24 Sep ABOUT ME, SABRINA STAVENJORD
Hi, I’m Sabrina! I can’t remember the last time I introduced myself. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I am obsessed with coffee, pink and anything cute.I live in downtown Toronto with my husband, Taylor and my kitty Storm. I say “omg, so cute” a lot. I probably eat way too many pastries, one of my best friends is Joelle who is clumsy AF and now I am clumsy AF. I think I’m super awkward. Also, I do my makeup the same way every single day. I grew up in the projects. My husband says I use to wear too many t-shirts (I used to wear only jeans, t-shirts and hoodies) and now I don’t own a single pair of sweats or sweat pants. Once upon a time I was a makeup artist and also a dental hygienist. I started a fashion blog in 2015 that lasted a whole 3 months, lol. I am an introvert and could literally spend all day everyday watching reruns of Sex and the City. I want to share with you my story.. I’m warning you.. it’s a long one!
There’s one date I’ve had in my mind the past year, it’s September 20th. September 20th 2016 has a special place in my heart. Last year on that date, I posted an Instagram photo of a baking magazine with a piece of toast and a large cup of coffee. I didn’t know at the time that that would play such a big part in my life. It’s been exactly one year since I decided to post whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and told myself that whatever happens, happens. I had no idea what it meant to be a blogger or content creator, how someone could make this kind of work a career and how many extraordinary and talented people I would meet along the way. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and the life that I’m living and want to share with you my story!
Rewind 2 years ago, My Miaou was not a food and lifestyle blog. My Miaou actually started as Miaou Vintage, an online vintage jewelry shop where I curated my favourite vintage pieces that I collected and sourced from estate sales and antique shops. I remember spending an insane amount of hours sorting, cleaning and photographing my jewelry. Every waking moment where I wasn’t at work, I was working on my shop. I sold a lot of my pieces to friends and co-workers and eventually expanded into the world of stationary, decor and furniture. I wanted to offer brands that were not currently available in Canada.
I hosted a high tea party in my apartment to relaunch my site and invited 14 other bloggers I had never met before. I baked so many treats from scones to macarons to short bread cookies, prepared three different kinds of sandwiches. I sourced vintage tea cups and tea pots, got a sponsorship from Kitten and the Bear to provide their beautiful jams and scones. It was the first time I had ever hosted an event.. period. It was terrifying to put myself out there, we were all complete strangers, I remember thinking to myself, what if no one responds or wants to come or comes and then hates it? So many scary thoughts. Looking back to this day, that was a pivotal point in my life, I met so many friends that I am still friends with to this day.
I closed up shop the summer of 2016. I learned a lot about myself, the strengths and weaknesses of owning my own business. Towards the end of Miaou Vintage, I found myself taking a lot more of photos of coffee and food rather than jewelry and decor. I took a step back and a little break from social media for about a month. I felt defeated, lost, a little angry at myself. I didn’t really know what was next.
I returned to Instagram Sept 20th 2016 with this photo and decided I was just going to start doing whatever I wanted. I started baking a lot more, I made scones, tarts, granola, you name it. I found something that made me super excited not only because I get to eat sweets but it was also therapeutic just being in the kitchen. I only started baking about five years ago after I met Taylor. Before then, trust me, you would not want to eat my food. I remember making Taylor lunch once and he did not even pretend to enjoy it, but he still stuck around haha.
I started thinking.. maybe baking was my calling! I grew up always watching the Food Network, I loved baking shows so I auditioned for MasterChef Canada Season 4. I spent weeks and weeks developing my dish and I felt really good about it. I made a deconstructed tiramisu and made every element from scratch. It was literally me on a plate. The tiramisu represented Taylor and his family who are Italian and the chocolate espresso ganache, a play on a Vietnamese coffee represented my family. I had a journalist follow me around the entire day (read her article here), I felt like a superstar and had pretty much convinced myself I was a shoo-in. I was telling everyone I was so excited I had a great feeling I was going to make it onto the show. I started baking even more, taught myself how to make all the classics from pate-a-choux to risotto to dutch babies, I even learned how to break down an entire chicken. A couple weeks later, I got a call from the producer and they decided not to cast me. I was devastated. I actually thought it was my year, I was going to make it onto the biggest baking show in Canada.
My dream was crushed.
That same week, I was talking to of my friends who had just returned from a solo trip to Thailand and said it was the most liberating thing she had ever done. I had never done anything alone before. Never sat in a restaurant alone, attended an event alone and even when I sat in a coffee shop, I always felt antsy and would leave after half an hour. I told Taylor about my friend’s amazing trip and decided I wanted to go on a solo-trip to discover myself and a new city. That day he booked me a three day trip to London, England. I was terrified but excited but terrified.
I packed my bags and hopped on a plane to Gatwick Airport. I had the most amazing time of my life. Who would have thought that travelling alone and eating alone could be so fun?! I walked 60,000 steps in three days, I got shin splints, I drank my weight in coffee and tea, ate all the pastries and discovered all the beauty that London had to offer. I even met my friend, Michelle (who I met from Instagram, @crazycatladyldn) on this trip. I went home with a happy belly, my heart was full and a camera roll full of beautiful photos. When I returned, I thought I would instantly feel liberated and like a different person but I didn’t. I’ve always been content with being okay. Never really experiencing new things. It wasn’t until this trip that I realize that you should always be trying to do things outside of your comfort zone, its the only way you can really grow as a person. Now looking back, it was the best gift I had ever received. I started to look at the world in a different way and found another love, photography. I had overcame so many things over the course of three days.
While I am no professional, I love taking photos. Food photos especially. I am self taught and shoot on manual. I’ve had my Fuji XT-1 for about 3 years now and discovered my new love for photography after my trip. I carry it almost everywhere with me.
Since my solo-trip to London so much has happened. I began engaging more with likeminded people, especially people that inspired me. I met with strangers for coffee date after coffee date, I hosted events at my home and have since made so many new friends.
My Platform family, who I was a little hesitant to join at first not knowing what this industry was all about but has been one of the best decisions I have made for my career. Sara @sarakoonar, my beautiful manager, my friend and my rock. Ashley @ashkowapizzi, my campaign manager and ALSO my cosmic twin (we were born on the exact same day and year, possibly even time) is my other rock. Also to be surrounded by all these beautiful bloggers and content creators makes it all worth it.
I’ve also made a couple appearances on national television ahhhhh.. I appeared on Cityline after I submitted my Ginger Molasses Cookie recipe for their Holiday Cookie Swap contest. I was also featured on the news during my audition for MasterChef Canada Season 4 and just yesterday was on Bake It Possible on the Food Network. If you asked me a couple years ago if I would ever do TV and I would nervously laugh and a hundred percent say no.
It’s been a completely eye opening experience, I’ve invested in myself and my life as a blogger and content creator, some days I’m super lazy and kick myself for it later. I believe that if you put what you want out into the universe and something will come. I believe that positive energy will attract positive energy. Surround yourself with likeminded people, with inspiring people, people that push you and support you to be the best person you can be.
I still have a lot of growing, learning and a lot work to do but if theres anything I could share with you is to do what you love. It doesn’t need to be your full time job. Your job does not define you. Find something you love or something that you’re good at, invest time in yourself, always be true to yourself, push yourself and just go for it.
Somehow this blogpost has turned into a motivational speech. It was not meant to lol. This is just me and my story, how I got to be where I am now. Love you guys!