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.



See what’s cooking with the latest Muse

Age: 49

Lives: Calgary, Alberta

Favourite Quote:

“Nothing works if you don’t” - Maya Angelou

I’m so proud to unveil our next muse.

Marican is one of my dearest friends, and today, on July 4, she turns 49.

I’ve been crushing on this girl since I met her at a debut party the year we turned sweet 16.

It may have been her amazing smile and her contagious zest for life, or perhaps it was how she worked on the dance floor with me, trying to make sure our moves were in sync.

We probably thought we were just the coolest cats dancing up a storm back then. Actually … nah. We were too busy giggling at ourselves. I still remember those days, and that was 35 years ago.


She is, without a doubt, one of the women I still admire to this day. 

This married mother with a handsome young son is genuine and incredibly kind, someone you’d refer to as the real deal. Being around her is a breath of fresh air: you can always be yourself and feel loved and liked.

She’s had an amazing career arc, which includes owning and operating a vintage boutique, as well as becoming a chef. Those food dreams should soon translate into her own restaurant. God willing, perhaps we meet in the Philippines while she does her “tasting research.”

For now, we’ve got some questions.

What are you most excited in life about right now?

I am excited for many things that are coming up. I feel my life is coming around full circle in that I’m going to be opening a restaurant that has been a dream of mine since forever. I had a look back at some old journals from 30 years ago and it’s always come about to be a restauranteur.

What is something you would still like to learn?

Hmmm… there is so much to keep learning for me. Whether it be my own personal growth and spiritual learning, to hip-hop dancing, finding out what makes my teenage son laugh and keeping my plants alive.

It’s brunch. What do you eat?

Watch out! Options! Brunch is always about options for me. Dim sum! I totally can be civilized with a crab cake benny and a mimosa.

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

Perfect trifecta would be Bruno Mars, Joss Stone and Cold play

What makes you smile most?

When I lock eyes with a baby and we can gaze at each other and it makes me feel like I’ve connected with my inner babe. 


Your shop is adorable, tell us about Alive and Lovely?

My sweet preloved clothing boutique. My dear hubbie Simon created the name. When he first said it, I crinkled my nose and thought that was far from how I felt at the time. He looked at me and said, “you’ll work towards it yourself and start feeling that way eventually.” He was right! I have always been a clotheshorse from the moment I received my first babysitting money. I’d make my dollar stretch and would try on multiple outfits.

Can you tell me more benefits of shopping at your boutique?

When I have a client come in, and they try on a dress or outfit that is almost like their alter ego and they are rocking it – I get chills of excitement! It really was an amazing way for me to connect with women. The alive and loveliness is something that we as women should honour. The other benefit that I believe creates many wins is that it supports local charities by shopping, and they in turn create programs to help women emerging into the workforce.

Do you have an evening / morning beauty ritual?

My morning and evening beauty ritual I’ve started is: I use a very gentle cleanser with an anti-aging component, personalized serum, which is customized.

If you could raid one woman’s closet, whose would it be?

It would be Jennifer Lopez. JLo, Jenny from the Block! Funky, classy and sexy!

What has been your favourite job? Your hardest job?

I’ve been fortunate to have a few favourite jobs, and most challenging would be a tie between Film and TV caterer and Private Chef for a billionaire.


The TV catering was so fun because of the daily menu changes and the locations were always changing. Challenging because of the very long hours and very physically demanding, though I loved to nourish the crew.

The private chef position that I held for five years was so layered in the nuances of the family, the bond created, and the professional development perks, such as going to the Food Network TV Festival. There I was fortunate to sample, learn and meet some of the amazing Food Network chefs. Being a private chef is challenging in terms of sacrifice because you must ultimately put your own family on the back burner so to speak.

What is your favourite book of all time?

It would have to be the Alchemist: following your heart, overcoming fear, facing inevitable obstacles, and that we are beautifully unique. Good, good stuff, I must read again.

What do your remember most about your 20’s? 30’s? 40’s?

What I remember about my 20’s was that I felt I had something to prove about my worthiness. The search for love and acceptance, because I didn’t have that for myself.

In my 30’s I had some pain come out from feeling like I had not accomplished enough.

My 40’s is the feeling like… “ah well, it doesn’t matter anymore to hold onto any past hurts and it’s my responsibility how I see myself and others.”


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

The thing that has stayed the same about me is that I truly want a joyous life and to laugh and find that silver lining in everything. I feel there is a much greater force than I am, yet I am equal to that greater force because it depends on me. Does that makes sense? (I hear you). I guess that means we are all part of what makes energy flow.

Among your many talents, you also are a chef! What is your favourite dish to make? What is your go-to for entertaining?

My go-to for entertaining is ever-changing, as I think I used to do too much and would stress about having things be perfect. Now, as I get older, I really want to just enjoy myself and keep it simple. So, anything that is good quality and fresh I love to serve up.

Also, I’ll admit that my cooking style is more on the improv side. I like to create with what I already have in stock. It’s something I would like to teach others to do. You can utilize and cook with what you already have. Good way to not let things expire!

What’s one thing you need to have in your fridge at any given time?

What I need to have in my fridge at all times are some free-range eggs! Easy breakfast, lunch or dinner go to!

Country you wish to visit?

My plan is to go back to the Philippines! I haven’t been since 2003. If I’m going to do a Filipina restaurant I need to do some proper research and serious, serious sampling and varieties of cooking styles from different regions. (Thanks for the invite!)

Favourite smell? 

My absolute favourite smell is vanilla! French vanilla, Mexican, Madagascar, Tahitian, bean, pod, extract, yum, yum, yum!


Favourite flowers?

Favourite flowers are Dahlias because we used to live on Pender Island (on the British Columbia coast) and they would grow along the road in certain areas. Large, hardy, yet delicate and unique.

If you could have coffee with someone, who would it be?

My husband Simon. He makes me delicious coffee because he’s such a nerd at it and it’s his expression of love for me. Plus, he gets super chatty and we have really amazing heart-centred talks about life, which usually ends up in revelations and tears, but good tears.

How do you feel about turning 50?

What I feel most about turning 50 is that it’s weird to me… surreal in that often my heart feels 26, or 34 and when I finish a 12-hour day, 87!

When I thought about what 50 was like when I was 16 it felt sooooo old. Busting up agism beliefs, hearing about women in their late 60’s surfing, and mid-80’s rock climbing.

Somewhere on this amazing planet, a gorgeous woman is standing on her rock, and taking it all in with grace and her wisdom shines bright in her smile. Now, I just think it really is a number. There is still lots more to experience and learn. Goals, goals, goals: still desiring and waking up feeling everything is how it should be, and also the perfection of not having what you want and that it does take time.

Like all good things, the maturity aspect of that is being patient with myself. To trust and keep going, and it all works out beautifully.

On the eve of her birthday, Marican ziplined into 49.

On the eve of her birthday, Marican ziplined into 49.

inspire and empower at almost50

July 4, 2019



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