Hello 2018: On Un-Resolutions and Making Mistakes

making mistakes quote neil gaiman

When I sat down to write this post I had a weird experience: I had no idea what to write. Total classic writer’s block. After the busy-ness of December and the holidays I had no idea what I wanted to say, what I wanted to talk about. Sure it’s the first post of the new year: new beginnings, fresh start, resolutions and goals, all that good stuff.

But I couldn’t figure out what to say, so I admitted temporary defeat and walked away. I know ultimately something would come to mind, and maybe the best thing was to turn my attention to other things. I checked a few other things off my list and reflected on my own goals for the year… and while thinking about why I call them goals instead of resolutions something came to mind: un resolutions. View Post

Vision Board Night at Thrive Studio

Have you ever asked yourself what do I want in life and really reflected on it? How do we know where we’re going if we haven’t picked a destination? I’ve known about vision boards for some time and that they’re a tool to help us focus on achieving our goals; I loved the idea of making one, but there was always an excuse why I didn’t have the time. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason and a few weeks ago an email appeared in my inbox from the lovely Jessica from North Shore Mama inviting a group of ladies to a Vision Board night at THRIVE Studio. It was an amazing experience and one I’m grateful for. There’s something very therapeutic about reflecting inwards and expressing ourselves creatively, allowing ourselves to focus on ourselves and what we want. The process to me was just as important as the outcome and I hope it’s an experience you’ll make time for. Surrounded by good company, good food, and in a place where we felt safe and comfortable opening up about ourselves, our vision boards came together. I’m sharing about my experience below, hoping you’ll make some time for yourself to do the same.
We started the evening by going through some exercises of self- reflection guided by the owner of THRIVE Studio, Jamie Smith. These helped guide us as we prepared to make our vision boards.
Once we’d put our pencils to paper, we examined what we had written and began searching through magazines for pictures and words that we wanted to use.

It’s a fun process, and you end up with a pile of paper that you then piece together on your vision board like a puzzle, moving everything around until it’s where you like it. Not everything will fit, so it’s interesting to see what you leave out and what you really want to include
The hardest part was gluing everything once it was arranged on the paper without messing up where it had been placed- as I said, like a puzzle!
The final step was to trim the edges and reflect on the final product. This was a really interesting part of the evening and Jamie encouraged us to share about some of the things we had included. 
The final part of the process is to choose a location to place your vision board where it will be seen often, with the idea being that it becomes a tool for visualizations which help bring our goals to the forefront of our minds, helping us to reach out for opportunities that guide us towards achieving those goals (I put mine on the wall above my desk).

This was a great experience, one that I’ll reflect on for some time. Jamie really helped make it even more meaningful than if I’d done this myself at home. Her guidance and encouragement informed some of the choices I made while making my vision board and she got me thinking about things in a different way than if I had done this alone. She helped me be candid and honest with myself which in turn made this an even more meaningful exercise. How we think about things can have such an impact on our lives and having something visual to motivate and encourage us can be an important part of chasing our dreams. Surround yourself with positive and clear your mind of ‘can’t’.
If you’d like to attend one of Jamie’s workshops at THRIVE Studio, see the links below for more info. Her workshops would be perfect for a girl’s night out or work party as something fun and different, with the added bonus of self- improvement. A big thank you to Jamie for hosting our group of ladies for such a wonderful night and to Jessica from North Shore Mama for the invitation. This experience will hold a special place in my heart. 
About Jamie & Thrive Studio
Jamie Smith is a mixed media artist who lives in Vancouver, BC. She creates pieces using photos to explore nostalgia and memories, encouraging open interpretation from her audience. In addition to her own art, Jamie opens up her studio in Mount Pleasant for a variety of artistic events each month. She is also the organizer of an annual art walk in Mount Pleasant called ROVE that takes place each May, and invites 8 galleries and artist studios to open their doors to the Main Street community. Visit www.jamiesmithstudio.com to view her work.

THRIVE Studio is an art studio where female artists can meet, connect, and learn from one another. THRIVE hosts monthly events for this community to come together, create, and learn. Events include collage nights, Mastermind, (a business guidance group), and THRIVE TALKS, which showcases successful women in the arts where they share their personal journey and practical advice and guidance with others. Speakers have included artist Zoe Pawlack, curator of Pennylane Shen, art consultant Ariel Grue Lee, illustrator Ola Volo, and artist Rebecca Chaperon. 
To get studio updates you can subscribe to the THRIVE Studio monthly newsletter on the Thrive Studio website.

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February posts sponsored by

New Years Inspirations Part 2: Slow Down & Enjoy the Little Things

How often do you slow down? Put yourself first? Really savour that cup of coffee (while it’s still hot!)? No matter what your life mix is, there’s always plenty to keep us busy and one thing I’ve found is how much better I feel when I make the choice to slow down and ‘turn off’, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. I love checking things off my to- do list, but I’m guilty of burning myself out trying to get everything done and then not being such a pleasant person as a result. When I set goals, I want to reach them and I have to remind myself to be patient, not be too hard on myself. To savour the moment and enjoy the journey. One person who I admire for her ability to reflect within and always find a way to stay positive is Jamie from Styling the Inside. I love her openness and honesty about her own personal journeys and how genuine she is. Jaimie is a busy lady and she admits there is plenty of crazy thrown into her days, but she has taught herself the importance of taking time for herself, to ‘style the inside’. In Part 2 of my New Years Inspirations posts (see Part 1 with the ladies of Pacific North Photography here), Jamie has shared how she shapes her daily habits to live with intention throughout the year. 

What do you think
the difference is between setting goals and setting resolutions for the new
year? Do you think one is better than the other?

I personally believe
the two go hand- in- hand. Having a goal is something  we want to achieve
that’s attainable while having a resolution really helps us reinforce these
changes we want to make. 
How do you like to
plan for the year ahead? Do you set goals/ make resolutions?
Right before the new
year a few girlfriends/ fellow bloggers/entrepreneurs and I met up at the local
library to “plan” for the new year. I found this to be very helpful
because we helped one another brainstorm ways to achieve our goals. Verbalizing
our goals and plans has  also helped us keep one another
I’m also not a huge
fan of the word resolution, and this year I’m setting intentions instead. 
At the end of the day,
goals, resolutions, and intentions all boil down to our daily habits. 
How do you try and
make each day the best you can?
Not everyday is
rainbows and unicorns but I always remind myself at the end of each day (especially the not-so-great days) that I’m doing the best I can. The not-so-great days
are usually the ones when I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut
off trying to get everything done. 
I’ve come to realize
that the best days for me are the ones where I’ve taken some time out for
It doesn’t have to be a full day at the spa, but the little everyday
things like enjoying my coffee in the morning before the rest of the house
wakes up makes all the difference. 
How do you face
challenges that have you re- thinking your plans? Do you have an experience you
can share?
Challenges are
inevitable and in times of challenge its easy to want to throw in the towel.
It’s also easy to keep these challenges bottled up, because we don’t want
people to know we may perhaps be struggling or want to burden anyone with our struggles.
However, keeping our challenges within only makes it harder to get through
them. This is why during challenging times I usually confide in friends and
family. Often times I know the answer within but sometimes just venting to a
friend gives me the reassurance I need and helps me get back on track with my
plans. For example, I was
having a difficult time with a business decision recently and after talking it
through with a friend, I felt much more confident about my decision. 
How do you keep
yourself positive/ ‘style the inside’ in your daily life?
I’m a very positive
person, and when I catch myself in negative thoughts I usually get over them
pretty fast. However, I wasn’t always this way. For years I struggled with
negativity, worry, self-doubt, insecurities and anger. I tried to obtain
happiness from outside sources like having a hot body and expensive clothing,
but this only resulted in feelings of not enough. Once I began doing the inner
work to feel good on the inside, my mindset drastically changed. 
Styling the Inside of
my life is a daily practice. Self-care, exercise, spending time with friends
and family, giving back, writing, and expressing gratitude are all ways in
which I style the inside of my life. 
What tips/ advice
would you offer to ladies heading into the new year to help them live with
purpose/ work towards goals?
My advice is simple:
begin within. Ask yourself ‘is what I working towards aligned with top core
values?’. If it does, then it’s probably worth working towards, and if not then
it’s time to re-evaluate. 

A big thank you to Jamie for taking the time to share! Learn more about her and how she’s “creating a life that feels good on the inside” on her blog, Styling the Inside. You can also find her on social media:  Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

January posts sponsored by

New Year’s Inspirations Part 1: Being Real with Your Goals and Yourself (and being OK with that)

The beginning of a new year usually has us dreaming big, setting goals, and making resolutions for the year ahead. And let’s face it, we usually don’t make it past the first or second month of the year or we stress ourselves out trying to reach goals that are just not realistic. Instead of talking about resolutions, I wanted to talk about how we can live this year with intent and be present in our choices and actions and be OK with how things turn out. How we can reflect on the year ahead and make small choices in our daily lives, to  set realistic expectations for ourselves and appreciate what we accomplished in a day rather than stress about what we didn’t. And let’s face it, with kids in tow sometimes just having a shower and brushing our teeth feels like it’s worth celebrating, right?! To help me start this year off right, I’ve asked some ladies who embody this attitude to share their tips on how to set realistic goals/ expectations for ourselves in the year ahead; what I’m calling New Year’s Inspirations. 
First up I’ve got the dynamic duo behind the incredible The Mamas Project, Jena & Sarah of Pacific North Photography. ER nurses with a passion for photography, these ladies have turned up the volume on the conversation about what motherhood really looks like, in all of it’s messy, imperfect glory. Sharing about the challenges and truths of motherhood with honesty and a sense of humour, I thought they’d be perfect to start off 2016 on TPB. See below for Jena & Sarah’s advice. <3
What do you think the difference is between setting
goals and setting resolutions for the New Year? Do you think one is better than
the other? 
Jena– I think goals and resolutions are
different. And both have value. Goals are outcome oriented. You may set a goal
like: workout three times a week, the object of which is to complete that. A
resolution to me is more of a frame of mind change. A resolve to change a way
of being or doing, it may not be measurable in a tangible sense.
Sarah– I feel setting goals leads to a successful
outcome more so than a resolution because you need a plan. Often resolutions
are things you’d like to change and are less concrete with no definitive end
goal, but personally knowing you’ve accomplished when reflected upon.
How do you like to plan for the year ahead? Do you
set goals/ make resolutions?
Sarah– I do. I think resolutions and goal setting is
important for different reasons. It can be small or big change your looking
for, but I always feel the need to push forward, improve or strive for
something, whether it’s a fitness goal or relationship resolution to say, “let
it goooo” to the small stuff. Pun intended.
Jena– In the past, I have started the year with set
goals, things that come to mind at the end of the year. Usually, I come to the
ideas because it was something I wish I had done the year before and didn’t for
whatever reason do. This year I’m approaching things differently. Rather than
setting goals, I’m thinking of the qualities I want to see in myself for 2016
And not having set expectations about achieving specific things, rather, making
a conscious effort to be a certain way and approach life in a way that conveys
How do you try and make each day the best you can?
Sarah– Being with and taking care of my kids is the
most important thing I do each day, teaching, playing, laughing, and giving
cuddles. So I always try and make our time count. It can be something so
simple, like being building parking garages with my toddler (for his millions
of cars + trucks) or sitting to read a book or sing a song with my littlest
babe. It’s tough some days. Some weeks. But a positive attitude, sense of humour
and, close friends (like Jena) help turn things around
when I feel I’ve
fallen off track, to make it happen.
Jena– It’s a struggle. Some days I can do so without
a second thought. Other days, I have to say to myself: today I will not
worry/ whine/ complain, I will be present. But generally I think my best days are
when I let go of caring what I should be doing or what people think and just
live in the moment
How do you face challenges that have you re-
thinking your plans? Do you have an experience you can share?
Sarah– Well, when this happens (ALL THE TIME). I
just talk it out. With my best friend, husband, sometimes, just talking out
loud to someone helps me realize the outcome I wasn’t expecting isn’t so bad,
maybe even better.
It took going through the same challenge, TWICE, to
finally be at peace (most of the time) with the outcome. Living in a 2 bedroom,
715 sq ft. condo and pregnant with my first, I was adamant we had time to find
a larger home and absolutely refused to live in that space with a baby. Then 35
weeks pregnant came and we realized that wasn’t going to happen. I had no
choice to make it work, and while we continued to look, we settled in and it
worked well for us. I didn’t actually hate it. Sure, some things I’d like, say,
a backyard, but I had everything I needed. Then pregnancy two came. Okay, we
made one work, but two kids in this space! I’m sure most think we are crazy but
here we actually like it (most of the time). 
Funny how you think you NEED something when you really don’t.
Jena– Day by day. I’ve learned as a parent, just
when you think you have a plan in place, things change
. So don’t put all your
eggs in one basket, don’t invest your happiness in one outcome. You’ll be
better prepared to adapt when things change.
How do you keep yourself positive in your daily
Sarah- Good question. Mostly it’s an active decision
to be happy. Things that help; fresh air, being outside, being with friends,
solo time, and seeing joy on my kid’s faces. It’s about making things I love a
Jena– Happiness
for me is a balance, between a healthy, happy family and a healthy happy me.
For me that means exercise, mental stimulation, creative outlets, and lots of
social friend time!
How do you think being ‘Mom’ impacts how we set our
goals and work towards them?
Sarah- Goals and resolutions reflect more on family
as a whole as opposed to just myself
Jena– Well, for me becoming a mom changed
everything. My outlook, my activites, my relationships with people around me.
So naturally, my end goal daily goals have changed too.
Do you think we put too much pressure on ourselves
to live up to unrealistic expectations?
Sarah– No one is perfect and honestly, I’ve learned
the most from failure (so hard to say that word though!). So it depends what
you consider unrealistic, well no, I probably won’t fly to the moon, but
anything is game if you want it bad enough. It’s more about the will and
confidence to follow through.
Jena– In fact, my resolution this year is to do that
less. So I’ll let you know when and if I succeed!
What tips/ advice would you offer to ladies heading
into the new year to help them live with purpose/ work towards goals (and not
drive themselves crazy while trying)?
Sarah– Your goals don’t have to be crazy. But even if
you don’t meet your goals when you’d like, just pause and see how far you’ve
come. You can learn a lot from what doesn’t work and turn that around to be a success.
JenaAt the heart of living with purpose, is being happy.
Don’t forget about yourself in the grand scheme of family, work, whatever is in
your life. Do you. ‘Cause everyone suffers when you don’t. And in saying that,
surround yourself with people who let you thrive.
Favourite quotes:
Sarah– When I was a bit of a lost soul (mid twenties), I went traveling and kept a journal. This quote was inside that journal
and it’s stuck with me since:
“I find the great thing in this
world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving — we
must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it — but we must sail,
and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Jena– I’m
sure I could Google something more profound, but I have always loved the words
of a former employer of mine. A woman with Parkinson’s who I worked for before
I got into nursing:
“I can
and I will.”

A big thanks to Jena & Sarah for sharing their thoughts and family photos. To learn about The Mamas Project & see more of their work, visit the Pacific North Photography website.
Give them some love and check them out on social media: 
Pacific North Photography- Facebook | Instagram
The Mamas Project- Facebook | Instagram 
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