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Numbers – a short sci-fi film

I love short films! Since I’m on the internet at all hours of the day, I've obviously come across so many gems. Below is a great little sci-fi short on an interaction between Nick and Mia, two people who have more in common than what you perceive at first glance.

Have you ever seen that music video for Nickleback's song Savin' Me? This movie has a similar concept. Totally worth your 10 minutes to watch, the attention to detail is second to none.

The Intention of Setting an Intention

I always look for ways to increase my productivity. From apps to just pen and paper to-do lists, I have been working on creating systems and methods for me to keep track of all the things I like, and want to do. Since I have so many projects on the go, I am in a constant process of renewal and hope that I can find that perfect balance. Self-help and growth seem to be the cause du jour.

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As we all know, the internet is rife with them - those articles purporting to be able to change your life, and to make you a better person. When I was younger, I worked at Chapters - in the self-help section. Each book echoed much of the same things (a lot more religiously based), but it is truly interesting to see what type of world this self-help, productivity and "cult of me" has turned into since then. Now that the internet gives everyone the chance to share their stories, and gives opportunity to anyone who wants to learn, we see so many different forms of calls for self-betterment: articles, TED talks, "lifehacks" - never would I have thought it would morph into this. It's a full time job trying to understand and read through it all. Who even says that it will work for you just because it has worked for another? I get fatigue from just trying to keep up with it all.

Ultimately, the best way that I can consider doing things is to have your goals determined, and then work back from there. What is your objective? How do you get there? These are all things I contend with. I also attempt to do this for determining the course of my day - not just for work and side-projects.

When I began yoga, I started setting an 'intention' to follow through my practice. Soon, little things like 'be kinder' and 'be grateful' became something I tried to implement past just that one hour of yoga. I would proclaim my intention for the start of the day - and kept repeating it through out. When I knew it was going to be a particularly trying day, or if I have many things to do on my lists, I would make an intention that would help me through it - "just try," I'd tell myself... "just try today. It doesn't matter if you believe you can or can't - just try." This has helped me combat natural feelings of inability or self-confidence issues in the face of projects and has equipped me for more than my day-to-day - beyond just the boardroom.

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So, what does an intention do for me? I believe that setting an intention displays commitment. You can write it, say it out loud or just chant it like a mantra throughout your day, but what you're ultimately doing is putting it out there into the universe. It holds me to it by virtue of it being based on my word.

Here's how to go about setting an intention for your day (if you so choose!):

1. Be honest and clear about something you want to achieve, or want to be and write it down or say it out loud.

2. Share your intention with someone in a way that will supportively hold you accountable to taking action and following through.

3. Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.

4. Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step. (Keeping a journal acknowledging your 'wins' can help with that!)

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By setting an intention, you make it clear to yourself and others, just what you plan to do. Set an intention to redefine what it means to be serious about your dreams.

The Most Stunning Views of Turkey

If anyone asks, I usually tell them that Turkey has my heart. It's a great place and the culture just spoke to me when I had visited. Honestly, I would even consider living there (in Istanbul specifically) for a while or trying to own property there since it's so beautiful and rich with history. Despite the turmoil, I've longed to go back and visit; to explore and to grow through the city and the culture as an adult.

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Part of my undergraduate degree was spent focusing on the Ottoman empire. I spent 3 years pouring over texts on the country, reading things about the diaspora and the culture of these people. I was ensnared - and still continue to be.

I'm sure that you've already seen this, but there is this amazing video of Turkey going around and winning all these awards. I wanted to share it with you so you can see the beauty of this place.

Enjoy the film, and promise yourself that you'll visit Turkey one day!

Anita

Wanderers

If anyone asks, I usually tell them that Turkey has my heart. It's a great place and the culture just spoke to me when I had visited. Honestly, I would even consider living there (in Istanbul specifically) for a while or trying to own property there since it's so beautiful and rich with history. Despite the turmoil, I've longed to go back and visit; to explore and to grow through the city and the culture as an adult.

or9zisof_ne-daniel-burka

Part of my undergraduate degree was spent focusing on the Ottoman empire. I spent 3 years pouring over texts on the country, reading things about the diaspora and the culture of these people. I was ensnared - and still continue to be.

I'm sure that you've already seen this, but there is this amazing video of Turkey going around and winning all these awards. I wanted to share it with you so you can see the beauty of this place.

Enjoy the film, and promise yourself that you'll visit Turkey one day!

Anita

"As for me, cure I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, troche and land on barbarous coasts.” - Herman Melville

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Is it true that innately within each of us is a yearning to explore, to discover and to travel? Is there a need to visit far off places and remote worlds? Personally, this assumption holds fast and true for me, and I know that if the world had not been explored yet, I would readily jump on a vessel and go forth!

I recently stumbled upon this short film that features satellite imagery from NASA with a cool voice over from Carl Sagan explaining the desire within us all to see what is beyond our atmosphere. The video creates a world where humans have figured out space travel, and now are exploring those far off planets and their moons. The film is entirely speculative, but offers an interesting view of what could come. Imagine, trekking across Europa or staring up at the rings of Saturn... intense.

The director has used a mix of real images and has created his own sets to mimic what a planet may actually look like (when we finally get there, of course!). Check out the video below and as a bonus, here is some beautiful artwork from the short.

GREENFIELDS

Is the grass always greener on the other side? This short film contends with ideas of perspective, secrecy and control. Wonderfully written, it kept my attention until the last second and drew me in with a hope that the main characters would find the peace they were striving for. This feeling was very similar to what I felt while I was reading 1984 by Orwell, which if you haven't read yet, is a must read, especially in these times where surveillance and political manipulation of citizens is at a head.

Take a few minutes to check this short out, it'll make you question the world you live in and what you've been taught.

The Dream

I am content. I spent the weekend up at my partner’s cottage with his family from Friday to Sunday – and promised myself that while up there, I would do no work, and not look at any screens. 

I abided and soon found myself more relaxed than I've been in a very long time. Staring a new job and continuing my life as I had been for the last few months (socially and creatively) had become too much to bear. I was finding myself getting exhausted during the week, to the point where I was unable to do anything but sleep after work; couple this with a succession of migraines that would not abate and I was a mess. 

I had been hearing that not doing anything and having the courage to just be lazy (that's what it is to me, courageous to be lazy - I fear stagnation and immobility.) will allow you to breathe. I didn't hold this to be true, so I attempted it this weekend and I found something. A sliver of something that inspired me more than I've allowed myself to be in months. I fear being consumed by something that I can't control. Being taken in by a force beyond my own - that force being something they call "the dream" - but the perverse version of that dream. The one where everyone lives in identical houses with lawns and drives cars and has pensions. The one where no one leaves because of some wacked out xenophobia. I think that because I'm being told that I should want this, I want it less and less. I consider it the death of a dream, rather than the dream. 

I've felt this feeling before - long before this. It happened 3 years ago when I was studying for my LSATs. I was long lost in the world that I had promised myself at the tender age of 7: you'll be a lawyer and you'll drive a Ferrari and travel the world before eventually settling into politics. What a lofty idea - but it was what kept burning inside of me, up until I realised that I would rather suffocate in my own vomit before wanting that after all (sorry, graphic). 

I guess that as time wears on, I'm digging deep to be able to relax; to not always feel like I have to be on or that I have to put on a face. I'm learning to be okay with the waxing and waning of my ambition (although it fiercely gnaws away at me) and I'm attempting to reach all the goals I set for myself without stifling my creativity - a balance that is only for the purest of masters, it seems. 

Persimon Brownies – my first time trying Persimons!


Disclaimer: sponsored post ahead (but a VERY good recipe as well!)

I’ve been through Spain in the past and thought that I had tried many of their local delicacies. But I realized recently that I’ve never had persimmons before – up until this year, to me they were just these pretty little fruits that sat in the exotic fruits section at Loblaws. Earlier this month I received some Persimons  and was asked to bake something nice with them. So, I'm here to share with you my baking experience with these beautiful bright orange fruits, and to tell you about a special contest to win a one week trip for 2 to Valencia, Spain - home of the Persimon! To qualify, check out this link. 

Anyways, before I begin, here is a couple fun facts about this particular variety persimmons: 

- You may note that the spelling is different; this is intentional and the name was changed to differentiate this specific variety from Ribera del Xúquer near Valencia, Spain. These persimons are different in that they don't need to be ripened before eating. This means they are ready to eat the moment you buy them. 
- The flavour of Persimons are sweet and similar to a peach or a mango.
- They are available to Canadians from October to January! So you still have time to go and pick some up before the season ends.

So, for my first foray into Persimon baking and cooking, I chose to make some persimon brownies to share with you! They are delicious and REALLY easy. 

PERSIMON BROWNIES

Jam

1 Persimon®, peeled and chopped
? cup (150 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice

Brownie

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
5 oz. (150 g) bittersweet chocolate (70%)
? cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) Persimon® jam
3 large eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
¾ cup (175mL) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Jam

Place the chopped Persimon® in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice stirring slowly over medium low heat until the consistency of jam. Approx. 5 minutes. Set aside. 

N.B. I had some difficulty achieving a thick, jam-like consistency while continually stirring, but once I left it reach a certain heat, it became thicker. I then stirred it a bit, took it off heat and let it cool a bit before combining it with the chocolate brownie mix (step reached below). 

Brownie

Grease an 8 X 8 inch (20cm) baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) overhang on two sides. Place butter and dark chocolate in a sauce pan over low heat and melt until smooth. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the Persimon® jam, stir and remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt and vanilla until slightly foamy. Add sifted flour and blend until just incorporated. Being careful not to over mix. Pour the brownie batter into the baking pan. 

N.B: It wasn't specified in the original recipe, but at this point you must mix chocolate/persimon blend with the eggs/flour blend.
N.B: It wasn't specified in the original recipe, but at this point you must mix chocolate/persimon blend with the eggs/flour blend.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining Persimon® jam over the top of the brownie while it is still hot. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 2 inch squares.

Makes 9 servings

Source: www.persimonsays.com

Double Irish Tech Law to be phased out

Why do multinational companies choose some cities over others? How do they make billions in profit despite high tax rates? These are all big, necessary questions that we have to ask. Ever since corporate personhood has become a thing, it's hard to not get me worked up on this subject. 

I first learned about Ireland being a crazy good tax haven for businesses like Apple from the short documentary called "Tax Free Tour." Thanks to certain laws in a select few countries (Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Singapore, etc.) multinational companies are granted some little-known tax exemptions. These exemptions allow the MNCs to operate on an entirely different level than other companies, often allowing them to not pay a penny in taxes to their hosting countries.

Ireland, which has allowed some companies (mostly tech based, such as Google and Apple) to operate under a "Double Irish" system - in which a company is allowed to move their revenues into an Ireland-registered offshore tax haven, has now announced that within 4 years, they will be changing some of the rules. While a big change, they are still offering those companies a lower-than-average tax rate to keep them in the country. It is estimated that under this system, the country has saved tech companies billions of euros in taxes.  

Don't forget to check out the Tax Free Tour documentary below:


More information here:

Ireland Scrapping Tax Deal 
Ireland to phase out "Double Irish" tax break used by tech giants  

Working on the Space between my ears: meditation and a new habit challenge

Is the grass always greener on the other side? This short film contends with ideas of perspective, secrecy and control. Wonderfully written, it kept my attention until the last second and drew me in with a hope that the main characters would find the peace they were striving for. This feeling was very similar to what I felt while I was reading 1984 by Orwell, which if you haven't read yet, is a must read, especially in these times where surveillance and political manipulation of citizens is at a head.

Take a few minutes to check this short out, it'll make you question the world you live in and what you've been taught.

I was going through my photos of Cambodia and Vietnam this week and I started to relive the wonderful moments of my impromptu trip earlier this year. 

Here are a few that I found notable, treat and wanted to share:

 

Personal development is the name of this game. I’ve been on a quest this year to be more creative and so far it’s been pretty fruitful; free writing a little more, ampoule signing up for a hip hop dancing class, patient and pushing myself to read more fiction (as it apparently breeds empathy and creativity). 

My 26th year was characterized by an influx of change, growth and understanding of lossloss of material goods and finding myself through non-tangible goals. Now, a couple weeks into my 27th year, I’ve made a conscious effort to try and centre myself. I’ve picked up doing yoga consistently and now I have this new challenge: 3 weeks of mediation for 20 minutes a day. 

So why meditation? I’m sure you’ve caught wind of the new trend of articles coming out promoting meditation and growth - in a non-spiritual way. It’s a chance to find and build practices in balance, mindfulness and calm. This is also a way for me to build and strengthen my memory. According to this article from Fast Company (that inspired this sudden experiment),

"Mindfulness meditation is also great for improving our working memories, which help us temporarily hold on to new information. Researchers at Harvard Medical School believe meditation helps us screen out everyday distractions, which helps us more rapidly remember and incorporate new information.”

Mediation may have the power to make you 10% happier, and all it takes is as little as 5 minutes a day. Yoga has always helped me find that little bit of space for me, but I want to take it a step further. 20 minutes a day, 3 weeks and following it, I plan to record and keep a journal of the changes and the thoughts that come with this process, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll build and have a habit stick. 

Wish me luck!
Anita

Weltschmerz No More


Disclaimer: sponsored post ahead (but a VERY good recipe as well!)

I’ve been through Spain in the past and thought that I had tried many of their local delicacies. But I realized recently that I’ve never had persimmons before – up until this year, to me they were just these pretty little fruits that sat in the exotic fruits section at Loblaws. Earlier this month I received some Persimons  and was asked to bake something nice with them. So, I'm here to share with you my baking experience with these beautiful bright orange fruits, and to tell you about a special contest to win a one week trip for 2 to Valencia, Spain - home of the Persimon! To qualify, check out this link. 

Anyways, before I begin, here is a couple fun facts about this particular variety persimmons: 

- You may note that the spelling is different; this is intentional and the name was changed to differentiate this specific variety from Ribera del Xúquer near Valencia, Spain. These persimons are different in that they don't need to be ripened before eating. This means they are ready to eat the moment you buy them. 
- The flavour of Persimons are sweet and similar to a peach or a mango.
- They are available to Canadians from October to January! So you still have time to go and pick some up before the season ends.

So, for my first foray into Persimon baking and cooking, I chose to make some persimon brownies to share with you! They are delicious and REALLY easy. 

PERSIMON BROWNIES

Jam

1 Persimon®, peeled and chopped
? cup (150 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice

Brownie

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
5 oz. (150 g) bittersweet chocolate (70%)
? cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) Persimon® jam
3 large eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
¾ cup (175mL) all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Jam

Place the chopped Persimon® in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice stirring slowly over medium low heat until the consistency of jam. Approx. 5 minutes. Set aside. 

N.B. I had some difficulty achieving a thick, jam-like consistency while continually stirring, but once I left it reach a certain heat, it became thicker. I then stirred it a bit, took it off heat and let it cool a bit before combining it with the chocolate brownie mix (step reached below). 

Brownie

Grease an 8 X 8 inch (20cm) baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) overhang on two sides. Place butter and dark chocolate in a sauce pan over low heat and melt until smooth. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the Persimon® jam, stir and remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt and vanilla until slightly foamy. Add sifted flour and blend until just incorporated. Being careful not to over mix. Pour the brownie batter into the baking pan. 

N.B: It wasn't specified in the original recipe, but at this point you must mix chocolate/persimon blend with the eggs/flour blend.
N.B: It wasn't specified in the original recipe, but at this point you must mix chocolate/persimon blend with the eggs/flour blend.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining Persimon® jam over the top of the brownie while it is still hot. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 2 inch squares.

Makes 9 servings

Source: www.persimonsays.com

Welcome to my new blog! I shut down my old one and decided it needed a new revamping. There is a lot of work left to do, help but I’m glad I finally did it.

While I don’t normally believe in New Years Resolutions, about it I wanted to make an effort to be more creative in 2014. This meant allowing myself access to hobbies and situations that helped foster and flourish creativity. I’ve painted, been drawing, listening to music and contemplating picking up the flute again, and EVEN thinking about taking Hip Hop classes — writing is just another one that I know I can do, and will easily help get my creative juices flowing. 

Here goes nothing!

Anita

By walking I found out
Where I was going.

By intensely hating, viagra how to love.
By loving, sick whom and what to love.

By grieving, how to laugh from the belly.

Out of infirmity, I have built strength.
Out of untruth, truth.

From hypocrisy, I wove directness.

Almost now I know who I am.
Almost I have the boldness to be that man.
 

Another step
And I shall be where I started from.

 
- Irving Layton

You know when you imagine and hope for certain things in your life? For some it may be the promise of a beautiful wedding and an everlasting love. Or a career and a social reputation that lives on throughout the ages. For me, troche it has always been to have a life full of love, site good food and good conversation — the stuff Woody Allen films are made of (including the over-scrutinization of relationships and their nuances). But there is this little thing that happens, doctor where your idealism often doesn’t align with your reality and causes intense unhappiness as a result — the Germans call it Weltzschmerz (or mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state). I think after the last 5 months of my life, I no longer suffer from Weltschmerz. 

In early May I hosted my first dinner party at my house. It was filled with a collection of some of my most interesting friends and was full of beautiful conversation and love — just as I had always dreamt. I made food strictly from Yotam Ottolenghi’s famous Israeli cookbook, Jerusalem. It was a night I feel like I had been waiting for for nearly most my life, and while it was a beautiful night, it made me reflect heavily on where I have been in the last year. 

I’m coming up close to one year since the flood happened. On July 8th, 2013, I was living in a small, crummy basement apartment in the Annex in Toronto and just barely surviving. Flip-flopping on where I wanted to go with my career (to law or not to law? That was the question. #Existential life crisis.); I was in a relationship that wasn’t meant for me at all, with someone who was much more detached than one person should be, and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be here, right now, where I am today. At that moment I really felt that all the things I had hoped and longed for would never come to fruition; that I was doomed to always be marred by Weltschmerz for the rest of my days.

Following the flood I had to flee back to my father’s house. It was a devastating and depressing time for me, having lost thousands of dollars worth of items from books to cherished letters and love notes (I’m a sentimental old fool!), and having to go back home feeling like my triumphant departure from Caledon (and a house that is rife with negativity and hurt from the last 13 years) was ill-fated. Now I am here, in my new place — that I own, having traveled, in a new relationship — all this is unbelievably fulfilling, and I’m surrounded by old and new friends who mirror my exact values, desires and hopes. 

This is both a thank you and a love note. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey for the last year. I have met some of the most amazing people, loved in ways that I never thought I could, tested resolve I wasn’t aware that I had, and persevered in a way that I am sure would make my Mother proud. I’m so thankful for the beauty and love that I have allowed to enter in when I could have so easily gone the other way. Following my Mum’s passing in 2001, I was forced to learn detachment through release of spiritual self and fear of death, but immediately turned to materials and possessions. 12 years following that, I was forced to recognize the transient nature of material objects - once again throwing me for a loop. But through having the people I had around me (especially my sister, as always) I was strong enough to make it here, to understand that it’s about the here, the now, the present. 

I am filled with joy, gratitude and understanding — I understand the hard-gotten joys and I appreciate every fibre and every iota. I love with abandon and open myself up to every person I meet. I have become a conduit for love and I can only thank those around me for filling me up with so much of it. Without you there is no me; I’d fade into in-existence. 

Thank you for loving and believing in me. 

Anita