National Women’s Show 2014 Recap

Me on Escalator to #NWSToronto

I was so excited to introduce Raj to the National Women’s Show this year!

The National Women’s Show definitely hit a home run this year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre! We attended on Sunday, which was the last day of this weekend-long trade show, and none of the booths seemed to be running low on samples or products. Everyone was well prepared and well stocked for the massive crowds! Raj was thinking of packing a lunch for the day, but I told him he wouldn’t need a lunch and I was right. There were so many food booths handing out samples this year that we were so full by the end of the show. There were also many great deals on food, beverages, beauty products, clothes, supplements, accessories, etc. One of my favourite parts about the show was discovering many new and/or Canadian companies and getting to meet the people behind them. We managed to visit and chat with most (not all) of the booths and here is just the tip of the iceberg…

We arrived at the National Women's Show prepared for a lot of walking and sampling, both of which counteract each other.

We arrived at the National Women’s Show prepared for hours of walking and sampling!

Me & Biocore

We visited the BioCore Food Science booth and I introduced Raj to their “microGREENS” product, which is one of my favourite tasting greens drink mixes. His response after sampling some: “Oh wow, that was actually pretty good!” Yep.

Me & Almond Fresh

This was my first time hearing about and trying this almond milk company called Almond Fresh. Raj’s favourite flavour was chocolate and mine was coconut. I just wish their chocolate flavoured one wasn’t so high in sugar (21 grams of sugar per cup) and their coconut flavoured one wasn’t sweetened with refined white sugar. However, they do have an unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk, as well as an unsweetened vanilla flavoured one.

Me & Made Good

I loved these granola minis by MadeGood, especially the strawberry flavoured ones! Their organic and peanut-free granolas are rolled up into bite-size pieces and they contain vegetables (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms), all of which you cannot taste! It’s always great when you find a tasty way to add a bit more veggies into your diet.

Me & Pranin Organic

One of my most exciting finds at the National Women’s Show this year was Pranin Organic. Their supplements are 100% organic, non-GMO, dairy-free, corn-free, yeast-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. They are also made entirely from food (so no synthetic nutrients) and they do not contain any binders or fillers. We tried their “PureFood B” (a B-vitamins supplement), “PureFood Iron” (a bio-available, non-heme iron supplement), and “Complete A to Z” (a powdered multivitamin mix). Raj and I were both pleasantly surprised that they all tasted great!

Me & Van Dyk's

I’m not a big fan of fruit juices in general, but I love Van Dyk’s By Nature pure wild blueberry juice. It is made only from grade-A wild blueberries that are grown in Nova Scotia and it does not contain any sweeteners, preservatives, or additives. My favourite way to enjoy this pure blueberry juice is in salad dressings.

Me & Raj w/ Muskoka Roastery Coffee Co.

Muskoka Roastery Coffee Company served amazing coffee at the National Women’s Show. There was an unflavoured coffee and a flavoured one at the show. Raj chose their flavoured “Muskoka Maple” coffee and he really enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, strongly dislike all flavoured coffees, so I chose the “Loon Call Breakfast Blend” unflavoured medium coffee and it was delicious!

Me & Clarisonic

I have friends who swear by the Clarisonic and believe that this oscillating facial cleansing brush should be a necessary tool in everyone’s skincare routine. I have contemplated purchasing it, but I have been skeptical about its effectiveness. However, after getting a demonstration done on the back of my left hand, I have added this beauty tool to my Christmas wishlist! It was so gentle and left my hand feeling so clean and smooth! Imagine the potential skin improvements if I used this brush on my face daily! I sense a Clarisonic purchase in my near future.

Raj knows my favourite lipsticks are from Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). So when we spotted a YSL booth at the National Women's Show, he knew we just HAD to visit. The makeup artist there suggested some products for me to try. He applied one of the new Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick shades on my lips, a complementary Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain lipgloss shade on top, and some of their

Raj knows my favourite lipsticks are from Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). So when we spotted a YSL booth at the National Women’s Show, he knew we just HAD to visit. The makeup artist there suggested some products for me to try. He applied one of the new Rouge Volupté Shine lipstick shades on my lips, a complementary Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain lipgloss shade on top, and some Touche Éclat complexion highlighter under my eyes. I was glad the YSL booth was actually our second stop, because I got to show off the fabulous YSL makeup and his application skills for almost the entire show.

Me and Phasion Village

I’m a minimalist when it comes to my hair. I use clean shampoos that are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. Also, I hardly ever apply conditioner, styling products, or heat to my hair. At the show though, I treated my hair to some large loose curls by a woman from Phashion Village. There was so much to see and do that I only had time to curl a quarter of my hair!

Me and Camry Collage

We got to check out the new 2015 Toyota Camry. Afterwards, we received a small gift bag containing a bottle of hot sauce, a pair of red socks, and Sally Hansen press-on nail designs.

Me Exit

After SIX hours of walking and exploring every booth, we were exhausted and couldn’t wait to get home to sift through the bags of goodies and samples we received.

#NWSToronto Loot

The goodies and samples from this year’s National Women’s Show were amazing! Some of my highlights include: BioCore coreOMEGA omega-3 supplement, Schick Intuition razors, Stayfree sanitary pads, a basil plant starter, and a portable cellphone charger.

Congratulations to the National Women’s Show for putting together another successful and super fun trade show in Toronto this year! The next one will be in Québec City this weekend (November 15th-16th, 2014), followed by one in Montréal (March 13th-15th, 2015) and another in Ottawa (April 11th-12th, 2015). If those shows are anything like the one in Toronto this past weekend, I highly recommend checking it out and setting aside at least a few hours to explore everything. Even if you don’t meet any celebrity guests like we didn’t this year, the show is still a blast!

XOXO,

Addy

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Our First Visit to Square One Farmers’ Market!

Welcome to Square One Farmers' Market! Our first time here!

Welcome to Square One Farmers’ Market! Our first time here!

Last Sunday, Raj and I visited Square One Farmers’ Market for the first time before they wrap up on November 2nd. This year, the annual Square One Farmers’ Market in Mississauga runs on Sundays (June 1st through November 2nd) from 8AM to 4PM at the Mississauga Central Lions Club and on Wednesdays (July 23rd through October 29th) from 11AM to 8PM at the Mississauga Celebration Square. This farmers’ market is smaller than the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market and the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market in Toronto. It also features less prepared foods than the ones in Toronto, so don’t expect much of a selection if grabbing breakfast, lunch, or snacks here. Nonetheless, Raj and I had a blast checking out all the fresh foods and chatting with the vendors.

The first thing that caught our eyes: a bushel of habanero chili peppers for $25! We LOVE chili peppers!

The first thing that caught our eyes: a bushel of habanero chili peppers for $25! We LOVE chili peppers!

Raj and I absolutely LOVE chilies and anything spicy! So a bushel of habanero peppers for $25 was the first thing that caught our eyes. Perfect for homemade chili sauce!

Such a great selection of fresh fall vegetables! Look at all those gorgeous and vibrant colours!

Such a great selection of fresh fall vegetables! Look at all those gorgeous and vibrant colours!

 

What's fall without fresh, local apples? So many varieties to choose from!

What’s fall without fresh, local apples? So many varieties to choose from!

 

Ontario grape season is almost over, so enjoy while you still can! Once the season is over, we'll be paying more for imported grapes. Boo!

Ontario grape season is almost over, so enjoy while you still can! Once the season is over, we’ll be paying more for imported grapes. Boo!

 

The freshly baked bread from COBS Bread smelled divine!

The freshly baked breads from COBS Bread smelled divine!

Although you can’t see it in the picture above, the bees seemed to love COBS Bread! More bees were buzzing around COBS than any other vendor. Their breads are baked fresh daily and any leftover breads are given to local charities. If you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, you can only enjoy the aroma of their breads unfortunately since COBS does not make any gluten-free products. However, all their traditional and artisan breads are free of any preservatives, sugar, dairy, and colouring.

The honey soap was handmade with local honey and it came in a variety of natural scents. The coconut scented one caught Raj's eye.

The honey soap was handmade with local honey and it came in a variety of natural scents. The coconut scented one was Raj’s favourite.

 

'Tis the season for local pumpkins and squashes!

‘Tis the season for pumpkins and squashes!

I love squashes for soups. Nothing like a warm bowl of homemade soup as the weather gets colder. Mmm…

We sampled almost every product from Alphonsa's Gourmet. The chili sauces were our favourite!

We sampled almost every product from Alphonsa’s Gourmet who sources most of their ingredients from the market. Their chili sauces were our favourite!

Raj and I are always immediately drawn to hot sauces. We just love chilies! So when we spotted the homemade chili sauces at Alphonsa’s Gourmet, we HAD to stop by to pick some up. We learned that most of the ingredients in their products are sourced from the market! It’s always great when companies use local products. The owners were very passionate about their products and ended up encouraging us to sample almost all their products. We tried almost everything (all their hot sauces, the Sweet Ginger BBQ Sauce, the Mango Lime Sauce, the Pineapple Peach Salsa, all four flavours of their homemade hummus, and more).

From Alphonsa's Gourmet, Raj picked up their Fiery Hot chili sauce and I picked up their Mango Pepper chili sauce. Happy customers!

From Alphonsa’s Gourmet, Raj picked up their Fiery Hot chili sauce and I picked up their Mango Pepper chili sauce. Happy customers!

Although everything tasted great at Alphonsa’s, we ended up getting hot sauces to add to our ever-growing collection. Raj decided on their Fiery Hot hot sauce (the hottest of all four hot sauces) and I decided on their Mango Pepper hot sauce. All their hot sauces are made with Scotch Bonnet peppers. While they are all quite spicy, they all have a nice balance of heat and flavour.

Raj and I signed the petition to protect the Greenbelt at the farmers' market that day. We got a reusable tote bag afterwards to help raise awareness.

At the market that day, Raj and I got a chance to sign the petition to protect Ontario’s Greenbelt. Afterwards, we got a reusable tote bag to help raise awareness.

Our last stop at the farmers’ market was a non-profit booth supporting the Greenbelt Foundation. We had a nice discussion about environmental issues with two supporters of the Greenbelt Foundation and we signed their petition to help protect Ontario’s Greenbelt. Our Greenbelt provides farmlands, local produce, forests, wetlands, fresh air, clean water, biodiversity and jobs, so it is important to keep the area protected.

All in all, we had a lot of fun at Square One Farmers’ Market. It was great meeting and chatting with all the vendors. Raj and I are hosting a dinner for friends this weekend, so the excursion was great for healthy dinner menu ideas! We will share what we end up making for the dinner in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

XOXO,

Addy