Kicking the Notebook Buying Addiction

Hi, my name is Tiana and I have a notebook addiction.

I was at the bookstore the other day with my sister because she needed to buy a notebook. She was there to buy one for a real reason, so she can keep record of some of her personal info and passwords. I stood in the notebook section itching to buy something. As I stood there, I realized why I’m so fascinated with buying notebooks. I’m consumed with trying to catalog the various aspects of my life. In the fast pace world we live in today, I always feel like I should write down my thoughts so that maybe I could come back to them later. It never happens though, so often I’m left with tons of empty notebooks. Sometimes I’ll begrudgingly use them for school, knowing that I’ll only buy more.

My ADD personality has made me buy almost all of the “Passions” lines of Moleskines, each one covering a different topic: food, books, music. I have ones for doodles, poems, stories. The majority of which are completely empty. When I walk into the bookstore, I’m so tempted the ones to grab the topics such as the ones that you can write about your dreams and anger in; or something to hold ticket stubs. I have to admit, the store is a bit evil for placing everything so in-your-face and noticeable. That’s how they make money right?

Reluctantly, the other day, I came out not buying a new notebook. I decided that if I really have the need to categorize my thoughts, than I can just blog about them here. It’s quick and easy and free, and someone’s actually reading it. So dear readers, of which there is probably like 5 of you, the near future will have articles of every topic. There also may a variety of randoms such as recipes, reviews, stories, poems and other personal projects. For once, I’ll actually start to write things down, just digitally.


Sometimes You Need Time Apart From Something to Miss It

If you were some how misled here and think this is some relationship article look away now. I’m far over my breakup that happened 3 months ago.

Since I was around 5 or 6, I played the piano. I know I’m Asian but it was never something I felt like I was forced to do. I had thoroughly enjoyed it from the beginning. Me and my sister both played but she wasn’t nearly as patient enough to continue and after grade 8 we were allowed to quit if we felt like it. I continued. Hell, I had to fight my parents to let me pursue it as a degree in grade 12 when everyone else was applying to be on their way to be a businessman, doctor or scientist. I just wanted to make music. I practiced 3-4 hours a day to make the auditions. I got into Laurier and skipped my Western audition when I was accepted into my first first pick of schools, University of Toronto.

The Meaning Behind a Tattoo

Whenever I see people with a tattoo, I always ask about the meaning behind in. If you don’t really know why you are getting a tattoo, I suggest you stop yourself before you regret it when you are older. You’ll sit there wondering what in Gods name made you get a butterfly tattoo.

As for me, I may seem like I have some arbitrary little angel wings, but they are more than just a fashion statement. I decided to get my first tattoo right after i turned 20. 20 for me marked the realization that I was growing up into an adult. It was also by far my favourite year of university, when I met some of my best friends.

The idea of the angel wings came from a quote I heard somewhere (don’t really remember exactly where) when I was a kid. “Even if you have small wings you can fly” To me it was always just a motivating sentence that taught me I could do everything I set my mind to. It has taught me to be an adventurous person, who loves to explore and try everything. I guess that explains my sort of ADD personality that wants to do everything, the sole reason why this blog exists in the first place.

The little wings have always symbolized motivation. Everybody who knows me, knows that when I want to do something, I will do it. It drives my parents crazy, but if I wasn’t this way I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get a degree in music, or be on my way towards the Entertainment industry. The wings are little because it only takes a little spark to want me to start something. Take my music blog Ride the Tempo for example. It started out as an idea and a way for me to share music I liked with the world. A year later, the blog has grown to have a focused Canadian perspective and a pretty decent niche following. I still love it, and all the music I receive on a daily basis because of it. It’s still something I’m quite passionate about and work very hard to maintain and I”ll always be thinking about how to make it bigger and better. The little wings symbolize that I’m always growing as a person and trying to be the best for myself.

And hey, my tattoo just happens to be in a convenient enough size and place that I can buy clothes that just happen to have a hole in the back right there.

I’m curious, what does your tattoo mean to you? I hope it does mean something, and you don’t just have an dragon or some really arbitrary asian word. If you’re thinking of getting one make it have a meaning, or it’s probably not worth it later on.

WTF Is A Social Media Expert?

The answer to the question above is, there is no such thing. I always get the random people on Twitter who add me claiming to be social media experts but when you click on their profiles they have less followers than me and just look like spam. Then there is the random person in your life that claims to be one just because they know how to connect to Facebook and Twitter.

Really, there is no such thing as a “Social Media Expert”. The trends on what networks we will use change so fast. Remember the Chatroulette fad last summer? That faded fast. The truth is Social Media works differently for everybody. What you should be focused on is how to optimize its use for yourself rather than claiming to be an “expert” at something. I feel like having to claim to be a Social Media Expert is like those guys who have to post photos of their abs on Facebook to feel good about themselves.

Extreme Couponing… in Moderation

If you haven’t heard of TLC’s smash hit Extreme Couponing, it is pretty much what it sounds like. The show features some of US’s crazy couponers. People who go through websites, garbage dumps and stealing neighbours newspapers in order to buy $600 worth of items for a penny. Most of these people seem like hoarders because they have stock piles of things in their homes that consist of 100 of each item. Those people are overdoing it a little bit, but there’s no reason why you can’t save money by using similar strategies.

Ever since watching the show, me and my sister have been finding ways to save money. We’re pretty well off family, but there’s quite a thrill from paying almost nothing for things. It’s probably the same sort of thrill thieves get from stealing, but in a legal sort of way. And hey, things add up, so maybe you can justify spending $500 on that purse you really want if you can save $500 worth in goods. We live in Canada so some of the rules in couponing are a little bit different, more strict, than in that of the show, but that doesn’t make it impossible. You just can’t do things like stack 2 coupons for 1 item (ex two 50cent coupons to equal a dollar off). Here are some Canadian tips to couponing.

Advertising Asparagus

Here’s another post on a random Business Ethics assignment. It was about creating advertisements that tell the truth. In class our definition of advertising is

“placing a message in a medium to influence an idea, product or service”

We’re blasted with ads everywhere we go day to day on billboards, TV, radio but almost all of them have some sort of exaggerated truth. Often the ads we remember the most are those with some kind of emotional appeal. As an assignment this week we were sent home with the task of making kids eat asparagus, without lying. The healthy side-effects of asparagus however aren’t very appealing (except maybe that it makes your pee smell). Otherwise, the normal kid don’t really care about heart disease, PMS symptoms or being fertile. I decided to avoid the use of any facts in general and came up with this:

I made a flash game where kids create their own “Asparagus Dinner”. No matter what you do, the asparagus will always be on the top. It’s full of smiling food and except for the little bit about a healthy heart, avoids any other facts to avoid lying.

How would you advertise asparagus to kids?

How Old is Too Old?

This semester I have a course on Business Ethics. Last class, we discussed the growing demographic of old people because of the advancing technology nowadays to keep them alive. I am not religious so I am not going to get into the discussion of messing up with “God’s plan”. In class we watched a documentary on Frontline about the growing demographic of old people and how they are just waiting for their final day in nursing homes, or being cared for by family who have had to sacrifice their own lives to keep them alive.

I was then left with the assignment to answer the question,

What would I do with my parents when they are old, and what would I want for myself?”

This Christmas, my grandma passed away at the age of 91. She had been in a vegetative state for at least 8 years before she died. She was living with grandpa in their own apartment back in China, with their own maid. Dad’s sister lived not too far away. Before her death, grandpa had been healthy except for some small heart problems. But since grandma’s funeral, he has not been doing that well. He is 92 this year. Dad only recently came back after a month of taking care of him. He already used up a year worth of vacation days and it’s only the beginning of the year. My dad is the only one that works in my family. Grandpa’s still in the hospital, and is currently developing some dementia, but when there is family near him he is a completely different person.

To go back to the question, I have my own opinions about it now, but given the circumstances I think things may change. For my parents, I would want to provide them with the best care possible, but not necessarily from myself. It is not because I would not know how to care for them, but because I want to be able to live own life as full as possible, and I would want the same for my own children. I know it may sound a little greedy and conceited but my parents are 30 years older than me so senior age is not that far away. In 10 years, they will be seniors and I will have only begun establishing my life and family. I would hope that I make enough money to provide them with the best care possible if they need it, and that they remain close to either my sister or me, in their own home. I am opposed of nursing homes because they seem so depressing. Almost always, family is what keeps you living. Without question, I would never pull them off support or anything like that. When push comes to shove they are still your parents and people you love and you want them to live forever.

I’d love to hear all your opinions on the subject, even if you want to disagree with me.

University vs. College

I graduated from University last June with a degree in Music Education, but I didn’t want to pursue being a music teacher. I’m one of those people who strive to find a career that I’ll love and be passionate about because I am a firm believe that when you find something you love to do, than you will never really work a day in your life.

I have always been fond of music and the entertainment industry. Almost a year ago, I started a music blog called Ride the Tempo that shared my love for music. I had never really heard of career colleges, where I could pursue the industry jobs, until my fourth year at University of Toronto, where I took a course on Music Business. Since last September, I have been taking the Entertainment Business Management program at Metalworks Institute.

I’m in to my second term now at the school and I love the program. As a person that has attended both the university and (private career) college institutions, it is pretty interesting to compare the two very different dynamics. Firstly, there is the class size difference. At Metalworks, there are 11 people in my program that take all the same courses at the same time. Since I was a music student at U of T, some of the courses had few people, but the big ones still had around 20. The small class allowed us to become close with our teachers as well as each other. In our Business Communications course, we became comfortable enough to tell really touchy tales in our lives.

The one thing I miss about University is the work ethic. I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist when it comes to things. I get things done with quality and efficiency, whether it’s challenging or not. That’s one thing a college doesn’t really teach. Most of my peers at Metalworks haven’t had that experience where the work just has to be done, the textbook just has to be read, and you have to care enough, or you’re going to fail. I miss being pushed a little; everyone here sort of expects their exam and test questions to be handed to them before it happens. A career in the industry is my dream, so I guess I take things really seriously. Plus, Metalworks is another $17,000 on top of the $80,000 at U of T. I want to be prepared not just to do super in my courses, but so I have enough knowledge to be successful and prepared for whatever is ahead.

What is Your Comfort Food?

I’ve been having a rough week or so with exams stress and my Grammy passing away and what really got me through it was junk food. The strange thing about the “junk” I eat, is most of the time I actually get up and make it myself. French Onion Soup, chips, Hot and Spicy Instant Noodles. Occasionally on the list is a gourmet burger. No, not one from McDonalds, one made of certified hot and and juicy Angus beef.

Something I always wanted to know is what is it about foods that make us feel better? I’ve read it is because the certain foods we crave are familiar, but I’m Asian and I know “French Onion Soup” isn’t something I should typically be craving. Most things I crave are in the category of fatty foods that probably have lots of carbohydrates and sugars that stimulate the brain into making it feel better. Usually its the flavor and the salt that I want the most. At least I have been blessed with a fast metabolism, or else I’d be a blimp.

There is more than just the flavor that gives me happiness from compulsive eating. There is the joy in making the delicious junk yourself, as with my Microwave Potato chips (which I will give you all the recipe in a future post) or the French Onion Soup. It’s a release from the everyday stresses. For me it is really one of my only escapes. I go to school to study music business, and I come home to blog about it. Sadly, I lost a little of the joy in it a long the way. I hope that the Christmas break will help me rediscover my love for it again. When I’m cooking, I don’t think what’s going on in my life, otherwise I would get distracted and burn something. It’s a nice escape.

So what’s your comfort food? Mine narrows down to salt and flavor, and lot’s of it. Is yours the same? or is it chocolate or something really bizarre? I want to know!

What Do You Do With Your iPad?

This year for Christmas I have been lucky enough to get an iPad from someone dear to my heart. It was a very unexpected present; not something I have ever said I wanted but I love it so much. I’ve found so many wonderful uses for it, and am always discovering more.

This entire post is written using the WordPress iPad app that works with blogs hosted on as well as self-hosted blogs. Typing on it isn’t too bad,unless you need many different punctuation symbols. If this post had a ton of HTML it would be annoying.

Aside from blogging, I currently have over 70 apps and it has only been a day. The majority of them being games. One of my favorite productivity apps is Goodreader which I have used to import PDFs so that it is an easy way to access class notes. I also imported my library of over 500 digital piano sheet music and have been using it as a digital piano book. The iPad sits perfectly on the piano and flipping the pages on an ipad is easier than dealing with real paper pages. Not to mention it saves trees.

What really amazes me is the vast array of apps available. Most of the ones I have so far are free but even the paid ones are not expensive. What amazes me is the potential the iPad has. There are apps out there that emulate soundboards and mixers that cost $20 but allows people to experiment and make music without spending hundreds of dollars. There are drawing programs that are like photoshop. MMORPGs, movie players, Microsoft office. There really is an app for everything. This leaves me a little overwhelmed with deciding what to get. My ADD personality wants everything. What do you do with yours?