UPDATE | Whatever Your Goals
goals.byamygrace

A conversation with another woman writer put it all out on the table.  A woman who weaves words and intellect with ease and precision.  A woman who crafts excellence in her speech in a way I am left in awe.

How goals, inspiration and lifestyle are intertwined as one.



With the Seasons

We have rythms and flows to our years, our internal sense of self and the atmosphere around us.  Setting goals/aspirations that match these rhythms will not only empower us to embrace the now, but to belong in tempo with the life around us.

For me: Once a week family skates, balanced meals in the duration of the week

With the Growth

We often , upon reflection can sense how we have grown and where we want to grow next.  To take pause and reflect gives us time to identify these things and to grow is a beautiful thing.  Although painful and at times difficult, our growth allows us to embrace a journey that ultimately delivers peace and joy.  We were made to grow every day more into who we were made to be.

For me: To attend more workshop opportunities and industry events, to keep a prayer journal

With the Inspirations

Individualistic tendances to be moved by different elements.  What inspires one, may not inspire another.  To be moved by something is a good indication that one is aching to discover more of what that element is.  Enjoy the discovery!

For me: To explore morning and evening rituals, continue curating and creating a balanced diet with various meals and dining experiences.

Our inidivual ways in which we find ourselves within our growth continues the ability to evolve and become whole. 

I love this because it is as unique to me as it is unique to you.  

Find what works for you and embrace your growth. 


 

LIFESTYLE | Toddler Capsule Wardrobe Autumn 2017
Clockwise from Top Centre: Toddler Jackson Figure Skates with Guards - Second Hand, Madeline Pyjamas - Really amazing friends at a Baby shower, The Spirit of Christmas - Indigo, Bird Tree House Shirt - Zara, Red hooded jacket - Second hand from my years of toddler life, Kitty Pyjamas - Carters, Socks - Carters, Beige Pants - Carters, Hair Bows - Carters, Lazy Caturday - Carters, Pink Joggers - Zara, Shoes - Zara, Puppet Mouse - Mimi & Yeye from Europe, Jeggings - Carters, Grey Graphic Shirt - Carters, Lace dress - Baby Shower gift, Cable Knit Sweater - Carters

Clockwise from Top Centre: Toddler Jackson Figure Skates with Guards - Second Hand, Madeline Pyjamas - Really amazing friends at a Baby shower, The Spirit of Christmas - Indigo, Bird Tree House Shirt - Zara, Red hooded jacket - Second hand from my years of toddler life, Kitty Pyjamas - Carters, Socks - Carters, Beige Pants - Carters, Hair Bows - Carters, Lazy Caturday - Carters, Pink Joggers - Zara, Shoes - Zara, Puppet Mouse - Mimi & Yeye from Europe, Jeggings - Carters, Grey Graphic Shirt - Carters, Lace dress - Baby Shower gift, Cable Knit Sweater - Carters

This season Zoë grew out of every pair of pants, her arms and belly were coming out of almost every shirt.  As the Autumn progressed, it seemed we only had a few options that would keep her warm. 

Zara arrived in Halifax around this time and we found with much surprise that the pants were able to be adjusted to the waist of the child and the clothes were just the sweetest take on childhood. I fell in love with their designs for children.

That being said, I am a big believer in 'less is more' so we didn't go crazy.  We bought 2 pairs of pants pictured here and put one aside for Christmas, a shirt and a pair of better fitting shoes.  

Wanting to capitalize on the seasons and the activities that a family can participate in, we found these perfect Jackson Toddler Figure skates on Kijiji in our city. In perfect conditions and with Guards!  Being a later learned 'figure skater' , it melts my heart to see her learn how to skate and no matter what interests she takes up as an individual, I am just so happy to see her learn and explore them. 

After a summer of mostly no pants (potty training) it was a joy to find clothes and outfits for her again, even if a bit of a financial strain.  

This capsule truly captivates our littles life this past season and it excites me to keep doing them!

UPDATE | Courage & Creativity
courage.creativity.byamygrace

COURAGE


Any creative driven person knows that in order to be creative, one has to have a certain amount of courage.

Especially in the culture and society we live in today, we are only honoured in our work as creatives if we have done something spectacular and are known for it.   It can be daunting to take the time away from the other aspects of life to 'create', let alone try to tell ourselves and others that we have something worth saying/showing.

 

THE BATTLE

 

It's an unspoken truth amongst creatives that in order for us to create we must prepare and go into battle despite our fears in order to get to our creative inspiration.  Some days, this is easier than others.  Other days, this is an uphill battle  

Sounds dramatic, but it remains true.  

From a personal experience, I can say that if I am working on anything and making anything it means that my discipline and my courage are in full use. 
 

HOW?


IDENTIFY FEAR EXISTS

I acknowledge that fear wants to drive me and then I don't give it space to.  I say no to negative people, thinking, music anything that brings up dread and self-doubt.  I shut it down and focus on the calling. 

KNOW MY FLOW

I work when I know I am in my best energy.  For me, early morning and early evening.  If I am working, I block off time to transition from my other roles.  I cant simply go from handling a screaming toddler to writing my next best scene.  I have to allow my heart, spirit and mind to align themselves and this needs time.

STAY IN CONTACT WITH BOLSTERING PEOPLE

Whenever I am about to go into creative battle, I message my best friends.  I tell them I am about to battle and am going to accomplish these specific creative tasks and I know they are covering me with prayer, support and often send me those little emojis, words, images I needed.  And they do because they are warriors themselves. 

SET THE ATMOSPHERE

Atmosphere is one of my biggest motivators.  The right playlist the right beverage, the right outfit, lighting and I can sit keeping the creative oil burning for longer than my bladder wants to hold itself.

INSPIRATIONS

Surrounding myself with inspirations.  Media that is empowering, articles fo other women like me doing it, images from the internet that encapsulate a feeling I am trying to grasp.  The right desktop wallpaper... I find it everything that surrounds me.

 

STANDING MY GROUND



The truth is, when I am working on a project, I am highly suseptable to the negativity of others and the world around me.  I am working double time to quell that fear on my shoulder to have courage enough to write and when I feel that negative presence, be it a persons outlook, an expectation, passive aggressive behaviour, a negative article, facebook rants, or even just my own battle with resentment I will run in the other direction.  Figuratively and spiritually I see it as running and taking my imaginary pen in my hand and striking the ground and saying "NO!  I am capable.  I am strong, I can do this and I have a calling to do this and that negativity is not from the One who made me." 



It's like working double time, but what comes out of pressing in and pursuing the call is a strength and joy I absolutely need and want more of in my life.  That is why I stand my ground.  

 

 

LIFESTYLE | Autumn Capsule Wardrobe 2017
Clockwise from centre: White & Gold Tank - Bootlegger , Apple Bourbon Candle - Foxhound Collection, Brown Felt Hat - Indigo, Denim button shirt - Banana Republic (technically my husbands...but I like to wear it too), Green Dress - Second hand - Jasmine Alexander, The Little Book of Hygge - Meik Wiking, Sherlock Holmes Book, Dark straight leg Jeans - The Gap, East Coast Lifestyle Hoodie - Psuedio, Charcol Grey Sweater - MEC , Black Pleather Pants - Zara, Plaid Pajama Pants - La Vie En Rose, Autumn 2017 Darling Magazine - Darling.com, Black Sheer tank top - H&M.

Clockwise from centre: White & Gold Tank - Bootlegger , Apple Bourbon Candle - Foxhound Collection, Brown Felt Hat - Indigo, Denim button shirt - Banana Republic (technically my husbands...but I like to wear it too), Green Dress - Second hand - Jasmine Alexander, The Little Book of Hygge - Meik Wiking, Sherlock Holmes Book, Dark straight leg Jeans - The Gap, East Coast Lifestyle Hoodie - Psuedio, Charcol Grey Sweater - MEC , Black Pleather Pants - Zara, Plaid Pajama Pants - La Vie En Rose, Autumn 2017 Darling Magazine - Darling.com, Black Sheer tank top - H&M.

 


Keds.


These brown leather keds were being sold at Little Burgundy at the Halifax Shopping Centre.  The moment I saw them I fell in love.  What is not to like about these Keds?  They match perfectly with Jeans or black pants or basically any outfit you want to give a taste of sophisticated casual to.  


Black pleather pants.
 

Bought from Zara. I have learned to love the way different fabrics and textiles compliment eachother and I noted how amazing a leather texture mixed with other fabrics can be.  It's endless fun.


White & Gold tank.  

I love highlights of chromatic tones, so it was a no brainer when I found this top from  Bootlegger.  


Autumn


was a crisp blast and I found a lot of growth in this season.  Personally, professionally and even stylistically.  It's been enlightening to see how my wardrobe has shifted with it.  How worn pairs of pyjama pants had to be tossed, socks got holes in them, legging tights worn through from not enough care and what new items make their way in to curate and cultivate a style that gets worn daily.

UPDATE | 2018 A Year of Excellence
desk.byamygrace

Happy New Year!!!

It's no secret that I absolutely adore the New Year.  A fresh start with time to reflect and kick start what needs to change and what needs to move forward.  It is my cat nip.  My elixir of choice.  Every season that turns and every year that arrives brings new insights, new ideas and new ways of evolving.  Another year of life to live to it's fullest.

For anyone who has checked in here from time to time, it is obvious that our layout for this website has changed.  As each year changes so do we and this website has undergone another shift.  We have shifted the focus to become a landing page, running portfolio of the work and projects I am doing, along with a current and continually updated CV.  I will still be maintaining a bi-weekly blog post presence for those who want to continue following the blog format, and hope that these changes will be a better reflection of the work that I am doing today.

Thank-you to every person who is invested in the journey that I am on as a writer and creative, whom litter my inbox with encouragement, inspirational thoughts and walk with me through the highs and the lows.  You are an incredible force in my life.  

2017

Was a year of growth, discovery of my place in the creative world as it is now, and claiming that what I had to offer was of value and worth.  That as a writer, I am worthy of being here on this earth.  I discovered that with that journey of claiming what I have been called to do, a joy follows it. 

I have experienced over the last year a peace and a joy that has surpasses my own understanding.   The questions of "What the heck am I doing?", "is this worth it?" have been eclipsed by the joy of the work.  

2018

for me is about pursuing that joy, what I can learn from the industry I have found a passion for and continuslouy hitting the desk, meetings and inspirations to pursue what has been given to me.  It became so evident as the reflections began over the last few months that a new word was to be focused on this year:

Excellence


noun . The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.  
           an outstanding feature or quality


Excellence because it's not about perfection or a specific rating.  Excellence surpasses a rating because it reaches for more than the 'right' delivery and goes straight to something unique.  It reaches for what cannot be fully described or put in a box.  It is, as it is.  

Outstanding.  Of itself, a high quality. 

Focusing on excellence in my work, my choices and my lifestyle ideals are what is forefront in my mind as I journey in this next year!

May you be inspired by this New Year given to us and reach into your depths for whatever it is you are called to be and do. 



Cheers & Happy New Year!

Amy LaiComment
UPDATE | One Step at a Time
amy.byamygrace

One thing I have constantly followed and believed in life, is that each step takes care of itself.

It's that realizing that God has my deepest dreams and visions in the palm of His hands and that I am called to dream deep, stay open to the depth I need to access and trust that as I journey through life the steps will become clear as I explore.

A week from today I will be experiencing the first reading of my first pilot episode for television.  Still early stages and this feels important.  It will be the first of the script coming alive and although I know that this project has many hurdles, steps and metamorphosis to take before it finds it's place in this world, this is a step that will teach me and mold me.

No matter what life this project has, it does not determine the calling.  I trust that the life of this project will breathe and pass on when it's time has come.  

I trust that this next step will be another step in the long journey to come.

I am so thankful to have a writing and creative partner in Kirstin Howell and I am thankful that taking that leap of faith to apply for training from WIFT-AT has brought me where I am today. 

One step at a time.

LIFESTYLE | Quality Over Quantity
qualityoverquanity.byamygrace

Quality over quantity is never a bad thing.

In all aspects of life this rings true.

We crave that meaningful moment. 

The more I focus on quality the more I find meaning in my life.  Quality time with my friends and family is more important than spreading myself thin for them.  Quality clothes are more important than a full closet of clothes that wear out fast.  Quality food that nourishes the body and soul, rather than food that just fills the moment of emotional desire or is cheaper to buy. 

However one spins it, there is a beautiful surrender when we start to let the quantity fall away and the quality rise up.  

 

UPDATE | 2018 Vision Planning
2018.vision.byamygrace

Over the next weeks I will spending hours pouring over what worked this year and what didn't work.  Business, creativity and delivery is constantly shifting.  2017 has been a ton of learning and stepping into an industry as a writer I would not have deemed possible.  

But here I am.  Building my tribe, finding the collaborators and finding the avenues in which my writing can thrive.  

Part of the vision planning is doing a complete website change.  This means byamygrace will be shut down for the month of December and will be returning in January with a fresh new take that will match the current work I have stepped into.  

This is the exciting stuff.  The set up for launching into 2018.  The quiet calm before the storm.  A beautiful storm.

LIFESTYLE | The Weekend Brunch
weekend.brunch.byamygrace

There is nothing like a weekend brunch with good friends or family. 



It's the quality time, the exhale, the sip of coffee while the sun comes in the windows.

Over the years I have learned that a brunch is an opportunity to connect on a different level.  It's the beginning of the day and our minds are in a different place than if it was evening.  One of us was going to work, little Z would eventually have a nap and I was definitely whirring with week planning and weekend chores.  

It's that soft music playing in the background, that showing off of toys as the 'little' proudly and sneakily makes a tower.  It's that reflection on our favourite TV Shows and hints at our dreams.

I'll forever be sliding these moments into our lives because I love them.  I love seeing beautiful moments happen amidst the weekly grind.

The Weekend Brunch is a beautiful thing.  

 

UPDATE | Writer & Mother Simultaneously
mother.writer.byamygrace

This is important.  It's so easy to breeze past these thoughts and real life living because it's not as glitzy as the 'on the go', sexy snaps of #writerlife or #familylife.  It's the in-between.  The moments that are missed that give the fuller picture. 

 

Posted on Instagram:

"Here's the real...
.
Nothing worth it comes easy & the juggle is real. It's a toddler table next to the work desk. It's the episode planning on a wall next to a box of play-dough. It's the full time mothering and running out to a meeting with the best partner in crime. It's the struggling with the fear & the pushing and pulling apart of the work. 
I am a full time mother. 
I am a full time writer. 
My brain is going in a million ways daily and I know that I was made for this. 
But the real is that I have had to let go of some wonderful things. I dance less, I miss out on events, I let people down just by trying to be both mother and writer. 
I wouldn't trade it. The exhausting days with a teething toddler & the evenings with glittering lights around my desk begging me to go meet my dreams. Walking to the park in the morning to be spirited and free and then driving out to a meeting to be badass and a bit edgy. 
Thankful for the spirits who come along side my wild and independence and give me the permission to explore, work hard and raise a wild soul. 
This is my real insane happy life."

 

And I am thankful.  

For the journey.
For the support around me.
For the inspirations.
For the experiences.
For the colleagues.

Staying feet planted on the ground and spirit reaching for the depths.  

LIFESTYLE | Autumn Films (and Series)
autumn.films.byamygrace

I rarely buy copies of Films any more but some are just must haves / keeps from the past.

From my collection For Autumn :

Julie & Julia

Because Meryl Streep is truly a legend and a brilliant performer.  Hands down.  No contest.  Watching her embody Julia Childs and depict part of her life and persona is a never ending joy.  This is a film worth watching all year round but I have a tendency to want to watch movies centred around food during the holiday season.  Tasty treats and meals are in abundance this time of year and there is nothing like a good laugh and inspiration for your own dining experiences. 

The Princess Diaries

Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.  For any melinnial this film. was iconic.  I can sit and quote it for days:  "GET OFF THE GRASS" to "Thank-you for being here today."  to "Can we 86 the flags?  I don't want to cause a riot with this hearse" , "ME?  A , a princess?  SHUT UP!"  ... it literally is endless.  It's that back to school feeling and everything nostalgic of our own school days wishing we were as cool and grounded as Mia Thermopolis and had a tower in our bedroom with a fire pole to slide down.  And a fat cat called Louis.  Although maybe now that I live in a loft and have a fat cat called Kitty is close enough! 

Jane Eyre

As I said in the Autumn books post, Jane Eyre is my all time favourite story and read.  The same goes for here.  As far as classic movie adaptations go, I am a sucker for this one. This was a Mini Series with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens.  I can't get myself to enjoy any other version but this one.  Ruby and Toby both completely embody the characters of Jane and Mr.Rochester and I can't shake the mystery and ultimate chill that this version leaves me with.  A great suspense and psychological thriller with chemistry that is perfection.

Downton Abbey 

I purchased season one before Netlix came to Canada and now don't have to reach far to watch all the episodes on repeat.  Stunning imagery, ensemble cast, and a beautiful historical drama starting at the sinking of the Titanic and it's direct affects on this particular British family.  Michelle Dockery along with every other actor is amazing.  Biritsh shows are wonderful to get into in the coming months to the holidays and Christmas as they always love to put on Christmas specials and highlight the seasonal times.  Pour some tea and enjoy every quip from Dame Maggie Smiths' character.  All sass and posh.

Gilmore Girls

Everyone knows Gilmore Girls is best watched in the Autumn.  It is everything cozy, throw back Thursday, and references that will make your head spin.  Lauren Graham keeps us our toes and Alexis Bledel gives us a female teen who loves books, food and coffee as much or even more than she loves boys.  Priorities people.  Priorites. 

 

Other films:
Ghost Busters - Both new and old
Autumn in New York - For the cry fest
Fly Away Home - Because Canadian Geese / Jeff Daniels in his underwear...
Meet Me in St. Louis - Judy Garland singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas...
Pocahontas - The nature...
The Blind Side - Every Thanksgiving feeling

Amy LaiComment
SPOTLIGHT | Michelle Ethymiadis
Michelle.efthymiadis.byamygrace

I met Michelle years ago while in high school and have always loved her presence, sense of self and tenderness towards others.  I am thrilled to be able to see how life has evolved for both of us and share in the joy of our daughters.  Michelle has a beautiful way of encouraging others and I am so blessed to be getting to know her better as an adult. 

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a lover of nature, one who is energized by a breath of fresh air and the warmth of the sun. A lighthearted spirit who seeks joy and laughter wherever I go. A wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter. I find beauty and wonder in the simple things. A lover of story, curious to know others and discover truth. Seeking adventure without needing to go far. A disciple of Jesus, in whom I am made whole.

What role does creativity play in your life?

Creativity to me is a way of solving problems I may encounter, a way of using space and time to maximize productivity and resourcefulness. It’s a way of thinking that seeks new territory and a way of doing that doesn’t always fit the mold. In my work with children, creativity leads my planning, the activities and materials I facilitate in my program, and how I engage and expand their play.

What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on my new business, The Owl Tree, which is a home-based childcare program for children aged 2-4 years. My passion for child development and my desire to contribute to our household income after my maternity leave, led me to this business creation. I seek to provide a space where little ones can engage in a play-based and child-directed environment in their own community. Although I have education and experience within this field, I have had to stretch myself in many ways to take on new challenges as a first time business owner.

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

A book that I read in the last year that left an impression on me was Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. What I felt from this book was an encouragement to look creatively at your life, to not expect that the way things have always been done, have to be done the same way going forward. We can develop new ways of time management, create new business ideas and structures and engage in new methods of learning so that our passions and dreams can be followed and achieved. Although I didn’t relate to the corporate work style she discusses often within this book, I was inspired to go after the things that pull on my heart with more boldness and confidence.

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

I have a heart for those people in this world (myself included) who wouldn’t label themselves as “creatively driven”. Even in describing myself, I shy away from these words. Sometimes when we discuss creativity, it can be loaded with expectations, or even limiting to certain groups of people or activities. I truly believe that all people are creative, but their avenue to create vastly differs from one to the other. I want to encourage those that doubt their own ability to be creative, because chances are they have a creative skill being used already in their life and may not label it as so. Perhaps it’s in the kitchen, where you can peer into your day-before-grocery-shopping fridge and create a great meal. Or your ability to rearrange furniture to maximize the space you need in your living room. Creativity can drive you to find a way to save those few extra dollars for date night when planning out your budget. Appreciate your gift, call it creativity, and find a way to expand upon it and share it with others.

 

 

LIFESTYLE | Autumn Reads
Straight from my bookshelf..

Straight from my bookshelf..

I don't own as many books as I read, but I do hold close the ones that I want to reread and enjoy on a seasonal basis.  

The best reads on my bookshelf for Autumn:



The Little Book Of Hygge - Meik Wiking

I had been eyeing this book in bookstores for over a year and decided it was the perfect book to read throughout the colder months of this year.  So far I have been loving the little headings, delightful layout and various descriptions and ways to create a more Hygge lifestyle.  This is a yearly re-read.

A Study In Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

A big fan of all things Sherlock Holmes I bought these books this year for Jeremy and I to read together.  So far I am enjoying how the cadence of the book is so intone with the setting and characters.  It is a delightful mystery read.

The Hound of Baskerville - Arthur Conan Doyle

We have not yet gotten to the second instalment of Sherlock Holmes but I have no doubt that it will be just as enjoyable.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

You either love or hate this book.  I loved it.  I loved how it challenges readers to think about society and the way we pit groups of people against others just in how we perceive them.  This was a rapid read for me.  

The Giver - Lois Lowry 

Another read that I missed in school and read as an adult with Jeremy.  We thoroughly loved how this dystopian world was crafted and the way it challenges readers to think about how control affects us as a society.  

The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins

All thrillers are fun to read this time of year with Halloween and everything getting darker and more mysterious as a season.  I couldn't put this book down and although you either love or hate this book I ADORED it.  I found it's plot twists were great and although I could sense where it was going it kept me guessing if I was right or wrong the whole time.  This novel is as entertaining as it is an open dialogue about the way narcissistic and controlling people try to alter the truth for their own purposes.  

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë

The classic Autumnal read!  Jane Eyre is creepy and enticing as it is sensual, vivid and profound!  Jane as a character is an incredibly strong and capable woman with a belief in her own ability to pursue value in life and is absolutly swept into romance with Mr.Rochester and his mysterious past.  This is a prime example of a woman from the 1800s writing past her time.  Charlotte brings us a woman who has depth, integrity, insight and tenacity along with compassion, history and desires past "whats wrong or right".  This is by far my all time favourite novel.  

UPDATE | Write Nights
write.nights.byamygrace

It's no secret I spend many a week night at my desk. I have forever been an 'early morning' or 'evening' creative.  My thoughts are clearest after a workout or when the sun begins to set.  It's the way I have always been.  Naturally, as a writer, I capitalize on knowing this about myself.  

Five years ago I began what I call "Write Nights".  It started when I wrote my first play.  "The Chronicles of the Dramatics Society".  I knew I wanted to pursue the project and so I chose a few nights a week (At that specific time, I would go to 'Obladee' downtown) and write all evening.  That process was magical to me and really helped me understand the process of writing which worked best for me.  

My next project didn't get past the editing stage, but I began to enforce these "Write Nights" with any project onward that I would work on.  

Write Nights can start as early as 5pm but no later than 7:30pm and always end no earlier than 10pm.  If I am truly on a roll it edges close to 11pm.  But so often I find that even if I am on a roll I want to end on a high note and feel that creative surge in my veins when I leave the desk.  

They also always must consist of a beverage even if only water, but I adore it when wine or coffee is a possibility.  I light my 'writing candle' during the times I write and use a string of battery operated string lights from time to time.  

The sound track is essential.  Generally, the music I play must be in theme of my projects.  Currently that would mean a '1920s-1940s' Jazz playlist or a 'femme fatale' playlist.

Write Nights are my version of creative bliss and I however one finds their creative bliss / time, always elaborate on it and make it as alluring for your spirit as possible.  
 

LIFESTYLE | Crisp Walks
From the best little nook along the Bedford Waterfront.

From the best little nook along the Bedford Waterfront.

This weekend didn't start the way I thought it would.  I saw an expanse of good weather and I conjured up many different outdoor family activities.  In the end, little Z came down with a bad cough and congestion, and we ended up pouring the majority of our Saturday into keeping her happy. Not as sick as she could have been, but definitely not the kind of sick we would want to expose to the wind and chilly air that has creeped into our little part of the world.

Instead of going for a family walk like I had imagined, I woke up Sunday morning and went on a solo walk.

It was crisp, sunny and fresh.  Sometimes in those solo walks we find pieces of ourselves we forgot about.  Just in the quiet of our own mind.  I tend to listen to podcasts or music while I walk and even while I was listening to a podcast, I found that the space of being my own person out in nature was a refreshing experience.  

Don't get me wrong.  I walk in nature a lot.  Just not often alone anymore.

Shared or solo, crisp autumn morning walks are a beautiful thing. 

Little nook.byamygrace
UPDATE - Trophy at Nocturne
An alley way of stories of change to discover....

An alley way of stories of change to discover....

I was thrilled to be connected with Sarah Conn who is the co-creator and producer along with co-creator Allison O'Conner of 'Trophy'.

A beautiful installation pop up project that collaborates with others in the community to share stories of change.

Being a writer/performer, I jumped at the chance to experience this unique installation as a 'storyteller'.  I asked a few close friends which of my life changing moments would translate well in a four minute telling and then I joined ranks with Sarah and Allison and the others for Nocturne Halifax 2017.  

Sharing my story of change over and over again to different people in a small intimate setting, I found that I gained a deeper awareness of how we adjust our stories along with their intentions to match our audience.  This is a simple concept for many writers and performers but so often forgotten the fray of our making and formulating of the work.

I found I also realized how blessed I was to have had that specific experience that I so often take for granted.  I was changed in that moment again and again, simply by the retelling.  Which is why storytellers do what they do, isn't it?  We want to relive that experience for ourselves, for others and for those that deeply need to hear it.

Trophy gave me, as a storyteller, a deeper connection with my audience and I am so thankful for Sarah and Allison who have been touring this piece.  It truly is a moving experience for both teller and listener. 

The tent where I shared my story of a 'Cuban Taxi driver who changed my life with three words:  'I am Happy'.  

The tent where I shared my story of a 'Cuban Taxi driver who changed my life with three words:  'I am Happy'.  

LIFESTYLE | Summer 2017 Toddler Capsule Wardrobed
From top centre - clockwise:  Hat | Carters, watering can & tools | Indigo, Bunny Skip Hop Backpack | Indigo, Heart swimsuit | Joe Fresh, Canada Outfit | Joe Fresh, Heart Pants | Children's Place, Sandles | Joe Fresh, Lace Shoes | Zara, Jean Shorts | The Gap, Lace Top | Korea, Green Sunglasses | Carters, Blue & White Flower Romper | Joe Fresh, 4 Calico Critters | The Bay, Canvus bag | Chapters/Indigo, Pineapple Guy | Gift from Auntie Nicole, Potty Time Book | Indigo.

From top centre - clockwise:  Hat | Carters, watering can & tools | Indigo, Bunny Skip Hop Backpack | Indigo, Heart swimsuit | Joe Fresh, Canada Outfit | Joe Fresh, Heart Pants | Children's Place, Sandles | Joe Fresh, Lace Shoes | Zara, Jean Shorts | The Gap, Lace Top | Korea, Green Sunglasses | Carters, Blue & White Flower Romper | Joe Fresh, 4 Calico Critters | The Bay, Canvus bag | Chapters/Indigo, Pineapple Guy | Gift from Auntie Nicole, Potty Time Book | Indigo.

Summer is that time of year where you spend the least amount of time in any clothing that sticks to you.  It also, for us, was potty training season and this meant that our little 'Z' spent most of her time pant-less.  If we were home, she was usually just in a t-shirt or dress. (not pictured here are 3 dresses that she grew out of and we are not packing away.)

These are the items she spent the most time in this summer minus one dress that is pink, that is featured in her Spring Capsule of this year.  Many of the items she had from last year and still fit.

My personal favourites are her new shoes from Zara which opened in Halifax recently, her backpack, and blue romper that I wish she had worn more (potty training & rompers don't go together.)

 

UPDATE | Discipline as a Craft
discipline.byamygrace

Motivation isn't always an easy element to find.  In life, as emotional and dynamic human beings we are often affected by our atmospheres and circumstances.  We can wake up feeling energized only to hours later feel the empowerment drain from our bodies and spirits.  

Discipline hasn't always come easy for me, but I remember when I started to really understand it.  


I was in highschool and something in me wanted to learn how to figure skate.  I barely knew how to skate forwards let alone attempt a simple waltz jump.  But there was something in that sport I loved.  A combination of artistry, athleticism and determination.  

Discipline.  


To be an athlete you have to be disciplined.  I put in the time of joining a class of 4-6 year olds, being the single sixteen-year-old amidst them, our helmets on and learning the simple basic elements of skating.  I showed up at the rink during my free periods, after school and on weekends I started realizing that not only was I loosing weight, feeling fit, learning a skill I was aching to learn, I was also learning what it took to be disciplined. 

Elements of Discipline
 

Show Up

When you have a dream, goal, vision, desire, the first step is showing up.  That is LITERALLY 50% of the battle.  Then you do the work.  It could be sucky ass work.  It could be work that isn't showing any progress but it ALL counts.  

Set the Atmosphere

Whatever it is you are trying to do, it can't be done well if the atmosphere goes against it.  As a writer, for me, this looks like dressing the way I think my type of writer would dress, keeping a tidy and clean desk space so I can get to work at a moments inspiration, having a scented candle to light while I write, a fuzzy mat for my toes and fun mugs for my coffee.  It means having a Living Room that is centred around stories, sharing and music, it means having healthy meals pre-made so I can think less and yet still be wooed by my palate.  Think about what you are trying to do and all the elements that can come along side to support it.  

Quality Over Quantity

We live in a world of excess so it's easy to get distracted with the events, requests, desires and life going on around you.  The truth is, the work is always better when it is given quality attention.  You can put time in that is empty of value because it had less than half your true attention.  Reach for the quality.  For me, that means three solid writing sessions a week.  I get more done in those single three sessions than if I had five.

Tailor Life

So many expectations from others, yourself and circumstances.  What is important is that any distractions and unnecessary elements to the work is stripped away.  This means saying no.  Saying no to things you might be relieved to say no to and saying no to things that might be hard to say no to.  

Give Grace & Move On

& there are times when we are just completely overwhelmed, shocked or hindered because of how life treats us.  We just can't do it today.  That is okay.  That is when we give ourselves Grace and keep going.  Let yourself feel it, experience the grace and then move on and get back to it. 

 

WOMAN WHO HAVE INSPIRED ME IN DISCIPLINE

Tessa Virtue

Ellie Knaus

Hannah Brencher

 

 

LIFESTYLE | Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe
Clockwise from centre:  Summer Darling Magazine | Darling.com, Heart Locket Necklace | first gift from my boyfriend now husband over ten years ago, Brown Felt Hat | Indigo, Black romper | The Gap, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub | Indigo, Navy T-Shirt Dress | The Gap, A Giving Key | The Giving Keys, Green shorts | The Gap, Pink Graphic T | Modcloth.com, Starfish Keds | Soft Moc, Jean Shorts | Bluenotes, Sun Glasses | La Vie En Rose, Clenser, Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Facewash | Sephora, Coral & White Striped Silk Tank | Pseudio, Black silk tank top | H&M, Sports Bra | Aerie

Clockwise from centre:  Summer Darling Magazine | Darling.com, Heart Locket Necklace | first gift from my boyfriend now husband over ten years ago, Brown Felt Hat | Indigo, Black romper | The Gap, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub | Indigo, Navy T-Shirt Dress | The Gap, A Giving Key | The Giving Keys, Green shorts | The Gap, Pink Graphic T | Modcloth.com, Starfish Keds | Soft Moc, Jean Shorts | Bluenotes, Sun Glasses | La Vie En Rose, Clenser, Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Facewash | Sephora, Coral & White Striped Silk Tank | Pseudio, Black silk tank top | H&M, Sports Bra | Aerie

This Summer I found myself desiring new pieces I didn't truly need but knowing that I would be best to focus on the ones that counted.  Not pictured here are a few summer dresses that I wear often during the summer, various tanks that I at times wear underneath clothes, along with athletic wear.  I own two 3/4 length yoga pants and 2 yoga tops that I wear for workouts and other various athletic activities.  

The Navy T-Shirt dress was 100% the most used and best all around item I committed to adding to my wardrobe.  I have 2 other Navy Dresses. One is formal, and the other is more silk and good for summer day outings, but both leave me feeling a bit more dressed up than if I am just kicking it during a weekend.  So I found this T Shirt Dress at The Gap on sale and I LOVE it.  Dressed up or down, this is a winner.

Also added was the green shorts which I needed badly.  Since having a baby over two years ago I have only owned that one pair of jean shorts and this summer I found myself wanting to wear shorts more than dresses and needed a pair that would pair with more dressier shirts but wouldn't leave me feeling too formal.  This pair is perfect with dressier tanks or shirts tucked half way in but also relaxed with a graphic T.

Lastly, of note, I had broken my heart locket last year that Jeremy gave me when we were teens and it was his first gift to me.  I wore it 24/7 while he was away at sea over the past two years for a month at a time.  One would think that it would have been a babies grabby hand that broke it, but it was me, leaning over a table, getting it caught in-between slats.  I was a bit sad about that.  Recently we got it fixed for our six year wedding anniversary.  It's a simple and inexpensive piece but it means more than anything expensive.

Which goes to my last point:  It always pays to put more towards a classic piece and less towards the trendy.  The core base of my capsule wardrobe tends to be expensive items but those extra details are where I choose to find cheaper alternatives or wait for the right sale.  

Want to see how my Summer Wardrobe has evolved?

SUMMER 2016

 

UPDATE | Autumn 2017
writer.autumn.byamygrace

I have finally come to some sort of comfort level with the pace of writing and seeing a project into it's fullness.  The beginning of the Summer seemed to lag with work hours stolen, silent uncertainty and exploratory scene making.  

And then, in an instant, in less than two months, a pilot episode has been written and is still being refined as the days pass.  I walk along the water and ponder the characters and their place in the series and find a new path they have chosen in my mind.  "What a surprise!"  I inhale and exhale in a yoga pose and find that single solitary plot point that has ragged on me stick out like a sore thumb.  "Clarity! "

I find that now the hurdle is not only making the adjustments to the pilot (which I actually find quite fun and exciting.  Disovering story as it evolves itself) but also learning how to lay out an episodic series, story boarding, pitch writing, 'show bible' creating.

This is the hurdle.  Learning and honing the pitch craft.  

Thankfully I am not alone.  Creative Partnering with Kirstin Howell has not only boosted the work but also given a good kick at any doubts I may feel as I move forward.  

What I hope to find in this next leg of the journey is that there is joy and excitement to be found in this part of it as well.  

 

Amy LaiComment