In Conversation with Melissa Offner

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Melissa is a content creator, stylist and world explorer. Born and raised in the small town of St-Lambert, Quebec, she now calls Toronto home. After seven years as a TV host, she felt stuck in a place that she no longer wanted to be in. Last summer, she made the decision to leave the television world behind and embrace the freelance life. She now runs her lifestyle website where she shares her passion for running, wellness, travel, food and fashion. Read on to learn about her journey to self love, how she stays motivated, and how she practices self-care while on the road…

You share a lot about self love and acceptance. How did your journey begin?

My journey with self love has been a long and complicated one. I was teased and bullied a lot growing up for having red hair, freckles and being skinny. I also had an eating disorder as a teenager for several years that almost landed me in the hospital.

Even in previous relationships, I had a hard time believing I had any value and didn’t really love myself deep down. It was only after doing a lot of work with a therapist and also getting myself out of those toxic relationships that I was able to really start accepting myself.

My husband has also been key in my journey, accepting and loving me for who I am. I would say the last three or four years, it’s really when I started feeling at peace with who I am and proud of my journey.

Have you always been an active person?

I have always been an active person. Growing up, I did it all. I swam competitively, skiied, played tennis, figured skated, did karate, etc.

When did you first start running?

I only started running about three years ago and only more seriously the past two years.

You shared on Instagram that you’re training for a half marathon. When is the half marathon and what keeps you motivated?

This will be the first ever half marathon I’ve ever done. I was signed up for one last year but ended up getting injured so had to opt out, which was the worst feeling in the world. So I feel like there’s some unfinished business to take care of this year. The first half I’ll be doing is on May 7th, I’ll be running the BMO Vancouver half marathon, followed by the Rock N’ Roll half marathon in San Diego in June, on the day of my birthday.

I think what keeps me motivated is proving to myself that a) I can actually run a half marathon, as I’ve only run shorter distances in the past b) to be the healthiest and strongest version of myself c) challenging and surpassing myself.

What’s your favourite fitness line?

That’s a hard question because every brand has something really cool and unique. I’m a big fan of Nike‘s training and running gear, I also love Adidas‘ more lifestyle inspired garments. I recently discovered a Canadian brand called Hyba, that has cool gear at a great price. I also love Michi, a brand from Toronto. They make the most comfortable leggings and sexiest bras!

Melissa Offner_travel

You’re a bit of a world explorer. What’s your most memorable travel experience so far?

Hardest question to answer. I think last summer’s trip to Kauai stood up a lot for me just because of how beautiful the island is. It was a great surf trip but also great trip to explore the countryside and get to know the local culture. I was really moved by my time there. Also, living out of a van in California this past fall was a major highlight thus far.

You traveled around in a camper van! What was that like?

It was hands down the best experience of my life. It taught me a lot about being self-sufficient and living in minimalism. It also gave me a great sense of freedom. There’s nothing quite like waking up in a new place every day and being able to take your “home” with you wherever you go.

How do you practice self-care while traveling?

Self-care is huge for me, no matter if I’m traveling or at home. I make it a point to eat properly when I travel, even if that means going to do groceries or spending a little more money on getting good vegan food or cold-pressed juices. I also make it a point to sign up for local fitness classes or going out for runs. It’s a top priority for me even when I travel.

What’s the one item you never leave home without?

My phone because it allows me to work no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I also have some great meditation apps, music, organization apps, etc. that allow me to use the phone for so many different purposes and keep me on track.

What are your favourite travel and fitness apps?

I love the NTC app, it’s a great way to get a short workout in no matter where you are – hotel room, park, gym, etc. The NRC is also my go-to running app, which allows me to keep on track of my race training. As for travel apps, I’m a big fan of rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber when I travel, also Ubereats, when I’m busy on the road and don’t have time to go out and get myself food.

Favourite food?

A good vegan meal with a cold-pressed juice and homemade vegan treat. In Toronto, my favorite spots to go eat are FreshLive and Hogtown Vegan. I have yet to go to Planta, but heard it’s great! I miss it when I’m away!

What has traveling taught you about yourself?

Traveling has taught me so much. I learn something new on every single trip, big or small about myself and so much about the world around me and us as humans. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people that have taught me so much.

Traveling has taught me how to be self-sufficient, to be flexible because anything can happen when you travel. It has also taught me to be a better listener and have more understanding.

What’s on your travel bucket list this year?

Oh man… Ideally, I would love to go to Asia and Australia/New Zealand this year. I hope my schedule and finances will permit such a trip. But it’s quite high on my list!

Thanks so much for sharing, Melissa!

You can follow Melissa’s adventures on all her social media accounts @melsays, her YouTube channel, and her website Melsays.

(Photos courtesy of Melissa Offner.)

Reading Challenge 2015

I love to read. And this year, I set the bar high — I want to read 50 books by the end of 2015. After jumping on board with the 2015 Reading Challenge hosted by Anne over at Modern Mrs. Darcy, I realize that this goal is well within my reach. The challenge is pretty simple — read 12 books in 12 categories in 2015.

Goodreads, NPR, Oprah and Kirkus are my go-to resources for book recommendations, but the reading challenge is a fun, simple way to share books we’ve read and the ones we can’t wait to get our hands on. It’s also a surefire way to discover incredible books and authors, inspire each other and stay motivated this year.

2015 reading challengeHere’s a peek at the books I’ve added to my list so far…

long walk to freedomA book I’ve been meaning to read
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

This book has been sitting patiently on my to-be-read pile since my university days, so it fits perfectly into this category. In his memoir, Mandela shares the extraordinary story of his life — from his childhood to his 27 years spent in prison to his inauguration as the first democratically elected black president of South Africa.

Where They Found HerA book published this year
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

I read (and loved) Reconstructing Amelia back in December and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I heard about McCreight’s new novel coming out in April. This time around, she transports us to the affluent town of Ridgedale, New Jersey where a dead newborn baby is found in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. A gripping story of intersecting lives, the power of buried secrets and the past coming to light.

the little match girlA book from my childhood
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

This was a tough one to narrow down. But the one book I remember reading over and over again is The Little Match Girl. This one brings back fond memories. A classic for sure.

StellaA book originally written in a different language
Stella: A Novel by Siegfried Lenz

Set in a small town on the Baltic coast, Stella is the tender love story between Stella Petersen and her English professor, Christian. Translated from the German, the novel opens at Stella’s memorial service where Christian relives the memories they both shared.

The Independent describes it as “a superbly crafted novella of first love, with a tenderly evocative sense of place, mood and era.”

wildA book that “everyone” has read but me
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

While there are a million titles that qualify for this category, I decided to go with Strayed’s memoir detailing her eleven-hundred-mile solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.

Oprah picked it as the first read for her Book Club 2.0 and said: “I was on the edge of my seat. . . It is just a wild ride of a read . . . stimulating, thought-provoking, soul-enhancing.” I really hope so.

the unlikely settlerA book I chose because of the cover
The Unlikely Settler by Lipika Pelham

When it comes to books (like people), it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But an eye-catching cover (pun intended) like this one really draws the eye in. This cover design speaks volumes without being too loud.

hiddenA book by a favourite author
Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

I discovered Catherine McKenzie’s Spin in the summer of 2011 and breezed through it in 24 hours. I’ve read incredible reviews about her most recent work, Hidden. The novel “explores the intersecting lives of a man, his wife, and a woman who may or may not be his mistress.” A story about relationships, personal choices and the unpredictability of life.

redeploymentA book in a genre I don’t typically read
Redeployment by Phil Klay

I have never been a huge reader of war writing or short stories, but that changes this year. One surefire way to step out of my comfort zone is to step into the war zone. Winner of the 2014 National Book Award, this collection of twelve short stories by ex-Marine Phil Klay drops the wars squarely in our laps. He takes us to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and explores the challenges faced by the soldiers who return home.

being mortalA book recommended by someone with great taste
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This one has been on my radar since its release last fall. While I enjoy reading books on healthcare in general, I tend to shy away from books dealing with palliative care in particular. But after reading Joanna’s take on this book, I had a change of heart.

I know why the caged bird singsA book I should have read in high school
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Last year, the world lost one of the most influential poets of our time. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings wasn’t required reading for me in high school so I figured I’d give it a read this year.

Deep Down DarkA book that’s currently on the bestseller list
Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar

Deep Down Down has spent two weeks on The New York Times Bestsellers list. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar gives us a gripping account of the experience of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010 and, miraculously, rescued.

For details on the reading challenge, hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Happy reading!

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

snowy dayHappy weekend, everyone. Yesterday, I finally watched Gone Girl and I can honestly say it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. Have you seen it?! It seriously messed with my head and Rosamund Pike’s performance was absolutely brilliant. Ben Affleck was also pretty amazing. Now, I am dying to read the book. Maybe I’ll pick it up this weekend.

How’s your weekend looking? Whatever you’ve got planned, I hope you have fun and stay safe! If you’re in the mood to catch up on some reading, here’s a roundup of my favourite reads from around the web this week…

+ Season’s eatings: Diverse holiday feasts from five New York families.

On active waiting: Waiting isn’t a passive activity. This year, God has taught me how to pray without ceasing, be aware of my attitude while I am waiting, and rely solely on Him while I wait. This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, When you need to remember that waiting isn’t a waste of your time or your life.

+ This touching photo series and post, My wife’s fight with breast cancer reminds us to love hard because life is unpredictable.

+ “Black lives matter. It’s a phrase that should never have to be said. It should be self-evident, but our history sadly requires us to say it.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in his speech following the grand jury’s refusal to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

+ On higher education: This Elle article, Hypereducated and on welfare.

+ Plan on catching up on some reading over the holidays or looking for the perfect gift for the bookworms in your life? NPR staff and critics have got you covered with their interactive guide, the 2014 Book Concierge.

+ Supal does holiday glam right in London.

+ Look out, world. Online Sales for Girl Scout Cookies are approved.

+ Hot chocolate, 3 ways: thick peanut butter hot chocolate, slow cooker salted caramel hot chocolate, and red wine hot chocolate.

+ Skate at Somerset House

Gifting from a guy’s point of view: Neal from The Neat Fit put together the perfect gift guide for the men in your life.

From The Everygirl to you: This holiday gift guide covers everyone on your list – from the girly girl to the worker bee to the cooking enthusiast to the creative.

+ This brilliant illustrated personalized book would make the perfect gift for the little ones on your list. Bonus: free worldwide shipping!

(Photo from This is Glamorous)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

Protesters hold signs aloft outside Macy's before the kick off of Black Friday sales in New York

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope all the American readers had a lovely Thanksgiving.:) Did you brave the Black Friday sales? Any good buys?

Foxcatcher finally opened here in Toronto and I watched it last night. One word: intense. Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo all gave the best performances of their careers in this one. Carell was downright scary. It took me a good two hours to fall asleep after watching it. I just couldn’t turn my mind off. Got any fun weekend plans? If you’re lounging around in your pajamas and indulging in leftover pie, cozy up with these links I loved this week…

+ “The smallest details are there — the way Dave touched his beard, held his coffee cup, these personal touches.” Family guides ‘Foxcatcher’ portrait of wrestlers’ tragedy.

+ 5 clever ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers: Buttermilk sweet potato pancakes with coconut whipped cream, leftover stuffing waffles, turkey brie grilled cheese sandwich with cranberry mustard, turkey tortilla soup, and leftover pumpkin pie milkshake.

+ I picked up Max Lucado’s You’ll Get Through This and I cannot put it down. If you’re going through a difficult time or even if you’re not, I highly recommend it.

+ Grief and the Holidays: “How is it that the world is still spinning—that people are still going to work and posting witty Facebook statuses and hanging Christmas garlands—when one of the most important people in your life is gone?” This post from The Everygirl, Getting through the holidays when you’ve lost someone really hits home.

+ Health: NPR probes the question, Millennial doctors may be more tech-savvy, but is that better?

+ On Monday night, the Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown sparking even more protests. But Lieutenant Jerry Lohr, one of the commanders in charge of security at the Ferguson police station has managed to develop a connection with protestors.

+ Gripping images of protests following the grand jury decision in Ferguson.

Must read: “I already know there will be no indictment. I’ve been a black man in America for a long time.” Carvell Wallace, father of two living in Oakland on the Grand Jury decision in the Ferguson case. How do you parent after a night like that?

The importance of forgiveness: This post from Free People, 3 lessons in forgiveness shows us what can happen when we care more about our relationships than about being right.

+ “The first hurdle we have to get over when dealing with food is knowledge and the second is finding balance.” In defense of carbohydrates.

+ Beyonce’s makeup artist on when we should toss out our makeup.

+ Avoid the holiday crowds and try your hand at these simple, beautiful homemade gifts: these gorgeous monogram mug candles or these beautiful jewelry dishes.

Kate Spade Saturday: Jamie Chung inspires us to party it up in metallic this holiday season. Shop all her holiday picks.

(Photo of the crowds outside Macy’s by Andrew Kelly for REUTERS)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

lupita

Happy weekend, friends. I hope you had a productive week and you’re ready to relax this weekend. Now that halloween is behind us, it’s time to start planning for the upcoming Christmas season and all the joys that come with it. Eggnog latte, anyone?

This weekend I’m catching up with friends over warm apple cider, binge watching season 1 of City.Ballet (thanks for the heads up Joanna!), and squeezing in a ballet class.

Whatever you’ve got planned this weekend, stay safe. And here’s a roundup of links I came across this week that inspired me, made me smile, made me cry and forced me to dig deep…

+ New kind of nonprofit: “I learned very quickly that we could use the screens for more than entertainment. We could also communicate life-saving education.” Hollywood producer Caroline Baron on FilmAid, an organization she started that screens films in refugee camps and includes refugees in the creation and distribution of aid.

+ True beauty: Behind-the-scenes of Lupita Nyong’o’s latest Lancome ad.

+ A beautifully-written post by Emily’s hubby, Geoffrey on the lessons he hopes to teach their daughter.

+ Watch: Have you seen The Restart Project? In each episode, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson share inspiring stories of women who have transformed their lives through diet and fitness.

+ James Earl Jones will be awarded the Voice Icon Award at the first annual Voice Arts Awards on Sunday. The event will honour the voices of the year in television, film, commercials and audiobooks.

+ Heartbreaking video: In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, local organizations discovered mentally ill people trapped in cages by their families and left to die.

+ Today, the World Health Organization announced that the Ebola death toll had risen to 4,950 in the worst-hit West African nations. The organization also released a 17-page guide on conducting safe burials of Ebola victims in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

+ Business: In an attempt to cut the studio’s annual overhead costs by $200 million, Warner Bros. began layoffs this week that will cost 1,000 staff members their jobs.

+ An inspiring post on one couple’s mission to bring clean, safe water to Rwanda – Turning Coffee into Water.

+ Deep thoughts: This piece on Verily, Death with Dignity? Assisted Suicide is not the Answer was so well-written and incredibly moving. No matter your viewpoint on the issue, it’s worth the read.

+ The new music video for New York-based synth-pop duo, Color War follows three teenage ballerinas from the American Ballet Theater as they dance through the streets of Manhattan.

Bring back the ’90s: The perfect song to kick off the weekend.

(Photo of Lupita for Lancome via Harper’s Bazaar)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

heather

Happy Saturday, friends. What’s everyone up to this weekend? Last night, I attended both Madame Moje and Mikael D Spring 2015 runway shows. Both designers sent the most ethereal gowns down the runway. As I watched the models float by from the front row, I couldn’t help but think, “this is what fashion is all about. It’s about emotions and feelings and being transported elsewhere, even if it’s just for a little while.” My first fashion week experience was surreal to say the least. But that’s for another post.

Here’s a roundup of links for you to click through while you’re leisurely sipping your coffee…

+ Must watch: The talented Pat McGrath pulls off glittered winged eyeshadow on Natalia Vodianova with her eyes closed. Mind blown.

+ Bookmarking these 30 beauty secrets from top makeup artists.

+ RIP Oscar de la Renta: This week, the fashion world is mourning the loss and celebrating the life of an icon. I was deeply moved by all the heartfelt tributes from those who’s lives he touched; especially this one from Sarah Jessica Parker.

+ This New Yorker article on the legitimacy of emotional-support animals. Seems a bit outrageous, but made me laugh.

+ Irina Lakicevic of A Portable Package was snapped at least a million times with this Celine bag at fashion week. Spotted here, here, here, here, and here. Also, love it in this colour.

+ This super fun photo shoot starring Chriselle’s fall hat picks.

+ Lovely sips: Starbucks’ introduces a new holiday drink – the first in five years. Yum.

+ A New York City doctor tested positive for Ebola on Thursday.

+ “But let there be no misunderstanding: we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his address to the nation on Wednesday night. A gunman fatally shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before storming the Parliament building.

+ CNN vs CBC: Breaking news coverage of the Ottawa shooting in one very revealing screenshot. Sensationalized coverage versus informative reporting.

A good laugh: Marlien’s post on wearing a $78 dress to a Vogue event.

+ National Ballet of Canada’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland premiered in New York last month. Vogue caught all the backstage action on opening night.

+ Plum perfect: Picked up this gorgeous lipstick this evening and I’m really happy with it. Hello moisture.

+ On the wish list: Coco Rocha’s new book Study of Pose comes out on Tuesday. This week, the supermodel was in town for her book signing and Toronto Fashion Week.

(Photo of Heather Ogden by Aleksandar Antonijevic for The National Ballet of Canada)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

gisele

Happy Friday! This week, it’s all about boosting your self-esteem and loving yourself. It has zero to do with selfishness or arrogance; it’s about cutting yourself some slack on days when you feel not so pretty or less accomplished or whatever insecurities may creep in.

Got any cool weekend plans? I missed the premiere of this film during TIFF and it’s finally out in theatres. Looking forward to watching it this weekend. Have you seen it?

I am counting down the days until my very first Toronto Fashion Week experience.

If you’re chilling indoors this weekend, here are a few links for your clicking pleasure.

+ “Love your soul, the enthusiastic happiness and the splendid release of sorrow.” Loving ourselves first makes loving others come naturally. What a beautiful thought!

+ Must watch: This TED Talk on Why thinking you’re ugly is bad for you landed in my inbox this week. In it, the Global Director of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, Meaghan Ramsey says: “Women who think they’re overweight have higher rates of absenteeism. 17 per cent of women would not show up to a job interview on a day where they weren’t feeling confident about the way that they look.”

+ Joanna spills the beans (finally) on her beauty rituals and of course, she keeps it real. On her beauty philosophy: “When you look in the mirror, pretend you’re a friend instead of yourself, because suddenly a switch is flipped.”

+ “If we run and they kill us, so be it. But we have to run now.” The Nigerian schoolgirls who managed to escape tell their story.

+ “The fate of more than 200 missing schoolgirls abducted by the insurgents six months ago still is being negotiated.” The Nigerian government says Boko Haram have agreed to an immediate cease-fire raising hopes for the release of the remaining 219 schoolgirls.

+ Jumping for Joy: One of my favourites got a brand new look and released her brand new cookbook. Check her out.

+ Laugh it up: The Thought Process of Waking Up and Going to Work.

+ The New Yorker on Amber Vinson’s Airplane Ride. The 29-year-old nurse who worked at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and helped care for Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola Wednesday. Before boarding her flight from Cleveland to Dallas, Vinson informed the CDC that she was running a fever of 99.5 degrees, but received the go-ahead to fly.

+ Nearly 100 health care workers who treated the country’s first Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan are being asked to sign agreements to avoid public spaces. If they refuse, leaders will issue court orders restricting movement.

+ Caribbean countries ban travellers from Ebola-stricken West African nations.

+ “With Ebola spreading even within the hospital setting, we should not delay in taking additional measures to prevent individuals carrying the virus from travelling to the U.S.” Republican lawmakers call for a ban on flights to and from West Africa. But Obama isn’t answering that call. Today, he appointed Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, to coordinate the federal response to the virus in the U.S.

+ Lady and Pups introduces The Flops 2014 dedicated to her failed culinary pursuits.

+ This cute fall coat for under $40.

+ Gisele stuns in the new campaign video for Chanel No. 5, “The One That I Want”. Director Baz Luhrmann on the concept: “I knew her when she was quite young and starting out, and she’s evolved so much in both her life and work. The film reflects that – this woman has a child, a real job and then she has this relationship. Gisele is the Chanel woman now.”

+ Toronto Fashion Week kicks off on Monday. Five Canadian designers to watch and these six designers share their goals.

(Photo of Gisele Bundchen from British Vogue)

 

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

burberry atmosphereWhat’s everyone up to this weekend? I’ve got an assignment to work on for Fundraising Management and I’m diving into this hilarious book. This week, I found the time to keep up with all the Paris Fashion Week goodness and what’s happening in this world of ours. And let’s just say, there’s a whole lot going on. If you’re in the mood for some weekend reading, here are some links that made me laugh, made me sad, made me ponder this week…

+ Come on, get happy: Clicking through Style.com’s atmosphere shots from the Spring 2015 shows is an instant mood booster.

+ “My ambition, tenacity, loyalty, “moods”, grandiosity, occasional passive aggression, and my faith… that’s all her…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to his late mother, who passed away last week.

+ “Activists documenting the horrors say ISIS is holding more than 3,000 women and children hostage.” Kidnapped by ISIS, One Women Tells How She Saved Her Sisters

+ On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan fell ill after traveling from Liberia to Dallas last month. Witnesses say Duncan had direct contact with a woman stricken by Ebola just days before his trip to the States. Liberian officials announced plans to prosecute him for allegedly lying on his airport departure screening form.

+ Gender: “We want to bring men and boys to the table on gender equality in a positive way.” Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs announces the first ever men-only UN conference on women and gender equality.

+ Joanna interviewed Lena Dunham and of course, it was brilliant. This post also makes me want to crack open the book ASAP.

+ Moving with the times: Mobile fashion boutiques hit the streets.

+ Film industry: “I learned that producing and directing is more about personality management than being creative.” On Why Filmmakers Should Major In Psychology

+ Just for laughs: Standing Up to Inspirational Quotes

The culture of selfie-sh: Kirsten Dunst teams up with Michael Frost to expose just how crazy/beautiful our selfie-obsessed culture really is. Made me sad.

+ Speaking of selfies… Sweetie, no one likes selfies made me laugh.

+ Grab your popcorn: It looks like Sex and the City 3 just might happen.

+ Cozy up: In love with new arrivals from Nasty Gal like this chunky knit turtleneck, this camel coat with belted waist, the perfect cape with toggle closures, and this super cozy knit dress.

+ Beauty personified: In this magical video, Nicole shares what inspired her on her journey to the 2014 Caulfield Cup Carnival. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

(Atmosphere shot at Burberry Prorsum Spring 2015 from Style.com)

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

rehearse study rehearse

Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you had a lovely week. Summer is whizzing by, so I’m really trying to soak up what’s left of it.

Yesterday, I spent a significant part of the day at the Canadian National Exhibition with a few good friends. We made our way from one end of the fair grounds to the next. It was nice to just savour it all. We caught The Flying Wallendas’ tightrope act, then did a bit of shopping. I found a sweater for $5! (It’s sweater weather this weekend here in Toronto).

Of course, we indulged in traditional and not-so-traditional fair food – roasted corn, deep fried tater tots with mac and cheese, funnel cakes, crepes, waffle ice cream sandwiches with Nutella and Jalapeno cheddar corn dogs.

Any exciting plans for the weekend? Hope the weather is beautiful in your area.

+ Planning a trip to The Ex in the next few weeks? This handy fair-food flow chart will help you traverse the maze of deep-fried goodness.

+ Loved this short post from Kenzie on her go-to mantras for trying times. When faced with stressful moments, I often repeat: “Let go and let God”. It calms me down without fail.

+ Made me think: Every day a new book is released or a new article is published on how to attain happiness. I really enjoyed reading Cynthia’s thoughts on “How to be happy”.

+ Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has apologized for calling Robin Williams “a coward”. Thoughts?

+ This beautiful post from Garance transported me to Mykonos.

+ Have you checked out Maja’s new series, My Morning? If not, you should do so right this minute. I really enjoyed this interview with Joy Felicity Jane blogger, Tania Gault.

+ I loved reading Leandra’s take on friendship in the fashion industry.

+ Love your shoes and they will love you back. Helena from over at Brooklyn Blonde talks proper shoe care in this informative post.

+ Sweater weather is fast approaching. I’ve got my eye on cozy knits like this one.

+ Health and wellness: Zosia Mamet, who plays Shoshanna on HBO’s Girls, speaks candidly about her eating disorder struggles in the September issue of Glamour.

+ Feed your mind: I picked up Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative today and I can’t stop reading. Simple, inspiring and practical advice for anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a creative rut. I would highly recommend it.

+ Creative pick-me-up: I also discovered his brilliant podcasts this week. I found this one on stoking and enhancing your curiosity particularly encouraging.

+ The most creative pregnancy announcement ever. Congratulations, Emily!

+ Dance photography: TDFoto’s site redesign has me leaping for joy.

+ Save the date: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is coming. Are you ready?! Only 3 weeks left until the Spring/Summer 2015 collections walk the New York runways! Bookmark the full schedule and catch the live stream starting September 4.

(Photo from The National Ballet of Canada’s Official Tumblr)

 

Happy Weekend + Links I Love

pink bicycle

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you had a productive week and you’re ready for the weekend. In an attempt to get my creative juices flowing, I’m kicking the weekend off right with a high-energy ballet bootcamp class at the studio. Wish me luck!

What’s on the agenda this weekend? Wherever you are, I hope the weather is beautiful. If you’re lounging around the house this weekend, here are a few lovely links to keep you occupied:

+ Ever wondered why we look at photographs? It really made me stop and think.

+ A welcome perspective: Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability. I’ve watched her TED Talk at least a dozen times this week and each time I learn something new.

+ Katie really hit the nail on the head with this post, Where Do You Draw The Line with Social Media? I’m really considering taking a Facebook hiatus.

+ Love this courageous post from the lovely Kate over at Wit & Delight. I wish more people would speak out about anxiety and depression.

+ Now, I’ve got a weakness for cupcakes, but this one takes the cake. This cupcake comes with a $900 price tag.

+ I’ll admit I can be a bit of a people pleaser and recently I’ve made the decision to focus on myself more. I thought this post was pretty helpful. I’ll be working on #3 and #5.

+ Ballet and fashion are a match made in heaven. Carolina Herrera, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton and Valentino will design costumes for New York City Ballet’s opening gala next month.

+ What to do if you find yourself in Lake Como for 36 hours.

+ Miranda Kerr’s 7 Rules For Adulthood.

+ Love this street style shot from Copenhagen Fashion Week. Also, love this one and this one.

+ Blogs I’m loving: Let Why Lead, Hello Neverland and Nishaantishu.

+ Dying over Nasty Gal’s fall arrivals. I would love to cozy up in this plaid scarf, this plaid beanie, and this chunky knit sweater dress.

(Photo from Style Me Pretty Living)