Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blog Review: Meet the blogger who is improving his community one post a time

Photo courtesy of West Side Action from post: "Albert Street reconstruction – Back to the Future?"
This post first appeared in Apartment613.

Eric Darwin is one of the best reporters in Ottawa covering urban affairs. Not bad for someone who does not call himself a journalist, who is not part of the mainstream and alternative press, and who only launched his must-read blog West Side Action after retiring seven years ago.

In today’s Internet age, news reporting is being radically redefined. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to know about development projects in the National Capital Region or planning decisions at City Hall, a daily newspaper, local TV news show or a talk radio program were your primary (if not only) sources of news.

Fast forward to today, and there are numerous blogs, online forums and web sites by community associations that provide crucial information on changes to local neighbourhoods. While some people might object to calling these online sources “news”, the reality is that they are just as useful as the Ottawa Citizen, CBC radio, CTV news or the Ottawa Sun.

Consider the blog West Side Action, a fantastic site that contains important information that often does not appear in the mainstream press. As a longtime reader of Darwin’s work, I would argue that his reporting is just as good, if not better, than many professional journalists who are paid to cover municipal affairs.

During a 30-minute phone interview, Darwin gave me several examples of how bloggers/community activists can use the blogosphere to improve their neighbourhoods. One example he gave is the recent construction of the multi-use pathway (MUP) next to the O-Train corridor.
Eric Darwin

“When the city started getting advice from their internal bicycle group they saw (the MUP) as a great way to get people from the south to downtown. They saw it as a strict bicycle path,” says Darwin. ”But what about the little old ladies? The mother with the two-year-old who is going berserk and needs to sit down …. Where do teenagers go to kiss?”

Through his blog posts and community activism, Darwin pushed for practical improvements to the MUP. The results were noticeable: rock clusters that acted as benches were installed so pedestrians could sit down; lighting was put in place to allow for nighttime use of the path.

“If you ride on the O-Train corridor now you see people sitting on (the rock benches),” says Darwin, who is also the vice-president of the Dalhousie Community Association. ”It’s what makes it friendly. It makes it feel like you are not on a highway, a bicycle highway.”

For Darwin, the magic of blogging is that it can spawn public discussions that are often not possible with traditional mainstream news reports. To support this view, he pointed to the proposed construction of the Hickory Street pedestrian bridge over the O-Train tracks.

When the original proposal came out Darwin wrote about it on his blog. His reporting questioned the dimensions of the proposed bridge and argued that it could be significantly improved.

“The Citizen would not report that the bridge is this dimension,” he tells me. ”They would just say that it’s going to council and that it passed. Some councilors may be happy with this level of detail.”

Darwin was able to get into a much greater level of specificity with his blog. After offering different suggestions and contacting local developers, who are set to pay part of the cost of building the bridge, the proposal was modified.

These grassroots, street-level discussions are not what professional journalists usually engage in. Thanks to local bloggers like Darwin, however, citizens in the National Capital Region are increasingly finding ways to participate in urban planning discussions, and in the process bring real change to their communities.

“The value of the blog is giving a view to smaller people, and minority voices, that are not part of the conversation,” says Darwin.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Blog Review: I Adore Food (and a good sleep too)

Alexandra Corriveau
This post first appeared in Apartment613.

Eating and sleeping are some of life’s greatest pleasures. In our fast-paced world, however, many of us don’t pay enough attention to what we put in our mouth, or for that matter the beds on which we sleep.

Local blogger Alexandra Corriveau is someone who spends a lot of time thinking about food and mattresses. In fact, you can say that she was born into the dream business.

“We make organic and custom mattresses,” says Corriveau about Obasan, her family’s business that is based in Ottawa. ”Organic meaning that we use organic wool, organic cotton, and natural rubber.”

The company, she tells me, sources their wool from Argentina, cotton from Peru and rubber from Sri Lanka. This experience of working with natural materials from around the world got Corriveau thinking about how people eat, and what she could do to promote good food.

“What goes into your mouth is very important,” she tells me in a phone interview. “So I started researching how our food is grown.”

This exploration of food production was one of the reasons she created I Adore Food, a foodie blog filled with recipes, travel posts, product reviews and fun food facts. The site has also had contests in the past.

Alex 2
If you are looking for some kitchen inspiration, then this site can tell you how to make many delicious meals. For instance, the roasted blueberries, maple pecans and chèvre crostinis sound lovely, as does the creamy dijon and chicken linguine.

People with a sweet tooth, meanwhile, will be in heaven, as there are tips on how to make such savoury treats as lemon and lavender curd frozen yogurt, and the scrumptious sounding hazelnut and vanilla cake.

Eating great food, however, is not limited to what is on your plate.

“Food is not only about eating well, it’s also about getting family and friends together and this is one of the main reasons why I love cooking/baking,” Corriveau tells me in an email that she sent following our phone conversation.

“I love picking each veggie/fruit, thinking about what i’m going to make with it. Cooking is really the best form of art (in my opinion) because you get to eat your masterpiece after you’ve finished making it!”

Interested in promoting Ottawa’s culinary scene, Corriveau plans to start another blog soon in which she will post reviews of local restaurants, cafés and food-related boutiques.

“When I went over to Europe I fell in love with our city, with all the restaurants that we have,” says Corriveau during our phone interview.

Finding this comment curious, I ask her to explain. Corriveau replies that during a recent extended trip to Europe, she started noticing online all the news about Ottawa’s growing culinary options. Seeing how Ottawa’s food scene was growing, she became excited to document all of the changes.

“I’m a food nerd, what can I say!” she later adds in her follow-up email.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer loving: Sporadic posts until September

Readers of this site will have noticed that I have been an infrequent blogger these past couple of months. After trying to juggle family commitments, work and summer fun, it has became clear that I cannot focus on this blog at the moment. Nevertheless, I do plan to publish the occasional post, and to come back with regular posts in September after labour day.  In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blogging Chefs: Recipes from the local blogosphere

Photo by miamism courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

I was hoping to publish this yesterday for a Recipe Sunday post but other commitments got in the way.  Now that I have a few moments, however, here are some culinary suggestions by area bloggers.


Looking for a fun way to start your day?  Try these banana pancakes from Tea for Two Sisters.

Lunch / Dinner and Drinks

Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures cooks up yummy BBQ foil pack potatoes.

Food Gypsy can teach you how to whip up a muhammara red pepper dip.

After the Kids Leave has a chilled avocado soup recipe that can cool a hot summer day.

Speaking about beating the summer heat, Pep In Your Step shares the secret for making a super fruit pomegranate smoothie.

Barrhaven Bits has another thirst quenching suggestion with a recipe for punch.


Bacon Avec Bacon explains how to make the delicious sounding Andes mint chocolate chunk ice cream.

Culinarilyinclined has a post on how to prepare a blueberry tart.

Double Trouble Kitchen Edition offers tips for baking a flourless chocolate hazelnut cake.

If you like your sweet to be gluten free, you should check out the National Capital Vegetarian Association post on gluten-free donuts.

La Cuisine d'Hélène has a post on the delicious sounding fruit parfait with maple syrup.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cycling in Ottawa

Photo by Urban Commuter courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

It's summertime, which means that people are happily pedaling outside on their bicycles.  To celebrate Ottawa's great cycling culture here are some bike-related posts from area bloggers.

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CSC) celebrate the 40,000 bicycle that was parked at Bluesfest.  In a second post, the CSC blog notes marking mistakes on the bicycle lane near the Museum of Civilization

Modal Mom has a long post on the debate at City Council to convert Main street into a complete street.  "Main Street is one of the first major street reconstructions in Ottawa where the preferred design includes a segregated cycletrack, an upgrade to standard width sidewalks and a reduced vehicle lane capacity in the rush hours to prevent rampant speeding in the off-peak hours," the post begins, before offering a detailed overview of the recent debate on the proposed project that took place at the city's Transportation Committee.

Finally, Green Living Ottawa has some links for different bike-related info in our city.  While the aim of the post was to advertise a new documentary called Bike City, Great City, which was screened earlier this week at the Mayfair Theatre, the post is still worth reading for its links.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review Friday: Junk food, horror and young adult fiction

Photo by KellBailey courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Here are some book reviews taken from the local blogosphere.  Enjoy and happy summer reading!

Health and Nutrition

Weight Matters gives two thumbs up to Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.  "Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Michael Moss has laid out the foundation and blueprints of the inevitable future raft of class action lawsuits targeting the food industry for knowingly and scientifically designing products that encourage their over-consumption despite their known and well understood risks," reads the review. "As for my endorsement - simply put - if you eat food you should read this book."


Ottawa horror writer Mandy DeGeit gives a glowing review of Cannibal Fat Camp by Mark C. Scioneaux and David C. Hayes.  Here is a synopsis from Mandy's post:
Miles Landish has a “huge” problem. Miles loves food. He eats when he’s hungry and eats when he’s not. Aside from the excess weight and health problems, his love of food has made him a social outcast. His appetite is so severe he can’t control himself if he knows there’s food around. When the high school principal catches Miles in a not-so-flattering moment amidst a trail of stolen lunches, Miles is referred to a doctor who sells Miles on the idea of attending a fat camp called Camp Tum Tum.
At first glance Camp Tum Tum is like all other fat camps. Every camper is overweight, subjected to controlled calories, lots of exercise and in Camp Tum Tum’s case, complete seclusion on an island.
Lose weight or lose weight, there are no other options here. At least until the counsellors are found dead, leaving the campers in charge. The only thing on their starving minds is: “LET’S EAT!”
How many hours do people read a day in different countries?

Interesting post from the Ottawa Sun column The Bookworm that answers this question.

Young Adult Fiction

As usual, readers of young adult novels have several posts to look at.  A Glass of Wine gives mixed reviews to Splintered by A.G. Howard, i.e. the characters are hard to relate to, while everything else is quite good.

Feeling a Little Bookish recommends Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith. "[T]his book is anything but lighthearted," says the post. "It actually deals with mental illness and a young girl's descent into an episode. Kiri is a young pianist who is left home alone for a few weeks. One of her first nights alone she receives a call from a stranger saying that he has her dead sister's items for her."  This call starts a chain of events that takes Kiri on a tailspin.

Emilie's Book World also has good things to say about When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, a novel about a young man named Danny whose mother dies.  "When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew," explains the review.  "So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew."

Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf gives two thumbs down to Life’s a Witch by Brittany Geragotelis.  "I received this book for reviewing purposes, and I thank the publishers for the opportunity but I really couldn’t get through it at all. I am not going to read the next book," says the review. 

Lost at Midnight Reviews was more upbeat, calling That Summer by Sarah Dessen "awesome."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Food trucks, restaurants and coffee shops

Photo of Play food & wine, 1 York Street,
by Lazy Artist courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Looking for a new place to eat out? Fear not, as the list below reveals what local foodie bloggers are writing about area eating establishments.

Food Trucks

Ottawa has recently seen several food trucks take to the streets of our lovely city. To help decide which trucks to eat from, Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures has a couple of reviews worth reading.  The first is of Bonita’s Cantina, one of the new food trucks that recently hit the streets of Ottawa.  (The truck is based at 250 City Centre Ave.). Based on the review, it sounds like the Mexican-flavoured stand still has some things to work out:
Overall, I was not as impressed as I wanted to be.  I had ordered soft tacos but got hard tacos .... The fish (a white fish) was good, but it just wasn’t great.  Same for the beef, which, resembled chili and wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.... [Nevertheless], I will be back .... The truck has only been open a short while, so there is always some kinks that have to be worked out while getting an operation organized and ready to run at its best."
The second review described what is was like to eat from the Stone Soup Foodworks. According to the review:
Their menu was very small ... consisting of only 3 kinds of tacos, one soup (which was organic dahl that day) and a home made iced green tea drink. I opted for two tacos as this is their signature menu item that I had heard so much about.
The first was the adobo chicken taco with organic slaw, jalapeños and cilantro, which was delicious! It had such a great flavour but was not too spicy. The second was the Korean beef taco with local and organic kimchi, daikon and black sesame seeds. Wow! This taco blew me away: it packed a huge punch of flavour and a kick of spice, and it was fantastic....

I am definitely going to try and track down this delightful food truck again to try some more of their fantastic tacos!

For those looking for a sit down eatery, Peter Hum, the food critic at the Ottawa Citizen, gives a positive review of The Albion Room inside the Novotel hotel at 33 Nicholas.  "If more hotel restaurants were like the Albion Rooms, which opened in April in the Novotel Ottawa Hotel, I would not have such a dim view of them," he writes.

In a second post, Hum gave a mixed review to the Lost Canadian Smokehouse & Grill at 1675 Tenth Line Rd. in Orléans.  "As uneven as the eating was at the Lost Canadian was, I’m glad to have found it," writes Hum. "I’ll hope for improvements on some dishes, and sporadically crave a biscuit and gravy and some deep-fried candy, even if they will require a week of raw food to offset them.

Food Gypsy, meanwhile, has a good post on Le Bostaurus at 61 Rue Principale in Aylmer.  Initially the restaurant was so-so, suffering from a bad case of Opening-itus. (Read the review to learn about this annoying "disease" that afflicts many new food establishments).  Fortunately, the restaurant got better with time and now is well worth the visit.

Coffee Houses

For coffee drinkers, the local blogosphere has some tips on where to grab a cup of java and have something to eat. Capital Dining gives a good review of Morning Owl at 583 Rochester St., stating that their panini is a, "sandwich to brighten a rainy day, enjoyed fully and thoroughly in a great little place with a very fine fridge.

For its part, the great foodie blog If Music be the Food of Love, Play On gives a positive review to The Ministry of Coffee at 279 Elgin Street, which opened up on June 8, right across the street from the Boko Bakery.  "I have another coffee shop to add to my list of top shops in Ottawa," reads the post.

second review by If Music be the Food recommends the coffee shop Café qui pense, located at 204 Main Street.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some art-related blogs

Photo by yooperann courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Readers of this site will know that I love photography, and that I try to mention as many local photo-blogs as possible. One genre that I have not covered very much, however, are blogs by area artists and/or online sites that discuss art.  As such, below is a list of some local art blogs that are worth checking out.

Terre Sauvage is a Canadian and Aboriginal art blog written by Amy Prouty, an undergraduate art history student. According to her online profile, Amy was born in Oshawa, grew up in Muskoka, and now resides in Ottawa’s Chinatown neighbourhood.  Her blog is a fantastic source of information for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of Canada's art scene.

A mouse-shaped cloud is a tumblr site that contains an eclectic amount of artsy material.  There does not seem to be a specific focus like Terre Sauvage, but the site is worth visiting as it contains a lot of links to very interesting work.

Another great blog is TheheARTbeatgal.  Due to my busy schedule, I have not been able to follow this site very much.  (Ditto for other art related blogs in the city).  However, I plan to change this, as one of my goals this summer is to start expanding beyond photography and paying closer attention to area artists.

Finally, while surfing the Ottawa blogosphere I came across a couple of blogs by local artists that I have never seen before.  I look forward to exploring the work of Mique Michelle and Brad McOuat in future online surf sessions.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review Friday: Golf, Young Adult Fiction and Horror

Photo by dhammza courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

I haven't done a book-related post in almost two months.  It has now become clear that my initial goal of doing at least one literary post a week was too ambitious. While I still aim to cover as many local blogs as possible that focus on books and authors, I now realize that I cannot re-blog every book review in the Ottawa blogosphere.  As such, moving forward, I will only include one review from each local blog in Book Review Friday posts. With that in mind, here are some books that have been reviewed by areas bloggers.


The Ottawa Golf Blog writes about Loopers: A Caddie’s Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey by John Dunn.  "You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy (this book)," reads the review.  "Loopers is a book for those of us who either once had a life of nomadic means or who just like the thrill of adventure and a good story."

Young Adult and Children's Fiction

A Glass of Wine has positive things to say about Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.  The novel tells the story of Christine, who wakes up each morning without her memories.  Unable to recognize anything  the house she lives in, the man in bed beside her, even her own reflection  the main character is soon caught up in a thriller of a plot.  "A page turner that will certainly keep you up at night, and leave you second guessing everything," reads the review.

FireStar Books has lukewarm thoughts on PODs by Michelle Pickett.  "In two sentences, this book was good enough that I didn't dislike it but I also didn't like it," writes blogger Ashley.  "It didn't draw out any particular emotion in me."

In contrast, Maria from I Believe in Story has good things to say about The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.  The novel tells the story of two best friends who discover the fabled School for Good and Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains.


Ottawa writer Mandy DeGeit, who describes herself as an author of creepy fiction, reviews In The End, Only Darkness by Monica O’Rourke.  "When I heard she had a collection of dark poetry and short horror stories out, I was more than happy to check it out," writes DeGeit. " Not only does it satisfy my needs for well-written short stories, it was nice to meet another female writer for a penchant for the extreme. In The End, Only Darkness is sure to please the reader who seeks out fantastically written scenes of shock and gore."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ottawa Photographers: Take Six

"Photography is not a crime."
Photograph by padawan *(xava du) courtesy of Flickr
 (Creative Commons)

There is a big difference between knowing something intellectually and experiencing it first-hand.  For instance, after surfing the Ottawa blogosphere for a long time, I know that there are numerous photo-blogs in the National Capital Region.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the total number was well into the hundreds, or even if it topped 1,000.  However, discovering all of these blogs while searching through the Internet, (as opposed to making an educated guess on how many there are), is a bit of an overwhelming experience.  Each time I came across a new photo site I am truly struck about how amazing artists there are in Ottawa and surrounding areas.

I have already come across more than 100 photo-blogs.  At the current pace that I am discovering new sites, I am confident that I will reach 200 photo-blog by the end of the summer.  With that in mind, here are some more photo-blogs that I have not mentioned on this site.  (Note: If you want to see previous posts on local photographers simply click on the Photography link at the top of this site).


Ashley Ladouceur is an Ottawa-based photographer who has a graphic arts degree.  "I’ve built my portfolio by working with non-profit organizations, artists, Government departments and Private firms," she writes on her bio page on her tumblr site.  "On my spare time, I brainstorm ideas and create projects that somehow impact the lives of children living in Colombia."  Her work includes urban landscapes, street fashion and portraits.  If you want to see more of her work check out her pinterest site.

I like discovering photo-blogs that focus on different Ottawa neighbourhoods.  I was therefore quite pleased when I came across Glebester.  While this tumblr site was last updated a couple of months, it does contain many beautiful photographs of the Glebe.

Local photographer Stephen Harrison was born in Ottawa in 1983 and grew up in the rural village of Dunrobin, which is located a few kilometers northwest of Canada’s capital.  A graduate of Algonquin College's photography program, he likes to explore nature by taking photos of deep forests, expansive fields, flowers and winding creeks. His work, however, also includes really intriguing artistic shots that range from ice sculptures, to a fascinating shoot involving garbage, to a fire on an OC Transpo bus.  While his photo-blog is only updated on a periodic basis, (the most recent post on the site is from April), his work is definitely worth checking out.

I do not know a lot about Broke Billionaire Media. According to their tumblr site bio, they are "A group of individuals determined to usher in a new type of groove where ever and whenever possible. Dope Music. Good People. Great Atmospheres. That’s what we’re about."  True to this description, the publish photographs of club parties, as well as running an instagram site.

Marijuana smokers, meanwhile, might get a kick out of Blunts N Kush.  For their part, Jackpine is a site for a self-described "creative studio" in Ottawa that contains an eclectic (and interesting) range of photos from our area.  Other tumblr sites that I have come across include Bixter Snoodle, Eric Gregoire, Zhengyanglu and Illuminated.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some posts from local history blogs

Back to the Past and Future - Photo by Arty-chan
courtesy of Flickr  (Creative Commons)

From time to time I like to highlight local blogs that discuss the history of the National Capital Region.  With this in mind, below are some stories that I have come across in the last couple of months.


One of my favourite history-related blogs is Urbsite, which contains a lot of information on our region's past. In late April, the site published a post that looked at a piano manufacturing business that used to exist at the Old Wellington Ward market.  Also in April, it discussed the history of the former Ottawa General Hospital, which stood where the present day Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital exists. Located at 43 Bruyère St, the current hospital services elderly patients, as well as offering palliative care.

In late-May, the blog posted a story on the Preston Street urban renewal project. The post featured several places in the area, and offered an interesting juxtaposition by comparing old pictures with images of the same spot today. Finally, earlier this month, the site published an interesting feature on the history of the Lord Elgin Hotel at 100 Elgin Street.


I recently discovered a new blog called Ottawahh that contains information on our city's past.  While I haven't had a chance to review it in detail, I plan to do so in the near future.


People interested in the history of the Glebe should check out the blog GlebeSite. Recent posts include the history on the old Bank of Nova Scotia branch that existed on the corner of Bank and Fourth Avenue, aerial photographs of the Glebe from the 1920s and 1950s, and a photo of the Pinhey House at 237-39 Clemow Avenue that was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some recipes from the blogosphere: Part II

Photo by Missmeng courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Here is part two of the recipe round-up that I have been collected from local blogs over the past couple of weeks.  Enjoy and happy cooking!


Pickles shares the secret to making delicious french toast.

Dinner / Salads

Zahlicious describes how to prepare poached eggs with labneh and paprika butter.

Adventures of an Ottawa Foodie has the rundown on how to cook Thai style meatballs.

Mon Food Blog offers a recipe for Tuscan bean and tuna salad.

Snacks / Drinks

Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures can teach you how to whip up an edamame dip.

Thrive has suggestions for hot weather "baking" by publishing a post on the delicious sounding chocolate almond no-bake snack bites.

Nooschi explains how to make the ultimate green shake, which includes green apples, frozen bananas, broccoli, leafy greens and nuts.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some recipes from the blogosphere: Part I

Photo by Matt Carman courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

I haven't posted a recipe round-up for a while, so my NewsBlur reader is overfilling with culinary suggestions.  In order not to overwhelm you with a very long list of recipes, I have decided to split this cooking-related entry over two days.


Bacon avec Bacon explains how to make the best ever steak marinade.

Culinarilyinclined has a recipe for a spring quiche with spinach and asparagus.

Pearl Pirie of Eaten Up writes about a recipe for fiddlehead and morel that she found.

Food Gypsy offers tips for cooking coco's curried Naan-za.

Sybaritica posts a recipe for steamed ginger lamb dumplings.


La Cuisine d'Hélène shares her secret for making old-fashioned brown sugar fudge.

Double Trouble Kitchen Edition has a post on preparing strawberry rhubarb crisp.

If Music be the Food of Love, Play On outlines how to bake the delicious sounding smartie cake.


The Gouda Life has a great suggestion for a cognac cocktail.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Let's chat about wine and beer

Photo courtesy of Katie Spence courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

I have been quite busy the last few weeks with work and family-related commitments.  As such, I have not been posting that much recently.  Moving forward, I hope to write as often as possible, although I now realize that I will have to scale back my blogging ambitions.  (My initial hope was to publish a post a day, which I now see is not realistic).

That being said, the plan is to continue chronicling the local blogosphere.  Together with my Tour de blogosphere columns for Apartment613, I want to use this site to feature and highlight the thousands of bloggers in our city.  With that in mind, here are some alcohol-friendly posts that I have recently come across.


Some local bloggers are more than happy to suggest different wines that vino lovers can try.  Case in point: TBBs highly recommends Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  Food Gypsy, meanwhile, raves about Hartley-Ostini, Hitching Post’s pinot noirs, which is bottled in Santa Barbara County in California. Rounding things off, wine out loud gives two thumbs up to Five Mile White, a bottle produced by Ontario's Coyote's Run winery, which is located on Niagara-on-the-Lake.


Local beer connoisseur Ross Brown has several reviews on his great site Beer O'Clock.  His latest forays into the world of hops, barley and other brewski delights led Ross to sample some U.S. beers while on a road trip to the Big Apple.  Recent reviews include posts on the Brooklyn, New York-brewed Sweet Action, another Brooklyn beer called Silver Anniversary Lager, and several other Yankee beers

For its part, the Ottawa Beer Club recently posted a positive review of Cameron's Rye Pale Ale.  Cider drinkers, meanwhile, should check out this review of Waupoos Cider.

Finally, Ottawa Citizen blogger Ron Eade has a post on the first batch of Turtle Island Brewing Company.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Running ultramarathons (and blogging) for charity

Photo courtesy of Joe Rios, who is on the right holding the sign.

The following article first appeared on Apartment613 on June 1.

Joe Rios has come a very long way since becoming a runner more than three years ago – thousands and thousands of kilometres to be more precise.

Back in 2009, Rios paid little attention to fitness, a problem given his family’s long history with diabetes. When a friend convinced him to register for the Ottawa Army Run half-marathon, however, he surprised himself by signing up.

“I was inactive, I was asthmatic, I was overweight,” says Rios of his physical condition at the time. During an initial training run, he recalls, he was unable to finish a five-kilometre loop around the Alexandra and Portage bridges. Given that he had just committed to running a 21-kilometre race, this could have been a cause for concern.

Undaunted by the challenge, however, he slowly but surely got stronger, and on race day beat expectations by finishing in under two hours. Fast forward to today, and Rios is running marathons around the world, as well as preparing for ultramarathons, including a 100-kilometre race in October.

He is also a blogger having started the site THRIVE with Joe in September 2012.

“I focus the blog on how to empower people … but from a practical perspective,” says Rios, whose site contains posts on different races, tips for runners, interviews and descriptions of various charity events.

Regarding his charitable activities, he tells me that his blog is a perfect forum for partnering up with other community members.

“What I’m discovering through the blog is that if you put yourself out there you will meet more people,” says Rios, who works for Export Development Canada. As a case in point, he has registered for the Sears Great Canadian Run, a 100-kilometre race that starts at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and ends at Montebello, Quebec.

The run, which raises money for research to fight children’s cancer, is normally completed by a relay team that can include up to 20 people. Rios, in contrast, partnered with Mike Herzog and Steven Thomas of Good Guys Tri, who have assembled a team of 20 runners that will each complete the 100 kilometers. The team of ultra-marathoners are hoping to raise $30,000.

The ultramarathon is not the only charitable work Rios is involved with. Last summer, he started Run 4 a Cause, a 5-kilometre run for runners at all levels. About 150 runners participated last year, representing 10 different charities. (Rios usually runs races on behalf of Team Diabetes in his effort to raise money to fight the disease)

On August 25, 2013, Rios plans organize the second annual Run 4 a Cause run, with the goal of attracting 300 runners. As a Lululemon ambassador, Rios convinced the company’s Head Office to donate $500 to the charity with the most runners in the 2012 run. Lululemon expects to make a similar donation for the 2013 run.

The idea for Run 4 a cause has gathered interest from around the world, with people from Germany, India and the Philippines approaching Rios about setting up similar events. The aim is to replicate the event across Canada and around the word.

If all of this were not enough, Rios has a personal goal of running a marathon on all seven continents. He has already covered North America (Ottawa), South America (Rio de Janeiro), Europe (Reykjavik, Iceland), and is preparing to run the Gold Coast Marathon in July in Australia.

Next year he plans to run the Great Wall of China marathon, and is on the waiting list for the 2015 Antartic Marathon. He is also gearing up for an ultarmarathon in Africa in 2014, though he is not sure if he will run a 256-kilometre race in the Sahara, or a 250-kilimatre run in the Kalahari desert between Botswana and Namibia.

Not bad for a guy who only a few years ago couldn’t run 5-kilometres.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some observations on Ottawa's blogosphere

Readers of this site will have noticed that I have cut back on my blogging in the past couple of weeks.  A combination of being out of town and busy with other responsibilities led me to take a week off, and then in the subsequent week repost some of my recent Tour de blogosphere columns for Apartment613.

Hopefully I will return to regular blogging soon.  In the meantime, I want to take this opportunity to make some observations about local bloggers.  If someone were to ask you what were the most popular blogging subjects in the the National Capital Region what would you respond? (By "popular" I mean the largest number of blogs that focus on a specific subject).

Hockey?  To my surprise, I have discovered that hockey blogs only make up a tiny portion of the chatter in our region's blogosphere.  How about politics?  Again, political blogs are a small minority.  So what are the themes that are most covered by area bloggers?  Number one, without a doubt, is photography.  Photo-blogs are by far and away the most popular type of blog in the city.  Number two would be food-related blogs, which contain, among other things, recipes, restaurant reviews, weight-loss information and/or other culinary discussions.

The number three spot is more difficult to determine.  If had to guess I would say that living/family blogs take the bronze medal, although I need to do further research to know this for sure.  In the meantime, I have found a lot of blogs on music, art-related themes and, to my surprise, fashion.  Given Ottawa's supposedly bland sense of style, I was intrigued to discover that there are many local bloggers talking about the latest fashion trends.

In the future, I plan to write a series of posts that highlight some of the conclusions that I have reached after reviewing hundreds of blogs from the National Capital Region.  Until then, I am going to enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blogging cooks

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

The following article first appeared on Apartment613 on April 27.

The Ottawa blogosphere is filled with blogging chefs who post their culinary secrets online. To showcase this celebration of cuisine, this week’s column will focus on local cooking blogs. Sites that primarily contain restaurant reviews and/or discuss culinary subjects in general will be covered in a future story.

Before proceeding, however, I would like to give a shout-out to foodiePrints, who compiled this great list of almost 150 food-related blogs. While some of these sites are dormant, most are active and provided me with a strong starting point for this post. (Note: foodiePrints also has recipes).

Cooking blogs

Double Trouble Kitchen Edition is written by Eleanore and Emily, two economists who love to cook. Eleanore is a marathoner who prepares balanced and nutritious meals, while having a soft spot for chocolate. Emily’s culinary repertoire includes traditional Chinese dishes and decorated desserts.

Tea for Two Sisters is also written by a duo, this time sisters Christine and Lucy, which showcases their cooking and photographic skills. Two Vegan Sisters, meanwhile, is managed by Tracy and Sarah.

Another collaborative blog is TBBs, created by six women who met while completing a residential décor program. While the site contains posts on wine, food travel, love, design and shopping, it also has cooking tips.

Kelly Brisson of The Gouda Life is well known in the local blogosphere for her excellent recipes. Her cooking suggestions include creative dishes like this recent post for caramelized fennel, roasted garlic and tomato soup with lemon.

Asha of beFOODled says that she likes to document her food adventures, be they successful, complete failures or moments of pure befuddlement. For its part, the blog Dude COOK! not only has a great name, but also shows the average busy person that they do have time to cook.

Sheltered Girl Meets World and Eaten Up, two blogs previously mentioned in Tour de blogosphere, are also worth checking out.

Handmade is an interesting site from freelance illustrator and animator Cara Rowlands, who combines her drawings with recipes.

One blog that I follow regularly is culinarilyinclined, which offers numerous suggestions. Recent posts include recipes for jam-filled doughnut muffins, baked artichokes, and baked eggs over sautéed mushrooms and spinach.

La Cuisine d’Hélène, which I reviewed on my personal site, is an excellent source if you want to expand your cookbook collection.

Sybaritica, which I also reviewed on my personal blog, is written by lawyer C. John Thompson. Despite living in Nunavut, (yes you read that right), he blogs regularly about Ottawa restaurants when not posting his interesting recipes, many of which manage to use tropical fruits.

Other sites worth checking out include the wonderfully named blog Bacon Avec Bacon, as well as these sites: Food Gypsy, Mon Food Blog, The Lemon Kitchen, AKsKitchen, Barrhaven Bites and Eat, Drink and be Murray.

Other blogs where I have seen recipes include Simply Fresh, Happy Mouth, Otownmommy, In a Nutshell, Thrive, Ottawa Valley Moms, a peek inside the fishbowl, Earthward by blogger Valerie Ward, and Meaghan to the Max, which I reviewed on my blog.

Zahlicious by Laura Zahody also has recipes, although the blog does not appear to have been updated since late-February. (Update: Shortly after publishing this post on Apartment613 Laura posted a new recipe online).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Family blogs

Photo by A. Alberto (copyright)

The following article first appeared on Apartment613 on May 4.

The National Capital Region has a lot of blogging parents. In fact, after viewing more than 600 local blogs, I would argue that there are more family-friendly sites in our region than those that focus on hockey or politics. With this in mind, this week’s column contains a round-up of family blogs.

Recommended Starting Points

The Ottawa Mommy Club is a fantastic source of information for parents and anyone else interested in family-related posts. Their list of bloggers alone has dozens of sites that cover everything from parenting to home design to managing family finances. Created by Lyne Proulx in May 2011 this is a wonderful resource.

One site that I regularly read is Kids in the Capital, which has numerous listings for family-friendly events. Thanks to this blog, I have found recommendations for children’s books, planned family outings and discovered kid-friendly sites, like this great post on different parks in the city.

Another blog worth checking out is Ottawa Valley Moms, which was founded in July 2012. You will find posts here that include parenting tips, product reviews, recipes and podcasts. (Note: I reviewed this blog on my personal site back in March).

Blogging Moms and Dads

The National Capital Region is filled with blogging parents. They include 2Cute, by a mother of twins, and Yes Please, Mom, which is written by a mom of a baby girl. Other blogging mothers includeCoffee With Julie, which I reviewed on my site, Mommy C and Trending Ginger Mom.

Katina Michelis, meanwhile, is the blogger behind You’re Pregnant, Now What? “I want to say that I hated being pregnant,” she writes on her blog bio. “Did it twice, and hated it twice.” This honest voice may appeal to readers looking for posts that describe, in real world terms, the good, bad and ugly side of parenting.

Correr Es Mi Destino is not a parenting blog per se. However, blogger Juliette Giannesini is a new mom and she regularly blogs about her son Mark. I also reviewed this blog on my site.

Not all blogging parents are mothers. If you want to see a blog written from the perspective of a father then read the QUINN’tessential blog.

Family and Living

Blogging parents will inevitably write about different topics. Whether it’s a love of photography, managing home finances, posting recipes, or discussing interesting moments in their lives, almost all family-related blogs will end up covering different issues. With this in mind, some sites worth checking out include a peek inside the fishbowl, Postcards from the mothership, Life in the Hutch,Otownmommy’s Blog and Mercurial Mind.

If you want to know if raising children on one salary is possible, then Christa Clips blog SAHM: Save-At-Home-Mom! is worth a look. Angèle Lafond, meanwhile, is the creator of Domestique Manager, as well as the business blog Making ¢ent$ of Business. For her part, Kamerine Gardam writes The Life of K. While Gardam is currently at home with her children, she also started her own business as a birth doula.

Finally, if you are a parent who likes to run, then the blog Running. Food. Baby. is for you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Music Monday: Music Blogs

Photo by Active Steve Courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons).

The following article first appeared on Apartment613 on May 11.

Recently we profiled two local photographers who chronicle Ottawa’s music scene. In this week’s column, we expand our focus to include the numerous other music bloggers from the National Capital Region.

Music Writers

Most local bloggers probably don’t consider themselves to be journalists or writers in the strict sense of the word. However, given that many music-related blogs contain interviews, previews of upcoming shows, reviews of new releases, insightful analysis and interesting bits of information, it is fair to say that many area bloggers are producing work that is comparable to traditional music journalism.

As a case in point, Ottawa Showbox, which we have mentioned before on Tour de blogosphere, is a great blog for music news. (I reviewed OS on my local blog recently). Couch Assassin is another fantastic site where you can find, among other things, previews of upcoming shows and musician profiles. For punk rock lovers, Ottawa Explosion (alternative tumble site here) is worth checking out, while those interested in reading about classical music can link to The Heckeler. Music Inkorporated, meanwhile, is another blog that you can read to get news and music-related analysis.

Concert and Event Listings

Besides Apartment613, numerous local sites contain information about musical events in our region. If you are a fan of traditional Irish music, then the Irish Music Ottawa – blog is the place to go. Classical music fans can read Music and Beyond, while devotees of folk music should check out Spirit of Rasputin’s. For blues fans, Ottawa Blues This Week is an indispensable source of information, with its extensive list of shows and events.

Birdman Sound is another good site where you can find upcoming shows, along with posts that contain musical playlists. Hardcore and punk fans can read Ottawa Hardcore, while patrons of Raw Sugar Cafe can follow the hip cafe’s tumblr site to see upcoming shows. My Ottawa Show Listings was quite active last year, although it seems to be currently dormant. That said, this site is worth bookmarking in the event that it starts up again.

Blogging Musicians, DJs and Radio Show Hosts

Ottawa Live Music bills itself as the only interactive live music show in the city, while Harmony & Groove, who mix pop, funk R&B and soul, also have a blog. Ditto for local jazz vocalist and songwriterRenée Yoxon, who has a tumblr account, and piano player, singer and songwriter Tyler Kealey.

Local hip-hop innovators A Tribe Called Red have a blog, although it hasn’t been updated since this past January. Similarly, Brad Turcotte, who performs under the name Brad Sucks, has a web site / blog, though it appears to have been last updated in mid-March. The Souljazz Orchestra also has a site where they post news about their musical careers which is updated on a periodic basis.

Other blogs that you may be interested in checking out are the CKCU show Debaser, the site for DJ CPI, the blog of JayBizz LeFresh, and the one for DJ Hobo & Sweet Cheeks, who uses a SoundCloud account to post musical mixes.


Finally, Pearl Pirie, whose impressive blogging we have already profiled, started earlier this year the music-related site earworm curation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blogging will return next week

I'm currently out of town for work.  I had ambitions of posting during the week, but reality has set in and I now realize that I will be too busy to do so.  I hope to start posting again next week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blog Review: Shooting It

Photo by Brendan Montgomery (Copyright)

Last week I published several posts that looked at some excellent photographers from the National Capital Region.  Today I want to conclude this series by showcasing the work of Brendan Montgomery.  Note: My original aim was to publish a few more photo-related posts this week, but due to work and travel commitments I will have to postpone these stories to a future date.

Brendan Montgomery is a freelance photojournalist from Ottawa, whose work covers, among other things, political demonstrations, intimate profile shots and landscapes. His extensive work can be seen in his photo-blog, which includes links to his Flickr photographs, Facebook page, professional web site and Twitter account. This review, however, will only focus on his tumblr account called Shooting It.

"I suppose I'm a documentary photographer as my stuff consists of three flavours of documentary photography," Montgomery tells me in an email. "There's my photojournalist work covering mostly political protests along with other newsworthy events."

Photo by Brendan Montgomery (copyright)
The intriguing images of political protests is what first attracted me to Montgomery's  work. For example, the shot on the the left of a sax-holding, bandana-wearing protester laughing with police is wonderful.  One can imagine an interesting dialogue taking place that goes beyond the classic state-vs.-protest photo.

Then there are brilliant shots like the one at the top of this post with the two chess players, which was taken during the recent 4/20 pro-marijuana rally on Parliament Hill.  The shot is fantastic for so many reasons.  It captures two men playing chess (the ultimate game of intellect) during a protest for drug legalization (which is often stereotyped as being less than intelligent).  The sight of two thinking chess players questioning the war on drugs in the middle of a protest is awesome.  Like the photograph of the police and sax-holding protester, the clash of emotions forces the viewer to reevaluate classic debates in new ways.

Montgomery, however, does not limit himself to political protests.

Photo by Brendan Montgomery (copyright)
"I also do some street photography, although some purists may argue with my definition of it," he says.  "To me, street photography is a photo of anything I see while walking around when my only pretext for being there is to take photos of an undefined spontaneous event or place.  I am however pretty lax with my own rules and break them regularly."

An example of his street photography can be found just above (see original here). Like the best urban photos, this image  and others like it make the viewer feel like they are becoming better acquainted with their own city.  It's as if these photos were converting urban background noise into a beautiful song.

Photo by Brendan Montgomery
The final aspect of Montgomery's work comes from his own life, as well as landscape shots and other interesting images, such as the photo on the left (see original here).

"Lastly comes my personal photography," he explains in his email. "These are photos from my life.  They differ from my street photos as I’m not out there with the intention to take photos, I'm just living my life and have a camera with me.  These are usually a little more intimate then my street photos.  I also throw in the odd landscape and that pretty much sums up the bulk of my work."

Music Monday: Kings of Lowertown, Fire and Neon, Renée Yoxon, A Tribe Called Red

Photo by Nikita! courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Happy Monday everyone!  Here are some music-related items from the local blogosphere to start your week.

New Releases and Reviews

Ottawa Showbox reviews the first single by Kings of Lowertown off their new album 60 More Miles that is scheduled to be released this coming October.  "The track, called 'Shotgun Preacher' is a short but sweet preview of what to expect form the upcoming album, and boasts dirty sounding blues riffs along with distorted vocals," says the post.

PhotogMusic writes about the new Fire and Neon album Intention. "Wow! They sure have come a long way from what I have heard like a year or two before seeing their live shows," reads the post.  "They sure have gone through the serious electro-synth pop-rock route.  Not really dark but more of a solid and tighter/proper sound in their music and lyrics."

Local jazz vocalist and composer Renée Yoxon posts on her blog some of the reviews for her album Here We Go Again.  For their part, Beau's brewing company has released a bubblegum pink vinyl record with tracks from five indie Canadian artists.

Upcoming Shows

The Big Beat notes that U.S. “proto-punks” Pere Ubu will be playing in Ottawa on September 16.

Finally, Ottawa Showbox reports that local, "pow wow step innovators A Tribe Called Red are going to be on the bill for this year’s Mad Decent Black Party."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Recipe Sunday: Bircher museli, grilled caesar salad, sirloin steak, muffin in a cup

Photo by Tana Gandhi
(Creative Commons)

The weather is gorgeous and people are happily welcoming spring by being outside.  If you're not sure what to cook when you get home, however, here are some recipes from the local blogosphere to spark your imagination.


Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures tells explains how to make bircher museli.


The Gouda Life offers details on how to prepare an egg salad with tarragon and pickled celery.

Food Gypsy reveals how to whip up a grilled caesar salad.

Double Trouble Kitchen Edition can teach you how to make salad with goat cheese.


Eaten Up has a photo essay that could inspire some thoughts for the first barbecue of the season.

Sybaritica has a recipe for the intriguing sounding chili-mint lamb buns.

Mon Food Blog will make all of you carnivores smile with sirloin steak with cauliflower puree and caper salsa.


TBBs shares their secret for preparing a muffin in a cup.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ottawa Photographers: Take Five

Photo by Frank Kehren courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

This past week I reviewed the photo-blogs of four excellent local photographers.  In the coming week, I hope to publish some more blog reviews, in order to showcase our city's great photographic talent.  Before doing so, however, here is another summary of photo-blogs from the National Capital Region.  (Note: This is the fifth round-up of local photo-blogs that I have posted online  see here for one, two, three and four).


Abigail Doris is the creative mind behind The Merry Pedestrian, an interesting site that contains photos of Ottawa's urban landscape, as well as some really creative artistic shots.  "My goal with this blog is to connect with others through sharing my own experiences, feelings and ideas," Doris writes on her blog bio.  "In return, I hope to learn from the experiences, feelings and ideas of others. It’s all about interaction!"

Another site that documents Ottawa's cityscape is A Heart Full of Love, a photo-blog run by teens Cynthia and Alexa.

Brendan Montgomery is a freelance photojournalist whose work documents, among other things, political demonstrations and landscapes. You can see his extensive work on his photo-blog, which includes links to his tumblr account, Flickr photographs, Facebook page, professional web site, and Twitter account.

Cole Burston is another photojournalist who has an interesting site, in addition to having a professional web site and Twitter account.

Antique Skate is the tumbrl blog of the Antique Stake Shop at 9 Florence, and contains skate-related photos.  For more information check out the shops web site.  For more skateboard-related photographs, Ottawa resident Hugo operates the photo-blogs mechant and Awake.

What I Did Today is based on a personal challenge.  "My New Year's Resolution for 2013 is to take one picture everyday to record what I've done," reads the blog bio. While the blog has not been updated since April 15, (as of today, May 4), it does appear that there were regularly daily posts prior to mid-April, so perhaps daily postings will recommence in the near future.

Another interesting site is Keepsix, which has been documenting graffiti art in Ottawa and around the world since being created in 1997.  If you want to view more of Ottawa's graffiti artists check out Mike's Tumblr and mikegall.ca

David Johnson is a 22-year-old photographer and student.  His intriguing work includes experimental photographs, profile shots and images of Ottawa urban fabric.  In addition to his main site, he has a professional web site, Flickr page, and Twitter account.

Finally, other photo-blogs that I have come across include Turn My Swag OnIt is Written108 Photographs, and rakerman's Flickr CC photos. (Note: for all of rackerman's photos, including copyright shots see here).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review Friday: Summer readings

Photo by Ryan Smith Photography
courtesy of Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here are some book-related posts that have appeared recently in the local blogosphere.

Literary News

Ottawa writer Peggy Blair announces on her blog that her debut novel The Beggar's Opera has been listed by Booklist as one of the best crime novels published in the United States in 2013.  Congratulations Peggy!

Reviews and Recommendations

I Believe in Story lists five books that every woman should read, as well as eight books for mom.  For their part, Kids in the Capital have compiled a list of children's books on birds and bugs that are available at the Ottawa Public Library.  Emilie's Book World, meanwhile, has a post with recommended summer reading

I don't recall linking to a review of an audio book before, so this may be a first.  FireStar Books gives two thumbs down to All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.  "The audiobook just didn't work out for me," reads the review, which sums up the negative impression of this story.

Pingwing's Bookshelf was also not impressed by Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr.  In contrast, Ottawa Valley Moms enjoyed Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

A Glass of Wine writes about The Program by Suzanne Young, which according to the review, "is at once both a thoughtful look at suicide, and mental illness, and it's also a commentary on the pharmaceutical industry itself. The story was both achingly honest, and filled with gripping moments."

Finally, The Bookworm has posts on Schmidt Steps Back by Louis Begley, and Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blog Review: Scott H. Wilson

Photo by Scott H. Wilson

The Ottawa blogosphere is filled with fantastic photographers.  Earlier this week we started a series that features some of the wonderful photo-blogs from the Natonal Capital Region.  Today we continue our  photographic journey by discussing the impressive work of Scott H. Wilson.

There are moments in life when your surroundings are so beautiful they take your breath away.  Whether it's the explosion of colour in the sky that accompanies a setting sun, the exquisite features of a love one during a romantic moment, or that special reflection of light into a room that somehow makes space shine brighter, we have all experienced those instants when we say, "I wish I had a camera so I could capture this moment."

The brilliance of Scott Wilson's photography is his ability to catch such moments on a regular basis.

"A couple years ago I became absolutely obsessed with photography.  Everywhere I went I was framing photographs in my head," Wilson tells me in an email. "Anytime I saw nice natural light I got excited.  I decided I needed to take it to the next level.  I upgraded my camera and started the blog."

Photo by Scott H. Wilson
The result of this decision is a tumblr blog that is absolutely gorgeous, and which perfectly captures the natural surroundings of Ottawa.  As a case in point, consider these images taken during a walk in Gatineau Park, which includes the photograph of the waterfall on the left.

My blog does not do justice to Wilson's work.  Re-posting his stunning images only provide a tiny taste of what he can do.  To really get a sense of his amazing work you have to visit his tumblr account. Here are some examples: these winter photos are so vivid you can feel the snow; these photographs of the river during sunset are awesome; the fiery colours of autumn are on full display in pictures like this and this; while the joy of summer can be seen here and here.

"At first it didn't really have a theme," Wilson says about his photo-blog.  "I just tried to get out everyday (even if it was for 5 minutes) and shoot things that caught my eye. 

"Now what I hope I'm doing with the blog is telling a short story. Whether it's just going for a walk with my dog or wandering around the city with my girlfriend.  I hope people can relate to my photographs.  Feel connected to them.  I aim for simplicity, trying to make everyday normal things look beautiful."

As a third-party observer I agree with Wilson's description of his photographs. Like I mentioned at the top of this post, what I love about his photographs is that they capture those magical moments in life when life is beautiful and your mind is in awe of the images that are passing before your eyes.  

Photo by Scott H. Wilson
As a parting thought, while most of Wilson's photos are in natural settings, he also shoots urban landscapes, such as the photo to the right (original here).  You can see more of his urban images here and here

If you want to see more of his work, go to his professional photography web site, or follow him on his Twitter account.