Fab Frugal Mama

Monday, May 11, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness & Learning How to #SupportHER

Almost everyone I know has been affected in some way by cancer. Whether fighting it personally or supporting a friend or family member though it, we have all been touched by this terrible disease.

Last month, I attended high tea at the beautiful King Edward Hotel to talk about cancer and how we can best support the women in our lives who are dealing with it.


Lena, from Listen to Lena, hosted this informative and empowering event, where we listened to Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley speak about the heartening breast cancer statistics (breast cancer deaths have decreased by 42% since the peak in 1986), as well as inspirational stories from a cancer survivor.

Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley from St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Brezden-Masley also shared with us some ideas about how to best support a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Here are some tips:
  • Ask her how she's doing. This seems simple, but many people are too afraid to ask.
  • Volunteer to accompany her to doctor's appointments; if so, take notes because she may be too overwhelmed to remember everything
  • Ask her what she needs. It may be helping out with meals or babysitting her kids for an afternoon... ask so that your time/resources are concentrated on what she would find most helpful.

Breast cancer is a horrible disease, but we can all be empowered to enrich the lives of the women around us who are battling it. Through supporting each other and arming ourselves with knowledge about our own family's cancer history and ways we can take better care of our bodies, we are taking baby steps towards a future where the word cancer doesn't seem as scary.

Find out more at HerHistory.ca.

So Nice: Helping to Plant An Organic Future

Kids are notorious for asking questions... LOTS of questions! So whenever we try a new food, there's usually a question about how it's grown or where it comes from.

I won't claim that everything we eat is organic (far from it), but I do my best to buy organic whenever I can, and when my budget allows, for a few reasons:
  • organic farms are sustainable, ensuring that the land will be fit for farming for years to come 
  • reduced groundwater pollution (because no pesticides, etc are used)
  • no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers means I'm not ingesting harmful chemicals when I eat my food
  • no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 
  • and last, but not least, the food tastes better!

That's why, when I found out about the Earth's Own Planting An Organic Future initiative with Evergreen, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Recently I attended an event at the Evergreen Brick Works to experience the program myself and had the pleasure of meeting (and cooking with!) Chef Brad Long, owner of Cafe Belong.

Chef Brad Long and me, captured by my 8-year-old!

He believes strongly that it's important to understand where our food comes from, and that we essentially vote with our dollars every time we buy food. This really resonated with me. I often see local and foreign tomatoes, for example, next to each other at the grocery store and wonder why the foreign produce is even an option? If we choose to buy food that has been shipped half-way across the world (when we produce the very same food locally), it sends a message that buying local isn't important. And, if that happens, then local food production will continue to decrease.

Win Disney's Tomorrowland Advance Screening Passes! (#Giveaway}

I love a good adventure, so when I saw the trailer for Disney's new movie Tomorrowland, I added it to my list of must-see movies.

Then something awesome happened... I was invited to an advanced screening of the movie! The best part?? 

I've got FIVE family passes (admit 4 per pass) to give away for advanced screenings across Canada!

There will be one family pass given away per city. See a list of cities (and theatres) below.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Scotiabank Chinook

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Scotiabank Edmonton

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
SilverCity Gloucester

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Galaxy Cinemas Waterloo

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
SilverCity Polo Park

Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, aged 18+ and the contest closes on May 15 at 11:59pm EST. See terms and conditions stated on entry form for further details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P. S. If you want to experience Tomorrowland, click here.

UPDATE: thanks to all who entered! Winners have been chosen & verified. :)


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Twitter Party Alert! #CMRLovesMoms

The Canadian Mother Resource (CMR)​ is hosting a twitter party in honour of Moms next Tuesday, May 5 from 9-10pm EST.

Join us for lots of Mother's Day fun AND a chance to win one of SEVEN $100 Indigo gift cards!

I’ll be cohosting along with Lena from Listen to Lena, Maya from Mayahood blog and Randa from The Bewitchin' Kitchen​, so you know it'll be a great chat!

RSVP using the linky below and be sure to follow...

Host: @the_cmr




While everyone is encouraged to participate, only Canadian residents (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) are eligible to win prizes.

Not sure how a Twitter party works? Check out this tutorial.

Please be sure to enter your Twitter Handle “@yourTwitterhandle” in the Link/Blog Title field, and your Twitter URL “www.twitter.com/yourtwitterhandle” in the Link Field.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Paddington Blu-ray Combo #Giveaway {5 Copies Available To WIN!}

You may remember a few months back, I wrote about how my family attended a screening of Paddington and were completely enamoured with the sweet little bear from the darkest of Peru. In fact, 30 of my readers won tickets to attend advanced screenings all across Canada. In fact, I was touched to receive emails and pictures from a few of them saying how much they loved it. (Thank you!)

Well, I'm here to let you know that Paddington was released today on Blu-ray Combo and Digital HD - and eOne Entertainment has five copies to give away to lucky FFM readers!

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's a bit about the movie...

From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you,” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

** You can watch the official trailer here. **

Want a chance to win a copy of Paddington? Enter via the Rafflecopter below.


Giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, aged 18+. See terms and conditions stated at bottom of entry form for further details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Family Fun At The ROM: #NikonMOMents Part 5

From the age of two and a half, my son would ask me at least twice a week if we could visit the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) to visit the bat cave and dinosaurs.  It amazed me how interested he was at such a young age, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to foster his love of learning.

So, I'd plan a few fun adventures with him each week, which usually included going to the ROM for his bat cave 'fix'.  This planning was as much for him as it was for me; being a work-at-home Mom means that sometimes I lose track of time and, before I know it, we've stayed inside all day!

Needless to say, we have had a family membership ever since.

They still love them: my kids in the ROM bat cave :)

Going to the ROM is something the whole family enjoys and it never gets old. But, despite having had my Nikon D3300 for almost a year now, I've never taken it along on any of our visits there.  I think I was scared that I would lose my youngest while trying to capture the perfect shot! Luckily, my husband came with us when we visited the museum recently, so I was free to snap as many pictures as I wanted. Here's a glimpse into our trip...

We had so much fun learning about the new dinosaur that was just discovered.

We awaited the reveal of a new dinosaur species

Now that my daughter is old enough to read, the kids love checking out the interactive displays to find out more about the exhibits.

After many attempts at capturing images (especially of items behind glass) with my smartphone, I'm glad I had my Nikon D3300 camera with me this time. My favourite setting to shoot with is the aperture priority setting ("A" on the dial); this allows me to determine the amount of light that should be let in, and the camera determines the optimal shutter speed based on that setting. I find that the shots are brighter, and I've got greater control of shadows / highlights and depth of field, than when using Auto mode.

Butterflies in the biodiversity wing are breathtaking

Animals (sloth & macaw), dinosaur skeletons and fossils

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Getting Gorgeous with #AlmayPureBeauty {+ Giveaway}

Ask anyone who knows me well and they'll tell you I have the worst memory ever.

I can't recall the particulars of events such as my high school graduation or first kiss (I know... I'm so lame), but there are a few milestones I remember - one of them being the day I got contact lenses.

Having worn glasses much of my young life, I vividly remember the feeling of freedom I had with my new-found independence from those always-foggy, terrible-in-the-rain, ugly glasses.

I was thirteen and all was right with the world. I remember the optometrist telling me that I had to be careful what cosmetics I used on my eyes and all I could think was, "You mean I get to wear eye makeup now?" Of course, my mother clarified that statement, telling me "WHEN you're old enough to wear makeup, you need to buy the hypoallergenic kind."

A few years later, I found myself remembering those words while in my local drug store frantically searching for suitable products. That's when I bought my very first eyeliner from Almay.

The funny thing is, if you look in my makeup kit today, you'll find the same eyeliner... along with a few new favourites I've picked up over the past few years!

(L to R) Almay eyeliner, smart shade CC luminous primer, smart shade anti-aging SPF 20 skintone matching
makeup, smart shade SPF 15 concealer, oil-free makeup remove pads, butterkiss lipstick and intense i-color smoky-i™ kit

I attended a breakfast hosted by Almay a few weeks ago and got to meet their two newest Canadian brand ambassadors - Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh, founders of The Sweet Potato Chronicles (and former FASHION Magazine editors). These two amazing Mamas were as lovely in person as I had imagined and were thrilled to share their tips for making mornings easier, including fabulous meal prep ideas and beauty tips. Both ladies love how Almay's products are made to get you out of the house in a few minutes flat - like the butterkiss lipstick that acts as a moisturizing balm and lipstick in one.

We were also treated to a preview of the new Almay Canada commercials starring Laura and Ceri; the spots focused on their relationships with their daughters and what their daughters love best about them. So touching!

Makeup artist Jacquie Hutchinson was on hand to teach attendees some easy makeup tips and tricks, too! She even taught me how to do a quick and easy smoky eye. (Thanks, Jacquie!)

(L to R) Makeup artist extraordinaire Jacquie Hutchinson, Ceri Marsh & Laura Keogh (founders of The Sweet
Potato Chronicles) and me!

If you're anything like me, you only have a few precious minutes to get ready and out of the house in the morning. My routine consists of eyeliner, concealer under my eyes, and a quick sweep of butterkiss lipstick (in light/medium pink). I save the primer, foundation (I like the anti-aging version) and smoky-i kit for occasions when I have a bit more time to spend on my beauty regimen but, that being said, I can still get out of the bathroom in under 15 minutes! (Not bad, eh?)

I'm happy that my favourite brand as a teenager is still a favourite today. With all of the amazing innovations from Almay, I'm sure to love them for many years to come!

Almay wants you to see how easy it can be to get ready with their innovative, hypoallergenic beauty products, so they're giving away a fabulous prize pack to one lucky FFM reader!

Prize includes:

Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, aged 18+. See terms and conditions stated at bottom of entry form for further details. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway