learning

Make Your 2018 Amazing with These Great Reads

Are you one of those people who sets New Year Resolutions? Or are you someone who knows yourself well enough to avoid making such a preposterous 365 day promise? Maybe you prefer bite-size goals so you set 30 day goals or three month goals. I have been both but, this year, I’m saying to hell with it. No New Year Resolutions for me. Bye, Felicia! This year is going to be about daily intentions and habits that will lead to a better year and, of course, a better life.

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If there’s one thing I learned in 2017 it was to basically stop everything I had been doing: stop seeking, stop dieting, stop punishing myself, stop the negative self-talk and stop planning for things beyond my control. This was not an easy task for a stubborn control freak like me. When I thought I had stopped those things, I stopped myself again and stopped some more.

Because of those 2017 lessons, this new year is about being present. Mindful. Grateful. Peaceful. And while I have a few small goals in mind, like paying down more of my student loan, I am not committing to anything that will stress me out. All of my intentions revolve around cultivating peace and presence. My 2018 is about daily mindfulness and habits that will ultimately lead to a better life. For instance, a daily gratitude practice and eating healthy are important to me. But I'm keeping it relaxed so it doesn't become a chore or a bombardment to my days.

Similarly, the undesirable self-care acts are on my radar as well. Saving money and budgeting with intention and mindfulness aren’t fun but will result in a better future for our family. 

My friends reading this are probably floored. I am usually the girl with 14 resolutions that have failed by April. I’m starting one workout while thinking about the next. I’m weighing what diet will be most effective for losing 20lbs. I'm also the one with the stack of bedside books on the self-help/personal development; the one constantly trying to change, grow and be better than I was the day before. I always feel crappy so I am the friend who’s trying on a new diet as often as I buy shampoo. I’ve tried paleo and keto and Whole30 and gluten-free AND dairy-free. I still feel crappy, despite all the restrictions, so I’m done! No more dieting!

This year is about tuning in and listening to my body. After my recurrent miscarriages (four in three years) I disconnected from my body. I subconsciously shut off that link because of the grief, guilt, shame, resentment and anger. Now, I am rebuilding that relationship by getting quiet with myself, listening inwardly and fulfilling my needs. If I crave chocolate, I’ll have a piece and enjoy - nay! - savour every single nibble. Lately, my body wants peanuts. A few months ago it was steamed broccoli. If we stop dieting and just listen, I truly believe our bodies will tell us what it needs and very rarely will it say a Big Mac with supersized fries and a fountain Coke. But, if it does occasionally, go for it with zero regrets! Move your body because it’s a beautiful vessel capable of running, jumping and floating. I am called to swimming and yoga lately and it feels so much better to exercise because I like to than to do a cardio workout because it’s a part of my scheduled fitness program.

I’m done body shaming and judging my body in the mirror. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate and love my body. I no longer feel shame for what it cannot do or what it looks like. I am grateful for my perfect working limbs and my curves, muscle, cellulite! All of it! Most of all, I am loving the woman who stares back at me. I’ve worked hard through reading, self-reflection, journalling, counselling, learning and so much more to become the person I am falling in love with today. I see a woman who is kind, thoughtful, funny and resilient. She’s also stubborn, short-tempered and a little self-righteous at times. She loves yoga and running and dislikes broken promises and flaky people. She is finally confident in her skin now. 

I need not seek externally for everything I was seeking was waiting deep within. It’s within you too.

I’ve read so many incredible books that have helped lead me to this point. Fall and winter 2017 were spent reading books that actually intrigued me and interested me rather than reading to change something about myself. Oddly enough (or, perhaps, not oddly if you are a Universe energy-loving type like myself), the few books I picked have actually been life changing.

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I feel so liberated and amazing, gliding into 2018 with small pieces of inner peace, an abundance of gratitude and a mantra to be present and mindful. I feel lighter now that I’m not weighed down by unobtainable goals, self-loathing and a diet. I feel freer not being attached to a fitness regime. I feel happy not having any New Year Resolutions.

I see now that the present moment is all that matters. How I want to be tomorrow is determined by what I do today, not what I did when I was 16 or what my mom said when I was 7.

I never thought I’d get to this point and I hope some of you want to know how you can get to this point, too. Maybe you hate your body or you have an ego the size of the moon. Maybe you have anxiety over the future that paralyses you from good decision-making skills. Perhaps you have a relationship with food that needs examining. Who knows?! But, if you’re still here reading this, I want to give you a few books that have literally CHANGED MY LIFE. If you like to read, read these. If you need a change of mindset, read these. If you want awesomely amazing things to happen each day, read these. If you want to love your body and release the death grip on food, well, you get it, read these:

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1.       Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Weathly, Fabulously Healthy and Bursting With Love by Melissa Ambrosini

We all have that inner voice, that inner bitch. You know the one; the one who tells you are fat, ugly and stupid. The one that tells you you’re not good enough for the promotion or the one who tells you to stay home because nobody likes you. We all have it. Some of us are just better at silencing it than others. In Mastering Your Mean Girl, Ambrosini gives you tangible tools to overcome your Ego/Mean Girl and change the way you think. It’s light, funny, loving and gives you simple tools to help you squash the negative self-talk for good!  For instance, she asks you to make a gratitude list. That’s an instant connection to happiness. How can you be upset or angry when you’re thinking of your kitten, your warm bed, your partner’s kisses or your kid’s giggles? She asks you to write a letter to yourself dated one year from now. They’re simple tasks with big results and stunning clarity.

 

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2.       The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life by Melissa Wells

Every woman who has ever thought she was fat, been on diets, counted calories, or loathed what she saw in the mirror NEEDS to read this book. Mel Wells teaches you to tune into your body, to really listen and to appreciate it for what it is at this exact moment. She shares her own personal story and struggles with an eating disorder and how she’s overcome it. Using testimonies and “fitspiration”, you’ll fall in love with your body a million times over and kick diets to the curb once and for all! Using logic and love, she teaches you how to change your thoughts and stop judging yourself. She helps you heal your body image. If you love your body you will ultimately want to treat it right, right? So instead of restricting calories and denying yourself delicious meals, focus on what makes your body feel good and then do more of that!

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3.       Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout

Just thinking about this book gives me goosebumps. Since reading this book in early November my life has actually changed. Or rather, my perception has changed so, therefore, my life has changed. Grout shows you how incredible it is to be a living, thinking, miraculous human and how each day is a perfect day to be overwhelmingly grateful to be alive. She gives you tools (which she calls Party Games) to find the gratitude in EVERYTHING. She gives thanks for everything and everyone. Since I started doing the same, I’ve seen an increase in my skin care company, requests to do workshops, more visitors to my blog, an appreciation for everything, and a bubble of happiness that sits in the centre of my chest, waiting to bubble over and out, omitting love and laughter everywhere. Sounds cheesy, I know, but wow, her words are incredibly powerful and waking up to the divine existence in ourselves is even more powerful. She encourages you to wake up every morning and, before even getting out of bed, proclaim something awesomely amazing is going to happen that day. It’s a beautiful habit to adopt. It's actually one that my best friend and I are doing. We text each other every morning and share three things we're grateful for. It sets a good tone and vibration to start our days. An attitude of gratitude, for the good and the bad, is truly magical!

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4.       Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani

This is a book that will blow your mind. Moorjani, a woman riddled with cancer, falls into a coma and has an incredible near-death experience that actually heals the cancer that is killing her. Not only is her story a medical miracle and completely unbelievable, yet awe-inspring, but the wisdom and love she finds on the other side of the veil is poetic, romantic and beautiful. One thought she shares that sticks with me is: what if Heaven is Earth? We all strive for a Heaven above but, up there, you can’t taste chocolate or feel a hug. Maybe Heaven is here and we’re meant to be expressions of heavenly love. Isn’t that wonderful? Her words also give me great comfort in dying. I can honestly say (being a healthy woman so hey, this could easily change in the face of death) that I’m not afraid to die. She actually brought me peace with this inevitable fact. Death may not be as bad as I thought it was. It’s not religious but it’s deeply spiritual and life-affirming. Love, she says, is the answer. Always.

I hope you enjoy these incredible books and they make impactful impressions upon you like they did for me! Please let me know if you've read any of the above OR if you have any further recommendations to add! Which magical books are on your nightstand this January?

 

 

Vendor Spotlight: Kassidy Marschal from Paint Nite Saskatoon

Tell us about your business?

While we don’t like to use the word “class” due to its stuffy connotation, the easiest way most people describe our business is a “paint class in a bar!” Our main goal is for our guests to relax and have a ton of FUN: they socialize with friends and loved ones, they indulge in a drink or two, they might dance a little and sing along with our party playlist, and finally, they get a little creative! We sell all our tickets on our website (PaintNite.com) in advance, so our guests can choose which painting we’ll take them through step by step, which local venue they would like to attend, and of course, the date and time that works best for them!

We currently hold more than 15 public events each week in Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert and Lloydminster, as well as various charity fundraisers and private parties around north-central Saskatchewan each week.

How did you get started?

I was actually on maternity leave in 2015 when my cousin and aunt went to a Paint Nite in Calgary. I saw their paintings and was floored by how different yet beautiful they both were! And they did this in a BAR of all places? Talk about a perfect combination for a relaxing evening: alcohol and paint!

I’ve always had a passion for creating art, and I like to think I have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. So I immediately inquired about bringing the company to Saskatchewan; I was sure it would be hit here! What I liked most about the business concept was that – contrary to popular belief – Paint Nite is not a franchise. Their licensing model offers more freedom to run the business as I choose, and avoid outrageous franchising fees. Basically, our license allows us to use the respectable Paint Nite brand, sell tickets through a secure website, and have access to thousands of beautiful copyrighted paintings. Meanwhile, we get to enjoy being a “local” company: local artists partnering with local venues, bringing the joy of Drinking Creatively to Saskatchewan!

We started with three events in January of 2016, and life kind of went nuts from there! It’s been an amazing journey so far.

What inspires you?

My amazing team of artists inspire me every day. The energy they bring to each event and their passion for art is contagious. They truly make days brighter and bring happiness to everyone around them, keeping our guests coming back again and again. I can’t imagine where we’d be without each of them!

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

I don’t think there’s any one particular way to be a Modern Woman; to me, the term encourages inclusivity and diversity. Anyone who feels empowered in their femininity, and confident to be whomever she wants to be – whatever that may look like. I love that in this day and age there’s a conversation about supporting one another, despite our differences. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a stiletto-ed CEO, or striving to find a balance between all the different roles a woman can have in her life, I like to think there’s a sense of comraderie in being female. We’re all just trying our best!

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Figure out what your strengths and your weaknesses are. Literally make a list! Do what you’re best at, and either improve your skills where they’re lacking or delegate out the tasks you’re not so great at. You can always hire an accountant if you’re a horrible bookkeeper, take a social media workshop if you find online advertising intimidating, or read a book to become a better boss. You’re likely not Wonder Woman, and that’s okay!

Finally, don’t let your drive and your passion waiver in the face of self-doubt. I read an interview with Emma Watson a long time ago, where she spoke about feeling like a fraud sometimes; like she had somehow tricked people into she was talented and had falsely fallen upon success. Surely if Em Wats can fall victim to this sensation occasionally, we all can. But it’s not true! No one is more passionate about your business than you, and you are entirely capable of being successful.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

You can’t do it all, Girl. Hire help and delegate sooner, rather than later. And put that baby in daycare, already. (Shockingly, trying to work 60 hour weeks from home with a toddler doesn’t mix well.) She’ll even enjoy going, I promise. She’ll still love you the most.

What is in the future for Paint Nite in Saskatoon?

We’re always booking fresh paintings, partnering with great venues, and hiring new talent! We vow to keep the party going and the creativity flowing.

A big goal for this year is to do as many fundraisers as we possibly can; we want to support our local community as much as possible. Our dream is to hit the six figures mark. How amazing would it be if we raised over $100,000 for local charities?!

What would we find you doing in your free time?

Oh gosh, this is where you discover how truly boring I am! (I’ve actually convinced myself that working in front of the TV constitutes as R&R some days.) But spending time with my hubby and little girl definitely top the list. We’re also busy preparing for Baby 2, which is currently consuming a lot of time and thought! I recently joined a yoga class. I like decorating (and redecorating) my house. I enjoy photography. Obscure Netflix dramas and documentaries are my fave. If I weren’t pregnant, I’d like to be being skiing and travelling lots right now. Am I super basic? …Probably.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business (personal or celebrity)?

What kind of Saskatchewan girl would I be if I didn’t give a shout-out to Rachel Mielke! She turned her hobby of making jewelry into a hugely successful company: Hillberg & Berk. I’m a bit of a marketing geek, so I admire the way she was able to create such a luxurious brand from homemade jewelry. Branding is everything!

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?

Absolutely! While starting a business can be extremely rewarding, it can also be overwhelming, isolating, and downright scary. Having someone to talk to who has experienced the same ups and downs that you’re going through is invaluable.

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

I do, and I feel like this community is strengthening all the time. We have to thank organizations such as the Modern Woman Show for that; it’s so important to celebrate and support our local female-driven businesses! I think the majority of our community understands that celebrating another’s success doesn’t minimize your own.

You can hang out with Kassidy on Saturday April 22nd & get creative with TWO OPTIONS of Paint Nite classes (2pm & 7pm). Enjoy the Modern Woman Show, a cocktail or two, take in the shopping, tutorials,  and bring home a painting!

 

Click Here to join the Saturday April 22nd Class at 2:00 p.m.

Click Here to join the Saturday April 22nd Class at 7:00 p.m.

*classes include your admission into the Modern Woman Show & Expo

 

You CAN sit with us.

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Uh. That sinking feeling. A bit of anxiety. Knots in your stomach. The feeling of a little (sometimes a lot of) DEFLATION. And the innate desire to "squash them". 

What is it that I'm referring to? A new store has opened. A new product has launched. A direct competition. Your competition. Dang it. What does this mean for you? What will you need to change or improve to win the consumer's business. How do you keep your edge???? 

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Holy H E double hockey sticks. Competition is frightening but it is truly necessary and I want to share with you why -

"Competition is a good thing, It forces us to do our best.

-Nancy Pearcey

Change the way you think about your competition. The reason why you're in business is because you are offering a product or service that people want.  I call these people your tribe. Your tribe isn't just looking at the necklace you're selling but probably has similar values to your company. Maybe your tribe is environmentally conscious and the necklaces you make out of recycled materials hits them in the sweet spot. It is no longer just about a necklace. Boom you have built a relationship. Your relationship with your tribe is more important than anything else. Your competition most likely has their own values and it's not that often that they lineup exactly

I have a few examples of this in my world of business. I wear a lot of hats - from the world of managing cosmetic laser clinics to tradeshow producer to hotel owner. They are very different but one thing remains the same - I know my tribes and I value my relationships with clientele in each of them. I provide the best service I can in each industry and never trade my reputation for money

So what happens when your competition starts "biting your shit"? Imitation is flattery. It also pushes you to continue to be innovative. This is why you're an entrepreneur!! You are most likely a go-getter. A stagnant business is a closed business. Find your niche. Grow it like only you can. Recently I received a colorful review from a competitor. It was broadcast for all to see that they felt I had "copied" their business model. The truth was that I might sell a similar service but my values, integrity, ability to be innovative is what sets me apart. Also....to anyone who thinks writing poor reviews on your competitions social media site is valuable you should just stop reading this and basically take a hike. 

Understand that some competition isn't actually competition at all. You may be able to form some pretty sweet partnerships. A key example of this is my relationship with Michelle Strawford from Regina's What Women Want Tradeshow. She produces a successful tradeshow for women, she is well respected (this chick has INTEGRITY), and is always innovative. When asked by businesses what other shows I think they should be apart of I will always suggest hers because I value our relationship more than money. We have created a partnership through this and we are actually vendors in each others show's. Look for those opportunities. 

One upping is a waste of your time. March to the beat of your own drum. It is good to know what your competition is doing but you don't have to obsess over it. We get phone calls at our clinics inquiring all the time about our pricing, asking questions that only very very knowledgeable (within our field) people would ask and with the power of call display shows that they are coming from the phones of our competitors. Again FLATTERY.... but stop yourself from feeling like you have to play a game. Price wars are also a race to the bottom not the top. You may lose a few customers but in the long run you gain the business by educating your tribe. Creating the trust. Building the relationship.

Now, when you see another coffee shop open down the street - don't devise ways to burn it down. Grab a few slices of your grandma's famous lemon cake (don't give them the recipe but maybe see if you can become their supplier) and welcome them to the block. 

Chantal 

For those of you that want to join our Modern Woman "Tribe" we would love to have you! Our tradeshow takes place April 22nd & 23rd at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. We focus on promoting women in business throughout the year, we offer mentor-ship opportunities with experienced #GIRLBOSSES, complimentary social media reputation seminars, and a plethora of add-ons to capture the essence of your business and make you stand out to your target audience. Click Here to learn more about being a vendor and HERE to apply for Our Modern Hustle Mentorship Opportunity. See you all very soon ;)