The Year in Review: 2020

Can you believe this year is almost over? And what a year it has been! For me 2020 started off pretty slowly. I was very ill with a bout of food poisoning on January 1st, great way to start a new year right? It was a slow, cold and boring start to the year. I remember feeling de-motivated and like everyone else was going ahead with their plans but me. My mom encouraged me to set some goals and stay motivated.

Personal and Professional Achievements

I decided to set some professional goals for myself to help create some structure. I still decided to enrol in the CITP (Certified International Trade Professional) program at the Forum for International Trade Training. In order to earn this certification I would need to take 6 courses and pass 6 exams, after which I would have to submit my resume along with my experience in international trade.ย  In January when I signed up for this, it seemed daunting and never ending. I also decided I wanted to complete my PMP – Project Management Professional designation this year.

I finished the first course in my CITP when the pandemic hit. All my classes at Algonquin were to be taught remotely and it took a lot of adjustment to get used to teaching fully on zoom. The pandemic hit us harder than we expected in Canada, and the initial lockdown was both disheartening and depressing. I decided to make the most of this time and complete the rest of the 5 courses. Within the month of April I started and completed 4 courses to finish off my CITP designation. This was exhausting and I frankly don’t recommend trying to do 4 courses which are supposed to be 6 months each within a span of 4 weeks, however I’m glad I did it. I earned my CITP in June and I was really pleased with this achievement. I was also surprised and humbled to be featured by FITT in their CITP spotlight.

I was on the fence about studying for my PMP but decided to take it seriously and started studying in September. If any potential PMP test takers are reading this, yes, I did read the entire PMBOK! I completed a prep course in November and did countless practice exams from mid November to early December. I wrote my exam at home on December 14 through PMI’s online proctoring service PearsonVue and passed it on the first attempt! I was and am so thrilled about this! I had been wanting to take this exam since 2018 and this year I finally did it! P.S. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the PMP exam, feel free to comment or email me ๐Ÿ™‚

Blogging Progress

On the blog front I really focused on growing my following and creating more engaging content. The pandemic prompted me to shift my focus to more local brands in Ottawa. I was happy to collaborate with businesses such as Skuish Cookies, Oh My Honey, The East India Company, MC Laser and Hair and Buyers + Cellars to name a few. I am so pleased with the growth I’ve experienced on my blog and Instagram channels, I was able to reach and surpass my goal of 10K followers this year, which was a milestone for me. Thank you to everyone who supported me in this journey.

I also focused on more hospitality and lifestyle content and was fortunate to collaborate with The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, The Frontenac Club and The Fairmont Chateau Montebello.ย I was also thrilled to secure more fashion collaborations with international and local clothing brands such as Shein and Chicwish. Sashien and I did some his and hers style collaborations as well.

I didn’t travel as much this year due to the travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic however Sashien and I were able to take a trip to Florida in February prior to the lockdown. We were thankful to have been able to experience a little bit of warm weather before the shutdown.

Overall 2020 was not the write off everyone keeps calling it. Plans may have changed and we all needed to adjust but in the end life is what you make it. I decided to make the most of a rather unfortunate year and I’m even more motivated for 2021!

Looking ahead

I’ve got a lot more goals and plans in place for next year. I’m currently working on a capsule collection with none other than the Capsule Creator herself, Rebecca Rowe. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks! I’ll be posting about this on my Instagram page.

Sashien and I also have something exciting that we’ve been working on and we can’t wait to share it with all of you! I’ll be posting and sharing more about this project soon!

Birthday Post – How well do you know me?

It’s my birthday!Iย  turned 32 today so I’ve added a few items to bring this list to 32 thingsย  you probably didn’t know about me. How many of them did you know?

1. I’m an only child – it’s true I have no siblings, I never wanted a sister but I always wanted an older brother.

2. I was all about that bass before Meghan Trainer made it cool – I started playing bass guitar in middle school and played it all the way through high school. I still own 2 bass guitars and I can play the stand up bass as well.

3. I have a pen pal and she lives in Paris (Hope you’re reading this Maheshi :))

4. I live in Canada but I am not a hockey fan – could never get in to it.

5. I speak French and was in French Immersion from middle school all the way through high school.

6. I never travel light- I like to have a lot of clothing options so I usually bring many different outfits on my travels.

7. I’m a shoe-a-holic and have 3 dressers full of shoes. Don’t ask me how many pairs I have I’ve lost count!

8. I love karaoke and even have a karaoke app on my phone.

9. I’m over 25 and still getting ID’d at the LCBO – sad but true and I’m trying to look at it as a compliment.

10. I’m a huge Elvis Presley fan and I’d love to visit Graceland some day.

11. I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and moved to Canada twice – once when I was 5 and permanently when I was 8.

12. I’m a published author – you can find my book Cocktails & Conversations: a guide to networking on Chapters.ca

13.ย  Baking is one of my hobbies (aside from blogging of course) and I love making desserts for friends and family.

14.I don’t have a favourite TV show. I rarely have time to watch TV so it’s hard for me to commit to watching a show every week.

15.I’m a professor at a local college.

16. My hair is naturally wavy not straight.

17. My first pet was a Pomeranian named Toshi, I now have a Yorkie named Chloe.

18. I’m a huge trivia geek, pick me if you’re looking for a trivia team member!

19. I’d love to be a stay at home mom some day, I think it’s really important to take time out for your family especially your children.

20. I ran my own consulting business for 5 years.

21. My first job was a junior camp counselor at a day camp for toddlers; I was 15 so I got paid $50 a week!

22. My favourite colour was and still is pink.

23. I like investing and looking for new ways to save money and grow my investments.

24. I’m a morning person. I start work at 7:30 so I’m up early during the week.

25. My least favourite candy is licorice – never liked it and cannot stand it.

26. Aside from Sri Lankan food my favourite cuisine is Italian ๐Ÿ™‚ I went to Italy for the 2nd time last summer and loved everything I ate there.

27. I don’t drink beer- I enjoy the occasional glass of wine but I never liked beer.

28. I’ve never actually finished a poutine, I’m not a huge fan.

29. I don’t have any tattoos and don’t intend on getting any.

30. I’m probably one of the few people who cannot whistle, just can’t do it.

31. I love doing impressions and my best friend thinks I’d be a great comedienne.

32. I’m a total camera ham – if you know me personally I’ve probably asked you to take my picture ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

28 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

 

It’s my birthday on February 28th so I thought I’d share 28 things you probably didn’t know about me ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes I was actually born on the 28th not the 29th ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. I’m an only child – it’s true I have no siblings, I never wanted a sister but I always wanted an older brother.

2. I was all about that bass before Meghan Trainer made it cool – I started playing bass guitar in middle school and played it all the way through high school. I still own 2 bass guitars and I can play the stand up bass as well.

3. I have a pen pal and she lives in Paris (Hope you’re reading this Maheshi :))

4. I live in Canada but I am not a hockey fan – could never get in to it.

5. I speak French and was in French Immersion from middle school all the way through high school.

6. I never travel light- I like to have a lot of clothing options so I usually bring many different outfits on my travels.

7. I’m a shoe-a-holic and have 3 dressers full of shoes. Don’t ask me how many pairs I have I’ve lost count!

8. I love karaoke and even have a karaoke app on my phone.

9. I’m over 25 and still getting ID’d at the LCBO – sad but true and I’m trying to look at it as a compliment.

10. I’m a huge Elvis Presley fan and I’d love to visit Graceland some day.

11. I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and moved to Canada twice – once when I was 5 and permanently when I was 8.

12. I’m a published author – you can find my book Cocktails & Conversations: a guide to networking on Chapters.ca

13.ย  Baking is one of my hobbies (aside from blogging ofcourse) and I love making desserts for friends and family.

14.I don’t have a favourite TV show. I rarely have time to watch TV so it’s hard for me to commit to watching a show every week.

15.I’m a part-time professor at a local college.

16. My hair is naturally wavy not straight.

17. My first pet was a Pomeranian named Toshi, I now have a Yorkie named Chloe.

18. I’m a huge trivia geek, pick me if you’re looking for a trivia team member!

19. I’d love to be a stay at home mom some day, I think it’s really important to take time out for your family especially your children.

20. I ran my own consulting business for 5 years.

21. My first job was a junior camp counselor at a day camp for toddlers; I was 15 so I got paid $50 a week!

22. My favourite colour was and still is pink.

23. I like investing and looking for new ways to save money and grow my investments.

24. I’m a morning person. I start work at 7:30 so I’m up early during the week.

25. My least favourite candy is licorice – never liked it and cannot stand it.

26. Aside from Sri Lankan food my favourite cuisine is Italian ๐Ÿ™‚ I went to Italy for the 2nd time last summer and loved everything I ate there.

27. I don’t drink beer- I enjoy the occasional glass of wine but I never liked beer.

28. I’ve never actually finished a poutine, I’m not a huge fan.

Hopefully you enjoyed this list and learned a bit more about me in the process ๐Ÿ™‚