#Life, Art + Creativity

KEEPING TABS NO.1 | Mustard Cleobella Maxi, Nasty Galaxy, Chasing Slow, Tattoos + Embroidered Everything

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Hey Ya’ll. When you’re insanely busy with a kajillion things to do.. what do you do? You procrastinate, and you find other ways to occupy your time. What better time to start a new weekly post- Keeping Tabs. I am a woman of the interwebs and I spend a great majority of my time here. During that time, you can bet your sweet bottom I have tonnes of tabs open. In this weekly series, I’ll be sharing my favourite links, articles, and random things that sparked my interest this week. Grab a coffee and procrastinate with me ;).

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Places, Travel

Escaping to Myrtle Beach 3/3

Our last “full” day in Myrtle Beach was definitely our favourite. We had plans to go to to Brookgreen Gardens, which would have been STUNNING no doubt- but our lunch went a bit later than planned so we decided to just spend the afternoon exploring downtown Myrtle. It was so nice to just be carefree roaming the town.

Lunch at Collector’s Cafe

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After a lively night down at the Marshwalk, both Kass and I were feeling that sleep in life ;). We got in some extra ZZZs before heading for a delicious lunch at Collector’s Cafe, a coffee shop and art restaurant. The restaurant boasts a gallery that spans 6 rooms and represents more than 25 artists. Many times during our trip Kass and I were told we looked like sisters.. well, we twinned out and both got the Pasta Du Jour for lunch, which was penne with Cajun Alfredo sauce and chicken. It lived up to the hype.

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Exploring the City

I mentioned this before, but I will say it again- Always leave a little room for magic. As big a planner as I am when it comes to itineraries, I think sometimes you need to leave a little bit of breathing room for spontaneous adventure- and that is just what our last day was filled with. We grabbed our cameras and hit the town to look for interesting places to check out and photograph. We stumbled upon many interesting and brightly painted walls, a vintage RV trailer, and tonnes of beautiful foliage. Make sure to leave yourself some down time to just walk around, see the sights, and enjoy being in Myrtle!

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Ice cream at Kirk’s

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When we were driving back from lunch, we noticed a vintage ice cream shop that we just HAD to go back to- and we are sooo glad we did! I mean, what’s a trip to Myrtle beach without ice cream? We had just seen a little snippet of the outside of the shop from the road during our drive, but I just knew it was a gem we had check out. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to be transported back into the 80’s via the Kirk’s vintage arcade inside. Green walls tacked with vintage coca-cola signs, retro diner tables, and old arcade machines filled the room. The vibe was totally old school and we loved it.

It’s also worth mentioning that they served the MOST DELICIOUS ice cream- you know, the kind you scoop out of a tub. I went with choc chip cookie dough, which if you were wondering, is my all time favourite.

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 Alabama Theatre (at Barefoot Landing) for “ONE – the Show”

We finished off our last night with a live performance at the Alabama Theatre. I love live performances, especially when it combines singing, dancing, and costume changes! I think that live performance is such a brilliant art form that deserves so much more credit. It’s truly an art form. The One Show was jazzy and cool, but also totally current and upbeat. Gotta love when you can listen to beauty and the beast, and Tay Swift in the same show haha. (Disney for life!)

All in all- it was a real treat to escape the winter freeze and thaw out a bit under the Myrtle sun. If you’re looking for a fun girls getaway- Myrtle is definitely the place to go. If you’re just catching up, you can read post 1 and 2 here. 

Until my next Escape! 

 

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Places, Travel

Escaping to Myrtle Beach 2/3

Bright and early on Thursday morning (Like, before 9AM) Kass  and I grabbed an Uber and made our way over to Croissants Bistro and Bakery. We had the cutest Uber driver, telling us all about this great book he was reading, but couldn’t remember the title of. But it was about World War 2, and that was his favourite kind of book ;). Staring out the window, tall majestic palms swaying in the breeze, it was going to be a great day I just knew it.

With the sun beating on my face, eyes closed, I dreamed only of one thing. Coffee. And we went to the right place.

Croissants at Bistro & Bakery

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We were greeted by Mike, bright eyed and bushy tailed- who knew we were in dire need of some caffeine. Coffee with extra espresso it was- just how we like it. I was ready for some great eats and ordered, kind of conservatively. Some good old fashioned eggs and bacon- with a signature croissant. Kassandra, the bolder eater of us two- went with Eggs Benny… which in retrospect, I wish I had also went for. It was both of our first time trying eggs Benedict, and it was BLISS. Hollandaise sauce wassup!

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It wasn’t long before our friend Mike decided to show us what croissants were really made of, and he carried out the biggest, most delicious Banana Foster French Toast I’ve ever seen. Our eyes, kind of dropped out of our heads when we saw it haha. HUGE brown-sugary french toast topped with bananas and whip cream. We were already full from sharing our gigantic breakfast plates- but of course we had to give it a try.

So good. Like, so so good. It was literally dessert for breakfast.

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After we dug in to some of the french toast, I literally had to take a break because I was so stuffed. I went to the washroom, came back, and dear Mike had ANOTHER TRIO of delicious treats laid out on our table. OMG. haha.

Chocolate brownie (My all time fav).. Coconut Cake, and HANDS DOWN THE BEST STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE OF MY LIFE. If you go, you MUST, I repeat, MUST have this. Ditch the eggs, don’t even get toast. Just get this for breakfast.

‘Yo welcome.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Heidi and her daughter- who gave us the CUTEST gift bags. Thank you so much ladies you are too kind. We will be back for sure!!

Lunch at the Tea Room at Hopsewee Plantation

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Here’s a little tip. If you’re coming to Myrtle. Rent a car. Rent a car. Rent a car. Kass and I decided NOT to rent a car because we knew we would be out for drinks intermittently during our trip. Well, yes- this was true during the evenings- but for the most part in the daytime we were out and about- not drinking. So a car would have been the best decision, and MUCH cheaper than Ubering around. Learn from our mistakes!

When you think Myrtle Beach, you likely do not think- Rice Plantation or Basket Weaving.. well, neither did we- but when we saw how stunningly beautiful the Hopeswee Plantation was with it’s giant willowy trees and it’s commanding colonial home- we just had to see it in person.

It was about a 45 minute drive (hello expensive Uber).. from Myrtle Beach- but the drive was nice, sunny, and relaxing. Especially after eating our body weight in treats, we needed that down time to digest haha!

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We didn’t get a chance to have lunch at Hopsewee- but in all fairness- we aren’t sure lunch would have fit! We arrived just in time to do the tour of the plantation. It was fantastic. So much rich history and energy in that building. We learned tonnes about the people that had worked on the plantation back in the day- and how the relationship between the Gullah Africans and the owners was much different than what you would expect. The Gullah people were respected and almost thought of as family. There was love in these relationships, with slaves living on the property with their families, working together with the plantation owners to come up with smart ways to irrigate the land. It was so interesting to hear.

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The architecture in the home was stunning. It’s so impressive to see how much careful detail used to go into buildings. How things were built to last. I love seeing history with my own eyes. Carvings in glass made by people we will never know that lived there so long ago. Leaving their anonymous mark on the world, hundreds of years later.

Something that really struck a chord with me was how slow everything used to be. While we toured through the home we saw the “warming room”. This was essentially a small room, where dinner would be rolled in on a buffet to stay warm before being served for dinner.

Ain’t no warming room for Kraft Dinner.

I can’t imagine how much time and effort went into every meal. Everyone gathered around the table, savouring their food and just living slowly.

It’s truly amazing- and I definitely want to make time for slow in my life.

Sweet Grass Basket Weaving

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Now this, was really something else. When was the last time you worked on making one thing, for upwards of three hours? I’ll tell you, it’s not often I can focus on ONE thing. I think in our hectic day-t0-day life we are so busy scrolling feeds and tapping photos that we (I) really need to find the time to take a break, and make something.

It’s been awhile since I started a project, and finished it all in one day. It feels incredible. I am so beyond proud of my little basket, and every time I look at it I will have fond memories of the tea room at Hopsewee. It will take me back to bonding with Verna, sitting beside Kassandra drinking coffee. This little tiny basket, that could mean nothing to someone else, means SO much to me- and that is super special.

I’m going to proudly display it somewhere in my home!

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Let me ALSO add, that our lives were saved by Tae- who works at Hopeswee. Unbeknownst to us, we tried to hail an Uber from Hopeswee- but there was not an Uber in sight. We were, well.. stranded. Tae saved the day by giving us a ride into town in her…. red mustang. Yup. Best day.

 Lobster at Wicked Tuna

After spending our afternoon basket weaving, we made our way over to Murels Inlet to check out Wicked Tuna. *sings* I tried lobster. I ate some lobster.* Another first for me, Kass and I dug in to some- may I say.. delicious lobster. Wicked Tuna was great. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but totally worth it for their great seafood.

Drinks + Music at the Marshwalk

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We topped off our day two down at the Marshwalk with some live music, girl talk + more cocktails. As we visited on the “off season”.. it wasn’t as busy- but come summer time and high season- this is one of the best places to go for dancing and live music.

I’ll be sharing post 3/3 later this week! If you’re still catching up, you can read about our first day here.

Autumn

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Autumn Hachey Blog
Places, Travel

#EscapingtoMyrtle Beach 1/3

ESCAPING1GIRLS TRIP!

How much fun is it to go away with one of your girlfriend’s to Myrtle beach? I’ll tell you. It’s the most fun. And I’ll also tell you, we definitely packed more than enough pairs of shoes. #girlstruggles.

Our itinerary for our trip was absolutely packed, so I thought it best to divide up my posts by day. Three totally jam-packed days full of everything from beaches to basket weaving, to cocktails and seafood.

Our trip started off with a sleepover party at mi casa. It was actually Valentine’s Day, so lucky Kass got to par-take in some Valentine’s Mcdonald’s and Bambino with me and my boo. ;).

We headed to Porter bright and early to catch our flight around 11AM.

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I kind of feel like a Billy Bishop master after my trips with Porter to Pittsburgh and last year during a shoot to Montreal.  You could say I know my way around the Porter lounge at this point. ;). It’s never too early for Porter cookies. (Confession: Last time I flew Porter I chain ate like 5 cookies and hid the wrappers because I was embarrassed that I lost my self control. It’s cool..)

Kass and I took at trip to Chicago with our girlfriend’s last year for a bachelorette party last year. (Yeah, it was pretty okay, wink.).. So it felt like old times hopping on another flight with her. I am liking this travelling trend here.

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A quick 2 hr flight to Myrtle complimented by my favourite in-flight reading material (RE: Porter) and always complimentary drinks… and we made it!

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First things first, LUNCH. When we arrived at the airport, we were whisked away by our first Southern Gentleman of the trip, Keith.. who helped us put together our itinerary for our trip. (Shout out to Keith!) On the drive in to the Market Common I was mesmerized by all the colourful houses on the way.

Lunch at Tupelo Honey

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Within our first hour in Myrtle, we headed to Tupelo Honey Cafe, where  I tried gritts for the first time. For some reason, (maybe my sheltered hamburgers and hotdogs childhood).. I thought grits looked like waffle fries. Nope.. Looked more like oatmeal, but tasted great! We also had fried green tomatoes (Another first, you’ll notice that is a trend on this trip).. They were AWESOME. If you’re in Myrtle, try them! Annnnd,  we were told if you’re in Myrtle shrimp and gritts is THE THING to try, but be careful- because the quality is apparently allover the place. We recommend asking a local to get the good stuff ;).

I had the Carolina Grilled Chicken Sandwhich at Tupelo, and it was delish! If the weather was a bit more cooperative we would have for sure headed to the roofop balcony for lunch.

Get your Shop On.

We were freeeezing after lunch because it had been rainy and not-so-typical-Myrtle weather, so we headed straight back to our hotel to warm up, check out our new pad + get ready for a night on the town! However- had it been much nicer weather we would have definitely strolled the shops at the Market Common. There’s a giant Anthropologie which I am sure we would have gotten lost in.

We then made our way over to the Hilton Doubletree.. Ocean view room with a private balcony, holla.

Nothin’ like waking up, opening the drapes, and seeing the ocean- let me tell you. Also, not sure how many hotels give you hot cookies upon arrival, but that was definitely a a big old check mark for the Double Tree. Not to mention the morning buffet that included both a DIY omlette, and a DIY pancake station.. with chocolate chips. *impressed face nod*.

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BTW, the beach is literally walking distance from the hotel, so of course we made a trip down to the water!

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Gotta love Porter Escapes!! If you’re ever looking to hop on a plane and not have to worry about a thing- look into booking an Escape. Porter does all the dirty work so you can head straight to the chemist for happy hour.

Happppppy Hour at the Chemist

Science Rules! F’real.. I was never one for science class, I mean.. except that one time I won gold at the Science Fair. <– click that link for a treat.  *cry laugh emoji*

But  mixing chemistry with drinking might be my new favourite thing (And had Ms. Mcgeachy included this in the course curriculum I may have went on to become a molecular biologist). Jokes.

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Phil from The Chemist definitely made our night (We sure kept him busy!) Phil was like a mad-scientist behind the bar, concocting the most delicious drinks- many of which he served up to us with liquid nitrogen, making us squeal with excitement haha. My favourite drink of the night (if I had to choose) was the Professor’s Punch.

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“Faculty meetings just got a whole lot more interesting with grapefruit-infused vodka, freshly squeezed lemon juice, cranberry juice, validated with with Sprite and varied with grapefruit peel-infused ice and lemon wheel.”

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AKA. Yum. I also loved the Flux Capacitor- which doesn’t just sound cool, it tasted amazing with it’s  house-concocted blackberry simple syrup.

Dinner at Art Burger Sushi Bar

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Now this is where sh*t got adventurous. For me that is. Like I mentioned previously, I’ve lived a sheltered life when it comes to food. I mean I only tried poutine for the first time in my 20s. (I know.. now I wish I hadn’t tried it because I am a gravy addict.) Up until this point, the only sushi I had tried was avacado rolls, and spicy salmon rolls. Here’s a great tip. If you’re a picky eater and have any reservations about trying new foods.. just have a little warm-up session at The Chemist. Post- drinks at the Chemist, my food inhibitions were a little low… and I. Tried. Everything. (Mom, I know, I can’t believe it either).

And, I am happy to report.. it was AMAZING..and I promise that’s not just the professor’s punch talking. I’ve come home a new woman, a new sushi loving woman. Kass and I decided as soon as we got there, that we couldn’t possibly come to Art Burger and Sushi Bar, and only order sushi. Heck no. We ordered both the sushi and the burger. *laughs*  What’s funnier is we ate it all. Travelling works up quite an apetite people. We both tried the Art Burger, because if it was named after the restaraunt it has to be one of the best choices. (It was)..

And.. the coup the gras.. after MUCH deliberation (Aka, me being like, why don’t we try this vege sushi option?..) And Kass standing her sushi ground- as she should have.. we decided on the Tiger Rolls (more so for me).. and the Omakase- which, if you aren’t aware.. is a SURPRISE DISH. Guys.. The pickiest eater on the planet let Kass coax me into having the chef prepare us a SURPRISE SUSHI DISH.

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……and it was the best decision ever!!

I wish we had better lighting in there because these dishes were served up SO beautifully. BTW- there were so many other cute aspects of this restaurant like the art gallery when you walked in, or the way the menus were in the shape of paint palettes. You should probably just go ;).

+ for all you fashionistas, here’s a link source for what I wore Day 1:

Moto Jean Jacket- Topshop | Black Leather Baseball Cap- Topshop | American Apparel Disco Pants | Blondie Crop Top | Blush Runners- Topshop | Yellow Floral Chiffon Dress | Blush Western Buckle Booties | Floral Kimono-Zara | Yellow Hat H + M | BF jeans TopShop

Stay tuned for posts 2 and 3..

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GET A ROOM: Hotels, Travel

GET A ROOM: The Walper Hotel in Kitchener

Walper Hotel

Bo and I have two Valentine’s Day traditions. 1: McDonald’s on actual Valentine’s Day… and 2: We try each year to book a hotel for a night on one of the weekends surrounding V-Day. As a hotel lover- it’s a way to explore our neighboring cities, sleep in a King size bed (yahoo).. and tour around! Since it’s not totally feesable to go on vacation all the time.. like we would like to.. Grabbing a hotel for a night serves as a much needed mini getaway. You’d be surprised at how trip-like just getting a hotel for the night actually is. A couple years ago we hit up Hotel Ocho in Toronto-  it was quaint and cute. We try to find new and interesting hotels each time to spice it up, see something new, and ogle beautiful design.

So when we heard about The Walper Hotel in Kitchener, we just had to check it out. Kitchener was actually our old stomping grounds, where we *kind of* went to college.. *snickers. So to be back in our old hood- so many years later, it was pretty fun.A 1893 landmark, the Walper has really stood the test of time. And, I was actually surprised to find out that many years ago we had actually stayed at the Walper Hotel- but that was pre-renovations.. it’s definitely stepped up its game.  Lighting game specifically!

 

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We checked in on Saturday afternoon and cheersed over some Autumn Ale that was gifted to me from my friend Bethany. Thanks Bethany!! The entrance to the lobby was small but packed an elegant punch. Long stretching brass sputniks that complimented impeccably styled bookcases and lovely large scale art- it was a beautiful first impression of the hotel. We were greeted by the cutest receptionists ever- wearing matching bowties. Of course I loved the mustard yellow polka dot one.. Considering getting one for myself!

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Our first glance at our room we were pleasantly surprised.  We didn’t realize, but all the rooms are actually a little bit different- and not all are posted on the website. The real show stopping feature of our room was the exposed beam that divided the sleeping and work areas. We stayed in a Cityside King. 

We are all checked in! @thewalperhotel is so cute! We were greeted by impeccably dressed concierge wearing mustard polka dot bow ties. I like this place already . We're staying in a city side King- incase you're looking to book a room yourself! ❤️ #getaroomON #thewalperhotel #walperhotel

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Giant matte black sputnik chandeliers on either side of the room was a nice touch. I love me some sputniks.

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And how about those hanging sconces beside the bed? Dreams guys. 16710495_10155184438607573_85798554_o

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Perched next to the window was the possibly THE most perfect reading nook. The chair was incredibly comfy, and was in the perfect position to get some natural light. You know me and chairs.I just finished unpacking from our lovely Valentine's weekend @thewalperhotel- blog post coming soon! As I unpack, I'm creating little piles to re pack for my girls trip with @kassandradekoning to @officialmyrtlebeach with @porterescapes - EEEK! Seafood and beaches and basket weaving workshops and gardens! It's going to be a blast. Also, we're going to be giving away a trip to Myrtle when we get back! So stay tuned and follow along to find out how you can win :)! Now, back to the couch to try to finish nursing this hangover away - big week next week with a TV shoot on Tuesday to boot! #flyporter #porterescapes #pixelsplacesthings

We only stayed for a night, but we went for some lovely drinks at The Berlin– which was walking distance from the hotel. We met up with some friends at TWH Social – which had a cool-casual environment and really awesome lights hanging over the bar. We then- relived our golden years by taking a trip down memory lane to Dallas. Nothing like walking into a college bar to make you realize you are no longer in college haha. It seemed that the playlist also hadn’t changed in the 5 years since we worked there together. To be honest, we went a little ham on the drinks and our Sunday morning excursion plans were replaced with couch cuddles, but had I been more responsible. ;).. We would have also hit up Goodvibes Juice + The Belgian Nursery. Do as I say kids, not as I do.

Okay, 12 years in.. @mcdonalds - when ya gonna sponsor our Valentine's Day? . So happy we got a little weekend away. Excited to chow down on Jr. Chickens with you later. Love you way too much my heart explodes. Happy Mc Valentine's Day. @bolouther

Anyways, wishing ya’ll a super happy Valentine’s Day! We’ll be chowing down on Jr. Chickens and Bacon cheeseburgers, paired with only the finest grocery store bambino. Cheers!

52coffee
#Life, Biz

#52 COFFEE DATES

Allo mate!

You maaayyyy have noticed the influx of coffee shop photos on my IG feed. If you haven’t, you must not be on Instagram because my feed is drenched in caffeine rn.

 

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One day, while riding the bus to my freelance job, I was struck with an idea.

Why not.. combine my love for visiting thoughtfully designed coffee shops, with my passion to help people? One of the things I’ve come to realize while doing my “NY Reso” planning.. was that in past years I haven’t yet put much emphasis on giving back. My goals have always been, well.. I guess sort of self centered, mostly focused around my personal career goals and travel plans. (Which don’t get me wrong, I still have lots of goals for both  of those categories ;)!)

And while I would really love to volunteer at say.. an animal shelter, or something to that nature.. I felt.. why not help people with what I am really great at? And then, literally without planning a thing.. while I was sitting on the bus.. I made a Facebook status. The status read:

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Let me mention too.. that I am a planner. I like to be methodical about what I am getting myself into. I like to make detailed lists, look at the big picture.. holistically get an idea of what I want to do.

This, was completely spontaneous and spur of the moment. Before I was able to talk myself out of this idea, and before I was able to think about all of the “What-Ifs”.. the post was published.. and I already had 8 comments from people who were interested (without very much information on what exactly I was even offering).

It’s funny.. I had my second of 52 coffee dates yesterday with an old friend Soph.. And as soon as we got on the phone she asked “So, what is this 52 Coffee dates things?”.. To which I replied “I’m not really sure yet!”.

I think I have a natural knack for inspiring people. I think that I’ve always kind of had a bit of a go-getter-anything-is-possible attitude..and sometimes it rubs off on people, and sometimes it inspires people to chase after their own dreams.. or at least think about it. And like I said in my status.. I do not know it all.. Not even close..

But.. I do find that my inbox has a steady stream of people reaching out with questions related to blogging, social media, and business. And I do think that over the past 4 or so years though, I’ve crammed quite a bit of great information into this noggen of mine, and I have no reservations about sharing it. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again.. There is more than enough room in this world, and on this internet.. for all of us to be wildly successful.

So.. Alas.. #52CoffeeDates was born.

So what exactly is #52CoffeeDates? Well. I am not sure yet. So far.. I’ve skyped with two super-awesome gals. In both cases, it was a bit of a friendly catch-up conversation.. followed by some chat about dreams, ideas, goals.. and in both cases, I shared a few small pieces of advice based on what I was hearing, and based on what I was noticing or seeing from an outside perspective into their digital footprints.

And you know what? I feel like every one of these conversations is going to be completely different. I am not going in with a master plan, or an agenda.. I am really just shooting the shit over a coffee, and hopefully.. in some form or another, I am bringing my coffee dates a tiny nugget of value. I’m sure over the year it will evolve as I am really just feeling it out, but I can’t wait to revisit all my coffee dates and take a vested interest in their businesses and ideas.

And if you’re wondering why 52.. this is because I want to talk with one new person every single week.. all year. (Boom, how’s that for goals?) So far I’m 2/2.

Here’s a couple high level goals I have for this series..

More meaningful connections/Put the SOCIAL back in Social Media:

I hope to make deeper connections with “acquaintances” I have on social media. Be it an old friend from highschool.. someone I’ve crossed paths with through work.. or even people who found me in the depths of the internet who I don’t even know yet. I want to talk to, and get to know you all.. and offer my help however I think I can. I’ll tell you.. there’s not much that lights me up more than watching other people succeed. I love giving people that tiny push in the right direction and watching them just take off, full force towards what they love.

Get out of my house and meet people IRL

IRL, for all of those who don’t live on the internet, means In Real Life. Any time I can physically meet someone in a cute coffee shop downtown.. I am going to do just that.. I’m actually going to try to do this for my Skype dates too. I live in an AMAZING city with endless options for coffee, and this year, I am going to cross as many of those adorable establishments off my must-see list as I can. Not only that.. for such a big and bright personality, you would be surprised at how much of a genuine homebody I am. I am quite content just bundling up and hanging out on my sofa.. but this is an opportunity to put on some makeup, pull on a cute outfit, and get out of the house. Win, Win Win.

Explore my amazing city

Toronto is amazing, and for being here 5+ years already.. I feel like I have explored 1cm of it. I have a, kind of gigantic.. list of AH-MAZING coffee shops I want to check out. If you’ve been following along on IG you would have seen that I’ve already checked out Oretta– which was high on my must-see list.. and I am already making plans to go back for dinner. I also made it over to Sorry Coffee Co– which is inside a Kit and Ace. By the way, the decor in that shop was impeccable. Copper details EVERYWHERE. And, over the weekend I went to visit my dear Nana- I hit up a Hamilton coffee shop called Cafe Augusta.. and it was also so beautiful. I had a salted caramel latte.. a little bit sweet, but oh boy do I love salt in my drink! Anyways, point is.. I want to be more of an explorer in my own  city. I probably won’t live my entire life in Toronto so I want to make the most of it!

Drink lots of coffee.

😉

I’ve opened this up on both IG and Facebook.. if you’re interested in joining my #52CoffeeDates project, please drop me a line below! I have a running list of names and I will contact you to pencil you in :).

Looking forward to meeting and getting to know a bunch of you this year!

Cheers!

 

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#Life, Biz

2017: The Slight Edge

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I’m not sure I’ve ever been so amped for New Years.

I am not sure what it is about this year, but I am pumped. Like, real pumped. This year is the first time that I am actually planning. I write New Year’s resolutions every year.. I am a list writer. Lists are my jam. But this is the first year I am taking a much more strategic approach. (It’s funny. I help brands build their strategies and I give advice left right and center, but do I give myself advice?) I am ready to stop putting myself last and put some time into what I would like to accomplish.

So here I am. Ready to rock a new year. I’ve got new ideas. Audacious goals. And more so- I would say I have a new leading philosophy that I know will help me achieve great things. I have a zillion things on the go, so more so than ever- I need to better manage my time. And instead of just saying to myself day-in-and-day-out “you should.. this, you should..that” I am making a strategic plan to make shit happen. Boo ya.

I’ve purchased a few tools to help me stay on track, and I have a few exercises planned to really hone down.. why am I here? What stories do I have to tell? How can I make a difference? What is my natural advantage? What are my ultimate dream goals? What fires me up? Where can I improve? And most importantly, how do I get there?

A good friend of mine Fran, sent me this link earlier this week– and I plan to do these 5 steps this weekend with my boyfriend.. who, unbeknownst to him. has been dragged into my entire planning process this year. *evil smirk*. I think so far it’s been really great for him too. Sometimes it’s hard to say your dreams and goals out loud. But saying them, and writing them, and seeing them.. it’s all part of the planning process. We are now able to hold each other more accountable, and cheer eachother on. (I mean, we do always anyways, but somehow, this is different. It’s really really awesome actually).

The Tools

I didn’t actually go out looking for any of these tools, they all just sorta fell into my lap- but I’m super grateful that they did.

1: The Slight Edge as my guiding 2017 Philosophy

This, I would say is the biggest one. The Slight Edge– really really changed the way I am approaching everything. Does anybody else F*cking love reading? I am a chain reader. For the past two, maybe three years, I have been really into reading marketing/self-development genre books. I just checked, and my Amazon wishlist has 114 books on it right this second. Essentially any time anybody recommends a great book, or an awesome book is referenced in another book I’m reading- I automatically add it to the Amazon Wishlist. Then, it’s kind of like mini-Christmas when I finish reading a book because I get to go to my Wishlist and order another one. #AmazonAddict. I had a library card but I would always get late fees- and I love to have my own collection to reference, highlight if I feel like it, dog ear, carry around, lend to friends. I love my little marketing library!

Anyways.. For Christmas I asked for a pile of books (And I got a few awesome ones, thanks Santa!) I read The Crossroads of Should and Must in one day. It was a cute/fun read. And then, I started reading the Slight Edge.. and it has changed my life. If there’s any book you should read. It is this. That, and Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuck. Read the Slight Edge first, and then go Crush it.

You know how sometimes you read something, but you need to hear it said another way for it to really sink? This was the Slight Edge for me. It’s such a simple, easy to do theory that I’ve definitely heard before.. but the way it was presented in this book, it just clicked and it was kind of like a “eureka” moment.

Here’s the concept:

Some projects are massive. Sometimes the things on your to-do list seem unachievable because they are just too-big. Maybe, reading 30 books sounds intimidating to you. Or maybe, cleaning that desktop that has gotten completely out of control- seems like way too big a job. Or maybe creating that blog series. Saving money. Cleaning your closet. The list goes on and on.

So here’s the magic. The slight edge is essentially just taking all of your biggest goals and breaking them up into the tiniest micro activities that, over time, will help you achieve greatness.

30 books sounds intimidating? How does ten pages a day sound?

Cleaning 40 folders of photos from your desktop sound tough? What about 10 minutes cleaning your desktop per day?

Going to the gym 4 x a week sometimes never seems to happen? What about just 20 minutes every day.  **Which, update.. 11 days in, going strong!! side note.. I am counting walks on weekends as my 20 minutes. 

Basically, chipping away at big projects, slowly.. will help you achieve many more great things.. as opposed to letting things build up and get out of control to the point where you’re intimidated to even start. Those three points above are actually three of my personal Slight Edges. The book breaks your life down into all sections. Health, Happiness, Relationships, Career, Finances, Positive Impact. It was really interesting to sit down and evaluate how I actually felt about all of those categories and start to plan out tiny happy habits that I can do daily to improve these sections.. Because, to be quite honest.. In past NY resolutions I’ve never made a list under the word “Relationships” 0r even “Family”.. And family is the most important thing to me in the world- so it’s funny that whenever I’ve sat down each year to roadmap for the next year- it’s always only been focused on my career. Why not make family goals? Friendship goals? Positive impact goals? (Which, btw.. I have a really cool/fun 52 week project I started last week called #52CoffeeDates.. stay tuned!)

(Goal planning is real this year ya’ll).

I’ve been sharing some snippets of my Slight Edges on my Instagram story– and I hope to update you all on my progress over the year!

2: The Five Minute Journal

Funnily.. One of the “slight edges” mentioned in the book, was practicing gratitute. Then, not even a few days later- Amy posted this photo on Instagram. Precisely what I needed!! I am very greatful for a lot of things in my life- but often I would get caught up with wanting more. Wanting to be better. Never slowing down and enjoying, right here, right now. Life is busy. We all know that. The purpose of the Five Minute Journal is to practice gratitude, every single day. To slow down.. and appreciate what you already have right in front of you. It helps you focus on the good in your life, become more mindful, and live your life with intention. The Five Minute Journal helps you start AND end your day, every day.. with gratitude. There is nothing but positive side effects to this. When you revisit positive memories in your mind, it helps increase your over all happiness. Bo and I have been using it since New Year’s Eve, and we love it. Our mornings are slower. We have a new nightly routine. And it’s something really positive we can do, together.

3: The Day Designer

Everybody loves a good planner, amiright? I for one, need to write things down. The act of writing on paper is meditative to me. The Day Designer is a strategic planner to help you live a well designed life. Like I said before, in order to achieve your goals you need an action plan to support them. The Day Designer is a simple and easy system to help you find balance, focus, and productivity. I especially like the “Today’s Top Three” section.. where you can write your top three tasks for the day. I also like that the page is divided up into two sections, Today and To-Do. I use the To-Do section for my freelance work “after hours”.. So I know what I need to accomplish at night when I leave my desk at work. There’s a also a “Notes” section at the bottom where I’ve been writing in my Slight Edges each day. Today, looking at my planner in that section I have: 20 minutes at the gym. 10 minutes writing for my portfolio. 10 minutes cleaning the bottom shelf of my desk organizer. I also find it really fun to highlight items from my list when I finish them, but that’s just me. A quick little victory stroke ;). SImilar to the Slight Edge, the Day Designer also helps you establish your core values. What is most important to you? There’s also a pretty eye opening little activity at the front of the book where you give yourself a rating on how much time and money, you spend in different areas of your life… And how you would like to see that number change.

A goal without an action plan, is just a dream.

What I have come to learn about my own life, is that planning is essential. Having a plan, or even a rough guide or idea- helps make everything possible. Think about when you need to get somewhere. We rely on a map. I am intentionally mapping out my life.. Doubling down on what matters most to me. Finding my real purpose, and what I want to say.

Are you a NY resolution planner? Got any good books to add to my 114 book list? If you read the Slight Edge, let me know! It’s a life changer! Happy New Year everyone!

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Home + Design

GO OVERBOARD: Spaces

Happy almost-New-Years my friends! I don’t know about you, but I freaking love New Years. I am a big time planner. I love to make lists, set goals, make plans.. The New Year for me always feels like a fresh start. A time to press refresh, clear my mind, and plan for the future. This year especially I have been making lots of plans that I hope will help me achieve all of my goals. I got an amazing book for Christmas, it was actually a recommendation from Kelsey- we chatted briefly about it during the podcast I did with her.. And she was so right! I love this book SO much. It’s called The Slight Edge. Part of me doesn’t even want to start my planning until after I’ve finished reading it.. The other part of me is so excited about the entire concept and theory behind it. Anyways.. My mind has been just bubbling with thoughts, ideas, goals and dreams.. and I have been doing some extra-pinning lately. I’m coming to realize that I really-really love design. Like, I’ve always liked it.. for as long as I can remember (Like that time my Dad built me a playhouse and I INSISTED that it have a china cabinet, drapes, and a carpet..because, you know, every 8 year old’s playhouse needs curtains and an area rug).. Or that time we moved to a farm and the first thing I did was shovel all the dirt, and old chicken poop out of the chicken coop so that I could paint it, renovate it.. and try to sleep in it (the spiders scared us away).. I remember when we lived at that same house, there was a shed outside that I thought would make the PERFECT little clubhouse for me and my friends.. The people who owned the property used it as storage for old flooring and discarded trash.. and all I dreamt about was cleaning it up.. bringing in my blow up chairs.. putting up my posters.. making it mine.

I guess one of the ways you can tell if you really love something, is to look at what you spend your time doing when you *should* be doing something else. If you *should* be crafting an email, but instead you’re spending time day dreaming flipping through a Style at Home.. Or you  constantly find yourself with 6 tabs open, and all 6 of them are Pinterest pins of room makeovers. Or you really have to go to that meeting but you’re almost finished reading this Design Sponge home tour…

I have a weird love-hate relationship with design. I am very visually stimulated, and great design to me is like great art. I enjoy looking at it. I day dream what my own space could look and feel like.. At the same time.. I understand that life is about a lot more than the things you have in your home. That your home should be a reflection of you, your journey in life, your tastes, your style, your personality.. and not just a West Elm showroom shelf. I think that is something that really matters to me while I’m putting my home together.. I want it to feel real, authentic, well travelled, full of character and life. I want it to feel thoughtful, different, unique- and I want to let my creativity shine through the walls of my space.

I am so excited about how my kitchen makeover is coming along. I am really proud of what we accomplished given our budget and the canvas we had to work with. (BIG reveal coming soon! My first home decor reveal, woop!!)  I am also planning a bedroom makeover for my parents in the new year, that is something I am VERY excited about.

Anyways, I’ve been pinning loads and I thought I would share some spaces that have been inspiring me lately.

Without further ado, dip your toes in or dive right in to this sea of pins that are currently inspiring me.

You can follow along on Pinterest for real-time updates (sometimes at warp speed, you’ve been warned!) **

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#Life, Biz

Pinegate Road Podcast Guest!

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Last week I took a step outside of my comfort zone. I am always pushing people I know to get uncomfortable and try new things- and this was one of those for me! I don’t talk much about biz on my blog, which is really hilarious- because marketing and business is my life and career. I actually love marketing SO much.. but when I started blogging, I just felt that every single blog I went to was a “ten tips to grow your Instagram following in 4 minutes”.. I actually wrote a little bit about it here.  I definitely think I have some valuable tips and little nuggets of knowledge I can share about marketing and social media after my 4+ years working in the biz- I just felt that I wanted this blog to be more about my likes and hobbies, and definitely not a “tip” blog. But alas, I also think I have enough marketing street cred to share some of my opinions on different tactics- and you might even find them valuable!

Anyways! Last week I was a guest on a podcast for the first time! This was a new one for me. I think I am probably not alone when I say that I do not ever want to “sound dumb”.. It’s a lot easier to craft your thoughts in written form because you have time to be thoughtful, you can work on something and come back to it. Answering questions on the spot can be a bit intimidating. Also, the topic of the podcast was basically about my career, and how I got where I am today.. which, is a very long, and sort of awkward story.

But.. I decided to take a little sip of my own juice and just go for it. I’ve worked with Kelsey for years now. It’s actually a pretty funny story how we met. In short- I reached out to Kelsey on a whim to help me build a website.. and from there we worked together on several clients where I would manage marketing, and Kelsey would help me with web design and branding. (Sisters in Shape, Gorgo Magazine, The Hello Yellow Blog, Eve Cork.. my own blog, to name a few!) Kelsey is an amazing chickie and I absolutely love tag-teaming brands with her. She is so organized and her ideas are so thoughtful!  When she asked me to be a guest on the podcast I was initially unsure. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to share my story or to talk about how I got to where I am today- because in every sense- it is very non-traditional.

I dropped out of college, moved to the big city with literally nothing but a stack of resumes and no back up plan. I started out bussing tables and shipping inventory and somehow- almost five years later- I find myself working in a dream position doing what I love, working with incredible people, learning and growing daily. In Kelsey’s podcast- I share it all! What a typical day looks like. My biggest tips and advice for businesses wanting to leverage social media today. (Hint, it’s called User Generated Content, and if content is king, UGC is GOLD.) How I got to where I am today and some of the obstacles I had to overcome. I even share my top favourite books that I think really helped shape my career.

You can listen to the podcast right over here– and I’ve pasted some of Kelsey’s shownotes below. Thank you so much for having me on the show Kelsey- it was a pleasure- and nice to do something outside of my own comfort zone!

 

Cultivate Your Brand’s Core
Leon’s Furniture
Hello Yellow
Episode 12, Following Your Authentic Path by Running Your Own Business with Caroline Winegeart
Day Designer ** I got the PALM day designer. It’s seriously, magic.
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
“Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This”: A Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan
Better and Faster by Jeremy Gutsche
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath  + Contagious Why things Catch On by Jonah Berger
Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Connect with Kelsey from Pinegate Road:

Instagram: I’ve been LOVING sharing some daily happenings with the new stories feature — hope you’ll follow along there!
Pinterest
Facebook
Twitter
— Are you interested in becoming a client? Get in touch about working with Pinegate Road to build your brand foundation!

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#Life, Art + Creativity, Biz, Home + Design

Hello Holiday!

Hello HOLIDAY!

What is that quote.. the shoemaker always has the worst shoes?? I’ve finally carved some time out of my busy schedule to write my own post about Hello Holiday. (WOO HOO!)

About a month ago Leon’s launched it’s second edition of Hello Holiday, and oh but what a launch it was!  These past few weeks have been jam packed with exciting launch related activities and I am so excited to share the down low.

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For those of you who may not know, Hello Holiday is a giiiiiant project that I work on with the Hello Yellow blog team & our super awesome creative director Melissa. This round we also got the chance to work with Donna Griffith– a very talented photographer who has has worked with some big names in the past like Style at Home, Covet Garden, House and Home.. to name a few. Essentially, Hello Holiday a 100+ page digital magazine that’s filled to the BRIM with super-simple DIY projects, room decorating tips, life-hacks, and just good old fashioned good advice. While these magazines are a lot of work. Let me say that again, a lot of work– they are definitely my favourite part of my job and I am so thankful to get to work alongside such bright, creative and talented people! What was also REALLY incredibly amazing about this year’s Hello Holiday- is that we actually polybagged it with the December issue of Style at Home. (RIGHT?!!)

Big awesome moment alert! ⚡️✨💛 Just over a year ago we launched the Hello Yellow blog at @leonsfurniture. Fast forward a year and a half and we’ve now launched three incredible digital magazines full of fantastic storytelling, simple DIY projects, life hacks, tips, and thoughtful makeovers. This round of #LeonsHelloHoliday- we also published a special print edition that was distributed with the December issue of @styleathome magazine!! Woo! I just got my copy and I am so proud/happy/excited -congratulations to everyone involved making this thang! @mscraftberrybush @kassandradekoning @thelearnerobserver @ellivenstudio @lazymoms @sweetescapecreative Lol tag is off a little bit but i know you love me!!! Its @bethanythislittleestate #LeonsHelloHoliday

A video posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ AUTUMN HACHEY (@autumnhachey) on

But let me start there. The Hello Yellow team is so brilliant it hurts my eyes. Seriously haha. These women blow my mind on the daily, and seeing them in their element, doing what they love, living their real lives with their furniture from Leon’s- it’s incredible. The way they make the furniture their own, meld it in with their unique styles, come up with the most bomb-tastic DIY projects- goals goals goals. Shoot days are definitely my favourite days ever because I get to actually have some one-on-one time with these gals.. and their hubbies.. and their pets and… their twin babies :D. Check out  few of my fav highlights from the magazine:

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I love love loveeee this nursery by Thalita from the Learner Observer. Her twin baby boys are probably the cutest babies I’ve ever seen.. And that mountain wall mural? Yep, you can learn how to make your own here. (Featuring the Finley Convertible Crib)

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Joanna’s sofa is dreams. Literal dreams. It’s called the Nubia sofa and is seriously rivals tufted sofas you would see at Restoration Hardware.  And the quality is amazing. I spent a good portion of the day lounging around on this sofa and it’s dreamy. So comfy, so beautiful- the best combo. PSS: That “Baby it’s cold outside” is a free printable- get it here.

And can we take a second and talk about DISS RUG!?

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It’s from a Montreal shop called Baba Souk.. And if you like this rug you’ll love all the other amazing rugs they have too. And their art. And their poufs. Yes yes yes yes yes.

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I love this shot of Bethany’s kitties at the dining table. I am insanely allergic to cats but for some reason, I was able to snuggle with these guys all day. And if you’re wondering whether or not you should set up a DIY hot-chocolate bar in your dining room, the answer is yes.. and you should leave it up all year. (Featuring the Klein Chair + Claira Table) Let me also mention, for this shoot Bethany had some shots prepping food with her kiddies.. and then, we ate her INSANELY DELICIOUS home cooked meal for our lunch and it was incredible. Shoot days are usually pizza days.. I tend to come back a couple lbs heavier when we launch a mag ;).. But at Bethany’s- this girl cooked us the most insanely delicious meal. I would do questionable things for more of that sweet potato soup let me tell you.

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When we showed up to Julie’s place, I kid you not, this amazing lady had an absolute SPREAD- kraft truck style spread of snacks and treats for us. Julie, you are way too sweet! I love this shot so much. SO cozy. (Featuring the Klein Chair + Ottoman). Julie shares 3 different ways you can use your Ottoman here. 

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I was super lucky that Jack and Max’s hair salon was open while we were shooting because the braids they gave me were on fleeeeek. haha. Cutest little kiddies ever. (Featuring Capella sofa and Natura Table) Read more about Kassandra’s Urban Country Living Room here. 

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A special treat during Lucy’s shoot was seeing her daughter sing and play her ukulele— I think you guys would cringe at how I tried to spell ukulele just now. (cry laughs)

(Featuring the Amber Canopy + Amber Side Table)

With the launch of each new magazine, the promo plan to support it continues to grow. This time around we’ve got a pretty comprehensive media plan spanning Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, HOUZZ, our first ever Hello EVENT and dum da da dum.. I hosted a 6 minute segment on Breakfast Television! (What’s that about jumping out of your comfort zone, JUST  DO IT.)

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When Dina said I had one minute left to crank out those DIY bath bombs I thought I was going to have a heart attack. But alas, thankfully the DIY projects in Hello Holiday are SO SIMPLE YOU CAN DO THEM IN LITERALLY ONE MIN.. I was fine haha. What a fun opportunity! I definitely have to thank our PR agency Praxis for letting me practice the segment with them, and honorable mention to Bo who made a pretty convincing Dina at home when I practiced in our kitchen. I learned a lot about being on live TV from this segment.. like here’s a fun little trick- we labelled everything with little clear labels on the bottom of the counter, so when I was pointing to ingredients there was no way I would fumble and mistakenly say this is uhhh… that arm and hammer stuff? .. hahaha. It was very clearly labelled Baking Soda.

Tricky Tricky.

BTW, I might have said the word totally once or twice and I am totally having a funeral for totally, if anyone wants to come. Not again on my watch. 

So after the excitement of live television, I was approached by Strategy Magazine to do an interview. (!!!) Here’s the catch.. From the time I heard about them being interested, the interview was half-an-hour later. Talk about needing to be ready when the opportunity comes-a-knockin. I think overall it went pretty well and I was really excited to finally chat about all the fantastic success Leon’s has seen since launching all things Hello related. Check out the interview here.

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And last but not least.. we finally brought the Hello magazines into a real live event! We hosted a Crafternoon at the Gladstone Hotel (one of my favs!).. with a few of our bloggers. Event attendees were able to come, learn 4 DIY projects (20 minutes per session!).. And enjoy some mingling, hot chocolate, and good cheer! Read more about the event here.

Here I am pretending to be a stand up comedian:

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Over all a pretty incredible/fun/busy/exciting launch! If you haven’t had a chance to check out Hello Holiday, please do! Happy Holidays everyone!

 

 

 

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