What Other People Think

As a blogger – it’s pretty rare that I get the chance to talk to a real-live follower of my writing (except for my mom of course) so it was a real treat to bump into D recently at a work out class. She actually reads my stuff and regularly offers her thoughtful commentary on my posts.

This particular morning, D confided in me that she has often thought about starting up her own blog- but she said that she hadn’t gotten around to it because she wasn’t sure what she would write about. A blogger friend had told her that before she started she needed to get very specific about her focus and find a niche that would keep readers coming back to her site. When she started looking around at the seemingly endless number of blogs on the web (on every conceivable topic) she felt unsure about what she could really bring to the table.

D’s words got me thinking about how many times I’ve let someone else’s advice, opinion or well-intended suggestion steer me away from doing what I felt called to do. There was that writing prof at university who said if I didn’t feel the overriding need to constantly fill up journal after journal with my writing that I wasn’t truly meant to be a writer. Or the acting teacher in Toronto who told me I was too “perky” to make it in the acting biz. Or the boss at CTV who said if I didn’t have the capacity to “step on the neck of my competition” that I wouldn’t ever succeed in the entertainment industry. Or the naturopath who told me that a plant-based diet was harmful to my family. Or the voice agent who told me my sound was way “too boring” to ever book a job in voice overs. Or the vocal coach who told me I just “didn’t have the chops” to pursue singing.

I’m embarrassed to admit that in most of these cases – I believed them.

unicorn cartoon

So here’s what I’m learning to do in my almost 43 years on the planet – I respectfully listen to what others have to say and then I process it in my own way and in my own time. Sometimes things really resonate with me and other times I say “thanks for your insight” and then go a completely different way. I love listening and learning from others but I’m also getting better at paying attention to my own gut and making  decisions based on what is best for me (I think that’s because I’m actually more badass then boring ; )

D- for what it’s worth (and remember this is only one opinion) – I think you should go for it! I mean it – just sit your butt down at your computer and write whatever pops up. Don’t worry about your niche or if someone else is doing the same thing. If you are open and vulnerable and write from your heart then people will connect with you. And if they don’t – well then you’ve gotten to know yourself better and nourished your creative side and that in itself is pretty darn amazing.

So what about you – do you want to start a blog? Or write a book? Or run a marathon? Or try yoga? Or open your own business? Or volunteer for a charity? Or travel the world? Or produce your own music? Or take a hip-hop class? Or change your diet? Or learn to paint? Or plant a garden? Or spend more time with your family? Or move to a new city? Well, if it’s what your heart and gut are calling you to do – then step right up and do it and don’t let anyone else’s opinion stand in your way.

Thanks for inspiring this post and for supporting my blog D….and from one writer to another – I really look forward to reading your stuff soon!

 

 

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Gratitude for 1000

When I started my blog in January of 2013, my 12-year-old son threw out a challenge:

“Mom – I think you should try to get 100 followers by the end of the year.”

I immediately started adding in my head: I knew I could count on my mom and dad, my husband, my sister and some close friends- but 100?! That seemed like a very tall order. But I agreed to the challenge and set about writing my posts as honestly as I could – about my plant-based diet, my family, my own personal struggles and successes and my thoughts on everything from dog food to dance makeup.

As the numbers slowly started to grow (20, 50, 60) I liked to imagine inviting everyone over to my house for a cocktail party. “How did you find me?” I’d ask – and “Here – have a glass of wine and a vegan appetizer!” I fantasized about how cool it would be to bring everyone together to learn from each other and to share our common interests.

Much to my surprise the numbers just kept increasing. After many months of learning, I dipped my toes into the worlds of Facebook and Twitter and the numbers jumped again. Sometimes I’d write something that I thought was totally brilliant and all I’d get back in return was a handful of hits and the sound of crickets chirping in the background. Other times, I’d reluctantly hit publish on a particularly sensitive topic and you would respond with a flood of support, insightful commentary and “likes”.

I know 1000 doesn’t sound like a lot when compared with the millions of followers garnered by celebrities and blogging superstars but it really feels like something special to me. A milestone of sorts. I was scared to death to start my blog but it was worth every misstep and falter just for the opportunity to express my creativity and to share a bit of myself with all of you.

Truth be told, I still don’t really know what the heck I’m doing. I’ve got the bare bones hosting software, a free platform from Word Press and very basic tech skills on a good day (and frankly I don’t know a hashtag from a hashbrown). But I’ve learned all of that matters less than just sitting my butt down at my computer and writing straight from my heart. This in turn has resulted in a connection with 1000 followers from around the world and for that I am deeply grateful.

Thank you so much to everyone on Word Press, on Twitter and on Facebook for reading, commenting, liking and following me on this journey. Your support means the world to me! There is really only 1 big problem – where do I find a venue big enough for all 1000 of us to get together for that cocktail party : )

 

1 Year Later & My Top 10 from 2013

One year ago I sat down and published the very first post on my blog titled “I’m Gonna Look“. And I was terrified. I had absolutely no idea about the ins and outs of blogging and I was sharing a very vulnerable piece with an unknown audience. Pretty scary stuff.

But I did it. And in pushing through my fear I connected with a community of bloggers, family, friends and like-minded individuals who indulged me in a journey of self-discovery. My initial intent was to simply use my blog as a vehicle for sharing family friendly recipes but it quickly evolved as I changed and learned and mustered up the courage to write about my successes, failures, insights and discoveries.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along (861 of you and counting!) and especially to my family and close friends for allowing me to write so candidly about our experiences. The creative process of writing for this blog has brought me more joy than I ever could have anticipated at this time last year.

To celebrate 1 year, I thought I’d share a Top 10 List of my own personal favourite posts from 2013:

1. Family Day Busy-ness

2. Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Caramels

3. Garbage In Garbage Out Featuring Scooby Doo

4. The Importance of Making Mistakes

5. A Manly Vegan Meal

6. How I Look

7. Why I Love My Vitamix and a Starter Green Smoothie Recipe

8. 10 Hilarious Ways to Lighten Things Up

9. My Summer of Indulgence

10. Kids Cook Night

If you have the time take a browse through some of my totally brilliant and insightful posts from last year ; )

And now for the big question: …….did I look? Well yes I did. And although I didn’t always like what I saw (oh hi new wrinkles), the more I  stared the more I came to realize that loving my image is just the first step in the journey. As much as I learn to adore my reflection in the mirror, the even bigger challenge is to love the person I am when I am sitting in stillness- to be brave enough to really get to know and love myself and to sit quietly in an effort to know my own mind.

So here is my personal intention for 2014: silence and discovery. And don’t worry if this seems to woo-woo for your tastes – I promise to keep posting my plant-based recipes and family friendly holistic discoveries.

But I do have a small favour to ask of all of you for this new year: please stay in touch! Write in the comments if you agree or disagree, share your own successes and failures and let me know if there is something you’d like me to write about. I appreciate your silent support but it would be even nicer to hear from you : )

Happy new year and cheers to a healthy 2014!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….

First of all I must apologize for not posting very much over the past few weeks. I recently picked up a rather large voice over and writing assignment that is going to keep me hopping until mid-November so I won’t be able to write on my beloved blog as much as I’d like to. My plan is to put up one post per week but you’ll have to be patient with me as I attempt to strike a balance between an increased workload and the hectic schedule that fall inevitably brings.

That being said – if any of you would be interested in offering up a guest post with your favourite veggie recipe or your best tips and tricks for staying healthy and happy – fire your ideas over to me at loriandmark@cogeco.ca and I will gladly pop them up on my blog.

In the meantime, here are a few things I’m loving lately to tide you over until next week:

Genestra Bio-Enzymes– If you are anything like me, a more relaxed summer mode sometimes equals a less than ideal diet. Summer parties at friends houses, lemonade and chips on hot summer afternoons, quick and easy take-out meals and evening jaunts to Yogurty’s can sometimes leave me with a serious case of gut rot. Since I usually endeavor to eat fairly cleanly, my body sometimes rebels when I chow down on an over abundance of junk food. So a huge thank you to my good friend Jess who turned me  on to these amazing chewable digestive enzymes. They are guaranteed to contain no added wheat, starch, yeast, gluten, soy, artificial flavoring, preservatives or dairy products and they naturally “support optimal digestion and proper absorption of nutrients.” I even give them to the kids if they are complaining of tummy aches and they work like a charm!

genestra

Drive-In Movies – one of my favourite childhood memories is of throwing on my pajamas and piling into the car with my family, our pillows, blankets and huge buckets of popcorn and heading off to drive-in movies. I was very excited to share the fun with my own kids and now that the youngest is 3 (and napping for 3 hours each afternoon) we decided it was time to hit the drive-in. We loaded up the trunk of our van with a thin mattress and sleeping bags and brought the kids to see Smurfs 2. Honestly the movie wasn’t my favourite but we had an absolute blast snuggling under the blankets, munching on popcorn and enjoying a flick under the stars together. Guaranteed family fun!

drive in

Dog Shaming– I recently stumbled upon this hilarious website at www.dogshaming.com and I can’t get enough of these laugh-out-loud photos. The premise is to catch your family pet either in the act or just after they have done something naughty and then take a photo of them with a little note explaining what they’ve done. My whole family is cracking up over these photos and I’m fairly sure I’ll be posting a pic of my own Scooby Doo quite soon.

dog shaming best

Garden Fresh Salad– thanks to my hubby’s green thumb, my garden is currently overflowing with tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh basil. I wanted to create a simple summer salad featuring these beautiful ingredients so I chopped up the veggies and basil and threw them in a bowl with the juice of 1 lime, a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Yum!

garden salad

Self-Improvement– my dad instilled in me a love for self-improvement and life-long learning. I fondly remember him toting me along to seminars with Zig Ziglar and Norman Vincent-Peale at a very early age and teaching me about the principles of Dale Carnegie and other motivational leaders. As a result I am somewhat of a junkie when it comes to this stuff and I am always reading and seeking out inspirational material. I’m currently loving Joseph Campbell’s book “The Power of Myth and following a number of amazing bloggers like “Zen Habits“, “The Daily Love” and Crazy SexyWellness“.

zen habits

Ashton Kutcher Video– have you watched Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech from the most recent Teen Choice awards yet? Thanks to my friend Sue who posted the video on her facebook page, I have watched it at least a half a dozen times and I learn something each and every time. Who knew the guy from “Dude, Where’s My Car?” could be so profound? If you haven’t seen it – gather your family around the computer and watch it now. It’s must see!

Thank you for your patience as I concentrate my writing efforts elsewhere for a while. And please get in touch if you’d like to try your hand at a little writing on my blog!