The Lean In Movement with Sheryl Sandberg

I hadn't actually intended on going to hear Sheryl Sandberg speak, but as I sat down for breakfast and she came out on the stage for a candid conversation with Lisa Stone, I was blown away.

When she asked how many of us women were called bossy as little girls, I put up my hand. And then I thought about it. Was I really bossy, or was I just a determined young woman in the making?

It was great to reflect on. Are we aggressive, or do we just possess skills of determination and an unfailing attitude that those who succeed to high places need? Are we bossy, or as Sheryl put it, do we have executive leadership skills?

I found listening to her so very empowering. When she ended with the question of What would you do if you were unafraid I had to think long and hard.

I think this is going to be a new exploration series on the blog here, and something that I start working with my coaching clients on.

Think about it for a minute...what would YOU do if you were unafraid?


Kristine Cook Designs...color blocking at its best!

One of my absolute favourite dresses from all of the pieces that Kristine Cook Designs created for me this year fro BlogHer'13 was my color block dress.

I went to her with the idea of using some of the really trendy Pantone colors of 2013, Mykonos Blue and Emerald, to do a funky color block dress.

This is what she created

I absolutely love how it accentuated my tiny little waist and how Kristine tied everything together with the wide stretchy black belt, which mirrored the styling of the hem, sleeves and neck.

When we got to the hemline, I actually asked Kristine to raise it a little...then a little more. I feel so stinking sexy and this dress really made me embrace my new body shape and every curve that I have.

On the back is an exposed zipper, and I think it adds such a funky flair to the already striking design!

How do you rock the color blocking trend?


The importance of storytelling

The absolute best session that I went to at BlogHer'13 was about storytelling

What is it?
Why is it important?

What struck a chord with me was if it doesn't make you laugh or cry, I'm not doing my job - Tanis Miller

To hear these incredibly intelligent and empowered women talking about writing with passion, in an active and present voice, was amazing. They confirmed absolutely everything that I believe about writing with an authentic voice, and that was wonderful. I could have sat there for hours listening to them banter back and forth, and gained so much out of the 30 minute session.

The panelists, Jenni, Nicole and Vikki spoke with conviction and grace. They believe in what they are doing, how they are writing and that was inspiring for me to hear.

Did you go to this session? What did you think?


That time I spoke at BlogHer...

Seriously the most nerve wracking thing, and I will be forever grateful for my fellow panelists Tabatha and Erin for being equally nervous.

After the intros, Erin talked about writing a mission statement for your blog. What are you goals? What do you want to get out of writing? Do you want to further yourself as a professional writer, or establish connections with brands?

Whatever the reason or goal behind your blog, write it down and be serious about it. Be true to who you are and where you are in this moment; let it flow naturally, and know that it is okay if it changes a few months from now.

After that, we talked about the dreaded stats. Tabatha summed it up really well when she admitted that her analytical brain has a profound love for stats, but that they do not define her as a person or a blogger. I found that really powerful.

I talked about letting your authentic voice shine through in your writing. When we open ourselves up to being our true selves, and write with abandon, the companies who want to work with someone in your field will come, and amazingly don't care too much about pageviews and UVM.

I also talked about helping one another. Blogging can get really competitive, but we need to remember the reasons why we started; we had something to share. Act with grace, and treat others with respect. It will get you much further in the online community if you respect yourself and the others around you than acting otherwise.

All in all, the session was great and it was awesome to see so many nodding, laughing, smiling and having AHA moments while we were speaking.

We invite you to continue to engage with us and ask questions whether you want help writing your mission statement or want to know about changing the topic of your blog and how to engage your readers in an authentic way!


FlyDIY, the inspired party with heart

Words cannot express how incredible the experience of planning a party with your bloggy-bff is, but I will certainly try.

On Thursday, Shannon and I headed over to the Sheraton to set up everything for FlyDIY. While she worked on making tulle poms and the gorgeous ceiling treatment, I was busily setting up DecoArt supplies for the Make and Take stations, as well as putting together the paper chains.

We were so fortunate to have the help of some pretty amazing volunteers. Steph, Erin, Heather, Erin and our official photographer Sarah, THANK YOU!

Here's a photo recap from the party, since these pictures tell a thousand more words than I could ever say.

Ceiling treatment by Shannon of BabyShmizz

Party hostesses with the mostest! Shannon and Shannon

art supplies provided by DecoArt

Official party sponsor Triscuit

line up at the DIY Martini bar

And we were able to donate a HUGE box of supplies to Child and Family Connections #11 at Rush University Hospital, who's told us that they are having their own FlyDIY with the kiddos in their program!

We cannot wait to see what you created! If you blogged or instragrammed your DIY projects, leave me a link!

The Pioneer Woman

The opening keynote at BlogHer'13 was by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. I will fully admit that prior to the conference, I didn't know much about Ree other than she was beautiful with stunning red hair. I had no clue that she had a FoodNetwork, an adorable pooch named Charlie or had written multiple books.

I loved sitting and listening to her, very candidly, chat about her life as a midwestern mom and wife. It was amazing to hear her say that while she loves all of the opportunities that have come out her blog, the books, the television show etc., she would give it all up just to blog and be a mom.

I found that statement really refreshing and it was a great reminder to stay humble. She reminded us that at the end of the day, what matters is our family. While I have my sights set on some really big things, at the heart of it all...all that matters is my husband and Bear. She was inspiring and real, something that I think often gets lost in this world of blogging, and it was an amazing way to go kick off the conference.

Have you heard The Pioneer Woman speak before? What did you think?


Home from BlogHer...

I made it home safe and sound, and promise that I am working on recaps from all of the amazing things that I experienced, learned and people that I met over the past four days.

For now, I'm putting my feet up, processing everything and letting it sink into my soul. {as well as spending some time with my little Bear that I have missed oh so very much, and reading an amazing new book that is inspiring the very core of who I am!}

Until then...


10 Things To Know About Me, the BlogHer Edition

That is, 10 more thing to know about me before getting to BlogHer'13 in Chicago! Make sure you link up with Steph from A Grande Life with our own 10 Things before we all meet up in Chicago!

Look for this friendly face at BlogHer'13! @sweetstellas

1) From age 6 to 14, I wanted to be a marine biologist {more specifically a biological oceanographer}. Then I took trigonometry and said...word I shouldn't type here.

2) I used to think that turtle necks and button up vests were so cool

3) My first ever concert was 98 Degrees. Their opener? Jessica Simpson.

4)  I have not seen the following movies in their entirety: The Sound of Music, Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Risky Business.

5) I have, however, watched Cars, Shrek, The Ant Bully, Ratatouille, Polar Express on repeat and loved every moment of it

6) I started writing short stories when I was in grade 5 (so about age 8) and started writing poetry in grade 9. I was published in the news paper a few times, and even have one of my poems from late in high school published in a book.

7) I grew up with a dalmatian named Tony {short for Anthony Aloicious} that would sleep on my twin bed when I was sick or sad. in huge hyper dog.

8) I hyphenated my last name so as to always hold onto a piece of my Dad, who passed away 3 years before my wedding.

9) Tomatoes are squishy and I do not like them

10) I HAVE to sleep facing the door, but not on the side closest to the door. And when my husband travels for work...who-eee! Every baby gate gets locked!

So...what should we know about YOU!?!


Fashionista Friday: Kristine Cook Designs custom maxi dress

A few months ago, I asked London, Ontario fashion designer Kristine Cook if she could design and create for me a maxi dress that would be flowing....flattering...and in my proportions.

You see, I am 5'2" which means that a lot of those cute maxi dresses out there on the market just do not fit and are always hit my body at the wrong spot.

What she designed was amazing, and I am thrilled to show it to you today.

From the first sketch, to the completion of the dress, I was in love. It fit, it flowed and it was flattering.

This is going to be my day look for the Saturday at BlogHer'13. It's so super comfy, yet incredibly girly and I really feel as though it showcases who I am as an artist, a blogger and a woman all in one piece. Paired with silver and white gladiator sandals, my aluminum Ron Ostlund Jr. hammered cuff bracelet and a sparkly silver boho headband from Alice in Bloom and it is absolutely perfect!

How do you wear your maxi dress?