Racking up the Points & Reaping Rewards: 5 reasons I love using points cards


I’m now a believer in points cards! I was always one of those people who would get coupons for, I dunno McDonald’s and think, great, going to get a free Sundae with my Quarter-Pounder with Cheese for lunch….one of these days. Then I would forget and the coupon would sit in my handbag well past its expiry date. So, when points cards came along, I was like “whatever”or, I’d  collect points so infrequently, a lot of time I wouldn’t even have the card on me, I would rarely end up reaping any rewards.

That was until I was paying for groceries at Loblaws and I was told I had racked up $70 in PCpoints (President’s Choice Loyalty Program) that I could use toward my purchase: cue image of dancing emoji! The amount seemed to have accumulated rather quickly, probably because I’m a regular shopper and did spend a little more time paying attention to what items would provide additional points when it was time to go shopping (this effort is minimal, trust me, I quicklly scroll through the offers on the app for a few seconds and that’s all it takes for me).

Since then, I’ve come to appreciate a good points card. I recently saved enough Optimum Points from Shoppers Drug Mart to replace my bottle of J’adore  by Christian Dior which is the only fragrance I wear on account of the fact that I’m a migraine suffer so I don’t mess with perfumes much. I know, that’s pretty tragic, but if you’ve ever tried J’adore, you wouldn’t feel to bad for me on the fragrance front!

Maybe it’s just me but I think retailers have gotten better with rewarding their loyal customers and I for one appreciate it. Here are a few more reasons why I love points cards and why I think you should too:

  1. They are often FREE 
  2. Some of them are customized to your shopping habits so you may get points on the same items you buy regularly and not just featured items
  3. There’s usually an App for that – if they have an App this will allow you to leave the cards at home and lighten the bulk in your wallet
  4. You get rewarded for being a loyal shopper which I think we all deserve to be!
  5. Your entire purchase can be free sometimes, if you save up enough points (think of how you’d feel walking up to the cash and hearing these words, “you’ve got enough points to pay for everything, would you like to redeem them? HECK YEAH!)


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Bonus tip: Consider using your points to save a few bucks over the holidays. We all know how expensive Christmas can be and we can all use more tips to spend less. Here’s how I used my points last year during the Christmas holidays:

  • Free food – I saved up about $100 PCpoints at Loblaws and used that towards the big holiday grocery shopping list – you know when you have to buy the turkey, the pie, the flowers etc. It was great to cut that bill substantially. I even gave this tip to a couple in line one day who was debating whether to get the card. They were sold!
  • Free Beauty Products – I had quiet a few points as part of Sephora’s Beauty Insider (VIB) program but again with my migraine issue I have to be careful. I saw some cute mini gift sets, you know the ones that have like 3 different lipsticks and a mini mascara, or something. I redeemed some of my points and got one for my cousin’s gift. I paired it with her main gift which was a set of makeup brushes for a more fun surprise. Lets just say, she loves me!
  • Free Movies – I was able to treat my niece to a movie after an afternoon of gift buying because I had enough Cineplex Scene Card  points for two movies. Yes, she loves me too, in case you were wondering.

If you’ve not really been into points cards before, maybe its time to revisit the idea and look out for ones for retailers you are constantly shopping in.

I’m now looking at figuring out how to get a free flight for 2017! #vacaygoals

What points programs are you lovin’?

Cass McD.



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Change is ‘Natural’: Feeling my hair fears and doing it anyway!


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Change.”

About a year ago I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Relaxing my hair meant going to the hair salon every  6 – 8 weeks to get my hair chemically straightened. If you’ve read my previous post Hair Story: Good Hair Takes Some Time, you’ll know that the hours spent at the hair salon, although sometimes entertaining, was oftentimes excessive.

Long hours at the salon aside, what really drove me to decide it was time for a change? Well, a couple years ago, I had a bad relaxer experience that left me with some minor damage – there was a patch of hair that was substantially shorter than the rest of my hair and didn’t seem to be growing back.  It was time to give my hair a break. I thought perhaps for only for a few months so that I could focus on getting it healthy again. That was last spring.

I will admit, I was pretty nervous about what going natural could mean and sat on the fence for a little while without committing. After all, I didn’t have the sassy flair and uber funky fashion sense of the big-hair-don’t-care trendsetter Solange Knowles, or close-cropped ‘do of Tamu McPherson of All the Pretty Birds or the untamed fabulous main of Frédérique Tietcheu of I Go By Frankie (if only!).

Nor do I work in the fashion industry or a creative field where embracing my natural hair might be a little easier, if not even more fun, transition. How was this new natural me going to jive with the rather corporate (ahem, yet still stylish) self ? Did I need to wear braids or get a weave to make the transition? Would my hair fall out once I stop relaxing it? Was I really ready to make this of big change? Could I pull it off?

This wasn’t like getting a new haircut or dying my hair red. It would require years of allowing my naturally curly roots to get reacquainted with a very unfamiliar terrain, my scalp. That relationship would require some serious nurturing and a long, likely difficult, period of adjustment while I figured out how to manage things.

In the end I decided I would give it a try because what I learned from watching those beautiful naturlistas do their thang is that they do it with such confidence and style that is bigger than their hair. They embrace it, love it and make it work for them in their own unique ways. I admire and found strength in this.

So, I had a rather nervous chat with my hairstylist who repeatedly reassured me that things would be fine. Turns out I didn’t have to undergo much of change at all.  No weaves, braids, wigs or drastic cuts as I know some women have done.I am managing to transition by simply going for regular deep conditioning treatments and trims while flat ironing my hair as usual.

I also didn’t have to redefine my style and start wearing red lipsticks in an attempt  to embrace my potential new Fro and Flygirl fierceness that I imagine would magically result. And yes, I realize that none of this is a prerequisite for going natural but as the saying goes, go big or go home! I was prepared to embrace the look completely, whatever that look happened to be for me, because that’s another lesson I learned, there are so many options available to me, just look three women I’ve mentioned above and there are so many others to find inspiration from.

Although my change has not been transformative in the physical sense, it has made me keenly aware that change, whether it’s adapting a new hair style, landing a new job or making a career change, can be very scary but as the popular self-help book says, you simply have to feel the fear and do it anyways! Add a healthy dose of confidence and a dash of style to the mix and you may just have the recipe for success.

I did buy some red lipstick and I’m always working on finding my Flygirl fierceness (sans Fro)!



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My Hair Story: Good hair takes some time

Big Hair

There is something about a hair salon. The place has its own rhythm, it’s own life. From the sounds of R&B on the radio, to the whooshing sounds of the hot air from the hair dryers, to the splashing of the water and the flipping of pages as women sit, magazines in hand, awaiting there turn.

For some salon visits can be a very social and fun experience. Lots of laughter, sharing stories and yes, lots of over-sharing. For me, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with salon visits. I’m sharing this Hair Story for my ladies who have ever survived a day at the hair salon in the quest for good hair. Whip your hair back and joy.

9:15 am        

I arrive for my 9:00 am appointment. To my surprise (not) there are 4 clients already there. Waiting.

There’s a client in the stylist’s chair she’s getting a weave (let’s call her Ms. Weave). Another is under the dryer (we’ll call her Dryer Lady).

The assistant is in the back shampooing someone at the sink.

The hot topic of discussion is about the demise of music at the hands of explicit lyrics and BET.

I sigh heavily. It’s going to be a long morning.

10:00 am

Ms. Weave is finally finished. She heads over to a mirror to check out her new do.

“I’m going on my first date!” says another client (let’s call her, First Date Girl). Although this was meant for the stylist, the blow dryer is going so basically it’s an announcement to the entire room (its a small space). I sense the excitement like a brilliant spark of electricity. Some of us sit up a little straighter, some lean a little forward, ears, like antennae, at the ready.

Ms. Weave, who has not yet finished with the mirror, is apparently in a bit of dilemma. “Should I wear her hair straight or should I have it curled just or a bit or maybe I should have it layered? I don’t knooow” she whines.

She turns her head this way and that, then smoothens her freshly done hair with her hands. She examines her profile.

‘Leave it straight. You look HOT!” a client reassures her.

Ms. Weave pauses for one final look and a perfect hair flip before she deciding she does indeed look HOT. She makes her way, hips swinging and hair bouncing out the door.

One down…and a whole lot more to go. I give another internal sigh.

10:15 am

Dryer Lady, her head bowed and chin resting on her chest, has fallen asleep.

Your Love is My Drug is playing on the radio and someone comments that Ke$ha looks like she needs a bath and a serious shampoo. There’s general agreement.

The stylist’s phone rings. It’s a client who’s on her way and wants to know if she can bring the stylist anything.

“Does anyone want anything?” the stylist shouts. One large cornmeal porridge, some fried plantain and a small order of fried dumplings and ackee and saltfish. Orders are taken.

10:20 am

Two new clients have arrived but not in time to place an order.

The discussion has shifted from first dates and bad music to where to get good Jamaican food. No consensus is reached.

For what seems like the 100th time, I yawn and check my watch.

10:26 am

Two clients are finished and out the door.

Dryer Lady is tapped on the shoulder. She springs awake, eyes wild. It takes her a few seconds to catch her bearings before she makes her way slowly to The Chair.

10:40 am

Two more clients arrive.

We’re running out of chairs.

My stomach growls. I should’ve placed an order when I had the chance.

Lady Gaga’s Alejandro is playing and everyone is in agreement that it is a rip-off of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita and some Ace of Base song.

10:46 am

Dryer lady is done. She does a quick check in the mirror before heading out the door.

First Date Girl is next.

Another client has arrived. She takes a seat, well almost. She is perched, back straight, eyes scanning around the room. She frowns then stands up, head held high, shoulders square and announces to the room, “I have a few errands to run. I’ve gotta pick up my dry cleaning, go to the bank, and run to the mall. I’ll be back!” It was as she was addressing her royal subjects. Her Ladyship doesn’t wait for a response before gliding out the door.

My butt is now numb. I shift in my seat then check my watch.

10:50 am

Breakfast has arrived. The stylist and her assistant take a break…fast.

Locked Up by Akon is playing on the radio. To my disappointment, no one comments.

I continue flipping through my third fashion magazine and ponder how many must-haves one must one have to be ready for the summer. Good Lord, this chair is hard.

10:55 am

First Date Girl is done. She does a quick check in the mirror. With a satisfied smile, she got great first date hair going on! She sashays out the door, her hair bouncing almost playfully on her head, like a happy puppy trailing behind her.

The assistant motions me over. Yes!

She drapes the black cape on me. Progress!

I’m the ushered along into The Chair. OMG! I’m so excited I’m practically doing the Running Man, mentally.

11:10 am

The relaxer has been applied to my hair and I’m asked to sit at the sink for a shampoo.

11:20 am

Another client has arrived.

It’s the sister of Your Ladyship. Like her sister, she takes one look at the now crowded room and announces to the stylist – and everyone – that she is going for breakfast and will return in an hour. She too breezes through the door.

11:50 am

I’m under the dryer. I check my phone, read some emails and send a few text messages.

“Heeeey Everyone!” There’s a sudden shift in the energy in the room. It’s filled with momentary excitement. Greetings, hugs, air kisses, and laughter. This one is a popular client – practically a salon celebrity.

Things settle down rather quickly. Unfortunately Celebrity was out partying the night before and hadn’t quite recovered. She is uncharacteristically quiet.

11:56 am

Another client arrives. “Wow! Full house!” she exclaims.

The stylist asks her if she has any errands to run….

I’m back in “The Chair” for styling. Finally.

12:16 pm

I’m finally finished.

I don’t do a mirror check. I don’t care at this point.

A client compliments me on my do, which I barely hear because I’m too focused on paying and getting out.

As a grab my belongings, Celebrity tells me my looks “Great!”. I smile. I’m a fan.

I give a general “Goodbye” to the room and race for the door.

As I exit the salon, a woman getting out of her car, stops and says “Wow, really nice hair!” My smile is even bigger this time. I may have whipped my hair back, just a little and stepped with a bit more sass.

I’m tired as heck, really irritated and very relieved to finally be on my way home but I’ve had three compliments in the span of about two minutes. It’s almost enough to make me forget that I just spent half my day getting my hair did. Almost.

Cassandra McD.

**Disclaimer: The events and clients are fictitious and loosely based on my many years of salon visits. Not all salons are like this – I discovered this later in life.

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How to work: the plaid skirt

How to work: the plaid skirt

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how to work: a little plaid


make life easier

How to work: the plaid shirt and little skirt

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How to work: cobalt blue


How to ‘Work’: Electric Blue 

Tory Burch leather handbag / Marc by Marc Jacobs watch marc jacob/ Nine West, shoes
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how to work: burgundy into your fall/winter wardrobe


how to ‘work’: burgundy into your work wardrobe this fall 

Marc Jacobs purple dress / Jardin des Orangers cashmere sweater / Topshop skirt / Zara shoes / Yves Saint Laurent leather purse / Danier : leather jacket/ Sites-ysl_us-Site lipstick


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