Warning: Declaration of FeedWordPie_Item::get_id($hash = false) should be compatible with SimplePie_Item::get_id($hash = false, $fn = 'md5') in /home/posielco/public_html/blogs/wp-content/plugins/feedwordpress/feedwordpie_item.class.php on line 0
Warning: Declaration of FeedWordPress_Parser::parse(&$data, $encoding) should be compatible with SimplePie_Parser::parse(&$data, $encoding, $url = '') in /home/posielco/public_html/blogs/wp-content/plugins/feedwordpress/feedwordpress_parser.class.php on line 0 Posiel Aggregated Feeds | from "PUB 101: Publication of Self in Everyday Life"
Moving to Vancouver nearly 2 years ago was the first time being away from the nest. It honestly still feels like a dream to be living here. Nearly every kids dream is to live alone and feel as independent as possible, or at least mine was. Don’t get me wrong I do get rushes of intense homesickness. Some days I just crave to be home with the comfort of my family, especially when times get tough. The saying is true, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Being away from home has made myself so grateful to have grown up there and appreciate all the beautiful moments with family and friends. The feeling of missing someone, something or a memory can feel so overwhelming and even heartbreaking. It can spiral into the trap of overthinking about other things like “will I ever go home, or is this my new home?”.
The confusion of where you truly belong kicks in, but just take a deep breath and realize where you are now and how much you appreciate your home that will forever be there to visit. Home really isn’t only the place you grew up but where you feel most comfortable! For me, it isn’t so much homesickness for Bali but homesickness for my family. It is possible to feel homesick for people rather than the actual place. It definitely gets hard without any family to fall to here, but I’ve managed to create my own sense of family and warmth living here!
Things I do and things you can do:
Call, send a message, or video-call! Honestly, I’ve never been closer to my mom since I’ve moved. We talk as if we’re best friends now. Scheduled calls help especially with time difference. Sometimes we all get too busy but in the end calling always cheers me up when I’m feeling low.
Keep in contact with your old friends! My childhood best friend who is still my other half to this day, is someone that will be in my life forever. I stay in contact with her as much as I can and even during our busy times of not talking for a month, we catch up and it’s as if we never stopped talking.
Keep an active family chat. This keeps everyone in the loop and up to date with the tea.
Send pics! Ask for pics! This makes me feel more present as I can actually visualize home. I always ask for pictures of my pets and my family. I even send pictures of my dinner. I can’t even count how many times I’ve sent food pictures to the chat.
Plan a future visit to look forward to. When I planned my Bali trip I was at my happiest state as I knew I’d be seeing my mom and sister. Lately it has been hard with the Pandemic but we are all on the same boat and we all need to support each other.
Remember your roots! Cooking Indonesian food, my dad’s recipes, and my favourite childhood meals always reminds me of home. I play the music my dad would blast at home to create a familiar atmosphere.
Make your space as cozy as possible. To me, a home must be a space where I can feel myself, safe and fully comfortable. So decorate, rearrange, clean, do whatever it takes to make your home as cozy as possible!
Build a new home. Like myself, you may be planning to start new or to be away from home for a while. Start to build your own life and space of happiness. Accept that this is your new adventure and surround yourself with positive people and energy.
It is so important to stay active and keep your heart healthy especially during such tough times living in a pandemic. Exercise boosts your mood and overall health! Here is a quick workout routine to get your body moving and feeling strong!
Water (very important)
A towel (optional, I usually let the sweat just drip!)
To be honest, I feel like I never had this one, crazy, amazing skill that would shine light towards my academic path. I was never exactly into science or math, but I feel like I grew up to have just enough skills for each subject and if I didn’t I would teach myself. I’d say I am well rounded, which is why I ended up in the school of Communication as the program reflected me so well.
Before my gap year
I was set on taking some Business course but completely changed my mind after the gap year. I wasn’t ready to jump in right after high school. I picked up a part time job as a content writer for a travel agency and I fell in love. During the gap year my best friend and I also started Defects Official, our very own startup t-shirt brand. This opened my eyes to writing and digital marketing. So, I thought Communication studies would be perfect as I was looking for a mix of writing, culture, the new world of media and art.
As of now
I am loving my major and am honestly still figuring out which direction it will take me. I have taken courses that I didn’t fully enjoy, which only made myself learn and explore other options. This provided a clearer image of where I could see myself going with this degree. Some days I think about how easy it would be to have my mind set on one thing, but this makes life a little more exciting. This goes for every course and major, as you may hate or love it, and from that you can take action and do something about it! Also, I am currently applying to internships with an open mind to different opportunities.
For anyone confused with picking a major, I simply just trusted my gut. I knew deep down business was not what I wanted and I wasn’t ready to start a new chapter right after high school. I was nervous to take a year off and to get into communications, but I listened to myself and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone is different when it comes to this but don’t be scared to challenge yourself, because in the end you’d much rather be doing what you love. However, for someone open to learning new things and experiencing the dynamic world, communications is the way to go. There is so much opportunity and growth with this degree. There’s a touch of politics, sociology, research, media, technology, democracy, art, pop-culture, philosophy, the list goes on and on!
Since my post of “Why Did I Stop Buying Makeup?” I was thinking, now that I don’t consume new products, what should I do with my existing stash? And that is where I present you the “Project Pan” and why you should join in if you want to reduce your stash. Lemme explain what is it.
You set a timeframe (let’s say one year, or one semester)
Choose all the products that you want to use within that timeframe, set aside products for the face, for the eyes, lips, skincare and so on. Remember to pick products that you are going to be okay using for a long time, and products that you love (or hate but you want to finish)
Use only the products that you set aside. (Remember not to buy any makeup during this time, unless you want it, or it is a product that you are within the necessities (mascara, eyeliner, etc.)
To motivate you, you can take before/after pictures and compare them. If you need extra motivation, there is a lot of hashtags with #PanProject, and join the community. Also, I will love to see your progress.
Once the timeline passed, you are free to pick more products to try or keep going until you hit the pan. Now, some people stop using powder products such as eyeshadow pallets once they hit one pan but feel free to adjust it, whether one pan, two pans, three pans … you got the idea.
Repeat until you are satisfied with your progress
Remember that you can pick more than one product on each category, I cant use the same product for more than a week so, I will use 3-4 products of each category, and basically have fun with it.
I am planning to start this project monthly because I don’t believe that I have the commitment to go for a semester, but I have a lot of products that I need to start using. I want to begin in August and record my result, so feel free to join me and share your progress on my Instagram (@la.hija.del.soll) or my email (email@example.com). Or I can create a new section for this website and share my progress here (let me know your thoughts).
This blog was created as a university project, and I had the time to invest in this website. After finishing my semester, I kinda gave up when I thought that my blog was not relevant at all. And I thought that I was going to use this website as part of my resume (with no updates since December, lol) and the experience I gained from managing a website, and the responsibility I held when I managed it. When you managed a website, one must be aware of the actions and consequences of the impact of the words that you have. I have to say that the design of creating and managing a WordPress website is not as user friendly as I thought, but on July 9th of 2020, I figured out how to view comments (yay!), and upon reading a lot of comments, I saw a lot of heartwarming comments. And I thought to myself why did I abandon this website when I oath to inform people and share experiences, there is a lot to talk about, but little time to do so, but I feel like this blog could become a diary or a journal, especially during challenging times like we are living in, and I feel like sharing and talking to people can help improve my mental health, and I hope that people can join in with me. Now we do not need hate, we need compassion and love, and understanding other people. So, from now on, I will try to keep it up at least once a week and keep having fun with writing and sharing experiences with you. I am pretty sure I have a lot to say and I hope you enjoy them and have fun with me.
During my gap year I had no clue what my next steps were, especially after my father passed away, I expected to completely take a pause on everything. University was the last thing on my mind. I knew for myself and my father, I had to “get out there” as he always said. So, I stepped out of my comfort zone, finally made a move, and it was the best thing for me. Change usually doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable, so I made it happen with some motivation and support from loved ones. I moved here not knowing anything, no family, not even knowing when classes would start, how to get around, or where the University was. It was trial and error, exploring and learning, and this made it so much more of a lifetime experience.
Why Seas to Hills?
The name Seas to Hills represents my story of moving from the small island life in Bali to the big life in Vancouver. It was probably one of the scariest and boldest steps I’ve taken so far, yet the best step for me. From living a life by the seas in Indonesia to the hills in Canada, I thought I would share some of my creativity, thoughts, opinions, ideas, stories and love with you.
Hello, hello! It’s been a while since my last post, and I apologize profusely for not updating! So, for that reason, I won’t keep everyone waiting any longer. I’m really excited to share this next one with you all. Blog Post #26 is on romantic-drama novel, The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough.
This book begins in 1915 and takes place Down Under. It tells a tale mainly focusing on Meggie Cleary. While living a very modest, albeit difficult life shearing sheep in New Zealand, Paddy Cleary, Meggie’s father, out of the blue, receives a message from his wealthy but estranged older sister, Mary, who invites him as well as his wife and children to live Australian property, where she also offers them steady work.
Seeing this as a good opportunity for his family, he accepts Mary’s offer. After enduring the long and tiring journey to their destination, they are greeted by a priest named Father Ralph de Bricassart, who shares a special connection with Meggie instantly upon meeting her. From there, strong familial-like affection towards one another that initially transpires eventually turns into a poignant romance between them where Ralph is torn between his aspirations as a priest and his feelings for her. Spanning over five decades, McCullough shows how this tragic love story alters the course of their lives and the generations to come.
There’s no other word to describe The Thorn Birds other than “INTENSE.” I kid you not that this is unlike any other work I’ve read within the genre. It just grips readers by the shoulders and shakes you to your core. There are many amazing elements to it, with McCullough expertly incorporating so much irony and wit throughout the book. I absolutely loved it.
What really struck me as I read was the incredible amount of resilience, strength and pride that Meggie’s character maintains despite various hardships the universe inflicts on her and her family. I’ve admired a lot of strong, female characters in my time, but none quite like this.
If you’re looking for a novel with gripping intensity, do not hesitate to look further into The Thorn Birds.
It is so important to keep yourself creative while social distancing. Tash Serena(my sister) and I have been doing photoshoots and being our own creative directors since we were kids. At such difficult times we managed to find some inspiration and had our first virtual shoot.
We gave this trend a go as it is definitely a solution for many photographers, models and others in the creative industry for the time being.
What you’ll need:
A device: Any smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer that works with video calls should work just fine. I used my laptop as I personally felt it was much more stable than leaning a smartphone against a pile of books. I found it a lot easier to adjust the screen as well.
Videotelephony software: Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Whatsapp, etc. whatever works best for the model and the photographer. We used zoom. Think of a normal video call on the laptop, I just posed while the photographer (my sister) captured the images directly off the screen using her camera.
Set time and date: Plan this out as time difference may interfere. There is a crazy time difference between Bali and Vancouver, so we agreed to shoot at my sisters 9AM Bali time and my 6PM Vancouver time.
A photoshoot concept: Inspiration pictures are a good reference during the photoshoot. My sister sent me a whole collection of inspo pictures from Pinterest which made it a whole lot easier to understand angles and the vibe we were trying to achieve. This allowed myself to somewhat take part in being a creative director.
Props and any accessories/clothing: I recommend having an organized pile of all the useful props and outfits to save time and avoid messiness. We used my standing mirror, a table lamp for lighting and a few outfit changes.
Setting and location: We decided on a bedroom setting, using the bed and simple backgrounds to focus on shadow play and natural lighting.
My take on it:
It was different and surprisingly super lively. It is convenient in a way as I was able to see myself pose and fix my angles. It was simple and I felt much more involved with inputting ideas as I was in charge of creating the setting, the placement of the laptop and styling myself. However, the only issue would be that the outcome may show the glare from the screen, but with proper editing and lighting this shouldn’t be an issue.
I was 15 when I captured these images and I thought I would share them with you. I used an Olympus Pen EPL1, a small yet very powerful camera. After this test shoot I really enjoyed being a little creative director and picked up some fun projects after.
I went along with the energy of the model and picked up a simple yet edgy touch, so I figured a grainy black and white approach would be perfect. I captured the images with dim lighting and let the intense flash work its magic. I was happy with the outcome, as it turned out organic with a late night ambience.
I styled my model with a plain black dress under an oversized men’s formal blazer, with a pair of grungy black boots topped with an old pilot’s hat. Her classy-rebel look shares a hint of the models personality. This is something I enjoyed from this experience, as not only did I take the pictures, but I was in charge of the styling and directing the atmosphere and energy. This was so exciting to me as I only wanted to play around and bring all my ideas to life.
Over the course of the past month I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with TikTok. Yes, I too was one of those people who swore they would NEVER EVER get TikTok, but as a Communications major and full-time creative I eventually dove headfirst down the rabbit hole and for anyone who has TikTok you know exactly what I mean.
I first downloaded the app in early January of this year. At first I didn’t really understand it, but after posting my first video doing the ‘Wasian check’ (a trend to show off those of mixed race) and catching the attention of over 500 viewers in the matter of a couple hours made me understand how powerful this app really was.
As some of you already know, it’s always been my dream to entertain others through YouTube videos and that’s honestly why I’m even here writing to you in the form of a blog. After scrolling through TikTok and watching 15-60 second videos that had acquired hundreds of thousands of views, likes and comments in the matter of hours I was slightly annoyed. I started comparing YouTube to TikTok and asking myself why the algorithm preferred me on an app that I didn’t even want to use.
When it comes to YouTube, I find myself working around the clock to create content on the platform every week. First, you have to develop a concept, then film the content, edit the content, and lastly, promote the content on all of your social platforms to ensure it gets as much exposure as it possibly can. Since I started posting videos in September, I haven’t gained that much traction. My most viewed video is of me doing a bikini photoshoot in the snow (which got flagged, and is now ranked as 18+ content on the platform) which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. As much as I love YouTube, I’ve found it an incredibly difficult process to get my videos viewed no matter how many times I share them on my other social platforms.
I’ve found myself questioning if this is really what I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE YouTube and it’s always been my dream but when I’m scrolling through TikTok and see a video of someone pouring glitter into a can of paint and getting over 2 Million likes, sometimes it’s hard to keep pushing forward, especially as I get older. So, I decided to expand my brand by logging onto TikTok and posting content on the app as an experiment and to say that my short time on the platform has been like a rollercoaster ride is an understatement.
From late January to late March I had been posting random videos on TikTok, since I don’t have a specific niche or type of content I create specifically for that app I decided to just post a bunch of different content. I hopped on a couple of trends, posted some content from some of my creative shoots, and even did a couple of dancing videos.
I posted a video on March 14th of me and one of my closest friends, Gary Mo doing a trend that failed. But to my surprise, that was my most liked and viewed video that I had posted- gaining the attention of over 2000 people.
I experimented further and thought I’d start doing a series of “forcing my brother to do TikTok’s” which would just be me dressed as a boy. I found that the videos weren’t gaining much traction, they were funny, don’t get me wrong, but they still weren’t catching the attention of others.
The very last test I did was a cooking video. I cut together clips showing how to make ‘Healthy Fudgy Avocado Brownies.’ Again, the video didn’t do well, only catching the attention of about 500 people.
At this point I wasn’t sure what kind of content I wanted to pursue on TikTok, I didn’t feel super inspired with what I was producing up to this point, as most of the content I was posting was testing to see what content would do the best on the platform.
On April 8th, I went out to an island with my brother and his girlfriend for the afternoon. I decided that I would film a couple of TikTok’s on the beach and see how they fared. And just like that, I posted a video at 4:40 pm that day and by the time I had checked in that night the video had over 10,000 views. When I woke up the next morning, the video had over 15,000 views, I didn’t think it would continue to grow but to my surprise, it did. Exponentially increasing, the video shot to over 100,000 views in the matter of days, now resting at 162.8K. From that video alone, I gained over 1,100 followers on the app in just two days.
I’ll be honest when I say that I was completely riding on a high after that point. On April 10th I spent seven hours in my bedroom filming different TikTok’s which haven’t done nearly as well as my first big video. I’m not going to lie to you, I felt defeated. This is what happens when you care more about your views than your content. Don’t get me wrong, I was working hard to produce content for my new audience, but I was doing it primarily for the exposure I was getting, not because I wanted to. After posting a couple of hard hitting videos on TikTok, I saw my Instagram following skyrocket, as well gaining more traction on YouTube.
I didn’t know this when I first started using the app, but TikTok doesn’t allow creators to message each other unless they’re directly following each other. So as I gained more followers on TikTok, they would look at my bio and click the link that brought them to my Instagram page in order to get in contact with me. And at that point, I realized that if that many people were actively searching for more of my content on other platforms then TikTok was ultimately the best way to grow my brand.
However, I got a little ahead of myself. After doing more research on the app, I found that the videos of people dancing get quite a lot of traction so just like that every night I was forcing myself to learn anywhere between 5-10 viral dances. Mind you, I’m NOT a dancer, I took a couple of classes when I was a kid, but it never went any further than that. I don’t feel creative copying others, but at the time I didn’t care. I was hungry for the exposure and likes, it took me three months to raise my Instagram following from 2,000 followers to 3,000, but in just three short weeks of using TikTok, my Instagram following went from 3,000 followers to 4,000.
But here’s where the story comes to a screeching halt.
I started experiencing every TikToker’s fear of shadowbanning. Unfortunately, TikTok is well known for filtering out content from creators simply if they don’t like it. This means that less people see your videos, which means that you aren’t getting much or any exposure.
Although they have an extensive community guideline list, I wasn’t violating any of their terms. I was able to post videos on my account, but they weren’t getting any views which I thought was weird. Even if the videos didn’t land on the ‘For Your Page’ they would at least land on the pages of those who followed me. When the videos didn’t gain any views, I started deleting them and I began getting really frustrated. I made a second account as a backup and after looking at my main account, I realized that my content wasn’t showing up.
So not only were my videos not getting any views, but TikTok wasn’t even posting them to the public. And from here on out, it’s basically a downwards spiral.
Since then, I’ve had two videos removed as violations on their community guidelines, without any comments on why they were removed. I’ve found that there are days that they will let me post content and there are days where they won’t depending on what I’m wearing generally. Mind you, I’ve been fully clothed in every since video. Yes, I’ll admit there has been a lot of skin shown, but that isn’t a violation according to their guidelines.
So here I was, sweating my ass off every night practicing these dances (that I didn’t even like), taking hours out every couple of days to film the dances over and over again in different outfits, only to have them not be posted to the app. My account is still active and I post on it every couple of days, but what I’ve realized is that it’s extremely easy to get sucked into the number of views, likes and comments.
A lot of what I was posting didn’t even make me happy, but I was doing it for exposure for my other platforms. I still don’t know my niche for Tiktok, but I’ve relaxed a bit. I don’t force myself to post anymore, or make content for the platform every couple of days. I’ve realized that I don’t want to just be a one hit wonder, I want to be remembered for my content, which is a reflection of who I am when I create. When I was on TikTok I started feeling like a puppet, tiptoeing around what the algorithm allowed me to post. I also found that I started comparing myself to other creators and getting extremely competitive about the numbers my videos were raking in which isn’t like me at all.
I’ve learnt a lot using the app, but a lot still remains a complete mystery to me. I don’t want to use an app that makes me unhappy, so I took a break and got back to working on content for YouTube and I felt better. I always promote being one’s truest self online, and I realized that I was going completely against what I was saying because I got too wrapped up in what the app was doing for me. I started being really hard on myself when my views dropped on my other platforms and blaming myself for my lack of content on TikTok, I felt like my hands were tied as posting became harder with my shadowban.
To wrap this all up, I will definitely continue using TikTok. I think there is a way for me to use the app and still be an original creator, mixing in a couple of dances here and there because some of them were actually a lot of fun and if you’ve ever learnt a TikTok dance you know it’s some of the best cardio you’ll ever do.
It’s best not to count the likes, but rather post for yourself and not others.
I’ve been in quarantine for two months now, and it is not going the way I expected. When it first started, many people (myself included) saw it as an opportunity to be productive and do things we hadn’t had time for during our everyday lives. Friends told me about their big plans and I read about famous novels and plays that had been written while the authors were quarantined, and it put a lot of pressure on me to finally write a novel. This was my chance, after all. I’d never get another stretch of time this long off work, so if I didn’t do it now, I might never do it. The immense pressure I felt had the opposite effect it was meant to, and I still haven’t done any creative writing, but that’s okay.
I’ve talked about this before, but I really don’t think pressure is a good motivator (at least not for me). I also feel that my goal of writing an entire novel that would (hopefully) one day become a bestseller wasn’t very realistic, and that made it even more difficult to do. I’ve never written a complete novel before, so it is already a daunting task without the added pressure of having to do it before quarantine ends.
Quarantine itself has also been a strange experience; initially I was too stressed to accomplish anything, then I overcame my anxiety and focused on finishing my final projects, and since then, I’ve spent most of my time relaxing. I do feel like I deserve a break; I did just finish my degree after five grueling years, after all. Plus, as I stated before, I’ll never have another stretch of time off like this – it’s possibly the only time I can spend months relaxing until I retire, so I might as well take advantage of it and recharge before I start working full-time (whenever that happens – there aren’t a lot of jobs available right now, for obvious reasons). For these reasons, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not going to write a novel during this time, and I’m okay with that. I still have the rest of my life to write, after all.
So, since I won’t be accomplishing the one big, unrealistic goal I wanted to accomplish, I set my sights on a few smaller goals, and focusing on those has made me feel much better. I had a few realistic goals for this time: I wanted to work out consistently, I wanted to start writing on my blog again, I wanted to grow my nails out (I compulsively pick them – it’s a bad habit I’ve had for years), I wanted to talk with friends more, I wanted to rewatch some of my favourite film series such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and I wanted to read (as an English major, I’ve barely done any pleasure reading since I started my degree, and I wanted to get back into it).
None of these goals were crazy, unachievable things, and that made them easier to accomplish. Plus, I kept them vague – I didn’t plan to post three times a week on my blog or read 25 books, and this vagueness also helped. I could accomplish these goals at my own pace, and any effort I put towards them counted as an accomplishment, which made me feel better about it and encouraged me to continue.
I can proudly say that I have accomplished each of my goals, even if only to a small extent. I’ve been working out every other day, I’ve been writing blog posts about once a week, my nails have grown, I’ve talked to all of my friends (some almost every day), I’ve rewatched most of my favourite film series, and I’ve read two books and am halfway through a third. These may seem to be small accomplishments, but I’m proud of them nonetheless.
I think making a few smaller, more realistic goals is better and easier than having one or two big, unrealistic goals, and the feeling you get when you accomplish the smaller goals may push you to keep going and work at one of your bigger ones. Even if you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything during the last few months, I encourage you to look back and try to name two or three accomplishments, no matter how small they are. This will help you realize that you have not just been wasting your time, and will make you feel better when you look back on this time. Though, of course, there is nothing wrong with not accomplishing anything – in fact, relaxing could be seen as a sort of accomplishment, or at least something that’s good for you.
Basically, don’t beat yourself up over not achieving that Big Goal you had – it’s totally fine to use this time as a break, and small accomplishments are still valid and important. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or put unrealistic expectations on yourself. This is a tough time for everyone without the added stress of being productive, so don’t let that weigh you down – just do whatever is best for you.
Soooo, I’ve been absent for quite some time now! I told myself that I’d take some time off from my usual weekly posts to figure out the next couple of steps I’m going to take to continue to expand my brand but unfortunately, I’ve found that I’ve been continuously hitting dead ends.
I’ve been back on Vancouver Island for almost two months now, which is more time than I spent here in all of 2019. The last time I went to a photoshoot was on the 19th of March. I remember that shoot so well, I knew it was going to be my last one in the city for a while, but as I walked off into the sunset I was confident that I’d continue to be creative whether I was in Vancouver or not.
Fast Forward to now.
Am I still confident? I’ll be honest, it’s been tough adjusting to this new lifestyle but at the end of the day, I’m alive and healthy. For the past month I’ve been in a rut. I haven’t been productive at all and I seem to be constantly fighting with myself about what my next move is going to be.
I thought I was going to take this time to catch up on all the little details that came with building one’s brand but lately I’ve been waking up, showering and crawling back into bed binging ABC’s Modern Family.
As a creative, I feel as if it’s my job not only to myself but to others to continuously keep our spirits up- especially right now. But who’s there to lift me up when my spirits are down? Lately, I’ve found that every social media platform I’m on has become an extremely consuming place. The truth is, it’s always been extremely consuming, I just didn’t notice it as much when I had a busier schedule. My current reality is sulking in my robe (that I haven’t washed for three days) with a handful of chocolate approaching my mouth watching other people I know be creative. And the reason why I’m addressing these embarrassing new attributes of my life is because they scare me.
I’ve mentioned it before on my blog, but to rejog your memory… last summer I was at the lowest point I’d ever been in my life. I wasn’t going to school, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a purpose. Everyday I would wake up and then just go back to sleep because I didn’t feel motivated to even continue with the rest of the day. I spent about 7-9 hours on social media every day drowning myself in the lives of others while I failed to live my own. Day by day, it just got worse and I started feeling extremely stuck. At this point, I wasn’t doing YouTube, and I was only taking a few modelling gigs every couple months but I knew that if I didn’t change my ways then I would never be able to achieve my dream. I was ready to completely give up on creating content, I was letting everything knock me down to my knees, and I stopped fighting for myself.
But slowly things started to get better and the events that took place on two nights in particular turned my entire life around. After that point, I started living for myself and I haven’t looked back ever since. That was only last July, it hasn’t even been a full year and so many amazing things have happened to me in that short amount of time.
I haven’t had any thoughts about quitting creating, and I’m definitely not even close to the state I was in last year but laying in bed not being productive freaks me out. I need to keep busy in order to stay sane. Creating has always been a positive outlet for me and I’ve always wanted to use my creativity to help others. I’ve received a lot of DMs recently about people enjoying my YouTube videos, putting smiles on their faces and just giving them a laugh during this hard time. Messages like that continue to remind me why I do what I do.
Helping others is my passion and creating is my purpose. That’s why I create, when I’m down I watch my favourite creatives on YouTube and it always makes me feel better. Seeing people genuinely happy, living their best life is sometimes the greatest kind of medication. Real, everyday people living their dreams helps encourage even the most unmotivated people to do the same. I know that without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And that’s why I feel like it’s my job to push myself to do the same for my audience.
“There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You’d think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not the opposite is true. You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.”
Cameron Tucker (Modern Family, season 3, episode 9)
One of my favourite activities (in and out of quarantine) is finding new shows to watch! I’m the type of person who constantly needs to be watching something. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite TV series, and as always, I’m totally open to suggestions for what to watch next. Enjoy
Maybe my all-time favourite series, Gilmore Girls has been with me since I was a kid. It’s the type of feel-good, laugh out loud show that you put on whenever you need to escape reality. Lorelai and Rory’s adorable mother-daughter relationship will have you hooked by episode one. Gilmore Girls is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
If you have yet to watch Breaking Bad, DO IT. It may seem like the show has been over-hyped, but I’m telling you it is worth it. There is drama, suspense, action, and so much amazing character development throughout the series. It’s the type of show that you will want to binge watch everyday. It’s just that good. Breaking Bad is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
A totally underrated series, Revenge is everything I want in a show. Families and relationships, secrecy and action, and SO MUCH DRAMA. Emily VanCamp plays Amanda Clarke, who seeks to destroy the Grayson family to avenge her father’s wrongful conviction.
Another series that did not get much hype, but is certainly binge-worthy! The two-season series is all about Maddie, a con artist who marries people and then steals their money. The series is very entertaining as it certainly has its comedic moments. Imposters is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
The End of the F***ing World
SO GOOD. All about teenage angst, crime, action, and young love. The End of the F***ing World is a great series to binge during quarantine! You’re sure to fall in love with the quirky characters and get totally invested in the plot. This series is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
Another great crime-related show, Killing Eve is a dark and twisted story about an assassin, Villanelle, and Eve, the MI5 security officer obsessed with trying to catch her. While I will admit that the storyline started to go in a strange direction after the first series, I would recommend giving it a go!
A classic 2000’s series about teenagers in Beverly Hills and all the drama that they get into. You’re sure to get so wrapped up in the story that you won’t even realize you’re still in quarantine.
If you want a show that is going to make you question everything about your life, then Black Mirror is for you. Each episode follows a completely different set of characters and storylines, which makes them like miniature movies. For the most part, the episodes revolve around technology and the dark and twisted ways that it can affect humans. Black Mirror is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
I’m sure most of you have seen this one, but You is another great crime/love/drama show. Based on the novel by Caroline Kepnes, You is a psychological thriller that follows Joe Goldberg, a stalking, toxic boyfriend whose obsession with his lovers lead him to become violent and criminal. You is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
Queer Eye is a feel-good reality TV show that follows the Fab Five in their journey to making over the lives of deserving individuals. This show is sure to make you laugh and cry and everything in between. Queer Eye is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.
Currently Watching: Scandal
The current show that I am watching on Netflix is Scandal. I’m on season three so far, and it is definitely scandalous! After the first season, I was not too sure about continuing to watch, but I found that the story line really picks up during season two.
On my need-to-watch-next list:
Based on recommendations online and from friends, the shows that I am looking forward to watching next are: Russian Doll, Maniac, and Dark.
Please leave your series recommendations below, and let me know if you watch any of the shows that I suggested!
It’s been over six months now since my brother’s cat, Lee, passed away. It was the worst day of my life; I was absolutely devastated and I spent the entire day crying at my desk. I couldn’t function knowing that he was gone, and so unexpectedly too. The video call in which my mom told me what happened still haunts me and serves as a reminder to appreciate my loved ones while they’re around, as I never know when I’m going to lose them.
The first few days after Lee’s death were the hardest; I had to pick myself up and go to school and work and pretend everything was alright when inside I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I remember being amazed that life was still going on around me, as for me, it had stopped completely.
Going out was good for me, as it taught me to compartmentalize my feelings – something I’d need to be able to do when my family’s dog passed away a few months later. As time passed, my wounds began to heal, and a new normal emerged.
Since then, I have cried a few times, but generally I’m fine. I still miss him, of course, but the pain I feel is a dull ache and only bothers me occasionally. Lee will always be in my heart, but I have moved on and grown to enjoy my life as it is.
As those with pets understand, you know you have really moved on when you are ready to open up your heart to another pet. My mom mentioned looking for cats on the SPCA website when I came home almost two months ago, and I wondered if we were ready. She said that my brother really missed his cat, as evidenced by the increased attention he paid to my cat, Jenny. So, we began searching.
Not long after I started looking, I found Zeus. I knew he was special the moment I saw him. He was a beautiful cat, with a few personality traits similar to Lee’s. Most importantly, he was very sweet, and loved cuddling. My mom showed his picture to my brother and he liked him, so we contacted his foster and adopted him about a week later.
He is very skittish – he hid in my mom’s bedroom the first day we had him, and over the subsequent days he hid under her dressers but would let us pet him. Eventually he started coming out from under the bed, but he would run away every time we tried to approach him. It’s been a couple weeks now and he’s improved a lot – he comes out from under the bed and bothers us for cuddles, he meows a lot, and he plays constantly (he’s still a kitten, so he has A LOT of energy).
I was hesitant to get another cat, as I thought it would feel like we were replacing Lee, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love a new cat, but I was wrong. Zeus is a different cat with a different personality who we have welcomed into our home, not as a replacement, but as an additional family member. I loved him from the moment I saw him, and now that he’s become comfortable and cuddly with me, I love him even more than I thought possible. My mom told me that when you get a new pet, they don’t take over the part of your heart that belonged to your previous pet – your heart expands to make room for them, and I truly believe that.
This has been a crazy year for everyone. I could go on about how devastating this time is and all the unfortunate consequences of COVID-19, but instead I thought I would share some of the positives that have come from my experience in quarantine.
I’ve Been Getting Crafty!
Something that I have really enjoyed doing in quarantine has been crafting! I was always crafty growing up, but as I got older and life got busier, that hobby slipped through the cracks. Some projects that I have enjoyed are doing water colour painting (super easy and fun), reverse tie-dying my clothes with bleach (click here for a tutorial), and knitting (an easy way to pass the time while watching tv)!
I’ve Started Working Out Again!
I have always loved having a workout routine, but when university classes demand a lot of my time, I found it hard to stay on track. Now that I have a lot of time on my hands, I have decided to get into working out again! On sunny days, I like going for hikes around my neighbourhood. Other days, I have been enjoying at-home workouts. I am currently on Day 19 of Chloe Ting’s 26 Day Hourglass Program (highly recommend Chloe’s videos)! Having the schedule that Chloe put together makes it super easy to follow and gives me no excuses to skip working out.
I’ve Been Journaling More!
I started a journal last year but found that I hardly ever wrote in it. During quarantine, I’ve enjoyed documenting my thoughts and doodling. It is a nice break from being online all the time and I’m excited to have it to look back on in the future. The COVID-19 crisis is such a unique time in history that it will definitely be interesting to look back on. Let me know if you guys would like a me to write a “how to start a journal/inspiration” post!
I’ve Been Reading Books!
Another hobby that I enjoy but never seemed to have the time for before quarantine. I tend to get really bad headaches when I spend too much time looking at screens, so it has been essential for me to find some off-line activities to keep me busy during the pandemic. I plan on making a post about book recommendations soon, so look out for that!
I’ve Cleaned/Re-Decorated My Room!
Some of you may be rolling your eyes at this one. Don’t worry, I’m not here to be your mother and tell you to “clean your room!” However, I have personally felt a lot more at ease when I got my bedroom set up to my liking. As you’d expect, I have been spending a lot of time in my room for the past couple months, so it is important to me that I enjoy my space. First, I painted some art pieces for my wall that make me happy when I look at them. I also got some plants that help liven up the space. De-cluttering has also been important for me, so I’ve put a lot of my non-essential items in storage to keep my room looking open and clean.
I’ve Been Trying Out New Hobbies!
This is the perfect time to try learning new things. Today, my boyfriend and I decided to start learning how to code. It has been very fun learning something new and bonding together. And who knows maybe we will be programmers by the time quarantine is over?!
I’m also planning on doing some cooking. Since many of my favourite restaurants are closed right now, I am looking forward to trying to recreate my favourite meals. I made this recipe this week and I would highly recommend for an easy dinner (5-minute Mediterranean Bowl).
I’ve Been Watching Lots of Netflix (obviously)!
Probably the most common quarantine pass time, but I had to include it. I’m working on a Netflix recommendations post, but feel free to let me know if you guys have any suggestions on what to watch!
I’m Taking Things One Day at a Time!
Everyone is coping with this situation differently, and I understand that not everyone is going to be positive during this time. But, I hope I have been able to share some ideas of what can help keep your spirits up while you’re at home.
Let me know in the comments how you guys have been dealing with quarantine!
Disclaimer : the images used in this post are not my own. They are stock images retrieved from pexels.com
Over three weeks ago, the series finale of Schitt’s Creek aired on CBC. If you had told me three months ago that I would eagerly watch it and bawl my eyes out throughout the episode and the subsequent documentary about the show, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s crazy that in such a short amount of time this show has come to mean so much to me. I have a deep connection to this show, and I expect that I always will.
I started watching Schitt’s Creek during a very turbulent time in my life. I was less than two months away from finishing my degree, and my long-term relationship had just ended. Things were changing in my life, and it was a sad, scary, and lonely time. I was looking for some hope and joy, and that’s when I discovered Schitt’s Creek.
I had heard of the show, of course. It was a rarity – a Canadian show that successfully broke into the U.S. market. I had seen video clips from the show in my Facebook news feed, and though I sometimes gave them a try, I didn’t usually find them funny. More recently, I had read a lot of good reviews about it on reddit, and as someone who tends to trust the opinions of random people on the internet for some reason, I decided I would have to give it a try sometime. Well, I found myself single and alone with no idea how to spend my newfound free time, so I figured it was the perfect time to start watching it.
Now, for those of you who haven’t seen the show, here is a quick synopsis, as you’re typically supposed to include those. Schitt’s Creek follows the filthy rich Rose family as they lose everything and are forced to move to a small town they bought as a joke many years ago, appropriately called (you guessed it!) Schitt’s Creek. There they are humbled and learn to become better people and what not. The show is kind of like Arrested Development but with way more heart (not sure Arrested Development has any heart to be honest, but I still love it).
And that’s why I fell in love with it. The heart. This show is oozing with positivity and love, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. It’s not mean-spirited in its humour, and the drama isn’t so serious that it makes you feel stressed just watching it. It is incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters in this show – both those in the Rose family, who are endearingly selfish but massively entertaining, and those in the town itself, who are all unique and interesting characters that feel like real people.
My favourite thing about this show is the love. It’s ultimately about love – familial, platonic, and romantic. It is incredibly refreshing to watch, especially when you’re going through a hard time. I felt the love between the characters, and it felt like I was the one receiving it. Every kind of love on the show warmed my heart, and made me appreciative of my friends and family, and hopeful that I can find a romantic love like those displayed in the show.
Watching the finale air live was extremely bittersweet for me. The show had come to mean so much to me in a short amount of time. Few TV shows have made me cry as much as this one has – it’s a special one. It helped me get through a tough time, and reminded me that happy endings do exist (and that every person’s happy ending is different), and for that I will forever be grateful.
Over a month ago, when COVID-19 ramped up significantly and caused my classes to go online and my jobs to close, I made the decision to go back to my hometown and quarantine with my family. I’m so glad I made that decision, as I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling if I was alone in my apartment right now.
Temporarily moving back home has been pretty weird. The first few days, I just worried about everything going on, but I slowly calmed down and tried to be more positive. I started adjusting to my new normal, and now I’m completely used to living here. I truly never thought I would live with my parents again, but this is a pretty unusual situation, and at the end of all this I will be heading back to Vancouver, although being there will surely feel different.
My initial plan while staying here was to be extremely productive and do everything I’ve never had the time to do before, but I quickly realized that that was not going to happen, and that’s okay. I needed to relax and focus on my mental health for the first little while before I could think about doing “productive” stuff. I watched movies and tv shows, I spent hours on reddit, I talked to friends constantly. It was actually really nice to have a break – I think I needed it. Life has been pretty crazy, with COVID-19, me finishing my last semester of university, and my post-graduation plans being thrown out the window, at least for the time being. I needed to just unwind and take a break.
Now that I feel sufficiently relaxed, I’m ready to start being productive. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself – I initially planned to write an entire novel while in quarantine, but the pressure to do so caused a lot of anxiety that led to me being too scared to even start. I’ve since made my goals a little more realistic, and have subsequently started working out, started reading again, and started writing blog posts again (guess I’m doing pretty well so far). There are a few more things I’d like to do, including video chatting with friends, as I’ve done this once so far and found it much more enjoyable than talking over text, plus I would really like to talk to people other than my immediate family. I would also like to do some creative writing, but this time, I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself – I don’t need to write an entire novel, I can write short stories or slowly start writing a novel without pressuring myself to get it done right away. I think if you put too much pressure on yourself, it impedes your ability to actually get things done (or maybe that’s just me).
Apparently, we have at least another month of social distancing left until things go back to “normal”, and in a weird way I am grateful for that, as it means more time with my family and more time (hopefully) being somewhat productive while I actually have time to do everything I want to do. Nobody knows how long this will last, but it’s important that we all take care of ourselves and our mental health right now and do what is best for us, whether that be accomplishing nothing at all or being super productive. We also need to show empathy to others, as not everyone is lucky enough to relax at home and not have to worry about their loved ones. These are truly extraordinary times, and hopefully when everything is said and done, we can work to make this world a better place.
Hello, hello! It feels great to be back and blogging again. I was really busy these past couple of weeks, so I didn’t have the time to post, but now I do! Well, let’s dive straight in, shall we?
This week I’ll be discussing I Must Say,by Canadian actor, comedian, and writer, Martin Short.
I Must Say is an autobiography providing a very detailed description of Short’s life. It highlights major components including career-defining moments, marriage, his childhood, and life-long friendships he’s made throughout his impressive time in the entertainment industry. From describing what it was like growing up being the youngest of five siblings and knowing at a young age that he had a knack for performing, to having a tumultuous time as a Saturday Night Live cast member and creating iconic characters, i.e., Jiminy Glick, readers are in for a treat once they open this book. I also really liked how Short incorporates hilarious stories of relatable awkward encounters with other celebrities such as Hollywood royalty, Katherine Hepburn.
However, what stood out to me while progressing through I Must Say was reading about his determination to maintain a positive outlook on life despite enduring several unimaginably heartbreaking events. For example, he lost his eldest sibling and both parents before turning twenty, as well as his wife to terminal cancer in 2010. Although Short went through the (inevitable) grieving stage(s), he always considered himself a happy person and vows to continue living that way, which I truly admire.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book! I must say (pun totally intended) that this is one of the best written autobiographies I’ve ever come across and was even better than I expected. I have the utmost respect for Martin Short after learning so much more about him. Overall, if you’re looking to find just a solid autobiography, I highly recommend you take a look.
It’s been almost a year since I last posted, but I recently became motivated to start posting on here again due to boredom and encouragement from friends. A lot has happened since I last posted – I started and finished my final year of university, two of my pets passed away, my relationship ended, and now I’m staying at my parents’ house until who knows when because of a pandemic that’s devastating much of the world. What a year it’s been.
It feels kind of weird coming back now, with everything going on, but maybe it’s a good thing. I mean, everyone could use a distraction now, right? Plus, being quarantined for over a month now, I have had a lot of time to think, and it would be nice to write some of those thoughts out. I find it difficult to open up on here – it feels like I’m spilling my secrets to the whole world, even though only a few people read this blog, and they’re mostly friends and family. Just the thought of others being privy to my private, innermost thoughts is terrifying. I’ve never exactly been an open person – I tend to keep problems to myself, which only makes them fester and get worse. So, I’m trying to be more open about what’s going on in my life, in the hopes that it will improve both my mental health and my relationships with those close to me. Plus, if anyone reading this can connect to what I’m going through, that’s pretty cool too.
Going forward, I am going to try my best to post at least once a week (optimistic, I know). I would like to post more personal essays, as I would like that to be the main focus of my blog – it is called Tessa’s Thoughts, after all (is that name too cheesy? should I change it? probably). But if you come here for the film and tv show reviews, worry not, as I have seen more movies and tv shows over the past year than I can count, so I will have no problem cranking out reviews for those who want them. I also want to be more open to writing about other things outside of these two categories, so look out for different kinds of posts (maybe I’ll finally start posting some of my creative writing online hahajustkidding). Either way, there will hopefully be plenty of posts to keep you busy during and potentially after this quarantine, assuming that this spike in motivation is ongoing and doesn’t drop off immediately after I post this. If it does, please feel free to annoy me until I post again – I’m not great at self-motivation, as you probably already know.
That’s all for now. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, experiences, reviews, etc. with you in the near future. Stay safe, everyone!
In the past couple weeks I’ve have been self-isolating, and in order to keep myself entertained I’ve been 100% keeping up to date with ALL of my school work! Oh wait, no, sorry. I have actually been keeping up to date with about 0% (maybe 1%?) of my school work. What I’ve actually been doing is reading a lot of books and watching some movies and binging some TV. However, today I’m going to be focusing on the books that I’ve read. Mainly because there are 9 (NINE!)
This first book is actually one I read as part of a book club! It’s essentially a “soft sci-fi” which pretty much means it’s a contemporary book with some sci-fi elements mixed in. Following three teens on the journeys they each embark on after earth is contacted by aliens, telling everyone they have seven days until hey are put on trial. I enjoyed this book, but found myself disconnected from the characters due to the way that it was written. And the ending kind of feels like the author just stopped. That being said, I would actually recommend this to anyone looking for an “end of the world” type thing, especially seeing out current situation.
The reason I have lumped these all together is because they are all part of a much larger series of books known to many as The Shadow Hunter Chronicles. Cassandra Clare has three (going on 4/5 now) complete series, as well as three short story compilations that follow characters known as Shadowhunters — humans with angel blood who fight demons. The problem with the three books I’ve read this past month is that I can’t really recommend them to anyone who hasn’t already read her books, because they do contain spoilers for her other series! That being said, I really enjoyed all three books and if you’ve read Clare’s other books and liked them, I would definitely suggest checking them out. And if you haven’t read any of her books, check out either The Infernal Devicesor The Mortal Instruments first.
This is an extremely sweet as well as heart wrenching — but also warming — book. Following a young muslim girl who moves to a new town just one year after the 9/11 attacks. chronicling her year at a new school, the new people she meets, as well as the break dancing club she starts with. her brother. I really enjoyed this book, especially because I have never read anything with this subject matter. Being an own voices story, inspired by the author’s adolescence (break dancing and everything!)
This book isn’t really a book, and is rather two (very) short stories compiled into two bindings. The first Midnights follows a girl who pines after her best friend and has to watch him kiss a different girl at midnight every single New Years Eve. And the second story, Kindred Spirits, follows a young girl who waits in line for the first movie in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. And the trials and tribulations of sleeping outside a movie theatre for two days and with two people who don’t know — despite the fact that they share a love for Star Wars. Now I’m not a HUGE fan of extremely short stories like these, mainly because I’m an extremely character based reader. I love to get to know characters, and by the time I got to know these ones — the story was over. That being said I really enjoyed the second story, being a Star Wars fan myself. There were lots of cute little references mixed in that I was able to enjoy.
This next book I read was yet again for the book club i’m a part of! inspired by the board game Clue, this is a modernized murder mystery. Taking place in a fancy boarding school and following the few students who get trapped in one of the school buildings when there is a horrible storm. The only way I can describe this book is fun. It’s extremely easy to read and gets it’s point across easily. My only complaint is the different points of view that it’s told in throughout the story.
This is an audio book that I ended up listening to as I cleaned my room one day. I signed up for the Scribd free one month promotion, and chose a book I saw a few people talking about online. Putting a modern twist on Agatha Christie novels mixed with The Breakfast Club. X teens are invited to a scholarship dinner with the mayor, but he never shows. With the door slamming shut and trapping them in the room, stuck with a bomb, a syringe, and a note saying: they have an our to kill someone, or everyone dies. Although, unfortunately I just don’t think it was for me. I had trouble believing the overall “reveal” and like many of the other books I read this month — I didn’t love the way that it was written.
The last book I read this month is one I have been DYING to read. Following the 7 teens that make up the fourth years of a very prestigious Shakespearean theatre program. It goes back and forth between their 4th year and ten years in the future when one of the students is being released from jail, for murder. I really really enjoyed this one. It is so pretentious, but that’s something I really enjoy — so if you get annoyed at 21 year olds who quote Shakespeare in everyday conversations it’s not for you. I will also say that I started to read this one day, tried to stop, but then ended up staying up until 3am so I could read the whole thing. But if you don’t like Shakespeare, this is probably not for you.
So there we have it! the 9 books I read in March! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. If anything this is the best time for us to be turning to things like literature and film, as they help us escape the world outside.
Today was our last PUB201 class, and to be honest I’m a bit sad. Publishing classes are always a fun and a highlight of my semesters — I mean today in our online lecture we started playing pictionary, what other class would that happen in?!
But alas, as it is the last class that does beg the question: where do we go from here?
for me, I’m looking forward to continuing this blog. Especially in a time like this I think not only those who pop in and read my posts need this — but so do I. It’s been so much fun to post different reviews, lists, and everything in between this past semester and I’m looking forward to continue to do so!
However, in the upcoming weeks I do have exams. And if I can’t focus on studying when I’m freakishly busy with work — how on earth am I going to be able focus when I literally have all the time in the world!? So, that being said, I will most likely be able to get back up and running some time after the 20th of April (my last exam).
I look forward to posting all the reviews (mainly books because literally every single new movie has been pushed back to the end of the year or 2021 ) While also using all the knowledge I have gained from this course. Including SEO, Google Analytics, and everything in between. I also look forward to taking more Publishing courses in the future, and most likely sticking a shiny Publishing minor alongside my English Major.