Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 | Tara Berries



December must be a crazy month for everyone and if you are like me you are probably just starting your Christmas shopping. I have been thinking very hard about what to give friends and family for Christmas and I thought I would share with you a few of the gifts I will giving this year.

For the Naughty Santa Game:

You have probably played the Naughty Santa game with family, friends, or co-workers but in case you don't know it, here is a run down: Everyone brings a gift and you all draw numbers and pick a gift to open accordingly. You can either open a gift or steal a gift except for the first person, they can open their gift and at the very end they get a chance to steal a gift if they choose. 

I think the Mouthguard Challenge Game game is an affordable game to give at a Naughty Santa gift exchange. It is a fun game and most people will like it.

Gift for Her:


The Blanket Scarf has quickly become a classic piece for anyone who lives in places that experience really cold winters. The Blanket Scarf can be done in so many ways which you can see here. This would be the perfect gift for a best friend or a sister.

Gift for Him:

This Syma X11C RC Quadcopter with Camera and LED Lights - Red is the perfect gift for a guy of any age. Most guys like toys and this Drone is affordable and has a camera attached to it. I highly recommend this drone for anyone who like to get a gadget for Chrstimas.

Gift for Mom:


If your mom is someone who you think would be interested in essential oils I highly recommend this Eden Garden gift set. The Top 6 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Basic Aromatherapy Sampler Essential Oil Gift Set by Edens Garden is a great starter kit for anyone interested in essential oils. The packaging of this gift set is perfect and the oils that come with the set are very useful. I use Lavendar in my laundry and Lemon when I am cleaning.

Gift for Dad:

If your dad loves being in the backyard all summer long he will love the All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) speaker. The Echo Dot is equipped with Alexa (kind of like Siri) and will sink with Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Amazon Music. Hands free is all the rage right now and your dad can be raking the leaves and he can ask Alexa to change the song. How neat is that?

Gift for the Harry Potter Fan:



There is always a Harry Potter fan in a family or group of friends and colouring books are still a big thing. This Harry Potter Coloring Book is gorgeous as all the pictures really reflect the world of Harry Potter and it official as it is published by Scholastic. I own this colouring book and I love to put on a movie on Netflix and colour in this book.

That  concludes my gift guide. I tried to pick items that were under $50 and I think I managed to accomplish this task. Let me know what is on your Christmas gift guide or if you plan on ordering any of the gifts that I listed from my own gift guide in the comments below.

Xo. Tara Berries 

Monday, 28 November 2016

25 Fun Things to put you in the Christmas Mood| Tara Berries


Christmas is a holiday that continues to be celebrated longer and longer each year. December hasn't even come yet and I have already put up my Christmas tree, lights, and all my decorations plus I have been to a Christmas party. Can you just imagine what December will be like?

My friends and I love Christmas and we try to together and celebrate by attending Christmas events throughout the community. I thought I would share with you some things that you could do to put you rself in the Christmas mood!

25 Fun Things to put you in the Christmas Mood:

1. Attend a Santa Claus Parade in your area. I have been to the Oshawa Santa Claus parade numerous times but this year my friends and I stood out in the freezing cold with snow billowing down on us to see the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. I had never been to the Toronto parade before and it was even more magical than seeing it on television. I loved being with my friends and enjoying the day.


2. Listen to Christmas music on the radio. The Buffalo Station 102.5 must start their Christmas music right after Hallowe'en because I have been listening to Christmas music all month long. I love putting Christmas songs on while wrapping Christmas presents or even just playing it in the car on my way to work.

3. Get a manicure in Christmas colours. I can't wait to be able to paint my nails for Christmas!

4. Create Christmas drinks and test them before serving them at Christmas parties. Apple Cider Sangria is a drink I plan to make this year.

5. Bake Cookies: My best friend and I baked Christmas cookies yesterday and they turned out so well! I was so happy to make sugar cookies and they tasted great.


6. Host a cookie exchange party: I haven't done this yet but it sounds like a neat idea. I like that you can bake one type of cookie and come home with many other different types. That way you aren't eating just one type of cookie for the month of December.

7. Read a Christmas Book: I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book and sit by the Christmas tree. Make a hot chocolate and you've got the perfect night! A book recommendation is Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The book is set over the holidays and I think it is nice and light which is great for a quick read over Christmas break.

8. Host a Do It Yourself party which is a great way to create Christmas gifts without spending too much money. DIY gifts are great because they come with extra meaning in them.

9. If you aren't interested in giving away Do It Yourself gifts you can always create Do It Yourself Christmas Decor for your house.

10. Host a Naughty Santa gift exchange party. I have already been to one last weekend and am going to another next weekend. I love these gift exchanges because the limit isn't too high and it is always fun to see the range of different gifts people receive.

11. Attend a Christmas Church Service. If there is anytime to attend Church, Christmas is that time. Churches usually put on a nativity play or  a Christmas themed play which are always fun to attend.

12. Set up a photoshoot for your family. My sister has a Christmas photoshoot every year with her kids and one of the photos will be the picture on the Christmas card she sends out. I think it is a great idea to get dressed up and share your life with those you love by sending a nice photo card.


13. Go shopping for a new Christmas outfit. I desperately need new clothes and a new Christmas outfit is something I will be looking for this month. It is nice to have an excuse to go and purchase new clothes!

14. Donate to a local food bank. Being fortunate enough to have food to eat everyday is something I take for granted and I noticed I had a number on non-perishable items I could donate and so I did. When you are blessed with so much it is important to bless others as well.

15. Order Swiss Chalet's Festive Special. If you are Canadian like I am you know all about Swiss Chalet's Festive Special but if you don't know about I will let you in on the secret. Around Christmas time Swiss Chalet, a chicken restaurant, sells their Festive Special which consists of rostisserie chicken, choice of side, stuffing, cranberry sauce, a bun, Swiss Chalet sauce, and a box of Lindor Chocolates. Delicious.

16. Advent Calendar. An Advent Calendar goes from December 1-24 and really counts down the days until Christmas. The most common Advent Calendar are chocolate ones but you can get ones filled with makeup, nail polish, or bath and body supplies.

17. Decorate your house: My house has been decorated for two weeks now but you can decorate your house whenever you feel like it. Whether you have a real Christmas tree or a fake one there is nothing quite like decorating for Christmas.

18. Visit Starbucks as much as you possibly can. I know a lot of people go on about the pumpkin spice latte during the fall but when Starbucks brings out their holiday drinks I am in heaven. I love their Chestnut Praline Latte so much that when I saw the Toronto Santa Claus parade I went and purchased three of them throughout the day.

19. Try out different Christmas Scented Candles. Bath & Body Works has the greatest supply of Christmas Themed candles and I love lighting them up and having my house filled with Christmas scents.

20. Practice your own Christmas photography: Baking Christmas cookies? Finished a DIY project and it looks AMAZING? Get out your camera and start taking pictures. Now is the time to share with the world the things you love and to practice taking photos with your camera.

21. Participate in a Secret Santa. This one is not something I am good at because I can't actually keep a secret. But if your work colleagues are interested of a group of friends want to do it this could be a great way to make someone smile as you get to secretly surprise them!

22. Write out Christmas cards: I love a handwritten note in my Christmas cards. The extra special sentiment goes a long way.

23. Christmas trivia night: Do you regularly have friends over for a game night? Well invite them over for Christmas trivia! I love trivia games and I really love Christmas so Christmas trivia ia a great idea.

24. Christmas movie night: This is a given and whether I am watching with friends or family or I am watching it alone, I always enjoy re-watching my favourite Christmas films.

25. Attend a Holiday Market: The Toronto Christmas Market is lovely this time of year. I haven't gone this year but I went last year and a few years before that and it really is worth the crowds to go! The decorations, the spiked apple cider in the beer gardens, Christmas carols playing, and the little shops selling homemade items all make it to be an extra special event!


I hope that my list gave you some good ideas to get you into the Christmas mood. Let me know if you plan on crossing some of these items off your own list in the comments below!

Xo. Tara Berries

Monday, 14 November 2016

AFFORDABLE ESSENTIAL OILS & DIFFUSER | TARA BERRIES


As a supply teacher, I become sick in October and I stop being sick around April and I can usually bet on a summer cold in mid July from a few days of working in a pre-school room. I have hand sanitizer that remains in my coat pocket and I use it all of the time, I wash my hands so much that they are constantly dry, and I take a healthy dose of vitamins every day and I still am sick for so long. I have finally decided I need to step up my game and I researched essential oils. I am sure that essential oils are not going to cure the common cold or the seasonal flu but I sleep with a humidifier on every night and having an essential oil to add to the water may just help.

When I was doing research I first looked at the two big essential oil companies: doTerra and Young Living and was shocked at the price of their essential oils and diffusers. There was no way I was paying those prices so I researched further and began looking on Amazon. I noticed that some of the oils that were really cheap were not therapy grade and might actually not be worth paying for but I found a company that sold good quality therapy grade essential oils at a good price through Amazon and on their own web-site. 

Edens Garden creates 100% therapeutic grade essential oils and they have great gift sets. I decided to compare their Everyday 100% Pure Essential Oil Gift Set to a similar one from doTerra. The doTerra Family Essentials Kit includes ten 5mL bottles of: lavender, lemon, peppermint, melaleuca, oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue, doTerra Breathe, DigestZen, and doTerra On Guard for $166.67. The Everyday 100% Pure Essential Oil Gift Set includes twelve 10mL bottles of: Breathe Easier, Cleaning, Fighting Five (similar to Four Thieves), Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Muscle Relief, Peppermint, Purify, Stress Relief, Tea Tree, and Up Lift for $79.95. You get double the amount in each bottle with Edens Garden in comparison with doTerra and you get two more bottles of essential oil.          

                                


I ordered my set and have been loving using Breathe Easier in my diffuser which I bought on Amazon for $34.99. The diffuser I purchased is called the Sterline Ceramic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser and I think it is so gorgeous in my living room. It has six colour changes and has an adjustable mist mode. The doTerra Lotus Diffuser is $119.00 which is way too much to pay for a 
diffuser in my opinion. 

Tara's Ten Uses for Essential Oils:

1. Add essential oils to your humidifier to help you breathe easier at night.
2. Diffuse essential oils in your living room to add a relaxing fragrance when having company over.
3. Add essential oils like Tea Tree oil to your hair care regimen to avoid head lice (I work with kids)
4. Rub Peppermint Essential Oil to your forehead when having a headache.
5. Diffuse Fighting Five Essential Oil to kill airborne bacteria.
6. Adding Cleaning Essential Oil to your homemade cleaning mixture to give it a better scent.
7. Add Lavender Essential Oil to dryer balls to give a nice relaxing scent to your laundry.
8. Rub Muscle Relief and Coconut Oil together on sore muscles.
9. Rub Breathe Easier and Coconut Oil to your chest when you are congested.
10. Use water and Lemon essential oil to spray on your couch to prevent your cat from scratching it.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HBZYV38/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01HBZYV38&linkCode=as2&tag=taraberries-20&linkId=51b264e22d3466da4dd528d8926bc81d






I hope you found this blog post helpful if you are looking for a more affordable option on buying essential oils and a diffuser. Let me know if you have any questions about using essential oils in comments below!

Xo. Tara Berries
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

STELLA & DOT CUSTOMER APPRECIATION SALE | TARA BERRIES


Hello blog readers! You all know my love for Stella & Dot is real and I take full appreciation of my friend Amanda who is an Independent Stylist with Stella & Dot. I recently purchased the Pave Triangle Path Ear Climber in Gold which I was so excited to have as they are on trend right now. I also purchased a perfect bracelet to wear on a night out called the Arrison Stretch Bracelet in silver. 


If you are looking for some beautiful jewellery pieces to purchase as gifts over the holidays or to treat yourself then look no further! Stella & Dot are having a Customer Appreciation Sale where if you spend $100 you will receive $25 off your order! I am already looking at what I am going to purchase next from Stella & Dot!





While ordering my bracelet and earrings with Stella & Dot I learned that they have come out with a new line of fine jewellery and leather accessories called Covet. Any jewellery that includes real gold and diamonds has my name all over it!




I hope you are able to take advantage of the sale happening right now! Let me know in the comments what your favourite pieces are from Stella & Dot!

Hope you enjoy your weekend! 

Xo. Tara Beries


Sunday, 25 September 2016

MY FALL HEALTH ROUTINE | Tara Berries


Fall is officially here and that means people are indoors more and are more likely to get sick. I am one of those people who is sick a lot as I work with  children and they carry every germ imaginable. I thought I would share with you some of my fall health routine to keep myself feeling refreshed!

1. Fall Walks: I always enjoy a walk along the trails in the fall. Each night I have been going for walks in the trail behind my house and it is so refreshing. I find when I go for a walk I am able to sleep so much better.

2. Yoga: I find this time of year anxiety can really get to me. Driving to new schools or working so much I don't get much down time can really bother me so practicing yoga each day helps me relax. Practicing yoga helps remind me to slow things down and enjoy the present moment.

3. Coconut Oil Mask: I suffer from incredibly dry skin and the fall is when it starts to really bother me. I was told that coconut oil will do miracles for my skin so I went to Costco and bought coconut oil and have been putting it on my face before bed. I have ordered some essential oils so I can add some to my evening face mask. I find when I wake up the next morning my skin is much more hydrated than if I was using a store bought moisturizer.

4. Taking my daily vitamins: I have a horrible immune system so taking daily vitamins helps boost my immune system to handle going into different classes each day. I take Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and Zinc all of which were suggested by my doctor.

5. Hot lemon water: I drink hot lemon water each evening before bed. I find this is the greatest way to prevent laryngitis if I do catch a cold or flu. I have suffered through month long bouts of laryngitis to know I should try and keep it at bay and hot lemon water does the trick.


Now that I have told you how I try and stay healthy throughout the fall months please let me know if you have any tips on how to stay healthy in comments below. If you liked this post please follow me on Bloglovin'!

Xo. Tara Berries

Thursday, 22 September 2016

TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT FALL | Tara Berries


Fall is a beautiful time of year as the leaves change colour, temperatures get cooler, and time spent with friends become a bit more intimate. Today is the first day of fall and I thought I would share with you why I love fall so much.

Ten things I love about fall:
1. Decorating for Hallowe'en in October is something I get excited about each and every year. Something as simple as a pumpkin decoration gets me all happy in anticipation!

2. My favourite television shows start and with the sun going down a lot earlier, watching television in the evening becomes much more enjoyable. Anyone watch This Is Us? I think I have found my new favourite show!

3. I get to bring out my favourite clothing item: the blanket scarf. There is a lady in Bownmanville called The Scarf Lady and she sells blanket scarves which is where I bought the one in the picture below. I love my blanket scarf as it keeps me warm and is so cute!


4. In the fall coffee dates become much more common and I love how intimate they can be. Sitting inside a coffee house chatting about work, family, and life in general with a good friend can be just the social interaction I am looking for.


5. Hallowe'en movies appearing on television is another thing I love about fall. I don't think there is a year that passes where I don't watch Hocus Pocus - the greatest Hallowe'en movie around- but also introducing my nephew to movies like Casper can be great fun as well.

6. The leaves change colour and our fashion and makeup change colour as well. Gone are the pink lip glosses as we welcome dark plums and reds to match our clothing.

7. Fall vegetables are now in season! Butternut squash soup and root vegetables in a nice stew are so nice to have on a cold evening.

8. Reading a great book. I am almost finished with Baby Doll by Holly Overton and I have to say, I really enjoy it. I like how each character has their own challenges and they aren't considered perfect.


 9. My life is on a schedule! Being a supply teacher can give me similar schedules to the students I teach. Sleeping in and staying up late is great for the summer but I am ready to work each day and have a daily schedule.

10. The last thing I love about fall is Hallowe'en! Dressing up in costumes, handing out candy, eating candy- I love it all! Below is a picture of my best friend and I wearing the masks of Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets.


That concludes my list of things I love about fall! Please let me know in the comments what you love about fall or if you don't like, tell me what you don't like! I look forward to reading your comments. Never miss a post by following me on Bloglovin'!

Xo. Tara Berries

Sunday, 18 September 2016

FALL READS FOR THE HARRY POTTER FAN | TARA BERRIES



I remember the year 2007 like it was yesterday, I spent it going to Wizard Rock concerts, listening to MuggleCast, and staying up to go to a Midnight Release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You can imagine what that night looked like as I went straight home and read it in less than 24 hours. 2016 has reminded me an awful lot of 2007 what with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as the ebooks Jo Rowling released this summer.

Seeing that the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being released in theatres November 2016 I thought I would share with you three fall reads for the Harry Potter fan.

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (2009). This book was released years ago and the proceeds went to charity. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook in the famous Harry Potter series and Rowling wrote the book describing different beasts in the Wizarding World. I will be rereading this book before the movie (same title but Rowling wrote a screenplay of a different story) comes out in November.

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them An Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling (2016). This is a hardcover screenplay of the movie being released in November. Jo Rowling wrote this completely herself and it is based in New York City with Eddie Redmayne (swoons) as the main character. The release date is November 18, 2016 and you can pre-order it through Amazon and have it arrive at your house (no massive line-ups at midnight). Having read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I am confident that I will enjoy reading another screenplay and can't wait to delve into a magical story again.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 2) by J. K. Rowling, released October 4, 2016. Scholastic released the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone last fall and this fall they are releasing the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I own the illustrated version of Sorcerer's Stone and I have to say, it is exquisite and is a Harry Potter fan's dream. I must say, my Harry Potter books have been well loved over the years so Scholastic releasing hardcover illustrated versions of each Harry Potter book each year is brilliant as it allows me to have a nicer version of the book without paying for a box set of hardcover books all at once. Also, I love rereading Harry Potter books and autumn is the perfect time to reread the book along with gorgeous illustrations.

Are you a fan of Harry Potter? If so, please let me know in the comments which books you will be purchasing this fall of if you will be putting these books on your Christmas wishlist. If you haven't read Harry Potter, let me know which books you will be reading this fall. If you like this post and you don't want to miss any of my future blog posts please follow me on Bloglovin'.

Don't forget to be awesome,
Tara Berries

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Thursday, 15 September 2016

FIVE ON FRIDAY | TARA BERRIES




Woohoo, it is the second Friday of the school year! I have already worked my first supply day and am eagerly anticipating more days to come. This past week has been quite a chill week for me but I have been doing more research on how to make my blog better and I will let you know what type of research I have been doing in this blog post! Since it is Friday I thought I would share with you five things that I have done this week.

1. I visited the Toronto Zoo. If you are a regular on my blog then you would have read my review of the time I spent at the Toronto Zoo. It was such a fun experience and I got to meet Juno, the ten-month-old polar bear! There was also the first pair of twin pandas ever born in Canada, how cool is that? You can check out my review here and let me know if you have been to the Toronto Zoo or any zoo near you in the comments section. 


2. Melyssa Griffin's Webinar: 4 Ways to Use Pinterest to Dramatically Grow Your Traffic + Audience. I am part of Melyssa Griffin's (a blog marketing guru) mailing list and when she mentioned she was giving a free webinar I was totally in. Luckily I was available to see what she had to say about growing my Pinterest traffic and she had a lot of cool ideas. I am slowly putting her tips into practice on my Pinterest page and making better graphics for my blog. I know I still need to work on my photography but that will come along with time.

3. I finally put up my sign from Anchor & Co. Don't forget to be awesome is my favourite saying and I even have a necklace from Stella & Dot with the letters DFTBA on it (all my students like to ask me what the letters stand for). So when I won this beautiful sign in an online auction I was incredibly happy.

4. My UNIK CASE-Purple Light Blue Gradient Ombre Triangular Galore Graphic Ultra Slim Light Weight Matte Rubberized Hard Case Cover for Macbook Air 13". Alright, so I am little knew to the MacBook world and I am in laptop love. I have always been very techy (obviously, I run a blog) but this MacBook is literally a dream come true. I have been meaning to find a stylish case for it and I just ordered this case off of Amazon. I love the ombre look and I think it reflects my girly style so well. I can't wait to show you all pictures of it when it comes in the mail. 


5. Millennial Show Podcast: I have stated in previous blog posts that I am a huge fan of these podcasters (they also created MuggleCast back in the day) and I have followed them through their podcasting careers. Millennial Show is the type of podcast that makes you laugh out loud at their funny day-to-day lives but also keeps you informed on current events. Such a fun show to listen to in the car on my way to a supply teaching call.

Thank-you so much for reading my Five on Friday. Let me know what you are loving this Friday in the comments below.

Xo. Tara Berries

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

DAY TRIP TO THE TORONTO ZOO | TARA BERRIES


My grade eight teacher was a zoologist before becoming a teacher and she was on the show Zoo Diaries. She used to work with the gorillas and she set up a field trip for us all to go. During that time there were elephants and we got to go see where they stayed when they weren't on display but since then the Toronto Zoo sent the elephants to a more suitable climate. Recently, my sister and I went with my nephews to the Toronto Zoo (over thirteen years since I was last there) and I had such an amazing time!

The great thing about the Toronto Zoo is that they have a lot of baby animals and they are really neat to see. They have twin baby pandas who were the first panda bears born in Canada which was absolutely amazing. There was a lineup to see the pandas because they move to Calgary after they spend five years in Toronto and they are an inside exhibit.


I also learned about a whole new species of animal that I didn't know existed, the red panda. I had never heard of them before and I noticed they look like raccoons. I was so excited they came out of hiding when we were there.



The Toronto Zoo has added so many great statues, waterfalls, and caves that it is really special to get to walk around and see the different exhibits. It took the whole day to go through the park and we missed a lot of animals (I didn't get to see flamingos or the grizzly bear). We did not pay extra for the Zoomobile so we had a lot of walking which I enjoyed because we went in September when the weather was cooler. 




 This is Juno the ten-month-old polar bear. 




I had such a wonderful day at the Toronto Zoo as it was well worth the money to go and spend the day there. I could tell the animals were well taken care of and that protecting endangered animals was very important to the zoo. Have you been to a zoo, which one was it and did you enjoy it? What are your favourite animals to see at the zoo? Let me know in the comments!

Xo. Tara Berries