Thoughts

One year of little things

Every couple of years or so, I like to partake in a personal project. I’ve done several 365s (one photo a day for a year – project 1, project 2, and project 3) and last year I completed a 1-second video (where I took a 1-second video everyday for a year, pretty self explanatory).

I started the summer going into my first year of university, and although sometimes tedious, the result was rewarding – I had just documented my entire first year away from home. Coming off the high of completing the project, I jumped right into another one – partly because it was a leap year and the idea of an extra photo excited me.

The first time I did this project from 2010-2011, I had a lot more spare time for photography and editing. It was right after high school and you can see the creativity in my photo ideas.

As I became busier with school work, socializing, and just life in general, the creativity in my photos seriously declined (I didn’t even number the photos from later years).

I’ve always been interested in photography – probably because as an only child, almost every moment of my life has been captured. The projects gave me an excuse to practice my skills and frankly, just take photos. 

Every time I took a boring photo I was sad nothing exciting was going on to document. I now realize that that’s okay. Life isn’t always supposed to be exciting. Sometimes you – get off a plane in the Czech Republic, take an 8-hour overnight bus to Poland, go on a depressing 6-hour tour, get back on the overnight bus back to Prague, and go to an X Ambassadors concert at night. And sometimes you just watch tv all day with your significant other (if you ever need a show to binge in a day I highly recommend The Sinner).

So this past year, instead of trying to find something amazing and epic in my life, I decided to document one little thing that made me happy that day. I essentially captured the happiest moments of being 25.

I started the project on May 1, 2017 and ended it yesterday, April 30, 2018.


Here are some of my favourites: 

May 27 –

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June 27 – First dates.

July 8 –

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August 30 – AN OPEN DOME

September 16 – Touching Pierre Bouvier’s arm.

October 10 – Feta cheese.

November 22 – Heat pads.

December 17 – Being able to sleep on planes.

January 19 – Best friends who bring you Benadryl.

February 14 – Room service.

March 6 – When you get the printer to work.

April 2 – Free miso soup.


Enjoy the little things.

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Thoughts

What It’s Like to Actually Achieve a New Year’s Resolution

I did it. I finally did it. I set a goal for myself on New Year’s and I ACHIEVED it (well I achieved 2/2 resolutions but let’s just focus on one of them for now….).

Read 30 books without buying a NEW book.

My personal rules:

  • No buying new books (unless they’re gifts for other people)
  • No buying eBooks
  • Used and borrowed books only

Seems kind of difficult to read 30 new books and not buy one, right? Wrong. I discovered that Value Village (or any other thrift store for that matter) has any book you could have ever wanted – you just have to search a little more for it. My friend also gave me her old & unloved Kobo and after a trip to South East Asia, I scratched the screen and purchased my own. But how can I read on an eReader without buying eBooks? There’s this wonderful thing called Overdrive! Essentially it’s like the old school library you used to go to – except online. You can download eBooks directly to certain models of eReaders, or sync them through your computer.

Why did I set this goal for myself? I realized towards the end of 2016 that it wasn’t that I didn’t like to read, it was I didn’t know what I actually liked to read. I finally decided to make an attempt again at finishing the Harry Potter series (I’m terrible, I know… I’m done now and it was fantastic) and learned that I really enjoy memoirs or historical fiction novels. I don’t like novels with “flower-y” language and symbolism, and long sentences describing something simple like “a house.” And when the memoirs get really heavy…”chick-lit” is my guilty pleasure (Sophie Kinsella is my favourite).

If I started to read a book I couldn’t get through, I would just start another. A new job with tons of commute time also allowed me more downtime and excuses to read. I used Goodreads to keep track of the books I was reading through their Yearly Reading Challenge (you can check mine out here). I also used the website to find similar books to the ones I’d enjoy, or connect with friends to see what books they’d read recently.

Here are all of the books I read in 2017 (so far):

The best book I read this year was A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. I highly suggest everyone read this book. I had the unique opportunity to see Amanda and her mother, Lorinda, speak at a book tour trip for Lorinda’s book, One Day Closer. It’s amazing how Amanda went through so much and still has such a positive outlook on life.

What I’m currently reading?

  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape – Jenna Miscavige Hill

So what does it feel like to achieve a resolution? Pretty fucking great. Not only have I gained back my love of reading, but I’ve also learned a lot through the memoirs I read. I’ve found that I spend less time watching TV or Netflix. I’ve also saved A LOT of money. If I had bought every book new, at an average of $21.99/book, I would’ve spent $659.70 before taxes.

As the new year approaches, I have 246 books on my “to-read” list on Goodreads and a new goal to set for 2018. Let me know what books I should add to my “to-read” list for the upcoming year.

I can’t wait for the stories and adventures that lie on the pages ahead of me.

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Thoughts

Only good things 

I don’t know who, or why, but I found more than one occurrence of this quote on a trip to Banff. Plastered all around the climb and summit of Sulphur Mountain, I was curious as to its meaning.

A google search led me to the following quotes:

Allow only good things into your world.

Only good things will follow.

Have faith, stay positive, and only good things will happen.

Only good things happen to me.

Sometimes movements will spread their message across any place that will have them, but I think this person was just trying to be positive. No complaints there.

Imagine if we accepted only good things for ourselves.

Only good friendships.
Only good relationships.
Only good choices.
Only good food (with an exception every once in a while).

What if we only allowed good things in our life. What if we had faith and stayed positive.

This is a reminder to myself to accept only good things.

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Florence

October 22 – 23, 2015

 

October 22

As we drove to Florence I wish my camera could’ve captured what my eyes could see. The Tuscan hills, although dark, were still gorgeous from the bus window.

On the bus ride there we watched a documentary explaining the life and creative processes Michaelangelo went through. I never realized that the statue of David was ONE piece of marble, carved straight from the mind of Michaelangelo. Michaelangelo believed each piece of stone, marble, etc. contained a figure that he just had to carve out. He could picture a statue just by looking at his canvas. I can barely draw an arm on a cartoon person…

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We arrived at our Florence hotel and walked right next door to have real Italian pizza for dinner. The restaurant was home to the world’s cheesiest spaghetti and these awesome squares of ice cream (similar to a DQ dilly bar, just rectangular). The first menu we saw didn’t say pizza at all and we were disappointed until we realized there was an entirely separate pizza menu…

All of the hotels and restaurants seem to blend together after a while, I’m glad I managed to capture a picture of what meal we had each day for memory purposes.

October 23

Again, travelling with Trafalgar gave us amazing opportunities. We were one of the first tour groups into the museum, home to David. We had a solid 20 minutes to listen to our Florence tour guide (honestly, I don’t remember her name…) share the details of David with a full view of the statue before the crowds showed up.

The museum housed artwork from students. All of the statues sculpted by these students contained what appeared to be bullet holes – turns out, they were pegs used to hold the statues together. David has absolutely none of these. It’s only until you learn the little details that you really understand why David is so spectacular.

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Michaelangelo’s self portrait.

One of the things I’ll remember most is the anticipation to see David. The museum wasn’t very big, and the tour guide had lots of information and facts to share with us. After the first room, we entered another where David was at the end of the hall. The tour guide made us walk one by one to each statue leading up to David before we could see the masterpiece.

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After the museum and a quick walking tour of the city we were given free time to explore and shop…

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Fake David.

Meet Fake David. This is the place where the original David used to stand. Given its location, the statue was getting ruined and moved inside the museum.

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The bridge at the end of this canal is one of the last standing bridges during the reign of Hitler. Now, home to the more expensive jewellery stands in Florence.

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To be honest my mom and I spent most of the time shopping, looking for sinus medication and eating gelato, and I was too busy to take videos and photos. Similar to Venice, the shops and stalls along the streets were all the same. Leather purses. Scarves. Souvenior shirts. Magnets. I was having what was the beginning of a sinus infection and we stopped by a local pharmacy to find something that would help me. Unlike Switzerland, this pharmacist knew what drug allergies I was talking about. After thorough research we came to the conclusion that her purse was cheaper in Venice and mine was cheaper in Florence… you can’t win them all right? Being in Italy, my mom and I’s goal was to find Prada – it took us a while but we found it only to go into the store for 5 minutes. You know, when in Rome… or I guess in this case, when in Florence.

For snack my mom and I stopped at a cafe and I chose a delcious caprese salad. I like cheese.

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On the way back to our group meeting spot my mom and I got lost (I’ll admit, it was partly my fault. I thought I knew exactly where I was going because I’m usually really good at directions…).

And just like that, it was time to leave for the last city… Rome.

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New Year’s Eve is just another day.

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There are so many expectations for New Year’s Eve. As the clock strikes midnight it’s like all of life’s problems are supposed to magically disappear…

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But they won’t. Because you’ll wake up the next morning (perhaps with a hangover) and it’ll be just another day…

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I’m not saying don’t plan anything, don’t enjoy your night, stay home and be miserable…

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Just remember that how you spend New Year’s Eve doesn’t determine how your year will go…

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If your night doesn’t go as planned don’t be disappointed.

Everyone’s chasing a good time and it’s always a disappointment. I plan on doing nothing and then if something lands in my lap…but I always end up drunk and disappointed. – Jennifer Lawrence

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Don’t lay all of your hopes and dreams on one night of the year.

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Some of the best nights and memories are the ones that are unplanned and spontaneous…

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Don’t expect things… just enjoy whatever you’re doing and try and have some fun…

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So if you don’t get to the bar on time, the perfect outfit, or your midnight kiss just remember…

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It’ll be okay ♥

This may sound super cynical and bitter but all I’m saying is don’t place so many expectations on one night of the year. I’ve had so many thoughts, dreams and hopes for New Year’s Eve in the past when really one of my best nights consisted of me watching half of the Lord of the Ring trilogy in my friend’s basement and passing out at 12:20… So please, if you’re going downtown or having a house party have fun. Have fun while you’re waiting for that cab to show up, cleaning up drinks off your floor or clinking glasses with your parents at midnight. Enjoy your night and Happy New Year friends. Here’s to 2016 and hoping that this’ll be the year someone invents the flux capacitor…

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2015.

I struggled real hard to find the right words to say to recap one of the most adventurous years I’ve had. Yet every time I wrote a sentence, re-organized it, tried to pick the perfect pictures, captions, etc. nothing seemed to do it justice. There are so many things I would like to say and write about this year, some that I’ve already written about, so excuse the word vomit you are about to read.

I’m a 23 year old who loves her job (so far anyway *insert wink face here*). I travelled to 7 countries this year. I started my year in Malaysia and went back there again. I had the extreme pleasure of travelling to Thailand with two of my best friends. I fell in love with the mountains in Alberta. My parents took me on the European trip of a lifetime. I saw the Bills beat the Dolphins in Buffalo. I attended more concerts than I can count and even secured a job that pays me to run them. I met my favourite band and I discovered so many more. I had my heart broken. I finally learned how to use eyeshadow. I moved in with my best friend and we got matching tattoos. I lived my grade 7 dream of living with Jen and Kelly (even if it was for just one night). I took Uber for the first time. I made it to the aquarium downtown. I finally started volunteering with War Child. I made friends and I lost friends. I threw Debchella 2k15 (yes, that’s what we’re calling it…). I FINALLY saw (and will be old enough to remember) the Toronto Blue Jays making the playoffs. I checked numerous things off my bucket list including: attend an NFL game; attend a Toronto Maple Leafs game; meet Taking Back Sunday (in it’s entirety); and play an open mic night. I severely scraped up my knee…

The list is endless.

I learned many things about myself, life and relationships. I’ve learned that you can’t make someone love you if they don’t. I’ve learned not to chase people. The people who want to stay in your life will always find a way. I’ve learned I have the best friends in the world who always have my back and I’ve learned that I have the best parents in the world. This year I learned that you have to spend as much time with your loved ones when possible. I chose to travel to Malaysia instead of Cambodia to visit my relatives and I do not regret it for a single second. I had the amazing opportunity to spend one last trip with aunt who recently lost her battle with cancer.

I also caught a major travel bug.

So thank you – if you’ve shaped my year in any way, good or bad, thank you for the part you played in this adventurous year. Even though I didn’t get to see a flux capacitor this year it was still spectacular.

Here’s to the year that lies ahead.

“Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

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Peace out 2015, it’s been a slice.

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The never-ending only child question.

So my mom asked me, “do you ever wish you had siblings?”

People ask me all the time.

“You’re an only child. Do you wish you had siblings? What’s it like being an only child?”

Honestly, I don’t know any different. I don’t know what it’s like to share my parent’s attention, I don’t know what it’s like to share a room, I don’t know what it’s like to have a family dinner with more than 3 people. That makes me sound extremely spoiled but it’s just the truth.

People always ask me, “did you ever get lonely as a child?” Probably. But I had my parents 100006% attention. And then it got me thinking. Maybe if I had siblings, sometimes I could get away with things I don’t get away with now because my parents are so focused on me. Maybe I’d have somebody to blame for the spill on the carpet, or somebody to stay up late and play toys with when my parents got tired.

But then again, if I had siblings I wouldn’t have had the amazing opportunities I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t have been as fortunate growing up. I wouldn’t have the amazing relationship I have with my parents. But most importantly, my best friend and I wouldn’t be as close.

My best friend Jen is also an only child. And fortunately for us, we’ve somehow manipulated our mothers into becoming best friends and are fathers are pretty much there as well. We’ve gone on family vacations together, we fix each other’s computers, we stop by and drink wine to celebrate 25th wedding anniversaries together, our dads change our tires together, we go to family functions together – in fact, if I’m not at her family function people always ask where I am.

If I had siblings, Jen and I wouldn’t have the amazing friendship that we have. We wouldn’t be each other’s first phone calls. We wouldn’t share the same brain. We wouldn’t be able to scheme and plan our futures together. We wouldn’t have seen our first N’SYNC concert together. We wouldn’t have the stupidest inside jokes. We wouldn’t have our super-not-so-secret-don’t-tell-anyone-promise handshake. We wouldn’t have our signature quote “DJ4EVA”. We wouldn’t have our pact to swear off boys with a certain name. There are so many things that we wouldn’t have done and it’s hard to imagine if my life had gone any differently.

So no, I don’t wish I had siblings. Because I am one of the luckiest girls I know and I already have the best sister in the world.

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Nothing is right in the world if you’re not half an inch shorter than me.

 

 

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