Resting Beach Face

F19A2E61-B953-4A9C-99FA-61CE94DA0A53Something happened this past week that has just amplified an issue I’ve had for some time. I went to the beach on Wednesday to relax and spend some time by myself. I really needed this day to just shut my brain off for a bit because for the last while I’ve been so go-go-go, I haven’t felt relaxed in quite awhile. I was sitting on my towel, under my umbrella, reading a book when I noticed a few texts and emails from work. This annoyed me slightly and reminded me why a Wednesday as a day off was too difficult to be able to turn off, as most other people are working still. During this 30 second interaction with my phone, I happened to look up and notice a family with 2 small children were beginning to set up camp in front of me. Now, admittedly this is not my favourite sight as children tend to be louder in general (but so do teenager groups) and as I’m on a public beach I’m not upset by this development, just simply noticed and then proceed to contemplate my work situation again. A few moments later I was pulled from my thoughts by the father of this family, who proceeded to question me if I had just rolled my eyes at his family. I was so caught off guard it took me a moment to realize he was even talking to me and then I held up my phone and politely said “no, sir. I’m thinking about the work situation.” That was not good enough, he became aggressive and raised his voice, continuing to berate me in front of the whole beach, claiming to have seen me “roll my eyes” even though I was wearing sunglasses that you cannot see my eyes through (part of why I bought them). I kept repeating I was just sitting here, that it was a work message and that it was not directed at him until finally, he uttered the infamous sentence “well, you have a resting bitch face then” before he finally moved off down the beach with his family. Now, why did this experience bother me so much? Not for the reasons you might think.
1. His family did not appear to be upset over this interaction. His wife merely started gathering up their belongings as it started and the children just stood there. No one cried or reacted or tried to approach him to calm him down. Which tells me they are used to his temper and that really made me sad for them. I also felt sad that his children would grow up thinking that was appropriate behaviour.
2. No one said anything until after he left. People all around witnessed the interaction and how he was acting and no one said anything. Granted most are with their families and don’t want that anger directed at them but had someone simply said “Hey man, there are kids here, just walk away” it would have shown him (even slightly) that his behaviour was not okay and to yell at a stranger like that was not how to handle the problem. Even if I was upset by them sitting in front of me (which I truly wasn’t) or had “rolled my eyes”, did that really affect them? If I were sitting there huffing audibly or commented to them directly about it, then sure his response would have been more valid but an eye roll should not warrant a public shaming.
3. I don’t like to be accused of doing something I didn’t do. Like most people my ego was hurt a bit by him publicly claiming I was being rude to a family with small children. The one family beside me said after they couldn’t believe how he acted and they knew I didn’t do it but still… did they or were they just trying to get out of more awkwardness? What about the other people around? Then I had to remind myself that I know the true me and so what if others believe me or not, I know my truth. I also reminded myself that I cannot control others or their perceptions of me. This has been a constant battle my whole life and a lesson I need to remind myself of over and over. I’ve always been a people pleaser and wanted to be well-liked and often have tried too hard because of it. Thankfully as I’ve grown, I’ve become aware of this and have made steps to become more self-assured and care less about what people think of me. Travelling has helped a great deal!
4. Finally, the thing that bothered me the most and is probably the most problematic is the comment “resting bitch face”. Since my server days I have been plagued by that sentence in varying forms, because when I am thinking (like counting change for instance) I have a “look” on my face that either made my bosses think I was stressed out or overwhelmed by my section or customers claim I was rude or giving bad service. It actually took me years to realize it was my face doing something “wrong” and I had to work hard to try and relax it and appear nicer. My job made the instances more frequent but it was not restricted to work, I was often getting comments simply walking down the street or out at a club or bar with friends. The worst part is that I am not alone, women constantly have random men saying things like “Why aren’t you smiling?”, “What, are you upset?”, “Bad mood today?” if they aren’t smiling, acting how they except or (the most appalling) aren’t interested in flirting with them. I’ve heard it many times over the years but since this incident, I’ve had more woman say how it happens to them all the time! This should not be a regular occurrence and I am frustrated that it unfortunately is. I am also upset that as women we feel we need to justify our face, our feelings or our “bitchiness”. Some women actually own it saying things like “Ya, so what, I am a bitch”. Yes, sometimes I am rude, mean, annoyed, frustrated but I’m also happy, sad, joyful, angry and everything in between because I am HUMAN. I will own it if I am in a bad mood or if I’m deliberately being rude to someone but I am not defined by my mood or by my perceived mood. We have to stop commenting to women for not being what we expect them to be. We have to stop expecting women to be a certain way in general. We have to stop making it okay to say things like “smile” to a woman because you wouldn’t say that to a man walking down the street. We need it to be okay for a woman to be mad or upset. We need to stop justifying our feelings. Period.
I know this happens to men in other ways too, but for the sake of this article, I’m only talking about women.
Let’s start a discussion below. Has this happened to you? What are your thoughts? Do you think I’m overreacting?
xo Shawn
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Changing It Up

“Change is the only constant in life.”-Heraclitus
3C2B87C4-3884-4B5A-BCC9-378AD1F9C618 2Today happens to be the last day of one of my co-workers who has worked at the studio for nearly two decades. She is the first instructor I ever took Pilates with at that very same studio, that I now work at as well. Luckily for me, she has become not only a mentor to me but also a friend. It is the end of an era. But change is a constant and as humans we need change to let us grow, challenge us and propel us into opportunities we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Change can be good, albeit difficult at times.
This change comes just over a month after another co-worker/client/friend unexpectedly passed away. That change was the awful kind, that shakes you up inside and makes you examine your own life a bit more, your health and that of your family. Looking for clues and answers where there are none. He was a genuine, kind and passionate person who gave is all to his friends, family, partner and students and his absence is felt. Last weekend a few co-workers and I, along with hundreds of others, went to his celebration of life. His family, friends and students rallied together to put on performances showing their love. It was incredible to witness this tribute and his presence was felt in each and every moment.
His passing and my other co-worker leaving her position are very different on the spectrum of loss and change but both are impacting in their own ways. Change is inevitable, but all the more reason to cherish each moment, to celebrate, to hug, to laugh, to encourage, to remember.
Sometimes we have to take a step back to appreciate what we have and sometimes to see what we are missing. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my work/life balance and what I want out of my career over the last year (see my recent post here). These recent changes have both affected me in different ways and even more so, I want to take some time this summer to enjoy my life and my family more. Career is important absolutely and I want to feel successful and proud of my work. I still have plans to grow and expand my business and that is important, to continue to be fulfilled in your career path. But taking the time to enjoy your friends, family and time by yourself is equally important. This last month has reinforced that concept to me. I already knew it but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and forget that time is fleeting.
Just a reminder.
xo Shawn

Travelling- Then & Now

Firstly, 2013 was not that long ago; a mere 6 years and yet when referencing travelling internationally and how much data and mobile usage have changed in that time, it might as well be a lifetime!
IMG_4742_editedMy first major experience of travelling internationally was in 2010 and we used hostel computers to send emails back home. The idea of mobile data was still a foreign concept to me, as I still had a basic flip phone and therefore, not having data access was not at all out of the ordinary for me. Flash forward to 2013 and my first iPhone (yes, I waited until the 5 to get onboard from my Blackberry) was practically glued to me at all times. The novelty of a smartphone had just been experienced and I was hooked. This new found freedom to Google wherever and whenever and download app after app to play addictive games to waste hours upon hours was such a new experience for me. Which is what made my 2013 trip that much more difficult to get through without the easy access I was now accustomed to. At the time, Rogers who is my service provider, had 3 package options while travelling. I can’t remember the specifics but each one came with talk and text plans but no data whatsoever. I easily blew through my plans each month I was away (4 in total) and would have to get another and sometimes another still. If you used one plan up, you had to wait until your next billing cycle to get that same plan again, which meant I’d have to get the increasingly less talk and text plans as the month went on. Calling cards worked too but they can be a hassle to purchase and dial in a rush, so out of convenience I’d use my cell phone. My biggest reasons for using the talk and text up was of course due to travelling alone, I’d call my mother or a friend to chat or tell them about some amazing thing I saw that day. But often, I’d also use up my plans to call my mother for help finding a place or a phone number I needed if lost. I had written out loads of directions to my hostels, etc. before leaving and yet, inevitably, I’d end up lost or confused and need help. Asking strangers for directions in a place you can’t speak the language, sometimes very early in the morning or late in the night, is not the best of ideas as a female travelling alone. About halfway through my trip I was introduced to City Maps which is an offline GPS mapping app that allows you to search for addresses or places, gives directions and shows you which direction you are walking. The issue was you had to download the maps while using Wifi so if you forgot (like I did in Bilbao at 11pm) then you were screwed and would have to use your data to download or find a traditional map. I had used maps prior to learning about the app but sometimes the map wouldn’t show enough of the city and would be essentially useless for me to find my hostel. Also, nothing screams #tourist more than a giant map. That evening in Bilbao nothing was even open to find a map, so I opted to download the map and was hit with a $65 charge at home for the 2 mins it took to download. It’s also worrisome until you get your updated usage to know if you’ve properly turned off all the data roaming and mobile data so you would not be accidentally charged. The whole experience was a dance of plans and phone calls and map downloading and timing it all as best as I could and there was much room for error. In total, I spent upwards of $1500 in extra charges and plan fees during that trip and remember I had no data usage except that one charge either.
A while ago Rogers announced a “roam like home” feature which essentially allows you to use your current plan to travel to the US and Europe for an additional charge per day. For the US it is $7 /day and to Europe, it is $12/ day up to a maximum charge of 15 days per billing cycle. After 15 days, you do not pay more and keep using your current plan as normal! That means in comparison my trip to Europe now would result in a bill of only $720 with data usage for 4 months. I only just got to use this new option as I hadn’t been away in some time and so I was a bit nervous and apprehensive that I’d somehow come home to a crazy bill again. I read and re-read the description and small print to verify I didn’t have to turn off anything while travelling or that I’d have a hidden limit. I still nervously checked my account during the first 24 hours for any extra charges but I was completely safe and was able to search, Google, use my phones GPS, hire Lyft rides and call my mom all for a fraction of the price it was in 2013. My mind was blown!
Now, if you do not have a large data or talk plan then you still might need calling cards, maps and Wifi or if you are travelling somewhere not covered by this feature. I also cannot comment on other service providers and their travel options but I was pleasantly surprised by Rogers on this one. I only wish this was around in 2013! #rogersroamlikehome
This blog was not written to promote Rogers as a service provider, as I’m sure other companies offer similar travel options (or they should), but only to acknowledge how technology has changed in the last decade in one particular way (as it’s changed in many other ways too).
I hope this post helps you in your travels and if you don’t have data options, then I highly recommend City Maps to easily get around and not stand out like an obvious tourist.
Of course, if you are like me and take a hundred photos a day, you still might stand out! #sorrynotsorry
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Comment below if you’ve had similar experiences or any tips you have for getting around in other countries, I’d love to hear about it!
xo Shawn

Old friend. New friend. 



I haven’t wrote in a while because, to be honest, I couldn’t find the words. Recently my car (my first car) finally gave way and the rust got the better of him. His name is Monty and for the last five years he has been my best friend. He was there for me when I needed him; when I was sad, angry or happy. Singing my heart out driving to Wasaga beach or balling my eyes out as I sit in my driveway, he was there. My grandma bought him in Alberta and drove him to Ontario when she came to live with my dad and I. That car drove her and my late aunt everywhere! When my grandma could no longer drive, she gave the car to my dad. My dad drove it for a few years before finally passing it on to me. He was really proud to be able to give the car to me, really proud. I was ecstatic to get my very own car! I’m also one of the most sentimental people in the world and it meant more to me that it was passed down through generations. 

So can you see why it is breaking my heart into pieces to have to say goodbye? I feel like that safety and comfort is gone. That the connection to my family that I feel each time I get into that car will be gone forever. This may seem silly to most but it’s how I feel. I know it’s just a thing, a piece of metal but to me it’s so much more. 

Since Monty is literally undrivable (I held out as long as I possibly could) I gave in and bought a brand new car. I feel safer then I did at the end with Monty and I know my dad would be just as proud that his little girl was able to do that for herself. I’m trying to be positive. But Monty is still in my driveway and once he gets carted off to the scrap yard I don’t know what will happen… That’s the truth. 

Sorry for the sad post but I had to get that out. 

Thank you.

Happy New Year 2015!

Can you believe this time last year I was in Dubai? This whole year has flown by, almost too quickly. I’m not one for new year resolutions, mostly because I try to continuously better myself year round (and I believe your new year begins on your birthday). I’m well aware of what I want to improve on in myself but I think change is ever evolving. This year was one of soul searching and deciding what makes me happy. It was a very memorable year as I said good-bye to my 20’s and embarked on a new career path. I am blessed to have found my passion and to be officially starting that new chapter in 2015. I still have more career goals to accomplish in the new year, including becoming certified and taking additional classes but learning is a life long endeavour. Of course I have some travel goals for the new year as well!
It was also a year of learning to trust myself. Often I second guess my decisions or wonder if I made the right choice; what I’ve learned is to have no regrets, mistakes are what make us human. Things might not happen how I thought they would but they happen how they are suppose to, my new career is proof of that.
Your never going to be ready; even if your unhappy, there is comfort in that familiarity.
Be positive; I know some incredible people and for 2015 I want to surround myself with that positive energy.
I’ve spent too long being unhappy and I took this year to make some much needed changes. I wasn’t always sure it was right and rarely was it easy but I didn’t give up. When my dad passed, I lost the most stable and secure element of my whole life. I was lost and I’ve spent the last three years trying to find my way back. Europe helped to put me back together; I finally felt a joy for life again. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. The holidays are hardest time of the year; Christmas was his favourite and every new year, right at midnight, he always called me. It still makes me sad when I think of him, but I know he would be so proud of how far I’ve come. I spent so long being sad. So, for the first time that I can remember, I am making a new year resolution; to be more happy and bring more positivity into my life. This is true for all areas of my life from work to friends to family. My dad always had a positive outlook on life and he found joy in his pets, family, friends and hobbies. I think sometimes we forget the little things.
Time flies and life is too short to be unhappy; take a moment to be grateful for all the good in your life.

Here’s to a very happy 2015!

Below are the pictures of some of the people who made 2014 a memorable year and a couple of those who aren’t with us anymore, but who I cherish in my memory and who shaped me into the person that I am.
Thank you.

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