To the Oscars!

11 Jan

A few years ago, when I was just starting out with reader giveaways, my friend Michelle was one of the first volunteers!

I wrote about Michelle and her handmade skin care line here, but let me do a bit of a recap.

Here’s what Michelle looked like when I first met her:

Ugh, isn’t she adorable?!

Michelle is concerned with the environment and living responsibly; she had a strong desire to create an all-natural product for all types of skin.

Michelle turned to beeswax to nourish the skin and BEE23 was born.

The mission of BEE23 as explained by Michelle,

In blending the spirit of today with the wisdom of yesterday, we will inspire, create and grow in consideration of our local and global community. At BEE23, our creations are borne from the natural synthesis of timeless plant essences, nuts and vegetable ingredients in a beeswax base.

We offer a collection of solid perfume alternatives that are free of synthetic chemicals and additives. We know anything applied onto your skin will go into your body, so our products are made without the chemicals that cause dryness and irritation. Our body balms are designed to nourish and heal your skin, rather than damage it. We value the ingredients nature provides for us, so you can rest assured that you’re buying environmentally beneficial products.


Since our initial giveaway, Michelle has been living in Toronto with her family, growing her business and treating life as one big magical adventure.

This is what she’s looking like now!  

Do blonds have more fun or is she trying to emulate the golden pollen upon which her namesake feasts?

The most exciting bit of honey on Michelle’s plate right now is her campaign to bring BEE23 to the Oscars this February!

You know how….  at all these big award shows, the wealthy movie stars and musicians are given gift bags full of swag?  I’ve heard some of those gift bags are worth thousands of dollars!  Well, Michelle wants in on those gift bags!

Do celebrities with stacks of cash and strings of emeralds need all those free products?  I’m gonna go with….no.  


I’m thinking a lot of the products in those elusive goody bags are items put out by small businesses, trying to make it mainstream and trying to make a living.

A small business such as BEE23.

Michelle would love it if her products could find their way into a celebrity gift bag!  

Ideally what would happen is that someone like Jennifer Lawrence will try out some BEE23 Body Balm and fall in love and DEMAND to be the new spokesperson in partnership with Michelle and her humble Canadian company.

It could happen.

But first, Michelle needs to raise some money.  

She has a Gofundme campaign and she’s halfway to the goal.  

Visit the campaign page if you’re so inclined, to learn more about it.  Throw her five or ten dollars if you can!  

Let’s help our Canadian girl get her products into some sweaty celebrity hands!

And OF COURSE, Michelle wants to give one of my readers an amazing BEE23 product.


Please comment on this post to be entered into the draw!  Contest closes Monday January 16th at midnight.  Winner announced on the 17th.

She’s the Queen Bee, my friends: a magical bit of blond pollen and she’s bringing her beeswax to all the people, including Hollywood celebrities!

Visit Bee 23 on Facebook and the World Wide Web, online shopping is available.

Best of 2016

2 Jan

A few days after Christmas, the annual Walleye reader survey of the brightest and best in Thunder Bay was released.

I, like most people, am very aware that the people, businesses, and artists mentioned in this yearly issue are not necessarily the best.  

It all comes down to who nominated who and who voted.

Some people hate this magazine and especially this issue.  

You can’t please ALL the people ALL the time.

Seeing your name (or the name of your blog) in print, is a special feeling.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, but I do think I’m pretty awesome.  

I’m continually striving to be the best version of myself that I can; I’m continually working to be a better me.

If it’s shallow and meaningless to some, I’m okay with that.  This makes me feel happy.  

I know some of my friends voted for me, just like I voted for them.  And that’s ok.  It still means something to me and it was a lovely way to finish up the year.

Included in the issue was a nice little write up by Kirsti Salmi.

I’m excited to keep writing and telling stories in 2017.  

If you’ve stuck around this long, please continue to do so!  

More reader giveaways, more spotlights on colourful locals, more of my side projects, and more realness.

Thank you to everybody.

Christmas ReCap

1 Jan

This Christmas wasn’t too different from last Christmas, despite almost everything in my life being different.

Last Christmas I was married and in love.  I knew life with my young little family was stressful, but I also knew it wouldn’t always be that way.

A lot changed since last Christmas, some of which still causes me random bursts of anger.  I’m ok with that.  I think it’s normal to be angry when life spirals out of control.  I even think it’s normal to be a bit angry 8 months later.  It’s not an all-consuming anger, but it’s there sometimes.  It will get better.

Am I happier than I was last Christmas?  I would tentatively say no.  I was happy last year and I’m happy now.  It’s just different now.

The boys and I had early Christmas dinner with my dad’s family on the 17th.  Then Jason and I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and a bit of Boxing Day with the boys, including a few appearances from my parents.  It was quiet, casual, and nice.  R3 was pretty grumpy and I don’t know whether or not it was because of toddler teething, a cold, or just a whiny phase.

There was a big Christmas party earlier in the month with many wonderful friends, and lots of holiday socializing over the past couple weeks with some of the same wonderful friends and some family.  A family dinner tonight, a family lunch tomorrow, and a friendly party in the PM.  

That’s a lot of boring details, but hey, it happened man.  That’s real life, baby!

Now for a holiday photo smash!

I really wanted to give those amazing boys a great Christmas.  It was pretty quiet (compared to what I’ve heard other families do) but I think I can count it all as a success.

2016 in review

1 Jan

Summing up the year in pictures.  

Starting in December and traveling back in time to January 2016.

So many lovely friends:

Christmas with the triple Rs: 


A non-Christmas party success by three fun hosts:

A fun photo shoot:

A tattoo:

Got back into drawing and art:

Halloween fun:

A new blogging venture:

A therapeutic photo-shoot:

A tattoo:

New steps for my new abode:

A fun day at the amethyst mine:

August in Alberta:

Exploring my new neighbourhood:

My birthday with my boys:

Moving day:


Last day of school:

Last photo taken as a family of five:


A little boy turns one:

May in Alberta:

Speaking on a panel for online authors:

Meeting Lynn Johnston:

The big boys start learning the fun of interacting with a growing baby brother:

It was fun going through a year’s worth of pictures, but very difficult to be concise.  I’m never concise.

Looking through the pictures, it’s clear 2016 was a big one.  There was lots of change.  

The pictures don’t really show the heartbreak and sadness, but they do show the happiness.  

One special picture I’d like to share sums up the last quarter of my year is this: 

Love finds you when you’re not looking for it and when you’re definitely not expecting it. 

What a high note upon which to end this strange year.  

I have good feelings about 2017.  

Bring it on.

Four Winners!

20 Dec

Thank you to all the “best and/or worst gifts you’ve ever received” submissions!  Twenty six people told me about funny and horrible and wonderful gifts and I enjoyed that little peek into your lives!

But only four winners: one for each prize pack.  

My youngest droid is helping me out today!

Let’s get right to it!

Look at all those names! 

Do your thing, little dude!



And finally


Here they are, in the order they were picked:

I’ll be contacting the winners shortly.  First name picked gets first pick of prizes, second name gets second pick, and so on.

Thank you Sara of Naked Kitty Naturals!  I’m sure we will see you again around these parts!

And thank you to Karen of Bare Organics (even though I didn’t tell her I was giving away one of her products ) and to Meagan from Made by Meag!


Happy birthday to my baby brother!

Christmas Giveaway!

14 Dec

I’m back with Sara from Naked Kitty Naturals!  We are teaming up for a fun giveaway because she has a lot of new products to share!

Yeah, it’s us!  

The Dirt Eater and the Naked Kitty!

Wow, maybe we should just go by Leah and Sara?

About a week ago, some new products were delivered and I couldn’t wait to tear into the parcel! 

You might remember from last time, but I’ll refresh your memory!

I quickly laid claim to a tinted lip balm (and a few other things, with Sara’s blessing) and thought I’d be so clever and cute by taking a selfie while trying the product.  

You know, kind of like this: 

I later though it wasn’t the best idea because I was running on three hours of sleep and would you just look at how messy my kitchen is!!  And oh, that’s that little hand in the bottom right-hand corner?


Ok then!  

That’s a parenting win if I ever saw one!  

Please don’t worry, look how happy he is!

So aaaaanyway!  

Of course Sara and I are doing a giveaway!  

I’ve divided the products up into FOUR prize packs!

Each prize pack will contain Naked Kitty products, plus there are a couple products from other local entrepreneurs.

Here’s what you could win!

1. Naked Kitty deodorant / Naked Kitty black soap / Naked Kitty lip balms in regular and tinted / hand made wash cloths from Made by Meag, formerly Sweet Beginnings.


2.  Naked Kitty deodorant / Naked Kitty lip balms in regular and tinted / Naked Kitty soft salve / Peppermint bar soap from Bare Organics / wash cloths from Made by Meag, formerly Sweet Beginnings


3. Naked Kitty deodorant / Naked Kitty facial toner / Naked Kitty lip balm in regular and tinted / Naked Kitty face cream / Naked Kitty roll on perfume in Nirvana scent / Naked Kitty mini deodorant sample


A trio of Naked Kitty roll on perfumes in a hilarious Hitchhiker’s Guide theme!  My favourite is the Trillium.  Of course I smelled them all!


Four names will be drawn and the first gets the first pick and so on.

In order to be entered in the contest, you need to comment here and tell me about the best OR the worst Christmas present you ever received.  

Or both.  Or you can email me or message me on Facebook.

I like knowing these kinds of things.  Because I’m super nosy!  

Plus, it’s on theme because this is a Christmas giveaway!  

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, any occasion present will do!  The best or the worst or both!!

Contest closes December 19th at midnight and the four names will be drawn on December 20th.  Because that’s my brother’s birthday!  And he’s awesome!  Thought he wouldn’t want any of these amazing products.  Because I think the only product he uses is soap and deodorant.  Boooooring!!


Good and bad present stories….go!

18 Months

6 Dec

Dear R3

You are now 18 months old!

My original plan was to continue writing you monthly letters about your milestones and development until you reached 24 Months old.  

As you can see, that did not happen.  Life got a little more chaotic than usual around your first birthday.  For some reason, I was unable to get motivated enough to write anything down about what you were doing.

But you are a year and a half now and rest assured, the past six months have been a difficult, but your smiling face has been such a bright spot.  We’ve made it through the darkest times and life feels kind of rosy right now!

Over the past six months, I’ve watched you go from cautiously crawling around the house to running and climbing and falling all over the place.  

You do sit still occasionally (to watch cars and birds out the window, to watch cartoons) but you mostly just like to move.  

And talk!  You love talking and screeching!  Sure, you’re not making much sense, but it all sounds super important!  Though you can clearly say mama, baby, daddy, and yuck.  You’re trying to mimic us with other words too.  But it’s all mostly babble.

However, since it’s mostly babble, you can’t really make yourself understood.  There’s a lot of frustrated whining these days because you wantbso badly to make us understand you!  Plus, you’re also trying pretty hard to assert your own will and you get pretty angry when we tell you no.  Which we do a lot because you’re always on top of the table or the counter or stuffing coins in your mouth…or trying to start the dishwasher. You’re such a busy little fella.

You love food and always want to share whatever anyone else is eating.  You still love your bottle and soother.  I’m definitely not mentally prepared to take those things away from you yet.  Nope!

You’re a pretty bad sleeper still and I must admit to a certain sense of exhaustion.  Every once in a while, you’ll sleep through the night, but most of the time you wake up twice.  I’m so ready to be a mom who sleeps more but I guess it’s just not in the cards right now.

Your favourite things right now are birds, dogs, your brothers, being chased, your soother, putting boots on, toy cars, and books.  

You do have quite a few grumpy moments during the day, especially presently because you have a cold and your four canine teeth are trying to pop through.  But you smile so much.  You are playing shy with strangers pretty frequently now, but most people still get smiles for days.

Watching you interact with your big brothers is one of my favourite things.  You stare at them and smile and constantly try to copy them and climb on them.  They are pretty indulgent but do tend to get annoyed when they want to play without disturbances.

I’m looking forward to seeing how you act at Christmas this year as last year you were oblivious.  You’re more aware of what’s going on and, even though it’s hard to get anything done with yoinaround, it’s a joy to watch you learn about the world.