Just A Tattooed Misfit I Is

Hello My fellow Blog Lovers and Supporters!

What a week! Snow, rain, sun – Mother Nature needs to make up her mind I tells ya!

Either way the irises are starting to come up in our front garden and the birds are singing once again.  I LOVE this time of year.  It reminds me of rebirth and how no matter what, you can always reinvent yourself and become what ever you have always wanted to become, as long as you focus and do the work necessary to achieve it.

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It also makes me think about appearances – How what you see on the surface is not necessarily what is underneath, either in nature or in humanity.

I am going to let you in a bit of a secret – Not many of you may know this about me, but, I have tattoos and piercings.  Quite a few to be exact and quite honestly it seems to be a surprise to most everyone I meet.

YOU have a Tattoo???? The emphasis on YOU in this common phrase that is directed towards me when it is revealed that I do indeed have tattoos, 4 in fact and soon to be more. You see I don’t fit the stereotypical “type” that would have a tattoo. I work a 9 to 5 job, dress relatively mainstream and have no motorcycle in sight. It really is puzzling that in today’s day and age we still have preconceived notions on how and what people should look and act like. Even though, tattoos and piercings really have become mainstream, I still run into this very same reaction each time it is revealed I have them.

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The funniest encounter was at the very same shop I used to get my tattoos done at.  I wanted to get a replacement jewelry for my nose piercing, so after I was done work I swung by the shop.  Waited in the line, while not one but two clerks looked me up and down wondering why someone like me was in a place like this.  They were new so they had never seen me before, finally one of them motioned with a smug, ‘what can we do for you?’ I mentioned that I wanted to replace my jewelry in my nose piercing.  Still with a look of confusion on their faces they motioned to the jewelry that I could choose from. Just as I was looking at the choices, Terry the shop owner and my tattoo artist came walking out from the back, motioned to me to say hi and inquired if he could see how my last tattoo I just got done was healing.  I lifted my pant leg to reveal my 1/4 leg memorial piece he had outlined for me.  He replied, “looks good”.  “thanks, I’ll make a follow up appointment while I am here so you can do the colouring.”

 

As I said all of this, I turned to the clerk behind the front counter and said, “Yeah this is my fourth one, Terry has done all of my tattoo work”  “I’ll take this one.”  I picked a nice nose stud” All with a big smile on my face. Well, the clerks mouth dropped and stumbled to say, “ah yeah, good choice, Jamie can replace it for you right away”  I seriously had to chuckle to myself.

You have to understand, tattoos are not just a fad or art to me. No, each one signifies and represents a poignant turning point or event in my life. When I look at each one I am reminded of where I was and where I still need to evolve to in my life. One of the ones that is most memorable for me is my tribal butterfly tattoo. You see this tattoo is a cover up. A cover up of a spontaneous choice, a youthful misguide in judgement.

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When I was 23 I decided on the nudging of a friend to get a tattoo; a Japanese character for truth. Because of my fear of pain I only wanted to get it very small, tiny in fact. Well, unbeknownst to me, over a small period of time this little character for truth turned into a distorted blob of black ink. My tattoo artist at the time did not inform me that your skin stretches over time and if the tattoo is too small it will distort. Here I was left with a smudge or mark to glorify my mistake in judgement.

Years later, when I had matured from a naive girl into a more knowledgeable and evolved woman I was able to signify this with my tribal butterfly tattoo. What better way to represent this personal growth then a beautiful, colourful piece of body art. This piece of art shows that a mistake does not have to define you, but it can open you up to an opportunity to grow, learn, evolve and blossom into the person you are meant to be.

Some choose to keep these pearls of wisdom internal, but I choose to externalize them on my body, showing them if I chose or keeping them close to my heart for only my eyes to see and experience.

To the outside world my butterfly is just that a butterfly, but to me it is my freedom, beauty, sexy growing mystique of being the woman I am and want to become.

Thank you once again for coming along on my blogging journey with me. Your support and appreciation does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  But, before we go, let me ask you this, have you ever been prejudged for something based on your appearance?  What was it and how did you respond?

I am looking forward to your feedback!

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Getting ‘Niagarafied’ at Vintages Wine Bar & Lounge

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers and Supporters,

Has Spring finally Sprung here in Niagara?

I sure hope so, I am so ready for the changing of the seasons and all the beauty that comes along with Spring here in our beautiful region.

To get a head start on this, recently I had the privilege of checking out Vintages Wine Bar & Lounge located in the historic Pillar and Post Inn & Spa in the charming Victorian town of Niagara on the Lake.

If you are an avid follower of my blog, you know that over the Christmas holidays last year I had the privilege of staying at The Pillar & Post Inn & Spa, partaking in the facilities, wine tours and fabulous culinary offerings of The Cannery Restaurant.  My full review of my over night stay can be found HERE

I had remembered that there was a wine bar that we didn’t get an opportunity to check out and was excited to finally be doing just that.

But, before I go any further with my story, I would be remiss in not mentioning that this wine bar was not going to be a normal run of the mill drop in – NO, this was going to be a very special outing, I was going to be meeting an extraordinary blogger, business owner and all around cool chick Joanne Deall otherwise affectionately known as Niagarafied!

You see when I first moved back to the Niagara region in 2013, I knew that I wanted to reach out and get to know my local merchants, business owners and individuals in my community so I could finally feel connected to something that was bigger than me.  A connection that I was unable to create in Vancouver and knew that I craved that missing ingredient in my new home.  Back in Vancouver, local area bloggers were and still are generally the ones in the know of what is going on in and around the communities they write about. So, when I moved to Niagara, I knew I needed to do a little blogger digging – Low and behold, the name of Niagarafied kept coming up!

Local winery owners revered her, and lined up to have her come and visit and taste their hand made wares knowing, they would get a hearty, well written mention in one of her upcoming blog posts, and possibly boosting their social standing and their Trip Adviser status in the process!  So I knew she was someone I just HAD to follow and get to know while secretly envying her job – Visiting and tasting artisan wine and food samplings from local wineries right here in Niagara…Sighhhh I don’t know about you, but this is  how I spell dream job!

I started by reading and leaving comments on her blogs, and before long we were talking almost monthly online, sharing, re-sharing or re-posting each others blogs, talking, connecting and each of us getting to know the woman behind the writer; evolving into a well rounded friendship, be it totally online!

Well after two years of talking and me secretly wishing I could be her personal assistant on her next winery tour, we FINALLY set a date to meet IN PERSON!

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After having to reschedule twice because of a windstorm that knocked out the power and a snow storm the second date – No really, true story – Mother nature finally cooperated.

Can I just say, Joanne is even more lovely in person than online. Funny, sweet, endearing and down right good peeps to have in your corner, not to mention a total connoisseur of her wine and what she likes to have with it.  Both of us went with local white wines – Joanne an Oaked Chardonnay and myself something a little sweeter, a Riesling.  Sipping on wine in the quaint, cozy and Victorian feel of The Vintages Wine Bar & Lounge – Decorated with lots of wood accents, a crackling fire in the fireplace, really signified to me that this was a perfect choice and a rare gem to discover in our little region.  Staff, were beyond friendly and fun to interact with, but very helpful when we tried to make a choice amongst the scrumptious appetizers.  Joanne and I decided on the flat bread with homemade garlic hummus, goat cheese and roasted red pepper appie along with the blue crab cakes with garlic aioli and mango salsa.  Both were scrumptious, well seasoned, bursting with flavour and perfectly complimented our wine choices and our casual girls night out.

Having the opportunity to take our carefully crafted online relationship offline into the ‘real’ world’ was so refreshing and actually effortless.  We honestly felt like we already knew each other and meeting was just an extension of what we had already created authentically.

I really feel like I have made a friend in Joanne and I look forward to when we can get together again and further build our friendship.

Hey Joanne, just throwing this out there – I am ALWAYS available for any PA work if you ever need any on your next winery review, #justsaying 😛

Thank you all once again for taking the time to read my weekly ramblings and supporting me on my blogging journey.  Your time and energy does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

But before we go, what local little gem do you like to get away to in our Niagara region?  I am always looking for local merchants doing their thing well using local ingredients to check out!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Is the Medium Still The Right Message?

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers & Supporters,

It is Officially Spring!  So excited to see things starting to bloom, bees a buzzing and everything in a state of rejuvenation and rebirth!  I do love this time of the year and all the new found beauty it holds.  It is like we are all waking up from our months long slumber – LOVE!

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As you all know I work in social media, recently I met with a fellow social media manager and fellow blogger who used to be a journalist and, we got to talking as we generally do, and the topic of the proliferation of FAKE NEWS going around like wildfire since the onslaught of the pandemic rise in social media use, definitely came up.  The infamous quote from Marshall McLuhan came flooding back to me during this conversation – “The medium is the message”.  This phrase not only brought me back to my Communications Degree days at Brock University many moons ago, it also made me realize that this still is a very relevant phrase today even though it was coined back in the 1970’s when McLuhan was trying to emphasize that the way we say something is more important than the words we actually use to say it.  Very interesting and profound revelation for his time.

Fast forward to today, with the onslaught of the internet and more importantly the use of social media and this profound notion has evolved even further – The medium itself has become the message.

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No longer do we consume traditional sources of information like newspapers, TV or radio; no, we instead go to the internet, namely social media to get our news.  Recognizing how their readers and viewers are consuming information, media outlets themselves have turned to social media to gather and present their own news stories.  Those of us who are too busy to read an entire newspaper, I mean let’s face it, most of us are, instead turn to Twitter or Facebook to scan the posts and possible links from major media outlets to get our fill of the days happenings either locally and or globally.

Why?

Because we are already there on social media.

In fact, when major news is breaking in the world it is usually Twitter that will break it first.  This was the most evident during the most recent Syrian uprisings where citizen journalists were tweeting and posting videos of the rioting and mayhem, giving their last will and testaments to anyone who would hear them even though the country had put a ban on all media coming in and or going out.

So what does all of this mean?

This means that the need to be immediate far outweighs the need to be accurate when presenting the hard news – ie, the unfortunate spreading of FAKE NEWS.  We don’t want to wait until a lead or a story is substantiated to break with the next edition of our favorite newspaper, or you know substantiate the accounts and statements of some world leaders who shall remain nameless – (Hint rhymes with RUMP! :P) No, instead we want it now and if you can’t give it to us, we will find the source that will and if you are not it we will leave you behind.  This leaves no wiggle room for verifying a source or a story before going to print or on air.  As a result, many and I mean MANY false ‘new-stories’ break on social media and get spread like wildfire, causing damage before the truth finally comes out.

This means the ability to connect via the internet has unfortunately replaced many individuals want or need for face to face interaction.  This means the avenues in which companies and individuals market themselves is determined by how their target audiences consume information.  This means the medium itself has become the message.

Social media is an amazing tool and should be used as just that, a tool to communicate and interact with individuals and or target audiences.  Yes, I preach this as a social manager daily – the importance of building those relationships online, but what is just as important is to then take these relationships offline into the real world where true connection occurs.

We as consumers must also shoulder some of the responsibility of this epidemic and do our own due diligence to understand that the information that is being presented and consumed by us for us has been and will be forever altered.  That is why HOW we choose to digest and consume information must change along with it. We need to do our own research when a story that we may not understand all of the facets of breaks, so that we know we are getting all sides of the story and not just a sensationalized version to sell papers.  Us doing our part as consumers and the producers of news nowadays (hello, did someone say smartphones and citizen reporters) will continuously evolve as technology and the means in which we communicate through it continues to evolve.

Where will this end up?  I don’t have those answers, but what I do know, is that I need to update my Facebook status to contemplative while I ponder the possibilities.

Thank you all once again for coming along on this blogging journey with me.  Your support and taking the time out of your busy day to read my weekly ramblings does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  But, before I go, I would like to ask you, how do you consume your news? Through social media or from the media outlets  themselves?

I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light Always

Dina xxoo

Sometimes The Answer is Simple – CHOCOLATE!

Hello my fellow blog lovers and supporters!

Well I need to apologize to you all, I definitely spoke too soon,  last week I said that Spring was just around the corner and here we are under 30 cms of SNOW right here in Niagara!

Yeah,  sorrrrrry eh, my bad 😛

So I don’t know about all of you, but when things are crappy outside, the first thing I want to do is tuck in the kitchen and get creating – specifically BAKING!

So, I wander into the kitchen yesterday and who is already in there baking fresh bread – MOM!

Gosh we are so much alike 😛  So I asked her, “Hey Ma, what about something chocolatey?” Well let’s be honest this is really a no brainer, “ummmm YES!”

Now, the first thought that came to my mind is this little Chocolate Cake recipe that I remember had a little bit of a twist to it – Miracle Whip.  YES you read that right, it has Miracle Whip in it!  Searching through our box of hand written recipes low and behold there it was – The 100 Dollar Chocolate Cake.  Now, we have only ever made this cake a couple of times but every time I was always so amazed at how moist and chocolatey it was.

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Now I can’t take credit for this one – Our neighbour from when we lived in Dunnville back in the day is the one who gave us this recipe – Trudy Williamson, this one is for you!

As the snow was blowing outside, our hearts and bellies were getting filled inside –  Mom and I danced to country and western music as we baked and laughed the winter day away.

Gosh this brought back so many memories, all the while making new ones for me and hopefully Mom too. This was a wonderful reminder, to treasure those moments you share with those that you love, for tomorrow is NEVER guaranteed…

So without further adieu, here is the recipe for this chocolately goodness!

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100 Dollar Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup miracle whip
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 4 tbsp dutch cocoa (or whatever kind you have.  We use dutch because well, we are dutch and its what is in the house.) 🙂
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 package of chocolate chips (or take a couple of Hershey chocolate bars and bang them into small pieces like I have done here)

Directions

Add all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl add all of the wet ingredients.  Add the wet to the dry and mix until well blended but try not to over mix. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan or if you like add them into a bundt pan like I did here.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top of the cake covering it evenly.  Put into a 350 degree oven until a fork or tooth pick comes out clean.  Approximately 20 minutes.  Take out of the oven and cool before removing from the pan.  Serve either still warm with a bit of whip cream or I have had it with vanilla ice-cream as well. Both are simply DELISH!

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There you have it, 100 dollar chocolate cake – a dessert that is easy to make and will satisfy anyone’s chocolate craving!

Thank you all once again for coming along on this blogging journey with me, your support and you taking the time to read my ramblings every week do not go unnoticed or unappreciated!

But, before I go, let me ask you this – What is your favorite chocolate treat or recipe?  I am always on the look out for new and exciting ways to use chocolate, either sweet or savory!

 

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

 

 

Today We As Women Celebrate

Hello My fellow blog lovers and supporters,

March is upon us and I and my sinuses can feel that Spring is right around the corner.  I am ready for it, how about you?

Recently, I had the privilege to attend the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce‘s  16th Annual International Woman’s Day Event in the beautiful Club Roma located right here in the Niagara Region.  As I entered the beautifully decorated ballroom filled with elegance, beauty and sparkle befitting the gorgeous women who we were gathering to celebrate- Niagara’s own Women Entrepreneurs, I was again reminded how fortunate I am to have found my tribe of like minded women entrepreneurs.  These last three years have been a whirlwind of networking, events and meeting and talking with other business owners. This foundation allowed me to enter this room not by myself but greeted with so many familiar and friendly faces that I can proudly call my tribe and more importantly my friends.  Hugs, greetings and lively small talk magnificently complimented the positive energy of the room filled with vendors and women looking to connect, inspire and be inspired.

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We were asked to take our seats so the days festivities could begin.  Ruth Unrau, focus Coach and Past Chair of Women in Niagara and lucky for us today’s MC, graciously gave her introductions and the speeches began.  Compliments, heart felt words and all around inspiration filled the room as each courageous women took the podium to present her part of our Niagara story outlining the impact of women entrepreneurship right here in the region.  No one more inspiring was the day’s International Women’s Day Award Recipient, Rosemary Hale – accomplished author and the first female to be appointed dean in my old Alma Mater Brock University.  Rosemary epitomizes this year’s theme of #BeBoldForChange; her willingness to pioneer her own path, not allowing her gender or societal prejudices to stop her from going after her dreams and her resounding proclamation that “we can and will get so much further if go it together”  solidifies that I am indeed on the right path and surrounded by the right women.

Our keynote speaker Teresa Cascioli – small town Hamilton girl who has done extremely well – Former CEO of Lakeport Brewing and author of M is for Money was the next to graciously take the stage. Through her tenacity and very strong work ethic, she was able to bring a bankrupt private company (Lakeport Brewing) and in turn sell it as a publicly funded corporation for over 221 million dollars in 8 short years. 8 short years of blood, sweat, tears and ironically gratitude.  You wouldn’t think that someone who was able to accomplish such an amazing feet such as this, would say that “working with purpose” and to remind yourself that “success is fleeting, practice gratitude everyday” would be the one of the keys to what she attributes to her success; but it is.  This was a wonderful reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, today is the only certainty that we have and we need to learn to really live and not merely exist.

Being surrounded by my wonderful colleagues and being able to witness the energy and passion of our wonderful presenters, truly has made be acknowledge and realize how fortunate I am to live in the the time that I do and the region that I do, because here, my dreams CAN come true.  So many women in other parts of the world are not given access to resources, knowledge or the support and guidance of other women to let them realize that their dreams do matter – They matter.  I was never more reminded of this than I was today, in Club Roma with all of my beautifully inspiring and supportive sisters of women entrepreneurs right here in Niagara.

So much gratitude!

A heartfelt thank you for each and every one of you for just being your inspiring selves and for coming along on this blogging journey with me.  Your support and taking the time to read my ramblings each week does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  But, before I go I would like to ask you this, what or who in your circle inspires YOU?

I can not wait to hear your answers!

Until we meet again,

Love and Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Sometimes You Just Need To Take a Hike

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers and Supporters!

March 1st is here and boy have we been blessed with an OUTSTANDING winter this year! Fingers crossed that this glorious weather continues and we slide right into Spring which is creeping its head right around the corner already me thinks!  2017 is already shaping up to be pretty amazing – why do you ask?  Because, that is how I am choosing to perceive it, and what I have learned these past few times I have circled the earth – how you perceive a situation, a moment or experience is directly related to how it will actually play out in your life.  The energy you expel is the energy you will receive.  This I have experienced more than once.

Sounds pretty simple right? In theory perhaps it is, but to put it in practice, that is a whole other ball game.  You see I lost this way of thinking a little while back.  I was so wrapped up in the big picture of my new life path and journey that I forgot to remember the immediate happenings around me, the little things.  Like the feeling of the crisp winter air on my face as I take a stroll outside, the sheer magnitude and beauty of a sunset over a waterway or the swooping and swaying of a bird gliding through the open sky.  These little things are just as important, they make you feel connected to yourself and the world around you.  In an age when we are always plugged in to smartphones, ipads, laptops and such, we have become more fragmented and stressed out, not only with our loved ones, but with ourselves as well.

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I lost myself a while back, with working many hours trying to grow my business, and trying to get this new path on track I let go of the one thing that used to bring me such peace and rejuvenation, and that one thing was my daily walk.  I used to walk everyday as a means of decompressing after a long day.  I would put on my walking shoes and my ipod and out the door I went, able to just “be” for those 30 minutes and just breathe.  These walks always left me with a feeling of relaxation and invigoration at the same time, it was like my own personal meditation.   I slept better, was more creative and just felt a spring in my step.

Well, as time in the day became a premium, my walk was the first thing to go.  As a result, over time I became lethargic, tired, overwhelmed and a wee bit depressed.  My weight recently started to creep up again and my general outlook on life diminished.  With this new path coming to fruition before me, I still felt this sense of stress and despair, everything I had been working for was happening, why wasn’t I overjoyed?

Then the other day, a Facebook memory I had posted a while back shared from my friend Nadine –  a letter that Michael Moore wrote on his journey over the last 42 weeks of taking a 30 minute walk everyday just as a gift to himself, not to lose weight or exercise but as just as a means to just “be”.

This got me thinking, when was I the most content and at peace in my life?

The answer, when I was walking!

These past few days I have taken up Moore’s challenge to take a 30 minute walk everyday, and already I am feeling a shift.  I was able to take in a breathtaking sunset over the Welland Canal the other night and see the faint sight of the twirling windmills off in the distance.  I wonder what I will be able to witness tomorrow?

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Friends, family, supporters, readers, acquaintances and such, I am sending you a challenge – a challenge to take a 30 minute walk everyday.  EVERYDAY!

Put your kids in the strollers, grab your spouse, put a leash on the dog or whatever, and just give yourself this 30 minute gift.  Rain or shine do it! Not only will you notice a change in yourself but you will notice a change in your relationships with your kids, spouse and others.  You will feel more grounded and at peace.  So are you you with me?

Let’s all grab our shoes and go for a walk!

Thank you all once again for taking the time to read my shenanigans week after week and supporting me on my blog journey.  Your support does not go unnoticed or unappreciated!

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

 

My definition of success

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers and Supporters,

Here we are again, embarking on a new week, new goals and new responsibilities to fulfill. I must say this glorious almost Spring like weather has made achieving those that much more enjoyable!

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Haste & Hustle Marketing Conference right here in the Niagara Region.  In fact, here is a Facebook LIVE I did directly from the event, check it out!

But I digress, while I was watching Gary Vaynerchuk the CEO and founder of Vaynermedia speak, (as mentioned in the video), he said something that really resonated with me, “Find your own definition of success, because no amount of money is a direct correlation to your own happiness.”

Seriously, mind blown!

This got me thinking – What does success mean to me?

I really had to take some time, be quiet and look within and really pinpoint what success would look like for me.  It has not been an  A + B = C answer that is for sure, more like A + B= Infinity and beyond.  So this is where I had to sit down and really map it out and see on paper what true success or happiness really would look like specifically for me and my value system.

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First of all, I need to be working in a career I love.  A career where I get to help people and assist them in some way achieve their own goals for success.  Well, it would seem like I would have this one covered.  My business of social media management and coaching for small business owners genuinely allows me to assist others to go after and achieve their own goals of business success.  When I see my client land a new customer because of the relationships we worked so hard on establishing online for them, it literally makes my heart sing! No really it does.  I really do ❤ what I do and ❤ when I get to experience those moments with my clients!

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Second of all, I want to be surrounded by those I love and care about and nurture those relationships.  Moving back into the Niagara region has allowed me to do just that.  I live with my Mom and Stepdad, my sister lives 5 minutes away, my brother a 1/2 an hour away as well as my best friend.  Having the opportunity to rekindle and reconnect with these people has been a wonderful experience to say the least.  I never realized how lonely I truly was out West until I moved back and was able to experience these relationships once again.  I really was missing out, and getting to watch my precocious, smart and funny great nephew grow up has been beyond wonderful.  Gawd I LOVE that kid!

Lastly, I want to own my own home decorated and filled with the things that make me feel inspired and loved.  Pictures of those I love, items that I picked up from my travels, books and objects that evoke memories or feelings of peace, fun and tranquility.  Have dinner parties where I can invite those I care about to come and sit around my table, eat the food I lovingly prepared for them, laughing and drinking wine the night away, really is an evening of bliss in my books.  I do live in a comfortable home that I have carefully chosen to decorate my ‘rooms’ with these very such things.  However, I do not own it.

So as they say, 2 1/2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

So as you can see, my wants and desires are pretty simple and I by no means am rich.  Not that I am looking to be rich, but improving that part of my life is one of my goals for me and my business this year.  To make a comfortable income so I can afford these luxuries I have outlined and through in world travel into the yearly mix as well.  So I guess what I am trying to say is, Gary was right, the amount of money you make does not equate the amount of happiness you will feel.  But, it does help a bit doesn’t it 😛

So I guess I am well on my way to creating the ‘successful’ life I have envisioned for myself, now the bigger question is, how do I morph into Ashley Graham so I can have the trifecta of happiness? 😛

Thank you once again for taking the time to read my weekly ramblings and supporting me on my blogging journey.  But, before I go, let me ask you this, what is YOUR definition of success?  I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

 

It’s All In How You Choose To Look At It

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers and Followers,

Well we have done it, we are officially in the second week of February, and might I say the home stretch until the start of Spring (fingers crossed).  But, I find myself in the same quandary I do every year, the quandary of Valentine’s Day, or is it one?

Allow me to explain…

Now I know, many of you HATE this ‘pseudo holiday’ as you like to call it, saying it is nothing but a commercialized ploy by the mainstream to sell more chocolates and expensive presents.  It just puts pressure on those in relationships to live up to the unreachable standards put forth by this day, and it is rigged to make those who are single to feel horrible about their self worth and desirability towards their desired sexual interests.

Now, don’t get me wrong I used to be apart of this mob mentality as well.  Saying down with Valentines and all the negative connotations associated with it!

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I mean the only good thing about it was the half price chocolate you get on Feb 15th right?

But, one year I decided to look within and see it from another perspective…

What if, instead of looking at it from the negative, we, I mean me, chose to look at it from a positive perspective, the perspective of celebrating LOVE in all of its glorious forms.  Why does Valentine’s Day have to ONLY be about romantic love?  Why can’t it be about the celebration of LOVE in all of its beautiful, raw and overwhelming variations – friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, fur babies, fellow human beings. You name it, let’s celebrate it!

Once you flip that switch so to speak and flip the script to the positive, you would be amazed at how wonderful a holiday or an experience you will encounter.  In addition,  your day to day life will open up to greet you and shape how you see and relate to things.  It really does boil down to your mindset.

Now being a small business owner, I have found that this can apply to how I run my business as well.  If I were to have the mindset of never being good enough or overwhelmed with paying the bills or finding new clients to keep myself a float then, that is what will happen.  The energy you put out into the world is the exact energy you will receive.

Now you may not believe in the power of attraction, but I assure you I have seen it work in my own life.  When I acknowledge my feelings, be they negative and I allow myself to reset my energy and my mindset to positive you would be amazed at the outcome – More energy, more feelings of accomplishment, more clients have come my way and my confidence in what I can accomplish has skyrocketed.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not Polly Anna happiness all the time, seriously I am human just like you and I have days where wine and chocolate seem to be the only elixir for the crazy beast of emotion brewing inside of me.

But, now I know how to sense them, defuse them, release them and redirect them towards the positive.  That is huge for my emotional well being and for own sense of wellness and confidence.  But, I truly do believe most of this is due to the company of people I choose to surround myself with. They say you will resemble the characteristics and values of the top 5 people you hang out with the most.  If you hang around negative people you will inevitably become negative in your thoughts and outlooks.  Fortunately, the same can be said if you surround yourself with positive people as well.  I feel so fortunate to have found my tribe of like minded entrepreneurs who are all about community and support and lifting not only their businesses, but those in the Niagara region as well.  So what I am really trying to say, is that it’s a no brainer – Find your tribe!

If you are looking to change you life the answer can be found in changing your mindset, it is really as easy as that!

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Thank you all once again for coming along on my blogging journey with me, your support and taking the time to read my ramblings each week does not go unnoticed or unappreciated! But, before I go, let me ask you this, what are some of your tips for changing a negative situation into a positive one?  I would love to hear your answers!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Sometimes You Just Gotta Let Go For No Other Reason Than It’s Just Too Heavy

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers & Followers!

First week of February and we are finally getting some winter weather of sorts anyways. But, I gotta say I am holding onto Wiarton Willie’s prediction and hoping for an early Spring.  There I go again, holding onto something or someone far past when I should; I have difficulty letting go – There I said it!

Not being able to let go has always been a vice of mine that I just can’t seem to break. Maybe it’s because I am a Cancer and part of personality traits are and I quote:

“she likes to hold on to things that make her happy and won’t easily change her house, partner or a circle of friends. She can be irrational, oversensitive and too quiet, and the best way to approach her is to see her emotional side as her biggest virtue.”

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Guilty on all counts! But, the one aspect that truly has been sticking out for me lately is my undying need to never let go even if it is in my best interest to do so.  Am I just stubborn? Or am I just so damn determined that I can take care of or fix anything or anyone that I have dedicated my time and attention too, that I hang on for dear life no matter how crazy and dangerous of a ride it is for me and my emotional well being?

The most likely culprit I believe is that nagging voice, you know that one that seems to quiet down, be hiding in the shadows just waiting for its moment to strike and then BAM out of nowhere – You make a misstep or make a mistake, fall flat on your face and there she is loud and clear bellowing in your ear – ” Hey loser why do you even try, you know you aren’t good enough” Yeah…that one…

My god she is such a freaking BIOTCH!  Maybe I am trying to prove her wrong –  Prove to her if she is wrong about me then she must be wrong about that person or situation right?

Probably not…

What I do know, I need to believe and trust in my instincts more.  That is the voice I need to be listening to with abandon! She is the no filter, no BS voice that will never lie, manipulate or hood wink me into believing or thinking any lies or half truths about me and my abilities, and yet she is the one I generally tell to sit down and be quiet as the adults are talking – You know the adults – My insecurities and misconceptions, those mean girls…

I guess what I am trying to say – On some level we never truly lose our insecurities completely.  We remain those scared, fragile and vulnerable little people who never know if they can or should try something new or be brave enough to go after it and do it anyways damn the consequence.  I have made peace with that I guess.  But, maybe just maybe she needs to have that big sister, that big protector that tells her like it is, picks her up when she falls, strokes her hair and tells her it is going to be OK, to believe in her abilities and her strengths.

That big sister sure as hell needs to come to more parties, dance with abandon and drink like a MOFO.  THAT big sis is in fact Twins – Intuition and Belief. Intuition to know when something is good for you and Belief in your own abilities to make the right choice and have the strength to walk away and let that person or situation go when it or they are no longer serving you.  GAWD, these chicks are a rad pair to have my friend, and are fucking AMAZING family to surround yourself with. I can’t wait for the next family reunion! 🙂

Thank you all once again for coming along on this blog journey with me peeps.  Your support and taking the time to read my ramblings every week does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  But, before we go I would love to know, what is one habit or vice that you have a hard time letting go of even if you know it is in your best interest that you do?

I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

The Self Care Sounds Of Silence

Hello My Fellow Blog Lovers & Followers!

What an unbelievable week it has been!  World events that have shaken most of us to the core, new influx of potential clients coming down the pipe while trying to fit all of that in with life, exercise, my new daily rituals and now making time for that certain special someone newly entering my life. (Yes THAT kind of someone, suffice it to say, I am dating someone and it is lovely, fun, exciting, comforting and sexy and all other things mixed in. But, that is for another blog to come down the road :P)

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What I have noticed that has given me solace in this craziness, has been taking the time to just be – present, with my own thoughts in silence.

Allow me to explain…

I FINALLY took the time and money to invest in a space that is just for me.  The basement has been an unused area of the home relegated to furniture storage and the varying layers of cat hair and dust that can accumulate in one given space. (Note: not gonna lie it’s a freaking shit tonne!)  Bought a TV and stand and relocated the furniture to create a very cozy and intimate seating area that is both inviting and clean from my countless hours of dusting, vacuuming and removing unwanted stuff.  So clean that Rachel Epp of Misses Clean would indeed have been proud of my cleaning expertise! Rachel, If you are in need of any cleaners just let me know 😛

But I digress…

So I know what you are thinking – “Dina so you created a freaking TV room, big deal, hardly blog worthy my dear!”  That on the surface I would have to agree with you, but what I have noticed is my level of impatience and anxiety has dropped since.  When you are an adult back living with your parents, having a space you can retreat too is even more significant for your over all well being with not only yourself, but with your parental roommates as well.  Inevitably, you are going to get on each others nerves whether its who left the toothpaste lid off, who didn’t put their dishes in the dishwasher or having to watch the same episode of Murder She Wrote for the 100th time (no seriously, that struggle is real)  Having a space you can retreat too allows your to sit with your thoughts, think, reflect or just escape into the cinematic world of an Android box.  All of this has allowed me to just exhale and well just BE.

Always being on, especially with what I do for a living has left me in a heightened state of alertness – brain always moving, thinking, strategizing, analyzing and well as a result exhausted with little to no patience left for anyone let alone those whom you live with and love.

Being able to just sit with your thoughts in silence, not analyzing them or working through them but instead just allowing them to be, definitely  is a practice I need to work on. I started this meditative practice with my recent yoga study stint with Yoga Truly but due to my old coping patterns creeping back in along with finances, I unfortunately have taken a short sabbatical.  But, when I did allow myself to breathe and just be, this wave of calm and peace would fall over me. I miss this.  I never knew how much until now.

We are all so busy just trying to get through this thing called our lives that we forget to take a moment, to breathe and truly allow ourselves to just LIVE!

Taking time for your own self care is not selfish, it is necessary for your overall well-being. Sadly, for most women like myself it has become something we have just taken for granted we will do once sometime or someday is taken care of first.

Having this little space has taught me that my time for self care is now.  Sometimes you just need the sounds of silence to remind you.

I encourage you to find your space whether they are at home, a local hangout, coffee shop, park bench or hidden hideaway. Take these moments of silence and allow yourself to hear your own deafening sounds of well being and stillness so you to can learn to live a truly extraordinary life filled with calm and beauty.

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And who doesn’t want that right!?

Thank you once again for coming along on this blog journey with me, your taking the time to read my weekly ramblings and your continuous support does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. But before we go, I would love to know, what do YOU do for your own self care?

What activities or practices do you participate in to give you a state of zen and self care?  I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Until then, love and light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo