a little halloween commentary





Candy Colors

Just discovered the band Candy Colors.

Form their Facebook Page:

Candy Colors was formed in León, México. The band consists of 6 members: Juan Loredo (Pix) as lead vocals, Hermann Stoever playing bass, Ivo González smashing drums, Daniel León – Guitars , Diego Barrera playing rhythmic guitar and the most recent addition, Oscar Preciado harmonizing with synths.

Have a listen.  They kind of remind me of Interpol, but a little more “poppy”.  I particularly like Tracks 2 & 4.

can you describe it?

On Tuesday we had our new downstairs neighbours move in.  They are an older couple, which I was originally quite nervous about in terms of having to keep it down all the time and potentially being limited in when we can have people over, but it seems that the two of them have a house/cottage somewhere on Georgian Bay that they visit most weekends so the crazy wild [cat] parties can continue!

The night they moved in I had a very hard time falling asleep and was tossing and turning for a good few hours.  I eventually fell asleep but was awoken to the sound of four very distinct knocks that my sleepy brain interpreted as someone knocking on our door.  I looked at my phone.  It was 4:30am.  I lay there for a while not sure how to proceed but the house was dead quiet.  I must have imagine the knock.

Is that possible?  Was I dreaming and heard the sound in my dream?  It has honestly been bugging me ever since.  If you had stopped time at the moment I woke up I would have bet you $100 that the neighbors were knocking at the door.  But then, nothing. My theories of explanation so far are poltergeist, dream, sleepwalking neighbors, ghosts, ghost cats, and a wizard of some kind (Gandalf?)


can you describe it

a new approach

I have written on here many times before about my struggle with working towards, and maintaining goals.  Judging by the amount of books, articles, research, and other writers’ blog posts there are on the subject, I am not alone.  We tend to all have a very clear idea of what we need to do to be better, healthier, smarter, more productive and yet, we all seem to struggle with making that vision a reality.

Some new research suggests that how we verbally frame our choices may make a significant difference in our behaviour.

Your words help to frame your sense of empowerment and control. Furthermore, the words that you use create a feedback loop in your brain that impacts your future behaviors.

For example, every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations. This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.

In comparison, when you tell yourself “I don’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation. It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.

I think I am going to give this a shot with a few things and see what happens.  If I have any great results I will let you know!

source: toothpastefordinner.com

source: toothpastefordinner.com

this is the end

I watched This Is the End this weekend without really knowing anything about it, but me and my boyfriend ended up both really liking it.  This movie is basically a who’s who of recent comedy movies.  There are lots of cameos, but the main characters (who actually play themselves) are Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson.  The movie starts off with a house party at James Franco`s house which quickly turns into an Apocalyptic nightmare with the remaining six main characters struggling to live together trapped in the house.

I will say that I found the first half of the film to be much funnier than the latter, but even considering the not-as-great second half, I still really enjoyed this and was laughing pretty hard during quite a few scenes.

Have you seen it?

a dream

I had a FANTASTIC dream last night that actually had me wake up with a blissful smile on my face.  It is a bit odd, as most dreams are, but hear me out.  In my dream my dad, who was “played” by John Goodman, and I were the only (?), or at least two of few people in the world who knew how to fly.  The dream started with him teaching me how to get off the ground and climb higher.  We started off just at home and then eventually got outside where I learned to fly higher and higher and do flips and stuff in the air.  I was living in Canada but going to university in Japan where I would fly to on my own for classes.  My school was in a major urban centre filled with some very tall skyscrapers.  My classes were in one of these buildings.  Since in my dream people flying was a novelty I would show up to class early and perform acrobatics on the streets as a way of busking to make money,  I would climb through the air to dizzying heights,  I could feel the strong wind and my heart would start pounding as I would look down, see people the size of ants, boats that looked like toys off the shoreline, and would ready my nerves for what was to come next.  I would then do some flips up in the air while onlookers strained their eyes to see me so high up above them, and then, when I could muster the nerve I would dive head first towards the pavement.  Gaining speed, my nerves going crazy, I prepared for the abrupt stop that I would make mere feet above the pavement as my big finale.  The two times I actually experienced this in my dream, my dive was a thrilling success.  I would stop short just shy of death, flip over on my feet, gather my hat of performance money that my audience gave me and walk away to attend my classes.

It was such a great dream.  I have always wanted to fly and this seemed so realistic.  I woke up and immediately my brain started to pull apart the reality and started questioning how I could possibly fly on my own to Japan on a semi-daily basis for classes, how I would be able to stop so quickly after racing towards the ground from on high, but I tried to put all these thoughts aside and just enjoy the fantasy.  I laid in bed for a bit with my eyes closed, picturing myself just flying around on my own in the country, over fields, doing flips and other acrobatics.  It felt like pure joy.

Sigh.  It would be so amazing if I could!

a reluctant update

You know what really grinds my gears?  When I come across a blog, especially one that I have never been to before and the lead post, or at least one of the first five posts, is about how the author has just been so busy and hasn’t posted anything, but promises to do better.  And then I look at the date and that apologetic post was written five months prior with maybe a few posts since then.  For this reason I really try to not do that on here.  I would rather try to keep posting as much as possible instead of apologizing and not actually acting on that apology.  However, if you are a regular visitor of The Shanty I am sure you have noticed that the posts have been pretty few and far between.   I would like to say that this is because I am really busy, but the truth is I just don’t know what to write about.

Two weeks ago I thought that maybe trying to do daily posts is just unrealistic and thought about going to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday post schedule with Sundays being the “Extra Ingredients” which is sort of like a half post (requires some effort but not really my own ideas).  But here we are, Wednesday, and I definitely did not post anything on Monday and am writing a post about not writing posts today.

I really like doing this blog and as much I love hearing from people that they like reading it, I really enjoy doing this for myself.  I am actually quite amazed that what started off as a little experiment has turned into almost 900 posts years later.  When I scroll through the pages of this baby I am truly proud of how much work I have put into it.  However, I am a bit lost now.

When I first started, and for about two years after, I would constantly be thinking about post ideas.  I had notes on my phone of topics I spontaneously would think of as I went about my day-to-day life.  I had ideas!  Every day! And now…

source: theexaminer.com

I just can’t think of good things to write about.  Not even good things, any things.

It makes me a bit worried and it makes my brain feel a little more mushy than normal.

Maybe a shake-up is in order.  I have been thinking that for a while now, of still keeping this blog but changing it somehow.  Maybe I should just accept the inevitable and turn this into a Cat blog.  Cat photos!  Cat gifs!  Cat jokes!  Cat videos!  ALL DAY EVERY DAY!  I wonder how that would affect my readership numbers…

Hmmmm….yes, it says here that there is a direct relationship between cat videos and reported happiness levels.

extra ingredients

Look at what I found/read/saw/ate/listened to this week

source: jactoll on Flickr

source: jactoll on Flickr

The history of “business casual

Miniature worlds

How much caffeine will kill you?

Strike a [power] pose!  And increase your confidence while decreasing stress and anxiety.

I have had mixed feelings about zoos for a long time.  This relates.

Do you have an iPhone?  Did you upgrade to the new iOS7?  Here are some hidden gems of the new operating system.

Camera attached to a flying eagle.  Neat.

Dancing with light.  Woah.

Best socks evah!

inside and out

It seems like as with every year, this is the prime time for people to get sick.  My boyfriend has been sick most of the week and I started to get little twinges of a possible cold moving in on Wednesday.  Luckily, I have a lot of years of experience under my belt in terms of supporting the body and specifically the immune system, so this time around I have been following my three-prong attack on the potential sickness and it seems that outside of some minor sniffles and headaches I have remained in pretty good shape.  Thought I would share my process with you in the hopes that it will keep you healthy as the seasons change!

Part 1 – The External


Detox Baths – Baths are a good way to unclog your nasal passages and get the lymph system going once you are already sick, but they can also be used during the preventative stage to draw out the nasties in your body that could lead to getting sick.  This bath is one that can be used in either scenario.  Fill the tub with hot water (as hot as you can handle but don’t burn yourself please!).  Add in Epsom salts (about two cups), about a cup of baking soda, and thin slices of fresh Ginger root.  Essential oils can be added also.  You can do some research about which oils to use for what ailments, but you can also add in some Lavender or Eucalyptus for example just for the aroma alone. Soak for about 20 minutes.  Make sure to get all bundled up as soon as you get out the tub!

Lavender Oil – Lavender essential oil is a good oil to use as a subtle antibacterial.  I learned this when I was flying to Taiwan and was told that it is a good oil to use as a hand sanitizer as well as a defense around the nose and mouth so that germs don’t get in.  You can either put some on a handkerchief and breathe it in or rub a few drops around your nose and mouth.  So much better than the industrial strength hand sanitizer!

Bundle up – Ok maybe this one is a no brainer, but it is oh so important!  Stay warm!  You especially want to make sure that your feet are warm and do not expose your body to cool temperatures if you have a fever.  It is very tempting to unbutton that coat and take off that scarf if you have a fever, but if you are outdoors you are just making it more difficult for your body to regulate its body temperature, therefore adding even more stress to the immune system in the end.

Part 2 – The Internal


Food/Drink – There is a lot that can be said on this topic so I am going to break down some of the main things here but you can do a lot more research to see what other foods are good for preventing and dealing with being sick!

  • Garlic!  Onions!  – pungent but are great natural antibiotics.  Eat raw in salads, sandwiches, etc.
  • Apple “cider” antibacterial drink – mix 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsps raw apple cider vinegar into hot water and sip slowly.  Tastes like apple cider and is really great at getting rid of unwanted things in the body.  I also sometimes add cayenne pepper and fresh ginger.  A really great drink for a cold day as well!
  • Stay away from sugar and dairy – these two things really slow down the function of white blood cells and you want these little guys to be in tip top shape during cold and flu season!  Gluten is also a good thing to take out of your diet especially when already sick.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Yeah yeah, I know it’s the good stuff but it really doesn’t do your body any favors, especially if it is already working overtime to keep/get you healthy.
  • Keep it simple.  Whatever you end up eating try to stick to things that are easy for your body to digest.  Steak dinner?  No.  Brown rice and steamed veggies?  Yes.  And while you are at it, add some garlic to that rice bowl!

Oil of Oregano – This oil has gained a lot of popularity as of late so I just wanted to write a little bit about it and how to best use it.  I really like this stuff for weeks like this one where I could tell I was probably about to get sick.  Taking a few drops in water throughout the day for a few days has really helped me to not let whatever has gotten into my body develop into a full out illness.  However, oil of oregano is very potent and is not very discriminatory about what kinds of germs it kills.  It’s sort of like throwing a bomb into a room and shutting the door.  Sure the bad guys are done for, but so are the good ones.  Therefore, it is really important to not overuse this one, as after prolonged usage it could end up compromising your body more by getting rid of some of its natural defenses.

Water – Duh!  Drink it!  Lots of it.

Part 3 – The Behavior

Rest – I know that we all have a lot of stuff to do.  We may have demanding jobs, kids, social commitments, world domination schemes to iron out… I get it.  But just laying back and letting your body do what it needs to do is the best, THE BEST, thing you can do when you feel like you are getting sick or trying to kick an existing cold to the curb.  The best rest?  Sleeeeeeeep!  Sleep at night, get up and maybe have some food, and go back to sleep.  Keep doing this throughout the day if possible.  Seriously.  No amount of sleep at this stage can be seen as too much.  Your body can normally handle things very well if you let it use the maximum amount of energy on keeping itself healthy.

Hope some of this stuff helps you out next time you feel a cold coming on.  The combination of these three areas of focus does wonders for me!