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Inspiration, Life & My Dog

An Essay on Friendship: To My Best Friend Sonja

August 8, 2016

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No one really teaches you how to be a good friend. There is no manual on friendship, and even if there was we are all different and our expectations and needs are unique. Of course there’s an entire section in bookstores on Relationships, but the focus is always on romance, rarely platonic friendships. Yet we value those relationships as much as (or more than) we value romantic relationships. Friends are the family we choose, and they are there for us through everything. This I can say is true as I’ve been the recipient of this loyalty, and it is no longer just a cliche to me anymore. Friends really are there through everything.

It’s so easy to make friends when we’re kids. Go up to kid on playground. Ask to play. Tell them you want to be friends. Repeat. Sometimes an occasional recess snack sharing is involved, but that’s pretty much it. We have so many friends when we are kids, in part because everyone we meet becomes a friend but also because our lives are simple and so being a good friend is a lot easier.

I was in elementary school when I met Sonja. She was really tall, kind of loud (but in a good way) and hilarious. She exceled at sports, the teachers loved her, and she had so many friends. But not just the cool kids, see, Sonja was everyone’s friend. I was pretty excited to become her friend and felt especially stoked that she invited me to register for hip hop dance classes at a new studio not far from our house (this would later become my second home for the next 12 years and had a great impact on the person I became, so, thank you Sonja). Although she quickly learned hockey, ringette and volleyball were more her thing, she stayed in dance a little longer to appease me, but also came to watch and support me. Oh, and how could I forget that I roped her into raising money for kid’s cancer research and shaving our heads together at the end of grade 6. If entering junior high with a buzz cut isn’t a sign of a loyal friend I don’t know what is!

Junior high was relatively painless (once our hair grew in 😉 hehe), and I am the first to admit it’s in part because I had Sonja. Of course putting hundreds of pubescent and hormonal girls (and guys) together is a recipe for drama, Sonja always had my back. It didn’t really matter how much another girl could my feelings, because I knew Sonja would make sure I was okay and felt important, and she would even stick up for me. Plus, Sonja was Sonja (those who know her know exactly what I mean). Somehow she went through junior relatively unscathed and I think it’s because she knew who she was and was who she was. She was never trying to be anyone else, she was just Sonja. Tall, loud, easy going, funny and friends with everyone. I really admired her ability to be herself and I would often try being more myself because of her example. Looking back I find it remarkable that she was able to be so confident and awesome at 14.

Not much changed through high school and university, except that we were both city hopping for school from LA, to Lethbridge, to Toronto, to Norway and more. Sonja has consistently remained Sonja: best friend to all, tall, funny, great at sports, smart and well-loved by all she knows. We’ve always stayed in touch (like she full on wrote me letters and sent gifts from Norway! Who does that?), but we really got close again in the last couple years. And I am so glad we did.

This spring my life turned completely upside down. Everything I knew and loved was taken from me, and I experienced a betrayal like no other. I didn’t know who I was, I physically couldn’t function, and at times felt completely alone. No one prepared me for the heartbreak, confusion and profound loss I was feeling. So, certainly no one could have prepared Sonja on how-to-handle-a-best-friend-living-across-the-country-going-through-the-worst-thing-she-will-likely-ever-have-to-go-through (aside from sicknesses and deaths, but we don’t want to think about that yet). Yet, somehow Sonja knew exactly what to do. And for those of you looking to be a good friend to someone who’s suffering, take notes now.

Sonja called. She texted. She answered her phone while in New York for work, while in LA for work, and while in Nashville for a fun trip, as each time I sobbed with more and more bad news. She consistently made me feel like being there for me was more important than going to the pool or hanging with her boyfriend (thank you Nick for being so supportive). And when the daily texts from so many amazing people in my life started to fizzle a bit (which I totally understand and I don’t want to downplay all the wonderful people in my life who still check in on me, but really I can’t expect everyone to check on me every single day. That’s absurd and I still wonder how Sonja still does it) Sonja kept calling. She still texted. When I was home in Calgary for a month she had me over, she distracted me with her baking, she brought me on errands, and she talked to me. Most importantly she listened. She never judges me and always tries to see my side. And while she may not handle things similarly if she was experiencing them (and sometimes tells me I’m too kind and nice), she still understands I’m doing what’s best for me. She always has my best interests at heart.

It’s been almost 3 months since I felt like my life ended. Sonja has helped me see that it’s just the beginning. She has helped me remember that I’m still the same person I’ve always been, and people and circumstances don’t define me. In my darkest moments (which there have been many) she has helped me see the light. And she has somehow convinced me that I am smart, and sexy, and awesome when I was sure I wasn’t. She has never made me feel bad or resented me for talking about myself too much, or complaining or just full on crying on the phone. And when good things happen, she is the first to cheer me on. She knows every detail of my life for the last 3 months, and what is especially remarkable is that she cares about everything. She remembers the details, she asks about them and even reflects on my life on her own time.

Sonja has called me every single day since that awful day a few months ago. She used to call me for her 25 minute drive to work but it seems like that wasn’t enough time for us to cover everything and lately she’s started calling me while she gets ready in addition to the drive. I walk Saunders and she gets ready while we talk. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes after work too, and often even on weekends. Plus, we’re obviously still texting and snap chatting throughout the day too. And while these daily phone calls each on their own are rather small, they, as a whole have changed my life. I get out of bed because I look forward to that morning chat.

I’m not sure how I will ever properly be able to repay or even thank Sonja for the profound impact she has had on me in my life, and especially these last few months. But the thing about Sonja is that she’s completely selfless and expects nothing. In fact, she will probably be embarrassed I’m even talking about her in this way, because I don’t think she even thinks it’s a big deal :). And that’s because she is Sonja.

Today is her birthday. I know the world got a little brighter and better on August 8, 1988. My life sure did. I always knew Sonja was someone special, as I’ve never seen someone be part of so many bridal parties and be called a Best Friend so much in my life! But now I really know why Sonja is special: she really cares. Sure, she’s hilarious, witty, kind, fun and awesome but she does everything with her heart. She is the most thoughtful, loyal, caring person I’ve ever known and truthfully, when I think too hard about her I cry. I am so, so lucky.

Happy Birthday, Sonja. Thank you for being born, for introducing me to Absolute Dance (which would change my life), for shaving your head with me and for helping me through what will hopefully be the hardest thing I’ll have to go through. You have taught me so many things, but most importantly how to be the greatest friend ever. You deserve all of the best things in life, including nachos, beer, Netflix, and Nick. I am immensely grateful for you and wish you all the best today. I only wish I could be bringing you lunch and the most cry-induced birthday hug imaginable. I have a feeling this is going to be the start of your best year yet. I love you, forever.

Love, your B-B-A-B-F <3

 

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…. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend like Sonja, call or text them and thank them. Also, try and be like Sonja. I know I sure am. The world would be a much better place if everyone had and was a Sonja. And if you want to wish my bestie a special birthday wish, send her a text: 403-990-9299 🙂

Life & My Dog, Social Media

February According to Instagram

March 11, 2016

February was a great month. I was finally back in Toronto (after being away for 2 months!) and getting back into a routine. I can’t believe it’s already mid-March and clearly my plan to blog more frequently this year is already struggling. But I’m here now and determined to keep going!

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Some of my favourite highlights:

  • Beautiful flowers from the lululemon Briar Hill team for my ambassador open house!
  • Planning some exciting new workshops.
  • Writing a blog post about a fun new editing app.
  • Snapped some photos (and finally met!) Jaclyn Denise Communications
  • Wrote some posts about authenticity. Don’t let instagram shut you down!
  • Finally started a collecting emails for a newsletter. Sign up here and have some lovely updates once a month in your inbox.
  • Jumped on Periscope a few times! Haven’t heard of it? Follow me here!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and much love to you! P.S I’m @botcomm on instagram if you’re not following already.

 

Life & My Dog, Social Media

July According to Instagram

August 1, 2015

Holy moly, where did July go? I can’t believe it’s already August. I feel like every month goes by quickly, but I blame the boxes, moving and cleaning for making this one feel like the fastest (but also slowest) month of them all!

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Some highlights:

  • Signing up for Gumroad and purchasing The Alison Show’s cookie & event planning courses so I can do some research 😉
  • Celebrating Canada Day of course! (If you checkout that post on my Instagram you can see some of my favourite little Canadian shops tagged)
  • I signed up for the Hello Sessions in October in Portland! Anyone else going?
  • I moved! And now we have a cute little red door.
  • I started the #botcutehousetour hashtag where I share super cute houses in my neighbourhood. Feel free to use the hashtag and share cute houses in your ‘hood!
  • I hosted my first ever “How to Win on LinkedIn” workshop! It was a great success and I’ll be offering it online soon. Feel free to Follow Botcomm on Gumroad and be the first to know when it launches!

Can’t wait for August! To see updates as they happen, follow along at @botcomm on instagram!

Life & My Dog

June According to Instagram

July 3, 2015

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Okay, June was an awesome month. Here are some highlights:

  • Meeting so many amazing women, like Alison from The Alison Show (bottom centre) at Alt Summit. She was even more fabulous and down to earth in person.
  • Speaking at Alt Summit! I couldn’t believe how much I loved sharing my knowledge, stories and dorkyness with 70 new faces. It was amazing. Plus, check out that amazing group selfie we got! (centre)
  • Visiting Azuridge and doing an instagram takeover for them. It was a wonderful couple of days with one of my best friends – who, incidentally is the new Social Events Manager at the estate! (our yummy lunch pictured on the middle left)
  • How could I forget that I ran the Nike Women’s 15k on Toronto Island! I flew home from Salt Lake City late the night before and boogied to my ferry early in the morning. I had no time set for myself, my only goal was to run the whole thing and have fun! I had a blast and can’t wait to do another run. Oh, and the Tiffany necklace at the end didn’t hurt either 😉 (top right image)
  • Gay marriage was legalized in the United States. No matter where you stand on this issue, it was a day full of love and I couldn’t be more excited for my friends and family south of the border who are given the same rights as me. My sister-in-law wrote an amazing blog post in response to the ruling. I highly encourage especially those with faith-based reasons to be unhappy with the decision to at least read this with an open heart. (middle right picture!)
  • Reunited with #ourguysaunders after being away at Alt Summit! Man I love that pooch. (top left, obvs)

July is already starting to be shaping up to be awesome. For more of the fun, follow along on instagram at @botcomm.

Life & My Dog

Mai Lin Jewelry for Megan Runser

April 2, 2015

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Last May, much of the lululemon world was shocked and saddened to hear that one of their own had been diagnosed with cancer. Despite being a huge company, those who work there can attest to how small of a world it can feel at times. Especially when something like this happens. After all, most twenty and thirty-somethings who work hard, sweat hard and play harder are invincible, right? Wrong.

Meet Megan Runser. In my readings of her blog and seeing her interactions with myself and others over social media I can only describe her as this: lovely-radiant-hilarious-witty-strong-sparkly-unicorn. She is a bright light in the world. Her bio, from her blog:

Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend. Colleague. Austinite. Yoga student.  Style Enthusiast.  Marathon Finisher. Endorphin Addict. Pun Advocate and User. Volunteer ‘Fashion Police’ Officer. Collector of all Things Glitter + Sequins + Metallic + Sparkly.  Online Shopping Guru. Jimmy Fallon Lover.

Coming Soon:  “Cancer Survivor”

Megan Runser As Good As Gold Mai Lin Jewelry

Megan Runser

My dear friend, Marlissa, has never felt so compelled to help a stranger in her life. Shortly after Megan was diagnosed she had to move out of her new place, back home to be closer to her Mom and the hospital, and things have been up and down ever since. Her grace, humility and humour have never wavered and her strength is beautiful, despite uncertainty and not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

It’s easy to feel powerless in these situations. No one can take the cancer away, or give her long locks, or take away the suffering. But if helping with some of the expenses would ease the stress on Megan and her family, then that’s something Marlissa wanted to do.

You’ve all seen my posts and photos of Mai Lin Jewelry (and you’re about to see more of my photos below), but I have to share this because Marlissa has the most generous heart of anyone I know. After mentioning that I was running low on my favourite holiday tea for David’s Tea, she surprised me the following week by having traveled around the city and buying all of the tea they had left, and ordering me another 250g bag from online. I couldn’t believe it.

It’s no surprise that she’d want to make a special line of bracelets (and barely cover the cost of those) especially for the radiant Megan Runser. They cost a little more than normal, but it’s only to get more mula to help Megan. There’s absolutely no pressure to buy, but if you so feel inclined I’ve attached picture links below. All but a few dollars will go directly to the treatment of Megan Runser.

Click here to purchase the bracelets

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#asgoodasgold