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Blessings In a Backpack

Recently, on my book tour through Ontario, I discovered a new charity.  Their mission is about kids… in our own country, who do not have enough food to eat and often come to school hungry.  Hunger and a roaring tummy lend to distracted and tired kids. Many families who are ‘food insecure’ and rely on food banks and other resources during the week, have a tough time making ends meet on the weekend. ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ is a unique program that sends a child home with a backpack full of food, to be returned after the weekend empty.


This simple act of food giving makes an immediate benefit to the child and their family.  Attendance and productivity soar, students have more energy and the teachers notice a huge improvement in the school work of these kids.  It seems like a no-brainer to help feed a Canadian child and for only $100 a year, that is all it takes! And 100% of all donations go directly to feeding kids (nothing lost to administrative costs).

‘Be That Books’ proudly supports  this initiative.  If you’d like to make a donation to the cause, you can find all the details HERE.

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Release your Inner Girl with Tina and the Shopgirls Gallery Boutique #Toronto #BeThatMom

Last Thursday October 10, 2013, Be That Books partnered with the  Shopgirls Gallery Boutique in trendy downtown Toronto to host an incredible Girls Night Out!

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The venue was spectacular. Shopgirls is a gorgeous boutique featuring all Canadian designed clothing, including the World’s most comfortable yoga jeans.  (Your butt will thank these yoga jeans!)  A sign on their wall reports on the quantity of “happy bums” that have walked into, and out of, this trendy boutique. Well, the number grew that night!  Shopgirls was generous enough to give away a pair of jeans to one lucky attendee of our event, and the ladies were treated to a 10% discount on their purchases that evening too.

While we sipped on flutes of Prosecco and dined on the luscious dessert bar and cutesy bags of popcorn, Shopgirls gave us the “skinny” on dressing for your shape and not worrying about your size. Our guests were turned into models for a fashion show and had clothes hand selected for their shape by the owner herself, Michelle.

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Click Photo To Enlarge

Do you know what shape you are?

Check out the  Shopgirls Shape Guide, and get tips on dressing to suit YOU!

When it comes to clothing, you’ve got to “Accentuate the Positive….and Eliminate the Negative!” Focus on highlighting the parts of your body that you love, and draw attention to that, and no one (including you!) will even notice the things you might not love so much.

I also treated the girls to a mini workshop on how to get noticed and how to start getting noticed a lot more in your life! It’s all about keeping your head up, shoulders back, chest out, tummy, butt in and looking where you want to go. When you’ve got that down, it’s time to strut your way through life…with a smile!  Being “That Girl” and “That Mom” is fun, exciting and rewarding!


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We were all surprised to have a true Canadian Celebrity attend this event… the fabulous Sandi Richard! Best-selling author of the Cooking for the Rushed Series , Host of Food Network’s Fixing Dinner, and Mom to 7 kids, it was such a treat to have this downright, awesome and inspiring woman join us for our night of girly fun. Some lucky attendees even went home with one of her Meal Planning Cookbooks…Eating Forward.  Never stress about what’s for dinner again,Ladies!

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Click Photo to Enlarge

The best part of any event is giving back, and in true Be That Books style, we raised money to support 2 amazing charities: Because I am a Girl and Blessings in a Backpack. A huge Thank You to all of the attendees for helping us do our part to make the world a better place!

I feel so fortunate to have met each and every woman who attended this event, and I know that my life has been enriched by every hug I got, and gave, that evening.

I am truly thankful for the help of some incredible family and friends (you know who you are!)…Family makes the world go ’round, and keeps the sunshine in our hearts every day.

I am very excited to take my Release your Inner Girl night to Winnipeg, and I am praying this amazing mild fall weather keeps on rolling!


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Release With Adorit & Tina #Ottawa #BeThatMom

Thursday, October 3 was the first “Release Your Inner Girl” event of my 2013 tour. The Release Your Inner Girl events are in celebration of the release of my second book, Be That Mom.  The goal of  these events is to get women out of the house for a few hours and to join them together with other friendly souls who want to celebrate our innate girly-ness!

This first event was hosted at Adorit Boutique.  As I am not from Ottawa, I had never had the pleasure of being in Adorit prior to this event.  Adorit is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, not too far from the Parliament Building.


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This store prides itself on carrying Canadian designed clothing and fair trade products from India, Tibet and Nepal. Cozy, trendy and stylish, this boutique truly cares about who and where they get their products from! Right from the curb, I could tell this place had character…the hanging hula hoops adorning the door and the cute on street displays told me this was going to be fun! Inside, I discovered that Adorit had an eclectic mix of clothing, from comfortable everyday wear to high end dressy, and a wide range of accessories that was astonishing! With a little help from the great staff, I found a gorgeous dress and some fantastic earrings…which I wore the night of my event. That little black dress was a sweet find!

Early in the day, I was able to set up a cool display right outside of the store, and we created a lot of buzz with the foot traffic in that downtown core!

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PicMonkey Collage OTTAWA4


 Once the ladies started arriving at 7, we  enjoyed some champagne and snacks and learned about “fair trade” clothing, singing bowls (see photo above), and each other. We tried on some “one size fits all” Thai Fisherman Pants that are so comfortable you could live in them and we enjoyed watching the Manager display some of this years trendiest “fair trade” finds.

Near the end of the night, we all got to “work” on Planet Do-it (top photo, #2 right column), a little workshop that I created to help the ladies really tap into what they want out of their lives. My guests took the time to write down what they want and created a five year plan for themselves in under 20 minutes! This simple exercise left the ladies feeling inspired and excited about the fact that they can do anything with their lives….as long as they know what it is they want!  It is amazing what can happen when you write something down with your own hand…the Universe starts listening a lot closer!

Meeting everyone that came out to the “Release your Inner Girl” event that night was a highlight for me! Reconnecting with an old friend that night was such a treat too. Life’s little pleasures are so enjoyable. The setting was comfortable and really allowed for some great one-on-one time for me with each guest. I am so excited to see what these amazing ladies are going to do with themselves now!

Thanks so much to Adorit for hosting an incredible night out, and a HUGE thank you to those that attended. It is because of you that the event was so much fun!

I am also excited about the upcoming event in Toronto, Thursday, October 10, 2013.  These events are an excellent “excuse” for me to do some shopping. *wink*

I wonder what I will find to wear at Shopgirls?


See ya there!


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Homemade Playdough Recipe – No Bake!

hand made play dough recipe

No Bake Homemade Playdough Recipe

“Simple and easy for kids and moms!”

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup water

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the water and use your hands to knead the mixture into a dough. Add small amounts of water if need be until desired consistency is reached.

Divide your dough in half or thirds, depending how many colors you want to make.

Use food coloring to make lots of different colors! Play with your dough and store in sealed plastic bags or glass containers.





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Look out Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg! Tina O’Connor is coming to town!

Here’s your chance to meet Tina O’Connor, author of ‘Be That Girl’ and the newly released ‘Be That Mom‘.  Tina loves to inspire women to be the best they can be and looks forward to this opportunity to connect with fans and friends.  She hopes to help women ignite their passions and would like YOU to join her for an evening of girlie fun.

Your $20 ticket includes wine, appetizers and a ‘goodie’ bag !  Books will also be available for purchase, but if you already have a copy… feel free to tote it along for Tina to sign!







When:  Thursday, October 3, 2013 @ 7pm
Where: Adorit, an eco-friendly boutique in the Market area.
153 York Street.

Purchase your Ottawa ticket HERE.


When: Thursday, October 10, 2013 @ 7pm
Where: Shop Girls Gallery Boutique, Canadian designer clothing
and a need to fit women of all shapes and sizes!
1342 Queen Street West.

Purchase your Toronto ticket HERE.


When: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 7pm
Where: Second Sensation Boutique, a high end consignment store.
10-725 Corydon Ave.

Purchase your Winnipeg ticket HERE.




So put your best party outfit on and let’s chat all things girl!

We can’t wait to host you!

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and the ‘Be That Books’ team!


Say Yes To Less Stress

Stress.  Getting stressed, or being stressed.  All I know, is the sound of the word ‘stressed’ leaves my shoulders feeling tight and icky.  I instantly feel like I am carrying a 50 lbs child on my shoulders while walking uphill… stress is no good in my opinion and I do everything in my power to shirk this awful feeling.

Like a few years ago when I realized I was missing out on my girls growing up.  Life was the liquor stores, plain and simple.  Often, I had no time for me at all and the nanny raised my kids.  I envied from afar, because you know, I wanted to be that savvy, career mom.  Owning these businesses seemed like what I wanted to do, but all it did was cause stress in my head and in my family life.  For the first time ever, I didn’t want what I thought I wanted.  I wanted to be the mom who witnessed her kids successes and their failures.  The mom who is there when they flip heads over tails off of their bike.  The mom who schleps kids back and forth from dance and to the library.  Suddenly, I wanted that more than I ever thought I did!


So what did I do to calm this stress?


In Alberta, we have an awesome tourism tagline….


“Remember to Breathe”



I breathed.  I breathed like it was the first time I had ever breathed!  Fresh air is an amazing way to release your stress.  Clean oxygen opened my eyes and my lungs, releasing the stress of past decisions made.  I never imagined that having my girls would alter my path.  I am a pretty determined lady and like to have things my way… but at some point the whole career thing seemed empty and I realized I needed much more balance.  It wasn’t so much that I was stressed, but rather, I was reacting to stress in a way that wasn’t productive.


Ways to Release the Stress:

      • Learn what you need to do to control your reaction to stress.  As soon as you gain control, stress is no longer detrimental.  We don’t need to live with stress, we just need to make modifications so that our soul feels good again.  Do whatever that takes!
      • Don’t create your own stress… say NO to negatives.  Always have a list of good, positive ideas or pictures or of things you love nearby. Whenever you are feeling negative, push that thought away and choose to focus on what is good or positive.
      • Direct your Dreams!  Be in control over your mind and body.  Focus on what you would like to see happen in your life.  Visualize it- draw, doodle, write poems… do whatever helps you to turn your ideas in plans, plans into action and action into reality.


These days, I am enjoying a career on my own terms… one that I can live with more fully.  I am able to experience my children at school, I am able to volunteer and I am using my efforts in a way that still makes me feel ‘career full-filled’.  I am so lucky to have realized how to turn perceived stress into powerful, life-giving energy!




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Tina O’Connor, BSc Psych.
President & CEO, Be That Books Inc.
Author, Entrepreneur, Mom, Wife, Professional Organizer, and Cool Chick.


Back To School, Lunches and A #Giveaway !


We are back-to-school and I have to say, the amount of paperwork that has come home this first week is unreal!  Times three girls and I have a pile quickly… see what I’m talking about?



September is about me being on my game.  While I do elicit the help of the girls and Ryan at this time (we’re all getting into a new ‘team’ routine!), I understand that they cannot fill out their own paperwork.  That, unfortunately, is a ‘Mommy and Daddy job’.  Upon receiving the paperwork, I immediately sort it into one of four groups: Do It Right Now (to my desk), File It, Recycle It, Save It For Memories.  This one teeny tiny act will save your counter-tops from the mail, flyers, school paper etc. stacking up.  (We won’t even go into the Feng Shui effects right now… that’s a whole other blog post!)


How about lunches?

Lunches seem to be the bane of all moms with kids returning to school.  What fun creations will we come up with daily?  Healthy, home-made, store bought or otherwise… for ten whole months! ~sigh~  If you think outside the lunchbox, you’ll find many suitable lunchbox fillers.  Don’t let Pinterest get you down — let it inspire you!  (But don’t pull out the sandwich shape cutters just yet!)  You do not have to live up to others Pin-worthy ideals.  Sending leftovers in a thermos can easily be done (just make a little extra) and bento box style servings are all the rage, offering up a variety of options for the child who thinks sandwiches are not fun.  Heck, if your children are old enough… they should make their own!  This whole lunch thing doesn’t have to be a big deal.  It would be best if kids could come home each day for a healthy hot lunch, but the reality is that cannot happen for many families (including ours).  Don’t sweat the lunches!  Just feed the kids exactly how you have been all this time and for the older ones, instill a little independence.


Other Clutter?

This is a great time to get rid of clutter!  A site I  love to frequent called is having a great contest!  Simply post an item (with image) in the household section on Canada or U.S.A and automatically be entered to win !  Each posting counts as one entry in the contest and there is no limit to getting uncluttered.  Win one of 4 – $1000 prizes!   (Enter before September 15, 2013!)



Last but not least, to celebrate the release of ‘Be That Mom’ October 1st…


#WIN 1 of 3 book sets (includes Be That Girl & Be That Mom) !  Giveaway closes September 23, 2013 at 12:01am MST and is open to Canadian and U.S residents over the age of 18.  Winner has 48 hrs to respond by email or another winner will be chosen.


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Tina O’Connor, BSc Psych.
President & CEO, Be That Books Inc.
Author, Entrepreneur, Mom, Wife, Professional Organizer, and Cool Chick.


Get Your Green Thumb Happy & Reap What You Sow!

One of my favourite things about Summertime, is collecting all the wonderful vegetables from my garden at harvest! I know some of you have likely already been enjoying your garden goods, but out here in Alberta we’re a little behind in the season. Just as things are finishing up, the frost begins… each night requires a garden check up (some things may need to be covered), or those last few veggies might find themselves bitten!

Look what we dug up for our dinner the other night–

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 Baby carrots and baby potatoes…

So Yummy!


One of the summer vegetables that grows crazily in Alberta is Zucchini.  Some years, I even need to share the bounty with my neighbours.  I love to make zucchini relish and zucchini-like pasta, but think zucchini is at its finest as a boat.  These ‘boats’ take only 15 minutes in the oven, and your family will love scooping out the insides!

And you are lucky… because I am going to share my recipe with you.  😉

Zucchini & Feta 1


Zucchini Boats

Medium Zucchini


Goat’s Milk Feta

Pre-heat oven at 400F.

Wash zucchini and slice in half lengthwise.

(Make slits along the top to help the zucchini bake.  See, photo 1)

Spread butter on each side.

Sprinkle Goat’s milk feta on each half.

Place the zucchini on parchment and place against each other so they do not tip over.

Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


See what I mean??  Yummy, right? The kids will love them as much as you do!  No yucky veggie ever comes from the home garden.  I find the kids are much more veggie-adventurous when we grow our own delicious treats.  Just being a part of the process, from seed to veggie leaves one of any age with a feeling of accomplishment.  I vividly remember how much I loved escaping to the garden to sneak fresh peas as a child…

So tell me — what is your favourite Summertime vegetable??


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Tina O’Connor, BSc Psych.
President & CEO, Be That Books Inc.
Author, Entrepreneur, Mom, Wife, Professional Organizer, and Cool Chick.


Recipe for a Great Girls Night Out!

Being Girls, there are a lot of opportunities available to us for a Great Girly night out, or in! Our time as women is valuable, and spending time with our lady friends can really bring out the GIRL in all of us! Being women, what we want to do is always going to depend on our moods, which may, or may not be influenced by the “time of the month”, “the phase of the moon”, or just your own personal preferences. You will never want your girly nights to be dull , or drab…they may only happen once a month, or once a year, so make them count! Variety is the spice of life, so pull yourself out of your comfort zone and plan an amazing Girls Night Out with these amazing ideas from Be That Girl™.

Pampered Pretties:
– Go for a manicure and pedicure together at your local ‘splash n dash’.  If funds are tight, do each others nail while you sip tea, or other delicious beverages.
– Get all dolled up in your girl best at someone’s house… there is nothing more energizing than 5 or 6 women getting ready together! Make up, hair, clothes, shoes, accessories – laughter!
– Go out to a classy bar or restaurant together and take over the dance floor!  Or just enjoy cocktails while hearing about all of the exciting things going on in other people’s lives.

Slumber Party:
– This will NOT be the kind of party that men fantasize about… this is about what women want!  Comfy jammies and sweat pants, hair pulled back in ponytails, no makeup, tubs of ice cream, chocolate, licorice, chips, popcorn and brownies, combined with a perfect girly movie, or just a few girly magazines.  Nothing stirs up conversation like a few Hollywood smut magazines!
– No actual sleepover required, but letting oneself hang out with 5 or 6 other women in your most casual nature for a whole night is a total indulgence.

Chez Paris:
– Have one of your friends agree to host this event at their home. You can alternate homes and make this a monthly event, if everyone’s game.
– Ask each person to bring a type of cheese, and either crackers or baguette or pita chips to go  with their cheese. No need to specify what types to bring…the spontaneity of this exercise is fun in itself…you never know what you’re going to get! The host will provide a small fruit tray and a red and white wine selection. Everyone can taste different cheeses paired with wine. Sophisticated noshing of wine and baguette is so elegant and posh, and there is no need to leave your house!    The conversation that will ensue from the cheese high will be out of this world!

Skills to Pay the Bills:
– Plan to learn something new as a group. There are a lot of classes that you can  take that will vary in time frames and skill level. Try to plan for an introductory class, or weekend class that is beginner so that everyone can be included, but that does not require an immense level of time commitment, especially when you are starting out. What a great way to ‘experience’ life…together!
– Be sure to include a Juice Bar session before or after your class to rejuvenate your body, and add some deliciousness to your night!
– Some examples of classes you can try together – yoga, thai chi, karate, kick boxing, make up application, pole dancing, belly dancing, ballet, shooting range (what an empowering way to spend an evening), cooking class, learn another language, bartending 101

Focus on Win-Win:
– Attend a fundraiser with your group of girls. Typically, fundraising nights are fancy, schmancy nights where you will all get to be dressed to the nines! (or in your case, 10’s!!). From Golf Tourneys to Gala Dinners, charity events are exciting ways to spend time together as a group.
– Your fancy, fun night out will be helping you favorite charity, and you will feel great about the support you are all sharing!
– Fundraisers are excellent places to network with other amazing people.

– Go out to a popular local attraction, like a museum, park, tower, or landmark that is well known in your community. Seeing the top of the “Calgary Tower”, walking through your local zoo, or seeing “Banff National Park” together could look a lot different than it did to you as a child! Attending a museum as a group of elegant ladies would be rather posh, wouldn’t it?
– Shop at a local Farmer’s Market. Find the closest Farmer’s Market and meet your ladies there. Enjoy shopping from farmers and vendors who live down the road from you and who take intense pride in the goods they grow and make. Meet at someone’s house afterwards to create a delicious dinner or round of appetizers with your market finds. Feel good about supporting your local economy, while selfishly indulging your own needs.


No matter what you choose to do, finding the support, friendship, and charisma of a group of women friends can be a joy in life that we are all worthy of sharing. If you want to make the very act of hanging with each other on a regular basis appealing and exciting, you have got to add in a little variety. When you have  5 or 6 women to please, you are going to need to switch things up,  keep it light, and make it fun to keep everyone happy. Women make the world go around, and as Raffi sings “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be”. So let’s hear it for the girls, and let’s make time for girl nights!


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Tina O’Connor, BSc Psych.
President & CEO, Be That Books Inc.
Author, Entrepreneur, Mom, Wife, Professional Organizer, and Cool Chick.


Release Your Inner Girl & A New Book

I am very excited (elated and ecstatic) to announce that my newest book, Be That Mom hits the shelves October 1, 2013!  (You can pre-order it here.)  I have enjoyed writing Be That Mom and truly hope that you will find it useful in your life too.

With this release, we begin the ‘Release Your Inner Girl’ initiative.  I endeavour to inspire and challenge women to find what ignites their passion for life on this tour…  so maybe I’ll be lucky enough to meet you!?!


Tina's newest book out October 1, 2013!



Stay tuned for updates on the cities I’ll be visiting on my upcoming cross Canada book tour!



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