Are you SMART about resolutions?

It’s that time of year again. Resolution time. The time of year when we set lofty goals about how this year will be different than the last. However, stats show that by the end of this week most of us will have already broken one, if not all, of our resolutions.

FACT: 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Within 6 months, more than half of us will have given up completely.

University of Scranton research suggests that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. That means that 92% of people fail!  Why? Because our resolutions often involve doing something new, which means committing time to doing that something new – and we’re already busy.

So instead of making resolutions that you really have no intention of following through on, why not be SMART and set some goals instead? Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.

The big take away here is Realistic. More often than not resolutions are quite lofty, like losing 25 pounds, hitting the gym every day or even learning a new language before you take off on vacation in February. Yeah it’d be nice, but if it’s not sustainable then you’re destined to be part of that 92%.

Here’s what I’m doing this year and I challenge you to do the same: Make a list of all your pie in the sky lofty ‘someday goals’. For me it’s someday I’ll write that book.  Some day I’ll play the violin (well).  Someday I’ll learn Spanish. Some day I’ll travel to Peru. Some day I’ll learn to knit stuff other than a scarf.

Go ahead and make your list. Then pick one or two things that you can realistically commit to making happen this year. Be specific as you can in defining your goal, then define what success will look like. From there map out the steps you’ll need to take to achieve that success and the amount of time it will take. Don’t know what steps you need to take to make a goal happen? Put it back on your someday list until you do. By being SMART about our goals we’ll be part of the 8% in no time!


Picture Perfect Tuesday: Photo Challenge

There was a time when I took pictures all the time and found inspiration everywhere. When I first started working as a photographer I’d never be without my camera, first my Pentax K1000, then trusty Nikon F2 camera, F90x and finally my D100.

But here’s the rub, sometimes when you are paid to do something you love, it strips you of the desire to do that very thing when you are not being paid. So there was a time when I just would take a picture unless I was paid to take it.

But that was then. Today photography has been downgraded from a career to a passion to an occasional hobby. I no longer wanted to lug around all my equipment. But thanks to my trusty iPhone camera and selfie stick – that is a pretty useful monopod – I don’t have to.

I actually started Picture Perfect Tuesdays as a way to get my own butt off the proverbial and literal couch to have fun again with my favourite medium. So for this year, rather than being a random smattering of pictures I take whenever I am inspired, I’ve decide to challenge myself with the Dogwood Photography Challenge. Every week, for 52 weeks there’s an assigned topic to just get you out there shooting. Picture Perfect Tuesday’s will be the fruits of my labour. If you’re looking for a kick in the pants, then join me!

Dogwood Photography Challenge Week 1: Self Portrait
“Start things off right with a “selfie”! Explore the self timer setting on your camera.”


When Opportunity Knocks, Say Yes.

Sometimes when opportunity comes knocking, it’s at an inopportune time so we say no and hope it comes around again. Here’s the hard truth: sometimes these opportunities don’t knock again.

Life and luck favor the bold! And saying yes is a simple way to get more out of your life.

The word ‘no’ is a hardwired fear response and while it’s useful in situations of genuine danger, there is a big difference between surviving and thriving. Let’s be honest here, we say no to new things because we’re afraid of failing or looking stupid. Yup, that’s right, saying yes means taking a chance at failure and that can be scary. But by saying no, we’re not just rejecting the opportunity; we’re also rejecting the fun it can bring and what we can learn from it. yes baby

Saying yes to life’s opportunities is what’s going to open up your life to new possibilities. It’s not about being a “yes man” or feeling pressured to do things we don’t want to do. It’s about having the courage to do the things we really want to do – even when those things scare the crap out of us.

Years ago I was offer an opportunity to write a book on Photoshop. I immediately said yes. Then had a wee moment of panic when I realized that I had just agreed to churn out a technical manual in under a month, while working full time. But guess what? I did it and I’d like to think I’m better for it.

Look, here’s the deal, if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later. Richard Branson said that. Look where he is now.

I challenge you to shift your paradigm. Instead of asking “what’s the worst that could happen?” ask yourself “what’s the BEST that could happen?”

Say yes to do more; create more and live more.

15 Reasons You Should Dress Up Every Day!

I was toying with my next Fashion Fun Friday blog – which admittedly, I’ve left slide – and was thinking about a previous post I wrote about how clothes play an important part in the first impression we make. I came across this wonderful post from That Chic Fashion Blog a while back and always intended on reblogging it as it said what I wanted to say… but better. Enjoy!

That Chic Fashion Blog


Okay so, before you even start reading this you’re probably thinking: “Why should I dress up every day if I’m not going anywhere formal?” or “What’s the point of taking an extra 20 minutes out of my morning just to plan a more elaborate outfit?”

Well, you know what? There are soooo many reasons why you should dress well every day, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going! And yes, it is much easier to just throw on you’re sweater and jogging pants every day, but I am here to tell you the benefits of taking a few extra minutes to dress up: it deffinetly outweighs the positives of the former, so you should probably keep reading:)

So, I’m not sure if you have noticed, but I can’t help but asking myself: “Since when did it become an unusual thing to put effort into what you wear and…

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Fashion Fun Friday: Ringly

It’s small. It’s stylish… And soon it will be mine: the Ringly.


Fashion meets function. Jewellery meets technology. The Ringly is a ring that connects to a smartphone and alerts wearers about incoming texts or calls via vibration and flashing lights saving us from THAT MOMENT. You know the one. The one where we’re having a blast with friends and then our phone makes a noise and suddenly all we can think about is checking it. Of course I’m not talking about you. You’d never do that. Neither would I… (yes that was sarcasm)

Like many great ideas these days, Ringly began as a Kickstarter project and launched its first batch of rings this past June changing how we view wearable technology. Why the Ringly? That’s easy! Fashion-conscious women don’t want their accessories to look like a piece of plastic/rubber tech equipment. The Ringly however is a piece of jewellery that – even without the gadgetry – is something I believe that most women would choose to wear. Even though it houses accelerometer, Bluetooth LE, a motor and tiny LEDs, it just looks good.

Their next batch is set to ship in early 2015. So if you like it then you should put a Ringly on it.

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50 Shades of Scandal

2014 has been the year of scandal for Canada. From the Canadian Senate scandal and everything Rob Ford to the current Jian Ghomeshi sex scandal. Canada is no longer the quiet neighbour.

While the Ghomeshi scandal has raised important discussions regarding sexual harassment, consent and sexual violence; so much has come to light in the past few weeks that it seems like eons ago that Ghomeshi posted his initial statement on his Facebook fan page announcing to his fans that he was fired from CBC because his private life was to risqué for them. Of course now our focus is on the multiple accounts of alleged assault, but his statement really stuck with me, or rather parts of it stuck with me. Yes it was eloquently drafted by a PR/crisis management firm, but what I can’t get out of my head is not his 50 Shades of Grey bedroom tastes, but this line:

“To recap, I am being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life.”

As a PR professional who worked in media for many years, what immediately came to mind was how naïve that line was. It worked well as a rallying cry to garner initial sympathy and support; but the hard reality is, as a public figure you’ve basically relinquished your right to a true private life. Tiger Woods lost millions in sponsorship deals when his private life very publicly exploded, so why did Ghomeshi think he’d be different? As a public face of an organization, you are a representation of its brand; and if your actions are no longer are in alignment with the brand, then it’s time to part ways. That’s just business.

I’m not saying that public figures shouldn’t be allowed to have a private life or privacy. But it does seem to be the cost of fame. Once you’ve put yourself in the spotlight; it’s going to shine everywhere – especially into those deep dark corners that you’d rather keep hidden. Suddenly everything is on display for public consumption in the form of entertainment news, tabloid magazines and gossip blogs.

We are a hungry society. We move from scandal to scandal, consuming every siliceous detail until we’ve outright bored ourselves; then we move on to the next big thing. It is then that a scandal has ‘blown over’ and people can start to bounce back. Think of where Robert Downey Jr was 15 years ago. Look at Martha Stewart… Of course now that legal allegations are in play, what’s to come of this particular scandal remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, regardless of the outcome, this too will eventually blow over.

Here’s some tips to channel your inner Kerri Washington if you or your clients are ever caught by the short and curlies:

Make a Plan BEFORE a Crisis Hits:

  • Develop a crisis plan by identifying the top threats and plan out in advance how they will be dealt with.
  • Establish a crisis communication team, which at a bare minimum should include an official spokesperson, a public relations advisor and a lawyer.
  • When dealing with sensitive situations, write down everything! A written record of what transpired is the best way to protect you and your clients.

When The Shit Hits The Fan:

  • Response time matters so implement your crisis communication plan within the first 48 hours.
  • Control the flow of information by establishing a spokesperson and a means for disseminating information early on so you can shape the story.
  • Evaluate available strategies to address the problem and take action.
  • Know your answers before the questions get asked. ‘Winging it’ is NOT part of an effective crisis management strategy. Identify the questions out of your worst nightmare and decide how you’ll address them.
  • Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear; in fact, in most situations it makes it worse.
  • While you are confronting that elephant have key messages in place. Address any mistakes. Emphasize that you have a plan. If you can’t comment for legal reasons, say that. Express compassion for any victims involved and display a commitment to correcting the situation.