Saturday, March 31, 2012

Want to win the Heart of the Ocean?

We are giving away the Heart of the Ocean to one lucky guest at our "Titanic Tea Party" Thursday, April 12 on board the Santa Maria Ship in West Edmonton Mall. This necklace was sponsored by Vanash Jewellry in Millet, AB.

Want to win? Click here for details of the event and to purchase tickets!

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tips from the Dragon's Den

Dianne Buckner via
National Speakers Bureau 

Last week, I was invited to attend a speaking engagement featuring Dianne Buckner, host of the CBC hit show Dragon's Den. I actually didn't realize Dianne has been a  journalist for the last 25 years and even hosted Venture (girlfriend has some street cred, that's for sure!).

She offered up her Top 10 Business Tips to the audience, interspersing them with clips from the Den. Overall it was an interesting presentation but there wasn't a lot of overly insightful tips that made me go, "WOW I totally have to do that!" For the most part, it was basic entrepreneurial tips for people who are thinking of starting a business but still a good refresher for those who have businesses.

#10 Make sure there's a market for your product or service
It's like Rodney Copperbottom said in Robots "See a need, fill a need." Don't sell Uggs to Kim Kardashian, you know? Just like you wouldn't sell string bikinis in Alaska. Look around, see what people need and fill that market need.

#9 Be resourceful when it comes to financing
Not every bank will lend you money so be as creative as you can be when looking for investors. Dianne spoke of the Clodhopper guys who were actually on the Dragon's Den, and said Grandma was tapped out for resources and the dad wasn't returning their calls. Sometimes, your family can only help so much.

#8 Know how to get people to say YES. What's in it for them? 
When you want someone to invest with you, pitch it so that you're addressing WHY it's beneficial for them to invest. What is their return? Why will it work for them? How will it make them money? Make them see the potential of your concept or business and show them all the reasons it makes sense for them to support it.

#7 Be reasonable & open to ideas/suggestions
If you can be flexible with your business and be open to tweaking or advice from a potential investor, you should be! We all have our own ideas of what works, what doesn't and what we envision but sometimes having an investor on board means being open to their suggestions without taking it personally. Maybe their idea sucks and you want no part of it. That's OK too but try not to be confrontational, defensive or negative. That will only reflect poorly on you.

#6 Rock the art of self promotion with a touch of grace
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and being humble and being full of shit. Find a balance that works for you. SimpLee Serene founder and speaker Lee Horbachewski once said, "It's about standing on top of your success rather than hiding behind it."

As long as you can do that without dismissing praise like a hostess who tells her guests, "Oh it was nothing," knowing damn well how much work she put into making her event a success but needing the praise and sunshine blown up her ass to feel good about herself and what she did, you'll be fine.

#5 Be brief
David Beckham via H&M Ad Campaign 
Hehehe You're welcome :D 

#4 Be on top of the trends
Know what's hot right now and UTILIZE it. Join Twitter (seriously, if you're not on Twitter, you're missing out), use Social Media, get an App, HAVE A WEBSITE, get on Pinterest.

#3 Promote yourself. Advertise, become a "media" expert.
Being a media whore isn't such a bad thing. If you can position yourself as a go-to expert in your field and get face time with the media, you're promoting yourself and your business. Advertise your products! Word of mouth is great but real brands know that to maintain longevity, their brand needs to constantly be in the minds of the consumers. Print, radio, TV, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, banner ads on select websites, the options are endless. Just Do It!

#2 Be prepared to work hard. Being an entrepreneur is not easy.
Wait, what? It isn't??

Brett Wilson via The Star 
#1 Don't work too hard. "Don't pay too big of a price" a la Brett Wilson
If you became an entrepreneur to have more time with your family, make sure you remember that reason when your kid demands that you watch Sponge Bob with her or your spouse writes "Date Night" on the calendar. Your family, health, and LIFE is more important than the bottom line. Former Dragon Brett Wilson candidly discusses the tricky art of finding balance too late in life; his marriage ended in divorce and he is a cancer survivor so he chooses to live life as fully and completely as possible now. Learn from Brett. He's a wise and sexy one! I'm totally adding him to my list of TV boyfriends :D

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Titanic High Tea

Ooooh I'm sooooo excited to announce this event!! I love the Titanic; the stories, the history, the movie, I love it all!

With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic fast approaching, FIERCE has partnered with West Edmonton Mall to bring you a Titanic Tea Party aboard the Santa Maria on April 12. 

Enjoy refreshments, mingle, win prizes, listen to music that was actually played on the Titanic, and more before a screening of the 3D release of the hit movie at Scotiabank Theatre.

Ticket includes: 

Admission to the Santa Maria Ship
Tea & refreshments
IMAX 3D Movie ticket to Scotiabank Theatre that night
Titanic Trivia & prizes
& more!

Tickets are limited and now available. Click here to purchase.

Please note: This is a 14+ event. And you're on  your own for Tissue.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

iBlog iTweet iFace iConnect

So the bossiest mama herself, Carol McBee, has put together what looks like one helluva social media conference!

She has pulled together local social media experts and is hosting the first-ever iMedia Conference May 5 at the Fantasyland Hotel in Edmonton.

Why do I love this? Three reasons:

One: It goes beyond the blogging community. 
I'm all for blogging, I'd be a hypocrite if I said otherwise, but if your only business is blogging, I see no relevance unless your name is Perez Hilton. Yes, I'm sure I will be crucified for saying that out loud but I view blogging as a tool albeit a very important tool in your business tool box. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, websites... they are all relevant in today's business world; it's like the margarita without the salt, tequila or ice.

Two: The experts are local! 
Edmonton has a very rich pool of social media enthusiasts who have incorporated SM into building their business. For the most part, Carol has tapped some industry leaders like Walter Schwabe, founder of Fused Logic Inc. and Sue Heuman, owner of Focus Communications, who will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this conference.

Three: It's cheap!
I know what it takes to pull together events, and Carol is becoming quite the efficient and creative event co-ordinator but it's a LOT of work and a LOT of money to make this happen. She has offered the event to her Bossy Mama members for only $89 and had an early bird price of $99 (which is now over) but you can still get a ticket to the event for only $149. If you think that's too expensive consider this: the AWE puts on their annual conference for women at a rate of $600 for the 2-day event. If you choose to attend one day, it's $300.  The AWE Opening Reception is $25 and iMedia's reception is $35.

Both conferences are GREAT, I'm not saying one is better than the other BUT to attend a full-day event for $149 is pretty damn inexpensive. Perspective.

Are you going to iMedia?
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tweet Retreat cancelled

I'm truly disappointed to have to pass along that the Tweet Retreat at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge planned for April 20-22 has been cancelled.

Not to worry, though! I have plenty of other fantastic events coming up that will go ahead as scheduled! Stay tuned for exciting developments for all things FIERCE!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

There was a young girl from Nantucket...

Yah.... I'm not going there :D 

We're going to celebrate all things IRISH tomorrow with our 1st-ever virtual Shamrock Search! I tried calling it a Shamrock Hunt but it came out all sorts of wrong. Seriously. Say it five times really fast... Yeh there you go!

Anyway, join us from 9-5 p.m. as we post clues to send you on a search and WIN! We're giving away gift cards throughout the day. The more shamrocks you find, the better your chances!

How to play:
The Search starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday March 17 and runs until 5 p.m.

Follow the clues from Twitter or Facebook

Email or tweet your answers to us @YouAreFIERCE using the hashtag #FIERCEclover

The more shamrocks you find, the better your chances are of winning!

Gift cards will be given out at random times throughout the day. Winners will be notified via email or Twitter.

Special thanks to Capital JeepKeylime Athletics and My Filosphy 

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You Better Get to Livin!

I love music!

I love it more when I can relate to the lyrics of a song AND I love the beat. Lots of times I'll relate a song to a moment in my life so when I hear that song it brings me back to that moment, good or bad, and it becomes part of my soundtrack.

Reproduction by Grease 2 on Grooveshark

No, I don't walk around expecting sitcom music to play with my every step a la Peter Griffin in Family Guy BUT I do have a collection of songs that I've compiled to celebrate my highs and lows over the past 37 years. Some of it is fluffy soundtrack music like Grease 2 "Reproduction" (don't laugh but when I was 8 years old I totally wanted to be a Pink Lady and not just ANY Pink Lady but Michelle Pfeiffer! I also knew on some level Reproduction was a "naughty" song but I loved it anyway!).

The Crying Game by Boy George on Grooveshark

Other music in my soundtrack tells the story of my first love's crushing breakup with me...OK I was crushed when he told me his mom thought I was a bad influence on him and that it just wouldn't work because he wanted to start college and be focused on school. At that moment of receiving this devastating news, The Crying Game was on the radio. Uhm. I had never seen that movie and had no reference to what the song was really about, all I knew was at THAT moment in my life, the tears wouldn't stop and my heart was shattered. Interesting side note, that ex of mine still works at the same gas station he did since he was 19. Whew, dodged a bullet there.

Sour Times by Portishead on Grooveshark

Fast forward five years to the night I met Big Daddy and the song that was playing when we kissed, and I remember this because I thought to myself that we were only ever going to have one first kiss, was Sour Times by Portishead. Listening to the chorus "Nobody loves me, it's true... not like you do," could very well have been foreshadowing for our entire relationship. No one could have ever put up with me or loved me the way he has, despite all the reasons I've given him not to love me (I'm a feisty one and not easy to live with.)

I could go on and on and on with songs that are on my soundtrack but I want to tell you about my latest find for my soundtrack.

I'm not really a country girl but there are moments in my life - and even songs in my soundtrack - where the music fits. I've always been a Dolly Parton fan and even saw her in concert when I was 9 years old. Recently, I was googling songs to empower women and came across this little gem by my girl Dolly!

Better Get To Livin' by Dolly Parton on Grooveshark
Press play and sing along! It's a totally uplifting, motivational, inspirational and seriously FIERCE song! And while you're listening to it, think about the songs that make up YOUR soundtrack. Share them!! I'd love to know about your soundtrack!

People always coming up to me,
And asking “Dolly what’s your secret?
With all you do your attitude just seems
To be so good how do you keep it?
Well I'm not the Dalai Lama but I'll try
To offer up a few word of advice.

You’d better get to living, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgiving’
And lovin’ on the way.
You’d better get to knowin', showin'
A little bit more concerned about where you’re going
Just a word unto the wise.
You’d better get to livin’.

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She’s she was spinnin’ such a sad tale I couldn’t believe
The yarn that she was weaving’
So negative the words she had to say.
I said “If I had a violin I’d play”

I said you’d better get to living, given
Be willing and forgivin’
'Cuz all healin’ has to start with you.
You Better stop wining, pining,
Get your dreams in line and just
Shine, design, refine until they come true.
And you’d better get to living

Your life’s a wreck your house is a mess,
And your wardrobe is way outdated,
All your plans just keep on falling through,
Overweight and underpaid,
I'm no guru but I tell you this I know is true

You’d better get to living, givin’
A little more thought about bein' a little more willing,
To make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep your chin up,
Just hang tough, and if it gets too rough,
Fall on your knees and pray, and do that everyday
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day were born we start to die,
So don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin!
Share your dreams and share your laughter and make some points.
For the great hereafter. 

Better start caring,
Better start sharing
Better start tryin’,
Better start smilin’
And you better get to livin’.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3 Things I learned from Amanda Babichuk

Amanda Babichuk via D'Lish Wine Bar

Yesterday, the tweet that shocked the Edmonton (#yeg) community came from our very own 2011 FIERCE Woman of the Year, Amanda Babichuk.

Amanda came into my life when I was literally at rock bottom but fighting to emerge from the depths of depression that had become my existence. She offered up D'Lish Wine Bar to be the space for our first-eevr FIERCE Women of the Year awards even though her renovations weren't complete and she didn't know me at all.

Her patience, concern for the event, and willingness to help me even though she really had no reason to, showed me that she had a heart that was rare and an ability to see beyond her own struggles that she was facing while transitioning her business from a meal assembly studio to a shi-shi wine bar.

We became fast friends and shared many conversations about love, loss, life and other similarities we had in common. I admired Amanda's ability to rise from the proverbial ashes numerous times throughout her life and come out stronger every time.

The closing of D'Lish is sad, yes, but I have no doubt that Amanda will come out of this with a few more scars but Still Standing.

Three Things I Learned from Amanda

3. A Heart Hug Heals When I first met Amanda, she hugged me. But when I went to pull away, she looked at me and said, "I need to show you a heart hug." I looked at her funny, wondering where the hell she was going with that when she leaned in to hug me the opposite way. Instead of leaning into the hug with her right arm raised, she leaned into it with her left arm raised which confused the hell out of me. I didn't know how to hug her! After awkwardly adjusting myself and my arms, I returned the hug feeling ridiculously uncomfortable and somewhat vulnerable. She smiled at me and told me when you position your body like that in a hug, your hearts physically connect, hence the heart hug. 

2. Inspiration comes at any age. Amanda's resilience, her ability to bounce back and her determination to not let being a single mother define her, leave me in awe. Where others feel the need to define themselves by the tragedies in their life or the drama that plagues them, Amanda sidesteps all of the stereotypes and is determined to have people see her for HER not for the circumstances she has overcome. The fact that she has overcome so much and gone on to walk her own path endears her to me even more but knowing that she is still so young has made me extremely protective of her. I love her like a little sister and know that despite this new roadblock in her life, it is temporary and she will get through it like she gets through everything else.

1. Ensure your own success by ensuring the success of those around you. 
Amanda's selfless business savvy was always something that baffled me. She seemingly put other businesses before her own need to succeed and she people without expecting anything in return. I have a serious radar for not trusting people, especially of those who seem to do things for others. I always think there is an underlying motive because in my experience there always has been one but with Amanda that was never the case. She promoted other businesses, she supported other businesses, and she really wanted to see others be successful, not because she expected them to reciprocate but so she could celebrate their success and watch them flourish.

D'Lish was a true extension of Amanda; charming, flirty, relaxed and home. No matter what the future holds for Amanda, she has a community of support, love, friends and my personal eternal loyalty. 

She was named the 2011 FIERCE Woman of the Year for a reason. Amanda Babichuk is someone the entire City of Edmonton should stand up and applaud.

Thanks for everything you've done, Amanda. I am eternally grateful.


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Thursday, March 8, 2012

My very own Mr. Miyagi... kinda...

I discovered Robin Sharma in the most bizzarest of bizzaro ways.

Some crazy ass Twit tried to engage me in some weird online drama that I rolled my eyes at after reading their complete timeline. However, because of this odd Twitlet, I saw Robin's Twitter handle and had a HAZZAH moment! Robin is brilliant. Sheer. And. Utterly. Brilliant!

He is a legit International Best Selling author of 11 - count 'em - ELEVEN books, a revered speaker who captured the attention of NASA and Yale University, who are clients of his, he's been recognized as one of the Top Five Leadership Experts IN THE WORLD... and he is someone you should know.

Go. Sign up for his e-blasts. Be great!!

Your welcome :D

P.S. I've hi-lighted a few of my favourites... what are yours?

By Robin Sharma

1. They get that the #1 way to build a global brand is one customer at a time.

2. They obsess around having an impact vs. growing their income (and so their income soars).

3. They listen more than they speak. And they deliver more than they promise.

4. They use their most valuable hours to do their most valuable work (don't check email first thing in the morning).

5. They get that you can't have an A-level company if you hire B-level people.

6. They are deeply aware that jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to Mastery. And so they fearlessly pour their Genius into the world.

7. They understand that what the amateur calls genius, the professional calls practice.

8. They are fanatics around building a systems-driven company. Everything has a system built around it. This ensures consistently fantastic results. And allows the entrepreneur to take extraordinary amounts of time off.

9. They trust their vision when everyone else is doubting their vision.

10. They provoke their teammates to do work they never imagined they could do.

11. They know that good enough just isn't good enough. Outright perfection is their ideal.

12. They have discovered that extra hard work is Success' true best friend.

13. They use flight time to get ahead and review their plans vs. playing Angry Birds and watching bad movies.

14. They get that progress often shows up in failure's clothing.

15. They invest deeply in their education and development knowing that the fastest way to double your net worth is to triple your rate of learning.

16. They focus on value versus cost.

17. They hold themselves to performance + ethical standards higher than anyone could ever expect of them.

18. They make the time to think, plan and prepare - understanding that clarity breeds mastery. And there's no point in brilliantly executing the wrong things.

19. They get that their 3 most valuable assets are their mental focus, physical energy and internal creativity. And so they protect them ferociously.

20. They are "Apple-like" in their willingness to think differently and ensure their products leave customers breathless.

21. They stick to their convictions - especially in the face of criticism.

22. They relentlessly stay true to their clearly articulated vision - even when confronted with the most heartbreaking of obstruction.

23. They adore the mantra: "How may I best serve the most people?"

24. They challenge the way they worked yesterday for the sake of even bigger work tomorrow.

25. They get that either you disrupt the status quo in your industry (and within your life), or you will be disrupted. And it will hurt.

26. They spend their days doing real work versus fake work. And getting important things done versus being really busy being busy.

27. They know that if they're not frightened a lot they're not achieving a lot.

28. They appreciate that Leadership's no longer about ensuring compliance but inspiring connections, being of service and getting great things done.

29. They work hard to craft a high-performance culture, understanding that the culture of the organization stages the performance of its people.

30. They are more fascinated in building a company that will endure the generations than an enterprise that is hot for a few quarters. Iconic is their obsession.

31. They get that failure is the foundation of innovation.

32. They are acutely aware that the winning formula that made their company successful just might be the one that makes their company obsolete. And so they break what works. And stay foolish and hungry.

33. They deliver results versus voice rationalizations.

34. They view angry customers as breathtakingly great opportunities to create fanatical fans.

35. They know that if people are not laughing at your 24 Month Magnificent Obsession (More on that and all these ideas at The Remarkable Entrepreneur SuperConference 2 in Toronto, Canada June 2+3 - see below for details to grab a seat while you can - I really want to help you win this year!), you have the wrong vision.

36. They perceive connections with their community as the main aim of commerce.

37. They are devoted to getting into their absolute best physical condition. They have zero desire to be the richest people in the graveyard.

38. They understand that the greatest gift you can give a teammate (or a customer or your child) is the gift of your undivided attention.

39. They know that logic is the dream killer. Instead, they trust instinct, creativity and passion to lead them to where they need to go.

40. They have learned that few things feel better than the pride you'll feel on a job beautifully done.

41. They are good at starting things. And even better at finishing them.

42. They get that confidence grows via the doing of difficult things. And so they pursue discomfort.

43. They identify themselves as virtuosos. Best in World is the only place they play.

44. They bravely donate their lives to a cause larger than themselves. And - in this way - transform the world through their presence.

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Walking on Eggshells is for Chickens

I've never been a fan of biting my tongue but over the last few years I have learned that emotional rants or arguments are never as effective as I would like them to be so I am practicing the art of diplomacy.

Sort of.

Having a blog gives people the ability to type words on a forum that gives them a public voice but it also allows them to hide behind their computers spouting off negativity, and walking that fine line of being an online bully.

First rule of being FIERCE
Never say online about someone what you wouldn't say to their face

Now that is easier said than done for most people because they have a sense of security hiding behind anonymous blog comments, an online persona, or a Social Media handle.

Passive aggressive tweeting, blogging or other forms of childish behaviour should not be engaged. If you feel like you are being attacked in a non-confrontational way, keep the following things in mind:

  • The online world doesn't actually revolve around you. This goes with any Tweets, Facebook status updates or blogs you may see, even if the Twit/FB Friend/blogger is someone you know personally. Sometimes... a post is just a post.
  • If a Tweet/FB status/Blog triggers you and you assume that it is automatically about you, examine why it triggered you in the first place. Perhaps it is your own issue or guilty conscience that causes you to react or take it personally.
  • Consider whether it's worth your time and energy. If you have the extra time and energy to spend worrying about whether or not someone is talking about you, try using that extra time and energy to engage in a positive activity.

Don't walk on eggshells,
dance on them!

Minding your Ps & Qs is dependent on your personality and what you hope to accomplish with your brand, business or life in general.

For me, pushing the boundaries and using "rules" as mere guidelines works because I have never enjoyed fitting in or living a cookie-cutter life. I swear as much in real life as I do online but it doesn't make me a less effective communicator or unrefined despite the standards of some people.

Danielle LaPorte once wrote, "you can say 'Fuck' with compassion in your heart."

I love that line because too often people are judged by others who don't live up to their standards. Well you know what? That's there issue, not yours.

If your personality is brash, bold, outrageous and inappropriate then embrace that. BE that person but use your powers for good, not evil.

If you are more reserved and polite, then embrace it. But again, use those powers for good, not evil.

There is no "right" personality combination there is only acceptance of WHO YOU ARE.

But never feel like you have to conform to meet someone else's idea of who you SHOULD be.

Just don't be a chicken.

Be brave. Be You. Be FIERCE!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reflections ~ Waiting to see if I have Uterine Cancer

By Sammi Love

Today is March 7th and my long awaited biopsy date is here. I am sitting in the hallway of the Medical Building. I am patiently impatiently waiting to get this show on the road.Diagnostic Hysteroscopy and be put under general anesthesia.

Yesterday my doctor's office called me at 6:30am to see if I could have my biopsy yesterday, but I had no one to drive me back from the appointment so I declined and stayed with my original appointment. So here I am today, sitting, calmly waiting, anticipating the results of this biopsy that hasn't even been taken yet.

My husband is filled with nervous energy. He is carrying so much weight on his shoulders. He is the sole bread winner at this time, the guy who tries not to wear his emotions on his sleeves. He has failed today. His focus is non-existent as he tries to mask his fears. His energy is bound up tight and ready to explode. I don't need or want to be nervous right now. I have been really good at keeping my anxiety at bey through this process and I'd like to keep it that way.

My oldest son came and say with me and we talked about how excited he is to start at his new college in the Fall. We got his tax paperwork together and he left for his appointment to get his taxes done.

I went by my youngest daughter's school to pick up her report card. She is doing well in her classes, in fact she made the honor roll with a 3.33 GPA. We have managed to keep her and her other brother unaware of this current health scare, but today she really wanted leave school with us. She begged to come with me to the doctor ~ in her little mind she knows something is not right. I decided not to burden her with extra stress unless the results come back positive. She and her brother will be allowed to enjoy their childhood as much as they can for as long as they can and if this result is negative then the less they know about the process the better.

It's 3:29pm now and I am waiting in the office now. All checked in and ready to rock and roll! The ladies in waiting are gone from the couches and they smiled politely as they lovingly patted their bellies after their OB/GYN check ups. But I sit here reflecting on the many times that I was excited to walk into this office, yet today I sit here dreading the music, the magazines and the cheerful staff.

The pregnant bellies remind me of happier times, times before my body revolted against me.

My name was just called so I am now in the outpatient medical suite. My blood pressure is 114/70 and I've lost 6 pounds since my doctor told me that she thought I might have uterine cancer on Valentine's Day, believe me I didn't see that coming!

It must be stress weight loss because I have certainly been eating a little naughtier than usual.

The walls are thin here or either the ultrasound machine is against the wall. I can hear a babies heartbeat and I begin to calm down and then I remember I am over 40 and there will be no more babies for me! I have had my time and I have had my kids.

It's time for the next phase in my life.

I hope that this phase will begin as a non-cancerous pre-menopausal phrase. 

Based on the results of this biopsy, I will either have a full hysterectomy if these cells are cancerous or I will have a partial hysterectomy if these cells are not cancerous. Either way, I am entering the post child-bearing phase of my life and I have to be okay with that.

My doctor greets me and goes over my 3D ultrasound results from the hospital, which identifies a large area of abnormal cells in the uterine wall. She goes and tell me that since I have had an ablation previously scar tissue may prohibit her from getting a clear biopsy today and if that is the case I would need to reschedule and be checked into the hospital for a Hysteroscopy.
"WTF," I think to myself.

So I sit on the table and get two shots in my cervix and a rod to dilate my cervix. She adjusts the rod which is supposed to help my cervix dilate and no luck. She gently (gently according to her my cervix begs to differ) readjusts the rod and again no luck. She smiles at me after this 10 minute adventure and pats my leg and she tells me that I will have to go to the hospital to have the Diagnostic Hysteroscopy to be done and I will be put under general anesthesia.


Her assistant comes in to re-check my blood pressure as I lay half naked on the table with tears flowing uncontrollably now as I ponder yet more waiting to determine if the beast known as cancer is back. My blood pressure is 124/76. I am fine to get dressed and go home. I'm sent home with Motrin for cramping and pain.

My doctor says I will be contacted within the week to schedule my appointment for my outpatient Diagnostic Hysteroscopy. I leave the Medical Building in complete frustration and I begin to laugh through my tears as I think about all of the things that are at my fingertips.

I reflect on how we live in an instant society. We make choices on a daily basis so that we do not have to wait to satisfy our desire for information. Patience has truly been lost within me and waiting is unbearable. In an instant I can have the latest music, breaking news, iBooks, the Internet and yet I have to fucking wait for 2-3 more weeks to find out what the hell is wrong with me! The waiting continues.


Note from Sammi: I know that some people will view this as too much information but I am writing these posts to encourage others to make sue that they stay on top of their health and hopefully this will help inform others about cancer.

Sammie Love is a wife, mother of three children, and an Early Childhood Educator and Professional Development Trainer for Teacher's entering the field by day. She is a sexy erotica writing super heroine unleashing passion on paper by night. She is an active blogger and has recently started writing a book about parenting children with learning differences.

Life is not a sandbox

There are times when I find myself in situations with people I don't necessarily like or even want to tolerate and my tongue becomes minced meat from biting it so much. Yes, shocking, I know... but I don't always say what's on my mind at the moment the thought crosses it.

I'm not 21 anymore. 

Over the years I have mellowed dramatically (trust me, if you knew me back then you would know just how much I've chilled out) and choose not to engage with stupid people.

It's not easy because I am extremely passionate about my beliefs however when I see hypocrisy and arrogance and, oh the drama, let's not forget that, I must make a choice about how I will deal with it. 

And so, I've decided to leave the sandbox. 

This really isn't that big of a step for me. Being FIERCE means leaving the petty bullshit behind, focusing on improving yourself, not concerning yourself with other people's drama, and letting the children keep their pails and shovels. 

How to know it's time to leave the sandbox:

  • When the people you associate have little or no respect or empathy for other people and you're not OK with that
  • If you find yourself questioning why you associate with them in the first place
  • If you have to process a conversation after it's over and realize that what was said does not match up to your beliefs or standards
  • If you're developing traits or characteristics that aren't beneficial to your overall development as a direct result of associating with someone
  • If your train of thought wanders to constant negativity or you're immersing yourself in their drama
  • If even thinking about someone causes you to physically tense up or become stressed

.... It's time to leave that sandbox.

I saw this tweet the other day from the beautyful Esther Bartkiw

This applies to anyone you are in a relationship with. If you're not bringing out the best in someone or someone triggers your most negative personality traits, you need to reconsider why you are in that relationship. 

After all, life is too short to surround yourself with toxic people.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

*gasp* I never thought this would happen

I've been stalking a fan of Danielle Laporte's since I met her a Blissdom in 2008 (and never know if she remembers who I am so I qualify how I know her EVERY SINGLE TIME because I'm a dork like that) and have been soaking up every ounce of online wisdom she puts up on her website but today... wait a moment, I need a tissue...

Today... while cruising on her website to post something to pop my Pintrest cherry, I saw something on her website and literally GASPED out loud in disbelief.

There’s no such thing as destiny. Life really is what you make it.
graphic via Dotana van Lee, Deviant Art 

Oh. Mah. Gawd.

I don't believe how passionately I disagree with her on this one. The other night I got into a heated discussion with a friend about death and his firm stance on, "Once you're dead, you're dead."

I don't believe that because I've had too many spiritual experiences to think that this is the only life you live or that once you die, that's it. It's my belief and we're all entitled to our beliefs so we ended up hugging it out (although secretly I wanted to smack him around a little, I'm not gonna lie).

Anyway, back to this "no destiny" thing. It sounds a little too much like Sarah Connor's "No Fate" quote in James Cameron's earliest masterpiece The Terminator, where Sarah changes the course of history by killing the bad guy.

Or does she?

Yes, that's my arm and a real tattoo

Last year I started researching the concept of soul mates and came across the Red String of Fate. The belief  stems from a Chinese legend about an old lunar God who connects people by a red thread. The people are destined to meet lifetime after lifetime, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.

What I love about this belief is that it goes beyond the typical "soul mate" connection of romantic love. If you're connected by the Red String of Fate, the person could be in your life as a friend, child, sibling, parent, or some other relationship that you have where you can't explain the connection but it's there whether you understand it or not.

Don't get me wrong. I don't sit and wait for magical things to happen in my life but growing up where I did and being surrounded by the people I was surrounded by, I somehow knew that I was meant for better things. I knew my life would not end up the way other people said it would.

I remember multiple occasions being told that I would "end up just like my mother; pregnant at 18, on welfare, never making a difference."

Whether it was my determination not to end up like my mother or not, I firmly believe my destiny, my path, my whatever you want to call it, was going to lead me away from the life I was born into. There were many times the universe tested me and made me fight to be on the path I'm on now, and many times it would have been easier to choose to end up "just like my mother" but for me, it was never really an option. It's like there was some unseen force pulling me along when I didn't want to get back up.

I believe our lives are like those "Choose your Adventure" books we used to have when we were kids. I was always fascinated with them and now I see why. The choices we make lead us on different journeys in our life; whatever fate or destiny the universe has in store for us is there but it's up to us to see the signs and make the choice.

So, Danielle, I adore you and think you're brilliant but on this one, I respectfully disagree.

What do you think? Do you believe there is no fate? Let me know, I'm curious to find out your thoughts.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Ghetto Foodie

One of my fave online personalities is Dee Brun, the Cocktail Deeva, who shares her love for her boyfriend George Clooney through her social media presence, and her in-depth knowledge of all things booze-ahol.

See, that's George and Dee in their official wedding photo.

Anyway, Dee knows her booze. She has fantastic cocktail (hahah I laugh every time I use that word HA!) recipes and has become quite the "personality" thanks to her love of shoes, Sex in the City (which I still don't get), and passion for George.

In fact, Dee is a really good example of someone who manages to work Social Media properly, having that fine line of putting up too much of herself balanced with promoting her expertise and selling her services.

Anyway, Dee just launched a food blog called "Ghetto Foodie" pairing everyday MOM-style meals and apps with fancy wines and booze. I love this because I will drink Malbec while eating Sea Salt chips or indulge in Pinot Grigio while chompin' down on a smokie (yup, I'm classy like that).

Since Dee is well versed in the entertaining industry (read that to mean girlfriend knows how to throw a shindig), I think this blog is one you need to add to your list of favourites.

Dee has a recipe for these sexy little jalepenos and GUESS what she pairs it with??? MARGARITAS!

*pushing you out the door to the Ghetto* 

Go! Read! Be inspired!

Congrats on the blog launch Dee!

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Where do you draw the line?

It's easy to become swept up in your own wave of social media success when you start developing a "following" on Twitter or find yourself with 1,000+ "friends" on Facebook or getting 500 views on your blog each time you post one.

Having a social media voice and presence can make even the smallest of egos inflated with self-importance, thinking that when you speak, someone actually cares or listens.

I have always kept a small amount of FB friends, limiting my personal profile to those people I truly want in my inner circle. They include friends who have known me since I was 9 years old to people I have met online and developed a true connection with.

I like looking into the lives of others, trying to get to know them better through their posts and status updates but I have recently found myself wondering, "Where do we draw the line?"

Where is the line between professional and personal? 

Tanis Miller is the Redneck Mommy and she has made a career out of putting herself out there for the world to see, pit bush and all (click that link at your own discretion). I recently asked her about exposing herself online and how her public persona differed from her private persona and she was more than clear about stating that what she puts online is the life that people are interested in reading about.

We chatted about our real lives - everyday problems like laundry, marriage, our kids in school, friendships - and it dawned on me that perhaps, even on my own personal Facebook page where it was suppose to be my bubble of privacy, I was posting too much inconsequential crap for the world to see.

Do you really need to see the details of my day? Does the fact that I have a constant argument with Big Daddy about taking out the garbage really relate to what I'm trying to do with FIERCE? Does putting myself out there online reflect who I truly am?

Chantal Saville hit the nail on the freakin' head when she replied to my tweet.

I have seen many people use Social Media in various ways; as a personal rant, completely professional with zero engagement, a place to air their dirty laundry, and then there are those who keep you at an arms length but give you enough to feel like you know them.

We all want a glimpse into the lives of others whether it's to psychoanalyze who they truly are or for gossip's sake, which is why the paparazzi and trash TV is so popular. We love to see other people succeed but we're just as happy to watch them fall. It's a sad state on society and one that is supported by the continued demand for TMZ, gossip rags, and blogs of similar content.

By putting ourselves online, we are somewhat exposing ourselves to the world but you need to decide how much you open up, why you are opening up and what your goal is by exposing your real life online.

I have toyed with the idea of deleting my Facebook account all together but have decided to just limit baring my soul online to the people who truly matter to me and who are in my real life.

The things I will continue to be raw and exposed about are depression, my life growing up and how those experiences shaped who I am today, and any anecdote that directly relates to FIERCE. My voice is my own but choosing who knows what will change from here on in.

So now I ask you this: Where do you draw the line with social media?

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are you going to the 2012 Key Communicators Luncheon with the CWC

Another great way to celebrate women for IWD this week is with the Canadian Women in Communications as they host the 2012 Key Communicators Luncheon March 8 featuring a spectacular panel of women including Paula Simons, Amanda Babichuk, Jennifer Crosby and other key players in the industry. The event is moderated by Kari Skeleton.

What makes this event unique is that you get to request your top three picks of panelists to sit with for lunch. Get your tickets and meet some incredible women!

Click here for tickets and information. 

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Retreat to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge!

Grab your Blackberry or Iphone, your best friend or your sweetheart, and mark your calendar for what is sure to be one of the most fun and relaxing weekends of your year!

We've partnered with the Fairmont JPL to bring you a sweet Tweet Retreat Apr. 20-22 starting at $329/pp.

Enjoy a Friday night Mix & Mingle  reception and get to know some of your fellow Twits.

Saturday is your day to relax and take in all of the wonderful amenities the JPL has to offer including the newly renovated luxurious and decadent spa, the heated pool, go for a walk around Lake Beauvert...

Saturday afternoon is our Scavenger Hunt! Watch for clues on Twitter and compete for prizes! It's going to be SO much fun!!

That evening, indulge in a delicious meal with the other Tweet Retreat guests and have a cocktail or two while connecting and engaging in casual conversation.

Sunday is our Farewell breakfast.

What's included in the package?
  • Your accommodations for the weekend in a Fairmont Room
  • The Welcome Reception on Friday
  • Scavenger Hunt on Saturday afternoon that is sure to get you talking and laughing all weekend
  • Saturday night dinner
  • Sunday Farewell Breakfast
Why you should come?

It's a great excuse to get away with a friend or partner, connect with other social media enthusiasts, relax in the heart of Alberta's most beloved getaway, and let's be honest here... $329 for an entire weekend at the JPL is something you can't NOT afford to do.

If you have never stayed at the JPL, here is your chance to do it at a ridiculously affordable price PLUS you get all sorts of fabulous little surprise perks by attending the event. If you have stayed at the JPL then you know what I'm talking about.

 Click here to book the package. You know you wanna!!

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Celebrate International Women's Day: Tell Your Story

The YWCA of Edmonton is having their Annual Stories of Strength contest and you have until Wednesday, March 7 to submit your story of resilience.

Win a Spa Package valued at $500 from Phoenix Renewal and Spa in Edmonton.

We've all gone through something and and lived to tell the story so why not inspire others with your story of rising from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix! 

Need a source of inspiration? Check out our 2011 Phenomenal Female of the Year Shandra Carlson and her story in her own words. 

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