Where to Start...

…. just begin.


I know this seems so simple, yet it isn’t easy (as Rachel Hollis would say).

I’ve been having some awesome conversations as of late. So many people I’m meeting with have such great ideas and also, want to do big things with their ideas. They want to start a new businesses, but they don’t know where to start. They want to create something but don’t know where to begin. They want to collaborate on an idea but they don’t know who to turn too. They want to join social media but they don’t know what their first step should be.

Its also reminded me of a few people who have asked me recently why I’m not blogging as much. Its a great question and one I would say I don’t have the answer for, but I know deep down I do.

It’s not because I don’t have ideas or don’t know what to blog about.

One, I have TOO many things I want to say about too many things and don’t know where to even begin to start sharing these ideas.

Secondly, the process I have created in the last few years to ‘casually blog’ has become a long-drawn out process that I’ve made way harder than it needs to be. Which has made me not enjoy said process.

When I think back to my 'Stories From a Country Girl’ blogging days, I really did love blogging and it was such a fun and natural process. If I had a thought or wanted to share something, I just blogged on the spot. I attached a photo, uploaded it and pressed published. No editing, no second thoughts, no editing photos.

For some reason, because blogging in the last few years has become more professional or ‘corporate,’ I felt like there was a need to have everything ‘right.’ The right photo to match my content; my logo and branding on the photo; a catchy headline to match the message… it really became an inundating process that I didn’t enjoy.

I probably made it more complicated than it needed to be, but even some of the bloggers I’ve been following for years started saying the same thing. Because blogging/influencer marketing has more of a corporate feel, it didn’t feel fun in the same way it did a decade ago when I began blogging.

What has inspired my return on a random Wednesday?

This week, my attention has been all Rachel Hollis and Brene Brown. Their new books, the new Netflix special. I needed their messages as powerful reminders of why I started blogged all those years ago. Why I felt compelled to share my world years ago and why I should do it again now. Why I decided to start my business last fall. Because I have ideas. Because there is community. Because there is collaboration that needs to happen to make positive change. Because there is work to be done. And I want to be a part of the team of collaborators and idea creators that finds the solutions to help guide this change in the right direction.

So for me personally to start again, I have to make blogging a natural habit/routine for me to enjoy once again. No pretty branding or specially shot photos or reading over 5 times or spellchecking. Or worse, writing something and then not hitting publish and letting it sit in the draft folder. I’ve got a lot of those posts :S

Its this same message I’ve been passing along to the awesome people who’ve reached out via email or I’ve met with recently. Just begin. Just start somewhere. Yes project planning and brainstorming sessions are amazing (trust me, I have books and books of ideas and thoughts written down and love me a good ol’ brainstorming session).

Its what we actually begin to DO with these thoughts and ideas that will move the dial.

Just like we naturally think of making coffee in the morning, or grabbing one on the way to work, we just do it without a second thought. Why can’t the things we’re working on or want to work on be that natural or easy each morning?

It’s because its hard work. And because it takes time to build the habits necessary to make it a simple process.

Here’s to starting somewhere. Anywhere.

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HOW not the WHY

How not Why

After a whirlwind few weeks of travel and meetings, I’ve finally found some desk time to collect myself and digest all the notes I’ve taken lately. After reviewing the themes and topics events focused on and discussed, it highlights for me just how common the themes were at the various events I attended. The same topics, same themes and some of the same ideas were discussed.

A lot of these topics, themes, idea and content focused on the WHY.

Why are more consumers choosing plant-based diets/veganism?

Why are consumers eating less meat?

Why are consumers responding to agriculture in Canada the way they are?

Why are consumers flocking to social media now more than ever?

Why are millennials now the target demographics that most brands should be focusing on from a purchasing power/marketing standpoint?

Why do companies not know how to do social media properly nor invest in it in the same way we do say research?

Why are consumers thinking the way they are and why are they influenced in the way they are?

Why is society moving at the pace to which it is at the speed of innovation to which we are?

I appreciate the ideas I’ve learned about the why.

But I’m increasingly becoming impatient with what we’re actually DOING with the why.

HOW are we addressing the why?

How are we changing, say as a Canadian agriculture-food industry, to address the challenges we have with consumers and create opportunities for our industry?

How are we engaging in the food conversation?

How are we taking what we know and doing something different with it than we’ve did before?

In my line of work and with my business, I LOVE focusing on the HOW.

How can we talk more to consumers? How can our message better resonate? How can we be talking to them in more a more engaging way on the platforms they want to converse on? How can our industry be taken more seriously and be seen in a different light by consumers who are willing and want to listen? How do we train our millennials within agri-food to be influencers themselves? How can we train Boards of Directors in social media properly so they know what we’re talking about when we’re referring to the new way of marketing?


This is what I’m focusing my business energy on because THIS is what is going to decide how we change our future WHYS for our Canadian agri-food industry.

Bottle It Up

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I’ve recently been on the road for work for what feels like weeks and weeks. When in fact, its only been two weeks of travel. The travelling life is not as glamourous as Instagram makes it out to be. The airport shots of our luggage, the Starbucks coffees, the perfectly manicured nails…. yea, it is far from that. I don’t take for granted the opportunities I’m being afforded with my business and how travelling makes me feel (when there are no snow storms and flight delays/cancellations which has been my travelling life as of late). I really do love travelling. Just the right amount of it.

I get some of my best ideas when I’m travelling. I’m not sure if its because the time on the plane without a phone allows my brain to fully relax. Or because when I travel, I’m taking in new sights and experiences so my brain is on creative overdrive.

In my recent trip to Ottawa, during a snow storm around dinner time, I put on my winter parka and went for a walk and man, despite the blowing snow in my face and the crazy looks I was getting by drivers passing slowly by me, were the ideas ever a swirling around in my head.

I find this too whenever I’m travelling with Andrew down the 401 in our hauls from Guelph to the farm. The long stretch of highway, knowing how far we’re going and how much time I have to just ‘be’ makes me feel at ease. The ideas come rolling out of me when I have time to process my thoughts.

I (finally) have time to read all those open tabs on my laptop, read 100+ pages of a book in one sitting or take in hours of a podcast that I’ve been dying to listen too.

I wish I could bottle up this energy I seem to harness when I’m travelling. I wish I could also bottle up all of these ideas I have floating around in my head since I started my business late last summer. The notes pages I’ve ended up scribbling down are far too many and its not the ideas I come up with that I’m in love with – it’s the action I want to take out of them. I want to actually DO something with all of these ideas I’ve seem to have bottled up.

Anyone else with me?! #BottleUpmyBrain

Side note: this highway photo above is one I snapped from a recent trip to Mont Tremblant with Andrew. MT is one of our most favourite places and this was one of the BEST trips we’ve taken in years. There is just something about those Laurentian mountains that sets our souls on fire and makes us feel at ease. 💕

You Can’t Be Everyone’s Hero. Be Your Own.

Social Media and our Mental Health

Today is particularly important for us all across Canada. We’re celebrating #BellLetsTalk today, all collectively working together to raise money through our social media and texting efforts to support Canadian mental health initiatives. Today, I decided to fire up the ol’ podcast again (because I had too much to say for a blog post) on something important worth discussing on a day like today…

….. social media and its impact on our mental health.

Which seems a bit ironic I know, considering the #BellLetsTalk day initiative was started on social media back in 2010. #BellLetsTalk is a perfect example of how incredibly powerful social media can be, when used and harnessed effectively.. and when we’re all working towards a common goal.

But for all the incredible benefits to social media, there are certainly many negatives we all don’t discuss enough. Most likely because social media has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we don’t take the time to step back and actually ask ourselves questions like:

  • is social media bettering my life instead of making it worse?

  • is my mental health suffering from how/how much I use social media?

  • am I benefiting in a helpful, constructive way from using social media?

  • should I reconsider how I use social media and/or if I should be on it?

It wasn’t until I stepped back at Christmas time and asked myself these very same questions that I got serious in asking how social media impacts my mental health. Which on a day like #BellLetsTalk, we should absolutely be discussing this more.

So take a listen here of my latest podcast and let me know what you think. Are you in the same boat as me, questioning everything about social media and how/why/when you use it? Its a good conversation to have with yourself because then you take the power back from social media.

I’d love to hear from you on how you manage your daily social media routines and/or if you have a love-dislike relationship with social media like I do. Let me know what you think!


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Living in a Calculated World

Stories From a Country Girl

Its hard to believe it was 10+ years ago I first entered the world of blogging.

I look back on those days fondly.

{Now I know how most seniors feel when they talk the good ol’ days.. you know, those days before smartphones, technology and all this craziness}

But in all seriousness, even 10 years ago, the digital sphere was a different time.

(OK, now I definitely sound like a senior).  This may be the first blog post that ‘dates me’ as a human. Sigh.

Yes, it’s been that long since my ‘Stories From a Country Girl’ days for those blog readers who have so loyally followed me here all the way from then, to my Passionate Voice blog and now to my new home. Thank you to those readers for your continual support and readership throughout all these years 🙏 Even if there are only 6 of you 😉

I’ve been doing a ton of listening, conversing and reflecting throughout the month of January for work. It has me thinking of how we’re living in such different times than even a short 10 years ago from so many standpoints – in life, in work, with social media, technology, consumer behavior, disruption, the list goes on.

I’ve been thinking long and hard lately about the role of social media and the impact it has on our lives and our mental health. Its something that bombards us and inundates us both personally and professionally every day. We’ve never been properly trained in it and the research isn’t quite there yet to show the long-term lasting effects, yet we continue to use it at such rapid rates. I see firsthand and realize its benefits but I also see the cautions we need to talk about more, to engage productively and healthily with our social media feeds.

And this comes from someone who does social media for a living!

Even blogging 10 years ago was a completely different landscape. It wasn’t so ‘calculated’ as the entire world now is with blogging and social media. When we were blogging back in ‘those days’, we didn’t have to have well-curated graphics that had consistent branding with the ‘right’ fonts. We didn’t care about likes/followers, we just blogged about what we thought about and cared for and if the likes followed, then great but that wasn’t the end goal. We didn’t care about promoting our messages beyond our followers, trying to make our content ‘salesy’ for people to eat up and then buy from us. Hell, we didn’t even give the proper credit for graphics/photos when we searched on Google and used them for our blog posts.

Side note: If you previously read my SFACG blog when I first started, yes, the image above is my old header and no, I didn’t end up purchasing the image for $20 but I am at least giving image credit below 😉

I sometimes wish we had that type of freedom again.

To read blogs written in the ‘old school way’ of blogging. Or think in that easygoing way #FreeThinking. Or blog in the carefree way, whenever we wanted too, without the branding, the content calendar and the perfectly placed hashtags. Blogging in a world where we didn’t have to worry that if you said something that not everyone agreed with, you didn’t have to face the social media wrath you probably would today. I wish we all had that freedom to only care about ourselves and what we thought. And not in a selfish, narcissistic way, but a way that was healthy for us. A time where if you had something to say and wanted to passionately say it, you just said it (HECK YES!)

I really do wish some days we were living in a less calculated world. I miss those days of off-the-cuff randomness. Whose with me?

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