March 2017

Mar 30 2017
There is a joke that the only time success is achieved before work, is in the dictionary.   But what is your definition of success?  And more to the point, are you working towards success on your terms or someone else’s?


I have been discussing “success on your own terms” in depth this week, because at Company of Women, that is our wish for you.  Your success is our success. But what does it mean?  How do you define your idea of success.


Much is written and appears on Facebook about achieving the six- or seven-figure income.  All you have to do is take this or that course and you have it made.  If only it was that easy.  And it does beg the question, why six or seven figures?


What’s wrong with earning less?  Does that make you a failure?  Less of a person?  I find this thrust to push people to fit a mould, to strive for something that is someone else’s dream somewhat fake.


We all have our own definition of success.  Yes, we need to make sufficient money to cover our basic needs and maybe a few extras, but that is maybe just one criteria for success.


Raising our children to be kind, caring and competent adults might be one interpretation.  Making the difference in the lives of others, can be another.  All I am saying is that it isn’t always about the maximum amount of money you can make.


For many women, living a more balanced life with the ability to meet the needs of family and stimulating work might take the prize.


No definition is wrong.  The key is that you have to own it.  It can’t be what your parents dream for you or what your partner seeks.  


It is all about you.  What you want, need and desire to live a fulfilled life.   So tell me, what is your definition of success?  Let’s talk.




more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 30 2017
more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 30 2017
more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 30 2017
Volunteers make the difference Read more > more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 24 2017

Every One of a Kind Show, we artisans are challenged to create a competition piece based on a different theme. This year’s Spring Show theme is “Happy Birthday Canada”. I never used to submit anything to the competition. I was always too busy just working on my own booth presentation. But then, I started to […]

The post Happy 150th Birthday Canada appeared first on Lisa Ridout Exclusive Jewellery.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 24 2017
Celebrating National Solidarity Day Read more > more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 24 2017
more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 24 2017
Canada's national DNA Day is taking place Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 Read more > more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 24 2017

If there is one thing I have learned over the 14 years of running Company of Women it is that it doesn’t matter what business you are in, the challenges are the same.  Typically they are finding customers/clients, cash flow and relationship/HR issues and staying positive.




But when we start out, we don’t know that. 


We think we are the only ones struggling with finding any customers, never mind the ideal customer.   We believe we are alone as we try to make the business viable with sufficient money in the bank to pay the bills when they come in.  And we definitely think we are the only one to suffer from self-doubt, to question why we thought this business was such a great idea.


That’s one of the reasons it’s good to belong to a group of entrepreneurial women, like Company of Women, where it’s safe to admit to these problems.  And this week in Barrie, we actually gave each woman at the meeting ten minutes to air her “dirty laundry” so we could brainstorm together on how to solve the particular challenge she was facing.


My hope is that as we went around the room that women started to feel better as they heard from others.  We certainly came up with plenty of ideas as there was real wisdom in the room.   For us more seasoned entrepreneurs, we’ve been there… in fact, truth is, we may still be there but on a different level, because as your business evolves, so do the issues you face.


The challenges ranged from finding customers – a big one – to having difficult conversations to getting ready for a new and first baby and how that might impact the business.


What I loved was the other women were listening intently, putting forward their best suggestions and no one was being judged because of the challenges she faced.


And that is what it is all about.  It is about being there for each other, being willing to be vulnerable and upfront about what is happening in your business and your life, because when you do, you quickly learn that you are not alone when you own.




more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 20 2017

I’m pretty easy going, not much bothers me but the things that irk me, really irk me!  I have to get this off my chest.  It was early morning, about 9 a.m. There was a mother on the train, with her two boys. It is a P.A Day and I know how that can throw [...]

The post Subway Sightings ( Irked) Kids and Sugar for Breakfast appeared first on lisaliving.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 20 2017

This was actually on the bus,  a man sitting across from me had on earphones and was listening to some music. As he listened, he pulled up his imaginary air microphone and sang (mimicked without actual vocal sounds) into it with such emotion- as if he were going to cry. Whatever the music or the [...]

The post Subway Sightings – Free Spirited Singer and his Air Mic appeared first on lisaliving.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 16 2017
Title:   ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy)
Author:  Sally Christie
Publisher: Atria Books (March 21, 2017)
How Acquired: Net Galley/TLC Book Tours

Back Cover:  In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness (this should really be dauphine, who wrote this back cover copy?) Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

My thoughts:  This is the third and final volume of Sally Christie's absorbing trilogy about the court of Louis XV, and it does not disappoint. The story is narrated in alternating 1st person POV, divided between Madame du Barry and Madame Adelaide, one of the six daughters of Louis XV.  The story starts when young Jeanne is still a child. Her mother works for a courtesan in the kitchen, while young Jeanne dreams of a life of luxury and indolence. From the very first chapter, we meet a small child who is fun-loving, lives in the moment, not book-smart, who has a kind heart. She's also amazingly naive for someone who grew up so poor that she has to walk barefoot so that she doesn't ruin her one pair of shoes in the mud. Jeanne is sent to a convent where she is loved by the students AND the nuns, which has to be a first. She's effortlessly charming but hopeless at the whole employment thing until she's employed by an expensive boutique where she meets the Comte du Barry and her journey really beings.

Madame Adelaide is a different kettle of fish all together, and I have to say that her sections of the book were my least favorite in the beginning, probably because she's the complete opposite of Jeanne. Madame Adelaide is rigid, very concerned with her position and the etiquette of the court. She reminds me of that one co-worker who is a stickler for the rules, who reports even the slightest infraction, but who also gives unsolicited advice. The type of person who is always taking classes, and reading self-improvement books and tells you about them endlessly.  Her one saving grace is that she loves her family.  Her love for her father however is possessive, she wants to be his favorite. While she worries for his soul, and abhors his relationship with 'the fish woman' as she insists, she wants to be the one that he turns too. 

However, her chapter gives fascinating insights into the lives of the daughters of France, five of whom never married. They are the superfluous women of the court as they grow older, their influence waning over the years. It's rather sad, and it reminds me of the lives of George III"s daughters, many of whom also never married. The book can be divided really into 2 parts, Louis XV, and afterwards. The book loses steam a bit until it runs headlong into the revolution. 

Christie does an amazing job of painting a vivid portrait of court life at Versailles but also the two women.  While Madame Adelaide considers du Barry (and before her Pompadour) to be an enemy, du Barry basks in the love of the King and the friends she makes at court. Jeanne's character is as uncomplicated as Madame Adelaide's is complicated. Interestingly as the book went on, I found myself growing more frustrated with Madame du Barry and more understanding of Madame Adelaide who eventually grows and changes while Jeanne seems to stay the same fun-loving child.

One of the great things about the trilogy for me was that I knew very little about the court of Louis XV. I knew the names of Pompadour and du Barry but very little of what they were like as people other than Pompadour's libido couldn't keep up with the King's. Since I knew so little, I was able to come to the trilogy without preconceived notions of the characters which I think helped because I was able to turn off that internal historian that sometimes can get in the way when I read historical fiction, particularly about a period that I know a great deal about. You can see how the seeds of the French monarchy's destruction were sewn tighter by Louis XV.  If only he hadn't followed the model of his great-grandfather and been a more enlightened monarch.  Christie makes several comparisons in the novel between how the British monarchy evolved and the French monarchy didn't. 

Any reader who loves intrigue, royalty, beautiful clothes and a dramatic period of history should pick up The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.
http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 16 2017
Is it just me but everywhere I go people are on edge? 

There is a cloud of hesitancy and fear because no one quite knows what is going to happen next.  We’re walking a tight rope, and one slight twitch could make us wobble and fall off.


Is this what it was like before World War 11?  Were people aware something dreadful was about to erupt and going about their day-to-day life, trying to pretend nothing was wrong? 



That’s kind of how it feels right now.  People seem to be hunkering in, just waiting for the boom to fall.  No matter how much you may dislike what is happening “down south” you can’t get away from it. 


Every night on the news, some other foolhardy or discriminating action has been taken and you worry where it will lead.  Every conversation you have with someone, his name creeps in.  Every day you wake up and wonder what’s going to happen next.


Our fear for the future is holding us hostage, and it is time we broke free. 


We can’t be held ransom by someone “playing” at being president or the unrest around the world.  We have to grab our lives back.  We have to carry on and live our lives to the fullest.  Because if we sit back and just wait for the bad stuff to unfold, we just increase the possibility that it will.


Let’s be clear.  It’s not just that we worry that the economy will tank.  It is that deep-rooted fear that with one foolish move, we could find ourselves at war, or worse, eradicated. As I write that, I feel myself shudder at the very thought.


But here’s the thing, while that is always a possibility, we have to Carry On. Keep Living.  As Jini Reddy observed in a recent Psychologies article,  “The world can feel very divided at the moment – which is all the more reason to celebrate our shared humanity.” She suggests that we need to come up with ways to avoid adding to the negativity, without retreating into denial or complacency.


“The urge, she says,  to experience communion and our shared humanity or to take meaningful action and to feel uplifted by it, is palpable.”


Good advice. I have always been an optimist, and I don’t intend to stop now.  I encourage you to do the same. Be aware, yes,  but don’t let it paralyze you or cause you to stop being who you are meant to be.  Let’s cluster together to neutralize what is happening and build a community that cares.


It takes small, simple acts of kindness, so that on a daily basis we remind ourselves of the value of community and helping one another.  As Reddy says “these small everyday acts, taken individually, create ripples. This is community in action – and we all benefit from it.”


We can do this. You know we can.







more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 09 2017

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of being the opening keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day celebrations in Cambridge.


I was asked to share my story and talk about the ways women lead.  Starting my talk with a photo of myself at three, wearing my kilt, like the good Scottish lassie that I was, I went on to talk my career path and how receiving the ATHENA Award, was a pivotal point in my leadership journey.


As I explained to the audience of over 100 women (and two men), up until that point I had not really seen myself as a leader, more someone who saw a gap in service, would recruit people to help, and we’d roll up our sleeves and get the job done.



The ATHENA award was started by Martha Mayhood Mertz, who when she joined the board of her local chamber of commerce, found herself to be the only woman. Knowing that there were equally qualified women who deserved to be there, she set about to establish a leadership award that would honour women. Thirty five years later, over 7,000 awards have been presented around the world.


As I showed the audience my sculpture, I explained that each element was symbolic. The base is marble, representing the strong foundation of the individual, the bronze body represents the ability to withstand whatever comes your way, the arms reaching out speaks to how a leader reaches out to people and the crystal at the top illustrates how the leader has a clear vision and can see all aspects of a situation. 

The ATHENA Foundation did research to determine what are the key and common characteristics of women who had received the award.  And this is what I shared in my presentation, tying the attribute to a Canadian woman, most of whom I have met and know.


Courageous Acts  - These women are the trailblazers in our midst, who despite the risk involved, choose to take the road less travelled, paving the way for others.  


Fierce Advocacy - Likely we all know someone who has turned a tragedy into triumph by challenging the system and working steadfastly to change whatever had befallen them.   


Learning – Leaders are life long learners.  They see the value and importance of always learning, gaining more information and are never satisfied with the status quo.   They are curious.


Giving back – Often the women would be connected to foundations, charities or causes, giving of their time, resources and expertise. 


Relationships – As women we are very much about building relationships. We work hard to foster, build and maintain relationships – both professionally and personally.


Collaboration – This is one skill set that women often bring to organizations, business and boards – our ability to involve others, to partner up with others and to see the merit and respect diverse perspectives.

Authenticity – Being who you are and comfortable in your own skin, authentic leaders treat everyone with respect.  They are the real deal and build trust within their organizations.


Celebration and joy– In our fast-paced lives, it’s important to pause and celebrate our successes along the way.  When we have gratitude for what we have, we find joy.


I couldn’t resist using the last attribute to showcase Company of Women, because that is what we are all about.  We’re the cheerleaders for women business owners – there to celebrate your wins, and support you over the near-wins.



I ended with a challenge to the women to look at themselves as leaders, and left them with this quote – “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. You are a leader.”

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 06 2017
Check your vaccinations! A rise in cases of Mumps in Canada has public health officials asking young adults to check if they need a vaccination booster. The standard vaccination is two doses starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. […] more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 06 2017

Hi Friends, I am looking forward to speaking at the "Ryerson Women In Leadership Gala" on March 4th and the "Women In Business Conference" in Ottawa on March 8th.   Ryerson Women In Leadership Gala on March 4th      Women in Business Conference on March 8th Judy's One Minute Shelf Help Video Pick:   [...]

The post The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People appeared first on Judy Croon.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 05 2017

By Sabrena Salahudeen A mustard plant’s leaves are a peppery soul food and its seeds are used to make Dijon mustard. It doesn’t matter if it has toothed, scalloped, frilly, or lacy edges, mustard leaves are extremely high in nutrition. Its peak period is April, although it’s available throughout the year. Mustard greens are an [...]

The post Mustard Greens: An Excellent Source of Vitamin E appeared first on lisaliving.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 04 2017
Part Two – Muskrat Falls Let me turn now to something of particular importance to Newfoundland and Labrador’s economic future.  For better or for worse, Muskrat Falls is a mega-project involving both great financial cost but also great potential gain. … Continue reading more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 02 2017
This week one of our speakers cancelled just before an event.  What to do? What was our Plan B?


We had a good crowd coming, so cancelling was not an option.  Instead when we checked to see who was registered, we found that we had two marketing experts coming.  

While not like the marketing generalist we’d 
booked, each knew her stuff about her aspect of marketing – social media and video – so we asked them to quickly prepare a short presentation.


And they did.  Not only was it good to involve the women in the group but also to showcase the expertise we already had in the room.


Yes they were a bit nervous.  It’s hard to strut your stuff in front of your peers, fearing they will judge you, but you know what,  I bet they both went up a notch in people’s perception of them because they came to our rescue and because they knew what they were talking about.


All of this to say that sometimes plan B works out better than your original plan. 

I remember going to the theatre once and being disappointed that we had the understudy, but she was amazing and it proved to me that sometimes it is better to leave your expectations at the door. I could have so easily let that disappointment colour my view of the results, but I didn’t.  I decided to be open to what unfolded and it worked well.


Just like it did the other night. It is always good to have a Plan B in your back pocket and often when things don’t work out the way you wanted, it makes you more creative and you come up with a great solution.  In our case, we tapped into our connections.



Maybe Plan B stands for Better.

more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 01 2017
Happy March everyone! Today is also the first day of Women's History Month.  I know it has been quite a while since I've blogged and I apologize profusely. It has been hard lately juggling a job with working on my own writing as well as blogging. ... more...

{ 0 comments }

Mar 01 2017

You might know that I performed at a big music industry showcase a few days ago. If you weren’t there or on the livestream, imagine this… Indie folk band. Rock band. Rock band. Metal band. And then me… Indigenous woman in regalia gets up on stage with frame drum. Then the water/womb healing ceremony with […]

The post How to Be Seen & Heard How YOU Want #TruthbyBrenda #TrueStory appeared first on Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre.

more...

{ 0 comments }