WAHM Wednesday: The Geek Bar

There's this little item on the agenda of BlogHer that has me really curious

The Geek Bar

First and foremost...what in the heck is a Geek Bar??

I sort of envision a trendy bar set up of neat gadgets, geared for bloggers and companies. iPhone's, Blackberries, playbooks, Square....all sorts of apps and gadgets that can help us with our blogs, Etsy shops and things of the sort.

Once I looked it up, I began to understand.

The Geek Bar is all about the geeky aspect of blogging.

Wordpress vs. Blogger

Html

Writing labs

Social media platforms

Google+

Video editing

Alot of the subjects from last year seem to be covered in the individual seminars this year, so I'm not sure if I'll get alot out of The Geek Bar this summer. There are things that I would like to learn, for sure, but I think I'd rather go to the individual sessions.

*sigh* I really liked the idea of a geeky gadgets bar!

WAHM Wednesday: Podcasting?

Another seminar on Day1 of BlogHer that I'm excited about is the Podcasting 101 seminar.

My husband and his friend, Mike Arsenault, used to podcast about once a week. Usually about sports, reality TV (their recaps of Survivor and The Bachelor were hilarious!) or they would dissect a movie like Dirty Dancing {manly...right?}

I was always too nervous to get the headset on and be a guest on Mike's podcast. I'd usually just holler in the background about who I thought was trashy on The Bachelor or who I loved on Survivor.

The Podcasting 101 seminar at BlogHer has gripped my interest. I'm obviously not afraid to vlog, so why not podcast? What about the microphone intimidates me?

Do I have anything worthy to say?

Will people giggle at my Canadian accent?

What would I even talk about?

I am so excited to sit in a room and hear about Podcasting...why it's important, and how to do it {and do it properly}.

Maybe it'll even get me over my fear of the microphone!

WAHM Wednesday: Blogging for the Love of It!

One of the seminars that really has my wheels turning is the Blogging For The Love Of It seminar on day1 of BlogHer.

It got me thinking about why I blog....about this little niche in the blogosphere that I've carved out for my artsy self.

Why do I blog? What do I get out of it?

Is it just to put out my art and products, get feedback and hopefully some customers?

The simple answer is no to all of that.

The longer answer...

I blog because I love to write. It has always come really naturally for me and I find that it is a really organic fit with the art that I do. I get to create something, start to finish, and then share it with the world. How often do you get that opportunity?

I blog because I have something to share. Yes, I blog about my house and my family, about who we are, local businesses, other mompreneurs and my little artsy company...but I blog because I have something to share.

It might be pictures....an interesting home decor tip...maybe even a DIY tutorial

For me, it's about sharing and getting the creative ideas out there.

I'm really excited about this seminar at BlogHer and think that it will be amazing to connect with other like minded bloggers who blog just for the love of it.

Why do you blog?

BlogHer Love: Tina Dean Designs....custom creations!



We’ve all done it; dreamed of the perfect handbag to hold exactly what we need to go shopping at the market, out with the girls for brunch, a full day out with the kiddos….everything that you need in one stylish bag. 

It’s a dream, absolutely, and it’s the perfect situation to go to Tina Dean Designs for a custom creation.


custom tote for Cari Cucksey of HGTV's Cash and Cari

The process of working with Tina on a custom creation couldn’t be easier, and I should know! Right now, she’s finishing up my messenger bag for BlogHer…a custom design that she created just for me! It’ll be based on her peppermint tote bag {below, and also custom designed for Lauren Conrad!} but in a messenger style with an adjustable strap and flap closure. The lining…a chevron to match my logo and branding!


And it’s pretty awesome to work with a down-to-earth designer who has made custom bags for Lauren Conrad, Cari Cucksey, Tess Masters, and Zooey Deschanel. 


So much intricate detail and time goes into each one of Tina’s bags, and each piece is made with precision. Tina has recently been working on more custom pieces and has many more designs that will be making their way to some Hollywood A-listers. Pretty incredible!

Get your hands on a custom Tina Dean Designs bag before it’s too late!

WAHM Wednesday: Me Time at the Spa

So...how many hats have I been wearing lately?

Mom
Wife
Mompreneur
Doctor (Owen had been sick for nearly two weeks straight)
Support system (my Mom has been going through alot lately)
Baker
Mover
Decorator
Organizer
Networker
Chair for Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope
Friend

Where is "self" on that list?

Nowhere.

The Hubs noticed just how heavy a load I've been carrying on my tiny shoulders lately and booked me a treatment at...



He told me to find something that I wanted to have done. Given that I'm stressed to the absolute max and my personal burden is rather heavy these days, i couldn't think of anything better than this treatment...

Thay Ritual

Inspired by the 5000 year old Ayurvedic philosophy that emphasizes that well-being and beauty are only possible when the four elements are in perfect harmony, the Thay Ritual is a complete treatment for body and mind. This experience to remember begins with a bull body exfoliation followed by an organic herbal mud wrap on our aromatherapy steam table. Next, a 50-minute full body massage with a warm blend of organic oils and hot stones includes Thai stretches for increased flexibility and balancing of body energy, and the combination transcends relaxation as you’ve known it. All treatments include scalp massage, neck and decolleté treatments.

Sounds like Heaven to me!!

And it was!

THAY stands for...THerapy Around You and it really was about the entire experience.

First, I was exfoliated from head to toe, then painted with mud. Seriously...amazing. I was staring up at the ceiling, which was lit with hundreds of fibre optic lights that went from red to peach to purple to green to white, and getting completely lost in the lights. They were in a heart shape, probably 4'x3', and just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It did get a wee bit chilly after the mud was on, but the next part made up for it.

I was lying on this wooden table (with a comfy pad on it) that had holes in the side. Why? Because it was a steam table! After I was all painted with mud, Trista put these bent wooden slats over top of me and covered me (and wooden slats) with a plastic blanket of sorts, creating a capsule. Then, she turned on the steam and I was encased in this warm...velvety...luxurious steam that seemed to melt my every worry and care away.

While the steam was working its magic, I got a decolette and scalp massage. I really think that's something totally underrated. It relieved so much pressure and stress and my mind felt so clear afterward!

After a shower to get all of the mud off, which was really funny to see going down the drain, I had a fantastic hot stone back massage followed up by a hand massage.

The hand massage wasn't necessarily part of the overall treatment, but I asked if she would do it since i have been sculpting and typing alot lately and know that the tiny little muscles in my hands are incredibly cramped. Was I ever right!! She literally giggled when she started massaging the large muscle in my thumb and gave me some techniques to use at home.

Makes you want to drift away, doesn't it?

I left the spa feeling an overwhelming sense of relief. I was smiling, but also crying and feeling so incredibly thankful to my Husband for recognizing my need for a break.

What have you done for yourself lately??

WAHM Wednesday: Fresh Face Forward

A couple of week ago I started dreaming about BlogHer and the fantastic nights out with my roommates Shan, Shaun and Mel...

Who am I kidding? I've been dreaming about this for months! What I really started thinking about, since I'm working with an amazing fashion designer on some really great clothes to wear at BlogHer was my face.



Sounds silly right?

Well, I started thinking about the fact that I never ever wear makeup (what busy WAHM does?!) and rarely even get out of my jeans a tshirt.

All of that is going to change but the change has to come from within...

Within my makeup bag that is!



Serious slim pickins' in there...



Definitely am not afraid of colour, love to shimmer and shine...but I never wear the stuff. The Lancome compacts of four and single purple and green are about...oh...6 years old. The bronze at the bottom? About 4 years old.



Mascara (which I only started wearing 4 years ago...) was new...Christmas 2010. And the black Rimmel eyeshadow...you don't even want to know. I got it from my roommates collection in university, and I lived with her in 2004...

I definitely need some new tricks in my bag, and need to figure out how to put my best face forward at BlogHer to ensure that I'm representing myself and my amazing sponsors to the best of my ability.

I mean...I dont even have blush or bronzer! Who does that?! {this girl...this girl right here}

What are your favourite products, brands and tricks to keep in your makeup bag? Any trends that I'm missing out on by being makeup free on a daily basis?

WAHM Wednesday: Two New Fabulous BlogHer Sponsors

Happy WAHM Wednesday!! I am very excited to announce two new sponsors that I have for BlogHer’12!

Kristine Cook is a local fashion designer from London, Ontario who specializes in cocktail dresses and structured jackets. Her pieces feature classic lines, bold fabrics and patterns. Kristine pays close attention to the fine details of her pieces, from the intricate stitching to the unique folds of her one of a kind jackets. Kristine Cook Designs is truly a rare and inspired find!


Proudly Canadian, The Printing House Ltd™ (TPH®) is a printing company with heart; they genuinely care about their customers, partners and the environment. Specializing in short to medium run printing, TPH® has unmatched quality and a quick turnaround like no other printing house. From large format and offset printing to personalized marketing and custom cutting, their team of Managers across Canada help their customers stand out from the crowd and win, every day.

Sponsored Post: ASOS - discover fashion online

Looking for a party dress? Have a special occasion or event to attend? Look no further than the fantastic selection of dresses at ASOS!

I recently had the pleasure of looking through their selections online, and was so incredibly pleased with what I found. Since I’m off to BlogHer’12 in August (New York City…here I come!), I know that there are going to be cocktail events, parties, and even just dinners out with my favourite bloggers…and I will need a few smashing outfits!

The Tulip Dress with TieBack is absolutely adorable, and it would look amazing with a killer pair of heels…maybe even ones covered in glitter? So girly and fresh…perfect for the end of summer, and for a night out with the girls!

Link

ASOS has everything from bubble hems to maxi dresses, one shoulders to bias cuts and the selection of fabrics, colours and patterns is to die for. They seem to have a wide selection of Linkstyles, so no matter what inspires you, you will certainly find the perfect dress here.

For some vintage inspiration, the Love Jersey Floral Print Belted Skater Dress is so delightfully feminine and delicate. Pair it with a long antique brass chain, and soft flowy curls in your hair and you have a perfect outfit for strolling in Central Park!


And for us curvy girls, look no further than the Textured Midi Body-Conscious Dress with Scoop Back. It is chic and sexy, without giving away too much, and hugs your body in all the right places. Perfect for a date night with your special someone, a night out with the girls, and even dancing the night away!

Whatever the event, ASOS has you covered. Their selection of party dresses is like no other that I have seen. Great quality, impeccable style and super affordable! I definitely will be putting a few into my collection for BlogHer’12!

*this post was sponsored by Susanna Cha, on behalf of ASOS – discover fashion onlineLink

WAHM Wednesday: Wardrobe

I learned from Jenni last year, that your BlogHer wardrobe is very important.

I was talking to my husband a few weeks ago about what I would wear at the cocktail events, and how I wanted to get a whole new wardrobe.

In my dreams, maybe. In reality...not so much.

This outfit, however, will definitely be making its way into my suitcase, along with many a handcrafted accessory that I will blog about in the coming weeks.


{minus the stroller of course....}

One of my favourite accessories is from BailyBelle, and it definitely will be coming to NYC with me!



BlogHer'12 is, afterall, taking place in NYC...you know...the land of Carrie Bradshaw...*sigh*

My plan is to pack some simple but fabulous clothes, a tonne of unique accessories like the gorgeous cocktail ring above, and shoe...oh...shoes...

My Sam and Libby suede peep toe booties (pictured above) will definitely by in my bag. Those Chuck Taylor's that I blogged about a few weeks ago, they might find their way into my bag as well since the conference is in August...birthday in September...

I'm going to need to find some amazing, yet reasonably priced, shoes for a night (or two) out on the town with my girls. Any suggestions for this 5'2" gal? Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw and let me know!

WAHM Wednesday: BlogHer'12

I've got my ticket and I'm a-ready to go!

Honestly, I've never been so excited for something in my life. Okay...well maybe my wedding to my wonderful Hubs, and very much the birth of our son...

But the chance to go to NYC and live it up with so many of you amazing mama bloggers? All I can do is smile!

From the seminars about writing, the technical aspects of blogging, how to properly promote yourself, how to be professional, how to be personal...it's all going to be there!

And my girls! My girls will be there! My roommates, Shannon {from BabyShmizz} and Melissa {from Never A Dull Moment} and I will be able to connect and inspire one another...and meet other amazing bloggers like Steph, Jenni, Melissa, Stephanie, Ashley, Melissa and Andrea...the list goes on and on!

Wednesday's might turn into brainstorming days here on the blog. Everything from what to pack, what to take, my promotional materials, what to wear to the cocktail events, my sponsors Hanlon Lain Photography and Tina Dean Designs....you'll find my journey being recapped on Wednesdays!

Stay tuned!!

WAHM Wednesday: Chuck Taylor's

Taking a break from the ordinary, but still doing something pretty creative...but for me.

That's right... a little me time! And what better way than to design yourself some shoes? {got your attention now??}

I saw on facebook a couple of weeks ago, that you can now design yourself a pair of Chuck Taylor's on the Converse website. Pretty awesome!

I designed these...


(Click to see what I did...)

Dark purple hightops with a light purple lining. Tongue and back stripe are a splattered royal blue, plum and silver....like paint splatter.

Pretty perfect, and even more so with dark skinny jeans and a chunky grey sweater!

I may have to get them for myself for my birthday...in September!

WAHM Wednesday: Carving out Me-Time

I've recently noticed that if I'm not taking care of my son...rolling around on the floor, reading books, going to the library or Little Gym, watching a movie snuggled up on the couch...then I'm in my studio creating, on the laptop blogging, networking with other artisans

What about time for me?

Even during naptime (Owen's naptime, that is!) I'm working. When he goes to bed...I'm working. I might be sitting on the couch on the computer, but I'm still working!

I take little time for myself. Maybe once I realize it's 10pm and I need to get my brain to shut off...but until then...I'm everything to everyone else, but myself.

The same goes for when we're out shopping. I put Owen and Sweet Stella's first and then wonder why I don't have clothes that fit, or shoes that aren't stained with salt and are 10 years old...

Well, this is my chance. I'm going to carve out some me-time everyday. Whether it's a bath, a nap, time to paint a piece for our new home, or even just time to lie on the couch and watchi some Sex and the City, it'll be my time...

I might even turn my phone off!!

WAHM Wednesday: Mobile Mama

A couple of weeks ago, I was out for breakfast (eeer...brunch? It was 11am and my son had only been up for a half hour...so we call it breakfast) with another Mompreneur. As we chatted, I noticed a commonality between us...

both with notepads and pens
both with blackberries

It got me thinking about how I love being a mobile mama.

No matter where I am, how busy I am, I can always reach out to my customers. In the span of our breakfast (about two hours) I got emails from customers, tweets from like minded moms, and facebook messages from fellow artisans in The Artisan Group. Within a few seconds, I was able to respond to everyone, and still pack my son back up in the car, drive home, and spend some time watching The Fox and the Hound.

However, I'm not a huge fan of my mobile device. I have a Blackberry curve from almost 3 years ago...you know the one...with the track ball? The camera quality is pretty poor, which is important for tweeting pictures of my cute little boy and products as they're in progress. I have to pull the battery almost daily, and it needs to be charged every single night to even have a chance at getting through the day.

What devices allow you to be a mobile mama? Hit me with your suggestions in the comments!

WAHM Wednesday: Winding Down

Since we got home from vacation, we've been in full on house-hunting-packing-moving-to-the-inlaws mode.

Time to unwind?

My husband got me a Kobo for Christmas, and it's seriously the best thing since sliced bread. It gives me just that little break at the end of a jam packed day to unwind and relax...have my brain switch gears.

I find that between putting matchbox car through a ramp course for my son a bazillion times a day, promoting listings on Facebook and Twitter, taking photographs of paintings, setting up tweets, connecting and networking, and creating amazing party decorations for amazing customers...my brain is just fried, and yet spinning all at the same time.

And then it takes hours to settle down, and usually leads to nightmares...little sleep...step and repeat for the next day.

Do you WAHM's take time in your daily schedule to unwind? My Kobo has been my relief; even if it's just 3 pages or so, it's enough relief for me!

WAHM Wednesday...Brown Eyed {Artsy} Girl

Last week, the lovely Meira from GlassesUSA.com contacted me about doing a sponsor post and it got me thinking…eyes are pretty darn important in this whole being an artist thing! Off I went to their website, which is fantastic and so user friendly by the way, in search of new glasses.

Typically, I wear contacts, but when I’m working for hours upon hours on a project, my eyes need a break. And being a painter, bit of a nerdy-girl, and very much a hippie-mama, I was immediately drawn to the selection of vintage and nerdy inspired eyeglasses in the Women’s Retro Frames section.

Currently, I sport a pair of purple frames that I’ve had since I was in grade 10…a whopping fourteen years ago. Time for a change! I was impressed to see not only a wide selection in terms of colours, but also in shape. The price was incredible too! The pair of glasses that I was drawn toward burgundy, and only $48! Including the lenses! Amazing!!

I’ve always been traditional, getting my glasses from my Optometrists’ office, and never considered online eyeglasses…until now. The frames aren’t your everyday frames either. They’re quality frames and lenses, like you’d get in the physical office, and are stylish and up to date with current trends.

I’ve also always had trouble finding a pair of glasses that reflects who I am, mama and artist, that also fits with my super strained eyesight. I’m a -4.25 in my right, and a -6.00 in my left. No idea on Cylinder or Axis, which means I probably need to get my eyes tested relatively soon, but I know that I’ve always been limited in my options since my left lense tends to be rather thick.

Limited no more! Thanks to GlassesUSA.com I can be the funky-fresh mama that I am, and still be able to focus on my artwork, without breaking the bank now that I know I can buy glasses online!


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WAHM Wednesday: A Whole New Year

There's just something about the first few days of the new year that I love. Almost like the first rainfall in the spring, when you cut your grass for the first time, or when you first see your baby smile.

It's all new...fresh...with endless possibilities of what can be

I say can be because I'm pretty darn determined to make this year my year. Being away for the holidays with my fam-jam has given me an awesome opportunity to pause and reflect about what's important, both as a mom and a mompreneur.

First and foremost, Monday's are going to be playdays with my son, and Tuesday afternoons will be spent at the library for toddler storytime. Tuesday evenings will be at The Little Gym in the oh-so-appropriately named Beast program, which means that work will get done Wednesday-Friday.

For those who know me, you know that's kind of a stretch for me. I work all the darn time! I write this while on vacation in Florida!

That brings me to blogging! I'm going to blog what I like and when I like...but only on Sunday's. I'll still schedule posts, SWH4T$ will be on track with Baby Shmizz, and I will keep promoting amazing mompreneurs on Mondays. If I don't have something to share on a particular day, I'm not going to feel bad about it.

The goal this year, as should always be, is to be authentic.

Artistically, my goals are to get back to my roots. I want to paint like no tomorrow, and have big plans for abstractly painted cubes and spheres that one could use as installation art, in a shadowbox, or stack on a table for a truly 3dimensional work of art. I will still dabble in paper and make pretty things, but at the heart of it all lies the paint in my veins and I cannot be more excited for it!

Cheers to 2012!!

WAHM Wednesday: Coffee Break

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a local William Coffee Shop {I highly recommend their cinnamon scones for breakfast...so sinfully delightful!} and meeting up with some local tweeps.

@RNashPhoto
@ListedPhotog
@downshiftingPOS

and the ever inspirational @TimeOutMom

Things have been a crazy whirlwind over here lately, between us selling our home much faster than we anticipated to looking for our new house to considering building...all with two toddlers. Our son is 1 {and a half} and Sweet Stella's just turned one. Both have so much promise and amazing things going for them, and I have so many visions of hope for them both.

Though, I've been feeling...tired...exhausted...overwhelmed...defeated. Am I doing enough for both of my babies...being a good mom and a great mompreneur? So many questions...

Then, I went to this coffee date and had my socks knocked off. Rebecca, Melissa, Heidi and Margarita were fantastic to meet up with, and filled my sails with so much positivity. They talked about their busy lives as moms, photographers, entrepreneurs, organizers, social media strategists...women.

It was so very empowering, and have me a great deal of focus.

So starts a new series for Wednesday blogposts...about me being a WAHM. How I do it, what inspires me, what keeps me going...and how I keep it real, bring focus to myself and stay level with a busy toddler.

If you're a WAHM (working-at-home-mama) I encourage you to reach out into your community and connect. You never know where likeminded women are hiding. They might be people that you connect with daily on Twitter, or people that stumble across your business page on Facebook. Make it a habit to meet with them, be it one-on-one or in a group setting, and really get down to the nitty gritty. Who are you as a WAHM? What makes you who you are?

Ladies, thank you so very much for our Coffee Break. I look forward to many more!

Whimsical Wednesday: Day7

7 days on the advent calendar are under our belt! I am so determined to make each and every day until Christmas extra special, both here at home and while we're on vacation.

I love that my advent calendar can collapse into a small pouch, and come with us on vacation. Since we're going to be away for a pretty good chunk of time, I want to make the most of it.

So, what's in store for today?

Day 7 - Build a Fort Inside



Much like the one that you see above, bedsheets...cushions from the couch and lots of toys!

The only difference is that we'll get to have a special lunch inside, stay in our pajamas and maybe even watch a movie all snuggled up under our favourite blankets.

What's in store for you today?

What's Next Wednesday: Advent Calendars!

It's still hard to believe that tomorrow is December 1st. Tomorrow people! Do you know what that means??

These bad boys can officially be put up, and have treats in them!





The pouches on the back of the numbers are perfect for tiny treats....little notes...gifts of the homemade kind! I will be filling ours with little slips of paper with activities that we can do while we {not-so} patiently wait for Santa.

Things like...

Bake Gingerbread Cookies

Have a Pajama Day

Watch a New Movie

Go See Happy Feet 2

And since we're off to Florida for Christmas...

Visit Shamu

Go to the Beach

Have Lunch at Frenchy's

Go Golfing with Daddy

What fun things will be in your advent calendar this year?

Whimsical Wednesday: Sweet Treat Bags

Ever find yourself in a pinch and searching for a gift bag? I have an easy peasy solution for you, and one that likely you have the supplies lying around the house for.

Sweet Treat Bags

Materials:
- brown paper bag
- scissors
- patterned paper
- coloured paper
- ink
- stamps
- ribbon


Step 1:
Cut the top edge of your paper bag with fancy scissors, or create your own edging with regular scissors.

Step 2:
Stamp desired stamps with desired ink in a hap-hazard pattern on the front of the bag

Step 3:
Cut and glue patterned and/or solid paper on the bottom 1" to 3" of the bag

Step 4:
Fold over a 1 1/2" lip at the top

Step 5:
Using a standard hole punch, punch a hole through all four layers of the bag on the folded lip

Step 6:
Thread your ribbon though the hole and tie! If you have decorative punches and want to get fancy, punch a few shapes, layer them and glue them on the flap to cover where the hole is punched through the bag.

Viola! Pretty and simple...a sweet treat bag! A great craft for a kids' party, a rainy day or even for cookies to give to friends and family at Christmas time!

Happy crafting!