Meet Oonagh Duncan- a #FCRoleModel for 2017!

Name: Oonagh Duncan     
Title: Fitness Expert
Business: Fit Feels Good
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Fresh Collective’s CEO and Founder, Laura-Jean Bernhardson chatted with Oonagh Duncan, a fitness expert, owner of Fit Feels Good and Fresh Collective Role Model. Here’s their chat!

 

LJ: One of the many things I love about you, Oonagh, is you seem to have endless positive energy. You’re always “up” and fun to be around, and ready to try new things. Is this just the way you’re wired? Or a side effect of living a super healthy life?

 

OD: What a nice compliment! Well – A healthy lifestyle definitely helps give me a ton of physical energy.  As far as the positivity, it largely comes from the fact that I get to work on my own business doing something that I LOVE with the funniest, coolest people in the world (my clients).  

 

Also – it’s kind of my JOB to be upbeat and positive – so even if I’m having a day where I’m not really feeling it, I need to put that aside and damn well do my job. Sometimes it’s a ‘fake it til you make it’ thing but but the faking it for my clients will pretty much always work to get me out of a funk.

 

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LJ: How did you get to be a fitness expert? I understand you weren’t always a jocky girl…..  (I remember some video when you said in high school you spent most of your time making fliers about how everything was sexist!!! That makes me lol)
 

OD: Ha! YES! Even as a kid I hated gym class and I could never imagine why anyone would want to spend recess running around when they could be reading Harriet the Spy.

 

As a teenager I couldn’t imagine anything more embarrassing that being caught physically TRYING at something.  So I…didn’t.
 
And being a cerebral, sarcastic smoker with the biggest Spice Girls boots definitely has it’s place but let me tell you – it doesn’t do much for your fitness.

 

It wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I decided that I was sick of being embarrassed of my body and feeling like shit and went for my first wheezing, lurching jog when no one was looking.

 

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LJ: I’ve heard you talk so passionately about how you love to help your clients get fit and live better lives. Is that what really drives you in your business?

 

OD: Oh dude. YES.  I mean, I just know how that feels – to be gaining weight, to feel like you don’t recognize your body anymore, to feel low energy and creaky and grumpy…. and like it’s all just an inevitable slide that comes with aging.  

 

And now that I know that it is NOT inevitable, that you don’t have to just settle for feeling like crap –  I want to shout it from mountains and take strangers by the hand and run up to people on the subway and shake their shoulders and look into their eyes and tell them ‘It doesn’t have to be this way! Come!! Let me show you!!! I’ve totally got a plan that works!!’

 

I haven’t tried that marketing technique yet but I’m constantly stifling the impulse. 🙂

 

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LJ: As you know, I love to talk business, strategy and marketing with you. You seem like a natural entrepreneur, but is the business acumen something you had to learn along the way?

 

OD: I’ve definitely always been drawn to business.  I have had a few real jobs and sucked so hard at them because I just couldn’t understand why I would work so hard for someone else’s dream. Since my 20’s I’ve started companies ranging from an in home personal chef service, a theatre production company, and my current fitness gig.

 

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I feel like I’ve had a huge advantage because  I grew up with a single mum who is an awesome businesswoman so I knew it was POSSIBLE to do this kind of stuff when you aren’t starting out with a lot of money. I saw her make it happen and figured there’s no reason why I couldn’t do the same. If I ever influenced anyone else in a similar way that would make me happy.
 
But hell yes I’ve been learning along the way! Every single month I sit down (now with my team) and analyze what worked and what didn’t as far as marketing, client results, community engagement and then head back to the drawing board to do it better this month. 

 

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LJ: The biggest part of your business is your 28 Day Transformation Challenge. What can people expect if they join?

 

OD: Well at the risk of sounding really cheesy – a total transformation.  The average weight loss for the month is 11 pounds. But that’s actually no big deal. The big deal is that you now have healthy habits that work for you and that will STICK. Habits that will make you more energetic, confident and HAPPY. Because really, that’s the point – being happier.

 

LJ: What kind of people typically do join?

 

OD: The people who join are usually people who have tried a lot of other methods on their own and haven’t seen lasting results. Often they’ve had kids or they are approaching menopause or they have just been up and down that dieting rollercoaster so many times and they feel like they are ready for more accountability and support.

 

Other than that – it’s kind of a diverse crowd! We have people from all over Canada and the US as well as a small but growing European contingent. We have dudes in their 30’s who are super hard core and always asking for tough workouts. We have women in their 60s who are not ready for exercise yet but moving more and adjusting their nutrition. It’s very cool to see everyone getting results and supporting each other no matter what stage they are at.

 

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LJ: You work with your husband now. How is that working out? Do you ever just want to strangle each other?

 

OD: Ha! Not yet! It’s actually really awesome for so many reasons. It’s been amazing shifting some of the work to his shoulders and collaborating with him creatively.  He also frees me up by taking care of most of family stuff, like when one of our kids are home sick (before that would always fall to me as the one with the ‘flexible job’ – HARHARHAR).

 

But the best part is that I’ve been so consumed with my business and I love that now he’s stepped into my world. The only problem is that it’s hard to shut off the business brain when you can always turn to your spouse and say ‘I think I have an idea about how we can solve that…”

 

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LJ: What plans do you have for your business growing over the next couple of years?

 

OD: Right now I’m working on streamlining all our systems so our marketing and content delivery cycle is more automatic. That way I can spend less time in front of my computer and do more in person appearances and public speaking.  I’ve also got massive ideas on how to improve all my products (right now I’m working on an app to better deliver workouts and tracking to my online clients.) Other than that, I just have to figure out how to reach more people. I have a system that really works and I just have to get the word out more.

 

 
LJ: What else do you want to accomplish in your life? Do you have big travel plans or any other personal projects?

 

OD: I’d love to take this show on the road and go on an extended travel adventure with my family. Part of the reason my husband started to work for me is so we have that freedom. I’d also love to reach more people with a book. And finally, we have some rental units in Toronto and I’d very much like to expand our real estate investments.
 
LJ: What else should we know about you?

 

OD: I’m  an internationally produced documentary playwright. 🙂

 

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Meet Minerva Maharajh – A Fresh Collective Role Model for 2017

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Minerva is wearing the Vogue Dress from Montreal label Cherry Bobin

Before I met you, I didn’t know “Spiritual Life Coach” was a thing! Did you know before you became one? Or when you discovered it was a thing, was it kind of like the heavens opened up for you?

I didn’t know it was a thing either:)

I was just in a different career path that didn’t make me happy for a very long time and when I stopped to reflect I finally decided I wanted to be one of those people who woke up excited to do their work and who was very good at it.

I started to say “Why not me? Why can’t I have it all?” so I started a deep soul/ personal journey to rediscover what I was good at and passionate about.

I kept having these visions and strong urges to do life coaching that intertwines meditation and spiritual components.

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Minerva is wearing the Archipal Dress  from Montreal label Cherry Bobin

Once I started researching how to get certified as a coach I discovered a program for Spiritual Life Coaching and the rest is history!

I haven’t looked back since. I truly feel I am finally living a life and doing work I am good at and very passionate about. To me, it is possible to have it all, I’m living it now.

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Minerva is wearing the Emmanuelle Dress from Montreal label Annie 50.

Knowing you, it is SO the right career path for you. You’re so authentic and connected to people, and down to earth as well! What do you love most about your career?

Aww thank you! I guess you touched right on it. What I love most about my work is that it doesn’t feel like work, I get to be myself and share my story, passion, talents and gifts with others.

I feel that when you operate from a place of deep truth and authenticity the rest unfolds greater than you could have imagined.

From working with amazing private clients, retreats, workshops, talks….my career is unfolding greater than I thought possible.

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Minerva is wearing the Henley Dress from Toronto label Mandala Design

What did you do before you got onto this path?

Before Spiritual Life Coaching I was pursuing a career in film & television as an actress and dancer.

I was doing this for over 15 years. I had an agent, did some fun work on tv, music videos, movies and danced for NBA Toronto Raptors and backup for some artists.

However, after I got married I realized I was pursuing something that didn’t bring out the best in me or make me happy.

I felt like I was fighting against something greater for me. So once I stopped and listened, the essence of what I always wanted for myself and career (ease, flow, authenticity, using my gifts, talents and passions to help and inspire others) unfolded to me.

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Curious what Spiritual Life Coaching could do for you?

Minerva is running a giveaway till the end of April.

In a FREE 45 minute call, you can:

* Discover what spirituality means to you,
* What blocks you from living the life you want, and
* How to start removing your blocks instantly!

FREE 45 min call – Giving away 50 SPOTS until April 30th!

Book your spot today

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You got a new puppy! Tell us about her (him?) !!

Yes! I just got a new puppy! Her name is Tulip. She is a maltipoo who is about 3 months old. She is the little love my life. And she is an old soul (just like me!).

The funny thing is once me and my husband decided to add a member to our family I knew it was going to be an old soul. The day we met her, when I picked her up the breeder said “She’s an old soul”. I knew she was ours!

She stares deep in your eyes and you can feel her in your heart. She’s something special for sure.

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Minerva is wearing the Stefie Jacket from Canadian label Soia & Kyo.

What inspires you about working with your clients?

What inspires me about working with my clients is when they are ready to break free from limiting patterns and experiences in their life and ready to do the work!

I love those that are fed up and ready for change and they take responsibility and have courage to take the next step.

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Minerva is wearing the Sophie Dress from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

What are your plans for your business over the next couple years?

My plans for my business for the next couple of years is to continue with my 1-on-1 coaching clients, run 3-4 of my spiritual and personal development retreats called ‘Eat. Meditate. Love’ per year (my next retreat date can be found here: www.goddessofwisdom.ca/retreats/) and start writing my first bestselling book!

 

What spiritual practices do you use personally to manage the stresses of being an entrepreneur?

I have my “Morning of Joy” routine. As soon as I wake up I say thank you for at least 3 things a day, set an intention of who I want to be for the day, cuddle my sweet pup, do some yoga stretches then meditate and pray.

This always sets me up to a great place of centeredness to handle anything throughout the day.

Whenever I do feel stress as an entrepreneur, I do still turn to deep breathing and meditation throughout the day, journaling and/or reach out for support from my husband or a fellow entrepreneur friend. The mastermind groups I am a part of help as well.

 

Do you have any tips for people who are new to spirituality and want to start exploring how it can impact their life?

My advice is to follow what feels good & light! Spirituality means so many different things to many people and there are many different paths to get there. Whatever your spirit/intuition calls you to will feel “light” and easy. And whatever gives you a sense of relief, peace, hope and “ah-ha” moments follow that as well!

Guided meditations helped me discover and understand who I was and establish a deeper connection to myself and a Higher Power and from that I was guided to other teachers, books, spiritual readings, practices, etc; Once you are ready the next step will be revealed…you just have to be open and willing.

 

I have some great resources available to help new and experienced spiritualists:

FREE ‘How to Meditate in 5 Easy Steps’ guide & audio meditation to ‘Get Present’ for download and keeps: www.goddessofwisdom.ca

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I am also running a 4 week Spiritual Series starting April 5th to learn the 4 pillars of Spirituality and how to apply them to every area to uplevel your professional and personal lives.  

You can register here.

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Minerva is wearing the Henley Dress from Toronto label Mandala Design

To me spirituality is often the part of us that is left out of the equation when searching for answers, healing and advancement in life but it should be the first place we look because our spirit and Higher Power only and always wants what’s best for you so it will innately lead you to just that.

We are spirit beings before human beings so that part of you lives in you and always has the answer within.

It has never failed me, or my clients. Once you tap into that side of you the answers, love, healing and abundance you seek is unleashed.

 

What appealed to you about joining us as a Role Model?

Well, you actually appealed to me Laura- Jean 🙂 I admire you as a strong and talented business women so to be apart of anything you’ve created is simply an honor and privilege. (Awwww… thank you… blush… LJ)

Plus I love how you highlight other entrepreneur women and women of different shapes and sizes. To me you highlight beauty comes in different shapes and forms which is more relatable. 

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Minerva is wearing Sophie Dress from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

What in your life is most important to you?

What is most important to me is to live a life of worth. Meaning live a life that is worth looking back and being proud of; and to live a life knowing I am worthy of the highest and best life has to offer.

 

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Step Up Your Casual Style with Oonagh’s Capsule Wardrobe

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We worked with Oonagh Duncan, one of our 2017 Role Models, in this fun photoshoot to create some style solutions for her life!

She wanted easy, casual looks for every day that step up her style a couple notches from her usual super casual activewear looks.

Shop all Oonagh’s looks here.

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Jennifer Tee, High-Rise Capri Jeans, Necklace from burfurtART, Dahlia Purse, Sylvia Tote; Coleanthus Cardigan

Like so many of our customers, Oonagh wanted looks that are dead easy to put together and versatile pieces that go with lots of items already in her closet.

We chose 3 tops, 2 bottoms and a jacket, and had fun mixing and matching with accessories to create these 12 looks. 

Shop all Oonagh’s looks here.

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Coleanthus CardiganHigh-Rise Capri JeansDahlia Purse, Kim Convertible Backpack, Alexie Tee, Owl Cotton Scarf

Want us to help you create style solutions for your life like this?

Whatever your goals, our Wardrobe Makeover Style Consultation will help you learn and have fun with fashion! Sign up for FREE now, for a limited time!

StepUp Banner

Book your FREE Wardrobe Makeover Style Consultation today!
Click on the image for more info and use promocode STEPITUP to make it FREE!

outfits3Coleanthus CardiganHigh-Rise Capri Jeans, Mel Cowl Tee, Feather Scarf, Haliscera Headband

Along with choosing the right pieces in a palette that all coordinates, accessories are key to extending your wardrobe.

When you work with our Style Coaches, we’ll teach you how to confidently create more looks that you imagined with the right accessories tying them together.

Shop all Oonagh’s looks here.

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Coleanthus Cardigan, Jennifer Tee, Purple Bird Scarf, Greta Work Tote, Yoga Jeans

Now these looks are just using these pieces and accessories. Just imagine the possibilities integrating all these pieces into Oonagh’s closet?

Using skirts, pants and tops she already has along with these, she could make it through the whole spring season and never wear the same look twice!

Shop all Oonagh’s looks here.

outfits5Coleanthus CardiganMel Cowl TeeYoga JeansPurple Bird Scarf, Alexie Tee

We’d love to help you create looks that work for your life. Oonagh’s a well-known Toronto fitness expert who mostly works at home on her online programs.

When she steps out to meet a friend for lunch, she wants to represent her brand by looking stylish and casual while expressing her personality.

Shop all Oonagh’s looks here.

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Coleanthus CardiganMel Cowl TeeYoga JeansAlexie Tee, Necklace from burfurtART

So, what about you? 

Whatever your goals, our Wardrobe Makeover Style Consultation will help you learn and have fun with fashion! Sign up for FREE now, for a limited time!

StepUp Banner

Book your FREE Wardrobe Makeover Style Consultation today!
Click on the image for more info and use promocode STEPITUP to make it FREE!

 

 

Meet a 2017 Role Model- Cherene Francis

Name: Cherene Francis
Title: Leader of the Quit the 9-5 Movement
Business name: ChereneFrancis.com
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Cherene is wearing: Top from Palette by Laura-JeanMidi Skirt (Bird Print) from Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Necklace handmade in Toronto by burfurtART

 

Tell us a bit about your business!

 

I help women launch and grow a home based consulting business, so they can quit their 9-5 job and have more freedom and fun! I do this through mindset, business, and life coaching.
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Cherene is wearing: Top from Palette by Laura-Jean in purple, Alissa sweater from MOOVment Design, Necklace handmade in Toronto by burfurtART

 

How did you get started as a coach?

 

I got started as a coach out of the need to have the flexibility to take care of my ill mother and maintain the other things that were important to me: creativity, family, freedom to explore new things. Plus, I always wanted to speak, teach and inspire. Speaking and coaching was the best way to do that.
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Cherene is wearing the Captain Sweater in black from Montreal label Cameleon.

 

How did you choose “Quit Your 9 -5” as your specialty?
“Quitting the 9-5” is my own personal story and I know it rings true for many other entrepreneurs. When I quit the 9-5, it was truly out of rebellion for and the pressure to “Go to School,” “Get a good job with benefits,” “Choose ONE path.”

 

As a multi-talented dreamer and the added weight of taking care of my mother who was challenged with a mental illness, I had a hard time following the system.

 

For me, “Quitting the 9-5” is not just about venturing out and turning your dreams into reality, but it’s also about quitting all the limiting beliefs that our family, friends, and societies put on us.

 

It’s about getting rid of all the past conditioning, trauma, and anything that is getting in the way of your future greatness. I needed to quit my 9-5 for freedom and I want to give hope to others that want to do the same. 

 

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Cherene is wearing top and pants from Brenda Beddome.

 

You have young kids too! Tell us about the juggling act that is your typical day!
LOL – there is no typical day as a mompreneur.

 

This is why mindset and managing your emotional well-being is soo important, and I teach this all the time! I could say that I usually work from 12 – 6 pm daily and balance kids, family and caring for my mother around that timing.

 

However, there are many unexpected appointments and boo boos that happen in between.

 

Creating boundaries for myself and my family around time and scheduling, help to alleviate this problem.

 

I also commit to a minimum of 2-hours for daily self-care and personal development with my accountability group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365selfworth/  This helps keep my sanity.
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Alissa sweater from MOOVment Design; 2 pocket Denim Skirt from Desserts and Skirts; Necklace handmade in Toronto by burfurtART

 

What do you love most about having your own business?

 

Everything. I gag at the thought of having it any other way. Time freedom. Income freedom. Creative Freedom. What’s not to love?
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Alissa sweater from MOOVment Design; 2 pocket Denim Skirt from Desserts and Skirts; Necklace handmade in Toronto by burfurtART

 

What do you find inspiring about your clients and the results they achieve with you?

 

My clients inspire me because they are challenging the status quo. A lot of them despite the doubts and fears of venturing out, choose to believe in themselves.

 

There are people that I have worked with that were on the verge of giving up on business or who felt stuck in their current jobs and now they feel so excited to be growing their businesses.

 

I remember one of my clients, thought she would have to start her business by working for free before she could start booking paid clients. I coached her in the areas of valuing her services and starting with a positive mental attitude so she can charge premium prices and market herself as an expert.

 

Now she is doing amazing things and is booked with reoccurring client contracts.

 

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Blue Sweater from Cameleon2 pocket Denim Skirt from Desserts and Skirts

 

You also mentioned that you’re a Minister?! Tell us a bit about that! 
LOL – Yes! Currently, my husband and I partner with other pastors on growing their congregation through effective marketing and outreach strategies. We are also educating their congregations in the areas of mental wellness, stamina, and faith.

 

We are really big on mindset and having a positive mental attitude because it shapes every area of life. I have been serving in non profit and Christian communities for almost 15 years. I was professionally commissioned about 7 years ago from Tyndale University College and Seminary.

 

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Coleanthus Cardigan from Toronto designer Jennifer FukushimaYoga Jeans; Necklace handmade in Toronto by burfurtART
What exciting projects do you have coming up?
 

 

Other than the several empowering events that I host here: cherenefrancis.com/events, I am really excited to host my own television show in the near future….more details on that coming soon 😉

 

 
What else should we know about you? 

 

I love building and cultivating communities around personal development, self-care, spirituality, and business. I am  open to collaborating and connecting with people that want to build a business and lifestyle with a purpose or who are currently impacting people in a powerful way.

 

Catching up With FC Role Model Lesley Edwards!

Lesley Edwards is a Dating Expert and Relationship Coach with Mars Venus Success Coaching. She joined us as a 2016 Role Model and got married to the love of her life in the later part of 2016. 

 

We haven’t chatted for awhile! What’s been going on in your business and your life over the past few months?

 

Oh my gosh it has been the most delicious whirl-wind! September 30th I got married!! to my husband (I’m still getting used to saying that) Matt, the most incredible man I could’ve imagined.

 

And then we left for our absolute dream honeymoon in Maui.

 

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Dress from Toronto label Studio Fresh. This style is sold out but you can see current Studio Fresh here.

 

Since I’ve been back I was speaking in Philadelphia to promote our next Goddess Weekend there in January, and we just wrapped up our last Goddess Weekend of the year here in Toronto, in November.
 
You’re married now! Given that you’ve devoted your career to helping people find juicy, glorious love in their life, I can only imagine this is a very exciting time for you. What tips do you have for people to keep it fun and romantic while balancing all the chaos of planning a big event, working and real life?

 

Yes! Well actually the best advice I got was to keep pulling my focus back to why were doing all the planning and shopping, and managing details etc!

 

The fact that we are crazy in love. That is all. The bottom line was we are crazy in love and that’s all that matters, it’s all we focused on on the day of the wedding and we soaked it in totally and completely, because nothing was going to mess with That! And it’s really funny, this idea of “real life”.

 

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Actually a lot of people asked us about “getting back to real life”, and I know what you mean getting back to routine, usual life. But for us, it is all real life, the wedding, Hawaii, totally real and juicy, and our life here too!

 

We feel totally blessed to have experienced, and be living the life we have here at home. It’s actually all that much sweeter since we are married, like something has fully clicked into place. Where before we were planning to spend our life together, now we are in it. Together. It’s special.

 

role model bannerHow did you meet Matt? How do you coach your clients on meeting great people?

 

I actually knew Matt for a whole year before I saw him as a potential love interest. I was head coaching The Self Expression & Leadership program at Landmark and he was training as a coach.

 

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On the very last night of a 4 month program he blindsided me, and told me I was “the kind of woman he strived to be with”.

 

HELLO! I did not see it coming at all! And there was no way I was going to pass up going on a date with someone willing to take a risk like that!
 
With my clients the willingness and ability to take a risk for love is a main focus. In fact it is one of the best ways to expand our level of openness to seeing and attracting the right person to us.

 

If you want someone to take a risk to be with you, ask you out, express their love & affection for you, than check out some ways you would be willing to risk something yourself.

 

For example, saying yes to a date even though you don’t think he’s your type….that’s what I thought about my Husband, not my type!!

 

What are the biggest pitfalls you see people making when it comes to their love life?

 

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One of the big ones is Keeping The Back Door Open. When we only have a limited amount of our time & energy that we can dedicate to love & relationships, we want to spend it wisely.

 

When we keep the back door of the past open for all the Wrong Ones to come and go in our thoughts (or more), our energy is drained and is focused on recreating the problems of the past.

 

However once the back door is closed we can focus all that delicious time & energy on what we want, and what feels like Yum! Our brains can’t help but find what we focus on.
 
You look fabulous and I know you have a great outlook and radiate positivity. What do you do to take care of yourself? Do you have a favourite workout? How do you manage the stresses of your own business?

 

Thank you! You are so sweet!! This is a constant learning for me, in fact one of my mantras right now is “I am learning to love myself ferociously”, so I am continuing to discover this all the time.

 

I love yoga and volleyball to move my body, have some fun and feel good.

 

My go-to stress management break is still colouring. I got a beautiful Lost Ocean book last Christmas and that is my meditation and stress relief practice.
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How do you plan for the growth and future of your business? What’s next for you towards the end of 2016, 2017 and beyond?
 
Next Goddess Weekend is here in Mississauga Feb 24-26, and my sights are set on expanding the Goddess community and sisterhood so that women can be lead by their inner wisdom and guidance toward the love of their life.
 
It is such a yummy path that so many successful accomplished women are ready to explore. Life on their own terms, with way more Ease and Love. All are welcome and belong.
 
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What’s New with Natalie Colalillo? Checking in with one of the #FCRoleModels

Natalie Colalillo has been a #FCRoleModel with us all throughout 2016. We caught up with Natalie for an end of the year visit, to see what’s new and exciting with her over the last few months.

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Scoop neck tunic from Toronto label It Fitz Me, The Jacket in black crepe, also from It Fitz Me.  Necklace handmade in Toronto by designer Salomé Cordeiro of burfurtART.

What’s new and happening in the world of Natalie, Founder & Chief Empowering Officer of Happy Healthy Women?

Well, I have new hair, so that’s always a life-changer! It’s amazing what some bangs can do for you! Besides that, we are super excited for our insane yet organic growth with Happy Healthy Women this year!

natalie-1Gilda Skirt from Toronto label Mandala Design, Double Layer Top from Montreal label Melow par Mélissa Bolduc. Feather Necklace from Curious Oddities.

As you know, Happy Healthy Women is a growing in person and online community of amazing women – all striving to lead healthier, happier and more successful lives. All of our events reflect health in mind, body and soul as the basis for a beautiful and successful life. 

We see health (physical wellbeing), happiness (spirituality and personal growth), and success in all areas of life, as one full circle.

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Dania Tunic (Green), see other colours here, from Toronto label Desserts & Skirts, Necklace handmade in Toronto by designer Salomé Cordeiro of burfurtART.

We are about to launch our 14th branch of Happy Healthy Women in Ontario and next we branch out across Canada!

It has been so amazing to work with the women who have become part of our collective.

We eat, breathe and sleep the word empowerment in everything we do, and every opportunity we offer. It’s truly beautiful!

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Slanted Tri-Jacket from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

Besides massive growth, what’s next for Happy Healthy Women?

We always have amazing events happening with the best of the best in the health, wellness and business world!

One of our favourites is our Women & Wine event happening on November 24th in the West end of Toronto, featuring 4 of our amazing leaders. Wine and nibbles are always included – so this is ALWAYS a popular night to say the least!

 

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Scoop neck tunic from Toronto label It Fitz Me, The Jacket in black crepe, also from It Fitz Me.  Necklace handmade in Toronto by designer Salomé Cordeiro of burfurtART.

A HUGE event that is VERY fast approaching, is our 4th Annual Sparkle & Shine Holiday Cocktail Party and Pop-up Boutique on December 15th! This year we will have 150 women fill the beautiful POSH Supperclub in Yorkville!

We have a special curated assortment of vendors, all in the name of happiness and health, and we are going to end the evening with a dance party!

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Dania Tunic (Green), see other colours here, from Toronto label Desserts & Skirts, Necklace handmade in Toronto by designer Salomé Cordeiro of burfurtART.

 

The proceeds from our raffle will go to support another Syrian Refugee family in coming to Canada. We have been contributing all year to this wonderful cause along with Laura-Jean (founder of Fresh Collective).

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Gilda Skirt from Toronto label Mandala Design, Double Layer Top from Montreal label Melow par Mélissa Bolduc. Feather Necklace from Curious Oddities.

We are also very excited to be launching HHW Education, and to start it all off with a bang, I’ll be running a 5 week course with Laura-Jean on Savvy Business.

This is for those women who are just starting off in business, are committed and ready to take it to the next level.

For anyone who knows us, we’re nice, but we don’t mess around! If you want to see results, we are the ones to help you do just that.

We hear you’re looking to partner with fabulous women. Can you tell us more about that?

YES! This is the part of my business that excites me the MOST!! We are always looking for incredible women to join the HHW Tribe.

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Slanted Tri-Jacket from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

Those who are in business in the health/wellbeing world, who want to step up and out of their comfort zones and join our movement of women empowering women.

We have so many opportunities for women in the roles of Branch Directing, Trailblazing, or being part of our Members We LOVE list and Wellness Dream Team.

No matter where the women are in our collective, we lead with love and show them the way to doing the same. Those interested can apply here: APPLY.

Natalie – before we let you go, can you share with our readers, what you loved about being a Fresh Collective Role Model in 2016?

I honestly don’t want it to end! I have loved everything about being an FCRoleModel. I loved trying on and buying incredible clothes (at a sweet discount!) and getting my picture taken, I loved getting to know the other amazing women involved, and I have loved all of the cross promotion to build both of our brands!!

SO much has come from this for me and Happy Healthy Women and I’m so grateful for the opportunity!

Thank you so much Laura-Jean and Fresh Collective!

For more information about the Fresh Collective Role Models program and to apply, visit our blog here!

 

 

Join us as a 2017 Fresh Collective Role Model!

Seeking passionate Toronto based women entrepreneurs as 2017 Fresh Collective Role Models!

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Our amazing Role Models from 2016! From left, Jamie Ridler, Laura-Jean Bernhardson, Lesley Edwards, Natalie Colalillo, Sacha Lalla, Shannon Simmons and Angela Saini!

 

Join our 2017 Role Models campaign to be part of this powerful and fun team!

What you get:

– gorgeous pictures of you in outfits from Fresh Collective

– opportunities to share your business and your personality with our audience

– exciting and valuable content and offers to share with yours

– the support, camaraderie and shared business wisdom and experience of our group

– plus more!

If you’re reading this and thinking,

“WOW, I’d LOVE to do that!”

we are looking for you to join the #FCRoleModels!

Maybe you’re a perfect fit for our group!  

Read here for more details and to apply

We’re collecting applications until December 1, 2016.  We’d love to hear from you!

Here are some of the fun things we did in 2016.

We hosted a panel discussion and Q & A in our Queen Street West location for women entrepreneurs, and it truly was a wonderful and inspiring evening.

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We got together for wine and snacks and talked about life and our businesses and became friends.

We modeled gorgeous outfits from Fresh Collective A LOT!

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And we shared those photos all over social media, like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Jamie Ridler shares a behind-the-scenes look at our photoshoot.

 We had fun sharing behind-the-scenes pics of our oh-so-glamourous photoshoots!

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Lesley Edwards’ changeroom snaps at our photoshoot!

We hosted a private style and shopping night with colour analysis with Natalie’s Happy Healthy Women group.

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We shared what it’s like being an entrepreneur in blogs, like this one titled Getting Past the Fear as an Entrepreneur.

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 We did special profiles featuring each Role Model (see Angela Saini’s here)

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See Natalie’s special profile here.

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And here’s what Natalie had to say about being a Role Model:

I have loved everything about being an FCRoleModel! I loved trying on and buying incredible clothes (at a sweet discount!) and getting my picture taken, I loved getting to know the other amazing women involved, and I have loved all of the cross promotion to build both of our brands!! SO much has come from this for me and Happy Healthy Women and I’m so grateful for the opportunity! Thank you Laura-Jean Bernhardson!

(Oh yes, did I mention? Role Models get a discount and get to be part of our clothing borrowing program for events.)

We did guest blogs! See Sacha Lalla’s Sisterhood blog for International Women’s Day here:

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See Jamie’s interview about creativity and her business.

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This is just a sampling of what we got up to in 2016, and we’re looking for a fresh new group of awesome ladies to work with in 2017! 

Read here for more details and to apply

 

 

Talking Creativity with #FCRoleModel Jamie Ridler

All year long, we’ve been working with 6 fabulous ladies as our #FCRoleModels. We love showcasing women who represent our client base; women who are inspired, inspiring, real and authentic, and having those women as our fashion models.

Jamie Ridler is one of those women, and we caught up with her for a chat about what’s new and exciting in her business as a Creative Living Coach at Jamie Ridler Studios.

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Dress: Robe Attraction from Montreal label Creations Encore; Bag: Malone from Canadian vegan bag company Matt & Nat

LJ: It’s been awhile since we chatted and I know you’ve been busy with some exciting changes over at Jamie Ridler Studios, including a new website!

Can you tell me about those changes and what was behind the shifts?

JR: It’s great to be catching up, Laura-Jean! It’s been an incredibly exciting time at the studio as we get ready for the fall season.

This summer I poured my heart and soul into a website refresh that not only created a greater sense of welcome and a clearer way to find all the great content but also that included a new special space for creative classes and community.

It also asked me to stretch into the spotlight. The site now features a lot of my own photography and artwork and I am so very proud of that.

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Sweater: Adel Sweater from MOOVment Design

LJ: You mentioned it was very busy for you in August, working on the site and needing to learn new things because of it. Do you get more creative and productive under pressure?

JR: Yes and no. I get more creative when my energies are channeled into a particular container – an art project, a class, the website –  particularly one that has a deadline for sharing it with the world.

I think there has to be enough pressure to serve as the riverbed to the strong flow of the creative waters.

Too much pressure though and, for me, it all collapses. I end up focusing on just getting it done and over with and that’s never the energy I want to bring to my creative work.

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Sweater: Cowl neck layered sweater; Necklace: Large Tube from Torched Studio

LJ: You’re a solopreneur. I’m curious about how your days go. Do you have trouble motivating yourself some days? Do you have tricks to get the creative juices flowing or to just get down to work you need to do?

JR:  My days are full! I have time each week set aside for clients and for classes plus time to blog, vlog and podcast!

On top of that, there is administrative time, correspondence time and also creative time. I make sure that I have some me time at the beginning of the day by going to the gym or taking the time to do some journaling and I do my level best to finish my day by dinnertime.

If I’m doing really well, I take a half hour to read before we start to cook.

I find it much harder to drag myself away from my work than it is to get myself to it.

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Dress: Winona Jersey Dress from Toronto label Mandala Design

When I do find myself completely rebelling against work, chances are that I have been pushing too hard and I need a rest. 

When that happens, I give into that impulse for a bit. I go out for a walk, make sure I take a leisurely long lunch and get a good night’s sleep. Usually, that helps me get back on track.

Lack of motivation can also happen when I’m at a place in the work that is particularly difficult in some way.

Maybe I have to work through some tech I find challenging or make a phone call I feel uncomfortable about.

That’s when I know a break is not resting, it’s avoiding and it’s not only useless, it’s detrimental. I look for anything I can do to make the task easier and then the only thing left is to get it done!

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Sweater: April tunic

LJ: I’d love to hear about some creative breakthroughs your clients have experienced in working with you.

JR: There are so many tangible expressions of  what clients have achieved when working with me.

They have launched businesses, blogs and books. They have created courses and established a regular creative practice.

They have returned to their art, whether that is painting, dance, singing, sewing, you name it, after years of being estranged.

But the most important breakthrough that anyone makes is when they start to trust that beyond a shadow of a doubt they are creative and that matters.

This is when they realize they have a unique gift to bring to the world and find the courage and the confidence to bring it to the world.

One of the most meaningful things a client has ever said to me was that because of our work she trusts that what she creates has value and now she knows she truly is an artist.

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 Lexi Collar Dress from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

LJ: As a business person who specializes in creativity, how do you personally use creativity in your everyday work life and business decisions?

JR:  One of the most powerful lessons of creativity, in our artwork, our personal life or our business is learning to trust our instincts.

The braver and bolder I am in expressing my unique point of view in my artwork or my work-work, the stronger, more authentic and compelling the work becomes.  

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Tri Zip Coat Dress from Toronto label Studio Fresh.

Creativity is a gift you bring to any work that you do. On a practical level, I write, photograph and make videos just about every day.

On a skills level, I bring imagination, vision, listening, sensitivity, synthesis, design, narrative-building and many other creative skills to all the work I do, whether that’s designing a class or working one-on-one with a client.

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Owl Tunic from Uniik Tuniik

LJ: Anything else you want to share with us? 

JR:  Creativity is for everyone – in every line of work, in every aspect of our life. Creativity is our birthright as human beings and it allows us to be resilient, responsive and innovative, all skills that are so valuable today. It also allows us to bring more joy, more passion and more of ourselves to all that we do – and that is a gift for us all!

 

Sharing, giving and being vulnerable in business

From time to time, Fresh Collective’s CEO and Founder Laura-Jean Bernhardson gets together with some of the Role Models for a chat about entreprensurship. Today they’re sharing a conversation about opening your heart in your business.

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Laura-Jean is wearing a Tabi Dress from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Tabi here. Necklace from BurfurtART.

LJ: One thing I’ve really got over the past few years is how much fun it is to mix business with pleasure. By that I mean, I’ve experienced a mindset shift where I approach my business as an art and my creative expression, and I’m all in. I love having my work as a fully integrated part of my life that I love, that I’m inspired by and that feeds me and fuels me.

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Natalie is wearing a Basic Tank from Allison Sheri and a Monkey Midi Skirt from Desserts & Skirts.

NC: I can totally relate to this LJ – before I decided to jump full in with my current business and rock it to the max, I was always wondering “If I do this, what will people say? Will they like it?…yeah, I dunno if I’m ready to show that side of me yet” and then – after many self help books, meditation sessions and banging my head against the wall, it’s like I woke up one day and I was ready to show the world the real me.

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Laura-Jean is wearing a Gwynn Dress from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Gwynn here. Necklace from BurfurtART.

LJ: Part of this approach definitely leaves me vulnerable. If I hold myself back from loving my business and loving my people, I can’t get hurt if the business doesn’t perform or people leave. But that also keeps me from loving the successes, highs and connections.

 

An example is when I really love and connect with an employee, and they quit! It always feels like I’m being broken up with! And it’s always some version of “I found something I like better”, whatever the reason – money, location, more what they want to pursue, etc. I’m sure they would never think that I’m busy planning our future together and they just broke up with me. On top of it, I have to place an ad that day to fill the position! (Like starting to date the day after a break-up! lol)

 

So I had to decide years ago that I will still open my heart. I’ll still love them all and plan our future together, and if they leave, that’s fine. (Of course I want people to go and pursue whatever makes them happy.) I can feel the rejected feeling and be ok with it, and then do it all over again.

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Natalie is wearing a Wilma Dress from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Wilma here. Necklace from BurfurtART.

NC: I always think that people come into your life for whatever reason they need to come into your life. And in our case – business – same thing…?! But seriously, when someone comes into my business for 5 minutes and then leaves, I just think…they must have learned something in those 5 minutes that was valuable enough for them to go now. Maybe it was as simple as – “this isn’t for me.” Whatever the case, I’m grateful for the lessons and the fact that I’m able to give that.

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Laura-Jean is wearing a Wilma Dress from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Wilma here. Necklace from BurfurtART.

LJ: Another area where opening myself up and giving works like crazy is in generating sales. All over the business, there are times when we just need to get more money coming in! That’s no surprise. However, I used to have a mindset of fear and scarcity. “Ack. Panic. I need more money! I need to get people to buy more things!!”

 

Now I see how the opposite energy is what actually works! It’s amazing and fun. So instead I think, “What value can I generate for people to get their attention? What needs can I meet? What’s going on with them? How can I listen more? How can I offer more inspiration?”

 

When I go into this mindset, I’m creative and generous and able to connect and listen in ways that really allow a whole new kind of exciting result for my business. When I need to “get” I look at how I can “give” and I just trust that it will all flow back. And it really does.  

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Natalie is wearing a Hedi Top from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Hedi here. Necklace from Colleen Poitras.

NC: It TOTALLY always comes back! The less I worry, the more abundance flows. I’ve started to view money as my awesome bestie that is always there for me, will never abandon me, and fills up with love the more love I give….it’s a lot better than seeing it as a friend who you love to have around when she’s there but then when she’s not, you’re pissed, panicked and looking for all these other ways to make new friends…when really she just wanted your love. Everything is energy – and vulnerability totally opens the door for energy to come in.

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Shannon is wearing a Carly Maxi Dress from Mandala Design. Shop available prints and colours in Carly here. 

SLS: I think it’s so important to be vulnerable in business. This is how you can maintain your authenticity. No one is perfect and we need help from others. This is so important when building a team. One of my most scary/vulnerable moments was in my second year of business. I hired my first team member ever and I had to show her my books. How much I made, how much I spent – everything. I didn’t realize it, but that was one of the best business moves I ever made. Once she saw how the business worked on the back end, she got it so much more and felt like she was part of it. Not just an employee, but actually on the team. Being vulnerable and honest with my team is massively important for my own growth and the business. It’s vulnerability about the finances, my own weaknesses as an entrepreneur and my fears. No one is perfect. When we all share, we are brought together and we really do become a team rooting for the same goals… not just coworkers.

 

NC: I love that story Shannon! It’s scary to think about letting people into those areas, but you’re absolutely right. When you trust someone, they trust you right back, and that’s what the best relationships are built on. People stay where they feel respected and loved.

 

Getting Past the Fear – part 2 with #FCRoleModels

A while back, some of our Role Models joined Fresh Collective’s CEO and Founder Laura-Jean for a chat about entrepreneurship and getting over the fears that hold us back.

Here’s part two of that conversation, with Lesley Edwards, Angela Saini and Jamie Ridler.

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Dress: Audrey Dakota

Laura-Jean:  I recently heard fear defined as Failure to Experience Actual Reality and I loved that. Experience has taught me that I cook up junk to worry about, let it limit me and almost none of it ever, ever happens.

The fears are so disconnected from actual reality that it’s laughable sometimes. And what I find exciting is that when I see the fears for what they are – made up junk that my brain generates to keep me safe from risk – and choose to act anyway, magic can happen!

It’s just so exciting and sometimes completely unpredictable what can evolve when actions are taken in the zone beyond the fears. We often can’t even see what’s possible until we’ve stepped past the fears and into action.

 aaa1- quoteDress: Folded Blouson Dress

Lesley: Ha! This is a good one, the definition I use with my clients is FEAR=False Expectations Appearing Real! Don’t get me wrong, there is real fear, aka if a tiger was chasing you, you would be afraid.

However most fear is the “what might happen/go wrong?”, so like you said, in reality before I started my business and was worried about what everyone would think, and all the ways I could fail, nothing negative had even happened yet! I was stopped simply by what could go wrong.

So I decided to give it shot and see, now it’s been 4.5 years and I’ve got my absolute dream job out of taking a risk and leaping.

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Angela: Shannon, I love the idea of writing a letter to my future self [referring to a comment from part 1].

We take risks all the time as entrepreneurs, some bigger than others, but the FEAR can either debilitate you, or you can move through it.

I think it’s extremely important to be constantly reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Having the “WHY” is the best way to manage those vulnerable moments.

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Top: Cassiope; Skirt: Monkey Midi Skirt

Jamie: When I found myself all wrapped up in that kind of worry, one of the things that has really helped me is making sure that I come back to the present.

I simply stop and tell myself this truth, “In this moment, everything is fine. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment, all is well.” It’s my simple go-to strategy and I’ve found it makes all the difference.