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Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

Trendsetter Dad

GEAR, tech By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , 99 Comments

Trendsetter DadThere are so many types of dads out there, and as I watch my partner grill on his shiny Weber BBQ in a fedora, I smile. He’s our trendsetter Dad. He has more hats than I have shoes, and oozes style. Now that he’s traded his Blackberry for an android, his tech is beginning to match his dressing prowess. He’s officially hooked on instagram, and his new love of tech has him scouring the gadget sections of every store. We just acquired the Logitech Multi-device mini keyboard, which is totally thrilling him for his phone and tablets. Even snazzier is the new Harmony Ultimate Home. His tablet and phone can control all connected devices in the house – thermostat, lights, Xbox, TV… you name it!

Weber BBQWe’re giving away awesome goodies for the trendsetter dad in your life! Ends July 30, US and Canada, excl. Quebec. Good luck!!! Value $500.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home
Work bag
Sunglasses
Money clip
Handkerchiefs

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Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Logitech. All opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Next Issue Canada Giveaway

Contests By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , 19 Comments

Next Issue CAnadaWe reviewed the Next Issue Canada service a while back, and the amount of paper that has been cut out of our household is exceptional! It also makes a great excuse to upgrade your tablet…. ; )

I’ve also started the kids reading our subscriptions so that they think they are getting screen time when they are actually reading.

We are giving away 5 90-day subscriptions to Next Issue Canada so that you can catch up on your favourite magazines for August, September and October. Good luck! Canada Only, excl. Quebec. $30 value.


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Disclosure: This is a sponsored giveaway from Next Issue Canada. All opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Summer Bucket List

Contests By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , 47 Comments

Summer Bucket ListSummer is just around the corner, and with the arrival of warm weather it’s time for outdoor activities with the kids and events that can last all day.  Olay and Crest want to help keep your skin hydrated and fresh and your smile shining bright through your endless summer fun!

To start your summer off right, try Olay’s newly enhanced Total Effects formula with 40 per cent more vitamins, which has the highest level of Niacinamide in an over-the-counter Olay skincare product! This moisturizer packs more vitamins than the leading prestige moisturizer and will help you get ready for the hot, sunny days ahead.

To brighten your smile, we’re giving away Crest Luxe Supreme FlexFit Whitestrips, which are super easy to use and offer great results. These strips use an advanced technology called FlexFit, allowing the Whitestrip to stretch around your smile for a perfect fit that hugs your smile’s curves. Not only do they whiten as well as a $500 in-office professional treatment, but they are the best fitting Whitestrips yet.

We have a Brighten Your Summer prize pack, valued at approximately $40*:

*Pricing at discretion of the retailer

Ends July 30, Can only, excl. Quebec. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. All winners must be from within Canada.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ddebold/

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Dinner Party Hosting Tips with Giveaway

Uncategorized By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , 43 Comments

Jill Amery AmbassadorCanadians love to entertain and host dinner parties. Did you see our swanky party? To help create magical evenings, Food Network Chef Michael Smith teamed up with Cascade Platinum to share tips on how to make your dinner party sparkle, while cutting down your clean up time! Want your dinner party to sparkle? Follow these tips from Chef Michael Smith and your guests will be blown away:

  1. Spend time to save time: Prep as much as you can in advance – from food to your table. Smart preparation will allow you to spend more time with your guests.
  2. Make your guests feel special: Thoughtful details tell your guests they are special. Set the mood with music, place cards, flowers and sparkling dishes and glasses. I use Cascade Platinum in every cycle to make sure everything is ready for a big event.
  3. Start with a bang! Do something collectively right away. A group activity subtly reminds everyone “We’re in this together!”
  4. Give your guests something fun to do: At some point, engage your guests in an interactive activity, something hands on, that’s not work.
  5. Clean as you go: Get the mess out of the way, and load the dishwasher as you prepare dinner. With Cascade Platinum, you don’t need to worry about pre-rinsing – it will clean stuck-on food in one wash.
  6. Share the work: Many hands make light work. After the main meal and before dessert, encourage everybody to pitch in with clean up.
  7. Grand finale: End the evening with something spectacular, something memorable, or my favourite—something flammable!

cascadeBut you don’t have to host a party to have a Sparkling Clean dinner. Sitting down to family dinner is a special occasion in itself as it brings people together. Why not give your family an extra special night by putting Michael’s tips to action? And with Cascade Platinum, you’re sure to have sparkling clean dishes every day. We’ll be sending you a Sparkling Clean bundle with two tubs of the new and improved Cascade Platinum, valued at $18.99 each.

We also want to give your readers the chance to host their own dinner parties that sparkle, with a #SparklingClean giveaway of Cascade Platinum, valued at, $57.*

Visit www.foodnetwork.cacascadefor more tips and recipes from Chef Michael Smith and Cascade Platinum.

*Pricing at discretion of the retailer
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Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. All winners must be from within Canada.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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100 Years of P&G Canada Giveaway

Contests By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , 65 Comments

100-Years-InfographicThis month marks P&G’s 100th anniversary in Canada! To mark this significant achievement, we’re looking back on some of the major milestones and celebrating the iconic products that Canadians have come to know and love over the past century with this infographic. To celebrate, we’re hosting a giveaway that includes classic P&G favorites. The giveaway is valued at $45* and will include the following:

  • Tide Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent, 48 Loads 2.21 L
  • Bounce Outdoor Fresh Fabric Softener Sheets 120 Count
  • Pantene Pro-V Classic All Hair Types Shampoo 375 mL
  • Pantene Pro-V Classic Clean Conditioner 355 mL
  • Ivory Soap Bars – 10 Bars
  • Bounty Basic Paper Towels 6 Mega RollsCanada only, excl. Quebec. Ends 30/7.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

P&G has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this contest.  The contest is not otherwise endorsed, designed and/or administered by or associated with P&G.By entering the following contest you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected. All winners must be from within Canada.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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A Sparkling Clean Dinner Party

EAT, family meals By June 24, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Nova Scotian Crystal Citadel

I grew up in Nova Scotia and spent years in Toronto before ending up in Vancouver. You don’t see the regional differences until you move further and further west. Victorian houses morphed into open concept spaces laden with glass and metal. My sense of tradition was challenged when I learned that there was more than one way to make a tea biscuit or ‘traditional’ tourtiere. As well, manners in the west were more laissez-faire. People were wearing yoga pants to the theatre, and an affirmative RSVP seemed to indicate that people ‘might’ attend a dinner party.

Vintage Drink GlassesOne day, as I ate my sushi and fusion-fried-chicken picnic during a hiking break, it occurred to me that both coasts offer poignant lessons. Manners and propriety are useless if they become stressful, and yet angst is also created by uncertainty if manners are completely absent. (Have you ever cooked for twelve guests and had 6 cancel last-minute?) Heritage and tradition can take many forms, and whether your beautiful china is vintage or modern – it won’t be cherished by generations to come if it stays in the cabinet, preventing childhood memories from being created by using it. As well, ‘traditional’ menus won’t be enjoyed for long if a family can’t adapt them to their lifestyle and tastes.

Sparkling Cascade Table SettingWith motivation to teach my kids how to throw a spectacular party while showing them the best of their heritage from the east and the future of the west, I partnered with Cascade to host an east-meets-west dinner party inspired by none other than fellow East-Coaster, Chef Michael Smith. I wanted to put together a beautiful, relaxed clean and easy entertaining experience that incorporated favourite elements from each Canadian coast. Just like a Nova Scotian ‘kitchen party’, I invited four other couples we didn’t know well and started planning the menu.

Michael Smith Family MealsWith Chef Michael Smith’s new Family Meals cookbook in hand, I set off for Granville Island Market. I tweeted him some menu ideas and he got right back to me with enhanced versions. East meets west is right! I also had a secret weapon. This year I’d met a fellow foodie who also happens to be a James Beard award winning chef and cocktail expert. A native Bostonian and founder of the Food and Wine Radio Network for NBC affiliate KVOA-TV4, Jennifer English decided to heighten the experience even further. She supplied vintage cocktail glasses and then showed up with a fellow chef (in matching aprons) to make sure the cooking and food was exquisite.

Cascade PlatinumThe menu was planned, ingredients purchased and flowers arranged. Jennifer taught me that the smallest smudge on your glassware would detract from the evening, and guests should always be greeted with a tray of delicious cocktails. Though I think of myself as a bastion of old-fashioned manners, I clearly had much to learn. This is where Cascade Platinum comes in. Some might find it funny that I pre-washed all of the dishes for the guests, but it was worth it! Cascade Platinum has 3x more film-fighting power, ActionPacs that include Dawn (I needed that for the grease all over the dishes after the party) and ShineShield formula, which is what I needed before the party to get the dishes sparkling clean.

 

Jennifer English and Meribeth TikkanenTable set, champagne on ice, serving dishes labeled and ready to be filled, card tables set up in the kitchen for plating and the super-star team assembled. Two east-coasters in the kitchen using recipes inspired by Prince Edward Island’s Michael Smith being prepped and styled with skilled west coast flare by Meribeth Tikkanen. I hadn’t even met Meribeth when Jennifer convinced her to come and help for 8 hours. Seriously. All I knew was that she was ‘the best home chef around’. And she works with CBC, a station to which I have an affinity. They each outshone their reputations and the result was spectacular.

Sparkling Vases of PeoniesFlowers: Peonies, Hydrangea, Freesia, Lupins, Calla Lilies 

The kids gathered salal from the garden as I practiced assembling hand-tied bouquets. Lupins and peonies are signature east coast flowers, so I coupled them with hydrangeas and fresh spring buds that thrive in the west. We greeted guests on the back deck ate on the front deck overlooking the ocean.

Spring Cocktail in a Vintage GlassCocktails: The Eagle Island Banner
East West Beer Cocktail
Champagne

When Jennifer talks, you want to jot down every word but her ideas and voice are so dazzling that you are too mesmerized to write. This phenomenon is even more prevalent when she discusses cocktails. She composed an ‘East West Beer Cocktail’ to suit the hors d’oeuvres and then came up with the ‘Eagle Island Banner’, which combines the colours of our neighbourhood flag.

Seaside Tandori Chicken BitesJill Amery AmbassadorHors D’Oeuvres: Lobster Casserole in Phyllo Cups
Crab Cakes
Spicy Chicken Satay

The hors d’oeuvres were the first introduction to the flavours of the evening. I used my mom’s famous lobster casserole recipe to create bite-sized phyllo treats. Mini crab cakes represented both ends of Canada and grilled chicken satay hinted of the far eastern influence felt all over the west coast.

East West Lobster RollAppetizer: West Coast Lobster Rolls

We used a traditional lobster roll concept and opened it up so that it could mimics the openness and ease of the west coast. Toasted challah topped with lobster salad dropped onto a Boston lettuce leaf became our west coast lobster ‘roll’. Crunchy crinkle chips complimented served on the side with champagne to bring the flavours to life finished the course.

Seafood Risotto with ScallopFirst Course: Fish Risotto with Nova Scotia Scallops

We served the risotto on scallop shells that my husband teased me for collecting on the beach. I ran them through the dishwasher with Cascade before using them as plates and he regretted ever smirk! We topped each dollop of risotto with a seared scallop and an Atlantic fiddlehead garnish.

Main: Young Green Spring Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce and Fiddleheads
Nothing beats Canadian beef tenderloin from Alberta. Coupled with chimichurri, pinenut-tossed fresh greens and fiddleheads we’d pretty much spanned the entire country.

Beef Tenderloin with Chimichuri SauceBananas Foster RecipeDessert: Bananas Foster with Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream

Part of being simple is to use ingredients that are in season whenever possible. With berry season a few weeks away, we opted for bananas. Fortunately I had just travelled to Tahiti with my family and was well stocked with vanilla beans. Making homemade vanilla ice cream the evening before the dinner delighted the kids and got them very excited about the entertaining to come.

Sparkling Clean Dinner Table and GuestsThe guests laughed, ate, and ate some more! Jennifer’s cocktails were modern and trend-setting, and I was thrilled with the job Cascade did on the dishes – both before and AFTER. Thank goodness there was no rinsing required – I had to run the dishwasher four times! But it was worth every minute.Adderley Grandmothers Ware China

Our dinner was made possible by Cascade Platinum. All ideas, design and execution were our own. Special thanks to Jennifer English and Meribeth Tikkanen and Chef Michael Smith for his recipe inspiration!

 

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Kids in the City at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

baby, Canada, EAT, ROAM By June 19, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

FSVan Kids in the CityWe arrived and my son was crying. Hard. His precious toy camera had been left on the beach the day before and we just discovered it had been swept away by the tide. I was torn between trying to teach a lesson in responsibility and wanting to comfort him. Colin the bellman saw the tears and took over with ease. Grateful, I was so distracted with the trauma of the tears as well as the transferring of the luggage that I hardly remembered to apologize to the valet about the broken lego and stale Cheerios strewn about the car. Colin was phenomenal.  He took a loonie (a tip from a previous guest) and gave it to my son. He engaged the 2 boys with a visual magic trick using the coin. He gave them each a coin to keep, which each boy still keeps in a special place. Wow. I wish I could nab Colin away from the hotel to calm the kids all the time!

FSVan Kids in the City 5Our next adventure on the ‘Kids in the City’ program was the kitchen tour. Both of the boys love to set up tea parties and make elaborate dishes for the stuffed animals.
Four Seasons Vancouver Kids
We met Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst, who went over some culinary principles and helped the kids dip organic strawberries in chocolate and adorn them with even better accoutrements – like candied pineapple, white chocolate and berries. My Jr. Chefs were given ‘power cookies’ from chef Ned Bell, an avid cyclist with a keen interest in sustainability. I’m sure he was the force behind the huge urban cultivator in the kitchen that provides fresh microgreens like kale and watercress to patrons of Yew restaurant.
Kids in the City VancouverThe room made me laugh in a great way. One son is used to my hotel shenanigans, filming and photographing before anyone is allowed to touch a thing. When I ‘released the hounds’ they both made for the soft beds, and jumped, exclaiming ‘This is first class Mom!!’
Four Seasons Vancouver GamesThe Playzone was a favourite of the kids, and not only did we play together as a family, but I gently encouraged the boys to ask the concierge desk for various controllers by themselves. Typically shy, they overcame the emotion and practiced their manners. We played fussball, guitar hero, ping pong, air hockey, wii and genesis. There was a movie area suitable for toddlers to teens, as well as books and a nap nook.

FSVan Kids in the City 8Dinner at Yew is always an experience, but never so much as when your kids don suits and ties. Megan, our server, paid close attention to the needs of the boys, and the food was spectacular. The Moscow Mule (discovered via the iPad menu on the table) has become our signature drink at the Four Seasons Vancouver, and I am still attempting to replicate the salmon crab fishcake served with mango salsa that we devoured to begin. A fruit and bunny-shaped cheese plate delighted the boys. At every stage of the meal, they were treated as special guests. The kids had buttermilk fried chicken, fish and chips (translated into gourmet terms as Cloud 9 gluten-free crispy halibut, kennebec fries, lime caper and scallion dip). My dish was perhaps the most interesting and special. No vegan dish has ever tasted so good. The gemelli pasta was mixed with sambal roasted cashews, chili, herbs, and woodland mushrooms to produce a creamy, earthy treasure of a meal. We finished with a block of neapolitan homemade ice cream, a twist on 1960’s ice cream parlor culture.
FSVan Kids in the City 12Full and happy, we ignored the special critters left in room for story time and headed to the pool area. Part of ‘Kids in the City’, the patio area looked like a high-end carnival. White towels and bottled water sat on lounge chairs with red cushions and traditional red and white-striped popcorn was served to each guest while we watched ‘Despicable Me’ with popcorn in hand. The boys wore their ‘tiny robes’ with the hotel’s signature tree logo, feeling very special.
Poolside Kids Four Seasons VancouverLauren runs the childrens’ programs and mentioned that the pool and spa area design are advantageous to parents, who can work out while watching kids in pool.
She was running kids activities the next morning, assisting little ones in playing with water balloons, painting Canadian flags on smooth rocks and instructing kids at shuffleboard. We were leaving the area on completion of the crafts, and all of a sudden my son ran back. He had forgotten his rock like he had done with the camera just one day before.

Poolside at Four Seasons VancouverPerhaps precious family bonding time, along with a few magic tricks and learning how to politely ask for contollers or dessert had taught a much better lesson than any scolding I could have done. The city can teach many lessons, especially with the Four Seasons at the helm.

‘Kids in the City’ runs each summer and during the winter holidays at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

Disclosure: We were hosted for a night at the hotel in order to complete our story and experience the magic.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Crystal Symphony Gets a Makeover

cruises, ROAM By June 19, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Crystal Symphony MakeoverWhen Crystal Symphony got a makeover, we knew it would be spectacular. We were given the chance to tour Crystal Cruises‘ new $15 million renovation of the Symphony and we were blown away. Crystal offers an all-inclusive experience, helping guests to be able to truly relax without worrying about tips and beverage charges. The recipient of the Conde Nast award for best cruise line 20 years in a row, Crystal has adapted to changing demographics and passenger needs (the average passenger age is 47) by relaxing the dress code, though you will still see loads of tuxes. Menus have also undergone a fresh makeover, with modern cuisine left side of and the traditional on the right.  The only luxury cruise line to offer children and teen areas, I found the design of these spaces fresh and innovative.

Crystal Cruises Ballet StatueOnboard there are 2 specialty restaurants – the Silk Road Sushi bar and Italian and guests can reserve these spaces twice per trip. The gym has been refit with new equipment by techno gym (the same machines that World Cup teams use to train.) 

Edie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Crystal Cruises, started with the company in 2013 but loved ships so much that she came aboard a cruise anonymously prior to her tenure. The staff wowed her with their memory of guest names and their attention to her unique breakfast desires. In time she heard stories of one staff member ordering a recliner for a guest to fulfil a need, and many crew members who have accompanied passengers ashore for medical treatment. Aspiring to be across the globe, Rodriguez has big plans for the company, adding a third ship in 2018 and gearing up to celebrate Crystal’s anniversary in July.

The unique tours for late risers, bespoke adventures and voluntourism opportunities while aboard were very exciting and it was clear that innovation with a perfect balance of tradition flood from every Crystal experience.

Trident Bar and GrillThe bright Trident Bar and Grill speckled with lime green umbrellas and orange cushions featured a living wall in the shape of the earth.

University @ SeaComputer University @ Sea began 20 years ago and allows passengers to create websites, hone their computer skills and share details of their journey with loved ones back home. Every computer can run a PC or Mac interface. They also offer iPad and iMovie classes.

Teen lounge Crystal SymphonyThe “teens only” hang-out Waves features new Casalina chairs and Marimekko-patterned Fatboy bean bags, and Fantasia has been redesigned for younger kids. All enjoy Wii, PlayStation, Xbox, Kinect, wide-screen TVs, and supervised age-specific activities.

Cigar loungeI loved the smell and opulence of the cigar lounge.
Lux Nightclub Crystal SymphonyWith it’s vibrant purple hues and while leather seating, Luxe Nightclub would be a fantastic place to dance!

Crystal Symphony StateroomStaterooms were huge for ship standards, and the decor clean and lofty. Deck 9 has ‘pure’ rooms in which everything is hypoallergenic.

I certainly would love to cruise with my family on this ship – perhaps my son can use the gym equipment and fulfill his dream of being in a World Cup one day!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Springfree Trampoline

FAM, fitness, GEAR, kids By June 15, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Springfree TrampolineThe large oval Springfree trampoline arrived and one by one, the neighbours came around with a mixture of curiosity and excitement in their smiles. A few friendly dogs wandered by as eagles peeked out of their high nests. I could have been living in the Cinderella movie.

As a child I never had a trampoline. My dad was a physical education teacher and he shared scary statistics about accidents and injuries. When we moved into our current neighbourhood and had children, the local trampoline was both wonderous and daunting. I firmly believe in kids exercising through play, but the huge rectangular mat held by metal springs and rods felt very unsafe. Wanting them to take advantage of all of the cardio benefits of trampoling, I tried rules… ‘only in the middle’.  ‘One at a time’. ‘Only when an adult is watching’. But none of these solutions made me feel safe, and it was increasingly hard to clean the house or make dinner when I was standing stressfully watching the kids jump and wondering what I would possibly do if they broke something – or worse. When my son got with a cut due to jamming his bare foot in one of the springs, I’d had enough.

Springfree Setup CrewFast forward to the sunny day when our Springfree arrived. The kids were out at a friend’s and as I watched the crew set it up, my mind raced. I could jump on it every day and eliminate the need for a cardio machine that would hurt my back! The kids could be zipped in one at a time and I could spend time making a healthy dinner without supervising them. OOOH – the neighbour’s toddler could come and use it like a giant playpen! Maybe I could fill it with beachballs…. On and on the ideas streamed. The boys returned home and I didn’t hear whining for three hours. I had to keep going to check on them and the giggles were endless. They wanted their dinner served inside their new ‘fort’.

The Kids’ Perspective on the Springfree Trampoline (in their words):

– You Bounce high – higher than the other trampoline that has rusty springs that cut our feet last time.
– There’s a basketball net and you can do slam dunks without breaking it.
– The nets around the outside help you to play soccer because the ball bounces right back to you and there are no metal rods holding them up to hurt ourselves on.
– The kitten loves to play on it and we chase him around and around while we giggle. He thinks the nets are fun to claw, and they don’t break.
– The mat on the bottom is really cushy and feels good to jump on.

Cat on SpringfreeA Parent’s Perspective on the Springfree Trampoline

– The staff from Springfree brought over all of the cartons, set up the whole trampoline, tested it by jumping (too cute), and left two hours later with all of the garbage.
– I feel safe and comfortable leaving the kids to jump without my constant supervision.
– Because there are no springs  – just flexible rods located underneath and there is netting around the perimeter, my typical concerns about trampolines have been put to rest.

Springfree Backyard BBQBecause we have a brand new Springfree store in the lower mainland, you are invited to the Springfree Backyard BBQ June 20 at 11AM – 3PM Victoria Park in Coquitlam! Even better (wait for it…) every attendee of the event whoRSVPs will be entered to WIN a Springfree Trampoline!

When: Saturday, June 20th
Time: 11am – 3pm
Where: Victoria Park, Coquitlam
What: Springfree Backyard BBQ featuring lunch and amazing entertainment (Eli Rosenblatt!)

I can’t wait to meet you all – see you there!!!!

“This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Summer Reading for Kids (with Giveaway!)

Contests By June 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 79 Comments

American Girl GiveawaySchool is almost out, and UrbanMommies wants to make it easy-peasy for you to focus on summer reading for kids. I push the kids to read all the time, but one area where I fail is not reading enough myself. I need to set a better example. I know I should go into Chapters Indigo to buy books, but they have so many amazing gifts and decor items I always lose myself in that particular department… Well, it’s going to get even worse now…. Chapters Granville in Vancouver will be revamped, revitalized and rebranded as Indigo on June 13th, 2015!

Through these renovations, thousands of additional titles will be added to shelves, and favourite departments will be upgraded. Once open, Indigo Granville will host Vancouver’s very own American Girl specialty boutique, and an expanded and re-imagined !ndigoKids department.

1,800 square feet, baby. In the new American Girl specialty boutique alone!!  A Doll Hair Salon will also open its doors within the specialty boutique, where fans can treat their dolls to a brand new hairstyle or ear piercing.

To celebrate, we’re giving away an incredible prize….

• 1 American Girl Doll
• 1 SandsAlive Kit
• 2 National Geographic Kids Books
• 3 American Girl books

Total value: approx. $200

Indigo has also just launched their Kids summer reading guide giving parents top picks for their kids this summer. Reading with my kids is going to be a huge focus for me this summer, and I’ve learned that the key is to get them books on topics they adore. How do you keep your kids reading in the summer? Use our handy Rafflecopter form to enter to win! Canada only, excluding Quebec. Ends 6/26.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The Apothecary that is Kiss and Makeup

beauty, GEAR By June 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

 

Kiss and Makeup isn’t your typical beauty store. An apothecary with a focus on local products and natural beauty regimes, this is one of the hottest beauty experiences around. I’ve heard that celebrities make special jaunts to the new Londsale location while filming in Vancouver, and with the new venue opening in Olympic Village in July, it’s now skytrain accessible. But don’t fret if you can’t come to YVR in person. That’s what the web shop is for.

sjal kiss and makeupOur favourite finds?

  •  Scarves and perfect-for-Coachella ponchos by Jackson Rowe
  • Bags by Lloyd and Wolf
  •  Happy Spritz
  •  Everything Rahua
  • Verso and Rouge Bunny Rouge (exclusive to Kiss and Makeup)
  • Sjal Beauty (The Canadian version of Creme de la Mer)
  • Blind barber from NYC
  • Ilya beauty, CV Skinlabs and rms beauty – (local brands and have exploded into the celebrity market)

rms beauty kiss and makeupPendleton ScarvesTata Harper Kiss and MakeupRahua Kiss and MakeupHappy Spritz Kiss and MakeupI bought some Creme Ancienne by Fresh that was hand-mixed by Monks in France – (I couldn’t make that up). After using it a month the compliments just keep rolling in. But more are always better so feel free to keep them coming. Or you can tell me in person when we bump into each other at Kiss and Makeup.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Our Favourite Luxe Top Strollers for 2015

baby, FAM By June 11, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Always top of mind when you are pregnant is the stroller. This year we’ve put together our top strollers for 2015 with luxury in mind.

Luxury Strollers Silver Cross for Aston Martin1. The Cadillac of strollers. The Silver Cross was beloved by our own mothers while walking on bustling urban streets and it’s back with a vengeance in partnership with Aston Martin. And kick-ass wheels (of course). Oh, and it includes a 100% cashmere baby blanket.

Luxury Strollers Young Versace2. Young Versace makes a beautiful carseat/bassinete/stroller system for a child from 0-3 years. The medusa logo is embroidered on the bedding, and the handle features a latte holder. Which you will absolutely need.

Luxury Strollers Fendi3. The Fendi Inglesina stroller line features a shock-absorbing pram and also a versatile foldable toddler stroller adorned with the signature ‘Double F’ fabric. There’s a gorgeous baby carrier as well.

Luxury Strollers Bugaboo4. One of the North American preferred brands has been Bugaboo. Easy to shift, sexy to push and with tons of accessories like umbrellas and jogging extensions, this is a well-priced, durable model. Special editions by Diesel, Andy Warhol and Kaviar Gauche are also available.

Luxury Strollers Stokke5. The Stokke line takes ergonimics very seriously, and the strollers are super easy to adjust. We love the design and how they look as if they are hovering on one bar with your tiny one floating!

Luxury Strollers iCandy6. iCandy is another UK brand who stands behid innovation. Soon they will launch a custom line, and even if you don’t want to design your own, the vibrant colours in the existing roster are spectacular. iCandy also offers limited editions.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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