I just resurfaced from fighting off one beast of a cold and now I’m onto my next battle – packing up our lives in Toronto and getting ready for our move to California in the new year!
2017 was a whirlwind of uncomfortable challenges, self discoveries and big emotions but many fond memories were also made….
BFF and I celebrated our birthdays in Barcelona. I was part of #TelusStories. We got our US Business Visas after a long and tedious administrative process! CJ started Little Kickers soccer and it’s so freakin’ cute. We threw a DIY pizza + cupcake party and went to Great Wolf Lodge for his 4th birthday. We also spent the summer exploring our beautiful Ontario backyard with trips to Blue Mountain, Deehurst Resort and Prince Edward County. After four years, I taught my final CampTech blogging class. Adfluent recently turned 7.0 and we celebrated our second year as a Google Partners ad agency! And well, since it can’t all be sparkly unicorn farts year round… I did have a mommy meltdown earlier this month. Lost my sh!t working through the insane logistics of our move and travel itinerary while trying to answer CJ’s gazillion questions (he’s at the ‘why’ phase now).
I am really excited that Spaces has opened up in Toronto! This means freelancers and girl bosses like myself will have another place to call their ‘second home’. Or third, fourth home. That’s right they have 60 locations worldwide!
I was invited to their launch party a few weeks ago and got a chance to check out the stunning new space myself.
Having the ‘right vibe’ in a co-working space makes all the difference. It’s the place where you get your hustle on, find inspiration and meet other creative makers. So it’s way more than just a place to plug in your laptop… think of Spaces Toronto as a cool 46,000 sqft office (without the politics and drama)!
Spaces sits snug in the Queen West neighbourhood. It’s actually the former Urbane Cycle. Which explains why there are bicycle spokes dangling from the lobby ceiling. And that wooden spiral staircase… it takes you up to the glass meeting rooms, private offices and reserved desks on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
Have someone super nice on your list that is splurge worthy? Then these luxury gifts will surely surprise and delight…
I love Tumi products for their stylish functional designs. This leather trimmed Dara Carry-All is the perfect go to bag to tote around a laptop, wallet, makeup and everything else in between. Free personalization available. $475
The Sonos compact speaker is mini but has mighty big sound! Streams over wifi so the dance party and beats never stops. $200
The Dyson Pure Cool Link removes up to 99.97% of pollutants and does so while directing a cool stream of fresh clean air. City condo dwellers can breathe a sigh of relief again. Available in blue or white. $500
You don’t need to be a gamer to fall in love with the new sleek Xbox One S. With a library of 1300+ games to chose from, it’s also a solution for your cable box and can stream 4K content from Netflix and YouTube. My son will soon be introduced to the world of Minecraft and I can’t wait to play Cuphead, an unique 1930s-inspired art style game with a banging soundtrack. $250
Give the gift of rest because sleep really is the new luxury! Casper has created this unique pillow-in-pillow design that boosts the perfect balance of softness and support. $85-100
Foodies will be obsessed with the Philips Air Fryer. Prepare healthier versions of favourite comfort foods lickety split with minimal mess to cleanup. $330
Came home to find this lovely bouquet from the nerd ladies at Camp Tech.
I still remember hobbling into CSI to teach my very first blogging class. I was nervous as heck and 38 weeks pregnant! Last week I taught my LAST class. (We are moving to California!)
It’s been four years of dropping marketing and social media knowledge bombs. I’ve enjoyed sharing my own story of how I turned my hobby blog into an ‘accidental business’ seven years ago. I loved that I inspired hundreds of eager writers to start their own blogs and turn their passion for story-telling into side hustle businesses. And in return, I learned what goes into creating an effective presentation… and have conquered my fear of public speaking!
Avery, Tara and the rest of the CampTech Team, It’s been so much fun geeking out with you ladies! Thank you for letting me be a part of the coolest camp. Xo
Jen McNeeley of SheDoesTheCity.com will be carrying on my blogging torch as of February 2018!
I’ve been reading her blog for a decade and it inspired me to start my own in 2010! I got the chance to get to know Jen while working on various campaigns and as an Amex Ambassador. She rocks and always keeps it real!
Camp Tech offers half and full day workshops with an emphasis on developing practical skills you can use right away. Topics include Digital Marketing, Social Media, Podcasting, WordPress, HTML, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, SEO and more. Expect small classes and instructors that are engaging, fun and know their stuff! Locations in Toronto and Ottawa.
Oct 20 to 22 – 400+ cask-conditioned ales, epic eats, raw beats + art, all at this year’s Cask Days.
Oct 25 – The Food for Action dinner is a charity meal featuring 20 chefs from some of Toronto’s top restaurants who will each be preparing a special three-course meal.
Oct 27 – TedxToronto ‘Legacy, what will yours be’ in this year’s theme.
Oct 28 to 29 – From breads to cakes and everything in between, Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show takes you on a gourmet tour of the hottest trends in the world of baking. Get ready to eat, shop and learn!
In anticipation of our jam packed traveling schedule next year, I started dabbling into homeschooling. Once or twice a week, CJ would skip school and we would take the classroom outside. It’s been so easy with this fabulous extended summer but now that fall has rolled around, I’m in panic mode on how I’m going to spark curiosity while keep this super active boy entertained indoors.
It’s been a lot of trial and error and I’ve had to hack a few of these to make it age appropriate for a preschooler but here are some cool STEM toys and activities that gets CJ excited about learning…
Have you seen the Operation Smile commercial on TV? It happened to be airing in the background when CJ (at 1.5 years old) pointed and made a bunch of inquisitive sounds. He watched with fascination as I explained that ‘doctors heal people including sick kids’, and since then he’s been saying he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. (Mom can definitely get on board with that haha!) So even though this Human Body Kit is rated for ages 8+, I bought it anyway and he loves it! One time he even sat for 25 mins as I read him the lab guide!
It includes 12 bones that fit together like a puzzle in a clear skeleton shell and 9 squishy organs that feel like gummies. It’s actually a really cool toy that I enjoy playing with as well. Of course, I’m trying to get him to clean up after each ‘operation’ he performs as the pieces are quite small and it’ll really suck to lose an organ! $30
A math teacher introduced me to Blokus. There is just one rule to this game — each piece you play must touch at least one other piece of the same colour, but only at the corners! . CJ is still too young to understand the concept so we created our own rules. He’s big into mazes so we try to make one on the board. Another way to hack it is to see if you can place all 84 piece on the board. The pieces are small so it’s great for fine tuning those fine motor skills and getting little hands to turn the shapes until they fit. $25
Malabar – go early to avoid lineups! This place is the grand daddy one stop shop for all your favourite costumes and accessories in downtown TO. They have very knowledgeable staff and carry an extensive array of pre-packaged costumes, rentals, professional makeup, wigs, hats, masks and everything else your little devil’s heart desires.
Spirit Halloween – city slicker ghosts and goblins can now conveniently shop at this popup on Queen Street West. Costumes for the whole family, props and decorations can all be found here. Get 20% off online orders $60+ and free shipping over $75 here.
Creepers – located in Oakville, they call themselves Canada’s creepiest and sexiest Halloween superstore and rightfully so because they’ve got everything! The staff even dress up as their favourite characters. Their “Pop Culture” section is pretty cool with costumes from Harley Quinn, The Walking Dead, Transformers and popular video game heroes.
Exile Vintage – remember Mr. Dressup’s trunk? Well this place in Kensington Market reminds me of it. There are racks and racks of second-hand clothing and vintage pieces that make excellent costumes if you’ve got the creativity.