Social Media To My Social Circle: Bonds That Mean More Then A Like

We live in a society where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and basing our self worth on the amount of likes and followers we have on social media. I’ll admit, I have fallen victim to this exact thing. Watching my number rise and decrease as though it actually has an impact on how I live my life… when in reality it means absolutely nothing.

I’ve been in the media and freelance world for almost a decade and jumping into the “blogger” world was something so foreign and unfamiliar to me. I had always written for pleasure, and kept a handful of journals/diaries. But I had never given it a ton of thought that my writing would be put on the internet for other’s to read. So how, and where did I start?

Networking!

The first thing I did was look on my social media channels and analyzed what I thought was “real” and “honest”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to know who is genuine and authentic – but you’ll be able to catch on real quick. I’ve been ghosted by other bloggers and met some who have been less then who they portray themselves to be. I’m here to tell you they aren’t all like that. Especially the lovely lady you see in these pictures with me.

Heydy Lopez from Raising Jay & Abel was the first person I reached out to when wanting to take the leap into blogging… and guess what?! Over a year and a half later we’ve become extremely close friends. When we first met it was a brief meeting at Subway. I asked her a handful of questions (I took notes… laugh all you want), and we simply kept in touch after that.

Now you may be thinking, well that’s simple. Yes, and no. Fortunately for me, Heydy and I had a lot in common and were able to relate to each other far beyond a surface level friendship. She has always been someone I look up to and someone who genuinely cares about her family, friends, and the community around her; what you see is what you get!

Collaboration Over Competition

Over the past year, it’s definitely taken me some time to realize and know who exactly is in “my tribe”. The blogger world is cut throat and fierce. At the end of the day it’s nice to be able to rely on those with whom you trust and look up too. I have never felt like lesser of a person because my Instagram following is far more minimal then hers. She is the first one to give me advice, critique me, and offer support where I need it.

At the end of the day I am far more grateful for the friendships I have formed through blogging then anything else. Social media has its ups and downs but the connections that can be made are so valuable and some I’d never thought I’d make if I didn’t venture on this journey.

Photography by: Diana of Happy Bees Events & Studios 

{A big thank you to Hunni’s in Langley for providing mine and Heydy’s outfits!}

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Head to my disclaimer page for more information.

Fresh Prep Review: Making Life Easier for This Single Valley Mom

As a mom, yet alone a single, work-from-home mom; meals can be challenging. Especially when you have an almost two year old who is a super picky eater. With there just being the two of us (me not being a great or big eater myself), meal-time is extremely frustrating and painful! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. But when it’s just for myself and a little one, what’s the point?

Here’s how it works.

Jump on over to Freshprep.ca, create an account and you’re ready to place your order. You will first select whether you’d like the meals to provide two or four servings and how many you’d like for the week (two, three or four different meals). They also ask for your dietary preference: gluten free, vegetarian, etc. At this point you can have them select the meals for you if you don’t want to sort through the options, or you can modify the order to your specific choices.

When it comes time to cook, everything was washed, prepped, cut up and labeled with directions to follow and a promise (with minute by minute instructions) on how to get the meal on the table within 30 minutes. And sure enough it did. I was amazing at how fresh everything still was – considering I waited a few days to make the first meal.

It was simple and hassle free!

One of the things I really like about this service is that you don’t have to be home to receive the order and you get a notification where the driver is. Is it creepy for me to note, you are actually able to track his driving status? Once they arrive you receive another notice that they’ve delivered your food. The food comes in cooler bags with ice packs allowing it to be left at your doorstep. I loved the fact they were able to communicate exactly where they were and when they left. I didn’t have to be concerned that I was going to miss them or my food never showed up.

Convenience at its finest!

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed receiving these meals and cooking them! I tried out the chickpea curry as well as the cauliflower detox bowl. My vegetarian choice was not planned, and I was so surprised how much I enjoyed them. It was nice making something I wouldn’t normally, and not having to waste money on ingredients I wouldn’t normally buy or have too much leftover. Plus you can somewhat tack credit for “making” your meals, right?

It was so much fun being able to have Ry help me out in the kitchen, watch me cook – and not be stressed about it, and if he didn’t eat a ton of his dinner, I wasn’t overly concerned. He tried it and for that, I will call it a win!

If you’d like to try them out, you can use this special link (click here) to get 3 FREE plates with your first order!

Have you tried Fresh Prep or any other meal delivery services? What did you think?

Thank you Fresh Prep for providing the delicious meals featured in this post! All opinions expressed are my own.

Central Park Farms – Long Table Dinner

central park farms

Last month I had the pleasure of attending my first Farm-to-Plate Longtable Dinner; which took place at Central Park Farms in Langley. I had no idea what to expect when pulling up their gravel driveway… but my goodness was I ever in aw.

Upon arrival we were greeted and given a spiked lemon-aid to sip on by Kendall Ballantine, who along with her partner, own and run Central Park Farms. Ballantine opened up and shared a little about how she got into farming and why she decided to specialize in non-GMO fed pasture raised animals. “Ultimately it came down to making sure the animals were raised in a positive environment”.

The evening consisted of a tour of the grounds, backyard games, and of course indulging in a family-style meal prepared by Chef Adrian Beaty. The menu consisted of pork and herb biscuits, fresh farm salad, BC Buzz Honey-glazed chicken, and one killer lard-crusted fruit pies with candied bacon ice cream. Yes, I said bacon ice cream!

All in all the evening was fantastic. I was able to reconnect with other bloggers I have met along my professional career and meet others whom I have admired for some time. If every week consisted of evenings like this one – I’d be one happy camper.

Other amazing people and vendors involved that evening:

Table decor and set up done by Valley Wedding
Farm Fresh Salad – True Grit Farms
Wine – Backyard Vineyards
Vodka – Roots and Wings Distillery
Trading Post Brewing
Musical talents – Ryan McAllister
BC Buzz Honey

Photography by the lovely: Olivia Loney – oliviaannphotography

Thank you again to Central Farm Park for hosting this magical event along with all the other amazing vendors! Also, thanks to Summer from Slap Communications for the invite! xx

It’s My Birthday!

Photography done by the lovely: Amber Leigh Photography

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to… wait… me! (Well a belated, since I am posting this late – my birthday was actually on the 25th of May). I seriously need a good kick in the butt to post things like this on-time!

Yes, you’re reading this correctly, I am indeed another year older today (as of 3:14 pm). How old might you ask? Old enough where I am starting to cringe and not wanting to tell people my age. Many of you will think I am being silly for freaking out about turning 26 – but honestly, I am. It’s partly due to the fact I had hoped I would be married or in a serious relationship by now, possibly having accomplished some big career milestone, or just wanting to have done ‘more’.

Then again, as I reflect back on what this last year has brought and taught me I feel a sense of ease knowing that there are some bigger and better things ahead… or so I’d like to think.

So this time last year I wrote a piece about 25 Dating Do’s & Don’ts I learned by 25, however this year I decided to go a different route. Without further ado – here is my list of 26 things I have learned this past year!

1. Coffee is good all hours of the day.
2. Tea isn’t a replacement for coffee.
3. I really need to start drinking more water.
4. 1 a.m. is a great time to get work done.
5. Trying to eat healthier isn’t as hard as it seems.
6. A good set of nails will class you right up.
7. Eyelash extensions are where it’s at.
8. Throw away your clothes from highschool – they’re not cute anymore, even if they still fit.
9. Having purple hair is awesome – but boy does upkeep suck.
10. Just because I am a mom doesn’t mean I can’t put myself first sometimes.
11. Being sober isn’t uncool.
12. I really don’t see the need to drink alcohol anymore… (I am sure any other mom reading this is going to think I am insane for not wanting a glass of wine when the kid goes to bed).
13. Once you have kids you really see who your true friends are.
14. Everyone is going to have an opinion… take it with a grain of salt.
15. The mom world is way clickier then the “popular” girls in highschool.
16. Tinder sucks.
17. Know how to properly budget and write down your expenses!
18. Comparison is healthy – don’t get caught up in it though.
19. Forgive others on your own time.
20. You’re still going to make huge mistakes.
21. Learn when to disconnect.
22. Continue to ask “why”?
23. A booty call isn’t fun anymore…
24. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
25. Parts of life aren’t that exciting anymore (yay for motherhood!)
26. Just be you!

 

Behind the Brand: AMK Design Shop

I first stumbled upon AMK Design Shop when I was perusing around Instagram late one night and her Baby Book Journals immediately caught my attention. Next thing you know I am looking through all her book designs and wishing I could have them all!

What I love about AMK’s keepsake books is how simple and classic they are. I was never fond of the multi-coloured baby books you’d find at Chapters, and nothing seemed to suit my needs and wants. The black and white layout is clean, clear, and extremely gender neutral (having a son – I loved that it wasn’t too girly). Plus her prices are extremely affordable. All the baby books I seemed to be looking at were retailing upwards of $60-$80. No offense, that seems a little absurd to me.

Just recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Alexandra over social media and got to know a little more about her and her business.


Q: Tell me a little bit more about you, your background, etc.

My name is Alex and I live in Chilliwack, BC, Canada with my husband and my two children. We farm our own Dairy and I am a Registered Nurse by trade. I work in the community and really enjoy what I do! I love being at home with my kids and my Etsy shop just sort of started up organically when I realized I wanted to share my books with the world and provide others with an affordable simple modern book to document their child’s lives, just as I want to do with mine. I enjoy doing yoga, hiking, drinking and trying new teas and drawing of course! I have always had a passion for art but had never pursued it until now.

Q: What gave you the idea to create these keepsake books?

After having my first baby I enjoyed taking the time to document her life in an online book I had created when she was born. Two years later when my next baby came, I was looking back through the album I had created for her and realized how many milestones I missed documenting along the way, thank mommy brain for that one. Anyways I decided when my second was born that I wanted to create a book that had everything in it that I ever wanted in a baby book and to be designed with a bohemian vibe. I also wanted to create a book that was fun to document in, simple, quick and easy. Ultimately, I wanted a book that didn’t miss a step and prompted me on what to document, I mean I can only remember so much! And so ta-da! My Baby Book was born. From there I created the Pregnancy Journal and then the other three books to follow. Drawing and designing is relaxing for me so I worked on the books in the evening when the kids went to bed and months later I ended up with these five books!

Q: I love the simple and modern design of your books, did you design all 5 yourself?

Yes, I did design all the books myself, from the layout to the graphics. I had many rough drafts before I came to the final product. I feel like the books reflect our lifestyle and are modern as well. Even though I love the designs, I guess I was a bit nervous when I released the books as an artist, I wasn’t sure what sort of feedback I would get on the designs and graphics I created.

 Q: What made you choose these specific 5 (baby book, pregnancy journal, etc.)?

 Having kids of my own now that are growing up rather quick these days. I created five books that allow me to document their lives from conception until they graduate. The Pregnancy journal is from conception until birth. The Baby Book is from birth until five years old. The First Year Book is up until the first year. Followed by the Birthday Book for all birthdays documented from birth until their 18th. Then finally the School Years Book, which is all your school years from preschool until Grade 12 graduation.

It wasn’t until a little while ago when I was creating albums online for my husband and I of our childhood pictures that I realized all my school pictures had no years attached to many of them, which is why I created the school years book, so you can paste your child’s picture and ask them a few questions every year and see how they change and grow. I created the birthday book because I enjoy planning my children’s birthdays and I wanted a way to document what theme their birthday was, who came, gifts they got and what was on there cake etc.!

Q: What is the message you want to give your customers when they are using your books? Ultimately, I want the families that purchase my books to enjoy documenting in them together, decorating them and then opening them up years down the road and sharing all the memories they had growing up that were documented through writing and pictures in my books. I want the children who receive these books down the road to cherish them and the memories that were made over the years and documented in a place they can always look back at and makes them feel at home.

If you’re interested to know more about this Fraser Valley mom and her business, find her on social media or visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/amkdesignsshop

 

Finding Clarity & Quality

 Back in mid-February I was on Instagram and looking at some of my followers stories when I stumbled upon the Vancouverite Blog’s story. She was mentioning something about a local company: Clarity Quality Goods – that were making bath bombs and donating partial proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Associate.

Seeing this immediately triggered my interest on how I could support an initiative that had to do with mental health. I was fortunate enough to get in-touch with one of the founders: Cassie Micona, who gave me a bit more information and background behind CQG’s.

“We are a group of 6 students all in our practicum, completing our Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Marketing Management at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Our practicum includes an 8-week sales competition where groups battle to sell the most products and have the strongest margins.” Currently the sales period runs from January 25 to March 22nd. The products are created in Richmond, BC in small batches to ensure precise measurements and craftsmanship.

Cassie and her fellow colleagues and business partners decided to donate partial proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association because all group members have been effected by mental health in some way shape or forum. Thus igniting a passion in creating a product that can not only help balance your mental health, but also raise awareness and get people talking about it.

They are currently producing twice a week at large quantities in order to keep up with demands. By doing so they have learned from experience that they were wanting to produce a high-quality product at the lowest cost possible.

Their ingredients have been sourced from local suppliers and are of the highest quality, including therapy-grade do-Terra Essential Oils. The products are simple and only contain ingredients that are necessary (they do not contain sodium laureate sulfate which is commonly found in many cosmetic and personal hygiene products as a foaming agent.)

The overall mission and purpose for this dynamic 6 was to create a product that helps balance stress. Understanding that life gets busy, hectic and stressful and sometimes you need to take a moment to yourself.

I was extremely grateful Cassie dropped off a bath bomb for me to try (Uplift) which is infused with Wild Orange Essential Oil. This specific oil contains anti antioxidants, making it perfect to re-energize and uplift the mind and body while also purifying the air – which indeed it did. The fresh, sweet aroma will definitely lift your mood and help you forget about the stresses of the day while you enjoy your moment of clarity (or until your toddler comes barging into the bathroom).

Cassie: “I think as students and young adults everyone goes through a time of darkness and helplessness. We wanted to create a product that not only helps with relaxation, but something that shines a light on mental health and gets people talking. As someone who is diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, there is nothing more comforting to me than to be surrounded by people who understand, without judgement, what I am going through.

Taylor: “I believe that no matter who you are, or what you have experienced in life, there are times that take a toll on your mental health and well being. At the age of 12, I had already experienced more trauma than a child should, and I had to learn early on that taking time for myself would be one of the most important things I do to make sure I stay mentally healthy, despite what goes on day to day.

Our products allow for me to take a break, just relax and rest and recharge my mind and body, and I believe they will do that for you too. The stigma surrounding mental health needs to end – reach out, talk to someone. It gets better. I promise.”

*There is less then a week left to place orders until the contest is closed.*

If you’re interested in purchasing a product, want to know how you can become involved or have questions please feel free to reach out.

Website: https://www.clarityqualitygoods.com/
Instagram: @clarityqualitygoods

Photo Credit: Clarity Quality Goods (Devon Seidel)