Sunday, November 27, 2011

Relax, it's just food: Nutrition with Heather Moxley Part 1 of 4

Heather Moxley is a registered holistic nutritionist here in Ottawa with a private practice, and she recently offered to have me attend a four-week nutrition course that she offers. I (Jordan) am blogging the experience as I take this important step towards our NEST goal of feeding ourselves. This is Week One. You can also follow Jordan's twitter journalling of the experience with hashtag #jordaneats; click on the hashtag to see a Visible Tweets feed.


Heather Moxley gave me too much homework.

Heather herself.
She is making me deep breathe. And eat five colours of vegetation—daily. I think there’s another homework item too, but I’m feigning ignorance and letting myself forget it. Don’t get me wrong, I can  already feel the positive effects, but sister, helping out your body is hard work.

Heather is a bit of a local celebrity, thanks to her ongoing segments on CTV Morning’s ‘Today’s the Day’ clips. I’ve actually been watching Heather on CTV for quite some time, so getting a shout from her to come to her course was pretty cool. When I met her in person and she started presenting Day One of the course, I was thrilled to find that she’s an engaging, funny speaker with a wealth of information that she shares in a way the average normal person can understand. What’s even better: Heather is a super nerd in her field, exhibiting her genuine love, fascination, and excitement about nutrition and the human body. I love that, because I am a super nerd too, and when I want to learn something, I become immersed in it, entranced by it, and intrigued with every tidbit of info I can gather.

I expected there to be ‘whammy’ moments in Heather’s course. A ‘whammy’ moment is a moment where you go, ‘Oh…my…god’, and there’s that epiphanous moment where your brain opens up to a new concept—though that whammy may be either distressing or exciting. I don’t think I was prepared for how many whammy moments I would have on the first day.


I have had heartburn all my life. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t take Tums, and I rarely manage a day without at least one. I have reduced my food repertoire to avoid as many acidic foods as possible, but it’s hard to do especially when the world seems to have a serious love affair with tomatoes. I always understood that the way to fix heartburn was to toss an antacid into your belly…two, or even three if need be. Heather explained heartburn in a new and mind-blowing way that made me rethink the entire process…luckily, you can watch this little clip to hear her explain:

I tried it last night. I was skeptical, because for those of us who have chronic heartburn, it’s a terrifying concept to ADD acid to our sensitive stomachs. I found the vinegar too intense, so I poured it into a couple ounces of water and was fine to swallow it down. I ate my dinner, a pasta dish with olives and cheese that would normally mean heartburn for sure…and no heartburn happened. I found myself tensing up throughout the evening whenever I burped, thinking I would feel the terrible splash of acid, but nothing happened. In fact, the only time I had any burning at all was at bedtime, when I lay down. I suspect this has to do with my poor stomach sphincter being in rough shape after years of burning? I will ask Heather this week. But the amazing thing was, from 7pm to 11pm, I was heartburn free. My head reeled as I thought of my dad and brother, both tender-tummied like myself, who have been choking back expensive prescription antacids for years. It’s actually a little overwhelming to think that a quick visit with the right nutritionist may have meant years less suffering and expense. If you, reader, are a heartburn sufferer, I’m telling you to give this a try. If it doesn’t work, you can be mad at me all you like, but if it does work, just imagine what that means for you. Amazing.


Heather explained about people with food sensitivities. In a very tiny nutshell, people misunderstand the body’s response to food and label themselves ‘allergic’ to things that they are only sensitive to, and that list of perceived allergies grows…and so, over time, a person can end up limiting their diet to a handful of foods, but sometimes these are simple sensitivities that can be retrained away.

Onions: terror has many layers.
This blew my mind because I am one of these food-phobes. You’ve heard of agoraphobia, and people usually think that it’s a simple fear of crowds. Actually, agoraphobia is a slow process of developing various fears of various social situations until the person is limited to, say, one social visit a week at only a specific coffee shop. I see this all the time in my work as a counsellor, but I now have a new appreciation for it, as I ‘out’ myself as a food-agoraphobic. I have slowly and methodically removed at least two-dozen foods from my life over the last five years, and I’m always fearful to try new things. The real ‘whammy’ part of this discovery is that Heather tells us we can work towards a rotational diet (ie. where you eat wheat on Monday but not again ‘til Friday) until our system works itself out…and at the end of this process, we may not be limited anymore in what we can eat.

Do you remember the movie Shawshank Redemption? There was the old guy who was finally released from Shawshank at 80 years old or something, and when he got out in the world, he was terrified by the freedom. That’s a bit what I feel like right now: that someone’s swinging open that door and they’re saying I could step through, and I don’t even know how to cope with that concept. If I explore this particular ‘whammy’ further, I will be restarting my entire relationship with food. I will be trusting that, at some point in the process, if I eat a tomato, I won’t be sick all night. It’s exciting, and completely distressing at the same time. I will need to ponder this further.


I got my gall bladder out at 21 years of age. This is a Kent family tradition: my great uncle died from his gall bladder, and everyone else has had it out, usually at very young ages. We make gall stones like it’s a family business. When they found my gall stones, it was actually a fluke: I was having an  ultrasound on my ovary, and the technician said she just wanted to see something…then she showed me a sack that looked like a bag of marbles. It was huge and distended. I got it taken out within six months. People think this fixes your digestive issues, and I agree that I suffer far less pain than I used to…but I found that I had to stop eating almost all fat-rich foods, regardless of how healthy they are. I didn’t fully understand why—I actually thought it was about my IBS, not my gall bladder at all—but at the course I learned about bile. Turns out, your gall bladder plays a very important role in releasing the proper amounts of bile in proportion to the fattiness of your meals, and without your gall bladder, you can suffer new digestive struggles than you did before, particularly with fats.

Heather says there’s ways to deal with this issue, too, though I think it’s a bit more advanced than the Nutrition 101 course…but either way, just knowing this info is wonderfully liberating. When you have digestion issues and food sensitivities, you get a lot of people implying that you’re a head case. “You used to eat Yorkshire puddings all the time,” they say. They don’t know how much better you’ve felt since you cut out almost all fat (for better or worse), and without the knowledge I learned this week I’d have no way to explain to people why this would make me feel better. Now I can explain to my family why I occasionally just eat the potatoes and veggies at family dinner, leaving the meat or other fatty foods behind. I’m not crazy! Hurray!


I’ve been trying to eat my five colours a day. This does not include candy. I’m breathing five deep breaths before each meal—or at least I remember after only a few bites. I’m pondering the (kind of ironic) freedom of a rotational diet, and I’m telling everyone tidbits from my course. In fact, I think my family is rolling their eyes a little bit because everything I say is, “At my course, I learned…” My best friend, MJ, is happy for me, though: she’s seen me end up in the hospital with guttural distress and she’s watched me slowly shut down on food; and she’s seeing me get excited about the cool stuff I’m learning. Brian is argumentative about certain things, like the fact that jam does not count as a fruit serving. I am finding ways to eat within my comfort zone, and stretching a little bit (although onions were a mistake, as always. Make a note).

A day or two after the course, I messaged Heather and told her that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and she wrote back a simple message:

‘Don’t be afraid! It’s just food!’

I had to laugh. Nothing about food, from the way it makes me feel, to the ways it prevents disease, to the way it changes our shape and size, seems trivial to me. Perhaps that’s why food is often discussed in such anxietal tones. As the week has progressed and I’ve attempted to keep up with my homework from the course, I’ve pondered Heather’s brief message, and I still don’t feel that it’s ‘just’ food…but it’s somehow reassuring to know that the food wizard herself feels that way. Maybe I will one day, too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Swapapalooza: our first-ever clothing swap experience.

This post is also available on the UsedEverywhere Blog. 

THE TRADING POST--Swapping clothes without the hassle of a poker game.

If you’ve never participated in a clothing swap, the rules are simple: bring the requested minimum number of items (in this case, three), lay them out on the labelled tables, then wait for the start of the swap to jump on the clothes you like. Try them on, and return what doesn’t work out. Take as much or a little as you like. It’s that simple.
Last Thursday, my husband and I attended a clothing swap, hosted by Ef Magazine, called Swapapalooza; I also had the distinct pleasure of supporting the event in my role as Marketing Ninja for, providing tote bags for swappers as well as other cool swag. I knew that on a professional level, we definitely wanted to support this event in any way we could, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the actual swap, myself. Both my husband and I brought along an armful of clothes, though, figuring we’d at least contribute to the goods available. I’m so glad we did, because I was totally unprepared for the awesomeness that is a clothing swap.


I couldn’t imagine how this system could work out. Surely there would be a shortage of clothing? Surely we’d all be vying for the same pretty skirt, tearing at each other like wild dogs? Or surely everyone would bring the worst of the worst clothing from the back of their closets? I brought about a half-dozen pieces myself, and I lay my treasures out on the various tables, feeling a little shy about people seeing my clothing, most of which was no longer my style. But no one was judging, only analyzing my castoffs to see if they would now find a new home with a new body. I found myself spying several lovely items as I perused the tables before the swap started, and was happy to discover many diamonds in the rough.

Why wasn’t there a shortage of clothing? Well, first off, many people brought more than the bare minimum. When someone promises you that anything you bring will get a new home either with a swapper or with charity at the end of the night, you tend to bring anything you’ve been ready to part with. One girl actually brought a giant Tupperware tub full of clothes, so there was a seemingly endless supply of things to touch, hold up, and try on. Oh, and for anyone out there who’s an unusual size, height, width, or shape, no worries: when there’s enough people attending, you’re bound to find something that will work for you.

Why weren’t we all fighting over the same outfit? Because every person there had a different personal style. Miniature floral prints suit many ladies, but they make me look about eighty years old; so naturally, I didn’t fight anyone for those pieces. Knee-length sweaters are a nuisance to a sporty girl, but to a Gilmore Girls fanatic like myself, any long sweater is just another chance to look a bit more like Lorelai. There was, I will confess, one glittery silver dress that I pined for after another woman grabbed it (and took it home without even trying it on, SIGH), but other than that, I think I got a chance to try on everything else that caught my eye.

By the end of the night, all but one of my pieces had found a new home, and I had found about five stunning new-to-me treasures to bring back home. My outfit today, seen here, is actually ¾ from the swap—everything but the jeans! (Sorry for the messy room, we’re packing for our moving day next week—another reason why it was great to bring a bunch of old clothes and be rid of them at the swap!)


I learned a couple things while helping to keep the clothes folded and tidy on the tables throughout the evening:

The event took place at Bowich on Bank St, an organic sandwich shop.
-People were giving away a lot of muted colours, like beige, brown, grey, and black. The question is, did they end up in the swap pile because the women who first bought them felt as drab in them as they looked on the table? Or do we over-purchase on dark neutrals?

-Some of the black fabrics had that faded look of too many washes. Holding onto your clothes for another season may simply mean that you need to buy a colour-friendly or cold-water laundry soap.

-There appeared to be a lot of discarded items made of that infamous jersey knit. You know the stuff: thicker than a tee shirt, thinner than a sweatshirt, and usually used to make camisoles and tank tops. The problem with jersey knit: it’s cotton, which means it stretches and shrinks—and usually in all the wrong places. If you like these styles, treat them with some extra love and they may not end up in the swap pile as quickly: wash in cold water, then lay flat to dry or hang over a towel rack…don’t hang them on a hanger or by the straps while they’re wet because they’ll stretch.

-This next piece of advice is something I’ve been wanting to share for a while. In a past life, I received my training in image consulting, and actually worked many years as a cosmetics artist. So trust me when I tell you what I tell you next. Wildly trendy prints will end up in your swap basket—and that’s okay, but beware how much you pay for it if you’re going to toss it the next year. What will also end up in the swap bin: clothing that is cut in a trendy-but-unflattering style. I’ll say this now and only once: you have to be very flat-bellied to wear anything high-waisted. And if you are busty, don’t wear a empire-cut dress or blouse, or you will look like you are the width of your bust the whole way down: accentuate hour glass shape with something more fitted. And pleats belong on super models and the guys from Mad Men, so stop torturing yourself with them. Oh, and please be kind to your body: pause and ask yourself if that miniskirt that rises all the way up to your underwire is actually flattering…or is it that you just really want to look like the American Apparel model, despite the fact that you can’t walk around all day contorting your torso for maximum positional flattery?


The best way to buy your wardrobe: spend the extra dollars on your staple pieces—jeans, tights, tops, and underwear—and then go wild with a few items per season. A swap can be a great place to try something outside your comfort zone: I usually hate a heavy-knit tunic, but the purple one in my photo here turned out to be lovely on me. Or maybe it’s the time you try a splash of colour or trendy print. When the only cost of an item is the effort of bringing in one to exchange for it, you can afford to go a little wild.

Now that I have experienced a clothing swap, I’ll be looking for more to attend. I’ve already started saving up a few more items of my own to bring. What was old is new again, and hey: maybe I’ll even get a swing at that sparkly dress next swap around

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Project: Priceless Craft Tour: supporting indie artisans by behaving like groupies.

When holiday craft season first started, we had plans to attend as many as humanly possible, then write one big review at the end. As we find ourselves half-way through the six weeks of shows, we’ve realized we really need to do this in two parts. It’s been a lot of fun, but to be honest, this may be the first year I manage to completely overdose on craft shows. I’ve never tried to hit so many in one season, and I’m not 100% sure how many more sock monkeys and baby bibs I can handle…but there’ve been some treasures that I’m glad we didn’t miss. But enough intro…on with the shows!

Handmade Harvest is an annual show held out in Almonte, Ontario. $2.00 admission.

UNIQUE PART: They offer a swag bag to the first 50 shoppers each year, with has swag from any vendor who chooses to participate. Last year’s bags were a bit more exciting than this year, but I’ll try to get there early again next year, in the hopes that more vendors participate in this. It’s a great marketing scheme: I remembered and revisited the vendors who contributed to the bags last year.

VENUE: Pretty! Almonte’s old town hall is a gorgeous historical building, and the space was well set-up, with tables even up onto the old stage. It did get crowded to the point of weirdness around mid-day, but that’s to be expected. I hope next year they can expand into the basement.

VENDORS: A good mix of new and returning vendors and price points. We like the mix of traditional and more ‘youthful’ crafters at this show. There’s baked goods, too, which is a must for a happy craft show. Some of our fravorites include Annie Bananie, Morganna the White, and Crazy Fox to name a few.

NOTES: This year, HH was also open Friday night. I hear it was rockin’, and I hear it’s when a lot of the best stuff sold. If we don’t try for the bags next year, we will definitely be coming Friday night…what a great date night option! (If your sweetheart is a craft nerd, anyway.)

URBAN CRAFT—NOV 5TH 2011 (Yes, we did two shows in one day. Yes, we are hardcore.)

Urban craft is the new monthly craft market, held at the GCTC the first Saturday each month. Free admission.

UNIQUE PART: It’s monthly, with a good rotation of vendors. It’s also free, which means we have been going every month and leaving more money in the hands of the vendors!

VENUE: The venue is gorgeous of course, in the new Irving Greenberg theatre building, spanning two floors of foyer. Bright, spacious, and never crowded…though we’re always in favour of a few more booths at the expense of some elbow room.

VENDORS: We gotta be honest: this particular month was a little heavy on the baby/kids stuff, and the paper/stationary. But it’s an ever-changing show, and I know there’s tons of paper geeks out there who drool over these things…and of course, tons of kids and babies. What we did love and buy was Koko Chocolate’s Movember truffle box, with the infamous bacon truffles. Brian loved them; I couldn’t mentally handle that there was meat in my chocolate. But really, the box was his for his Movember efforts…and I still stole both AMAZING scotch flavoured chocolates!

NOTES: We will continue to come every month. I have started budgeting money into my monthly expenses to be able to come and take something home. What’s nice about this: I have noticed that I have reduced my mall excursions to almost nothing. A new pair of earrings or a body butter per month seems to satisfy a lot of my shopping cravings!


Signatures is one of Ottawa’s BIG shows, with 200 vendors, many of whom are well-established commercial artisans. Admission $10, or $5 with mailing list coupon.

Cool bags from Anemone
UNIQUE: The sheer size. It’s also more traditional works (mostly), for an older generation, which can be good for gift buying. It tends to have a rep for being a big more hoity-toity, and if we weren’t sure if we agreed, we do after this show: this was the first show where we had a vendor tell us to bugger off when we tried to take his picture for this blog entry.

VENUE: This year Signatures was back in the much-beloved new Convention Centre attached to the Rideau Centre. We liked it. The aisles were super wide, which meant I got through an entire show without a single elbow in the ribs!

VENDORS: Listen, I know there’s other craft junkies out there who hit this show every year, and every year I know you junkies see the exact same booths. It must be the added space, because this year there were a few newbies there, notably Anemone with these wild bags, and Marcelo Glass who made some very pretty upcycled glass jewellery pieces. I think there’s still hope for this show, and it’s worth the admission (if you get on the mailing list for the 50% off coupon) just to get at the culinary artisans: Hawberry Farms, Henderson Farms jams, and the sweetheart ladies and Kitchen Connaisseur all are super friendly and make some of the best products around. We wait to see these vendors every single show, and Hawberry is why everyone walks around smelling like an anti-vampire device: they have the most incredible garlic infused oils. If you get a chance, try their new coconut butter…it’s like marshmallow Fluff without the stomach ache.

NOTES: Grab the free map they offer you. Bring a pen. Circle the booths you like on the map and write down the item you liked with the price. Then when you wrap up at the end, go back and make your purchases. It means less time carrying heavy jars, and it means you can be sure you bought your true favourite treasures.

GLISTEN! –NOV 19th, 2011

The GCTC’s in-house craft show. Free admission.

UNIQUE: The only craft show held by the GCTC.

VENUE: It took place in the same lovely space as the Urban Craft show does, so it was of course gorgeous.

Brian with our Urban Fete cards
VENDORS: Good vendors, though we’d hoped for a few more. Regardless, our highlight for the day was meeting Urban Fete, a lovely handmade card company; the owner, Christine, is a fan of our blogs and a sweetheart of a woman. I told her that every year, my mother-in-law makes me a card and I forget to get her one, so this year I would have one of Urban Fete’s to give her! Christine gave us a couple more to be sure we’d be set for the holidays. The designs are very fresh, bright, and with just a hint of retro. If there’s a shop out there looking for an indie card company with beautiful work to sell on site, we strongly recommend Urban Fete.

NOTE: We hope this show will grow next year, especially with its close ties to Urban Craft to help it along. In the heart of Wellington West, this is a great spot for walk-in traffic. We can’t wait to see this show expand until it spills into the theatres!

And a special shout-out to My Stow-n-Tow, a nifty tote bag company, for helping us find some retro owl fabric! I almost forgot to mention this, but it's a LIFESAVER, so thank you! They have some very cute drawstring bags in owl fabrics, for those other retro geeks out there!


This show is a homey, eclectic show held at the Sandy Hill Community Centre. Free admission.

UNIQUE: A free lunch buffet. With pierogies. Yeah, ‘nuff said.

VENUE: Not as glamorous as some of the others, but spacious and bright, with lots of street parking and a kitchen for that wonderful cooking; it was great.

VENDORS: What a mix! People I’d never seen before, some really traditional old-lady crafts (like, crocheted Santas and handmade washcloths), then some really nouveau artisans as well. Our beloved Morganna the White was on site with her incredible upcycled textile jewellery, this year offering a wide array of multi-stranded bracelets that are to-die-for. Oh, and earrings that look like those nesting dolls, that I forgot to buy before we left and now I’m kicking myself. There was even a booth selling artisan vanilla extract, though I didn’t get a card—if you know who this was, please post their business name in a comment. I enjoyed the wild mix of vendors.

NOTES: Because we have been to so many shows already this season, I didn’t end up dropping much cash here because I was seeking only very specific things. But I loved this show, the vibe and the vendors, and will be back for sure next year.

THE GLEBE ARTISAN AND CRAFT SHOW—NOV 20th, 2011 (Another double show day.)

This show is three days long, and quite popular. Free admission.

UNIQUE: Three days long, it’s one of the longest indie craft shows in town.

VENUE: The incredible Glebe Community Centre on Third Avenue. God, it’s gorgeous. I always think I would have loved to get married here…one day I’ll have a reason to hold a giant party here.

The Koko Chocolates sweethearts!
VENDORS: A mix of vendors, though after the absolute potpourri of the Sandy Hill show, it seemed much more subdued. There was a fabulous little pottery company there called Yakety Yak, with a lovely lady at the helm who joked with us as we perused her wares. I lament not grabbing something from her booth, but she’ll be at the Ottawa Artisan Guild show on Dec 2 & 3 at St Francis Xavier High School. And much to my delight, Koko Chocolates was on site here, as well. Can you tell I have an addiction? But I felt justified in another purchase, as my bestie MJ was with me, and she has never had a Koko. I bought her one and she loved how smooth the centre is—that’s one of Koko’s best qualities, actually. I also got to try their holiday ‘candy cane’ flavour: rich, almost smokey, with a whisper of mint that politely introduces itself to your palette in a way that makes a Junior Mint seem like a slap in the face in comparison. I saved mine til after dinner and am now pining for more.

NOTE: It’s probably a good idea to hit this show on the first day or maybe the second morning. I felt like some of my regular favourite vendors had been pretty picked over by the time we arrived, with only four hours left of the weekend. Still, any excuse to go to that gorgeous building!

We’ve got a bunch more shows to visit in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more reviews. If you want to see a list of coming shows, check out Apartment 613 for a pretty great list. We acknowledge we haven’t been able to keep up and head out to all the local church bazaars, but we may attempt to cover that circuit in the spring, and really you gotta cut us some slack. When over half the vendors at every show know your name, I’m pretty sure you’re officially a groupie.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Buns in the oven: I think I'll just bake actual buns, thanks.


Everyone is multiplying.

I can’t get away from it: everywhere I turn, there’s another friend, foe, or family member with a bun in her oven.  I read somewhere that we’re in the biggest baby boom since the 1950’s, and I believe it. These women, for the most part, seem really happy with their approaching motherhood, taking to it like a mother duck to water. I’m happy for them, I really am; but there’s a problem, too: they provide an all-too-easy segue into the question that plagues all newlyweds,

“So when are you having kids?”

I’m going to tell you the answer right now: we’re not having kids. We’ve talked about it many times, Brian and I, and it’s a decision we feel very confident in. Please don’t think this means we hate children; in fact, Brian in particular is a fabulous preschooler playmate, and I have a soft spot for kids around kindergarten age, when they start to ask blunt questions, blurt out comments to strangers, and stumble around like tiny little drunks. Which is, so you know, why I’m forever envious of kids: they can run around, clumsily knocking into things, telling strangers exactly what they think of them, and having a cry whenever they need to…and the only time we tolerate these behaviours in an adult is at the annual Christmas party. Kids don’t know how good they have it.

Anyway, yeah, we’re not reproducing, much to the misery of my mother, who wants grandchildren very badly and has (rather successfully) supplemented that need by adopting four Italian greyhounds. But she’s not the only one who finds ways to bring up the baby topic. In fact, now that we’re married, it seems that questions and comments about my uterus’s ‘career plans’ are fair game for all. It seems like every time I turn around, someone’s mentioning an idea or plan for when I get knocked up…everything from promising me baby blankets, to offering handmade creations. And I always reply the same way: “Oh, we’re not having kids. Puppies, yes. But not kids.” This inevitably elicits a scoff, a frown, or an outraged eyebrow raise, and I feel totally powerless to fight fire with fire—though that’s ridiculous, because we are discussing my body and my entire future, so you’d think I’d have the guts to say, “Enough. I don’t want to discuss this further!” But I don’t.


Why don’t I snap at people and tell them to leave me and my husband alone? Because there’s a terrible shame that comes with admitting you aren’t having kids. I swear, some people have actually implied that if it’s true we’re not making babies, why was it so important to get married? I ask you, honestly: is that what marriage is for, making babies? I counsel a lot of young single moms who would disagree with that concept. But there is a huge and terrible pressure on women, once married, to heed their biological clock and get cracking with those eggs, already. And our baby-crazy culture makes it embarrassing and shameful to confess we aren’t going to do so…and worse yet, our culture also seems to think it’s okay to judge the childless. In fact, this judgement is so prevalent that I have had to weigh the possibility of losing readers by writing this post. Imagine the hubris, of determining the value of an entire person’s work by whether they make one single (albeit BIG) life choice?

I have many reasons for not reproducing, none of which will ever stem the flow of arguments from those who’d see me pregnant. I am a genetic mess, for one, with a disability and with a uterus that’s fertility-impaired. I have never once had a maternal urge, or a desire to mother…though I also feel like I’ve done my share of childrearing, after a decade of social work with youth, raising the kids who couldn’t be raised by their own guardians. I’ve treated Mother’s Day as a private holiday for many years now, permitting myself a bit of congrats and treats as I acknowledge that my job, where I see kids at their lowest, is a maternal one in many ways.

I admit, I sometimes would like to be pregnant, though only in my sleep: some of my best dreams are of being round with child…but the excitement only lasts while I can eat heaps of food while people keeping telling me how glowing I am. The moment the labour starts, I wake up in a cold sweat.


The reality is, once you get married, you’re expected to get pregnant. It’s as if life has a series of gold stars you can achieve:
1-get born
2-get through high school
3-go to post-secondary school
4-get a job that pays well and/or benefits the greater good
5-find a mate and marry them
6-make babies
7-buy a house
8-retire and die quietly and politely

It’s a depressing list, because, a) I feel like most of the gold stars are behind me now with only some crummy ones left ahead, and b) I will never get that 6th gold star. And there’s no replacement for it; no matter how many puppies I adopt or cool jobs I get or money I make, they will never add up to a gold star for childrearing. It’s like I’m a girl scout and I didn’t get my sewing badge, so there’s this empty spot on my sash that nothing else can fill. The amount of praise, adoration, and appreciation my pregnant peers get—even those who got knocked up by an affair or other ‘oops’ moment—is intense, and as selfish as it may sound, I’m jealous I won’t ever get that level of approbation. It’s a bit like having an offbeat wedding, actually: if you choose to work outside the box, people just don’t hand that gold ‘wedding’ star over quite as readily.


It’s funny how things change. When I was in my early twenties, I went to the doctor for a pregnancy test. My then-partner and I had talked before I went to the doctor, and we’d decided that if I was pregnant, we were going to keep it. It wasn’t something I would ever have made happen, but as a surprise event, I felt a little excited about it, particularly because my partner was so thrilled. (I emphasize that this was a very specific instance, when I was young and didn’t know myself, or my boyfriend, that well.) I peed on the stick, gave it over to the nurse at the clinic, and waited the interminable five minutes ‘til she returned to the room. She walked in and said, “Good news!” My heart leapt, and then she added, “You’re not pregnant!” and then she pretty much left. I sat on that bed and had a good cry before putting on my coat and leaving.  I was incensed that the nurse had judged me—young, unmarried, with a mohawk—and had deemed it ‘good news’ that I wasn’t pregnant. The same blind judgement, now reversed in terms of good and bad news, is being applied to me at the age of 29.


I’m still a child, myself, in many ways. I have committed to myself that I can have all the time I need to feel grown up, and seeing as there is a real biological clock to consider, this choice means I won’t be having kids. I am only now beginning my career as I really want it to be, and I feel about six years behind the career game because of it. I want to write books, blogs, and magazine articles. I want to travel, in ways my parents never got to. I want to be able to afford my groceries every month for the two of us before I even consider a second dog, let alone a child. And when all these reasons/excuses are gone, there’s still the reality that I just don’t feel it. Have your babies, friends…please! Do a good job of it, and I’ll hold your hand while you fight to push ‘em out for twenty long hours, then spend twenty long years pulling them back into your arms. Motherhood is a wonderful thing, but I think my job—motherhood’s best girlfriend—is also a good thing. It’s time to stop implying, joking, suggesting, or straight-up telling me I want babies.

But puppies…you can ask me about puppies anytime.


As a childless female blogger I actually feel a bit odd-one-out sometimes, as one of the minority who don’t fit into the ‘Mommy Blogger’ realm. As such, I will never claim to be an expert on the parenting experience, nor will I speak with false expertise on childhood development. However, I may from time to time address the childrearing topic, as someone who is immersed in an age group that is spawning like salmon; I hope to occasionally share some thoughts both from my own brain as well as from the minds of my pregger and parent friends, who have some fascinating new perspectives on the topic. I also want to give a huge thank you to the Mommy Bloggers who I’ve met over the last year, who have been so supportive of my writing and our blogs…and a special virtual hug for Karen, Lara, and Bethany, who gave me the guts to write this post.


Check out Karen Wilson's blog, talking about the question-asking we all do when people are expected to take the 'next life step'.

Check out this post about the Kid-Free Twitter List, by @schumtzie here.

Part 2 to this post, published April 2012, here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Avoiding the malls: a teacup craft as a gift

So one of the local radio stations has begun 24/7 Christmas music, which means that even though it’s still warm and green here in Ottawa (thanks, climate change), it’s the holiday season and we have to face it. I love this time of year in many ways: amazing baking, sparkly decorations, gatherings, and mocktails. What I hate is the crowded parking lots, malls, and lines everywhere. Last year to avoid all of this, Brian and I made as many of our gifts as possible. This year because we’re moving, we won’t be able to do that, but we will, where possible, reduce our shopping list by making things with our own four hands. Here’s a fantastic and easy craft for those of you looking for something inexpensive and awesome to give to your loved ones: tea cup tea trays.

1-3 tea cups
1-3 saucers, or alternatively, 1 dinner plate, 1 side plate, and 1 saucer
E-6000 glue
Windex and paper towel

I made these babies for our co-ed wedding shower, and used them again at the wedding itself. I now have about 8 of these, and I’ll be gifting some of them this Christmas; others, I’m selling on UsedOttawa just because I have way too many. At our shower, we used them as cupcake stands for mini cupcakes; at our wedding, we had them out for cookies to sit on. Now I have one in my bedroom and I drape my jewellery all over it. It’s turning out to be one of my prettiest and most versatile craft creations ever.


1. Clean the cups and trays with the Windex so there are no body oils or scudge on them. Pay particular attention to the bottom of the tea cups.

2. Pull out your E-6000 glue. This glue is used widely in craft tutorials across the interweb, whenever a solid seal is needed. I didn’t understand how good this glue could be, until I got some for myself. Use the glue. Love the glue. It is your best friend. (Warning: it is a bit smelly, so ventilate the room.)

3. Practice stacking your plates and cups ‘til you like the way it looks. I tried a bunch of different ways, but usually you put the largest plate on the bottom and work your way up…if all your plates are saucers, it’s not so much of an issue. Sometimes the tea cup handles will get in the way if they rise above the lip of the cup; you may just need to try a different saucer on top, or you may need to try a different teacup.

TIP: Do not make your tower taller than three tea cups. I did all of ours with only two tea cups to be sure they were solid, sturdy, and not too easy to topple.

4. Put glue on the underside of the first tea cup (lots of it) and stamp it down onto the plate. You can clean the excess away now, or wait til the glue hardens and use a scalpel—it’s a bit like rubber.

5. Put glue on the rim of the tea cup and now place your next saucer/plate onto the tea cup.

6. Repeat for as many layers as you like.

7. Allow the glue to dry over night before attempting to lift the structure. But afterwards, do indeed lift it and give a gentle shake to be sure everything is secure. Out of all those teacup towers, I only had one plate let go, and I think I just didn’t use enough glue.

TIP 2: Be sure to remove any goopy excess dried glue. It’s ugly, and technically it’s not healthy if you do put food on your tray. These babies should definitely be gently washed by hand; as we only had icing get on them, I just wiped them down with a soapy water-soaked cloth, then rinsed them.

This is such a simple craft, and all you need is old china and glue. How awesome is that?! Think about it: one trip to the craft store for glue, plus one search on or at a thrift store for old china, and you’re done. Hardly a single lineup, parking lot, or shameful mall foodcourt lunch to worry about. 

And for the record, when I heard the Christmas music playing on Majic 100 here in town, I fully admit, I left it playing and sang along for my whole car ride. My favourite: 'All I want for Christmas is You'. And if you want to watch the best modern Christmas movie of our generation, watch 'Love Actually'--with a box of tissues.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Steampunk's newest Coggler: Brian finds his mothership

Have you heard of Steampunk? Google it, you’re gonna love it. Basically, take Victorian fashion and furniture, then mash it up with futuristic time machines and laser-based weaponry. This weekend, while Jordan was double-booked at a fundraising event, Brian headed out to a Steampunk event on his own. No further introduction is really needed, though you can check out the various links if you’re feeling confused as you read about the gathering…
Steampunk Ottawa’s Swap Meet and Whist night was an amazing collection of cogglers, gizmologists, and congenators all united in their love of the weird and amazing world of Steampunk. The crew got together to trade, barter, and give away their creations and spare parts for new ideas. The event was hosted at an amazing anachronaut’s house named Lee Ann who welcomed me and a few other newbies to our first-ever Steampunk event. I made out well at the swap: I walked out with a new hat and a handmade ray gun…. Amazing!
This collection of Steampunkers are living the life of re-using and reducing waste every day. They repurpose everything, even the leather off of old couches, into beautiful works of art. Everything from their wardrobes to the Steampunk-inspired Library that Lee Ann has created in her 1899 home is true to the Victorian/steam engine inspired culture. Being my first time at a Steampunk event it was incredible to meet such an amazing group of people who are sol accepting of everyone. Every person I talked to was passionate about not throwing away anything… most of them complained about having too many amazing items and not enough room for them.
The evening also included a friendly game of whist, which is a trick-collecting card game very similar to euchre or trump. This was a fantastic way to finish off the evening, seeing people all dressed up sitting down to a lovely game of cards.
It was a wonderful night of bartering and trading for ray guns, cogs and copper pipe; all the while being dressed up in late-era Victorian dress. I myself donned a drawstringed pirate-type shirt, then wore my favourite brown vest and slacks, with my pocket watches on hand. This event and all the events held by Ottawa Steampunk are true to the idea of accepting all that is weird and creative. If you want to check out any of their upcoming events I suggest finding them on Facebook.
This collection of futuristic-Victorian people, playing with their ray guns and pocket watches, are definitely living in a wondrous world in which I want to belong.

For more events check out Steampunk Canada for events near you

Photo Credits: (top to bottom) logo for Ottawa Steampunk taken from Facebook, Steam punk sculptures by Catherinette rings, fellow Cogglers and gizmologists enjoying a wonderful game, Items for barter and trade

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The thigh-high pantyhose caper: how to blow an interview

So today, in the interest of pursuing my career goals and better providing for my mini-family, I had a job interview for another part-time job. The hope was that it would fit in nicely with my existing work schedule, allowing me to bring home a little more bacon while expanding my growing repertoire of experience in my field. It’s one of those little jobs that you find and think, “Man, that sounds like a fun job.” It’s one of those little jobs that you find yourself really wanting to get.

Blowfish boots...cozy but not quite interview-appropriate.
This morning I dressed as best I could, given that our house is half-packed into boxes and most of my wardrobe is geared towards my day job, where I counsel teenagers all day. I learned long ago, you can’t counsel youth while you’re wearing a suit; so without getting dressed like I was headed to a gala or headed to a grade 12 geography class, my best option today was a white button-down blouse with a grey corduroy skirt that ended just above the knee. I threw on a pair of opaque black tights, put on my Blowfish-style boots, and packed my heels for the afternoon, when the interview was scheduled. I felt pretty set for my big day. That is, until I got to work.

My beloved heels.
It was as I was making phone calls at my desk that I realized my tights were just too, well, tight. They were driving me crazy and actually seemed to be causing my stomach some distress. Gurgling sounds kept rumbling through me, and I found myself tugging at the waistband rather frantically. I realized that my nervous belly was kicking in as I got closer to the interview time, and I knew then that I was going to have to get myself out of these things. I debated for a while before finally leaving my office and heading upstairs to the bathroom, smiling at a client in the waiting room on my way. I got into the bathroom, shut the door, and pulled off my tights….ahhhhh. So much better. On the way back to my office I balled the things up in my fist and pretended to be fascinated with a painting as I passed the waiting client, but I still caught her look of mild surprise as I made my way by in my wooly boots and albino-white legs.

I knew I needed to find something else to wear on my bottom half, but the only thing in my whole crazy car was a pair of neon pink-and-blue striped knee socks. Not exactly interview material. I drove to my meeting thinking frantically about what I could do. When I arrived in the neighbourhood and parked, I saw that I had 25 minutes until the interview; perfect! I would simply walk down the main street until I found a drug store. Moments later I came to discover that the pharmacy I used to frequent here had been turned into an insurance office. Gahhh. I continued down the strip a while, now aware that this particular skirt was the kind that rides up, further showing off my lily-white gams and getting me lots of raised eyebrows, considering it’s November and I otherwise looked like a fairly classy professional woman.

I half-ran into a nearby consignment shop, hoping they’d have some tights or nylons. No such luck. They had several pairs of tall fashion boots, which would have been something at least, but of course they were all size 6’s, as all consignment footwear is. Because no normal-sized adult has size 6 feet, you see, so when they’re dropped off they sit there for all eternity, mocking those women with average sized feet. Anyway, I digress.

NOT my butt. credit:
My last option, with 12 minutes left to spare, was almost unthinkable…but I’m an improviser. So I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and ducked into the store next door: a sex shop. Since it was 2:18pm on a Wednesday, the store was deserted with the exception of two clerks. We all smiled at each other and said hello, and I began my frantic search for a pair of hose. The female clerk came over and asked me what I needed, and I just pointed to the most normal-looking pair on the wall—black thigh highs with a lacy bit at the top. She took them off the wall, charged me a startling thirty bucks for them, and sent me on my way. I stepped out of the store and ran back to my car. Only 8 minutes to go.

I yanked the thigh-highs out of their package as I pulled my skirt up over my waist and attempted to find a comfortable position in the passenger seat to pull these babies on. It was only then that I realized these hose came with a garter belt, and they were the kind that needed the garter to stay on. I began to laugh, a little hysterically, as I realized my mistake. I’d bought thigh-highs before, but they were the kind with the rubbery stuff at the top that kept them from slipping down. These had only a slight elastic band at the top, sewn into a garishly lacy cuff. I scrambled around with the included garter belt for a few moments until I realized it was way too big, way too complicated, and an old man was peering at me through the windshield. I decided I’d have to hope the nylons stayed put with just the little strip of elastic at the top. With shaking hands I pulled out my black velvet heels, threw them on, and managed a shaky lipstick application. Then I was out the door and speed-walking up the long city block to the office.

There’s something about a pair of thigh-high stockings that makes a girl feel a little extra sexy. Yes, okay, when you actually get home and look in the mirror, there’s always a bit of thigh pudge that muffin-tops over the elastic at the top, but we don’t all have a Victoria’s Secret airbrush team. As I walked along, I felt cool, confident, and a little bit hot, and from the long looks I was getting from people, I was sure they noticed how sophisticated I felt…but it was as I arrived at the office building doors that I realized why people were staring: my stockings had let go of my thighs and had travelled down to my knees, where they were hanging, lacy and ridiculous, like weird flamboyant pirate boot-tops. My skirt had, of course, rode up again, leaving my thighs very exposed and fluorescent white. I stared at my reflection, mouth agape.

I did the only thing I could: I put my chin in the air, threw the big glass door wide open, and strode through the entire length of the giant, populated foyer with my head held high and my best catwalk stride. I arrived at the bathroom doors to find that the ladies’ room was out of service for painting; I hopped the cordon and ran inside, tore off the ludicrous nylons, and pulled my constrictive, horrible tights back on.

I hope the interviewers appreciated the brevity of my answers. I’m a wordy gal, if you haven’t noticed, and I’ve never had a job interview take less than the full hour; today, I kept the answers short and sweet, then ran home to strip off the terrible tights, the whole interview finished in under thirty minutes. I had to laugh for just a moment, though, when I sat down, took a deep breath, and the panel gave me my first question:

“What did you do to prepare for today’s interview?”

Oh, if you only knew.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekend Review, Part II: Purple Urchins and Devine gems


Look out, Ottawa: there’s a new shop in town, and this one is promising to clean up the place.

Purple Urchins: Rebecca and Sarah show off their bath cube.
Okay, sorry; I couldn’t resist. But punny or not, Purple Urchin really has the most lovely handmade soap and lotions around. And when we found out that owners Sarah and Rebecca were making the jump from craft show table to retail outlet, we were thrilled with the news! Now, instead of stalking Urchin around the holiday bazaars and rationing out the last sliver of soap between shows, all us body butter addicts can head down to their adorable shop on the corner of Somerset and Preston Street for the things that make us go mmmmmmm.

Purple Urchin has been a favourite soap and lotion producer for me since I discovered them a couple years back at the (no longer running) Ladyfest craftshow. Sarah had me sniff their signature Cocoa Butter Coffee Scrub—picture lathering yourself in a mocha latte—and to my utter joy, the products don`t trigger my usual sensitivities. Sarah and Rebecca inform me that this is because their products are 95-100% natural, depending on the fragrance, and that everything they offer is made from scratch; the girls don`t buy premixed bases, nor do they melt down prefab soaps just to add some ingredients. We got a backstage tour of their new shop this weekend, and we loved the crazy witch`s laboratory we wandered into: tintures, lotions, potions, and even beakers of bubbling brews were laid out neatly in the cozy but efficient workshop. For safety and klutz-proofing reasons, the general public won`t be able to wander into the back area, but fret not: you can watch the girls at work through the giant picture window that is set into the wall between the workspace and the boutique.
The window into the workshop!

And what a boutique it is! The front of the store is a fantastic shade of chartreuse with deep black accents, plus some fantastic thrift store finds like a retro bench with aqua seat cushions. Everywhere you turn, there`s another product to stick your finger or face into. I`ll let the pictures do the talking, but you can see what a playground of scented heaven you`ll be walking into.

Sarah and Rebecca started their business in 2005, and see the new shop as the natural evolution of their brand. The shop will begin with modest hours, perhaps three days a week—follow their blog, website, facebook, or twitter for details as they emerge. “Our main focus was to have a good space for production,” says Sarah; “The [equipment] was beginning to take over the house.” As the store gains in popularity, so may its hours. Limited hours may seem tricky but can actually increase the demand for a product, and with indie product fans, we’re pretty understanding…hey, it’s worked for Auntie Loo’s.

The soft launch of the shop is this upcoming Saturday, November 12th, at 10am. Come on by, there’s a limited number of goodies for the early birds out there! A grand opening will be announced shortly, and in the meantime, the girls are just super excited to have people come by and visit.


We made another stop this weekend, at Devine Jewellery. We’ve mentioned Devine’s before: they assisted Brian in custom designing a string of pearls for his wedding gift to me. We were back in this week to pick up the necklace, which we were actually having reworked. The story is this: last year in November, I saw a beautiful multi-coloured strand of pearls at Devine’s booth at the Originals craft show. I fell in love with it, but it was a bit pricey so I suggested Brian get it for me as his groom’s gift. For the next ten months, I dreamt of this necklace, and Brian assured me (in a roundabout way) that the necklace would be mine. Unfortunately, when Brian had attempted to purchase the lovely thing, it had been sold; so Brian spent the next eight months trying to redesign something, with the help of a wonderful Devine staff named Tracey, that would meet my style. The finished product was lovely, and I wore it mixed in with my Morganna The White piece at the wedding…but after the wedding, we both felt like it just wasn’t up to the unique awesomeness of the originally-coveted necklace. We talked at length about it, and decided we’d talk with Tracey and Devine Jewellery to see about remaking it.

I was nervous when we headed down there, because in essence I was about to tell an artist that I didn’t like her work. But we went down to their shop on the main floor of the gorgeous Fairmont Chateau Laurier and chatted with Tracey. I had never met her before, but Tracey, turns out, is fantastic. I didn’t even have to finish my sentence before she caught on to what I was stammering out; she wasn’t the least bit upset or hurt. My feeling is that Tracey has a good eye for sizing people up, and when she finally got to see me in person, she knew right away that the delicate, pastel-toned necklace wasn’t something I was going to wear except with a certain big white dress. Tracey took me through the beautiful showroom and pulled out strand after strand of richly-hued pearls, asking me tons of questions about preferences in terms of length, size, and tone. She explained that one of the wonderful things about their line of pearls is that the colour is actually introduced into the pearl during the oyster’s process, so the colour is actually infused into the pearl. With Tracey at the helm, we headed out feeling quite confident that she would recreate the necklace into something closer to my original favourite—something I’d feel like myself in, and that I would want to wear every day.

We went in for one more viewing partway through the construction, then got a call last week that the piece was finished. We went downtown this weekend and I could barely contain my excitement…and a little bit of nerves. I wanted it to be perfect so badly! Tracey greeted us enthusiastically and brought out the necklace…and it was stunningly perfect. It was, in fact, ten times more beautiful than the one I’d originally wanted. I put it on and Tracey fussed over it a little, encouraging me to put on my other necklace with it: I have a small eucalyptus leaf pendant by designer Michael Michaud, and I love it so much that I have trouble taking it off. I loved that Tracey could see that attachment, and that she knew I would want to wear both pieces together.

We chatted with Tracey for a while about the shop. Devine Jewellery has been around for over thirty years; the business is locally owned and operated, by Ted and Carol Devine; Tracey is the store manager, and she and another staff actually do most of the pearl necklaces in the shop, while Ted and Carol work in fine metals and gems. The Chateau Laurier storefront has been open since 1982 (the year I was born!), and my family has a special attachment to this shop: as a teen, my mother bought her mom a ring from Devine Jewellery, and later on my father bought my mother’s wedding band from the Devines. While I don’t have a wedding band (we decided my wide engagement band was plenty of bling by itself), I do now have these lovely wedding pearls from the same shop. I love that three generations of my family have owned something beautiful from the same little place. Apparently, my family isn’t the only one: Tracey reflected that it was becoming a common occurrence to have second-generation customers come in for a new generations’ fine jewellery.
We left the shop in great spirits; I was thrilled with the finished product, with the incredible customer service, and actually pretty in love with Tracey and her wonderful talent. She has such a way with composition, and I love that I have this bold-coloured, asymmetrical string of pearls that is a nod to the traditional 1950s housewife standard strand, except sort of ‘messed up’. When I first talked with Tracey about the necklace, I’d said I wanted her to ‘mess it up more’, and she wasn’t in the least taken aback; rather she just said, ‘Jordan, that’s what I do best: mess things up.’ Now I own a handmade masterpiece, given to me by my sweetie, made by a woman who gets me, and produced in a shop that has delighted the women in my family for three generations. I feel blessed, spoiled, and really, really pretty.


Really, what more can I say? We tried on gravity-defying boots (see Weekend Review, Part I), had a VIP tour of a fabulous soap factory, and I got a necklace I’d been dreaming of for a year. We also made it to two craft shows, one of which gave us a great swag bag for being early bird arrivals…but we’ll be blogging more about the season’s craft shows at the end of the season, when we plan to do a major review of the local shows. Stay tuned, if you’re into handmade things; we’re attempting to hit every major craft show in the area before Christmas. My wallet hates me, but I’m drugging myself with homemade baked goods.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend Review, Part I: FitDay as experienced by Brian

Photo from National Capital FitDay website
This past weekend, on top of all the craft shows we visited, we were invited to the National Capital Fitday: this was a mixture of bodybuilding and fitness competitions and a Fitness Expo, held at De La Salle high school downtown. We visited the expo and sat, watching the video of the competitions. From the posing contests to the fitness routines, it was impressive to watch what these super humans can do. It was incredible to see the fitness levels of these athletes, who look like real-live super heroes.
photo from Kangoo web site
Jordan and Brian trying them out
During the expo we walked in and we were enthralled by the Kangoo Jumps; these are shoes with strange oval extensions which allow you to bounce and run like there’s no gravity. Jumpin Junkie Inc was displaying and selling these awesome things, and we got to try them out! This is my type of amazing work out equipment, for sure. Jordan found them a little shaky to get used to, but I was ready to run around the building. It feels like you’re jumping on the moon, and as I bounced around the corner we were ran straight into Tracey Cadrin from CheeCha Puffs…if you remember, CheeCha was the company from Calgary who donated 200 mini bags of their healthy puffed potato snacks to our wedding--and they have become one of my favourite snacks. Tracey, who we’ve never actually met in person before, recognized us on the spot; she practically screamed out our names. After bouncing back to the booth to give back the shoes and replace them with our cowboy boots, we walked up to the CheeCha’s booth and finally got to hug the person who was so kind and shipped 200 bags across 5,000 kilometers. She filled us in about how much she loves Ottawa and all about the flavour we hadn’t tried yet: blue cheese… simply amazing, and unavailable in Ontario except by online ordering!
Me and Tracy From CheeCha puff's
As we continued through the expo, we came up to a booth for a magazine, who was handing out their mag and workout supplement samples. Upon reading the lengthy warnings on the back of these samples, it was clear that these really aren’t meant for the faint of heart or the sane. Some of the warnings were “Do not take if you are in child bearing years”, “May cause a tingling sensation in your skin. This is normal and will disappear or weaken with extended use.”, or "Due to its extreme strength, it is highly recommended that you assess your individual tolerance and start  out by using only 1/2 a packet". These I was not ready for or expecting and it truly shows the extent that some of these companies expect you to go to boost your training abilities in an unhealthy way. The FitDay show really did seem geared towards body builders rather than everyday fitness fans, but we both agreed that consuming dangerous chemicals seemed like too high a price for six pack abs.
Johanna, Owner and  Artist of Sthenos
We also ran into a new a new clothing store which just opened up in Westboro called One Tooth activewear. They have a variety of very comfortable and chic work-out clothes; both outerwear and spandex like clothing. Their tag line is “ Yoga inspired activewear at prices that wont make you go loulou!” As Jordan is currently boycotting another local store for raising the price of the snap-up scarves by 10.00 in just one season (she requested explanation from the company and received none), Jordan was happy to find another line of fine fitness wear at a more accessible price point. Also nice: the line is Canadian designed and made.

The booth next to them, we met the creator of Sthenos, Johanna Stavrakaki. She is a pro fitness competitor who is also an amazing artist and has just created a line of inspirational clothing with her art work printed on them. Johanna says “This is how I combine my love for body building and art together.” She has and incredible collection of t-shirts and hoodies and will be expanding her line very shortly. Jordan found the imagery and slogans on the clothing to be really unique for women’s clothing, and appreciated the focus on strength, instead of ‘being pretty’.
Photo of the Expo
Amongst all the clothing were also representatives from Heart wise exercise who were advertising their free walking and nutrition programs here in Ottawa. I never knew that these existed, and not only is it a great way to get in shape and learn to eat healthy, but also an amazing way for you to get out and meet new people. I also never expected to see makeup at the expo as well, but with the beauty facet of fitness competitions it makes sense. Jordan got to see the Monique from BeautiControl who Jordan met at the Harley Davidson Ottawa fundraiser in February, where Monique supplied her with the miracle primer she raves about every day, even though I don’t really understand.

This was a very diverse event, from the jumping shoes to the make-up and connecting with a friend we hadn’t met, all the way from Calgary. It’s the crazy stuff that you never expect that make for the best adventures.

Stay tuned for the Weekend Review, Part II...