Guiding us Home

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The snow is melting and spring is almost here...cross your fingers! This time of the year also signals new beginnings. It makes sense that many people plan to buy or sell their properties at the first sign of the big thaw. 

In light of the Modern Woman Show this weekend (and the first sight of Spring), I thought it would be a great time to look at a guideline for young women looking to get into the real estate market. Did you know that women purchasing homes has surpassed our male counterparts in the last decade?  Now it the time to do a little research and put yourself into the driver seat of home ownership. Here is how you are going to do it:

1) Check your piggy bank. You are going to want to take an inventory of monthly living costs and debts. Make sure your monthly budget is accurate with room for incidentals. Connect with an experienced mortgage specialist. They can guide you along the process of seeing what size of mortgage you would qualify for. The nice thing about using an independent broker is that they can check rates with multiple lenders. 

2) Find an agent you can trust. At Realty Executives Saskatoon they want to be there for you through the entire process -from the moment you meet to well after you have moved in. Their experienced executives are armed with knowledge and honesty. This is more than just a transaction - it's most likely the biggest purchase of your life. 

3) Do your research and take your time. Within your price range look at a variety of homes in areas that you are comfortable with. This process can be time consuming but at the end of the day making sure the property meets your needs is worth it. 

Now that you have a plan in place its time to make that dream come true. 

For more information on Realty Executives and their agents visit their website www.rexsaskatoon.com 

Realty Executives is a proud sponsor of the Modern Woman Show & Expo this weekend at Prairieland Park (April 14th & 15th). 

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Sponsor Profile- PINK OWL PLANNING

As I begin write this post all I can think of is “Hi, my name is Brianna, mother of one and I am a serial procrastinator.” I know I have always been the first person to put something on the back burner saying “oh I’ll deal with this tomorrow” or “I’ll get to this later” whether it was homework, projects, or even putting the dishes in dishwasher, and I can tell you it hasn’t gotten better since having my son. I’m not saying my house is a disaster, and that I never finish everything, but I AM saying when my son is napping I’d much rather take a nap or catch up on my favorite TV show then do laundry, or knit the blanket I have had sitting half finished in the corner for MONTHS!

Meagan Fraser however seems to be the complete opposite! She is a mother, an entrepreneur, a designer, and one might even say a little crazy, but only in the best way possible! Meagan is the owner and operator of not ONE, but TWO businesses based out of Saskatchewan! My Pink Threaded Owl is a clothing shop specializing in mother and baby clothing, and Pink Owl Planning is her graphic design company.  She is so driven and creative!

 
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Meagan started The Pink Threaded Owl back in 2014 when she was pregnant with her first baby. “I've always had the entrepreneurship gene in me, but I had no idea what to do with it. When pregnant with my first baby, I pulled out my little blue sewing machine that I got in high school to make some receiving blankets. I put the machine away for many years after that to focus on my new baby and continue on to get a post-secondary education as an administrative assistant. I took little blue out for another spin when pregnant with my second little one – and I fell in LOVE. It's taken off from there and I've grown tremendously from baby blankets to where I'm at now with children and women's clothing.”

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Meagan loves creating new clothing, but if you ask her what her favorite thing to create is she cant name just one “That is a tough question! My favourite thing to make changes often – one day it will be a baby romper because they are so cute and teeny and another day it will be a women's hoodie because I feel so empowered to be able to make myself and other women clothing that are well made and fit great. An easy to put on and take off romper has always been an admired addition to any little one's closet but hoodies will always be a staple piece in most of my customer's wardrobes.”  

As a mother I know that I have spent many hours looking for comfortable, quality clothing, for both me AND my son and Meagan’s products definitely delivers both. You can tell that she puts a lot of time and love into each and every piece.

 
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Now, any normal person would stop there! However Meagan is not your average person, I’m starting to believe she may be super human! As I said she owns and runs another business Pink Owl Planning.

Pink Owl Planning “is Saskatoon's newest in fresh and modern graphic design and has been up and running for only a couple busy months.” She's even done designs Kings Court Events, you may recognize work for the “Spring into Summer” event coming up April 28th & 29th.

I had to ask this super woman what made her decide to start her second business, and it turns out that she was following her dreams. “Embracing my true passion for graphic design and entrepreneurship was a longer road than I thought. Deep down, I always knew I wanted to be a Graphic Designer, but I spent many years doubting myself living within my comfort zone. Working on the logo, branding visions and website for my clothing business gave me the confidence and that final boost that I can do this” Meagan has a passion and love for creating “all things branding. I genuinely love bringing other creative entrepreneur's branding visions and designs to life by creating unique, strategic and cohesive designs” What more could you ask for when searching for someone to create art for your business? 

Meagan will be at the Modern Woman Show this weekend, don’t hesitate to stop by her booth to see her amazing locally sewn and designed items, and if you need any graphic design work done- she's the lady to ask!

 
 Be sure to stop by the  Modern Woman Show  this weekend for a chance to win this prize package generously donated by Meagan!

Be sure to stop by the Modern Woman Show this weekend for a chance to win this prize package generously donated by Meagan!

 

Happy Shopping!

Vendor Profile- DUTCH GROWERS

 

          In 1953, Dutch Growers started as a nursery and over the years expanded to include products for you, your home, gourmet, giftware and fashion!

 

          Upon entering, you’ll discover a store full of passion and life with beautiful vignette and inspiring creations in every nook and cranny. They are proud of their business, their customer service and what is has to offer. The atmosphere you’re surrounded by when you visit the shop will have you in awh. You’ll meet inspiring, creative, knowledgeable and friendly individuals.

          It is a community but within that it’s a family focused business. If you’re in need of a wardrobe update, needing to accessorize and outfit, looking for a perfect handbag, décor, updating your home, they will help find or create something that is a reflection of you. Believing a modern woman is courageous, someone who sets goals and crushes them day after day, she looks for the next trend and above all is passionate and utilizes that passion to help others find theirs.

 

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          The options are endless when stepping into Dutch Growers. Myself, and so many others are absolutely in LOVE with essential oils diffuser bracelets and diffusers, they have an assortment of great options. Not to mention their handbags…”cough cough” Matt & Nat.  Might as well have written each and every single one down on my wish life. As of late, I’ve personally been on the lookout for a Demin Jacket…while scrolling through their website I found the perfect one! Not to mention different spices, mixes and kitchen ware for hosting events or simply cooking delicious meals for my family and friends.

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          Dutch Growers is part of 'The Runway' Fashion Show at Modern Woman Show this year! Take a look at their clothing and accessories on the run way! Don’t forget to stop by their booth and say hello. You’ll be glad you did. While you`re waiting check out their website  www.DutchGrowers.com!

 

 
           Photos courtesy of               Ireland Jones Photography

          Photos courtesy of              Ireland Jones Photography

 

Meet The Runway: Strapped Lingerie & Sage Beauty Bar

This coming Saturday, April 14 is the annual Modern Woman spring fashion show. I hope everyone is as excited as we are! Today I'm talking about one of our amazing vendors and one of fabulous sponsors. New to the runway this year is local artisan accessory designer Ying Tan with Strapped Lingerie, and the beautiful hair & makeup will be designed and executed by Sage Beauty Bar, owned and operated by Melissa Wyant-Taylor. 

Knowing Melissa personally, I can say that the conception and execution of Sage was a long time coming. She had a vision and put herself into every small detail of what is one of Saskatoon's most beautiful spaces. This girl knows whats up. Plus, as a professional makeup artist I can say she's one of my favourite makeup artists to have do MY makeup. 

Sage is a luxury retreat for everything beautiful; a destination for the chicest beauty addicts, and those those who prefer a more natural look. Clients can relax in the sophisticated, tranquil boutique while enjoying an expanded menu of services. This state of the art salon that offers the best in lash enhancements and makeup artistry now offers a complete array of hair, esthetics, and amenities. Sage features some of the most sough-after brands in the industry such as Oribe, Living Proof, Redken, Vivier, Eminence, Kevyn Aucoin, and Ellis Faas. Sage is also a proud retailer of local jewelry designer elizabeth.lyn. Did I mention they have a super pretty licensed client lounge with snacks and O16 on tap? I'll just move in, k thanks. 

 Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Classy". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: Chelsey W.

Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Classy". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: Chelsey W.

I'm also super excited to see Strapped Lingerie on the runway this year. This is a local business I was drawn to right away and have had the opportunity to create a working relationship with designer Ying Tan, and just as I suspected, there's a real passion behind this project. 

Strapped Lingerie was conceived as a personal growth project for 27 year old Ying, who is also a Registed Massage Therapist and co-owner of local chocolate company, Those Girls At The Market. As an introvert who grew up bullied and with very low self-esteem, Ying wanted to find a way to shift gears within herself and find a way to feel happy, healthy, and empowered. She found that when women are able to feel turned on and sexy, they are powerful, ambitious and hungry for more of what the world has to offer. (Ummm, TRUE!) Her solution to this was lingerie, but not just lingerie for the bedroom - her designs can be used as accessories for every day wear. (Also, true! I get SO many compliments when I wear her pieces out with a casual outfit.) Yin learned to design and sew with the sole intention of growing this project, and makes every piece by hand.

 Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Warrior". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: That's me yo, so I use that term loosely.

Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Warrior". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: That's me yo, so I use that term loosely.

 

We had so much fun as a group of modern women coming together recently to create the images for this post. Featured are the bra cages from Strapped Lingerie, Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar, Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn, and images by Ashley Fjeldstrom of ASF Photography. Thanks to all the girl bosses involved, and especially for Sage for having the brews on tap. 

 Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Rebel". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: Kiarra R.  (Masala Model & Talent)

Photo courtesy of ASF Photography. Hair & Makeup by Sage Beauty Bar. Bra cage by Strapped Lingerie in "The Rebel". Jewelry by elizabeth.lyn. Model: Kiarra R. (Masala Model & Talent)

Strapped with have a pop-up at the Modern Woman Show & Expo, can be ordered online at www.strappedingerie.com, or purchased at Joyne on Broadway Ave. in Saskatoon, SK. 

Sage Beauty Bar is located on the 2nd level off the Alloy Collision Centre at 500 Melville Street in Saskatoon, SK.

See the talents of both of these thriving local businesses and so many others at the Modern Woman fashion show Saturday, April 14th. VIP tickets can be purchased at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com and include preferred seating, VIP lounge with complimentary appetizers, and an awesome swag bag! 

Hope to see everyone there!

Katie 

XOXO

 

 

 

 

For the LOVE of design! - DETAILS AT HOME

 
 

 When asked to write a Blog post about Details at Home’s passion for interior design, accessories and women’s clothing, I was ecstatic, intrigued and wanted to dig deeper and get to know what all the hype was about!

 

Finding the perfect décor piece can be a difficult task in itself. Let alone picking out the perfect outfit and accessories to match.  Here are three simple ways “Details at Home” will make this process easier for you!

 

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CUSTOMER SERVICE.

When walking into a store, what is the first thing we hope for? Someone relatable and someone who provides some high class customer service! Am I right? After speaking with a few women, the first thing they were excited to tell me was how amazing their experience was! How kind, helpful and relatable these women were to them. Made all the stress of shopping melt away.

These ladies are patient, kind, energetic and this is truly their passion! They will help you pick out that perfect piece you’ve been searching for.

 

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Lets be real for a second…to all the women out there, don’t you wish you had a separate closet just for shoes and accessories? Girl, me too.

Check out their Facebook page! You’ll fall in love instantly. Steve Madden, GEOX, Hillberg and Berk, and more! This shop supports local businesses! Who doesn’t love that?

 

LOCAL AND PRAIRIE PROUD

Details at Home is a proud local business. These women are hard working, friendly and will provide wonderful suggestions when asked. I’ve had my eye on a few pieces that I can’t wait to get my hands on “cough cough” prairie girl necklace and a plaid coat!

Their passion says it all, while offering exceptional customer service, one of a kind products, local and hand made designs. This one of a kind shop is a must on your bucket list! You’ll get a chance to see more of their fashion designs at the “Modern Woman Show” on the runway, and be sure to stop by their booth to say hi!

 
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Extention of you- MADE YA WANNA ACCESSORIZE

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Made Ya Wanna Accessorize is a portfolio of artistic expression through hand made, hand crafted and one of a kind beautiful and unique jewelry made by Suzanne Biggins. Her creative expression is completely versatile! Men, women and children have a selection to choose from. Suzanne can even make that one of kind piece for your special day. Personally, I’ve been looking for bridal jewelry and options like the ones she has to offer would make any bridal outfit come together perfectly.

 

            She takes her time finding the perfect gems, organic material such as leather, pearls, feathers and more to complete her designs while striving for customer satisfaction, her hope is to help you find that special piece you’ll fall in love with. She says “Your accessories are an extension of you”.

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            Made Ya Wanna launched in 2010. Although she has been perusing her passion for more than twenty years! Providing one of a kind accessories to men and women all around the world! Captivated by the world around her and inspired by nature and all its wonders.

 

When asked what her idea of a “Modern Woman” would be, I found her response warming. “Success to a modern women is pushing through any struggles, building her confidence, building her network of support, to continue in the direction of success and finding that she is equipped and capable.”

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Her roles models are women like you and me, breaking the stigmas, believing in ourselves, our businesses and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. Women who strive for greatness and rise against the constant negative shadows around us.

 

She is a family woman, an entrepreneur, an artist but she is an extraordinary woman who chose to follow her heart, her mind, her soul in the direction that allowed her to flourish within her own creation.

 

Looking for that perfect piece? Find her and her artistic creations at the Modern Woman Show and 'The Runway' Fashion Show. You’ll also be able to find her jewelry in Saskatoon at Moksha Yoga and in Yorkton at LoSa Chic Boutique!

Meet The Sponsors: LEAD

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The Modern Woman Show & Expo is fast approaching and we want to take a minute to talk about Lead Pilates & Cycle and Integrated Health & Wellness. This amazing local business is a show sponsor, will be showing their studio-to-street fashion on Saturday night’s runway, and hosting not one, but two amazing workshops. 

Lead is Saskatoon’s premiere Integrated Health and Wellness facility. Home to over 80 weekly Pilates-based fitness classes that make you sweat, strong, stretch and move, The clinic offers Chiropractic, Naturopathic Medicine, Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, Clinical Counselling, Reflexology + BodyTalk and Athletic Therapy.  

 
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At 10am on Saturday, April 14 the instructors from Lead are hosting a Pilates-based Bootcamp Fusion class that is sure to get your heart pumping, booty and legs burning, and your abs shaking. This class is perfect for the modern woman looking for a full body burn in just 45 minutes. 

At 10am on Sunday, April 15 Lead’s Founder, Jana Danielson, will be hosting “Love the Life You Lead”, an interactive workshop offering tools to improve your health and address the obstacles that may be holding you back. With a focus of nutrition, hydration, sleep, and movement, join Jana for what’s sure to be an inspiring and informative experience. 

Tickets to both classes are $10 and include the cost of the workshop, general admission to the show, and a swag bag. Who doesn’t love swag?

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Lead’s studio-to-street fashion will be featured on the runway for Saturday night’s fashion show. They will be showcasing spring pieces from their amazing in-house lines such as Alo, Body Language, MPG, and Free Label. You will be able to see these trendy and versatile pieces on the runway, and then shop the looks for yourself at Lead’s booth following the show!

Tickets to this event are $47 and VIP tickets holders have access to the lounge at 5:30pm for cocktails, appies, and music by DJ Kush. These tickets also get holders preferred seating, the chance to win amazing prizes, and an awesome swag bag. The fashion show hosted by CTV’s Chantel Saunders begins at 6:30pm. 

 

Tickets for all three events are available at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com 

 

See you there!

Katie

Xoxo

Local Shopping Made Easy

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When looking to support locally produced or sourced products it can be a bit of a daunting task.  I can almost guarantee that if asked each one of you would LOVE to support more local businesses but cost and convenience would be factors that may lead you astray. This is something I know all too well as I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to support as much locally produced food products as I could. 

With a constant eye for business opportunities and growth I decided to turn one of my rental properties into a Saskatchewan experience on the short term rental site - Airbnb. The rental market was taking a massive hit and I thought I would use this as an opportunity to change things up and test these new waters. I love marketing so I created a vision board - on that vision board I asked myself what would set me apart and tell a story.  My Airbnb story would be exposing my guests to as much local goodness as I could. From the art on the walls to the soaps in the shower. Recommendations to locally owned restaurants and directions to our local farmer's market - complete with my fav things to do. Now a plan was in place but how to source all of this? Common grocery stores have few selections of Saskatchewan products and the convenience of trying to get to the farmers market just wasn't happening with a busy schedule. I knew where I had to go.....Sask Made Marketplace.

  Road Coffee Co . and  Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company  are always ready for brewing.

Road Coffee Co. and Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company are always ready for brewing.

Everything was all there in one spot. It was perfect - I was able to decorate the walls with framed post cards from local photographers and artists. The coffee beans and teas that I provide complimentary to my guests are all local entrepreneurs. Even a collection of local cooking oils, jams, and an assortment of other treats are left for the guests to try. 

  Three Farmer's,   Over the Hill , and  M&M Garlic  are ready for guests to experience. #local

Three Farmer's, Over the Hill, and M&M Garlic are ready for guests to experience. #local

Not only does Sask Made Marketplace have all the items that complete my local experience they are very knowledgeable about each of the companies they support. With freezers filled with local meats, perogies, and pizzas it truly is a one stop shop. The stores hours make it convenient to shop at and there is always something new being sampled. I'm a few months into this new venture and the guests adore these little local touches and I adore the convenience of going to one place. Match made in local heaven ;)

We sat down with Amanda from Sask Made and wanted to learn more about the business, their goals for 2018, and what we can expect to see at their booth in a few weeks at the Modern Woman Show. I see big things for this company! These women are certainly making a #supportlocal difference in our city.

Tell us about your business?

The SaskMade Marketplace is a Saskatchewan company partnered with local farmers, processors, and artisans to provide a wide range of unique, locally produced gourmet ingredients, grocery items, giftware, souvenirs, and gift baskets.

How did you get started?

The business was started as a medium to educate people about farm to fork and what it really means to support local. We wanted to become the local authority on food, which I think we have.

What inspires you?

Challenge and Change. I always want to be challenging myself and learning. Life is an opportunity to continuously grow and experience new things - I love that! 

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

A Modern Woman isn't afraid to be who she is or do what she loves, nor does she pass judgment on other women. We need to support each other and understand that we are all going to make different decisions and take different paths in life; none of them are wrong. If you want to be a career woman, be a career woman. If you want to be a stay at home mom, good for you. No judgement. "Whatever makes you happy" is my motto.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Women are stronger when they support each other so get to know other women entrepreneurs in your area. Join local industry and women-in-business groups.  In these organizations you will always find good advice and guidance when you need it. There are many people who have gone before you, so learn from them!

Also, never be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. Two little pieces of advice we often give our friends and family but can sometimes forget to do for ourselves.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

It would be to trust yourself and do not hold back. If you want do something, do it now!

What is in the future for your business?

This year we are hoping to bring in some unique kitchenware, cookware and entertaining items to compliment our vast selection of gourmet groceries.  But we are always on the lookout for new grocery products and gift ideas to change things up!

As for a 2-5 year goal, we'd like to have a second location or expand our current store and add a complimentary space, like a cafe or bistro.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

A particular person doesn't come to mind, but I respect any women who are out there changing the world and breaking down barriers. For example women in science and technology or agriculture, which are largely male dominated industries. It's hard work and not everyone can do it.

Tell us about you – what makes you tick, what are your hobbies, where would we find you on a Wednesday night? A Friday night?

Well I have 2.5 year old twin girls, so Wednesday evenings would find me at home hanging out with my family or maybe squeezing in a quick workout once the kids have gone to bed.

Friday's are a bit more exciting; I'm usually cooking dinner with my husband with a glass of wine or having friends over for appetizers and drinks. I love cooking, eating and drinking so anything that involves those makes me a happy lady.

If you could have any super power what would it be?

I would have the same super power as Magneto from X-Men. The ability to control metal would be amazing!

What will you be showcasing at the Modern Woman Show?

We will be showcasing all the wonderful food items that our local farmers grow and produce for us. I want to focus on some of the great gourmet cooking ingredients like oils , vinegars, mustards and sauces that anyone can easily use to create an amazing meal at home.

We will also have two of our vendors sampling with us, one each day. So make sure you stop by for a few samples!

Sask Made Marketplace can be found online www.saskmade.ca and shopping made easy at 1621 8th Street East. Come visit their booth and start your local journey with Sask Made at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 14th & 15th at Prairieland Park. 

To check out the little local airbnb and all the lovely companies we support visit our Instagram Page @stay_at_cas_hill 

Chantal

I Should Feel One Way But I'm Guilty For Feeling the Opposite

As I sit here typing this, I’m 17 weeks pregnant. I can feel this little bean moving around now and my husband has felt her/him kick twice. My breasts are bigger and tender. I’m still nauseous and eating is a struggle to keep the food down. I’m emotional and weep at most movies, regardless of the genre. I have a small bump but really, it’s mostly a layer of fat from winter hibernation. The reality that I am pregnant after four recurrent losses should excite me. I’m FINALLY pregnant! I should be ectatic! But I have a confession: I’m not excited. I’m scared senseless.

 Pregnancy #6: 14 weeks here and the night before my husband and I both felt baby kick! 

Pregnancy #6: 14 weeks here and the night before my husband and I both felt baby kick! 

For a long time, I thought I needed a second child to complete my family. The primitive and physiological desire for a baby overrode my logical mind. I had to have two kids and they had to be no more than three years apart and boy, did I try to make that happen! The need consumed me for almost five years and like I’ve mentioned previously in other posts, 2017 was full of loss and grief but also of acceptance and peace. A second child no longer holds the same weight it once did. A second child doesn’t feel necessary anymore. And I feel incredibly guilty for saying that.

 

Just because I wanted this doesn’t mean it won’t be hard

We have a good life as a family of three. We all sleep through the night, our daughter is toilet trained and she can independently play without me worrying what she’s getting into. She goes to daycare two days a week so I can work and write and clean without distraction. We can travel without hassle and she can communicate her needs and frustrations. We have our routine and our life and it’s perfectly imperfect for us. This new baby will change everything!

I’m scared of losing my autonomy as a person, as a woman. I’m afraid this baby will be a nightmare baby; one of the ones that are colicky and don’t sleep and grow into wild, difficult toddlers (re: the opposite of our daughter!). I’m afraid of the toll sleepless nights will take on my marriage. I can confidently say I’m a horrible person when I’m tired. Exhaustion seems to be the one common thing other moms are telling me about the transition to two kids.

 The early days when I believed even having one child would ruin my life because I'd be the worst mother ever. I think we're doing okay though. 

The early days when I believed even having one child would ruin my life because I'd be the worst mother ever. I think we're doing okay though. 

I’m scared I won’t have time for my business, Potions, or my non-profit, The Family Fertility Fund of Saskatchewan. More, I’m worried I’ll no longer make time to fulfill my dream of becoming an author and that the book I’ve been working on for months now will fall to the back burner among the other things that will become neglected: exercise, self-care, showering and probably laughter.

I’m scared I won’t be able to manage my priorities and I’ll become that person who loves the “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” excuse. I worry that the things that are important to me as a woman now will become obsolete as I try to keep a newborn alive while simultaneously taking care of my daughter, husband, two businesses and home. And my dreams? What dreams? I've always wanted to be a writer but put those dreams on hold because of my fears and beliefs that I was inadequate. Now that I'm facing those fears and writing anyways, I'm scared to lose the momentum and that those old beliefs of not being good enough will resurface.

I’ve met countless women who, when asked who they are, automatically start with “I’m a mother of two, (name) is (age) and (name) is (age).” I’m afraid I’ll become her: the one who identifies solely as a mother and who has forgotten who the woman underneath is. The mother who believes she isn’t worthy of a quiet bubble bath. The mother who gives so much of herself, selflessly, that she doesn’t feel like there’s time or money or even the energy to invest in herself. I’m scared I’ll lose the person I’ve grown into. I’m scared it’ll take me years to find her again once the second baby is in school. I can’t imagine 3-5 years of just “momming.” Being a mother is an amazing gift and one I am blessed to have received but I don't want to lose myself in the vomit, poopy diapers and haze of exhaustion. I'm horrible for it, I know. 

I wanted another baby with such a desperation and hope that I looked crazy to those not involved in the infertility community. I wanted this! But I’m so scared. And I’m not sure if that’s normal because I’ve been too ashamed of these feelings to ask fellow mothers (of 2+ kids) their opinions.

Amidst all of this swirling anguish and worry, deep down I know I’m speaking from a place of fear. I know once this little rainbow baby is in my arms, I will fall madly in love and all previous doubts will vanish. I will probably willingly accept the sleepless nights and constant sleep interruptions. I know the primitive side of me will awaken and I will just know what to do and how to do it and I’ll mostly do it with love as my motivation. I know my husband and I will argue and fight and probably sleep separately for a long time and I’m sure there will be some nights when it’s welcomed.

 Our family of three on vacation to Vancouver Island in June 2017. Vacations will be on pause for awhile but I hope we can take both kids back out west to enjoy!

Our family of three on vacation to Vancouver Island in June 2017. Vacations will be on pause for awhile but I hope we can take both kids back out west to enjoy!

I know this baby will complete our family; probably in a way I can’t even comprehend right now. She or he will be a delight some days, a nightmare on others. And somehow, I know we will all survive these next few years. I hope my tribe will remind me that underneath the messy hair, vomit and soaked breast pads, there’s still a woman in there. She’s just busy right now trying to raise her family but she’s there. She’ll emerge eventually. My time will come to focus on me. My dreams will just be on hold, not crushed as I’m imagining now, as I try to raise the best children I can for my community and planet.

I’ll probably worry and continue to feel scared for these huge life changes coming our way. In the meantime, I’ll be shopping for better breast pads and sleep training books. Wish me luck!

Vendor Profile- SIMPLY GROUNDED COFFEE GALLERY

 
                                   All photos courtesy of  Lovestruck Portraits

                                  All photos courtesy of Lovestruck Portraits

 

In May of 2017 I became a mom for the first time. My beautiful son was everything I could have wished for and more! I had spent most of my pregnancy like I assume all first time moms did, planning all the outings I’d take baby on, listing all the friends we’d visit and the things we would do. Little did I know I would sleep less then I had anticipated, wake up 10 times a night,  and sleep train a little boy who some nights just wouldn't stop crying. And then, on top of all that, I diagnosed with postpartum depression. I soon realized all the outings I had been planning were slowly starting to crumble into the background... until they became completely non existent. I stopped leaving my house altogether, most days I wouldn’t even put on real people clothes. I could be found sitting in my house, usually on my couch, with a BIG HOT cup of coffee in hand and still rocking my PJ’s. Most days that one or two cups of coffee were my saving grace, keeping me awake and keeping me sane when my son wouldn’t stop screaming...

Slowly after finally seeking help for my postpartum depression I finally started to want to go out, and started taking little steps to those big outings I had been planning the entire pregnancy. Usually these outings were just something simple, something that sounded easy like coffee with a friend at a near by coffee shop! However even that seemed to stressful and to much to handle at times. I was so worried and stressed about being judged for bringing my baby with me, scared that I’d be judged for him crying, or him being loud, and making to much noise, even scared I’d get judged for changing my sons diaper .... and at some coffee shops believe it or not I was judged!

Eventually we found the perfect coffee shop and it became the norm for me to pack up my little man, and take a little road trip to where I felt like me and my son were welcomed and comfortable. The half hour trip was more than worth it to get to Simply Grounded Coffee Gallery in Delisle!

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I felt so welcomed walking into their shop! Their décor is family friendly, and the staff is so personable. It's easy to relax with one of their signature ground roast coffees such as their Blizzard roast. This is just the tip of everything this small town coffee shop has to offer! My little man is welcomed with smiles and happy greetings every single time, taking all fear off my shoulders, and my husband even loves to join us for a 'coffee trip' when he isn't working. 

The shop moto is “be sweet, be bold, be inspired” and this is a perfect description of not only the shop, but also the owner. Carol is super sweet, bold and quirky (just check out her shoes!) and as inspiring as one could be with all love and time she puts into her coffee shop and efforts to support all things local! All thebaked goods are made in store; like their SWEET home made Oreo’s, their BOLD roasted coffee is roasted exclusively for Simply Grounded in Outlook Sask., and the INSPIRED décor and word art displayed throughout the building is shop swag or created by amazing local businesses.  Looking around the coffee shop it is so easy to feel that inspiration!

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One of the sayings I saw really spoke to me and has become my daily mantra! “Be a pineapple”. That may sound ridiculous but bare with me... “Be a pineapple, stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside”. As a new mom, most days I feel like that old sock that you lost under your bed as a child, but by doing something as simple as driving a half hour and having coffee I am able to feel human and proud. Seeing this quote truly has inspired me to look at myself and feel my self worth, not only as a mother, but as a human! Who knew that getting coffee could be so instrumental to my mental health!?

Simply stated- Simply Grounded Coffee Gallery is a perfect addition to the town of Delisle. If you are a coffee lover who loves feeling like not only a valued customer but like a friend to the staff, love to eat good food- especially baked goods, enjoy delicious caramel macchiatos and Saskatchewan roasted coffee, then the half hour drive from Saskatoon is absolutely worth it!

 
 

MWSE Guest Blogger

Vendor Profile- VIAHERA CANADA

 
 All photos are courtesy of  Lovestruck Portraits !

All photos are courtesy of Lovestruck Portraits!

 

Jeanny Buan is an advocate for empowering and educating women, she’s a model, blogger, public speaker and has a huge passion for traveling! She is also the owner of “Viahera”. If this is your first-time hearing about Jeanny and Viahera Canada, buckle your seat belts and prepare to be wowed!

 
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As a woman, I am truly inspired by women entrepreneurs, women who push their own boundaries, women who believe in themselves. Jeanny accomplishes all of this with grace, passion and pride. Her vision is to inspire women of all shapes, colours and nationalities. She wants women to believe in themselves. “To laugh more, explore more and LIVE more.” Can you imagine a world full of women like this? I can…and it would be magical!

 

Products at Viahera’s are handcrafted with love by Indigenous women from the Philippines, Basey and Cordillera. And, when you dig deeper as I did, you’ll discover that these bags were not just created by women, but women who lost everything from the typhoon Haiyan in 2013- the strongest typhoon that devastated central Philippines.  The scarves are hand woven by women whose skills have been passed down from generations.

 

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As I dug even deeper I learned that Jeanny grew up in a family that believed education was the only way to make it to the top. She proved that to be false. She has passion and drive behind her. She was curious and didn’t want to stay in one place for far to long. Jeanny was passionate then, just as she is now. She wanted to be an inspiration, to make a difference and to see the world and everything it had to offer.

 

And so Viahera was unleashed for the world to see. Driven by a woman whose passion is to empower other women. She found her passion, her purpose and helps other women to find theirs. That’s what I call beauty.

 

Viahera will be in the Modern Woman Show on April 14th & 15th and in 'The Runway" Fashion Show Saturday at 6:30pm. Here are a few sneak peaks of what you can expect!

Presence please as a new chapter begins

By Wendy Winiewski

It's been more than two years since the day we found out I was pregnant and 17 months since my daughter was born. I can comfortably say I was at peace with my body for nearly a year after her birth. Although I didn't conceive naturally I carried a pregnancy to term, easily recovered from a cesarean and kept my girl alive exclusively from my body for the first six months of her life through breastfeeding and just recently at more than 16 months of age, we finally had our final feeding.

 

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It's a job I've enjoyed. It was tough the first few months as I fed at her beckon call whether my tired body or aching boobs wanted me to or not. As the months have worn on breastfeeding became one of our favourite times of the day. After a long day of work for me and a long day of toddler-ing for her, it was our moment. The world slowed, our eyes would lock, her free hand felt smooth and light as a feather as it rubbed lovingly along my arm. I've spent the better part of 66 entire days feeding her according to my rough calculations. In our final months it would happen as naturally as most daily tasks. My lap and my legs knew exactly how to fold, my arms found their positioning and her baby body would slide into its spot like a hand in a pair of well worn gloves. Until her final day, we hadn't missed a single day since she was born. I appreciated our feedings as it's something my hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) ridden body shouldn't even have been able to do. 

Uncertain if she will be the first and last baby I ever have, I hesitated to eliminate this bonding time, if it weren't for that lingering question that's been bouncing around in my brain increasingly in the past few months - "will my cycle return when I stop breastfeeding?" 

"Return" is an interesting concept to me. How can something that hasn't happened naturally for me in more than a decade "return"? I began taking oral contraceptives in 2007. My last 'natural' menstrual cycle would have been immediately before that. Somewhere in there my body lost its rhythm and I'm hoping that the surge of hormones produced during pregnancy, will have been enough to kick start my reproductive system. Nothing I've read scientifically proves this happens, but we've all heard the story about so and so's friend who conceived via reproductive technology then, voila, got pregnant with another child out of the blue. 

The pressure to have a second child is heavy. Not nearly as heavy as the pressure I put on myself and others put on me, to have a first child, but it's still heavy nonetheless. Realistically, it's the only reason I've eliminated breastfeeding. 

We're building a new house. It has three bedrooms on the second floor. It doesn't escape me that tradespeople we encounter during the building process refer to the bedrooms as "the kid's rooms". After-all, any true family has at least two children, right? Many of those within my circle of friends who had children around the time Aeralyn was born, are now pregnant with another. It doesn't escape me that I'm not. It doesn't escape me that I may never be. My cycle may not miraculously return. The remaining embryo, Aeralyn's sibling/twin, waiting for us at our clinic may not survive being thawed. I may not have it in me to go through infertility treatment again.

And so here I am, caught in this place where I wanted to hang onto these special moments with a child who is possibly my one and only, yet knowing I needed to move forward to explore whether we can have a second child.

While it's difficult to enjoy the present while feeling restless about the future, I have managed to do just that. I fully and wholeheartedly breathe her in every. single. day. I put my cell phone away, our television is off during her awake hours, I try to complete the majority of my daily tasks while she's napping, and this allows me to just be present with her. I'm present. It's something I struggled to achieve pror to Aeralyn's birth. It's something I still struggle with now in other elements of my life. Somehow though, I have found present-mindedness, with her.

This poem is one I read years ago:

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It's one I bring to mind often when my days seem busy or my girl is standing in the kitchen reaching up to be held with a book in hand and I have a list a mile long that needs to be completed. Before long I find myself sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor with Aeralyn in my lap, food on the counters, and Old Mother Goose - nursery rhymes animatedly rolling from my mouth... because I never know when it will be the last time.

Her last time nursing is a moment I'm comfortable with. I've been weaning her ever so slowly since roughly eight months old. Eliminating feedings one at a time, and the last feeding, the one before bed literally being eliminated over the course of a month and a half getting progressively shorter each day. I breathed in the moment. My heart fluttered. My emotions came to my eyes but didn't spill over because I know the end of one journey means the beginning of the next.

Now a new journey begins, and that's the journey to growing our family. I hope to be present. Wish us luck...

Vendor Profile - BELLA CHIC

If you have attended the Modern Woman Show in previous years, chances are you snagged a  great piece or two ( or five!) from Bella Chic. Quality, on trend and affordable fashion is their specialty, and owner Michelle Strawford knows how to choose the pieces you want for your wardrobe each season. While you'll find some of your favorite bigger brands, local makers and even an in house partnership - you'll also find top notch customer service and a company that continuously gives back to the community and supports fellow entrepreneurs. I chatted with Michelle to find out a little more about all that is Bella Chic!

What was the drive behind starting Bella Chic?

An absolute passion for fashion and helping women feel great about themselves. There is nothing better than the look on a woman's face when they find that perfect outfit!

Who is the Bella Chic woman?

Great question! The Bella Chic woman is full of life... she's a very busy woman with family, friends and work but she loves to celebrate life! She gives back to her community and loves to Pay It Forward! She loves to look great in leading edge fashion but doesn't want to spend the family fortune doing it! Shopping highs never get old and they are always way better with friends!

Along with well known fan faves like Brunette the Label, DEX and Z Supply, what brands do you carry that you LOVE? 

Easy! We LOVE supporting local... from our Bella Private Label created inhouse to local jewlers (Elizabeth.lyn, Jojo Beads, XO Bracelets and Bellezza Moda to name a few)! We are also all about designs with a cause that make a difference. Bella Chic's partnership with The Roster (a Vancouver based design company) has enabled us to create a collection featuring statement tees including such quotes as #bethechange, #bekind and "The best view comes after the hardest climb". 10% of sales of these pieces are donated to the BeaYOUtiful Organization. BeaYOUtiful is a non- profit program that reaches out to young girls between the ages of 8-14 and provides mentorship programs for those struggling with confidence, lacking self-esteem or simply looking to build a more positive outlook.

Bella Chic is not your sole venture, you also spearheaded Regina's What Women Want event! Tell us more about what inspired you to create this event and why!?

I am extremely passionate about entrepreneurism  and giving back to my community. The What Women Want event was created to build and support local businesses all while creating an event like no other in our community. To date What Women Want and Bella Chic we have donated over $95,000 to local women's charities. I believe it is our responsibility to help others in our world. And honestly.... nothing feels better.

What Women Want is celebrating it's 10 Anniversary this year. Wow time flies! It has grown from a 60 booth event to over 240 booths now located in Regina's International Trade Centre with it's expansion into Moose Jaw. It feels great to have grown together with may local businesses. What Women Want prides itself in giving opportunity to local artists and entrepreneurs all will creating Saskatchewan's largest mall for just 3 days! Pretty awesome! This year we also celebrate our 2nd anniversary taking the What Women Want popup event to Moose Jaw - an incredible entreprenuer community! Again creating a new mall with businesses coming together from across Canada, even one coming from Arizona! Every show is a new one featuring fabulous shopping, swag bags, food & spirit sampling, entertainment, Mrs. Canada Globe pageant, art & lifestyle workshops, spa & hair treatments and more we really do feel we have something for everyone!!

Bella Chic fashions will be walking the runway at the Modern Woman Fashion Show, be sure to get your VIP tickets! Shop Bella Chic online 24/7 at www.bellachic.ca + follow along on Instagram and Facebook 

A Modern Wedding: Lovestruck Favourites

 Photo Credit- Lovestruck Portraits

Photo Credit- Lovestruck Portraits

We are very excited to present one of our sponsors this year, Lovestruck Portraits. Even though the company has only been around about two years, it's founder Chelsea Cameron has had her roots in the Saskatoon wedding market for over a decade. You may have heard of this company as Chelsea recently won an international wedding photography award. Her image became part of Wedaward’s collection 28, an award where thousands of photographers submitted their work from around the world. Lovestruck was also named runner up in the 2017 Planet S “Best of Saskatoon” under professional photographer. Chelsea isn’t just an amazing photographer, she is a mom, coffee lover, painter, ballet dancer and enjoys horseback riding in her free time.

 

Chelsea has had the photography bug since she was a little girl. When she was about 6 years old she received her first camera, it was small, orange and came from a McDonalds happy meal. Cut to a few years later and an upgraded camera she second shot weddings for a local photographer at age 16. Since then she’s done some traveling, shooting weddings in Jamaica, Oklahoma, Canmore, and various other Canadian cities. Now with over 200 weddings under her belt as a photographer and occasional event coordinator there isn’t much she hasn’t seen. You can check out her work at: www.lovestruckportraits.com and view some of our favourites throughout this blog!

 
 

With all Chelsea has done in the wedding industry she most certainly has a few favored vendors that she’s had the pleasure to work with. One of those vendors is also a sponsor of The Modern Woman Show- Hub City Rentals. They help create stunning displays and weddings for companies and brides all over Saskatoon. They have been in business for over 70 years, providing rentals, graphic design and so much more. If there is something you need there’s a good chance they will have it. They have a wide selection of furniture, wall drapes, audio and visual setups, and can accommodate for various cultural events. They are incredibly accommodating with all aspects of their business and work to make sure that everything is done right.

 
 Hub City Display and Event Rentals

Hub City Display and Event Rentals

 
 
 

We asked Chelsea for a few other top picks of the wedding industry and here's what she had to say...

Black Fox Distillery. They have some of the most beautiful flowers and make bouquets year round, going so far as to arranging a corn husk bouquet for a winter wedding. One of the coolest things they do is open their doors a few times a year and have various festivals. Their pumpkin festival is a personal favorite filled with various pumpkin related activities and some of the most delicious pumpkin soup.

Cakes by Jen, hands down has to be one of the best bakers in the city. She is affordable and makes genuine works of art with every cake. If you have an idea for a cake you’d like made Jen will work with you to make it more than just an idea.

W Bridal is one of those places that truly cares about their customers, regardless of who they are, by far one of the best things about them is their variety of styles that come in all shapes and sizes.

Whiskey and Wildflowers is another newcomer to the wedding industry, but that doesn’t mean Kyle Burgess doesn’t have an eye for the craft and a talent in filmography. Kyle and Chelsea have worked many weddings together and cannot say a bad thing about the experience.

 
 

Final words of wisdom… Chelsea has a few things to mention to help make your wedding day just a little bit easier:

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s a cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Enjoy the day for what is going right, don’t hate it for what went wrong”

“Be sure to have someone act as a “gofer”, not the animal but have someone whose job it is to go and run for anything you might need, the less running around you have to do the better”

“Keep food in the limo, those snacks will come in handy when you are driving to locations and you need that little something to keep you going”

“Always have a comfortable pair of shoes on you, especially for that first dance. Your feet will thank you”

 

Come visit Chelsea and Lovestruck Portraits at The Modern Woman Show where they will be acting as the official photographers of the show. Stop by her booth to enter her draw and book a session for yourself.

 
 

The Birth of a Big Idea: The FFFS

When I wrote a blog post about a past miscarriage in the early days of my blogging career, I had no idea the response I would receive. CBC radio asked me to come on air and discuss my fertility and miscarriage and even added an article for their online content. CBC National picked up that online article and from there the views on my blog soared, the messages poured in and beautiful experiences presented themselves to me.

 Out of my grief and experiences came a better gift: a purpose to help others. 

Out of my grief and experiences came a better gift: a purpose to help others. 

 

I was overwhelmed to say the least. To add even more excitement and awe to this incredible start to blogging, an old co-worker, Dani Friesen, reached out to me for a coffee meeting to discuss an idea she had. She was heartbroken to see many of her friends suffering with infertility and even more, she was appalled at the cost and financial devastation some couples were taking to try to conceive. She wanted to start a charity that raised funds for families to help pay for their fertility treatments. And she wanted my help.

I was honoured and confused; what did I know about charity work or fundraising? But Dani was confident I was a good fit and we began researching and planning immediately. I contacted Dr. Adrian Gamelin, the co-owner of Aurora IVF in Saskatoon to ask for her assistance. Her exact words: “we’ve been waiting for someone to do this.” She was on board to act as our medical consultant and help us decipher medical information. From there, Gamelin suggested we meet with Wendy Winiewski, a Global news anchor and mother who had her daughter via IVF. The three of us met, saw how well our personalities, skills and stories complimented each other and Family Fertility Fund was underway! Since then we’ve added one more valuable board member, Kristie Anne MacDonald who we know will be an immense help to FFFS and to all those who apply, reach out and/or work with.

 Dani, myself, Wendy. Not pictured: Kristie Anne but you'll all see her soon enough!

Dani, myself, Wendy. Not pictured: Kristie Anne but you'll all see her soon enough!

 

It’s been hard. We obviously knew it would be challenging but hard work of getting a business off the ground aside, reading the applications from our applicants was heart wrenching and emotionally draining. We’ve done one round of funding where we gave $5,000 to one couple in December. Our criterion and selection method are based upon a grading process combined with an extensive application that reviews medical history, prognosis and financial statements. We ask for a fertility history as well as personal statements from both people on the application. We short list three couples who then receive a second medical evaluation form that is more thorough and in depth. That form is filled out by their physician and then sent to Gamelin who helps us decipher their diagnosis and prognosis. Her input is valuable but ultimately, the decision comes down to finances. What have they previously spent on treatment? What are their assets? Do they have any savings? Are they going to Mexico twice a year knowing their infertility diagnosis and quoted treatment costs? Have they made financial sacrifices? What’s their income to debt ratio? What percentage is their car payment out of their monthly income? Do they have student debt? Do they have a maxed line of credit from previous treatments? Do they spend frivolously?

As you can probably imagine, there is a lot that goes into the decision and it weighs heavily on us. On top of sifting through bank statements, budgets and medical jargon, we also catch a personal glimpse of who they are and how they’ve been impacted by their struggle from the story they share. Some even included pictures. When tasked with the fate of someone’s fertility, you can’t turn into a robot and let numbers and cents dictate your decision. There must be an element of humanity and compassion in the process.

The couple we chose for our fall funding met our expectations and medical and financial criterion. Without divulging their names, diagnosis or financial status, we wanted to share with you, many of you who have contributed donations and money to our organization already, an excerpt from their personal statement to show you how deserving and incredible these two people are:

From the wife, her first words were: “I am blessed. I really, truly am blessed with what and who I have in my life.” Despite her many fertility challenges and losses, she still has gratitude and finds the silver lining in a very dark cloud. She acknowledged her struggles and yet focuses on moving forward. She continued, “I still have hard days but I feel as though time really helps to heal. This year has been packed full of some of the most difficult moments I have ever faced. I truly feel that this year has tested my resiliency. I have learned that some things don’t always turn out the way you planned it or the way you think they should. I have also learned that things are bound to go wrong and can’t always be put back together the way they once were. But the biggest thing I have learned is that you can still come out on top if you are surrounded by the people who love you.”

Tough times are the biggest teachers for most people. They teach you strength or resiliency and sometimes, who to walk away from and who to embrace. They can also make you resentful and bitter. Hard times are just that, hard and infertility is such a hard beast; it’s a huge hovering menace that infiltrates every thought, move and decision. It takes over the lives of those it infects. To find a couple who could still embrace the good, acknowledge the bad and find strength to move forward was hard hitting for our selection committee.

Her husband’s story affected us even more. Upon finding out their first IVF cycle failed, he said, “ I was brought back down to reality when [wife] called me at work the next day to tell me that we did not have any embryos to be frozen. After hanging up with her, I had to leave the shop and have a moment to myself. I kept this a secret from [wife] knowing that she was at home having her own moment. I was more worried about how she felt. If there is one thing that came out of this horrible situation is that it brought me closer to my wife.”

Their story combined with their past struggles, life circumstances, financial status and medical history led us to choose them. It was a night to remember when the FFFS directors got together December 21 to deliver the best Christmas gift we could ever imagine giving: funding for their last chance to have a baby.

 Delivering the $5,000 we raised from two online auctions and two events to Aurora IVF on behalf of our recipients

Delivering the $5,000 we raised from two online auctions and two events to Aurora IVF on behalf of our recipients

It was incredibly difficult to give bad news to eight other deserving couples. It broke our hearts to tell them they hadn’t been selected even though they all deserved a chance. Here we were, a group of women trying to help, and yet, breaking hearts along the way. It stung. But the joy, disbelief and tears we heard over our speaker phone conversation was enough to know that we were doing something good for our community and that we needed to continue. My husband Clayton, a farm boy with a tough exterior, filmed the conversation and even he had tears in his eyes witnessing such a magical moment. We all cried that night; tears of joy and happiness and tears for the others who were now back at square one with their treatment options.  I’m actually tearing up remembering it now. With more funding, we could help more people than one recipient each round. With more money, we hope to one day fund all the applicants who apply. With more money, we can help more babies join us earthside. This is why fundraising and charity is so important for us: We give a family hope. We give a family a chance. And hopefully, we will give a family their baby.

self care

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Body maintence

massage. This is something I do once if not twice a month. With my previous 8 years of hairstyling and now 8 years into my photography buisness. The editing can get heavy so this is a must for me. This past fall it got so bad I had to outsource and hire a personal editor as well as dive into physio. I was a bit of a mess one would say.

crossfit- recently my husband and I joined the world of crossfit. Some of you may have just shutterd?, well I'm here to tell you that it's amazing! Not only are we gaining strength and our bodies are very thankful for this new venture. We are able to bring our kids along when the schedule requests this, and they are seeing health and body care right before their eyes. Our middle son Harlow can do better push ups then me now. We have also gained another community, new friendships and such a supportive group. I do not feel intimidated what so ever and everyone is so encouraging. Like high fives after every wod. I just love it all. I also like that my jeans fit better. So everyone wins!

yoga. this is also another fav of mine, and don't get downtown to Moksha near enough but when I do I leave feeling amazing. Refreshed and clear.

mind

balance of your day. Stepping away from your technology and emails and being present with your loved ones. Being fully in the moment.

essential oils. I recently have discovered the land of these lovely this bits. It sure can brighten up one's gloomy morning adding some heavenly hues to the air. My recent fav is by Fête Oil Co. - called "Boss". Becky is a local gal and has just launched these amazing oils with some hella gorgeous packaging. Check her out on the insta.

music- cbc radio2 is most always on in our home. The early morn, catch a bit of news. Then back on for Rich terfry at 3:30. They also have an amazing evening program on fri/sat/sunday nights... where I'll catch some brand new unheard before artists.

and sometimes one just needs to go pee alone, door closed, in silence. I'm talking to my mommas out there.

 

 

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soul

spending time with your partner sans kids. This is a must in our home. We try to get away at least once a year on a 4-7 day trip. We also do supper dates with a sitter once sometimes twice a month.

spending time with friends. Being that we have very little family in town a lot of our friends are our family. you know who you are and you're loved.

bookstores. put me in a bookstore and I'm happy. The funny part about this is that I don't really read much. (I want to but don't make time for it) - but I just find the McNally Robinson so relaxing.

alone time. enough said

getting out in nature. On our recent trip tofino we hiked every single day. it was magical. we have some serious cabin fever over here and are impatiently awaiting springs arrival where you will find all three of our kids outside from morning until dark. We wish we could dome in our backyard over the winter. how nice would that be.

travel

if you're fortunate enough to escape our long Saskatchewan winters - lucky you. Sometimes just stepping away from the daily grind to refresh and give perspective is so amazing for the soul.

WE recently were fortunate enough to get away to Tofino. (thanks to my parents for taking the kiddos). We did a whole lot of nothing. No schedules to follow, no alarm clocks, lots of crib and wine and good eats. Simply just reconnecting with eachother. When you have three kiddos things can get a bit hairy so it's important to take that time to remember where it all began.

So if you take a month away in some tropical paradise or your idea of getting away is a weekend to edmonton. Any kind of "change of scenery" is sure nice. A little down time any way you slice it is sure nice for the soul

so if you're next to some palms, bring me home some sun and sand please.

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Meet The Sponsors: Barndog Productions

The Modern Woman Show & Expo is fast approaching and it just wouldn't be possible without the major sponsors that make it happen behind the scenes. Today I'm talking about Barndog Productions, SK's largest one-stop shop for audio, video, lighting, stages, and technicans; they are the force behind The Runway fashion show that makes the production so fabulous. (Well, aside from me of course. #hairtoss)

From the lighting to the set design, their attention to detail elevates this fashion show from any run of the mill runway stomp, to something that is a yearly event to attend. 

 Modern Woman Show & Expo 2017

Modern Woman Show & Expo 2017

Perhaps I should stop here and disclose: This is my family's company. So while I can sit here and write all kinds of accolades, people may wonder if I'm bias. The answer is probably. My parents, Al and Cheryl Vickaryous, and their hard work have afforded my sister and I many securities in life that most people would take for granted. The thing with growing up in a family of small business owners you learn firsthand what a serious work ethic looks like. While I don't quite breathe, sleep, and eat at my desk like my dad, anyone who knows me knows I've been nose to the grindstone since I could first work. Entrepreneurship doesn't come easy, but its well worth the freedom. And by freedom, I mean we get to choose which 18 hours a day we work, but we don't answer to anyone. Except the government that is. #sigh

So why do we do it? Big shocker, I don't like anyone telling me what to do. In case you didn't know, my way is always the best way. Ha.

Cheryl says she does it for the fame. Al says he does it for the chicks. 

But, I digress.

The business was founded in 1987 when owner and then professional musician, Al, decided to come off the road to be with his family. A tour bus isn't really a the best place to raise a kid, although it probably laid the groundwork for how cool I am. He started with one small audio system in our home, renting it out to local bands,  growing business organically from there, eventually having his wife, Cheryl, leave her full time job to join him as the business became larger. The most common question...  Where did the name come from? It was after our very first family dog, Barney, who sported the nickname "Barndog". That dog also ate the entire interior of our car. #funfact

Since then, they have grown to the only company of its kind in Saskatchewan that can offer all requirements of event production in one place without subcontracting or outsourcing to other businesses. With a community minded mission statement and an actual brick and mortar storefront and warehouse, Barndog is accessible to all customers to come in and discuss their needs with experienced techs, physically see what they are getting, and ensure that all aspects of their rental or event are managed and operated as required. 

They handle everything from  small rentals like speakers for house parties, weddings, business events, to large music festivals across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and everything in between; they are truly a one-stop shop for event production. They also provide installations for businesses, churches, arenas, and schools so that clients are able to have their buildings equipped with their own in-house systems. Or, if you are me, a house that can be heard from downtown if necessary. My neighbours may or may not hate my guts.

Their portfolio includes large scale events such as The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, both the Juno Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards Fanfare, Dauphin's CountryFest, The Saskatoon Exhibition, Cameco Cares, and Rock The River to smaller community events like Word On The Street,  the Police Day BBQ, and many, many more. 

In addition to Modern Woman, they are sponsors of the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation's Festival of Trees, the Children's Discovery Museum, the Saskatoon Royal University Hospital Foundation's Gala, SaskCountry Christmas, the Small But Mighty childhood cancer fundraiser, and of course, they lend their time to many local dog rescues. (I come by my dog lover status honestly.)
 

Barndog came to be involved with The Modern Woman Show & Expo working in conjunction with me in my position as the co-ordinator of the yearly fashion show, and are proud to support an event that showcases so many driven, hardworking entrepreneurs all in one place. 

VIP tickets to the fashion show on April 14, 2018 are available online at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com. Come check out the amazing stage, sound, and lights that make this show a must-see courtesy of Barndog Production's sponsorship. 

You can visit them at online at www.barndog.ca or in person at 149 Jessop Avenue in Saskatoon, SK. 

Until my next post friends, keep on keepin' on!
Katie
xoxo

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post with purpose

post with purpose

Being a small business owner means wearing all of the hats. You are the accountant, the human resources, the boss, and the marketing director. It can be difficult to figure out where to put your advertising dollars or your marketing concentration in this ever changing tech world. Jocelyn and Chantal are taking a look at a few platforms that can be cost effective for your business and will help you bring your company into the online future. 

Its Ok To Not Be Ok #bellletstalk

Our readers who have been following for awhile may remember my post last year paying respect to Bell's "Let's Talk" media campaign raising awareness for mental illness. I have the utmost respect for this campaign. I feel like while there are lots of gimmicky things out there, this truly does open eyes in the right way.

Last year I came out to the vast and judgmental internet world on this very blog and disclosed that I have Bipolar 1 disorder. Like, the real deal. I know a thing or two about mental illness. I know what its like to be treated, educated, and extremely functional; and I know what its like to be untreated, uninformed, and have no idea what kind of animal I was dealing with.

Flash back to my late teens and early 20s... I would suffer either crippling bouts of panic, anxiety, paranoia and depression, or I would go on a manic trip when I was a really good time, and loved to recklessly party, spend a lot of money and make generally poor life choices without ever considering the consequences. #hotmess

In fairness, I'm still a good time and I still like to spend a lot of money. Wine and shopping anyone? To that extent, no matter how in control I am, I still have to evaluate how I'm doing on the regular and do some self-reflection. I've recently been under an extreme amount of stress and realized as a result, I was a starting to lean the wrong way on the batshit spectrum. I had to have a laugh at myself, remind myself I'm smarter than that, and to and to get myself in check. I often get myself in check and clear my head through exercise and I think I've put over 40km on my treadmill this week alone. I wouldn't have done that before. I would have just boarded the crazy train and found out where it was headed later. Happy travels! Not.

Since I've become quite open about having BP with the #1 reason being helping others, the most common thing I hear is "Really?? You would never know!" No, you wouldn't. I know my body and I know when I'm headed for a low or a high, if a panic attack is coming, and more importantly, how to deal with it. I know to trust the feeling of anxiety and use it as a compass  as to what is going on and what could be coming. For instance, if I wake up in the night with a song running through my head, that's a clear indication that a panic attack is coming. I've learned this many times the hard way. I know that trying to breathe it out, or trying to go back to sleep won't work. I get my ass up and take a little orange pill designed to cut that sh*t off at the pass. Back to sleep, crisis averted. Modern medicine is fabulous, don't ever discount that.

It's 100% true. Unless I told you, which I just did, you would never know. I'm living proof that you can live life as a normal, totally functional, successful person. I make poor decisions and do dumb stuff just like anyone else, but they are almost always a result of too much wine and have nothing to do with my illness. Let's be real, I keep Kim Crawford in business... and girls? We be cray. Its in our DNA. #whoruntheworld?

The thing is, in my job I talk to people all day. I mean it. All day. I'm even known to answer my emails while on the treadmill, which is both difficult and nauseating. Whether it be via phone, text, email, instagram, facebook, snapchat... its always ongoing. The physical act of holding my client's hands or trusting their bodies to me head to toe during appointments, capturing the moments between them and their loved ones, or putting faith in me to make them feel their most beautiful on their most important of days... I get to know people more than anyone realizes. It makes me understanding, wise, sympathetic, intuitive, empathetic, and I've become all but a master of figuring out what makes people tick. I firmly believe trying to understand others makes you a better person, so ask questions and really listen to the answers.

That said, getting to know people in that capacity has taught me something very valuable. Mental illness, as we've come to know it in the media, isn't always a diagnosed condition. A specific ailment. Trust me, I'm the last person to downplay a diagnosed disease (yo, I have one), but people without these lifetime genetic, chemical ailments suffer too.

Perhaps you've suffered a crisis in your life and you've been shaken to the point of unbearable stress, or something epic has taken away your ability to trust others. When these things rock your world, then your actual mental health also suffers.

If you've endured day after day of stress at home with your kids, job, or partner that leaves you really tightly wound, your mental health will suffer.

If you find yourself lost because you can only identify with one role in your life, be it your career, as a mother, or a spouse, you may start to feel unfulfilled and it will eat away at you without even realizing it.

Don't even get me started on money, post-partum, sexual assault, domestic abuse, childhood trauma, critical illness, or PTSD. The list is f*cking endless.

Regardless of the reason, if you are struggling with anxiety or depression, don't discount it just because mental illness has become all but a catch phrase in the news. Talk to someone who has been through it and has come out on the other side. They will understand, trust me on that one. That's where you will get the seriously honest and effective advice. An expert on coping with mental illness is undoubtedly someone who has one and manages it; empathy is a powerful thing.

One thing I know for sure is that when your mental health suffers, your physical health will follow suit and vice-versa. Just like everything in the world, it's all connected. If you are going to get down to brass tacks, you have to take care of yourself. There are 4 non-negotiable pillars that connect mental and physical health. I can attest to this because I've put them to the test time and again. (Except hygiene that is, hot showers are the best and I love dental floss.) The keys to the kingdom are this:

1.            Sleep

2.            Nutrition

3.            Exercise

4.            Hygiene

It's easier said than done to keep all four of those in check all the time. You may think you do but are you getting 45-60 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate every day? Do you have a balanced diet within your calorie range? Do you catch enough zzz's? Do you drink enough beer? Oops, did I say that last part? See? Harder than it sounds.

All that said, I've learned over the years that the effort it takes is well worth the outcome, so keep those things in your back pocket and remember them.

Its ok to not be ok. What isn't ok is accepting that you have to live like that.  You don't. Its ok to have a layover in Crazytown (its a popular place, kind of like Vegas...) but don't unpack your bags and live there. You are ultimately the only one who can take control of how you choose to live. Life can change in a heartbeat and you have no idea what kind of plot twists are on the horizon. Don't be afraid to take risks, do some dumb things, laugh at yourself if you're acting batshit, and roll with the punches. And never, ever be afraid to ask for help. 

No matter the circumstance, you are worthy of happiness. The world is at your fingertips, so grab that sh*t and make some magic happen. You deserve it.

Until next time, remember that you are never alone and the only way out is through. 

Katie xoxo

#bellletstalk

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