Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kate Bruce "Kung Fo Princess" of Social Media

I used to spend a lot of time online, 8-9 hours a day at the office and at least 1-2 hours a day at home prepping radio shows or working towards a new goal or project. For the past 10 months I have cut that time in half, thanks in large part to my dog Lou. I used to spend all my time pushing for followers, likes, retweets, shares, pins and all that other crap that we “social media marketers/gurus” covet and treat as currency.  

For the first time in a long time tonight social media has brought a big smile to my face. Thats not 100% true, for the first time in a long time tonight a human has brought a smile to my face. It has been a hateful, intense couple of months on the internet and unfortunately it has been pretty hard to escape thanks to social media. To be honest with you, I miss the days of logging in to Yahoo losing a couple hands of Gin Rummy and playing Neopets for 4 solid hours. 

For me, my key posts lately on social media are two videos of our four-legged friends. 

The last few days have really made me miss the nerdy little bubble I used to live in before Facebook and Twitter. With all the sadness and hate flowing through the feeds these days it makes me wish I could go back to the days of a contact via a flashing orange window at the bottom of my computer screen. MSN messenger was so much easier to ignore than an ignorant friend or outrageous acquaintance declaring their opinions and beliefs to the world via a post that has been pushed to the top of a social media feed. Half of the time MSN messages were a simple, “Sup?” or “Hey” . 

I miss those socially awkward days… okay if we are being truly honest those socially awkward years. Maybe some people were hiding their true opinions, maybe people were a little more polite because there was not a soapbox for everyone to stand on. 

To be quite clear, I do not hate social media. In fact, I love being social; that is why I have devoted so much time learning about it and using it. Since 2010 I have zig-zagged across Canada, meeting new people and spending time away from may family. Social media keeps me connected to them, contact with 90% of the most important people in my life are just a few finger taps away. But, lately the good does not seem outweigh the bad. I know the source of this comes from the open wounds being left around the world as cowards attempt to undermine the rights and freedoms of others, as the proud and confident are attacked for being different and strong in the face of adversity, as the successful bask in the spoils of their efforts and the celebrity that comes with sacrificing privacy. Jealousy and hate seem to be the route of all evils, the bug that infects the internet and spreads with the click of a button. 

I am refusing to encourage this behaviour with my social presence online. I am not allowing the black cloud of mean spirited posts, behaviour and gossip to infect my feed. Tonight a little social media networking made my night, I was added to a Twitter list of “Kung Fu Social Media Princesses”. I love that title so much that I wish I could add it to my resume. Seriously, I am thinking about changing it to my LinkedIn handle. I have no idea what it means, but I plan to embody it to the best of my ability by kicking some serious social media butt with class and I hope you can join me on my quest to help make the internet a friendly, happier place.

1:36am end of late-night rant

Feel free to post up chunks of happiness in the comments.

If your looking for a social media tip or lesson from this blog here it is: 

Get a dog. All my feeds blow up whenever I feature my four-legged best-friend. 

Yoga is hot right now too. A dog who loves yoga is gold, I owe everything to this guy... 

A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Side Project: AnnandaleArt.com

My parent's backyard and their dog Levi!
I have not posted in a little while because I have been so busy establishing myself in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I've been trying new things like yoga and I have been super busy getting into a new routine balancing work and having a personal life. 

Even though I am trying to take a little more time for myself I have been busy working on a side project, curating and managing a website that showcases my mother's incredible art work. I have been working on the website since August and I am so happy with how well it is doing! Mom is painting away, busier than ever! If you have ever wondered where I get my crazy workaholic drive it is from Patricia Bruce! 
My lovely mother and some of her pieces. 

Her queue is filling up as Christmas approaches, if you are looking for a memorable custom gift for someone you know she can help you out with custom art! 
A wedding gift hung in a family friend's home. 

Another painting of our backyard! (sorry about the glare)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Canada Day Flashback: Arkells In Halifax

Arkells are one of my favourite Canadian bands. I re-watched this little video of myself today at Halifax's Canada Day celebrations and thought I would share it.

The Glorious Sons and Arkells were killer. In fact, Glorious Son's "Heavy" is my go to pump-up, gym song right now. Check it out!

Until then, I'm loving the big "kid on Christmas morning" smile on my face in this clip.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Motivation: Notebooks and List Making

The notebooks in my bag today...
I carry notebooks with me all the time, I still get a thrill every time I buy a new one and think of all the things I will scrawl on the pages. I use my many notebooks for lots of things. I use my jotters for writing down my random ideas after a drive or sleeping, to organize marketing campaigns for work and to write long and short scripts. But, the biggest use of all of my blank sheets of paper is to make to-do lists. I am the Queen of Lists.

I used to be compelled to write my lists every day, I still do this at work each day but I have scaled back to weekly, monthly and yearly lists. Most of the items on my list are aspirational; they help me reach a larger goal. Others are smaller tasks or chores that need some slight nudge or push to get done. 

The single list I find most beneficial to my health is my eating plan for the week. I jot this down in my schedule during weeks when I really need to get back on track with clean eating. I reward myself with a predetermined treat if I meet my daily or weekly goals. 

Even though I love the way it feels when my pen hits the paper to start planning, I am looking to get rid of my manic array of notebooks. After buying my Fitbit I stopped carrying around my gym notebook, it now lives in a pocket of my gym bag just in case. I do not miss it, but I do miss looking back at my lifting progress. For my fitness blog please click here. 

I have always been a fan of keeping a physical planner, but I feel it will have to go as well. Last month I treated myself to a new laptop and I want to make the most of it in conjunction with my iPhone and other gizmos. 

So here is my question to you, what is your favourite app that keeps you organized? Better question, what motivates you? My lists and my little rewards are clearly my motivators, what makes you tick?  
A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday Motivation: The Power of Princessing at the Apple Blossom Festival

Once upon a time I was an Apple Blossom Festival Princess. The year was 2009 and it was my town’s Centennial. I wore the crown, the white dress and the gloves and represented Middleton, NS with pride.

Now let’s Flash-forward 6 years to one of the craziest days of my life, Apple Blossom Festival Saturday 2015 a day that tested my mind, body and my soul a little bit. Jet-legged after a strange night of chips and dancing I set out to help promote an upcoming event at the restaurant that I work at in both of the day’s parades. It was crazy. As you can see, I was a little Frozen as “Elsa” on a very warm Spring day.

For the shorter parade early in the day there were other superheroes and princesses with me in the parade. For the Grande Street Parade I was the lone princess and met with hugs and “Elsa, Elsa” cheers everywhere I went. As crappy as I felt it made my day to light-up so many children’s (and adults) ABF.

With that being said, I was in the costume and made-up from 9am until 5pm and then I returned to Boston Pizza to waitress for the rest of the evening. Unfortunately there was no time to remove the makeup and the hair extensions so I looked a little strange and definitely not like myself until about 10:30pm when I finally returned home.

The next day I was sweating glitter when I hit the gym.

It was totally worth it; all the hugs, the smiles, the long-squats to talk to kids and the jogging to catch-up to my float (I had to constantly play catch-up because so many people wanted to take pictures and hug me).

Why did I do it? I’m not a weirdo. I may be a giant Disney nerd, but threatening I am not. I did it for multiple reasons. Attention is near the bottom of the list. Originally I did it to help out a friend with a marketing/promotional event; I know how hard it can be to get people to do things like this to promote bringing in business so I figured I would do anything to help.

The reason I owned it, even though I felt horrible and would have rather stayed in bed was because as a kid all I wanted was to go to Disney World. Seriously, that was it. My family would go to local festivals but we never had the chance to go on a family vacation, my parents could not afford to lose the time working at their small businesses. As an adult I have experienced both Disneyworld and Disneyland and I know how special it feels to be acknowledged, even for a moment, by your favourite characters. You may get older, but that feeling never does.

I know for a lot of children here in the Annapolis Valley festivals like Apple Blossom and the Annapolis Valley Exhibition are as close as they get to a family vacation or even a family outing. To bring a little bit of Disney magic to them here at home brought me out of my horrible mood and truly inspired me to suck it up and get on with the show. You never know what might come from the light in the eyes of a child or an adult for that matter!

You might think I am being a little silly, but taking part in the Apple Blossom Parade dressed as Elsa brought back a unique feeling that I had only felt once before when I was Princess Middleton 2009. On our Apple Blossom Tour of the Annapolis Valley we visited my first school, Annapolis East Elementary School. We were working our way down the Valley visiting each of the Princesses’ hometowns and I still feel that my stop was the most special. I was a town employee; I coached tennis and worked in the day camps during the summer and while I was in high school I refereed minor hockey and was heavily involved in sports so many of the children knew me or had a connection in some way.

We arrived at the school about 30 minutes after I spilled a glass of chocolate milk over my slim-fitting, easy to manage Princess Gown so my mother had to meet me with a dress we had all started calling “The Monster” because it was huge. Seriously, it was big and heavy and took one or two small children out every event that I went to.

That's me in the middle in "The Monster" back in 2009.
After changing dresses we were ushered into the school like true royalty. I was introduced to the children and I swear they cheered louder than any other group of students during school visits. Sorry to the other Princesses who may be reading this, in Middleton we are a competitive bunch and these things matter to us. Instead of a normal Princess Q&A that other schools did a bunch of my tennis students pumped some tunes in the gym and we danced with all of the children. There were so many children yelling “Katie, Katie” and fighting to dance with me that I thought we were never going to be able to leave the school that day. There were some tears.

Someone even made me a Barbie! 
In those once-in-a-lifetime moments it did not matter to me that I was not the Queen because it sure as hell did not matter to those kids. As I led them in the “Y.M.C.A.” cool went out the window and I made a mark on those children’s day and maybe even a little more.

My experience with the Apple Blossom Festival this year was very similar. I would say about 90% of the children really knew in their hearts that I was not Elsa, but they did not care they were just happy to be acknowledged with a smile, wave, hug or a couple of quick words.

The whole time I had one quote in my head, a little something I have been trying to incorporate in my personal and professional life for quite a while now:
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”-Carl W Buechner

So here is my Monday Motivation for you, go make someone feel something that makes you proud to be human.

BTW here is what my day looked like... 
A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Friday, April 3, 2015

Update: Flight School, Birthdays, Puppies and Losing My Wisdom Teeth

It has been a while! I have been pretty focused on my new fitness blog (check it out here) because every blog on this page started to fit into that category. Until I get everything up and running a little better I will be a little silent on this end.

Quick update. I am lonely in Greenwood. Kevin has left for Phase 1 of Flight School, I turned 26 this week and yesterday I had my wisdom teeth removed. It has been a crazy few weeks since we left California, but I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things once I catch up with life.

Until then, follow me on Twitter or my fitness blog for updates :)
As you can see, Lou continues to be a handful. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Palm Desert Adventure Part 1: My First Hike!

I had to take a first hike selfie.
I am back in California once again; this is the third year in a row that I have ventured out of the snow and into the sun (it is my fifth trip to California in the last four years). I absolutely love every minute I spend in California, I dream of living here some day. This year’s trip has brought us to a new place on our California adventure map, Palm Desert. 
The little computer inside my Fitbit has been on fire this past week as we tour the area. We actually only arrived last Monday, but it has been nearly a week now. We leave on Thursday and I am already feeling the hunger pains to come back to California again. Next year we have promised ourselves we will finally get to LA, this trip has been all about desert life!

Now there will be a ton to talk about in the blog over the coming days about our stay at our new Cali-home in The Lakes Country Club, but today is all about this fit chick’s first hike!

Yes, today I went on my first hike. I have NEVER been much of an outdoorsy girl so it will come as a huge shock to many who know me that I did not hate hiking. To be clear, I am not in love with hiking. Far from it actually, I had a near meltdown in the 89-degree heat after hour number two today, but it eventually passed when we finally arrived at our halfway destination.

Let’s go back a few steps before we get into my near tear emotional moment. This trip has not exactly been what I expected it to be, I am a routine gal who works two jobs and hauls her ass to the gym at least 5 days a week. I am not great at taking time outs. I usually pump out more blogs while I am on vacation then when I am at home and I usually have a major side project to complete while I am off the clock. This year I have been approached and started a side project but have been off the blog train until now. 

To me, hiking is self-torture. It is walking to walk on land that is unwalkable (or not walkable with ease). Unless there is a truly unique view or purpose I am not down to clown around hiking. Hiking was not my thing before today; it is still not my thing. I did have fun tracking our walk with my new Fitbit Surge (I am very happy I bought it before this trip).

Today’s hike (my first hike ever) took us to Agua Caliente Indian Reserve where we actually did two hikes. The first was very easy (and enjoyable) it took us 30 minutes in the sun to trek around Andreas Canyon. I really did not mind this part of the hike, I even felt like I could get on-board with hiking while doing this walk. Then I saw a family with small children all wearing dresses managing battling the rocks with a stroller and figured out that things were way too easy to get let off the hook with a quick hike.

No, we could not hike where strollers could kind of roll; we needed more of a challenge and for the $9 a person charge to get into the Reserve Hiking Trails I think we all felt we had not gotten our monies worth with a 30 minute stroll. Both of the hikes were surrounded by beautiful desert scenery, but $9 a person is pretty crazy! We were in for a bit more of a challenge on the second part of our hike.

We then went off in search of the Seven Sisters Waterfall and Murray Canyon. After about an hour and two miles we reached the waterfall. Here is where the near meltdown occurred. I was under the impression that we were on a two-mile hike, only doing double what we had already done. I was not really tired; I was kind of just looking forward to being out of the scorching winter heat (yes, it is pretty hot here right now for Canadians) and getting some lunch. We started the day rather late at 10:40am and were now at the afternoon sun’s mercy. When I was informed that we were not at the end of our journey and that we had to go all the way back the way we came I was a little heartbroken. It all worked out though, we shaved over ten minutes off our return trip because we all were so hungry and hot.

I am kind of a baby when it comes to heat; I have had heat stroke far too many times to forget how horrible it feels to get too much sun. I usually get it once a year and I try to ensure I do not lose a day of vacation day for it because I swear it feels twice as bad.  For me the sickness is horrible, my mentality is unbearable and I need to sleep for at least half a day to feel better. I swear it feels the same way the Wicked Witch of the West feels when she is exposed to water….

Anyways, it was a great challenge and an interesting way to spend a day. I would do both hikes again, but maybe earlier in the day and not both at the same time. I would also bring snacks; I’m generally a pretty happy camper when there are snacks to be had. For more on the Murray Canyon and Seven Sisters Waterfall (from a respected hiker) click here.

I have given my Fitbit a break for the rest of the day; I am currently at 15,488 steps for the day and took 11,003 steps on the hikes. Here is my hike break down:

Steps: 11,003

Distance: 8km

Calories Burned: 890

As much as I love my Fitbit I know that is an estimate and not 100% accurate. But, compared to a full day on my feet waitressing that is not too shabby! If you would like to connect as Fitbit motivational buddies click here. 

Now I have a question for you, we have explored three fitness options so far on this trip I want to know which you would pick.

A)   $9 a day hiking

B)   $10 a day access to a senior’s country club workout room

C)   $15 a day access to a busy full service fitness club

There is lots more to come from our California Adventure 2015!

A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on
A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Waitressing With A Fitbit

I treated myself this week to a FitBit Surge and I am in love. Seriously, I talk about it all the time and I am constantly checking my activity. I love it. It was a tough decision but I am very happy with my choice.

One of the main reasons I wanted a fitness tracker that could monitor heart rate etc. is because on top of my new marketing gig I am still waitressing. I was always interested to see how much activity I did in a day and how my heart rate was affected. I can now say that I just finished my first full day shirt with it and I am no longer surprised that I have had put on a little weight since starting my day job.

While working today I took about 13,300 steps, traveled about 9.5km and burned around 2,100 calories. That does not include my activity before and after work (so far). It is very fair to say when you wait tables you work your butt off, no wonder mine is a little bigger now that I sit on it all day! I still go to the gym everyday, but before I would work 6 out of 7 days of the week at the restaurant and go to the gym 6 days of the week.

I am so excited to take my Fitbit on adventure, Monday we leave for California. I really wish I would have had it for our Disneyworld trip… we may just have to pop in a quick visit to Disneyland to see our park Fitbit stats!
A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fitness Trackers: Fitbit Surge vs. Jawbone Up3

Well I have whined here before about being desk-ridden all day and having no way to accurately track how active I am and how effective my workouts are, today my complaint is about all the websites advertising their latest fitness trackers that have not been released yet.

This rant has been a long time coming, I have been looking for the ideal fitness tracker for quite some time now and I have refused to buy one without a continuous heart-rate monitor. I am now keen on idea of having multi-sport functionality as well. I have been unable to find one that I like the look of that has all the specs I want until now. Now, I am torn between two. The holding top-spot in my brain is the Jawbone Up3 and competing for that precious real estate is the Fitbit Surge. 

Yesterday I had my credit card out, ready to make the big purchase to no avail. Literally, there were none available online.

Now I want your feedback, which would you pick? Is there a fitness monitor that I am missing that has a sleek, functional look with all the advanced features on the market right now?

Honestly, I am pretty hung up on the Jawbone Up3 but it is missing the display function that the Fitbit Surge has (making it a little less useful). Also, after downloading and playing with the apps for both trackers I am more impressed with the Fitbit app. 

Do you have a fitness monitor? What is your preference and why?

Help a sista out! J

For more on the Fitbit Surge click here. For more one the Jawbone Up3 click here.