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Event Recap: Bindis and Bangles #TimeToHug

20 Nov

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I was pretty excited to be invited to attend Bindis and Bangles, a special South Asian themed baby shower hosted by my friends at Masalamommas and sponsored by Huggies Canada. The event was held at Swagat Banquet Hall and when I walked in I was touched by the amount of effort that was put in to decorate the room with South Asian flair. There was a bangle bar, a bindi bar, a candy bar and a photo booth where I got a great photo of my son and I with a funky Indian background.

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The event was hosted by national TV personality Karen Johnson and featured some terrific speakers. Nanny Robina, a leading Parenting Expert, shared her tips to help babies sleep and settle. As a new mom, one of the best tips I took away was to hold the baby close to you while doing squats, which is meant to help to settle a crying baby. I’ve tried it several times now and it’s been working like a charm!

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Rishma Malik Scott, Baby and Prenatal Yoga Instructor and Actress, conducted a prenatal/baby yoga demo and provided tips on making yoga work for anyone by sharing simple moves with the guests. She stressed the importance of being in the moment with your baby, something that seems simple in theory but difficult in practice.

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Lisa Caron, Postpartum and Birth Doula and Author spoke to moms about the importance of bonding in the first year with baby. She suggested that we take a few moments to look into our baby’s eyes every day to build a strong connection with our children. Overall, there was a strong theme that parents need to explore different ways to connect with your baby early on in the relationship. By being present and mindful, using yoga and meditation and really by just taking time to try to understand baby’s cries and cues, we could help to strengthen the bond and improve communication with our babies.

It wouldn’t have been a South Asian event without delicious food and drink. We were treated to a tasty buffet of hot snacks including vegetable and paneer pakoras, samosas, tikka and spring rolls, along with delicious chutneys.

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The fabulous folks from Lemon Lily tea gave us a chance to try their delicious teas at their tea bar. I tried their Canadian Maple and Peppermint Chai teas and I really loved them both. OMG the Canadian Maple tea….wow.

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A baby shower isn’t complete without a few games. There was a diaper changing competition where guests had to change as many diapers as possible within a time frame. The winner left with the perfect prize, a Diaper Genie.

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Each table featured a “diaper cake” center piece and the guests had to answer trivia questions to win one. Here are a few of the questions:

True or false – a baby’s weight should be double their birth weight by the time they are 6 months old. The answer = true!

What is the average cost of raising a child until their 18th birthday? $242,070

What is the average diaper changing speed for dads? 1 minute and 36 seconds for dads vs. 2 minutes and 5 seconds for moms!

Kudos to Masalamommas and Huggies Canada for hosting a fun event tailored to the South Asian community, it was clear that a lot of work was put into it. If you would like to check out more photos from the Bindis and Bangles event, please head to Huggies’ Time To Hug Facebook page at www.facebook.com/timetohug and while you’re there, upload a photo of yourself hugging someone special in your life with the hashtag #TimeToHug – for every photo uploaded to the page, Huggies will donate $1 to the South Asian Women’s Centre.

 

 

Win tickets to the VIP Preview Evening of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

3 Nov

LogoDisclosure: I’ve received a pair of VIP Preview Evening tickets for the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, for my own use.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is back in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov 20-23 and as usual it promises to be an exciting weekend of amazing food and wine. This year, the weekend will feature special appearances from Chef Lynn Crawford, Chef David Rocco and other great Canadian chefs, cheese seminars from Dairy Farmers of Canada and demos on the Food Network Canada stage, to mention a few of the many great reasons to attend the show.

I’m thrilled to share that I have TWO pairs of tickets to the VIP Preview Evening on Thursday November 20, 2014 to give away to the readers of Milk & Eggs and my friends on Twitter.

Here’s how you can enter:

1) Follow me on Twitter at @savvari

2) Retweet one of my tweets about the contest. One entry per person.

3) If you don’t use Twitter or wish to get an extra entry, leave a comment below this blog post and tell me why you want to go to the VIP Preview Evening. Please be sure to leave your Twitter handle, email address or Facebook page name in your post so I can reach you if you win. One entry per person.

The contest closes on Thursday November 13 at 12 noon EST. The winners will be chosen at random and will be announced on Thursday November 13, after the draw takes place, via my Twitter account @savvari

Each ticket is valued at $45 ($90 value for each of the two pairs).

Note: You can only win one pair of tickets.

Good luck and I hope to see you at the VIP Preview Evening!

Learn more about the upcoming Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/

Twitter: @GFWE Hashtag: #GFWE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gourmetfoodandwine

The Delicious Food Show is back from October 17 to 19

16 Sep

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Disclosure: I’ve received a media pass for the Delicious Food Show.

One of my favourite food shows, the Delicious Food Show (DFS14), is back on in Toronto from October 17 to 19 at the Direct Energy Centre. My husband and I had a great time at the show a few years ago and a highlight for us was meeting Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef. We’re both huge fans and it was terrific to have a chance to speak with her at the show and get a signed copy of one of her cookbooks. The show featured a wide range of exhibitors and we were able to try new products, learn about new kitchen tools and watch demos/talks featuring some amazing chefs.

This year, I’m excited for another 3 days of food, cooking and information about entertaining from the creators of DFS14. Once again, hundreds of exhibitors will be there with live cooking demos, tastings and hands-on workshops.

This year’s lineup of chefs includes Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Dominique Ansel, Chuck Hughes, Nadia G, Mark McEwan, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Roger Mooking and more over the course of one action packed weekend. If you love food, you’ll want to check out this show. See you there!

ABOUT THE SHOW:

For information and tickets, visit: http://www.deliciousfoodshow.com

LOCATION:

Direct Energy Centre, Hall A
100 Princes’ Blvd
Toronto, ON M6K3C3

DFS14 SHOW DATES & HOURS:

Friday, October 17th, 2014: 10AM – 9PM
(Note: Nadia G’s Bitchin’ After Party at Gladstone Hotel, Toronto: 9PM – 1AM)
Saturday, October 18th, 2014: 10AM – 8PM
Sunday, October 19th, 2014: 10AM – 6PM

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Hashtag: #DFS14
Twitter: @DeliciousShow
Facebook: /DeliciousFoodShow
Instagram: @deliciousfoodshow
Pinterest: /deliciousshow

The Art of Marketing in Toronto on June 5 + a special offer!

12 May

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It’s almost June, which means that it’s almost time for my favourite conference of the year, The Art of Marketing! I’ve attended this amazing conference for the past 3 years and I think this year they’ve outdone themselves…the co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, is speaking! I’ve been using Twitter for the past four years and it really has changed my life. I’ve had so many great experiences and I’ve met some terrific people in the past few years, so I would love nothing more than to hear from one of the people that started it all.

This year’s incredible lineup of speakers includes:

Biz Stone – co-founder of Twitter

Seth Godin – New York Times Bestselling Author, Purple Cow, Tribes, Poke the Box & Linchpin

Charles Duhigg – New York Times Investigative Reporter & Bestselling Author, The Power of Habit

Jonah Berger – Professor of Viral Marketing at University of Pennsylvania and Author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On

David Usher – Juno Award Winning Musician & Creativity Expert

For the full list of speakers and bios visit: http://www.theartof.com/marketing-toronto-2013/speakers

In addition to hearing from top notch speakers, I look forward to the networking breaks as it’s a great time to catch up with former colleagues and friends from Twitter. I feed off of the energy of others and I love the boost I get when I spend the day surrounded by people who are passionate and excited about what they do. If you do decide to attend, please let me know, as it would be great to meet up or have lunch during the break (that’s the foodie in me talking!).

Event Details:

When: Wednesday June 5, 2013

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Time: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm

Website: http://bit.ly/XIQcXs

You can follow The Art of Productions on Twitter at @TheArtOf  and follow the conference hashtag at #TheArtOf

GREAT NEWS! The good folks at The Art of Productions Inc., would like to give the readers of Milk & Eggs a SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER on tickets…

SPECIAL OFFER! Use exclusive discount code TWITTERFAN to save $50 on your ticket! Even better, if you purchase 3 or more tickets using the above code, you’ll be eligible to save $100 per ticket.

To learn more and buy tickets using the special discount code, visit http://email.theartof.com/KT13/TWITTERFAN/

Use promo code TWITTERFAN to save up to $100 per ticket!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a ticket to The Art of Marketing conference for writing this post. Seriously though, I would have bought a ticket anyway. You should get one too. Now. 

Macaron Day TO 2013 in support of Red Door Family Shelter

12 Mar

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The first macaron I ever ate was a chocolate passion fruit one (called Macaron Mogador) from Pierre Herme’s famous patisserie in Paris. I took my first bite and the flavours travelled all the way to my toes… my knees buckled and I ended up having to sit down on the sidewalk in front of the shop! I’ve been a macaron addict ever since and I try them wherever I go. Luckily, I’ve been able to find some great macarons in Toronto, as we certainly have some incredible patisseries in this city.

As an official Macaron Day TO ambassador, I hope you’ll be available on Wednesday March 20, 2013 to celebrate Macaron Day TO in Toronto! The Toronto event coincides with similar events that will take place in Paris, New York and other cities around the world.

Macaron Day 2013 Poster

On Wednesday March 20, participating patisseries in Toronto will offer a complimentary macaron to customers. To receive your macaron, simply mention that you’re celebrating Macaron Day TO. Participating locations will provide one macaron per customer at no cost, with quantities limited by location. Now, we all know that just one macaron is not enough! The great news is that 25% of all additional macaron sales from this day will be donated to the Red Door Family Shelter. Visit their website at www.reddoorshelter.ca to learn more about this amazing cause. Last year, nearly $6500 was raised for the Red Door Family Shelter and this year, the goal is to raise $8000.

For almost 30 years, the Red Door Family Shelter has been on the front lines of delivering support services to homeless families, abused women and their children throughout Toronto and the GTA. This non-profit organization has helped thousands of families in their time of need.

So please take some time out of your schedule to satisfy your cravings for macarons on Wednesday March 20 and help support a great cause at the same time. If you’ve never had a macaron, March 20 is the perfect day to find out what the fuss is all about. If you’re lucky, maybe your knees will buckle too : )

Learn more at http://www.macarondayto.com

Be sure to “Like” Macaron Day TO on Facebook here – http://on.fb.me/12NGwCS

Follow @macarondayTO on Twitter and if you tweet, use the event hashtag #MacaronDayTO

Food Finds from the 2012 Vegetarian Food Festival

14 Oct

The Vegetarian Food Festival is an event I look forward to every year. It’s one of the best places to learn about vegetarianism and try tons of amazing products. Meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free…you name it, this show has it! This year, the festival took place from September 7th to 9th and once again it didn’t disappoint. I tried so many products and ate so much delicious food in my short visit to the show that I pretty much had to be rolled back to my car (seriously!).

For me, the most exciting part about going to food shows is learning about new products and having the opportunity to try products I’ve seen on shelves, but haven’t purchased yet. Here are some of my favourites from the show:

Soy Whip and Rice Whip from Soyatoo!

Whipped cream. Mmmmm. Without it, cakes, pies, ice cream sundaes and so many other desserts wouldn’t be the same. Since I found out about my intolerance to cow dairy (see my earlier series of posts about the YorkTest FoodScan program), I’ve cut back big time on cow dairy that I can easily avoid, such as whipped cream. At the show, I was thrilled to try Soy Whip and Rice Whip from Soyatoo!, who recognized that there was a need for dairy free whipped topping options that were (fairly) affordable (approx. $6.99 per canister).

After trying both, I have to say that my vote goes to the Soy Whip, as the flavour and texture was truer to real whipped cream. However for those who are allergic to soy AND dairy, the Rice Whip version is pretty good too.

For more info, visit their website at: http://www.soyatoo.de/us/?home

Earth Balance Original and Coconut Spreads

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Earth Balance products and I finally had the opportunity to try two of their products at the show, their Original Buttery Spread and their new Organic Coconut Spread. Their products are vegan and are free of gluten, lactose and eggs.

While I enjoyed both products, I liked the Original Buttery Spread a little more. It tasted just like butter and to know that it was vegan was amazing. The Organic Coconut Spread was also tasty, but it tasted like coconut oil which I’m not that used too. If you’re a big fan of coconut, you would certainly love this spread.

This company also sells a whole range of other vegan products, which I’ll have to try sometime soon.

For more info, visit their website at: http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/

New Moon Kitchen

I was attracted to this booth because of their cool packaging (I’m a print geek after all) and their glorious display of tons and tons of cookies in old fashioned jars. It also helped that a woman I met pointed frantically to their booth and said, “You HAVE TO go to the New Moon Kitchen booth, like right now! The cookies are divine!” and since I was pushed towards the booth, I knew I had to check it out!

This Toronto-based company bakes up eight different flavours of cookies, including ones with cute names like Bite Me, Momints and Love Bites. The best part is that they are all vegan, egg, dairy, peanut and nut free!

My faves were the Momints (Chocolate Mint) and Love Bites (Spicy Chocolate) but to be fair, I would eat them all again as  every flavour was delicious.

For more info, visit their website at: http://www.newmoonkitchen.com/

Peanut Butter & Co

I was attracted to this booth because of their beautiful packaging (yes, the print geek in me strikes again!). When I asked them what they were showcasing, they said, “Our spicy peanut butter called The Heat Is On”….huh? I asked to try a sample and I was rewarded with a tasty peanut butter with a very spicy kick to it! It would be perfect in an Asian noodle recipe or I could see myself adding a few spoons of it to my mom’s coconut chutney…mmmm. This company produces a range of products including peanut butters, jams, nuts, baking mixes and oats. They also have a sandwich shop in New York (one of my favourite cities in the world!) so I’ll have to add Peanut Butter & Co to my “go to” list for my next visit.

For more info, visit their website at: http://ilovepeanutbutter.com/

Field Roast Veggie Sausage Links

This was my favourite find at the food festival! As a vegetarian married to a meat-eater, I’m always looking for products that both of us can enjoy and I was so thrilled to learn about Field Roast’s new line of veggie sausage links. The veggie sausages come in three flavours: Italian, Mexican Chipotle and Smoked Apple Sage. My favourite was the Smoked Apple Sage, as it had the perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy tones and the flavours just danced in my mouth.

For more info, visit their website at: http://www.fieldroast.com/ 


Coconut Bliss

This is another product that I’ve seen in grocery stores many times but never had the need or opportunity to buy it. After trying their products, I certainly regretted the fact that I hadn’t tried them earlier! Coconut Bliss vegan ice creams are made from coconut milk and are free of soy, dairy and gluten. I tried every flavour they had on hand and I honestly loved each and every one.  Once again, I’m amazed at how delicious non-dairy products can be!

For more info, visit their website at: http://coconutbliss.com/

Vegenaise

The last product I wanted to mention is another one that I’ve heard about a lot over the years, Vegenaise. It’s a mayonnaise-style product that’s perfect for those who are allergic to eggs as it is, you guessed it, egg-free! I was given a sample of it and it tasted just like mayonnaise, possibly even better. I heard that even Ellen DeGeneres loves it. If the adorable and fabulous Ellen loves it, then by all means, how could you go wrong?!?!

For more info, visit their website at: http://www.followyourheart.com/

I don’t believe they’ve announced the dates for the 2013 Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival yet but if you get a chance to go next year, you definitely should! If you try any of the products I’ve mentioned or if you have any others to recommend, I’d love to hear from you!

Learn more about the Vegetarian Food Festival here: http://festival.veg.ca/

 

The Art of Leadership in Toronto on June 5 + a special discount and a CONTEST!

20 May

TAOL

I have always enjoyed conferences, as the opportunity to network and hear from industry leaders is priceless. I feed off of the energy of others and there is nothing better than being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do. With so many conferences and seminars to choose from, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not easy to decide where to invest your money and time…

One organization that consistently puts on great conferences is The Art of Productions. I have been attending one their annual conferences, The Art of Marketing, for several years now and it is one of the BEST in Toronto. Luckily, they have another fantastic one coming up in Toronto on Tuesday June 5 called The Art of Leadership. This one day conference features six internationally renowned bestselling authors and visionaries, who will share real world experience on today’s most critical leadership issues. I’m looking forward to learning from these industry leaders and I hope to use the takeaways to improve on my leadership skills. If you decide to attend, please let me know! Perhaps we can have lunch? (That was the foodie in me talking!)…

This year’s speakers at The Art of Leadership include:

Marcus Buckingham

Vijay Govindarajan

Chester Elton

Susan Cain

Stephen Shapiro

Leonard Brody

For a full list of speakers and bios visit: http://www.theartof.com/leadership-toronto-2012/speakers

Event Details:

When: Tuesday June 5, 2012

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Time: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm

Website: http://bit.ly/taol2012

GREAT NEWS! The good folks at The Art of Productions Inc., would like to give the readers of Milk & Eggs a SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER on tickets…

Use discount code TOSOCIAL to save $50 on your ticket! Even better, if you purchase 3 or more tickets using the above code, you’ll be eligible to save $100 per ticket!

To learn more and buy tickets, visit http://bit.ly/taol2012 and follow them on Twitter at @TheArtOf or at http://www.twitter.com/TheArtOf

Here comes the best part…

CONTEST – Win ONE ticket ($399 value!) to The Art of Leadership in Toronto on June 5!

To enter on Twitter:

Follow @savvari and @TheArtOf on Twitter

Tweet this exact line:

@savvari I want to win a ticket to The Art of Leadership http://bit.ly/taol2012 on June 5!  #TAOL

AND/OR

Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you want to attend The Art of Leadership.

If you tweet AND leave a comment below, you’ll get 2 entries!

Hurry! Contest closes on Friday May 25 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a ticket to The Art of Leadership conference for writing this post. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

WINNER!!! 

Congrats to @doomzTO Casey Palmer for winning the #TAOL contest! You’ve won a ticket to The Art of Leadership on June 5, compliments of The Art of Productions. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Hunger Games – Toronto Premiere

23 Mar

Before the Hunger Games

After reading the books and seeing the previews for the film, I knew I had to try to score tickets to the Toronto premiere of Hunger Games at Scotiabank Theatre. The hustle began two months ago and I entered every contest I could find for premiere tickets. I ended up winning tickets in the very last contest I entered through @vivafilm (Alliance Atlantis’ Quebec division) on Twitter, just four days before the premiere, which took place on Monday March 19, 2012.

We arrived at the theatre almost two hours before the premiere and there were hundreds of fans outside the theatre and the Muchmusic headquarters, where some of the cast members were making an appearance. There was a lineup snaking around the corner for entry at the Scotiabank Theatre. As I had won tickets directly from Alliance, my friend Priscilla and I marched directly to the front of the line, told them that we won tickets and strolled right in (the power of the guest list!). Security was incredible and all electronic devices were taken from us and put into envelopes.

Outside the Hunger Games theatre

Prior to the start of the movie, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Alexander Ludwig made an appearance and said hello the crowd. There was a collective shriek from the teenage girls, followed by sighs as no one in the theatre had a phone or a camera to capture the moment. (Yes, we somehow lasted for 5 hours without our smartphones or cameras, which is why I only have two photos to mark the entire experience! Grr!).

I enjoyed the movie and I was really happy with the casting. Jennifer Lawrence was terrific as Katniss Everdeen and she played the character with the great balance of strength and vulnerability fans would expect.  Another female favourite was Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, as she was perfect in her role as an eccentric PR official (who also had some of the best costumes in the movie). It was such a treat to see Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna) in the movie as well (how does Lenny stay looking so young?!).

I was disappointed that they toned down the violence in the film to receive an appropriate rating, only because I felt that the desperation for survival was lost a little. I also wished that they would have included more about the history of the districts and the main characters in the film. The scenery, set design, costumes, makeup and music all came together brilliantly and if you’re a fan of the book series, you will enjoy seeing the books come to life. If you haven’t read the books yet and are planning on seeing it, I would highly suggest that you do, as you will enjoy the movie a whole lot more.

Many thanks to Valerie and the gang at Alliance for the tickets!

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