Friends, this is what happens when you take a bunch of photos with slide film, accidentally set your camera to the wrong ISO setting for the entire roll (luckily it wasn’t too far off), leave the completed roll of film on your desk for over a year and forget about its existence, and then (finally) stop neglecting it and get it cross-processed. I did absolutely no editing on these photos — this is how they came back from the lab.
In some religions (e.g. Judaism and several forms of Paganism), the start of the year happens in the fall. The school year also starts in September, which always fills me with a sense of renewal and possibility despite not being a student anymore. Fall is definitely a time of new beginnings. At the same time, the calendar year is wrapping up and the trees are losing their leaves, signifying an ending of sorts. Fall constantly reminds us of the cyclical nature of life, whether we see it as a beginning, an ending, or both simultaneously.
Even though we should all be practising gratitude on a daily basis, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of life and become bogged down in the tedium of day to day activities. Because Thanksgiving is a popular, secular holiday, we have gratitude baked into our culture around this time of year. We’re reminded that we have a lot to be thankful for, regardless of our situation in life.
Time for reflection & self-care
With the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter, most of us find ourselves staying inside more and making fewer active plans. This can feel like a bit sad on the one hand, but on the other, this season (and the winter that follows) gives us a great chance to slow down, be still, and think. More quiet time inside also means more opportunities to cook good food, hang out with excellent people, make exciting plans for the new year, and really commit time to taking care of ourselves. I believe that this quieter period gets us into tip top shape for the warmer, more action-driven months.
On the last day of my trip to New York, I decided to visit Brooklyn, since I’d never been before and I’d heard that it’s really different than Manhattan and was worth checking out. I ended up mostly walking around Williamsburg — I know that this invites a knee-jerk “lol hipsters” reaction, but I really found it quite delightful. Does that make me a hipster? Do I care?
For quieter people like myself, being in Manhattan is amazing and exciting, but a bit of a sensory overload. When I got off the subway in Brooklyn, I felt a bit more sane again. In a way, it felt more like Toronto to me — still definitely city-like, but more spread out and laid back. I definitely want to check out more of Brooklyn to see what it’s like beyond the super trendy and hipstery part. You know, for science.
Turns out this is a paraphase of a Baha’i quote. Thanks, Google!
As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane on the way back to Toronto (though this is actually getting published a few days later), after having spent four action-packed days in New York City. This was my second time ever in New York, and I’m happy to say that not only did I enjoy my time immensely, but I might even be starting to figure out the ridiculously complicated subway system. Trust me, this feels like a huge accomplishment since it’s actually insane.
A desire for a small adventure brought me to New York, as well as a blogging workshop that was being held this weekend. Now, it might seem a little strange that I attended a workshop about blogging with my own blog being so new and really just a hobby, but sometimes in life, it’s nice to say “what the hell, why not?” and just do something impulsive and a little random.
On Solo Travel
This trip was the first one that I really took entirely by myself, and now that it’s over, I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. Travelling alone probably isn’t suited to everyone, but to a semi-introvert like myself, it was really refreshing to be able to do whatever I wanted to do without having to make conversation (unless I wanted to talk to strangers, which I did sometimes!) or worry about pleasing anyone else. I was able to take as much time as I wanted at the Guggenheim, and I could leisurely browse as many clothes/jewellery/record shops as I wanted in Brooklyn. No one was around to judge the amount of sugar I consumed at Tu-Lu’s Bakery (aka the best gluten free bakery ever – we really need one here).
Nope, I’m not telling you how many of these I ate.
On the other hand, it was a little scary. No one else was there to make sure I knew how to get from place to place, and no one was there to make sure I made my flight on time. But you know what? It was kind of awesome. There’s no way to learn self-sufficiency like being forced into it, and it’s really empowering to have made it through on my own. And okay, I know that a long weekend in New York isn’t exactly roughing it in the wild, but hey, isn’t it nice to celebrate the little things?
On the Blogcademy
The workshop I attended was a lot of fun. Led by three super successful, interesting, and really fun bloggers (Gala Darling of galadarling.com, Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride, and Shauna Haider of Nubby Twiglet), we were taught all sorts of things from being your own spokesperson, to brainstorming potential sources of income, to deciding what to write about, to developing a brand. Oh, plus a bunch of photography tips by Lisa Devlin (who also uses Aperture, like I do. Aperture ftw!) A lot information was packed into two days, but it wasn’t too overwhelming or difficult to absorb.
So, as someone with a personal blog with no immediate (or, let’s be honest, any) intention of commercializing it, was all of this information valuable to me? Yep, I’d say that it was! Because I also run a business, I can actually apply a lot of the advice to that instead where it doesn’t perfectly apply to my blog. Also, not all of the material was directed at blogs with commercial interests. The core takeaway messages like being yourself, being consistent, being patient (no one became InternetFamous™ overnight, after all!) and working hard are good advice for anyone.
And I have to mention, as a designer, this was one of the best branded events I have been to. I tip my hat to Shauna, who pulled that part of the workshop together. I know I just wrote a post where I said that sometimes a product can succeed in spite of shitty branding, but now I’m going to go in the opposite direction and say that a well-executed visual identity is truly a beautiful thing.
Even the balloons were totes on brand.
On making new friends
I’m a very firm believer in the idea that good people can make or break any experience, and that new connections with people are the best souvenir that you can take back from any trip. With that in mind, I’m so happy that I met so many lovely, smart and charming ladies over the four days I was away. (Sadly, I didn’t run into the lovely, smart or charming gents of NYC on this trip — maybe next time?) I hope we’ll be in touch for a long time to come! ♥