Things I love

Things I Love: The Overview Effect


The world can be a cranky place sometimes and it’s so easy to get lost in disapproval. So I wanted to do my part to make things a little sunnier by shining a light on some things I love. I hope to make this a regular occurrence, because it makes me happy and hopefully it will make you happy too.

The Overview Effect

I first learned about the Overview Effect when I watched this short film and it blew my mind.

The Overview Effect is an illuminating experience brought on by viewing the world from space. It’s the change of mind many astronauts find themselves going through that has them seeing the world as a single, united organism. A thing to be cherished as a whole. Borders seem insignificant and the world is seen as a delicate, fragile place in need of our protection and care.

What a marvelous thing.

It is my sincere wish that anyone (corporate leaders and politicians alike) making any decisions for our planet could go to space and have the benefit of this effect. In fact, I think everyone could do to benefit from it. How would it change us as a species if we could only step back and see how close we are to each other, how much we depend on each other and the ecosystems of the world for our survival? Would it make us better people to see the tiny, ‘pale blue dot’ of our earth from a distance? Would we come to cherish our home and our neighbours more? Would we think before tossing litter on the ground, yelling at someone for cutting us off in traffic, or eating another creature for dinner?

Call me idealistic but I think it could make a difference.

Something has to before it’s too late—don’t you think?

Luckily for us there is something called The Overview Institute which seeks to share the experiences of the lucky few astronauts who have been able to benefit from this perspective. I love the idea of an institute dedicated to the Overview Effect and I hope they have success in getting their message across. It’s vitally important that we see the world as a whole, look up and wonder, and reach out and help.

Image from: Nasa’s Deep Space Climate Observatory


Interactive Love Art


Want to participate in some of our art?

Head down to the Distillery District where there is an installation called ‘LOVE’.  It’s an interactive piece where you lock down your love by putting a padlock bearing your initials on the fence-like letters that spell L-O-V-E.  Inspired by the Love bridges in Paris and elsewhere, this is a fun and sweet piece of art that we love!

When you are there though you will find an extra hidden surprise.  Look for the black lock box with the silver stars on it, type in the answer to life, the universe and everything and find a hidden treasure!  If you decide to take it please leave something else behind and, if you want, write to us to tell us about your experience with surprise and we can post it here on the blog!

Also, while you’re there don’t forget to bring your own padlock to add to the piece and lock down your love!

A conversation with a disheveled, smoking Russian man I had while we locked down our love:

Russian man: Do you know where this comes from?
Me: What do you mean?
Russian man: This comes from Paris.
Me: Oh yes, the love bridge.  It collapsed under the weight of love.
Russian man: (Laughs) You know it!
Me: Yes.
Russian man: We don’t love in Russia.
Me: No?
Russian man: Not like this.  In Russia we get drunk and punch each other in the face.
Me: Well I suppose…that’s…a kind of love.


Inspiration Series – Karin Orsini


Inspiration is a beautiful thing. What inspires me? Honestly, I cannot think of something that does not inspire me. When I witness something beautiful such as an act of kindness, the simple peace in nature or even just a smile from a stranger, I am filled with that blissful feeling of love and hope. When I witness destruction, anger or injustice, I am with filled with an urge to take action to create change.  When I pay attention to the world around me I am inspired.

I have not always been inspired and I feel that many people have a hard time being inspired. I do believe that in order to have the capability to be inspired one needs to be mindful, to have a clear head. It is hard to have a clear mind in a world filled with anger, destruction and injustice. Through personal experiences and observations of the world around me I feel that it is safe to say many people seek to escape the world through meaningless distractions and through addictions that they have allowed to develop in order to numb the pain of what they have experienced in the past or what they fear they may experience in the future. In other words, I believe many people unknowingly block themselves off from the possibility being inspired and inspiring others.

I believe that true inspiration, the kind where action usually follows, cannot come to one who is in a brain fog, to one who is distracted or numb. My mind was once caught it the thickest of fogs, for many years. It is not to say that I got nothing done in that time, that I made no accomplishments, or that I was never inspired, but when I look back all I see is fog. In that time I fought hard for temporary periods of relief from my fears and it was in those moments that I was able to live life. I am inspired by my past and my own journey and the hard times that I endured which have given me the strength to face the ongoing challenges in my life today. I am now able to be grateful for my blessings despite the trials that continue to be thrown my way.  I am able to look back with satisfaction on the past few months of my life. With my head out of the fog I have been able to live in the moment and to appreciate the good and the bad in this world, after all how good is “good” if one has never tasted “bad”. Since having a clear mind and opening my eyes I have been inspired and that inspiration has led me to inspire others. It has given me a purpose and it gives me a feeling of great peace, as though I am doing what I am meant to do.

I now live to inspire. I want to give love in every way that I can, to generate more love which I believe is the key to true happiness. Love is the key to the defeat of fear. Fear leads to everything ugly and I believe that love can free one from hurtful thoughts and emotions and bring a sense of peace, a clear head, and a chance to be inspired and become inspiration for others. Once inspired I believe it is our duty to inspire others. Inspiration is a blissful feeling, a feeling full of love and hope. I continue to be inspired by others, I live to inspire. Be the change.

Karin is an animal rights activist born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She currently lives in Guelph, a short ride west from Toronto, with her husband Ryan and her furry daughters Clara and Miley. Karin spends her weekdays as an occasional teacher in Toronto where she enjoys working with and inspiring young students. Karin is on the Vegfest Guelph planning committee and is in the midst of raising money for and planning Guelph’s first ever vegan festival. Karin enjoys spending time in nature, blogging about the vegan lifestyle, keeping fit and staying healthy.

Twitter: @simplyvegan10


The story of our lives

Last year on our anniversary Ben and I got our wedding rings tattooed on our fingers.


The three rings symbolized three years of marriage.  We planned to get a new ring each year, but ultimately that idea was unsustainable because our fingers aren’t long enough for all the years we plan to live together.

So the plan changed.

We decided instead to write the story of our lives on our backs.

The plan is to pick a symbol each anniversary that represents the year and our lives in some way and to, over time, create something akin to a page from a spell book on our backs, telling the story of our life and love.

This (the first) year of our project we decided to choose a rune Ben invented when he was twelve.  The letters spell: CRAW.

photo 1

Craw is an undead dragon from a personal role playing game Ben and I are playing together.  Currently Craw is a bit of a villain, but I hope to befriend him (as my paladin character Nectar Sweetums) and turn around his heart to the side of goodness in the end.  Either way, he lives on our backs now, as part of our story and our journey.

The symbol represents more than Craw though.  It represents Ben’s early creativity and the recent re-emergence of that creativity in the form of gaming.  It represents Ben and I playing together in a world all our own and it also represents my own emerging creativity and endeavors to reclaim my inner paladin (hero) after a rocky road in the past.

I can’t wait to see what the next year with my sweet, awesome husband will bring!

photo 2



On Love


Ben and I got married four years ago today and we met five years ago today. Love is great. Because I love Ben and because I love lists I thought I would make a list of what I believe about love.

What I believe in…

Love at first sight – it can happen and it can work out long term. Sometimes you just know a person from the very first second you see them.
Trial by fire – we were tested in the beginning of our relationship and it was shitty, but there was something wonderful about it too. It forced us to crack each other open and see all the bits inside, all the tough bits, all the rotten bits, all the broken bits. We fought side by side and came out alive and kicking. Even though I don’t recommend what we went through, I still recommend doing something outside your comfort zone with the one you love; travel the world, put yourself into a tough spot you have to get out of. Trial by fire forces you know a person deeply (and sometimes madly) and if you don’t come out of it holding hands, you will know the truth about your relationship.
Love is hard – it’s not perfect and to truly know someone and accept them for everything they are takes work. Endless conversations, sharing feelings, opening up. Working things out. Making sure you never shut up or shut each other out.
• Love is worth fighting for – if there’s a problem that seems impossible to solve, it’s always worth fighting for. Keep fighting until your hands are bloody and your body aches. But make sure you’re fighting together, because if both of you aren’t fighting or you are fighting against each other, something’s wrong.
• You can be with a person every waking moment (literally) and never get tired of them – people always talk about ‘needing space’ but I don’t need it from Ben (and he doesn’t need it from me). Sometimes we just sit in silence and work or read, but I don’t need to leave him to find peace.
Change is good – changing for each other is a good thing and it will happen naturally, but sometimes you need to work for it. It should never mean giving up who you are, but embracing who you are together.
Love changes – just as we are never the same person we were yesterday, neither is love. But if the change isn’t making your love stronger there is a problem. Every change should be for the best, bringing you closer not driving you apart.
Opposites do attract – Ben and I so different, but we hold the same beliefs, values and many of the same passions. As Ben likes to say opposites aren’t black and plant, they are black and white which means they are on the same spectrum. If you aren’t even on the same spectrum as someone and you are constantly clashing, that might be a problem.
Love is scary – because the idea of losing it is terrifying. I never worry we’ll break up, I’m more of a catastrophic thinker and I head straight to the old mortality angle.
It’s hard to find – you have to be diligent, don’t settle and don’t be afraid to turn it away if it’s not working out. But once you find it, work for it, hold it tight and love the hell out of it.
Our wedding was only the beginning – our wedding day meant very little in our relationship, it was cool, we eloped and had a good time. But every day that has come after that is the best day and the more we know each other the better it gets.
Intentions matter – even if someone gets upset it’s important to step back and inspect the intentions. There is never any intention to hurt or cause upset, so is the upset really necessary?
Ben is the best (for me) – although he started out perfect (for me), time only makes him a better match for me because we are growing together. He’s the patience to my impatience, he’s the calm to my insanity, he’s the grounding to my driving, he’s the person who makes me feel better no matter what. He’s the best. Ever.

Happy Anniversary Babe!


Guest Post: Megan O’Russell – YA in an Adult World

ImageI’d like to introduce Megan O’Russell, a Young Adult author and my very first guest contributor Happy Musings!  Megan has written a wonderful piece on publishing YA with a very adult publishing company.

YA in an Adult World

I write Young Adult fiction.  My first book The Tethering is set to release this May, and I am so excited!  I have great editors at Entranced Publishing and wonderful people to back me up in the cold cruel world of books.  But I feel like the black sheep of Entranced.  Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because I am a part of the Young Adult imprint at the big sexy romance publishing house.  Entranced has a YA imprint called Rush, but most of the books Entranced puts out are of the much more adult and dirty nature.

We have twitter chats where they talk about their steamy love scenes, and I’m worried about my poor characters sneaking out the window.  I can’t participate in their cover reveals because the covers are almost naked!  And the book blurbs are things my readers are not ready for!

I want my characters to have grownup lives.  I want them to live and discover and grow as real teenagers.  But I feel awkward being excited about their first kiss when my fellow Entranced authors are playing with bondage.  In a group where Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t seem all that dirty, can a story about first love hold its ground?

I would like to think so.  Not just because I want my book to succeed.  Not even just because it’s a different genre with a different target audience.  The sweetness, tenderness, and devotion of first love are things that we all have experienced right along with our first heartbreak.  The thrill of the first kiss is just as exciting as dirty things on a bear skin rug.

I mean sure, if you want to throw a little excitement into a YA book, just toss in a bit of non-sexual torture.  Maybe catch a few people on fire.  Dress someone in leather.  But do it all in a PG-13, teen romance friendly way.

I want to branch out, maybe write something a little more risqué for an adult audience.  But until The Tethering series is complete, I will exist in a world of (mostly) clothed, non-cursing, behind closed doors, teenaged angst.  Who knows, maybe my hero will even make it to second base.

About Megan

Megan O’Russell is a Young Adult author whose premier novel The Tethering will be released by Entranced Publishing this May.  Megan’s author blog can be found at, and her humor blog is at  For more news on The Tethering, follow her on twitter @MeganORussell.


Love is Great!


A couple months ago I was hanging out at my Mother-in-law’s place and we were talking about a wedding video Ben and I were going to make for Ben’s cousin and my Mother-in-law looks at me all serious-like and says ‘do you even care about romance?’.  She really thought I wasn’t a romantic and it made me laugh.  I’m not really into super white weddings and traditional (boring) stuff like that, but I love love.  I really do.

Ben and I met in a forest, in the dead of the night, foam swords clutched tightly in our hands. We were at a Live Action Role Playing game and I had gone there to find love.  When I was searching for Ben I worked my ass off to find love.  I went on on a million dates (and rejected all of them) and I refused to settle for anything less than true love.  Ben tells me when he first saw my bleach blonde hair that night in the forest it was like a beacon, drawing him home.  I still get shivers thinking about it.  At the end of the weekend in good heroic knightly fashion Ben ‘gave me his sword’.  Two weeks later he moved in and we haven’t been apart ever since.  Love is fucking awesome.

I love love so much in fact that stories without it don’t really do it for me.  The love story doesn’t have to be a main storyline or anything, but if it’s not there I get kind of bored and my attention wanders.

Hell I love love so much I even wrote a Harlequin once.  It was the story of a woman named Kara.  Kara’s husband cheated on her (and hit her) and she had to take off to England to escape (because why not?).  She met some guy there and they fell in love but she didn’t know his secret and unfortunately neither did I (I think he might have been a prince or something), which was the reason I stopped writing 25,000 words in.  I didn’t know the plot and I also didn’t know what to do after they had sex.  It was a failed effort and I tried it when I like 20 years old or something, but it was fun because it was love.

I’ve heard people say that love isn’t important in a story and that makes me laugh.  I think people have a perception that love isn’t serious enough sometimes, or that it’s somehow frivolous.  Love is anything but frivolous though.  It’s about as serious as it gets because for most people I’ve ever met it is something they either strive to find or lament that they don’t have.  It’s a chemical preoccupation, an emotional drug, an absolute wonder.  The world loves love even if they don’t want to admit it.

We can scoff at romance novels and romantic comedies all we want, but who among us doesn’t smile (even just a little) when there’s a love twist thrown into the plot?  Who doesn’t cheer for the kiss that finally happens, or the hot sex we all saw coming from the beginning?

So I take this Valentine’s Day to say loud and proud that I love love and there is nothing better in the world than a sweet and wonderful love story.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, I hope the cupid’s arrow finds you whoever and wherever you are!

Bonus: The word of the day on is ‘Schatzi’ which means darling or sweetheart!