an eloquently warped point of view from the tongue of a cartoon character.

Tag: photography

48 prize tickets for a big stuffed bear

i had the wonderful opportunity to shoot behind the scenes at the red river ex in winnipeg, manitoba the day before it opened to the public with the beautiful elena & anna~

while it was windy as hell that day as we scurried around the exhibition park, hopping into big piles of stuffed animals and posing on massive, colourful, metal funhouses & vibrant, towering fair rides, it was still fun to snap these shots and get yelled at by carnies.

“chasing after you is like a fairytale, but i feel like i’m glued on tight to this carousel”
– melanie martinez

A Noblewoman and her Nails

The Ming Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368-1644 (that’s 276 years for all my fellow math-not-liking CreCommers). This came after the fall of the Mongol Empire led Yuan Dynasty, but that’s neither here nor there.

It wasn’t long before specific cosmetic trends began emerging during the Ming Dynasty- many which still exist today. Tracing and filling in eyebrows, painting your lips bright red, colouring your cheeks, and applying powder foundation were all parts of a typical morning routine (according to the History of Skincare, Part 5).

It was around the same time that noblewomen began wearing long, artificial nails as a status symbol, indicating that they did not have to do manual labor like the commoners.

Actually, before that, around 600 B.C., Noblemen and women of China’s Chou Dynasty would sprinkle gold and silver dust on their fingernails. And before that, around 5000-3000 B.C., women in Egypt would take the time to dye their fingertips with henna. This was how they flaunted their social status, and amped up their sex appeal.

I read about the history of artificial nails while an esthetician took a dense sponge to the bottom of my feet. As I squirmed around, giggling like a stupid child at the tickling sensation, Cara Dveris sat on the opposite side of the nail studio. Her gels were chipped, and before dinner, she asked if we could get our nails done. I decided on obnoxiously neon coral for my toes.

Cara decided on bright red claws.

Cara Dveris is a 20-year-old University of Manitoba student that I met while in high school. She had made her way from Gray Academy to the whimsical world of Balmoral Hall, and was accepted into our clique with open kilts. The first conversation I had with Cara was about roadkill, and our relationship blossomed from there (anyone who knows me in real life knows my love of all things morbid. I mean that in the best way possible.)

Over the time I have known Cara, I’ve learned about her quirks, her likes and dislikes, her love of makeup, her enthusiasm for cars, her passion for Dexter, and her obsession with bunnies. Unfortunately, I also learned that Cara had struggled for years with body acceptance issues.

I learned that she was embarrassed of the skin she was in, that she was uncomfortable with her size, and that the support she received from her home life wasn’t always, well… Supportive.

Like many young women, Cara has tried for years to feel comfortable with her body. She tries her best, but is still working on herself day to day. With the help of friends, a little lipstick, and a lot of self reflection, she continues to try and love herself. This is how Cara Dveris tries to be body positive.


Pictured: The Queen of Manicures.

“In one word, my childhood was complicated, but whose wasn’t? I dealt with a lot of things growing up that kids shouldn’t have to deal with. I became an adult when I was still wearing my mermaid outfit around the house.

Kids are really impressionable, and they notice what you do, and pick up on the little things. They don’t have an established personality yet, so they observe, and take tidbits from the people around them to form themselves. There are so many psychological theories out there about why people are a certain way. Everything from past experiences, the way that you were treated as a child, and even the way you sleep says something about you!

I don’t plan on being a parent myself (unless you count pets) because I am aware of the huge impact that a parent can have on their child. I can’t imagine being the root of a child’s shortcomings or sadness. I don’t want to mess up a kid the way I was messed up.

You start to feel comfortable as the victim after a while. I think that’s one of the biggest things that has stuck with me, and it changes everything. Work, school, friendships, relationships… I take everything personally, and I apologize for things that aren’t even my fault. I blame myself for things that I had no control over. I wish there had been someone to stand up for me as a kid. I didn’t know I was allowed to stand up for myself; especially to a parent.

I don’t have family values or morals. I never have. My friends are my family, and I am perfectly okay with that. You have to find people to love and support you for who you are, and if you can’t find those people within family, then you have to find those people elsewhere.


Body positivity to me means changing the way you view yourself and others. Making your own definition of what it is to be beautiful, and being comfortable in your own skin instead of trying to crawl out of it.

I think confidence is something that has to be worked on every second of every day… It’s a state of mind that is sometimes a struggle to achieve. I do little things to help myself stay confident. I wear makeup, I like to have my nails perfectly painted, my hair perfectly done, and to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing. I like to define it as feeling stable. If I were to go out with my hair in a bun, wearing sweat pants on, with no make up, I wouldn’t feel stable. I would feel nervous, self-conscious, and judged by everyone… Even if absolutely no one is judging me. That’s just the way I am, and I have learned to accept it.

I don’t like wearing my hair up, I like wearing black, I like to wear mismatched socks to counterbalance my colour-matched outfits and accessories, and I like when my bra and underwear are the same colour. I think you get to a point where you stop caring about what other people think of your routines and “isms”. I like doing certain things to make me happy, and that’s just how I am. It helps me get through my day. I don’t think this makes me a shallow person. I feel like my “beauty” routines are not done to impress others, but to impress myself, to accept myself, and to feel confident.

Friends are another huge part of my confidence, and having a positive support system around you can change everything. I’m lucky enough to have some of the most supportive and best friends in the world.


“If I had to pick a favourite feature, well, I really like my eye colour, my boobs, legs, and most of my face in general. It’s like a snowball effect, really. You tell yourself, “Hey! My eyes are really pretty… Oh, wait, my nose is pretty awesome too…” and it goes from there. Positivity breeds positivity.”

How do I overcome negativity? I don’t. It surrounds me. I always come home to it. My motto has always been to appreciate the little things. I really like pens. When I’m writing with a good pen, it honestly makes me feel good. People at work think I’m a crazy pen hoarder, but it makes me happy: so who the hell cares?

Pets also help. They are the greatest investment in the world. They don’t judge you, they look at you with love, they’re loyal, and they don’t know  how hard life can be sometimes; they just kiss you, and expect nothing in return except attention, food, and to be pet. Seeing my bunny look up and run to the front of his cage when I come into my room instantly puts a smile on my face. He loves me for me, even if when I’m wearing sweat pants.  

Friends also help negativity. Having a friend that offers to bring you soup when you’re sick, or to come over when you’re having a bad day, or even to just listen to you when you need to talk about something is the most amazing thing. I think that people forget how much they influence others; how one act of kindness, one text message, or even one smile can make a world of difference.

If I could offer some tips for girls with small eyes, wearing mascara without eye liner opens up your eyes a lot more, black makes things appear smaller, so try a lighter eye shadow and just mascara. If you wear chapstick with beeswax under your lipstick/lipgloss, it will stay on longer. Oh, and use primer.  

But I think a smile is the best make up.”


Despite the roadblocks she’s faced and her body image issues, Cara still looks for ways to be the happiest version of herself. Whether it’s having full makeup, the perfect outfit, a pocket full of pens, or bright red royal claws, Cara continues to search for what will make her happy and body positive.

The Classic “Yoga/Piercing” Combo


“You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.” –Gustave Flaubert.


I first met Raquel Garner in 2012. She is an incredibly positive, over the top goof/powerhouse of nice-ness. Besides being a talented make-up enthusiast, Raquel is head-over-heels in love with yoga. She describes herself as a, “runner, wino, comedian, tree-hugger, sushi addict, music lover, art appreciator, book club AND knitting club member who still rides the bus and is single with 1 cat”. Raquel does what she needs to do in order to stay confident- and for her, that involves yoga, running, and veggies.

As luck would have it, knitting club yoga lovers tend to have some interesting friends (this is only an assumption– I’ve only ever met one knitting club yoga lover in my 19 years of existing). Arielle Zechoval is a professional piercer at Metamorphosis Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing. Arielle has a crooked toe, an adorable dog, the toothiest grin, and believes that “changing things that you are unhappy with to make yourself happy is totally fine, just as long as you aren’t trying to be someone you aren’t”. As a piercer, she believes in body modification, and the positive affect it has on those who choose to alter their appearance.

These two young women are best friends, and have grown into their separate passions together. Both engage in activities that help promote their confidence. Whether it’s countless hours of yoga, or a customer’s smile after they’ve been pierced for the first time, both Raquel Garner and Arielle Zechoval have found a source of self-assurance. In this week’s post, both talented, local women will take you through their stories to ultimate body-confidence.


Pictured: Queen of Yoga.

Raquel has been practicing yoga for 10 years (vinyasa, hatha, bikram, moksha, ashtanga, acro). She is a certified level 1 hatha yoga instructor as of June 2012, a certified recreation facilitator as of May 2010, and a certified health coach as of September 2013.

Body positivity means showing yourself the same kindness you would any other human being. There is something wrong with the world when self love is perceived as being arrogant. There is nothing humbling, endearing or cute about self deprecating yourself in order to look modest. It is certainly not arrogant to know your worth and view yourself just as you are- a beautiful human being.

Consistently feeling good about myself requires a lot of effort, just like it does for a lot of people. When I’m kind to myself, I am the most confident; that involves being consistent with my yoga practice, running, and eating my veggies. Doing things that are good for my soul, such as being mindful about my words towards myself and others, reading a book, taking a bath… These little things help.

I have struggled my whole life with self acceptance. I would avoid teaching (yoga) classes because I had unrealistic expectations of who I ‘should be’. “How was I supposed to teach anyone anything about yoga when I don’t weigh 105 pounds or have arms like Michelle Obama? No one will take me seriously if they knew I spent the other half of my time out with friends, dancing and drinking gin. And, I say ‘fuck’ too much! Guess I shouldn’t teach!” Thoughts like this would, and often still do, cross my mind, and it’s total bullshit. My body, my habits, my language; these are small parts of my being that make me who I am. Stay authentic, know your intentions, and above all be kind to everyone around you, especially yourself. And when all else fails, there’s always lipstick.

To me, yoga is the practice of facing who you are. It has given me greater insight into myself. I have been practicing yoga on and off for about 10 years. Sometimes life gets busy, and I become distracted and I fall out of practice, ut time after time, it always returns to me, and I never fail to fall back in love with it.

I went on a soul searching adventure in Bali with one of my friends to get our yoga certification. I was up at 5:30AM every day; yoga, meditation, kirtan, study… It was unreal. Because of the experience, I was much more confident with myself. I was grounded and completely accepting of who I am, and for the first time in my tiny little life, I felt like I was totally okay with being alone. This was a huge, pivotal moment in my life and a very powerful feeling: I had finally recognized my worth as an individual.



With this new found confidence I took on more endeavors. I traveled to Nicaragua, teaching yoga at Papayawellness, a surf and yoga retreat that a friend of mine runs. It was the first time I had the guts to share my knowledge, practice, and energy with complete strangers. Knowing I have something that nobody else can offer them, and knowing that my teaching has value, gives me confidence. Recognize that everybody you meet has something different and special to teach you.”

If you want to get involved in yoga, educate yourself- practice the 8 limbs of yoga. Yoga is not just a physical activity; it’s a complete philosophy and life style. There is so much more than asana (postures). Practice a little bit every day– whatever that means to you. Set your intentions every morning to think only kind thoughts. Go to bed at night and think of everything you are grateful for. Stretch, go to a class, sit in silence, and downward dog every damn day. Try a difficult posture and fall, and fall, and fall, and laugh, and buy the $90 spandex if it makes you feel good. Get your ass on the mat!


Pictured: Queen of Piercings.

“Body positivity means feeling content in your skin. Changing things you are unhappy with to make yourself happy is totally fine as long as you aren’t trying to be someone you aren’t; that’s not cool. You were given this huge canvas to work with and play with. You can do so many things to improve it, so why not!? Why not add art on my body in the form of tattoos and piercings?! It looks rad, and I really do not care what anyone thinks about the way I choose to change my body. It makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

I do not look at all the things I don’t like about myself and dwell on them. I’m happy with the way I look. If I want to try to change certain things to make myself happier, then I will, but I’m not going to obsess over features in the mirror and cry about it, starve, or Photoshop every photo I’ve ever been in to make myself feel better; that is not confidence, and people can see that from a mile away. It’s the opposite of attractive to me, and I don’t want to portray myself as this strong woman on the outside, who actually lacks this amazing gift of self confidence on the inside. That is UGLY in my opinion.

If you polled 50 men, at least half would say that self confidence is one of the sexiest qualities in a woman. When I read Cella’s blog post about bigger women being ballerinas, it made me smile. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have a slim figure, if you want to do something that makes you feel amazing and happy, then fucking do it.

Becoming a professional piercer has helped my self confidence. I’ve grown so much during my time working at Metamorphosis Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing. I started out very timid, but eager to learn, and a little shy when it came to my personal style. Over many months of piercing, I grew with confidence in the sense that I can address any problem (with a piercing) and give you a solution without any hesitation. As far as my style goes, it took me a while to find myself and figure out exactly who I was, but being in this industry has helped a lot. I’m able to deck my body out with the most amazing body jewelry from around the world, and it leaves me feeling so jazzed when I get a compliment on the jewelry that I choose to wear in my face or ears!

I’ve always felt like I wouldn’t be complete until I had all the piercings I wanted, like my body wasn’t the body I wanted until I had fully transformed it. I would have never started getting tattoos if I didn’t work at Meta, or I would have never gotten my cheeks pierced, and I’m stoked that I ended up doing these things. (My body modifications) make me who I am. I’m surprised that I didn’t start getting tattooed beforehand; (my tattoos) are so gorgeous, and I get to wear others people’s art on MY body without it being basic clothing. That’s insane.”

PLEASE research and educate yourself on which piercer you want to see. It matters so much. Not many people care who pierces them, and that’s unfortunate. This is your body, your canvas, your SELF. Would you let a surgeon work on you without having a highly recommended referral? Why wouldn’t you do the same with a piercer?

If you walk into a studio, and don’t feel confidence radiating from the person who is about to perform a procedure involving a needle, then you should turn right around and leave. The second someone that is sitting in my chair tells me ‘they trust me’, I’m immediately at ease. I need to feel confident in myself, but it’s overjoying when you hear someone tell you that THEY have confidence in you as well.

Both young women continue to move forward in their worlds.
They struggle with self confidence, but through the power of piercings, and the euphoria of yoga, both Raquel and Arielle continue their quest towards total body acceptance.

This is how this yoga instructor and professional piercer stay body positive.