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

hannah

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...]

Amanda Lindhout and the Power of the Human Spirit

amanda

Thanks to the Ottawa International Writers Festival, I had the tremendous opportunity to meet Amanda Lindhout and hear her story in her own words. If Amanda's name does not ring familiar, let me explain who she is. She is a young Canadian woman who has published a memoir (A House in the Sky) of her experience as a hostage in Somalia for 460 days. Let that sink in for a moment: Four-hundred and sixty days. These were not 460 days in a … [Read more...]

10 Things that I Know for Sure at Age 42

what i know for sure at age 42

I share the same birth date as Candace and was so inspired by the piece she wrote in honour of turning one year older, that I asked her if she would mind if I did the same. Some days I feel like I know everything now that I'm 42, while other days I feel like I still know nothing. In between those extremes are the things that I now know for sure. Here they are ... … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: Finding a Signature Look (#LINK2013)

@coffeewithjulie's conference boots

Two Christmases ago, my husband gifted me with a new pair of boots. Knowing my love of the Fluevog, we visited a local store that carried some and happened upon a pair that were on sale. Tall. Bright. Yellow. Not the kind of boots that you could wear everyday, but Hubby encouraged me to get them. … [Read more...]

On Trying Something New

kerry and i

I'm always trying to encourage my children to try something new. Whether it's a new food or an activity, I want them to have these opportunities. I don't expect them to like everything they try, but I believe that the simple act of trying has value in and of itself. I don't think I'm unique here. I think most parents feel the same way. And yet, as parents, are we modelling this kind of behaviour to our children? Are we trying new foods? Or we … [Read more...]

Back to School Round-Up: Hazing, Lunches, and Facebook, Oh My!

lunches

For many of us, it's a big week. It's get-back-into-routines, get-clothes-that-fit-and-are-clean-for-your-children, and re-learn-the-painful-art-of-the-lunchbox week. Oh, and also, try not to stress out too much about how our kids are doing at school and are they making friends, and is their teacher nice, and will they learn lots this year ... and ... and ... So, let's put that aside for a moment. How about I share some good stuff from the … [Read more...]

Because Miley is just not worth it.

Don't Drive Distracted

Just as we wouldn't crack open a beer and drive, we shouldn't snap open our cell phones and drive. We've all gotten into the habit of arranging a ride home before a night that will involve alcohol, but our habits around cell phone use in cars still need adjustment. I know many friends who say, “Oh, I only look at it when I’m at a red light.” But I beg them to change that behaviour. Why? Because if they are like me, the need to look at the … [Read more...]

Great Bear River Canoe Trip: I Opened That Door Again

Greyling fish, Great Bear River, NWT

In yesterday's post, I told you about my hardest day on the trip. Today, I can tell you with a smile on my face that that day is but a distant memory. In fact, at one point in that post, I had compared a panic attack to labour. And like labour, where once you see that beautiful little face it's hard to remember much else, so too is an adventure trek. I needed to experience that feeling again. The discomfort that comes from doing something … [Read more...]

Confessions of a Recovering Judgmental Mom

Tyrannosaurus Rex

I'm totally in awe of today's guest poster, Amanda. She probably thinks it's because I envy the way she always manages to capture the sexiest selfies, or perhaps her perfect hue of red hair, or maybe even her cute shoe collection. These things are true, and she might be on to something ... but no, it's the writing. Damn, she's good. Remember "50 Pounds of Poutine"? Yeah, that was her. This time she leaves the fantasy tales behind and shares some … [Read more...]

No, I’m Not Ready for My Canoe Trek.

Groovy Moves course, Pure Life Adventures

These days, the most common question I've been getting from colleagues and friends and a few strangers is: So, are you ready for your big trip up to Northwest Territories? Well, it's on my list. And to be fair a lot important things don't get done on my list. I run out of time. Or energy. Or a combination of both. Plus, I've been really busy getting work done so that I can actually take a holiday. Oh, and there were the birthday parties, … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: Top 5 WordPress Plugins (#WCOttawa)

WordCamp Ottawa, #wcottawa

This week, my hometown of Ottawa will be hosting its very first WordCamp (#WCOttawa)! I've mentioned in previous "School for Bloggers" posts that these kinds of events are a life bread for bloggers because it's the best way to learn -- from each other. There's no school for this crazy thing called blogging, so this is what we do instead. Here's how WordCamp Central describes these gatherings, which have taken place all over the … [Read more...]

When One Door Closes …

when-one-door-cloes-another-opens

Lately, I've been thinking about this expression: "When One Door Closes, Another One Opens." The full saying actually goes like this: “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”~ Alexander Graham Bell I've also heard other variations, like "When one door closes, use the window," reinforcing the notion that there is more than one way … [Read more...]

Pronouns Seem Kinda Antiquated, Don’t They?

This 48-year-old Australian, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, is the first person in the state to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the NSW government. (Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sexless-in-the-city-a-gender-revolution-20100311-q1l2.html#ixzz2JKYYUR6r)

It's a touch dusty around here. I know ... I know ... my stupid New Year's Resolution is totally interfering with my "me time" (i.e. blog time). I need to put in an extra hour of walking in at night to be able to hit those 8,000 to 10,000 steps. And then afterwards, I have a spurt of adrenaline that is nice but not nice enough to provide me with any creative writing juice that will keep me up past my bed time. Yet once I get into bed, I end up … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Fredrick Banting and the Great Idea

A painting of Frederick Banting found in the National Portrait Gallery of Canada.

Stella is my 10-year-old daughter and on Saturdays, I let her rent this space from me because she thinks blogs are cool. It is her hope that her writing will appeal to kids her age as well as to the adults who read here too. For the intro to Saturdays with Stella, click here.  source Fredrick Banting and the Great Idea: A Life Story You may have heard of Fredrick Banting, but not necessarily know what he did. You may not have even heard … [Read more...]

How to Talk to Your Child about Murder (Guest Post)

Dear readers, I am sharing this post because there has been a tragedy in my home town of Ottawa. The community has been hit hard and like most parents, I've been struggling with how to talk to my children about these three deaths. Krista Gray-Donald, a friend of mine who works with victims of violent crime, offered to put together some tips and resources for me. In speaking with her, she also offered to share this information here on Coffee … [Read more...]

Ottawa Staycation: Coffee at the Shopify Offices

Entrance to Shopify Offices

Back in 2010, I received an email that started like this: My name is Brennan and I am a fourth year student at the University of Ottawa and co-founder of a local start-up called Avitu.  In a nutshell, Avitu is social and community driven online advertising platform and ad management tool. For the past 4 months myself and my two classmates (both software engineering students at UofO) have been incubating out of Shopify in the Byward Market trying … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: How to Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas Without Using Chemicals

Natural Christmas Smells, Package

My neighbour just popped over with a little gift (have I mentioned before how much I love my neighbourhood? Oh, I do!) for me. She follows this blog and knows that I've been trying to eliminate the number of toxins that my family is exposed to, and brought me over a sweet little package for making my home smell all lovely and Christmas-y -- naturally, without chemicals. She said it is her new "go-to" hostess gift ... but also perfect for … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: What if you have none?

etsy-meh-ornament-bah-humbug-funny-best

At this time of year, when every form of media imaginable -- from commercials, movies, and television to magazines and newspapers -- are promoting the "warm glow" of holiday happiness and family togetherness, it might seem like you're alone if you are not feeling the Christmas spirit. Well, you're not. I just thought maybe you might want to hear that. So don't beat yourself up if you're just "not feelin' it." There's a ton a reasons why you … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: Book Keeping (#BlissdomCA)

Brian Kent-Baas at #BlissdomCA

I am home from work today with a sick child. She just finally fell into a much-needed nap on the sofa, so I thought I'd finally catch up on this series of posts I wanted to do from my trip to the Blissdom Canada conference. You can read the first post here, and this is the second one.  There’s no formal training to become a blogger. You teach yourself what you can and you learn from other more experienced members of the blogging community. … [Read more...]

Terra20, Gillian Deacon, and My Cosmetics Quest

Gillian Deacon and Julie Harrison

In my quest to learn more about what chemicals are in my cosmetics, I took a second visit to Ottawa's new eco-store Terra20 this past weekend. Gillian Deacon, who wrote Green for Life and There's Lead in Your Lipstick, was scheduled to be in the store to autograph books and to chat with store visitors. As soon as I walked in, I thought: Where have I seen her before? Take a look at this photo and see if you have the same reaction: So, it … [Read more...]

What Guidance Would You Give to An Algonquin College Student on Online Identity and Career Advancement?

algonquin-XSmall

The last time I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at Algonquin College, I asked you what advice you would give to a student soon to be graduating from the Advertising program. I thought that the comments that came in were really valuable, so I'd like to do a repeat performance. Today, I'll be speaking to a class that is in a business stream (as opposed to a creative stream) in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Management … [Read more...]

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