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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