Prodigy game makes math enjoyable!

Prodigy Home Screen

Do you love math? I was never good at math growing up. I remember going up to the chalkboard in front of the whole class to fumble the chalk and cry when I had to solve a simple math question. It was an embarrassing and nerve racking moment back in my youth.

Today with the abundance of technology such as mobile devices and tablets and ipads, kids can learn in an environment outside of the classroom and in the comfort of their own home.

 I had the opportunity over my family visits to watch my nephews and nieces play a lot of video games. To incorporate math learning, my nephew Jairen's Grade 4 class uses "Prodigy Game." It allows Jairen to play the game at school and at home. Jairen would play Prodigy Game on his ipad with his younger sister and brother too! Not only do they get the benefit of learning math, they also build social skills through in-game interactions with classmates and siblings who also play the game. As a parent you are able to track and review reports that show your child's progress and where they need help. It's all free too! It's a great way to use video games and learning math together. Don't you wish we had this when we were kids?

I asked my nephew Jairen what he likes most about the Prodigy Game? In his own words he said, "It's a math game and it's challenging. It's fun when I battle my friends." Being allowed to play video games and learn was something I didn't have growing up. With the advancement of technology,  kids are now empowered to take their math education in their own hands and it makes it easier  to learn anywhere, anytime.

Prodigy Game Home Screen graphics on ipad
As a cofounder of a large/tech meetup community in Toronto, one of the great things I love about Prodigy Game is that it was created by two Burlington natives, and has become one of the top ten start-ups in Canada. It's great to support local talent and see it grow. If you or any one you know is interested in starting a career in the tech world, check out their job openings here JOB OPENING
They're looking to add more developers and designers to the team, and its a great team to be a part of. Not to mention you'll be helping make a big impact in math education around the world.

Prodigy learning from home.
For more information on Prodigy Math Game visit: prodigygame.com
Twitter: @prodigygame

This post was sponsored by Prodigy in a partnership with Joallore A. to provide you the most up to date facts, helping you make informed decisions. All opinions in this article are my own.


GreenEggplant Restaurant Media Tasting

I had the opportunity to visit the Green Eggplant Restaurant in the east end of Toronto. I took a dab of what Green Eggplant had to offer last year and came across their fresh calamari... I enjoyed it! It's my favourite spot to get calamari especially during the summer. They have an extensive menu with many options that it makes you want to come back and try them all. Did I mention that the portions are big enough to feed two or three people?!


Garden Salad

The Green Eggplant is a great casual restaurant in the Beaches. It's a perfect spot to visit because it is right across from the park and beach. They've recently added a sidewalk patio so it's another reason to visit them. The fishbowl sized cocktail drinks are amazing and remind me of oversized drinks in Las Vegas. Great people watching while enjoying a cocktail at the Beaches.
Bellini Cockail

Green Eggplant has a relaxed vibe & caters to everyone from young couples to families with kids. This place will be busy during the weekends especially during the summer. The staff are informative and friendly. I've become a fan of this spot and will have to make a repeat visit. Every portion size, the extensive menu (reminds me of Cheesecake Factory menu) and close proximity to the Beaches are the perfect combination.
Salmon Cedar Plank
To learn more about Green Eggplant and their menu, visit greeneggplant.com Green Eggplant is located at 2024 Queen St East., Toronto.

Disclosure: I was invited to this Media Tasting event & received a complimentary sampling of the menu. All opinions on this blog post review are my own. 


Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up is Fun & Easy!

Walmart.ca grocery pick up from Penguin Pickup at UPS Yorkville.
During the Holiday Season you can get bogged down with gift buying and numerous errands taking up most of your time before the year ends... Travelling in busy crowds & unpredictable Toronto weather can cause major havoc on any given day. I really try my best to avoid the crowds especially during the holiday season. Long lines and I don't mix. Thankfully walmart.ca has a new Grocery PickUp service at walmart.ca that makes everything so convenient and easy!

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK & Collect. I went on to walmart.ca website & clicked on Grocery PickUp button to begin shopping for fresh groceries & pick up at a Penguin Pick-Up or Walmart location of my choice. I basically clicked on all the products I needed in an easy & categorized navigation page. Walmart will also AdMatch prices advertised by any competitor so you're guaranteed the lowest price. Here is an example of the various categories to grocery shop.

You can select from all the same products available in store at a Walmart location. From canned goods to fresh produce, you can even order your pet food too! A $3 service fee will be applied and orders are to be a minimum of $50. Walmart.ca currently has condo delivery locations as well. Imagine shopping for groceries & having them deliver to your condo. They have this service now for 3 locations in the Toronto area. *additional $10 applies for this service.

Refridgerator for delivery of walmart.ca orders.

Overall, my experience using the walmart.ca Grocery PickUp was quick and hassle free. I placed an order on a Tuesday afternoon & scheduled my pick-up the next day at a UPS/Penguin location with no product quality issues. My vegetable and meat orders were properly refrigerated upon pick up as shown above. This experience saved me on gas expenses as I was able to select a location close to home for pick-up. I had no line-ups & experienced a one on one customer experience at my UPS location. This was such a time saver for me. Overall, I'm going to use this Walmart Grocery Pick-Up service again!

UPS Store - Penguin Pick Up location in Yorkville.

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart Grocery Pick-Up program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.


Gift Ideas for that person who....

Here is a list of 6 gift ideas you might want to add to your Christmas or if you are contemplating what to get that special someone this holiday season. I hope this helps you with no particular bias. These are all items I personally own and have recently received for my own personal use.  All cost are denoted & averaged.

Facial Fuel $40.00Cdn plus taxes. Photo: kiehls.com

Kiehl's Facial Fuel

For the person who likes to look proper... Kiehl's Facial Fuel is amazing. And their return policy is a bonus! If their stuff doesn't work you can return and get a refund. This isn't the same stuff you buy at Shopper's Drug Mart. I like different care products at Shoppers but some are just basic moisturizers without the extras... some of Kiehl's products are serum based which basically means more intensity for skincare. I love using the Facial Fuel line. This is great for the guy or gal that needs to take their self-care to the next level. 

Cost: $50US plus taxes (including shipping from US & customs for additional cost) Photo: amazon.com

Amazon Echo Dot

For that lazy person... Amazon Echo Dot is a small compact device. It's hands-free, voice controlled device that uses your bluetooth. Use the Amazon Echo Dot like you would use Siri on an iphone. Ask Alexa, "What is the weather like today?" or Alexa, "Where is the closest Best Buy location?" .... Alexa What is the score in today's Toronto Raptors game?" This is a great nifty gift. One caveat is that it's only available in the USA for now.  If you still want to get one, head to the US or order it online at a place like B&H Camera in NYC.


Cost: $19.99Cdn plus taxes. Photo: Belkin.com

Belkin Surge Protector

For that person that likes to travel
.... Belkin Surge Protector is another small device. It's got 3 AC outlets and 2 USB slots. It also has a 360 degree rotating plug. This is perfect to position your plug properly when in hotel rooms. This is a great gift for that business or heavily mobile user who has a laptop, ipad and mobile device on the go... the perfect travel companion for power.


FitBit- Various styles range $99.99- $199.99Cdn. plus taxes

FitBit Activity Tracker

For that active person
... Fitbit is a great for that active person who's always on the move. It tracks your activities from heart rate, breathing, steps and how much you sleep & much more. Even if you're not an active person this definitely motivates you to become active & that in itself is worth it. It will change your life quite literally because of the gamification and ease of use. The component of the mobile app and online groups makes you feel like you signed onto something more than just a fitness tracker, you've gained a motivated group of friends & family & great online support group!


Remedy Bar: $60.00Cdn. plus taxes

Saje Wellness

For that mindful person... Saje Welllness is essential oils and natural products that are just great for the mind & wellness of you. They come in many different aromas but i like the "Remedy Bar" set. It emcompasses everything with mind, appetite and stress. You basically roll on your temple, forehead or neck and feel it work wonders by the scent. They also sell the oils to be used in a diffuser so it's perfect gift for the home or condo.


This can range from $50.00 & up depending on the race you sign up for.

Race Entry Fee

For the person that needs some motivation... Experience over gifts are always a great choice. I recommend pre-registering someone for a 5K race (Sporting Life 10K) or walk or giftcard to the popular Ninja Canada obstacle courses or Pursuit OCR. Trust me, if you know the person well, they will love you for the motivation and challenges your friend to achieve a goal. Who doesn't like friends who are motivating right?


Overall, these are no-frills gifts that hopefully will help you with your gift shopping this holiday. Good luck and let me know what you think..... I'm always looking for feedback or tips on great gift ideas!


Hacking For Good with Capital One Canada.

Photos by: Ryan Emberley

Think It. Code It. Gift It!

On October 21-23rd for a whole weekend, 140 developers, designers & UI/UX took part in the inaugural Capital One Canada "Gift The Code" hackathon. There were over 24 teams who coded over 40 hours with not much sleep to create open source apps, create new websites and designs to help six local charities in Toronto. These 6 local charities do not have the manpower nor the technology to solve and create solutions to help with challenges with their respected organizations.

40 straight hours of coding with not much sleep.

Bringing over 140 participants to volunteer their time & expertise to help these charities was amazing to watch as it unfolded. I could sense a buzz of excitement from the teams as they showcased their solutions. It was even more apparent when the charitable representatives get to see actual real-life solutions presented. It was actually quite emotional for some to see solutions come to fruition. Humanity at it's best.

Details UI/UX comping and layouts for digital. (Photo: Ryan Emberley)

It was nice to see collaborative groups of participants work together in their respective teams to reach a common goal. It's a great experience to learn more about yourself and working with teams and in some cases strangers. 

Participants enjoy a food break. (Photo: Ryan Emberley)
The best part about all of the solutions created for the charities is that they are open-sourced which means organizations and other charitable causes can utilize the code to help benefit their own respective charities. Here is the list of open sourced code Github 

Every participant received a cool hoodie from Capital One Canada. (Photo: Ryan Emberley)
Lounge area at Brainstation. (Photo: Ryan Emberley)

Charities supported at this Capital One Canada hackathon: Blake BoultbeeHolland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalProsper CanadaSecond HarvestToronto Pflag and Women's Habitat

The feedback from one of the charitable organizers helps explain the weekend success!

"Participating in Gift the Code had just been incredible on so many levels. In 40 short hours, we have gone from an organization without much of a digital presence to one who can now, with enthusiasm, point potential donors and those in need of our services in the direction of our brand new website. We are blown away." - Rod Cohen, Director & Operator, Blake Boultbee Youth Outreach Services.

Thanks to BrainstationHackWorks Inc and Capital One Canada for a great weekend to help our local charities & communities. I hope Gift The Code comes back next year!

This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada, as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.


Get Inspired, Get Connected!

Get Inspired. Get Connected. George Brown College has launched a series of 4 events featuring George Brown alumni detailing their career journey & lessons learned. This will be the 2nd event in a series of 4 which will be featuring Jennifer Cohen. Jennifer is a George Brown Alumna, celebrity trainer and fitness entrepreneur. She has had televised appearances as seen on NBC's Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, and Extra! Jennifer is also a contributor to forbes.com & health.com.

Manulife Financial is a proud partner of #GBConnect
If you are a George Brown graduate or just looking to build your personal brand, or make a career out of what you love to do, this event will surely invigorate & inspire you to reach your career or personal goals.  It's going to be a great evening to learn from Jennifer Cohen & also great to establish a network with fellow George Brown Alumni. In today's changing workplace & careers this is an important event to stay current & updated.

Event Details:

Get Inspired! Get Connected! #GBconnect

When: Thursday November 3, 6pm-9:30pm

Who: Jennifer Cohen - Celebrity Trainer & George Brown Alumna

What: Fireside Chat & networking before & after event.

Where: One King West

Cost: $15 - This event is open to anyone. Buy Tickets

Thanks to George Brown Alumni Relations & Manulife Financial I will give away a Fitbit Charge Fitness Tracker(Value: $169.99) to one lucky person! It's free to enter. Prize has been provided by Manulife Financial. Just tweet the following to share the #GBConnect event.

Tweet (Copy & Paste) : Love fitness? Come to #GBConnect Nov 3rd. Hear @therealjencohen talk about her career. http://bit.ly/2dOUxqU

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with George Brown Alumni & Manulife Financial. All opinions expressed are my own.


Get moving with Fitbit Charge 2 & Flex 2

Fitbit is an activity tracker that is designed to help you track your physical activity, record your eating habits, track your sleep; igniting that need to become a healthier person. I have been a Fitbit enthusiast with the original Fitbit Charge since December 2015. I originally received it as a gift from my family for Christmas and it has definitely pushed my fitness or lack of to a different level. I'm am proud to say that Fitbit has definitely changed my outlook on health & enabled me to live a more active lifestyle & I'm a big fan of it! If you're new to Fitbit, they have recently released two NEW Fitbit trackers - Fitbit Charge 2 & Fitbit Flex 2.

New Fitbit Charge 2 & Fitbit Flex 2.
The NEW Fitbit Charge 2 & Fitbit Flex 2 offers additional options to optimize one's performance. I recently had the opportunity to see these products firsthand and love the new added functionality & features.

Swim-Proof Fitbit Flex 2 - Track your swimming.

Fitbit Flex 2 new features include:

Minimalistic design

Swim proof wristband

Removable tracker that fits in bands, bangles and pendants.

Learn more about:  Fitbit Flex 2

NEW Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2 new features include:

Heart Rate

Workout mode features

Guided Breathing Sessions.

Learn more about:  Fitbit Charge 2

The main edge that Fitbit has compared to other wearable trackers  is the option of different goal challenges. You can connect with your friends & family through the Fitbit app and have different step challenges. You can create week long, weekend long or just a one day step challenge with your friends and family. It inspires competition and a great way to encourage and get the family active, alongside. There will be days were you just feel lazy to do anything but when you see the challenges or the leaderboard, it motivates you to get active and get in those steps whether it be taking the stairs or parking the car a little further. My family and friends are competitive so it's always fun! Even if you're not into the challenges it's fun to hit your daily step goal and mind changing when you see the lack of steps taken in one's 'busy' day. 

It's a great reminder to take a break once in awhile and get moving! If you ask any current Fitbit user about the 'fireworks' display and buzzing you get when you reach your goals, they'll tell you it's quite an awesome feeling. An accomplishment if you may. You will also earn badges that are great reminders of goals or successes you have achieved using the fitbit.

Achievement Badges from Fitbit.
It's a great motivator to get you up and about. For example, I will purposely park my car farther away from a shopping mall entrance just to get extra step counts for my daily step totals... The online community on fitbit.com is also another amazing resource to help fuel your active lifestyle which include many resources and tips. I highly recommend purchasing one of the Fitbit trackers to get you moving in the right direction. Your mind, body, and soul will thank me later! Stay tune for my next blog post of the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. I'm excited to give you feedback soon!

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Fitbit. All opinions expressed are my own.