2016 {the year of many firsts}... and the best is yet to come in 2017!

While we're 14 days into 2017, I couldn't look back on 2016 more fondly as a year that I considered 'the best year yet.'

Until this year..... more to come on that so read on!

I made a commitment last year to make 2016 'different' in everything I did - personal, professional, my business, my hobbies AND my attitude. One of those differences that inevitably fell into my lap was embracing firsts, something I may not have been so open too in the past.

Embracing 'firsts' teaches you so much about yourself - what your capcity is for courage, strength, spontaneity, adventure, experiencing news things that you're not use too or comfortable with and just how open you (and your attitude) are to welcoming firsts, in the first place!

I really tried to continue living by the motto I shared back in my 2015 Year in Review"Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone." Some firsts last year weren't easy, but man did they feel good after they were done, knowing I had set my mind to doing them!

To reflect on what some of those 'firsts' were for me and others close to me, I thought I would highlight some of the memorable 'firsts' from last year (there were surely more but not enough time to capture everything!):

  • Travelling with my family on our first out-of-province trip to receive our second Holstein Canada Master Breeder award in Banff, Alberta
  • Horeseback riding in the Alberta mountains
  • Hiked a mountain (Tunnel Mountain in Banff)
  • Explored many new towns, cities and destinations in our very own Ontario including the Muskokas, Bayfield, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lake of the Woods/Kenora and Bobcaygeon (home to the infamous Tragically Hip song!)
  • Worked with new clients both in and outside of agriculture - learning about new industries is fascinating (and what agriculture can learn from these industries is invaluable!)
  • My family started building their first robotic dairy barn, which will be completed this winter
  • Andrew and I took our boat through the Trent Severn Waterway liftlocks in my hometown of Hastings
  • I visited my first-ever cranberry and shrimp farms
  • Met so many new, amazing #girlbosses including Canada's own Conquer Kit writer & speaker, Natalie MacNeil
  • Flew in a helicopter, experiencing the beautiful fall scenery of the Muskokas
  • Saw my mom featured on the cover of a national dairy magazine, The Progressive Dairyman (way to go, mom!)
  • Experienced many amazing new firsts at work as a Press Secretary, I feel so fortunate to do what I do in the industry I love
  • Saw the Northern Lights for the first time while visiting Manitoba last summer
  • ..... and the best "first" of 2016... Andrew and I found out we're expecting a baby in 2017!

What I thought was the best year yet in 2016 is certainly going to be topped this year with the incredible gift that Andrew and I have been blessed with.

To be given the the gift of parenthood is going to be by far the greatest thing we've ever done come May, 2017 and we couldn't be more ready (despite doing this 'thing' called parenthood for the first time!).

Let the countdown begin for the BEST 'FIRST' EVER coming up in 2017! :)

2015 Year in Review

A Summer of Firsts [and some fan girl moments]

"I never have time to do anything, let alone try anything new." This is something I often hear friends, family (even I use to be guilty of saying this) about doing things, let alone trying new things outside of the usual 'life schedule' of work-sleep-eat-repeat. Now, my life schedule goes a little beyond the work-sleep-eat-repeat mentality (throw in a bit of commuting-travelling-attending Board meetings--working out-side hustling'-time with the hubby/friends - enjoying myself with a good book) and that is my daily 'life schedule.'

Some would call it overwhelming and it can be a little too much sometimes I know, but for the most part, I love it. I'm getting all I can out of this thing called life.

I am always surprised at the number of people who comment on how their busyness is why they can't try new things. We as humans make excuses for a lot of things - not working out, not making our own meals at home, complaining about things out of our control, not volunteering because we think we're busy at work, or not pursuing a side business or passion project because we're sometimes not only scared, we're simply lazy.

After reflecting on what I hoped 2016 would be, this summer has proven to be one of those summers that exceeded my expectations. Beyond the eight weddings we attended (yes, I said eight), this summer was a summer of many firsts where I tried and experienced so many new things.  summer-of-firsts

What were some of these 'new things'?

  • My family and I finally went through lock 18 in my hometown of Hastings with our boat as part of the Trent Severn Waterway, something we had never done before, even though we have lived a few minutes down the road from the locks our entire lives
  • Took trips to see new places that Andrew and I had never visited before including Petroglyphs Provincial Park  in my parents backyard
  • I'm running again, something I haven't did since high school
  • I've tried new craft beers including Lake of the Woods Brew during a visit to Kenora, ON (my first time visiting during the summer!) and new, local craft brewers in Rockwood, Four Fathers Brewing Co (you have to try their beer, its so good!)
  • I've embraced red wine, something I use to think was repulsive but as I guess as my taste buds have matured, so have my tastes in wine
  • I've taken up a sport I've never played before...  tennis. Can't say I'm great yet but at least its a start (Serena seriously makes it look so easy!)
  • I tried my hand at painting and came up with his (simplistic) masterpiece pictured above that I now have proudly displayed above my desk in my office.. thanks to Instagram for the inspiration, I tried my hand at painting.. and thanks to a little cheap paint from Michaels, it didn't turn out all that bad!

Another cool moment this summer was meeting fellow #girlbosses at various events who follow my work and have been followers on Twitter. Can you say #fangirlmoments?! It has been so awesome meeting fellow women in agriculture who are as passionate about their work and have the same zest for life. Thanks for following along, enjoying and sharing your positive feedback,  Alison and Emily :)

To say I've gotten the most out of 2016 so far is an understatement. I've loved every minute of embracing this 'new change' I've felt to try and explore new things. For those who think age is a limitation to trying new things, you are absolutely wrong. You can be a child at heart for as long as you'd like as long as you're open to the idea of trying new things AND finding (or carving out) the time to make it happen. Adjust that 'life schedule' so you can welcome  'new' things into your life, the feeling is liberating.

Adios summer 2016, you were a slice.