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so to celebrate let's talk about my favourite weirdo cat, Toulouse Lautrec.
I picked up Toulouse after a day of shopping with friends and scrolling through Kijiji ads over baklava and coffees. I called the lady who was giving him away and we drove over to a house in St James which was cluttered full of stuff and full of cats. She put Toulouse on my shoulder and he crawled behind my hair and started licking my neck and I fell in love.
He was just a little guy, then -probably too young to actually be separated from his mum, now that I think about it- and attached himself to me immediately.
Whenever I come home he runs to the door to meet me. When I'm in bed he insists on crawling on the pillows above my head and keeping me warm by being a furry hat.
He loves to knead my neck and lick my hair and sit in weird poses and lives for belly rubs.
In fact, if you start to pet him within a few seconds he'll be on his back with his tummy exposed, looking at you with an expectant look that says
"please please me"
which everyone does, because you can't say no to that face.
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Yesterday I had one of the most interesting, challenging and unique days of my work experience so far: I sat down with the team at my office and participated in planning a year-long marketing strategy.
This was the first time that I was tasked with developing a long-term strategy for a client/employer, and while I'm thrilled to say that I rose to the occasion, preparing for it also ate up a ton of my free time and focus over the last little while. Beyond doing my community management and copywriting freelance stuff I barely had the time to get together with friends or have a night in to unwind.
I was drained for weeks.
So it was natural for me to expect that after 8 hours of planning, discussing, and planning some more, and finally setting a date for a follow-up meeting (yikes) that I would be feeling just as run-down and at a total lack for words as I've felt over the past little while.
Except I didn't. I felt great. And, for the first time in what feels like forever, I actually have words spilling from my fingertips so fast that I can barely keep up with them.
(which any writer will tell you is the best feeling imaginable)
As I sipped my wine in my bath yesterday, I started thinking about why this might have happened, and I realized that (gasp, shock, awe) my 9-5 actually cured me
It made me think outside of my comfort zone.
I work in a real estate office by day and since I've started we've been working on getting a total stylistic overhaul in place, as well as developing a long-term social media and content marketing plan. Because of the nature of the business (fast-paced, really intense) I had to really plan out a lot of moves in advance and focus on areas such as direct mail marketing in addition to the online stuff that I'm used to, so it really forced me to think outside of my comfort zone and make changes to what I normally think of "business as usual" tactics for marketing.
It forced me to focus.
#RealTalk time: these past 6 months have been a total whirlwind. I left a lover, fell head over heels with a charming-as-hell slice of a man, attended two festivals, camped, grew a garden, cycled all over the city, and moved house, all while working my regular 9-5 and managing my freelance clients. Needless to say it's been a bit crazy, and while I don't think I let my work slip in any way, I certainly felt pretty scattered and focusing on planning 2015 really helped me get centered and start pulling the pieces of myself back together.
It made my defend and discuss, and sometimes reconsider my decisions.
Most realtors brand themselves in a very similar fashion (if they brand themselves at all) and it was an interesting challenge to have to explain why things like blogging and Facebook engagement are worthwhile investments to someone who, while understanding that they are important, don't quite grasp the why of it. Something like content marketing seems like a given for me, but having to go in-depth as to why and how they would benefit the business, as well as presenting a long-term strategy which was challenged from multiple angles made me really have to think over why I wanted to shape our brand in a particular way. It was great practice, since I haven't had to do that for a while, and the feedback was immensely helpful in making sure that I was making the best possible decisions.
It made me work out more.
Sounds silly, but bear with me here: honestly, there were days where, after being at the office and doing freelance stuff at home, my brain felt so jumbled with stats and ideas and words that I just needed to get out, and I've started hitting the gym again on a regular basis. I write heaps more when I work out regularly (is there something about the treadmill that gets the creative juices flowing? Who knows.) and definitely feel significantly more inspired after hitting the gym after a day at the office.
It forced me to do a ton of research.
This is pretty self-explanatory: when you spend a bunch of time looking at, listening to, or discussing stuff that you love (in my case: copywriting, content management, social media, all that good stuff) it's hard not to want to start implementing all of the things you've learned right the f now. As a result I literally have a backlog of things that I want to blog about and share here, and it feels ah-maz-ing.
It reminded me that I'm totally capable.
We all have times when we start to feel down about ourselves, and while I was preparing for this huge meeting I had my fair share of "oh my god can I even get this together in a way that makes sense?!" moments. So when it call came together, smoothly and efficiently, it felt like this huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt relief wash over me and I remembered that, heck yeah, I can totally rock this!
It made me want to take on more freelance work.
This kinda relates to the above point. After yesterday's meeting I felt totally inspired to get out there and do more of what I just finished doing -there's nothing like the feeling of successfully planning and implementing a huge project, is there? Anyway, now I'm ravenous for more clients! Not because I'm in this huge hurry to ditch my 9-5 -not at all!- But being able to explore new ideas and help this business grow makes me want to help other clients as well.
So (shameless plug) if you or anyone else know you know are looking for some copywriting or community management help, hit me up and let's chat!
It feels SO GOOD to be cured of my blogging blues!
What do you do to cure yours when you're feeling uninspired? I'd love to know!
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In case you're wondering where I've been the answer is that I've got a huge meeting at work tomorrow
of the annual strategy-planning kind
and I've taken on a couple of new freelance clients
which in addition to making a point to do sweet FA on Saturday
(because even the most badass blogger needs a break once in a while)
has eaten up my life.
So tomorrow's the big day. We're ordering in lunch and I'll be presenting stats, ideas and plans for the first time in my big-girl career.
Which is intimidating & exciting. Mostly the last one.
If you had asked me at 21 what I'd be doing in 5 years I wouldn't have said "full-time Marketing Manager & freelance Community Manager duh"
but here we are.
Life's surprised me a lot this past year.
But I've gotta jet because my dad just texted (!!!) me asking to chat with him about social media for his work
which coming from a dude who a few years ago could barely email is a pretty big deal.
See what I mean about life being full of surprises?
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Tony writes the best blog ever, the busblog, which I read religiously.
You'd think after being a blogger forever Tony would run out of interesting things to say, but no, his post just get better and more entertaining and I find myself coming back to the busblog for blogspiration whenever I'm stuck on what to write.
You'd also think doing stuff like being the community manager for the Oscars and Ubering all over LA would actually detract from the quality of the stuff he writes
but like the Blogfather he is it's just made him better.
He messages me nice things once in a while, which I love because it's nice to hear nice things from people far away and every time I get a notification it melts my icy Canadian heart a just little bit.
I have dreams of secretly heading to LA and hopping in his car while he's out Ubering and being like
TONY IT IS I, YOUR CANADIAN PRINCESS
and then drinking rum on a beach with him in the middle of February because you can do that in LA.
Maybe one day it will happen, we'll see.
Till then I'll just send him love from far up in the chilly Canadian Prairies:
Happy Birthday, Tony.
May your life always be full of
and the most kickass blog posts ever.
yr girl Shaner
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which makes me happy because it means that he's been around for another entire 365 days doing weird collabs, answering AMA's on Reddit, and otherwise continuing to ingrain himself in popular culture like nobody else.
To celebrate, here are some of my favourite Snoop gifs:
Snoop hanging with the yout
Snoop droppin' it like it's hot:
Snoop brushin' it off
Snoop channeling the power of the Lord
Snoop keeping the ladies in check:
Snoop and his crew:
Snoop on parole:
Snoop on The Price is Right:
and my personal favourite
Snoop Dogg evolving into Snoop Lion:
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Worked from home because yr girl has a sore throat and screw sitting in an office answering phones when I can happily whittle away at my workload from the comfort of The House at Bear Corner (where I live) and even better do so in thigh-high socks and not office attire.
Worked on a website, wrote some content, strategized. You know how I do.
Ventured out of the house in the cold to get coffees, beans, groceries and a bunch of wine because it's the weekend you sillies.
We went to DeLuca's Fine Wines and ate part of a chocolate shoe that didn't look like a shoe at all, but rather just pieces of chocolate on a plate at the front counter. But the lady working there also gave us port to try with it so all was good.
But even though my voice is fucked I'm not going to let it stop me from seeing July Talk tomorrow night at The Pyramid.
Maybe the dude we we chatted with at Thom Bargen.
Is it weird to say hi to your regular barrista outside of a coffee shop setting?
Maybe I'll get to find out.
Hope your weekend is
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then proceeded to roll around some more
chase his toy under the couch
pop a sick lean on the wall
and fall asleep on the ottoman.
All in the span of a single Doctor Who episode.
Toulouse is livin' the life.
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Obviously this turned into having a late brunch and now I have to squeeze a run, tidying up & getting ready into the few hours before meeting up with my whole fam for Thanksgiving dinner.
Slow clap for this one.
Tonight is the first time that John will be meeting my whole family and I'll admit that I was a bit concerned (we Shanes are an unpredictable bunch) and then my mum sent me something super sweet:
Which just made my day.
Happy (Thanksgiving long weekend!) Hip Hop Sunday!
yr girl Shaner
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Me, calling Gord Steeves a tool.
Will, talking about his super interesting video project which I won't talk about in detail here.
John, being clever and cute as usual.
Our waitress apologizing for serving me a 'Lil Scrapper instead of a Bulldog (it's all good, girl!)
The dude from Shaw TV asking everyone if they had questions for the candidates. Over and over.
The girls at the next table commenting on how unimpressed Bartley Kives looked throughout the entire debate.
Dudes a few tables over talking about hockey.
People reading their Twitter streams aloud.
And basically everything except the actual debate, which was why we were there in the first place.
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Because I wanted to, not because I had to. Because my walk home from work across the Osborne Bridge and through Wolseley is lovely and provides some really good time to think that, honestly, you just can't do unless you're walking.
Also because it's getting to that point in the year when it's just going to be
to do so, which will break my heart a little bit even though winter means stuff like:
tasty soups (tonight's example: potato & leek, currently simmering)
jackets and scarves (today's example to the right/above; sent that to John on the walk)
hibernating in my new amazing house in Wolseley (read: lots of video games and catching up on tv shows)
writing, writing, writing (case in point, this blog)
hanging out with my Lenore Boys aka John, Alex, Les and Julius (aka, Best Housemates Ever)
and the sweetest surprises from the one I love (pictured below)
All these things to look forward to on a regular 'ol Monday night.
Wonder what the rest of the season will bring?
Hopefully something like this: