2019 In Review

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Some years go by faster than others, and this one feels like a complete and total blur. It’s going to be hard to sum up the year in one blog post because so many things happened for me. Things that feel totally surreal. Things that are still painful to think about. Things that make me feel unbelievably grateful. Things that make me excited for the future. Things that make me baffled about the past. So many things.

I love writing these posts because they force me to pause, reflect, remember, celebrate, and release. I get to think through everything that happened (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and honour it as it should be honoured. And this year in particular, I am especially in need of a pause. Life lately has been hectic, so I’m ready to take stock. Without further ado, here was 2019:


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I started off the year strong by launching my first-ever iteration of my group program, The Foundery, with three incredible entrepreneurs. I learned some impressive magic tricks & performed them at a party. I taught my Inbox Zero workshop again! I got sick with a bad cold. My favourite part was when I took a lovely trip to New York for a little working holiday and to spend some quality time with my bestie Katie. I remember feeling so excited about the future.


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In February I was interviewed for The Globe and Mail about my love of books, which was a real high point. Business-wise, I created a PDF download for my website and turned my Inbox Zero workshop into an online course. I went up to a friend’s snowy cottage with my book club and read books in the hot tub. I helped launch a book for the company I worked for at the time. Meanwhile, I slowly got better at doing Instagram stories. 😂 I also cried & felt sick to my stomach emotionally. A lot.


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

March is when the year started to pick up a bit of momentum for me. I had a lot of firsts! My first interview in a national newspaper. My first time on a blind date. My first Instagram Live. I also booked a big workshop, helped host Nurture: Spring 2019 which was a dream, hit pause on my podcast, and went curling with my family. But I also struggled to walk away from a toxic relationship, my financial life was v. stressful and I was so sick of winter. Not the greatest month.


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I love April because it’s my birthday month! And this April was especially wonderful. I did Nurture Nurture (our twice-annual DIY retreat) with Sonja & Moni in Almonte, which was so rewarding & helpful. I threw a concert for my birthday at a sewing studio, and celebrated surrounded by all my favourite people. I started another group of The Foundery, which felt so exciting. And I also went to Ithaca with Katie! We had the most delightful long weekend exploring, hiking, eating and talking non-stop. Plus we had the first signs of Spring, thank goodness!


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Okay, May was super fun. I went to Warkworth with a few friends and was very charmed by the town & the beautiful landscapes. And then, most notably, I taught my first masterclass at Make Lemonade! That experience was a huge highlight of my year, a night where I felt exactly like myself and was so proud of what I’d created. It was also the launchpad for several of my other favourite moments of 2019 – see below! Also fun: going to see Bear’s Den with both my sisters.


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I am a summer person. I love to soak up every second of the warmer weather since it is so scarce here in Toronto. In June this year I tried to celebrate by going to street festivals, having a beach picnic for the solstice, dogsitting at my mom’s beautiful property, and going for long walks outdoors. I spent lots of quality time with friends, went out for a very fun father’s day dinner with the family, and went to see Dear Evan Hansen with my sister. It was wonderful, exactly the kind of month I long for when it’s cold and dreary outside (ie. today, as I write this!).


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

This was another good month until almost the very last day. I started a new group of The Foundery with women who are absolutely wonderful. I went to the cottage with my coven and it was all kinds of glorious. I had strategy sessions outside in the café in High Park, and did my email workshop for a small company, and went to see the RuPaul Tour, and went to the pool, and watched movies in the park. I also hosted Katie when she came to Toronto for a week and we had such a blast. But a couple days before the end of the month we also found out some scary news about my dad’s health.


Inspiration: August 9 >> Life In Limbo

August is usually my favourite month, but it was definitely overshadowed this year by the fears & stress of my dad needing to go for emergency surgery and his recovery afterward. I took time off work to be with him at the hospital, which was such a strange time but also brought us all closer together. I also had other commitments this month, like a photoshoot, filming my class for Make Lemonade, and celebrating a friend’s coming out party. I helped throw a bridal shower for Laura, took over the Make Lemonade Instagram account, and did a lot of strategy sessions. I was sort of on autopilot, but I made it through.


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In September we launched Business 101 which was SO exciting. It was very rewarding to work so hard on something that was so well received by the community. I also did a one-day retreat with Sonja to get our heads on straight for the rest of 2019. And the rest of September was pretty much consumed by wedding-related things! My cousin’s engagement party, Laura’s bachelorette, a week of wedding prep, and then of course the wedding weekend itself! It was pretty full-on, but everything was very beautiful.


Inspiration: October 18 >> Life In Limbo

October was another fun month: I started a new group of The Foundery and actually continued with my group from April, which was a pinch-me moment and so exciting. I went to Hamilton for a little getaway for Nurture Nurture: Fall with Sonja and Moni. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. I won a pumpkin carving competition. And most importantly, I got tickets to Hamilton, the musical!!!


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In November we hosted another Nurture: Fall 2019 retreat, which was so meaningful and powerful. I went to a few cozy showcases and had a lot of client calls. I joined Wandering Aimfully! I started to hibernate for the winter by cozy-fying my house. I coworked with my mastermind group at East Room, which was an utter delight. I had to start charging HST which was stressful but ultimately fine and actually a celebration!


2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Wow, even in writing this blog post December crept up on me! How is it December already? This month I was in full hibernation mode, but still managed to do some delightful things, like surprise Sonja with tickets to Donovan Woods for her birthday! I also taught my Operations 101 class live to a sold-out group (SO fun) and threw a very cozy & wonderful holiday party as a thank you for all of my clients. And then I gave myself two weeks off! I’ve been spending the time with family, resting and recuperating from what has been a very full year.

Firsts of 2019

I am relying on my memory to create this list, so it’s probably nowhere near exhaustive but still a fun exercise!

  • First time running a group program
  • First time interviewed in a national newspaper
  • First blind date
  • First time solo road-tripping to another country
  • First wine-tasting tour
  • First time as a bridesmaid
  • First time interviewing a stranger I’m a fan of for my podcast
  • First professional divorce
  • First time selling spots in an online course
  • First time being with a family member for a surgery
  • First time planning a business retreat
  • First time being paid to give a talk live
  • First Instagram takeover & Instagram Lives
  • First time being 100% self-employed
  • First time totally rearranging my current apartment
  • First bridal shower, first baby shower
  • First time throwing a client appreciation party

2019 by the Numbers

  • 112 books read and counting!
  • 166 blog posts written
  • 61 Instagram posts
  • 240 days of morning meditation (40 hours!)

Goals & Intentions

You can see my full post of goals & intentions for 2019 right here! Here are my updates.

Physical Energy

  1. Be in bed without technology by 10:30PM every weeknight and 11:30PM every weekend night: Lol, nope. But I did start tracking this on a daily habit-tracking app so I think I was successful a lot more often than I otherwise would have been had I not tracked it! But I am definitely still working on figuring out my ideal sleep routine.
  2. Move intentionally every day: Again, I don’t have the numbers on this (because note to self, you almost always forget to stop filling in your daily habit trackers somewhere around May or June) but I do think it helped to set this as an intention.
  3. Create a binder of fun, healthy meal ideas: I *started* this, but didn’t get very far. Eating healthy & simply continued to evade me in 2019.

Source Energy

  1. Meditate every morning for at least 5 minutes: I managed to meditate 240/365 days which is about 65% of the time. This seems low! But I do struggle to meditate anytime I’m away from home and sometimes on weekends. This is a habit that I don’t notice the benefits of unless I’m NOT doing it, so I plan to keep it up.
  2. Read 100 books: Yay, I’ve read 112 so far! It was so fun to not give myself any restrictions or rules this year and just read whatever the heck I wanted. Turns out: I wanted to read a lot of romance novels!
  3. Write more reflective blog posts & journal entries: Another yay! I spent a big chunk of the year writing a blog post every single day, which was a fun & rewarding daily practice. I’m out of the habit now but it feels good knowing I strengthened that muscle and spent time reflecting on my thoughts and ideas.

Guard Energy

  1. Say no to things that aren’t aligned or that feel forced, tiring, or sticky: Oh boy. This was a tough one. I was NOT successful in this all the time, but I definitely walked away from several things and relationships that no longer felt aligned. Sometimes I absolutely had to do things that I didn’t want to do, but I usually learned a lot about myself in the process.
  2. Have one ‘mevening’ per week: This has become enough of a habit that I was actually surprised to see it on my goals list! I think that’s a sign that I’ve successfully managed to carve out a bit more time for myself to think, rest and reset each week. It’s still not perfect, but I’m glad that it’s now my reflex to take more time for myself at home.
  3. Do an activity audit monthly: I haven’t done this every single month, but I’ve gotten a lot better at intuitively knowing what I need to pump the brakes on and step away from each month. I feel good about my current commitments and am generally working on leaning into the things that light me up and away from the things that drain me.

Follow Energy

  1. Create a list of what lights me up most: Did this! Then promptly never referenced it again. But I’ve made similar lists throughout the year and I’m getting better at remembering them when I’m in low moments.
  2. Create a daily energy reminder check-in on my phone: I had this set up for a big part of the year but eventually turned it off because the alarm function would interrupt me in the middle of important meetings, haha!
  3. Only take inspired action as much as possible: I would say this was successful. It wasn’t always possible, but I was FAR more conscious of whether I was doing things from a place of alignment this year. It’s becoming easier for me to tell, which I am grateful for.

Restore Energy

  1. Be leisurely & luxurious in my everyday life: Haha, definitely not. Unfortunately, this year felt like one long rush from one thing to another. I did not have as much downtime as I would have liked! I could have used more buffer time, more vacation, and more rest than I had.
  2. Schedule one special fun thing a month: I didn’t do so great at *scheduling* these things but I got better at going with the flow and noticing when they were happening to me! I did at least one special fun thing a month, which is a good reminder to me that I don’t need to worry quite so much about forcing things to happen. They’ll happen, Steph!
  3. Buy one thing per month that feels luxurious or pleasurable: You know what won’t just happen every month? Me buying myself something nice. I am such an underbuyer, so I was really grateful for this intention. There were months where my “something luxurious” only cost a few dollars because of cash flow, but the intention itself was really wonderful and led me to purchase several items that bring me a lot of joy.

Creative Energy

  1. Do 1 Second Everyday: Yes! I did this and it was so fun. I am still working on finishing up the final video so it’s not ready yet, but I always love having this visual record of the year. I only missed a few days overall, and was able to fill them in with videos from other days or by recording footage that would fit. Live photos were a lifesaver!
  2. Create two seasons of the Life In Limbo podcast: Technically I did this! I sort of petered off halfway through the fourth season when life got crazy and I was really into daily blogging. I’m really glad I stopped when I did – it would have been too much to continue. And I’m also really proud of the episodes I created this year! So much good stuff.
  3. Take more photos of my everyday life: This was a natural result of doing 1SE! I am happy to have more of a record of my life this year, though of course there were definitely a lot of days where I basically forgot or didn’t have time to use my phone. Lots of boring days spent working or on the computer. But in general, I did better.

My Word of the Year: Energy

2019 In Review >> Life In Limbo

As usual, I lost track of my word about halfway through the year, and recovered it in November & December. This always happens! I’m realizing that it’s super normal. The beauty of setting a word for the year is that it doesn’t have to be top-of-mind every single day. Instead, it becomes a lens through which you can see your year, a tool for analyzing how things went.

My year of energy was extremely tiring. I spent a lot of time feeling drained, exhausted, harried, stressed, rushed and anxious. I had to fight to walk away from relationships that were toxic to me. I spent a lot of time hibernating in my house away from the chaos of the world. I poured so much of myself into my work that I didn’t have a ton left over for other things.

But I also learned a lot. Calling in a word always calls in its opposite, because the lessons you have to learn around that theme tend to rise to the surface to be examined. My year of energy made me take a very hard look at all the things that were draining my energy, draining my potential, draining my spirit. Energy made me realize some difficult things about the ways I have been living. It forced me to rest, to leave, to cry, to try new things. I learned more about human design, and recognizing what brings me energy was an important practice for me. And the theme of energy also helped me turn towards the things that light me up: my family, my close friends, my work, my home.

I am ready for a new theme, but I am so grateful for this word. It carried me through some hard times, quietly present in the background. I love this practice and I am so grateful to have had this guiding word.

As always when I write these, I am struck by how much is not captured in this blog post. I worry I haven’t added in enough of my innermost thoughts or how I was feeling. I worry I haven’t put in enough detail. But if my theme of energy has taught me anything, it’s that I can afford to do a bit less. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I can give it my best shot, and then move on.

I gave 2019 my best shot, and it gave me back so many beautiful things. It humbled me. It pained me. It raised me up. It excited me. And now, I’m moving on. It’s time for a new year, a new theme, a new perspective, a new outlook, a new focus. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for us. Let’s go!

If you’re curious, you can see more of my year-end reviews here:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2019: Energy

If the first couple weeks are any indication, it feels like 2019 is going to fly by just as quickly as the last few years have felt! I’ve always read that as you get older, time starts to feel like it speeds up, and now I’m starting to experience that for myself.  Funnily enough, a lot of the goals I’ve set for myself are, upon reflection, ways for me to counteract the year going by so rapidly by bringing more fun, joy and richness to my days and by capturing their sweetness.

2019: Energy >> Life In Limbo

My word for 2019 is ENERGY, and all of my goals relate to my word in one way or another. Throughout 2018 I felt tired and a bit scattered, like my energy was being drained by certain responsibilities and relationships in ways that weren’t healthy for me. I was left feeling like I needed to protect my energy more carefully, as well as find ways to restore and re-energize after stressful situations.

Practically speaking, this year I chose my word and then centred all my goals around that word, finding various facets of the word energy that I wanted to embody over the next 12 months. I ended up with six different categories that each have three goals or intentions within them – which is a lot of goals! But for this year, it feels good, and I have systems in place to make them happen. If you’re curious to learn more about how I set goals this year, I also talked about the process on my podcast a couple weeks back!

Physical Energy

I want to feel more rested, more limber, and more energetic throughout the day. I want to really take care of my body and make sure I’m giving it the fuel and sleep it needs to feel good and healthy. And most importantly, I want to feel more attuned to my body and its signals and make sure I’m giving it what it needs.

1. Be in bed without technology by 10:30PM every weeknight and 11:30PM every weekend night

I want to make this habit a lot stronger, because the truth is that if I don’t get off my phone by this time of night I wind up staying up way longer than I know I should. Instead, I want to establish a firm technology bedtime, go to bed, and start reading instead. That way I’ll read more books and get drowsy at an appropriate time.

2. Move intentionally every day

This can look a lot of different ways: a long walk in nature, a quick run after work, a dance party in my apartment, a yoga class…anything that represents me specifically and intentionally taking time out of my schedule to move. Walking to the grocery store is great, but it doesn’t count for me in this resolution.

3. Create a binder of fun, healthy meal ideas

One of the tough parts of living alone is needing to prepare every single meal for yourself! I often run out of good ideas and get tired, meaning I wind up making a sandwich or tacos five nights of the week. No bueno! By putting some fun ideas into a binder, I’m hoping I’ll have more inspiration for meals that are easy but healthy.

Source Energy

I want to spend more time tapping into my source through the kinds of reflective and introspective activities that I know light me up and make me feel good. The goals and intentions in this category are designed to reconnect me to myself and to that well of wisdom within me (just like the one within you!).

1. Meditate every morning for at least 5 minutes

This is a continuation of a habit I’ve kept up for the past several years: last year alone I meditated for more than 50 hours!! Even though I rarely feel enthusiastic about my meditation practice, I know it’s helpful so I want to keep it up.

2. Read 100 books

Since 2013 I’ve read 75 books a year, and I think I’m ready to take it up a notch! This year, all bets are off and I’ll be reading lots of audio, lots of fiction, and lots of anything I want. No rules for me! You can track my progress on Goodreads here.

3. Write more reflective blog posts & journal entries

This is an intention rather than a goal, as I won’t be monitoring or tracking it. My hope is that by putting it on the list, I’ll turn to writing more often as a tool to help me work through things or process my thoughts. It’s such an invaluable part of my life, but one that I’d love to be accessing a bit more often.

Guard Energy

The biggest issue I faced in 2018 was keeping my energy safely protected from energy vampires: and I was not always successful. This year, I won’t let that happen again. Instead, I’ll be finding ways to protect my time and space and ensure that I’m only using my energy on things and people that really light me up.

1. Say no to things that aren’t aligned or that feel forced, tiring, or sticky

Another intention, because I’m positive I’ll slip up on this one and have to readjust as I go. Guarding my energy is a constant learning process and I don’t always get it right the first time, but giving myself grace with this means that I can hold it in my mind and not feel apologetic for taking my time and meeting my own needs.

2. Have one ‘mevening’ per week

I love the term “mevening”, which was coined by my friend Moni – it basically refers to any night you take intentionally for yourself to experience all your favourite solo activities. Having a name for it instantly reframes it in my mind and makes me want ALL the cozy mevenings to myself! Some weeks are crazy, so I want to put mevenings in the calendar and actively track to make sure I’m getting one weeknight mevening each week.

3. Do an activity audit monthly

I want to make it a habit to re-evaluate my commitments and obligations on a monthly basis, to upgrade or downgrade anything that might need adjustment at any given time. I will be using Modern Planner’s Activity Audit exercise for this, most likely on post-its or on a special Asana board I’ll make for the purpose.

Follow Energy

I recently found out that I’m a Generator in the Human Design framework, which essentially means that my superpower is noticing and responding to things that light up my energy and following those things as much as I can. I find this idea very inspiring, since any time I’ve done this in the past, it’s led to big positive shifts and a lot of inspired action on big projects that suddenly feel so easy to launch. If it works so well, why not follow it more carefully?

1. Create a list of what lights me up most

This can be added to over time, but just like Jess Lively has her alignment time, I can use these things as prompts to bring me back into a place of more energy and excitement.

2. Create a daily energy reminder check-in on my phone

I’ve set this up and it’s going off every day at 3:30PM, a time of day that typically is a lower point in terms of my energy. Two weeks into the year, it’s been interesting to have that brief touch point to see how I’m doing on any given day and to simply notice how much it can vary from day to day based on what I’m doing.

3. Only take inspired action as much as possible

Obviously this is an intention, because this would be fairly hard to measure or track! But I think that intending to take inspired action as much as I possibly can is a fairly good resolution for 2019. To me, inspired action feels like things are flowing, exciting, interesting, and like there’s a conveyor belt under my feet. Not always possible, but when it hits, it’s magic.

2019: Energy >> Life In Limbo

Restore Energy

I’ve realized that I’m very good at spending my energy, and often do so on things, people and projects that I find fun and rewarding. What I’m not so good at is taking the time to replenish and restore my energy in ways that don’t necessarily feel “practical”. I have a hard time sitting down to watch TV or a movie, because I constantly feel guilty that I should be doing something more productive! The goals & resolutions here are in direct opposition to this not-so-nice part of my nature.

1. Be leisurely & luxurious in my everyday life

I find that I’m often racing through my days like I have someone timing me with a stopwatch. I want to counteract this with the intention to be more leisurely in my days: when I’m eating, during my morning routine, when I’m reading, when I’m relaxing. I want to take the time to light the candle, dim the lights, put on some nice music and chop up herbs to put on top of my food. Doesn’t that just feel more pleasant? Because the truth is, I do have time, I just don’t always take it.

2. Schedule one special fun thing a month

In the spirit of the bucket lists I used to create, I want to get one special, out of the ordinary activity on the calendar for each month of 2019. This could be something like taking a new hike, or going to an exhibition, or even just going to the movies, since that’s something I don’t normally do. I love that I have the flexibility to choose the activity, but the structure to make sure it’s monthly.

3. Buy one thing per month that feels luxurious or pleasurable

I’m a notorious underbuyer, which means that I’m not very good at spending money, even when money would make my daily life more pleasant or enjoyable. To combat this tendency of mine, I’m giving myself the “goal” of spending out on one thing (big or small!) that feels like a luxury – a want, not a need. Since this doesn’t come naturally to me, it feels very fun to start brainstorming the types of things that might fall under this category – and most of them are not even that expensive!

Creative Energy

Last but certainly not least, I want to make time and space for my creative energy to shine through in 2019! Being creative is one of the best ways I know to feel more energetic and fulfilled, and yet I don’t always give it the time I know it deserves. I’m hoping to change that over the next 12 months with these resolutions.

1. Do 1 Second Everyday

This is one of my favourite projects because it’s so easy but brings so much more mindfulness and whimsy into my daily life. I regretted not doing it in 2018 so I’m excited to have re-started for 2019 and already it’s bringing me so much joy.

2. Create two seasons of the Life In Limbo podcast

This is well underway and I’m loving it! Starting this podcast was a long-time goal of mine and it’s felt so good to actually launch it and make time for it each week. I also love that I’m giving myself breaks from the show when it feels like an overwhelming season of life. I can’t wait to see what comes of the show in 2019 – I already have some very fun ideas for guests and topics in store!

3. Take more photos of my everyday life

I don’t know another way to say it: I’m just happier when I’m taking more photos and capturing more of the details of my daily life. In university I was blogging more, so I was taking more photos of my life and apartment, and I treasure those memories so much. I love where I’m living now, but I don’t take photos to commemorate this season and I know I’ll regret not having them if I don’t start now. More photos in 2019!

And there you have it! All my goals and intentions for 2019. I’m tracking most of these in Asana, which is the project management software I use for both my personal and business goals. I’m also making use of Elise’s daily habit tracker for all my daily goals, because it’s fun to watch those little circles add up over time. I can’t wait to see how these goals affect my year, and whether or not they make me feel more aware of my energy in 2019. Here’s hoping!

You can read more about my words from the last few years below:

2013: Reach | 2014: Abundance | 2015: Grace | 2016: Light | 2017: Embrace | 2018: Flow

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