Category Archives: Reflection

Fresh Start: 8 Tips for Developing a Gym-Habit

Remember that old myth that it takes 21 days to form a habit*? We are now 23 days into the first month of 2014, and as someone who began working out on the 2nd, I’m exactly 3 weeks into my goal of making the gym my new habit. So, how’s it going?

Short answer: good. Long answer: it’s far too early to decide whether this will end up being a long term thing, but so far I’ve been kicking butt. Along the way I’ve reflected on why this time is different and what has helped me to commit more time than I ever have in my life (embarrassing, right) to hitting the gym.

Here are my 8 tips for developing a gym-habit.

  1. Get a workout buddy. And not just anyone. I’ve been heading to the gym with my bestie/roomie Laura Clendenning (of Dedicated Not Addicted) who isn’t only passionate about getting in shape, but knows her stuff too. She’s currently training for her 4th (!!) fitness competition and is studying to earn her Personal Training certification. She’s energetic, committed, and knows exactly what she’s doing. Going with someone who knows which machines to use and how to use them takes away the intimidation factor of wandering around a crowded gym (which is ALWAYS filled with insanely good-looking people who appear completely at home.) The commitment factor is a big one here as well, as it’s harder to skip a workout once you told someone you were going to go. There’s also the added bonus of spending time with someone who’s dope- a little social time in between sets never hurt anyone.
  2. Plan your workout. Another trick I learned from LC is to write down your workout prior to hitting the gym. This provides structure and purpose, preventing you from giving up and saying “That’s enough” 20 minutes after you’ve arrived.
  3. Record your workout. It’s hard to remember which days you went, let alone which set of exercises you did two weeks ago if you don’t write it down. As someone who’s constantly learning new machines and sequences, it’s extremely helpful to bring a notebook and jot things down as I go. I’m able to record the weights I use and the times I run which means next time I can push myself to improve them. It’s been extremely satisfying tracking my progress and seeing improvements so far.
  4. Switch it up. Doing the same routine gets boring real fast and I knew that my gym-going wouldn’t last long if I was constantly doing the same thing every time. As a member of the YMCA I have huge flexibility with my workouts- I am for 2 days of weights (usually one arms/shoulders and one legs/back day), a longer cardio session, and one power yoga class every week. Not only does this give me balance, but I can shuffle my workouts based on what I’m feeling and have yet to feel completely bored. It’s a mini success, but I’ll take it!
  5. Equip yourself. I’m not saying that every piece of workout clothing has to be the newest, most expensive Lululemon, but there’s something to be said for wearing proper gear at the gym. I invested in some new shorts and quick dry tops last summer and just got an amazing gym bag for Christmas that I’m stoked to rock. If you look the part, you’ll start to feel the part, and a sleek luon tank is a lot more motivating than an over-sized stained T from high school. Pick up a cool notebook, stack a killer playlist, grab container of protein powder and you’ll feel like you belong at the gym in no time.
  6. Forgive yourself. I learned pretty quickly that there are going to be weeks where I don’t get to the gym as much as I’d like. Being busy is okay as long as it’s the exception and not the rule. If you miss a workout, let it go. But then get back on track and hit the gym hard the next day.
  7. Set a deadline. There’s nothing more motivating than a looming deadline. As one of my big goals this year is to run a 10K, I figured it was time to light the fire and sign up for the Vancouver Sun Run 2014. (I literally did it as I was writing this post- early bird goes until January 31st!) Knowing that I’m going to have to run 10K whether I’m in shape or not means I’ll certainly be training with some added gusto.
  8. Just get there. I’ve found that without a doubt the hardest thing about adding gym time into my routine is actually getting myself to the gym. Once I’m there, I’m good! I have two tricks for making this happen: 1) Drink a pre-workout shake because then I’m obligated to go work it off, and 2) Tell myself that I just need to do a super short workout and then I can hit the steam room- more often then not, I’ll stay for the full workout once I’m there.

There you have it, all my gym ‘secrets’ are yours for the taking! For all you fitness peeps, don’t forget to check out Laura’s blog here for workouts, recipes, challenges, and a heaping dose of motivation.

Happy Thursday!


*Turns out it’s more like 66 -according to this study– but can vary between 18-254 days.

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Onward & Upward

Guys. It’s 2014. As my homegirl Liz Lemon would say, “What the what! I can’t believe how fast the last twelve months have gone by, and the amount of amazing things I was able to fit into them. Without a doubt, 2013 was one of my best.

This was the year I truly pursued my love of fashion, earning a diploma in Fashion Merchandising from Blanche Macdonald, completing a buying internship at Roden Grey and then landing a wholesaling internship at Skout Agency (where I’ll be until March.) I gained some retail experience working at J.Crew (challenging myself for 2 months when this coincided with full time classes, my twice-a-week internship at Roden, and a second job at Earls), and volunteered at Eco Fashion Week as well as the Project True Fundraiser.

Cramming all of these experiences into the last year was exciting and exhausting, but definitely worth it. I found that the more I had on my plate, the more motivated and efficient I became. The main thing I want to bring to the coming year is that same drive I felt every time things were just on the cusp of being overwhelming. With school done I’ll have hours more free time each week and I plan on making the most of those rather than letting myself slip into a coma of restaurant work and late nights.

While my ‘resolutions’ for 2013 were pretty basic (as I remember they involved more sleep, gym, water, reading, blogging, and trips), I’m setting loftier, more tangible goals for this year.

  1. Complete my first ever 10K run- I’m planning on the annual Vancouver Sun Run in April
  2. Become conversationally fluent in French- armed with Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, I’m hoping the combination of these tools plus some time in France will do the trick
  3. Save and save and save for Europe 2014- expected departure date set for October

In addition to these more concrete goals, I also want to focus on developing some HTML and photography skills and really invest some time and thought into this blog. It’s come a long way since January 2013 (totaling 52 posts!) and I’m so excited about what’s to come.

Happy New Year’s y’all, it’s gonna be a good one!

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After a frantic two weeks of casting, sourcing and organizing every aspect, my final exam/photoshoot for Styling class finally took place yesterday. It was the first time that I was solely responsible for a shoot including theme and mood board creation, model casting, hair and makeup concepts, as well as pulling for each look and executing on the day of. Back in April I had the pleasure of working with Alicia on a Spring Trends piece for Metrotown at Metropolis x The Province (check out Alicia’s recap and cute video here), which was a great intro into the world of styling. I wouldn’t say this experience made my own shoot flawless or stress-free, but having a little background about the process definitely took the edge off.

After finishing class at 1 pm on the dot, seven of us made our way over to the neighbouring Curlique to begin set up and start with hair and makeup. I had the pleasure of working with extremely talented Vancouver photographer Matthew Burditt, who truly made the shooting experience painless. Between Matthew, my amazing model Jess, and some incredible makeup and hair by fellow Blanche student Naureen, I couldn’t help but smile as my concepts came to life. In fact, one of my classmates told me after I was like an adorable ‘show mom’ while watching my second shoot- practically bouncing up and down with giddiness and grinning like a dummy as Jess jumped around in her pop-art inspired outfit.

It was a truly amazing experience and I couldn’t have done it without my team on the day of, as well as my dear friend Michelle and our Styling instructor Tyler. Thanks everyone; you’re wonderful.

PS. Stay tuned for shoot pics, I can’t wait to share some in the next few weeks!

Home Scents

French Cade Lavender
There’s something so comforting about lighting a candle and curling up with a good book when it’s blustery outside, and since randomly purchasing a couple of Voluspa candles at Chapters this past winter I’ve become completely obsessed. My favourite scents are French Cade Lavender (a blend of French cade,verbena and Bulgarian lavender), and Eden & Pear (lemon vervaine, galbanum and ripe hosui pear), both which fill the room with fragrance without triggering an overload headache. Reading or not, these are always burning at my place. And why not? We all have a ‘signature’ perfume, maybe it’s time to give our homes the same treatment.

Happy Wednesday!

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I am not a very spontaneous person. I thrive on lists and love nothing more than finishing the day with a nice long checklist of which I’ve completed every ‘to-do’ item (if I do something extra I may or may not add it to the list just so I can cross it off… and by may or may not I mean I do it every time). But, despite my hyper-organizational tendencies, there is something to say for throwing caution (and plans) to the wind and just going with something. Back in July I took an impromptu day trip to Victoria and it was one of the funnest days I had all summer. A couple of hours ago I upped the ante and bought a concert ticket (to The LUMINEERS!!!) after seeing that a friend posted on Facebook that he was going. It’s not like I have nothing to do today- two final projects are still looming before I start the new semester next Monday- but sometimes you need to say “screw it” (or something more vulgar rhyming with ‘truck it’) and just go for broke. I know that next week, next month, next year, I’m going to remember the concert, and not the potential all-nighter I’ll have to pull to finish these assignments.

When was the last time you were spontaneous?

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During my last semester of business at UVic, our Operations Behaviour professor assigned a project that had us delve into and examine our current state. In essence, a beefed-up self assessment that would cover our strengths, weaknesses, BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal), steps and strategies to reach said goal, and rewards for completing various milestones. As you do, I completed the project, got a decent grade and didn’t think too much more about the subject until I came across it a couple of weeks ago.

My BHAG has definitely evolved (I no longer want to own my own boutique), but the steps that I had outlined in order to reach a career in the fashion industry was what really caught my eye.

1. Become fluent in French
2. Gain retail experience
3. Complete a fashion-specific diploma or equivalent 

It would be so badass if I could confidently say ‘Check! Check! Check!’

But! While I’m not quite there, I’m definitely well on my way. In the past year I’ve started a fashion diploma program (at Blanche Macdonald), am currently gaining retail experience (my one love, J.Crew), and finally purchased Rosetta Stone for French (I’ve put off actually starting it, but with two jobs and full time school can you really blame me?). It was a strangely satisfying feeling to know that I was actually completing the sub-goals I had set out in order to have a career in the fashion industry.

Everyone’s heard about the Harvard study where the 3% of grads who had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them went on to earn ten times as much as the other 97% of grads combined. Staggering, but time and time again goal setting proves to be beneficial. When I worked on that project two years ago and set out those goals I didn’t have any immediate plans to begin working on them; I was more pre-occupied with earning some money and then travelling. It was during my adventure abroad where I realized that I really did want to pursue a fashion career, and went about researching, applying, and even interviewing with some top fashion schools.

Maybe I was subconsciously influenced by my written goals, maybe I wasn’t. But from now on I am a firm believer in setting them.

When was the last time you wrote out goals?

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Busy Bee, Sunny Sunshine

Over the last couple of weeks my life has gone into overdrive. Between finishing up my first semester of school and working weekends, I managed to assist with styling an 8-page shoot for The Province with Alicia, started interning twice a week at the amazing Roden Gray in Gastown, and took the first real step towards learning French by finally purchasing  Rosetta Stone (thanks, Group On!). My apartment has never been cleaner and I even got around to hanging the mirror and cork board that have been sitting in my room for three months. It’s been awesome.

However, as busy as I’ve felt lately I know that it’s only going to get more hectic. I applied to J.Crew yesterday for a part time position and my next semester starts April 8th. If all goes to plan, I may soon find myself with five classes, two internships, and two jobs, not to mention all the other stuff that takes up my time like blogging, gyming, and apartment curating. AND summer is coming! (Much less ominous than what those darn Starks say.) The clear skies as of late have definitely buoyed my spirits, but they also make it difficult to stay focused and indoors (blasted studying). It’ll be a pedal to the metal for sure, but I’m looking forward to every second. Anything is possible when the sun is shining!

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Shiny & New


I’m back! The new year seemed like the perfect time to get back in the swing of things, especially given those pesky things called resolutions. But, before I look forward and list the all the things I’d like to accomplish in the next twelve months, I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on the epic year that was 2012.

This was a big one folks. Not only did I get to travel all over South East Asia for five months, I got to see my best friend tie the knot in Cuba, move to beautiful Vancouver, BC, make the decision to go back to school for something that I love (fashion merchandising at Blanche, thanks for asking!), and channel my inner Baumgartner while skydiving for the first time. I tried new things (including deep-fried scorpion), met new people, and learned how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in six different languages. I read a lot (25 books while travelling alone), became addicted to a plethora of new music (Florence & the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Mumford & Sons,  The Lumineers, and The Black Keys are always playing in my apartment), and finally replaced my almost seven year old laptop with a sleek ultrabook from Lenovo. It has truly been an incredible year.

So what am I looking forward to changing in 2013? I’m going back to basics: eight glasses of aqua and eight hours of sleep a day with three gym visits and one blog post a week. Let’s throw in two books a month and a weekend trip every four as well. Simple is usually the best way to go and I think by breaking things down this way I might actually be able to stick with them and reap the benefits.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2013!

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