From March 2016

3 ways to welcome spring

Spring! I always feel so rejuvenated when spring finally arrives that I can hardly wait to get out there and enjoy it. Along with excitement for this new season, welcoming spring also means transitioning out of winter hibernation-mode. Part of this transition involves making changes that reset your body, mind, and your surroundings to help you embrace spring in the most refreshing ways possible.

Here are 3 fun and easy ways to reset for spring:

1. nourish your body

I think we can all agree that healthy eating is probably the most challenging in the winter months (at least for me, it is). In order to give your body a spring detox, transition your diet to allow for more seasonal fruits and vegetables instead of the go-to comfort food of winter. One of the best places to take advantage of fresh, seasonal produce is your local farmer’s market. Green smoothies all the way!

Another way to rejuvenate your body for spring is to get outside! Depending on where you live, Spring might be pretty wet, but is otherwise boasting with sunshine and warmer temperatures. My favorite way to enjoy the spring sunshine is to grab a coffee and take a walk along the lake. If you’re a real go-getter, you can go for a hike with a buddy or take your workout routine outside.

2. clear your mind

This one is a big one for me personally. One of my favourite mind-clearing activities for spring is cleaning my car from top to bottom. Spending a few hours outside cleaning, vacuuming, buffing, and sometimes even scrubbing your car to make it sparkle and shine again is not only rewarding, it also clears your head AND gives you a little fresh air. Total win.

Another great way to ease the mind into all that is spring is to create a spring to-do list or bucket-list. This is the perfect way to organize your thoughts and reminders for the upcoming season. Maybe you plan to visit family for Easter, take your car in for a service, or finally check out that cute coffee shop that just popped up in town.

3. de-clutter your surroundings

Ever since I was a kid I loved ‘spring-cleaning’ time. Spring-cleaning is one of the most effective ways to reset for spring, which is why I saved the best for last. I’m going to make a bullet list here because there’s just too much to say:

  • Clean out that closet! Put all your winter clothes into plastic Rubbermaid containers and get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in the last year.
  • Make a pile of everything you’re parting with and donate it a to a local charity.
  • Now go through the rest of your house and purge. You don’t need to keep that broken shoe rack. That extra Brita water jug isn’t doing anything by collecting dust. Anything that is either broken, taking up space, or could be donated to someone else needs to go.
  • Make those cleaning supplies WORK! Dust off the blinds, sweep the porch, Windex ALL the windows, and clean until your house smells better than a Lysol commercial. They don’t call it spring-cleaning for nothing, folks.

There you have it! I would LOVE to hear if you have any of your own traditions or things that you like to do to embrace the spring season. Let me know in the comments!

Interview with Meg White // The Life of a Freelance Designer


Lets start with the basics. In a nutshell, can you tell us what you do?

Simply put, I’d say design, but that can mean a few different things.

I assist most of my clients with graphic design, from creating a unique style and brand for print materials, to website design, where I can help create an online presence for clients (hello, it is 2016!). I’ve had the pleasure of working with a large variety of clients, from cupcake shops, quilting magazines, wedding photographers, and large corporations. I’m also so lucky to work with lots of other girl bosses and go-getters from across the world, who have helped influence me as well.

Can you tell us how you got to where you are now? What has the journey been like? 

I’ve always loved being a creative, especially as a kid (“crafternoon” is my favourite time of day after all) and was intrigued with the idea of technology, and felt design was a perfect way to merge the two. When looking at universities after high school, I was drawn to Thompson Rivers University for a few reasons. It was far, but close, from my hometown, had the university “lifestyle” I wanted to experience with dorms and students from all over, and, surprise, a design program. I walked away from those two years with great technical skills and amazing connections.

From there, I was in limbo land, I had a design diploma and felt my life could go so many different directions. I decided to do a mix of “this real-world-thing” and “getting my school on”. I was so fortunate to start working part time at a small design company, where I immediately began learning the ins and out of working directly with clients. I worked alongside some like-minded ladies and quickly realized that running a business as a woman was not only do-able, but was the route I wanted to go.

Alongside working part time, I was also completing my degree at Emily Carr University, where I had the chance to see the design world in a different, more conceptual way. The mixture of all of these opportunities has been a huge influence in the designer I am today.

After a few years of balancing both school and work (no sugar-coating here, it’s tough, but worth it) I decided to travel for a few months, and came back refreshed and ready to give just freelance a try. I’d realized that the lifestyle I wanted to live was one filled with travel and independence, and freelance design has allowed me to do so.

I’m a big believer of not thinking too much into the future, but for now, this is exactly where I want to be (or back on a beach in Spain, I’ll take either of those options).

What types of obstacles have you experienced on your journey? How did you overcome these obstacles in order to keep your dream alive?

A few months ago, I’d come across a podcast where the speaker, Sean Wes described this one concept as a freelancer that has really resonated with me.

As a freelancer, you no longer have free time, but you have freedom time, and I quickly learned this when I started off. It was so easy to work evenings and weekends, I couldn’t tell the difference between a Tuesday and a Sunday, and taking a two-week vacation meant checking my emails daily. It was difficult to find a time to completely separate myself from work, as my life and job had all blended together (good thing I love what I do).

However, what this meant was I now had freedom time… I had the flexibility to take Tuesday morning off for brunch with a friend, even if it meant me working later into the evening. Or I was now able to pack up my laptop (+ work) and explore a new country for two months, but understanding that I’d have to work a few hours a day. I’ll take that over a 9-5 any day.

Tell us what a typical day looks like for you:

Currently, I have a little office set-up in my place, which really allows me to separate my work from everything else, and it’s where I spend the majority of my morning in. Whether I’m checking up on emails while having my morning breakfast, or finishing up a few to-do’s while drinking tea, it’s me + and my laptop having a P A R T Y (+ music constantly playing, or course!). Everyday is different, but most afternoons I’ll head out (and to make sure I leave the house) whether it’s to run errands or set up a coffee/work session with a client, freelancer friend, or just myself.

If I’m working the majority of the day from home (depends on the to-do list) I tend to designate one larger job for the afternoon. By the time dinner comes around, I’m normally ready to socialize and try to meet up with a friend or two. While most people have been out and about the whole day and want to go home and relax, I feel the complete opposite and enjoy getting the most of my day.


What do you value most about your career as a freelance designer?

One of my favourite parts of being a designer is the broad range of people you get to work with and meet. You get the insider scoop on so many industries, and it’s a great opportunity for collaborations between different people. I’ve also had the chance to do design work for many of my friends (reminds them why they keep me around!) and also become friends with new clients as well.

I think Emily McDowell said it best, “Being an artist is like being yourself for a living”.

Do you ever experience “creativity blocks” or the feeling of being uninspired? How do you overcome these frustrations?

Totally! I’ve found that if I’m starting a logo and need to be on top of it creative-wise, there are a few things that help. I don’t want to feel like I have to stop in the middle of another project “to just get it done”, so checking off some to-do list items first makes me feel like I’ve already been productive. I also find that I’m the most creative in the early afternoons, so don’t have to pressure myself to work on those in the mornings or evenings. Lastly, sometimes it’s great to just step away from the computer, whether it’s just to grab a quick coffee, and realize that if it doesn’t get done today, it’s ok.

What advice can you offer to us about pursuing creative ambitions in both our personal and professional lives?

Go for it.

But realistically, know that it takes a certain kind of motivation to pursue creative jobs. Your work ethic is so important in not only getting things done, but also showing others that you’re committed to doing a great (+ efficient) job. So much of me being able to do what I do, is because of word of mouth. If you do great work, others will want to promote you, and the cycle keeps on going (high fives and happy dances).


photo credit: Kezia Nathe

Okay and finally, what guilty pleasure can you not live without?

I am obsessed with BOOMCHIKAPOP popcorn, it may have been the branding (+ naming) that first had me intrigued, but once I opened up a bag, I was hooked. Whether I’m having a mid-day snack break, or bringing it along for a girl’s night, it’s my go-to. (I also won’t admit how many bags I’ve finished solo….)

Say hello to Meg:




5 Unexpected Things I Learned From my Bachelors Degree

Many of us venture into the post-secondary world pursuing an education that we’re completely unsure about but go through with it anyways. Or perhaps you went through university being one of the very few who grew quite fond of student life. If you are falling towards the latter, congrats- you’re just like me. Don’t get me wrong, enduring four (and a half) years of university wasn’t a walk in the park nor was it sunshine and daisies. In fact, it was hell. But if you’re like me, you loved it anyways.

As I slowly adjust to the non-student life (not getting student discounts anymore sucks by the way) I’m constantly confronted with the question of what I really learned from my undergrad. Sure I could talk your ear off about marketing, events, and tourism (and don’t even get me started on Maslow) but was all that money worth it for a silly piece of paper? Well let me tell you, it was worth every-damn-penny. For me, getting that piece of paper wasn’t about what I learned in the lecture hall or from midterms or final exams. Instead it’s about what I experienced in the midst of all those late nights, late assignments, impossible deadlines and stress-induced meltdowns. And it has absolutely nothing to do with academics.


1. Comparing yourself to others is detrimental

Whether its comparing grades, Instagram followers, sales, number of reps at the gym, comparing yourself to others doesn’t do you any good. I remember feeling bad about myself for getting 81% when others were achieving in the 90’s, as if the work I put in to my studies wasn’t as good as someone else’s. And you know what? It’s BS. Pouring your heart and soul into something that matters to you is far more important than comparative stats. Instead of measuring your achievements to everyone else’s, focus on your own improvements and hard work and celebrate every single accomplishment you make. Small victories are still victories.

2. What you learn about yourself and others is more important than your major

Sure, you should know a thing or two about your area of academic expertise, whatever it may be, but I will bet you that knowing more about yourself, how to effectively communicate with others, understanding your existential authenticity, and practicing your gift will get you a hell of a lot farther in life than memorizing every single table and figure in your Macroeconomics textbook. What’s more important than any textbook is getting to know yourself on a 360 level. What are your quirks? What makes you different than your friends? What are your values and how to you incorporate them into your life? Having a clear understanding of yourself will project tenfold in how you interact with others and the world. Your friends, family, future employers, clients and customers will acknowledge this and gravitate towards your confidence and self-awareness far before your ability to solve a statistics equation. (Unless you plan to be a statistician in which case just disregard that last part)

3. Not everyone is going to like you

People pleasers beware. As much as we want to get along with everyone and their dog, reality is very much so the opposite. No matter what you say or do or how hard you fight it, you will meet people that you just won’t jive with (for whatever reason that may be) and that’s OK. As my home girl Dita Von Teese said so perfectly: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” The fact of the matter is that some people drink tea and some people drink whisky and you, my dear, cannot be both. Instead, be proud of being the tea or whisky person that you are (or some lemonade concoction of the two) and accept that you are someone special that not everyone will come to understand. Never apologize for who you are ever ever ever.

4. Failing is good

I’ll tell you a story. I was in my second year when I took my very first economics class taught by a less-than-favorable professor. After a couple weeks I took the first midterm exam and when the marks were given back to us, what did I see? A grade no where near a pass followed by a full page message in red ink from my professor explaining to me that I was not cut out for this class and that removing myself from the course was highly encouraged. After only ONE midterm. As if my performance on one midterm meant that I wasn’t cut out for an entire course and instead of trying, I should just quit. After many tears and some consolation from Mom I decided to withdraw from the course. Not because I was discouraged from failing the midterm but because juggling Macroeconomics as a 6th course in my semester wasn’t the best setup for success. That failure taught me that I couldn’t run myself ashore and expect amazing results. Timing is everything, and failing was a good thing. Failure is like a message, coded in a secret language that you must interpret with an open mind and a gracious heart in order to fully reach your next potential.

5. Your successes and failures are 100% your own

You might be thinking “duh, this is obvious Kate” but honestly think about it for a minute. I don’t know about you but I feel pretty good about myself when I succeed at something. I also feel pretty crappy when I’ve failed at something. But what makes success and failure awesome is that YOU control them and no one else. Netflix didn’t plot to make you miss that deadline nor did your alarm purposely not go off so you would be late for work. On the flipside, you don’t owe anyone but yourself an applause for making that last sale nor do you owe your trainer for helping you lose that last 5 pounds. Your successes (and failures) are YOURS and that’s pretty amazing if you ask me. You control your own outcomes and no one can take that away from you.

There you have it! These 5 things have taught me more about the reality of life than anything I heard in the classroom. Although I’m a sucker for the student life I will say this: I don’t think I would have had these unexpected epiphanies if I had been a non-student counterpart, at least not at that time. After all, you only take away what you put in. Get out there and go all in.