📷 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!

 

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” 😍

 

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?

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!

A New Beginning

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time since my last post (7 months ago to be exact . . . 🙈).

I’m returning to blogging because I’m creating a positive outlet that I haven’t been able to find in a long time. I originally started this blog with naive hopes of eventually posing on sidewalks in expensive dresses for tons of followers, eager to hear news of my extravagant life. A girl can dream!

But most importantly, I started Fiction and Fabrics to bridge my love of novels, inspiration and fashion altogether. In my early blogging years, it felt like work to write posts all the time, and I eventually left F&F to pursue other adventures.

Since my last post, I’ve begun a new job blogging for my university and started editing a local newspaper there as well. I also became a blogger for College Fashion! They have all been never-ending learning experiences. However, there are a lot of unpleasant, disappointing things that come along with university that have left me feeling quite cold.

I’m redesigning F&F and using it to blog everyday pleasures. After two years of trying to force my life to follow a specific narrative and being rejected/let down, I’ve decided that I’m going to use my time healing myself and finding my voice. Hopefully my insights will help heal you too.

First change: more original pictures! To start off, I captured a few moments of my birthday last week, spent with my family. I blogged more about it here! Thank you so much for reading, see you soon! 💞

☀ Summer Reading List ☀

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After months of essays, reading and uncertainty, I can finally smell the roses of summer. From bare legs to flowy maxi skirts, I am more than ready to embrace spring. I am also ready to give my brain a break, but also a treat at the same time. After constantly being quizzed and tested on the books I’ve read, I’m excited to resume reading books simply for the pleasure of it. Here are my picks for the summer!

1) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Currently Reading)

2) Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes (Book Review to Come)

3) An Introduction To Greek Mythology by David Bellingham

4) To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) Lair of Dreams: A Diviners Novel by Libba Bray

7) Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

8) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

What’s on your summer reading list?

How to Get Through Finals

Courtesy of Pinterest, via seventeen.com
Courtesy of Pinterest, via seventeen.com

While there is hot chocolate to be sipped and cookies to be baked, most university students right now are studying for finals. It can be a stressful time, full of anxiety and worry, especially for a first year like me. But after my first week of studying, I have locked down on a few helpful tips that have helped me, and ones that I’m sure will help you too.

1. Schedule

Scheduling study times is essential. Lay out in an agenda or piece of paper of when your exams are and how you will spend your days in-between. Essentially, it is not about cramming a bunch of stuff into one night, but absorbing chunks of material over a long period. It is also important to schedule free time. Make sure to include breaks! Sometimes I will take an hour off, or even practice the 50/10 method: Study for 50 minutes, and for the next 10, take a break but a kind of break that engages your mind. It can be anything from yoga, reading an excerpt from a book, taking a walk or dancing around your room. This helps because you’re still engaging your mind and senses while still taking a break, opposed to simply watching TV or going on the computer which will tempt you more to slack off.

2. Affirmations

This might not help everyone, but I think it is worth the try. Normally, it is recommended that we use positive affirmations every morning such as “You can do this!” to help you get in the right state of mind for the day, but I like to use it for stressful times as well. You can put positive quotes on sticky notes around your house, or just make a list of your most motivating lines and reiterate them before studying. Use bright markers to make it the process more fun and your notes more enticing. To jumpstart your writing, Seventeen has round up some of their favourite quotes here!

3. Treat YOself

Throughout the exam period, definitely indulge yourself in all of the holidays’ goodness. Specifically, also decide to treat yourself with one specific item, whether it is a new phone or a new lip gloss, after exams. For example, I treated myself to a new book, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and it has helped me put in perspective that it’s just a few exams and that after it’s over, I can get back to my usual self and enjoy the things I love. Super excited to read it after I’m finished with finals, and post a review up on the blog!

Feel free to comment or tweet at me (@_thewritegirl) about your favourite study tips, and good luck studying!