Looking for the Carp

Seize the carp! Or the day! Or the moment! Anything that will help make this life of yours richer, filled with love, and acceptance of yourself. This is my little journey to always be on the look out for that carp, grabbing it, and never letting go. This is the only life we have and it's too short for what ifs and maybe laters!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes- Time may Change me, but I can't trace Time.... More than a David Bowie Song

Yes, definitely more than a David Bowie song for sure.

Currently, life is going through a massive overhaul. It is with an extremely heavy heart that I will be finishing my time at my current school, Sir James Dunn Academy.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my school. I adore my colleagues and I have wonderful relationships with my students. Over the last 5 years I have been able to teach siblings, extended families,  and learn about all the incredibly things that make them unique individuals. So although this is a professional change, it's very personal as well. Like leaving a family.

Being transferred was always a possibility as one can never be too sure regarding the future. My husband and I are looking forward to the new challenges and integrating ourselves into the culture of our new schools. But along with professional changes, we are also selling our home to be closer to work. The home we will be leaving was our first home. The one that we purchased after getting married. The house we brought our children home to. The one where many wonderful memories and incredible amounts of learning took place. We renovated and truly put our blood, sweat and tears into it. So, it is difficult to have that chapter of our lives closing as well.

I know things will work out, as they always do. So, for now, it's just keeping positive and meeting all these changes with enthusiasm.

In terms of artwork, I have been diving into creating as much as I can in the midst of finals and year end. It is a source of great stress relief and clarity. To finish today's post, I will leave you with what I have been working on for the last few weeks.
This is a 15 minute painting. It was so freeing to just play without any real direction or motivation. 

My little stag. 

This was a intuitive painting process. Finding shapes in the playful markings. 

Above is a fun multimedia piece in which I included a photo of my mom. Underneath the door with the keys is a letter written to my childhood self. Along with a fun and vibrant portal into my own childhood. 

The focus of this painting is to concentrate on the light and the dark. In art, and in light, we need both to understand the other. I tried to keep this study simple with the content to really contrast the effects of white/ black.

My closing statement is just this: We can all choose how we approach changes, adversities and challenges. We can either be angry, frustrated, and put blame on the situation. On the other hand, we can be optimistic, hopeful, engaged, and open with the new possibilities.

I am choosing to be the latter.

What's your carp? 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Learning, Painting, Teaching, Mothering and Keeping the Balance

In the month of February, I took a bit of a hiatus on painting as I was finding it difficult to strike a balance between work responsibilities, home life, and having the time (and energy) to put paint to paper. Although art has been my outlet for awhile now, I was too exhausted at the end of the day and couldn't muster the energy to get lost in that world. Or, I knew that my time would be better spent planning, marking and creating lessons for the following day.

Happily, with daylight increasing every day and spring approaching, even if there is still over four feet of snow out there, my energy levels seemed to be increasing as well. I have been getting that buzz from wanting to make beautiful things and learn new techniques that I lost during that bleak winter month. So far, in March I have been able to catch up on past classes from my art course and complete the most recent week's assignments as well.

Here are the fruits of my labour in no particular order. Enjoy :)

PS- I am trying to participate in an art retreat which is going to take place this October in Paris. Since I have to take a week off without pay to be able to go, I will be selling prints and originals of these pieces and whatever else I create between now and then to help off set the loss of pay. Please check back often to keep up to date on my progress in my artistic journey and details to this one time only sale and auction. Thank you!

The Magic Beneath the Water lilies 

My jar of favourites 

The layers of my Heart 

My Art Guide and Protector 

Inner and Outer World 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

23rd Carp- LifeBook Month One

Hello Lovely Ladies and Gents,

Well this month is coming to a close. Lots of endings are happening right now. The end of my maternity leave and my return to work. The end of solo time with my little boy and the beginning of his journey learning about the world beyond 'ma ma'. Finally, the end of my very first month with Lifebook.

If you are new to the art world, artist Tamara Laporte has created a year long class called Life Book which brings you new challenges and inspiration every week from artists all over the world. Monday's are her post day and it makes the beginning of the week that much sweeter. I look forward to it with great anticipation as little parts of me are just waiting to be uncovered and displayed on a piece of ordinary 9x14 water colour paper.

In 4 short weeks I have learned so much in terms of technique, meditation, being guided through my own fears and accepting my accomplishments without my inner critic shouting that 'it's not good enough'. My art is good enough. The parts of me that I create for the world to see are beautiful. I am an artist because the need to create has tattooed itself onto my soul and is a part of my very being. Opening myself to the positive nature of creating, the positivity and support offered through the Life Book group on Facebook and carving time out of busy lives to cultivate this part of me has been incredible.

With that in mind, I want to share with you some of the finished lessons that I have made thus far on my Lifebook Journey.

Week 1- Beacon of Light. This whimsical lady is to light our path for the year and radiate positivity.

Week 1- Warm up and intentions for the year. 
Week 2- Jar of Awesome. A place to put wonderful things that I accomplish or that come my way throughout 2015. My blessings. 
Week 3- Letter Love. Creating our own font and loving our unique style of writing. 
Week 4- Courage Dear Heart - ballerina on a high wire 
Week 5- Dream Catcher with mantras/ affirmations on the feathers. 

Week 5- Feather with affirmations for the year. Added baubles/ symbols as guides for the year.

I hope that you are inspired to create yourself. If you need a little push, the Lifebook Class is under way but you can enrol at any time (up until September). All the class videos are downloadable and yours to keep forever. So if you miss a week, just download the class and do it whenever you want. Or just pick and choose the projects you want to do. I'm hoping to keep this momentum going as I start teaching again. Even if it means late nights painting in the dark. If it makes the soul happy, you just got to keep it up! 

What's your carp? 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review- Subsidy Shades

Hi all !

It's my pleasure today to share with you a review for Subsidy Shades. These are not your ordinary sun glasses, they are sun glasses with a heart. 

Owner and operator, Melissa with her husband Robert, decided to adopt their lovely little daughter Jacqueline in 2013 from birth. Having such a huge impact on their life, they decided to add to their family by going through the adoption process again in 2014. Unfortunately, if you aren't aware of the process required to adopt, it can take thousands of dollars and countless months - even years - before you are able to welcome your adopted son or daughter into your family. With this prospect in mind, Melissa decided to try and sell sun glasses to help offset the cost of adoption. 

And this is when the company Subsidy Shades was born. You can find them at www.subshades.com

With cute frames and sparkly specs, Subsidy Shades uses their proceeds to help families reach their adoption goals. When they called for bloggers to help test their products for review, I jumped at the chance. People helping people and I get to look stylish in the process? It really was a no brainer. 

The price point of these glasses ranges from $12-$24 which makes them comparable to drug store frames. They have numerous styles which come in both Children and Adult, which makes it easy to match kids to their parents for extra cute photo ops. I decided to try the Crystal Audrey frames because they are a style that I have always loved, but felt nervous to buy in case they didn't work with my face shape. However, to buy these I think that the price point is such a bonus because it allows you to play with styles without paying out hundreds of dollars. 

When they arrived, they also came with a cute protective pouch which I love. It helps protect the glasses when they are tossed around in my purse. They also came with an insert outlining their company and purpose which makes it great if you are giving them as a gift. Honestly, I teared up when I read the insert, it gave my heart all kinds of warm fuzzies. 

They are made of a lightweight plastic which is very comfortable to wear. They seem sturdy compared to other frames at the same price point. The edge between the dark black and white doesn't have any sort of bleeding which I find presents itself sometimes with inexpensive frames. They have a decent tint, which is great for sunrise and sunset - those pesky times of day when the sun is worst for driving. I find I use my sunglasses more in the winter than in the summer because the sun just seems so much harsher, especially while driving. These help soften the rays while on the road and aleviate eye strain. In short, I think the biggest thing to remember is that these glasses aren't going to feel like $400 glasses. They just aren't. But they are stylish, comfortable, and allow you to play with different looks.

Those are the details for the Subsidy Shades glasses, but the big question is how did they suit me? 
I absolutely loved how they complimented my face shape. I have gotten many comments from friends and even strangers on how much they like them. Then of course it gives me the opportunity to share this awesome brand. 

I would completely recommend this company and their products for anyone looking to try some new sun glasses or buy something fun for a loved one. It's a win win purchase in my eyes. And I always love supporting good karma causes. The next pair I want to try is their Harlow frames. Intrigued ? Check them out here-------> www.subshades.com 

Happy shopping ! 

PS- Subsidy Shades profiles the families they are helping on their instagram account. Check them out @subsidyshades and follow them for more information. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

22nd Carp- Queen of My Heart

This past weekend I was asked to participate in a one day workshop led by the extremely talented Jennifer Russell. This workshop was conducted as a part of her Colour of Women study which helps unlock hidden talent, desires and dreams for those participating.

Saturday, the focus our group of 4 was to tap into our inner "Queen of my Heart". The day started with a red thread ceremony. Chinese legend believes that all who were meant to meet are connected by a red thread. This thread might tangle and stretch but it never breaks. As we joined our own red thread, we were reminded that we can tug on this thread during times of trouble and there is someone else on the other side.

After our ceremony, we were led in a meditation to connect with the queen of our heart. The part inside of us that is our dreamer, our fighter, our inner diva... it is unique for every person. This session was to give us inspiration for our painting and we could use what we saw to put onto canvas. I won't take you through the entire mediation session, however I will say that I saw a stain glass door with the word "Light" written above it. Through the door was a sandy path lined with beach grass and a beautiful lady wearing a wrap around dress in the middle of a tree grove. We were to think of a goal that we wanted to obtain if money or time was no object. For me, that goal is to go to Australia on a one week art workshop with the famous artist, Jane Davenport. My queen gave me a book to help me on this journey. Now that I am looking back, it probably is my sketch book. Practice, learning, and keeping my creative juices alive are definitely going to be vital to achieving my goal.

The first step to our painting was writing a message to my Queen. Here is mine:
Dear Queenie of hearts, 
Help me to enjoy the creative process as a burning flame of passion and not 
another to do list. Inspire, lead, guide and transform me. <3 Always, Michelle 

With the Christmas season approaching, I have been working so hard on all of my DIY Christmas projects that I have no passion for art right now. I write it in my life planner to do, and by the time I have a moment, there is no desire to paint, draw or play. I want to rectify this so it was the focus of my message. 

After a few more steps, we started blocking out our queen. Two colours only with shading. 

Now adding lights and darks. Also some details in her hair. 

Finally skin tones. (first layer) Adding some fun in the background. 

Second layer of skin tones, glitter, gold, and details. 

Finally, the Queen of My heart is lovingly hung with another piece of my art. She is right above where I sit in the living room, watching out for me and giving me that constant reminder or love, support and inspiration. 

Besides what I learned through the mediation. I was able to use many techniques and new supplies to achieve this beautiful piece. (Now I have a new list of wants for a Michael's visit!) As a result, I am so much MORE appreciative of Jennifer's art process as I was able to see first hand how much work goes into ever piece of artwork. There are so many layers that I would never have known about to achieve the dynamic finish products she creates. You can check out these soulful women she paints, here.  

The only thing I would change about the day would be the timeline. If life schedules of all 5 women permitted, it would have been great to do this over two days to really give details the energy they deserved. Also, I would have loved to have a supplies list or step by step handout after the workshop was over. The painting was such a blur that now I don't really remember the order of the in between steps or some of the colours that I used. Finally, I would love to have some spring board ideas of women to paint next. What does my inner muse look like, or my inner goddess, or other women I have yet to meet? These would be wonderful to investigate, paint and meet on my creative journey. Maybe it's time for me to take the Colour of Women course? Hmmmmm..... 

If you feel inspired, I highly suggest you take an art class to help open up to creativity. If you are stuck on choosing one, try In Tune with the Moon hosted by Jennifer Russell. Two new art prompts, videos and projects each month for an entire year. Sounds like a fun time, right ? 

I absolutely loved my art day. I learned so much and it was great to be surrounded by lots of women I admire. I was juicing on our combined energy and was blessed to see the stories that each one of us created. We were challenged to take the first step in achieving our unobtainable goal. I have e-mailed about my week long art course, and have started to price flights. It is too expensive this year, but I have a game plan which includes some on the side businesses to give me some money to save for next year. I will get myself to Australia. I owe it to my Queen. :) 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

21st Carp- Whole 30 to 30th and kicking my Food Addiction

Today I want to take a minute and share with you my Whole 30 to 30th journey as it has completely rocked my body, mind and soul regarding my relationship with food and eating. But to do that, you need to know where I was starting from and how I hit "rock bottom" in terms of unhealthy eating. 

I believe that genetics has a lot to play with addictions. I think that some families have genes that make them more susceptible to problems with drugs and alcohol. My family, on both parental sides, has issues with addictions so I always was very prudent when dealing with cigarettes, alcohol etc. But I never thought that food had the possibility of becoming my drug of choice. While home, I found myself going to the corner store for *fixes* every day. EVERY DAY! I realized that if my trips were to the liquor store and not the Irving, that people would take notice and have some sort of intervention. When I stood on the scale and was quickly approaching a number I had during my 9th month of pregnancy, I gave myself an intervention. I did not want to look or feel this way leading into my 30th birthday. I wanted to look back at turning 30 with happiness that I felt great and was comfortable in my own skin. 

The beginning of October I started eating better. I started researching lifestyle changes and what would be best for my body. I didn't want a diet, I didn't want to count calories or points, I wanted something that was designed to make my body work better, rebuild and give it the fuel it needed to work its best. 

Through my research and talking to friends that have learned the benefits of clean eating (thank you Ilana and Chris!) I decided to take on the Whole 30 challenge! Best decision ever. It means no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, no legumes or alcohol for 30 days. Hard, yes. Manageable- VERY! But the book "It starts with Food" went through the science of these 'no-no' foods and confirmed how they were actually altering my brain chemistry like a drug would. "That's it", I thought, "I have spent my whole life making sure nothing was in control of me but me, I am not allowing myself to be run by my food addiction". 

To psych myself up for it, I made a flip chart of motivational sayings to start each day in the right mindset. Some of my favourites were: 

Rome wasn't built in a day, but they worked on it every single day. 
This month is going to be awesome! -LilBub 
I just want to feel awesome, know I am healthy and rock any outfit I choose. 
It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change! 

To see the whole album, you can find it under Instagram with the hashtag #whole30to30th. 
My direct Instagram account HERE  

I highly suggest that if anyone is feeling like I felt, to try whole 30. It is hard, but simple in it's execution. I could eat anything I wanted that didn't include the above mentioned foods, in any real quantity as long as I was eating to fullness, mindful of portions, and not have to worry about tracking. I just ate. And I ate real, honest to goodness, good food. 

During the challenge, I had my bad days. It seemed like everyone and their dog was having a birthday, and there was always cake around. I had bad nights with the baby that made me want the instant energy gratification that sugar gives.I had nights out at restaurants. My son went into surgery and I desperately wanted the soft, creamy comfort of milk chocolate. Basically, I lived my life but was still able to stick to plan. If you are in the right state of mind that failure isn't an option, this really is easy and YUMMY. 

Alright, you're thinking... this is all well and good but let's see results lady! Well, here they are: 

I lost 11.8 lbs on the program and 17.8 pounds since the beginning of October. 

I lost 11 inches over all. 

And this is me now! Wearing a top I wore to my engagement photos taken over 6 years and 2 kids ago! 

But more than the results on the scale and the tape measure, I actually feel awesome. I have so much more energy, I'm not as sluggish or irritable as I was, I'm not snacking because I am just not hungry in between meals, and I feel much more in control of my eating habits. 

I won't go back to how I was eating before. For now, I will allow myself to eat the OCCASIONAL piece of cake or sweet for a special occasion unless I find that it is opening a door to worse eating habits. Also, I have switched to eating a more Paleo diet which incorporates natural sugars like maple syrup and honey in moderation. I am finding recipes to make food that I thought I would have to give up forever, like pancakes, and making them fit my plan, like COCONUT PANCAKES. Hello ! I am feeling great and I hope, if you are ready, to feel great with me too. Give yourself 30 days, you'll be amazed. 

What's your carp? 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Review- Erin Condren Life Planner and GIVEAWAY

Hello All,

The last product I reviewed didn't really get my 5 star seal of approval. Well, move on over and watch out because my Erin Condren Life Planner is covered with my stamps, seals, and gold stars of approval. It's a game changer for anyone who likes to keep organized with a paper and pencil calendar.

At first, I must admit, I was a little put off by the price tag. I mean, it's an agenda... how could I spend so much on an AGENDA. But then the little voice inside me said, "You are talking to the person who would drive all around the city and go to different office supply stores to find the perfect organizational tool." When I worked at Chapters Indigo I became the Agenda Guru and could point out flaws, good points and great additions with any of our styles. So I thought, maybe, just maybe this would be the holy grail of life planners that I have been searching for all my life.

Well kids, just like Indiana Jones, I FOUND MY HOLY GRAIL!

I will go through the whole life planner, but if you would like to skip ahead and look at them yourself then here is the link to her website. www.erincondren.com

BUT use this link to make your customer account so you can get $10 your first purchase.

AND come back with your invoice number for a chance to win a bonus $10 from Erin Condren.

Now ladies and gents- here is how I use my Life Planer and why I think it is awesome.
First look at how cute it is packaged. There are lots of freebies included in your orders like extra stickers, gift bag tags, coupons for future purchase etc. etc. There is no detail overlooked to make you feel like this is one of the best purchases you have ever made.
Under the bubble wrap you can see the planner I chose plus some add-ons. I wanted the pen holder so I wasn't constantly scrambling for something to write with, and the elastic bands to keep everything together. Bonus, those elastic bands are also really awesome for a quick hair band if you're needing one.

Above is how I initially put together my life planner. The small book on top DID NOT come with my Erin Condren order but was something I was using initially to keep organized. I thought I would use them both in my day to day life, but I really didn't have a need to after moving into my workhorse of an agenda. You can also see from the side the easy to find tabs indicating the different months and how my pen snuggly fits against the back cover. All seamless. 

 Another bonus I really like is the perpetual calendar they add to their life planners. I have put all important dates in this guy and I can now keep it each year to remember birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates that might slip my mind. Love it. 
After the dual flap page, there is this sealed plastic pouch that you can keep odds and ends in. Right now I have all the stickers and gift tags from my shipment, but I would put business cards, reminder cards, receipts or anything else that I didn't want to lose in here. Very handy. 
 OK- Here is the nitty gritty of it. This is a monthly spread from October. The first full month I had the life planner. You can see it is very full. I am using it to organize paintings I am doing for others, Christmas DIY projects, every day life and so on. What I love love love about these planners is the movable stickers. That's right, I said movable, replaceable stickers. See the two up at the top that say massage? Well I had to cancel that massage but just moved the stickers off my calendar and perhaps I can reuse them again later. All of the stickers that come in the back of your planner are replaceable. So if an appointment changes you don't have to worry about crossing out and re-writing which eventually makes everything look messy. Instead, just move the sticker to the new date. Voila! 
Now here is an example of how I use the weekly spread. The three categories are morning, noon, night. Which might be great for some but right now I am re-titling them Chores, Body, and Soul. Being on maternity leave, I have to remember that there is more to me than mom, maid, chef, nanny etc. So I try to only do 3-4 chores a day which means that I still have time (and energy) to work on my body and my soul (which usually includes art). It has helped me feel accomplished in my every day tasks without sacrificing my feeling of self and identity. Also, I have been using this to keep on track with my Whole 30 journey (blog will be up once completed) so you can see I have also been using the bottom to meal plan. A great tool! 

So I think that's it. Again, I love my life planner. Every week looks full like that so I can totally justify the price tag of the product. It has made me much more organized and less frazzled about everything that needs to be accomplished before Christmas. I really will never go back to another type of agenda again because this is laid out so beautifully and lends itself to ease of use. 

If you would like to get yours, remember to use this link while setting up your customer profile.
You will get a coupon code for $10 your first purchase once it has been set up! If you make a purchase, come back and put in your order number so I can verify that entry in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win an additional $10 off. :) 

I can see this tool, and their TEACHER PLANNERS= HELLO AMAZING being great Christmas gifts for yourself or that special someone. 


***Canadians- the shipping to Canada is rather high so if you have an American buddy or US address you can use, I suggest doing that to save you some cash.This is the only downside I have seen to ordering from her. But after having the product, one that wouldn't hinder me from purchasing.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway