Friday, October 26, 2012

Unspeakable Horror

I didn't sleep well last night. I was tossing and turning, checking on my children, kissing them, convering them with their blankets, tossing and turning some more, and wiping away my tears.

The horrific nightmare of a story that happening yesterday in New York City is something I cannot stop thinking about, no matter how hard I try. I've been sick to my stomach, thinking about this mother, her poor little children, and her surviving child. I cannot imagine—yet, I can—the pain, the grief, the questions, the living nightmare this family now has to live through, every day that remains of their lives. A perfectly beautiful family, shattered, torn apart, in the blink of an eye, in a horror story come to life. Some stories haunt me and stay with me forever. This is one of them.

When you become a  mom, life changes so drastically, so suddenly, in a million different ways. The emotions and feelings we experience once we enter the world of motherhood is like nothing else. No one can prepare you for the love you will feel for your children, once they are born and placed in your arms. And no one can prepare you for how your heart can break and bleed for another mother who is suffering through the most unreal tragedy.

Many of my friends, many people I've talked to today, are reminding me to think about something else, to try to forget, to say a prayer, and to carry on. Yes, I'm sure all of this is healthy advice, but I just cannot, right now, let this go. I think we should be able to feel, to cry, and to ask the questions (that will never be answered) at times like this.

At the very least, we are able to put things in persective.

At the very least, we are reminded how fragile life is.


Nothing good can come from a tragdy like this. We've all read the story. I'm sure you've cried, like I have, I'm sure you've tried to see if there is a way the outcome could be changed, like the a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where you can pick the ending you want. We can put ourselves in the mother's shoes, and feel her pain, ever so slightly. What she is going through today, the visions she is seeing, the love inside her, her questions, and the strength that she'll have find from inside to carry on for her daughter... it's all too much, really. It is the saddest, more horrific story I've read in a very long time. Tragedy is everywhere. My God, though... innocent, perfect children, to be taken like this, in such a violent way? There is no reason. None at all.

As a mother, my heart is bleeding today. All my love and prayers, whatever they can do, are being sent to this mother and to her children today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Joys of Youth


One of the things I love best about the fact that my mother is a professional artist is her ability to capture children in their most innocent and happy moments with her paint brush. This is why her work is so popular with her customers, why people can't stop at just buying one piece, and why her art brightens the hallways in schools, community centres, and hospitals across Canada.

My mom is having her annual art show with Koyman Galleries and I'm very excited that this year, they are releasing a Limited Edition print called Snow Day with proceeds going to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Each print will be numbered and signed by the artist, too. CHEO is very special to me and to my children, so I'm really happy about this partnership.

The series is called "Joys of Youth" and the series will be published over the course of the next few years, with a new title available in time for each Christmas season and Mother's Day.

Also for sale during my mom's art show will be this year's UNICEF holiday cards. I have always been a huge fan of my mom's UNICEF holiday greeting cards, because they capture the festive season and children so nicely together.

UNICEF has partnered with Hallmark on these cards, and I'm thrilled that my mom will be helping UNICEF again this year through the sale of her holiday cards, something she's been proud to be a part of for 20 years.

I'd love to see you at her art show at Koyman Galleries! I think it's the perfect time to start your holiday shopping... never too early for that, right?

The opening reception and CHEO presentation is taking place on November 15th at Koyman Galleries on St. Laurent (6-9 p.m.) and the Holiday Exhibition continues until December 3. Katerina will be present on Saturday, November 17th as well, from 1-5.



You can reserve your print now by calling or emailing Koyman Galleries at 613-526-1562 ext. 10, or through email at information@koymangalleries.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

50 Shades Of Awesome, Toronto Style

The third annual BlissDom Canada conference has come and gone... just like that. It came and lasted all of two minutes (that's what it felt like to me!) but it was worth it, of course.

There is always so much to bring home from these conferences—creative ideas, fresh perspective, new friends, and always, inspiration. After all, BlissDom Canada is a weekend filled with some of the smartest women in the blogging, writing, and social media world, so it's hard not to feel inspired and excited about what you'll do next. Yes, the first few days back after a blogging conference are hard and wonderful... they're wonderful because you get to re-connect with your family and those hugs you receive from the kids? Priceless. The first few days back are also hard because you're not face-to-face in the same room with so many fabulous people. 


Friday night was all about connecting with the members of the Yummy Mummy Club. Erica Ehm hosted a fabulous dinner for all her bloggers, and to have us all in one room was amazing. I learned a few things—like the importance of a properly used M-dash—and how incredible all the YMC bloggers are. Seriously. I fell in love with Dr. Kim Foster, and Sarah, and laughed with Connie, and couldn't get over how hot Erica looked, like an even more gorgeous Maria Tomei. It was a great night filled with laugher, wine, and discussion.

Also, full props to Ali for making everyone rock the sock-boots look so well! She's fashion savvy, that Ali, and I miss her already...

Saturday morning I was excited to give a session on How To Price And Value Your Services, and I worried that people wouldn't come to my table for my three sessions. I was happily mistaken, and a lot of great people came to listen to me speak on how to get paid from blogging and the different ways to make money through social media. Thank you to all the fabulous people who came to hear me speak!

The day just flew by... I am thankful I got to spend time with the people I love, even though it felt like the entire conference lasted less than a day! The costume party was great fun, as usual, and Sharon had the most amazing costume ever—she was 50 Shades of Grey, and she is 50 shades of awesome, always.



After a few hours in Toronto on Sunday, it was time to head back home. I always say this, I know, but this was like, the best confernece ever! I truly had the most memorable time... and can't wait to see everyone again.

Thanks for everything, Bliss Chicks... and to everyone who attended? I hope you truly loved it!

P.S. Gav and Ali, I'll be over soon enough for that brunch...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Little Bit Of Bliss And Some Tips

The third annual BlissDom Canada is taking over the city of Toronto in just a few days... and I'm SO excited! I love that this conference takes place in October, giving us all something to look forward to so soon after BlogHer.


 
Every time I attend a blogging conference, I come back with new memeries, stories to tell, and laughter to remember. Oh yeah—I learn something new at each conference, too, like who has the best moves on the dance floor, who can last until 4 a.m. at a karaoke bar in NYC, and who will have me in tears, both happy ones, and sad ones. (There are always some sort of emotional tears at blogging conferences, which has something to do with the brilliant people you'll talk to and listen to, combined with the fact that you don't get much sleep and are basically surviving on wine and cupcakes for three days.)

This weekend, I am going to be speaking at BlissDom Canada as a Community Leader. My topic is "How To Price And Value Your Services" and I can't wait to speak to my fellow bloggers and share some of my knowledge.

I can't wait to see many of my friends again. Of course, there are many other friends in my blogging community that I'm going to be missing this weekend, too.

Anyway, if you're new to BlissDom Canada—if this is your first time attending this conference—welcome! You're going to love it. I promise.

Here are some tips for you:

Be yourself

Just be you. BlissDom Canada is a very welcoming conference, and people want to meet the real you. There is no pressure. Seriously. Sometimes conferences can feel overwhelming, but the more important thing to remember is that we're all there for the same thing, and we all have the same common interest. There is also something very intimate about BlissDom Canada... you'll see. You will feel the love!

Say hello

Most of the time, you'll find people you know right away. Sometimes, you'll walk into a room and you won't know a single person. Don't be shy. Go up to a group of people, say hello, and introduce yourself. If nobody recognizes you by your name, introduce yourself with your Twitter handle. You will instantly be recognized! Also, if your most favourite blogger in the whole world is standing two feet away from you, go say hello, and take a picture. I have yet to meet another blogger treat another person with disrespect. I've had good experiences with everyone I've met, and I've made great friends because of these conferences.

Bring business cards

This is pretty important. I always come prepared and bring a stack of business cards to hand out at blogging conferences. I hand them out to my friends, even if they already have a few dozen from me, I hand them out to new people I meet, I hand them out in the expo hall, and I hand them out to pretty much everyone I see.

Dress up... or down

So many people stress about what to wear to blogging conference... how many clothes they should bring... how many pairs of shoes they should pack... here's a not so-secret-secret: it really, truly doesn't matter what you wear. I mean, sure, please shower and don't come to sessions in your pj's, but other than that, wear whatever you feel comfortable in. I often wear jeans and a cute top. And sure, I'll dress up a bit for the parties, but I always wear something I'm comfortable in. Oh, and here's another tip—pack a pair of flip flops of flats in your purse, because if you're standing all night in those killer heels you're going to want something more comfy to slip on as you dance the night away!

Come prepared

By this I mean—don't forget your iphone charger! Or camera! Or costume! Or cash for the taxi! And if there is someone you absolutely have to meet, or someone you need to connect with, make sure you have their contact information before you arrive at the conference. Even though BlissDom Canada is a smaller, more intimate conference, it can still be a little overwhelming.

Be prepared

When you're in a room full of bloggers, you're in a room full of iphones and cameras. Cameras that are taking pictures ALL THE TIME. So, just some advice... be prepared... and be camera ready!

Take time for you

I always take some time for myself at conferences. Whether you walk the city a little by yourself, go shopping (something I always make time for!) or take a nap in your room, it's important to unwind. Blogging conferences are very hectic and busy, so spending some time alone is important. Also, if you're like me, you'll miss your children so some quiet time to talk to them on the phone is essential.

Blogging conferences are all sorts of awesome. There is so much I've taken away from each one I've attended, like the relationships I've formed. If this is your first time attending BlissDom Canada, I hope you have an incredible time and I hope you come home with new ideas, new connections, and new friendships.



See you in a few days!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thankful

It's Thanksgiving weekend! Well, here in Canada it is, and that means most of us will be getting together with our loved ones and eating a lot of food. More turkey, anyone?

Anyway, I often write about the things I'm thankful for, and top of my list, every single day of the year, is my children. I'm thankful for my children, and I'm so blessed to be their mother. They are my life. Of course, I'm thankful for my entire wonderful family, and for my best friends. I'm thankful for these things every day of the year.

I'm thankful that even though I don't often stick to all my New Year's resolutions, I'm easy on myself, and I'm thankful I've had this space to write about everything like my love of music or my appreciation for the many friends I've met through blogging since 2007.

I'm thankful that I have a place where I can talk about all things fashion and shopping, and this year, I'm thankful that I'm going to be speaking at BlissDom Canada as a Community Leader!

Yes, I'm really excited to be speaking at BlissDom Canada in two weeks, and I'm very much looking forward to being back in Toronto. If you're going, see you there!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends... and to my American friends, I'll save some turkey and pie for you.

xoxo

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