Back to School Shopping

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We hate to say it, but many start back at school and work in less than 30 days. Fortunately, the long weekend being September 4th – 7th has extended the summer a little longer. So the question is, have you started you back to school shopping? We’re not just referring to school supplies, but also apparel, and new gadgets. We’re here to recommend some items that you must buy, to really feel like it’s the start of a new school year!

A Pair of Shoes

Nothing says “I’m ready” like buying and wearing a new pair of shoes. If you’re going back to school, then a nice pair of lifestyle shoes is probably what you’re looking for. Nike, Adidas, Jordan and Converse are all known for their lifestyle shoes and you’ll have a sweet pair of shoes to sport. You can buy any of them online at Footlocker. If you’re the one teaching and going back to work, then splurge on a pair of comfortable, dressy shoes from Aldo (one of our favorite Canadian online stores).

Backpack/ Book bagbag

For some it will be a heavy duty knapsack and for others, a shoulder bag (if you’re a teacher, usually). We recommend shopping on Bentley’s online store if you’re looking for a bag because they have brands like Jansport, Tracker, DC and Parkland. They also have pencil cases and lunch boxes, if you’re interested!!

New Laptop

surfaceWindows or Mac? Well, what are you interested in? What are you going to school for? What sort of work will need to be done on your laptop? Those are all questions to take into consideration, but you know that! If we had to choose a Windows product, it would be the Microsoft Surface 3 or the Surface 3 Pro. Take a look at their website for a quick comparison. It’s great for anyone on the go, and exemplifies versatility at its finest. As for a Macbook, here is a comparison of a 13 inch Macbook Air and Macbook Pro – The decision is all yours!

Agenda

Staples has a wide variety of nice Agenda’s to use to schedule your daily activities, homework, class schedule and reminders. You can buy a planner that breaks down your day by every 15 minutes, every half hour or hour. You can also buy a planner that allows you to schedule your day up until 9:45 p.m..

Bluetooth Speakers

This might really help you get out of bed. Whether you’ve travelled a lot this summer, have been working, or just waking up late, it is now time to be back in a routine. Try to find a speaker or a pair of speakers that also have an alarm clock built in. You could very well wake up to an alarm that is one of your favourite tunes! The Soundfreaq Bluetooth speaker is probably one of the best ones out there. speaker and alarm

Believe it or not, we have more on our list! Stay on the look-out for our other recommendations for back to school shopping on our next blog post. You’re not quite ready to go back to school/work just yet! Until then, feel free to check out some of the products we’ve already recommended and ship them to any of our Penguin Pick-Up locations.

Penguin Pick-Up and Alliance Pharmacy Group

AwesomenessAs a company who accepts hard goods, fresh and frozen food, and offers valet dry cleaning services, you would assume that there isn’t really anything more we could offer our customers. In this case, there was – Penguin Pick-Up has partnered with Alliance Pharmacy APG LOGOGroup!

 Alliance Pharmacy Group is a fully accredited pharmacy that also offers a variety of medicine cabinet and personal care essentials for your everyday needs. They help you by providing counseling for any medicine related questions and you can set up refill reminders by phone, text, or email, making it a little bit easier to remember what you need.

The point is that as an online retailer, Alliance Pharmacy Group (APG) gives you the opportunity to order your prescription online and have it delivered to Penguin Pick-Up. This option is available right on their website.

What’s great is that you don’t have to go to your local drug store anymore and wait 10-15 minutes for them to fill your medication, and you do not have to get out of your car either. You can purchase anything that you need on top of your prescriptions from APG and any other online retailer. At Penguin Pick-Up, we’re that much closer to becoming a one-stop shop for our customers.

Don’t make errands and shopping a full day affair. Save some time, skip the line and shop online. Spend your time driving to and from one of our locations in Vaughan, Scarborough, North York and Oakville instead. We’ll make sure that you have everything that you need and brought to your car in 90 seconds or less.

Our Favourite Canadian Online Retailers

Knowing that a retailer online or offline is Canadian makes all the difference when deciding where to shop! Two main reasons why Canadians are more likely to buy Canadian brands and products are to keep jobs in Canada, and to support our economy. A product that is made and sold in Canada can benefit up to 8 different sectors – Manufacturing, retail, transportation, warehousing, etc.

When it comes to online shopping specifically, here is a list of our favourite Canadian online retailers! Some of the retailers below have physical locations, and some don’t. Some of  these brands have also been finalists in e-commerce innovation awards given to retailers. when i shop

Shop.ca

They have become the fastest growing retail site in Canada! They have a wide variety of Canadian brands (amongst brands from other countries), and have strong core values in place. Brands include Lazy Pants, Province of Canada, and Petite and Sweet. With a combination of apparel, electronics and lifestyle products for your home, you’re bound to find something you like.

Aritzia

Artizia’s first boutique opened its first boutique in Vancouver and currently carry 13 brands. They have been a retail leader in North America since their inception, but you probably already knew that. They offer clothes designed on-trend, made of high quality and good value. You will spend more money on their products, but some pieces you buy from Artizia are timeless. Blazers, a nice pair of jeans and blouses are all good for any occasion and will last you a long time. Right now Aritizia is having a summer sale. Online you can get anywhere between 30 % and 60% off some of the summer favourites.

Frank & Oak

With function and style in mind, Frank & Oak design menswear offering a new collection of Frank and Oakclothing every month. So what do you get if you’re a member? 12 sharp and original collections a year, stylish and quality pieces at a reasonable price, and personalized service. Yes, even online, style advisors are available for you. Want to know the best part? The membership is FREE.

Beyond The Rack (BTR)

BTR is definitely a unique e-commerce experience. It is a private shopping club for women and men who want designer apparel, for less. They receive merchandise and provide it to their members exclusive through limited-time events. “Limited-time” in this case, is true to its definition. Usually, their events only last 48 hours. The only way to become a member with BTR is if you are invited by a friend who is already member, if you receive an invitation from a marketing partner or if you request a membership. So if you want to shop online and receive up to 80% off on authentic merchandise, you better request to be a member ASAP!

Aldo Group

The well-known brand has boutiques in over 87 countries around the world and started in Montreal. They are well-known as a company for their commitment to society as they support War Child, YouthAIDs, the Cure Foundation, etc. But really, who hasn’t found a pair of shoes that they like from Aldo???

MEC

CampingIn business now for +40 years they sell quality gear for rock climbing, mountaineering, ski mountaineering and hiking.  This was and is still a fairly niche market, but at the time when the business was founded, gear was really hard to find. So, the once small business specialized in manufacturing and selling this equipment. MEC ultimately expanded into camp gear, running gear and travel gear. If you love the outdoors and you’re an online shopper, this is the site for you!

Well.ca

Another online Canadian retailer that focuses on selling green and natural health, beauty and baby products. Well.ca won an award for the most innovative and best online retailer. Features of their website include the “Subscriptions” feature that allows customers to schedule repeated purchases of their essential products and an iOs app that accompanies their website.

Are there any of your favourite online Canadian retailers that we missed? If so, just comment below. Know that Penguin Pick-Up will always be here to receive packages on your behalf. You can come pick it up today, tomorrow or next week – You decide!

International Self-Care Day

Today is Self-Care Day and that is why we talked about health and wellness in our last blog post Health and Fitness 101. Ultimately, self-care is a vital foundation of health as it includes any actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Benefits of self-care are life-long and if you learned anything from out last post, it includes what you eat, the amount of sleep you get, managing your stress and exercising.

Self-Care Day is an international event that is promoted by the International Self-Care Foundation, and previous activities have been focused on youth, seniors, the general public, etc. Activities have ranged from competitions, to concerts to community involvement programs, sporting events and so on.

Chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes happen to be the primary cause of death and disability, replacing infectious diseases. The idea here is that if we can take better care of ourselves and the people around us, most of these conditions are preventable. There has been an increase in people being more person-centric where more time is being spent on health initiatives. Most of our health initiatives fall outside the formal health and social care system because we don’t spend a lot of time in the doctor’s office – and that’s okay!

Just remember you have the support of many organizations and health care professionals to help you and recommend what they think is best for you. It’s not always about the paternalistic model of health and their decisions legally and morally have begun to include the patient in the decision making process for treatments. On the bright side, most doctors want to work with you to improve the way you take care of yourself and your family.

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Health and Fitness 101

Health and Fitness has a lot more to it than eating well and exercising.  Those are two important pillars of health, but there are two other pillars that people don’t pay much attention to; Sleep and stress management. Typically your healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit that assists you in your well-being (wellness) relies on taking care of all 4 pillars equally. Have you ever noticed the difference in how you feel when you even focus on just one of them? Right!

Exercise:Elle Woods 2

There are so many different kinds of exercises that you can do that you’re bound to find something you enjoy! It could be in the form of a recreational sports league, dancing, group classes, and even walking.  There are a ton of reasons to exercise that include reducing stress, increasing overall circulation, and improving your overall performance in other areas of your life. It also releases endorphins like serotonin in your body. Physical activity is the only way to release the serotonin neurotransmitter… so get moving! As Elle Woods from Legally Blonde said “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy”. In 4-6 weeks, if you’re exercising 2-3 times a week, you can increase the amount of weight you use in your exercises by 5 pounds. If you are sedentary at work, core exercises are strongly recommended to strengthen your core.

Nutrition:

In addition to the healthy snacks, find ways to cook with herbs and spices. They carry no calories, taste great and usually provide a lot of benefits. Turmeric for example, is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our bodies from many diseases, and the spice itself boosts the activity of the body’s existing antioxidants. So it protects your body and then stimulates more antioxidant mechanisms! Here’s a list of Best Health’s “10 foods you should eat every day”. Keep in mind that certain foods are better for you based on how your body reacts to them. Your body’s pH level (power of hydrogen) measures the concentration of hydrogen in your body. Naturally we have a fairly neutral pH level and it doesn’t fluctuate very much, but you have to be mindful of the different kinds of healthy fats, protein, and carbs you intake and the effect they have on your pH level.

Sleep:

SleepingTime to recharge! Winding down, relaxing, and then finally sleeping, is critical. If you have a hard time controlling your thoughts or if you are stressed, do what you need to do to get rid of the thoughts and stress – be it working out, meditating, or learning to control your thoughts. While sleeping your body recovers, but it cannot recover if certain vitamins and minerals are missing in your body to get you through the different stages of your sleep cycle. Sleep believe it or not, requires a proper diet.

Stress Management

When stress is properly taken care of, it helps improve your everyday functioning. There are 3 levels of stress that your body goes through. The first stage is alarm – when your nervous system immediately sends an emergency signal to your brain and your body tries to fight the signals. The second stage is resistance this is where your body tries and to fight the stress even more but at which point your body is already more tired, weary and anxious. As a result your immune system weakens and you become an easy target for the cold or flu. Exhaustion is the last stage where your body has past the point of exhaustion and where you absolutely will get sick. That is probably the best way to describe stage 3 of stress someone can go through. Remember, you can always talk to your doctor and ask them to give you tips on stress management to make it easier to cope with even the little stressors in your life.

Remember, your health is above everything else! By managing these four areas, you will see a huge improvement in the quality of your life.

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What’s New With Penguin Pick-Up

For those of you who have been paying close attention to our social media, you’ll know that there has been a lot going on at Penguin Pick-Up.  We got Green Passes granted to each of our locations, acquired a few more shipping partners, and ran a contest. New partners include WagJag, Exclusive Dry Cleaners and Shipllama.

You can use Penguin Pick-Up as a pick up point for frozen food, dry cleaning, as well as international and domestic purchases from ANY online retailer. So despite previously blogging about every shipping partner of ours and how we are working together, we never really mentioned that Penguin Pick-Up can really be your one stop shop. I mean where else can you go to get your frozen food, hard goods and dry cleaning done in one store/unit? Nowhere!

Again, for those of you who haven’t been paying close attention to our social media, we had been posting a series of “Benefits of Using PPU” on Twitter.

What are they you ask?

– Penguin Pick-Up saves YOU gas #onestopshop

– Because Penguin Pick-Up saves YOU gas, together we help the environment

– Penguin Pick-Up saves YOU time #onestopshop

– Penguin Pick-Up is a secure pick-up point for all your shopping needs #onestopshop

– Have almost ANYTHING delivered to us

– Efficient Drive-Thru service

– You don’t even have to get out of your car for your pick-up

– Customer service is our primary focus

– We’ll have you on your way in 90 seconds or less

– Our service is FREE

– If the retailer has a shipping cost, it will cost you less to ship to Penguin Pick-Up because we have a    business address

– Open 7 days a week

– You can send us “surprise packages” that no one will see before their surprise

– Someone else can pick-up your package for you

– First time users get a welcome package!

– Four convenient locations in the GTA; Scarborough, Vaughan, North York and Oakville

– You can pick up your packages ANYTIME

– We have awesome promos & giveaways from time to time!

– Shop on multiple sites, but enjoy only one pick-up #onestopshop

– You’ll never have to worry about your package being left on your doorstep

– On route with your daily commute

– Orders are well organized in the PPU units

As you can see there are a variety of benefits of using Penguin Pick-Up for the customer, as well as the environment! Customers deserve the best service, as well as an opportunity to save their hard-earned money and available time. We have an obligation to do what we can to protect earth’s natural resources and the environment we live in.

If you have any other benefits of using Penguin Pick-Up that we haven’t listed, please feel free comment below!

Consumers Want a Healthier Snack!

We all like having snacks to munch on here and there, and now we’re looking for a healthier alternative. It should come as no surprise as consumers are more conscious of what they are consuming. Some people prefer savory, and others have more of a sweet tooth. Either way, it seems to us that protein, natural and 0-little sugar is the preference amongst younger generations. Those who are a little bit older, tend to watch for sugar and sodium levels in the snacks they consume. When shopping for food and snacks, consumers demand transparency in a product. Does this sounds like you? Take a look at product labels, ingredients, and specific health benefits.

Now that it’s summer time, some have the chance to spend more time at home with their kids. What fun/healthy snacks can YOU make that you’ll both love?

Popcorn

Everybody loves popcorn and making your own is the healthiest way to serve it. Traditionally, we add some salt and some butter. But, try using coconut sugar in place of those two ingredients. Coconut is a natural sweetener and a great alternative to sugar. The best part about it, is that the sugar made in a natural 2-step process retains quite a bit of the nutrients found in the coconut palm such as Iron, Calcium and Potassium.

Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

Who doesn’t like popsicles? You can use a mix of berries and bananas, mangos, pineapple and more – Whatever suits your taste buds, really. Add some low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, and you’re good to go. You may use honey as an alternate sweetener as suggested here in this recipe! This is an especially great thing to make now that it’s summer.

Photo from allrecipes.com

Photo from allrecipes.com

How About Just Fruit?

Most kids prefer fruit over vegetables anyway. Sometimes the more appetizing it looks, the more likely children are to eat it. How about throwing some fruit together on a kabob? This could turn into the sort of activity where it is okay to play with your food!

Peanut Butter Granola

Oats, peanut butter, cinnamon and honey. There are a few more ingredients, but you know where we’re going with this. You can eat the granola on its own, with yogurt, and as a cereal for breakfast.  See exactly how long it takes to make this flavour-perfect granola.

Guacamole           

GuacThis can be made in many different ways and served with a healthier chip alternative. Whether it is a Triscuit cracker, a spinach/kale chip or a rice cracker with sesame seeds. Mix up your guacamole a little bit so that there’s more flavour. Try adding:  black olives, tomatoes, finely chopped onions, lime, and cucumbers. Truthfully, you can put just about anything in it, and make it spicy. Maybe hold off on the spice if your kids aren’t a fan!

Here are 5 great snacks that you can make, and share with your kids. Are there any other snacks that we should know about that you’ve made that your friends/family that kids might love? Tell us below!