JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER AND GET UPDATES DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

The Season of GIVING is here!

The hustle and bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Maybe it kick started some holiday shopping for you while you picked up gifts for loved ones or maybe you used it as an opportunity to purchase a few things for yourself. Now that that’s out of the way, what about helping people who need an extra hand? What about giving?

Today marks the start of the giving season. It’s Giving Tuesday, the one Tuesday in the year that thousands of Canadians give to a cause they care most about. So what is it that YOU care most about? This is the exact question that I’ve been asking myself. Of all the causes and people that I can help, who’s at the top of my list? It’s definitely something that has to do with mothers and children. After becoming a mother myself I’ve realized just how fortunate we are here in Canada. We have tons of amazing programs and support groups during and post pregnancy. We have great health care during our pregnancy and again post. And our children should they need, have one of the best hospitals around. Everything we could possibly need or want is many times just a phone call or short drive away. But it isn’t like this for everyone and that’s what breaks my heart.

About a month ago I was out with some friends and Cuso International was mentioned. I had never heard of Cuso before…what is Cuso? What do they do? What are they all about? Well let me share what I learned about Cuso that night.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 11.07.00 PMCuso International is an organization that has been around for over 50 years and has been doing some great work in countries all over the world. Countries where people and communities are affected by poverty, exclusion and inequality like Ethiopia. Did you know that more than 80% of women in Ethiopia give birth without a skilled health worker which means that the majority of mothers have no help if they face complications before, during or after giving birth. This could mean serious injury, illness and at times losing their lives. A woman in Ethiopia is 55x more likely to die during childbirth than a woman in Canada. These mothers as well as babies are losing their lives from causes that are easily preventable with the basic health care and resources that we often take for granted here in Canada. Pretty scary right?!

How about this as some food for thought…

  • In Ethiopia there is 1 doctor for 26,943 people and 1 nurse or midwife for 4,237 people
  • In Ethiopia maternal mortality rate: 482 out of every 100,000 mothers
  • In Ethiopia under-five mortality rate: 59 out of every 1,000 births
  • In Canada there is 1 doctor for 484 people and 1 nurse or midwife for 102 people
  • In Canada maternal mortality rate: 7 out of every 100,000 mothers
  • In Canada under-five mortality rate: 5 out of every 1,000 births

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 11.10.56 PMCuso International is making a difference. Their volunteers are going into these countries and offering a wide range of skills, both medical and non-medical. They’re improving the quality of health care in their facilities and are empowering women and men to make informed health decisions. This means that with more training and better hospital protocols, health workers in places like Pawe Hospital (in Ethiopia) can recognize danger signs earlier, treat them faster and help more moms deliver their babies safely.

This is exactly what we need, we need more Cuso International volunteers to help these mothers and children. Seriously, think about it! Could you imagine what it would be like to live in their world for just a minute. To know that you can lose your life or your child lose theirs and for reasons that can be easily avoided is heart wrenching. So this Giving Tuesday, think about Cuso International and help support the Cuso CAN Fund…help save the lives of moms and babies around the world.

This is your chance to make a difference and help a fellow Mamma. To know that you are the reason she got the help, support and care that she needed in her pregnancy and can hold her child safely in her arms is a gift you can give that you can’t put a price tag on. Your monthly gift will be multiplied by 10, providing even more women and children with life saving health care.

Will you join the Giving Tuesday movement today and help support Cuso CAN Fund?

For more information and to make a donation to be sure to visit them at http://www.CusoCANFund.ca

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Cuso CAN Fund but the opinions expressed are my own.

0 comment

How Addiction Has Changed My Life

Guest Blog Written By: Frankie Nelson of Family Is About Love

family-pic

This year has been filled with so many amazing memories and celebrations. My mother turned 70, my parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage (which is incredibly amazing!), my son turned 3, and my husband BJ and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary together. There was another huge milestone I celebrated this year; ten years ago I checked myself into rehab for the third and final time and gave up a bad drug habit knowing that if I didn’t do it at that point, I was going to die. I chose to live.

I remember telling my parents that this was going to be the time. Third time’s a charm right? I think they kind of rolled their eyes at me when I told them that–they had heard it many times before. Our trust had been broken, but for me, this time was different. I knew I was going to die if I kept going the way I was. When you are on drugs you are not really living. I rarely left my house, except to go out to get more drugs, and I had pushed away anyone who had ever loved me. I mean if you hate yourself it is pretty hard to let others love you.

I am often asked what led to my addiction? That is not an easy thing to answer, though one would think after all that group therapy I would have some clear ideas as to what my triggers were. Was it the internalized homophobia I felt growing up? Was it the fear of fitting in with my peers? Was it the severe anxiety I had about coming out to friends and family? Was it all the rejection I felt when I finally did came out? Was it the “gay-scene” itself with its rampant drug use? Or was it the fact I would never have the family and the white picket fence I had always dreamed of? It was definitely a combination of all the above. A deadly concoction for sure. I used drugs to numb all those feelings—they were too much for my sensitive soul to handle. I didn’t feel loved or worthy of love and that was killing me inside. These are all things I am still working on, and probably will be for the rest of my life, but I have found other ways to deal with those feelings now.

This all seems like a lifetime ago. It’s amazing just how much my life has changed in the past ten years. I could have never imagined such a life for myself. I was living hour by hour back then on social assistance just trying to make it through a day. Now look at me, married with a child, and because of a viral photo our family is now part of an iconic image that has helped change people’s ideas of what it means to be same-sex parents. Can you believe it? A former addict. It’s amazing how we can reinvent ourselves. Life is short and you need to live it to the fullest.

I wondered recently why I didn’t make more fanfare around this milestone this year. Why didn’t I have a party to celebrate (and I do love a good party!)? Why didn’t I acknowledge it with my friends and family? I am a teacher and a father now which means I am a role model for my students and my son. Sometimes I feel these two things are at odds with one another. I mean, how can a former addict be a good role model? Or can I? In fact, I can understand what many of my students are going through. I empathize with mental health issues, having struggled myself over the years, and I use strategies learned through counselling and rehab to help my students succeed at tasks that might seem too hard to achieve. If I can kick drugs, I can definitely help others achieve their goals. But I rarely get to talk about my past and share my story anymore. To be honest, I am not even sure all my family members know about my past. I used to volunteer at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) here in Toronto and talk to my peers that were new in rehab about how I finally achieved success. But life happens and that has fallen by the wayside I am afraid. Having a child can do that.

Frank volunteering at CAMH, 2007
Frank volunteering at CAMH, 2007

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how I can best use my past experience to educate my son and my students as to the dangers of some drugs out there. I know I do not want to sound anything like Nancy Reagan, as I don’t think a “Just Say No” stance really works. I worry that if I were to share my past with my son, that this could open up a can of worms and give him the opportunity to use the old “like father like child” excuse. We have seen many celebrity offspring following in their parents troubled past. Though people like Kelly Osbourne grew up with her father doing drugs around her all the time, that is not the case for Milo. I could also get it thrown back in my face, but I guess those are the risks I have to take. I know my parents’ generation would just have me sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened. But I believe information is education, and I should use my experiences, both successes and failures, to help both my son and students to navigate their futures.

I don’t know how or when I will share this with my son. He is only 3 so I figure I have a few years to think about it. But I know I don’t want my son to grow up with lies. The truth will always set you free. I found that out when I finally came out and I have tried to live an authentic life ever since. I would love to hear from others who have had a similar experience to mine.

A version of this post was originally posted on Gays With Kids

 

For more from Frankie Nelson be sure to visit FamilyIsAboutLove.com,
“LIKE” Family Is About Love on Facebook & “FOLLOW” on Instagram & Twitter.

0 comment

2017 Annual Career Check

Guest Blog Written By: Melissa Mac of Melissa Mac Career Coaching

2017-Annual-Career-Check

When the clock strikes midnight, what are you going to celebrate as you ring in 2018? How many January’s come and go with the intention of bettering our lives, but as we trudge through to March those intentions are left to the wayside? Give yourself a career check to help you plan for a happier and more balanced career in 2018.

What Happened in 2017?

Don’t raise your glass to hopes of a better year; raise your glass because you are taking solid, actionable steps to ensure that 2018 is a better year. How are you going to do that? By taking the time to focus on what happened in your career during 2017. Ask yourself:

  • Are you working for an organization that supports you and recognizes your contributions?
  • Are you working in a role that utilizes your best talents and strengths?
  • Are you working in a role/organization that offers a positive work/life balance?
  • Are you doing work that you find interesting and purposeful?
  • Are you on track with your projected career goal progress?

Imagine for just one moment that you just said “Yes” to all of those questions. How did it feel? Pretty terrific, right? Unfortunately, statistics reveal that most of you didn’t say yes to them all. When the average turn over rate is 17.8% and 71% of employees are looking to leave their current role, it is disheartening to understand that the majority of you likely didn’t even say yes to half of those questions.

Why Make Change?

Happy employees are 20% more effective in their role. We can’t just depend on our employers to take action to improve employee engagement and provide clear career pathing opportunities. Your career is, after all, your responsibility. You can take steps to be 20% more effective in your role and to be part of the 66% of highly engaged employees who have no intention of leaving their company.

Conduct an Annual Career Check

As the year comes to a close, it is an excellent time to evaluate your past year and plan for next year. You can do this in two easy steps:

  1. Take my Career Fit Quiz to help you determine if you are on the right path
  2. Download this Annual Career Check worksheet to help you reflect back and plan forward

Small and simple steps can have a big impact. Increase your awareness of your current career situation and be planful with your career goals. When November 2018 rolls around and you ask yourself these same questions, perhaps you’ll have more ticks in the yes column than the no.

For more from Melissa Mac Career Coaching be sure to check her out online
“LIKE” her on facebook and “FOLLOW” her on instagram and twitter!

0 comment

Just one of those days…

Yesterday I came across a post written by Bethany Jacobs titled “To The Mom Hiding In The Bathroom Right Now” on scarymommy.com (click on the title to give it a read before continuing on) and let me tell you, it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

Yesterday was a hard day! One of those days that I just felt like I couldn’t hold it together and was going bat shit crazy trying to do it all…be a mom, wife, take care of my 3 little ones, trying to take care of myself, run a business, host a radio show, teach, do my voice work, etc.

Wanna know what I mean? Well, let’s take a look at what my day was like…

I woke up bright and early to get the kids all ready (help get them dressed, washed up, do their hair, make breakfast, prepare lunches, brush teeth, etc) so I could drop the girls off at school while Marcus came along for the ride.

Ran back home to grab some snacks for the little guy, filled up my water bottle and headed to kickboxing. Almost at kickboxing when I realized, ahhhhh fack I forgot my water at home.

Workout done (barely survived the ass kicking) and it was now time to bring Marcus to gymnastics.

Brought Marcus to his class which was like another workout since it’s parent and tot and God forbid this kid follows the teacher’s instructions so I’m running after him the whole time. So much fun let me tell ya!

Left gymnastics and headed to the grocery store. Ready to park and was like ohhhhhh you know what would be great? A purse! Too bad I left it at Marcus’ class, okkkkkk back we go.

Awesome, I got my purse but now Marcus feel asleep in the car…ok screw the grocery store and just go home.

Got home and laid him down gently so he wouldn’t wake up and I could attempt to take a quick shower…alright shower done…WOO HOO, that was pretty sweet!

Marcus woke up, I gave him some food…there’s something about how it’s important to feed these little humans haha.

Oh look it’s time to pick up the kids early from school for their doctor’s appointment. Where the fack did the day go?

Got to the doctor’s office where the kids found the need to scream at the top of their lungs in the room while we wait for our turn. As we waited I couldn’t help but think to myself “thank God this room has a door so they can’t escape”. The doctor came in, checked them out and ordered some blood work so I packed them all up and we went to the lab. Oh sorry, those piercing screams you hear? That’s just my daughter losing her shit…oh she stopped for a minute…yup just enough time to turn to me and look me in the eyes to tell me that she’s hates me and that I’m a bad mom (because after all it’s my fault she needed blood work). At that point I was like, that’s cute, are we facking done yet? Let’s go! Oh wait we can’t leave, we still need to pick up some meds at the pharmacy…great another stop…ok done!

Piled everyone back in the car and off to the party store we went cuz it’s Marcus’ birthday on Sunday and I haven’t done shit. Side note…did I mention it was raining all day? Ya, sucks when you’re with kids getting them in and out of the car…NUMEROUS TIMES! So we got to the store and I was happy that the shopping carts had seat belts and I was able strap Marcus down. This kid is a shit show and I had zero strength or energy left to run after him so woo hoo for shopping carts with seat belts.

Party store done but only got 2 out of the million things I need. Ahhhh crap the food thing again…it was dinner time now and we still had to head to the mall for halloween costumes. I had a plan, hit up the food court first, then halloween costumes and then get the fack out. Sushi dinner and they all eat like champs…it was going well! I was in a groove as I pushed the double stroller with Lily and Marcus in it and with Sam by my side. We got to the store, picked out the costumes, paid and it’s was about half hour past bedtime, not too bad. At this point my husband popped into my head (who by the way hadn’t done anything wrong) and I kind wished I could practice my jabs and upper cuts on him just cuz he was home alone and I wasn’t haha.

Finally we got home! It was still raining so I hurried and got the kids out of the car and into the house. Wait girls, you need your meds before bed. Sam here you go, great! Go get ready for bed. Lily your turn…oh you don’t want to take this puffer? Oh and now you’re crying and screaming. Why are you crying and screaming? Just breath…pretty easy right?! Oh you don’t give a shit. Ok well you need to take your meds so let’s try…oh now you’re crying bad and screaming bloody murder and wait what’s that? BARF! BARF everywhere! Wonderful! Clothes came off and I cleaned up as the husband carried her up to the bathtub.

As I tucked Lily in I was in tears because I felt like a horrible mom who made her kid throw up. I bet the other moms wouldn’t have made their kid throw up. Lily hugged and kissed me as she said “I love you Mamma and tomorrow I won’t cry and will take my medicine” so naturally that made me cry even more cuz I love the little shit so much.

FullSizeRender 6So 2 down, 1 to go…it was just me and my little man, you know the one from my insta stories who refuses to go to sleep. I had to once again put my pile of work on hold because it was obvious that it wasn’t going to happen.

Reading Bethany’s post yesterday was timely. I’m a hot mess, I’m a shit show who can barely hold it together, I try to do the best that I can and sometimes I can barely get a grip on life while other times I manage a bit better. As crazy hard as it can be I wouldn’t trade it in for the world! I love my little shits and of all the titles I hold, the title of “MAMMA” is by far the best one I have.

I love you Samantha, Liliana and Marcus xoxo

0 comment

Being Italian = FOOD

Growing up in an Italian family has always meant food, food and more food. It’s a BIG part of our lives and something that we take pride in and we love to share it with those closest to us. From preparing meals, to making homemade sausages and salami as a family, to remembering the days that I used to watch my dad make his own wine, to visits to the Van Dyken farm to pick up bushels of tomatoes for our homemade sauce and veggies for giardiniera (pickled Italian veggies)…it was always about food and good quality food.

Photo By: Lisa Crispo Photography

I remember the days of grade school and opening up my lunch which 99% of the time consisted of a panino with some type of cold cut like mortadella, salami or prosciutto and cheese…stinky cheese. I would get so embarrassed and often got made fun of because my lunches were different from everyone else’s bologna and mustard or peanut butter and jelly on Wonderbread. I remember asking my parents why I couldn’t have lunches like all the other kids and they would go on and on about how happy I should be to have such a great lunch. I just figured it was a grown up thing and they just didn’t understand. My parents weren’t born here, they immigrated to Canada as adults so they obviously had no idea what it was like to go to school here and understand the Canadian culture but as I grew up I realized that wasn’t the case. My parents knew exactly what they were talking about! Entering into adulthood I came to realize that these cured meats and stinky cheeses weren’t anything to make fun of and instead were some of the most popular appetizers you would come across when visiting Italian restaurants. All of a sudden the people who would make fun of my lunches were the same people raving about the amazing imported Italian cheeses and parma prosciutto they just picked up.

My family took pride in the food they would prepare whether it was a big pot of sugo (tomato sauce) and polpette (meatballs) after Sunday mass, a venison stew using the deer my dad got hunting, or something made with their famous porcini mushrooms. They taught us the simple dishes and food were most of the time the best and most tasty. When friends and family would come visit they wouldn’t order in Chinese food but instead would bust out some homemade spicy Calabrese salami, olives, giardiniera, a few different types of cheeses and of course bread…plain and simple!

Plain and simple…that’s pretty much describes me and my cooking skills haha. I am no chef that’s for sure, I prepare simple and easy dishes and it ends there. Recently on my radio show (The Parenting Show on Talk Radio AM640 with executive producer Sandra Carusi) I had the chance to interview my fave chef…the amazing Chuck Hughes. We chatted, shared some laughs and talked about simple food made with quality ingredients which he’s all about. He spoke about life as a dad and a lot of it reminded me of my family, my parents and how I was brought up.

Last weekend I had the chance to catch up with Chuck again at The Big Feastival. We got to hang a bit, my kids got to cook with him in The Little Kitchen, we watched him do a demo in The Big Kitchen and also check him out at the Cooking School. It was awesome to see such an amazing and talented chef in action and as crazy and busy as the weekend was for him he took the time to shake hands, meet fans and pose for pictures.

Life as an entrepreneur, radio host, college instructor, voice actor and Mamma of 3 is CRAZYYYYY, crazy enough that I need these little reminders to bring me back to a different time and place. Reminders to let me know that plain and simple is and can be enough for my family. It’s time to get back to my roots and embrace the Sunday sugo over penne pasta with some veal cutlets and tomato salad…nothing fancy just good!

Thanks for the reminder Chuck and thank you once again for the gifts of your awesome Chuck Hughes products, you are one rockin’ dude both in and out of the kitchen.

See ya at Pearl Jam!

0 comment

Meet me by the yellow door in the fields of purple…

“Walk through the door, your worries behind you, your joys are ahead” are the words that will greet you as you walk towards the big yellow door. The yellow door that stands alone in the fields of vibrant purple lavender at the Terre Bleu Lavender Farm in Milton (Ontario).

It isn’t everyday that you can get in your car and take a drive to place that is as magical and fairytale like as Terre Bleu. Imagine pulling up to beautiful gates at the entrance of the farm, the smell of 8 different varieties of lavender to greet you and endless fields of purple. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it? Terre Bleu has been around since 2011 and it all came to be after the Baird family took a trip to Quebec where they visited a lavender farm there. The story has it that this Toronto family was looking for a change and so they packed up their city bags and traded them in for some purple converse running shoes, a few lavender plants (like 10,000), some honey bees and a couple of horses. All I know is that whatever the story is I’m grateful Ian and his wife Isabelle made this lifestyle change and opened up Terre Bleu (an organic working family farm).

I still remember my first visit to Terre Bleu. I remember feeling like I was transported from reality into one of the many fairytale books I used to read as a child. It was beautiful and serene. Off to one side of the field, sunflowers were being painted by Peter Lewis (an artist who was visiting from St. John’s), while dead on were rows and rows and rows of the most beautiful and bright purple lavender I’ve ever seen. The whole time I kept thinking…OMG I wish the girls were here with me. I toured the complete farm that day and when I got home I told them all about it and made a promise that we would return all together as a family which we just did.

Samantha and Liliana loved it and even Marcus had a great time running around everywhere. From the lavender ice cream, to lavender lemonade, running through the fields to visit the distillery and learn how their most amazing organic lavender essential oil is made, to spending some time with the hard working honey bees that live on the farm at the apiary, to their herb bar, visiting the horses, a walk through yellow bench trail and of course a sprint straight to the big yellow door before visiting the Terre Bleu shop all while live music played off to the side of the main field.

Their little shop is truly amazing! It’s where you can purchase their lavender essential oil (see all the many uses for lavender oil here), lavender honey that their honey bees work so hard on, lavender maple syrup (which is a staple here in the Chic Mamma house for our Sunday pancake breakfast), lavender beeswax candles, lavender shortbread cookies, lavender bug repellant, lavender gouda cheese, new lavender lip balm (I’m currently obsessed with this) and so many more amazing lavender items.

Our day was filled with smiles, laughter and love. Not a worry in the world as those were all left behind and the joys were all ahead!

0 comment

North Bound To Little Lake…

IMG_5049Heading up the 400 is a drive I take often, but never did I know that in just under 90 minutes I would be arriving at the beautiful future site of The Seasons on Little Lake in Midland, Ontario. Back in January, I was told about a great new community under development – The Seasons on Little Lake. This up and coming development will offer amazing homes in a beautiful community at affordable prices. I remember checking out the website and seeing the renderings and thinking hmmm this is too good to be true!

  • 90 minutes away from the city
  • a great community perfect for young families
  • 5 minutes from downtown Midland and Georgian Bay
  • located on Little Lake
  • featuring a 941 foot boardwalk on 2,300 feet of shoreline
  • surrounded by natural parkland and green space
  • summer time fun with boating, fishing and golfing nearby
  • short car ride away from hitting the slopes in the winter
  • maintenance included so you don’t have to worry about snow removal and mowing the lawn
  • 10,000 sq.ft. members club with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness facility, tennis centre, recreational area, meeting rooms and more

SEASONS_C5_MEMBERSCLUB2_160411-FINAL-HR

All of that and more! So you can believe that I jumped at the opportunity when I was invited to see things for myself. At first I was going to go on my own, but after some thought, I decided that it might actually be a great thing to do with the family and so we made a day of it. We were there in no time and met up with Keith at the presentation centre. We were given a personal tour of the presentation centre and also got to head out to the site where they will be breaking ground in the coming weeks. We were able to see the location of the first phase of this 247 acre master planned community featuring up to 1,200 new homes. The location is absolutely stunning and when they say it’s right on Little Lake…it’s RIGHT ON Little Lake.

SEASONS_C2_EXT_151105-FINAL-HRThe more I got to look around and learn about The Seasons on Little Lake the more I was realizing that this could possibly be the next hot community and location for young families looking for a great place to raise their kids. With homes at just over 700 sq.ft. starting in the low $200,000’s to 2,000 sq.ft. at just over $400,000 there is definitely something for everyone. Whether it is a young family looking for a home at an amazing price, maybe someone looking for more of a cottage property, a retiree looking to escape the city life or even someone who is just looking to invest and rent out to one of the local Georgian College students, it’s a great choice. Actually it’s more of a no brainer…with elementary schools, high schools, a college, banks, a hospital and tons of shopping and restaurants, you have everything you need so why not?!

One of the things I was super impressed with besides the price and location (obviously haha) was what I saw in the presentation centre. While chatting with Keith, I commented on how much I loved the space and the finishes only to learn that everything I was seeing was standard and not upgrades…WHAT?!

IMG_5048

SEASONS_SUITE_160414-FINAL-HR

So if you’re looking to make a move, looking for something different than the city life, you need to check this place out. I won’t lie I would LOVE to have one of the smaller units as my Chic Mamma headquarters…how awesome would that be 😉 haha. You have everything you need nearby like you would in the city but the serene setting by the lake like you’re at the cottage. PLUS one very important bonus to all this…you’re in Midland…home of the best Buttertart Festival which we totally checked out.

IMG_5056

For a more in depth look on our day at The Seasons On Little Lake be sure to click on the video below…

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by The Seasons On Little Lake but the opinions expressed are my own.

For more information on The Seasons On Little Lake be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter!

0 comment

It’s time to shop…ERIN MILLS TOWN CENTRE style!

Another morning of rummaging through my drawers, frantically whipping through my closet just to realize that it’s time for this Mamma to go shopping! YES! FOR MYSELF! Not for the kids, not for the husband, JUST FOR ME!

How many of you are like me and although you may have gone shopping recently it was probably for everyone else in your household but not for yourself? Right? After having kids everything has been about them and it’s just recently that I’ve been finding my old self again. The one that actually used to do things for herself which included shopping and having an updated wardrobe…not one that consists of out dated clothing that were purchased pre-kids (yes that’s 6 years ago) and just don’t seem to fit right anymore.

I’m a plain and simple kinda Mamma; give me jeans or leggings, a tee or tank and add some Converse Chucks and I’m rockin’! I love that look and maybe it’s because it’s easy but I’m also looking to build off of that and start incorporating new pieces for some new looks. Shopping for me and putting together outfits is not something I’m good at. I either come home disappointed and with nothing to show for my countless hours of wandering the mall or I come home with stuff that is totally wrong for me and that I should have never bought in the first place.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need shopping help. I need a pro by my side to talk some sense into me when I pick up the wrong thing or when I pass by something that I should be picking up.  So I called up my friend Suzanne from Your Shop Girl and asked her to come along with me and help me out. It’s all about taking the first step right? LOL! I’m half way there…admitting you have a problem is half the battle they say 😉 .

Leading up to our shopping trip I had some homework to do; find a mall to hit up that has stores that I like as well as filling out a shopping questionnaire from Your Shop Girl. Done and done…that part was pretty easy. I picked Erin Mills Town Centre as I hadn’t been in a while and was wanting to go check it out again especially after all the great changes and updates that they’ve been working on.

Once arriving we got to work. Suzanne sat down with me and before starting on our shopping adventure we got comfy on a sofa at Hudson’s Bay (these furniture departments are awesome for impromptu meeting spots haha!) and based on my answers in my questionnaire and my body type she was able to guide me on what to look for and what I should be avoiding when shopping for clothes. It was now time to hit up the stores on my list like Husdon’s Bay, GAP, H&M, Roots and a few more. By the way, H&M just renovated their Erin Mills Town Center store, and it’s fab! Also in the midst of shopping I made sure to check out the new food court which by the way is beautiful. It’s a great big open space with a wall of windows and tons of variety which is key for Mammas like us. I won’t lie, I kinda felt guilty for not bringing the kids with me…but just for a second though, haha! Also being the breastfeeding Mamma that I am, I was totally impressed with the area they have designated for nursing mothers; it’s warm and welcoming.

IMG_5133Now back to the shopping…yes I get easily distracted by beautiful shiny objects like their brand new food court but also by the other kinds of beautiful and shiny like the stuff you’ll find in the Pandora store (also located in Erin Mills Town Center) and I’ll explain in a bit. I picked up a few great pieces; an awesome off the shoulder gray sweater from Hudson’s Bay, a fab long black vest as a great layering piece from Sears, and a super cute drapey eyelet tank from GAP, along with a few other pieces. It was now time to accessorize and I’m sure you can see how Pandora fits in to this part of my shopping trip. A Mamma needs to accessorize right 😉 ! There I was able to find a great necklace and bracelet to go with my new looks. I was able to take the tips and advice that Suzanne gave me and actually put them to use. Yeahhhhh! Finally some new great pieces to add to my closet and I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to be going home with bags filled with stuff I actually liked, looked great in and felt comfortable wearing!

IMG_5143The shopping didn’t end there though because although I finally got to do some shopping for myself, I also picked up a few things for the kids and the husband. For the kids; some summer basics at The Children’s Place and Old Navy and for the husband I got some of his fave essentials from The Body Shop. C’mon what Mamma can hit up a mall without shopping for the rest of the family! It’s ok though because I was in my happy place shopping away, with my tea in hand (yup they also have a David’s tea)! Oh and did I mention that Erin Mills Town Centre also has a Walmart which meant that I was also able to cross off some items on my grocery list. You don’t know how happy I was because now I wouldn’t have to stop at the grocery store on the way home…yeah to one stop shopping!

Now my question to you is, do you need your own Mamma shopping day at Erin Mills Town Centre? Probably….right? Well lucky for you I’m giving away a $100 Erin Mills Town Centre gift card and if you want a chance to WIN, well this is your chance!

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would spend your $100 Erin Mills Town Centre gift card and be sure to include your Instagram name.

2. CLICK HERE to follow @Chic_Mamma on instagram.

3. CLICK HERE to follow @ErinMillsTownCentre on instagram.

IMG_5148*contest closes on tuesday, june 20th at 11:59pm*

And don’t forget to check out check out the Erin Mills Town Centre site for a list of their great free family friendly events they have going on periodically.

Good Luck everyone and who know’s I may just bump into you on my next shopping trip there 😉 .

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Erin Mills Town Centre but the opinions expressed are my own.

For more information on Erin Mills Town Centre be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter!

22 Comments

Wet Nights, Dry Nights…GoodNites®!

That moment when you potty train your child and the angels come down from heaven singing “ALLELUIA” but wait what do you mean that doesn’t always mean dry nights?

If you have older children you know exactly what I’m talking about and ifyou’re a parent who’s not at that stage yet you’re going to want to stick with me here.

Many parents when they start potty training their children automatically assume that it also means dry and accident free nights but I’m hear to tell that, that’s not always the case.
Recently on my radio show (The Parenting Show on Talk Radio AM640) we had child/family therapist and author Michele Kambolis join us as a guest for Better Sleep Month (May) and we talked about potty training, nighttime wetting and dry nights aka GoodNites®. I had no idea that being potty trained didn’t automatically mean dry nights. You see, I was pretty lucky with my oldest (Samantha) because it was never an issue with her. The minute she was potty trained also meant dry nights for her, I never had to worry about nighttime wetting.

goodnitesYou see, while all children and parents experience and eventually overcome potty training, some children also experience nighttime wetting at some point in their childhood. For some, nighttime wetting occurs later on in their childhood, while others may experience this earlier on and in some cases right after they’ve completed potty training, which makes it difficult for a parent to identify. If you want to get technical the proper medical condition is called Nocturnal Enuresis and it impacts more than 15% of 4 to 12 year old’s. It’s the involuntary loss of urine while sleeping after the age at which bladder control usually occurs. What causes this you ask? Well it’s primarily driven by development delays in bladder function so eventually it is outgrown.

With that said, my daughter Liliana (now 4 years old) was potty trained at 3 years old, however unlike her big sister her nights are not so dry and so we depend on products like Pull-Ups® to help us manage nighttime wetting at these early stages. During our show, Michele Kambolis stressed how important it is to identify nighttime wetting early on and ensure kids are using products designed to support nighttime wetting. By putting them in a bedwetting product like GoodNites® Bedtime Pants, we’re sending the message that nighttime wetting is a completely different stage from potty training (which they have already achieved), and it’s not their fault. The Bedtime Pants also offer increased nighttime capacity intake to ensure they are comfortable and dry all night long. Waking up dry may have positive effects on our little one’s self-esteem while easing the stress.

One of the early signs of nighttime wetting is when young children are dry during the day, but wake up most nights with wet bed sheets and PJ’s. It’s a common misconception that bedwetting for younger children is simply a continuation of potty training, leading kids and parents to wonder if they missed a step in their potty training process. While we as parents celebrate the milestone of successfully potty training our little ones, nighttime dryness is a completely different process and something that cannot be trained, it must be outgrown. Don’t stress thought because it’s very normal and a common part of growing up.

FACTS:

  • 1 out of 6 children are affected by nighttime wetting
  • Nighttime wetting is more common in boys
  • Nighttime wetting is hereditary…there is a 77% chance that a child will wet the bed if both parents did as a child
  • Nighttime wetting goes away in time. Just as children develop fine motor skills and language skills at different rates, they develop bladder control on their one schedules, as well

 

After chatting with Michele I am now equipped with the knowledge, tips and advice I need to tackle nighttime wetting. We’ll be approaching things a little differently with having a “non-reaction” reaction which you can hear all about in the podcast and I’ll also be looking into taking the next step with using products like the new extra-small GoodNites® Bedtime Pant which are specifically designed for younger children transitioning from potty training to increase comfort.


Click here to listen to the full podcast with Michele Kambolis where we discuss all this and more in detail and get yourself ready for drier GoodNites® so everyone can start to sleep better!

Also don’t forget to tune into The Parenting Show on Talk Radio AM640 or listen live at 640Toronto.com every Sunday at 7pm EST for more on topics like this one.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by GoodNites® but the opinions expressed are my own.

For more information on GoodNites® be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter!

0 comment

The Parenting Show is HERE!

parentingshow_970x260
From a young age I always knew that I wanted to work in radio and when I was 16, I made it happened! Over the years I worked at a number of radio stations (on-air and behind the scenes in promotions and marketing) and for a while I was out of the industry. 3 months ago, that all changed. I was given an opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to and so I returned to my old stomping ground at Corus Radio Toronto as the host of the NEW and much needed show on Talk Radio AM640…The Parenting Show (thanks to executive producer Sandra Carusi).

We all know that being a parent isn’t easy…it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s crazy but it’s definitely not easy! As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” and The Parenting Show is exactly that village that they speak about. It’s your hub for all things parenting covering topics and issues for parents and parents-to-be, from getting geared up for parenthood, dealing with newborns, toddlers, tweens, teens to getting them ready for adulthood. Whatever stage you find yourself at, we’ve got you covered. It’s our way to give you the inside look on what parenting is all about with real life experiences, stories and guests. It for parents like US and I’m sure you’ll love it!

So give it a listen and be sure to join us every Sunday at 7pm EST (right before Inside Jokes with Sandra Carusi) on Talk Radio AM640 for a parenting show like no other you’ve heard before! We’ll laugh, we’ll cry and we’ll get real!

For more info on The Parenting Show visit us online,
“LIKE” us on facebook and listen to past shows on ourTor podcast.

0 comment