January 20, 2015

Weekly Mantra - The Law of Attraction

I remember reading The Secret a long time ago.

What you think about, you bring about, is the most I recall. Thoughts are powerful. They create our worlds, our moods, and our energy without us even knowing it. I recently bought the book, Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don't by Michael J. Losier. It was a short read, but a good refresher on how the mind is our most powerful tool.

I am an over-thinker. Once I get something in my head, it can spiral into a larger narrative, and suddenly I'm dwelling on something that isn't even real. Being aware of my thoughts, and how they affect my current mood and state is always a lesson that I need reminding of. This week's mantra follows the same guidelines. Enjoy!

"Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One of the other must dominate. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind." - Napoleon Hill 

January 14, 2015

The List - The best fashion campaign, new shades, and how to fall in love with anyone

Photo credit left / Warby Parker / right Juergen Teller courtesy of Celine 

1. This made waves all over the web last week, but Joan Didion for Celine is everything. It features a literary icon and an octogenarian, in a campaign generally reserved for neither. Celine can do no wrong. (Photo right)

2. I smiled during this entire video! Young Italian boys were asked to slap a girl, and their response was brilliant. If children can believe in anti-violence (probably through being raised with strong morals) adults have zero excuse.

3. My favourite eye wear company, Warby Parker just launched their spring collection. With eight new shapes and six new colours the possibilities are endless. (Photo left)

4. The Paris publication, Charlie Hebdo has created over 5 million copies of this week's issue in the right of free speech. Je Suis Charlie.

5. My favourite New York Times column, Modern Love had an interesting article this week titled, "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This." The column explores the idea of falling in love through using a technique by psychologist Arthur Aron. It involves answering 36 questions, and staring into someone's eyes for 4 minutes. While it may seem like a strange premise, the writer really makes her point, and it's one of the best I've read.

January 7, 2015

Weekly Mantra - Feelings We Can Never Get Back

via Pinterest
This week's mantra comes from author Haruki Murakami, and I found it interesting, especially when January seems to be a month of renewal. Enjoy!

"Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library." - Haruki Murakami

December 30, 2014

7 Lessons I Learned in 2014

We convince ourselves of absolute truths all the time.

We say, I will always do this; I will never do that; I would behave differently as a mother/boss/bride/ when my turn comes along. And yet, we really don't know anything until faced with the circumstance.

2014 was a mind-trip. Everything I thought I knew about myself, my career and my relationships sucker punched me in the face. I watched my identity blur. I received a smack down in relinquishing control. I became an expert in adaptation. Change or be changed, became my theme.

Below are seven lessons I learned this year:

1. I am not just my job - The first question people ask when they meet someone is, "What do you do?" It is a defining question, and something I struggled a lot with in the latter half of 2014. For almost four years, I worked in an agency, in public relations, and then one day, I didn't. Before this year, I also didn't like to identify myself as a writer, because in my mind, I wasn't a real one yet. But with time, I started to find my identity beyond self-consciously answering a question at a dinner party. And guess what? I was still the same person.

2. Count the small things - This year, I got published in a print magazine, became a freelancer, gained my first real client, and started putting myself out there more as a writer. My family also welcomed two new little members, Kate and Lorenzo. While these wins may seem small on someone else's scale, they became the biggest gratitudes of my year.

3. Sea salt is medicine - Travel is never frivolous. I credit my summer trip to Greece for bringing me back to life. I hung out under cliffs. I wrote in notebooks again. And I remember floating on my back in the middle of the Ionian sea and thinking, I am the luckiest girl in the world. 

4. Scout's Honour - This year, I had to face up to some truths. Was I really upset, or was my ego taking a hit? Am I acting like a victim, or should I change my outlook? Am I saying no because of my pride, or my heart? This year I chose to tackle the questions, instead of my usual reaction of lacing up my sneakers, and running in the opposite direction. I messed up a lot along the way, but I learned more than I lost.

5. What yellow brick road? I became a time traveller in 2014. The moment I thought a door was shut, or a road had a dead-end, I found myself turning around and walking back. I created fresh starts from old paths (which makes zero sense) but for some reason, it worked.

6. Finish something - I've been talking about the process of writing a first draft of my young adult novel for an entire year. This November, I finally finished it. While the first attempt was a disaster, (re: plot holes, character flaws and spelling mistakes) it had a beginning, middle and an end. And now I'm officially on draft two!

7. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a pink coat - I don't wear pink. I don't buy pink. I don't even like pink lipstick. And yet, two weeks ago I was in Zara and I just had to have this pink faux fur coat. (See photo above) It has become my cotton-candy accessory during the greyest of winters. And I'm still breathing.

So here's to 2015 - a new year, a new outlook and a fresh start! x 

December 22, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Merry Bright Holiday

As the holiday season hits full swing, this week's mantra is all about creating joy. One of my favourite parts of any holiday is handwriting cards, and this J.Crew one was a favourite on my roster.

From mine to yours, happy holidays! x

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” - W. C. Jones

December 18, 2014

Not A Model x Barre3

Have you been to the barre?

I've done ballet barre before, and I found it to be one of the best workouts on the market. Although I do get some teasing from friends, "you're going to a ballet class...to work out?" Anyone that I've tempted to go try a class, never came back with a taunting remark. (note: they were probably still trying to catch their breath).

Barre3, the latest barre studio in Toronto is a mix of pilates, yoga and ballet. The workout is low impact, and yet, each sequence works specific muscle groups in order to create strength and stability.

I visited the new studio to try a class, and was really impressed. The studio is spacious, bright, and clean with enthusiastic teachers who work your body to the ground.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Barre3 has studios across America, as well as in the Philippines. The Toronto studio is their first Canadian launch. It is located at 325 King St. West.

For the next two weeks, Not A Model and Barre3 is offering a giveaway and a free trial! To try Barre3 at home (with online classes) for 15 days, head over to: barre3.com/redeem and use the promo code B3NOTAMODEL to access your free trial.

Also, three lucky readers will receive a Barre3 Challenge Kit (see photo below) plus a three-month barre3 online subscription, together an $80 value!  Getting the Challenge Kit is the first step to participating in barre3's coming January Challenge, which runs January 5th to February 2nd. This healthy-living challenge is based on stepped up workouts, better eating (according to the barre3 nutritional philosophy) and lots of community support to help you stick with those New Year's resolutions and go into 2015 happier and healthier. Plus, you can do it with others at the new King St. West studio, online or via a combination of both.

To enter, please do one of the following:
note: contest is now closed! 

December 11, 2014

The List - Babies, Advent Calendars, Half pops, and Gifts That Give Back

It's time for another Not A Model round-up list. Below are some things I've been liking, reading, eating and tweeting. Enjoy!

1. There is nothing like receiving snail mail of your little cousins to stick some magnets on. My fridge (see above) has been getting quite crowded...with cuteness!

2. The New York Times gathered the top 9 actors of 2014 for a short film series called 9 Kisses. It pairs them in nine short videos, all involving a kiss. My favourite is Julianne Moore & John Lithgow's dance floor encounter.

3. My client and favourite lady Linda of Body Bijou is having a 20% site-wide sale until December 17th. Just enter the code: THANK YOU. Remember, 50% of their profits go to help girls get an education in the developing world. Give a gift that gives back!

4. I love when companies send me snacks for my stomach rumbles. My favourite of the month are Half Pops! It's popcorn that is partially popped, and it's addicting. Try: the butter and pure ocean sea salt flavour.

5. Photo pause: Malala Yousafzai arriving in Oslo, Norway to accept her Nobel Prize.

6. Looking for tunes? Jessie Ware's Tough Love album has been on repeat in my life.

7. LOVE Magazine's Advent Calendar features models dancing around in tiny rooms, in not very much clothing. It features famous ladies like Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima and Suki Waterhouse. Also NSFW, well, depends on where you work..

8. Though, my preference is the Frozen Advent Calendar my sister bought me...

9. I don't even watch Sons of Anarchy, but Charlie Hunnum is a babe (via Vogue).  

10. This article by She Does the City, "All My Friends Are Getting Married (and I'm Eating Potato Chips" is a nice reminder that everyone is in different places in their twenties.

December 9, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Humans of New York

Have you heard of Humans of New York?

The popular photography blog with over 10 million followers, and a best-selling book showcases intimate portrait sessions with people on the streets of New York City. The founder, Brandon Stanton is a photographer who originally lost his job in finance and wanted to make a living off his love of photography.

I listened to Brandon speak at Unilever's "People are Beautiful" event last week in Toronto. The event focused on the new products that Unilever will be launching in 2015, but also on their vision for their brand. They want to reveal a brand that showcases all kinds of people, not just imaginary ideals.