Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Nikki Fotheringham at Green Moxie in Toronto

in Activism, Blogging, Culture Blogger, farm blog and Toronto


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Nikki Fotheringham blog, Green Moxie, content marketingNikki Fotheringham is Green Moxie, evironmental bloggerNikki Fotheringham is a friend of mine. I met her the day I almost hired her, and I reckon we’re still friends today because I didn’t. I took one look at her resume and knew she was too good for my action. It was on that day she intrigued me and caught my attention with her ideas about measuring personal impact; she confessed to me in our first meeting how she was affected by a personal obsession to calculate her impact on things, on people, and on the environment.

Green Moxie is a reminder that there is no Planet B. Nikki dedicates herself to the outward presentation of this blog to raise awareness about everyone’s impact on nature – individuals and communities can make a difference, and in turn can be affected by larger or smaller bodies with compelling ideas and examples of positive change.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito,” African ProverbNikki Fotheringham explains Green Moxie to African VillagersNikki Fotherham grew up an independent headstrong daughter of a professional athlete in South Africa. She was a bookworm, but not a geek. She was a track and field star, a marathon runner that no boy could catch, and no parent could contain. She grew up in Johannesburg and studied Philosophy in university. A wonderful subject to behold and debate, she loved the program, but it was almost impossible to get a job upon graduation. Nikki’s first break was as a receptionist at a computer software company, and she hated that position. Instead of changing plans or perhaps quenching her fiery temperament, Nikki soon quit that job and made some radical changes to her career path; she writes “…as a true student of Philosophy, I decided it was the fabric of society that was at fault, so I gave it all up and moved to a hippie commune in the Drakensberg; a remote mountainous area in South Africa. The scenery was breathtaking and I reveled in my self-imposed asceticism. These were the days dreams are made from! With plenty of sunshine our little band of rag-tag gypsies sitting on the banks of the river that ran past the front of our rambling farm house, I really can’t remember how we managed to feed all five of us and a baby – we never really seemed to work. I bought the local video store…” Nikki Fotheringham

Green Moxie, Nikki Fotheringham in Venice Italy, blogger Nikki also typeset the local monthly newspaper which was antique but she loved the newspaper the most and so, when the commune disbanded after four fun years, she headed back to the big city of Durban where she took up a part-time position at the Natal Mercury – a local newspaper. It was her first foray into professional journalism and she was hooked. After gaining some recognition, Nikki discovered she was really employable and she soon got a full time position working at a home magazine called the HomeGuide. It was a great job and eventually she became the editor. After saving up her money, Nikki embarked on a world tour and she met her husband Ian while teaching English in Korea. She was 29 yrs old. Nikki Fotheringham the South Africa girl with Green Moxie blog in Mexico jungle Ian is from Canada and he’s is currently in his last year of a Sustainable Energy and Building Technology diploma at Humber College. He has Green Moxie. Eight years after they were married the couple worked all over the world in many different vocations – Korea, Taiwan, Kuwait, Oman and Frankfurt Germany. During that time she traveled through the United States, central and North America, all through Asia, to India and Nepal, the Middle East and, during one memorable year, drove the entire length of Africa. The environment has always been core to Nikki Fotheringham’s existence and those memories are the body of experiences she draws upon as upon today, as a much-sought-after environmental writer, and she works almost exclusively for a Jib Strategic content marketing company in Toronto who specializes in raising awareness for products designed for the green building industry. Her reward is seeing the new building products and services she extols become successful in the marketplace, and she takes great satisfaction in her own Green Moxie, her push to change the world one blog post at a time.

Post by Robert Campbell on Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013


Danielle LeBlanc is Poor and Gluten Free in White Rock

in Blogging, British Columbia, food blog, niche blogs and Personal Blog

Poor and Gluten Free

The misconception that healthy food tastes terrible has been proven wrong many times over, but what of the persistent complaint many Canadians make that health food is unaffordable? Danielle LeBlanc is a food blogger in White Rock, British Columbia, who has spent several years perfecting her take on a gourmet, gluten free diet–on a budget. A history buff with a Masters Degree focused on modern Middle Eastern and Egyptian cinema, she runs a small business that designs Middle Eastern dance costumes. When she’s not watching obscure old Egyptian flicks, you’ll likely find her writing about her latest “dangerous kitchen shenanigans,” as her husband likes to call them. “I come from a family of cooks,” says Danielle. “Not professionals, but people who love to make good, healthy food. Even my grandfather–he made a mean buckwheat pancake!”

Gluten Free Beet BreadPoor and Gluten Free chronicles the culinary adventures of a creative spirit who doesn’t let the restrictions of Oral Allergy Syndrome interfere with her prolific outpouring of scrumptious recipes. The blog was born out of her struggle with her condition: “I went through a terrible period where I was very ill,” says Danielle. “I was always exhausted, then hay fever kicked in, so I was stuffy and sneezy all the time. Suddenly I developed hives. I think my body kind of shut down–I got pink eye in both eyes and a sinus infection that was so bad it plugged up my left ear! I was wretched, and with two pink eyes and swollen sinuses I looked as awful as I felt.”

Danielle went to see an allergist and found out she had a gluten allergy, as well as Oral Allergy Syndrome (to learn more about OAS, see her excellent post). Both of these conditions are on the rise; in fact, studies have shown that North Americans today are four times more likely to suffer gluten intolerance than in the 1950s. Suspected reasons for this are the genetic modification and hybridization of the wheat plant, as well as the increase in glutinous substances in a variety of other processed foods.

“After spending a couple of years living on a tight budget while experimenting in the kitchen I felt that I Danielle LeBlanc - Poor and Gluten Freemight have something to offer other people, so they wouldn’t have to suffer as much as I did,” says Danielle.

She was right about having something to offer people. Shortly after getting started as a blogger, the comments started rolling in. People all over the world were trying her recipes and sharing stories about their own experiences living and cooking with OAS. She was also nominated under Best Health Blog in the 2012 Canadian Blog Awards.

“I’ve encountered some wonderful bloggers and readers,” Danielle says. “I also feel that I’ve helped some people learn a thing or two, whether it be cooking gluten free, using scrap fabric or dealing with lettuce allergies. Maybe it’s an ego thing, but it feels good to know that you’ve helped somebody in some small way.”

Making Gluten Free SpaetzleDanielle’s are indeed intended to teach and inform, like the article she posted on Canada Day 2012, entitled Canadian Food 101.

My Sprouted Lentil Bread recipe is the ‘best’ post in terms of traffic,” says Danielle. “It was an early experiment in trying to make cheap, easy gluten free bread…I’m glad so many people have found it helpful!”

 

For sentimental reasons, Danielle’s post on making German Gluten Free Spaetzle is one of her favourites. Her Polish grandfather met her German grandmother after WWII; he had been captured by Nazis and forced to work as a labourer. Her grandparents married and moved to Canada, where they served spaetzle to their children and grandchildren. “Creating this recipe brought back some wonderful childhood memories,” says Danielle. “Gluten free spaetzle is also the #1 search term by far that helps people to find my blog, so I hope it helps bring back good memories for other people, too!”

Writing the blog has also fostered Danielle’s growth as a gluten free cook extraordinaire: “My Gluten FreeGluten Free Ravioli with Squash Ravioli is one of my favourite posts,” she says. “And oh boy is it pride! Gluten free baking can be really tricky, so when my GF ravioli dough made with pureed beets came out perfect the first try I was totally stunned. I felt like I had finally ‘arrived’ as a GF cook. I think [it’s] a great demonstration of how far I’ve come since I started my blog.”

Danielle’s plans for her blog’s future include delving deeper into the “…fabulously fascinating yet shockingly time consuming” world of social networking, as well as a new series she’s started on her blog called Waste Not Want Not, and sharing innovative ways to live more sustainably and frugally.

A perfectionist, Danielle is still working on her definition of what makes an ideal blog post. So far, she’s come up with: “I think a good blog post should be informative, accessible, easy to read (or skim as most people do), and maybe even make people chuckle a little.” It’s working for her.

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NEXT Robert Campbell writes that to find me a dentist near home is an acid test for local search engines. 


KD Faustino, the girl with the messy hair in Calgary

in Alberta, Blogging, British Columbia, Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger, Fashion Blogger, Personal Blog, Photography, style diary and Web Designer


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thegirlwiththemessyhair.com

KD Faustino is a fashion blogger and ‘style diarist’ based in Calgary, Alberta, who describes herself as ‘a 20-something fashion buyer and social media extraordinaire who left her sunny tropical islander life in the Philippines to live in freezing cold Canada.’  She has a lot of energy and is a prolific blogger; only four months after her arrival her blog was named one of the top fifteen Canadian fashion blogs of 2010*.  Her effortless style and discerning eye for fashion, made her blog an instant hit.

The girl with the messy hair is a style diary that KD (Kristine Diane) Faustino started in April 2009, while still living in Manila, to chronicle her daily outfits.

“I blog today simply because it makes me happy,” she says. “As narcissistic as it may sound, I blog for myself. It might seem shallow, but there’s really no hidden agenda behind my blogging, just that dressing up and fashion makes me happy. The compliments/recognition I get, inspiring other people with finding their style and the perks from brands/designers are just a plus for me.”

Faustino is a social media professional, and works as Social Media Head for Fashion Night Out Canada, Fabricated, and a fashion buyer for Citizen’s Planet. Her expertise in social media is apparent throughout her blog, and she’s a PR natural: “I think what makes my blog (or any blog for that matter) unique is the individual behind the blog itself,” she says. “If you stay true to yourself, your style, why you are blogging, your overall brand–it will show. You have to come to terms with the fact that blogging can be a serious business but at the same time, still having fun while doing it!”

Hailing from the tropical Philippines, KD’s had to adjust her style (not just fashion-wise but lifestyle as well) to Canada’s often frigid temperatures. Her islander spirit has brought a fresh new style to Calgary’s fashion scene and she’s embraced the challenges along the way–and posed for many a picture featuring piles of snow in the background instead of a beach. “I live in Calgary and the biggest [influence] it has on my blog is the weather!” she says. “As silly as it may sound, that’s the challenge of dressing in a bipolar city (in terms of weather) like Calgary.

#1 Holts Muse KD Faustino“I think the best thing that ever happened to me due to blogging was being recognized for something that wasn’t meant to be recognized at all,” says KD. “When I started blogging I was just doing my own thing but then I started getting recognized and awarded [Top 15 Canadian Fashion Blogs*, Honorary Blogger of the Year in the 2011 Calgary Fashion Honorary Awards, Top 5 Best Overall Blog & Top 4 Best Personal Blog at the Canadian Blog Awards 2011, 1st Place Holts Muse by Holt Renfrew, MTV Blogger Looks we Love, etc.] by the industry and being on the same lists as the people I look up to, or just by random people in random places (which is more flattering, to say the least). What makes it special is the fact that I started this blog all by myself without the help of anyone–it is certainly my baby, something that I am proud of.” See two of KD’s personal favourite posts: http://www.thegirlwiththemessyhair.com/2011/06/crochet.html, and http://www.thegirlwiththemessyhair.com/2012/01/brown-hues.html. The worst part? “Definitely the haters,” she says. “But you know what they say, you know you’ve made it when you’ve got them.”

KD at workKD isn’t certain whether or not she’ll keep the blog going after her thirtieth birthday in two years. “The good thing about my blog is that I don’t feel pressured,” she says. “I am at this point in my blogging career where I feel like I’m not anxious to get anywhere. I can choose which events I want to go to or not, what brands I want to work with–I don’t need to be everywhere, unlike when I was starting. I must say, it’s a good place to be at. And who knows, maybe after 30 I’ll turn my blog around to a travel blog or something like that!”

In the meantime, however, KD will be focusing on maintaining the high quality of her blog. “The ideal blog for me starts with decent hi-resolution photos,” she reveals. “People tend to look at photos first and then they start to read if your photos are interesting enough. A short, constructive write-up with readable font is a must for me, too. Above all, [the ideal blog is about] keeping your stuff interesting and making people come back for more.”



Deb Lewis Blogs About Events in Toronto

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, event blogger, Ontario and Toronto

Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events, blog bannerDeb Lewis Toronto City Events blog sponsor charityDeborah Lewis runs an upscale event planning business in downtown Toronto. On average she designs, promotes and executes between thirty five and fifty of the city’s biggest and most memorable occasions each year, and she blogs about it and posts pictures on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. Her blog gives readers the pertinent details and more – it shares a precious inside look at the makings of each happenstance.

DebLewis.ca is the home of an expert party planner and web savvy event promoter. This thirty something woman writes about parties, past present and future. The blog is rich with event summaries wherein she wraps up the best stories with photos and anecdotal accounts of Toronto roof food and music, and any outstanding memories. She writes about celebrity chefs and musicians, politicians, charities and of course the charismatic people that attend these events. She tweets her blog posts, and has an engaged Facebook following. Deb’s digital presence adds a lot of value to her events; the sponsors benefit from blog links, Facebook likes and social media ‘klout’.

Toronto City Events Logo As the founder and owner of Toronto City Events, Lewis shares her insights and her discoveries and successes using the web to promote events. When she speaks at gatherings, she can fill a room with people eager to hear her secrets.

Deborah started blogging four years ago because she was curious about this new trend and wanted a more candid less business vehicle to connect with people. She was enjoying reading other local blogs and felt it would be an interesting movement to experience writing her own. And of course she identified blogging as a key tool to complement her business communications.

Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events at Lenzr partyWhat are the results? Deb relates that immediately after starting her blog she found she was hearing more feedback from participants about the events. People were leaving comments and coming to Facebook to tag themselves in pictures. She also heard more stories and more opinions about hers and other people’s events which helped her develop better programming, but also helped increase her web and online marketing skills as she learned to respond to these queries and quips and compliments.

Deb’s most read posts are the ones that are most informative. She wrote a piece about the bars that stay open till 4am during the Toronto Film Festival that was retweeted constantly in September by the Toronto Twitterati and became a big hit with thousands of readers during TIFF and after.

Another popular post is The Beer Boutique in Liberty Village and that’s partly because the headline is phrased to resemble the search term that everyone types into Google when seeking this elusive location . It was also well shared on Facebook and Twitter around that locality. Some posts in Deb’s blog are made of what she calls ‘cultivated content’ and by that she means that her interns write the pieces from scripts that she finds or creates. Deb writes ‘…some stories I write 100%, where others I provide the framework and have the final edits and touches.’ Managing creative interns is difficult and this sentence hints at her process.

Deb Lewis with Camera at EventWhat’s in the future? More blog content and the domain will be expanding to include more rich media, more videos and podcasts. And the blog will be getting a face lift in 2012. But more substantially Deb wants to streamline the style of the posts to include more event tips and resources for people who are attending, and more content will be made available for folks who are “…interested in my area of expertise, and ideas for planning and promoting events. We’ve become a resource for what events are happening in Toronto and provide people with insights into how these events are created.”


Nora Camps, Business Storyteller in Toronto

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, farm blog, food blog, gardening, Ontario, Painter, Personal Blog, Toronto and visual arts

business storyteller, Nora Camps blog, Strategy and Design, web marketingbusiness storyteller, Nora Camps blog, Strategy and Design, web marketingNora Camps is a graphic designer, web marketing strategist and fine arts painter living and working in Toronto, Ontario. She is one of the two principals of Duo Strategy and Design, a cost effective business storytelling company with a green mandate; they’re bent on changing the world one project at a time. Nora’s blog is filled with insights into the business of being an artist and her struggle to make change and remedy societal malaise through art and interaction.

Duo Strategy and Design Blog is chock full of rare and precious wisdom from a professional artist that runs a marketing company for A list clients. She helps the greenest institutions in Canada demonstrate their innovations and environmentalism with amazing print publications and high concept websites. Her portfolio of business stories inspires other artists and imbues her own blog with status and authority.

Her diction and prose are easy to read, and her text is emotionfull; each blog post is a story. In just about every dispatch the reader can glimpse Nora’s humanity, especially when she writes about life in Toronto, or her escapes to the country. She writes, I love Toronto, grit and all. When I’m not in the city I can be found in the country and sometimes join Terry, in his Skybolt, to fly over the countryside.

Imagineering is a word created by Disney, but co-opted by Nora Camps. Her vision embraces any use of imaginative narrative to realize, create, or catalyze in real life the potentials we are imagining. It often involves complete stories, in any form. But it can also involve one or more story elements — metaphors, images, themes, perspectives, conflicts, problems, questions, goals, knowledge, possibilities, and imagined characters, situations, plots, events, resolutions, dialogue, etc.

Imagineers use these story elements consciously to inspire and guide people to reshape their consciousness, their lives, and their social and physical circumstances.

Nora has a unique storytelling process that she executes for corporations which I want to share here,

Step 1 – Buy-in, decide who will sit at the table. Listen and learn stories.

Step 2 – Draft the story

Step 3 – Diction – refine the language, syntax, tone and perspective.

Step 4 – Test the story tell the story, develop launch plan, creative brief, speaking notes, and syntax.

Step 5 – Map the story, grow the story, share the Final Brand Story as many ways as possible

Nora laughs at something opening night of Sarayu gallery exhibit, paintingsOn being a blogger, Nora writes, I have discovered that in order to move forward through life, as opposed to simply standing still, I must live consciously. Writing about my adventures of thought and deed seem to propel me forward and the connections have produced very cool new products, client projects and paintings.

Nora tells me that she gets a lot of feedback on her blog posts. People email her and ask questions because they are looking for experts on some subject. Some folks respond to blog posts in comments to say that her thoughts have helped them or encouraged them to write more, to blog, to journal, or to question something.Nora writes, To me, questioning why something is happening is important to growth. For business, zeroing in on their biggest obstacles produces the fastest wins – that is asking: This is our biggest problem – why is it happening? All my stories transcend life, business, and art.

A conversation is always better. business storytellingNora doesn’t get involved in online debates, or flame wars. She doesn’t even respond to comments that are filled with obvious negativity. She will publish all comments however, unless they are profane or spam, but she won’t get into bickering matches with her readers, She writes, Blogging must never be bashing. Sometimes a comment about local politics takes on a life of it’s own. Time is short. I do not wish to waste my time ruminating on the minutia. Online is not the place for a debate. A conversation is always better.

Probably the best thing that Nora ever did for society with her blog was Mugs With Frames – Portrait of a City. The project was done to demonstrate that the people of Toronto are friendly. She blogged about this ambitions first and asked for stories. “Thank you to everyone who shares their opinion with me.” Nora writes, “I treasure your opinions”.

Here is a brief look at Nora’s work as a fine arts painter,

Readers can follow Nora on Twitter @NoraCamps and they can see all her artwork on NoraCamps.com

Sarayu is a river in India

SARAYU is the name of a river in India. It is the name of a spirit, and sometimes it’s the name for wind that catches you by surprise. Women are comfort givers, they are life and energy givers and in their actions they channel the spirit of the creator. They are representative of the holy spirit, though not necessarily as chronicled in the scriptures, but more specifically they are all that is warm, loving, gentle, kind and refreshing – SARAYU is every woman in every circumstance all over the world

With an eye on the future, Nora hopes to make her blog more perfect by making it a little less cerebral, and even easier to read and digest. She takes a camera with her everywhere now, to best capture one-of-kind original pictures that are life’s fleeting moments. Nora wants her blog to be the entry point for people learning about her web storytelling company. In her words, “DUO does really cool projects – because of who we are and how we learn and live and synthesize. It’s a continuous circle. The blog is an important and obvious contributor to the process.”


Erin Bury’s Random Musings in Toronto

in Blogging, Ontario, Start-Ups and Toronto

Erin Bury's Random Musings masthead

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a twenty something year old blogger who writes with confidence and originality. Her blog posts are insightful and thought provoking. She stands out in an age of repeaters, because her writing is easy-to-read and uniquely informative. Less than two years after graduating from Carleton University in Journalism, and after interning at some mid sized tech firms, Erin became the Community Manager at Sprouter a social networking site for start-ups and entrepreneurs. In 2008 she became the voice of Sprouter, connecting fans and the world to the website. Today she has helped define what it means to be a Community Manager, and indeed she has become the quintessential example of this new vocation, perfectly harmonizing her personal identity and her firm’s business agenda.

Erin Bury’s Random Musings is the first and best place to learn about this young person’s life and what its like to be on the ground floor of an internet start-up.  She blogs about time saving software, VIP events and social gatherings, and PR and marketing in Canada. She has herself sprouted an amazing career, and now leads sessions at Podcamp Toronto, North by Northeast, Net Change Week and more. She’s frequently quoted in the press about Community Management and social media for small business, and her tweets and quotes have appeared in the New York Times, AOL Small Business, Forbes, CNN, MSN News, and on CBC.

Erin Bury is a tech writer at BlogTO and a columnist at Women’s Post, and she has written for other publications including VentureBeat. She’s one of the co-organizers of Twestival Toronto, and one of the founders of GenYTO .  She can be found on Twitter at @ErinBury and of course she has lot of followers. It just so happens that Erin was once retweeted by Oprah Winfrey.

Erin Bury retweeted by Oprah Winfrey

Erin Bury uses Tumblr, and her blog archives keep getting better with age. Unlike the other ‘minimalist’ bloggers that choose Tumblr, (for its ease and simplicity) Erin fills her domain with long copy posts full of original pictures and text. Her entries usually garner lots of comments because they’re chock full of great insights from a detail orientated author who’s not afraid to share her perspective on popular issues. Her valuable asides and comments make the material more interesting, and more valuable.

When asked why Erin chose to blog on Tumblr she writes,

“Sure, the simple blogging platform has its downsides – it’s notorious for going down and losing your posts. But I love how simple it is – I always describe it as a blogging platform that my mom could figure out in five minutes. It’s easy to share text posts, videos and photos, and there are tons of beautiful free themes to choose from. But the best part of Tumblr is the social aspect – you can follow other Tumblr blogs, and quickly reblog other people’s posts with your comments. If you’re just getting started with blogging I highly recommend it. “

An image search of Erin Bury yields many wonderful portraits from Sprouter related events.

Erin Bury, community manager at Sprouter

Sprouter Logo

Erin Bury loves her job and her life working with Sarah Prevette at Sprouter, because she gets to utilize her passion for technology, networking, community building and web 2.0 enterprises. Her role involves social media strategy, PR, customer service, writing and speaking, organizing and attending events. And at times she’s the office secretary, and then out in the public eye at night she becomes the media spokesperson for the company, discussing everything and anything Sprouter.com

Erin helps students get sprouted too…

This blogger has a penchant for helping students get started, and she even helps them land their first jobs in the industry. Erin amplifies the voice of students and represents them positively whenever she can.

In one of her many online biographies, Erin writes that when she’s not organizing events, writing, or working you can find her hanging out with friends, playing guitar, attempting to cook, reading, or watching her favourite TV shows which include, The Biggest Loser.  She also spends lots of quality time with her boyfriend, Kevin Oulds.

Kevin Oulds, Erin Bury Michael Nus describes Kevin Oulds and Erin Bury as the Ken and Barbie of Toronto’s social media scene.  He nailed it.

It was great to watch these two work together in October 2010, when @KevinOulds entered an online contest held by Sauza Tequila that was designed to promote their new Sauza Sin shot (tequila with cinnamon and orange) by pitting it against the classic lemon-and-salt Sauza shot, and getting entrants to represent either side.

Tequila Revolution - Kevin Oulds

Kevin won the prize, and some of the details emerge in a terrific blog post by Erin Bury on how to win a campaign style online voting contest where she writes about the experience of campaigning for votes on Facebook and Twitter. She describes the fine line between persuading and pestering, and she documents how the competition took over their lives. Erin admits she grew obsessed and gives several helpful tips to anyone else ‘campiagning’ for such a prize. Some of her wisdom includes going offline to family and friends, be creative with incentives for your supporters, and whenever possible try not to be too annoying.

Erin writes this about her ‘tweeting up’ Kevin’s campaign,

I had over 7,000 Twitter followers at the time, and if every one of them voted for him just once we’d have it in the bag. Well guess what – I learned the difference between a follower, aka someone who once clicked follow because your profile looked interesting, and a FOLLOWER, aka someone who pays attention to you and is willing to take a second out of their day to help you. There were so many amazing people on Twitter who took the time vote, but there were thousands more followers (and spambots) who didn’t. A big network does not equal a big impact on votes, which I learned the hard way (by the way, thanks to everyone who did vote!)

Last month, Erin wrote about how she was approached by Dentyne gum to be a Kissing Ambassador and, together with boyfriend Kevin Oulds, conduct a Valentines Day survey regarding Canadian attitudes toward kissing in public. They got on Canada Am, and it was pretty significant success; Dentyne sales probably rose nationally.

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Lauren O’Nizzle in London Ontario

in Blogging, Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger, niche blogs, Ontario and Personal Blog

Lauren OutLoud blog is home of Lauren ONizzleLauren O’Neil, aka Lauren O’Nizzle is a 24 year old journalism student at the University of Western Ontario. She’s working on her master’s degree, but she’s already the most sophisticated, web tech-savvy pop culture princess we’ve ever encountered.  This girl makes media, and in less than two years she has become an outstanding example of a new type of entertainer, a socially brilliant one girl band on a noble quest to “spew random hilarity” all over the internet.

LaurenOutLoud is the website that hosts her entire menu which includes Lauren O’Neil web journalism portfolio. In addition to this formal magazine like portal, Lauren O’Nizzle’s content is distributed across numerous social mediums including, her LaurenOutLoud blog which is complimented by her twitter page @LaurenONizzle her LaurenONeal Delicious bookmarks account, her Nizzle .Posterous email blog platform, and of course her Lauren ONizzle on YouTube account.

This isn’t your typical marketing student blog, or any form of high brow intellectual content, although her posts are smarter than you might expect from a 24yr old person; the largest search terms in her blog’s tag cloud are ‘funny, muchmusic, TV, youtube’ in that order, and these are followed by ‘jschool, internship, cute’ and ‘dating’.

lauren ONizzle looks shy sad quiet fragile and its an illusion

Lauren O’Nizzle is very creative, and a little nerdy in how she stretches ideas and goes the distance for her followers. She’s been know to scan and post original drawings, and apply advanced photo shop skills to borrowed images. Also impressive is her ability to infuse comedy into her video interviews.

The name O’Nizzle came about organically as a nickname her friends applied several years ago. When it came time to create her Facebook account etc, she decided to go with that handle to protect her future employers from seeing any scandalous photos that may or may not appear in that space. Now, most friends don’t even call her Lauren anymore, to them she is simply “Nizzle.”

When an digital artist named Cameron Stewart cartooned her, she remarked on how the picture was ‘the sickest thing she’s ever seen’,  and she used it on her menu page layout.  That menu is so compelling. This young journalism student already embodies the future of electronic news media and entertainment. She is a great example of how people will soon make media for other people.

lauren ONizzle in the bathrrom with a toothbrush and phone cameraBorn in Chatham Ontario, Lauren moved to Windsor for her undergraduate degree, and now she lives in London.  As a journalism student, her blog is a place where she doesn’t have to worry about journalistic integrity and reporting on hard news. On her blog, she can have the freedom to take sides and write about what ever she desires even if it’s about creepy old naked ladies.

In a way, Lauren began blogging when she was only twelve years old, after she discovered Angelfire.  In that strange space she created a diary web page called “Spaz Central.” She filled this page with animated gifs and pictures of her awkward, frizzy-haired adolescent girls posing like the young models in Seventeen magazine (pictures that had been taken with a disposable camera and scanned at the library, of course).

As a self-proclaimed soul mate of Tina Fey, Conan O’Brien and Lisa Simpson, Lauren colours her stories funny and smart.

lauren onizzle on the radio

Lauren loves to multitask and is always on the go; she’s a little obsessed with always creating content. When she isn’t being viral, she likes watching comedy TV shows, doing yoga, reading fashion magazines, dancing and eating sugar cereals.  She’s an active blog reader and prolific commenter.  And Lauren is not at all shy about having her picture taken, and her face can be seen mugging all over her media empire. Her openness gives followers a big window into the life of a young blond journalism school student in Canada.

Lauren ONizzle AXE contest promotion banner

She also defines herself as being the opposite of Sarah Palin, Jay Leno and Bart Simpson.

Recently, Lauren was named one of the 10 finalists in the in AXE Canada’s Ridiculously, Ridiculously Good Summer Gig Competition. Voting for the Axe Summer Gig ends on March 31st, which ironically is the very day in which her profile here on Canada Blog Friends was posted.

“Success for me is making people laugh. Every time I get an email from somebody telling me that something I’ve posted has made their day or cheered them up, I’ve succeeded. I don’t do this for the money or the perks or the mad groupie hoes. I do it for the lulz, plain and simple.”

lauren Onizzle cartoon by her friend, i cant remember his name

“I saw an episode of Ghost Writer when I was 9, where ghostwriter goes into a computer modem and fights a hacker. I thought that this was the coolest thing ever so I begged my parents for a modem until they finally got me one.”

Lauren’s considers her blog to have no true central theme. Her posts run the gamut. Funny things, weird things, pop culture, web culture, nerdities, schadenfreude and all things karma related and esp things that she observes while shopping. Half the time, she says it’s just brain vomit. Whatever is on the top of her mind at any given time is effortless transmutated into social capital. Lauren’s followers tend to be people who share her wacky sense of humour and have similar interests to her.

For Lauren (Nizzle) O’Neil, blogging is how she brings her humour, lifestyle, hobbies and career aspirations to one place so she can properly share them with the rest of the world.

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Keri the Canadian Explorer

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, Ontario, Photography and Toronto

KeriCDN is a talkative girl with lots of creative energy; exploring Canada is her raison d’etre.  At Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, Keri studied business, history and linguistics, but her real life education started in February 2008, when she started blogging.

Keri The Canadian Explorer has culturally significant adventures everyday, and she shares her discoveries with a growing tribe of domestic and international followers. It’s interesting that she profiles all types of Canadians, not just the ‘great ones’.  She reports the facts and lets her audience decide if her subjects and settings are worthy of praise. For example, she’s quite proud of a recent video exploring the Canadian Navy.

Keri’s site contains no advertising.  She has refused to do sponsored posts and thinks Google AdSense looks tacky; she doesn’t want to appear avaricious for three cents a day.  The business training inside of her is however looking for benign sponsors; she would like to play a part in something larger, something sponsored by a proud and worthwhile Canadian enterprise.

To that end, she threw a blog party at the Reservoir Lounge last November.  It was a big success, and helped put her at the center of a local community of like minded individuals.  Since then she has banded together with some other famous web friends to create The Toronto Blog Girls which is a loose association of popular Toronto fashionistas and event bloggers that reside in Canada’s largest city.  All of these girls are attractive, intelligent and artistic, and together they’re a powerful press squad.

Check out Ryan Couldrey’s photo of Keri using automatic weapons.

Keri’s biggest fault might be that she’s too darn nice. In the video she did with Five Hockey Legends, she really shouldn’t have let security interrupt her filming, and it’s so typical of Canadians to apologize and be so concerned with procedures instead of just rolling tape and saying sorry later. To that point it would have been great if she’d turned and tried to leave with Red Kelly’s NHL Stanley Cup ring…  but she’s too nice.

Keri often profiles influential speakers and attends a lot of events on inspirational subjects. In most episodes the girl charms her way backstage or somehow corners presenters after appearances. Her well conceived queries combined with her compelling interview style more than compensate for the bad lighting and sound quality in these commando videos.  See Gary Vaynerchuk Loves Canada!

KeriCDN Quests for the 2010 Olympic Games

Keri’s short term dream is to attend and chronicle the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. As a true Canadian explorer and premium blogger, she believes it’s her manifest destiny to be at this international event, sharing the experience with the rest of the nation. This single cause has coloured her blog for months. She entered contests, wrote letters and collectively schemed right along with her readers to get herself over to the other side of the continent in February.  And then finally, it worked.

Keri had her hands on the torch in January 2010.  She photographed it, wrote about it, and was questioned about it on national television.  Before that, Keri charmed contest mavens with her Samsung mobile explorer video entry and issued repeated requests for votes. Her quest for Vancouver goes all the way back to September 2009 when she reviewed the Olympic apparel at The Bay, and fantasized about her wish list of events to cover.  Later that month while bike riding with her friend Jody, the Olympics Games are back on her brain. She interrupts her explanation of the difference between an Inukshuk and Inunnguaq and gets completely sidetracked by a point about the Nunavut flag being associated with next year’s Olympics.  Well all the obsessing finally paid off…

Keri has been contracted by Canoe.ca and Sun Media to cover the Winter Games as official press.

In addition to her blog, you can subscribe to KeriCDN videos on YouTube and follow her on Twitter  @KeriCDN.

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Jennifer Jilks writes My Muskoka

in Activism, Blogging, Muskoka, Ontario, Photography and Tourism

banner for My MuskokaJennifer Jilks is an Ottawa school teacher now living in beautiful Bala, Ontario. She’s over 50 and that’s a huge niche right there. She’s also a travel expert, wildlife photographer, hiker, and blogger who posts twice a week about a special little part of Canada called Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks of My Muskoka blogMy Muskoka cottage blog is an inside look at life in five Northern Ontario towns including Bala, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst , Huntsville, and Port Carling. She also chronicles the changing seasons as reflected in the shorelines of the Muskoka lakes.

Jennifer Jilks is fifty two years old. Before living in Bala she taught school for twenty five years in Ottawa while raising three kids – now her children are adults, and they are all remarkably different. They are all professionals. Jennifer’s daughter is a hydrogeologist and married to green party candidate Jean Luc Cooke. Her second child is a gifted actor, and the youngest boy is a government statistician.

Living and Dying with Dignity

About Jennifer Jilks

You can learn a lot about Mrs Jilks by reading the sidebar of her blog. Halfway down the right hand column is a picture and link to her book

Living and Dying with Dignity, a daughter/caregiver’s point of view.  She writes here that ‘My mother’s cancer, dad’s brain tumour and dementia changed my life. The book includes information, research, as well as coping strategies from real life experiences.’ And now suddenly we understand what drove her to start this blogspot. It wasn’t fame, or a marketing assignment, or a creative outlet for her photography, but an expression of true self. This woman hopes to share her healing with readers. Jennifer is a Muskoka Hospice worker and the experience of helping people living and dying with dignity rings like a bell and resonate through her life’s work. Indeed her continued care giving and volunteer work at the hospice gives her existence meaning and adds value to her perspective on life in Muskoka.

Jennifer Jilks in WashingtonJennifer Jilks Photography

In addition to chronicling the adventures of her three cats, Jenn’s blog images waterfowl, wildflowers and rodents in high quality photographs.  She submits her pictures to a camera critters blog and to a popular Ontario photo contest website and it was through Lenzr that she first came to my attention. In late November 2009 Jenn_Jilks compiled a beautiful array of breathtaking photos, with multiple entries in all three web challenges.

Jennifer Jilks and Social Justice

Today Mrs Jilks understands the explosive power of blogging. She learned the hard way after posting a series of well researched articles detailing the political, economic and social implications of the Bala Falls hydro electric project.

Muskoka LakesShe generated sixteen comments with a  particularly contentious post on the bala hydro electric project in the fall of 2008  where she was accused of being a puppet for Dalton McGuinty.

Fortunately other bloggers came to her rescue. Jenn’s site is at the center of a local blog ring that doesn’t have a badge yet, but the members appear in an earlier post. Muskoka Bloggers is a list she updates frequently and links to in her sidebar.

Last summer, Jennifer Jilks did her civic duty and published a piece on the 2009 drowning in Bala explaining the water currents better than news media. Jenn lives in the Township of Muskoka Lakes and in one posts she took it upon herself to debunk the The Myths of Muskoka.

My Muskoka blog is already publishing original stories about the 2010 G8 Summit’s impact to ‘locals’ in Hunstville and surrounding towns.

My Muskoka is a very credible citizen journalist, a passionate photographer, and a writer with a soul living inside Ontario’s premier Muskoka cottage country travel destination.

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Rebellious Arab Girl in London, Ontario

in Activism, Blogging, niche blogs, Ontario and Personal Blog

Mona, profile picture, Rebellious Arab GirlMona is the living manifestation of her rebellious blog; she’s a strong female personality in the Arab world, and that’s rare.  Although core values are slowly changing, Middle Eastern culture still seems to discourage female participation; Mona’s blog is rebellious, because it exists.

Rebellious Arab Girl is emotional and writes her caustic journal to promote change. It’s a complaints blog from a girl who began blogging because she had built up a lot of anger toward “certain issues with the mentality of certain people within my culture. My message was to tell the world that I am just an ordinary girl who happened to come from a very conservative culture.

Mona will be 29 years old in December. She started blogging on her 25th birthday because that’s when she became a rebel and really felt alienated from familial and cultural expectations. Apparently being a 25year old unmarried Arab girl is not an easy existence, and the blog was an outlet for Mona’s feelings. This girl is single and complicated, and these realities give her blog colour and purpose.  She’s not using her domain to look for love, or at least not overtly, but rather to complain about not finding love, and to comment on the structure, traditions and expectations of Muslim Canadians.  She writes, “I didn’t want to fall into the following category: if you are 25 and not married, then you have to or else you are screwed for life! I rather find myself first and know what I want from life, then feel committed to someone who is not willing to accept my ideologies and beliefs. Hence, my blog is a very big part of me, and many men don’t accept it. So, it is either the blog or them, and obviously I chose the former!”

Mona's amazing digital artComputer Science grad from the University of Western Ontario, Mona now works as a computer programmer in London. “I love my profession since I create web applications that so many professionals out there can make use of. No more using a pen and paper, and everything is just a click away and processed in the background. I love it. I make life simple for so many people with my skills.” Earlier in 2009 Mona was unemployed, and she blogged about job hunting and complained about the process. In that time however she created some terrific digital art. Now that she has a job, I’m sure readers hope she finds time to continue creating her masterpieces.

Mona likes London’s diversity, “It is a very family oriented city with a very diverse population. Moreover, I believe the diversity is the main reason why London is a very unique city.”

Rebellious Arab Girl likes to speak out about issues within her culture that won’t work if you “live in this side of the world”.  She really believes people should keep their core values but try to change the way they perceive life and interact with the rest of the society around them. When she heard about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign platform she created and published one of her own:

Rebel Arab Girl for change!Vote for the Rebellious Arab Girl today!

1. She promises you peace in the middle east!
2. She promises you democracy in each Arab country with 4 – 6 year election time frames with citizens voting new leaderships!
3. She promises you a separation between religion and the state!
4. She promises you no more visa requirements for Arabs to visit other Arab countries!
5. She promises you Palestine to return to its rightful owners!
6. She promises you government funding for each Arab University to allow and contribute their scientific research to the world!
7. She promises you equality in the work force between the sexes!

Also along these lines, in June 2009 Mona wrote I Think its Time for Change about which she confides, “This is one of my favorite posts actually, because I created promotional fun banners because I love to create digital art. Also, I wrote this post because I always wondered when will there ever be a female leader of the Arab World?”

On Blogging & Writing
“I became a better writer over time since I exercise it almost daily though my blog. Also, last year, I decided for fun to take a couple of advanced writing courses at the University to enhance my writing skills for online publications. I wanted my writing to be convincing since I do enjoy it more than a hobby.”

Surprises?
“My biggest surprise is the size of the audience I have been receiving. It is quite extraordinary to be just another girl with hardly anyone to listen to in real life, to having such numerous amounts of readers who love you for being you, and are willing to take time out of their day to read what you have to say and comment. It is a great indescribable feeling having a blog.”

Two more of Mona’s favourite posts include, The Positives Outweigh the Negatives, of which she says “I really like this post because I wanted to tell the world that Arabs are great positive people, because they have great family values that distinguish them from other cultures.” And another on the subject of Arabs Marrying Non-Arabs, about which she writes, “I wrote this post because I receive several emails a day from people asking me if it is right or wrong for Arabs to marry non-Arabs. So I tried to explain my point of view, and I stirred a very long debate regarding this issue.

Rebellious Arab Girl in her own words,“I don’t believe my site is targeted only to the Muslim community or even to the Arab community. My site is targeted to everyone who is willing to read the life of just another girl who happens to be an Arab and Muslim. I wanted people to realize that I am no different than them.”


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