December 30, 2017

Here's to a Good Year (+ Bedhead)

Dear twenty seventeen,

You have been a good one. I've had my ups and downs during your rotation around the sun, but all in all they've helped me grow and get to a really good place.

Most of my bumps were adjustments: adjusting to moving home after living away for school, adjusting to doing work from home and not having classes to go to, adjusting to new work roles and juggling a plethora of tasks, adjusting to my fella being back in school, adjusting adjusting adjusting.

That being said, I also have come to accept myself on many levels this year, and that's a really important feeling for me. I started my Bedhead project during a low period, which has greatly changed the way I see myself and my appearance (read about it here, and more on that another time!). I grew out my armpit hair, I gained weight and didn't wish to get rid of it right away, I am kinder in my words to myself, and I am able to accept all the moods and feelings and ways of being that make me, me.

One of my big realizations has been that being "sensitive" (highly emotional? feeling things deeply? however you want to put it) is my strength. Not a weakness! The difference is really just a change in perspective: being sensitive and emotionally aware helps me so much in my work with persons with dementia. I wouldn't be as good at my job if I weren't sensitive. It also helps me form really honest relationships with those around me: if I can pinpoint my emotions instead of ignoring them, I can help myself and others work through them with me. It is so freeing to look at this as a strength!

In 2017 I was able to create freely, work for amazing clients, join a research team that is doing amazing things with relational caring in long term care, hone new skills and rekindle old ones, continue loving the most amazing guy, spend time with my wonderful family and friends, take a risk and chop off my hair, and so much more. So here's to you, 2017! Thank you for a good spin.

And for 2018? I hope to floss more. I hope to use my phone less. I hope to write more. I hope to overthink less. I hope to learn more. I hope to consume less. I hope to read more. I hope to watch TV less. I hope to love more! I hope to stress less. I hope to work out more. I hope to procrastinate less.

What do you hope for, for 2018?

December 15, 2017

Why I am returning to my Year of Thrift Manifesto (with an update!)

In 2015 I wrote my Year of Thrift Manifesto outlining my plan to buy my clothing only second hand or handmade, allowing for a few functional exceptions I had decided upon based on experience and common sense (second hand undies? an obvious no-go). Part of my manifesto covered body products as well - essentially expressing that I wanted to eliminate bad chemicals and nasty stuff from my body/face/hair care and makeup routine. I pretty much succeeded, save for one sweater I accidentally bought but waited until 2016 to actually wear. In 2015 I found good alternatives for my beauty products, and have since continued with my use of only natural products. I have however since shopped in several mainstream stores. It has left me feeling really, really conflicted.

(A recently thrifted necklace + sweater.)

I really want to own quality, long-lasting clothing. Garments made of good materials that fit me nicely and make me feel fabulous. Of course I do! Most of us do. Sometimes you don't find this thrifting (but sometimes you do!). Unfortunately I began itching to upgrade from my current wardrobe. So I bought a few things, albeit decent quality items. It still made me feel kind of icky. I still feel as though I'm doing something wrong when I buy a shirt so cheap that I can't help but wonder which part of the process the company cuts corners on, or a gorgeous jacket from a company that I know steals from independent artists and small businesses. And those aren't nice things to be wondering about.

An update that I want to make to my Manifesto is the primary goal of not buying. Not only do I want to shop wisely and well, I want to shop way way way less. One of the side effects of thrifting is you feel like maybe you can buy more.... or is it just that I LOVE clothes? ;) That being said, consuming and spending in any capacity contributes to the disposable fashion world and capitalist ways of being, and thrifting is not separate from that. Also, my bank account and my closet will thank me for keeping the former full, and the latter more spacious.

So I want to bring back the Thrifting Manifesto and not limit it to a year. What is a single year in a lifetime, anyway? I want to have a life-long, positive impact on the world and stick to my guns about how I feel about sustainability. I want to feel good about what I own. I want to help others feel good about what they own, too. This and 'self love', being the most and best me I can be, are big themes for me right now so.... here we go!

See the original Year of Thrift Manifesto here, and stay tuned for the updated list.

Have you made sustainable changes in your life recently? I'd love to hear what you've been up to!

December 13, 2017

Two FREE Holiday Printable and E-Cards!

'Tis the season for giving!

My holiday gift to you: 
Two festive collage card designs for you to use for free! Because who doesn't love a little something goofy (and strange) and totally unique amidst all your regular holiday imagery? Both designs are 100% designed by me, half collaged by hand and half digitally.

Print them out, save them to your computer, add your name, and send them out by email. Or, print the e-cards smaller and use them as gift tags! Whatever works best for you.

I'm personally emailing these out to some people who live abroad or are hard to get a hold of, and hand making the rest of my cards using recycled magazine bits and pieces. If I come up with any good designs in the rest of my card making this year, I could scan them and offer them as free printables next year - if you all like free printables/sendables and want more!

Above, you have the 'Fala lalala" design with two cheerful carollers serenading you and/or your card recipients. Below, you have the Lil Festive Yeti celebrating the seasonal precipitation (if you live north enough).


Printables (below):
• Click on the images below and the full size file should open up for you in your web browser. Right click (or control click) to save them to your computer.
• Print the file onto an 8.5" x 11" regular printer paper.
• Cut the printed paper in half (horizontally). There is a subtle little line on each to help guide you.
• Fold your cards in half, so that the image is on the front and my 'signature' is on the back.

Each print should give you two cards with these files.

E-Cards (above):
• Click on the images below and the full size file should open up for you in your web browser. Right click (or control click) to save them to your computer.
• Open the file into your favourite photo editor and add the names and any personalized message you'd like onto the images.
• Save As a jpeg (technically pdf or png would also work)
• Attach the file to your emails as you send out holiday greetings!

Printable versions:

I hope you enjoy these designs, let me know in the comments if you plan to use one!

Happy Holidays to your and yours! xo

These cards are free for you to use, print, or send out for the holidays. They are not for you to edit, to re-distribute, to use for commercial purposes, or to claim as your own.  Please do not remove my credit from the images. Thanks!

December 9, 2017

Trying to do the Holidays without Consumerism

I love buying gifts.

I love picking out just the right thing for so-and-so, or the perfect surprise gift for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. I love walking into a store and looking at all the wee gift options, all the visual stimulation of pretty things. I love scouring webpages online until I find exactly what I'm looking for. It's exciting and it really puts me in the spirit of thinking of others for the holidays.

This is in direct contrast to how much I take issue with consumerism. As you know if you've been following along for a while, I am all about the thrifting and the handmade/small business shopping. Not only is it nice to support smaller companies, it also contributes to helping the environment (reuse recycle!) and not "buying in" to big chain businesses that almost definitely come with a bundle of ethical concerns.

So, how do I give gifts and not buy into buying?

I'm not very good at it. I bought most of my gifts this year, and I ended up buying for myself too. Oops. I wrote here about a Good Gift Guide a couple of years ago, and it's still true. But I feel conflicted even in so doing. I love making gifts, but for one, that takes buying materials, and two, there are only so many scarves I can knit for loved ones before they run out of room on their necks and in their closets!

Here are some of my brainstorm ideas for how else to cut back on consuming this holiday season:

1. Do a "Secret Santa" or Gift Exchange with your family
Talk to your famjam and see if they're down for a Secret Santa or similar gift exchange this season. My cousins/aunts/uncles/grandma on one side all decided that we would do a Secret Santa where we each buy a gift for only two people. It is insane that we've been buying gifts for everyone for the last 25 or so years - the family is huge! We are spending and buying and receiving way less if we do it this way, and I think we, the universe, and all of our bank accounts are happier for it!

2. Donate. Donate. Donate.
This one was on my Good Gift Guide too, and I'm still into it! I really learned this in the last few years from my fella and his family who all have a strong belief in giving back, especially during the holidays. It is inspiring and I realize that it can mean a lot to some people. I was looking for the perfect final piece of a gift for a friend, and everything I found felt repetitive and useless. Then it clicked! A donation to a cause that is of great importance to her. Perfect cherry on top.

3. Gift experiences.
In my schooling I've come to realize that "experiences" are also a huge part of consumerism: we work to make money, we then use our money to 'better' our leisure time. Leisure and recreational activities are damn expensive. But offering them as gifts doesn't have to involve experiences that cost you anything. Gift a family member an afternoon at a gallery with you, and go on the free day! Your presence and time is the gift. Gift your lover a weekend together at one of your places (if you're like me and don't live together yet) when you can spend dedicated time just the two of you. Maybe throw in some free massage coupons and a home cooked meal ;)


I suppose a lot of this involves having the receiver of said gift be into the idea, for it to have the same effect. This is the part I stumble over a lot. I want the gift to feel good for the recipient, and not impose my beliefs on them when it should be all about them! But at the same time, you've got to start somewhere, and who knows when you might plant the seed for change on their end, too. It's all a balance, one that I haven't really perfected yet. But here's to trying!

December 3, 2017

Thrifty Outfit: Orange and Jeans

The weather has been fluctuating between blustery, grey and cold, and then some lukewarm days where I can wear my lightest jacket - the denim patchwork kimono from my last outfit post! Most of the time, though, I'm wearing my comfy cozy jackets with faux fur that wraps around my neck and cuddles my cheeks if I zip them up all the way. This is one of those jackets!

This outfit made me feel really faboo! I don't know if it was the headband, the flare pants, or the heels (which I never wear), but I felt pretty gussied up... while also casual. Either way I felt great!

(Jacket: Black Market Clothing | Headband: St Jacob's Market | Sweater: Thrifted | Flare jeans: Secondhand | Cowboy boots: Thrifted Bag: Handmade by Cass Moy)

Total Thrift Tally: 8/8

Wahoo, a perfect score! You can't see them, but the white blouse and necklace I have on here are also thrifted. Hence the 8/8 tally here. 

These jeans were a find from my grandma's barn, where lots of my mum and aunts' clothes were stored for decades! A few things fit me just so, so I've been wearing and cherishing them ever since.

Photos taken by my talented friend Annie Somers.