LIFESTYLE | Spring Reads
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Spring Reads!!!

In a nut shell:

I Capture the Castle | Dodie Smith

For the spring romance and the whimsical way of describing life.

The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgosn Burnett

For the nature and beauty around us.

Peter Pan | J.M. Barrie

For the imagination and pure delight. 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit | Beatrix Potter

For the child in us.

Big Magic | Elizabeth Gilbert

To shake us up, to inspire and absolute come alongside our own journey.

We | Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel

For the reminders of how we should treat each other.

WORK | Projects in Stages
projects.byamygrace

Something clicked just over a month ago.  

I can and should have multiple different projects on the go in various stages of development at all times. 

This has been true for me at different times in my work, but never intentional.

It hit me while sitting and listening to women in the storytelling industry.

It is normal and in fact, part of the creative industry to be multitasking with various projects.

You see, that is not in my nature.  I am a multi-tasker in my day sure, but not in how I live my overall life.  If I want to do anything, I am guns blazing from start to finish.  I want to start at the beginning and get to the end, as fast as I possibly can.  

That is not how it works in the theatre, film and television industry.  

It takes Months.  Seasons.  YEARS even.

This realization is blowing my mind and still a challenge to comprehend.

At this point, all I can truly say, is that I am learning how to be more comfortable and capable with balancing this reality.  Having four projects this season seems daunting and overwhelming and yet, it also seems absolutely possible and motivating. 

As my awareness and understanding of how this works develops for me I will definitely be documenting and sharing my process and learning.  

Until then,

With various projects I go....

 

 

 

LIFESTYLE | Winter Toddler Capsule Wardrobe 2018
  Top Centre Clockwise:  Pink Striped Shirt |  Zara,  Taupe Dress |  Zara,  White winter hat |  H&M,  Winter jacket |  Joe Fresh,  Pink Boots |  Joe Fresh,  Pink Pom Pom |  Bib & Tucker,  White Cable knit sweater |  Carters , Grey Dream Big Shirt |  Carters,  Ice Skating Sticker Book |  Indigo,  White Cable knit Mittens |  H&M,  Winter Girls leggings |  The Gap,  Nordic Leggings |  The Gap,  Merry & Bright Shirt |  Carters,  Today Book |  Indigo,  Grey Zip Sweater |  The Gap,  Winter graphic shirts |  Carters,  Red Horse Pyjamas |  The Bay,  Water colours |  Micheals ,  Paint Brushes | Korea, Fisher Price Dollhouse people |  from my childhood,   Buiscuit Book series |  Gift from Great Aunt Susan and Great Uncle Neil

Top Centre Clockwise: Pink Striped Shirt | Zara, Taupe Dress | Zara, White winter hat | H&M, Winter jacket | Joe Fresh, Pink Boots | Joe Fresh, Pink Pom Pom | Bib & Tucker, White Cable knit sweater | Carters, Grey Dream Big Shirt | Carters, Ice Skating Sticker Book | Indigo, White Cable knit Mittens | H&M, Winter Girls leggings | The Gap, Nordic Leggings | The Gap, Merry & Bright Shirt | Carters, Today Book | Indigo, Grey Zip Sweater | The Gap, Winter graphic shirts | Carters, Red Horse Pyjamas | The Bay, Water colours | Micheals , Paint Brushes | Korea, Fisher Price Dollhouse people | from my childhood,  Buiscuit Book series | Gift from Great Aunt Susan and Great Uncle Neil

This was such a fun capsule to grow.  

From last year, her snow gear all still fit aside from the hat and mittens.  A quick jaunt to H&M for the next size up was all we needed to do to make sure she had all her snow gear ready.

Christmas pyjamas and a Christmas dress were a must for me to have for her.  There is something so special about having a special pair of pyjamas and a special outfit for the holidays.

For christmas, we gave her first shopping request.  The pink pom pom stuffy.  It took me by such surprise when she pointed to it and asked to buy it.  Of course this being in October when she saw it, I had so much fun tucking it away for christmas.  She and anyone who see's it gets a good laugh.

Another hit was her Dollhouse gift for Christmas.  Which, let's be honest was mine.  My mom stored my 1990's fisher price dollhouse and ALL, and I mean ALL of it's accessories.  Z has no idea how much more to the dollhouse there is.  Every special occasion we are gifting or rather 're gifting' the accessories to the house and she cannot get enough. 

"You play with my dollhouse with me" is her favourite phrase.

The zip sweater is a favourite as it''s easy to put on and off around the house and her little shirts have been fun to pair with her leggings. 

I have a feeling that not much will fit her next Winter length wise, but I do believe that the cable knit white sweater will still be carried into next winters wardrobe and maybe her Zara striped shirt.

SPOTLIGHT | Amy Trefry
spotlight.amy.trefry

I met Amy just over a year ago now and something about her tenacity was hard to miss.  I saw it again during the Women Making Waves 2018 conference when she pitched her short film 'All the Owls' and won.  She completely astounded me with her grace while addressing her multi-faceted skill set.  Her ability to stand wholly as a woman of many skills and skills yet to achieve was a fierce and holy vision to behold.  I will forever hold close that image of her at the podium addressing the box we put her and many women in, simply because they are acting differently than we had 'imagined' they should.  Her words and work are impactful.  Enjoy!  

Her Work              Her Buisness

 

How would you describe yourself?

I don’t really know to be honest.  I know how others *might* describe me, depending on what context they know me in, but I don’t really know how I describe myself. 

Tangibly and straight forwardly I am a wife, daughter, sister, and aunt.  In what matters to me, I am fiercely dedicated to building community and friendships.  In how the world wants us to define ourselves?  Well, my education no longer categorizes me, but often creeps into my self-identification as a justification of my value as a person, and my work is varied and I hold no specific claim to ‘being’ any one thing. I don’t really have a succinct answer to the opening social greeting “so what do you do?” I am a long list of “used to be/do” that I sometimes have a hard time letting go of. I am an absolutely certain, but always shakeable, “I want to be an actor”. But how would I describe myself? Probably by shrugging, awkwardly laughing and avoiding the question with a quick “I just am who I am”.          

What role does creativity play in your life?

It is the greatest measure and control of happiness and fulfillment in my life.  When I am creating I feel on top of the world.  When I am around others who are creative or get inspired by other people’s work I am able to see a clear path for my own life’s purpose.  But on the other side of the coin, when I question my value and worth as a creative person or the quality of my own work I am at my lowest.  It demands absolute honesty and vulnerability and in that brings both light and dark – as with anything of immense value to anyone’s life I believe.  

What are you currently working on?

I am currently producing a short film ‘All the Owls’ that I co-wrote with Brent Braaten as well as in the research phase of a documentary on bi-phobia that I am working on with Emily Jewer.  I am production coordinating for John Walker’s latest documentary ‘Assholes: A Thoery’ and I always have half a dozen writing projects on the side it seems that are mid project and that I am applying for funding for!   

Outside of making films I am excited for the 2018 film season in Halifax to see what acting opportunities come up! 

What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?

Book was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro about cloned children who are bred for organ donation and must nurse one another through their “donations” until, at a horribly early age, they “complete”, or die.

Podcast was This American Life: Really Long Distance where Producer Miki Meek tells the story of a phone booth in Japan that attracts thousands of people who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. A Japanese TV crew from NHK Sendai filmed people inside the phone booth, whose phone is not connected to anything at all, all of whom place a call to speak to the dead.  

Movie was “Call Me By Your Name” directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Andre Aciman. 

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

Being creative is just like any other job but harder, you need to work at it even when you don’t feel like it and no one is telling you that you have to.  Don’t wait to be inspired or motivated to work, let your work be what makes you feel motivated to create, and let your own creativity be what inspires you.  Surround yourself with other people who are creative that support you and can help you feel like you are part of a community of colleagues and collaborators.  Never let fear or uncertainty or self-doubt prevent you from saying yes to an opportunity, even if you don’t know how to do it – that’s what google and questions are for.  Find one or two people who believe in your ability more than you do and have their numbers on hand whenever you start to question your own value so much that you feel like giving up.  Celebrate your achievements no matter what scale they are on.  And no matter what stage you are at, make learning your highest priority, if you do that you will enter every situation with humility, an open mind and the ability to connect with others and you will always walk away having gained something.  

 

LIFESTYLE | Winter Capsule Wardrobe 2018
  Top centre clockwise:  Reading socks |   Indigo ,  Darling Magazine. Issue 22 |  Darling  , Green Sweater |   Bootlegger,   Chrome Nail Polish |  Essie | Quo,  Naked Heat Pallet |   Sephora,   Bedazzled Gloves |  Gift , Innis Free Rose Mask |  Amazon , Blue Jeans |  The Gap , Thigh high winter socks |   Aerie  , Christmas Pyjamas |   Suzy Shier   , Plaid pyjama pants |   La Vie en Rose  , Romper |  Korea , Black turtle neck |  Winners,  Pleather Pants |   Zara,   Gold top |   Reitmans,   Grey Sweater |  MEC

Top centre clockwise: Reading socks | Indigo, Darling Magazine. Issue 22 | Darling , Green Sweater | Bootlegger, Chrome Nail Polish | Essie | Quo, Naked Heat Pallet | Sephora, Bedazzled Gloves | Gift, Innis Free Rose Mask | Amazon, Blue Jeans | The Gap, Thigh high winter socks | Aerie, Christmas Pyjamas | Suzy Shier , Plaid pyjama pants | La Vie en Rose, Romper | Korea, Black turtle neck | Winners, Pleather Pants | Zara, Gold top | Reitmans, Grey Sweater | MEC

This winter I embraced the hyggelit aspects of winter by focusing on warm and cozy item additions.  

For Christmas I received two cozy pyjama sets from La Vie En Rose, one pictured here, the pink plaid pants which came with a t-shirt that says "The Snuggle is Real".  The grey socks are a quick find at Aerie and another Christmas gift in the white reading socks.  I also found this beautiful green sweater from Bootlegger which I needed badly!  

These items really did add a comfort to the cold days! 

Not pictured here are the year round yoga wears with the addition of these Yoga Pants from Aerie (they were in the wash when I took this photo), tank tops for underneath shirts and a few carry over items from Autumn that I used in this capsule.

The other mention is the Naked Heat pallet I painstainkly researched and saved for.  I have not been known for makeup skills but over the course of the past three years have been learning more about products and what works for me.  These tones are my absolute favourites and I figured with youtube tutorials etc it would be a great way for me to embrace learning how to properly apply eye makeup using the right techniques and shading. 

WORK | Spring 2018
amygrace.byamygrace

Thank-God for Spring!  Everything comes up new.

And that is exactly how it feels professionally for me right now.

Attending Women Making Waves 2018 was a reminder that my courage and ambition are rightly placed and well timed.  That my projects have merit and my stories have a voice.

Since that conference I have embraced what it looks like to be a professional writer in the performance industries.  It means a lot of hard and well though out solo work.  A lot of applications, a lot of socializing and finding those whom click with your own work ethic and values.  

It means patience, perseverance, and a lot of play time.

This Spring:

I anticipate announcing a few new and exciting projects.

Introducing new and inspiring women via Spotlight posts.

Continuing to share my learned experiencing in life and work.

"My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive, and to do so some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style." - Maya Angelou

 

LIFESTYLE | Faith Like This
four.leaf.clover.byamygrace

Once upon a time I believed that in a yard full of three-leaf clovers there would be at least one four leaf clover.  

I believed that I could find it if I just tried.  Despite the lawn mower trimming them all down, despite the surplus of them.  

Once upon a time, I considered that the thousands, if not millions of three-leaf clovers were a blessing.  For the more of them there were, the higher the chances of finding the one four-leaf clover.

I believed.  I trusted an inner knowing.  

It was more of a promise whispered in my heart.  If I looked for it, it would be there.  It might take a long time, but I would go and find it before the lawn mower was done it's job.

I mused aloud.  My mother shook her head.  Attempting at discouraging such a thought.  

"You don't just go and find one.  And they are all three-leaf clover.  You know that."

I knew that, but I also knew something deeper.  

That my faith in that one clover was bigger than a worldly truth.

So I looked.  With the lawn mower gaining ground on it's already cut grass.  I started in the uncut portions.  I sat and looked at each clover one by one.  

I don't know how long I sat there.  I don't remember. 

But I do remember finding my four leaf clover.  The one I knew that was promised to me.  

My sass has never left me and I admit I was proud to prove my mom wrong.  That I found one and I knew it all along. 

She was floored.  She dropped what she was doing and called her mother, she recalled that story many times to anyone who would listen.  She celebrated with me.  Over this promise I found.

And that is the thing with our faith.  It just has to be bigger than what we already know.  

And when God whispers a promise in your ear, you don't gaff at it, you listen.  You let yourself fill up with excitement and you dare to believe that this incredulous faith is all it takes for that promise to be fulfilled.

There are promises that may not be fulfilled in our time, ones that create an ache in our spirits we are not capable of understanding.

What is important, is not that we see every promise / hope that we have fulfilled, but that we live our lives with a faith that is hope filled, joy filled and grace filled.  

This Clover, for me, is a symbol.  That when it comes to the dreams I hold within my heart, all I am being asked of is to have a Faith Like This

WORK | Week Planning
week.planning.byamygrace

It's no secret that I carry my Bullet Journal close to get me through my days and ADORE sitting down to plan a fresh week.  But the truth is, I do it for the sanity.  For the ability to juggle my personal and professional life. 

Planning for a new week takes me from mid Friday to Sunday night.  If I am blessed to have an open stretch of time then it might only take me one day, but non the less, to have sanity I carve out the time despite how busy a weekend may be to plan the new week to come. 

How?

1. Schedule the dailys.

Chores, exercise, and hygiene/beauty regimen all get scheduled in without question.  A clean home, ability to move my body and take care of my physical/emotional self are high values for me.  I make them a priority.  

2. Ink in the meetings/events/appointments.

Being that I am the main care giver for my almost three year old and a writer for theatre, film & television, any event, work meeting, appointment and child care has to be planned ahead and chosen wisely.  I know my point of exausthion and do my best to make sure that I rarely hit it so that I can always be giving my daughter, colleagues friends and family the best and healthiest version of myself.  This also means that every week looks different from the next.  Scheduling can feel like a game of chess at times.

3. Empty inboxes & links saved.

I am a huge fan of starting the week with a fresh inbox, knowing that I have dealt with the weeks correspondence and along with that, any links that I have saved to be read, watched or looked into are carefully minimized and put in folders such as "Professional Development".

4. Update budget, groceries, meal plan, etc.

Being wise with our finances, and eating healthy whole foods are values of our little family.  This means we have to make a weekly effort to prepare for the week to come.  It is all to easy to buy cheap processed food and buy needlessly.  Taking the time to review our spending and financial goals once a week along with what recipes we want to make has helped us hugely in maintaining our financial and physical wellness. 

5. Pre set rooms, technology and laundry for Monday.

Nothing says it's a new week better than fresh sheets on the bed, laundry washed and folded and phones and laptops charged and cleaned.  (I have a habit of working while eating a snack or dinner and I ALWAYS end up with a dirty screen and keyboard by weeks end)

This may seem excessive to some, but for my personality, whom thrives on maintaining my inner and outer expectations, this routine not only ensures that I maintain my own contentment but also my follow through with that and those I commit to.  

Week Planning is the foundation of my personal and professional life.

LIFESTYLE | Favourite Things - Winter 2018
winter.2018 fav things.

I am not sorry Winter is coming to a close, but I do believe that digging into some Hygge values inspired me to enjoy the reasons for cozy and winter outdoor activities as much as I could.  

Kicking Horse Coffee

There is something about a warm cup of coffee when the winter blues is knocking.  A bit of energy and a reminder that some places are still warm, even if it is just your insides.

Aerie Yoga Pants

My two yoga pants were both cut off mid calf and didn't keep me warm when doing yoga in the wee hours of the winter morning.  These pants are stylish but long and keep my whole leg warm while I stretch for the day.

Jackson Figure Skates

 Now with a two year old, we were able to introduce her to skating and I had a chance to love my skates again.  SO thankful I invested in professional figure skates as a teen.

Moleskin Notebooks

Jasmine Alexander introduced me to moleskin notebooks years ago but I never knew how I would use them.  Then, I realized that I could use them for themed field notes: Here I have field notes for Spiritual, Professional  and Wellness life.

Essie Penny Talk

I adore this rose gold nail polish and it is a perfect pairing with festive parties and events.

Quo Best Dressed

A new addition this year, another chrome to add for parties and it really just makes me feel a bit edgy.

Newfoundland caramel sea salt Chocolate Bar

Finding a good rhythm for my work is a seasonal challenge, and I found this chocolate bar is a perfect item to have stowed away in my desk.  Every work session I allow my self 1/4 of the bar and replace it when it is gone.  Motivation is key.

Throw Back printed photos 

Getting our photos in order so that our little can pause and reflect on who her parents were before her was important to me.  Finishing the pre Z days little photo album of highlights was a great feeling and I can't wait to complete the 'Little Bedford Family' album this Spring and Summer.

Soft Moc Boots

The truth is, you don't know how wonderful a pair of boots are truly going to be until you are using them day in and day out.  These boots are still in excellent condition after buying them last year and I am thrilled to see how they make me feel during the autumn and winter months.

WORK | Women Making Waves 2018
womenmakingwaves.2018.byamygrace

Over the weekend I attended the Women in Film and Television Atlantics (WIFT-AT) yearly conference 'Women Making Waves' at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax.  

I attended last years' due to being accepting into the New Waves Program where WIFT-AT accepts emerging and exploring film-makers into a five class workshop series.  Needless to say, I LOVED it.

Since the New Waves program I have been working to hone and focus my writing into the performing arts (learning screenplay writing and culture etc) and it was exciting to attend this years conference knowing that my projects and visions were even more aligned with the industry.

 Re-connecting with peers, hearing from other creators and celebrating the work that comes out of women who are aiming to collaborate, work, and essentially make a difference through their medium of passion was the refresh I so desperately needed.

It was hugely inspiring to be able to hear from Carmillas co-creator Steph OuaknineMohwak Girls Creator and director Tracy Deer, Ava creator and director Sadaf Foroughi and 'Bens at Home' creator and director Mars Horodyski about how they created, were impassioned to pursue their work and how they pushed through to get them where they are today.

This weekend I learned these things:

1. Keep showing up for your work and always put it out there.

2. What you are passionate about has a niche.

3. Find that niche and hone it.

4. Work with those whom you click with.

5. Know why you do it. 

6. Anyone who attempts truth telling is extrodinarily brave.

I am so thankful for the journey I am on and the opportunities I have along the way that connect me with passionate women, remind me of why I do what I do and keep my feet planted on the ground. 

LIFESTYLE | Self Care Sunday
self.care.sunday-byamygrace

Sundays are a double day.  It's a day of rest and it's also the day to get prepared for the week ahead. 

1. Enjoy food.  Brunch, coffee, whatever it is.

take the time to embrace communing over nourishment with others and yourself.

2. Hydrate and mask treatments

Take note of what area of your body needs care and tote water around with you.

3. Prepare tasks for the week to come

Get honest and real about what the week to come is going to be about.

4. Journal

Reflect.  A nessccesary component to being remotely healthy.

5. Sleep

Don't underestimate the power of a nap and a proper night of sleep.

 

Amy LaiComment
SPOTLIGHT | Brigitte Truong
brigitte.truong.spotlight

In many respects, I feel as if I have known Brigitte for years.  That if I flew to Toronto, she would be one of the first people I would seek out to grab a drink with.  In truth, I haven't met her in person, and yet, there is something utterly amazing about our exchanges online that has inspired me.  Brigitte has a genuine and positive presence that transcends the pretence and filters of online social media and any media work she does.  I have no idea how I stumbled on her instagram account, but what I do know, is that when a woman is seeking to do her life and work in impactful, positive and joyful ways, it gets contagious!  She is contagious.

Her Instagram     Her Website

How would you describe yourself?

Ooooh I love how we’re kicking things off with a super loaded question!  Well, in a nutshell I’d have to say I’m a free spirited, impulsive but thoughtful goal chaser who tries to live the one life I have (until I’m reincarnated again ;) with an open mind, open heart, and the utmost gratitude every day.

What role does creativity play in your life?

Creativity is the cornerstone of my life, and it was all I had growing up as an only child.  My parents worked really hard to give me a blessed life and because of that, I always found myself alone with a pretty wild imagination. I used to occupy my time by crafting, watching movies, and playing with Fisher Price toys with my imaginary friends.  Now that I think of it, I was kind of a loner haha, but a creative one! I would let my imagination run rampant, as most kids do.  Not much has changed in my adult life as I enter my 10th year as an entertainment host and digital creator. I wake up every morning and go to bed at night envisioning the stories I want to tell, how to tell them, and who I can tell them with.  I wish my brain would shut off sometimes!

What are you currently working on?

There’s a lot of exciting stuff coming down the pipeline on television and with some awesome brands that I’m really grateful for, most of which I can’t discuss just yet unfortunately. Please stay tuned on social media! Outside of that, I’m gearing up for some fun shoots with Cineplex as their VIP Pre Show Host which is always a blast!

What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?

This is a great question!  Because it’s awards season and we’re a month away from the Oscars, I’m going to give a big shout out to Lady Bird. This isn’t just a coming of age story about a teenager who struggles with her identity and finds it.  It’s a film that I think, everyone can relate to, especially women of all ages.  Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the dialogue and scenarios that are so relatable and humbling.  At the end of it, you’ll be reminded of how important home is and the significance of your roots. No matter where you are today and who you are today, you musn’t forget your foundation and those who were part of it.  It’s such a great message!

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

Creativity knows no boundaries.  We live in a time where you can create your own opportunities and find your voice and community on a slew of different platforms.  No longer are the days of finding the “right time,” meeting the “right people,” or waiting to have that “perfect resume.”

 It’s 2018.  When your attitude is right the facts don’t matter.  Make it happen. 
 

 

LIFESTYLE | Winter Air
winter.air.byamygrace

Getting outside during the winter can be an absolute slog and convincing battle, but there is something that happens when we get out for our daily "fresh air" that fills me inside and out.  It gives me a renewal and a clear mind.  

Is it the air?

The nature?

The way we bundle to stay warm?

Either way, it is a form of therapy and I soak it up.  I always feel clearer headed after fresh air.

And winter air does have a beautiful way of cutting into the heart of the matter and bringing us fully into the present.   

WORK | The Team Matters
  The first official working date with Kirstin Howell (the most quotable woman I know.)

The first official working date with Kirstin Howell (the most quotable woman I know.)

Who you let around you will have a tremendous impact on how you view yourself and your world.

When moments of uncertainty occur I like to say I have a tribe of empowering, impactful and inspiring women in my back pocket (a.k.a. my iPhone) that I can call on to come around me when I need that support and that push. 

Know your team.

Personal and Professional.

The Personal Team

The personal team are going to be your safe place, the people who know you intimately and know the difference between you needing to wallow and you needing to be smacked up the side of the head (figuratively speaking). They share your values and they know how to speak to your view on life.

The Professional Team

Are those whom you know want you to succeed and keep at your work.  They are the people who know your work and your values and respect you deeply.  These are also people who should be challenging you routinely in normal causal conversation and giving you inspiration and ideas. These are the people you take notes from and also listen to because you know they have your back.

Both of these Teams work together to make a great cohesive support group and keep you going and keep you striving and thriving. 

Because of these amazing team members I have stuck my neck out more than just a time or two and sometimes,

I find that experience has left me enriched and utterly fulfilled. 

LIFESTYLE | Winter 2018 Playlist
Winter.playlist.18.byamygrace

Being a 90's kid, I grew up with that mixed tape concept.  


I also grew up in a pentecostal church.  My exposure to music started from day one and although it was predominantly praise and worship music, music of all kinds became my love language and how I still connect with that secret place in my spirit.

Unbeknownst to my parents (at least I think they were unaware?) I spent endless amounts of time making my own mixed tapes from the radio.  Country, rock, pop, classical.  I borrowed CD's from the library tasting everything from Enya, Billie Halliday, Avril Lavigne, Soundtracks from The Princess Diaries to Titanic, broadway musicals....  I had a thing for Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Doris Day, Duffy, Solitudes series, Lifehouse and Disney...

As I live my life, there will always be a mixed tape/playlist to go along with the season.

Here is my latest.  

Winter 2018 Playlist
 

WORK | Writers Room
writers.room.byamygrace

This room has been a work in progress.  As a family, we call it "The Creative Room".  Personally, I call it "My writers room".  This is where I write, muse and make it all happen.

DESK

This desk was a labour of love for me.  I saved for two years to be able to afford it.  I saw it on Pinterest one day and promised myself that I would find a way to buy it.  I adore it's simplicity and it's ability to store my materials.

TROLLY

Another Pinterest find, I noticed that many bloggers were using this IKEA trolly for their art supplies.  IKEA was not yet in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the time so I again, had to set aside the money for shipping (which can be absolutely ridiculous considering the cost or sale of an item) Currently it holds all of Z's creative supplies I am okay with her having anytime access to. (markers etc are stored on shelf)

CHAIR

From IKEA.  My family blessed me recently this year with the perfect chair support.  Being that I have a unique desk, chairs have been hard to match with it.  This chair is perfect for my back, trendy, comfortable and has the adjustable height I need.

POSTERS

From the two shows I have written and produced.  Hanging them above my work space is a reminder that I have written impactful work, that I am capable of excelling and improving with each project and that it is worth the work it takes.  I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished and I think we should all aim to encourage one another in the dreams and visions we aspire to.  

ACCESSORIES

Twinkle lights, photos of my best friends, a hidden 'Peter Rabbit 'A'' from my mom, a vintage key, a soft mat for my feet, a compass for Grace, seasonal scented candle  are all elements that create an atmosphere for me that boost me, motivate me and embolden me,.  

 

flatly.amygrace
LIFESTYLE | Cocooning
cocooning

For anyone higher north of the equator this time of year tends to be darker, colder and ultimately a dip in our natural vitamin d exposure from the sun. 

Natural Winter State

A friend so perfectly put it:

"I am cocooning like crazy!" 

Instead of fighting the cocooning why not embrace it?  

Embracing the Cocooning

1. Sitting in the sun by my window and reading whenever possible. 
A beautiful underrated healing act for the soul when everything around is dark and wintery.  

2. Reading Sherlock Holmes aloud with my husband.
One cannot read this series without hearing the staccato clinical and British tone.  Fun for anyone who likes to read aloud.

3. Doing a puzzle.
My mom has many of the puzzles my late Nanny had done.  Borrowing a wintery theme and picking away at it here and there is a simple pleasure.

4. Facetiming long distance besties and even close ones while cozy.
Thank god for FaceTime.  Nothing like getting tea/coffee/hot chocolate and a snack at hand and having conversation with friends.

5. Exercise videos inside.
Popsugar Fitness, Blogilaties, Yoga with Adrienne are all exceptional workout content online for FREE!  If it's too much of a drag to bundle up for the cold, move your hot tush inside.  Your body will thank you. 

 

A few out of house ideas:
- attend a hot yoga class
- Eat at a favourite pub/Hyggelit restaurant
- Bundle and walk in nature with a hot beverage
- Ponder and wonder in a local library.
- Visit friends in their comfort zone.

SPOTLIGHT | Jessica Fletcher-Marmont
spotlight.j.fm.byamygrace

Jessica Fletcher - Marmont | Lakehouse Salon & Wellness

Jessica and I met years ago.  How? I don't remember the exact time, but I always take note on how she lets her presence rest amongst others and listens in.  Her laughter is quick and her insight is deep.

She asked me to go through her responses and shorten it... but honestly, I can't bring myself to make her honest and real words any shorter.  They are hers and so beautifully shared and outpoured.

I am honoured to listen in to her heart, her journey and her growth.

 

How would you describe yourself?
 

As a newly discovered introvert. As someone that is from a large family and has lived a fairly social, fairly demanding life, discovering that I was an introvert was surprising. My first reaction to the realization was relief. I had been struggling with burn out related anxiety and difficulty sleeping and I thought I was really starting to go off the deep end. My thoughts were “yay! I’m not losing it! I just need to re-strategize how I am fuelling myself!”. My second thought “Oh crap, how the heck am I going to get any time alone… ever?" 

A little background on myself. On the home front : I have a very large family, with lots of siblings and their spouses and a beautiful little niece, and two rascals of my own. Charlotte is 2 ½ and Finn is 10 months. On the professional side : My husband owns a real-estate development and construction company and I own a salon and wellness centre, and I am a hairstylist as well.

Both my husband and I budget every millisecond of the day. Not particularly healthy even for an extrovert! I have lived hovering on the edge of burnout for the last few years (as most moms / entrepreneurs / women in general can relate to) but 2017 kicked me down that last notch.

My son was born in January, suffering from a bad case of colic, so no sleep for 3 months straight. In the early spring my family experienced the tragic loss of my older brother, 32 years old, with a wife and 1 yr old daughter. This was the biggest blow of my 30 yr old life, and I had no idea how to cope with it. Shortly after losing my brother, we moved from our apartment into a house. In July I executed on a relocation plan for my salon that had been in motion since the previous December, closing out our Bedford location and opening up a newly branded salon and wellness centre in down town Dartmouth. My husband had just bought a big commercial building on lake Banook that he was/is still renovating, and the opportunity to be in our own building and get away from the high rent in Bedford was too good to pass up. The move date was July first and it was an absolute tornado of chaos! But it went well and we managed to get set it up in the nick of time.

We had been set up in our new salon only about a week or two when we discovered that an illness my baby brother (19 yrs old) had been dealing with for some time had taken an extreme turn for the worse, and that it had entered the ‘possibly fatal’ territory. Still reeling from the loss of my big brother, I did the only thing I could do. I packed up my husband and kids and I moved back in with my parents and little brother. A month later, we lost him. I stayed with my Mom and Dad for a few weeks, but every inch of their house spoke to me of my lost brothers, and I had to get out. Back to our house in Dartmouth.

It has been a little over three months now, and after the initial few weeks of numb disbelief wore off, I plunged into the above mentioned total emotional, physical burn out. Difficulty concentrating, headaches, day sweats, night sweats, insomnia, the shakes, you name it! I felt like I was cracked glass, and any minute, pieces of me were going to start falling off and smashing on the floor. I had been avoiding alone time like the plague since losing my older brother (because that’s when the grief would corner me and make me feel it ) But now, fear it though I may, I started to feel as though if I didn’t turn to face it, I would be in a padded room by Christmas! So, in an act of desperation, I reached out to my family, admitting for the first time all year that ‘I wasn’t doing so well’. And like the wonderful family they are, they descended on me with lots of help and hen pecking. For a week, my sisters took turns taking the kids over night, I went to see my doctor about the insomnia, and for the first time in a loooong time….I got some sleep. I had been building all these fantasies in my head of all the things I would do if I only had some time to myself. Books I would read, writing I wanted to do, sketching etc… but in those few precious days of alone time, I just wanted to sleep and do nothing. I hadn’t been alone with myself in so long that my tank was empty. I wanted creativity to pour from an empty vessel, and had to grudgingly accept that it just doesn’t work that way. 

For the first time in my life, I had admitted to myself that I needed alone time, and (thanks to my family) actually made it happen. For that week anyway.. The weeks that have followed my ‘hitting rock bottom’ moment have been full of up’s and downs.

I had this image of myself that had meant a lot to me. I was strong, I was a leader, I was eternally positive, I was wonder woman, I could and would do it all and be everything to everyone! Yeah, that’s not been the case.

But I am learning that when everything that you think you know about yourself gets stripped away, you have two choices. Blame life and blame the world and slip into bitterness.  OR, take a breath, open your eyes and see yourself for who you really are… not made of stone, not super human, and love yourself anyway. And if you can manage that, you will rise with a dignity and an empathy that you have never been capable of before.

In getting to know myself as I truly am, seeing my weaknesses and not making excuses for them, I have found a sense of compassion for myself. I had felt plenty of compassion for other people in my life, but never for myself. It has been an out of body experience, like I am looking at myself with the heart of a mother, and wanting myself to heal and grow and blossom, living up to my potential as a mother and a sister and a daughter, a friend and a business woman, and of course, a creative. It make me sad that I had to get knocked so low before I finally learned what it really meant to love yourself and take care of yourself.

 

What role does creativity play in your life?

 

Since a young age, creativity has been all I think about. It has been my constant friend, and my constant distraction. I read an outline of ‘being introverted’ recently and one of the lines read ‘introverts find solace in doing quiet activities in which they can create new worlds using their minds.’ And this is what I would do with all forms of creativity. Both taking in, creating art and reading literature whenever possible! Being homeschooled was perfect for me.   I would skim over my lesson, do the bare minimum, and then read and draw with the rest of the school day!  This made for a very happy and confident child, capable of lots of socialization and extroverted behaviour (as I was always so fuelled up on creativity and alone time.)

When I chose my career as a hair stylist, everyone thought it would be perfect. Creative and social! But, it was a struggle, I found myself very tired all the time, and feeling unmotivated, and not knowing why.  Thus began the struggle with lethargy that coloured my 20’s. Learning that I needed to express my creativity in other, more personal ways was something I learned quickly, but knowing isn’t the same as doing, and soon life started to get in the way. I know I benefited from it, but I hadn’t yet admitted to myself that I NEEDED it! I thought I should be able to satisfy myself with work being my outlet. But the social aspect took away its ability to be fuel for me, not to mention the lack of freedom in what I was creating! Being a hair stylist is all about actualizing on other people’s ideas and visions. To feel like I am receiving true creative therapy, freedom is an important ingredient!

 

What are you currently working on?

 

As much as I am dying to work on some creative projects that I can share with others around me, I am focusing on very personal expression right now. I confided some of my personal and creative struggles with a good friend and client of mine, and then the next day I found a set of beautiful writing / illustrating pens on my work station. I actually welled up (which I DON’T do in public as a general rule). And so I have been doing my best to make time for a little bit or journaling and doodling. Not much, I know, but coming out of a creative desert, even doodling feels like a lush green oasis of healing, and a manageable way to get the juices flowing again!

 

What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?

 

One of my favourite little creative guilty pleasures is a magazine subscription that my mother bought for me as a gift called Faerie Magazine. Its full of art, poems, interviews with artisans and writers, most importantly lots of whimsy and beauty. Nothing big and bold and earthshaking, but all the mothers / business owners out there can relate with me when I say, sometimes the only creative injection you have time for is something bitesized!

 

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

 

I opened my first salon when I was 25, and expanded it into a spa and wellness centre when I was 26. It was during the expansion that I met my husband, and a wedding at 27 and my daughter and age 28 made for a long busy stretch of ‘not having time’ for personal creative expression. Let me tell you what I learned during these years:  

Having a need to create that is not being exercised is like having a hyper dog that is not being exercised. Picture your mind being like a small apartment that that dog is being cooped up in. Ya, prepare for your creativity to wreak havoc on your sanity if you don’t MAKE time to let it out!!
LIFESTYLE | Winter Films
winter.films.byamygrace

Films & Television best watched in Winter from my collection:

Parenthood

This series ranks one of my all time favourites.  Coming from what I consider a larger family in todays North American Culture I found myself identifying with the insanity and coinciding love that occurs within family dynamics.  It's realistic, sentimental and perfect to cozy up to on a cold day.

Annie

There are many versions of Annie the musical now, but for me it will always be this.  Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks to me is the best representation out there.  This is where my love for acting arrived.  Seeing this as a kid made me feel like I could learn to act and sing someday.  (spoiler alert:  I did! ;) 

Little Women

Is there any question?  So many women I know watch this around Christmas time.  It encapsulates that beautiful girl hood festive feeling , yet still carrying a strong feminist message.  I love everything Marmie is in Susan Sarandon and of course, Wynona is a perfect Jo March. 

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

The snow.  Just watching this beautiful magical story will be reason enough to watch this during the winter season.

The Phantom of the Opera

It's eerie, it's mysterious and beautifully played by Patrick Wilson, Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum.  It is beautifully captured in film! I spent endless months of my life singing to this soundtrack, which is currently making a comeback in my playlists.

 

Other films & tv not from my personal hard copy collection:

The Lord of the Rings - For the Sega.
A Little Princess - For the tears and beautiful message.
Frozen - For the modern animation lover who just has to 'Let it Go'
Ice Age - For those wishing to laugh at an animated sloth
The Crown - For the history and the cinematic vibes.
The Americans - For everyone wishing they were undercover just like this family.
Home Alone - For the classic Christmas lover.

Theres too many to list...

 

 

UPDATE | Celebrate Because You Did Something
celebrate.byamygrace

Part of my job as a writer is to be okay with the parts in-between. 

In truth, I am not the biggest fan of waiting.  Of editing, of asking, of risking.  Can't someone else do that for me?  

Maybe one day, I'll have a life where I can just sit and focus on the creation and let others deal with the 'making-it-have-a-life-off-the-page' stage, but for now, I have to be a leader in that process.  Which means facing fears and being okay with the waiting.

So I wrote a letter to myself over the application I am waiting to hear about.  Knowing I should have an answer soon, the anxiety is rising.  What will I do If I don't get the money I asked for to do this?  What will I do if I don't feel that the association I believe is my only chance, doesn't believe in me?  

And thats when I heard it.


You celebrate. 



You celebrate if you got the funding, and celebrate if you didn't.  Because in the end, it's not about where the funding comes from, it's about the fact that I did something.  I tried.  I put together the best proposal I could, and I know that what I have to offer is worthy despite the results.  

I celebrate either way.  Because I didn't just sit and wish, I got up and I risked failure and I risked disappointment.  

That is worth celebrating as much as any perceived success.