Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!

Dearest Devotees,

This is just to wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season, especially since its coming up right now a Happy 2011! I'm taking a quick break from the crazy but wonderful festivities around me to wish you guys a lovely year to come. May this year be so much more than you could ever wish for (in the best way possible).

Love you all and Stay inspired,
Sunday, 12 December 2010

Renovate your life: Making Exercise, Rest and Relaxation A Priority

Dearest Devotees,

I know I've been gone awhile and I'm sorry. I've been away discovering myself. I will let you know what I've learnt as time goes on but for right now I really want to talk to you guys about the next step of my renovating your life project: getting physically fit.

Over the past couple of weeks and months I've been experimenting with different exercise methods and routines in a bid to find one that truly works for me and that will not only get my sorry behind out of my bed in the morning whether I'm feeling inspired or not. This has been a very difficult because of two little known facts about me:

1. Despite my love of traveling and meeting people I am a homebody. There are few things I love more than the idea of spending a Saturday at home, lounging in comfortable (yet cute!) clothes and alternately reading for fun/looking out the window at nothing in particular, except for the beauty of the day.

2. I am admittedly and begrudgingly a couch potato. While I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done, I love resting on a truly comfy couch. And while I do love reading on these couches more than I do watching TV and have been that way ever since I was little, the final outcome is still pretty much the same level of physical activity.

So I'm not a huge fan of most forms of physical activity. This is not to say that I'm not a low energy person. No one that knows me would say this. What it means is that I tend to find more creative ways of using up my energy all day. For a while this meant walking everywhere I could, taking the stairs whenever possible and randomly jumping up and down/ breaking out into dance over the course of the day. This worked, but now I want a little more structure to my exercise routine, so this is what I came up with.

  • I start the day with a hardcore full body work out which usually consists of me dancing to my "wake-up!" playlist first and then moving on to practicing routines I'm choreographing for swing or steps I'm learning for hip hop. I love dancing because it's a full body workout and art :). Thirty minutes of this and I'm definitely ready for the day.
  • Then some time in the middle of the day, after a couple of hours of work (school or otherwise) I take time out for myself to do something fun that has nothing to do with anything else I usually do e.g. taking a walk down the esplanade along the river, or doing some gentle stretching in my dorm before walking down to the cafe to read for fun for a couple of minutes without interruption from anything stressful. The whole idea of this time is to stop and take a breath and to regenerate for the rest of the day. I once read that some CEOs do this by scheduling "meetings with themselves" in the middle of the day to prevent going crazy because of the work.
  • At the end of the day, I wind down with calming exercises like yoga and meditation. The stretching at the end of the day prevents your muscles from tensing up during the night and meditation and if you believe in God, prayer at the end of the day helps to put everything into perspective.

I also various short prayers throughout the day, while moving or transitioning between two activities (pray and worship music, the rosary, short personal prayers) to keep things in perspective.

This is what works for me. I share it with you in case in could work for you. The major idea I tried to incorporate was keeping my interests and needs in mind, by taking into account the fact that nature and art motivates me and by creating a routine that involves art and music, and that is very soul centered I was able to create a routine that appeals to me.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. How high does exercise rank on your list of priorities? What does your routine look like and why does it motivate you? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Saturday, 27 November 2010

Reasons For My Smile: Retreats, Family Visits and Thanksgiving Break

  • Watching and Re-watching amazing movies like Uptown Girls, Never Been Kissed, and When Harry Met Sally! Loved them!
  • Going with an equally crazy friend and in the company of many college students to see Harry Potter 7 part 1 at 3:30 am! So much fun and totally safe because every one was out that night (since it was opening night) and we got back at sunrise. The costumes I saw people in were awesome too :)
  • Taking a train ride to New York city to visit my Godmom, and getting to spend some time with her :)
  • Fabric Shopping and Swatching in New York City. Weaving in and out of fabric store aisles, pulling swatches, feathers, and trims, and searching for the perfect match was so exhilarating! I was born to do this!
  • Hanging out with friends from my fellowship. We're so close we feel like siblings.
  • The scenery on the train ride back to Massachusetts. Absolutely Breathtaking.
  • Visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. The architecture is stunning and its definitely a must-see if you're a Catholic in New York city.
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving and having the opportunity to just be grateful for all that I have been blessed with in life.
  • Going on an all day Theology of the Body Retreat and getting the opportunity to experience so many beautiful things that weekend.
  • Dreaming of someday living in the European countryside with my own horse, field and stables.
  • Reading Ella Enchanted . Even if you've already seen the movie I highly recommend the book because they are not the same.
  • Building my Itunes library and signing up for Netflix. I've discovered there are way too many amazing movies that have come out than I haven't seen yet.
  • Visiting my aunt and cousin over the weekend and finally getting my hair redone.
  • Planning to DIY some of my new jeans and sweatpants. I'm really excited for this, especially since I just discovered that some of my new close friends are into DIY too :P
  • Preparing for Christmas!!!
Love you all and Stay inspired,

    P.S. So let me know what you think. What's made you happy this week? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
    Sunday, 21 November 2010

    Dearest Devotees: Laying it all down

    Dearest Devotees,

    After more than a year of blogging, I've been feeling pulled in many different directions lately and I must say that I am quite unsure of how to go forward. The past month and a half in particular has been extremely enlightening, crazy, fun-filled and engaging in my life, because I believe that I have found my Vocation. I can't explain much about it on here because it is very related to my religion but it is very much about helping people. I've finally realized how much it means to me give of myself to others, and to help them become happier people. For a year, I've been completely unsure as to how best to do that, and now that I have such a wonderful group of readers I would love to get your feedback on what you would want. I write this blog for you. I'd originally begun this blog to find myself and now that I have I've realised that all I want is to help people I want to know how best to do that. This is why I want to take the blog in a direction that you guys would be able to leave my blog after visit feeling happier and more fulfilled than when you came. Please let me know what you want. Are there any kinds of post you are more interested in? (Creative lifestyle, Seeking inspiration, Life's a Debate, If I had one wish, Dreaming of the Show, etc. Any particular topics you would like me to discuss? Pursuing an Artistic Career, Doing a little bit everyday, Muses, etc). Honestly you can suggest anything, even something I haven't done before. I am always up for a challenge. Going in though I must say that I will stay true to myself and will only do the things I feel called to.

    Any advice or suggestions you could give me in the comments would be highly appreciated.

    Love you all and Stay inspired,

    Saturday, 6 November 2010

    Reasons for My Smile: Slumber Parties, Feeling He's Here, and a 100 Followers!

    • Having a particularly awesome slumber party at my one of my darling friend's dorm and a random but equally wonderful sleepover at another friend's dorm :) It made me feel like a kid again :)

    • Watching 10 Things I Hate About You with friends. Seeing my favorite actors as little teenagers was oddly entertaining.
    • Feeling He is here :)
    • Doing my own version of NaNoWriMo and Art Every Day Month because I've realized working on and hopefully completing my anthology this month means more to me than working on a new novel right now. So excited!
    • Planning crafting parties
    • All the love shown to me when I was ill and finally getting well again.
    • Renovating my Halloween costume dress to turn it into something I can wear everyday. TeeHee.
    • Organizing my dorm room. I love having white space.
    • Getting my new inspiration board! It's here!!!! and it looks AWESOME!
    • Wishing My Dad a happy birthday!
    • Listening to some awesome TED talks on creativity. The links should be posted in my seeking inspiration post this week.
    • Choosing to learn River Flows In You by Yiruma for my piano final. So pretty and so different from anything I've ever done.
    • Loving Life :)
    • And last but definitely not least loving the fact that I now have 100 followers on Google reader! Thank you so much my darling devotees. You all always make me happy.
    Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. What made you happy this week? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

      Saturday, 23 October 2010

      Are You a T.A.T.A ? To The Teen Artists Trapped in Academia

      Do you wake up every morning just longing for the chance to express yourself in art? Do you feel personally attacked by the existence of school uniforms and overly stringent dress codes? Do you long for the day that you will be free to learn the way you want to learn things, and about the things you want to learn? If so you may be a Teen Artist Trapped in Academia.

      I feel like I can comment on the existence of the Teen Artists Trapped in Academia because I too was once a T.A.T.A. Trust me, the plight of a T.A.T.A is very sad. They are hardly difficult to identify and chances are that if you are not one yourself, you have at least run across some in the course of your life. Fitting into the conventions of academia is pretty hard especially if you are not a conventional person, and let's face it, the current state of academia can only appeal to so many people, because everyone is not the same, does not have the same goals and values and does not learn the same way. If you can't fit into the conventional academic structure, you might think that learning is not for you and that education is not a very worthwhile venture for you. You might think that school and education are equal to torture and may begin to look for several ways of fighting/escaping the system.

      I can't blame you for wanting to stop the torture. I just think that it might be more worthwhile to try to work with it and to make it work for you.

      Ever since Grade School I've known I was a little odd. I couldn't organise well. I would go through phases in my clothing during which I would pursue a particular style of dress for months at a time. I had a melange of mismatched bracelets, bangles and scrunchies on both hands, and took great delight in changing my hair style at least once a month. I spent weeks of my summer, reading in the public library, and hours creating and playing in my own incredibly intricate fantasy world, past the age of 10. By the time I was 12 I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer and literally counted down the years until I could go to University and start working on my dream. I hated learning traditionally, and always learnt better when I could physically be allowed to understand the concept holistically. Abstract cramming and random studying was never my thing, and classes in which you just sort of had to know something (i.e. commit something to memory), left me quaking under my sheets in horror. So if you do think that the traditional school system thing is not working for you believe me when I say I know how you feel. In fact, I was recently thinking about words of advice that I could give to current teen artists to help them learn to live with (and possibly love academia). Here are some of the tips I came up with:

      1. Embrace the fact that you are different and that you, like everyone else, have your strengths and your weaknesses. Look for your strengths, and spend at least some time every day working on them/ enjoying them. If most of your school work doesn't inspire you, definitely work on it but try to spend some time, writing music if it's what you like doing or join a dance class as an after-school activity. Do something that makes you happy everyday. It works wonders for your self-esteem.
      2. Don't put your dreams off until university. No. Scratch that. Don't put off your dreams period. Try to live them at least a little bit today. Do whatever you can for to work towards your dream in a little way today. It is never to early to start living the life you want to live.
      3. Try to look for the bright side in learning everything that you have to learn in school. Sometimes you might discover a hidden talent or random interest in an unexpected subject. Sometimes all you'll learn is that whatever you are taking is not for you. At least you've learnt something.
      4. Remember that no knowledge is wasted. Art is a reflection of life. Academia is awesome because it enables you to broaden your knowledge about the world around you and gives you the opportunity to build your well of experience. Creatives especially should be curious about the world around them because you can only improve what currently exists if you know what currently exists. So the next time you're trying to figure out how to survive another day in that class you hate, remember that inspiration can come from anywhere, and give the class (yet) another chance.
      5. Study the way you want. Only you truly know how best you learn. If you realise that rote memorisation does not work for you, try to learn the material in another way. If you don't know how best you learn, try taking a learning style test. No matter what kind of learner you are (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc), learning in a way that uses various methods to learn to learn the same subject matter tends to help you learn better. For example, while studying from your notes, you could try making lists, diagrams and pneumonics to help you remember what you've learnt. You could also try explaining general concepts out loud to yourself, to make sure you understand what you've just read.
      6. Adopt a more holistic approach to studying. I personally can not strictly memorize anything to save my life, so I try learning concepts and general ideas first, before attempting to place specifics into the mix. By getting the background info of a subject, I am able to paint a picture in my mind of what I'm trying to learn and then it becomes so much easier to remember the random facts that I need to know. One way in which you could make this easier to do would be to always know the why behind any particular fact. Knowing the why, even if its not necessary for the test, helps you make connections in your mind, and these connections can act as a guide leading you to the right answer if you ever get lost during a test.

      Academia is not the devil. In fact, it can be a really powerful ally and can bring a whole new dimension to your art.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. Are you a T.A.T.A? Do you know one? How did you adapt to the world of Academia? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

      Seeking Inspiration: Creating from Chaos

      Dearest Devotees,

      There is a wildly held belief that artists must not only be able to live with and accept chaos but must able to miraculously draw beauty from said chaos. Now, whether there is any truth in this statement or not I can not say, but I have noticed that creative minds are usually able to create connections between seemingly disparate things. This talent helps artists to be able to see things in a new light and helps us free our minds from the conventional roles in which something is used. Have you ever taken anything apart (be it an idea, an object or a problematic situation) to understand it better only to find that taking it apart leads you to come up with a new way of looking at it? This process of destroying to rebuild is at the core of the idea of creating from chaos. When things are taken apart you are forced to see each part as an individual piece, with all of its own possibilities and potential roles outside of the roles that it had been playing in the group. This inspires creative thinking that can honestly lead to anywhere. Some ways in which this kind of connective creative thinking can come in handy include:
      • Looking for a theme for your first clothing collection from your mood/ inspiration board.
      • Renovating your room/personal space
      • Creating a storyboard for your next short film/youtube vlog/music video
      • Finding inspiration for your NaNoWriMo Novel
      • Looking for a stylistic theme for your costume design project
      • Solving a mini-crisis-soon-to-be-epic-crisis at your new business or within your group of friends/family (like when one friend thinks someone said something about the other that the other didn't person didn't say i.e. one of those he said-she said situations. )
      And so much more :)

      So, how do you develop this amazingly useful skill?
      Well you could start with this week's Seeking Inspiration Exercise...

      First of all, gather loads of wildly different things together, taking care to include a mix of both 2D and 3D pieces mix, and throw in things that appeal to all your senses. Mix them together, and move them around in any way you want on a flat surface like a board (the desk or the floor works well too).

      Then, ask yourself these questions...
      Is there any common theme?
      What is the mood that you get from the scene?
      Is there anything you are most pulled to?

      Study your answers to the above questions and choose one of your answers as a springboard for your next work.

      Links I've loved this week:

      I honestly don't know how I hadn't known about this site before. Ideas is like a well of inspiration in and of itself.

      Have you got what it takes to be a creative entrepreneur?

      If you haven't seen this awe-inspiring talk on where good ideas come from, you need to see it. Now.

      Soo much truth. Honestly if you are a writer you'll agree with me.

      Three simple steps to a Clutter Free Creative Space has some pretty good ideas.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      Thursday, 21 October 2010

      Reasons for My Smile: Beautiful music, letters from family and finding the silver lining

      Dearest Devotees,

      I've gotta admit this week has been pretty trying, but if there is anything I've learnt this semester it's that there will always be trying times in life, the only way to get through them is by doing my best and refusing to let them get me down. If I let the bad things get me down, then I may get to that awful place where I am unable to do anything to get myself out of it. I know that bad experiences sometimes inspire people to create but I've also realised that I can become so paralyzed by negativity that I am unable to even create. To stop this from happening, and to stay strong even in the face of adversity, I have learnt to look for the good things in my life and be grateful for them. By taking time out of my week to focus on these good things I am able to see that everything usually really isn't as bad as it seems. This is why I've decided to start writing about the things that have made me happy during the week.

      Some of the reasons for my smile this week include:

      • Decorating my dorm room and looking for fall things to add to it.
      • Finishing 2 of my midterms without going crazy over them.
      • Preparing for an amazing Theology of the Body seminar this weekend. It will be epic.
      • Finding out what Inception: A musical in limbo as well as what Inception: The Musical is.
      • Starting to ease my way back into a blogging schedule.
      • My new-to-me-vintage-thrifted trunk!!!
      • Buying fabric for my Halloween costume- I'm making it and I'm going as Susie Carmichael from Rugrats
      • Having a deep conversation about Harry Potter over dinner.
      • Realising that my heart has been healed :)
      • Realising that I no longer have self-esteem issues or stage fright :)
      • Starting to catch up with life and all my obligations.
      • Getting an awesome email from my parents :)
      • Listening to beautiful music like There For You by Flyleaf, Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade, and Girls and Boys by Ingrid Michaelson.
      • Contacting my siblings
      • Hanging out with the awesome people God has blessed me with.
      • Swing-Dancing: I'm getting really good.
      • Going for adoration- it's just amazing and really calming.
      • Trying to transition this blog into my new vision for it.
      • Reading Mini-Shopaholic on my Kindle!
      • Learning the true meaning of love.
      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. What are the reasons for your smile this week? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.
      Wednesday, 20 October 2010

      Love and Relationships- Thoughts on Love

      The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and
      richness to life that nothing else can bring.

      -- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish Dramatist and Poet

      Love you all and Stay Inspired,

      Monday, 18 October 2010

      What is Your Wildcard?

      Dearest Devotees,

      I mentioned my "wildcard" list in my last Renovate Your Life post and was asked to share mine with you. First of all for those who aren't really sure what it is, a wildcard list is a list of all the random things that you would really like to do, and that you would make you happy, but that may not be high on your priority list otherwise since you do not have to do them. An item on the list could be anything from signing up for swing classes to buying tickets to see a musical to going to the beach on a random Thursday afternoon.
      It's sort of like the "happy, fun-time" alternative to the productive stereotypical to-do list, and for that reason, I make it a point to have one always present to pick from. In fact, lately I've found that crossing off something that can be put off until later from my too full to-do list and replacing it with something fun from my wildcard list, is the perfect way to get me motivated enough to power through everything I have to do for that day. The window of fun in my day, provides me with the breath of fresh air and sense of encouragement I need after a lot of draining work. So without further ado, here is what's on my wildcard list right now:

      • See a play at the theatre (probably for free using my Student Complementary Card)
      • Visit a photography gallery
      • Spend a couple of hours drawing at the Art Museum
      • Go to an orphanage to play with the kids, find one to get signed up for regular volunteering
      • Go to the parks
      • Go salsa and swing dancing with friends
      • Go to the library
      • Read Mini Shopaholic on Kindle at cute, little coffee shop.
      • See Easy A at the cinema.
      • See The Social Network at the cinema.
      • Bake cookies with friends.
      • Decorate Dorm room more- buy flowers, and create special corners :)
      • Watch TED talks on Creativity.
      • Go for a walk by the river.
      • Skype friends and family.
      • Explore more of the area where my dance classes are located.
      • See Romeo and Juliet opera
      • Find out what Inception : The Musical is.

      I definitely recommend creating a wildcard list. It can help you stop and just enjoy life.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,
      P.S. So let me know what you think. Do you have a "wildcard list" ? What's on yours? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Friday, 15 October 2010

      Renovate Your life: Rewiring Your System

      Dearest Devotees,

      Oh the ever present rut (and the constant battle to avoid said grueling rut)! Some of you have joined me in this life renovation project because you have the desire to reignite the internal fire that is your zeal for life, a fire that has been snuffed out by the dull stress of your daily routine. If that is the case, then this post is definitely for you.

      Over the past couple of months I've noticed just how important it is to "rewire your system" by changing up your routine and doing something out of the ordinary every once in a while. It stops you from becoming to focused on the little grievances you have to endure in the course of your day, and helps you step back and see that there is so much more to life. Personally, it also gives me something to look forward to in a week, because even though I am now spending a lot more time doing creative work that I love, I've realized that it can quickly become boring if it is all that I do. Also doing things you don't normally do opens your eyes to new things and these things could inspire you.

      You could easily rewire your system by doing any of the following:

      1. Change up your morning routine:

      Include things you would make you want to wake up in the morning. For me that involves me making my routine look this:

      • Wake-up and stretch
      • Pray
      • Meditate and/or do Yoga
      • Blast "Waking up playlist" while checking emails and plan for the day.
      • Cancel one thing from my to-do list (preferably something that would make my day too hectic)
      • Choose to do 1 thing from my wild card list (something random and cool that would make me really excited to do in that day)
      • Bathe, dress, eat healthy breakfast and leave for the day.

      2. Make a date to face a fear and keep it:

      Take a trampolining class if you're afraid of heights. Take a swimming/diving class if you are afraid of water. Do karaoke if you are afraid of the stage. Facing yours fear builds self-esteem and reinforces the idea that you are capable of doing much more than you give yourself credit for.

      3.Change your personal style. Radically:

      Are you a pretty conservative dresser? Embrace your quirky side. If you were previously a pretty expressive dresser try out a more minimalistic approach to your style. It's not so much what style you try in as much as it is the excitement of the change. Changing your style could influence you to change your lifestyle as well as your perception of self. By dressing more conservatively you might begin to see your self as more levelheaded and responsible or by dressing more originally you might begin to see yourself as more creative. Changing your personal style could lead you to know more about yourself.

      4.Plan a weekend getaway:

      Block out a weekend to get away from your usual place of residence and don't let anything stop you from going. Plan your schedule as best as you can around this time, and try to accomplish enough things beforehand so that you can go away with as few worries as possible. You don't have to go anywhere truly exciting. Sometimes being in the same place for a long time is enough to make us feel bland. A weekend away, spent with family, friends or even on your own should cure you of your bland feeling and get you seeing things in a new light.

      5. Go to the park, playground, library or movies spontaneously:

      Some day, after a particularly hard day of class/ work, wind down afterwards by visiting the park or seeing a movie. Or get together with a small group of friends and go to your neighborhood playground after dark. Honestly who says your childhood is gone?

      6.Go on an artist date:

      Do something to enrich your artistic soul like going to a photography gallery or a nearby art museum. See if you can find free viewings or special student or member discount rates if you are still in school. Especially if you a student interested in the arts, this is the best time to explore everything because of the amazing student discount rates.

      7. Redecorate your inspiration board:

      Set out an afternoon to update your inspiration board and include things that inspire you now and goals that you are working towards today. Having these things somewhere you can see them regularly, enables them to become embedded in your subconscious and helps you to begin to work towards them.

      8. Recreate your schedule:

      If you are anything like me, the best way to remember to do something you find important, be it exercise, studying, attending classes/work, or hanging out with friends is to make it an actual part of your schedule. When I decided I wanted to make exercise a priority I signed myself up for dance classes and put them in my schedule. I have been dancing every week for the past 6 months. I used to only put classes and other "official" activities on my schedule but by including other parts of my life in my schedule I've given them more importance and as a result of this, I am closer to becoming the well-rounded person I want to be.

      I hope these ideas help you inject more fun into your days.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. How do avoid the dreadful " rut" ? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

      Saturday, 9 October 2010

      How to Improve Your Vocals i.e. My Top 10 Tips for improving your sound

      Hi Darlings,
      I mentioned earlier that I'd started taking voice classes in order to improve my sound. I'm really glad I did because there are so many valuable things that I've learnt because of this training. This is valuable information that could interest anyone be you a closet rock star or seasoned opera singer. Enjoy

      1. Do not clear your throat by doing that close-mouthed coughing thing. It scratches your vocal cords and can cause you to lose your voice. Instead drink water or swallow/ lightly cough in order to clear your throat.

      2. Drink TONNES of Water. Try really hard to avoid singing with a dry throat. It is aweful for your voice and doesn't sound good.

      3.Don't listen and critique yourself while singing. What you hear yourself sing is different from what others here from you.

      4. When you have a cough or any sickness that harms your throat do not sing.

      5. Always warm up your voice before singing . Sing a particular phrase with increasing pitch and decreasing pitches or you could sing through the scales (your do-re-mis).

      6.If your voice tends to be dry, drinking milk or eating chocolate some time before practice can actually help.

      7. If you have a vocal performance coming up, warming up and daily practice is really important, and even if you don't have one coming up, warming up your voice at the beginning of the day is usually good, especially if you tend to sing a lot randomly throughout the day like me.

      8. When singing higher notes, breathe deeper and try to open all your airways as much as you can. This is important because the tendency is that the higher we go, the more we want to close up because of innate fear of the high notes.

      9. When the air is really free and you are singing on or near the top of your range, a lovely thing called vibratto can happen in which your voice sort of vibrates (haha) on whatever pitch you are singing. It's beautiful when it's natural but you shouldn't force it because it can be really bad for your voice. Also it doesn't sound as nice.

      10. Always sing from your diaphragm: Seriously. I didn't take this seriously until I lost my voice the day of my voice final, after practicing everywhere I could the week up to my final. I woke up and it was gone. Thankfully my professor was lenient and I still ended up doing well but honestly try to make a conscious effort to sing from your diaphragm by using deep breaths that fill your stomach to sing.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. What advice do you have for the singers out there? Any performance horror stories? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Thursday, 23 September 2010

      Seeking inspiration: The Art of Role Play

      "When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." ~Tuli Kupferberg

      "Imagination and fiction make up more than three-quarters of our real life."~Simone Weil

      Hello Dearest Devotees,

      I think it was towards the end of the summer that I read Harry Potter Book 4 (The Goblet of Fire) that I first decided to explore my own imaginary world. Using Hogwarts and the rest of Harry's world as a jumping off point, I began to create an intricately detailed alternate reality, occasionally furnished with ideas from other fantasy-like books I'd read but largely full of places that I had come up with. Each place had their own wildly different culture, languages and physical environment as well as their own well established royal family. I loved being in this place that I called "my magical world" ( I know. Extremely creative :P) so much that I would spend hours of my day interacting with this place and with people and friends I'd created in this place. I would imagine full length conversations, and would sometimes even invite my siblings to join in my crazy adventures.

      It was around this time that I first gained serious interest in writing novels and I'm pretty sure it was sparked by my love for the imaginary place I'd created. I desired to share this world with others and I thought that by "becoming" a character in my imaginary world, I would be able to have a special connection with the characters and therefore be better able to accurately represent them in my books. The character I chose to become is called Aury and I now have a wealth of stories that in diary format that I have collected over the years about her life. Acting as Aury was my first experience in the art of role play. I later found out that actors often use role play to get into character and to be better able to portray their characters during performances. In a similar way, role play helped me to realise that in the world I was creating in my book, Aury and all her friends are people with "real" emotions, problems and relationships and not just characters. I want my readers to be able to believe, at least for a little while, that she is real and in order for that to happen I must believe it too. Only by truly believing this will I be able to make her actions and emotions real enough that my readers will be able to see themselves in her and relate with my novel.

      I believe that role play is a skill that can be used by people in general and artists in particular. Our art comes from our realms of experience and our personal realms of experience are pretty limited when you imagine all that it could be. Role play enables to expand that realm giving you the opportunity to tap into feelings and experiences you may not have otherwise had in order to draw from these experiences and create something extraordinary. Also role play can be used to help you reach your goals and ideas of the person you want to be. If used well, it could help you get a realistic idea of what it would take to become that person and maybe even let you decide if that person is really who you want to be. Finally, the art of roleplay can be used to help you understand people in your life better. It will give the chance to " walk in their shoes" and understand things from their point of view. The art of role play is so much more than a game. It is a way of letting your imagination help you see what your eyes can't.

      Seeking Inspiration Assignment:

      Use the art of roleplay to pretend to be someone who you could see as the opposite of you. Or step into the shoes of someone you aspire to being. Be this person for at least a day.
      *Clarification edit*
      In order not to freak people out I would recommend you do this on a personal day- a day in which you have a lot of personal time. Or you could just take some time out and just go through the motions of an average day in the life of your character by only pretending to do the activities.

      Links I've loved

      GenYwealth gives 5 weird habits that can make you rich. Hmm...

      I so LOVE the Lolita Lifestyle.

      These dates are soo sweet!!! .

      I really like this ode to overachievers. I don't know if I'm there yet but I think I'm pretty close.

      Wishful thinking is giving a free course for Creative Professionals. If you haven't signed up yet do it! It's gold.

      Two pretty awesome morning routines on Zen Habits.

      And its pretty random but I really love Taylor Swift's Mine and If I Die Young by The Band Perry. The colours in their videos are so beautiful.

      Love you and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. Have you role played before? What for? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      My Top 10: Little known quirks

      Dearest Devotees,

      Since I had so much fun writing yesterday's post, I decided that I would write a similar one today. This post is about the random things I like to do/ or am interested in that you might never guess was apart of my personality if you didn't know me. I love finding out unusual things about people and I am hoping that sharing my quirks with you will help you find it easier to be quirky, and maybe even help me meet people with similar (random) interests. So without further ado, here are my top 10 quirks.

      1. Greek and Roman Mythology: This is why I love books like Percy Jackson. I just love how ancient societies were able to create such amazing stories to explain things that they encountered daily.

      2. The Sims, especially the Sims 3. I'm not a big video games person but I really love the Sims.

      3. A really odd and wide taste in music ranging from classical, to hip hop, to metal, indie rock and country.

      4. Youtube (This is more of an obsession) : particularly watching youtubers like Shane Dawson, Natalie Tran of Community Channel and Charlie McDonell.

      5. Avatar -the last Airbender: The cartoon not the movie.

      6. Magical beings in novels in general.

      7. All types of dance, gymnastics, yoga and other similar activities that involve testing the limits of your flexibility (I have a pretty wide range of movement).

      8. I absolutely love singing, am a songwriter and have been told I have a nice voice, but I have no desire to become a performer. Why? Stage fright.

      9. Flying does really weird things to me (the air pressure causes splitting headaches akin to those Harry might have felt through his scar) yet I continue to adore flying.

      10. Psychology and any study really that helps me understand why people act the way they do.I own so many non-fiction and self help books, its obscene.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. What are your quirks? How do you feel about them ? (I actually happen to like mine :) )Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Saturday, 11 September 2010

      My Top 10: Amazing Places I would love to live

      Dearest Devotees,

      Some of the following places are real. Some of them aren't. Most of them I will only ever live inhabit their confines in my dreams. Since I am unlikely to be forwarding my mail to any of these places any time soon, please indulge me as I list the top 10 places I would love to have the good fortune of calling home.

      1. Hogwarts: After I read Harry Potter, I was hooked. After anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Hogwarts letter on my 10th birthday, I was devastated when, by the next morning, it had still not shown up. (I had to assume that this meant that the ability to hold things due to static cling was not, in fact, a sign of magical blood.)

      2. Anthropologie: If you've never been in the store called Anthropologie I honestly cannot help you. The best way I could describe it is by saying is that it is as if they took all things indie, kitschy, craftsy, artsy and sweet and put them all in one store. I have sincerely considered moving there on separate occasions.

      3. Libraries (especially large, old fashioned, public libraries): I once spent a whole summer reading books every day from 9-5 for about 3 months if memory serves. I would also take books home during those days, to read for as long as I was awake and not at the library. As you can see, I was a very odd child.

      4. The world in which Percy Jackson lives: Granted it might extremely scary sometime, but how cool would it be see all the beings that Greek mythologies are made of walking and talking. Plus learning archery from a Centaur would be pretty awesome.

      5. Genovia: Because with a ruler as cool and epic as Mia Thermopolis from Princess Diaries, I feel like life would be really interesting.

      6. A wonderful imaginary land called Magical: A world that exists only within the confines of my mind and my novel and which you may all get to read about one day.

      7. European Countryside: Be it French, Swiss or Northern Irish, I know I would be SO Happy if I could one day call such a place home. It's breathtakingly beautiful, and gives me dreams of horse back-riding with my kids in my private stables.

      8. In the prairies of the Western U.S: Simply Google Colorado. One day I will have an artistic retreat here for at least 2 weeks. Until then I will have to satisfy myself with imagining myself through fields covered in yellow flowers.

      9. New York: Fashion Institute of New York. The Museum of Modern Art. Broadway. The Energy. The Life. I could go on but I won't because I don't think I need to.

      10. A Palace in a world in which Dr. Reid exists: The little girl in me has always wondered what it would be like to be a real princess and live in a palace...

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. Where would you live (if there were absolutely no constraints with regards to time or reality)? What would you be your dream place to be? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Thursday, 9 September 2010

      Artist's Corner: Poetry 101 by 8 year old Aury

      Hi Darlings!

      So I was rooting through a pile of papers while unpacking earlier this week and stumbled upon the first poem I ever wrote. I got a kick out of it, and thought that I should share it with you guys. I was 8 so this poem is probably the equivalent of basic doodling and scribbles by future artists.


      Blue is the colour of the sea
      Blue is the colour of the sky
      Blue is the colour that we feel
      when our happiness goes sailing by

      Blue is the colour of the lake
      Blue is the colour for goodness sake
      that shows what we can be
      But above all, isn't it pretty?

      What can I say? Blue was my favorite colour back then and I just loved waxing poetic about it.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So, do you have any of your old art work/ writings that you have stumbled on years later? How do you feel when you see these things? What does it tell you about that time? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Monday, 6 September 2010

      A Day in the Life: Where I am now

      Dearest Devotees,

      I could make tons of excuses for not posting for the past couple of weeks and not informing that I wasn't going to be. The thing is that at the end of the day they would all be just that... excuses. I am sorry that a year in I haven't established some sort of blogging routine yet, but this is because this blog really is an extension of myself. When I write here, I give you all a glance into my mind and soul, and I pour myself into each and every post. That's why when I burnt myself out during summer school ( I know, it was too much school) I just needed to stop doing stuff. I sort of took a forced digital sabbatical because where I went, I had no access internet through my mac for 3 weeks! I did blog a little while there because I was able to convince someone else to let me use their computer a little, but the connection was really slow so I had to stay up really late (think 3 am) to blog. Eventually, I just couldn't do it anymore, and spent the rest of the time just hanging out with my siblings and parents, playing the Sims 3 on my Mac and reading amazing books like Mistaken Identity.

      I also decided to take some time to re-evaluate myself and have discovered that I have changed so much over the past year, I have outgrown a lot of the things that used to define me. The original plan I had for this blog no longer suits the person I am today. When I first started I thought I would be mostly a fashion blogger with some lifestyle tips thrown into the mix, but I've realised that I see and enjoy fashion more as art and as form of self-expression through personal style. I am only interested in trends in so much as they tell me about large groups of people and enable me to understand them better through their clothes (Costume Analysis). So fashion on this blog is going to be mostly about personal style, design and fashion as a form of costuming. Also, this blog is going to continue being mostly focused on the creative lifestyle and artful living. I am really interested in lifestyle design right now, and I would love to share with you guys all the ideas I have on living life more creatively.

      I will do this by writing about different subgroups of people who follow their dreams with total abandon. I will show you how to incorporate art into your daily lives and how to find inspiration everywhere. I will help you find your muse, and develop and sustain a relationship with her. I will help you see find mentors and role models, people who have been there and show you that it can be done. I will help you to gain understanding of yourself and of those around you so that you have a better grasp of human emotion for your art as well as for your relationships with people. My aim is to help you live life more fully because I've realised that having a bunch of things and a long list of abstract achievements do not make a full life. In the end it is the people you meet, the experiences you have and the relationships you build that give you true happiness.

      I know it sounds like I have it all figured out, but I don't. I will be the first person to admit I don't know it all. However, I am extremely willing to devote myself to seeking the answers to every question I encounter. I want to know more and I promise that as I learn more. So really if you think about it I am taking this journey with you.

      I am writing for all you lovely creative and artistic people striving to live a life full of inspiration.
      This is my purpose.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. Are there any topics related to artistic living that you would like me to explore? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.
      Monday, 23 August 2010

      Life's Little Lessons: Just believe

      'Promises mean everything when you're little and the world is so big'

      Everclear's Wonderful

      The world is huge, experiences range from microscopically tiny to undeniably life-changing. Life is like a stormy sea with alternating periods of deceptive calm and back-breaking turmoil, and in this sea that is life, each person is one ridiculously small and powerless boat. In order to ride out the storm, we need to have an anchor, something to hold onto and to keep us from sinking in times of great trial. Sir Thomas More said,

      'I'm anchored, to my principles'

      -A Man For All Seaons

      In times of great turmoil, our beliefs are whaxt should keep us grounded. I am not even saying solely religious beliefs either. I just feel strongly that we should believe in something good outside of ourselves. A boat does not have a brake, something within itself to help it face the strength of the sea- it has an anchor, something outside of itself that is rooted and strong enough to support the ship until calm is restored. Even in times of calm, the presence of the anchor gives the captain reassurance. Having a belief in something powerful and beautiful reassures you in times of calm and gives you something to fall back on in hard times.

      I believe in God, love and hope. I am not blindly optimistic; I do not think that everything is perfect or that bad things do not and will not happen. I do believe though that somehow, in the end things will be okay, and that all I need is the strength to see the situation through. Rarely do people go looking for hardship, but it exists any way so the best thing you can do is face it. I am a strong believer of the whole '' what doesn't kill you makes you stronger approach" and this, combined with the hope of a better day, keeps me going each day.

      So if you don't already, I really suggest believing in something. Let it be something larger and more powerful than yourself. Let it be something than is immortal and is unlikely to be hurt by the currents of change. But most importantly, let it be something that resonates with you.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. What is your anchor and what are your beliefs? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
      Sunday, 22 August 2010

      The Blogger Inside Tag

      Photo from: A winged pearl

      I am

      A girl of many dreams and tons of ambition.

      Yet I often feel like a lone autumn leaf in the wind.

      I believe in God.

      I believe in love and hope.

      I am

      A person with a mission

      An ultimate dream to reach self-fulfillment and understanding of the world around me

      But also to successfully build myself as a brand

      And to create my dream company a clothing company called Vanille.

      You may be wondering, "Who is Aury?"

      Well, she started out as the main character of my first novel.

      A person I've role-played for several years of my childhood

      And still continue to do so occasionally today.

      I love travelling and have grown up all around the world.

      I love airplanes although I am afraid of heights and feel very much at home in airports.

      I love magic and the whole idea of an alternate world.

      From Greek and Roman Mythology, to tales of Hogwarts and shows like Avatar all these things intrigue me.

      I love reading and I adore libraries.

      I love the Internet because it is a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered.

      I love social media because it keeps us all connected.

      I love art, music and literature.

      Art to me is everything that uses imagination and creativity to make it come alive.

      I love fashion design and costuming because of their process.

      An intangible idea and/or message is turned into clothing by the designer, identified with by the consumer and transmitted to others by the wearer.

      I love how you need to have an analytical, critical and artistic mind in order to create a successful design.

      I love culture and diversity.

      I stand for tolerance and understanding.

      Home to me is wherever my heart is.

      Wherever my family is but also wherever I feel most at peace.

      Deconstruction is a huge part of my world.

      The deconstructed and disjoint nature of this post is a true portrayal of my mind.

      I feel like my mind is a jungle.

      A thick but thriving marshy forest full of ideas, questions and answers.

      The problem is not a dearth of resources but one of logical connections and pathways to the resources.

      If only I could find the way.

      This is the real me.

      Trying to make sense of what makes my reality so that I can share with you.

      I am Aury.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. This is a blogger inside blogger tag that I have just created. The rules are as such:

      1. Do a blog post in any format that you like and that you think accurately portrays who you are.

      2. Tell us what you think makes up who you are. It can be as long or as short as you want.

      3. Tag 3 bloggers and pass it on (I tag Dori from Dori the Giant , Krissy from Shimmer Like Gold, and Debbie from Debbie: The College Years )

      P.P.S. So let me know what you think. Feel free to introduce yourselves to me in the comments below.

      Monday, 16 August 2010

      Dreaming of the Show: The Abuser from Love the Way You Lie

      When I first started doing the Dreaming of the Show posts, I said that I would not only design for characters from traditional plays like Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, but that I would also design for characters from popular culture such as TV shows and music videos for relatively recent songs. I've always had a thing for literary analysis but after my first class in media literacy and analysis I've been hooked. For those who are unfamiliar with the field, media literacy is a field that analyzes, evaluates and creates messages in a variety of form- from print to video. I like to think of it as a way of understanding society and people by unearthing the hidden meanings in modern media, movies, music and entertainment. The understanding gained from this analysis is the first step to accurately portraying a character through the costume.

      Ever since I heard the song Love the Way You Lie performed by Eminem and Rihanna, I have loved it for its depth and meaning. It has a very strong and clear message about domestic abuse and the shock effect of the song's presentation actually forces people to listen to the message. Before the real video came out I had some ideas of how I would have liked the video to be. The way in which I would have liked to portray the character of the abuser in particular was important to me and this is what I will share with you in this post.

      Character: The Abuser from Love the Way You lie- Eminem ft Rihanna

      Time and Place I would set it in: Modern day Western World

      Plot summary:

      The story tells the complicated and often misunderstood relationship of the abuser and the abused in domestic violence cases. It talks about how both parties are aware of the toxic nature of their relationship but are still unable to leave. On some level they both know that their relationship is incredibly dangerous, but they love the drama and the intensity too much to walk away. The abuser claims that he hates what he does but that he is so dependent on their relationship that he cannot leave it and when he gets mad at her, the intensity of his rage clouds his judgment so much that it turns him into someone he cannot recognize. He claims that he will change and that he will never hurt the abused again, but both of them realize that it's all a lie and that he won't change. In the third verse the abuser goes through a state of denial with the abused by saying that its possible their relationship really isn't so bad, and that maybe its so intense because of their intense personalities but at the end of everything he admits that he knows that he is lying and that if she ever tries to escape from him he will kill her. Throughout the song the abused supports his statements by repeating that it’s alright if he watches her suffer because she loves the way he lies.

      Character Summary:

      To me, the abuser seems like someone who truly seems to have two widely different personalities: a public and a private one. I imagine that his public personality makes him seem like a normal guy. He'd probably be very charismatic and even personable. He'd seem very put together and self aware with a clear goal and ambition in life and all of these amazing qualities would make him very appealing to women. He'd probably be a charmer and romance them into his life, lulling them into a false sense of security. Then once they feel like they have found the perfect man, he would slowly start to change. I don't think he would brutally hurt them at first. I imagine he would probably start with by verbally assaulting them/ pushing them around, but before you know it would escalate until she's become too scared to run away.

      Keywords to Describe Him

      Public persona- charismatic, well dressed, put together, cheerful, friendly, kind and stable

      Private persona- menacing, frigtening, domineering, unstable, overcome with rage, monsterous.

      Key Elements to His Style

      Checked Shirts

      Classic Blue Jeans

      Classic Mens button down shirt in neutrals and light blue

      Tailored Suits worn with close collared shirts and ties

      Italian style leather shoes

      Quality timeless watch

      Large but simple silver ring

      Inconspicuous piercings that can be hidden under most clothes.

      The Abuser to me:

      Note: The pictures below are not of people who I think could be abusers. I do not intend to offend anyone. The sole purpose of the pictures is to give you an idea of the contrast between the abusers two personalities. It is to show that the abuser may seem normal and even successful, enviable and charming to most people but that this persona is shed behind closed doors and this is symbolically shown through the unbuttoning of the shirt and the shedding of the jacket, tie and belt to reveal his once hidden piercings and formerly contained muscles that are now emphasized with the aid of the neutral vest.

      Love you all and Stay inspired,

      P.S. So let me know what you think. How do you think the abuser should have been portrayed in the music video of Love the Way You Lie ? Have you watched the video? What do you think about it? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

      Photos from: We Heart it

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      An Ordinary Girl's World is a blog for stylish and artistic teens, college students and young adults, creatively finding their way in this world. Its about expressing yourself through your personal style, your lifestyle, your relationships and friendships.
      This site will feature articles on fashion, love and life in general, with topics ranging from the latest trends in fashion, beauty and lifestyle, personal style, artistic inspiration pieces and real life survival guides.
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      Hello! I am Frannie a.k.a Frances Anne and I am a 21 year old Catholic Missionary. I am Nigerian but have lived all over the world and I currently live and serve in the U.S. I love God, others and life in general. I bubble over with joy everyday and would love to share my joy with you.
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