Read It: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

September 29, 2014
I know that I am a bit late to the party when it comes to talking about Chris Hadfield's book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, but I just finished it and enjoyed it so much that I really wanted to share a few of my favourite parts and themes of the book with you. I was fascinated by the fact that he wanted to be an astronaut even when Canada did not have a space program and there was never going to be an opportunity for him to go to space. I also loved reading about his experiences in space, and had no idea that the astronauts on the International Space Station are essentially lab rats. But  there were three major themes and stories that really captured my attention in this book:

1. Hadfield had the desire to become an astronaut when there wasn't even a possibility for him to become one. Canada did not have a space program until many years after he had began the work involved to become an astronaut, but he decided that it was his dream and, as impossible as it was, he knew that there may be a chance some day and he had to do all of the preparation involved for him to even be considered. This is a theme that pops up many times in his book, and one that I never thought about before, it is preparing yourself for any situation that may come your way regardless of if it happens or not. This is the life of an astronaut. They have to consider all of the possibilities and situations that may occur while they are up in space, and even here on Earth, and be prepared for anything. But this kind of training can be applied to anyone. It is vital in life to have some sort of plan in place and to be thinking ahead at all times. You might not necessarily know how the situation may end up, or have it incredibly strategically planned like an astronaut, but at least you know which direction you are headed and have some idea of how to keep yourself on course.

2. At NASA everything is scrutinised down to the last detail and evaluated and talked about over and over because if it isn't then someone could get hurt or die. There was a situation that Hadfield was in where an instructor warned the more inexperienced people training to take what the more senior people training have said with a grain of salt, because even though people like Hadfield sound like they know what they're doing sometimes policies and expectations have changed. At first he felt insulted by the situation, but then he stopped to question why the instructor would say that, and decided to learn from the situation instead. This is a lesson that I have learned recently, and it's a difficult one to grasp. It means that you have to put your pride out of the way and know that the person that is evaluating you is not judging you or trying to make you feel bad about yourself, they are trying to help you and make you better at your job or whatever it is that you are doing.

3. The most important theme from Chris Hadfield's book that really got to me is something that he describes as aiming to be a zero. He states that "over the will most certainly be viewed in one of three ways. As a minus one: actively harmful, someone who created problems. Or as a zero: your impact is neutral and doesn't tip the balance one way or the other. Or you'll be seen as a plus one: someone who actively adds value. Everyone wants to be a plus one, of course, But proclaiming your plus-oneness at the outset almost guarantees you'll be perceived as a minus one, regardless of the skills you bring to the table or how you actually perform. This might seem self-evident, but it can't be, because so many people do it." (p. 181-82).

I had never thought of personalities and our contribution to the human race in this way before, but it is so true. We can all think of someone that we have known, or know of, that have been in the plus one and minus one categories. A lot of them are people that we admire and aspire to be, or people that we avoid because we can't handle their minus-oneness. This is one of life's hardest lessons to learn: how to be humble, and it is one of the most important lessons that is weaved throughout the book, popping up again and again.


Listen, Look, Love: September

September 26, 2014

I stumbled upon Milky Chance when looking through music with my son and trying to find songs that were appropriate for his ears -- besides Frozen and The Chipmunks. I clicked upon Milky Chance's album Sadnecessary and discovered Stolen Dance, and I've been hooked ever since. I can't get over the beat.


She is pure beauty.


I love the look of this room. It's a beautiful colour with amazing finds hanging from the wall, and I love that little desk. Such inspiration!

I could not find the source. If you know it, please share.


My New Skincare Routine: Pangea Organics

September 22, 2014
About a year ago, I decided to change up my skincare routine. I thought that the products I was using on my skin were better than they actually ended up being, and, while my skin was not in a horrible state while using these products, I knew that I could do a lot more to take care of it.

I learned about Pangea Organics from a woman that I admire that sells and uses the products. I liked that they are produced in The United States, and a lot of the ingredients are fair trade and organic. I also like that the cream I use repairs sun damage, and the toner I use awakens my senses for the day. But the philosophy behind the company is what really drew me in, and, to be honest, the skin on my face has never been this wonderful after using a product for so long.

*This is not a sponsored post, just a glowing -- like the skin on my face -- review.


Autumn: The Corn Maze

September 15, 2014
This month I wanted to plan a fun activity for our family that we had never done before, so I did a bit of research and found a corn maze nearby that had a petting zoo -- which was basically farm animals that wandered around the property -- and other little attractions like a bouncy castle. 

There were two mazes to choose from -- one that was six-acres and the other that was two-acres -- and we decided to go with the smaller one. It was fun trying to answer the true and false questions that would point us in the right -- or wrong -- direction. We ended up making a few big circles around before finding our way, but we were pretty glad that we got lost in the smaller of the two mazes.

As soon as I saw people entering the maze it reminded me of Field of Dreams and I whispered "If you build it, he will come" throughout our entire time in the maze. I also thought I saw some aliens from Signs, and I know for certain that I would never want to be going through the maze in the dark. My imagination would go wild.

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Blogs I Love: Pen, Lens and Paintbrush

September 08, 2014
I started following Sarah-Lambert Cook's blog a few years ago when I first entered the world of Etsy. She is an amazing artist, and someone that I admire and am inspired by. She used to do the most intricate little paintings that were set on pendants as necklaces, earrings, cufflinks, etc. I have a couple of her pieces that vary in size from 1" in diameter to around 1/2" in diameter -- it amazes me that someone could paint in that kind of detail in such a small space.

She moved to Germany a little while ago, but not before sharing some of her adventures in the USA before she and her husband made their big move. She has the most amazing photographs, and I highly recommend that you go get lost in her blog. She also has the most adorable dog named George.

 A new piece available in the shop inspired by Sarah's travels.

Now that she is living in Europe, she has been sharing the most wonderful photographs, stories, and facts about the wonderful explorations that she has made of all the countries that surround her. I think that when it is my time to go on such adventures, I will be calling on her for tips and advice.

I was also excited to see that she recently opened up her shop again on Etsy, but with a twist that incorporates her new life. I can't wait to see where life will take her next, but in the meantime I am enjoying the ride that she is sharing with us all.

My little Wicket from Sarah's shop in 2012.


DIY: Wedding Gift Painting

September 05, 2014
I will admit that I do give gift cards or money to couples that have just been married, but I also like to give some sort of physical gift as well -- in the past I have given brass knick-knacks that I spray painted, and glass plates that I decorated with Mod-Podge and glitter. This time I decided to do a small painting of a city that the couple visited on one of their first major traveling adventures together -- Montreal.

Have you done any DIY wedding gifts lately?


Wedding Day Camera Drama

September 03, 2014
A little while ago, we celebrated the marriage of my husband's youngest sibling. It was such an exciting time because we had waited for this day for a long time. I had the pleasure of writing up a couple of chalkboards for the ceremony and the reception -- and I learned how much work actually goes into the art form, but I really enjoyed it.

This day was so special, and unfortunately my camera that I had for eight years decided that it would stop working so the only photographs that I got were a few that I took before the ceremony, and a couple of photographs with some crazy lens flares. Luckily there were a lot of other people taking photos that day, so I still have some to look at for the memories.

That's why about a week after the wedding I picked up a new -- to me -- camera from a local camera shop. I was previously using a Nikon D40 and have moved up to the D90, and I have to say that I love the extra little perks that come with it. It's a wonderful camera, and hopefully it will be with me for eight years or more!

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Shop Announcement: World Alzheimer's Month

September 01, 2014
Today marks the beginning of a new month. September means a lot of different things to different people: it is the beginning of the new school year; it's the month to celebrate the birth of a child, or a family member; it is the month in which you got married.

September is also World Alzheimer's Month.

The Forget Me Not is a symbol of the Alzheimer Society of Canada (source)

Alzheimer's touched my family many years ago when my Grandma was diagnosed with it. Like most people that suspect a family member is suffering from memory loss, there were some members of my family that didn't want to admit what was happening to her until her memories were so lost that she tried to hurt the man that she loved for most of her life, who, even after she was safely in a home where there were people to care for her, would visit her on a daily basis to play the piano for her and visit with her for hours upon hours. They had a beautiful relationship.

That's why for the month of September I will be donating 15% of the shop profits to the Alzheimer Society of Canada to provide support to those who are suffering from the disease and their families, and to promote research. Help support the cause and give a voice to those affected by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

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