The Method to my Madness

Somehow my life is coming together.

I got my first film job in late January (shh, don’t tell anyone) and now a mere 6 months later, I’m working on a feature length Jennifer Aniston film as a Costume PA. On top of that, I’ve found a barn that lets me horseback ride for free, made a number of good friends and I have enough energy in my spare time to pursue my other interests.

How did I manage this?

I couldn’t have done it without the constant support and trust from my parents, who believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my interests as well as provided financial support when I couldn’t provide it for myself. Their help gave me freedom financially, but the rest of my success has been totally up to me (and a little bit of chance).

Make your own luck

I like to think that you can make your own luck – that being “lucky” is really just an attitude change. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the year I spent in Montreal, it’s to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. I believe that all people are innately good, and if you are genuine to someone from the get-go, 95% of the time they will respond in kind. If you approach a situation with “how can I help you?” instead of “how can you help me?” you’ll earn more respect from your peers, and they’ll think of you first when they hear of an opportunity that might benefit you.

You also have to put yourself out there. Learn how to direct a conversation, and when you discover a connection, delve into it. Ask to be put in touch with that person’s contact. Do this with everyone you meet. But do it in a way that is friendly and encouraging rather than demanding.

Importance of a good work ethic

Thirdly – and perhaps most importantly – impress people with your skill and work ethic. Do good work. Be on time. Take on every task with confidence, even if you don’t feel confident. Learn to listen and to pay attention to everything around you. This will help you to always stay one step ahead. People are watching at all times, they notice when you do a good job. They notice even more when you do a bad job.

Know your worth and don’t underestimate yourself. Accept challenging jobs and don’t complain when the going gets tough. Do free work for experience, but make sure it’s going to be a quality production before you sign on.

Follow up

Send thank you notes or emails. People appreciate these more than you’d think in this age of texting and facebook chatting. Keep up with people. Add them on social networks and comment on their posts every now and then to keep that connection current. If you get wind of an opportunity that might benefit them, let them know about it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you barely know or have only met once.

Keep up with your dream

Expect rejection, but don’t let it affect you. Don’t stop trying regardless of the number of rejections you get. View each “no” as a step closer to a “yes”. Keep at it. It’s an uphill climb, but with patience and consistent hard work, you really can achieve anything.

Diet and Exercise: Finding the healthiest me

Losing the Poutine Fifteen

Over the past 8 months, I have been struggling to regain my college physique. (Too much Boreale and poutine in Montreal, I suppose). Now that I have (almost) gotten back to my college weight, I’m discovering how difficult it can be to maintain the weight and physique I want.

In college, I used to eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about weight gain. True, I was also fairly active – horseback riding, playing various sports and being generally rambunctious (not that much has changed) – but I never had to think about the food or drink that I consumed. When I started college, I didn’t even know the difference between a carbohydrate and a calorie. Oh, how things have changed!

Making the Change

Back in September when I started this journey, I was under the misconception that it would only take a little bit of diet and exercise to return to my previous weight, and then I could go back to eating whatever I wanted. (Yes, it took me nearly 8 months to lose 10 pounds). Now that I’ve spent the last 8 months altering my diet, counting calories, avoiding sugars and starches and exercising regularly, I can’t really imagine going back to the way I lived before. True, it’s still difficult not to serve up that second plate at Thanksgiving dinner, but I have experienced a few – I would consider miraculous – changes that curb my appetite.

Noticeable Changes from Eating Healthier

First, the less I eat of fatty, starchy foods, the less tolerance I have for them and the less I want to eat them (thinking I want to eat them is an entirely different story, however).

Second, the more vegetables I eat, the healthier I feel overall, the more I enjoy their taste (I barely put any dressing on my salads now) and the less bloated/acid reflux-y I feel. As a side note, vegetables have very few calories in them. One pickle spear is only about 5 calories, and a whole head of iceberg lettuce is 90 calories.

Third – and this one I find to be most incredible – the less I eat of foods overloaded in fats, starches, sugars, grease and other equally unhealthy additives, the more nuanced my sense of taste becomes. Maybe it’s because my taste buds are no longer overwhelmed by one taste, but I’ve noticed a definite increase in the flavors I can detect in my meal.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been dabbling in vegetarianism. And, surprisingly, the less meat I eat, the less I crave sugars, and the less I crave meat. Course, I’ve been careful to include plenty of other proteins in my diet – particularly beans and quinoa, and I’m not saying I’m going to be a vegetarian forever, it’s just nice not to have that heavy feeling in your stomach after a meal.

What Tastes Good?

What I’m getting at here is that the foods I used to love, I no longer enjoy, and I think it’s for the better. Whenever I tell this to friends, they respond with a frown and say, “Well isn’t that sad?” But my honest-to-goodness opinion is, no, it’s not sad at all. Think about it, how many times have you said, “If I could make myself not like [insert favorite fattening food here], I would.”

Do I miss those foods? No, not really. Instead, I experiment with spices and herbs to create meals with plenty of flavor to roll around on my taste buds.  I eat slowly and enjoy every bite. To me, cooking is another way to express my creativity, and I challenge myself to make healthy, delicious, beautiful meals even if I’m only cooking for one.

Painless Lifestyle Change

Bottom line is, getting healthy and staying healthy is a lifestyle change. But it doesn’t have to mean a lifetime sentence to rabbit food and treadmills. It just means letting go of the idea of “tasty foods” and instead learning to be creative with healthier options.


Interesting Link : Diet Tips from Ultrarunner and Vegan Scott Jurek

[craftyprojects] Paisley Curtains with Blue Trim

I’ve decided to start a new series entitled “Crafty Projects” so you can look forward to more of these in the future! My first crafty project is a pair of custom curtains I made for the apartment I just moved out of (typical).

Crafty Project 1: Paisley Curtains with Blue trim

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Finished product

Step 1) Measure your windows and pick out your fabric.

Measure length and width of your windows. Decide if you want your curtains to cover the windowsill, reach the ground, or just touch the sill. Keep in mind where your curtain rod is and how low your curtains will hang when determining how much fabric to buy. How do you want your curtains to look when they’re drawn? If you prefer a gathered, bunchy look, add some width to your measurement. Add a few inches for seam allowance.

I found a pretty green/blue paisley duck cloth with a blue cloth for trim on sale at Hobby Lobby 30% off of $8/yd. Duck cloth is a heavier fabric, so it’s great for curtains. It all depends on the look you’re going for, though. If you want something drapey and gauzy, then make sure you pick a fabric appropriate for that.

Step 2) Measure two panels, cut, and hem sides

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

pressing the hem

To hem edges, fold edge about 1/4 inch, press with hot iron, then fold again about 1 inch to achieve a clean line. Repeat on all four sides. Pick a thread color that will blend in, and stitch the hem along its edge.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

hemmed edges of curtain panels

Step 3) Cut and hem trim, loops

I wanted my trim to echo the loops I planned to stitch to the top of the panels for them to hang from, so I cut four equal strips of blue cloth, then hemmed them closed. Depending on the look you’re going for, you probably want to keep the hem as close to the edge of the strip as possible to help conceal the stitch. My stitch ended up almost in the middle of the loops because I didn’t think about this factor when I was pressing it. Stitch it closed with a thread that matches.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

hemming the trim and the loops

Step 4) Add Trim, mask mistakes

As you can see, I hemmed my two panels a little unevenly. Thankfully, I could make up the difference with trim! If you have this issue, simply stitch your trim a little lower on the uneven side. Just make sure you don’t adjust your stitching path too – you don’t want a slanted stitch!

Fold the edge of the trim in, and stitch closed.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Adding trim to curtain panels

Step 5) Add Loops

Determine how many loops you want to have to hang the panels from, as well as their length. Cut your strips accordingly. Hem. I decided on 6 loops stitched close to the top on the back, and lower in the front for a unique look.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

pinned loops

Find the center of your panel, and measure out where to pin your loops. Pin first on the short side, then stitch. A standard stitch pattern would be to create a box, then to stitch a big X through the middle of it. Really, though, for something this small, as long as you stitch at the edge of the loop and the edge of the panel, you should be fine.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Pin front of loops

After you stitch the back, fold your loops to the front and pin in place. Make sure you’re measuring right, because if your loops are uneven, your panel will hang unevenly. Stitch in place.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

finished curtains

Et Voilà! Your finished curtain.

Crafty Sewing Curtains Project How To

Finished curtain

News and Goals at GWDE

Things have been busy here at GWDE!

You may or may not have noticed that my posts over the last month or so have been sporadic. I’ve been quite busy with life and haven’t made the time to update. I’ll admit I was also getting a little tired trying to catch up on my September Road Trip posts. Whew! Glad that saga is complete.

A FEW GREAT THINGS HAVE OCCURRED RECENTLY:

• GWDE turned 1 year old! I started this blog back in January 2011 6 months after I’d moved to Montreal. One year, a blogging award, and 60 posts later, I’m still going strong. Here’s to another year!

• Roseanne from itsallyogababy.com featured my yoga mat bags on her site, and I’ve begun listing new items (including vintage skiwear!) on my Etsy page. I will also be distributing coupons the first weekend in March at a Yoga mini-retreat taught by Diane Barnes of Mindful Living Studio.

• In the meantime, I’ve been applying to graduate schools for Creative Writing (should be hearing back from them by April. Wish me luck!), and started working in wardrobing for film.

• In January, I worked as Wardrobe Assistant to Malgosia Turzanska (Costume Designer for MGMT’s Time to Pretend music video!) on The Edge of the Woods, and have been assisting her a couple of weekends on her current project, Child of God.

• I also came up with simple modernized Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O, and JFK costumes for a music video for local singer/songwriter Chieftan (FB page going live next week). With any luck, the music video will be up later this week.

• On top of all that, I’ve started working part time and moved into a new apartment…yesterday. I’ve also been volunteering at an art gallery and (trying to) volunteer at a local theater.

Life is, for lack of a better word, busy.

I do have a few goals for the next few months. They include:

1) Establishing a fitness program and healthy diet that I can stick to (posts on healthy recipes! and fun exercises!)

2) Gaining more experience in wardrobe/costuming through local and out of town opportunities (indie films to go see!)

3) Creating an idea board for my Etsy site & adding new items in my store (follow my tumblr for updates)

4) Continuing to minimize my possessions by throwing away or donating anything old, used, or rarely used (you should look forward to a post in the near future with pictures of awesomely hilarious items I’ve dug up from my childhood)

5) Downloading more Kindle books and reading them all (I will tell you all about my lovely Kindle and why it’s my favorite toy ever later)

6) Watching more classic films and films in general (I’ve got a looooonnng list, but I’d like to write a review here and there too)

and last, but certainly not least:

7) Updating my blog more often and with more pointed topics (see above)

Why I de-friended you: Keeping Up with Facebook’s Changes

It’s true, I’m a de-friender.

You probably find it ironic that I keep my blog 100% public, but am very careful about who I add on Facebook. When you think about it, though, Facebook is an entirely different beast. On my blog(s), I have absolute control over what gets posted and what does not. On Facebook, I am often at the mercy of my friends and the applications to which I’ve subscribed. Though I do my best not to post anything I wouldn’t want my Grandma to read, my Facebook wall tends to be more candid than anything I publish elsewhere on the web, and it’s impossible to control what your friends tag you in and applications that alert the entire Facebook world every time you read a news article.

It’s particularly important to safeguard your contact and other personal information from people you don’t know, and Facebook’s constant interface “upgrades” make it difficult to keep up with who can see what on your page. This is the main reason I periodically weed out people from my friends page – to protect my privacy and to preempt Facebook’s changes.

Usually, my policy is if I don’t feel comfortable writing “Happy Birthday” on your wall once a year when that day rolls around, then I probably should not be your Facebook friend. But lately I have modified my friend qualifications.

When deciding whether or not to de-friend someone, I ask myself these questions:

1) Are they a person?
If you are a gallery, store, restaurant, or other organization, you should not have a profile page. I will “like” your fan page; I might even join your group, but I will not add you as a friend.

2) Do I recognize them? Would they recognize me?
Sometimes, I add someone as a friend (or accept their friendship) after just meeting them, but then I have no further interaction with them. After a while, I forget who they are completely. So I delete them. Even if I do recognize them, I ask myself, “Would they recognize me? Would they wave to me if they saw me in the street?” If the answer to those questions is no, they get the axe.

3) Have I communicated with them in the last year?
This one is not definite, and I refer to #4-7 for exceptions, but generally, if I have not communicated with someone in any way, shape or form (basically, have we acknowledged each other’s existence) in a year or longer, I de-friend them.

4) Are they related to me?
This includes not only blood relatives, but family friends, childhood friends, and siblings’ best friends and significant others.

5) Are we former friends?
I have several Facebook friends with whom I was close at some point, but our friendship has since lapsed. Even though we haven’t talked in over a year, I know we’d say hi to each other if we passed on the street.

6) Have we worked together?
This one is a bit tricky, because you don’t want to share too much personal information with business associates. However, I feel that maintaining that relationship however you can, especially if you work freelance, may keep you in the back of their minds (or them in the back of yours) for some project down the road. Besides, I have other measures of restricting content on my Facebook page (see below).

7) Do I consider them cool/interesting/nice/non-creepy or otherwise worth keeping up with?
This one is for people that don’t fall into one or more of the above categories, but I’d like to keep up with them because they seem like someone with whom I’d get along and/or I’d like to be friends with them but just never had the opportunity to get to know them better.

Besides de-friending people, there are other ways to restrict what others can see on your profile. One of my favorite tools on Facebook is the “View As…” button. This is located on your profile page under the settings wheel button. You can type in any name or group to see exactly what they can see on your page. You can also see how the general public views your page.

Create groups and restrict what they can see. I got on board with this idea as soon as Facebook created groups, though it took ages to sort all of my friends. Groups are extremely convenient (once you’ve sorted your existing friends) because you need only add each new friend to a certain group, say “work” or “relatives” or “best friends”, and what they can view will be restricted according to your settings for that group. (As a side note, these types of groups are the basis for the Google+ interface). Facebook has recently added easier-to-use pre-made groups such as “acquaintances” and “close friends”, as well as categorizing people by work or location. You can also now restrict individual posts to certain people if you want.

I’m here to say, it’s OK to be that girl (or guy). If you’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings, remind yourself that your privacy should be top priority, and go ahead and click that “delete friend” button.