Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #8, Makini Smith, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Mentor and Author of the “A Walk in My Stilettos” Series

If you heard any of the interviews I did for Tales from the 2.9, you’ll know there’s one word that comes to mind when I think of my fellow Black Canadians—

RESILIENCE.

It’s rare that anything worthwhile happens overnight. In an age where overnight successes come and go daily, we rarely see the years of grind needed to get people there.

People clown on Drake all the time for his quasi-anthem “Started from the Bottom”, but that title’s all too real for so many Black folk, and we’ve culturally learned that we’ll need to work twice as hard to get half as far.

But when those efforts start bearing fruit and you can finally see what it was all for, you don’t give that success up for anything.

It’s this narrative that comes to mind when I read Makini Smith’s contribution, seeing just what she’s overcome to become the international phenom she is today. People take pity on teen Moms. They downplay how hard it is to be a housewife. But Makini doesn’t want your pity, nor should she ever be underestimated—it’s clear from her brand and her accomplishments that she’s taken her life into her hands through hustle and through faith, and if that isn’t the utter embodiment of the Black Canadian Experience, I don’t know what is.

Check out Makini Smith’s post below. I promise—it’s a good one!

Until tomorrow,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

Being a Black Canadian to me means multiple things.  The question is a little difficult for me to answer one way. I travel internationally and can give a response based on how we are treated elsewhere vs how I view things living here. Having spent much time traveling to the United States my entire life I’m grateful my parents chose to migrate to Canada. Being Black Canadian is something I am proud of. I use that as a tool when I travel to other parts of the world. Others greet me with hugs and smiles. I’m treated with much respect. Canadians have a good reputation in other countries. When I am home here in Canada I can appreciate the diversity of cultural backgrounds but also feel extremely limited for success. We are a minority being Black in North America as it is but Black successful Canadians are an even smaller number.

The 2016 100 — or — How to Build a Better Casey

I can’t even lie, guys — coming up with a list of 100 goals for the fourth year in a row was hard — ridiculously so. I’m a very different me than I was when The 2013 100 came out, back when free time was still an abundant commodity I didn’t even know I was taking for granted, trying to fill it with countless things that’d keep life interesting.

A problem I most definitely don’t have in 2016!

As I work at surviving the upcoming year — especially with our second child’s imminent arrival — I needed to make the list a lot more realistic; I’m all too skilled at chasing ambitions that exceed my lifestyle’s capacity, and I’ll need to keep wary of that in 2016 if I want to see myself make it out the other side!

So without further ado, The 2016 100. It took a couple of days to polish off after recovering from the gauntlet that was 2015, but I feel like it’s a list that will really make waves in this life o’ mine should I see it finished!

But hey — that’s what I say every year ????

Thanks for reading!


1) Write an amazing series for Black History Month
2) Win a vacation for my dry cleaner
3) Watch Creed; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; Ant-Man
4) Take Eric to a sporting event so he can stop complaining about getting left from sporting events
5) Phase my old 3.5″ hard drive out
6) Get rid of my old electronics
7) Stop biting my nails
8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent
9) Clean out the basement crawl space
10) Build shelves into the crawl space
11) Give my FWD Powershot 2 to my old manager the hockey coach
12) Do the CN Tower Edgewalk
13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP
14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad

Though a chiropractor I started seeing late into 2015 told me I’d developed some mild sciatica in my back, I didn’t need him to tell me I carry too much STUFF. In a digital age where we can pack mountains of information into a single device, there’s really NO NEED for me to carry all the draft posts and note that I do — save the fact that working from hard copy’s the way my brain’s WIRED.

In 2016, I need a little more focus to keep all my ideas stored in one place so I’m not constantly carrying EVERYTHING in my house made of paper, knowing that I probably scribbled SOMETHING on ALL of ’em.

15) Sort out the Internet situation at home so I can stop relying on tethering to LTE data
16) Learn enough Spanish to understand my sister-in-law’s Mexican wedding in May
17) Find time for date nights, which will involve finding someone who wants to babysit two kids… how about we just find more awesome things to do at home, just in case?
18) Try Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake
19) Get to 0 drafts on CaseyPalmer.com by converting everything into live posts
20) Install the growth chart for my kids that we got at my office baby shower
21) Update all the old content on CaseyPalmer.com
22) Upgrade the site infrastructure to better support contest traffic
23) Redesign the heck out of the blog (Twenty Sixteen, what up)
24) Find the time to pack more lunches for work
25) Clean up and optimize my Pinterest account (I still have that copy of Pinterest Savvy lying around somewhere)
26) Shave more regularly
27) Hand out my remaining business “cep” cards so I can put in a new order (wait — do we still do business cards?)
28) Clear out the bookshelves to prepare for Baby #2
29) Replace the lost key to our 2011 Ford Edge
30) Figure out what I ACTUALLY need to run my site and invest in THAT.
31) Replace our bathroom sink
32) Meet with the people who I never seemed to schedule in through 2015 (Aaron, Emma, Ria, Adrienne, Dianna)
33) Get a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet

The 1% of the Casa de Palmer workspace I use to do all the things isn’t the best — in fact, it’s falling apart. As I get older and start formalizing my #BloggerLife, Sarah and I agree that my workspace should evolve to show that. It’ll take some saving to make it happen, but it’d be a nice addition to the home.