December + Holiday Things

December is probably my favourite time of the year, especially since we moved into our current place. I can’t wait for the weather to turn colder so we can light a roaring fire and sit around our fireplace sipping on cold drinks. Which reminds me, I really ought to remind our superintendent to get the chimney cleaned before it starts to snow.

This year also happens to be Iman’s first holiday season and we are excited to celebrate with her. Plus I just ordered our first ever Christmas tree! Both mine and hers! AHHHHH! Beyond excited!
Also… we are going to our first ever Christmas Market this Friday! WOOOO! I will definitely have to do a blog post about that.

In other news, my kid loves Gilmore Girls, which is amazing! I can’t wait for her to be older so we can watch it together.

Working on several projects right now and really need to get them done tonight, so I should stop babbling and get them done.


5 Keys to Success by New York Times Best Selling Author, Gabby Bernstein @ #GIRLBOSSRALLY!

ABD4A559-84F7-4A8E-A820-C6A9B5A72E35.jpeg‪5 keys to success by @GabbyBernstein ‬
‪✨ Truly claim that success is an inside job. It has to be a priority to turn inwards. Ask yourself does this feel good to me? Do I feel excited? Do I feel energized?‬
‪Say yes to the things that make you light up. ‬
‪Say no to the things that don’t feel good to you. ‬
‪✨ Intention. Intention. Intention. ‬
‪The key trait of a high performer is intention. ‬
‪What is the intention behind this event? Blog? Copy?‬
‪✨ Slow down ‬
‪✨ You don’t have to be there right now. Take small, right actions to get where you want to get to. Remember to have fun along the way! ‬
‪✨Fuck it! Let’s go! Let’s make it happen! Let’s do it! ‬
‪Make it a mission to say yes to your dreams, one moment at a time! ‬


I am obsessed with the word Atelier and just in the span of last 3 days, it has turned up twice in my life.

  1. I am watching a show on Netflix Canada titled Atelier.
    It is a Japanese show about a young girl from rural Japan who moves to Tokyo in hopes of kickstarting a great career. The industry of her choice is custom lingerie – since she is in love with fabrics.
    I am honestly fascinated by the show.


    Not everyone knows this, and I rarely used to talk about it here, but when I first moved to Toronto, I was working as a digital media strategist for a jewelry designer named 3Shahs.

    Through her, I have attended a number of fashion events and the show depicts them accurately. I also really enjoy looking at beautiful items of clothing, watching Japanese dramas & the language in general, so this is a rare treat.

    Custom lingerie seems so luxurious though and I will honestly give it a go. Would you?

  2. I just heard the most recent episode of girlboss radio and it is with Atelier Doré!
    Fantastic episode and so many great learnings that I can start applying to my life right away.171018_Girlboss_Podcast_GaranceDore
    Go give it a listen by clicking here.

Side note: I am heading to girlboss rally on November 11 with my friend Marsha and I couldn’t be more excited! But I feel that it deserves a blog post of its own.

I don’t know what the point of this post was and to be honest I just wanted to check in here because in many ways this is my atelier and has been since 2011.

I really want to get into the habit of blogging regularly but with work and everything, it always takes a backseat. Maybe I should go back to my schedule of positing 3 times a week and spend one hour each morning just writing. Anyways, it is pretty late here so I am signing off for now.

Ria has officially melted

It is so flippin hot here in Toronto right now. And while my brain is in the process of melting, I thought I’d update you all on what I have been up to. I miss updating this space with random tidbits and snippets from my life.
By the way guys I say flippin instead of fu**ing now, because we have a kid in the house.

hahhahah as if… Yeah… no So what was I saying?

Oh yeah. It is fucking hot and I am melting but it being this hot also means that le baby has been falling asleep for longer periods of time – in front of a fan of course.

This heat wave has also thwarted all of my plans to light candles during autumn. Thank God we are freaking lazy and hadn’t put away the AC yet.
It is a portable unit and usually during fall and winter we put it in storage.

My candles are all just sitting on our table, waiting to be lit but alas.

I am off to an event but have a very exciting post lined up for tomorrow!
How is everyone else doing?


Consistency, September TBR pile & Bookstagram goals

Last week, while at a conference, I asked a blogger friend of mine how he managed to monetize his blog and he said, “I just blogged every single day for two years and it took off.”

While I don’t think it is just a matter of luck, I do believe that consistency is key to being good at anything. I see that in my 5 month old, who constantly tries to push herself further by first learning to roll over on her belly and now by trying to crawl. I am even beginning to see signs of her starting to sit.

My point is, she didn’t know how to do any of this stuff when she was born and with sheer willpower and daily practice, I am sure she will learn all of it.

Books I am reading in September:

I am currently reading a book titled “Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman” by Anne Helen Peterson. A series of essays aimed at highlighting stories of strong women who, for the lack of a better phrase, don’t give a fuck and always do their thing — and that’s exactly what has made them successful. The first chapter is about Serena Williams. I had no idea that the Williams’ sisters trained that hard to turn the odds in their favour and it is truly eye opening.

“As Richards later recalled in his autobiography, he’d arrange for kids in Compton to stand outside the courts while the girls were playing and yell every racial slur they could think of — a way to harden them against the white recoil that was bound to accompany their rise.”

Will write a more detailed review on this once I have read through the whole book.

View this post on Instagram

Wow just wow! If you read one book this year, make it this📚 Scarborough is a low income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto; it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime and urban blight. The book tells the story of several of its inhabitants but isn't just all doom and gloom – as many books like this tend to be. It definitely kept me up all night. My folks also live in Scarborough and this is the side of Scarborough that I have heard about but never seen for myself. And that's me acknowledging my own privilege. As is the case with many a neighbourhood in Toronto, there is such a stark difference between two different sides of the street, let alone a totally different side of town. 🙍🏻🙍🏻🙍🏻🙍🏻🙍🏻 🌙Day 4,5,6 of #moonlitreads right here🌙 4️⃣currently reading 5️⃣indie covers 6️⃣read in a day . . . #moonlitreads #bibliophile #cat #home #bookish #booknerd #bookishphotography #booknerd #scarborough #canadareads #womenauthors #lgbtq #diversebooks #bookchallenge #booklove #bookworm #newrelease #catherinehernandez #debutnovel

A post shared by Ria & Iman 🛋 (@our.reading.nook) on

I did finish reading Scarborough earlier this month and it is a fantastic read.
What did I like so much about it? The fact that it is set in a neighbourhood where I have actually lived in Toronto, realistic characters and heart wrenching stories.

I did, finally, start a book specific Instagram account on May 27 this year, which already has more than 300 followers and I am quite proud! The photos featured above are from my account.
Goal: Connect with 500 amazing book bloggers by end of the year!

What have you been up to lately?

New Mom Alert : April & Our New Family

April brought with itself many changes, the biggest one being the arrival of our daughter Iman (: We are thrilled to welcome our little angel into our family!

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 3.19.52 PM
She is the funniest and there are many things I’ve had to do that I never thought I’d ever do for anyone, I love her beyond measure and she makes it so easy to love her. A massive thank you to everyone who has been supportive throughout my pregnancy & helped us prepare for the arrival of our baby and thank you to all of you sending gifts and offering help in different ways, Our little family really appreciates it.


Thank you Product Hunt Toronto team for these lovely flowers (: 

I want to journal more and read more but tons going on right now. I am not sure why people think that motherhood is basically lots of sitting around. Sure, to feed I suppose but not beyond that, especially when it is just you and your partner. Will share my labour story on here soon!

Building communities around a movement

This article originally appeared on Claire Rampen’s Medium. For more, head on over to her site!

In conversation with

In honour of International Women’s Day this month, I’m profiling impressive women who are doing work worth shouting about in the sharing economy & community space.


Let me introduce Ria Lupton, a woman who deserves to be crowned as community building royalty in her resident city of Toronto. Her achievements in the space are many; Founder of Community Builders, Founding Director of Women Who Code Toronto chapter, Director for SheWorx Toronto chapter, Community and Content Lead for Startup Open House and more, all on top of her day job commitments.

As our conversation unfolded, I began to realise the power of Ria’s innate ability to build communities around herself, which she says began as a child and continues to this day. To give you an example, she tells me that she opened a Twitter account when she moved to Toronto and every time she met someone new (be it in person or virtually), she added them to her follower list. She now follows over 4,700 people.

             A card written by Ria, aged 12 — a love of community started early !

But building a super-sized network wasn’t even her focus. She entered the community world thanks to her academic background (a mix of computer engineering, information systems and UX Design) and a desire to explore her passion for marketing. Looking around, she saw engineering teams building products without really having a community of users identified, and failing when they hit go-to-market. It sparked a realisation;

“you can have the greatest product in the world, but if you don’t have a community, you have nothing.”

So, in an effort to move away from working on products in isolation, she embarked on a career in the world of marketing and found herself supporting the Women who Code movement, back in its early days.

So how did she build these communities to the size they are, and get so many people to join the movement?

The first thing that strikes me as a reason for success is Ria herself; she’s business-like but also open, curious and interested. In essence, she embodies the qualities needed to build a community and attract people to a cause.

During our conversation, she reflected on her experience as a community builder and had a lot of practical wisdom to share:

1. Give without expecting to get

As a community builder or founder, you need to be prepared to sacrifice with no return in the beginning — you can tell a mile off if someone is creating something for their own self-interest.

This first point embodies patience. No matter if the community we are building is for work, our social life, career support, causes, or hobbies; if you set out to quickly achieve your own deadlines, you will not succeed in getting others to follow.

2. Talk about your achievements as a group

Measure your impact! Who is your community serving? What value are you delivering? Talking about this is what keeps people around. Measurement is often overlooked as a business device, but it is crucial even in extra-curricular communities (maybe even more so). If people don’t feel like they’re part of something that is progressing, growing, or achieving its goals, motivation will wane.

3. Identify your purpose

The level of impact your community can have will be directly related to the clarity of your purpose. If you’re not clear and differentiated, people will not follow.

I appreciated Ria’s candidness about impact, telling me stories of communities she’s contributed to which haven’t managed to sustain themselves, or which she’s stepped away from. It illustrated her point perfectly; if people start to forget why they were turning up and contributing in the first place, they will quickly lose interest.

4. True communities are more than their umbrella organisation

Building a true community and building a brand are very different activities. A community should be about fostering relationships and when tested, they should endure, even if the umbrella organisation does not.

This point really resonated with me as I have worked in the commercial community space in the past. There are many businesses out there who try to connect more deeply with their customers but they never quite get beyond going through the motions. A customer’s desire to help stems from feeling part of the community, be it online or offline, and that will only emerge when you include your customers from the ground up. In other words, include them in your mission, in creating your brand and in determining what it stands for.

4. It takes a community to build a community

Don’t underestimate the importance of mobilising others to help you. Ria shared a useful tip; contact five friends and ask them to each bring someone along. When people are being relied upon, they feel more invested in the cause. Use this to build your community and open its reach wider.

It was such a pleasure to speak with Ria and hear about her community experience. Her genuine desire to build communities, to serve others and wider causes is really admirable, and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Thank you to Ria for being the first interviewee in my mini-series celebrating International Women’s Day!