Year in Review

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:

January

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.

February

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.

March

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.

April

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!

May

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.

June

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!).

July

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.

August

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.

September

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.

October

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!!!

November

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!

December

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

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

2017 In Review

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

It’s a pretty special thing to reflect on a whole year in one sitting. It shows you just how fast 12 months can go by, but also reminds you of just how much can happen in a year. Doing these reviews always makes me emotional because the more I look at my calendar and remember the beautiful things I got to experience, the only things I can think to say are: “thank you”, and “how did I get so lucky?” Thank you. How did I get so lucky?

I said last year that doing year end reviews is a great reminder that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I feel like that’s particularly true of 2017. I didn’t go many places in the world this year, so when I first sat down to do this review I wondered if I’d have anything to say about certain months. And I was right, not every month had major highlights or achievements to report, but as I looked back over my calendar and my 1SE video, I realized that I had so many beautiful, quiet, meaningful moments both my myself and with my loved ones. So, no. I didn’t travel very much in 2017 or hit any huge milestones (car/house/husband). Instead, I built a life, and that is a very large accomplishment indeed. Here are my own personal highlights from the year:

January

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In January I went to my first Tuesdays Together meetup. I was by myself and really nervous, and the only reason I went is because it was near my sister’s apartment, so I could go see her if I needed to bail. It ended up being the very best thing I did all year: as a result I met some very dear friends and kindred spirits, have become a part of Toronto’s creative community, and feel more at home in this city. All because of one little meetup!

February

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I attended my first Creative Mornings event, had fun coworking dates with my friends, went home to visit the puppy, and saw a bunch of live music. Actually, 2017 was kind of the year of live music, and February was where that all kicked off. I also had my last two filming days with the Red Tent Sisters, on an unseasonably warm week near the end of the month. It was so much fun to shoot some great content and have a picnic with them on the deck.

March

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

There was so much fun stuff in March, but my favourite part was helping my friend Sonja cater Sarah Slean‘s album launch party for Metaphysics. It was a dream to hear her play live with a grand piano and a string quartet from only a few feet away – and of course the food and atmosphere were incredible. Another fun highlight was seeing the Book of Mormon with my friends Laura and Mike!

April

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I somehow got to be a part of Nurture in April, which basically cracked my whole life wide open. I met so many amazing women who I am lucky enough to now call my friends (!), helped make a lot of delicious food, got some sunshine and peace and clarity, and made an important decision that changed the rest of my year in a really positive way. There’s no other word for it besides magic. It was magic.

Oh – in April I also started taking care of Pablo the cat, who was also a very welcome addition to my life for the rest of the year! Oh – AND it was my birthday, which was a ton of fun and so special to have all my favourite people around me.

May

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

We had a birthday party for my grandma, I had my first ever tarot reading, I went to see Ira Glass perform live, I wore sandals for the first time all year, I had my friend Adrienne staying with me for a few fun days, I helped out at two live events for one of my clients, I played outside in the backyard with my mom’s dog, I wore spring jackets. I love May.

June


The best part of June was my Dad’s wedding to my stepmom, Took. It was such a special day and – even though I didn’t think I would – I cried throughout the entire ceremony. I made a video of the day and it’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever created because it captures so much of the love and joy of that day.

Other highlights: lots of days lounging in parks, lots of live music, lots of family time.

July

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I went to New York City for two weeks! This was my third summer visiting my friend Katie and my favourite visit yet. We went to the Jersey Shore, hit up the jimjilbang (indistinguishable from the ones we went to in Korea), found new rooftop patio bars, ate the best-ever fish tacos, went to street festivals, read books and toured the city. My heart feels so happy in New York and with my friends who I don’t get to see very often. Such a wonderful time.

August

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Long lazy summer days, blue skies, time outside, campfires, windows open, butterflies. I deep cleaned my apartment and finally set up my home office, walked all day at Caribana, read on my front steps, went to a solar eclipse viewing party, saw my favourite Creative Mornings talk of the year, saw Shakespeare in the Park, and did a lot of journaling. Sonja and I also went to see John Mayer (her birthday gift to me) outside at the Budweiser stage after a day at the CNE – the absolute perfect end to summer.

September

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

There were a lot of fun events this month! I went to see Lady Gaga, and then the girls from My Favourite Murder with my friend Emily. I went to see an amazing documentary about The Avett Brothers with Sonja. I attended my first-ever Roncesvalles Polish Festival (the event of the year in this neighbourhood). I went up to the cottage with Laura and Mike for the third year in a row. I also volunteered at the hilarious but interesting Archangel Summit, where I got to hear Simon Sinek, Danielle Laporte, Shefali Tsabary, and others speak.

October

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Nurture launched Harvest Table Dinners and we held the first one on October 1st! It was such a fun event with so many friendly faces and delicious food, and such a surreal way to celebrate my one-year anniversary of living in Toronto. Little did I know on that first night in 2016 that one year later I’d be having an amazing meal with the beautiful souls that I’d gotten to know.

In October I also had the very last patio drinks of the season, and went to my first family pumpkin carving day (I’d missed the last few years of this tradition!).

November

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Katie came to visit for the first time since I officially moved to Toronto! It was so much fun to have her in my home and my neighbourhood, show her some of my favourite spots, introduce her to my Toronto friends, and tour (a lot of) Toronto’s historical houses. We also had kickass eggplant sandwiches, which warrant a mention here. In November we also had a sushi extravaganza with the whole family for my mom’s birthday, which was so much fun.

December

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

A beautiful month full of book clubs, dinners, kitty cuddles, work projects, twinkle lights, parties, crafts, candles, and family time. I helped my friend Brittney on a fun (but strenuous) interior design job which added some variety to my days. I got to go to some fun holiday parties wearing fun holiday sparkles. And I got to spend Christmas with my family and our dogs. What could be better than that?


Firsts of 2017

My friend Laura introduced this idea to me last year and I think it’s such a fun way to sum up some of the smaller aspects of the year that might not have otherwise made the highlight reel. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • First Tuesdays Together meetup
  • First Creative Mornings event
  • First time trying caponata, first time trying labneh, first time trying fennel
  • First time getting a promotion!
  • First time trying Ethiopian food
  • First tarot reading
  • First blind internet date
  • First time discontinuing work with clients I didn’t like
  • First time having friends stay at my apartment in Toronto
  • First time seeing a feminist comedy show
  • First book signing (with Jen Sincero!)
  • First time watching a solar eclipse
  • First time seeing a movie at my neighbourhood theatre
  • First time having a cat!
  • First time seeing Caribana
  • First time doing NaBloPoMo

2017 By the Numbers

  • 75 books read
  • 89 blog posts written
  • 107 Instagram posts
  • 257 days of morning meditation

Goals & Intentions

It’s nice to revisit my goals & intentions post from last year and realize that I still resonate with so much of what I wrote. I hadn’t even really remembered what I wrote, but (since writing things down is magic), it turned out that unplugging often, embracing the moment, and celebrating the everyday were very much my themes this year.

1. Read 75 books  

“How much happier I would have been to know that reading was itself a passion. Nobody treated it that way, and it didn’t occur to me to think otherwise.” -Pamela Paul, My Life With Bob

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

This is still my favourite goal, habit and practice all rolled into one. 2017 was the year that I really deepened my relationship with reading, partly thanks to reading My Life With Bob, and since I realized that reading is a form of flow and meditation. You can see everything I read in 2017 here.

2. Film 1 Second Everyday 

Yay! I’m so happy to say that 2017 was the first year that I made a complete year of 1SE. There were definitely days I missed, but I just went back in and added a clip of something that was likely to have been happening that day. Such a simple project, but it really gives such a cool recap of the full year. This year flew, but it’s cool to see a tiny slice of every single day, even (especially) the ones that I might not remember otherwise.

My Word of the Year: Embrace

Like most years that I choose a word, I could have been more intentional about embrace in 2017. That said, unlike some years, this word actually stayed with me the whole year, mostly in the back of my mind and sometimes on Instagram. I revisited my intention-setting post for this word and I do think there are ways that I embodied the word embrace throughout the year. I really embraced the people around me this year: I spent more time with family, I made lots of new friends, and I became part of more than one community here in Toronto. I also think I embraced my everyday pretty well – documenting 1SE helped, as did trying out NaBloPoMo this year. I also embraced my apartment and worked to make it a home by decorating, rearranging, styling, cozy-fying and inviting friends over. All in all, it was a great word and it served me well! I’m excited to choose a new theme for 2018.


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

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2016 In Review

2016 >> Life In Limbo

Doing a year-end review always brings me so much joy and reminds me of that old saying: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I have a tendency to feel like I’m not “doing enough” as the weeks and months go by, but taking the time to look back over the year as a whole always reminds me of how lucky I am and how much I’ve experienced. This year was a big one for me, and it’s pretty surreal to remember all that’s happened in the past 12 months. Here are my highlights from each month of 2016:

January

2016 >> Life In Limbo

My boyfriend (at the time) and I took a trip to the coast of Ecuador, to a place called Canoa Beach. We spent a few days enjoying the heat, the food, and the sheer novelty of being on a beach mid-January! Throw in some outdoor yoga classes, stunning sunsets, and beers with my toes in the sand and I was a pretty happy camper. I also tried paragliding for the first time, and despite a rough crash landing with the instructor, it was a lot of fun. Canoa, like so much of the coast, was unfortunately affected when the earthquake hit in April, so it turned out to be extra special to be able to visit when we did.

February

2016 >> Life In Limbo

The highlight of February was my friend Katie coming to visit me in Quito! We spent a week running around the city, exploring the old town, heading up El Panecillo, soaking in the baths (and hanging out with the llamas) at Papallacta, watching movies on my couch, and eating as much awesome food as we could manage. We also went to a local soccer game, checked out the drive-in movie theatre, risked our lives climbing the tower at the basilica, and took the TelefériQo up to the top of Pichincha for amazing views of the city. It was so great to show her around and to get to know Quito a bit more myself.

March

2016 >> Life In Limbo

I spent most of March getting more involved in life in Quito. I joined a book club full of awesome people, found cute coffee shops near my apartment, started teaching private yoga classes, went to a few trivia pub nights with new friends, started volunteering for a local organization, and helped run yoga in the park every Saturday. I also went to another live South American soccer game! What an experience that was, especially since it was a FIFA 2020 qualifying game, and Ecuador won.

At the very end of March and the beginning of April, I went on a press trip to the Amazon rainforest and stayed at Sacha Lodge. The experience had me pinching myself the entire time – I saw monkeys and caiman, climbed up to the top of a 600 year old tree, walked a 40m high sky canopy, went on a night walk through the jungle (very loud, very amazing), and stayed in my own private cabin complete with a hammock on the porch and a lullaby of frogs outside. It was incredible. You can read more about the adventure here.

April

2016 >> Life In Limbo

After kicking off my birthday month with a trip to the jungle, I went on to have a fabulous time back in Quito. On my birthday, my boyfriend’s family surprised me with a four-piece mariachi band that marched into the living room and played for hours while we all danced. I cried, because it was so hilarious and thoughtful – and even though I no longer live in Ecuador, the people I met there will always hold a very special place in my heart.

In April I also started an intermediate Spanish course at the local university, which was a ton of fun. My professor was a real character, a born-and-bred Quiteña with tons of personality, and it was so great to start to get a better grasp of the language.

May


This was a busy month! I finished up my Spanish course and wrote my final exams. I picked up a couple new freelance jobs. We went to a beautiful wedding and danced the night away. Toward the end of the month, I flew home for the summer, and a couple days later, we had a big beautiful party in my mom’s backyard for my Grandma’s 88th birthday!

June

2016 >> Life In Limbo

This was my first time home (besides 2 weeks at Christmas) in a very long time, so June was spent reconnecting with as many friends and family members as possible. My sisters and I took my dad out for a lovely Father’s Day dinner on the waterfront. I started sewing my very first quilt! I went to see the Making a Murderer Conversation on Justice with my friends (#fangirl #TeamStrang). On a whim, Katie booked a trip to Toronto (we are in the best LDR ever) and we spent the week exploring yet another city together: we had beers on the waterfront, saw a Jays game (which was inadvertently a Korea reunion), went for hikes, ate great food, had a campfire, and really kicked off summer.

July


My favourite month of 2016! July was packed full of things I love. One weekend, I was invited up to my friend Mike’s cottage with Laura and a group of friends, and we spent the whole time eating delicious vegan food, playing board games, stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. Another highlight was a day spent filming videos and doing photoshoots with the Red Tent Sisters at a beautiful home in Toronto.

Best of all, in July I took my now-annual (!) trip to New York City to hang out with Katie and Nancy Sue! We spent the whole time eating amazing food (special shoutouts to Benny Tudinos and Goa Taco: you have my heart now and forever), hit up The Strand and Nature Republic as much as possible, rode bikes through Central Park, played Pokemon Go in taxis, went to a Gaelic football game (and a Gaelic football afterparty), toured The Tenement Museum and did a hundred other amazing things together. Katie & I also went to Vermont with her family for gorgeous, highly strenuous hikes, gin & tonics, outdoor showers and star-gazing. Then we topped it all off with a Rob Thomas and Counting Crows concert, for the win.

August

2016 >> Life In Limbo

Without a doubt, the best part of August was bringing home Bodhi, my mom’s Golden Retriever puppy. He is the best, and really helped to make 2016 so special for our family.

August was also important for another reason: I ended my long-term relationship with my boyfriend and simultaneously decided to move to Toronto.

September

2016 >> Life In Limbo

The first words that come to mind are: busy and messy. There was a sudden death in our family, which meant a very emotional time and a bittersweet memorial service.

All at the same time, things very quickly fell into place with my new living situation, so I spent most of the month running around getting things out of storage and buying new kitchen stuff. Also, my friend Adrienne came to Toronto and we had a sleepover to celebrate our first time seeing each other in more than 2 years.

October

2016 >> Life In Limbo

Yay! I moved into my first Toronto apartment and instantly fell in love with my new neighbourhood. I hung things on walls, put things on shelves and settled into my space. I celebrated my move to Toronto by spending lots of time with my friends and exploring: tons of walks on the Sunnyside boardwalk, friend dates at adorable coffee shops, a walk down Leslie Street Spit, lots of time meandering through High Park, and leaf peeping. I also did some dogsitting with hearts in my eyes.

November

2016 >> Life In Limbo

November was a bit bumpy as I worked on finding my rhythm and building my new life. I read a lot of great library books, suffered after the election results, watched the Gilmore Girls revival, started knitting a sweater, and kept up my weekly coffee dates with Laura. My sisters and I went home to celebrate my mom’s birthday with tons of sushi and cuddles with the puppy. November was also when I had my most profitable freelance month ever!

December

2016 >> Life In Limbo

I always love December for the lead-up to the holidays, but it was even more fun this year because I was finally close to home! My whole family visited my apartment at different times, which helped to make it feel even more like home. I went to my friend Laura’s yoga jam class where her brother Ian played acoustic guitar the whole time…it was amazing. Other super-fun events included an aromatherapy workshop, hanging out my high school friends for the first time in 3 years, having a surprise lunch with my mom and Grandma, and of course, every moment of the holidays.


And so here we are, at the end of another year. When I look back like this, I feel grateful. I feel blessed. I feel excited about what hidden, wonderful opportunities 2017 might hold that I don’t know about yet.

One Second Everyday

This was my first year doing the one second everyday project and I’m so happy I did it! I definitely missed more than a few days – basically all of August, in fact – but it really doesn’t matter. Having this little record of what each day looked like is so special to me. It is also so interesting to see just how much my life has changed over the past 12 months.

Firsts of 2016

My friend Laura inspired me to think about the “firsts” I experienced this year (you can see her list here), so here are some of mine:

  • First time I sewed a quilt
  • First time I knitted a sweater
  • First time in the Amazon jungle
  • First time living in Toronto
  • First Toronto Public Library Card
  • First photo shoot for a brand
  • First time seeing a Santa Semana Easter parade
  • First time on a beach in January
  • First time paragliding
  • First time in Vermont
  • First visit to New Jersey
  • First time at Marie’s Crisis (but it won’t be the last)
  • First time visiting Wishing Well sanctuary
  • First time trying a matcha latte
  • First time my grandparents have seen an apartment of mine

 

2016 By the Numbers

  • 8 flights taken
  • 75 books read
  • 68 blog posts written
  • 2 articles published
  • 4 compensated photoshoots

 

Goals & Intentions

1. Read 75 books: ?

I had a great year of reading! Not only did I hit my goal, I also did pretty well on this reading challenge: see my entries for the different categories here.

2. Travel to one new place a month: 8/12 ?

  • January: Canoa, Ecuador
  • February: Historic centre of Quito
  • March: Amazon jungle (near Coca, Ecuador)
  • April: Condor Machay waterfall (near Sangolqui, Ecuador)
  • July: New Jersey and Vermont
  • August: Windsor, Ontario
  • September: Wishing Well animal sanctuary
  • October: Roncesvalles Village, Toronto

3. Write about my word for 2016 monthly: 5/12

4. Buy one thing to spark joy each month: ?

5. Donate to charity once a month: ?

I donate monthly to Pencils of Promise through their Passport program. I also began giving to the Ian Anderson House, a local hospice, made some one-off donations to UNHCR, and supported both my sisters’ fundraising efforts for runs they were each doing.

6. Daily goals:

  • Plan my day: I’d say this happened this year about 75% of the time. I also realized that I’m ready to drop this as a ‘goal’, because I do it when I need to and soften it when I don’t.
  • Wake up by 7AM: I didn’t count, but I’d say this only happened about 25% of the time. I’m more of an 8AM kind of gal, even if I wish I were more of a morning person.
  • Do something creative: This wasn’t really specific enough! I am creative every day, but not always “for fun” – often it’s for work, which I usually find fun anyways. I’d give this one a score of 80%.

 

My Word of the Year: Light

This was easily my favourite word out of all of the words I’ve chosen over the years. I kept up an Instagram hashtag all year to collect the photos that made me feel happy, were inspired by something positive, or that helped me find perspective during a weird or sad time. My word was catchy enough that it stayed in mind as the months went by, and broad enough that it popped up for me in so many different ways and at different times. Although this was an amazing year, it contained quite a bit of dark (as most years do). I was grateful to have this word as a reminder when things got hard.


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

201520142013 | 2012 | 2011

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