Blog Out Loud 2016 – The Readings

It’s the day after BOLO and as usual, my head is spinning from the awesomeness of it all. The readers were so amazing, and it was so great to see everyone. Thanks to all who made it out and thanks especially to this year’s readers!

If you weren’t able to make it out, catch up by checking out these posts that were read at Blog Out Loud 2016.

Amanda Jetté Knox of The Maven of Mayhem: World, Meet My Daughter
Megan Graham of Sticks and Stones: Material Girl
Juliette Giannesini of Correr Es Mi Destino: Breathing Space
Joe Boughner at And Nothing of Value was Lost
Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama: Reading: It’s Possible I’ve Been Doing It Wrong
Marnie Wellar for Montgolfiere Weekly: My Little Free Library
Amy Boughner of Keep Your Head Up: Half Way
Patricia Paul-Carson of Parenting Adult Children: Finding Solace Over The Rainbow
Nicole Blyton of TravelLarge: Return Travel: A Cautionary Tale
Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses: Extreme Home Staging
Bob LeDrew at Don’t Cry for Bowie


And here are a few pics from the event.

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See You This Afternoon!

Blog Out Loud is today! It’s at 2:00 p.m. sharp, at Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks Street, which is the very western end of Sparks where it bends around to meet Queen. You can enter the church from either the Queen side or the Sparks side. Remember, it’s free, so bring everyone you know!

There’s a very small parking lot to the east of the church that can only be entered from Sparks. A better bet is one of the paid lots along Queen (there’s an underground one just before Bay) or street parking in the area. Be sure to arrive early to make sure you are able to find parking and make it to the church on time.

There will be snacks and beverages for sale (it’s licensed). We’re in the big room this year, which means yay! lots of seating, but boo! we’ll have to clear out when the readings are done (around 3 p.m.). We should be able to gather in the cafe area if anyone wants to hang out longer.

And just a warning to those of you bringing kids – there will be some adult language.

See you there!

Shout Outs and Thank Yous

Blog Out Loud is tomorrow! I hope to see you all there. If you have any questions at all, you can leave them in the comments or shoot me a message over on the Facebook page or on Twitter (@bolottawa). Remember, it’s free, parking is annoying so leave yourself some extra time, and we’re in the big room so there should be room for you and all your friends.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who worked hard to make this year’s event happen. First up, the members of our hard-working panel who read every post, put a lot of thought into each of them, and compromised tirelessly to pick the posts that will be read tomorrow. They are:

Krista Gray-Donald of the blog Life in the Hutch, fabulous photographer, involved and caring citizen, and warm and loving mom to two littles;

Nat Hanson, past blogger turned woman-about-town, now being all sassy and adorable on Twitter and Facebook;

Brenda Labelle of the blog Bjütie, a first class fashionista, pop culture queen, and expert on all the things that make you truly beautiful, inside and out; and

Sasha Rambles of the blog Rambling Notebook, passionate book lover, aspiring author, bemused parent, and kindred spirit of all who love to laugh.

Thanks so much ladies, you knocked it out of the park this year!

Also, a special thanks to our live-tweeter, Tanya Snook of the blog Spydergrrl On The Web. Tanya puts in a ton of work prepping for the event and making those who can’t be there feel like they are experiencing it first hand. I consider her my number one partner in this endeavor and she’s a fantastic blogger and a great lady, too. If you can’t make it out tomorrow, you can follow along with what’s happening on the Blog Out Loud Twitter Account, courtesy of Tanya. Thanks so much, Spydergrrl!

Lastly, as most of you know I’m planning for this to be my last Blog Out Loud. I just feel that its time has come and gone, and the world is ready for new things. I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has ever submitted a post, read a post, or attended one of these events. It’s meant so much to me to have your support and to see the blogging community come together once a year. You’re all so lovely, and I’ll see you around the internet!

Welcome Back Our Emcee… Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

postcardsWe’re so happy to welcome back our emcee from last year, the effervescent Dani Donders from Postcards From The Mothership, one of Ottawa’s most delightful and enduring parenting blogs.

Dani’s writing is always full of joy, as she delights in trying new things and learning about this thing we call life. She’s grown so much as the parent of three boys, as she and her husband explore Ottawa, PEI, and places beyond as a family. She’s learned all about the beauty of the world, as she trains her photographer’s eye on lovely scenes in and around town, vivid shots of nature, and adorable pics of her boys and her pets. She’s also learned a ton about cooking and now is a bona fide disciple of chef Michael Smith and his easy, natural way of preparing food. Above all, her lovely personality shines as she discovers new ways to enjoy life here in the capital.

At last year’s event, Dani did a great job as both the wrangler of a busy, sprawling evening and as a keen listener full of enthusiastic praise for the readers. She’s the heart of Blog Out Loud, and we can’t wait to spend another event in her sunny presence. Hope to see you there, too!

Come and Hear… Bob LeDrew of

bobBob is one of those guys who just always seems to be around on the web. He’s active on Twitter, Facebook, and now is capturing his droll, shrewd, and above all, relevant thoughts on his personal platform over at Whether he’s dropping in with his opinion on politics, human rights, cycling, or his favourite subject, music, you can be sure that his thoughts will be witty, well-informed, and on point.

Bob’s just fun to be around, whether he’s being light-hearted, cheeky, or reflective. He adds something to every debate – even when he’s playing devil’s advocate – and will have you thinking about specific issues and life in general in whole new ways. With a sharp comment here or there, Bob can crack up the room and turn the conversation to a whole new way of thinking – no easy feat. He’s the kind of guy who will keep you on your toes, and with his big heart and firm belief in equality for all, he’s the kind of guy you want in your circle of friends, too.

So pull up a chair and listen to Bob’s thoughts on life, the universe, and everything – and how to make the world a better place, one person at a time – at Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

cartooncolouredglasses-bigRegular BOLO attendees will know Janet of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses well as her cartoons have been a favourite at this event in the past. The way she manages to capture the everyday moments of raising two young boys – and the absolute hilarity of those moments – is sweet, tender, and oh so funny.

Every parent can relate to panels that capture the way kids love their stuffies (and how we can’t resist buying them more); the way mittens and gloves for kids never seem to work quite right; and the way a simple walk around the block can turn into an hours-long outdoor adventure. It’s the little things that would maybe pass in and out of memory in any other life, but Janet turns them into golden memories, the kind of posts that make us remember our own similar moments. The mom, dad, and kids in her strips are unique and expressive – but at the same time universal, as well all nod along in full agreement. We’ve been there, too.

Janet has a real knack, too, for setting up her posts and panels with a big punchline payoff. So come and chuckle along with Janet and her family at Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Nicole Blyton of TravelLarge

travellargeNicole of TravelLarge certainly does travel large – with her five children in tow. Her family is much like other families – a mom, a dad, the usual parenting challenges – but at the same time, her view of the world is wider, more encompassing, and more adventurous than most.

As a homeschooling mom, Nicole is the major player in getting her children to see themselves as citizens of the whole earth, to celebrate other cultures and above all, remain curious at all times about other people and places. To that end, she and her husband took the whole crew on a major world tour back in 2014, and now are making plans to head out again in the fall of 2017, this time to see new places in Asia, Africa, and Europe. In between, there have been plenty of challenges, including cancer, financial troubles, and the usual crazy, unexpected ups and downs of parenting five children. But through it all, Nicole has maintained her positive voice, her sunny way of looking at the world – and as a plus, she’s gathered a ton of great cost cutting measures and travel hacks that’s she’s more than happy to share.

Come and hear Nicole spread her inquisitiveness, thoughtfulness, and positive attitude to all at Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Patricia Paul-Carson of Parenting Adult Children

parentingadultchildrenBlogging is often seen as a young parent’s game – posts about the struggles of toilet training, veggie eating, and sleeping through the night are all great resources for parents who are knee deep in babies and toddlers. But what happens when those kids grow up? Patricia Paul-Carson of the blog Parenting Adult Children has plenty of thoughtful, insightful things to say on the topic.

It’s hard to go from being the one in charge to being one half of an adult-to-adult negotiation, and Patricia writes about that transition with tenderness and reflection. She’s got some stories to tell, and solutions to offer, for the kind of situations that arise when an adult child still lives at home – or awkwardly moves back in after a few years of independence. She knows what it’s like to deal with an adult child who borrows the car, or how to travel with your adult children, who might have very different ideas on what’s fun in the sun. And her insights sometimes lead to interesting reflections on what it’s like to be an adult child too, as she thinks about her own parents and her relationship with them. Patricia is practical, sensible, and direct, and we want to be just like her when our kids grow up.

Patricia has a way of really putting her finger on the heart of the parent-child relationship, and of human relationships in general. Come and hear what she has to say about this new stage of parenting at Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Amy Boughner of Keep Your Head Up

amyAmy of Keep Your Head Up has had a busy year – a year of upheaval, and a year of change. Some has been good – her young daughter is another year older, and gets smarter, stronger, and sassier all the time. Plus, she’s completed most of her new university degree – going back has been sometimes hard, sometimes tiring, but most of all, brave and bold. Soon she’ll be able to stop juggling school, parenting, and work and focus on her dream of getting deeper into politics.

Some of the change, however, has been tough. She lost her father last year, a respected professor at Carleton. Although father and daughter had many ups and downs over the years, he loomed large in her life and Amy misses the chance to debate politics and to share her goals and progress with him. With her now attending Carleton herself, there’s daily reminders of her father, some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. Her journey through grief – at the same time as she tries to find a life balance – has made for compelling reading on her blog, as she explores her life with a raw, honest, and tender voice. As Amy learns to deal with life, so do we all.

Come and Hear Amy as she opens her heart to love, life, and loss at this year’s Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Marnie Wellar of Montgolfiere Weekly

montgolfiereMontgolfiere Weekly is a pretty cool place to hang out on the web. It’s a group blog written by a chorus of truly excellent writers, moonlighting from their day jobs to comment on culture in all its various forms. There’s insights on everything from fashion to theatre to graphic novels to politics. It’s a place where writing matters, ideas matter, and above all, discussion matters.

Marnie Wellar is a contributor to the weekly magazine and her writing shows her deep kindness and thoughtfulness. Her speciality is books, and her ideal world has every right book in the hands of the right person. Her work in a hospital library helps with that goal, and lately she’s been turning her book-loving mentality to the community at large, too. She’s not one to just sit by when she sees that something could be done; instead, she takes (sometimes offbeat!) thoughts and does something about it. She’s a dreamer who makes dreams a reality.

Come and hear all about Marnie’s latest project, written up so well for Montgolfiere. She’ll have the right book in your hands in no time.