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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 Chapter 3: 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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