a month in four photos

it rained, the leaves changed, i went to see the eels in concert, and the sun set
goodbye, september. it's been a slice. 


tuna and nook

I finally fixed my issues with blogpress, which means I can now post from my phone. Suh-weet.

This is gonna be good; I can tell right now, from my quiet nook on campus. It's so busy now that classes are back in session but I know that chances are good that this bench will be free, and that it'll be super quiet and has a great view to accompany me, my thoughts, and my tuna sammich.

I love tuna sammiches. Almost a much as I love my nook. Le heart.

Find a moment of peace today.


goosey goosey gander

1) the geese and gulls in the commons paddle through the pond - maybe they're looking for fish that aren't there. a gull flaps his wings, rises up, and bobs down into the shallow water, trying to get something. a bug?

2) a child and her mother walk by, the little girl squeals and claps her chubby hands in glee at the birds so close by. she toddles down the steep incline - almost too steep for her little legs - hands outstretched, grabbing. the geese move away from her reach slowly, waddling along to safer terrain.

3) the groundskeeper is filling water in buckets at the far end of the pond; he pours powder solvents into them, and then pours them out splashing around the pond. i like the sound; it startles the geese. they line up on the other side of the pond, as though in a face-off, and stare down the groundskeeper as he wheels his cart and buckets away. territory successfully defended.

check out the original three beautiful things blog.


wait a minute, mister postman

these are just too sweet for words. i need them. in my mailbox, and in my mouth.

yesterday was an awesome day for getting myself back into the right headspace (that is, the one for productivity); and then it got put to great use with cleaning and filing and a general all-round organizing catchup... and then a good unwind with a glass of wine and balcony chats with Kelly. mm.

today: momentum continues. i'm not sure how, but i've got a few new projects on the brain that i want to get started. it's gonna be good. stay tuned for details, once i figure them out.

image via slash food


just what the doctor ordered.

take this moment.

stop. turn off your music, if you have it on.
straighten your back.
close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you, whatever they may be.
take a deep breath in. keep going until your lungs fill with air.
hold it there for a second; feel them stretched to capacity.
let it out slowly, and then open your eyes.

chances are that this day may not be the best day of your life; it may not be the worst either. it's likely to be somewhere in that vast expanse of the in-between. either way, this day is your life. not tomorrow, not yesterday.

live it the best way you know how. you're more than worth it.



for sale

so one of the things i've been talking quite a bit about recently is being more authentic 'round these parts. most seem to agree that it's altogether too easy to throw up posts about pretty furniture and decor, or just not post that day because you didn't quite feel like putting on a happy face. or delay in putting up pictures of your pretty new apartment because it's not quite the way you want it to look yet, or because you don't have the energy or inclination to get it presentable. (who, me? i've definitely never done that. ever. pssshhh.)

but sometimes people need to see a bit of that. the clutter. you know? it makes the blogworld seem a whole lot more human, but it also (i suspect) makes us feel a bit less inclined to be perfectionists ourselves. life isn't about perfection and constantly looking to the future for what's to come. it's about living it in the moment. about being mindful about the state of the present day, and what's more - being okay with it, even if your windows are dirty and you feel messy inside.

or maybe it's just me.

either way, this week has been a week of more changes in my life.. ones that i don't have control over. (blech - my favourite!) after 24 years in the same space, my mom put her place on the market on monday. and then my dad did the same thing with his place, our family's cottage. that's a whole lotta memories going up for sale all at once. and it sucks, and it's sad. saying goodbye to both when they've been such a big part of my past is going to be tough. it's not as if it's a total surprise given the circumstances, but something really drives it home when you see it listed on the real estate website, the bits and pieces of your former life broken down into things like square footage and a two-car garage.

i know that those memories obviously will stay with me, and i know that both places have changed since i was little and are much, much more different than what i remember them to be for very different reasons. i know that there's awesome things laying in wait for us, in the future. but for now, i'm gonna take a little bit of time to look over my shoulder at the places i've come from.


hello, i'm new here.

Today, I'm sitting outside and have just finished reading the tail end of The Other Boleyn Girl, enjoying the summer breeze and the warm sun on my back.  It's days like these that you want to remember in the middle of winter when it's minus forty degrees with a windchill factor of minus stupid and snow up to your shoulders.

Let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. I'm an avid fan of wunderbug. I love to drop in and see what’s shaking ... but as we all know, very little actually has been. Shaking, that is. Hence, I came along to shake things up a bit.  I'm Courtney’s youngest sister, Arianne.  I like dinners by candlelight, long walks on the beach, fruit salad, and llamas.

It's days like today that you wish you could hold on to - those days where you take a minute, breathe, listen to the wind in the trees, the waves calm and lapping at the shore; to close your eyes and just be.


triple heart.

i'm loving:
these pictures
this blog
these brownies 

a lovely little guest blogger will be doing a few posts here very, very soon.
stay tuned.

image via abby.


just blank.

how many times do we create a vacation that we need to take a vacation from? i think i forgot to leave a day of nothingness at the tail end of my vacation; instead, i cleaned my apartment and balcony from top to bottom. and then was even more dead tired afterwards. oops.

i need an intentionally blank page. i used to do the same thing when i was journalling all the time. it's a good idea. a moment to be quiet and reflect and just ... do nothing.

image courtesy of zutaten


oh, hello.

so i'm just gonna put it out there, because i know you're thinking it anyhow.

i recognize that it's been a ridiculously long time. oh, hello again.

big changes here. so many big ones i don't even know where to begin. i'll just have to get to them as i get to them. that seems to be my motto lately ... one step at a time. baby steps, even.

some things i didn't realize before i began this whole whacked-out process..
  • that i really had no clue what i was in for
  • that's sometimes the challenge about making big sweeping changes to everything
  • that life without cable is an entirely different animal when you're living by yourself
  • that being said, i really love coming home from work and making a big ole plate of sweet potato fries with a side of chipotle aioli and watching glee. i'll have sour jujubes for dessert too.
  • while taking (completely unintentional) time away from the blogworld to work on getting myself grounded again has been pretty ok, i miss it.
  • at times, blogging helped me keep mindful
  • at others, i felt so, so terribly inauthentic.
  • i'm not going to be inauthentic anymore
  • that's not to say this is going to become a tell-all blog, so y'all can breathe easy
  • i'm re-reading my post from the beginning of the year and i feel like a totally different person
  • no, seriously, i do. that's a good thing.
  • particularly that whole 'what we give our attention to is what we become' shebang. how wise is that gwen bell?!
  • sometimes i get so wrapped up in the anxiety of the moment that i forget to be mindful. and why i'm doing and sometimes i panic and forget to breathe
  • and sometimes i just need to remind myself, this will all be ok someday
  • i said today that i wish it was three months from now.
  • i take that back
  • i'm glad i have today. today is where i learn. today is who i am. today is what i make of it.
  • and that's when i put one foot in front of the other, and take another baby step forward.


just remember

we're all in this together.

photo by nancy paiva


chalk philosophy

oh, hello.

i'm dipping my toes back in as an effort to create some sort of routine around here again. it's been a while.

i'm going to make today into a sidewalk chalk kind of day: bright, whimsical, and temporary. it's important for me to remember right now that the way things are right now isn't the way they're gonna be forever; they'll wash away with the rain and i can always start again to make a new masterpiece.


day one

and we're off! I hate feeling as disorganized as I have throughout this process so far, but after a morning of shopping and some incredible decision-making skills (quick decisions aren't one of my strong points!), I've successfully purchased a new bed and decided to hold off on all other furniture (specifically, a lil futon-couch) until I get the bed in first.

but as you can see I've got my one shelf, one chair, big mirror ... And some new patio furniture I bought for my balcony from ikea. (hey! priorities. I'm going to need something to relax on with a glass of wine when this is all done. Call it incentive!)

More pics to come - although I don't know where the Easter bunny is planning on hiding the eggs!


it only took me forever to make it happen

so it's official.

i've got the apartment i wanted - and the move-in date is this thursday.

i suppose i've got some work ahead of me. but first, i need to hit up arianne for some boxes from the grocery store she works at. and maybe a good search on craigslist for some kitchenware. 

and curtains. i need something to cover those windows. and a couch.

holy hannah, this is strange. and nerve-wracking. and exciting.

hello, new chapter in my life. i'm so pleased to meet you.

ps fantastic new blog find as of this morning - a fellow toronto blogger, sandy b. check her out, really.


the best reason to stare at the ceiling all day

i've seen these capiz shell chandeliers around have decided i need one. i'm actually pretty okay with having no furniture, so long as i have this. 

or no tv. 

who needs tv when you have a kick-ass chandelier?

if given the choice, what piece of decor would you have at the expense of all others (or am i just crazy?)

images via west elm and fuse lighting


vintage kitchen gems and natural pantry staples, ahoy!

i'm getting much closer to finding a new place - will hopefully have some good news by next week or so!

in the meanwhile, i've been doing some research on the kitchen stuff i need to buy ... and have been trying to find the best ways to stay within my budget.

so i went vintage shopping yesterday, and found a stunning cake tray as well as an antique yogurt maker from about 1972, and finally a two-tiered devilled egg tray.

screw functional kitchen stuff - i'm going to have the best. kitchen. EVER. dinner will be eaten off of the cake tray. along with the antique yogurt. and 84 deviled eggs for dessert.

take that, martha stewart.

(in the meanwhile, i went to canada blooms last friday and found some fantastic ideas for my soon-to-be balcony and soon-to-be container garden, along with a billion other ideas for the backyard patio that i don't have. but will. eventually.

and i bought a fire pot. it's going to sit on my balcony, on the little patio set that i want to buy.)

it's gonna be awesome. i'm loving this article on natural pantry staples.

what recommendations do you have for someone who's trying to buy kitchen and pantry stuff on a budget? what should i prioritize? what can wait?

images by me, from my iphone, at canada blooms.


i think i might be manic in this one

it's been insanely nice outside for the past few days here in toronto. like, insaaaanely.

like, i-went-outside-for-lunch-and-sat-on-a-concrete-step-while-eating-my-turkey-sammich-and-my-butt-didn't-even-get-cold kind of weather. in march. unheard of!

so whether it's been the weather or the fact that i'm looking to move in a few months, i've been feeling quite peckish for some spring cleaning.

...it also doesn't help that, in my inbox every morning, martha stewart and her gang of decor/organizey magazine thugs show up - baseball bats in hand - ready to rumble.

(admittedly, i invited them all to my inbox by clicking on that 'subscribe' button ... so i suppose you could say that i asked for it. but still.) either way, they're there, and they're taunting me with the billions of helpful ways to be a happier, better, cleaner, more organized, productive, efficient, clothes ironing and money-saving monster.

and here are some of my favourite topics so far.
in terms of trying to find some new digs, any of you who live in a big city can surely attest to the pithy square-footage to monthly rent ratio that selling an arm and a leg will get you. i was getting a bit bummed about the whole thing until i came across tiny ass apartment, a blog that describes itself as:
Wish you had a five-bedroom mansion in the hills and enough money to decorate it with stuff from Anthropologie that's NOT on sale? Face it -- you live in a tiny-ass apartment with only enough cash to buy... nothing. Here's how to still be fabulous.
(and i can interact with fellow TAA dwellers for tips and stuff on facebook too? sweet!)

... but in all seriousness now, anyone with any knowledge of awesomely lit and spacious hidden gems in uptown toronto for a good price, let me know.

images via TAA via apartment therapy


not to throw a tantrum, but

given my penchant for going MIA for the last forever, i find it highly ironic (and almost funny) that, when i'm waiting for some of my favourite blogs to update (i'm not going to point any fingers), i get really impatient.

it's like the blog version of waiting by the phone for someone to call. you know, when you pick it up every so often to make sure that you can still hear the dial tone.

yep, it's still connected.

it's not you, it's me. i just miss the updates.

(until then, i'm sure your site statistics are going to score a high number of hits from a certain somebody who uses firefox and is located in toronto, but for some weird reason sitemeter keeps listing it as ajax, ontario. strange. insult to east-enders everywhere? should i consider that commentary on my east-ender status?)

much love (seriously),

ps seriously, please post soon. i've read the whole internet.


step away from the cash register, miss

i'm still really working on getting back into my groove, but since it's been so long that i've been grooveless, maybe i should just get on creating a new one.

i went to the bookstore yesterday and did some wandering - one of my favourite things to do.
i managed to drum up some willpower and abstain from making a beeline for all of my usual haunts (ie cultural studies), and instead checked out various books in the biography section.

long way gone
: memoirs of a boy soldier by ishmael beah
one of the keynote speakers at the conference i ran last year was a former child soldier - his story was so tragic and so inspiring at the same time, i'm drawn to more and more of these recounts.

look me in the eye by john elder robinson
i've been devouring augusten burroughs' book, magical thinking lately; this is a memoir written by his brother john, recounting his life with Aspergers syndrome. from the first bit that i leafed through in the store, i've come to the conclusion that this family truly has the writing gene. envy ensues.

(ps i'm going to go ahead and highly recommend augusten's writing while i'm at it. i'm loving it like i haven't loved a book in a long, long while.)

and just as i was about to pick up both of these books and make a beeline for the cash, i ran straight into it. the cultural studies section.

dun dun dunnnnnn.

there it was, front-faced at eye level, on the first shelf i could see. the story of stuff by annie leonard (based on the internet project). right near by was the paradox of choice by barry schwartz.

it was like high noon in the wild west. the universe was telling me to step away from the compulsive buying spree and get focused on reading the books i already have.

okaaaayyyyuh. i guess.

so i put both books down (after adding them to my wish list) and found a comfy seat in starbucks and settled in to an afternoon of reading and people watching. one day, my pretties. i'll get you.

what's on your reading list?


not to use my blog like twitter, but..

this is an awesome article. i feel like i need to pick it apart more and digest it, piece by piece.


interweb: fail

so here i am, again, with a router that's going through it's latest case of PMS. i'm not gonna lie; it's more than a bit maddening. i spent most of last night trying to troubleshoot; resetting both the router and the modem, tweaking network settings, and the only thing that seems to work is to eliminate the router from the network entirely and go back to the olden days of only having one hard-wired internet connection in the house.

my poor, poor laptop.

seriously though, if anyone has any suggestions i'd be more than happy to hear them. i googled til i could google no more. i'm pretty much toast on the matter. my next step is crossing my fingers and praying that the technology fairies will fix it overnight. or with a restart of the computer.

anyone have any fairy dust?


what i've been doing while i haven't been doing much of anything in the meanwhile

holy freakin canoli.

how deliquent am i?

in my absence, here's a random sampling of the blogs i look to for inspiration and advice. or a laugh. (or all three!). without further adieu, and in no particular order, here we have 'em.

tiffany. oh tiffany. i so enjoy your obsession with all things Amish, your angsty winter poetry contests, your random thoughts and of course, the wild world of zhuzhing.

gwen man, i hope that in the years to come, my lil blog rocks as hard and with as much heart as yours does. (ps you and joel are so frickin awesome. i love your posts about the two of you.)

elsie. you've got so much style it hurts. you somehow make really random things look cool. i admire that. (i tried wearing a headband like that around my head and looked like a total dope. i seem to be lacking the unique style genetics that you have. and i totally listened to miss angie in high school too!)

kal. you're the first blog that i read every day. your bulletproof positive approach to life is solid, and your talent inspires me. you've got an awesome sense of style and an even awesomer philosophy, plus you've got the most adorable girl tribe and canine unit that i've ever seen. i could bookmark pages and pages of things you've written. keep on keepin' on, miss.

oh yeah. and i've got some new ideas and projects brewing in the background of my mind. up there, that's one of them. so stay tuned. a few new directions from me, but it's all good.

spring will be here soon. i'm excited to see where my new road leads. what fresh plans and ideas do you have for your life?


in the dark

found over at vol25. i love this quote. happy monday, all.



fitting the letters together, wondering what they'll spell out in the end.

photo found here


itchy scratchy

arianne's going to cuba tomorrow, and i wish i was going. she's been buying a few new summery things and it's giving me that itch to shop. or that itch to spring clean. or that itch to make things better. or that itch to just be warm, for goodness' sake.

my game plan to get out of this rut is to get back into my pre-christmas routine, whether or not i feel like it. back to yoga, painting, creating ... just generally being productive.

it's tough, you know, in the winter. i'm much more of a warm weather person; i do garage sales and flea markets and farmers markets and it really gets me out of the house and keeps me fresh.

i'm going to make a concerted effort to find out things that are going on around the city and in my area; there's quite a few shows that are coming up that i want to see ( the artist project toronto, the toronto one of a kind spring show, and canada blooms), so march is gonna rock .. what does a girl do between now and then?

what kinds of creative things do you get up to in order to relieve cabin fever in the wintertime?


another notch in the ol' belt

ok, enough with the monkey business. seriously now.

2010, so far you've been a bit of a bust. (bust no more, my friends, bust no more!)

i've been full on ideas, but low on motivation and inclination. during the course of my time off in december, i spent some time exploring other blogs to try to explore options & new directions for this blog - and i certainly wasn't lacking in inspiration - and i think i have a pretty good idea of where i want to go, but in the meanwhile, i got bloggy stage fright.

silly, huh?

there've been all these things floating around in this lil ole head of mine, that i couldn't even begin to think about what to post. so i didn't. and the more i thought about it, the more it bothered me. and the less i could write.

so, no more. here we go. sometimes you've just gotta post something. jump in with both feet. so i'm a-jumping.

happy two year blogiversary - here's to new adventures!


make time.

oh hello monday! almost didn't see you coming, there.

(no seriously, watch it next time, will you?)

so i've been attempting to practice mindfulness this month and let me tell you - i've been failing miserably at it so far. am going to have to re-dedicate myself to the process.

maybe even get myself back to yoga, too. it's been about six months and both my brain and my body are sorely feeling it's absence. it's time to step it up a notch. the sun's burning a hole in the roof. what we give our attention to is what we become. so let's get a move on.

how do you keep yourself mindful in your daily life? what benefit do you think it'd offer to increase it in yours?

the best time to practice mindfulness is right now. take a deep breath.
check out the mindfulness blog for daily prompts.



three for three

one: gwen bell is such a smart lady. without a doubt, she's my newest blog crush. her prompts for 2010 encourage mindfulness, focusing on the notion that what we give our attention to is what we become. that being said, i've been marinating in some goals for 2010 for the past few weeks. things that i really need to get moving on. things that will make me a better me. things that will make this a better blog.

and dont get me wrong, this isn't a new years thing per se. it just happens to be something that's been brewing deep in my soul for the past while, and that i only had the time to really think about while i had the time away from work. a re-prioritizing. a shift. it's well needed, and most welcome.

check out her mindfulness prompts here.

two: on a very similar note, i love kal barteski's concept of choosing a word to signify where you want 2010 to go. rebuild, soothe, and (of course), go. rock on, kal. i'm going to think on some words for me, too. i suspect they're going to be very similar in theme.

three: in the spirit of rebuilding, re-prioritizing and becoming better, i've decided that i'm going to invest in myself and take an online class with mondo beyondo. i need to be less busy and pay better attention to where i'm headed. i need to start dreaming for myself for a change, and then making some bold moves and big plans.

what are your plans for 2010?
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. - Goethe (sort of, gwen says)


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