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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?

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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?

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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...]

School for Bloggers: Vlogging (#BlissdomCA)

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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. That's why blogging events are such a big deal in our world -- we get to connect with our community in a face-to-face way and we also get to learn more about this crazy craft called blogging. I just attended one of this "big deal" events -- Blissdom Canada -- over the past weekend (I … [Read more...]

The Terra20 Store: My Personal Assistant for Avoiding Greenwashing

@ecoholicnation and @coffeewithjulie

On Friday night, I watched a very interesting episode of CBC's Marketplace. In this season premiere, the show examined products that purported to be "green." You know the kind ... you see them everywhere nowadays -- the label includes something green or has been re-branded with a beige colour and includes words such as "natural," "non-toxic," and "biodegradable." I'm sure I've been duped countless times by these products because I want to do my … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Advice for Parents if Your Child is Volunteering Abroad

Hello loverlies! I am back from my vacation out to Eastern Canada and will collect photos and notes to share with you soon. In the meantime, I was contacted a while back about a guest post sponsored by Projects Abroad, an international volunteer organization. Many young people take "gap years" these days -- I know I certainly did! In fact, in my family, three out of four of the kids chose to travel overseas after graduation: I left with a … [Read more...]

Forest Books: A Public Book Exchange Program

Fellow travel and book lover, Rhonda Carrier, shared this on Facebook and it is so cool that I just need to share it on as well! In Berlin, a program called Forest Books -- tree trunks have been installed in public places and free books are in the plastic enclosures for residents to swap out and exchange. To see some more photos from this awesome program, check out the inhabit website.   … [Read more...]

Help! I’ve Got a Kid

If I'd actually had enough spark left in me at the time, that's precisely what I would have cried out to the world almost ten years ago. But I didn't. Because it was too hard just to get out of bed, let alone care for my new born baby. I'd been smacked hard with a postpartum depression stick and was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I knew other mothers didn't feel like I did. And that made things feel worse. I distinctly recall observing … [Read more...]

Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica: A Tween’s Perspective (Day 3)

Writing in her journal on our balcony at Beaches Boscobel

Stella, who is almost 10 years old, and I have just returned from Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica, where we were invited to experience the resort. This resort is all about providing a full family experience, so I am sharing Stella's journal -- spelling mistakes and all -- with you so that you can get an older child's perspective, not just an adult's.  On Day 3, we had a really special experience because we left the resort and had a visit to a … [Read more...]

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

Hello my lovely bloggy friends, Stella and I are now in Jamaica (my Jamaica 101 post)! We were invited to come and visit the Beaches Boscobel resort in Jamaica and it's actually our first "girls' trip" together. Beaches Resorts cater specifically to families, so we are here to experience the resort and its activities to the fullest. I will be telling you all about it ... but first, I want to tell you about the trip to get here. To fully … [Read more...]

I Used to Really Love Advertisements

This might sound strange, but I used to really love advertisements. Advertisements can provide an amazing creative outlet for "ideas people" -- it's rare to get so much creative freedom and budget combined. As a kid, I would watch all the ads during television shows and admire all the ads in my favourite magazines. Now, as an adult, I work (indirectly) with advertising. But I have to admit that, these days, I tend to skip over television ads … [Read more...]

The Looneyspoons Collection: A Giveaway!

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A little while back, I wrote about David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber and The Wealthy Barber Returns. (And did you hear the news that he's going to be one of the "dragons" in the next season of the Dragons' Den? I think he'll be fantastic!) In the most recent book, he details how he came to publish massively popular Looneyspoons cookbook with sisters Janet and Greta Podleski.   Published in 1996, Looneyspoons broke publishing … [Read more...]

White Walls: Inspired or Institutional?

The last time I had to pick paint colours for our home, I was bursting at the seams with Stella in my belly and living in my parents' basement while Hubby frantically finished major renovations on our house. I don't remember it being all that difficult. I went to the local Benjamin Moore store and picked up a few swatches and called it a day. But now? It's 10 years later and we moved into a new house last summer. And now I am paralyzed with … [Read more...]

Zumba® Fitness and My Quest for True Love

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Growing up, I loved to dance. Most days after school, I grabbed a bus and headed to the studio for a class. Some evenings, I had two classes. I simply couldn’t get enough of them! When I was about 17 years old, I stopped taking classes and then moved away for university, where there were no classes offered. I didn’t realize then how big a loss that was … losing my true love. Since then, I’ve tried rugby (played winger when they let me off the … [Read more...]

Free Money Monday! (and Canada’s Children’s Arts Tax Credit)

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It's Sunday, but I've already got the Monday blues. It's not that I don't like my job, it's just that the longer winter goes on, the more I just want to do nothing but curl up with a book and a fresh pressed coffee. A beach sure sounds nice right about now. But I digress ... I'm actually here to write about the taxes. I kid you not. I really am. Specifically, Canada's newly introduced Children's Arts Tax Credit. You've already likely heard … [Read more...]

The Wealthy Barber Returns: 5 Takeaway Tips

Yes, my eyes are closed. What of it?

Have you ever read The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton? The year before I graduated from high school, this book on personal finance hit the bookstands with a storm! Over two million copies have been sold in North America, and I think that’s because of its unique fictional format. Here’s how Wikipedia describes the book: The book is structured around a story of three people in their late 20s visiting Roy, the title character, for lessons in … [Read more...]

Cancer Sucks. And so does Pink-Washing.

Back in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I shared my thoughts on pink-washing in a post called "Don't Drink the Pink Kool-Aid." In it, I questioned all the pink ribbons being slapped on everything from cell phones to chocolate bars; and wondered out loud about corporate profit-teering from an illness that is hurting so many of us. I didn't have any easy answers, and instead decided that rather than promote one of the many pink … [Read more...]

Another Attempt at a Front Hall Vignette

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When Hubby sees me poking around the front hall trying to put together a vignette (you can see my first attempt here), he just cracks up. I am not a patient person and have little tolerance for anything "fiddly" and yet, I just love doing these vignette things. Strange but true. I had gathered a few special things: In the background is a print that Hubby gave me after Stella was born, titled Mother and Child. The boxed book box … [Read more...]

My Bedside Table Books: January 2011

A while back, Stella (my nine-year-old daughter) and I added Amazon widgets to the sidebar of this blog -- take a gander over on the right-hand sidebar of the blog's homepage. We didn't have any ambitions of getting rich off of our 4%, but rather to share what's on our respective bedside tables as fellow bookworms. I don't know about you, but I just love poking around people's bookshelves and knowing what people have cracked open and set their … [Read more...]

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