Client Spotlight :: Meet Fifth Avenue Dental Clinic

Fifth Avenue Dental Clinic is your friendly neighbourhood dentist office in Cochrane, AB, the town where I grew up. I’m excited to announce I just finished designing their new logo, website, and postcard. Have a look!

If you’re in need of some dental care, I recommend visiting Dr. Kostyk. You may just see my mom’s friendly face at the reception desk too.

Like Their New Website?

Are you a Cochrane business looking for a new website or logo? I’ve got a few openings in the Fall and I’d love to help out the businesses in my hometown.

Have a look at my design portfolio for more examples of websites I’ve designed!

Get in touch here.

Oh! You Pretty Things… Talk to Me

I maintain that hosting an interview series on your blog is one of the best things I did not only for my business and my social life.

Oh! You Pretty Things…Talk to Me

Oh you pretty things talk to me interviews

When I first moved to Vancouver, I barely knew anybody. I’d heard Vancouver had an unfriendly reputation, but I’ve never been one to be swayed by rumor. The west coast called to me, so I packed up and made my way to the wettest best city in Canada.

Thankfully, I had the excuse of my neatos interview series that I hosted on my blog. It was an easy way to make connections where I otherwise had none.

Now, I’ve been here about two years and I’d like to meet even more people and connect them to each other too! Therefore, I’m reinstating my neatos interview series and putting the call out for cool folks (preferably in the Vancouver area).

Here are the rules ::

  1. Answer a series of questions via email
  2. Provide a good quality, horizontal image
  3. Meet me in person for coffee, beer, other excursion, or Skype (only for those of you location challenged)
  4. Be genuinely keen on making a new connection/friendship with moi

Want to take part? Leave a comment below, tell me a bit about yourself, and I will get in touch with you!

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14 Cool Vancouver Magazines Worth Subscribing To

It’s no secret that Vancouver is a mecca for art and all things cool, but do you know about these 14 Vancouver magazines you can subscribe to? Check them out and get the extremely high tech device that is a print magazine straight to your mailbox.

14 Cool Vancouver Magazines Worth Subscribing To

14 Vancouver Magazines Worth Subscribing To

Vancouver Magazines 01 :: Geist

Geist is a quarterly ideas and culture magazine printed here in Vancouver. Their variety of genres include short stories, short short stories, poetry, creative non-fiction, essays, reviews, and photography. If you’re looking for something intelligent and offbeat, subscribe to this monthly literary magazine.

Vancouver Magazines 02 :: Room

Room is literary magazine “by and about women.” With fiction, poetry, reviews, art work, interviews and profiles, the publication’s theme is female focused. Many writers featured in Room are in the early stages of their career. Subscribe to this quarterly magazine here.

Vancouver Magazines 03 :: Hush

For a raw and sexy magazine, turn to Hush. Topics range from sex and politics to culture, fashion, health, lifestyle, and dining. It’s online presence is thriving, but you can also download a printable copy of the controversial magazine for free.

Vancouver Magazines 04 :: Edible Vancouver

Try not to eat the pages of this tempting magazine. Edible Vancouver features some delicious food photography and articles all about Vancouver’s culinary creations. Give in to your cravings with a yearly subscription here.

Vancouver Magazines 05 :: Sad Mag

Covering Vancouver’s independent arts and culture, Sad Mag is produced from the perspective of local, emerging contributors. Not only does the magazine support the artistic endeavors of writers, photographers, and illustrators but also
makeup artists, fashion stylists, performers, designers, and communications professionals. Check out their subscription options here.

Vancouver Magazines 06 :: Discorder

Discorder is another Vancouver magazine you can download for free. Published by CiTR 101.9 FM, Discorder covers local arts and music. You can look forward to 11 issues of this magazine every year. Download the most recent issue here.

Vancouver Magazines 07 :: Montecristo

Internationally inspired, Montecristo magazine is a lifestyle quarterly that focuses on arts, business, culture, design, dining, style, transportation, and travel. They also put a particular emphasis on philanthropy, local history, and sustainability. Subscribe here.

Vancouver Magazines 08 :: subTerrain

subTerrain is a provocative collection of fiction, poetry, photography, and graphic illustration. With offices just of Main Street, they accept work from emerging Canadian, U.S., and International writers and artists. Find a copy in your local bookstore or subscribe here.

Vancouver Magazines 09 :: Poetry is Dead

Ever wonder if poetry is dead? Well, it’s not, it’s a magazine. They showcase Canadian poetry but also feature essays, reviews, and art too. Make sure you never miss an issue here.

Vancouver Magazines 10 :: Rice Paper

Ricepaper Magazine celebrates Asian culture, arts, and literature. It’s the only Canadian magazine of its kind. They publish new poetry, fiction, drama, graphic novel, and translation from across the country. You can get and one, two, or three year subscription here.

Vancouver Magazines 11 :: Prism

For the best of contemporary literature, check out PRISM international. It’s got fiction, poetry, art, reviews, interviews, and even some writing prompts on their blog. If you want to see an issue at your door, try one of their subscription options.

Vancouver Magazines 12 :: Event

Event is an award-winning literary publication produced out of Douglas College. Their magazine is flushed with emerging poetry, fiction, non fiction, and book reviews. If you’re a writer, try out their writing service to get input on your work. Otherwise, consider a subscription here.

Vancouver Magazines 13 :: Megaphone

Not a typical subscription, but worth mentioning, Megaphone is a “voice for the marginalized.” With an aim to support the end of poverty, the magazine offers opportunity for low income venders to make a profit. The magazine is sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria for $2. Peruse their website to learn more.

Vancouver Magazines 14 :: Momentum

Do you think cycling is sexy? If so, Momentum magazine is the one for you. All about the riding culture, Momentum has a focus on style, urban travel, profiles, family, and riding gear. Save 60% on the cover price when you subscribe.

Know any other Vancouver magazines we should subscribe to? Leave a comment below.

Welcome to the New Stylings + Stories

stylings-stories-step-into-my-office

This is the new Stylings + Stories website. It’s the same old stuff, just simplified.

Stylings + Stories still offers the same copywriting, marketing consulting, and design services that help artists, entrepreneurs, creative agencies and arts + culture organizations communicate authentically. I’m excited to continue to help you clarify and express that brilliance caught up in your mind or hidden in your project. Your story is itching to be told!

Please have a read through the copywriting, marketing consulting, and design services pages. I can help you do sincere marketing that feels good and pays off.

You’ll also notice that all the blog posts are missing! It’s not a mistake, I’m just doing some Spring cleaning. But don’t worry your little face, you’ll soon see the best blog posts from the past pop up in the next little while along with some new and improved content. I also have a shop in the works and a few tidbits to clean up along the way. (Hope that’s okay!)

Have fun + keep in touch.

Stylings + Stories is Under Thoughtful Re-Construction

I’ve been on hiatus. Did you miss me? I’ve missed you. Dearly. Grandly. With fervour and might. In the depths of my longing I’ve dreamt of you. You with your bright potted plants, your white walls crisp as thirsty canvasses and most of all, your inspirational resourcefulness, originality and unwavering determination.

You are my muse.

And, that is why I’ve been hibernating. I’ve been reconnecting with authenticity, mind bending the fuck out my company’s purpose and digging into all those tangled roots and waves to culminate a mission that not only feeds my own desires but also serves you, my delightful friends, with only the most useful tools, topics and talents for your business and art.

That being said, Stylings + Stories is undergoing a complete overhaul. We’re talking new branding, new website, new services, new everything. I appreciate your patience through this process and hope you will stay in touch to tell me what you most need for your business.

The focus here is drifting away from the intensity of marketing as essential to your success and reaching towards a steadier, more thoughtful approach to marketing as a tool to connect with your audience and express your art. I’ll still be providing the same sincere marketing services in the form of copywriting, editing, designing and consulting but up here on the blog you may see less urgent telling and more reflective sharing.

If you haven’t already, sign up below and I’ll keep you in the loop.

9 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Every entrepreneur should read the following list of books, me included. I admit, I haven’t read all of these savvy reads for entrepreneurs from front to back, but I’ve devoured chapters, segments, and snippets in each with a happy, eager heart.

Nine Savvy Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

books every entrepreneur should read

1. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art reminds me a little of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron in that they both address what blocks our creative soul from making art. If you need to work through some barriers to creating, even in business, pick this one up.

2. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

I read The Brand Gap back when I was taking my Communications degree. It breaks down the process of building a brand and is great for any entrepreneur who wants to build a unique and lasting brand.

3. Zag by Marty Neumeier

Zag is another book I read in Communications school and it’s a little more on the conceptualization side of branding. It goes into how to differentiate your brand from the pack.

4. The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen, & Les Hewitt

The Power of Focus has some amazing insight into productivity plus some tools on how to focus your time to get sh*t done. It’s amazing how inspiring it is to read tools you can actually put to use.

5. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s Start With Why is an enlightening read for all entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out. When we identify why we’re in business, aside from making money, we can truly connect with our dream customers and help them even more than before.

If you want to learn more about identifying your why, and other tools to start your business, take a leap with Jump, a digital guide for newbie coaches and creatives. Written in collaboration with Ashley of Your Super Awesome Life, it will totally give you the confidence and tools to start the business of your dreams.

6. Quiet by Susan Cain

Are you an introvert? Awesome! Me too. That’s why I love Quiet. Susan Cain outlines all the reasons why it’s great we have introverts, and extroverts, in the world and why we should start giving introverts more credit.

7. On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing is the one book in this list that I read cover to cover. It was shockingly romantic, endearing, and inspiring. I was skeptical at first, considering his reputation for horror, but I absolutely loved this book that reveals his insights on the writing life.

8. T-Rex Trying by Hugh Murphy

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, pathetic, and frustrated? That’s why I included T-Rex Trying. In case you need a laugh, or someone cute to relate to.

9. The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte

The Desire Map has been making waves this month. And for good reason too. Danielle is on to something here. “The journey should feel the way you want the destination to feel.” Beauty.

How Your Greatest Failure is Leading You to Even Greater Success

I’m so excited to introduce the Jump Tour, a month-long celebration of brilliant bloggers sharing their insider secrets. This delightful blog hop, coordinated by myself and Ashley of Your Super Awesome Life, is full of our favourite coaches & creatives revealing the qualities that helped them make the Jump into business. So, stick around to get the scoop.

My Failure then Success Story

Ever done something that felt like a failure but actually led you to something greater in the long run? I know I have. Like moving back in with my parents instead of toughing it out, like taking a month-long European vacation instead of looking for a job, like going back to University even after I already had a degree. And, this is a terribly short list compared to the many times I’ve felt like a total failure or flake.

But, here’s the thing. Each of these “mistakes” is a failure then success story that led me to greater rewards, realizations, and relationships.

For instance

…when I moved back in with my parents I was aching of a broken heart and connecting with them gave me the confidence to face the world again. I regained the foundation I’d lost when I moved away for University. It was a real tumultuous time, wrought with regret and self-loathing but it was needed and I couldn’t have healed without their support.

…when I took a trip to Europe instead of looking for a job, I had one hell of a time. But that’s not the real reward. When I returned home, I had the time to take a web design course and learned the skills that ultimately started Stylings & Stories. I wouldn’t have quit a job to do that. Yay!

…when I went back to University this fall, even though I already had a degree, I rekindled my love for art. Part of my aforementioned heartbreak dampened my beliefs in, well, everything. From friendships to faith and trust in my talents to trust in my thoughts, I completely lost touch with who I was and wanted to be. But this art class inspired me and paved the way for my spirituality, creativity, and principles to follow.

There’s a grander scheme

Though it may seem bleak, with faith, perseverance, and self-love you can overcome your challenges to make even your biggest failures smashing successes. If you want to learn the tools I use to overcome my fear of failure, check out Jump: Into Your Business, Your Life, Your Dream. It’s a digital guide that will not only help you gain confidence to start your business but also the know-how to brand it and connect with your dream customers.

What’s your failure then success story? Let me know in the comments below!

The Jump Blog Tour is hosted by Stephanie Hall and Ashley Wilhite, the co-creators of Jump: Into your business, your life, your dream, a must-have digital guide for new coaches & creatives. They believe in the transformational power of taking the jump and creating a business you love. This all-inclusive eBook will teach you how to start a business, find your niche, brand like a pro, and make the jump with confidence. Find out more here.

Interview :: Meet Rena J Traxel

Meet Rena J Traxel Writer

Meet Rena J Traxel. She writes children’s books and teen fiction with a dream of adding hundreds of books to her name. So cool! Her and I met at Grant MacEwan University where we both took the Professional Writing Degree. Read more and find out what keeps Rena focused to put pen to paper.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I write silly stories for kids and murderous novels for teens. My biggest dream is to be an author with hundreds of books to my name and hopefully a handful of awards to go with them. I’m currently working on several picture book stories and young adult mystery with a fantastical twist.

2. What drew you in to writing? How did you get started?

I’ve been telling stories since I can remember. I was an odd kid. I would tell myself my own bedtime stories. But I didn’t get serious about writing until university. I was in my third year of the Bachelor of Arts program with plans of getting a sociology degree with specialization in criminology then it was off to law school. I took a children’s writing class on a whim and just fell in love. I left the BA program and transferred into the writing program at Grant MacEwan University and the rest has been history.

3. What motivates your writing?

Most of my picture book stories have animal characters. I love animals. Animals surround me. It’s not surprising that they find themselves in my stories. My novel on the other hand is definitely inspired by my time spent volunteering at the courthouse and studying crime and people. I find the law fascinating.

4. What is your daily routine? Do you have any rituals that get you in the mood to write?

I don’t really have a set schedule. I guess most of the time I work on my picture book stories during the day and my novel during the night. I like to read before I go bed. And take a few minutes each night to think about my story. I let my brain work out any problems in my sleep. I generally wake up ready to write often in the middle of the night.

5. How do you stay so focused?

My husband works hard so that I can stay home and write. I try not to take that for granted. I also follow my favorite authors online and seeing their success makes me want it. Seeing my nephew and nieces light up when a story is read to them makes me want to write. I do have my days where I can’t even look at my writing. Thankfully, those days are few and far between.

6. What advice can you give aspiring writers?

To go from an aspiring writer to an actual write requires just doing it. Quit dreaming and get your butt in the chair and write. Along the way you are going to meet dream thieves a.k.a jerks who have nothing better to do than to tear you down. Ignore them and keep writing. And find other writers you can confide in. They make the “down” times much easier to handle.

7. What book do you recommend everyone to read? How come?

There are so many great books out there. Oliver Jeffers “The Heart and the Bottle.” Picture books aren’t just for kids. They’re for adults too. This book speaks directly to my statement about dream thieves. Never let go of your dreams even when life hurts.

8. What’s in the works for you in the near future?

My biggest goal is to land the perfect agent. I don’t have complete control over this but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time developing my craft. I’m confident that I’ll reach this goal within the next six months. I recently joined the Writers’ Guild of Alberta as a board member. I’m pretty excited to spend the next few years helping build a better guild and inspiring others to follow their writer dream.

9. How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?

I think this goes hand and hand with being a writer for children. I spend half my day thinking like a child. I’m also married to a wonderfully funny guy who isn’t afraid to be silly with me.

10. Anything else you want to add?

Whatever you do in life never give up on your dreams.

Feel free to connect with me online.               


I love that you used to tell yourself your own bedtime stories. That’s so cute! Thanks for telling me about Oliver Jeffers too. His stories look super fun.