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.

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