Everybody's got an opinion

If your opinion doesn’t align with mine, that is completely okay. There’s no need to fight, there’s no need to be rude, there’s no need for name calling. We can agree to disagree. Plenty of people disagree with me for plenty of different reasons and I still have a great deal of respect for all of them. I cannot and will not respect you, however, if your inclination is to start ‘throwing stones’ so to speak, solely because we disagree.

My standing up for myself is not my fighting with you, it’s my standing up for myself. Period. I’m not attacking you, I’m simply stating my opinions. You had your chance, why shouldn’t I have my chance? There’s no callous nature behind it, I am simply trying to share my side.

I want to get to a place in society where we can agree to disagree and still be kind to, and show respect to one another.

The perk of being anonymous.

I get asked A LOT as to why there’s no face to my blog. Would you believe me if I said that I’m shy? Because I am. But, more importantly than that, I choose to be anonymous because it allows my blog to be about me, not about what I look like.

Why am I anonymous? Because I want to be.

It’s 2020 and, as much as the world has evolved, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to judgmental folk.. People place a lot of value on the way that you look. Yes, you. You, me, the man across the street. We all get judged based on our appearance. So, the thing about nobody knowing what I look like gives to me is an ability to know that I’m being judged for who I am, not what I look like.

It’s freeing.

If someone likes me, they like me for my outlook, personality and how I treat others, not because of what I look like. And, if someone doesn’t like me, they don’t like me because they don’t like my outlook, personality or how I treat others, not because of what I look like.

I can’t stress enough what a cool feeling that is.

As someone who’s spent the majority of her life being judged for her appearance, it’s a nice feeling to get judged for who I am, not what I look like.

Honestly, you can imagine me whatever way that you want to. Whether you think I am the 31 year old female I’ve told you that I am, or you think that I’m a 65 year old man who hoards butter-finger wrappers in a fish bowl (shout out to anyone who watches ‘2 Broke Girls’), that’s okay. The perk to being anonymous is that I can be whoever you want me to be, whoever you envision me to be and it just doesn’t matter.

I like being anonymous. I am shy. I am an introvert. Pouring my heart out to the internet gives me solace in a world where those that know me don’t really know much more than what’s on the outside.

Being anonymous has allowed me to feel the most like myself.

Photo Editing 101

I would like to preface this post by saying that some people prefer to leave their photos unedited. The #Unfiltered look is big on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even WordPress, so if you don’t have any desire to edit photos, please don’t. Please ignore this post. It’s not a requirement. It’s not even an ’ement’. This is just something that I’ve done over the years, that I know a lot of people who use social media do and I wanted to share some shortcuts with you. That is all.

Okay, so I’ve heard it said many a times that a picture is worth a thousand words. To that notion I say that if my photo’s going to be worth a thousand words, I better make sure they’re important words being portrayed through my images.

For nearly a decade, there wasn’t a photo that I posted, sent or printed without edits. Many edits were small… editing out a logo here, blurring a child’s face there… just small things to ensure we were in compliance with FOIP (the Freedom of Information Protection Act) in Canada. Some edits were major… reconstructing the facial shape of someone as a means to ‘filter’ distinguishing marks, fudging the dollar amount written on giant cheques (though I regret to admit to that) and changing out the people who were holding the cheque, or even completely photoshopping someone out of one location and into another. Over time I became a master at turning a photo into pretty much anything that I wanted it to be. And that says a lot because I am very picky when it comes to photos.

Luckily, from a blogging perspective, the editing (if one chooses to do so) need not be nearly as complicated as what’s practiced in the corporate world.

Before I get to the edition notes, I will say that things are a lot easier if you take good photos to start with. Take advantage of natural lighting where possible (the sun). Make sure the lens is in focus before you take the photo. If there are people in the photo that differ vastly in heights, do something to balance that height difference. These are all small steps you can take to vastly improve the quality of photos you’re taking from the get-go.

Okay, onto photo editing:

*Note – This information is from the perspective of photos being taken on a phone, since smartphones are everywhere and you use your phones to upload to social media platforms.

The number one thing that I would recommend a blogger do to edit photos is download Adobe Lightroom to your phone. There is both a free and a premium version of this app. Please do not purchase the premium version, you will not need it. Everything you need to make a photograph beautiful, you can find in the free version. Free Adobe Lightrom will allow you to:

  • Crop Images
  • Auto adjust the lighting to your photos
  • Manually adjust the lighting to your photos
  • Edit the colour balance of your photos
  • Sharpen, blur, correct, create frames or vignettes for any effects that you might like
  • Attempt to correct the focus as much as possible (if it’s an extremely blurry photo, it’ll likely just make it less blurry…)
  • Allow you to select between ‘presets’ created with specific intention to do all of the above steps in one

Examples of before and After using Adobe Lightroom:

The number two thing that I will recommend with respect to photo editing is to stay away from Facetune. Facetune is a demon that is changing the way that we see ourselves and other people. It contributes to low-self esteem because people are creating unrealistic standards of beauty and attractiveness based on what they can make themselves look like with a few minutes spent editing in Facetune. There’s a big difference between editing out a zit and changing one’s waist from being 30 inches to being 13 inches.

Now, all that being said, photo editing is all about you and what you find to be the magic factor in photos. If you like black and white images, Lightroom gives you the option to convert all of your images to black and white. If you like bright and light photos, Lightroom gives you plenty of functions that help with turning a photo that was taken in a dull/dark room into something that really pops off the page.

I am someone who likes bright photos. I want the colours to carry, the details to shine and even the dullest of days to look like a postcard. I’m providing some examples of my photos below and as you will see, even on a dull day (first, middle and last photo) it’s still possible to make the photo look like a postcard.

These are some of my photos from various locations and times over the past year. I’m not sure if you can tell just from looking at them, but they’ve all been edited to very much carry the same tone to them. I wanted the whites to be clean, the greens to pop, the skies to be the bluest that could be while accurately depicting what a camera on my phone couldn’t catch on the day the photo was taken.

I used what is called ‘Adobe Lightroom Presets’.

I know what you’re thinking and I hear you. ‘Presets, Vee? That sounds so extra. Who would bother?’

These presets are used by people far and wide on social media. If you’ve ever looked at someone’s Instagram page and seen similar tones to all of their images, it’s a safe bet they’re using a preset for their photos.

The ‘Preset’ is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a preset collection of edits for LightRoom to apply to the photograph in one step. It’s a matter of hitting one button in LightRoom and your photo is brighter, more vivid and depicting the image you want to convey in a matter of seconds.

Extra. I know.

But, if you’re particular with photos, it is a big time saver, helps with branding, makes your photos aesthetically themed and ensures you always have a beautiful photo, even on the dullest of days.

The presets that I use I developed several years back to cover my basis when I needed to turnaround press-releases in a hurry and always seemed to get sent shitty looking photos. They’re a ‘formula’ that I keep a tight secret around and will stay in the vault to one day be passed down to my children and grandchildren. (joking)

If you would like to delve into the option of presets, you can do one of two things:

  1. You can make your own. I highly recommend this option because it allows you to draw out the aspects of photos that you most appreciate.
  2. You can purchase some.

I highly recommend, if you download Lightroom yourself, that you try option one before option two. I say this because creating your own presets will allow you to create edits that you find most important in photographs.

It’ll also give you an appreciation for the photo editing process. It’ll also make you appreciate the photos you’re taking that much more and it’ll cause you to stop and think about your photos as you’re taking them. You’ll find yourself stopping to think ‘can I get better lighting if I make my subject face the window instead of against’, and various other thoughts of what’s going to make your photos better. Then, when you’re taking better photos, there’ll be less editing to do.

After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, you might as well make those words important.

If you tried your hand at creating presets and you didn’t like it, or if you’d just like some help and believe you’d like to purchase some Lightroom presets, the place to do is on Etsy. Using your phone type ‘Mobile Lightroom Presets’ in to the search bar and you will be innundated with different presets made by different designers.

I’ve seen them range anywhere from $3.00 USD to $350 USD. And let me be abundantly clear, you do not need a $350 package of Lightroom presets. There’s a lot to choose from, so it’s a matter of you taking a look at what you find most aesthetically pleasing and what’s the price you’re ultimately willing to pay.

With 17,034 listings to go through, though, I thought I’d provide a couple of suggestions if you decide to purchase presets:

  • A good Lightroom preset package will have 3-4 Presets. Don’t buy a package that has 99 presets (and they are available on Etsy) because you don’t need 99 presets
  • Realistically, if you wanted to use a preset, your criteria should be to have one preset for outside photos, one for inside, one for without people and one for with people
  • Don’t get sucked in by the ‘gimmicky’ presets like the one titled ‘Peach’ in the screenshot above. Might it look nice if your presets always make you look like you have tanned skin? Sure. But, it’s winter and unless you live in California or Florida, people are likely going to see through the artificial tan your adding to your photos. Try to select a set of presets that will be applicable to all of your photos year round, whether you’ve got a tan or you’re in the deep of winter

To finish off this exceptionally long description of how to edit photos, I would like to add a reminder to please leave face structure and body shapes alone in your editing process. You, your friends, your family and any subjects your taking photos of are perfectly beautiful just the way they are.

Yes, we all have insecurities, but that doesn’t mean that you need to edit the length of your fingers to make it look as though you have larger hands. (If you understand this reference, we’re soulmates) Insecurities will NEVER be fixed by making it look as though they don’t exist in photos. That and there’s a big difference between bringing out the beauty of someone and completely changing their entire being. People are beautiful just the way they are.

If you like editing, if you want to get into editing or even if you don’t like editing, thanks for reading and for making it this far. Go forth and do good, grasshopper. I have the utmost faith in you.

What makes a great blog?

In my personal opinion, individuality is what makes a great blog.

A blog that showcases individuality is one that I will come back to read again and again and again.

So many blogs just seem to be different variations of the same thing. And, while that’s all fine and dandy, it’s just not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is finding something new and different to view every day. What is interesting to me is finding someone who makes me think differently about the world, someone who opens my eyes to something I’ve never realized.

If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what stands you apart from the other 75 million blogs on WordPress. If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what you can do differently.

“I’ve been blogging for a year and I have 40 followers.” 40 followers is awesome. How about celebrating the fact that you’ve managed to connect with 40 strangers and ask how you can build upon that, not speak of that like it’s a bad thing.

“Why don’t I have more followers? Do people just not like me?” I think you’re asking the wrong questions. People don’t really know you. Remember, the goal of any blogger should be to make a reader care about their content. Have you been writing content in hopes it’ll make you famous, or have you been making content in hopes it’ll make people care?

In blogging, you shouldn’t be measuring your success by your follower count, you should be measuring your success by the fulfillment you get from making a post, by the fact that people are coming to your blog, reading a post and coming back. Views are great, yeah! If someone comes and reads your post and your view count goes up for a day, that’s awesome. But, if they never come back then you’ve not given them a reason to come back.

I follow blogs that have follower counts from 8 to 140,000. And let me tell you, the person with 8 followers has just incredible of a blog as the one with 140,000 followers. The person with 8 followers has successfully made me want to come back, time after time.

If you’re wondering how to make your blog stand out, wonder what makes your blog individual.

So, what makes you an individual?

Responding to weird/mean comments and DMs and emails

I’m not sharing who sent these to me because I don’t think they deserve any attention. I just wanted to share this in good fun. I was talking about them with a friend of mine a few nights back and thought it would make for a good laugh, or at the very least a smirk.

Normally, I don’t let comments like this see the light of day, but I’m feeling a desire to clap back. And sometimes, you just have to clap back.


herd ur short on cash. how much can i give u for a pic of ur feet

No. No. No. God no. Never. No. No way jose. No. No. No. No thank you. No. I cannot stress this enough… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I bet your ugly and that’s why you won’t show your face on your blog.

You are correct. I am the human embodiment of Princess Fiona from Shrek and I’m so damn scared that people are going to figure that out, I won’t show my face.

You are annoying.

Then why are you following my blog?

You are an idiot.

Again, why are you following my blog?

I have a medication that could help you with your anxiety and I was wondering if you’d like to purchase some?

While I thank you for this kind and generous offer, I typically don’t purchase medications from strangers on the internet.

ur blog sux

Then don’t follow it.

There’s something so sexy about your anonymity. Would you show yourself on cam for me?

Not for all the money in the world.

C***

Did your mom teach you that language?

You act all high and mighty but the truth is you’re not better than the rest of us. We’re all losers here.

I actually don’t think any of us are losers. I also don’t think that I act high and mighty. I know who I am, and I’m actually incredibly insecure. I would never act as though I’m better than anyone else.

you bought your followers

Sorry, no. Had I bought them I likely would have done it the first weekend I made the blog so that I could have been popular from the get go. I wouldn’t have waited a year to do so.

The lack of god in your heart is the reason why you’re suffering. You could be free, all you have to do is believe

I don’t really consider this mean, as I don’t think the person who was sending this is mean, I just consider this to be kind of… stupid. This is also a really quick way to piss me off. The implication that one’s religious beliefs has anything to do with mental illness is fucking ridiculous. There are plenty of deeply religious people in this world who attend church, give their hearts to the lord, devote themselves and do everything that their religion asks of them and they suffer from mental illness to extents that we couldn’t even begin to understand.

I bet you’re a man and that’s why you don’t show yourself.

I won’t lie, there are definitely days I wish that I was.

You whine a lot on your blog. I don’t get why people think it’s good.

It’s my blog, I can say what I want to on it. As to why people think it’s good, you’ll have to ask them. I have no mind-reading capabilities.

You’re kind of whiny.

I feel like you get me. You really, really get me.

Want to make some money fast?

Does it involve pictures of my feet?

Your spelling sucks. Have you ever edited a single one of your posts? Your blog is painful to read.

My spelling does suck. If you’d like to apply for the position of editor of #MillennialLifeCrisis I’m sure we could arrange something. The pay will be zero but I’m an easy going boss and I give out free cookies. You get back to me if you’re interested!

Things I want for this world

I realize these are what most would refer to as ‘pipe dreams’ and that when I speak of these, most people tell me ‘Stop wishing for it because it ain’t gonna happen’… or something of the sort. I can’t help it though. I have high hopes for this world, and I refuse to let those hopes go.

I want to live in a world where education is a right for everyone and not a privilege for the lucky few. Whether you live in Boston, Riyadh, Bloemfontein or Sydney I think knowledge should be afforded to you. An educated world is an empowered world, and I want to live in a world where everyone is empowered.

I want to live in a world where no one has to go hungry for lack of food, or lack of access (geographic or monetarily) to food. In my dream scenario, no food would go wasted… what we buy from the grocery store, we’d eat. And we wouldn’t judge others for what they do or do not eat. Also, when sports teams have leftover food from games, whether it popcorn or hot dogs or burgers or WHATEVER it is that’s edible, they’d donate it to the homeless shelters in their cities rather than throwing it in the trash. Because there is ALWAYS food left over after the hockey, basketball, football and soccer games, and people just… throw it away, while tens of thousands of people go hungry.

I want to live in a world where health care is free for all. Or, if not free, at the very least, affordable and attainable – whether you live in Canada, the USA, Denmark or Sub-Saharan Africa. There should be no reason that a mother from Michigan needs to come to Canada to get insulin for her child. Insulin is ten times the price in the USA as it is in Canada. I mean… excuse my language but what the fuck for? To take advantage of someone suffering from a disease that’ll effect them the rest of their life? No one should have to decide between medication and paying rent. No one should have to question whether or not they can afford a surgery that’ll save their life, or what the consequences of said surgery will be (paying off bills for the rest of their lives).

I want to live in a world where no one claims the moral high-ground, regardless of their job, their wealth, their religion or any of the other stupid reasons people use as a means to believe they’re better than everyone else. In my ideal world, we’d all understand that we’re all just human. We do good. We make mistakes. We forget. We fumble. No one is perfect and no one is better than anyone else whether you’re the Prince of Whales or the man under the bridge.

I want to live in a world where people can disagree with one another and still show each other respect.

I want to live in a world where equality is a reality. Where you get the job based on your intelligence, experience and skills, not on what you look like. Where women aren’t told what they have to wear and how to act and where men aren’t treated as superior solely for being born a man.

I want to live in a world where… if you can dream it you can do it. I hate thinking about all of the unmet potential in graveyards across the globe because of lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of resources, lack of anything that kept them from being who they could have become. If you want to be President, do it. If you don’t want to be President, then don’t.

I want to live in a world where no one is judged, shamed for or embarrassed about mental illness. The stigma is so real. And, as far as we might have come, there’s still so much more to do. See, point one about education.

I want to live in a world where they remove all pineapple from pizza.

And, I’d really like to live in a world where people choose kindness over anything else. Keyboard warriors, assholes and outright nasty people could just have a change of heart, realize that their nastiness doesn’t get them anywhere and do some good. The world needs a lot more good in it.

Things I think about when I'm trying to fall asleep at night…

“Did I lock the door?”

“Is the oven off? I haven’t cooked in hours. But, what if I left it on? I know I shouldn’t let my OCD win, but what if? Oh, anxiety you SOB.”

“How many times do you think I roll over in a night? I wonder if Fitbit could ever make an option to track that rolling over. That’s got to count for calories burned, right?”

“I wonder if there’s a way to send supplies to people struggling in North Korea.”

“I wonder if people in North Korea know they’re struggling. If that’s all they’ve ever known, maybe it’s just normal to them?”

“Why are avocados so expensive?”

“I wonder if I’ll ever get a job.”

“Passport to Paris is the best Mary-Kate and Ashley movie ever.”

“I wonder if I ever cross anyone’s mind when they’re trying to fall asleep at night.”

“Can the right pair of jeans really make my butt look that much better? I don’t want my butt to look average, do I? Or, do I really care?”

“English accents are just so adorable.”

“How can I start my own business?”

“I wonder what serial killers think about when they sleep at night.”

“Now that these ancestry kits are available where people are sending off their DNA to find out where there family comes from, do you think serial killers are wondering if their family members might be sending off their DNA and that, could eventually, lead to their getting caught?”

“If you get arrested, own up to it. If all you have is excuses, this likely wasn’t your first time and probably won’t be your last doing whatever caused you to get arrested.”

“I miss cheese. Oh and bread. And chocolate.”

“You should sleep.”

“You should really sleep. Why do you lay awake like this?”

“I have to pee.”

“Reading a book will help me sleep.” Picks up book and gets bored five pages in. “Yeah, I don’t want to read a book.”

“Why do people think Canadians talk funny?”

“Why do people think Canadians apologize so much?”

“Why do I apologize so much?”

“I wonder what people say about me behind my back. I mean, I don’t want to know because I know that it’ll eat away at me. But, at the same time, I’m curious.”

“Why do I have such a hard time sleeping? How do normal people go to sleep?”

“I wish I could sleep.”