Feature Friday: Tea and Bannock

1 Watch out now! When a group of seriously talented and intelligent group of Indigenous women form a collective of creative professionals, you KNOW it’s gonna be good.

CREATING COMMUNITY

Tea & Bannock is a blog collective featuring 7 female Indigenous photographers and multidisciplinary artists hailing from all over Canada, where they delve into ideas on identity, food, culture and community and what inspires them most. They desire to foster a space where pivotal behind-the-scene moments and reflection on all parts of the creative process can flow. One particular member of the collective, Amanda Laliberte is a client of mine. We found each other through the glorious 6 degrees of separation that is the internet and once again, I am fully enchanted by the relationships, the friendships …. the SISTERHOOD that coaching has afforded me. I fell in love with Amanda’s deep, honest way of sharing with me and her ability to trust in herself (and in me) so fully. So, when a few months later … she and her fellow collective members launched this wonderful collab of theirs, I was of course, smitten. I mean, it’s made up of all the stuff that inspires me, sets my soul on fire. The raw, real, magnificent beauty, culture, and heritage of land and story, where time has no boundaries … all of this embodies what I see coming to fruition here. That which only a lens can capture, unique to that of the individual in control. I love photography and what I adore even more, is when Indigenous women gather to create.

12744025_10154548549247977_5668137390142642095_n Amanda Laliberte for Tea&Bannock

MENTORING
From the Founder,  – Tenille  Campbell

I want a community, a group of women I can talk to about editing, and writing, and art, and what it means processing all of that through Indigenous eyes,” … “I want a place where we lift each other up, and support one another.

2010_campbell_2_web Tenille Campbell for Tea&Bannock

Tenille reached out to Indigenous women; creative professionals she followed on Instagram and Facebook. Women with who weaved magic through their art and their words. Women who inspired her. And thus began the journey to creating this collective of Indigenous women, holding each other up. Visual artists, supporting each other. A safe place to talk about the work, interpretation and inspiration behind their projects.

“The idea of helping others and working with others has always been a part of Indigenous ideology when it comes to business and artists, I find. And this was a structure that I wanted to cultivate within tea&bannock.

That’s where mentoring came into play. All the main artists of the blog are talented, creative individuals with different skills. They have so much to offer to those around them. Mentoring was a way to reach out and help others reach their potential – and this could be done in many, many ways. From a one-on-one meeting, from assisting in a shot – to teaching basic how to in an editing program, to listening and offering constructive pointers.

Each main writer has an opportunity and obligation to reach out and mentor an aspiring artist/community in some way throughout this year. It can be done on a personal one on one level to something as wide reaching as posting a YouTube tutorial. The creativity and opportunity is there to give back, and I’m excited to see how we all take advantage of that.”

7670_1249367595076647_743550416838939848_n Jessica Wood for Tea&Bannock – Their Spirits Live With Us

12716350_10154548557517977_4429738817343468653_o Caroline Blechert for Tea&Bannock  – Land of Luxury

12764776_10154548551172977_317797325443900268_o Joi T. Arcand for Tea&Bannock

img_8384_web Shawna McLeod for Tea&Bannock

12705246_1242531242426949_3628661724196058404_n Doreen Thunder for Tea&Bannock

12743781_10154548547547977_595693915208152602_n (logo by Joi T Arcand)

You’re gonna want to take your relationship with them next level and connect though the obvious suspects…
Insta
FB

Feature Friday: The Diverse Prowess Of T. Nile Pt. 2

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Photo: Christopher Edmonstone for his #artistathome series.

Ever LOVE a musician so much that you soak up every release, every video, every word, every second of their magical artistry? Hope so. That’s the case for me when it comes to my lovely lady friend Tamara Nile, otherwise known as T. Nile.  I am so happy that I can finally share this video with the world! It showcases the usual seductive, synth power meets folk style that I ADORE about T’s one-of-a-kind sound.

Enjoy and share if you dig it! ( Directed by Jen Morgan, animated by Lynne Stasko and styled by Timothy Chow!)

The Video marks the kick-off for her West Coast US Tour in March of 2016, a new album and a Europe Tour later this year! You can find all dates on her website.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Top 6 Benefits of Green Tea

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Tea and gum. My weapons of choice (along with love) to help me combat the daily munchies, improve my focus and work mojo. This is a common scene: step into my favourite local coffee shop (and have amazing coffee) and then consume herbal tea by the gallon. It ensures I get my daily water intake keeps me satisfied and below I’ve listed what my personal favourite (apparently there are a plethora) health benefits to drinking green tea (in specific) are:

  1. Blood Sugar: helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating! (As a prediabetic, I’m feelin’ this one.)
  2. Cholesterol: reduces cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
  3. Tooth Decay: the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions.
  4. Depression: Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves which provides a relaxing and tranquilizing effect.
  5. Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial: Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer.
  6. Skincare: because of the high level of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in green tea, when applied topically, it can help reduce sun damage Weight Loss: the polyphenol found in green tea works to kick your metabolism into high gear; intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories!Dol YOU love green tea? If you find it bitter, try it with a little bit of honey, ENJOY and GET TO WORK!

 

Bulletproof Coffee: Primal Egg and Coconut Mochaccino

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Eggs you say? YES EGGS. Well, two per serving to be exact. (Or one if you prefer a smaller cuppa.) And grass-fed butter or ghee. Some peeps use unrefined coconut oil. You can even make this with tea of you’re not into coffee. Yep, TEA! (Thai would complement this beautifully, or any dark and rich blend.) This is basically a fusion of bulletproof coffee, but frothier, creamier and just dang delicious.

I love coffee and it has to be perfect. Well, my idea of perfect. I’m not full-on into the coffee culture that has become extremely trendy as of late and I don’t say that as a bad thing! I would LOVE to get into it. Roasting my own beans, playing around with brew methods and siphons. I also dream of old school espresso and americano/latte making machines. But I digress. While I may not have any of those things, what I DO have is a blender. Which is all that’s required to froth this magically delicious action up. (With the right ingredients of course.)

This is obviously a filling cup of coffee! I don’t recommend it as a meal replacement as some others might, I think it goes amazingly with a small bowl of paleo meusli or fruit salad for breakfast. In a pinch though, on the odd day you can totally rock this on the go and it will hold you over for a bit till you can eat something clean and delicious. Eating 6-7 times a day is the way to go anyways! Keep that glorious bod fueled, nourished and happy!

1. Not all coffee is created equal! The wrong coffee (those containing mycotoxins) will zap your energy, leaving you lethargic and irritable. This is my absolute favourite. Kicking Horse for life! Blending is KEY here… or it won’t taste the same. Stirring won’t emulsify your cuppa. To get that rich, creamy texture you MUST use a blender.

2. Butter alone does NOT make your coffee Bulletproof. Putting grass fed butter, ghee, MCT or coconut oil in your coffee promotes high energy, fat loss and increases brain function. It also makes the coffee have a better feel in your mouth. I’m personally ALL ABOUT mouth feels. Take that as you may. And on that note, I highly suggest only using grass-fed butter because butter coming from grain-fed animals has a different fat composition. It doesn’t blend as well, doesn’t taste as good, and lacks fat soluble vitamins (which is one of the reasons this coffee is ‘bulletproof’). Don’t use low-fat or butter substitutes!

Why Eggs?

The lecithin in egg yolks are excellent emulsifiers not to mention being an excellent source of protein and micronutrients. Local, free-range eggs are ideal, because with pastured eggs you’re getting the supercharged versions: full of extra choline, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K2, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and beta-carotene. When I stumbled across some other primal egg coffee recipes and then Vietnamese and Swedish egg coffees, I was sold. I knew I had to dabble with something of my own, putting ole’ Starbucks to shame. (At a fraction of the cost, even with using organic and local ingredients.)

Why Bulletproof Coffee —> Health Benefits

  • Helps you stay in ketosis
  • Accelerates fat loss
  • Promotes muscle gain
  • Boosts brain power
  • Increases mental clarity
  • Bumps up energy levels

Primal Egg and Coconut Mochaccino
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
What You'll Need
  • 2 cups (240 ml) coffee
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut | MCT oil
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder (or raw cacao nibs)
  • ¼ tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
How You Do
  1. Brew coffee using a french press (3 heaping tablespoons of fresh ground coffee per bodum) and steep for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the two eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Once the coffee is ready, dump it in a blender, set it to “low,” adding in the coconut milk and raw cacao nibs. Blitz till all of the nibs are smoothed out.
  3. Then drizzle in the eggs and the rest of your ingredients and whizz agin till frothy! Pour out and enjoy this creamy decadence.

 

Classic Vegetable Ratatouille

title It’s cold, it’s winter and we’re all about simple, hearty, warm-to-your-toes kind of dinners around here. Where leftovers are a guarantee. I found this Jamie Oliver recipe (because JAMIE) and played around with a bit. It’s full of vegetables which naturally means I wasn’t sure if the kids would eat it, so I decided to make garlic cheesy bread to accompany it and WIN! They gobbled this delicious ratatouille right it up.

I particularly enjoy how versatile it is, as you can see from the picture above, it was indeed devoured with a couple of sunny-side eggs perched on top sprinkled with a bit of sheep’s feta. Adapted from Jamie Oliver online.

Classic Vegetable Ratatouille
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Adapted from Jamie Oliver Online.
What You'll Need
  • 2 red onions, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggplants, cubed
  • 2 zucchinis, cubed
  • 1 green pepper + 1 yellow peppers, cubed
  • 6 ripe roma tomatoes, cubed
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil, minced (stalks and all)
  • Coconut oil or grass-fed butter
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 X 28 fl. oz can of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. red wine (turned is fine, actually perfect) or balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp sea salt
How You Do
  1. Prep your ingredients before you start! It's going to look like a lot, but it will indeed cook down and fit perfectly in a dutch oven. Peel and mince the onions, then mince the garlic. Put aside. Trim and cube the zucchini and deseed the peppers and chop everything into 2.5cm chunks. Give the tomatoes a rough chop. Mince the basil, stalks and all.
  2. Using two large pans (I used 2 lodge cast iron pans) heat 1 tbsp. each of oil in each over a medium heat. Split the onions and garlic in half and sauté in each pan till translucent. Add ½ the chopped eggplant, zucchinis and peppers and fry for around 5 minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon all of the veg, onions and garlic into a large bowl.
  3. In a dutch oven, add fresh chopped tomatoes, the tinned tomatoes (I crush them with clean hands right over and into the pot) the minced basil and thyme leaves with another drizzle of oil, if needed. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes and then add the partially cooked veg to the pot with the wine (or the balsamic), lemon juice and the sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Mix everything well, cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet. Serve with garlic cheesy bread (the kids love rosemary focaccia!), brown rice or quinoa. Or with poached or sunny side eggs in top!

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Being Boss 101: How To Organically (and Ethically) Grow Your Instagram Account [Pt. 1]

Using Instagram as a business platform should NOT be about winning a popularity contest. It’s true, IG is the fastest social media platform around these days and that when we first establish out IG accounts, no one is following us. Having a larger Instagram following can mean more sales for your business, more views on your blog, and a stronger community for your brand. Ever wonder how in the heck how some people have thousands of Instagram followers posting what they wear every day? Some of that has to do with the brand they may have already built up outside of Instagram (see: popular Mommy Bloggers), or they’re a ‘celebrity’ within their niche, or they’re a popular indie brand, or even a popular corporate one. In this article, you’re going to learn some simple and ethical ways to build a SOLID, LOYAL, audience (aka: ‘followers’) on Instagram. (Tomorrow, in Part 2, I’ll be sharing what my favourite iPhone and Android photo apps are and how to use them as the core necessities they are to rocking your IG feed!)

1. KNOW THIS: YOUR WHY, YOUR NICHE + YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Who is your ideal client/customer? Reader? Follower? That’s your target audience. What type of added value (we’ll get to that in a minute) are you going to share on your feed? For example, I’m a health and business coach so I share tips, videos, ideas and articles on holistic wellness, nutrition, recipes, social media, etc., etc., etc. I share personal glimpses of my life in regards to my fitness journey and life as a mom. I love to craft, so I share the occasional DIY. You get the idea. Anyone who is into these things fall into my NICHE MARKET. So moms, small business owners, Indigenous creative and artistic professionals, crafty peeps, nature lovers, foodies … are all a part of my target audience. If you’re here, you’re reading this because you’re serious about cultivating your IG as a business platform, then you need to know who your ideal client or customer (follower) is. For example: if you’re a serious photographer, you should probably only post quality shots using your iPhone, state when you don’t use your iPhone and share in your bio what pro equipment you use. Most IG’ers find success in posting small snapshots of their daily life in a way that their followers can get to know them better, it puts a personal touch to the brand. It is very important to do so in an authentic way, that comes from a place of wanting to genuinely share your story and add value into people’s lives. Captivate them. Not just shill your products and/or your brand.

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Think about why you need more followers. Is it because Instagram is boring when nobody is following you? Is it because you want to promote your brand, that blog post, or your next webinar? Do you want to get more exposure and more clients? Those things are well and good, but you should also want to build COMMUNITY. You should actually want to engage in conversation with other people: share stories, tips, ideas, support others in the same way you hope for others to support you. This is HUGE in self-marketing and for small business entrepreneurs.

Basically, treating your IG as a business platform is just what I call a, “being boss move.” However, doing it to stroke your ego or show only the best parts of you is annoying and likely won’t work for you, because A-lister, you are not. Give yourself some street cred and be real. Be you. Get vulnerable. Show the messy bits just as much as you would share the glossy bits.

2. PICK + STICK: FOCUS + THEME
You need to have a clear focus, be visually thematic and consistent if you want to be successful on Instagram. If your goal is to showcase photography, don’t constantly post pictures of yourself partying, memes or other people’s photography. Your target audience only wants to see YOUR great photography! There are some key defining differences you should pay attention to if you’ve really taken your time with STEP 1. For example, if you really know your niche as a photographer, you won’t be posting pictures every day of your lunch, I don’t care how artsy or well-styled it is. (Unless of course, you’re a food photographer, but I digress.) The exact opposite of this is true for myself, since many of my followers stick around for healthy food inspiration and recipes. Generally speaking? I recommend posting awesome photos that people in your industry or niche market want to see, (like product shots), tips and ideas to inspire, while occasionally giving people a little peek into your company’s culture to build more personal relationships. This builds trust and credibility, naturally. Authentically.

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3. DO’S + DONT’S
DO: Use the same filters, not a bunch of different ones. Imagine when someone lands on your IG feed for the first time. You want it to look like a well-curated magazine, not a noisy classified section. Do an audit. Delete photos that don’t belong. Be honest with yourself about it and just get to it! Decide how many quality photos a day or a week you are going to post and stick to it. Follow a formula. For example, I cycle through the different types of content I share each day. I avoid inundating my audience with any one type of photo/post.

DON’T: Post poorly lit and blurry photos. Work that composition yo! Get creative. Be bold. This is especially fun if you are a hobbyist photographer like me. I have a few fav photo apps that I use daily for posting to IG and Facebook. (I’ll be sharing these in Part 2!) Less is MORE. Don’t post photos one right after the other, spread it out. 2 or 3 posts each day instead of 10 crap ones is what I’m talking about. Quality over quantity.

4. PRO TIP: ROCK THAT EXPLORE TAB
Go to the explore page (click the little search/magnifying glass icon found at the bottom of your screen) of your IG account, (this is an aggregated feed  showing you little carbon copies of the types of accounts you’re already liking and hashtags you’re already using. This would be IG Algorithms at work!. Use this to your advantage.) You can look at other people’s accounts or featured content based on who you follow and who they follow. These are the people who could be your ideal followers. (Customers!) Do some ninja work! You can sort this feed according to hashtags or users. Play around with it and spend some time clicking on those profiles and checking out what kind of content they’re posting, and what hashtags they’re using. You know what I’m saying here, right? Stop using random or popular hashtags and zone into using the ones that will garner you new followers instead of worrying about likes.

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5. HASHTAG HACKS: Time is Money + Likes Don’t Matter (But Geotagging Does)
This is my current fav hack for IG regarding those pesky hashtags. Ain’t nobody got time to be typing them out every time. iPhone users can use the Text Replacement functionality to their advantage! The function is found under Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. Tapping on Text Replacement presents a screen with a few preconfigured shortcut options arranged alphabetically, as well as a search bar for navigating previously created pairings. This is great for texting too, of course. Big time saver. Take some time to craft what you want your hashtag lists to be based on your content (that formula I spoke about earlier.) and save time in the long run, over and over again. If you want to build your audience, you need to get your IG content in front of the right eyes! The easiest way to do that is through hashtags. Like don’t matter. This isn’t a popularity contest. Don’t be spammy with your hashtags (as in using too many or only popular ones.) I like to put my hashtags in the comments of my photos so that they are not included with my original post.

Do some ninja work within the depths of IG.  If you’re a healthy living blogger, search for other healthy living bloggers using hashtags such as #foodismedicine. If you’re a wedding photographer, look for people who play golf using hashtags such as #weddingphotography. If you’re a wedding photographer in BC, use the hashtag #BCweddingphotography. Check the usability of hashtags before using them. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS geotag when possible. Both with the hashtag for the location and tagging your photo to the actual place. Use keyword hashtags to get leads: they are searchable in Google and each social media site. Uses hashtags containing the names of the cities your hope to serve or connect to and your type of business to tag the pictures you share! For example, if I’m looking to connect with other moms, I would add the hashtags #torontomoms or #barriemoms, or #torontohealthcoach or #barrieweightloss to a photo post. Giving away allll my secrets now! You do know most social media ‘gurus’ make you sign up for every list and webinar under the sun and usually charge for the info, right? 

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6. MANDATORY CTAs: In Your Description + In your Posts!
Your profile description is the first thing people see when they click on your profile. You don’t have to think too much about it, just tell people who you are and what they’re going to see from you! Or what you do. You can change your bio daily to promote different things too. I often chance my bio to include a direct CTA (Call To Action) for different groups or webinars I’m hosting, article or recipes I’ve written! Your IG behaviour should include a CTA every single day. A CTA can be something simple as including questions in your post. As if you’re in a relationship with your viewer. Engaging them in conversation is a sure-fire way to spark that. Even asking them to do something as simple as, ‘like this photo if you agree!’ … WORKS. This conditions all those eyes on your photos who might not otherwise like, comment or follow, to take YOUR LEAD. They need to know that you’re there and that you care. Apply the 80/20 rule: Suggest that people join your email list. (Quit sending them in a circle, have them subscribe to your email list if you have one! Give them a freemium for signing up! It might be a podcast, It might be an e-book, a free menu-plan, or free printables. Bottom Line? You have to connect to provide value.

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7. FINALLY! Now You Can Actually Socialize
It ain’t called social media for nothin’! Respond to the comments you receive and leave comments of your own on others’ work. Rather than something stale like, “cute dress,” try to leave genuine comments that encourage them to post more photos. You will get the same in return and THEN SOME. Accounts with many followers are used to getting likes all the time, and they don’t often pay attention to them. If a photo has more than ten likes already, only the total number of likes is displayed and probably no one will notice your like. Moral of the story? LEAVE A COMMENT, and make it the last one! Leaving interesting and thoughtful comments works for users with big and small business alike. Those with less followers will certainly notice your comment and check out who left it. But if you leave an interesting comment on a recent photo of someone popular, their audience will also get curious about who left such a great comment! True story!

8. TIME MANAGEMENT: Use Instagram Online
It’s faster than typing on your phone or tablet. I can fly my fingers across a keyboard, but not texting, I’m all thumbs! Time is money and while spending some time on your Instagram account should be considered as a business activity, you should be swift about it. There are many platforms for using IG on the web, but I like plain old Instagram online the best. Some might argue that Iconquare is great for this too – but then you fall down the whole rabbit hole of checking your analytics all the time to see who unfollowed you and whatnot. And while that’s mighty tempting and I completely understand the pull, unless you have willpower of steel to avoid doing that … it’s a total WASTE OF TIME. I repeat, checking your unfollows on IG is the exact OPPOSITE OF A BEING BOSS MOVE. Just search for a relevant hashtag and start going through the photos and leaving comments whenever you have something to say.

9. JUST SAY NO: Spams + Scams
Grow your audience organically using the steps, tips and techniques I’ve shared with you today. There is no easy way out. Ya gotta do the work if you truly want to build a solid, loyal following and nurture client leads. Forget about buying followers, begging for shoutouts, trading likes for follows, and so on. None of that works.

10. LINKAGE: HOOK UP YOUR IG ACCOUNT TO YOUR OTHER NETWORKS
This will help your followers on other networks discover and grow your Instagram account — and proceed to follow you there, too! If you’re really feeling BOSS, make your Facebook profile public. It goes without saying that your IG profile is public, right? Because all of this will be a complete waste of time for your business if it’s not!

THE SKINNY
1. Instagram isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay
2. Instagram is like a magazine. Pick your genre. Pick your “topics”
3. Be consistent with your photos:
– Editing style: Pick 1 or 2 filters and stick with them
– Picture format: square, rectangle, borders, etc. Pick ONE
4. Use hashtags to reach the communities that are your niche demographic
– Use the EXPLORE function to find your ideal followers and the hashtags they’re using
– Use Text Replacement on your phone (this works for Android users too) to quickly access your hashtag groups. Or use the notes on your phone for ease
– Post your hashtags in a comment instead of in the caption
5. Don’t inundate your audience with selfies or any ONE TYPE or THEME of photos. Remember to mix things up (just like a magazine!) What are your hobbies? What are your interests, what do you naturally shine at? This keeps things AUTHENTIC. So for example, I post about my life as a mama, some parenting tips, health and wellness tips, recipes, inspo quotes I make myself since I’m into graphic design, etc. What DO YOU shine at?
6. Honour the importance of giving people added value. We shouldn’t just be talking about ourselves all the time! Get into the habit of posing questions at the end of your post, showing people you really care about what they think too. Added value means anything that you share with your audience in ways that informs them or enriches their lives in some way with new info or tips or ideas.

And THAT my friends concludes this session of DEEP SECRET SHARING for the week! Ha!

Throwback Thursday: Snow Days

The 1st year we lived in this sweet town close to the water, I had a newborn and a toddler with a husband who toured a lot as a musician, 6 weeks of which were spent in Norway during the dead of said winter. THAT was fun. I thought to myself many a time as I bulldozed my way through the drifts, no way, never again. The next year we hooked up snow removal and the winter was light. So we said to each other, not next year!

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But….isn’t it romantic? Isn’t it lovely? All of this snow? Had you pronounced such open-ended questions a year ago, I would have given you the side eye. Living in the north is not for the faint of heart during the winter. With snow that accumulates hip deep you best invest in a snowblower, snow removal service or reaaaalllly enjoy shovelling snow. Or, have teenagers. Or amazing neighbours. People who you let in and share your story with, the good and the bad.

The beginning of winter last year met us with sickness and injury. I had fallen and cracked a couple of my ribs, seriously messing up my arm and hip. My husband had just been diagnosed with chronic gout, was on a cane and had to keep his foot elevated a majority of the time. And because we are neighbourly, and because I share in our stories, our neighbours knew what we were going through. Time and time again, our driveway would be ploughed by the kind souls on our street. I can remember one early morning in particular, when I was aiming to get the kids to school on time and there was no backing out of our garage. Stupidly, I attempted it and got stuck. I began digging my way out …ribs throbbing, mind beginning to melt with frustration. Life just felt like a series of slams and I could not keep up.

I got out of that driveway and my husband and I focused on the hard work at hand. Complete health and wellness overhaul. Lots of relationship ho-downs and show-downs. In the end, our love prevailed and we met each seemingly insurmountable mountain and series of tasks, determined more than ever to get better, get fit and get ahead.

How are we today? Well, for starters, I’m romanticizing over the snow even though my hip is throbbing from falling on an ice chunk tobogganing with my kids (being clumsy, apparently, is something I can’t shake). My husband had his first gout flare-up in almost a year over the weekend, forcing us to completely cease-halt on a fitness program we had begun together. A year ago, something like that would have really gotten him down. It would have kept him from riding his bike to the train station, something he truly loves doing. We probably would have started fighting. There must be something to this personal development and self-care that we’ve been focusing on both individually and as a couple, because instead of going to separate rooms to binge out on Netflix, in attempts to blot out the dark, cold grip of winter, we lit some candles and did some PiYO instead. And we got a little sweat on, we laughed and we just ENJOYED ourselves.

I’m no spiritual guru, but I’m pretty sure we’re onto something. And we do it all for our kids just as much as we do it for ourselves.

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Access Your Awesomeness: Women’s Winter Weekend Retreat

A friend and client of mine is doing amazing things as a holistic practitioner and in the realm of work that I do as a Heath and Wellness coach, I’m inspired! Have you heard of Access Bars? I myself don’t know nearly enough about it, but I am eager and hungry to learn more. The science behind energy medicine is something I can get behind!

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For those of you who are local and just so happen to be divinely feminine, you are cordially invited to a retreat that Amanda Trudeau of ATC Wellness and her Access partner Darlene Bast-Tindall of The West End Yoga and Energy Therapy Centre, are hosting in February at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre just outside of Espanola, Ontario!

Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like you were in the flow and all was well with the world? What if you could have more of that? What if you could learn to operate from Choice rather than Circumstance? What if you could experience more Joy, more Ease and more Freedom in life?

Join us for a weekend (that’s right I’ll be there, hopefully in a capacity that I’ll be sharing more about later! Really excited!) of exploration and discover simple yet profound tools to transform your life, relationships, health, body, career, and more.

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When was the last time you played, laughed, giggled, tried something new or had a child like sense of amazement? We invite you to move your body, play with colour, get crafty and creative. I’m not going to give away all of the details, but be prepared for fun workshops, speakers, deep learning experiences and delicious food!

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Wellness Wednesday: Women Who Talk About Money and Self-Worth

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The stats are in and this New Year is definitely full of promise, with equal parts intrigue and challenge! Just the way I like it. The Arrow Tribe, (which is the team that my Beachbody mentor founded), finished #35 in the network out of 400, 000!!! That’s the .01% cream of the crop, and it comes from one of the fastest growing industries, yes … MLMs. In an arena in which there are some who give Network Marketing a bad name, Beachbody shines. It’s a company largely dominated by women, empowering other women to take back their health, how it’s defined, and how we can earn income and help and mentor others; from anywhere we damn well please.

2015 marked many changes for me both personally professionally and with my health. Not only have I discovered a career path that I can merge all of these things together with the areas in which I shine (social media, marketing, graphic design, writing, helping others, healthy recipe development), but I’m growing my own enterprise in one of the only businesses where women make dollar for dollar what their male peers make doing the same thing. Where women talk about money and self-worth, everyday liberation, conquering fears and creating success on their own terms.

I’m proud and honoured to be amongst this sisterhood of badass ‪#‎bossbabes who are genuinely creating their lives by design. It was scary when I took this leap (and continually so) to put myself out there so that I might reach others, like me, who were tired of the struggle: our own self-care on the back burner, our dreams and goals weighed down by the expectation of what a ‘proper’ career looks like according to generations before.

When a series of products are LEGIT changing people’s lives in all of these deeply necessary and powerful ways, passion and fire replaces doubt. Self-confidence is sparked and freedom is possible.

What is your time worth? Your health? Your story? Your family’s security? I come from a history that some might (and have) judge and think I could never make it as a leader, or as a successful businesswoman. I’m kicking those stereotypes to the curb and sharing the very same tools that my mentor shares with me, with the small but mighty tribe of ‪#‎WellWarriors‬ that I am lucky enough to mentor and guide.

Unleash that delicate monster within! It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go! Below is a little video I share in my Inside Coaching Sneak Peek groups that I run each month if you want to know more about the coaching opportunity is:

What other perks are there to becoming a coach before the end of January?  I am beyond excited to announce the Success Club Trip that Beachbody Coaches can EARN throughout 2016; to be awarded come 2017 … Punta Cana!

Many of you may not know what that means, but basically, it means holding a standard of helping at least 3 people a month in the very same ways we work on our own personal development, wellness and fitness goals. Before I became a coach I didn’t travel very much, although the wanderlust in me is strong. Money, taking time off work, and then since having children, trying to figure out childcare or family friendly options … there were just too many obstacles to make it happen.

Now, less than a year after I made the leap into this helping profession I’ve earned a retreat to St. Augustine Florida that I went on in November, I have $200 left of the $1200 awarded leadership requirements required to earn a cruise to Jamaica + Haiti in March and back in May 2015 (just 3 months after becoming a coach), I was awarded a free ticket to Summit, which our big industry conference in Nashville this July! I share all of this with you because I want you to know that it’s DOABLE. I don’t have any magic fairy dust or unicorn glitter within making me more special in my specialness to achieve these things. DREAM JOB, indeed.

I struggle and have my off days just like anyone else. Now I get to do it alongside others who get me, and accept me and challenge me to succeed and grow. And I do it part-time, from my laptop, while taking care of family, kids and home and pursuing my other creatively professional endeavours. I mentor other women who have full-time jobs and are carving out one to two hours a day to give their Beachbody businesses all they’ve got. Some are single moms who juggle more than I will ever know.

So…Punta Cana, here I come! Who is coming with me? You should be a coach by January 19th to get in when registration opens, lest wait-lists are your jam. Don’t second guess yourself. You’ve no idea of what you’re capable of (I didn’t.) The sky is the limit and a life by design is the life for me. What about you?

Email me today me for more info, or fill out my coach application to hook-up a spot before this dream-trip fills up!

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Quick + Easy: Nut-Free Brownies [PALEO]

In the search for a quick weeknight dessert, that can be sent to school the next day as a healthy treat? I was! Luckily, my friend the Baker Babe came to the rescue a while back with this recipe. Except it featured almond meal, so since then I revisited it and experimented a bit and came up with these delicious little suckers.

Again, they are totally 21 Day Fix approved for those of you who give a care, so rock those yellows when and if you wanna! Heck, have an extra one because I said so! You’re welcome!

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Quick + Easy: Nut-Free Brownies [PALEO]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9-12
 
What You'll Need
  • 10 pitted Medjool dates (blitzed in food processor with a wee bit of hot water until a paste is formed)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • ¾ raw cacao powder
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 c. sunflower meal (pre-food-processor blitzed sunflower seeds to resemble flour)
  • ¾ tsp. g-free baking soda
  • ½ tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
How You Do
  1. Preheat over to 350 F and grease an 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil
  2. Whizz sunflower seeds in food processor until a rough flour-like consistency is formed (like almond flour), remove and set aside.
  3. Whizz medjool dates with a wee smidge of boiling water in the food processor until paste is formed.
  4. Add coconut flour, cacao powder, melted coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt, eggs and whizz/pulse again until mixed (stopping to scrape down sides as needed).
  5. Pop in the oven for 35-40 minutes depending on the heat of your oven.
  6. These need to set for about 20 minutes after baking as they are gooey and I've found that all paleo baked good need time to set as they continue to cook a bit in doing so. Enjoy!

 

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