What’s Up? Back to Basics.

I haven’t posted anything in awhile, and there are a couple of reasons for that.  I’d like to say that it was because I was SO busy that I just didn’t get around to it.  But that’s a lie.  There’s always time to work on something you love, no matter how busy you are.  I am busy, sure.  But the real truth is, I fell out of love a little bit.  I needed to take a step back and figure out where I was going and what I was doing.

I originally started this blog as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.  I wanted to use it as a vehicle to record my thoughts and my photos.  I really didn’t think it would grow the way it did.  I started getting lots of emails from strangers (nice strangers) looking to connect, promote their businesses and join forces.  People were offering me free stuff to review, which was great and all, but it got to be too much for me.  It became a JOB, and I really didn’t need another one of those.

So we’re going back to basics.  I’ll blog when I want and about what I want.  If people don’t like it, well, they don’t have to read it.  I am no longer accepting guest posts, contests, giveaways, endorsements or anything similar.  I’m going to write about us, about life as a dreamer, and I’m going to brag about my kids.  It’s what I do best.

Oh, remember what I said in my first sentence?  That there were a couple of reasons why I’ve stepped back from the blog a bit lately?  Well, there’s another reason.  Something new and exciting is coming up, but I can’t tell you yet.  You’ll have to wait until the New Year :)

*NO, I’m not pregnant, nor are we expecting any new people or pets into our home.  We are not moving, we are not buying a new car, and nobody is switching jobs.  You’ll have to keep guessing.

A MONTH OF GIVEAWAYS! Week 6 – I Dream in Colour… Do You? (Bonus Week!!)

Yup, we’ve got a bonus week here!  We’ve had an incredible month here at the TestosterZone, hosting giveaways from a bunch of lovely ladies.  And now, we’ve snuck in one more!

Amy was scheduled to have her giveaway on here a few weeks ago, but a little something called “having a BABY” happened to her!!  And we all know what happens when a new little bundle comes home; they kind of make you put things on hold for awhile!  Amy barely missed a beat though.  She’s still running her business, and we still got her giveaway on here.  Before we get into Amy’s business, I would like to wish her a huge congratulations on her new baby, and a super big thanks for sending a little something out to one of our lucky readers!

Here’s a little bit about Amy’s business, I Dream In Colour… Do You?

(PS. Isn’t that a fabulous name for a business?  Love it!)

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I Dream In Colour… Do You? opened officially in April 2012, but Amy’s been making and selling jewelry for over 10 years.
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She started making “girly” things like tutus and clips when her daughter was born in May, 2011.  She is very creative and is constantly trying out new ideas, arts and crafts.
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Located in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia, Amy is now officially a Mom of three: a 5-year old boy, a 2-year old girl and a new baby boy!  She sells many different styles of earrings and jewelry, as well as hairclips, hair bands and tutus :)
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Amy also makes custom pieces, so if you have something in mind, please do not hesitate to contact her.  She has created pieces for several wedding parties, including her own :)
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She uses only quality North American made non-toxic, flame retardant, soft tulle for her tutus. All ear wires are hypo-allergenic surgical steel and occasionally, silver plated (it would say so in the item description) She takes pride in creating quality, beautiful yet affordable pieces.
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Amy can be reached through her Facebook page here, or by email: IDream.in.Colour@outlook.com
Amy’s hair clips, bands and tutus and some jewellery can also be found at the Merry Go Round Consignment Boutique, in Timberlea, Nova Scotia.
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This week, Amy has been kind enough to offer a girl’s gift set, which includes a headband (fits infant to teen) 6 alligator clips with no-slip hair grips, and a clip holder to hang on the wall.
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Aren’t they sweet?  If I had girls, I’d be all over this one!!
Click on the link below to enter.  We will be choosing a winner at random on MONDAY!!

>>>>>a Rafflecopter giveaway<<<<<

Good luck, and have a great week!!

A MONTH OF GIVEAWAYS!!! Week 5 – Lyndsay Doyle Photography

If you’re just joining us here at the TestosterZone, we’ve been hosting weekly giveaways for the entire month of July.  It’s been amazing spending the month with some truly amazing women (you can get caught up here, here, here and here).

Hosting these giveaways has been a fun way for me to take a little break from writing while giving you guys something cool to look forward to every week.  BUT, like all good things, the giveaways must come to an end {booooooo!}

SO, for our very last week of giveaways, I’m featuring a little giveaway from moi, Lyndsay Doyle, owner of Lyndsay Doyle Photography and owner of this little bloggy.  Did you really think I wasn’t going to sneak myself in there somehow?!  Here we go….

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As a self-proclaimed “cheese-less” photographer, I hate using words like “passion” and “dream.”  Because although I feel as though you should choose a career you love, I also believe that it takes a lot of hard work, patience and a realistic vision and plan.  When people say things like “follow your dreams,” I want to yell back at them, “NO!  Work hard!  Put in your time!  And maybe take a business course!”

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I always knew that I wanted to be a photographer.  I just knew.  But I was brought up to believe that sometimes, you have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get to where you want to be.

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Growing up, I was an artist, through and through.  I was always drawing, painting, reading, and writing.  I would invite friends over and ask them if they wanted to curl up on the couch and read a book (yup, I was a barrel of fun).  I couldn’t help it.  I was drawn to stories, storytelling and story creating.  And it was when I started sneaking photos with my Mom’s camera, that I discovered storytelling through photos.

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Having a real career as a real photographer entered my mind after my Griffin was born almost six years ago.  As a storyteller and obsessive documenter who just happened to own a camera, everything started to come together.  What if I could combine all the things I love, and do it as a JOB?!

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It hit me hard.  As I was snapping away during my maternity leave,  I knew that someday, I would help other families document their memories too.  BUT, I had a family, and responsibilities and bills to pay.  And I already had a great job.  So I waited.  And I studied.  And I practiced.  And I waited…

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In 2009, we lost a baby at 12 weeks’ gestation.  To say it changed a lot of things in our lives is an understatement.  Griffin was 18 months old, we had a new house (translation: we didn’t have much money) and because we were expecting a new baby; things were very, very busy; and maybe even a little stressful.  Losing that baby made us realize a couple of things.  We realized that life can change incredibly fast, and we realized that we needed to do more things that made us happy.  Sad as it was, that year of our lives was pivotal.  We sold our house, we traveled, and I finally started the business that I had already created in my head.  That summer, I launched Lyndsay Doyle Photography.

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As I watched Griffin grow, I became acutely aware of the importance of capturing memories.  Because life can change so quickly, photos and videos can be all that is left at the end.  In 2011, we welcomed a second son, Jace to our family.  And he made life even better (and even busier!)  I was working full time at the office, and evenings and weekends photographing families and weddings.  We were also renovating our new home (4 homes in 5 years…) Life crept up on us again, and we were swamped and stressed.

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When Griffin started school this year, we took a leap of faith, and I left my full-time job to be a photographer.  ONLY a photographer.  Faith is the only way to explain it because we had no idea what to expect.  And it worked, and it’s still working.  I’m able to pursue my love of helping families document their lives, and at the same time, I get to be present in my own.  I took the long way around, but after 10 years of working in an office and simply dreaming of being a photographer, I did it.  And I plan to do it for a long time.

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My photographic style is journalistic and real.  I like to capture families being themselves, kids with dirt on their faces, and family pets in the photo.  I shoot weddings and engagements, new babies and grandparents.  I like relationships and I love love :)  I want families to look back on the photos I’ve taken, and say “Oh, I loved when the kids were that age!” and “I’m so happy we have these photos.”  Because that’s my job.

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To see more photos, and to learn more about me and my photography, check out my website:

www.lyndsaydoyle.ca

or my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/LyndsayDoylePhotography

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And now for the giveaway part – YAY!!!

For the very last giveaway, I am happy to be offering a beautiful keepsake photo pendant to one lucky reader!

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Photo pendants are a special way to keep a loved one close to your heart.  Kind of like a locket left open for the world to see :)  Valued at $40, these pendants are a fabulous gift for birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or my favorite, wedding showers.  Each pendant comes with a chain and is gift wrapped in a pretty box.  With a photo of your choice inside, you can keep it for yourself or give it to someone special.  You can read more about my photo pendants on my website.

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Click on the link below to enter the contest:

One winner will be chosen randomly on Friday.  Worldwide shipping is included, so feel free to enter from wherever you live!!

>>>>>a Rafflecopter giveaway<<<<<
Good luck and have a great week!!!

A MONTH OF GIVEAWAYS!!! Week 4 – Simply Sweet Bakery

We are nearing the end of our month of giveaways, and let me tell you, this has been FUN!  I’m having a great time learning about other businesses and love the support they’ve been receiving from my readers.  You can get caught up on week #1, week #2 and week #3 by clicking on these links.

Up this week, it’s Simply Sweet Bakery, based out of Hatchet Lake, Nova Scotia.

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Simply Sweet Bakery has officially been around for five years, although Holly has been baking for well over 25 years – or as she says “as soon as I was allowed near the stove!”

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While Holly focusses mainly on cakes, she also bakes tons of other goodies, including cookies, squares, loaves and cheesecakes (um, YUM!)

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Holly is giving away a $40.00 gift certificate from Simply Sweet Bakery to one of our lucky readers; good for a $40.00 cake or to be put toward a cake of their choice.  How awesome is that?!

Simply Sweet Bakery is located in Hatchet Lake, NS, but Holly is willing to meet anywhere in the greater Halifax area for delivery!

Click on the link below to enter the giveaway!  Mmmmmm….. Caaaaake :)

>>>>>a Rafflecopter giveaway<<<<<

Good luck!  See you back here on Friday when we choose a winner!!

Contact Simply Sweet Bakery for more info on all your baking needs: holly.collier@hotmail.ca

A MONTH OF GIVEAWAYS!!! Week 3 – The Spoiled Soother

We’re really on a roll now, aren’t we?!  I’m loving this giveaway thing!  You can catch up on week #1 here, and week #2 here.

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This week, we’re featuring another lovely Mommy-owned business, The Spoiled Soother.  Abbey Matheson specializes in making trendy, cute accessories for girls and boys.  One of the reasons I love The Spolied Soother so much is because it is so rare to find cute little things for cute little boys (trust me, I know!)  And I’m in love with her little toddler belts – SO cute!

I caught up with Abbey recently to gather up some more info on this super business.  Here’s what I learned about her, and The Spoiled Soother (written by Abbey).

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When Abbey’s daughter was born back in 2010 she soon learned about the accessory world that is now out there for girls. Living in Northern Saskatchewan at the time they travelled home frequently to Nova Scotia while Olivia was a baby. Olivia loved her soother but if it dropped in a dirty airport when there was a 4 hour car ride and 6 hour flight ahead that would doom the whole trip. So she set out to buy a soother clip at a large toy store (assuming they would have many pretty things to choose from) to find they only had ONE option. This one option had a flimsy clip, and easily undoable Velcro, even for a baby. Abbey tends to be crafty (she is an elementary school teacher after all) so she thought, “I am sure we can make something!”  After a few online searches for what she might need she started making soother clips. However when she bought a whole roll of ribbon to make just one for her daughter she had lots left and started making others for friends who had babies.

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A soother clip was a practical need but the world of hair clips and hair accessories soon came into play, and again when she went to purchase these items in stores, realized they weren’t easily found, especially in a remote location! So again she set out to start making hair accessories. Because this was becoming an obsession, friends and family would say, “you should sell them!”  And just like that The Spoiled Soother was born :)1004614_597678053605915_902051936_n

In the last 3 years the product line has grown along with her family. She now has a son and found the need to make cute things for boys as well! She is also back home living in Porters Lake Nova Scotia. What started off as a hobby making soother clips and hair clips, now includes toddler belts, tie shirts, mitten clips, a variety of accessory holders for the wall and her own invention, the clip clutch, for use while traveling.  Her latest product is birthday shirts!

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She loves custom orders and trying out new ideas! You can find Abbey at various craft shows around Nova Scotia but her products are also available in 4 stores, Spoil Me Rotten in Berwick, Tummy to Mummy in Mahone Bay, Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in Bedford, and Enchanted Forest in Truro. You can also buy directly from her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thespoiledsoother and she has recently decided to reopen her Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheSpoiledSoother

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Abbey Matheson lives in Porters Lake Nova Scotia with her husband Graham and children Olivia (3) and Logan (22 mos). When she is not burning her fingers on her glue gun you can find her as a substitute teacher in schools around the HRM.

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GIVEAWAY TIME!

The Spoiled Soother is proud to offer a toddler belt to a very lucky reader!  Yay!

Toddler belts fit waist sizes between 18-24 inches. They can be made as small as needed, but fit the typical 6 month to 4 year old. They can be made larger by request. Can also be made with a Velcro closure too to help the potty training age to get off faster!

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Aren’t they sweet?  LOVE the chevron pattern :)

Enter the contest by clicking on the link below and following the instructions.  We will be randomly choose a winner on Friday!

>>>>>a Rafflecopter giveaway<<<<<

Good luck, and have a great week!