Category Archives: Inspiration

How to Find More than Just a Paycheque

For me, writing is more than just a paycheque; it’s an outlet for thoughts, ideas and discussion. It’s also a wonderful way to meet people with an interesting story, or learn about a new business.

Through my work I’ve, a job search website that I helped to launch last month. AltCareer believes work is about more than just a paycheque too, and their job postings highlight positions available at small to medium-sized companies that offer employees perks and benefits that will boost their job satisfaction and personal happiness. Sign up for their job board if you’re looking for a career that can complement your lifestyle.

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The Joy of Reading

“You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Some of the best writers will tell you that they are constantly reading, whether it be books, magazines, newspapers or poetry. It’s a great way to refresh your imagination, learn new words and perhaps gain some inspiration for your own work.  I’ve always loved to read, and I can spend hours contently roaming a bookstore. I just have to make sure I don’t walk out of there with a paychecks’ worth of books.

Since I’ve been out of University I’ve had much more time for pleasure reading, and I’ve been making it a point to make a dent in the ‘To Read’ list I’ve been compiling for the last few years from recommendations and top reading lists.

This past summer I was approached by a friend who was interested in starting a book club, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. We called together some of our biggest book-loving girl friends and are now known as The Dog Ears Book Club (dog ears as in the flaps one makes on a page of a book when they are holding their spot). Our seven members meet once each month in Toronto to discuss the book of the month and chat about life over brunch or dinner.

One of our members' boss designed bookmarks for us. Aren't they the best?

So far we’ve read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, and White Oleander by Janet Fitch.

This month we’ve chosen The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

So far the club has been a great success and I’ve been able to read every book before the meeting. I’ve come to look forward to our monthly meetings to chat about the books, how they relate to our lives, what we would do if we were in the characters’ shoes and just catch up with friends about what’s new. Are you in a book club? Do you have any favourite book club reads you’d like to share?

This is how our club works:

  • Each member is responsible for one month where they choose the book and the location of the meeting, and leading the discussion.
  • We meet once a month and go around talking about what we liked/disliked about the plot, writing style, characters and general idea of the novel.

If you’re thinking of starting your own club, here’s some advice from the woman who has inspired millions to read, Oprah Winfrey. Happy Reading!

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Writer’s Mad Libs Series: Heidi Turner

Heidi Turner is one of my dearest internet friends (I promise have REAL LIFE friends too, really I do!). We found each other through the awesomeness that is PWAC, and she has been kind enough to share hear writing wisdom with me over time. Plus, we’ve both made guest appearances on each other’s blogs (here and here). In my opinion she has mastered her goal of being funny, intelligent and insightful all at once in her contribution to the Mad Libs. Check it out below.

Name: Heidi Turner

Occupation: Freelance writer extraordinaire!

Blog/Twitter: @heidi_turner

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Writer’s Mad Libs Series: Amanda DiPasquale

This next writer and I actually go way back (yup, we know each other IRL!). I met Amanda DiPasquale as an undergraduate student at Western when we both discovered we were from the same suburban bubble North of Toronto. From then our paths have crossed numerous times, and I have been happy to support her blog venture from the beginning. Here is what she has to say:

Name: Amanda DiPasquale

Occupation: PR Account Coordinator/Blogger

Blog/Twitter: @notamodelblog


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Writer’s Mad Libs Series: Mackenzie Aderman

The Mad Libs Writer’s Series is officially underway! Our next participant is Mackenzie Aderman, a frequent contributor to

Occupation: Student by day, Online Fundraising Associate for the New International Center of Diverse Artists by night and Aspiring Novelist in between

Blog: Twitter: @mackenzieadermn

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Mad Libs Writer’s Series: Cassandra Jowett

First up in our Writer’s Mad Libs Series is Talent Egg’s Cassandra Jowett. I’ve been working with Cassandra for almost three years now, but funny enough we have actually never met each other in real life! Here she is to share some of her writing insight.

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Writer’s Mad Libs Series

Mad Libs (from ad lib, a spontaneous improvisation) is a phrasal template word game where one player prompts another for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story. The game is especially popular with American children and is frequently played as a party game or pastime.

I’ve been looking for some new ways to have fun and incorporate contributors to my blog, and I finally decided on something really cool!

I came across this Fashion Blogger Mad Libs Series on The Fashionist and thought it would be a great concept to apply to writers. So in the next little while I will be posting my own version of the every popular Mad Libs which have been filled out by writers and bloggers whom I admire and think you could learn a lot from. I hope this series will inspire and entertain you. And of course, if you know someone who would be perfect for this series (maybe you?) please be in touch!

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HUG Spa Party at Lux Spa

Most who know me are aware of my obsession with nail polish and nail art. Interning at a PR company that represents one of the top nail lacquer brands in North America has just added fuel to this fire. Seeing as my love for painted nails is at an all time high, it was no surprise that I was more than eager to attend the Hip and Urban Girl’s spa party this past week.

First let me say HugTo (co-founded by Lisa and Wendy) puts together some of the most fun and creative networking events in Toronto. They are a great way to meet young professional women in the city for anyone (like me) who is in to networking.

So on Thursday evening, about 40 hip and urban women made their way down to Yorkville for a night of pretty manicures, yummy treats, awesome swag and of course a chance to make friends with some incredibly friendly and talented ladies at Lux Spa.

So many colours, not enough nails!

I attended with my dear friend @StephUllman and also made plans to finally meet one of my Twitter pals @stephaniefusco IRL (that’s In Real Life) for the first time!

@StephUllman @Stephaniefusco and I flashing our new nails (Photo By Stephanie Fusco)

I had an awesome time chatting away with new and old friends while we sipped on cranberry wine and delicious snacks, and waited our turn to give our nails some TLC just in time for the weekend.

Although I have an undying devotion to OPI polish, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try Zoya nail lacquer for the first time ever to get the military green hue I desired.

My Zoya Gemma nails

Thanks to the HUG girls and the amazing staff at Lux Spa in Yorkville for a wonderful evening. I can’t wait for the next event!

Oh how I love manicures!

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A Trip to the Marilyn Denis Show

Keeping up with my tour of Toronto-filmed daytime shows, I recently took a visit to The Marilyn Denis Show.

The BF and I were in the audience for the Valentine’s Day episode (which you can watch here). The guests that day included, Rebecca Eckler (author of How to Raise a Boyfriend), Cabral Richards, comedian Gerry Dee, Len Cariou from Blue Bloods and Allyson Bobbitt from Bobette & Belle Cake Shop.

@MarcoTee and I with Marilyn

I loved watching Marilyn on CityLine when I would come home from high school, and I always listen to her in the mornings on the radio so it was great to get to meet her and see a taping of her new show. And of course we went home with some great treats; a copy of How to Raise a Boyfriend (just finished reading it and its pretty good), a bottle of Elizabeth Arden Pretty Hot perfume and the most delicious whoopie pies from Bobette & Belle (you can make them too with the recipe here!). Looking forward to going back to the show again soon!


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The Dali Museum: A Surreal Experience

Dali photo by Philippe Halsman

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” ~Salvador Dali

My trip to Florida earlier this month just so happened to coincide with the opening of the new Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg. I visited the old museum last year when I was in town to complete my internship, but I just couldn’t resist to be part of the first wave of people to experience the new museum.

The $36 Million museum took four years to be completed and officially opened January 11th (1/11/2011). It is the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain, with 96 oil paintings on display, and over 2,000 other pieces of his work.

The view of the museum

The building itself is something to stop and stare at as you make your way down the Baywalk downtown. Its walls are made of 18-inch-thick concrete to withstand even a category 5 hurricane (something rather crucial for a Florida museum). The 75 foot-high triangular glass dome called “The Glass Enigma” is a spectacular sight to see, made up of 1,062 panels. As you walk up the large spiral staircase to the galleries, you can peer out the glass dome for a beautiful view of Tampa Bay. Inside includes a library, theatre, gift shop, meeting rooms and the Cafe Gala named after Dali’s wife. The grounds around the museum have even been outfitted with huge rocks that were brought in all the way from Cadaques, Spain where Dali grew up.

Looking down at the spiral staircase

If any art lovers out there ever find themselves visiting the Tampa Bay area, I would highly recommend stopping into the museum.

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