Create Your Bowl With OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CreateYourBowl #CollectiveBias OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

Ever since I was a kid, my family’s had an unwritten rule that we eat dinner together on Sunday nights. During the week, busy work schedules, sports teams and other commitments have everyone coming home at different times. It’s also quite common for at least one of us to make alternate dinner plans on Saturday nights. Alas, this leaves Sunday, which tends to be the day when there’s time to cook and eat a meal together as a family.

I’m a firm believer that it’s important to make the effort to have dinner as a family on a regular basis, at least, if distance allows. Sharing a meal is the perfect excuse to catch up, talk, and create memories. Oh, and no phones allowed at the table, or it doesn’t count!

Dinner with the family doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to prepare. It just needs to be a meal that everyone enjoys, and in my house, everyone loves taco night! Since tacos are a crowd-pleaser, we eat them quite frequently. To keep things interesting and fun, I always like to keep my eyes open for new and exciting products. On my most recent stroll through the Mexican foods isle at Loblaws, the OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls caught my attention. I’d never tried them before, but they looked fun, which was enough to sell me on them.

When we have Mexican-style food, my family and I like to go all out with the toppings. At the absolute minimum, we like to top our tacos with grated cheddar cheese, OLD EL PASO refried beans, and shredded lettuce for colour and texture. The rest of my family would argue that sour cream is also an essential topping, but I’m not a fan of the stuff. As far as I see it, more toppings makes the meal more fun and enjoyable for everyone. After all, who doesn’t like to play with their food? I don’t think you’re ever too old for that!

When time allows, I like to add my own spin to the final plate: homemade pico de gallo and guacamole. The two go hand-in-hand and really help elevate taco night to the next level. Scroll through for the recipe!

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls - Homemade Pico de Galo and Guacamole

The verdict? The OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls were delicious, easy to fill, easy to eat, and they’re the only soft taco I’ve ever seen that’s able to stand up on its own. Even after I filled mine to the brim with delicious taco meat and all the toppings, it continued to stand on my plate.

OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls are available in two sizes – original and mini. I bought the original size, but I’ll probably try the mini ones next time. I think it would be fun to use the mini tortilla bowls to make dessert tacos, using my fruit nachos recipe as a guideline.

Pico De Gallo:

Ingredients:
6 plum tomatoes, de-seeded
1/3 red onion
1 clove garlic
OLD EL PASO Jalapeno Peppers (to taste)
1 lime
Handful of fresh cilantro or parsley
Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Cut your tomatoes in half, being careful to discard the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Chop your red onion, jalapeno peppers and parsley and add that to the tomatoes.  Finely mince your garlic and add that to the bowl as well. Next, juice your lime into the diced vegetables, top with salt and pepper and mix until combined. It’s ready to serve, but it tastes even better if you let it sit!

Homemade Guacamole:

Ingredients:
3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup homemade pico de gallo (from the recipe above)
1 lime
OLD EL PASO Jalapeno Peppers (to taste)
Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Cut your avocados in half. Remove the seed and then scoop the flesh out from the skin, using a spoon. Roughly chop the flesh and place into a bowl. To add flavour and prevent it from turning brown, squeeze your lime into the bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocados to your desired consistency. I like mine a little bit chunky, but it’s up to you. Next,  add your prepared pico de gallo, jalapeno peppers, and seasoning. Mix all together and it’s ready to serve.

If you’re looking for other ways to use OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls, there’s some great inspiration here!
What are your family’s favourite toppings for taco night?

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

Ahhh, long weekends. Is there anything better?

As much as I wish I had made exciting plans to head up north to a cottage, or take a road trip to a nearby city, a relaxing weekend at home was just what I needed to recharge. I not only found time to relax and soak up some sun, but I managed to catch up with a couple of friends and get a whole bunch of work done. I took advantage of the weather and shot a few new looks for the blog, photographed a fun recipe post (coming soon!), and cleaned up some neglected spaces, like my makeup drawer and shelves.

One of the looks that I shot this weekend included one of my new favourite pieces: the button front skirt. Similar to off the shoulder tops and dresses, button front skirts seem to be everywhere this season! I already own a light wash denim skirt, so I’d been hunting for something in a darker wash. Do you want to know one of the other reasons I was sold on this skirt? Those oversized pockets. I can’t resist a couple of oversized pockets. Can you?

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt

The Button Front Skirt Photography by Cory

What I’m Wearing:
Tank – BP via Style Democracy’s Nordstrom Warehouse Sale (Similar here)
Longline Cardigan – Forever 21 (Similar here)
Skirt – Banana Republic (Same)
Shoes – Michael Kors via Style Democracy’s Nordstrom Warehouse Sale (Similar here)
Purse – Roots (Same)

What have you been up to this weekend?

6 off the shoulder tops you need in your closet

Spring and Summer Trend - Off The Shoulder Items

With the Victoria Day long weekend upon us and a beautiful forecast in store, it truly does feel like the kick-off to summer! This is my favourite time of year, and I’m welcoming the season with open arms…and shoulders.

In case you haven’t noticed, off the shoulder tops are just about everywhere this season! It’s easy to see why. Off the shoulder tops give us the freedom to show a little bit more skin, without showing too much. I love that most styles are loose-fitting, so if you’re self-conscious about your mid-section, you can still feel comfortable in an off the shoulder dress or top.

For a simple summer look, try pairing one of these off the shoulder tops with a pair of distressed denim shorts and a cute pair of sandals. Simple, chic and the perfect weekend look that you can rock all summer long.

My picks:
1. Ruffled Off The Shoulder Tencel Top
2. Pretty Pink Off The Shoulder Top
3. Cotton Striped Off The Shoulder Top
4. Off The Shoulder Dress
5. Free People Cream Off The Shoulder Top
6. Boho Off The Shoulder Embroidered Top

Would you wear any of these off the shoulder tops? How would you style them?

#StandTogether Against Bullying

#StandTogether - YoSox and the Canadian Safe Schools Network

Over the last several years, social media has become a very important part of my life. I work in social media by day, and use it for blogging (and personal enjoyment) by night. For me, social media is not only a means of connecting with new and old friends, but it’s also a creative outlet, source of information and a source of inspiration. Generally speaking, it’s a positive space.

Even though social media plays a large role in my life today, I’m old enough that I can vividly remember what life was like without it. On the other hand, I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through elementary school in today’s highly-connected, digital world. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to my iPhone, but I’m an adult and know how to use the technology responsibly. I don’t think the same can be said about kids! Statistics show that 39% of Canadian students sleep with their cellphone, while one third never sit with a parent when they’re online. If you think all of these kids are behaving responsibly, you’re probably being naive.

Not surprisingly, incidents of bullying and cyberbullying are increasing every year. Of course, bullying amongst kids is nothing new and it was a problem when I was in elementary school. I’m lucky enough that I wasn’t bullied in school, but I was a little bit mean to this one girl during recess. We spent many of our recesses playing ‘tag,’ but I wasn’t exactly a star athlete. I quickly learned that there was only one girl in the class who was a slower runner than I was, so I used to have everyone gang up on her (instead of me) to make her ‘it.’ She was noticeably different than the other kids – she was a terrible athlete, so we picked on her! In fact, 70% of reported bullying occurs because someone looks or acts differently. Looking, acting, or speaking differently is the childhood equivalent to wearing a big “make fun of me” sign. It’s always been that way.

Nowadays, cyberbullying has brought forth a whole other dimension to this problem. Kids are connected to each other 24/7, so the teasing, mean comments and social humiliation can continue well into the evenings and weekends. There’s no escape from the mean behaviour and it’s much more difficult for teachers and parents to detect and stop the problem. Currently, over 50% of teens have had at least one negative social networking experience. Even more alarming is the fact that 33% of students who are bullied online report symptoms of depression.

So…why am I talking about this? I’ve partnered with the Canadian Safe Schools Network (CSSN) to help make a difference. The CSSN is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization with a mandate to reduce youth violence and make our schools and communities safer, happier places for children to grow and thrive in. Last week, the CSSN launched the Stand Together campaign, as they believe that standing together against bullying is the best way to combat this issue.

As a way to get the word out about the campaign, the Canadian Safe Schools Network has partnered with YoSox. The goal is to #standtogether and get people working towards putting an end to bullying. For every pair of socks purchased, YoSox will donate a portion of their proceeds to the CSSN to help fund new anti-bullying programs for youth and to promote wellness. I should also mention that the socks are really fun and make quite the statement!

#StandTogether - YoSox and the Canadian Safe Schools Network

You can buy the socks directly from YoSox and soon, they’ll be sold at Hudson’s Bay. Buy the socks, support a great cause, and take a fun #FromWhereIStand photo wearing the socks…and use #StandTogether!

I also feel like I have to mention – this is not a sponsored post. I was gifted the socks, but I chose to participate and post about the campaign because I support the cause.

How to Shop a Warehouse Sale

How to shop a Warehouse Sale - 4 tips to help you score some great deals

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

I love all types of shopping. I’ll shop online (hello, Shopbop), at small boutiques (here’s looking at you, Lemonberry), at the mall (since I happen to love Gap), and at discount stores (like Marshall’s). In short, I don’t discriminate!

The other night, I went to the Nordstrom Warehouse Sale, hosted by Style Democracy. I don’t usually attend warehouse sales, so at first, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the space. Of course, it wasn’t long before I started running around like a maniac through the aisles upon aisles of goodies. Warehouse sales can be intimidating for this reason, so if you want to shop successfully (and score some major deals), you need to apply a different approach to your shopping strategy. Here’s my tips for how to shop a warehouse sale:

Don’t be scared of the communal fitting rooms:
No one likes trying on clothes in a communal change room! It’s crowded, it can be difficult to find a mirror, and oh right, you’re half naked in a room with a bunch of strangers! Just remember that no one cares about what you’re doing, what you look like without pants on, or what bra you’re wearing.

Don’t rule out something just because it’s out of season:
Warehouse sales tend to have pieces from previous seasons. If you find something that you love and can see yourself wearing a few months down the line, get it! I found a flannel button down that I fell in love with. Even though it’s not in season, I bought it, because I know I’ll be excited to wear it this fall.

Give yourself plenty of time to shop:
You may not think you need a lot of time, but trust me, you do. There’s so many racks to look through, and in such a big space, it takes longer to tackle than you think. I gave myself an hour and a half to shop, and it didn’t feel like long enough. Time flies when you’re having fun!

If you like it, get it:
If you find something you like, buy it. If you don’t, someone else will.

 So, if you’re in the Toronto area and want to check out the Nordstrom Warehouse Sale, the details are at the end of this post. Considering they have pieces for spring/summer, as well as fall/winter, so you could find almost anything if you look hard enough. My goal was to find shoes, and even though it’s always difficult to find my size, I still left very happy! I found a great pair of Free People booties, and Michael Kors sandals. If you’re a deal-hunter, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Some of the gorgeous shoes on display

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

To give you a sense of the size of the space, this was part of one of the rooms…and there were THREE!

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Michael Kors Peep Toe Sandals ($50) and Free People Leather Fringe Booties ($60)

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Current Elliott Flannel Button-Down ($25 – regular price is over $250!)

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

BP Printed Tank Top ($15)

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Style Democracy Nordstrom Warehouse Sale

Location:
Markham Fairgrounds

Address:
10801 McCowan Road, Markham Ontario

When:
Until May 15

Hours:
Friday – 11:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday and Sunday – 10:00am to 6:00pm

What they have:
Three large rooms, full of designer clothes, shoes and accessories in brands you will find at Nordstrom – for up to 80% off the retail price. They have designer goodies for women, men and children.

More information is available on Style Democracy’s website.

I hope you check out the sale and let me know about the crazy deals you leave with!