April 15, 2018

One Purchase a Month: Updates and Failures

My year of thrift in 2015 went really well, so when I declared that this year I'd only purchase one clothing/accessory item a month, I did not know it would be this difficult to control my shopping urges. Turns out, especially with thrifting, when I enter a store and see that ONE item that I'll never find again because it's in a secondhand or vintage shop, I can't resist. That being said, I can echo what Cait Flanders of "The Year of Less" writes about here, in that I have come to a really simple solution: just don't go into stores, and I don't browse online! This seems to work really well for me, though it does change how I spend time with certain people for sure. But, maybe that's not a bad thing ;)

So here's an overview:

January: I went to my favourite Arts Market on my way to the bus stop from one of my jobs, and I fell madly in love with a vintage Kenzo sweater and a hat. I can't remember what else I bought that month but I feel there might have been something more? I think these two items were my "above my limit" purchases. I giggled these purchases aside and told myself (and others) that at least I'd tried for the very first month, and that I'd get better. I was only a little bit wrong on that point....

February: I went to Aruba and a) wanted to buy things to wear that were hot weather appropriate, and b) I got there and realized it was actually cold and windy, and I needed something to keep me warmer. I bought in total two pairs of pants, a hat, a shirt, a jumpsuit, a necklace, and a bathing suit. Yeesh. I failed really badly in February and almost gave up this goal entirely.

March: I did a total 180 and did so well in March! I didn't let February Failures dishearten me, and I instead just didn't go shopping. Period. I did purchase some things as a gift for my fella, but was very proud that I didn't even go into the women's section to browse this time. My one purchase ended up being a pair of handmade earrings from the spring One of a Kind show which I mention in my post of favourite OOAK finds!

April: So far, it looks like my clothing purchase this month will be a sturdy backpack to lug all my things around in, as my good ol' friend had the major zipper break. I'm tempted to fix the zipper, but to have it done well and sturdily might cost me the same as a new backpack... maybe. I haven't decided yet. But I'll be sure to let you know!

There have been some ups and downs, that's for sure! I'm curious to see how I do the rest of the year and with season changes. I'm sure I'll have a few more fluctuating ups and downs, but my plan is to stay strong nonetheless! And with that, I'll leave you with my few key learnings so far:

~ If you don't want to buy things, don't shop, don't browse.
~ If you fail at a monthly, weekly, or daily challenge, don't give up! If you meant it in the first place, it doesn't actually matter if you did it every time. Try try and try again, and be kind to yourself when you do forget or mess up a bit (or a lot!).
~ Bunz trading is a dangerous and wonderful alternative to buying! Never heard of it? I'll make a post about it soon.


April 9, 2018

Monday Mood 002

This week's Monday Mood board is a mix of sleek and semi-minimal, and busy and eclectic. Pretty much sums up the things I like lately! I've always been drawn to both stream-lined simplicity, and hectic collages of things. This gentleman, Isaa Samb's jacket in the middle is a great example of that sort of mixture, and it looks so rad on him.

On the other hand we have Isamu Noguchi's work. Noguchi has been on my radar very much this week, as my fella's dad is giving me a Noguchi-style coffee table for my new place and I am pumped! I didn't know who he was until this, and so I started googling and found out that he is the coolest sculptor, landscape architect, and furniture designer ever. I'll do a highlight of his work in a separate post soon because he's just that wonderful. The top left sculpture and the middle right photo are both Noguchi.

Some links for the photos I was able to find original sources for:

Naomi Bikis ceramics
Calabasas Remodel reveal
Making Sense of Isamu Noguchi
Issa Samb portrait

*note: if you know where any of these other images come from I'd love to link 'em up properly.

Happy Monday folks and cheers to a good week ahead!

April 6, 2018

Handmade finds: OOAK Spring 2018

In Toronto twice a year, we have the One of a Kind Show. It's a huge convention centre filled with booths for Canadian artisans. There's clothing, food stuff, jewellery, home stuff, art work, and so much more! It's the best and I usually go every year.

Though I'm trying really hard not to shop and buy new things lately, I collected business cards of makers whose work  I LOVED. I also maybe did buy just one pair of earrings from raw eco jewellery, a nice metal loop and clay bead on each ;) So I thought that I'd share a few of my favourites with you guys on the blog and spread the love a little.

Heirloom hats had the most beautiful and unique hats and uses the coolest old fashioned techniques to make them!

Raw Eco Jewellery had the coolest most unique jewellery and Dev was the most friendly!

Amanda Moss's colours were maybe entirely what I'd like in my dream wardrobe .

Talia Silva's ceramics were almost impossible to leave behind. I unfortunately have so many mugs already that I can't take on more in my collection right now.


April 5, 2018

Aruba Adventures: The Butterfly Farm

I'm going to get a little bit real here today: traveling with family can be tough. Especially when you stick three adult siblings with very different personalities into one tiny hotel room for the week. There were definitely some sharp pointy words thrown around and lots of built up tension, which is always a little bit disappointing on a beautiful vacation where all you want to do is enjoy! But c'est la vie, right?

That being said, because Aruba is so safe, I was able to wander off and get a little bit of space by walking to the Butterfly Farm all on my lonesome! The reason I bring up the drama at all, is because the Butterfly Farm was the exact healing, calming, and restorative thing I needed. It had a really big impact on me because I needed that and I want to share how magical it felt.

I walked in a bit timidly - I'm still not one of those people who boldly does new things alone, especially in foreign countries. I do so timidly, though, so that's a start! The people working there were so incredibly friendly and cheerful that I felt very at ease around them and better about going alone.

The tour was wonderful and funny, I learned so much about the life cycles and habits of butterflies. Did you know that rainforest butterflies adapted to get their nourishment from fallen fruits, which inevitably are fermented. Ergo, drunk rainforest butterflies, at all times! The tour guide was really kind and we chatted. I think he sensed that I was a bit awkward being there on my own and he helped me get an owl butterfly to eat some orange off of my finger! It was the best.

I also just walked around the relatively small, enclosed butterfly garden and spent time sitting on the benches in quiet corners, green foliage tickling my shoulders and butterflies fluttering around me (and sometimes, the drunk ones, swooping dangerously close to my face!), birds in the distance singing songs and water trickling in the garden's little ponds. It was really peaceful. My only regret is that I went at the end of my trip, because they give you a ticket for re-entry throughout the rest of your trip!

At the end of my visit, the staff chatted with me and helped me pick which souvenir I wanted: a choice between earrings made of butterfly wings enclosed in glass, or a necklace. One asked me why I was all covered up and not working on my tan. I told him I was from Canada and therefore would simply burn. He got really excited and asked if I'd ever been to the Butterfly Conservatory we have in Niagara falls, which I have been to! So we chatted about that and he said it was on his bucket list. They were all very fun people to be around with great spirits and kindness.

I walked back to the resort hugging my little souvenir to my chest, just filled to the brim with hopefulness and renewed peace. Man, is nature ever the healing and magical thing. Nature and sunshine; though I guess the sun falls under the umbrella of nature doesn't it?

ps. it was SO HARD to get good photos of the butterflies! Most of my film ones turned out super blurry, except these two at the end.

March 26, 2018

Monday Mood 01

A lil Monday Mood board today. I've been enjoying collecting images and putting them together into mood boards. I like the way they look, so figured I'd share them here to start the week off!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend xx

March 23, 2018

Aruba Adventures: Horseback riding through Arikok

I finally got the film from my trip to Aruba developed, so I'm ready to share some beautiful memories from a beautiful island.

I had forgotten how beautiful and, as cheesy as it is to say, majestic, horses are. They're such incredible animals and have such force, intuition, and personality. It was a really special experience to witness the beautiful North coast of Aruba with such incredible creatures.

Aruba was a really cool island. It has your typical resort and tourist beaches on the one side, and then protected natural land on the North side. This is partly because the waves that come crashing into the island on the North side are quite gloriously forceful. Of course, it's hard to actually capture one of the big ones on camera since they never seem to happen when you're at the ready to click your shutter ;)

It's also a very dry island - lots of cacti (which I don't actually have a picture of in this post - oops!) and dry shrubbery. I loved the impressive cacti double my size, wonky and weird and perfect.

We stopped at the natural pools, seen behind me here, and normally visitors have a chance to go for a dip in them, but with the winds of that specific day it was too wavy and dangerous. I was ok with that though - going back on horseback in wet clothes is no fun..... yes, that's foreshadowing...

On our way back, we got to the peak of Arikok park, and a windy storm blew in. It became a precarious act of balancing on the horses, who decided they weren't gonna casually stroll while they got bombarded with sideways rain and strong winds and began galloping down the hills, holding onto the reins, holding onto our hats, and getting totally soaked.

It was hectic and a little uncomfortable after, but kind of a cool adrenaline rush and our guide was super great at making sure we were safe and not overly concerned. I highly recommend the Rancho Loco folks if you're ever in Aruba and want to go Horseback riding through Aruba's nature!

Have you been to Aruba before? What was your fav part?

Stay tuned for a few more Aruba posts with photos!

March 15, 2018

Moodboard: New Apartment

I guess the first step of this post is to share that I finally signed a lease for an apartment this week!

The story goes like many others' stories: I moved away from my childhood home a couple of times, mostly for school, and ended up moving back several times. In the first move, I learned to choose my room mates wisely. In the third, I moved to Paris and learned to live alone and far away. In another, I lived with my mum for a while. The last, I lived in Waterloo for school with the most lovely house mate.

Moving back home has been a challenge. My dad and step mum and my brother, all of whom live here too, are lovely and I consider our relationships very close and wonderful. We've grown together and I am cherishing the last little bit of time that we all live under the same roof, especially as my brother leaves for university in the fall (to ENGLAND!). Nonetheless, it is difficult to come back to your childhood and family space when you've had so many tastes of your own routines, your own ways of doing things, your own space, your own little semi-separate life.

Sooooo, the right opportunity finally arose and I am going to be moving in the next month or so with my best friend Kami. I know some of you probably just cringed at the words "moving in with my best friend". I've heard the horror stories but have tons of faith in us and our free and open communication. Plus Kami is maybe the kindest soul I've ever met, so I'm sure we can make it work one way or another with kindness, compassion, generosity, and openness. I'm SO excited!

I can't wait to decorate. Given that I'm moving from home, I have to buy almost all-new furniture. I'm going to do my best to THRIFT as much as I can, or bunz trade or purchase vintage. But either way, this means I can make some choices from scratch, so I'm brainstorming (daydreaming incessantly) already and will likely share some of my pinterest finds here! Hope you don't mind some home decor inspo ;)


February 13, 2018

Valentine's Free Printables + Anti-consumer, Inclusive Love.

I had a conversation with my seniors yesterday about Valentine's day. The conversation veered into the topic of consumerism, of exclusive love, and how sad it can be to be the kid in the class who gets no Valentine's cards or candy grams.

While one gentleman argued that love is inherently preferential, he also suggested some ideas for how to love one another, and spread that love beyond just yourselves as a couple. We added to our list of money-free Valentine's celebration ideas: "involve others in co-giving".

My fella and I were coincidentally in line with that this year. We make something for Valentine's day celebrations each year instead of buying anything or going for fancy dinners. This year specifically, we started making a quilt out of my stash of fabric which we will donate to a shelter or other organization once it is finished! I really wanted to continue our tradition of making things, but I really didn't want to accumulate more stuff for myself either. Plus, spreading the love and "co-giving" is a great Valentine's initiative!

So, this year's free printable Valentines include one more "preferential", and one that could be given out to people we love not-romantically, too! I enjoyed testing out some new photoshop brushes for these - what do you think?

Happy Valentines to singles, couples, and all others in between! I send my love to you all!

February 9, 2018

On Being Serious...

... or not.

When I say the words "instagram aesthetic", can you picture exactly what I mean?

Whether you're an artist sharing your work, a fashionista sharing your styling, a traveler sharing your adventures, a chef sharing your edible creations, or anything else, there's a particular "cool", "collected", and dare I say blasé, thing about instagram.

Lots of wistful stares at cameras and half-open mouths, pursed a little. Maybe looking away from the camera and posing half-candidly in front of a cool wall.

I'm never happy with photos of myself or my surroundings trying to recreate that instagram aesthetic. I love things to look beautiful and nice but I've placed expectations on myself based on other peoples' style and amount of effort they're willing to put into social media posts.

I love social media and I don't want to ditch it - it connects me with people, connects my artwork with people, and can be such a wonderful community. I do however want to start being more myself, stop worrying about being professional (I try to keep my instagram somewhat profesh, so potential clients can engage with it). But it just isn't me!

I am maybe the farthest thing from blasé. Ever.

One of the first things I can remember my now-fella noticing about me, during a night out with friends, was "You are maybe the most animated person I've ever met." (I can still remember skipping down Spadina street at night, around the corner from the Horseshoe Tavern and a night of nice music) This was also maybe the first time someone had said something like that to me and meant it as a positive. I skip and dance and sometimes sing my sentences. I greet my seniors at work by throwing up my arms and exclaiming HELLO with so much gusto that they stop and do the same!

So here's to being me, and fighting against that instagram social hierarchy algorithm blasé cool-girl BS! Who's with me?


January 24, 2018

Get to Know Me, Get to Know You!

Hello everyone!

I realize that, while I share a lot on this blog in respect to my art, others' art, thrifting, sustainability in fashion and life, and more recently some self love/body image content through my Bedhead Project, I haven't really spoken about MYSELF and who I am on a day to day basis in a while.

(There's me, in all my Bedhead -face-morphing-smile glory)

So, I want to offer you guys some little truth nuggets to help you get to know me. And in turn, I hope to get to know some of you more closely as well!

Starting with some fabricated 'FAQ' style questions for myself:

1. What do you do for work?

~ I work primarily with persons with dementia! The place I work at designates themselves as an Academy for persons living with dementia, and I go in and provide arts-based programming a couple of times a week. We have a philosophy that includes relational caring, so I also spend a lot of time hanging out, having dance parties, getting deep, and building relationships with my participants and my coworkers! It's the best ever. I started as a volunteer and ended up staying and working there for 4 years now.

I also work part time as a research assistant through school, also dealing with relational caring, and as a wedding photographer's assistant. From time to time I also do art and design related freelance work.

In short, I do too many things my friends, too many things!

2. What do you do in school?
~ I'm working towards finishing my Master's in Recreation and Leisure Studies. This is a really cool field, I'm discovering, and includes a whole range from tourism, to sports, to parks, to recreation therapy (which is closer to what I do... but I don't call it therapy for many reasons that would require a whole other blog post for). I'm new to the field academically, but my research is on arts based approaches to working with persons with dementia, so with that I am in my element.

My research deals in friendship in dementia care: not something we normally think about as a possibility, but with a critical lens my feeling is: Why the heck not? I'll be working directly with persons with dementia and care partners to find out what they think/feel/know about that.

3. What do you do for fun?
~ I paint, I draw, I collage, I knit, I weave, I take photos, I obsess over fashion, I go to concerts with friends, I cook, I eat good food with friends and family, I go to the art gallery, I dance (alone in my kitchen, though), I watch crappy crime dramas, I goof off with my fella, I read blogs, I blog!

(An example of my for-fun art making)

4. Where are you from?
~ I'm from Toronto, in Canada. I've lived elsewhere (Paris, France, & Waterloo, Canada) but always circle back here. I love my city, and while I love exploring, I'd have a hard time leaving permanently. My background is Belgian, Danish (hence my last name!), and Canadian.

Woo! So, that's a start anyway. I feel as though that covers some of the basics anyhow.

Now it's your turn! I want to know the same about you, if you'd like to share your answers to the same four questions, please do so in the comments. I'd love to learn more, make my blogging more personal/about relationship building between creatives (since that's the fun part of the online world anyway), and get to know YOU!


January 18, 2018

My One Clothing Purchase a Month MAX

There are many reasons for my desire to buy less.

Sustainability, saving money, spending more wisely, consuming less, having less "stuff" to deal with, focusing my energy on something other than shopping, trying not to take part in an overly capitalist/consumerist system, etc.

We all know that if I even need to write about this, it's because I have a tendency to shop. I love clothes, I love beautiful fashion. I also actually love the act of shopping! I could spend hours in thrift stores and fill a whole afternoon with looking through piles of clothes and accessories; treasure hunting.

So, instead of buying not-at-all, I've warmed to the idea of only buying one item a month. This allows me to purchase beautiful things, but only if I really truly want or need them. If I choose to make an item my "one" for the month, I had better choose wisely. This also helps me avoid emotional shopping, which is something I've noticed I do a lot when I'm stressed.

So, 12 items in a year, that's not bad. Typing it out though that even seems like a lot. For this reason I'm calling the one item a month my 'maximum' and really more of a less-harsh rule with a bit of wiggle room, instead of going cold turkey.

This month, I already bought a new bathing suit for my trip to Aruba, and even though I'm craving a new pair of nice sandals, a beach bag, light summery clothes, etc. I am actively reminding myself to not even bother shopping or going onto etsy "just to look". By the time February rolls around, I won't be able to order anything online without risking it not arriving in time for my trip, so I'll likely not buy anything else for it. Which is GOOD!

Hopefully in so doing I will have more time to write my research proposal (still in the works, still taking forever), read books, work on my art, etc. Less shopping, more fulfilling activities!

Are you taking on any challenges for 2018? Tell me about it in the comments!

January 15, 2018

Window Shopping: A Warm Vacation

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I have a confession: I've not been living in the moment in the present much lately. I've been daydreaming non stop about a family vacation we just booked to Aruba! It's several weeks away but I. Can't. Stop. Thinking. About. It.

Tonight it is snowing steadily and romantically, but I'm having a hard time feeling the magic and charm of Toronto's millionth winter wonderland appearance. The weather has me feeling some real S.A.D. feelings. Also, last week was a hard week, if you follow me on instagram you'll know that someone I was very close to at work, one of my friends with dementia, passed away. This is an inherent part of my work with persons with dementia, and it is always sad, but this particular one has hit me hard. I'm fine, and happy to have known her and spent so much wonderful time with her. But I've definitely been enjoying a bit of escapism by envisioning the trip to Aruba.

Of course, part of that day dream is all the fabulous beach and summer wear I'll be able to adorn myself with! Ahh, how I miss light fabrics and the freedom from layers. I miss feeling the breeze on my skin and actually enjoying it. I miss the warm sun. This window shopping outfit features two of my favourite online shops as of late: Hackwith Design House and Boheme Goods, handmade and vintage goodies respectively. I can't get enough of their pieces and finds.

Lately I've been really into beige and off-white. Something cloudy and dreamy about it, so even though I'm headed somewhere tropical I'm imagining lots of warm, light, breezy, airy tones. With a punch of orange/red, though! As with the little de tails on this adorable straw market bag. I've already bought myself a new bathing suit and I'm trying to limit myself to that one purchase for the month (an amendment on my year of thrift routine), so for now, just day dreaming and window shopping.

Have any of you been to Aruba? Any recommendations for things to see/do?

January 8, 2018

Sunsetrise - a Poem

Inspired by Fee of Burnt Feather, I'm trying to be brave and share my poetry, even though it is not the art form I am usually comfortable with sharing. Any other poetry enthusiasts/dabblers out there? I've been writing since I was a little girl, and actually first made a blog for the sole purpose of sharing my poetry. I only shared it with my friends, but it was very special to me. After several writing workshops taken for fun and with friends, I'm rediscovering that joy and I want to share some of my word-doodles here.

In mellow golden tones…
Sunsetrise, the cusp of days and nights.
Tender expectation (or disappointment)
In the letting go (anticipation) of a day.
What was and will summed up in succulent tones;
Ruby red in ochre;
Fruity pink in lemonade.
The sky is hot (and tasty).
I want to bite into
The gradated ribbon separating night and day
Across the sky.
Taste today and tomorrow so I can know.
But there is no dessert like the (knowledge) you can’t have.

Temptation and delight,
In the overflowing moments between day and night.
And when clouds roll past in contrasting blues;
Navy and cerulean,
Robin’s egg and forget-me-nots.
Flowers of the sky,
Cousins of the stars.
They all know our dreams;
The ones we whisper out with every exhale
And wish with every intake of air.
The turn of the day, the turn of the night;
The truth in these moments in the sky are ours
But not to have.
Forever out there in the cycle of fluctuating gold and blue.

Let me know what you think, and if you're interested in more!