photocred; Bettina Bogar
A quarter of a century.
Guys, that’s how old I am today.
25 was always the point where I thought i’d have everything figured out. Like, by 25, you’ve done a lot of shit. Experienced a lot of things. Travelled to a lot of places. Worked at least one full time job. Had your heart broken. Moved to a different city. Maybe two different cities. Maybe three.
I am in no way sad that i’m a year older, because that’s lame. Every year has gotten better and better, to the point that I wonder if life could actually get any better.
Last year when I turned 24, I wrote about my top 4 life lessons. Hard hitting words for a 24 year old, but they were true down to the very last word. This year i’m going to focus on the things I have achieved up until now, and celebrate these successes. I figure on the day I turn a quarter of a century old, i’m allowed to dedicate a post to the things i’m proud to say i’ve accomplished in these very beautiful, bountiful, and blessed 25 years.
1 . The Sweat Series
Coming out with a workout e-book was something that was on my mind for a couple years. I had no idea where to begin, or how it would be designed, or how long it might take. So I sat on it for 2 years, thinking about how cool it would be to actually publish a training program.
Once I completed my personal training certificate with the NSCA, I put my foot down and just went for it. After spending two months coming up with 12 weeks of workouts, another two months testing each workout, 1 month of taking photos and editing them, three months of writing and designing the book, and a month of hyping it up, it was FINALLY completed.
What I Learnt:
Creating an e-book takes insane amount of organization. Especially if you’re adding in over 400 photos and workout descriptions, everything has to be in the right place. I spent hours simply placing each photo in the correct order and ensuring that each of the 100+ exercises had the correct description.
Secondly, the person your hire to design your your e-book must know exactly what you want. I got super lucky with who designed mine – she knew me personally, was familiar with my blog, very experienced, and a super hard, talented worker. The amount of hours she poured into this project was crazy, and I can’t believe I even contemplated doing it all myself.
2 . Earning Money Blogging
When I started my website at the beginning of 2014, I didn’t really have any big picture plans. I took bad photos with an iPhone 4 at night, posted workouts with no story behind them, filmed videos vertically, and was confused as to why I wasn’t getting a lot of traffic.
After moving to Toronto a year later, I was armed and loaded with a DSLR, a well lit condo, a supportive online group of bloggers, and a personal photographer (thanks Adam <3). It wasn’t long before I started to see an increase in people visiting my site, and companies reaching out to me to collaborate. The most amazing moment was when Free People invited me to come run a boot-camp for them in Vancouver as part of their annual world-wide Lets Move event. I can only compare this feeling of exhilaration with when I was chosen as first pick for dodge ball in Grade 4.
What I Learnt
Blogging is a project that you work on every single day. You never stop thinking about it, especially once you start to see results (higher traffic, more followers, collaboration requests).
One of my biggest weaknesses was wanting to do everything my way, on my own. I wanted to create YouTube videos (that no one was watching) and spent hours and hours putting them together. I was more interested in posting cute selfies on Instagram than creating relatable, useful content that followers could benefit from. I didn’t spend any money on learning how to use a DSLR camera properly, because I thought I could learn enough from the Internet alone.
photocred: Jen Serdetchnaia
As a blogger you sometimes think you’re doing it all on your own, but as the saying goes, no (wo)man is an island. Expanding your social circle, your skills, and your knowledge are so key to being successful and getting the most out of your experience. Ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to blogging.
3 . Continuing Education & Certificates
In the past 2 years, I have made it a priority to continue expanding my skills, my mind, and my knowledge. I didn’t want to just be your average 9-5 worker + blogger + cat mom living in Toronto. I wanted to be your average 9-5 working + blogger + cat mom living in Toronto with SKILLZZZZ. Lots of em.
I absolutely LOVE the water, so in 2014 I got my PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certificate in Vancouver. I hope to eventually get my Advanced certificate, which allows you to go deeper, longer, and do more complex dives.
In 2015 I signed up with the NSCA to get my personal training certificate. Graduating with a business degree, I had little knowledge when it came to creating programs or naming different muscles – completing this course helped me to set a strong base and build from there.
Finally in 2016, I signed up for something totally out of my depth and radar until now – sailing lessons! There will be another post to come on this, but every Monday & Wednesday this month you’ll find me close to capsizing a 4.2 metre dinghy in Lake Ontario.
What I Learnt
Even though the upfront costs of getting these certificates can be daunting (usually anywhere from $450 and up), it’s totally worth it. Being able to dive anywhere in the world, having a training certificate to give you credibility, and possessing the ability to rig and know your way around a sailboat is a pretty awesome feeling.
4 . Becoming a Home Owner
Oh, hey. Surprise!!
YEA, soOoo Adam and I bought a place together like, 4 days ago, and we are so so happy about it. For years and years I made saving money a priority so I could one day own my own place and turn it into my dream home.
I’ll be making a full post on this later, but these are my top FAVORITE things about our new condo:
– It’s HUGE (well, for Toronto standards anyway)
– The balcony is big enough for a couch plus it faces both the water and the CN Tower
– There is so much natural light
– I will never run out of kitchen storage spaces. There are so many places just to… put things
– I have my own walk-in closet
– Did I mention it is RIGHT on the water? My heart is happy <3
What I Learnt
When it is the right time for you to buy a place, you’ll know. We had been renting for almost 2 years when our landlord told us she was selling. The Toronto market has been getting hotter and hotter, and I had enough savings (plus help from our parents) for a down payment, so it made sense for us to buy now.
If you do buy a place with a partner – keep track of ALL your finances. I am obsessed with money organization, so I have a spreadsheet that tracks who contributed what and when. It may not be very sexy, but it’s practical and will save you a lot of stress and frustration when it comes time to sell.
Lastly, make sure it fits ALL your criteria. That might seem obvious, but Adam and I were contemplating buying a tiny condo in a really cool building for wayy less. In the end I nixed it because a) there was barely any natural light that came in and b) there was NO space to take photographs of recipes or store anything. Both those things are super important to me, and I didn’t want to sacrifice them in order to save some money on our monthly payments.
Aaaaand, i’m off to go drink.
YO, dis post was long. I don’t know if I can be doing this every birthday (which you’re probably relieved to hear). If you stayed to read this, God bless ya. And remember – on your birthday you can talk about yourself as long as you want. Just make sure you’re turning 25.