Category: thoughts + things

A beautiful life

I think it’s fair to say: I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my adult life. 

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Yippeeeeeeee!

 

And that’s a long time. I’ve endured seven whole years of adulthood, and I’m just starting to learn how to be healthy. 

 

I wouldn’t say I have any overly-detrimental bad habits — smoking, doing drugs or even drinking too much, for example. But I could never get a handle on taking care of myself, in the simplest sense of the words, and that was a problem.

 

During university, I lived off coffee and drive-thru meals. While I was living on my own and working full time, I just never seemed to be able to find my way around a kitchen. When I did cook food, it was often the same old tired recipes time and time again. And in college, again, I lived off coffee and eating next-to-nothing.

 

I got plenty of headaches. I had zero energy. I was irritable, and quite honestly, sick of not knowing how to take care of myself.

 

It wasn’t until I moved nearly 500 kilometers away from my family, my boyfriend, my friends and everything I knew to be home, until I was finally ready to tackle me.

 

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Freezing, post-election on the streets of Yorkton, talking to the people. What I moved 5 hours away from home to do, and what I love.

 

In this new place, this new job and this new life, I had my work cut out for me. I didn’t have a lot of know-how, but I sure did have a lot of time. I told myself, enough is enough, this is my time. I decided I would dedicate all my newly-found hours to developing healthy habits. If I learned anything in those seven harmful years, it was that being healthy is a hell of a lot of work. It takes time, dedication, and motivation — all of which I was finally ready to give.

 

Being able to take care of myself is something I truly cherish. I’ve got a freezer full of nutritious, home-cooked meals. I eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. I’ve got a full water bottle by my side. I have weights sitting on my floor at home, and a wet bathing suit from swimming laps drying on my towel rack (I picked up a few new activities along the way, too). I have a couple library books waiting for me to dive into, and I’ve got a painting needing touch-ups on my easel.

 

I hardly ever get headaches anymore. I’m full of energy. And yes, sometimes I’m still irritable. I’m 500 kilometers away from everyone I love — going home to me, myself and I tonight — and I swear, I really am the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in this adult life of mine.

 

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

 

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Happy, healthy me.

hello again

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
— Harper Lee

I promised myself that when I clicked on the ‘add new post’ icon, I would eventually be clicking ‘publish’ once I was finished typing what I had to say.

You see, I have about 20 or so drafts sitting in my posts folder. They are all posts I at one point or another felt I needed to share, but I didn’t. It upsets me more than you know.

When I first started this blog over three years ago, it was because I enjoyed writing. Even if nobody was actually reading my words — besides my family and other random bloggers — I didn’t care. It was just nice to say what I had to say in my own little corner of the Internet.

I used words like RAD (maybe a bit too often) and I poured my heart out about women I loved. I didn’t care what people thought — okay, maybe a little — but I didn’t let it censor me.

For some reason though, lately I’ve been questioning everything I write down. Even that sentence right there I wonder, should I be admitting this?

Sure it’s made me a better editor, but at what cost? Scrutinizing everything I put to paper has become tiresome. Questioning what everyone else will think is just silly. Yeah, maybe my older blog posts weren’t going to get me my next big gig, but they were my words. They were thoughts I felt I needed to share, and that should be enough.

I don’t know when or why this all started, but I do know a few things: being critiqued on my creativity for the past year has been challenging. Being surrounded my such talented people has made me analyze my own skills through a magnifying glass. Being so totally objective has left me a little lost.

I need to stop censoring myself and believe in me again. When I go back and read old blog posts, they make me smile because I was carefree. I can specifically remember sitting at my old Toshiba laptop in my shitty old apartment and the satisfaction I got from clicking ‘publish.’ I hate to say it, but when it comes to this blog, I haven’t felt that way in a while.

People always say, to become a better writer you need to write. So here’s to writing for the fun of it. Here’s to writing stories I can look back at and smile. And here’s to being honest and saying whatever the hell I want, because these are my words and this is my blog.

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
—Allen Ginsberg

Adventures in Toon Town

Last summer I blogged about how much I love little getaways. To be honest, I haven’t had any this entire summer, except for last weekend when Riley and I escaped to one of my favourite places ever: Saskatoon. I love it because it’s an extremely beautiful city. I love it because it’s where some of my dearest loved ones call home. And I love it because when I’m there, I feel at home too.

It was an extremely quick trip — we left Friday after work and returned Sunday evening. Although a very short weekend getaway, we still managed to do everything I hoped we would. Riley had never been before, so I was excited for him to not only meet my family, but also to take in the beauty of the city. Saturday morning, my aunt Margaret volunteered as tour guide, and we were happy to have her; she knows the city inside and out, so it worked out perfectly. Riley and her seemed to hit it off, so I was happy.

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We checked out the Weir, took a tour of downtown Saskatoon — which included a fun little adventure checking out the Bessborough hotel, built in 1935 — and strolled down the eclectic Broadway Avenue.

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Saturday evening, my wonderful, wonderful aunt Margaret planned and hosted a family BBQ, where we got to capture this adorable family photo. (NOTE: my aunt Margaret is missing because she is taking the photo. Yes, she is pretty much the sweetest lady).

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My cousin Brennan and his girlfriend took us to a bunch of pavilions for Saskatoon’s Folk Fest (pretty much Winnipeg’s Folklorama). Riley danced his first Polka at the Ukrainian Pavilion. Things got kinda strange at the German Pavilion. Things got really strange at the Scottish Pavilion. And then there was the Norway Pavilion.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a nice brunch with my aunt and uncle in from Australia. Their pancakes were delicious and Riley and I ate plums we swore were the best we’d ever had. We said our goodbyes and hit the road to start our eight-hour trek home. We made some stops along the way for snacks and dinner, and to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery. It was on and off storming, so we HAD to pull over when we saw a rainbow in the distance.

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I was sad for it to be over (our first road trip together!!!), but I have no doubt we will be back soon. Even though this was my only little getaway this summer, I had the best time and it was a huge success. Cheers!

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P.S. How awesome is this photobomb?

I hope you’re happy

Yesterday I dropped my boyfriend off at the airport (Note: I have only ever dropped people off at the airport that completed construction nearly three years ago). I’m not jealous.

Okay, I’m a little jealous. He’s going to Europe for two weeks (you can read about it here). I have never been, and I am dying to go.

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with my dad:

D: Are you going to cry when he leaves?

A: No dad, I’m not going to cry. Yes I’ll be sad, but more so because I’m not going, not because he’s leaving.

D: So what you’re saying is you’d rather go and he stay here?

A: No…well, yeah I’d be okay with that. (ha ha ha)

But in all seriousness, I’m super happy for him. He’s going to have a blast, and he’s with great company. The best part is that he gets to celebrate his 23rd birthday overseas, and how cool is that?

Yesterday at work my boss told me something: the best quality a person can have is to be genuinely happy for others (and this is just one more reason why I love her).

It was good timing and just what I needed to hear.

Regardless of the fact that I’ve never been to Europe, that I’ve only ever dropped people off at the new airport, and that I drove home in my sauna of a car, I find joy in his happiness. And yeah, sometimes it’s hard not to be jealous, but I think that’s only natural.

 

As for me, I just finished two books that I really enjoyed: Everything’s Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford and Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (more details later). I’m starting to read World War Z now because Riley and I just watched a documentary on Netflix called Doc of The Dead which reignited my love of zombies. Also, he said it’s really good and I totally trust his judgement.

I’m working, although I work outside, so if you’re reading this from Winnipeg you know how that’s going…

I’m slowly preparing for my IPP, thanks to some really helpful people. 

I’m writing some articles, and I may have an exciting freelance PR opportunity coming my way (more details later). And like my school friend Cella, I’m trying to just write for fun again. Like she explained, sometimes it’s just plain hard to write something.

I’m really enjoying the fun things like my ultimate frisbee team, Can’t Touch Disc (I know, super awesome name), having drinks on patios (when it’s not raining), and appreciating the company of my friends.

I’m trying really hard to be less clumsy. After dropping my phone in the toilet and then dropping my new one on the concrete and cracking the screen, it’s very necessary. Also, funny story: Riley and I enjoyed some drinks at Stella’s before he went through security. I got a delicious iced latte and he got some lemonade. I almost walked away leaving my keys on the counter. He picked them up and handed them to me:

R: You worry me when you put your keys on the counter like that.

A: Yeah, I do that a lot. The other day I left them on a counter somewhere. Thankfully a man noticed and brought them over to me. Oops!

Once we said our goodbyes and Riley was in line at security, I set down all my stuff at a suitcase display to rummage through my backpack to try and find my keys (I glanced over a few times to make sure he wasn’t looking). Once I found them, I made it all the way back to my car before I realized I had left my Jean jacket back on the display. Of course. Some habits are just really hard to break.

Last but not least, I’m looking forward to some weekends away later this summer.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer + finding joy in the happiness and success of others.

 

summer reading

I’ve been reading a lot so far this summer, or trying to anyways. During school I found it too difficult to get myself to open a book; by the end of the day I just wanted to sleep. Okay midday I wanted to sleep. Okay okay, I was so tired I didn’t even want to get out of bed some days. But, now that school is done, I’ve made it a goal to always have a book on the go.

About a week ago now, I — unsurprisingly — dropped my phone in the toilet. It was the second time I’ve done that, and I sure hope it’s the last. Needless to say I had a few days without the ol’ smartphone.

I was a little worried, considering my shameful phone dependency. It seems whenever I was bored, I was on my phone. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. Always scrolling. It got to a point where I would pick up my phone and open up apps out of habit.

I went a day without a phone before I popped my SIM card into my boyfriends old Sony Ericsson. It didn’t have all the conveniences of my toilet-water soaked iPhone, but it allowed for phone calls and text messaging.

Without the distractions of the iPhone apps, instead of picking up my phone, I picked up a book. Paragraph by paragraph I filled up my spare time, rather than picture by status update. It was so refreshing.

It was a lesson learned on my terrible phone habits.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still a millennial, and after a few days I headed down to the mall and got myself a brand new iPhone 5C (which I like a lot). That said, I have taken a good look at my app-scrolling ways, and I’d like to think I’ve made a change. At the very least I’ve cut back. These days, instead of picking up my phone, I opt to pick up a book.

If you’re looking for something to read this summer, here are some of the books I’ve recently read:

photo 3 (4)The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich —  This book inspired the feature film “The Social Network.” It tells the story of how Facebook came to be, through various inside sources. I saw the movie before I started reading the book, and the two were actually pretty similar. I love me some Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, but this book was very good, so it’s hard to say which I preferred. A nice and easy read, though.

 

 

photo 2 (5)The Parabolist by Nicholas Ruddock —  I very much enjoyed this book. Based in Toronto in 1975, this novel is an interesting mix between comedy, mystery and poetry. Ruddock’s writing style was very unique (I know I shouldn’t use that word), in a poetic sort of way. I couldn’t help being distracted by his use of punctuation — and I liked it. It’s the same story told through multiple characters perspective. Not what I was expecting at all, but in a good way.

 

 

photo 1 (3)A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore —  I’m more of a journalistic, biography type girl, and this kind of book just isn’t something I would normally pick up. It’s about a man who becomes Death. I’ll admit, if I only read the back, there’s no way I would have read it — but I’m glad I did. I actually laughed out loud on multiple occasions. It was well-written and entertaining, and it reminded me that books don’t need to be so serious. I definitely recommend it, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Christopher Moore.

 

photo 1 (3)I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali — My mother recommended me this book. A sad story told short and sweet in 188 pages. The true story is pretty obvious — a different title would have allowed for a little mystery — but definitely worth a read. In 2008, this young Yemeni child was married off to a man she hadn’t even once met. I was so invested in the story from the beginning, I tore through that book in a day. I will admit the writing wasn’t the best, but hey, it was a powerful story.

 

 

photo 2 (3)American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson — I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of Craig Ferguson. Don’t get me wrong, I had nothing against the guy, he’s just never attracted my attention in a way that would call me a ‘fan.’ I was skeptical when I started reading the book but was impressed to learn he was a very well-read man himself. He’s a good writer with a hell of a lot of good stories to tell. This funny man’s life is nothing short of entertaining, so if you’re into autobiographies like me, give this book a read– whether you’re into Fergie or not.

 

I’m currently reading Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford and The White Masai by Hermine Huntgeburth, with plenty more on the shelf to go (I’m hoping to get through some of the classics!)

If you have any recommendations, shoot them my way!

Happy summer reading!

 

Make time for what you love

Tonight I painted.

It was the first time in a long time that I just sat down, put in my headphones and painted. For hours. It felt great.

A while ago my mom asked me to paint her something to hang in our living room. I told her I’d get around to it. I’m way too busy with school to paint.

It’s too bad I let myself feel that way.

I must have forgotten how relaxing it is to dip the brush into that colourful paint and draw whatever random mess I want on the canvas. How much that raw creativity could help take the stress of everything away, not add to it.

I must have forgotten how important it is to make time for what I love. I remembered that tonight.

So the painting for my mother is in progress. I sincerely hope it will be hanging in our living room shortly.

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Here’s one of my favourite songs, that usually inspires some pretty cool ideas. It makes me smile.

I’ve seen Josh Groban twice in concert how. I’m a pretty big fan.

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