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The People Teaching People Podcast Episode 32: Sipping, Learning, and Writing with the Sangria Sisters

032: Sipping, Learning, and Writing with the Sangria Sisters

On this episode of the People Teaching People podcast, I sit down with the Sangria Sisters, Val MacLean and Lori McGillivray. 

After following their journey for several years on social media, I recently got to meet Val and Lori in real life at a YYC Fempreneurs event in Calgary! I have always enjoyed their fun content and positive energy and admired their commitment to giving back. A memorable online interaction that I had with them was when my Instagram account got hacked and the hacker was sending messages to my followers to try and hack their accounts – there really are some terrible people in the world! Val and Lori knew that the hacker wasn’t me because the messages were curt and there were no heart emojis! 

If there’s one word to describe the sisters, it’s fun. Val MacLean and Lori McGillivray share how life isn’t always rosé behind the white picket fence in their hilarious humour blog “Sangria Sisters.” Relatable and real, they tackle titillating topics with trucker mouth care. The Sisters use their platform to champion women and causes close to their hearts. Their goal is to spread kindness and joy every damn day. 


Listen in as we talk about:

[2:41] How the Sangria Sisters’ journey began

[4:34] Deciding what to write about

[6:09] Something that has surprised Val and Lori in their journeys

[12:16] Val and Lori’s favourite blog posts

[15:46] How has teaching and learning been a part of their blogging journey

[20:25] Feedback from their readers

[25:27] Advice for creators wanting to start a blog

[29:54] What led them to co-author three books

[37:08] The motherhood advice they would give to their past selves

[43:42] Why giving back is so important 

[46:51] Val and Lori’s favourite teachers

[50:18] Val and Lori answer some rapid-fire questions


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Sangria Sisters logo

Val and Lori discuss their creative process for deciding what to write about. They begin with brainstorming sessions, where they throw out various ideas and refer to a list of topics they’ve compiled over the years. This process helps them identify subjects that resonate more strongly. When they find a topic that sparks their interest, the ideas start flowing naturally. They focus on elements like humour and entertainment, quickly developing content around the chosen theme. However, some ideas are set aside for later or may never be revisited, but this doesn’t worry them.

Lori emphasizes that in their seven years of working together, they have never run out of content or ideas. This is attributed to the relatability of their life experiences and the inspiration they draw from their audience and friends. They find that there is always something happening in their lives or around them that provides the necessary inspiration and “fodder” for their writing. This continuous influx of ideas and experiences ensures a steady stream of inspiration for their work.


“Face your fears. If they hold you back, you're not learning, you're not expanding, you're not growing.” ~ Sangria Sisters


“Face your fears. If they hold you back, you’re not learning, you’re not expanding, you’re not growing.”

Lori and Val describe their blogging journey as a continuous process of teaching and learning, particularly regarding technology. They admit to not being very tech-savvy, which has resulted in a steep learning curve in managing their website, uploading content, and handling technical issues. They often find themselves frustrated with technology, especially when it malfunctions, leading to a lot of swearing! Their journey has involved extensive research and self-training, which includes Googling solutions, looking up information, and staying informed about the topics they blog about. This ongoing research and learning process is crucial for keeping their content relevant and informed.

Additionally, they discuss the challenges of navigating social media, highlighting its complexity with algorithms and its time-consuming nature. They emphasize that the learning process is continuous and involves a lot of effort, but they find it rewarding. Engaging their minds and solving problems not only keeps them mentally active but also gives them a sense of achievement, especially when overcoming the numerous challenges they’ve encountered. They believe that this aspect of their blogging journey helps keep them young and engaged, making every solved problem feel like a significant victory.


The Sangria Sisters - Val MacLean and Lori McGillivray

Val and Lori, both seasoned parents with adult children, spill the beans on their “If I knew then what I know now” parenting advice. Pro tip: avoid that regrettable fussy mom haircut – trust us, it’s a lifetime commitment! But beyond the hair adventures, they dive into some profound insights. While guiding your kids to independence, Val and Lori suggest taking a few notes for yourself. Because, spoiler alert, your kids will grow up, and you need to be ready for it. Invest time in your passions – it’s a game-changer for those moments when parenting takes a back seat.

And here’s a nugget to chew on: your little ones might not realize it, but they’re observing your own journey of growth. Let’s be real – no one hands you a manual for parenting. You’re figuring it out on the fly, discovering bits about your kids and yourself along the way. In the midst of life’s rollercoaster – parenting, relationships, and all – Val and Lori toss out a friendly reminder: cut yourself some slack. It’s okay not to have everything mapped out. Parenting is a wild ride, and you’re learning as you go. 


The Sangria Sisters - Val MacLean and Lori McGillivray

  • What is something that you would love to learn about or something that you would love to learn how to do? 
    • Lori: Public speaking

    • Val: Spanish

  • What is a place that is at the top of your travel bucket list? Europe

  • What is a book, podcast, or TV show that you have enjoyed recently?

    •  Books: 
      • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
      • A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir by Colin Jost
    • TV Shows:
      • Robbie Williams
      • Beckham
    • Movie: Barbie
  • If you could sit down and have a conversation with someone that you would love to learn from, who would it be?

    • Lori: Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin

    • Val: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler



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