In Pursuit of Happiness, #7:  Hashtag Games, Collaborations, and Music (in a way)

I’m terribly late with this week’s instalment of “In Pursuit of Happiness,” but with a giant French exam (for my business bilingualism certification) this week and a new online literature course to contend with, in addition to stepping up to double-time at the gym (thanks, twelve-week transformation challenge and Spartan Race training), I’m going a little easier on myself about missing a self-imposed deadline. After all, this time it wasn’t laziness, forgetfulness, or a combination of the two that caused me to miss Monday’s post.

Seeing how this is late enough, I’ll leave my excuses/explanations there and just get down to the heart of the matter.

***   ***   ***

Hashtag Games: My re-introduction to the Twittersphere has put me in touch with some pretty awesome people so far, the latest being the hilarious and lovely Andi (@iheartwerebears). Because of this lady, I have been laughing my way through otherwise dull days. In addition to posting various Vines and “The Tatooine Diaries,” in which she plays an exchange student who spent a year on Tatooine, she spends much of her online time bringing out the übergeek in many other Tweeple by engaging us in hashtag games.  Right now we’re in the middle of #jurassicparklife but the first one (which I actually won, because apparently it was a contest) was #badstarwarsjobs.  (FYI I think I won on account of citing “Hutt Massage Therapist.”)

I might be a little too enthusiastic about proving that I know these movies well enough to make jokes about them in less than 140 characters, but that’s the beauty of hashtag games. They’re an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge of something other than what any given (per)mutation of the Kardashian clan is currently doing to supposedly rock the world, with the added bonus of making other nerds laugh. It’s great.

Fantastic geekiness aside, though, I actually genuinely like Andi and am really looking forward to connecting with her more and more over social media. I seriously don’t know how she has time to do all of this (because in addition to being highly active on Twitter and Vine, she’s also a mom of a couple of super cute toddlers as well as an author and crafter), but the fact that she does all this and still manages to connect with her followers makes me pretty happy.

Collaborations: Speaking of connecting with people, I have a unique privilege at Job2 of having very talented colleagues in all kinds of artistic and creative fields. From other writers to photographers to musicians to aspiring filmmakers to dancers and just about everything in between, I feel extremely blessed and humbled to be in contact with so many beautiful minds.

It’s about darn time I collaborated with some of these people, having worked with many of them for almost five years now, and I’m extremely excited to say that 2016 will be the year it finally happens. I won’t give away any details yet except to say that in one project, I’ll be combining my newfound love for calligraphy and typography with a friend’s photography skills and in another, I’ll finally be getting back into music again. So sit tight and watch this spot (or my Twitter or Instagram accounts) for what’s going on!

Music (in a way): If you were to create a Venn diagram of my closest social circle based on music I’m pretty sure I’d be in the middle of it all where everything overlaps. My Apple Music is a musically globetrotting eccentricity and that’s mainly due to the fact that in addition to having a diverse and steady diet of music when I was younger, my best friends are all, to different extents, judgey-ass nerds when it comes to what they listen to on a daily basis. I pick and choose what I like from their various recommendations, staunchly stand by the artists I love even if nobody else likes them, and generally enjoy all the discussions – even the heated ones – that arise from such artistic diversity.  Given that I recently got a 1-year subscription to Apple Music as a gift, you can probably imagine just how over the moon I am right now about having all this music available to me.

This week, though, what’s making me happy regarding this isn’t a new discovery or even a rediscovery of a band I haven’t listened to in a while, or even the subscription present (though I am totally grateful and appreciative of it for sure).  It’s not even a remotely stimulating or intelligent debate about music, though I’m sure there have been enough of those in my life to constitute a separate blog post on the subject.

It’s the fact that after exchanges like this, where I surreptitiously poke fun at his extremely underground preferences by making references to bands he shuns, the biggest and most judgmental music nerd in my life still tolerates my existence enough to still be one of my closest friends.

 

(FYI, he later admitted that off the top of his head he was 1-for-3 on the Bon Jovi  references I made.)

***   ***   ***

Don’t forget to take note of what’s making your life happier and brighter, and come back next Monday when I’ll be on time with three new things to share with all of you!

In Pursuit of Happiness, #5: FlipFolding, Besties, and Instagram

FlipFolding: Okay, so for those of you who watch The Big Bang Theory, you’ll probably vaguely recall a very early episode in which Sheldon Cooper is folding his T-shirts using a handy-dandy device. Known outside of TV-land as a FlipFold, its makers claim to have tested this domestic tool on toddlers and husbands to ensure that it can be easily used by anyone to turn an Everest-sized mountain of laundry into neat piles of folded garments in minutes.

I am not a fan of laundry at any stage of its life cycle that doesn’t involve me wearing it, so of course as soon as I saw that episode years ago I had to have one. And after an equal number of years hinting about wanting one and whining about its absence from my life my best friend finally delivered this Christmas by giving me my very own bright yellow FlipFold!

I have already gone crazy with this thing. Pretty much as soon as I took it out of its packaging, I was already going to town on the swirling vortex that used to be my T-shirt drawer. Before retiring for the night I spent about ten minutes folding all my old work T-shirts into neatly uniform (haha, get it? Uniform…*cough*) piles that can now be easily packed away into storage boxes to make room for more T-shirts to go crazy with on FlipFolding. 

This weekend has essentially been all about gleefully exclaiming that I am the proud owner of a FlipFold and I am definitely not done singing this thing’s praises.

***   ***   ***

Besties: Which brings me to the second thing that’s making me happy this week, which are my best friends. Of course, the one who gave me the FlipFold is totally winning this week (just kidding; I don’t keep score but if I did she’d definitely be leading the board right now!), but I’m very blessed and lucky to have a small handful of wonderful best friends as opposed to countless acquaintances.

From watching me flip out over a FlipFold to taking care of my fat cat over holidays to giving me lifts home after 10PM to being there when I’ve had a bad day and just need to vent, my best friends are true gems and I love them all dearly. They’re reasons that I get up in the morning and I treasure every moment of time I spend with them.

I’ve been fortunate to have enough time to go around each week for these wonderful people and I love that there’s always enough time to make significant, meaningful, and warm memories that I’ll cherish until we’re all old and grey. The mere fact that they all put up with my incessant request for “bestie selfies” already makes them significantly wonderful human beings.

***   ***   ***

Instagram: Speaking of selfies, my Instagram feed is notorious for having a “#pointless #selfie” every couple of days. Keeping in tandem with my efforts to turn Tweets into meaningful connections (hello there, @MrsFridayNext and @LolaBlakes!) I’m trying to use Instagram to build similar connections to people who post more than just pointless selfies all day long.

So, yes, I’m not one of the billions who follow any permutation of Kardashians or their accompanying baggages. I’d rather spend my scrolling time on people who make social media worthwhile.

Enter @naturalhealthmomma, who I encountered on Instagram when I first began my journey towards wellness and wholeness in my life through working out, eating clean, and loving the little moments.

Known off-screen as Sara, she’s a wife and mother whose story of motherhood, clean living, and faith somehow brought her into my Instagram feed. I’m not questioning what the universe wants me to get out of reaching out to Sara, because so far all it’s brought me is inspiration for cleaner and healthier living, faith in what seems to be impossible, and joy in being given the opportunity to glimpse the ups and downs of her journey.

What began as a diagnosis for PCOS, coming off synthetic hormonal control (aka The Pill), and a long haul of medical procedures resulted in twin boys, Rocco and Maximus – and they became her inspiration to venture further away from the chemically saturated world of the 21st century and into a cleaner, more natural, and homegrown lifestyle.

Sara’s blog over at www.lovelifenaturally.org is full of recipes and ideas to help you get started on your own journey into the world of clean living, and her Instagram account offers you an intimate glimpse into the way she’s chosen to implement these concepts in her family’s daily life.  While we’re all aware that social media and Internet portrayals of our lives are the “best face” we present to the world, I honestly feel that Sara’s web-based documentation and presentation of her life encapsulates the genuine goodness that “living and loving life naturally” can offer.

Go check out her stuff and, until next week, don’t forget to find little bits and pieces of happiness in your own lives!

In Pursuit of Happiness, #4: Calligraphy, Rants, and Tweets

Four weeks already?  Really?

Let’s get down to it, then!

***   ***   ***

Calligraphy:  Part of my Christmas loot this year was a stocking-stuffer of cold, hard cash (thank you, Favourite Second Sister), some of which went towards buying stationary, notebooks, and a fountain pen at Michael’s.

While stuck at YYZ on my way home during a ridiculously long layover, I pulled out one of those notebooks and the fountain pen to start a letter to a friend.  After a while, inspiration seized me and I started doing some calligraphy versions of a few of my favourite quotes.

However, there’s more about calligraphy that’s making me happy than my own minute contribution to the art form.  Thanks to Instagram, I discovered Austin Farley (@farlezbarkley) and his artwork, which according to him originated in an adolescent desire to improve his penmanship and was revived upon finding a graduation present from his best friend (his first fountain pen and nibs) after embarking on his career in the US Air Force.

The reason why stumbling upon Austin’s calligraphy is something that makes me happy is simple:  it reminded me of the old family tradition I grew up with of reading handwritten letters from friends and relatives, and then responding to them in kind.  It reminded me of my father teaching me how to write my name in ink, and of watching my father sign all matter of forms and books with his signature and the day’s date.

As Austin told me,

“…calligraphy is another form of human relations.  We used to be keen at it, even taught it to our younger generations.  Then we just…stopped.  I intend to…keep things personal.  Nothing is more personal than leaving a part of yourself on the page for another person to have.”

Damn straight — and that’s definitely a concept on writing that resonates in my own artistic writer’s heart.

Rants:  In the middle of all the FaceBook statuses hailing the arrival of snow (the city had a green Christmas and the snow came one day too late for the reindeer) and all of the corresponding Instagram photos showing the lovely side of winter in Montréal, one of my colleagues from Job2, Tom (@tom.talks.politix), has been using his social media to help us keep it real.

How?

By remind us that la saison de crissedecalicedetabarnak is known as such for a reason:  snow in the city really blows.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 21.21.10

Those of you who know me know that I love snowboarding, so maybe it’s surprising that I love the fact that somebody in this city openly curses the white stuff and its propensity to inconvenience the lives of people who live here.  Well, I guess I have to clarify that I like snow in the mountains and on the slopes where it freakin’ belongs so I can escape from the grunginess of urban life…and it makes me happy to know there are other people in this city who are on the same page.

Tweets:  I finally reactivated my Twitter account (*cough* @demipinte *cough*) due to the fangirl urge to stalk my favourite NPR podcast personalities.

I am totally on board with using social media as a way to connect with people I think are awesome over things I think are meaningful, and I’ve been trying to use my Twitter account towards that end.  Instead of just blurting out 140 characters’ worth of dishevelled id into the universe, I’m trying to actually have some small-but-meaningful conversations on Twitter with people I respect and admire.

Enter Margaret H. Willison (@MrsFridayNext) the kickass sassy librarian of Two Bossy Dames (@twobossydames)and NPR guest-host fame (in addition to Pop Culture Happy Hour, you can catch her on her own podcast, Appointment Television).  Out of the blue on New Year’s Eve, I asked her if she had any book recommendations from 2015 that should be top priority for 2016 reading lists.

She actually replied with a legit recommendation — which I will look for as soon as payday comes this week!  It’s called The Just City by Jo Walton, and apparently it should satisfy my craving for fiction “featuring a strong female lead.”  Thanks, Margaret!

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, you should definitely subscribe to the Two Bossy Dames newsletter.  Here, I’ll even make it super easy for you!

***   ***    ***

Have a happy week!