Spark Joy Book Club | January 2018

Spark Joy Book Club is a small monthly book club reading books centred around joy. Each monthly meeting is held at different beautiful venues around Calgary. For our January meeting, we decided to meet at The Wednesday Room to discuss The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

All Work and No Play at The Wednesday Room


  • In the book, they talked about giving up a category of purchases that resulted in feeling happier. Have you experienced this?

  • Gretchen observes that "Outer order contributes to inner calm," and many of her resolutions are aimed at clutter-clearing. Do you agree that clutter affects your happiness?

  • Did reading the book make you want to try one of the resolutions? Which one?

  • What was the one most valuable thing you learned from The Happiness Project about happiness for yourself?

I've had quite a few people asked if they could join the book club virtually so if you would like to do so, please comment below with your answers to our monthly discussion questions. 



10 Organizational Tips for Your Holiday Items

If you haven't packed away your holiday items yet, now is the time to do it! I was on CTV Morning Live to share some organizational tips earlier today. Here is the segment if you missed it and I hope you find these tips helpful in your home.

1. Before you Start

Before you start, check your storage to see if there are any other holiday items you didn't use this year. Be honest and ask yourself, does it still spark joy for you? If it doesn't, it's time to thank the item since it has fulfilled its purposes and let it go so it can spark joy for someone else.

2. Just because you used it doesn't mean it sparks joy

Don't automatically put everything that is out on display back in storage. Just because you used it this year, doesn't mean you love it. Ask yourself if each item sparks joy for you and if you're looking forward to use it again next year. 

3. Storing bags inside other bags

The best way to store gift bags are inside other gift bags. I like this method because it's easy and simple. Everything is together and easy to find when you need it.

4. Fold Your Tissue Paper

Tissue paper can take up a lot of room when it's not properly folded - That's why they're used to fill the space inside gift bags and boxes! If you want to maximize your storage space, fold it and store them all together so it's easy to access when you need it. You can even store them with your gift bags!

5. Use What You Have

There are so many organizational products designed specifically for holiday items but it's not a one size fits all solution. I find the best organizational items to use are shoe boxes. I use them everywhere! 

6. Reuse and repurpose

When it comes to protecting fragile ornaments, you can reuse and repurpose things you already have. Egg cartons are great for smaller ornaments. You can also create compartments in your storage boxes using cardboard. Reuse bubble wrap or bubble envelopes you receive in packages for an extra protective layer.

7. Keep christmas Lights Untangled

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to untangle Christmas lights.  Save yourself the headache and easily keep your Christmas lights untangled by wrapping it around a piece of cardboard. I fold my cardboard to create a tube to wrap my Christmas lights around and tape the two ends in the middle of the tube so it's easy to unravel next year.

8. Fix And Repair Now 

If you noticed a Christmas light bulb needs replacing or a holiday item needs repair; replace and repair it before storing it for next year. Your future self will thank you.

9. Garment Bags for Wrapping Paper Storage 

Wrapping paper are generally hard to store. They can flop all over the place and aren't uniform in size. A great way to store them is putting them upright inside garment bags. This way you can hang them in your closet and it doesn't take up more room than a coat.

10. Don't Stockpile

it can be tempting to stockpile more holiday items at the end of the season when everything goes on clearance. Resist the temptation and don't let the price decide your purchase. You won't need those items for a year and your taste might change by then. 

CTV Morning Live host Courtney Ketchen with Helen Youn

Which of these tips will you try? Let me know in the comments!


Lessons from My 30-day Yoga Challenge

Junction 9 Yoga Studio November 2017 Letterboard: Outdream Yourself xx

For the month of November, I joined a "30 classes in 30 days" yoga challenge at Junction 9 in Calgary. I originally went to check out this beautiful studio with a friend mid-October and we both bought an intro month pass. Two weeks later, I went back on my own and it happened to be day 1 of the yoga challenge. I've been going to yoga on and off (mostly off...ha!) for more than 10 years but have never attempted a yoga challenge. Usually, I buy a 10 class pass and would take a year to finish it. I've always loved the idea of doing a yoga challenge but always made excuses why I couldn't participate. As soon as I started listing reasons why I couldn't do it in my head this time, I knew it was exactly why I had to do it. Now that the month is done and I've completed the challenge successfully (yay!) I want to share some lessons I learned in the past 30 days about yoga and life in general.

1. It's a practice

I often hear the teachers say in class  "it's called a yoga practice and not yoga perfect." This resonated so much with me because I can't do all the poses perfectly but also realized that there is no such thing as doing all the poses perfectly. Everyone is learning and each time I went to class felt different. Some days I have really good balance, some days I am super wobbly, some days I am more flexible and some days I just need to give my body a break. The important thing is I showed up to class and I tried. Give yourself the permission to try a pose and fall. Applaud yourself for trying. Applaud yourself for succeeding. It's a practice after all.

2. Variety is key

When I used to go to classes sporadically, I tend to choose Flow type classes because I think I get bored easily and I like that you keep moving in Flow. In order to complete the challenge, I ended up going to classes based on what fits around my schedule and tried a variety of classes in the process. I realized quickly how important it is to have variety. Some days, I need to slow down in order to keep going. Some days, I need the challenge of a more intensive class to push myself. Life doesn't work at one speed either so it's ok to take some time to slow down so you can push yourself at full speed when necessary.

3. make time, not excuses 

Just like everyone else, I thought I didn't have the time to yoga every day. I also had serious mom guilt about taking the time for myself to do the challenge. Throughout the month, I went to classes as early as 6 am and some days I leave the studio at 10 pm. I went to some lunchtime classes and sometimes more than one class a day when I knew I didn't have time to go on other days. At one point, my husband said he didn't think the yoga classes have taken time away from our family time at all. It was then I realized I had more time than I thought and that when I prioritize something, it is possible to make time for it.

4. You don't have to. You get to.

Yoga has improved both my mental and physical wellbeing. In one of the classes, the teacher said instead of thinking about all the obligations in life as things you have to do, feel grateful that you get to do them. I've been thinking about this a lot especially on days I want to stay in bed. No matter how good or bad something is, there are always different ways of looking at it. Going to work, shopping for groceries, even having a mortgage and paying for taxes; how lucky are we to be able to do these things? 

5. don't wait until you're ready

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I could do the challenge. Aside from thinking I didn't have time, I am not particularly fit either. I am glad I didn't give it much thought and signed up on an impulse because if I thought I had to be ready before doing the challenge, then I wouldn't have done it. I've been sharing my yoga challenge experience with my clients throughout the month as well. So many people feel reluctant to start their tidying festival because it seems impossible. Even if they start, they may feel discouraged about their progress and how much more to go. Both yoga and KonMari is a journey. Take it day by day without expectations. Celebrate what you've accomplished rather than what you haven't done yet. Some days will be easier than others. Trust the process because if you try to control the outcome too much, it may backfire. Listen to your body and your heart. With enough practice, it will get easier.

Spark Joy Book Club | Sept-Oct 2017

Spark Joy Book Club is a small monthly book club reading books centred around joy. Each monthly meeting is held at different beautiful venues around Calgary. For our second meeting, we met at Alforno Cafe and Bakery as it felt like the perfect setting to chat about The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

We sat in front of a fireplace on a cozy couch drinking coffee/tee and eating cheesecake. Doesn't get much more Hygge than that!

Spark Joy Book Club September October 2017 Meeting at Alforno Bakery


  • Name one movie that you like where hygge is demonstrated or would be very hyggelig to watch. 
  • Name one place in Calgary that we can go to have a hyggelig time!


  • Has reading this book changed how you perceive winter, the most hyggelig time of the year? What are you looking forward to at the most?
  • Have you tried any new-to-you hygge ideas? or plan on doing incorporating more hygge into your life?
  • Excerpts from the book - Hygge is an atmosphere which is not only unimproved by spending more money on it, but rather, in some ways, the opposite. What do you think? 

I've had quite a few people asked if they could join the book club virtually so if you would like to do so, please comment below with your answers to our monthly discussion questions. 


Spark Joy Book Club | Aug 2017

Spark Joy Book Club is a small monthly book club reading books centred around joy. Each months' meetings are held at different beautiful venues around Calgary. For our first meeting, we met at Phil & Sebastians in Mission and discussed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Spark Joy Book Club August 2017 Meeting at Phil & Sebastians Coffee Roasters - Mission

One of the ladies was visiting from Europe and I've had some people asked if they could join the book club virtually due to location so I thought it would be fun to post the questions we discussed here and you can comment below.

Ice Breaker

  • Your name and location if you would like to share
  • What was the last thing you watched on Netflix and do you recommend it?

Book Discussion

  • Did the book change your tolerance level for clutter?
  • What tips of part resonated most with you?
  • What parts of the book didn't click for you?
  • Has the book prompted you to tidy up while reading or after at all?

Next Month's Book