IronKids Gummies & Adult Essentials Gummies Vitamins Giveaway~$65 US/CAN

The fantastic folks at Life Science Nutritionals are joining in on my Blogiversary celebrations!

Life Science Nutritionals is a rapidly growing company, started in Burlington, Ontario. Their first product was designed to give kids an all natural choice in a gummy vitamin! No sugar coating, no aspartame, no artificial colors . . only real ingredients.

Perhaps you’ve heard of IronKids Gummie Vitamins?

Our daughters just LOVE these vitamins! In the past they’ve complained about the taste of other vitamins or have often been affected by them, either upset stomachs or hyper-activity from the dyes/sugars. With IronKids we’ve experienced none of this, each morning the girls remind me it’s time for their gummies and we count out the appropriate amounts.

IronKids Gummies has been a relief for me, my youngest is highly sensitive to sugar and my eldest is a seriously picky eater and to have both girls approve of the taste is amazing. Now I know they’re getting their recommended vitamins in each day ….well I’m happy.

You can read all about the ingredients and benefits of the IronKids Gummie Vitamins here on their Products page.

Places you can buy IronKids Vitamins : Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall PharmaPlus, Loblaws/Fortinos, Costco, Walgreens.com and more.

Connect with IronKids
Online you can find IronKids
on twitter @KidsGummyMum
on Facebook Iron Kids Gummy Vitamins
and on their website http://www.iron-kids.com/ Sign up for the newsletter and get your $2 coupon

 Life Science Nutritionals has also launched an adult line of vitamins, Adult Essentials!

As you may know I have expereienced health issues and am determined to do everything I can to remain healthy. This includes taking vitamins and these Adult Essentials taste great…..and lo and behold they don’t make me feel queasy like other vitamins.

Adult Essentials entire line of products is approved by Health Canada.  In addition to that the full line of Adult Essentials won Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) awards in 2011- voted on by Parents in Canada and US.  To learn more about this great Canadian product you can visit their website.

To stay up to date on any new releases or promotions make sure you are following them on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Life Science Nutritionals is giving away a fantastic gift package to one lucky reader in the US or Canada!

The prize includes a water bottle, 1 IronKids Omega & 1 Iron Kids Calcium and 1 Adult Essentials Multi & 1 Adult Essentials B12 ~ that’s a $65 value!

Mandatory Entry: In the comment section tell me one tip your family has adopted to keep healthy.

Optional Entries – 1 comment per each optional entry
– Follow @KidsGummyMum  on Twitter
– Like Iron Kids Gummy Vitamins  on Facebook

Follow @AdultEssentials  on Twitter
– Like Adult Essentials Gummy Vitamins  on Facebook
– Follow Sober Julie Doing Life on Google Friend Connect
– Follow @SoberJulie on Twitter
– Like SoberJulieDoingLife on Facebook

– Google +1 one of my non-giveaway articles

– Subscribe to Sober Julie Doing Life via RSS
– Tweet this giveaway & leave a link to your tweet in comment (can be done 5x a day during giveaway)
Example Tweet..

#Blogiversary #win $65 worth of Vitamins from @KidsGummyMum @AdultEssentials Dec/11US/CAN @SoberJulie http://www.soberjulie.com/?p=1221

For everything you do, please leave a comment with the linkAll entries will be verified.  This contest closes at 11:59pm EST December 11, 2011.

The winner will be selected via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond before another entry is chosen.

AND THE WINNER IS: Krista Buchta

#Blogiversary Guest Post ~ By Word of Mouth Musings

 
Oh I love this Blogiversary celebration, today I bring to you an amazing woman Nicole whom I have much love for…..please welcome her warmly and head over to her site to link up!
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Happy Blogoversary to you ….

A blogoversary, an auspicious occasion to be sure.  Back in 2007, it was reported that 1.4 blogs were created every single second … and that was years ago. But it is also reported that many bloggers quit in the first few months. Yes, just a few short months after being filled with creativity and a desire to share their thoughts with the world – they quit!
It is such a pleasure to be here today – not just because its a blogoversary, but because the lovely Julie is no quitter. Julie shares her journey as a recovering alcoholic. There is a road one can never quit. She writes about her faith in her God, her love for her family and her passion for life.  When you put yourself out there, bare for the world to see and you can share such a painful part of your life as alcoholism — then you are truly a gift. People search for inspiration  and the blogosphere brings them Julie …
When Julie asked me to guest post for her here today, I thought about writing a post about my first year of blogging. I could tell you about the ups and the downs, the self inflicted pressure of posting each day or visiting as many blogs as I could. I could tell how easily my feelings were hurt when I miscontrued words on the screen, or even how some were not miscontrued at all and were delivered and received in just the way intended!

But really, the best part of blogging, and the reason we post, and tweet and head to conferences is about friendship.  In spite of these new friends being in our screens and living in far away places, they are real.  The bonds that are made are deep, the camaraderie immeasurable. The excitement of meeting IRL (in.real.life to you non bloggy types) is palpable, and I have been blessed so many times to find that the words that speak to me from my screen, are perfectly matched with the new friend I have made when I meet them and share that first hug!
I have yet to meet the lovely Julie IRL, but trust me, when I do, you will hear my squee around the globe.
Happy Blogoversary dear friend, I wish you many more, as you continue to bless those around the blogosphere with your bloggy goodness.

and doesn’t she just have THE best hair? LOVE it!

and as always …

Toshiba Tablet, thanks @ShesConnected for the challenge ~ #ToshibaTablet @ToshibaCanada

Recently I was honored by being chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Toshiba Canada thanks to ShesConnected social media network!!

My Challenge: To go to Future Shop with check out the Toshiba Tablet, and tell you all about my experience. For my convenience, I received a Toshiba Camileo camcorder to take visual stills, record footage on my shopping trip, or record a vlog after your excursion (or a combination of the three). The Camileo, valued at $139.99, is mine to keep in appreciation of my efforts.

I am obviously not an on camera Pro…ignore me directing my Hubby

 
 
Head on over to Toshiba on Facebook  where they are having a fantastic contest “Holiday Hero”, or the Toshiba Canada website
where I’m certain you will find more inclusive information to help choose the perfect gift!
 

Blogiversary Guest Post – Ellie – One Crafty Mother

 

 Within the first few weeks of reading blogs I came across a woman who remains an inspiration to me.

Ellie blogs over at One Crafty Mother in a poignant way about her life as a wife and mother. She is also the founder of Crying Out Now, a life-chaning site which gives women a space to voice their journeys in addiction and recovery. 

Ellie has done me the honor of providing me with a post to share with you all in honor of my Blogiversary Celebration! Please welcome my dear friend Ellie warmly.

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Finding Center

My throat feels raw from yelling. 

I’m outside in the night air, leaning against the side of the house, my breath puffing white in the cold.

I count backwards, trying to calm myself down. 

I get to 2 and the image of Finn’s red crying face surfaces.   Guilt crushes me in its unforgiving embrace. 

It’s only 6:15pm on a regular old Wednesday, and I’m spent.   My insides feel like cracked glass; I’m one shout away from crumbling.   

There was nothing usual about today.  No great victories or traumas.   It was a series of swells – up, down, up, down.   I tried to ride them out – I did try, didn’t I? – but finally my reserves ran dry.   I was already running on fumes when Finn spit at his sister, and it was like a match to gasoline soaked rags.

I stuff my hands deeper into my jacket pockets; I’m shivering, but I’m not ready to go back inside.   I just can’t.   I can hear them bickering; Greta’s high pitched whine screeches now look what you did!  and something crashes to the floor. 

My Gentle Observer, the one who shows up when I can’t get a grip on myself, starts whispering to me:

They feed off your energy, Ellie.   When you go south, it all goes south.   You can’t lose it like that.  

But I can’t NOT lose it!  I whimper in protest.   The constant push-pull, the endless requests to hurry up, slow down, stop that, come here, do this, don’t do that, get in the car, get out of the car, listen to me……     I’m just a nagging shrew.  Nobody listens to me, anyway.  I feel invisible.  Oh, God.   It’s always so TEDIOUS.   And IRRITATING. 

It’s tedious and irritating right now, the Gentle Observer corrects me, kindly.    It will pass.  Just like all the joyful moments, the surges of love you feel from out of the blue.   It all passes.   Breathe and wait.  

But I yelled at him, I sigh.   I mean I REALLY yelled at him.

So go apologize for over-reacting, but don’t let your guilt make you over-apologize.   Not every molehill is a mountain.

I think about this morning – was it only eight hours ago? – when Finn sat bravely in the dentist’s chair, one leg crossed demurely over the other, craning his neck as much as he could to keep his eyes on me while the hygienist pecked away at his teeth.

“I am worried, Momma,” he had said as he clambered out of the car.   “But if I can see you, I’ll be okay.”

I think about Greta’s eerie silence at breakfast, how I coaxed her to cough up what was bothering her as she pushed pancakes around on her plate.    “Two people want to sit with me on the bus, and yesterday Lisa said if I sit with Janet today she won’t be my friend anymore.  Then Janet made me tell her what I was talking to Lisa about, and said she wouldn’t be friends with me if I sat with Lisa.”   Tears started streaming down her face.  “I don’t know what to do,” she said through hiccuping sobs, “I like them both and now they are both going to hate me.” 

I think about how I held her close and spoke soothing words of encouragement and advice into her ear.   We came up with a plan of action, and then I wiped her tears and flashed her a thumbs up as the bus pulled up at the end of the driveway.   She gave me a confident smile, and squared her shoulders as the bus doors closed shut behind her.

See? says the Gentle Observer.   You’re not invisible.  You’re the center; the heartbeat of the whole operation.  You can wallow so easily in your mistakes, let them grow like a cancer, and yet you overlook all the goodness.   

Breathing deeply, I start walking back inside, my footsteps crunching in the snow.   I get to the sliding glass door, reach out my hand to open it, and stop dead in my tracks.   Through the glass, I see Greta and Finn lying on their stomachs on the floor, knees bent and crossed ankles swinging back and forth.   Greta is rubbing Finn’s back, and he is drawing a picture.   Their heads are bent together, temple to temple.

I slide open the door and step inside.

Giveaway – Celebrate My 1 year Blogiversary – For a MONTH!

**********************CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED********************

On December 7th, 2010 I wrote my first blog post Initiating.

My Twitter friends really HAVE to go read it, I say “Well I’ve tried Twitter and found it boring, I’m just not the type to tweet” Oh how times change over a year, now I have the Twitter bug and you can find me @SoberJulie tweeting often to say the least!

Frankly I can’t remember exactly why or how I began to blog, this is one of the joys of short-term memory issues…everything is a surprise! Within that first post I said: “I’m slow in thought and want a space to write how I feel to help me be “REAL” in this Journey which is my life.”

That statement is true today, I seek to learn, grow, connect and be “REAL” in order to experience this journey fully.

This year has been full of experiences, speaking as a BLOGGER (I’m awarding it with caps today) I had no idea how this community of people in the blogisphere would affect me. I’ve been welcomed into this fantastic fellowship with open arms and have seen what open hearts and positive support can do. Within the blogging community I’ve experienced friends lives, births, deaths and everything in between and I’ve been learning and growing through it all!

Sober Julie Doing Life seems to have a life of its own at times, it’s brought a World of supportive people to me. I’m grateful for this and want to reflect this over the next month by celebrating with you all. I have contacted some amazing bloggers who will be guest-posting for me, I will be hosting a blogger meet up in early December and there are some fantastic companies who have blessed me with products to giveaway to my readers!!!!!

Can you tell I love a good celebration???

Is anyone fist-pumping with me here??

If you’ve read anything on Sober Julie Doing Life you’ve probably noticed that I use a lot of photos. I love to take photos and when I use them here it helps me document the memory more clearly. I have always used Corel software for editing my photos and recently I met up with reps from Corel at a blog conference.

Corel has provided me with an AMAZING gift to giveaway to one lucky reader for my Blogiversary!!

One reader will win a downloadable copy of  Corel’s new Photo & Video X4 Ultimate Bundle!!

Designed for photographers and video enthusiasts who are passionate about capturing life’s moments, Corel’s new photo and video solution brings together two award-winning software packages in one compelling bundle. The perfect complement to any HD-DSLR purchase, Corel’s new Photo & Video X4 Ultimate Bundle enables users to push their creativity to new levels and apply more advanced effects to their favorite photos and HD-videos.

Corel’s new Photo & Video X4 Ultimate Bundle brings together PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate and VideoStudio Pro X4 Ultimate. Retail price = $149.00

To participate you must be a Canadian resident.

For each entry please leave me a comment below telling me you’ve completed the step, each will become an entry. I will be using random.org to draw the winner.

Main Entry: Follow Sober Julie Doing Life on Google Friend Connect

 #2 Entry: “Like”  Sober Julie Doing Life on Facebook

#3 Entry: “Like” Corel on Facebook

#4 Entry: Follow SoberJulie on Twitter

#5 Entry: Follow CorelSoftware on Twitter

#6 Entry : Tweet and leave the link in the comments below: #Win photo/video editing software @CorelSoftware @SoberJulie http://www.soberjulie.com/?p=1039 {Canada Nov/21}  (You can tweet this up to 5 times per day)

 For everything you do, please leave a comment with the link.  All entries will be verified.  This contest closes at 11:59pm EST November 21, 2011. Canada only.

The winner will be selected via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond before another entry is chosen

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The WINNER is: Cindy!!!!!

Blissdom Canada 2011 – Where I found my tagline

The Blissdom Canada 2011 conference was a fantastic event!

It didn’t have the best food I’ve ever tasted, the accommodations didn’t top my list of fav hotels…it wasn’t about that for me.

I went into Blissdom with an open mind and very little expectations. The buzz was created online via Twitter long before the event began. Often in the past when an event has created a huge buzz the actual experience has left me feeling deflated. I offer my Grade 8 graduation as exhibit #1; the much sought after fingerless lace gloves I wore did not actually change my life much as I had hoped.

Earlier this Fall I’d had the opportunity to meet many of the attendees at another conference and I knew that I would enjoy their company. The camaraderie at Blissdom was palpable; I’m sure each of us experienced some nervousness at some point but our need to connect seemed to outweigh our trepidation. Of course I must admit that some people were more eager to meet the “celebs” than most; exhibit #2 the moment when a woman 10 years my senior and a foot shorter than myself physically pushed me out of her way to get to a TV host I was chatting with.

Seriously.

Irrelevant of our difference, both in regards to our blog styles and our personalities, the majority of the attendees enjoyed making new connections and reuniting with existing ones.

Relationships were being made there people!

You know I’m all about relationships.

The opportunities for learning were quite large; with sessions which spanned from “The Business of Doing Business:Working with Brands and PR” to “The Revolution WILL be Tweeted: Using Social Media for Social Good” the speakers represented a diverse group of social media influencers. For me personally this opportunity provided much food for thought. The brands represented were also diverse, from baby gear to drivers education we were given the opportunity to meet and begin the dance of the PR end of blogging.(the swag didn’t suck either.)

My blog has been alive now for just under a year and I had reached the point where I wanted to refine my personal brand. What would SoberJulie be? Would I become a blog with reviews offered constantly, could I imagine selling space on my blog, do I have anything worth promoting? Would my writing be lost if I made efforts to grow? So many questions for one so young in this space.

In the wise words of Stuart Smalley here’s what I learned from my time at Blissdom Canada:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

True enlightenment right there my friends!

Sitting there in the panel sessions I found myself reviewing what I’d like my blog to become if I had the proverbial magic wand. All of my dreams of lying on a beach, typing lazily while a cabana boy brought me drinks aside, here are the results:

I want to spread my message to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

PERIOD.

Ok now onto what my message is…. I couldn’t come up with anything witty…..the catchy tagline which every marketing specialist recommends for a brand had eluded me until the moment when I was reflecting on the ride home. It was while I was ignoring my husband’s horrible choice in music that it struck me. There I sat in the passenger seat, perusing the writings of Rumi, glasses perched upon the end of my nose, my pungent cheroot tobacco stuffed pipe resting lazily in the palm of my hand (just ride my picturesque fantasy land moment) when the realization slapped me across the face.

You see, over the weekend at different points I had asked myself what my purpose of attending was. Socializing wasn’t enough to validate me being there. The panels were fantastic but I truly felt there had to be more. The way I live my life is so far from my old style of self-motivated actions that I knew I must be missing something.

The chain of events which led me to attend the conference were as close to miraculous as I’ve seen; a ticket gifted at the last-minute… a sponsor for the room…a babysitter volunteering…a clothing sponsor stepping up…the sequence and actuality of each moment perfectly timed to ensure I would go. God simply must have presented me with the opportunities He sent me there to experience at some point over the previous 3 days and nights.

There I sat blocking out the sound of Hubby’s caraoke, reflecting on each day.I went through the panels and my interactions with others. Excluding the wealth of information from the panels here’s what came to mind:

  • I had a GREAT talk with an amazing woman who encouraged me that my brand is actually clearer than I had thought
  • after a massage in one of the brand’s suites, the masseur enquired about my blog and disclosed she was an alcoholic/Christian who is on a board establishing a sober facility and asked for my card (seriously random because she said she doesn’t usually ask)
  • 4 different occasions where fellow bloggers asked me questions or shared stories regarding their recovering family member
  • conversations with people who are concerned about a family member who is still an active alcoholic or addict
  • many questions from other bloggers on how I handle this sober life being surrounded by alcohol
  • an amazing conversation with a woman who is currently “lost”, offering her the hope I’ve found

And in each of these conversations I recalled saying what I believe may be my tagline, at least for today.

“Inviting others to stand in SERENITY amidst the chaos of this journey we call life.”

 Yup there it is, in all it’s bold, italicized glory…..

Next I have to ask myself how I can best promote my message, how can I get it out there to those who think they’re able to control the world around them while it’s spinning out of control.

Will I do reviews, probably.

Will I accept payment, possibly.

(I really do love to receive quality items and spread the word….a trip to Disney or a sunny beach wouldn’t be denied)

The future is something I’ve learned not to predict (except that I’ll always have to fight not to pout when I don’t win a raffle or silent auction); yesterday is gone and tomorrow is out of my control.

For my purposes I don’t feel the need to perform statistical analysis on a daily basis, agonizing over how to grow my readership. Nor will I compare my growth or lack thereof to other blogs.

My measurement of success is vastly different.

In the past year:

  • I’ve received a total of 3 emails from strangers seeking help, provided them with support via email and phone
  • 2 of those strangers have updated me on their lives, one is 2 months sober and the other is 7 months
  • One friend from high school contacted me directly and asked for help, he now has almost 2 months sober
  • I’ve been asked to guest post on blogs which have a much larger readership than mine about how to deal with stress and loss
  • A youth rehab facility found me via my blog and I speak there regularly
  • A TV show contacted me and I appeared on a show about Over Programmed Moms
  • My sobriety and faith have become stronger in part because of the blogs I read and the relationships I’ve made here in the blogisphere

This list could go on to an annoying length, I think my point is made.

My name is Julie and I am a Christian/Alcoholic/Wife/Mother/Bloggger/Speaker/Person with a disability…..and I hate defining myself by static labels.

Here I am, Sober Julie, it’s been wonderful getting to know everyone out here and thank you to all of you for impacting me on this Journey!!!

BTW: I have been quoting Stuart Smalley for YEARS, he was my favorite Saturday Night Live character and it’s only via linking him on this post that I found out : “The character was a spoof on individuals who are obsessed with twelve-step programs and become addicted to the actual act of going to therapy for addiction”~Wikepedia

HILARIOUS!!!!!

Manic Monday – ShesConnected Conference Musings

Manic Monday has arrived and frankly I am exhausted.

This is not the way I want to begin the week alas here I am.

Last week I attended the ShesConnected Conference in Toronto. Leading up to the conference I knew it would present me with challenges due to my physical and cognitive limitations. It has been more than a year and a half since my car accident and I still live with chronic pain from muscle injuries which exhaust me as the day goes on. Add to that my short-term memory problems, some information processing issues, the fact that I’m an alcoholic and you can imagine my concern leading up to the conference.

Acknowledging my concern, hubby and I made a contingency plan. We identified my physical identifiers of exhaustion and pain so that I would be aware of them. After living with them so long I often overlook them and end up laid up in bed for days to recover. As for the alcohol situation, I wrote about that and knew that Mocktails Would Suffice. 

Plan in place, off I went to this 2 day conference where I was looking forward to connecting with other blogger and hear from the impressive list of Brands involved what they valued in the blogging community.

 I enjoyed the speakers and the panels discussions which presented both bloggers and brand representatives.

Frankly I loved Booty Bootcamp’s breaks which allowed everyone to stretch out after sitting for extended periods. At this point I must apologize to the other attendees who had to move to allow me to exit the room constantly. I made the mistake of sitting at the front, forgetting that I can only sit for short periods of time, next conference I promise to sit towards the back.

 I had the BEST roommates, Shashers Life, Moms Musings and Tara’s View of the World were amazingly understanding about my limitations and had me laughing like I was in highschool again. I’d love to share stories but I signed a disclaimer that had something like “what happens at the Sheraton stays at the Sheraton” somewhere in it.

Here is Shannon from Shasher’s Life and I doing our best Facebook worthy pose.

 Here I am on the red carpet of the Town Shoes cocktail party with Tara’s View on Life and Mom’s Musings

I must say that I loved the clothes which my sponsors provided me with for the conference, I felt FABULOUS!

If you want to see more photos, head on over to my Facebook page, Sober Julie Doing Life and feel free to leave saucy comments on my embarrassing photos!

As I said I’m shattered, I didn’t listen to my body well enough and this resulted in a weekend riddled with migraines and exhaustion. In future I will be more in tune and take the time to meditate while at the event, I will bow out of sessions when possible to ensure I’m taking care of my body’s needs.

ShesConnected was a fantastic learning opportunity, the main thing I learned is that I do not fit into a niche and I dig that. I see the need for my message in social media.  My personal life experience has allowed me to see the need for grounding myself and not falling victim to the fast paced world I live in and the self perceived demands for success.

This is something I must always remember and plan on sharing with the world!

How about my readers, do you have methods you use to ensure the demands you’re meeting are truly important?

Mocktails will Suffice

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go….tomorrow morning Hubby will be driving me to Toronto for the ShesConnected conference!

Over the next two days I’ll have the opportunity to meet lots of amazing women many of whom I’ve been Tweeting with for a long time. There will be fantastic brands, discussions, speakers and networking.

This has been a bit overwhelming to prepare for, thankfully I have a clothing sponsor and Hubby offered to drive me in. My accommodations were posing some anxiety for me and then I was invited to stay with 3 other fantastic women so that took care of that!

So here I sit all prepared with time to spare and it dawned on me that there is one aspect of the conference which I would have expected to bother me if this had been early in my sobriety.

This is ultimately a social event and with it comes people consuming alcohol.

In early sobriety I would have been seriously concerned about this, unsure of how it would affect me. I wouldn’t have known how it would feel to be around people consuming the drinks which I simply cannot.

Would I be tempted?

It’s almost amusing to me that these thoughts haven’t even entered my head until now. I’m not being arrogant, I’m still very aware that I am an alcoholic and my sobriety must come first before any event I want to attend. It’s not that I’ve swayed from my path and purpose.

What has changed is my perspective, with time I have learned to value myself and my life in sobriety through God. I am not uncomfortable at all being around people who drink responsibly. There is no reason for me to ever attend a drunkfest again but people have a glass of wine around me isn’t an issue at all.

Because I’m spiritually fit, I can do many things I didn’t think alcoholics could. In this culture I’m surrounded by alcohol, I can not avoid it. It pops up on TV shows, within books, online, in music….I’d have to move somewhere like Fiji, build myself a hut and live forever with no contact with the world. Ummmm not going to happen in this girl’s world.

Just imagining it made me shiver, aside from the thought of the warm weather and beach in my mind.

Not only do I see it as an impossibility, shielding myself from alcohol will eventually lead to failure. I will erupt from a lack of social interaction or go insane.

Each time I face an invitation to such an event, I ask myself what my motive for going is. The Big Book of AA tells me to ask myself:

“Have I any good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?”

If I can answer positively then I have no worry left in my mind, as long as I’m connected to God and feeling spiritually fit, I have nothing to worry about. Tonight as I sit here I am worry free and certain that I have something positive to bring to the occasion.

I intend to have a blast and to make sure my fellow attendees, sponsors and organizers do too!

Even seeing that one of the sponsors is a brewery (happens to have been my favorite) and one is a winery hasn’t fazed me, I’ve continued to interact with these brand representatives, enjoying their humor and perspective thus far. My mouth hasn’t watered once, I haven’t gotten the sweats, nor even a glimpse of a desire to drink. I am secure in my sobriety today.

By writing this I hope not only to inform other alcoholics, but also those who are not.  Alcoholism is a grave, insidious disease which robs people of themselves and their families of their deserved happiness. There is hope though, I’m proof!

To those who are just beginning and cannot imagine being comfortable in a social situation with alcohol, rest easy and remember that we seek progress rather than progression.

Tomorrow night I won’t be bellying up to the bar, but I will raise my mocktail in toast to all the fantastic people I have the pleasure of meeting.

AA Big Book

After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!

 

ShesConnected Conference

Almost everyone I know uses Facebook. We use it to keep in contact with friends and family, to update everyone on our lives and to keep up with our “Facebook Friends”. It’s become a part of our routines, social media has made keeping in touch easy. Twitter has become a virtual cocktail party, where you can network and “meet” people you may not have the chance to in real life.

I’ve always been intrigued with Social Media, back to the days of the Yahoo chat rooms I would connect with friends who lived distances away. While in school I lived a distance from my study groups and we would often gather in a room to review projects.

These days I use it for check recipes, researching symptoms of illnesses(yeah I don’t recommend this one), making travel plans, communicating with friends/family….well for almost anything you can think of I’ve found a resource online. I also use it to blog, to communicate my thoughts and beliefs to the world.

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you may have noticed the hashtag #SCCTO and wondered what it’s about. #SCCTO is the Twitter hashtag for the ShesConnected Conference which is taking place in Toronto this week, Sept. 29th-30th.

This is a unique blog conference, their focus is primarily on the relationship between the sponsor brands and the socially connected women. They have hand-picked 200 Top Digitally Connected Women in Canada to attend the conference, ensuring that they were appropriate to the target market of the sponsor brands.

Have I mentioned that I’m one of the 200 handpicked attendees????

This is a fantastic opportunity to meet all of the women I’ve been chatting with on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. I will also have the opportunity to hear the brands speak and for them to hear my voice.

While attendance at the conference is free there are costs related to accommodations, travel and wardrobe. At this stage I have not found a sponsor for accommodations or travel but  I’ve been fortunate enough to gain support from my local community.

I’m proud to say that Janice Gooding of As We Grow/The Cardwell Collection is outfitting me in some fantastic pieces for the conference!

As We Grow/The Cardwell Collection
Telephone: 519-941-8733
Email: janice@aswegrow.ca
Location: 113 Broadway, Orangeville, L9W 1K2
Website: http://www.aswegrow.ca

A fixture in Downtown Orangeville, and celebrating its 30th anniversary in October, this 8,000 square foot fashion store, located in the heritage Sun Office building, stands directly across from the clock tower and is a treasure trove of fashion for the discriminating shopper.

Showcasing an array of clothing lines and featuring new women’s fashions, swimwear and sleepwear, as well as jewellery and accessories. At As We Grow shoppers love the adorable baby gifts and enjoy browsing through our racks for new baby, children’s and youth fashions, including christening outfits, boy’s suits and dresses for girls up to youth sizes.

We also showcase quality resale clothing for the entire family as well as resale wedding dresses, skates, skis, books, toys and baby items.

We carry a full line of products for dance, skating and gymnastics performers including ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap & ballroom.  Mondor, SoDanca, & Sansha are featured.

Winner of Reader’s Choice awards for Favourite Children’s Store and past winner of Best Consignment Store by Today’s Parent Toronto Magazine.

Janice Gooding has been an influential woman in my life, she is dynamic, generous and determined to make a difference. I will be doing a feature on her in the near future, hoping to give inspiration to potential women in business.

I have shopped at As We Grow/The Cardwell Collection for over 20 years and highly recommend it to anyone in the area!

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I will be wearing pieces from Papillion Import’s collection.

Papillon has been operating out of its Los Angeles corporate office for the past twenty-five years. Papillon’s great team of people put their minds together into creating, operating, managing, manufacturing and marketing in the United States and overseas. We also have several factories and units in India, China and Bali, which help us to serve our customers that have fast-paced needs. You can find our several showrooms in the USA, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. Also our sales representatives periodically traveling to visit our customers on locations and we also participate in major apparel and gift shows.

I have been wearing clothing from Papillion for years, I adore their unique style, high quality and competitive prices!

Check out their online catalogue to see their amazing Fall Collection!

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My incredible footwear is generously provided by a local boutique, Shoe Kat Shoo.

In Orangeville, on Broadway beside the Opera House, Shoe Kat Shoo offers stylish, functional, and special occasion footwear, currently for women and, in future seasons, men. Owner Kathie Lloyd has searched out many little known makers that women will love and presents her customers with shoes uniquely available at this eclectic and elegant main street location.

Kathie believes that given the option, women want to be fashionable every day. “It is not necessary to sacrifice fashion in order to be comfortable”. Shoe Kat Shoo’s mission is to source shoes that offer the best of all worlds; fashion, quality, and comfort – including shoes for the hard to fit foot and shoes with various widths and removable footbeds to accommodate custom orthotics.

Kathie invites women to make their shoe preferences known so she may personally serve them now, and as she shops worldwide for each coming season.

Kathie is an inspiration, her store has a fantastic collection of high-quality footwear which makes me salivate! When nearby, make a stop in to Shoe Kat Shoo.

You can find Kathie on Twitter @ShoeKatShoo or on her blog Shoe Kat Shoo

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I am grateful to my sponsors and honored to have been chosen as one of the “Top 200 Digitally Connected Women in Canada”. I cannot wait to attend the ShesConnected conference and I’m certain there will be more to follow!

 

I missed the #140Conf but got the point!

People have many different reasons for writing a blog, whether it’s for personal or business purposes one thing the experts suggest is to make your message clear to your readers. Wether the blog is monetized or not, a newbie such as myself will usually get caught up in the numbers game at some point.

How do I get more readers?

How do I write content which will keep them coming back?

What is my niche?

What’s my brand and how can I best represent it?

At this stage we install statistic widgets and pay attention to the reader activity, noting the time they spend on our sites, when they leave etc.

More often than not we open a Twitter account and begin interacting with others. I personally had a Twitter account which I hadn’t touched in years until I had begun to get to know other bloggers via reading and commenting on their blogs. I revived my account and quickly began following everyone and establishing relationships.

Twitter is a funny thing, we have the ability to throw out any thought in our heads in only 140 characters. There is potential for these 140 characters to span the globe, being read by strangers and potential to impact their perspective.

As you should know by now the main purpose of my blog is to share a message to the world. This message took me too many years and too much heartache to understand.

I urge others to live authentically, honestly, with integrity and a purpose which is not self-serving.

LIVE OUT LOUD, up front and center.

By finding your self-worth, facing your demons under the rug and sharing that with others, we can find true happiness on this journey of life.

Once I had been on Twitter for a little bit, I realized the potential of this! I do use it for networking and promotion but my purpose is to continue to speak the word, the truth that has set me free from an unfulfilling life.

I decided to ignore my blog stats, forget fitting in a niche and be true to my goal. My blog is not a business blog, I’m not selling anything and don’t plan to any time soon. This grants me the freedom to speak openly, to shout from the rooftops my belief that we need to step out of our self-serving lifestyles and to talk about my challenging days, my emotions and my inspirations.

Recently I’ve come across someone whom everyone else has been aware of for years. Jeff Pulver is an inspiring person, he speaks openly about his loneliness as a child, his discovery of his voice and his intent to use that voice to affect change. He has quite the resume which you can find my googling his name, most recently he is the producer of the #140Conf.

What is the #140Conf?

That was my question, when I saw the hashtag #140ConfONT I neglected to investigate further. That was my mistake, one which I’m not about to repeat. It was a conference held in Kitchener, Ontario recently which brought together media thinkers and doers, brand marketers, dot-com developers, celebrities, activists, entrepreneurs.

The conference was streamed online for people such as myself, as I sat and watched I was amazed! Someone had found the venue to challenge others to “Live in the State of Now”, gasp….that’s my message!

There I sat, watching the feed in amazement, absorbing the speakers words thinking about the fantastic possibilities of social media.

There is an energy which we can create people, with that energy we can affect the change we seek.

Please check out the link, follow the hashtag and find that change in your lives.

Oh and what about me? Well next year I’m going to attend the conference and in the meantime I’m intent on continuing to spread the word and encourage others to “Be Where Your Hands Are”.

I will stand strong in my message and live it all out loud today. 

What about you friends, are you living and loving life authentically? What is the message you’re sending?