Saturday Morning Inspiration

Happy sunny, Saturday friends! That's if you're in Ontario I guess but if you're like me, you are SO freakin' happy it is sunny and warm. This delayed Spring has been so hard to deal with but I think it is safe to say that Spring may finally be here to stay.

Before I spend the rest of the day outside enjoying this fresh air, I had some creative juice to get out this morning. So to my computer I went to write...

I don't know about you, but I always need to be in a creative mood to write. We all need something to stimulate us. And while I've been bad here on the ol' blog of only blogging when that creative spirit is in full force, I'm continually reminded of this message:

Writing is like a muscle, you must work at it to get stronger.

One thing I've tried to do in the last little while is create habits around fostering creativity especially around my writing deadlines. For anyone who designs, wordsmiths, brainstorms or works in the creative/marketing/communications field, we all know that being in a creative mood helps to make the words and ideas flow easier. Or a glass of wine or rye always helps too ;)

And of course when deadlines are impending, that is when creativity usually decides to take a hike.

That's when habits come in to handy.

One of these habits I've been trying lately is creating 'mood boards' to help me visually get into the creative spirit. Sourcing photos from fellow bloggers, things I find online or social and capturing my own photos has certainly helped me at referring back to these mood boards whenever I'm in a rut and need inspiration. You could also call these vision boards. Here is an example below of the cottage vision board I created when I knew I'd be tasked with the interior design for our little cotty :)

I had mentioned this idea of mood boards/vision boards to a colleague a while ago and she loved this idea and asked that I share an example here on the blog. So voila, here is a spring mood board above I created just this week that may help inspire you as well, like it has for me this morning.

Let's be serious though, just waking up to this sun and warmer temps this morning was enough inspiration itself. Thank you Spring for making your very late entrance to the party, regardless, we are so happy to see you!

{tulips/robins eggs/split leaf philodendron/coffee/wisdom begins in wonder}

Summer Searching

I've been struggling with words lately. How to find the right ones - how to string words together to create a well-articulated thought. Words just aren't flowing as easily as they typically do. I'm not sure if its because I'm 'baby drunk' (drunk on the baby, not alcohol), sleep deprived, stepping outside of my comfort zone or what. It could also be that wordsmithing, what I did in my 'day job,' has taken a back seat to motherhood as of late.

I start the day with such intention to write, only to be met with mid-day fatigue (or a hungry baby). This leads to another day gone by, resulting in me lying awake at night with what feels like hundreds of ideas being thrown around by my brain. To the point, I've put a notepad beside my bed to write everything down, afraid that it can't wait until the morning to document (or in case I don't remember).

I'm sure you've been there with me.

Blog posts unpublished; tweets sitting in draft form; instagram posts deleted because you didn't think the photo was 'good enough' for its angle or lighting and you couldn't put your own unique words/thoughts to the picture.

Writing is a lot like a muscle. To get stronger or in the case of writing, better at it, you need to work at it and eventually you'll see results. My writing will never be perfect but doing more of it will help to get better at it.

So I'm going on that basis for my writing this summer - its better to put thoughts out there as they are, imperfect with errors, rather than have the ideas sitting in the draft folder. I'll keep going with my #Blog452 commitment - blogging every week, for 52 weeks of the year.

I love that summer as a season allows us to do this - relax and be easier on ourselves. Summer is a time for welcomed self-reflection for our society - we are just too damn busy the rest of the year.

Summer is the only time of year (besides the two weeks at Christmas) where we as a society see it as 'acceptable' to unplug. We accept that people are away on holidays and relaxing during the summer months. It is almost a societal norm that everyone takes it easier on each other during the summer.

The summer also allows us time to rest our brains, self-reflect and take stock of what we love about our lives and also, what are the irritants/things we want to change, or wish we could change. Its probably because we have the time to finally think and self-reflect while we feel at peace and ease... or its the beer or wine that helps to stimulate our thoughts and relax :) I think its why so many of us come back in September recharged with motivation to want to tackle our goals.

I'm doing so much self-reflection recently thanks to summer and of course, because of Blake. Even before May, I had made a commitment in 2017 to set goals, create a routine and adjust/adapt along the way to work towards accomplishing these goals.

I think summertime reflection is necessary to a healthy lifestyle, both professionally and personally. Self-awareness is the key to happiness. Its healthy to take stock of what we're good at; what we could be better at; what we want more of; and what we could get rid of. This type of reflection allows us to enjoy more of what we love and (finally) take action on the things we want to change. This is something I've gotten a lot better at this year since becoming a mom, as I blogged about earlier - we should "Strive for progress, not perfection.'

I really love the liberating and 'free' feeling of summer. There is no better feeling than sitting on a dock at dusk, looking out at the calm waters and mentally taking stock of everything I love about life and what I want to change/do more of.

Summer searching fuels an incredible sensation to want to kick butt. I'll be so ready for fall when summer decides to be over. Until then, lets take advantage of the warm, sunny summer weather as long as it lasts.

Where is the Pause Button At?

Say it with me... where is 2016 going?! Can we just push the pause button so we can slow this year down? And then on the other hand, I think of all the things I've did so far in 2016 and I'm not surprised we're already into August.

2016 has been an incredible year of travelling and 'firsts' for me including trips and experiences enjoyed in Mont Tremblant, Quebec; Banff, Alberta; wine tours to NOTL and discovering new little towns across Ontario like Jordan. And there are so many more towns and adventures I want to see and do before the summer begins to wind down.

My husband and I typically get a chance to visit my in-laws over the holidays back home in Manitoba but this summer, we were able to head to the prairies to take in the beauty of the western skies and canola/sunflower fields during the beautiful summer months.

Another first I got to experience with my in-laws was visiting their cottage on Lake-of-the-Woods near Kenora, Ontario. The views were spectacular.. as fellow blogger and friend Jen commented on my social media accounts when I posted the top photo, it looks like a photo from the group of even artists. Experiencing the beauty of the wilderness in the heat of the summer was so refreshing.

One of the best parts about my recent trip to Manitoba and cottaging in northern Ontario, besides seeing family and friends of course, was enjoying Lake-of-the-Woods and the outdoors without internet connection. I'll blog about this in a follow up post to elaborate more but the thrill of not having to answer emails and social media accounts was a healthy blessing in disguise for a society of people that now depend on these devices and mediums to keep us stimulated throughout the day.

Because of that, I was able to fish, canoe, finish the summer-fiction best seller 'The Nest' in two days, enjoy Ontario craft beer at the local famous brewhouse, Lake of the Woods Brewing Company, hike to Rushing River provincial park, and see the Northern Lights for the first time in my life! The pictures don't do these moments justice.

Hope you all are enjoying this beautiful summer... I think I can smell fall in the air already!

 Manitoba 2016

Summer Goals: Light on the Extras, Heavy on the Recharge

Summer Goals

Hope you've been enjoying your summer as much as I have been! I've been taking advantage of all the sun this year (even though I would gladly welcome rain no problem!). I've been trying to do as much stuff outdoors as possible which the photo above perfectly depicts! Andrew and I recently took a quick canoe trip down the Speed River in Guelph after visiting The Boathouse for icecream of course. Most summer nights, you can find me bike-riding around Guelph or taking walks to try and do more gym-type activities outside to take advantage of the long nights and warm air. So amazing for the mind and body.

Wishing For More Time in the Outdoors 

Access to the outdoors is definitely something I miss about not living in the country. The quick access to nature and the outdoors and the privacy that the country offers is something I often wish I could get back. I always appreciate heading home to the family farm that much more in the summer time because the views are that much more spectacular and lush and green; the smells are the best mixture of fresh cut hay on the farm, BBQ-ing and cow manure (sorry, too much?); and with our family's cottage being right on the water, the views from the shoreline put me right at home with relaxation.

What Are Your Summer's For?

This summer, while busy with weddings and milestone events, its been a welcomed time for rest, relaxation and recharging. With how busy the fall/winter/spring are in my line of work, its nice that even though summers are busy, there are less expected demands and asks. I appreciate that boards that I'm involved with don't have as many meetings to accommodate people's holidays and that late night meetings aren't the norm during the summer months.

Summer for some, depending on what industries, are extremely busy and others use summer as a way to travel, explore and see as much as possible. What am I trying to do this summer? Do as little as possible. You probably see my travels and adventures through my Instagram or Twitter accounts, but what I'm aiming to do this summer is strike a balance that I've been really trying to hold myself to this year. I'm trying to keep busy doing the things I love and keep it 'light' on all the extras, especially relating to work, meetings, stuff that isn't urgent, etc. I've kept these boundaries in mind that I blogged about a month ago. I'm trying to do the stuff that only summertime allows you to do in a non-guilty way compared to all the other months in the calendar year - spend time reading on our deck, enjoy outdoor BBQs with friends, try new hobbies, yoga in the park, camping (or glaming for some!), take day trips to explore and discover new places across Ontario, and maybe drink a beer (or two!)  - because hey, that is what summer is for!