Currently #9: Books to change your relationship with money, introducing yourself, and my favourite productivity app

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Worry Free Money by Shannon Lee Simmons


I recently finished Worry Free Money, and yes, it’s just as good as everyone’s saying it is. It’s got me thinking about changes I want to make to my cash flow and how (or more importantly, why) I spend money.

I also love Shannon’s approach to financial planning, and found reading this inspiring for my own work.

“It’s never about what I think people can do, it’s about what they can do, And more importantly, what they will do.”

Yes! Thank you, Shannon.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

You guys. This is such a powerful read.

You know when someone puts words to something you’ve been wrestling with for years, and then all of a sudden you feel free? That’s this book for me. It’s the solidarity I’ve been searching for.

And, of course, it’s left me rethinking my own consumption and spending.

“Who are you buying this for: the person you are, or the person you want to be?”

Yup. It’s good.

I’M watching…

The Perfect Intro, a talk by Clay Hebert

I can’t think a worse nightmare than walking into a room full of people ready to ask, “So, what do you do?”

Kidding. (Sort of…)

I’ve always been terrible at explaining what I do. Even amongst my own family it’s a question I dread. When you’re a freelancer with multiple projects and types of work on the go, how do you explain it all without sounding scattered? How do you wrap it all up neatly in a bow?

Well, my problem probably lied in the fact that I felt like I had to explain it all. You don’t. Clay has some awesome tips on this.

I’M listening to…

Um, did you know that The Wall Street Journal produces seriously good podcasts?

I’ve been listening to Secrets of Wealthy Women and The Future of Everything. My favourite episodes have been Dottie Herman: The Secret to Real Estate Risk-Taking and The Rise of Experiential Retail.

I love how each episode of The Future of Everything podcast will tackle one topic but interview multiple people on it (similar in style to Freakonomics Radio), providing multiple different contexts. That retail episode is really, seriously interesting.

I’M loving…

Dynalist! Oh my goodness, Dynalist.

The last 3 months or so has been a serious experiment in planning, scheduling, and timing. I’ve been testing out routines and systems to figure out what helps me be most effective and present, and this little app has been a game changer.

It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a list making, to-do type app. Clean, simple, easy. It’s replaced Todoist and now between Dynalist, Google Calendar, and Evernote I’ve got a system I’m in love with.

Yes, it’s love.

oh, that’s good…

Learning is Never Cumulative

The head coach at my crossfit gym has been covering the walls in quotes and man, I love this one.

Also, try slacking off on a WOD when Bruce Lee is staring back at you ;).

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!



Currently #8: Becoming a CFP(?), Freakonomics Radio, & reclaiming my time

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau

Despite my deep aversion to the word hustle (especially when preceded by the word side) here I am, reading Side Hustle. I just finished The $100 Startup by him and I’m reading these books not so much for my own projects, but because I’m always interested in what marketing/business/financial advice small business owners are finding useful.

How are we talking about this stuff? What’s resonating? What’s not? That’s what I’m interested in.

I’M watching…

Not much of anything, actually. I canceled my Netflix subscription and I haven’t been watching much on YouTube recently.

Sacrilege, I know. But, *points to image below* I’m reclaiming my time and I’m much happier for it.

I’M listening to…

These Shoes Are Killing Me on Freakonomics Radio

Who the heck knew I’d find genuine joy in listening to a podcast about feet? Not I, that’s for sure.

Around the 10 minute mark they talk about how men are seen as rational and practical and how that’s reflected in their shoes (plain, sensible) and how women are seen as irrational and frivolous and how that’s reflected in theirs (heels, decorative, impractical, etc.)

They talk about how sneakers—which many people think of as casual and cheap—started out as an object of luxury. Tennis shoes represented privilege and wealth because having them meant A) you could afford more than one pair of shoes and B) you had the time to spend on leisurely things like a game of tennis.

And then they get into “how fascism democratized the sneaker”…

I know. So interesting.

The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money was a great episode, too, if you haven’t heard it yet. They interviewed Barry Ritholtz about investment fees and as you’d imagine, he leaves you with lots to think about.

oh, that’s good…

Reclaiming My Time

A particularly timely (see what I did there!) desk sign I saw at Bulletin when I was in New York City last month.

The last quarter of 2017 I’ve been experimenting with planning and scheduling so that I spend more time on the things that matter to me (see above: canceling Netflix). I want to be more effective with my time. Not productive, effective. 

And so far, so good.

I’m becoming a financial planner… ?

After a weekend spent with some of my favourite humans (who happen to be financial planners) talking about the change we’d like to see in the finance industry, I’m seriously thinking about completing my CFP and working as a planner.

I realized I had some weird and wrong ideas about what it would mean to be a planner and that I was letting fear get the better of me. I don’t see myself working as a financial planner full-time, but I’d like to layer that into the other work I enjoy doing with small businesses and entrepreneurs. (That’s one of the wrong assumptions I had—that if I was a planner I wouldn’t be able to pursue the other work I’m interested in.)

I have my FPSC Level 1 so next up it’s the Capstone, doing some paraplanning work, and a few specialized courses.

More on that as it unfolds… I’m excited about 2018!

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #7: How Should a Person Be, behavioural economics, and saving for NYC

You didn’t ask, I answered.


How Should a Person Be? by Shelia Heti

Okay, ~technically~ I’m currently reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington but I finished this one a couple days ago and have to mention it because it was SO GOOD. And because despite being halfway through Thrive I don’t have strong feelings about it yet…

It had been a long time since I’d read anything close to fiction (my Goodreads is pretty solidly marketing/self-development books) and this was such a welcome change of pace for me. Her writing style is intoxicating, I’ve never read anything quite like it. She had me smiling, laughing, and feeling and the feels.

It was a needed reminder to branch out with what I’m reading.

I picked this up at Anansi Press and Groundwood Books in the Junction last week which is the most lovely little book store I’d definitely recommend checking out. The Drake Commissary is nearby, too, should you find yourself in need of sustenance.

I’m studying…

Behavioural Economics

How and why people spend money totally fascinates me. In particular, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fee-only financial planners… Why do people decide to use them? Or not use them? What can we learn about that to improve financial education in general?

I think this behavioural/psychology bit is key in figuring out successful marketing strategies for fee-only financial planners and more effective financial education. We get caught up on price and think that’s the sticking point for people considering hiring a planner, “It’s too expensive!” But I don’t buy it. Price isn’t the issue, it’s deeper than that. The money is there but people are choosing to spend it on something else. Why?

We need to identify biases and worldviews so we can root the long-term benefit of financial planning/education in the now. Tension! Then we’ll get somewhere good… real good.

If you’re interested in this kind of stuff check out this Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet and these 8 Marketing Takeaways from Behavioural Economics.

I’m saving for…

New York!

I’m saving for New York *happiest of dances*. I’m going to the Smart Hustle Small Business Conference this November 1st and I’ve tacked on a few extra days before and after the conference so I can, well, be in New York.

I’ve got some USD stashed away from a previous job that’ll be enough to cover the cost of the conference as well as my accommodation and a basic daily food budget, and the travel savings account I contribute to monthly will take care of the flight. I’d like to save up a little more spending money for exploring and shopping though because, well, New York.

oh, that’s good…


A welcome reminder looking over Dundas West in Toronto.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? A book, a podcast, an article, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me.





Currently #6: my YouTube experiment, the science of fear, and The Defiant Ones

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Life Unlocked by Srinivasan S. Pillay

I’m all for self-development books that are rooted in science. This one took a bit to get into, but was a game changer read for me. It’s all about fear—the science of dread, the fear of success, fear and prejudice, how trauma affects the brain… Really, really interesting.

Understanding the neurobiology behind fear has been the absolute key to helping me understand—and start to get over—my delightful procrastination habit and related crippling anxiety (fun!).

Because procrastination wasn’t my problem, fear was. Address the root and everything changes. (Studying epigenetics has been hugely helpful, too.)


The Defiant Ones Documentary

I don’t think the trailer does it justice. I loved this series. Ya, it was great to learn more about Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s working relationship, how Beats was created and sold, the music industry history…

But the marketing, man. These guys aren’t just creative geniuses, they’re marketing geniuses.

If you want to learn about marketing, study hip hop. Study rappers. You don’t have to like the music to appreciate the craft.

Marketing isn’t an afterthought for these guys, it’s built right into the creative process. As it should be.

new! an experiment…

Top Notch/Cringy Marketing, Week 1

Yep. That’s me. On the YouTube.

Go through the camera roll on my phone you won’t find photos of puppies, babies, or successful attempts at winged eyeliner (which I’m told is the purpose of these pocket cameras…) you’ll find screenshots of ads I see on social media. Pictures of sandwich boards I pass when I’m walking around the city. Photos of storefronts, packaging, product displays…

Marketing. My camera roll is full of really great—and really cringy—examples of marketing.

I thought it would be neat (for my own sake, but maybe someone else will find it helpful and/or entertaining?) to chat through this stuff so I learn how to explain why I think certain things work or don’t.

And, as you’ll see, it’s a shaky first attempt. The amount I rely on the words anyways, so, like, literally, and just to get a thought out is crushing. It’s a lack of self-confidence (oh look, fear again!) but I’ve got a feeling this is exactly what I need to do to work through it.

We have to start somewhere, right?

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #5: Perennial Seller, a crowdsourced music video, and the evolution of retail

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Just finished up this dandy and it was a good overall look at what it takes to make and market work that stands the test of time as a creative. He places the responsibility for marketing your work square on you, the creative, which I’m all about.

Sure you can get help/coaching but ultimately you can’t outsource your marketing. You can’t just hand it off all, “Here, you deal with it!” and expect it to be a hit. Why? Because no one knows or cares as much about your work as you do.

And you can’t put something into the world and call it a day. All, I’ve-built-it-they-will-come. Two very important truths we don’t tend to love… but embracing them gives us a huge advantage.

“Marketing is an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself, to beat out other talented folks whose entitlement and laziness holds them back.” 

(Is this sounding harsh? Oops. It’s actually incredibly empowering.)

I’M watching…

Put Your Hands Together by Andrew Applepie

Okay ONE, Andrew Applepie is an absolute musical beat making wizard.  You can’t make up this kind of passion. You can literally feel the joy in everything he makes…

And TWO, this music video is brilliant. He asked his followers to send him clips of them clapping and here we are, a crowdsourced music video. Like! People from all over the world sent in these clips. Amazing.

That’s engagement, that’s community, that’s powerful. And yes, that’s marketing.

I’M listening to…

The Amorphous Evolution of Retail — Rachel Shechtman of Story on the Loose Threads Podcast

Brick and mortar retail’s not dead, the game’s just changed.

Rachel is the founder of Story, a 2000 square foot retail store in Chelsea,  New York that “has the point of view of a magazine, that changes like a gallery and sells things like a store.”

Customers coming in and buying things isn’t really the end goal, it’s more about the experience. They make a good chunk of their revenue through six-figure sponsorships and it’s even turned into something of a scouting ground for the indie brands and artists they carry.

It’s the intersection of content, commerce, and community. Yup, she changed the game.

best money spent…


Headphones. Proper over-the-ear-welcome-to-paradise-you-beautiful-introvert-you headphones. How did I go so long without these?!

Are these ones good? I have no damn clue, I’m no audiophile. About an hour into my “best headphones” research I accepted I was way out of my depth and resorted to the ol’… go to stores and try them on strategy.

Decided Bose was too fancy (read: expensive) for me, didn’t like the sound of Beats, didn’t love the Sennheiser ones in my price range, and wireless headphones were a no. I also knew I wanted a removable chord (so I could replace it if it broke) and removable ear pads so I could replace those when needed, too. Not of fan of having to toss something after a year because it wasn’t designed to be repaired, ya know? So I landed on these Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ones and Imma happy.

oh, that’s good…

Stay safe, eat cake

Bunners Bake Shop

SO GOOD. Because, cake.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #4: The power of introverts, Matt Mullenweg, and a baby real estate agent

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I’ve taken a dive into the world of personality types over the last half year or so and MAN, what a game changer.

If it’s something you’ve ever wanted to explore I’d say start by taking the 16 Personalities quiz to find your Myers-Briggs type, then go read what your personality type does in a rut.

I mean WHAT. So interesting.

Now of course, you can’t go using these labels as an excuse, “I can’t do that because I’m an IN-whatever.” But as a framework it’s helped me make sense of why I act and react the way I do. It’s helped me reframe traits I’ve long seen as weaknesses into strengths. Which is a biggie.

I digress… the book!! The most interesting part to me was the research on introverts vs extroverts in the workplace (these differences are SO important and largely ignored) and in childhood. What it’s like to be a highly reactive, aka introverted, kid and how various experiences including trauma influence you differently. Lot’s of my-life-finally-makes-sense moments were had. It was great.


Do You Have Your Own Internal “Code” — Matt Mullenweg on the James Altucher Show

You know when you walk around pretending to know what a term means but secretly you’re praying someone doesn’t ask you to define it…. Ya.

Open source.

Like I essentially knew what it meant, but not really. Sure as heck couldn’t explain it. For those of you that can relate listen from 10:45 to 17:20, Matt does a great job of explaining what open source code means and why it’s so important.

“Open source essentially creates a bill of rights for software. As a developer you cannot take away any of the freedoms you yourself were given.”

Also, how relaxing is Matt’s voice? Can we get him narrating on Audible? K thanks.


Well played.

roncesvalles toronto real estate ad may 2017

I know the baby-photo-real-estate-agent thing isn’t new… but did this ever make me smile. And in Roncesvalles? Well played, Sir. Know your demographic.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #3: Steve Martin, blogging is back, and a beauty store with a sense of humour

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin.
“I did have that one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Ya, he’s great. If you’re on the hunt for a memoir or just a good read, highly recommend.


Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse on Unemployable.
At a time where content is cheap and easily automated, they talk about the importance of making it human again. Because that’s what blogging is all about—human to human connection.

Darren touches on the idea of blogging in seasons—creating chunks of related content punctuated by breaks (e.g. blog weekly for 3 months around one topic then take a month off) because maybe that’s an easier way to consume and find content in a Netflix world? Whatever your thoughts on this it’s a good reminder to think outside the traditional format. Experiment!

Adam Robinson on the Tim Ferriss Show.
Adam Robinson is one of those crazy smart insightful people working in finance—he advises hedge fund advisors kind of smart.

Hearing him talk about his approach to investing is fascinating. Seriously, take 3 minutes and listen from 29:00-32:00.

He encourages us to pay attention every time you hear someone say, “That doesn’t make any sense”. If someone says they don’t understand why gold keeps going lower, because there’s a dozen logical reasons it shouldn’t, he knows it’s got a lot lower to go. There’s some x-factor no one’s considered yet. It’s not the world that doesn’t make sense, it’s your model of it.

“That’s where the gold mine is, things that don’t make sense.”

Oh, that’s good…

Bay. Not Bay.
A new section for things I come across that make me say, “Oh, now that’s good.”

This storefront beside the Bay subway station in Yorkville being one of them.


What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #2: The Psychology of Persuasion, teaching finance in schools, and The Future of Cities

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
All about what makes us say “Yes!”. This is one of those books I saw referenced so frequently in recent marketing/PR books that I thought I better give it a read myself.

I’ve gone through it pondering how all these principles might apply to the world of money. And art! Because I’m exciting like that…


“Someone Should Teach This in School” Kyle Provost on the Because Money Podcast.
What would it look like if personal finance was taught in high school? Well, Kyle Provost can tell ya because he’s doing just that—leading some pretty awesome change out of Manitoba.

If you don’t have time for the whole thing listen from 23:17-32:00 where he shares why our system makes it so hard to get this change off the ground. It was a total mind=blown moment for me when he talked how politicians, like teachers, have pensions and insurance so they can arguably get by with less financial education than the average Canadian. So where’s the incentive! As Kyle says, “You almost couldn’t create a situation where you had more public demand for a product and less expertise and will power to put it into place.”

…. I know.

But don’t worry… things end on a hopeful note.


The Future Of Cities by Oscar Boyson.
I can’t do this any justice with a summary, you just need to watch it. Essentially it’s a look at how we’re solving big problems facing cities across the globe—like access to fresh water and crazy traffic congestion. And how all this (really exciting!) change is happening bottom up, not top down.

It’s good. Really good.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Comment or Tweet me!

Currently #1: The War of Art, Bad With Money, and Mr. Selfridge

You didn’t ask, I answered.


The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Ooofph it’s a goodie. If you’re feeling blocked (Hi!) read it.

“Rule of thumb: the more important a call to action is to our souls evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”


Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn.
I don’t know how I only just discovered this podcast, but I did, and it’s great. The whole YouTube thing fascinates me, so hearing Gaby and Hank Green chat content creation was right up my street. Speaking of content creation… CNN acquiring Beme is HUGE! You need to read co-founder Matt Hackett’s take on it.


Mr. Selfridge Season 4.
It’s back! Heck yes. I’m such a British period drama junkie… recently finished Call The Midwife and The Crown. SO GOOD.

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Tweet me!