A blogger meet up in Toronto

All the fantastic photos were done by our professional photog, Nicole. Thanks, Nicole!
It was like a weekend long blind date......
e-Harmony but for friends.....
Possibly one of the craziest things I've done.....
But I spent the weekend with 10 other women whom I met online. Well, except for my real life bestie on the far right. We have a group of 14 bloggers who have been collabing since the spring of 2014 and what first was simple blog fun has quickly become a sisterhood.   Last year we met in Vegas, this year we settled for Toronto and had 11 members.
Andrea made this graphic and many of us have borrowed it
Trip highlights include a bus trip with wine and Niagara Falls, a walking tour of downtown Toronto, plenty of great meals, a shopping adventure and rooftop hot tubs at night.  I could go into the details, but for me, the actual trip to Toronto wasn't why I went...the Jays weren't even playing.
May have found my spirithouse
What brings me the most joy about this trip is the fact that women from all walks of life, all ages (we had 30, 40 and 50 somethings) with a gamut of different interests took a leap of faith and traveled to meet women they would never have known save for a chance encounter in the blogosphere.
I get so much joy out of forming new relationships with women who share the same interests and can understand the necessity to pop out a selfie in 5 seconds, even if it means stopping traffic.  Or staging a Beatles-inspired photo in the middle of downtown Toronto.   These are women who also document the shiznit out of life and get why we take so many pictures. They are ladies who live. Ladies who have a desire to learn and who also write with voices and narratives so passionate that you want to know them better.
Well, I can tell you, after getting to know them better- these are the type of women I want in my life. They inspire me and make me want to be more creative, travel more and be a better me.
Let's finish this post with my final thoughts and impressions of the ladies I met- but first, if you aren't familiar with their blogs, I posted on the Blended Blog last week and picked some of my favourite posts they have done. You can see that post here.
Back to the ladies.
1) I flew to Calgary to meet Christy, who has been in my life for 33 years. I love getting to experience these moments with her and was glad she came. There's bound to be fun if Christy is around- her joie de vivre is contagious.
Christy, Andrea and I
2) I was extremely excited to meet Andrea from Indiana.  If you read her blog, you will leave feeling happy.  If you start commenting and build a relationship with her, then you leave feeling loved.  She has the biggest heart and the warmest personality.  I need more Andrea in my life and look forward to many fun adventures with her.  I especially can't wait to swap notes with this southern beauty as we both build our dream homes.
3) Lana was to meet us in Calgary and travel with us but her flight was late from her hometown of Seattle, so honestly I felt Lana deprived this weekend, even if we bunked with her. I love Lana and will likely need to drag her to Vegas with me to see Britney, because she's a nut that way. She is like a big sister to me but also that caring friend. I also admire her parenting and will be taking notes from her as my kids get old.
Sarah and her skirts....

4) Sarah is the friendliest and happiest and most radiant person I have ever met. You can't help but fall in love with her instantly. She traveled all the way from California and brought home all the ketchup chips.  She is one of those people that you feel connected to the minute you meet her because of her big heart.  
5) Shaunacey is my saucy Canadian friend from Barrie who traveled by car from Barrie with the other Barriate (??), Nicole.  I love her narrative when she blogs and I love even more the fact that she'll go to Jays' games with me and know what's going on.  I can't wait to see her again in a week.
6) Nicole is the other cussy Canadienne and I was super excited to meet her.  Not only is she an incredible inspiration but she is hip, artsy and freaking hilarious.  Between her and Shaunacey, they could make a good case to move me to Toronto permanently if they were my friends.

Sarah, Shaunacey and Nicole

7) I need more time with Lisa, who came from Ohio; I feel like I only got to know a morsel of the incredible person she is.  She is bursting with creative energy and has some really brilliant ideas.  She also has the hottest body and her signature style is so evident that when I saw it in real life, I couldn't stop staring at her.  Hopefully in a non-creepy way but in an admiring way.  Lisa is the type of person that I think I'd really love to work on creative projects with.  That was a really poorly written sentence, but I'm too tired figure out how to say it properly.
8) Katie is another person that makes me just want to sit back and soak in.  She is bubbly, talkative and has done some pretty awesome things with her life.  We have a lot in common, teaching in Catholic schools and it was really neat to talk about how things are similar in Saskatchewan and her hometown on Long Island. Also, I may have turned her into a beer and clam drinker, so there's that.
9) Whitney is one of the newer members of our group and this is where I get mixed up with my midwestern states....Michigan? I know it's Lansing area and she has a Blue Jays affiliate team there and I'm too lazy to google that state, so we'll just go with that.  She is also a french teacher and super sweet and kind.  I love hearing her stories of becoming a teacher of français in a world without immersion. It was très intéressant.
10) Last but not least is Alison from ....shit.  I can't remember her state.  She lives in one and works in another and it's in that area that I kind of just smoosh together....Minnesota? Yes. Let's go with that.  I remember meeting Alison for the first time in Vegas and being the most intrigued by her.  I didn't know a lot about her and she can be quiet, but man alive, she has a killer personality and is hilarious.  Also, I gotta love a gal who also loves volleyball and softball.
It was also very interesting to see how many introverts there were in the group...which makes the likelihood of an event like this happening even crazier.  But that's just the part I love so much.  We took a chance at friendship and have created some incredible bonds in the craziest of places.
Thank you ladies for a most wonderful weekend! I can't wait for 2018.

Personal Growth Goals

I changed up the way I do New Year's Resolutions this year and decided to attack each month with a specific goal instead of a big one for the year that I would definitely forget.  I organized life in January, in February I got my fitness goals going (and have been sticking to them ever since) and for March/April and now into May, I have been working on simplifying my life.  I am so far loving these goals and look forward to working some fun ones in May/June with my focus more going to creative outlets like photography/videography and such.

What also came with this goal setting, without really planning for it, was some personal growth goals that I've been accomplishing with the help from my friends. Here's a look at what we've done:

1.  Budgeting

My friend, Alynne agreed to give us a presentation on budgeting.  She came super prepared with a powerpoint and we had some great discussions about how we manage finances.  The things that stuck for me was how accountability and keeping records is necessary in order to recognize patterns and make a change.  Since the presentation in February, she has been sending us emails with tips.  Love that girl!



I just wanted to share a couple more ressources that I have looked into that I thought I'd share with you:
Smart Cookies: (They used to have tons of great info, but now they charge...but the courses look really interesting)
Dave Ramsey: I love the concept of  what he teaches and there are some great ressources on his page.  This also comes highly recommended from my blogging friend, Sarah.


2. Vision Boards

My friend Carmen is awesome at organizing great events and when she suggested we do some vision boarding, I was all in.  She set it up as one of our Splurge group events and I am so very happy that I got a chance to sit in on a session and create.  We did this for March and had a Clarity Coach come in, Jolene Watson: Clarity Coaching Saskatoon- Vision Board Workshop

I loved talking about personality types in jobs and relationships and then making the link to that to our goals and vision boards.  This was a great follow up session to our February budgeting.





3. Healthy Changes

Our recent goal has been making healthy changes to our habits and we have yet to do a session, but I have some great ressources on standby.
My sister and cousin are Dietitians, so I've been referencing them for ideas here and they've agreed to do a healthy eating session with us- I just have to figure out what that should look like.

In the meantime, I have created a FB group (Temptation Island- ha) with my besties to encourage each other to make the changes we feel we need to do.  Then I got us all copies of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food along with the workbook Eat, Drink and Be Mindful.  We're all currently working on little changes and then hopefully near the end of summer we can sit down and Lea and Kyla can teach us some stuff.

4. Body Image

My last goal ties into the Healthy Eating goal and I hope to cover it after we get our healthy eating in check.  Lea and Kyla both recommended this documentary (on Netflix) - Embrace - and there are some workshops you can do on it.  Having a healthy a body image is super important to me, but becomes more important to me raising a girl.  So stay tuned for these last two.


Other ideas I have for things to work on:
Volunteering
Creativity
Learning

Do you have any other ideas I can add to this list?

I'm back to blogger

So I've officially switched back to blogger (if that means anything to you) and things are almost back to order.  I lost my past couple posts, which make me sad because I was documenting house stuff.
And things look very different, but I'm happy to be back to a system I understand and that I can be creative in.

Wordpress was much too confusing.


My goal for March was simplicity and it has carried over into April and May and I have been loving the balance I have been getting.  One of the biggest changes was time spent blogging and putting into other things like fitness, reading, time with husband.  So that lead to me switching back to blogger where it was simpler in my eyes and made me not feel pressured to do the "right" blogger things.

Here we are, I'll be back with a post on my goals for this year (which luckily I started in blogger and didn't lose in the shuffle)




Wednesday Fashion Files

Sometimes I have ideas.  Actually scratch that. All the time I have ideas. A million ideas zoom through my brain in a day, some make it, some don't...some are forgotten before I can work through them.  This month's Fashion link up on the Blended Blog is one of those ideas and it came from the fact that I like copying people. Or I like taking someone's personal style and making it my own.  So our theme is what inspires you and you can head over the post on the Blended Blog to see one of the two outfits I put together this week.  Yes, that's right,  went from being lost in blogland to doing more than I normally would in a week. But whatevs, I'm wearing clothes and that's a good thing. Husband will likely disagree.

Anyway.

So I have this Pinterest board going of random outfits that I have really wanted to recreate, you should check it out...there are tons of familiar faces on it and I thought I'd start today with this hot momma that I get to hug in 15 days from now. I picked this picture because this is basically my everyday outfit and it was easy.



I'd go into the outfit deets but it's late and my wine is calling me.  Also, everything is old and likely can't be linked anyway.  I can tell you where they're from (I have a weird memory that way- ask me where I got any piece and I can name store and possibly even time frame....ask me what I was going to get when I went downstairs to get something and I don't have a freaking clue)....right. So the outfit.  Sunglasses from Simons.  Those are new. I should find them because I love them and you will too.  Graphic Tee from a random online shop that I can't remember.  Black vest from RW.  Jeans from Express.   Adidas Superstars from everywhere, you should get a pair or 8. I love the green or the gold ones going around right meow.



This is actually what I wore the day I took those pictures, that vest and graphic tee are under this fun jacket and I had swapped out my Superstars for these oxfords because I had to go for an adventure on the 60 acres to find the ideal location to put a house.  Pretty loafers and fun coats are not conducive to walking in manure. In case you were wondering.

Have a great day! Fashion posts go here:

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