Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to plan to perfect (fuss-free) picnic

We Canadians spend so much time indoors hiding from the miserable cold, that once the sun shows itself, we hit the patios, terraces, backyard decks and cottage docks with a vengeance. A bevie in hand and munchies in reach, there's nothing quite like an alfresco dining experience to rejuvenate the soul and boost any mood.  So why then do so few of us picnic?  If your definition of a picnic is eating a 12"cold-cut combo on a park bench, let me redefine the meaning for you:

A picnic is a pre-planned, eating and/or drinking experience, typically between two or more people, in a casual outdoor setting surrounded by an inspiring natural environment (think trees, not traffic), whereby food and drink are toted to said location in a packed carry-all supplying linens, edibles, beverage, possibly tunes (via portable speaker or you and your acoustic guitar) with the intent to relax and soak in conversation and scenery.



Now if the idea of picnicking sounds like it's going to mean a heck-of-a-lot of planning and hoopla, let me assure you, it only requires a maximum of 1-hour of planning/prepping if you follow my tips:

1: Think outside the basket
No need to buy a designated picnic basket - save time and money but grabbing any hard-bottomed tote or decorative basket from home - like the one you have for those display-only birch logs by the fire.  Hard bottoms (think flat tray not Olympic hurdler) keep items stacked, neat and secure from toppling over.

2. Pick your spot
Make sure that first and foremost, you are legally allowed to picnic in your desired location.  Mrs. Hubbard's immaculate English garden with the pond and swans may appeal to you, but be respectful of private vs. public areas.  Choose a nice flat area (if you plan on using a picnic blanket), free of ant hills (trust me...it happens) and with a desirable view of whatever you find desirable - for some it's a meandering creek nestled in a conservation area with birds singing their little birdie songs.  For others, it's a smokestack next to the cement plant (not recommended, but to each their own).

3. Boomerang it
Not the actual game, but the concept: make sure that your supplies, containers, cutlery, etc... are all re-usable and going right back home with you afterward.  It's better for the environment to leave nothing behind and will save you from having to buy plastic utensils or disposable napkins.

4. Make it, don't break it
Always use, whenever possible, non-breakable containers.  Avoid glass and porcelain/stoneware - not only is it heavier to lug around, but your fine Olde English Rose china from Aunt Edna won't be of any use, or appreciated by others, if it's shattered into a zillion pieces along a hiking trail.  There are many great, high-quality acrylic dinnerware options available at HomeSense or Williams-Sonoma that you can reuse, put in the dishwasher and store for years to come.  Even Aunt Edna would have a hard time telling the difference (bifocals or not!).

5. Add the pizazz
A picnic is all about connecting and conversation.  By adding a few easy personal touches, not only will you impress (yourself and others!), but it will help set the tone for your picnic - one that says, "I went the extra mile without walking an extra mile" (speaking of which, try not to venture too far off the beaten path or too far from your car - if you need to use your GPS to get in or out of your picnic spot, you've gone too far!).

Steal these ideas:
  • Use hollowed out baguette slices as napkin rings! (Then eat them! Bonus!)
  • Pre-fill mason jars with lemonade and add a handful of frozen berries to keep it cool.
  • Grab that faux-fur throw you're not using in summer and lay it out as  picnic blanket - soft, luxe and plush!
  • Use tea-towels as serviettes.
  • Pre-skewer fruit or veggie kabobs for easy munching.
  • Bring a small portable Bluetooth speaker and find a streaming picnic play-list (Songza has a ton of picnic-themed playlists for any music-lover!).
6. Keep it chilled
Ice cubes are not a reliable long-term method for keeping foods cold, so do pack some freezer packs if you're planning on enjoying some perishable or heat-intolerant foods.  No freezer packs?  No biggie - but avoid meats, mayo-based salads or egg sandwiches and opt for mixed greens with vinaigrette or crackers and brie instead!  Freezing an acrylic container of punch or a plastic bottle of lemon water can act as a freezer pack and keep drinks chilled too!  Double-duty!

Have fun on your next picnic and watch the segment on CTV's Canada AM for more great ideas!  Would love to hear your picnic stories: what's your fave picnic spot?

Canada AM: Perfect Picnic

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daddy Dearest: Cool gift ideas for the main man this Father's Day

Why is it that it's SO easy to shop for Moms, but when it comes to Dads you always find yourself scanning a 96 piece ratchet set (just like the one you bought last year) or combing the shirt-n-tie aisle with a glazed-over look in your eye.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  I mean come on, this guy helped to create you!  Get him something with a little oomph!  I recently took to the park, streets, sidewalk and backyard and asked a bunch of cool-looking local Dads what they desire more than anything in the world for Father's Day.  Their responses were all identical.  It was almost as if they had formed a secret society of listless, down-in-the-daddy-dumps Dads, some night, in some garage, where they pledged to only ask for one simple thing - the whole strength in numbers routine.  100% of respondents replied:

"All I want on Father's Day is for an entire day to myself where nobody barks orders at me, or has me working on a project or running an errand.  I want just a single day to do what I please without answering to anyone."

Ouch.  Sounds like the wives and kids in my neighbourhood rate above-average in the nagging department. 

Well, besides a day where my husband/father-to-my-three-boys can golf non-stop from dawn to dusk without so much as a text from me, there are oodles of great gift ideas and experiences for any Dad - gifts that will truly drive home how much we care, faster than a Big Bertha off a long tee (golf reference...don't worry, I have no idea what that means either).

I've broken it down into Dad categories and you can watch me live, on CTV's Canada AM, Thursday June 18th at 8:40am for some Dad-erific ideas and huge dream-gift surprises!!! 
Click here to watch!!!

     For the "Debonair Dad"

     Canada Goose jackets  ($395 - $595)

     Scotch-Whisky (Bunnahabhain)  $100

     Harry Rosen
  • Pocket squares x 3, $55
  • Shaving Set x 1, $198
  • Swim trunks x 2, $98
  • Daniel Buchler lounge shorts and t-shirt, $120 each
  • Burberry London check cufflinks, $120
Burberry cufflinks from Harry Rosen



         Body Shop
    • Shaving kit, $35
    • Bathroom kit, $40

         For the "Devoted Dad"

         Canadian Tire

         For the "Daredevil Dad"

         TryThat{!} vouchers ($99 - $250)

         TryThat.ca for Beer Appreciation Classes, Exotic Car Track Experience,
         Flyboarding in the Muskokas and much more!!!

    If Dad likes adventure, visit TryThat.ca
     

         Sporting Life
    • Nike Speed Jump Rope, $17.99
    • Under Armour Men’s Flux Half-finger Gloves, $27.99
    • Garmin Forerunner 620 Monitor, $589.99
    • Fitbit Surge Performance Fitness Wristband, $299.99
    • Fitbit Charge Everyday Fitness Wristband, $149.99
    • Reebok Men’s All Terrain 2 Shoes, $129.99
    • Asics Men’s Gel-Nimbus 16, $189.99
    • Oakley Holbrook, $139.99

         Dream Gifts for Dad (in his dreams!!!)

         Tesla (see dealer for pricing)

         Kalamazoo BBQ, $27 000

         Private golf course membership, starts at $30 000
    Sweet ride - fully electric too!

    This BBQ is boss!

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    Mom's Day Shopping 101: Here's what she wants...


    Along with a lifetime of stress, worry, stretch-marks and that abdominal pooch that won't go away, becoming a Mom entitles you to everlasting appreciation by each and every one of your offspring, to be celebrated in uber-thoughtful ways on Mother's Day!  Or at least that's the fantastic ideal. 

    In reality, most mothers of underage kids spend Mother's Day doing everything that they did the day before Mother's Day...but often in larger doses:  more cleaning because the whole fam-damily is coming over, more shopping because now we need to feed a crowd, more cleaning because there are more people we need to prove we aren't slobs to....ugh.  I'm not proclaiming to be a Mom's Day clairvoyant here, but even though there are millions of different Canadian Moms across this vast land, I can tell you with unfaltering, 100% certainty what NO MOM WANTS for Mother's Day:
    1. More cooking, cleaning and food shopping
    2. A package of frozen meat submarine sandwiches (don't ask....it's still too raw to discuss).
    It's a short list.  So remember it!

    On the other hand, I feel pretty confident telling you that I also know what ALL MOMS DO WANT:
    1. Thoughtful cards, notes or gifts (that clearly didn't involve a last minute trip to the pharmacy's gift card swivel display 20-minutes prior).
    2. Displays of appreciation (hugs, kisses, kind gestures and such, without having to beg for them).
    3. Gifts however big or small, hand-made or store-bought that clearly demonstrate that the giver has even the slightest clue as to who we are and what we love (ahem...frozen meat subs?  I don't even eat beef....).
    4. Anything pretty
    For those of you that need specific direction on what and where to buy, I've compiled a list of just some of the great Mom-worthy gifts for the four main Mom archetypes: Adventure Mom, Book Club Mom, Party Mom and Nature Mom. 

    To see the complete lineup and shopping specifics, tune in to CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday June 6th at 8:40am.  I've curated a ton of amazing gifts for your Mom, or for you to PVR and play back for your clueless kids.

    Watch the segment - click here!

    Adventure Mom: Loves anything wellness and fitness and most certainly, anything from Sportinglife.ca  (think a Spring jacket from Canada Goose, Fitbit, stylish gym tote, hiking shoes from Salomon, etc...)
    Just one of the many amazing duffel bags at Sporting Life


    Book Club Mom: Loves relaxing in some super luxe, temperature regulating (no more night sweats) loungewear/jammies from Canadian company Lusomé (Lusome.com).  Snuggled up in the comfiest chair in the house, she's sipping on David's Tea products (see their "Day At The Spa" collection of teas!), flipping through the latest top fiction from Indigo.ca, and inhaling the scent of a bergamot candle that's flickering nearby...ahhhh...
    Patented dryLon fabric technology -
    Lusomé jammies are super soft!!

     
    Party Mom: Loves all things fashion, fab and food.  Think great new stemwear on a gilded serving tray (HomeSense), a great new clutch from luxury label Mulberry, an everlasting floral arrangement that will never droop or die (HomeSense), a pretty floral silk scarf (Winners), Champagne...

    Campden Clutch in Hibiscus from Mulberry


    Nature Mom:  Loves anything that celebrates the glorious outdoors and gardening, growing and sowing!  CanadianTire.ca is a one-stop shopping destination for great outdoor furniture so Mom can kick up her heels in a wicker rocker while you water her new hanging baskets and top up those bird feeders next to the hammock!! 

    CanadianTire.ca




    Regardless of what Mother's Day brings your way in 2015, the best gifts ever are most certainly the people in your lives that call you, "Mom".

    Happy Mother's Day!!!


    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Used, new, who knew? Smart tips for saving $$$


    Your neighbours are doing it.  Your friends are doing it.  Your spouse has probably done it, online, more than once, without you even knowing...  Canadians coast-to-coast are saving and earning big-time bucks via our thriving second-hand economy.  To celebrate 10-years in the business, Kijiji, an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of second-hand goods, recently put out some very impressive facts about what Canadian second-hand shopping practices look like. 

    Check out these stats:
    • Every minute, Canadians spend approximately $57,000 on second-hand products.
    • The second-hand economy is worth $30 billion annually (15% of the value of new goods purchased).
    • 2 ads are placed on Kijiji.ca every second!
    • The average Canadian grants a second life to 76 products annually via buying, selling, trading or donating (the highest numbers being in the Prairies and Alberta - nice going, guys!!)
    • The average family of four saves $1150/year buying second-hand.
    So what the heck is your excuse for not buying pre-loved merchandise? 

    From sporting goods to clothing to electronics to cars (even homes!) to furniture and more, there are thousands upon thousands of great finds online.  But if you're a second-hand newbie like myself, it can be pretty confusing to know how to find great items, that are great quality at great prices. 

    Let's break it down...

    Sellers:  Spring is a great season to dip your toes into the world of second-hand money making. Trust me, that souvenir puck from an NHL game you attended in the 90's or that old set of golf clubs are just waiting to be transformed into dollar bills (or I guess loonies to be more accurate).   Open up that garage, clean out the house, rummage through the basement and surely, there is money waiting to be made.  Not sure whether an online site like Kijiji versus a garage sale is right for you?  Here's my suggestion: higher ticket items ($30 +) do best on sites like Kijiji.  Save the real bargains for a garage sale.  Professional garage-salers will come early, come hungry and with mostly small bills, so do not bother to put an antique hutch on the driveway and expect someone to offer you $500 for it.  If however, you've got some better quality, larger items that you feel could fetch some bigger bucks, then snap some well-lit pics, write a catchy description (be honest) and upload to an online site.  If you've indeed got a great in-demand item, within minutes, your inbox will begin to fill up faster than a hungry kid at a pizza party!!  If you've got any of the below items to sell, there are buyers aplenty waiting in the wings to buy!

    Most Searched Items Online:
    Leafs/Raptors Tickets (events)
    Lululemon Clothing (apparel)
    Lego (toys)
    Nikon (small electronics)
    Fridges (home)
    TV (large electronics)
    BMW (most searched item overall)

    Here's how the second-hand economy can work for you, using my own example:

    Two of my boys need bigger bikes this season.  Instead of handing down their too-small ones, I can re-sell them online, at a garage sale or through word-of-mouth.  I would expect $25/bike to be reasonable.  So that's $50 earned.  Next, I went online to Kijiji and found a seller offering two higher-quality youth mountain bikes for $100 (for both).  I know that I could likely offer him $75.  I went to research the bikes he was selling at a leading sporting goods retailer and they were listed for $299 each, brand new.  Schwinn bikes!!  Factor in the fact that if these bikes were abused like the ones my sons had, then I'll likely need $50 in tune-ups from the bike shop.  In the end, I could purchase new bikes for $600 (which is crazy given how fast my boys are growing), or I could get the 2 for $75, add in those tune-ups at $50 and pay $125.  Don't forget the $50 I hope to earn selling their old bikes...so that pays for tune-ups!  So we're back at a net loss to me of $75 for two great bikes.  Sounds like a deal!!!

    Buyers:
    Just like sellers, Spring is the season to be out with the old and in with the (somewhat) new.  In fact, there really is no good reason to buy certain items brand new.  If the kids need bigger bikes, or the baby could use some bigger clothes, or you're looking for that perfect wrought-iron bench for the garden, your very first shopping destination should be the second-hand market.  Any item that is outgrown quickly can typically be found used/online for a fraction of the price of a brand new item, and in excellent condition too!  If you love home décor then second-hand furniture, rugs and draperies are just a click away.  Every time you see a contractor in someone's driveway, there's a better than good chance that the home-owner has decided that last year's wall-art just won't suit this year's paint colour - which means you could be paying 50-80% less than retail for high-quality items!!  I recently turned to social media to find out why people shop for pre-loved goods online versus at garage sales.  The consensus was that while garage sales are a fun way to pass a lazy Sunday morning, you can't shop with specifics in mind, or you might never find anything you like.  Think needle-in-haystack browsing.  Whereas online, you enter your criteria into a search field and boom - local results are just a few clicks and kilometers away.

    Top 3 reason why people buy second-hand:
    1. Saving money
    2. Ecological benefits
    3. The thrill of finding a great deal
    Best deals:  Let's face it, once out of the store or off the rack, there is a huge depreciation in value on certain items.  You can literally save 50% or more on nearly new items that have barely ever been worn or used.  The hottest deals can be found on...
    • Designer clothes (the boutique charges top dollar, but let the original buyer pay that premium!)
    • Jewellery (especially fine jewellery/gold)
    • Baby Clothes (most baby clothes are worn fewer than 8 times before outgrown)
    • Furniture (my sister-in-law haggled her way to a gorgeous teak dining table for $700, even though the seller was asking $2000!!)
    • Cars (once off the lot, even a car with 1000 km on it will have depreciated by 25%)
    • Sports equipment (a baseball bat is a baseball bat...but a used one is only $10!!)
    • Tools (a hammer is supposed to hit nails, why get a shiny new one?...likewise a used power tool can save you hundreds and still get the job done!)
    • Books & toys (then you can re-sell them when you're done with them!)
    Now, not everything should be purchased second-hand no matter how great our desire to save money, help the environment or how big the thrill of the hunt.  Any item that's purpose it is to provide safety, or where safety can be compromised, should NEVER be purchased second-hand.  The same goes for anything hygiene related...that's just gross.  Would you want to sleep on a used mattress, covered in invisible dust-bites, dead-skin cells, fluids...to save a few bucks?  Ewww...  If you have bought a used mattress before, do not ever invite me for a sleepover

    Never buy: Cribs, car-seats, helmets, mattresses, bedding, bathing-suits or underwear (do I really need to list these?).

    Ok, so who's ready to shop??  Now you're armed with some info to get the ball rolling on your second-hand buying and selling.  It's a fun, safe and easy way to earn extra money and give a new life to products that somebody wants! 

    Would love to know what your greatest finds were.  Share them with me on Facebook (Kasie Savage) or Twitter (@KasieSavage) and tune into my segment on CTV's Canada AM, Friday, April 17 at 8:40am!
    Click here to watch!

    For more information on Canada's second-hand economy, visit: www.secondhandeconomy.kijiji.ca

    Sunday, March 29, 2015

    5 easy April 1st pranks even boring people will love!


    I come from a very long line of pranksters, hams, wise-guys (and gals), jokers and all around good-time-Charlies.  No, none of us has ever made a buck off of it, but a far better payday is knowing that you got someone good - real good!!! 

    Example: When I'd have a group of friends over as a teen, I'd pre-hatch a plan with my Mom whereby she'd storm into the room we were loitering in and just yell and scream and berate me whilst wielding a potato masher...ahhh...the look on their faces...priceless!  Although that brand of humour might be somewhat, unconventional, isn't laughter the absolute best?  A good laugh can break the tension, ease the pain, mend a wound, halt the tears, fill an awkward silence and just feels so darn-tootin' good.  In fact, my desire to laugh is so great that if I look back over my entire lifetime and add up the number of non-funny friends that I have, it equals zero

    I  don't trust people without laugh-lines.  If you're over 30 and you don't have laugh lines, I'm asking for a Botox and Juvaderm receipt, or you're outta here.

    In the absence of fun, I'm even willing to just make stuff up.  When my husband was still my boyfriend, he came to visit me in my 1-bedroom apartment where I happen to have had my dear, sweet (prankster) Grandma visiting from Montreal.  He had just flown in from who-knows-where, still drunk off of the sweet taste of victory at a high-profile curling bonspiel (and rum), when he happened to nod off in front of my dear, sweet Gram.  When he awoke, we had him 100% convinced that he spent the entire slumber expelling horridly foul gas....he was mortified...still is. (Shhhh...this joke is going on 15 years old and it's not over!)

    If the idea of joking around appeals to you, or you haven't laughed in eons, or you've had fillers and people don't trust you to be fun/funny, then April 1st is a great time to test the comedic waters and bust a gut.  I scoured the Internet in search of some good clean prankster fun (no verbal abuse or potato mashers) and here are some easy-to-execute doozies:

    1. Freaky toilet surprise
    Find a scary face on the Internet and print full size.  Tape it to the underside of the toilet seat and shut the lid.  The next person to use the washroom might poop their pants...but it'll be worth it!

    Before/After



    2. Don't cry over spilled milk
    Get yourself some good quality white craft glue and generously poor it out onto some waxed paper in a spill pattern.  Let it dry (takes about 12 hours).  Gently scrape it off and place it onto the keyboard of the victim's computer (goes over best on a tightly wound type A personality).  Place next to an empty glass or mug and get the swear-jar at the ready!!













    3. Stranger danger
    Stuff some men's pants and socks with rolled up newspapers and finish with a pair of shoes.  Place the half-torso under a vehicle, or in the backseat of the victim's car, or behind a wall and get your video camera ready to capture their reaction!!  Oh snap!

    4. There-she-blows
    Visit your local Canadian Tire and shell out $27 on a blow-horn.  Duct tape the blow-horn to the underside of an office chair (the kind that adjusts up and down).  Secure it so that any amount of pressure from the seat will set it off (will require a bit of Macgyver-ing).  Your coworkers will not be buying you lunch that day...or maybe they will!  If you don't have coworkers (I feel your pain) do what I've been doing: hide behind a door in the dark and when someone walks passed you, let that son-of-a-gun rip! (away from ears!) 

    5. Yummmm...mayo!
    So easy and so gross.  Empty a jar of mayonnaise out and fill to the brim with vanilla yogurt.  Grab a spoon, shovel it in and tell everyone how you've just read about the incredible health benefits of eating a tub of mayo/day...so much protein, so many omega 3s from the eggs and oil....yummy!!  People will recoil in horror. 

    So there are my top 5.  Click here to watch the segment on CTV's Canada AM!


    Keep laughing!

    Kasie

    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Finding "Fun You": Take the test

    In October, five friends and I packed our bags and jet off to sunny Palm Springs for a long-overdue girls' getaway.  I went in search of laughs, relaxation, shopping and adventure, but what I really discovered was far more thrilling and rare - it was Fun Kasie!! A lost relic of my past, Fun Kasie was benched years ago as Wife Kasie and Mom Kasie filled the top spots in my household roster.  Sitting idle for so long, Fun Kasie was all but forgotten until the right mix of girly stupidity, lack of responsibility, freedom to do what one pleases and a hint of vodka came into play.  The group of girls I was with had never met Fun Kasie before; having only had met them in the Wife Kasie era, they were instantly impressed and proudly renamed this vacation version of me, "VaKasie". 

    VaKasie did all sorts of crazy stuff - went without makeup, let her hair air-dry, wore a bathing suit in public, laughed until she had to race to the washroom, used expletives liberally, was the TMI queen, went on a dune buggy adventure and even ate a McRib with extra jalapenos (Wife and Mom Kasie doesn't eat fast-food...let alone boneless pork patties smothered in a sweet sauce, nestled in a soft sesame-seed bun)!!!
    VaKasie in all her glory

    Here's what I know for sure - VaKasie was a blast.  I miss old me sometimes.  Life just takes hold and we tend to lose so much of our former free-wheeling selves.  We are suddenly soooo serious about everything.  In case this has happened to you, and you have yet to realise it, I've created a small but highly scientific test to assess your lame-a-bility factor. 

    Lame-a-bility Quiz: Have you lost "Fun You"?  Please answer YES or No:

    1. I have been married for more than five years
    2. I have kid(s)
    3. I have pet(s) and/or employment
    4. I deliver a look-of-death, eye-roll, or desperate sigh when someone close to me flatulates
    5. I haven't laughed until I've peed my pants in years (or ever!)
    6. I often sit stone-faced during a classic comedy or simply declare, "this crap is not funny"
    7. I have not been on a girls-only getaway in more than 2 years
    8. I sometimes find myself listening to Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith songs on repeat
    9. I wear full-coverage underwear with comfort and cotton in mind
    10. When my kids yell, MOM!!!!" I reply with a long exasperated, devil-voiced, "WHHHAAAATTTT????"

    If you answered "yes" to 2 or more of these, take a good, long look in the mirror because you are a totally boring lame-o.  The sooner you embark on fancy-free fun and frivolity the better for everyone - your husband, kids and boss with thank me!!

    Now leave this blog, get on the web and book something fun and crazy.  Do it!!

    Friday, February 6, 2015

    Why married people need Hallmark holidays...more than ever!


    My husband Brad has always firmly maintained a strict "no Hallmark holidays" stance.  Especially when it comes to Valentine's Day.  When we were hot and heavy in the early days (literally hot and heavy - post-University chub and excessively sweaty - not pretty), he would declare proudly, "why does anyone need to remind me to love and treat you special on one day of the year when I love and treat you special everyday?" "Wow, what a hopeless romantic!", you're likely thinking.  Or, to play devil's advocate here,  "what a hopeless cheapskate trying to avoid buying a V-day gift for yours truly". Thought I'd offer both perspectives for you. 

    Anyway, to get back on track, he did sort of have a point.  I say sort of, because when two people are in a fresh-out-of-the-oven romance, every day does feel extra sweet and special.  Flowers "just because they made me think of you", back rubs "just because you work soooo hard selling souvenirs at the CityTV store", hand-written notes of naughtiness "just because sexting technology didn't exist back then"....you get the point.  Fast forward 15 years and here we are - 3 kids, 2 cats, 5 fish, endless taxiing to activities, non-stop heads-spinning, exhausted and run-down, matching sweatshirts with Golden Labs on them (we don't even own a dog!)...this is what married/family life looks like with young kids. 

    Now, more than ever we desperately NEED Hallmark holidays.  Come mid-January, that sea of pink heart-shaped cards and candy at the local pharmacy is like a five-alarm fire burning into my listless, weary mind screaming out a relationship S.O.S: "wake up you good for nothin' dead-beat wife - it's almost Valentine's Day and you need all of this pink and red stuff to prove your love!!!!" All of the ads in the newspaper and on TV feature freakishly toned and spray-tanned hunks, on bended-knee, slowly opening blue boxes filled with sparkle, to the delight of a pale waif in a ball-gown cupping her hands over her mouth with an expression of sheer joy, exhilaration and hunger...sadly reminding me that the only blue box I'll be seeing on Valentine's Day contains my discarded recyclables.  Hmph. 

    On the hunt for great Valentine's Day ideas, in the hopes of turning my slump around, I found so many really cool, fun, funky and fabulous ideas that do not involve cinnamon hearts.  Soooo many ideas in fact, that I'm going to pass them along to you...in case you're also in a V-Day rut.  You're welcome!!

    Watch on February 11th on CTV's Canada AM as I present to you a curated display of fun and fabulous for all three types of love:

    1. Innocent/family love
    2. Passionate love
    3. Married 10+ years/In-the-doghouse love


    Stay tuned....