Kringl: Santa Really Visits Your Home


I don’t have kids, but this is too cute not to share.  If you have doubters in your family or young children who would love to see Santa visit their own home, check out the Kringl App.

You can choose from a range of Kringl scenes, including Santa enjoying your cookies & milk, searching for your gift, or checking to see if you’re on his list.  Simply download the app for free on the AppStore or Google Play and pick the scene that best matches up to your room.  You will see Santa’s placement to help you decide where to film your mini video of Santa.  Scale the Santa and accessories to fit your room and watch for the white lines that show you where Santa will walk to make sure he isn’t walking through furniture.   You can even adjust the brightness according to your room.Remember, Santa usually visits at night when the lighting is low so it is a good idea to film it later at night if your phone allows for it.

Watch here to see Kringl in action

I have seen some cute ones filmed while children sleep with the Kringl scene of Santa checking the naughty or nice list – my sister may be using it to help my niece remember to behave now that they are finished school for the holidays.  Once saved, you can share your video with family and friends so they can see Santa in your home too.

Kringl is completely free. Though you’re more than welcome to donate to Make-A-Wish Canada through the app. It’s a great way to help spread a little holiday magic.

In A Word…


Copied from In My 30s And It’s Time, who got it from How To Survive Life In The Suburbs

The One Word Challenge! Here are the rules: Don’t over think, just copy and paste and fill in your own answers.  Over sharing is completely optional and absolutely encouraged.


1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your hair? Frizzy
3. Your mother? Errrrmmmmmmm
4. Your father? Remembered
5. Your favorite food? Potatoes
6. Your dream last night? Drumming
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Normality
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Hobbies?
11. Your fear? Sadness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happier
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Canadian
15. Muffins? OK
16. Wish list item? Purse
17. Where did you grow up? England
18. Last thing you did? Tweet
19. What are you wearing? Black
20. Your TV? Mindnumbing
21. Your pets? Cats
22. Friends? Besties
23. Your life? Improving
24. Your mood? Blah
25. Missing someone? Family
26. Vehicle? His
27. Something you’re not wearing? Rings
28. Your favorite store? Shoppers Drug Mart (not my fault it has more than one word – SDM there I did it!)
29. Your favorite color? Purple
30. Last time you laughed? Morning
31. Last time you cried? Weekend
32. Your best friend? Far
33. One place that I go to over and over? Timmies
34. One person who emails me regularly? Shelley
35. Favorite place to eat? Fishers

Do steal it, I can’t wait to see what your words will be!

How to Have a Cat Friendly Christmas


We had a small dog when I was very young, but growing up we never had pets to worry about at Christmas.  When I first moved here and my boyfriend had cats, I thought they were adorable playing with the Christmas tree, pulling decorations off for us to step on and playing with all the new shiny goodies they could find.  We never thought of making it a cat friendly Christmas tree or the potential dangers of our Christmas decorating.

Fast forward a few years and I was volunteering for an animal shelter and took some of the Christmas shifts since we do not have local family and were not doing a big Christmas.  The vet was closing for a few days so we were picking up healthy cats on the 23rd to put into foster homes to await their 72 hour hold.  We got there, dragging in all the cat carriers, trudging through the snow and found no one in reception.  We know the vets well so I walked right through to the back and even the receptionist was helping with surgeries.  Four cats had been brought in with what the vet calls “Christmas Kills” emergencies.  I ended up helping hold open a cat’s stomach while the vet carefully cut away a strand of tinsel that had wrapped around its intestines (way worse than the time she made me watch a neuter surgery and asked if I wanted the testicles as a souvenir).   I went home that night exhausted and took down every decoration we had in the house, I had never thought of the dangers of the tree, glass decorations, tinsel and strings and all the other stuff that comes with the holiday season.  Since then, we have been very careful about our making it a cat friendly Christmas and for some years skipped decorating completely.

While these are worst case scenarios and we have never had an issue with our cats at Christmas other than some broken ornaments and finding the tree on its side, I hate to risk their precious lives just for the sake of some ornaments so here are some tips for a cat friendly Christmas:

[Read more…]

Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Hair Colour Review


I was recently sent a package of Clairol Nice ‘n Easy natural looking hair colour to try by BzzAgent.  It could not have come at a better time as I had a skunk like streak of grey hair at the roots and my red hair colour had gone a little brassy making the greys even more noticeable.

Nice ‘n Easy Hair Colour – What’s in the Box?

I chose 117/5G Nice ‘n Easy Natural Medium Golden Brown which I thought would cover the red, but not be too dark.  This is an old school hair colour, not the Nice ‘n Easy foam, mix the two bottles (colour and developer) to make a permanent liquid haircolour in the with Precision Applicator bottle and CC Cream to help seal in beautiful colour and intense shine.

For those who care about the gloves included, these were the flat plastic ones, not like the doctor style latex gloves that many of us prefer.  I keep a box of gloves handy anyway so used my own.  Last time I used the ones that came in a box of hair colour, I ended up with a purple stain for a week on the pad of my thumb!

Nice ‘n Easy Hair Colour – My Experience

Recently, I have been using foam dyes when I colour at home and it took a little getting used to using a liquid hair colour again.  I have thick hair and it was difficult to get it through all of my hair and I only just had enough in the bottle.  Since I had quite a bit of grey, I followed the instructions to leave the colour on longer than the recommended 25 minutes.  Maybe that was my mistake, as even using the CC cream, my hair felt wiry and unmanageable after rinsing the colour out.

The colour, however, is beautiful.  The red tones from my previous colour are really highlighted by the Shift A Shade Nice ‘n Easy hair dye as you can tell in the top picture.  It was a bit darker than I expected, but it does have lighter highlights, especially when in bright light and many people commented that the colour suited me. The grey roots are all covered, and even after several washes are not brassy/lighter which is a definite plus.

While I love the colour, overall, my hair still feels a bit “off” so while I would get this shade in Nice ;n Easy foam, which I have used before with no issues, I would likely not buy this colour.  However, a friend received the same one and loved it, her hair is soft and sleek after using it, so it depends on your hair type.  The CC cream did help me get some cute wavy hair.

Buy Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Hair Colour

Nice ‘n Easy is available pretty much anywhere, grocery stores, drug stores, Walmart, and many online retailers.  Nice ‘n Easy Natural hair colours retail for approximately $8.99 but are usually on sale.  Click here to get a $2 coupon to save when you Shift a Shade with Nice n Easy.

Disclosure: I received this product from BzzAgent free of charge to test.  All opinions are my own

Using Rebate Apps to Save on Your Groceries #ThriftyThursday


I am a big coupon user, I hate paying full price for anything, but with coupon abuse and the increased cost of mailing out coupons, we have seen a lot of changes to coupons over the last year.  While 2014 was a huge year for rebate apps as new ones were released and fine-tuned, 2015 looks to be a mega year as more people turn to rebate apps to save on their groceries.  Here is an overview of the main apps:

rebate apps checkout 51 Checkout 51 Rebate App

Checkout 51 is by far my favourite of the cashback rebate apps.  Partly because it has been around the longest and I have earned more using it but also because it has many offers I will actually use.  Just this week, I got an almost free Oral B rechargeable toothbrush using a sale at Target, $20 coupon, $10 checkout 51 rebate and $20 mail-in-rebate.

They often have bonus offers and you can opt in to special rebates from Christie, Kelloggs and more plus upload receipts even if they do not qualify for a rebate to enter contests.  Checkout 51 pay out on request by cheque once you reach $20 in rebates.  They have approximately $100 in rebate offers each week so it does not take long to get a payout.

Sign up for Checkout 51 rebate app here and get a $5 bonus with your first uploaded receipt. Rebate App is a well known name, and even better, you only have to reach $5 for a payout.  They pay by paypal so you will have to wait a little time to transfer that to your bank account or be limited to what you can buy with PayPal.  For me, that means more nail polish so not a huge deal!

The app has offers on everyday groceries like bread and milk – not items people buy just because there is a rebate – as well as more specialized rebates.  This week, I redeemed $1 on Jane’s Chicken which I price-matched and paid only $3.99 after rebate.  Since it makes several meals, that is an amazing deal.

Click here to download the rebate app

 rebate apps snap by grouponSnap by Groupon Rebate App

Everyone has heard of Groupon, but did you know that on top of their daily deals, you can also save on your groceries with their rebate app Snap?  Groupon bought out SnapSaves earlier this year so you may know the app by that name.

Snap offers daily deals on fresh fruit, vegetables and other grocery staples as well as weekly deals on other grocery and household items.  If you have little ones, I find Snap has the most offers for baby items like diapers, food and wipes.

Snap also has the added bonus that they allow multiple/unlimited redemptions of select rebates.  Payments are made when you earn $20 or more by cheque

Click here to get the Snap by Groupon rebate app

The other Rebate Apps

Zweet: Zweet has rebates for everyday items like Catelli pasta, Garnier hair care, Sabra products, Redpath sugar and more.  Payments are made by cheque when you earn $20 or more.  You will also earn points on each purchase.  They have not released details on what the points can be used for yet but I look forward to redeeming mine when they do.  Like most of the apps, you can request a cheque when you reach $20 in cashback rebates.  Click here to sign up for the Zweet rebate app and get a $1 bonus.

CartSmart: CartSmart is probably my least used rebate app but they still have some great deals.  On top of grocery offers, CartSmart also has offers based on a spending threshold like $1 when you spend $15 at Chapters or when you buy a Starbucks gift card.  CartSmart is more confusing to use, to redeem an offer, you need to add it to your shopping list and you can get bonus offers related to your shopping list as you add regular items like bread, juice, bacon and more.  CartSmart offers Paypal payments when you reach $5 or cheques when you reach $20.  Click here to sign up – if you want to help me out – enter referral code HG639I on signup.

Changio: Changio is a little different when compared to the apps above.  Rather than earning a cash back rebate, you can earn points when you shop, check-in at certain stores or malls or even just scanning items in your home or the stores.  You can redeem those points for Interact transfers or gift cards.  Since you can earn points without spending anything, it is worth installing.  Click here to get the Changio rebate app.

Do you use any of these apps?  How much have you earned with rebate apps?

Olay Pro-X Daily Cleansing System Review


As I mentioned the other day, my skin has suffered due to a lack of sleep, little time for skincare and stress.  My skin was dull, flakey and in desperate need of a facial I don’t have the time for (but am setting up an appointment for the Christmas break).

During the Black Friday sales, I noticed that had the Olay Pro-X Cleansing System on sale for just $12.50.  I had a coupon for $10 off when you spend $40 – an amazing deal since they had other great sales too.  As I mentioned, my skin has been dull and flakey recently and the Olay Pro-X system was something I wanted to try for a while so it was the first thing I added to my cart.

The Olay Pro-X Cleansing Starter Kt

The starter kit comes with the 2-speed facial cleansing brush (including batteries), a soft bristle replaceable brush head (refills available so you don’t need to pay for a full system as they wear down) and a sample size of their exfoliating Renewal Cleanser (20mL).

Professionally and clinically designed to cleanse 6 times better than regular cleaning, the Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System also sets your skin up for supersonic anti-aging moisturization.  The brush head is gentle on skin yet cleanses much better than using just the cleanser alone.  The sample of Olay Pro-X cleanser purifies and renews the skin’s texture for refreshed smooth skin.  You can replace the sample with any cleanser you like, but it is best to use one that does not foam a lot.  Choose between two speeds for gentle daily exfoliation or deep cleansing plus the system is waterproof so you can use it in the shower – great if you are short on time like me!

Using the Olay Pro-X system is easy.  Simply dampen facial skin and brush head lightly with water. Dispense Pro-X exfoliating renewal cleanser in your hand and massage over face. Turn on cleansing brush and gently move around the face for approximately 60 seconds avoiding the eye area. Rinse face and brush head with water and you are done.

They claim it works as well as other $200 systems, I imagine that they are comparing it to the Clairsonic system that retails for about that and is similar.  I haven’t tried the Clairsonic system, but I have looked at it in Shoppers Drug Mart and the brush is smaller on the Olay Pro-X system.  Personally, I think the brush is the perfect size on the Olay Pro-X system but if you are used to Clairsonic, it is smaller.  The brush also spins rather than vibrates like some systems, so it does help slough off those dead skin cells and stops if you press too hard.

After a week of using it (yes were that quick on the shipping, it actually was delivered on Sunday), my skin looks much brighter, is softer and just feels better.  I had the Clairsonic on my wishlist for Christmas, but I think I will just stick to the Olay Pro-X system and buy a few refill packs for it.  The sample is already getting low after a week of daily use, I will be replacing with my own cleanser to see if it works as well.

Buy the Olay Pro-X system

The Olay Pro-X daily cleansing system is sold in most drug stores and online retailers.  The regular cleansing system is available for $20-30 and the microderm abrasion starter kit is $35-50.

Dealing With Noisy Neighbours


I mentioned my noisy neighbours in my Getting Back on Track post.

Who thinks 3am is an acceptable time to put up a flood light and work on your truck?  The same person who thinks his rock band can play at 11pm on a work night and their dog can run around barking all night.  After three months of them living here, the street has changed.  People are tired, irritable and just fed up.  No more chatting as we get home from work, no more people offering to shovel snow or blow leaves, we all just want some sleep and for our noisy neighbours to move.

Bylaw do not come out to complaints of noisy neighbours in our city, you have to call the police, something that none of us has wanted to do.  The police are busy and have better things to do than tell someone to have some common sense and not make noise when people are sleeping.  Asking him to make his noise in the day time has not worked, he doesn’t even apologize and pretend he cares.  The woman just shrugs and says it is not her if you speak to her too.  About two weeks ago, the street was awoken by a loud crash at 3:30am.  The people directly them opposite have young children, the rest of us all leave for work before 7am and since lights stayed on in all houses – none of us got back to sleep that night.   Since then, people have just started to call the police about them.

First it was a warning, he waited until they left and carried on playing the drums!  The police were called again, but he stopped by the time they got here.  Then it was a fine, which we all heard his partner shouting about when she got home later that night because he never bothered to answer the door to them so she found the fine on the door.  The most recent time, I can only guess he was very drunk (or maybe worse) because he answered the door and screamed at the police officers.  They left him another fine and came back the next day to speak to them and I think it has finally worked!

It has only been a few days and he did work on his truck starting at 9pm last night but packed it up around 11pm but I think they have finally got the message.  After three nights with a full nights sleep, I feel so much better but I think it will take a while for the sleep to catch up with my body!

Have you ever had to deal with noisy neighbours?  If they start up again, I know many people are thinking of moving as there is little the landlord can do until their one year contract is up.

Getting Back on Track


As you can tell by the lack of posts, I haven’t devoted much time to my blog recently, or anything else really.  A stressful situation at work has meant a change in hours, new neighbours at home who are noisy means I don’t get much downtime at home either.   I have been feeling run down, tired, irritable and just don’t feel like doing much.  I am not a fan of winter and it will only get worse as the winter blahs take effect when January hits and I am dealing with crappy weather.  So time to get back on track!

Getting Back on Track with my Diet

Long days and a long commute has meant less time to cook.  After 13-14 hours out of the house, we have been ordering way too much takeout/delivery (especially since Swiss Chalet and Dominos keep offering amazing deals that you just think, oh why bother cooking?).  I have packed on the weight I lost last year an you can see the results of a bad diet in my skin and nails.  So time to start meal planning again, and cooking on the weekend to just heat during the week (once I empty my freezer which is pretty full of the food we haven’t cooked while ordering so much takeout).

Getting Back on Track with Beauty/Skincare

Having to leave the house so early, I will admit to a wash and go routine.  I think oh I will do a mask tonight and then I get home late and keep putting it off. My skin is dull, I will admit to going to work with no nail polish or even worse, chipped polish!  My nails are breaking easily and I have even finished my makeup on the train on occasion.   Time to get back on track.  I threw out my out of date makeup, took advantage of a bunch of sales and got new skincare and makeup items (expect upcoming reviews).  I am setting aside time for more than a shower each day.

Getting Back on Track with Prioritizing and Home Life

Things have calmed down a bit at work, after badly spraining my ankle rushing to a meeting, things had to change.  I need to prioritize me, even if that means a change in job (until this year, I loved my job, but that isn’t the case anymore so why stress myself over it?).  I have stuff that needs to be done that I have procrastinated about or just not had the time.  My place and needs to be cleaned, not just tidied, before the Christmas visiting season.  I have a pile of personal things to do, thank you cards, even just catch up with my family by phone rather than whatsapp!

Out home life has also been impacted by new neighbours.  Our once quiet street changed a lot when our next door neighbour rented his place out so he could move closer to work.  The tenants don’t work, they are messy (they currently have bags of garbage piled up in their back yard I can smell if I open the windows and their vehicle leaked something all over the street that they never bothered to clean and has now stained the sidewalk where it leaked from the driveway) but worst of all, they are noisy at all hours with little regard for the other people who live on the street.  We need more sleep, the lack of sleep has left us irritable and arguing with each other as well as little energy to do all the things we need to do.

So time to get back on track and fix these things as well as post here a lot more!

Quo Back to Basics Eye Palette

Quo Back to Basics Palette 2014

I wanted the last Quo Back To Basics palette but they are limited edition and sell out fast.  This year I was watching for them and was so happy to see them in the flyer the same day I received a Shoppers Drug Mart personalized coupon for 5000 bonus Optimum points when you spent $20 or more on makeup plus it was beauty gala day so I received a $5 coupon to use towards my purchase too!

The Quo Back to Basics palette comes in limited edition packaging (black with gold patterns) and contains twelve fairly neutral shades.  I opted for the browns but they do have a set with more pinks/purples too.  The brown palette is often blogged as a Urban Decay Naked dupe so you can imagine how popular it is with similar colours but priced at only $25.

Nothing is as beautiful as a natural you!  Highlight your existing beauty with this collection of 12 eye shadow colours, from light and barely there, to intense brown and smokey tones to amplify your eyes. Also includes a full size special edition eye shadow brush.

The Quo Back to Basics palette is super versatile, you get to choose between matte and shimmer – but not overly glittery or mix it up for your perfect look – or if you are very lucky, find the all matte palette.

The coverage on them is great, some of the Quo Back to Basics lighter colours need an extra swipe to get the same pigmentation at their Urban Decay counterparts but considering the cost difference, that is not a huge deal.  With the exception of the black, they go on dry with no loose powder dropping off the brush.  I have been using a smaller brush (from the Quo Rebel Chic travel set) for the black as it tends to drop.

Buy the Quo Back To Basics Palette

While Urban Decay comes with a liner and primer for $60, I personally love my own liner and have primers so save and pick this up for only $25 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Even better, buy it on a 20x Optimum day or redeem your points – even cheaper!

Sadly, Shoppers Drug Mart do not heavily promote Quo on their own website, but Beauty Crazed has a full list of the Quo Holiday Collection here.

Are You An Influenster Member?


I have mentioned Influenster a number of times – it is one of my favourite sampling for influence sites.  In the image above, you can see the first VoxBox I received, about a year ago when Influenster first came to Canada and sent out Maple VoxBoxes.

It included the following items

  • Montagne Jeunesse Red Earth Clay Mask
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Curl Mascara (Extreme Black)
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Clumping Lip Gloss (Blush Urban)
  • Broadway Nails imPRESS stick on nails (in purple)
  • IceBreakers Duos (raspberry flavour)
  • Skinny Cow Canada Heavenly Crisp Bar
  • Skinny Cow Canada Dreamy Clusters

Since then, I have received a number of great boxes from Influenster including nail polish and more imPRESS nails – and you know I love anything for my nails!

sally hansen gel kitInfluenster even helps you influence using their products.  Each VoxBox or Perk comes with small tasks to help you share.  None of this ‘host a party and tell your friends about it’ or just ‘let us know what your friends think of the product’.  Easy bite size tasks that you can do when you have the time and pick and choose which ones you do.  If you complete these tasks, you are usually rewarded by Influenster points and perhaps even prizes.  I have received an iTunes gift card and this amazing Sally Hansen gel manicure starter kit – a $70 value.

Influenster has changed a lot since they came to Canada, a new site, a new scoring system, the new InfluensterApp (sadly iOS only so this droid lover hasn’t tried it out yet) and now that the kinks have been worked out, is so much better than when they first came to Canada.  They have reviews even for products they are not being paid to share with Influensters and by leaving reviews, you can earn badges that increase your chance of being chosen for VoxBoxes.

One of the other new features is VoxPerks.  VoxPerks are usually discounts or samples that you get direct from the company and not mailed to users through Influenster.  Things like discount pet insurance, cheap memberships to sites like OnePlay and other similar offers.  The other major change is The Hub, which features blogs from Influenster members.  Again, not just paid posts that push a product, but real blogs from members – everything from recipes to reviews.  Choose Hub posts on beauty, fashion, lifestyle, food, entertainment as well as Influenster themed blog posts.

If you are not a member, click here to sign up – you might get the next VoxBox!