Category Archives: Blogging

Housekeeping Note: New Blog Header!

If any of you logged in to this blog last night (Sunday), you might have noticed some wacky design changes as I was testing out some different layout and template options. My wonderful roommate from my trip to Vegas, Karlyn who blogs about feminism over at The Shattered Glass Slipper, made this beautiful header for me and I’ve finally got it up and running today. It’s not a full site overhaul, just a nice coat of fresh paint, but I’m thrilled with the more customized look and the brighter pops of colour. Here’s what I changed:

  • Added the header that Karlyn designed
  • Changed the WordPress template design from Fresh & Clean to Twenty Twelve
  • Changed the background colour to lime green
  • No more truncated posts on the main page!

If you’re reading this in a reader, pop over and have a look. Let me know what you think and give Karlyn a visit!

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Bloggers in Sin City

A few months ago, I signed up to attend Bloggers in Sin City, and it finally happened this past weekend in Las Vegas. It was the best. And to illustrate just how great it was, this is going to be a photo-heavy post!

Honestly, the impetus for attending was not to meet or hang out with the bloggers, though I was certainly anticipating that to be an awesome side perk. I’ve been to Vegas twice before. I thought once was enough for a lifetime, and I had already doubled that quota. But, seeing Shania Twain perform live has been a big life dream for me ever since discovering her music as a teenager, and she hasn’t been performing for years – over a decade, I believe. I’ve said for ages that I would spend my last penny to attend her concert, and then she got a show in Vegas. I knew I *had* to get there to see it, but who to go with? Enter BiSC.

I had so many fun experiences! Stayed at the Flamingo in a baller room, and would stay with them again in a heartbeat. I went on a rollercoaster. I played Cards Against Humanity to break the ice.

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: "A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party."

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: “A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party.”

Cocktail mixers and brunch buffets.

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Reading in the VIP section at the pool. Day drinking Bloody Marys. BLOWN AWAY by Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic show “O”.

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil's "O"

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil’s “O”

Danced half the night away with my fellow BiSC-uits. Partied on the rooftop of PURE nightclub at Caesar’s. Did a tasting of nine whiskies at the Whisky Attic.

The knight in shining armour, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

The knight in shining armor, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

All of us also enjoyed a great swag bag. Check out the table full of them waiting for us at registration, with bonus snacks!

Gift Bags

Gift Bags

My favourite two sponsored items in the gift bags were the Stackwines and the Firmoo sunglasses. Stackwines have a brilliant concept: A stack of four disposable wine glasses, pre-filled with wine, stacked together in a package. You can have a glass of wine (to go! All the better, as this is allowed in Vegas!) and leave the rest unopened & fresh. Karlyn and I enjoyed a glass each evening while getting ready for festivities. I hope they sell it in Canada. And we were able to select our own sunglasses ahead of time from Firmoo and received them in our gift bags. I am in love with mine and highly recommend ordering from them if you’re in need of some shades.

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

It was all incredibly well-organized and great value created for all of us by the inimitable Nicole and Doniree. But in the end, the sponsors and the events added up to something greater than the sum of their parts. BiSC became more to me than some fun stuff to do and fun people to do them with.

I’m a fairly low-key, introverted person. I can be a lot of fun, but primarily in one-on-one or small group settings. I do not shine at group events of this nature; others usually form stronger bonds than I do. For the most part, this was no different. I haven’t spent a lot of time in conversation with a lot of the BiSCuits reading this. In some cases, I was too intimidated by their big Internet presence to approach them and say much. I listened to everyone cry at our farewell brunch and talk about having all the feelings; there were genuine crushed hearts at the thought of saying goodbye to each other. I had a hard time with this, and wondered if I missed out. The truth is, I just can’t connect with 65 people in one weekend well enough to feel crushed at seeing them go. But I did make a few great new friends. My roommate Karlyn was the best roomie and Shania accomplice I could have possibly asked for. I felt genuine kinship with the lovely bloggers and excellent humans with whom I did share deeper conversations.

But I’m not one to dwell on goodbyes and I couldn’t deal with the sadness, because I just know that we’ll continue the friendships and if we really connected, we’ll see each other again. I cannot wait to road trip down to Portland with Dominique and Simone to visit Larissa. I am ecstatic that Megan is coming to Vancouver soon and I’ll be able to see her again. I was delighted to make a new friend in Chicago because I want to travel there, and to hear stories of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! And my fellow Canadians, you have my heart. All my BiSCuits, you’ve been special to me.

Instead of sadness, what I felt at the end were the stirrings of inspiration. This is an amazing group of people who have collectively achieved so much and revealed such raw honesty, and the result was a real lightbulb moment for me. So many seemed to have experienced – or are still experiencing! – very real struggles and obstacles along the way to their goals. These struggles are usually hidden from public view. I have run up against obstacle after obstacle over the last several years and have noticed myself shrinking my goals and settling for less, because I started to believe that’s all I was capable of… that successful people don’t repeatedly fail and struggle as I have, and that I’m simply not destined to fulfill my bigger dreams. What I learned – something that wasn’t an intellectual shock but I had never really internalized before – was that everyone wades through shit to get where they want to go, and that the only way to reach big dreams is to keep wading through. I’d started thinking that the continual struggle meant failure, but it just means I’m alive. And it made me realize all that I want is possible.

That was the real value of this weekend to me. It was exhilarating and invigorating not for the break from work or the drunken shenanigans or even Shania, but because my BiSCuit tribe gave me permission to dream big again. Thank you to you all for that incredible gift.

All images are my own unless otherwise indicated.

Prioritizing My Life List Goals

Have you guys heard of Go Mighty? It’s an incredible resource for goal-setting, created by power bloggers Maggie Mason, Amber Doty, Laura Mayes, and Sarah Bryden Brown. The idea behind Go Mighty is to create your life list there, attach “stories” to goals, and for Go Mighty members to help each other in any way they can to achieve goals. As someone with a life list on my own blog, a list that is constantly being culled and added to and edited, this appeals to me very much.

Over the last couple of weeks, Maggie has been running an online life list class that I’ve been participating in, and it’s had me thinking critically about what it is I want to do with my one wild and precious life. As a major planner, I always have goals but it’s the action where I often get stalled out. There is so much about my life currently that I want to keep building on. It’s been a long time in the works, but this year I finally feel this sense of inspiration and urgency about making some of these changes happen. I’ve already done two big ones this year… I replaced my junker car with the car I’ve been dreaming about for five years, and I moved out of the home I shared with a roommate into my very own two-bedroom apartment. But this is just the beginning. I want this year to really shake things up, now that I’m on a roll and I’m in a good place emotionally to ride the roller coaster.

I have many goals, and often get so excited about all of them that it’s tough to focus and do anything to move any single goal forward. One of Maggie’s assignments in the course was to select five of your goals as the highest priority, to make them happen within the next 12 months or at least get started on them. I have been working through the assignments in the virtual classroom, but I wanted to share this one over here too. The goals I’ve selected to prioritize over the next twelve months are the following:

  1. See Shania Twain perform live. I’m beyond excited to report that this dream for the last 15 years will be coming true next month when I attend Bloggers in Sin City in Las Vegas. My roommate there, Karlyn, and I will be having a good ol’ country night and going to see Shania together!
  2. Increase my annual income by $15,000. This is one that I won’t be talking about too much in advance, more in hindsight… but I have a coffee chat scheduled with a career mentor next week to discuss strategy and options, so that’s a start!
  3. Create outfit “uniforms” for work, upscale/glam, and casualwear. I will be posting about this soon.
  4. Run a seminar or workshop series. My best friend and I have a burgeoning idea for this already! I would be beyond thrilled if we could turn it into a side business venture.
  5. Take a culinary class with Dirty Apron Cooking School. I’m happy to report I’ve signed up for one in October, and cannot wait to attend! October can’t get here fast enough (that’s the first and last time you’ll ever hear me say that.)

So, they’re out there now! I’ve posted ’em in public and now I’m accountable for making these happen. Keep you posted…

What are some of your key goals right now? Do you have a life list? If you do, or you want one, please join me over at Go Mighty so we can connect and help each other.

Death to Google Reader

A quick administrative note – as I’m sure most of you are aware, Google Reader is biting the dust next month and all us blog addicts out there are scrambling to find a replacement. While the majority of blog-land seems to be singing the praises of Feedly, I’m leaning towards Bloglovin’ and have signed up for an account so I can check it out. While I’m at it, I’m setting my own blog up with a Bloglovin’ feed. Won’t you join me over there?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Blogging from the Heart: Finding my Niche

In an effort to re-focus on blogging and find some inspiration, I’ve been enrolled for the last few weeks in Susannah Conway‘s course, Blogging from the Heart, with about 100 or so other Internet lovelies. I’ve fallen a bit behind on the curriculum, but I’ve been saving all the lessons and am catching up on some serious blog work while taking a little “staycation” from work this week.

The course has been great in a number of ways so far. First of all, I decided that while I don’t have any particular interest in having a self-hosted blog again (that is for people more technologically-inclined than I!), I made the switch back to WordPress. I am not in love with this design template, but I do find it cleaner and somewhat easier to do what I want to do with WordPress than Blogger. So here’s my new home. I hope I can change up the design sometime in the not-too-distant future.

More importantly, I’ve been given some great food for thought in terms of what I want to write about, what type of reader I envision enjoying this blog, and what direction I want this to take. And I’ve found it! This is a personal blog, and will always have a personal narrative bent on the writing. But my interests, while varied and sometimes random, are generally always related to wellness in some way or another.

When I worked with a life coach back in 2010 briefly, she had me complete what she called a Wellness Wheel, that looked something like this:

Source: Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic

In each spoke of the wellness wheel, I had to rate how I was doing in that aspect of my life on a scale of 1 to 10. It was an interesting exercise, and moreover, I think it makes for a great way to tie in all my different interests to a central theme of my interest in wellness! I will create my own wheel with my own style of category names in the future, but generally I will be posting about career, finance, creativity, intellect, emotions, family, relationships, fitness, health, personal growth, fun, and recreation.

Stay tuned for more in these areas!

The Moment the Light Went On

As anyone who’s been reading this blog since its inception will have noticed, I have been a very sporadic blogger at best.

Blogging is something I am meant to be doing. Frequently, that little lightbulb goes off in my head that says “this would make a great blog post topic!” and though I want to blog, and sometimes even intend to write that post when I get home, I nearly always have shoved the idea away, consciously, and have been avoiding this blog at all costs.

I haven’t been sure why until just recently.

A little backstory here to catch you up on my life at the moment: I’m currently on a working vacation in Hawaii. Vacation, because it’s been four years since I’ve taken a real holiday. Hawaii, because I have never been to a tropical beach location and have been dreaming about it for ages, and it fits the bill for the type of activities that jive nicely with a work retreat. And why am I working on vacation, most of all? Because I needed to work on my business rather than in it. To do that, I needed to get away from work and away from all my regular life distractions, so I can strategize… and if I’m going away physically, I’m killing two birds with one stone and taking a holiday!

I needed to do business strategizing because I’ve been unhappy with the process and results of two specific parts of my business, and I needed to find a way to make them work for me instead of feeling like I’m fighting against them all the time.

It’s become clear to me while working on this strategy that:

  1. I had resigned myself to mediocrity in my career due to my lack of solutions to these business processes that weren’t working.
  2. I’m not actually okay with mediocrity, however.
  3. There are still avenues I haven’t exhausted for new processes in the areas of my business I’ve been unhappy about, so I have no business throwing in the towel and pretending they’re unfixable. And, interestingly:
  4. While my primary focus with this strategic planning session on my day job, I’ve been hearing this clear voice that keeps telling me that blogging needs to be a regular part of my life. It doesn’t need to be part of my job strategy, but it needs to be a part of my life strategy.

And in seeing all four of these insights together, I realized that the avoidance of this blog has been due to my resignation to mediocrity. I may have settled in some aspects of my life, but I am really passionate about blogging (I know! I don’t actually even participate in my passion. The irony is not lost on me) and I was not okay with having a mediocre blog. And I think I had started to believe that I could do no better than mediocre, so it was easier to just not blog at all than to do it poorly. There’s also some fear that this blog will not measure up to the one I wrote previously, before starting my business. If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right?

WRONG. So, so, so wrong. Not participating in your passion = GIANT FUCKING FAIL.

Another thing I do that is pretty dumb, when I have the presence of mind to actually think about it? Believing that past results determine future results. It’s a sign that I’m a bit jaded and have been bashed about by life a little bit, but that doesn’t make it true. It doesn’t matter how many times I have failed or will continue to fail at things in the future, or how many times I don’t live up to my own hopes. That doesn’t mean I should lower the bar, and it doesn’t mean I can’t ever succeed at anything, though I’d say it’s pretty likely that I won’t if I stop trying.

In the words of Thomas Edison,

Radio Silence

I’ve been having an internal struggle regarding the launching of this new blog over the last month, hence the radio silence while I quietly grappled with it. I’m not sure what it is about me, but I always do this… get super GUNG! HO! about something new and rush full-steam-ahead with it with no regard for pacing myself, only to (obviously!) run out of power, ideas, or desire.

It’s not in my nature to want to do things anything at half power, and blogging is no  exception. I can’t muster the energy or commitment to post every day, so I just didn’t post at all. Can someone explain to me why once or twice a week seems so ludicrous to me? I suffer from this same predicament when it comes to healing my back from its herniated disc… I want to go all out exercising or else just sit on the couch for a year until I can.

But I am slowly learning about moderation, in all aspects of my life, and it’s a good time for this lesson. Really, this utter avoidance of things I want to do if I can’t give them 100% is about fear of failure. I’ve felt like a failure so often in the last few years that I’m not sure my heart can take it if I add any more endeavours to the pile, so best not to try, right? But come on now, we’re talking about blogging… there is no failing at something I do for fun. Maybe if I allow myself to just enjoy writing for the sake of participating in blogging, I can consider that a success, even if I’m not Winning At The Internet.

I am not going to commit to any posting frequency. But I will commit to blogging. I know this is one of my passions. I feel like I’m living a fuller life when this is part of my life. I need a creative outlet; I want my story to be heard, I want to connect with others. I want this little dusty corner of my own on the Internet. I want to pretty it up and may even do just that in the near future.