50 Bold & Brilliant Moves to Make This Year

As January comes to a close, I'm putting a lot of thought into making the rest of this year really count. Here are some ideas:

1 Give yourself 5 minutes to sit, breathe, and do nothing else.

2 Be polite.

3 Stand naked in front of a mirror for a long time, under unflattering light if possible. Trace the rises and falls of the little ripples on your skin — the scars, the dimples, the cellulite — and think about how much you try to hide these things in your day-to-day. Wonder why you hate them so much, and if this hate stems from somewhere within yourself, or as a result of being told all your life that it’s wrong to have physical flaws (source).

4 Start your own business.

5 Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

6 Send care packages to friends far from home.

7 Set up scheduled payments on all your bills.

8 Meditate.

9 Write a list of things you like about yourself. Add one item to it every day for a month. Hang it somewhere you'll see it, like the fridge or bathroom mirror.

10 Host a dinner party.

11 Learn to walk in high heels.

12 Talk to someone you admire on Twitter, or write them a letter.

13 Try something new.

14 Get a tattoo or piercing, dye your hair or try a new shade of lipstick.

15 Visit the library (and get a library card, if you don't have one already!).

16 Support your favourite locally-owned business.

17 Get active! Dance, snowshoe, jog or rock-climb, perhaps?

18 Learn a new language.

19 Donate a large sum of money to charity.

20 Eat a fruit you've never tasted before.

21 Visit New York City, all by yourself.

22 Climb that mountain (literally or figuratively).

23 Start a savings account.

24 Start a weekly gratitude list.

25 Become more accepting of those who are different from you: Experience a different culture, volunteer at a homeless shelter or simply talk to people from different backgrounds.

26 Buy a lottery ticket.

27 Write a positive message on a helium balloon & set it free.

28 Go see a movie by yourself.

29 Exfoliate.

30 Pick your own fruit or plant a vegetable garden.

31 Buy your mom a treat that she'd never buy herself.

32 Make a new friend. Be brave and put yourself out there! You can do it.

33 Adopt a rescue dog or cat.

34 Colour code your agenda.

35 Tell a stranger she's beautiful.

36 Over-deliver on your promises.

37 Stretch.

38 Invest in yourself: Put time into doing what's important to you. Spend money on your education. Build an exquisite wardrobe. Become the best you, you can be.

39 Practice Intuitive Eating.

40 Forgive.

41 Take a free online class at Coursera.

42 Listen.

43 Be open about how you feel.

44 Start a journal or blog.

45 Tell him you love him.

46 Practice tzedakah.

47 Savour high-quality dark chocolate.

48 Put a small personal touch on everything you do. – Think of it as branding your work.  If you’re funny, add a little humor into it.  If you’re an artist, decorate it with illustrations.  Whatever you do, customize it with a little personal touch of ‘you.’ [Source].

49 Get organized.

50 Take a Greyhound across the country.

What do you have planned for 2013? Share your amazing ideas below!

On Routine

I do not like routine, which is why I find this so frustrating:

I get accustomed to a motion that lasts for at least a few days... Say, a 30+ hour bus ride or a class or spending a lot of time with someone for a week straight.

When that changes, I'm shaken.

Like today.

I'm so used to this routine of being with my mom nearly 24/7 after our 1 and a half week-long trip, that now I don't know what to do with myself when I'm alone. It makes me anxious. Verge-of-a-panic-attack anxious. And I don't know what to do about it.

Every therapist I've seen has prescribed routine. But what do you do when your routine is not routine? I'm not sure yet.

Link Love 26.1.2013 February Magazine Covers, Fitness & Urban Ballerinas

Hello, gorgeous! I'm still in Florida, so I prepared this Link Love in advance. Enjoy!

10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature.

Also for bookworms: 10 words invented by authors.

Butterbeer. How delicious does that look?! Additional yumminess: breakfast casseroles.

Check out Ellen's gallery of cats who think they're hiding. Hysterical, and so cute. 

These urban portraits of ballerinas are absolutely stunning.

This lamb might just be the cutest thing EVER.

Do you share a birthday with any of these fictional characters?

I completely agree with Carol Tice: freelance writers need to build their social media audience now. (If you need to hire a social media strategist, I'd love to help! Contact me here).

Leo Babauta's New Rules of Fitness is a brilliant post. Here's my favourite part:
Let’s take a cue from how we actually live and think today, and change up fitness... If we take cues from our online world today, here’s how we’d do fitness... In the world of tweets and SMS messages, long classes or gym workouts or jogging sessions just don’t seem to fit. We don’t have time for all of that. So toss out the workout, and instead think of fitness as small as a tweet. Sprint up a hill after getting off the train or parking your car. Sprint up a flight of stairs as you go into the office. Do some pushups before a meeting. Do some squats after sitting for 30 minutes. Pick up a friend, put him on your shoulders, and carry him for a block. Let’s call it a fitness bit instead of a workout.

I can't believe I didn't know about this! Gmail shortcuts seem really useful.

Emma Stone covers Glamour UK February 2013, while Emma Watson covers Marie Claire UK.

Finally, check out this trampled snow art. You have to see it to believe it!

I'll be back with regular content upon my return to Toronto. Have a wonderful weekend!

Things I Love Friday: (Soon to Be) Homeward Bound

I can't believe I've been in Florida for almost a week! Already, though, it's nearly time to go back to Toronto. It's true: time flies!

I'm sad that I'll be heading back to the cold, away from Florida (where I feel so at home). But I'm trying to look on the bright side. A gratitude list often helps me put things into perspective, so here goes:

Highlights of my week:

♥ Waking up early to watch the sunrise and work on my writing.

♥ Blogging for i.seeKissimmee.com.

♥ Swimming in a gorgeous, moonlit heated pool surrounded by palm trees at Mystic Dunes resort.

Little things which made me smile:

♥ Blue glitter nail polish! Out of this world beignets at the Tomorrowland Cafe in at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Finding adorable kitties hiding in my Orlando hotel's courtyard. ♥ 
Pizza with peppers, tomato, sausage and lots of cheese. Girls This
Scalloped accessories. ♥ Cool nights and hot days. Red wine. ♥

How was your week, doll?

Music Monday 14.1.2013: Let's talk about Les Miserables

It was way after my bedtime, but I heard music and wanted to know where it was coming from. I crept into the family room and curled up on the couch, intrigued.

Do you hear the people sing? / Singing the song of angry men? / It is the music of a people / who will not be slaves again! / When the beating of your heart / echoes the beating of the drums / there is a life about to start / when tomorrow comes!

What ever this music was, it was powerful. It made my little heart skip a beat... It sounded political. I didn't know much about politics, but I thought it was wonderful that Canada's leaders got together to sing about our freedom.

"Why is the prime minister singing, Mommy?".

My parents, totally engrossed in the film, hadn't noticed me until then. They both looked at me, bemused. "The prime minister? This is a musical. Les Miserables".

Okay, so it wasn't the government performing (and my parents still laugh at me for thinking that when I was 7). But that night, my life was changed forever. 


A few months later, I was sitting at the kitchen table, helping my mom make dinner. I grated cheese as I told her about my day at school. 
"So today in music class, my teacher asked everyone who their favourite singer was".


"Yeah. All my friends named a Spice Girl".

"And who did you say?"


A precocious, theatre-obsessed 10 year-old, I put on 'shows' for my family at all our get-togethers. I made costumes, choreographed dance routines, memorized songs and made flyers, enlisting my cousins to perform with me (they sometimes complied).

Most of the time, my relatives would watch for five minutes, then go back to their Cribbage games or hors d'oeuvres, causing me to stamp my little feet and cry, "the show must go on!".

But one Saturday, wearing a little pink chiffon nightie, smeared rouge on my cheeks and flowers in my hair, I sang, "I dreamed a dream in time gone by /when hope was high and life worth living...". For some reason, they listened. All eyes were on me. I kept singing, finishing the song with a high note, crumpling to the ground, 'dead'. 
I don't know what made them pay attention that day. I know it wasn't my voice (which has always sub-par, killing the dream I dreamed of being a Broadway star... but that's another blog post). Perhaps it was the conviction with which I sang the words of a tragic classic? I've always been full of emotion, and an old soul.


In junior high, I was a drama nerd. I was a lead in the school play, wore elaborate costumes on a daily basis, and spent all my extracurricular time in the drama classroom. So of course, I was first to find out that our class was going to see Les Miserables at the Canon Theatre.

I screamed. "Mr Matheson, that's my favourite musical!". My friends knew that already (and were aware that I had had the whole thing memorized since I was 8), so they just rolled their eyes.

It wasn't my first time seeing a live Broadway show, but it was one of the best experiences (at a theatre and in general) I've ever had. 

I was in Alexandria, pacing around my hotel room and fiddling with the TV remote. I was feeling anxious, and hoping a morning in (preferably with something good to watch) would help. Turning to PBS, I froze. The 25th Anniversary performance of Les Mis was on TV! Just what I needed.
Happily sinking into bed, I realized: this musical has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It's helped shape my world view (not to mention my taste in music). I consider that a blessing.

This is the longest Music Monday post I've ever written. But last night, I finally got to see the 2012 adaptation of Les Miserables, and I have to talk about it, or I'll burst!

To sum up how I feel about it:

+Best Gavroche ever. EVER.
+Eponine was amazing. For the record, she's my favourite character.
+I love Colm Wilkinson (see above). His cameo made me smile. I'm glad the film gave lifelong Les Mis fans a nod by casting him as the Bishop.
+Anne Hathaway was breathtaking as Fantine.

So for your listening pleasure, here's Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed a Dream.

Best Dressed at The Golden Globes

 Tina Fey & Amy Poehler

Helena Bonham Carter

Francesca Eastwood 

Jennifer Garner 

Jennifer Lawrence 

Zooey Deschanel 

Lucy Liu 

Kaley Cuoco

Photobombs, Cats & Hotel 'Hacks': Link Love 12.13.2013

Hello, doll! Have fun perusing this week's links, and be sure to share your faves in the comments below.

This post from Thought Catalog is very insightful.

Wet Seal is relaunching their plus size line. Lots of the items look cute, but reportedly the sizing is small. Are you excited about this line?

Jennifer Lawrence covers this month's Vanity Fair.

If you travel a lot, this list of hotel 'hacks' is gold.

This article about grapefruit is hilarious. (For the record, I love grapefruit).

Jessica at Too Many Sequins is very stylish. I love this skirt!


MAC is doing something a little different for their Strength campaign, and I like that. (via Stoya).

Quokkas are so cute. Also cute: Pusheen the cat shows you how to make a snowman.

How could you not have a crush on Emma Stone? Speaking of whom, have you seen Emma's latest interview on Ellen?

What did you read this week?


All Things Emerald

Emerald is Pantone's Color of the Year, so get 2013 off to a stylish start will all things gorgeously green!

Emerald Fashion

Beauty & Accessories:

Emerald Beauty & Accessories


Emerald Decor

7 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Writing:

Whether you're a student, have a job, or run a blog, you probably have to write from time to time. Here are 7 easy ways to strengthen your writing:

1 Omit "I think". I've run into this error a lot, especially when proofreading college students' papers. We know that's what you think. Saying so weakens your argument.

2 Don't use two words when one will do.

3 Use adjectives to add punch...

4 But use them sparingly. The right adjective can breathe life into your writing... [but] two adjectives to a single noun are usually too many, and even one is risky (source).

5 Use sentence fragments. Occasionally. But, be sure to use them only in certain situations, and for emphasis.

6 If the piece you're writing is informal (say, a blog post or a penpal letter, rather than a business letter or a college essay), use contractions. Doesn't 'I'm having a party and you're invited" sound friendlier than "I am having a party and you are invited"?

7 Be concise, always.

Love, Charity & Understanding Chronic Pain: Link Love 5.1.2013

Oh my goodness, the first Link Love of 2013! (It feels kind of weird to type out "2013" instead of "2012"). I hope this year is treating you well, so far!

Snowflake ballerinas! These are so pretty. Here's a free template.

This "Message of Love" poster by Goddess Leonie is absolutely gorgeous (and it's free, too!).

I've always wanted to visit Antarctica. These photos of Emperor penguins just fuel my desire!

Does the fact that these are celebrity photobombs make these pictures funnier? Either way, the Kermit/Lady Gaga one is hilarious.

This chart is very helpful for understanding chronic pain.

You can be fat and fit.

Veronica's post about travelers' phone charger karma is adorable.

There's a web app that suggests books to read, based on your twitter feed! How cool is that?! Okay, so I didn't find it very accurate... But it was fun. How'd it do based on your tweets?

Top 10 Flickr for iPhone Tips.

Alexis is giving away her birthday for Charity:Water. If you donate $32+ to this cause, you'll get a free copy of her guide, Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business ($47 value).

Last but not least... BUNNIES.

Image via here. Source?

Polish & Sparkle: The Year In Review

With 2013's arrival, here's a look back at the best of Polish & Sparkle in 2012:

Body Image

5 Reasons to be Body Positive
You ARE Beautiful NOW
Body-Shaming Hurts Skinny Girls Too
Fashion & Beauty

Comfy, Cozy, Stylish Sweaters
Go For "Baroque"
Matryoshkas galore!
Winter Nail Polish Picks
♥ Like many fashionistas, I looooved colourblocking!
Poodle Skirts & Ponytails -- my 50s-inspired What I Wore post
How To Wear Neon
Simple & Chic in Atlanta

♥ I went to Buffalo, NY-- 3 times!
Niagara Falls (ON): 1 Day, On Foot
NYC's Museum of Sex
Snapshots from my trip to New York City & Washington, DC.
I went to Florida-- one of my favourite places.
Toronto's One of a Kind Christmas Show
Finance & Career

How To Get Great Job References
The Smart Broke Girl's Guide To Money
7 Indispensable iPhone Apps for Bloggers & Creative Business Owners

Mental Health

What To Do When You Can't Sleep
10 Little Things To Do For Yourself
DIY manicures changed my life!
What is Trichotillomania?

I celebrated my birthday in style.
♥ I had a major existential breakthrough
♥ I wrote an open letter to 15 year-old me.

Other Stuff

♥ I explored Health At Every Size & shared why you should, too.
♥ I discovered 11 of the best things about being single.
I interviewed Emilie Autumn.

And I was published at other sites, including Examiner, Kind Over Matter and Florida Homeschooling.

Here's hoping 2013 is even better than 2012!

5 Goals for 2013

As 2013 begins, setting goals is on my mind. I don't believe in resolutions, but mapping out an idea of what I want to work towards this year? That's an idea I can get behind! Here are my 5 main goals for 2013:

1 A 365 project. I tried the 365 self portraits project in 2011 and only got to 70 before losing motivation. This year, I'll aim to take one photo each day, of anything: myself, my friends and family, my projects and surroundings. Here's hoping I'll beat my previous accomplishtment.

2 Earn more income from freelancing. I know (and know of) freelancers who are making 5- and 6-figure salaries! I'm relatively new, especially to charging for my work (I've done quite a few unpaid, but worthwhile projects as well as some paid projects), but I feel 2013 is the time to really make a leap in terms of supporting myself creatively.

3 Buckle down and get my other projects, like my mental health coaching, and Stars and Stripes Eh on their feet.

4 Travel! This is obvious, but I feel the need to list it, all the same.

5 Get healthy. I often feel hopeless about this, because it seems I have the odds stacked against me-- chronic fatigue, PCOS, Panic Disorder-- but I'm determined to fight for my health. I want to eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and exercise more. Weight loss isn't my goal; fitness is. And I'm determined!

What are your goals for 2013? 

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