Inspiration: January 12

Every week on Friday, I share a list of the most interesting and inspiring content I’ve read lately here on my blog. You can expect thoughts on productivity, happiness, balance, spirituality, politics, and more. Subscribe here to get updates. See archives here.

Inspiration January 12 >> Life In Limbo

It would be inappropriate to start this list of links with anything other than Oprah’s speech. I watched it first thing Monday morning and cried the whole time. She is an inspiration to me every week, but this week it’s particularly true. Thank you, Oprah.

The Feel Good Food Plan from Bon Appetit’s Healthyish looks so delicious and nutritious! I haven’t been following it in real time (it started January 2), but it’s full of cool ideas I’d love to try.

This is hilarious.

Lots of good tips here for saving money! I already do most of these, but I especially like the idea of getting my bank balance by text. Looking into how to set that up!

You may have heard by now that a YouTuber made a terrible video in the Aokigahara suicide forest, but you may not (like me) have known the history of this place. I was inspired by the way this woman took the time to explain the situation and context more fully while holding Logan Paul accountable for his despicable actions. CW: suicide.

I added the book Rest by Alex Pang to my reading list this week thanks to his great interview on Hurry Slowly about the importance of taking regular breaks and detaching from work.

Holy moly did this podcast episode get sent to me at the right time (thanks Sonja!). It’s all about using your intuition to guide you and bring you more of what you want, but what it really reminded me to do was stay grounded.

I also really needed to read this: “Maybe stop worrying so much about productivity and getting things done. Worry about things worth doing.”

How’s 2018 going for you so far? The days are going by so quickly for me. I had Harvest Table Dinner this week, as well as Tuesdays Together, and both were great! The week also had a couple not-so-great pieces of news, but we’re getting through it as a family. This weekend I have a library date with a friend (!) and one of my book club meetings. Haha – lots of books for me! I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. xo.

2018: Flow

This is my sixth time choosing a word to guide my year, and it has become one of my favourite practices for setting intentions and practicing mindfulness. Having a one-word theme really helps me make decisions, choose what to focus on, and find new ways to stretch myself in areas that might need more love or attention.

I first heard of the idea of choosing a yearly word from Elise Cripe and Ali Edwards, but it’s been fun to see how this practice has caught on more widely over the years – so much so that this year at work my boss encouraged the management team to choose a word and share it! I love hearing what my friends’ words are too, it’s such a nice way to connect with them, send them little reminders when I think of it, or help them make progress with their intentions. Choosing a word is such a fun thing to do, but it becomes more meaningful the more it’s practiced.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

My word for 2018 is flow. Flowy flow flow. Like all my favourite words, this one has multiple meanings and ways I hope to apply it to my life over the next 12 months. Here are some of my favourites:

Go with the flow: Similar to last year’s “embrace the situation” intention, I want (need) to continue practicing intentional letting go of my desire to control situations or outcomes, especially when I have strong opinions on how things should play out. On the rare occasions that I am successful at this and remember to mentally release the vice grip on my desired outcome, my experience (and that of the people around me, no doubt!) is infinitely better. I feel calmer. I remember that there’s no “playbook” for how life is supposed to go. I figuratively and literally sit back in my chair a bit and remember that things will usually unfold the way they’re meant to unfold. I am not the tour guide. I am not responsible for everybody else having an optimal experience, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes.

Follow the flow: This year I also what to pay attention to what is flowing into my life easily and without much fuss, versus what seems like climbing a mountain to accomplish. As much as I can, I want to drop the things that aren’t flowing and turn towards what seems easy and light and fun in each moment. I love Jess Lively’s description of life being like a river that has a strong current. We can either let our boats be caught in the flow of the river, or we can turn around and try to paddle upstream. I often catch myself trying to force something to work when it’s clearly not working, instead of revisiting it later. Most of the time when I come back to a problem or a task, either it’s already resolved itself, I’m in a better frame of mind to handle it, or I’ve encountered new information I needed to make it work. This also means having less judgment of myself for not working “hard enough” some days or “too hard” on others. Following the flow means listening to my intuition’s messages about what comes next, without resistance. In 2018: less forcing it, more flow.

Choose flow activities: One of my book clubs recently read the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, so I got a more in-depth look at the phenomenon of psychological flow. Flow is described as the experience of losing track of time while doing something challenging but also enriching, and the author believes it’s our most enjoyable human experience. A comparison is made between flow activities which bring true enjoyment, and non-flow activities, which bring pleasure (at a kind of neurological level), but don’t help you develop skills, strengthen your sense of self, or make you feel very connected to the world. As much as possible this year, I want to choose flow activities, which for me are reading, writing, knitting, having meaningful conversations, playing instruments, dancing, and taking photos.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

Embody more flow: There are so many definitions of flow that I love, but am not sure yet how to apply to my life for 2018. One is “to hang loosely in an easy and graceful manner.”Another is a scientific term that means “to deform continuously under stress without cracking or melting.” Another is “to abound, to be available in copious quantities”. Another is “to rise and advance, as the tide.” Another is “to proceed or be produced smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly.” All of these make my heart so happy and I can think of ways they can apply to my attitude, my beliefs, my work process, my emotions, my soul. The intention here is to remember all of these beautiful definitions of flow and bring them into my world as much as I can.

Spend more time with things that flow: You guessed it, more time near – and in – the water in 2018! As I write this, Toronto is hitting record-breaking low temperatures, so the idea of being in the water is just about the last thing on my mind. But I’m such a water baby and I know how happy it makes me to go swimming, or even just watch the waves come in down by the lake. I love hot tubs and have been meaning to go to Scandinave, and how cool would it be to try a float tank this year? So fun.

I’m beyond excited for 2018. Last year was better than I ever could have imagined it to be, and I know that this year will have so much magic and abundance and light in store for me too. And flow: lots and lots of flow. Happy 2018!

PS. I would love love love to hear what your word for the year is in the comments below.

You can read more about my words from the last few years below:

2013: Reach | 2014: Abundance | 2015: Grace | 2016: Light | 2017: Embrace

Inspiration: January 5

Every week on Friday, I share a list of the most interesting and inspiring content I’ve read lately here on my blog. You can expect thoughts on productivity, happiness, balance, spirituality, politics, and more. Subscribe here to get updates. See archives here.

Inspiration: January 5 >> Life In Limbo

It was so fun to see Barack Obama’s list of favourite books and music from 2017. Nobody is cooler than him. (Except Michelle.)

I read this Twitter exchange and immediately started crying – it’s that powerful. Such a great example of what happens when we choose love, compassion, understanding rather than hate, anger or judgment.

Every year I watch Google’s Year in Search and every year I sob. 2017 was a hard year and the video doesn’t shy away from that: it’s life, it’s raw, it’s everything. Watching these makes me feel so deeply human.

How delighted was I to discover a super-cool website called Girls Night In which celebrates staying home?! And which also has a book club? With a chapter here in Toronto?!? Let me count the ways…

While I probably won’t be tackling a year of no shopping, I did find this piece inspiring and refreshing. I also love Ann Patchett, so reading anything she writes is a joy.

A very sweet personal documentary about moving far away from your family and staying connected to them. It’s also a beautiful portrait of New York.

Austin Kleon’s super-short guide on how to be happy. My personal list would probably look pretty similar.

I love the idea of having a social media detox, or as I recently saw it called, a Dry-Fi month. So this article was a great reminder that we can delete any app we want from our phone and in doing so, help ourselves make better daily decisions.

Yay! Feels so good to be back here sharing the things I love. My holiday break was so relaxing and rejuvenating and the first week back at work has been surprisingly calm. That’s a good thing, because I’ve been fighting a gross cold all week (not to mention the bone-chilling weather). I’m hoping that one more good night’s sleep will help me kick it! I’ll be back on the blog soon to share my word of the year for 2018 and some goals & intentions for the new year. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo.

2017 In Review

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

It’s a pretty special thing to reflect on a whole year in one sitting. It shows you just how fast 12 months can go by, but also reminds you of just how much can happen in a year. Doing these reviews always makes me emotional because the more I look at my calendar and remember the beautiful things I got to experience, the only things I can think to say are: “thank you”, and “how did I get so lucky?” Thank you. How did I get so lucky?

I said last year that doing year end reviews is a great reminder that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I feel like that’s particularly true of 2017. I didn’t go many places in the world this year, so when I first sat down to do this review I wondered if I’d have anything to say about certain months. And I was right, not every month had major highlights or achievements to report, but as I looked back over my calendar and my 1SE video, I realized that I had so many beautiful, quiet, meaningful moments both my myself and with my loved ones. So, no. I didn’t travel very much in 2017 or hit any huge milestones (car/house/husband). Instead, I built a life, and that is a very large accomplishment indeed. Here are my own personal highlights from the year:


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

In January I went to my first Tuesdays Together meetup. I was by myself and really nervous, and the only reason I went is because it was near my sister’s apartment, so I could go see her if I needed to bail. It ended up being the very best thing I did all year: as a result I met some very dear friends and kindred spirits, have become a part of Toronto’s creative community, and feel more at home in this city. All because of one little meetup!


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I attended my first Creative Mornings event, had fun coworking dates with my friends, went home to visit the puppy, and saw a bunch of live music. Actually, 2017 was kind of the year of live music, and February was where that all kicked off. I also had my last two filming days with the Red Tent Sisters, on an unseasonably warm week near the end of the month. It was so much fun to shoot some great content and have a picnic with them on the deck.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

There was so much fun stuff in March, but my favourite part was helping my friend Sonja cater Sarah Slean‘s album launch party for Metaphysics. It was a dream to hear her play live with a grand piano and a string quartet from only a few feet away – and of course the food and atmosphere were incredible. Another fun highlight was seeing the Book of Mormon with my friends Laura and Mike!


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I somehow got to be a part of Nurture in April, which basically cracked my whole life wide open. I met so many amazing women who I am lucky enough to now call my friends (!), helped make a lot of delicious food, got some sunshine and peace and clarity, and made an important decision that changed the rest of my year in a really positive way. There’s no other word for it besides magic. It was magic.

Oh – in April I also started taking care of Pablo the cat, who was also a very welcome addition to my life for the rest of the year! Oh – AND it was my birthday, which was a ton of fun and so special to have all my favourite people around me.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

We had a birthday party for my grandma, I had my first ever tarot reading, I went to see Ira Glass perform live, I wore sandals for the first time all year, I had my friend Adrienne staying with me for a few fun days, I helped out at two live events for one of my clients, I played outside in the backyard with my mom’s dog, I wore spring jackets. I love May.


The best part of June was my Dad’s wedding to my stepmom, Took. It was such a special day and – even though I didn’t think I would – I cried throughout the entire ceremony. I made a video of the day and it’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever created because it captures so much of the love and joy of that day.

Other highlights: lots of days lounging in parks, lots of live music, lots of family time.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

I went to New York City for two weeks! This was my third summer visiting my friend Katie and my favourite visit yet. We went to the Jersey Shore, hit up the jimjilbang (indistinguishable from the ones we went to in Korea), found new rooftop patio bars, ate the best-ever fish tacos, went to street festivals, read books and toured the city. My heart feels so happy in New York and with my friends who I don’t get to see very often. Such a wonderful time.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Long lazy summer days, blue skies, time outside, campfires, windows open, butterflies. I deep cleaned my apartment and finally set up my home office, walked all day at Caribana, read on my front steps, went to a solar eclipse viewing party, saw my favourite Creative Mornings talk of the year, saw Shakespeare in the Park, and did a lot of journaling. Sonja and I also went to see John Mayer (her birthday gift to me) outside at the Budweiser stage after a day at the CNE – the absolute perfect end to summer.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

There were a lot of fun events this month! I went to see Lady Gaga, and then the girls from My Favourite Murder with my friend Emily. I went to see an amazing documentary about The Avett Brothers with Sonja. I attended my first-ever Roncesvalles Polish Festival (the event of the year in this neighbourhood). I went up to the cottage with Laura and Mike for the third year in a row. I also volunteered at the hilarious but interesting Archangel Summit, where I got to hear Simon Sinek, Danielle Laporte, Shefali Tsabary, and others speak.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Nurture launched Harvest Table Dinners and we held the first one on October 1st! It was such a fun event with so many friendly faces and delicious food, and such a surreal way to celebrate my one-year anniversary of living in Toronto. Little did I know on that first night in 2016 that one year later I’d be having an amazing meal with the beautiful souls that I’d gotten to know.

In October I also had the very last patio drinks of the season, and went to my first family pumpkin carving day (I’d missed the last few years of this tradition!).


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

Katie came to visit for the first time since I officially moved to Toronto! It was so much fun to have her in my home and my neighbourhood, show her some of my favourite spots, introduce her to my Toronto friends, and tour (a lot of) Toronto’s historical houses. We also had kickass eggplant sandwiches, which warrant a mention here. In November we also had a sushi extravaganza with the whole family for my mom’s birthday, which was so much fun.


2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

A beautiful month full of book clubs, dinners, kitty cuddles, work projects, twinkle lights, parties, crafts, candles, and family time. I helped my friend Brittney on a fun (but strenuous) interior design job which added some variety to my days. I got to go to some fun holiday parties wearing fun holiday sparkles. And I got to spend Christmas with my family and our dogs. What could be better than that?

Firsts of 2017

My friend Laura introduced this idea to me last year and I think it’s such a fun way to sum up some of the smaller aspects of the year that might not have otherwise made the highlight reel. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • First Tuesdays Together meetup
  • First Creative Mornings event
  • First time trying caponata, first time trying labneh, first time trying fennel
  • First time getting a promotion!
  • First time trying Ethiopian food
  • First tarot reading
  • First blind internet date
  • First time discontinuing work with clients I didn’t like
  • First time having friends stay at my apartment in Toronto
  • First time seeing a feminist comedy show
  • First book signing (with Jen Sincero!)
  • First time watching a solar eclipse
  • First time seeing a movie at my neighbourhood theatre
  • First time having a cat!
  • First time seeing Caribana
  • First time doing NaBloPoMo


2017 By the Numbers

  • 75 books read
  • 89 blog posts written
  • 107 Instagram posts
  • 257 days of morning meditation


Goals & Intentions

It’s nice to revisit my goals & intentions post from last year and realize that I still resonate with so much of what I wrote. I hadn’t even really remembered what I wrote, but (since writing things down is magic), it turned out that unplugging often, embracing the moment, and celebrating the everyday were very much my themes this year.

1. Read 75 books ✓ 

“How much happier I would have been to know that reading was itself a passion. Nobody treated it that way, and it didn’t occur to me to think otherwise.” -Pamela Paul, My Life With Bob

2017 In Review >> Life In Limbo

This is still my favourite goal, habit and practice all rolled into one. 2017 was the year that I really deepened my relationship with reading, partly thanks to reading My Life With Bob, and since I realized that reading is a form of flow and meditation. You can see everything I read in 2017 here.

2. Film 1 Second Everyday ✓

Yay! I’m so happy to say that 2017 was the first year that I made a complete year of 1SE. There were definitely days I missed, but I just went back in and added a clip of something that was likely to have been happening that day. Such a simple project, but it really gives such a cool recap of the full year. This year flew, but it’s cool to see a tiny slice of every single day, even (especially) the ones that I might not remember otherwise.

My Word of the Year: Embrace

Like most years that I choose a word, I could have been more intentional about embrace in 2017. That said, unlike some years, this word actually stayed with me the whole year, mostly in the back of my mind and sometimes on Instagram. I revisited my intention-setting post for this word and I do think there are ways that I embodied the word embrace throughout the year. I really embraced the people around me this year: I spent more time with family, I made lots of new friends, and I became part of more than one community here in Toronto. I also think I embraced my everyday pretty well – documenting 1SE helped, as did trying out NaBloPoMo this year. I also embraced my apartment and worked to make it a home by decorating, rearranging, styling, cozy-fying and inviting friends over. All in all, it was a great word and it served me well! I’m excited to choose a new theme for 2018.

If you’re curious, you can see more of my year-end reviews here:

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011