📷 Visual Stories: February 2016

Hello! I’ve decided to start a new series in which I’ll be showcasing my favourite moments of the month through photographs I’ve taken. Hope you enjoy February’s installment!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ✨

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One of the highlights of last month was Reading Week! Shopping in downtown Toronto was the highlight of my break.
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Some of the goodies I got from that trip! Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Saje’s Peppermint Halo (great essential oil for headaches!) and of course, Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
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Now, don’t hate me but… I’ve never been much of a Starbucks person! So many choices, so little time. I recently tried “The Nutella”, and have definitely found my new go-to study drink!

 

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Rethinking Romance

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A pictorial sarape snapped from the ROM’s ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture exhibit.

When I was in elementary school, Valentine’s Day meant two things: homemade cupcakes and handing out cards. My teacher would photocopy the attendance sheet and give it to each student in my class. I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, writing out To: Ryan, From: Rebecca. To: Sarah, From: Rebecca. And the list went on and on. It didn’t matter if you were weird, a loner, or my best friend; you got a card with a cartoon bear hugging a heart. It was the social protocol amongst eight-year olds at the time.

As I grew older, I realized Valentine’s Day was not about cartoon bears or handwritten notes. It was about sex, lust, and relationships. If I wasn’t romantically linked with another person, I was supposed to hate February 14 and sulk in loneliness.

At the brink of entering my twenties, I now see Valentine’s Day for all that it truly is: a social construct. Once again, we are a pawn in the corporate hand, spending tons of money on flowers and chocolates to give to our significant others because societal norms dictate that we are not good human beings if we don’t. By not being in a relationship of some sort, we are losing out on a huge rite of passage.

Today, I can honestly say that I am working my way back to my younger self’s casual love affair with Valentine’s Day. I’m handing out cute cards to my parents and sending Neruda poems to my friends. I think today is valuable because it reminds us that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but we need to work harder to emphasize that romantic love is not the only valuable form of love out there.

Don’t buy in to the media’s idea of romance. Send flowers to your girlfriend because you want to, not because you have to. Tell your friends you appreciate them because you genuinely do, not because today is the “appropriate” day to make a show of it. Furthermore, let’s make it cool to be able to express unconditional love more often. Don’t wait for a commercial to remind you to express your admiration for those around you.

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An excerpt from Neruda’s “Epitalamio” 😍

 

Daily Dose Monday (4)

Daily Dose Monday is a weekly meme inspired by Michelle’s Bookshelf where I hand-pick pictures and quotes that will help Mondays feel a little less blah, and a lot more inspired.

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 has amazing things in store for you. As for me, I did not make any concrete resolutions. It’s not that I don’t have anything to improve on, but more because when I previously made large, dashing goals for the new year, I was left exhausted and ultimately unfulfilled. We have a certain amount of control over how our lives go, but sometimes the waves simply do not sway in our favour. I did manage to narrow my focus to a couple of things in today’s post!

“I create entire romances in my dreams.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

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My main focus this year is working on my degree. It’s the one constant in my life that always serves to make me better – mentally and emotionally. Image Source
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I spent so much of the past orchestrating the way my life needed to go and it got me nowhere. It’s time to stop the plotting and start living in whatever life is presenting. Image Source

A Letter to the Past 💌

 

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Dear 2015,

What can I say about you? You will be missed but not forgotten.

When you began, I started out on a positive and determined note. I still have the notebook I used to write down all of my goals to achieve and mantras to follow.

Looking at those pages now, it is bittersweet. The issue is not that I didn’t accomplish my goals; quite the contrary. I got my first job writing for a blog, became the editor of a local newspaper on campus, became a blogger for College Fashion, volunteered as an Orientation Leader at Frosh Week (which was super scary at first but I ended up having a lot of fun) and started writing creatively again after a long writer’s block. Resume-wise, my life could not have appeared any better.

All of those experiences had their ups but the downs are obviously what crushed me the most. While some of them naturally did not suit me, I realized that I also turned them sour when I envisioned a specific way they should turn out. When things didn’t go the way I wanted them to, I shut down. I was left feeling lost and rejected.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to separate myself from school and take a deep look at my life. What I’ve learned is that you can’t force things to happen a certain way. Even if it feels like your heart is breaking into a million pieces, you have to trust that you’ll be at peace soon, and it will come to you. I’m tired of reaching out to people who won’t reach for me and investing in projects that won’t invest in me back. I have so much love and support to offer that I refuse to waste my time with people and entities that do not see that.

I want to simply ride the waves next year, and embrace what is happening (or not happening) in my life. I know I’m meant for something more. For 2016, I plan to soak up as much as I can, regardless of the circumstances. I know that the time will come when I’ll be able to get to a place of complete tranquility and harmony. 💕

Sincerely ya girl,

Rebecca

What did 2015 teach you?

Daily Dose Monday (3)

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Toronto Christmas Market

Daily Dose Monday is a weekly meme inspired by Michelle’s Bookshelf where I hand-pick inspiring, cute, and cool pictures and quotes that will help Mondays feel a little less blah, and a lot more inspired.

Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow – whether there is a market for it or not! The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.” – Kurt Vonnegut

This week, I decided to share some pictures from my adventures these past few days. I recently visited the Toronto Christmas Market for the first time and loved it! I realize that I’m finding comfort in the little things this holiday season, versus the big get-togethers and such. Any holiday traditions you’re looking forward to this year? Let me know!

 

My Favourite Books of the Year

I believe that well-written books are one of the true forms of magic we will ever encounter. Through expertly crafted words and characters, we not only see ourselves, but how much more we can be.

I’m making a move into reading more non-fiction but I’m looking to get back into novels. Below, I highlight the books I read this year that left the greatest impact on me.

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              Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic was one of the most anticipated books of the year and for good reason. Gilbert penned the infamous Eat, Pray, Love that had people searching for their true purpose. I admit I haven’t read EPL, but I picked up Gilbert’s newest release because as a writer myself, I find the art of creativity fascinating. Her spiritual approach to writing and art is truly inspiring, for artists and non-artists alike. You can check out my in-depth review here!

“In the end, it’s all just violets trying to come to light.” – Elizabeth Gilbert on inspiration

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                                                 Ravensong by Lee Maracle

Maracle’s novel isn’t exactly new, as it was originally published in 1993. The narrative is set in 1954, and follows a young Indigenous girl named Stacey who is dealing with not only the nuances of growing up but the struggle of dealing with the effects of settler colonialism such as an epidemic. The way Maracle writes is very distinct but also beautiful. The novel oozes with stark realizations and beautiful depictions of nature that I found blunt and unique. At a time when the Liberal government is seeking to make important repairs to its relationship with the Aboriginal community in Canada, Ravensong is even more important than usual.

“‘Only the true kind can ever be free,’ she breathed quietly.” – Lee Maracle

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The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Cameron is the author of multiple books on art and writing, with experience as a screenwriter, playwright and much more. My manager recommended this to me and I’m so glad she did. The Artist’s Way is a workbook where every week, there are new activities to do and passages to read to help unleash your inner creator. I admit I followed it for most of the summer and did not get a chance to finish the whole course but it did not matter. The early portions of the book resonated with me the most, helping me to realize that your first try will never be gold, so it’s important to simply try. I’m happy to announce that I’ve started writing again after a long period of writer’s block. I recommend this to anyone needing to rekindle their creative fire!

“Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.” – Julia Cameron

There you have it! I hope to make time to read more in the new year. I’m currently reading Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write and looking to read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. What were your favourite books of the year? Which ones are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Daily Dose Monday (2)

Daily Dose Monday is a weekly meme inspired by Michelle’s Bookshelf where I hand-pick inspiring, cute, and cool pictures and quotes that will help Mondays feel a little less blah, and a lot more inspired.

Enjoy!

“Embrace the season of your life.” – Gabrielle Muir
(if it’s exam season, I BELIEVE IN YOU!)

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Rainbow tacos! Can’t wait to try this recipe.
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Banff, Alberta – courtesy of Andrew Hector! Isn’t this just the dreamiest?