A Little Follow Up

Some of our readers from Blog Out Loud 2015 have their own thoughts up on their own blogs.

See what Ross Brown thought of the evening, along with some of his photos of the night, here.

Allison McCaskill writes about being adorably nervous and getting some great friend support over here.

If you enjoyed Janet Lalonde’s reading (and cartoons), check out her young son’s graphical version of the IKEA shoe loss here.

BOLO 2015 Recap

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Many, many thanks to everyone who came out last night. As usual it was a ton of fun (and surprisingly emotional!), and a great night to meet other bloggers, and it would not be possible without the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, our selection panel, the readers, and the totally awesome listeners. Special thank yous to Tanya, who rocked the live-tweeting from the BOLO account on like, three hours of sleep, and Dani, who kept the evening moving and the audience laughing as emcee. You all rock!

Here are the links to the posts that were read last night. And photos too! Slideshow at the bottom of the post.

 

Thanks to all our readers, and if you think you might want to read at or attend a future event, be sure to sign up for the BOLO mailing list to get advance word on all the news.

Photos! Click on any image to enlarge it.

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers Fest

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers Fest

The Reader List for BOLO 2015

The Reader List for BOLO 2015

Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the Evening

Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the Evening

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

The Big Screen

The Big Screen

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Lee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine It

Lee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine It

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Our Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web

Our Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Nat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of Refashionista

Nat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of Refashionista

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad - helped by heckler Amanda Jette Knox

Official Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew

Official Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers FestThe Reader List for BOLO 2015Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the EveningOur Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The MothershipOur Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The MothershipThe Big ScreenAllison McCaskill of BibliomamaAllison McCaskill of BibliomamaAmanda Jette Knox of The Maven of MayhemBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsLee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine ItRoss Brown of The Brown KnowserRoss Brown of The Brown KnowserOur Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the WebBrenda Labelle of BjutieBrenda Labelle of BjutieNat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of RefashionistaAstra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny ChroniclesAstra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny ChroniclesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJoe Boughner of The Naked DadJoe Boughner of The Naked DadJoe Boughner of The Naked DadOfficial Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew

It’s Here!

Just a last minute reminder that Blog Out Loud 2015 is TONIGHT! I’ll be arriving by 6 so if you see a frazzled lady rushing around, please put a drink in her hand. See you there!

All the Deets for 2015

Blog Out Loud is tomorrow! It’s at 6:45 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.

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. There’s a bunch of construction along that block of Queen but you can still get through.

There will be snacks and beverages for sale (it’s licensed) and we have the room for the whole night so feel free to hang out and socialize afterwards. The readings should be over by 8 p.m.

The room we’re in this year is pretty small – smaller than last year – so arrive early for best seats. And just a warning to those of you bringing kids – there will be some adult language.

See you there!

BOLO 2015 – Our Emcee

Postcards From The MothershipI’m happy to announce that Blog Out Loud this year will have a totally awesome emcee – Dani Donders of Postcards from the Mothership. Woot!

If you’re a parent in Ottawa, Dani’s blog is, quite simply, a must-read. She’s a bubbly, friendly, upbeat person with a giant heart and an even bigger love of life. Her blog is the place to go for silly, crazy, and fun stories about parenting, and specifically about parenting in Ottawa. She’s got the insider track on a hundred of the best places to go in town, the little out-of-the-way places that are like secret treasures for you and your kids. Her fun and detailed adventures will have you wanting to go where she does and do what she does – or at least have a good chuckle while you read about it.

Dani’s also well-known for her amazing photos – after a few years of taking daily pictures and posting them on her blog, she’s grown into a bona fide photographer, one who captures incredible beauty in everyday life. Her shots of her own family, pets, Manotick home and Ottawa locales are bright, colourful little slices of life that bring new perspectives and a sense of warmth to scenes that we all know well. She also brings her beautiful style to her own photography business, Mothership Photography. Between that, and writing, and working full time, raising three boys, it’s even more impressive that she manages to be so sunny and bright, but somehow, she makes it all happen.

We’re delighted to have Dani be a part of this year’s Blog Out Loud event. Come and say hello to one of Ottawa’s best-known bloggers!

BOLO 2015 Readers – Richard Spencer of Remagine It

Remagine itRichard’s been through more in the past five years than most people experience in a lifetime. On his blog, Remagine It, he’s completely frank and open about what he and his wife have been through: job loss, cancer, infertility, IVF, and the devastating loss of their twin baby boys. It’s almost impossible to imagine living through all that, but Richard has managed to do even more – he brings hope and comfort to others in similar situations by sharing his stories. His writing is direct and heartfelt, and although his extraordinary life has been sad, there is a kind of peace and calm that he manages to bring to the telling. His simple willingness to use his own experience as a hub for others to come together to find common ground is inspirational.

Happily, Richard finally became a father earlier this year to a beautiful baby girl. Although she was born with Down Syndrome, he and his wife are happy to welcome such a smiley, sweet girl into their family and to shower her with love. Richard is a great activist and source of support, and now he can add great father to the list, too.

Come and hear just one of the many touching stories Richard has to share at Blog Out Loud.

BOLO 2015 Readers – Brenda Labelle of Bjütie

BjutieBrenda Labelle of Bjütie is truly a belle of the ball. She’s all about beauty – make up and fashion and style – but it’s more than just how we can change ourselves on the surface. Her writing explores our inner beauty, as well – what makes us feel good about ourselves, and what can be done about social and political issues that affect how we feel about out personal appearance. By looking at her own life and experiences, she finds fantastic stories that we’ll all relate to, stories about how self-esteem and self-worth are often closely tied to personal appearance. She’s still learning and growing, following her dreams and figuring out what it means to be Brenda – the whole package, inside and out.

It’s not all serious and weighty, though – there’s plenty of fun and fizz on her blog as she dishes on Oscar fashion, make up trends, and the beauty of women’s shoes. Her tales are light and sweet and, above all, entertaining – the perfect mix of frivolous and thoughtful, little essays that give you a bite of life to chew on. You’ll hardly even realize that she’s managed to change your viewpoint on so many things.

It’s been a busy year for Brenda – she’s left the hip neighbourhood of downtown for a low-fashion home out in the wilds of the Ottawa fringe. But she’s still thinking about self-growth, be it urban or country. Come and hear what she has to say about this beautiful life at Blog Out Loud.

BOLO 2015 Readers – Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

CHEO Moms and DadsBrad is one of a group of bloggers writing at CHEO Moms and Dads, a blog written by parents who have been in the trenches and know their way out. There’s personal and practical stories on the blog, everything from how to improve sleep habits to how to handle preemies to how to help your kids stay active. There’s advice and ideas, tales of parenting struggles and successes. It’s a place to share information and find encouragement just to make it through the day.

Brad’s stories stem from his role as dad to four young children. Despite being as busy as you might imagine, he still finds time to stop and take a breath – to notice that life, as it is rushing by, is pretty darn good. To appreciate the (rare) quiet moments, to value the little people buzzing all around. To cherish even the hectic times, and to try to carve out a little serenity when possible.

In his day job, Brad makes really cool videos for online marketing – just another way to showcase his creativity. Come and hear Brad’s innovative and original voice at Blog Out Loud.

BOLO 2015 Readers – Melissa Dimock of Refashionista

RefashionistaMelissa of Refashionista is one of our brand new voices at BOLO this year, and it’s a voice well worth hearing. As mother of four, she’s always learning – about parenting, about children, about life. She’s a thoughtful, kind, gentle writer who shares beautiful stories of the good and the bad in life, putting it all into perspective.

There has been loss in her life, and her sadness has led to some absorbing and captivating posts meditating on birth, death, and the cycle that surrounds us. There has been plenty of joy, too, as three boys led the way for the birth of her new baby daughter this winter. Through it all, Melissa tenderly and humanely leads her family to explore what it means to be a part of this world, and a part of this earth. In addition to growing as a person, she also seeks to live in harmony with the natural world as much as possible, reusing what she can, making what she can, and cooking delicious recipes from scratch. She’s also a collector of adorable vintage items, and sells the ones she can bear to part with in her shop, Retro Rooster.

Melissa has a way of finding harmony and peace in motherhood, life, and her writing. There will be a generous serving of thoughtful serenity passed around by her words at Blog Out Loud.

BOLO 2015 Readers – Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Cartoon-Coloured GlassesA picture is worth a thousand words – and in the case of Janet’s blog, Cartoon-Coloured Glasses, maybe even more. There are certain moments in a young parent’s life – when your kid wants to “help” you do yoga, or when you have a Netflix hangover, or when you’re trying to dress a toddler around the toy cars in each hand – that make for charming stories and great memories. Janet takes them one step farther, though, turning them into cartoons – sometimes strips, sometimes single panels that magically capture every little nuance of what being a parent is all about.

There’s the facial expressions on the parents – priceless renderings of herself or her husband with the perfect combination of exasperation and delight on their faces. There’s the drawings of her two young boys, showing innocence and mischief in equal parts. And there’s the way she can boil an anecdote down to a few phrases and frames that are at once meaningful, moving, and totally hilarious. Simple stories and acute observations of her sons and their daily life make for posts that will have you giggling over similar events from your own past – you know you have them.

Personally, we can’t wait until Janet pulls all her great drawings and stories into a marketing empire – we’ll be the first in line for a t-shirt, mug, and coffee table book. But in the meantime, catch her unique way of telling tales at Blog Out Loud.