Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Well, here it is - 2011! Can you believe it.

I remember a few years pre-2000 thinking and planning what would be the coolest way to ring in the new millenium ... and now it's 2011!  This whole year thing keeps on picking up speed.

The best thing about being a couple of time zones west of home when you are celebrating new year's is you can call everyone at 10 p.m., wish them well and then hit the sack before the clock strikes twelve.  I know, how lame! Yup, I guess so. I'm pre-writing this on the 23rd so we'll see what we actually got up to ... probably depend a lot on how the kids are adjusting to the time change. 

So what did you do to ring in the new year?  Do tell.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Man Flu

When my husband gets sick, which to be honest isn't that often, I always feel bad. I feel bad because I remember the days pre-kids when I could actually take care of him, dote on him and let him be a baby. Now with kids, I openly communicate that he has 24 hours to get better because I can't handle taking care of everybody and everything on my own (the kids always seem to be sick at the same time). I don't really even tend to his ailments, I more just try to keep the kids away from him and provide some peace and quiet. Not always possible though when it is known that Daddy is home and in his bedroom available for pouncing on (reminder: I have two boys, hence the pouncing).
My friend forwarded me this link, titled "Man Flu" just before Christmas (thanks Lindsay B.) and thought you may enjoy.  Here's hoping there isn't any Man Flu happening in your household as you prepare to ring in the new year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cozy, Feel Good Clothes **


Do you ever have those days when you wake up (usually to a darkened morning and rain) and you just want to crawl into your sweatpants and comfy clothes. Luckily, as a stay-at-home Mom, I can do this if I feel like it.

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings. Usually I reach for a super cozy sweatsuit but this morning was extra special - I reached for my "heart" sweatshirt.

Now before your jaw gapes open and you start judging, hear me out ... this sweatshirt was my Mom's and she passed away seven and a half years ago. I specifically remember her wearing it in the 80s when I was growing up and we lived alone together - special times and wonderful memories.  For some reason, she held onto it (I guess it was one of her favorite rainy day shirts too) and I just couldn't part with it either. It resurfaced recently and I love throwing it on - instant all-day hug.

This shirt is definitely eye-catching, that is for sure ... and not the least bit flattering, but here's hoping you don't become so focused in your fashion aspirations that you overlook the necessity of a cozy, sentimental shirt like this.  And no, the InStyle book I referenced earlier this week, would definitely not approve.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Little White Plate


When hosting a party, it's the little things that count and go a long way - fresh cut flowers, candles, special "welcome" drinks, coordinated linens, and of course, the Little White Plate.

As women, we are always told that it is essential to have a Little Black Dress stowed away in our closets that is perfect for just about any occasion. It looks great, but more importantly, with a few touches here and there, it shows off the person wearing it (not the other way around).

 I have discovered it is much the same with the Little White Plate.  Over the past few years my husband and I have started collecting various plain, white serving dishes and plates.  I'm usually more of a colour kind of gal and pick things that make me feel happy, but for serving, I have learned, the Little White Plate shows off the food and looks the best.

Plates that are coloured or patterned, may be beautiful, but people tend to stare at the plate itself, rather than admiring all of your hard work and effort that went into the food. They can also make a serving area look a little hodge podgy.

Crate & Barrel's Square White Plate

I encourage you to invest in some Little White Plates and serving dishes - so easy to coordinate with, available at every price point and will end up looking very stylish ... plus this way you can have a crazy tablecloth or other accessories and you don't have to worry about matching!

Happy White Plating!

P.S. Happy Birthday Higgy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

In Search Of A Decent Deodorant: Mission Accomplished **


Maybe I'm the only one out there, but I've always struggled with finding a deodorant that I like ... for various reasons - fragrance, ability to do its job, the whole aluminum issue, white streaks, and the list goes on.

I will admit that for a few years I went organic in the deodorant department and did find a product by Jason, fragrance: Tea Tree and it was pretty good. (It is important to note though that I wasn't really working out on a regular basis at the time so it wasn't put to any extreme tests). AND it did not hold up very well during hot days, long days or nervous, "have to make a presentation today" days.

Throughout the years, I have had my challenges and disasters with the so-called "invisible", "streak-free" anti-perspirants. Bull Sh%#! is all I have to say. They ALWAYS seem to leave a mark and those wind up gel ones - how gross does that feel when it goes on?

And don't get me started with the fragrances ... I mean "spring mist"? "fresh breeze"? Apparently the Quality Assurance branch of those companies haven't stepped outside of the building to smell what these natural elements actually smell like, cause it ain't like that!  And talk about strong.

Fear not, there is a happy ending here.

I have found an amazing anti-perspirant by Nivea. I never even knew Nivea did deodorant. Anyways, I got the roll-on, pure invisible, unscented and love it. It is truly clear and does not leave marks and it seems to work very well (it is important to note, however, that I am still not working out on a regular basis!... but I am carrying around a 22 lb toddler and chasing after a three-year-old so it is being tested some way or another).

I'm sure you can pick it up anywhere that carries Nivea ... I got mine at Shopper's Drug Mart for you Canucks reading.

So if you're like me and anti-perspirant challenged, the next time you find yourself scraping your underarm with the plastic deodorant container, trying to get that last little bit out, Nivea's new line is worth giving a shot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Toilet Training & Smartie Addictions


Okay so my “one week shy of being a 3 yr old” son is toilet trained … I think.

It has been three days of “dry” underwear with a diaper at nap time and bed time. No accidents (but taking to bathroom to “try” every 40 mins or so).

Toilet training is something that we have attempted many times – stickers, charts, yelps of praise, new toilet seats,etc. etc. etc. I will secretly admit that when (by total fluke) my husband and I got our son to do a #2 on the toilet while on vacation when he was only 11.5 months, I thought this was going to be a snap. “Bahaw!”, I thought,to all those people who say boys are usually 3 yrs old when they finally get it! “I’ll show you”, i gloated inside, not my son!

YEAH RIGHT!!!! Here we are, 2 years later .

What finally worked? Him being fully ready I guess and … the secret weapon …Smarties … one for a successful pee, two for a numero dos and three smarties for a joint effort. Now we have to deal with a nasty smartie addiction … and his aim

P.S. This post goes out to my friend Anne - may 2011 bring with it a toilet-trained son and a much easier time than you've had. Hugs.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families!

I hope you have a wonderful day filled with amazement, laughter, wrapping paper (don't forget to recycle), delicious food, hugs, family stories, and fun car rides between family visits.

My family and I will be heading south of the border to visit family tomorrow so there may be some re-posted stories this week. My apologies but I know you understand.

Cheers to the moments and the memories of Christmas mornings past and present.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Where To Put All That Wrapping Stuff on Christmas Morning?

So if your house looks anything like mine right now, it's a scary site and I can't imagine Christmas morning - paper, bows, boxes, tissue - too much fun!

A few years back, when I was working in a communications job, I had to put together a media release all about holiday items and how they all stacked up re: recycling, garbage and green bin. Thought I would share so you can sort accordingly. Here goes:

  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Greeting cards, envelopes, gift cards and tags
  • Cardboard packaging and boxes (with all plastic wrap removed and put in garbage)
  • 2007 calendars (coils removed)
  • Aluminum foil, plates and trays
  • Plastic bakery containers (muffin trays, cupcake trays, etc.)
  • Egg nog cartons, milk and juice containers
  • Shiny metallic-coated wrapping paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Ribbons, bows, beads, string, garland and tinsel
  • Rigid plastic packaging (used on electronics and toy packaging)
  • Batteries (these items need to be taken to hazardous waste depot)
  • Bubble wrap and styrofoam

  • Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
  • Paper napkins
  • Christmas dinner leftovers
Keep in mind, these facts were compiled for York Region, and information may vary in different geographic locations. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Portable North Pole: Amazing For Kids

Have you heard about this?

My friend sent it to me a few weeks ago (thanks Erin!) and I finally sat down and looked at the link and did it for my kids.

It's this amazing site that sends a video message from Santa to your children, with specifics like what they asked for this Christmas, what behaviours they have been working hard at, pictures from the year, etc.

My kids love it and have watched ten times already.

I know you're busy, but worth a peak if you have a few minutes - the kids will undoubtedly enjoy it.

The Holidays: Think Big Picture

How often do you:
  • Tell your loved ones how you really feel? (I'm talking the positive feelings here not the other ones)
  • Give them a sincere compliment about something they have accomplished or done in their lives? 
  • Genuinely listen (from start to finish) to a story that they are telling about themselves without sharing or interrupting?
  • Get down to play with a niece or nephew or listen to what is going on with them instead of "in a minute" "after dinner" or "be there in a sec"?
  • Put real effort into bringing something for dinner?
  • Sit and talk to a grandparent
  • Say "I miss you" or "I love you" like you really mean it - eye contact, squeeze of the shoulders, big hug
  • Take a moment to absorb the family gathering, appreciate that you have people around you (regardless of how different everyone is), take it for what it is and enjoy it?
Christmas, the holidays and all the gatherings that go along with this time of year are upon us.  No regrets.  I find if I consciously try to do something special, from the heart and meaningful, it helps to feel the true meaning of the holidays. Soak it all up - the good, the bad and the ugly. If I try to look at the big picture, rather than all the nitty gritty details and personalities :), the bad and the ugly tend to disappear.

A link to Dr. Laura's Blog and a post she wrote about giving gifts from the heart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gift Cards: Are You Giving Them This Year?

Gift Cards.  You either like them or you don't.

And for the record, I don't mind getting them and I don't mind giving them ... for certain situations.

What I don't like though and what is a bit of a holiday pet peeve of mine, is when people ask for gift cards.  It is a family joke in fact as when I ask relatives for gift ideas, they respond by saying "I know you don't like to give gift cards but ..."

See, if I choose to give a gift card, that's fine, but if I ask for ideas and the response is various gift cards, it kind of feels like I'm being asked to forgo picking something personal and to instead just provide cash. 

I mean come on, I'm not 70 years old, I'm nobody's great aunt, I am in contact with anyone I buy for on a regular basis, yes I am a stay-at-home-mom but that doesn't mean I'm not exposed to current pop culture and I don't live in a cave ( ... although there was that period of time we did not have cable? ...). I do have gift-giving abilities you know!

And just to be clear, gift cards do come into play for me sometimes - there are people on my list that are tough to buy for and if I get totally stumped - sure, those far away that shipping is a consideration - gift cards are perfect, individuals I like to surprise with something small and unexpected, absolutely, why not?

So here's my proposal to all my friends and family, as my 3-year-old son would say, "this is the deal": next year give me some real ideas and I will be sure to get a gift receipt just in case my present picking is not to your satisfaction.  But I'm pretty confident in my selection process so I don't think you'll need it.

Happy Holidays whether you're a gift card giver, getter or choose not to 'er.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Morning in Pictures

Ahhh, the "fun" of veering from the usual daily/weekly routine. As most of you know (and are experiencing first-hand on a second-to-second basis), school is out for two weeks. This means, no JK, no nursery school, no programs, etc. This also means house destruction, going stir crazy, the need to plan days and enough activities to keep busy, Christmas sugar highs, company and an energy level that is seen only once a year.

Pictures below to illustrate our morning. We in fact, did have a lot of fun.

Hallway debris post a few games

Dog had a Christmas party for all of the stuffies.

Our homemade Christmas tree made this a.m.
Good luck to everyone. May the force be with you.

And for those of you who do not have kids and may be thinking, what's the big deal? Or perhaps, you're thinking that everyone should just be soaking up all this added quality bonding that can occur this week between parent and child ... it's not that I don't love being with my kids. It's just the constant added "on" ness and sustained energy level that is required with none of the usual breaks to give you mini-boosts and refreshers.

Recommendation:  pre-plan your days - meals, crafts, outdoor activity, visit with someone. Way better than winging it.

Here's to the fact I ate waaaaay too many sweets last night.  I was going with the theory that if I ingest as much as possible in one sitting, that it may curtail my snackings on the same material in the days to come.  Yeah, I 'll let you know how that works out for me.  Usually works until about 1:00 p.m.

Glitzy Blitz Prize Giveaways: The Results!

Last week was Glitzy Blitz - a fun week complete with guest bloggers and prize giveaways from Sephora and Starbucks. 

Thank you to everyone who participated - I really appreciate your involvement. I listed and numbered everyone's names and then went to to have the winning numbers drawn... I now present to you the winners.
Sephora Gift #1:

Congratulations Cheyenne!

Sephora Gift #2 
Congratulations Jennifer Ba.!

Starbucks Gift Card:

Congratulations Laura!

PRIZE ADDED! The Candi Factory Holiday Undies:

Congratulations Amy I.!

PRIZE ADDED! Complimentary 10 minute phone/email consultation with Dr. Susan, N.D:
Congratulations Lauren Lane!

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you so much for your participation.  Please send a quick email to cashmereandcarrots and let me know an address where I can send your gifts.

Great big thanks to Dr. Susan, Laura Lueloff, Katie Ireland and Jee-Yun Lee for their Glitzy Blitz contributions of fashion tips, exercise ideas and health information.  I look forward to featuring them more in the future.

Unfortunately, despite my attempts to rally all of the Cashmere and Carrot Sticks troops (and I know you're out there because I read the stats on this page), we didn't get quite as many new followers or email subscriptions as I would have liked.  However, we did get some and a lot of you passed the site on to friends and family so thank you thank you thank you!.

Here's the scoop:  I'm getting great feedback about this blog.  Everyone seems to like it (that is great and I'm flattered). The more people who read, comment, share and enjoy, the more we'll all get out of it - I'll have an inflated ego which will allow me to have the guts to write about more bizarre and off the cuff things, you'll have more comments to read and neat ideas to pick up from other people participating and we all win.  So even though Glitzy Blitz is over, please continue to read, comment and share.  If you have any technical difficulties or questions on how to do anything, please let me know. I'm relatively new to this blog thing, but I will find out for you if I don't know.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Card Decor: My Final Decision

A couple of weeks ago I wrote to you with a dilemma of what to do with Christmas cards? I love getting them, I just never know what to do with them when they arrive so they don't take up various junky looking piles throughout my entire home.

Well, last Friday I was possessed by the Christmas Decorating Spirit (or something) because while the kids were napping I put a giant garland filled with all the trimmings across a giant bay window we have in our living room and I made a final decision on what to do with those damn cards. Voila:

This picture window opens to my front hall on one side and my kitchen eating area on the other.

It's not perfect, but I like it and it eliminates the clutter while allowing me to look at them.  And it was relatively easy - a couple of nails to hang from, some pieces of ribbon and a stapler.

Thank you to everyone who wrote in and shared their thoughts and traditions. Thank you to Elise/Anonymous for her idea of hanging the cards from ribbons. 

Stay tuned today for results of our Glitzy Blitz prize giveaways.

P.S. Happy Birthday Wendy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Thoughts From A Drug Store

So I'm wandering through Shopper's Drug Mart a couple of nights ago after a yoga class trying to do the mom thing and squeeze another to-do list item - stocking stuffers - into the busy schedule when I was baffled by some of the things I saw ...

Microwavable dinners for babies? I know we're all busy, but we need to draw a line somewhere don't we? ...

 Top coat nail polishes for $14 .... come on. There goes that idea out the door. Looks like I'll be chipped this holiday season. I'd rather five lattes ...

Spray on legs? Are you serious? I know we're all supposed to be self-conscious of our pale legs, but we need to learn to love ourselves a bit more. Embrace the pasty skin tone that is winter, slap on a pair of nude hose or better yet, slip into some opaque tights. Save some cash, embrace your realness ...

Electronic books designed to read our kids to sleep? Hmmmm ... I'm still not sold on electronic books altogether because I do still believe in the old fashion paper pages, but this which promotes an electronic device being in your child's bed and with him in his last precious moments before falling asleep. No way jose! We need to be there.

So there you have it, my trip to the drug store.

Enjoy your weekend. Happy Christmas and holiday prepping. You have until Sunday at 8 p.m. to enter into the draw. I will announce the winners on Monday. 

If you like the blog, show me! Simply click on the "subscribe to email" button on the top right-hand corner, click on "follow" button in right-hand column or email a post or this site to a friend and copy - it's that easy! Need I say Sephora, Starbucks or prize giveaway!

Who Wants More Prizes?

More Glitzy Blitz Prizes

Okay, you know about these prizes, but what about the other ones I have up my sleeve? If you want them, show me some love please. If we get five more (that's it) new email subscriptions or followers today, I'll add two more prizes.  So what are you waiting for? Subscribe, follow or forward a post to someone (and copy me on it). Thank You!

Who Needs A Workout After A Morning Like This?

Okay so it's snowing when I get up this morning.

Gut reaction:  so pretty, but let's put on the sweats and cuddle up.

Reality check: the temperature is finally warmer, must go outside or kids will go stir crazy (again).

So I bravely attempt to tape up a few packages for Canada Post, put on three snow suits (me included), three hats, three pairs of mitts, three pairs of boots, explain to my three-year-old that I can't carry him, get two kids situated in a double outdoor stroller and we're off to the post office.

I have to admit, pretty nice out, beautiful really, proud of myself for going for it and getting out and also some exercise (do you know how hard it is to push a double stroller through a few inches of fresh snow with very large Sorel boots on while carrying a pretty heavy bag that wouldn't fit in my stroller?).

So I'm almost there, about 300 metres to go, waiting at a set of lights when it dawned on me ... I forgot my wallet.  I'm not sure, but the last time I checked, Canada Post did  not allow packages to be mailed on hand shakes.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! There goes my proud moment, replaced with exasperated moment.  Change of plans kids.

"Mommy, why are we turning around?"

So we went home and I took them toboganning instead.** Well actually, one slept while the other slowly slid down a ten foot hill. He loved it and I had fun too.

Then ... we go home, switch out of our snowsuits and into our winter jackets(waaay easier said/typed than done in real life ... insert 10 minutes) . Get into the car, remember my wallet and package and head off for the post office.  After this stop, I was ready to call it quits, but my three-year-old reminds me that we should go to the doctors for my youngest's "needle". Off we go to the walk-in and wait 25 minutes for the 2nd half of my son's flu shot (he didn't even cry - bonus!) Then we go home, eat lunch and off to naps.  That is when I sat down and enjoyed these.

When they woke up they wanted to play?!  I felt like saying/shouting, "are you kidding me? I gave you everything I had before 11 a.m."

And to think there are some who still think us stay-at-home moms just sit around and watch soaps ?!

**Note that my extra motivation for going for a winter walk and toboggan may have been because I had just read through today's first post by Laura Lueloff.

P.S. Last chance (only a few hours left) to enter in this week's Glitzy Blitz prize giveaway from Sephora and Starbucks . Click here to learn more ... and if we reach 25 followers - come on we can do it! - I'll throw in a couple extra prizes. Thanks to Amy, Lauren, Goodpass and Laura who qualified yesterday for the draw.

Be Fit, Be Merry & Get Outside

Guest Blogger Alert:  Laura Lueloff, Personal Trainer Specialist
Laura Lueloff, Personal Trainer
Be Fit, Be Merry & Get Outside

Does the thought of winter outdoor fitness make you want to snuggle deeper under that blanket on the couch?  Read on for some great ideas on how to be active while embracing the winter season!

As adults we should be getting 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day and our kids 60-90 minutes! Think about your daily routine – are you coming close? What about your kids? And how is it possible to reach these activity levels in the middle of winter? Check these great ideas out:


Tobogganing –Ultra fun activity you can do with your kids and burn up to ... are you ready for this? ... 340 calories per hour!  Think about the uphill climb with the toboggan and likely the kids in tow and how many times you will be up and down.  If you’re feeling really good, try running up the hill to boost your cardio.
Evening Power Walking – Anyone who has done this activity knows how wonderful and peaceful a winter evening can be.  Grab a friend and go for a 20-30 minute power walk – trust me you will want to walk very fast to stay warm!  Bundle up in lots of layers and wear some sturdy boots with lots of tread.  Make it your goal to go once a week, perhaps at the same time with the same friend so you can motivate each other.  The fresh air is invigorating and you will burn more calories as you trudge through the snow and as your body works harder to keep you warm.
Skating - Time to dust off the skates and get them sharpened (or perhaps hit up some post-holiday sales for some new ones)!  This is a fantastic activity to do as a family or even alone.  Skating leisurely for one hour can burn up to 260 calories, better yet if you incorporate some sprints and fast-paced skating you can burn up to 450 calories per hour - WOW!  Most local community centres have inexpensive public skating times throughout the week and outdoor rinks will be open soon and they are free. 
Snowshoeing – These “shoes” have come a long way since the traditional wooden ones. The new aluminum or hybrid models are lightweight and make this sport a fantastic option for getting outdoors in the winter.  Up to 450 calories per hour – another WOW!!!  This is something you can get the entire family involved in and kids love it.  And you can’t use the excuse “there’s too much snow” with this activity.
Skiing – cross country or downhill, take your pick.  This option might not be as budget friendly as the others, but it is definitely something everyone should try.  It is fun and an awesome time to spend with family and friends.  Could this much fun be exercise? Absolutely – Cross Country  (moderate pace) up to 400 calories per hour and Downhill (moderate pace) – up to 280 calories per hour.
Other holiday/winter-friendly activities worth mentioning:  shoveling snow, road hockey, snow Frisbee and snow tag.  Use your imagination, invest in some warm and practical boots and outdoor gear and you just might surprise yourself and find that getting outdoors for some winter fitness is easier and more fun than you thought.
I encourage everyone to establish a goal of being active each and every day.  And don’t wait until the new year, start now and you'll feel better throughout the holiday season and be off to a great start for 2011.  Please consult with a physician before beginning any type of new fitness program, especially if you have any questions or concerns.
Yours in health, fitness & wellness,

Laura Lueloff, Personal Trainer Specialist
Transition Fitness

(Please note the calorie expenditures are based on a 135lb female, 165cm height)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


How could something not be good when all that is in it is butter, chocolate chips, coconut, graham crackers and sweetened condensed milk. Mmmmmmm

Just enjoying the last few minutes of nap time while savouring one (okay maybe two, but I swear no more) of these:

Don't forget to enter in this week's prize giveaways from Sephora and Starbucks. Click here to learn how to be entered (don't worry it's easy). And if we reach 25 followers by the end of the week, I have more prizes to add!

Contest Qualifiers So Far ... Get Your Name On This List To Win!

So far the following people have qualified for this week's Glitzy Blitz prize giveaways:


(if I've missed anyone, let me know)

If YOU want your chance to win some great prizes from Sephora and Starbucks, then sign up for this blog's email subscription, become a follower or send your favourite post to a friend (and copy  It's THAT easy.  (For those of you who are already followers or subscribed, please forward a post to be qualified).


It's the final countdown until Christmas and many of us are still desperately searching for that perfect gift ... or well simply a gift that will do.  I have happened across some neat stores and ideas this year and thought I would share, just in case you wanted some inspiration or ideas. These ideas may not be your thang, but it's my blog and I'm going to share them anyways ;)

For The Kids:

Cloud B Twilight Constellation Night Light
-Super cool night light available in two different shapes. Glows in the dark and puts out neat constellations up on the ceiling.  Available at Amazon or just google it for more details. Under $40. There are two under my tree.

Snowball and Ice Block makers
-I've seen these at Toys R' Us, Mastermind Toys and online. If the kids are old enough to play outside on their own or even with parents, fun little tools to help out with building and games. Under $20.

My son has gone crazy for these. The best part is that they have anything and everything - cowboys, knights, farm/jungle/sea animals, fairies, dinosaurs and more!  They are wonderful as they are durable, high quality and amazing for pretend play and creating imaginary and real world scenarios. Papo is another brand with similar figures. Figures are approximately $6-20 depending on the item and size.

I had forgotten about this idea but have received one from a friend years ago. Very sweet idea for loved ones but especially cool and practical for little people who are really into puzzles. what better puzzle than one that features you and your friends/family. Note: this is just one company I found on a quick google search but there are many many more out there
Dress Up Clothes
Dress up clothes are so fun and really help little ones get into their imaginations. Whether it's a cape, princess dress, hat or doctor gear, this gift will be used and create memorable moments. Everyone needs a tickle trunk.  Costumes are available at most toy stores, but check out this group I discovered at the One of A Kind Show:

Another company I saw at the One of A Kind Show:

Musical Instruments
Music is so important for kids and they love it. Even if you are not so musically inclined, a drum, some shakers or a kazoo even!


Perfect girlfriend or sister gift. Beautiful cotton, cute designs. Undies, jammies, dresses and more. I can't say who I bought for as they read this :)

Anything from perfume to peanut butter and jelly to jewellery to flowers. You name it there is a month club for it. Worth a look and great for people that live far away from you.

Wine of the Month Club: Savor two bottles of wine from two different award-winning wineries worldwide each month when you join Wine of the Month.

Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club
Sample extraordinary cheeses from the finest traditional cheese manufacturers the world has to offer. 3 half-pound blocks of cheeses each month, Great for holiday or special occasion gift-giving, Free monthly newsletter with tasting notes

Kind of cheesy, but I got my brother who LOVES the Minnesota Vikings this personalized NFL scoreboard:

For the record, he is very hard to buy for so rather than get him a shirt for the 10th time in a row, I got him something he can hang up in his new place (he is a recent college grad). the Personalization Mall has ANYTHING and EVERYTHING personalized - classy to assy - check it out.

Anyways, this post is much too long as it is so I'm going to stop there.

Most of you are probably already done shopping but for those who are not, maybe this gave you an idea.

Happy Scouring the Malls!

P.S. If you haven't entered to win this week's Glitzy Blitz prizes, click here to learn more.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

GLITZY BLITZ Shopping Rules For Men
(compliments of Little Prairie Baby)

Some of us have husbands who are not that bad at shopping and choosing out female-ish gifts and some of us  ... well ... have husbands whose strengths lie strictly in the power-tools aisle and in stores rhyming with Dome Sheep-O!  (Note: hubby, if you are reading this, thank you, you are of the former description plus some).

Read this on Little Prairie Baby - a sweet, down-to-earth, funny and honest blog I enjoy reading. This particular post pertains to Shopping Rules for Men. I have pasted below, but I encourage you to check the whole blog out when you have a chance (Bud is the person the rules were originally intended for).

-always consult guide before buying a gift
-NEVER disregard ANY rules in guide
-post somewhere you will never lose or forget about it
  • If you can write it off-do not even consider this an option.
  • DO NOT look in stores like Canadian Tire, Princess Auto, UFA, Peavy Mart, or Mark's Work Warehouse. If a store sells similar stuff as the above listed stores walk, no RUN away!
  • Consult with your mom or sisters until you have the hang of gift giving-if they say it's terrible-IT'S TERRIBLE-don't go ahead with the plan!
  • Listen for hints...some hints might not be intentional and they may not be direct at all. Listen for phrases like "Maybe I'll wait for January sales to buy that rusty star!" Take heed!
  • Wrap with care (or get your sister to.) Putting time and care into wrapping, and a card makes it more personal. It makes it look like more thought was placed into it, rather than just picking something up at Cactus Corner while you fueled up.
  • If it cleans up the yard, house, vehicle...helps a person laundry, etc, this is a STUPID idea. No matter what, a gift should not involve ANY work or be any kind of household appliance. Gifts should be some kind joy and luxury...not work. This is a KEY rule-tears or anger may result if ignored.
  • Gifts should be bought at girly shops that make you uncomfortable and makes you keep your hands to yourself, so you don't break anything!
Hope you enjoyed. Remember to enter in this week's Glitzy Blitz draw for Sephora and Starbucks gifts. Click here for a refresher on how to enter.

Stay Happy and Flu-Free This Holiday Season

Guest Blogger Alert:  Susan Slipacoff (Naturopathic Doctor)

Staying Happy and Flu-Free This Holiday Season

Who wants to spend their holidays miserable, coughing and sneezing on everyone they meet? Think of the to-do list, the baking, the entertaining and of course the present opening - of course we all want to be healthy, happy and full of good cheer.  Well, I'm here to tell you that yes, you can stay happy and flu-free this holiday season. One easy way to help your cause is by making sure you and your family are getting enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D has been in the news a lot lately and is amazing as it does so much for us. Some of its benefits include: making our immune systems healthier-armed and ready to fight off colds and germs; prevention of autoimmune diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis), cancer and osteoporosis; as well as staving off seasonal affective disorder and other mood-related conditions.

It is true that we can get vitamin D from the sun, but the mistake people make is assuming that they are getting adequate amounts of vitamin D just by being out in the sun from time to time. Due to the risk of skin cancer and the decreased strength of the sun during the winter months, research shows that we need amounts of vitamin D over and above what we get from being outside.

How much vitamin D is necessary?  1000IU/day is recommended in ADDITION to exposing your skin to sunlight for 5-10 minutes at least a couple of times a week. You do not need a prescription for vitamin D and you can buy it at your local drugstore.

Everybody is different when it comes to their vitamin D so consider getting your blood levels tested to reveal what is needed for your own body.

I wish you all a Happy (and healthy of course!) New Year.

Susan Slipacoff B. Kin, N.D.
Clinic Director, Kleinburg Integrative Health Clinic

Dr. Slipacoff's clinic, the Kleinburg Integrative Health Clinic is located in Kleinburg, Ontario.  Her vision is to promote the health of her patients through a natural and comprehensive approach that recognizes each person as an individual. She specializes in and offers guidance on many natural forms of treatment related to a wide variety of conditions.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prize Giveaways - Don't Miss Out


As a part of this week's Glitzy Blitz, of course we have to have prizes.  Just a reminder to those who did not read yesterday, these are the prizes and this is how you can get entered to win:

(for some reason I can't get this right side up)
I have two of Philosophy's Peppermint Bark Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Baths and a $10 Starbucks gift card (so far ... there may be more if you all play along nicely!).

How do you get entered to win? It's easy - three options:

  1. Subscribe to Cashmere & Carrot Sticks via email (if you have previously subscribed, please pick another option)
  2. OR if you haven't already, sign up to be a "follower" of this blog (if you are already a follower, please pick another option)

  1. OR send your favourite Cashmere & Carrot Stick post to a friend (just click on the envelope icon at the bottom of each post) and copy me on it (
At the end of the week, all those who have done 1, 2 or 3 as described will be entered and I will do a draw to reveal our lucky winners! Stay tuned.


Katie Ireland, PT, MCPA, Fitness Trainer
Welcome to the 2nd day of Cashmere & Carrot Stick's
Glitzy Blitz!

Today we have a guest blogger - Katie Ireland, Registered Physiotherapist, MCPA and Fitness Trainer.

Wow! That title sounds like she could definitely kick all of our asses. So I guess it's fitting that she is going to answer some of our exercise questions today and get us moving and grooving and kicking all of our exercise excuses to the curb. (my questions and comments are in pink).

C&CS: How do you personally fit in exercise with three kids yourself?

Katie: Good question. I just make it a priority. (That's what I was afraid she'd say!)
It may not happen everyday but at some point in the day I will do something, whether it's at 9 p.m. after the kids are asleep,  beside the crib while my son settles or even while I am brushing my teeth.

I devote two nights a week to exercise -one to play soccer and another for an official workout. This guarantees me at least two nights that are dedicated for ME to get out and exercise.  On the weekend, my husband and I also take turns going to the gym. It is busy, but I always feel better and more energized afterwards. It is always worth the sacrifice.

Another way is to involve your kids and let them see you exercising. In our house it is not unusual for the kids to be with us stretching, doing push ups, dancing or sit ups. The baby also likes to carry around two pound weights?! I am ridiculous about how and where in the house I exercise. There is not much need for equipment so don't let that be your excuse!
C&CS: As a busy Mom or person, what is more important when trying to fit a workout in, intensity or duration?
Katie:  Intensity is the key for a busy schedule and weight loss (yes! the magic word.). The harder you work, the more calories you burn and the longer you will burn calories after the workout ... presto weight loss.

The craze these days is interval training, circuits or super setting. All these techniques challenge you to go from one exercise to the next with minimal or no rest making you work at a higher heart rate. Everyone should add this to their workouts. A long walk every time you work out it not good enough (uh oh - so much for that justification). High intensity will really boost your fitness routine

C&CS: What should all women include in their routine and be sure not to leave out?
Everyone should have a series of three core and lower-back exercises as well as Kegal exercises.

As a physiotherapist I see a lot of 50 year-old moms that are suffering from early signs of Hip Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Back Disease and Incontinence. I truly believe it stems form leading a busy, active lifestyle without the proper muscle to support their hips, pelvis and lower back. 

There is nothing worse than peeing a few drips when you chase kids, sneeze of laugh. If you can relate, your pelvic floor muscles are inadequate (I'm not telling). If you are unsure of what to do, physiotherapists are great for educating on this topic. 

Upper back exercises are also really important for good posture and help reduce the stress of carrying heavy kids. These exercises include supermans, one-arm rows and seated row. All of these can be done at the gym OR at home.

C&CS:  Describe your favorite Mom-friendly, able to do in the comfort of your own home, work out?
I have lots of them! You may have noticed, I am a bit of a fitness nut. My workouts will always vary depending on the day.

I enjoy videos when I want more of a cardio workout or mind-numbing exercise.

Or for something a bit different, I often convert my living room into a circuit by writing down eight strength exercises that involve weights, bands or body weight and then pair them with a cardio exercise (i.e. stair hops, stair runs, side shuffle, mountain climber or jumping jacks). Depending on my time I will set a timer for 30-60 seconds and just rotate around each station. Cheap, easy set-up and a great workout in 30 minutes.

I also save my core and back exercises for when I am settling the baby. I just lay beside the crib and do my series of moves. It is easier to block out the crying and I don't feel like I am wasting time while he nods off (sometimes 30 minutes!!).

C&CS:  Last words of advice to all of us Moms?
Go for it girls! Put yourself ahead of your family a few days a week and get fit.

There is NO excuse for carrying extra baby fat around. It just means you are not working hard enough or not doing the right exercises. (I was afraid she was going to say that too!) 

It will take time to get into a routine, but once established you will be hooked.

Sign yourself up for something or meet once a week with friends to run or workout.  Let your husband know it is your night and then you are guaranteed one session a week.

Date nights don't have to be only dinner and a movie, what about a workout together before you head out for dinner. Then you can get fit and still be together.

Lastly, be creative - exercise outdoors, in your house, use weights, bands, balls, no weight.

The easier the activity and the more convenient it is to your lifestyle, the more likely you will do it. Fitness can be cheap and convenient and does not have to involve expensive memberships and classes. Remember the health benefits are about the accumulation of exercise not just per session. If you are short on time do 10-15 minutes in the morning and another 10-15 minutes in the afternoon.


Please feel free to leave a comment for Katie on this post. Katie is located in the Ottawa, Ontario area and can also be reached at: So for you ladies in the Ottawa area, I know you're out there, Katie is your gal.

If you like what you're reading, stay tuned for more of Katie's fitness tips in the weeks to come.

Monday, December 13, 2010

FASHION MUST HAVES: Prep for this Weekend's Social Scene

Have something fun you're doing this weekend? Holiday party, drinks with friends, work soiree?

Don't miss today's fashion must-haves for this holiday season. I'm sharing today (instead of Friday) so that you have all week to be inspired and think up your outfit. Thank you so much to my friend Jee-Yun Lee for all of her help and tips!


Start At The Top
Jazz up your wardrobe with an ornate headband. Don't settle for a plain black band. Go for something with a large bow, flower or feather on top.

If It Don't Shine, Leave It Behind!
This season is all about glitter, shine and metallics. If you are a bold person, then wear a sequin dress. If you want just a small dose, then wear a sequin hat or scarf or carry a clutch that is full of bling.

The Little Black Blazer
Forget the shawl or wrap - leave that for Grandma. Cover yourself up with a black blazer - whether it's a boyfriend cut, a bolero or a tuxedo style jacket - it will jazz up your outfit.

Show Off The Legs 
Show off what your mama gave you. Pants are out. Wear a knee-length dress or a mini-skirt to show off the legs.

Tap Your Way To Style
Always finish off your look with killer shoes! If you can handles heels, put on platform stilettos. If you can't then punch it up with bright colour shoes like purple, fuchsia or electric blue.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...