Return to Peace with Minerva Maharajh

written by Laura-Jean Bernhardson


Minerva Maharajh is a Spritual Life Coach who joined us as a Fresh Collective Role Model in 2017. Here’s a little inspiration from her as we go into the holidays!


Stef Wrap Dress in Charcoal (also available in Burgundy, Sapphire Blue, Forest Green and Black!) from Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by ZSISKA


Minerva helps clients understand how to find their own unique brand of spirituality and use it as a practical tool in everyday life.


Carmen Scarf Sweater in Wine (also available in Charcoal and Navy) by Toronto label Mandala; Earrings by ZSISKA


She also leads retreats several times a year, giving people a wonderful chance to unplug and tune into nature and into themselves.


Porto Lexi Collar Dress by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Necklace by ZSISKA


Her techniques help clients overcome stress, a lack of motivation or whatever is standing between them and the life of their dreams.


Angela Dress in Navy (also available in Purple, Pine and Burgundy) from Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by ZSISKA


Teri Reversible Tank Top in Crimson (also available in Black, White and Sapphire) by Arianne; Dark Grey Side Line Pants by Toronto label Studio Fresh


Many people find the holidays stressful. The busyness and family expectations may easily cause upset, so the video below is about choosing to return to peace when things set you off. This is a good chance to remind ourselves that how we react to things can be a choice.


Cashmeer Twisted Cold Shoulder Tunic in Blush (also available in Black) by Brenda Beddome; Necklace by ZSISKA


Dogs Print Tera Top W/ Long Patchwork Sleeves by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Earrings by ZSISKA


Here Minerva lays out a simple and practical 3 step process to return to peace. Enjoy, and have a wonderful and peaceful holiday!



Want more videos from Minerva? Visit her website. You can even sign up for a free Clarity Call!


Palustris Tunic in Teal by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Necklace by ZSISKA


Meet Clare Kenty- A Fresh Collective Role Model for 2017!

~ a conversation between Laura-Jean, CEO and Founder of Fresh Collective and Clare Kenty, a Fresh Collective Role Model

Clare, you’re so amazing to be around! I always feel great energy in your presence. Is that a side effect of the career you’ve chosen? Or is that kind of energy something that comes naturally to you?

That’s so sweet! I think it’s a combination of loving my work and taking care of myself so that I’m able to emit that kind of energy. It’s really important for me to be my best self, especially when it comes to my work and my business so I do what’s necessary to be my best self or figure out what I need to do in order to be that version of myself.

Clare is wearing the More Than a Wrap Dress by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™


Tell us about your work- you do Coaching, Reiki and your Womb Wellness Program. How do those areas work together?

Yes, I’m an Integrative Health Coach and I also offer Reiki and a program for Womb Wellness. They all intermingle a little which I love. My coaching is a part of everything I do, even in a Reiki session, my coaching skills are a great advantage in how I work with clients. The Womb Wellness program is actually a combination of the two. I use coaching and Reiki for clients in that program.

How did you arrive at this career?

Honestly, all of the work I do is a result of my own personal healing journey. My interest and eventual love for health and wellness began with me searching for ways to feel better in my body. I was teaching ESL in South Korea at the time and felt really lethargic. I made a few changes to my diet, saw almost immediate improvement and it grew from there.

When I moved to Toronto I went back to school and became a Certified Integrative Health Coach. Not too long after that I found myself feeling the need to deepen my relationship with energy healing and the opportunity to learn Reiki presented itself.

Clare is wearing The Fizz Dress by Mandala Design– sorry this style is sold out! See all current dresses here.


Even the Womb Wellness Program is a direct result of my own healing journey. I experienced a miscarriage a few years ago and in an effort to do the work to heal, I dove into the world of womb healing and found that others were interested in doing the same. Womb Wellness 101 and the Womb Wellness program were born out of my own experience and now it’s something that combines both my coaching experience and my energy healing practice.

Do you find the business side of your work challenging? Or fun? What do you do to find clients and build your business?

Not at all. I find the business side to be quite fun. I mean getting down to the numbers around tax time isn’t my favourite thing to do but I’m super passionate about it because it’s my business and if I don’t do the work, it won’t flourish. I enjoy the responsibility of it actually. I find myself being quite old school when it comes to clients and building business. I enjoy marketing through social media but there’s nothing like word of mouth.

You recently lost your father and you shared quite openly on social media about that journey. Did you learn anything you can share with us about dealing with sadness and loss?

There have been so many lessons (I wrote about a few of them in a blog). I’ve experienced my own death and rebirth in these past few months. The only thing I can say is that each person will have their own process and they will have to honour that. My experience with my Dad’s passing and my relationship with the grief and the loss looks different to that of others, even within my own family. No two people will respond the same way.

Clare is wearing the Universal Cardigan by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™ and Cat Leggings from Halifax label Poison Pear.


In my experience I find it really important to do the work. By that I mean taking the time to feel whatever it is that comes up, to sit with it and to work with it. I consider myself lucky in the sense that I was able to press pause and really explore all of the emotions that came up for me. Grief is so interesting, it’s not just the person you grieve, but your relationship with them and all that you went through together. There’s so much that comes up when someone close to us passes. It’s important to do the work and honour yourself as you explore.

I made a conscious choice to share my journey. I really feel that as a society we’re not transparent. We encourage one another to share the celebrations and the successes, we filter out anything negative which causes isolation and suffering in challenging times and that can be very problematic. I absolutely felt alone in grieving my father, I still do in some respects and so I wanted to do what I could to help others not to feel the same way.

It was very hard sharing my pain so publicly, it still is, no matter what aspect of my life I’m talking about, if I’ve been through something heavy, it’s challenging to share, we’re all afraid of judgement and ridicule. But I truly believe that the more we share what’s really happening in our lives, the more we can unify as a community and support one another and the less we’ll need to suffer alone.

Clare is wearing a one of a kind poncho from Taska, (only available at our 401 Roncesvalles Ave. location) and Yoga Jeans.


I know you’ve had your own battles with anxiety, like so many of us. Can you share a bit about that and some solutions you’ve found?

Anxiety has been present in my life since I was bullied in high school. It wasn’t until I was in my mid to late 20s that I really started to look at it and find holistic ways to heal. I’ve been on medication, I’ve seen therapists, but the thing that has helped me the most is working with my anxiety rather than against it. Doing so reminds me to slow down, to step back and to gain some perspective. Now I treat my anxiety like a friend, I want to understand and explore it instead of shutting it down or ignoring it.

Self care has been huge in my healing journey, not just with anxiety. I make it a point to have baths, to get out in nature, to take time off from work and to generally look after myself be it by eating well, reducing stress or making time for my relationships. Reiki has also been a huge tool in minimizing my anxiety. Both receiving Reiki and practicing it.

Understanding my triggers, being present in what I’m feeling and asking why I’m feeling what I’m feeling is another thing that’s helped me tremendously. We tend to not want to feel anything that isn’t positive while we look outside of ourselves for solutions. We need to feel our feelings rather than ignore them. Without sounding cliche, the answers to what we’re looking for are often found within when we look inwards and do the work.

Clare is wearing the Charles Slouch Tee and Sam Pants in Tropical Print both from Toronto label Mandala Design.


I know you’re big on the mind body connection. What effect does what we eat have on our moods and outlook on life?

Our bodies are our vessels. They carry us through life, pretty similar to the way a car takes us from place to place. If one doesn’t keep that car in good condition it will break down or at the least not work the way it should. Our bodies are the same.

When we don’t feed our bodies what they need to work optimally, they won’t work as well as they could. Eating foods that lack nutrients and denying our bodies the nutrition it needs has consequences. This could show up as having a lack of energy for example. Symptoms could include headaches, mood swings, migraines, fatigue etc. We may not think about it at the time but this most definitely affects our mood.

Can you tell us more about the Womb Wellness Program and what clients can expect to experience?

Essentially the Womb Wellness Program is a coaching program. All of my coaching programs provide the space and the support for you to do your work, to explore the deeper parts of ourselves and do what’s required to heal. We work from a holistic view point, meaning that together we look at all aspects of life to find balance and optimal living for you.

Womb Wellness Program is a program unlike any other. It has been designed for women who want to deepen their relationship to their womb, go within and heal what lies in that space. Symbolically, the womb is a container and holds everything from our traumas to our triumphs. Everything we experience, from this life and previously (if you’re open to go there) lies within our womb.

This is not a program about fertility. It is a coaching program created to support those who are ready to go deep within their womb space, to face whatever may be there. I love this quote from Nicole Angela “Womb healing is the act of consciously entering this space with the intention to heal with lies within”. This program supports and guides clients through what comes up and further supports this journey with Reiki.

Clients can expect to explore parts of themselves not seen before and find strength they never knew they had. We will journey into the shadows and work with what’s there to release and heal. We work with nutrition, energy healing (Reiki), and coaching, we also explore what’s working and what isn’t working in life so that change can take place.

Clients learn sustainable and supportive tools that they can use going forward after the program and I am right there with them to cheerlead, assist and guide the whole way through. I know from experience that although the work is ours and no one can do it for us, it’s much easier to do that work with support.

Do you have anything fun planned coming up- whether on the personal side or in your business?

Personally, I’m enjoying the summer with my love and continuing to work my way through my grief. It’s only been four months since he passed so it’s still very fresh.

Within my practice there’s lots happening! Womb Wellness 101 is having a workshop in September focusing on Body Love which I’m super excited about as it celebrates our beautiful bodies and also gets us to explore or relationship with them.

I am also partnering with Cue Kirk, a phenomenal Toronto Dub Poet to offer Open Truth, a explorative healing workshop using poetry. Participants can learn skills in both writing and performing poetry as they use experiences from their lives. That begins in September too.

Later on in the year I’ll be offering the Womb Wellness Group Program where a group of women will gather to dig deep, do the work and support one another together. There’s such strength and power in community, I’m looking forward to facilitating this one, it’s going to be really powerful.

Links to connect:
Womb Wellness 101 Facebook Group 

Meet Chenny! One of the #FCRoleModels for 2017!


Chenny is wearing the Cher Dress from Toronto label Mandala Design and the 2 way Tucked Cardigan from Brenda Beddome (another Toronto label)


Ever since I first met you last year, I’ve been so impressed by how ambitious and accomplished you are at such a young age. What do you think drives that for you? 


Aww, thanks, Laura! 


What drives me more than anything else is the fear of having nothing. My family didn’t grow up with much. I remember in school, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would respond with: “a job that lets my mom work just one job.” 


Do you find it challenging to be in a position of leadership and trust and being young? Is there a prejudice you need to overcome with some clients?


Yes. Although with many organizations spending millions to tackle “their millennial problem”, I find that while young — my fresh pair of eyes today can be just as much of an asset. 



Chenny is wearing the Vivianne Dress from Toronto label Mandala Design.


Often, I find myself myself playing the role of the “in-between” coach, translating executive needs and desired structures into purpose-driven challenges and customer-centric problems for their teams to solve.


Tell us about what you do at Journey Ventures Inc. and how you co-founded that business.


Journey came to be because a bunch of entrepreneurial-minded designers and systems thinkers grew frustrated with the fragility of good (and even well-validated) ideas. 


We thought, “How might we get a large organization (like a bank) to act like a start-up? What would it look like to get their teams to co-create new services with their actual customers? How can we help make tools like Minimum Viable Products, a term that will be used just as common as Business Case?”


In recent weeks, we’ve just joined forces with another innovation consultancy, called The Moment. If you’re curious, check out The Moment’s Innovation Checkup and Culture Scan, two practical and powerful tools that give a sense of our approach.



Chenny is wearing the Top Le Fun in Orange (also available in turquoise) from Montreal based Creations Encore.


How did you get your start in business?


Hah! I love this question because it demonstrates just how awesome Canada is, as a country. 


When I was in first-year university studying Human-Centered Design, I got quite sick because I was working two jobs just to pay rent and tuition. I spent some time reflecting, and thought, “What’s a more sustainable way to make enough?”


So I went on Craigslist, found some oddball user experience gigs that local start-ups were posting, and somehow, managed to convince one of them to hire me! I remember borrowing a book from the library on freelance consulting 101, and the first thing that I read was, “If you just get one referral from each client, hypothetically, you will never run out of work.”


The book was right.



Chenny is wearing Alexie cap sleeve top from Quebec label MOOVment Design and the Universal Cardigan from toronto based It Fitz Me! ™


Your Prosper Lab project is very inspiring! Can you tell us how you got started on that and tell us a bit about it?


I started volunteering at Yonge Street Mission’s soup kitchen because I wanted to do something with my hands. A year in, I was asked if I wanted to teach a class on teamwork and collaboration. Like a true consultant, I answered with, “Only if you let me bring in a friend to help, and if you let us interview your stakeholders to understand what’s truly needed.”


After a bit of research, it was clear that the clients of Yonge Street Mission didn’t need another course — what they needed was a safe and inclusive environment that enabled and replicated real-life work. The most common thing we heard was, “As a street adult, I’m not given any opportunities because I don’t have any experience. But how am I supposed to get any experience if no one gives me an opportunity?”


So we thought, why don’t we get them to build a startup?


And so they did — a candle startup. Now, half a year later, we can say that our clients have 20-weeks of tangible, resume-ready experience. Since this project started, two of our clients got part-time jobs, and one client went back to school. 



Chenny is wearing the Julia Tunic in Mandala print from Toronto label Desserts and Skirts. Purse from Pixie Mood.


Do you have plans to repeat that project with more groups? Or what are the future plans for that kind of social innovation? (Is there a way people can get involved?)


Frankly, we’re not sure yet. It’s been a project that has truly been defined by the needs of the street adults that we work with, and we’re thrilled about what will come.


If you’re an organization that’s curious about sponsoring future iterations of this project, you can send us an email at


Alternatively, stop by our e-commerce store and pick yourself up a one-of-a-kind candle!


You’re planning a wedding this summer! That’s pretty exciting. What can you share with us about that? 


We’re keeping it simple. We’re having a picnic at a local park. My dress isn’t a wedding dress, it’s just a plain ol’ white dress. Turns out, if you put the word “wedding” in front of anything, you can quadruple the price! Who knew? 


Simple truly is better. Instead of tearing my hair out with florists and caterers, I get to spend that time enjoying being engaged. 



Chenny is wearing the Posey Dress in denim paisley from Toronto label Mandala Design.


Anything else you’d like to share with us? 


Don’t be a stranger! I’m the only Chenny in Toronto, so I’m not hard to find. 🙂


Meet Oonagh Duncan- a #FCRoleModel for 2017!

Name: Oonagh Duncan     
Title: Fitness Expert
Business: Fit Feels Good
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.




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.




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. 🙂




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.




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. 




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.




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…”




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. 🙂






Meet Minerva Maharajh – A Fresh Collective Role Model for 2017

minerva quote 1

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.

minerva quote 2


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.

minerva quote 3

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.

minerva quote 4

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.


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


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.

minerva quote 5

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.

minerva quote 7

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: 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:

spiritual series

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.

minerva quote 12


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. 


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.


insta banner

Step Up Your Casual Style with Oonagh’s Capsule Wardrobe

title banner-new

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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.
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.


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. 


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:  This helps keep my sanity.

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?
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.


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.


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:, 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.




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”.


Lesley 2



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.


lesley 4



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?


Lesely 5


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!




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!


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).


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.



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!


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.


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!


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


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!


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.


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

a-natalie-collage-1-1024x577 a-shannon-collage-1024x510

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


See Natalie’s special profile here.


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:


See Jamie’s interview about creativity and her business.


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