SURPRISE! Today is a big day around BrazenWoman. It’s my birthday! I share my special day with Madonna and the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. While lots of people lie about their age or pretend their birthdays aren’t happening, I think it’s cause for celebration. I’m turning 47 this year and I know I’m lucky to be here to enjoy it.

What I love most about being Co-editor of BrazenWoman, aside from being able to connect with so many amazing women, is that we get to try all kinds of new and exciting products. How do you think we choose what to feature in The Sunday Scoop or posts like this one or this one?

We try them all. Some we like, some we don’t, and some we LOVE. And that’s what today is all about. Just in time for my birthday, I’m sharing a few of the things that get me all crazy—in a good way. It’s like I’m Oprah for a day. Only not at all.

And because it’s my birthday, let’s make it a party. Keep reading because thanks to the great companies we partner with, we’re giving away almost $600 in presents—so you can love what I love. And you can tell your friends. And so on, and so on.

No need to thank us. Just do us a favour and share BrazenWoman with everyone you know. That would be the best gift ever.


Java Relief

Cuisinart Single Serve Grind and BrewWhat’s a girl to do when everyone in the house likes their coffee made in a different way? I’m unashamed to say we’ve got three coffee makers on the counter, and each does something different. But which one is my morning go-to? It’s the Cuisinart Single Cup Grind & Brew Coffeemaker, hands down. Why do I love it?

  • It grinds my favourite beans fresh every time, in just minutes.
  • It makes BIG cups of coffee (up to 14 oz).
  • It serves up coffee nice and hot.
  • It’s easy to clean.
  • Because of the reusable copper filter, the only waste goes into my green bin.

I can’t live without this coffee maker and nor should you.   SRP: $139.99 at most major housewares retailers in Canada

Curl Tamer

Boutique by Conair Argan Strip DryerSure I like to rock my ‘fro, but I do like to go sleek and smooth once in a while. Problem is, I’m not exactly skilled when it comes to straightening my hair. I can’t seem to manage all things at once: dryer, brush, and being adept backwards in a mirror.

I’m saved by this brand new styling tool from Boutique by Conair. The Argan Strip Dryer pretty much does it all for me. At 1875 watts, 2 speeds and a cool shot, it’s powerful and fast. But the kicker is the straightening attachment with integrated Argan strips to seal the cuticle and condition.

Now I can dry my hair and straighten it too, all while reducing flyaways and frizz. It really works.

$69.99 exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart

Book Worm

Chicky's Favourite Things: Kobo Glo HDWhile I do love the heft of a book between my hands, I’m all about e-reading. When I’m on vacation, I’ve been known to read a book a day. In these times of 50 lb baggage limits, carrying an e-reader is the only way to go.

I’ve been a Kobo convert since the first device came out with the little click wheel for turning pages. Since then, this Canadian-born e-reading company has been outdoing itself with product updates. First, they got rid of that pesky click sound (which almost cost me my marriage). Each new unit had more: reduced size, improved usability, and added backlighting. And then, last summer, out came The Kobo Aura H20. It’s waterproof. You heard me. I can read in the bath. Or the pool. Or a canoe.

This year’s newest incarnation, the Kobo Glo HD is designed to make converts out of even die-hard paper lovers: It offers the best hi-def e-reading experience in a thin, easy-to-handle package, at a really great price.

Seriously, how can you not want one?

Kobo Aura, $179.99 and Kobo Glo HD, $129.99 in-store at Indigo, Best Buy and others or online.

Retail Therapy

Mara's picks from Shoppers Drug MartMy name is Mara and I have an addiction. And it’s name is Shoppers Drug Mart. I can browse the aisles for hours, poring over tiny remedies for this and cool uses for that. This place has everything I need, and I’m not joking. Plus, Optimum is one of my fave rewards programs. Where else can you buy toiletries, prescriptions and household goods for the whole family and then redeem your points for brand name makeup at The Beauty Boutique? Nowhere I say, nowhere! I’m a 20x the points day stalker. It’s a science.

But back to beauty. Obviously—and luckily for you—I have a very strong affinity for beauty products, and SDM satisfies that urge. The Beauty Boutiques have it all, from the essential Maybelline mascaras to luxe Dior lip glosses, and exclusive product lines I can’t get anywhere else.

Is it bad that both the pharmacist and cosmetic advisors at my local Shoppers Drug Mart know my name?

Love in the Afternoon

Who Do You Love by Jennifer WeinerShow me a woman who loves to read who doesn’t love Jennifer Weiner’s books, and I’ll show you my husband not taking a nap to Storage Wars. I’ve been a fan of Weiner since Good in Bed and In her Shoes, and I’ve read just about everything this prolific and talented author has written.

Her newest novel, Who Do You Love is one you should add to the pile.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you re-met the love of your teenaged years? Or whether a chance meeting you had as a child could have turned into something more? This sweet story of love and fate and second chances takes us there. A few times. This book is all the stuff romance and happiness are made of. Even though we’ve got a good idea what might happen, we never know how and when the characters are going to get there.

We’re happy to take the journey with Rachel and Andy and, of course Weiner, because it’s a really good one.

Wherever books are sold, list price $32, ebook $15.99

A Necessary Indulgence

David's Tea Cinnamon Rooibos ChaiI have discovered a way to avoid nighttime snacking. Willpower, you say? Nope! Lo-cal snacks like apples and almond butter? Nope (although that is a delicious treat)! It’s David’s Tea Cinnamon Rooibos Chai. And once you try it, you’ll never drink anything else. Even if you don’t like cinnamon. Trust me on this. I adore this tea because it’s caffeine-free, super tasty, healthy, and most of all, delicious. The blend of South African rooibos, Zanzibar cloves, apples, cinnamon and citrus oil is so yummy you won’t even be tempted to add sugar. It’s naturally sweet without being too sweet so it will satisfy your cravings for junk food. PLUS, according to aromatherapy principles, the spiced cinnamon blend enhances your ability to concentrate. Which I definitely need….butterfly… Instore and online, 100 g $23.25 

About the author

Mara Shapiro

Mara Shapiro is Co-Editor, Community of BrazenWoman. She is proof that it's never too late to reinvent yourself, and also that you cannot have too many pairs of shoes and lipglosses. A Social Media addict, Community Manager, and insatiable lover of movie popcorn, Mara is always on the hunt for the next best thing. You'll often find her laughing and dancing, phone in one hand, and a glass of red in the other. The only time she's not talking is when she's sleeping.

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