Polka Dots

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I used a neon pink base and added dark blue and white polka dots for this one 🙂

-VD

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The NaBloPoMo Experience

Hi!

This is my last post as part of NaBloPoMo and it’s been a great month because of it. It’s also the first month that I’ve posted each and every day of the month. I’ve really come to appreciate the scheduling feature since it’s allowed me to space out my posts and ensure I don’t miss a single day considering how you can easily get bogged down with work and other things. Ever since I started my blog in April I used to post immediately but by scheduling I feel that I’ve become a more organized and efficient blogger, not to mention writing and drawing on a more regular basis. That is perhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned after participated in NaBloPoMo. Looking over the posts ranging from art to list articles to opinion pieces to a poetry chain, I’ve written more diverse posts to make the most of the whole experience. This drive seems like it might even continue into December which is exactly what a challenge like this should do i.e push you to continue beyond its expiry date.

Image Source: Google

I’d recommend participating in NaBloPoMo to anyone who wants to be a more regular blogger since it gives you just that little nudge and motivation to post every day for an entire month. It’s not as daunting a task as writing an entire rough draft of a novel in a month like NaNoWriMo and it allows for more flexibility in writing. In fact it doesn’t even have to be writing, it could be painting and photography as well. The main aim is to keep at it. Unlike NaNoWriMo, you can sign up for NaBloPoMo every month, not just November (but it has become the somewhat official month for the challenge). Please do give it a go if you’re looking for some inspiration! Hopefully, you’ll love it as much as I did.

-VD

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/winning-streak/

50 Little Cures for the Common Blues

We have six basic emotions and of all of them sadness requires a combination of treatments to cure it. The traditional eating a pint of ice cream whilst sobbing on the couch just doesn’t cut it anymore (or never cut it at all, if you ask me).

So what do you do when you’re down in the doldrums? In addition to my own, I asked around and people have been kind in sharing what helps when they’re feeling a little down. Here goes…

1.) Have a Friends marathon. It’s hard not to laugh at Phoebe’s rat babies, Ross’ sandwich fiasco or Joey’s bag. Even if you feel sad again once the episode ends, just keep watching and watching. Ten whole seasons should do the trick. Plus the bloopers.

2.) Look up pictures of ‘winterscapes’, the ones with streetlights illuminating snow covered streets and Christmas lights adding colour to a white canvas of a park in the middle of winter. There’ll be cabins with fires burning brightly, looking like windows to happier times contrasted against their dank cold surroundings. Remember how the seasons merge and think ‘This too shall pass.’

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3.) Take a blank white sheet and a few vibrant ink pens. Touch the nib to the page and look closely (very closely) as the ink creeps and flows across it. You don’t even need to draw anything, just repeat this and feel enthralled by the movement of ink.

4.) Lie still in bed, tucked under the sheets and close your eyes. Feel yourself, every bit from your toes to your forehead, melting into the sheets, dissolving into the warmth. (This is how I fall asleep at night and it’s a blessing.)

5.) Travel back in time to those days when getting mud stains on your clothes and cartoons on a Saturday morning were all that mattered by re-reading a childhood book, cartoon, anime or movie. ( I find Johnny Bravo, InuYasha and Harry Potter to be quite effective in this regard.)

6.) If you’re like me and don’t particularly love the chick-flick genre, watch these anyway and feel the lightness of the films: Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, It’s a Boy/Girl Thing, Kate and Leopold, 17 Again, The Devil Wears Prada. ( I love Meg Ryan rom-coms as you can see.)

7.) Enjoy the warmth of a piping hot cup of coffee or tea (whichever you like) or enjoy some soda travelling down your throat, cool and fizzy.

8.) Be grateful some people have gotten off of your roller coaster. Perhaps they were never meant to ride it all the way through or they were merely destined to fall off halfway through. Either way, only the worthy will make it through till the end with you.

9.) Listen to 8tracks playlists and be reassured by the fact that they have been made with care and the intent to comfort. This soothing study playlist is a treat for the ears and I found it better for relaxing than studying.

10.) Put on layers of clothes (sweaters, scarves, shorts and tank tops) and layers of makeup just for fun and more importantly for yourself, no one else.

11.) Paint your fingernails any colour you like, blue for the sky hanging like a sheet above your head, pink for the blushing cheeks of lovers or red for the strawberries in your frozen yogurt. Take it a step further and add designs. Be a Michelangelo with ten tiny canvases. Twenty if you add your toes.

12.) Take a black permanent marker and draw along your body, tentative tattoo designs on your wrist, ankle or even go so far as doodling an entire sleeve. Wash it off, watching the black ink dilute into purple as the water drips down onto the floor. Like washing away regret and pain, circling down the drain and forever disappearing.

13.) Don’t resort to drowning your sorrows in alcohol and excess sugar. Instead, enjoy the best of both worlds by making some banana flambe. Freak out about the flame the first time you make it and remember that feeling.  (I made this in a bar tending class and it’s amazing.)

14.) Cry (because sometimes there is nothing else to do but just that.)

15.) Stop crying and wipe your eyes on a pillow case or smear the running mascara on a two-ply tissue. That explosive ache is gone for now.

16.) Spend some time with an animal, your pet or one at a local animal shelter (cat, dog or bird etc.) because they know better about what is important in life. (Eat till you sleep and sleep till you eat.)

17.) Listen to an entire album from start to finish, one that reflects your mood. In order. Because artists put thought into that and it’d be nice to hear the tracks as it was intended. Bands I’d recommend are The Script, The 1975, Imagine Dragons, The Fray, The Killers, oh and Hans Zimmer scores. Music can do so much, take Alexander’s Feast for example.

18.) Sing along to the songs, even if you can’t sing all too well. Scream the lyrics, whisper them softly, it doesn’t matter. Connect to what you’re singing, hearing and feeling. It’s a harmonious moment.

19.) Look back at old photographs featuring friends, family and photo-bombing strangers. Laugh at the good old days or be glad the bad ones are over.

20.) After that, take lots of pictures and selfies. One day, in the future, you may need these goofy ones to make you smile when you’re down. It never hurts to plan ahead.

21.) Dance like a ballerina or a nut case but just get off your bum and move. The released endorphins should do you some good. It’s scientifically proven, after all. (Some good tunes for this are Problem, I Love it, Happy and Shake it Off, by the way.)

22.) Binge-watch Breaking Bad and be thankful that your life hasn’t been ruined by your old high school chemistry teacher like Jesse’s was.

23.) Take a hot bath or shower.

24.) Make something for someone ( a bookmark, a snack, or a sketch) and smile when their face lights up when you gift it to them.

25.) Take a nap and sleep it off.

26.) Slap some cocoa butter lotion on your hands and hold them really close to your nose. Soak up that heavenly scent.

27.) Add extra cheese and/or butter to whatever you’re eating because everything is better with butter and cheese. (Disclaimer: This only applies to food that goes with cheese and butter.)

28.) Take an old magazine and newspapers, cut out the dullest articles and make black out poetry with them. Revel at how the mundane can be made marvelous.

29.) Use an entire stick of Post-its with reckless abandon, posting them wherever you like. Write curse words and tape them to distasteful pictures of distasteful people or write motivational pick-me-ups and stick them on the wall beside your bed so you can wake up to a note from a less cranky you.

30.) Read an autobiography and know that everyone struggles and the words on those pages are so much more than that. They are someone’s life.

31.) Buy yourself something be it online or in a mall, even if it is just a pair of scissors or a glue stick.

32.) Do your hair up in funny ways. Straighten, curl and braid to your hearts content.

33.) Stalk your favourite celebrities on Tumblr (they’ve got the best pictures after all).  Find out what they’re up to even if they’re just going to Taco Bell in the afternoon.

34.) Follow a microwave mug recipe and eat it all up. Shouldn’t take too much time. (Might I suggest a microwave brownie?)

35.) Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower particularly the poem Charlie likes (I find it raw and fascinating but that’s just me) and see how it makes you feel. Interpret and connect to it instead of your own sadness.

36.) Take a coloured sheet of paper and fill it up with inspiring or funny quotes and lyrics that could get you through a run-down day. Remember those beautiful words neatly arranged before you.

37.) Look up some Youtube mash-ups featuring your favourite artists. Maybe you’ll discover some new tunes. I recently found an Ed Sheeran/ The Fray mash-up called How to Save a Small Bump. It’s beautiful. Check it out.

38.) Watch some kids play duck-duck-goose in circles or riding bicycles in the street. Remember that innocence is a blessing.

39.) Start a blog to spit out those wondrous thoughts in your head and meet people who enjoy your lovely drabble.

40.) Watch funny animal videos or GIFs. These bouncy goats are particularly hilarious.

41.) Roald Dahl wrote that his father would take his mother on ‘glorious walks’. Read this passage:

Every time my mother became pregnant, he (his father) would wait until the last three months of her pregnancy and then he would announce to her that the ‘glorious  walks’ must begin. These glorious walks consisted of him taking her to places of great beauty….His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn baby within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things.

Pregnant or not, alone or not, take a glorious walk so that the beauty of the world (not necessarily nature) can be transmitted to your soul. It’ll learn to love the beautiful just as a baby does. ( I found this passage very enlightening.)

42.) Find a spot whilst on this glorious walk and sit down. Engage in stream of consciousness writing. Write whatever you feel passionate about, be it monkeys in the zoo or parasols in the rain, splattered with droplets descending from the skies above. You will be surprised at the well of honesty your voice possesses.

43.) If real life gets to be too much, play the board game Life. Get married, buy a house and add some kids to your mini car playing piece on that big old board. If that isn’t your game there’s always Parcheesi, Monopoly, Jenga and my personal favourite Clue.

44.) Draw a moustache and horns on people’s pictures in the newspaper. Make them downright hideous and laugh.

45.) Talk to an old friend and reminisce about the good old days even if you’re not old enough to properly call them the good old days.

46.) Write an open letter to yourself and tuck it away. Read it in a few years.

47.) Watch Sia’s Chandelier music video and appreciate the dancer’s fluidity and the simplistic visual artistry of the video as a whole. Allow your thoughts to mirror the same grace.

48.) Clean and organize your desk, closet or entire room. Put everything in its place. Do the same thing with people in your life.

49.) Take a quiz on where you ought to live. Look up the country or city and immerse yourself in a plan for a house or apartment there. Pick the wall colours and kitchen cabinets and where the furniture ought to go. (Do you believe in feng shui? Go for it.)

50.) Print out pictures of far off places that make you feel whole, like Mathew Street in Liverpool, Banff Alberta or castles in Ireland. Stick them together and stare at the board. Call it the Anywhere But Here Window and voila. You’re somewhere else for a while. When you feel better you will come back.

I sincerely hope these little cures help on a rainy day!

What are the things you do when you feel sad? Share them in a comment maybe, spread the cure and heal the world with happiness.

Image Sources: Google

H&S Dialogues: Schoolyard Fences

Schoolyard Fences

 He:

Augmented meaning scraped

on canvas in stripes of black and blue

Staring at masterpieces lost on our blank eyes

Marveling at the mundane, undecided on the ultimates

Then smuggling cigarettes like miniature chimney

stacks shrunken in our pockets, plumes of

smoke curling above in a dark staircase

Bumpy bus rides interrupting trivial talk peppered

with curse words being spit out like chewing gum

and laughter for phallic-inclined humour, our tradition

 She:

Red diagrams of magnetic flux staring at

our desks from the white board during physics class

never helped when we learned of covalent bonds

in chemistry nor the function of capillaries in

rudimentary biology. We never learned

how to be a friend, a shoulder or a person

at all but we figured it out on our own.

Plus we can certainly tell you about the

Oedipus complex and Stockholm syndrome

because school was a captor and we were glad captives

in our secondary stand-in home.

He & She:

I’ll miss the desks we scribbled

nonsense on

The notes stuffed between

books and assignments

The math class spent staring out

the window rather

than solving sin2(t) + cos2(t)

then later learning the answer is 1

which sadly is just how I feel

since those days by schoolyard fences.

H&S Dialogues: Pot

Pot

He & She:

The way I see it, clear as day

I don’t need those joints passed

in secluded circles at house parties

or dank alleys, nor the brownies

that make you feel fuzzy and odd.

I am calm and fuzzy enough.

“It opens up your mind, you should draw

or write,” They said like teachers to amateurs.

But they were none the wiser

Drifting higher off of nothing but cheap thrills

When I did the same, I learned

the truth was that I could imagine, write

and draw all along.

My mind had always been open.

H&S Dialogues: Heart Sleeves and Mazes

Heart Sleeves and Mazes

 She:

Not many can see…

He wears hearts on his sleeve

Never his own, ever another’s

Knit tight like a sweater

With veins knotted like yarn

Blood colouring the hugging mess

A maroon tide across his arms

Beating like a dead orchestra

Down his fingers the vena cava empty

Arteries pooling out into infinity

Clotted sludge smeared across his knuckles

The tired hearts hiding scars on muscles

A collective decoration of gore

To which my own will be one more…

 He:

The layers pile on, an onion unpeeled

My knife won’t cut deep…enough

She’s adamant and confused, like a maze

I can’t see straight; unruly and tough

To try is to fail; I’m sick

of these games, fire and flame

All burn out at the wick

So I’ll put it out myself, before

A trap is laid out and set

so I fall for her more.

He & She:

I tried.

It’s not meant to be.

Sever and snip (never stitch)

Now I’m finally free.

H&S Dialogues: Melted and Melting

Melted and Melting

 She:

Late nights at the pub

Of beer and ale, you smell

But I don’t care nor mind because

You wear it oh so well

Got your own stamp

Sealed with a kiss

To my cheek, without it

I would feel quite remiss

Like a postcard going nowhere

Or a song left unheard

Screaming out to be sent or played

To release every single word

 He:

No music playing when we first met

You complain we’ve got no song

Of our own, so I wrote a score

For both of us to dance along

In the middle of the night

Snow trickling down outside

Clung, freezing, swaying

This lasts, I lied.

He & She:

 But I did not know

Like snowflakes hitting the ground

Split and scatter, fine and fickle

We too would be crushed underfoot

With only the icicles to be left weeping

For you have long ago melted

And I am still slowly melting.

Shades

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The cream-coloured sky hung like suspended milk above their heads, dappled with clouds of lilac and tainted hope. Cerulean leaves blew past them in a hurry to go nowhere just as the rose tide rolled in, curling and lapping at the maroon-tinged sand. The chill played hide and seek between their ribs, tickling emerald bones while the spectrum continued its deception.

Yes, the shades had shifted. The colours collided. But any inkling of dye dripping into a picture is better than black, white and grey.

After all, monochrome is no way to live a life.

What A Semester of Developmental Psychology Can Do For You

When I started my second year of college this year, I knew I’d be studying developmental psychology but what I didn’t know was how a whole semester with the subject would be like a lifetime. Just imagine…learning about an entire life span in four or so months!

Though it isn’t my favourite, developmental psychology was certainly interesting in the beginning. Learning about prenatal development was more biological than psychological but the most interesting part of the subject. It also lends to a a great appreciation and wonder about pregnancy and our mothers who spend nine months taking better care of themselves than they ever will in their entire lives.

Caring for a child certainly sounds like a task even if you are reading about it in a psychology textbook, especially when it comes to teaching language skills and reading. If you thought it was all about reading a book aloud, it’s not that simple. Children who develop better language skills, be it in reading, writing or conversation compared to other children has been attributed to how parents can meet the child’s level of understanding and present appropriate challenges to engage them with. Also, children who have developed pre-reading skills before entering kindergarten become better readers. So I really appreciate my mom and dad in this case for having taught me phonetics at an early age and thus encouraging me to read early as well. To this day, that passion for reading and anything linguistic has carried through. Just imagine how parental influences in these crucial years can mold you into the person you become ten or twenty years down the line. It’s fascinating.

The picture below shows twelve pictures of the same baby with his favourite stuffed animal, each one month apart. You can literally see the growth of a newborn across the span of a year. It’s remarkable just how quickly a child develops, the fastest growth in terms of physical and psycho-motor development throughout the life span, in fact.

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While the first half of the subject is extremely interesting, I find that it wanes in that aspect when it reaches middle to late adulthood, finally discussing death itself, coming full circle in a matter of 700 or so pages. A sort of dread for getting old mars the study of retirement, old age accommodations and concepts like empty nest and bereavement. So I would have to say it starts off with a bang but ultimately fizzles out towards the end, just as humans do in life.