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.

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!

Splurge or Steal Contest from Homesense

This is a fun and interactive contest from Homesense.  They bring it out a few times a year, and I always have fun with it (even though I pretty much suck at it)!

You can win a $5000 shopping spree from Homesense plus weekly prizes of $100 giftcards.


$15 – Lula Lounge: Cuban Brunch for 2 w/Live Music, Half Off

I just came across this deal for Lula Lounge on Travelzoo. It even comes with Salsa lessons! For $15, receive an unlimited brunch for 2 at Lula Lounge, which Fodor’s calls a “Little Portugal hot spot”

I did find some mixed reviews about the food and selection of draught, but I still think Sunday brunch for 2 for $15 is worth checking out.

The Toronto Star says Lula is the city’s “Latin music headquarters” — hit the dance floor and work off brunch with a free salsa lesson taught to live music.

Here’s what one TripAdvisor reviewer had to say about Lula Lounge:

Dancing to Great Live Bands & Djs

“If you want to know Toronto you must visit Lula Lounge!”

 Reviewed 15 April 2012

3 people found this review helpful

Truly one the places that make Toronto great, Lula is home to many great musicians of all genres and it’s the only place dedicated to live world music. You can see amazing Salsa, Brazilian, Jazz, Indian, African bands, local and international touring acts here. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever seen have been in here, it’s an intimate place, with friendly staff, great dinner and show deals. It’s like a little concert hall where I can dance and drink martinis 😉

I recommend checking their site as the bands are different every week, Weekends are for Latin dancing, anything goes other nights, I once went to Goth night it was a perfect venue with candles and chandeliers.

I have many fond memories of nights out, exotic music, drinking too much and dancing all night long, my friends and I have celebrated our birthdays here many times. I keep coming back cause I’m always sure to have a good time at Lula!

Visited April 2012

For more information about Lula Lounge, you can visit their website at http://lula.ca/

Eating for a Cause

Where else can you sample the culinary talent of Ontario’s top Chefs for $10?

Soupstock is a one-day culinary celebration on October 21 2012 that will feature tasty soups from more than 200 of Canada’s top chefs.  For only $10, you will be able to buy 3 soups from your favourite chefs.  100% of all the money collected will go to support the Mega Quarry cause.  Watch Michaels Stadlander’s video about his visit to Melancthon Township – the proposed site for the Mega Quarry.

The event will be held in Woodbine Park, located in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, near Queen Street East and Coxwell, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. rain or shine. If you are like me, you probably hate line-ups, so I highly recommend the option to buy tickets in advance.

Soupstock is a BYOB…”Bring Your Own Bowl”  event!

This cause is is close to my heart because I grew up in rural Ontario, and my Uncle and Aunt spent their lives farming in this area.   I had the opportunity to attend Foodstock last year, and the only disappointment was the weather.  The forecast for tomorrow looks great, so I hope to see you all there.

Here is a list of organizations involved with Stop the Quarry:







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