Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Journey through Adoption: Part I

When I first released my blog out into the worldwide web, I did it because I wanted to share my story with others who might be or who will one day be in my position. So... here it goes.

I remember the day, I found out I was pregnant. My period was 2 weeks late, but I didn't really notice because my period was always a bit weird. I was feeling more tired than usual, but it was because I had been partying and drinking every night. The idea that I might be pregnant popped into my head randomly during the middle of my lifeguarding shift. My close friend, and supervisor at the time, was walking by me, gave my hand a squeeze because she was excited about the party I was hosting that night. Without even thinking, I let my mind slip and say, "I think I might be pregnant". She was shocked, obviously. I quickly recovered and brushed the idea off as being stupid. I didn't think of it afterwards.

After my shift, I stopped by the grocery store close to my house to grab some dinner. I also grabbed a pregnancy test. I think somewhere deep down knew; knew the entire time that I was pregnant. I walked into my empty house. My family was gone on vacation and I was by myself for ten days. I calmly put the groceries away, climbed up the stairs and walked into my parent's bathroom. I unwrapped the kit, read the instructions and, still very calmly, peed on the stick. I sat on the edge of the bathtub waiting with no thoughts or voices in my head. Just silence.

The pregnancy test showed positive within 10 seconds. I thought it was a mistake because the test was supposed to take at least 2 minutes before showing any results. So I waited the full 2 minutes staring at the stick, simply waiting for it to show negative.... but I knew.

I started to cry. I sat there on the bathroom floor, hugging my knees and just cried my heart out. I cried because I was lonely. I cried for the boyfriend I had just lost. I cried for my baby. But I mostly cried, because I saw my beautifully planned life fall apart in seconds. I think I cried for about 10 minutes. I just remember feeling lightning bolts of pain shooting back and forth through my heart.

I eventually reached my cell phone, dialled up my supervisor and told her to go buy me another test. Being asian, my second thought was how I should have bought the kit with two tests. It would have been cheaper. I filled up my water bottle and sat on my front porch to wait for my friend. It seemed like forever. I don't remember what was running through my mind at the time.

After my friend arrived, time started flying. The test showed positive once again.... within 10 seconds once again. My friend hugged me as the few remaining tears I had left rolled down my face. She packed me into the car and drove me to the nearby walk-in clinic. The secretary was I girl I went to school with. We talked cheerfully, with me acting like nothing was wrong. We were told to come back in an hour and the doctor would be ready for us. My friend walked me to Shoppers Drug Mart and bought me some prenatal vitamins. I didn't understand anything. What do you mean I have to take multi-vitamin pills everyday for the whole pregnancy? Why do they cost so much? Don't they come in bulk?

When we came back to the clinic, we were quickly put into a room. The doctor who entered my room was a joke sent from God. He was young, indian and very nervous. I told him I thought I was pregnant which made his nervousness skyrocket. He kept stumbling over every word. I could hear him praying that he wouldn't say the wrong thing to the young pregnant girl in his office. He got me to do another pregnancy test. All I could think of as I was peeing was how I shouldn't have even bothered with the other two pregnancy tests seeing how the clinic gave unlimited, free tests. I just wasted $50.

My pregnancy was officially declared in these words, "Well..... the test confirms..... that you are.... you know.... what you thought.... you were".

I could barely hear him over the jangling of the change in his pocket. He looked like he was going to cry. I felt so bad so I cracked some jokes to lighten the mood. It made the jangling change even louder.

My friend and I left the clinic laughing, with only minutes to spare before the pool staff was due at my house. Sure enough, two of them were waiting by my door when I got home.

I got changed, plastered a fake smile on my face and went to make drinks. Everyone arrived punctually, which is something unheard of in our circles. I laughed and had a good time despite my anger at not being allowed to drink anything, but, the whole time, I felt like a ghost hovering over the scene. After some drinking games, we all piled into me and my friend's car and drove to a nearby bar where all the other pools were gathering.

I got out of the car, and the first person I see turn the corner is D. "Whatever," I thought. I spent the night with one eye on D and the other eye laughing with my friends. I was determined to not ruin the night. He looked at me once. An hour later, I saw him get into his car with a strange blonde, a few pool friends and drive off.

Eventually, we all got bored and returned to my house for a massive sleepover-fest. I was exhausted and the only one not drunk. I quickly put on my pjs and crawled into bed. A few of the staff climbed in too and we stayed up for a good 2 hours just gossiping and joking around. It was actually really fun, and made me forget my pregnancy for a bit. I fell asleep with the sound of all my friends having a blast in my house.

I woke up the next morning and quickly took my prenatal vitamins. My trip down motherhood had started.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The "D" encounter

So, I told D I was keeping the baby (through text... isn't that just lovely). His textual response was "Ok. That's fine".
After a shrug of my shoulders, I didn't bother to think about him. (Isn't our relationship healthy?)

I happened to run into him at work 5 days later. I was at the library and decided to stop by the pool to visit my friend. D saw me through the pool window and commanded one of the lifeguards to tell me to come talk to him.

I'm fat and over-heating as it is, why the hell would I go stand on a 100 degree pool deck?

So, I stayed in the office and waited for him to go on break (which was in 15 mins anyways). He came in, glared at me and stormed out into the sidehall. I rolled my eyes at my nearest co-worker and followed him.

He whipped around and loudly stated, "So. Is this IT? Are you finally done changing your mind?" I love how HE said it; as if I actually enjoyed struggling with this decision and did it for fun.

We ended up arguing in circles because he DEMANDED joint custody. I flatly stated that until this point, I had never seen him act like a parent and needed him to prove this to me before I felt comfortable giving him my baby. He has never been there, knows absolutely nothing about the baby (besides her sex) and actually thinks he's entitled to be her father because he has to pay child support.

My question was, "If I hadn't asked for child support. Would you even be standing here?"

No answer.

He got so riled up and couldn't articulate anything. I think that he thinks I'm wanting full custody as a way to punish him for being such an ass. Apparently, the only way I can prove to him that this isn't true is by giving him joint custody. I wish you could see the look on my face as a write this. It's a face of complete disgust. Talking to him is like talking to a wall.

We are scheduled to sit actually sit down and talk without any disruption (or at least in an environment where we can yell at the top of our lungs and not get reproachful looks) on Monday night. After that, if things don't get worked out, lawyers are going to be brought in.

I can't believe my life is coming to this. I feel like this life isn't mine, and I'm just an outsider watching. I'm 22 and am preparing for a custody battle. Really? REALLY? How did it end up like this. Whatever. I'm going to win anyways.

Cool Discovery of the Day

To buy these AWESOME laptop sleeves :

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fashion vs. Functionality

Dress N3

by Sebastian Errazuriz is composed of 120 separate pieces that you can zip together in a number of different ways to create various combinations / different outfits.

The DIY Renewable Dress by Fernando Brízio has pockets sewn into the dress to hold washable markers. After about an hour, the marker ink has soaked into the dress creating a custom color scheme and pattern. The dress can then be washed giving you a clean palette to start all over again.

Images from fuel your creativity.

Why I believe a Mac will fulfill my life.

I desperately want a Mac laptop. I was converted earlier in the Fall but have yet to save up the resources necessary to purchase a beautiful Mac. (Crib, car seat, stroller, and diapers are consuming my savings)

Here are the reasons why I believe a Mac will fulfill my life:

  • Its Powerpoint animation is to die for (my favourite is the "cube"). Sidenote: did you know that Apple created powerpoint and sold it to Microsoft?
  • Every serious designer owns a Mac.
  • Macs are built to last (unlike my stupid HP Tablet).
  • Mac will not freeze on me (unlike my stupid HP Tablet).
  • Mac offers original and outstanding templates.
  • Just the look of a Mac causes inspiration.

There's always this argument with artists and creative people. Do the tools you use really help create inspiration?

I believe that the answer is: YES..... to a certain extent.

I'm a marketer.

It is my job to convince you to realize that the tools you use (ie. the products I'm selling) will change your life and THAT is why you should spend the money to buy it. Of course, this marketing proposition isn't always true. Some of the stuff really is useless.

I compare the tools you use to create your art to your settings. The environment that surrounds writers, painters, web designers, etc. is very important. Some writers need a peaceful getway, away from reality, to create their masterpieces. Some artists thrive on busy streets where commotion is their inspiration.

I need to have music on when I write. I tried to multi-task and listen to my talk-radio stations as I wrote. Couldn't concentrate. I write best when I'm in my bed, late at night. Or, I have to be sitting in my big armchair by my HUGE window with no one around me.

Just as the atmosphere is important, so are the tools used. On my desk, you'll find 10 different neon highlighters, multi-colored pens (both ball-point and gel), 4 different sized and colored post-it pads and a collection of STAEDTLER watercolor pencils heaping inside my metal desk organizer. Behind my massive inventory of writing utensils, you can see an equally massive stack of different notebooks, artbooks and folders.

Maybe it's just my obsession with organizing that I have all these different tools, but I really find that using certain objects help inspire creative thoughts.

And, of course, flipchart paper. Flipchart paper is THE BEST PURCHASE YOU'LL EVER MAKE. Nothing like a big piece of paper just waiting to be filled to spure you on.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day minus 7 of THE JOB

So I got the job as marketing intern for TEG! I'm super excited. I got my own email account and access to the project management today.

After a small squeal of glee, I immediately started reading everything. I already have 31 emails! I don't even start until February 1!!! I feel so professional. I actually have a REAL job in my field! Ha ha!

I spent 2 hours exploring the project management system. I'm going to be one busy girl this February. My first project to attack is to create a "how-to" cleaning video. I haven't done any film work since Grade 12 when I was determined to break into the film industry. Those days seem so long ago but I still remember the thrill of seeing my video slowly come together. It was very rewarding. Along with the video, I have 5 other small projects to do while simultaneously create a new and original marketing campaign. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!

My target is to increase sales by 50%. When I first saw this number, I balked. How am I, a newly-budding marketer, supposed to do this? Then, I remembered an article by one of my newest blog obsessions, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Awesome article; it basically breaks down every marketers dream, how to find paying clients. Little steps and personalization is the best way to find the best clients. Consumers love being given exactly what they want and get showered with attention. It makes us feel special.

Small steps. If I find 3 paying clients a weekend, or if I'm ambitious, one client a day... it'll start adding up. We want customers that will stay with us forever and spread the word. These loyal customers deserve our attention.

Beyond the excitement of the new job, my weekend was spent baby shopping. I got a BUNCH of sleepers and onesies from my friend who's baby just outgrew all his size 0-3 month outfits. Lucky me. Hopefully, he'll outgrow his car seat by March and I'll get to borrow that jewel too! Going to see a crib at IKEA tomorrow. With any luck, I can get that purchase done and over with. I want to get as much ready as possible by mid-February.

In addition to my crazy shopping, I've been crazy reading. And not just storybook-reading! But blog reading, funeral reading, Google Adwords reading, SEO reading, Personal finance reading, and oh-so-much more. Inspring blogs of the week: Lena Corwin (inspiration through image), Jenerally Speaking (inspiration through humor), I Will Teach You To Be Rich (inspiration through money).

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed the last few days. Inspirationally overwhelmed.

The thing I love about inspiration is that it facilitates dreaming. The instant inspiration hits you, whether it's through a photo, song, phrase, your brain automatically starts daydreaming. When I dream, I dream of wants. I tried really hard to think of some daydreams I have that don't involve "wanting" something.... I came up blank.

I was reading Jenerally Speaking yesterday, and after laughing really hard, started daydreaming about living the 'simple girl life'. A life that is carefree. Go to work. Go out for after-work-drinks. Go out for late dinner with the girls. Go home to a quiet apartment of your own. No worries about babies. No worries about custody battles. Just fun times.

I'll be having fun... but it's just going to be a different kind. I wonder how much I'll miss this life. A life where the only responsibility I had was to go to work and pay off my cellphone bill. Speaking of bills... my credit card is due. Whew... good thing I just remembered! Must go do that now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blog Design Usability

Jakob Nielsen is the guru of web design usability. His tips are the foundation to building a fantastic website.

The article I found particularly interesting was Weblog Usuability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes.

The reason I'm posting a blog about this is because:

  1. I'm still working on the web design of my new blog and I found these tips immensely helpful
  2. I'm tired of reading other people's blog that are horribly designed.

Here are the 6 tips I found most useful:

  1. Links Don't Say Where They Go

    I hate going to blogs and seeing every other word underlined and linking to somewhere. I never click on the link unless I know what to expect. People are already time-poor. No one has time to click on these unknown links.

    Using link titles is one way to create good links. (Link titles should be less than 80 characters, and should only rarely go above 60 characters. Shorter link titles are better). Or, you can just clearly state what the link is linking to.

  2. Classic Hits are Buried

    Don't assume that everyone who comes to you blog has been there from the beginning. Link to past entries in order to help the reader understand where you are coming from.

    An easy way to do this is to clearly state at the top of your entry

    "Read this first: (link 1) and (link 2)".

  3. The Calendar is the Only Navigation

    By nature, blog are listed in a descending timeline. Correctly categorizing your blog posts helps readers find related topics, thereby increasing the likliehood that they will return to your blog.

    Good categories are sufficiently detailed but not too long. Having 10-20 categories is good. Too many are just overwhelming and readers will glaze past them.

  4. Irregular Publishing Frequency

    What's that saying? Less is more.

    This definitely hold true to blogs (and tweets for that matter). You want readers to come running to your website and devour your latest update. If readers don't know when to expect your blog post, the less likely they will return to your site. If you're serious about blogging, set up a publication schedule. That's what I do. I write my articles the night before and then upload them at an opportune time the next day.

    The same with tweeting. You want people to take the time and read what you wrote. If you saturate your readers with meaningless post after post, people will start ignoring you. Their eyes will automatically skip over your writing. You don't want that!


  5. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

    Here's one of my constant dilemmas. Is what I'm writing going to bite me in the ass? There are TONS of topics about my personal life that I'd love to write about. But I hold back because the contents might be seen as inappropriately personal to a potential boss. Until I'm successful and so valuable that bosses don't care WHAT I SAY, then I'll write without any boundaries.

  6. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service

    This is why I'm going through all this effort to create my own website.

    Neilsen says, quote, "Having a weblog address ending in,, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously".

Monday, January 18, 2010

The only audience that matters is you

I am exhausted to the core.

I spent the last hour on the computer trying to strum up some energy to write today's blog. Couldn't do it. So I promptly shut down my computer and decided to retire only to restart the computer 15 minutes later. The annoying thing about my writing is that I like to write in the moment. You know you've finally gotten the hang of blog writing with your thoughts come in blog articles.

I knew that if I waited until tomorrow morning to write, the result would not be the same as it would be right now.

Today was a decent day. It started off fine and just got more tiring from then on.

I did some yoga this morning in order to jump start the baby-fat burning. Ended up hurting my lower back.

Later, when the creative juices in my mind started flowing, my back prevented me from reaching my beloved post-it notes in time. Many thoughts and ideas were lost in the attempt. They will be truly missed.

The highlight of my day was when I watched Objectified, a documentary by Gary Hustwit.

The video is about the interaction between humans and the design of all the objects surrounding them. It was an excellent documentary. I would've preferred if it had some better background music to keep the video more upbeat. But still, a fantastic documentary. The video definitely made me think.

I love design. I wish I was a true designer; the kind with all the training and knowledge.

Instead, I'm just a designer at heart.

I think what differentiates a designer from everyone else in the world is their special "third eye". Everywhere you look, design surrounds you. True designers see this and not only acknowledge the design but think of what can be improved and how to make it better. Design can always be improved because technology is constantly changing the way we do things.

One industrial designer in Objectified said, "True designers want their products to look like no design was put into it. [It should feel so intuitively natural]".

I don't entirely agree with this statement. Yes, good design should make the product innately easy to use..... but a unique design is what makes objects stand out from other objects.

Take a chair. The functionality of a chair differs only slightly, but uniquely designed chairs (with funky chairs and colours) are purchased because of their screaming design and form.

Designers are the true innovators of tomorrow. I find something fascinating about how designers interact with the world THROUGH design. When you pay attention, it is overwhelming to see how design truly affects every part of your life. From the bench you sit on at the bus stop to the shape of your toothbrush. Imagine what it'd be like if SUPREME design was embedded into every object we encountered in our daily lives. I would imagine it'd be like living in Japan. They have such a forward design thinking and aren't afraid (or poor) to implement it everywhere.

I want beautiful design to touch my life at every point possible. I'm determined to only spend money on things that fit this criteria.

One of the speakers I liked the most in Objectified, Rob Walker, a write for the New York Times Magazine, said that the whole point of purchasing is to find a connection with a true item that truly reflect the true story of who you are because really.....

the only audience that matters is you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is being too open a bad thing???

This is The Big argument my family and I are having at the moment. Actually, it's been an argument since I was a child.

I've talked about my hate for secrecy and lies in quite a few blog posts.

I've always spoken candidly about my life; however, this is a no-no in the Asian culture.

Asian people are very private about 2 things: family and honor. Everything (including lying) must be done in order to preserve these two entities.

One of my biggest struggles in life has been to try and find a balance between two dramatically different cultures: Western vs. Asian. My soul speaks and understands Western culture. My family/ home overflows with Asian culture. The two collide more often than one can imagine. It's a constant struggle to make decisions because the two cultures usually dictate opposite ways of behaving.

So, my answer to this is: FUCK IT.

I'm going to live my life, MY way and screw what either culture thinks. I do what I feel is right and I don't care.

The baby's future is determined. I followed my heart. My daughter is staying with me. Despite this happy news, Asian culture demands that I feel ashamed. Unwed mothers are heavily frowned upon... especially SINGLE, unwed mothers. I want to scream my joy. But I can't.

My parents spent an hour lecturing me on how and why I should remain quiet until the baby is born.

"You are too open," were their words.

"You've already destroyed this baby's happiness by letting everyone know that you were considering adoption. When this baby finds out, she's going to hate you".

My mind immediately rebels and I say, "She'll hate me if I lie to her. She'll always know the truth".

My parents wave away my naive parenting thoughts.

"You must not tell anyone about your decision. Things will happen as time passes and you should leave things alone. Your friends may or may not turn their backs on you. And if they do, who knows what they'll say or do to you".

Maybe this is my "white" side coming out but I believe in kind humans. I believe that not everyone is going to turn out to be backstabbing, resentful individuals even if life shits on them.

Look at me.

I've had so many people hurt me, use me, and lie to me.

What happened to that perfect apartment I was raving about a few weeks ago?

I'll tell you; my now ex-friend, who had repeatedly confirmed that she was going to move out with me, backed out at the last second. Despite talking to her for over a month, constantly making sure that this was what she really wanted, asking if her family was okay with this.... she lied. Whether she was lying to herself or to me doesn't matter... in the end, I was the one that got hurt. I really never thought she'd do that. Leave me hanging when I basically had nothing left to hold onto.

Still, I believe in good people.

I am not to tell my best friend that I'm keeping the baby.

I am not to tell my cousin that I'm keeping the baby.

I am to be silent.

And why?

For what?

What's wrong with telling the truth? What's wrong with being open?

I don't care if people talk. They don't mean anything to me. They are not worth my time.

So then WHY am I spending so much energy making sure that these people, these people who I don't even care about, are given priority?

Being given the opportunity to remain at home until I can create some financial stability is a gift. It is very generous of my parents to stand by me.

But am I supposed to repay them with a removal of my 'self'?

Am I really supposed to turn away from my principle of honesty, which is so important to me, in order to thank them?

Or should I just keep my mouth shut and appreciate everything they are doing for me?

Do I value myself over them?

I pray to God everyday that He finds someway to give me money.

Give me my independence back so that I may find a way to live MY life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finding Passion

Oh my. It's already 2 o'clock and I haven't started any school work.

I've re-filled my water bottle, smeared wonderful smelling shea butter on my hands, put on some soft music and am ready to pour out my soul into today's blog post.

I'm having a baby. Just wanted to state that and move on. I'm going to do it. I'm going to be a mother and everything else that I want to be in the world.

I'm in no rush to reach all my dreams, I mean, half the fun is in the adventure to get their right?

As I'm writing today's blog, I'm also doodling in my art book.... in WATER COLORS! I haven't painted in years.

And as soon as I wrote that, I ran through my room and my sister's room trying to locate my water color pencils. Found them! ... in the bottom drawer at the back of my sister's closet.

Yesterday, I talked about happiness. I thought about happiness. I cannot conclude anything about happiness.

In my mind... it's a no brainer what happiness is, but when I try and write it out, try to apply it.... blankness. I think the reason the idea of happiness has suddenly taken over my life this past week is because I went from knowing what made me happy to NOT knowing. I was, out of nowhere, faced with all these options that forced me to think of other ways I could make myself happy. And not just short-term happiness; I had to unexpectedly re-evaluate everything I knew about my long-term happiness. What makes me happy? Are the things that make me happy right or wrong?

Thinking about happiness is getting me nowhere.

Passion however. Passion is something I can hold in my hands.

I am passionate about living life as fully as I can. I am passionate about creating and keeping meaningful friendships. I am passionate about creating things with my hands and my mind. I am passionate about learning and using that knowledge to change the world. I am passionate about clothes and creating beauty. I am passionate about writing and observing the world. I am passionate about being an individual and being one-of-a-kind.

My passions are what make me who I am. It's what makes me different from another person and another and another.

I've been going crazy on the internet; twittering, meeting all these new people.

People who I find inspirational.

People who I find fascinating.

People who I find insightful.

People who I find funny.

People who are amazing artists.

I've been reading about these people and I want to be them. They have one clear voice. One clear mind. I want to do the things they were doing because it would make me more like them.... and I'd be admired. (Twisted thinking?? Yes... I'm well aware of that).

I've been so jumbled up lately that untwisting myself has been painful. But, I'm getting there. I can feel it in my bones that my time for change is coming. I've been begging to God for years to change my life.... and it has come.

I always tell my friends, if you don't bother changing your shitty life now, God will do it for you and it probably won't be an easy win that He throws you.

Well, my throw was a baby and re-figuring my life has taken many sleepless nights, so much re-thinking and so so many tears. But, it's almost over. All the pieces are starting to fall permanently in place.

So, I've decided. I've decided where I want to go in life. What I want to do with life. (notice I say WITH not IN).

I started off with thinking about a word. In one word, how would I describe myself. Artist was the first thing that popped into my head. This actually surprised me; I haven't considered myself a true artist since I was a kid with all my pencil crayons, paints and paper. But, I realized that the term artist doesn't have to involve just art art... like a true artist, art can be molded into another form.

My art is more the art of the mind. I like thinking, I like dreaming. So my art is the art of my dreams which I plan on materializing into life.

Life is short. You have to organize your life efficiently in order to maximize your time here on Earth. I like being busy; having things to do, but this last trimester, I've found myself with so much free time that I end up filling my time with small things that I enjoy. Who cares if it furthers my career or if it increases my learning! It makes that one day a little bit more special.

With this social media phenomenon, people are rushing back to their computers to see what's been happening since they last checked. That stuff is fun but, you can't live life through a computer screen. Virtual relationships are great... but what about the relationship you have with yourself? I really enjoy writing my blog. I do it for myself and for whoever else is interested, but that's not my priorty. I keep reading lists and lists of how to make your blog stand out from the crowd.

  1. Choose a topic. 2) Write frequently. 3) Cater to your audience..........

I don't want to do that. Not yet. I just want to keep things simple and write about my life. I've learnt so much from just observing and hearing about other people's lives. I want to be able to do that for somebody else.

I have lots of talents, abilities, knowledge. I don't WANT to just choose one or two that I'm good at and focus on that. That's too stifling for my personality. So, I decide that I'm just going to do everything and see how that goes.

I don't want my blog to be stable. I want it to reflect exactly how I think and what I'm experiencing at that moment. It's my story.

So here's where I'm going from here. I'm going to really start up my underwear business because I just LOVE underwear too much. I couldn't decide which project to start on but I feel like being crafty so underwear is definitely the way to go.

I'm going to NOT let the business overload my life by taking some easy measures

  • Meditate before going to bed
  • Breathe in some fresh air everyday (even if that means sticking my nose out my window for 5 mins)
  • Blogging as often as I can.... writing is a way to keep me on track and to just think outloud
  • Simply take some time off and re-evaluate when needed. The fear of losing my passion will keep me from falling off the wagon.

I like multi-tasking. I'm really good at it. So I'm not worried about losing my path again. I just have to focus on what I want and keep focusing on it until I don't want to anymore.

I know where my priorities lie (which makes life a lot easier). I'm going to finish my little painting and finish my funeral plan for school.

No rush... everything will happen in time.

Women vs. Men: Round 239

I'm finally realizing what it's like to be a TRULY busy, adult woman.

I spend the first 1-2 hours of my day checking emails, returning emails, checking twitter, checking facebook, checking the news (which I usually get from reading tweets) and of course, feeding myself.

I sit at my computer the majority of the day working on school assignments, my side projects, exploring the internet and just staying connected with people.

The social media world is definitely taking over my life and I don't hate it. I kind of like it. I feel like everyday, I'm learning something new. I'm learning about people. How they live their lives, etc.

Then I think about baby and HOW I'm going to manage.

WORK LIFE BALANCE is the official term- a term that I hate. But, it's true. Women face different challenges in life than men do. I remember reading this article a month back explaining why women experience more stress with their multitude of roles than men. REASON? Men are more selfish, therefore have less difficulty with their roles. Women, on the other hand, are usually more caring about others and want to please as many people as possible. Her children, her husband, her friends, her job, her dog, her mother, etc.

I usually don't like to separate men from women. I like to think that we're all the same and that each individual has differences and those differences should not be based on sex. Then I experienced the true stupidity of man. I am forced to admit that there are LARGE differences between men and women. I read this blog post called A Rant About Women... and I loved it.

This whole discussion of women vs. men leads to stereotyping and, for many of us, a total disregard of the topic. Especially in my generation, we don't like talking about this kind of stuff. We believe in total equity and facing small truths like "women ARE different from men and there's nothing you can do about it" causes extreme discomfort in us.

I love being a man. Ok, let me re-word that... I love being a tom-boy. I think like a man. I don't mind burping like a man. I check women out when they walk by. I'm not bi-sexual by any means, it's just that I understand the male mind. It's simple. Things are simple. And there's SOOOO much less stress.

I find guys approach things with less emotion. Even the girliest guy I know isn't as emotional as the hardest woman I know. Of course, hormones are always to blame for the female craziness that is emotion, but guys experience hormonal changes too. Then how come they don't act all crazy?

I think it's because society has forced them to keep their emotions in check. Society looks down on the emotional man. We've embraced the metro-sexual man... but if the dude starts crying just because he feels like it (which, DON'T LIE!!! Even the strongest women do)...

Society would say, "Dude, stop crying and grow some balls".

I hate being emotional. I try really hard to keep my feelings in check. I find women who are hard are more respected than soft-women.

So, here's the ultimate question?

How am I supposed to create the perfect work-life balance if I'm a woman, who will naturally have stress-break downs, be buried under raging hormones and be surrounded stupid men?

Note: Not all men are stupid. I know many fantastic men that I truly and deeply respect. I just think when it comes to women, men are dense and don't truly understand. Since we live side-by-side and depend on each other to survive and pro-create.... we have to try and find SOME medium ground that allows us all to excel.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

typical day

I'm exhausted.

After spending the day twittering, facebooking, and planning my funeral (class project), I am worn out and want to snuggle in my bed with a good book.

Unfortunately, I did not allow myself to borrow or buy any fiction novels (my biggest weakness in the world) in order to force myself to read my textbooks. Ya... definitely not going to happen. Tonight is meant for relaxing.

Before I go, I want to share some pictures of what I plan to do with my body in the event of death.

Funeral planning is actually kind of fun.... if you want your funeral to be outrageous.

Which mine just might be....

Designing Happiness: Part 2

So, to continue with my best friend's "special guy".

He woke up and decided to change. And he did.... he actually completely, 360 degrees changed his life for the better.

His first step was to hire a life coach (because, honestly, what does a loner man know about being fantastic?)

I don't have the details of what the life coach did with him but whatever it was, it WORKED.

This hero had never been to a concert before. So he decided to attend one with The Frey, someone else and One Republic. He accidentally bumped into the lead singer of One Republic. They started talking and suddenly, he was invited backstage to meet everyone.

Then, the hero went his first hockey game. Happened to meet one of the big-time players, striked up another fantastic conversation, was invited to a bunch of parties and met more fantastic people.

The hero didn't like his body (he's a small, scrawny, asian guy). So, instead of just going to the gym like a regular person, he decided to take a one-week personal trainer's course instead. He designed a unique regime for himself and ended up talking about it. Before you know it, people were calling him up and asking if he could train them following his regime. So NOW, he has a fantastic body, fantastic followers and is a fantastic fitness trainer.

There's more.

He didn't like his job (something many of us can connect with). So, he went and got trained in this new software (I didn't really understand the technical specifications my best friend described). Anyways, the hero is extremely smart and was able to become completely trained in the software. His unique knowledge allowed him to get immediately snatched up by a company. Now, he's responsible for fantastic clients and makes a fantastic salary ($100/hour on average). He creates his own hours, works when he feels like it and has the dream career.

There's still more.

He's never travelled. So, for Christmas, he decided to pack his bags and backpack across Europe for a week. That's all the time his friend had. The hero returned to Canada and within a few weeks, traveled to Europe again to do some more backpacking for a week.

Since then, the hero has travelled to a bunch of different countries, exposing himself to so many amazing experiences and cultures.

My best friend got to talk to the hero at one party and left completely inspired to do more with his life. He described the hero as extremely down-to-earth, humble and an easy going guy.

It's people like this that I admire. People who see a problem, take charge and, most importantly, commit to their plan. People like this are rare..... but they don't need to be.

It's all about keeping focus.

Keep your goal at the fore front of your mind and with every step you take... make sure that it brings you closer to that dream.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Designing Happiness

My best friend found his hero this holiday. He described the guy as really "special".

This guy was a loner. He was extremely anti-social and was doing nothing with his life.
He worked, went home, went to bed, and then woke up to start the cycle again. The most mundane, un-meaningful life one can imagine.

One day, he woke up and realized that he hated himself. He hated how he looked, how he spoke, how he acted, how he lived. He hated everything.

In that instant, he decided that he wanted to change.

People say this all the time. People also know that the change rarely lasts.

I love the feeling I get from working out. At least once a month, I make a vow and a detailed plan laying out how I'm going to get my ass to the gym. I've only followed through 3 times with each attempt lasting for about 1 week.

The BIG question in life is why can't we permanently change? I took a managing change course last semester and my prof spent a full lecture on this idea of why people can't change. His conclusion? It is IMPOSSIBLE to change. Period.

"It's not about changing", he said. "It's about adapting". I actually kept the notes I took that day but for the life of me, I can't find it right now. I'll get back to this idea after I find my papers. He had a very sound theory.

Anyways, this whole idea of change is in an attempt to do what? Create happiness right? People want to be happy and successful and, often, they don't know how to. This blog I like to follow, Presentation Zen, laid out 9 Simple Ways to Bring Happiness into your Life.

This got me thinking about people's pursuit to happiness. How do individuals find happiness in their lives? What do they do to make their lives happy?

The first article I read got me thinking about how insanely busy women find happiness. With this baby, I'm forced to think about joining these ranks.

Everyone has a different view and idea of happiness. Some people argue that happiness comes from living a balanced life. Some say it's from having children. Some say it's from having a successful career. Others argue happiness comes from religion.

For me, happiness comes from within. Live your life keeping true to yourself.

I find happiness in the simple things; like a big, comfy chair to read in. I have a huge list in my precious notebook that is titled: ALL I REALLY WANT IN LIFE. I have stuff like: big windows, ONE pretty, wooden cutting board I can cut and serve food on, to sit on a beach at least once a year, etc.

I'm in a constant battle with myself over whether to keep my baby or give her up for adoption. I think about it all the time.

At the end of the day, happiness is my biggest deciding factor. I WANT to be happy. I want MY BABY to be happy. The question is.... how am I going to achieve this?

I can't help but think about how much I'm setting back my career for the baby. But then, sometimes I think that I CAN DO IT! I could be a mother to this baby AND have a fun, marketing-crazy job. I feel selfish that the baby doesn't really come first (I DO!). Still, I think the baby's life will be happier if I'm happy, right? As I was growing up, my mother was very unhappy with her life. My dad's side of the family are assholes. I have a lot of bad memories from my childhood. Lots of yelling, resentment, sadness.

Children can FEEL that stuff even if you don't voice it. I want my baby to be raised in a happy atmosphere. I want it ALL. I want everything in life. My mom says I want too much and that I won't get it and become depressed. I don't know. I want my daughter. I want her to be happy. I want to be happy. I want a successful career. I want to start my own business. I want to change the world. I want to be a good mother.

Happiness is something we all struggle for. How we find it will be different. I know that if I stay true to my heart, I will be able to create my happiness.

When I heard about my best friend's "hero", I was inspired. Here's a story about a guy who had nothing and changed his life and found happiness. His story is what invigorated me to start thinking about my life in terms of happiness.

In my next post, I'll continue telling the story about this "hero".

Monday, January 11, 2010

writing like diarrhea

Step 1: Expose Yourself

As mentioned in an earlier post, writing is a skill I want to improve. What I thought would be easy turned out to be hard. I have all these thoughts that I want to pour out but finding the right words and way to say it is hard. I also don't write about some of the things I want to write about because I don't know how to target my tornado emotions into words.

Here's an exercise that I found really useful in helping me through my writing:

If you allowed yourself to, what would be the most difficult thing you would write about? What memory keeps leaking through? What have you lived through that change your life? What has happened to you that hasn't happened to anyone else?
Set the timer for 15 minutes and begin to write. Begin with an action: "When I told him I was leaving, he..."; "She came to me, her face long, and she told me...". Or any other lines that begin in the middle of things.

-Pen on Fire, by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Step 2: Style and Voice

Writing style and voice is unique to every writer. Coming up with your own voice is something that is developped over years. I've been writing in journals since I was 11 (every since the day I got my first period). It may not be polished, interesting writing, but I've developed a kind of style.

I prefer a very casual style of writing. I want it to read as if I was talking to you. Writing style is something that needs to be worked on continuously if you want it to be consistent and good.

The Importance of Paper

I love notebooks.

I'm very picky notebook purchaser. The feel, the weight, the look have to be perfect.

I like thick paper in my notebook because I press hard on my pens and don't like when my pens leak through.

I like my notebook having 3 holes because then the notebook feels more casual and I don't mind ripping out stuff.

My current notebook is lined in green. It engages my creativity. So much more interesting to write on green lines than blue lines.

The cover of my notebook is my design. It's made out of pink scrapbook tissue paper with embedded shreds of gold ribbons. A single white, square tissuepaper with a faint hint of pink and clouds lie in the center of the cover.
Across the width of my notebook are two raspberry strips bordering the white aquare. Hidden underneath this homemade cover are Gandhi's words:

"The future depends on what we do in the present".

My notebooks must be unique. It must mimic the thousands of thoughts, ideas and dreams that are inside.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another Sunday Morning

Spending the day at my computer. Just checking up on blogs, twitter and doing some research into Google Adwords.

So far, highlight of my day Hugh MacLeod's pick up line.
"You're kinda cool... i'm kinda cool... We should kiss".

Bah ha ha ha!!!

So, just finished having a quick lunch/snack with my parents. We were just sitting in our bright, yellow kitchen and my dad was telling us about a dream he had last night. My dad is all-unto his own category.

He's a short, slightly balding, Vietnamese man with a big nose and thick glasses.

He is the most easy going man I've ever met, who rarely talks unless he has a glass of wine and a beer in his stomache. Then it's all smiles and corny jokes.

Life is simple from his perspective. He just take things as they going.... and he just keeps living.

Anyways, his dream was about a summer vacation trip. He was driving somewhere and had to pick up my dead grandma, my aunt, who lives in Toronto, and a cousin, who lives in California. (Did I mention he was driving?)
Suddenly, he found himself in the passenger's seat with a strange man driving the car instead. But whatever... it's a dream right.

Out of nowhere, the car stops working and a horde of people come up behind the car and start to push it. My dad got extremely scared. He started yelling at the driver to steer the car but the driver didn't know how to drive.

My dad just kept emphasizing how insanely scared he got and it finally shocked him out of his dream. ha ha ha. My dad is so strange.

All my life, I've been dying to move out... but I never realized how much I'm going to miss my "home life". My parents and I never really got along well but that was mostly because I never made time for them. I'd always be out with friends, working, studying. Now that I have so much free time and basically never leave the house, my relationship with them has gotten so much better.
Once I move out, things will never be the same. I'm going to miss out on all the small things, like my dad's random jokes, my mom's stories, and my sister's makeup.

But, that's what growing up is all about right?

And really... when does "growing up" end?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How much information is too much?

I applied for a Part time Assistant position last night. As I was writing my cover letter, I kept wondering how I could bring my personality to the letter. Cover letters are meant to be short. I debated giving the company my blog site. But then I thought about some of my blog articles that I just didn't feel comfortable with future-bosses knowing THAT much about my life.

However, it would've been so helpful for the hirer to get a better understanding of who I was if they did have access to my blog or twitter page. So much more faster and interesting than I cover letter I think.

The main question is: How much information is too much?

For example, many of my articles revolve around giving up the baby and the heartache involved with D. These thoughts may be viewed as controversial or too emotional. I don't want to be seen as a person with too much baggage. I've actually never associated myself as a person with baggage until now. I guess I do have a bigger share of problems that most people but, honestly, as long as I don't let my problems bring me down, they'll just make me a stronger person. I see my situation as just another part of life I'm supposed to learn from... not something that's meant to handicap me.

I think it's all in the presentation of yourself that makes or breaks you. Building my personal brand is something I've been working on for the last few months. The work has been more difficult that I expected. It's hard to crunch your entire being into one image. I started off with brainstorming a bunch of words that I thought really described me, my life and the essence of who I am. Next, I thought about what I wanted to give to people and get out of life. What was my message? I decided on focusing my brand on designing. It's what I love to do most in the world. I started designing my website revolving around this topic.

So far, my brand portfolio holds a website designed (just now programed yet) and business card. I think once my website is up and running, I'll feel more comfortable with giving it out. This blog is more like my personal diary. I hold nothing back and let all my thoughts, ideas and dreams flow out. This blog is kind of like my rough draft. It's where I started learning about writing and blogging. My website will be more revised and not all over the place.

The Perfect Apartment

Finally found the perfect apartment! Perfect location, perfect size, perfect, perfect perfect. :)
(Ever notice how much weirder a word looks when you write it so much).
I checked out the apartment last night with my parents and future roommate. The tenants were really nice. The bedrooms were a decent size and the living area was really big. I was on such a happy high that I spent the entire night dreaming of decorating the apartment. It'll be so much fun. The tenants are even leaving us the sofa! Thank God.... they're saving me $150. There's another couple who is viewing the apartment today but hopefully I'll get it.
YEAAA!!! The stress of apartment shopping might soon be over!

Cutest thing EVER

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sixth Sense

How can I explain this technology?

Basically, it's amazing. This website shows a video that says it all.

I've thought about it.... and finally decided.
What do all consumers care about?
Getting the best value for their purchase!

I want someone to create a device or application that solely gives me price comparisons instantaneously so I don't have to do it.
Let's say, I walk into a store and remember that I need to buy Windex. Before I buy the Windex offered at Loeblaws, I want to pull out my phone and quickly be told that Windex is actually on sale at Walmart for$2.
I hate buying things and then realizing I could've gotten them cheaper someplace else.

This sixth sense device sounds absolutely brilliant!

The Digital Age of Marketing

I'm doing some readings on digital marketing tools like blogs, podcasts, social networks, viral marketing, etc. The technology out there is amazing and it's all about connectivity and the end user.
Everyone is using it and only now are businesses climbing on board. The topic of social media marketing is so broad that I think it's crucial for businesses to have at least one person hired to just scan what is being said out there on the internet. If the company is smart, it'll take that information and use it to their benefit.

I read this book last winter on taking buzz marketing onto a whole new level. It's all about creating conversation.
Here's how I think of it: if you were out on your first date and the person did not talk or stimulate any conversation... would you want a second date?
It's the same with marketing, consumers are tired of this whole 'WE SAY and YOU BUY'. Thanks to the internet, consumers have found their voice. If businesses really want to succeed, they're going to need learn how to really talk to their consumers.

Take blogging... the success of a blog is typically measured by the number of comments it gets. If the blogger never responds to the comments, readers will eventually stop commenting because it's like talking to a wall. No response.

If individual bloggers can do this, why can't businesses?

Answer: I think it's because businesses don't know how to build ONE voice. Sure, they can build one marketing plan, one message, one look.... but creating one voice is different. Why? Because to have ONE voice, businesses need to rely on ONE person to do the talking. Just like in newspapers, columns are written by ONE person. Sure, there are editors and researchers who help build the article, but in the end, it's one writer that combines everything. Too many voices confuse readers.
Maybe businesses are too scared to give ONE person this power. The person would have to be amazing and embody the brand/company. But if you can hire one person to be CEO, you can hire one person to be the voice of the brand. It's what spokepersons are right?

Conclusion: businesses should start hiring people to specifically explore and use the internet.... starting with me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

white chocolate brownies

Just finished baking with my sister. We made white chocolate brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I've been absolutely dying for some brownies. I bought whip cream and vanilla ice cream in preparation! Hopefully, I didn't make them too thin.

Had a talk with D today about the possibility of keeping the baby. I warned him beforehand that he didn't need to answer right away.... in fact, I prefered if he went away and really thought about things. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything stupid or hurtful like he usually does. As he talked though, I couldn't help notice his demeanor. It was very 'I'll do what I feel like and take on whatever responsibility I want.... the rest is on her'. He kept saying he wanted joint-custody because if he was paying for the baby, he was going to get his "times-worth". I shake my head each time he says this. I don't think he understands the reality of what it takes to take care of a baby. It seems like it's all talk once again. He just wants his moneys-worth and doesn't even really think of the child. I'll bet he'll just leave the baby on the couch or cancel last minute.

He is so frustrating. Sometimes, I can actually hear the birds twittering away in his brain with an occasional breeze floating through. Other times, he astonishes me with his insight. I never know what to expect which is why he constantly keeps me on my toes.
I just don't know anymore. This baby brings about so many confusing things. I told D outright that the biggest reason I didn't want to keep the baby was because I didn't want to have to spend the rest of my life dealing with his shit. He shrugged his shoulders in response.

At least we didn't end up fighting.... who knows what he'll say behind my back now. I feel slightly bad.... he hasn't really gotten much say in this entire process. At the end of the day, it's my body and my decision.... but the decision affects him just as much as it affects me.
I think that if he hadn't been such an asshole the past few months, his opinions would matter a lot more; but since he's proven countless times that he's undependable and selfish, his opinions don't matter to me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

raw sugar

Today was the first time I've told any school friends that I'm pregnant. It was accepted well and with congratulations. I've finally decided to only take 2 courses this semester. The courses hold a reasonable amount of work, cheap textbooks and basically no exam. My prof makes me laugh.
I'm happy that I'm still in school. I have so much free time... at least until the baby comes out.

I felt very exposed and raw when I informed my friends of my "secret". My heart was racing and my face felt like it was on fire.

The thing I hate most in the world are secrets. I hate the idea of people hiding the truth.... it's one thing to have private matters but another to go out of the way to be secretive about something.
I hate hiding. I hate secrets.

I'm a very truthful person. I tell the truth and I usually do it bluntly. It is a quality that many appreciate but also fear. My argument is that if no one else will tell you the truth, at least its good to know that one person will no matter what. I appreciate people who are honest. It takes courage and integrity to be able to speak the truth because, hey, it's reality.
I believe that as long as the truth is not used maliciously or is not fully backed up with facts, then it is one of the most important things in the world.

These past few months have been brutal for me. It feels like life is forcing away my most cherished values. My family still do not know I'm pregnant. Every time I leave my house, I have to go out of my way to wear clothes that "hide" my baby bump. And then, when I amongst ordinary people, I spend my time worrying about whether that person who just eyed me knows the truth. I don't like to blame things on my mother. I find it very irresponsible because at the end of the day, my actions are my decisions. It's just that my mother adds so much MORE stress onto the situation than necessary. I run out of the house wrapped in my winter coat because I fear she'll demand to see what exactly I'm wearing and than lament about how fat I am. I've had to physically go into hiding 4 times so far in the last month. My family or my mom's friends stop by and I have to either confine myself in my room or leave the house and find someway to pass the time.

I kept the baby. I didn't murder it. Shouldn't God be looking down on me smiling? Shouldn't He shower me with blessings? Why then does my life still suck? It seems like I'm just starting down the toughest road of my life and the end doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight. I try my very best to optimistic and happy but some days, everything just seems so hard and fruitless.

But, what can I do accept keep moving, right? Time will pass and this will all be a distant, sad memory.

Someone asked me whether, in hindsight, I would have aborted the baby.

My answer is still no but, honestly, I never knew it was going to be this hard. I did not expect my life to look like this. I did not expect to feel like this.

I envy the girls who could abort their babies. Ya, they would always wonder what-would-have-been but, all those thoughts would be what-ifs.... they didn't have to live it. They didn't have to live through the shame of being single and knocked up.

I guess the "right" path is always the hardest.

Little planet

How cute are these little terrariums!!!! I'm going to go buy some shot glasses and try this out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why don't libraries look like Chapters?

So, I found myself wondering in the aisles of Chapters AGAIN.
It seems like whenever I don't have money is the time when all the coolest books pop onto the shelves. I'm so envious.
To save some money, I've been trying to borrow books from my library instead of buying them. However! My books have only a few copies and a massive "hold" line up. I don' know when I'm ever going to be able to read these books. Oh well, I guess it's for the better. I have 2 books to read for my non-profit marketing class.

I used to love going to the library as a child. It would be like a family outing. We'd go about once a week because I read sooooo fast. We'd spend hours in there. My dad usually just grabbed a magazine and sat in the back room waiting for me to decide which 7 books I should borrow. ha ha ha. Nowadays, libraries hold a lower appeal for me. Maybe because the aesthetics are just so harsh. The fluorescent lighting hurts my eyes against the book pages. There is no smell... almost like the place is so well-ventilated that air is too clean to hold a scent.
If I could, I'd build my own public library, where the shelves are white and the colors of the books leap off the shelves and catch your eyes. There would be quiet jazz playing in the background and soft lighting that tempts you to just grab a book, sit on the ground and read. I follow Chapters rules.... there should always be coffee within arms reach of a book. Of course, that would lead to more coffee-stains but that just adds to the essence of the book. What is it about Chapters that makes it so fantastic to be in?