A few of my simple summer essentials -my Coach sunnies, a Mad Hat Cap, Bobbi Brown Stonestreet Bronzer, Rodan + Fields REVERSE Broad Spectrum SPF 55 Sunscreen for my face and Rodan + Fields ESSENTIALS Body Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30. Whether I am in the city or by the lake, these are a few of my favourite things that help for a happy sun savvy summer.
Do you feel like you lack creativity? Are you ever stuck trying to come up with new ideas? Is your preferred learning style a visual one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may love a great brainstorming tool called Mind Mapping®
A Mind Map® is
- A colourful, visual form of note taking that can be worked on by one person or a group of individuals
- At its heart is a central idea or image
- The idea is explored by the means of branches representing main ideas which all connect to the central image of idea
I lucky to be introduced to the concept of Mind Mapping® when I joined the Junior League where we used it to plan a community project. It helped our team to brainstorm by documenting any ideas that popped to mind to help create a place to start our planning from. It is a brainstorming tool that I continue to return to when I am looking to spark creativity.
Mind Mapping® is very practical both professionally and personally and one can utilize this brainstorming tool in the following ways:
- Action Plans
- Business Plans
- Disaster Planning
- Leading a Meeting
- Launching a New Venture
- Lesson Plans
- Meeting Minutes
- Presentation Development
- Project Plans
- Event Planning
- Holiday Shopping Plan
- Interview Preparation
- Resume Development
- Study Notes
- Travel Planning
- Weekly Calendar
If you are interested in learning more, you may wish to visit these great resources from Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Mapping®.
The Ultimate Book of Mind Maps® – Unlock your Creativity, Boost your Memory, Change your Life – Tony Buzan – 2005
Mind Maps® at Work – How to Be the Best at your Job and Still Have Time to Play – Tony Buzan – 2004
A map is worth a thousand words. Have fun and happy mapping!
Save water, drink champagne. No special occasion required. Bubbles are always in style and life and simple joys should be celebrated.
While champagne may be a splurge, an inexpensive way to enjoy bubbles more often is with sparkling wine, cava or prosecco. One of my favourites is from Bottega.
Celebrate all the simple joys that make you happy.
Are you still trying to discover what you want to do when you grow up? Have you been contemplating a career change? Do you leave work feeling deflated and uninspired and wondering what to do next?
Try this great visual exercise to determine what you love doing, like doing, neither like or dislike and what you definitely dislike doing. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper to create your own list. If your present role contains many positive elements from your list, you may have found happiness at work. If your position contains too many items from the bottom two quadrants, it may be time to consider a move in a different direction.
Happy Birthday Oprah!
Seeing Oprah live was always on my bucket list and thankfully I have been lucky enough to see her twice. Both amazing inspiring experiences after watching her on TV for many years as well as reading her magazine since inception. I always enjoy reading Oprah’s “What I Know For Sure” page ~ the final one in her monthly magazine. On one summer holiday, I rediscovered Oprah’s Top 20 (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Top-20-Things-Oprah-Knows-for-Sure) and that had me pondering what I know for sure so I wrote my own list. I wrote this in September 2010 but it still rings true today. Enjoy!
- That life is not always fair and does not always turn out as you dreamt and imagined but it can still be special.
- Do things for others without the expectation of getting something in return.
- Sometimes people in your life need time to themselves to deal with things on their own and may be out of touch but that does not diminish your friendship and relationship with them. Real connections always just have that special chemistry that picks up just where you last left off no matter how many weeks, months or years go by.
- Cherish those special people in your life because you never know when they might not be with you anymore.
- There is no greater feeling than when one knows who they are, what they value and what their purpose in the world is and are comfortable living their life by their own compass and not the one set by others or society.
- In the modern society we live in, everyone seems to want everything now. It is okay to be someone that takes their time before rushing into things – life, careers, new adventures, relationships or children. You must live your own life by your own timetable. Everyone’s journey is different and for some people that just takes longer.
- Memories are so much more important than material things. I so treasure and cherish all the memories I have and they sustain me when times are challenging.
- A smile, a welcoming gesture, laughter, unexpected telephone call, note or email or a simple hug can help ease the stresses of the day and offer hope to those who need it.
- Spending time with my family and friends, laughter, food, wine and being in nature – these simple things make me happy!
- God never gives you anything you can’t handle.
- Knowledge is power! I am thankful that I love to learn.
- You always need to have something to look forward to. This is where being organized and a planner comes in useful because I am always making plans to enjoy!
- That “me” days are very important – it is okay to want time by yourself or just be a bit lazy – do not feel guilty! When your body needs rest, give it the rest it needs – your health is most important and we all need balance in our lives. When one gives all the time, they need to take care of themselves too – take time to re-store your body and spirit and nourish your soul.
- Listen to your gut, heart and intuition – too many times we try to use our head to rationalize things and I definitely do this. It is hard when one thinks too much but truly if you listen to these three things you will always know the answer.
- That people can be cruel and mean to others but it is really just them trying to cover up their own insecurities. One does not need this negative energy in their lives. Surround yourself with positive people and stop spending time worrying what people think. We should be busy living the life we want because life is short!
- That no matter if you are size 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 ~ your true friends will love you just the way you are.
- Manners, being classy and formal communication never go out of style.
- Being a member of Junior League has inspired, empowered and made me a better person. I know the experiences I have had will enable to me to make an impact throughout my life to my family, friends, my community and anything I choose to involve myself in.
- Emotional intelligence, the ability to build relationships and get along is so important. One can teach a bright person to do anything but attitude and passion come from within.
- On a flight to Vancouver in 1996 just after my great grandmother died, I sat next to an older gentleman and he gave me this insight to life – many people view life as three parts – school, work, retirement where we pursue pleasurable activities. Many go through life like this but to truly enjoy life fully we should have all elements throughout all of our lives. How little did I know at the time that this would prove to be one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. It inspired my blog post New Beginnings ~ https://finnspirit.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/new-beginnings/.
- My dad’s travel rule “If you want to bring it, you had to be able to carry it” made sure I was able to do things for myself and be independent.
- Only YOU determine your attitude, thoughts and actions. I want to live with joie de vivre!
What do you know for sure?
Happy Halloween and happy work anniversary to me. October 31st is the anniversary of my first official day working full time. Since that first day I found myself walking into a corporate Bay Street office, I have definitely learned a few career and life lessons.
* Always be careful what you say and do outside of the office. On the Saturday evening before starting my first full time job, my friends and I found ourselves on a subway platform for an evening on the town. Little did I know when I arrived at work on Monday, one of my new colleagues greeted me by saying they saw me at the Eglinton TTC station on Saturday night. Luckily in my case, it was a great conversation starter and made me feel welcome immediately. He became my first work friend who sadly passed away four years ago but I will forever remember how welcome he made me feel.
* First impressions matter so getting the first day an employee starts right is so important. Remember to introduce your new team member to everyone, invite them to lunch with the team in advance so they aren’t eating on their own, set up their work station with supplies and have an agenda for them. Make the environment inclusive and inviting.
* When speaking about others, never use names in public for privacy and confidentiality.
* Remember you will not always become friends with everyone you work with nor will everyone like you. Many will not care for you. Learn not to take it personally.
* Don’t burn bridges. The world is small and a good or bad reputation in the workplace will follow you. One never knows one day who might be on the other end of an interview. Aim to be professional, a team player and kind and you will earn the respect of others whether they like you or not.
* Avoid gossiping, backstabbing, bullying, sabotaging and throwing others under the bus. Take the high road. Do not get caught up in these destructive and toxic behaviours nor promote them. We all need to do our part to create happy, respectful workplaces.
* Never say it isn’t my job.
* Dress for the position you aspire to or at the very least to impress. Always dress up for any job interviews, informational meetings and the first day of work. If you can wear it to the nightclub or the beach, do not wear it to work. First impressions matter. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask someone with a fashion sense you admire for tips.
* Always be nice to the receptionist. They are the most important person you will ever meet when you have an interview.
* Please, thank you, excuse me, saying good morning and asking how someone is goes a long away in business and in life. Manners never go out of style. Take an interest in others and get to know them personally. I remember once working for a team where no one acknowledged you or said good morning. I vowed to never be that person. Connecting with others makes a world of difference.
* Always take notes. When you get busy and have too many things on your mind, you will forget.
* Don’t hide behind email and social media. Pick up the phone or meet people in person. Face to face interactions help build relationships.
* Always use formal business communication in the workplace. Leave the text talk and emoticons for your friends and family. Don’t send emails when you are angry and always read them for tone to ensure they do not come across as rude or abrasive. If your verbal and written communication skills need improvement, commit to working on them. They are an essential skill in the workplace and in life and will serve you well. In my first job, I was lucky enough to have my team member critique my written correspondence and it helped me to become a better writer. I continue to work on it today and am forever thankful to her for that lesson.
* People get hired on technical skills but often fired because of their soft skills and inability to get along. Emotional intelligence is very important in the workplace.
* If you don’t like something, don’t complain about it. Be proactive to come up with a solution to change it or move on. Negativity leads to toxic environments.
* Trust your instincts.
* Just because your friends are taking a certain career or education path does not mean you need to. Determine what your strengths are, what you are passionate about and what will make you excited to go to work everyday. Follow that path.
* Always be learning formally and informally. If there is an area you want to learn about, tap into a subject matter expert to discover more. If are looking to grow in your career or struggling to move into a new area, sign up for continuing education classes or gain your experience via a volunteer position. In my opinion, if you’re not learning, you’re dead. Be curious and ask questions. Knowledge is power.
* Always take time to share your knowledge with a new graduate, someone growing in their career or a newcomer to Canada. We were all in similar positions at some point. Commit to sharing your learnings with others.
* Take your vacation time. While you may not have the budget to travel, take the time to recharge and take care of you. This is absolutely essential for your own health and wellness.
* Do not spend all your time working that you miss out on having a life. There will never be enough hours in the day to do everything. Your job will not love you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Life is short and retirement is not a given. Live life without regrets.
* YOU are your brand. Determine what your life values are, your own personal mission statement and your life compass. Live and breathe your brand.
* Building a resume is not the same as building a legacy. Decide what you want your legacy to be and constantly be in pursuit of it.
* Be authentic. Never be a cookie cutter version of someone else. Be YOU!
Without a doubt, the most important life lessons I learned were from my amazing role models – my parents. They both moved to Canada from Finland as children and taught both my brother and I to work hard, to be interested in others and to treat them as you would want to be treated. Important lessons that have definitely guided me in work and life too.
September and back to school has always felt like a time of new beginnings to me. While I am no longer in school, I enjoy the rituals, excitement and the sense of new this time of year brings. September is also a time of reflection.
In September 1996, my great grandmother who was like a second mother to me passed away. While expected, the loss of a loved one is never easy but I decided to move forward with a previously planned holiday to Vancouver to visit a dear university friend. Always one to make friends on my travels, I enjoyed a lovely conversation with my seatmate who was a successful businessman in the latter stages of his career. During our journey, he shared this insight about life with me.
“Many view life as three parts – school, work and retirement – where we finally get to pursue and enjoy pleasurable pursuits. Many go through life like this but to truly enjoy life fully we should incorporate all elements throughout our lives.”
I truly believe people come into our lives for a reason and I was so thankful to receive this message just two years into my professional life and after the loss of my great grandmother. To this day, this is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received and has helped me weather the ups and downs and challenges that life has brought.
I definitely took this message to heart and continue to put it into practice by always learning, by volunteering and giving back to my community and ensuring that I do things I enjoy. Good health and retirement are not a given. We must not wait to do the things we want to do until later in life. We all need to live fully now.
As we embark on a change of season, are there aspects in your life that feel out of balance? Is there something you always wanted to learn even just for fun? Are you waiting until retirement to travel? Are you dreading going to work every day? Do you want to make an impact in your community? Are you having challenges with your health? Are you consistently missing out on spending time making memories with your family and friends? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to reflect on what is important to you and consider implementing this simple yet valuable advice by including something that may be missing into your life now. Many wait until January 1st to make resolutions or changes in their lives or keep putting them off all together. Why wait when you can embark on change today. Remember it is never too late for a new beginning.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, I always had a fascination with hurricanes. Many evenings would be spent watching the approaching storms on various news outlets. Waiting for Hurricane Katrina was no different but as we know now that storm was different. The unbelievable destruction and loss was unimaginable to me. I had never been to New Orleans nor did I have any ties to the city but always knew it was a place I wanted to visit. I wondered if that would ever happen after Katrina. Little did I know that my visit would come in the form of a volunteer opportunity a year later.
On a summer afternoon in 2006, an email popped into my inbox about the Junior League of New Orleans looking for volunteers for their ReBuilding Together weekend. Almost a soon as I read it, I forwarded it off to a group of friends. Before long we had seven Junior League of Toronto members signed up to travel to New Orleans on our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to help rebuild. The Junior League of New Orleans made the ask and the call was answered in the form of 600 members from three countries. Truly amazing.
We had no idea what to expect when we arrived in New Orleans but quickly learned the impact of Katrina on a bus tour of the city and it was overwhelming. Street after street had been destroyed. Some yards only had steps left that homeowners once climbed to get into their homes. We saw houses that were no longer habitable, no birds, no bushes, no flowers, dead trees everywhere. The X’s that marked homes searched still remained. Katrina and the flooding were indiscriminate and everyone had a story to tell. I cannot tell you how many times people thanked us for coming to volunteer.
The volunteers were given opportunities of where they might like to help. As a lifelong foodie, I felt a calling to help at Willie Mae’s Scotch House Restaurant located in the Treme area of New Orleans after seeing this short film http://youtu.be/3uVUNpkvAiA. Miss Willie Mae Seaton had been making the best fried chicken in New Orleans for over 50 years and had received a James Beard Award in 2005 for it. Many well known Southern chefs including John Besh and John Currence worked endlessly to get her back up and running. In the sweltering heat, we scraped, sanded and helped paint to get her back into her kitchen cooking her secret recipe where she belonged. I had never been that dusty and dirty in my life but loved every minute of it. I had the amazing opportunity to meet Miss Willie Mae and was touched by her incredibly warm spirit, smile, her stories and that southern charm – “all you pretty, pretty girls”. She shared some of the reasons for her success – be nice to everyone and to always be real. Wise words from a beautiful woman who I was lucky to meet and help. While her great granddaughter Kerry is now at the helm, I was happy to be able to return two years later to see the restaurant completed and got to enjoy the fried chicken and other southern treats. They were worth the wait. Continue reading “Remembering Katrina”
Welcome to FinnSpirit. The Finn represents my Finnish heritage and spirit represents my positive attitude.
I am a positive super spirit builder, aunt, foodie, anglophile, philomath, traveller, Junior Leaguer and volunteer who loves all things beauty, design, style, pink, photography, people, careers, community and making a difference. I love connecting with family, friends and people as I wander through this world. A perfect day for me is enjoying great food, wine, conversation and laughter. Simple joys make my spirit happy.
For as long as I can remember I loved to write from letters to cards and now via social media. After much encouragement from a friend to start a blog, I find myself writing this post. I envision FinnSpirit will be filled with all things lifestyle, wisdom that I have learned on my travels and a bit of fun too. I aim to live each day with joie de vivre and kindness. My hope is to share a wee bit of inspiration to empower each of you to live life more beautifully.
Live, love, laugh and be happy.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.