Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Prep Your Car for Holiday Road Trips (aka I Changed My Cabin Air Filter and So Should You!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias

Your car's cabin air filter is a line of defence against dirt, dust and allergens! Change it once a year to keep your family safe and comfortable. Here's how... (it's easy)!

When I was growing up, I remember my dad was often out in the driveway doing maintenance and repairs on his cars. When he wasn't at work or watching hockey on the tube he was wearing his hospital electrician's uniform and working in the shed or under a car hood.

My siblings and I didn't pick up any of his car-related knowledge, and I’m sure we weren't even interested, caught up as we were in our everyday dramas. But I remember admiring my friend Lynn. She had her own car as a teen - a little Chevette - and her dad had her out in the driveway changing the oil and the tires. I have often wished I knew more about my own car. One thing we all can do (I know because I've done it!) is install a new cabin air filter. Did you even know there was an air filter inside your car?

Mikasa Cheers Glassware & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #99

I haven't done any thrift store shopping the last couple of weeks. But my mom did give me these beautiful Mikasa Cheers highball glasses last time I visited. These glasses are tall and thin, and etched with dots, lines, and swirls. I think they'll look lovely with a nice girly pink cocktail inside. Mom got the Mikasa glasses as a gift from the Niagara Fallsview Casino.

Actually she has passed a few gifts she got at the casino on to me - a soft robe, a king-size duvet and a wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer set. Mom hasn't been able to get to the casino as often lately, so she didn't get invited to her usual VIP September birthdays celebration this year. Which means no gift for her...and therefore no gift for me, haha. We do have one night at the casino resort hotel booked for October, so we'll be enjoying a little overnight in Niagara Falls. And maybe Mom will get a gift at Christmas? May I suggest some Mikasa Cheers white wine glasses?

Have you been to Niagara Falls? How about your local casino? I'm not a gambler myself (can't stand to lose money). How about you?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Strawberry Maple Nice Cream

This Strawberry Maple Nice Cream is a healthy, vegan alternative to ice cream. It is made with fruit, maple syrup and hemp hearts. It whips up in seconds and is creamy and satisfying. Gluten-free too!

Okay, guys - my dear friends, my peeps - if you haven't made yourself nice cream before, I insist you do it...pretty much right now! I know we are leaving summer behind, but this particular healthy yet sweet and delicious snack will serve you well all year long. And you can whip up this cold, satisfying frozen treat in mere minutes. Seconds really.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday (aka abdominal complaints part III)

I feel like I'm becoming a big ole snooze! Please attribute it to the fact that I can't eat as much as I want. I'm afraid that, given this post is about food, I need to continue talking about my tummy woes. Two weeks ago on What I Ate Wednesday I told you how I had pain and bubbling in my stomach. In last week's post, I told you how I was chugging back probiotics, and that the doctor had told me my gallbladder might be an issue. Well, the fun continues. I am awaiting my appointment for ultrasound and x-ray. In the meantime, I had a terrible attack of pain on the weekend. Like, writhing around and begging my husband to find me some kind (any kind!) of meds that might help. That passed after a couple of hours but I have been super cautious about what I eat and how much I eat since then.

So, this day of eats starts with my "safe" breakfast of Daiya black cherry vegan greek yogurt alternative. Perfect to satisfy hunger without creating much stress on the digestive system.

DIY Fall Floral Log Centerpiece With Tea Light Candles #12monthsofdiy

I once had a boss who was obsessed with faux flowers. She had plastic flowers in shades for all seasons, and she put them all over the office. They were ugly. And dusty. I was not a fan. But I now know that not all faux flowers are created equal. I have had a blast participating in the #12monthsofdiy project thus far. Our group of Canadian decor and lifestyle bloggers has focused on materials like vinyl, felt and spray paint. The challenge of creating a new project with a given material each month has been good activity for my brain.

This month's sponsor is Afloral, makers of gorgeous "silk" flowers and greens and also preserved flowers and grasses. You really need to check out Afloral's incredible variety of silk wedding flowers. You won't believe the kind of amazing bridal bouquet you can create with silk flowers!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Inexpensive Ideas To Prep Your Home For The Holidays (with Groupon Coupons)

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.

Saving money is in my blood. I come from the kind of home where large quantities of toilet paper and cans of soup (purchased at a discount, naturally) are piled high in the basement. I carry on that tradition. Just visit my fruit cellar on a typical day and you'll see - it looks like I'm preparing for a disaster!

When you have a desire to save money, planning ahead is key. That's why I'm hoping to get a head start on my holiday preparations this year. Like right now. I'm not ready to turn on the Christmas music yet, but it certainly can't hurt to start tasks like organizing and beautifying the guest room. Wouldn't it be nice if your guests arrived to find a clean, welcoming room with fresh, new bedding and a tray of goodies?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Let's start this week's WIAW with donuts, shall we? I mean, who doesn't love donuts? Actually I first shared this picture on Instagram and a couple of people commented that they're not big donut fans. Who would have guessed?

What I love about these particular donuts is that they are vegan donuts. I got them at my fave annual event, the Toronto Veg Food Fest, this past weekend. These donuts are from Through Being Cool Vegan Baking Co. They are big, chewy donuts with a lovely texture. I liked the sweet toppings, but I would have liked to taste a little more sweet in the donuts themselves.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Things To Do This Fall & Winter (With Deals From Groupon)

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.

Fall is the most beautiful time of year, isn't it? Mother Nature is dressed in her finest and Instagram is chock full of photos of picturesque lakes reflecting the glorious burnt orange leaves of the surrounding trees. You can hear angels singing really. But wait...listen carefully...do you hear the roar of the Abominable Snow Monster far off in the distance too?

I spend a fair bit of time hibernating in winter, but that's just depressing after a while, isn't it? A better strategy is the one I usually employ in fall and give up around January - thinking up all the fab activities you can do to enjoy the season to the utmost. In fall, that's apple picking, hiking, exploring the pumpkin patch. Maybe catching a couple of football games (not me, but somebody)?

Thrifted and Inherited Dishes & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #98

I am always on the lookout for pretty small bowls. They are great for eating decadent yet healthy peanut butter "nice" cream or this peachy dessert parfait. And, as I've said before, a petite bowl makes photographing food easier. (Fits in the camera frame better and requires less food).

Recently I found two of these pretty pink and yellow floral bowls at the thrift store. They'll be great not only for pictures, but for snacking on my fave raisin cereal in the evening too. They say yingzhouzhengdong on the bottom. I attempted to do some research, but even when Google translates the page from Chinese I can't really get a meaningful idea of what it says.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What I'm Taking To Blogpodium (With Help From Minted)

blogger business cards by Minted

I'm so looking forward to attending Blogpodium this week. For those of you not familiar with it, Blogpodium is a conference for design and lifestyle influencers. We're going to attend some informative sessions, hear from wonderful speakers and meet with sponsoring companies. Best of all, many of the bloggers from my #12monthsofdiy group will be there. Most of them I'll be meeting in real life for the first time.

Read on for a list of what I'll be taking with me to Blogpodium. At the top of the list is business cards. It's essential to have business cards handy for a blogging conference, to share contact information with potential future sponsors and also to keep in touch with the other bloggers you're sure to meet.

I chose business cards from Minted. Not only is Minted one of the sponsors of Blogpodium 2016, but they also make gorgeous stationery. I have gotten children's art from Minted in the past, as well as beautiful stationery and party decor.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday

It's actually not a great time for me to be writing about food. Why? It's mid-morning and I haven't eaten. I'm hungry, but I've had a fair bit of pain, burning and bubbling in my stomach (actual stomach, not colon) over the last week. I've had temporary relief from apple cider vinegar, digestive tea and even over-the-counter medicine, but today I'm playing it safe, giving my digestive system a bit of a rest for the morning.

Looking at the picture above, I feel that I could eat pancakes though. You can always eat pancakes right? I enjoyed these pancakes and vegan sausage a few days ago. The pancakes were made with brown rice protein, using a recipe in Protein Ninja: Power through Your Day with 100 Hearty Plant-Based Recipes that Pack a Protein Punch.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Addiction to Thrifted Plates & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #97

I have a weakness for plates. Plates of all colours, shapes and sizes. My cupboard tells the story. Instead of tidy, cohesive piles of plates, there are wobbly stacks of oddly sized plates leaning at precarious angles. When my daughter empties the dishwasher, she fits the plates together in order of size on the counter top before putting them in the cupboard. When my son empties the dishwasher, it's another story. Let's just say you have to take care when opening the cupboard doors.

I recently spotted these peach-coloured plates with pleasant little fish around the edges at the thrift store. I don't have any plates in this colour, I rationalized. And the fish are so cute!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Ontario Teachers & Social Media - What Parents Should Know

For teachers and other professionals, being online is the same as being in public. Here, how Ontario's College of Teachers advises teachers with respect to online interaction with students

With the popularity of social media today, our children are exposed to a wider circle of people and influences via their Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat accounts. Besides personal safety issues around encountering strangers online, kids are in danger of being "unfriended," "blocked" and bullied even in the confines of their own homes.

While we as adults are rightly concerned about how social media affects kids, I think we sometimes forget that the pitfalls of social media and electronic communications affect us too. Have you ever sent an email or text to the wrong person? Or accidentally forwarded information you didn't mean to share? I certainly have. And it's even worse when you do so at work.

Just as parents and teachers guide children around cyber safety, the Ontario College of Teachers advises teachers about the appropriate use of electronic communications and social media. The College’s Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media alerts teachers to potential issues that may result from interacting with students online.

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