Meet Danielle Chassin, the brilliant blogger behind Hippie in Disguise. This truly modern Renaissance Woman (and self-described Canadian Policy Strategist, Editor, Serial Interviewer, Wanderer, Nature Addict, Creative Thinker, Environmentalist, and Vegan) will inspire you to the bone with her take on family adventures and slow-living. For this week's MA CRUSH MONDAY, we hop over to Ottawa, Canada and step into the dreamy, lush life she's cultivated for her two beautiful children. Click for more as this purely creative spirit answers #thesamethreequestions.
1.PS: Tell us a bit what's behind your children's names:
Ro | 11 years & Sen |5 years
DC: My daughter is named Ro, she is 11 years old and mature beyond her years, deeply kind, creative and generous. My son is named Sen, he is 5 years old and coming into his own personality more and more each day, he fiercely defends what he views as right and is highly inquisitive. My husband and I wanted to give our children names that were simple to understand and spell, yet also unique and most importantly gender neutral. We wanted them to have names that they could, as much as possible, fill up with meaning, rather than being pre-judged based on gender assumptions and other stereotypes. Ro and Sen are short forms of their full names which draw on our French, Irish and Aboriginal ancestry. Their names were chosen before they were born and before we knew their genders.
2.PS: Can you share a few of your local Motherhood Favorites?
DC: I am a person who loves to get out and do things. Stuff fills up our homes, but experiences fill our hearts and minds, so we are always spending our time and money on outings and adventures, finding places we can enjoy for an entire day, all together as a family.
We are fortunate to live in Ottawa, where there are many beautiful, fun and unique spots to visit. My absolute favourite spot is along the Ottawa River Pathway, where a local artist John Ceprano works most days, weather and season permitting. Using the rocks that wash along the river, he builds rock balancing sculptures in an around the shallow waters. People are encouraged to build their own sculptures. I love any activity that mixes outdoor fun and art-making. We bring a picnic and spend full days at this spot, playing on our own, meeting new people, joining outdoor yoga classes, and exploring.
Another favourite spot is the grounds at the Central Experimental Farm. Ottawa is fortunate to have a fully functioning farm in its downtown. It’s not in the core of downtown, but is technically within the downtown perimeter. The farm is government-run and operates year round. The official museum space requires a fee to enter, however there is a lot to explore that is free - we usually only pay for entry twice a year: for the newborn farm animals in the spring and the pumpkins in the fall. The farm has a botanical garden on the grounds, that can be accessed for free any time, it's great for picnicking and for hide and seek. All the plants, trees and flowers are labelled so you can up your flora vocabulary with each visit! Across the street from the farm is the Arboretum, with beautiful walking paths, steep hills, charming foot bridges, and of course, climbing trees and fruit trees to forage from. If you wander far enough you’ll come up to Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal, which border the Arboretum. We often spend entire days on the farm grounds and still wish we could stay longer.
Of course, a Sunday cannot go by that we do not visit our local Farmers Market at Lansdowne Park, which luckily we can walk to from our home. We buy our local produce and other goods, and then stock up on snacks for the day so that we can stay out wandering and playing in the city until the sun goes down.
3.PS: What commonalities of Motherhood do you reject, and on the flip-side...do you have any guilty pleasures?
DC: Well, in terms of what I reject, it would probably be that academic success is important. I really, truly believe that social skills and social intelligence are much more important for success in life; and by success I mean happiness and contentment. I try to ensure that my children develop strong social skills by exposing them to all kinds of people and settings, large groups, crowds, one-on-ones, young children, elders, people of various social, economic, geographic backgrounds and ways of life. I want them to feel competent and confident to speak their minds, but also to deeply value what others have to offer them regardless of how similar or different they feel they are. If we can get along with and respect others, our hearts and minds will feel peace and contentment.
My guilty pleasure…hmm. Keeping my kids up late so that I have extra time to hang with them after work…knowing that the morning wake up might be a little rough. I also love me some Schitt's Creek on Netflix. Oh my goodness that show is hilarious!
PS: Would you mind sharing a SCRIBBLE? (a doodle, a recipe, a poem- anything!)
DC: My creativity is best captured in my colour play, I like to collect broken things and dried flora and make them beautiful through arrangement.