Archive for the 'Professional Service' Category

Arianna’s Random Thoughts in British Columbia

in Activism, British Columbia, Coaching, Personal Blog, Photography and Professional Service

Arianna Random Thoughts blog banner, Hawaii beachArianna Merritt, blogger, BCArianna Merritt, M.Ed., is a Learning and Development Specialist in British Columbia who started blogging three years ago to serve up some random thoughts. Today she’s a tri-weekly source of inspiration for hundreds of regular readers, and has her own self help book on store shelves, Arianna’s blog offers unique insight into the human condition and a fresh perspective on the art of perseverance.

Arianna’s Random Thoughts is the sort of name a new blogger might call a test space upon which they practice handcrafting their first posts. Random thoughts are generally worth less than well ordered thinking only because abstract content is less findable in the grand scheme of things. New blogs filled with ‘random thoughts’ usually fade away after the first couple of posts, or get deleted when the author learns enough to find a proper style, or a suitably interesting cause. But Arianna persevered with her original portal because random thoughts and perseverance are her causes.

The author conceived the blog while on vacation in Hawaii. That’s why the banner is an artful representation of an ocean beach scene. Presumably she had a rush of random thoughts while sitting on the beach, but I suspect there’s more to this story than that.  Her first post is titled, Do Not Be Afraid To Ask Questions.

The About Arianna Merritt badge on her blog sidebarArianna Merritt, M.Ed. encourages her blog readers and the individuals she coaches to reach their full potential by finding their own voices and sharing their own stories.

Her own life experiences, including her career and her professional life, have caused her to study the positive effects of perseverance, mentoring, self-worth, body-image counseling, and bullying prevention.  She has seen the good she can do first hand.

A six foot tall woman, Arianna once had some issues with her own body image, and she has suffered through long periods of low self esteem. She was bullied throughout her childhood, and today remembers being scared of standing out in the crowd. Consequently, she adopted a diminutive posture because she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.  And she was very shy. Perhaps that’s why the author’s first book is entitled, Stand Tall & Speak From the Heart: How to Find Your Way and seems to be about finding the strength to be proud and mentally independent.

She writes about where she was raised, and how the kids in her family, and other families around town were taught to mask their personal issues and put a brave face on their true feelings; she would say “I’m fine” even though she was struggling with body image issues, or worse.

After graduation from her undergraduate program, Arianna moved out west and started to crave deep connections – in relationships and life and hence that’s why she started blogging, to reach out and connect with other people on a deeper, more personal level. It’s an extreme act of bravery for a shy girl.

Arianna Merritt recording her random thoughts by the oceanShe writes, “In today’s society, the focus is on becoming successful, and being a success. So many of us focus on the outcome, and always look ahead without looking around them and enjoying the journey.  Many of us give up hope on our dreams because there are too many obstacles on their path.  They are unaware that everyone else has obstacles too and they just need to persevere to succeed.  Sometimes when our light dims, that’s when we need others to help brighten or change our perspective. “

In Arianna’s post, What it means to be a role model, she writes,

Two of the most important lessons I have learned on my journey are to persevere and to talk about issues.  I am not perfect, have obstacles on my path, and make mistakes.  I have also been a talker to them and would rather talk about issues than keep them inside. Arianna

Arianna on rock beach for inspirationA truly unique individual, Arianna’s vivacious personality flows from her pen to colour her blog prose. Readers soon understand this girl loves traveling, teaching and connecting with others.  She loves water and is empowered by the ocean, lakes and rivers in British Columbia. She’s passionate about photography and uses the craft to help chronicle her life.  She writes,  “…that’s why my blog is set up in a travel journal form, as 1) I love the water and am empowered by it, and 2) its designed to share the lessons I have learned (in written form and through photos), and document the people I have met on my journey.”

I truly believe that when you share you story with others and speak from the heart, you give others permission to do the same.  I’m starting the conversation. Arianna Merritt

As she continues to learn and grow, Arianna’s blog will grow too and serve as a place where people can feel empowered and connect with others. Some of the authors best posts include,

The Power of Kindness

Standing Firm Against The Tide

Let’s Rock the Boat

Arianna made her first blog domain her permanent home and saw it through to success.  She even upgraded her WordPress.com account to buy the URL and host it herself, and truly be the master of her own .com domain; here she has built and decorated a beautiful shrine to her own random thoughts and we are all her fortunate guests.

Post by on Feb 13, 2013


Mary Bratko is Wedding Girl in Ontario

in Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger, event blogger, Fashion Blogger, niche blogs, Ontario, Professional Service and visual arts


Mary Bratko, wedding planner in TorontoMary Bratko eats, sleeps and blogs about weddings in southern Ontario. She shares her décor ideas, menu ideas, insights into popular traditions, decorating tricks and sweet thoughts about marital bliss to a growing following of daily readers. She’s an expert wedding planner with a seemingly endless flow of original ideas for making brides’ dreams come true. Funny thing is, she isn’t married.

WeddingGirl.ca believes that every bride should be able to afford a wedding planner. Her business is all about creating luxury on a budget and sharing her hard won knowledge on where to spend cash, how to save cash, what to skip, and when to splurge. The blog is built to both inspire and educate brides to make smart spending choices and turn their wedding planning dreams into happily ever after memories {swoon}.

wedding girl, cartoon character, polka dot dressMary came to this blog calling from an unusual angle. Through-out school she studied sciences and if you’d asked anyone of her university classmates they would have guessed that Mary was bound for a career as a surgeon, or a cancer researcher, or something that required her to keep her head buried in scientific journals, medical charts and diagrams. But when she was at school, she was also a bride, and she spent hours, days weeks months planning a beautiful wedding on a seemingly endless budget.

As a young adult, when she wasn’t reading brainy texts, Mary Bratko was thumbing through bridal magazines and developing an expensive taste for exquisite things, like high end linens, fancy embellishments, and couture designs. A twist of fate left her grand affair wedding canceled and her expensive taste became extensive debt. The rookie mistakes she made inspired her to create Wedding Girl.

diamond ring, wedding day bethrothalWith her own nuptials canceled, Mary hoped she could give away what she’d already bought to another bride, and dreamed up Wedding Girl after spotting a cry-for-help from a bride that had become pregnant during her engagement and was medically ill. The couples’ wedding budget was spent on keeping her and her unborn baby alive. She was desperate to have a wedding to one day show her baby that “Mommy and Daddy got married”. The ad was looking for anyone who could help her with décor, flowers, food, anything to create a wedding. At this moment Mary decided that no bride should ever have to beg for a wedding, or settle for second hand, or second best, and that every bride should be able to ask for, and get help.

Mary Bratko is Toronto Wedding GirlAs Wedding Girl, Mary Bratko’s goal is to help brides resolve their own unyielding desires for high-end, fancy, and couture, with a limited budget. While most of the wedding industry tends to focus on how to spend, her website is more about when to save and when to splurge and what to skip all together (and still make your wedding nothing short of FABULOUS!) What began as a hobby has now become her full time job.

Mary’s blog showcases the most recent wedding she planned and coordinated – alongside two professionals, Rick and Jay – and talks candidly about a sassy promotion with these two characters, and all the events surrounding their infamous Wedding Threesome contest.

Wedding Day Threesome, Rick Mary and JayLast year, Rick, Jay and Mary got together to create the Wedding Day Threesome contest. The inspiration behind the idea was to join forces and give one lucky bride and groom an amazing wedding package that included photography, cinema, and event design and planning. With some clever marketing, our creative talent, and lots of time, effort, the Threesome Contest was born. And as the things went swimmingly right up until the end. The trio was supposed to announce the winner on that particular day, but unfortunately one of the crew had an emergency; a child was in the hospital. The group didn’t get a chance to confirm and thereby publish their final pick for the grand prize winner.  Mary writes that “…The contest had grown a strong Facebook following and when we didn’t announce the winner (or have the chance to explain why), our Facebook followers lost their minds. We were being accused of having faked all three businesses …. of being scams, but yet we hadn’t even asked for any money!”   Mary wrote a comprehensive reply to squash the backlash and resolve the Wedding Day Threesome contest.

Wedding kiss, wedding dance, song, Stoney Creek, photographer

In less than three years, Wedding Girl has already made an impressive start and hopes to grow even bigger in 2012 with more guest blogging, content sharing, text link and banner advertising, site sponsorship and great articles about weddings, school for girls.  This blogger has found her niche.

Mary writes, ‘On a personal note – 2011 was a year for me to make mistakes, learn lessons, create new relationships, and indulge in new experiences. I’ve grown stronger as a woman, more creative as an entrepreneur, and more resilient as a business-owner. I’m thankful for every favour I placed, detail I tweaked, and bustle I bustled. Each and every bride I’ve been fortunate enough to meet has given me more than I could ever thank them for – and I’m honoured to have been a part of their big day.


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