Sunday, 29 May 2016

TEACHER AND GRADUATE GIFT IDEAS | TARA BERRIES

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

Ah, summer is so close and I can't wait. This time of year is exciting for students but also just as exciting for the many teachers who have given so much of their time in helping little ones be the best they can be. As a supply teacher I am looking forward to the summer and I also know I will miss my students I have been working with all year long. Here is a list of great teacher gifts that are both affordable and thoughtful!

Stella and Dot has a variety of beautiful bracelets for under $50.00 that can be given to a wonderful teacher who has impacted your child's life. If you are in the US there is a Memorial Day sale where you can get an extra 25% off sale items!! 

There is also this beautiful Pave Arrow Cuff in Silver that would be a fantastic teacher gift. Did you know that if you spend $50.00 at Stella & Dot you earn $25 dot dollars that you can spend at a later date? I think it is a perfect way to buy a teacher gift or a graduate gift and also pick up a little something for yourself as well.

If you have a new graduate to buy for or a friend's birthday, you can get them the Westwood Scarf in Dove Grey Metallic (shown in the picture above). I personally bought this scarf as it can be worn as a bathing suit wrap or a vest and I love the shimmer to it from the metallic detail. In the picture above I am also wearing my Signature Engravable Bar Necklace in Rose Gold which I engraved with my favourite saying DFTBA, which means "Don't forget to be awesome!" You could engrave the date a friend graduated, their birthday, or anniversary, I love how personal it can be. 

Have you purchased any items from Stella & Dot before? If so, which items and did you purchase and did you like them? If not, take a look at their site and let me know which items you are interested in. 

Xo. Tara Berries

Saturday, 28 May 2016

MYSTERIOUSLY YOURS DINNER THEATRE REVIEW | TARA BERRIES


Mysteriously Yours is a dinner and murder mystery show in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Davisville and I have been three times. The last time I went was on Friday May 27, 2016 which I enjoyed with a group of friends. The theatre does different shows throughout the seasons. The first time I went was in 2011 and there was a detective show with Harry Podder and Anderson Scooper. The most recent show I went to was called "Killer Tunes" which featured actors playing the roles of famous singers: Elvis, Taylor Stift, Justin Bieberdrake, Celine Dijon, Ozzy, Bobby D, and it was hosted by Donald Chump.


You can book your show online and pay at the door. When booking online you can also include someone in your group to be apart of the show (particularly if it is a birthday or anniversary). Once you arrive at the theatre you sign your name on a tag (good to stick with your own name but my group wanted to be the Spice Girls) and are seated at a dinner table. The wait staff are amazing and will begin with ordering your drinks (which are not including in the price of the dinner and show). The theatre has their usual drink menu but they also have a special menu geared towards the show which is a nice added touch.


Then dinner starts and you have the choice between salad or soup and I picked their vegetable soup. There was also a few choices for dinner and I picked the beef brisket which was filled with flavour. Finally, there is dessert and my friend ordered the cheesecake in a cup (shown above) and I ordered the apple and rhubarb tart (I ate it before taking a picture). The dinner is delicious and I remember the other two times I had been the dinner was also good and I had no complaints. 


As dinner wraps up the actors come out to talk with the audience and I met Taylor Stift! During this part of the show you can talk to the actors and get to know their personality in the show.




Our friend Caitlin had her birthday earlier in May and Dale thought it would be a fun idea to include her in the show. Caitlin got to present an award and I think she enjoyed it. There are plenty of times throughout the show that the audience is included and has a role to play. Sometimes it isn't whether you requested being in the show but just where you are seated that gives you a part. For instance I was included in the murder mystery when Elvis was introduced and he fainted on me during the show. The mystery of who committed the crime isn't the only mystery when watching the show it is also wondering who in the audience is going to be included next.                    

As the show is ending the audience writes down who think they committed the murder and when the murder is revealed their names can be drawn for a little prize. Also, the actors acknowledge the people who are celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries. 


A show at Mysteriously Yours is filled with puns and jokes that include current events, pop culture, and a little Canadian culture. I would highly recommend having dinner and enjoying a murder mystery show at Mysteriously Yours because it is so much fun. The way the actors interact with the audience is something you don't get at a musical or play and is something special and unique in Mysteriously Yours. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

My 26th Birthday Celebrations | Tara Berries

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



This past Wednesday I turned 26 years-old and with that came a week long celebration with different people. I am very lucky to have my birthday the day before two of my best friends who are a year older than myself. I always celebrate with my best friend Dale but Megan and I are not always in the same area to celebrate together so this year was extra nice. My friend Crystal made my birthday special by taking me out to dinner and buying me cupcakes!



The week long birthday celebration started off with my best friend planning a laser quest night for the May birthday friends he has. We went out on a Friday and played three games (I lost all three games) and we obviously picked Harry Potter names when playing. Then on Sunday I planned a trampoline day at Sky Zone in Whitby which was a lot of fun. My friends and I did our gift exchange on this day and I bought Dale a Fitbit, a travel tea mug, and a lantern for his patio. I also purchased a Stella & Dot bracelet for my friend Megan which I am so glad she loves. Did you know Stella & Dot has a wonderful variety of gifts for under $50? Check out their web-site and see the beautiful accessories they have.


I was spoiled on my birthday by all of my loving friends and family. My friend Kylee bought me a Charmed Aroma candle (read my review here) and a Thirty-One tote bag (perfect for supply teachers!) My sister had a Stella & Dot trunk show and my mom attended and bought me the Lightning Studs and the Aurora Stud Pack in silver. I also had a Jamberry party with my friends and got some really nice nail wraps and manicure items.


My good friend Megan's mom is a retired kindergarten teacher and she knows what I need in order to go from class to class. She has given me several "Supply Teacher Emergency Kits" but this one takes the cake! She bought an Inside Out book, a craft package, bookmarks to give out, stickers, a journal, notes to the teachers, and certificates! My best friend Dale bought me the book shown in the picture above Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and he bought me this Kate Spade phone case.

On my birthday my sister hosted a pizza party for me. She makes her pizza homemade including the dough and the sauce. I love it so much and I appreciate the effort it took for both my sister and brother-in-law in making this delicious pizza. Our friends Amanda and Nathan came over and they were so sweet! I received some gift cards which have already been put to good use.

This past weekend we ended our birthday celebrations by going for drinks to celebrate Megan's birthday in Toronto. We went to a pub and met up with Megan, her husband David, and their friends. I spent the night with Dale and the next day we went for brunch with our friend Isaac. I enjoyed this whole week because I was able to spend time with my wonderful friends and family.

How do you celebrate your birthdays? Let me know in the comments!

Xo. Tara Berries

Sunday, 22 May 2016

VINTAGE THEME BRIDAL SHOWER | TARA BERRIES


I met my friend Stephanie at university when our small satellite campus moved to its own place and not one shared by the bigger tech university. We did some really fun and neat things while at Trent and since then we have both moved on from the campus and into bigger and better challenges. Stephanie moved to Montreal but every time she visits Oshawa I make it a point to visit with her. So I was honoured when she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. We recently hosted a bridal shower in Oshawa for Stephanie and it was a lot of fun.



The bridal shower was held at her home church in Oshawa which was neat as there was a lot of space for us to prepare. Stephanie's soon-to-be mother-in-law surprised us all with her unique food creations and her homemade doughnuts. I was in charge of the cake and spent fifteen minutes in the store thinking of what writing to put on. The teacher inside me knew that "Congratulations Stephanie!" was not acceptable and I tried to remember what cakes I had seen in the past. "From Miss to Mrs. Our Best Wishes, Stephanie!" was what I came up with and I am quite proud of that!



 Games are my favourite part of any shower and each of Stephanie's bridesmaids (except for her younger sister) were asked to come up with a game or something guests could  do for Stephanie. Stephanie's Maid of Honour, Chandra, came up with writing marriage advice for Stephanie on Jenga pieces so when Stephanie and Ben are playing Jenga they can read the marriage advice their friends gave to them. Ashlyn came up with a fun "How Well Do You Know the Bride" questionnaire and I came up with a kisses estimation jar (pretty brilliant because the jar full of kisses is also the prize). For the party favours I purchased hand soap at Michael's and tied tulle bows around them. They were a great decoration piece and a usable item for guests to take home.


When planning the shower, Chandra wanted to stick with Stephanie's colours, lavender and grey. Chandra also thought of the vintage theme and had cute mason jars with flowers on each table the guests sat at and she brought doilies to write game instructions on. I saw the chalkboard sign at Michael's and instantly knew that it worked with the vintage theme and thought it was a nice added touch to my estimation game.


 Overall the wedding shower was a lot of fun and very successful. I enjoyed trying all the different foods people made for the potluck style lunch we threw and watching Stephanie open her gifts and thanking everyone was nice. Stephanie is a very thoughtful and kind friend and she deserves the best during her wedding season. 

Have you been to a bridal shower recently? What are your favourite games to play? Do you have a food item you always bring (mine is fruit punch)?

Xo. Tara Berries

Sunday, 8 May 2016

WHY WE SHOULD STOP PICKING ON MILLENNIALS | TARA BERRIES


The other day my friend played this video which is titled "Millennial Song" for me about how Millennials (my generation) are lazy and entitled. This song sparked a conversation between my friend and I about whether or not it was true and he believed that Millennials are entitled and lazy and I disagreed with him. I think that like most generations who share the same modern world together there is one generation blaming another one or talking bad about that generation.

First of all, I don't think calling one young generation lazy and entitled adds to the conversation of how to fix societal problems but just adds barriers to those problems. By scapegoating Millennials for problems such as youth unemployment rates we fail to find a solution to the problem. 

In Millennial Song the singer mentions a young man in a coffee shop who is unemployed and makes fun of this man despite the fact that the youth unemployment rate in some areas is much higher than the overall unemployment rate. This means that it is more challenging for young people to work while they are in school or just graduating. Millennials are constantly being told how unprofessional they are but that is simply not true, we work hard throughout school to build up our resumes by working minimum wage jobs and volunteering to get experience in our field. In order to get an entry level position it takes years and years of hard work just to be considered for a job.


No matter what generation it is, the youth culture is always looked down upon. When I was growing up my mom would constantly point out my friends who took on the punk style and would comment on how she didn't understand it. In Millennial Song the singer mentions a young girl on Instagram who takes selfies which is apart of youth culture and can be a positive one. Just because one generation never had the technology doesn't mean they can make fun of another generation who has access to that technology. 

What bothers me the most about the Millennial Blame Game that goes on from the baby boomers and Generation X is that it is plain scapegoating. When one generation blames young people for societal problems like unemployment it doesn't make sense. The youth unemployment rate is caused by many contributing factors and laziness is most likely not one of them. As a teenager with access to a computer I was presented with teenagers who created popular web-sites (MuggleNet) and podcasts (MuggleCast) and started their careers on YouTube. Web-sites, podcasts, and online videos were not available to the previous generation and Millennials took what was available to them and created careers for themselves. 



When starting a conversation about climate change I don't go, "Well if it weren't for the entitled baby boomers consuming resources we wouldn't be in this situation.' The blame game does not add to the conversation it only serves to alienate one generation. We need to work together and utilize the strengths of each generation to help solve societal problems. 

Have you experienced the Millennial Blame Game that happens? Did you know about the Google Chrome extension that changes the word "Millennial" to "Snake People"? You should check it out! Leave a comment letting me know if you think Millennials are entitled and lazy or if you disagree with that notion. I look forward to reading your comments.

Xo. Tara Berries

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

WHAT'S IN MY KATE SPADE HANDBAG? + MAKEUP BAG | Tara Berries


I was completely surprised this past Christmas 2015 because my best friend gave me this beautiful Kate Spade tote. I am not one to ever ask for anything Kate Spade but out of the blue my best friend surprised me with a Kate Spade handbag and I couldn't have been happier. The idea of someone just thinking that I deserved something special was extremely nice and out of the blue. 

I don't like to keep a handbag brimming with items I don't use so what I keep in my tote is a 2016 planner that I bought at Chapters, a Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer (can you tell I work with little children?), my Kate Spade clutch which holds money and my bank cards, and a small make-up bag. 

I use my planner for just about everything. As a supply teacher I like to keep track of where I worked and for how long (I record whether it was a half day, 2/3rds day, or a whole day). I also keep track of when I write a blog post, when my bill payments are due, appointments, and any birthdays or celebrations happening. 

My Kate Spade Clutch is great because when I don't want to take a big tote out with me and friends for the night I just take out my clutch, add a lip gloss to it and I am good to go. I bought the clutch at the Niagara Falls outlet last year and I love the Tiffany blue colour it has.



Finally, I also carry a makeup bag. The reason I carry my make-up in a separate bag is because it is easier to know that my makeup is all in one place and it doesn't get the inside of my tote bag dirty. I typically carry a foundation and the one I am currently carrying is the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour full coverage foundation SPF 15. I then carry a makeup brush, lipstick, lip gloss, cover up, a mini mascara, and a nail file. 

What type of handbag are you currently using and what are your essentials that you keep inside your bag? Let me know in the comments! 

Xo. Tara Berries

Monday, 2 May 2016

You know you grew up Canadian when...


I am not the patriotic type as I believe that boarders build barriers to many things and that there are many great places in the world, not just my beautiful country. That being said, I do love being Canadian and I certainly loved growing up in the nineties in Canada. Today I am sharing with you some of the things us Canadian kids grew up with and if you have any to add please share them in the comments!

You know you grew up Canadian when...

1. You spent many winters trying to build an igloo on your front lawn with your friends.

2. The ultimate lunch was kraft dinner anyway you like it.



3. You were never quite certain if the house hippo was real or not.


4. Dressing for school in the winter meant looking like a brightly coloured star fish.

5. If you are anglophone, the only things you know to say in French were taught by a talking pineapple.



6. When Hedley was the biggest band to play at your university campus.

7.  You got so annoyed when an American web-site isn't available in Canada.

8. You had nightmares over Are You Afraid of the Dark?


9. You went to Quebec City with your school and ate maple syrup on snow.

10. Niagara Falls was where you partied on your 10th birthday, 16th birthday, 19th birthday, 21st birthday, bachelorette party etc...


I realize that some of these points are geographically specific (not all Canadians visit Niagara Falls almost every year). If you have any quirky things you did growing up as a kid post them in the comments, I would love to hear about them!

Xo. Tara Berries


Sunday, 1 May 2016

April Wrap-Up | Tara Berries


April was a wonderful month filled with many fun and exciting activities. My favourite purchase of the month was the top I am wearing in the photo above which is from the brand Dex. I was staying at my sister's house for the last week while she was away on a cruise and I went shopping in downtown Bowmanville at a boutique called Turquoise where I found the top and thought it would be great to wear this spring.

The best part about April was getting to spend a lot of quality time with my nephews. In the photo above I got to spend some one-on-one time with Liam where I took him out to play mini-golf and for dessert afterwards. At the beginning of the month two of my nephews were awarded trophies for hockey and I was there to cheer them on!


Sometimes it is nice to get out with some coworkers and enjoy a night out on the town and that is just what I did with some supply teacher friends of mine. There is a Canadian TV series called Mr. D and it is about a teacher in a private school and the antics he gets up to. Gerry Dee is the main character who plays Mr. D and he is on tour with his comedy show and came to Oshawa's GM Centre where the girls and I had a blast. He made a joke about supply teachers being woken up by a robot each morning that really hit home. The comedy show was very relatable and I highly recommend checking Gerry Dee out.


I have tried out being more creative with my journal and I wrote down my May goals and April accomplishments. April was a wonderful month for my blog and I have accomplished a lot of things including giving it a new layout. In May I want to post more blog posts and work on my photography skills. I can't wait to see what May has in store as it is my birthday month!

What were your favourite parts of April and what are you looking forward to in May?

Xo. Tara Berries