Monthly Archives: May 2016

She did it: Photos from the big reveal

Well, that’s it!  Cathy 2.0 is here and the 2015/2016 edition of The Ottawa Makeover Project comes to a close once again.  Here is a look at the fun we had after the live-on-CTV-Morning-Live reveal on May 13th (you can see that here:

Cathy and her entourage

Cathy and Photographer Howard Sandler    Cathy and EFL Personal Trainer Kyle

 Cathy and Live Well's Dr. Sabrina    Cathy and Pierrette Raymond

Cathy and Eating Well Ottawa    Cathy and Rinaldos

Cathy and ScotiaWealth advisor Colleen O'Connell-Campbell    Cathy and Shelley True of TRUEdotDESIGN

Cathy and Lawyer Russ Molot    Cathy and the Supperworks crew

Cathy with Twiss & Weber    Cathy and Eyes on Ottawa's Stayci Keetch

Cathy with Doctor Andrea Stevens


Missing from the photos:  Our friends at Myers Kanata.


And now…for some behind the scenes fun:

on_set_4385 on_set_4396 reveal_4393 selfies_4461




All photos by Howard Sandler Photography

A Rather Private Person Changing Rather Publicly!

A.K.A My Ottawa Makeover Project Journey: In Cathy’s Words!


Ta da! Cathy Whitney 2.0 has arrived and I am delighted!

Ottawa Makeover Project 2016 Reveal


On Wednesday, October 28, 2015 just before noon, I went to Dr. Andrea Stevens’ office expecting to meet with three of the Ottawa Makeover Project business owners as one of three finalists. Shock and surprise, that was a clever ploy to get me into the office and tell me I was the winner! Nicely played, Andrea, nicely played! (Throwback: )

And, nothing will ever compare!

I’m not an expert at anything other than being ME! So, everything you have seen, read, heard or watched me do is me being me, just so you know.

Do I walk around my house with a microphone clipped to my shirt? No. Rehearse the video posts 100 times before they go up? Not so much. What was asked of me in the course of this journey is that I keep it real and that’s what I did.

I started performing stand-up comedy in 1995, but haven’t been on stage for years. So, when I’ve been in front of the camera, it was much easier for me than most, but part of that comfort was because of Stayci Keetch of Eyes on Ottawa – she is a great director!

Would I do this again? You bet! And I would put the same energy, passion and humour into the experience, start to finish!

In the course of the makeover, the OMP realm watched me experience so many things for the first time. Pretty much every single experience with the partners required me to step out of my comfort zone. A few examples…

Working out was brutal at first; it hurt quite a bit, but over time, it was easier. When I started in the gym, I could not do squats and refused to do some of the exercises Kyle wanted me to do. Sweat is just your body crying! But, by my final workout, I was rockin’ through multiple repetitions of so many exercises and banging through a 30 minute walk circuit in my neighbourhood in 20 minutes! Delightful bonus… so many of the workouts I did with Kyle, I can do at home!

Going to the dentist is tough for a lot of people for many reasons. For me, it was not in my meagre budget over the years; my kids came first and even they didn’t see a dentist regularly. Putting myself in the very capable and caring hands of Dr. Andrea Stevens & her team meant swallowing my pride and hoping I would not be judged for anything that was wrong in my mouth.That sounds so insecure and irrational, but that’s the truth. I didn’t track closely, but I would say about 75% of the time was spent on my Gum Tissue Therapy program. That was mortifying for me, but after 30 years of no professional dental maintenance, there was a lot to do. Having all 8 of my 40+ year old fillings removed and replaced was amazing. Now, I have a 100% healthy mouth – it is a game changer! So very much a smile makeover!

C L U T T E R!! That was a fire that took up residence in my home over the years, fuelled by my overwhelm, my depression, and the all but consuming grief of losing my Mom in 2009. This fire was well-fed for 20 years until December 17th, 2015, when the battle began. That fire was extinguished in grand fashion thanks to Pierrette Raymond and her team who will forever have a special place in my heart!

Sharing the scope of my clutter was hands down, the toughest part of the makeover and I know that having the Before & After happen so quickly made it easier for me. But, it was still a monumental source of shame.

My house is not perfect, I have boxes to get through and old habits to break, but the foundation has been laid for a clutter-free home and that is one of the greatest gifts in the world to me!

All the partners were equally wonderful to me and they were all part of the entire life-changing experience for me.

You probably already know that I’ve been a single parent for 22 years. What you might not know if that my EX is a total deadbeat and thanks to the Ottawa Makeover Project, my DIVORCE will be finalized in the weeks ahead.

I have taken better care of myself since 2012 after surgery. The Ottawa Makeover Project enabled me to take further steps in self-care thanks to partners like SupperWorks and Eating Well Ottawa through whom I’ve enjoyed healthy, home made meals and an incredible array of organic produce and groceries!

Live Well and Dr. Sabrina Bercovitch, gave me food for thought with the Live Well for Life program. I had a pretty decent knowledge of the concepts, but holey moley, there was a TON of valuable information and lifestyle modifications to make Cathy Whitney 2.0 a truly better version of herself!

My financial picture is pretty simple – I have no extra; I have just enough to live on, but that will change thanks to the guidance and support of the incomparable Colleen O’Connell-Campbell. Her quiet confidence is a strength I truly admire. I knew of this wonderful lady for years and admire her commitment to educating, enlightening and empowering women in transition – that certainly describes my experience and situation!

Now that you’ve SEEN Cathy Whitney 2.0, you have the visual proof of the incredible talents of Fiorella of Rinaldo and the ladies of Twiss & Weber! When I walk my daughter down the aisle TOMORROW (yes!) I will do so knowing that I look my very, very best! The fact that these wonderful women are so gracious and delightful is pure bliss!

When I was selected as the 2015-2016 Ottawa Makeover Project winner, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY 30+ YEARS OF DRIVING, I HAD A BRAND-NEW CAR – the first person to drive it! That was total vehicular heaven-on-earth! Thanks to MYERS Kanata GM, this sweet ride enabled me to honour my commitments to the OMP partners and I logged about 10,000 km in this journey. Yes, some of that was ‘personal’, but it was a total blast to have such a sweet ride!

The tremendously talented team at True Dot Design are the technical and social media wizards behind a great deal of what you see related to the OMP. They have been such a wonderful team with whom to work on my journey and I am so grateful to them!

Last but not least, my family and friends have been so incredibly supportive during my transformation and this journey would not have been the success or amazing experience it has been without them!

A heartfelt shout-out to my daughter, Rebecca Stanley, who was my unofficial Manager, Roadie, Photographer, and all-round sanity-saving superstar! My son, Austin, was very patient with my wild and crazy schedule in terms of us having time together! I love my kids more than words could say and they are my greatest source of inspiration and a huge part of the reason that I immersed myself in this journey to be the best version of me.

I am Cathy Whitney 2.0 and I am ready for the next phase of my life. So, LIFE, are you ready for me?


Stay tuned!



TDOT and The Ottawa Makeover Project

TRUEdotDESIGN, an Ottawa-based marketing and design firm, is proud to be a partner of The Ottawa Makeover Project and contribute our services to the unique initiative! The Ottawa Makeover Project brings a group of community-minded professionals together to change the life of one deserving individual. The winning participant receives a “life makeover” consisting of professional guidance, coaching, and pampering, courtesy of the Project’s generous partners!

This year’s Ottawa Makeover Project winner is Cathy Whitney, a single mom for more than 22 years, she has always put the interests of others far ahead of her own. Raising her children as a single parent while taking care of her mother, Cathy rarely had enough time or energy to devote to herself. It is without a doubt that her selfless nature made her an incredibly deserving candidate to receive the “life makeover”.

As a team of educated and driven women at TRUEdotDESIGN, this initiative is truly significant to us – it hits close to home. We understand the challenges that women can face when trying to establish and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Whether you are a single mom, supporting a loved one in need, or if you are simply too busy to find time to dedicate to your own well being, you deserve a life makeover!

That time Cathy and her daughter visited TRUEdotDESIGN during Ottawa Makeover Project 2015/2016
Cathy and her daughter visited TRUEdotDESIGN during OMP 2015/2016

Dr. Andrea Stevens, founder of The Ottawa Makeover Project, understands this better than anyone. She is so passionate about making women feel wonderful about themselves that she started the project to bring like-minded, caring professionals together to contribute to the cause.

We admire Dr. Andrea Stevens and the other Ottawa Makeover Project partners so much that we felt TRUEdotDESIGN had to be a part of the meaningful initiative. We contribute our marketing and design services to the project because we feel that it is an important cause that needs a voice. Our goal is to facilitate communications and be the vehicle for the voice of the Ottawa Makeover Project. Through the website that we designed, our social media management, graphic design services, and other marketing efforts, our goal is to spread word about this amazing initiative and contribute to its overall success!

In Cathy’s Words: Two Thought Provoking Questions

A.K.A. Two thought provoking questions that set my commitment to the OMP in Motion…

Hard to believe that the Ottawa Makeover Project is set to wrap-up with THE BIG REVEAL next Friday, 13 May at 845 am on CTV Morning Live. I’m excited beyond words for that!

This blog post is VERY personal – it is my VERY FIRST response to Pierrette Raymond before we’d even met in person. It was tough to answer so honestly because it is raw, but it is real!

I invite any and all of you who read this to ask yourselves the same questions and save it. In 6 months’ time, pull out your answers and see where you are in relation to what you said on this particular day, in this particular moment.

QUESTION: If you knew you had just one more year to live and the next six months were going to enrich your life and the lives of others in more ways than you can count, what would be your biggest hope, wish, dream?

HOPE – that my children would know to their very core how much I love them, how precious they are to me, how the sacrifices I made were always worth it to make their lives the best and give them the solid foundation to launch into their destinies. The same essentially, for my family & friends – anyone with a place in my world, my life, my heart.

That those who have shared my journey, may be inspired to take a leap of faith, to commit to making 1 change or 10 or none; being comfortable with the person they are and recognizing that loving ourselves first opens us to loving others.

MY HOPE FOR ME would be that I made a difference. That those who knew me would have fond memories of me and what I brought to their lives.

WISH/DREAM – that I would get to buy my home and go to Disney. Both have been my dream forever; I wanted to give my kids a home that was truly ours (we moved about 14 times in 22 years) and I have loved Mickey Mouse my whole life – it is my dream to meet him and share the happiest place on earth with my children. (I am crying so hard right now in frustration that the 2 things I’ve wanted most STILL haven’t happened and I just don’t know if they ever will – it makes me so sad and frustrated. )
QUESTION: What legacy do you want to leave for your loved ones as you live fully today? What do you want to model as the person you are (or are becoming)?

Be bold. Be brave. Be Courageous.
Leap fearlessly.
Make mistakes and learn from them.
Hug your kids. Every time you see them.
Tell your kids you love them. Every time you see them.
Don’t take ANYONE or ANY DAY for granted.

My legacy – that I made the world a better place by being kind, funny, compassionate, empathetic, generous, enthusiastic, wacky, authentic and someone with a strong moral compass, hands made for helping, heart made for caring and feet ready to walk that extra mile (or more).

That I was someone they were proud to know.

As for who I am becoming… this is one ready to launch version of me.

The makeover is simultaneously exhilarating with its scope and exhausting with the magnitude of what’s to come!

I really like who I am essentially, but know that there’s a better version of me that is waiting to emerge from the chrysalis of stress, struggles and aggravation that have been my reality for far too long.

You will here more from me in the days ahead.

Stay tuned!