The Sunday 7

Oh, Sunday's. 

1. We saw Nelly this past week. Like the rapper. Who say 'Hot in Here.' Yes, it was epic. Like circa 2004 epicness that made my high school-University self sing WAY too loud. It was the best $45 I've spent in a while. It reminded me how we need more of those random nights out with friends that turn out to be the best nights.

2. I have a day in Toronto planned for some work-related things and meet-ups.. a day in the big city sans babe is what my heart needs right now.

3. This tote has my heart swooning. I'm just wondering if it's big enough to hold all of my stuff.. and Blake's stuff :S

4. Now that Spring may be here (the last two weekends have been sunny and made me hopeful here in Guelph!), I'm wondering where the Instagram spring stickers are now?!! Come on #Instagram!

5. If we're talking about Spring, a good ol' 'Spring clean' of the house is necessary. I found this handy list of one item you can do each day for a month to get your place clean super helpful.

6. A place we forget to clean that we use daily? Our smartphones. I used this list to give the iphone a good clean tonight!

7. Talk about a fun-filled week, we celebrated the upcoming nuptials of my girl Mac at The Fancy Design Co with a girls night out. It was wildly fun, I wouldn't expect anything else from our group of friends. A night out with the gals celebrating one of the best people I know was SO needed after a week of Blake being sick with a cold. We had dinner at Gilt in Kitchener and oh yum, was that menu amazing.

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The Sunday 7

  1. I spent two days this week in Toronto and I was reminded of how much I love the hustle and bustle of the city. Of course, its easier to say that when I'm not working there full-time but there really is something so intoxicating - the energy, the ideas, the inspiration.
  2. I’m crushing hard on these high back dining room chairs for the cottage.
  3. Adding some Italian Ruscus greenery in the house this week has made so much of a difference, reminding me on the coldest days that spring will one day (soon) be here :S
  4. I devoured this series after seeing all the Golden Globe wins and hype for the show. Let’s just say, its some captivating TV that is hard to stop watching.
  5. Still trying to figure out what your goals are for 2018 or how you’re going to execute on them? I watched this video by the motivating thought leader Robin Sharma, whose message “Until you personally believe that you can achieve a goal, you won’t even start the process of making it happen” so resonated with me.
  6. I am a huge font fan.. I seriously fan girl over beautiful fonts that I stumble upon on blogs and the internet. This ‘Pretty Pen’ font was one I recently found that I am absolutely love.
  7. A few days at home on the farm this past weekend led to a night of some of the best conversation and drinks (rye of course!) with the fam. We joked that at 3am, you can solve a lot of the world's problems (or at least have fun TRYING to solve them :P). There is truly nothing better than family. They're your people.. and they just get you.
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What a Day in Toronto (with a Baby) Will Remind You

When you visit Toronto as a tourist, it is a whole different feeling than when you hustle and work in the city as I do. In July, I did what every new mama would think to do, and spent a day in Toronto with our newborn Blake. Can you sense my sarcasm? Ha!

A crazy idea as a new mom, I know or at least, I thought. But I wanted to take advantage of Blake being a newborn, manageable baby and introduce him to colleagues and friends while taking in a city that has become a staple in my daily routine the past 3 years.

Doing a day trip too by myself with our newborn was also a way to get out of the house and feel independent again. Why not take advantage of public transportation and the sunny summer weather and enjoy a day in the city to surround myself with my old habitat and take in sights that would be new for the babe.

As I wade into the waters of this whole motherhood thing, I'm realizing there are so many small details in our everyday that we do so easily and take for granted. Things that as a new mom, you quickly learn to have a new appreciation for.

Drinking coffee - while holding a newborn in your arms. Getting ready quicker than before - with a newborn (impatiently) waiting. Realizing that not forgetting diapers and wipes is as important now as not forgetting your purse/keys when you leave home.

A day trip to Toronto also quickly reminds you to be grateful for these small details.

My recent trip to Toronto restored my faith in humanity.

It reminded me of the kind gestures that can mean so much to someone, including this new mom. The ladies on the train who offered to help me. The man who helped get our stroller off the train. People on the sidewalk who helped to make it easier to navigate a stroller in the city. Complete strangers smiling when they saw me with the baby. Striking up conversations in checkout lines with people I didn't know, but who were inquisitive and interested in Blake.

The day trip to the city reminded me of so many little things to be grateful for.

How much I love Toronto. How kind the people are. How revisiting places like the CN Towner, Hockey Hall of Fame and St. Lawrence Market to introduce them to your baby can feel like your experiencing them all over again for the first time. How smiling is such a strong form of communication. How good it feels when a complete stranger smiles at you and you know why. The feeling you get as a new mama when you realize that you CAN and in fact DID navigate the 'big smoke.'

And does it ever feel good to know that even while navigating the new world of motherhood, a day trip to Toronto can make you feel independent again and remind you that you CAN do anything if you set your mind to it.

Thanks for the time Toronto, we'll be back again soon.

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Conferences to Consider Attending

One of my 2017 goals this year is to attend a personal development course or conference. I realized the other day that I better get on this because once May comes and Baby A arrives, my time *may* be limited. Unless I decide to do a conference or course in the fall once I've *adjusted* to this new exciting, scary thing called motherhood.

With warmer temps recently and the feeling that Spring (may) just be around the corner, it has me feeling rejuvenated to want to learn and take in new things, a lot like how the New Year makes me feel.

I love attending conferences, not only because of the people and networking, but because while I'm there, I usually get so many ideas at conferences that leaves me feeling excited about new ways of thinking; taking new approaches to ideas; and adding to my side business and brand.

I've had a few people recently mention to me that they are looking for a conference to attend this year and I wanted to share some of the conferences that I either follow, engage with on social media or have found online, if  you, like me, are looking for a conference to attend this year.

March

  • Advancing Women's Conference West - March 6-7- Calgary, AB (Created for every woman who wants to achieve success. Whether you are a crop, fruit, vegetable, dairy or livestock producer, own your own small or large ag business or in a career path with an ag organization or association - this conference is for you. Gain or hone the skills that will bring you success in your career, family life and community.)
  • Peterborough International Women's Day Conference - March 8 - Toronto, ON (The Women Business Network of Peterborough is hosting Peterborough’s first full-day International Women's Day conference, bringing this global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women into our own community).
  • Dx3 Canada Technology, Digital Media & Retail Event - March 8-9 - Toronto, ON (Dx3 is Canada’s largest conference and trade show dedicated to digital marketing, advertising and retail. Dx3 connects the world’s top technology brands including Facebook, IBM, Samsung, Microsoft and MasterCard to Canada’s leading consumer brands, retailers and agencies by curating engaging content, immersive experiences and platforms that enable meaningful face-to-face commerce.)
  • Women in Leadership & Business - March 27-28 - Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (What do successful business people know and do that you can take and immediately put into action to jump-start, re-focus and re-energize your business and career? Join Leaders, Senior & Middle Managers, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs)

April

  • The Art of Marketing - April 3 - Toronto, ON (The Art of Marketing is a thought-provoking conference that explores the power shift in brand-consumer relationships. It puts the spotlight on how business models are being disrupted and, as a result, how marketers need to rethink how to achieve their goals.)
  • The Art of Leadership for Women - April 5 - Vancouver, BC (one day conference features five internationally renowned bestselling authors and thought leaders, who will share an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking and real world experience on today’s most critical leadership issues.)
  • WNORTH - April 19-21 - Whistler, BC (boutique-style conference is focused on providing a forum for women who are the next generation of senior leadership in their organization to come together to enhance their leadership training, engage in high-level networking and witness inspirational talks from leading women in business.)
  • B Connected Conference - April 22-23 - Toronto, ON (Canada’s Digital Influencer Conference, is open to influencers, small business owners, charitables organizations, not for profit associations, and major brands, looking to enhance their social media and blogging skills. BDigital. BInfluential. BConnected! This Conference aims to help you achieve an interactive learning experience within the social media and blogging industries. It’s a fun and intimate event for influencers, brands and speakers alike!)
  • Atlantic Farm Women Conference - April 28-29 - Halifax, NS (In the past, Farm women sought out these conferences as a unique way to work collaboratively and help move agriculture forward. We plan to pair some serious discussions with some light and fun activities!  We'll send you home stuffed with new knowledge and rejuvenated to continue in this industry!  You'll meet women from across Atlantic Canada who love this industry as much as you AND you're guaranteed to have fun doing it!)

May

  • Leadercast - May 5 - Held virtually in 100+ countries (Leadercast Live is the largest one-day leadership event in the world. Broadcast live each year from Atlanta to 100,000+ people in hundreds of locations around the world, Leadercast Live brings together many of the world’s most recognized and respected global leaders to create a leadership experience unlike any other.)
  • Globe and Mail Small Business Summit - May 9 - Toronto, ON (They are the disrupters. The leaders. The brightest entrepreneurs in Canadian business. The Globe and Mail has invited them to share their insights during an inspiring day of keynote talks, workshops and networking. Walk away with new ideas and actionable tips on securing financing, acquiring talent and expanding sales, and take your business to the next level in this rapidly changing marketplace.)
  • Canadian Public Relations Conference - May 28-30 - Kelowna, BC (The 2017 National Conference embraces and celebrates what it means to illuminate. For starters, our host city Kelowna is illuminated constantly thanks to 2000 hours of sunshine each year and breathtaking Northern Light displays. Then, during each session, expert presenters will illuminate new concepts, enlightening delegates by providing deeper understanding of public relations.Finally, as the crown jewel of the CPRS, Illuminate 2017 will serve to maintain our illustrious status as leaders in the Canadian public relations and communications industry.)

June

  • The Art of Leadership for Women - June 13 - Toronto, ON (one day conference features five internationally renowned bestselling authors and thought leaders, who will share an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking and real world experience on today’s most critical leadership issues.)

September

  • Blog Podium - typically held in September but date & location still TBD (BlogPodium is a series of conferences and small workshops designed to connect people together, encourage collaboration and sharing, and of course, have a great time. We are Canada’s Conference for Design and Lifestyle Bloggers)
  • Inbound Marketing - September 25-28 - Boston, MA (INBOUND's purpose is to provide the inspiration, education, and connections you need to transform your business. This November, we will host thousands of marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

October

  • Advancing Women Conference East - October 30-31- Niagara Falls, ON (Created for every woman who wants to achieve success. Whether you are a crop, fruit, vegetable, dairy or livestock producer, own your own small or large ag business or in a career path with an ag organization or association - this conference is for you. Gain or hone the skills that will bring you success in your career, family life and community.)
  • Food Bloggers of Canada - October 20-22 - Ottawa, ON (FBC2017 is Canada’s only national conference for food bloggers.  It’s a fun, intimate event for bloggers, brands and speakers alike.  We focus on providing professional development for our members and other interested bloggers; an intimate atmosphere to foster blogger to blogger and blogger to brand networking; great food; and fun)
  • Tedx Toronto - date still TBD - Toronto, ON (Tedx Toronto is Canada's largest Tedx event, a platform for exceptional ideas and a catalyst for profound change. In our seventh year, TEDxToronto is Canada’s largest TEDx event, a platform for exceptional ideas, and a catalyst for profound change. The annual, one-day conference draws a diverse and passionate array of speakers, performers, demos and audience members)

*Each of the descriptions about each conference  were taken directly from conference websites.

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I have Rural Ontario to Thank

Working in Toronto and coming from rural Ontario proves there are stark differences between the two landscapes but that at the end of the day, we all live in one province. I love seeing someones face when I'm working in the city and I tell them I was raised on a dairy farm or come from a small town. I'm not sure if they are expecting me to look a certain way or talk a certain way but I always enjoy seeing the look of surprise on their face. It is a cool feeling knowing I may have changed their perception or expectations of what they may have thought someone from rural Ontario looks like.

I Have Rural Ontario To Thank

A typical follow up question they also ask is where I got my passion for agriculture for what I do both personally and professionally. While I blogged about this years ago when I first started this Passionate Voice platform, my answer always comes back to my days in the country, growing up on my parents dairy farm. But it was also my parents encouragement of trying new things and dreaming big that now has me working in downtown Toronto. Yes, there are some days I would feel more 'in my element' being back at home or in the country (cows really don't talk back which is awesome!) but there is an opportunity that presents itself in Toronto that feeds my hunger for 'challenging the status quo' everyday in what I do to help promote Ontario's agriculture sector for the amazing industry it is and the impact it has here at home in Ontario.

My appetite for communication, connecting with people, wanting to make a difference, and providing inspiration for other young professionals proudly came from my upbringing. I have Rural Ontario to thank along with my parents and family for  my continued drive each and every day.

It is why this platform The Passionate Voice was born and why I love helping others tell their story through social media and public speaking training.

If by chance, you are a country-born reader enjoying this post, make sure to take the time to enjoy Ontario Agriculture Week this week across the province, which is being celebrated from October 5th to 11th.

And a side note to end this post, I personally took  the above photo of a wheat field overlooking my family's dairy farm and the Trent River this past July before the wheat was harvested.

This view will never get old!