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Canada

A RCMP mountie plays hockey in the snow – most Canadian photo ever?

Posted March 22, 2015 by Jes

They are calling this the most Canadian photo ever…snow, hockey and a mountie.I don’t agree…but if they were to add a moose and say it was the most stereotypical Canadian photo ever, I would concur.The original photo was posted on Twitter by the BC…

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Calgary

Theatre Review: Vertigo Theatre’s The Haunting

Posted March 22, 2015 by Jes

I don’t like scary movies. Never have. I can’t even watch a horror movie trailer without covering my eyes and hyperventilating. Something about an over active imagination and never being able to be alone in the dark if I see them. So, I’m not really su…

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Allan's Perspective

Saturday Morning Confusion #27,680

Posted March 21, 2015 by Allan W Janssen

Well folks, are ya confused enough yet? Then read on with these files from the Naked News Department: ————————————— Authorities in Minnesota say three would-be robbers picked the wrong time to pocket-dial 911. Blue Earth Sheriff’s Capt. Rich Murry says a dispatcher took the call early Thursday morning and heard two voices on the other […]

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General

Arctic Apple Takes a Bite Out of Pseudo-Science

Posted March 20, 2015 by Anonymous

After years of research and extensive field testing, the Okanagan’s own GMO apple is going to the big leagues. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are routinely attacked by urban organic activists in spite of the fact that not a single ailment has ever been linked to this technology. And now, as a testament to the baselessness of such attacks, […]

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Canada

5 Things You Need to Know About Card Fraud

Posted March 16, 2015 by Sonya

We’re becoming more and more of a cashless society. The convenience of credit and debit cards even has me often walking around with no more than $20 in my wallet. There are pros and cons and we are all well-aware […]

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General

It’s Doing it AGAIN!!!

Posted March 15, 2015 by Marguerite

Snowing that is.Remember the days when my yard looked like this?See that lovely compost bin on the left hand side?Now my veggie garden looks like this.Where exactly did the compost bin go?The wood strip you see peeking out of the snow is my bin.  …

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Canada

Meaghan Smith gives releases video for Mirror

Posted March 13, 2015 by Jes

A new video from Meaghan Smith! This Canadian singer is one of my faves, and not just because she is the sweetest lady, but she has the sweetest voice too. This is her newest video from her album Have a Heart which was released last year.

This song is a little different than the rest of the album, which has mostly the old time charm that Smith usually gives us, but I dig it.

XOXO
Jes…

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Entertainment

Ariana Grande’s Energy On Stage IS Explosive!

Posted March 13, 2015 by Sonya

I’m a fan of any live stage performance so when I had heard that pop and television sensation Ariana Grande was planning a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, my ears perked up. To fill the ACC is […]

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Books

Book Review: The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins

Posted March 13, 2015 by Anonymous

I watch people with the same kind of fascinated horror that I view a car wreck. I don’t intend to stare, but I just can’t seem to tear my eyes away from the catastrophe that is in front of me. […]

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Allan's Perspective

Ontario

Posted March 9, 2015 by Allan W Janssen

Here’s another one from Wayne! An Israeli doctor says: “In Israel, medicine is so advanced that we cut off a man’s testicles, put them on another man, and in 6 weeks, he is looking for work.” The German doctor says: “That’s nothing, in Germany we take part of a brain, put it in another man, […]

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Family

Cool Baby & Tot Travel Gear For Your Carry On Bag

Posted March 9, 2015 by Sonya

If you’re getting ready to head out on a family vacation here are a few cool things we’ve spotted that are worth bringing in your carry on bag! TEENY KNOT GENIE HAIRBRUSH ($18) Designed for little locks, this handy little brush with […]

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Contests

March Break Guide To Toronto + Win Tickets To The ROM!

Posted March 6, 2015 by Sonya

If you aren’t planning a holiday this March Break, don’t fret! There is plenty to see and do in Toronto, and thank goodness for that! We all know the kids can get a little squirrely if they’re locked up indoors […]

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General

THANK YOU Conservative MLA Jake Stewart and NDP Leader Dominic Cardy For Speaking Up In Support Of Adult Autism Care and Treatment in New Brunswick

Posted March 6, 2015 by H L Doherty

New Brunswick governments have been outstanding in establishing an internationally recognized early evidence based autism intervention service and have made some gains in autism training for Education Aides and Resource Teachers.  

There has been no progress though  in establishing an autism centre for adult treatment and permanent residential care for severely impacted autistic adults with a network of autism group homes around the province.

It is very easy to become discouraged in advocating for adult autism care in New Brunswick.  The establishment of early evidence based autism intervention services was not easy but successes have been achieved.  While there have been backward steps such as the recent hard line 95% attendance requirement, since revised, which did not appear to take into pressures and demands on family and the time available to them the NB early intervention program has been recognized as a leading Canadian model by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment.  Some gains have also been made in provision of autism trained Education Aides and Resource Teachers although much more needs to be done including training more aides and teachers and ensuring that autism trained aides work with autistic students and not be displaced by untrained aides with more seniority.  Adult autism residential care and treatment however  remains abysmal and the first signs indicate that things are not likely to change under the current Liberal government. The NDP and Green Party both addressed adult autism care issues during the last provincial election.  Both the Liberal and Conservative parties were silent on autism issues.    
The adult autism care problem, as reported by Samantha Magee and the Miramichi Leader, has flared up again recently in Miramichi when a 19 year old non verbal autistic man was given notice of eviction from the special care home in which he resided solely because he was now an adult. Several persons including me spoke out yet again asking our government to address the adult autism care issue in New Brunswick.  Specifically we asked the government yet again to build an autism treatment centre in Fredericton near the expertise of the Stan Cassidy Centre which treats autistic children and youths and provide permanent residential care for those with severe dysfunctional autism disorder. The centre would also provide oversight and training for autism group homes in New Brunswick communities around the province.
The Miramichi Leader reported  former Autism Society New Brunswick President Lila Barry’s comments urging the establishment of the autism centre based network as described by UNB Professor Emeritus (Pscychology) Paul McDonnell in 2010 and asked the Minsiter of Social Development for a response.   The government response came from Communications Officer Anne Bull:
“When asked if the minister of Social Development has looked into the possibility of building such a facility that could offer diagnosis, treatment and long-term living arrangements, the Miramichi Leader received the following response from communications officer Anne Bull.

“The Government of New Brunswick recognizes the need to provide high quality services that support our province’s families and individuals living with autism. As a government, we are committed to continuing to improve services to families and individuals living with autism. This includes examining the issues around living accommodations and supports for those with high care needs who require services beyond what is presently available. Government continues to make significant investments in services to adults with disabilities. Social Development works in collaboration with the New Brunswick Disability Executive Network and other key stakeholders to recommend on-going improvements to the Disability Support Program, finding innovative ways to support adults with disabilities and their families with the unique challenges they face.”

Communications Officer Bull did not provide a direct answer to the questions of whether the Minister of Social Development had even looked into the possibility of building the facility that could offer diagnosis, treatment and long-term living arrangements. Requests for such a centre have been made for years and it is easy to become discouraged when our government officials refuse to provide a direct answer to such an important question and instead pass the buck to a communication officer to provide a formulaic, meaningless answer.

A bright side to the recent events has been the support of Conservative MLA Jake Stewart and NDP Party Leader Dominic Cardy.  Mr Stewart was also quoted by the Miramichi Leader’s Samantha Magee:

“Jake Stewart, Progressive Conservative MLA for Southwest Miramichi, agreed that the system was failing the Keenans and other families like them in similar situations. “Adequate facilities are needed in New Brunswick to alleviate strain on families found in this situation, and on individuals like Brandon who clearly deserves better. Also, a change in policy in Social Development is most likely needed,” said Stewart in an email to the Miramichi Leader. “‎I’m offering my support in the construction of new facilities, a potential change in policy, and of course I can and will continue to be a voice of reason for the Keenan family,” said the MLA. “But first, it’s important to allow Brandon to stay at M.O.R.E. Services from now on without worry of being displaced due to his age. If another facility can accommodate, this too may be beneficial. Time is of the essence.””

NDP party leader Domonic Cardy responded to the recent events in Miramichi with a Facebook commentary:
Adults with autism get a raw deal in New Brunswick – often shipped off to a facility in Maine. During the election the NDP committed to build a residential facility here in New Brunswick where adults with autism who need the care can get it, 24/7. The Liberal government has been supportive of this idea but, as you can see from the story below, we need to move faster.
This is why we have to rein in wasteful spending: so we have the resources to look after the folks who need our help.
As the parent of a severely autistic 19 year old son who lives at home and requires 24/7 care I know that many parents face daunting challenges caring for their autistic children and find it difficult to continue to provide that care, while earning a living and still find the energy, time and willpower to continue to advocate in the face of government and bureaucratic inertia and indifference  for humane, professional adult autism care and treatment but … we have no other choice; we have to do our best to remain strong and to remain optimistic and to continue the fight.  
In the meantime THANK YOU Jake Stewart and Dominic Cardy for your support and THANK YOU Samantha Magee and the Miramichi Leader for your attention and outstanding journalism on adult autism care and treatment issues.  
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Beauty

Top Five Reasons to Shop At Nordstrom Ottawa #NordstromOTT

Posted March 6, 2015 by Loukia

Nordstrom Ottawa is opening its doors today, after much excitement and anticipation. I am ALL CAPS EXCITED, you guys! I have been a long-time lover and shopper of Nordstrom—it is my favourite department store, after all—and after attending the #NordstromOTT Gala Wednesday night, it was great to see that all the things I love about Nordstrom will be the same in my hometown, with a local twist. (How amazing is it that $180,000 was raised for United Way Ottawa and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation because of the Gala?)

Bright and early today (starting at 7:30 a.m.) you can attend the Nordstrom Ottawa Beauty Bash, to get a look at what’s in store for you (no pun intended) and to meet some of the lovely people who will be working behind your favourite beauty counters. (I’m still in awe of this package of amazing products Nordstrom sent my way to review. Best. Gift. Ever.)

From the Nordstrom pre-gala party  (which was a great way to welcome Nordstrom to Ottawa!) to the media preview of the 157,000 square-foot department store, to the VIP night in a Sens Suite (where I hung out with some wonderful people, including the amazing and charming John Bailey, Nordstrom’s Spokesperson extraordinaire) it has been such a fun ride waiting for Nordstom to open. Yes, I love to shop, and yes, I’m easily excited, but you guys… this is huge news for Ottawa.

Here are my top five reasons to shop at Nordstrom Ottawa:  

1. One stop shopping. You can find it all at Nordstrom, from your favourite beauty products to accessories and clothes, for men, women, and children. (There’s even an amazing lingerie department where you can finally stock up on Hanky Panky!) You can shop home decor, too. I love that this department store provides affordable options as well as exclusive, more expensive brands. Tory Burch, French Connection, Kenzie, Vince Camuto, Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, Rag & Bone, Ted Baker, and Michael Kors are just some of the names you’ll see as you shop.

2. The shoe department. Nordstrom started out as a shoe store in Seattle back in 1901. Trust me, Nordstrom knows shoes. The shoe shopping experience is my favourite part about shopping at Nordstrom! You’ll be blown away at just how many shoes there are. And I need them all. I do!

3. Bazille restaurant. Rest your tired feet after hours of shoe shopping at Bazille restaurant, and enjoy all the delicious food and wine as you relax with friends. Bonus? An amazing patio to enjoy eating and drinking outside when the weather is nice out. (If you need a quick bite or an espresso, Nordstrom Ottawa also has a coffee shop on the main floor for a little pick-me-up.)

4. The service. I’ve always found the service to be excellent at Nordstrom, and this is very important to me. I love knowledgeable employees who are smiling and helpful, and Nordstrom does a great job of hiring the right people for the job.

5. Pretty things. Everything is pretty in Nordstrom. Just walk in, and you’ll see what I mean. You can’t shop at Nordstrom and not be in a happy mood, especially when you’re surrounded by everything that is pretty. Put on those Michael Kors sunglasses. Feel the soft leather on that gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff bag. Try on the Jimmy Choo heels. It’s retail therapy at its best.

These are just five of many reasons I love Nordstrom.

And now, I have to go—I’ve got some shopping to do!

Happy shopping, Ottawa.

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Calgary

March Break Guide To Calgary & Edmonton

Posted March 5, 2015 by Anonymous

Both Calgary and Edmonton offer a wide-array of family activities throughout the March Break to keep children of all ages busy and happy. Here are some things to do during the break. Calgary Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes Disney […]

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Entertainment

“Once” Is An Emotional & Beautiful Must-See

Posted March 4, 2015 by Sonya

There are times when I want to cozy up with a warm blanket by the fireplace with my hubby and stop all the rushing around. That’s the experience I felt when I recently saw ONCE The Musical, now on stage […]

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Family

March Break Guide To Vancouver

Posted March 3, 2015 by Anonymous

The Vancouver District School Board is closed from March 9 to the 23rd for March Break. While school is out, there are plenty of exciting and fun activities both children and families throughout the city. Skate The Dry Spot Indoor Located […]

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General

Winter’s Chill

Posted February 27, 2015 by Marguerite

It was a slow start to winter this year.  We had reasonably warm temperatures and little to no snow for all of December and January.  February changed all that. A lovely day to go to the beachA thick blanket of snow fell down and covered the …

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General

19 Year Old Non Verbal Autistic Man Evicted From Miramichi Special Care Home Because He Is An Adult

Posted February 26, 2015 by H L Doherty

Huge gaps remain n New Brunswick’s adult autism residential care and treatment system. An autism specific residential care and treatment centre and autism specific group home system is needed to bridge those gaps. 

HON. CATHY ROGERS

Minister of Social Development
HON. VICTOR BOUDREAU
Minister of Health
HON. BILL FRASER 
MLA Miramichi 
HON. STEPHEN HORSMAN
MLA Fredericton North
As an autism advocate for over 15 years in New Brunswick (and father of a 19 year old severely autistic son) I was saddened, though not at all surprised, to read the report by Samantha Magee of the  Miramichi Leader of a 19-year-old, non verbal autistic man whose family was informed by Social Development on Feb 9 that he would not be able to remain in his special care accommodations in Miramichi: after February although he has been given a reprieve until March 31. The Leader reported that his transition to adulthood was the reason for the forced departure:
“Bob Daley, residential services manager for M.O.R.E. Services Inc., said in an emailed statement to the Miramichi Leader that the issue is related to Brandon’s age and funding.
“For a number of years, M.O.R.E. Services has been providing a children’s service in the upstairs apartment of the home in question. When a resident reaches the age of 19, they are no longer considered a child and therefore receive services through adult programs,” he said.”
I have been involved with public autism advocacy in New Brunswick and Canada  for over 15 years.   I know that there have been several high profile incidents of youths and young men being sent to the Spurwink facility in Maine at considerable public expense because autism specific treatment and residential accommodation including drops off between the ages of 15 (Stan Cassidy Autism Centre) and 19. 
Concerns over the lack of adult autism treatment and care facilities have been presented to successive governments for over a decade.  A proposal by distinguished autism expert, clinical psychologist and UNB professor emeritus (psychology) Paul MdConnell Ph.D. was made public in 2010 on the CBC web site.  The proposal for a Fredericton based autism residential treatment and care facility (near the UNB-CEL Autism staff and the Stan Cassidy Autism Centre also included autism specific group homes with autism trained staff and oversight from the Fredericton centre.
New Brunswick has been a Canadian and North American leader ( as recognized by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment) in establishing early intervention services. We have also made advances in autism trained education aides and resource teachers.  There is no reason in principle that we could not have extended the expertise we have developed to the adult care and treatment level as described by Professor McDonnell (CBC, 2010) and provided both a centre for those with severe autism needing permanent care, treatment and oversight and autism specific group homes in Miramichi and around the province to keep as many autistic people as possible close to home, family and community.
Cost has not been the primary obstacle in the refusal to develop an autism centre and network of autism specific group homes.  Costs of sending each person to Spurwink have been estimated at approximately $300,000 per year and would be saved with the development of the NB based adult care network.  Jobs would also be created in the center and group homes for the trained staff.
As a father of a now 19 year old severely autistic adult son I genuinely empathize with the Miramichi adult and his family and I can provide no reasonable explanation as a long time public autism advocate as  to why NB with its proven ability to develop a well recognized early autism intervention program, and its extension of that program to train our school teachers and aides can not organize a centre based network with autism specific group homes around the province.  Had that been done years ago the current situation in Miramichi would probably not have arisen.
Please take this letter seriously, as a call to action to develop the autism centre and group home network proposed by Professor Emeritus Paul McDonnell in 2010.
Please act to provide residential care and treatment for NB’s severely challenged autistic adults before more time is needlessly wasted.
Respectfully,
Harold L Doherty
Fredericton North
New Brunswick
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Canada

The Winter Getaway… And Energizer EcoAdvanced Giveaway!

Posted February 26, 2015 by Sonya

When it comes to traveling with kids, we’d like to think we’ve got it all figured out. We’ve got packing down to a science, well, except for me… I always over pack shoes. Like our recent trip to San Francisco […]

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General

Fun Stuff For Families At The Canadian International AutoShow

Posted February 13, 2015 by Sonya

This weekend, the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) is in Toronto. And while it might not seem like your first pick for a family outing, it’s actually a great place to spend some time with the kids. The spectacular show runs from February […]

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General

Family Day Weekend Arts & Culture Events In Toronto

Posted February 11, 2015 by Sonya

We’re excited for the upcoming Family Day Weekend in the city and there’s no shortage of things to do. While we know that that there are plenty of skating rinks and ski hills to enjoy but if you’ve got kids […]

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General

Faith In Humanity—Restored

Posted February 5, 2015 by Kath

How often do you browse through social media accounts, only to toss your phone aside in disgust, your faith in humanity hitting rock bottom? I know it happens to me several times daily: news of atrocities committed in the name […]

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General

Lunatics tighten grip on madhouse

Posted February 4, 2015 by Ted Bird

   It’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate reality from satire.  Three times in the last 24 hours, I’ve had to do double-takes to make sure news headlines I was reading were from mainstream media sources and not send-ups from co…

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Canada

It ain’t paintball, folks

Posted January 29, 2015 by Ted Bird

   Not that it comes as a surprise, but some of Canada’s political and media elites are demonstrating breathtaking cluelessness on the fundamentals of military affairs.  The fretting by the opposition parties and their journalist allies …

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Entertainment

BOOM! A Generation of Influence

Posted January 27, 2015 by Sonya

Why should we take a look at the past? Well, it helps us understand where we are today. Most of us weren’t even born in the “baby boomer” generation but we certainly are aware of it, hopefully? For me, it’s […]

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Canada

It’s a Love Thing with Twin Kennedy

Posted January 21, 2015 by Jes

Meet Canada’s newest country duo – Twin Kennedy.Well, that actually isn’t true. They’ve been around, touring and writing songs as Carli and Julie for years. Since they were children they have been playing instruments and singing for any audience that w…

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Canada

Ryan Reynolds heads to Vancouver to film Deadpool

Posted January 19, 2015 by Jes

Ryan Reynolds is going to be back in Vancouver reprising his role as Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Deadpool will begin filming in the stars hometown in March.I’m not sure if you recall how that movie ended, but Reynolds went from hawt…

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Entertainment

Heart Of Robin Hood Is Action-Packed Fun!

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sonya

Everything about the classic tale of  Robin Hood is turned upside-down in the new exhilirating theatre production, Heart of Robin Hood, now on stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (Toronto) until March 1st. Yes, Robin Hood (Gabriel Ebert) and his […]

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Entertainment

Coping In “The Waiting Room” With Diane Flacks

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sonya

There’s a new theatre production that has caught my attention as a parent and theatre lover. WAITING ROOM by Diane Flacks (in collaboration with director Richard Greenblatt) is making its World Premiere at the Tarragon Theatre  in Toronto (January 14 […]

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General

So Many Things Left

Posted January 16, 2015 by The Pedgehog

Still here, still angry. Still too cynical to tell y’all my in depth feelings about recent developments. I am currently reading Olivia Chow’s memoirs and the message I am taking away is the same that permeated Jack Layton’s last letter – hope is better…

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General

What To See At The Interior Design Show #IDS15

Posted January 16, 2015 by Sonya

Spring is just around the corner, I promise! But while we wait, you’ll can check out the Interior Design Show, January 22-25, 2015 at the Metro Convention Centre. Under one massive roof you’ll discover the latest in home design trends, […]

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General

Sustainable Lifestyle & Best Designer Consignment Shops

Posted January 15, 2015 by Sonya

When you have time to think and assess life, ever wonder what you can do to make the world a better place? I’m not talking about massive changes—unless you want to, of course. But what manageable steps can we take […]

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General

A Dim Sum How (And Where) To

Posted January 14, 2015 by Sonya

Dim sum is a tradition for many Chinese families and it’s becoming more mainstream as our taste for global cuisine broadens. It’s something our family does almost every weekend. Since we’re coming up to Chinese New Year, I thought I’d […]

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Canada

CBC’s Schitt’s Creek premieres – ALL OF THE LEVYS

Posted January 14, 2015 by Jes

My Canadian television dreams have come true. As we all know, I am obsessed with the Levys – OBSESSED. When Dan and Eugene are photographed together I die. When you put the two of them and Catherine O’Hara in a TV show I basically…just…how am I bre…

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General

Tested: RealFoodToronto.com Delivers Real Food, Fast

Posted January 8, 2015 by Sonya

There’s a real food movement that’s taken hold and I’m okay with it.  What does that mean? Well, we all lead busy lives and we’re constantly searching for ways to feed our families the best we can. We’re hearing much […]

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Canada

“Our game” belongs to everyone

Posted January 6, 2015 by Ted Bird

   Even though it fell a goal short, Russia’s near-miracle comeback at the World Junior Hockey Championship final in Toronto was useful from a Canadian perspective, because it brought some much-needed humility to the process. Humility would h…

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Canada

Contest: Kick-Start The New Year With A Special K #2015Revolution!

Posted January 5, 2015 by Sonya

That’s right! Resolutions are so last year! Let’s face it, we all have good intentions to change something about ourselves or the way we do things. Most of us often falling flat within a few weeks. Including me. Hey, life […]

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General

How To Make The Most Of A Luxurious Staycation

Posted January 1, 2015 by Sonya

For years we’ve struggled with the idea of travelling over the holiday season. We’ve had great experiences travelling to tropical paradises, ski getaways and everything in between during this time of year. It was always great to escape with the […]

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Entertainment

Fun Things To Do Over The Holidays As A Family

Posted December 31, 2014 by Sonya

The kids are off of school for a couple of weeks. I came to the realization yesterday that, oh yeah, they’re home with me! My daily routine of sitting at the computer with a bottomless cappuccino is not their idea […]

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