Posts in Category: Working It

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.


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

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…

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


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

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

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.


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!)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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? 

text replacement

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.

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.

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!

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!

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

firmly rootes
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!


A Lot Can Happen In a Year: Our 2015 Transformation

Blog POst Header Template- Watercolour-With Text
It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. How thoughts and patterns and routines can change when an elevated level of self-care, self-love, momentum and drive takes front seat. How dreams can change. How people can change. This past weekend was a biggie. For my both my husband and I in little ways, but mostly for my husband in some big, defining, empowering ways. Trevor and I have spoken about me sharing some of his story with you all today as we’re both firm advocates in Mental Health and Wellness. This doesn’t just encompass nutrition, fitness and personal development. Or career goals. A large part of both our stories, both past present and in what lies ahead in our future, has and always will include a strong focus on mental health. I’ve always been more vocal (publicly) about the mental health part, concerning myself.

#TransformationTuesday: So much more than weight-loss

#TransformationTuesday: So much more than weight-loss

Many of you know pieces and layers of my story, and if you don’t, if you’re new (welcome), you can click the link embedded here. We’re here to focus more on Trevor, my husband today. Because he said I could. Not only that, he felt good about it, in letting me share about his long-term battle with clinical depression. He hasn’t always been so open about this part of his life. This year has been a turning point for him, his confidence and in how he excels in the day-to-day, in so many incredible ways. And in following with the generous, thoughtful, surprising way his colleagues and employer recognized him at his holiday work party this weekend, I too, shall follow suit.

We entered into the weekend feeling rather frisky. Perhaps overscheduled with events and parties, we’re also blessed with great friends who kept our kids overnight so that we might partake in the hotel room that was included with Trev’s company party soiree. For those of you who don’t know, Trev has been a long-time web developer. He’s the senior dude at the firm he works for and when I say we were feeling frisky, it began with aspects a little more shallow than what they evolved into over the course of the night. We felt damn good dressed in our sexiest and finest. Deservedly so. We’ve worked hard in shedding some pounds together. Usually, I would have a lot of anxiety leading up to such an event and agonized over what to wear. Silly to some, perhaps – but it’s the truth. I wasn’t comfortable in my body and I felt like crap. My panic attacks in social settings were debilitating and painful. I never knew when one was going to happen. This past weekend was the first time (in a very long time), where none of that happened. Does it all revolve around my weight-loss? Nope. But it sure hasn’t contributed to me feeling MORE crappy.

2014 and 2015: Side By Side. Liking The Changes.

2014 and 2015: Side By Side. Liking The Changes.

You see, we’ve BOTH been working hard on our nutrition and fitness over this past year, not just me. But I’m the coach, so I share in my journey. I don’t talk about Trev’s much. But the man deserves some kudos! He’s lost over 40 pounds and the REAL cause for celebration is that he’s been off of his meds for going on a year and a half now. The major contributing factors to this combined transformation has been the tone that I’ve set in what we eat at home sure, but the brunt of the work has been all him. He wakes every day before dawn rises, blends his vegan chocolate shakeology, and hops on his bike to the train station. Every dang day, he rides to and from that station. Every dang day he blends up his superfoods. Not only that, he’s really cut down on his meat intake with the diagnoses of gout that he received last December. And beer … as opposed the nightly event that it was, it is now something he only treats himself to a couple times a month. (Beer – alcohol in general – and meat are the biggest triggers to a painful gout attack.)

He is far from strict with his diet. He likes his snack foods at work, (which became glaringly apparent as he was presented with a ‘quilt’ made out of the snyder snack things he crushes while coding. Yea, his colleagues collected them in secret). When I first became a Beachbody coach he was skeptical. About all of it. About it being an MLM company, the cost of shakeology (he used to be a meat and potatoes dude who would scoff at the word ‘superfood’ or ‘supplement’.) As a few months passed and he watched how I was transforming in all of these intricate ways, (weight-loss, increased confidence, rocking time management, diving into personal development, building community and helping others, building income and mentoring other women), his interest became more than piqued. He, like no other – knew how I struggled. He knew that what was happening for me was LEGIT. Soon enough, he was crushing his own daily shake upon the approval of our Naturopath who had prescribed him to a generic protein powder shake anyways when he had to go completely vegetarian, (back in the beginning of 2015 for a few months).

King of the Snyder Snacks

King of the Snyder Snacks

***AGAIN: I do not tout that shakeology is a meal-replacement or a miracle product. It’s simply a quick way to get dense hit of nutrition for those we see and reap the benefits of having as such in their lives. Increased energy, more time to think about food and snacks (TRUTH), hauling one’s ass out of bed, etc. Trevor is a prime example. Much like me, the man loves his food. But what’s changed for us in the past year is that we are eating much more regularly and healthfully. As in 6-7 times a day. So no, we aren’t only eating 3 big meals a day and replacing one of those with shakeology. He’s not big in the kitchen as I am, and mornings are rushed. His morning shake gives him the natural boost of energy and nourishment his body needs to get out the door. Whole foods are embraced and consumed but a mere couple of hours later. 

You guys, in all of the (many) years that Trev and I have been together, never have I seen him with such drive and determination. Not just in how he manages his career, but in his own health. The common thread that ties all of this together is that which we’ve weaved in partnership. US. We’re doing it, we’re making these changes, we’re creating new habits and routines TOGETHER. We lift up and support one another and even I myself am surprised with where these changes have been taking us. Our relationship is stronger, of course. This is just a natural side-effect, yet perhaps the most important one.

XXL (2014) to L (2015), Reigning Supreme

XXL (2014) to L (2015), Reigning Supreme

Listen, we’re far from perfect, we still have our struggles. Depression still rears its ugly head for Trevor now and then, but nothing like it used to. We firmly believe that it’a combination of all of the changes and attention to personal self-care he/we have implemented into our lives that contribute to more joy trickling into our lives on the regular; rather than struggle, stress, and strife. I don’t have to go into great detail explaining that exercise is commonly used to combat depression, as are natural supplements, attention to nutrition and eating specific combinations of food to keep serotonin levels in check.

Oh, and not to make it a side-note or anything, but Trev received more than a ‘Snyder-Snack-Quilt’ on Saturday. He was presented with a generous bonus to compliment being chosen as, ‘Rockstar Employee of the Year.’ A first for the company, something inspired right from the very depth of creativity and unique badassery that is Trevor. Once upon a time ago, he was musician who toured extensively as the bassist for an amazing band, and held down his own web development business. A couple of years ago he decided to take the great offer he received from ITS Dispatch, (the company he currently works for), for financial reasons and because it was just too much juggling. And he missed his family. He was away a lot. Anyways, the company knew this, and thus, the ‘rockstar’ addition to the company’s employee of the year award. This is SUCH a huge change. When he was touring, he did contract work for a company that constantly devalued the importance of family and pushed him way too far over holidays, and had the nerve to consistently drop subtle (and not so), subtle hints about him cutting his hair and shaving his beard, such things that they considered ‘unprofessional looking.’ Uhm, he worked FROM HOME then. I digress. But I just thought it was important to put that out there, because yet again, there goes Mister Trevor Mills, squashing stereotypes about what a person with clinical depression can and can’t be successful at, and how a man should look in order to be considered professional and successful. BOOYAKA.

My whole point with that little tangent is that this company is so damn cool for recognizing Trev’s unique way of functioning, that they granted him permission him to bring in his bass to jam out on when wading through difficult code, and a PIANO to tinker on as well. I mean, C’MON. Something tells me I’m not the only one who thinks he’s incredibly inspiring. I thought you all might too.

Tis' The Season

Tis’ The Season

What’s on the horizon for this crazy couple come 2016? We’re going to begin doing Beachbody’s newest program together, The Masters Hammer and Chisel (beginning in January!) to see how far we really can take this whole bonding through elevated self-care and personal development thang! You can totally join us if you want, but I can’t promise we’ll behave. (And if Hammer and Chisel isn’t quite your jam, I have a bunch of other workouts I can offer you or we can build you a custom hybrid schedule!) Click down there to get plugged in for January immediately, or email us: to connect over a virtual coffee and find out more. You can check out some of my client testimonials and reviews, here. 

hook me up All photos courtesy Laura Rossi Photography!

8 Tips To Maintaining Self-Care and Exercise During The Holiday Season

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Now, these tips would be well-suited for any busy, millennial woman who is trying to incorporate daily exercise and healthier eating habits into their day any time of year, but I thought they would be especially helpful over the holidays when everything we’ve committed to seems insurmountable and keeping up with our own self-care quickly falls off the list.

This is my first time, ever …. as a girl, a woman, a mom, a work-at-home coach … anything … that I’ve stuck to a regimen involving elevated self-care and reigned in nutrition for myself over the holidays. So if you and I have a few things in common (as you’ll quickly ascertain as you read through this list of tips), then you’re welcome.

1. All the BB girls say HEY-O!

Particularly when digging into a workout sequence involving plyometrics (which means HELLA jumping), you’re gonna wanna double up on the workout bras. I don’t care how good your brand totes its support strappin’ capabilities. Double up on that shit. Lest you don’t mind the boob-face-slaps. That full-on happens. There are days I tuck into this particular one, the PLYO extreme (included in the 21 Day Fix Extreme which I’m now tackling), that I forget to double up on the full-support workout bras. Crazy things happen and I just go with it because changing once you’re into it just ain’t gonna happen. At least not for me. Next Monday, I swear, I’ll remember.

2. Celebrate Your Milestones

Since we’re talking about burpees, it should be mentioned that there once was a time that I could not rock a single burpee without being extremely shaky and unable to get past a couple unless I wanted to do a face plant. It’s taken me NINE MONTHS (yep, that’s right) do be able to do 2 full reps (30 seconds each, or 1, 60-second rep) of burpees without modifying that action. I persevered by modifying the heck out of those burpees while I slowly built up my stamina and capability. No shame, only PRIDE. I say this to all of you who are afraid (like I was) to begin and stick to a solid/challenging workout program. Today? Burpee tuck jumps were my favourite move of the day! Not because I necessarily love them like I love a dry Grey Goose martini, but because it feels AMAZING to unlock this level of fitness badassery.

burpee tuck jump
3. Use Dry Shampoo Like a BOSS
I get asked all the time if I wash my hair every day with all this sweating I do. NOPE, I do not. For a couple reasons. Ain’t no one got time for that, being front and centre. Secondly, my hair is thick, coarse and prone to being dry and frequent washing would not be my friend. So I embrace the many virtues of dry shampoo. It does exactly what it’s supposed to. It sucks up all that sweat and my trick to not having any residue is to take a few extra minutes to really work it through with a brush, massaging my scalp with the brush after spraying in. I spray my roots before hopping in the shower to let it do its absorbing thang, and then brush my hair, tossing my head upside down. I give it a good go with the blow dryer, concentrating at the roots and my hair comes out so fresh. So clean. Sort of. No shame here either.

keep it simple

4. Recovery Food is KEY
As many of you know, I’m an avid shakeology fan. It’s simple really. Where else can I get 70 superfoods and consume the equivalent to 6 bowls of greens no matter what other craziness I’m up to in a day? It’s a guaranteed way to ensure that my body is getting the fuel that it needs especially when I’m pushing it to extremes with my workouts.

5. Eat Smaller Portions, More Frequently
Over the course of a busy day – I used to skip breakfast more often than not and ended up starving by lunchtime. This resulted in poor lunch choices and depending on my stress or to-do list that day, it could go all downhill from there. I’m not a big weekly meal-planner, but I do keep my fridge and pantry stocked with simple foods that I can grab on the go or make quickly for lunch and snacks. Many of my clients who don’t work from home embrace the food prep action on Sundays so they are well-set up throughout the week. SO IMPORTANT.

6. Don’t Ignore Your Core
I had an ‘AHA’ moment a couple months into this whole life-changing business and that was how essential my core was/is to the whole process in a workout. Most people know that, but in case you haven’t gleaned … fitness guru I am not. I was not maximizing the benefits of my workouts until I engaged my core with EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE.

7. Personal Development Is Essential
DO IT. Not the cheesy stuff – the stuff that resonates with you. There are several authors/speakers/coaches whose particular style and experiences, prose and personal storytelling that speaks to me and I gravitate towards them. There really is something and someone out there for everyone – maybe this list will help! Thinking you have no time for that? Podcasts are all the rage and you can listen to them from anywhere. I like downloading or streaming them from my iPhone when driving in the car. Done, done and INSPIRED.

8. Just Do It
Today I had 50 minutes to press play, get my sweat on, shower and slap on some make-up. Instead of humming and hawing about how I didn’t have time, I just rocked it, did my dry shampoo thing, hopped in the shower, tossed on some clean clothes and boogied through on my 5-minute ‘natural’ make-up routine. And I don’t wear make-up every day, I’m just not that woman. But now and then – I like a little extra joozh.

Wellness Wednesday: The Truth About My Before and After Selfies

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As a holistic wellness coach, I can see the pressure such things as ‘before and after’ selfies can put on people. Especially women. You can be anyone on the internet. Pop a hip, wear a proper fitting swimsuit or bra and underwear, use complimentary lighting, work that camera angle, apply a filter … the list goes on how one can make themselves look better in pictures. I’m not necessarily sure what’s WRONG with any of those things. Wearing clothes that fit? Yes, I do that. Do I choose complimentary camera angles when taking selfies? Yup, I do that too. I have a weak chin that I’m fairly self-conscious about, but I’m learning to embrace it. Maybe. As in, I rock that camera angle when I want. No camera angle, including vaulting a tripod from the ceiling to shoot from, will disguise the visual proof that my face has indeed slimmed down from all the ass-kicking workouts I’ve been doing the past 7 months. Do I use filters for my progress shots (which is what I prefer to call them)? Yes indeedy, high contrast, muted black and white is my fave for the side by side action. Does it carve out definition that isn’t there? Don’t think so. Isn’t that what photoshop is for? Do I jut out my hip, twist my torso and suck it in? Yes and no. I stand tall. I stand proud. I stand strong. I get my swerve on. Shoulders back, head held high and I let go of all those years of shame and embarrassment. I rock the self-inflicted photo-shoot, sure … but I don’t go to extremes. I like my curves, I like keeping it real and my tummy is soft in it’s its newly anchored relationship with its core. Sucking it all in would only add to my inner conflict on self-image, self-worth and how I share my story.
Our bodies are diverse. Not flawless. I’m choosing to embrace that instead of portraying an image of perfection. I’d rather portray an image of health. Of being strong over skinny. I’m not afraid to admit anymore that I’m damn proud of how far I’ve come and no amount of filters or hip poppin’ is going to fake it for me.

Are Before and After Selfies Demoralizing? Shame-Inducing?
It’s all in how it’s done. Am I fisting a bottle of hyped up energy drink, held next to my SWOLL ass while bent over a bathroom sink? No. Am I now living the jet-set life because I workout? Uhm, nope. Before and after pics can be especially annoying when one struggles with eating disorders, emotional eating and/or food addiction, to have someone’s pictures in your social feeds showing you how they’re apparently winning at life more than you. I get it. It took me far too long to admit to myself that I had to make a change. It was easier to snicker and make assumptions about ‘those type of women,’ than to actually get to know them or their stories; or even be real with myself about my own struggles. The truth is, I was overweight and spent way too much time trying to fit someone else’s vision of what healthy should look like most of my life. My relationship with my body will be constantly evolving. I share that unraveling publicly because I know there are other women who struggle in some of the same ways I do. I put myself out there with visuals and in how I articulate myself, because it’s a part of the work that I do in building relationships, gaining new clients and helping other women, just like me. It’s also deeply liberating on a personal level. If you’re not a fan of what I do or what I share, there’s always that little unfollow button you can hit or you know, you can even ‘unfriend’ me! No hard feelings. To tackle the discourse that’s happening in how the fitness industry is perceived is a challenge I meet with gusto. I work in an industry designed to capitalize on the insecurities of many women. And yet, there are exceptions to this ‘norm’ as within ANY industry. The landscape of health and wellness professionals is evolving and growing; and women, in particular, are taking the reigns. We’re aligning ourselves, teaching and supporting each other and taking back gatekeeper status on our body ideals, healthy body image and body positivity.

Fitness Lifestyle IS NOT Anti-Feminist
Feminism and the female body have long been linked. There is absolutely NOTHING anti-feminist about wanting to be healthy. (Let’s just cut straight to the point about that.) Healthy in body, mind and soul. Not all of us can have all three of those things, but it doesn’t mean we can’t work damn hard to attain our best version of that golden trifecta of living the good life, right on into our old age. True long-term healthy living does not mean punishing and denying oneself, to live up to media’s fucked up portrayal of what women (young and old), should look like. That’s a manipulative and unrealistic set of ideas that have been thrust upon us for decades. It means working hard for the health of our minds and bodies, just like we work hard in our relationships, our parenting, or careers; to achieve financial stability, intellectual satisfaction, and enriching, rewarding life experiences. For a long time and in many ways still, women are seen as failing in their duty to be visually pleasing, (while walking the fine line between ‘ladylike’ and titillating), to an audience used to viewing them as public property. From a young age, we … that is all of us — men and women — internalize the idea that women have an obligation to be attractive, particularly if they plan on making a habit of speaking in public or venturing into places where people can see them. When I post before and after pics or progress pics … I am indeed being seen. By more people than I have a clue about. This means, perhaps, that my message is being heard to and that I am contributing to the movement of women who are taking back their natural bodies.

Exercise Is About Much More Than Looking Good
Endorphins are real. Exercising for half an hour does not make me feel worse. In fact, after a workout I feel joyful, strong and ready to tackle my day. So. The haters gonna hate, but I soldier on. If you’re the type of person who is like, ‘I love my body the way it is and I don’t need to fucking exercise,’ then fabulous! Imma keep rollin’ the way I do, as you do yours. I like feeling happy and healthy. I like (more than) helping others get that same quality of life too. There are a plethora of reasons why healthy eating and exercise is important. I’ve found what my WHYS are and showing those reasons to the world via the internets enables me to help others figure that out too.
7 months beyond

The Sky’s The Limit: How Beachbody Coaching Has Changed My Life

nearly a decade ago copy
You know how Facebook reminds you of your posts from 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years ago, etc? Well, today I was reminded of how 9 years ago I was living the life of a Nomad, fresh out of some heavy detoxing. Embarking on a new life, not knowing where I was going, but committed to living a life free of self-medicating, crippling doubt and self-loathing.
Untitled It’s been almost a decade since then that I’ve carved out space in my time in my heart for so much more than I could have imagined for a girl like me, with a past like mine. I’m a mother now and a wife. Back then, I thought I wanted to be a social worker. I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, but I forgot about my creative side. It’s taken all of those years, out of the haze – to figure out I need to find a way to merge my creative side with my nurturing one. I would never have imagined that a career existed wherein I could also build a stable business, to become financially free too. Everyone I knew in those industries toiled with all of their heart and soul, never truly monetarily matching their worth. Eventually becoming burnt out and maxed out in multiple ways.
then-title then
After half a year of being a Beachbody coach, I’ve been shown how to (and am currently experiencing,) what it’s like to settle into my skin and feel excited about my future. More importantly, the future I am helping to provide for my family and my community in 3 rather remarkable (to me) ways:

do something
1. I’ve been taught how to motivate myself and others to tackle their innermost demons and crutches that weigh us down, especially the stragglers (which for me, was food) and STICK with a solid health and fitness routine. This alone, has redefined me to my very core.

2. I no longer doubt the power that sharing our stories manifests in this world, and that all it takes is one person to lead a small group of others toward a common goal of greater good. And that greater good starts with oneself. Personal development is something I will no longer scoff at or make snarky remarks about. I don’t want to miss a beat. And when I do? I now have the self-confidence and resilience to pick myself back up again each bright new day, making time for ME. Even as a mother. I can make time for both and it doesn’t mean I’m being selfish. Total guilt-free zone wherein doing so gives me the strength and peace of mind to come back refreshed and pour MORE of me into my mothering, my relationship with my husband and my family as a whole.

3. I’ve become stronger of health AND mind. I’m more organized in co-managing our finances and monthly budget, daily responsibilities in running a household with my husband and general family calendar and to-do lists. I used to abhor talks of finances and would feel overwhelmed with all that was on my plate. I’m not saying everything’s perfect now, but I’ve been given so many practical tools and endless support and resources to really make strides in taking the stress out of ADULTING.
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I’m looking for people who have struggled with these 3 things to move forward into hitting the REFRESH button this fall. All it takes is one giant leap of faith in yourself and the courage to believe that YOU are in charge of your future and anything is possible when you have the right community of boss babes to back you up. Email me today to claim your spot. (And let me know if you’re interested in beginning as a client or as BOTH a client and a business builder!) Transformations really are possible when they happen from the inside out. Just as the title of this post says, the sky really is the limit. When you have options, that is.

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