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!
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!
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.
Giant matte black sputnik chandeliers on either side of the room was a nice touch. I love me some sputniks.
And how about those hanging sconces beside the bed? Dreams guys.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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!
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).
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!
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.