Monday, 12 February 2018

February Birthday

If you were born on February 25, then we're birthday twins! Hello 😃

With my 30th birthday fast approaching (less than 2 weeks from today), I'm getting a little extra about the whole thing! I'll admit, part of me is grieving the loss of my twenties, which many people say are the best years of their lives. 

I'm also somewhat excited about becoming an official adult. Yes I know.... people in their 20s are technically adults, but for some reason I feel like this was the decade for me to find myself. And now that I really know who I am, what I like/dislike, what my boundaries and limits are, etc. I feel more ready to start the next decade of my life. 

To kick start the celebrations, I've ordered me a shirt with my zodiac sign on it, and yes I did design this one: 

Yes, I am posing with a Hello Kitty. Real mature.


So being that everybody has a zodiac sign, feel free to find yours in my RedBubble shop here. If you're not a big fan of wearing cartoon characters, there are also typography ones available.


Anyhow, the tee shirt isn't the only artistic thing I've done to celebrate the month of my birthday. I also went to Old Navy and picked up some adorable party hats, which happen to be plain colors with gold trim; a perfect canvas! It's been too long since I doodled a kawaii face on something with a marker, so I playfully vandalized each hat, with a face that I think matches the color's feeling for each:


And yes, I plan to wear one, or at least make other people wear them when Rob & I go visit my family then. There ain't no party like a kawaii party!





Anyway,

I'd love to share a freebie with you lovely people, because you're awesome! This is an animated birthday card that I created, and you can share with someone special on their special day.

If you prefer the actual birthday video card without all the blog stuff around it, get it here from my YouTube channel.




Are you also a Pisces mermaid? Then stay tuned to this blog, as soon the horoscope for us will be uploaded ^_^ 

And if your birthday is any time this month, Happy Birthday!!

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Art of Kaizen


Today I learned about something new. Well, it's not new in the world - just new in my world. It's a Japanese philosophy called Kaizen, which means "change for better". It can be translated closely to the English "improvement", but goes a bit deeper than that.









The notion here is to become the best version of ourselves possible. The. BEST. Version. Possible. 

This philosophy means first and foremost, to give up bad habits, the ones that cause our bodies harm, such as junk food, smoking, and others like alcohol, etc. Or at least enjoy them in moderation.

Then, give up negative thinking; give up paranoia, past hurts, and assumptions that harm our minds and our souls. Meditate. Pray. Do yoga. Find whatever gets you to your deeper self. It's totally okay to talk with a therapist, they can be super helpful. 

Then develop self-discipline. Learn to say no to what you don't need (or to whom you don't need to serve), and strive to stay true to your own convictions. Become a self-advocate for what you need, while balancing it with the needs of others. Don't be lazy in anything that you do, even if you're alone. Don't give in to temptations to take shortcuts.

Let go of people who suck you of your resources, and let go of things you cannot change. Keep a journal to make this process easier. Find what does & doesn't work for you. Establish healthy boundaries and spend time with other mentally healthy people, who are positive.

Learn to accept your shortcomings. All of them - these beautiful flaws are charming and what make you an awesome, perfectly imperfect human being. It's when we stop letting our self-doubts and fears of what others think, that we truly grow and flourish.


Read up on mindfulness meditation and growth mindsets - you'll be glad you did.


Now look to healthy habits for your body again - are you getting enough sleep? Make that a priority. Take 10 sips of water every 20 minutes to half an hour at work. Yes you will have to pee a lot for the first while, but then your body gets used to it. 

Pre-make healthy meals at home on a Sunday evening, portion them into freezable containers and store them in your freezer for quick but healthy meals for every night of the week!

This Kaizen is a life-long process, with no set end date, and unsurprisingly, is adopted by high-end and incredibly successful businessmen in Japan. And very likely also adopted by athletes and priests and all of the revered people there.

♈♉♊♋♌♍♎♏♐♑♒♓

Now here is the funny thing: I just recently read about this mindset and lifestyle, of developing into one's best self over time, and yet I feel it's already been happening in my life. 

I was picked on as a child and, without going into a lot of detail about my personal life growing up, I had extremely low self esteem and a low sense of self-worth. I felt I had no real place in this world, and this feeling got carried well into my 20s (I'm now almost 30 years old). As a teen, I was already watching shows like Dr. Phil and occasionally seeing counsellors through school. This was soothing as well as fascinating, and I began researching cognitive behavioral therapy as a tool to help people with various mental illnesses, which led to research on neuroplasticity and well, I've been keeping personal journals for years, and this is leading to a LOT of self-improvement (Kaizen) without even knowing a name for it.

My confidence has increased, mainly because I understand myself and my neurology a lot better. I still enjoy watching Dr. Phil because he's tough but gentle, and explains people's brains on the show. Now I am better with personal boundaries and keeping a safe distance from those who overwhelm my emotions, so I don't end up drained. It feels good to blossom as a person, and find my place in this world, as:

An artist.  A friend.  A therapist (when needed).  A writer, a thinker.  A communicator.


It's a way of life that's highly recommended to you guys, the readers 😍



Saturday, 3 February 2018

What Do You Want?

Hi sweeties!

First of all, don't take offense at the title, because it's meant in a positive tone. Literally guys, I'd like to know: What do you want with this blog now that we're already so far in the new year?

It's now 2018 and this blog has been running for approximately a year & a half already. We've had fun challenges, such as:



And: 

The challenges had prizes, such as a coloring sheet (drawn by me), or even your own image featured here on this blog!!





We also had a major giveaway in Christmas 2016, won by Silvia D. 



And in addition, we've got cute games and quizzes here for you to enjoy!




Last March/April we had a fun contest where those who correctly guessed a visual pun [from a popular Disney movie], won a cute coloring page. Can you try to guess?







In addition, for quite some time throughout 2017, this blog was running Review Wednesdays, where we'd do a video or photo shoot of some kawaii cute items. I am honestly planning to bring these back to this blog, now that I've recovered from the flu and am less busy since the Holidays are over... for now.

We also used to have a very fun part of this blog, called Feature Fridays. Currently, this blog is calling for submissions - it's free to be featured once, as long as some of these guidelines are met:

⭐ You're a kawaii artist, fashion mogul, YouTuber, blogger, or fan of the culture ⭐

We also still like to occasionally review characters or pop culture that may be considered 'kawaii', and weigh in on whether or not it counts.



So please, as a loyal reader of this blog, if you have any suggestions for NEW fun stuff for 2018, please direct ideas to darylannderoche@gmail.com 

Thank you,
Daryl J. of


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Aquarius Horoscope - Kawaii Style

 
Aquarius (January 20-February 18) – Some astrologers would say you’re every person’s friend, because you’re a natural conversationalist and know it’s not right to judge a book by it’s cover. After all, most Aquarians sport an unconventional style yourselves, so you know it’s the person inside the outfit or hairstyle that truly matters.

You don’t like to be bombarded by overly emotional people, because you’re more of a cool thinker who enjoys ideas, concepts and challenging facts. When it comes to potential romantic suitors, most water-bearers decide to marry later in life so you can spend your youth building your career, saving money and enjoying life. It’s not uncommon for you to enjoy travelling, learning new languages and trying exotic food. For a curious intellectual like you, the more varied experiences the better!

When it comes time to ‘settle down’ and get married, you prefer a partner who is more like a friend and your intellectual equal. It’s important they can keep up with you on a conversational level, because if they’re too emotional when you challenge them, it probably won’t work out. You also tend to enjoy many friends of both genders (because you like the minds, not necessarily the bodies) so your life partner needs to be cool with that.

Aquarius people tend to gravitate toward unusual careers – partly out of sheer curiosity, partly for the interesting attention from it, and partly because someone’s gotta do it. Although you enjoy travelling, you usually pack light and are good at saving the money you make. You are actually one of the least materialistic signs of the zodiac. Still, you know it’s important to save for the future because you’d rather be retired early, than old and still working.

Best sign compatibility: Thinkers such as Gemini, Libra or other Aquarius.

Celebs who share your sign: Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Anniston, John Travolta, Alicia Keys.

Colors associated with you: Cool colors like blue, purple, and grey.

Best idea for a pet: Something more self-sufficient, like a cat.




Do you like being a cool Aquarius? Then show it off:


Printable Wall Art on Etsy


Aquarius art gifts on deviantArt







Now go and have an awesome day!

Tears, Relief and More Stories

Today was a day that was easier to just put into pictures. First of all, I was hoping to naturally wake up early enough to maybe catch a glimpse of the blue moon. I suppose it was a blood moon first, but lo & behold it was around 8am when I awoke, and the moon wasn't even visible in the sky due to it being overcast. Ah well.

I made a digital rendition of what I was hoping to see; a literally blue moon. Blue is, after all, my favorite color.


The sad expression may be inspired partly from my recent watching of Sailor Moon (a childhood favorite show, which Rob got me on DVD for Christmas). I'm up to the part where she learns she is the long-lost moon princess and Tuxedo Mask turns evil, so this look of cartoon sorrowful defeat has become engrained in my brain. It is a play on words, the moon being 'blue'. *sigh*


💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩

In other news,

It's not safe to hold these little guys in: 💩

Doing so can legit kill a person, and today it almost did me. Our water was shut off in our condo for nearly 5 hours today, and about halfway through is when the urge hit me. And we're not allowed to flush toilets until the water is back. I think my digestive tract is off-key even now. 

Finally, about an hour out from being done, someone came to our door to ask us to test the water flow. It was good too, because prior to that I was laying sideways on the couch, nearly in tears from the feeling of agony. Before I had to lay down, I drew this digital cartoon, expressing the powerful agony that comes with needing a toilet and not having access to one in the moment. 


A feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone. BTW, doing art like this brings back memories of the drawings I did, based on feelings, throughout the year-long #Kawaii365 project. In a strange way, it was a relief to get this horrible feeling out in image form.


Thank you so much for stopping here to read today. It's been a super long time since I've really been involved in this blog, and your patience is appreciated.

xoxo,
Daryl J.

Trip to Punta Cana

Hi everyone!! 😊😊 How has been your January?

I really meant to be here sooner, like WAY sooner!

The Dominican flu bug we picked up is pretty well gone now. You see, from January 5-12, Rob's mum and her significant other took Rob & me on a very nice trip to Punta Cana, Republica Dominicana. The trip went by too quickly (don't they always?) and it rained at least half the evenings we were there. One evening I got drenched trying to run to where everyone else was standing under shelter but I digress.

Then the day before we were due to come home, it happened: Rob came down with a really bad flu bug. He was coughing & coughing, almost to the point of throwing up. I felt so badly for him, wishing there was something to do to help him. Then it hit us: the Dominican Republic has a widely known alcoholic beverage called Mama Juana, which is a mix of rum, red wine, honey, and some local herbs and tree bark. It is very strong and has medicinal properties, known by tourists as 'Dominican cough syrup'. So we bought some of that. After a couple of sips, Rob spent the afternoon having a much-needed nap. 

Later that night, while he was sleeping, I was up nauseated, taking Gravol and wondering if I'd be able to eat breakfast (or even sleep until!) the next morning. Thank God I did. Rob's mum also fell victim to the flu bug and 3/4 of us were sick as dogs for several days. On the first day back here in Red Deer, I nearly passed out doing laundry and had to sleep for 14 hours!! 

Anyhow, long story short, a few weeks later we all feel better, so now I'd love to tell you guys about the glorious trip to Punta Cana.

We were happy to see Christmas trees there, especially since this was a couple of weeks after December 25 (I get very depressed having to see the holidays be put away). 

The Bahia Principe resorts 'hire' cats as mousers to keep the resort grounds free of pests. I ADORE the fact that these pretty kitties just chill out with the humans. 


Rob's mum Teresa, and her partner Cecil, sharing a dance in the lobby during one of the BEST evening entertainments! That same night, they set up a large screen and had a group of people (me included, EEEE!!!!) dance DJ Casper's 'Cha Cha Slide'


On about the 3rd day of our trip, we went on an excursion off the resort to see how they really live there. This is a kitchen where they make world-class chocolate, coffee, Mama Juana, honey and other fine food items. To us it looks like a kitchen full of pans, but it's a functioning business. 

This excursion included all kinds of neat things over a span of 8 hours, including checking out the local cities, schools, a rum plantation, a cigar factory, and a Cathedral Church.

This also included a break for lunch on a large covered boat, followed by dancing. Rob is such a fantastic sport here. Hopefully he wants to dance this much at home ^_^

Then, the following day, Rob & I went on a couple's excursion (his mother's treat) to a spa on a catamaran, called 'Dr. Fish Ocean Spa'. It started off with us dipping our feet into this tub of cool water, filled with these fish called Garra Rufa. They have no teeth, but they are able to (and LOVE to!) nibble dry skin off of people, and are great at removing dead skin from the feet. It does not harm the fish. It does however, tickle. Like... a lot! Those are Rob's brave feet above.

We then proceeded onto the boat, which included yoga/pilates, foot detox via ionic footbath. I will spare you the gory details of the stuff floating around in the water after about 15 minutes, but I will say that for 2 days after that, Rob & I literally felt healthier than ever (just before the flu hit). 

After the detox, we were encouraged to get into swimsuits and go on a buoyant mattress which attached to the side of the boat, for 15 minutes on the ocean, riding the waves. I'm no surfer, and chickened out after the first 5. Still got a pic of my glistening Ginger-ness:


After this, we got amazing massages, including an electric bed with rollers! Better than any Shiatsu massage chair in a mall, for sure! We also got exfoliated with oatmeal and coffee grounds, which was very breakfasty. Following the couple of hours of spa life on the boat, we were dropped off at a nice, tropical beach restaurant for chicken, salad and couscous with white wine. And before getting back on the tour bus, Rob & I were bestowed with the opportunity for this incredibly RARE souvenir... a bottle of Mama Juana with our photo on it (the pirate in the middle is a real person):



Rob is a guy who truly pays attention to his 'Missus' (me). He knows everything about me, including my zodiac sign. How many men truly remember that? Anyway, he wanted a picture of me next to the name of this beach/pool bar/restaurant:


The evening shows were very fun, with our favorite being the 'City of Rock' one (which inspired my finally watching 80s classic movie, Footloose, due to the music). This show was performed by several singers, dancers, a live band, and DJ/special effects guys. It's shows like these, that are the reason for siestas...


Then, sadly, our week here was coming to an end. We enjoyed days by the pool, a couple of trips to the beach when it wasn't raining, some excursions, the beauty of nature, the nightlife, yummy cocktails, buffets and a la cartes such as the Japanese one below:


The atmosphere was lovely, and my only regret was the food I ordered. I was a step away from getting food poisoning and would prefer not to remember the grotesque details. I prefer to remember this evening for it's overall beauty. 

Overall, I must say my favorite memory is truly of when we were playing BINGO by the pool and, well, Rob would kill me if I told you guys the rest. Long story short, after some comical humiliation, it turned out he won anyway, and got a bottle of rum. 

One last thing: How can these toothbrushes be SO Kawaii?

They're holding tiny tubes of toothpaste! 



Thank you everyone for your patience in waiting to hear about our trip earlier this year. If you're planning a trip and thinking of places to go, we strongly recommend Punta Cana - just stay out of the rain so you don't catch sick! 







Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 Highlights - Personal and Other

Hello lovely friends, and welcome to 2018!

Image result for fireworks divider

Did you have a good NYE? What did you do? Tell us in the comments section 😎

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I'd like to start with blowing your mind - if you follow this blog regularly, then you might remember this 'welcome 2017' post - it really does not feel like that long ago, right?


And now, here we are, a year later, and so many more wonderful things to share with you!

In January: We went on a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Rob's family! Then when we came back, I 'went for it' with something I always wanted to do - I dyed my hair pink.



In February: I officially got glasses again - prior to this, I hadn't worn them since I was about 11 years old. Why did I stop? Because of bullies. Now I wear them with pride. And I turned 29, which commenced countdown of the last year of being in my twenties!

In March: We did the #KaraokeChallenge on this blog - did you film yourself singing? Share it with the followers here, or on our facebook group! Rob & I also celebrated our 9-year anniversary of meeting at work, by going to see the live action Beauty & The Beast! Such a fantastic movie, and the first time I've felt truly happy in a theatre! Oh and I got the honor of painting for my first time at Art Battle International 😊

In April: I don't really remember anything specifically personal about this month... however, one of our favorite stores in Bower Mall here - HMV - officially closed. It later became Sunrise Records. Thankfully they still sell kawaii collectibles :)

In May: The Red Deer Regional Hospital literally saved my life! I don't want to gross any of you out, but I take it that the majority of the readers here are girls and women, so I'll tell you - I had a very heavy menstruation, that was almost life-threatening. I got to the emergency room just in time for them to give me clotting medication and take care of me. I credit them with my still being here.
Also became friends of a sort with a super awesome girl who goes by Piper Dollface - we share an affinity for squishies, and Hello Kitty stuff, so she sent me this as a gift:



In June: Preparations for Canada's 150! Rob & I had wanted to do something nice together at Bower Ponds, but a major storm hindered that (thunder, rain, hail, cold wind, and small tornadoes forming - Alberta weather, eh?). We spent it indoors.

In July: The #Kawaii365 project came to an official end on July 10, after a year of making kawaii art. Because I felt 'empty' after such a sudden stop, the Zoo'd Animal Hybrid Friends were 'born' 😍  Rob & I had a table at the local Farmer's Market and sold some of my kawaii art.
A major highlight [of my life!] was getting featured in 2 local publications - Red Deer Express and RD News Now! I'm still on cloud 9 from that.




In August: Rob & I celebrate our 9th anniversary of being a couple, and our 6th wedding anniversary. He spoiled me by taking me to the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in downtown, Calgary, where he booked us for a couple's massage. We then went to the zoo, where we enjoyed our first time at the penguins' enclosure.


















In September: Since opening both a RedBubble shop AND a Zazzle shop earlier this year, I've enjoyed the feeling of seeing my own artwork on day-to-day items. It's a real rush of adrenaline! The feeling literally never gets old.

Mousepad from my shop on Zazzle


My Zoo'd tote bag (still so proud!)


In October: Following his 39th birthday, Rob & I celebrated our 10th Halloween by going to a haunted walkthrough house in Parkland Mall. And since recently discovering the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, I simply had to dress as Eleven. Then Rob & I co-hosted a Halloween party at our condo, as we celebrated our 3rd Halloween here already!



In November: Sears officially closed... another place we loved going to in Bower Mall here in the city. Still waiting to see what goes in there next? Though we both feel awful for all the laid off employees, it was decent to get some high-fashion items for up to 90% off. I hope every former employee found new work quickly.
Rob & I kicked off the holiday season in late November by attending fabulous local events such as: Red Deer Lights the Night, the Festival of Trees (to support the hospital which saved me), and the Black Knight Inn's Christmas Wish Breakfast.

In December: We celebrated a fantastic 10th Christmas together (complete with a romantic sleigh ride together at Heritage Ranch, followed by a very romantic New Year's Eve (our 10th one, too) at the Black Knight Inn together!











Here's to a safe & prosperous new year everyone!
xoxo,
Daryl J.