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When the temperature outside heats up nothing goes down easier, or tastes better, than a frozen smoothie. Here are 4 healthy smoothy recipes for the summer. The directions for each recipe are easy, just combine all the ingredients into the blender and blend until everything is smooth and frothy, then pour it into a glass and enjoy.

1) Banana-Berry Bliss

This smoothie is chock-full of high fiber berries which will help you feel full and satisfied throughout the day.
- Ingredients
1/3 cup raspberries
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup blackberries
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup Artic Zero vanilla ice cream
1 cup ice

2) Acai Berry Banana Smoothie

Acai berries are a super food, and the perfect addition to any smoothie. Not only do they taste great, but they are also packed with antioxidants, omega fats, protein, fiber, and amino acids.
- Ingredients
Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 banana
1/4 cup skim milk
1 cup ice

3) Applecado Smoothie

This creamy smoothie is good for your waistline and your heart. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which can help to lower cholesterol. They also provide essential fatty acids needed to build cells and maintain skin health.
- Ingredients
1 Granny Smith apple, cored with the skin on
1/4 avocado
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 cup ice
3 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

4) Peachy Keen Smoothie

Almond milk is a great base for any smoothie. This milk substitute adds sweetness while being a good source of calcium. It is also low in calories and is free of saturated fat.
- Ingredients
1 peach, pitted
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice

Your daily trip to and from work doesn't have to be a complete waste of time. With some strategic planning you can easily use your commute to recharge and boost productivity. There are things you can do to change a lengthy commute from a frustrating time-eater to a productive part of your day. Here are 8 productive things you can do during your commute:

1. Bicycle or walk to work: Depending on how long your commute is, this is a great way to get in some exercise. It helps wake you up and keep your mind sharp, in addition to keeping your body in shape.

2. Reflect: Taking time each week during your commute to check in on your goals is a great way to stay on top of your to-do list. It's the perfect time to think about what in your life needs to be worked on.

3. Check emails and voice messages: If you’re not driving or riding a bicycle, your morning commute is a great time to get a head start on your workday. Attending to messages and answering emails on your way to work will help you get a good start on the work day.

4. Check in on your social networks: If you’re not driving, use your phone or tablet to interact with your network of business contacts on social media by sharing information and engaging with them.

5. Listen to music or audio books: These activities can help you relax and support your ongoing learning and development.

6. Mentally prepare for the day: If you'd like to get a head start on your day, you can use your commute time to get ready for what's on your calendar. You can also use this time to plan the rest of your day outside the work place. A workday without distractions relating to after-work responsibilities or activities can be far more productive.

7. Create a to-do list: Your commute is the perfect time to create a to-do list or fine-tune the one you’ve already made. By creating a to-do list and prioritizing the day's responsibilities, you're setting yourself up to have a more organized and focused workday. If you can't actually write a list because you're driving, it can still be useful to use a voice recorder.

8. Check in with your friends and family: You may have very limited time for this type of communication throughout the rest of the day, so use your commute time to call your parents, chat with your significant other, or text your friends (as long as you’re not driving).

What makes a great customer service experience? Well for me, one of the greatest factors is when a sales associate goes above and beyond to ensure a customer is satisfied. I recently experienced this type of service when I went shopping at my local mall for an airline messenger bag.

When I entered the store I browsed their selection and eventually asked the sales associate if they had the specific bag I was looking for in stock. She told me that they sold out since it was one of their best selling bags. The sales associate told me that my best bet was to go to the Lacoste at Yorkdale Mall since they had a larger store, thus a larger stock selection.

I asked her if she could double check with the store just to make sure they had the bag in stock at Yorkdale before I headed there. She agreed and called them for me. After she spoke with a sales representative at the other store, she told me that they only had one left and she asked them to keep the bag on hold for me.

I made my way to the other location and was greeted by a sales associate upon entering the store. At the cashier desk I asked for the bag that they kept on hold for me. The sales associate asked me to wait while she brought the bag out from the stockroom. When she came back, she had the airline messenger bag I was looking for.

She gave me a brief explanation about the material of the bag, including how to care for it. She also told me that it was their last bag and was on sale for 30% off. I decided to purchase the bag and after that purchase I was very satisfied with how smoothly the process went and how helpful the sales associates were.

Do you remember a shopping experience where the sales associate ensured your satisfaction? Share it in the comments section.

We are blessed to be among one of the countries that have the highest selection of goods on our store shelves. Retailers devise all kinds of techniques to attract and retain customers. Usually quality customer service holds the key in customer retention. However, beyond quality service, you should look at some ways to save some money each time you shop. After all, who doesn’t like to save money? Here are nine tips you can use to save money whenever you shop:

Vendor Coupons: Whenever you come across any coupons, either in the mailbox or in the pages of a magazine or flyer, take a look at it. Don’t just toss it away, you may need it for your next shopping trip to save some money.

Price Matching: With retailers trying to outsell their competitors, price matching has become commonplace. Whenever you find a product for cheaper at a store other than the one you frequent, let the cashier or customer service associate know about it and ask them to match the price.

Price adjustment: Some big retailers like Walmart offer price adjustment. Last week, I purchased a bicycle at Walmart. Three weeks later the price went down by 15 per cent. I went back to the store and they adjusted the price. However, price adjustment must be within one month of purchase.

Multi-buy discount: For some items, you pay less when you buy more, usually from two items upwards. It wouldn’t hurt to buy two packs of gum for two dollars instead of one for $1.50.

Scanning code of practice: It’s a provincial law, but retailers are not obliged to practice it. Whenever an item scans more than the display price you get it for free, provided it’s not more than ten dollars. And if it is more than ten dollars, you’re supposed to get ten dollars off the normal price. For stores that practice it, such as Walmart, most cashiers won’t offer it to you unless you ask for it.

Promotional sales: Sales promotions are a great way to save money on purchases. It’s not enough to browse store flyers for sales, certain items may be actually on sale but not published in the flyer for lack of space. Ask the customer service employee or cashier what items are on sale in the store.

Rain check: Whenever you find some items on sale that you think you may need in the near future, ask for a rain check. That will enable you to buy it at a later date at the same promotional sales price.

Miscellaneous discount: It’s not uncommon to walk into a store and discover that the item you need has almost sold out and the stock that's left has damaged packaging. If you feel you can’t wait to return to the store another day to get it or can’t go to another store for the item, go to the customer service desk and ask for a discount. Most stores prefer to sell items with damaged or roughened packaging at 10-20 percent discount rather than claim it.

It is almost the end of summer and there is only one more weekend to get the most fun out of the season. Listed below are 5 exciting things that you can do with your friends and family on Labour Day around Ontario!

1. Canadian National Exhibition: Visit the CNE fair that will open from August 14th to September 1st. Enjoy the shows, rides, food, games, and some shopping!

2. Niagara Falls Buskerfest: This year, from August 29th to September 1st, Niagara Falls will have its second annual Buskerfest at the Seneca Theatre! With over 50 performances, great food, and amazing artisans, Buskerfest will undoubtedly be a memorable cultural event!

3. Artfest at the Distillery: From August 28th to September 1st, visit the Distillery District to celebrate the art of painting, photography, and music. There will be live music and art shows featuring Canada’s top artists!

4. Ashkenaz Festival: Visit the Harbourfront Centre between August 28th and September 1st to enjoy a festival of Jewish music and culture. There will be over 200 artists at the festival showing off artwork from traditional to modern styles!

5. Hispanic Fiesta: Celebrate Hispanic heritage at the Mel Lastman Square from August 28th to September 1st this year. The festival will consist of cultural music, food, and local and international Hispanic performers!

So you gained a bit of Holiday weight this season. We know, the turkey was so good... and so was all that cake. Looking to get rid of that Holiday food baby? Well, exercising first thing in the morning plays a major factor in weight loss. Even if it's only a 5-10 minute walk, it is important to get in some kind of exercise every morning. Here are some other reasons to exercise in the morning.

1. Most people that are consistent with exercise, complete their exercising in the morning. It's easier to stay dedicated if you start a morning routine.

2. Morning exercise jump starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours (sometimes up to 24 hours). This means you’ll be burning more calories all day due to morning exercise.

3. By exercising in the morning, you are keeping your body energized for the day. This will help you feel dramatically different on days when you have and haven’t exercised in the morning.

4. If you wake up at the same time each morning and perform exercises for approximately the same length of time, your endocrine system and circadian rhythms of your body will adjust to the routine. This means that it’ll be a lot easier for you to wake up in the morning since your body is prepared to wake up. You’ll feel more energized and be ready to exercise when you wake up since your metabolism and hormones involved in activity begin to elevate a few hours before you wake up.

5. For most people, morning exercise becomes second nature to them and becomes something they look forward to doing. It is the time they have set aside to care for their body, mind and soul.

6. Getting your exercise done first thing in the morning will assure that something else doesn't crowd exercise out of your schedule.

7. If finding time to exercise is a problem, try waking up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise. If necessary, you can go to sleep a little earlier.

8. You'll feel great! Do it!

April showers have brought May flowers... and even some luscious green grass! You don't need a professional lawn-care company to keep your lawn looking beautiful for the rest of the season. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn looking green and healthy.

1. Do not fertilize your lawn too many times. Too much fertilizer will cause rapid grass growth, which will make the grass plants much more vulnerable to disease and insects. Fertilizing once during the fall is best for the roots because when winter arrives, the grass stops growing but the soil remains warm enough for root growth much longer. This will allow your roots to support a healthy lawn in the spring and summer.

2. Begin mowing grass at the highest setting on your lawn mower (3 to 4 inches). The taller your grass is, the healthier it will be, since tall grass shades out weed seeds, preventing them from sprouting. It also assists in keeping the soil cooler, which keeps in the moisture and allows the soil microbes to proliferate. This will allow the grass to spread into bare spots and lets the roots penetrate deep into the soil.

3. Do not apply pesticides, fungicides or insecticides. All of these will kill the living things (earthworms, good microbes, etc.) in the soil that contribute to rich soil. Chemicals are unnecessary if you follow these tips. A healthy lawn is strong and is less likely to submit to disease or insect damage.

4. You do not need to water grass during dry weather. This may make the leaves brown, but the roots can stay strong for months. If you want to keep your lawn green all summer, water occasionally but not everyday. It is best to use a sprinkler for an hour once or twice per week. This will allow the roots to grow deep.

Through the eyes of Amy...

For quite some time, I was very involved in having a paying job and making a substantial amount of money to sustain myself and the things that I like to enjoy. I was so caught up in my work that I never got the chance to slow down. I was constantly doing things for myself and thinking about how different factors would affect my life and my life alone, but one day I stopped to think. I realized that I did little for others and my surrounding community, so I decided to volunteer for a cause that I strongly believed in. Once I started to volunteer, it changed the way that I viewed the world. Volunteering isn't strictly for charitable causes- you can also volunteer at hospitals and animal shelters, but whichever you decide, know that volunteering is great in any situation! Here are my top five reasons for volunteering:

1. For Insight: There are so many people in the world with diverse and interesting backgrounds, cultures, and ways of thinking. Volunteering in order to reach a common goal brings everyone together and broadens your mind to the diversity of the world.

2. For Personal Growth: Volunteering can help you learn about yourself and the positive impact you can have on other's lives.

3. For Community: Giving back to a community that has helped and supported you is an amazing feeling. Being able to support a community by helping to improve education and supporting youth are only a couple of ways to inspire and create a better future for everyone.

4. For Health: Volunteering helps to reduce mental stress because it evokes the positive emotion of joy and generates optimism. Taking some time off to volunteer daily allows one to break away from daily
stressful situations as well.

5. For Experience: If you are interested in gaining some experience in a particular field, volunteering in that field may help one decide if it is right for them. Volunteers are able to gain professional
experience in their field of choice.

Through the eyes of Amy...

Which drink is delicious, oftentimes fruity, and contains tapioca? Bubble tea! This delicious treat can be served either hot or cold so it's perfect anytime of the year! Whether you are meeting
with a friend or on a break, bubble tea is a fun drink that all can enjoy. Listed below are five shops located in Toronto that serve delicious bubble tea:

1. Real Fruit Bubble Tea: This shop lives up to its namesake as they use fresh and real fruit as opposed to powders for their bubble tea. Look forward to enjoying a variety of flavours as this shop allows for combinations of different fruits.

2. Tea Shop 168: This shop is the largest bubble tea chain in Canada, and for good reason. Customers enjoy the shop's sweet bubble tea along with Taiwanese-Asian cuisine.

3. Bubble Tease: This shop takes pride in its tapioca which is made with a strict freshness policy. Not only is the tapioca fresh but of high quality, to ensure that the customers can fully enjoy the 'bubbles' in their bubble tea.

4. Chatime: This shop offers a variety of other teas along with bubble tea. Different teas include, but are not limited to, their Tea Espresso, Signature Milk Tea, and Tea Latte. Furthermore, ice options are available.

5. HiTea: This shop does not only offer their customers a variety of bubble tea, but a menu of waffles, cakes, and other desserts as well.

When it comes to protecting sensitive customer information, TD Canada Trust is always keeping a close watch on suspicious transactions and making sure that all of their customers are protected from fraud. I’ve been using TD Canada Trust banking service ever since I got my first debit card back in high school and they have proven to offer the best service to their customers. As a loyal TD customer, I use my debit card a lot.

A couple of days ago, I went to Subway to purchase a sub for lunch. While I was making my debit payment, I placed the chip in the card terminal, selected my account and keyed in my password. When I pressed “Okay”, it said that my card had been declined. I tried again a second time, but it kept saying “Transaction declined”. This left me with no other choice but to pay with my credit card instead. As I left Subway with my sandwich, I was confused as to why my debit card payment wasn’t going through.

The next day, I decided to go to the TD Canada Trust branch near my house to figure out what was going on. I spoke with the bank teller and explained my problem to her. She conveniently wrote down a phone number on a piece of paper and told me to call the number so my problem could be sorted out. I dialed the number on my phone and I was soon linked with a TD representative.

When I explained the problem I was having with my card, the TD representative told me that my card was immediately blocked due to two unauthorized payments that were made on my card. He told me that it was most likely because of someone who stole my debit card information to make the purchases. I was not worried since he told me that the payments had been cancelled and reimbursed back to me. He then cancelled my card permanently and told me to pick up a new debit card at my nearest TD branch. As I tossed out my old debit card, I was very pleased that TD was making sure that my personal banking information was safe.

This type of service shows that TD Canada Trust takes fraud purchases seriously and ensures that their customer’s financial information is safe at all times which is beneficial to their brand. Have you experienced service where you’re private information didn't feel secure? Please share your experiences in the comments section.