The first annual Bloom Inspiration Summit offered hope and connection

There’s something about a room full of empowered, engaged women that gives you a feeling you can’t get from a virtual conference. The vibe at the Bloom Inspiration Summit on Saturday, September 24th at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was electrifying. Attendees were there to learn, grow and connectand I loved being a part of the experience.

The summit was presented by Evalina Beauty and Simply Beautiful, so I knew it was going to be a high-quality event. Speakers throughout the day shared lived experiences, expertise and ideas on everything from design and home organization to grief, loss and rediscovering joy. I was glad I had some tissues packed because some of these speakers went deep.ZadaZadaThe morning kicked off with an inspiring musical performance from Zada (pictured above) and her talented band. The Ethiopia-born, Whistler-based artist creates music inspired by connection, which was fitting for the day. Zada's warm personality and stunning vocals were the perfect way to set the tone for the speakers to come.Jessica JanzenThe first speaker up was Jessica Janzen (pictured above), an author, speaker coach, wife, mom and co-founder of the Love for Lewiston Foundation. She shared the journey of going from new mom to losing her son Lewiston to spinal muscular atrophy in just 179 days. Throughout her keynote, I thought about my own children getting that diagnosis and how I would handle it. And cue tears. I was a puddle listening to her story.

However, despite her loss, the common thread throughout Jessica's talk was joy. She didn’t know how, but in the worst of times, she got out of her oversized hoodie and sweatpants, dressed up, put on heels, and faced reality.

Jessica is truly inspiring. Her talk was the first of the day and stayed with me throughout. Her story really resonated with me and I still find myself thinking back to what she shared. I encourage you to check out the many inspiring initiatives she is doing over at @thejessicajanzen.Dr. Shimi KangNext we heard from Dr. Shimi Kang (pictured above), an award-winning, Harvard-educated, psychiatrist, scientist, bestselling author and speaker. Dr. Kang develops science-based methodologies that help improve innovation, leadership, wellness and resilience in kids and adults. She spoke a lot about the relationship between kids and technology and I was all ears as my family is just starting to navigate this territory. She encouraged parents to be a collaborative dolphin, focused on play, others and downtime, rather than an authoritarian shark or a permissive jellyfish. I love these visual analogies!

Dr. Kang spoke a lot about the importance of play, happiness and avoiding judgment. I really appreciated her encouragement around fostering curiosity and learning through play. I love learning about science-backed innovations for kids so I will definitely be looking into her website for more details on her Spark app and other programs.

Megan GolightlyWhen I heard Megan Golightly (pictured above), founder of Go Simplified was speaking, I was so excited, as I love getting organized. The fact that Megan links neuroscience and personal organization is fascinating to me—and Megan’s talk did not disappoint. She spoke a lot about the bigger picture of organizing and decluttering. It’s not just about organizing your homeit's s much more than that. The effect that our physical surroundings have on our mental health is huge—reducing mental load, bringing clarity and relieving stresswhen things are in order. Megan defined clutter as anything that hasn’t earned the right to be in your home, especially if it hasn’t found a permanent home. She told the audience to ask themselves three questions when deciding to keep stuff in their homes: Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again? I loved Megan’s focus on progress over perfection and the tips she offered for making organization a family habit and not taking it all on yourself. Find Megan on Instagram: @gosimplified.

Claudia ChiricoAnother speaker I enjoyed was Claudia Chirico (pictured above), the founder of Bloom Energy Therapy. Claudia is a certified bio-energy healing practitioner. I feel really connected to spirituality, and loved the opportunity to hear from Claudia and be reminded of how powerful our thoughts are with regards to how we view ourselves. Claudia encouraged gratitude throughout her talk, saying that when we know better, we do better. She urged conscious living and emphasized the power of listening. She reminded us that we’re worthy and not meant to do this alone—that we all need each other and the power of community. I really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to some of these affirmations. As a busy mom, I sometimes neglect to make time to sit in the space and listen, so this was a great reminder of the value those practices hold. Check Claudia out @bloomenergytherapy.Dr. Carolin KleinSex therapist and registered psychologist Dr. Carolin Klein (pictured above) shocked me with some of the information she provided—in a good way! I wish I had known much of what she shared much earlier in life. Sex, and especially sex for women, isn’t talked about enough and I’m so glad women like Dr. Klein are changing that. I wish every woman, especially young girls, had the chance to hear this fascinating talk. She spoke about arousal and the shame we put on women, and the responses our bodies have to sex, whether consensual or otherwise. She spoke about the emotional side of sex and how disconnected that can be from the physical side. She referenced several studies which highlighted the way society views and values women’s bodies. I wish I had learned more about sex, desire and bodies in school. Empowering women to take ownership of their bodies and educating them to understand their physical responses is so important. You can learn more about Dr Klein’s therapy practice at www.westcoastsextherapy.com.

Tamara TaggartThe final conversation of the day was definitely a highlight, featuring an intimate interview with renowned broadcaster, community leader and cancer survivor Tamara Taggart. Evalina Beauty's president and founder, Samantha Legge conducted the very candid Q&A, where Tamara talked about everything from her tumultuous childhood to her son Beckett's Down Syndrome diagnosis to the challenges she has faced as a woman in her television career. Tamara pulled no punches and shared so much of herself with the audience, revealing the adversity she has faced in her lifepersonally and professionally, yet she perseveres and uses her influence for good, which is so inspiring. As a cancer survivor, Tamara is also an advocate for women’s health, and I relate to so much of what she stands for as a mother and as a woman. I could have listened to her talk all day.sb and evalina bloomWhat an event! The Bloom Inspiration Summit lived up to its name. I learned so much and left feeling so inspired. One theme that resonated throughout each of the talks was happiness. It’s there within uswe just need to choose it and allow ourselves to feel joy. Throughout the challenges and adversity each speaker encountered, they prevailed. Hearing these personal stories combined with research and expertise was an incredible experience.

As the event was presented by Evalina Beauty and Simply Beautiful, attendees also received some incredible gifts. The gift bag from Evalina Beauty was amazing and the Simply Beautiful box was full of home decor and beauty goodies that I can’t wait to try. The Simply Beautiful box is such a great way to treat yourself or give as a gift. The products they curate are incredibly gorgeous and always thoughtful and practical. Check them out here.

The Bloom Inspiration Summit got me fired up for more in-person events and connecting with likeminded people. It was such a treat to hear from these experts and I haven’t stopped thinking about all the things I learned. The day left me feeling totally refreshed and I’m working on putting the practices we heard about into my everyday life. I can’t wait to see what the next Bloom Inspiration Summit brings!