See For Yourself

It’s been a while since Blog Out Loud 2014 happened at the Ottawa Writers Festival, but video of the entire event has just been posted on the festival’s vimeo channel. Cool!

You can watch it in several parts:

Part 1 – Tanya Snook of, Claire Foles of Foodieprints, and Catherine Brunelle of Bumpyboobs

Part 2 – Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser,Krista Gray-Donald of Life in the Hutch, Laurie Kingston of Not Just About Cancer and Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Part 3 – Karie Dufour of Pub Patio Playdate, Jordan Danger of Girl, Crafted, Brenda Labelle of Bj├╝tie, Jen and Luc of Me Woman You Man/Me Man You Woman


Photos and Videos

Some photos and videos of BOLO 2014 are rolling in – thought I’d share a few here.

First of all, you can read the Writer’s Festival’s own review of the evening over on their blog.

Here’s a great video of Ross’ reading, over on his blog The Brown Knowser. If you liked Ross’ story, you’ll find this follow up post fascinating – since his mother was at BOLO, she was able to bring some new facts to light.

Here’s Catherine’s perspective on reading at BOLO over on her blog, Bumpyboobs.

And lastly, I have some great pictures to share – some of these are my own but most are courtesy of Neeroc over at One Day This Blog Will Have a Snazzy Name. Thanks so much, neeroc!

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Blogging Out Loud 2014

Laurie Kingston at Blog Out Loud 2014
Thanks so much to everyone who came out last night. It always amazes me how great the audience is – and without you, this event just would not work. Thanks especially to the Ottawa International Writers Festival, who were absolutely amazing, and without whom I would not have had the heart to run this event again. Thanks also to all our readers, who were so brave and bold and well-spoken, and to the volunteers who made the evening run smoothly.

Here’s a link to all the posts that were read, if you want to revisit some favourites or catch up if you missed the evening. Hope to see you next year!

Everything You Need To Know About BOLO

bigSidebarLogoIt’s almost here! Blog Out Loud 2014 is TOMORROW NIGHT. Looks like it’s going to be a rainy one, but don’t let that keep you away – it’s warm and dry inside and there is coffee – not to mention some really great readings. Hope to see you there!

Here’s all the details:
Where: Knox Presbyterian Church, at 120 Lisgar – this is the corner of Elgin and Lisgar, right next to City Hall. The “front door” of the church is actually on the Elgin side, but to get into the Writer’s Festival hall, you’ll need to enter via the side door, which is to the right of the main door and set back from the road. Think of the church as a big upside-down L-shape – the BOLO door is the lovey peaked door on the small part of the L.

The church’s website has a fantastic map showing you all the parking options nearby – it’s here. There’s street parking along Elgin too, if you get lucky. Remember to leave plenty of time to find parking, you don’t want to be late! Coming by bus? See this page for details on bus routes that stop nearby the church.

When: Our Writer’s Festival time slot is 6:30 to 8 p.m., and we’ll be starting on the dot in order to have time for all the readers to read.

Those of you who have been to the event before know we usually have a three-readers-then-break style to the evening, but this year, because of the strict scheduling, that will not be possible. All the readers will read one after each other, and then we hope to have some time at the end for mingling and talking with the readers.

Who: Check out the blog posts from the past few weeks to see a profile of all the readers.

How: It’s a free event, so no ticket is required – just show up and walk on in. The doors officially open at 6.

Inside, there’s a book shop featuring all the books by everyone who is appearing at the festival this season. Three of our BOLO readers have self-published books out – Laurie Kingston, Catherine Brunelle, and Ross Brown. All three of their books will be available for purchase (and signing!!) at the event.

There is a small food stand inside as well, but it’s not a full restaurant. You can buy muffins, sandwiches, and snacks like granola bars and chips. There’s also coffee, beer ($5) and wine ($7).

I’ll have name tags available but they’re optional – put one on if you’re looking to be discovered by other bloggers. There’s also the usual sign-in sheet – put your name down if you’d like to be listed as an attendee or receive notification about future events.

That’s all I can think of for now – please post any questions below!

Join Us on Facebook

Just a quick post today to mention that there’s a Facebook event up for Blog Out Loud 2014.

If you’ll be there, let us know over at the Facebook page. We’ll keep an eye out for you!

Come and Hear…Jordan Danger of Girl, Crafted

Girl, CraftedJordan is a work in progress. She’s still figuring things out, and on her blog, Girl, Crafted, she shares her thoughtful, bold, and adventurous explorations of what is means to really live life to the fullest. Sometimes she hits upon a smashing success; sometimes she fails; but always, she learns and shares and remains enthusiastic about going to new places and trying new things.

She’s always got a project on the go, and her blog is just as much about sharing recipes, crafts, and reviews of cool events and places around town, as it is about sharing parts of herself. You’ll find yourself quickly tapped in to a DIY world where you’ll feel inspired to create, grow, and get out and about in Ottawa – or at least, to do it vicariously through Jordan.

She’s not shy at all about sharing her rough spots, too – her ongoing struggles with anxiety, her efforts to figure out who she wants to be and how she wants to get there. She’s totally open about her geek-girl status, even starting a second blog where proud female fans of comic books, fantasy, and sci-fi can share their stories and even get together on occasion. Her personal posts are moving and insightful, and all are illustrated with her warm, funny, fantastic sketches that bring her words to life.

Jordan’s energy and spunk are definitely worth getting to know. Come and see for yourself at Blog Out Loud 2014.

Come and Hear…Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJanet has a real knack for turning the tragic into comic. As a mom to two young boys, she uses her blog, Cartoon-Coloured Glasses, to spin tales of those tough parenting moments into sheer comedy gold. She shares charming tales of those moments we can all relate to – times when you struggled to get everyone to just look at the camera at the same time for a family photo; times when your two-year-old came to you with urgent questions about how bees make honey, right in the middle of your important conference call; times when your older son “helps” the baby get some peaceful nap time by slamming the nursery door shut.

Instead of heaving a big sigh (as would be quite understandable), Janet manages to find the funny in every situation – and then, she draws it out. Every blog post is adorned with her sweet sketches of herself, her boys, and her husband, all caught out in the most delightful of been-there happenings. She manages, often in a single frame, to embody those moments that we know we’ll laugh at later – and then make them funny right now. Art, words, and a wonderful sense of humour all come together to bring a smile to the face of everyone who has had to deal with a small child.

Janet actually manages to make you believe that these young parent years really are the best of your life. Those crazy parenting days become magical memories, as Janet shows us that we’re really all in this together.

What kind of charming moments will Janet find for us this year? See for yourself at Blog Out Loud 2014.

Come and Hear…Laurie Kingston of Not Just About Cancer

Not Just About CancerLaurie is a seeker. Her life right now is devoted to the thoughtful search for health, both mental and physical, for herself and for her family. After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer several years ago, she found the strength to write about it with humour and compassion. But her blog, Not Just About Cancer, is well-titled – it’s about more than just dealing with a single crisis. Instead, it’s about learning to live in the present, to be mindful of the world around you, and to deal with the emotional fallout of such a huge event in your life.

Happily, Laurie has managed to move past the original cancer scare, but she’s still experimenting with clean living. Her life now is a journey – one step at a time towards feeling whole, and towards finding her way into the future, whatever it may hold. She writes about fresh approaches to eating, learning to live with her son’s food allergies, and her forward progress to eliminating her lifelong anxiety. But always, her struggles are hopeful, full of positive thinking, sensible plans, and uplifting words that will have you feeling like she’s gonna find a way to make it all happen.

It’s not always an easy life, but Laurie manages to inspire confidence that spring is just around the corner – that we can all look forward to new life, sunshine, and a fresh perspective. And on top of reading about her ongoing pilgrimage on her blog, you can catch up on her original course of treatment in her book, Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer.

Laurie has a little bit of peace, a little bit of hope, to offer us all. Come help yourself to some at Blog Out Loud 2014.

Come and Hear…Tanya Snook of

Spydergrrl.comWhen it comes to social media, technology, coding, and general geekiness, Spydergrrl is your go-to expert. Tanya’s online alter-ego is a Twitter queen with thousands of followers, a Facebook guru with a growing tech-loving community, and a well-respected public speaker and advocate for UX design. But her blog is the heart of her internet presence, the place to go five days a week for all kinds of geeky goodness.

On any given day of the week, you’re going to find something fascinating, something mind blowing, and something elegantly beautiful on her blog. Maybe it will be an amazing new tech product looking for kickstarter funding. Maybe it will be a YouTube video explaining the secrets of time that will have you thinking about things in a whole new light. Maybe it will be a fabulous LEGO construction – something she’s eager to share with her son, a budding tech-lover himself. The tech world isn’t just a cold, digital place of steel and plastic; it’s a living, growing thing that is expanding the edges of our world and the borders of our thoughts, and Tanya is right there on the cutting edge to lead the way.

She’s passionate about her local community, too. She’s the energetic social media force behind Barrhaven’s Canada Day celebrations, she’s a founding member of the Movember movement in town, and she’s an organizer and speaker for Ottawa’s UXCamp. She’s also been one of the biggest local promoters of Code for Kids, a great way to introduce your kids to computers, design, and tech.

Tanya’s got some really smart thoughts on how technology affects us all. Come hear how it might affect you at Blog Out Loud 2014.

Come and Hear…Jen and Luc of Me Woman You Man/Me Man You Woman

Me Woman You ManJen’s blog is called Me Woman You Man. Luc’s blog is called Me Man You Woman. When a topic comes up that this married couple just can’t agree on, they take it to the internet – with Jen blogging her half of the story, while Luc gets to tell his side, too. Together, they present a he said/she said picture that will have you laughing, pondering, and nodding in agreement – but with which side?

Originally undertaken as a hobby they could pursue together, it’s impressive how their two blogs have grown to showcase their unique writing styles. Both Jen and Luc have delightful senses of humour, and they know that while their differences might never be resolved, they’re something to celebrate, something that makes them who they are. With two kids at home, Jen has plenty to say about being a mom and finding the right balance in life; meanwhile, Luc’s ideas on parenthood might not be exactly the same, but bring a fresh perspective to their family and their children. They like different books, different movies, and different TV shows – but it’s clear that when it comes to the important things, they make it work. Above all their little disparities, there’s love, family, kindness, and a commemoration of all that makes every one of us extraordinary.

Will you be supporting Jen’s argument, or taking Luc’s side? Come make your choice at Blog Out Loud 2014.