Life was so good when I was 28. I feel like I finally settled into a groove in my business, in my friendships, and with my family. I have traditions and standing monthly dates and a coven and a mastermind group and a book club. My apartment feels cozy and lived in. I really got into thrifting, and went to the beach a lot, and cherished the people I love. It was so good! So great.
It’ll be so interesting to make this list next year, after all the social distancing is over (please let it be over by then), to see what stands out. A lot of TikTok dances, probably? We’ll see. For now, here are 28 moments that stand out from when I was 28.
Coven Cottage Weekend | My coven (minus our beloved Or) went up to Deanne’s cottage for a weekend in July and it was the most relaxed I’ve been all year. My happy place is being waist deep in lake water while reading a book and drinking a cider. Or being at the front of a boat whipping across the water. Both are perfection, and both happened this weekend. God bless a friend group of introverts who are more than happy to co-read all day.
Bear’s Den | I went to this concert with both my sisters, which was so special in and of itself. My favourite memory was right at the end, when the band came out into the middle of the crowd only a few feet away from us, stood in a circle, and played Blankets of Sorrow acoustically while the entire crowd was silent. It was magic.
Porch Celebration | This fun party happened to be during one of the hardest weeks of the year for me, but it was so wonderful to be there with my closest friends to celebrate together. Great food, moving speeches, and a whole lot of love.
Trip to Ithaca | Katie and I both drove to the quaint little town of Ithaca to celebrate our birthdays together last April. It was a bit rainy and still a bit cold, but we had the most fun together as we always do. Milkshakes and grilled cheese at the diner, misty hikes past waterfalls, long afternoons drinking at a local brewery, watching weird TV shows and eating Trader Joe’s snacks, discovering the hilarious local bar scene. The best.
The Forest Glen in Warkworth | A couple friends and I visited Warkworth to see our friend Mel and her beautiful studio space for Sunday’s Company. One of my favourite parts was visiting her friends’ property, which has a literal forest glen with a beautiful creek running through it, next to a tiny house. We stopped there to walk out to the little island surrounded on both sides by the creek, and we were happy.
Casablanca at Sorauren | I don’t love this movie, but I DO love being at the park with my two best friends watching this movie. It was such a treat to have Katie visiting me in the summertime, and so fun to have a little picnic with Sonja to celebrate her being there. We were so tired after trekking to the Aga Khan museum in the heat, so it was nice to just lounge out and eat popcorn. Plus there were so many cute dogs around!
My Bougie Meekend | Get yourself a best friend like Sonja who, when she found out I would be alone for the entire Labour Day weekend, designed an elaborate bougie staycation scavenger hunt for me to complete. I took myself to Shakespeare in the Park, bought beautiful nail polish, took myself out for romantic dates, and much more. It was so much fun and made me so happy.
Dear Evan Hansen | My most favourite tradition of recent years has been going to see a musical with my sister for our birthdays. This year, we chose Dear Evan Hansen and had so much fun going together on a beautiful summery day. Afterward, we walked down to the water and had drinks, snacks & good chats at Boxcar Social.
Togetherness | My worst moment this year was finding out my Dad had cancer and needed to have surgery. But some of my most meaningful moments were the togetherness at the hospital and in the days afterwards that it brought my family. I felt so lucky that I could take time off to be there with them, to drive back and forth, to help out.
My Work with Make Lemonade | This is a three in one, but I so loved all the teaching I did with Make Lemonade this past year. Teaching my class, Do More In Less Time, was SO much fun both times I did it live. And I loved coming in on a weekend to film my whole class Operations 101 with the team. It was my first time filming anything professionally and I loved it.
Getting tickets for Hamilton!! | Sadly, I won’t be able to use them because of the coronavirus pandemic. Or perhaps it’ll be postponed – who knows! But that doesn’t change how happy I was when I snagged amazing seats to Hamilton for my birthday (again, didn’t happen lol). I’ve been trying to see this show for at least 4 years! I still hold out hope that this will be my year.
Ice Cream Socials | My fave new thing is summertime Ice Cream Socials™ with Sonja. Any given weeknight, we’d meet at the ice cream parlour, get what we like, and then sit on the steps of the Polish Credit Union to have a catch-up. The perfect casual and fun hang to make the most of the weather and spend time together. I really hope we get to do this again this summer.
Sunnyside Café | It was a great moment the day that I realized that I could go down to Sunnyside Café with my laptop, order a beer, and get some work done while looking out at the water. Genius! Why wasn’t I doing this every single day?! Runner up in this category were the days I went to the park with my computer and worked on picnic tables there. Just the best feeling.
The Wooden Sky | This night will go down in history for me because it was so fun and funny. Stirling, Sonja and I went to see The Wooden Sky at the dive bar attached to the Lithuanian Community Hall. The music was beautiful and transcendent – they are so talented. But the best part was that right next door, attached by a mirrored secret door, was a ballroom where the Toronto Swing Dance Club was having their Friday night open dancing. So of course we all went over and learned to dance. I can’t fully explain how fun and whimsical this was, but I loved it.
Surprising Sonja with Donovan Woods | I had her convinced that we were going to a very serious book reading about traumatic relationships (as you do), but instead surprised her with tickets to see our boyfriend Donovan perform at Koerner Hall. It was such a fun moment to see her be so surprised (she had no idea!) and such a delight to be able to give her that experience as a birthday gift. Plus, the concert was unbelievably good.
First Annual Client Holiday Party | What an absolute JOY it was to throw my very first holiday party for my clients this past year. After a full year of running The Foundery, it was so surreal and beautiful to see everyone I’d worked with all gathered together in a room, eating and laughing and drinking mulled wine. It made the holiday season feel that much more special for me to be able to bring everyone together and thank them for supporting me.
Boxing Day Scavenger Hunt | My mom and her partner have set this up for my sisters and I for the last few years, and it’s always so much fun. The day after Christmas we bundle up and trundle all over the snowy property, looking for clues, solving riddles, laughing our heads off, and playing with the dog until we complete the scavenger hunt. There’s always a hot chocolate pit stop and it’s always the best.
Fall Fun Fam Jam | All our fam jams are fun, but this one stands out from last year. My mom & her partner came up with a bunch of fun lawn games for us to play together in the backyard, as if we were at a fall fair. We did a lot of laughing, and a lot of running back and forth across the lawn. My grandma was there too, taking part sometimes and cheering us on from the sidelines at other times. So special.
Brunch Parties with My Sisters | We all finally lived in the same city for a big chunk of this year, and it was such a gift. We did a lot of brunch parties, but my favourite was the one we did at the adorable Airbnb house with the red door that my sister was renting for the month, right next to Trinity Bellwoods Park. There was an adorable patio out back and we sat in the sunshine and had bagels and strawberries and strong coffee. Such a lovely summer memory.
Vision Boarding on New Year’s Eve | One of my favourite NYE moments on record was this one, with my coven of girlfriends. We drank champagne, ate a smorgasbord of snacks, and talked about life & love while creating vision boards for the year to come. At midnight we did a countdown and then danced to Lizzo. What more could you want?
Impromptu Concerts | One of my favourite moments was running off the streetcar after going to see a very weird, avant-garde play at the Theatre Centre, bursting into one of our local bars to find our friend Stirling who’d just played a set, and then convincing him and Sonja to take over the stage again to play more music on a whim. At one point, they were joined by a violinist who had also played earlier, and it was this rush of magic in a tiny neighbourhood bar, I swear to you.
Nurture Nurture: Hamilton | This was our first time going to another city to do our twice-annual business and life retreat, and Hamilton was the perfect locale. We went to adorable restaurants and witchy stores, played with the golden retriever in our Airbnb, and worked through a LOT of old shit that was weighing us down. My favourite moment was finding that picnic table outside the little café, bringing out the toolbox full of oracle cards and markers, and getting down to work on our goals and ideas.
That Surprise Second Date | An extremely fun & thoughtful multi-part date full of surprises that involved driving to a city 45 minutes away, an escape room, a trip to T&T, buying each other gifts at Value Village, and a romantic walk around a fairy-lit small town. It was perfect.
Laura & Mike’s Ceremony | I always get emotional at weddings, and this one, where I was one of the bridesmaids, was no exception! Add to that the fact that Sonja & Eric were playing beautiful music as everyone walked down the aisle? Let’s just say my mascara was running, a lot. So fun to watch Laura & Mike exchange vows in front of all their loved ones.
My first ballet | Well, it was technically my second, since I went to see The Nutcracker once in Mississauga when I was a kid. But this year, Sonja surprised me with tickets to my first professional ballet as an adult and it was magical. It feels so fancy to go to the ballet! I loved the music and the dancing, and it’s a great format in that they have long intermissions after each piece so you can discuss it at length with your neighbour. So much fun.
That Il Volo concert | A family friend gave me tickets to see Il Volo when she couldn’t go at the last minute, so I took Sonja and we had the world’s best time. The crowd was WILD for them, even wilder than at rock concerts I’ve been to. We spent the whole time laughing at old women openly and repeatedly defying the security guards who kept coming by to stop them from filming the show and enjoying the music & the dynamic between the performers.
Radford Summit | This was such a fun professional success for me. I presented a talk on goal-setting at the Radford annual company summit at the Hazelton Hotel, in front of their entire team. There were beautiful printed workbooks and everything! I was really proud of that talk and the connections I made while I was there.
My First Retreat! | This entire weekend was absolutely perfect, better than I’d even imagined. I got to hang out at a beautiful heritage home, look at horses, spend time with five inspiring entrepreneurs, do strategy sessions and masterminding, eat Nurture food (inspired by ME!?), and experience that deep sense of togetherness and solidarity. It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it.
Life is so wacky right now, so it’s a gift to think back on all the goodness and togetherness that happened over this past year. It helps me remember that so much more goodness and togetherness will happen again, and soon. And hopefully we’ll all be more present and grateful for it when it does. As I sit here, I am so thankful for all of these moments, and all of the ones that didn’t make the list but were just as special. Life might be wacky, but it’s also so wonderful. xo.