Thursday, October 28, 2010

Winners of the Steven and Chris giveaway

We have our winners for two sets of four passes to Steven and Chris and one gallon of Para Ultra White Flat Ceiling Paint.

Congratulations to:
J'Anns Boutique
Who will be receiving the passes to Steven and Chris
and, Candice who be receiving one gallon of Para Ultra White Flat Ceiling Paint.

Winners: please email me with your real first and last name and your mailing address so I can send you your prizes.

Thanks to everyone for your terrific comments and hope you’ll watch Steven and Chris even if you aren’t receiving free tickets.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Lida Baday Sample Sale - November 5

The one you’ve been waiting for is back just in time for holiday shopping...

Lida Baday’s semi-annual sample sale

Her collection is available in only the finest department stores.

It’s one great sale you won’t want to miss! Whether you’re looking for something sophisticated for a day at the office, a night out on the town or that special something for an upcoming party, this Canadian designer is not to be missed.

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

70 Claremont St.. (See map.)

Let us know what you get if you go.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Indigo unveils new website for the holidays

My first online experience with Indigo was sending an email and hearing back from CEO Heather Reisman herself – quickly and yes, it was definitely her.

My first experience with online shopping was purchasing books from Indigo. I think I was one of the first customers when the e-commerce site was launched. I made sure my order qualified for free shipping and I was delighted when the package arrived at my doorstep.

The company was way a head of the curve both in terms of online customer service and as a Canadian e-commerce pioneer.

I’ve been a loyal fan. I frequent their bricks and mortar stores and am a card-carrying iRewards member. To be honest, I much prefer the tactile experience of shopping at my neighbourhood store over shopping online but that’s not a reflection of their website. I’ll shop online when I’m pressed for time. I’ll also shop online when I want to buy gifts for friends or relatives who live across the country.

Three weeks ago, when I saw a tweet with a link to Indigo’s new website, I immediately clicked over to check it out. I quite like the redesigned site’s fresh new look – it’s unique from their competitors; supports the integration of blogs, Facebook and Twitter; and, offers independent authors the ability to have their books published and distributed in partnership with iUniverse.

A few days later I was delighted to receive an invitation from Tuulie and Katie at MS&L to attend the media launch at Indigo’s head office. The event focused on new website features and holiday gift items, just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season.

Indigo now offers their entire gift, paper and toy inventory (including electronic games and consoles) online. They’ve also partnered with Moleskin, in addition to an extensive inventory of Moleskin products, they have some Indigo exclusives with unique designs and packaging. And as one would expect, there’s a big push on Kobo eReaders.

Some of the other enhancements include:
• Improved search
Deal Zone (all deals can be found in one place)
• Larger images (for close-up viewing) and complementary groupings called “mosaics” (especially for kids’ items to engage those too young to read)
• Free shipping on orders of $25 (down from $39) or more for most items (heavy toys and gifts excluded)
• Expanded Wish List capabilities with an option for birthday reminders (up to 20 wish lists where items can be easily transferred to the chopping cart)

The new site delivers and for those of you who belong to their community, it has been ported over in it’s entirety. However, I was not alone and somewhat disappointed when the media kit for the event was provided on CD ROM. Why not a secure media page on the new website?’s holiday shipping deadlines:
Dec 9 – Free Shipping Deadline - Across Canada
Dec 14 – Ship-to-store Deadline
Dec 17 – Premium Shipping Deadline - All Canada
Dec 19 – Last Minute Deadline through GTA/Ottawa/Montreal Corridor
Dec 23 – Quick Ship Deadlines

Have you seen the new What are your thoughts? How much of your holiday gift shopping will be done online this year?
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wanna spend some time with Steven and Chris?

On Tuesday, as part of a studio audience filled to the brim with other women lifestyle bloggers, I attended a taping of CBC’s Steven and Chris.

I’m not an avid watcher of daytime TV, although I’ve been a fan of Steven since his DIY segments on CityLine. I loved watching them on the original Designer Guys but I haven’t had much of chance to watch Steven and Chris – until now.

So, when the personalized note and invitation arrived for me and a guest to attend a special taping, light lunch and Q & A, I accepted.

The lengthy wait to get into the studio provided an opportunity to meet other women, whom I’d only known online and the option of having our make up done by make-up artists.

The show was jam-packed with segments about home entertaining and decor, DIY projects, cooking with Chef Rodney Bowers (who’s pulled pork sandwiches were delicious, the recipe should be posted soon) and special guest, Jenny McCarthy who was on a whirlwind book tour. (My initial reaction when I heard she’d be on the show was “ugh!” but I have to admit her interview with Chris was entertaining and she came across as intelligent, funny and approachable. Why she has made a career of being a bimbo is beyond me. However, I have the utmost respect for her autism activism Generation Rescue.)

Lunch, prepared by Chef Bowers, was yummy. (Yes, I ate pulled pork.) He and Strombo (Yes, that Strombo, I have pictures) mingled with the crowd and obliged us with conversation and photos. Steven and Chris mingled for a few minutes before the post-lunch Q & A session (sorry I missed this part).

Before I left I spoke with Deb McCain from the show’s PR agency. I wanted to learn why they held this event. To paraphrase, she told me they recognized the influence women online now have – bloggers in particular – and their importance in helping to build an online community around the show.

You can watch the episode on CBC tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET, set your PVR or catch it online. You can also catch Steven and Chris on Twitter and Facebook.

Now for the giveaway...
I have two gift certificates for groups of four tickets [updated] of Steven and Chris tickets to give away, and one gift certificate for a gallon of Para Ultra White Flat Ceiling Paint from Para Paints. For a chance to win, leave a comment telling me why you want to see Steven and Chris and/or the secret ingredient in the pulled pork sandwiches, by Wednesday, October 27. Winners will be chosen at random.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

For the Love of Cloth at the Textile Museum of Canada

For the Love of Cloth – Decorator Fabric Sale
• A boutique-style sale featuring designer fabrics, unique prints, beads, buttons, braids and rare finds
• Sample lengths of designer fabrics including:
• Silk brocade from India by Larsen
• Italian cottons from Osborne & Little
• Linen prints from Nina Campbell
• Fundraiser for the Textile Museum of Canada to support the museum’s exhibitions and public programs
• Cash, debit and major credit cards accepted

Fri., Oct. 29: 11 a.m-5 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 30: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Textile Museum of Canada (See map)
55 Centre Ave.

How much?
Admission is free.

Contact the Textile Museum of Canada directly for more information.
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

baby bargainista addresses recent product recalls

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Rebecca Atkinson discusses the recent rash of product recalls on items for babies and young children.

As a parent, one of the things you do not wish to hear about are product recalls especially when they relate to items you own or are using. You also don’t want to think that the very products you use to keep your children safe are not safe.

On Thursday September 30, Fisher-Price announced a recall to more than 11 million toys and items across North America. The recalls are voluntary and are not related to each other, other than the fact that they happen to pose the risk of potential injury.

Consumers are advised to stop using the recalled products and call the recall hotline (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Last Wednesday, articles began surfacing urging parents to stop using popular sleep positioners designed to stop infants from rolling over on their stomachs. What was supposed to be a product to help reduce SIDS, may in fact also cause suffocation.

Babies R Us is among one of several North American retailers and manufacturers that have decided to stop selling or to withdraw the product from store shelves. A check of their websites show they are no longer selling the product online.

As a mother of a child with gastroesophageal reflux disease, we had seen several recommendations advocating we use positioners to help MJ stay off her back, and more on her side (avoid choking stomach acid coming back up). However, with her condition, she was nothing but a wiggle worm so we worried about exactly this problem and chose not to use one. After reading this, I feel good about our choice not to use one.

Since there is no official recall, there is no recourse for parents who own one of these positioners. The good news is they generally retailed for $20 or less so while you might be out of some money, thankfully it’s not an exorbitant amount.

Have you ever owned a recalled product? Do you follow the advice to stop using products (and get replacements where applicable?), or do you continue using them? What if it was your child’s favourite toy – what would you do then?

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