Bits of Bee Turns 5

I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. My little blog has been buzzing along for 5 years now, and boy what a ride it has been.

This past week, my family and I enjoyed a peaceful, fun-filled, (mostly) unplugged week by our favourite lake, and on my official blogiversary (July 30), I took a few moments for myself, to reflect on the past 5 years.

blogiversary

Each year, on the anniversary of the day that I started this blog, I’ve reflected on my favourite moments and posts of the past year. What I’ve realized this year, is that many of those highlights have been about accomplishments, partnerships, and career changes – all such wonderful (and unexpected perks) that have come from this space. But what I’d like to remind myself with this post, is why I started this blog in the first place. My number one reason for blogging: my love for writing.

First and foremost, this blog came to be because I wanted a creative outlet – a place where I could revisit my love for writing. And it has done that for me, a million times over.

But with my passion for the written word, comes pools of self-doubt. I am often my own worst critic. I struggle with submitting my weekly stories and hitting publish on posts because I’m never fully confident in my final piece. Coming up with story ideas and blog post topics is also an ongoing challenge. And sometimes, thoughts of abandoning my blog cross my mind. I wonder to myself: Why am I still blogging? Is anyone even reading this? 

I know I’m not alone in these thoughts, and thought I’d use this post to share 5 tips that help me to push through these moments of uncertainty.

5 tips to keep you blogging during moments of self-doubt:

1) Don’t sell yourself short. You are always your own worst critic. Someone is reading, and someone is loving the words that you’re sharing.

2) If you’re not feeling it, put your computer/pen away and try again later. If you skip a day, it won’t be the end of the world. And really, quality is so much better than quantity.

3) Be authentic. Don’t try to mimic someone else’s writing style or write something only because you think it’s what others want to read, just be yourself.

4) Take a time out to remember why you’re blogging in the first place. If you’re doing it to write, clear your mind and stop thinking about who’s reading, and just write for you. If you’re blogging for business, get out of your head and keep a professional mindset.

5) Someone once said to me in a heated moment in my career: “Remember: you’re not saving lives”  – and it stuck. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re not saving lives. It’s not life or death.

I’ve kept it going for 5 years, and I hope to keep writing in this little space for 5 years more. Diving in with a fresh start and an open mind.

blogiversary

For more of my writing, you can find me here:

24 Hours Vancouver

BC Living

Tourism Vancouver

Huffington Post Canada

 

{FAMILY} This Is My Success Story

Some may think that leaving a “dream job” with the Vancouver Canucks to pursue a part-time writing career is more of a cautionary tale that a true success story, but I’m proud of the path that I’ve chosen.

Yes, the money pales in comparison to that of a full-time corporate job. And yes, freelance work can be fleeting, but I love what I do.

For many, the recipe for success includes a showy salary, a nimble nine-to-five, and a sumptuous collection of stylish suits, but thats’ just not me – that’s not my definition of success.  At least not anymore.

I’ve walked in those shoes, and I envy the women who continue to walk down the path towards career success. For many years I was driven by an impalpable desire to advance my career – to move up, earn more, lead more and thrive more in the workplace.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what changed – what shifted my drive. Was it the kids? Was it my rediscovered love for writing? All I know is that I woke up one day, and suddenly, I didn’t want that kind of success anymore. I just wanted to write. To mom. To help small businesses to succeed, and to take life day to day.

It sounds simple. And to some – it sounds totally lame. But that’s me – at least for right now.

This is my success story.

For more on how blogging was the first step towards my redefined success story, listen to my interview with Martin Strong on Roundhouse Radio: LISTEN NOW (Note: I start at the 14:25 mark)

Blogger

Interview on Roundhouse Radio at the 2016 Vancouver Mom Top 30 Blogger event

Bits of Bee Turns 4

4 years ago today…

I wrote my very first blog post. At the time, I was a career mom of two, working full time for the Vancouver Canucks, desperate to revive my love for writing.

vancouver mom blogger

Career mom of 2 in 2011

I can still vividly remember the moment I took the leap into the blogging world. I popped my head into my friend’s office and proclaimed that I was going to take her advice and start my own blog. She gave me a few tips on how to get started, and just like that, Bits of Bee was born.

Since that day, my blog has evolved into so much more than a space to let my creative juices flow. My blog has opened doors to amazing opportunities, supported me through devastating moments, and provided me with a platform to celebrate some of life’s biggest milestones – all with the support of the family, friends and followers who have joined me on my blogging journey.

4 years and 353 blog posts later…

I’m a mom of three, running my own business and doing what I love for a living. The last four years have been surreal, emotional, monumental, and life-changing, and I owe so much of what I’ve done and who I’ve become to this little online space of mine.

Vancouver mom blogger

Mompreneur of 3 in 2015

I can’t wait to see what the next four years of writing and following my dreams will bring my way! In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate with 4 of my all-time most memorable blog posts from the past 4 years:

A Disney Dream Come True {how my little blog led to a once-in-a-lifetime tropical Disney adventure}

My Experience With Pregnancy Loss {blogging helped me through one of the most difficult moments of my life}

And Then There Were Three {welcoming my little blue-eyed miracle into the world}

How I Met My Father {reuniting with my biological father after over 30 years}

And just as I was about to wrap up this celebratory post, a special gift arrived in my inbox – this beautiful slideshow from our recent photo shoot with the talented Vairdy Photography. I’m so in love with my life today, and I think Vairdy captured the essence of my little family perfectly. Enjoy, and thank you for following along.

Bee XO

 

Is Social Media Making Us Unsocial?

When I first watched this viral video, I was speechless. My heart sank and I felt as if I had failed at the simple act of enjoying life and the natural beauty that surrounds us. Was I isolating those that I love in favour of technology? Were my days wasting away amongst a sea of hash tags, likes and retweets?

Ironically, the video has had 2 million Youtube views, and has been shared half a million times on Facebook, with 1.6 million likes and almost 300 comments (most of which are from people who are defending their dependence on social media platforms). A pretty successful social media campaign if you ask me.

The introduction to the video states that “children are growing up in a world where they don’t play outside or communicate with their friends”, which I think is a little over exaggerated. Perhaps it’s just me, but my children don’t spend their time looking at their phones and interacting on social media, because they don’t have phones. My children are playing outside, engaging in imaginative play and getting their knees grass-stained just as I did when I was their age. And while yes, they may have their allotted times playing games on my smartphone, it is balanced and closely monitored.

And while I’m sure they will fall into the same technology-dependent habits as I have when they reach their teen years, I’d like to think that I will be able to teach them to do so in a healthy and balanced way.

While I’m aware of my reliance and unnatural attachment to my smartphone, I’m also aware of the benefits I’ve seen from engaging in the digital world of today. I’ve made new real-life friends through Twitter, Facebook and this little ol’ blog. I’ve reconnected with friends from my past that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I’ve discovered new and effective ways for businesses to connect, share and grow through content marketing practices, and I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing through my interactions in this digital space.

I agree that we’ve become too comfortable with “looking down”. I too would much rather spend a dinner with friends interacting face to face, making eye contact and listening to each other’s stories. I would love to spend evenings with my husband sipping wine and sharing jokes as opposed to sitting on the couch side by side with our laptops. I agree that my habit of looking at my phone in the morning before I’ve even rubbed my eyes or greeted my husband with a good morning kiss is a bad habit.

But I don’t blame social media, or technology, or my iPhone. I blame only myself. Because I need to remind myself to keep it balanced. There are times to indulge online, and there are times to turn off my phone. Balance is key. I don’t need to turn off my phone, look up and walk away from this world of technology that we are so fortunate to be a part of, I need to enjoy it – in moderation.

And my children – I’m pretty sure they’ll look back at their childhood and remember moments like these – all captured through my iPhone might I add.

Outdoors

I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

I’ve been thinking about my journey as a writer a lot lately. Where my journey began, why I love it, what motivates me to write, and where I want my writing to take me.

Before The Blog

When I was six years old, I wrote my first book. I remember stapling together a stack of lined paper, and wrapping it securely in a folded piece of cardboard. I had found a piece of burgundy velvet, and had glued it to the cardboard cover. I remember thinking it made the book look mysterious and exotic. I filled the book with stories and colourful drawings of a character named Garbanzo, each page neatly numbered, and each chapter cleverly titled. I cherished that book and was proud of its contents.

Throughout my childhood I journaled daily. I filled diaries with my thoughts, fears, dreams, secrets and desires. Writing was how I coped with teen angst, secret crushes, quarrels with friends, insecurities, and frustrations with parents. It was my outlet – a way to clear my head.

I remember writing my grade 12 final exam. While my grades had been average throughout my final year of high school, I had received such a high grade on my final exam essay that my English teacher had double-checked my paper. He was convinced that an error had been made.

When I went to University, I was convinced that I wanted to be a Child Psychologist, so my first two years of study were focused on Psychology and Sociology. But what I soon realized was that I was only excited about what I was learning when I had the opportunity to put my thoughts down on paper. I received the highest grades and more thoroughly enjoyed assignments that required essay writing. In my third year, I switched my focus to English Literature and obtained my BA Degree.

I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

As I moved through various careers (editing for a teen magazine, teaching English as a second language, and more recently, marketing and business development roles), I felt as though something was missing. I had stopped journaling and missed writing. I realized that I was frequently sharing stories (whether people wanted to hear them or not). I was thinking about writing ALL THE TIME – in the shower, as I fell asleep, any waking moment when I had a few moments alone with my thoughts.

I wanted to write again – to document my thoughts and let my creative juices flow – but I didn’t know where to begin. After a few popular Facebook posts and conversations with friends, I was convinced: I needed to start a blog.

The name came to me quickly, and after a few Google searches, I had my platform set up and ready to go. And then…I wrote. Words spewed out of my fingertips and across my computer screen. I wrote until my fingers hurt. I didn’t edit, I didn’t proof read, I just wrote. I was quickly transformed into a blogaholic, and it felt good.

Blog Quote

 What’s Next?

I want to step outside the blog world and expand my writing to other platforms. I want to continue to write freelance articles on topics that require research and creativity – that challenge me to write beyond the confines of my own thoughts. I dream of one day writing and publishing a novel – of hiding away in a bungalow in a small town in Greece like Leonard Cohen, and writing until my book is complete. I aspire to write a column for a newspaper or magazine, and to make a living through my passion. I want to continue to write, until I become a kick-ass writer. For as long as the passion flows through my veins, I will write.

 

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

2013 has definitely been a big year for our family. A year full of new and exciting experiences, ups and downs. 2014 promises to bring new adventures, and I’m welcoming the new year with open arms. As a farewell to this last year, here are my 10 favourite blog posts of 2013:

Will You Tell Your Kids Everything About Your Past?

Dealing With Kindergarten Bullies

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails on the North Shore

A Disney Dream Come True

Vancouver By Water

Ask Mama Dina: Pretty Little Liar

He Put WHAT Up His Nose?

Back to the Barre: Adult Ballet Classes

5 Ways to Help a Friend Through Miscarriage

The Reveal

Wishing you all a new year full of adventure, love, rest, happiness, and inspiration.

new year quote

GLAM: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at This Year’s Top 30 Mom Blogger Event

It’s hard to believe that only a year ago, I came out as a blogger. While I had been blogging for quite awhile longer, I was hesitant to reveal my true identity to the social media world. I had been hiding behind the “bits of bee” name, and the mysteriously discreet avatar that I still use today.
In 2012, I was so honoured to be recognized as one of the Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers by Vancouver Mom, but I didn’t really understand what it all meant. I remember feeling so nervous when I arrived at the venue, unsure of what would happen when I walked through the doors, who I would meet and how they would respond to meeting me in person.
I was welcomed with open arms as mom bloggers from around the city introduced themselves, recognized my Twitter handle that was scribbled on my name tag, and commented on recent posts that I had written. It was as though I was in a room full of old friends – women who new my stories, who had followed my adventures through my posts.
At the 2012 event with 2 of my close friends and now fellow mom bloggers – Aubrey from Bella Lime,
and Kelly (now a 2013 top mom blogger) from Writing Down the Bones
We sipped on cocktails, tasted nibblies, snapped photos, tweeted, and chatted, and off we all went with our swag bags and a feeling of accomplishment. And I thought that would be the end of it – that I would go back to my laptop, type away, and hopefully connect with a few new friends through Twitter and Facebook. Little did I know, that little blogging milestone would change my life in so many ways.
This year’s event was a completely different and equally as fabulous experience for me. While last year I had attended as an honouree, this year I was there as one of the event organizers, enjoying every moment from behind-the-scenes.
As the Manager of Business Development for Vancouver Mom, one of my responsibilities was to find event sponsors. I was so pleased when so many fabulous partners came on board, providing out-of-this-world grand prizes for the winning blogger (we’re talking a trip, an iPad mini, chocolates for a year…the list goes on), and so many hand-crafted fabulous swag bag gifts for our top 30 bloggers.
Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the day of the event to pack up the swag bags. While it took me over an hour, I enjoyed every moment as I imagined each of the top 30 unveiling all of the little gifts inside the big blue bags. I felt like Santa stuffing stockings on the morning of the big day.
Swag bags and prizes all packed up and ready to go!
I was equally as nervous as I had been the previous year, but this time because I wanted to make the event as memorable as it had been for me. I wanted everyone to have a blast, to connect and mingle and enjoy the experience as much as I had the previous year.
While I was busy this time with setting up, greeting guests, entertaining sponsors and handing out prizes, I still managed to catch up with friends – many of which were my fellow 2012 mom bloggers who I now consider close and special friends.
Love these fabulous mom bloggers!
Two of my very first blogging friends, Nadia from Mama and the City (and a 2013 top blogger),
and Amanda from Lilahbility

Now that I’ve experienced the event as both an honouree and an organizer, I can’t wait to see what next year brings! I love my job, I love all of my bloggy friends, and I’m so happy to be a part of such a special community of moms.

Coming Out

ON COMING OUT (AS A BLOGGER)

It’s been just over a year since my very first blog post. When I first made the decision to start a blog, I was a bit (ok, a lot) shy about it. Everything associated with my blog – the name, the associated Twitter and Instagram accounts, and even the email account, were all under my alias “Bits of Bee”. With the exception of a few friends, no one knew that I was actively blogging, not even my parents.

It wasn’t until I was recognized as a Top 30 Vancouver Mom Blogger by Vancouver Mom that I allowed for my two worlds to merge. I had to give my name and a short blurb on who I was for the nominees page, and I knew this would be the turning point – that this would “out” me. I tried to be discreet about it. I hesitantly mentioned my nomination on Facebook, and tweeted only once or twice during the voting period, and I think my friends and family were a little confused – what’s a blog, and what does it have to do with Bianca?

Once my name was out, I decided to embrace it. I updated my “About Me” page with a little more personal information. I started to send links to my blog posts through my personal Facebook page. People started to ask me about it, and comment about my blog to me in person.

Then, and even now, I find it awkward to discuss my blog in person with coworkers, friends and family. I feel like my blog world is a completely separate world, where I don’t have to worry about talking out of turn, or minding what I say, or being judged for the words that come out of my mouth. I can write freely, and if people don’t want to read what I have to say, they don’t have to. I can nurture my love for writing without being judged, and I can do it on my own schedule, with my own parameters.

But I’ve also grown to love the engagement as well. Nothing thrills me more than to see that I’ve had new readers stumble upon my little blog. And I love discovering other blog moms with the same love for writing and photography and family as myself. This little blog community is welcoming, rewarding, and completely worth joining, and I am so thankful for all of the connections I’ve made in the process.

Here I am, Bianca, the person behind Bits of Bee
****

BLOG REBIRTH

Now that I’m out, I’ve decided to make a few changes. I want to focus more on what people would be interested in reading about. I want to share ADVICE. QUOTES. ANECDOTES. I want to continue to weave in personal stories about my life as an adoptee, and to share photos and ideas of my journey through this wild and precious life I lead. I hope that you’ll stick with me, and share your thoughts and ideas as well.

Thank you to those of you who have followed me over the past year (and then some). And welcome to those of you who are reading my blog for the very first time.

For fun, I’ll leave you with some of my most popular posts:

On embracing your Mama’s Bits

My comparison of Big Macs & Babies
Life from my dog’s perspective  “Do These Spots Make My Ass Look Fat?”

Some thoughts on Why I Would Make A Kick Ass Cop

My experience with Discussing Adoption With My Five Year Old

And my question to you all: WTF Is A Wiggle?