COM0014 – Blog #1: My Last Vacation before Lockdown

COM0014 – Blog #1: My Last Vacation before Lockdown

It’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere other than the grocery store or the pharmacy. The pandemic has definitely put a damper on one’s ability to travel over the last year. However, I still have many fond memories of the last places I visited before the world shut down. In May of 2019 I was traveled to British Columbia for two weeks for my birthday. We stayed in Vancouver for a week and then took the ferry to Vancouver Island where we stayed for the following week.

View of Vancouver from Kitsilano
Photo Credit: Aislinn Calvert

Vancouver is great city to visit, there are lots of great restaurants, beaches and bike trails to explore and my absolute favourite thing to do is ride the water taxis in False Creek, especially at sunset.

Water taxi in False Creek
Photo Credit: Aislinn Calvert

Every time I travel to Vancouver I stay at the Sylvia Hotel in English Bay. The Sylvia Hotel is a wonderful place to spend time in Vancouver’s west end. It is steps from Stanley Park, with a fantastic view of the Bay and was home to Vancouver’s first cocktail bar, The Tilting Room (Sylvia Hotel, 2016).

The Sylvia Hotel
Photo Credit: Aislinn Calvert

Originally built as an apartment building in 1912, it was later sold and by the 1960’s had become a popular and bustling hotel (V.I.A., 2017). During the Second World War The Sylvia was used to house merchant marines and there are many photos in the hotel from this period and later in the 1960’s (V.I.A., 2017). The Sylvia Hotel’s retro aesthetic allows one to imagine how it felt to be there during those times.

English Bay
Image Source

The hotel is also meant to be haunted by the famous Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, specifically room 604 which happens to be the room I was assigned the first time I stayed at The Sylvia Hotel (V.I.A., 2017). Unfortunately, I do not have any paranormal experiences to report, it was quite an uneventful stay in that respect. Have any of you ever knowingly stayed in a haunted hotel? Canada is home to many ghostly inns, check out this link to find out if you have stayed in some of the most prolific haunted hotels in Canada.

Errol Flynn
Image Credit

The second week of our travels took us to the tiny surf town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We stayed at the Pacific Sands Bech Resort on Cox Bay, which is well known for great surfing and hosts the largest surfing competition in Canada, The Rip Curl Pro, which happened to be on the week we were there (Tofino, n.d.) Inspired by the surf culture in Tofino and my love of yoga, I arranged to participate in a yoga and surf retreat for the final weekend of the trip through Tofino Yoga. This was an interesting experience as I was the only participant, which made for a very personalized, yet somewhat awkward weekend. 

Me practicing yoga on Cox Bay Beach
Photo Credit: Tofino Yoga

The yoga retreat was fun and consisted of invigorating early morning Hatha yoga classes and evening Yin yoga classes on the beach with surfing lessons provided by Surf Sister in between. Having never surfed before it was certainly a challenge, but I did manage to get up briefly on the second day, something I consider an accomplishment. Have you ever surfed? How long did it take you to get up on the board?

Chesterman Beach, Tofino
Photo Credit: Aislinn Calvert

I have always loved British Columbia and cannot wait to be able to return when the lockdown is over and restrictions on travel are lifted. Tell me about your B.C. adventures!

Resources

Vancouver Is Awesome, (September 2017), ‘5 Things You didn’t Know About the Sylvia Hotel’ Retrieved from https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/events-and-entertainment/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-sylvia-hotel-1934207

Twitter, (July 2016), ‘The Sylvia Hotel’ Retrieved from https://twitter.com/SylviaHotel/status/750731571284484096

Tofino, (n.d.), ‘The Rip Curl Pro Tofino’ Retrieved from https://tourismtofino.com/event/rip-curl-pro-tofino/

What Happens in Vegas, Stays In Vegas

Although a work trip / mini vacation didn’t turn out the way I imagined it to, I’ll always remember it.


Flashback to early 2019, the year started off as a wreck for me. No really, I got into a car accident on my way to get an X-ray because I had sprained my ankle a week prior.

Fortunately, my luck was turning around (or so I thought) when I was told I would be going to Las Vegas with my coworker that shared the same position as me, for a conference at Caesars Palace. I couldn’t help but cry on the webinar when I was told the news because of how unfortunate my year had started out.

My coworker and I quickly started to plan a mini-vacation out of this trip since we would have a day to ourselves before the conference started. We wanted to extend our stay, however, our flight back would not be covered by our work. We both agreed to have one day to ourselves because we weren’t able to save up as much money as we would’ve liked since the trip was in a few months.

At 6 a.m. on May 18, 2019, I left my house to meet my coworker at her house. There we were, standing in her kitchen talking about how excited we were for the trip when all of a sudden we hear *ping*. We got an email notification that our 10:15 a.m. flight had been CANCELLED.

I don’t know who was more confused and frustrated at this time, us or our poor manager that got woken up by our phone calls and messages. Still confused as to what was going to happen, we headed out the door to make our way to the airport to sort out this problem.

After a few hours of phone calls, we were booked on another flight later that night. I almost got booked on a different flight from my coworker. I would’ve gone to Edmonton then Las Vegas while her flight would make a stop in Detroit then Las Vegas. This turned out to be an issue because this was my first time on an airplane as well as leaving Canada. Yeah, just my luck.

Fortunately, we both made it on the same flight. The day we were supposed to have to relax by the pool, walking along the strip and seeing a show, was out the window. So much for the vacation we planned.

We got to our hotel around midnight. Angry, upset and tired, we went to bed for an early morning for the conference. Do you think my luck turns around for the remainder of the trip?

It’s no surprise that some things happened for the remainder of our stay.

During our lunch break, jet lag hit me and I had the worst migraine of my life causing me to miss the afternoon sessions of the conference. I went back to my hotel room to rest. I overslept but I did manage to make it to the closing ceremony for the conference. This is when my coworker and I headed back to the room to get ready to enjoy the little time we had left in Vegas.

Our night consisted of a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant in Caesars Palace, followed by non-stop walking along the strip. We also went into a few shops and other hotels, of course, to get a few souvenirs. My excitement took a hit when street performers approached us. Clueless me said hello to more bad luck and bye-bye to $40 I had in my wallet.

Before we ended our night, we relaxed in the whirlpool tub in our room. At least we got to wear our bathing suits even if it wasn’t at the pool like we hoped we could enjoy. We were off to bed once again for an early morning. This time it was for check out then on to the bus to take us to the airport.

We made it back home, disappointed by our eventful trip. I guess I did get what I wanted out of it, for it to be memorable. You know what they say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… including our bathing suits. We left them in Las Vegas along with my bad luck.

Two good things came out of this trip; memories and a new friendship.



COM0014 -Blog #1: My Last Vacation Was A Ball!

As the parent of two young Rep. baseball players, my summer vacations have become strategically planned around travel ball tournaments. After six years my creative skills, used to manipulate my holiday schedule, have grown to include begging, pleading, and when necessary little white lies.

My last summer vacation started much as you would guess. The days were blocked off on the calendar; our conversations became focused on vacation plans and there was the usual excitement that precludes any upcoming holiday.

Finally, our departure day arrives. I perform the famous parent rendition: “Are you sure you have everything? I am not turning around once we leave”! This threat usually ends with ME doing one last round of double-checking the already double-checked.

With iPhones and earbuds in check, the vacation starts with a golden silence only interrupted by the words, “are we there yet” and “got any snacks”?

After driving for hours, we reach our destination. All our dreams and speculations of a “Casa Royal” are shattered. The reality of our moderate accommodation cannot be denied any longer. We face our temporary home with bravery and get on with our holiday.

I am so excited. Tonight, I will sit under the stars. Okay, the diamond lights but my imagination sees stars. As I lounge in the twilight along with all my mosquito friends, I pray to the baseball gods for a win. “Did the coach say a win would mean a 7:00 am start tomorrow, or was that if we lost”? Either way, it is bittersweet. It doesn’t matter, we are here to play ball!

The team wins! We head back to our quarters to celebrate with pizza, (our favorite hotel dinner on a budget), and a swim.

Ready to chillax we all head to the pool. I am confident I will enjoy some downtime. My partner (a coffee cup disguising my sip of sanity) agrees.

The pool, filled with fifteen 12-year-old boys, soon cuts into my relaxing time. With one quick gesture, my guys know I have had enough. We make the trek back to our room.

The boys are tired. Sleep comes easily to them. I lay awake and listen to my fellow travel mates unwinding with a few cocktails in the hotel hall. I feel drawn to them and think some social would be nice, after all, it is my holiday. Alas, I stay put knowing a sun-drenched ball diamond is not the place to nurse a hangover. Content with my decision, I get comfy and I am soon lulled to sleep by the growing exaggerated renditions that come with booze-driven storytelling.

The morning arrives. Decked out in my pajamas (no shame here, I am on vacation) I head out to investigate breakfast. The greasy bacon cannot tempt me. I settle for a tea, return to my room and begin organizing my crew. With great excitement, we are off for a fun-filled day of baseball. Today I will bask in the sun and the sand.

Reaching the ballpark, I make an accurate estimate. It is roughly a 2K walk to the diamond. “What do you mean the diamond is WAY over there”? “Why did I park here”? The recent memory of driving home peering through a broken windshield reminds me that the long walk is necessary.

I begin the long hike lugging my heavy, overfilled wagon.

I pick a spectator spot behind home plate. What a great view!  Now I can relax. There is nothing for me to do but watch the game…and encourage, console, yell, cheer, visit the food stand, fill water bottles, fix uniforms, pitch-count, take pictures, record videos, stay calm, give moral support, clap, find band-aids, hold the ice pack, hand out sunflower seeds, apply eye black…

In my spare moment, I lather on sunscreen. The wind picks up and by the second inning, my sunscreen has become a fine coat of sandpaper. I gaze over at the grass with jealousy and make a mental note to rethink my choice of viewing location.

By Sunday, we are all sunburnt and tired. We load up the vehicle and make the journey home.

The boys are exhausted, but they had a blast. We didn’t win the championship, but the memory of great plays, teamwork, bonding, family, and friendship will last forever.

Home safe and sound. I can’t wait to shower, grab a cocktail, unwind and relax on my patio.

Would I do it again? “HECK, YA”! “Again and again and again”! I love my boys. I’m their Baseball Mom!

There is a mountain of laundry to do, but I will get to that tomorrow: the last day of my vacation.

COM0014 -Blog# 7 Personal Reflection

Throughout this course, I gained knowledge on so many topics. Storytelling is the topic that resides with me the most.

I learned that storytelling is essential to create digital content because it is how we connect with our audience.

What’s Your Story?

I gained an understanding that storytelling is the foundation of communication and that stories are shared, in numerous ways.


To guide my content, I will use the inverted pyramid. In this course, I learned that it is crucial not to bury the lead since it is the most significant part of the story.

The Inverted Pyramid

Using the inverted pyramid, I will place the most valuable information at the start of the story, followed by additional information and then ending with the information that is good to know.

I will share the stories of healthy hair care practices with my YouTube audience. I plan on continuing to tell stories that engage my target audience.

Target Audience Analysis Template - Excel
Target Audience Analysis

This course has taught me many valuable lessons that I will apply when storytelling. I have learned that knowing my target audience’s likes and dislikes is just as significant as storytelling.

I am now aware that in order to tell good stories I need to know my target audience. Keeping my audience interested in mind will allow me to tell a good story.

Personal Reflection & The Next Chapter

We learned that communication is vital through this course, whether it be digital through a social media platform, a blog or just by speaking. Are you trying to reach one person or many? What I didn’t realize is how storytelling has become somewhat of a lost art. We’ve become used to sharing things we see on Facebook, following influencers on Instagram, but not knowing who the person truly is.

My grandpa loved to tell stories around a fire, and it wasn’t until he died that I realized how special they were and what I wouldn’t give for one more day of his stories. Although it is a lost art to many, I think that it could make a comeback with what I’ve learned on this course! I didn’t understand how much of an impact a blog could be until having to write 7 of them throughout this course. Until this course, I never really paid attention to blogs, but anything with a bold title and, truthfully, a picture or two will keep my attention. However, if it seems to go on forever, I have difficulty staying focused and will lose interest. So we have to find that happy medium.

With what I’ve learned on this course, my mom and I are talking about starting a blog for her business with information on how to change a hearing aid battery yourself (many come in from a fair distance for help), to articles she posts in the local paper, we can mirror them on a digital platform. The options are endless, and now I have a better idea of reaching a larger audience while catering to the various ages of my mom’s clients.

I am certainly looking forward to the next course, to expand that knowledge and see where it take us!

What is your favourite customer story?

I have been in the military for 11.5 years. I have had some pretty remarkable experiences, joined the Naval Boarding Party, became a medical first responder and meeting the Queen while being a member of her Guard of Honour in 2010 for the Navy’s 100th centennial. And while that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there is one that trumps that.

I’m the last one in focus at the end

I grew up in Alberta, where there’s no ocean, so many people are unaware that Canada has a Navy, when in face we have a West Coast and East Coast fleet. While there is a Naval reserve unit (part-time), most Albertans are used to seeing members of the Army and Air Force. I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, “why did you join the Navy when Alberta has no oceans?” To answer this question is quite simple, I was in Sea Cadets, and truthfully it made the most sense at the time!

Conducting a Naval Boarding while at Sea

Flash forward to November 2016, and my husband and I are both posted from Victoria, BC, to Ottawa, ON. Home of the West Coast Fleet to home of National Defence Headquarters. It was a big move followed by a big year as we celebrated Canada turning 150 years old, so people from all over flooded to Ottawa to celebrate in our nation’s capital. While grabbing a coffee one day at work, in my uniform, I noticed an elderly man watching me, and I could tell he was trying to figure out what my uniform was. It happens all the time, so it was nothing new, but when he saw that I noticed him, he came over and asked and was surprised when I said Navy as he was used to seeing “the green” being near an army base. He mentioned that I was young to have joined and when we got talking, I mentioned being from Alberta, and he was thrilled.

It turns out he was from Edmonton, which is where I was born and that he was in town with his family, including his young granddaughter, for the celebrations. What happened next will forever be a cherished memory. He asked if his family could meet me, especially his granddaughter, who was no older than 4. I could tell she wasn’t sure what to think, so I figured I would get down to her level and to my surprise, she wanted to sit on my knee. We talked for a few minutes; I put my bowler (my hat) on her head and posed for a photo for her Granddad. When it was time to leave, I gave her the Navy lanyard off of my building pass and, of course, asked when she was older if she was going to join. But just as she was leaving, she turned around, thanked me and gave me the biggest hug, which meant more to me than she will ever know. Needless to say, my bosses had no issues giving me a new lanyard for my pass and a few Navy pins and coins for any tiny potential sailors in the future.

My last ship – HMCS Calgary

COM0014 – Blog # 6: Do People Know Your Story?

Who is my super-fan? What do they want?

My biggest super-fan is my nephew Tristan. He is my biggest supporter when it comes to my YouTube channel.

Although he is just six years old, Tristan keeps on me to stay consistent posting my videos.

My nephew is an avid gamer who will stop playing his game to be the first person to watch my latest video, regardless of the length.

Tristan will go the extra mile to call me and give me his review of my video.

He will tell me what he likes and what he dislikes. Tristan will also remind me to get started on making my next video.

After watching, Tristan will tell his siblings and parents that I have a new video and remind them that they need to watch it.

Tristan encourages me to continue making content for my YouTube channel, regardless of what negative comments or issues I come across.

My nephew will even recommend products and content he wants to see on my channel.

Tristan has seen all my videos multiple times. He is even able to tell how old or new the videos are.

Tristan is my super fan because of his dedication to my channel. He has continuously supported my YouTube channel for the last four years.

COM0014 – Blog #7: Personal Reflection 

Thanks to this course, I have realized that storytelling is even more important to digital content than I had first figured. I always knew that storytelling was the main way that digital content from long blog posts to quick 140 character tweets, but this course showed me that there are so many different steps to ensure that the storytelling method is successful. If you do not choose the right style of storytelling, then your digital content will not be successful and not make a splash in the way your business wants. If you pick the right style of storytelling and do it effectively, then that can make a world of difference in regards to site traffic, sales and your target audience. 

I will keep my content consistent with what my business and I am. Business to Consumer (B2C) is the communication style I will be focusing on as my business is writing commissions. I will keep a personal touch to my promotions and interactions while ensuring that my clients feel as if they are talking to a professional, but also a real person. I want them to know that I am not a faceless company behind the words I write, but a person just like them. I will build current and potential relationships to the best of my abilities using personalized storytelling styles. 

I want to tell stories that make an impact on each person who reads them, no matter how small or large. I want them to come away from my writing feeling good, feeling as if they spent their time wisely and hopefully willing to return to my writing regularly. I want my stories and the emotions they bring out in people to bring them back for more via my writing commission business. 

COM0014 – Blog #6: Do People Know Your Story?

What is your greatest fear for your business?

When I began taking writing commissions, I truly worried. I knew that I had a decent-sized fanbase for the free writings I put online, but expanding into paid writing? That was a big step that had left me unsure. My readers enjoy what I post and have been lovely enough to leave reviews to tell me so in their personalized ways, but I worried that people don’t enjoy my writing enough to pay for it. That is a fear for my business that is still at the forefront of my mind each time I promote my commission business online. 

Thankfully, I have been slowly but steadily building up a stream of clients that have become my regulars over the past few years. There is always room for improvement like in any business and I fear that my commission business will remain stagnant. That I will ever only get a few commissions every few months and this side of my writing will never take off. I fear that my writing will not reach a wider audience if I can’t figure out how to expand my business and remain a small name in a niche market. 

Blog 6 – Who Is My Super-fan?

My super-fan is a client who values the creativity, strategy, and design execution that I bring to the table. They put their trust in me, and allow me to do what I do best, in order to achieve their marketing goals. They are the first to pass my name onto other colleagues or businesses, and boast about the services that I provide. These are the clients I build  long-lasting, and mutually-beneficial relationships with. 

My super-fan

What do they want? They want great creative that is on-time, on-brand, and on-budget. They want a marketing partner who gets excited when sharing ideas about their project or company. They also want someone who is willing to go the extra mile for them, in order for their busines to achieve the best possible outcome. It’s not enough to just get the job done – you need to be passionate about what you’re doing, and do it really well.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with several super-fans over the years. They’ve been my bread-and-butter, and I attribute much of my success to them, along with the groundwork I laid when I started my small business.