Sunday, February 20


Have you ever used stumbleupon? Maddy introduced it to me months ago but it took me a few tries before I started actually getting into it. I love it now – I “stumble upon” the coolest stuff. I have my own account and you can adjust it to show you things you are more interested in. Then, when you find cool stuff, you can like it, making your future results even more likely to be of interest to you.

Not everything is interesting but its easy to click through and keep going to find something you like. Among the things I’ve found are a site with upcoming trendy songs (which I love), lots of cute pictures of cool animals, a sweet picture of a city where you slid your mouse over and it showed the sun rising and setting and the site I’m going to be mentioning. These things may all sound ridiculous to you but.. stumbleupon seems to know the peculiar things that amuse me.

The site I stumbled about today was called 201 Ways To Arouse Your Creativity. Katie Tallo is a writer who combined 201 tips for being creative from several different writers. Here is what she said about her compilation : “Creativity is like sex. You fumble your way through, you get lost in it, you fall in love. Both are passionate, rhythmic, pleasurable, and flowing. Both can bear fruit. And both can rack your soul with vulnerability, bliss, fear and awkwardness. I like to bare my soul once in a while, but what I love even more is exposing other people’s secrets.

The people I speak of are writers. They lust writing. When you’re in lust, you can be desperate to keep that feeling alive. So when creativity goes limp, writers are the ones who know the secrets to keeping it interested. They know how to flirt with it, tease it and arouse it. In fact, they know hundreds of ways to get their creative freak on.

Below, I’ve exposed some of their secret tips, methods, and techniques. After all, they just left them strewn across the web. I lovingly picked them up, adapted and played with them. Some are contradictory and some are in harmony.”

I find myself at a loss for creativity all the time. You’ve probably heard me say I’m the least creative person in the world and its true most of the time. I’m not artistic, I can barely draw stick people. I can’t write music, I can’t think up stories off the top of my head. I like to write but its all pretty literal, I can’t manage to write with amazing depth and description. So when I saw this sight I was like WEE OUHH, maybe a chance to dig deep and scrape up a few millilitres of creativity within myself. So I read through and compiled a list of my favourite ones that I hope to try at some point. These are tips from writers so a lot were focused on writing but I think they could spark creativity to do anything or to be just plain creative.

1. Do something important that’s very easy.
2. Try Free writing
3. Take a shower. Change clothes. Give yourself a truly clean start.
4. Get away from your computer. Take a pen and paper and go somewhere new.
5. Quit beating yourself up. You can’t create when you feel ass-whipped.
6. Stop visualizing catastrophes and focus on the positive.
7. Listen to new music. Try something rhythmic and instrumental that you’ve never heard before.
8. Finish something.
9. Surround yourself with creative people.
10. Consume information by the bucketload. The more you know, the more you can create from that project.
11. Meet new people from different walks of life. Strike up a conversation on the bus.
12. Creativity is a muscle. Exercise it daily.
13. Don’t judge your ideas until you have plenty to judge.
14. Stop telling yourself you’re not creative.
15. Don’t be a workaholic. Take breaks.
16. Experience sights, sounds and smells. Sitting still won’t bring new ideas in; experimenting and trying new things will.
17. Wake up 10 minutes early then go back to sleep and dream.
18. Go jogging. Running is a great way to refresh your brain. The effort will also bring satisfaction. Self-esteem is good for creativity.
19. Drink a beer with your buddies. Being happy will make you more productive. It will also give you greater enthusiasm.
20. Give gratitude. Thinking about all the things you are grateful for produces a positive energy flow and vibration.
21. Get some crayons and warm-up your creativity. Get a piece of paper and draw a totally useless picture of nothing at all.
22. Name the colors in a box of crayons. Name them with abandon, using words like squashed-pea-green, severed-arm-blood-red, or dancing-fairy-silver.
23. Volunteer. Getting your hands dirty for a good cause can be the source of more inspiration than you’d ever imagine.
24. Embrace your inner grouch. Discontent may just be a vast, untapped source of creativity.
25. Be more playful. Horsing around may be better in the long run than hunkering down.
26. Aim at being unique, not ordinary. Go right past the dull.
27. Stop being (other people’s) perfect. The expectation of making something perfect uses up emotional energy that you could put to much better use being creative and artistic.
28. Just say screw it. Maybe you just have to say screw it and stop trying so hard.
29. Avoid logical thinking. It’s often the enemy of truly innovative thoughts.
30. Free yourself to make mistakes. Just try out your ideas. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I’m wrong?
31. Use life markers for ideas. Old photos, family stories, a journal entry, a souvenir from a trip, a collection you love or a piece of clothing–if you’ve saved it for a reason there is most likely a story there.
32. Be curious about everything.
33. Let your body contribute to your creative process by blaring the music and dancing around the room.
34. Go out and live your life. Do not allow yourself to become stuck in a hole of your own creativity.
35. Look for inspiration all around you, in the smallest places

So..when you are feeling uncreative or are needing some inspiration to be creative at whatever it is you do, you can flick back to this list – I think it could be pretty useful. And make sure at some point you check out stumbleupon if you havn’t already. It’s best at that moment of despair when you literally have NOTHING to do and every website you like seems absolutely boring and atrocious. Happy stumbling. :)

Tuesday, February 15

Feliz dia de San Valentin

This is my first blog I have ever written off the island. It feels great! I arrived in Edmonton last Wednesday night. It has been less than a week and although I already miss things about home, especially people, I am really loving this new start. It’s cool to think I am beginning a new era in my life, away from home, away from things I know. I will be away for at the very very least 5 months, and most likely more. While it’s scary, it’s also exhilarating.

So far, even after only being here for five days, I feel I have done so much! First of all I got to see my brother, sister in law and 2 oldest nephews for the first time since June and my other brother for the first time since my graduation! Also, I saw my newest nephew and niece – Max and Mollie – for the first time ever. They are pretty cute.

Edmonton is only the first part of my trip but I have already tried new things, had fun experiences and made some interesting observations. Here are a few :
- This is my first time ever past London, Ontario! The west is cool so far  I might be seeing the mountains soon which would be amazing!
- West Edmonton Mall – for those of you who don’t know a)I have a huge shopping addiction b)This is the biggest mall in the world. This is a deadly combination for me! Its amazing.
- Holding twin babies – it’s kinda cool.
- I saw a 3D movie...and not just any movie, oh no, I saw Never Say Never. I love Justin Bieber even more now.
- The water here gets really hot..everywhere. It is turned up in Jers house but holy crap, at the mall, at the movie theatre – it gets so hot, so quick. I feel like on Grand Manan I wait two minutes for water ANYWHERE to get warm.
- My nephew and I shared our first rollercoaster ride. Im a rollercoaster junkie so it was fun to go on one with my nephew who is also a fan!
- There is indeed a Nickelback craze here. I know they are from Alberta but it doesn’t make them a good enough band to play all the time. I think I’ve heard them more on the East Coast though – shame shame!!
- I have been cleaning and being a functional human being more than normal. I feel more productive and useful which is nice.
- I went to a Casino, it was my second Casino ever and I enjoyed it a bit more because it wasn’t so intense and seizure inducing. In Alberta you can gamble, drink and smoke at 18 so I saw some guys who looked younger than me at the Casino – sort of weird. I didn’t get carded – also weird.
- A disgusting observation I made was that, a lot to my surprise, there isn’t a lot of people with great style here. There were a few but I thought I would see outrageously beautiful girls with amazing style that made me want to die for their closets – not the case. A lot of people are very stuck in SUPER old school styles and I’ve yet to see extremely attractive people (outside the house Im living in but of course, we are all from the east.) for the most part. We’ll see how the rest of the month goes!
- I won my first game of Life..actually..i kicked ass.
- Lots of Mario world on Wii. Tried out the Mario kart.. steering screws me over.
- Major observation: my sister in law is super woman. I don’t know how she does all the things she does – which is a lot of things. It’s one thing to have 4 children, it’s another to have 2 4 months old twins, a crazy busy 2 year old and an eccentric 6 year old. My brother and her do a amazing job raising them and still manage to eat, shower and fit in one million and one activities. It’s truly a marvel. I can only hope I would ever be able to do handle it all as well as they do.
That’s all I have so far. This blog wasn’t very insightful or funny but more for friends and family who like to know what I’m up to and how the family out here is doing. I’m having an amazing time and I miss everyone at home but I’m so excited for the months ahead and for the independence I will start to gain from this experience.
Big Love ,

PS. To everyone in love, out of love, not believin in love, unaware of what love is - happy valentines day. i don't care if you already have a valentine, don't celebrate or do not wish to receive my valentines day love - you are getting it anyway! valentines day is a little over rated maybe but fun and you can make it fun whether you have someone special or you dont. because there are other special people in your life and you can chose to celebrate that love. i just spent my 19th valentines day single and it was perfectly great. i have great family and great friends who gave me some sweet sweet valentines day lovin. valentines day, like everything else in life, is what you make it. so if you are in a relationship - celebrate that person and your fabulous or not so fabulous relationship. if you are single, make some cookies for your friends and watch a sappy movie - enjoy your day either way.

Saturday, February 5

Home ; where my heart is.

For the past three days I have watched my facebook community become aflutter as one by one, Grand Mananers started coming together to help a family win a simple contest. It started with a facebook status – Kim Rayner had entered a tshirt design in a contest. If she won, the tshirt would be produced and a cut of the proceeds would be given to her family to help with the expenses of their international adoption journey. As soon as I saw, being a steady reader of Kims blog (check it out - im following it) and a huge supporter of international adoption, I immediately took the steps to vote for her tshirt. She is an amazing woman with a great family – I knew they deserved to win. I didn’t know how far my vote would go but little did I know it was so much bigger than just my vote. I quickly began to see the statuses - Grand Mananers letting all their friends, on and off the island, know about the contest and strongly urging them to take 5 seconds and vote. Three days later.. she won the contest with 967 votes.

Grand Manan is, has always been, and will always be my home. As much as I have hated this place at times, the hate would never ever be able to amount the love I feel for it and these people I’m surrounded by. My love for travel will never steer me away from the fact that I grew up in an (although at times challenging and frustrating) truly amazing community. A community where when you truly need help, you can bet your ass someone has your back.

For example, when I started my Orphanage Project I had told no one about it besides my mother. Within 24 hours I had over 50 guests, 5 messages inquiring about my project and already one donation. Over the past few months I have had 15 extremely generous donations. I know that isn’t many but I have a HUGE suitcase full of essentials and toys and 300$ worth of donations to buy things on site once I get to Guatemala. That is an AMAZING response to a simple request for donations of baby wipes. Not only that, but I have had so much support, even without a donation, someone asking about the orphanage, asking how the project is going – it means something to me and informing people is so important! No matter what you do around here it seems like someone has your back, somewhere. I know not everyone feels that way but I see it every single day.

I will miss home. I will miss so many things about it. I will be gone at least six months, maybe longer with no visits home and little contact with my family and friends. The thought of it can be overwhelming but the fact that I have so many amazing memories of my life here helps.

True happiness includes appreciating and loving the little things and that is what makes up my complete adoration for Grand Manan. So as I say goodbye (in only 4 short days!) I will keep in mind all the reasons why this place means something to me.

I will miss the smell of the ocean, the smell of spring, the smell of winter, even the smell of bait.
I will miss that first swim out to Millers pond with a drink in hand and the best of friends in tow.
I will miss my moms hugs and her smell and her pizza.
I will miss not being able to go anywhere without seeing someone I know.
I will miss being a 30 second drive from the most comfortable place besides my home – my Uncle and Aunts home.
I will miss penny candy trips to Castalia Convenience with my bestie.
I will miss stealing spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce from Debbies kitchen.
I will miss Rachel – the closest I have to a sister, my very first friend.
I will miss trips to the city for dancing all night with my best friends.
I will miss making a dance floor with Maddy wherever we are.
I will miss the comfort of Vernes.
I will miss the ocean so much.
I will miss family dinners at my Grandmothers house.
I will miss Saturday afternoon shifts with Bernie and Cassie.
I will miss Jersey Shore night at Sheri’s.
I will miss tea time once summer hits.
I will miss parties out to camp..or parties anywhere.
I will miss pre-drinks at Snibbys house.
I will miss not even being able to go for a walk without someone stopping and asking if you need a drive.
I will miss the comfort of my bed.
I will miss the sheer excitement with Court when "that's all" comes on at a party.
I will miss Canada Day celebrations.
I will miss “new person” fever.
I will miss cheeseburgers at Hannahs.
I will miss the sense of community.
And most of all.. I will miss not having to throw my toilet paper in the garbage can.
I Love you Grand Manan and I love all my friends and family so much! I will miss you all more than you could ever imagine. Thank you for being amazing to me and supportive of me through everything. I hope everyone has an amazing year and please continue to keep in touch with me. I will update this blog as much as possible and creep all your facebooks! Haha. My main rule is that if you get a boyfriend, a baby or a ring I want an email. :)

Big Love.

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