My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “July, 2016”

Art Assignment 49: Conjure a Studio


This Art Assignment reminded me of being a teenager, living in my parents’ house and feeling like I had the smallest bits of privacy. I used journals and sketchbooks as my studio. I decorated them with bright collages laminated with packing tape and they were where I wrote and sketched and drew. My parents always respected these journals and never looked at them unless I wanted to share something I had done. I was smart enough to keep them after high school and they live in a wooden chest in my bedroom. I dug out two of my favourite sketchbooks and decided to share their covers with you.

IMG_2640 IMG_2641 IMG_2644 IMG_2643

So these are my teenage studios and I still love them. Oh, you want to see what’s inside them?


Did you miss it? Did I flip through too fast? Sorry folks, I’m not quite ready to share my high school creations. #theartassignment


Art Assignment 48: Measuring Histories

For this assignment, I decided to trace all the places I’ve lived so far. I defined living somewhere as any place where I stayed for more than a month. I don’t consider myself terribly well-traveled at this point but I have lived in some neat places. All of the maps except one are within Canada. Being Canadian and living in Canada is a proud part of both my personal and cultural history.

None of these maps are to scale with each other and that is on purpose. Instead, I used how I felt about these places and how I imagine them mapped out in my mind to give them the scale I think they each require in relation to each other.

IMG_2634 IMG_2637 IMG_2639 IMG_2638 IMG_2636 IMG_2635 IMG_2633

This idea of tracing my history across maps reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband Nick when we first met. As we were getting to know each other, it became apparent that we had lived within a few blocks of each other for years and had never met. We went to the same grocery store and bank, we even had the same dentist. We even found out we’d both attended some of the same concerts and music festivals over the years. I lived in London for five and a half years before he and I ever met. I like these idea of us slowly circling each other around the city, pulling towards each other a bit at a time.

My favourite reasons to do yoga at home

The dress code: I can do yoga in my pajamas, or my underwear, or nothing at all, (TMI?) I don’t have to do my hair or worry about how I look. I can roll right out of bed and hit the mat.

The class schedule: Yoga on demand 24-7. I can practice when I want for as long as I want.

The pace: I can speed up, slow down or take a break any time I need.

The studio: My house, my rules. I can have any setup I like. I get to choose the lighting, the temperature, the music, and anything else I like to suit my mood that day. I always get the best spot in the room too 🙂

My classmates: Me, myself and I…and an occasional furry visitor.


The peace: Being by myself is a real meditation booster. The house is quiet and I can slow down and just be.

If that doesn’t inspire you to try yoga at home, I don’t think anything will! Namaste.


Having a good time with my brain


I’m in the middle of an online learning course to update my teaching certification. I won’t bore you with the details as it’s really only interesting to people in my field of study. However, I will say this: every day in my course I feel like I’m getting smarter. It’s like I can actually feel new connections being made and reinforced in my brain. This is a very condensed course, (only 20 days!) so I’m having to read, write, research, and think very quickly. The last time I really felt like this was during my Masters program, where I was hacking through courses with new concepts and ideas daily. It might be my imagination, but in these moments I think I can feel my brain changing for the better.

When was the last time you really enjoyed learning? When a book changed your mind on something? When you finished a major project? When you successful overcame an obstacle? It could be something as simple as when I helped my niece and nephew put together a perfect Lego tower.  It is important to notice these times when we are improving our brains. At North Americans, we are very focused on improving our physical health, (going to the gym, eating healthy, etc.) but we tend to neglect our mental development once we leave school. I’m going to try to keep doing things that are good for my brain. I hope you do too. Keep learning!

Let Us Pray to the Massage Gods

I don’t know who decided that therapeutic touch was good for humans, but that person deserves a noble peace prize…and a hug…and a cookie. While recovering from my recent bought of migraines, (yes plural and almost a week’s worth,) I also booked two massages. I go to a Registered Massage Therapist and because I got a doctor’s note for massage treatments for my migraines, my health insurance covers it. Hooray for free massages! The RMT treatments really helped reduce my pain and I slept better afterwards too. Now I am migraine free and starting to feel like a normal human again!


Don’t mind me…just scooping my brains out with a spoon

I’m on day four of a migraine. It’s not just my head that hurts; my jaw, neck, shoulders, and stomach all ache too. I will be crawling to the chiropractor and then to my RMT to try to fix this shortly. I’m taking a break writing so this is all you get today. Here is a picture of how my brain feels:


The really good belly laughs

When was the last time you had the really good belly laughs? I’m talking about the laughs that snowball, getting louder and wilder, the laughs that leave your abs and cheeks aching as you wipe tears from your eyes. It happened to me not long ago at a Leadership camp I attended with my students. We were at the final talent show on the last night of camp. Each act was funnier than the last, filled with jokes from our week together. Unfortunately, I can’t share the photos or videos due to student privacy concerns. However, I’m hoping I can offer you something else for a chuckle.

This video starts out pretty slow but keep watching until 1:27 in. That’s when the magic begins. Nick showed me this video and I could not stop laughing. To make matters worse, he kept bringing the video back to 1:27 and letting it play over and over until I was gasping for air. I just watched it again as I’m writing this and I’m still laughing. That is one of the best feelings in the world.

Trying the Stop, Breathe & Think App

So I’ve been using the Stop, Breathe & Think app for a couple of weeks now and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really simple app to use.

First I check in about how I feel mentally and physically. Then I can choose up to five emotions to add in. Based on that the app suggests a list of meditations that are suited to how I’m feeling. I do the meditation and then check in again to see if it changed my mood. Alternatively, I can just go to the full list of meditations and choose any track I like.

I like these meditations. They are straightforward and good for beginners as well as experienced folks. This app is really helping me make meditation a part of my weekly routine. It’s so easy to pop on my headphones and meditate for a few minutes. I especially like using this app when I’m trying to relax after a long day. My favourite meditation so far has to be “Falling Asleep”. It’s so calming and always helps me drift off. I really recommend this free app if you have any interest in learning how to meditate or in practicing meditation regularly.

Post Navigation