December 2014

All I need in this world

- by Alyson Shane

Tags: Cop-Out Post

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Happy Boxing Day

- by Alyson Shane

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate it.

If not, I hope you enjoyed your day off and did something magical.

I'm in silk pyjamas in a blanket fort. Life is good.

Happy Holidays 

xox

yr girl Shaner

Tags: Life

Blanket Forts Forever

- by Alyson Shane

Spent my Sunday evening sipping spiked hot chocolate and sewing blankets together. Those blankets were then suspended from the corners and the ceiling so that now my living room looks like this:

We're throwing a NYE Blanket Fort party and this is the prep.

It also means that I get to live in a whimsical, magical, outrageous blanket fort for the next who knows how long.

It's amazing.

Honestly, though, it took me a while to get into the idea.

"Who lives in a blanket fort?" I thought "grown-ups don't live in blanket forts."

Then I remembered the best thing about being grown-up:

I can do whatever the hell I want.

Yessssssss.

Tags: Life

Here's how stupidly anxious I get sometimes:

- by Alyson Shane

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

Hi Thursday

- by Alyson Shane

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

- by Alyson Shane

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?

- by Alyson Shane

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

- by Alyson Shane

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!