live in Ottawa and want to break the ice ahead of time, why not come to our 2nd annual BConnected Conference Tweetup! 

It's taking place next THURSDAY, APRIL 16th from 7:30pm at Big Rig's in the Gloucester shopping centre here in Ottawa

If you are attending or planning on attending the conference, coming to the tweetup is a great way to break the ice and get to know some fellow attendees plus some of us team members will be there too! Plus, you might just win a really nice door prize! We'd love to see you there!

Click here to learn more and RSVP for the BConnected Conference TWEETUP! Hope to see you there! 




Posted by AME in participation with the BConnected Conference as Community Outreach and media sponsor. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

Winter is finally winding down and I think its safe to say the nicer weather is here to stay! It's time to let your hair down from that toque and show your face from behind that scarf, spring has finally sprung! The long-cold winter months have probably taken their toll, making us feel like we want to go into hiding. Our hair and skin dried out from the elements and maybe our smile could use a little brightening. Although I do take care of myself during the winter months, its always nice to treat yourself to an at home DIY mini makeover. The house and yard aren't the only things that may need a little spring maintenance, get fabulous with these great products from Pantene, Olay and Crest!

Has winter left your hair lifeless? Don't worry, Pantene has you covered with Dry Defy Shampoo and Conditioner along with Velvet Creme Infusion, designed for women like you and I with dry hair that's lost it's natural movement and shine. It's great if you're hair has been feeling a little less than great from the winter weather. With an easy three-step system,  your hair will have bounce back in no time! 





Is your favourite hair colour looking dull just after a couple of washes? Pantene Fade Defy shampoo and conditioner paired with Pantene Vibrant Color Magnifying Gloss after washing will have your colour looking fresh and new for longer. Anyone who uses at-home colouring kits will want to grab this collection on their next drugstore run.

During the winter months skin can be left feeling dry and itchy, new Olay Fresh Outlast Body wash can change that. It's formulated to work with our natural skin PH leaving skin feeling soft, smooth and not to mention smelling wonderful with four premium scents like White Strawberry & Mint! 



Lastly, get ready for those springtime selfies with Crest 3D White Brilliance toothpaste to keep those teeth looking their whitest! Also try new Crest 3D White Brilliance boost, a polishing treatment to amplify your smiles brilliant whiteness. 



With the sunshine calling your name to get out and face the world, you'll want to be looking and feeling your best! Check out the full line of Pantene, Olay and Crest 3D White products by visiting www.PGeveryday.ca!


WIN IT! 


Shed those winter layers and get ready for spring with P&G! One lucky AME reader has the chance to win this fab spring prize pack which includes:


Pantene Dry Defy Shampoo & Conditioner- $9.99 each*
Pantene Velvet Cr̬me Infusion Р$11.99*
Pantene Fade Defy Shampoo & Conditioner- $ 9.99*
Pantene Vibrant Color Magnifying Gloss- $11.99*
Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash- $5.49*
Crest 3D Brilliance Boost - $5.99*

*Pricing at discretion of retailer

Open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec). Mandatory entry must be done for extras to count. Winner will be drawn at random using GiveawayTools on April 30th, 2015. Valid email address and skill testing question to qualify. Winners have 48 hours to claim before prize is redrawn. More about giveaways can be found here

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. Good Luck!



Apr 9, 2015

Bullying is no joke. We see it in the workplace, in our schools, neighbourhoods and on our streets. It's hit close to home with our own kids being harassed daily by certain kids at school. Not wanting to go to school because they feared the worst.  Having the same story day in and day out with nobody working together to try and stop it. I was bullied by peers at one point or another in life. It's not a joke to be nasty to someone because it makes you feel powerful. Luckily in our case, it has stopped but it doesn't always. You know, you've heard the tragic news stories. It's becoming too much, it's always been too much. People need to work together and help put a stop to this unfortunate problem. 

I'm proud to support RioCan, Canada’s largest real estate company who are taking a stand against bullying with the launch of the Red Dot Safe Spot campaign, in partnership with Leave Out Violence (LOVE), a North American non-profit organization, that has over 20 years of experience helping youth challenged by violence become leaders of violence prevention, by declaring all of its properties across Canada ‘bully-free’ zones. 


To officially launch the Red Dot Safe Spot campaign, RioCan is hosting three events – at Lawrence Square April 9th 3:30pm, Yonge Eglinton Centre April 18th 2pm, and Georgian Mall in Barrie April 25th 2pm.

They are bringing together a panel of speakers including psychologist Sara Dimerman, some of the cast of Degrassi and LOVE, and will be putting the spotlight on bullying and discussing ways to eradicate this debilitating social issue. 


Attend the events and support this initiative to help more neighbourhoods become no-bully zones. For more information about this please visit www.reddotsafespot.ca 

Out of the area like me and can't attend the events? Show your support by joining the #RedDotSafeSpot Twitter party Wednesday April 15th at 7pm EST! No RSVP! Hosts will be @Degrassi @Ont_Love @HelpMeSara and @ShesConnected


Let's make the world a no-bully zone, one safe spot at a time! 


*Posted by AME on behalf of RioCan. Compensation was received however opinions and comments on this subject are honest and my own*



Apr 8, 2015

Going to the spa is a great chance to take advantage of total reflection and relaxation. We all could use the special treatment from time to time. 

We did not go to this spa personally (although it looks and sounds amazing!) but we did have a guest blogger, Samantha Ball from I Tell Stories Samanthaball.ca and a guest go on our behalf! Here are her thoughts about the whole experience!

I consider Perth to be my “second home” – my grandmother’s family can trace roots to the area’s early years, my husband’s family all live in Perth and I spend a lot of time here. I even got married in Perth. I stayed the night before my wedding at the lovely Drummond House, exchanged wedding vows in Stewart Park, had my reception at the unique Crystal Palace, and my wedding night at the gorgeous Perth Manor. Oh, yeah, and I am a regular at the memorable Perth Kilt Run in the summers.

I thought I knew this town inside and out but there’s always a new gem to discover.
Tay River AQUA is a new outdoor Nordic-style Spa Experience in my favourite pretty little town. You can choose either a full day or evening experience. The features include in-ground hot tubs, outdoor shower, dry sauna, outdoor fireplace, a variety of indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, outdoor trails, access to the fitness centre, and a fully licensed lounge for dining. For those that would like to eat here, they are in good hands. Tay River AQUA’s Executive Chef, Kevin van Berkel has over 30 years’ experience in the food industry.
Background
Though Tay River AQUA is new, its origins aren’t. It is an expansion of Tay River Reflections Medical Spa which first opened as a small spa in 1999 in a Perth strip mall. A physiotherapy clinic was added to the services available in 2000 and in 2001, their Fitness Centre, T’n’T, was created. In June 2005, Tay River Reflections found a new home in a renovated horse stable – with many  of its original architectural features such as high ceilings and beams maintained and integrated into the new look.
Founder and Medical Director, Dr. Manuela Joannou, is very hard-working. Outside of this venture, you can also find her working in the emergency room and at her family practice in Perth.
The inspiration to expand Tay River Reflections and open AQUA came when it was realized that though the spa was thriving, it mainly catered to local folks. The opportunity was there to provide a destination experience that would attract those from outside the area as well. It is the only outdoor hot tub facility in the region. 
AQUA offers not only a place for corporate retreats, parties, birthdays, and relaxing getaways, it is also an interesting new option for those planning a wedding in Perth!
Founder & Medical Director, Dr. Manuela Joannou
Dr. Joannu is very passionate about helping others through not only helping people improve their health and relaxation, but also through helping entrepreneurs and those looking for inspiration to meet their goals.
An interesting upcoming event April 28 and May 27 at AQUA is “Mastermind Reflections at Tay River AQUA” where “entrepreneurs, dreamers and those looking for new strategies” can have an inspirational brainstorming day where they “share ideas with other interesting people while relaxing in a hot tub or sauna, mingling in one of the lounge areas, or while walking on a beautiful trail along the river.” Sounds like a great opportunity!
My Experience at AQUA
Leading up to the Tay River AQUA Bloggers Event on Friday March 27, I was brimming with excitement. I have a three year old daughter, Mary, so any evenings or days dedicated to relaxation are numbered, to say the least.
When I arrived, I was greeted at the front desk by cheerful staff and made my way upstairs to the lounge area, which is beautifully decorated with views of nature as far as the eye can see.
Friendly staff at Tay River AQUA
There, I met the founder, Dr. Manuela Joannou, who is lovely and very committed to making the facility the best that it can be. I chatted with her about her desire to make Tay River AQUA a destination for people like me from out of town. She’s very forward thinking and even has plans to build cabins on the property so guests can stay overnight if they wish. I think this would be a great value-add to the experience!
After talking with Dr. Joannou, I was taken on a personal tour of not only AQUA, but also T’n’T, their fitness centre with a variety of equipment and an indoor track, the physiotherapy area, and the medical spa itself, where services range from typical spa offerings such as pedicures to more specialized medical esthetics such as leg vein therapy. These services are available on their own, or can complement the AQUA experience.
I was very impressed with the facility as a whole and the variety of services available to renew and refresh.
Friendly Tay River AQUA Staff
After my tour, I was more than ready to change into my robe and start partaking in what was available at AQUA. I spent time in the sauna, chatting with other bloggers. My date, my friend Sarah from Ottawa, arrived while I was in the sauna, and joined us for some nice conversation.
Sarah was coming from downtown Ottawa, and had an errand to do after work. Even though she was driving from downtown and leaving later than planned, she still made it to AQUA in plenty of time to enjoy a few hours of relaxation on a Friday evening. AQUA is very accessible to those from outside of Perth.
After the sauna, Sarah and I went to the heated gazebo to have a drink and chat. We hadn’t seen each other in a month or so, so this was a great opportunity to catch up. We then moved on to the hot tubs for the remainder of our evening.
The experience was especially heightened by the fact that when I arrived, the sun was setting, and snow was swirling around. The combination of hot and cold was wonderful. The location is very private and quiet, which is great for those who don’t want to drive too far, but want to get away from the hustle and bustle of a city.
We went back inside to the upstairs lounge area, and I had some of the hors d’oeuvres prepared by the chef for our event – delicious!
Sarah and I left just after 10 pm and she was back home in downtown Ottawa in about an hour. I was lucky enough to just have a 5 minute drive to my in-laws.
Sarah and I are both looking forward to coming back again and I have already been telling friends about this great destination option.

I highly recommend the Tay River AQUA experience!

Thank you Samantha, for sharing your experience with us! You can follow Samantha on Twitter @I_Tell_Stories


Guest post published by AME. Complimentary media pass provided to guest poster. Comments and opinions are those of the author. 


Apr 7, 2015

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own. 


Did you know that how your home smells sends a message to guests about who you are? It's true! If you're room smells like a college dorm, you're bound to get the reputation of someone who doesn't exactly clean up after themselves. If your home smells like your favourite fresh scent, people know you take care of the home your loved ones live in plus it always makes one feel good when they have great scent decor!



What is scent decor? A personally identifiable scent profile - delivered only by Downy Unstopables - that one may use to upscale their environment. According to celebrity designer Nate Berkus, scent is actually crucial to elevating your decor, building an association to you and your home. By adding small touches like ones found in the new Unstopables collection, you can easily transform any room into a haven. One of the easiest and elegant ways to up the ante in any space with a lot of impact, for not a lot of money. 

video

Often we can easily find ourselves trying to get the best of everything, keeping up with the "Jones". It's nice to step back and remember, the simplest of things can bring a whole new meaning to the word luxury. 

I love the new Unstopable collection - it includes Unstopables Fabric Refresher, Air Effects, Scented Oil Warmer, Candles, and In-Wash Scent Boosters for the laundry in three decadent scents; Lush, Fresh and Shimmer - each one bringing its own uniqueness to your senses. If unstopables can handle the odors caused by everyday living with kids and pets, (like in our home) it can handle anything. Once you try Unstopables, you won't want to go back to just opening the window to change the smell in your home. 

Learn more about Unstopables by visiting the official website and by following along on Twitter for more fun! Don't forget to use the hashtags #scentdecor and #unstopables to join in the fun! 


WIN IT!

We want to help you with your own #scentdecor. One lucky AME reader has the chance to win the new Unstopables collection which includes:

Unstopables Fabric Refresher – $5.99*
Unstopables Air Effects – $6.47*
Unstopables Scented Oil Warmer – $5.99*
Unstopables Candle – $7.47*
Unstopables In-Wash Scent Booster – $5.99*


*Price at sole discretion of retailer*

Open to Canadians 18+ excluding Quebec. Mandatory entry must be done for extras to count. Winner will be drawn at random using GiveawayTools on April 30th, 2015. Valid email address and skill testing question to qualify. Winners have 48 hours to claim before prize is redrawn. More about giveaways can be found here

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected.




GOOD LUCK!!