With not updating for nearly four months I thought I’d wrap up 2016 with a digest post to cover off everything that’s happened this fall. It was a season of intense activity followed be equally intense bouts of hibernating in my office or taking a vacation!
After 8 months of really struggling to find anything in my world that made me happy or inspired, I had the opportunity to speak at The Word On the Street in Saskatoon on a panel with two people I barely knew: Joel MacCharles, one half of Well Preserved and the co-author of the book Batch, and Dennis Prescott aka DennisThePrescott on Instagram (for those of you who don’t know, Word On the Street is a literary festival that runs in various cities across Canada). I was there to represent FBC and talk about the power of food to connect us through story.
I had no idea what to expect – my business partner had been invited to speak the very same weekend in Paris and I endured a lot of teasing that I had drawn the short end of the stick. So I went with zero expectations and figured I’d just roll with it – it had been 2 years since I’d been on a stage!
It was brilliant! I had the best weekend. I made two wonderful friends in Joel and Dennis – they were a ton of fun to hang out with all weekend. True kindred spirits! I met my childhood hero, David Suzuki. Yann Martel spoke to me while standing in line for a drink. Bif Naked hung out with us for a bit the first night and then found us the next day and wished us luck on our session and gave us hugs. Robin Esrock, who was a keynote speaker at FBC2014, was there speaking as well and it was lovely to have a few minutes to catch up with him before he spoke. It was also pretty cool to see Food Bloggers of Canada on the same bill as David Suzuki and Bif Naked!
The weather changed dramatically just before we were set to go on stage with black clouds, very very cold gusts of wind and rain rolling in and scaring the crowds away but a dedicated group of diehards, including the lovely and kind Renee from Sweet Sugarbean, stayed to watch us and chat with us and we loved it! Joel and I had to leave to fly to Toronto right afterwards but Dennis, the lucky fellow, was invited to have dinner at Yann Martel’s house with the other speakers who were staying the night in town. What a treat for him!
If I could pinpoint a moment where I felt my creative flow starting to seep back, that was probably it! And Saskatoon is terribly pretty in the fall – this was the view from my hotel room! If you’re ever there in September be sure to check out the festival – it’s a fantastic event and I enjoyed checking out all the other stages and authors that were happening all day!
October means FBC’s annual conference and it also means life is a complete blur. This year, we held it in Toronto to celebrate FBC’s 5th anniversary.
Let’s face it… putting on an annual conference for 150 people in a different city every year is exhausting. And like clockwork, about 3 weeks prior to the conference start date, Ethan and I want to throw in the towel and scrap it and never, ever, EVER do another one.
And then the moment arrives where the first attendees show up and we fall right back in love with why we do it every year. The wonderful energy and enthusiasm our attendees bring and the catching up with old friends and making new friends that goes on all weekend is a high.
A legal, completely exhilarating high. And them we look at each other and say “yes, let’s do this again next year – it was so much fun!”
I stayed a few extra days in Toronto to unwind and spend a little time on my own. This year I went to the ROM to see the Chihuly exhibit. If he ever comes to your town… go. His work is absolutely breathtaking.
The one who makes me laugh took me to High Park to spend some time photographing autumn and unwinding amongst nature (he told me to bring my big camera on this trip, which I reluctantly did and then was so glad I had!).
I spent most of November recuperating from being extraordinarily extroverted in September and October by holing up in my home office and wrapping up a lot of FBC2016 conference odds and ends and spending a week storm watching at Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just outside of Tofino.
Storm watching has been on my bucket list for a long time so, Sam and I hopped a ferry and drove to the west side of the island – we stayed at Long Beach Lodge Resort, which is ridiculously big dog friendly! I’ll write more about that in another post but it was a very well earned and needed break!
November ended with another trip to Toronto and then Ottawa to for another speaking engagement and then some scouting and early prep work for FBC2017, which will be in Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday next year. So… back on the extrovert train. I’m so glad I didn’t have any travel planned for December or early January!
So now you know what I spent my fall doing, because I sure wasn’t around these parts much! We can start 2017 all caught up and fresh and I’m very excited for it. I have lots to tell you in the coming weeks. So happiest of happy new years to all of you!