Friday, January 30

My Olay Regenerist Experiment: Six Week Update

Right before Christmas, I was thrilled to receive several products from the Olay Regenerist line to try out (my first reactions can be found here: My Olay Regenerist Experiment Begins). I've been using the line for six weeks now, so I figured it was time to give you an update. Please remember that this is my experience - I'm very cautious about sharing my opinions after recently reading "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?", in which author Timothy Caulfield tests out various celebrity diet, health and beauty claims, finding that almost all are incorrect.

When it comes to my face, I am satisfied with the science that tells me that there are benefits to cleaning, exfoliating and moisturizing the skin, and very happy that I can find reasonably-priced drugstore products to do those jobs for me.

Read on for the details!

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The products:

1. Micro-Sculpting Scrub Cleanser 
2. Fragrance-Free Renerating Serum 
3. Anti-Aging Eye Roller 
4. Fragrance-Free Micro-Sculpting Cream
5. Wrinkle and Pore Vanisher 

The routine:

I've used the Micro-Sculpting Scrub Cleanser every morning in the shower, using a lighter touch on my more sensitive cheeks. (I still use my trusty Cetaphil to wash face and remove makeup before bed.)

The Serum and Micro-Sculpting Cream go on morning and night, and I've been pretty religious about using both. I have to make sure to give the Serum time to absorb before putting the cream on top, and to remember that less is more - or else I end up a bit sticky.

I haven't been as consistent about the Anti-Aging Eye Roller (you click the bottom and a bit of product comes out the top where the tiny rollers are, and then you roll over the eye area), and I think it's because the instructions say to do the rolling for 30 seconds (which I assume means per eye) for a total of one whole minute of eye-rolling time (an image which calls to mind teenage girls, but in a different sense of the eye roll). Whether it's the rushed pace of the morning or the too-tired-to-care bedtime feeling, I haven't been able to motivate myself to add that part to either routine on a daily basis - but I use it at least a few times per week. Just not 14.

I've used the Wrinkle and Pore Vanisher (which gives instant results) a handful of times just to experiment, and I put it on when I'm going somewhere special or doing a TV appearance.

The results:

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results I'm seeing. I will openly admit that the change has not been "miraculous" - no at-home treatments can do that, I know, but I always hope!

Some specifics:

  • After just a couple of days my skin felt softer and smoother to the touch.
  • I'm happy with how clean and smooth my face feels after using the Micro-Sculpting Scrub Cleanser. I feel like over time the dull skin really has been scrubbed away.
  • Over the last 6 weeks I've noticed that my skin tone is more even (especially under the harsh fluorescent lights of the staff washrooms at school, which can easily throw someone into a skin-related depression).
  • In particular, I had one pencil-eraser-sized dark spot intensifying on my right cheekbone over the past few months, and it has faded noticeably.
  • I didn't have many deep wrinkles, but the one running across the middle of my forehead since my 20's has been smoothed out considerably, which I'm very pleased with. (Just to show you how serious sun damage is: the wrinkle was definitely deeper on the side of my forehead that hasn't been covered for years by my sideswept bangs! The whole thing looks much more subtle now.)
  • My crows' feet do look better too, but I'm sure I need to be more consistent with the eye product if I want to see the benefits there (though I do apply the serum and micro-sculpting cream in that area as well.)
  • The closest thing to a miracle (though temporary) product is the Wrinkle and Pore Vanisher. As I mentioned when I first posted about Regenerist, this item is like spackle for the face. You dab it in creases or areas with large pores, and it instantly fills them in, providing a more flawless finish. This has worked well on the aforementioned big forehead wrinkle, as well as spots where my pores are noticeable.

I will continue to happily use these products until they run out, and I will definitely purchase the Scrub Cleanser, Serum and Micro-Sculpting Cream when that happens - though I'm hoping there might be a version of the cream with SPF which I can use for daytime. At this point I don't think I'll need to buy any more of the Anti-Aging Eye Roller, because it's going to last me a long time if I don't get more consistent with it! 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Olay Regenerist products for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.

Wednesday, January 28

Valentine's Day from Hallmark - With Giveaway Preview!

My girls now recognize the Hallmark boxes that arrive on our doorstep, and are always excited for me to open them right up. This time was no exception, and we were all eager to see what Hallmark has in store for Valentine's Day this year - but mommy always gets to look through the box first!

I always choose one or two items for the girls to keep, and the rest become prizes for students in my class (I like to spread the wealth). As soon as I saw the Penny Paperheart Bake Shop Mini Play Set ($17.95) I knew it would be THE item to give my daughters. The set includes Penny and her friend Patti, story card, paper outfits, and more! It has already kept them busy for hours!

Before I move on to my other Hallmark faves, consider this your fair warning that I'm going to be giving away the same Penny Paperheart set to one lucky This Mom Loves social media follower later this week. I'll be posting on Facebook and Twitter, with one entry for every like, comment and retweet - so stay tuned!

Other great items for the kids:

Hug-Loving Hippo Techno Plush ($17.95 with the purchase of 3 cards) - it has been my experience that little ones love these dancing and singing plush items, and this one sings a parody of the hit 90's song "Baby Got Back". (Don't pretend you don't know what song I mean!) My students are VERY excited about this one.

Doggone Sweet Lady and the Tramp Plush ($24.95) and Hardcover Book ($9.95) - one of the greatest Disney love stories.

For the grownups:

Love Cup with Marker ($12.95) - erasable notes can be written on this cute ceramic cup.

Die-Cut Heart Memo Pad ($7.95 with any purchase) - this 300 sheet memo pad features the classic style of Dutch artist Marjolein Bastin.

Finally, the Valentines...of course! You may be thinking how nice it is that my daughters can give these cards to their friends, but you would be mistaken. Don't forget I'm a primary teacher - and Mrs. Winn is going to be so cool when she hands out cards featuring Frozen and the Avengers! ($2.99 per box).

Disclosure: I was provided with the above products by Hallmark for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.

Sunday, January 25

Chantal Kreviazuk: The Momterview

We all know Canadian star Chantal Kreviazuk from hit songs like Surrounded, Before You and In This Life, as well as her covers of Feels Like Home and Leaving On a Jet Plane (part of the movie soundtracks of How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Armageddon, respectively).

She is also a musical force behind-the-scenes, and has written or co-written songs for huge names like Kelly Clarkson (Walk Away), Pitbull with Christina Aguilera (Feel This Moment), Gwen Stefani (Rich Girl), Drake (Over My Dead Body), as well as songs for Jennifer Lopez and Carrie Underwood.

In her personal life, Chantal has been married to fellow Canadian musician Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace (they met at a Pearl Jam concert in Toronto) since 1999 and they are the parents of three boys, Rowan (11), Lucca (9) and Salvador (6).

I was thrilled to have the chance to send a few questions Chantal's way on behalf of This Mom Loves and SavvyMom.

Your new single I Will Be - in partnership with Kids Help Phone International - is so powerful, and I've heard you feel it's your favourite song to date. Why is it so special to you?

I guess it just really feels authentic to who I am right now.

Is there a different process when you're songwriting for other artists than when you're writing for yourself?

It's getting easier for me to not reserve a part of myself when writing for others. 

Has there ever been a song you wish you'd kept for yourself?

So far I am honoring that quest pretty well I would say. But it's hard.

What will we see next from you, career-wise?

I never know.... I just keep moving forward and see what comes.

Can you describe your emotions when you learned you and Raine were being appointed to the Order of Canada? {The two received the appointments for their achievements as Canadian musicians and for their extensive charitable and humanitarian work with groups like War Child.}

I was very surprised and felt so honoured of course.

You've been married for 15 years. What tips can you share for making marriage work?

Just because we take vows and profess our love when marrying someone doesn't mean it stops there. We have to constantly douse our spouse in love...we have to see and hear them and validate their process and their emotions. That is what makes a marriage work. It's not about "you" getting what you need, it's about giving your spouse what they need.

I was interested to read about your involvement in your sons' L.A. school and why you chose it{Chantal told The Ottawa Citizen that “For the same price, my kids could go to school with the kids of actors and heads of mutual funds. But ...we wanted them somewhere completely obscure where they could make their way that has nothing to do with Raine or myself. Our MO at the school is to raise critical thinkers, compassionate human beings and committed citizens.”} Plus, I was also pleased to hear your strong feelings towards teachers. Can you elaborate on that?

I am in awe of what teachers do. Plain and simple. I think that they should be ranked among our highest civil servants. Everyday they are our children's models and are preparing them for the path. There is not a greater responsibility or challenge.

What do you feel are your strengths and areas for improvement as a mom?

Just because I may have not loved what my son just did, doesn't mean I stop loving the boy....I have to be a little "all business" about parenting sometimes but that can be difficult because I am sensitive.

Chantal and Raine renewed their vows in 2009

How would you finish the sentence "This mom loves..." (apart from your family, of course)?

This mom loves Aromatherapy Associates serums, traditional Swedana treatment at Vida Spa VancouverOng Namo by Snatam Kaur (the most healing musical experience ever) and knitting in cashmere (e.g. The Purl BeeJennifer KnitsAmerico Original).

{Chantal really is a knitter - see photo of one of her projects below which she shared on her website!}


Thanks so much, Chantal! You can follow Chantal Kreviazuk on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and find tons of information at 

Wednesday, January 21

Growth Mindset: Your Kids Need This (So Do You!)

In my latest CHEX Daily segment, I chat with hosts Teresa Kaszuba and Mike Judson about fostering a growth mindset in your children - it's so important! We talk about:

  • What do "growth mindset" - and its opposite, "fixed mindset" - mean anyway?
  • What are some specific ways parents can help? (Hint: saying "You take after me, I can't do Math" is not helpful.)
  • How does growth mindset apply in areas other than academics (for kids and adults)?

I'm at the 31:18 mark if it doesn't cue for you where I've set it, and if you can't see the embedded video you can find it here:

(Video courtesy CHEX Daily)

P.S. Thanks to Chabot Elementary in Oakland, California for putting some great resources on their website for random Canadian teachers to Google and find, including a Powerpoint presentation for parents, parent tip sheet and student handout. You can find it all here:

Wednesday, January 14

Ease Morning Stress With a Breakfast Schedule

If there's anything worse than the "What's for dinner?" question it's "What's for breakfast?" It's worse because it's often asked in an angry, you-just-woke-me-up voice, because the response is usually followed with "I don't want (insert reasonable breakfast food here)" and because, well, it's asked in the morning.

In recent months, foods that I know my daughters both like were becoming the subject of great debate and bargaining: How many chocolate chips on the (toaster) waffles? Are they the (store bought) muffins that taste like banana?

Finally my husband, in his infinite wisdom (he rarely reads the blog, but just in case) suggested a schedule. Let them decide what they're going to have each morning, and then there are no arguments. Sure, sounded like a good idea...but would it work?

I wrote down a list of school-morning foods (none involving stove or oven, I admit) and told them to slot them into the days of the week. Surprisingly, they got right to the task and had the chart filled out in no time! When they discovered some accidental alliteration at the beginning of the week, they even shifted items around to continue the pattern. And here it is:

Muffin Monday (usually homemade on the weekend. From a mix, but still!)
Toast Tuesday (which includes choice of toast, bagel or English muffin)
Waffle Wednesday
Cereal Thursday (choice of cold cereal or hot oatmeal)
Muffin Friday

I would like to say that of course each offering is paired with a fresh fruit plate, but I don't lie to my readers. The girls do enjoy 100% apple juice with their breakfasts.

Weekends are time for bacon and eggs (though breakfast-for-dinner is also popular at our house), pancakes or whatever they want to order at a restaurant.

We've been using the schedule for a few weeks now and there have been very few complaints - and best of all, we have nicer waking-up moments when their first question doesn't relate to the meal ahead and there's less decision-making on my part.

Perhaps we are the only family to have felt this particular stress, but if applies to you, maybe a schedule will help!

Monday, January 12

My $1 Dining Room Hutch Makeover

When we built our house almost 12 years ago, I was in love with natural oak. When you walk into my home, you can tell.

Kitchen cabinetry, buffet and hutch, dining room table and chairs, coffee table, end tables, bench, TV stand...oh, and the entire living room/dining room floor. All in an open-concept area.

It was time to shake things up a bit, one step at a time. First, my Dad stained the top of our coffee table a very dark brown, so it stands out in the sea of natural oak hardwood flooring. Next, we purchased an area rug (very reasonably priced at Canadian Tire) which really helps break up the monochromity. (Is that a word?)

Then (I feel like I'm writing a sample procedure for my students: first, next, then...) I decided to make a tiny, but impactful change to my dining room hutch. Since we moved in, it has been filled with the exact same wedding-gift items (for someone who loves to change her decor often, I've been very lazy in this regard).

For the very first time this Christmas, my mom helped me shake it up to be a bit more festive, which I loved:

Just wanted to show a close-up of this again - isn't it cute?

After Christmas (you know, on Boxing Day morning when I put my house back to "normal"), I knew I didn't want to go back to same old display, so I considered my options. I thought about books and other meaningful items from our home, but for me, there are still certain things that "belong" in a dining room.

I decided to go with a gold/brown and glass theme and use items I already owned to create a fresher display.

However, the biggest change was the background. Here's what I did:

1. Went to Dollarama and bought a $1 roll of gold and white wrapping paper.
2. Cut it to fit.
3. Taped it to the inside back of the hutch.

I'm not sure if you can tell in the photos what a difference it made, but when you're standing at the front door looking into the room, it doesn't look nearly as "oaky" (another new word) as it used to, and I absolutely love the change.

On the buffet is a recipe from my late Grandma, matted (on dollar store scrapbook paper) and framed (in a dollar store frame) - a project from a couple of years ago, but it looks perfect now on this freshened-up piece of furniture.

For a few bucks and a few minutes of work, I'm so pleased with the change!

Friday, January 9

Purses + Poetry = Great New Giveaway and Discount Code!

I am so excited to share something new with you today! The company is called Purses + Poetry, founded by Canadian entrepreneur Karen Ward.

I first met Karen when she invited me to participate in a great research project about Gen X and Gen Y moms through her company Curiosity Inc. (It was because of this project that I was asked to do my first radio interview on CBC!) Recently she has added the creative venture Purses + Poetry to her business portfolio, and asked if I'd like to help spread the word...and do a fun giveaway!

I'll let Karen tell you how this new company came to be:

"I learned how to sew when I was young and I've always loved making things.  I find it incredibly satisfying to design something and make it and hold in your hand something that was once in your head.  But, I rarely had time for sewing and making as an entrepreneur running a small consulting company called Curiosity Inc.  Last year I took a step back from client work to focus on my own projects and I took a Snap Coin Purse workshop as a fun, learning adventure last summer.  I made one purse at the workshop, 8 more that same weekend - and Purses + Poetry was born. 

I love beautiful, useful objects and I have a deep appreciation for good writing and beautiful language.  I think we're losing touch with the later in our world of tweets, text abbreviations and quick status updates.  There is something enduring about poetry and thoughtful quotes - they create pause, reflection and often provide us with a bit of insight or reassurance that we didn't even know we needed.  This is what I love about tucking poems and quotes inside lovely everyday objects - we get a little bit of nourishment for our soul while we're doing what needs to be done!"

Who/what are the Purses + Poetry Products for?
  • The Key Ring Pouches are wonderful little gifts for pre-teens/teens who are getting house keys for the first time.  The zipped pouch is big enough to hold a transit pass, debit card, student ID, etc.  They also make wonderful housewarming gifts (put a Home Depot card inside) or small appreciation gifts for teachers, your book club, moms' group, etc.
  • The Clutch Purses are great for date night or any special occasion.  They are big enough to hold all of your elegant necessities.
  • The Medium Pouches, our best seller, are perfect for cosmetics, toiletries, cords and cables or a small journal with some pens and pencils.  These pouches are universally loved and make great gifts for women of all ages!
  • And finally, the Snap Coin Purses that started it all are perfect for coins, lip balm and are big enough to fit your essential cards as well.  These are currently sold out while I source a new supplier for the silver frames - they will be back online in early February.

Sure, you can buy purses anywhere, but Karen feels (and I agree!) that there are several things that make Purses + Poetry special. Here's what she says:

  • Everything is designed and lovingly hand-made by yours truly.  This does feel special in a world of offshore production, sweat shops and the like.
  • The products are truly unique because I buy fabric in small batches.  I love prowling around fabric shops and second hand shops when I travel and I'm always on the look out for interesting material.  I buy fabric as I discover it and only a metre or two at a time.  That means there are only a few objects made with each fabric so you get something special, that few other people have.
  • And finally, I think combining poems with purses and pouches is pretty unique.  And awesome - why didn't someone think of it sooner!  :)  

Now that you have all of the background, it's time to share some exciting news!

Exciting news item #1:

Purses + Poetry is offering This Mom Loves readers 20% off any item from now until January 31st. Simply use code MOMSLOVE20 at checkout!

Exciting news item #2:

Purses + Poetry is giving away FIVE (yes, FIVE) Poetry Pouches to This Mom Loves readers!


All you have to do to enter is visit the Purses + Poetry website, then leave a comment below letting me know which product is your favourite. For bonus entries, please leave a separate comment each time letting me know that you:

Like Purses + Poetry on Facebook
Follow Purses + Poetry on Instagram
Get Purses + Poetry email updates

(Note that P + P members will receive access to exclusive promotions not available to the public)

Like This Mom Loves on Facebook
Follow This Mom Loves on Twitter
Follow This Mom Loves on Instagram
Get This Mom Loves through email

Total number of possible entries is 8 per person.

The contest will run until Saturday, January 17th at 11:59 pm Eastern, after which time a winner will be chosen through random number generation. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 7

The School Routine For 2015 - My CHEX Daily Segment

During my latest visit to CHEX Daily, I chatted with hosts Teresa Kaszuba and Mike Judson about getting kids out of holiday mode and back into the school routine!

I'm at the 31:09 mark if it doesn't cue where I've set it for you, and if you can't see the embedded video you can find it here:

Hope everyone's transition back to school/work has been a great one!