Art Gallery Scavenger Hunt

Or, the cutest date I’ve been on thus far.

This is a fun thing to do with friends, family or your significant other! It sparks conversation and collaboration and will definitely be an adventure you’ll remember.

A fun fact about me is that the solution to a lot more of my dilemmas than you’d think are to do a scavenger hunt. And so when faced with the dilemma of having visited basically all the museums in town and not really being people that appreciated art too much, I decided to create a scavenger hunt for my boyfriend and I to go on while visiting the art gallery!

I didn’t know what to expect at all since the last time I’d been there was for a grade 7 field trip. So my items to search for were based on what I thought we’d find, what I hoped we’d find and what I thought was just plain funny.

The whole list is a hoot and a half but here are some gems:

  • someone whose face looks like they did their homework but forgot it at home
  • a bunch of grapes
  • the first painting by an artist we recognize
  • a painting bigger than your outstretched arms
  • a toilet
  • the time it takes to find the Condensation Cube (which was something I did remember from my previous visits)
  • a tree in all 4 seasons (can be different pictures obviously)
  • a visitor’s garbage left in the modern art section (I thought I was hilarious for thinking this one up, like what if it wasn’t just a tissue? What if it’s ART)
  • a painting that looks like a bad powerpoint template

And so on and so forth, you get the picture. (ART JOKES)

It was a huge success! We had fun strolling around, actually loving some paintings for real (we’re not completely uncultured animals) and discussing what we thought merited crossing something off the list! I think we only didn’t get about 6 items which is pretty good in my books!

Something to note is that it’s important to not be rude around the art or other guests just because you’re being a little creative and different with how you enjoy these paintings. This is obvious but I’m just putting it out there.

Definitely let me know if you plan to try this out, I’d love to hear how it goes or help brainstorm items to look for!

Advertisements

YOUR New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made my resolutions, now it’s time for me to help you make yours!

These, of course, are suggestions that you can take or leave but if you’re looking for inspiration or confirmation, this is it.

  1. Find a type of exercise you actually love. Story time: my mother is one of those people that wanted to do something about her current fitness level and tried to sign up for gym memberships and even beginner volleyball classes but nothing stuck and all motivation would peter out quickly. Just 3 months ago, she signed up for some aquafit classes at the local YMCA because she heard it was good for your back and she’s been going around 3 times a week since then! She’s become one of those people that complains when she had to miss a class! So you CAN get fit or lose those pounds, you just need to find your method! The gym is not for everyone, it might be competition or environment that gives you a reason to keep coming back to it.
  2. Read one book per month. Reading is something that people feel like they don’t have time for but books are, in my opinion, a great part of life and important to expand your imagination. So by setting aside your commute to listen to audiobooks or before bed to read a chapter or two, it is definitely plausible to get through at least one book each moon cycle. Definitely try to get a diverse selection from fantasy to non-fiction because the world is huge and there’s no telling what you might learn.
  3. Invest in friendships. You have no idea how important this is. It’s so easy to let great people slip out of your lives or to not initiate getting to really know someone because you already have your family to talk to. Coffee dates are easy to plan, letter writing is not dead and potlucks are really fun. You don’t have to become a social butterfly but do hold on to the friends you have and make sure they know that they are important to you! That isn’t done enough in my opinion.
  4. Create. Totally open-ended, totally depends on what you enjoy and what you’d love to try. I believe we all have something inside of us that needs to create things whether it be an elegant computer code, your very first knitted scarf or a story. I’m sure there’s something that you’re passionate about and if you’re passionate about it you will totally be able to make the time for it in this coming year!

These are my tips to making your year a success (hopefully), let me know what you would have added to the list or what you’re taking from mine!

Wasting Time Efficiently

How come I’m not even good at that?

So there’s those people that get everything they need to do done so quickly and ahead of time that you question if they’re really human. Nothing compares to how organized and on top of things they stay and you would pay a lot of money to learn their ways. I feel like that is a phenomenon that you can find worldwide.

But what I’m talking about here is people that don’t necessarily get things done like planning meals in advance or doing their homework as soon as it’s assigned but they’re the ones that have seen absolutely everything social media has to offer that day and are up to date on all the popular tv shows. I am just so impressed when they spend a lazy afternoon on their bed with their laptop but they managed to watch 5 episodes of the mindy project, online shop a bit and listened to songs that came out that month.

I do a lot of lazing around the house but I am nowhere near as productive in my unproductivity. I’ll end up watching 17 youtube videos, going through a bit of tumblr and looking through the contents of my bedside drawer. Not exactly at the top of my to do list.

So if you’re either type of person that can be productive in some shape or form, hats off to you!

DIY Easy Upcycled Pen/Pencil Holder

Or, Karen tries to stuff as many google-able words into the title as possible!image

If you’re looking for something quick and easy to give your desk space a fresh feeling while simultaneously using something that would have otherwise been recycled or thrown out, here’s an idea for you!

Materials
– Coloured tape (ex. washi tape, duct tape)
– Plastic container (ex. packaging from anything cylindrical, icing containers are great!)
– Your creativity (just picture me saying that as cheesily as possible please and thank you)

__________image_____image_____

I barely even need to explain the rest of this craft project because it’s pretty self-explanatory from the pictures above. Use the tape to create a design on your container, abstract or realism, until you’re happy with the result and then fill it with your writing utensils and plop it on your desk for easy access.

A few things I’d suggest:

  • Wash the insides and outsides of the container before starting to ensure that there’s nothing gross or dusty previously in it and to make it easier for the tape to stick to it
  • Use as much or as little tape as you’d like! I left gaps because my container is clear but you can fill the whole thing with tape and I bet it’d also look awesome
  • The potential patterns you can create are endless, there are stripes and zigzags and polka dots and herringbone and lots more to play around with
  • Go further with your design with stickers and jewels and paper cutouts!

School Year Resolutions

Forget New Year’s Resolutions, let’s talk about School Year Resolutions!

I know it’s a new year and everything which makes people want to turn over a new leaf but when you’re between the ages of 4 and 22ish then change in your life is really dictated by the school year starting every September. You have to adjust to different classes and different people so why not change up a few more things in order to make your life a little better.

Here are a few of mine for my third year of university! If you feel inspired to do the same, please put the link to your post in the comments so that I can check it out!

Write everything down. This ranges from due dates, ideas and journal entries! I know for school especially that I will easily forget about a project or assignment as soon as I leave the threshold of the classroom which tends to be a bad thing. So by physically writing it down somewhere (aka an agenda or wall calendar) that I look at often will alleviate me of future stress! I adore looking back onto old memories – I should give you a room tour at some point because my walls are covered in this sort of thing – and a journal is the most compact way of keeping them. These are some of the years I would love to look back on so this is me telling myself to write it all down.

Set aside time for socializing and being alone. If these moments are already predetermined, life just gets a heckuva lot easier. It’s easy enough to schedule time to hang out with people and go out and have fun but this tends to squeeze out any time I need to be alone and recharge. I’ll often just give people all of my availability and book it up until it’s a Thursday and I’m grouchy and I just want to go home but I can’t because of previous commitments. It’s not healthy to be alone all the time just like it’s not healthy to always be surrounded by people so I need to make sure I keep this in mind now that I have actual university friends.

Read and go outside!! As soon as classes start, I
have a real excuse to be on my laptop all the time and my time spent reading and exploring the outdoors severely drops. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of checking every five seconds for notifications that will still be there in a couple of hours.

Cook one meal from scratch each week. This is not my doing, this is my mother’s. I am not a cook. I like to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen as possible because there are just so many other things to do! But since I live at home still and she wants my sister and I to recognize the importance of having some cooking skills, I will need to plan and prepare one meal per week that did not originate from the freezer. I’m only against this in theory cause I also see the value of knowing your way around a kitchen. Still, it’s gonna be hard.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. It ruins your life and everyone else’s too for that matter. There is not much else to be said here except try harder to stay on top of things! Limit your internet usage! Reward yourself after you’ve finished something, not before! Pleeeease let’s not let the stress build up! There needs to be a support group or something where we just guilt trip each other.

note to self
note to self

Help out around the house. This is something I’ve been steadily improving on since I do live here free of charge which is not something I should take lightly. I’m not renting out my room from my family, I’m living in a house with them and I need to continuously do my part with the workload that comes with it. I don’t care if that’s not how other families do it, but here everyone pitches in (supposedly without being told to) to keep the house well-stocked, clean and functioning.

Man, writing this all down already makes me feel more calm about the new semester and all the work that’s going to come with it. Hopefully I stick to my guns and you won’t see me here 3 weeks later crying about how hard school is when you pretend you have no responsibilities!

Laces for Necks

Let’s have a looksee at all the necklaces that I own, shall we?
image

This is my classic, tried and true staple. It’s silver, it’s simple and it’s blue, what more could I need. I am not a person that’s into big or flashiness when it comes to the jewelry I wear (all you will be able to find on my wrists are 2 hair elastics and a waterproof watch) and this matches with that aesthetic style perfectly! Blue is my favourite colour so throwing this around my neck makes a simple outfit a little cuter in my opinion.
image

Do you heart this one too? This necklace is incredibly cute; the flower design on a glass heart is a really pretty pattern that’s perfect for making an outfit brighter. (I was going to use the adjective “smiley-er” but I don’t think that actually makes sense.)
image

If we’re going for originality points, this one wins hands down. The context is that this was a craft at the summer camp we worked with and there were enough supplies left over for myself and some other staff to get one! I love this simple idea to death, this well-known lego piece can now be a statement jewelry item! It also makes the connection with my being an engineer as building things is a central theme there. Also it’s blue, can’t have a bad day with a blue lego piece swinging from your neck!
image

I feel like a lot of people have this one lying around their house somewhere. I definitely first got this shark tooth necklace some time ago at the Museum of Nature and recently rediscovered it. It helps me feel hardcore when I wear it even though everyone keeps gently reminding me that I am a few degrees away from being hardcore.
image

This one doesn’t actually get worn very often, mostly because it isn’t anything too special and it’s gold. I think having blonde hair limits the amount of gold or yellow that I can wear because if they’re not the exact same shade then it just looks wrong. I’m also very sure this necklace came along with my Secret Garden book someone gave me a long while ago.
image

This is definitely my fanciest necklace, it was a gift for graduating high school! It is similar to the first necklace, keeping the blue gem, silver chain trend, although I think these gems are actually real instead of just glass. The shape of it signifies the path of my life that I’ve started as high school came to a close. I should wear it more often.

And there you have it! My vast collection of neck-themed jewelry! (read: 6) I’ve never been someone that wears them too often though, so they usually sit on my dresser until I remember that they exist!

Your turn! Let me know your favourite necklace that you own or even just favourite type of necklace that you’ve seen!

Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

Technical Writing and I

It’s a struggle.

I’ve always loved writing. Ever since I was a kid, I would fill notebooks up with random stories usually centered around my current favourite animal and document my day, journal-style. I was a voracious reader and for a good portion of my childhood, I thought I had it in me that I could one day be a famous author. That or a pet shop store owner, that it.

Fast forward to my first year of university where I get to take a wonderful, joyous and soul sucking class about technical report writing.

It could be the fact that it took place at 5pm on a Friday but it could also be the fact that we relearned basic grammar and got reminded that anything imaginative and unprofessional was not needed.

The one thing that I’m actually thankful that I learned in that class was the proper use of the word “whom” which says a lot about everything else that was taught.

Right now, I’m actually required to do a lot of technical reports and summaries for my coop job which feels a lot different from that writing class in that people are going to actually read them and need them to be at a certain level while in class, the only person I had to impress was the TA and only enough to get a decent grade.

The part that is similar is that it’s still like pulling my own teeth in order to produce something other people would consider a professional technical report. I still do love writing as a way to get my thoughts out on paper (hello! I have a blog!) but I find the methods completely different.

I have to go through an entire process where

  • I first ramble out what I want to say in this sort of format, bolding and italicizing words and sections in the process (bold means “is this really important enough to add” and italics means “I’m too busy to find a good synonym right now but there is no way in heck that this word is going to be in the final draft”)
  • Then I need to go back through it and make better sections and subheadings in order for things to be clearer. My saving grace turns out to be bullet points because everyone loves their easy, informative layout but I also don’t have to put together sentences that actually flow!
  • Finally, I correct everything by reading it out loud to myself under my breath and rearranging everything until it is actually good. And I always have to remind myself to go through the bolded and italicized text to fix what past me left for future me.

I think in my time here I have improved on my writing skills just from sheer volume of writing and that those professional connector words like moreover and consequently are slowing worming their way into my textular vocabulary.

I would love to actually go back and read that report on Composite Parts for Automobiles I handed in for my final grade in that class to see how bad it looks from my newly experienced eyes.

Listing 16 Facts About Lists

An amazingly original and zero percent sarcastic idea.

  • People like lists
  • Lists keep people organized
  • Lists help those of us that can’t actually create good sentence flow in a regular paragraph
  • You can use a list to write down thoughts without forgetting them
  • Bullet points help separate ideas
    • Sub lists create a whole new level of fun
    • Literally
    • But also make you feel so much more organized
    • While helping you clump related tasks
  • Lists let you rest your eyes and brain from reading blocks of text
  • Its efficient
  • And much easier to skim if you’re not committed to reading an entire article
  • They help classify the piece of text that appears below
  • Poetry

There once was a girl who would list/To ensure her brain would get the gist/Of what she must do/To keep track of school/Or else some homework would be missed

  • See?
  • Counting makes clickbaiting easy: 10 easy ways to eliminate a body! 17 things he may not be telling you… 6 reasons this sock will change your life!
  • Even I’m curious and I made those up
  • One word: checking off tasks in a to-do list
  • Great for brainstorms
    • To help you realize what might be a glorious idea in your head but fall flat on paper
      • Get it, flat, because paper is 2D
        • When you discover you can continue subheading forever
          • But then get annoyed when the length of a line becomes too short
            • It’s your own fault, sister
  • Not needing to come up with a conclusion

Things I Would Say To My Younger Self

This is a list of things that stemmed from the fact that I tend to cringe a lot when thinking about my past self and what I did or thought. Things that took me forever to figure out and by the time I did, I was very late to the party and second guessing why my friends even stuck around with me.

1) Yes, people can see that pimple. No, they don’t care.

2) Use conditioner, for everyone’s sake. Pretty please.

3) Learn to study now when it’s still easy because in the future you’ll need to and you won’t know how and there will be tears.

4) Don’t be intimidated by people your age or older. Or younger, they really aren’t that intimidating. Maybe that 12 year old dresses better than you but you’ve probably got a few things on them too.

5) Be more comfortable with your silence. You are a quiet person and if you don’t feel like talking, you don’t have to!! That being said…

6) You’re allowed to talk. Just because you don’t talk often doesn’t mean you have less of a right to have everyone hear what you have to say.

7) Please wear jeans. Yes, I know your fuzzy pants match your fuzzy sweater. Now make that go away.

8) Maybe you should have broken a few more rules so that when it came to being older your mom wouldn’t still expect you to do everything she said without question. This one’s iffy actually, past me, but I’m not sure how to get around it here on my part.

9) You like music, go discover it! How did you manage not to have a favourite artist until well into high school?

These are only a couple things that come to mind for advice that could have been useful to give to the past versions of me, albeit I might not be the same person I am today if I suddenly grew a fashion sense in the 8th grade. Who knows. And I’m definitely going to be embarrassed of 19 year old Karen in the future because the cycle never ends.

What about you guys, what are some tips or comments you really really wish you could go ahead and say to previous you? Tell me them in the comments!