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5 Things: Bedding, Bath & DIYs in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 27, 2015 10:55

1. Refresh your bedroom for spring with a new duvet cover from Georgia Mills in University Heights. All duvet covers are 20% off right now!

2. READ Saskatoon's LIT UP! event is happening on March 26th. It will be a night of fun, food, and unique auction experiences in support of adult and family literacy programming in Saskatoon. Get more information here

3. Enjoy a luxurious bath for any occasion with these amazing bath salts from Walton Wood Farm, now available at Twisted Goods! From breakups to birthdays, the bottles say it all (and serve as a card and a gift)!

4. House hunting this weekend? Check out this new build by Evolution Homes, with an open house on Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 in Martensville. 

5. Love Free People? Get the look for less with these fun DIYs you can do in a weekend. 

Enjoy your Friday!

10 Tips for Booking a Vacation Rental

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 25, 2015 11:37

If you read our last blog post about the variables to consider when booking a vacation rental over a hotel room, you may have come to the conclusion that a vacation home is the way to go for your next trip. Whether you are looking for a quaint cottage for two or you're planning a multi-family vacation for 22, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you browse the online options. So we've put together a few pointers for those of you who are on the hunt for the perfect vacation rental. 


1. Browse multiple sites. Some of the best websites for booking a vacation rental are VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, and FlipKey.

2. Refine your search. You can narrow down your search results by number of bedrooms, cost, location, etc. Do you want a pool? Are you bringing a pet? Save yourself some time by refining your search.  

3. Look at the kitchen. Look closely at the pictures displayed on the listing to gauge the age and quality of the home. A good indicator is the kitchen. Look specifically at the appliances and the countertops. If the kitchen looks run down, the rest of the home will likely be in the same condition or worse. 

4. Find the property on Google Earth. You’ll be able to get a good idea of what the surrounding area looks like, and this way you'll be able to confirm exactly what the owner means by “beach front property”. If you’re staying in a city, you’ll be able to take a look up and down the street to be sure you are comfortable with the neighbourhood surrounding the home. 

5. Talk to an actual person. You can test how quickly your needs will be taken care of based on the response time of the owner or property management company. If you are renting from the owner, take the opportunity to chat with them about the local area, local attractions, and popular restaurants. 


6. Ask questions. Is the swimming pool open year round? How often is the hot tub serviced? Is the grill gas or charcoal? It is also wise to ask specific questions about pets, both if you are bringing one or if you have any pet allergies. This way, you'll be sure to avoid any surprises upon arrival. 

7. Read the fine print. Is there a cleaning fee or is it rolled into the cost of the rental? Are there additional taxes per night? Do you have to bring your own linens? Is the pool heated?

8. Beware of cancellation fees. Unlike hotel rooms, there are usually stiff fees for last minute cancellations on vacation rentals. Be sure that you are committed to the dates you have chosen prior to booking. 

9. Read online reviews. The best reviews come from other renters, and many homes on the websites above have good reviews with detailed information. Taking time to read the reviews will often produce good information like good restaurants nearby or tips for how to use local transit system.  

10. Book early. Most vacation rentals allow you to book 12 months in advance, so it may be wise to start looking 6-9 months in advance, especially for vacation homes large enough to house several families. 

Do you have personal experience with vacation rentals? Share your tips and advice in the comments!

5 Things: DIY and Women's Clothing in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 25, 2015 10:42
1. Check out this Global Saskatoon interview with awesome local consignment shop, Stasia Boutique!
2. The 23rd Anti-Inflammatory Challenge will be held on Sunday at Leyda's! To reserve your spot or get more information, email
3. Don't forget to nominate your favourite locals in Planet S 2015 Best of Food & Drink! 
4. Do you believe in the importance of mentorship? Enjoy planning events? You might be a good fit for The Princess Shop team. The Princess Shop is currently seeking a coordinator for The Fairy Godmother Program
5. Struggling to stay organized with meal planning? Check out this DIY! 

Enjoy your Wednesday!

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5 Things

Is a Vacation Rental Right for You?

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 24, 2015 10:26

Privately owned vacation homes are an increasingly popular accommodation option for travellers all over the world, and websites like VRBO, HomeAway, and Airbnb have made them highly accessible. While vacation rentals can add an authenticity and freedom to your trip that can be hard to find in a hotel stay, they do present some variables to consider. If you're planning an upcoming vacation and are weighing your accommodation options, read on as we explore the various aspects of a stay in a vacation rental in comparison to a hotel or resort. 


Stay Almost Anywhere

Whatever type of lodging you're interested in, chances are you can find a vacation rental that suits your needs and style. Planning a holiday in a big city? You'll definitely find a wide range of apartments, rooms for rent in larger houses, and even full homes in peripheral neighbourhoods. Looking for a place near the beach? From a condo in Florida to a villa in Bali, you'll find a variety of vacation rental options all over the world. 

Get More Space for Less Money

If you're travelling as a family or planning a multi-family holiday, a vacation rental can be a great choice. In many cases, a vacation rental will provide more space at a lower rate than a hotel room. This is obviously great for a large group, particularly with kids. In addition to the cost savings found renting as a large group, a vacation rental will likely have a kitchen that will enable you to save cash spent on meals out. 

Enjoy Unique Amenities

From having a kitchen and a laundry room to a private pool or hot tub, vacation rentals often feature amenities that you wouldn't find at a hotel. If the property is part of a larger condo complex, you may also enjoy access to golf or tennis. However, a few amenities you might miss with a vacation rental are maid service, room service, and in-house restaurants. You may even have to bring your own linens. However, not all rentals are created equal, and those that are part of a larger resort community will likely offer a more complete amenities package than a private single-family home. 

Feel Like a Local

Renting in a city? Being in a residential neighbourhood allows you to easily shop the local stores, enjoy local restaurants, and and otherwise blend in with the locals. Do some research before you go to find out about the best places, and if your rental is privately owned, be sure to ask the owner about the local faves. Also, the ability to eat breakfast in your PJs and relax in the living room will really make you feel at home. 

Consider Length of Stay

Some seasonal destinations may lack flexibility when it comes to the rental schedule. Often, rentals will have seven-night stay minimums, and some only rent for specific weeklong stretches, from Saturday to Saturday for example. More and more vacation rentals are becoming available for one or two night stays, but this varies widely and can be more expensive. It is also important to keep in mind that a hotel reservation is much easier to cancel than a rental agreement. If your plans may change at the last minute, you will likely be better off booking with a hotel.

No Guarantees

Particularly if the rental property is privately owned, it's important to communicate your expectations to the owner and to ask a lot of questions before booking. Pay close attention to online photos of the place, and be sure to read the fine print! You could end up with a space that is less appealing than it was in the pictures, or a "beach front" property that isn't quite on the beach. In our next blog post we will lay out some of the most important things to consider before selecting a vacation rental, so stay tuned!

Depending on the size of your group, the length of your stay, and your needs and desires as a traveller, a vacation rental may or may not be the best option for you. We hope these points are helpful to you in your quest for the perfect accommodations, and whatever you choose to do, enjoy your vacation to the fullest!  

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5 Things: Women's Clothing & Memorabilia in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 23, 2015 11:38

1. Do you have sports memorabilia just sitting on a shelf or in a storage room? You can get that collector's item beautifully preserved at J&S Picture Frame Warehouse. 

2. Read our recent interview with Al Hattie Insurance for some valuable information about insurance that you need to know. 
3. Check out this new project Haven Builders is working on for one of Saskatoon's core neighbourhoods. It's simply stunning!
4. This guide shows you how to easily remove those nasty salt stains from your boots using stuff you already have around the house!
5. Tips for styling boyfriend jeans on the Era Style Loft blog

Enjoy your Monday!

5 Things: Women's Clothing, Fitness & Food in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 20, 2015 09:38

1. Sick of your current home gym equipment? You can trade it in and save up to $250 on something new at Fitness Solutions!

2. In celebration of the Chinese New Year, The Hollows is hosting an amazing 9 course dinner. Space is limited, so check out the details here.

3. Wondering how to use the new parking system being implemented in Saskatoon today? Watch this helpful video.
4. Paramount Day Spa & Boutique just brought in a fun new line of spring clothing, which you can check out here
5. That must mean spring is coming! It's only 28 more days away! :)
Enjoy your Friday!

12 Tips for Packing Like a Pro

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 18, 2015 13:03

Winter vacations certainly take the edge off of Saskatoon's longest season. If you're planning on joining the throngs of people leaving our city for a little break this month, check out our Travel page for some helpful tips, tricks, and inspiration for everything from staying healthy while traveling to the best ways to utilize your smartphone while you're away. Today we thought we would share some tips for something that applies to most any getaway- packing. We've put together some of our favourite packing tips that are sure to make your trip prep simpler and your vacation easier and more enjoyable!


1. Taking a plane to your destination? Some essentials to keep in your carry on: an empty water bottle to fill up once you're through security, gum to take the edge off of that nasty ear pressure, snacks, and lip balm. Entertainment like books or pre-downloaded movies and games are also key. If you anticipate sleeping on the plane, we also recommend bringing a sleeping mask and a large, light scarf that could be used as a blanket. 

2. Doing a multi-city trip or visiting a place that will require you to lug your bags on trains and up staircases? Consider bringing enough clothing for just one week and doing laundry midway through your trip. Spending a couple of hours at a laundromat beats hauling around a massive suitcase (or two)! 

3. Before putting anything in your suitcase, lay out the outfits you’d like to wear and analyze which items could be combined in order to remove a couple of pairs of pants or shirts from the mix. 

4. Put a shower cap around your shoes to keep dirty soles from touching your clothing in your bag. 


5. You've probably heard that rolling up your clothing items saves space in your suitcase, and it does!. An even better alternative to the traditional folded and stacked method is “filing” your clothing. Fold each item into a rectangle and insert it into your suitcase vertically. This enables you to clearly see what each item in your suitcase is and easily pull out what you need once you arrive at your destination. Gone are the days of having to pull everything out of your suitcase in order to get to something at the bottom! Another tight packing tip: stuff belts in shoes and shove socks anywhere you see a void in your suitcase.

6. Mark your bag FRAGILE if you can. That way, the baggage handlers are likely to put your bag on the top of the pile, and it will then be unloaded first, meaning first off the carousel!

7. Long necklaces can become an unfathomable jumble after being jingled around in your suitcase, even when stored in a pocket or separate case. Avoid this by using empty pill containers to keep necklaces separate! Empty sunglasses cases or pencil cases can also be used to store computer and phone charger cords separately to avoid the inevitable tangle. 

8. Throw a couple of plastic grocery bags in your bag- you never know what you’ll need them for, and they are great for wet bathing suits!  

9. Place beauty products in the middle of your suitcase to avoid breakage. If you have glass foundation or fragrance bottles that you must bring, consider tucking them inside shoes or inside a rolled up sock. 


10. Consider purchasing packing cubes like these to fit inside your suitcase. This will make it easier to put together outfits as you can separate your items into categories like "tops", "bottoms", "unmentionables", etc. This method also works great when packing for multiple children in one suitcase, as each child's clothing can be put into it's own packing cube. This will make mornings much easier while you're away!

11. Another tip for travelling as a family- save space by combining toiletries into one bag and share items like toothpaste and soap. 

12. Packing for a theme park with toddlers and preschoolers? Some things you'll want to be sure to bring: diapers, wipes, snacks, water, spray sunscreen, ziplock bags for wet or dirty clothes or leftover snacks purchased at the park, and a muslin blanket to take the chill off in the morning also serves as a necessary sunshade in the afternoon!

We hope that these tips are helpful to you as you anticipate your trip!

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5 Things: Shopping & Food in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 18, 2015 10:03

1. Does your daily water intake need a little zing? Pick up a Citrus Zinger from Twisted Goods

2. If you don't know how to use a fire extinguisher, you should watch this video shared by Al Hattie Insurance
3. Looking for something to do with the kids indoors on this chilly day? Check out some of the suggestions in our past post from Family Day!
4. It's Wednesday, and that means it's $10 beer + poutine night at The Hollows
5. Going on a winter getaway this month? View these tips for what to pack in your carry on. 

Enjoy your Wednesday!

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5 Things

Tips for Stress-Free Travel

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 17, 2015 12:33

Booking flights, finding accommodations, and packing all the right clothing may seem like the essential elements of successful travel, but it is often the small things that keep your sanity intact while you're in an unfamiliar place. With all the organizing and arranging that the major things require, it can be easy for little details to slip through the cracks. From helpful apps to travel hacks, we've put together a few key ingredients for a smooth travel experience. Whether you're taking a road trip to Calgary or setting off on an overseas vacation, read on for some of our favourite tips for a stress free trip. 


Stay Nourished

Spending hours on a plane or in the car can feel like an excuse to load up on fast food or even skip meals. The truth is that doing so is sure to leave you drained and grumpy when you're supposed to be enjoying yourself (and when you need energy the most). If you're hitting the highway, take the time to pack healthy and yummy vehicle-friendly snacks to last, like the ones suggested here or here. Keep your blood sugar levels in line and your emotions in check by making nutrition a priority.

Instead of hitting up a fast food joint on your way out of town, stop in at locally owned Bistro 172 on Idylwyld Drive. Bistro 172 has a handcrafted and ever-changing menu of gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts that are made with quality ingredients. Perfect for a road trip, Bistro 172's VIP Lunch Boxes are a convenient way to grab a customized healthy meal to go. For $16, choose a gourmet sandwich, soup or salad, dessert and drink- all packed into a unique box with your name on it. Conveniently located en route to the Saskatoon Airport, this also makes for a perfect pre-flight meal option. 

If you are catching a flight, pretzels or cookies won't get you very far and we all know that airplane food on longer flights is far from awesome and can be expensive. Check out these flight-friendly recipes you can make yourself and bring with you on the plane. These ones are awesome too, and would be perfect for a long flight. 


Utilize Your Smartphone

You never know what you'll come up against with regards to your battery life while travelling. Only have a few minutes to charge your phone before getting on a train? Putting your phone into airplane mode will charge it twice as fast. Unable to plug in to an outlet? Many hotel TVs have handy USB slots that will charge most smartphones. 

You can make your life a little easier while travelling by snapping a photo of a few key things as you go. The license plate on your rental car so you can easily register it at the hotel. The number on your hotel room door. Any attraction tickets you have purchased, in case you lose them, as the code on the ticket might be enough to get you in. If you park in a massive lot at a theme park or event venue, take a picture of a sign to help you find your way back.

Navigating an unfamiliar city can be challenging, but there some great apps that can point you in the right direction, no matter what you are seeking. Trailhead will direct you to nearby hiking trails and bike paths. All Subway can provide you with a subway map and route planner. SitOrSquat is a great public bathroom locator. Foursquare will give you nearby food, nightlife, and entertainment options. Another tip: drop a pin when you park and you'll have a much easier time finding the car again. 

There are also a ton of great apps that can add general convenience to your travel experience. Use Evernote to create a to-do list that ensures everything is taken care of before you leave home. Forward travel confirmation emails to TripIt for a handy digital itinerary. FlightAware will help you ensure your plane is on time, and WiFi Tracker will make a huge difference on international trips. 

If you're travelling internationally, you'll want to read through this information about prepping your smartphone for your trip. 


We hope you found this post helpful! February is Travel Month on My Saskatoon, so stay tuned for posts about vacation rentals, packing tips, and more!

Featured in today's post is locally owned and operated business Bistro 172, where sandwiches, salads and soups are made fresh each morning. Bistro 172 strives to keep things interesting by always coming up with great new recipes that are both healthy and tasty. 

Connect with Bistro 172 on social media, view hours of operation, and more here.  

Valentine's Gifts For Him

posted by My Saskatoon    |   February 13, 2015 18:44

Flowers, chocolates, wine and rose petals - the stuff tomorrow is supposed to be made of. February 14th is often perceived as the requisite day for men to kick up the romance in one way or another (which we are definitely in favour of) but perhaps it should also serve as an opportunity for the ladies to do something to honour their men. If you’re a woman, this may be something that’s already crossed your mind, or perhaps exchanging gifts is something you and your sweetheart do every Valentine’s Day. Either way, coming up with a Valentine’s Day surprise for a guy can be tough and time is not exactly on your side. So we thought we would put together a little list to help you get your creative juices flowing for things you could do to make the man in your life feel special tomorrow. 

‘Open When’ Envelopes

If your man loves words of affirmation, ‘Open When’ envelopes could be the perfect gift for him. Take some time to write down heartfelt messages to your guy and then categorize them into envelopes along with photos or other mementos that will make him smile. 


A Few of His Favourite Things 

What does your man love the most? If you can come up with a list of a few small things he really enjoys, and compile them into some sort of receptacle like a box or bucket, trust us, he will love it! This can be as easy as picking up his favourite snack, sweet treat, beverage, and a couple of other items that you know he’ll love like a book, game, movie tickets, clothing item, or tech accessory. 

Source: Pinterest

Pallet Coasters

Have some extra solo time tonight and the will to do a crafty little DIY? These pallet coasters seem easy enough and are so on trend! 


Bacon Roses

Okay, so our next few suggestions operate under the pretence that most guys love bacon. Forgive us for making this assumption! But really, don’t most guys love bacon? This bacon roses idea is the ultimate in Valentine’s Day bacon gifts. If you’re a little bit ambitious, this could totally be done in a couple of hours and we think any bacon-loving guy would love it!

Bacon Salt

A great gift for a guy who enjoys cooking and loves bacon, this recipe for bacon salt is sure to please. 


Bacon Jam

In a similar vein as the bacon salt, this recipe for bacon jam pairs well with a ton of savoury recipes. You could even pick up a baguette and enjoy it together as an appetizer on Valentine’s Day! 

Jack Daniels Soap Dispenser

Some guys just like to hold onto empty liquor bottles. If yours is one of them, you probably have easy access to an empty 26oz bottle. Earn extra points on this one if you can use your man’s favourite brand to make this unique soap dispenser. 

It is also important to recognize that a gift may not be the most meaningful thing you can do for your sweetheart. For some people, simply spending time together can mean the most. Others may really appreciate an act of service like having their car detailed or their closet organized. Whatever you decide to do, we hope that you enjoy the sentiment that comes with Valentine’s Day and that you spread love and joy to your nearest and dearest in the way that means the most to them. Here’s to everyone in Saskatoon getting spoiled with thoughtful gestures tomorrow!

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