Join Us at the Inspired to Action Conference this International Women’s Day

Have you ever experienced a moment, met a person, read a quote that propelled you out of a rut or dark space and made you see possibilities that you couldn’t previously conceive?  Ever sat in a room of like-minded women and think yes, I can do this and my idea will work. Inspiration is a very powerful thing. It often leads to action. I have been so blessed in my life that as I thought of launching different projects and ideas inspiration has come just when I have needed it most.  Do you have an idea germinating in your head? Have you ever thought of taking a huge leap and leaving the corporate world to do something that means something to you? This International Women’s Day take the day for yourself. Gather with like-minded women and let’s get inspired together at the Inspired to Action Conference at Joey in downtown Toronto. 

Inspired to Action

Inspiration is the seed that is planted in our hearts and souls and we need it to fuel the fire under our butts when we hesitate to take a chance or make a change.  Ever needed that slight push, that encouraging word? I know I have. When I have needed in inspiration that can lead to action I surround myself with a tribe that will get me there. I go and seek inspiration.

In early February I attended such an event. I was able to not only get inspiration but practical advice. I came away with a network of new friends who can help me along the path.  This is what happens when you take the first step and attend events like Inspired to Action.

This March 8th, I would love for you to join me at Inspired to Action.  You can purchase your ticket and get a 20% discount code to attend, which includes access to the entire event and buffet lunch. Simply use the code HollieVIP.

Want to attend the event with me for free? I am giving away one ticket. Leave a comment on this post. I will pick a winner next Friday at 6 pm EST.  Not only will you attend the event for free but I have a special little something for you as well. Just let me know why you want to attend in the comments.

For more information on the conference be sure to check out these social profiles:

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Celebrate Canada all of July at Canada’s Wonderland #CWBestDay


We love heading to Canada’s Wonderland. My teen loves the thrill rides so much so that we are season pass holders. We will get there at least 5 times this year. We have already been twice to the theme park, once to celebrate Mother’s Day and the second visit had us studying the velocity of rollercoasters. The second being a fun school field trip. This long weekend we will be headed back to the park because we can celebrate Canada all of July at Canada’s Wonderland. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate all things Canadian all month long as we celebrate 150 years of Canada?

So what is going on at Canada’s Wonderland?

Besides a great Fireworks display on July 1st there is:

o West Coast Lumberjack Show, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 15: Internationally recognized for their daredevil skills, these lumberjacks will entertain guests of all ages while competing in Log Rolling, Tree Climbing, Axe Throwing, Chainsaw Carving, and more!
o Freestyle Ski Aerials, Arthur’s Baye – July 16 – 31: Skiers and Kayakers will fly off a massive ski jump overlooking Arthur’s Baye during Celebration Canada. Will they stick the landing? You be the judge!

o Flying Frontenacs Stunt & Dive Show, Arthur’s Baye – Daily June 24 to Labour Day: Don’t miss the Flying Frontenacs as they stunt dive off a 70ft (21m) platform and display their athleticism on trampolines with incredible flips, turns and dives.

o Cirque Canadien, Wonderland Theatre – June 30 to Labour Day: Prepare to be mesmerized by a magical display of acrobatics, mystique and athleticism as the performers of Cirque Canadien bring you on a journey through the seasons of Canada.

o Starlight: Northern Reflections, Royal Fountain Nightly June 24 to September 2: A breathtaking nighttime spectacle that celebrates the natural beauty of Canada through a stunning display of lighting, music, lasers and water effects, set to the backdrop of 3D projection on Wonder Mountain.

o Fireworks Canada Day – Saturday, July 1: Come enjoy Canada Day with some of the best fireworks in the Toronto area, featuring a unique design set to an original soundtrack and over 6,000 colourful explosions you won’t want to miss it!

o The Great Canadian Fiddle Show, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: Join in the fun in this energetic show celebrating Canadian fiddle music and step dance.

o White Pine Dancers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: Experience the magic of First Nations History through song and dance. Each performance will captivate you with their gift of song, vibrant colours, flowing movement and thundering drums!

o Celtic Dancers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: The sights and sounds of traditional Irish dancing and music will take over Celebration Plaza with several performances daily.

o Street Performers, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Enjoy the antics of stilt walkers, jugglers, and more in Celebration Plaza throughout the day!

o Earth Rangers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: The Earth Rangers are returning to the Park during the month of July to educate children and families about biodiversity, sustainable behaviours, and protecting animals and their habitats!

o Live Music & More! Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Great live bands playing some of Canada’s best tunes from the east coast to the west coast.

o Traditional Canadian Food, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Poutine, Nanaimo bars, bacon, maple syrup and so much more!

Remember as well there are 2 new rides to enjoy. My teen enjoyed the Soaring Timbers. We are looking forward to trying the Muskoka Plunge on our next visit. We here this 60 ft tall waterslide complex that features four slides is pretty fun.  These four slides twist and turn for over 300 ft and each slide takes a different path to the bottom. My daughter can’t wait to try it out.

With so many things Canadian a trip to Canada’s Wonderland is a great way to celebrate Canada 150. To get your tickets or to download the Canada’s Wonderland app please visit the Canada’s Wonderland site. 

* We have been season pass holders for years and we pay for our passes. With that said we have been blessed this season by the park in partnering with us to offer some sponsored posts in return for compensation. We really do love being Season pass holders and love all the fun that happens at the park all season long. 


The Best Alternate Places to Watch the Fireworks in Toronto

Can you believe our great country is turning 150 this year? With this huge of a celebration, there are lots of places to watch the fireworks on Saturday and the weather forecast is great!

With this list of great fireworks displays, it is hard to decide where to watch the fireworks.  You may not want to get caught in the crowds so I have some alternate spots close to the action that you may want to watch from, so where are the best places to watch the fireworks in Toronto?


CN Tower

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the CN tower, a structure that has been around since 1976 will have a spectacular display.  The fireworks are slated to kick off at 10:30 p.m.Want to take in these and skip the crowds? Head for a walk along the waterfront, yes it will be busier than normal but there are lots of small parks where you can spread a blanket and have a great spot away from the crowd.

Nathan Phillips Square

Make your way to City Hall during the long weekend for four consecutive days of Canada Day celebrations. The fireworks will be going off each night! They start at 10:55. My choice for seeing these away from the crowd has to be the top level of the Kensington Market parkade. It has a great view of downtown.

Canada Day conveniently falls on the same day at Ribfest in Etobicoke, so if you want dinner and a show, this is ideal. The fireworks will start at approximately 10 p.m.

Canada’s Wonderland

We are season pass holders so these fireworks that happen at 10 pm are a must for many who are on the north side of the city. If you have been in the park all day and want to avoid the crowd about an hour before they go off grab your blanket and head to the parking lot hill. I promise it is a great view and you are not in the crowd.

Downsview Park

I did these fireworks one year and found the best place to see them was not right in the heart of the park but on the edge. We were away from the crowd and still had a great view.


With fireworks from the CN Tower, Ashbridges Bay and Humber Park West. The waterfront will be the best place to be, but where on the water. We are thinking the new Trillium Park based on the old Ontario Place lands may be the best place to get the best place to take in all the shows.

Another good spot that we enjoy is Cherry Beach because it rarely gets a crowd.

Ashbridges Bay

Q107 puts on a great show during the day and with over 2000 blasts, it is a great show to see. When we lived on the east side of the city we always hit this one. The best place to avoid the crowds is the beach by RC Water Treatment Center

Humber Bay Park West

As part of the city’s great line-up of acts for the day, these ones will go off at 10:55 as well. I would say take a walk along the boardwalk just east of the park and you may have one of the best views of the city.

A Day at the National Women’s Show in Toronto

Every year I love attending the National Women’s Show in Toronto. Saturday was no different. With over 500 booths, lots of on stage speakers, shows, and entertainment there was lots to keep my friend Tammy and I busy and smiling!  We had a great time at the show.

We started the day browsing the booths. There were some great brands there. Lots to explore and so many new brands to try. I was very thankful for my swag bag full of goodies to try. Samples are always a great way to learn about new favourite brands. As you walk through the show there are so many samples. So many new things to learn about, see and explore and it is always a great place to start your Christmas shopping.


Ran into my friend Heny We met Sam Dhutia the CEO of Sweets Canada gourmet chocolate bars which is a division of QFoods Canada. My girlfriend and I had a great time thrying to  choose from including their popular “Edible Flower” Chocolates, and of course their Fruit Covered Chocolate.  I came home with some Qbites. The taste and packaging is sure to impress even the most “sophisticated” chocolate connoisseur. I know I enjoyed them as I watched the election results.

First up on the main stage was since I am a single lady had to watch Laura Bilotta the CEO of Single in the City matchmaking as she reenacted the the classic tv show The Dating Game. I remember that show from when I was a kid. It was fun to watch and the bachelor ended up picking bachelorette number 3. I got a chance to talk to the bachelor when I ran into him later and we talked about his choice and the other 2. It was fun to hear his thinking behind his choice.

Here is a short video of part of the show.


After The Dating Game, my friend Tammy and I explored some more booths. One of the booths I stopped by was the DermVisage booth. Since I am starting to get older, skin care is starting to matter to me. I spoke with Ursula who spoke to me about DermVisage anti aging skin care products and the science of anti-aging skin care. She even did a skin analysis on me.


What were the results? I have dry skin and it gets drier in the winter. Ursula talked to me about the DermVisage products and how they could help me. DermVisage products brighten the skin, reduce dark spots and even out the skin tone leaving the skin feeling smoother, hydrated and brighter. I have been trying the sample pack that Ursula sent me home with this week and it is making a difference.


After the skin analysis, we hung out in the culinary and wine areas. We took in a great cooking tutorial from the Chicken Farmers of Canada and then it was time for wine! We tried out a new gin, some joiy, a slushie and some wine. All of it was good. While we were hanging out in the wine area we ran into some sexy firefighters who were there promoting their 2017 Toronto Firefighters Calendar. We even got out pictures taken with them. If you like hot men and women you may want to purchase a calendar. The proceeds go to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.


Then it was time to head over to the Main Stage where we took in a fashion show with NARCES. There were lots of great evening fashions. Both my girlfriend and I enjoyed the show.


Next up was Fashion on Fire with the Toronto Firefighters. They were showing off fashions from Banana Republic. Lets just say these men were hot. They can rescue me anytime. Actually as they engaged the audience I even got bit of a lap dance from Mr December. Too bad there are no photos of that! My girlfriend Tammy did get a great short video though of the end of the show.


After the firefighters, we cooled off and browsed a few more vendors and then it was time to head home.




The 5 Best Places to Experience the Fall Colours in the GTA

It’s that time of the year. Fall is slowly coming to Toronto; it’s time to exchange those flip flops for sips of pumpkin spice and a sweater especially at night.  It is also time for our traditional fall hike. Every year, my teen and I head out for a long hike on Thanksgiving Monday. We love taking in mother nature, especially when she is so full of colour!

So where is the are the best places to experience fall colours in all their glory in the Toronto area? I have some favourites. Here are the five best places:

1. High Park

Yesterday at #highpark it was all about the leaves and squirrel watching. #naturelovers

A photo posted by Hollie (@commoncentsmom) on

Over the past few years, High Park has been our favourite place to go for a hike. We climb down the stairs on the west side of the park and follow the creek towards the lake. We then often head over to the High Park Zoo. My teen loves the ducks! I am sure we will see them again on Monday.


2. Bluffers Park


Some years ago, we lived in Scarborough, and both of us loved this park. This park combines with Rouge Park to give you 40 km of trails to explore, but we love the change of colours right along the cliffs. They are beautiful to behold.

3. Riverdale Farm


We love this farm, and when my now teen was little, we spent many hours at this park. We love that their is a working farm right here in the city. There is lots of history to explore in this area, and the Don Valley is just a short walk away.

4. Don Valley Brick Works


We love the Evergreen Brick Works Community Centre for the history it provides but loves the views and trails in this area even more! There are so many great trails and so many great vistas from which to take that perfect fall photo shot.

5. Humber Valley


The Humber River is quickly becoming a favourite place of mine. It has parks all the way from the Lakeshore all the way up to Steeles. This series of parks makes for a great day of hiking, vistas, and beauty. We are currently in love with the Humber Marshes Park right now.

Let me know if you decide to take a hike in or outside the city; there are so many great places to take in the views.


There is Still Time to see Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA Show in Toronto


luzia_logo_wtaglineMany critics and Torontonians have been singing the praises of the Cirque du Soleil’s show LUZIA. Have you seen the show? If not, it is still here in Toronto still October 16th! I also have a 30% off deal I can give you. Sweet right!

Think of a Mexican circus come to life. From what I have heard about the show from others I can’t wait to see it next week. I hear that set designer Eugenio Caballaro has outdone himself and from the photos, I have seen online they really do take us on an imaginary trip to Mexico.

Did you know the term “Luzia” stems from the Spanish words “luz” which means light and ” lluvia” which means rain?  I have been told there is even a water curtain in the show that brings a memorizing effect.

I can’t wait to hear the musical backdrop as well. The music was composed by the amazing Simon Carpentier. Can’t wait to that vibrant Latin and Mexican music! We all know the Cirque du Soleil’s shows are amazing and I so can’t wait to see this one!

LUZIA, the latest Big Top show by Cirque du Soleil, is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich and vibrant culture of Mexico. Like in a waking dream, LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothe the soul.   Now Playing until October 16th at the Port Lands. Join me there.

Don’t miss the show critics are raving about. Save 30% on great seats with this special offer! While quantities last! No promo code needed, already applied.

Hope to see you there!







The Best Things to Do and Try and this Years CNE

It is that time of year again. The Canadian National Exhibition is returning once again! Did you know this exhibition is one of the largest in North America and has been around since 1879! Every year they add new attractions, new shows, and there are always new foods to try.

If you don’t already have your tickets, there are some easy ways to do things on a budget. Go opening day and get in for  $8.

Kids Toonie Mondays are also back. Kids get in for $2 on Monday, August 22nd and 29th. There are also ride ticket specials on these days.

For youth day, August 30th, youth under 17 can get into the CNE for $6. Here again look for ride specials.

Mondays to Thursdays at the CNE you can get in for $6 after 5 pm.

Now that I have shared some great pricing deals lets talk about what will be great to see and do at this year’s Ex. Yesterday was Media Day at the CNE, and if you follow me on Twitter, you saw me sharing some of what’s new and exciting.

What do I think will make for a great day? With so many things to see and do there is something for everyone in the family. From the rides to the all the entertainment, games and shopping to explore there is always fun to have when the Ex comes to town.


Do you have little ones? Make sure you check out the farm and Kids World. One of the acts not to miss in the Farm area is the Agri-Magic show from August 19th-24th.  It’s a great interactive show that will teach your kids about Canadian farming. While in the farm area as well be sure to check out the butter sculptures.  The Kids World Stage is full of great acts this year as well. Make sure you check out the Incredible Magic of Professor Wick, Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends and there will even be a few character meet and greets.

Love a parade, check out the daily Mardi Gras Parade. I was even it one year!

One of the other new things to check out is the CNE Innovation Garage. An exciting new showcase for the latest & greatest consumer products complete with a Pitch Competition and an Innovation Playground where CNE visitors can interact with inventors and their innovations!  This is only on opening weekend so be sure to check it out then.

pokemon go at the CNE

Make sure you check out the The Great Canadian Water Ski Caper, and the CNE brings great shows back to the waterfront.


Now if you are into the Pokemon Go game, you can even take it the the CNE. There are 30 pokestops and three gyms on the CNE grounds.

Love food. There is much to check out and try.

Ever thought of eating bugs? You can try a Bug Dog at the Bug Bistro. They only cost $6.75


We love how creative Frans can be and can’t wait to try a blueberry milkshake for $12.

blue berry milkshake CNE

My daughter can’t wait for a Jolly Rancher doughnut from Tim Hortons. They are $1.50

We also can’t wait to try the Sweet Potato Pie for $6. It has maple marshmallows and bacon.

sweet potato pie CNE

One the things we are looking forward to most is watching the final Tragically Hip concert on screen at the Band Shell.

Let me know what you are looking forward to at the CNE.





The Best Free Summer Festivals in Toronto

Yes, we are two weeks into Summer and a few of my favourite festivals have passed already. Lumination the RedPath Waterfront Festival and Pride were all lots of fun this summer and there are so many more free summer festivals  in Toronto this year. I love that I can jump on the TTC, attend a festival, take in some great summer music and kick back. Over the years my daughter and I have hit up many of these.  So what are the best festivals in Toronto that are also free ?

Here is my list of 12 festivals you do not want to miss:

beaches  jazz festival

Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 2th-26th)

We have always loved the Beaches International Jazz Fest. We love going down during the Streetfest which is from July 21st to July 23rd this year. With over 45 bands playing that weekend you are sure to find something you love. With over 10 stages you get to listen to some jazz, some blues, some latin, some swing, some funk some r&B and more.

Taste of St Lawrence (July 8th-10th)

Scarborough’s largest street festival is worth heading to the east end of the city. From a midway to music you will find everything as this festival really celebrates the diversity of the area.

salsa on st clair

Salsa on St Clair (July 9th-10th)

One that is close to us is Salsa on St.Clair. This is one hot and sexy street festival. This year it is this weekend, July 9tth and 10th. This free celebration of latin culture transforms St Clair Ave into a salsa party. It really is lots of fun. Think romance if attending.

Big on Bloor (July 23rd-24th)

Big on Bloor closes off Bloor between Dufferin and Landsdowne. At this festival, there are over 50 original hands-on cultural projects commissioned especially for you. It really is a great family event with lots of fun.

Shield to Shore Festival (July 22nd-24th)

Having family in Nova Scotia I have to say I am looking forward to the Shield to Shore Festival at the Harbourfront,  July 22-24th. This new festival will celebrate the Atlantic region with unique music, storytelling and more.


Taste of the Danforth (August 5th -7th)

Taste of the Danforth is the of the largest festivals that happen. Live Greek-themed events, such as archery, plate smashing, traditional dancing? You will everything you love about greek culture at this festival.

Wheels on the Danforth (August 13th)
Love Classic cars?  Look forward to scoping out classic cars and motorcycles, shopping, and listening to live music the the Wheels on the Danforth car show. Think hot cars and hot music, sounds like the perfect summer day.

Tamil Fest (August 26th-28th)
Street performances, food vendors, a Tamil Canadian mobile museum and lots of stuff for the kids as well. This one is on Markham Road over three days! According to organizers this will be “the largest Tamil Street Festival outside of the Indian Sub-continent.”


Toronto International Buskerfest ( Sept 2nd-5th)

We have always loved the Toronto International Busker Fest. This year it has moved to Woodbine Park and will happen over Labour Day Weekend. Think jugglers, acrobats, musicians and more. The Festival does raise funds for Epilepsy Toronto.

Artfest 2016 (Sept 2nd-5th)

Artfest 2016 is an outdoor art and craft show that celebrates Canada’s top artists. The Distillery District is the perfect backdrop for this event Sept 2nd – 5th.

Toronto Ukrainian Festival (September 16th-18th)


Every year I head to Bloor West for the Toronto Ukrainian festival. This 20-year-old festival celebrates the best of Ukranian culture with dance competitions, music, a parade and lots of great food.

Roncesvalles Polish Festival (September 17th)

The “world’s largest celebration of Polish culture in the world is celebrated right here in Toronto in Roncesvales. Insane, yes! There are four stages of live music and dance, and lots of pierogies and giant jelly doughnuts.  Which will you love more?  Saturday night , polka the night away under the stars.

There are several more festivals and events around Toronto that are free to attend all summer long, almost every day you can find something free to do!

Xtreme Wheels Stunt Show at Canada’s Wonderland

It’s Canada Day, and one of our favourite places to head is Canada’s Wonderland for the fireworks tonight. Now, we were in the park just two days ago for the very first Xtreme Wheels Show of the season. My daughter and I love Canada’s Wonderland. We have been season pass holders for three years now and this week’s visit was our second already this year. My teen and I love creating memories here.

Canadas Wonderland_082212_6088

What do we love about Canada’s Wonderland? It has something for everyone in the family. From the golfer who will want to try out the mini-putt course to the little ones who will love Planet Snoopy and Kidville to the thrill seeker like my daughter who loves the coasters. This weekend is special because of Canada’s birthday at the park; they are celebrating it all weekend long.

2016-06-29 10.21.22

There is the Craz-E-Crew Xtreme Wheels show. The fireworks tonight,  a Bacon Festival and Canadian Forces Appreciation Day! Sounds like a great way to celebrate your Canadian spirit!

Also at the park, new for this season are two rides. The Skyhawk and the Flying Eagles.




The Skyhawk is the first ride of it’s kind in North America. My daughter first tried it out on our last visit to the park. She loved taking control of her cockpit, showcasing her flying abilities as she challenged herself to engage in the multiple inversions at 135 feet in the air! Something this momma didn’t ride.

The Flying Eagles are little two person planes that glide 28 feet above the ground and allow each rider to control their flight experience. You can do donuts in the sky on this one. Perfect for the younger kids.

Now my daughter is a thrill seeker when we are in the park, She runs from ride to ride so she can pack her day full of rides, but even a busy teen needs a break once in awhile. We take those breaks watching some of the great entertainment that is available all summer long in the park. The other day we took in the Kinetx show (a favourite of ours that has some great new twists this year) and the Xtreme Wheels Stunt Show.

Loving the start of the #XremeWheels show at @canadaswonderland #cwbestday #ad

A video posted by Hollie (@commoncentsmom) on

The Craz-E-Crew Stunt Team is one of the world’s largest and most popular action sports thrill shows, featuring extreme sports stunts with BMX bikes, pogo sticks and inline skating! Some of the crew reached heights of up to 20 feet in the air while performing ! Let me say I held my breath at a couple of times during the show!

2016-06-29 15.29.34


Want to know how to save money while at the park?

The first plan online. Buy your tickets ahead of time and save money when you do so. Going to eat lots while you are at the park?


Going to eat lots while you are at the park? Buy the All Day Dining ticket that allows you to eat every 90 minutes while in the park. If you get to the park, early you could eat 5-6 times if you wished. We had three meals in the park the other day. Typically we allow one meal that we do around 2 pm ( we love the buffet and hit it then) and then grab a snack or funnel cake to share later in the day. Since we are season pass holders we save money, by showing our passes as well.

To save on drinks buy the souvenir cup. It is well worth the purchase. Get the green cup for $14.95 and for the first day you use it all your refills are free! Are you a seasons pass holder like me? Grab the orange one for $25.95; it gives you free refills all summer long. I know on those hot summer days we will be using it lots.

Tell me will you get to Canada’s Wonderland this summer?

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own