A Vacation In Our Own Backyard

Parliament Hill

Something people may not know about me is that before I became a blogger, I went through a pretty hard core phase as a contester. I’m not talking about entering a couple contests here and there either. I mean full blown, spreadsheet creating, madness! I have probably entered about five contests in my first year as a blogger and this past weekend I was lucky enough to win a weekend stay at a hotel right in my own town, the Ottawa Marriott.

After breaking the good news to my wife, we decided to spend one night in the hotel with the kids and one night with just the two of us. A huge thanks to my Mom for watching the kids on the second night to allow us to have our first night away in almost two years! We got there and immediately headed down to the kids play room. I had heard about this from a few friends and couldn’t wait to check it out for myself. As expected, the kids had a blast and negotiated their way to an extra 15 minutes of play time. They probably could have scored an extra 30 minutes, but don’t tell them that.









The kids love staying in hotels and we decided to get a king sized bed so we could all sleep together. I knew that meant we would get a little less sleep and I even took a few shots to the face from the boy, but it was totally worth it to see their smiling faces. And just in case anyone from the Marriott reads this, I promised that the kids would jump on the bed and I always keep my promises. I even threw in a little extra…

Daddy jumps on beds too!

Daddy jumps on beds too!

Jumping Kids










As much fun as night one had been, I was definitely looking forward to some husband and wife time. It had been so long since we could just go out to enjoy a dinner without worrying about how late it was. We enjoyed a nice dinner at the Hard Rock and headed back to the hotel to watch a movie. Unfortunately the movie channel was broken, so we were left without many options on TV on a Saturday night.

Fortunately, if I taught my wife anything about social media, it is that excellent brands always come through in the clutch! She had just started to discover the world of twitter and expressed her disappointment over not being able to watch a movie together. Two minutes later, the phone rang and it was the manager of the hotel, who mentioned they saw her tweet and wanted to make it right. They offered to bring up a DVD player and some movies for us, which I appreciated but declined. That would have been enough for me but they decided to go the extra mile and offered us breakfast in bed for two the next morning. JOY!

Sunset ViewBreakfast Bed








I took so much away from this weekend and have felt extremely energized ever since. It’s so important to take the time to unwind, both as a family and as a couple. To be able to do it right in our own backyard was icing on the cake. This is not a sponsored post in any way but I want to say a huge thank you to the Ottawa Marriott for your hospitality and amazing service. Also, thank you for having a Starbucks in the lobby!


It’s Time to Vote in the Starbucks Canada “Name Your Blend” Contest

Starbucks Finalists

You may remember back in January, I had asked you to submit your entries in Starbucks Canada’s “Name Your Blend” contest. Well, the entries have been tabulated and the 3 finalists (shown in above photo) are waiting to find out if they will be crowned the winner!

That’s where YOU come in! Starbucks Canada needs your help in selecting the winner. That person will have their winning name featured on the packaging and will also receive a trip for two anywhere in Canada that has a Starbucks location. You can VOTE HERE until February 27th!

Don’t forget to stop in to say hi to Starbucks Canada on Twitter and Facebook as well! Have a great day!!!

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Introducing Starbucks Canada’s “Name Your Blend” Contest

Starbucks Blonde Roast

I have kids = I love coffee.

I write a blog = I love coffee.

I am a shift worker = I love coffee.

If you were to do the math on those equations, which I won’t bore you with, you would realize that I am a big fan of drinking coffee. Admittedly, I am not a fancy coffee kind of guy. I like my large Medium Roast with 2 milk and 1 sugar (you know, in case you’re in the neighbourhood) and I don’t sway too far from that formula. My wife on the other hand, she likes the fancy stuff!

That brings us to the reason for this post. My friends at Starbucks Canada have asked me to let you know about a new contest they have going on. For the first time ever, Starbucks Canada is asking You to Name Your Blend of their popular Blonde Roast coffee. One lucky entrant is going to win a trip anywhere in Canada to meet a friend for coffee AND have their winning blend displayed on every pack of Canada’s favourite Blonde Roast. You can Enter Here!

About Starbucks® Blonde Roast

Starbucks® Blonde Roast is a lighter roast option. From their research, Starbucks found that 60 per cent of Canadian coffee drinkers prefer a lighter roast coffee (light/medium). They also know that a significant majority of Canadian brewed coffee drinkers add milk and/or sugar to their coffee. Starbucks® Blonde Roast is an easy drinking coffee with a subtle, mellow flavour that is perfectly suited to the Canadian palate, and specially crafted to compliment milk, sugar and flavours.

The “Name Your Blend” Contest

From Monday, January 28th at 12:00:00 a.m. EST to February 10 at 11:59:59 p.m., Canadians are invited to visit to participate in the Starbucks Name Your Blend Contest to help re-name Verdana Blend™. Contest participants are required to submit their name suggestion along with an essay, between 25 and 1,000 characters, describing why they chose the name and how it relates to the Starbucks image/brand. From February 11 – 17, the judging panel, made up of a council of Starbucks partners, will narrow down the entries to three finalists. On Monday, February 18 at 12:00:00 a.m. EST, the top three finalists will be revealed and Canadians will have the opportunity to vote on their favourite name. Voting closes on Monday, February 25 at 11:59:59 a.m. EST. All contest entries including name suggestions and essays must be submitted in English.

Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Starbucks, grab your blonde roast for inspiration and get your entry in today! Also, I know a lot of you will probably want to choose me as the friend you would like to meet for coffee and I’d just like to say that I am totally okay with that!