Happy PALentine’s Day, everyone! This PALentine’s Day, I am celebrating my best pal Mike Morrison, whom you might know better by his handle Mike’s Bloggity Blog. We have been friends for nearly ten years and we’ve done a lot of cool stuff together along the way. Whether we are navigating the #freelancelife together, planning events and conferences, or just catching up over a glass of wine and having a great laugh, Mike has always been there for me.
The other amazing thing about our friendship is that Mike is extremely close and is ‘best pals’ with my son Jack. It has been absolutely amazing for Jack to have Mike as a role model in his life - since day one! He is Jack’s fave babysitter, person to tell his silly jokes to and best pal to share tasty treats with!
I love the idea of PALentine’s Day; this amazing day dedicated to celebrating the friendships so dear to you and the people who are always there for you. February 13th, I am here for it!
This PALentine’s Day is a big one for Mike and I, as we get to celebrate with the all-new Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo – combining the best of both Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo flavours into one delicious bar! What’s not to love?
Are you celebrating PALentine’s Day with your BFF? Head to palentinesday.ca and customize your very own PALentine’s Pallad for you and your bestie.
Since you know I love a good pun - pallads are ballads for your pals. Real life best pals and electropop artists Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine have written and recorded three custom PALentine’s Day Pallads for you to customize and send to your pal. They are seriously adorable and fun and such a cute way to send your pal all of the good vibes on PALentine’s Day! You should probably send them some sweet treats too, of course. How and who are you celebrating PALentine’s Day with this year?
This post is in partnership with Cadbury. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
For freelancers, self-employed people and individuals working in creative fields, your mobile device is one of the most important tools in your business kit. It is where you store ideas, send emails, accept payments, market yourself; it literally is a tiny business centre in the palm of your hands. But one thing many people overlook is that your phone can be a source of creativity, inspiration and actual creation.
In continuation with my series of posts in partnership with Freedom Mobile, I’m sharing how I get creative with my iPhone X and some of the apps I use regularly to create my content. Since I’ve been with Freedom Mobile and using the iPhone X, I’ve seen my on-the-go creativity increase exponentially. No longer having to worry about overage charges thanks to the great phone plans and data packages available at Freedom (like the one I’m using – 10 GB for $50/month), I’m free to create at will and am constantly creating and posting on the go.
I recently came across a quote from writer Morgan Harper Nichols that really summed up where all of our (our, being content creators) personal pursuits of creativity should be going in 2019:
This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things but honest things that speak to who she is and who she is called to be. - Morgan Harper Nichols
This quote spoke to me because one of the challenges I find with creativity is that my ideas get clouded by the idea of perfectionism. I strongly believe that perfectionism is just another form of procrastination because my ideas won’t ever reach fruition as a strive for perfection on first shot. So, how does this relate to my topic of on-the-go creativity? Well, first of all I’ve been pushing myself to actually create more content while on-the-go. When you don’t have the luxury of sitting in front of your computer screen, with Photoshop at your fingertips, you are forced to let go of the overthinking that can occur with creating content. You just have to use the tools at hand, your own talents and just let it go. So, in by pushing myself to create more photos/videos/content while in-the-moment, I’m also learning to let go of my perfectionism and see that it is possible create beautiful things in fleeting moments.
I find that the apps I use the most for creating content are pretty straightforward and intuitive to use - and are also a lot of fun. Like any app, you should spend some time watching any tutorials they offer up on their websites or clicking around the different features.
I have been using Color Story for years now for editing and filtering my photos. I find that they are my go-to app for retouching photos with the least amount of editing steps. You can add filters, edit the colours, add bokeh and light leaks. I mostly use the Flashes of Light filter pack, specifically the Carrie filter; I love the bright, clean exposure on it - it just gives my photos a little something extra.
I love using Adobe Lightroom on my phone as well as on my desktop computer. I’ve used Photoshop for years since taking photography in art school but it is so nice to be able to use Lightroom which saves me a lot of time on editing - especially when I am working on something fairly straightforward. The app is fantastic for doing edits on your photography; you can control absolutely every single element of exposure, colour, cropping and more.
InShot makes it really easy to make cool Instagram story templates on your phone without having to edit within the Instagram app. It has everything from custom collage layouts to cool backgrounds and video filters and text options, you can create to your heart’s content in this app.
If you’ve never used KiraKira+ but love a little bit of extra sparkle in your life, I recommend you check out the app. Picking up on reflective light in your photos and videos, KiraKira+ is a fun little extra editing step to add some life to your content. Pro-tip: Works a miracle on a disco ball!
Planoly is an Instagram post scheduling app but I mostly just use it to plan out how my Instagram grid will look. There is a free version or a paid version where you can play around with configurations as much as you want. It also can schedule and post your next Instagram post for you - however I did read something recently about how publishing from a third party scheduling app can actually affect how your photo shows up in the algorithm. I always just post directly to Instagram after planning my content.
I have another blog post coming out talking about how I use Freedom Mobile and the iPhone X to connect with family, keep track of health and wellness as well as enjoy entertainment apps like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube. What is your favourite app for your downtime?
This post is in partnership with Freedom Mobile. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
Tasty spots to pop in for a quick coffee, ample opportunities for record hunting, places to dance the night away.
My neighbourhood, the Beltline, is home to all of these amazing places and is constantly changing, growing and evolving. I’m currently wrapping up my partnership with NUDE by Battistella, which will be built in the West Beltline, and I wanted to share some of the exciting new developments popping up in the area. I feel it is a very exciting time to be living in this area — so hopeful and entrepreneurial. I can’t picture a better neighbourhood for people who love a healthy mix of green space, local businesses, great restaurants and an interesting architecture that spans over a century.
One of the biggest changes in the neighbourhood this past summer was the introduction of twelve new murals thanks to the Beltline Urban Mural Project (BUMP). Battistella, dedicated to the beautification of the neighbourhood, is actually a sponsor of BUMP and brought attention to a number of community events happening in the neighbourhood throughout the summer and fall. The new art brought a lot of curious visitors to the Beltline and there were even guided tours of the murals. With more murals planned for 2019 (if you’re an artist who is interested in mural work, you should definitely keep an eye out for project applications opening up) this initiative is changing the visual landscape of this community and introducing people to new art, artists and ideas.
The opening of an urban Canadian Tire was a huge boost to the West Beltline this past year. I can’t even tell you how long I have been saying that we needed a hardware/general store in the area. Now we finally have it! This Canadian Tire is stacked with everything an inner-city dweller needs — and the beauty of it all is that you don’t need to get in a car to take advantage of it (though they do have a great underground parking lot in case you do).
Purr Clothing moved their shop down 17th Avenue SW from 5th Street down to 10th Street, utilizing a previously empty building that was a former HR Block. The transformation of the space was nothing short of amazing; one of my favourite parts of the boutique is the larger-than-life black-and-white portraits of women in rock music that span from floor to ceiling. The shop carries both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, as well as few home accessories such as candles.
Another addition to the Beltline that is offering up something a little different and thought-provoking is GOAT Shop, a lifestyle shop that specializes in artful everyday home items and haircutting. They are located at 708 11th Avenue SW. I love that they are more than just a salon, even though beautiful hair is their focus. It is so exciting to see small lifestyle shops like this appearing in the Beltline; they add so much character and community to the experience of shopping local.
These are all just a short walk from the site of NUDE by Battistella right in the heart of the West Beltline. I’m so excited to have a front row seat, watching the development of the West Beltline continue to grow and evolve. Big things are coming for this area and to have the opportunity to live in the neighbourhood and participate in that growth and change is an exciting prospect in itself. The NUDE presentation centre opened in the fall and their amazing team can walk you through the floor plans and the great interior design of the building. For more information, visit www.battistella.ca/nude
The magic of Disney has arrived back in Calgary for Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! Hosted by everyones favourites - Mickey & Minnie - this on-ice spectacular is an amazing production. Last year, we were literally sitting on the edge of our seats as we watched Rapunzel and Ariel perform incredible on-ice aerial stunts. Jack had such a blast and we can’t wait to return this weekend. This year’s production is a bit princess heavy but should still be a blast for the whole family with all of the great Disney songs we know and love!
Celebrate what’s possible as five Disney heroines spark the courage inside us all at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! In her Disney On Ice debut, see how far Moana goes on a quest with demigod Maui to save her island and find her own identity. Anna’s devotion to her sister Elsa sets her on a journey to stop an eternal winter. Rapunzel goes to great lengths to realize her dream. Fearless Belle befriends the enchanted castle staff and uncovers the Beast’s gentleness. With help from her friends, Cinderella is determined to make her wish come true. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, discover your inner hero at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream!
Apparently, if you arrive on time you will see a special pre-show by Miguel from Coco - don’t miss it! I love the music of Coco so this will be a real treat.
The show is coming to the Stampede Corral from November 14-18. Visit www.ticketmaster.ca to pick up tickets that start at $20.
This giveaway is for FOUR tickets to attend Disney on Ice in Calgary on one of the following days: Friday November 16, Saturday November 17 or Sunday November 18. To enter the giveaway you must be able to attend a show on one of those days. You must complete the following steps:
The thrill of the hunt is what cross-border shopping is all about. There’s nothing better than coming home duty-free with some serious goods that you either can’t track down in Canada or are available at a better price in the U.S. I love crossing the Canadian border to hit the shops for both well-known American brands as well as those hidden gems that you can only find in small towns. I remember the first time I drove down to Kalispell, Montana to check out what they have to offer and was blown away by the experience.
Happy 2018! Hope you are all off to a great start into this new year - refreshed with hope, creativity and inspiration. I am definitely very excited about the year ahead - I’m planning on pushing myself in exciting new directions and following through on some projects I’ve been dreaming about it for so long.
Thought I would share a new article I recently wrote for Trivago. If you are planning on heading to the mountains you’ll definitely want to check out these destinations - perfect for skiers and non-skiers alike. The mountains are so stunning this time of year - hope you all get a chance to stare up in wonder at those beautiful hills. Have an amazing January!
Despite all of the distractions of our busy, modern, internet-filled lives, the magic of Disney still lives on - for both children and adults. I still remember going to Disney on Ice for the very first time when I was a kid; a cold, snowy night filled with so much excitement to see some of my favourite Disney characters pirouetting on the ice.
Well, now that I’m a parent to my own Disney-loving child, the magic and excitement is still there and I can’t wait to see it through his eyes. Disney On Ice has just pulled into Calgary for eleven amazing shows over the next few days. We got a little sneak peek at the action down at the Stampede Corral and met Mickey and Minnie for a little photo-op.
This new production of Disney On Ice called “Follow Your Heart is the first one to feature Dory, Nemo, Marlin and Hank (the Octopus from Finding Dory!) which a lot of Nemo/Finding Dory fans will be very excited about. The show also features all of the lovable characters from Frozen (that movie was destined to become an “on ice” live show) as well as all of the Disney classics from Cinderella to the Little Mermaid to Toy Story.
Tickets are still available to see the magic of Disney come to life on the ice but you also have a chance to win tickets for four right here on my blog. I am so excited to be sending one lucky family or group of Disney-fanatics to see the show in person.
This giveaway is for FOUR tickets to attend Disney on Ice on one of the following days: Friday November 17, Saturday November 18 or Sunday November 19. To enter the giveaway you must be able to attend a show on one of those days. You must complete the following steps:
There is nothing better than the satisfaction of growing your own flowers and vegetables. I recently moved into my dream apartment – a heritage building here in Calgary that is full of character and charm – complete with a gorgeous south-facing balcony that is ideal for starting our first garden in the home. Jack and I went to the PC® Garden Centre at Superstore and stocked up on everything we need for our set-up including great strawberry plants, plant pots and beautiful flowers.
The experience shopping at the PC® Garden Centre was great with plenty of fantastic PC items that are perfect for our summer gardening plans. I love how they have so many great gardening tools and essentials, as well as cute outdoor furniture and accessories. As if I needed more of a reason to get inspired about summer, the great selection of PC products makes it even easier to plan out our balcony garden and dining area.
Two of the best essentials we found for our gardening were the PC Magic Grow Single Dose Fertilizer and the PC Magic Grow Hanging Basket and Planter plant food. Working from home and with a busy toddler on the go, I don’t have a ton of time to fuss over gardening, so these are excellent products to help me achieve my summer gardening goals without too much worry
I found some super inspiring images on Pinterest while doing some planning for what our new balcony garden is going to look like. These are some truly gorgeous outdoor living spaces and it would be amazing to create a vibe like these on our new balcony. I’m going to be following up this post with a before-and-after of the balcony so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I’ll be tending to my new plants and getting everything ready for the rest of the summer!
This post is in partnership with President’s Choice and all words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content. Follow along online at #MyPCGarden!
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year going through my personal belongings and really figuring out how much meaning I place on each of those material possessions. After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingand watching the film Minimalism: A Documentary on Netflix, it is easy to see how a life with less means a lot less stress. I’ve been applying these concepts and strategies to my surroundings and it really is quite life changing. Now, with spring finally here and summer just around the corner, I’ve got the itch to do some more spring cleaning and really define what I want objects I want to keep around.
As a mom of a young child, we definitely have a bit of a revolving door in terms of clothing, toys and household things that he requires as he grows. As someone who is both sentimental but also distracted by clutter and mess, it means constantly sorting through our stuff and deciding whether it is to keep, sell or donate to charity.
As a reformed semi-hoarder (hey - I love collecting things!), I especially love how much easier it is to clean my home when there isn’t shelves of tchotchkes to dust or wipe down regularly. We keep out exactly what we need. That being said, I am definitely not 100% minimalist. I still love to have books, art and interesting objects featured throughout my home but I am definitely going for the “less is more” vibe these days.
Since I love to make any experience (even cleaning) fun and beautiful, I was elated to use the new Spring Blossom Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner when getting down to work. The scent is lovely and actually smells like real flowers – which was a treat since so many household cleaners smell very toxic to me. I love that it cleans and deodorizes at the same time. It is available at grocery and discount retailers all over Canada priced at $4.49 for 1.4L (a little bit goes a LONG way).
Here are some tips that I use to keep myself in check while spring cleaning and decluttering my space.
Only keep objects on your kitchen counters that you reach for often. I used to keep out certain appliances on the counter because I thought I would use them more if I did or that they looked nice. Nope. It is so much easier to quickly wipe down your countertops with Pine-Sol when you don’t have to constantly move things out of the way.
Clean bathrooms often. I’m not saying this because I love cleaning bathrooms – in fact, I hate cleaning them. However, neglecting showers, floors, tile, sinks and toilets only leads to more work down the line. I’d rather to spot maintenance care each week instead of having to spend an entire day scrubbing. Pine-Sol Spring Blossom is great for spot cleaning as you don’t even need to dilute it with water.
Choose quality over quantity. I’m trying to be more intentional about my household purchases; everything new I bring into the house must meet certain quality standards. When I was younger, I often purchased things just because they were less expensive – not because they would last decades or that the materials were all-natural or ethical. I definitely make a conscious choice these days to really research what I’m bringing home before impulse buying.
This post is in partnership with Pine-Sol and all words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content. Follow along online at #YesitsPineSol!
If you love film, thought-provoking discussion, wine, art and snacks, you’ll want to pop into Late Night Thursdays at Contemporary Calgary. A monthly event to bring people a bit of art and culture on a Thursday night is definitely my idea of a perfect night out. Wrangling my photographer friend and fellow-mama Amy, we recently headed out to attend the first ever Late Night Thursday in April featuring the iconic film Metropolis.
I’ve been to Contemporary Calgary several times now and I love the atmosphere in the gallery; it is a very calm and contemplative space – ideal for checking out their exhibitions. But it was really great to see it at night with a bit of buzz and festivity on the top floor in the Utopia Lounge. Set-up like a theatre, the space quickly filled up with eager film lovers excited to see Metropolis screened. I hadn’t seen the film since my university days when I took a full year film studies course but was surprised at how relevant it truly is in our modern society – especially with everything currently going on in the United States. Exceptionally poignant and visually stunning; for a film made in 1927 it really stands the test of time.
The event was a blast. They had the Kaffeeklatsch Coffee Cart where we enjoyed a delicious freshly made Americano. They also had a delicious candy bar set up that we totally took advantage of like small children in a candy store. Of course, we smartened up enough to have a glass of wine from their bar – with a side of popcorn.
There are more than a couple reasons why it was such a great night but I really loved the idea of being able to get up from the film (it was a long one), chat with friends for a bit, even wander around the gallery and then head back to the film.
Contemporary Calgary hosts the Late Night Thursdays event every single month and the next one is coming up at the end of May, featuring the documentary Urbanized. Urbanized is a feature-length documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policy makers, builders and thinkers. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.
Jordan Allen, founding partner of Bioi Design + Build will introduce Urbanized. He will discuss the challenges that face the city in terms of creating and sustaining the urban realm in Calgary.
The next Late Night Thursday is on May 18th from 6:00-9:00pm. The gallery recommends registering to claim your spot here. Upcoming events are on June 8 featuring a Patio Party and July 27 (film TBD). It is going to be a great summer full of film, art and architecture – hope you will join in the festivities at Contemporary Calgary. See you there!
This post is in partnership with Contemporary Calgary and all words are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the amazing organizations that keep this blog full of fresh content!