September Anti-Haul

This past summer, I did my first Anti-Haul & Monthly Favourites post. Even though I'm a little late, I wanted to share my favourites from last month and hopefully make this a regular blog tradition. 

Reads

For reads, my two favourites this month came in the form of newsletters:

1. Mandy Lehto's Newsletter on Ronda Rousey

Recommended for: Anyone having a hard time or anyone who needs a good kick in the pants. 

So Ronda Rousey is a boxer (I didn't know that before reading this) and Mandy explains that one of Rousey's best assets is her ability to "reframe" the challenges in her life.

Great quotes from the piece: 

  • "Ronda Rousey creates her own experience.  It does not create her." 
  • "Excuses validate our victimhood. They keep us out of action.”
  • "What do you really want, and how will you stop yourself from getting it?"

Find it here.

2. Danielle Laporte on Pain 

Recommended for: Anyone wondering why life hurts so much. 

Danielle discusses how spiritual practice (yoga, meditation, prayer) won't stop bad things from happening to you. Spoiler Alert: Life will always be full of shitty stuff - that's just life. Silver lining: spiritual practice does help you handle the crap stuff when it happens. 

As someone who lives with an idiopathic (cause unknown) illness and chronic pain - I can honestly say I've spent a lot of time wondering why "bad things" happen. This piece was a gentle reminder - in a "it's not me -- it's you" way - that what I've been dealing with is just part of life. 

My favourite quote from piece: "Illumination doesn’t spare the body."

Find it here

Real Life Gems

Volunteering for Culture Days 2015

 

Culture Days is an annual three-day national celebration of culture and the arts. It takes place in hundreds of cities across Canada and all citizens are invited to participate in free interactive activities to discover their cultural spirit and passion. 

For the event, I led a public art tour in Downtown Guelph for the Guelph Arts Council. I got to meet new people and learn new things about the public art pieces I pass by every day. It was fun to see the city as a tourist and to take time to consider the sights and installations I normally take for granted. 

 

Volunteering for Harcourt Community Garden

This past summer, I volunteered at a Community Garden that combats local food insecurity. All the vegetables grown at the garden are donated to the local food bank and distributed in weekly food hampers to families in need. 

Last month, when I volunteered at the garden, we got to harvest some of the lettuce and beans. Harvesting is so much more fun than weeding. So much so, that it actually reminding me a bit of the folk tale of "The Little Red Hen." I was always struck by the story as a kid, because the hen does all the hard work by herself and then the other farm animals are the ones that eat the cake and reap the rewards of the her hard work. One of the great things about the garden I volunteer at is that the responsibilities are shared among all, so one week some harvest, some water, some weed. We all share the work and the fun. 

Activism: Take Back the Night

Last month, one of the coolest things I did was take part in the Take Back the Night rally in Kitchener-Waterloo with my friend Sarah. It was definitely a powerful, inspiring and emotional experience.

For the rally, Sarah and I marched with hundreds of other women, of all ages, through downtown Kitchener. The police blocked off all the intersections and we chanted slogans calling for the end of violence against women. I can honestly say the experience was moving and the solidarity I felt inspired goosebumps. 

Spending Time with Family & Friends

Although I live in Ontario, a lot of my family lives in Alberta. Last month, I was lucky enough to spend time with both my Aunt and Uncle from Calgary.  

My Uncle visited today! This is our matching windbreaker and #nomakeup look 💗

A photo posted by Faith Cameletti (@faithcameletti) on

#FaithFindsFlowers

Sometimes I get made fun of for how often I find/photograph flowers, but I don't think that's a good enough reason to stop. So here are some of my favourite finds from last month:

Internet Treasures

1. This video by Brené Brown: "Why Your Critics Aren't the Ones Who Count" 

2. Evan Rachel Wood slaying haters and raising awareness for #BisexualAwareness Week on Twitter. Some of her tweets are quoted here.

3. This photo I found making fun of the state of Late-Night Television. It's funny but it's also sad. 

4. These 2 Inspiring Tweets:

5. And finally, this awesome interview with Clara Hughes from The Social. I watched it on the cross trainer at the YMCA and I totally cried in public #noshame. 

Let me know in the comments below what some of your September Anti-Haul favourites were :)

August Anti-Haul

We buy items on a regular basis because we require them: dental floss, groceries, socks. There are other items though that we buy not because we need, but because we want

This second category of purchases is often for entertainment or pleasure. In an attempt to curb your need to buy to have fun or feel good, I had an idea to create an “anti-haul." Hauls are popular videos on Youtube where people show you pretty things they bought. This anti-haul will be me sharing things that I found this month that I think are awesome that also happen to be free.

My Anti-Haul Rules: 

  1. Everything listed must be free. 
  2. "Free" includes the internet. One could argue that the internet is not “free.” Access to public libraries, however, is free. In Canada, you can use the internet at a public library regardless of whether or not you have a library card (i.e. an address). 
  3. Any media that can be accessed or consumed at a public library can be included. 

I hope you enjoy. These are the best things I found this month.

Reads

2 Stellar Novels

 

A brilliant dystopian novel that existed 50 years before The Hunger Games. I would write you a synopsis but Google does it better.

Fun fact: the author Ray Bradbury would have been 95 this month. Brainpickings posted a lovely article for his birthday here. The VlogBrothers also featured Fahrenheit 451 in their book club.

 

 

This novel was perfect. It was also the longest thing I’ve read since Harry Potter. (I didn’t feel like reading War and Peace). 

If you didn't find that description helpful know that it was also listed in CBC's 30 Works of Canadian Fiction to Read Before You're 30.

 

 

 

A Beautiful Poem

Short Reads

"The scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don't hate themselves." 
Mindy Kaling's Guide to Killer Confidence
"For a very long time I felt I was being hunted, and it made me very unhappy. But in the past few years I’ve been working on changing the script inside my head. Life’s too short to be anyone but yourself. Let the chips fall where they may.” 
- Anne Hathaway in The Persecution of Anne Hathaway and our Culture of Celebrity Misogyny
"I used to think that friendship as performed for an audience would end with middle school, but the past 10 years of technology have changed that expectation. In social media, friendship gets fixed and mounted. It loses its dramatic tension. It becomes a presentation of happiness, an advertisement for friendship rather than an actual portrayal of it." 
- Female BFF's: The New Power Couples, The New York Times

Feel-Good Activities

Finding Wildflowers

This is literally one of my favourite things to do. Going outside is free and flowers are prettier than Mac lipsticks. It's a simple activity: go outside, walk, look for flowers, try not to run into things while walking and looking. Here are some pretty wild thangs I found this month that are currently outside your door. 

Yoga for Good Posture

Youtube Yoga is my favourite type of yoga because no one charges you to use the towels and no one oms pretensiously. 

New (to me) Instagram Accounts

If you like inclusive fashion: @hijab_house

If you like avant garde portrait photography: @ashleynjoncas

If you like whimsical pop art: @alia_pop

If you like me: @faithcameletti

If you have a thing for floors: @ihavethisthingwithfloors

Miscellaneous Finds

This juxtaposition from High Existence

This quote from Q with Shad:

This image that Laura Vandervoort shared on Instagram. Sidenote: Laura Vandervoort is also one of my August favourites. 

This tweet from Janet Mock:

Let me know in the comments below what some of your August Anti-Haul favourites were and if you like this type of post!

Planting Joy: The Benefits of Gardening

In honour of our new article on a community garden, The Julien Project, our theme on social media this week has been “gardens.” I’ve really enjoyed sharing photos of new growth and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Volunteers of the Julien Project

Volunteers of the Julien Project

Gardens have the capacity to add so much to our lives. Not only do we benefit from the sights, fragrances and harvests of gardens, but the act of gardening itself can be calming and therapeutic.

Writer Jenn Sutkowski notes that there is also much we can learn by observing flowers. “Like a beautiful flower, I let myself be radiant and open to the world and the sun when I need to, but also to allow myself to gather in and restore and be quiet when I need that. So I wish the same for you -- and/or whatever your hearts needs for your greatest good, healing, radiance.” 

In my life away from Lamp in Hand, I’m a big fan of gardening. In particular, I think urban farming is one of the keys to fighting food insecurity. I volunteer at a community garden that donates vegetables to the local food bank and at home I have a vegetable garden. Last summer, I lived off kale salads and beet juice that I grew and made myself. 

This week in my garden, I planted beets, basil and added mulch to our raspberry plants. I don’t like wearing gloves because I think there’s something really empowering about getting your hands dirty. 

I wanted to share some photos from my garden to show you how simple and awesome gardening can be. It’s a lot easier than you might think! 

You don't need to buy expensive mulch. You can use pine needle clippings, fallen leaves or straw. 

 

Sometimes it's easier to transplant than to start with seeds. We got this basil plant exactly how it is from an organic farmer at the Farmer's market. It was only a couple of dollars, the same price you'd pay for a fresh bunch of basil at the grocery store.

It's important to water new transplants and seeds evenly for the first few days. You want the soil to be moist for the first week. Especially in the high heat of summer, moist soil helps alleviate "transplant stress" and encourages the roots to take hold. 

 

I also planted some beets in seed form. It's not as hard as you might think! You don't need fancy tools or gardening books. Just read the back of the package and follow the instructions. For these seeds, I used a spatula to dig a lane for the seeds and measured a 5 cm mark on the spatula to evenly space the seeds.

The crumbled egg shells in the photo above to prevent slugs, snails and other bugs from eating the lettuces. The flower below was planted to attract butterflies. If interested, here is a great article on the importance of planting native species to protect pollinators. 

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. I'd also love to see photos of your gardens. Use the hashtag #lampinhand so I can take a look♥ 

On Gratitude and Growing Older

Last week, I turned 25. I'd say it feels pretty much the same as 24 did, except for when I talk to high school students for work. That's when I realize I started high school more than a decade ago.

Age is relative though. At the YMCA, the seniors I go to yoga with still think I'm 17. "So have you applied to any universities for next Fall?" they ask while slathering on lotion in the changeroom. 

I also occasionally get asked if I'm a "co-op student" at my office. "No," I say with a smile, "I just started my anti-aging regiment early." 

Birthdays do, however, provide us with an opportunity to gain perspective. The day itself was pretty grand. I wore a dress like I usually do (because I still don't believe in wearing pants). I had a good hair day, worked out on my lunch break and went to the Public Library after work. It was raining but I found solace in the stacks, leafing through Harold Bloom's critique of Jane Eyre and then picking out a new memoir to read. There is, and always has been, something very comforting about the library for me. 

That evening, after I was safely tucked away in my pyjamas, I noticed I had received a birthday text from a friend. I thanked him and he replied by asking how my day was. I thought of the bout of endorphins I'd gotten over lunch, being surrounded by all the colourful book spines at the library and driving home in the rain, safe and warm in my car. It had been a perfect day. So I said that, "It was perfect." And he said something to the effect of "Really? Perfect?! Wowza." 

I know that the definition of true “perfection” is unattainable, but for me, perfection is feeling as if everything is exactly where it’s meant to be; as if everything is in “perfect” alignment and balance. It was then that I realized I felt that way often. My birthday had been perfect, but so had pretty much every other day that week.

 I’ve always been a “glass half full” kind of girl. What I didn’t realize though, was how profoundly that mindset affects my overall quality of life. Realizing this was a huge gift to me on my 25th. I’m grateful for the little things, and that gratitude is a gift unto itself. 

My mom, My Cousin and I on my Birthday :)

My mom, My Cousin and I on my Birthday :)

Days of Prayer and Action for Columbia #Dopa2015

 

Hi Everyone, 

Happy May 24 weekend! While here in Canada, many of us will be celebrating Victoria Day with fireworks, camping trips and cold beverages, in Colombia, its citizens are fighting for their right to peace. 

Colombia is home of the world's longest running internal armed conflict. This violence is an expression of deeper issues including inequality, injustice, and corporate greed. 

This weekend, the people of Columbia ask you to join their voices in the solidarity campaign called Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. Tomorrow, on Sunday, May 17th, hold the people of Columbia in your thoughts, prayers, and meditations. Talk to the people around you about the conflict. On Monday, May 18th, take action. Sign this petition asking the U.S. government to stop providing military aid to Colombia. Ask President Obama to support proposals from Colombian civil society in their quest for lasting peace.

This week, I'm honoured to share a guest post on Lamp in Hand that my good friend and Human Rights Activist, Nadine Hiemstra, wrote. Nadine has spent the last few months working on the ground in Columbia. You can read her story and about the inspiring Colombian citizens she worked with here

Please join me in supporting this campaign.

Here, at Lamp in Hand, we've also created this banner for you to use on Facebook to show your support. Share the campaign's message of peace by using the hashtags #Dopa2015 and #PeaceforColombia on Facebook and Twitter.