Today, August 15, marks exactly 3 weeks since Osric, my fur nephew has been staying with me. His dad and one of my besties is moving and I offered to look after him. I don’t know how long I will have him, but I am enjoying every minute of it. During this time, I have learned 5 wonderful things from him.
Drink lots of water! Every opportunity Oz has to ferociously lap at a bowl of water he does–whether it’s here at my home or at the dog parks in North Vancouver. In particular, the park at Harbourside Seawall and the smaller one beside Waterfront Park, near the Lonsdale Quay Market and seabus station.
2. He taught me to stretch more. After taking a nap, sitting or lying down in the same position, Oz always stretches. The yoga pose, Down Dog has several benefits: it elongates your spine, strengthens the muscles in your arms, upper back and shoulders. hands, wrists and fingers, opens up the backs of your legs and improves circulation, and relieves tension and stress.
My Fur Nephew is The Best Dog I Have Ever Met
3. Be sociable. Osric has a great personality and is friendly with everyone, human or dog. I have never seen him get mad — when I accidentally wake him up from a nap, take a little longer to get ready or I am slow to keep up with his fast pace. He is very relaxed and even-keeled.
4. And take daily walks! Walking lowers your blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and increases your metabolism. It will help you to live longer. Japan has one of the largest number of centenarians in their country because they walk a lot and eat a lot of seafood. Luckily for me, I have been taking Osric out for 3 walks a day.
5. Also, don’t stay mad at your loved ones. I just yelled at Mama and shortly after I did, my fur nephew came to check on me. He rubbed the top of his head on my leg a couple of times–like don’t be mad. My heart just melted and all the anger disappeared. He is such a wonderful addition to my family and it makes me sad that I won’t be able to see him everyday when Ben takes him back.
Queen’s Academy of the Arts is a local small business that offers musical theatre programs for children between the ages of 4 to 12 online and in person in Burnaby and Coquitlam. There are after school classes, summer camps and music lessons (voice, guitar and piano) all available on a sliding scale.
Q: I began offering free musical theatre classes in 2013 and registered as a business; Queen’s Academy of The Arts in 2020.
M: Did you always want to own your own business?
Q: I started teaching classes to kids as a passion project and I discovered that teaching and running a business could be a future career. It combines what I love; teaching and working with kids, and the performing arts.
Queen’s Academy was born
M: What was your inspiration for your business?
Q: Since I was little, I’ve loved to perform. My mom put me in classes, but I knew they were too expensive for us, so I withdrew. Only, that didn’t stop me, instead it gave me the inspiration and drive to run my own business.
M: When did you start teaching children?
Q: At age 12, I began offering free musical theatre classes to feed my passion for the arts. And eight years later launched my business. I believe all kids deserve the opportunity to enrich their lives through the arts. But I know some families face difficulties or financial barriers. This is why I have made my program more affordable than competitors and I have also created an inclusive sponsorship program to make classes more accessible.
Accessible Musical Theatre Programs
M: Did you grow up in Vancouver?
Q: I have lived in the Lower Mainland and Burnaby since I was a kid! It is my passion to bring families together through Queen’s Academy and make performing arts accessible to create connection and community.
M: Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?
Q: I began running my business teaching my children’s programs while pursuing a Musical Theatre Diploma and Bachelors of Arts Degree at Capilano University. Pursuing an education in the field that my company specializes in has helped me obtain the skills to feel confident in the field. I would advise you to do what will lead you to the most success.
M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?
Q: As long as you are passionate and determined anything is possible!
If youwould like to know more about Queen’s Academy of the Arts and their musical theatre programs, voice and music lessons, please visit their website and follow their Instagram.
In honour of Indigenous History month, I recently attended the Capilano University Canoe Awakening Ceremony for Skw’cháys. The university commissioned carvers Ses siyam (Ray Natraoro) and Xats’alanexw siyam (Victor Harry) to create the Coast Salish Canoe for their 50th Anniversary.
The female family members awakened Skw’cháys with cedar branches and wore blankets to protect their hearts from spirits. While Ses siyam, Xats’alanexw siyam and the other male family members played music and sang a historical song. Traditionally, if a canoe is not awakened, riding on it will feel heavy and sluggish. But when the canoe is awake, it will be buoyant and travel faster. I wanted to capture the ceremony in photos but an Indigenous Faculty member told me that I shouldn’t. I should be present in body, mind and spirit. And I am thankful that she advised me not to.
On the day of the ceremony, Skw’cháys was awakened in preparation for the upcoming 2023 Convocation. He will be put to sleep again in the fall. The ceremonies mark the beginning and end of the students academic journey at Capilano University.
In 2019, Elder Rose spoke about how that morning the canoe symbolized a journey home for her and the Squamish Nation. Further, she said that we all chose Capilano University, but CapU also chose us too. This hit home for me. During my senior year of high school, when the UBC, SFU and CapU recruiters came, I knew I wanted to go to there. I felt it so strongly inside of me. A knowing. Capilano was calling me.
Today, she also spoke about how we are all on a journey whether we are students, faculty or staff at CapU. Once again Elder Rose’s words resonated with me. The last four years at Capilano has been a wonderful journey that has marked many successes in my student career.
“Stand Tall and Proud ” — Elder Rose Nahanee
During my fist term, I joined the Capilano Young Women in Business Club as their social media consultant and I became the Secretary for the Capilano Radio Club. Now, I am the VP of Cap Radio and in 2022, I joined the CSU Surf Club. Since 2019, I have been a contributor and in 2022 a columnist at Capilano Courier. And since 2021, one of the editors of Liar Zine.
I proudly served four years as Capilano Students’ Union’s (CSU) Mature and Parent Students Liaison and three as the Chairperson of CSU’s Collectives Committee. Finally, I am excited to begin my role as one of the Student Representatives of the Board of Governors in August.
After the Awakening Ceremony, I spoke with Elder Rose Nahanee and told her how I love her speeches. She thanked me and asked me what program I was in. I told her my major and my involvement with the CSU and my new role with the Board of Governors. She told me to continue with that, there are not enough women involved.
“Stand tall and proud,” Elder Rose said during her speech. I am.
I have loved sushi since I first tried it when I was seven years old. Today, I am revealing my top 5 favourite North Vancouver sushi restaurants. Mama Izumi, my foodie cohort took me to my first sushi restaurant, Aki in the historical Japan Town. Otherwise known as Paueru Gai, it is where the Annual Powell Street Festival is held. Back then, my favourite was tuna. It still is, but my taste buds are more adventurous and my favourites now include Uni (sea urchin).
North Vancouver Sushi Restaurants Number 5 – Sushi 5
Starting with number five, Sushi 5 is located in Lynn Valley Centre, close to Highway 1 and Central Lonsdale. It is easy to get to, whether you are living on the North Shore or in Metro Vancouver. They are one of my favourite sushi restaurants because they have yummy Mix and Match combos that are reasonably priced and include miso soup (soup is not shown in the photo).
Number 4 – Sushi Kumo
Sushi Kumo is conveniently located at 180 East 2nd Street. It is in Lower Lonsdale, a few blocks up from the Quay and the seabus station. Little known fact, when I was in high school, my first job was as a dishwasher at this location–it was a different Japanese sushi restaurant called Manyo. Mama and I have been to Kumo twice and both times we enjoyed their Sushi & Sashimi and Sushi Boxes and also received wonderful customer service from Candy.
North Vancouver Sushi Restaurants Number 3 – Sansho Sushi & Japanese Dining
I have been a long time customer at Sansho. It was first introduced to me by Mama, my foodie mentor. This North Vancouver sushi restaurant is located at 707 Queensbury Avenue kitty corner from S’wich Cafe. Our favourites are their Makunouchi Bento (shown below) and Chirashi Sushi (featured photo above my blog).
North Vancouver Sushi Restaurants 1 – Momji Japanese Cuisine
The number one best North Vancouver Sushi Restaurant is Momji. It is located in the Blueridge Area at 3720 Mount Seymour Parkway. They offer authentic Japanese cuisine (one of the last restaurants on the North Shore to do so). A former colleague introduced me to them and I loved it! My stomach was ready to burst after our meal. Their dishes were over flowing with umami and I ate too much because of it. Mama and I ordered ika karage (Japanese calamari), miso soup, katsu curry and agedashi tofu. A wonderful meal and restaurant that we enjoyed immensely and look forward to going back.
All photos are my own and I relished every moment of taking them, but especially when I was able to devour the dishes! Please ask for permission to use them or credit me in your publication. If you enjoyed this article, share it!
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Bobzaa manager, Vash Vashist and learning more about this wonderful addition to Central Lonsdale in North Vancouver.
M: Bobzaa is a family owned business. What was the inspiration for the restaurant?
V: We have all worked in the restaurant industry in the last few years. One of my family members has been a chef for the past seven years, I have been a restaurant manager at different restaurants and have the front of house experience and my other family member has more of the fast food experience so we combined our skills and made it our goal to open Bobzaa.
M: How did you decide on the name for Bobzaa? What does it mean?
V: Initially, we just wanted to open a small bubble tea and pizza place. The name was decided before the location. Then we found this location, but it is pretty big for just bubble tea and pizza so we came up with other menu items as well.
The name Bobzaa is a combination of bubble tea and pizza.
M: Who in your family came up with the concept of a dessert cafe with bubble tea, Indian cuisine and brunch favourites? It’s so original.
V: It was a collaboration.
M: When did you open the doors to Bobzaa Dessert Cafe and Bistro?
V: We opened the doors to our restaurant in December 2022.
M: How did you decide on North Vancouver as the location? And why?
V: We live in North Van so we wanted our restaurant close by. Because it is a family business, we did not want to travel far. It’s just a 10 – 15 minute walk from here.
“We combined our skills and made it our goal to open Bobzaa”
M: Has the city and the community been receptive to Bobzaa?
V: It was hard because our goal was to open in three or four months and do the whole budget, but it took us seven months to get our restaurant license. It took forever because of COVID and we had several inspections. Every day we would wake up and go to City Hall to check the status on our license. They told us they did not know how long it was going to take because of COVID.
We invested everything and wanted to open now! We were working 24-7, day and night. It was hard to get the license.
M: Bobzaa collaborated with Nicole Hiebert, local promoter and artist and I for a Mother’s Day event. When will the next event be?
V: Well, we are planning. Nicole had the idea of a clothing swap. We want to do something different once a month so that’s our goal.
M: You also do private events. What do you provide and how long in advance do you need for customers to book the event?
V: We do all the decorations and everything if they choose to have it here at our location, we do full service. So they come here and just enjoy. If they book for their home, we do not decorate but we provide the catering service.
We need at least two weeks notice for customers booking an event.
M: What is your favourite item on the menu? For brunch, lunch and dessert?
V: For brunch I really like the waffles and for drinks my favourite is the Mango Frango. That is what I recommend to everyone. In food, I am a vegetarian, so I like the Potato Pizza. Also really good is the pesto and shrimp pizza. And for dessert, my favourite is the brownie. It’s vegan and gluten-free and you can’t even tell the difference when you taste it.
We only have one type of brownie and everyone has it. But no one can tell that’s it’s vegan.
It has been a long and difficult journey for Vash and her family to open the doors to their beloved Bobzaa. But they persevered and they did it! In the process of opening their North Vancouver restaurant, they have become experts in different industries; designed their own website, built their own tables and have done their own plumbing.
To order delicious dishes from their fusion infused menu, please visit their website and to stay up to date on their upcoming events, follow them on their Instagram page.
The first time I was a guest North Vancouver’s 16 WEST Restaurant was in August 2022, two months after they opened and I loved it! I had a four course meal with wonderful wine pairings.
I recently had the opportunity to interview 16 WEST’s owner and gracious host, Brooke Naito-Campbell.
M: You opened the doors to 16 WEST in the summer of 2022. What has the first year been like (almost the first year)?
B: 16 WEST opened on June 24, 2022 and the first year has been great. A gradual organic growth through word of mouth. Not as busy as we had hoped, but guests from Hachiro would come in so happy and excited saying, “I’m so glad you’re still here!” They weren’t sure what happened to us and they were worried we were gone.
Hachiro Ramen Transformed into 16 WEST
M: I did not get a chance to visit your previous restaurant, Hachiro Ramen. Besides the cuisine, what has been the main difference in running the two different restaurants?
B: Definitely more experienced servers with wine knowledge. We have a wine director and sommelier, Brendan Jones on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays who has curated a wine list for us, mainly local BC wines, but we are looking into curating international wines because our guests have been asking.
M: Was Hachiro the first North Vancouver restaurant you and your brother, Stephen opened?
B: Yes, Stephen went to Japan and studied how to make ramen before opening Hachiro. We opened 6 months before COVID hit. It was really hard. But I wanted to fight for our restaurant!
Hachiro had become a take-out restaurant. I wanted to change the menu into more of an izakaya and serve appies and cocktails, but a lot of the guests that came in just wanted a bowl of ramen.
“I am passionate about 16 WEST!”
M: How did 16 WEST come to be? Was it your idea or was it someone else’s?
B: I had a beautiful restaurant and it made me sad to leave it. So my friends, some employees that were there and I thought, what do we need in North Vancouver? What are we passionate about? What would feed the community?
We first thought of a Spanish tapas but then we thought a menu that’s not tied to one kind of food. We could serve French, Italian and Spanish. I love a wine bar and I am passionate about 16 WEST and so is my team.
M: What was your inspiration for the menu? Did you work together with your head chef or did you leave it to them?
B: Our menu is a collaboration between me and Jorge Camacho. He is from Dublin’s La Maison. French Bistro. We work really well together. Our coffee cake, biscuits and all our desserts are made by his best friend, Andrea Lopez.
M: What is your favourite dish? (lunch, brunch, dinner)?
B: My favourite for lunch is the meatball sub. It is really good. One of my favourites for brunch is the steak hash, and for dinner the mushroom risotto with seared Hokkaido scallops (they will be on the menu shortly) and the mussels.
M: 16 WEST is now open for brunch on the weekends and lunch on weekdays. What is the busiest time? Are there certain times/days we should make a reservation?
B: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights and brunch on the weekends are the busiest times. We always have the bar open for walk-ins and we will be opening the patio soon for the warmer weather and walk-ins. Our patio is also dog-friendly.
Central Lonsdale Community
M: What is the best part of being located in Central Lonsdale?
B: Central Lonsdale needed a cool, hip restaurant. A hidden gem. It needed love. Lower Lonsdale has all the restaurants. Central Lonsdale is getting developed. 16 WEST is one of the few restaurants with a watering hole.
M: Being located in the heart of North Vancouver, in Central Lonsdale, do you feel a sense of community?
B: Yes, I feel the sense of community with our guests. We have some who have stayed with us since Hachiro and have become friends. One such guest, Susan brought a friend who asked me if I have ever thought of hosting a drag show. And I had! Thus our drag show brunches was born!
North Vancouver Roots
M: I read that you grew up in North Vancouver. What area? Where did you go to school?
B: I grew up in Pemberton Heights. I went to Capilano Elementary from Kindergarten to grade 7 and then high school in Arizona where my mom is from.
M: Did you always know that you would own a business? What did you want to be when you grew up?
B: No, I had no idea. Hahaha…what did I want to be when I grew up? As a kid I wanted to do the usual singing, dancing and as a teen I wanted to be a cosmetologist. I was a hair stylist for a long time before opening the restaurants.
After my daughter was born, I turned to food and hospitality because it was something I was around all my life and am passionate about. My dad was the Executive VP of Okabe Company that used to own Coast Hotels.
And now, my daughter, Mika loves to help me set up on the weekends: lighting candles, setting the tables and even expediting the food orders. She loves it!
M: What would your advice to future entrepreneurs with dreams of owning their own business be?
B: Owning a restaurant is tough. Surround yourself with great people. People that you trust and more experienced than you. I have learned so much and I am so grateful that we got through COVID.
M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share?
B: This too shall pass. It’s something I always tell myself and it is true.
16 WEST Hosts Events
M: Is there anything else you would like to share?
B: Right now we are focusing on meaningful events. We host a realtors luncheon and we have an upcoming women’s networking lunch.
In August we will have a PRIDE event with my husband coming out of retirement to be our DJ and drag queens. I am also in the beginning stages of organizing a fundraiser for ALS because my dad passed away from the disease.
If you have an idea for an event, please contact Brooke at email@example.com. To book a reservation call: 604.988.7561 or book online. If you would like to learn more about Central Lonsdale’s one of a kind wine restaurant and bar, please visit their website and follow them on Instagram.
If you are looking for something to do this BC Family Day long weekend, you don’t have to look far. My longtime bff and I just went for an amazing Sunday brunch at Catch 122 in the Shipyards District. Although they were crazy busy when I called, the hostess set us up on their waitlist using the Open Table app.
While I waited for Mona to pick me up, I received a text letting me know that our table was ready. I was able to select an option that said we’re on our way so that the restaurant would save it for us. I’m so grateful for this system because when we arrived the wait was over an hour.
I ordered their Huevos Rancheros and my gf had their Seasonal French Toast. It looked like a huge piece of cake and was so filling that she took half of it home. Both were delicious and our server, Anna provided us with great customer service.
2. Go to MONOVA (Museum of North Vancouver) at 115 West Esplanade, just steps from Lonsdale Quay and the Seabus station. They have a wonderful Indigenous exhibit, a beautiful gift shop and are hosting a Family Day Event tomorrow from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Amission is free all day long!
When you are a member you will receive a 10% discount on the merchandise in their gift shop as well as your guests admission to the museum. I purchased Northwest Coast artist, Kelly Robinson‘s Raven Transforming small porcelain dish (shown in the photo below) and the matching platter.
3. MONOVA is also hosting a free virtual Coast Salish Wool Weaving Event tomorrow from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. The free tickets are available on EventBrite. The museum made it very easy to register for the tickets and pick up the bracelet making supplies. Tsawasiya Spukwas (Alice Guss), MONOVA’s Indigenous Cultural Programmer will be teaching the participants about Coast Salish wool weaving and showing us how to make a wool bracelet. I can’t wait! I registered my Mama and I for the workshop.
4. If you love thrift shopping as much as Mona and I, there are 3 shops in Lower Lonsdale that you should check out. First time for both us was Wild Honey Vintage, a curated collection from sisters, Joanie and Sarah. Their boutique is in a cozy space that makes you feel like you’re walking into your friend’s living room.
A block up on Lonsdale, is Hunter and Hare, consignment shop with an assortment of goodies: jewelry, hair accessories, shoes, purses, clothing, candles, essential oils and journals. I didn’t buy anything today, but previously picked up some great barrettes that I wear all the time. If you are following me on Instagram, you’ve seen them. Lol.
Mona and I found a lot of great thrifty finds! I bought two pairs of Wild Abandon earrings, terry cloth slippers for Mama, an Ikea bathmat and an R&W scarf. And she got an Alisha Keys CD, black mules and pink jeans.
5. And last but not least, a great IG worthy photo background–Fun Alley! It is located right beside Buddha-Full, Lower Lonsdale vegan restaurant.
Mama Izumi and I started out our Sunday picking up a pair of Vessis that I found on Facebook Marketplace. Bur we were about to embark on another foodie adventure! Originally, we had discussed going out for Korean, but the FB seller lived near Commercial Drive, so I said, “Let’s go to the Lunch Lady!” and Mamma was like, “Okay!”
The Lunch Lady is nestled in the heart of the Drive at 1046 Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.
Mama is usually game for any kind of restaurant that I suggest. We are foodies and this was our first time which was exciting for both of us. We had tried to dine here before, but the wait for a table was 45 minutes.
Today we were lucky! We found parking right beside the Lunch Lady and although there was a line-up, we arrived 5 minutes before they opened.
An airy space brightly lit, renovated bar and chrome table tops awaited us with a comfortable ambiance, filled with awesome music from artists like Drake. Friendly staff greeted us and served us throughout our meal. We ordered their Beef Pho and Pork Belly with Vermicelli and spring rolls. OMG, the pork belly was full of umami (Japanese for tasty)!
Everything was fresh and full of flavour. Mama and I highly recommend the Lunch Lady and will definitely go back.
We would also like to thank Jasmine and all the staff for their attentiveness and great customer service!
If you would like to learn more about the Lunch Lady follow them on their Instagram or make reservations on their website.
Every morning I wake up, I am grateful for my life and what has entered it. It is true what they say. When you think positively, expect a positive outcome, and are thankful for what you have, you will receive more good things.
I wasn’t always this ray of sunshine. I have experienced depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, and insomnia. But I overcame my dark nights of the soul and many hurdles to become the person I am today.
Everything happens for a reason. I believe that I am here to teach and help people — I am a lightworker. People are attracted to the light in me. They confide their personal struggles and heartaches and I, in turn, do what I can to alleviate the situation they’re in.
Unfortunately, this is sometimes to my detriment.
But I don’t regret helping them. It is why I’m here.
To motivate and inspire artists, creators and entrepreneurs (in the making) with my Features. To uplift, encourage, promote and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and my subscribers.
To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU …
We Met At Capilano University
I first met Argel Monte de Ramos at Capilano University in the Birch Building. He was giving students free Ethical Bean coffee in his role as a CSU (Capilano Students’ Union) Outreach Assistant. I took photos of Argel at the table and asked him if it was alright if I posted them on my Instagram. We started following each other and from there a great friendship began.
I am very excited to announce that Argel’s EP is going to be released in 8 days — on April 28! I had the pleasure of interviewing him to celebrate his success as an emerging artist.
Gifted With Talent
M: When did you first start singing? How old were you?
A: I started singing when I was three. My parents discovered my talent for music at a young age, and so at the age of three, they signed me up to a be part of our church’s youth gospel choir to hone my skills in singing.
M:When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career with your gift?
A: It wasn’t until I came back from my exchange program in the UK that I decided to pursue a career in the performing arts. At that time, I was finishing a Diploma in Arts, mainly taking business classes.
My initial plan was to finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. But my passion for the performing arts steered me towards its direction. Aside from pursuing a career in music, I also work for a performing arts school as an Arts Administrator for their community programs.
And I am a producer at Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Early Career Development program. I feel so fortunate to be able to work in the performing arts world.
M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?
I am from Manila, Philippines. My family and I moved here in 2012 and I have been living in the Metro Vancouver Area for ten years. We moved here to seek a better life and opportunities.
Argel`s First Ever EP Reign
M: You have an EP that is about to be released at the end of this month. What was your inspiration for it?
A: Yes! I am so excited about my first-ever EP! Reign, was inspired by my life as a young Filipino-Canadian immigrant and my journey toward finding a safe space to advocate for myself. It is all about finding our ways to thrive and own who we are; to reign our lives and not care about what other people say about us.
M: How long did it take to write the songs for your EP?
A: Each song had a different timeline. There are four songs in my EP: Reign, Blues, I’ll Rise, and Story We Tell. Reign and Blues took me half an hour to an hour to write. While the other two took me two weeks. It really depended on how busy I was or what I felt at the moment.
Producing the songs took a much longer time, I’ll Rise being the longest at 6 months. The producers and I took a bit of time to decide what genre of music Reign really fits into.
M: What did you study at Capilano University?
A I initially started in the Business Administration program but then decided to switch to Musical Theatre. After finishing that program, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Performing Arts program which I completed last September 2021 at Capilano University.
M: How have the courses that you studied and your program helped launch your career?
A: It provided me with an opportunity to trust my instincts and hone my skills in singing, dancing, acting, and arts administration.
M: What would your advice be to future artists with dreams of pursuing a career in singing?
My advice is to trust your instincts and try to find the courage to tell your story. As an advocate for representation, anti-racism work, and inclusion, I use the art of storytelling, music and performance to get my message across.
Inspiring others through the performing arts is truly beautiful, and so if you are blessed with such skills, it is humbling to see people responding to you. So honestly, do it! There’s no perfect time to do it but now.
M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share with everyone?
A: I believe that people have biases and privileges that need to be acknowledged in order for us to lift each other up and for everyone to feel like they belong. We are all worthy of happiness and success in life.
I truly believe in James Baldwin quote, “it took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”
In order for us to create space for others, we need to create a space for ourselves. I provided a space for myself by creating original work for music and theatre, and now, I provide a space for others to find inspiration through my stories.