What I did on my vacation!

What did I do on my vacation? Pura Vida -Pure Life- this saying is used many times a day in Costa Rica.

Four years ago I went on what I call my trip of a lifetime!

Thirteen like-minded women flew from Ottawa to Liberia, Costa Rica, after a 3-hour bus ride through the most beautiful country I have ever seen! We arrived at Blue Spirit for a 7-day yoga retreat. We were greeted by hot humid temperatures, howling monkeys, roosters and other fellow yogis.

After we checked in our amazing rooms, we had an orientation on the ecosystem of the resort and what products we could use and not use, Blue Spirit is in part of Costa Rica that is one of the worlds 5 only blue zones, hence the name Blue Spirit. According to Wikipedia  “a Blue Zone is an area where people live the longest and report the highest levels of well-being. We were all very respectful of the resorts ecosystem.

Every day we had a sunrise and sundown meditation and 2 yoga classes. The yoga studio we had was covered but open air, which was good because we got a lot of rain in the evenings. Hearing the rain on the roof of the yoga studio was so meditating. In the morning yoga class, we had hummingbirds dancing around and at the sundown mediation the fireflies came out to entertain us. The yoga classes mostly consisted of Yin Yoga, which is my favorite type of yoga. I like the stillness and quiet of the Yin practice. We were free in the afternoon to hang out on the beach with surfers, walk the beach to shop in a nearby town of Nosara, sit by the pool or go off on excursions. Some of the ladies went off and did zip lining, which they described it as spectacular, with my fear of heights I sat that one out. I did travel to a farm and hiked through the fields to a waterfall to swim and play in a natural water slide, we spent the afternoon and, on the way back to the resort the guide stopped to gets us cold beer and fresh watermelon. My mouth waters now at the thought of how good it tasted. I did spend a few afternoons on the beach watching the surfers and a family of sea turtles.

 

NatureStudio

Our yoga studio for the week! http://www.bluespiritcostarica.com/

 

We all assumed we would come home 5 lbs lighter because the resort only offered organic food with mostly vegetarian selections, the food was from the resort’s farm and garden. The different dishes and desserts were so amazing and tasted so good, we all stuffed our faces at every meal. Needless to say, we did not lose any pounds, we all did feel healthy and energetic. We went into town one night to eat and have some fun, have some local beer and drinks, what a night! La Luna was a small restaurant on the beach with amazing fresh food. The owners sat with us and asked us about living in Canada and we asked them about life in Costa Rica. We ate fish tacos with fish that had been caught that day, I have not been able to find a fish taco again that tasted that good.

Did I go there to find myself, in a sense I went there to figure out who I really was? I was so grateful I was to be able to have a trip like this and how blessed I was with my life back home. I embraced spirituality and yoga about 6 years ago and it has been a big part of my life. This yoga retreat confirmed to me I am on the right path.

I am hoping to add more locations to my trips of a lifetime. Bali is going to be one for sure. Where has your trip of a lifetime been or where do you want to go to have that trip of a lifetime?

 

 

 

Musically Speaking!

I do not follow many celebrities on Social Media, but I do follow Adele, Lady Gaga and Jann Arden. Not only do I follow them on social media I have also seen all three of them in concert and have been told I am a little or maybe a lot obsessed with them.

Let’s start with Adele, I am one of her biggest fans. When myself and my son could not get tickets to her Toronto show I was devasted.  Adele’s Concerts Tickets Sell Out! For months I tried to find tickets, I do not support scalpers, so I did not have many options. Finally, I found 2 tickets on Kijiji for more than a week’s salary, they were exactly what I was looking for. For two months all I listened to were Adele’s three albums and I watched every interview I could find. By the time October 7 rolled around, I was ready. This concert was by far the best concert I have ever been too, Adele is so talented and to see her live was everything I had hoped for.  Adele has had no presence on social media since 2017, in one interview she was quoted saying that her management team had to approve her tweets because of drunken tweets early in her career. We have all been there! I respect her privacy and for not being all over social media with every little tidbit about her life, but I am sad that she has vanished from the spotlight, I sure hope she shines again one day soon.

 

 

 

Lady Gaga was another amazing concert, not just a concert but a production with amazing costumes, makeup and stage presence. We danced our asses off! We were fortunate to have seats close to the stage, Gaga did not stop once, you could tell that she feeds off the audience and that is why there is so much positive energy at her shows. Lady Gaga is my go-to workout music and I love to watch her YouTube videos, they are quite the productions. Lady Gaga Paparazzi Official Video. I follow Lady Gaga on all her Social Media, she is very present and engaging on her platforms. When there is a good cause Lady Gaga is there and posting. She is also very humble and true to who she is. If you get a chance watch her Netflix’s documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, what a story!

 

 

Jan Arden is a true Canadian singer-songwriter and what a sense of humour, not only does she make you cry in her concerts, but you also have a good laugh.  I have seen Jann in concert three times and I have plans to see her this coming July in an outdoor concert. I also love watching Jann in interviews, she uses songwriting and humour to deal with the losses in her life and family issues that have been challenging to deal with. Jann has just written her second book, this book is about caring for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  She has also just released new music that was also influenced by her life experiences. Jann Arden Opens Up about caring for her mother. Jann is very active on all of her social media, she is constantly posting, tweeting and interacting with her audiences, I enjoy following her and seeing what she is doing daily. She is a true social media junkie, just like me.

 

 

Several years ago my son tweeted Jann Arden so many times to wish me a Happy Birthday that by the end of the day she did tweet me @SharonSinfield Happy Birthday! There are so many celebrity social media sites, beware they are not all legit. Any social media sites that you are engaging in make sure you are not responding to the crazies but following the official sites. What celebrity sites do you follow, and have you ever had a celebrity respond to your comments or tweets?

 

facebook icon  Musically Speaking!

twitter icon  #musicallyspeaking

Celebrating women #IWD82018

“International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” International Women’s Day

On March 8 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram globally exploded with #PressforProgress in celebration of International Women’s Day. In 2018  many women found their voice and this hashtag gave women all over the world a reason to celebrate! Men and women  everywhere celebrated and acknowledge the strength and success of women they know and love

According to Social Media Now ” Unique to 2017, International Women’s Day was the #1 most talked about moment in 2017 and doubled since 2016″.  Because of the #metoo movement, 2017-2018 has been a year of woman’s marches and women rising to be heard!

I work as a print sales rep for a small valley newspaper, every year we do a feature for International Women’s week, local business women buy ad space to celebrate and promote their businesses. There are usually over 300 ads, however this year it was down to 100 ads. Why buy an ad when you can celebrate and promote your business on social media for no investment but your time. I always looked forward to reading the feature and learning about other business women and their businesses in the local market. This year all I had to do was open my social media pages on March 8 and celebrate the wonderful, strong and successful women of my social media networks.  Most social media platforms offered pictures, videos and frames just for International Women’s Day. It was very inspiring and made me proud to be a strong successful business woman.

The McDonalds ad campaign for International Women’s day caught my eye, they flipped the M in their ads celebrating International Women’s Day to a W, I was impressed with this campaign, but unfortunately when I researched it I found a lot of negative comments on the articles because of McDonald’s poor treatment of women in some of their restaurants. McDonalds Ad Campaign Backfires. I have never been a big fan of McDonald’s and this validated some of my concerns with the company. This is a perfect example of a positive advertising campaign getting negative feedback. McDonald’s marketing strategy will have to have numerous ways to deal with these negative comments.

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“Whether women are better than men I cannot say – but I can say they are certainly not worse” Golda Meir

Should we have Internationals Men’s Day? I have a very strong successful husband and 2 sons that are well on their way to becoming successful young men. And I work with many successful business men. On March 8 did you celebrate the women in your life?

facebook_logos_PNG19761  International Women’s Day http://bit.ly/2FBfc4n

twitter_PNG32 #IWD82018 http://bit.ly/2FBfc4n

 

 

How did you follow #PyeongChang2018?

It is that time of year again, two weeks of great sporting events, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.  Because of the time difference between Canada and PyeongChang, social media has been a great way to follow the Olympics this year. Though where do you even start? There are so many social media platforms following the Olympics, all major news outlets, each country, athletes, families of athletes and on and on! There are hashtags everywhere if you are following any of the athletes you will probably see corporate sponsor hashtags in their posts and tweets. Cheerio’s #BeTheCheer and Visa # TeamVisa are just a couple  I have noticed.
I have been watching the different platforms from various social media sites daily, the platform that has jumped out at me the most is #flytheflag, Air Canada posts and videos are about Canadian Medal winners, events happening that day, athlete profiles and commercials. Air Canada is a major sponsor of the 2018 Canadian Olympic team, on all of their platforms there is a contest running, if you post a photo or video of you, your friends or family cheering on the athletes with a Canadian flag using #flytheflag, you will have  a chance to win a round-trip economy class ticket to anywhere Air Canada flies. Air Canada is taking a very positive spin on the Olympics and most comments and tweets have been very positive as well, it was amusing to see a comment about someone who had lost  their luggage on one video post “wishing freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe good luck” This validates that social media gives your audience opportunity to use their voice at any time and in hopes that someone is listening and willing to help them out.
CBC Olympics is also doing a great job with their social media platform, they are offering Facebook live chat sessions with some of the Canadian Athletes after medal ceremonies, updates on the day’s events and video profiles on each of the athletes.

 

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Source: http://bit.ly/2oxaJUO

 

My 2018 Olympic highlight was watching Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate a flawless gold medal ice dance. I was excited to watch them do their gala skate on the final Saturdayy to “Long Time Running” by The Tragically Hip, what a tribute to another great Canadian, the late Gord Downie! Are you an Olympic junkie, if yes how did you follow #pyeongChange2018?
twitterHow did you follow #PyeongChang2018? http://bit.ly/2ESmArO
facebook      How did you follow the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics? http://bit.ly/2ESmArO

Detox: Is Social Media Toxic?

Merriam-Webster defines Detox: a regimen or treatment intended to remove toxins and impurities from the body.

Every year in January I do a detox to rid my body of all the toxins from the food and alcohol I enjoyed over the holidays. The detox resets my body and gets me back to clean eating. I am also currently reading  “Judgement Detox: Release the Beliefs that Hold you Back from Life” by Gabrielle Bernstein, this book is a good reminder that not everyone is the same and everyone has their own story. Judging people can be incredibly hard to stop, I am learning from this book to maybe be a little less judgmental overall. Let’s get into this, do detoxes work or is it just a new buzz word?

Often I see online that people are announcing that they are taking a break from social media and electronics…seriously do people really shut down social media for an extended period of time?

 

 

My guess is if they have to announce to their followers that they need a break then is it pretty clear a break is needed. I did some googling on Social Media Detox and I was surprised to find that there are many websites, apps, videos and books on how to actually do a Social media detox. You can even book an online session to get your detox. Book an online social media detox

And funny enough there is Facebook page The Social Media Detox.

One of the many things I have learned in the required readings in the last couple of weeks is that moderation one of the best rules for social media. A social media marketer can teach the importance of this rule to customers, friends and family. Like any other detox that you do in your life, moderation and balance are key. We all have overindulged in one thing or another and in doing so it has opened our eyes to the fact that we are overusing things like food, alcohol, social media or whatever your vice is and it is time to take a break or maybe cut back. Personally, I am not sure I will ever be able to give up red wine, chocolate or social media for an extended period of time, but I do know when to stop.

What do you detox from, have you ever shut down social media for a long period of time, if yes did you go back to old habits or did you slow down?

 

twitterDetox: Is Social Media Toxic? #soialmediadetox  http://bit.ly/2EFjIys

facebook  Detox: Is Social Media Toxic   http://bit.ly/2EFjIys

The Whole Nation Listened

Three years ago, on January 31, 2016, I woke up, poured a cup of coffee and opened my Facebook page. My Facebook page was filled with post after post about #bellletstalkday, I really did not pay much attention to any of it because mental health had not really touched my life or, so I had thought. I scrolled down and there was a very long post by my youngest son that he had written that morning.  All I could manage to say was “Wow”, with tears streaming down my face, mental health had just entered my life with a bang.  Not knowing that my son was suffering from these issues I started to question my parenting and realized this was about Jesse and not me and I needed to step up as a parent. I now check in with both of my sons daily to see how their days are going and to chat about everything going on in their lives.

#bellletstalkday and Facebook had given Jesse a voice that he otherwise did not have. Thank you! I am grateful for this, as I am sure many are also grateful that #bellletstalkday and social media has given so many people a voice to talk about their mental health issues.

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#bellletstalkday, in my mind, yet I am no social media expert, is one of the most successful social media campaigns in Canada. On January 31 every year social media and its many platforms are helping people find their voice to talk about mental health and also educating people to listen more, I know I am.  How many times was #bellletstalkday posted on all social media platforms on January 31, 2018? Well according to the Bell Let’s Talk website “138,383,995 raising $6,919,199 for support and services for mental health across Canada”. #bellletstalkday Well done!

 

I am educating myself more about mental health and ways of reducing stress, taming anxiety and self-care. I have joined various Facebook, Instagram and Twitter groups on these topics, sometimes it is just nice to open Twitter and see a daily inspirational quote or a link on Facebook about on self-care.  Postive Outlooks

 

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source: https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

 

My go-to place for true stress relief is my yoga mat for either a yoga practice, a mediation or just to lay on the mat and forget about the world. Sometimes all I need is 5 minutes and some days I need a lot longer. I also journal and now that I have discovered blogging I am going to turn some of the more interesting journal entries into blogs posts and share them on my social media platforms. If you want to reach a large audience or network, social media is the best way to achieve results #bellletstalkday has proven this.

 

Mental health is now a part of my life, I now understand how mental health can affect everyone in many ways! Did you participate in #bellletstalkday, did you talk or did you listen?

 

twttr  The Whole Nation Listened – http://bit.ly/2EjZyd1

    The Whole Nation Listened – http://bit.ly/2EjZyd1

Is social media your annoying little sister?

We all have love hate relationships in our lives, like avocados I hate them, but I love how good they are for you, my other love hate relationship right now is with social media, print media’s annoying little sister! Is social media your annoying little sister?

How does social media apply to my life? Well personally I love social media because I can connect with friends, family and like-minded people. Being able to catch up and learn more about them through posts, tweets, pictures, group chats and their video’s. I can also show interest in upcoming events and webinars as well as getting reminders of both. I usually start and end my day with my personal social media.

In my professional life as a print advertising sales rep for my local community newspaper, I have a hate relationship with social media, well hate is a strong word and really not part of my vocabulary…so let’s say an unpleasant relationship with social media, like that annoying little sister. Professionally social media is in my face, won’t go away and is affecting my productivity. In the past 5 years, I have witnessed more of my clients talking about social media, different social media platforms they are on and advertising dollars they budgeted for social media, as well as the fact that they have hired social media experts. I will admit I was trying to ignore the annoying little sister called social media, then the company I work for Metroland Media/Torstar started shutting down community newspapers and as a good advertising sales rep I had to start listening to what my clients were saying and I had to embrace my little sister, social media. After some research I found the Social Media on line course at Algonquin College and decided I was going to reinvent my self from advertising print sales to a Social Media marketing!

little sister (2)

My brother and his annoying little sister!

So really is social media that annoying little sister? Of course not! Social media is a sign of the times in advertising and marketing. Can I measure how many people have engaged in a newspaper ad? No. With social media we can measure almost instantly in most cases. How many have viewed, followed, shared and commented on a post, tweet, blog, photo or videos. The following article gives a good comparison of newspaper advertising and social media advertising, http://bit.ly/2rKKrTV.

What I am finding is more money is being budgeted for social media platforms than print advertising. Newspapers are expensive to produce so the ads are costly and take up a big part of advertising budgets. In my case the newspaper I work for is a weekly and as we all know social media is 24/7 and this is what people are looking for “right now”. Newspapers main audience is the older more mature market and social media platforms reach people of all ages, my mother is 85 and even she has a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. The more I learn about social media and the different social media platforms and success stories of social media advertising, the more excited I get to be able meet with clients and start sharing the information I am learning about social media marketing.

 

I am hoping in the very near future professionally I will learn to love my annoying little sister, social media, as I do personally! What professionally or personally do you have a love hate relationship with?