Found Treasure: My World Map Desk

probably should have moved all those cords for the photo
probably should have moved all those cords for the photo

When I moved out on my own to downtown Toronto in October, I literally had no furniture of my own. Most of my apartment was furnished by IKEA and Walmart. My favourite piece of furniture however, was found. It was a wooden desk with a world map as its table top.


Dad found it the week I was about to move out. The neighbours across the street had chucked it to the curb. He knew he had to sweep it up right away. The desk was in perfect condition with hardly any scuffs. It was also very clean. However, a closer glance at the tabletop would prove that it may be retro considering the divides in Europe reflect that of the 50s.



I love it though. It serves as a great place for inspirational thoughts and artistic creations.

Static Zine #9- Food

photo 1
Static Zine is a DIY (maga)zine from Toronto, edited by a few of my blogger friends. I’ve been contributing since the previous issue on mental health. The topic for Issue 9 was food, so of course I couldn’t resist contributing again!

photo 2Here’s my page, a comic that expresses the importance of sharing similar dining preferences in a relationship. The zine publishes 3x a year: March, June & October and features a different topic every issue. Contributors can design and write whatever on their page so it leads to some very delightful and creative pages! Issues can be found throughout Toronto but if you’re from out of town they are also available on Etsy for $2.

Quoteskine Volume 1 by Lee Crutchley

I forgot how exactly I stumbled across Lee Crutchley’s Quoteskine project but I loved the idea and bought the book.

IMG_3122Crutchley started the Quoteskine project on Tumblr as a creative way to visualize thoughts and quotes. Some were completely random and others were from songs, TV shows and movies.

IMG_3123The book is collection of his best works (at the time of publishing). The Tumblr is still going so maybe there will be a Volume 2.

Caught an Arcade Fire reference!
Caught an Arcade Fire reference!

The drawings in the book retain their original hand-drawn quality. You can see marker and pencil crayon lines and I adore that he left them unpolished like that. It has convinced me to start my own quote drawing. I have already written down a few ideas. Maybe I’ll share them with you in a later post!

Ride the Tempo Redesign


A new year called for a new redesign on my music blog Ride the Tempo. For a while, I was obsessed with the purple dark background of the past. I’ve been wanting to change the colours and make it easier to read for long-form posts. Yesterday, in light of my resolution (or lack of) just do it, I did it. I went into the CSS and made all the necessary tweaks. Other changes including making the Disqus comment box larger and switching the plugin I used for related posts. I also redesigned the logo a bit so that it would match the new colours.

While tweaking the site is a continuous endeavour, the new colours make it easier to test new features. I’m very happy with it so far and excited to continue sharing emerging Canadian musicians with all my readers.

The Time I Met Johnny Cupcakes

I’m 25 so I’ve already sat through many lectures as a university student, college student and the conferences of music festival. By far the most inspirational has been Johnny Cupcakes‘ talk during Toronto’s NXNE. I could be biased because I am a huge fan of the T-shirts myself and it has become a large part of my own personal branding. However, I’ve seen a lot of my favourite bands, labels and companies speak over the years and few have come close to being so memorable, not to mention hilarious.

I had not planned to go to many panels this year during NXNE. I didn’t even look at the schedule. I thought I would need the sleep or extra time to edit photos. However, I ran into @plafleur and she had saved me this Johnny Cupcakes history booklet she found on the ground. Apparently it was in all the delegate bags (with exception to the media ones). I then looked at the program and discovered THE Johnny Cupcakes was doing a panel. Of course I HAD to go.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve done festival conferences before and most panels just say what everyone else is saying (THE CLOUD IS THE FUTURE etc etc) or gloss over fancy points. Johnny Earle aka Johnny Cupcakes taught us to think outside the box, and showed us examples of how he has integrated this philosophy with his brand.

Johnny Cupcakes and I!
Johnny Cupcakes making his signature face and I!

Johnny began by telling us his history. He told us how at a young age he tried to make money in different ways such as selling his father’s tools at yard sales (he got in trouble of course) and selling candy, lemonade, whoopee cushions and yearbooks. The name Johnny Cupcakes was something random that co-workers at Newbury Comics had given him. He played with the idea and that’s how the shirts were born. He began selling these shirts to friends and it spread by word of mouth.

Johnny Cupcakes now has stores in Boston, LA, London and of course online, where they ship internationally. The stores all look like bakeries and smell like frosting. Everyday somebody walks in mistaking it for a place that sells food. Delivered packages look like presents and often come with trading cards. You’re meant to be treated like it’s your birthday. Johnny had set out to sell more than just cupcakes. He wanted to give people an experience and it’s a huge reason why he has been so successful. In fact, he even gave the audience members a glimpse of the experience. At the end of the lecture, he told us he had put little gifts under our chairs. When we reached down there was a little packet of stickers, buttons, candy and a trading card. He had even gone to the trouble of making sure we each had different trading cards so that we could trade with our neighbours. After the lecture, he hung around and took pictures with fans old and new.

There was candy, but I got hungry that week and ate it
There was candy, but I got hungry that week and ate it

Anyways, I had written down a lot of the things Johnny said in a notebook but I lost said notebook on the streets of Toronto. It was later picked up by some American musician who brought it home with them. Long story. Here are a few important points I did remember about entrepreneurship and about life:

Building a brand is hard work, Johnny Cupcakes mentioned that he doesn’t do drugs, drink or play video games. He had put all his energy on video games. He even hired his family to help.
Connecting with people is important. When he sold things growing up he always went back to the people who had purchased something form him once. Then when he started making T-shirts it was their word of mouth that got things started.
Small details make a big difference. If you buy a Johnny Cupcakes the tag is an oven mitt. Online boxes are patterned and in-store ones look like cupcake boxes.
Name 10 things that make you unique. It’s good thing to brainstorm for both job hunters and brands.
Weird is Good. It gets people talking. Johnny Cupcakes has sold breakfast themed t-shirts with breakfast, put shirts inside icing jars and much more.
Make things exclusive and limited edition because people like what nobody else has. Johnny had declined offers to mass produce his shirts because he didn’t want to be another fast fad like Ed Hardy T-shirts.

and most importantly:

“Real success is being happy doing what you love”

Klout Perk: The Red Bull Editions

Klout sent me an e-mail a few days ago saying my Red Bull Editions perk was finally on its way. I didn’t expect it to show up expedited at my door yesterday. Who knew free samples would be so damn efficient. They even came in a cute little box with a tag.

I have too much expendable energy to drink them right now but I thought they came in nice bright colours. I like this design much better than the regular Red Bull. It’s streamlined and simple. I played around with some manual focus photography with my f1.8 lens.

Maybe I’ll save these for when music festival season comes along.