Welcoming 2023

Hello and happy new year! I hope everyone had a joyful, fun and relaxing holiday – I sure did! I spent lots of quality time with my parents, enjoyed Christmas dinner with my extended family for the first time since the pandemic, attended a beautiful wedding, binged The First Lady with Tania (highly recommend!), went for AYCE sushi, rang in New Year’s Eve with board games, pizza and good friends; and spent New Year’s Day playing Scrabble and eating Chinese takeout with my family. (If you notice food seems to be a theme in the aforementioned activities, you’re absolutely right… not just my imagination that my pants are feeling a little snug today!) As much as I enjoy the excesses of the holidays and it’s always a bit disappointing to leave the festivities behind, I’m a creature of habit and I do enjoy getting back into my routine. So this week it’s back to work, to-do lists, early bedtimes, morning walks and clean eating. And I have to say, after a week of no structure, late nights and cookies for breakfast, it feels good to get back to ‘normal’!

This is the time when many people reflect on the past year and make resolutions and plans for the year ahead, and I am no exception. Every year between Christmas and New Year’s, I have a little ritual. I make a cup of tea, copy important dates into next year’s agenda – yes, in the age of iCal, I still have a paper agenda – and think about what I want the coming year to look like. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, per se – rather, I set goals that are important to me. But before I even think of the coming year, I always make a point of looking back over the past year and reflecting on everything I accomplished over the last twelve months. We live in a society where everyone is always trying to better themselves, set new goals, strive for more – and all that’s great, but what good is it if you don’t take a second to pat yourself on the back for all the things you have done? I started this annual ritual a few years ago, and I highly recommend taking a few minutes and trying it for yourself – you’ll probably realize you’ve accomplished far more than you realized! Here are some of my highlights from 2022…

I completed my program at Fanshawe College. Two years ago, I decided to go back to school to earn my graduate certificate in Marketing Management. At the time, I was looking for a new job in marketing, and was sending out lots of applications without hearing back. I realized that a lot of job postings for marketing roles were asking for industry-related education, which I didn’t have. I have my BA from the University of Toronto, but didn’t have any marketing-related credentials. So I decided to go back to school part-time through Fanshawe’s Marketing Management Program (which is offered both full-time and part-time, online or in person.) Though I wasn’t even halfway through the program when I started applying for jobs again, updating my resume to reflect the fact that I was in school made a huge difference. I started hearing back from about 1 in 3 applications I sent out, where before it may have been only 1 in 10 or even 20. Not only did my education help me land my current role (Manager of Marketing & Partnerships for HGTV’s Scott McGillivray) it also taught me so many valuable, practical job skills that I use both in and outside of the office, from SEO to social media marketing to customer relationship management. I now have hands-on experience with essential platforms like Salesforce, Google Analytics and WordPress. In fact, the WordPress course I took through Fanshawe was a huge help when I started this blog, because I already knew the basics of setting up and managing a WordPress site. I won’t lie to you and pretend that going back to school while working full-time was easy because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Managing three courses at a time, on top of a full-time job, made me want to tear my hair out some days. But I will say that it is 100% worth it! Juggling school and work requires a lot of self-discipline and some serious time management skills. There were a lot of late nights, nights when I’d get home from an exhausting day at the office and all I wanted to do was zone out and watch TV but would have to write a paper instead, weekends where I had to say ‘no’ to fun plans because I had to study. There were definitely more than a few times when I wanted to give up, but I’m so glad I stuck it out! And I’m equally proud of Tania, who just completed her MBA, which she also did online while working full-time. We don’t have our physical diplomas yet, but you’d better believe we’ll be cracking open some bubbly and celebrating once they arrive!

Tania and I moved into a beautiful home in Burlington. The house was built in the 1970s and needed a lot of work, so it underwent a full renovation: new kitchen, bathrooms, floors, basement. We moved in July and are almost done with renovations – the last thing to finish is the basement (we just ordered the floors and they’ll be in soon) and then we’ll be switching out the tiles in our main bathroom. After that, all that’s left to do is furnish and decorate (I say “all that’s left” like it’s nothing but it’s actually a huge job!) We’ve been gradually furnishing and decorating as we go along, but we’re both very design-minded and picky about what we like, and sometimes it can be so hard to find a piece that ticks all the boxes: attractive, functional/comfortable, and affordable. The item that’s been the hardest to find is a sofa. We ordered the perfect one from Stoney Creek Furniture, only to get a call two weeks later telling us that the model had been discontinued and that our sofa (which would have been made to order) would be cancelled and refunded, so we are still looking. That said, I’m so impressed with the progress we’ve made so far, and the house truly feels like a home. I can’t wait to share some before and after photos this year once things start getting truly finished!

I ran my first 5K. This was something I wanted to do for so long, and I’m so glad I got to accomplish it this year! Despite hurting my foot a month before the race which prevented me from training, I was still able to just beat my 30-minute goal and finish in 29 minutes, 23 seconds. More importantly, the 5K was special to me because I got to do it with my dad! It was a great moment to share with him and one I’ll always look back on fondly.

I started this blog. The story of how I started it is a funny one, because unlike most things I do in life (which I plan out methodically and well in advance), starting the blog was a completely spontaneous decision. I’d been focused on creating content on Instagram for the past couple of years, and this year I started growing increasingly frustrated with the shift to Reels, decreased growth and reach, and a constantly evolving algorithm that’s nearly impossible to keep up with. I’ve heard so many Instagram users complain about the same issues, so at least I’m not alone! I still enjoy Instagram as a creative outlet, but the app experience is changing for a lot of users, and I got frustrated working hard on posts that would disappear into an algorithm that only prioritizes ads and Reels. One morning I was out for a walk, thinking about how annoyed I was that a recent post had barely been seen by any of my followers, and I realized I needed to diversify platforms so that I wasn’t just at the mercy of Instagram’s algorithm. I thought… why not start a blog? I’d thought about blogging in passing before, but always decided I didn’t have the time or the resources to devote to it. But that morning, I thought, what do I have to lose? And that same night, I bought this domain and started designing my site. I am far from a web expert, and there’s still a lot of things on this site that I want to fix or improve, but for now it serves its purpose… and most importantly, it exists! One of my favourite mantras is “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” If you’re waiting to start something until the timing is just right or until you can make it perfect, here’s the harsh truth (that I’ve learned firsthand): things will never be perfect, the timing will never be right, and you’ll never do it. So just do it now! “Good enough” isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than nothing.

Despite Instagram’s challenges, I was thrilled to be able to work with some amazing brands on social media collaborations this year! I got to collaborate with Dollywood, Guess Where Trips, the Hilton Niagara Falls, the St. Jacobs Triangle House, Corso Niagara, El Jefe, Beavertails, Oscar Wylee, Kind Laundry, Blink Tea, Gaia Fine Foods and Santa’Ville – and all were so much fun to work on. If you’re a brand and would like to work together, please send me an email – I’d love to discuss how we can collaborate on some fun and engaging social media and/or blog content!

I travelled outside Ontario for the first time since the pandemic. While I love travelling within our beautiful province (hey, I dedicated a whole blog to it!) the truth is that after more than two years, I was really missing the opportunity to explore places a little further away. In spring, Tania and I headed south to Miami and Palm Beach for some fun and sun. Neither of us had been before, and we got to check off some pretty amazing bucket list items: dining at the Versace Mansion, seeing alligators up close in the Everglades, window shopping on Worth Avenue, and eating Cuban sandwiches and tres leches cake at the world-famous Versailles Restaurant.

Then in the fall, we took a road trip to Tennessee. Experiencing the Great Smoky Mountains in the autumn was indescribably beautiful, and it’s a trip I will never forget. Other highlights of the trip include visiting Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, spending the day at Dollywood, tasting moonshine in Gatlinburg, seeing a black bear at Anakeesta, eating fried chicken and biscuits at the Loveless CafĂ©, and sharing my love of downtown Nashville with Tania for the first time. (Click here to read all of my Tennessee posts.)

Looking back on 2022, I feel so grateful for everything I was able to accomplish and experience this year. And now, it’s time to set some goals for next year! Here are just some of the things I’d like to accomplish in 2023:

  • Finish renovating, furnishing and decorating our house. A work in progress!
  • Create a beautiful garden. We were so focused on the interior of the house this year that we did absolutely nothing outside – I can’t wait to start planting in the spring!
  • Read 12 books. In the past I’ve always tried to read one book per month, but I got so busy last year with work and school that I don’t think I even read one. I’m currently reading Fly Girl, a memoir by a former flight attendant, and it’s so interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by the golden age of air travel.
  • Grow my blog readership and Instagram following. On that note… please consider subscribing to my blog (scroll down to the footer to do so) and/or following me on Instagram if you don’t already. (Shameless self-promotion!)
  • Take an international trip. Tania and I are looking into going to Italy in the spring – neither of us have ever been and it’s a big “bucket list” trip for us both.
  • Visit New Orleans with two of my girlfriends. We’d talked about the idea before, but this may finally be the year we get to do it! I haven’t been on a girlfriends trip since my best friend and I went to Vegas 6 years ago, so it’s long overdue.
  • Spend more time with friends. It’s tough when everyone is so busy, but it’s so important to make the time to actually see people in person – sorry, but a Zoom call just isn’t the same! I recently reached out to three friends and now we’ve set up dinner and brunch dates for January, which I’m so looking forward to.
  • Adopt a dog. Tania and I have been talking about this for a long time, and now that we have a house with a backyard, the timing is finally right. We’d need to wait until the basement is finished (it’s not dog-safe right now!) but our plan is to start looking at local rescues in the spring.
  • Go to church. I was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican faith and grew up going to church, but I haven’t been in years. My relationship with God has changed and evolved over the years, but in the past couple of years, I’ve become more attuned to my faith. The church I belonged to was All Saints Kingsway in Etobicoke, which was (and I’m sure still is!) a wonderful community, but now that I live in Burlington, I’d like to find something closer to home. There are a few Anglican churches near me that I would be curious to visit. I’m not sure if regular churchgoing is something that’s right for me, or if I’m more of a spiritual person than an organized religion person. Either way, I have some exploring to do, and so this year I’m making it my goal to visit at least a couple of churches and see how they feel to me.

And there we have it! I have to say I have high hopes for 2023 – I truly feel that it’s going to be an amazing year, and I wish the best for all of you as you embark on this new chapter. Do you have any goals or resolutions for the new year?

2 responses to “Welcoming 2023”

  1. What a busy year! Well done on all those achievements. I look forward to seeing your interesting blog develop further in 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kevin! Happy new year to you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: