2018 In Review

It’s that time of year again! My favourite time: the part when I get to look back on the past 12 months and think about what I’m grateful for and what I’ve learned.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about 2018 is: “OOF. That was a big one.” So much change, so much growth, so many lessons. New friends, new opportunities, new experiences. Lots of powerful shifts, lots of laughter, and more candlelight than possibly I have ever experienced before (thanks Sonja!).

Here is my recap of 2018 – this is admittedly mostly a highlight reel, but please know that there was a lot of pain and fear and a record-high number of growing pains this year too.

January

2018 started with a beautiful Nurture Harvest Table Dinner in collaboration with our friend Salimah to celebrate her company, Artery. I went to concerts and parties and yoga classes and book clubs. I started dating again. I did the 7 minute workout every single day. I held down the fort at With/out Pretend while Erin was on vacation. I remember that it was a quiet month that felt full of potential.

February

In February, the year started to pick up steam. I went to a powerful dance class, and a fun craft workshop and tried Beyography for the first time. I started a certification program for a framework I care about deeply. The big highlight of February was going to my first Peasant’s Feast, a talent show-style party that my friend Erin throws every year. I memorized and performed a poem that means a lot to me and it was such a wonderful experience to share it with everyone there.

March

My favourite part of March of this year was getting to be on-site support for the Etsy Team Captains Summit thanks to Erin (I am sensing a theme here, Erin!!). It was SO fun to discover that I love being a part of helping events run smoothly and being the point person to solve problems. March also held some business challenges for me and led a clarification of who I was working with, which was great, in the end. At the end of March my friends and I all joined Sonja for the day at the gorgeous space she’d rented for a day retreat that painfully did not happen – I chatted with her about the experience in our podcast episode later in the year.

April

Damn, April. This month was the catalyst for everything that happened for me for the rest of the year. Most significantly, Sonja, Moni and I held a mini retreat in Almonte at The Happinest, Moni’s beautiful home. We tackled our businesses, worked through things in our personal lives, and collectively made some BIG changes. That was the moment when I shifted the ways I work with people as well as so many other aspects of my life. The other highlight of April was throwing my first house concert for my birthday – it was such a glowing and love-filled night.

May

In May, I launched my podcast! How fun is that? This project had been in my heart for YEARS and it felt so good to put it out into the world, starting by interviewing my friend Laura who I used to have a podcast with (full circle!). Already it’s given me so much joy and enabled so many wonderful conversations. We also celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday, which felt like such a gift. In May I also started the process of hiring an assistant at one of the companies I worked with since I had been promoted several months earlier without someone new being hired – this was a big step and helped my sanity tremendously.

June

June was fun. I watched my baby sister graduate from university, which was fun and emotional. I got to introduce Raffi (!) onstage in concert, which was trippy. And then, most notably, I had my photoshoot with Amber Ellis of Creating Light Photography. Second only to the retreat I took in April, I would say that this one experience did the most to change my life and business in 2018. Working with her, being seen in that way, stepping into shoes I didn’t feel *quite* ready to fill: it was magic.

July

My favourite memories from July involve being up at a cottage on a big, beautiful lake, watching Wicked with my sister, having a boisterous birthday dinner for my dad downtown, and the experience of fully understanding just how much my friends love me, which happened when I got my heart broken. That shit is powerful, let me tell you and I’ll cry again if I think about it for too long. Another favourite memory is my plane touching down in New York, hugging Katie for the first time, and almost instantly laughing through my tears. I have the best friends in the world.

August

Well I can’t lie: August was a hard one, because of the aforementioned heartbreak. But it was full of so much goodness too: Time in New York City, one of my favourite cities on earth, with one of my favourite people. Speaking at Unresolved Feelings in Montreal and feeling a part of something bigger than myself. Launching The Vault, a magazine I am beyond proud to have been a part of creating. Having a boudoir photoshoot (I am no longer comfortable recommending the place where I had mine done, but would 100% recommend the experience in general!) and getting those pictures back. Going to house concerts in gorgeous backyards. Working with amazing clients. Helping one of my friends choose an engagement ring for another friend. Playing hooky and escaping to the Island for the day with women who get it. Actually, on second thought, August was pretty amazing.

September

September was so, so sweet. We launched Nurture: Fall 2018, and we sold it out within the month. We threw Erin a surprise party two months early, and she was actually surprised! We celebrated an early Thanksgiving with my family because my sister was moving to North Carolina for a work training program. I did some dogsitting for my mom while they were away, which meant almost a full week in my peaceful happy place with the cutest dog on earth. I went for a few really nice hikes with friends. I healed a lot, and I was happy.

October

And just like that, it was October! Seriously, that was fast. In October, we held the launch party for The Vault at the adorable Queen Books. I interviewed my friend Ameema for the podcast and got to visit the headquarters of Chapters Indigo, which was SO much fun. I launched my first product, The Appothecary, and was the expert speaker at our Tuesdays Together meeting! Both Sonja and Erin renovated a room of their homes (one a dining room, the other an office), and it was fun to be a part of the furniture shopping/furniture building/organization process and to see the beautiful results. And of course we had a ton of fun at my family’s annual pumpkin carving competition (I came in 4th place).

November

Nothing like ending the year with a bang, right? November was full to bursting with wonderful things. From the top: the Nurture Harvest Table Dinner was celebrating With/out Pretend, which meant that I got to reflect on how lucky I am to know both these incredible friends, and to work with both of these amazing companies. It was a joy. Then, I threw my first-ever workshop, which was nerve-wracking and wonderful and so much fun. Laura and I went to see Glennon Doyle. The next weekend, Katie was visiting and we had a whirlwind visit involving Body Blitz, tarot-card-buying, lots of dip, and a tiny amount of burlesque. The following weekend was Nurture: Fall 2018 which was beautiful, magical, tiring, and wonderful. Then it was my mom’s birthday! So much love and so much joy.

December

And then we come to December! One of my favourite parts of December was Dark Eggnog, a lovely house concert that my friend Salimah throws every year with lots of clementines and some seriously dangerous eggnog. After that, I got a very bad cold and was mostly exhausted for the rest of the month, but still managed to get a lot done, including launching The Foundery, celebrating Sonja’s birthday, doing a one-day mini retreat (small but mighty!!), going wedding dress shopping with Laura, and spending a particularly nice Christmas at home with my family.


Firsts of 2018

I always intend to keep a better record of this throughout the year, but in the end I have to rely on my (faulty) memory!

  • First time running my own workshop
  • First time being an ‘expert speaker’
  • First time speaking at a storytelling event
  • First (and second!) professional photoshoots
  • First time trying Zumba
  • First time working with a big multinational company
  • First time throwing a house concert
  • First tarot deck
  • First time offering consulting services
  • First time hiring anyone
  • First time introducing a performer on stage
  • First time listening to music on a pirate ship
  • First time working with someone who was previously a stranger
  • First time going ring shopping + wedding dress shopping
  • First time trying the Turkey and the Wolf Collard Melt (omg.)
  • First time going to a music festival by myself
  • First time going to The Island Café
  • First time starting a mastermind group

2018 By The Numbers

  • 75 books read
  • 78 blog posts written
  • 64 Instagram posts
  • 294 days of morning meditation (which adds up to 50 HOURS!?!?)
  • 21 podcast episodes released

Goals & Intentions

Read 75 books

As usual, December was a bit of a push (including a couple of audiobooks and a couple of shorter books), but I was so pleased with my reading year in 2018. So many good books! You can see everything I read in 2018 here.

Choose a monthly theme

I kept this up for about half the year, and it was a fun way to structure my goals and intentions for each month! Things dropped off around June when the rest of my life picked up, and that’s totally fine. Before then, I had themes like “body”, “femininity”, and “style” which were all really helpful and fun to focus on.

Keep a daily logbook

This is one of my favourite new practices! As someone who finds it difficult to remember daily life, I love having a record of every single day from 2018. I copied Austin Kleon’s method (and notebook!) and plan to continue doing this next year, not as a goal but as a daily habit.

Meditate every morning

As I mentioned above, I didn’t get to 365 but I came closer than I probably ever have before at 294! When I saw my number for the year in the Stats section of the app I use, the first thing that popped into my head was the expression, “little by little, one travels far”. Somehow without noticing it, I meditated for 50 hours in 2018, which is some kind of miracle. It was rarely fun or easy or zen, but it was always ultimately helpful, and I plan to keep this up next year too.

Spend more time with family

I’m going to say yes to this intention, I did spend more family time this year. But I could be doing more, especially when it comes to my sisters and my grandparents. I’d love to make this more of a focus for 2019.

Have a digital detox monthly

This definitely did not happen! I felt more addicted to my phone than ever. But I also continued my habit of putting my phone on airplane mode before bed and not switching it off until I’d gotten some work done most days, so that was helpful.

Devote more time & love to cooking

Also: no. I did not do this at all! If anything, this year was worse than previous years for me throwing things together and not doing a good job of feeding myself. It’s on the list for 2019, this time with some more concrete action steps I can take.

Make my home my happy place

Slowly but surely, this is happening! I’ve gotten rid of a lot of items that I didn’t love, or that were broken, and that has made a big difference – I’m now surrounded by objects I love and find meaningful. My home feels cozy and comforting, and I’m making it more special all the time.


My Word of the Year: Flow

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I loved this word for this particular year, and I think in retrospect it really served me well for 2018. As always, I kind of lost track of my word partway through the year (it’s inevitable!!) but I found it again in the Fall and fell in love with it all over again. When I set intentions around this word, my main focuses were to go with the flow, not force things to work if they weren’t working, and choose to spend time in flow activities. And on all these counts, I’d say it was a success! I had a lot of amazing opportunities flow my way this year, without having to force them. I also took a lot of inspired action, when it felt like I had a moving sidewalk under my feet as I walked – yes, I still had to take all the steps, but I had help. And finally I felt like I was in flow a lot of the time, especially when doing new things like speaking to a group, recording podcast episodes both by myself and with friends, getting lost in great books, and building new projects for myself and my clients. Flow was a wonderful word, and I am so grateful for it.


All in all, 2018 was one for the books. I experienced a lot of love and a lot of learning, and what could be better than that? As always when I write these posts, I’m left feeling nothing but grateful for this magical, wonderful, weird and crazy thing called life that I’m lucky enough to experience. It’s unfolding in ways I never could have predicted or imagined, and I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store. I am wishing you, and myself, such a Happy New Year. We are the lucky ones and these are the days.

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

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

2018 Goals & Intentions

We’re two weeks into 2018, and so far the year is off to a great start, wouldn’t you say? Despite the crazy, bone-chilling weather here in Toronto, life in 2018 has been pretty wonderful so far. I always love how a new calendar year feels like a blank page and an opportunity to invite in new ideas, routines or intentions for the next 12 months. It’s also interesting to see what seems to naturally fall away as the calendar page flips over.

2018 Goals & Intentions >> Life In Limbo

I’ve written recently about how I haven’t been feeling moved lately to set many long-term goals. When I looked ahead to 2018, nothing stood out to me as an outcome I felt that I desperately needed to make happen or an achievement I wanted to create. This is a pretty foreign feeling, given how many years I spent setting buckets of goals for myself as carrots on sticks to keep me moving forward. That being said, I had no trouble coming up with intentions for how I want to spend more of my time, energy and money this year.

Goals

Read 75 books

The goal that will never go away! Having a reading goal each year is really just a way to keep me on task with making time for a hobby that I love and find so deeply fulfilling…but which I can easily be distracted from by the numerous glowing screens in my life. Having a concrete number to aim for helps me take time for reading, which is also one of the best ways I get into flow. I track my progress on Goodreads, so you can always see what I’m reading here!

Choose a monthly theme

I’m actually crazy-excited about this ‘goal’, which represents a great mix of being intentional but also going with the flow of my life. I’ll choose a theme right before the new month starts, based on what I’m feeling like I want to devote more energy, money and time to for the following month. Depending on the theme, I’ll set some sub-goals for myself just for that month, in an attempt to jumpstart my progress in areas that need a little more love or attention. At the end of the month, I’ll give myself permission to re-evaluate, stop whatever’s not working, and hold onto whatever I really loved from that month’s theme.

January’s theme has been Body, and it has been SO MUCH FUN to give my body some love in all kinds of different ways: new forms of exercise, getting a massage, daily dance parties, trying new recipes, buying myself bubble bath, etc. I can already tell how much joy this monthly themed goal-setting practice will bring me.

Keep a daily logbook

I stole this idea from Austin Kleon, who has kept a daily logbook for 10 years! It’s also kind of a riff on my Grandma’s journaling practice: she’s written a couple quick lines each day about what happened that day in a basic agenda for years. She can look up events and happenings going back to when my mom was a kid, just by looking the day up in her calendar. I am so inspired by this idea, so I am starting this year following Austin’s format outlined here – complete with my own crappy doodles to accompany each bullet point! I’ve only done it for 13 days so far but it’s already so lovely to flip back and notice little details I have ALREADY forgotten. What I’m reading, eating, buying, seeing, talking about: these are things I like to remember.

Meditate every morning

I’m very proud to say that this morning was my 127th consecutive day of meditating – by far the longest streak I’ve ever had. I’m also happy to report that I’m currently consistently doing 15 minutes a day, which feels like a huge achievement after years of barely being able to sit through 5. This practice is not easy for me, and it never feels particularly rewarding in the moment, but it’s helpful in about a million ways that don’t always seem obvious at first. I’m hopeful I’ll keep it up every day for 2018, even if some days I can only squeeze in a couple of minutes.

Intentions

Spend more time with my family: In 2017 we implemented a monthly famjam, which has been so wonderful. In 2018, I’m hoping to set up a weekly time to visit with my Grandma, who doesn’t live very far away from me. I’d also just like more puppy cuddles, time away from the city, walks with my mom, and dinners with my sisters.

Have a digital detox monthly: It’s so incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating for me to go off the grid, but it’s something I don’t do nearly often enough. Here’s to a monthly digital detox, for at minimum 24 hours!

Devote more time & love to cooking: For the past couple years, my at-home cooking has been relatively rushed, thrown-together, not-that-thought-out, and not-that-healthy. I want to change this! I am setting the intention to give more good vibes to my kitchen, try new things, and give myself permission to spend time making food for myself.

Make my home my happy place: It already kind of is, but there are lots of things I could do to make my home even cozier, even more me, and even more welcoming. For me this intention also means hosting people in my space more often, which always makes it feel more like a home to me.


A simple list that makes my heart happy. A lot of peace, a lot of quiet, a lot of fun, a lot of love: what more could I ask for? I know that along the way I’ll encounter amazing opportunities and probably check some things off my bucket list, but for now I’m going to let it flow instead of forcing it. Things happen when they’re meant to happen. My job is to keep showing up, keep learning, keep growing and playing and finding my center.

How about you? What do you want more of in 2018?

2018: Flow

This is my sixth time choosing a word to guide my year, and it has become one of my favourite practices for setting intentions and practicing mindfulness. Having a one-word theme really helps me make decisions, choose what to focus on, and find new ways to stretch myself in areas that might need more love or attention.

I first heard of the idea of choosing a yearly word from Elise Cripe and Ali Edwards, but it’s been fun to see how this practice has caught on more widely over the years – so much so that this year at work my boss encouraged the management team to choose a word and share it! I love hearing what my friends’ words are too, it’s such a nice way to connect with them, send them little reminders when I think of it, or help them make progress with their intentions. Choosing a word is such a fun thing to do, but it becomes more meaningful the more it’s practiced.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

My word for 2018 is flow. Flowy flow flow. Like all my favourite words, this one has multiple meanings and ways I hope to apply it to my life over the next 12 months. Here are some of my favourites:

Go with the flow: Similar to last year’s “embrace the situation” intention, I want (need) to continue practicing intentional letting go of my desire to control situations or outcomes, especially when I have strong opinions on how things should play out. On the rare occasions that I am successful at this and remember to mentally release the vice grip on my desired outcome, my experience (and that of the people around me, no doubt!) is infinitely better. I feel calmer. I remember that there’s no “playbook” for how life is supposed to go. I figuratively and literally sit back in my chair a bit and remember that things will usually unfold the way they’re meant to unfold. I am not the tour guide. I am not responsible for everybody else having an optimal experience, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes.

Follow the flow: This year I also what to pay attention to what is flowing into my life easily and without much fuss, versus what seems like climbing a mountain to accomplish. As much as I can, I want to drop the things that aren’t flowing and turn towards what seems easy and light and fun in each moment. I love Jess Lively’s description of life being like a river that has a strong current. We can either let our boats be caught in the flow of the river, or we can turn around and try to paddle upstream. I often catch myself trying to force something to work when it’s clearly not working, instead of revisiting it later. Most of the time when I come back to a problem or a task, either it’s already resolved itself, I’m in a better frame of mind to handle it, or I’ve encountered new information I needed to make it work. This also means having less judgment of myself for not working “hard enough” some days or “too hard” on others. Following the flow means listening to my intuition’s messages about what comes next, without resistance. In 2018: less forcing it, more flow.

Choose flow activities: One of my book clubs recently read the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, so I got a more in-depth look at the phenomenon of psychological flow. Flow is described as the experience of losing track of time while doing something challenging but also enriching, and the author believes it’s our most enjoyable human experience. A comparison is made between flow activities which bring true enjoyment, and non-flow activities, which bring pleasure (at a kind of neurological level), but don’t help you develop skills, strengthen your sense of self, or make you feel very connected to the world. As much as possible this year, I want to choose flow activities, which for me are reading, writing, knitting, having meaningful conversations, playing instruments, dancing, and taking photos.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

Embody more flow: There are so many definitions of flow that I love, but am not sure yet how to apply to my life for 2018. One is “to hang loosely in an easy and graceful manner.”Another is a scientific term that means “to deform continuously under stress without cracking or melting.” Another is “to abound, to be available in copious quantities”. Another is “to rise and advance, as the tide.” Another is “to proceed or be produced smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly.” All of these make my heart so happy and I can think of ways they can apply to my attitude, my beliefs, my work process, my emotions, my soul. The intention here is to remember all of these beautiful definitions of flow and bring them into my world as much as I can.

Spend more time with things that flow: You guessed it, more time near – and in – the water in 2018! As I write this, Toronto is hitting record-breaking low temperatures, so the idea of being in the water is just about the last thing on my mind. But I’m such a water baby and I know how happy it makes me to go swimming, or even just watch the waves come in down by the lake. I love hot tubs and have been meaning to go to Scandinave, and how cool would it be to try a float tank this year? So fun.

I’m beyond excited for 2018. Last year was better than I ever could have imagined it to be, and I know that this year will have so much magic and abundance and light in store for me too. And flow: lots and lots of flow. Happy 2018!

PS. I would love love love to hear what your word for the year is in the comments below.

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

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