Internet, Curated

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+ I really want to try one (or some) of these make-your-own food bars the next time I’m serving a crowd.

+ Presenting the best white button shirts. As decided scientifically.

+ I think these houses are the coolest.

+ Writers in Canada make an average of $12 000 a year.

+  Mouth-watering smashed potatoes. I love smashed potatoes, but what I’m really interested in is that avocado aioli. Finally an acceptable vegan substitute for sour cream?

+ Beautiful homemade porcupine quill jewellery.

+ Got a tiny room? Don’t fret — just make it do double duty.

+ I heard recently that blogging is dead. But apparently this comes with a qualifier:

“Blogs haven’t disappeared – they have simply morphed into a mature part of the publishing ecosystem.”

+ How to make your own foaming soap.

+ This excerpt left me so excited for the full book — Texts from Jane Eyre by the brilliant Mallory Ortburg

+ How beautiful is this? I saw similar kale used in a bouquet recently and couldn’t get over how striking it looks.

+ Sunday’s brunch.

How This Blog Got Started

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A few things happened in the same week that really motivated me to start planning, writing, and taking pictures. The universe was screaming ‘do it!’ at me.

Most importantly, I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for years now. I’ve always wanted to blog. I spent a big portion of my summer really thinking seriously about why I wanted to blog: what kind of things I would want to write about, what I hoped to accomplish by it.

And then, a few unconnected instances occurred. And clicked together. And gave me the kick I needed.

I finally signed up for Ashley Ann Campbell (of Under the Sycamore)’s Snap Shots class. When I got my DSLR, I decided I was definitely going to take a course on how to use it. I’ve been a daily reader of hers for about two years now, and I could never justify paying for the course. I was weeks away from moving home and starting a job that was a significant raise from my current paycheck when I noticed that her October course had spots open. I signed up.

Emma of A Beautiful Mess reflected back on her food photography journey. What was most inspiring for me was her confident assertion that she was glad she didn’t wait. She was (and still is, I’m guessing) proud of her older photographs, the ones she took before she had fancy equipment and years of experience.

Then Karen’s chicken got sick, and I was in awe of the way she could harness her blog’s power for good. Actually, I am consistently in awe of Karen. I am pretty sure she has super powers. Her blog, The Art of Doing Stuff, is among the best the internet has to offer.

I started reading Gone Girl (on my Kobo!). I wasn’t more than 2% of my way through the book before a specific passage jumped out and hit me in the face. Not literally. Obviously. But that’s the best way to describe the feeling I got. It was that moment when suddenly all the dots come together, when the stars finally align, when you realize something that should have been obvious all along.  It my ‘ah-a’ moment times one thousand:

“I used to be a writer. I was a writer who wrote about TV and movies and books. Back when people read things on paper. Back when anyone cared what I thought. I’d arrived in New York in the late ’90s, the last gasp of the glory days, although no one knew it then. New York was packed with writers, real writers, because there were magazines, real magazines, loads of them. This was back when the Internet was still some exotic pet kept in the corner of the publishing world — throw some kibble at it, watch it dance on its little leash, oh quite cute, it definitely won’t kill us in the night. Think about it: a time when newly graduated college kids could come to New York and get paid to write. We had no clue that we were embarking on careers that would vanish within a decade.”

And I thought about it. I thought how great it was once, that you could just move to New York and get paid to write. Let me repeat myself, just so I can get that shiver down my spine again: move to New York and get paid to write. The ultimate. The dream. And I was filled with this deep sadness, about how that time was passed and how sad that was (the last gasp of the glory days — there’s that shiver again). And then it hit me. The world has changed. People are still reading. But they read in fundamentally different ways. I read in different ways. I can’t remember the last time I bought a magazine (actually that’s a lie, I bought the July issue of Chatelaine and it was a delightful, guilt-ridden extravagance). Instead, I read blogs, multiple blogs, faithfully, often the same blog more than once a day. But magazines were my first love. As a teenager, Atoosa Rubenstein was my hero. The world has changed, and now, instead of chasing a dream in magazines, I am writing this blog.

A part of me felt self-conscious, writing about and comparing my humble efforts to such talented and established bloggers. And then, in the space of that same week, I happened upon Seth Godin’s thoughts on drafting:

“We set our pace based on what competitors or co-workers are doing. One secret to making more of an impact, then, is figuring out who you intend to follow. Don’t ‘pace yourself,’ instead, find someone to unknowningly pace you.”

So I decided to do it.  And here it is.

Photo: Typewriter by April Killingsworth