Gadgets: Nespresso VertuoLine

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Thanks to this neverending winter and the polar vortex, I’ve become a weekend hermit. Instead of going out for brunch with le bf, my friends, and family, I’ve been making crepes, picking up pastries from the nearby Jules Patisserie, and scarfing it all down at home in the comfort of my kitchen with a cup of instant coffee. Having just moved into a pretty tiny house, our kitchen counter space is a precious commodity, and until now, le bf and I could not agree on a coffee machine to invest in. It all changed when I received a brand spanking new Nespresso VertuoLine machine.

Not only does Nespresso make stylish machines that would look amazing on anyone’s kitchen counter, but their coffees are also known to be very tasty and flavourful. Not a big fan of strong espressos, I was overjoyed to find out that Nespresso finally launched a machine that can make long coffees as well as espressos to satisfy all types of coffee lovers. With larger capsules that look like little planets instead of thimbles, the new Nespresso VertuoLine machines can “whip up” a large cup of coffee with thick foamy crema in 15 seconds, making the at-home coffee brewing experience feel extra decadent, and turning anyone into an amateur barista.

Last weekend, during the Slavic festival of Maslenitsa, I decided to finally give our Nespresso VertuoLine a try. Armed with a sample pack of capsules of various flavours and intensities, and with a few friends around the breakfast table, we welcomed spring with an abundance of crepes, and delicious coffee. So fun and easy!

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If you are thinking about investing in a new coffee machine, my thoughts on the new Nespresso VertuoLine are after the jump!

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Canon Blogtography: Memories

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Over the holidays, once our power and Internet connection were restored, I became a woman on a mission. Back in December, the lovely Canon team set me up with two kick-ass printers – Canon Pixma Pro-100 and Canon Selphy CP900, and I was determined to finally do some printing. You see, I’ve been married for over a year now, but we have yet to print a single wedding photo. Armed with amazing printers, I was finally ready to move the memories from those memory cards and into picture frames.

What happened next was pretty overwhelming. As someone who tends to take thousands of photos each year, I found myself going through the happy snaps, remembering the fun moments, and having a tough time narrowing down the print-worthy shots – so many of my Canon pics were just too good not to print!

In the end, I chose a few faves, printed them out, and proudly arranged them on our new shelves. It’s definitely work in progress, but I feel so much better about having some of my favourite moments printed out and on display in our home. Being able to print the photos almost as soon as they are taken will also help me avoid being overwhelmed next time around. No more memory-card-hoarding for this girl, thanks to Canon!

So tell me, do you print your photos, or do you tend to hold on to them in memory-card form? Share in the comments!

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More after the jump!

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Style Days of Christmas: Nokia Lumia 1020 Giveaway

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I can’t believe that it’s the final day of our Style Days of Christmas Giveaways already! While I am sad to stop pretending to be Santa (or Oprah!), I do hope that you enjoyed the giveaways, and I wish you all the best of luck in snagging some of the sweet prizes we had lined up. But of course, not before you enter our final giveaway of the season – and as you can probably already tell, it’s a good one!

Up for grabs on Day 12 of #SDOC13 is an amazing Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone* (valued at 700). If you still haven’t checked one out, it’s a must! At the launch party a few months ago, I learned that no other smartphone can really compare when it comes to the camera specs of Nokia Lumia 1020. While I am definitely a DSLR girl, as a blogger, taking photos on the go is often my reality, so having a good phone camera is crucial, and with a 41 megapixel camera sensor, optical image stabilization, Full HD video and Nokia Rich Recording, it’s pretty safe to say that Nokia Lumia 1020 is as good as it gets when it comes to smartphone photography (and videography too!). But that’s not all! Powered by Windows Phone 8, Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with MS Office and all the unique Lumia features like Nokia Music and free voice-guided navigation.

Sounds like a superphone you’d like to own? Enter below to win one this holiday season!

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Giveaway Details After the Jump!

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Style Days of Christmas: Canon Selphy CP900 Giveaway

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We are almost at the end of our Style Days of Christmas Giveaways run, and while I don’t play favourites with my giveaways, today’s prize is going to be simply amazing for the holidays! As a Canon Canada Blogtography ambassador I take A LOT of photos daily, but the sad thing is, most of those images stay on their SD cards – never printed out, never framed. Well, no more! Thanks to Canon Canada, I am now a proud owner of the amazingly compact wireless Canon SELPHY CP900 printer! Instead of letting the memorable moments languish on a slew of memory sticks, I am now a printing ninja – printing everything in sight! Warning: owning a wireless printer may or may not be incredibly addictive!

So, what’s in it for you? Today, I’d like one of my amazing readers to win a SELPHY of their own! You can use it as a photobooth printer at your holiday parties (set up is a breeze!), to print photos of those family get-togethers, or simply to make sure that all of your fond memories can be proudly displayed in your home instead of your computer. The prize pack (valued at $244) will also include some extra paper and ink to get you started! Sounds good? Enter the giveaway after the jump!

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About Canon SELPHY CP900:

High-quality Prints: Dye-sublimation technology uses heat to transfer ink to the paper, reproducing approximately 16.8 million colours for amazing pictures in both colour and black and white. Then, a clear protective coating is added which helps prevent against damage from light, water and gases so your precious photos can last for generations.
High-quality Prints: Print a photo in just 47 seconds and share for generations! Photos printed from your SELPHY will be water-resistant and last up to 100 years.
2.7″ Tilt-up LCD: Easily view, select and edit your images for simple, computer-free printing with this adjustable full-colour display. No downloading needed, just pick your picture and print!
My Colours: Have fun with your prints as 5 colours effects are offered for added versatility: Black & White, Sepia, Vivid, Neutral, and Positive Film.
Portrait Image Optimize: For automatic facial detection and correction, Portrait Image Optimize optimally corrects images where subjects or faces appear dark due to strong backlighting.
Built-In Wireless: New wireless capabilities lets you print right from your computer, iOS, and Android devices.
Memory Cards / USB Flash Drive & PictBridge: Don’t feel like using a computer? No problem. Just insert a compatible memory card into the built-in card slot, or a USB Flash Drive into the USB port, select images on the LCD display, and print! Thanks to a PictBridge connection you can also print photos directly from your compatible digital camera, DV camcorder or camera phone.

Giveaway Details After the Jump!

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Style Days of Christmas: SodaStream Source Giveaway

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A few months ago I got my hands on a SodaStream machine, and it changed my life. Ok, maybe it didn’t really change my life, but it certainly changed the way le bf and I consume soft drinks and host. We no longer buy sparkling water and pop – both of those are easily made at home, using less sugar, and wasting less bottles. Entertaining is now a breeze – with fun cocktail mixes at the ready, I am able to whip up a killer mojito in no time. And it sure looks damn sleek on our kitchen counter!

In June I also proclaimed that a SodaStream machine would make a perfect gift for anyone and for any occasion, and I still stand by that statement. It’s one of those things that you never knew you needed, but once you get your hands on one – you will wonder how you ever lived without it. It’s that good. So, because I love this product so much and want you to experience the SodaStream life (to hydrate, enjoy yummy cocktails, or drink guilt-free soda), I partnered up with SodaStream Canada to give away an amazing gift pack (valued at $202), which includes the following:

- SodaStream Source machine
- Ocean Spray syrups (Cranberry, Cranberry Raspberry, and Cranberry)
- Cola and Diet Cola syrups
- Orange and Grapefruit syrups

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It really is the perfect gift!

SodaStream can transform tap water into sparkling water in seconds to keep you hydrated

SodaStream contains 2/3 less sugar and 1/3 less calories than regular soda

SodaStream encourages kids to experiment with flavours by challenging them to mix different SodaStream syrups and make their own creations

SodaStream Source is the perfect kitchen accessory for hosting cocktail parties with friends

SodaStream allows you to get creative at home and customize drinks to suit all their friends or families’ individual tastes

Enter the giveaway after the jump!

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Happy Holidays From Canon Blogtography!

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Earlier this month, my fellow Canon Blogtographers and I were treated to a second photo session with fashion photographer Steve Carty, this time learning all about portrait photography. Right in time for the holiday get-togethers, where photos will inevitably get snapped, but not always ones you would want to keep. Steve showed us how to get the winning shot that your family and friends will keep and treasure for years to come!

To learn a bit about portrait photography, our assignment for the evening was to shoot a head-on portrait in black and white, shoot a holiday portrait, a holiday scene at a dinner table, and finally a portrait with very low light. Here’s what I learned about getting THE SHOT!

1. Use Creative Filters

One of the best things I learned about my Canon camera is that I don’t need to use Photoshop to spice up my photos with cool effects. With fun creative filters like Toy Camera, Monochrome, Fish Eye, Soft Focus, Grainy Black and White, which can also be layered, you can take any photo from boring to awesome. When using these Creative Filters in-camera, you don’t have to worry about losing your original image, because your camera will save an edited copy automatically. I used the Grainy Black and White filter on the below photo, and love how it turned out!

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2. Crop It

As I mentioned before, Rule of Thirds is a good one to follow. You can make any photo stand out by simply cropping it to make sure that the eye is drawn to the subject of the photo and not to the background or other random things in the picture. You can achieve this without having to do any post-production work by using various aspect ratios in-camera. If you want your image to be perfect for Instagram, use 1:1, want a standard image – use 4:3, want your photo to look good on a widescreen display – 16:9 is your go-to aspect ratio.

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More after the jump!

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Style Days of Christmas: Rowenta Beauty Versa Style Giveaway

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Welcome to Day 2 of Style Days of Christmas Giveaways! Today’s awesome prize is Rowenta Beauty Versa Style (valued at $229.99) – a master tool that does the work of 5 salon tools (flat iron, roller set and 3 curling irons). This versatile styler lets you create beautiful curls, va-va-voom waves and flawless straight hair with ease. After my old straightening iron bit the dust last year, I’ve been stuck in a hair rut, but when Rowenta Beauty sent me this ingenious styler, it quite literally changed my hair, and I hope it can change yours too!

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More about Rowenta Beauty Versa Style:

- A master tool that does the work of 5 salon tools (flat iron, roller set and 3 curling irons)
- Patented Pro Curling System creates incredible root lift and curls hair in one easy step
- 1″ slim floating plates with Ceramic Titanium Tourmaline coating provides ionic anti-frizz smoothing with long lasting quality
- Rubber/Silicone grip slows down styling process creating perfect heat application for maximum results
- Heated lateral edges allows you to style perfect curls/waves without demarcation lines
- 30 seconds to reach 400°F
- Temperature Lock keeps the selected heat setting while in use
- Long professional 9 foot swivel cord
- Ergonomic handle for easy gripping
- Curved body and rounded edge
- LCD display

Enter the giveaway after the jump

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Gadgets: SodaStream – Home Soda Makers

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A couple of weeks ago I received a SodaStream soda maker, and have been obsessed with it ever since! If you still haven’t checked one of these out, get yourself to the store STAT! From the moment we unpacked our SodaStream, this little stylish machine has quickly become the most-used appliance in our kitchen. So far, we’ve made sparkling lemonade, orange-mango sparkling water, cherry cola, pomegranate water and sparkling mojitos!

Using SodaStream is very simple – just fill the bottle with water, insert into the machine, press down to desired level of bubbliness, mix in the flavour that you like, and enjoy. SO easy! And the fact that we won’t be buying any bottled sparkling water and soft drinks is good for the environment too. It’s a win-win. If you are looking for a fun gift (Father’s Day, wedding, birthday)…SodaStream is where it’s at! Or just buy one for yourself, and enjoy the refreshing bubbles all summer long.

Have you tried SodaStream before? Which flavour is your fave?

Photo Credits: SodaStream

Holidays 2012: Canadian Fashion Insiders’ Gift Guide Part Two

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Welcome to part two of our Canadian Fashion Insiders’ Gift Guide! If you are still on the hunt for that perfect gift this holiday season, make sure to check out our experts’ picks for some fun and fresh gift ideas. Whether you are looking for something stylish, practical, or simply adorable, we’ve got you covered!

1. Grace Lee, Lead Makeup Artist, Maybelline

Having watched Grace do her magic backstage at Toronto Fashion Week for two seasons now, I am still in awe of her makeup skills and her personal style. If you are shopping for Grace this holiday season, her wishlist includes the Grace Coddington Memoir, an iPad mini, and a custom-made closet from California Closets (me too, pretty please!).

For Christmas this year, Grace will be giving some practical presents like Starbucks gift cards, and Baby Lips lip balms from Maybelline (I’ve seen Grace also use them on cheeks!). Additionally, she will be picking up some adorable rings from ByBoe (how cute is that bow ring?!) for her friends and family.

As for her favourite places to shop for Christmas gits, Grace shares that she can never go wrong with Holt RenfrewWilliams Sonoma, and La Di Da Boutique. When asked what gets her into the holiday spirit, for Grace “it’s all about the kiddies. Once the tree, lights and decorations are up, I always feel festive.”

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2. Talia Brown, Stylist

“Growing up in the North, Holiday spirt was sprung with the dusting of the snow, the smell of the fire and the taste of good old fashioned cocoa. Here in Toronto you, can feel and see the joy in the streets, the eye candy of the window displays and of course the music that just becomes part of the movement. The hustle and bustle,the busyness of the shoppers, all in good spirit, of course.”

When I first met Talia, I was smitten with her sweet and bubbly personality, and her talent for styling. This holiday season, Talia is wishing for a perfect pair of rag & bone ankle booties, a Chibi Lady purse by ela in rose gold, and a gorgeous lace dress from LOVER. Ever the stylist, the three pieces go really well together and make for an amazing holiday outfit. Here’s hoping she gets it all!

On Talia’s shopping list this season are adorable (and yummy) gifts that she’ll be sharing with her loved ones, like the Peppermint Bark from Williams-Sonoma, the limited edition Missoni x Holt Renfrew stuffed animals (they are the cutest!), and luxurious lipstick from YSL, perfectly matched to her girlfriends’ personalities.

Talia will be doing some holiday shopping at MoRoCo Chocolat, The Cashmere Shop, and Bicyclette this holiday season.

More after the jump!

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Style Days of Christmas: Philips Giveaway

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It’s Day 12 of our Style Days of Christmas Giveaways, which means that this will be the last and final stop for the gravy train (teehee) this year. I hope you all got to learn about a few awesome products, and perhaps even got to walk away with a prize of your own. If luck wasn’t on your side, don’t fret…there’s still ONE MORE giveaway to be won…and it’s a good one.

Up for grabs is a fun Philips package that includes the wet and dry Philips Lady Shaver*, a selection of fun and flirty nail polish, creams and lotions, a bamboo comb, and a stylish new wash bag to hold all these goodies. This package would make a perfect gift for a special woman in your life, or an even better gift to your own fab self! Want it? Enter below!

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Enter after the jump!

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