Singalong! Wild World by Cat Stevens

I'm trying to remember when I first encountered this song, but I keep mixing it up with some other song performed by some other guy from around the same time who my teacher wanted me to put in the slideshow for my grade 7 graduation but I thought it was boring.  The only conclusion to this thoroughly uninteresting story is that this song is so ubiquitous that it was ever-present in all of our lives.

Whatever the reason, this song is great for if you want to imagine what it's like to be a parent watching their child go off to school for the first time, or say a sweet goodbye to some other loved one who is child-like in your eyes.  Those are pretty much the only two interpretations of this song.  You know, I don't know its origin, but I really hope Wild World is about an actual child and not a girlfriend who he thinks of as a child, because that's just unfortunate for both of them, and maybe that's why she had to leave!

Now I'm picturing a parody video where a totally successful, competent, powerful woman is sick of being treated like a child and is packing up to move back into her apartment that she already owned, and he's following her around, all soft and love sick, calling her a child and warning her about the big, bad, wild world.  She's just like, hey bro, I've already got "a lot of nice friends out there" AND "a lot of nice things to wear" AND don't worry, if something "turns bad out there", I'll just buy a new one with my sweet, worldly riches.

by Cat Stevens

Now that I've lost everything to you
You say you wanna start something new
And it's breakin' my heart you're leavin'
Baby, I'm grievin'
But if you wanna leave, take good care
I hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
I'll always remember you like a child, girl

You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do
And it's breakin' my heart in two
Because I never wanna see you a sad girl
Don't be a bad girl
But if you wanna leave, take good care
I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware


Baby, I love you
But if you wanna leave, take good care
I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware

Learning! The healing power of art

Us artsy types are always searching for ways to quantifiably justify our existence. Everything else is measurable: math, science, medicine, computing, we can point to tangible benefits those fields provide. We all know that art provides benefits too, because we experience them, but they are just slightly out of reach when it comes to explaining why they matter. Luckily, every once and a while, scientists throw us a bone. Like now!

A recent study shows that the joy, wonder, and awe that comes from experiencing a beautiful piece of art, be it a painting, piece of music, play, or dance show, actually has medical benefits! People who experience these emotions more often have lower levels of cytokine Interleukin 6, a marker of inflammation.

Okay, I have to come clean here. The news headline made this study all about art, but it's actually about emotions that people frequently experience through art. So I suppose if you experience awe and wonder without the glorious crescendo of Where the Streets Have No Name*, then you're also going to do well.

Still, pretty cool!

Source: The Telegraph

*I have no idea why I picked that song, as it could be one of the least relevant examples of a song with a building crescendo.  But now my mind is blank for any, except cheating and saying Mozart.  So let me know your favourite song that builds to a glorious, awe-inspiring crescendo?

Me & Ryan Gosling on a Tuk Tuk

One of the benefits of being in a secret long-term relationship with a mega celebrity is that when your cousin gets married in Thailand, he is able to fly out just for the day to visit you! Sure, he didn't make it for the wedding itself, but I was so okay with that I even pulled him around in a tuk tuk for part of the day.

Inspiration! Say no to yourself

This concept recently came up on Lifehacker.  Most of us know the vital importance of being able to say "no".  Overcommitting is bad for everyone, and sometimes you just have to turn things down for your sanity and your performance and for everyone else's sake.

But what about yourself?  What about saying no to yourself?

Well that's much harder, isn't it?  I don't like saying no to myself.  Saying no to other people is hard enough, let alone myself.

On Lifehacker they talk about saying no to yourself in terms of stopping the workaholism and having spare time.  I would like to say no to myself to stop the workaholism and have quality spare time.

This means not only turning off my phone notifications and closing my email when I leave work, but turning off Netflix and opening a book or doing yoga or finally learning how to play piano.

This means actually using my phone to call someone instead of just texting or Facebook messaging them.

And OF COURSE, this means putting my phone away when I'm actually spending time with other people.

Basically, it means saying no to the default, easy, mind-numbing choice that lets me be entertained and relaxed but leaves me unrefreshed, unrenewed, and generally uninspired.

Sometimes I look back longingly on my high school days when I had all the time in the world to lie on my bedroom floor and listen to Sarah McLauchlan's Surfacing over and over again, staring at the liner notes, imagining worlds and making up dances and stories in my mind.

Then I sometimes remember: I can still do that.  Sort of.  I don't have that much spare time, and I also don't really want to lie around listening to depressing music and feeling bad about myself (which is also what I was doing), but I do want to make up dances for fun and write stories and lose myself reading for an afternoon and play my guitar and take photos.  All those ways I would pass the time when there wasn't anything good on TV because there wasn't a constant stream of whatever I wanted to watch available on the internet.

So.  I am both looking forward to and dreading this prospect of saying no to myself more often.  Saying no to the default and finding another solution.

Let's see how this goes.

Cute! Gertie has chair time.

Here is Gertie. She is having some Chair Time. Chair Time comes from my dear friend Katie who is currently living a European adventure with her excellent husband Will. Before her European adventure began, she had an apartment with a balcony that faced the sunset. Most days after work she would bring herself and a book out onto her balcony and sit in this chair to bathe in the dying sun's light and read. It was Chair Time.

When her European adventure began, she needed someone to hold onto her chair for her until she returned. As luck would have it, I moved into a new apartment, and that apartment had a balcony. My balcony overlooks a parking lot and not Stanley Park, but still, it's a balcony that gets about an hour and a half of direct sunlight in the evening, and I want to take full advantage of this. So I took the chair, looking forward to chair time of my own.

Instead, Gertie has claimed the chair as her own. I would be annoyed, but she's so darn cute! (Also, she is very easy to pick up and set aside, so her claim is kind of meaningless.)

Singalong! House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

The House of the Rising Sun is an old folk song, so its actual origins are pretty much unknown, but the most popular version of this was put together by the Animals. So moody, so dark, so good for singing your heart out to. It's got all the wonderful gritty darkness of an emotional gutwrencher, but because it's a cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking and gambling in New Orleans most of us can throw our hearts into it without feeling too close to home and actually breaking down into sobbing fits. Win-win!

It's also really fun to watch the music video and see how stiff and unemotional the Animals are while they perform this super-from-the-depths-of-your-darkest-breath song.


There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin' man
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he's satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

Learning! Dear Diary, Why Do Men Exist?

Here's a question that has befuddled both scientists and teenage girls for some time now: why exactly is it that men exist?

No, this isn't a "super-feminist, man-hating, hairy-armpitted (as if that's the worst thing that could ever happen)" branch of science. It's the kind of science that looks objectively at the fact that asexual reproduction is way more efficient than sexual reproduction. If the lady-folk could just reproduce themselves over and over like a glorious strawberry plant, things would be a whole lot simpler. In so many ways - amIrightladies*?

A recent study on beetles, however, found a potential answer. It appears as though sexual competition and the subsequent selection it creates is necessary for heartier, long-lasting species. In groups where 90 male beetles were competing for the affection of 10 females, the population was more resilient to extinction.

9 men for every women?  Wowza!  This, of course, bodes terribly for Vancouver where the ratio of single/straight men to single/straight women is fabled to be anywhere from 1 in 3 to 1 in 7. Looks like survival is best when the men dramatically outnumber the women. (High fiving all the women in the world.)

Source: IFL Science.

*I recently decided that following almost any statement with "amIrightladies?" makes it way more fun. Seriously, try it. AmIrightladies?


Inspiration! Kid President's Graduation Speech

Because I am always WAY behind in what's cool on the internet, I assume you all have already heard of Kid President and seen this video.  But you should see it again.  This is by far the most inspiring graduation speech I've ever heard! If they can make 18 of those stupid Air Bud movies, I can do whatever I want! Be awesome and be nice to people! Be your own BeyoncĂ©!

Singalong! Harvest Moon by Neil Young

The perfect song for slow dancing, sitting under the stars, or anything else requiring a mood that is dreamy, romantic, peaceful, and/or thoughtful.

by Neil Young

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

Learning! One More Reason to Get a Move On (and that reason is twins)

Get ready for another study to make you feel really bad about the fact that you're currently lying on the couch, skimming through this post on your phone while Netflixing the entire season of The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and polishing off some delicious Honey Dijon Kettle Chips! And this one is a TWIN STUDY.  Twin studies are pretty much the holy grail of studies on humans, because they help control for the whole genetics vs. everything else debate.

So in this study, Finnish researchers busted their butts to find identical twins who had divergent exercise habits.  One twin exercises, and one twin doesn't.  Interestingly, both seemed to have similar diets, and obviously had the same genes.

What were the differences between them?

Bodies: less exercise meant less endurance, more body fat, and signs of insulin resistance.

Brains: more exercise meant more grey matter, which is a good thing to have. More grey matter means more synaptic connections, among other things. Those are good to have too.

These differences didn't take all that long to emerge either.  Just a few years, they figure, of not exercising and your body and mind basically start to fall to pieces.

Fun, right?


Me & Ryan Gosling Hanging with Totoro

Sometimes Ryan gets really bummed out. It's hard being such a beautiful, talented, intelligent man. The weight of the world rests o his shoulders, and he can only do so much to bring beauty, introspection, and lusty feelings into our lives. When he starts to feel down about how many lives he has not touched, I bring out our friend Totoro to cheer him up. It always works.

Inspiration! A Scientific Secret to Stop Procrastinating (and it's so easy!)

Turns out there is one very easy way to help curb your procrastination.  If you've got a goal with a rough deadline, like say, getting in shape for a certain event or saving for a vacation, just tell yourself that it is x number of days away instead of weeks or months.

So that vacation coming up in August?  It's not three months away.  It's 79 days away.   Suddenly it sounds a lot closer, right?

There is science to back this up.

Cute! The Sweet Face of a Killer

Last week I did some cat sitting for my friend and her furry friend Toby. Toby is a beautiful kitty. I love the patch of black just under her eyes.  It makes me think of ninjas and painters and sportsball players, all at once.  She is also kind of deadly.  She will sometimes be very affectionate with you, but if you touch her, chances are very good that she will kill you.  You just gotta let her do her thing and not interfere.  Like when she was nuzzling my foot (second picture) - as much as I wanted to return her affection, I knew that it was too dangerous.  But let me be clear: this "fractious" nature is not a reason to withhold love.  Toby, like all creatures, needs lots of it!

Singalong! Superman's Dead by Our Lady Peace

I've been weirdly sick for the past little while with a random sore throat, and for some reason that made me think of Our Lady Peace for this week's singalong. Actually, it made me think of Clumsy by Our Lady Peace, but I already did that song a long time ago, so now we're doing another song off the Clumsy album: Superman's Dead.

by Our Lady Peace

do you worry that you're not liked
how long till you break
you're happy cause you smile
but how much can you fake
an ordinary boy an ordinary name
but ordinary's just not good enough today

alone I'm thinking
why is superman dead
is it in my head
we'll just laugh instead
you worry about the weather and
whether or not you should hate

are you worried about your faith
kneel down and obey
you're happy you're in love
you need someone to hate
an ordinary girl an ordinary waist
but ordinary's just not good enough

doesn't anybody ever know that the
world's a subway...

Learning! Old Person Smell is Real

I work in a building that also holds a seniors centre.  This means I get to experience a lot of different things: the joyful inspiration of Latin Wednesdays when the Latino seniors get together and dance to salsa music, unfortunate bathrooms almost all the time, suddenly having to go from walking at my usual swift pace to the crawl of aged osteoporosis, and random words of wisdom being tossed my way everywhere I go.

All of that, plus the old person smell.

I never quite knew how to describe it, and always felt guilty for even thinking about it, because isn't that discriminatory or ageist or something?  But it turns out I wasn't making it up, or being a horrible person.  It's REAL.  The sort of faint, sweet-ish, stale scent that is ALWAYS in the bathroom when the old ladies have been in there is not in my head.

The reason for old person smell is 2-nonenal, which sounds sort of like something you'd read in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but is an actual thing that is created through the oxidative breakdown of other chemicals and has a distinct odour.  From the age of 40 on, we produce just a TON more 2-nonenal than when we're young.

Hence, old person smell.

Learn more from the source: Mental Floss.

Inspiration! All Bodies Do Yoga

Yoga became a part of my life around age 16 when I wanted to improve my ballet skills.  It was just starting to edge its way into the mainstream, and so I discovered this practice that relied on flexibility, balance, and core strength - what better way to become a better dancer?

Since then I've gone through waves of daily 1.5 hour practices and months with barely a downward dog, getting certified as a yoga instructor somewhere in there and teaching a bunch until I realized that (for now anyways) I would rather focus on my own practice.

One of the things that always made me saddest with yoga, though, was that anyone I would talk to who didn't have a "yoga body" thought that they couldn't do yoga.  They weren't already young and fit and flexible, so they avoided it altogether.

I get it, group fitness classes are kind of the worst anyways, and struggling to sit with your legs crossed and a straight spine while everyone around you splays their legs around their ears with smiles that live somewhere between smug and serene does not leave a person feeling great about themselves. Besides, if I'm honest, I also couldn't really argue back that much. When I started, I was already fit and flexible, and I've always lived on the thinner side of life. I am just more evidence that yoga is not for them.

What's heartbreaking about it, of course, is that yoga can do so much good for so many people.  I start feeling all bruised inside when I think of all the physical and emotional healing people are missing out on because of insecurity and judgement.

That's why I LOVE Jessamyn.  A gloriously curvy and capable woman who posts her yoga poses to Instagram for all to see.

I came across her story (and photos) in a Pacific Standard article, and absolutely love what she had to say about how she got started:
The whole reason that I even started blogging was because I wanted to track my yoga practice, and it's much easier to do that if you take photographs of your body. And it's also a lot easier whenever you practice yoga to practice in either not a lot of clothes, or naked, or just wearing things that make it easy for you to see what your body is doing. So I started posting photographs of myself kind of scantily clad, and that had a resonating effect for people.
Here's one of the main reasons this is so great: it's part of a very slow and important learning curve we are all on that healthiness and fitness and skinniness are not all the same thing. Some bodies are just different sizes, and more and more research are showing that diet and exercise are what matters, not what shape your body takes.

So, yogis (and too-scared-to-be-yogis-but-wannabe-yogis) of the world, look! Admire! Be inspired! It's Jessamyn!

I took a little break from the internet this weekend. I mean, I likelovehate social media as much as the next late twentysomething but JEEZ- a femme can only take so much 'internet-ing' before she needs to get outside and feel the grass under her toes, ya dig? In addition to spending time with my loved ones, eating @krispykreme doughnuts, and sunning myself by the banks of the Eno River, I spent the past few days catching up on projects that slid to my back burner while I was in Asheville. Of course, I would love to spill the beans on everything new and exciting to come, but I'm sworn to secrecy on several different topics. HOWEVER, I am SO STOKED to announce that my #yoga teenage dream is about to come true- my long distance yoga love @nolatrees & I are hitting the teach joint yoga workshops! Dana & I are getting pumped to bring our body positive yoga mission to as many of you as humanly possible. However, if we hold a workshop, would you come? What studios/cities would you like to see us in/at? If you're too shy to write in the comments, feel free to shoot me an e-mail @ The instagram yoga community has blessed us with the opportunity to find kindred spirits across the globe- I think it's high time we take the #bodylove yoga movement into the stratosphere. #effyourbeautystandards #honoryourcurves Pants- @lineagewear P.S. via @nolatrees- if you're a studio owner, e-mail us!
A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on

Follow her at @mynameisjessamyn.

Me & Ryan Gosling at the MTV Movie Awards

I usually don't get to go to awards shows with Ryan (it's one of the downsides of being in a secret relationship, plus he's basically working and schmoozing the whole time and I can only say "I loved you in Titanic!" to so many people, and I don't care about anyone else - unless they were in Breaker High), but he snuck me along for the MTV Movie Awards the year he was nominated for The Notebook. I just had to act like a drunk fan. It was so fun!

Cute! Eager Puppy

I got to meet a new animal! To tell you the truth, I've already forgotten its name and its gender, but that doesn't mean it isn't adorable! It took a lot of teamwork to get a non-blurry picture of this one - my friend had to hold her down while I held a treat up next to my phone.

Singalong! Portions of Foxes by Rilo Kiley

I used to looo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ove this song! It's just so bitey! Yes. Bitey. Like a song that has bite. Sort of like Barq's Root Beer, except, you know, auditory instead of a soda pop temporarily popular in the late 90's due to some clever marketing. And there's a bit of a growl behind the bite. Like the person (or animal) doing the biting really means it. Like they are a vampire trying to hold themselves back from killing you all the way, or even a fox! (See what I did there?)

Also, if you're ever doing karaoke in a hipster-type bar, then sing this song and you'll get all the 30+ hipsters reliving their youthful turmoil with you so very very hard.

by Rilo Kiley

There's blood in my mouth 'cause i've been biting my tongue all week.
I keep on talking trash, but i never say anything.
And the talking leads to touching,
And the touching leads to sex,
And then there is no mystery left.

And it's bad news, baby I'm bad news
I'm just bad news, bad news, bad news

I know I'm alone if I'm with or without you,
But just being around you offers me another form of relief
When the lonliness leads to bad dreams,
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you,
And I call you and say "c'mere!"

And it's bad news, baby I'm bad news
I'm just bad news, bad news, bad news

And it's bad news, baby it's bad news
It's just bad news, bad news, bad news
'Cause you're just damage control
For a walking corpse like me,
Like you,
'Cause we'll all be portions for foxes.
Yeah, we'll all be portions for foxes.

There's a pretty young thing in front of you
And she's real pretty, and she's real into you
And then she's sleepin' inside of you.

And the talking leads to touching, then the touching leads to sex
And then there is no mystery left.

And it's bad news. I don't blame you,
I do the same thing, I get lonely too.
And you're bad news; my friends tell me to leave you,
That you're bad news, bad news, bad news

You're bad news, baby you're bad news
And you're bad news, baby you're bad news
And you're bad news
I don't care i like you
And you're bad news
I don't care i like you
I like you

Learning! What If All the Ice Melted?

Here's a fun (if by fun, you mean terrifying and probably-going-to-happen) scenario: all the ice melts on the earth.  What happens?  Business Insider made a video exploring just that!

It's fascinating to watch.  In some places, due to topography, the rising sea doesn't seem to change that much, cutting into a coastal city by half, perhaps (although that's still HUGE), but then you watch Florida completely disappear and Cuba left to just a few mountaintops.  

Check it out! Will your home survive?

Via IFL Science.