LIFESTYLE | 8 Years Married 12 Years Together
8th.anniversary.byamygrace

Change is the one constant in our lives together.

We have learned how to grow and change together and to continue to find that theme in every passing month and year.

Every couple has there ‘loop’. The default settings of how we were raised, our personalities and genetic makeup. That being said, the longer you are together you have two choices. You either submit to the loop and allow it to control you, or you work to stay aware of the loop and allow it to inform you.

Over the past year with our home renovations and many personal situations that have overtaken our lives we have been faced again with that loop and given the opportunity to talk it out and find togetherness amidst the insane world.

I have watched my partner sink deep into the responsibility of this home renovation, while putting his all into his professional career and encouraging me in my own. We have worked hard to find corners of our lives to reconnect and that is everything.

We have no idea where this next decade of our lives as individuals and as a couple are taking us (30’s-40’s) , but we both find an anchoring in our lives together and I would say, that it is the anchoring in our togetherness that allows us to flourish as individuals.

I am so intrigued by this next season of our lives.

Off we go.

WORK | Writers I am Inspired By
writers.inspiration.byamygrace

We grab our inspiration in various places, here is a sampling of where mine has come from:

Sarah Polley

I think it’s safe to say there is nothing that I have taken in by Sarah Polley that hasn’t moved me. Most notably, Stories We Tell and Take This Waltz. Both of these pieces, one documentary and one fiction, has left me in awe about the complexities of life. I found peace and solidarity with the concept behind ‘Take This Waltz’ as it shows the process of a woman coming to terms with her choices in life, finding out her why’s, her how’s and how maybe life is not as simple as we thought it was. Stories We Tell gave me a deep dive as a human and storyteller how perspective and personality is everything. We are marked by our families, our DNA and our circumstances, no matter how we may fight it all.

Diana Gabaldon

This year I have been quite literally taken by Diana’s Outlander Series. I have only read four out of the eight already published in the series. (apparently there is to be 10 books in total.) What grabbed me with Diana’s writing, is her ability to weave together a time travel concept into history, romance, adventure, and so many more genres. She writes her characters deeper than three dimensional and has a way of making everything mundane in a persons life an integral part of the story. You believe in the characters as much as you believe in yourself, because that is how much she is able to give you in her writing.

Maya Angelou

Although I read ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ when I was a teenager, I fell in love with Maya’s words as I listened to her in various interviews. Interviews such as these: ‘Power of Words’, ‘Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud’ , Best Advice Given, captivate me & still does. Her words are timeless, empowering and insightful and I turn to them when I need reminders to come back to myself, my values and my worthiness as a human. I will always hold her brevity, sincerity and intolerance for inhumanity close to my heart.

Elizabeth Gilbert

What I love about Elizabeth Gilbert is that not one of her works is remotely the same. Every book she has ever written is a complete departure from the last. It’s as if she shows up for the project and let’s it speak and if anything, the only thing that I can put my finger on about her, is that her own personal physical voice has a distinct soul to it that speaks of raw unashamed re-learned childlike abandon. My favourite of her works: ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’, ‘City of Girls’ and various of her clippings of words captured on the internet.

This short list didn’t even touch on ‘Anne Lamott, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Shonda Rhimes, The Brontë Sisters, Liv Constantine’…. it’s an endless list.

What writers or people inspire your work?

LIFESTYLE | Back in the Kitchen
kitchen.byamygrace

Being back in a functioning kitchen is everything amazing.

I ADORE food and especially, find solace in baking. We haven’t had a lot of time to relish in our kitchen yet, but slowly we are getting back into a normal and healthy cooking, baking and eating routine.

Being that it is summer and we are still on a hectic schedule, I am trying to utilize our kitchen for a bit of fresh food creativity. Quickly whipping up a cream cheese filling for strawberries and doing a quick scan of toast ideas on Pinterest that can utilize our fresh fruit has been a great way to ease back into our love of ‘kitchen life’.

I am beyond thankful to have this new space and am anxious to have more time in it. Time has a way of flying by when life is happening.

When the tired and busyness kicks in, I take a deep breath and think of autumn blended soups, waffle brunches and all the Christmas baking that will be happening in here sooner than later and it keeps me going into a new week.

& onward we go.

strawberries.jpg
toast.byamygrace


SPOTLIGHT | Kaitlyn Adair
Kaitlyn Quote File.JPG

Kaitlyn Adair

Nurse & Filmmaker

Kaitlyn can be found teaching yoga, running two film companies which focus on feminism and social justice, community empowerment and mentorship, while also working as a nurse

Kaitlyn is a woman who sees beyond the surface and reaches deep to create spaces for those she works with and the broader community to feel empowered, safe and inspired.

She also happens to maintain a personal self awareness that moves those around her to become more self aware and in turn, become more aware of others.

MORE KAITLYN ADAIR

WEBSITE

http://kaitlynadair.com

FEAST MEDIA

https://www.facebook.com/feastmediainc/?ref=profile_intro_card

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/creativewellnessandyoga/?ref=profile_intro_card

INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/creativewellnessandyoga/

LIFESTYLE | Unplugged
unplugged.byamygracce

Inhale. Exhale.

Early this year I began ‘unplugging’ on Saturdays & by that I mean: putting my phone on airplane mode & not working or being accessible via email, texts, phone etc.

I still will watch a favourite show or movie, or pop on my laptop to sift through Pinterest inspiration etc, but it means I am not attached to the world behind my screens. I take my phone with me out and about, but it only acts as a camera & place for me to quickly jot notes in. (as a writer, this is essential.)

I find the more I take on, the more ‘pause’ I need to properly rest and digest everything. It’s not a bad thing, it’s part of what one needs to keep in check the mental, emotional and physical load.

Making space.

Margin.

Pause.

WORK | Summer Write Nights
summer.write.nights.byamygrace

Creative writing lends itself well for me to write in the evenings.

In particular, I find there is something magical about writing in the summer evenings. The window by my desk open, allowing any small breeze to come in, a train rumbling by and shaking everything including my heart, the light dimming slowly as the summer sun relents to bed…

I light a candle, put on my twinkle lights, pour some white wine and turn on some music to enter into a state that can only be explained by writers.

If I could, I would stay in that state forever. It is a lot like bliss and ecstasy mixed with a bit of earth to meet you where your feet are. Somewhere in that state you are both high and grounded at the same time.

An excerpt from my write nights:

“Words are like rain.  They pour out of us and seek to cover the dry parts of our lives.  Like rain, words can come in a pitter patter, or a flood.  Like rain, words can be a deluge or a storm or even a simple dewy soft and tender pattern of affection.”

LIFESTYLE | July 2019 Reads
July.2019.reads.byamygrace

July Reads…

City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert

The latest from Elizabeth Gilbert & I am treasuring this read and so glad I could use a birthday gift to purchase it. Thus far City of Girls has proven to be a beautiful, magical and majestic description of what it means to be a woman with eyes wide with wonder and an endless horizon before you. Elizabeth proves each time she writes, that her writing is capable of meeting the story where it is at and I always feel as if I am meeting a new side of her with each new book.

The Summer Wives | Beatriz Williams

To be started when we go on a road trip, The Summer wives is apparently a dishy fiction about a woman who finds herself amount the elite of society in the summer of the 1951. I have a soft spot for reading a bit of frivolous throw backs where you can indulge the romanticism of ‘class’ and society.

Summer | Melissa Harrison

One anthology of a set of 4 (for the four seasons) I am allowing this book to equip me with literary snippets about the season of summer. A bit of poetry, essay and observations mixed into one small but full book.

A Place Called Perfect | Helena Duggan

Always eager to take in a few ‘new to me’ middle grade reads within the year. Part for the interest of knowing what’s out there for my up and coming little reader, and partly because I find comfort in reading books geared to the middle grade. They are neither boring, nor overly complex. They assume the reader desires to be engaged while also not boring you with 'trying to be a literary genius’ on page.

A Place Called Perfect has given a bit of ‘perspective’ on what it means to see past facades and how important it is to ask questions through the story of a girl coming to a new town in which all the residents must wear a specific pair of glasses or they go blind.

SPOTLIGHT | Élana Camille
elana.camille.brilliansea.

Élana Camille

Illustrator, Artist & Creative Content Producer

Élana can be found collaborating with brands, media publications and various companies, while also embracing and finding new ways to honour the evolution and change in her own unique journey as a creative entrepreneur.

Élana is motivated to create illustrations that connect with her clients intentions and also finds an ability to be inspired and refreshed through her love for travel.

She also happens to have a tenacious spirit that has carried her through each new step of her personal and professional life and is a carrier of enthusiasm for anyone who wants to step out and try something new.

More Elana

Website

https://www.elanacamillecreates.com

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/elanacamillecreates/

LIFESTYLE | Kitchen Renovation
kitchen.july.2019

kitchen.july.2019

We began our full gutting and kitchen/Dining room renovation on May 18th.

What we did

  • Gutted the kitchen with the help of friends

  • Replaced the sub floor, insulation and dryer vent

  • patched up holes in walls, etc.

  • put proper plug covers in walls

  • Painted

  • installed IKEA cupboards & island (no easy feat with a 50 year old curved walls)

  • Installed dishwasher & fixed a few slight pluming weirdness (hired a trusted professional and friend)

  • Cut and Installed IKEA countertops (Birch)

  • Cut Hole and installed drop in Sink

  • Installed Faucet

What we have left to do

  • Finish installing hardware

  • Put in flooring

  • Install trim

  • Install kick boards around the cupboards and island.

I am so excited for when the whole space is done but for now, having a functional kitchen is a huge step into this journey. After two months without a kitchen sink, I was more than ready for it when it went in last week.

So far we have learned through this project we are more than capable to handle big projects and we are so thankful to be able to make it happen.

WORK | Mama, Writer, Producer etc.
On set with mama. 2019

On set with mama. 2019

Over the past year I have been on a journey on what it means ‘for me’ to be both my daughters primary care giver and to be active in my chosen career.

What I have found thus far:

I schedule around the time with my daughter.

Before a new work week begins, I sit down and see where the windows of time will be where she is on a visit to a grandparents, will be doing activities with her father or anyone else. Then I schedule in my work after that. (notwithstanding, previously arranged meetings, appointments or filming shoots.)

I honour the work and my daughter.

There are days I would rather just kick it around the house or goof off with a friend, but I realize if I don’t show up for both my daughter and my work I become resentful to whatever has distracted or is keeping me from either.

I grow at my own right pace.

As I grew into this motherhood thing, I realized that I valued my work and wanted to grow and mature professionally in a manner that was steady, healthy and challenging in all the right ways. My pace and someone else’s pace will be different and that’s okay.

What I wish others knew

I work really hard to be present.

I give you and my life 100% of me, which is naturally just a part of who I am as a person. It also means I can drain my reserves quickly if I am not managing myself properly and keeping margin in my daily life.

I love being there for both my daughter and my work.

There is nothing that makes me happier than having a day with a meaningful activity with my daughter and getting some work done amidst it all.

I need you to reach out to me too.

I take maintaining relationships seriously, and I have realized that although I am the driving force in many relationships, I need someone else to take the drivers seat off and on.

*A Note on ‘Being Busy’ & Celebrating the Exhaustion…

There is this unfortunate celebration of the woman who is balancing everything and continues to take on more and more. We like to enjoy saying ‘look at her, she does it all!’ We don’t take the time to look at how all of those things are affecting her personal and professional life in ways that are unseen. We just see the list of tasks and roles and celebrate , like it’s a ticket to success to be run into the ground with nothing but a few hours to sleep at night.

fyi: that’s not long lasting success. That’s a fast ticket to a burn out. I won’t be boarding that train ya’ll.

LIFESTYLE | Summer 2019 Playlist
playlist.summer2019.byamygrace

Summer is the perfect time for a good mixed tape.

Here is what I am listening to this season

Summer 2019 Playlist

Stand outs

Heavy | Bird Talker

Entering into summer I am feeling a sense of curiosity and joy of what is to come after so many months of slogging through some tough personal decisions. Investing in others and finding a way to connect on deeper levels through the summer months of sun and salt water.

Counting Every Blessing | Rend Collective

This version of Rend Collective’s song, (with the ukulele) is a lovely light hearted song about staying thankful and grounded in what remains true. A perfect ‘drive to the beach’ song.

I’ll Be There | Jess Glynne

This song has such a great vibe and I love dancing to it with my daughter.

I Found You | Alabama Shakes

Blues Rock brings me right back to blues dancing until 2am on sticky hot summer nights in my early twenties. Something about this type of music takes you straight into your core and summer nights is when I listen to this the most.

Mamma Mia | Mamma Mia Soundtrack

Does this even need an explanation? A summer musical song for the car rides.

SPOTLIGHT | Kirstin Howell
kirstin.howell.quote

Kirstin Howell | “Kiki”

Actor & Teacher

Kiki can be found acting in theatre, film and television, while also coaching and teaching a variety of students in their projects and performance skills.

Kiki is motivated by bringing humour to the table in her work and life and finds a unique way to create and share in unity and abundance for not just the experienced performamce artist, but the new and up and coming.

She also happens to have a way of carrying a gracious, encouraging and uplifting spirit while also leaving you with incredibly constructive feedback and advice that leave you inspired and wanting to strive further in your life and work.

More Kiki

The L.A. Technique

https://www.facebook.com/TheL.A.Technique/

The Insta

https://www.instagram.com/auntiekiki/

LIFESTYLE | 2019 so far...
Fireworks from Dewolf Park. Bedford. NS

Fireworks from Dewolf Park. Bedford. NS

I think it’s safe to say the first half of this year has flown by…

At the beginning of 2019, I felt it impressed upon me to focus on the word ‘Curate’ and it has remained with me every day since.

Personally

This year has taken turns we were not expecting. Dealing with a beetle infestation and having to embrace that our home needed us to put some financial investment into it not down the road, but right now, was a blow to a few of our plans this year. In reflection, I see how those hard and confusing months allowed us to see how important it is to invest in our home and property and that we are 100% capable of doing so. I believe that God has a way of providing what you need exactly when you need it. So many little things along the way helped me to see that even when it feels like a step back, so often that step back is so you can leap forward in a more clearer and better direction.

Professionally

Earlier this year I had a break through with my use of time. I recognized I was acting as if I still had a very dependant toddler at home when really we were thriving together and individually. When I started assessing how busy I felt I realized it was because I was doing tasks like a scattered mom with young children. Making an effort to re-evaluate how I can have a better work flow has been essential and of course I discovered all of this to only have to put a lot on hold to deal with our home, but that time of distraction allowed me to see how necessary developing a proper work flow for this new stage was and how efficient I could be for my work and projects.

As I enter into the last half of 2019

I recognize I still want to continue curating our home and it’s atmosphere. Putting our house back together after months of upheaval in a mindful and intentional way will allow us to find rest, to host others and commune together in it. I also want to continue re-evaluating on a weekly, monthly and seasonal basis how I allot time for paid and non paid work. Both are worthy causes and both deserve the appropriate attention.

WORK | Spotlight Series - Summer 2019 Update
Making the last day of filming happen in heat & with little in tow.

Making the last day of filming happen in heat & with little in tow.

Two weeks ago we wrapped up our last set of Spotlight Interviews until the Fall. Right now our studio is in an attic which quickly becomes an oven during the warmer seasons, so we are forced to take a mini but much needed filming hiatus.

In many ways, this is a great opportunity for us to review our series so far, catch up on editing and implement a few more items into our series that we haven’t had time to do.

During this break

We want to create a proper intake and documentation of those interviews we have done and those we have on our ever running docket list.

Up until now everything we have done has been very ‘on the ground’ and informal. We started by reaching out to the women we believed would be interested and an asset to pushing the series forward and then we began asking for recommendations. For the fall we hope to be able to better keep track of the women on our various ‘lists’ and our aim is to make sure we curate and produce a series with various ages, mediums of work, backgrounds and diversity.

Creating an opportunity for funding.

Now that we have 20 interviews under our belt we are going to be seeking support and funding so that we can continue to create this series in the ways that will better honour the project and ourselves. We recognize that in order to continue serving and creating in a way that develops this series to it’s fullest potential, we need the financial freedom in order to give it that attention.

Until then, keep watching as we continue to drop two interviews monthly!

LIFESTYLE | June 2019 Reads
June.reads.19.byamygrace

The Favourite Sister | Jessica Knoll

Set behind the scenes of a reality tv show this book follows a handful of women in the lead up to ‘the main event’ which the specifics are unknown to the reader. A mystery read, this one didn’t leave me flipping pages in excitement, but it did play out well. A good Summer beach day diversion.

A Well Behaved Woman | Therese Anne Fowler

Still in the thick of these pages. Therese reimagines both fact and fiction from historical women. Based on ‘Alva Belmont / Vanderbilt’ and her essential place in the history of the women’s suffrage movement. I love reading Therese’s sassy take on these pillars of womanhood. (still reading)

The Queen of Hearts | Kimmery Martin

Adoring the best friends that hold this book together. A bit like a book for those who adore “Meredith Grey & Christina Yang” from Greys Anatomy. Step into the world that these doctors hold both professionally and personally. (Still reading)

Duped | Abby Ellin

Abby Takes us behind the scenes of her experiences being engaged to a con man and her never ending research trying to find the why’s and how’s of those who live double lives and have false identities. Another book written wth a journalists hand and she manages to write with intrigue that makes us want to read through her findings and research. Fascinating in every way.

SPOTLIGHT | Gwyneth Christoffel
Gwyneth.quote.brilliansea

Gwyneth Christoffel

Animator, Illustrator & Film Editor

Gwyneth can be found working during the day as an editor and illustrator while also bringing smiles to faces with her creative outlet ‘Gwyneth Draws’, on instagram.

Gwyneth is driven to create inspiring, quippy and impactful work and has fully embraced her own unique way to inspire a sense of solidarity and joy through what she does.

She also happens to have a calm and joyful presence that surrounds her that makes it easy to see where all those quippy and light hearted illustrations flow from.

More Gwyneth

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/gwynethdraws/

Store

https://society6.com/gwynethdraws

LIFESTYLE | Summer 2019
Bedford basin.

Bedford basin.

and here we are in summer…

How did this happen I wonder? It’s as if I fell asleep as the spring rain begun, awoke with the trees in full bloom and our loft filled with humid air once again.

I enjoy preparing for the turn of the seasons, but I confess, this season there has been less preparation and more of a treading water while I wrap up the ever running list of action items. They haven’t all been attended to in time, but a feeling of satisfaction for what has been dealt with lingers with me today.

I am approaching the summer with a bit more intrigue.

Personally

we are over half way done a kitchen renovation. Getting close to putting the counters in gives me hope and interest on what is to come once we have it finished (meaning a functioning kitchen, I’m no sucker, I realize this won’t end anytime soon) and how we will celebrate the hard work we have slogged through doing it mostly (90%) ourselves.

Professionally

finishing up a short documentary with Claire Fraser (adding the last segments along with colour grading and music) while also taking on a new roll as a ‘Women in Film and Television Atlantic’ board member. It all leaves me very curious and intrigued over the next few months.

I am welcoming curiosity into this next season of my life and I wonder where summer will take us?

WORK | 5 Things to Do to Start Anything
At Claire Frasers Studio where we collaborate on the Brilliansea Projects.

At Claire Frasers Studio where we collaborate on the Brilliansea Projects.

A creative entrepreneur’s reality is that they are often creating things from nothing that are not always easy to communicate to their audience or even, to themselves.

When starting anything here are 5 things to do.

Have an Anchor Point

In any concept an anchor point to the project is what you can keep coming back to & it becomes something that others who are your consumers understand to be uniquely you. Be it a symbol, a mascot, a specific action you do within your ‘making’, make sure it’s there and you know why you do it.

Use What You Have

It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to have the right set up, the right products etc. Comparison is the thief of joy. All good things come in time, so use what you have and make do. Podcasts, vlogs, film makers, artists of any medium learn to use what they have and build on that over time.

Stay Consistent

Consistency is key. You will never improve or gain traction if you are spotty in consistency. Maintain a consistency that works for you. Once a week or once a day is better than here and there.

Do it For You (& one other person)

Never do anything to impress others. Do the thing to bring satisfaction to yourself and to at least one other person. That one other person doesn’t need a name, it could just be the ‘you’ out there you wish it would have been available for.

Aim To Improve Each Time You Do It

Every time you produce or create or bring forth whatever it is you do, aim to improve it. Ever piece of work you make has a new perspective from something you learned along the way.

When starting anything these five things are not only essential but they are also life rafts when you are unsure of where to go next or how things are going. It’s not always clear where the ‘motivation’ comes from to start things and continue them and circling back around to these foundational things can help remind, refresh and bring revelation to your doing.

LIFESTYLE | Spring 2019 Favourites
spring.favs.19.byamygrace

Spring was a very full three months of home upheaval and yet through it all, these little things brightened up the renovation slog and put a smile on my face.

Turkish Dish Towel

Found a set of two of these at Winners and got incredibly excited. This towel has that Turkish design to it but the inside is very absorbent for drying dishes when needed. (A harder thing to find than one would realize)

Lightfoot & Wolfville Riesling Wine

A beautiful reminder of lunch and tour of the Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery during my 30th birthday weekend. I cherish the memory of the time with my oldest and close friends that day and am in no hurry to open this bottle. I admire how this specific vineyard runs and do their best to nurture and cultivate the land that has been in their family for generations.

Eternal Optimist Essie Nail Polish

Adore this light toned pink nail polish. Something between nude and pink.

The Secret Garden | Francis Hodgson Burnett

Every Spring I give this classic a re-read or a rewatch of the film. Each time I feel renewed and find new mysterys within.

Learn Me Right Sheet Music

Learn Me Right debuted in the Disney film “Brave”. This song became an anthem of mine as I was learning to become a more fuller version of myself. It speaks of grace, humanity and the ability for renewal.

Puff.Me.Light

I adore the time with my hair stylist & this time around she used a ‘puff.me’ product and it was everything. I believe I ordered the lighter version of what she used in my hair.

KarlLagerfeld Patten Leather Flats

I hunted for a pair of black flats for a long time. Coming across this pair was everything and thankfully my mama bequeathed them to me for my birthday (I may have hinted at her to jump at a timely sale….). So thankful to have them in my life. Perfect for dressing up and dressing down. Jeans or dress, they stand alone. I almost want to set aside some cash to buy more pairs for when I wear these out. And I will wear them out, because they are my FAVOURITE!

Glossier paint, Highlighter & Boybrow Products

A 30th birthday gift from the bestie & literally everything perfect for a busy and ‘no muss no fuss’ woman like me. Sure, I like to be polished and classy but on the daily’s I am more a ‘wear these 5 outfits on rotation’ and use these few main products ‘to boost the face awakening thing’. Give me simple & minimal any day!

Cotton Foxhound Candle

Having a candle to burn throughout the current season is a pleasure of mine that I adore keeping up. The Cotton candle was a lovely fresh sent for Spring made locally. (Nova Scotia)

WORK | Spring 2019 Work Reflection
spring.2019.

Spring was jam packed with personal endeavours.

Birthday parties, our first home renovation and many regular/additional ‘spring cleaning’ items on the list. I was able to give that heavy and long list of personal items a lot of my attention, while also leaving my creative self longing for more luxurious time at my desk.

This spring I have been learning the art of ‘curating time’.

I would say I had already learned this, since anyone who has a baby knows that the time between the ages of 0-3 years of age are years that one looses their hold on ‘having control of their own time’. That being said, I am on a new journey of what it means to take on more, handle bigger projects both personally and professionally and enter into them acknowledging the potential of overwhelm while also creating boundaries for my own mind and spirit to maintain and curate peace in all that I do.

I have learned

when tackling big projects I need to stick to the matter at hand, stop myself and even at times, my partners in crime from wondering too far ahead so as not to feel the weight of what has yet to be done.

I have learned that unplugging for 24 hours once a week is exactly what I need to monitor my anxiety as well as give my every fast paced mind a forced break.

I have learned that I do extremely well when my expectations for myself and from others are clear and I have prepared a bit in advance to meet them.

Overall, this Spring has been full personally, and professionally I have gained a lot of strategies to handle the projects and work that lies ahead.

What my work space looked like for almost 3.5 weeks & still has a lot of kitchen items chilling with me as I post this.

What my work space looked like for almost 3.5 weeks & still has a lot of kitchen items chilling with me as I post this.