Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Megan Williams: Our Interrupted Fairy Tale

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Megan is the Vancouver based author of the breakout, true love story, Our Interrupted Fairy Tale. If you’re looking for her, you’re likely to see her running the seawalls with friends who (she claims) have saved her thousands of dollars in therapy. She also has a new column in Valley Buzz – “How did you meet”. But if you really want to know Megan, take a look at what her friends have to say!

So what is there to know about 30 year old Megan Williams, that you haven’t already read? “It took me a little over a year to write Our Interrupted Fairy Tale – writing 1,000 words a day and sifting through old emails, diaries, letters and blogs. I moved to the spectacular North Shore with Chad in 2008, and have stayed there ever since. I still live in our mini-castle in the sky (read: very small, very high condo that over looks the ocean and city).

Since moving to the North Shore, I have run thousands and thousands of kilometres on the West Vancouver seawalls. Most of which have been with girlfriends who have saved me thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy – letting me cry through the rain, daydream about “what’s next” and drop minutes off my race times. I also still play tennis. Not as much as I used to – but each time I step on the court, I’ve got Chad’s coaching voice in my head. (Elbow up on the forehand, move towards the ball on volleys). I play one tournament a year – The Chad Warren Mixed Charity Challenge.

As for work, I’m on the communications team at BC Transplant, an organization that I am proud to be a part of, my colleagues are selfless and I have no problem showing up on weekends to work.”

FullSizeRender-15 copyI knew of Megan and her story for some time, but had the honour to meet and work with her for the Big Love BallFur Crying Out Loud” campaign shoot. Megan has this kindness that shines so bright from within – I don’t think this beautiful woman has a bad bone in her body! She is such a sweetheart and an incredible role model for woman and young girls all around.

Megan embodies strength, beauty, focus, dedication and most of all she shows us that the fight’s always worth it, when you believe in it! Her courage inspires you to step outside your comfort zone, listen to your heart and to do it all with love. “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale” is a true love story that shows us how through loss, love will always remain. Megan showed vulnerability in a way that allowed us all to see what a remarkable man Chad Warren was and how Chad’s spirit will continue to live on. As hard as it was to read this book, knowing how it would end, I found healing and comfort for those that I have lost to Cancer. It is with a grateful heart and love that I share our interview here……

BB411~ You released your new book “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale”, what do you hope people get from your love story?

MW~ I like that people will get to know a few things about this great guy Chad who they might have not otherwise had the privilege of meeting. But as time has gone on, I’ve been told that this story has helped others with their own life stories of love and loss – so I’m pleased this story has offered that as well.

megan-062BB411~ At what point did you know you were ready to tell your story?

MW~ It was about a year after I found one of Chad’s diaries. The timing was right in my life that I could commit to writing this story, and the timing was right in my grieving. I guess the pain wasn’t so acute that it would cloud the happiness of the story.

BB411~ What was the best and hardest part about writing this book?

MW~ Reliving our life together. The hardest part is similar – reliving our life together, and recalling the sickness and sadness that came with it.

BB411~ What are the plans to spread the love about “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale”?

MW~ I’ve recently signed with an agent in Toronto – so he’s taking over some of the planning now. We’ll have to wait and see!

BB411~ What inspires you to stay strong and embrace life?

MW~ I’m alive, I’m healthy and I’m loved. I can’t think of any more inspiration than that.

BB411~ What do you want people to know most and remember about Chad?

DSC03293MW~ That he was a kind, thoughtful, determined, good person. He also had the ability to make us blush and belly laugh at the same time with his super off-side jokes.

BB411~ Chad started a foundation called “Chad’s 1 Million“, can you tell me a bit more about it?

MW~ Chad’s $1 Million (for Multiple Myeloma) is a campaign to honour his wish to have his life make a difference for other blood cancer patients. Take a Look!

BB411~ You and Chad met on the tennis court, will you continue to play tennis or have you closed that chapter of your life?

MW~ I still play, but not nearly as much since Chad’s been gone. I play in the summers with my Dad in preparation for my favorite (and only) tournament of the year – the Chad Warren Mixed Charity Challenge up at Hollyburn in West Vancouver. It’s a great event, and for any tennis players who might read this article, I encourage you to consider registering this year! The tournament is set up as Chad wanted, accessible and open to players of any level. Good times only!

IMG_1866BB411~ What has “living on” meant to you?

MW~ I will never get over the loss of Chad. I haven’t met anyone who “got over” the loss of someone they loved. So, I’m living on, not moving on. I live on with Chad in my thoughts, conversations with friends and occasionally in my decision-making. He’s still here in so many ways.

BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today?

MW~ Oh, you mean my #1 fans? My parents have cheered from behind the glass watching my tennis matches, with one phone call, and they were at the hospital with Chad and I in less than an hour, and again, this past Friday – Mom and Dad stayed up late with me as they worked through the wrinkles of my SheTalksYVR speech with them. Their tireless support has influenced me tremendously and I wish that feeling on everyone.

BB411~ You have found love again, was that a hard process? How has Brad helped heal your heart?

MW~ I have found love again! While I wouldn’t say it’s a hard process, but it’s very uncharted territory for both of us. Brad (I know, Chad/Brad – I like to keep it simple) as he says, chose to love all of me, not just the parts that apply to him. I’ve never had to “hide” my grieving, or pretend I didn’t have a life with someone else, before him. And I feel the same about him, and I’m confident it’s why we works as well as we do.

IMG_0149BB411~ What does the word “beauty” mean to you?

MW~ We use that word to describe so many things don’t we! So, considering I told my step-daughter that she was beautiful before leaving for work this morning, and I also said the cherry blossoms were beautiful on my run – I’d have to say “Beauty” is something natural. Something that requires a moment of pause as you think how special that person/view/object/moment is.

BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?

MW~ Paying it forward. Sometimes, I find that a gesture or generosity that has been extended to me, doesn’t always mean I “give back” to that same place – I try to pay it forward where it seems fitting.

BB411~ Are you involved/support any charities that are close to your heart?

MW~ Chads1MillionChildren’s Wish Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis.

BB411~ Describe your style?

MW~  I had to text my friend and ask. I would have said, “comfortable.” Cristina said, “West Coast”. I think we mean the same thing, but hers sounds better.

IMG_7251BB411~ #1 thing every woman should have in her wardrobe?

MW~ Runners

BB411~ Bare feet, socks, flip-flops or stilettos?

MW~ Flip-flops

BB411~ What do you do to stay fit and healthy?

MW~  I run with friends – which doubles as therapy and a workout. I do track workouts with a group called SuperKrun on the North Shore to help get my race times down. Strength training in the gym and skiing and tennis for cross training. I like to keep moving.

BB411~ What is your skin care regime?

MW~ Whatever the facial people tell me – wax on, wax off.

BB411~ What are your go to hair products?

Butter_Studios_Wedding_Photographers_Vancouver_megan_williams_our_interrupted_fairy_tale_3-900x500MW~ Whatever my hairdresser, Jaelyn tells me – shampoo, conditioner, comb, heat protector?

BB411~ Do you have any beauty secrets or words of wisdom that have been passed down to you from your mother or grandmother?

MW~ Drink water. Add sparkle.

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

MW~ Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer – SPF 30. Everything after that is a bonus.

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?

MW~ Fun question! Halston, my Mom’s old perfume – it reminds me of being able to fit on her lap. Cigarette smoke and smarties – reminds me of my Grandma. Tennis Bubbles – reminds me of junior tennis.

64-450-2BB411~ What is your favourite fragrance?

MW~ Currently: Sugar Lychee by Fresh.

BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?

MW~ I’m not great at answering this question, so I asked Brad’s little girl. She said, “Beautiful. Smart. Nice.”

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

MW~ I have an irrational fear of fish.

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

MW~ You are not fat.

BB411~ Favorite quote?

MW~ “Your absence is like the sky – it covers everything.” – My cousin shared this with me. It’s actually a mis-quote from C.S. Lewis – but I like her version more.

5008_517342854126_51501401_30756267_5004979_nBB411~ Favorite food?

MW~ Brunch.

BB411~ Favourite colour?

MW~ Sparkle

BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

MW~ I’d like to live in France for a few months. But most immediately, I’d like to run a sub 20 minute 5km.

BB411~  What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?

MW~ That there will always be more love. I didn’t have to fall out of love with Chad in order to fall in love with Brad. That was a biiiggg moment for me.

BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?

MW~ I try to be Kind, Supportive, Empowering.

FullSizeRender-15BB411~ Describe your perfect day (when you have down time)?

MW~ Run with friends (coffee and muffin after – specifically at Crema in West Van), a swim with my step-daughter and Brad, champagne lunch and shopping with girlfriends, and a big dinner out after spending unnecessary amounts of time getting ready with girlfriends, with Taylor Swift on shuffle.

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

MW~ I’d like to still be writing and living by the beach. But, this last year has been another reminder that the course you’re set out on can always change direction, so I really have no idea.

BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs (writers) starting out that are following their dreams?

IMG_0159MW~ Ask tons of questions, ask for advice, follow leads, have a plan and take chances.

BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

MW~ My life.

To keep up to date with Megan: Follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and check out Her Site!

Remember to say you heard it here

Much Love, Beauty Buzz 411

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Natalia Anja: Global Degree

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Photo Credit: Britney Gill

 

Natalia Anja is a freelance photographer based out of beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada. Natalia was born in Poland and moved to Greece, eventually settling down in Vancouver, her father documented their family’s adventure with a film and video camera. She’s followed in her dad’s footsteps by capturing and cherishing memories through a lens.

While working for a company called ‘The Buried Life’ (A project that encourages people to check off their bucket list items.) ‘The Buried Life’ inspired Natalia to pursue her passion as a Professional Photographer.

The love she has for photography stems from the incredible feeling of capturing unforgettable moments. She takes pride in connecting with people in a genuine caring way, allowing them to feel comfortable and at ease in front of the camera. “Always smiling and hoping I can bring a smile to the faces of everyone I meet.”

Eager to learn more and strongly believing that images are very powerful; Natalia’s goal is to capture life-changing photographs! Helping others that are less fortunate has always been Natalia’s greatest passion and she would love to use her camera and experiences to make a positive difference in society.

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja

I have known Natalia for some time and could not be happier for this incredible opportunity she is about to take on. It takes a lot of courage to just drop everything, pack your bag, take a risk and go outside your comfort zone. See, Natalia is a “Gypsy Soul” and the travel-bug flutters inside her. She has this free spirit and her heart has always longed for beautiful adventure. I have had the opportunity to shoot with Natalia and she has some mad talent, she has this way of making you feel so comfortable in front of the lens. From knowing Natalia, I can honestly say that the Global Degree guys have landed the jackpot on having this beauty come on board. Not only is she super funny and gorgeous, she is down-to-earth, gold hearted and truly loves connecting and seeing the good in people. This little gem is going to be missed here at home (by so many I’m sure), but what’s in store for this “Wild Child” is only the beginning to amazing things. What I love most about interviewing is showcasing people who just want to do good, make a difference in this world, and this girl represents all that and so much more. I am grateful to call Natalia a friend and it warms my heart to share this interview with you………….

BB411~ When did you know you wanted to become a photographer, how did it come to be?

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

NA~ When I lived in Italy and I couldn’t find a job because of the language barrier, I spent a lot of time alone…exploring with my camera and fell in love with photography. I took a correspondence course through the New York Institute of Photography. I was always quite fearful of pursuing it and one day two years ago I threw myself into it and I’m so happy I did.

BB411~ What do you love most about photography?

 

NA~ The connection. You can look at a photo and there’s so much more than just an image. It’s a connection between people, a place, or a feeling and there’s always a story. Whether it is as simple as comfort or discomfort, happiness or vulnerability.

BB411~ First off, Congrats on the new adventure you are about to embark on with Global Degree. What inspired you to apply for the contest?

NA~ Thank you! As soon as I heard about the contest, I didn’t think twice about applying. I called my friend Dan Rizzuto, told him I needed to make a short video and without skipping a beat he said “when are we shooting it?” I’ve always loved traveling, exploring and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Global Degree is that in a nut shell.

BB411~ Tell us what it means to get your “Global Degree”?

NA~ Each country is a ‘course’ and once you complete every course – step foot into every country (193 UN Nations) you achieve your Global Degree.

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

BB411~ What are you most excited about and what do you hope to gain from this experience?

NA~ I’m most excited about the unknown, to me there’s something thrilling about that. I don’t know what to expect, I’m excited to see the world with fresh eyes, meet new people, experience different cultures and grow as a person. I’m excited to photograph every country and make a series of photo books each year. The book will highlight each country I explore. I will showcase a landscape, a portrait of a local, fashion, food and animals of each country. Proceeds of each book will go to a charity of choice.

BB411~ Do you have any fears surrounding your upcoming travels?

NA~ Managing packing 7 months of my life into 1 backpack. Other than that, no. For some reason a lot of people feel inclined to only tell me travel horror stories but I’m going in with an open and optimistic mind.

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Photo Credit: Global Degree

BB411~ What do you love most about your brothers from Global Degree Michael and Alex?

NA~ Since my initial meeting with both of them there was a natural, comfortable connection. They’re complete goofballs which I love. Since day one they have treated me like a little sister. They make me laugh a lot, make fun of me like siblings do, but are very protective and caring as well.

BB411~ Out of all the places you will visit, which is the one you are most looking forward to and why?

NA~ After researching the Asian countries we’re about to visit, it’s so hard to pick one. There were quite a few I have never even heard of. I think I’m most excited for India, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.

BB411~ What has photography taught you as a person?

NA~ That having a ‘job’ that you’re passionate about will make you a very happy, fulfilled person.

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Photo Credit: Britney Gill

 

BB411~ Which photographer inspires you and what do u love most about their work?

NA~ There are so many that are amazing but two that stand out are Rob Daly and Kharen Hill. Rob is an absolute genius! I think he creates pure magic. Every photo of his takes my breath away. All of his work is so original and creative. He really inspires me to start doing more passion projects and to step outside of the box. Kharen’s work also speaks for itself, it’s incredible and she’s one of the loveliest people I have ever met. Kharen was super helpful when I was first stepping into photography, I really admire her.

 

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BB411~ Is there someone you haven’t photographed that you would love to work with?

NA~ Shia Labeouf, I admire his outlook towards his art. I think a shoot with him would be incredible! I love how he bares his soul on film.

BB411~ Who did you look up to growing up or inspire to be?

NA~ Definitely My parents. They created this ‘get up and go’ mentality of mine. They were so young when they moved from Poland to Greece and then decided to come to Canada without ever previously visiting…Talk about spontaneous. I admire that a lot about them, and they did it all with smiles on their faces.

BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today? They are my hero’s. They’ll never understand how much I admire them for accomplishing so much at such a young age with two kids. They made me realize that anything is possible. I came from a very loving and supportive home and I hope I exude the love they have unconditionally provided me and each other with.

BB411~ Your sister Trish is your best friend, you share a very special bond. What do you love most about her?

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

NA~ I could go on forever about her amazing qualities. She truly has a selfless heart of gold, she gets that from my mom…they’re very similar. She’s the sweetest person I know that has the softest heart. She’s also a little bit of a weirdo like me, which makes for good laughs.

BB411~ Top 3 things every woman should have in her wardrobe?

NA~ Something she’s very comfortable in, something she feels sexy in and whatever makes her happy.

BB411~ Bare feet, socks, flip-flops or stilettos?

NA~ Stilettos, there’s something about heels that bring out confidence.

BB411~ Describe your style?

NA~ Confused. haha. My style varies from looking like a little boy going to play basketball or dressing up like a girly girl. It all depends on my mood.

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Photo Credit: Britney Gill

BB411~ What does the word “beauty” mean to you?

NA~  “Beauty” to me shines within a person and radiates with energy on the exterior. Everyone is beautiful and confidence and a kind soul exude that.

BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?

NA~ I feel most inspired when I’m alone with my thoughts in nature. I get inspired by good conversation, seeing people in my life working towards and achieving their goals and being a part of a community.

BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?

NA~ I believe we’re all extremely fortunate. To me ‘giving back’ is providing a smile on someone’s face whether it be a small nice gesture, monetary contribution or physically helping someone. It means to be selfless. I think smiles are contagious and once they start spreading, the world becomes a happier place. I love the quote “Don’t give to get, give to inspire others to give’

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

 

BB411~ Are you involved with any charities that are close to your heart?

NA~ Project Solution Jamaica has become very close to my heart. It’s an organization my friend co-founded. I’m a HUGE fan of it. The breakfast program provides over 500 kids in Trelawny, Jamaica with a meal a day. Most of these kid’s families can’t afford to feed them so they don’t know when they will receive their next meal. This program allows them to receive at least one meal a day and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the breakfast program. I can’t wait till I get the opportunity to go to Jamaica to visit the kids and the school.

BB411~ What is your skin care regime?

NA~ I’m not too particular with my skin regime. I usually use The Body Shop Tea tree oil foam face wash and then Garnier moisturizer.

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

BB411~ What are your go to hair products?

NA~ Dry Shampoo and hair spray! ..and delicious smelling Coconut Conditioner.

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

NA~ Toothpaste? Blistex chapstick.

BB411~ What are your thoughts on animal testing? Do you support companies that are cruelty free?

 

NA~ I love animals so I don’t agree with or support animal testing. It’s a topic I’m not very educated about but would like to be. I know some of my go-to products from The Body Shop are cruelty free which makes me more inclined to support their brand.

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja’s Parents

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?

NA~ The babydoll perfume, reminds me of my mom. Smells like grapefruit.

BB411~ What is your favorite fragrance?

NA~ I love Escada – Pacific Paradise, Hypnotic poison, lolita lampecka or the Vanilla Oil from the Body Shop. On men…Jean Paul Gautier get’s me every time.

BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?

NA~ Weird, smart ass, genuine

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

NA~ “Nothing is un realistic. Don’t be scared or too embarrassed to speak openly about your dreams and passions.”

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

 

BB411~ Describe your perfect day (when you have down time)?

NA~ Wake up early, grab a coffee, putting the phone away for the day, go on a hike and play the day by ear. Exploring places I’ve never been to and not be on a time constraint.

BB411~ Favorite quote?

NA~  “Wherever you go, there you are.”

BB411~ Favorite food?

NA~ Domino’s ham & pineapple pizzzza with banana peppers and franks hot sauce.

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

NA~ My phobia, fear: I’m terrified of being in front of the camera. I get extremely awkward, my lips start to shake and I can’t be myself.

BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?

NA~ Being genuine, respectful and having a kind heart.

BB411~#1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

NA~ To take my family on an epic family vacation.

BB411~ What do you do to stay fit and healthy?

 

NA~  I’ve been slacking lately but I try my best to eat healthy, I love spinning, running, hiking, playing sports and anything active and outdoors.

BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?

NA~ If you’re extremely passionate about something and you’re willing to put all your time and effort into it you’ll do anything in your power to make it happen. You just need to set fear aside and do it!

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Photo Credit: Natalia Anja Instagram

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

NA~ I like to go with the flow. I have a lot of goals but my life is nothing like what I thought it would be even in the last year. In 1 year I hope to have seen all of Asia and have made an amazing photography book. Host my first Gallery event. I’ll have to see where my heart takes me in 5 and 10 years. I hope that in 5 years I would have achieved my Global Degree and have published work with National Geographic and have made 5 books.

BB411~ When I say the word #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

NA~ Cheesy dad jokes & puns

BB411~ When you look back at the life you lived, what do u want to be remembered for?

NA~ I would hope that I have added an element of positivity in people’s lives, making them smile and feel good about themselves.

From the bottom of my heart I am so incredibly proud of this girl and can’t wait to follow this amazing journey she’s about to embark on.

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Photo Credit: Britney Gill

 

To keep up to date with Natalia: Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and make sure to check out her Site where she will be posting on her Global Degree Adventure.

Check out Global Degree on: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Website & their You Tube Channel.

You will be able to catch Season 2 on the Discovery Digital Network too!

And a Big SHOUT OUT to their sponsors Flight CentreHostel World, Monstercat & World Nomads for getting them there, keeping them safe and putting a roof over their heads.

Remember to say you heard it here first

Much Love,
Beauty Buzz 411