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Thank you!

There's been a couple of days to decompress and reflect on Breathe Now – an amazing weekend filled with learning, laughter and friendship! 

When the four of us sat down a year ago and talked about putting on this kind of event, we could only have dreamed that it would be as fantastic as the last weekend turned out!  

From the beginning, Breathe Now was really about a feeling — of connectness, of inner reflection, of a sisterhood of women, and of awakening our inner awesomeness — all things that are really hard to describe in concrete business terms — yet all things that we felt were hugely important for us as women to experience and share.

I would like to give a HUGE thanks to all of you who understood that feeling and felt it was important enough to spend your weekend with us!  I would also like to say a HUGE thanks to our incredible sponsors, who also understood that feeling and took a chance to come on this journey with all of us!  When women get together in a room, powerful things will happen!!!

I'm still processing the inspiring messages of our two keynote speakers!  We were all a little starstruck to meet both Rona Maynard and Bif Naked, and both of these incredible women were so generous with their time, and spirit — taking time to make one on one connections with each of us, and Breathe Now attendees.  

As Rona reminded us all, taking care of ourselves and replenishing our inner wellspring is not selfish, it is necessary if we are going to be the best woman we can be!  And as Bif Naked so eloquently put it, "its ok … THAT is the power that we as women have to share". Our gift is the fact that we are hardwired to be compassionate!   Both talked about the importance of sifting through the day to day pressures, and bringing clarity to what the real prioritiies are!  I found it compelling that Bif felt it was not her battle with cancer that brought this epiphany, but rather her recent heart surgery to repair the hole in her heart.  As an aside, I also found it striking that both our keynote speakers talked about embracing the fantasticness that is 40 –something that gives me pause as I sometimes struggle feeling comfortable in my skin on my own journey through my 40s.

Thanks to those of you who have shared your immediate impressions of the weekend already!  It has been humbling and heartwarming to hear that Breathe Now was a meaningful experience for you!   In the words of one of our speakers this weekend …

"Thank you … for creating something that we didn't even know was missing until you started creating it.  thank you for having THAT dream."

Rita Chand (Breathe Now speaker)

(Janice)

 

photo credit: Derek Ford Photography

 

 

A ticket giveaway!!!

We are only 2 short sleeps away from Breathe Now, and we're all busy checking our lists … and checking them again to make sure you all have a fabulous weekend at Breathe Now!  Amazing speakers, a bit of pampering through the healing touch of Lindsay Rose Holistic Health and Carly Lauder, some great local businesses, time to connect with new friends and reconnect with friends already made, and a fabulous cocktail reception!  What a great way to spend a weekend!!!!

In the midst of our last-minute preparations, we've uncovered 2 extra tickets we'd like to give away to 2 lucky ladies!!!  One ticket courtesy of the Breathe Now team, and one ticket courtesy of our sponsor Helijet.

Just leave a comment below telling us which of the speakers you are most looking forward to hearing (and why, if you'd like to share it!).  We will be 2 winners at random from the comments — 1 comment per person please!   We'll announce our winner at 11 am tomorrow morning!

(jm)

Now is the time to Breathe!

One of my favourite words is Fellowship. To me, it reminds me that we are not alone. Breathe Now is for fellowship of women. I wanted Breathe Now to be the opportunity for all women to come together and connect and share. Sometimes we forget how powerful sharing can be.

With only a week left to go, the four of us and all the volunteers are working hard to put together what is becoming an amazing event. 

Last night, we met around 20 women for the Meet The Founders get-together. It was an intimate gathering, and I felt so honored o be surrounded by all the amazing women. We all introduced ourselves and honestly, every single person in the room had an interesting thing to say.

Everyone has a story to tell. It is important to share our stories, in order to keep us sane and healthy. We all go through challenging times that test who we are. It's part of our lives. But I know many women still try to manage it and act as if everything is all right. Where does this need to be perfect come from?

What I have learned from talking to all the people I’ve met and going through a fair share of tough times myself, is this—it is our basic human need to be connected with one another.  
 
Just recently I heard a story from a woman I greatly admire. If you just look at her, she is full of energy and always putting herself out there. She is strong and fierce. You’d think she has it all together. Then few days ago, she revealed on her blog that she was having a hard time with an immediate family member’s passing. She said she was a mess. Do I think she is weak to reveal her emotional state? No. All I felt for her was admiration for her courage. I felt empathy—I felt, Me too! Me too! 
 
We are all busy. You are building a career, raising children, have a meaningful relationship, taking care of the family… many of us are stressed out and exhausted. It is so easy to forget that the most important thing is to take care of yourself. 
 
Breathe Now is your chance to listen to other amazing women and to share your stories. We have purposefully scheduled a lot of time in-between the sessions so that everyone have plenty of time to talk. Of course, there are fun things to do as well—shopping, massages, fashion show and cocktails. Ultimately, this is a day and a half set aside for us. To be together. To share. To laugh. To joke. To learn about each other.
 
What is your story? 
 
(Yukari)

Owning My Beauty — one day at a time!

A guest post from Tracey Rossignol, founder of fashionforward40.com and one of our speakers at Breathe Now!

 
I am beautiful.  And one of these days I’m going to truly believe it.
 
Our society, and media, portray a certain “ideal” of beauty and continues to reinforce how we should look in order to meet that ideal.  And many women measure themselves below that ideal.  Okay let’s be honest, most of us measure ourselves below that ideal.  How do we change this perception?  
I think it starts within each of us.  We can create change by defining our own beauty, embracing our differences and not allowing others to define our beauty for us. 
But one of the hardest, and truest, pieces of information to hear is that we do NOT have faults. We have differences. Each of us is uniquely beautiful!  So how do we learn to love ourselves today?  How do we change our thinking so that our faults become differences?  
How can I expect anyone else to respect my beauty if I diminish it? How can I complain that women become invisible as we age, when I don't appear to believe it? Little things like the excuses or jokes I make when I get complements. Other people hear that, including my son.  And I know that will frame his perceptions as he grows. So that has to change. NOW!
I believe I am a smart, passionate, creative person. Why do I let society make me feel less than worthwhile because I, like most Canadians, do not fit a certain ideal? Why do I make excuses for who I am?
Well no longer.  I am pledging to work to accept my beauty as it stands today.  Not who I was 20 years ago, or who I might be tomorrow if I just exercised more… or… or… or.  
Am I going to stop wearing make-up? No. Am I going to leave my spanx at home? No. I want to own and accept my beauty not become a different person. Change starts small. But I am determined to Own My Beauty because I know when I truly believe in my own beauty others will too. And then… well then I can do anything.
 
Step 1 – Be kinder to myself!
Why are women so hard on themselves?  We listen, empathize and encourage our girlfriends through their little hiccups in life. Yet we often do the opposite for ourselves.   Why do I whisper little criticisms about  myself when look in the mirror?  Why do I beat myself up over a cookie, or a missed work-out?  I recently learnt from a very smart woman that I need to be kinder to myself.  I need to give myself a break.   I need to treat myself like one of my girlfriends.  
 
 
Step 2 – Accept my differences!
First I need to acknowledge and accept my differences. And I need to stop apologizing about them to others.
I won’t go into the details here on what I see as my differences.  But I think it is important to acknowledge and accept them as part of what makes me the unique and beautiful woman that I am.   
Now I just need to take a deep breath and get ready to remind myself that these are differences not faults. And I'm sure you will all remind me if and when I forget.   Because that is what girlfriends do.
 
Step 3 – Fake it until I make it
The Next Step!  I don’t know. I’m a work in progress and this is a start.  I know I’ll get there one day.  Even if I have to fake it a bit until I make it.    
 
And when in doubt… I’ll go back to Step #1.
 

For Immediate Release

BREATHE…NOW!
A conference by women celebrating women

Victoria, BC – April 2, 2012 – Breathe Now, a conference for women organized by four local Victoria women that will take place on April 14 and 15, 2012 at the University of Victoria. Featuring keynote speakers Rona Maynard, past editor-in-chief of Chatelaine, and musician and breast cancer survivor Bif Naked , the four cofounders met through social media and decided to create the conference they always wanted to attend right here in Victoria.

                “I have heard certain words repeatedly–brave, building community, connecting, and networking. Breathe Now has hit a raw nerve and people want to get involved”, says Dr. Janni Aragon, Professor at the University of Victoria, on her desire to co-found Breathe Now.  Breathe Now is a conference designed to engage women by focusing on topics that matter most to women with a strong emphasis on taking the time to do so.  The co-founders desire in creating the conference was to involve local women from entrepreneurs in versatile workshops along with supporting those in need in the community, with a charitable component donated to Bridges for Women.  Conference sessions focus on topics like building community, mental health, fitness and wellness and financial planning, while the reception at Temple will feature a fashion show from local Victoria businesses.  Stations throughout the event will include Wi-Fi and electricity stations to relaxation massage chairs to help women recharge in between workshop. Gold Sponsor, Chevrolet Canada, has provided four Chevrolet vehicles to transport attendees to and from the conference, while other local sponsors including The Fairmont Empress, LA Limousine, Helijet, Rocky Mountain Soap, CHEK TV, UsedVictoria and Derek Ford Photography.  A pre-conference event on April 6, 2012, 4:00pm-6:00pm at The Fairmont Empress is the Founders Reception to meet the four founders in person and learn of their passions in starting Breathe Now

                “I am so proud to be a co-founder of Breathe Now, working with this amazing line-up of sponsors and panellists. The generosity of the sponsors and women panellists is overwhelming and completely inspiring; – the women attending this conference are truly in for a special treat”, adds Janice Mansfield, Chef and Owner of Real Food Made Easy. The two other co-founders are Yukari Peerless, owner Lucid Communication and Angela Rafuse-Tahir, Director, Sales & Marketing at The Fairmont Empress.

                Tickets are on sale at www.breathenow.ca for $225 providing full access to the two day event on April 14 & 15, 2012 in Victoria, including choice of conference sessions, all conference meals, gala reception and fashion show.

ABOUT BREATHE NOW

Breathe Now is a conference for women, organized by women! Taking place on April 14-15, 2012 in Victoria, BC, Breathe Now invites women to come together, slow down for a day and half, and breathe! We all put pressure on ourselves …to be great moms … to be organized … to be great wives … to be great in our careers … to look great … and more, but we often lose sight of ourselves in the midst of keeping up with life!  Sometimes, we forget to stop and reflect that the woman we are today is more than enough! Breathe Now, is about getting together, with like-minded women, slowing down for a day and a half, and reminding ourselves to Breathe! … it’s ok! www.breathenow.ca

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Angela Rafuse-Tahir                                               Yukari Peerless
Breathe Now                                                             Breathe Now
angela@breathenow.ca                                         yukari@breathenow.ca
Twitter: @hotel_goddess                                       Twitter: @YukariP

Making Connections

A benefit of planning Breathe Now with three amazing women is that I am meeting other women around town. I have been cold called, emailed, direct messaged, and Facebook-friended due to our upcoming conference. People want to learn more about the conference, the schedule, our mission, or just want to help out in some way. This outpouring of connections and support is humbling and amazing. People also want to share their stories prior to the conference and I have been honored to have had several coffees with so many local women.

Each of the four co-founders is planning this conference off the side of our desks. We are all working full-time, parenting, care-giving , and in the midst of meeting after meeting and I have to say that some two and a half weeks prior to the conference; each of us has made rewarding connections. One common comment that I keep on hearing is that other women are interested in the way we decided to organize the conference. I have heard certain words repeatedly–brave, building community, connecting, and networking. Breathe Now has hit a raw nerve and people want to get involved.

So, you haven't missed out, yet! Get your ticket and enjoy the day and a half conference celebrating you! I know that I continue to make connections, so I look forward to the conference and then the post-conference connections.

(janni)

Helijet06

Helijet joins the Breathe Now team!

We're thrilled to announce Helijet has joined the Breathe Now team as a bronze level sponsor.

Helijet has been operating since 1986, when they launched Canada's first scheduled Helicopter service.  They have grown to a fleet of 13 large and medium helicopters, providing regularly scheduled flights to Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii.  They also maintain and operate 2 medically-equipped Lear Jets.

Helijet also provides charter helicopter flight services, and provide air medical services, patient transfers services, and emergency air ambulance services.

Chevrolet Vertical MD 5in NP4C

We’ve been bursting at the seams to share this news with you!


We have been working on a partnership that we've all been really excited about, but we've had to wait until all the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed before we could share it with you.

Today, we are excited and pleased to announce that Chevrolet Canada has chosen to partner with Breathe Now as a Gold Level sponsor!

Chevrolet Canada is a company that is active in social media, and encourages feedback and interaction with bloggers! They tweet regularly with customers (@ChevroletCanada and@GMCanada), have an active facebook page, and are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage directly with their customer base — whether through test-drive opportunities, launch parties or sponsorships.

Thats why Chevrolet is coming to Breathe Now! "Breathe Now offers us a unique opportunity for us to bring our social media conversations with women from Western Canada into the real world. We're creating new connections and forming relationships that will help us gain insight into the true voice of the marketplace " says Natalie Nankil, Media Relations Manager, General Motors of Canada "… this conference offers us a perfect opportunity to listen, learn and connect."

Chevrolet Canada is committed to building the most fuel efficient, safest, and overall best vehicles on the road. They will be showcasing the Chevy Orlando, the Chevy Cruze and the Chevy Sonic at Breathe Now, and making 4 cars available for the exclusive use of the Breathe Now conference!

We are so honoured and pleased that Chevrolet Canada has chosen to work with Breathe Now in order to connect with you, our VIW's in Western Canada!

We look forward to seeing you all on April 14-15 at Breathe Now for a weekend of learning, laughing, friendship … and breathing! Its going to be an amazing weekend!

your Breathe Now co-founders, Angela, Janice, Janni and Yukari

Social-Media-Camp-logo

Social Media Camp is our newest Bronze level sponsor!

Please give a warm welcome to Social Media Camp, our newest Bronze level sponsor! 

Social Media Camp Victoria started when Chris Burdge and Paul Holmes decided that Vancouver Island deserved to have a top notch event where people with an enthusiasm for social media could both learn to leverage it effectively as well as talk about its effect on mainstream media, business and society as a whole.  

June 8-9, 2012 will be the third Social Media Camp conference.  After a hugely successful first conference in 2011, it has evolved into the premier social media event in Western Canada.

Social Media Camp brings together the brightest social media minds in North America for 2 days of exploration, sharing and teaching, with a large dash of Networking! More than 800 people will be in attendance at this year's event, which will feature New York Times Bestselling author Chris Brogan, and Erica Ehm, the founder of YummyMummyClub.ca.

We are thrilled to have Social Media Camp joining the Breathe Now team!  The four founders first met and got know each other thanks to social media. and we all remain avid users twitter, facebook and google+ (often scheduling Breathe Now planning meetings via DM!)

Please help us welcome Social Media Camp to the Breathe Now team!

(jm)

 

chek

CHEK joins the Breathe Now team as Media sponsor!

We are truly pleased to announce today that CHEK has signed on as a Media sponsor for Breathe Now!

CHEK has served Vancovuer Island since 1956.  It was the first private TV station in BC, and CHEK is now the only employee-owned station in North America!  In September 2009, wiht overwhelming support from communities across Vancouvers Island, CHEK employees and Island investors purchased the station to ensure the Island`s most-watched news remained on-air.  In recognition the employees of CHEK were honoured with a national award for Journalistic Integrity by the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

CHEK really is a community TV station!  Every year they give back more than one million dollars in airtime to non-profit organizations on the Island, and their staff contributes time and energy to numerous community events, including the Victoria Day Parade, the Walk to Cure Diabetes, the Herb Bradley Coca-Cola Classic on Mount Washington, and the annual CHEK Chistmas Drive-Thru.

CHEK personalities are also very connected to Vancovuer Island`s Social Media community, not only using twiter and facebook to keep up to date with community happenings, but also attending local tweetups and Social Media events!  We are all excited to have them on the Breathe Now team! 

… its ok!