Personal Branding

Marketing Mondays

Monday, December 7, 2020

Happy Monday! Let’s talk Marketing!

On this week’s segment of Marketing Mondays, we’re talking all about personal branding. Creating a blog was something I had always wanted to do, but I always convinced myself otherwise. Looking back, my biggest fear creating a lifestyle blog was being branded as “just another wanna-be influencer.” The voices in my head told me I didn’t have a niche so why would anyone be interested in reading it? I kept asking myself, “What sets me apart from all of the other bloggers out there?” And then I fell into the toxic rabbit hole of comparing myself to others – popular bloggers and influencers. How was I supposed to create a brand when I don’t even know who I fully am at 23 years old? But then it hit me… Why was I so worried about identifying a brand when I already had one? In fact, we all do.

I am Taylor and I live in Toronto. I am a student, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am passionate about marketing, fitness, cooking and self-care. It’s as simple as that. Every little attribute about us plays a role in establishing our personal brand.  I found my brand just being myself, and you can too.

I recently came across a podcast called the “Game Changer Podcast” by Erin May Henry – A young female digital creator, business coach and owner of a “multi 6 fig biz.” I immediately fell in love with her messaging and it became one of my instant favorites. The first episode she ever aired is called “Why personal branding?” Henry says: 

“…When I really just stepped into that passion that I knew was such a big part of me, then things just started to fall into place. So, beyond the funnels, beyond the email marketing, beyond all of these strategies that everybody else was teaching, I just came to the conclusion that I really was where I was because I was just building relationships online, showing up with content consistently, engaging with my audience and ultimately just being myself. And I neglected for a while to kind of move my business in that direction because, I mean, I thought how do you really teach people to show up and just teach people how to be themselves? Like that is so intangible, that no one is going to pay for that… but the more I thought about it, it’s what nobody was teaching, it’s what nobody was talking about, and that was probably the reason why… but every single struggle I heard my audience talking about, at the core of that was their personal brand – they weren’t showing up, they weren’t being themselves, they weren’t sharing their message, they didn’t know how to communicate effectively with their audience… and all of that was because they hadn’t developed their personal brand.” 

So, you want to know what your brand is? Being yourself. Go after what you’re passionate about and everything else will fall in place.

Head to my last blog post “The Sweat Series,” where I interview the creator, Daria about stepping outside of our comfort zones and what can happen when we follow our passions. 

The Sweat Series

Fitness Fridays

Friday, December 4, 2020

Welcome to the first Fitness Friday Feature!

Interviewing my favourite boss babes in the business and highlighting workouts that will leave you feeling like a whole new woman. 

For many people, when gyms and studios began closing in March due to COVID-19 our regular fitness routines came to a holt. That was until The Sweat Series saved the day! 

Meet Daria! The creator of The Sweat Series, yoga instructor and a total #fitspo. I often think to myself, “How does she balance it all on top of the 9-5 grind?” Well, I got us our answer and more in a recent interview.

Like Daria, I believe movement has the power to transform you into a completely different person. As I always say, “There is nothing that a good sweat can’t fix!”

I began the interview asking Daria why movement is so important to her?

“It helps me clear my head, calm my mind and start my day off on the right foot. I can only show up for others – my fiancé, colleagues, family, if I show up for myself first and foremost.”

Let’s talk about what The Sweat Series is and why Daria started it? 

“When I first moved to downtown Toronto after graduating from University, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of fitness studio options available. I couldn’t find a central database of information about the studios – What’s the vibe like at the studio? Do they offer towel service and blow-dryers if I want to get ready there before work? Which instructors are the best if I want an intense sweat? And which classes are best when I just want to get some light movement in? I found there was no one offering an unbiased opinion. I began to test out studios myself and quickly became the “go-to” person for my friends on where to sweat in the city.”

“Finally, after people telling me for YEARS that I should start my own page/blog, I decided to go for it. I truly think that we are the only thing standing in our own way. It was my fear of showing up publicly and no one liking it/me/following/supporting which kept me from starting The Sweat Series. Once I finally got out of my own way and launched, I knew it was the best decision.” 

And so, The Sweat Series was born! Daria is bringing her followers something she has coined “The Sweat Sched.” The Sweat Sched compiles all of Daria’s fitness class recommendations on the daily. Whether the classes are being broadcasted virtually via Instagram Live, Zoom, Fitness Apps or socially distanced outdoors, Daria has all the current bases covered. 

Did The Sweat Series blossom into something more than you anticipated? 

“Definitely! As I mentioned, it really started off as a platform for reviewing boutique fitness studios/classes. After I launched, I did my yoga teacher training, so a lot of my content now incorporates live yoga classes taught by me or sharing my experience about yoga philosophy.”

“With the fitness industry having to pivot due to the pandemic, my platform has also had to pivot in order to keep up with changes in the industry. I am much more focused on virtual fitness program/class reviews and have started incorporating more of my personal life – how I’m feeling, my meditation practice etc. It has become much more wholesome rather than just focused on reviewing workout classes.”

How do you balance a 9-5 job, your personal fitness, and The Sweat Series? 

“A lot of planning and time management! Most of The Sweat Series stuff happens before or after my day job. It really doesn’t feel like work when it’s your passion project though! I also make sure to time block my days – I book my personal workouts into my calendar and try to get them in before anyone at work can interrupt. For posting on Instagram, a lot of that is pre-filmed so that I don’t have to take time out of my workday.”

“I try to plan my content for the week out over the weekend and have it ready to go in case work gets busier than expected. Lastly, I make sure to take the pressure off! The Sweat Series is what I do for fun, so when I get too stressed out about work, I simply won’t post as much. I think that once your passion project becomes a task to check off of your to-do list, it ceases to be fun.”

What is your current favorite style of workout? 

“I’m trying a new thing lately called listening to my body! After years of forcing myself to do a ton of cardio/HIIT every single day, I now enjoy a variety of workouts – Pilates, mobility, sculpting, HIIT, spin, running. I truly wake up and let my body tell me what type of workout it’s craving each morning. I’ve never felt or even looked better (in my opinion) until I let go of doing workouts I was “supposed” to be doing to get “results” and instead focused on what felt good for me.”

How did you start your yoga journey?

“I’ve wanted to be a yoga teacher for 10+ years but similar to how it took me so long to launch The Sweat Series, I always stood in my own way. I told myself that I would never be a good yoga teacher, and no one would come to my classes.”

“Finally, I convinced myself that I would do the training, and if I wasn’t ‘good enough’ I wouldn’t teach but would do the training for my own benefit. During teacher training when I got up to practice teaching a class for the first time, the feedback the founder of the program/studio I was taking the training with told me ‘I would take your class right now.’ I was so in shock, but at the same time knew that this was what I was meant to be doing – teaching and leading others through yoga. I truly in that moment had never felt more like my authentic self.”

The Sweat Sched has been my saving grace during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have found so many new forms of movement, instructors and communities that I would have never come across without Daria. When I received Daria’s interview questions and read them, I realized the same girl that has been such an inspiration to me had the same self-doubts that I had when creating my blog. Follow your passions and push yourself outside your comfort zones because you never know who you may inspire. 

The Sweat Series is a joint effort between Daria and various fitness studios and instructors. If you are hosting workout classes and would like to be included in the schedule, please send a DM to @thesweatseries on Instagram or e-mail thesweatseries@gmail.com.

Stay tuned! I will be testing out Daria’s favourite Banana Bread recipe, Rachel Mansfield’s Vegan Paleo Banana Bread on Treat Yourself Tuesday.

Greek Yogurt Bagels

Treat Yo’ Self Tuesdays

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Greek yogurt in bagels…I know, sounds peculiar, but prepare to be amazed. I love a good bagel, but not all the questionable ingredients that come on the label with them. Here is a healthier, high protein alternative to store-bought bagels that don’t taste “healthy.”

Here is the recipe I used. You will need:

  • Thick Greek Yogurt (I used the Oikos brand)
  • Self-rising flour, regular all-purpose flour, or whole-wheat flour *See my notes on attempting a gluten-free version at the end of this blog post*
  • Baking Powder (Only if your flour is not self-rising)
  • 1 Egg (Optional)
  • Optional Bagel Toppings : Everything but the Bagel seasoning, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds etc.

If your flour is not self-rising, follow this simple recipe.

First, preheat your oven to 150C/350F. Next, using the measurements provided in the recipe, add your self-rising flour to the greek yogurt and mix until a dough has formed.

Once your dough looks similar to this, divide it into four even pieces. Next, begin shaping the dough into bagels. My favourite technique for this is trial and error, but here is a video, (fast forward to 0.31 seconds), you may find helpful.

*Optional Once you have shaped your bagels, and placed them on a lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the bagels with a simple egg wash. I personally like to add this step as it allows the toppings to stick to the bagels and brown beautifully.

Cook the bagels for 20-22 minutes. Once fully baked, I like to turn my oven to low broil and closely watch the tops turn golden brown. This should only take one to two minutes maximum.

Allow the bagels to cool, slice in half, toast and enjoy topped with your favourite spreads. These bagels are best kept in the fridge/freezer and taste best toasted. The flavour is a more mild version of a sourdough bread.

*Gluten-Free Attempt

I have tried converting this recipe into a gluten-free version using Sorghum Flour instead. The dough was soft and smooth, but without gluten, this substitute definitely needs a binder such as Xanthan Gum. Once baked, the bagels had a lovely bread-like texture, but retained a lot more water during the baking time. I would suggest baking these for 10 minutes more than the gluten-filled version. Additionally, the gluten-free version did not hold up over night as they were quite dense and hard in the morning. Stay tuned as I continue to experiment with the gluten-free version!

I would love to hear your feedback if you test out the recipe in the comments below or tag @taylor.in.toronto on Instagram.

What is your favourite bagel flavour? Everything Bagel? Click here for the recipe.

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning

Treat Yo’ Self Tuesdays

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I was attending a marketing lecture last week and one of my peers mentioned Trader Joe’s. Instantly, the chat feature on zoom went crazy -“I love Trader Joe’s,” “Class trip to Trader Joe’s?” “I cross the border just to stock up on everything but the bagel seasoning.” My two questions are, why doesn’t Canada have a Trader Joe’s yet? And who was the marketing genius that created everything but the bagel seasoning? With the Canada/United Sates boarder closed, cross-border shopping at Trader Joe’s has come to a holt and I know I’m not the only one missing my favourite seasoning. Delicious on salads, scrambled tofu, pasta, and most popular, avocado toast Everything but the Bagel seasoning has become a pantry staple and an internet recipe sensation. Since when were spices trendy? Sure, you can buy the seasoning for a marked-up price on Amazon, but you can also make it in less than five minutes for about five dollars in your own kitchen. 

First, I looked up a recipe before heading to my local bulk barn. You will need:

  • Poppy Seeds
  • Coarse or Flaked Sea Salt
  • White Sesame
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Dried Mined Garlic
  • Dried Onion Flakes

Following the recipes measurements, combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. (I couldn’t find black sesame seeds so I doubled up on white sesame seeds.)

Now it’s time to put the recipe to the test. Add some avocado to your favourite toast and a generous sprinkle of your homemade everything but the bagel seasoning and enjoy!

Absolutely delicious and tastes just like it came from the Trader Joe’s bottle. I often double the recipe and store it in a mason jar in my pantry. I would love to hear your feedback if you test out the recipe. Post in the comments below, or tag @taylor.in.toronto on Instagram. What is your favourite way to enjoy everything but the Bagel seasoning?

The only thing better than everything but the bagel seasoning is fresh from the oven everything bagels. Click here for the recipe.