Saying Bye to ValTorontoGal…..Saying Hello To The Next Steps

Well, ValTorontoGal has been with me and a massive part of my identity for the past four years. My Twitter avatar with the big hat and glasses, while charming and still very much a part of I feel I am inside,  is no longer how I want to be identified on such a massive marketing platform as I am making changes in my personal career and life (that said, she can stay here on the blog ———–> look she’s right there)

I started this blog in 2010 and when it started to gain some traction and I started working with brands, I was identified as a blogger and that was awesome. I loved it. I got a ton of free stuff, I pissed some people off (in truth, I regret most of that nonsense now,  the scathing blog posts calling people on their shit, I really do. I still think a lot of the same way, but trying to get attention via “calling people out” blog posts was not the way to go about it. These days, grown up Val is happy to let the silliness roll of her back, because I’m happier in own skin and my own life. I can choose the situations I want to be in and maybe I was just trying to fit a square peg in a circle hole too many times.) dsc00567-400x225 Pictured above: Humble beginnings. Shot Sept, 2011 when I left my full time job and started to take chances….From my first ever own apartment, the 1 bedroom junior suite and my first ever “home office”. 

And now the term “blogger” has left me feeling restless and uncertain and almost afraid that it is hindering my personal growth as the professional business person I am striving everyday to become. My company is a labour of love. This blog is now more something that I feel as a nagging chore that I have to half-heartedly update with something about make up and the like because a PR company sent me a free lipstick or something and I feel bad not doing it. I’d seriously rather just buy my own lipstick at this point. Freebies were/are/and will always be awesome. And they are important part of the relationships between brands and bloggers. And if my heart isn’t in the review, then I can’t take the freebies unless people know there is no guarantee I will write about it.

This blog is still a blog, in that it is a web log of who I am and who I have been for the past four years. I will continue to use it as such. I am happy it’s here because I am ready to use it again as a writing outlet and not necessarily a pass to free product, food and booze. I will still write about fashion and beauty and food and stuff as I see fitting because it’s my online web log and I like fashion and beauty and food and stuff. If a brand chooses to send me stuff, that’s cool and I will disclose that If I like it, maybe I will write about it. I’m happy to remain identified as an influencer. But I don’t want to have that horrid feeling of  “I should tweet this, I should update my blog, I should simultaneously share what I am doing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”.

I feel as though the compulsion to do so is starting to interfere with my happiness. The over-sharing and the over consuming of what everyone is doing online, people who aren’t really even my good friends, is starting to mess with my head a bit. I’m finding Instagram boring has hell. As a PR person, it’s great. It’s a tool. I am looking at what people are posting and the brands they are taking pictures of. As myself in my personal time, I don’t know if I can care what anyone is eating anymore or what they are wearing to work. Is that bad? It is bad. Because I totally post pictures like that too.

So I don’t know anything anymore. On Sunday, I had a beautiful day. Brody and I did some chores, we played tennis, we took Oscar to the off-leash park, we tried a new ramen restaurant and we watched the season finale of Game of Thrones. I left my phone at home and several times throughout the day, I had intrusive thoughts about needing to take a picture with my tennis racket or tweet about the new place I was eating at. I had to push them out because it’s my Sunday with my two boys and it’s mine. I need that time. I need it for my health and sanity and the compulsive need to share that personal sunny Sunday with social media is straight-up insane. It is. For me, anyways. I DID have a compulsive need to share how many steps I walked with my FitBit though because I AM OBSESSED with FitBit! (totally bought and purchased myself). Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 4.24.16 PM And please, please, please don’t take this post as me “getting up on my high horse” or being “hypocritical because, Val, you totally like just posted something to Instagram like  34 minutes ago”. Social media is very important and a critical component to my career and I DO love it. I LOVE it! I do it everyday for many brands. I do like sharing somethings sometimes! I am in the promotions game, it’s all about spreading the word, at the end of the day.  And when I am happy in my personal life, and experiencing a moment of amazingness then I still want to share.

Here’s what it is:

It’s the compulsion to share after four years of being acclimatized to this behaviour is what is bringing me down and directly affecting my ability to be happy in my spare time. And honestly, I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds. It has been one incredible ride. The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met and the opportunities I have encountered have truly been second to none. I would have not been where I am today without this URL.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 3.30.50 PM

Writing and blogging like this is therapeutic to me. I am not going to give this up, ever. The term “blogger” is one that I am no longer interested in. I am a woman who will soon be someone’s wife, I have a dog, I have a business that I work very hard at every single day to grow, I like to write and I will do so here as I see fit. But enhancing my “blogging career”, along with the “ValTorontoGal” image ends here. My new Twitter handle is ValCharmingGal in honour of my business and my devotion to remaining consistent in branding and messaging.

I guess I feel like I could write forever on this topic but no need. I’m sure you get the gist. Long story short, My new Twitter handle is ValCharmingGal and I will write on this blog about work and my life and things I like and get back to better writing and posts. No schedule needed.

The funny  thing is, it’s posts like these that have always got the most traction as opposed to the hyper-branded ones. In fact, the more branded my blog became, the traffic started to dwindle. People can tell when you have a passion for the content you are creating, I suppose. Which is why the bloggers who are totally devoted to their sites and the things they write about either in fashion, beauty, music, food, etc. continue to kick butt.

I can’t wait to see where this blog will take me next……!


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  • Justin Baisden

    I’m glad to see you migrated your name. The previous one essentially localized you (though obviously you’ve branched out far beyond Toronto). This new one fits perfectly with your company.

  • Oaks

    fantastic…loved reading this

  • Christine Pantazis

    Hey VAL!!!

    Really enjoyed reading this post. You’ve expressed many of the same sentiments that many of us feel and have been feeling for quite sometime.

    I wish you much success in your transition and know that you will continue to rock what ever you put your mind to.

    Sending you love and a whole lot of head nodding… 😀 (I felt myself doing that through out your post). 😀


  • Casey E. Palmer

    Val, you’re essentially articulating what many in the digital realm — regardless of physical location — have been feeling for quite some time, but have been too scared to say it for fears of rocking the boat. There’s been a general malaise about the industry for a good while now, and it’s due to the commercialization of the culture. The free stuff and parties are all good, but it gets old. It GOT old. No one cares about all of it, and they’re looking for people who can offer something more, whether it’s information, insight into their experiences or some enlightenment. The world is more than the stuff we have in our houses.

    Nah, it’s time to move on from blogging as we know it. I write a blog a week now if I’m lucky, spending tons of time building things I LIKE rather than trying to keep up with the culture. Do it long enough, mature enough, and suddenly you wonder why you thought it was so important to invest all this time into something that seems to hold little meaning.

    Part of it is because who you are now isn’t who you were 4 years ago. You’ve done a LOT these last 4 years, and they’ve helped you become who you are now. You’ve gotta recognize that first. But you hit the nail on the head — you NO LONGER need to do all the things you did before to get a reaction from the world. You’ve proven you can turn heads and get people to listen; now it’s time to give them the stuff you WANT them to hear, not stuff that other people say you should be shilling.

    Take it from someone whose priorities have drastically changed this past year, with the introduction of a son into his life — this post is great. It marks the start of a new chapter with a fresh outlook for you, without chains of the past holding you down.

    Rock that shit, Val, and rock it HARD. You’re your only limit. Keep impressing yourself with what you can accomplish.


  • Zach

    You know how good this post was? Good enough to stop me from posting a blog post I wrote. :)

  • Cory Silver

    Enjoyed the post Val. I’ve been a reader for a while – usually when it isn’t about a new lipstick :) You were one of the first people I found when I joined Twitter. All the best with the transition and in your business.

  • Melissa

    beautiful post – my family and I went bowling for Father’s Day and while I did bring my phone, I checked it minimally because sometimes you just want to enjoy a Sunday … you truly are an inspiration – definitely one of the reasons I started blogging .. always love seeing the incredible things you do .. hope to see you soon :)

  • Michael Bickerton

    Great post, and I believe part of both a personal and business growth cycle. Congrats, hope we can intersect at some point. Imagine your next steps, should it be a family, your 40th, or even 50th birthday. Your role as influencer is far from complete, a change in priorities is the natural progression. Things are evolutionary, bloggers, blogging, influence & influencers included. Very best.

  • laurenonizzle

    “This blog is now more something that I feel as a nagging chore that I have to half-heartedly update with something about make up and the like because a PR company sent me a free lipstick or something and I feel bad not doing it. I’d seriously rather just buy my own lipstick at this point. ”

    PREACH sister. I started hating my own blog ages ago. I can’t and won’t accept anything now if I’m expected to blog about it — unless it’s well worth the value of my time, or something I genuinely love. Free junk isn’t worth the hassle or work — not to mention the damage that being a shill does to one’s professional reputation. We’re far from the only ones who feel this way. PR companies killed the personal blogging scene in this city. I see it everywhere.

    Best of luck with everything new :)