fall 2017 sample source

The new season means another Sample Source box. Now that I’ve been getting these for a couple years now, I have friends and family on board! It’s a really great way for brands to market themselves and a great way for consumers to test products with no commitment, silly newsletters or any nuisance. Each new season, Sample Source sends out an email to give a heads up about new samples and then another email to let you know to log in and pick your selections. What is available to you is based off a quick survey that gives Sample Source a better idea of the samples you would be best for. Some questions about your living situation, eating habits, pets,  etc.

So, here is what I go this time around!

1. Purina Vitality + Dog Food
This was a pretty big ticket sample, a 2kg bag of dog food! However, I am a snob in what I feed my dog so I have slowly just been adding a bit to my dog’s bowl every now and then. Because of the ingredients, I wouldn’t buy this regularly for my dog but the price difference really makes me reconsider.

2. Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese
Honestly, the best item in this seasons’ box! Although I think the brand expected the consumers to test the plain cottage cheese, I knew that I loved the salted caramel! I would not have used or enjoyed plain cottage cheese but this stuff is great, especially when dipped in apples.

3. Coffee Pods by Nabob and Maxwell House
I like getting coffee pods. It’s the perfect way to experiment and try new coffee without committing to an entire box of pods. Both great brands and known for their coffee.

4. Adam’s All Natural Peanut Butter
I love peanut butter. Like, an unhealthy addiction. This was tasty stuff! I’d love to try a crunchy version because that’s what I normally purchase but I loved the idea of an all natural peanut butter.

5. Breathe Right Strips
I swear by these strips. I first tried using them after receiving them in my Sample Source before. They work, but you need to be sure to follow the instructions or you could end up with a bruise on your nose – take it from me..

6. Cesar Entrees Wet Dog Food
Again, I don’t want to upset my dog’s stomach and honestly, I don’t want to deal with wet dog food on the regular. However, this makes a nice treat for my dog. I can add a scoop or two on top of my dog’s regular meals and I’m sure she likes that!

7. Kashi Seven Grain Quinoa Bar
After reviewing the ingredients list for this item, I decided not to try it based on my allergies.

8. Kellogg’s Vector Protein Bar
After reviewing the ingredients list for this item, I decided not to try it based on my allergies.

9. Sunlight 4-in-1 Powercore Pods
On the package, it says this product restores whites and protects colours and fabric. For that reason, I used this pod in a wash of whites. I wanted to brighten up my white shirts. Let me tell you, this pod was the size of my palm. It’s was next level. As far as the results, I’m not sure how different this pod is from any other on the market.

10. Pedigree DentaFlex 
Honestly, I am still scared to give this to my dog right now. My sister’s dog started experiencing some weird stuff after the last time these were in the box and we’re not sure what it’s from exactly. It could be a coincidence but it’s really not worth the vet bill for me – sorry Pedigree and sorry Ellie!

11. Pedigree DentaFlex
These I have no problem feeding to my dog. I have been buying these for a couple years and have never had an issue. My dog loves them but seems to go through one rather quick. It’s a nice treat that contributes to oral health – so that’s a plus!

12. Sensodyne Toothpaste
This isn’t a new product for me, I’ve used Sensodyne before. I like to keep these little sample sizes for travel or to keep at the office. Since using Invisalign, I have definitely tripled the amount of toothpaste I use.

13. Sensodyne Mouthwash
Since I have Invisalign, I will take all the oral hygiene products I can! I’ve used Sensodyne before. I like to keep these little sample sizes for travel or to keep at the office. I usually use another brand because I like the whitening benefits rather than the sensitivity.

To be blunt, I wasn’t overly impressed with the items in this box and have already sampled a lot of this stuff before. It’s nice to see full size items, I can’t wait to see what the next box has! You can check out and sign up for Sample Source to be included in the next round.

spring 2017 sample source

So excited to receive my Spring 2017 Sample Source box! It arrived early last week and since then I’ve had a chance to sample some of the products. So far I have been loving the Pure Protein Crunch snack and thoroughly enjoyed the Hersey’s chocolate! Here is a breakdown of what I received this time from Sample Source. Can you believe this service is completely free?!

1. Nescafe Coffee Pods
This time I received both the original and a french vanilla flavour. I haven’t used them because I actually got rid of my coffee machine, but I might use them in the office or bring them to my sisters place.

2. Pedigree DentaFlex Stick
Honestly, I am scared to give this to my dog right now. My sisters dog started experiencing some weird stuff and we’re not sure what it’s from exactly. It could be a coincidence but it’s really not worth the vet bill for me – sorry Pedigree and sorry Ellie!

3. Truvia Sweetener
I’m excited to give these sweeteners a try. I am trying hard to kick my love/addiction to sugar and figure these might just be helpful for that. These can be used in coffee, tea and as a substitute for any other sweetener you’re using.

4. Breathe Right Nasal Strips
I actually really like these strips. I think I have received them in nearly every Sample Source box I have every received. They work well… but please remember to use water during the removal process. I learned the hard way and have a nice bruise on my nose for a solid week. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.

5. Sensodyne Toothpaste
This isn’t really a new product for me, I’ve used Sensodyne before. I like to keep these little sample sizes for travel or to keep at the office. Since using Invisalign, I have definitely tripled the amount of toothpaste I use.

6. Welch’s Fruit Snacks
Again, one of my favourite items. I’ve totally received these fruit snacks before. They are a perfect mid-day snack for a little boost of sugar.

7. Dove Shampoo and Conditioner
These sample sizes are perfect for travel or for when you run out of shampoo or conditioner – saving the day. These are the daily moisture collection which should hydrate any damaged hair. I personally love Dove products.

8. Catelli Ancient Grain Pasta
I have yet to try this pasta. I picked up the package last night from Foodland. Sample Source includes a coupon for a free package, but you have to pick up the product yourself. I assume this is because of the size and weight of the product. This pasta is made from a variety of grains including quinoa.

9. Purina Dog Chow
Since I am pretty well set on the dog food I already buy, I tend to mix in the sample bags I get with her regular good. To avoid any upset stomachs, I don’t really give my dog a full bowl of a new dog food unless I am desperate. Like I stayed at a friends house with her and didn’t bring enough food and they pet store near by didn’t have the regular stuff.

10. Pure Protein Crunch
These little snacks are tasty. I received the peanut butter flavour – and I am obsessed with peanut butter. Each package contains 10g of protein, 5g of sugar and 160 calories. The best way to describe them are like a corn puff texture with a little hint of peanut butter. They don’t taste like protein powder or anything weird. I liked them!

11. Hersey’s Cookie + Caramel Bar
This was the perfect treat for after dinner. The bite size bar was packed with little chunks of shortbread and a nice amount of carmel. The chocolate was creamy like Hersey’s always is! I could totally eat more of these.

12. Special K Nourish Bar – Caramel Sea Salt & Mixed Nuts
I love the nourish bars from Kellogg’s. This one even has quinoa in it! It’s definitely not missing out on any sugar though. Despite sounding like a healthy treat, it’s really not all that great for you. I mean, there is some nutritional value but this isn’t a substitute for a good breakfast by any means.

So I think this was a good little collection of goodies. Inside Sample Source is always more coupons as well. I have never been let down by Sample Source. I mean you’re getting a bunch of samples for free – how could you be? You don’t have to be a blogger or anything to get these samples either. Just sign up on their website and wait for the email to let you know when to log on and order your box! The best part is that they distribute samples in Canada and in the US.

Check out Sample Source today so that you don’t miss next quarter’s box.

my reiki treatment experience

What is Reiki?
You have probably heard of Reiki but you likely don’t have a clue what it is. Reiki is an ancient healing technique. Reiki is based on the principle that the person conducting the treatment can channel energy into the clients body. This is done by laying the hands on, or just over different chakras along the body. There are seven chakras, each of them are a different centre of spiritual power. The energy channeled helps to activate natural healing processes and to restore not only physical, but emotional well being. The word Reiki is a combination of two Japanese words. Rei, which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. Together Reiki which means “spiritually guided life force energy.”

My Experience
I’ve had two mini sessions of Reiki done and one full session. The first one was quick with the focus just on my head, neck and shoulders. I sat on the floor for this one. After, I felt a feeling of relief and relaxation – I felt like I was high or something. I guess you could say I was just a little bit out of it. The second session was also a quick one, but a bit longer than the first. I started on the ground and then as it progressed I was instructed to lay on my back and then on my stomach. This one was just before a family dinner and while driving to the dinner I felt so relaxed and a bit tired.

My sister is a certified Level 1 Reiki practitioner. There are three levels, the first level is more focused on you (the practitioner) but it’s important to practice your healing technique. My sister really wanted to do a “full” session on me. This week after my surgery, I spent the night at her house and got her to do a full session on me. I felt the energy in three spots the most. The first one, which was the front of my head; so my face. The second was while on my stomach but I felt it at my lower back. The third, which was most powerful feeling was my feet. It was trippy because the feet was the last spot and right after we stopped I was like holy shit, my feet felt crazy! It felt like I was conducting energy or electricity, I don’t even know. My sister wasn’t surprised I said that because the feet aren’t even one of the seven spots that a Reiki practitioner typically hit. She said that something just guided her to channel at my feet and that while doing it she felt her stomach going off.

After Reiki
After Reiki you can experience a few things: flu or cold like symptoms, black stool and a loss of energy. Two days after the Reiki treatment I had a minor sore throat, which I just kind of clued in was probably related to having Reiki done. Another thing you may experience is unusual compliments. A couple days after receiving my second mini-session I went to a McDonalds drive thru to get an iced coffee. The girl at second window opened it and said my iced coffee will be just another minute.. moments later she opened the window again and said, “Omg! Do you do your eyebrows? I’m so jealous of them.” and to that I said, “Uh, I pluck them to maintain them but like nothing super serious.” The worker then told me about how she lost her sharpener and wasn’t too happy about that. Well damn, I don’t draw my eyebrows on I thought to myself as I drove away. So that could have been a coincidence but I thought it was pretty ironic.

If you live in the GTA and are interested in having Reiki done, send me a message or leave a comment! You can also contact my sister directly through her eyelash extension page: Pretty Little Lashes

product review: the BARK’N FUN company

If you have been following my blog, you likely know that I have a dog. Her name is Ellie and she is just over a year old. Ellie is a Boston Terrier/French Bulldog mix with a ton of personality. Not only is she full of sass but she is too smart for her own good. She loves going in the water, long walks, socializing with humans and with other dogs. However there is nothing in the world she loves more than treats and toys.

I was really excited to hop on a call with Danielle, the owner of The BARK’N  FUN Company to discuss working together. Not only do I appreciate how hard of a worker Danielle is. She is running her subscription box company primarily on her own. I also really liked how she is only a short drive from my house. At first I didn’t realize they were based out of Courtice but after talking for a while that came up and this made me want to work with the brand even more. Currently, the service is only available in Canada.

So here’s what was included in the box we received.

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Toys
I have a love-hate relationship with buying toys for Ellie. She destroys most toys within five minutes and let me tell ya, toys aren’t cheap! I do my best to get her the durable and tough toys but that girl impresses me with her predator skills.

The BARK N’ FUN Company subscription box I received had four toys.  First, the “knot-ical tuff double tug” rope which is lime green – she loves ropes and even knows what “go get your rope” means. The second toy, a “skinneez” which contains 19; yes 19 squeakers and no stuffing! Yay for no stuffing but squeakers are super annoying to me. I hate squeaker toys – so Ellie is lucky when she gets one. I have to admit, I limit the time she has with the squeaker toys.. sorry Ellie. The first toy I gave her was the “beyond tough criss-cross” it’s a durable and soft dog toy that she had a lot of fun with. It just wasn’t durable enough for Ellie though! The last toy is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a little piglet made by Pride Bites. This one floats when it needs to, is durable and yes, it contains a squeaker.

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Treats
I am pretty strict on what treats I give Ellie. I mean, I’m not like over the top crazy but I’m also not the type to give her a full sugar coated Timbit. Ever since I’ve had her, I have been buying the Benny Bully liver treats for her. She loves them just as much as she loves fresh rotisserie chicken and carrots!

The BARK N’ FUN Company box came with three bags of treats. All three bags are from the same company, FeelGood Treats. They are also a Canadian company. 2/3 bags were grain-free treats which is great because I feed her grain-free food. The larger of the three bags is the Trail Blazin’ bits. They were pretty limited in ingredients and are made with goat – so that was a plus. The box also includes two bags of their Teeny Treats. One was grain-free, the other was not. The Teeny Treats are hand made in BC from all natural ingredients. I sprinkled a little bit of these on her kibble since they were so little – she loved ’em! A plus about the treats is that they all contain no preservatives.

You can imagine how excited Ellie was to receive her own “blogger mail,” I know she was excited to be spoiled with a mixture of treats and toys. This box retails for $36.99 which isn’t bad seeing as I’ve paid $18 for a single dog toy before. Dog toys aren’t cheap and neither are quality treats, especially ones that are made with healthy and nutritious ingredients. That being said, they do have boxes available from $34.99 up to $46.00. You can specify the gender of the dog, the size and the age. Not only does The BARK N’ FUN Company have subscription boxes but you can shop their boutique for treats, toys, dog tags and apparel too.

I wrote a guest blog post on The BARK N’ FUN Company blog. The post is all about massages for dogs and how you can do one at home. You can view that by clicking here.

product review: popsocket phone clip

Yay! Another product review. This product was part of a giveaway my friends Somewhere With Us (a travel blog/Instagram account) had going on their Instagram account last month. Since learning about the PopSocket, I’ve seen a ton of these neat little gadgets on Instagram. Emma Roberts, Jared Leto, Maisy Stella and Gigi Hadid are only some of the celebrities who have shown their Pop Socket’s off on social media. So what is a PopSocket? A PopSocket is a unique clip that lets you get a better grip of your phone or tablet. The PopSocket also acts as a stand for your device. There are two pieces to one.

One is more of a holder piece, see below. This has a sticky (reusable) adhesive that you can attach to your car’s interior for hands-free talking, or to help navigate on your next road trip. You stick that where ever you pick. Some people even have them on their fridge for when they are watching cooking videos and trying a new recipe. The possibilities are endless. I’ve yet to attach it anywhere, but will likely put it in my car.

The second part is what you attach to the back of your phone, or phone case. It also “pops” out when you pull it – kind of like an accordion. PopSockets work on most cases, unless you have a really texturized or silicone case for your device. At first I put mine right onto my iPhone – over top the Apple logo. It didn’t sit where I wanted it to, so I removed it and moved it a bit lower. To be honest, it was a little tough to get off. I think that’s a good thing though, you don’t want it to fall off easily. When I removed it to reposition it, there was no mark or sticky substance left behind. I put my case on my phone and then put my PopSocket on the back of my case.

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They come in a ton of different designs. The ones I received were custom ones that Somewhere With Us had made up. It’s a neat, affordable way to get a better grip on your phone. This makes taking selfies easier and doubles as a stand while watching videos on your device. At first I couldn’t figure out how to use the PopSocket but after watching some videos online I figured it out and how easy they actually are to use. The best part is that they are reusable, you don’t have to worry about switching devices or removing your PopSocket.

product review: tomtoc laptop sleeve

I was thrilled when I noticed a pending message request on my Instagram. I love receiving messages! This one, in particular, was exciting because it wasn’t spam or a sales pitch. Angela from tomtoc had reached out in regards to partnering together in order to promote tomtoc. tomtoc is a brand that sells quality products for laptops, tablets and phones. They use premium materials to create protection for some of my favourite devices.

In this case, they sent me a laptop sleeve for my MacBook Pro. My MacBook is outdated, I got it in early 2011 before I went to college. It still works and I do use it for streaming, writing long emails and whatever else I don’t want to do from my phone. I often bring my laptop with me when I am doing contract work or if I am working somewhere other than at the office or at home. My MacBook was key to my success as an intern and as a contract employee after being hired on for the Summer. Yes… I had to use my own laptop; which kind of sucked. This also meant commuting with it and carrying it around. I settled for a cheap, plain black, not-so-durable sleeve from the dollar store.

The tomtoc sleeve that they sent me fits just perfectly. It’s snug, but it fits into the sleeve just fine. My dollar store one was too big for my laptop and certainly not as protective. The corners of the sleeve are extra padded for protection against drops. I also really liked how the outside material is water resistant. I won’t have to worry when I am walking to or from the car in the rain or in any crazy snowstorms. This sleeve really does offer some all around coverage with thick padding inside. I found it cool that they also offer a warranty for their products. On the tag of the sleeve, you get a serial number which is easily registered on the tomtoc website. The sleeve I received is basic but it does offer extra storage for USB sticks, etc. with an extra pocket at the front. Another upgrade from what I was using before.

What was also great is that I received the product one day after Angela confirmed the product with me. This is because the item shipped from Amazon and was an Amazon Prime order – how cool! If you’re on the market for some extra protection for your favourite piece of tech, check out tomtoc! I’m also working on taking some more photos which I’ll be sending off to tomtoc for use on their end of things.

holiday marketing for the entrepreneur in you

With just over a month left until Christmas, hopefully you have started to plan your holiday marketing strategy. I am confident my tips will help you increase sales and attract and retain some new customers. I have a passion for marketing and think there are so many opportunities and benefits of investing in creative and eye-catching marketing efforts.

If you’re a business owner and reading this, I hope you can take away an idea or two to use. If you’re a blogger or influencer reading, hopefully you can incorporate some of these techniques in a way that works for you and your audience.

Partner With A Charitable Organization To Give Back
You might already be on top of this. Maybe you are hosting a food drive next month or have plans to donate partial sales to a non-for-profit in your area. Get creative and strategic, this is a great opportunity for a cross promotion.

Promote Gift Giving
Tis the season to give gifts, almost everyone has that one person on their list that they are unsure what to give. By promoting gift giving, not only are you “zeroing in” on happiness; you’re also helping make your customers gift giving that much easier. Does your business offer gift certificates or have a referral and/or loyalty program yet?

Create Your Own Seasonal Themed Content
Believe it or not, your content does better than someone else’s. Taking photos of your decorated space, sharing limited time promotions and ultimately creating your own copy, photos, videos, and graphics can really allow you to incorporate your branding and tone over the holidays.

A couple ideas: A holiday count down, a contest leading up to the New Year, or photos of your “Elf on the Shelf” around the work place, store or office.

Give Back To The Local Community
The end of the year is a busy time, but making time to give back is crucial for business owners. During the Winter, it’s ideal to give back to not only your customers but those who support your business.

Some ideas to give back locally include: participating or sponsoring a community event, donating food, product, or your services to another business or individual. And of course, if you haven’t sent out e-cards or handwritten cards to your most valuable partners and/or suppliers or clients then get on it!

Work With Your Suppliers/Support Team
Does your store sell a well-known brand? Maybe you offer a new service that many aren’t familiar with? Invite those you work regularly into your store, or to your holiday event. Think of offering samples, maybe create an area in the office or store that is an amazing opportunity for a photo (selfie spot anyone?) It’s key to create an overall experience for those who decide to check out your offerings as they prepare to spend some money.

Work With Influencers
Bloggers, YouTubers and other social media users have grown audiences that follow their content regularly. Many have built a relationship which allows influencers to share their voice and opinion to readers on new products, exciting events and other information or services. Rather than purchasing an advertisement in your local newspaper, you can hire a local blogger to write about your business. Same goes for buying a radio ad, you can hire a YouTuber to review your product.

updates on SnapChat

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Those close to me likely receive anywhere from 10 to 50 snaps a day. My Snapchat score exceeds 100,000 which is pretty impressive, or sad.. I’m not sure. I’ve always been in love with social media and tend to explore new social apps right when I hear about them. You could say I heavily use Snapchat; although I don’t post stories too often. Yesterday if you opened the app, you would have seen a notification from the team at Snapchat explaining they have changed their terms of use and quickly accepted them without reading. It’s okay, I did too. But did you notice the in-app updates? I did!

First off, you can finally type more than one line over your snap. Before, I would copy and paste a blank set of lines from my Notes app to do this – now I don’t need to do! This is one of many little tricks I know of – but I think those will be for another post. I found all the new features that you can access from the new Chat 2.0 area of Snapchat to be really neat. They let you make voice calls and video calls now and you can also send video and voice notes! Another new feature you’ll notice while watching other users stories is the auto-advance feature. Once one person’s story is done, it will automatically start the next story! I personally am really enjoying their release of a wide range of 200+ stickers in the chat area.

Below are a couple of my favourites:

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