Here's how stupidly anxious I get sometimes:

I picked up some Christmas cards this morning and spent a bunch of time perfecting messages to write inside them.

I used a fancy pen.

I did my best cursive (I always print).

I wanted these to be perfect.

Then I made a million dumb mistakes because I'm so not-used to writing cursive letters that the shapes felt unnatural.

My writing looked sloppy and worse than usual.

I got frustrated.

Then I realized that one of the envelopes needed extra postage

and I only have regular stamps.

So I thought "fuck this, I'm using this as an opportunity to do this right this time"

I went out and bought the lovely cards you see above.

I wrote the same heartfelt messages.

But this time I did it in my usual, messy, unladylike printing.

Because Christmas isn't about being perfect 

(or trying to be)

it's about being yrself.

Thanks Christmas cards for reminding me.

Tags: Life Christmas

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Hi Thursday

Woke up feeling like a million bucks. I’ve been reading A Tale of Two Cities before bed and it’s been nice to be delving back into some fiction on my own time. John and I snuggled extra hard this morning and after wolfing back some eggs and a cup of coffee I booked it to the bus. Originally I thought I’d hate using transit for my commute but it’s been giving me a lot of time to think and mentally organize my plans for the day.

This song came on my Songza playlist while I was en route to the office. Love it.

John’s company, The Campfire Union, was featured in this spiffy video about the future of virtual reality that New Media Manitoba put together. It’s so exciting to be surrounded by such positive and driven people!

The weekend is here and this is basically all I want to do:

(Okay, maybe not alone. But you get the idea)


Hip Hop Sunday: Wordburglar - Croque Monsieur

Slept in till almost noon and then didn't leave the bed until way after, which only happened because John tempted me with eggs in baskets and coffee and Jimmy Dean sausages from the FoodFare on Maryland.

Who can say no to some Jimmies?

Had a few people over on Friday night to watch the new Trailer Park Boy's Christmas special which was less that underwhelming. I didn't realize that it was a mash-up of some show footage and a live stage performance.

Suffice to say that they should just stick to the tv show. 

While the acting isn't too awful, it relies way too much on well-known catchphrases and jokes and not enough on new material, so this tired chick was falling asleep towards the end. 

However, it was nice to catch up with a few peeps we hadn't seen in a while, and a nice way to start a super relaxing weekend. 

Last night after making the most epic grilled cheeses we popped my Return to OZ cherry which was terrifying to say the least.

I watched a lot of effed-up movies in my childhood but how is this not supposed to traumatize anyone?!

Have a wonderful (not creepy as f) Hip Hop Sunday!

xox

yr girl Shaner


Is Bitchiness the Key to Success?

I've been listening to an audiobook of Amy Poehler's new book Yes, Please on my phone over the past little while.

Most of what I know of her is of her character on Parks and Recreation and at first I had trouble reconciling Lesley Knope's ridiculously-cheerful character with Poehler's aggressive statements and observations about success, such as "sometimes I worry that not enough people hate me".

Throughout her book, she paints a clear picture that she got to where she is by busting her ass and not taking shit from people. 

What struck me about this is that the scenes she uses to illustrate these points - such as screaming at some jerk on an airplane who was harassing her - are commonly identified as being "bitchy behaviours." Even though she spends all of her time working to promote herself and further her career, she still has to deal with people who refer to her as A Bitch.

As a businessperson I totally identify with this - I haven't accomplished what I have by sitting back and waiting for it to come to me. I've blogged for years, maintain an active online presence, jump at the option to speak publicly and share my knowledge, and make a living hustling to get my name out there. Sure, it's paying off, but it's taken time and dedication and I've definitely been called names once or twice during that time -largely when I've stood up for myself.

So as I've been listening to the audio book I've found myself wondering "obviously a no-BS attitude is the key to being successful, but does that actually classify as 'bitchy behaviour'?"

I don't think so, and here's why:

Being "a bitch" actually doesn't mean refusing to take shit from people and being ambitious as hell, it means being mean and deliberately nasty, which we should all strive not to do regardless of our career aspirations.

However, unfortunately women are often classified as being "bitches" when they exhibit ambitious behaviour or stand up for themselves because of larger (unfortunately in many cases still extremely pervasive) gender inequality issues that exist within our society. 

Too often, our society uses negative language to discredit successful women and to downplay their efforts.  By calling an assertive woman a bitch, we're stripping her of any power that she might have because it implies that the only reason that she got to where she is in her life was through underhanded and nasty tactics. She doesn't actually deserve your respect, attention, or admiration because she's just a bitchy woman, nothing special. 

I've seen men do this far too often, and -perhaps more worrying- I've seen women do it as well. Women are taught to be jealous of other women's successes, and name-calling is one tactic that we employ to justify our feelings of jealousy or insecurity. 

So how can we be successful without being "bitches"?

I think the secret is to start trying to reclassifying what is actually "bitchy" (nastiness, underhanded behaviour, etc) and what is just plain old ambition and drive, and to start focusing more on the ways in which women work together to be successful. 

Women need to say nice things about other women.

A great local example is the Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba. There are heaps of super-talented ladies involved with helping one another working there, and nobody is going around saying things like "this totally successful bitch taught a class the other day."

Instead, they say things like "I met this amazing woman the other day. She was driven and focused and really knew what she was talking about. She doesn't take shit from anyone!" 

These are the kinds of stories that we should be telling about women in business, and when women like Amy Poehler publish memoirs like Yes, Please, which encourage women to stand up for themselves and not be doormats who wait for their careers to be handed to them, we should applaud her efforts, not call her a "bitch" and downplay her drive. 


New Media Manitoba's #NMMparty14 event

Tuesday night I spent in the evening in the company of some of Winnipeg's finest entrepreneurs and tech-savvy folks at the New Media Manitoba holiday party. It was held at The Met, which is one of my favourite (absolutely gorgeous) venues.

One of the highlights of the evening was a series of little videos showcasing some great local tech companies, including Visual Lizard, Bold Commerce, Dash Agency and my dear friends at The Campfire Union

(Les totally killed it, by the way. Well done!)

The video was put together by Handcraft Creative, who totally outdid themselves - it was a seriously professional and impressive piece.

The Campfire VR demo setup of Yana Virtual Relaxation was also a huge hit. I've hung out on Dagat Beach a few times and it's so immersive! Here's local Twitter megastar Ben Rogers giving it a whirl: 

Thanks again to New Media Manitoba for hosting such a spectacular event, and for providing me with an opportunity to gorge on tiny snacks, free popcorn and white wine. Yummmm!


Hip Hop Sunday: Dragon Fli Empire - Ain't Goin' Down

Happy Sunday, boys and girls.

I'm nursing a huge glass of water and a coffee and putting my feet up after a night of dancing at The Park Theatre. 

We were up till almost 3am lying around on the shag rug, listening to music and being silly. 

As a result this is basically all I'll be doing today:

Hope your Sunday is half as lovely.

xox

yr girl Shaner


Date Night

Went on a lovely, much-needed date last night. After a busy workweek it's always nice to spend some time unwinding with your favourite person.

We hit up King + Bannatyne for dinner and it was amazing. John had the brisket and I had the buffalo chicken and we shared a soup which kept us warm enough to dash from that street to the adjacent one where Across The Board is located. 

We tried out a couple of games while we were there including Bandidos, Mr. Jack and Lost Cities. I generally hate card-style games but John was really patient with me and it was a lot of fun!



(here we're figuring out how to play Bandidos) 

That'll teach me to kibosh something just because it's out of my comfort zone.

By the time we got home it was after 1am and I almost fell asleep on the couch watching the finale of Summer Heights High. 

Tonight we're seeing The Xanad00ds at The Park Theatre. Can't wait!

Tags: Life Dating

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Specifically regarding the look and feel of my website.

The last year has been an incredible time for growth, reflection and opportunities (see more about those feelings here) and it's about time that my website grew up a bit, as well.

Now it's got a clean, streamlined feel. 
It's easy to navigate and focuses on more than just my blog
(because, hey, I do freelance work too!)
And it's a better reflection of me as a person and as a professional.

I'm so excited to be able to share this with you guys, and I'd love to hear what you think about the new design!

Also, biggest props to John and Rae of The Campfire Union for their help making this thing look sharp as eff -you guys are amazing! xox


Week(end) wrap-up

Shaner

I'm writing this on a Sunday night in my fleece-lined leggings and one of John's sweaters. I've been largely absent since last week (except Hip Hop Sunday, of course) because I wanted to spend a weekend getting back in touch with the other parts of my life that I let lapse sometimes.

I went to the gym Fri/Sat/Sun which felt amazing; I've been going a lot more regularly and in addition to feeling a million times better I'm seeing results both in how my body looks and in terms of my strength. This week I learned that 5lbs more weight can make a huge difference in how I feel after lifting weights!

Last night I stayed in and worked on an old painting I started months ago. I'm awful for starting an art project and letting everything else in my life get in front of finishing it, so it felt great to sit down and actually work on it again. Btw, all my painting are for sale so if you're ever interested in buying or commissioning a piece, give me a shout!

Today was simple: sleep in, gym, client work, some Wii, and a nice chat with my dad. After a few busy weekends, and feeling under the weather last week, it felt great to "reset" -bring on the workweek!

Here's what happened last week, too:

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Last Thursday I tagged along with The Campfire Union crew to check out Complex Games' open house in their gorgeous office space in The Exchange District.

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It was packed as eff in there -it got even busier after I took this photo!

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I've been playing hermit a lot recently so it was great to get out and catch up with some familiar faces, like Kieran and his lovely girlfriend Alex!

Afterward we went home, ordered some Ethiopian through SkiptheDishes and caught up on American Horror Story. I'm obsessed with the new season!

Also if you're into podcasts and beer, and like podcasts about beer, John and I were recently on an episode of PubChat! Give it a listen here.


Hip Hop Sunday: Drake - Started from the Bottom

Okay so Drake isn't really "hip hop" but I discovered this amazing Drake Paper Doll that CBC Music put together for Toronto Fashion Week and am obsessed with it

especially the "Sad Drake" face you can use Untitled

and, apparently, this totally repetitive song with this ridiculous video

which I've never watched before today, and am now obsessed with

because how Canadian is it to party in a Shoppers Drugmart?


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