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What’s In My Travel Makeup Bag? (Hint: It’s Safer, Cleaner, and More Enviro-friendly!)

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Before taking off on our trip, I stopped into one of my favourite stores -- terra20 -- to see what cosmetics they would recommend for my travel makeup bag. (I started on a cosmetics quest a little while back to use products that do not contain any harmful ingredients and this was another milestone on this journey.) It was a real treat to receive these products all at once. And over the past month, I've had a good chance to give them a work-out … [Read more...]

4 Ideas for Quick, Low-Cost, Thoughtful DIY Teachers’ Gifts

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Psst! This is a heads-up that if you wanted to give your kids' teachers a gift, time is kinda running out! Join my club and check out these ideas that I've hand-picked because they are (a) not a coffee mug, (b) can be created quickly, (c) are very low-cost. Notes of Appreciation for that Special Teacher Here's a great idea from Cyn at Creative Cyncronicity: a sweetly decorated glass jar that holds paper apple cut-outs. On each cut-out is a … [Read more...]

Chefx: Cool New Ottawa Service That Will Make A Chef Outta Ya!

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A = I like shopping local. It feels good to me. Same for eating locally grown food. B = I don't enjoy cooking. Hubby does; but he knows first-hand that it gets tedious to feed a family every night. A + B = Chefx Here's how it works, according to the Chefx website: "Each week, local chefs plan creative, seasonally-inspired recipes our partner farmers and producers supply the finest locally available ingredients; our kitchen team … [Read more...]

Choosing a Charity, Christie Lake Kids, and the #CardelCaresOtt Event

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To catch up and find out why I had $1,000 to donate to a charity, click here. How to Choose a Charity? As I was driving back from the #CardelCaresOtt event, I was chatting with my friend Andrea: which charity should I select ... one I already support or a different one? should it be local or international? helping animals or humans? a large charity with great needs and name recognition or a smaller charity that finds it hard to secure … [Read more...]

I Won $1,000 at a Cardel Homes Event! (#CardelCaresOtt)

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Uh huh, you read that right! I won $1,000! Pretty awesome, right? Oh, it gets better ... Okay, let me back up. A week or so ago, I was invited to a luncheon that was taking place at the Cardel Homes model homes in Blackstone (Kanata South area of Ottawa). The objective of the event was to gather the local media and blogging community as well as charitable organizations, and share how Cardel Homes actively contributes to the communities … [Read more...]

The Thing About Bra Straps

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Bra straps have been on a lot of people's minds these days. One wouldn't think that most of us would have much to say about bra straps. But apparently, we do. As the weather has heated up, and high school kids have switched from their winter wear to summer gear, bra straps are all the rage. Showing them, that is. It's a style. You wear coloured bras, with coloured straps, and ensure that they show. Whether or not the high schools should … [Read more...]

How to Get Your Body “Beach Ready”

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Dear Women of the World, I know, you've been told: your body is not ready for the beach. How do I know you've been told? Oh, perhaps simply by scanning the article titles of virtually every single women's magazine cover in the past month. But have you ever tried to read those articles and follow their advice? I have. Those "3 easy steps" usually involve radically changing my eating habits, my exercise habits, and a variety of painful … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: WordCamp Ottawa 2014 (#WCOttawa)

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Oops, they did it again! The WordCamp Ottawa organizers pulled off an amazing conference this past weekend. For the price of $30, attendees drank in a full day and a half of informative sessions AND were fed lunch and snacks as well. It's by far the best value for dollar of any conference I've ever been to. All up, 320 people registered for the 2014 edition of WordCamp Ottawa. As mentioned in my earlier post, I was going to be speaking. My … [Read more...]

The 10 Best Writing Tips in the Universe! (#WCOttawa)

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    This weekend, I'll be sharing "The 10 Best Writing Tips in the Universe!" Uh, huh. Yep, me and my friend Priscilla the Unicorn. However, I do hope to share at least *some* helpful tips to anyone in my session this Saturday at Ottawa's WordCamp conference. My session's topic? "Writing Tips for Non-Writers (No Grammar Police Allowed!)" Why no Grammar Police? Because I hate them. At their worse, they are peddling … [Read more...]

What is Therapeutic Yoga? A Q&A with Ottawa’s Jessica Keats

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This blog has brought so many people into my life. Jessica Keats is a great example of this. After reading this article in Capital Parent, she emailed me and asked if I would be interested in learning about--and trying--therapeutic yoga. I don't currently see a massage- or physio-therapist on a regular basis, but I've certainly had my fair share of visits over the years. Despite finding these forms of therapy extremely helpful, I've never … [Read more...]

My Mom and I went to National “We Day”!

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Hi everybody! It's me, Stella! I know that I have no published anything on the blog for a while ... umm ... because I have homework to be done, books to be read, dragons to be drawn, legos to build, trees to be climbed, and other important business. I promise that I will try and write for the blog more often. Anyways, the real post is about We Day. We Day is an event created by Free the Children to celebrate youth who are working for … [Read more...]

Win Tickets to The National Women’s Show! (Ottawa Convention Centre, March 29 & 30)

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Need a little time away with some girlfriends? I've got tickets to this weekend's National Women's Show in Ottawa and I want some of you to have them! Whatever you're interest, it looks like the Show has got it covered. There are six different zones, so take your pick: Fashion & Style District: check out new trends for work and play Beauty & Wellness: from alternative health to cosmetic procedures Travel & Adventure: dream … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands

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In my last "Winter Resolution" post, I shared that I had bought myself ski gear for the first time. Yep, at age 42, I am now the newbie owner of downhill ski gear! It's my way of committing to this "love like the winter" kick I've been on since I first posted about my struggles with winter back in December of 2009. Downhill ski gear is the most recent in a list of commitments I've made since 2009. The others include: A warm down-filled … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: Blah, Blah, Skiing, Blah, Blah …

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Thanks to all of you for reading my last post "The Winter Resolution: Fighting the Winter Blahs" and sharing your own tips for how to survive this never-ending season. It helped me feel a little less like this woman in this video. (But just a little. In fact, I wonder if this is a secret filming of me in my driveway?) Winter Blah-Blahs! Shortly after I published it, my son spiked a fever. Then a sore throat. Then a rash. My neighbour … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: Fighting the Winter Blahs

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Back in 2009, I made what I called "The Winter Resolution." The goal was to find a way to enjoy winter. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. Since then, I've made some excellent progress and don't cower as much when the temperature drops. But I still don't find it easy. It's not "natural" for me ... what feels natural is to run away and not come back until Spring! This winter is no different. Or maybe it is. Because it somehow actually feels … [Read more...]

How Old is Your Heart?

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A friend was recently telling me that her husband had had a heart attack. Her story sounded radically different from those I'd heard before or heart attacks that I'd seen on television. Rather than a sudden shooting pain in an arm or the chest, he had developed a really sore back. So sore, in fact, that he decided he needed to get a massage rather than go to work. She didn't think much about it and expected him to ease out of the pain after a day … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Chinese New Year: Beef, Broccoli & Shiitake Mushroom Stirfry

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I went shopping to create a meal to celebrate Chinese New Year as part of my membership with the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. And yes, I was paid to do this. I hope you like the post I wrote as a result! #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias As you could probably plainly tell from my post on the Christmas Holidays, I am missing the holiday season. So I thought that celebrating the Chinese New Year would be a perfect excuse to help our … [Read more...]

Raisin Bread Breakfast Cups with Berries

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Hubby was looking for something new to add to his usual repertoire for Christmas brunch and decided on this Raisin Bread Breakfast Cup recipe. Everyone loved them (except for my son who won't eat foods that are mixed! I am hoping he will grow out of this one day soon). So I thought I'd share the recipe with you because they're super easy and light on the belly, so they'd be a nice weekend breakfast treat any time of year. Breakfast Cups … [Read more...]

10 Reasons Why I Love My Beats Studio Headphones by Dr. Dre

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I was at the mall today. So I can personally vouch that if you have yet to pick out a perfect gift for someone special, you are definitely not alone! It is a busy world out there. But thanks to Staples, I can recommend the ideal gift for that person who seems to have everything: Beat Studio headphones by Dr. Dre. Whether they're a music lover, business traveller, or public transport devotee, these headphones will make life just that much more … [Read more...]

Handmade Christmas Cards

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Do you still send out Christmas cards? I lapsed on this a few years back (okay, so maybe it was more than a "few" years back ... more like almost a decade ago!) and never got back on the wagon. But I still really enjoy the act of crafting with paper. My friend Kerry and I recently got together and spent a Sunday afternoon making handmade Christmas cards. There is something seriously calming about crafting. I had a great time and came home with … [Read more...]

Gift Guide for Young Boys (Age 4-7)

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Are you reading this post because you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet? Eep -- I haven't either! But, hey, there are still SIX WHOLE DAYS before Christmas Eve. And you know what that means? Yep, anyone who has all their shopping done before Christmas Eve is a super-organized super-star! So if you have a young boy on your list, like I do (my son Max is 5 years old), I have some great gift ideas for you! Playmobil Puzzle For … [Read more...]

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