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Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Changing Autumn Leaves

Well, it has been officially Autumn for six days now. And I can’t be happier! I love Autumn. It is such an inspiring season for me. Maybe it’s because our forests are ablaze with colours of reds, oranges and yellows. Maybe it’s because it’s my favourite time of year for fashion. Maybe it's seeing all the animals in their missions of gathering food and migrating south for the winter. Maybe it's the warm, golden days and the chilly nights that are nice and comfortable for sleeping. It's that happy medium; you don't need your air conditioner anymore, but you can still leave your windows open to let the autumn breeze in. Or maybe it's because it is simply a season of change. And in the mind of a writer, Autumn has a lot to offer.

Golden field near Oshawa, Ontario.

For a writer, the setting is incredibly important in setting the mood and feel of a story. One of the most prolific writers, Shakespeare, had this notion down to a fine art. The setting of all of works was just as important as the works themselves. Romeo and Juliet was set in Verona, Italy; a hot backdrop to a story of romantic love and passion. Hamlet was set in Denmark, a cool country where a story of betrayal and cold blooded murder took place. A Midsummer Night's Dream (probably my favourite of Shakespeare's works) takes place in a forest, a place of intrigue and mystery.

In writing, not only is place important, but time. Each season has a different meaning: Spring is for newness, renewal, new beginnings, and birth; Summer is for coming into one's own, for passion and love; Autumn is for change, a change of pace, scenery or a change in oneself; Winter is for letting go, for letting things end, and for death.

For me, I love setting my stories in the season of Autumn because there is so much going on. The Pangaea Trilogy begins in mid-November. Originally, it was because it was set on a friend's birthday. Well, it still begins on that friend's birthday, but the situation surrounding it changed. Within the first few chapters, the main characters go through changes they never imagined they'd go through. The Autumn season is the perfect time for those changes to happen. One character learns to let go in the first winter spent in Pangaea, another finds strength they never knew they had come Spring. A third character learns to accept themselves the way they are in the Summer and the fourth changes their way of thinking the next fall.

Each season comes with its own beauty and elegance. Everything is new and green in the Spring; Summer is warm and fragrant; Autumn is colourful and golden; and Winter is soft and tranquil. Each season has something to offer us, something to teach us if we pay close enough attention.

Colourful changing leaves; photo found at

Autumn teaches us that change is inevitable. The behaviour of the animals around us teach us that, despite the inevitability of change, we can always prepare for it in our own ways. Maybe we gather provisions like the Squirrel or seek a different scene like the Robin. Maybe we choose to hibernate like the Bear, or maybe we stick together and make the most of it like the Wolf and the resident Canada Goose. Whatever we do, we must encounter birth, life, change and death, just like the nature we share our world with.

This Autumn, what changes are you being faced with? How are you preparing for them?

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Look That Lasts

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Sephora to add to my collection of Clinique cosmetics. But before I continue, I just need to state one thing: Sephora is an incredibly dangerous store!!! And it doesn’t help that I work across the street from the mall that it’s in. Come October, I’ll be working in a store directly above it. This may, or may not, be good. Good for my makeup collection, perhaps, but not so good for my pocketbook.

From L to R: Clinique Blended Face Powder, compact mirror,
Clinique All About Shadow in Jenna's Essentials.
Well, I walked into the Sephora store intent on picking up only one item. I ended up picking up three things. Clinique Blended Face Powder in Transparency Neutral (it even comes with its own brush!), Clinique All About Shadow Quad in Jenna’s Essentials, and a small, compact mirror. The eye shadow quad was a suggestion on the Clinique website, and while the darkest colour in the quad was a little scary at first, the way it’s used makes it awesome. The Blended Face Powder has become my go-to foundation. It is a loose powder, which for someone who doesn’t like wearing a lot of foundation, is perfect. I don’t like the feeling of heavy foundations, and is one of the reasons I stay away from liquid foundations; they just seem to feel heavy to me. (Plus, I have trouble finding a liquid foundation that works with my combination dry/oily skin.) The powder is great. As its name suggests, it’s nearly transparent, so it lets my own skin tone come through. With it being a loose powder, it’s easy to blend and it’s easy to build. (Not that I do a lot of building.) Plus, the little brush that comes with it is pretty cool. The only downside to this product is the size of the container it’s in. It’s not exactly commuter friendly, however, I have a Cover Girl pressed powder foundation that is, and it now stays in my purse in case I need to touch anything up (which the little powder brush that came with the Clinique powder comes in very handy for). Of course, I do have a bad habit of forgetting to touch up throughout the day. Which leads me to the eye shadow.

The eye shadow quad is amazing. I don’t like having to touch up my eye shadow throughout the day, because when I do, it tends to crease. And I HATE creased eye shadow. It’s just not pretty. Now, if I’ve had my eye shadow on for 12-14+ hours (which does happen), then a little bit of creasing doesn’t bother me because, let’s face it, I’ve been wearing for 14 hours! For the most part, I like to put my makeup on before I leave home and not have to touch it up for the rest of the day (unless I’m able to come home in between work and play). Well, with the All About Shadow Quad, I don’t have to touch it up at all. The shades are wonderfully neutral, but pigmented enough that it’s a look I can wear from day into night. And that dark colour I was afraid of? It’s used as an eyeliner of sorts. Really, I think it’s only supposed to darken the outside corner (at least that’s what the little picture in the shadow compact suggests), but I use it as an eyeliner. And the great part about it? It doesn’t move! Well, okay, by the end of the day, some of the shadow-used-as-eyeliner has worn off a bit (which is typical of almost all makeup, save the eyeliner I reviewed in a previous post – that stuff stays on for TWO DAYS if you don’t wash it off), but it’s excellent. This eye shadow quad is my go-to if I want a smoky, yet professional look for work, or a neutral nighttime look. I usually finish it off with Revlon Powder Blush in Tawny Peach (bright coloured blushes just scare me), and layered lip colour with Cover Girl’s Naturluxe Gloss Balm in Hibiscus and Clinique’s Buttershine Lipstick in Adore U. The Adore U is a neutral shade that allows the natural colour of my lips to come through. I put the balm on first to add a bit of colour, and then layer it with the lipstick. The result is this very light pink-neutral, shiny lip colour that lasts at least until the end of my 4 hour shifts at work. The balm hydrates my lips (I tend to use it as a lip balm in the winter) and the lipstick is just super smooth and awesome.

So far, I’ve been incredibly happy with the products I’ve bought from Clinique. Maybe it’s something similar to falling in love with the first car you test drive in that Clinique is the first higher-end makeup brand I’ve bought, or because I’ve received some samples from my aunt in the past and know I like it. I have yet to try other brands, though Urban Decay’s Naked Palette and Naked2 are incredibly appealing. I still have my department store favourites like Cover Girl and Revlon, which are excellent in a pinch, but when my funds allow, you can find me in the Clinique section of Sephora (if I’m not debating whether or not I should splurge on the Urban Decay Naked palettes).

The finished look.

What do you think?

Do any of you have a go-to makeup brand? What is it? Have you ever tried any Clinique products?

(For more Clinique products, check out their website.)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Preparing for NaNo

NaNoWriMo starts on November 1st. That's 39 days away. Only 39 days away. To most people, that's a long time, but in the world of a NaNoWriMo-er, 39 days is all but a fleeting moment.

Last November, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, despite having known about it for several years. For those of you who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it challenges writers to write 50,000 words between 12am November 1st and 11:59pm November 30th. It began in the US (hence National), but it is now an international event. Hundreds of thousands of people participate each year and as a writer, that's an awesome thing. What each writer chooses to write is their choice; original fiction, fanfiction, poetry, prose, a collection of short stories... who cares what it is? They are writing something. It’s something I find myself reminding myself on the odd occasion I fishing for some fanfiction to read. For every really fantastic story, there are ten more that miss their mark. But, at least the authors are writing. And that is an important thing. In fact, it’s the most important thing.

Last year, I missed my mark by some 32,000 words. It still hurts knowing I missed it by such an astronomical amount. It's not because I feel I failed; I didn't - I wrote 18,000 more words than I'd had in October 2012. What hurts is that I didn't meet a personal goal and, as a writer, those goals are important. Those goals are what keep the inspiration flowing and what keep us writing. At least that's how it is for this writer. I can't really speak for my fellow artists.

Yesterday, I came to realize just how much I had neglected my Pangaea Trilogy and that I was in dire need of inspiration for it. Cue the watching of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Well, it worked. Inspiration for my Trilogy has come flooding in and I can finally get my characters moving. It’s both exciting and a relief to get back to work on the Trilogy. It’s been about a month since I’ve worked on it and, with NaNoWriMo only 39 days away, I only hope the inspiration sticks around. Come November 1st, I am going to need every ounce of it. Something tells me I may be turning to the fantasy movies in my DVD library fairly often in the next month and a half. Movies like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia films and Inkheart. The aforementioned films are integral to keeping the inspiration flowing as long and as intensely as possible.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are you preparing for it? To those of you participating, good luck!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Culturing Our Lives

A couple of weeks ago, I answered a call for admins on a Facebook page I have been a fan of for several months. Little did I realize just how much work was going to be put into it! Running a page for my blog is one thing, but helping out a page with 600+ likes is something completely different. My own Facebook page has about 8 likes, and the corresponding Twitter account might have 5 followers.

The page I'm helping out is Japanese Kami, Culture & Myths and, as its name suggests, is all about Japanese Kami (gods), Culture and Myths. On the page, I go by the nickname, Yuki, a Japanese nickname I’ve had since high school. I've had a lot of fun researching Shinto deities to post on the page and have learned quite a lot in doing so. Did you know that, according to a Japanese myth, the reason the Jellyfish has no bones is because its bones were shattered after a god got angry and beat it? I certainly didn't! I also didn't expect such a response from the fans of the page. My first post was shared 19 times and reached a total of 1,212 people! Another of my posts was shared 23 times and reached 1,471 people. Believe me when I say I'm not sharing that info to give myself an ego boost. I'm sharing it because it's incredibly humbling to have something I have learned and posted affect that many people. To think that over 1000 people have seen my posts when the page only has 600 likes is pretty cool.

The topic of my first post on Japanese Kami, Culture & Myths:
Inari, the kami of foxes, fertility, rice, tea, agriculture, industry
and general prosperity. Here Inari is pictured appearing to a man as an
apparition with one of his/her white kitsune (foxes).
Inari has been depicted as both male and female.

The best part of it is that 1000 people have learned something about another culture, even if it's about one of thousands of Shinto deities or about a loyal Akita-Inu named Hachiko. (A blog entry about the aforementioned dog will be posted in the near future.) Culture is important to our society. Culture is what makes our world cities as unique as they are. The fact that Toronto has so many different cultures is what makes it so rich and so beautiful. That richness and beauty is why I am proud to call myself a Torontonian. Culture is beautiful and every one should be respected and embraced, even if we do not understand them.

Just as we learn about our friends and spouses, we should learn about other cultures and why they are so important to the people to live in them. Their cultures are a way of life for them just as our culture is a way of life for us. They should be learned and respected. There are several pages I'm a fan of that highlight many different cultures; Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Buddist and they are all unique and special. And being an admin on Japanese Kami, Culture & Myth has opened my eyes to the beauty of culture in general. Culture is a beautiful and sacred thing and it needs to stay that way. It deserves to stay that way.

Feel free to like this blog on Facebook at The Writing on the Wall - A Blog or follow it on Twitter at @OnWallsIWrite

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Justin Timberlake comes to Addition Elle

Well, maybe not him, but his fashion line, William Rast has. Timberlake started the William Rast line in 2005 with childhood friend, Trace Ayala. And I had the luxury of getting a sneak peak at some of the items available for the plus size woman. And he's got some really nice stuff.

I work at Addition Elle and was the one my manager asked to pull the William Rast jackets out of the boxes our stock had come in. Let me tell you: the jackets are beautiful. Pewter grey, waist length, zippered front, with a little buckled flap at the collar. The pockets are decent size and there is one faux pocket on the chest. If I hadn't have been working, I'd have taken a photo of it; and if I had the money, I'd be claiming one. I'd also be claiming a real nice sheer, black, button down blouse and a pair of jeans - if I had the funds. 

William Rast drop shoulder blouse; $79 at Addition Elle

The line launched yesterday (September 14th, 2013), and the plus size line is available exclusively at Addition Elle. The regular line is also available at The Bay. I really suggest taking a look.

I've been a fan of Justin Timberlake ever since his NSync days and, being a plus-size woman myself, I love the fact that he has included the plus-size woman in his fashion line. Any woman from a size 0 to a size 24 can enjoy trendy clothing for reasonable prices. At The Bay, the tops start around $25 and the jeans begin at around $50. At Addition Elle, the tops start at around $50 while the jeans start at around $100. And the jacket I want? It’s available in pewter and scarlet for $150.

William Rast vegan leather jacket in Pewter; $150 at Addition Elle

William Rast vegan leather jacket in Scarlet.
Beneath: William Rast skull t-shirt; $49 at Addition Elle

If you want to check out the William Rast collection, click the link here: William Rast  

To see what is available at The Bay, you can check it out here: William Rast at The Bay

For more on what Addition Elle carries, you can check us out here: Addition Elle