Thursday, March 31

My Maryam Monsef Profile for Canadian Living Magazine

Back in the fall I had the pleasure of interviewing the inspiring Peterborough Kawartha MP and Cabinet Minister Maryam Monsef for a profile which was published in the April issue of Canadian Living magazine.

The profile is now live on the Canadian Living website, and you can find it here:

Maryam Monsef: From refugee to barrier-breaking MP



I'm so appreciative that Canadian Living gave me this opportunity, and a special thanks goes out to contributing editor Jackie Kovacs for her guidance throughout the writing process.

Thursday, March 17

Master Bedroom Facelift

I'll be honest with you: I can't really argue that our master bedroom *needed* a facelift. However, Liv was crawling the last time we painted, and if you know me, you'll realize that it's actually pretty impressive that I waited ten years!

Here's the "before" -  yes, the brown paint looks fine, and you can't tell in the photos how ready the comforter was to be replaced - but the dark colours were bringing me down and I just needed a change!









Our mahogany bedroom set is classic, and we will be holding on to it as it trends in and out of style over the years, but paint colour and accessories are a fun way to jazz up a room, so that's what I focused on.

I started with new bedding (a Jessica Simpson Golden Peony set from Home Outfitters), because I loved the fresh look and splashes of colour. The next task was to find the right paint colour - not only to complement this bedding, but something that would go with future accessories as well. Aiming for something greenish grey, I - whoops, I mean we! - chose a Dulux shade called "Dusty Miller".





We had new crown moulding installed (as we redecorate each room in the house that's an upgrade we're adding in) and the walls were painted. After that, we did some very minor rearranging and accessorizing and we were done!

Now, for the "after"!










My mom made this pillow for us one Christmas:




I love to repurpose items from other rooms (rather than purchasing new) and since I wanted a designated place on my dresser to put my jewelry at the end of the day I pulled this gorgeous plate out of my china cabinet. It's meaningful because it was a wedding gift from an extended family member who told me that my late Grandma Leahy particularly loved this chintz pattern.




While I love neutrals, I decided to go for a pop of colour (and unexpected design) for my bedside lamp. (My previous lamp *conveniently* broke just days before our facelift, so I *had* to replace it!) This one was very budget friendly, at only 12 bucks from Walmart!




Another repurposed item, this wedding gift frame spent years in our basement featuring photos of our godchildren...until we were blessed with too many to fit in the frame! After we redecorated our downstairs family room, the frame went into hiding until I brought it out to add some personality to the space outside our ensuite.




It now feels like spring in my master bedroom, if nowhere else!

Thanks for checking out my latest project! You can find past before and afters here:

Our Basement Family Room (perhaps my favourite)
Girl's Bedroom Facelift # 2
Girl's Bedroom Facelift # 1
Main Bath Reno (oh, no, wait - this one was my favourite)
Our Backyard Reno (above-ground-that-looks-inground pool and deck, hot tub, pool house)
Laundry Room Facelift
Ensuite Facelift

Plus, if you're interested in design, don't forget I've posted many times about seasonal decor, and interviewed designer and decorators like Debbie Travis, Sarah Richardson, Kortney Wilson and Jillian Harris, too!


Wednesday, March 9

Easter Giveaway: Winnie the Pooh itty bittys in Basket from Hallmark!

Time for another flash social media giveaway!

The prize: four Disney's Winnie the Pooh Easter itty bittys from Hallmark in a cute felt basket (value $35). Aren't they adorable?






Here's how you can enter:

Retweet this tweet for one entry: https://twitter.com/thismomloves/status/707668075873587200

Like and/or comment on this Facebook post for one or two entries: https://www.facebook.com/ThisMomLoves/posts/1109132462444252

Like and/or comment on this Instagram post for one or two entries: https://www.instagram.com/p/BCvv9cQxBcS/?taken-by=katethismomloves

Total possible entries: 5

The giveaway will run until Saturday, March 12th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, after which time a winner will be chosen through random number generation. Good luck, and Happy Easter!

P.S. Looking for some Easter decor that's a bit more grown up? My favourite item is this Spring Ornament Tree ($19.95, and sets of two ornaments are $4.95/set). This is currently a cute centrepiece on my kitchen table!





Sunday, March 6

Win a Pair of Saucony Shoes + How I'm Becoming a Runner!

As my regular readers know, I'm a total treadmill girl. I am obsessed with the treadmill desk my dad made for me, and often blog and catch up on emails and social media while I walk. The treadmill also directly faces our large screen television, so I also catch up on my favourite shows at the same time. I know they say multitasking isn't really a thing, and I get that you can't give your complete focus to two things at the same time, but so far I've been very successful when walking is one of those things...and oh, do I love to multitask!

A photo posted by Kate Winn (@katethismomloves) on


However, recently I decided I wanted to challenge myself a little and try to incorporate more running into my cardio workout...but without making it painful! I know there are lots of walk-to-run programs that have you do two minutes of this, one of that, three of this, check your heart rate, two minutes of this, hop like a bunny...just kidding (I've been teaching Primary Phys. Ed. for too long!) The thing is, I don't like to have to think about my workout while I'm in the middle of it, so I didn't want to be constantly checking the time, my heart rate, or anything else. Therefore, I devised my own "Running For Beginners" program. Here's how I did it:

Originally (by which I mean six days a week for the last ten years), I walked for 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, at a rate of 3 mph (sorry, never did change treadmill settings to metric; and no, that isn't superfast but for someone who is typing at the same time, please cut me some slack) and incline of 4.0 percent.




Now as part of my new program, I walk at that rate and incline for a couple of minutes, and then I switch to a 5.0 mph jog at 1.0 incline. (I thought I'd need a 0 incline but I'm so used to going uphill that I felt like I was falling forward when flat - plus treadmill running offers less resistance than being outdoors, so I wanted to give myself a tiny bit more challenge so I'll be ready to head outside...once the weather hits an acceptable 20 degrees or so!) When I say I wanted to make this painless, I'm not kidding...I started out only running for three minutes, and then continuing to walk until my 30 minute total treadmill time time was up.

Each week, I've added one minute on to my run time...and I'm quite proud to say that I am now up to a nine minute run every day. I plan to continue to go up incrementally each week, and by summer perhaps I'll be ready to take on a 5K! (I said *perhaps*...let's not go holding me too that, okay?)

To help motivate me, my friends at Saucony were generous enough to send along a brand new pair of shoes - I chose the Guide 9 style in pink - which I'm absolutely loving. (I'm embarrassed to say that my previous "treadmill shoes" had seen me through over a thousand walks...and had seen better days!) The shoes have new Everun Continous Cushioning Technology, and I can't even tell you what a difference they make as I run.





Even more (now here's the part you actually care about!), Saucony offered to treat one of my readers to a brand new pair of shoes as well! Whether you're a walker, a runner, or just want to rock some stylish footwear, Saucony has the shoes for you! (The winner can select any pair of his or her choice from Saucony.com  - such a fantastic prize!)

All you have to do to enter is simply fill out the form below and hit submit. That's it! Bonus entries for following This Mom Loves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contest ends Monday, March 14th 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Good luck!





Saturday, March 5

Angela Price: The Hockey Wives Momterview* (*mom-to-be!)

Angela Price, wife of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, is one of the stars of the W Network series Hockey Wives - with new episodes starting March 16th.

I had the opportunity to chat with Angela, and in our conversation she opened up about the media scooping their baby news (they're expecting their first child at the end of April), how she feels about being known as "Carey Price's wife", her favourite Montreal restaurant, and more!

Congratulations on the pregnancy - how are you feeling? 

Thank you! I'm actually feeling pretty good, so I'm not complaining!

The Diet Coke picture you shared to announce you were expecting was really cute - did you work with the brand on that, or just do it yourselves? 





We just did that ourselves; it was actually very last minute! Carey saw the cans at the rink and grabbed them before coming home!

News of your pregnancy was shared in the media earlier than you would have liked - can you speak to that a bit?

We were a week out of having that all-important doctor's appointment where they check the heartbeat and make sure everything is good, and someone must have seen us at a doctor's appointment or something and the media released that we were expecting, so that's how a lot of our friends and family found out which was too bad.

You're keeping the sex a surprise?

Yes, we have no idea, so we're very anxious to find out!





Of course you spend the hockey season living in Montreal {Angela is originally from Tri-Cities Washington, and the couple spends their off-season in Kelowna BC, near Carey's hometown}. What are some of your favourite things about Montreal?

The food...especially now, being pregnant! Montreal has some of the best restaurants out of any city I've ever lived in so that's definitely my favourite part!

Any one in particular?

Oh, I would have to go with Sho-Dan which is a sushi place downtown.

Have you learned any French since you've been in Montreal, or did you already speak the language?

You know what, I didn't speak French before. I'm American so I didn't grow up with that but I've taken private courses, courses at the university, I've learned through Rosetta Stone and it's not sticking! But I'm continually trying!

What made you decide to start your own blog {By Angela Price}? You're helping me master my hair-curling technique, by the way!

Oh, great! Well, it kind of brought all of my favourite things together in one place. I love photography, I love telling my stories, and I'm so far away from friends and family and I'm awful at texting and keeping in touch so it's a good way to let everyone know what I'm up to. I just thought, why not?






I know you said on the blog that there's a silver lining to Carey being injured in that you're spending more time together than ever - which is especially nice with a baby on the way - but there must also be a lot of frustration and disappointment since he's not playing right now?

Oh for sure, especially since this season has been a little rough for the guys and of course Carey wants to be on the ice so it gets a bit frustrating when he wants to be able to help out and there's nothing he can do. I think it's nice that I'm pregnant and we have the baby to distract us and give us something to look forward to and take our minds of that a bit.




Congratulations on being part of the cast of Hockey Wives! What would you say are the best and worst things about being on the show?

I think the best thing is seeing girls that you were friends with in the past and probably wouldn't see again, and being able to be with them and catch up has been really nice. I'd say the biggest downside would be watching yourself on TV, and hearing how annoying your voice is, stupid little things that you don't like about yourself and are displayed for all to see! {Here I shared with Angela that I *never* watch myself back on television.}





Are you ever concerned about being known as "Carey Price's wife" - is it a struggle to keep your own identity?

It was a struggle at first but at the end of the day, I am Carey Price's wife and I'm proud to be. I don't really mind it, but I think people often forget that I am my own person and I have my own life which doesn't always revolve around him or the Habs necessarily, so that can get frustrating.

As a follow-up to that, what do you want people to know about you as an individual? {Warning: Hardcore Habs fans may want to skip this answer.}

Oh, good question. I don't know if there's anything in particular that I want people to know, just that I have my own interests and I think people think that hockey kind of runs our world at home and that's not necessarily true. At home, we're just the same as any other couple. We're not talking about hockey, not talking about the Habs, just normal everyday things.





Do you find you've faced much social media negativity - I'm thinking of the Twitter harassment faced by another NHL goalie wife, April Reimer - have you had any issues like that?

I haven't had any big issues but of course you're going to get those negative people and I always joke that it seems like I can't do anything right according to people on social media! Everybody has their opinions but I think I'm pretty lucky that it doesn't get to me. I feel worse for my friends and family who read that stuff and get all worked up and upset but to be honest it doesn't really bother me.

The impression I get of Carey is that he is pretty private and can be wary of media attention - how did he feel about you joining a reality show?

He definitely is a lot more private than I am, and when I first went to him about Hockey Wives, I was thinking he would automatically say no, but he didn't. He was open to the idea, so we discussed with the show the importance of Carey maintaining his privacy and not filming in our home with us, not requiring anything from Carey and they were fine with that. So now we're in control of when he's on the show and when I'm talking about him or our family so we were able to remain as private as we wanted so it's been a perfect fit. I know when I started my blog, a piece of advice someone gave me was, "Make sure you're only telling your story, and not your husband's or anyone else's," and I keep that in mind because I think it's important.



What can we expect on the new episodes of Hockey Wives?

For me it's a lot of baby preparations and baby showers, and just celebrating the fact that we're having the baby. I'm really looking forward to it because I think it's a really special time that the cameras were able to capture and probably some episodes that later in life I'll look back at. 

Because my blog is called This Mom Loves, I always ask my interviewees how they would finish the sentence "This mom loves..." in your case it's "This mom-to-be loves"! What are some of your favourite things - products, places, foods, activities, anything?

Okay, where do I start? I love eating, as you know. Matcha tea lattes are my number one, every day. I like spending time with family, I love my quiet times in the morning - which I'm scared are going to go away! - and I love the outdoors, the sunshine. Love it, love it!


*******

You can catch new episodes of Hockey Wives on W Network starting March 16th, and find Angela on her blog, Twitter and Instagram.

P.S. Angela and Carey are involved in several charitable initiatives, and as a teacher - and Habs fan - I just had to finish off with this fun photo from Angela's Instagram.


A photo posted by Angela Price (@byangelaprice) on




Friday, March 4

Zootopia: My Girls' Review

My daughters get very excited about some of the perks afforded by having a blogger mommy. When it comes to "free stuff", they also know that they have a responsibility to share their honest reviews so they can help other families.

That said, we were treated to an advance screening of Disney's new movie, Zootopia, last week...and as "media" I had to swear that I would hold my review until the official release date - which is today!





Here's the premise of Zootopia, straight from Disney:

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighbourhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.

And now, the official reviews!

Olivia (age nine):

"I enjoyed Zootopia. I found it really funny - and I particularly liked the fox, Nick. There was a lot of action. There were a lot of surprises, things that you didn't expect to happen. I found some parts a bit scary."

Eva (age seven):

"It was very funny and I liked a lot of the details they showed. I liked that it didn't go too fast because it gave me time to understand what was going on and figure out the jokes. My favourite part was near the end but I can't tell it or it will ruin the surprise. I liked Nick the fox the best because he was so funny. There were lots of scary parts too though like when an animal was chasing another animal or another time an animal had blood and you knew it was attacked."

Kate (age...well, what does age matter really?):

This would be one of my favourite modern-day Disney movies. I loved the determination of Officer Judy, and Disney always comes through with humour for the adults as well. I was surprised that both girls were bothered by the animal chase scenes (especially since my nine year old loves the Star Wars movies and reads book series with much more frightening material) but there was something very realistic about seeing animals get hurt that didn't sit well with them. Other than that, we all loved the film, and I would definitely recommend it to other families.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 2

What Are You Feeding Your Skin? Advice + Common Food/Skin Myths Debunked!

My regular readers know that skin is my "thing". I've never had to worry too much about my weight, I don't stress about hair, and I've had few post-braces concerns about my teeth. My skin, though, has always been my issue. 

That's why I was fascinated when this information popped up in my inbox from Skintology Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan. (www.skintologyny.com) While I know I won't be making it to New York City any time soon, I can still take advantage of the professional expertise! I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about the connections between food intake and skin condition, and I appreciate having some of the most common myths debunked here as well. Read on for better skin!

**********

Want truly fabulous skin -- glowing, vibrant, and younger looking skin? Make sure you're putting foods for healthy skin on your plate. "Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look," says Rachel Sharoff, a licensed aesthetician at Skintology Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan.  The reverse is true as well. The less attention we pay to what goes in our mouth, the more problems we may see cropping up with our skin. "You could have sallow, dry and older-looking skin. It's not going to happen overnight, but starve your skin long enough, and it's going to show," says Rachel Sharoff. What's more, some health experts believe that when your diet is missing certain foods for healthy skin, other, even more serious skin problems can result.  Sharoff points out that, “a number of conditions, such as acne, can cause you to suddenly break out. And some chronic skin conditions, such as eczema, may be linked to diet.”

Berries
Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries pack high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants help block "free radicals," such as the sun's rays, from damaging skin cells. But don't toss your sunscreen. Eating berries is an extra step you can take to help protect your skin from damage and prevent premature aging. "Free radicals; like the kind formed from sun exposure damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell," says Rachel. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the cell, so there is less chance for damage.” When you help protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging. In this respect, these fruits may very well help keep your skin younger looking longer," says Rachel.





Sweet Potatoes
Vegetables such as sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene and vitamins A and C — a good formula for beautiful skin. These nutrients can help retain skin moisture and prevent dryness.

Low-Fat Dairy
One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A. One of the best places to get it is low-fat dairy products. In fact, experts say that the health of our skin cells is dependent on dietary vitamin A.  “The A in dairy products is true A, so everyone's skin can use it,” says Rachel Sharoff. She adds, “low-fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the "live" bacteria that is good for intestinal health. It may also have an impact on the skin. Anything that helps keep digestion normal, any live bacteria or enzymes, is also going to be reflected in healthy-looking skin.”

Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed
These seemingly unrelated foods all deliver essential fatty acids, and thus are key foods for healthy skin. Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, which is not only what act as barriers to harmful things but also as the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. Rachel Sharoff explains that, “Because it is the cell membrane that also holds water in, the stronger that barrier is the better your cells can hold moisture. And that means plumper, younger looking skin.” The same inflammatory process that can harm our arteries and cause heart disease can harm skin cells. Essential fatty acids can offer protection to both. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6, which must be in balance for good health (and good skin). Though we all seem to get enough omega 6, Stuart says many people lack omega 3s. Fish, walnut, and flax seed oil are among the best sources.

Oils
Oils can give your skin much needed moisture. Just make sure you're using healthy oils, such as olive oil. Adding just 2 tablespoons a day to your diet will help keep your skin properly lubricated and healthy.

Whole Grains
The mineral selenium is an antioxidant found in whole-grain products. Selenium can help control cell damage that can lead to skin cancer. Filling up on whole grains will help you avoid refined white flour and starchy foods that can increase your insulin levels. High insulin levels can induce inflammation and irritate your skin.

Green Tea
This beverage deserves its own category in any article about foods for healthy skin. The skin-health properties in this beneficial drink just can't be beat. "It has anti-inflammatory properties, and it's protective to the cell membrane. It may even help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer," says Rachel Sharoff. Indeed, a study published recently in the Archives of Dermatology shows that whether taken orally or applied to the skin, green tea can reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light (such as the burning rays of the sun), and thus reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Water
While the exact amount you should drink each day varies, no one disputes the role good hydration plays in keeping skin looking healthy and even young. When that hydration comes from pure, clean water; not liquids such as soda or even soup, experts say skin cells rejoice. "It is my belief that our skin needs at least eight glasses every day," says Rachel Sharoff. In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which Rachel Sharoff says automatically leaves skin looking better. She adds that, “when we're properly hydrated, we also sweat more efficiently.”




SOME COMMON MYTHS DEBUNKED

Chocolate Causes Acne
Fried foods don’t, either. There is no little pipeline that carries oil from your intestines to your skin. Oily foods have nothing to do with the skin’s oiliness, and oil isn’t the cause of acne, anyway. Acne occurs when testosterone and other hormones stimulate the growth of skin over pores so that the oil, sebum, that keeps the skin flexible and wrinkle-free, gets trapped inside. When bacteria degrade this oil, then there can be whiteheads, blackheads, and various kinds of inflammation.




Junk Food and Dark Colas Cause Acne
Experts agree that there is no evidence to support the claim that gorging on pizza and Coke leads to acne. However, if you notice that your acne flare up significantly after consuming certain foods or beverages, eliminate those items and watch your skin. You may have stumbled in your own free brand of treatment.

Vitamin A Prevents Acne
The Truth - Vitamin A is an important part of skin health. Basically, if you don’t have enough Vitamin A in your system, your sebaceous glands produce excess lipids, causing pimples, but if you have too much vitamin A, while your pimples might not be the issue, other parts of your body, like your liver, may be negatively affected. The optimal daily intake with food and supplementation is about 15,000 IU.

ABOUT SKINTOLOGY
Skintology Skin and Laser Center is an all-inclusive destination for all your beauty needs. Whether it’s laser hair removal, Botox injections or a hydrating facial, our trusted staff is dedicated to making your experience comfortable and pleasant. We offer customized treatments that are specifically designed for your skin type. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we design treatments to produce the best results possible. Experienced Cosmetic Surgeons and Laser Technicians utilize the most advanced FDA approved laser technologies from renowned companies such as Cynosure, Candela, Lumenis, and Deka, to provide the most effective and safe treatments.


Inspire Little Scientists with Scientists in School

In my latest "Teacher, Teacher!" segment on CHEX Daily, my friend Sarah Newcomb joined me at the desk with hosts Teresa Kaszuba and Mike Judson to talk about inspiring our little scientists with the Scientists in School program.

Sarah and I actually met online as she is a fellow blogger, and had so much in common that we became fast friends. Now she works as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Scientists in School program...which I absolutely love - and I talk about why in the clip.

We're at the 28:26 mark, and if you can't see the embedded video below, you can find it here {Video no longer available}. After our segment, one of the scientists from the program hangs out with Mike and Teresa and they get a chance to try a hands-on activity themselves!



Something we didn't mention is that this program is also a great way to bring parents into the school, as the students are usually split into groups with a volunteer needed to lead each activity. If no one is available we often ask older students to help out, but it can be a wonderful opportunity for parents who want to get involved in the classroom.

We couldn't leave the studio without taking a selfie...and please note that this is what I look like *after* a spray tan. (I like to call it my Irish-girl-inside-all-winter look.)





For more information, visit Scientistsinschool.ca.