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

blackstone

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...]

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...]

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

#NWSOttawa

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...]

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...]

It’s Friday, Friends! Let’s Get to the Bottom of This.

Last night my mother and I went out for Thai and then saw two fabulous bands perform live. Our birthdays are very close together and instead of gifts, we now do an evening together. It started with a bit of random luck. Now, it's a bit of a tradition. One of the bands we saw last night was Chic Gamine. They're an a capeella group (ha! just kidding Sacha!) interesting collection of Winnipeggers and Montrealers. Hard to nail down what their … [Read more...]

Target Stores Open in Ottawa: What’s All the Buzz About?

sisters

I was long overdue to finally have a coffee with The Maven of Mayhem. We decided today was the day. And I decided, "Hey, maybe we could check out the new Target store opening up in our neighbourhood while we're at it?" … [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...]

A Visit to See “The Hidden Life of Ants” @ Canadian Museum of Nature

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We make regular visits to the Canadian Museum of Nature here in our home town of Ottawa. It's a fantastic place for both adults and kids (although I admit to being sick to death of the dinosaur section after the millionth visit!). So when I heard about "The Hidden Life of Ants" exhibit (remember this giveaway?), it was just one more good reason to head back to this museum. I went with my two children and brought along my sister Meaghan for extra … [Read more...]

Top 5 Strange Facts about Ants (+ Ottawa Giveaway to see “The Hidden Life of Ants” at the Canadian Museum of Nature)

Weaver ants

Most of us have heard of some strange facts about ants. They are a curious species, with their queens and workers. But you can learn some of the lesser known facts about ants at an exhibit opening in Ottawa TODAY, July 26th, at the Canadian Museum of Nature. For the first-ever stop in Canada, an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian that features 39 captivating large-format images from Mark W. Moffet's body of work. So, if at this point in the … [Read more...]

Summer Weddings, Past & Present (+ Giveaway for a Samsung Galaxy Note 8! *now closed*)

down the aisle

Hubby and I promised our lives to each other under a couple of century-old gum trees on one of the hottest of summer days in Australia. It was a day and a night that I will never forget, and will always be grateful for because we simply could not have done it without all of the help of our parents on both sides of the family. We were young and broke, and short on time. But so many family and friends pitched in with the planning and it somehow … [Read more...]

When Your Daughter Wants to Play Football

Full range of mouth guards

As part of a social shopper insights study, I was compensated to write this post. Yes, that means I got paid to go shopping. It's tough work if you can get it, but I'm definitely grateful for the opportunity to pick up some outdoor sports gear for my family. Thanks Collective Bias!  My daughter is a book worm. My daughter is the smallest kid in her class. And my daughter wants to play football. Hubby and I aren't sure where the interest in … [Read more...]

The Running Bug

The 2K Family Run, Ottawa

Last Saturday, Stella and I ran in the 2K Family Run at Ottawa Race Weekend. It's an inclusive race where strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and toddlers are all welcome.    Have you heard of "chickenpox parties"? It's when a group of parents hold a party and intentionally invite a child with chickenpox to hang out with their children in the hope that their kids will catch it. Well, this is sort of how I imagine I might be able to catch … [Read more...]

I Never Thought I Would Say This: Britney Spears and I Have Something in Common

Britney Spears making a funny face

This is crazy. But apparently Britney Spears and I have something in common. Unfortunately, it's not her insane wealth, nor her bikini-worthy body. (Although fortunately it's not her bad taste in men or suppliers of hair extensions.) What I've noticed lately is that when it comes to Britney, what people are talking about is this: That she makes funny faces. I never thought that much of them. But if you google "Britney Spears + … [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...]

Oprah in Ottawa: A Re-Cap

Jacqueline and Julie

When I heard that Oprah was coming to Ottawa, I just knew I had to get a ticket. Like people who still buy tickets to the Rollings Stones playing live, for me, Oprah is more about nostalgia and a deep respect for what she has accomplished in her life more than any kind of present-day fandom. She kicked off The Oprah Show in 1986, the same year I started high school. Despite it being a daytime show, I managed to see many episodes during my five … [Read more...]

You’re Not the Boss of Me! (+ a fun book giveaway)

I am so the boss of you, by Kathy Buckworth

Thankfully, I have not heard this uttered from the mouths of either of my children (yet?) but I can vouch for having spat them at my parents once or twice. To prepare myself for hearing these words one day, I picked up Kathy Buckworth's newly launched book I Am So The Boss of You. Okay, let me back up. I actually picked up the book so that I could have it in hand for when she arrived into Ottawa for her book launch celebration. You know ... … [Read more...]

Spectacular Northwest Territories: Seeing Stars and Lucky Stars

aurora

Seeing the Aurora Borealis up in Canada's Great North has always been a dream of mine. (And Hubby's ... but his also includes winter camping, whitewater canoeing, and a whole bunch of other adventurous deeds.) So when I received an invitation from MJW Communications to a kick-off event for the Spectacular Northwest Territories Days at Ottawa's Winterlude in February, I immediately accepted. Normally, I go to these travel-writing/blogging events … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: My Three Favourite Ottawa Museums

Exhibit at Museum of Nature

Stella is my 10-year-old daughter and on Saturdays, I let her rent this space from me. For the intro to Saturdays with Stella, click here.  Ottawa is the capital of Canada so it is only natural that we have all the national museums right here. These museums are the best ones in the country and are the big cheeses of all the rest. In this post, I will tell you about my three favourites. The Canadian Museum of Nature is quite the impressive … [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...]

Ottawa Staycation: Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Fluffy snow!

For a second outing during our Ottawa staycation (you can read about our first outing here), we decided to head up to the Gatineau Hills for a cross-country ski. It would have actually been a sin not to go cross-country skiing with all of the snow we had over the Christmas season here in Ottawa! Everywhere around us, as far as one could see, the world had a bit of a magical gleam to it with mounds of fluffy snow hanging upon the tree … [Read more...]

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