Podcast Numero Two: Double the Fun

In April, a lovely young man by the name of Jeph Maystruck asked me to podcast it up with him. We talked about why I think HR sucks, short pants and the Real Housewives of Vancouver. It was a fun little time and my first intro to the world of podcasting!

Since then Jeph and I continually connect over marketing hot topics, the latest fashion trends and why he’s not being a very good long distance boyfriend. Kidding, kind of. {Jeph and I will marry if we’re both still single in 2064.}

I’ve been sick as hell for the past 2 weeks and on one of my days in bed, doing nothing, staring at the wall — I texted Jeph and said we needed to do another podcast. We agreed to connect over September long weekend to record a gem. Jeph and I are both Gemini’s — we share the same birthday! That must explain the instant chemistry! ;) Anyways, we talk — a lot. I think we ended up recording 90 mins, but thankfully Jeph cut that down to a reasonable amount for our listeners pleasure! Who are we joking… the only person that listens is my buddy Gavin!

So Gavin, we chopped it in half just for you. :)

The podcast is now live on Jeph’s blog… everything you ever wanted to know about Pinterest, 50 Shades of Grey, PretirementLisa Charleyboy, nightmares and surrounding yourself with people who lift you higher.

45 minutes of laughter, banter, swearing and a whole lot of opinion.

LISTEN HERE

Our most scattered, all over the place podcast to date. If this continues {of course it will}, I really think Jeph should start giving me an agenda to keep on topic. :)

In review:

  • Stalk your girlfriend’s (or soon to be) Pinterest account
  • Don’t put up with idiots in your life
  • If you live in a bubble — at least be ok with it
  • Soak up (or skip) 50 Shades of Grey — either works!
  • Differentiate yourself from your peers
  • Don’t let nightmares turn you into a psycho case
  • Admit you’re not perfect
  • Figure out what you fear and what you need to feel whole

Oh yes — and laugh. All the time. It’s good for the soul.

To learn more about Jeph, check out his blog, stalk him on LinkedIn or give him a follow on Twitter!

This is the ‘Marketing Revolution’ west coast, fashion, marketing, HR, running and yoga Correspondent signing out. Until next time Mr. Maystruck. ‘Twas fun.

Finding Peace in Costa Rica

When I think back to when I bought my plane ticket – I can’t actually remember what month it was, let alone what day. Chris over at http://www.yvrdeals.com highlighted a seat sale and I hopped right on it! There is something about Central America that intrigues me and brings me peace.

In December, I counted down the days.

In January, I continued to count but with a grand feeling of excitement.

Finally all became real on February 5th when I was en route to the airport.

Something I have learned about myself over the past couple of years is that I am very high and low. “Regular” day-to-day life is busy. The focus is on working a lot, helping others as much as I can, volunteering in the community, attending events, pushing myself to learn more, keeping track of my new niece and family, learning to run, catching up with friends — and keeping my head above water.

Sometimes stamina will keep me going a month, but other times it’s a week.

When I get to my brink – all I want to do is lay down in silence. I don’t want to talk or even sleep (…I often say “I’m done talking today”)… I just want to enjoy. I curl up in my duvet for as long as it takes to catch my breath and start again.

Every so often I exchange a little R&R in my bedroom for a trip abroad.

My exposure to international travel began when I spent 5 weeks in Europe in 2005 (10 incredible countries!). Before that I had just been to the US and Mexico — which keeps one fairly sheltered!

  • 2005: England, France, Monaco, Italy, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium
  • 2006: Kelowna, Playa del Carmen
  • 2007: Banff, Puerto Vallarta
  • 2008: Dominican

[Note: In late 2008, I finally ended my travel frustration as I figured out how to manipulate my ‘corporate’ 2 weeks vacation into mega time off. Win. :)]

  • 2009: Las Vegas, Germany, Tunisia
  • 2010: Toronto, Niagara Falls, Hawaii, New York, California (San Francisco and Napa Valley), Montana, Japan
  • 2011: Belize, California (from Laguna Beach to LA), Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Maryland, Virginia

[Note: No I do not own a home. Yes I have a travel bank account instead of a mortgage savings account (much to my banker’s disagreement).]

So, 2012. After this trip to Costa Rica, the hope/plan is a week in Toronto, girls weekend (and a half marathon) in Seattle, Wanderlust in Whistler, the JCI World Congress in Taiwan and 4 weeks in India teaching entrepreneurship.

Just writing that out gets me so amped for what is next.

My soul comes alive when I travel. It allows me to step outside my life and for whatever reason (the good and the bad) all becomes clear.

Travel pushes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to learn so much about the world. When I was young “travel” meant 5* hotels and all-inclusives. Now it means a backpackers hostel and at least one “I think I might die” moment. [Note: I still love a spa day, massage and duvet every so often. :)]

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I had absolutely no expectations of Costa Rica, and very unlike me, I did absolutely no planning. Mom gave me the Lonely Planet for Christmas and I opened it up on the flight to LAX.

I had one destination – Santa Teresa. I had randomly met a terrific (capital T) woman named Shannon in Whistler late last year. Sure enough we know lots of the same people (…thank you Vancouver!) and I met her biz partner, the fab (capital F) Diana last month. Anyways Shannon and her family [badass (capital B) Brett and too cute Kaede] are living in Costa Rica for 3ish months. Sweet life eh? My “plan” was to head to their beach town and go from there.

My “I think I might die” moment of this trip took place in the first 48 hours (kind of the first day still as I had spent the last 24 hrs traveling and that only kind of counts)… I missed my regional flight as we landed late in Liberia. The next flight they could get me on was 2 days later (not an option). I had no idea until I arrived but Santa Teresa is 5 hours by car from Liberia — in other words, a hell of a long way in a developing world. I was told that most people headed to Santa Teresa fly into San Jose… which is considerably closer… :) I was advised not to take the local bus as it would take 10 hours and was very unsafe compared to local buses in Central America. My only option was a taxi… and it would cost me $300 USD. :-/ My driver did not speak English, the car barely worked and my fingers were crossed I would make it down the Nicoya Peninsula. A local tourist guy at the airport gave me his phone number and told me to text him if I ran into any problems. He reinforced that I need to pay attention to the routes the driver is taking and to not let him stop anywhere. He gave me a map and wished me luck. Great and all but I only had cell service the first 2 hours (of which I panicky texted my sister and a few friends telling them where I was headed and what I was wearing).

It was a very long drive. I was exhausted from my 24 hours of travel and my eyes kept on fading in the last 2 hours. The driver was a nice young guy and (I could tell) he knew I was scared he was going to rape and kill me. He offered many times to stop and I politely declined. The last 3 hours of roads were brutal bad – dirt roads full of pot holes, bumps and not so much fun.

But eventually we made it to Santa Teresa!!

First impression was — Why the hell did I come here? This is not paradise. I arrived at night and the town was a dusty dirty mess. The dirt road creates a lot of dust (it’ll all be washed away when the rain comes in a few months!). If you’re planning a visit (and renting a ATV), bring a bandana or dust mask to cover your nose/mouth. Shannon and I chatted about the nasty road and she made a good point… If the road wasn’t dirt, then Santa Teresa would be LOADED with tourists. The dirt road keeps them away…. Ah, dirt. Love dirt. Love dust.

I could continue to write for days on every detail of the trip but instead, a few of the highlights:

  • Morning runs at Playa Santa Teresa (by the way, running on the beach sucks hardcore)
  • Daily smoothie goodness (banana, guava, soy was my fave!)
  • Learning to surf at Playa Hermosa
  • Ice cream everyday (mainly consumed to-die-for Trits but also loved the choco mint mmmmm)
  • Raw food classes with Joanne
  • Breathtaking views and the infinity pool at XXX < cannot remember what it’s called :)
  • Sunsets, sand castles and tacos with my adoptive family
  • Evening hammock sessions at Casa Zen with the boys
  • Sleeping more than 5 hours… most of the trip I slept 8 hours :)

Santa Teresa is a special place. The beachesand sunsets are absolutely stunning, but the town has some charm too. There ended up being a lot of stress from back home throughout the trip but — still, Santa Teresa calmed me. On the last day, badass Brett told me that I looked more relaxed than when I arrived. Well thank goodness haha.

It’s been years since I bunk bed travelled (I usually opt for the $20 private room over the $8-10 shared dorm). I am someone who loves my space (sorry Casey, Luke, Julie, Jake and Nate). On the second to last day, I was done.


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In order to avoid the 5 hour taxi back to Liberia, I decided to take a regional flight. Sansa Air took me from Tambor to San Jose and then San Jose to Liberia. Breathtaking views on both flights. I’ve been feeling ick the past few days (and also threw up on my 2nd flight)… so when I landed in Liberia I decided to end hostel life early and head to a hotel for the night. I had a hot shower (no more cold!!), room service and slept in a kind sized bed with down duvet. This morning I blow dryed my hair and put on shoes, jeans & mascara! Perfection.

As much as I love travel, I also love home and the routine that comes with day-to-day life. I’m on my flight from Liberia to Miami (then Dallas Fort-Worth) — and honestly so excited to get back to Vancouver. I’m looking forward catching up with my clients, seeing my friends and sleeping in my own bed. I thought I was getting in at 11pm but I actually get in at 8:30pm. Once I get home, I’m heading straight to the grocery store. I can’t wait to put all I learned from Joanne at The Healing Cuisine into action.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be back to work. It’ll be a busy week catching up on client work, plus Forum for Women Entrepreneurs‘ Sparkle Gala, JCI Vancouver’s launch party, Pink Tank Group’s NextGen panel and CKNW’s Pink Shirt Day Ladies Luncheon.

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2 weeks in Costa Rica was just what I needed. It allowed me to breathe [and cough… damn dust. ;)]

I’m very grateful that I am able to see the world and spend time with those who continually expand my mind.

A big thank you to Shannon, Brett and Kaede forthe laughs and love.

PS – Travel Wish List (in no particular order): Panama, Brazil, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Colorado & New Orleans in the USA. … yep, pretty much everywhere. :)

Stellar Saturday: Holiday Edition

Every Friday, the Twitter nerds like to do a little thing called “Follow Friday.” You can recommend other people to follow — and yah, for the most part it’s lame. Why? Because people like to go “#FF: Friend A, Friend B, Friend C, Friend D, Friend E, Friend F, Friend Get the Hell out of my FEED.” Everyone has their own way of doing things, but I’ll only follow your suggestion if you tell me 1) who to follow and (most importantly) 2) why I should follow them.

So anyways, 2011 was a year of absolute disorganization and chaos. I found myself always missing Follow Friday. Sometimes I would get a #FF or two, sometimes I wouldn’t… sometimes I would thank people, sometimes I wouldn’t… it was all very stressful. For the most part I avoided it all together. Instead, on Saturday… I would tweet #StellarSaturday to the masses. My recommendations would come — always heartfelt, just not timely.

As we near the end of the year… there are so many people to thank. I’ve chosen 20 people that I had the opportunity to meet in real life this year. Some of them I met online and took the relationship offline and others the opposite. I can vouch for every single person on this list. They are incredible souls that the world is lucky to have.

Amanda & Ashley – Quite the duo in my opinion. By day, Amanda is Amanda Hamilton Interior Design — and by night, she’s having dance parties in hibiscus flower pyjama pants, hot yoga-ing or not sleeping. Amanda and Ashley are best friends — and they work together! Ashley has some funky title that I can’t remember, but the jist is she designs her day away at the AHID firm. Follow Amanda if you want to have some serious laughter in 2012 — also for crazy rampages and capital letters. Follow Ashley for tweets about life, design and to keep tabs on her gorgeous hair.

Arpen – When I moved to Vancouver, Jill {another one on the list} had recommended that I meet Arpen. She said that we would get along perfectly and be instant friends. Who doesn’t need cool friends? Anyways, Arpen and I went for coffee early this fall and my gosh, she is divine. She’s entrepreneurial, has mad style and is quite the energizer bunny. We talked like, love and the future. Since then we have laughed till the wee hours, discussed joint business ventures and filled our bellies with wine. Arpen doesn’t tweet too often, but follow her if you want to keep tabs on Popchips {she’s the Marketing lady for Western Canada} — and you can also peer pressure her to tweet more.

Cadi – The lovely Cadi Jordan. Cadi and I had been following each other for quite some time prior to my move to the coast. She consults in the spa industry and is the mom to 2 angelic little children. We went for lunch on the Glowbal patio in late summer and conversation came naturally. She is an ideas person — but unlike many {me, included}, she can turn ideas into action! Over the last few months, Cadi and I have connected on so many levels. I’m grateful we had the chance to meet and excited for what we will create together in 2012. Follow Cadi for everything to do with the spa world, health/wellness and the latest in the world of social media.

Chelsey – The first time I met Chelsey was when she arrived at my condo to spend the night! Chelsey and I had been following each other on Twitter and Instagram for quite some time. She reached out to me in early December asking if I had a hotel suggestion for an overnight stay in Vancouver. I told her she could stay with me! Took a risk, but I had good vibes. Chelsey is a journalism/communications student at Royal Roads in Victoria, a fashionista and a charming young woman. Follow her for the latest on the RRU campus, travel, community and everything fashion.

Dan – I have no idea when I met Dan, but I think it was 2011. We had been following each other on Twitter and I practically fell in love with him. The next thing you know we’re having pizza at Una, then tea at Higher Ground and dining with the Perogy Boyz. By day he manages Higher Ground in Kensington. By night he is a food blogger, food journalistic, food geek, food die hard — and is the bright mind behind Start from Scratch. Follow Dan for pure entertainment {he often tweets to himself from his multiple accounts}, delicious recipes and for making the best London Fog in town.

Derek – So this one time… in August… I received a BLOG COMMENT… from a STRANGER. Whoa, eh. I read skimmed the comment, thought it was well thought out — and immediately thought, I must know this man. I emailed Derek telling him that I appreciated the comment and that we should go for coffee. He blew me off for ages, until one day in November I get a random text from him saying that he’s spotted a girl that looks like me. That leads me to learn that we live in the same building and he’s totally a stalker. {… kidding, kind of.} His positives :) are: Founder & COO at Foodtree, connector at Startup Drinks Vancouver and he also holds up a decent conversation. Follow Derek for random tweets about food, music and the community — oh yes, and for being a loyal Summify fan.

Erin – Well well well… this Mrs. Erin Kelly is the leading lady behind Team Kelly. She sells you a mortgage, gives you a mortgage, lends you a mortgage, hell I don’t know. I didn’t go to her for a mortgage. On the side, Erin has a knack for cards and she has a company with her sisters called Card Sisters (clever, eh?). During my final weeks in Calgary, I made a point to turn Erin and my online relationship into IRL. She started off our date at Starbucks by buying me drugs {… Tylenol, obviously} and water! How sweet is that! Anyways she’s an absolute riot. Follow her if you want to be part of the cool crowd — and also for everything to do with mortgages?, real estate?, neurotic behaviour, family and love love love.

Harry – Harry used to have a Twitter bio that was too cool for school. He seemed like a hot shot, so although we regularly chit-chatted, I refused to follow him. One day I was at Club Monaco buying pleather pants and Harry made a hot shot comment. Well, that was the beginning of our relationship. Not too long after, I went with Desiree Dupuis to see a band play in Kits — and Harry was there. I was obviously prepared and had my pleather in full force. Harry has a good soul. It oozes out of him. He’s a family man — with a wife and 2 gorgeous children. He owns Digital Smart Homes — the best way to make your home digital and smart — again, catchy. In 2012, Harry is going to teach me how to be more organized with email. Follow Harry for the usual day-to-day, plus tidbits of everything surf, snow and family.

Jen – Jen is the Founder of NetworkinginVancouver.com and the Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. She is a connector and knows practically everyone in this city. More importantly she has a great heart. She’s a mom, wife and a friend to so many. I met Jen {briefly} at the Art of Marketing this summer in Vancouver. Then shortly after I moved here, she took me under her wing. She kept me in the loop on what events to attend and ensured I had a social life! Jen is a game changer in regards to the community. She’s associated with fantastic initiatives and always has a great new idea. Follow Jen for everything related to Vancouver, constant support and also a refreshing perspective on life — also get in touch with her if you are hosting an event in this city!

Jeph – For whatever reason a pile of people from Saskatchewan have ended up in my Twitter feed. Jeph is one of them. He was in town for Grey Cup weekend, so I told him we needed to meet. After all, we were pretty tight on Twitter… gotta put an in real life face to a name. Jeph and I went to Glowbal’s Coast for dinner {btw, he was scared to eat fish} and had 5 hours of brilliant conversation. Pretty sure we both won ‘best dressed’ that night too. He’s smart and sharp — 2 great qualities! He also inspires me to be better {sap} and has quite the head on his shoulders. Follow Jeph for fresh marketing content and to see what he gets up to in 2012 — amazing things, I’m sure of it!

Jill – Earlier this year, Judy Brooks sent me an email saying that Jill was going to be in Calgary for a conference and that I must meet up with her. We had a double Jill date at Taste {miss you Brendan, Shawn and Bill} and I fell in love with her spirit. Jill is the CEO of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, leading lady behind momcafe Network and the mom to 2 brilliant young girls. She is a connector, entrepreneur and fantastic human being. I feel absolutely blessed to have met Jill this year, she is a bright light. Follow Jill to stay in touch with the local community and learn about fellow entrepreneurs.

Katie – One evening I was at a Stella & Dot party and this tall looker caught my eye. She was wearing a statement necklace and had a glass of wine in her hand — my kind of lady! Katie spends her days producing TED events and giving back to the community. She’s always in the know with the latest change the world initiative and previously was the Co-Chair at YES Vancouver. Time with Katie always leaves you full of love, light and learning. She has lots to teach, so book her for coffee and soak it all up. Follow Katie if you would like to learn new words and be corrected on your grammar — or is it grammer. ;)

Marley – Marley and I have buckets of history… here’s the story (part A and part B) of how we met online back in 2010. This year I had the privilege of meeting her in person. Then shortly after (cause it’s a small world and all), she started working with the fab crew at The Art of Productions in Toronto. Marley is on a mission to change the world and my gosh, you should be along for the ride! She is a regular blogger and is always meeting the latest celeb… yes, she has a whole album of celebs on Facebook. Follow Marley for to learn about the life of a 20-something, gain support in your fitness goals and be randomly inspired.

Michelle – I met Michelle through the Amanda & Ashley duo… I think. Michelle is one of those crazy Asians that just seep into her life. {Except that one time when she unfollowed me on Instagram…} She plays the guitar, wears plaid well and has a great sense of humour. She’ll bust out a move anywhere and Asians all over the world want to be just like her. I met Michelle in Calgary, but it’s important to note, that she’s the 1st person from Calgary to visit me in Vancouver! Follow Michelle for the latest on music, design {yes, she’s a Designer too!} and life in Calgary.

Rob – Rob and I met at JJ Bean on Davie! We are very like-minded when it comes to HR and decided to meet in person. He’s the Founder of Gowerk — performance management done differently {and an excellent tool for small businesses}. He challenges the norm when it comes to HR, understands business problems and solutions and always pays for lunch… ha ha. Follow Rob to keep tabs on Gowerk’s new products, sarcasm and most importantly, to watch him pick fights with all those awful HR people that exist in this big bad world.

Sandra – Opposite to the story of Chelsey, I first met Sandra at the Chinatown skytrain station. She waited for me at the escalators — what were we doing? We had never met in real life, but Sandra offered for me to stay at her place for a week in June! She gave me a heart duvet, Cachaca and bucket loads of laughs. Sandra is a Fashion Consultant, Writer and red-haired dynamo. Follow her to experience storytelling in the streets of Vancouver, random adventures and fashion inspiration.

Shannon – This fall, I invited myself to an event with Women of Whistler (tag-a-long with the wonderful Jill Earthy). Long before I officially met Shannon, I knew who she was… She’s one of those bright people who absolutely light up a room. I had my eye on her throughout the evening, thinking… I… must… know… her. Shannon works for a media company — but MORE IMPORTANTLY, she’s behind a brilliant concept called Pretirement Living (and Diana too!). Shannon is absolutely captivating. Check out the Pretirement blog (… hell, join the movement!) and follow Shannon to learn more about life as a Pretiree.

Tara – In February, Tara and I were both invited to Toronto to star {ha ha} in a Dove Canada promotional campaign. To watch the video, click here. She’s the CEO of Buyosphere {if you’re a fashionista or buyaholic, you must check it out!} and an inspirational woman entrepreneur. I’ll have to admit, she intimidated me at first… but my gosh, she is so down to earth and just oozes with transparency. It has been fascinating to watch Tara grow this year. She writes books, speaks all over the place, blogs on aging and lives life authentically. Follow Tara to learn about the good {and bad} that comes with being entrepreneurial. She is 100% on my must watch list for the years to come; such an amazing woman.

Stephanie – By day, Stephanie is an intern at Hootsuite — and by eve, she is taking over the world of graphic design, supporting SIFE Simon Fraser and trying to come up with a better Twitter handle. I officially met Stephanie in 2010, but she was on my life of people to get to know better when I moved to Vancouver. I love her honesty, quirkiness and dedication for continual improvement. She has no idea how much she is influencing her peers — and it’s honestly refreshing. Follow Stephanie to learn about the life of a 20-something goal-setting, food eating, mover and shaker, graphic designer.

Well there you have it — some of my favourite people of the year.

I’m friends with some, business colleagues with others and acquaintances with a few. You can be guaranteed that I stand behind each and every one of them. I privileged to have met everyone on this list and look forward to all those I will meet in the coming years.

Happy #StellarSaturday and NYE.

Jillian xo