Two more Lenzr photo contests: win great prizes!

Lenzr Water on Skin photo contest natural skin careAlong with the three iPad photo contests Lenzr is hosting for October/November, there are two more worth checking out that also have great prizes. All the contests close on December 1, 2010.

The Water on Skin photo contest celebrates the difficult-to-obtain image of crisp water streaming off body parts or being scooped up by bare hands. This image is coveted because it evokes health, wellness and beauty. Submit your best shots (no inappropriate images, please!) for a chance to win $500 worth of products from a natural skin care company called Soya Boutique. All the company’s products are made with organic and GMO-free ingredients and are luxurious without being wasteful or harmful to the environment.

Lenzr Pets in Winter coats contest on Lenzr snow removal

Seeing a pet bundled in a winter coat is enough to put a smile on most people’s faces, so Lenzr is celebrating the upcoming season with a Pets in Winter Coats photo contest. Take your best shots and submit them to Lenzr by December 1st for a chance to win a snow blower courtesy of a snow removal company servicing southwestern Ontario. The SnowMen serves both residential and commercial properties and work around the clock to ensure a snow-free drive.

Voting begins November 20th for both contests and all of them are open to residents of Canada age 13 and older (not valid in Quebec).

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Three new chances to win an iPad on Lenzr

Following the success of last month’s contests, Lenzr just started five new contests for October/November, three of them with iPads as prizes. All the contests close Dec. 1, 2010.

Here’s a rundown:

The Backyard Critters photo contesBackyard Critters contest on Lenzrt is looking for the best shots of the animals you see out your back door. Do you have a family of pesky squirrels that try to steal birdseed? Or deer that stop by for a morning graze? Whatever creature you see playing in your backyard, Lenzr wants to see it, too. This contest is sponsored by a metal roof company that specializes in keeping houses protected from the elements.

concrete ideas photo contest on Lenzr

The Concrete Ideas contest celebrates how this amazing building material — one of the oldest around — contributes to the urban landscape. From buildings to bridges, concrete doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Use your imagination to shoot the concrete at interesting angles and show how it can be a piece of art. Sponsored by a company that specializes in insulated concrete forms, which help reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Colourful Houses photo contest on Lenzr

The Colourful Houses contest wants your shots of bright buildings you’ve seen in your neighbourhood or on your travels. These are the houses that get people talking because they’re out of the cookie-cutter norm. Show us the best colourful houses you’ve seen for your chance to win. Contest sponsored by a PVC trim company, which offers a cost-effective alternative to wood trim.

Voting on these contests starts November 20, 2010. In all three contests, the registered member that uploads the highest ranked photo will WIN AN IPAD when the contest ends on Dec. 1, 2010. Contest open to Canadians 13 years of age and older, but unfortunately it’s not valid Quebec.

Good luck!

Cafe Culture: Balzac’s in The Distillery District, Toronto

Espresso bars have become a very commBalzac's Coffee in the Distillery District Torontoon fixture in Toronto neighbourhoods, but a lot of them feel boring to me.

That’s not the case with Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, which has one location in Liberty Village and one in the Distillery District. Both are nice spaces that have been around for quite awhile, but it’s the Distillery spot I really dig. It’s in an old building with high ceilings and tons of character. Think exposed brick, a wooden bar with a marble top, wicker chairs, a giant antique looking chandelier, and a staircase to a more private upper seating area. The pastry case, crammed with croissants, scones and glass jars of various cookies, squares and biscotti, is easy to drool over.

And then there’s the coffee, which is rich, bold and always very fresh. Balzac’s uses their own beans, which can be bought for home use, and also offers the usual rundown of espresso-based drinks (cappuchino, latte, Americano, etc.) and a selection of tea from the prestigious Mariage Freres brand from Paris. I’ve never had a bad drink there. Another pro? The takeaway cups are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Plus, they look a lot nicer than Starbucks cups.

The cafes don’t have Wifi, which I assume is a deliberate choice since the space seems much better suited to reading books than reading iPads. It would be nice to be able to do work from there, but I guess it can’t be everything to everyone.