Yes. In Canada. After a childhood that was just dysfunctional enough to make me funny, I became an advertising copywriter and eventually an associate creative director. Most of my time was spent in top agencies throughout the USA and Canada, because I’m kinda into fame. And modesty. I’m humble, too. And perfect.
"Every post has a little inspirational gem in it that always brightens up my day." -- Donna Paris, Canadian Living magazineThis here blog was Blog of the Month in Canadian Living magazine's May 2012 issue. Score.
I started this blog in January 2010 as part of a New Year's resolution to find my true art. I had dabbled in painting, photography, collage and guitar playing but nothing really took. I'd get excited, I'd buy the supplies, I'd use them briefly, put them away and forget about them. But that was all going to change. I was going to do the Artist's Way course by Julia Cameron for a year and we were all going to see how it went. It would be one big group experiment.
In 2010, I didn't find my true art. So sad. Fail. But wait. Instead, I devised an exit strategy to finance my own sabbatical. My Shawshank Redemption, if you will. I spent the year saving my pennies and cleaning out closets. By the time I met my financial goal, I had nothing more than a suitcase worth of clothes. So I packed it, skipped town and traveled. Winning.
In 2011, I was a full time nomadic blogger. I went to the Royal Wedding in London (outside the cathedral... my invite must have gotten lost in the post), the beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome (with an extra blessing from Benny. Useful.), and in Paris I met Christophe, the cute butcher on Rue Mouffetard. Cue sexy love affair.
In 2012, Christophe built me a closet in hopes that I would finally unpack my suitcase. I did. I’ve been an embarrassment to the French language ever since.
While I settled into my life in Paris, I continued to write letters and painted pictures. I mashed them together and BINGO! Painted letters... the true art I'd sought at the beginning of 2010. I opened an Etsy store and, lo and behold, people wanted to get my snail mail. Since starting this business in January 2012, I've sent out hundreds of letters to those who dig fun mail.
Here's how it works: Each month I create one painting with poetic prose about my life in Paris. I copy it, personalize each one with the name of the subscriber and sometimes add extra surprises like a sticker, magnet or train ticket. Then I mail them out. It's like a magazine subscription but more personalized and unique. Sign up for yours at my Etsy shop today.
I used to create junk mail. This painted letter is burning through some karma. Oh yeah. I'm nearly floating!
Paris Letters came out in 2014. It is basically a really long beautifully weaved travel memoir of this About page. It became a New York Times Best Seller in 2015. In 2003, I co-authored The Breakup Repair Kit. In 2006, I followed with The Dating Repair Kit. Both were published by Red Wheel/Weiser, under the imprint of Conari Press. All have been translated into a handful of languages and are sold worldwide.
- Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology, University of Santa Monica (2007)
- Linda Sivertsen’s Big Beautiful Book Plan writers retreat, California (2011)
- Bachelors Degree, University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada (1997)
- Post-graduate degree for Copywriting, Humber College, Ontario, Canada (1998)
- Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, California (2005)
- Cheese, wine and language classes, Paris, France (Present)