The Mechanic’s Car

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write for myself. Sadly this blog has become much like the mechanic’s car that he never gets around to fixing because he’s too busy fixing other people’s cars. That is what I feel has happened to me and this blog. When you spend your days creating content for others, at times there is little left in the creative tank for yourself. (Case in point, I started drafting this post in 2015!)

Today’s post is dedicated to how to find inspiration to keep doing what you love professionally and having some creative juice left over to love yourself. 

1. Carve out time for yourself every day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes. Be selfish about your time. Get creative about where you get this time. Creating a daily practice will allow for ideas to come easier. For example, I’m writing this in the car on a 13 hour road trip. No I’m not writing and driving… (2019 Upate: I can’t even remember what road trip I stared this on, but a derby trip is a pretty good bet! And today in 2019, I am finishing this while waiting at the Appletree)

2. Take the time to smell the flowers so to speak. Take the time to listen to others and see what’s around you. You never know when inspiration will strike. (Like in the car.) When inspiration strikes, write it down immediately. Don’t rely on remembering it later. Chance are you won’t.

3. The perfect post will never happen. Just write. Write about anything and everything that interests you. Write for yourself first. It doesn’t have to be epic, just start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines and see what happens… 

4. Read. Read a lot. Fiction, non-fiction, news articles, blogs… what you read is up to you. Just read. For me now if 2019, I am STILL learning French donc, je lis un article en français chaque journeé.

5. Collaborate. Collaboration leads to brainstorming, which leads to AWESOME IDEAS that light a fire under our butts to take action. We all have at least one person who propels us into action. For me that is my co-conspirator in life Lisa. When we get together, we unfailingly start to hash out our next big idea. She’s the one I conspire with to try take over the world just like Pinky and The Brain. Spend more time with a friend like that. And if you don’t have one, find one stat!

6. Get curious! Ask questions. Curiosity will lead you to creativity. Promise.

7. Finally, creativity is like any other muscle. You need to stretch it, challenge it and occasionally push it past your comfort zone. THIS is when great things happen!

Micro what?

In May 2017 I decided to get some microblading done to fill in my over plucked eyebrows. I started this post and there it sat until now.

I had been thinking about it for sometime and a friend of mine had it done and it looked amazing. Then on a vacation I found out that my mother in law had hers done too, and they looked amazing also. So I thought what the heck, go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?

Well… the worst thing that can happen is not doing the research first so that you know what to expect. I had NO IDEA what I was in for other than that it’s basically like getting a tattoo. Since I have a couple tattoos I figured that was all that I needed to know. And at the core of it, really it is, but had I done a bit of reading first I would have been better prepared.

So this is for anyone thinking of getting microblading done on your brows: everything you wanted to know about microblading but didn’t even know to ask.

First off, for those who have no idea what microblading even is, it’s basically getting strands of hair tattoo in to fill in your brows. It’s not as deep as a tattoo so it lasts about three years before you need to get them touched up. This is great as you are not stuck with the same style for the rest of your life, but it does mean that you will have to go through the whole process more that once.


When I set up my appointment with Megan Klimkowski (Instagram: Brow Design by Megan), who came highly recommended by my friend with the new great brows, she sent me a list of dos and don’ts leading up to our first appointment.

1.  No plucking your brows for at least a week.

2. No facials, chemical peels etc one week before.

3. No Advil, Tylenol etc 24 hours before.

When I finally met Megan I was excited and nervous but she was fantastic about giving me a run through of what was about to happen. She drew out the shape of what my brows would be so that I could see and agree to it.  She recommended the colour to match my existing dark brown brows, but with a blend of a lighter brown so that they didn’t look too heavy against my bottled blonde locks.

After showing me the blade, yes that’s right microblading used a blade, not a tattoo gun, that looks like a scalpel but with tiny forks on the end, she explained that as the blade pierces the skin it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart. Which some people find unnerving. Amateurs, I thought.


The microblade tattoo tool.

I opted to skip the numbing gel to avoid the accompanying redness she cautioned would be a side effect (and because with most things in life I tend to think that because I play roller derby I’m tough enough for anything) and soon my head was back in the chair and the blade was about to make it’s first slice. Yup, Velcro. The sound of Velcro ripping over and over as she created perfect little strands of hair. That was the sound of my skin being sliced open over and over. Not so bad. Just a little annoying. Then a little uncomfortable, like when getting a tattoo and you’re near the end and just need it to be over.

Soon it felt like it was to be a death from a thousand slices. I could feel myself starting to do some deep breathes, exhaling with every slash. You know the ones, when you’re getting a massage and it feels like you’re gonna barf. The deep breaths that women use while trying to push a baby the size of a football out of something the size of a lemon. Dramatic? No.

Once the gazillon slices are done – it’s dye time. The custom dye that Megan whipped up for me was applied and we waited for it to soak in. I looked VERY glamorous and obviously had to capture the moment:

Once it was all done I gazed upon my new, VERY DARK CATERPILLARS. Wtf?! They sooo very dark and were going to last for three whole years?! Shit! What had I done, I thought to myself. Megan, accustom to seeing that look of panic I’m sure, quickly reassured me that once the cuts healed over and the scabs flaked off, the colour would be lighter. I was skeptical, but it was too late now…

Here’s what they looked like right after. Not too bad if my hair was anywhere near its natural colour, but very stark against the blonde:


As they healed, they darkened about 20% more thanks to the tiny scabs – but as they healed, they did indeed light up as promised – of course they did, Megan knows her stuff after all – and now they look natural. No more pencil needed!


So if you are considering getting microblading done, my recommendation is to go for it! And if you live in the Ottawa area, I highly recommend Brow Design by Megan. Just make sure you don’t have any big events in the following weeks to given them time to heal up.

The Millenial Fight For Your Right

I watched the video below from MTV Australia with @SimonSinek that talked about the challenges that millennials have as they hit the workforce and it really struck a cord with me. Not because I am a millennial, in fact I couldn’t be further from it it seems these days but I noticed this when I taught at a local college and was shocked when told I wasn’t allowed to fail a student even though they didn’t do any of the work or show up for most classes as it was a “new thing” at the college was trying. So as a result, the student was able to hand in all of their assignments at the end, without penalty and still pass. How, I asked, does this approach prepare students for real life?  Short answer – it doesn’t. 

Millennials may actually have it worse than previous generations because they weren’t taught that you have to fight for anything that truly matters – including your own happiness. The world isn’t going to give it to you just because your mom said you were special. (No I didn’t mean you… of course YOU’RE special)

And as they get older it’s a real slap in the face when they finally (hopefully!) realize that world owes them nothing. Their bosses owe them nothing (okay, except a pay check) and they don’t have a ‘right’ to anything or deserve something just because they want it. 
When I was younger (OMG I’ve become one of those people that starts a sentence with ‘when I was younger’), we were taught this early on by our parents, our teachers and most importantly by music. We got our battle cries from bands like Twisted Sister as we belted out that we were not gonna take it anymore. Pat Benatar reminded us almost daily that love was in fact a battlefield and the Beastie Boys told us we had to fight for our right to party… 

How to do a Facebook Live

In my 9-5 life, I do a lot of social media. So much so, that my personal channels are becoming the proverbial mechanic’s car that never gets fixed. I’ve been meaning to write this post for while as I’ve had a number of people ask me “what’s the deal with Facebook Live?”

Short answer: Facebook LIVE is real-time video broadcasting… and it’s a BIG deal.

Longer answer:  It’s a big deal because it allows individuals, small business and brands to reach out and engage audiences directly – FOR FREE. While other streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat have been around for longer, Facebook’s global reach is what makes this tool a big deal.

So here’s a quick overview on how to do a Facebook LIVE that even the most untechie person follow:

Three things you need to know BEFORE getting started:

  1. If you are a business, your page needs to be Verified verified button to broadcast.
  2. This feature is still rolling out, so you may not have it yet.
  3. Right now the functionality is available on Apple devices and just recently became available on Android.

How to start broadcasting:

  1. Open your Facebook app.
  2. Go to your own Facebook profile and open up the status bar as if you’re going to write a new post.
  3. Tap the “Live” icon FB LIVE icon, which looks like a human silhouette.
  4. Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.
  5. Write a description for the broadcast. This description is public and what the video will be saved as on your Facebook page.
  6. Choose the audience that you want to share with before going live.
  7. Tap Go Live to begin your broadcast and ta-dah! You’re live.

That’s it.

Well basically that’s it. There are lots of extras you can get for your phone depending on your level of techie: directional mics, tripods and lenses. If you’re doing a live broadcast at a formal event, I recommend investing in a iRig Pre to patch in the audio board to get quality sound and ensure you have a secure dedicated Internet connection.

Here’s some things to know:

  • People who subscribe to your page, or are friends with you, will receive a notification that you are LIVE in their Facebook News Feed. As they engage with your broadcast (comments, likes, reactions, shares), THEIR friends will see it in their newsfeeds.
  • A live broadcast can be up to 90 minutes. To retain maximum viewership, aim to keep it less than 30 minutes.
  • During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, the names of who are tuning in and a real-time stream of comments.
  • When you end the broadcast, it will be saved on your Timeline like any other video and you will have an option to save it to your device.
  • While watching a live video, audiences can tap the Subscribe button to get notified the next time your page goes live.
  • When the broadcast is shared, it’s still one single feed. That means that all comments will be captured in the broadcast comments section. (Easy for collecting data!)

Here’s the BIG ONE:

  • Once the broadcast ends it CANNOT be restarted. That means if you lose your connection anytime during the broadcast, a new LIVE broadcast must be started. So if you’re shooting something that’s a big deal, have a backup feed though another live streaming service that you can redirect viewers to.

So that’s basically it. Until the tool changes. But until then happy broadcasting!



Picture Perfect Tuesday: Panorama

Week 8 Dogwood Photography Challenge
 Portrait: Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama
“This is a great opportunity to explore panorama stitching and create a wide sweeping landscape.”

I took this shot in NYC in Central Park. Obviously I took it in the fall, before this challenge, but I’ve been meaning to share it.