The Sunday Series: 3rd Edition! Interviews with Inspiring Women in and Around Leamington Essex County

{Sometimes, ideas and inspirations get lodged way back behind all of the 'to dos' and the messes, just like sitting for long periods of time makes your joints stiff and your back ache. Our souls need movement. For me, my ideas seem to come while on a walk, or while swimming laps, the pounding of my feet like a meditation of sorts, numbing the day to day worries, allowing my daydreaming to take over. 

This summer, while on one of these meditative journeys, it dawned on me. I was frustrated with the status quo. My work with  photography felt a little stuck, and the conversations with other creatives seemed to be on one of those hamster wheels. The same themes running their way through conversations about value and time and maybe sometimes feeling voiceless in our dreams for our work and our lives. 

 But, as I try to remember - as do most people who are looking to move forward - nothing stays the same, and we can make the changes, by making the choices, move move move! 

This is how 'The Sunday Series' was born. It dawned on me that there could be a space created for sharing, a space created for inspiring and a space created for a change in this conversation. 

If you are like me, a creative, a dreamer, a seeker and maybe a little lost - this might me the inspirational conversation that brings a little shift to your week. The conversation that reminds you that anything is possible.}


1. You've had quite an adventure over the last few years. You're a business owner, you organize loads of events that bring people together to be inspired, you've fostered some amazing relationships and you just keep creating new ideas and goals for yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about this journey you've been on, where did it all being for you? Where do you get your inspiration?

I began my journey of entrepreneurship when my mother passed away 8.5 years ago. That was a huge loss but a big reminder for me that Life is short and to get out there and give my big Dreams chance! There's a saying "If not now, then when? If not me, then who? I could always go back to an old job if I wanted to. But ever since I haven't turned back. I wanted to use my life experience, my education and follow my passions of my love for adventure, love of the outdoors and motivation to inspire people, while living on the beach on an island in a community that I loved. Quite honestly, when I started my business the main goal was how could I sustain myself while living on Pelee Island, while using my education and doing something fulfilling. 

I founded Explore Pelee in 2008 and gave it my all. My business soon grew to meet the demands of a small seasonal tourism industry.  After a couple years I needed to boost my winter income and one of my mentors offered me Total Recall Women's Retreat. My ultimate dream has been to host and run retreats & adventure tourism around the world. 

In networking to sell the retreat I went to a lot of business networking events and always felt a bit empty inside and disconnected from the women.

 In efforts to align myself with women that I felt connected to, I started my own networking series at local wineries in the evenings and got women in the community to share their stories. 

(Anne Marie's energy is contagious - and her drive something to behold!)

(image taken from facebook)

This is the 4th season I've been running the LIFT series and last year I launched a Co-Ed series at local breweries that really took off as well. I love surrounding myself by like-minded people, to learn from them and to grow together, if that makes sense. I got my inspiration to be around like-minded people, in turn the community of people keeps growing. It's a win win. 

(The Lift Series has been likened to the famous Ted Talks of Essex County)

2. I'm always curious how other entrepreneurs spend their average days. Your sunrise images are so beautiful and uplifting - and obviously indicate an EARLY start - how does your day unfold?
My days unfold a little bit different every day. With a seasonal tourism business the summer months are busier with touring people around Pelee Island, managing staff and several businesses. Summertime my mornings are quiet and dedicated to some office work, always starting by watching the sunrise (sometimes I cheat and just lift my head up and watch it rise from my bed- if it's going to be spectacular I'll get up and run down to the beach), a green smoothie, yerba mate tea, writing in my journal, a 10-15 minute workout video and sometimes a little dance off while blasting tunes if I'm having a hard time getting into the groove. I need movement and I need diversity. I don't work well being inside all day, all the time. 

Winter months, my sunrise ritual means getting up and getting dressed and walking 20m to the beach, morning workout, green smoothie, yerba mate, chat with a neighbour and writing down a quick to-do list before I get going. But to be honest, sometimes it's difficult to get going and I feel like no one will notice if I don't do any work. Keeping positive is like a practice. It's easy to get derailed and distracted.

3. As a business owner/creator there's risk and vulnerability involved in every choice you make. You're putting yourself out there, you're telling people what you want to see in the world, what your dreams are. Your successes and not such huge successes are out there. How do you manage to keep perspective, deal with the challenges, keep your calm, do you have a self care practice? How do you keep that high energy level you have and your positive attitude?  

I manage to keep perspective by having mentors, friends and close connections with colleagues in the industry to call upon.                                                  

(I work in the tourism industry, as well as, the personal health and wellness industry). My mother used to say 'You can't get through life on your own'. Learning to ask for help is tough at times, but rewarding. We are constantly giving out energy and sometimes it's hard to sit back and receive it. Self-care: I believe there isn't a quick fix. It's something that has to be done daily.

                                                                               (image taken from facebook - credit Anne Marie)

 Eating well, regular exercise, small or large doses of the outdoors and being around positive supportive people refuels me. Also, I try to get monthly massages for relaxation and do detoxes periodically. I also give myself a lot of manicures and pedicures. Even when working from home, getting up and getting dressed up to go to work, even though sometimes it's from my kitchen table or couch, getting dressed and being prepared helps me keep my head in the game. Also, if I'm not being productive I give myself permission to take a break, take a nap, go for a walk.
During my last detox I cut out coffee, red meat, cheeses, alcohol, and refined sugars. During that month I started to notice that I was sensitive to different energies and I needed to cut certain people that were energy suckers out of my day as well. Having to be self-motivated, it's hard to keep the momentum if other people are bringing you down. Also, I'm not a clean freak by any means but I like to keep my home tidy and clutter free. I find that clutter creates chaos, and it's hard to get down to work because I'll procrastinate and do the dishes and other things. So, keeping my space tidy and organized, definitely helps me keep focused.
I also have mantras around the house Believe, Manifest, etc. and little quotes to remind me that I'm grateful and blessed to be "living my dream'. 

4. You told us about where you've been, where do you see your path leading you in the next few years?  If you made a vision board that illustrated your ideal day - tell us about the pieces that would fill it.

I've just recently launched a Business & Lifestyles Coaching Practice. I have been doing it on the side for a few years now, but I've been taking on new clients and I love that. I love running the LIFT series events at local wineries and breweries. I am going to do more retreats 2-3 per year and start doing a travel series with LIFT events in South Western Ontario. Also, keeping my Explore Pelee business running for it's 9th season, which I have packaged and it's ready to sell.

My Ideal Day:
Wake up and watch the sunrise
Green Smoothie, Yerba Mate Tea
Morning Meditation
Morning Workout 
Client calls, administrative work, brainstorming, collaborations

Eat a Healthy Lunch, go for a walk/ swim in the lake or bike ride on my cruiser bike

                                                         (image taken from facebook)

Afternoon creativity sessions, meeting up with other creatives, coffee shop if in the city, beach meetings/or winery meetings if on the island

Evening Activity: Hot yoga class followed by Vietnamese Dinner
Check out local art scene, go for a hike, meet up with friends, play Settlers of Catan, Go for a run, play Sudoku, evening star gazing (kayaking in summer, cross country skiing in the winter)
Listening to live music and dancing
Make travel plans
Holding a baby
Do some art. 
Write in my journal.

* I love adventure and diversity so my ideal day is hard to pinpoint!

5. You've been putting together videos and podcasts and have been writing a blog. There have been some collaborations happening. Tell us about this!

Heather Chauvin and I have been collaborating on our upcoming Sun & Soul Retreat which has sold out!!! We have been focusing on issues such as facing your fears, using them to your advantage and reaching your true potential. Heather and I have both attended each other's events in the past and we are actually related. We found out after knowing each other that we are distant cousins. We have an amazing soul sister vibe and have an incredible group of women joining us at our upcoming retreat in San Luis Obispo, California. This is a dream come true for both of us and exciting to work as a power team together on it. We have a few other things up our sleeves so stay tuned.

6. Finally, you could probably spend a whole day talking about all of the events you're planning over the next few months. Can you share with us links and brief descriptions of what's coming up? 

Inspirational Networking series: Co-Ed one are at breweries and Ladies LIFT series at local wineries- amazing community of like-minded people, a great way to get out and check out our local venues and the monotony of the winter and be inspired and uplifted.
Next ones:
Ladies LIFT Series: Thurs. Jan. 28th 6:30-8:30pm for details
Co-Ed LIFT Series: Feb 8th 6:30-8:30pm for details:

Winter Hiking Series with Explore Pelee to get out and beat the winter blues, we feature local conservation areas and parks once a month. It's a great meet up for adults, families, students, and your four legged friends.
January 31st @ 2pm

Sun & Soul RetreatFeb.17-21 San Luis Obispo, CA. 
4 nights, 5 days women's intensive retreat, day hikes, morning meditations, goal planning, life coaching, dream setting and action planning and some expressive art therapy..... I'm so excited for this, it's going to be life-changing!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend some time inspiring us! Don't forget to check out all of the links in this article!
Anne Marie's next Lift event is coming up!  It's worth heading out in the cold to meet new people, try some new wine and to be INSPIRED.

Find the First Edition of the Sunday Series here.

The Second Edition here.

The months are filling up quickly - if you know of someone who would love to be one of my Sunday Series interviews, have them get in touch - Lee-Ann

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