MAIN northstory notes

northstory notes – Oct 4, 2013

Corn Fields

So. I had fully intended on writing up Parts 2 and 3 of my BlogPodium experience this week and the SheBlogs conference. But then a funny thing happened. The weather in the GTA thought it was August in October and completely messed up my Fall wardrobe. Though it did start to ripen my wall of green tomatoes in my garden.

This week’s highs were temps in the Mid 20’s. That’s Mid 70’s for our neighbours to the South.

That meant being indoors would be a crime. So apple picking was done. Corn field walks were taken. Bike riding happened. Halloween front porch decor projects started. And I am really and I mean really behind in making party decorations for my own daughter’s 3rd birthday this Sunday. And I’m not even having a party for her. That’s besides the point. I promised her a pink cake, with pink balloons, pink sprinkles, pink…etc. It needs to get done. Damn you weather. This will be a 48 hour blitz that I’ll have to blog about in a week or so.

But let’s get onto the best Random Act of Kindness I can think of that happened this past week.

Have you met Karen from The Art of Doing Stuff? Karen was the first blogger I ever followed. I don’t even remember what post led me to her blog but I remember laughing so hard that I kept clicking through entries and pressed Follow instantly in my now defunct WordPress Reader. It wasn’t til I was reading her blog for over a month that I thought hey let’s go see her bio page. And I couldn’t believe I hadn’t even clued in that she was the Karen from my TV screen, who had hosted so many different TV shows over here in Canada. We even had at one point in time worked at the same TV station but our paths never crossed because we were in different departments at different times.

For the record working in television can be best expressed in this quote by my friend Michelle – “It is like being in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship. Every time you try and get out, it sucks you back in even when you know better.” That my friends is TV. If your children one day come to you and go “Oh my God I want to be on TV! I want to be a producer and work with famous people” tell them to STFU and go to medical school. No really. If you can survive a phone call to a New York publicist trying to get an EPK for a story you’re working on, you can make it through anything in your life. Anything. You have not seen it all until you work behind the scenes in television. I can’t even try to explain it. Just go ask a friend to attend their yearly Christmas party at the closest network affiliate TV station you’ve got and get back to me.

So now of course I adored her even more because having worked in the same profession as me, I saw her as someone who changed career directions and made a successful name for herself and her blog who in her own words, and rightly so, has become a commodity online. People love her. They read her advice and they try her DIY’s. She’s real. She makes you laugh. And she doesn’t play into the whole BS “rules of blogging success” game. She just writes what she wants, does her own stuff and people found her and followed her because she is awesome.

Needless to say when I saw her name on the BlogPodium Speakers list for the Art of Monetization, I basically cracked out my Visa and spent a week’s worth of grocery money to go hang onto her every word.

And she gave one of the funniest and most useful presentations of the day. How to make money, what to do to build your readership, what you should never settle for and most importantly why bloggers need to start talking to each other about their incomes and what they make off ads, sponsored posts and so forth. Because what that does is prevents other bloggers from being taken advantage of by companies and being undersold.

For Example:

BlogPodium notes

After the presentation was over, I did the whole photo op with her where we swapped business cards. And given that Halloween is coming up, it’s quite hilarious that I am holding her awesome book mark with the cleaver in my hand. Only because it’s Halloween. Not because of some twisted metaphorical reason. And I am mentioning it because I know you’re going to notice that.

PS – I warned you I am freakishly tall.

BlogPodium Notes me and Karen

But all that is just the middle of the cake.

The icing is after BlogPodium she posted a blog entry where I just did my regular reader comment and said thanks for taking the time to meet me.

And then she did this:

A&K convo

Do I even need to say more?

I mean come on now. When you’re one of Canada’s Top Bloggers, writing that to your audience for a new blogger like myself is beyond awesome. This situation is made even more serendipitous seeing as the supplies I ordered to make the business cards from came from Lee Valley Tools, a company that Karen has just started working with as a Contributor for their newsletter. All of which neither of us knew about.

You know what that means? I now have an overdue DIY post on how I made them to get done and written up on here. As soon as I get all the spray glue adhesive that I used to make them off my hands.

But seriously Karen thank you. When you start your blog consults, sign me up.

In this week’s northstory notes:

I accidentally discovered Skoope Home‘s shop this week via my friend Gilit from Shoes Off Please on Instagram. I mean damn. Go buy something!

As if you need to encourage my Halloween decor and craft habit, Modge Podge Rocks made these.

I am trying to do a gothic Alice In Wonderland style porch for Halloween this year and when I saw Jo-Anna’s wreath I thought now that would work.

I have a deep love for all things wood grain and natural wood and this IKEA hack is so something I would do. If I could master the miter saw in the garage.

Censational Girl is giving away some really beautiful tea towels. Go Enter!

All Things Simple made pumpkins out of sweater sleeves that are ridiculously cute.

I should make plans to have a Halloween party and these should be how I do the invites.

My friend Victoria needs no introduction but this last post I think I woke up the kids with my laughter while reading. The pictures alone. I mean my God woman can I hire you to be my PR?

Happy Weekend!


  • Reply
    Dani @ lifeovereasy
    October 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I loved hearing Karen’s talk, too. I have also been following her for a while, and I felt the same way about her as you did. So awesome when you finally meet someone you have liked virtually and they turn out to be even better in person. I felt her talk was genuinely aimed at helping us move forward. Loved that! Saw your shoutout – congrats. You will have to post pics of those cards now!

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      There’s a line in a Metric song that says We should never meet our heros and this has been proven to me time and time again when it comes to everyone from writers to actors etc. Because the illusion is almost always better than the real life. I think the sign of a good blogger is how similar they are in real life to what you read on the pages of their site. And she was exactly the same. It was as if she was writing a blog entry when she was speaking. And that to me is very important b/c it shows so much of how being yourself can actually resonate with people vs trying to pretend be a blogger that you’re not.

      Yes tutorial. I really should write these ideas down somewhere. Other than here of course.

      • Reply
        Dani @ lifeovereasy
        October 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        So true – she talked exactly as she wrote. That’s a really good point. It is something I really struggle with, and I’m trying to work on. Easy for me to talk to anyone, but so hard to write it that way. Lots to learn!

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    October 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I’m so jealous that you are having a sunny fall. Our weather has skipped from summer straight into winter and I’m dying to hit up the corn maze and apple orchard. Seriously, fall in Oregon is the only thing that makes up for the other nine months of continuous rain. Whine!!!!

    Love that you got to meet Karen in person and that she is as cool in real life as she is on her blog!

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      That’s what will happen here too. Give it another 2 weeks and this summery crap will be all Hi Winter and I’ll be going to Pumpkin Patches in my thrifted Sorels…

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    October 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    We are having Augtober too, although I think it is scheduled to end tonight.

    I am assuming do pickle chips are a Canadian thing? I have never heard of them.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Wait what? Do they have ketchup chips in the US yet?? Damn. I need to do a post on this.

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    October 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Good for you for livin’ it up in the great outdoors. That’s the place to be when the temps are in the 70s. We’re inching there…slowly but surely. And I am SO ready, sistah.

    Also, loved learning about the serendipitous connections between you and Karen; she sounds like a gem…and I love it when the “big bloggers” are generous with their learning and wisdom. Oh, and I thought that your description of her (“She’s real. She makes you laugh. And she doesn’t play into the whole BS “rules of blogging success” game. She just writes what she wants, does her own stuff and people found her and followed her because she is awesome.”)…well, that reminded me of you. Yes, YOU are awesome and the fact that you don’t follow the rules and write from your heart and make us chuckle, well, that’s what makes Northstory the place to be. ‘Nuff said.

    Also, thanks for sending me over to read Victoria’s post. I loved every single word.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I’ve noticed something as of late – in that the people that I follow and even the random bloggers I discovered and decided to follow all somehow know another blogger that I read and love. I’ll notice their name (yours included) in the comments and I think no that’s not a coincidence. Because I feel like Like Minded people with the same values, writing, goals, humour will all find each other. It’s as if there is a next generation circle happening. I don’t know if I am explaining it correctly. But def read them both, they’re so funny!

  • Reply
    Tara @ Suburble
    October 5, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Oh, you got to meet Karen?!?! So lucky! (And so tiny, apparently! I can’t imagine that you and I much different in height!)

    I’m going to have to pick your mind – and your notes – for all of your BlogPodium notes. It looks like you got some good stuff, girl.

    And we’re very much NOT having a warm October. It’s mostly wet… with a side of puddles.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      You gotta come next year! 🙂 I’ll email you anything you want to know b/c by the time I get the posts written it will be Xmas.

  • Reply
    Thalita @ The Learner Observer
    October 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    See? I told you you’re one of the cool kids. Friends with the likes of Karen and Victoria… that’s totally awesome! Have I already told you that I love your Northstory Notes?
    I tell you that every time I comment on one?
    Well that’s because I love them.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Oh hardly cool – though I do like Sara K’s mantra of how she attracts only the cool bloggers. I told her I am going to put that on my business card.

      I love writing these the most. Go figure eh? It seems logical. Pay happiness forward, get it back in return.

      So we need to carpool to Lynne’s no?

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I love when someone you think is cool thinks you’re cool too. It’s nice.
    Also I’m thinking I need to move to Canada…if nothing else just to see how “freakishly” tall you are. And your business cards in person.
    I love Skoope Home and I’m so happy you’re sharing! You guys should actually be friends because you both make me laugh and that is basically all you need to build a deep friendship on “you make Gilit laugh? Me too!” #instantbesties

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Nice weather ruins everything, doesn’t it? 😉

    Next time I see you I’ll bring the dill pickle chips!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    That photo of your girls in the corn field is amazing! What a fall we’re having! Funny you should mention Karen because hers is also one of the first blogs I read too…I’ve learned so much from her…especially that I need to value my work as a blogger. She’s so great!

    P.S. Thanks so much for the shout out!

    And on a side note it was SO SO SO great to meet you last week! SO great! 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Sweetsuite10
    October 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I think Karen’s was my favourite presentation at Blogpodium – useful information with added humour – a winning combo. It’s was so nice to see she’s as funny in person as she seems in her blog posts.
    i saw her shout out to you in her comments – so jealous! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kay @ Hey Mama
    October 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    🙂 i hope you post photos of the pink birthday! my youngest is obsessed with pink. i really love that photo of your girls. they’re adorable.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I’m glad you took advantage of being outside, I had to stay in and felt completely guilty the whole weekend!

    I wasn’t able to see Karen’s presentation, but I will def. be checking out her blog- thanks for the referral 🙂

  • Reply
    Tash @ The Dreamhouse Project
    October 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Karen was absolutely by far the highlight of the day! Hilarious – but SO useful. That and the fact that we were all on a giggling high from the sound of April’s bells going in to her seminar. But I love that she’s so just so real. I actually discovered Karen’s blog from one of your tweets so I should really thank you. Her posts are what I hoard and then binge on when I’m in need of a good laugh 🙂

  • Reply
    It's me. Karen.
    June 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Alex et al, I’m a bit late here but I wanted to say thanks. Oddly enough I don’t really think of myself as a big blogger, lol. but I guess I’m getting there. I’m truly happy to help and sincerely glad you liked my talk last year and got something out of it. Have fun at Blogpodium this year!

  • Leave a Reply to Alex Cancel reply