Saturday, October 29

Not too Busy for Doughnuts


It's getting colder in Edmonton -- and no, my exposure was just fine, that's how the sky actually looks. It's dreary, in short. I'm making up for it with some new clothes from Old Navy in rich fall colours.

Another coping tactic: doughnuts. Nick and I are not good at waking up in the morning, so we rarely make it to Saturday markets to buy my favourite treats. Luckily, Moonshine Doughnuts opened an online shop so I can pre-order my doughnuts! Loath to miss an opportunity of this nature, I paid for my doughnuts Friday and Nick and I lazed about home Saturday morning, went out for brunch, and then meandered to the market to pick up my doughnuts! A miracle of technology I tell you!
The last few weeks (and this coming week no doubt) have been absolute insanity.

I'm finished my midterms (and I'm still in the program, there's a relief) but now I'm facing a single week left of major projects. At the same time, I'm finishing up some freelance writing contracts, modules from UBC's Game Writing Academy, and launching a photography business. Eep! Good thing I have a fantastic husband who takes directions. The other night while I wrote my online midterm in the computer room Nick took dinner directions and dutifully cooked a meal for three. He's stepped it up with dish washing too. Now if I could only train him to vacuum. The real victim here is poor Lola, she hasn't been getting out enough this season! She's more bored than normal, that's for sure. Good thing our sweet mail lady has been leaving her treats at the door. <3

The other thing falling to the side: my weight watchers regime. Some of you know I'm down 34 pounds -- or, I was a few weeks ago! Haha, there's nothing quite like doughnuts when it comes to emergency self-care! And I've been giving myself permission to indulge whilst school rages on. Turns out, there's nothing wrong with gaining a couple of pounds if your doughnuts are keeping you sane. Life tip right there.

Until next time my friends!

Cookie Monster by Moonshine Doughnuts <3
 



Pants and top Old Navy, Clarks boots from The Bay, Scarf (old) Smart Set, August Silk vest from Winners 



Tuesday, October 11

Be Your Own Boss


I thought fall was going to barrel on into winter for a second. That is to say, it got bloody cold.

Luckily, fall is mellowing out a touch and in honour of that fact, I headed outside in a crop top.

That's the kind of shit you can get away with when you're being your own boss, which is what I'm doing now two days a week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't have any classes, so I take them as 'work days'. Days I can sit down to work on contracts, photo shoot editing, and branding for my new photography business. I also need to get house work and home work done in these two days -- so it's important to stay on top of things.
 I accomplish this by following a few key pieces of advice. Things I've gleaned from pinterest and friends and family that just so happen to be super true.

Here's 1:  get out of bed just like it's a normal work day. 

It's so easy to cuddle Lola and stay in bed 'till 11, but that is not how you get things done. So I get up just after Nick leaves.


2: Put on clothes and wash face/brush teeth. IE. Get ready just like it's a normal work day. 

This is so important, you would not believe the difference in my productivity when I don't bother to get dressed first thing vs. when I put on clothes and eat breakfast and wear makeup or do my hair. I don't always do all of these things -- but I always do a few of them. It helps.

 3: Make a to-do list. 

I've heard a lot recently about bullet journals. It's when you have a blank journal that you can jot down to-do lists and write out calendars and the like. I'm going to get myself one.

You might have seen me making lists on instagram, that's how I do it now, but it's about time I get myself a journal. I have enough things to balance without loosing my tiny sticky note pad!


 4: Prioritize and then get working. 

Tricky thing is you actually have to do what you said you were gonna do. Being your own boss means buckling down and getting away from those time suck things (you know the ones) that stop you from being productive. For me this feeds heavily into my last tip --

5. Schedule in breaks. 

I set timers for an hour or half hour and then take a 15 min - 30 min break to do other things. Take the dog out, surf facebook, read up on something interest related, head over to tumblr or read some blogs. I need to schedule these things in or I will get side tracked during work and do them anyway! I use the timer app on my computer, it comes with windows so it's easy to find and use.

So that's where I'm at -- I'll let you know in a few months if I've quietly gone insane.
How do you guys balance everything you have to get done? Leave a comment! 

Cardigan old, GAP girlfriend chambray chino's, second hand boots, CAMP brand goods crop top, vintage boss pin, Saressa Designs Etsy bracelet (Saressadesigns,com), Everlane belt 






Friday, September 30

New Photography Venture

Running a blog for the past five or so years has helped me to do a lot of things -- get comfortable in front of a camera, develop my style and build a wardrobe, connect with like-minded folks and learn a lot about how to *downsize* said wardrobe, I even got a few freebies over the years.

One of the best things it's got me doing though, is learning my camera.
This is the outfit I wore when I did the wedding! Was going for professional but laid back (it was a small outdoor wedding). 

 I remember the day I switched to manual mode on my first DSLR, it was magic. It was equally magical when I first was told by friends and family how the pictures I'd captured of them made them feel awesome. Turns out learning how to take flattering photos of oneself can translate to photos of others. I love seeing friends love my pictures.

As you might know, I spent the summer unemployed. I suck at sitting around doing nothing though, so I put out a Kijiji add offering to take pictures for others. Surprisingly, I even got a few responses.

A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to photograph my first wedding. How wild is that? My dad, a talented photographer, came with me as a second set of eyes (and cameras). It was, again, magical.

If you would like to take a peak, I now have a photography website set up: kjewellphoto.com. I'm very excited to get this little project off the ground and make some money whilst I'm in school (did I mention I'm now a full time student? Told you I can't sit still).

If you're interested in working together, drop me a line! I would love to take your picture. ;)

GAP velvet pants, Tommy Hilfiger chambray top, Smart Set necklace, Payless Shoes 

Tuesday, August 16

Creative and Colourful


Summer is in full swing, and I'm thirty pounds slimmer than I was six months ago which means I'm enjoying getting dressed again. This little blue number is from H&M and I was happy to dig it out of the closet and throw it into the mix. It has a cute crisscrossed back that's hard to get pictures of all on one's own. ;)

I paired the dress with some bike shorts since I was off on a wee photography job and was prepared to kneel down to get the shot. To protect my shoulders, I added a cardigan that's light
and breezy and colourful to boot!

I was excited about my hair. Usually, I just pin the top back when I want it out of my face, but on this day I twisted and twisted until  I had formed a small knot, then twisted it again in the opposite direction so I had two little twists. I pinned them down and they stayed in place all day! I thought it was adorably off center and just a little fancier than usual. ;)


It's been a genuinely weird summer, but one that's included more fun in the sun than I can remember. Getting outside, walking, gardening -- it's been a small joy to me and kept me from feeling idle during this season of unemployment. I'm also trying to focus on getting writing done and organizing my home, but sticking to a schedule and developing good habits isn't always easy! As a gamer I have a plethora of distractions that are easy to lose a whole day in, but I'm trying to keep gaming and tv-watching for after four, and be productive with my daytime hours.

How do you keep yourself busy and productive?
Dress - H&M / cardigan -  Anthropologie / bike shorts - Smart Set / necklace - gift / shoes, Keds 


Tuesday, August 9

At the Cabin

Some snapshots from our trips to the Petry cabin. There's something about this little retreat that revitalizes our family, it's simple and effortless and everyone who visits loves it. It's a comfy little spot for making memories and enjoying summer. I love photographing the bits and pieces around the cabin, there's personality in the details.

 
 
 
 





Where do you go to enjoy your summer?

Tuesday, August 2

How I Started Weaving for Under $30

For years now I've admired the gorgeous woven wall hangings of others, sadly, I could never afford one for myself. With some extra time on my hands, I decided I would give some of the internet tutorials I had seen a try, my only remaining hesitation -- getting started with a new hobby requires money. And I had none.

This is what I did: I tromped down to Micheals and bought an eleven dollar picture frame (just the frame, no back, untreated wood). I came home and with the help of a friend hammered a bunch of short finishing nails on two ends of the frame about a cm apart. It's not perfect, but I tell you for eleven dollars it's about as perfect as it can get.

Top left, my tools: a tapestry needle, chopsticks, scissors, and a plastic fork. Right image: all my weaving supplies in one place! 
There are a lot of nice, helpful tools you can purchase for weaving including combs, shuttles, and shed sticks. The only thing I absolutely had to buy was a plastic weaving needle, and I improvised the rest. For a comb, I have a small plastic fork from a bento box I no longer own and for both a shuttle and shed stick I use wooden chopsticks. No joke. As a bonus, they're easy to store (and replace).

Some different ways I use chopsticks while weaving. On the left, as a shed stick, and on the right as a shuttle. 
 I picked up a few lovely skeins of wool on clearance at Micheals, and had a few left over in my closet from other projects. Lastly, I spotted this cute felt container at a local greenhouse while shopping for plants and picked it up for 4.99. I think it's hilarious that felt storage totes can be so expensive, but apparently are equally good for planting things in. In any case, it holds my wool and chopsticks perfectly.

My first few weavings are semi-presentable and I'm sure in time I'll become deeply ashamed of this post, but for now, every weaving teaches me new lessons and I'm seeing an improvement as I go which is exhilarating! Now someone just tell me what to do with all of these wall hangings before my house gets lost in them...

My first weaving on the left, third in the center and most recent on the left. The last weaving was made using a pattern downloaded from The Weaving Loom.
If you're interesting in learning more about weaving wall hangings like these, I've got three pinterest boards up with more information. For shop listings, tools, looms and the like check out my Weaving Supplies board. I also have a Techniques board with tutorials, and an Inspiration board. theweavingloom.com is also a great resource.

Have you ever tried weaving? Leave me tips in the comments!

Tuesday, July 26

Staying Productive At Home

It's no secret I've been unemployed now since the beginning of June. Honestly, it's starting to feel weird and the uncharacteristic productivity I experienced at the beginning is starting to wear off. These days, I find myself staying in my PJ's a little later every day and getting less house work accomplished. I started doing yoga every day at the end of May and managed to keep up with it for about a month but my dedication to that has also dwindled. I've been exploring ways to stay motivated and decided to make up a schedule to follow. Sometimes what we're missing in life is just a little self imposed structure. I threw together a cutsey pink and gold desktop calendar in Photoshop and thought you might like a go at it:

Free Printable
Feel free to open it in a photo editing program and add your to-do's, or print it off and write them in!

Here's what mine looks like:


It's important for me to break apart my house chores so I don't get overwhelmed. I tend to look at a messy house and want to crawl inside a sea shell and become a snail. By committing to a few specific days to do yoga and other activity I also avoid that horrible feeling of guilt that compounds every day I don't make it to the mat. As long as I can do it on the scheduled days, I'm proud.

Of course, I want to make some commitments for every day that I'm not working. Scheduling in an hour of art and 800 words writing allows me to do more if I'm feeling inspired, and avoid the guilt when I would rather play video games. As long as I'm meeting these minimums, I'm progressing in the right direction!

How do you stay motivated and productive?

Sunday, July 24

On Being a Tourist in Your Own City (and Pokémon Go)

A few weeks ago Nick and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by having a wee staycation. We booked a hotel downtown and vowed to walk and take public transit, eat out, and go to shows just like we would if we were visiting a more exotic location. At the time, it was this novel, wonderful experience and we could never have anticipated that with the release of Pokémon go we would be spending the rest of our summer doing just that!

To start, some pics from our anniversary:


As it happened, Pokémon was released during this time of media blackout, but it wasn't long 'till our friends had us caught up.

We quickly realized a lot of the places we had stopped to take pictures (like the wall mural above, middle left) are now Pokéstops! I started collecting pictures of the local points of interest that are now Pokémon hunting spots, and I've been getting out and walking places I've never seen before! Can you believe that it took this app to get me down to the legislature grounds for the first time as an adult? I hardly can. Plus, I've walked almost 50km, and completed my first weight loss goal.

All pokestops in Edmonton. It's crazy how you never notice a wall mural 'till a Pikachu spawns under it. 
 In short, even if you're not out there catchin' 'dem all, it's amazing to get out and experience the city you live in. I had no idea how many parks, gardens, statues and monuments there are in Edmonton, not to mention wall murals and art projects. It's beautiful to feel connected to the city, and to the people I share it with! In the pictures at the bottom, you can see all the other Pokéhunters!


Tuesday, June 14

Honest.Com Round Up and Review

Hey! You guys remember all those Honest.com unboxings I did ever and ages ago? Well, I may have stopped posting about it, but I haven't stopped ordering products from the Honest company. I love having all those little fidly house products delivered to my door when I need them and I still love Honest's Essentials Bundle subscription model (easy to pause and waylay until the very moment you need to restock). They've improved a lot of their packaging for shipping to Canada so spills and leaks are a thing of the past and I love the bonus products they include every so often!

I'm going to share some of my favourite buys from Honest, and some of my least favourite, and tell you why. Here goes: 
The winners are pretty clear in the body category, I LOVE the Honest toothpaste and conditioning detangler, both of which I order about once every month. I use them the most, my husband and I both use the toothpaste. Toothpaste is one of those cosmetics I found there weren't a lot of alternatives for in drug stores that aren't tested on animals and are environmentally friendly, I do love Tom's naturals and Kiss My Face toothpaste, but they can be hard to find when out and about, SO I love to keep some of this stocked in the house. 

I forgot to include them when I took the photos (see photo at very bottom of post), but I also use the Honest shampoo/body wash and conditioner. The shampoo is not for everyone, my husband doesn't like the way it feels in your hair (it's more of an oily clean than a clean clean for him) but I like it. I use it mostly as a body wash. I did notice they recently released new shampoos and conditioners I haven't tried yet.

I do also really like the body oil, which feels great and keeps my skin moisturized, and the bug spray. The bug spray actually smells great and works great, but I've had trouble with the spray top getting clogged which is annoying. 

The shave oil works really well, but it clogs my razor horribly so I end up having to spend more money on razor blades and change my blade more often. Probably not a bad thing in the long run, but annoying. The deodorant I did not like at all at first, it doesn't seem to work very well for me at all -- if I use it and end up sweating, guess what, I still smell, and it is bloody cold to spritz on which is not nice in the winter, BUT recently I've started spritzing it on post yoga work out and it is a nice refreshing spray that makes me feel a little bit better about my slight yoga scent. ;)

Not Pictured: I totally forgot about my biggest Honest fail to date, the Honest healing balm. I thought it would make a good hand lotion for very dry hands and the oil content actually separated from the cream so that when I squeezed the tube it just  leaked oil everywhere. It was  messy, and oily, and gross. I actually threw it away.
 I really don't have any losers in this area (the stain remover some how found it's way in here, but oh well). I use the multi-surface cleaner most often, and honestly (harhar) could get by with just purchasing that one cleaner to replace allll the others. It makes a fair glass cleaner and does bathrooms just as well as any other space in the house. I do use the others, but not as much.

The wet mopping pads are a great little luxury item if I'm too lazy to suds up a mop I can stick them to any swiffer-like mop to spot clean or even do all the laminate in the house. They really never dry out too, i've had them in my closet for a year probably (since I don't always use them when I mop) and they're still good. The reason I don't use them more is that they don't quite fit my no-name brand swiffing tool so they require a little macgyvering to stay on.
 I've loved this laundry detergent since I first met it. It's funny, I've had a few friends and others give me hand me down clothes lately and I am so overwhelmed by the scents on them! I'm used to my clothes not having a perfumed scent, so it's weird to encounter evidence of other detergents. I love that this detergent does the job well, without the scent and without the chemicals. I've heard some controversy over the ingredients in the detergent, but overall I'm happy that it doesn't sacrifice performance while still being gentle.

The stain remover has saved my life many times, it works very well while still being gentle on clothes. I love it.

The oxy boost seems to work well and I do use it when I wash whites, but I did have some of the packs burst in the bag which is quite messy.

I've tried the lavender and the citrus dish soap and I am so in love with this pair of lavender soaps right now, they smell amazing and I love washing the dishes (or my hands) with it. Plus, I think it works great.

I also use the lavender scented  air and fabric spray and it's wonderful. It's lavender/vanilla and I use it in our bedroom for a calming, restful environment (also pictured at the bottom left of the post).

The dishwasher packs on the other hand... In fairness, I have an old dishwasher and I have no idea how one maintains their dishwasher so it isn't the greatest to start but this dishwasher detergent does almost nothing in my dishwasher and I have used it about four times before I gave up and went back to the grocery store.


Every once in awhile Honest will include a thoughtful gift with your order, I've recieved lip gloss, a cookie cutter and organic cookie mix (for Christmas), and these adorable freezer packs (I got to choose the pattern) which are amazing for bug bites, small injuries, or just hot days!


You can subscribe to the Honest Essentials bundle on their website (here's my referral link if you want to give it a go), but another way to buy is through Well.ca, which I noticed is having a big sale on Honest products for the next few days! 

What other products from Honest.com have you tried? Anything awesome I'm missing out on?

PS. Honest isn't sponsoring this post or anything, but I wish they would hire me as a sales rep. ;)