Not all Bloggers Wear Capes: BlogJam Atlantic 2017 Recap

That’s right. I said it. Bloggers are basically super heroes.

Why? You ask.

Well, first of all, because they are BRAVE AS EFF. Bloggers have the guts to bare their souls on the interwebs for all to consume and critique and criticize. You might be thinking “um how is posting a recipe or a furniture DIY being brave?” And to that I say, “Because they’re showing you their creativity! They’re showing you what works for them, what doesn’t, what they like, how they do it, and it’s all out their for your consumption.”

Blogging is 1 part creative writing, 1 part tech savvy, 1 part visual design, 1 part engagement, and 1 part heart-on-your-sleeve. 

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At BlogJam Atlantic this year, not only did we have an amazing audience of these blogging super heroes, but we also had a line up of amazingly brave folks who stood up to share their stories, give some tips, answer some questions, and generally give the audience a great time. BIG shout outs to all the speakers who took a deep breath and stood up on the BlogJam stage.

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This year we were so fortunate to have some amazing special Keynote speakers including the Maritime Bhangra Dancers who helped us start the day with a “Bhang(ra)” by sharing what fuels their passion. Then we had the extraordinary Elayna Fernández, the Positive MOM, deliver a dynamic morning Keynote before breaking for a whole day of concurrent sessions. Our jam-packed Event wrapped up with a great presentation by Candace Derickx of Life in Pleasantville who shared some fantastic insight on behalf of Sunwing – the audience just ate it up!

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Of course, all this magic was captured by the one and only Michelle Doucette, who has a talent for photography that is second to none. Oh, and she is a blogger too. Obvi.

I have SO MUCH MORE to share and learned so much but I’ll be breaking out my ideas into several future posts. Stay tuned and be sure to check out the other blog post recaps by attendees by following BlogJam on Facebook and Twitter.

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Budget Friendly Allergen Free Halloween Treats That Don’t Suck

For the most part, we all know that Halloween is about the C-A-N-D-Y, but it can never hurt to have a few options for those kids who don’t have a sweet tooth. I’ll have to admit, that even when I was little, I was always delighted to receive goodies that were not the typical fun-sized chocolate bar. Houses that offered gum, stickers, or the JACKPOT, a whole can of pop, were always my personal favourite.

These days there are also those wee ones who have an array of food allergies that prevent them from enjoying many of the popular teats. As a lactose-intolerant gal, I totes get it. Still, there’s no reason they can’t also have some super fun goodies to score while trick-or-treating, eh?

First Up, Sweet Treats

I was walking through the aisles of the grocery store, looking for something that was nut free and gluten free but still something that would be fun for the kids to get.

 

I spotted these hilarious “Dinos and Sharks” fruit snacks and they checked a bunch of the must-haves for allergen-sensitive kiddos: no artificial flavor or synthetic colours and they’re gluten free. Oddly enough I’m also kinda pleased that they’re a product of Canada – no idea why though. I got them from a German grocery chain in an American city!

These were $2.99 for 24 packs.

Favourite Characters

It’s been a few years since my babysitting and swim coaching days so I’m, admittedly, a wee bit removed from kiddie culture. Still, I know it’s a generally safe rule of thumb to go with characters that seem to have recent movies.

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Here we’ve got a great mixture of random fun stuff, including:

  • Spider-Man magic towel
  • Notepad with the chick from Frozen – the one with the ice queen powers
  • Basketball iron-on patch
  • 3 Trolls pens – opened to make 3 individual treats
  • Minions sticker game thing
  • A bunch of glowstick bracelets (15) – opened but not pre-snapped
  • Gel cling of the less badass sister from Frozen
  • Shopkins Gel Cling
  • 2 Shopkins erasers – undecided if these should be split up or not

So, here’s the inside scoop: I got all these new-in-package, unopened and unused from…..Goodwill! Bet ya didn’t see that coming!

Some of the thrift stores around Baltimore have a good selection of new, overstock products from stores like Target. This one had a bin of goodies for 57¢ each! It took some digging but I think I have a jackpot of goodies for Halloween!

That makes $5.13 for 25 treats.

Other Inexpensive Non-Sucky Suggestions

  • Halloween pencils
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Bubbles
  • Plastic fangs
  • Bouncy balls

Of course, I have a bag of fun-sized chocolate for the traditionalists.

What allergy-sensitive treats to suggest for those on a budget?

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My Pumpkin Spiced Nightmare

I’ve never been particularly enamoured with pumpkin. The only exception I can recall is a delicious pumpkin ice cream pie that my aunt used to make for family gatherings.

When I first tried the now-infamous pumpkin spiced latte in 2010, I was immediately turned off by the weird peachy colour and sweet pumpkin taste. Because of this, I was – and continue to be – shocked by the meteoric rise in popularity.

But hey, drink what you love!

I shouldn’t be surprised by how many other brands have jumped on the trend and yet, there are SO MANY pumpkin-flavoured products in the aisles these days. It’s insanity!

When did October become a pumpkin spiced hellscape?

You think I’m kidding around?

Some products, granted, make sense to have autumnal flavours.

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But others are totally bizarre! Pumpkin milk? Pumpkin margarine? Are you joking?

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And if you think this trend isn’t bleeding into non-food avenues, you haven’t witnessed the horror that is this pumpkin spice latte handbag.

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I’m a fan of Betsey Johnson, but this is so not my cup of tea (or coffee, for that matter)!

Please, someone wake me up from this cinnamon scented nightmare!

What’s the most unnecessarily pumpkin product you’ve spotted this season?

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