Tag Archives: opinion

} The Skinny Jeans

skinnyjeans

Not just any skinny jeans. And not as in the style of the jeans. I mean THE skinny jeans: that pair of jeans almost all women decide to keep at some point, despite all logical and practical reasons not to. That pair that you loooooved. That pair that you bought when you were at you’re skinniest, whatever that size was. That pair that you haven’t been able to get into in years. But, that pair that you hope to fit into again, someday. Yes, I’m talking about THOSE skinny jeans.

Well, last night I decided to get rid of some clothing suitable for donation, those clothes you forget you actually have. And so, I was in front of a big pile of not-worn-in-a-while jeans (hello, I’m a jeans addict. And perhaps I have a hoarding gene somewhere in there too. Lol), trying them on, and putting them in either the keep pile, or the donate pile (they all ended up there, I’m happy to say).

And then, the last pair of the bunch: MY skinny jeans. This is a Mavi pair I bought in 2001 (that’s actually them in the picture), following a CEGEP (what college is called here) sports class I had to take (let’s just say I wouldn’t have willingly selected running & fitness if I had a choice in the matter) and in which I had lost some weight, because I had applied myself enough to not flunk it. One day in the summer right after, I went in a store with a friend (who was tiny in height as well as size) who wanted to do some shopping. Altho I didn’t mind accompanying her at all, this was of not much interest as a plus size clothing wearer; there’s just not much for me to do in a “normal size store” except check out a couple of jewelry pieces and scarves, as well as give my opinion on my friend’s fashion trials. But then, the saleswoman decided to pay attention to me, and mentioned that she had some size 15 jeans I could try on. With a “YEAH RIGHT LOL” attitude, along with my friend’s pushy motivation, I tried them on anyway. And they fit! I mean, it was a pretty tight fit especially sitting down, but I was still in the smallest size of pants I’d been in for a while. I bought them. Needless to say I really loved them a lot, and also needless to say that with my sports class over, I couldn’t fit in them a couple months later. And armed with that weird hope syndrome for the future that we, women, often have for clothing, I kept them. Just in case.

So, back to last night… The jeans were in front of me, displayed on the bed. I took a deep breath (after seriously considering just ripping them apart lol), pulled one leg up, than the other, took another deep zen breath, and proceeded to close the zipper and button without any difficulty at all. WHAT!? What what what?! When did this happen???, I thought. Although I did lose a little bit of weight recently, it wasn’t that much that I could have predicted this outcome.

After all the shocking I-fit-in-them commotion (haha), I looked up to the mirror. And it was NOT what I was expecting to see: this womanly body didn’t look good in these youngster jeans. Clearly, my clothing style preferences had also changed a lot too, even tho jeans are still what I wear every single day of my life. Although the number was right, the fit was allllll wrong; floppy and loose, not fitting me well at all, and certainly not flattering…

And so I took them off, folded, put them in the donate pile, and just sat there, a little confused. All this wait and hope and hanging on to the past for THAT?! It was obvious as night and day: the actual number was not really of importance to me anymore, compared to fit and how I feel in them (which is a GREAT thing, don’t you think?) What importance does a number have if I feel like a burlap sack of potatoes…? Lol!

I was stunned. And then I remembered that, altho the scale number hadn’t changed all that much, my body certainly had over the years: mushier (lol) in some places, but firmer in others. It had merged into a woman’s body, rather than a young adult’s one.

And this is were you’d usually read something going along the lines of “don’t dwell on the past” or “live in the now” or even something a little more poetic such as “the past is past, leave it be”. And altho these can certainly be wise sometimes, it doesn’t always apply to every situation, nor to everybody.

You see, I am someone (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) who needs to TRULY understand the past in order to… go past it. Even tho sometimes people telling you the answers is enough for that lightbulb moment to occur, it doesn’t ALWAYS work as simply as that. That’s how I am, and I know it, and I’m okay with that part of myself. And most of the time, my friends, those who listen to me trying to find answers, are okay with that too. Sometimes they are annoyed I’m sure, but in the end, they still listen, they still try to offer me possible directions for me to explore to find those answers, and they still love me even if I channel a broken record once in a while.

So what I’m saying is, I’m actually glad that I kept that pair of jeans all those years. Because if I hadn’t kept them and tried them on last night, I wouldn’t have the insights I had when I realized that it’s okay to change, that it’s okay to be who I am right now, that it’s okay to have hopes and struggles that are based in the past (and that they’ll eventually untangle themselves as we evolve), and mostly, that it’s okay (and awesome, even. Lol) that I like my body now more than ever before in my entire life, and that is EVEN if it hasn’t changed that much all in all. I even have proof of that for myself: after all, I *did* wear a dress 5 times this summer as of yet, which is more than the rest of all the time since I’ve been able to choose my own clothing. Progress is what I’m calling that.

And so in an attempt to keep on moving forward, I went back to that donate pile of jeans, selected two pairs, and decided to cut them to make shorts (one super short, and one mid-thigh), which is something I do not wear at all in public. And so the progress, at the very least, makes an attempt to keep on going………….

‘Til next time, beautiful you. :)

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} On Blogging

What the hell is my problem!?!

(Great first sentence, don’t you think? lol)

I have been blogging for 7.5 years now, which included 2 hiatuses. I’m in the 3rd one now, as you can see. Or not see, rather. I am questioning myself a lot these days on the “why that is”.

I could say that I found nothing interesting, during these pauses, that I wanted to blog about. But that would be false. If you could see my Etsy favorites (which are private, because I don’t want to put my supplies shopping public and there’s no way yet to separate those in the site’s features)… So, if you could see my favorites, you would understand why this would be a complete lie. lol! There are over 4000 items (I’m estimating that 3000 are not supplies) I thought were heart worthy. So what the hell is my problem!?!

I could say that I got super duper busy and didn’t have time to do it. Which would be true for the Holiday season (Nov-Dec), and also some weeks throughout the rest of the year, but those are scattered here and there, not in chunks. But my blogging reflects chunks. So what the hell is my problem!?!

I could say that I dislike blogging now. But that wouldn’t be accurate. I used to HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS AND THAT RIGHT THEN AND THERE after I found something note worthy, and that is not exactly the case right now, so that part is true. But I STILL do love the sharing aspect of blogging, of putting other people’s talent out there in case someone else falls in love with something, making a reader giddy and excited, and helping a fellow artisan make a sale. That is beautiful thing that I will always just love helping on. So what the hell is my problem!?!

So… What’s left? Views and interaction, that’s what’s left.

Once upon a time, a couple of years ago, when this blog was on a free wordpress.com platform and was called Creativadoration, I had around 500 views per day on average. WOOT! It felt good, and I felt heard, or rather, read. Comments were coming in left and right, and I’d reply to each one with pleasure. Since a lot of people were coming over to check it all out, it was very interactive. It felt like a pool of real, in this virtual world desert we are in. I knew there was hundreds (!) of people interested in what I had to share, waiting for the next daily post, that were ready and open to interact on it all. All the posts from then were transferred here, so the content has evolved of course, but the foundation of it is accessible.

I know that this is something that most bloggers deal with on a monthly (or weekly, or daily) basis. I know that I am not the only one checking stats religiously, or avoiding them when they are in a low streak. I know that they are just numbers, and not always accurate anyway because of bots. I know that I lack some serious SEO knowledge, and I could learn a whole lot on the subject if I just put my mind to it. I know that quality is better than quantity. I know that the few who still follow my blog really do love it. I know that it is better to help spark excitement in one person rather than none. I know, I know, I know. But the fact of the matter is, sometimes you feel like you’re just speaking (writing) to yourself.

I’ve been blogging the same kind of way all this time: it being more about pictures than text (which makes sense, since I’m all about the visual), and it being more about other people’s work than mine (altho I’ve been trying to write more personal posts just like this one (the “My Life” category), it’s not going that smoothly (I have 3 almost done in the draft folder, but I seem unable to press the “publish” button)). I am like a lost blogger: sorta safe in what I know, sorta realizing that that’s not working as desired anymore, sorta not knowing where to go next, sorta not knowing what else there is. But not sorta confused;  absolutely confused.

There are a couple of online classes on this (rediscovering your blogging style and passion and all), and since blogging is part of my marketing strategy (and I truly miss having a real passion for it too), it might be worth the investment too. Or maybe not. Or possibly. Or who knows… Or…

AHHHHH! What the hell is my problem!?!

* Keep Calm and Blog On print by LivyLoveDesigns.

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} On Staying Small

StaySmall

I was watching, on Sunday morning, an episode of a À la di Stasio (a Quebec tv cooking show that I like, but that I don’t watch religiously) in which there was an interview with Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, a restaurant in Manhattan (East Village).

I listened with interest, without necessarily being over excited about the discussion, until she talked about being small (30 places in her very popular restaurant), and staying small. By choice. Gabrielle listed a couple of very legit reasons why she intended her business to stay that way (mostly to not be diluting the spirit of her business). She then concluded on the subject by simply saying “I also don’t want it.”

Hearing that sentence, in the midst of wanting to make my blog more personal once in a while, sparked the flame for this blog post.

I have said this before (on staying small, which doesn’t necessarily mean being the only employee forever and ever, by the way) on numerous occasions – to friends and family. I have pondered on this fact quite a lot by myself as well, especially after being asked “Where do you see your business in 5/10 years?” If I answer something along the lines of “Nothing very different. What’s wrong with it now?”, I sometimes encounter a face that I usually interpret as being “You’re not very ambitious.” I’ve also noticed that most of the time, people also associate ambition with success…

Truthfully, I already know that I’m not be the most ambitious person in the whole wide world. Well, not in a stereotypical “supersize your business/have plenty of employees/make tons of money/buy a mansion and fill it with a shitload of expensive objects” way anyway. If you have seen my work just a bit, you already know that this kind of thinking does not translate in my products either, creating mostly jewelry and objects for your everyday affordable life. In the 6.5 years of Nea, I have never listed a single item at over $150. Doesn’t mean I won’t ever, but if it ever happens, it’s going to be on a very time consuming piece, and that number will be about valuing my work/time right, not about the big bucks.

Back to (lack of) ambition. Well, that is a pretty subjective thing. Ambition might be about money and company growth for some, but for me it’s more about growing with the actual products, learning new skills, diversifying what I offer, finding promotions that work, evolving what I’m passionate about making.

Would I like to make a more decent salary? Sure. But truthfully, my answer to that is VERY far from “at all costs”. Not if it’s going to make me unhappy or feel crappy. For example, I kinda have a low acceptance threshold for brick&mortar stores who treat the consignors/designers badly (such as not paying them in decent delay, or asking for exclusivity for an unusually large area, or taking off the designer’s name tags on the items they sell). When that happens, if a talk or email doesn’t work, I don’t think twice about pulling my stock out of there. The quicker the better. I have decided to do it a couple of times, and never regretted it even for a second. I will not work with those kinds of businesses – it hurts all brick&mortar stores, it hurts all artists, it hurts my own brand, and it hurts my soul.

For the way I am built, going big would be: being stressed WAY too much, spending excessive amounts of time on organization rather than creating and making, saying “see you sometime, perhaps” to most of my social life, not having time to notice one of many beautiful architecture details Montreal has to offer while walking to a business meeting in a hurry, having to be “the boss” rather than just “Janick” (plus, I would suck at that, big time. Pun intended.) Going big would be like turning the lights off, in my life as well as on my creativity.

For the way I am built, staying small is: doing what I love, the possibility to create (and offer easily and quickly) new items whenever inspiration takes over, having the freedom to go out to lunch with friends at (almost) any time, learning and exploring new skills, keeping stress levels usually low, making mistakes (no one can get out of that one) but that don’t have negative domino repercussions on other people’s lives, growing at a slow but steady pace (which totally fits my overall personality in the personal life too), noticing how a morning fog or a airy snowfall can beautify a concrete city. For me, staying small in business is happiness, which is how I personally define success. To recap, my ambitions are to stay happy. A tiny non-ambitious thing, really. lol ;)

And, what is wrong with staying small anyway?
For the customer, it means dealing with a person rather than a machine. It means the possibility of customization. It means you can actually feel the personality of someone thru their work. It means you are directly supporting a person in doing what they are passionate about. It means you can express your excitement towards an item and actually make someone’s day at the same time.
For the business (and the person behind it), it means every single story shared by your customers are actually heard, and cherished. It means you can make someone happy by the simple gesture of switching a blue bead for red bead. It means doing yearly taxes reports just takes a day or two (lol!). It means you know with precision what’s going on with every aspect of your business. It means that every time someone buys something you made, you feel honored. Staying small is big on the rewards.

Don’t the best ointments come in small packages? ;)

Yeah… Going big… I also don’t want it.

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} On Going Personal

Clearly, I’m swamped by work these days. Every year, each November/December Holiday season months, it gets harder to blog almost everyday. And when those craft shows kick in (3 this year), I go totally MIA on here. I’ll be back soon, promise!

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some thinking about this blog while working like a madwoman…

This particular subject of thought actually started in a somewhat recent phone conversation with my awesome friend Paule. More precisely, I’ve been thinking about if I should make this blog a bit more personal (once in a while at least).

To add to that food for thought, I always remembered that when I transferred my Creativadoration blog onto here a year and a half ago to go along with the website remodel, my very savvy marketing adviser Guillaume made it a point that I understand that I should blog about myself (or my work rather) on a (at least) monthly basis. Which has been hard for me, I’ll admit…

Don’t get me wrong, I looove finding great/cool/inspiring/beautiful/useful (mostly) handmade finds and sharing them with anyone who will read. It’s what made me want to blog in the first place almost 7 years ago now. (Wow, time goes by fast, huh?)

But I do also get Paule’s point: blogs that get personal once in a while tend to engage people, and those people are more likely to comment/interact/makecontact/talkaboutit/reblog/retweet. Or just plain CARE.

I tried taking a step back since, by looking at my blog from a greater distance, and the conclusion I get to is this: is it actually really odd that I don’t get more personal with blog posts once in a while. Why odd? Because, well, I already do it on Twitter ALL THE TIME. So why not do it here as well?

I guess I thought something along the lines of “Who cares about how I bought my first dress EVER this summer and actually put it on only once.” And of course, on some level, you don’t really care about the actual fact. Reading that, and the why and the how and the what-color-it-is, will not change your life nor be a groundbreaking moment in it either. Altho I do admit that the possibility of it resonating on some level to even ONE single person is very probable.

Then again, I do do it on Twitter constantly. And a big amount (to me anyway) of people follow me there. And they reply. And the interact. And it’s interesting. And it’s human. And it means something (to me anyway). And it’s real. Yes, virtual can be real.

And so, I will try to, once in a while, ramble, just like in this post, on personal stuff. My life, thoughts, joys, frustrations, and regular everyday stuff such as dress buying (lol). Yeah? What do you think? :)

After all, one of my favorite movie lines is on being personal! From the You’ve Got Mail chick flick: “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”

SO! Soon (most likely in 2013), I’ll give my opinion on the Twitter thing, as I recently celebrated (ok, maybe just more like noticed) 4 years on it. I promise it’ll be more than 140 digits. ;)

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