Tag Archives: Product Quality

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Like all holidays celebrated recently, this year’s Valentine’s will be slightly different from the rest. Whether you’re in a lockdown, quarantine, or just trying to stay safe during the pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the Valentine’s Day long weekend with your loved ones:

Treat yourself: Whether or not you’re in a relationship, it is always important to take some time (especially during the holiday season), to treat yourself. Order from your favourite restaurant, binge-watch your favourite tv show or do whatever it is that you find relaxing. Make an effort to have some valuable “me time”.

Romantic Dinner: There is no shame in the take-out game! This is the perfect time to support your local small businesses. Where possible, pick up the food directly from the restaurant instead of using UberEats or SkipTheDishes.

Cook at home: Show off those cooking skills you learned during lockdown/quarantine! If you’re looking to enhance your cooking skills, consider staying in and cooking, using ingredients from high-end grocery stores, such as Pusateri’s or Bruno’s Fine Foods. Cooking as a couple is a great way to bond.

Splurge On Dessert: Dessert is arguably the best part of any meal. If you or your significant other has a sweet tooth, here are some of our favourite bakeries in Toronto that you should try:  Bobbette & Belle have an excellent variety of artisanal pastries that you can order online, R Bakery Cafe boasts excellent customized cakes, as well as an impressive breakfast menu, The Rolling Pin has different daily flavours for their cupcakes, Dufflet Pastries allows you to mail a cookie to your loved one for Valentine’s, and Phipps Bakery has an assortment of unique pies and cakes to choose from.

Afternoon Tea: You are cordially invited to high tea at The Windsor Arms, which is currently offering a tea at home for 2 program. The package also comes with a variety of scones, sandwiches, and cakes. 

Gourmet Chocolates: You could go the old-fashioned route and get your partner a nice box of chocolates. SOMA Chocolate Maker has unique shapes and custom orders, Ambience chocolat carries gourmet chocolate boxes, and The Chocolateria has chocolate bars, cookies, and an assortment of gifts.

Take your date outdoors: Skating is a way of getting out and getting some great exercise—although you have to book in advance. Skating rinks that are available for booking are High Park, Nathan Phillips Square, Mel Lastman Square, and Rosedale Park.

Volunteer in a soup kitchen: At a time when everyone’s trying to help others, you could consider putting off your date night to deliver foods to the homeless or help out at a soup kitchen. Some kitchens and food banks around Toronto that are accepting volunteers include the Daily Bread Food Bank, and The Salvation Army.

DIY Vanilla Extract Kits: If you’re buying your partner a gift, why not get them something from the World’s Best Vanilla Company! I’m involved with this company and want to let you know about the Valentine’s Day version of our popular, Make Your Own Vanilla Extract bottles.

Just add your choice of alcohol, follow the instructions, and in a few weeks, you will have some amazing extract to bake with.

If you’re interested, check us out on Facebook or email info@worldsbestvanilla.com

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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And the SQM Picks Goes To…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about ways to support local, small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.  Now, while you are supporting these businesses, I’d like to hear about them.

Maybe there’s a local restaurant that has been having a hard time, but still cooking up your favourite dishes?  Perhaps there’s an employee at a retail store that you feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty to get you what you’re looking for?  Or it could just be a business that regularly and consistently provides top-notch customer service.

Nominate any business…large or small….and I will try to feature them in an upcoming post of SQM Picks.

Comment below with your nominations!

Be safe and be well.

 

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One Good Cause Deserves Another

Given the increased focus on cleaning, we recently shared some information about SQM’s second company, Minus H2O.

While we certainly appreciate anyone who supports our business, in light of the Covid-19 crisis,  we would also like to help other organizations that are in need of support during these challenging times.

To help others, Minus H2O will be donating 10% for every bottle sold in Canada, to the Food Banks of Canada, and for every bottle sold in the United States, to Feeding America.  These are very worthy causes that are in need, more than ever, at this time.

You can purchase a bottle by clicking on the following links, or for larger orders, simply contact me directly:

In Canada:  https://amzn.to/2QCDFcZ

In the USA:  https://amzn.to/2VWuic3

Practice #SocialDistancing and #StayAtHome as much as possible.  If you’re in need of cleaning supplies, please avoid crowded stores!

Please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues and thank you again for supporting Minus H2O as well as these important causes.

Be safe, and be well.

The SQM Team

 

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How to Support Local Businesses During COVID-19

The past few weeks have been a trying time for many Canadians, both personally and financially.  One sector of the economy that has been particularly hard hit by the lockdown is local and small businesses. Unfortunately, many companies have been forced to close their doors, while others are struggling to make ends meet.  Although online support has been fantastic, there still needs to be more done instead of simply “liking” a post or photo.

Here are some simple ways that you can support local businesses:

1. Participate in Takeout Wednesday
Takeout Wednesday is just as it sounds. The idea was started by restaurant owners to raise awareness that while it may not look like it, many restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery.  So, every Wednesday, you can show your support by purchasing lunch or dinner from a local establishment.  Personally, I recommend, delivery, as it allows you to continue social distancing, and avoid crowded restaurant lobbies.

2. Purchase a Gift Card
If you don’t feel a need to buy anything at this time, you can still show your support by purchasing a gift card or credit for your favourite restaurants, stores, salons and spas.

3. Online Services
While it may not seem so, many local businesses are currently offering ways you can purchase their products or services from the comfort of your homes.  Check if your favourite place offers online purchases.

4. Tips
When possible, simply tip or give some extra money to the people helping out.  Whether it’s the delivery person or someone who may not necessarily be in a position that normally receives a gratuity, these days it is certainly appreciated by frontline workers.

5. Reschedule Instead of Refunding
If you have an event coming up, such as an appointment with your hairdresser or barbershop, simply reschedule for a later date instead of asking for a refund.  Even if you haven’t paid for anything, trust me, they will appreciate the support

6. Schedule an Appointment or Make a Reservation
Another way to support small businesses is by scheduling an appointment at a salon, spa or making a reservation for months into the future at your favourite restaurant.  While many services are on hold until the lockdown ends, many businesses are still willing to book appointments and take reservations.

7. Share
While liking a post is helpful to gain popularity, you can also share your own posts about the local business you support to raise more awareness and gain even more support.

8. Don’t Forget About Summer Contractors
While we are still under lockdown, you can still continue with any summer outdoor home improvement project, from fixing your roof to doing dome landscaping.  Seasonal workers only have a short window to do this work, so book now.

9. Donate
If you don’t shop locally, it is still great to show support.  You can simply make a donation by going to a gofundme page.

This virus has tested many Canadians and has been hard on everyone, however with a bit of help, we can all support local businesses until there is an end to social distancing.

 

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Top Nine Ways To Celebrate The Valentine’s Day Long Weekend

Valentine’s Day (or as some people like to call it, the International Day of Love) is almost here, and we have you covered for great ideas to celebrate. Whether you are spending some quality alone time, hanging out with your friends or with that special someone, here are SQM’s top nine ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020. 

“Pal-entine’s” Day.

Who says Valentine’s Day needs to be all about romance, candlelit dinners and flowers? Grab your friends, order a pizza and dessert and have yourselves a party. Celebrate your friendship by having a board game night, having a movie marathon with your favourite rom-coms or sci-fi flicks, or complete a thousand-piece puzzle. Take time to celebrate your friendship and enjoy each other’s company. 

Ikea Date

This year, Ikea is rolling out the red carpet by offering a three-course meal, all for the low low price of $29.99 for members and $34.99 for non-members. Enjoy a dinner for two and then have the time of your life roaming the store looking for the great next purchase. 

Dinner and a Show

This is a classic date night option for a reason. It gives you and that special someone a reason to get dressed up, eat a delicious meal, talk about the meaning of life while staring deeply into each other’s eyes. Obviously, this will all be done over a shared plate of spaghetti (a la The Lady and the Tramp) before going to enjoy a night of cinematic excitement, artistic talent or theatrical drama. Check your local listings for great shows and performances scheduled around Valentine’s Day.

Take A Class Together

Get out of your comfort zone and bond with the ones you love by checking out a new activity together. Whether that’s trying out a cooking class to teach you the skills to master that Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe, busting out a dance move or two at a salsa or ballroom dance class, or learning to find your inner peace through meditation and yoga.

Weekend Getaway

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to get away for the weekend. Lucky for you, this year Valentine’s Day falls right before the Family Day long weekend. Take this opportunity to head out of the city for a cozy getaway with that special someone. Visit Montreal to experience the architecture, food and culture, or go to Blue Mountain for skiing. If neither of those options sounds like your cup of tea, try going to the wine country and see if you can book a wine tasting tour.

Recreate your first date or favourite date

A wonderful and meaningful way to spend your Valentine’s Day with that special someone is recreating your first date. It is such a romantic and thoughtful gesture that really shows that you care.

NBA All-Star Weekend

For all you basketball fans, whether you’re #TeamGiannis or #TeamLeBron, get together with your friends and family to cheer on your team this Sunday!

Give Back

During the season of love, show how much you love and care about your community by giving back. Grab your friends, family and partner and volunteer to help the less fortunate.

Treat Yourself: Self Love

Take some time out of your busy schedule and treat yourself with some “me time” and self-care. Whether that means, getting a massage or your nails done, having a quiet night in or treating yourself to a new book or sweater, take the time to appreciate yourself and all the hard work that you do throughout the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Leaving The Competition In The Dust

For my last blog, I highlighted a family-run dry cleaning business so while I’m on the topic of household-related items I wanted to talk about a family-run appliance repair store called York Appliance Vacuums.

The first time I visited the store, I happened to be in the area and so stopped in, as I was having problems with my Shop-Vac. I was very pleased that within 10 minutes, they were able to fix my problem efficiently and at a reasonable price. In fact, I was even given a longer cord to replace my other one, making it much better.

In more recent times, I was having trouble with my Dyson vacuum, so I called up York Appliance to ask for help, as I’ve been pleased with their service in the past. They don’t normally work on Dyson vacuums (Dyson apparently does their own repairs) but they took the time to look at it for about 15 minutes and gave me suggestions and ideas that might fix the problem.

Often these days in business, people are just looking for instant gratification and hang up the phone if they don’t get a sale right away. Even though this call would not result in a sale, the owner spent some time to keep a customer like me happy and engaged.

If you’re looking to support a family business, or for a reputable place to buy, service, or fix your vacuums, take a look at York Appliance.

York Appliance Vacuums
416-488-3231
https://yorkappliance.ca/

 

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Dyson – A Sucker for Customer Service

Back a couple of years ago, I wrote about Dyson when we had an issue with our office vacuum cleaner.  At the time, the vacuum was under warranty and Dyson, without causing us any grief, quickly sent us a replacement part so we were able to get back to cleaning our office.  The entire experience was friendly, efficient, and stress-free, and their customer service department was a pleasure to deal with.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when on a Friday we realized that a small piece of the vacuum had broken and cracked, and as a result, we couldn’t use it.  One of my colleagues got on the phone, explained the problem, and provided Dyson with our vacuum’s registration number.  The employee looked us up in their database and indicated that the vacuum wasn’t under warranty anymore, but told us in the same sentence that they wanted to make sure we were happy and were going to send us a replacement part at no charge.

Since the piece had broken due to heavy use, and not necessarily some sort of mechanical failure, it made the gesture extra special.  The fact that they stood behind the product goes to show you what kind of company they are, and what kind of customer service you can expect from them.  The piece arrived within a few days and we were back up and running in no time at all, once again using our spiffy Dyson.

Presently, I have three Dyson products: an upright vacuum, a handheld vacuum, and the office Dyson, and I am extremely happy with each product.

Dyson was originally established in the United Kingdom in 1991 and has recently announced that they are moving their headquarters to Singapore. James Dyson, the founder, felt that vacuums could be more efficient, based on the fact that the one he was using constantly clogged up and lost suction over time.  As a result, he went about inventing a completely different type of the machine, and if my experience is any indication, he seems to be on to something!

Skip to the present, and Dyson now has a line of not only vacuums, but hand dryers, lights, fans, heaters, and more.  I know my wife is dying to get her hands on one of the new Dyson hairdryers, but unfortunately, given how expensive it is, she’s going to have to wait until the price comes down a bit…or I win the lottery…before I can buy it for her.

To their credit, I’ve never heard anyone complain about any Dyson product, and the reliability of their products, combined with their customer support just goes to show you why.

Dyson Canada
1-877-397-6622
https://www.dysoncanada.ca

 

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