Give the Gift of Indie

‘Tis the season of giving and here are some great gift suggestions if you’re looking for unique gift ideas. This year consider giving the gift of ‘Indie’ or independently made, I’m suggesting that in lieu of the more well-known or more sought after gifts there are some really great gems to be had if you know where to look.
My favorite site for all things independently made is Etsy, which has everything from clothes, crafts and so much more. One of my favorite Etsy store is Chattergold Studios, which features the beautiful photography from Seattle-based photographer Tricia.

Do you know a bookworm? Give the give of these amazing books from so authors I’ve been lucky enough to discover this year. My Heart is an Autumn Garage by Anne Theriault(The Belle Jar) is a heart-breakingly honest account of her battle with depression including her experience with hospitalization. S C Rhyne’s debut The Reporter and The Girl MINUS the Super Man! is (in the author’s own words) not a love story but tales the semi-autobiographical story of an interracial relationship in or modern dating world.
Is it a coincidence that Santa and Satan share all the same letters?  Not if you want to give the gift of the Hellbound Trilogy by Tim Hawken including: Hellbound, I Am Satan and the just released finale Deicide.
Angela Kulig’s newest bookPigments of my Imagination(POMI) is a wonderful tale of romance, mixed with adventure and mystery. Savannah Stewart is an up-and-coming author who’s novel Moments of Reckoning should not be missed.
Diana Emuge‘s Seamless is the fictional tale of a women’s struggle against many issues especially within herself.
Not just for actors Anthony Meindl‘s book’s At Left Brain Turn Right and Alphabet Soup for Grown-Ups are informative, enlightening and best of all entertaining!

For the lighter side of things considering giving the gift of laughter courtesy of the hilarious guys from Superego their podcast is gift enough but you can also check out their album Mount Us More by The Journeymen(a fictional band they created).

Give the gift of independent film, consider donating to one of the many great films with crowdfund campaigns, including my personal favorite Thunder Road.  There are still incentives available and what movie lover wouldn’t like the opportunity to go to a private screening of the film with the actors in attendance?

For the philanthropic, why not give the gift of a donation to charity or even just offer your time and volunteer? personal favorite of mine is the newly formed Pedal Against PTSD who aim to help suffers of PTSD through cycling as well as raise overall awareness of PTSD to the general public, and you can donate here. The Young family of Hamilton Ontario, has truly found the meaning of the season and are hosting a Boxing day party and have committed to providing a hearty meal and gifts for 50 people who would otherwise be alone on Christmas or unable to provide those things for themselves, anyone interested in helping can donate to them through PayPal mark@leanbodiesconsulting.com, your donations will go towards the food and gifts for these families.
Happy Holidays!

 

A Question of Connection

“Everyone’s connected but no one is connecting,
the human element has long been missing.
Tell me have you seen it? Have you seen it?
Or are we alone?”
– 
Lyrics from Alone by Armin van Buuren

I’m currently obsessed with Armin van Buuren’s new album Intense, especially the track Alone; on a superficial level the song is pure aural enjoyment but offers the listener a truly thought-provoking experience when you listen to the lyrics. I found myself considering our human need for connection. We live in an age where you can avoid physical human interaction almost completely but can digitally connect with people more intimately than ever before. All over my twitter timeline I’ve seen tweets about people’s virtual connections and how social media has impacted our human interactions.  Notebook of love tweeted: “Relationships are harder now because conversations becomes texting, arguments become phone calls, and feelings become tweets”

When I created this blog one driving force behind it was the need to make a connection with others, to inspire the way so many others have inspired me. I wanted to feel a part of the bigger picture to leave my mark in whatever way the future has set out for me. What I didn’t expect was how this desire would impact and affect me. I’ve been reluctant to post my personal thoughts because even though I’m relatively anonymous the process can leave the author feeling very exposed. There is also something to be said about the catharsis of allowing yourself to be vulnerable even if you’re still hiding behind the screen.  The various social media communities offer us a way to connect with like-minded people who weren’t accessible in the past, virtual strangers can become best friends without ever meeting in the physical world. One of my closest friends has never physically met me but I feel more connected to her than some people I have known almost my entire life. Our shared pop culture interests allowed us to develop a very real friendship, which I have found is increasingly rare for adults. I am constantly interacting with people in my day-to-day life but have yet to make a connection as deeply as the few I have forged during my brief foray into this social media world. There are so many inspiring stories that have left me in awe and rejuvenated my belief in the good of humanity. There is a melancholic feeling that comes from realizing that some of my more profound interactions have come through a screen but I’m also hopefully optimistic for how I can translate my virtual social confidence into the real world.

So if this is our future what does that mean for connections? I’ll leave you with the lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

“If this is communication
I disconnect
I’ve seen you, I know you
But I don’t know
How to connect, so I disconnect”
Lyrics from Communication by The Cardigans

How To Spend Your Summer (TV) Vacation

Now that your favorite shows have ended for the season don’t panic. I’ve created a list of things to do to pass the long summer months till the fall premieres.

  1. Got to the movies: this summer promises endless hours of entertainment at the movie theater, starting on May 23rd with the release of the final installment of the Hangover trilogy, you’ll be so preoccupied you won’t realize it’s September already!
  2. Binge-watch shows on demand or on DVD:  start your summer off right with the highly anticipated return of Arrested Development on Netflix on  May 26th, or re-watch your favorite series on DVD until you can see it again in the fall.
  3. Check out the summer television shows: True Blood season 6 starts on June 16 need I say more?
  4. Stay in:  and watch movies in the convenience of your own home, companies like Magnet Releasing offer a variety of independent films on demand before they even come to theaters! Be sure to watch Kiss of the Damned starring Milo Ventimiglia and Charlie Bewley‘s first starring role in Farren Blackburn’s Hammer of the Gods
  5. Make a movie: or at least help fund one! Browse through Kickstarter and help out the independent creative process or create your own project and become the next Zach Braff or Kristen Bell. .
  6. Read something: suggested reading; Charlaine Harris’ final Sookie Stackhouse novel, or The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, for fans of the supernatural, this book is also being made into a movie.  David Sedaris’  latest release Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is another hilarious read.
  7. Get out: go see a concert, the hottest tickets this summer include: Jen Kirkman‘s stand up tour, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z, and the ever popular Lollapalooza
  8. Stay out: go to a convention. The ultimate experience of fandom is of course Comic-Con, but for a more intimate experience try smaller gatherings like the 2013 Open House Rally which features actors from the phenomenal Sons of Anarchy. And for all the sci-fi fans there’s many conventions from Creation Entertainment including my personal favorite The Official Vampire Diaries convention.

No matter what you end up doing this summer is sure to be filled with sun, fun and tons of memories. Check out my pinterest board here: How to Spend your Summer Vacation

23 Things I Love About The Month Of May

Wonder why there are 23 things on this list? Because I was born on the 23rd of May.

  1. Warm, sunny weather
  2. The return of flip flops! Hello toes, goodbye Uggs!
  3. Season finales, especially the finale of The Vampire Diaries
  4. Star Wars day! May the 4th be with you! 
  5. Cinco de Mayo
  6. The return of Arrested Development
  7. The release of the Great Gatsby soundtrack on May 7, until then you can stream it on NPR, definitely listen to the hauntingly brilliant Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful.
  8. Finally upgrading to the new Blackberry Q10…yes I still have a Blackberry
  9. Binge watching shows until the summer TV season starts, Hemlock Grove here I come
  10. The beginning of summer movie season, including The Great Gatsby on May 10th
  11. Lilies of the Valley, these fragrant short blooming flowers are, in my opinion, highly underrated
  12. The return of the wolf pack! The Hangover Part III opens May 24th
  13. The launch of REBEL 13, which celebrates National Youth Arts Week.
  14. Getting back into a regular yoga practice
  15. Getting to finally use my new deck
  16. Going to Canada’s Wonderland again!
  17. Only 2 months until TVDNewJersey!
  18. The on demand release of Hammer of the Gods on May 30, which will be the first starring role for Charlie Bewley and the movie directorial debut of Farren Blackburn
  19. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, guests include Canadian artist Bryan Lee O’Malley creator of the Scott Pilgrim series
  20. Using the warm weather as an excuse to have frozen yogurt for lunch, or dinner, or whenever…
  21. Finding time to catch up on reading, including Kelley Armstrong’s The Rising
  22. Finally getting to wear all my warm weather clothes, hello again maxi dresses!
  23. Last but not least my birthday on the 23rd! Please feel free to send gifts.