I’m excited to deliver to you the Muse series, where I profile fierce women approaching the golden age, who continue to inspire and empower.



Muse Monday

Age: 48

Lives: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Favorite Quotes:

“Live the life you love and love the life you live”

“Life is a Journey not a Destination”

“Everything Happens For a Reason”

My wonderful friend Anrea would always say, “What will present, will present.”

Shaanna pulls no punches when she talks about what got her through a demanding, yet very rewarding school life, one that helped her earn no less than four degrees, including her Master in Education. 

“Hard work, perseverance, discipline and intent,” the 48-year-old explains. “Throughout my life I have always set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for myself. Setting goals on a regular basis helped me stay focused on what I wanted to achieve.”

But it’s not all about planning, as she tells me being more spontaneous, travelling and trying new things is a big part of who she is now. Perhaps that’s why Shaanna matter-of-factly lists fast-food legend Taco Time as one of the things she enjoys in life. 

“Many people who know me,  know that I love Taco Time – a soft burrito on a whole wheat tortilla with very little sour cream and the original sauce.  So good!” 

“Setting goals on a regular basis helped me stay focused on what I wanted to achieve.”

But there’s so much more to the woman of British and Trinidadian descent. If she’s not collecting postcards (now that I know I will add her to my rotation) or browsing through consignment shops, which she loves doing on her own or with her mum, she’s screaming through roller coaster rides, going for a walk/run outside, getting transported in a book while sitting on her balcony, or planning her next adventure. 


Greece and Italy are the next countries she’d love to visit, a chance to enjoy learning and experiencing these special cultures. 

“I seek out adventure by trying new things and travelling and it’s the people I’m with and meet along the way that makes these experiences special and memorable. Connecting with others and hearing about their life journey is fascinating to me,” she said. 

Both brilliant and beautiful, Shaanna’s discovered her formula to wellness: self-care. 

The row machine at the gym and having a healthy protein shake for breakfast are a must, but she’s also kept whole through spending time with friends, family and being there for others. It’s what brings her the most happiness.  

“Being on your own, taking the time to figure out what makes you happy is beneficial for your personal growth.” 

“I’m so grateful for all the wonderful people that have crossed my path and continue to be part my life,” she said.   

Take, for example, her work as a mentor with Alison Pagsuyuin, someone she met through mutual friends.

“I find her to be very inspiring, especially with the invaluable experience she has had as an educator,” Pagsuyuin said. “We meet on a monthly basis and Shaanna helps me with creative ideas, teaching advice, relationship advice ( both work and personal) and goal setting. I value her thoughts, her opinions and I learn from the experiences she shares with me.”

A lover of the arts - particularly ballet - Shaanna also finds comfort in the outdoors. She prefers the summer, and being at cottages, going for a walk, run or bike ride, sitting on a patio as well as the sun-soaked breezy drives in her convertible. 

“I find time to nourish my physical, emotional, social and mental needs as they are all interconnected in creating a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle,” says Shaanna, a voice of calm and confidence on the phone. “It is essential to understand that happiness and self-love comes from within. So being on your own, taking the time to figure out what makes you happy is beneficial for your personal growth.” 

For now, she’s here, and we’ve got some questions to ask.

What are you most excited about in life right now? 

Anticipating how my life journey unfolds, with regards to my professional and personal life and continuing to follow and align with my passions, which leads me to my life purpose.  I look forward to seeing how I continue to evolve with compassion and kindness into the best authentic version of myself as a life long learner. I am also looking forward to doing things out of my comfort zone, learning more, challenging myself, mentoring others, continuing to spend time with family and friends, being spontaneous, creating many more memories, having fun and laughing a lot! 

What is the title of the current chapter in your life?  

Living My Best Life With Passion and Purpose While Being in the Present Moment!

What is something you would like to learn? 

A new language (Spanish, perhaps?), salsa dancing, painting abstract art, writing and publishing a book. 

It’s brunch, what would you eat? 

On a weekend, I’ll go with scrambled eggs with cheese, crispy bacon, hash browns with vinegar, multigrain toast with peanut butter and raspberry or blueberry jam and sometimes pancakes.  I can eat a lot!! 

During the week I make a protein shake that consists of kale, spinach, blueberries, avocado, banana, plant based protein powder, water, cayenne pepper, hemp, flax or chia seeds. 

If you could go to any concert past or present, what would it be? 

There are so many to choose from! I would love to see Andrea Bocelli in concert (especially in Europe) or U2 again!

What inspirational speakers I would like to see? 

Oprah, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Michelle Obama or the Dali Lama 

How would you describe your style? 

For this question I asked my wonderful gay friends and of course, my Stanford (you know him, right?) and the following is their list: sophisticated, elegant, timeless, chic and classic. But my style is also comfort and casual.

Favourite shoes? 

Stilettos or flip flops. 

Favourite fashion trend of all time? 

Skinny jeans – love the stretchy material because it makes the jeans so comfortable to wear. I’m all about comfort.

Fashion trend you are surprised has made a return in the last few years? 

Baggy jeans and scrunchies – I’m thinking back to a Sex and the City episode and the comment Carrie made about wearing a scrunchie and how out of style it was.

Who is your favourite solo musician? 

I cannot decide! I enjoy listening to my father playing the steel drums. I should really learn how to play! (next goal)

Outside of him, it’s Andrea Bocelli, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Bob Marley, Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys.

What song do you know all the words to? 

Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey

Favourite movie of all time?

Again there are so many to choose from! Movies as well as songs trigger memories and sound tracks help express the tone and message of a movie. When I was very little I loved the Sound of Music (I loved the sound track). I liked Sixteen Candles because 16 was my champagne birthday. And the Sex and the City series and movies were great to watch when they first came out.  


I love learning so I like watching true stories and inspirational movies. Some movies I enjoy watching include: The Breakfast Club, The Blind Side, The Mirror with Two Faces, The Notebook, Eat, Pray, Love, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rudy, The Butler, Grease, Temple Grandin and 27 Dresses.  I’ve been a bridesmaid/maid of honour 13 times so it brings back memories with all the dresses in her closet. – Been there done that!

Basically, I like all movies except horror movies! 

What are you reading right now?  

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

What book would you recommend? 

The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander 

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?  

Note to self: life is full of lessons and it is up to you to figure out what those lessons are and what the experiences are trying to teach you. Every experience is a gift as well as a stepping stone in your life journey so just breathe and go with the flow as everything will turn out the way it’s meant to be. Be true to yourself! 

Do you have an evening beauty ritual? 

Yes!  Many steps involved! I only use Eminence products and I have facials (with Eminence products) on a regular basis. 

Must-have beauty products? 

Eminence organic sun defense water resistant mineral powder (cherries and berries), Voluminous mascara (sometimes) and lip gloss/lip balm with SPF. I do not wear a lot of makeup.

What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life?

My interest in people, setting goals, being self disciplined, independent, kind, helpful and caring. Lastly, I consider myself to be a life long learner.

I was involved in many sports throughout my school life and did gymnastics three times a week after school so I learned how to organize and manage my time well. These skills came in handy when I was going to university and working a variety of jobs at the same time. I continue to use these skills on a regular basis. 

When I asked my Stanford, whom I’ve known for over 25 years, his list includes: intuitive, kind, patient and having the ability to listen.

What do you remember about your 20’s? 

Working a lot so I could pay for my postsecondary education, studying and receiving my Bachelor of Arts in 1993, dating, travelling, taking risks, going on adventures, exploring the world, and having various experiences, creating memories and meeting amazing people that I am still friends with today!  I worked four part-time jobs while working full-time as an Educational Assistant and going to the University of Winnipeg in the evenings

In my late 20’s I went to Brandon University and lived in residence.I had a full course load and also worked at a restaurant. I received my Bachelor of Education Degree in 1997. I accepted my first teaching position in a very small community in northern Manitoba. While living in this fly-in only community for two years I experienced hunting for birds, fishing and riding on a dog sled. I also took Taekwondo classes!


I would be on a fishing boat for seven hours straight, catching very large trout and looking at the beautiful untouched wilderness that surrounded me. It was so peaceful and beautiful! Most importantly I learned about the Dene culture and their way of life. I returned to Winnipeg in the summer of 1999.

What do you remember about your 30’s?

Becoming a professional, having a career and joining a variety of organizations, receiving my Post Baccalaureate and Master of Education Degrees as well as my Special Education and Special Education Coordinators certificates at the University of Manitoba, as well as obtaining my Level 1 Administrator’s certificate (all goals I wanted to achieve).

I was still travelling, and also purchased my condo before I was 40 (this was also a goal).   

This decade helped me learn to be grateful for the experiences, relationships and lessons presented to me and teaching me about what I desired in life. This led to awareness, growth and taking steps in my journey to allow me to move forward towards my true authentic self. 

What do you remember about your 40’s? 

Putting those lessons I’ve learned into practice, doing things out of my comfort zone, being open to changes and challenges, self-love, freedom, having compassion and gratitude, being kind, helping others, spending time with others, finding my soul tribe, living in the present and practicing this concept at work and outside of work.  

Working with younger children has allowed me to connect with my inner child and be in the moment. It’s still about having fun, laughing, learning, more travel, spontaneity, experiencing new adventures and creating lasting memories.

How do you feel about turning 50?  

I am grateful for every day! So many people, including my best friend, did not have the opportunity to celebrate this milestone.  

I’m conflicted, but gradually embracing the idea of turning 50. I continue to learn about myself and grow as a woman. I am so thankful for how my life journey has unfolded up to now.  

Lastly, I am looking forward to the arrival of the gentleman that is meant for me (when it’s meant to be) to enhance my life. Sharing my life with the man of my dreams would be an incredible gift and exciting adventure that I would rejoice and embrace.

inspire and empower at almost50

April 15, 2019