New Art

I haven’t been leaving the house much since the snow hit. We’ve had some significant snowfalls since December that have made getting around the city very difficult. I’ve been told that there isn’t usually much snow here during the winter but this year is record breaking. In fact, there’s a snowstorm happening outside right now!

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I’ve definitely reached a lull with my artwork. The inspiration and drive just aren’t there like they normally are. I’m the sort of person who needs a lot of visual stimulation to be creative. I need to travel around, be out in nature, go to galleries, that sort of thing. I can sort of do those things virtually through photos and videos, but it’s not the same as being physically immersed in art and beauty.

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In terms of content for this blog, I’ve really been struggling with that too. I love doing my What I Wore posts, but due to the frigid weather I’m living in baggy shirts and yoga pants…not really the sort of thing I want to be documenting.

Despite not really feeling inspired, I have managed to do a bit of drawing when the mood strikes. I’ve been trying to focus on things that make me happy, so it’s been fish and ocean type stuff. Capelin and squid, very Newfoundland!

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Capelin are an odd fish. I’ve mostly only seen them beached and in various levels of decay. One of the most exciting things about them is how they attract other animals, such as wales and birds who come to feed on them. They are definitely something I associate with summer and home. While they are not the prettiest fish, they definitely are a thing of beauty to me.

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Aside from drawing, I’m also working on a needle felt and photography project at the moment. I’ll probably post about that later depending on how it works out. I’m pretty new to needle felting. I had a few classes of it at school back in 2003-ish but didn’t really catch onto it until last year. It’s time consuming and kills my back, but I really enjoy doing it.

That’s it for now, if you have any advice for dealing with a creative rut, finding inspiration, or know of a good cute for homesickness, leave me a comment!

 

 

 

 

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How to feel better

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I think it’s time to admit that I’m not doing the greatest. As someone who moves around a lot (I’ve lived in 4 different places during the last 4 years) I expected the move to British Columbia to be difficult, but I honestly had no idea how much of a toll it would take on my physical and emotional well-being. It’s not one thing in particular, like missing my family or adjusting to life in a smaller town, but a lot of things that have come to together to make life much less enjoyable than it was before.

I’ve been in ruts before, felt stuck in less than ideal situations, and have dealt with periods of major depression. I know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, or some joy to be found in the unlikeliest of places. I try to be patient and remind myself that while it feels like there’s a big ol’ raincloud over my head right now, the world is always changing. Something incredibly awesome could be right around the corner. Most of the time that’s enough to keep me going. The incredibly awesome thing for me is that we get to go home in May so we can go back to doing all the things we’re used to doing…like snuggling animals, eating poutine, and going on adventures.

In the meantime I’ve been trying to take care of myself as best I can since I tend to be hard on myself when I’m sad. I criticize myself for not making more art, I get upset about my appearance, and I start comparing my life to that of other people who seem to have a lot more going on. I’ve been trying very hard to fight against the negativity and keep myself from falling into a pit of despair. Here’s some things I’ve been doing to help myself get through it.

Make myself laugh

Will and I usually spend most of our time laughing at stuff anyway. When he’s busy with school stuff or gone out doing something sporty I throw on some youtube clips of my favorite comedians or watch a tv show that gets me smiling. Cute animal videos and using those odd but hilarious Snapchat filters with friends are also good for this.

Plan some adventures

I love traveling and discovering new places, but there hasn’t been much of that due to Will being in school and the winter conditions making it difficult to travel. Since we’ll be hitting the road and heading home in a few months we’re looking at maps and planning stops along the way. Parks Canada is offering free passes to national parks across the country this year so I made sure to get one so we can visit some awesome new places. It just so happens to be Canada’s 150th birthday as well so there’s going to be a lot of neat things to check out. Visit the website here to see what’s happening in your area, there’s also an app for your phone that will give you event listings based on your location. How awesome is that?!

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 Eat well, work out

We’ve been doing a lot of stress eating over the last few months. I really have been trying to eat better but with the cost of food being so high and the sadness being what it is, I haven’t been living the healthiest lifestyle. I do have a few healthy recipes I ‘m trying to get back into rotation, such as this really great avocado pasta sauce and having a bowl of baked apples with some greek yogurt in the mornings. Here are some good food recipe sites to check out:

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Along with eating better, I’m also making sure I do some kind a physical activity every day. I go for a spin on a stationary bike, do pilates, or go for a long walk. Will is very athletic and is always off biking and skiing, so there’s been no impact on his waistline whatsoever. I’m pretty jealous.

 Make something

Because I’m a professional artist (some of the time, at least), being creative can actually be a pretty big source of stress for me. It feels awful to be stuck in a rut or feel uninspired. My creativity seems to being coming and going a lot. I’ll have a week where I make a bunch of stuff and feel super excited about it, then for some reason I’ll start to feel like nothing is working out well and I’ll go a month without being able to finish anything I start. Our apartment is dark and there isn’t anywhere for me to set up a proper workspace, so unless I can work on it while sitting on the on the couch, it’s not happening. It’s important to me to keep trying though, so when one thing doesn’t work for me, I find some other way to work out my creative frustration. When I stop being able to paint, I switch to photography for a while, or needle felting. I recently started a video log as well so I could brush up on my video editing skills. Even doing a simple DIY project found on Pinterest can make me feel better.

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Show myself some love

This one can be difficult. I can really be my own worst enemy. I’m trying not to get too down about not accomplishing as much as I’d like, or feeling like I’m not as pretty as I used to be (mostly because I don’t have a reason to dress nicely and put on make up, so I don’t). Moving meant leaving a lot of my favourite people, places, and things behind and I usually need all of that to cope. I’m not able to cheer myself up by going for a walk to a duckpond anymore, I can’t easily go to a gallery or sit in a cozy cafe with my best friends and observe the world through a window. I’ve been having to come up with new ways to perk myself up, which honestly has been really hard because I don’t have much to work with. I’ve been finding this self care sheet pretty good for getting me though the worst bits.

Show someone else some love

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This one is important. There’s obviously more than just me going through a sad transitionary phase at the moment. One thing that makes me feel better is taking the focus off myself and asking someone else how they’re doing. If someone I know is having a hard day I ask them if there’s anything I can do to help. Making myself smile is great, but what really makes me happy is having someone to smile with.

So there’s a few things I do to help cheer myself up when things aren’t going great. Maybe you might find it helpful if you’re in the same boat and if you are, just remember what I said about the world always changing and something awesome being around around the corner. There have been times where I honestly thought that I’d never be happy again and each time I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Also, if things get really bad, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it, because I’ve been in that situation too and talking to someone (either a professional or someone you trust) really truly helped.

 

On Moving

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Will and I have been living in British Columbia for over a month now. We’ve settled into our apartment, roughly figured out how to get around town, and Will has started classes.

I’d definitely be lying if I said I loved it here and never wanted to leave, which is what I originally thought was going to happen. As soon as we reached the area where the flatness of the prairies swoops up into massive snow capped mountains, I fell in love. I’d never seen anything like it. However we keep encountering things that we know we couldn’t live with, such as the cost of living, crowds of people everywhere, and the distance between us and our friends and family. While there are some things we love about this province, the hope of me finding my forever home here quickly diminished.

I don’t know. I probably haven’t given it enough of a chance either. I know that meeting some people would probably help me adjust more, but at the same time when I’ve gone out to be around people, or to a social gathering I’ve felt more alienated. I’m just not the sort of person who does well here I guess. This town seems to attract people with certain interests, starving artists, college students, and people who want to live the hippy lifestyle. I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I’m an artist yes, but I’m not really putting myself out there these days. I feel like because I don’t really fit in style wise either, I don’t look like I’m interesting or worth talking to.

The times I’ve enjoyed the most were when Will and I have gotten away from all the people and found a nice quiet hiking trail, or when we’ve visited nearby towns that aren’t popular places for tourists. Being able to walk freely without someone bumping into me every couple of minutes. I will gladly take all of the quite little pretty spots that BC has to offer.

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BC Wildlife Park

One of the cute things about Will and I is that our birthdays are a day apart. He was born on September 1st and I was born on September 3rd! (although a few years before him) So every year we plan a few days of birthday activities and make a big celebration out of it. This usually this involves going to our favourite restaurants and places in either the Gatineau/Ottawa area or in Newfoundland. This year we’ve moved to entirely new town where we haven’t discovered any new favourites yet. With Will starting school in a few days we figured we’d go on one last little trip before he gets bogged down with work.

We packed up our stuff and headed to Kamloops to check our The BC Wildlife Park.

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The park is a non-profit that takes in injured or rescued animals and either fixes them up and releases them back into the wild, or if the animal can’t be released, the park gives them a permanent home. We’ve also visited The Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden BC, as well as Boo the grizzly bear at Kicking Horse. The staff in both places explained that there is a big need for these types of places in British Columbia. It was only $15 per adult as well which is very good for all the things you can see and do there.

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The BC Wildlife Park is much like Parc Omega in Quebec, and Salmonier Nature Park park in Newfoundland. Animals have large enclosures which mimic the habitats they’re usually found in, they can pretty much do everything they’d do in the wild, except hunt. One of the staff members explained that they try really hard to hide food around their enclosures to make it challenging for them, like it would be in the wild. While we were they we watched a porcupine climb all over its space to get at the goodies and got to see grizzly bears flip over giant logs to get at the food hidden underneath!

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As for the kinds of animals we saw, there was a lot.  From farm animals like miniature donkeys, sheep, goats, and chickens, to some familiar Canadian residents such as bears, bison, mountain goats, and moose. There were also some animals you definitely wouldn’t find out in the wild here, like Patagonian mara as well a bactrian camels. One animal we were very excited to see was the kermode bear, or spirit bear, which is a rare white black bear.

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Another favourite were the owls and birds of prey. The park educates the public about Canadian wildlife as well. We were invited to see special information session with a snowy owl as well as a little demonstration of how owls hear. There was also an interactive element for kids if they wanted to participate.

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I really liked the educational aspect of the park, this is a great place to take children who are interested in animals. It was also great for adults as well, we really enjoyed the walking trails, which were nice after a day of driving. Also, since bears seem to be incredibly common here it was nice to learn more about them and get to really see them, gigantic claws and all, in a safe way.

Overall we had a pretty good birthday this year. We’ve discovered that camping in BC is the worst, but that’s a story for another time.

Click the eagle to see the rest of my photos. 

BC Wildlife Park

Sketch

I spent most of today drawing. I’ve been working on making some cement pots these last couple of weeks and it hasn’t gone very well due to the second coming of winter. I thought I’d try drawing some little sketches of what I’d like the finished pots to look like.

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The weather is also delaying more outfit posts since I prefer to take photos outside. I might be able to get another one done next week if the snow melts, until then I’ll be posting some little drawings.

What I Wore: Super Cool Loungewear

whatiwore5we’ve been having a pretty warm winter this year, but there have been a few days where its been little bit too cold in the house. On those days I like to snuggle up in something cozy, drink tea, and forget about what’s going on outside. This is where the kigurumi comes in. These oversized Japanese onesies made to look like animals and cartoon characters, are made of soft fleece and are prefect for chilling out at home or wearing as a costume. The bagginess means you can easily fit some warm layers or outerwear underneath if you plan on wearing it out in the cold. I got mine in a size small and as you can see from the pictures, there is plenty of room.  I could probably even wear my big winter coat under it if I needed to. The only downside is I find there’s a very big space between the buttons, which can either let the cold air in or expose your parts, so keep that in mind if you plan to wear it on its own.

whati51I have to admit, I usually don’t put much effort into looking nice if I know I’m not going to be leaving the house. I’ve heard its good for the self esteem to get up, shower, and get dressed even if you don’t have anywhere to go, but I’m usually working on something messy and regular clothing isn’t an option. I tend to take my time in the morning, I shower when I feel like it, and then either pull on some clean pajamas or yoga pants and a tshirt. I like that I have another option, although I’d probably feel a little silly answering the door dressed as an owl.

whati52I’ve wanted to buy a kigurumi ever since I saw them in Winners around Halloween a few years ago. Of course, being a student at the time, I couldn’t justify spending $80 on one. Thankfully I happened to see them on sale at Boathouse for $15 so I could finally take one home. So far I’ve worn it when I’ve been feeling sick or on snow days. Will bought one as well (the bat) and we’re thinking we might just bring them along on our next road trip so we have something cozy to wear in the hotel. We’re very good at adulting.

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Ive been having a hard time getting back into writing after taking a break from it for so long. I find myself constantly going over everything to make sure it sounds ok and checking my grammar. I think taking english classes in university really put me off. Hopefully I’ll get better with practice and stop overthinking. I’m also getting used to editing a lot of photos again. I normally edit my photos on my computer, but for this post I thought I’d try something new. I used A Beautiful Mess‘s A Color Story to adjust the colors of these photos and make them pop a bit more. It did save me a lot of time, which was nice. I haven’t purchased any of the filters yet, just using the free version until I decide if I like it or not, but I’m leaning very much towards like!

 

 

 

What I Wore: in the Past

Here are the previous What I Wore posts from my old blog. I also found some photos of the outfits as well.

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This was one of my favourite outfits, I probably wore it at least once a week.

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Going back through these images makes me sad because with the exception of the orange cardigan, a lot of these pieces are no longer hanging in my closet. Most of them formed holes that couldn’t be repaired or I donated them to be loved by someone else.

What I Wore: When I Gave UP

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Its been a very long time since I’ve done one of these outfit drawings. The intent was always there, but because of several changes to my life, I didn’t have the drive to sit down and draw.

Some people in my life know that I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for several years. It’s not really something I like talking about though so it might be news to a lot of you. I’ve had some very good times and some very very bad times. One way I’ve learned to cope with all the awful feelings in my head is to focus on keeping the rest of my body happy. Keeping myself healthy and putting effort into looking good (to myself, because I’m not great at following trends) does wonders for me on a bad day. I’m also very big on routines and scheduling my time. Waking up early, getting work done, making sure I have time for exercise, seeing friends, and whatever else comes at me. This way of life kept me functioning as a person and usually stopped me from hiding under a bunch of blankets until a couple of years ago when I decided to make some big changes. I ended up in a drastically different situation than I had been in before. I haven’t spent more than 6 months in the same city and as soon as I find myself settling in, I have to pack up and move again. Some people would hate living like that, however it doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s actually pretty exciting for me and I’ve gotten used to living with the essentials, I don’t even own a TV!

The only downside to my life at the moment is that my routine has been thrown out the window, I don’t really feel much like wearing makeup anymore, and the clothing that used to make me feel great about my body no longer suits my lifestyle. I’ve also adapted some of my boyfriend’s eating habits, and while he can eat a steady diet of junk food and still maintain the body of a greek statue, I cannot. I’ve gradually become less healthy, which has caused changes in my skin as well as thinning hair. My self-esteem has been slowly vanishing and despite trying really hard to ignore it, I’m definitely depressed.

In short, I’m a mess.

Yesterday it all sort of came to a boiling point. I threw my pleather jacket on over my hoodie and headed out the door to run some errands with my mom. I caught my reflection in a glass window and was like “oh, oh no, this is not good, why do I look and feel so awful all the time?” I spent the night in deep reflection, trying to figure out how I got to this point and why looking good was so important to me. I realized it isn’t so much about looking good as it is about how I make myself feel good. It never occurred to me that giving up on my routine was basically giving up on myself.

So now that I’ve figured out why I feel bad, I have to figure out how to fix it.

Scheduling my time and coming up with a routine is going to be hard, especially since I share my time Will now and in a couple of months we could be moving again. I think its definitely going to be a work in progress until we settle in again, especially since the next move we make will hopefully be for at least two years.

I’m going to try to put effort into looking good and feeling comfortable with myself again. A few weeks ago I did that whole “minimalist wardrobe” thing were you purge all your useless stuff and keep only the things you love and have worn over the last 6 months. This is a bit of an extra challenge for me because every 6 months I switch between cities with drastically different weather. So I ended up keeping some extra things that I love, but don’t get to wear very often because they are too warm for Quebec in the summer. The minimalist wardrobe purge did say that the process would help you figure out your personal style, but I kind of just ended up with a bunch of things that I wear out of necessity and I honestly wasn’t thrilled about putting on every day. So I went out and raided the sale rack at my favourite store for some new things that look good on my body and will fit with my lifestyle. I’m also trying to put more effort into caring for my skin and putting pretty colors on my face more often.

As for getting back to a healthy place again, that is definitely going to take a lot of effort. I’ve been trying to eat better for the last few weeks but I keep getting distracted by chocolate and bubble waffles.

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Will’s face though.

I have to crack down on my diet and I’m going to try to pick up running again, even though it makes me feel tired and awful the next day. It gets better eventually, right? hopefully a change in diet and less stress from being sad will also make my hair happy again.

Its going to take a lot of effort but I’m really hoping I can get both my mental and physical self back to where it was again.

 

 

Pretty Skies and Cute Ducks

We’ve been having some nice sunny weather here in St. John’s. The snow is melting and Will and I have been trying to take advantage of that by going to the park to walk around, look at people’s dogs (we want one of our own so badly!), and take photos. Even though the sun has been coming out, its still freezing cold, but it looks like it might be warming up a bit in the next few days. We also had an epic red sky last night, which is usually an indication of nice weather

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even though I haven’t been feeling very well lately, I’ve been trying to get outside more for some fresh air and exercise. Bowring Park is one of my favourite places to visit in the city. There’s walking trails, Peter Pan themed sculptures, a Greenhouse, and lots of ducks!

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This year they’ve added a rather silly goose to the duck pond, as well as some very cute little Tufted ducks.

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I’m really looking forward to when winter is over so we can spend more time outside without freezing out fingers off. I’m hoping my blog content might get more exciting too. I’d like to do some outfit posts as well as share some recipes and talk about our travels.

Here’s some bonus shots of my super tired face and Will with a pretty sunset. I might post a bit about make up as well since that’s one thing I use to perk myself up when I’m not feeling the greatest. Wearing a nice bold lipstick or a wash of color across my eyelids always makes me feel happy.

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