Sunday Diaries

Sunday, September 13, 2020

 


Happy September! I missed writing last week, even though it was the long weekend. I didn't feel up to it and didn't have much to say. Even though these posts have been sort of random, I've really enjoyed the act of writing each week and making it a practice.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and this week marked World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. After losing my mom to suicide in 1998, suicide, mental health and mental illness have been things that I've talked about pretty openly for much of my life. I've shared many posts on the blog over the years:

It's so interesting to go back and read those thoughts, and also see the evolution of my perspective over time. I have learned more about better language to use around suicide and mental health, and hope to keep learning as time goes on. I posted a reel on Instagram this week about World Suicide Prevention Day, and talked about how I hope going forward we can ensure that the conversations around suicide prevention include more than just a crisis line. It's removing barriers to mental health support, getting rid of the stigma around mental illness, creating safety in asking for help, creating access to community support and so much more. 


It's been more than 20 years since my mom's death and I truly still miss her every day. I have no idea what it would be like to have her in my life now, or what she'd be like in 2020, but I know that there's a Debbie-shaped hole in my life. I'm grateful for the memories I do have, and that I have an opportunity to share her story. 

Let's keep talking, and doing our part to keep these important conversations going. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 30, 2020

 


I can't believe September is just around the corner. It's such a human thing to exclaim that a new month is here and you're surprised, but I think 2020 has made time feel even more strange. Usually the end of the summer would include a visit to the CNE (or getting annoyed about the air show), maybe a visit to someone's cottage or reminiscing on a vacation, but this year doesn't have any of those things. I'm going to look back on the summer of 2020 as a time of immense change, but not a summer that felt particularly "summery".

The first few days of September are going to be memorable, as I'll be having a colonoscopy on Wednesday. I started a new treatment for my Crohn's Disease around this time last year. I've been going for Entyvio infusions every 8 weeks and was supposed to have a colonoscopy in May to see how things were going. That was cancelled due to COVID and I've been in a bit of a holding pattern since then. I did a fecal calprotectin a few weeks ago, and the test showed high levels of inflammation, so my gastro got me booked in for a colonoscopy. I'm trying to stay calm about it all, but I'm not super optimistic. I'll be doing the same prep as last year, so at least that will be a bit easier. It's clearly on my brain as I even had a dream about going into the hospital for a colonoscopy last night. 

I'm due to share a more in depth Crohn's post. Once I get the results, figure out what happens next, and process it all for myself, I'll share more. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 23, 2020

 


Two weeks ago I resigned from my job, and on Thursday I had my last day. 

If you had asked me at the start of 2020 if I thought mid summer I'd be leaving my job at Shopify and starting something new, I probably would have laughed a lot and scoffed at the very notion. But the last few months have brought their fair share of challenges and change. I started to feel like so much was happening to me, and I was no longer in the driver's seat. Deep down in my gut, I knew that I needed to make a bold move and that was really scary.

I've known for a long time that I'm someone who operates more in the feeling/emotional/intuition realm vs. the logical. This is a place I feel pretty comfortable in, and it's served me well in my life. There's a lot of ways that people talk about this inner voice, including intuition, gut feeling, or inner voice. I listened to a great podcast with Glennon Doyle and Liz Moody this weekend where Glennon talked about this very idea. She encouraged listeners to listen to that inner voice and said "we need to stop following other people's maps and trust our inner compass."

I'm grateful that I was in a role that got to carry on throughout COVID-19 and transition to working from home. Working from home was certainly a change, but I was able to carve out a little space to work in our second bedroom. I missed the office, having a regular routine, my co-workers, traveling, planning in person events and so much more. It was announced that we wouldn't be going back to the office in the same way for the foreseeable future and I also changed roles in late April. Everything just felt different and I wasn't certain I was in the right place for the long term. That inner voice became a persistent whisper once summer hit, and I started to ponder the what-ifs of making a change. 

I eased into the idea slowly and took time to explore my options. I made lists. I took walks. I cried. I continued phone therapy. I'm thankful for Paul and my lovely friends who also helped to talk through it all with me. Once I gave my notice there was no turning back. It was empowering to feel like I was reclaiming 2020, and making the right choice for myself going forward.



It's very strange to end a job whilst working from home. There's no in person goodbyes or packing up your desk, dropping off your laptop or leaving the building for the last time. There's no hugs, and limited options for seeing folks in real life to say farewell. I was honoured to receive lots of well wishes, kind words, flowers and cards - some folks even organized a big google hangout with a group of people that I had supported and worked with during my time. I went through the week feeling a whole mix of emotions, and while there were a lot of tears, I didn't doubt my decision; I felt empowered and excited for what comes next.

Tomorrow I start a new role at a new company and the whole thing still feels surreal. I'll be continuing to work from home, but on Friday I got to meet my team in person for a socially distanced lunch and wine tasting. It was pretty special! I'm beyond thrilled for this next chapter. My intuition knew what was up, and I'm so thankful that I listened.

morgan harper nichols
via Morgan Harper Nicols



Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 16, 2020

 


As we're in stage 3 in Toronto, I'm trying to figure out what that means for me. Even though restaurants, movie theatres and gyms have opened their doors, I definitely haven't been first in line to get in. I've been trying to take it day by day, and figure out what makes the most sense for me. I've felt comfortable going to some familiar stores with my mask, sanitizer, and social distancing. I've continued getting my Entyvio treatment every 8 weeks. In the name of self care, I've also gotten 2 massages and felt very comfortable. Both were at Eastwood Wellness Co. which is a beautiful space in the east end and have taken great care when it comes to COVID-19 procedures. Other things, I'm still navigating. 

Paul and I haven't expanded our bubble beyond one another. I've seen a couple of friends for a socially distanced picnic lunch or tea in the park. I'm craving connection with my favourite humans IRL, but trying to do so in a way that feels good for me, feels good for them, and fits into all the rules. This falls into the category of "things you didn't think you'd have to think about" before 2020. 

Some friends reached out wanting to see me this week, and asked for my stance on "socially distanced cocktails". I responded that I would love to see them, but that I was remaining cautious about the places I frequent and generally being near humans. I suggested that maybe we could find a places with an uncrowded, not next to the street patio to visit? Even though I responded honestly and shared some boundaries, it feels difficult to do. These are things I've never really had to consider (outside of maybe when you get a cold in the winter, so you cancel your plans with friends as not to get them sick) In any other year it would be so easy to make plans with friends, without giving any thought to social distancing, mask-wearing or these kinds of rules to keep us safe. And yet, we're here. 

I'd love to get outside the city to see friends in Ottawa, but don't know when I'll feel comfortable taking the train or flying (or what a trip like that would even look like). I don't know when I'll be comfortable eating in a restaurant again. I miss seeing theatre, comedy or heading to the movie theatre, but don't know if that will be in the cards for me anytime soon. I'm grateful for the friend who suggested we could have drinks in her backyard this week - which feels much more comfortable than trying to find a suitable patio. 

Perhaps I'll look back at all of this and think I was being too cautious or worried, but in this moment it feels like the best approach for me. We're all trying to do the best we can. 

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 9, 2020

 


It's been a week. I mean, I guess the same could be said for all of 2020?

I've found taking walks to be a critical part of my self care during these last few months. On days when I feel anxious or sad or distressed, I've found getting out of the house to be a boost to my mood. I have a few different routes and a couple of destinations that feel safe. There have definitely been days where my walks have gone on for longer than I anticipated and I've received texts or calls from Paul to ensure I'm alright.

On Wednesday I took one of these walks and listened to this podcast. This episode of Lessons Learned with Komal was all about learning to celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small. And learning to celebrate the wins along the way (and not just after you reach the goal / the things happens / the milestone is accomplished). I found myself listening and nodding enthusiastically and by the end tears were streaming down my face because it was the message I needed to hear.

Celebrating my wins isn't something I excel at. And when I do manage to celebrate them, I'm not great at basking in the glory of that win - I can often be on to the next thing, or find a way to criticize or downplay myself. I'm so proud of the life I've built and things that I've accomplished/done along the way, but for some reason celebrating that often feels difficult. I think some of this comes from a mentality of "this is just what you do" which is something that I've felt for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I'll downright downplay things that have happened, the work I've done or what I've accomplished. Even now I wanted to put accomplished in quotation marks - this stuff runs deep. I'm working on it. 

In the podcast, Komal encouraged listeners to journal their wins, both throughout the process and at the end. I took this message to heart and went home after my walk and made a list of things that I could celebrate from the last few months. 2020 doesn't feel much like a year worth celebrating, but upon reflection I've had some wins along the way. I'm trying to give those wins some space and hold onto the good feelings that come alongside them. As I said, this podcast was the thing I needed to hear this week and I'm thankful that the message came through loud and clear at the perfect moment. 

As I write this, I'm celebrating the small win of celebrating my wins. A bit meta, but it's a big thing for me. I'd love to hear about your wins. Know I'm always here to celebrate with you!
Celebrate your wins Lessons Learned podcast
image via @lessonslearned.co Instagram

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, August 2, 2020



I got a haircut yesterday for the first time since February. It's amazing how much I've missed this small act of self care during this time. My hair was also beginning to feel like Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat because it was red and orange and gold and brown and grey... It's also the longest my hair has been in five years since I got my pixie cut. I'm feeling more myself now with a fresh cut and colour, thanks to my longtime stylist Sophie at Le Bigoudi.


I feel so lucky that both Paul and I have been healthy through this time, that I've been able to continue working, and that even though life has been stressful, things are mostly okay. One thing I've missed has been self care. I've determined that maybe self care looks different during this time (more time at home, more naps, more walks with podcasts, more phone chats with friends) but I've missed lots of things that used to help me unwind and make me feel good. Things like haircuts, manicures, brunches, outings with friends, travelling, seeing theatre and probably many others that I can't count.

Getting a haircut felt really good. I feel more put together. It gives me some more options day to day. And seeing Sophie was a delight. Also, that feeling of someone else washing your hair with 10x more care than you ever would! I know that this small thing had a big impact on my mental health and for that I'm grateful. Toronto entered phase 3 on Friday, and while I'm remaining cautious and careful, I hope that being able to do some of these self care things a bit more regularly!  

Tell me about your self care during quarantine. How has it changed? How are you feeling?





Sunday Diaries

Sunday, July 26, 2020



How do you find new music to listen to?

When I was younger, I loved attending concerts, listening to the radio, and buying the CDs of the new artists I loved. (Yes, CDs. And cassettes before that when I was really young) Somewhere in the last 10 years I stopped actively discovering new music, and kept listening to stuff I had previously enjoyed. Even now, I still find myself listening to albums and artists that are familiar instead of seeking out new things to listening to. 

This weekend Paul and I went down a bit of a rabbit hole, and found ourselves listening to a lot of music from the Eurovision Song Contest. This kind of started after we watched the Eurovision Song Contest movie and started talking more about the actual Eurovision Song Contest. Eurovision isn't something that I've followed actively over the years (though my best friend Mel has spoken about it with great enthusiasm) and this meant we had a lot of learning to do. We listened to the winners of the contest over the last few decades, and also enjoyed a playlist of songs from the 2019 contest. 

Our exploration led us to learn about Dadi Freyr and the song Think About Things, which was Iceland's entry for Eurovision this year. I think this may be my new favourite song and I'm sort of obsessed with learning the dance moves! The contest/shows were unfortunately cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but that didn't diminish our enjoyment of this song, and the rest of the entries for 2020. 

While Eurovision may only be once a year (and some of the songs may not be my jam) I think I may have been converted to a fan of the contest, and may follow it more closely it in the years to come. For now, it gave me some fun internet research to do and a whole lot of new to me music to listen to (and dance moves to master).

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, July 19, 2020



A few weeks ago I saw an interview with the founders of Souk Bohemian, and immediately fell in love with everything in their shop. I learned that Vanessa and Morgan had curated a book, and after seeing all the beautiful photography on their site, I knew I needed to own it.



The book is called Brown Bohemians and I'm absolutely in awe with all that's gone into this incredible coffee table book. I'm excited to keep making my way through these moving stories and incredible photos. 

Does your computer background stay the same or change on the regular? I like to change mine up regularly, and love that there's a few sites who share monthly backgrounds with pretty options. For the last couple months I've been choosing backgrounds from The Every Girl, and they always bring me joy when I start up my laptop. 

Any Drag Race fans out there? I've been loving All Stars 5 and Canada's Drag Race. On AS5 I'm definitely #TeamShea, but would be happy with a Jujubee win as well. For Canada's Drag Race, it's been a lot of fun to see some Toronto queens that I've seen and loved live (like Priyanka and Scarlett Bobo) as well as learn more about other awesome queens from across Canada like Jimbo and Ilona Verley. I'm glad that even though All Stars will be done soon, I'll still have Canada's Drag Race to enjoy for the rest of the summer (and then I'll go back to re-watching old seasons like I always do...)

Happy Sunday, loves xo

PS. After filming this video a week ago, I finally got around to editing it! Check out how I did on Poshmark in June (and if you watch til the very end you'll see how badly I need a new tripod for my phone...any suggestions?)

Sunday Diaries

Sunday, July 12, 2020



The Baby-Sitters Club books were some of my absolute favourites growing up. I loved that world, and couldn't get enough of the their stories. When I saw that Netflix had released a new BSC series, I was excited but a bit apprehensive. I worried that it would take the magic away, and wouldn't live up to the special memories I had of their friendship, challenges, and babysitting adventures. Thankfully my worries were for nothing, because I think they knocked it out of the park with the series. It pays homage to the original, with some lovely updates for a 2020 world. Also: Alicia Silverstone plays Kristy's mom! I also loved the addition of 'The Claudia Kishi Club' documentary, which chronicles the profound impact cool girl Claudia had for Asian representation. I really hope that The Baby Sitters Club gets a second season so I can keep enjoying the incredible nostalgia and heart it brings.

Speaking of storytelling, I subscribed to what may become my very favourite newsletter this week. I've had the opportunity to see Chantaie and her work in action, and she is an expert when it comes to the art/science of telling stories. I can't wait to get another edition, and if you're interested in storytelling, you'll enjoy learning from Chantaie's perspective.

My queue of podcasts keeps filling up, but without a regular commute I need to find new & different pockets of time to listen to them. I went to the optometrist this week, and in my travels listened to this meaningful conversation on resilience and showing up for anti-racism with Komal Minhas and Jam Gamble. I loved this quote from Jam:

"That is what community is. When we talk about women supporting and empowering women, this is what it looks like. Amplifying voices that are not yours. Amplifying stories that you have not lived, but deserve to be shared. It’s not just about saying #girlpower. It’s also amplifying those voices and clapping and saying: I see you, I hear you. I appreciate you. And that gives someone the courage to just press on in ways they never knew they could."

This week I was also reminded of this important mantra that Brene Brown shared. 


I am not here to be right. I am here to get it right. Such an important distinction and idea to reflect on.  

In 4 weeks of writing these weekly posts, I still haven't figured out how to end them. Do I summarize things I shared above? Tell you about something happening this week? Just kind of end abruptly and be done with it? 

Maybe I'll get it right in week 5. Until then, friends xo



Sunday Diaries

Sunday, July 5, 2020



I was off work for a 5 day stretch this week, and was thankful for the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. I gave myself permission to rest, and that shift felt very good. I did some thrifting, took long walks, played Animal Crossing, and got a massage. I'm hoping that I can hold onto these lovely feelings. 


Fitting that I came across this photo of our Hamilton tickets this week. We watched the televised version last night and it was everything I hoped for. While definitely not the same as seeing it live, it was still really fun to share the experience with Paul and see it onstage. Usually our summer would be full of the arts through the Fringe, Just for Laughs and other shows, so it was a bit bittersweet. I didn't realize how much of the soundtrack I knew as a result of Paul playing or singing the songs so regularly. We followed it up with a Disney singalong, and I'm sure our neighbours were pleased for us to be belting out Let it Go after hearing the entirety of Hamilton. 

I've been lucky to shoot headshots with Ian Brown 3 times over the last 10-15 years. I love this series he did of Toronto residents during COVID. It captures so many different perspectives during this unique, challenging time. 

Paul found the Land of the Giants podcast this week, and we began listening together. Season 2 is all about how Netflix got to where it is today. In episode 1 it's wild to hear about the evolution of Netflix's culture, and in episode 2 they talk about Netflix's rise above Blockbuster video. I remember so vividly going to Blockbuster on Friday nights to see what movies were out. (Anyone else?) That doesn't feel like that long ago, and yet somehow the world has changed so much since then.

Today I'm looking forward to enjoying a bit more time in the sun, filming a new Youtube video and getting some things done around the house before heading back to work tomorrow. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead xo

PS - I published a new Youtube video this week with a little thrift haul! 


Sunday Diaries

Sunday, June 28, 2020



Toronto entered phase 2 of reopening this week, following much of the province a couple weeks earlier. Included in the re-openings are restaurant patios, malls, daycares and some personal care services including hairdressers. I was thrilled to get the email from my salon, and booked the first available appointment for myself (which is looking like it won't be until August 1). I'm personally hesitant about patios for now, and I hope that people will continue to wear masks and be safe with more restrictions being lifted. I saw a friend for a socially distanced walk and iced tea hang on Friday, and it was really nice to spend time with someone else and return to some semblance of pre-COVID life. 

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst


This weekend marks the end of Pride Month, which would normally culminate in big celebrations and a parade over these last few days. Soon after I wrote last week's post, we watched Disclosure on Netflix, which was a truly eye-opening documentary on the depiction of trans representation in film and television. I've been reminded this month that the first pride was a riot, and Black transgender and lesbian women played a huge role in this revolution. 

I went thrifting yesterday (new haul video coming to Youtube later today or early this week!) and listened to this episode of the Healthier Together podcast on diversity and accessibility in wellness. I learned a lot from Chrissy King, Ibhraeem Basir of A Dozen Cousins and Dr. Tosin Odunsi with their perspectives on the challenges and problems in different facets of the wellness world. As Chrissy said in her post Is Fitness Only For Thin, White Women?, "The fitness industry just isn’t inclusive. Fitness is and should be for everyone. It’s a not a “special” club for people who look a certain way. In order for that to be the case, it can’t be marketed solely to thin, white women. It needs to represent all shades, shapes, and sizes." In the episode Liz and Chrissy talked about the fact that wellness isn't just going to a snazzy yoga class and sipping on a green juice, it comes in many different forms, and representation is important. I really appreciated their perspectives, as well as some actionable ways that we can all support change in this industry.

We were set to see Hamilton on March 17, 2020, and both Paul and I were thrilled. On March 14, Mirvish closed their theatres due to COVID and cancelled upcoming performances. All of that to say, we're pretty stoked for this Friday and the streamed version of Hamilton being released. While it won't be the same as watching it onstage, I'm thrilled to finally watch the production, especially with Lin-Manuel Miranda in it!

Happy Pride, loves. Hope you have an amazing week xo


Sunday Diaries

Sunday, June 21, 2020



I started this blog more than 10 years ago, and there have been many times over the last couple years where I aspired to get back to writing regularly again. When we started sheltering in place, I had many grand aspirations to do just that - but I couldn't find the focus, or the words. Now that it's been over 100 days, and so much in the world has changed, I've decided that I need to be showing up here again.

Inspired by Gena from The Full Helping and the gals from A Beautiful Mess, I'm going to aim to share a post each Sunday with some thoughts from the week. This may include musings on what's happening in the world, things I'm learning, ideas I'm exploring, what I'm reading/watching/consuming or maybe just fun. We'll see how it evolves, but I'm excited to get back to writing regularly.

As I write this, it is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. I'm grateful to live on this land, that is traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.

This week I watched a thought-provoking panel from Progress Toronto on defunding the police. It speaks to my privilege (and perhaps ignorance) that until recently, I had never given much thought to size of the police budget or the possibility of defunding the police. In Toronto, the police budget is $1.1 billion. That's more than libraries, housing and shelters combined. My local councillor is part of a motion to decrease the police's funding by 10%, and invest those funds in community programs. While this could be a start, many advocates are saying this is not enough. This panel and other things that I've been reading over the last few weeks have opened up my eyes to alternative models, and what changing the distribution of city funds could look like, and how these changes could be a better way to support our communities.

I've been trying to take long walks a few times each week to get out of the house and clear my head. Usually I throw on a podcast, as my queue of episodes keeps increasing now that I no longer have time to listen during my morning commute. This week I listened to a couple of great episodes including:
You know when a book finds you? That's what happened with Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It had popped up in my feed, and then it started showing up everywhere. I downloaded it on my kindle, and then even my therapist mentioned it to me. Ok, ok universe, I'll read the f*cking book. While I resisted it in the beginning, I fell in love once I started reading, completely enthralled by Glennon's candour and attitude. As someone who has been working to show up authentically, her words spoke to my heart and I couldn't get enough. Next up is Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, and in less than a day of starting it, I'm captivated by Janet's powerful story.

I've still been having a blast on Poshmark, and this week I shared a video about what sold in May. A few weeks ago, Poshmark also featured me and my sweet PFF Martha in a post celebrating Poshmark Canada's 1st birthday!

That's all from me this week. I look forward to being more present here in the weeks and months to come xo

RISE conference - Vancouver 2019

Monday, April 27, 2020

This post has been sitting in my drafts for awhile, and originally it highlighted The Ace Class' spring conference at Lake Louise. With all that's happening in the world that conference has now been postponed until later this year. The team at The Ace Class is still producing amazing content and sharing all kinds of valuable resources while we're all at home, including the RISE Digital Summit on May 7, 2020. Check out the amazing speaker line up and save your seat for an uplifting day.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver for the RISE conference, presented by the ACE Class. I feel very lucky to work at a company where we are encouraged to own our own development - by reading, taking classes and attending conferences, and I opted to do just that by attending RISE.

So much of this post was written and sitting in my drafts awaiting some photos and finishing touches, and it seems strange and eerie to be sharing it now. Wasn't it just a few months ago that I was on a plane? Attending an event? Hugging new friends? Like many of you, I'm missing all of those things in 2020 amid this global pandemic, but I'm sharing this post because it was a wonderful experience that I want to reflect on + highlight the incredible speakers, vendors, learnings and experiences from the weekend.

I came to learn about the conference on Instagram - you know when you go down a weird rabbit hole on the gram and somehow end up in a place you didn't anticipate - that's how RISE showed up for me. I was intrigued by the speaker line-up, the community and the opportunity to visit Vancouver for the first time. The experience did not disappoint.

The ACE Class team put together a stacked line-up of people to speak at RISE. I was familiar with some of the speakers beforehand including Danielle Laporte, Ashley Freeborn from Smash + Tess and Sarah Nicole of The Birds Papaya, but the event also introduced me to a whole slew of others who had me captivated over the three days.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

I got to sit next to Selina Gray at the opening night dinner, and we talked about leaving jobs and our health journeys. Her inspiring talk was centered around conscious wealth and holding sacred space for money. As someone who is often intimidated by money talk and personal finances, it was a great to be reminded that "money is an inside job". I valued Selina's perspective and approach to money, which deeply resonated with me.

Someone else who is new to me (but I'm now obsessed with) is Terri Cole. Terri is a psychotherapist from New Jersey who tells it like it is. She talked about revolutionary self love, and shared a number of ways that we could be blocking just that in our lives. Terri's talk was authentic and refreshing. She also gave a workshop on boundaries, where she told us "healthy boundaries are the bridge to everything you want". Establishing boundaries and being more comfortable in doing so has been a big part of the work I've been doing in therapy over the last few years. Since the conference I've been very into Terri's podcast, where she dives deeper into these topics on a weekly basis and it's full of gems.

Danielle Laporte RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

Danielle Laporte is an ethereal human and I loved being in her presence. I was familiar with her books and podcast, but it was wonderful to hear her speak in the moment. She opened up the conference talking about stepping into our power and encouraged us to bask. The word really stuck with me over the weekend and served as an excellent reminder for me. Danielle also gave some real talk on using self help to bolster self criticism (oy, I've been there) and encouraged us to stop feeling guilty for wanting what we want, and that we're worthy. I was given a copy of her book White Hot Truth in my goodie bag, and I've been enjoying it a lot and look forward to finishing it soon!

The Birds Papaya RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

I loved hearing from Ashley Freeborn on the beginnings of Smash + Tess and how their brand has evolved. I had the pleasure of having lunch with Sarah from The Birds Papaya, and her keynote really resonated with me. One of my favourite things she said was "we're ripping ourselves from the human experience of our bodies, and I'm so done with that crap". Argh, so good.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

The weekend included so many other amazing speakers and panelists including Mark Groves on boundaries, relationships and courage, Jordan Bower on transformational storytelling, Nicole Smith of Flytographer about the evolution of her business, Maria Morales from the Poshmark Canada team, Miriam Alden of Brunette the Label, Cicely Blain, Paige Sandher -- the list goes on and on. I captured so many notes and have reflected back on everything I took in. The content was bountiful and inspiring.

I loved connecting with some incredible women while I was there. I went to the conference solo, but met some really lovely humans at the opening party and they became my people over the course of the weekend. We sat together, enjoyed lunch together and followed one another on social media. Everyone in the room seemed to be like-minded, so it was easy to chat with others and find common ground.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

The venue was gorgeous, and the team brought together an incredible group of vendors to explore over the weekend. I was really excited to connect with the Poshmark Canada team, especially since it was very soon after I became a Poshmark ambassador! I asked them all sorts of questions and got to learn more about the plans for growing Poshmark in Canada. I even got to show them when one of my own purchases arrived at home, and Paul sent me a photo so that I could receive the purchase in the app. I especially love that this moment was caught on camera.

Poshmark Canada RISE Conference Vancouver 2019


I picked up an incredible sweatshirt from Brunette the Label that I'm obsessed with - they were even sweet enough to stop by the store en route to the venue so I could get the size I wanted. There were many more awesome vendors all around the building, and I loved perusing them during our breaks.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

At the end of the weekend, coach Chela Davison closed it out and reminded us aim for integration rather than holding on to inspiration, and take small steps to keep the momentum going. It was a perfect ending to the 3 days. The whole weekend really filled my cup. I did my best to take in every moment and was definitely the gal sitting in the front row, furiously writing notes and beaming from ear to ear. It was my first time in Vancouver, but definitely won't be my last; When we're able to travel again, Vancouver will be near the top of my list of upcoming destinations. I still refer back to my notes from the weekend, and the speakers, brands, and new friends fill my podcast list and Instagram feed.

Vancouver, Canada

The Ace Class knows how to put on an excellent event, and I look forward to more speakers being announced for the Digital Summit in May. It's a very exciting opportunity to learn from some powerhouse women and connect with a wonderful community.

RISE Conference Vancouver 2019

It feels surreal to be writing this now, living in the midst of a global pandemic and missing so many of the things that made the weekend so special. I don't know where we all land after this, or what IRL events will look like in the future, but I'm trying to find joy in the small things and seek connection in new ways. Looking back, I'm even more grateful that I got to have this experience last fall, and connected with so many remarkable humans who I now follow from a distance.

Photos are a combination of my own + from The ACE Class Facebook page following the event


100 Days of Nothing New

Monday, January 6, 2020


Happy New Year! I'm kicking off 2020 with a 100 day project, which I'm calling "100 Days of Nothing New". Here are the guidelines I've set out for myself:

1. For 100 days beginning January 1st 2020, no new clothing, accessories, shoes, make-up, skin care, stationary, home items, books or magazines can be purchased.
2. If something is needed during the 100 days (ie. a special occasion dress for a wedding) it can only be purchased second hand (at a thrift store or on Poshmark)
3. Only exceptions include: stuff for my business when needed, gifts or larger home projects (I want to replace the blinds in our condo and it would be great if I got it done in the first 3 months of the year!)

This project was inspired by a bunch of people who have done some really cool 100 day and year-long projects. The 100 Day Project is a much larger thing that many folks embark on each spring, and it's been really cool to watch friends take part. My friend Lindsay has done it a couple of times with various projects related to creating new art, and my co-worker Courtney did an awesome 100 day project with beautiful poetry and actually turned her project into a book. I was also inspired by my friend Lynzie who did a year of nothing new in 2019, challenging herself to wear her wardrobe and only get things second hand or traded, as well as Elsie of A Beautiful Mess who didn't purchase any new clothing in 2019 and only shopped second hand. For the purpose of this project, 100 days seemed like the perfect length of time and I'm excited to have this goal set to kick off 2020.

I wanted to take on this experiment for a few reasons. For the most part, I don't need anything right now. I have more than enough clothes, accessories, shoes, make up and skin care. I love the wardrobe that I've curated and wear my items regularly. In 2019 I also got more into make-up and skincare (I blame a combination of Youtube + my company's #skincare Slack channel for this one) and definitely have enough stuff to put on my face for 100 days.

Towards the end of 2019, I found myself spending more money on these kinds of items. I'm really happy with the things that I purchased, but I want to slow down my spending and focus on saving. I want 2020 to be the year that I finally pay off my credit card debt and become debt free, and I think this 100 day project is going to really help kick start that.

While I want to stay true to this project, I don't want to be totally militant about it, so I've outlined a couple of exceptions. I have a couple of weddings to go to between now and April and need a dress to wear to both of them. For an item like this, I'm going to allow myself to purchase something new-to-me second hand, either from a thrift store or through Poshmark. I have a couple of dresses liked in my Poshmark account that may be the winner for these 2 events! There's also some bigger home projects that I want to tackle in 2020, and so if I'm able to replace our condo blinds in the first couple months of the year, I'm going to go ahead and do it. But no small stuff, like candles. Why is it so hard for me to resist candles?!

100 days is going to take me until the second week of April, which is perfect as I'll be on a trip and it will be my birthday! I'm looking forward to sharing this journey here and through social media using the hashtag #100daysofnothingnew. If this sounds like a challenge you'd like to partake in, I'd love some company!!


I'll be sharing my journey here on the blog, on my shiny new Youtube channel, as well as Instagram where you can find me @ashleydtl. 
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