Local Business Spotlight: Art Noise

Since diving into drawing and painting, I find that I have questions. Lots of questions. Questions about technique. Questions about tools. Questions about my ability to even do this. Of course, Google is helpful and I’ve definitely made use of YouTube videos. However, there is something to be said about human contact. So in today’s blog, I’d like to shine the spotlight on an Art Supply Store here in Kingston.

Allow me to introduce you to Art Noise, a fun and funky shop located at 290 Princess Street, in the heart of Kingston, Ontario. They sell art supplies, audio products, and offer classes. So far I’ve only delved into the art supply offerings but I hope to take a class there soon. Part of what draws me to Art Noise is the staff. I’ve been in three times (since November) and all three times the staff has been incredible. It doesn’t hurt that they have a great selection of items and the prices seem really reasonable to me. Oh, and there’s a loyalty program too! In fact, I got $10 off my last purchase!

My first visit, I had no clue what I was doing, what I was looking for, or even the right questions to ask. I wanted to buy some actual drawing pencils and I was rather overwhelmed by the available options. But luckily Fiona was there to help me out. She patiently explained the different types of pencils and what the numbers and letters on them mean. She showed me some pre-made kits, as well as the individual pencils. I gave her a budget of $20-$25 and she put together a great little starter kit for me. I walked out of Art Noise that day with the supplies to get me started drawing and painting. Another thing that impressed me about Fiona was that she didn’t try to oversell stuff to me. She understood that I was a total beginner, didn’t want to spend a fortune (only to discover I didn’t enjoy this hobby), and didn’t make me feel stupid for my questions, or the fact that I am using a sketchbook from the dollar store. Or dollar store paint brushes.


My first actual Art Supplies, purchased at Art Noise, Kingston

My other two visits have been equally as awesome. I’ve bought new paintbrushes (yes, I upgraded the dollar store brushes) and more watercolour paints. I also want to point out that Art Noise carries Tri-Art Mfg. supplies that are LOCALLY MADE HERE IN KINGSTON! I have 4 tubes of Tri-Art’s watercolours and I love them. With my limited experience, I find the colours are rich, easy to mix and blend, and they have a great selection to choose from.

The only unfortunate thing about Art Noise (and I say this totally tongue in cheek), is that they don’t have an online store. However, I think the awesome selection, bright and clean layout, and the AMAZING STAFF make this a store worth checking out.

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Saving for the Future

Today I achieved level “Financial Planning Grown Up“. I had reached this level once before, but with my bankruptcy and some not great life choices, I backslid a bit. Ok, so a lot. But today I put myself on a path to not having to work full-time until the day I die. At least I hope that’s the case.

This morning I met with a Mutual Fund Representative at my bank. We discussed my goals, my current financial situation, and what my best options were. After about an hour of discussion, I walked out of the bank with a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) that will invest into a Canadian Dividend Fund. At the moment, my immediate goal is to save the $500 I need for the initial investment into the fund. So for now, my regular contributions are simply going into my TFSA and when I hit that magic number, I’ll purchase units of my fund. Of course, I’ve spent the evening tweaking my budget to get that $500 sooner rather than later. And if I’m careful, smart, and frugal, I will have it by the end of February. Challenge accepted!

I’m excited. Because I am finally in a place (and situation) where I have the ability to do this. I am so grateful for what my sister and her boyfriend have done for me over the past year. But I’m 40 and I don’t want to live with my sister forever. So it was high time I started working towards getting ahead.

money pink coins pig

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

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Returning to Routines

There’s definitely something to be said for consistent routines. Over the past 3 weeks, the household’s routines have been all over the place. And I am really looking forward to Monday, January 7th when they return to normal.

The kids are getting on each other’s nerves, as they’ve spent so much time together during the Christmas Break. The oldest wasn’t happy with some of the toys he got for Christmas, so he keeps asking the youngest to play with his toys. And while the youngest almost always says “yes”, I wish he’d say “no” more often. Of course, the youngest isn’t without his annoying quirks either. He’s developed this irritating baby talk squawk thing where he’ll walk around going “Meh, Meh, Meh.” It’s hard to explain in writing, but let me tell you, it’s annoying as heck.

I’m also trying to develop some routines of my own. Primarily making myself sit down to spend some time on my hobbies. I try to set aside 15-30 minutes in the evening  to do some sketching. I’ve joined a small group on Facebook where the administrator posts a daily prompt. At this stage in my art journey, I find it very helpful to be told what to draw. So I’ll look at the prompt, and then for 15 minutes, I make some sketches. At the end of the first 15, if I have any sketches that I really like, I’ll take another 15 minutes and try to flesh out my favourite. So far my sketches aren’t really for public viewing, but I have created a few pieces I’m quite proud of.


Some of my tulip drawings

I’ve also decided to try again to stick to a budget and make scheduled savings contributions.  I sat down on New Year’s Eve and got it set up. I want to have a small savings cushion by the end of 2019. And I’m ashamed to admit that I have no retirement savings. I haven’t exactly been rolling in money to be able to save anything. But that changes this year. With the budget I created, I can easily indulge in my hobbies (like buying fabric, plants, and art supplies), AND manage to have both a savings account for larger purchases (like train fare to Ottawa or Montreal or Toronto) and set up an RRSP. I will be phoning my bank this week to go in and get that account opened.

How many of you are looking forward to your regular routines again? Anybody adding anything new to their routine?


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So I Took 6 Months Off and Didn’t Write a Word

Apparently I decided to take a hiatus for the last half of 2018. And that’s ok. Because I didn’t really have much to write about. Crazy online dating stories can only account for so much of my blog. And I’m not creating many new recipes these days, as most of my cooking is geared towards a 3 and a 5 year old. And they don’t care how gourmet something is.

I know at the end of 2017 I wrote a blog with some goals for 2018. Something about saving some money, running a few races, and some other things I can’t remember. Obviously, I accomplished none of them. However, I did accomplish one thing that has blown me away. I came to the realization that I AM FABULOUS. I turned 40 back in October, and I feel AMAZING.


Feeling Fabulous at 40

Over the course of 2018, I’ve also picked up a couple of new hobbies. Well, I guess one is just expanding on a previous interest. I’ve gotten back into collecting houseplants. I currently have 40 or so. Here are a few of my planty babies.

Houseplant Collection on a Baker's Rack

A portion of my Houseplant Collection


I’ve also started learning/teaching myself how to sketch, draw, and paint with watercolours. It started when my nephews found a book at the library, teaching how to draw dinosaurs. My nephews are obsessed with dinos and keep asking me to draw pictures for them. I think I’m getting better.

T. Rex and Spinosaurus pencil sketches

First Attempt at Sketching a T. Rex and a Spinosaurus

Coloured T. Rex Sketch

Another T. Rex Sketch, this one coloured with pencils

And just to show off a little bit more, here’s one of my watercolour “masterpieces”. And yes, that is sarcasm. But I love playing with the paints and I find it very soothing to mix colours in my palette.


A Watercolour Countryside

I’m hoping to blog more again this year. But we’ll see what 2019 brings.

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Well, This has Been Eye-Opening

I am always an optimist. I truly believe in the good in everybody. Unfortunately, online dating is shaking my very belief system to its core. There are oh so many jerks out there.

Let me ask you this. Why would you give someone your phone number if you don’t want to hear from them? That’s right…The Chef. We did manage to reconnect. But that lasted for 12 hours. I haven’t heard from him since.

Anyway, I have decided to change direction. Because honestly, this whole experience is doing my head in. My anxiety and depression are through the roof, while my self-esteem is in the shitter. So, I’m now just going to focus on making friends and expanding my social circle. Which here in Kingston, is nobody. Even one friend would be nice.

I have joined Meetup and am now a member of a couple of groups there. I’m meeting up with several people this Wednesday to go for a walk downtown and end up at a pub for a beer. Or a soda. Or whatever I decide I’m drinking that night. I’m also looking at the Kingston Spring and Summer Recreation Guide. There are a few things that look interesting, but because of my sister’s schedule (which impacts my schedule), I’m not sure I can commit to a multi-week class. At least with the Meetup things, I can RSVP up until the day of, so I can wait and see what my day looks like.

I am keeping my profile up on POF, but I’m going to try not taking it so seriously. Because I am SO much better than most of the crap on there.

I must be a squirrel

My latest online dating experience

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Continuing the Search (or Another Week of Online Dating)

Are you ready for the latest tales as I navigate the online dating world? I swear, I can’t make this stuff up.


Yup. Pretty much. 

My First Unsolicited Dick Pic in over 10 Years

I was chatting with a guy one evening last week and it was going ok. We were making tentative plans to meet up on the weekend. The next morning, he messages me, “Do you want to see something hot?”

Oh dear. I can see where this is going. And it ain’t going to be pretty. I reply, “It had better be a picture of a hot cup of coffee.”

“Well,” he says, “I am in bed right now.”

“No thanks, I’m not interested.”

The conversation continues normally for five minutes or so. And then it arrives. The unsolicited dick pic. Now, as far as penises go, it was a decent looking one. But I certainly don’t appreciate getting an out-of-the-blue eyeful of some stranger’s genitalia. At least take me out for dinner a few times. I asked him WTF he was thinking and promptly blocked him.

When Technology Hates You

This next tale is one that I hope isn’t over yet. The same day I chatted with Dick Pic, I got a very pleasant message from someone else: “I love your hair.”

Now, as far as messages go, it’s not the greatest line, but it was enough to get me to look at his profile. OK, so it was great. Because it worked. Anyway, I discovered that this guy is a Red Seal certified Chef. And he loves to travel. And he loves the outdoors. And, and, and. We got chatting back and forth and over the next couple of days we had those kinds of conversations that are just comfortable. How we spend our lazy days, his cat, our crazy sleep patterns. On Friday we started making plans to meet up on Sunday. The weather was supposed to be beautiful and we planned on grabbing a coffee or tea and then walking along Lake Ontario.

But, it was not meant to be, apparently. Because he seemed to stop receiving my messages. And no, I don’t appear to be blocked, because from my end they are sending. And I have the full message history. I was pretty bummed about it Friday night and all day Saturday. I woke up Sunday morning to this message from him:

“Hey… sorry about my absence. My POF is screwing up and my messages aren’t getting sent and I’m receiving bits and pieces. Now, I copy what I write and just keep pasting it until it sends.”

Now maybe I’m deluding myself that he’s still (or ever was) interested, but I’m inclined to think there is definitely some interest. And I’d like to hope that he wouldn’t have bothered to try and explain what was going on if he’d decided to just disappear. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard from him since. And I’m trying not to turn into crazy stalker lady. But I really hope that we’re able to reconnect and meet at some point.

Trying Other Dating Sites

As per the suggestions of some friends, I also created accounts on okCupid and Match.com. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much the same group of guys. And I am very limited in what I can do without a paid subscription. At least on POF, I can message people for free.

So that’s where things stand in my dating life. I think I hear crickets chirping. Stay tuned to find out if anything happens over the next week.


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The Scary World of Online Dating

Online dating is NOT for the faint of heart. Five days in and I’m already thinking I was insane for trying this route again. Allow me to share some of the gems.

  1. I have been asked 8 times already for pictures of my breasts.
  2. One guy has informed me that he has fantasies about having sex with sisters, where one sister watches.
  3. One guy asked if he could watch me pee.

But here’s the winner so far. Today I was offered $200 to give a guy a blow job. And this class act put in his profile that he’s looking for a relationship. I blocked his sorry, pathetic profile.

Monday’s date was a bust. And I really should have clued into the fact that he didn’t even take his jacket off, or offer to get me a coffee. We sat on an uncomfortable bench in the bookstore and talked for an hour. At least he drove me home. Which was nice, because it was raining.

I honestly remember this being more fun when I was younger. In university, it was a blast. As a poor student, it was a great way to get out. It became a game: how many cups of coffee could I get in a week. But now, as I see 40 storming over the horizon, this isn’t fun. funny-dating-memes

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