Friday, February 12, 2016


(I had to include these valentines out-takes because they're my favourites. They just don't fit on paper very well...)

Here is what I've learned in the past two weeks, brought to you in lovely, short-form prose. Maybe you'll learn something from what life has taught me! 


Give yourself some credit - you do the things you love, no matter how 'blocked' you are.
I made the snap-decision to apply for art school last week, and scrounged up as much of my work as I possibly could. Looking at it all stacked up, it’s actually a surprise to see how much work I’ve been doing while feeling like I’m ‘not doing anything’ artistically. Sometimes it takes a crunch to really see all the things you’ve done, and see how far you’ve come. If you’re really feeling like you’re ‘stuck’ and not creating, I highly suggest gathering up as much of your work as you can, and see it all stacked up gloriously in front of you. For once, I’m not anxious about creating, and what I’ve created!

Sometimes a break is necessary
I’ve hit a point in writing my novel where I need to seriously revise and cut away at the plot. A huge change is on it’s way, and after doing this a few times, I’m well aware that this is the beginning of a good thing, but it’s also a frustrating time. Knowing you’re going to make a break through, but not knowing when it’s going to kick in your door and demand snacks is painful. So it’s been two weeks of creative floundering, toying with ideas, trying on different outfits, cleaning up, waiting. I hate waiting. But I’m hoping I’ll have the story cleaned up and defined enough that I’ll be twelve steps ahead after said breakthrough is comfortably asleep on my couch and inspiring me.

It’s honestly not as bad as you think.
I’ve been going in to work anxious almost every day. Between our traffic and absolutely bonkers customers, every day has been a rollercoaster, leaving me exhausted every day. And going in wearing all my armor (in case of said crazies) and already exhausted (because of the strain of thinking about how many people I’m going to see) makes for another awful day. Is my job ideal? No, not at all. Is it what I have for the moment? Yes. I might as well try and make it as enjoyable as I can, and attempt to at least go in to work and come out of work in a good mood. Hopefully I can continue to call my power and control back from work to myself, and protect myself in a way that isn’t compulsive anxiety. 

Friends are great.
I’m a strange mix when it comes to people. I’m comfortable as an extrovert, but more often than not I default to introvert, because people tend to exhaust me. I don’t like big groups, I don’t like parties, and I’m quite comfortable going alone for long periods of time. It doesn’t help when you live with your best friend - we can literally go for weeks without really seeing anyone. Which tends to make me…anxious and grouchy. These past few weeks I’ve stepped it up, I’ve gotten in contact with friends, and I’ve dragged my little ass (and his) out of the house to see friends. Seriously - if there’s one thing that tends to calm me down, it’s games and laughs with a friend or two.

General knowledge
Holy crap, I’m actually kind of a decent person?
I always like to describe anxiety as a literal goblin sitting on your shoulder, squishing you, burping in your face, flicking boogers at you, and constantly commenting on how awful of a human being you are. Not only do I normally face down self depreciation and doubt on a daily basis, I’m literally anxious about having those anxieties confirmed by others (anxiety-inception. How sweet). I not only got HUGE compliments on my art, but I’ve hung out with people who genuinely like me, want to hang out with me, and make me laugh. And it’s felt great. I feel like I’ve got a bit of my shit together, and that feels awesome.

Also - I learned that studio art might not be what I want, and that Theatre Design sounds like a program that suits me WAY better. And I’m applying for it? And I’m excited about it? It’s crazy how life can take a 180 when you trust yourself and let it do it’s thing!

Tarot card

Indicator of your own power. Lends you it's own. Tends to come up in either a time of great strength, or a time when you will need some. Powerful and straightforward. A great card to have in any spread.


Trust. Your. Gut.
I try to run my life on this rule: After this is over, what will you feel when you think back on this, and how do you want to feel? If any anxiety or regrets come up, I tend to take the course of action that will eliminate those feelings. Or at least allow me a justification for why I did what I did, when they do come up. If I feel like I need to do something, I try as hard as I can to muster up the strength to do it, and my gut almost never leads me wrong when I do.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Oh Valentines day, single or taken, you’re upon us once again.

Despite citing my love of the days before and after Valentines more (Galentines day, and discount chocolate day, respectively) I’ve always had a thing for Valentines - not the actual holiday, but the little paper things handed out on Valentines day. I always loved spending my days after school carefully ripping apart sheets of disney characters and cartoon heroes, dilligently writing all my classmates names on the paper, and then tucking them in to each paper ‘mailbox’ every year.

I loved opening my box, dumping all the cards out, and reading through them, even though most of them just said to: Melissa, from: Lauren. The candy didn’t hurt, either.

But as we get older, most of us don’t have long class lists to send valentines to. Or we just don’t want to send our friends frozen-themed valentines for the third year in a row. So, this year, I’ve made my own Valentines. Angry, feminist, art-history valentines (the best kind). Feel free to print off your own and share them with your friends. I’m quite proud of them, and I hope they give you and your friends as much of a laugh as they did me and mine!

You can nab the other two printable images below (just click to get the full-size images)!

Happy sharing!

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Welcome to block-busters, a series where I share a bunch (a whole month's worth) of prompts to get your creativity flowing. Use these prompts to draw, to write, to create whatever on earth you feel inspired to create! And please, let me know what you make with them - I love to see!! Feel free to email, comment, or tag the posts #tmtumakes to share! 


Describe yourself in three words or less
The wind and it’s ways
“She never told him she would stay…”
Frosted windows
Letting chocolate melt inside your mouth
A love spell
“I never thought I’d see you again”
Decribe as many kinds of snow as you can
A drop of water clung to his lips as he drank
Her eyes held his for just a second more than was comfortable
There was something strange about her
The softest of blankets
Golden tattoos
The feeling of your fingers thawing
You found a wallet. What’s inside of it?
Describe the best and worst friends you’ve ever had
What’s been lost to the past
An ancient love story
He ran his hands over the initials carved there years ago…
A bouquet of flowers
An apology
The first feeling of spring
Describe 10 different memories of water
6 sunsets
The best dessert you’ve ever eaten.
“He wasn’t what I expected him to be.”
A broken machine
Every kind of weather seemed to be happening all at once
She yawned, her head slumped against her hand.
Imaginary constellations
A list of plants I’ve killed.

I hope you enjoyed this month's posts. Happy creating, and don't forget to share/tag your work - I can't wait to see what you make!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


 Welcome to creative update - a post series where I share all the creative trouble I've been up to for the past few weeks. There will be pictures. There will be whining. There will be (hopefully) a bit of inspiration and a bit of a peek in to my process!

Images inspiring me: 
the above gorgeous, dreamy photos of Belarus by Alex Ugalnikov.

And of course, the image of times square that looks magically like an impressionist painting, by Michele Palazzo. I’m in love with accidentally classic photographs (anyone remember that parliamentary fight-scene photo that turned out to fit the golden ratio perfectly? Because I do, and I still love it)

What I've been writing:
Work has been a bit slow on the novel since mid-january. I'm going through a period of revision and re-thinking that tends to take away from the writing. I'm thinking a lot about my novel, and hopefully getting a clearer picture of what I want it to be about, who my characters are, and what on earth is happening in the giant mountain I'm determined to set it in. I did get a bit of writing in, though, so here's a little peek at some rough-work:

     Maeva didn’t know which fact she hated more - being born a girl in the mountains, or being born a girl to the Orvellan family. She wondered if Yuliya had struggled with the same things as she did - the steady, unsettling itch of being watched constantly. Being appraised, constantly. She wondered if men dared to gaze upon the prophet’s glowing form as she led the clans through the unending wastes. She wondered if men dared question her as she pushed open the golden gates to the paradise that had become their homeland. She wondered if anyone inturrupted her, swiped at her, laughed at her, mocked her. She wondered if the prophet had to contend with marriage proposals, if her followers would threaten to disregard her orders unless she married.

    And then she would shake the thoughts out of her head - those were the kinds of thoughts that got her in to trouble. Maybe that’s why she’d been born a girl to her pious family of men - too many blasphemous thoughts of a human prophet, all collected in to one tiny human. But it always stuck - the image of the prophet, her long black hair rippling out of it’s braid, messy and dark like liquid night, desperation and tears prickling at the corners of her eyes. Her form rising and falling with each breath, until she raised her head and looked directly at Maeva - every single emotion on her face hitting Maeva like a knife to the gut. It felt so human, so real. Even awake, the image haunted Maeva, fluttering in the back of her mind, haunting her.
 Here's my desk for right now: A huge mess, as always. I've started painting a colour every day, and putting them in my bullet journal at the end of the week. It's a great way to sort of gauge my week - it says quite a bit about the days I've had. I've been reading a LOT of comics lately. Like...I've done about three years worth of comics reading in the past week. I'm really hoping it will filter in to my work - it's some rad, inspiring stuff. I'll talk about it more next week. 

What I've been Doing
I got to see a lot of friends these past few weeks, which is a great boost for morale. Honestly, sometimes you don't realize how long it's been since you've seen someone else until you're incredibly desperate. So it's been a real treat. I've also been slowly plunking away at my February goals. 

It's been a bit of a slow week for my sketchbook/bullet journal, I always find that work screws with the systems I've set up (something I'm trying to figure out and fix). Here's a page that popped up over the week that I'm quite proud of. Sometimes just using a page to sketch can be really, really nice.

Music I’m listening to
This incredibly calm and warm playlist, perfect for a quiet winter night of creating
This awesome playlist for writing badass characters, inspired by Slytherin, to boot.
And finally, this great mix of female vocals, for creating when you're feeling a little less confident than normal

Art I've been Making
It has been a great week creatively! I decided to start to get together my portfolio, with a lot of pleasant surprises. I've actually made a lot of art I'm quite proud of, which has been a relief! I've started on a new project in the hopes of improving my ability to paint landscapes. They're not going to be masterpieces, but I'm hoping I can capture mood/colour/location details quickly and accurately. I'm quite proud of the first one. 

I also bit the bullet and made a gallery wall in the apartment this week. It involved a lot of swearing, a lot of improvising and a bunch of birds. The results are fantastic and I'm in love. If you're looking for an easy way to update your apartment, with only a small amount of fussing, I highly suggest making a gallery wall.

A small challenge:
In light of my home-decorating success, here's a small challenge for you: 

your space: claim a small space of your home in some way. It can be big or small (the more you see/use it, the better). Clean it up, wash it from top to bottom, try and filter out all the dust and negativity that may have collected there. Now, add something that makes you happy - it can be a little collection of items you find inspiring, it could be a picture (or 12), it could be a comfy chair, a coat of paint, some soft fabric and pillows. It could simply be a new way of organizing something. Try and make an area of your house more pleasing and more in-tune to you. Bring some good energy in as spring comes around.

What’s in store next:
These next few weeks, I have a lot of project-making to do. I'm planning on making hilarious valentines cards this week (hence the dancing...harpies? Maybe? Classical art is the. Best), and hopefully sharing them here. I'm still going to be plugging away at my portfolio, making a few small projects to fill and round it out, and I'm also hoping I can get back in to the swing of my bullet journal. 

I'm excited! We'll see what the next few weeks hold, and I'll have another great update for you then! 
Until next time - keep making awesome things! 

Monday, February 1, 2016


Hello February!

Hello to everything slowly waking up. Hello to long, yawning mornings and the return of golden daylight. Hello to the smell of water on the wind and the feeling of warmth on my skin, if only the smallest touch. Hello to melting chocolate, warm pink hearts and opening letters, to licking envelopes, rainy grey skies and maybe, just maybe the promise of spring.

January was a quiet month for me - something that I needed to start the year off. It mostly involved testing out a bunch of things I wanted to do; with varying degrees of success. I think that giving myself a month to ‘screw up’ instead of setting these huge, lofty goals (and inevitably failing at them because, let’s be honest, we’re not robots) was probably the smartest move I’ve made in a while.

So for February, I’m hoping to cement a lot of these habits in to my life, and just start sharing more of myself here and on other parts of the internet. I’ve developed a system for tracking my goals - I’ll share it later on in the month, but it consists of me assigning points to all the different tasks - when I do something, I get points I fill in. Simple, easy, fun.

Although there’s also a bunch of smaller goals, here’s what’s in store for February:

Clean myself and the house more often.
I’m alright with mess. I’m already with looking like a mess. That doesn’t mean either of these things makes me feel good in any way - I’m just capable of dealing with them both. But honestly nothing gets me out of the dumps more than picking up the house, organizing, and then hopping in the shower. The act of cleaning seems to set some really powerful energy in motion. I want more of that.

Explore a few new places in the city.
I love Montreal, and I love exploring the city. Winter tends to put a damper on my joy of going out - it’s very hard to enjoy a stroll around the city when it’s driving snow or freezing cold outside. BUT! I’m going to try and explore at least two new places in the city, be it a restaurant, a building, a new experience. I’m hoping I can find some new favourite places.

Learn, try some new things, and learn some more
Between completing my first french course, reading five books, writing daily, and trying a few new art-related things, I’m going to be learning a bunch of new things in February. I’m also hoping to apply to University again, and hopefully start getting on track with my degree again. We’ll see - I might even be able to fit some sort of dance class in there!

Make an art piece + collect my portfolio
My art is scattered all over the place, in my house, and also halfway across the country. I’m hoping to get my portfolio collected and sorted this month, partly for applying for university, and partly just so I can see all my art gathered in one place and feel good about it (and myself). I’m also hoping to work through a large-scale art piece from start to finish. And of course, document the process so I can talk about it!

Make writing and tea-drinking a daily habit
One of the most valuable things I do every year is Nanowrimo. Sitting down and making writing a daily practice is one of the greatest feelings. I have never felt more creative, more productive, and been able to see tangible growth and progress than when I’m writing a target of words every day. Couple that with a good cup of tea (and hopefully dipping in to our TOO LARGE stash of teas) and I’m hoping I’ll have two new daily habits to add to my growing list.

Take care of the body and mind
Through a daily goal of at least 5 minutes of exercise (no rules as to what it is, although I’m hoping to do some heavier exercise this month by finally signing up at the YMCA), as well as spending a bit of time every day to meditate and stretch my body, I want to take better care of my body and my mind. Because I have the chance to do that, this month, so I might as well take it!

What are your goals for the month? Do you any unique methods of keeping track of your goals, or any system you use? I also keep a page in my bullet journal tracking my goals! Let me know in the comments!

Friday, November 20, 2015


How was your week, everyone? Mine was good - a busy one, full of writing, writing, writing. Honestly I know that doesn't sound thrilling in any way, but it's been such a great feeling for me that sitting down each night to write has been the highlight of my week. That, and Dragon Age: Inquisition (I'm late to the boat, yes, but I also got the game for 20 bucks. So...40 bucks richer?)

Anyway, on with the links!!


This is a really great piece on rape culture, putting in to words things I've struggled to.

As someone who hates winter, and lived her childhood smack-dab in midwestern Canada, I can agree with everything Sarah says. And I must put them all in to practice ASAP.

This post made me cry. Here's to all the single moms out there.

Morticia Addams in the bomb. Here's a great post about her.

A really fun read : inside the leagues of lady wrestlers.

The women of WWII were stone-cold badasses. Lest we forget.

Oh, be still my heart. This is a dream of a store.

What's that? You want more funny art history? Here, some sick German horses.

Stop comparing websites and start creating shit.

Small acts of kindness = wonderful things.

Oh, I love this article. Cheers to ladies reinventing themselves.

The tender art of 'midwestern nice'. Something that extends up in to Canada too.

A great article on the importance of Serena Williams.

Whoo, an interview that flips the script: 15 famous men asked if they're 'feminists'.

On portraying blackness in video games, and why we STILL need diversity in games.  

Money's been tight on my end of the world, so I needed to read this. Especially this time of year.

Well that's it for links this week! What have you been reading on the internet this week? Anything to share, please do!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I'm obsessed with books. I am never without a book on hand, and everyone always laughs that they never see me with the same book twice. I read a lot. Some of the books are really good, and some of them are really bad. Despite the fact that I tend to read mostly fantasy and historical fiction, I'm trying to read some other genres and expand what I'm reading. I post more detailled reviews on my Goodreads account. Here's what I've been reading this month:


by Naomi Novik
This was by and large my favourite book of the month - I can’t properly describe how awesome this book is. I love me my fantasy, even though it can often be the same story over and over again. This book has one of the most terrifying enemies ever, along with grouchy wizards and magical forests. And a kickass female character, to-boot. And a glowing review on the cover from my favourite author was enough to persuade me to pick this book up. I was AMAZED by how unique the book was, while sticking true to pretty much all of the things I love about fantasy - dark mystery, badass girls, magic, legends, tradition - it had everything I wanted and MORE. Definitely my favourite read of the month - and I would highly suggest you guys all give it a read, too.

Kitchen Creamery 
by Louella Hill

I don’t usually read non-fiction books, but when I do, it’s for a good reason. Part how-to, part cookbook, part encyclopedia, every time I picked up Kitchen Creamery, I marveled (aloud) at how freakin’ COOL making yogurt, cheese and butter is. The author makes a very complex process easy, informative and completely do-able for even the most unscientific of us. C’mon, guys, you can learn how to make cheese. From mozzarella to goat cheese to freakin’ blue cheese, to all sorts of yogurts and creams and butters - it’s pretty much the coolest little book I’ve read. And it’s gorgeously designed, to boot!

A is for Arsenic 
by Kathryn Harkup

So, I have to admit, I honestly have never read an Agatha Christie book. But I was drawn to the really sharp design of this book’s cover, and when I learned that it focused on poisons used in Agatha Christie’s novels, I was sold. The author goes through a number of poisons used to kill victims in her novel, looking at how Christie herself learned about them (She was a fascinating woman!!) and also how they’re made, what they do, and every other strange but wonderful tidbit you could ever want to learn about poison. A great, fascinating, fact-filled read. 
The Glass sentence 
by S.E. Grove

Another great book I read this month - I’d been glancing at this book for ages before I finally picked up a copy, and loved it! Another really great fantasy novel - aimed at a younger audience, but still so good! It has a very ‘Golden Compass’ feel to it - time was broken apart in the early 1800s, and now all different areas of the earth are different times in history. Fascinating and really fun, also had a really, really compelling antagonist. If you prefer pirates and steampunk to castles and damsels, I would highly recommend (and I would also recommend even if you like castles and damsels - it’s that good!)

The Incarnations
 by Susan Barker

 So, I did not finish this book - simply because it just got too damn depressing for me. I caught on to the climax of the book the moment I picked it up, and although I found the book chilling, creepy and really interesting (Chinese history! Mysteries! Mythology and legends!) the main character just didn’t catch my attention; I wound up hating him after the first page. And once I learned where the book was going, I really wasn’t interested in finishing it. But! If you like mysteries and creepy, ancient legends, or Chinese history in any way, give the book a try - let me know what you think!

by Julie Murphy

A cute book that I picked up to read when the reblog book club started reading it. I posted a full-length review of it on my tumblr (or at least some thoughts on it, and my feelings). While I wasn’t super impressed with the ending, Dumplin’ is a sweet, heartwarming book with a really great, fun, human protagonist (who also happens to be a happily fat teenage girl). Dumplin’ deals with a lot of issues, while smothering them in a really lovable southern charm. Definitely give the book a read - I’m loving all the hype it’s getting! Hooray for unapologetic fat girls as main characters! 

by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Faith Erin Hicks

Oh, my love for this comic series is never ending. I picked up the first collection of the first-four comics the other day at my bookstore, and now I can’t stop reading it. It’s like if moonrise kingdom met gravity falls, for all you nerds out there. Basically it has everything - awesome girls kicking butt, magical creepy mysteries, and a hilarious girl-scout type camp. It’s funny, heartwarming, and entertaining in every way. If you haven’t started reading these comics - please, do yourself a favour and GET THEM RIGHT NOW.

A Darker Shade of Magic 
by V.E. Schwab

The third and final favourite book of the month, this book absolutely took my breath away (plus, look at that gorgeous cover). A story of parallel, magical Londons, organized by colour. A magical boy who can jump between them. A girl thief who somehow finds herself wrapped up in this. It’s got crazy magic-hungry villains, awesome fight scenes, a really heartwarming plot, and just…a great fantasy. I would highly recommend this book, but be warned, it’s the type of book that makes you want to stay in that world forever (and so far, there is no sequel or anything. So…be prepared!) 


What have you been reading this month? Anything you think I should pick up? I'd love to hear any suggestions or thoughts on the books I read this month!