Wednesday, January 24

Room Tour: Hobby Room

Tommy makes a cameo. It's a no pets room, so he loves sneaking in. 

In our house we have this middle room, it's a little small but it has a big window and great-all-day light. Over the years, it's been a junk room, a guest room, and now -- a hobby room. It all started this fall when we purchased some new living room furniture and found ourselves needing a new home for this mustard yellow chair and our old coffee table (the green trunk in the picture above). I'd been using the room for a long time as storage for *my stuff* since my husband and I share our computer office. We display a lot of nerdy stuff in there but I have things like... this giant picture of a cat on a skateboard that Nick refuses to acknowledge.

Since I've been home a lot more in the last few years (unemployed, student, now working from home) I decided to make the room a place for all of my creative hobbies to come together, hoping to foster productivity and creativity. It's only too bad I can't do digital art in this room!


Thursday, January 11

Fab Fit Fun Winter Box

Hey folks! Long time no write. Actually, I posted all of once in 2017, so you may be surprised to find me back. Such is life. 

I'm here to show you a bit from this winter's Fab Fit Fun box -- my favourite, and currently, only subscription box. What I like about this one is that they include a good mix of items in the fitness, beauty, fashion and living categories. In my box I recieved a cozy poncho by BB Dakota, a pillow spray, exfoliant, clay mask, lovley necklace, and much more! One of my favourite items was a large mug that's perfect for a big cup of afternoon tea. 

Below I'm wearing the necklace, poncho, as well as a lipstick and gloss from the box! I love the variety, it makes me feel like I've just gone on a very productive shopping spree. ;) 

If you're interested in trying a box, consider using my referral link to check it out!

Wednesday, June 21

27 things about my 27th year

1.You know the feeling as you near the top of a rollercoaster? Forgetting to breathe, your jaw locked against the rattling of your nerves, you clutch the safety rail. Tipping over the edge your stomach high kicks you in the rib cage, gravity ceases to exist for a moment before you settle into freefall. Sound familiar? Welcome to your 27th year.

2. Apparently, Saturn returns to the relative position it inhabited in the sky at the time of your birth -- during your 27th year. Or... sometime between 27 and 30. When it happens, it brings change and new beginnings. Upheaval and opportunity. This is the age at which celebrities burn out in a bright flash of light and suddenly your friends all seem to go through a mid-mid-life crisis.

3. All this to say, in June of 2016 I both turned 27 and suddenly found myself unemployed. It didn't come as a surprise, but it did come as something of a shock to the system. Luckily, it was beautiful and sunny outside, and I had no shortage of things to devote my time and attention.

4. I built a loom and tried my hand at weaving. It's a truly relaxing and soothing hobby for keeping hands busy and mind engaged.

5. I started a garden for the first time, I grew flowers and vegetables and lettuce and basil.

6. I attended Edmonton's Pride Parade, another first. It was the most beautiful day!

7. I started a doing yoga daily. If you haven't heard of Yoga with Adriene, she's excellent. I used her Youtube channel religiously all summer, every day.

8. Just days after Pride, my heart was broken for the LGBTQ+ community on June 12. I lit candles. It wasn't enough.

9. I decided I was going to stay productive, better myself. I took online writing courses from UBC, I worked hard on my artwork, weaving, yoga, and reading.

10. I sent out over 85 resumes and applications and heard back exactly twice. I attended one interview. I got zero new jobs. I did, happily, make a bit of money. I started doing freelance photography!

11. I took a lot of walks, visited a lot of dog parks. I took up Pokemon Go and walked the shit out of that app. The best part was that I got to do these things with a friend. I was so lucky to have a magnificent walking friend who drove me and Lola to parks and explored Edmonton with me.

12. I got to spend a lot of time with friends. Friends who worked shifts and graciously let me tag along on their daytime adventures. Friends who worked days and spent time with my husband and me on our patio or at our table, playing board games.

13. I played a lot of board games, thanks Nick.

14. My husband and I put aside our desire to have kids, at least for a little while. It's a bittersweet feeling, we're still excited, but we're waiting.

15. I made a really hard decision and decided to go back to school. When I graduated from university in 2011, I was relieved to know I was now an official, responsible adult and would never be a student again. It was a daunting but rewarding time -- and I was glad that phase of my life was over. I never expected to be standing in that building again, getting a new ID photo taken and purchasing textbooks.

16. I grieved my old life. My office mates. My routine. It took me a while -- months -- before the reality of it all hit me. I think it was receiving the payout cheque for my pension. I was veritably broke and had just received a huge amount of money (to me at least) but it just made me sad. I still tear up every time I think of my time at NAIT because it was overwhelmingly positive and I miss it a lot.

17. I lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers. I had gained 30 pounds over the previous two years, and I did not like how that felt. I feel like I'm a small letter 'ww' convert, I follow the principles but not always the plan. I'm maintaining now.

18. I fell in love with my husband a thousand times over. Having a person who is unwaveringly kind and caring, who supports you, encourages you -- it can be revolutionary. I'm incredibly grateful.

19. But money was tight. Don't mistake. Money can be really hard to talk about with your partner, your family, your friends. We still struggle with absolute honesty and transparency around our finances, but we're trying to get there. I know we are so privileged to have gone through this whole experience -- this doozy of a year -- without taking on debt. We had the right supports and the right circumstances. We are gonna be so good at saving money once I have a regular paycheque to squirrel away.

20. I learned to really -- I mean, really -- appreciate the little things. The close things. My favourite moments now are mornings and afternoon naps spent lazily in bed, a husband at my back, a cat curled up on my chest and a puppy draped across my legs. The best.

21. This has been a painful, painful year and I'm not talking about me right now. Nick was sick with laryngitis during the American election and he wasn't speaking. I was sleeping in our spare bedroom, trying not to get sick during term one finals. I remember laying on the mattress on the floor, watching the election results in the dark and crying. I wrote about it a little on my other website, here. I felt very isolated. I felt very alone. I felt overwhelmed and powerless.

22. This year, I switched up the organizations I was supporting. I supported the LGBT Pride Centre of Edmonton, Planned Parenthood, Rainbow Railroad, the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, The ACLU, and the NCLR. I've thrown a lot of money that I didn't have at the world this year hoping it would get it's shit together. I think donating is important, but it's also the smallest thing I could do. I tried to focus on educating myself, talking with others. I am still learning and trying to wrap my mind around the challenges others face. This year I want to be more active, do more than just donate.

22. I'm learning that tenderheartedness is not something to be ashamed of. Empathy can be a superpower. Even when it hurts. I know so many people who choose to be uninformed, who would rather not see the news. I get it, I do, but I encourage anyone who is feeling tenderhearted to act on those feelings. Lean into the pain. I used to operate on the assumption that the people around me, the people of my city, province, and country had similar values to my own. The election taught me about the silent majority. It taught me to be loud.

23. I gained a lot of confidence this year. Or maybe I regained it, it's hard to say. I know that I have never been a part of professional organizations before, or had industry professionals I trust and respect complimenting me on my writing. I have been lucky enough to meet some truly talented and amazing people both through my program, the organizations I've joined, and my practicum. I networked. I attended awards shows. I passed out business cards. I am fired up about joining the professional community, and I needed that. OH, I really needed it after those 80+ applications I wrote.

24. I got on the dean's list this last semester and I'm pretty proud. I have always been a good student, I have always done well, but I have never done this well. Something about coming back to education as an adult. I was serious about this program -- it represented this crazy hope for a second chance. It means a lot to have my work recognized in this small way.

25. I made new friends. I met people who shared my values and humour and interests. I've always found it hard to meet people as an adult so this is a weirdly major triumph.

26. I set new career goals. When I entered the Public Relations program in the fall, I didn't even know what Public Relations was. I'm not sure what my title will be six years on, but I have some ideas now about where I might be headed and it's exciting. What's more, I know I'm qualified to attain those goals so -- bonus! This is the first time in my life I feel like I have a 'career' and not just a job.

27. I now have a cluster of white hairs right above my left eyebrow and I'm threatening to dye a strip of my hair white to match. My husband thinks this is a great idea. I look kind of like a person whose just staggered off a very tall rollercoaster called "Tower of FEAR".

The truth is, I've never been one for roller coasters. I have a long-standing policy when it comes to carnival rides -- no upside down. But life has a way of picking you up by the feet and shaking you. If you're lucky, some negativity will fall out and, when you're righted, you'll be ready to find your footing.

Saturday, October 29

Not too Busy for Doughnuts

It's getting colder in Edmonton -- and no, my exposure was just fine, that's how the sky actually looks. It's dreary, in short. I'm making up for it with some new clothes from Old Navy in rich fall colours.

Another coping tactic: doughnuts. Nick and I are not good at waking up in the morning, so we rarely make it to Saturday markets to buy my favourite treats. Luckily, Moonshine Doughnuts opened an online shop so I can pre-order my doughnuts! Loath to miss an opportunity of this nature, I paid for my doughnuts Friday and Nick and I lazed about home Saturday morning, went out for brunch, and then meandered to the market to pick up my doughnuts! A miracle of technology I tell you!
The last few weeks (and this coming week no doubt) have been absolute insanity.

I'm finished my midterms (and I'm still in the program, there's a relief) but now I'm facing a single week left of major projects. At the same time, I'm finishing up some freelance writing contracts, modules from UBC's Game Writing Academy, and launching a photography business. Eep! Good thing I have a fantastic husband who takes directions. The other night while I wrote my online midterm in the computer room Nick took dinner directions and dutifully cooked a meal for three. He's stepped it up with dish washing too. Now if I could only train him to vacuum. The real victim here is poor Lola, she hasn't been getting out enough this season! She's more bored than normal, that's for sure. Good thing our sweet mail lady has been leaving her treats at the door. <3

The other thing falling to the side: my weight watchers regime. Some of you know I'm down 34 pounds -- or, I was a few weeks ago! Haha, there's nothing quite like doughnuts when it comes to emergency self-care! And I've been giving myself permission to indulge whilst school rages on. Turns out, there's nothing wrong with gaining a couple of pounds if your doughnuts are keeping you sane. Life tip right there.

Until next time my friends!

Cookie Monster by Moonshine Doughnuts <3

Pants and top Old Navy, Clarks boots from The Bay, Scarf (old) Smart Set, August Silk vest from Winners 

Tuesday, October 11

Be Your Own Boss

I thought fall was going to barrel on into winter for a second. That is to say, it got bloody cold.

Luckily, fall is mellowing out a touch and in honour of that fact, I headed outside in a crop top.

That's the kind of shit you can get away with when you're being your own boss, which is what I'm doing now two days a week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't have any classes, so I take them as 'work days'. Days I can sit down to work on contracts, photo shoot editing, and branding for my new photography business. I also need to get house work and home work done in these two days -- so it's important to stay on top of things.
 I accomplish this by following a few key pieces of advice. Things I've gleaned from pinterest and friends and family that just so happen to be super true.

Here's 1:  get out of bed just like it's a normal work day. 

It's so easy to cuddle Lola and stay in bed 'till 11, but that is not how you get things done. So I get up just after Nick leaves.

2: Put on clothes and wash face/brush teeth. IE. Get ready just like it's a normal work day. 

This is so important, you would not believe the difference in my productivity when I don't bother to get dressed first thing vs. when I put on clothes and eat breakfast and wear makeup or do my hair. I don't always do all of these things -- but I always do a few of them. It helps.

 3: Make a to-do list. 

I've heard a lot recently about bullet journals. It's when you have a blank journal that you can jot down to-do lists and write out calendars and the like. I'm going to get myself one.

You might have seen me making lists on instagram, that's how I do it now, but it's about time I get myself a journal. I have enough things to balance without loosing my tiny sticky note pad!

 4: Prioritize and then get working. 

Tricky thing is you actually have to do what you said you were gonna do. Being your own boss means buckling down and getting away from those time suck things (you know the ones) that stop you from being productive. For me this feeds heavily into my last tip --

5. Schedule in breaks. 

I set timers for an hour or half hour and then take a 15 min - 30 min break to do other things. Take the dog out, surf facebook, read up on something interest related, head over to tumblr or read some blogs. I need to schedule these things in or I will get side tracked during work and do them anyway! I use the timer app on my computer, it comes with windows so it's easy to find and use.

So that's where I'm at -- I'll let you know in a few months if I've quietly gone insane.
How do you guys balance everything you have to get done? Leave a comment! 

Cardigan old, GAP girlfriend chambray chino's, second hand boots, CAMP brand goods crop top, vintage boss pin, Saressa Designs Etsy bracelet (Saressadesigns,com), Everlane belt 

Friday, September 30

New Photography Venture

Running a blog for the past five or so years has helped me to do a lot of things -- get comfortable in front of a camera, develop my style and build a wardrobe, connect with like-minded folks and learn a lot about how to *downsize* said wardrobe, I even got a few freebies over the years.

One of the best things it's got me doing though, is learning my camera.
This is the outfit I wore when I did the wedding! Was going for professional but laid back (it was a small outdoor wedding). 

 I remember the day I switched to manual mode on my first DSLR, it was magic. It was equally magical when I first was told by friends and family how the pictures I'd captured of them made them feel awesome. Turns out learning how to take flattering photos of oneself can translate to photos of others. I love seeing friends love my pictures.

As you might know, I spent the summer unemployed. I suck at sitting around doing nothing though, so I put out a Kijiji add offering to take pictures for others. Surprisingly, I even got a few responses.

A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to photograph my first wedding. How wild is that? My dad, a talented photographer, came with me as a second set of eyes (and cameras). It was, again, magical.

If you would like to take a peak, I now have a photography website set up: I'm very excited to get this little project off the ground and make some money whilst I'm in school (did I mention I'm now a full time student? Told you I can't sit still).

If you're interested in working together, drop me a line! I would love to take your picture. ;)

GAP velvet pants, Tommy Hilfiger chambray top, Smart Set necklace, Payless Shoes 

Tuesday, August 16

Creative and Colourful

Summer is in full swing, and I'm thirty pounds slimmer than I was six months ago which means I'm enjoying getting dressed again. This little blue number is from H&M and I was happy to dig it out of the closet and throw it into the mix. It has a cute crisscrossed back that's hard to get pictures of all on one's own. ;)

I paired the dress with some bike shorts since I was off on a wee photography job and was prepared to kneel down to get the shot. To protect my shoulders, I added a cardigan that's light
and breezy and colourful to boot!

I was excited about my hair. Usually, I just pin the top back when I want it out of my face, but on this day I twisted and twisted until  I had formed a small knot, then twisted it again in the opposite direction so I had two little twists. I pinned them down and they stayed in place all day! I thought it was adorably off center and just a little fancier than usual. ;)

It's been a genuinely weird summer, but one that's included more fun in the sun than I can remember. Getting outside, walking, gardening -- it's been a small joy to me and kept me from feeling idle during this season of unemployment. I'm also trying to focus on getting writing done and organizing my home, but sticking to a schedule and developing good habits isn't always easy! As a gamer I have a plethora of distractions that are easy to lose a whole day in, but I'm trying to keep gaming and tv-watching for after four, and be productive with my daytime hours.

How do you keep yourself busy and productive?
Dress - H&M / cardigan -  Anthropologie / bike shorts - Smart Set / necklace - gift / shoes, Keds 

Tuesday, August 9

At the Cabin

Some snapshots from our trips to the Petry cabin. There's something about this little retreat that revitalizes our family, it's simple and effortless and everyone who visits loves it. It's a comfy little spot for making memories and enjoying summer. I love photographing the bits and pieces around the cabin, there's personality in the details.


Where do you go to enjoy your summer?

Tuesday, August 2

How I Started Weaving for Under $30

For years now I've admired the gorgeous woven wall hangings of others, sadly, I could never afford one for myself. With some extra time on my hands, I decided I would give some of the internet tutorials I had seen a try, my only remaining hesitation -- getting started with a new hobby requires money. And I had none.

This is what I did: I tromped down to Micheals and bought an eleven dollar picture frame (just the frame, no back, untreated wood). I came home and with the help of a friend hammered a bunch of short finishing nails on two ends of the frame about a cm apart. It's not perfect, but I tell you for eleven dollars it's about as perfect as it can get.

Top left, my tools: a tapestry needle, chopsticks, scissors, and a plastic fork. Right image: all my weaving supplies in one place! 
There are a lot of nice, helpful tools you can purchase for weaving including combs, shuttles, and shed sticks. The only thing I absolutely had to buy was a plastic weaving needle, and I improvised the rest. For a comb, I have a small plastic fork from a bento box I no longer own and for both a shuttle and shed stick I use wooden chopsticks. No joke. As a bonus, they're easy to store (and replace).

Some different ways I use chopsticks while weaving. On the left, as a shed stick, and on the right as a shuttle. 
 I picked up a few lovely skeins of wool on clearance at Micheals, and had a few left over in my closet from other projects. Lastly, I spotted this cute felt container at a local greenhouse while shopping for plants and picked it up for 4.99. I think it's hilarious that felt storage totes can be so expensive, but apparently are equally good for planting things in. In any case, it holds my wool and chopsticks perfectly.

My first few weavings are semi-presentable and I'm sure in time I'll become deeply ashamed of this post, but for now, every weaving teaches me new lessons and I'm seeing an improvement as I go which is exhilarating! Now someone just tell me what to do with all of these wall hangings before my house gets lost in them...

My first weaving on the left, third in the center and most recent on the left. The last weaving was made using a pattern downloaded from The Weaving Loom.
If you're interesting in learning more about weaving wall hangings like these, I've got three pinterest boards up with more information. For shop listings, tools, looms and the like check out my Weaving Supplies board. I also have a Techniques board with tutorials, and an Inspiration board. is also a great resource.

Have you ever tried weaving? Leave me tips in the comments!

Tuesday, July 26

Staying Productive At Home

It's no secret I've been unemployed now since the beginning of June. Honestly, it's starting to feel weird and the uncharacteristic productivity I experienced at the beginning is starting to wear off. These days, I find myself staying in my PJ's a little later every day and getting less house work accomplished. I started doing yoga every day at the end of May and managed to keep up with it for about a month but my dedication to that has also dwindled. I've been exploring ways to stay motivated and decided to make up a schedule to follow. Sometimes what we're missing in life is just a little self imposed structure. I threw together a cutsey pink and gold desktop calendar in Photoshop and thought you might like a go at it:

Free Printable
Feel free to open it in a photo editing program and add your to-do's, or print it off and write them in!

Here's what mine looks like:

It's important for me to break apart my house chores so I don't get overwhelmed. I tend to look at a messy house and want to crawl inside a sea shell and become a snail. By committing to a few specific days to do yoga and other activity I also avoid that horrible feeling of guilt that compounds every day I don't make it to the mat. As long as I can do it on the scheduled days, I'm proud.

Of course, I want to make some commitments for every day that I'm not working. Scheduling in an hour of art and 800 words writing allows me to do more if I'm feeling inspired, and avoid the guilt when I would rather play video games. As long as I'm meeting these minimums, I'm progressing in the right direction!

How do you stay motivated and productive?