Personal Branding 101: Build Your Canadian Personal Brand!

Canadian personal branding

DISCLAIMER: This personal branding post was written in partnership for the DIGITAL ME campaign with Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), all opinions expressed are 100% my own!

When I first began blogging, I started like many others on the platform blogspot.com, within a few months, I knew how important it was going to be for my personal branding to have my own presence.  My friends at CIRA have been working hard to educate young Canadians through a campaign called Digitial Me on why it’s so important to have a .CA website! 5 years ago, I had no idea how important that digital presence would be, and even more so why making my presence as a Canadian be known would mean so much to me!

Personal Branding

My first blog address was a .com, honestly for no other reason other than I didn’t know any different. As I maneuvered through that web space and began meeting other Canadian business women I began to see all these .CA websites popping up. I had no idea that a Canadian web address was a thing, why wouldn’t it though? After all, aren’t we all proud to be Canadian?

Initially, when I began my leather business, even that was housed on a platform outside of my own website, I was giving that site my traffic and relying on their internal SEO programs to drive traffic to my business. Figuring out how I could have my site, tied into my blog on my own site meant that I have complete control of my personal branding and my success! After all, this is my income, my livelihood, I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to market myself, my business and my brand.

By having my shop on my site meant that I could build up even more credibility with my customers. I went from 20 purchases in a year on an outside platform to 400+ a year with 4 retailers carrying my products on my own website. For a passive business, that’s not terrible!

Throughout the last several years we’ve seen Instagram and Facebook truly blow up! Every time you think you know what you’re doing, the algorithm changes. These algorithms are next to impossible to figure out which as an influencer or small business can be frustrating, to say the least! I’ve had months where I’ve grown my following by next to nothing on Facebook and Instagram and others where I’ve grown hundreds.

On top of all the changes, in the last few months, we’ve seen the platforms crash, sometimes for hours or as of most recently almost a full working day! Earlier in the year, we also witnessed several influencers who put all their eggs into the IG basket, lose their entire IG accounts, thousands of followers and endless hours of hard work all gone because of a bug in the system allowing people to hack accounts. Do you know what I’ll never lose? The email list for subscribers that I grow myself!

Now, do you want to truly want to invest all your time in to building a presence in just one singular platform that you don’t own and have no control over?

In a world where we are all learning and growing each day, we need to be able to share our voice and the things that matter to us. However, within these platforms, they have the ability to filter the things that we post! Since everyone has an opinion, your posts can be flagged and removed by the platforms with no notice to you.

Breastfeeding photos have been deemed as nudity and I’ve even had friends being questioned simply because of their last name and their ethnicity. This doesn’t sound like the place I want all my hard work going into!

So why do we invest all this time in these platforms which are ultimately not in our control? When I began this journey of blogging, I knew that I never wanted to put all my eggs in one basket. Growing slowly month by month, and some platforms being more successful than others.

I believe a more well-rounded presence online will ultimately be part of my success; which it is, however owning my own space with my own voice means that I never experience any downtime at the hand of something I cannot control!

With the rise of social media influencers who have built their following through social media only, it’s now more than ever important to have your own online presence. But why? Why should you have an online presence?

Personal Branding

Personal branding is about more than just an online resume, it is a way to define who you are and what you believe in the world.  The Digital Me campaign by CIRA seeks to remind us of the importance of owning our brand, the personal domain, and our personal website.

First impressions matter and if you’ve ever googled yourself, you might wonder sometimes why certain images or websites turn up before others. A personal domain allows you to share more than just your resume, you can brand yourself with your personality, values, thoughts, and dreams. I want my personal brand to be something that my girls will be proud of, so when they see my digital footprint, they too will strive for that same excellence in their digital footprint!

When I first began blogging, I had no idea the number of things I would learn. 5 years later, I can proudly say that I have taught myself everything from photography, graphic design and so on! Having my own space has allowed me to explore my digital skills in your own online sandbox.

Furthermore, my website means that I always have stability; as long as I can find an internet connection, I will always have relevance and be able to share with my readers. Building newsletters letter list, and working on all the platforms including my website ensures that my influencer career can’t be controlled by any one company. It gives me longevity to be able to provide for my family!

Personal Branding

Now the big question… Why should I choose .CA over an alternative?

Did you know that in order to have a .CA website you must have a Canadian address? There is an entire team dedicated to ensuring that those operating under .CA actually have a Canadian address! This is how I know that there has never been a better time to be Canadian. Canada’s role on the global stage and prestige in the world has never been higher. The world loves and embraces Canadian values. So why not let the world know that you are proud to be Canadian by building your personal branding?

How do I start to develop my Canadian personal branding?

Start building your personal brand by asking, what do I want the world to see/know about me? You don’t need to get a complicated website, remember we all start somewhere and building from the ground up is half the fun! To me honestly, this is the most important part, Get in touch with your “why”… why do you present yourself the way you do? Why do you do what you do? When you know and understand the reasons why

Now I’m not saying don’t be on social media as social media is one way that I leverage my personal branding. Anytime I publish something new, it is shared across all channels. It’s my online resume, I share it with everyone! Some of my best work has come from writing this blog. I’ve grown as a writer both in my emotional appeal and within the technical aspects.

Just blog weekly or daily; whatever works for you and remember to keep posting your awards and/or accomplishments. Your domain truly is the place to share all those things that make you proud! Interested in learning more about why having a personal brand matters, how you can get started building your own personal brand and why now is that perfect time to be Canadian online? Check out the Digital Me E-book for some amazing ideas and tips on how to grow your Canadian personal brand!

Photography by Kristy Powers Photography

Spring is HERE: Blossom At Metropolis ft: 250,000 Blossoms

Blossom At Metropolis

Just when Metropolis at Metrotown cannot get any better Blossom At Metropolis. This gorgeous art installation brought spring indoors for everyone to admire! From now until March 31st, the Grand Court at Metropolis has been taken over by one of our favourite parts of Spring…Cherry Blossoms!

When I first moved to Vancouver in 2006 to go to Make Up School I was living downtown Vancouver. Each spring, I would take in the views of the Cherry Blossoms that lined the roads. This spring Cherry Blossoms have been sadly been missing from our views until now. More than 250,000 cherry blossoms are on display in this one of a kind Art Installation Blossom at Metropolis.

Blossom At Metropolis

This breathtaking art installation is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. As if we need more reasons to stop and take a selfie, the magical pink and white petals of the cherry blossoms is guaranteed to capture your heart!

Blossom At Metropolis

Created by Vancouver interactive-arts company Hfour, Blossom at Metropolis encourages people to wander, take photos, and sit in awe of the quarter-million-plus blossoms. Enjoy these gorgeous blossoms as they reflect off dozens of mirror spheres (with the largest being 4 metres in size) creating the illusion of infinite blooms hanging above them.

With Spring break right around the corner,  take in one of the daily workshops happening located inside the Grand Court where the Panda’s were last summer. Be sure to head over to metropolisatmetrotown.com for the complete schedule, registration information, and age restrictions as some workshops are all-ages.

Blossom At Metropolis

There are a variety of floral art and Japanese cultural workshops every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the installation’s 27 days, presented in collaboration with MUJI (Workshop Wednesdays) and Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

The Blossom At Metropolis workshops include origami, brush lettering, traditional Japanese paper and fabric art, flower arranging, traditional Japanese folk dancing, and much more.

Blossom At Metropolis

Blossom At Metropolis

Stuart Ward, Creative Director of Hfour, adds: “Our team always aims to create experiential works of art that people can really lose themselves in. With Blossom at Metropolis, we think we’ve achieved something special that everyone, no matter their age or background, will connect to. It’s our largest and most visual experience in Canada to date, and we’re excited to share this with Metropolis.”

From the Blossoms themselves to these amazing workshops, there is something for everyone! Take this moment to teach the children about the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms that we are so fortunate to enjoy and learn about the beautiful Japanese culture.

We have been quite fortunate in years past to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms early in the spring. This art installation truly is a breath of fresh spring air!

Blossom At Metropolis

Because Metropolis at Metrotown is so amazing, they once again are hosting a fabulour giveaway. Head down to the kiosk’ at the installation to enter for your chance to win a $1000 shopping spree.

In addition, by sharing their videos and photos of their visit on Instagram using #METBlossom and @metropolisatmet, you can also enter for a chance to win a weekly Blossom prize package or a $500 Metropolis at Metrotown gift card.

You can check out the Blossom At Metropolis Art Installation daily during regular mall hours but be sure to check the website before heading down if you are wishing to participate in one of the workshops as they only happen Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Don’t forget to share your photos and tag Metropolis at Metrotown on Instagram, that giveaway is too good to miss out on!

Blossom At Metropolis

From the crocus to the Daffodils a big part of my heart belongs to the Cherry Blossoms. What is your favourite spring flower?

Blossom At Metropolis Blossom At Metropolis

Blossom At Metropolis

Breville’s Bambino Plus: A Quality Espresso At Home & Giveaway

Bambino Plus Lavender Latte

Disclaimer: We received the Bambino Plus Espresso Machine from Breville in exchange for an honest review! All opinions expressed are 100% my own!

As a busy mom of 2 girls with 3 businesses, life is busy! I’m wearing all the hats and doing all the things thus coffee is life! Let me tell you, my Bambino Plus from Breville changed the way I start my mornings! In addition to my busy schedule, I am also training for the Vancouver Sun Run for my 3rd year as a sponsored runner.

This year, as I mentally wrapped my mind around running the 3rd year, I knew nutrition needed to be a focus so I decided to cut out refined sugar during my training to see how much of a difference it might make. Let me tell you, you never know how bad your coffee is until you stop adding sugar to it!

I am often asked how I do all the things, be all the places and wear all the hats; routine is essential for my success. Since becoming a mother, I learned that I truly am a creature of habit as are my children! My morning coffee is a huge part of the day.  The girls know before Mommy does anything, she has a glass of water and a coffee but taking sugar out of coffee took a bit of enjoyment out of my love for my morning coffee.

Bambino Plus

While cutting out sugar the first time, I learned the difference a quality coffee makes which includes the machine that makes the coffee. Something about an espresso just seems so much more productive in my day! There are no coffee’s laying around for me to forget about it and then microwaves 3 times over.

When you love a good espresso, you realize how expensive that love can be if you’re hitting up coffee shops to get your caffeine fix. Maybe we should look at making the investment into an espresso machine?

Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

What did I learn about the Bambino Plus & Other Espresso Machines?

There are a lot of options out there. This is probably the most difficult part. They come in different sizes and all are capable of different things.  Some only make one cup at a time and some are most definitely more expensive than others. The options can be overwhelming, so I suggest really narrowing down exactly what you’re looking for in an espresso machine before diving into your research.

One of the things that I loved about the Bambino from Breville is that it’s extremely user-friendly and compact. With a 3 second heat up time and precise espresso extraction, there are no more long waits in a lineup for a quality coffee or latte, it’s right at your fingertips in your own home! The Bambino Plus delivers a barista-quality performance using a 54mm portafilter with 19 grams for full flavor and an automatic steam wand for milk texturing.

Breville's Bambino Plus: A Quality Espresso At Home & Giveaway 16

I knew when looking into espresso machines, that we would want something very straight forward. Nothing over the top but certainly equipt with all the necessary gadgets to make a mean cup of espresso and perhaps a latte! The Bambino Plus is so user-friendly that even my 10-year-old has figured out how to use it to make Hot Chocolate for both her and her sister.

Breville's Bambino Plus: A Quality Espresso At Home & Giveaway 18

I really delved deep into the specifics of which espresso machine was going to be the newest member of our kitchen. The Bambino Plus ThermoJet heating system allows it to achieve the optimum extraction temperature in just 3 seconds. This means amazing coffee even quicker than my regular coffee maker!

Breville truly has thought of everything! Clearly, they take coffee as seriously as I do! The Bambino plus has low-pressure pre-infusion which gradually increases pressure to ensure all the flavors of the coffee are drawn out evenly.

Bambino Plus

What did I love the most? The machine itself is not big and bulky, it fits perfectly on our counter top and doesn’t take up too much space! It’s so user-friendly that my oldest can use it and can set the temperature so Zoe’s hot chocolate is a little bit cooler in temperature than hers.  Thanks to The Bambino Plus, I enjoy a quality espresso at home and after attending a barista master class, I can even create artisan lattes such as a Lavender Latte. No more long waits for overpriced coffees at the coffee shop.

Lavender Latte

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Make your own Lavender Latte using my recipe below!

To make a delicious Lavender Latte, simply add 2 TBSP of my refined sugar-free lavender syrup to your preferred mug. Follow the directions on the Bambino Plus to make your own Espresso shot and add to lavender syrup. Texturize the milk to your liking and pour into your mug with espresso and lavender syrup. I use a spoon to keep the foam in the provided stainless steel milk jug until all the milk is added and then top with the foam. Garnish with dried lavender flowers if desired!  Don’t have lavender syrup, follow my recipe below to make your own. Be sure to store in the fridge!

Breville's Bambino Plus: A Quality Espresso At Home & Giveaway 22

4.78 from 9 votes
Refined Sugar Free Lavender Syrup For Lavender Lattes
Author: Janette
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Dried Lavender
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Water
Instructions
  1. Add 1 cup water and 1/2 cup lavender to a saucepan, bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain out flowers and discard. In a clean saucepan, add ½ honey. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine honey & water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then stir in lavender liquid. Whisk until fully combined, remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to storage container and keep in the fridge.

We kind of love Breville products a whole lot! Feel free to check out any of the following recipes and reviews below:

Lavender Latte

Lavender Latte

PIN IT FOR LATER

Lavender Latte

PC Insiders Subscription: #1 Way To Earn Points & Saving Money!

PC Insiders Subscription

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of President’s Choice Services Inc. All opinions are 100% mine.

PC Insiders Subscription

Grocery shopping can be one of the most frustrating and one of the most rewarding jobs I cross off my weekly to-do list. My friends at PC® have been doing amazing things to make grocery shopping, not such a chore. Aside from amazing prices and a huge selection of everything you possibly need all under one roof. The PC Insiders subscription program offers many amazing benefits like earning more points on select brands and making our lives 100x easier. Intrigued? Use code 1MONTHFREE when you sign up for a monthly subscription and get your first month free. (Offer excludes Quebec residents; terms and conditions apply)! But wait….

What exactly is the PC Insiders subscription program?

Short answer? The answers to all your grocery shopping woes! The PC Insiders subscription program is a new subscription service that is available to all PC Optimum members. Members will now earn more points, earning 20% back in PC Optimum Points on select brands. Members who purchase the Annual subscription will also enjoy the added benefit of an $99 PC travel services credit and the annual surprise gift.

PC Insiders Subscription

Growing up, I watched my mom collect coupons and ask for rain checks. I was always in awe with her ability to stretch the dollar and PC Optimum points definitely help me follow in those same footprints. For every 10,000 points that you redeem towards your purchases at participating stores, you owe $10 less on your total bill. Did I mention you can redeem those points towards purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart as well, makes it much easier to spoil myself with some luxury cosmetics that I may not normally purchase.

Now because I know like most parents you’re always searching for an amazing deal. You can also reap the benefits when shopping online at Joefresh.com. Don’t forget, you can also take advantage of the free pickup with PC Express. It doesn’t get much easier or convenient than that!

This Christmas I redeemed some of my PC Optimum points towards groceries in a big Christmas dinner shop. I ended up redeeming $50 towards groceries! Now that I’m a PC Insiders subscriber earning 20% back in PC Optimum points on select brands it certainly makes grocery shopping more enjoyable.

PC Insiders Subscription

This sounds amazing right? Well, it truly is. I’ve found some new products that have quickly become family favourites by purchasing the PC®  version of our favourite products as they gain us more points. Once you are a member, you receive these benefits when shopping all PC® Organics products, Joe Fresh® and the PC® Black Label Collection.  Furthermore, you will also enjoy these perks on all brands of baby diapers and formula purchases at Loblaw banner stores, Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix.

Life is busy, we all know this but it doesn’t need to be stressful. The PC Insiders subscription takes all that stress out of grocery shopping so you can do what you do best; being that amazing parent enjoying the time with your kids. After all, it is true what they say, they grow up to fast! Don’t let your precious time with your kids be spent in the lines with waiting to pay for groceries! A PC Insiders subscription is the best way to ask for guilt-free help!

I think of all the times I’ve been stressed out running errands between soccer practice, dance class or picking up shop supplies all because I knew I needed groceries. Trying to find time to stop and pick up ingredients for dinner when every moment is already spoken for is next to impossible! Thanks to PCExpress, I can order groceries in the morning and have my husband pick them up on his way home!  Convenience truly is always just a click away!

PC Insiders Subscription

Life happens and sometimes our to-do lists are never-ending and are overwhelming. PC® has created this program to make life easier and shopping more rewarding with all the convenience busy parents need!

Now because I love you so much, I want you to experience some of the joy and ease that the PC Insiders subscription provides, I’ve got a promo code for your first month free off a monthly subscription: 1MONTHFREE. (Offer excludes Quebec residents; terms and conditions apply.)! If you love it as much as I know you will, I highly suggest signing up!

Want to learn more about the PC Insiders subscription? Head over to PC Insiders to learn more and sign up using my promo code 1MONTHFREE to fall in love with grocery shopping again!

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Re/Form Conference 2019: A Conference For Creative People

Re/Form Conference 2019

Disclaimer: I received my tickets to the Re/Form Conference 2019 in Squamish in exchange for sharing about the conference. All opinions expressed are 100% my own!

If you recall earlier in the year I shared my personal mission statement after hearing Devon Brooks speak at an event! Devon’s story spoke to me and changed my life! When the Re/Form Conference came across my inbox and I saw her name along with a few other creatives I’ve admired, I knew I had to attend. Why? Because with a line-up like that, I knew that this was going to be magic!

As a blogger/creative, I’ve attended a few conferences and this was unlike anything I’d ever heard of, in a beautiful location and a strong line up of fierce entrepreneurs and leaders, the Re/Form Conference promises to be one for the books.

What is the Re/Form Conference all about?

Re/Form Conference in Squamish is a new kind of conference staging two-days of learning, wellness and mentorship for creatives and entrepreneurs. Re/Form conference returns to the award-winning Cheakamus Centre on March 21 and 22, 2019.

Re/Form Conference 2019

With more than 25 accomplished entrepreneurs and thought leaders, the conference will leave you feeling restored and motivated. These thought leaders come from all across the province and are scheduled to present a thoughtfully curated program.

“What makes this event unique is that it provides the practical learning of a conference without the typical conference environment,” says Re/Form co-founder Shannon Lorenz.

“The schedule is designed to provide high-impact knowledge presented through inspiring keynotes, panels, and workshops. followed by the opportunity get creative, network or take a forest walk. You don’t find that balance very often in a conference.”

Topics at this year’s Re/Form conference include topics such as diversity and inclusion, workplace trends, and entrepreneur self-care. Among the confirmed speakers is mind-body medicine expert Dr. Thara Vayali and Juice Truck co-owners Ryan Slater and Zach Berman. But it doesn’t stop there, Bodega Ridge founder Jesse Keefer, and social justice advocate Niki Sharma will also be in attendance.

One part that truly stood out to me as being unique is that attendees are able to design their own conference experience. Choosing from a range of personal and professional development workshops and wellness breaks, it truly is what you make of it!

“We’ve taken a holistic approach to our programming to ensure we’ve filled the space between learning and wellness,” says Re/Form co-founder Rachel Boguski. “Rather than networking, we’re beginning the program with facilitated circles and storytelling to create a deeper and more meaningful sense of connection not typically found in a conference environment.”

Be sure to head over to the website for the conference line-up, schedule and registration details visit reformconference.ca After hearing Devon speak and knowing what she is able to offer, I am 100% confident that the thought leaders at Re/Form Conference are going to be just as life changing!

Tickets to the Re/Form two-day conference are $320, which includes lunch, coffee, and light snacks on both days. Interested in attending? Use ReFormAtoZ for $60 off your ticket price!

I couldn’t be more excited to be in this setting full of amazing creative minds! Will I be seeing you there? Have you ever met someone who truly changed your life?

Photo Credits:

Re/Form Conference 2019

Re/Form Conference 2019
Speakers Clockwise L to R:Dylan Rekert (Very Polite Agency), Katie Ruddell (Kokomo), Matt Corker, Shelley Adams (Whitewater Cooks), Dr. Thara Vayali, Zach Berman and Ryan Slater (The Juice Truck), Urszula Lipsztajn, JJ Walsh (Fig Facial), Niki Sharma, Genieve Burley, Masaji Takei, Jacqueline Jennings, Candace Campo, Juno Kim, Chantel Chapman (W-T-Finances), Mark Busse
Re/Form Conference 2019
L-R (Creative Mornings), Makenzie Chilton (Sphere Guide), Jesse Keefer (Bodega Ridge), Bree Melanson, Jen Ammer (Sphere Guide), Brit Gill, Sue Hollis, Devon Brooks (Sphere), Erin Treolar (Raw Beauty Talks), DS Sheppard.