Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Greatest Prospector in the World by Ken Dunn

Follow the story back in 1908 as Laura is forced to relocate from the wilds of the Alaskan Gold Rush days to the emerging metropolis of Chicago, after her father was killed in a prospecting accident. 

Along the journey, Laura is mystically introduced to the secrets that The Greatest Prospectors In The World used to win in sales. Through the entire story, you will be left guessing. “Who Is The Greatest Prospector?” and you will find the secrets to success in your own sales.

Synopsis - 

Laura Dunagan, was born in the gold prospecting days of rustic Alaska in the early 1900's. When Laura was 14 years old, her father was trapped under a mud slide while prospecting in a nearby river and died. Laura was forced to move to Chicago in the care of her rich Uncle Joe. Laura hated Uncle Joe because he forced her to leave the river, but also because he had left the family prospecting business to move to Chicago years before she was born.

Laura discovers that Uncle Joe made his fortune selling insurance and was the owner of the largest insurance company in Illinois. While wondering through the mansion one day, she found Uncle's Joe personal den. In it, she discovered an entire new life that would lead her to heights that she would never had realized panning for gold in Alaska. Uncle Joe used the 6 gold prospecting rules for safety to prospect new clients for his insurance company and in doing so, discovered the secrets to wealth in selling.

Review - 

The Greatest Prospector was an interesting book to read and review as in my opinion, it doesn't fit any regular category. The book is written as a simple story - an easy to read read tale, a modern day parable. From that perspective I would place it int the tween/teen category. BUT the purpose of the book is to share six secrets to success in sales which is something of interest to many working in that industry. They are strong principles for anyone involved in this demanding career, but told by following the story of a girl guided by her uncle from a young age through womanhood. So who is the audience this book is aimed at?

There are several things about the book that stand out as positives. The six principles are well thought out, solid offerings that will transcend changes in the industry. As a woman, I enjoyed the choice to have a female lead character and that it started with her as a young girl and followed her journey to becoming a successful business woman. As this story was set at a time when women were generally stay at home wives and mothers is an added bonus. The message that women CAN and DO succeed in business cannot be repeated enough for me. And lastly, easy to read is always good as most involved in this career are busy.

In the end, I think I would recommend this book for women entrepreneurs just starting out. It's an enjoyable book you can dive into after a hard day, the principles are basic lessons that are gold standards for anyone working in sales.

Buy the book: Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Book Depository  

Meet The Author -
Ken Dunn author pic
Ken Dunn is one of the leadership training world’s up and coming great speakers and trainers. An incredible hunger to learn and teach others has led Ken successfully through five different professional careers in the past 25 years.

Ken began a policing career at the age of 18. He was involved in the policing world’s most exhilarating and challenging disciplines, including undercover drug and surveillance work, S.W.A.T. team work, aggravated child abuse, frauds, aggravated assaults, illegal weapons smuggling and homicides.

Today, Ken regularly speaks to groups in the direct sales, mortgage, insurance and banking industries. He uses humor and his own experiences to inspire audiences around the world. Ken lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Julie, and children Matthew and Laura.

Connect with the author: Website    Twitter   Facebook

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PowHERhouse Vancouver Speaker Series January 2016

I was honoured to attend the January 2016 Powerhouse Speaker series at The Imperial in Vancouver as a guest of my long-time friend, speaker, motivator, personal trainer and more - Steely Springham. We worked together back when I was involved running a local magazine and she stepped in as volunteer to run our first ever magazine launch. Shortly thereafter she decided to follow a long-held passion that has taken her on an incredible journey.

I am so proud of all she has and will be accomplishing and couldn't wait to hear her speak this day. BUT - there were another 17 speakers to enjoy as well and each brought a nugget of gold to inspire us. 18 speakers - nine minutes each - just long enough to be able to fully share a focused bit of wisdom. Sitting for almost four hours with only one break should have been challenging, but the variety of subjects and speaking styles kept it lively. From the opening dance performance and talk by Laura Grizzlypaws to the final hurrahs the event was a hands-down success. We all left inspired.

Near the start I decided to try and capture a thought from each speaker. Scribbling as fast as I could while listening, I know I didn't get this down word for word, but hopefully the essence rings true. I didn't think of this until after Laura Grizzlypaws danced, sang and gave the opening remarks and founder Charlene SanJenko spoke, so have offered something different for them.

I hope these brief re-caps inspire you. Then be sure and check out the PowerHERhouse website for more information, how to be a part and the location/date of upcoming speaker series. There is also a free digital magazine with inspiring articles you can access. Enjoy!

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Laura Grizzlypaws - @lgrizzlypaws Cultural Ambassador, Educator, Performer - (From the About section of her Youtube Channel)
Cultural values are rights that I believe are honoured through our own self-determination. Breaking the cultural stress of oppression means living through our cultural values. Culture is not in the past, it is now, it is not stagnant, it is alive, it is not in the museum, it is vibrant, and full of stories and knowledge systems. My mission is to advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples in their self-determining cultural expressions for cultural and even political survival. We all have our own songs and dances and principle values there is an urgent need to uplift traditions to revitalize the sacred. The Grizzly Bear dance is not just for show, it is about honouring our ancestors. (Great video HERE)
Founder Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko - PowHERhouse founder, Builder of Strong Women - (From her bio on the PowHerHouse website)
At my core, I am a woman who believes the stronger we feel in our bodies, the more positive and powerful we are in our lives. In fact, I believe one of the greatest factors holding women back both personally and professionally is a lack of integration between lifestyle management and leadership development.

Tanis Frame – Play Evangelist - Decide to Thrive: Play by a different set of rules.
What have you decided you don't do? What have you stopped doing that gave you joy. Get curious, decide to try. Quote she shared - I think from Steven Pressfield, "The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."

Gina Best – Award-Winning Mortgage Broker, Coach and Speaker - There’s More To Life Than ‘Busy’
Where do you fall on your own priority list? What is the cost of all you do for others? No one is going to put you on a priority list if you don't.  What you're missing in life is YOU. Don't bury difficult feelings - if you bury one you bury them all. Then you begin to lose the colour of life and things fade into black and white.

Victoria Maxwell – Mental Health Speaker & Bipolar Princess, CEO of Crazy for Life Co. - The Crazy Naked Truth.
It took 5 psychotic episodes, 3 hospitals and 5 years to lead me to acceptance. What brought me through was the compassion of those around me. They held the vision for me until I could, but in the end I had to walk through the door. You can change a person's perception of what's possible in an instant with respect and support.

Kare Jacoba – Entrepreneur & Business Owner, LeadQuest Inc., - Never Justify Reasonable Behavior
Always be authentic. Don't be a lemming - be aware of your surroundings and what is right for you. If it makes another uncomfortable, don't try to justify behavior that is reasonable and right for you. It's in the attempt to justify our reasonable behavior that we are reduced and the other is elevated.

Steely Springham – Inspirational Conversationlist & Confidence Coach - Do You See What I See?

Envision a glass filled to the half-way mark. Do you see it as half empty or half full? You can turn things around by looking at it another way.  I see it as having room for possibilities. Keep pouring. You don't have to stop. "My cup runneth over."  Or better yet - fuck the cup. Just get rid of it and keep pouring. Do you see what I see?

Maggi Woo – Photographer, Women’s Portraiture - The Importance of Being Seen

Why is it we seem to believe we are not good enough to exist in a photo. When I ask what clients want, they tell me everything they dislike - their flaws - and are comfortable in this negative space. The photograph to me is proof that magic exists.  My job is to find not only the light on my client's face, but the light that shines out - their inner beauty. A photo is an invitation to fall in love with yourself.

Angela Thurston – Erotic By Nature (sensual aliveness) - Erotic by Nature
It is important to remember we are not alone, we are not our story, we have a choice. Our reproductive organs are organs of mass creation and creativity. Sexual energy is our life force and feeds every single aspect  of our life.

Sherry Strong – Food Philosopher - Hungry for Love, Thirsty for Meaning - a food philosopher's guide to a sustainable life.
An addiction is the ultimate act of avoidance. Food has become a national drug of choice. It's as just as addictive as cocaine.  Diets don't work because they are all about deficits. What good for the planet is good for the body when it comes to food.  And it's important to not only eat well, but to enjoy great conversations around the table as you eat.

Christina Benty – Former Politician, Municipal Government Advisor, Great Leaders Lead Their Own Lives First! - Soul Leadership: Leading from your soul instead of your role.
Bring your whole self when you interact with someone, see them soul to soul, as we all desperately want to be seen. Try not to prejudge based on their appearance or who you think they might be - look close, give them your undivided attention and treat everyone you meet with the same respect. Be curious, be invested in each conversation.

Jan Jensen - TLC - A Short Lesson from the U-Knee-Verse
Stress causes cortisol levels to rise and then they do nothing in the body works right. Believe in what you know  rather than in small body sensations. Even small changes can help move you along the way to marvelous.

Jacqueline Way365give Founder (social change agent) - We Could Be Heroes
365give started when my son was three. we decided to change the world by doing one thing every day, it could be as small as just picking up some garbage. When I became too busy, the door opened to develop and launch this as a program in schools, with the number involved growing every day. The program is teaching these students to give back each and every day.  Stand with me and together we CAN change the world.

Loretta Cella – Leaders for Humanity (social change agent) - Effective Leadership for the Sake of Humanity
We have all had the experience where we finally had a dream and were sunk by icebergs - so many icebergs. Icebergs are the negative responses of friends, family and colleagues. We all want our ideas heard. Leaders for Humanity strives to support new leaders world wide and when it comes to leadership, there is only one definition - SERVICE, first to yourself and then to others.

Jo Dibblee – Author, Speaker & Event Producer, A Frock-alicious Life - Powerful and Unstoppable
Mark Twain, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Stand up and take your place. Decide to live your life. Your life has a purpose and you matter. Embrace your purpose and have the courage to stand up and take inspired action.

Heather White – Life Designer. Business Adviser. Speaker. – Authentically You in Business: Because booming growth should be blissful.
Authenticity is the ticket to freedom and fulfillment. Are you brave enough to bring your soul to the surface of your life - both your personal and your business life? Authenticity is not a business strategy, it is a necessity.  Be You. Be Brave. Be of Service. Trust in Divine Compensation.

Rosemarie Barnes – Confident Stages, Presentation & Vocal Coach, Inspirational Speaker – Reinvention: Grace Thoughout the Ages and Stages of Life and Business
How many hats did you come in wearing. You are not the same person you were when you are five. You've reinvented yourself over and over. Change will happen and it won't always be easy. What ever you believe, boil it down to the soul level. Create diamonds.  In the end, we don't reinvent, we restate.

Christina Stewart – Building Strong Teams Conflict is Opportunity
We tend to avoid and accommodate those we are in conflict with to keep our relationships safe and comfortable. In the end that never works.  What if you look at conflict as not bad, but an opportunity. Step into it, see the potential for collaboration and use it to learn from the other side. Don't look at what you have to give up, instead look at what you have to gain.

Aileen McManamon5T Sports, Business + Branding Strategist – The 6th Element
In sports, not everyone who is talented ends up excelling. When building a successful team, it is important to not just look at the talent of individual players, but to look at the chemistry of the team as a whole. Other important elements are passion and a willingness to buck the conventional. 

Jamie Munro – Videographer, Impactful Storyteller – What I've Learned About Business from Behind the Lens of My Video Camera
1. Gold comes from those moments of imperfection.  The need to be perfect is not sustainable. Instead of regret or pressure - celebrate what you learn from these moments.
2. Be passionate.
3. "Film is truth 24 times a second" - French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Film is able to capture the subtle details that are lost.
4. Every day stop and ask - What do I want out of life?

Angie Barnard Business Aggregator, Brand-Builder, Place-Maker, Mastering Your ASK! - Sir, can I get you another beer?
The innovative skit Angie Barnard offered is a bit hard to recap but in it she shared her passion, purpose and vision to engage local and global champions to create entrepreneurial hubs and thriving communities. Her company - The Network Hub - offers Entrepreneurs, freelancers and contractors needing space (work, event, meetings) to come together. It's a gathering place of creative minds.  

Links - 
Twitter - @powhertalks

Friday, January 29, 2016

Adventurers Abroad: The New American Expat Generation by Robert Nelson

Adventures Abroad by Robert Nelson
How to live and work in a variety of
countries, with practical advice and information
that is useful for any aspiring expat.

Synopsis -

Adventurers Abroad explains in detail who the new American expat generation is, why they are moving abroad, where they are moving abroad and the personal characteristics required for expat success.

But the heart of the book is 14 personal stories told through the eyes of American expats living in all corners of the world. Through their experiences, readers will learn how to move, live and work in a variety of countries, with practical advice and information that is useful for any aspiring expat.

Review - 

Adventures Abroad lets you take a journey behind the scenes into the lives of Americans who have chosen to live abroad - whether for a year or for a lifetime. I always enjoy reading about the unusual journeys others choose to take.  They highlight our very uniqueness and as we read of the adventures of others, we are encouraged to take out our dreams, dust them off and take a chance.

I found the first chapter of the book a bit dry as that is where you'll find all the facts, figures and statistics on this phenomenon.  If you like statistics then you'll find all those interesting numbers here. My interest was piqued with the 14 ensuing chapters, each featuring the story of a different individual (or couple) living in abroad. While they all spoke enthusiastically about the positive aspects of their experience, ultimately there were some common threads of difficulties they did have to face. The final chapter offers a few notes on the characteristics necessary to embrace this lifestyle as well as quotes from ex-pats offering their advice.

Most ex-pats encourage anyone thinking of moving abroad to spend a minimum of one year in preparation to more fully understand the currency, the politics, the culture, the housing, etc. The more knowledge you acquire before your move, the quicker you will adjust to the new rhythms and ways of doing things. Language is definitely a barrier to integrating, so it's worth trying to obtain at least some basic fluency before you go. And I think almost all wrote they had reached out to other ex-pats from around the world through local Meet-up groups to make new friends.

If you're thinking of spending an extended time living in another country, the personal stories shared here will prove a welcome eye-opener and offer lots perspectives on how to prepare and how to embrace the new experiences on arrival.

Buy the book:   Amazon   

Meet The Author - 

A long-time expat, Robert Nelson wrote his first book, "Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta," while residing in that Mexican international resort city for seven years. He has also lived in Germany, Turkey and Greece and has traveled to over a dozen countries on three continents.

​He also is a co-founder of, an online publisher of international relocation planning information and resources.

Connect with the author: Website   Twitter   Facebook

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction by Michael S. Levy, PhD

Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession

was written to shed light on why we as a society are
obsessed with people who work in the entertainment
field - movies and television, singers, musicians, sports
figures and people on reality TV. 

Synopsis - 

“Our celebrity captivation seems out of proportion,” says Michael S. Levy, PhD, addiction expert and author of CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION: Understanding Our Addiction

Dr. Levy wrote CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION to shed light on why we as a society are obsessed with people who work in the entertainment field—movies and television in particular—but singers, musicians sports figures and people on reality TV as well. Dr. Levy, whose previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…and You May Not Need to Quit, resonated with many people, finds it remarkable that people who work in the entertainment field get more recognition and adoration than a competent brain surgeon who saves people’s lives, or a pathologist who has made inroads in cancer treatment.

This wasn’t always the case. Sixty years ago, a Gallup Poll study showed that people who were most admired included Einstein, Winston Churchill, Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. Not one entertainer, sports star or media personality made the list. Fast-forward to 2000 – 2009 and we have stars like Bono, Tiger Woods, and Denzel Washington making the list.

Dr. Levy can discuss society’s obsession with beauty, how our vulnerability to addiction, our need for idols and our voyeuristic predispositions all contribute to our celebrity obsession as well as:

• How the mass media controls our thinking, the nature of our social intercourse and interactions with each other and our preoccupation with celebrities

• How the media exploits our voyeurism and how our voyeurism serves as a form of distraction and amusement

• Why being entertained has become our primary preoccupation

• Why celebrities’ real-life, off-screen stories get more publicity than anything they have done in their careers

Dr. Levy laments that television news programs focus as much, if not more, on the lives of high-profile celebrities than about other more important issues of the day. He believes that our obsession with entertainers is something to be concerned about since we will have missed opportunities to learn from others who could provide us with valuable ideas and standards for our young people. While the entertainment machine has given us a quick fix to feel good, Dr. Levy asks: “is our obsession with celebrities the best use our time? What will be important to reflect on at the end of our lives: Will it be what we knew about some celebrity or might it be something else?”

Review -

I have been baffled for many years now on the mania I see surrounding celebrities, especially reality TV stars, so was excited to have a chance to review Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession. While I expected a light overview of the subject aimed at the general population, I quickly discovered I was utterly mistaken. Author Michael S Levy, PHD, has offered up an in depth look on society's current obsession with celebrities and entertainment. Drawing from his long career as a clinical psychologist, he explores the subject from many angles and offers tons of examples in support.

This book looks at our very humanity - who we are as a species. Then it adds our changing environment that has moved from a time where our very survival took every hour of the day and all our energy, to current times where we have free time to fill and money to spend. Levy looks at our feelings of isolation, our desire to feel good, our need to be entertained, addiction, the effect of mass communications and how adept the entertainment industry has become in capturing our attention.

Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession is a great read for anyone interested in seriously exploring this subject, but it's not a fast read. You need to take your time and absorb what each chapter offers before moving on. I want to offer kudos to the author as well for being concerned about the ramifications of this phenomenon and wanting to do more than shed a light on the subject. In his epilogue he offers a section called, "Is There A Way Out?"  Here you'll find ideas for parents and educators to help children understand the influence media has on their lives. A great way to close.

Buy the book: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Meet The Author -

Michael S. Levy, PhD is a clinical psychologist who is the director of substance use services at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts. He also maintains a private practice in psychotherapy in Andover, Massachusetts and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has often been interviewed on radio and television. Levy has published numerous articles and book chapters, gives many lectures and workshops, and is the author of one previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking...And You May Not Need to Quit.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

Monday, January 25, 2016

One Piece Vancouver and The Get Warm Project

Krista McKenna is not only a long-time friend who offered me amazing support during my journey to launching my first book - Life Outside the Box - she is someone I admire. She is a crazy mix of creativity, business sense, craftsmanship, drive, dedication and non-stop energy with a passion for supporting those in need. The number of responsibilities she juggles every day is impressive. New ideas are always on the horizon. 

When McKenna looked for a relaxing hobby that would help her walk away from the pressures of entrepreneurship at the end of a day, crocheting seemed the answer. BUT - it wasn't long before her unique original creations fashioned out of high quality yarns began to garner attention. What started as a hobby soon became One Piece Vancouver.  

As one of the founders of the Get Warm Project which creates bundles of winter warmth to hand out to needy individuals, it was no surprise to me she decided to create a campaign this year where 15% of her One Piece Vancouver sales be donated directly to this deserving charity effort.

As always - I find the story of someone's journey a great way to introduce what they are doing, so I quickly reached out to McKinna with this Q and A. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and that you find yourself inspired to check out both the Get Warm Project and One Piece Vancouver!

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Please share a bit about who you are and some of the things you are involved with.

I am one bad-ass homebody. I love to spend my downtime listening to old record, sipping tea, crocheting with my fur kids and husband - maybe watch a little Breaking Bad or Dexter too. My nature is extreme. I don’t do anything half-fast. I fixate. 

Oddly enough, about four to five years ago, I found that with my day to day work (Small business developer and Consultant/Strategist) I didn’t ever find time to ‘unplug’. I've been privileged enough to own and operate my own businesses for about seven years full time, and if you know anything about being your own boss, you know that there is ALWAYS something to do. I noticed unhealthy behaviours developing within my home life, simply because even when I was at home, I was still mentally at work. I needed to change that.

Enter Crocheting...........................

I happen to love fashion and accessorizing. I also have particular tastes when it comes to materials and fabrics because I have sensitive skin. Because of that, whenever it came time to find a nice bulky scarf for myself, I could never find the quality of material I wanted with the look and bulkiness I wanted, within what I felt was a reasonable price point. It was extremely frustrating! Then, as I continued my hunt, I found the details of the scarves available to be too much for my personal taste. About five years ago I got fed up and decided to stop spending money on crappy scarves.  

I vaguely remembered being taught how to crochet and knit by my grandmothers when I was younger - although it dropped out of sight when I entered my teen years - and I didn't remember it being THAT hard, so I hit up Michaels. The skills I learned when young quickly returned and there was a side benefit - crocheting offered a relaxing way to unplug from the stresses of running a business. A short while later, I was making all the styles of scarves I wanted, in all the ways I wanted. Friends and family noticed, and gradually I was making scarves daily for my amazing and supportive clients. 

How did this lead you to launch One Piece Vancouver and when did it launch?

It was honestly just a personal project in the beginning. I really enjoyed making myself the styles I wanted and had a huge amount in my personal collection. People would always stop me in the streets and ask me where I had gotten my scarves, and their surprise at the knowledge that I had made it told me something was there to catch on. Then I started to get private requests and custom orders, and it grew from there. 

Talk about your creations? Style - purpose - yarns - palette?

The One Piece Vancouver style is BIG and BULKY. I love thick heavy and structured looks. Scarves that eat your head. That is my favourite and hey, it happens to work wonders in the cold chills of Vancouver too! Especially since I am a very outdoorsy and active gal. Each scarf is designed as if I would wear in myself. I personally have a neutral color wardrobe, so prefer greys, blacks and cream, but always have to some colours, especially at least one rich red. 

Yarn is super important to me. I am very anti-synthetic. I special order all my yarns in bulk from ethical and eco friendly suppliers internationally, and personally design and make every scarf. I don’t follow any specific patterns or counts, so literally every single scarf is different from another, even if it might look the same. My yarns are also hand-dyed, which makes each skein a different pattern. This gives really nice texture.

Who is your customer?

My customer is an individual who appreciates the fine details in life. Someone who FEELS texture and materials and has a intense response to it. Not afraid to wear statement. Not afraid to be bold. Someone completely content in being their true self.

Do you have a personal favourite piece? 

That's hard to answer! I love every single one of my scarves. The only thing I could say is that I personally prefer cool tones over warm, so warm beige or taupe is not a tone I would personally wear and that's simply because my skin tone doesn’t work with it.
You just launched a One Piece Vancouver campaign in support of the Get Warm Project. Can you share a bit about the Get Warm Project, why it inspires you and this campaign?

The ‘Get Warm Project’ is a community blanket and goods drive running from Nov 01- Feb 01 annually. It strives to ensure that members of our city will be warm every winter. The project aims to establish leadership within our community and actively work towards positive social change. Shauna Beaudoin, Sara McKenna and I started it in 2011 and have been running it every year since. It holds a huge part of our hearts, and we work hard to make positive change for both our community members in need, and those who support us. 

You can join us at one of our Get Warm Project Outreach Days to create our GWP bundles together. Then hit the streets with us to hand them out directly to those in need in our city. Not only do you get to rally together as a team to collect the necessary items for the bundles, but you also get to join us in the humbling and heartwarming experience of literally giving that bundle to someone who needs it, face-to-face.

New Socks
New Mittens
Bag that the bundles can be carried in
Granola Bar
Toothbrush & Paste
Soap Bar
Bottle of Water

Each Outreach Day has a goal of 100 Get Warm Bundles – that’s giving 100 people the needed items to not only make them feel good, but protect them from the cold!

I had never considered how I could utilize OPV to support GWP. I had been donating my creations here and there for years but never considered making it a way for others to contribute as well. Giving back can be so easy, yet a lot of the struggle is not knowing how! By partnering and donating 15% of every OPV purchase to GWP, that helps everyone contribute in a simple way. 

How can someone get involved in the Get Warm Project?
People can become involved by rallying teams to ‘sponsor’ one of our outreach days, and/or simply show up to our GW HQ with some items to donate, time and kind intentions. We have blankets donated for every bundle through our amazing partner at Kendor Textiles, so we try to encourage volunteers to bring any of the other listed items to build our bundles with. We always give out at least 100 bundles each GWP day.

Links: for shop etc

Get Warm Project Partners:
Social City Networking INC
Kendor Textiles
One Piece Vancouver

Get Warm Project Founders:
Shauna Beaudoin @shauna.beaudoin
Krista McKenna @ThisIsKMcKenna
Sara McKenna

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuscan Kale, Sundried Tomato and Chicken Sausage Gnocchi

With only one pot, you can whip up this flavorful Tuscan Kale & Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage Gnocchi dish! A family favorite in our house that is made time and time again!What's on the menu tonight?  Well, it always depends on whether I've had time to peruse Yummly, Facebook postings or one of the multitude of cookbooks and food magazines I own. I don't mind cooking, but honestly get bored with it on a daily basis.  It becomes a chore instead of an act of creation.

My youngest brother is an amazing cook who puts me to shame. He also has practically every cooking gadget out there. I asked him once why and he said to help keep up his inspiration to cook healthy food every day. If it wasn't for that he would struggle. I don't have the dollars to purchase or room to store all those gadgets, so exploring recipes created by others is the option that works best for me.

If you are also one who likes to try new recipes and have never checked out the Yummly website, you should. It offers a wide variety to explore from a huge number of cooking blogs. They give the basics, then you follow a link to the actual site to get the full instructions.  I've used several and so far they've all turned out fine.

I noticed this recipe for Tuscan Kale, Sundried Tomato and Chicken Sausage Gnocchi a week ago and quickly copied it into a draft file. It's credited to Megan of With Salt And Wit. Tonight's the night it will hit my table. Overall it doesn't look too complicated or time consuming, has great plate appeal and the mix of flavours looks promising. I love Kale more than the rest of my family, so I'm hoping this will be a dish that will help them embrace this great green more fully. I also love the convenience of a one pot meal and have a set of these great oval porcelain bowls by Simply Perfect I use to serve recipes like this. I picked up mine from my local Costco about a year ago.

Notes - Finally had a chance to add my notes here.  I found the flavour good, but the dish overall a bit dry so worth playing with. I will be changing the tomatoes next go around to either the in oil variety or to fresh tomatoes. In oil would be more Tuscan. If I go that way and it still seems a bit dry I will add a bit of thickened broth - just a tiny amount to moisten things up.

= = = 

Tuscan Kale, Sundried Tomato and Chicken Sausage Gnocchi
Serves 4


1-1/4 lbs.           Basil chicken sausage, casings removed (or Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage)
5 C                    Chopped kale
16 oz                 Sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup              Sun dried tomatoes (not in oil)
1 tsp                  Garlic powder (I will be using 1 clove fresh garlic)
1/4 tsp               Red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp               Salt
1/2 tsp               Pepper
1 tsp                  Dried basil
1/2 C                 Shaved parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
1 lb.                   Gnocchi

Instructions -

In a large skillet, saute the sausage until cooked through, 8 - 10 minutes. Add the chopped kale, portobello mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and dried basil. Continue to cook until kale is wilted and mushrooms and tomatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside until the meat mixture is cooked if they finish before.

Once the gnocchi is finished, add it to the meat mixture along with the parmesan cheese. Toss well.
Divide between 4 bowls and top with additional parmesan, if desired. (Note -great reheated the next day).

Monday, January 18, 2016

Science World's Science of Cocktails - February 4th

I try as much as possible to attend Creative Mornings each month. I hear not only wonderful speakers, but a few selected people are invited to the stage to share about upcoming events and opportunities in Vancouver. 

One that caught my attention in January was an event at Science World called, "The Science of Cocktails."  It's a fundraiser and they will be offering cocktails - now THAT's a winning combination. Turns out the Publicist for this event - Jessie Lehail - is one of my Facebook connections, so it ended up very easy to learn more.  

Let's start with some information on the event itself. The Science of Cocktails will be held at Science World (1455 Quebec St, Vancouver) on Thursday, February 4, 2016, from 8pm to 12am. Phenomenal physicists, creative chemists and master mixologists will be working 25 open bars.  

There will be fun, hand-on activities and programming all exploring the physics, chemistry and biology of cocktails. What is the science of shaking a drink? You will find the answer here. Guests will experience their favourite drinks in ways they have never imagined.

Added to all this is the charity aspect. A knowledge and curiosity about science is one important aspect of every child's education. Sadly there are many "in-need" schools where the financial support is not available to bring their students to Science World. That's the focus of this evening.  From the press release - 

     This event is about paying it forward and providing 6,000 kids from underserved 
local schools the opportunity to experience the magic of Science World for free.
Guests of Science of Cocktails are helping us inspire future leaders, innovators
and entrepreneurs." -  Bryan Tisdall, President and CEO of Science World.

Image by digitaldesi
6,000 kids. Just think about that. I brought my kids many times while they were growing up. They also came several times with their school. Science World was always a hands-down favourite. They were lucky that we could afford to take them often - not all children are. 

The young children who will benefit from this fundraiser are our future and in their midst you will find the scientist, doctors, mathematicians, scholars and more who will be bringing new ideas and discoveries to change our lives.  

General tickets are $145 (click HERE) and VIP tickets which include include early access, the exclusive VIP lounge, valet parking, premium cocktail offerings and food, and a VIP gift. are $250 (click HERE).  

I'm getting my ticket today and hope to see you there.

= = = = 

For more information check out the Facebook event page at -

Also follow on Twitter @scienceworldca and instagram

And don't forget to share the event hashtag #SOC16.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

What It Actually Takes!

An article inspired by a poster with a quote? Absolutely. This is a subject I've written on before, but it is worth repeating.

The image in this photo really takes me back. I used to sew dance costumes and the classes of lovely young ballet ladies I sewed for over several years would excitedly share with me when they were finally going to start training to dance on pointe. I would smile and keep my mouth shut as I didn't want to spoil their enthusiasm, but knew what that meant. I worked with the older girls and had seen their damaged feet and heard them talk about the challenges. 

Weeks after these same young women started their new class, I would walk into the dressing room to hear an entirely different conversation. Their feet had blisters, some had broken and were bleeding. The smiles were gone.  The reality of what this dream required had hit home. It was so hard to connect the beautiful vision of a professional dancing gracefully on pointe with what they were going through.

But, and this is an important BUT, I don't remember seeing one of these young artists ever quit. They had their eyes on the prize - an illusive one that only a very small number would actually reach - and continued to train despite the tough demands on their bodies and the lack of a guaranteed spot in a professional company in the future. They had a mental toughness and strength of will that would put many adults to shame.

Any goal worth achieving demands many things from us including usually great sacrifice. The lovely vision of yourself at the end line helps to keep you focused, but along the way be prepared for lumps, bumps, bruises, tears and doubt.  

So before you embrace a new journey, ask yourself the question, "Do I love it enough to make it my work?" Turning your passion into a job changes things immeasurably and you need to be prepared for the demands ahead.

= = = = 

Excerpt - Do You Love it Enough To Make It Your Work?

"Do you love it enough to make it your work?" The pursuit leaves the realm of
fun and enjoyable experienced when it is only a sideline behind. Pressures come to
bear such a earning power. Sometimes the work of running your business takes up to
90% of your time and only 10% is left for the creative side. 

You have to have something to love about choosing to turn whatever it is from hobby
or idea into a business. That something has to carry you through the hard work, stress
and pressure. For me that is the interview. Amen!" - article HERE

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Interview with J. J. Sherwood - Author of Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book 1)

Where were you born and what were you like when young? Any interests or early signs you would later put pen to paper?

I was born in Tucson, Arizona, but I moved to Wisconsin when I was still a baby. So for the first 7 years of my life, I grew up in small towns in the great cheese state. I was a wild child and a tomboy—no trespassing signs were invitations for adventure and clothes were always optional— especially when swinging from the branches of Weeping Willows.

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I’ve been writing since Kindergarten— and whether it was horror or historical fiction or fantasy, I always knew I wanted to write. I wrote and shelved story after story as I grew up—I probably wrote about 15 books between the ages of 10 and 15 and got partway through a dozen more. But it was when I was sixteen that I really cracked down on myself and began to study those things that would flesh out my world and originality—human anatomy, studies in witchcraft and strange religions, linguistics, forensics, Japanese, and an assortment of other atypical subjects. Everything I did always had an angle for writing. And when I married Mr. Sherwood a few years ago, I finally had the opportunity to write full time. And then wala—publication followed shortly after!

Where do you find inspiration for your storylines? For the characters you create?

As probably every writer before me has said: I find inspiration everywhere. But in particular for me, history and strange / little-known cultures. They are a treasure trove of outside-the-box ideas. Did you know there is a tribal culture—Amazonian, I believe—that turns their dead into banana soup and then, as you can guess, eats them?

Review of Kings or Pawns HERE
How do you approach laying out such a complicated book with different elf races and fictional geography?

Probably to a great fault, I keep the vast majority of the information in my head. Sometimes I have the wisdom to type things out or scribble myself a note or two, but, alas, I usually forget I’ve done such an intelligent thing. It hasn’t come back to bite me yet, but unless it’s published, it’s “flexible canon.”

How do you organize your time when working on a new book? Research? Working on Manuscript? Pre-marketing?

Organize is the key word there… Hahaha. I just… add more hours to my day. I tend to be a work-aholic. When anything but just “writing the book” arises, I just add it to the day—rather than subtract from my writing. I’m trying to get better about this by using a day out of the week to cram in all “non-writing the actual book” responsibilities, rather than just working 14 hours a day.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

Everything about the actual writing I love. Outlining, drafting, editing, etc… Everything else… aka, marketing of almost any kind—is a chore. The exception to that, I suppose, are the conventions across the Midwest that we’ve been attending in cosplay. While that is certainly marketing, it’s also been a very fun experience.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?

If you want to write, then actually write. I’ve met a ridiculously large number of “aspiring authors” who never actually complete anything. While you’re young, test your pen and get a feel for what you want to do—but there needs to be a point where you say to yourself “enough is enough—I’m going to push down my own self-criticism and finish the novel.” And then you DO. And you don’t listen to your negative sides or your own complaints—you press on until it’s on the shelves of stores and then you can step back, take what you have learned, and write again. But you cannot learn if you do not try. And you cannot become an author if you do not actually finish the book.

In closing - when can we look forward to book 2 in this series?

Just around the corner—very probably April 2016!

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood

Kings or Pawns: Kings (Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood

Inwardly, the king felt the darker tug of a greater concern: if Saebellus was not defeated by spring, perhaps the country would not survive.

Synopsis -

J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

Review - 

It's been a long time since I curled up with a fantasy novel. In the past I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at least three or four times, the Twilight vampire series, the Harry Potter magician series and more.  Somewhere in the last few years I have moved away from this genre, so I picked up Kings and Pawns - a new series set in an elfin world - with great excitement.

J.J. Sherwood offers what I consider classic fantasy elements. There is a unique elfin world with unusual characters and landscapes.  Even though most individuals are not human, they come to life as we turn the pages. They end up being real to as we follow their thoughts and personal journeys. There is conflict, danger, subterfuge, war, dark magic, intricate lies and more to be found. Also, as with most fantasy series, this is a long novel meant to be enjoyed over many nights into the wee hours and the ending scene is actually an opening for the next book.

Kings and Pawns is a great addition to the fantasy category and one that I am sure will find hit a mark with readers of this genre.  I truly did not see the climax of book one coming and it was much darker than I expected. I wonder where the author will take the storyline in book two?

Buy the book: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Meet The Author - 

To read a great interview with author J. J. Sherwood click HERE!

J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

​Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 2016 Associate Curator - Joyce Rosario

Friday, January 8th, I headed downtown to enjoy an inspiring talk on the subject of Language at Creative Mornings. This event always ends with and introduction to next month's speaker, in this case  playwright, theatre director and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill, who will present a talk on the theme of ethics for the February 5 edition of Creative Mornings. It was also shared that Tannahill would be in town as Curator-In-Residence for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival  running January 19th through February 7th, 2016. I was intrigued.

I have heard of the PuSh Festival, but so far have not attended. As I love innovation, especially in the arts, it's time to explore the performances offered and select a few that call to me. As I am also an interviewer by trade, I decided to pursue a behind-the-scenes interview with one of those involved in making all the magic happen - Associate Curator, Joyce Rosario.

For those, like me, who are not familiar with PuSh, let's start with a bit about the festival itself. Held over a three-week period every January, the goal is to offer groundbreaking live performances, to "PuSh" boundaries and enrich audiences with adventurous, contemporary works.  Here is an excerpt from the festival's website. 

"The PuSh Festival expands the horizons of Vancouver artists and audiences with
work that is visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original. The
Festival showcases acclaimed international, Canadian and local artists and mixes
them together with an alchemy that inspires audiences, rejuvenates artists, stimulates
the industry and forges productive relationships around the globe. The Festival is a
broker of international partnerships, a meeting place for creative minds, a showcase
of Canada’s best and an incubator of brilliant new work."

Sounds interesting? Looking to be inspired? Well, it's all happening right here in Vancouver starting on the 19th.  You can check out the full calendar listing of all performances by clicking HERE. When you find a show you want to attend, follow the links for tickets on the page for that performance.

Got your tickets ordered? Well, now it's time to enjoy a brief Q and A with Joyce Rosario, Associate Curator of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, who will share the inside scoop on what to expect this season.
(Note - Rosario's bio is included at the bottom as well as a great video - Kiss The Rabbit: 10 Years of the PuSh Festival - and links for both the festival and for Rosario.)

= = = =

Can you share a little bit about your career working in the field of performing arts.

My career path makes sense now, looking back. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say! I’m 37 now, but going through most of my twenties, I was never really sure that I was on the right path. I studied theatre, worked in dance, I followed my curiosity, put myself in situations where I could learn through practice and then worked hard. I’m also lucky to have had some great mentors along the way.

Last week, Marie Lopes from The Roundhouse was cleaning out her office and she sent me a hard copy of this Georgia Straight from 1997 (see below). I was 19, going on 20, and was involved in a socially-engaged, participatory, performance art project that involved young women from all over the Lower Mainland. It was a 2-year project that culminated in us taking over a construction site. It was a formative experience, to say the least.

How did you come to be a part of the PuSh Festival starting in May 2013 and what to you love best about your work here?

The position of Associate Curator came up and Norman Armour, PuSh Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director, asked me to consider applying. I had a pretty great job at the time already, but I couldn’t say no – it’s a dream gig! What I love best is the group of colleagues I have the privilege to work with. They are superb human beings – talented, thoughtful, dedicated, with big hearts and open minds. It makes coming into the office every day a pleasure.

What does a the job Associate Curator entail during the time the festival is running? During the rest of the year as you prepare for the next season?

When the festival is running, I’m super busy with hosting and attending events, everything from the PuSh Assembly to the many various performances. During the rest of the year, I travel to see work, watch videos and do tons of research and planning. We’re already working on the 2017 and 2018 Festivals.

What is the biggest challenge in running performing arts festival in Vancouver?

Competing with nature as well as disparity in funding. Compared to other similar events across the country, we punch above our weight.

I love this description from the PuSh website - "...adventurous contemporary works in a spirit of innovation and dialogue." This type of performance may be a very new experience for first time attendees. Do you have any words of wisdom on what to expect or how to embrace these unique performances?

Embrace the unknown. Come with an open mind. Bring a friend. Some shows might be challenging, and what is brilliant to you may not be for someone else. That’s an interesting conversation. What I love most about performance—whether it’s dance or theatre or music, or something that defies any of those categorizations—is its very liveness, it doesn’t exist without an audience.

Art is always a very personal experience.  Are there any shows this season that you in particular are looking forward to?

As a curator, this is the question I’m asked most frequently. I’m looking forward to Inked and Murmur, Aakash Odedra is an exquisite mover. I can’t wait to be at Club PuSh at The Fox Cabaret, I love that we’re bringing contemporary performance to the nightclub scene. Jack Charles v. The Crown is going to be brilliant. Jack Charles is on the cover of our program guide, and the show is his story - what an incredible life he’s led and what a journey!

Please share a favourite quote on the arts.

“All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.” - Molière

Links - 

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 
      Website -
      FaceBook -
      Twitter - @PuShFestival

Joyce Rosario
      Twitter & Instagram - @j_rosario
      Facebook -

Bio - 

Joyce Rosario has been working as the Associate Curator for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival since May 2013 and has worked in the performing arts since 2003 as a manager, producer and programmer. She hails from East Van and is a graduate of UBC Theatre Production/Design Program.

Link to bio:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blanche Macdonald - Jessica Lidder, Sleek and Sophisticated

Runway images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Jessica Lidder

One of my favourite looks in the entire

Blanche Macdonald's annual fashion show was called The Places In Between this year. It was held the last week of November 2015 in a beautiful new space, the luxurious Permanent Building, a converted bank built in 1907. As posted previously, in addition to a show review that will be featured in Metro-Living-Zine, I have chosen a few students who stood out for solo articles.

I already covered Caitlyn Bellavance in a previous article. Today I'd like to introduce you to Jessica Lidder. I was impressed with her portfolio when I viewed it - illustrations, a strong, well designed collection and presentation - so I looked forward that night to seeing what she had to offer on the runway. I was not disappointed. 

Both looks stood out for their strong tailoring, choice of palette and beautiful fabrics. The looks were hands down wearable luxury. A big part of fashion is personal - what speaks to your taste - and the jacket/pant look shown to the left was one of my top favourites that evening. It's definitely time for me to hit the gym.

As always, it's such a pleasure when you see a young designer bring it. The best follow up is to learn more about them. I hope you enjoy this Q and A as much as I did. Jessica Lidder is definitely a designer I will be keeping my eye on.

= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in a small town in Central BC.

What were you like when you were young?

Having grown up in a small town, I had an idyllic childhood. Summers were spent bike riding around town, having water fights, playing tag, and other games with the kids in my neighbourhood. My parents would have to bribe my sister and I to get back into the house after the sun went down! Our winters were spent building massive snow forts, having snow
ball fights and finding hills to use our magic carpets on.

What were your interests in High School?

I had an interest in architecture in high school. I had strong math skills and took the time to learn the
program AutoCAD. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of the fashion designers I learnt about this year also had an interest in architecture.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?

At the age of 4, I was very particular about the clothes I wore and had a strong opinion about what was fashionable for a 4 year old. My mother finally relented and allowed me to pick out my own clothes and dress myself. She also had a sewing machine, so as I got older, I spent a lot of time learning to sew from my mom.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was your family supportive?

I was not entirely sure what to do after high school and my family encouraged pursuing business for my post-secondary education. I worked at wealth management firms for several years before I started to seriously consider pursuing another career. Fashion has always been an interest, however, not having anyone around me in a creative field, the decision to pursue fashion design seemed daunting - an impossible dream.

As I grew emotionally and spiritually, I realized that I could spend the rest my life being safe and working at a desk job for a pay-cheque or living the life I

dreamed. This lack of passion for what I did made me realize that there was no better time than now to pursue my vocation in fashion. My family has been amazingly supportive and I couldn’t have done this without them. For that I am eternally grateful.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

Changing careers was a bold and scary decision. Going to Blanche Macdonald meant an intense year of the best fashion education available. I felt that if I was going to do this, then there was no better way than attending Blanche Macdonald and completely immersing myself into the program and fashion.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you? What was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

When the teachers tell you that your social life as you know it is over, they mean it. The program is
incredibly intense and you have no time for anything but your work. The best way I can describe my
personal experience there is that it was like learning to ride a bike, over and over again, all year. The
minute I thought I finally got the hang of it, I’d fall off the bike and be starting from scratch again while at the same time, loving every minute of it!

What was the inspiration for your grad collection?

My inspiration evolved many times over the process from architecture, to art, to books in general and then to a specific book by Kahlil Gibran called The Prophet. It felt natural to contemplate the deeper matters of life that we all are a part of such as the passing of time and love and being moved to a particular silhouette for the body.

Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend
glamour-stage costuming-punk?

The target market for this collection is the urban independent woman. Sleek and sophisticated.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

Like everything this year, the fabric choices and palette also changed over time. At the start I chose a
neutral safe palette and as I developed more confidence, I decided to take a risk by choosing bolder
fabrics with golden tones and a floral painted tweed.

Do you have a favourite look?

I do not have a favourite look. I am still discovering myself as a designer, so I am interested in trying new looks and enjoying the creative process.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I plan to stay open to the process of learning thi
s industry and hopefully along the way I can make a
contribution that will change the landscape of fashion through originality and creativity.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own
line, take a break and travel?

The big goal for the year is to try and launch something of my own. I plan to spend the year developing my talent and working on creative new designs. At the same time. I hope to incorporate some travel in my schedule to allow me to broaden my horizon and open my mind to new ideas and get those creative juices flowing!

Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you.

A quote that sums up what fashion is to me is from the tv show Gossip Girl. “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design, and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.” - Blair Waldorf.

For more information or to contact Jessica Lidder please email  You can also follow her on Instagram at @jesslidder

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald go to -