Leading Moms: The Importance of Play

Leading Moms is an annual, all-day event featuring inspiring talks from extraordinary women, and this year, I was not only an attendee, but part of the incredible team who planned the day’s festivities.

When I went to last year’s event, I didn’t know what to expect. I left feeling inspired, connected to a community of women who understood my perspective. So many women who, like me, were trying to solve the busy mom jigsaw puzzle of life. Who were striving to find a balance between career and family.

The theme of this year’s event was the importance of play – and the speakers tackled the theme with precision, each adding their own dash of spice to the perfect recipe for success.

We laughed through anecdotes that we, as moms, could all relate to. We danced, connecting through movement and song. We cried as our hearts burst, touched by song lyrics and inspiring stories. We sang, our voices loud and proud, and we learned about the importance of play, both for children, and for ourselves.

Leading Moms

(Left to Right) Anna Rice, Badminton Olympian; Me, strutting my stuff
on the runway; Monica Morong, Mom Rapper; the Vancouver Mom team

Because I’m a quote-lover, I thought I would share with you my 3 favourite quotes from the day’s event:

“You can uncover more about a person  in an hour of play, than you can in a year of conversations.”  – Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Counsellor and Educator

“It’s time for us to get back to the ‘being’ and not the ‘doing’ part of life.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

“Be the person you want your children to see in the world.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

The biggest takeaway for me was learning about “how to play”. Dr. Deborah MacNamara explained that it wasn’t only important for us to know that play is an integral part of a child’s neurological development, but that it was also important for us to understand how to encourage children to play authentically.

She explained that in order to properly play, there must not be an expected outcome. Colouring within the lines of a pre-drawn image doesn’t let their creative juices flow – instead, give your child a blank piece of paper. And don’t overschedule your children – make room for free time so they can learn how to play on their own.

To summarize, Dr. MacNamara shared with us –

6 Steps To Creating The Conditions For Play:

6 steps to creating the conditions for play

I’m sure I’m not the only mama who left the event feeling emotionally-drained, filled to the tip with inspiration, and excited to head home and play with my children.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure to catch it next year!

An Evening With Nicole Bridger

I first discovered Nicole Bridger when she did a fashion show at last year’s Leading Moms event. She had used moms as models, and every single one of her pieces looked so comfortable, and so fabulous on each of the mommy models (all of different shapes and sizes). I was mesmerized, and wanted to fill my closet with every single outfit I saw.
Then earlier this year I was invited to one of her warehouse sales. It was my first hands-on experience with her clothing – I was able to feel the soft fabrics, and when I tried on her pieces, they all seemed to fit comfortably, hugging my curves in all the right places. I left with an arm full of clothes that I wear regularly.
Last night, we at Vancouver Mom hosted a special evening with the local fashion designer at her lovely store on West 4th Ave. It was an opportunity to bring some of our top mom bloggers together to reconnect, and for Nicole to showcase her latest pieces to an engaged audience of moms. We sipped on delicious iced teas from O5 Tea (I couldn’t stop going back for more hibiscus tea – so refreshing!), and munched on cookies while we browsed the racks.And the fabulous crowd of ladies were also treated to a little fashion show, showcasing some of Nicole’s latest pieces – and guess who was one of the models?

Photo Credit: Raj Thandhi of Pink Chai Style

My fellow Vancouver Mom co-workers and I had a blast doing quick outfit changes backstage, and doing model claps as we strutted our stuff down the makeshift fashion runway. I wanted to buy every single outfit that I wore!

Photo Credit: Raj Thandhi of Pink Chai Style

As the event came to a close, I browsed through the racks, trying on almost every single item in the store. I knew I wanted to take something home, but which outfit would I buy!? I hummed and hawed between a beautiful summer dress, and a casual everyday outfit. This is what I went home with, and I’m more than pleased with my purchase:

Photo Credit: Emma (my 6 year old, hence the angle)

These are seriously the most comfortable pants I have ever worn in my life. When I was trying them on, Nicole overheard me saying, “These pants are RIDICULOUS!”. She chuckled and said, “THAT’S what we should have called them, ‘Ridiculous Pants’!”. They’re actually called Relaxation Pants, paired with the lovely Loyal Top pictured above. Check out more of her fantastic line here: Shop Nicole Bridger.

I had a blast and was honoured to be a part of such a fun evening, and to be working with such an inspiring designer and brand. Learn more about Nicole below, and check out her store!

 Born and raised in Vancouver, Nicole received her BAA in fashion design from Ryerson University in Toronto ON. During an internship in London with Vivienne Westwood, Nicole learned the art of sculpting, draping and layering fabric. It was here that she began to realize that her talent for fashion design could also be used as a vehicle for positive social change.

In 2006, Nicole aligned herself with Chip Wilson, the owner of Lululemon. Together they founded Oqoqo, a pioneer in the North American eco-fashion market. After her experience nurturing the growth of Oqoqo, Nicole was poised to unite her passion for high fashion and eco-consciouness, and in 2008 she founded Nicole Bridger Design.

Nicole is the embodiment of Nicole Bridger Design. A mother and social entrepreneur, Nicole strives to make positive contributions to her community and environment through the products she creates and the people she connects with. She is fuelled by a desire to create clothes that make all women feel beautiful and unique.