NatureImmersed and JaniceHoCreative

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Dear friends,

It’s been a long time! Well, I realized I haven’t updated you guys on what’s been happening since I left my career path in October.

As you know from my last post, I had decided to move away from the city and quit the cubicle life so that I could spend more of my life in nature, where I am the happiest!

I did end up travelling to Tuscany, Italy to volunteer (or “wwoof”) at Castello di Potentino, an organic vineyard, for a month. It was a mind-blowing experience with amazing scenery, delicious food and wine, and wonderful new friends.

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Upon returning home, I moved to my friend’s farm just outside of the city. I have been there ever since, having lots of crazy adventures with the farm animals (sheep, dogs, pigs, cats, ducks, turkeys and chickens!).

I have learned so much about farming, animals, the environment, and most of all, myself.

To share my journey living the farm life, I created a website called Nature Immersed. I also share some stories and tips from my backcountry camping adventures, as well as experiences exploring places of nature abroad (like a vineyard in Tuscany!).

This will be my main home in the world wide web, and where I’ll be actively writing and sharing about my new journey in nature.

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There’s one more blog site that I want to share with you. It’s called JaniceHoCreative.com, and it was just created today.

Aside from embarking on my new life in nature, I’m also pursuing a larger quest — one that involves discovering and honouring my life calling.

The blog on JaniceHoCreative is much more personal than my writings on Nature Immersed. It is about my journey exploring spiritual development, creating and sharing my music, and writing my first book!

This is a regular WordPress site, so you can follow along in your Reader if you’d like, or also subscribe to receive new posts by email.

I’d say that NatureImmersed and JaniceHoCreative combines both styles of writing that you’ve read on Your Daily Dose Blog — fun storytelling and more introspective, reflection posts.

And in true Janice fashion, I’m working on creating more of a community and discussion on NatureImmersed with a new section called Your Take on Nature. It’s where I simply ask a question related to nature, food, the outdoors, or the environment, and you do all the talking!

You know that I really love hearing from other people’s experiences. I’ve learned so much from all of the people who have passed by “the cafe” and left their mark here. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and stories with me :)

That’s all for now. I may be back again here, on Your Daily Dose, in the future. In the meantime, I hope to see you at my other homes in the blogosphere. We can always have a coffee there and chat!

With love,
Janice (a.k.a. Cafe) <3

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Janice on Song Talk Radio! And Twitter!

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Hey cafe goers!

So I’ve been fluttering around the big ‘ol Twitterverse lately, doing some live tweeting for a local university radio show called Song Talk Radio.

I’m so in love with the show because it’s all about exploring one of my favourite things in the entire world — ah, no, not fine, single malt scotch, but close(!) — songwriting!

I was actually a guest on Song Talk Radio last month and played a few of my originals (including a new song, “Dance Without Judgement”, live in studio)!  The best part about Song Talk is actually being able to discuss the songwriting process in an intelligent and interesting way — as you know I love to do ;)

And that’s because the hosts — Phil, Bruce and Neel — are so knowledgable about the vast world of music that I often feel like I’ve been living under a very heavy rock.  Plus, they’ve got the kind of laid-back, witty banter going on that has hooked me into hanging out with them every week to tweet for the show!

So here’s the podcast with my Song Talk Radio interview if you want to actually hear the voice behind this blog :)

If you’re also chirping away on Twitter, come join me for the live chat: @SongTalkRadio!  I’ll actually be tweeting in about an hour from now (Monday at 7 pm EST)! [Note: Song Talk is now on Tuesdays at 7!]

And here’s my personal Twitter nest that has a fully-functional coffee machine so we can continue our caffeine-induced chats no matter where we are!: @JaniceHoTweets

See you in Twitter Land! :)

– Cafe <3

My (Sort of) Last Blog Post on Your Daily Dose

Dear blogging friends,

I guess this may come as a surprise to many of you. But I’ve given it a lot of thought. And I have decided to make this my last blog post here on Your Daily Dose.

It has been an amazing journey since I opened up shop here about a year and a half ago. I can still remember when I used to only get two comments on a post. Now, there’s almost 600 bloggers subscribed (minus you blogging robots ;), plus anyone following through Facebook and Twitter. Over 35,000 page views. 5,500 comments (including my own, of course). It seems crazy to walk away from such amazing readership, but I really do believe that it is the right time for me.

You’re probably wondering: Why? Well, I think there are a few reasons. But the most important one is that I no longer feel that I can maintain this blog with the same consistency and drive that I’ve had in the past year and a half. And those are two things that are important to me, as a blogger. I would rather walk away on a high note than drag it out, sporadically popping in and out and not necessarily having the same level of inspiration and love for writing behind each and every post that I’ve always strived for. I am really sad at the thought of this being the end, but I want to just reflect on all of the great things that have come out of blogging here at Your Daily Dose.

It’s very apparent to me now that through this blogging experience, I’ve been blessed with the motivation to pursue my creative passions — especially music — and to be more fearless in going after the dreams I always thought were unreachable. I have all of you to thank for your constant encouragement, support, and words of motivation. Without your help, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence to keep going full speed ahead :)

I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for every time you dropped by the cafe to chat with me. Thank you to anyone who has read, liked, re-blogged, and/or commented on a post. Thank you to everyone who has been so thoughtful to pass on a blogging award this way. I feel truly honoured that you have shared your own personal stories, experiences, thoughts and advice here with me and others. I have been inspired and moved, and have learned so much from you all. It really has been all about creating a blogging community here for me, and you guys have helped make that happen.

I will be leaving this blog post up and exporting everything else to another, private site, just to have as an archive. I will be closing my Facebook and Twitter pages in a day or two, but I for sure will still be on SoundCloud where you can feel free to follow me and check out what’s going on in my songwriting journey. If I happen to create another site within the next year, I’ll be sure to update you guys here with a new post so that we might reconnect elsewhere in the world wide web (so don’t unsubscribe yet! :).

But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever meet again! I hope to find time in the future to drop by many of your blogs, to say hi and see how you’re all doing. But in the meantime, I find comfort in knowing that you have an amazing blogging family around you that will continue to inspire you, cry and laugh with you, and cheer you on in this crazy thing called life :)

Again, it’s been an incredible experience and joy spending the time that I have with you all. I wish everyone the absolute best. Don’t ever stop dreaming big and going after your life goals. Always keep searching for ways to be inspired. And always remember what and who are truly the most important things in your life. Time is too precious and life is to short to waste on doing anything other than that.

Your friend, Cafe <3

Update: I’ve been really touched reading all of your heart-felt comments so far and will try to post an update on any new songs I write during the year for anyone who would rather follow here than through SoundCloud. Thank you to everyone who has made me and this blog feel truly special! xoxo

Update – Part 2: Visit here to find out what’s happening with Your Daily Dose!

Going Dark on Facebook

A few days ago I looked down at my Blackberry and threw my hands up in the air. I had just about had enough! Flinging my phone to the ground, I declared: “Facebook must die!!!”

Okay, fine, so it was slightly less dramatic than that. What really happened was that over the past few weeks, I had been frequenting my personal Facebook account less and less. I just didn’t have anything much to say. I found myself browsing my newsfeed purely out of thoughtless habit.

Sometimes I did come up with things to share with the world: “The TTC should burn to the ground.” “It is freezing like a biznatch out here.” “Watching Alias makes me want to drink red wine.”

But after instinctively reaching for my Crackberry and hitting the Facebook app to spread these profound thoughts far and wide, I paused and asked myself: “Does anyone really care?”

Yesterday, I had been chatting with my cousin about potentially disabling my Facebook account for an indefinite period of time. An hour later, I came across a Freshly Pressed post, Are you Being Squeezed by Social Media?, that asked the readers what justified us staying on Facebook and what would it take for us to leave?

Then today, I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader and came across Mooselicker’s post. It really didn’t matter what it was about (I don’t mean it like that, Tim) — all I saw were the words “Soul Sellers” and “Facebook” together and my mouth dropped open. My God, it was a sign.

What did justify me staying on Facebook? What the heck did I do on there anyway? I decided to take a browse around my page to determine this answer.

I found that I used Facebook to broadcast urgent requests:

I used Facebook to update my friends on what had become of me …

… and about my vacations and crazy new adventures.

My Facebook page was the home of many a football game commentary, where friends would take the opportunity to diplomatically discuss their thoughts on my favourite team.

But Facebook was also where friends would send me links to interesting videos and news articles:

And where I could easily connect with family who lived in different countries:

So at the end of my search, I was nowhere closer to figuring out the answers to my burning questions:

  • Would shutting down my account actually lead to more meaningful communication between my friends and I?
  • Or would I simply lose connections with people I did care about, but who choose to mainly communicate through FB?
  • Are emailing and texting actually more meaningful ways of communicating? Do we give FB a lot more flack than it deserves?
  • Would I be more productive with the time I was using to mindlessly browse my newsfeed? Or would I at the very least feel less like a FB automaton?

WOULD MY LIFE CHANGE WITHOUT FACEBOOK? OR WOULD ITS DEMISE BARELY MAKE A DENT?

I’m curious to find out. But I’m not completely convinced just yet. Thoughts, people?

– Cafe <3

Photo Credit: Facebook stats

Is Blogging a Waste of Time?

In the past few days, three things happened that made me question: Am I wasting my time blogging?

1. I read an article by the Blog Tyrant titled “Why Blogging is a Waste of Your Time.”

2. One of my newest visitors, Whitt, left a very thought-provoking comment on being addicted to blogging after reading about my self-imposed, four-day social media ban.

3. I came across the Freshly Pressed post “Revenge of the Ping” by cheerful.egg about the weapons of mass distraction that we need to learn how to say “NO!” to.

Were the Greater Powers That Be staging an intervention?

Just say no.

Why would blogging be a waste of time?

Most people would say it’s because it takes time away from doing other things — meaning other, more productive things.

To me, blogging is productive in many ways and fulfills a creative need that I can’t always get elsewhere. But sometimes I’m not entirely sure if I’m starting to cross the line again.

It’s a good thing to check in with yourself on this every so often. And if you do feel like you might be wasting a lot of time on blogging, here’s some ideas on how you can keep up your blog without sacrificing all of your precious time:

1. Post on the bus. I’ve spent many a bus and subway ride typing up blog post drafts in my BlackBerry notes app (if I wasn’t doing that, I’d be passed out in my seat).

Email myself the note, copy and paste it into WordPress, and with some minor edits I have a new blog post ready to go and don’t have to spend time creating a whole new work of art right there on the spot.

This goes for any other time you might be sitting around killing time — like for a doctor’s appointment or when you’re waiting for that significant other who is always late.

2. Post less often. Some people like to post something new once a day, sometimes multiple times a day. If you have time for it and that’s what you want to do, carry on. But if you’re finding that it’s taking up way too much of your time, schedule a post for every two, three or even four days.

There’s another plus side to this strategy. Writing less often means there’s a better chance that more of your readers will get to read each new published post. As much as I love my blogroll, there’s no way I can keep up anymore with reading every post that each person writes, especially if they post every single day.

3. Get a guest blogger. I don’t recommend doing it all the time, because at the end of the day your followers are following YOU and want to read what YOU have to say. But if you know someone who has something interesting to contribute to your blog and is willing to keep up with replying to comments, it can provide a nice little break for you.

4. Simplify some of your posts. Take a photo of something interesting and just write one compelling paragraph about it. Sometimes people would rather just look at intriguing images than take the time to read a whole lot of text.

I’ll try to take my own advice on this and not to say so much all the time … after this post ;)

5. Do something just to blog about it. I know it sounds kind of weird, but go out and do something that you might not normally do just for the sake of blogging about it. If you can’t pry yourself away from writing up a next post, at least make it a point to get out there and experience something new, interesting or exciting that you can tell all your readers about.

Make blogging the motivation to do “real” stuff, rather than let it hinder you from experiencing those things. That way, you won’t feel guilty about wasting your time and you’ll probably have a kick-ass post to blog about as a result!

– Cafe <3

Do you feel like blogging is taking up too much of your time? What are your tips for balancing your blog life with real life?