You know when you let something go a little too long without attending to it — an email reply, returning a dress that looked way better in the window than on you, that sort of thing? At a certain point, it just becomes kind of awkward to deal with it and it feels like it might be better to leave it alone. Otherwise you find yourself making excuses and launching into longwinded explanations in an attempt to remedy the situation. But emails are left unreturned and dresses hang forgotten in the closet, tags still attached, after all — it happens.
Just like blog posts fall to the wayside and content calendars are abandoned during busy times… right? Surely you’ve caught on to where I’m going with this by now.
Though I don’t abide strictly by traditional quarters in my business, I do tend to use them as guide posts or check in points. Since I’m scrambling to file my HST anyways and stepping back from my business for a bit of a financial overview, it’s a good time to take a quick look at where things are at, acknowledge that time has passed and readjust as necessary. So that’s where I am right now. Looking back at the last three months and marvelling at how quickly time passes, without fail.
Given that I actually do have a lot I plan on sharing over the next little while, along with some shifts and updates to my business, it seemed like a natural time to pop in and say “hi.” It always feels a little weird to take an unplanned hiatus only to hop right back in without acknowledging that time has passed and things have been happening behind the scenes.
So here we are, with a little status report on life, lately.
Goodbye Toronto, Hello Hamilton
We’ll start with the big one, especially because it’s still about as fresh as can be. A week ago (ie. The beginning of April, for those of you reading this in the future), Jason and I made the move to Hamilton, a smaller city about 45 minutes from Toronto, which I’ve called home for the last 12 years.
It was something that had been a possibility in the back of our minds for awhile, but in all honesty the final decision to move happened pretty quickly, thanks to a few nudges and stars aligning in the form of us finding a little rowhouse we fell in love with immediately and the pull for a new adventure. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make the leap.
On the personal side, we were both feeling like we were ready to move on from Toronto. Though I’ve loved my time in the city (and yes, will still be there often), I was craving a change. Preferably one that came with a little more space, a backyard and quieter streets… and a lower price tag!
On the business side, you’ve likely seen me lament my in-apartment studio setup recently, and though I was able to make the live-work space function for a decent amount of time, it was starting to take it’s toll and I just got to the point where it didn’t make sense for me anymore. For someone who already struggles with balancing personal with business, not having any sort of division between the two added to the stress and left me in a state of feeling constantly overwhelmed. Not good. So though I don’t have a studio here in Hamilton yet, that’s next on the list, and it’s a move forward that I am very excited to take.
A California Adventure: Alt Summit, Coastal Disconnection and Instagram Strategy with Brit + Co.
If you were following along on Instagram, you likely noticed that I spent two weeks in California at the end of February/beginning of March. I'm missing it already, surprise surprise.
I started the adventure in Palm Springs with Alex and Breeyn, attending Alt Summit for the first time. It was a very colourful, packed few days of bouncing from panel to panel learning tips from people in the industry I’ve looked up to for years (like Jordan Fearney of Oh Happy Day and Claire Vivier), and trying to keep up with all the amazing outfits. Seriously, the people watching and sartorial eye candy was worth the trip alone. Though I loved the experience overall, the opportunity to stay at The Saguaro and my immediate company (nothing beats a girls’ trip!), in all honesty I didn’t take away quite as much as I was hoping I would in terms of tangible takeaways and actionable strategies from the conference itself. It’s always hard with these things to know how they align with where you’re currently at, and I think I was left feeling like I wanted a little more out of it based on where I’m at in my business and how I’m looking to grow. Couple that with the fact that big crowds that require a certain level extroversion are not exactly my forté, and I found myself feeling like I was a little out of my comfort zone at times, with my social anxiety kicking in to overdrive. I think I’ll stick to smaller workshops and more focused learning opportunities from now on, but again — no regrets and definitely a learning experience. Plus, Palm Springs is a pretty amazing place on it’s own, so the opportunity to explore a little more, hunt down colourful doors and pop into the antique shops was definitely an added bonus.
We followed Alt Summit up with a couple of days in LA — specifically Echo Park — and since the city will always feel a little like a second home to me thanks to all my buying trips during my boutique days, I was incredibly happy to be back, though for too short a time. I’d say our main focus was on eating (naturally), with an amazing brunch (and interior eye candy) at Botanica, some seriously good tacos and an amazing vegan meal at Sage Bistro. Mission accomplished!
My next stretch of the trip was a drive up the California coast from LA to San Francisco, for which my dad joined me. We took our time, spending a couple nights in Big Sur at the Deetjen Inn, which is like a little time capsule of the area and a stay that I would absolutely recommend if you’re into rustic, cabin-style retreats. The majority of Big Sur is relatively disconnected, with no wifi (including the inn) and also no cell service. Though it always feels a little disconcerting to find yourself that disconnected at first, it never takes long before it’s a welcome escape, and that was exactly my experience, relishing the opportunity to step away from my phone and laptop. We spent our time hiking redwood forests and exploring beaches, spending as much time outside as possible and relishing the fresh air and sunny days. I need more of that in my life, and this was such a welcome time away.
Once I arrived in San Francisco, it was back to work, as my main purpose of being there was to shoot an online Instagram Strategy course with Brit + Co. That was a whirlwind experience, and believe it or not, the course is already online! This class provides a great overview of how to style your brand and tell your story on my favourite platform, diving into the 4 V's of branding, the 6 C's of content creation, and many other little tips of mine that I've put together just for you. Oh and did I mention the price point? It's only $29...! I know, kinda crazy. So if you're interested in that, it's available for purchase now.
I had a couple of extra days in San Francisco which left me with time to wander the hilly streets aimlessly, soak in the sunshine, eat a lot of really good food (Del Popolo for Pizza, The Slanted Door for modern Vietnamese, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for baked goods and Réveille Coffee are a few notables) and explore enough that it's on my "must go back" list now that I've had a little taste of it.
The Constant Evolution of the Blog
I always find myself dancing around the subject of where the line of business and personal falls, feeling like the blog is a place to teach, share value, and provide inspiration. But I think one thing I’m continually reminded of is that when you run your own business, everything is a little more entwined and those lines aren’t always as clear — nor does there need to be a distinct division.
Subjects like self-care and wellness are infinitely important, living and work spaces overlap and need to function in multiple ways, and creating beauty and sharing inspiration show up in different ways, in countless details and across many different subject areas.
So I’m going to explore what broadening my blog subject matter might look like. No specific intentions at the moment, no expectations, just a permission slip to try out some new things.
The blog has always been a place to share various facets of my business and creative endeavours, to tell stories and share experiences, to create content that hopefully resonates with you, my readers, in some way. And at the end of the day, I’m running a small business of which I am ultimately at the core of, so I think there’s valuing in remembering that the personal side is in fact important. We’re humans running these creative businesses, and sometimes our struggles revolve more around fighting insomnia or creating a backyard escape than they do fighting the ever-changing algorithm or creating the ultimate content calendar. It’s all part of the bigger picture.
So seeing as I’ve now got you sufficiently up to speed (at least for the time being) and in the process have managed to write a short novel for you, we’re going to leave it at that for now.
I'm currently in Salt Lake City for a few days attending Loom Curated, a styling workshop hosted by Ginny Au, and it's already been an experience that's pushed me to rethink how I position myself and what I offer, pushing me as a stylist and creative director. I'm storying the experience if you happen to catch this "live", otherwise you can expect an update and overview after the fact. I have a feeling this is going to play a significant role in this bigger shift I'm experiencing at the moment. I'm excited.
I now feel infinitely less guilty about my unplanned blogging hiatus and as though I’ll be able to jump back in with all the amazing posts I have waiting in the wings, which I would count as a success. Mission accomplished!