Evergreen planters for your home – DIY

For my last blog post for my Social Media class, I had lofty intentions of posting a DIY video of my cousin demonostrating how easy it to put together your own evergreen planters for your home. As much as I would have loved to have showcased the talents of my cousin Joan, it turns out that I am not the videographer that I thought I was, and I am an even worse video editor! Below is a photo of the lovely evergreens displayed at A Country Mile in Milton. This arrangement was the basis of my inspiration.


I priced these arrangments at several grocery stores and nurseries, and found they ranged in price from $29.99 to $89.99.

With all the expenses at this time of year, I decided to create my own arrangement using supplies from my garage and foliage from around the neighbourhood. Taking a drive up to Milton, I made several stops to find a variety of evergeen bows (pine, spruce, balsam), a few pine cones, and some pretty red dogwood branches.

Joan had a 12″ pot from her garage that was already filled with oasis (this is that porous spongy material found in flower arrangements). We organinzed our bows by size and colour (outside to reduce clean-up time), and simply cut the ends on an angle with garden shears and inserted (starting with the largest bows) on a bit of an angle into the oasis all the way around the pot. We continued to insert bows in layers, using a variety of colours and textures. Once all the bows were placed in the oasis, and any bare spots were filled in, we added the red dogwood branches and some leftover Christmas balls. It was very easy. Below is the planter Joan and I created at absolutely no cost.


While it might not be quite as professional looking as the ones in the stores, it’s seasonal, recyled, and an economical way to enhance the entrance to your home.

What do you think? Leave a comment or share your creative ideas.

Sephora VIB – A Noteworthy Loyalty Program

In the world of retail, there’s nothing more coveted than customer loyalty. It is for this reason that I have to carry a second wallet just to house my collection of loyalty and reward cards, some of which, never seem to see the light of day. But for as many not-so-great loyalty programs, there are a few that are definitely noteworthy, including the VIB Program from Sephora.


The Very Important Beauty Insider Program gives members one point for each dollar they spend. Members accumulate points and cash them in for selected gits that are “priced” at 100 and 500 point levels.

In addtion, VIB members receive exclusive event invitations to receive discounts of up to 20% off their entire purchase, and recieve a free gift on their birthday. I just picked up my gift the other day:

sephora birthday

From lip balm to eyelash extensions, Sephora is the ultimate beauty destination, the the VIB program is a well thought out program that keeps customers coming back. If you buy prestige beauty products, I would highly recommend that you check out the Very Important Beauty Insider Program.


Calling all Starbucks Lovers

I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit my love for the Starbucks holiday lattes! Right now Starbucks is running a promotion on these must have seasonal treats. Each time you buy one, you will receive a sticker.  After your 5th sticker, you will get one free. Today I tried the Caramel Brule.  Next on my list…Peppermint Mocha. Here is the list of all 4 flavours:

Caramel Brule
Peppermint Mocha

Here’s your chance to try all 4, then get your favourite for free!

If you are really in the mood for self-indulgence, pair your latte with a Cranberry Bliss Bar, Gingerbread Loaf or Frosted Snowman Cookie.


When it Comes to Shopping, Men REALLY are from Mars!

saks 5th avenue

For my birthday, my husband took my daughter and I to New York City for the weekend. What an amazing city! We walked tirelessly from Central Park to 34th street, excitedly snapping pictures and checking out all the store windows along the way. Allison and I couldn’t wait for Century 21, the plethora of I Love NY souvenirs and the glam of 5th Avenue. At one point my husband asked “Did we come to New York just to shop?” Of course, I chose my answer carefully, but in my head, I was saying “is he kidding….of course, we came to New York to shop”!! Does he not understand that New York is Mecca (no religious disrespect intended)for shoppers? Remember this movie?

I did manage to keep my daughter out of stores that we have in Canada, but we found just as many new ones to replace them. One of our faves was Uni Qlo …it’s like a Japanese version of Old Navy. Allison picked out a beautiful cashmere sweater for $69.99 that is now sitting under our tree wrapped in beautiful traditional japanese fabric called Furoshiki.. I have to say my husband was quite a shopping trooper, waiting patiently outside and carrying our bags back to the hotel, but near the end of the weekend, he made it very clear that he’d had enough. I bought him a couple of beers from the deli across the street, turned on the football game, handed him the remote, and told him we’d be back in a couple of hours. Definitely the secret of a successful marriage!

New Christmas CD’s for 2012

CDs always make an inexpensive gifts for teachers, co-workers, and make excellent hostess gifts. Here are some of the new Christmas Album New Releases for 2012.

‘Real Money’ Holiday Shopping Tips: Secrets to Saving Big Bucks – from ABC’s Sharyn Alfonsi

Five Ways to Avoid Holiday Mall Madness

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3480_162-7073516.htmlI found this video with great tips on mall shopping during the holidays:

Cyber Monday Flash Sale from Air France

I just got this email from Travelzoo. For one day only (Cyber Monday), Air France is slashing airfares between December 3 and January 15, 2013.

In the true sense of a flash sale….this one ends tomorrow at 11:59pm.

Seasons, Siestas, and Sales…and my shopping experience in Spain

I know this blog is supposed to focus on deals in the Greater Toronto Area, but I thought I would take a moment to write about my shopping (or lack of) while on vacation in Spain last week. As a tourist, I am always excited to browse the souvenvir shops and pick up a few locally made items. A few of my favourites include pottery, art, and photography that I can proudly display in my home. We stayed in the small coastal town of Estepona in the region of Costa Del Sol. While I knew we were traveling in low season, I was very surprised to discover the amount of shops closed for the season or closed for a long siesta period in the afternoon. When I did find an open shop, the items for sale were tacky trinkets reminiscent of items I might see in a dollar store. While I’m not necessarily a supporter of 24 hour shopping, or stores opening at midnight to stampedes of Black Friday shoppers, I do believe that Spain could learn a thing or two from this side of the pond!

On my last day in Spain, I spent an afternoon in the mountain city of Ronda, and was excited to finally find several open stores. I picked up a beautiful scarf for my daughter for only 6 Euros and these beautiful dishes for less than 5 Euros each:

Best Sale of the year at The Body Shop

Today only….Get 3 products for $30 at The Body Shop. Best deals will be in fragrance, skincare and make-up.  If you sign up for Love Your Body loyalty card for $10, you  will save an additional 10% all year, plus get an additional $10 off any purchase during your birthday month. I purchased Vitamin C skincare products that are regularly $28 as part of this deal (so, I only paid $10).

If i get up my nerve…lol…I will post a video to show you the items that I bought, and the money that I saved.

Previous Older Entries


Trying to live a creative life

Mighty Goods

Vetted Product Guides

Everywhere Once

An adult's guide to long-term travel


Through My Lens: Fashion. Travel. Music.

deliberate spontaneity

the life of a book lover/cinema-goer/bride-to-be/just plain me

Buy Healthy Lunches!

A Guide to Buying a Healthy and Affordable Lunch


Exploring the Art and Artisans of Ontario

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