My Experience at Charmin’s Testing Lab

This is a sponsored post and all opinions are 100% mine. #ad, #EnjoyTheGo with @Charmin

“When I grow up, I want to be a Scientist, no make that a Senior Scientist, better yet a Senior Sensory Scientist.  Or maybe I’ll be a corporate Storyteller or Group Head in Family Care.”

That’s how I felt after meeting with the Charmin Team a couple of weeks ago at the Proctor & Gamble Headquarters and the Charmin Testing Lab in Cincinnati. This group of passionate individuals seriously made me want to make a career change! We (myself along with two other influencers) spent a full day learning, participating in demonstrations, sharing stories and enjoying each other’s company.

BELOW: The Charmin and the Great Lengths Influencer Team


Ok, I know what you’re thinking … it’s toilet paper (TP) and there are so many brands out there that can do the job. This, I have to say also crossed my mind but that’s what lured me into wanting to find out more. Also, having worked in a manufacturing and lab environment, I have a genuine curiosity for the development and the story telling behind any type of product. So, this visit was educational, and I’m not kidding when I say I’m still geeking out.

Our morning started off with the history of P&G products and then focused on the history of Charmin

Charmin was first manufactured in 1928 and over the years their brand and packaging evolved and became a household name. Check out the TP packages they’ve had over the last few decades!

Want further history details, I’ve provided the link to their website. Click here.

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The Poop Test

Yes, it’s legit. Not real poop, but they created the next best thing. Of all the demonstrations I participated in that day, the Poop test was my favourite. Why? I know it’s not the most comfortable topic to chat and share about, but the Charmin team’s commitment to providing a quality product and constantly looking for ways to improve, made it easy to participate. Not to mention, my fellow Great Lengths Influencers were so fun to be around.

Below: Poop test using Charmin


Charmin Ultra Soft or Ultra Strong?

While I can honestly use either with no complaints, I’m going to have to say I am Team Charmin Ultra Soft, which means by default (because I do most of the shopping) my household is also on the same team. P&G prides itself on quality and delivering the best product to customers and this was evident in every interaction I had with the Charmin Team. Who can say no to 2-ply TP, with super softness you can see and feel (along with its absorbency!). Charmin Ultra Soft also comes in Mega Rolls, so you get more value and you can change the roll less often!

All fancy in my lab coat and Charmin Ultra Soft setting up for a demonstration Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

So that’s it! I had such an amazing experience! I left P&G headquarters that day inspired by their employees, their values and their commitment to providing top products.

Thanks for stopping by.



Stay at Home Mom, Working Mom, Mom-to-Be … Just Support One Another

I didn’t have the courage to post this on my Instagram Page and I almost deleted it completely.  However, I feel safe putting it here, I don’t get a lot of visitors to my blog and maybe it will resonate with a reader.

So here it goes …

In 2015, I made the decision to stay home with my twin boys. questions like “are you sure that’s the right thing to do?” or comments like, “that’s not really putting your degree to use”

In 2017, I made the decision to re-enter the workforce full time … questions like “are you sure that’s what you want to go back into?” or comments like “oh wow, the kids are still young and the first 4 to 5 years are so important”

Last week, I resigned for an opportunity outside the industry where I spent 10+ years of my career in and questions like, “are you sure that’s the right move?” or comments like “your kids are so young to make a move” came up.

Just wow … there were so many well wishes in all three scenarios above, but all I remembered and harped on were the comments that were not so positive and what blows my mind … the comments were from women WITH kids.

Today (2019) stats show that there is still a wage gap between men and women (a bigger gap for women of colour) … stay at home moms are not given the recognition for managing a household and working moms are still going home and taking on the larger share of household duties.

We all have reasons for the paths we choose with or without kids, and everyone questions themselves, they write a pros and cons list and they lean on others for advice.  No decision is made overnight, but whatever path a woman chooses, we should be supportive of it.

So the next time you come across a post or hear news of a woman’s doubt, success or struggle … lift them up … don’t pull them down.


Give Me All the Membership Perks with the PC Insiders™ Subscription Program

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of President’s Choice Services Inc. All opinions are 100% mine.

The juggle is real and every day I’m trying to find ways to be efficient, to save time and to stress less. And if I can find and give myself the gift of time, I’ve got to document it and share my wins. That’s where PC Insiders subscription comes in. Sign up and become a PC Insiders member – Try one month free at Offer excludes Quebec residents; terms and conditions apply.

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Let me break it down for you.  We were a busy family to begin with. Now, we’re even busier with the boys in JK, sprinkle in some extracurricular activities throughout the week and then suddenly the family calendar explodes.

How do I do it all you ask?  I don’t … and I will never claim to.  However, I will take credit for being diligent and always looking to find services/products that will make running the household and making family life more manageable.  I’m ready to fill you in.

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By becoming a PC Insiders subscription member, you benefit in the following ways:

  • Grocery shopping online at Loblaw banner stores with no PC Express™ pick-up fees! They have a great selection of fresh fruits, meats, veggies and other goodies. I’ve never been disappointed!
  • Joe Fresh®– how times have changed with kids.  I used to love grocery shopping and buying loungewear in the same store.  But, having a membership gives me free shipping from with no minimum purchase. **insert happy dance**
  • Beauty Boutique at– I’m habitual when it comes to buying makeup, so being able to just buy eyeliner (you read it right) and get it shipped to my home for free is a great perk.  No more trying to fill that cart up to just get free shipping.
  • Points for the Win– if there is a way to collect points which will earn me a little something, I’m in. And getting 20% back in PC Optimum points on select brands is huge.  And trust me, it quickly accumulates. The extra points help us with the grocery bill. Hello, mom of boys!
  • Other perks that sweeten the deal: for annual members, a PC® travel services credit towards eligible travel bookings and a yearly surprise gift.

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Still on the fence?  Well, when grocery pickup became a thing, we jumped on it because it saved us time.  We shop online 4 times a month and that does not even count unexpected grocery runs because the boys are eating us out of house and home.  The cost of 1 month’s subscription is $9.99 and with no PC Express™ pick-up fees, our subscription pays for itself.

So, what have we been doing with all this extra time because of the membership?  Filling it in with family time and sometimes making that pit stop to the park to snack on the groceries we just picked up.

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Visit Sponsors Site

Travel Tips with Kids

Travelling with kids … you either love it or hate it. It’s a lot of work and it probably doesn’t help that I’m a planner and I feel the need to do right research to get the best bang for my buck. So I blame some of that on me.  I dislike the time spent on finding flights at a reasonable price, accommodations at a reasonable price, packing, car rentals, car seats, strollers and the list goes on. But at the end of the day, the vacation is sooooooo worth all the time invested.

So with that, I’m sharing with you my top five tips when it comes to travelling with kids.  Am I an expert?  Nahhhhh, but we’ve taken the boys on thirteen trips (air and road) and with each trip, it got easier because you learn and then incorporate what worked well to the next trip.

Direct Flights

With the boys, we’ve never flown with a connecting flight and we’ve never passed the five hour mark for a destination on purpose.  So, if there is a flight that offers direct only, we’re booking it.  Why?  From my experience pre kids, connecting flights have stressed me out, have had delays and I just don’t like getting up out of my seat and hauling my stuff to board on to another plane.  I can’t even imagine having to do it with kids.  One day I probably will, but right now, I’m booking direct.

Pic Below – Air Canada: direct flight to San Francisco (Brandon was just under 2 so he flew free)



Book accommodations where you want to hang.  We love the west coast (Cali) with kids in tow.  And as you know, getting the day started, packing up and loading the car just to get out takes time.  And on top of that, if you’re heading to the beach, you’re going to have to drive, park, unload and get settled.  Booking an airbnb, within a block or two from the beach, saves time, arguments and less items to carry.

BONUS: if you want to just hang out at the beach to watch the sunset after a day out and about, it’s amazing to just park the car walk to the beach and hang.

NOTE: booking anywhere near a beach is pricier.  But this is important to us and to avoid paying a lot of money, plan ahead, call ahead or try to negotiate. I always throw in the  “so do you offer a twin discount?”.  And sometimes, it works!  So, it’s worth the time to plan.

Pic Below – Air BnB booked two blocks from Ocean Beach in San Francisco


Plan but Don’t Over Plan

Make plans but don’t get bummed out if they don’t work out entirely.  I’m a planner and I invest a lot of time researching.  So when you invest time, you want to make sure it pays off.  Now throwing kids in the mix, plans go out the window.  Okay not entirely, but make loose plans with A LOT of room for delays, naps and mood swings. One trip that comes to mind, we were enroute from San Diego to LA and my little one had to use the bathroom.  We were already running late and I wanted to get to LA.  Made a pit stop at a coffee shop in Encinitas and of course, while in the shop the rest of the gang said that they were hungry.  So we grabbed our food to go and hubby decided to drive around the neighbourhood to check it out.  We ended up finding a beach where locals hung out and pulled up, parked in a residential area and made our way down.  We spent 2.5 hours there and didn’t want to leave.  Why didn’t we want to leave?  It wasn’t busy, everyone was so cool and we had no expectations which made the experience a heck of a lot more memorable.

Pic Below – Encinitas, California (best planned but unplanned experience)



Toys, Books and Dolls– pack favourites and familiar items from home to make the trips and adjusting to accommodations a little bit easier.  I’ve found that my boys love having a piece of home with them.  They don’t bring the whole gang of dolls but they’re involved in the packing process.

Snacks – fav snacks too should be packed.  And if I could bring my whole pantry of snacks, I would and I may have once or twice.  Saves money, easy to take along  and can be packed in your luggage.  PS – we always pack oatmeal – crack open the pack in a thermos, add some hot water and voila!!!!

Containers and Thermoses – we bring all of that!  It’s familiar to them as they know how to open and close it and keeps us organized and avoids spills.  Thermoses are amazing because you can feed them a hearty meal!

Pic Below – Baby and Baby Baby had to come along


So that’s it.  Thanks for coming by and reading ’til the end.  This blog post just gave me the kick start that I needed for our upcoming trip in May.

If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy travels!


Sunshine Lily



Women’s International Day and sharing the celebration of Women with my boys

March 8th is Women’s International Day and while I’m not raising the next generation of empowered women, I play an important role in raising the next generation of men supporting empowered women.

My boys are 4.5 years old and so their attention span is minimal. I’ll be honest, I don’t go all out and put together a list of things to do with them.  But leading up to March and specifically leading up to March 8th, I bring out items such as books and puzzles that recognizes the accomplishments of women.

All week I’ve shared with the boys and my husband, the various work events and how great it was seeing men in attendance.   My husband took a picture of what they did at his work recognizing the female employees at all levels within the company.

So Happy International Women’s Day!  Whether you are celebrating big or small, I hope that you are surrounded by loved ones who embrace this special day, because I know I’ll be.

Link to puzzles and books that I’ve shared with the boys.

Book: Pink is for Boys

Puzzle: Little Feminist










Small Shop Love for the Holla Days!

And just like that, it’s December!  Naughty or nice list, To-Do list, checking it twice list or I got no list to work with, I want to make things a little bit easier for you by sharing some of my favourite small shops and the reasons why I have mad love for them.

Buying for my boys is not always easy.  There are a lot of factors that I take into consideration when I buy for them.  There are lots of options for boys fashion, accessories and toys but not a lot of options of representation.

So, below are a few small businesses that I admire and had stumbled upon.  Short and simple list of three, but with meaning behind it.

NOTE: the shops below are for everyone (not just people who look like myself or my boys).


Handmade one of a kind dolls, quilts and taggie blankets


When I was pregnant, I was constantly looking for boy dolls that would represent my them.  Many small shops made dolls mostly for girls and even when I told them I would pay for a boy doll, they just didn’t have an appetite for it.  I met Kathryn two years ago at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto and when I walked by her booth she had rows of beautiful handmade dolls in ALL shades of colours that literally made me stop in my tracks.  Without hesitation, I bought the boys their dolls and to this day, they love their “baby” and “baby baby”.

The dolls are a perfect gift for anyone, not just a child.  Since then, we’ve added Coco the Monkey, Skoy Yoy the Dog and most recently, two custom made Brown Santas, which the boys have named “Santa Baby” and “Santa Baby Baby”.


Started off making mittens, has now expanded to children’s accessories.  She also launched another business called Some of the Parts.


When my boys were itty bitty, I was on the hunt for a good pair of mittens that would stay on and would keep the boys warm.  I did my online research which led me to mimitens.  I love their awesome designs and high quality mittens. The boys won’t wear anything else.  Somehow Anne Maria (owner) and I connected and every encounter with her, she just oozes energy, integrity and a passion for her designs.

SIDE NOTE: she also has a store in Toronto called Some of the Parts.  She carries her line of adult bags that she designed and it fits securely on wheelchairs (this she discovered after the fact). That made my heart swoon!

So really, Mimitens and Some of the Parts can be a gift for anyone on your list!  Cheers to that!


Clothes and Toys that kids will love. Bright Colours, Bright Patterns and Ethical Production


I can’t believe that I only met Jana in person a couple of weekends ago!  I’m blaming it on #momlife.  Jana reached out to me in early 2017 and felt that the brands her online store carried would be great for my boys.  I played it safe when it came to dressing them … in greys, black, blues and white and she got that.  Then as I started engaging with Modern Rascals and understanding her brand of bright colours and patterns, and seeing the beauty of bright colours in her feed, I switched cold turkey to all the colours in the rainbow.  I love the quality of the designers that she selects and no joke, the boys get stopped on the regular by strangers complimenting them on their style.

Jana’s feed and carried brands are a true representation of our society.  From Pride socks to sourcing a company that makes handmade wooden toys that resemble all children, she really gets her customers.

A gift for that special kid(s) in your life, you’ve got a rainbow selection of goods to choose from. She also carries adult sizes with some brands, so that you can matchy match with your little one(s).

Hoping you got your bit of learning from my write up and I encourage that the next time you shop, take into consideration that we’re not a once size fits all society and that we all can gain from representation.

I know that there are so many other shops that I have yet to discover, so if you know of any, share please by leaving a comment below.

Sunshine Lily aka @shinelily

Links to Shop:

birds love bees


modern rascals




Volunteering with My Boys

Volunteering and giving back to our community or at an organization that is meaningful has always and continues to be important to my husband and I. Maxwell and Brandon started volunteering at the age of  18 months.  They helped locally at a Christmas Drive for Safetynet founded by Bill in Oakville.  We unpacked donated items and organized them for families in need.  We continued to volunteer monthly by doing light clean up at the office and continue to help out yearly during Christmas season.

As a family, we participated in our first 5km run for the Road2Hope Campaign in November 2017.  My husband Andre, ran 4.5km with the boys in a double stroller.  I remember running alongside him and everyone “oohing” and “ahhing” of how wonderful of a dad he is running with a stroller.  In my head, I’m like “I carried these boys for almost 9 months” and no one is “oohing” and “ahhing” over me.  So, on the downward slope of the trails, I ran after the stroller for a good 0.5km.  LOL, I digress but I had to document it.

I will continue … the boys also have helped bring awareness to Bank on Bellies founded by Georgia who encourages her local community to donate non-perishable food items or time to Kerr Street Mission.

In addition, we’ve worked with Walmart Canada in their Fight Hunger Spark Change campaign.  The boys went up and down the aisles, selected their donated food items and did the drop off in their bin.

Most recently, I had a really special experience with the boys.  To give you some context, a couple of months ago, I got an email from Diandra from Take Care Kits. She is the founder of a Toronto based non-profit organization that provides care kits to parents who have children in the NICU.  She asked if I had any contacts of companies/brands who she could reach out to for donations.  Over the last 10+ years, I’ve been working in the health services industry, so I provided her my contacts.  She went through an approval process and was successful in receiving donations of toothpaste, toothbrushes and caps from GlaxoSmithKline Inc.

I felt the need to help even further and asked Diandra  if we could assemble the kits and make the delivery.  She provided me with her contact at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, and we made the delivery.  Proud mom moment watching my toddlers hand over the goods.  And what made me even prouder is that they were born at this hospital and as a family, we spent the first three weeks of their lives in that NICU.  So yes, I knew firsthand how helpful the care kits are to a parent.

A short video of the boys assembling the kits and making the delivery can be viewed, by clicking here.

If you are interested in learning more about the charitable organizations that we’ve been involved with and inspired by, please click on links below.


Bank on Bellies:

Kerr Street Mission:

Take Care Kits: 

Walmart Canada Fight Hunger Spark Change:

Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope: