As our lives become busier and our world gets smaller due to increases in technology, it is easy to forget about our local world.  We tend to shop online from all over the world, we connect with friends old and new, from near and far, but mostly via the internet or text. And as we do this, we become more sedentary day to day and fill our lives with products of convenience.

I am so proud to be the founder of the Ottawa Makeover Project! This group of local business owners is working together, donating their time and expertise to provide one Ottawa-area resident a Life Makeover. Applications are made via website and one person is chosen to be the recipient of a six-month journey towards many life improvements. Hair and makeup, finances, life coaching, dentistry, cosmetic surgery, diet and fitness, legal…all of these areas are covered.  This is not a gift basket of goodies, but rather an opportunity to pick the brains of local experts in their fields and work with them in person over a six month period. The services donated in last year’s project totalled close to $30,000, and this year we are slated to offer even more.

Why do we do this? We are all local, independent business owners and we all wanted a way to highlight local business, and we do this throughout the project with videography and photography with the help of a marketing company.  It is a terrific camaraderie that has been built amongst our team, and many of us use each others professional services on a personal level. We all feel blessed to be in professions that help people in our community in some way, and we wanted to give something back in an effort to say thanks.

Here is what I’ve learned so far by reviewing all of the applications coming in, by meeting many of the applicants. We are all more time-crunched than ever before. Technology has helped us get more done more quickly than ever before, but it also steals so much of our time because now the work never stops. Also, our personal interactions have decreased, changing instead to relationship-by-text, and I think this is a big mistake.  We all can easily start to forget that we deserve to feel great and look great, to have our healthiest-possible body and mind, and to forge great relationships with those around us. We should be showing our next generation of adults that life doesn’t have to stop at parenthood; the best way to honour your family, in my opinion, is to honour your body and your mind by taking time for you.

Before photo of Nikki, ourOttawa Makeover Project 2014 Recipient. Photography by Howard Sandler Photography

Before photo of Nikki, ourOttawa Makeover Project 2014 Recipient. Photography by Howard Sandler Photography

Just this week, we selected our 2014 Recipient, Nikki Jardine. She is about to begin a journey that we hope is a stepping stone for the next phase of her life.  Please follow her journey on Facebook and Twitter, we hope she inspires you to become your best you in the coming year.

Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!