Who’s In Your Top 5? : The Types of People You Should Keep Close

supportNot everyone who’s on top today got there with an uninterrupted stream of success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others.

Next time you’re feeling down about your misfortunes in school or in a career, remind yourself that sometimes disappointments are just the first step towards success.

There’s nothing worse than going through those low periods in our lives, than going through them feeling alone. This is a time when it’s crucial to surround yourself with not many people, but with the right people. Take a good look at the people you connect with most. Look at your network – now examine their net worth (and I’m not just talking dollars and cents).

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When You’ve Done All You Can…

simonssaysstandI admit, sometimes I’m a control freak.

I don’t mean that in the way of being bossy and telling others what to do and say; I mean I often have this burning desire to control outcomes. I want the end result of certain situations, especially ones involving me, to be exactly how I envision it from the start.

When I truly want something, I want it reaaaaaaally badly. In fact, I feel I deserve it. I stress about it. Nothing material, I’m talking about life goals. I can’t help it, I’m just me. But where do you draw the line, take the weight off your shoulders, and allow things to just happen?

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I’m A Haute Mom…If I Do Say So Myself

How cool is that?

I’ve been given an awesome opportunity by American television host, Aubrey Aquino, to be showcased in all my mommy glory on her blog, 53 Weeks! The site features a weekly Wednesday section called “Haute Mom” where Aquino shines a light on the lives of some pretty amazing moms and their kiddies. Guess whose turn it was this Wednesday? photo-19You guessed it! Me!

The article is written in Q&A format, and I give my take on anything from advice to new mothers – to a little bit about my fashion sense and style. The bonus? I get to inspire other moms and show off a couple cute photos of my kids for a week (secretly every mama’s dream).

While I walk with a little extra pep in my step today, please go ahead and check out the full write-up, by clicking here: SASHA IS A HAUTE MOM.

Thanks for all the love! *flips hair*

x

That One Time When I Just Needed To Take A Break

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“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”

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Great quote. Not sure of its origin, but I first came across it on Instagram.

To me, the quote is meaningful in several different ways. Fundamentally, it means that you have to be in control of your own life. You chart your own course and don’t stop until you reach your final destination.

It means that you’re the captain of your ship and sometimes you have to steer that ship through stormy seas until you complete your journey and are in a safe harbour. campingfeet2014You don’t let anyone or anything lead you off course.

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How Sweet It Is: Finding A Life That Makes You Come Alive

 

piano

Any well-trained musician could tell you that a B sharp and a C sound the same. That was one of the take-aways after spending an evening with Matt. A dinner party was our first encounter; he’s my friend’s new boyfriend who I “just had to meet.” I thought he was cool. Everything she said he would be.

Matt’s been playing the piano ever since he was little. Recitals, competitions, teaching, study abroad, the church band. You name the tune, chances are he can play it. I looked to my right at another dinner guest. Her eyes were closed as she mumbled the words to John Legend’s 2004 hit, “Ordinary People.” Matt was playing the song for us, and so eloquently, as we sipped on glasses of wine. By the time his magical fingers got to the bridge, I found myself belting out the lyrics like I was the R&B superstar himself. That melodic tune brought me back in time. But though I was so deeply enthralled by the song, I couldn’t help but stare at the man behind that beautiful sound. Matt was lost in the music, often throwing his head back, tapping his foot, and swaying back and forth as he played.

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Talking To Teens: How Keeping It Real Can Do Wonders

When I got the email to participate as a speaker in Friday’s Leaders of Tomorrow conference, it was a no brainer to say yes. The view from where I sat at the panelist table was extraordinary – blank stares from 250 youth hailing from all parts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) had never felt so awkwardly good.

Ontario Black History Society conference

Ontario Black History Society conference

But as I stared back at them, my secondary thought was “how do I reach these kids?” (It’s no secret that the teenaged bunch can be a tough crowd to not only capture their attention but to keep it) Unlike a few other speakers, I hadn’t prepared what I was going to say. I had decided the night before to just wing it and to speak from the heart, letting my words come as they may. And so that’s what I did.

A little background: The Ontario Black History Society puts on the annual event. The kids ranged in age from 9th graders to those who will soon graduate. My session was the first of two for the day discussing this year’s theme: bursting the bubble in media, communications and entertainment.

Their curious young minds wanted to hear our stories: how did we climb the ladder to success? How did we overcome challenges, especially as the challenges relate to being Black in Toronto? How did we tailor our high school experiences to set us up for where we are today? How did we make it?

L to R - Emily Mills, Keziah Myers, Alain P. Arthur, Sasha-Ann Simons

L to R – Emily Mills, Keziah Myers, Alain P. Arthur, Sasha-Ann Simons

The kids needed motivation and it felt like we four had suited up in our Power Ranger-esque outfits and showed up to our call of duty. Jokes aside, I struggled with the idea of portraying myself like I had “made it.” Because I haven’t. I have a ways to go before I can say that. However at twice their age, I do have a breadth of knowledge I can share – some advice I wish I had been told back then and some strategies and behaviours, which have worked out well for me thus far.

So, you can bet, I talked to the teens about a pretty defining moment at the beginning of my journey in media. It was December of my first year at Ryerson University, and the week of final exams for the first semester. While you could find the other college kids chugging beers at pub night, I was at home sitting on the toilet. No, I wasn’t doing my business. I was frozen, staring at three little wands with plus signs on the floor. I was a whopping 16 weeks pregnant with my second child; the first was only months old at the time. To say this felt like a setback is an understatement. I was nowhere near my Journalism degree. Had barely started. Big. Huge. Sigh. Not from me, but collectively by a few of the kids in the audience. This panel talk just got real. photo

My story is mine to tell, but I can’t share my journey without talking about the days of uncertainty and struggle. I was slightly worried about connecting with those kids, but once I began spilling the beans, I had their attention, alright. It was important I tell them how my tight-knit family and in-laws remained supportive of my baby girls and me. It was imperative I describe how I stayed focused, how I got involved in the community, how I juggled school and motherhood – and eventually became a career mom.

We touched on other topics like appropriately handling racism on the job. I heard some more sighs as the panelists and I gave examples of some racially charged comments we had been subject to while on the come up. I’m hoping that’s the last time I’ll have to share those, as I’d rather they just go away. I chuckled a bit when one student stood up and asked something along the lines of how our Black community will overcome the whole “dark skin versus light skin” thing. It made me smile because I had just written about this.

Judging by the lineup of kids wanting to chat at the end of the session, I’d say they were engaged and intrigued. I was incredibly impressed by the kinds of questions they asked and how it seemed they had really started to think about and plan their futures. I could see one young man’s hesitation to approach me, so I stepped over to him. He wants to become a music journalist, so we talked about some good schools to apply for. He then leaned in and said, “You know, I’m kinda glad you told us about your kids, because it’s something my cousin is going through right now. She should’ve been here.” That’s the reason I keep it real, because you just never know whose heartstrings you’ll tug at.

panelists with OBHS President, Rosemary Sadlier

panelists with OBHS President, Rosemary Sadlier