Happy Fourth Of July

3rd July 2017

Fourth of July Dessert

We typically don’t do much on Independence Day unless we happen to be traveling in the US but this year we have a big reason to celebrate!

In January, we applied for a US Business Visa. After taking down copious amounts of paperwork and then falling into a ‘black hole’ for several months (aka the administrative waiting period) we finally received our shiny red, white and blue visas last month!

<insert happy dance!>

So what does this mean? A huge milestone for our ad agency! After six years of being a Toronto based business, Adfluent will open our first American office. We will also get to split our time between living + working in Canada and the United States.

I’ll write a full update soon (because you know there is a crazy story behind it of course!) but now it’s time to celebrate!

I made this fruit platter for a little party I hosted for my family. I think it was a pretty cleaver way to share our exciting news! Happy Fourth of July everyone!

 

Dear Naysayers, Why I Need You In My Life…

29th June 2017

Believe in yourself

Dear Naysayers,

I’m not going to lie and tell you that I wasn’t affected by all the times you thought my dreams were too grand. When you told me how hard it was going to be or how many other people have tried before me and failed, I got scared and doubted myself… because your opinions matter.

To help boost my self motivation, I started reading ‘how to success in life and business’ articles. I learned I’m supposed to eject the Debbie Downers and surround myself with enablers. So I did just that. One of my oldest friends is my biggest cheerleader. Even before I tell him what I’m going to do, he’s telling me how awesome I’m going to be at it!

Lately I had to overcome some massive barriers. Not entirely new to me because I didn’t exactly get to where I am without jumping over one, two or fifty hurdles.

And it was during this time I had my aha moment…

Accomplishments happen and changes occur not necessarily when you have a tribe always rallying behind you. Rather people who challenge you, those who question your sanity, the ones that ‘what if’ you to death… those ones –> YOU unleash the hungry beast in me. Because I guess nothing irks me more than being told I can’t do something. Roarrrrrr!!!!

Oh no, please don’t think I’m mad or will unfriend you. Although you can turn the pessimism down a notch or two. Here’s why I actually need you to nay all over my life…

Because I was that shy 10 year old girl who hid behind her bangs with the ‘dumb science project idea’… that ended up winning second prize at the school Science Fair.

 

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BarNotes: Pitcher Perfect Sangrias

24th June 2017

Sangria Recipe

I’m not much of a wine drinker but when it comes to sangrias, they are my all time favourite summer libation. Refreshing and full of sweet and tart fruity goodness, I’ve perfected making this boozy bevy. Here’s my spin on the classic white sangria…


Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of white Zinfandel
  • 1 cup of sparkling water (leave this out if you don’t like the fizz)
  • 2 cups of white grape juice
  • 2 cups of your favourite fruit (or use fruity ice cubes as per notes)
  • 8-10 mint leaves

Preparation:

First put your fruit and mint leaves in a pitcher and gently mash to release some of the flavour. Then add your wine and juice. Stir in the sparkling water just before you serve so it doesn’t go flat. Chill for 4+ hours before consuming.

 

Bartender Notes:

Instead of slicing up fruit, make fruity ice cubes instead and have your guest personalize their drink with their favourite flavours – it’s a more pretty and fun way to serve your sangrias! All you need to do is puree 5 or 6 different types of fruit (or herbs like mint or basil) in a blender with water and freeze them in ice cube trays overnight.

For sangrias with a Southern flare, slice fresh peaches and use rosé wine.

Want something exotic and Asian inspired? Pop in lychees, mangoes, passion fruit or colourful pieces of dragon fruit.

If you need to use a sweetner, try organic agave.

If you prefer more tart, substitute the white grape juice with lemonade or fresh wedges of lemons and limes.

Garnish with fresh sugar cane sticks. Cheers!

 

#GirlBoss: Nichelle Laus of OTC Toronto

22nd June 2017

Optimum Training Centre

Nichelle is a fitness model, personal trainer and the owner of Optimum Training Centre, a 6,000 sqft training facility in Toronto. She’s known for her 8 weeks to fabu-LAUS program and oh did I mention she’s a mom of four boys?! Let’s find out how this ex-cop turned mompreneur stays on top of her fitness game and what exercises she recommends for other busy moms…

What’s a day in the life of Nichelle Laus like? 

Being a mom to 4 little ones and owning a business, it is pretty hectic. Sometimes I don’t even know how I fit it all in but I do because I have to. There is no other choice and to make things happen, you have to hustle. You can’t sit there and dream about making things happen. You have to go out and make them happen!

My average day usually starts really early in the morning. I get up at 5:00 am and hit the gym at 5:30 am for my daily workout. I like to get it done early so it doesn’t interrupt family time, and I don’t have to worry about finding the time during my busy day to get it done.

I have a pretty busy, yet manageable schedule because I make sure everything has a time slot. I also leave room for surprises, a flexibility is key when you a momtrepreneur!

After getting 3 of the 4 kids off to school, I head into work, Optimum Training Centre, which is my personal training studio in Etobicoke. I train clients for a part of the day, and of course, work on the administrative stuff that comes along with owning your own business.

Nichelle Laus

After 3:00pm, I go into full time Mom mode again, which involves after school activities, cooking, cleaning, laundry and snuggles. Once the kids go to bed at night, I relax by having a bath or shower, then work on my other business, my online transformation business.

I enjoy my busy lifestyle. A lot of people wonder why and how I do so much but I really enjoy what I do and because I love it so much, I don’t look at it as work. It’s my passion and if I can motivate or inspire one person a day, my job is done. The rest is gravy.

 

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Soundpays: make purchases instantly from digital ads

19th June 2017

Soundpays App

This is a sponsored post.

I tend to be an early adopter when it comes to technology. If something maximizes my convenience, lets me skip the lineup or is an innovation that is simply way cool… I want to be the first to know.

And that’s why Soundpays caught my eyes and ears.

It’s a mobile wallet app that… WAIT FOR IT…

Soundpays

Transmits product purchase information (using inaudible sound waves) to your smartphone so you can make purchases directly from ads you see on TV, online or from a digital sign!

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Right Here. Right Now. I have everything I’ve always wanted.

16th June 2017

Birthday 2017

I’ve got all this fancy sh!t but it wasn’t the “things” themselves that sparked joy… it was more about knowing that ‘I CAN’.

I’m exactly where I want to be right now. Today. Looking back at the bucket list I curated for my 25 year old self, my goals revolved around my career in the rat race and dining at Michelin Star restaurants. A luxury downtown condo and import cars defined success. Don’t judge! I was part of that 80’s MTV generation. I wanted to live in multiple cities and have a passport filled with stamps from exotic destinations.

All before 40… so I could retire by 43! What I realize though, after checking all these things off, it was more to prove that if I could dream it, I could ‘real life’ it.

So it’s my birthday month and I’m married to my best friend and I’m a Momma to a darling curious rambunctious boy. And I guess I am semi-retired because I co-founded an ad agency, have this blog and love what I do. Older yet wiser, happy, healthy, grateful and feeling comfortable in my own skin. All the things that really matter. Now I’m going to go eat a $7 bowl of pho in my $65 dress to celebrate! ☺️🎂

 

Summer Beauty Favourites

10th June 2017

Summer Beauty

When it comes to beauty in the summer, less is definitely more. I like to keep my routine quick and simple. Here are my favourite products to help you get through the sun and heat…

Argan Brightening Facial Scrub

Acure Organics is one of my favourite beauty brands. For the past four years, I’ve been using their facial wash, toner and this fabulous scrub (twice a week) to get a deep cleansing experience like I would at a fancy spa. The scrub has just the right amount of grainy texture so you can feel it working on your face but it’s still gentle enough that sensitive skin doesn’t feel tight or dried out. ($18)

Burt’s Bee Facial Towelettes

I always have these wet towelettes stashed in my purse so I could remove makeup and excess oil lickety split. The Peach and Willow Bark version exfoliates (bonus!) and smells absolutely delicious. They comes in a pack of 30 and are a beauty must-have at home and on the go. ($10)

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

I love the Lavanila product line because they use natural ingredients and are bursting with beautiful scents like vanilla, lemon, coconut and grapefruit. This deodorant contains no aluminum, paraben or propylene glycol and doesn’t leave yellow pit marks on your white shirts. The only downside is it doesn’t stop sweat completely so if you are really active, you will need to reapply the deodorant to ensure maximum odour protection. ($17) Also comes in a travel size. ($11)

 

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Summer Events In The 6ix

9th June 2017

Summer 2017 Events

My favourite time of the year is here! Let’s make this summer deliciously magical starting with these fun events…

May 20 to Oct 7 – take a stroll along the harbour and check out the 75+ vendors at the Waterfront Artisan Market. This event happens every Saturday.

June 13 & 14 – The Stop’s Night Market is an all-you-can-eat fundraiser for night owls.

June 15 to 18 – Taste of Toronto is the ultimate foodie festival for friends who feast.

June 15 – Give Me Liberty After Work Party hosted by Liberty Village BIA.

June 16 to 18 – indulge in tacos, guacamole, churros, tequila, hot sauce and everything Mexican at the Taco Fest.

 

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Food Porn Alert: #AdelaideEatsTO

5th June 2017

Adelaide Eats

Food courts in the Financial District will be abandoned for Adelaide Eats this summer. Perched on the second floor terrace of 150 York Street, this foodie market will be serving up cold drinks and mouth watering dishes by artisan chefs now until July 28, 2017.

So make a lunch date with your co-workers or grab dinner with friends because there is now a reason to linger around the financial core after office hours. Here are a few of our favourites…

Fish'd by EDO

Fish’d by EDO // TO’s original hand-crafted sushi burritos and Hawaiian poke bowls.

Toben Food

Toben Food by Design // fresh and local creations with flavours from around the globe.

Chimney Stax

Chimney Stax // of course the ‘cookie monster’ ice cream sundae caught my son’s eye!

 

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City Escapes: Westin Trillium House Blue Mountain + Scenic Caves Adventure

23rd May 2017

Westin Trillium House

This past long weekend we made the 2 hours drive to Blue Mountain to immerse ourselves in nature. For three glorious days we woke up to birds cheerfully chirping instead of the typical city construction.

Blue Mountain has become our favourite family getaway for the last three years. We usually visit during the winter so it was definitely odd seeing bikes on the grassy hills instead of the snowcapped peaks, but honestly, I enjoyed it more this time with the warmer weather.

Westin Trillium House

Check-in: Westin Trillium House.

I’m part of SPG but had forgotten that I was a Gold Member so our standard room was upgraded to a Preferred Guest Suite on the fourth floor. Yasss, I love surprise perks!!! There was a balcony, kitchenette, dining area, living room and even a den (that could easily be used as a second bedroom with a pull out couch). The highlight of the suite though was the magnificent giant 20 ft windows over-looking the hills.

 

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