Author Archives: A Blog For Life Livers

Stealing Moments

Week 6 Blog Post

It’s mid October.

For most of us, that means we are now fully settled into the throws of school and the novelty of “fall” has started to lose its effect. The days are getting darker by the minute, and most of our time is spent inside our homes navigating through the new home- school/ work life balance while also juggling assignments, papers, and tests.

Sounds fun right?

The post summer come down hits us all in different ways and it’s important to adapt to the change of seasons in ways that still promote happiness and self care. It can feel like once were back to the “reality” of work and school that we no longer have any time. Whether its time for ourselves, time for extra activities, or time to spend with friends and loved ones, when summer ends, it can feel like a little piece of our happiness does too.

So how do we make more time? Where does it come from? And where does it go?

The thing is, there is no amount of rearranging our schedules, earlier wake up times, or dailed in reminder tabs that will give us more time in our day. It’s almost impossible to create the large chunk of extra time that we think we need in order to regain a sense of freedom in our lives. What is possible though, is learning to look at your day and find pieces of calm within the chaos by stealing little moments for yourself. For instance, if your day involves commuting by transit, it can look like using your time while sitting on the bus or train to look out the window and give yourself a moment to take in the scenery and be one with your thoughts. If your day revolves around the home, it can look like stealing a moment for yourself while you sip your morning coffee. Being mindful of how it tastes, how the mug feels when you hold it, and allowing yourself to be present, one sip at a time. Stealing moments helps you realize that you are the master of your own time and that you have more control over your own happiness than it may feel. It helps you look for little silver linings in the smallest of things and encourages gratitude and mindfulness.

The clips in this video are all stolen moments. Moments from throughout my day that I chose to pause, look around, and take in the world around me. These moments were all instances that I could have easily missed and whisked by while lost in my own train of thought (such as the shots while sitting on and exiting the sky train, standing at an intersection, and riding my bike with friends) but took the time for myself to recognize beauty and art in each moment. By doing so, I was able to find ways to look at my own life from a different lens and acknowledge all of the beauty and magic that comes in and out of my daily hustle and bustle.

This fall, I challenge you to change your narrative about needing to “find more time” for yourself and look for the beauty in the moments you already experience each day. Take a minute to find mindfulness and gratitude during activities you normally “go through the motions” of, and steal the moments out of your day that have been waiting for you all along.

Online Disinhibition Effect

Week 4 process post

Out of the six behaviours of John Suler’s “The Online Disinhibition Effect” , I feel that the behaviour of asynchronicity aka “See You Later” most reflects my online self (Suler, 2004). I often find myself leaving people on “read” like its my day job. Interacting with people in “non” real time over platforms such as email and online messaging platforms I often get overwhelmed with the idea of an instant message requiring an instant response and am disinhibited by the idea that over text and email I have the ability to close the screen and choose what/when I want to respond and often use it as a get out of jail free card to take my time when it comes to replying. However, I believe that the weird set of rules created by online messaging/ interaction that dictates an immediate message needing an equal immediate response inhibits the ability to allow ourselves to take time whatever time we may need to respond.

Works cited: Suler, John. 2004. Psychology of Cyberspace – The Online Disinhibition Effect, truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html.

How I Got My Attention Back

Week 3 process post

“Could I go offline for a month?”

The question circulated through my mind as I read Craig Mod’s article “How I Got My Attention Back”. How long had it been since I really went offline? Sure, I have gone for week long camping and hiking trips where my phone is put on airplane mode, but that has always been followed by instantly posting pictures of the trip to instagram, checking to see what I “missed” on Snapchat, and “catching up” on other social media sites as soon as I got back home and into cell service. Plus, while on adventures and trips my days are filled with activities and spending time with friends where our phones are stored away in our bags and doesn’t really count as removing social media from my actual daily life. Instagram was first created in 2010, and a year later in 2011, I downloaded the app and made my account. I have had instagram since I was 11, meaning that I have been using the app 9 out of the 10 years that it has been around. For 9 straight years I have been scrolling, posting, and liking photos without a second thought. As I read the article, Mod’s words seemed to be talking directly to me, can I sit quietly in a room alone? How many days do I start by turning my phone alarm off and instantly clicking on instagram, checking Snapchat, or scrolling on VSCO? One of the most prominent quotes from Mod’s article was regarding a having a healthy mind and gaining control over our own attention:

“Attention is a muscle. It must be exercised. Though, attention is duplicitous — it doesn’t feel like a muscle. And exercising it doesn’t result in an appreciably healthier looking body. But it does result in a sense of grounding, feeling rational, control of your emotions — a healthy mind.”

(Mod, 2018)

I had noticed that over the past couple years it has become increasingly hard for me to focus my own attention while reading (especially for schoolwork) and that almost always, I’d read a paragraph or two and instantly reach down for my phone, go on a social media app, and only then after a couple minutes of scrolling be able to return to my reading. It seemed as if my brain was squirrelly and quickly became restless if I was away from my phone for too long. I was unable to focus on anything other than the idea of checking my instagram or answering a snapchat and wouldn’t be able to think of anything else or read another line until I satisfied the overwhelming urge to check my phone. This often happened throughout other moments in my day too, whether it was while I was riding the bus, sitting in a lecture, or eating a meal, I would find that in moments of stillness, I could not sit with my own mind.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal. Did any of us remember how to sit quietly, alone, without a phone in hand?

(Mod, 2018)

I remember reading the quote above and thinking, “why am I like this?”, “Why can’t I sit through a lecture and not pull out my phone?”, “Why do I seem to always feel the need to be either posting a story or a picture instagram?” And “why do I care so much?”.

Needless to say, I recognized that it was time for a change. After reading the article I reached out to two of my friends and proposed the idea of going “offline” for a month. Obviously neither one of us could go completely offline as our schooling is all online, but we could go off all social media and were excited at the prospect of doing so. We each identified which apps we spent the most time on and over the phone lined up what we were going to cut off during our personal hiatuses. For myself, Instagram had to go. Next was Snapchat, VSCO, and Facebook. These were all the apps I found myself spending the most time on and that I often use to compare myself to others and have not the best for my overall mental health. Starting October 1st until November 1st, myself and two of my friends are logging off/ deleting all of the social media apps that either a) we spend a too much time on or b) have negatively effected our mental well being. In the time that I spend off of social media, I am planning on substituting the time I normally would spend on my phone with journaling each night before I go to bed, going for walks, finishing my book, and hopefully getting more homework done!! Another thing that I hope to accomplish while off of social media is spending more quality time chatting with my roommates. Often, when we’re hanging around the house or eating a meal together our phones are in our hands and our attention is split between the real world and our virtual worlds. I am looking forward to no longer feeling the need to be scrolling through instagram while sitting on the couch and hanging out with my roommates and to give those around me 100% of my attention.

Works cited:
Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Dec. 2018, www.wired.com/2017/01/how-i-got-my-attention-back/.

Sunshine.

Week 5 blog post

When people think of me, I want them to think of sunshine.

The sun you see,

fills our lives with light and joy.

Even when it rains, it’s always there,

tucked behind the clouds in the sky,

patiently waiting for when it can shine once again.

After long winter months, when spring shows it’s first hopeful ray, the sun brings promise and hope that everything will be okay.

In the summer, its golden glow brings about a laid back ease and that fills the heart and soul with content.

Much like the sun, I want to radiate an undeniable glow.

To spread love and light.

I want to laugh without care, sing without fear, and dance with everyone I meet.

I want to bring out the good in people and touch those with a kindness that shines day in and day out.

I want to be the proof that sunshine is a state of mind, no matter the weather.

When people think of me, I want them to think of sunshine

Magic: Sometimes Lost but Always Found

Week 4 blog post

When I was young, I would play in a world created by the forest. Where each swaying branch was a secret door to a new adventure filled with menacing dragons and mischievous fairies. Trees were not just climbed, but conquered, and each limb gave a vantage point to a new world. Sometimes a lookout upon an impassable wilderness, and other times an ocean full of mermaids and dolphins. Roots and rocks were tables and chairs from which we feasted on mud cakes iced with pebbles and drank from goblets of leaves. Imagination flowed freely and magic was a faithful friend.

As time passed on, the fairies flew away to another land, perhaps to play with a new kid, but the magic they held still lingered within the woods. For years, I wondered if this childish wonder would ever return and often questioned if I would view the world through as rose-colored lenses as my younger self once did.


It is said that the islands of Hawaii are alive, that the spirits and legends are not just words on paper but a living spirituality within the land and its people. As a complete outsider, I felt like an intruder to this sacred world, that maybe I wasn’t connected enough to Oahu to experience such a coveted energy. This all changed the first time I walked down a twisting path of sand and grass, beaten down by the countless soles before me. Grass creeped between my toes and my calloused feet braved the pointy rocks hidden underneath the scattered sand along the trail. Each step brought me closer to a secluded beach, where a jungle gave way to a horseshoe shaped shoreline and the sun bleached sand sloped gently towards and shining sea. The sun was high in the sky and the air was electric, buzzing with the promise of adventure. My friends and I ran for the ocean, throwing our bags down without a second thought, mesmerized by the turquoise water before us, dying to jump in.


I can still remember the first time I dove into the water. In seconds, I was transported to a new world, surrounded by a salty serenity where sound stopped and everything became new. I opened my eyes and through a blurry haze, could imagine myself eight years old again, exploring the kingdom of Atlantica as The Little Mermaid. Instinctively, I kicked my legs towards the bottom, diving deeper to reach for the sand below. I dug my fingers into its silky surface and emerged with a handful, watching as it changed in my hand from its fabric like form to a compacted ball of mud. I let the sand fall through my fingers and looked to the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, letting my world illuminate with gold. I let my body sway as I was now afloat, slowly moving back and forth with the transferring energy of each wave. Ever since I was little, I felt as if swimming was the closest I would ever get to flying. In the water, I felt as if I was drifting through space. Fully suspended in complete nothingness, where I could spin, and twirl, and flip, and dive and the only thing to stop me was the liquidity of the sea. With palms outstretched, I would reach to either side and only to be greeted with vast amounts of nothingness, only water and my own feeling of total suspension. Pulling myself back to the present, I tried this out again, testing out my old childish tricks, flipping and spinning without intention or direction. The magic of the woods had returned and I was flying.

As the day rolled on, we played among the waves as they crashed into shore, becoming obsessed with the pursuit of catching a rolling barrel, again and again and again. Once the ocean had filled our ears with water and our bathing suits became weighed down with permanent pounds of sand, we would seek refuge on the shore and soak up the the sun. Tired, but far from defeated, we recovered on the beach until our skin felt the familiar itch of a creeping sunburn, signaling that it was time to brave the tumbling waves once again. The day mostly consisted of this, ocean to sand, sand to ocean rotating in what seemed to be a never ending cycle. As the day began to wind down and the sun started to lessen it’s rays, I could feel my mind fill with ease and allowed by body to follow suit, sinking deeper into my towel, molding a girl-sized impression into the soft sand. I breathed in, feeling the sticky sweet humidity stir with the unintentional salt water in my lungs. The air felt truly alive, as if it were infusing each breath in with a softy spoken energy. If the Hawaiian goddess Pele really did shape these islands, I would say that her magic remains within their sandy shores, echoing through each crashing wave, and her spirit remains alive through magic of the island, touching only those who are lucky enough to experience it. As the sun started to climb its way down from its lofty perch, the sky became painted with pink and gold, and I watched as it slipped a blanket of golden warmth onto the restless ocean as it twisted and turned in rebellion. The ocean seemed to challenge the sky, dodging the rays in an intricate dance from blue to gold and gold to blue until finally giving up the fight, letting each golden tendril of the sun weave into a layer of warmth over the restless sea. I watched each wave crash dreamily on to the beach, moving slowly, like the heavy eyelids of a tired child. I could feel the sighs of the koa trees, as they too began to release the weight of their knotted trunks, swaying sleepily with the breeze signaling the approaching night. The movement of the beach carried whispers of words not quite tangible, like a lullaby in a foreign language. But maybe that’s for a reason; maybe the spirits from the islands speak in a tongue that is only to be heard by those who see that they still remain; alive and well. Or maybe, it’s the magic from my childhood, finding its way back into the world around me: through the dance of the sun and the sky, along the green paths twisting like snakes to secluded beaches, swaying with the trees and dancing in unison with the breeze. Maybe, it’s the fairies from my childhood forests, in their rightful home, within this secluded beach where imagination and reality have twisted into one, on the island of Oahu.

Designing the Online Self: Reflection

Week 5 process post

When I was young, I would always think that I had to have a “style”. Each year I would craft my wardrobe around what type of person I wanted to be: sporty, Pacific Northwest-y, surfy, tomboy, etc.. I would work to tailor each piece of clothing to fit the certain “style” that I wanted to portray of myself. I felt the need to prove myself by aligning who I was on the inside with how I presented myself on the outside. This occurred over and over again throughout my life and even with my taste in music, I would only listen to one genre at a time. Bound to the idea that I had to find one “style” that summarized my taste in music so that when people asked what I liked, I could have an easy answer ready to avoid the eye roll that came from saying “I like everything”. I believed that I had to have “a favourite”, because that’s what I had learned was cool. To have a favourite artist, a favourite song, a favourite genre, a certain way of dressing, a certain classification of self identity. For years, I worked endlessly to find the ultimate way of presenting myself that I could select above the rest and finally have a path that was clear and made sense to others.

However, the more I tried to limit myself and hone in on just one thing, the more I realized that I’d get bored of wearing one style of clothing, listening to one kind of music, or pursing one type of hobby. I wanted to run, sing, salsa dance, skateboard, surf, ski, play guitar, climb trees, learn about space, learn about history, write poems, read books, learn about physics and biology, paint, cook, make videos…I liked everything and had an appreciation for all sorts of “styles”. I felt jumbled. I felt like my passions and interests were always pulling me in multiple different directions, and I was overwhelmed with the idea that I had to choose just one thing to define myself by.

Fast forward to present day, where we are required to create an online “image” for ourselves, and I soon found myself back to the same predicament… how could I ever find a singular interest to present on my website? It seemed that I could find little pieces of myself everywhere and that all my hobbies and interests were stretched widely across the board, and because of this, I was going crazy trying to grasp ahold of each and one of them. How could I hone in on one style of blog when I want to be able to express my creativity in more than just one way? I love to write, take photos, make videos, read books, adventure, explore, and dabble in more sports and hobbies that I can even keep track of, so why do I have to chose one idea and forget about the rest?

However, a new idea recently struck me. The idea of everything.

As seemingly obvious as it was, I still felt as if I was peeking under a page of a forbidden book: What if we aren’t just one thing? What if you can be everything? What if your style, or taste in music could be no style at all, but just a selection of different random pieces and sounds that move you and bring you joy? What if what shapes us are layers? Beautiful, unique layers of different styles, thoughts, and experiences. Layers that cant be categorized by one, singular label. Layers that when combined with each other, make a mosaic of human passion and individuality that displays more colour and depth than a blanketed statement of self identity ever could. We are constantly growing and changing and so is the world. So why shouldn’t we reflect that? And more so, why don’t we encourage it more often?

Some may call it self discovery, some might call it building an appreciation for new forms of art and expression, however, I believe that the idea of everything is the first step towards breaking away from the idea that in order to “be somebody” you had to be “something”. That we need to categorize ourselves and those around us into groupings based on what “type” of person we are. Whether it is through our style, our taste in music, and now our online self.

This is where the idea of “A Blog For Life Livers” came from. A space that invited all who simply live life to take whatever it is they needed from a wide variety of content. Whether it was stories, videos, poems, existential thoughts (such as this) photography, or random bits and pieces from experiences and adventures, that there would be something for everyone. I wanted to create a site that embodied all the different pieces of my life while promoting goodness and happiness. Because there is no rigid structure that could ever categorize what it feels to experience life, and there should be a place that allows all of these different pieces to exist in harmony.

So here’s to everything. Here’s to living life, and here’s to throwing the idea of choosing “one” way of presenting ourselves out the window. Whether it’s online, in the music I listen to, or in the fabric of the clothes I wear, here’s to a sense of self that allows the room to let things be. Here’s to accepting the idea of everything, and realizing that what I once viewed as “stretched widely across the board” is actually an appreciation of all of the different wonders that life has to offer.

Peer Review 1: Here To Cook

Link to website: http://heretocook.ca/

First Glance:

Upon first glance, “Here To Cook” is a thoughtful, well presented cooking blog. The website is easy to navigate and has a minimalistic feel. The blog’s intention was easy to identify as a space dedicated to aesthetically pleasing cooking posts and videos. Visually, “Here To Cook” satisfied all that I could want as a viewer and I liked the simple interface that the theme “BlogGrid” provided. However, I noticed that the written content could use some rewording. Certain written portions of the blog such as the welcome statement on the blogs homepage, the about section, and the blog posts had grammatical errors and/or lacked formality and flow. For instance, the “about” section could use a second look through as the word “To” was spelt as “yo”. In addition to this, the welcome description on the homepage could be improved upon by rephrasing it’s message. Sentences such as “welcome to this food blog, but it isn’t just any other food blog” could be swapped out for something a little more polished such as “Welcome to “Here to Cook”, a food blog unlike many others. Wether you are here to learn, or want to unwind with relaxing cooking videos, the joy and art of cooking is made available for you to experience anywhere, anytime.”

Format/ Styling

Overall, I enjoyed the format of the blog and thought that the style worked well as a very clean, user friendly, entry level website design. However, one thing that could be changed is the depth of the written content. It is said in the “about” section that the author is a “goofball” but many of the blog posts do not seem to show this “goofball” persona that is described on the about page. My favourite post on the blog so far was the “Process Post 1: Encounter With a Stranger” as I felt it carried the most voice and depth. I enjoyed hearing your alternative opinion when it comes to online vs in-person interaction and from this post, felt the closest to reading a personal “blog post”. This is an example of the type of content where it was nice to see pieces of your “goofball” character when you used things such as ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS AND SASS, bolded lettering, and text with extraaaaa letters to create a more conversational “vibe”. The process posts were well put together and read well, which left the blog section videos feeling a little empty. Seeing as though the main intention of the creative side of your food blog is to provide cooking videos the majority of viewers will be visiting the “videos” section of the website. Because of this, I think that the posts such as “Week 1: Soufflé Omelette” and “Week 2: Salad Rolls” could use a bit more content as they felt a bit empty/ unfinished even though the theme of the blog is to be relaxing and simple. An example of additional content that could add to the cooking videos would be either a copy of the recipe posted in an additional block or a link to the recipe posted below and your own fun tips and tricks for the readers/viewers at home. Even a slightly longer write up that allows you to showcase your personality a bit more would help the video section stand out and gives viewers more content to interact with, which in turn will make them want to spend more time on your blog

Overall thoughts

I really enjoyed viewing this blog and I think that it has really great potential to create a niche in the realm of culinary cinematography. The cooking videos offer an aesthetically pleasing alternative to the many “cooking tutorials” blog posts that dominate sites such as Pinterest where there are long winded write ups accompanied by unnecessary step by step photos that leave the viewer scrolling for minutes trying to find a recipe and get what they originally came for. The videos uploaded on Here To Cook have ambient background music and no additional narration, allowing the video to be viewed casually as a pallet cleanser from the fast paced, in-your-face media we normally consume on social media sites such as Instagram and YouTube.

Superhero Guest Post

Mini assignment 2

Deadpool here. First things first, what the %^78 is this hippie $h-t????

Would you like some organic granola to sprinkle on top this overflowing bowl of pretentiousness? Oh biiiig news, young girl goes out in nature, gets out of her comfort zone and thinks she’s “different”. You’re telling me, you guys are actually reading this….sober? If I wanted to subject myself to people holding hands and singing combaya, I would have gone to a spirit circle and danced with a little friend I like to call peyote.

Onto what really matters, me. Or more so, my adventures because who “lives life” more than the guy who cant die?
Due to the current $h-t storm the world has spiralled itself into, the world of movie magic is on hold. But, good news is that my favourite actor Ryan Reynolds is making big moves at Marvel being the highest paid actor. So if COVID can find its way to f**ck off, we’ll get pretty boy Reynolds to squeeze his tight as in my beautiful red suit. Anywho, make sure you get your daily intake of chimichangas with a side of maximum effort and boycott anything Australian and rhymes with wolverine. And if you happen to see colossus, tell him ill be kissing his sweet sweet metal lips as soon as I can get within 150 feet of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters.

Yours,

Deadpool.

Boarder X

“The Scream” by Kent Monkman: the aftermath.

This past week, I had the privilege to visit an art exhibit at the Nanaimo Art Gallery called “Boarder X”. Boarder X is an exhibit originated in Winnipeg, Manitoba and now travels all across Candada featuring contemporary art such as painting, sculpting, video, and photography, by indigenous artists who all share a love for surfing, skating, and snowboarding. The exhibit itself works to connect those who are passionate about skateboarding and art with the history of indigenous culture and bring greater awareness to the indigenous experience of colonialism in Canada. The artwork displayed at the exhibit worked to show the interconnectedness of the environment, politics, social perspectives, and a relationship with the land. From skateboard art to videos and photo galleries, the mix of contemporary styles offered a new perspective on indigenous cultures relationship with boarding as a sport and allowed indigenous boarders and artists to create their own narrative surrounding the deep cultural/ historical roots that links them to the land and the outdoors with a modern day passion for sport and art. One of the most profound moments that I experienced while visiting the gallery was when I first viewed the piece by Cree artist Kent Monkman called “The Scream” (pictured below). When I saw the painting, I was standing with a group of younger boys, all who were there simply to checkout the “cool skateboards” and skate on the exhibit’s interactive mini half pipe. However, when the group of skater boys arrived at “The Scream”, they all stopped in their tracks and took it in for a moment. I watched as one of them looked at his other friends and said “woahh, this is nuts”.
Although this small phrase might not seem like much, this moment of recognition sparked a conversation, from this conversation sparked a notion of awareness. The image of the Royal Mounted Police, preists, and nuns tearing mothers apart from their children on what is depicted to be an indigenous reserve painted across the decks of five skateboards spoke great truth into the reality of the suffering experienced by communities throughout history and to present day life. The art did the very job it set out to do and captured even the most unassuming of audiences, who originally attended the event with the purpose of skating, but were moved by the ways in which the painting was emulated its meaning.

“The Scream” by Kent Monkman: the original.