in good company // issue no. 11 // jillian harris

in good company // issue no. 11 // jillian harris

Who: Jillian Harris, Founder and Creative Director,
What: new mamma, tv personality, (former) bachelorette, busy bee, interior designer
Where: Kelowna, BC
Follow: @jillian.harris

So here goes: Believe it or not, Jillian Harris and I have about 6 degrees of separation to the nth degree. And by that, I mean our lives have not only crossed paths many-a-times, but it turns out we basically know a lot of the same people.

Kevin Bacon, eat your heart out.

Here's just a breakdown of what I'm talking about:

  • Jillian, myself and the other Smart Cookies met up for drinks to chat business opportunities and partnerships.

  • I bumped into Jillian on a plane to Dallas and then commiserated with her over lunch in the airport about the dating/love life scene (post Ed!), asking ourselves, "are there ANY good men out there?!"

  • Jillian and I worked at the same company at different times (Browns Restaurant Group).

  • I meet a guy online in 2013 (You all know him as Nate, cause well, that's his name) who happens to know Jillian Harris very well from their Peace River, AB days AND her cousin (Tori Wesszer) happens to be (a) someone I went to university with and met and she is also (b) Nate's best friend's cousin. Make sense?

  • Basically every person Jillian grew up with in the old Peace Country, I now know well through Nate. They're all family now, cause holy cow, Peace River is all of 6,000 people.

  • We both got engaged on Christmas morning (more of a coincidence), AFTER having baby boys 4 months apart. HOLY COINCIDENCE!

So, its no wonder I wanted to feature her for my #InGoodCompany series! Serendipitous? A match made in heaven? Soul sisters? Ok, I may be exaggerating here, but what are the odds of this happening?!

I would lie if I said I didn't admire this lady. She took a platform (The Bachelor/Bachelorette) and launched a lucrative, successful career doing what she loves. Everyone is a critic, and I realize there are a TON of lifestyle bloggers out there, but if you ask me, there's just something different about Jillian...

...she's honest, candid, real and is ok showing her true, vulnerable side to  all 714,000 of her Instagram followers (check out her Instastories if you don't believe me). She's a hard-working motherlucker who is now soaking up all the good things life has to offer: a new mom to little baby Leo, her pending marriage to Mr. Pasutto, finishing their NEW HOUSE (insert jealous looking emoticon here), a book deal with her cousin and (possible) talks about a baby #2. I don't know where she finds time to herself in a day!

I'm unbelievably appreciate that she (a) agreed to let me feature her because well, Lemons for Love is small beans compared to HER BLOG(!) and (b) had the time to do it with her hectic schedule!

Enjoy (and thank you, thank you Jillian, you have no idea). xo

I love that you are a lady who is still so true to her roots. A small town, Alberta girl who hit it big. Did you always see yourself living your life in the spotlight?

I never could have imagined just how everything would pan out, but I'm so grateful and thankful about how everything DID turn out! I always loved performing and telling stories, but as a small town girl, I never once thought "ok, I shall be a TV host and blogger!"

Lets be honest WAS your experience on the Bachelor/Bachelorette? For realz!

LOL! It was SUCH a crazy whirlwind of an experience and I often sit back and think about it now and I wish I would have lived in the moment more, soaking it ALL in and having more fun with it. It was such a mind trip and I remember feeling totally out of it the entire time. You are completely sequestered from life - no phone, no computer, no email, no TV and no communication with anyone except your producer and "the guys" so you go a bit .....crazy. BUT, along the way, there were so many CRAZY experiences and interesting people and travels, I feel like I won some kind of twisted lottery.

Did you ever think that you would become a TV personality? It can be a tough job (trust me, I know from my own experience), so what do you find is the most challenging thing about it?

I didn't think that I would be, I pinch myself everyday! I think the most challenging thing about it for me is the balance - balancing work, travel, my family, being a new mom, my blog, my team and ME TIME! Cause its important to have time for just me!

Your background is interior design. What inspired you to go into this line of work and what do you still love about it?

I definitely was inspired by my mom. She used to own a gift store and I loved staging and styling it for her, so she taught me young! I LOVE all things decor and I love to shop, so hey, it works!

What is the one room you LOVE to redesign in a house? If I could, I'd like you to come and design my dream kitchen please:)

Well, you just read my mind! I LOVE redesigning kitchens. They tend to be the hub of any house, people stand around the island and chat, drink and eat. It's important to have a functional and welcoming kitchen! All good parties start and end in the kitchen, am I right!?

How do you run with your busy schedule? What's a typical day like for the fabulous ladies and gents that work behind the scene to make it all happen?

Holy man, good question! Juggling my website and travelling back and forth for filming was a bit of a challenge but now that I'm on a little hiatus from the show, we are working to streamline everything. I'm so thankful to have my team behind me, Shay and Mindy work hard to make sure everything is on time and running smoothly behind the scenes. There's a lot of amazing things that are in the works and we are all so excited!

What has been your FAVE project/reveal on Love it or List it Vancouver so far?

OMG, I would have to say Chris and Christine. They're house was STUNNING in the first place and the reveal was a dream!

Chris & Christine's kitchen post reveal. Photo by  Janis Nicolay

Chris & Christine's kitchen post reveal. Photo by Janis Nicolay

Chris & Christine's kitchen post reveal. Photo by  Janis Nicolay

Chris & Christine's kitchen post reveal. Photo by Janis Nicolay

Chris & Christine's front entry mud room post reveal. Photo by  Janis Nicolay

Chris & Christine's front entry mud room post reveal. Photo by Janis Nicolay

Where do you see the Jillian Harris empire in 5 years?

I would LOVE to have a dedicated office for myself and the team to work out of so we can collaborate and brainstorm together on a regular basis. There are also a few other ideas up in the air at the moment but you'll just have to wait and see...oh the suspense!

How has being a mother changed your life (aside from the obvious of falling IMMEDIATELY in love with Leo!)?

Leo has changed my life in so many ways. I am SO in love (you know how intense it is!) and he has opened up my heart in ways that I couldn't have ever imagined. I love harder, laugh a little louder, I'm more compassionate, I want to give and pay it forward and he makes me a better person and I can't even begin to think what life was like before him. OMG, I'm tearing up over here even thinking about him...

Justin, Leo and Jilly

Justin, Leo and Jilly

Jilly, Justin and Leo do San Fran

Jilly, Justin and Leo do San Fran

Jillian and her "first" baby....fur baby Nacho Cilantro. I mean, how could you not love a boxer let alone one with his own Instagram account and with a name after my fave type of food?!

Jillian and her "first" baby....fur baby Nacho Cilantro. I mean, how could you not love a boxer let alone one with his own Instagram account and with a name after my fave type of food?!

Exterior, front entry of Jillian and Justin's new home! (I may or may not have also bought this door mat).

Exterior, front entry of Jillian and Justin's new home! (I may or may not have also bought this door mat).

Kitchen/bar area of Jillian and Justin's new home.

Kitchen/bar area of Jillian and Justin's new home.

We see on Instagram a lot that you have a love affair with your make up artist Kaitlin. How did you two meet and what do you love most about her?

LOL! Kaitlin is the most kind-hearted, funny, BEAUTIFUL human ever, not to mention an incredible make up artist (psst...all you brides to be out there...listen up)! Kaitlin and I met approx. 5 years ago on the set of Love it Or List It Vancouver and she's been my make up guru and best friend ever since! LOVE YOU KAITLIN!

So, can you let us in on a secret??? What is this special project you are filming with Justin??? We want to know!!!!

SORRY!!!.....but no

(Editor's note: unless you've been living under a rock, the cats out of the bag now....You can read (and watch) all about it here!).

I've noticed you talk a lot lately about creating and being on a schedule. I couldn't agree with you more....especially now as a mom. How do you plan on doing this?

I LITERALLY created a schedule for myself and I hold myself accountable in order to stick to it. I scheduled everything in my iCal from working out to checking my emails to days off. So far, it's working out great but its certainly a work in progress.

You commute from Kelowna to Vancouver for Love it Or List it Vancouver. I can't imagine how draining that can be, so what do you do to wind down?

Well, I WINEd down:) Wine + bubble bath + Leo cuddles = one relaxed and very happy mama! But I'm taking a break from LIOLI and enjoying just being a mom and living in our new house. I'm SO excited for a summer at HOME!!

What was it that made you think twice about eating meat and dairy and now living a (95%) vegan/plant-based lifestyle?

I watched a few heartbreaking documentaries which made me so, so sad which opened up my eyes and heart and made me rethink some of my food choices. I'm not 100% there yet, and I'm not sure I'll ever be, but I now make more conscious decisions when buying groceries and WHERE I purchase my food from. In the end, I've realized that animal products are a 'want' not a need.

I'm living a very happy, healthy life by reducing my animal product intake by almost 95%. I'm also aware of the environmental effects of animal agriculture and while I'm sure I could be a better recycler and reduce consumption of other goods, I know reducing animal intake makes a HUGE difference in this area. In the end, it is my belief, that we cannot possibly feed all of us because the amount of animals and animal products we are currently consuming is just not safe or sustainable. It's not the good ol' days anymore, where the pork came from Mr. Pig on grandmas farm. Mind you there ARE options to purchase meat and animal products from places like these and when we do consume, it is where we spend our money. No more Costco meat for us!

(Editor's Note/tip: Basically having watched ALL of Jillian's Insta-stories, I do know that she raves about Vegan Supply Co. which offers some of the BEST vegan/non-dairy cheeses and so much more!)

What's your favourite vegan/vegetarian dish to cook (and this is solely for selfish reasons because I'm not a vegan and looking for tasty alternatives:). I LOVE your buffalo tofu wraps.

HA! You nailed it! I LOVE my buffalo wraps too. I also made a "KFC burger" out of cauliflower and it was UNREAL. Keep an eye out for that recipe on the blog! I also reinvented my bolognese to be vegan and its just as good. Justin LOVES it!

Who are some of your favourite bloggers and websites you follow offering you loads of inspiration from food, design, parenthood and health??

Oh my, there are so many but off the top of my head, I have to say Fraiche Nutrition, Erin Ireland, Monika Hibbs, Erin Sousa, Margo & Me, The Style Bungalow, Steph Sterjoski, Gal Meets Glam....oh my I could go on and on, but that's a start!

I'm a big believer in 'ah-ha' moments, that timing is everything and things happen for a reason. What has been your biggest ah-ha moment in life and how has it lead you to where you are now?

I've had so many ah-ha moments, from realizing you have to take risks to find success and that with risks, come failures, and to learn to celebrate and embrace the failures. I needed help with the blog and hiring Shay was such a help and relief. Then realizing we needed MORE help, and we hired Mindy. THEN I realized I need to set a schedule for myself to keep my life in order! But, the ah-ha moment that means the most....becoming a mom.  

What are three qualities you look for in the tribe of men/women you surround yourself with and what's the one thing men/women can do better to support each other? 

I LOVE THIS QUESTION! The (four) qualities I look for are trustworthy, motivated and inspirational, sense of humour. I think men and women can better support each other by being KIND to one another, so let's work together and build each other up rather than tear each other down.

Pssst....if you're a mom or live in the local Kelowna area and want to donate money or volunteer your time to an amazing organization, Jillian is passionate about (and supports) Mamas for Mamas. They are a Kelowna based non-profit that is creating a community without barriers to raising healthy, happy, children. 100% volunteer run with a mission to break the cycle of poverty for mothers in a province with a no poverty reduction plan.

in good company // issue no. 12 // jill hatch

in good company // issue no. 12 // jill hatch

a love letter to my cookies

a love letter to my cookies