I started to write as a small child. I crafted chaptered novels when (very) short stories were the assignments. I read the dictionary, and studied grammar and punctuation for fun. As a teenager, I designed graphics and websites in my spare time.
My unique vocational background has provided a solid foundation in a number of different areas, and I can typically connect with people pretty easily.
I’m a single mom, an animal lover, a health nut, and a writer. It’s lovely to meet you.
My strengths include both creative and technical writing. I’m a very quick learner and a skilled multitasker. I’m also highly organized and detail oriented.
As an experienced remote worker, I’m familiar with everything the telework lifestyle entails; I thrive on the independence and motivation it requires.
I’m proficient on both the Windows and Mac platforms, very comfortable with HTML/CSS and Markdown, a semi-skilled graphic editor, a weekend WordPress warrior, and a general tech ‘geek’.
Learn how to wade through the headlines, focus on what’s relevant to you, and think like an industry professional.
We’re constantly bombarded by online security advice. Whether there’s too much information thrown out at once, it’s too difficult to understand, or too time consuming to carry out, countless studies have shown most of the guidance doesn’t stick.
The advice is usually published in response to the latest “security breach” headline. We work ourselves up; we change passwords, delete accounts, and disconnect services before we stop to consider if the problem affects us—and if it’s worth solving.Most people employ a similar thought process all the time, consciously or not. If you live on the 37th floor of a high rise, for example, you’d probably think twice before paying extra for window sensors for your alarm system.
Cybersecurity professionals do the same thing. They consider what can go wrong, which of those things apply to their systems, and which of those need to be addressed. It’s called threat modelling.
Don’t let the term scare you—remember, you already do it, just on a smaller scale. The goal is to do it more often, and more mindfully. Let’s break it down with a few examples.
Does the problem affect me?
You probably have some form of biometric unlock (fingerprint or facial recognition) on your mobile device. It adds a huge level of convenience, but someone could use your finger or face to unlock your phone while you’re unconscious, and steal your secrets.Before you disable biometrics completely, consider if such a situation is relevant to you. If you’re vulnerable to such an attack, set up a PIN unlock. For most people, biometrics are a great option.
Do I need to solve the problem?
Bits of preferences are tracked by almost every website you visit. The practice is typically non-invasive—the information is (or should be) only used to customize your experience.
While this does have an impact on you, you’ll probably decide it’s not a problem you want to spend much time or energy to fix. Generally, the benefits and convenience of a personalized experience outweigh the risk of companies learning some information about you.
What compromises do I need to make?
Imagine an important service only offers two-factor authentication via text message. You must have your phone with you to use the application, and if you travel abroad or find yourself without reception, you won’t be able to log in.
Rather than abandon the service, you could choose not to enable two-factor authentication. If you feel the service is necessary, you might want to give up the added protection because the cost, which is no access at all, is too high.
Keep it up
Think of a threat model like a Venn diagram. Amidst the mass of security advice out there, a collection of it will apply to you, and only some of that will be worth addressing. Look closely at those issues, and weigh your options.
Every problem, every situation, every answer will be different for each person. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Just like security in general, it’s a practice. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
Growing up, I knew I was different. I didn’t look like the other kids — I wasn’t short and thin. I didn’t act like them, either. Rather than run around, playing sports and other games, I would hide somewhere to read and write. I certainly didn’t think like my peers. Childhood trauma and adolescent depression pretty much guaranteed that. I struggled with my differences for a very (very) long time. But now, in my mid-thirties, I’ve learned that they’re what make me who I am. I’m not like everybody else. And that’s a good thing.
The dictionary defines the word unique as, “being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” In the most literal, biological sense, we are, of course, all unique. But in today’s cultural landscape — with trend spotters, influencers, and the like telling us how we should look, what products we should use, how to live our lives — it has become increasingly difficult to step away from the noise; to stand out.
And, you might ask, why should I stand out? Why would I want to be different?
To live your truth
Psychiatrists explain that, since every human trait is fundamentally different, any trait can both be positive and negative depending on the circumstances.¹ We don’t want to be seen as weird. But abnormal behaviour isn’t always bad, because there is no absolute definition of normal. I’m sure you’ve heard the famous line, “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” What is your truth? What is your normal?
When you embrace who you are, you can experience freedom unlike any other. Think what you want to think, say what you want to say (within reason — living your truth shouldn’t come at the expense of others), and — above all — feel what you need to feel. Don’t let anyone else dictate you.
To explore the unknown
Being the one-and-only you has taken you places you wouldn’t have otherwise been. Celebrate that. Good and bad, joyous and tragic, everyone has had different life experiences — they make us who we are. In fact, neuroscientific studies have shown that those experiences, and our individual life circumstances, change our brains in a measurable way.² Athletes, artists, and scientists, for example, all have specific characteristics in the regions of their brains they use most often for their skilled activity.³ Even your brain is on a journey for individualism.
And that journey isn’t over. What you have lived; what you have seen, learned, and accomplished will affect and influence you going forward.
To think outside the box
The differences among us are what lead to competition and invention; creativity depends on the nonconformity of ideas, just by definition. If history’s greatest innovators hadn’t dared to think differently, we wouldn’t live in the world we do today. And, when you consider any number of these personalities — a scientist like Edison, an artist like Van Gogh — they aren’t what you would call “normal.”
This speaks to the results of a series of studies conducted by Cornell University. Three separate studies concluded that social rejection actually fuels creativity.⁴ Researchers found the experience of rejection promotes more creative problem-solving and artistic ability.⁵ So, push yourself outside that box. You never know what you’ll discover.
All this is to say: I encourage anyone to take a chance, stand out, and see where it takes you.
, : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180710104631.htm
, : http://www.fulfillmentdaily.com/different-everyone-else-can-fuel-creativity/
“I can’t read you,” they say. “You’d make a great poker player.”
I’ve heard it most of my adult life: that I’m impossible to read. Now that I’ve entered this new world of dating in my mid-thirties (gross), I hear it more and more often. And the more I like the guy I’m seeing, the more I feel compelled to explain why.
I’m highly guarded for good reason. I’ve spent the majority of my 30-we-don’t-need-to-be-specific years recovering from one personal betrayal or another. When I let people in, I’m vulnerable. When I’m vulnerable, I get hurt.It started with the first — and arguably most important — relationships of my life. I carried that pain forward to romantic relationships in my twenties; those men treated me the same way I’d been treated growing up. I’ve been used and abused and it’s left me jaded and nearly hopeless.
But I do still put myself out there in the dating world; I do still take chances. If you were to ask me what I expect or what I’m looking for, I couldn’t tell you. It’s when you think all hope is gone that someone comes along and surprises you. I hope I’ll be receptive to that someone, and that I’ll be able to let him in… even a little. Quelling the fear that he’ll run away screaming.
Before that happens, I know we’ll be sitting down for dinner at a casual Italian restaurant when he’ll ask, “Have you ever considered playing poker?”
When I left my partner of six years — the father of my son — I left with almost nothing. He was… less than cooperative, and I had to get out. We, as women, do what we need to do in times of crisis. I purchased a little townhouse, packed what was mine, and bounced.
That’s when the fun started.
When I signed the mortgage papers, everything was peachy. Two weeks later, when I received the keys, everything was not peachy. I opened the door, looked around, sank to the floor, and cried. The former owners had trashed the property.There was garbage, scrap wood, and scrap metal everywhere. The bathroom sink had been ripped from the wall; toilets and appliances were broken. The walls were badly damaged. The carpet, which was was covered in dirt and unsightly pet stains, had an unmistakable funk to it. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. The bottom line is: the place needed a lot of work.
It only took a few days of solitude for me to discover that I did, too.
The relationship between me and my ex had effectively ended years prior; I’d already mourned it. That wasn’t the issue. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Living in his house (yes, his house), I was a fiancée/partner and a mother. I was never just me. I had no hobbies, no interests, one remaining friend (whom he’d tried very hard to alienate me from), no joy. I was no damn fun and I knew it.
As I started to work (very slowly) on the house, with small projects here and there, the parallel struck me: I was rebuilding myself along with my disaster of a house. So, I decided to write about. As you do.
I neglected to chronicle my journey to self-discovery and independence as I dove back into the dating game (God, help me), and fixed up the place I called home… that story is for another day — promise.
Australian visionary artist Steve Willis — also known as Light Wizard — is a creative soul who channels the deepest parts of himself into his art. He has a unique, defined process of upcycling and repurposing found objects and materials; transforming the hard rubbish into pieces that are compelling, inspiring, and often perplexing.
Willis believes he was brought to this earth with a mission: to shine brightly, light up the human spirit, and illuminate inner worlds, revealing the magic within them. He creates his art by channeling the spiritual voice that speaks through him. At this point in his journey, the voice is both familiar and alien.
Whether with an explosion of colour or monochromatic shades of grey, his unique creations are a way of rebelling against the ordinary. Striving to create the most compelling, moving, and inspiring works possible, Light Wizard invites viewers to step outside their comfort zones; to challenge possibility.
There is always a metaphysical inspiration behind the pieces Light Wizard creates — never does he simply throw materials together randomly with hopes it turns into something pleasing to the eye.
He created one piece, titled Pinktagon, that represents changing perspective. The artist believes if we suspend our beliefs, we create opportunities to see things in a different way — a way that may allow us to see more deeply, more curiously.
Another sculpture, called Shadowlands, is a beautifully dark piece inspired by shadowed times. The artist recognizes we cannot change the past, but we can change our lives by learning from it. The work represents the troubled mind — the greatest battlefield ever known.
One of the most enthralling sculptures in the artist’s portfolio is called Imaginationland. It is a manifestation of Light Wizard’s fantasy world; his “sanity against normality”. The piece, which was made live at an arts and culture festival, is a fantastical adventure for the eyes — and the mind. It’s the artist’s imagination brought to life.
Art will forever be subjective. It is the feelings, the experiences, art elicits that tie us together. Light Wizard wants viewers of his art to join him as they explore perception and belief; fear and courage; shadow and light. But, most of all, this daydream called life.
Tennies. Runners. Trainers. Kicks. Sneakers go by many names and they’ve come a long way from their humble beginnings. The first rubber-soled shoes were incredibly crude — a piece of rubber attached to canvas and without a right or left foot designation (ouch).
Sneakers were born out of necessity in the late eighteenth century: for poorer people who couldn’t afford leather. Over the years, the style was slowly adopted and refined. They were dubbed plimsolls; worn for sports like croquet, and just for comfort.
Then things got real.
In 1876, the world’s first trainer company, Etonic, was founded in Brockton, MA, USA. Le Coq Sportif followed closely after in 1882. British company J.W. Foster and Sons (whose grandsons would go on to found Reebok) designed the first spiked running shoes in 1895. Spalding and Converse both marketed basketball shoes in the early 1900s and, by the 1936 Berlin Olympics, running sneakers were everywhere.
As attitudes and dress codes relaxed throughout the fifties and beyond, people began to wear running shoes for purposes other than sports — they became fashion statements.
Athletes, like Michael Jordan, and other stars got in on the action with endorsements. Designers, like Gucci, capitalized by releasing their own high-fashion sneakers. Pop stars, like the Spice Girls, started their own trends with platform styles.
Fast forward to today — sneakers come in nearly every shape and style a fashion guru could possibly dream.
High-top and low-top styles. High-tech and low-tech styles, for that matter (yes, there are now high-tech sneakers that will do things like track running metrics, analyze your gait, do your laundry… ok, maybe not the last one). Manufacturers are continually testing the limits of fashion with colours, patterns, designs, materials, and technology, and we (as a society) are loving it.
The question is: What’s next? Automatic lacing? Injury prevention? All in the works. You may need to wait on the laundry help, though.
If you have a question or a project idea, please get in touch. I’d love to work with you.
© MVB 2022