The Best Life Lessons, Canada Style

I’m just home from a short visit to Toronto, where I had the privilege to hang out with Suzanne (Suzanne Carillo) and Ally (Shybiker). Toronto is beautiful, a mix of old and modern – and clean, safe, and friendly, eh? We did a lot of shopping and delicious eating (Suzanne and Ally are “foodies” and I am so not, so I learned a bucketload about ingredients!)



The best times are, of course, getting to know other better, and deeper. The two hour coffees and long talks over vegetarian feasts. It’s an opportunity to drop external labels, and talk about life, love, politics, aging and dreams. Here are some of the best life lessons I came home with, along with a couple of fab thrift scores (to be seen soon):

  • As always, people > fashion, every time. Clothing is fun and expressive and creative, but hearts and minds always win. We all three subscribe to the “no dictating others’ styles” philosophy. We’re keen observers, for sure, but hardly arbiters of style. We would have had equal fun sitting around a table in jeans and tees as in vintage frocks,although the latter look fantastic. I learned to move still farther away from prescribing how others should dress, or describing them in disparaging terms.
  • We’re all the same, we’re all different. I learned this in grad school, day one of therapy training. We all want to be accepted, understood, safe. And we all come at it with wonderfully different directions. If we recognize our similarities, and stay nonjudgmental about our differences, life is good.



The delightful Ally and me on a bench near the University of Toronto. We had terrific coffees and conversation.

  •  Age matters, to a certain point. Ally said she was more sore and tired after a long motorcycle trip than she used to be at 40. My feet hurt more, and I was in bed by midnight every night, even though the city was still vibrant. So we’re all working on accepting our physical changes and still feeling juicy, adventurous and full of love.
  • And on the lighter side: Suzanne taught me about lash extensions. Must try! And Ally introduced me to the healthy “Killer Shot”- made mainly with orange juice, cayenne pepper sauce and super-foods. I need more of that stuff.



And all three of us, with the pic taken by one of the countless friendly locals. Love Suzanne’s vintage dress.


Stay friends and stay fabulous,


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  1. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts… including “We’re all the same. We’re all different”… As a newcomer to blogging, I am meeting so many fabulous people through their blogs and it’s wonderful to read about bloggers meeting up in person. So pleased you had a fabulous time.

  2. Just read Suzanne’s writeup of your meeting, so popped over to see your take.
    Lovely thoughts. We are all dealing with aches and pains and hurts and dramas, and we are all looking to get the most out of life with dreams and friends and love.
    How I would have loved to have been at the table chatting with you all.
    Next time you are in Australia, pop on over!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  3. Yes, I did notice Ally’s great big smile. It says it all. You guys, man, I wish I could have been there. Shopping, eating, laughing, drinking, relaxing. Letting it be. And already having some foundation from our online selves makes things move along much more quickly I found from the summer meetup. A very weird but wonderful thing. A great writeup Patti. I’m so glad you guys had this chance to be together.

  4. How beautifully you wrote about your meeting! We are the same, and we are different, it is so true. The most difficult part is to stay non-judgmental when we are hurt and fearful… the rest is really easy. You all radiate happiness!

  5. I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it to Toronto while you were there, but it looks like you enjoyed your visit to “the Big Smoke”, as it is often referred to (I don’t even know why). The photos show how much you enjoyed each other’s company. Yes, we are “the same, but different” – excellent life lessons!

  6. Your post makes me happy, Patti! It’s obvious that you’ve found two true friends in Suzanne and Ally. The photographs radiate joy and how comfortable you are in one another’s company. Blogging rocks! xxx

  7. I loved this review of your visit : )

    This is my favourite, “If we recognize our similarities, and stay nonjudgmental about our differences, life is good.”

    It was so much fun to have the both of you here, getting a little peek at my city.

    Cannot wait for the next meet-up.


  8. Looks like fun. I would say, don’t try too hard. You are beautiful. A very young relative recently showed up with lash extensions. My reaction: those plastic Halloween spiders were attacking her eyes. Too much is too fake. I’m younger than you and would love to look as good.
    It sounds like you have wonderful friends and had a great time in Toronto! Bravo!!!

  9. Lucky you! Someday I’ll make it to Toronto — I’ve never been. Maybe on my next circumnavigation adventure in 2019!

  10. This write-up beautifully captures the affection we share and fun we had. You and Suzanne are such warm, generous people. I can’t remember when I was so happy. I mean, just look at the size of my smile in these photos!!

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