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The Self Care Tag!

January 24, 2015

My amazing friend Fab from Snail Mail Love tagged me to answer a few questions on the topic of “self-care” – a topic I absolutely love!  Answering questions in general, is one of my favourite things (hint, hint!) so I definitely accept the challenge! Enjoy!


1.  What piece of advice would you give a child about to grow up with the pressures of today’s media and its crushing expectations?

Stay true to you. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. Cliché but true!

2. What song puts you in a good mood every time?

Super Trouper by ABBA
Downtown by Petula Clark
In the Sun by She & Him
Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows by Lesley Gore
& Everything At Once by Lenka

3.  What is the best advice someone gave you or you realized about life?

This too shall pass” Through my struggles with depression, I’ve realized this to be true… Life goes on, things get better – your bad day (or week or month!) will pass. Just stay strong and don’t give up!


4.  Who makes you giggle like a giggle monster?

 My friends. Onycha & her sister Heidi. Whenever we get together, we just look at each other and fall into a fit of giggles. I miss them! Also, my humor can be pretty lame – cue the cow with a wig post on facebook. Has anyone seen it? Hilarious!

5.  What is something about society that bugs you that you wish didn’t?

 Money – I absolutely loathe it. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say that I wish we could go back to bartering. Of course, that would have its own problems too!

6.  What is one of your favorite things to do on the weekends?

This may or may not be popular, but – I’m all about doing nothing. But for me that includes; reading, listening to music, catching up on my shows, shopping, or just laying in bed under the covers! I’m a pro at doing nothing.

7.  What is something you’re really proud of that you’ve done?

 I’m proud of myself for going to NYC on my own, interning for Jennifer Lilya, and standing in my best friend’s wedding! I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve been able to stay positive throughout the winter months so far. Usually I would be in a depression by now. I’ve come a long way!

8.  What is one of your favorite memories with a friend?

Probably the time Lindsey and I went to P.E.I with my dad. It was the longest road-trip we’ve ever been on – but it was amazing! Ahem. Gotta love Guy Penrod! Am I right?

9.  What advice would you give to someone who needs a boost in confidence?

Throughout my 24 years, I’ve learned that whoever you surround yourself with is important. If you surround yourself with people who bring you down – you’ll be down. Instead, seek out those who inspire you, those who give you that boost you need. In the long run, it’ll be well worth your while.

10.  Lastly, how do you plan on investing in self-love?

I’m going to keep on challenging myself with challenges pertaining to self-love, self-care, self-growth, etc! All the selfies! ;)

&, that’s it! I tag Tee, Erika, Jaclyn, Cathie and everyone who feels like doing it! Have fun!


Updates/Musings Galore! ☞

January 23, 2015

I’ve realized that for a blog with “musings” in the title, I don’t really write much of my thoughts here. I’m going to work on that this year. So here are some updates in my life, and other little musings. Beware, this will be a long post. If you don’t like those, check out my other posts which are ridden with lovely photos! With that said, how would “Monday Musings” sound – would you read them? Or would you like different blog posts? Let me know?


Firstly, some not so nice person bought my .com domain, so for now, brunettemusings will be! Surprised? I am too! Honestly, it feels weird having a new domain – but it’s a new beginning! For which I’m happy about! I should have posted about it sooner, but never got around to it. Here I am though!

A while ago on Instagram I posted a FAQ’s photo where I asked friends to comment with questions that I’d answer in an upcoming zine of mine. The question below  inspired me to reply here as it’s rather a lengthy story. If you have a question, feel free to comment below!

I could think of a bunch, but I’ll stick to one. I’m a long time follower of your blog and found you on IG some months ago and have read a bit about your struggles. I struggle with depression a lot myself, so I was wondering… what is the moment that made you finally decide to get yourself up and start on the path to getting help (getting better, however you’d like to phrase it…) Was it a specific event, a thought, a person?

As you may already know – I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a few years ago – it’s been a long journey, but I’ve finally learned how to embrace it, and not let it define me. For a while, I believed that it changed me, that I was just a person with a disorder. When I had a bad day, I forgot how to deal with it – I just blamed it on the depression. I figured that it wasn’t just a bad day, but a bad life. Well, I’ve learned that even people with mental health issues and without have bad days – but it’s up to them to make it a good day. And, if that doesn’t work – there’s always tomorrow! I’ve been working on myself through therapy, and I feel that I’m finally at a point in my life, that I’m on the right path. Trust me, I wasn’t for 2 1/2 months – I was a prisoner in my own room. I let my depression get the better of me. It’s crazy how fast stress affects you. I had just started a new job, and was excited to see where it would take me. However, waking up at 5:00 am and getting home at 6:00 pm wasn’t the best thing for me. I did my best, but after a couple weeks I was laid off. I have issues with failure so I immediately thought I did something wrong, when I didn’t. This triggered me into a depression which was my worst yet. I basically stayed in my room, and didn’t take care of myself; I wasn’t showering, was over sleeping, didn’t leave the house, stayed in bed, etc. I had given up on myself.  It’s a wonder I didn’t end up in the hospital again. I was actually scared of it this time, where if I was manic I would be welcoming it with open arms. I think I was mainly scared of my mom coming to visit me. She tends to ignore me until things happen, and then shows up out of the blue – but that’s another story!  How did I get out of my depression this time? Well I was basically given an ultimatum… either I start listening to my psychiatrist and what he told me to do, or I go to the hospital. It worked!! I called up our local Family Health Services that day to get matched up with a therapist and that’s that. I wasn’t better right away. It was really tough. I felt like I would never get better at the time. But, I realized that I would lose a very special friendship if I didn’t get help – and honestly, I think that’s what pushed me. Eventually I had my first counselling appointment. I really did not want to be there. The form they had me fill out was triggering in itself, and just made me feel worse. It was my third or fourth therapist so I wasn’t really hopeful. But thankfully it’s been going amazingly – I’ve come a long way and am only going every month now. I love my therapist, not to be cliche or anything, but she’s really helped me through so much! After hearing that I did the “100 Happy Days” challenge on Instagram she challenged me to “7 Happy Days”. I was super excited about it, because I knew exactly how I’d document my days – in my mini smashbook! I posted about this on my IG, so some of you may recognize the photos below. I’ve also made a self care planner that I bring to my appointments. If you’d like to see inside, let me know in the comments?


I don’t care what people think of me, so that’s why I’m so open about my mental health. It doesn’t change who I am, and if you believe it does – then honestly, I don’t need you in my life. I’ve also helped so many people through it and am so happy that my struggles have been useful. Just to toot my own horn, random people come to me all the time, and tell me their life stories. I’ve helped an online friend escape from an abusive relationship. If you’re wary about emailing me, please don’t be. I don’t bite, and we might end up having things in common, and end up being kindred spirits. Trust me, I was scared of a new friend until I found out we’re basically the same person – down to the same struggles and all that. There’s TONS of people out there with the same mental health issues as you – it’s up to you to open up and find them. For the time being, share your story online – that is a great first step and helps tremendously. It shows you that you’re not alone.

Hmm, what else? Essential oils have quickly become another passion of mine. So much so, I’ve started my own business!! I’m now an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. I’ll be posting more in depth about it soon! But, basically – consider me your oil lady now! If you have an ailment, tell me and I’ll let you know which oil(s) can help! If you’re interested in essential oils and don’t know where to start, let me know and we can get in touch! I have a facebook page where I post information about the oils and other goodies – you’re welcome to join!


I’m going to be moving out on my own, hopefully in the summer! Right now, I’m in the planning stages so nothing’s really set in stone yet. 2015 is going to be a big year for me, I can feel it! Want to follow along and stay updated on my journey? Check out the hashtag #nataliesmovingout on Instagram! I just created it the other day, but soon it’ll be full of photos! Trust me!

I crossed “Be in a wedding party” off my list on September 20th 2014! It was lovely!

Oh, and since my last planner post – I’ve expanded my collection to four planners! I’m loving them! I have two Filofax’s (a Domino & a Cover Story) , a Kikki K, and a Kate Spade! They’re my babies! I’ll also be posting about them soon. So stay tuned! ;)

I almost forgot! I’m participating in a Self Care Challenge on Instagram, a lovely lady named Sara Davenport of The Oasis Project created it. She is ah-mazing, and so is her challenge!! I’d highly recommend taking part in it as well!

That’s it for now! I hope everyone has been doing well – stay creative, embrace yourself and keep smiling! xxo

Planneriffically Obsessed!

June 25, 2014

domino-patent (1)

Well, it’s true… I’ve jumped on the filofax bandwagon. I ordered my first “big girl” planner on June 9th – a Hot Pink Filofax Domino Patent in Pocket size. I’m in love. I decided I should blog about it, so here I am, and here she is!  Isn’t she a beauty? I’m trying to decide on a name for her. Any ideas? I’m thinking Daphne, but I’ve already got a camera with that name. Am I crazy?!

As you can see, my sections are Monthly, Weekly, Penpals, Blog, Self Care, and Finances. Since this is a pocket planner I am only going to use it for quick notes which I’ll then transfer to my larger planner. That’s right. I’ll have more than one planner! I ordered two others! I’m addicted. Before I get into those, I’ll share more about my first one! I ordered Inserts from Piaric which are shown below! Aren’t they lovely? The ones I ordered are the “M2P #1“,  “W2P #1“, and “To Do” lists! M2P means Month on two pages, and W2P means Week on two pages, by the way! You can order from Piaric via her fabulous facebook page! I’d highly recommend them!

PicMonkey Collage
And below are the two planners that I’ve ordered; A Cover Story Flamingo and a Kate Spade (if anyone knows the name of this one please let me know?) I’m already in love with them, and they haven’t even arrived. They’re both personal size, which is one size bigger than pocket. Gorgeous, eh?! I’m SO excited to receive them, so check back in two weeks time, and I’ll probably be doing reviews of them both! Which one is your fave? Let me know in the comments! ;)




Dreaming of Roadtrippin’

March 27, 2013

If I could go anywhere right now it would either be; Australia, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Italy, the UK, or P.E.I! I’m hoping to cross one of the six off my list this year. If I traveled to NYC twice last year then I can most definitely travel to at least one of my dream places. I’m going to make it happen. I have a couple penpals living in each country so it’d be amazing to be able to meet them, and see the person behind the letters. I’ll be starting to save up at the beginning of April – here’s hoping I’ll be leaving on a jet plane sometime in the late summer, early fall? (or earlier!) I also want to go backpacking, but that’s another post! Where would you like to travel to this year – what’s on your travel list?

PicMonkey Collage

Until then I’ll settle for a roadtrip, just fill up the tank and keep driving somewhere… anywhere. I mainly want to do a cross-Canada roadtrip but would love traveling Stateside as well. I was just chatting about this with one of my penpals from the States: Tee – I’m hoping to meet her sometime soon, she’s a lovely lady! It would be amazing if we could just teleport to each other and meet, but planning the trip and such makes it all the more fun! Here’s to Summer 2013 – may it be full of smiles and sunshine!

My Bounty from Arizona! | The BIG Reveal

March 5, 2013

Hey lovelies! Now that you’ve seen what I sent in my previous post – here’s what I received! Fab partnered Michelle (seaweedkisses) with me – and I absolutely love everything she sent! Funny thing is, I came across her instagram while she was gathering things for me and loved her photos so naturally I started following her. Unnbeknownst to me – I would be receiving her parcel in the next couple days! I’m not a picky person when it comes to gifts – I love everything I receive. But it’s extra special when a lot of thought was put into it, and it’s clear that that is just what she did! Before I get carried away – here are the photos! First, we’ll begin with the girl herself. I hope you enjoy seeing everything as much as I enjoyed opening it! ;) This was way too much fun – can’t wait for the next one!

Michelle has a lovely blog by the name of Seaweed Kisses – definitely make sure to check out her post, and follow her too. She resides in Arizona where the cactus’s are plentiful and the cowboys are rootin’ and tootin’!! Hmm well, maybe not – but she did send me both of those. I guess I’m going to have to go there myself to see what it’s like.  Road trip with Papa C?! I think so.

As soon as you get over the shock that I got a cactus in the mail, we’ll continue… Major snail-mail bragging rights right there!! I’ve been telling so many people I got it in the mail, haha. Definitely one of the most unique things ever sent to me. What else did I get? Well look below!



What we had to do for “The City Explorers Kit” was to take a day off and collect little things of our city for our partner. The prompts Fab included were; maps, flowers & leaves, postcards, tiny souvenirs, photos, interesting newspaper’s clippings & pamphlets, etc. Michelle sent 2 Arizona postcards, dried wild flowers, a clay coin, a magazine clipping and a beautifully handmade (DREAM-CATCHER!!) card – I love those things! I’ve had the one in my photo since I was a little girl. I think I might make one!


The next one she choose to do was: “Something Shiny!” When signing up for the swap Fab asked for our preferences – I mentioned I have a small coin collection and wouldn’t mind receiving some foreign coins. This one is from Korea!

For the third and forth part of the swap, she choose: “The Bad Day Survival Kit” (two lovely cups of tea and an inspiring card full of fortunes!) & “Something you can Wear” (the most darling and oh so crafty earrings!) Since I’m such a postal freak, I really enjoyed ‘The Postal Freak’s Kit” (shown below) Michelle filled mine up with various vintage ephemera, handmade goodies, washi tape, and a magazine clipping! Somehow she found out about my Audrey Hepburn obsession. ;)


Lastly she took her favourite restaurant’s menu and checked off all her favourite orders! Then she tied a couple tags together as a mini fact and “where to find her” booklet. She’s certainly one creative lady! It was her first swap (as well as mine!) How do you think we did? I’m quite proud of us. :) (Oh! I also enjoyed her letter shown below, can’t wait to start our penpal-ship!)


I Wrecked Fab’s Fab Swap! | The BIG Reveal

March 5, 2013

PicMonkey Collage

If you’re a snail-mailer you may get the reference in the title. ;) (If not refer to the photo above – or keep reading!) WreckThisGirl; aka Fab – hosted a lovely swap called: The “Secret Penpal Scavenger Hunt!” I’ve been an avid reader of hers ever since I came across her blog last year. I fell in love. I immediately followed her on instagram as well – just because I like seeing how other bloggers/artists/etc speak through photos. This girl is so inspiring. Once she announced the swap – I almost didn’t join because I felt I wouldn’t meet the “active blog” requirement. It also would have been my first swap, so I was feeling a bit shy. Silly me! I pulled my big girl socks up and sent Fab an email, asking if I could join her swap – she said yes!I I immediately signed up and patiently awaited an email from her with more details. Who’s my lovely partner you ask? Well, look below!


After I received the official email, I began searching for lil goodies I could surprise my potential penpal with. Firstly, I sent Fab a somewhat silly email, asking if she could give me my partners instagram/tumblr usernames so I could do some detective work. I wanted to make the swap more personal and make sure that my partner would actually love everything. It’s the worst feeling when you’re so excited for something and you get a little bit let down. After that, I scoured her tumblr for her interests and quirks. Then I came up with my handmade & found goodies for the swap – photos shown below! Enjoy! (I hope she enjoys everything – fingers crossed!)


// The Details: Out of the 10 prompts I choose these 5: “The City Explorer’s Kit” (2 postcards, a brochure of my fave stores, and a leaf!) “Something that represents You” (all handmade – a magnet, bookmark, postcard, top 5 quirks, and a list of where to find me!) “The Postal Freak’s Kit” (Postal Goodness!!) “The Bad Day Survival Kit” (a handmade magnet, a card, tea, and 3 lists) “Something Shiny” (a bracelet and a pin-back button!)  + an EXTRA!  (Canadian chocolates that they apparently don’t have in the States … according to Google!)

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for my next post to see what I got from my partner! ;)

I Wish You The Merriest!

December 25, 2012

SURPRISE it’s me – Natalie Brooke!! Shocking, eh? Life caught up on me once again, and I sort of drifted from the blogging world, all “MIA” and everything. So I decided to pop in and wish you all the Merriest of Christmases! I can’t believe it’s the Holiday season already!!  It’s my favourite time of the year. I always start preparing in early October – Yes, I’m the girl who puts up her tree before/or right after Halloween. Am I the only crazy one?! (I know my twin does this too, but hey, she’s my twin!!)

I feel I must apologize for not sharing my Christmas spirit with you guys this year (via gift guides, photos, little stories and other things!) or updating you on my life. So here’s a quick re-cap; I’ve had my ups and downs since we last “talked”. Once the weather changes I tend to get uninspired/motivated in the creative department – which is annoying since I LOVE creating art and want to improve. So this in turn makes me feel upset and I get even more lazy! Well, I know how to fix it!! I’ve bought/been gifted (PS: Thanks Chris!!) some great artsy-fartsy books that seem to be very helpful and inspiring. I’ll be reviewing them after the holidays! I plan to draw/paint/illustrate/etc something every week and then every day! Wish me luck?? What are your resolutions/goals for 2013?


Inspiration | Without Eraser!

September 16, 2012

Featured Artist ~ Marielle

September 14, 2012

I’ve been lovin‘ finding new artsy friends lately and one of them is a lovely lady who I’m doing an art swap with. We found each other through blogging and I adored her work as soon as I saw it. I immediately asked if she could draw a portrait of me, and that she did!  Marielle’s artwork is absolutely beautiful, breathtaking, amazing, fresh, sassy, etc! She has quickly become one of my favorite artists – and yours too once you see her work for yourself!  If not then you’re silly – her work is the best! Below are a few of my favourites of hers. (including the one of me, duh!) Note: it’s incredibly hard to choose just a few favourites, so definitely go take a look at her blog! :) You won’t regret it – trust me!


//The Artist

Originally from Holland, a 3D artist by day and in her spare time she likes to get herself and surroundings dirty with ink, water colours, acrylics and tons of pencil shavings. “Miss Beretta” – her sketching blog is named after her great grandmother. When it comes to art and illustration, Marielle loves the slick & shiny hourglass figures by Shane Glines, Serge Birault and of course Andy Hickinbottom and the loose quirky styles of Scott Campbell and Quentin Blake.


Isn’t her work amazing?!

Following in Miss Lilya’s Footsteps…

September 12, 2012

If you’re a Jennifer Lilya fan, you’ll know by now that she loves collage work and not only fashion illustration. The best part? She’s awesome at it too! I’ve been doing collages since high school, and I’ve always loved them. I just think it’s so neat what you can create by arranging various photos, words and whatnot. Below are some of Jennifer’s work and my own. Enjoy! Go make one already! ;)

Collage-making, for me, is basically an act of painting, allowing me to indulge in an appetite for immediacy.  – Abe Ajay