Stationary Drifting


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Best of Blogs: March

best of blogs_march

I didn’t really keep up with my posting schedule for this month but I do want to keep up with my ‘best of’ posts. The monthly posts are a great way for me to record my goings on for posterity or whatever, and I really love the best of blogs posts because I really love blogs! I don’t have a lot of readership, and some of the blogs I follow don’t either (though I’m sure they all have more than me!), but whether we just read each others’ or if we have thousands of hits a day I really love these blogs and I want to give them the recognition they deserve.

This month I would really like to highlight 2 blogs that have inspired me to get back into blogging as a way to share my day to day and what makes me happy. I think that these were the first 2 blogs I really got into, and started reading daily (or whenever they posted). They both are incredibly honest in their approach to writing, which is refreshing and so so brave. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put myself out there like they do (either on the web or in real life) but I very much admire their writing. They remind me to not fall into the trap of blogging only about beautiful things but to find beauty in the sharing the hard things too.

Click here to see February’s best of blogs – there are some great blogs on that one that I am still reading daily.

REMINDER: all the photos belong to the blogger they are associated with, click each photo to be taken to their corresponding post.

blackandwhiteandlovedallover{click blog logo, or here, to be taken to the site}

/// above photos belong to Ellen, click on each photo to be taken to their source ///

Ellen from Black and White and Loved All Over is one of the first bloggers I started to follow regularly. I really can’t remember right now how I came across her blog but I remember being really really excited about her writing style from the beginning. There are a few blogs I have come across that I loved so much that I read pretty much all their archives like the site was a novel, hers was the first one I did that with. I had no idea that I could get that into the ramblings of a fellow internet user but Ellen proved me that writing and just putting it out there can be so powerful.

These days Ellen is a mother of 2 really really gorgeous girls (pictured above!) and blogs a lot about her experience of motherhood. She is so real and honest about the joys and challenges of motherhood, its refreshing. I haven’t quite found anyone who expresses so well (what I imagine is) the complexities of loving little people so much while simultaneously acknowledging that its a damn hard job. She also blogs about home decor, DIY culture, being a freelance writer, living in Nashville, her husband, and other regular life stuff. I can’t help but having a driving need to visit Nashville and see the beauty of the place she describes with so much love.

I really suggest clicking the links and checking out blackandwhiteandlovedallover. Its a really wonderful space on the internet and I hope she keeps up the writing for a long time (no pressure Ellen, but seriously I would really miss you if you stopped).

Also, she just seems like a cool person, the kind I would enjoy sharing a beer with and rolling our eyes about life’s twists and turns.

{click blog logo, or here, to be taken to the site}

/// above photos belong to Drea, click on each photo to be taken to their source ///

I don’t know why I follow so many mom bloggers…maybe there’s something about being a mom being at home for that first little bit that gets people into it, maybe its a desire to document your child’s life that comes out of parenthood (I’ve seen a fair few dad bloggers too), I don’t know I’m not a mom. Drea from ohdeardrea is another blogger I follow that is also a mother of a really lovely and sweet sounding daughter. I think I found Drea’s blog through Ellen from blackandwhiteandlovedallover (above). She is the second blogger I remember getting into and the second blog that I got so excited about I read nearly all her archives. What made Drea stand out to me at first was that she was (at the time) a single mom blogger. Which is pretty rare, I find, in the blog world and kind of refreshing to see that people are thriving as single, happy parents out there. The other thing I really liked about her blog was how raw it was. She did not hold back at all in talking about her struggles and what was going on for her. Which is also really rare in the blog world where everything is tied up in a neat little bow that was hand crafted and photoshopped. These days she is a little more, I don’t know, restrained in her writing. Which makes complete sense to me because people on the internet can be pretty judgemental. But she still retains an honest voice, and journal quality that makes her really great to read on this side of the screen. The kind of read that makes me feel like struggle and happiness can be tied together and beautiful either way.

Besides being a mother, Drea also writes about being vegan, crafting, cooking/eating/being a foodie (ohmygod the eating that happens in her house!), travel, living in Florida, friends and loved ones, and general life stuff.

Check out ohdeardrea for a some really heartfelt and entertaining blogging, oogle her incredible floral couch, and dream about living in Florida.

Like Ellen, Drea just seems like a really great person that would be fun to go out dancing with.

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And that’s it for March Best of Blogs. Thanks to Ellen and Drea for their permission to use photos from their blogs. I have to admit that its a bit of a thrill to send and get emails from people who’s blogs I really admire.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what your favourite blogs are in the comments! I’m always happy to find new great and inspiring sites to read!

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Eating: Apple Cider Caramels (more from homemade holidays)

apple cider caramelsI LOVE smitten kitchen, I’ve posted stuff of Deb’s many times (like here, here, and here). The recipes she creates are low maintenance, usually from things I have around the house (depending on if I have groceries at that particular point), and always delicious. I had the pleasure of flipping through her cookbook a while back and lemmetellyouwhat. Its amazing. I can’t wait to get my grubby little kitchen hands on it.

I made these Apple Cider Caramels as part of my homemade holidays challenge. My step-dad is a hard guy to buy for but he does love candy because he can’t eat chocolate anymore. They went over well, he was touched I made something for him and happy with the gift. Their fanciness to time ratio is awesome. People are pretty impressed by all the individually wrapped and handmade candies, though I think it took me less than 2 hrs to make and all with common ingredients.

These were straight forward to make, even without investing in a candy thermometer. Mine turned out a little soft so maybe I need to reduce them down a little more next time. They were ridiculously delicious though and much appreciated in my house and my mom’s. Mars was a little sad that I didn’t make any for him so I snuck a few in his stocking.


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Best of Blogs: February

Blogs! I’m in love. I can’t remember when I started getting into them…I’ve had my own blog (in various locations) since 2007/2008 ish but I never really read other people’s until the last year and a bit. I have an app on my ipad that I have all my favourite (ie: checked daily) blogs on it and I have a good 18-20 on it. I should do a post on the blogs I really like sometime soon but for now I want to profile the blogs that I’m particularly excited about right now.

NOTE: all the photos belong to the blogger they are associated with, click each photo to be taken to their corresponding post.

click above (or here) to be taken to pencil box

I talked about Katie over at pencil box earlier but only briefly. Her blog is my all time favourite new blog, and up there in my all time favourite ever. I came across her blog the other week when I was searching for something new to read and so was looking through blog recommendations over at a beautiful mess. I waswas instantly hooked. Her photos alone were enough to make me swoon, I’m such a sucker for light and airy photography with good colours. She’s pretty amazing at taking really creative and impressive self portraits too. I need to learn that talent…

After I got past the gorgeousness of the photography I found equally beautiful writing. She writes about the stuff of every day. Whether its raising her kids and their shenanigans, her love life (which is so sweet its almost enviable), projects, inspiration, and daily goings-on she describes it all in a way that’s almost poetic. Also she has incredible style. I’m not ashamed to say that I was so taken with her writing style and positive outlook on life that I read nearly all her archives. It sounds like I’m gushing and I am. She rocks, go read her blog!

Katie is an artist, and not just in photography, she is a lovely painter as well. She lives in Ohio with her 2 kids and fiancee.

click above (or here) to be taken to the site

I found Liz’s blog very recently. In fact it was the inspiration for my recent sewing spree. I spent one whole night reading through the tutorials and posts on this blog and then went out the next day and bought/spent a little too much on a bunch of fabric. Its been 3 days and I’ve already made 2 dresses and a skirt. The tutorials are super easy and straight forward, you don’t need to make a pattern you just need a measuring tape, some scissors, a sewing machine and (in some cases) some clothes to trace. She focuses a lot on thrifted and refashioned fabric and clothes, which I appreciate because that’s where I’m at in terms of what I like to wear (and what I can afford to!). I haven’t tried any of the refashioning tutorials but they are up next on my list! I love refashioning old clothes into new, exciting ones. She has incredible taste in clothing and basically I want to dress like her forever. This means that the tutorials are super and I’ve pinned just about every one. The photos are lovely and Liz styles her creations so well that I can totally see myself wearing them (minus the high heels, I live in snow bound Montreal and that’s dangerous).  If you’re into making your own clothes or want to learn. I highly HIGHLY suggest cotton & curls

Last but not least!

made by andi

Made by Andi is the brand new blog from the creator of Hoakon and Helga bags. While I was devastated when she stopped making her bags to pursue other things in life (only because I hadn’t had the chance to save up enough pennies for one yet) this blog is really promising and I’m excited to see where she takes it.  There are a few DIY’s up, and some info about running your own business (she successfully lived off making her bags for 3 years) which is super inspiring and I’m pumped to learn more about it through her creative business tips. I have a certain soft spot for this blog too because she lives in one of my hometowns (calgary) and I get to see familiar places in her photos. I don’t follow too many canadian blogs, mostly because I haven’t found that many yet, and while that’s not the reason I follow Andi, its definitely fun. She’s still building her blog but I very much recommend reading as she goes because she is a very talented lady and let’s be honest, talented people are awesome.

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Best of Feb for sure here. These are all blogs I imagine reading for a while and all three have made it to the front page of my blog app. I check them first every day. Give them a look and some love because they really deserve it.

What are your favourite blogs?


Photojojo rocks (as always)

If you don’t follow Photojojo on everything you’re missing out. Its a dream job of mine to work there because then I would get to geek out on photo tech stuff all the time and take pictures forever. But that’s besides the point, the real point is that Photojojo has lots of great equipment for sale at reasonable prices and awesome DIY photo based projects. So they are a favourite of my nerdy nerdy heart for those reasons alone.

Now they have started offering phoneography (phone + photography) classes online though and I’m really excited! If you sign up now its $5 and you’ll get a twice weekly online class for a whole month. I start March 1 and am (obviously) really excited. Click the photo if you’re equally excited about this and want to give it a shot.

I’ll post a review of it once I’m done or during.

And no, I’m not being paid for this and I paid to get into the class. I just like Photojojo.


2013: the post in which I state my resolutions

I think I was kind of trying to avoid writing a post on new years resolutions, etc. For no particular reason other than the fact that it seemed to be required of bloggers (am I a blogger now?), and a bit cliche for this time of the year. I guess I do like to have personal time capsules though, hence the existence of this blog in the first place. After reading a few bloggers talk about looking at their resolutions from last year and comment on them I got a hankering to be able to do that myself. So here’s my plan for this year, no particular order, mostly to look back at in approximately 353 days and see how it worked out.

1. Finish my thesis

This is a really big one. I know that my thesis has made an appearance in the complaining part of this blog many a time. Its been dragging on a long time and is getting to the point of being more of a myth in my life than a reality. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed and apologetic every time someone asks me about it. I really want to have it done and over with so I can prove to myself that I am capable of such tasks and and to be able to move on with my life. The thesis is holding me back from starting other things I care about learning because I can’t really imagine, or justify to others, starting anything new with this still sitting there. So to do this I’m going to have to 9-5 this shit. No more flexible time, no more excuses, just all work all the time until I’m done. It will feel so good to move on and I’m going to use the yearning for that feeling to drive me.

2. Find a good job

Finding a job has been a helluva chore. Its been over a year that I’ve been applying, going to interviews, feeling rejected, and starting again. My goal for this year is to make the changes that need to be made in order to find work, which will include really thinking about whether Montreal is the place for this to happen. I’ve been applying to work in other places but maybe I need to make the big move to change up the formula and hopefully find something that works. This requires a lot of thinking and planning since I don’t exactly have the income to up and move to a more expensive city (thinking Toronto), and obviously this decision also affects M so its got to work for him too. Whatever it is, something is not working in my application process and I need to evaluate that. This goal is related to the above goal in a lot of ways, not the least of which because both are making me feel stuck and also probably that getting my thesis done and graduating will help the job hunt. Its also related to moving my life and my new little family’s life and goals forward. So its back to the regular job hunt for me. To do this I’m going to get back to regularly searching for and applying to jobs. I’m going to make it my begin the morning routine, over coffee and breakfast (which I will also be getting better at), before working on my thesis.

3. Drink more water

In the past I’ve gone for more of a general “get healthy” goal. I’m not ditching that because let’s be honest, I’m way too young to not take care of myself. This year though I’m going to put down a more specific goal of making sure I drink a lot more water every day. Like the full recommended daily amount. Its not a hard goal but its a habit I want to form and it will take some conscious intention to get it started. I’m going to follow the Mayo Clinic’s advice because they seem legit and are usually not too extreme in their recommendations. They say that the average woman in a temperate climate should drink 9 liters a day so I’m going to aim for that. 9-10 big glasses or my water bottle a day should do the trick. I want to start each day with water before anything else and move from there. Luckily I drink a lot of water when sitting at a desk, mostly out of fidgety boredom, so this should work perfectly with my above plans.

4. Start a Cdn political analysis blog/podcast

This one is going to be on pause until the Thesis is done because frankly I’m not sure I can handle more writing, other than blogging, on top of that but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Hence the Department of Analysis blog I keep but don’t write on these days. I follow a lot of grassroots political blogs and podcasts and really enjoy the perspective. My complaint about this though is that all of them are American, and while I appreciate the updates on what’s going on there I want to publicize what’s going on here too. The idea is not to be a journalist so I won’t be going out to follow stories, that’s not my goal. What I want to do is be a pundit of sorts and do commentary on events, news and politics in Canada to try and up the conversations happening about the situation here. The US affects our politics but we have plenty of our own that needs to be discussed. I’m going to aim for a late spring launch on this. If I can get others involved then great but if not I’m still going to do it.

5. Start a small Apothecary

I’ve been into herbal and holistic healthcare for a long time now. I think my first foray into it was when I got Bell’s Palsy (8 years ago?) and doctors told me that they didn’t know anything to ease the symptoms or speed recovery but that some people had good results from acupuncture. Luckily at that time I was still covered under my dad’s awesome teacher’s insurance and I was able to get acupuncture 3x/week for months free. It worked, was relaxing and most importantly I had (what I’m told is) a remarkable recovery. I still seek out acupuncture when I need it these days, though I don’t have coverage for it so its a lot less often. From there I got myself a naturopath and started using herbal remedies to make myself healthier and my obsession has only grown. Nowadays I treat just about everything with herbs (unless I’m really sick) and have gotten into making toiletries. I know make my own deodorant, cream and lip balm and am learning to make more. I’ve been researching lots of recipes (and even classes) but for now I think I can start a small apothecary making non-internal products and selling them around town. So this winter is for learning, and when the thesis is done I will launch!

6. Make a budget and stick to it

Classic resolution and one that I make almost every year. Its a bit comical to try and make a budget for such a small amount of money but at the same time SO necessary. This budget is going to focus on watching what we spend and paying down debt so that when we eventually have good jobs and more income we know where our money goes and hopefully have a cleaner slate to work with, and better credit. Eventually we will want to do things like buy cars and maybe a somewhere to live. Or at least travel. Money sucks when you don’t have it. So a budget has been made for this year, mapping out the real expenses we have and prioritizing the important things, including a (very small) budget line for entertainment. Now we just have to make sure we stay on track.

7. Read more books

My degree has killed my ability to sit and read for fun. I feel guilty when I’m not reading academic stuff so I haven’t really. I got a mini kobo for xmas this year and some bookstore gift certificates and I had no idea what to buy! This is so weird for me, I used to be such a big reader. This is somewhat related to the next resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I read, a lot. I have a solid 29 blogs and news agencies that I check at least once a day (thank you flipboard), not to mention the many articles, postings, rants and commentaries that also make up my daily reading. I love reading and I love learning, I acknowledge that I’ve turned more towards emerging and grassroots/popular learning in the form of new media academics and I like it. I get challenged a lot from it and it inspires a lot of discussion in my home. I miss reading for fun though, and reading fiction. Anyway, I finished reading Fun Home last week and am partway through Alison Bechdel’s new book, Are You My Mother?. Next up is Barbara Kingsolver’s, Flight Behavior on my new kobo. Then maybe something by Zadie Smith? I don’t know yet. The plan is to read at least 30 books for fun this year (idea from blackandwhiteandlovedallover). 30 is not much but it seems reasonable in the face of the stack of books I have to read to finish my damn degree.

8. Use less screens

This is another reason why I haven’t been reading enough. I have a million screens that I can look at in all places. My computer, tablet, smart phone, and (now) ereader makes is virtually (pun intended) impossible to avoid looking at a screen. I can sit in front of the computer all day, or peruse the www on my tablet in bed or while traveling (I even use it for knitting patterns!), the phone works for small spaces like the metro or bus or if I don’t have the tablet with me. The ereader for when my eyes feel like falling out of my head from starting at screens too long. So, with the health of my eyes in mind I’m going to make sure I spend a significant amount of time not looking at screens a day. Whether that’s reading (ereader doesn’t count, its nice on the eyes), knitting, hanging out with friends, cooking or whatever I’m going to make an effort.

9. Go somewhere new

Phew, this post is getting really long. Its taken me almost 2 weeks to write!

This is a fun one, a lot of these goals feel kinda heavy….I’m a wanderlust at heart. I’ve been in Montreal for 5 and a half years and its closing in on the longest I’ve lived anywhere, including places I lived as a child (Calgary was 7 years). My parents move(d) a lot, I’ve moved a LOT. There was the period of time between 19-24 I moved cities, if not countries, every 4 months. I like being nomadic, I get excited by new places. I have come to enjoy the benefits of being somewhere a while, which mostly have to do with knowing people for a long time, but I still need new places in my life to keep things fresh. So my goal for this year is to go to at least one new place. It doesn’t have to be far, it just has to be somewhere I’ve never been before.

10. “Renovate” the apartment

I’ve been living in this little apartment for almost 2 years, and now officially over 1 year with M. When I originally set up and painted the place it worked really well for me. We made a few changes to fit M in when they moved here but other than moving one or two pieces of furniture and clearing out a closet and a few drawers for them to use there haven’t really been any changes made to the place. Its in desperate need of an update and a shuffling to make ‘my’ place ‘ours’. My goal for this year is to declutter, paint, recover and buy with M to make our house ours. We’re exploring ways to cover the terrible linoleum in the kitchen & bathroom. Suggestions welcome. Changing a rental apartment is an interesting dance between wanting a good space and not investing a lot into a place we’ll move out of and leave behind.


Small Things Project: Day 70 (Oct 9)

Earthquake! Man, I haven’t felt one of those in a while. Feeling the ground shake was pretty common when I lived in Taipei. I missed the last one here, I was on my bike in traffic and found out about it when I got home. I have a bit of natural disaster fomo (fear of missing out). I missed a huge typhoon in Taipei that happened about a week before I arrived. I missed the hurricane in Halifax by a couple of months, the brown out on the eastern seaboard by days. As long as no one gets hurt it sure does seem like a fun adventure. This earthquake wasn’t much of an adventure. The building shook a bit. I thought it was a neighbour’s washing machine or a car hitting a neighbouring building. M made me go and look outside the front and back. I didn’t see anything so I went back about my business. It wasn’t until I logged on to fb a while later that I found out it was an earthquake. 4.0, centred in Longueuil (the suburb/city to the south of Montreal).

I’m happy I felt it!

I’m happy I ordered the stuff for the bracelet’s part of my fall crafting plans. Yay for early evening activities. Also, I ordered a little birthday present tonight. A little woo in the form of the Collective Tarot. I used a little of the money my mom gave me to get something memorable for my 30th. So thanks for the woo mom!

I’m also happy I came across this on Groupon. If I could afford it I would get M and I a weekend there this winter for sure. In the meantime I’m just going to post it here and keep it in mind. It would be SO much fun.

Okay the picture link stuff won’t work so click here

Also, for Earthquake (and Apocalypse) future planning check out this

 


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Craft Projects for Fall

As it gets colder I start wanting to work with fabrics again. I also really get into staying home more and chilling out with a good movie and making something. Its like I’m easing myself into winter and the dark, snowy days that leave me feeling quiet and homebody-like. Though I’m not the hugest fan of winter, I am excited for making things again (like finishing Corrie’s bday present).

Ever since I got my full time job I’ve had zero time on my hands. This week alone I’ve had meetings before and after work pretty much every day. So I’ve been leaving the house by 8:30-9am and getting home around 9:30-10pm. That doesn’t leave me a lot of time for seeing my husband, eating or decompressing (and writing my thesis) let alone making anything so I’ve picked a few crafts I want to do this fall that are relatively quick but still really nice.

[click on the blue links or on the pictures to get to the original sites with instructions]

Bed Pockets

from a case of the mundays {click photo to go to blog}

I have too much stuff on my bedside table. Books I’ve been wanting to read, sleeping socks, ear plugs, mouth guard, whatever it is I feel necessary to hoard by my bedside. M has an equal if not greater amount of stuff by his bed. While we both need to learn the beauty of less equaling more, I still want to make these to free up some surface space and tuck away the things that don’t need to be in plain sight. We’re planning on switching the office and the bedroom this month so maybe I’ll make them from our new space.

Bracelets

(gold tube & macrame)

from honestly WTF {click photo for link to blog post instructions}

 

same deal. From Honestly WTF & click photo

Honestly WTF has great bracelet tutorials, none of which I’ve ever made but many of which I’ve put up on my pinterest. Sidebar: I saw a thing the other day that said pinterest was a place for virtual hoarders and I was all “no, I totally do my pinterest stuff!”. I’ve since come to accept the fact that that meme was mostly right though. I mean, its not completely useless, I’ve made a few of the recipes that I pinned, and posted a few of the things from my ‘like’ board here. But I mostly pin things that I would LIKE to do, not things that I have the time, money or skill to do. I’m being self-deprecating here but whatever, its late and I’m tired.

MOVING ON.

I’ve gotten into flattish bracelets this year (have I ever mentioned how much bracelets with any weight or rigidity annoy me?). It started when I when on a friendship bracelet making kick when M and I decided to get married and couldn’t afford engagement rings. We joked that the friendship bracelets would be that thing so I made us some. The joke stuck around though because I’ve never taken mine off.  I’ve recently had some desire to stack my wrists with bracelets and these seem like reasonable, one-episode-of-dexter-a-night kind of projects.

Tie-Dyed Leggings

Martha Stewart. Click photo

Been wanting to get into tie-dying, and have been curious about the whole legging as pants phenomenon that I’ve eschewed for so long. While I would never wear them as pants, MAYBE with a long shirt or short dress…..god, what have I become? I give you Martha Stewart tie-dye legging instructions, the 20 year old me would be horrified. The 30year old me is both intrigued and slightly uncomfortable. In another 10 years maybe I’ll be voting Conservative. JUST KIDDING. I would never go that far.

Woven Sweatshirt

HA! fooled you. This one doesn’t have a link because for some reason the website doesn’t work anymore. You’ll just have to enjoy this pinterest photo

The site linked from pinterest for this photo isn’t working anymore so I’m just going to give you this picture, tell you its from pups-paris.com and hope that that’s enough. I like the idea of dressing up a sweatshirt. That way I can continue to wear sweatshirts AND look like I care about my appearance. Win-Win right? I mean, I guess unless I wear it with leggings as pants. I’m going to have to improvise this pattern but it doesn’t look to difficult. If I manage to pull it off I’ll post my own tutorial about it. Now to find a good, plain sweater that is cheap enough that I feel fine about cutting it up and experimenting on.

I should also work on a knitting project. I do like knitting projects…