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Milestones and Inspirations

September 29, 2014
Favourite Time of the Year

Favourite Time of the Year

I’ve reached a few milestones these past few days that were very satisfying, and the planets (or something) seem to be putting some very inspirational stuff in my path to help me along.

1. I posted the 25th post on artwewonderful.com – so please stop by there, and select “follow” if you like what you see.

2. My business just passed its 4-year anniversary, and I’ve decided it’s now time to take it in a more authentic direction. In today’s business terms, I’m “disrupting” it. I spent the entire week working on a new business plan that has excited me. I got some inspiration from the incredible Jonathan Fields, the originator of the Good Life Project, who is undergoing the same disruption process. So, once my relaunch is ready, I’ll be shouting it from the eRooftops. But in the meantime, if you need a good dose of inspiration, subscribe to Jonathan’s podcast here, or watch his archived interviews with his inspirational heroes at GLP TV.

3. Another dose of inspiration came in viewing the movie, Tracks, starring one of my favourite actresses Mia Wasikowska. This film is based on the true story of an Australian young woman, Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 walked across 2000 miles of Australian desert with 4 camels and her dog as her constant companions. Besides the phenomenal cinematography, I loved how the film didn’t take the bravado route in portraying this heroic journey, but instead captured the serenity of silence, which was the impetus for Davidson’s trek – she wanted to be alone in nature, without the clamour of people. The conflict in the film is not the natural difficulties of the desert, but the difficulties of being in the public spotlight – exactly what she didn’t want – as she naively (and financially) agrees to be part of a story by National Geographic magazine. Yet, still at the heart of this film is the strength of her resolve to make this trek happen on her terms, and the surprising lesson she receives. Loved this movie for its difference of tone!

 

4. Learning Irish singer, Damien Rice has a new album out on October 31st! This is perfect fall music – moody, colourful, and awesome with tea and a warm blanket. And it’s also fantastic inspirational music to create with in the background (I finished 2 paintings with Mr. Rice as part of my playlist). Pre-order the album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, now on iTunes (2 songs are now available). A sneak peak:

Leslie teaching a Nia class

Leslie teaching a Nia class

 

5. Attended a fantastic session of Nia dancing this past week – this is a milestone because I’ve been wanting to take these classes, but for some reason just didn’t get around to it. If you don’t know Nia, it’s a dance/fitness practice that balances choreographed steps with “doing your own thing”. It has many Eastern influences (martial arts, Tai Chi, and dance), mixed with jazz. The music is uplifting, and like other popular dance fitness forms, it’s fun and freeing. A few years ago, I took one class and workshop in Toronto with the amazing Martha Randall, and have wanted to take more but in my neighbourhood. Finally signed up through local Parks & Rec. to take it in my area with the energetic Leslie McHugh  – loving it! And for those of you who have seen me at wedding receptions or are regulars on this blog, you know how I love to dance!

 

Thanks for dropping by, and please share some thoughts with us about:

What’s inspiring you right now? 

 

September 24, 2014

Bunch of joyful things from the last week that are worth sharing

New Workout Tunes

Getting back into the workout groove after a long cocktail-ful summer is hard, but these songs in my workout playlist make me forget the sweat and toil. They are good dancing tunes, too – in case you aren’t officially working out.

“Geronimo” by Sheppard

 

“Rather Be” by Clean Bandit

 

TV Stuff

“The Knick”, starring Clive Owen, is a dark and compelling drama about the state of medicine at the turn of the 20th century. Set in New York at a fictitious small hospital, the storylines are filled with the flaws and the courage of the characters, and the “in your face” reality of New York (you can smell it), medical procedures (I often have to look away), and biases. From director Steven Soderbergh on HBO Canada.

 

Alanis Morissette on “Super Soul Sunday” – So insightful – a wonderful conversation with Alanis, about the work of self-integration and connection. She has done her work, and I envy how articulate she is about this work. Honest, no pretense – her energy brings Oprah down a few notches too. Watch the full episode here.

 

A Delicious Restaurant

If you find yourself in Toronto, head uptown to Little Sister at 2031 Yonge Street. It serves fantastic Indonesian food in the sharing plate format. Having never had Indonesian food (outside of nasi goreng fried rice), this cuisine was a revelation to me – spicy, sweet, sour, salty all represented in beautifully balanced dishes. And I love the experience of trying dishes I thought would taste one way, but turn out to be very different… and amazing, like the watermelon salad with chilis.

I will leave you with the photos of this meal, courtesy of my dinner partner, Chris.

Shrimp "Cocktail" (wrap) at Little Sister

Shrimp “Cocktail” (wrap) at Little Sister

Semur Java (braised beef) at Little Sister

Semur Java (braised beef) at Little Sister

Fried Cauliflower Salad at Little Sister

Fried Cauliflower Salad at Little Sister

Watermelon Salad at Little Sister

Watermelon Salad at Little Sister

Coconut Pudding at Little Sister

Coconut Pudding at Little Sister

 

 

 

Woke Up With This Song In My Head

September 14, 2014

song-stuck-in-head

Sunday morning… awoke with “Brill Bruisers” by Vancouver’s The New Pornographers joyfully playing  in my head. Who knows why, but what a pleasure to have a great song greeting me! Available everywhere you get tunes these days.

Bo ba, b-b-ba b0, Bo ba, b-b-ba” 

 

After a Long Joyful Absence…

September 11, 2014
Vicenza sculpture - my favourite photo from my trip; can feel the joy and rapture

Vicenza sculpture
– my favourite photo from my trip; can feel the joy and rapture

Wow, does time fly when you are having fun!

I’ve been away a large piece of the summer, and with all the best of intentions to blog a bit, the Internet Gods were not so cooperative! But now I’m back, and ready to go with a slightly new format – I hope to make more frequent posts with a couple of joyful sharings, and not so many long lists of things. Immediacy is my goal! Share the joy close to the experience of it! With that in mind…

This made me laugh the other day, as I was trying to squeeze into my fall clothes:

GF comic

 

What’s so funny about this is the new gluten-free Mojo bars from the Clif Bar people were to be my first entry in this blog, and then I saw the comic! These Mojo bars are really tasty and contain no lactose, no bad sugars, no gluten… so maybe they are”still healthy junk”?

Mojo bars

On the other hand, I might be able to enjoy a few more of them if I keep dancing around the house (and at the end of my workout) to alt-J’s “Left Hand Free” (video is meh, but the song is so danceable):

Then when you are done working out or dancing, sit back and watch the wonderful movie called “Belle”, now available to download/rent/pay per view. The performances are wonderful (especially liked Tom Wilkinson), and it’s a terrific story based on true events.

Belle

I’d also like to share some of the joy I’ve had this summer with my trip to Italy – I will be blogging about the travel journal and art I created over at www.artwewonderful.com, and also will be putting up travel recommendations at www.liveyourbiggerlifetravel.com. If you’d like to follow me on those blogs, please click over and sign up to follow.

Share more bites of joy with you soon!

 

Workout Playlist – Spring 2014

May 7, 2014

Spring (800x600)

 

Spring has finally come! And you know what THAT means! 

For some, THAT means bikini season is just around the bend. For others, THAT means running competition season is ramping up. And for me, THAT means travel season is here and since I tend to go to places with lots of steep hills, I got to get into “travel shape”. Here’s a workout (elliptical, running, weights) that’s helping me do just THAT!

(Sorry about any ads on the sound links; all songs available on iTunes)

1. “Tongues” – Joywave (ft. Kopps) (118 beats per minute)

2. “Love Never Felt So Good” – Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake (118)

3. “Sing” – Ed Sheeran (120)

4. “Latch” – Disclosure (ft. Sam Smith) (122)

5. “A Sky Full of Stars” – Coldplay (125)

6. “Lifted” – Naughty Boy (ft. Emeli Sande) (127)

7. “Fever” – The Black Keys (128)

8. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” – Chromeo (128)

9. “Hey Now (Arty Remix)” – London Grammar (128)

10. “Come Alive” – Chromeo (ft. Toro y Moi) (130)

11. “Sailing” – The Strumbellas (135)

12. “Seasons (Waiting on You)” – Future Islands (140)

13. “Hymnals” – Grizfolk (142)

14. “Home” – Ingrid Michaelson (145)

15. “I Heard I Had” – Dear Rouge (153)

16. “Human Heat” – Sam Roberts Band (160)

 

Cool down or switch off cardio:

17. “Tall Tall Shadow” – Basia Bulat (125)

18. “Down” – The Kooks (97)

20. “Why’d You Only Call Me” – Arctic Monkeys (92)

 

I like ending my workouts with a few songs that make me want to dance – these last two qualify!

Things That Might Bring You Joy… April edition

May 1, 2014

 

 

And the journey continues...

And the journey continues…

 

Happy Anniversary to mymy says! It’s been 5 years – can you believe it?! 

In honour of this milestone, I felt a little refreshing was in order, so you’ll notice a few changes to the look of the blog. And I want to say thanks to everyone who has stopped by over the years and who follow my blog. Love ya!

 

1. New Toronto Radio Station INDIE88 – Launched last September, but I only found about it from frequent visits to my local art store, where I found myself singing along and wanting to dance in the aisles as I picked up watercolour paints. A fantastic rotation of both new and old songs, with a lot of Canadian content. I also use their free app on my phone. The only downside of listening to this station is that my iTunes purchasing has exploded!

2. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It) by Chromeo – There are whispers that this may be THE fun song of the summer. It certainly has that disco-retro sound that makes me move around whenever I hear it. Only problem with getting tuned into it now is that by June you may have had enough of it…or not.

3.  Ingrid Michaelson’s new album “Lights Out” – After releasing a few single cuts from her upcoming album, the whole thing is finally now out. And the rest of the album is fantastic! If you like female singer-songwriters, pick this one up! I know that I’ve featured this song before on the blog, but here’s the Live version on a recent Conan – demonstrates just how good her voice is.

 

4. “The Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison – I struggle how to describe the premise of this collection of essays. It’s such a unique book, so beautifully and brutally written. The essays capture such a wide variety of human conditions, where care and lack of care are achingly clear. I couldn’t put it down. And I am still reeling from it, so I turn to Amazon to give you more info about this astonishing book.

Read more…

Things That Might Bring You Joy… mid-March

March 26, 2014
Coldplay-image-coldplay-36748539-960-960

Mila Fürstová’s etching for Coldplay’s upcoming album, Ghost Stories

1. Coldplay’s SXSW Concert on iTunes – Streamed free! An hour of Coldplay doing some of their hits and some of their new songs from the upcoming album, “Ghost Stories”. Singing along, I’ve watched it twice. Also love the artwork for the new album (due out May 26), the work of Czech artist Mila Fürstová, which reminds me of the some of the drawings I’ve been experimenting with lately. And if you haven’t already downloaded the new single “Magic”, what are you waiting for! It’s the dancing in the car/kitchen/shower song of the month…so far.

2. Royal Wood’s new album, “The Burning Bright” – Fantastic! I have been hearing his music on the CBC for awhile now, but after a Breakfast Television appearance, I learned he is also studying to be a sommelier. As a fellow lover of wine and good music, I immediately bought the album. It’s difficult to pin down his style, but he’s part Billy Joel meets The Beatles meets Blue Rodeo meets Great Big Sea.

Read more…

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