Must Haves

With Christmas less than a month away now, you may need a new list for your must haves.  Feel free to pass on this list to those who wish to spoil you.  You'll find things on the web, ideas for family fun, gift cards, tech stuff and even classes!  Hopefully they'll all help make your life brighter and easier!  Use it as your own must haves or some great ideas for the Mom in your life.

Bubble Friends  Fun! Fun! Fun! A Calgary mom who has an amazing imagination! From Bubble Name bobbles (for your kids coats and to collect) to awesome invites and banners for your parities. The Bubbles also make it easier for your kids to zip up their own coats!  They're unique and fun for you and your kids! Especially for your theme parties.  For adults and for kids.  Maybe it's a Moustache party or a Pirate Party.  The Bubble Friends team are creative and fun.  Bubble Friends has all kinds of great gift ideas too!  Have a look!

Heritage Makers 
I CAN’T live without my pictures and memories. Maybe it all started when I lost all my pictures when I was a kid in a house fire. To me, “THINGS” aren’t as important as our memories. And what a better way to preserve your memories, than in an amazing keepsake book. I’ve made great photo books for the grandparents, a honeymoon book for my husband and yearly memory keepsakes for my boys. This is a MUST in my books!!!!

Family Fun Calgary  AND IT’S FREE!!!
  EVERYTHING you need to know!! This site was created by Melissa Vroon and Voula Martin, two Calgary women who have known each other a long time. One day, Melissa said to Voula, “Why isn’t there a website where you can go and find all the fun things to do in the city with the kids? Someone should make a site like that.” And Voula replied, “So why don’t we create it together? Thank you ladies for this GREAT site and reference guide for all parents!!

Lite 95.9 Christmas Music.  It’s not always about just one song; it’s about what Christmas music means. It’s about the season it represents. Christmas. Christmas is about going to church with your parents to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to listen to your dad sing (as bad of a singer as he is).  Christmas is about remembering your childhood and how excited you would get about the presents under the tree. It’s also about remembering loved ones who have gone before us. It may bring a tear to your eye, but in loving memory.

Portable North Pole  
Technology has come such a long way. If you have kids you HAVE to send them this personal message from Santa! Yes it’s free. Only costs if you want to make your message into a keepsake.  If not you can watch it again and again and again for free! PNP – Portable North Pole console will be online throughout the Holiday season, allowing you to send personalized video messages FREE to your children, parents and friends. Your kids will LOVE this!!!

Starbucks non fat Latte or Tim Horton’s Cafe Mocha, whichever tickles your fancy for the day.  This is an easy stocking stuffer for your coffee lover!!! Nothing better than that first cup of coffee. Mmmmm

Body Shop Bubble Bath and Essential oils.  Aromatherapy doesn’t just smell good, it so beneficial as well. It helps you relax and gives you stress relief. It’ll help your mood and well being. Aromatherapy can also give relief of minor discomforts; boost your immune, respirator and circulatory system. Aromatherapy doesn’t “cure” major illnesses but it is effective at alleviating many of the discomforts associated with them. Essential Oils are the heart of aromatherapy. They have been used to heal wounds, energize, improve skin tone, relax muscles, improve sleep, and relieve tension headaches and so on and so on!!  Any mom who takes her "time out" in the bath NEEDS this!

If you’ve been thinking about the iPhone, stop thinking about it. Do it! As a mom it’s not only good as a phone, but the apps out of this world! Great for you and great for entertaining your kids!!! There are times when you’re at the grocery store or at the doctors’ office, and the kids are getting restless. With an iPhone you can get the “Kid” friendly apps. We have flashcards, memory games and even movies.   But with the iPhone, you’ll need an iTunes gift card.   This way you can get the games for your kids, and the apps you need.  Most are free, but there's the occasional $.99 cents you'll need to buy yourself Angry Birds.

Last, but not least, a new camera.  Not just a point and shoot, but go out on a whim and get an SLR camera.  I have last years big seller, the Canon T2i Rebel.  But now you can get the latest and greatest.  Yes, this wish list item is a bit on the expensive side.  
But since pictures mean SO much to me, I was getting fed up with pictures not turning out and not being the quality I wanted them to be.  It’s intimidating at first to use an SLR camera, but with time you’ll figure it out, and be glad you did. Plus, there are some GREAT classes you can take to get familiar with your new best friend.  What a great way to also get out of the house.  I took this class and LOVED it!  Check out Mt. Royal University Continuing Education.  

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Jann Arden

I remember the very first time I saw Jann Arden.  She was singing at an intimate pub in Gas Town in Vancouver in 1993 for Music West.  I remember her sitting on a stool with one foot on the floor, I guess that's call "sit-standing".  Anyway... I had no idea who she was, but thought, this woman is FUNNY!  Never mind the singing talent, she was hilarious.

Little did I know, when I moved to Calgary in 1995, that Jann Arden was from here.  Since then I've seen Jann perform on numerous occasions.  I even had the opportunity to get to know Jann better when she was on an episode of Antique Psychic (where I was the host).  Again, Jann was so funny.  Really she is.

Another adoring quality about Jann Arden is that she's down to earth.  There's nothing "Hollywood" about her.  She's not demanding, she's not a diva, she's not rude.  Well, rude in the sense that she's not pushy.  If you don't fancy the "f" bomb, you may think she's rude.  But other than that, she's not rude.  It's not like she says it to your face.  Just in conversations.  Really, who doesn't?

Jann has one of those infectious personalities.  The more she talks, the more you want to get to know her.  I would LOVE to just have Jann over for an hour or two to just talk.  More like, I'd listen and she'd talk.  Jann I just put you on my "Bucket List" of things to do... Have lunch with Jann Arden.

Jann just released her book "Falling Backwards a memoir".  I'm only One chapter deep, but I caught myself laughing out loud.  When my husband asked me what was so funny, I couldn't really explain it.  Let's just say it involves Jann being VERY grateful for her mother when she gave birth to her.  The next out burst came when Jann explains what happens to children when they play in garbage cans in the back ally.  THAT you'll have to read on your own.  I'm not about to go into detail.  But Jann sure does.  Jann has freaked me out a bit.  My 2 year old son is already showing signs of being a little Jann.  I'm thankful that we don't have Milk Man chutes in today's day and age... for fear of my son getting his head stuck.  But there are other corners and crevasses he may find.  (Let's put it this way, Jann was an "adventurous" child, and so is my son who recently put peas up his nose).

The sentimental side of Jann comes from the inspiring love she has for her parents. I found myself tearing up as she talks about the unconditional love she has for her mom and dad.  Thank you Jann for sharing that.  Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us.  I'm looking forward to reading more.  (Hope the rest is just as good as the first chapter! lol)

At the same time Jann has also released a new album "Uncover Me 2".  It features Jann interpreting songs popularized by artists including The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths, The Everly Brothers, Doris Day, Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee.  So I popped my new CD into my car and had a listen.  Again, showcasing her God given talent.  Outstanding.  Especially the Stevie Nicks song Dreams.  Love Love Love that cut on this CD.  So now you have two ideas for gift giving this Holiday Season.  The book "Falling Backwards" and the cd "Uncover Me 2".

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet up again with Jann for a book signing of her latest memoir.  Once again, she is as down to earth as one gets.  Earlier in the day she was in Edmonton for a book signing at Chapters.  Then drove to Calgary.  Arriving at the Deerfoot Walmart by 7pm, with a crowd of people waiting to have her sign their books.  Jann told the store manager that she'll stay until the last book is signed.  After a long night of chit chat and autograph signing she was off to Vancouver to sing the national anthem for the Grey Cup game.  When do you take a breath Jann?

Thank you Jann for the fun pictures, and for brightening my day.  Thank you for also brightening the day of all your fans.  We truly love you!

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Finding your way back.

It seems to be the most desired answer for a mother to find.  How does one find balance and calm in their life?  Good question!

Secretly, I long to be able to turn off.  But my mind races so fast I sometimes have a hard time keeping up.  Do I do too much?  Am I not doing enough?  At the end of the day I'm already planning for tomorrow, and in some cases for next week.  

Carbondale River
Castle Mt. AB
Mandy Shapanski, CEO of Xerox Canada, was speaking at a Women of Influence luncheon.  She suggested that if you're looking for balance, picture your life in glass balls.  Your family, your health and your life. When you juggle, just be careful which one you drop.  Your career, however, is a rubber ball.  That one will always bounce back.  What I took away from that was, unless you're good at juggling, it's not worth the risk.  (Christina featured in Women of Influence)

I believe the key is to find that place that helps you rejuvenate.  Find that energy that gives you the power to make the right choices.  

Can you have a happy balance of all the things in your life?  I say... sometimes.  But some things are more challenging than others. Your normal for today may not be your normal for tomorrow.  Some days you will have it all, and other days things will overwhelm you.  

Life is 10% of what happens to you.  The other 90% is how you react to it.  (I've heard that one many times from several different speakers.  And they're right!!)

Lost Creek
Castle Mt., AB
So how can one live life on The Brighter Side?  The way I find my energy, and my revitalizing time, is actually in my car. This is why I don't mind a long commute.  When I'm alone in my car, it's my sanctuary.  (Note:  ALONE in my car... no distractions of kids, pets or husbands!)  When I'm feeling overwhelmed with everyday challenges, I turn up my music.  Music allows you to turn off those negative emotions.  The best part is, you are all alone.  And you can listen to whatever you like!  If it's Christmas music that makes your smile or hard core heavy metal.  It doesn't matter.  No one but you is listening! For me, I actually turn on relaxing music.  If I can't be in nature, I'll bring nature to me.  Serenity sounds like water, birds, wind, symphony orchestras, drums.  No words, just relaxation.  I've caught myself catching my breath.  I focus on the road and listen to the calming music.  My phone is buried in my purse and turned off so I don't hear the text or email messages coming in.  I feel as though I'm turning off the problems and just refueling my energy.  

But everyone is different.  And some have a hard time finding The Brighter Side.  What do you do to re energize yourself back to normal?  
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Always on the go!

Mel Risdon is another one of those people who has GREAT IDEAS.  And better yet, she follows through on those ideas!  

Mel’s day starts with her alarm going off at the wee hours of the morning, to not only start her day, but yours too at Shine FM with Mike and Mel in the morning.  After she enlightens us with our morning wake up, she heads home to be with her daughter, soon followed by her son coming home from school.  In the meantime she’s an inventor of two AMAZING products.  The first is the Head Snuggler.  A brilliant invention that is designed to properly support your child's head and neck while they’re in their car seats and strollers.  We’ve all seen children fall asleep with their heads dropping to their chests.  The Head Snuggler supports their heads so they wake up well rested, and in no pain.  Believe it or not, it’ll work for you too!  One size fits all!  My 4 year old loves it.  If he's tired while we're on a long trip he'll just pull it down himself and settle in for a short car nap.

Next, Mel found the need for the Magic Bib.  It’s brilliant.  A bib that actually catches the food your little one misses.  There’s lots of pocket bibs out there, but this one actually catches it.  How?  There’s a magnet that goes on one side of the bib and the other to the high chair tray, which then pulls the bib out.  It moves easily with your child, and keeps it neat and tidy for you to clean up!  Magic indeed!  Having tried it on my own “muck”, I can honestly say this really is a magic bib.  Now all Mel needs to do is come up the magic of my child actually wanting to eat healthy food!  She tells me she’s working on it. 

After the clean up!
30 Car Seats in a pile before recycling
Mel didn’t stop there with her inventions with Melrose Kids Inc., she also saw a need to help reduce the waste of old car seats.  She teamed up with Keepin’ Baby Safe and launched Alberta’s first recycling program for used and expired car seats. They accept all used and expired seats at various drop-off locations, Round-Up Clinics and Inspection Clinics around Calgary. Kidseat Recyclers is the first recycling program of its kind in Alberta focused specifically on keeping the thousands upon thousands of car seats that are thrown away every year out of the landfills. They will ensure that every part of the seat that is recyclable, including metal, plastic and any usable parts, will be properly recycled or reused.  To find a recycling depot near you go to Kidseat Recyclers.  

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Keep em' busy!

Now that the temperatures are less than desirable... well except for the odd Chinook days, it's time to keep the kids inside.  Unless of course you want to spend 20 minutes bundling them up, layer after layer only to have them tell you the now have to pee.

Ready to make pizza
Okay besides that... how do you keep them busy inside? One of our favorite things to do is to involve them in cooking.  Pizza of course is the best.  But the trick is to prepare ahead of time.  Have all the ingredients ready to go before you invite them to part take in the fun!  
Pea Pizza

Today I'll share my sons pizza recipe, followed by my favorite pizza recipe that I tore out of a Chatelaine Magazine from the doctors office.  (Sorry about that if you were trying to read that one... but it looked so good I had to have it).  (Note: I made some modifications to the one I use excluding the chilli's and orange zest)

The first thing to do is get all your toppings ready in separate bowls.  These are the ingredients for this pizza....

                                 Pea Pizza
1/3 cup sugar snap peas (taken out of the pods because we don't like that part... oh and not cooked peas because those ones taste old)
1/3 cup sliced carrots (they have to be the round ones, not the long and skinny ones... oh and not cooked carrots because those ones taste old)
1/3 cup sliced cucumber (baby cucumbers are best because the small ones taste better... oh and take the skin off because the skin is too tough)
1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar and part skim mozzarella)
2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil

Anything goes pizza
Directions:  Mom to preheat oven to 450 F (220 C) 1.) Brush oil over flat bread.  2.) Use large spoon and scoop tomato paste onto flatbread, spreading around with back of spoon.  3.) Add layers of toppings in no particular order, just how you see fit.  4.) Top with oodles of cheese.  5.) Bake until cheese is melted and flatbread is crispy, about 10 min.

Once you serve pizza, make sure you take all the layers off, so you can just eat the flatbread and the toppings go to your brother.  (By the way his brother will eat all the toppings plus his own pizza too!)

Okay, now it's your turn. Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza (BEST PIZZA EVER!!)
Prosciutto Arugula Pizza
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Clove garlic minced
1/2 Cup grape tomatoes sliced
3 slices of prosciutto (thinly sliced)
4 small bocconcini cheese sliced into rounds
1/2 cup baby arugula 

Preheat oven 450 F (220)C.  Place flatbrad on a large baking sheet or pizza pan.  Mix garlic with oil and brush over flatbread.  Tear prosciutto into thing strips, place tomato slices and bocconcini slices.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly and flatbread is crispy, about 10 min.  Remove from oven and scatter arugula overtop.  (It actually works better if you cut the pizza first, then top with the arugula.

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Mom! What's for dinner?

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that one of the hardest things to do as a mom is come up with dinner ideas EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!  The fact that I even cook -- and serve some pretty decent meals -- is something I didn't think I would ever do!  But, here I am -- a mother of -- cooking, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!  

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be doing this, I would have laughed out loud.  I do faintly remember my mother telling me once, "You will cook, you just have to be a mom first."  Once again... the I told you so scenario.  

Honestly, I'm okay with it.  But, I had to come up with a way to make my evenings easier.  So, I do a weekly menu.  It has to be one of the best decisions I ever did.  Not only do I save on my food bill -- I'm not stressed out trying to figure out what to cook for dinner.  

Unfortunately my family had to go through some not so good meals.  But, if you ask my husband he'll be the first to tell you, "She's getting better."  With that being said, I would like to share with you a few recipes that I've had success with, and changed up a bit to make it work for us.  I hope you enjoy them and they give you some new ideas for your dinner table.  

Lemon Tarragon Shrimp Pasta
Photo © Christina Rowsell

2 cups tiny broccoli florets
1 cup green onions sliced
4 cups small pasta shells
1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, patted dry
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp minced fresh tarragon
¼ tsp pepper and a pinch of salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh parsley

1.) In strainer, combine broccoli and green onions; set aside.  In large part of boiling water, cook pasta until tender but firm.  

2.) While pasta is cooking, in large heavy skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and garlic; cook for 2 to 3 min, or until shrimp are pink.  Transfer shrimp and garlic to a plate; set aside and keep warm.

3.) With any remaining juices in the skillet, add chicken broth, lemon juice, tarragon, pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced by about half.

4.) Drain pasta through strainer containing vegetables.  Return pasta and vegetables to pot over low heat; gently stir in shrimp and garlic.  Add sour cream and mustard to mixture in skillet and stir. 

5.) Pour over pasta.  Serve warm.  Top with parsley

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Great Idea! The Hosiery Hanger

We all have those things we just can't live without.  I was introduced to this GREAT IDEA at the beginning of the year.  It's genius, really.  It's called The Hosiery Hanger.  And it does, just as its name says. It hangs up your hosiery on a hanger with silk bands!

Now, I don't wear nylons very often, BUT I do have several scarfs and pashminas.  So this was the perfect idea for me.  I love it so much, I gave one to my group of girlfriends that I hang out with once a month!

The idea came from a media acquaintance of mine, Vickie Chase from CTV.  Vickie's story is that she came up with the idea almost 20 years ago now.   She was tired of the clutter of nylons in her drawer so she asked her husband to construct something to sort out the mess.  That's when they came up with the idea... except 20 years ago it wasn't quite as "sophisticated" as it is now.  He went down to the garage and brought up a piece of plumbing pipe with holes in it.  Vickie strung some elastic trough it, glued on a hook on the top, and that's how the first hangar was born.  Thank you for your GREAT IDEA Vickie.  Plus it works AMAZING!

This is a perfect stocking stuffer idea!  If you don't know what to get your mother-in-law or your own mother, she'll love the Hosiery Hanger.  I seriously love mine.  It's in my closet beside the winter coats loaded with my colourful pashminas and scarfs.  No more wasting time trying to find my scarf before heading out the door!  Thank you Hosiery Hanger.  You can visit their website to find a location closest to you!  I got mine at Doo Dads in Marda Loop - 2133 33rd Ave., SW - Ph. (403) 240-3033
My home closet
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Going to the store when you need more diapers is as easy as getting in the car and driving to the store.  My son is 2 now and wearing size 5, so a box of diapers costs between $24 and $38 these days.  All depending where you buy them and what kind of sale they have going on.  Sounds pretty simple to just go and get another box of diapers.

But the reality is, it's not that simple to everyone.  In Calgary, in 2009 there were 17,570 baby items sent out to over 2,900 people.  Who delivered those things?  The ICU2 program with another amazing organization called NeighbourLink with their ICU2 Infants & Children Under 2.  This program is to help babies living in poverty, in Calgary, get the best possible start in life.  Free baby supplies arent just a phone call away for parents who simply can't afford diapers and formula at the same time as they're paying essental bills like rent, utilites and groceries.  By providing low-income families with the items they need to keep their children healthy and happy, NeighbourLink helps them stay in their homes; off the streets and out of shelters.

I was introduced to this outstanding group of people through Role Mothers.  It literally broke my heart to know that there are children in our city who don't have what they need to grow.  Perhaps in the back of my head I knew they were here, but have been too busy to open my eyes to see the problem.  This program just wants to give these children the opportunity to have a good start.  It's even an opportunity for the parents to figure things out.  The ICU2 program is a guiding light than can lead these family in the right direction.  Here is a perfect opportunity to help someone see The Brighter Side.  To find out more about this program visit http://www.neighbourlinkcalgary.ca/

 If ever you've wondered if you've found your soul mate, have a child.
If ever you've wondered if you've been blessed in your life, have a child.
If ever you've wondered if you've made a difference in the world, look through the eyes of a child.
If ever you wondered if you are loved, be a mother.
- Christina Rowsell



Bling Borrowers

Owning a designer handbag is a dream.  But now it’s a reality.  Thanks to the Bling Borrowers!  And now is the time to get something sparkly and shiny for your Christmas parties.

We all fell in love with the fashion in Sex in The City, and now a Canadian company has made THAT fashion easily accessible to you!  How about a gorgeous Coach bag for as little as $16.66 per week on a seasonal rental?  You’ll be the hit of the party.  Everyone will be whispering behind your back saying, “where’d she get that bag?!”  Not only Coach, how about Cole Hahn, Juicy Couture, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace, or Swarovski.  In this picture, I borrowed the Firelight Black Calfskin Clutch from Swarovski.  I needed it for a fancy fundraiser I was going to!

Bling Borrowers was created in Calgary by sisters Jodie and Ginger, who have a weakness for designer goods, but also like saving money!  They were finding that once they invested in a designer item, they would either use the item only a few time, then it would sit in the closet collecting dust.  Or use the item every day to get their money’s worth, until it got old and it was not so chic and fashionable anymore. 

Chanel Calfskin Flag Bag with Mademoiselle Chain
So they figured there had to be a better way!  Why not pay for only what you use?  And so Bling Borrowers was born! 

For the price of one expensive designer handbag, you could rent something different each month for the same price!  That’s like getting 12 handbags (one rental per month) for the price of buying 1!

Kate Spade
New York Champagne Bubbles Spray
You wouldn’t wear the same clothes every day, so why get stuck in the rut of using the same handbag every day.  Change up your look for less and never have buyer’s remorse again!!  Not only handbags, but designer jewelry too! 

It’s an easy online system that anyone can use.  You pick what you want, pay, then it’s shipped to you.  Once your done they send instructions on how to ship it back.  This is the real deal with authentic designer handbags and jewelry!  And I LOVE that it's in Canada!  No more shipping from the US!  

You never looked so good, thanks to Bling Borrowers!  Thanks for the GREAT idea ladies! 

To make your day Brighter too, all you have to do is Like The Brighter Side Facebook page for a chance to win a Bling Borrowers Gift Card value $25 off of a monthly rental or $50 off a Seasonal rental.  A random draw will be made for both cards and a winner will be announced on The Brighter Side Facebook page.  (Winners will be asked to email The Brighter Side.) If you already LIKE The Brighter Side, you're in the draw.  Contest closes at Midnight Tuesday November 15, 2011.

You can follow Bling Borrowers on Twitter and on Facebook and keep up with fashion on their Blog.

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Mo Bro's

Have you noticed an increasingly amount of men in your office sporting a new look? Facial hair!  As most women will say EW… before you hate the Mo, love the idea behind it!  It’s Movember!  Yes it’s official!  Check out the Movember Website for all the details.  

Hurray for these men!  During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer.  There’s a whole list of official rules and regulations on this site, and a link to donate to your favorite Tom Selleck wearing man.  

First Week Mo
2nd Week Mo
My husband and his comrades at work have a team going to raise the funds for this worthy cause.  It’s become quite competitive in the office.  Not only to see who can raise the most amount of money, but who can grow the best stash!  If you feel the need to donate, here’s his link. Click here

But it’s not just for the cause that men are growing these furry friends under their nose.  Some of the men I work with are doing it “just because”.  One colleague of mine suggested that it has always been a bit of a childhood dream to grow a moustache.  It’s not as easy as women may think.  Unless you’re a guy who has to shave twice a day, it may take the whole month for some men to grow something that will look decent. 

Personally, I’m not fond of the Mo.  Perhaps it’s because when I met my husband he had the clean-shaven look.  And now the growth is, well, to put it nicely, EW!  So how do some men pull it off?  My father had one for years, but I met him like that, so I didn’t really notice it until he actually shaved it off when I was an adult.  My father-in-law too.  Again I didn’t notice it until he shaved it off.  As for Tom Selleck, I think his "it" factor is that he has the GREAT hair to go with it!

This whole Movember has helped men bond too.  I’ve seen men giving other men the high five, or a fist pound, and they don’t even know each other!  It’s like they’re all truck drivers giving other truck drivers the wave! 

On The Brighter Side ladies, most men will shave it off December 1st.  AND it was for a good cause.  Who knows, you may grow to love it.  (Not this girl though)
Christina Rowsell

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Role Mothers ~ Giving back

When I moved to Calgary almost 17 years ago now, my first impression of this city was; it’s a big city but a small community.  Meaning, this is a big city, but gives so much, just like a small town.  And 17 years later, that hasn’t changed.  It’s only gotten bigger and better!  And better at giving to those who need it the most. 
Most recently, I was introduced to a program called Role Mothers.  It’s a program designed to celebrate and encourage women; just like you; busy, active moms; who find the time to give back to the communities in which they live.  All the while teaching their children the importance of giving along the way.

Being a “Role Mother” is as simple as identifying an opportunity, giving back to our community and sharing your story.  Weather it’s a small gesture or a massive undertaking, your ideas may inspire other mothers to become “Role Mothers”. 

On their Facebook page, other “Role Mothers” are sharing their stories on how they give back in their families.  Talk about inspiring.  Being a mom myself, and not always having the time to just breathe, let alone volunteer, this organization has given me the push to get out there and help.  AND to instill the importance of giving back to my two boys.  Even if it’s just donating gifts at Christmas for Toy Mountain,  or baking extra food for Made by Momma.  But it doesn’t stop there!  The volunteer options are endless for us in this city.  You just need to find the right one that fits your family and your life!  Thank you Role Mothers for reaching out and helping us to give back to our beautiful city and the wonderful people we live with. 

You can find Role Mothers online at www.rolemothers.ca and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoleMothers. Take a look, and start giving back today. 

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Going Blue 4 U

Living life by seeing the Brighter side isn’t easy.  To the average person, we can make it a choice.  But not everyone can make that choice.  I’m talking about Mental Illness.  Not long ago there was a Mental Illness campaign that tried to get the word out about who Mental Illness affects.  It was a commercial that showed a drawing board with a pointer.  On the drawing board was a picture of Earth.  The message was, Mental Illness can affect anyone, but you can’t always see it.  It’s not a condition you can see.  It’s not a condition you can put a cast on to fix.  It’s not a condition you choose to be in either. 

Just talk to Lee Horbachewski.  She’s a suicide survivor, who lives with depression.  And now Lee is taking a stand to help reduce the stigma and build awareness for Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention.  Her Going Blue 4 U campaign is passionate about raising $40,000 to be donated to local charitable organizations that provide resources and support for Mental Illness.  In Calgary, the funds will support the Distress Centre.  The entire team will all dye their hair blue if they reach their goal.  There are 10 days left for the Going Blue 4 U awareness campaign putting a colorful spin on “The Blues”. 

Mental Illness impacts nearly 6 million Canadians, which is 20% of our population.  Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among Canadians aged 15-24 and 16% of all deaths for the age group 25-44. 

“Together we have the Power to Change and Reduce the Stigma that surrounds Mental Illness and suicide.  The only way we will is by more and more people talking about it without judgment and fear.” 

Lee Horbachewski has a vision:  To Empower You to Shine Bright & Steady, to be Aware, Accept and take Action by living life authentically and realizing you are never alone.”  Truth that you CAN live on The Brighter Side.  It’s not always easy, and you may need a helping hand along the way!
Hold Lee’s hand, and please help her with her vision.  To donate to the Going Blue 4 U campaign, go to www.goingblue4u.ca

Follow on Twitter: @GoingBlue4U_CA #GB4U and Lee @SimpLee_Serene

Website: http://simpleeserene.com/

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simpleeserene1, or https://www.facebook.com/GoingBlue4U

If you require immediate assistance call 9-1-1 or call a 24 Hour Crisis line http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

In Calgary you can contact the 24 Hour Crisis Line provided by the Distress Centre 403.266.HELP (4357) htp://www.distresscentre.com


Live an AMAZING Life: Robyn Beazley

Now this in an inspiring title “Enthusiasm Expert”! Ever wonder where THOSE people get it. Where they get their energy and their constant happiness. I’ve met so many in my life, and I choose to keep them in my life. It’s the people around us that make who we are. Through The Brighter Side I intend to introduce each and every one of them to you.

The first being my friend Robyn Beazley. I say friend, even though we’ve only met a couple of times, and only spoke a handful of times. But from the first time we met, I KNEW she had what I like to call an “infectious personality”. She is someone I just knew I would like to spend more time with.

Robyn Beazley IS “Living and AMAZING Life”. Her mission is “to enthusiastically lead people to discover their potential and live a more fulfilling, positive, amazing life”. Which, at first, took me back a bit. I wasn’t sure if this woman was for real or not. She has THAT MUCH energy. And the more I saw who she was, the more I wanted to be someone in her life.

She is not without her own life challenges, but every life moment she embraces it and doesn’t complain. Robyn is a young woman following her passion. A passion that is near and dear to my heart. Giving. Giving her heart and soul to help others see the brighter side of life. Robyn is a wife, a mother and an “Enthusiasm Expert”.

Robyn Beazley is the author of “Live an Amazing Life” stories that inspire and encourage positive attitude. Because of her book, I’ve been reminded that even in a world of busy challenges, heartbreaking moments, and tough beginnings there’s always a way to look up. She told me things I already knew, but needed to be reminded.

“Live an Amazing Life”: “I encourage you to see the best in every situation and try to find something positive from every situation life throws you”.

From this I’m reminded of my dear brother who passed away. He had a tough life, and had a hard time “living” his life. It was exhausting to me and to my family. I did the best I could for him. And now, I will one day get his name tattooed on the inside of my foot. As a reminder when I put my shoes on, that I’ve never walked in his shoes, therefore I can’t judge anyone. You just never know, the person that exhausts you the most, may just be the one who needs a hug the most.

With that I say thank you to Robyn Beazley for reminding me of the amazing life I do have, and the amazing life I can live. Robyn is a true inspiration and you can also be a part of her infectious personality. She can be found at www.robynbeazley.com and on Facebook.  I encourage you to follow Robyn Beazley.  You'll be inspired!

Living life is never easy. It’s 10% of what happens and 90% of how you choose to react to it. And living on the The Brighter Side is a great place to be.
Robyn is also and Arbonne Independent Consultant: http://www.robynbeazley.myarbonne.com/

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