Frequently Asked Questions about Walt Disney World

Guest Blog Written By: Clara Power of Clara Power TPI

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.39.54 PM

Travelling to Walt Disney World is such a wonderful and exciting experience!  There is so much to see and do there and such a wonderful way to create long lasting memories with your family.  As a travel agent that focuses on All Things Disney, I have many clients who come to me completely confused and overwhelmed with the whole planning process – and I don’t blame them – IT’S COMPLICATED. Here are a few FAQ that can help make the whole planning process a whole lot easier!

1. When is the best time of year to go in terms of: A) getting the best deal B) not having the worst crowds?

This is such a big question that every client asks and I always answer the same way – the least busy times to go is outside of any school or national holiday. Christmas, New Years, March Break, Easter, July & August etc. are peak times, so if you are looking for times that are not as busy, plan to visit outside of those times. The best rates are usually outside of the peak times as well.

2. How many days should I plan to spend at the park?

What many people don’t know is the Disney World in Orlando Florida consists of 4 separate theme parks: Magic KingdomHollywood StudiosEpcot and Animal Kingdom. I believe all first time visitors should visit all 4 parks at least once, as they all have so much to offer. If time permits, I also encourage clients to visit Magic Kingdom twice, since it is such a large park and there is so much to see and do there. If time is limited and only 1 park is possible, definitely Magic Kingdom. 

2007-01-29-07-23-33-1

3. What time of day should I get there? Is morning better before the crowds or will I be missing out if I am not there for the evening parade/fireworks?

The earlier the better! If you can get to the theme park as soon as it opens, you will have the opportunity to go on many of the busiest attractions before the lines become too long. It’s also one of my favourite times to be there, as you can see the park without the throngs of people. I recommend you get to the park right at rope drop time and get some of the most phenomenal pictures as there will be no one blocking your view. When traveling with young children, I encourage my clients to head back to their resort after lunch for a rest or some pool time and then return to one of the parks in the evening that is having fireworks or parades. This way you get refreshed and ready to take it all in again. As the children get older, spending the full day at the park ensures that you don’t miss any of the action.

2013-10-01-19-31-41-1

4. Can I use these passes at other theme parks or do I have to purchase each park separately?

Disney offers a ‘More you stay, the less you pay’  Disney has a number of different theme park tickets ranging from 1 day to 10+ days, and with each additional day purchased, the per-day price does decrease. You can either purchase a base ticket which allows you to visit 1 park per day or a park hopper ticket that allows you to visit as many parks per day as you wish. The Waterpark add on also allows visits to the 2 Disney waterparks – Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

5. How do Fast Passes work? Is there a charge?

Fast Passes are FREE and they are so worth using. When staying onsite these can be booked 60 days in advance and those staying off property they can booked 30 days in advance. All guests are entitled to 3 Fast Pass selections per day and they allow you to by-pass the queue for the ride or attraction you have selected. Once you have used your 3 Fast Passes, you can retrieve additional Fast Passes while in the Disney Park using the Disney App. Definitely a great time saver.

touch-of-mickey-at-the-resort

6. Is it worth it to stay on site? What are the benefits?  

Without question! Staying on site offers so many benefits including extra magic hours, complimentary transportation throughout WDW, magic bands, early Fast Pass reservations etc. Staying onsite ensures that you get the full Disney experience and you never have to leave the magic! For more details on this, ready my post about the all the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort Hotel.

7. Are there any secrets that I should know about to book ahead (like the Bippity Bobbity Boutique or meals with the characters for example). 

Best piece of advice is to book early! For the best prices and the best options, booking early is always the way to go. Dining Reservations open 180 days prior, and some of the hottest and most popular restaurants book up very early. Does your daughter want to have breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle with some of her favourite princesses? This is one of the most difficult reservations to secure if not booked at the 180-day mark. Other popular restaurants include Be Our Guest and Chef Mickey which are also some of my personal favourites. When booking a resort stay, Disney only requires a $200USD deposit with final payment due 30 days before arrival. If the price drops from the day you booked until final payment day, the booking can be adjusted making booking early a win-win situation.

meet-and-greet

8. Can I bring my own food and drinks to the park? 

Guests are permitted to bring food items such as snacks or foods that do not require heating into Disney theme parks. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park. Foldable, soft sider coolers are also permitted, but be sure that any items package are in plastic not glass containers, as those will be confiscated. If bringing food, it’s beneficial to have a stroller to carry it in, but remember wagons are not permitted either.

festival-of-fantasy-parade

9. A family of 4: 2 kids 2 adults, with airfare and a healthy amount of park time, what’s the average budget you recommend (CAD or USD).

When staying at a Disney property, the prices can vary significantly depending on the time of year and the type of Disney accommodations selected. I have sent clients to a Value Resort for 7 days including the meal plan and a 5 days base ticket for as low at $2800 USD. When staying at a Deluxe property, prices will increase depending on the resort, type of room, view (theme park views are most expensive) and there are special room categories including club level or overwater bungalows. Flights to Orlando can also vary and from Toronto – anywhere under $500 per person round-trip is good. With extra planning and good advice, Disney can be affordable for everyone.

festival-of-fantasy-beauty-and-the-beast

10. Are there any big ‘don’ts’ for going to Disney? What should you avoid, what are expectations that are most often disappointing?

What I always like to remind my clients is that going to Walt Disney World is a vacation – you are supposed to enjoy it! Planning is key, but over-scheduling is not going to benefit anyone. Plan based on your children and what they can or can’t handle. If they are easily stimulated, plan lots of down time as a meltdown isn’t going to make a memorable experience.

Include your children in the planning process. Get them excited about what’s to come so they can be mentally prepared and if possible try to enjoy a resort day with no parks to rest your feet. Use the services of a professional who can help navigate and make sure you get the most value for your dollar by planning special VIP tours, specialty dining and unique experiences.

download
For those who are interested in visiting, right now Disney is having a great promotion –  get a FREE dining plan. Click below for more info.

For more from Clara Power TPI be sure to check her out online
“LIKE” her on facebook and “FOLLOW” her on her blog, instagram, and twitter!

Why Meditate?

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

More than ever before, people today are looking for an alternative way to help them cope with everyday stresses and health concerns. We are awakening to the realization that we have more power over our health than any doctor. Old beliefs have it that a doctor will heal you and you must seek their help when you are not feeling well. New concepts, actually not new to ancient medicines at all, are emerging which challenge that very notion. 

What are doctors doing for us? If you ask a doctor, they say they are saving lives. How? Through early detection, diagnosis and treatment. What role then do YOU have in your health? Do you rely on doctors to find what is wrong with you and wait for them to “fix you”? News flash! No one can fix you but YOU. You need to realize that you play a role in your health. You have the most control over your risk of disease, prevention, detection and treatment.  How do you play a role? Through your thoughts, behaviours, lifestyle habits, emotions and overall perspective. 

Most people do not “check in” with themselves on a daily basis to see how their body feels and how their mind is thinking. They do not spend time addressing their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. Instead, this fast paced world has them reaching for more food, cigarettes, medications or marijuana for a quick fix.

What can you do to help yourself? MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. This is a practice of stilling the mind to bring your awareness to the present moment. Why would we need to do this? Because the present moment is the only moment we have control over and it determines our future moments. 

When we still our minds, we gain access to a deeper awareness about our bodies and mind. This information can help us make changes to better our health and lives. When we are still and focusing on our breathing, we are also creating a calming, peaceful place in our body where healing can occur.

You can think of meditation as transforming the mind. Creating a happier perspective and releasing limiting beliefs about one self and others. Research has shown that daily meditation can improve:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Stress and Overwhelm
  • IBS
  • Anger
  • ADD/ADHD
  • among many others conditions

If you have never meditated before or are not sure where to start, simply sit or lye down in a quiet room and start counting your breathes in and out. Do this for 5 minutes. As thoughts come into your mind, simply let them go. You can image them floating away in a balloon. If you get restless, this is normal. It takes practice and commitment. You didn’t learn how to walk in one day! It takes effort to still the mind and develop a greater sense of peace and calm within.

I offer one on one consulting to help you quiet your mind and find inner peace. I help all my patients gain a deeper understanding of their state of health and how their mental and emotional state greatly influences the physical body.

Much love and peace!

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

I’m ready for you SPRING!

SpringCleaningSpring has officially sprung and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m loving the longer days, the bluer skies, and of course the sunshine…now only if the warmer temps would kick in (I know you know what I’m talking about). Honestly and all kidding aside there’s just something about the spring that makes me feel alive, happy and energized.

One thing that I look forward to doing with the arrival of spring is getting back outside after a long cold winter and finally being able to open up the windows to get some fresh air in the house. You know what else springtime means? Spring cleaning of course! Purging things we no longer need, organizing our messy piles of everything and anything that accumulated over the lazy months and getting into areas of the house that haven’t been touched in what seems like forever. It’s a lot of work and it can be a pain in the ass but once you have it done you can’t help but be in a better mood and feel great about your newly cleaned and tidy space.

If you’re anything like me you’re probably thinking, well…that’s all fine and dandy but what if I hate cleaning? Well, here’s a little secret for you…cleaning, isn’t on favourite things to do either, I know…shocker. Unfortunately the reality is that it needs to be done no matter how much it sucks. So, I’m here to figure this out with you. As a Mamma of 3 (ages 5, 3, and 1) you know how crazy and messy things can get so I’m going to share with you some tips, tricks and advice to help you keep things clean and smelling good and all while keeping costs down.

Here goes…

1. Tackle a bit at a time…

When you have little ones running around you need to be realistic and cleaning the house from top to bottom with them around will only stress you out and most likely won’t get your far. Create a schedule so you know that Tuesdays for example are bathroom days while Friday nights are reserved for vacuuming and washing floors (let’s get real we’re parents now and we’ll be home because hitting up the bar just ain’t happening anymore haha) and don’t forget to clean as you go (wash your dishes after you’re done eating, wipe down and tidy yup the kitchen once you’re done cooking, etc).

2. Make it a family effort…

You’re most likely not the only person living in your home right? Which means others are contributing to the mess and so it’s time everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in to help out. My husband absolutely hates cleaning the bathrooms so our deal is that I will do that while he takes care of things outside of our home. He’s also obsessed with loading the dishwasher so who am I to argue with him (it’s all yours babe 😉 haha). As for the kids you might think well they’re small, what could they possibly do to help? Let me tell you, there’s plenty! Have them do little things like tidy up their toys after they are done playing, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, dishes in the sink after meals, etc. These little tasks will not only teach them responsibility but they will also love helping out Mamma and Papa.

3. Have fun…

We all know how exciting and thrilling it is to clean right? I’m clearing joking because we all know it’s not so why not do something about it. Open up the windows, let the fresh air come in and crank the radio. Music will always put a smile on your face and get you moving. Before you know it your dreaded task of cleaning will be a distance memory.

4. Make sure your tools are ready to go…

Before you load clothes into the washer, run the dishwasher or bust out the vacuum cleaner you may want to do some simple maintenance on them. Take the time to run a clean cycle on your washer/dishwasher and of course empty out and clean your vacuum cleaner. Over time things can get yucky and smelly and you don’t want that. Do a google search or check pinterest for some great ways to clean these appliances and trust me you’ll thank me down the road. This is a total must for every spring cleaning!

17495422_10155893828899838_1450218101_n5. Get your shopping list ready…

Last but not least you need to make sure you have the right supplies on hand. It can get overwhelming when you hit the cleaning aisle at the store…so many products and items that’s it’s easy to drop money on things you don’t need so let’s make it simple. Let’s get you in and out with what you need and without spending extra money. Get yourself a mop (I love microfibre ones that allow you to remove the pad for washing purposes), a bucket, some sponges, rubber gloves, cleaning cloths (good quality cotton or microfibre are both great), and most importantly a great multi-surface cleaner. To get you in the spring cleaning zone may I suggest going with one of my new faves which is Pine-Sol’s NEWEST scent…Spring Blossom. I absolutely love it! It’s powerful enough to cut through grease, grime and dirt and it’s perfect for cleaning your entire home and making it smell amazing. Who doesn’t love the scent of a spring bouquet of Jasmine, Magnolia and Orange Blossom? Thought so 😉 ! This Pine-Sol multi surface cleaner can be used in the kitchen, bathroom and everywhere in between which means one product instead of 5…your bank account will thank you for it.

So there you have it….my tips, tricks and advice for getting you started on spring cleaning. There’s no better way to welcome the season with a clean slate and the spring blossom scent. Also don’t forget to check out the Pine-Sol website for more info and some fantastic How-Tos on killing those nasty flu germs, getting stubborn fabric stains out, tackling backyard toys to getting your shine stainless steel and much, much more!

It just takes YOU to make a difference…

16910871_10155792280324838_1247589620_o

This past Wednesday was Pink Shirt Day; a day when we proudly wear pink shirts in honour and support of anti-bullying. Bullying is a major issue and sadly it’s not getting any better which is why we need to create awareness and ban together to put an end to it.

Did you know that…

  • Canada has the 9th highest rate of bullying in the 13-years-olds category on a scale of 35 countries
  • At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently
  • Among adult Canadians, 38% of males and 30% of females reported having experienced occasional or frequent bullying during their school years
  • 47% of Canadian parents report having a child victim of bullying
  • Any participation in bullying increases risk of suicidal ideas in youth
  • The rate of discrimination experienced among students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified, Two-Spirited, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) is three times higher than heterosexual youth
  • Girls are more likely to be bullied on the internet than boys
  • 7% of adult internet users in Canada, age 18 years and older, self-reported having been a victim of cyber-bullying at some point in their life
  • The most common form of cyber-bullying involves receiving threatening or aggressive e-mails or instant messages and has been reported by 73% of victims
  • 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis
    (source: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45838.html)

Those are just a few of the many scary stats that are out there. Bullying is real and doesn’t discriminate against age, sex, religion, sexual preference, or race. I hear cases of it at Samantha’s school with kids as young as 4 years old, with my nieces and nephews who are tweens and teens and hell, just a few years back I was a target amongst a group of online moms through social media. It’s name calling, it’s shoving and pushing, teasing, spreading rumours and lies, attacking and making fun of people in person and on social media. It’s sending threatening texts and emails and sadly the list doesn’t end there.

Something needs to be done to put an end to this all and the answer starts with YOU!

16911044_10155792280264838_2123915209_oWednesday evening I had the honour of being invited to attend the very first Pink Shirt Day concert at Vaughan Mills Mall from our friends at GIRL TALK Empowerment. It was simply fantastic! The vibe and energy was amazing and positive! They had a “Kindness Never Goes Out Of Style” pop up shop set up where people were able to go in and purchase a pink tee, take some fun pics and leave an inspiring message on their pink wall. The concert was the main event and rightfully so! Hosted by GIRL TALK Empowerment founder Katie Zepperi and featuring a Q&A session with YouTube star Meg DeAngelis and music from Ryland James and Tyler Shaw. Each of the young stars shared stories, experiences and positive messages with the crowd. Their message to be kind, to treat others as you would want to be treated and to stand up against bullying whether you are the victim or a witness, was something that hit close to home for many of the people who were there. It was exactly what these young people as well as the adults there needed to hear.

16990054_10155792280204838_943930698_oBullying needs to end here and now! No more of this crap and no more of standing by and watching it happen! WE need to do something about it and WE need to start now! We as parents need to teach our kids right from wrong and lead by example because they are watching and learning from us. Our kids are listening to the words we are speaking and more importantly are watching our actions so we can’t just talk the talk, we actually need to walk the walk. If we say one thing but do the other what message our we sending our children?

So I decided to share a few tips with you Mammas and Papas because let’s face it, everything starts at home so if we can get it right, then it will help lead our kids in the right direction.

  • Show respect to one another in and outside of the home
  • Be kind because kindness is contagious
  • Be aware of your words and actions especially in front of your children
  • When you see someone being bullied DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and lend a helping hand

In a world where people feel entitled and it’s easy to hide behind cell phones, computer screens and social media accounts, it’s important to spread the message of kindness and love rather than one of hurt and hate. Remember it just takes YOU to make a difference and if each one of us commits to that, than think of what we can accomplish together in this fight against bullying.

Special thanks to Katie Zepperi of GIRL TALK Empowerment and Vaughan Mills for putting on this stellar event and inviting me to tag along! Much love to everyone and wishing you all a fab and oh so CHIC day xoxo.

Let’s talk Running With Violet…


RWV promo shot

Today I am featuring an interview with the two creators behind the hot new web series “Running With Violet,” which they describe as a cross between “Thelma and Louise” and “Fargo”…but with a toddler! Hope you mamas will check out this series written and produced by ladies!

Marie-Claire: So partner!

Rebecca: Howdy!

Marie-Claire: So can you give Chic Mammas a sense of our story?

Rebecca: Absolutely! Running With Violet centers around two small town women who take off for a girls’ weekend with a toddler in tow but then get caught up in a small town meth ring. So they think they’re escaping their responsibilities and problems, but end up encountering a host of even bigger problems!

Marie-Claire: That’s always annoying!

Rebecca: Haha! Yes, after writing the series, I definitely never want to get caught up in a meth ring!

Marie-Clarie: Good point, me either! Hm…okay. What are a few facts about our series that ChicMamma.ca readers might find interesting?

violet and me on side of roadRebecca: Well, the toddler in the show is actually my toddler!

Marie-Claire: That’s definitely interesting! Indeed, it was a crazy ride shooting with a toddler for 14 days, wasn’t it?

Rebecca: Not to mention my own toddler. Definitely up there as one of the hardest things I’ve done.

Marie-Claire: Are we nuts for attempting it?

Rebecca: A bit! Though I have to say leading up to the shoot, I blocked out the realities of what our days on set would look…like how I was going to stay on top of my lines (my actor job), keep the show running smoothly (my producer job), all while keeping Violet happy and safe (my Mamma job).

Marie-Claire: So are you saying it was harder than expected?

Rebecca: YES!

Marie-Claire: But we did come up with some fun strategies, didn’t we?

Rebecca: Yes, we got very creative on set as we navigated shooting with Violet! In fact, we stopped using her name whenever possible so we wouldn’t draw attention to her and freak her out. Instead, we started calmly saying, ‘little pinkie is approaching the set.’ And then instead of calling action we would say ‘let’s fry some potatoes!’

Marie-Claire: That actually worked!

Rebecca: Yes, we fried a lot of potatoes! It’s some good frying we did!

Marie-Claire: So many fries!

RWV Still_Jolene&Miranda (1)Rebecca: Do you think the ChicMamma.ca readers will like Running With Violet?

Marie-Claire: I think so! There’s lots of humour—more than you would expect considering the dark scenario.

Rebecca: It’s true, we find ways to bring the funny. For example, even when things get really serious, Violet still needs to pee and she can’t be without her screen time! And your character can be a bit ridiculous!

Marie-Claire: She can be a bit clueless. She starts off the series as an isolated housewife with an abusive husband–

Rebecca: –until she takes matters into her own hands!

Marie-Claire: In fact, some of the themes of our show include escape, finding freedom…

Rebecca: Finding freedom with a toddler!

Marie-Claire: That’s hard!

Rebecca: Yes, it is! I hope we’ve enticed you, Chic Mammas!

Marie-Claire: Please visit us over on our youtube channel to watch our episodes. The episodes are under ten minutes, so hopefully you can fit them in on a bathroom break—

Rebecca: Or when you’re hiding in your closet for some ‘me’ time.

Marie-Claire: What?

Rebecca: You do what you have to do, MC! You’ll see!

Marie-Claire: Okay!

Rebecca: Please watch and subscribe and tell your friends! We hope you love the show!

For more from Running With Violet be sure to
“LIKE” them on Facebook, “FOLLOW” them on Twitter and “SUBSCRIBE” on YouTube!

3 Things No One Tells You About Postpartum Recovery

Guest Blog Written By: Denise Chiriboga of FitTritious

download
You’ve heard it said before “if I knew what I know now….”
For me, it’s about my postpartum recovery and returning to fitness.

Here are three things I wish I knew about postpartum recovery before I had my children. If I knew what I know now, things would have looked A LOT differently.

ONE. I wish someone would have told me that my midwife’s 6 week postpartum checkup releasing me from her care DID NOT mean that I could go back to the same exercises I was doing before I got pregnant, or when I was pregnant.

If I had known, I wouldn’t have gone balls to the wall back to running and kickboxing and would have saved myself from embarrassing leaky bladder episodes every time I jumped, sneezed, laughed, or coughed.

TWO. I wish someone had told me that the body’s spontaneous healing happens in the first 8 weeks after birth.

If I had known, I would have helped my body heal by wearing my belly wrap Every. Single. Day.

THREE. I wish someone would had told me that it’s NOT normal for my belly to grow throughout the day making me look 6 months pregnant 5 months after I had my baby.

If I had known that this is a sure sign of abdominal separation, (aka mummy tummy) which is an actual condition called diastasis recti abominus, I could have gotten help earlier.

If I had known that all of these issues were not ‘just normal after having a baby’ and instead had known the signs and symptoms of core and pelvic floor dysfunction, I would have seen a professional right away.

And by professional, that brings more questions. Exactly what type of professional am I talking about?

Is it your family doctor?

Or that medical clinic that is promoting the latest fat freezing or tummy tuck procedure?

Or is it that hardcore ‘no pain, no gain’ bootcamp trainer at the gym who’s riding your @$$ like crazy?

The answer is none of the above.

The right medical professional to see is a pelvic floor physiotherapist, as well as a trained fitness professional like myself who is knowledgeable and educated in helping moms heal from the inside out. We’re talking strengthening the core and pelvic floor. Don’t forget that you’re baby was sitting and moving all over your womb; your organs were displaced, and everything doesn’t just snap back to the way it was. Even if you feel like everything is ok down there, you don’t want to do anything in the gym that will make you take a few steps backward in your healing process (like I did).

So I urge you, if you are pregnant, and haven’t yet seen a pelvic floor physiotherapist, go see one (you can find one near you by visiting http://www.collegept.org/Home). And if you’re a new mom and experience any of the issues mentioned above, or even if you haven’t experienced any of the above symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re home free – get checked out, and make sure if you engage in any fitness classes, that they are safe for postpartum moms – meaning there is no high intensity training (ie: no bootcamps, no jumping, or running or jumping jacks, and definitely no crunches) and ensure that the focus is on re-training the core and pelvic floor. You can be sure of this if your trainer or instructor is Bellies Inc. Core Confidence certified like myself. Find out more about my postpartum Strong Mom classes here http://www.fittritious.com.

 

Bio: ChicMamma.ca Vendor Denise Chiriboga, aka The FitTritionist is a personal fitness trainer and registered holistic nutritionist specializing in everything fitness & nutrition for pre&postnatal moms. She’s the founder of Strong Mom fitness classes and takes great care in helping moms heal postpartum issues such as urinary incontinence, mummy tummy, and back pain with fitness, nutrition and functional movement. To find out more about Denise’s classes and get The Flat Belly After Baby Guide visit http://www.FitTritious.com

For more from FitTritious be sure to check them out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram and Twitter!

Did someone say MIKE WARD?!

Mike Ward…where do I start? I’ve known him for years and he’s honestly one of the most talented humans out there…like I’m dead serious lol. He can do anything and everything and kick ass at it but when it comes to cooking, well…he’s pretty much a God!

Beginning his cooking career at the bright-eyed age of 17 in Sydney, Australia, Mike never believed he would one-day prepare meals for such clientele as Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Mike has cooked in some of Sydney’s and Toronto’s most acclaimed restaurants (Zigolini’s and The Basementin Australia, Prego Della Piazza and Shark City in Toronto), and has owned and operated several catering companies over the years. Mike has had a rare and valuable mix of both successful culinary and media careers. In early 2000 Mike expanded his creative pursuits beyond restaurants to include producing and directing award winning cooking/travel/lifestyle television series that have been viewed in over 40 countries.

In addition, Mike also;

  • Recently signed a cookbook deal with the release date being slated for early 2018.
  • Writes and hosts a weekly food radio show on SiriusXM called Devour that reaches a US audience of 30 million & 3 million in Canada.
  • Appears regularly on several radio outlets and cooks on television on Cityline (Canada’s #1 rated national morning lifestyle show) and on-camera for various other outlets.
  • Is the ex-Food Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living (Canada’s #1 food/lifestyle magazine).
  • Creates food content for many major food brands.
  • Writes for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Sun, 24 Hours (national), Hoss Magazine, Domino and several other magazines and online outlets including having his recipes featured on virtually all the top food sites.
  • Regularly hosts and emcee’s food and culinary events including the Visa Dining series and Taste of Toronto.
  • Demo cooks at, and hosts numerous charity events, in addition to most of Canada’s major food festivals and culinary events.
  • Has been engaged to consult on a national 2017 Food Trend Advisory Board.
  • Has his own YouTube channel with views recently crossing the 4 million mark.
  • Serves as a consult to Centennial Colleges’ culinary department to develop curriculum and guest instruct industry relevant culinary courses.
  • Is involved in many charities including Dancing with Parkinsons.

His personal passion remains finding solutions and working with organizations that can and are actualizing the concept of fair and accessible good quality food for people of all economic levels. Whether it be a quiet night at home teaching his two daughters how to use the “grown up” knives, in a foreign country directing a cooking series, or flying his beloved 2-seater aerobatic aircraft, Mike’s insatiable appetite for food and adventure continues to drive him to explore and create.

Wanna see him in action? Just watch the video below and check back with us here on ChicMamma.ca because we’ll have some Mike Ward coming your way VERY SOON 😉

For more on Mike Ward be sure to check him our online,
visit him on Facebook, follow him on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Learn to Love your “Woman Cycle”

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

Pin_ILoveMyPeriod1-e1374819716469
The menstrual cycle is such a beautiful time for a women if she tunes into her body. This extends to her emotional, mental and spiritual body.  We are all aware that our hormones orchestrate our menstrual cycle. For example; if your hormones are out of balance then you may miss a period or have several symptoms like breast tenderness, mood changes, acne, sleep disturbances etc. Most women will see their medical doctor for these imbalances and most are prescribed the birth control pill. Essentially, the pill is masking the underlying imbalances which are there to get “your attention”. We are not meant to “suppress” symptoms but instead listen to the innate wisdom of our bodies and do something to HEAL ourselves.

Let’s look at a common complaint- dysmenorrhea (cramping and pain with periods). Pain with menses can be quickly remedied with Anaprox or Advil. Have you ever wondered why you have pain and why some months may be more painful? Have you spent the time wondering if stress or poor diet had something to do with it? I do IgG food allergy testing in my office and essentially you can find out which foods cause inflammation in your body, which can translate to menstrual pain. Something else to consider is “blocked pelvic energy” a 2nd chakra issue. This energy centre in our body is affected by our relationships with men, sex, our feminine nature, our needs and wants and how they may be influenced by cultural needs and wants.  Have you assessed these relationships? They might be telling.

Another common complaint are mood changes- anger, irritability, sadness or anxiousness.  If people have told you that you morph into a different person then there is something there to explore.  Are you holding everything in and then using that time to give yourself “permission” to explode. What are you not expressing day to day?

I always urge women to look at the cyclical nature of their moods, and try to figure out what their minds and bodies are telling them.  Maybe you need a diet change, a relationship change, need for more exercise, an emotional release, more yoga, meditation or reiki.

During the week before your menses and even into your period-your body, mind and soul naturally want to relax, renew and recharge. Even though you can’t see how much your reproductive organs are working, you have to believe that putting more stress on your body is not helping.  Do not over exert yourself during this time and be sure to be extra loving and kind to yourself. Each menstrual cycle is designed to help you start new and fresh. Believe it or not, most post menopausal women come into my office saying how much they miss their menses. They didn’t realize how good it felt to be “cleansed”.

I want this blog to relay a simple message to you. Your menstrual symptoms are sending you a message that there is imbalance in your body and most likely your life. You are in control of your hormones and you are being called to make a change to help yourself.

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

Three important ways to get your resume noticed

Guest Blog Written By: Holly of It’s Personal Branding

resume-writing1

Mammas, I get it.

We’re often head of the household (either formally or informally) and we have TONNES on the go at any given time. Not only do we have to take care of ourselves, but we are responsible for EVERYTHING to do with our littles.

It feels like there’s just no time.

But, part of being so responsible means looking out for our own opportunities to grow professionally – for intellectual stimulation, added challenges and to provide even better for our families.

So, when was the last time you updated your resume?

In case it’s been a while for you, I’ve put together some ways you can revamp your resume to get noticed, in between all of the caring and coping and craziness of motherhood.

Ready?

# 1: Make sure your professional summary actually summarizes your key qualifications for the position.

I often see resumes with vague and generic professional summaries. Things like:

Key Qualifications:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Detail oriented with the ability work under pressure
  • Report writing

 This summary does a poor job of differentiating the applicant from the others. And worse yet, it usually appears at the top of the resume so that it’s the first thing the reader sees.

Now consider this professional summary:

Key Qualifications:

  • Greeted customers and managed the return and exchange process for a busy retail store.
  • Wrote summary reports on board meetings including capturing the findings and developing insights.

You have only a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so instead of listing generic skills, describe your qualifications that the hiring manager is actually looking for.

The aim of your resume is to stand out from the other applicants and communicate your unique value.

But how do you communicate your uniqueness?

# 2: Use quantitative accomplishment statements in your resume.

Quantitative statements incorporate numerical values to convey your accomplishments in a way tangible way. It helps the reader get a clearer understanding of what you did AND what you can contribute to the new organization.

Consider the following two statements. The first one is a duty-focused statement and the second one is a quantitative statement.

  1. Organized several external conferences.
  1. Planned and coordinated three conferences for over 400 guests including staff, stakeholders and global management.

Which one sounds more impressive to you?

By adding numbers like “three conferences” and “400 guests” it helps bring the accomplishment to life so that the reader can feel the benefit.

Which brings us to the last step.

# 3: State the benefit of your accomplishments

Businesses usually have at least one of three main reasons for wanting to hire:

  1. To make money
  2. To save money
  3. To solve a problem

So, if you can tie back your accomplishments to how they created a benefit for the company (or client or patient), then you end up showing a direct link to how your work provides benefit – without relying on the reader to make assumptions about the results.

Here are some examples of tying in the benefit with your qualitative achievement:

  • Assisted with planning and execution of seven national and international trade shows
    in a one-month period, adding 150 prospective clients to the list.
  • Greeted and consulted with up to 100 customers per shift, sharing product knowledge
    and assisting in purchase decisions.
  • Followed up with trade show prospects to provide product details and arrange on-site product trials, leading to 50+ purchase orders.

Bonus points for making the benefit quantitative too.

These are three important ways you can distinguish yourself from other applicants. Focus on writing statements that are unique to you, that no other applicant could write and have them be true.

Holly Hagan is a professional resume writer and LinkedIn profile writer for her business It’s Personal Branding. She is passionate about helping people shine to receive opportunities they deserve.

For more info on It’s Personal Branding be sure to check them out online,
“LIKE” them on Facebook and “CONNECT” with them on LinkedIn!

Holiday Gift Guide with Sanat Kumara Crystals

14232560_274574416259348_7967388570735098912_n

For thousands of years we have been turning to crystals and gemstones for their special powers and healing properties. Rose quartz has been known as a stone of gentle love due to it’s ability to help heal the heart, bring love and also deal with grief. Smokey quartz is the stone of power, grounding, protection, which removes negative energy and emotional blockages while bringing in positive energy. Moonstone is the stone of hoping and wishing, feminine energy, psychic abilities, abundance, childbirth, fertility, pregnancy, hormone balance, power, calm and relief of emotional stress. There are many different crystals and gemstones, each with it’s own special power and healing properties. You’ll find some people like to carry loose stones with them while others like to wear them as a jewellery piece. No matter your preference, their powers and properties remain the same.

I have always loved crystals and stones, learning about them, buying them and of course wearing them. The spiritual and healing side of them has always been something that I have taken comfort in and been attracted to, which is why I’m thrilled to feature this local Toronto business Sanat Kumara Crystals in our Chic Mamma Holiday Gift Guide.

The great thing about crystals and stones is that they are for everyone…women, men, children and Sanat Kumara Crystals has something for everyone. What I love about them is that each piece has been created with the intention of awakening consciousness and healing the heart. Another interesting feature of their pieces is that they are blessed and infused with Reiki and Angelic High Frequency Healing.

I had the opportunity to shop the Sanat Kumara Crystals website and fell in love with pretty much everything they have, but I narrowed it down with my top picks which are perfect for gift giving this holiday season.

For those of you who know me personally you know how much I love bracelets. I love stacking and layering them and on any given day you’ll probably find me wearing at least 10 haha. Hands down bracelets for me are definitely my go to jewellery piece of choice which is why I absolutely love their crystal stone beaded bracelets. They come in a variety of different stones and sizes for women, men and children. Pick a stone that you like the look of or dig a little deeper and pick one that resonates with you based on the powers and properties it emits. At $28 a piece you can’t go wrong! These make fantastic teacher gifts and they always make for awesome gifts when you want to pick something up for yourself. Wear them alone or stack a few together…you make that call depending on your mood and what you’re feeling.

SKCBracelets

Beaded Crystal Bracelet $28 each (Rose Quartz, Hematite, Smokey Quartz and many more)

If bracelets aren’t your style than a great choker might be the way to go! Right now chokers are all the rage since their 90’s come back and probably one of the most popular accessories at the moment. Sanat Kumara Crystals has a great selection of crystals chokers as well other talisman like the Hamsa featured below (which protects its owner from the evil eye while bringing happiness, luck, health and good fortune). Beautiful, simple and fashionable!

SKCChokers

Hamsa Protection Chokers $28 & Clear Quartz Crystal Choker $31

This set is something I love and will be gifting my girls with this Christmas. It’s an opalite (great for soothing nerves and depression while bringing joy and calmness) angel necklace with the matching beaded Mother Mary bracelet blessed with Mother Mary’s intentions of love and healing. Available for women as well and also in a variety of different crystals.

15629018_10155544079004838_1323950310_o

Beaded Opalite Mother Mary bracelet & Angel necklace set $51

This is a fantastic online shop that you need to check out. They are amazing, they know their crystals and can guide and educate you so that you can pick the perfect items for yourself or loved ones. Everything they offer are tools to help aid in spiritual awareness and opening, hiding you on the path of love.

Right now all orders placed up until Jan 30/17 will get FREE SHIPPING so check them out and SHOP LOCAL, SUPPORT LOCAL and SPEND LOCAL with Sanat Kumara Crystals.

For more information on Sanat Kumara Crystals visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram.

1 2 3 50