I’VE MOVED

Hi everyone (or anyone who still reads this or comes across this),

I’ve decided to move my blog site over to an official domain! You can now find everything at www.thosepaperhearts.com – it’s official!

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Thanks so much for continuing to support me!

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Generation YouTube

Thanks to the popularity of online media sites like YouTube, rising to fame through mainstream entertainment is a thing of the past. This generation, we say goodbye to strict guidelines and specific steps on “how-to-make-it-big”, and hello to creative freedom and expression. Some content creators on YouTube, or also often referred to as “YouTubers”, have risen to fame through sharing what they love to do – through video!

The reason why this generation idolizes YouTubers is because they came from normal beginnings like you and I. As viewers, we are drawn to content that we can connect with on a personal level. From makeup tips to daily vlogs, gaming tutorials and prank videos, YouTube offers millions of options for viewers to select from. This direct and intimate connection to the audience is perhaps the most remarkable element of YouTube, which cannot be brought out by mainstream entertainment.

One of my favourite YouTubers is a popular beauty vlogger who goes by the channel name HeyClaire (http://www.youtube.com/heyclaire). Claire interacts with her audience of 800,000+ subscribers through posting beauty reviews, daily vlogs, and creative ways to show off her sense of style. As someone who is passionate about beauty and fashion, living vicariously through her life in videos provides me with entertainment and a sense of connection with her, even though I’ve never met her in person. The power that YouTube has to allow creators to connect with their audiences is one that television could never match.

Want to get an idea of the craziness of online fandom? There are many YouTube gatherings held across the world, including VidCon, Playlist Live, and Buffer Festival (right in Toronto!), with over 20,000+ people in attendance! These events are absolutely nuts, and often resemble movie premieres and events that mainstream media hold. Yes, YouTubers have mentioned that they have been chased down the street by screaming fans (I am proud to say I have not been one of them) and yes, they do sign autographs and sell merchandise.

I’ve taken a stab at the YouTube world myself (http://www.youtube.com/ThosePaperHearts). Although I haven’t been posting regularly, I have a general sense of the creative freedom that YouTube offers. It is actually encouraged to be different and stand out from others in order to be noticed, unlike succumbing to mainstream media norms.

We are arguably the most creative generation thus far, and with YouTube, talents can be untapped and recognized through this massive sharing platform – without the pressure of mainstream media guidelines. I have no doubt that the YouTube community will only grow bigger from here. The mentality that these YouTubers have instilled in our generation is that you don’t need mainstream media to get noticed anymore. If they can do it, so can you.

The secret formula for making it on YouTube? Creativity, dedication, and genuine passion.

Accumulated

True Story

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 2.16.28 AM

Remember when “I like you” was enough? “I like you” was the end all goal. “I like you” was the prize. Remember when “I like you” was enough?

I can pull out the journal and go to the specific page and entry when I first heard those words from the girl that I also liked. For the first time, it was mutual. For the first time, of all the people that I could “like”, she “liked” me back. At the time, I innocently called it a “phenomenon” of some sort, that two people could match this way in this world. “I like you” was enough. She became my first girlfriend. She became my first love.

Remember when “I love you” was enough? “I love you” was the epitome, all you needed. “I love you” was when you found the one. Remember when “I love you” was enough?

But that was…

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Welcome, 2015!

January 1st is probably one of the most cliche days of the year. Everyone symbolizes it as a fresh start, a time to start clean, and the most cliche thing of them all: new year resolutions.

I admit, writing a post with the title “Welcome, 2015!” is pretty cliche on my part as well. The first resolution that came into my mind was to blog more this year. And to do this, I wanted to write a post every day in order to improve my writing and to force myself to write more. It’s also an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts instead of bundling them in like I used to.

See, 2014 was a rough year for me. For many reasons, it could be the worst year ever. But for many more reasons, it was probably also the best year ever. I worked in a full-time position for 8/12 months, which allowed me to learn a lot more than I could ever learn by studying in school. I got to meet some of my greatest YouTuber inspirations in person at Buffer Festival. I travelled with my best friend to Chicago. And I discovered more about myself. But that’s the worst part.

I’m more confused than ever.

2015 is going to be the biggest learning year in my life to date. I have one more year until graduation and my last co-op term is coming up in the summer. One more year to discover what I really want to focus on and one more chance to land a job that will potentially launch my career.

Big-Hero-6-Baymax-850x560I started the year off by watching Big Hero 6 with my sister and cried during the last part. I hope this doesn’t dictate what is to come for the rest of the year: crying at every sad scene that happens in my life. I just really want my own Baymax.

My #TIFF14 Experience

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a film festival that happens every year and takes over King St. West in Toronto. Many short films are screened and premiered during this week and there are also many, many celebrity appearances.

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Although I didn’t get to attend any of those screenings (by the time I found out about it, the ones I wanted to see were sold out or were during my work hours – BOOHOO), I was able to walk around and experience the festival through the events and activities happening around the screenings.

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For the first week of TIFF, King St. West was closed off to allow for red carpet premieres, press, sponsor booths, and other events to take over. I knew that TIFF was going to happen soon, but I didn’t know exactly when it was starting. So when I was taking my usual streetcar route to work down King St. West and the driver announced that we were detouring because of a closure, I knew that for the next 2 weeks, Toronto will be buzzing with entertainment. How exciting!

The night before, most of the night events were already set up. I’ve just finished up with another event that I attended and had to go by King St. West to get home. VISA had a sponsor booth and a red carpet backdrop going on, so I took advantage of that (like a typical tourist) and forced my friend to snap a photo of me so I could feel ~important~.

VISA was a sponsor and did a red carpet which I walked.

VISA was a sponsor and had a red carpet, which I walked.

After I finished work the next day, it was day 1 of TIFF and I decided to hit the streets and see what the buzz was about. King St. West was closed alllllll the way from Spadina to University, which is a pretty huge stretch. There were TIFF logos and people everywhere – I couldn’t tell which one out-numbered the other. Many restaurants along the street expanded their patios so it flowed into the middle of the street, which was awesome because walking makes people hungry and no one wants to wait in line for food – good thinking.

TIFF Bell Lightbox - the headquarters.

TIFF Bell Lightbox – the headquarters.

As I was walking past the Royal Alexandra Theatre, I noticed that people were starting to gather in front of the barriers. Being the short person I am, I couldn’t see what was going on, so I asked the security guard nearby. He told me that a film was being premiered here in an hour that starred Tom Hardy (aka Bane from the Batman movie).

After that, I somehow managed to squeeze myself alll the way to the barrier where the red carpet was happening. It wasn’t the most pleasant smelling (because I’m so small, I’m up to peoples’ armpits. Combine that with humid weather and the fact that it was around 5:30pm, well.. it wasn’t great) but I had a good view of what was going on.

The crowd waiting for Tom Hardy.

The crowd waiting for Tom Hardy.

Every time you heard a scream, it was most likely that a celebrity has appeared on the red carpet (like a wild Pokemon). After about 30 minutes of waiting, Tom Hardy shows up. It was probably one of the scariest moments in my life. When a celebrity appears, people turn into… different people. Everyone around me started pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of Tom Hardy. Talk about desperation. Phones and cameras were being shoved as close as possible to the barrier (where I was) so I pretty much got a face full of electronics.

The press shooting Tom Hardy.

The press shooting Tom Hardy.

As Tom Hardy approached my section of the barrier, the crowd around me went wilder. “TOM, TOM! TAKE A SELFIE WITH ME!” “CAN YOU SIGN THIS?” – those are just a few of the many things that were being shouted at him. I think he saw my struggle to stay alive in the roaring crowd, so when he came up to me, he said this – I kid you not.

“You’re a cute height.”

At this moment, I understood why people were so crazy. Although people say celebrities are just people like us, being acknowledged by the one person that everyone is screaming at made me feel pretty freakin’ special. I didn’t get a selfie with him because he was moving down the line of people so fast, but I managed to snag this picture of his handsome face:

Hellooo, Tom Hardy.

Hellooo, Tom Hardy.

I didn’t care who I was pushing into, I just wanted to get out of the crowd after this. Tom Hardy called me out in front of the hundreds of people shouting at him. I was on cloud 9.

I stumbled across another red carpet event that was happening across the street, but I couldn’t use my magic to get to the barrier like I did before. Again, I asked a security guard nearby about this crowd of people and he said that Dustin Hoffman would be arriving on the red carpet shortly. I didn’t want to put myself in the same stinky armpit situation as before, so I passed on this red carpet event. L’Oreal was a sponsor, as you could see from the picture.

Dustin Hoffman was behind this crowd but I'm really short sooo...

Dustin Hoffman was behind this crowd but I’m really short sooo…

I was pretty exhausted by this point, but I managed to stumble across a red carpet event that was happening to promote the fall season line up for CBC. They invited me in and I accepted. The entire place was decked out in red and white – typical Canadian colours. There was an interview being televised in a section of the space and caesars were being served to guests. Again, being the Toronto tourist that I am, I walked the red carpet for CBC and posed for a photographer to snap my photo. It honestly felt like I held a celebrity status.

#FALLforCBC

#FALLforCBC

Walking the red carpet at a CBC event! #FALLforCBC

Walking the red carpet at a CBC event! #FALLforCBC

The weather was looking a bit gloomy, so after all these festivities, I decided to head home. If I were to come back next year, I would most definitely check out some screenings. I was a bit disappointed this year because I found out extremely late, but hey, there’s always next year.

Maybe I’ll run into Tom Hardy again and he can tell me how cute I am. IMG_3915

Bier Markt

To celebrate finishing our first week of work on August 29th, Shawn and I headed to Bier Markt along The Esplanade in downtown Toronto for dinner and drinks!

Approaching Bier Markt from The Esplanade.

Approaching Bier Markt from The Esplanade.

From Union Station, it’s about a 15 minute walk to the restaurant. The construction around the station and on the streets made it extremely difficult to navigate some of the streets, but we got there eventually. When is Toronto ever not under some sort of construction… Am I right?

For a Friday evening, we didn’t have to wait too long for the wait staff to seat us (which is really good because I was starving). We wanted to milk the last of what summer had to offer, so we chose to sit outside on the patio. The patio was crowded with chairs, tables and umbrellas which were all colour-coordinated to fit with their colour scheme.

Our seats out on the patio.

Our seats out on the patio.

On Fridays from 4pm-5pm at work, we have what we like to call “beer o’clock” where we order cases of beer and other alcoholic beverages for the entire office to enjoy after a hard week. I had a beer before coming for dinner so I didn’t want to order a heavy beer.

My choice, Fruli.

My choice, Fruli.

Shawn's choice.

Shawn’s choice.

Instead, I went with the lighter option of a Fruli (strawberry-flavoured beer). It still sorta counts, right? Bier Markt believes that “Bier is art — an expression of passion and dedication.” If I come back, I’ll order a legitimate one. Shawn got the special that they had that day, but I can’t quite remember the name. All I remember was that I wasn’t a huge fan of his choice, but I loved the Fruli.

For dinner I ordered a vegetarian risotto. I have had risotto once in the past when I went on a cruise to Mexico and it was delicious. I also used to be a fan of Hell’s Kitchen where in almost every episode, risotto was a part of the dinner service menu. So you can say that I had high hopes that this dish was going to meet every single expectation I had. In my honest opinion, after I had a few bites, it definitely wasn’t what I’d hoped for. The risotto was a bit tough to chew and it was really salty, but I was extremely hungry. Food is food; I’ll eat anything when I reach that state.

Finishing off the first week of work at Bier Markt!

Finishing off the first week of work at Bier Markt!

Shawn!

Shawn!

Shawn ordered a poutine, which came out smaller than what we expected. I think our overall consensus was that this place is great if you want to order some drinks (preferably beer) and chill out on the patio, but you might want to take more time looking into the food menu depending on how hungry you are.

Bier Markt was a great experience and it was a good end to the first week of working in Toronto. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Toronto restaurants have to offer! If you have any recommendations on places to go, feel free to let me know!

First day at my new job!

Today marked the first day of my new co-op job! I won’t go into the details of where I work, but the general idea is that it’s a startup in downtown Toronto and I am the new marketing co-op there.

My morning started off bright and early with my alarm blaring in my ear at exactly 6:30am. Note that I didn’t get out of bed right away (because the first thing I do is check my phone, who doesn’t?), but it was still extremely early.

I planned my commute the day before, and since it was my first day (and I’m really bad at gaging my times) I didn’t know exactly how long it was going to take me to get to the train station. My train leaves at 7:50am, or so I thought, but I ended up arriving earlier than expected and caught a train at 7:40am instead!

Waiting for my train to Toronto in the wee hours of the morning.

Waiting for my train to Toronto in the wee hours of the morning.

Commuting from the suburbs to downtown Toronto is no joke. It takes me about an hour and a bit in total IF I can get a ride to the train station in the morning. Don’t even get me started on taking the subway and bus.. That will probably be another day.

In Toronto, there are random spot checks that happen on board on the train every so often just to make sure everyone has paid to get on, otherwise they face a hefty fine. I reckon they don’t do this all the time because of the amount of people that board every day. It would be nearly impossible to make sure everyone pays, at least I think so. They could have created a barrier or something, I don’t know. But this form of security reminds me of the concept of a panopticon. It’s pretty clever in my opinion.

..well it just so happened that someone went around checking everyone’s ticket on my first day on the train. Lucky me, right?

Luckily, like the good citizen I am, I paid before boarding. So did everyone else in my area of the train. I can’t even imagine what would happen if someone didn’t and they got caught. Shit will go dooooooown.

I ended up falling asleep during the entire train ride (except the part where they checked everyone’s ticket), but boy, that is an uncomfortable way of napping. If anything, it strained my neck more to “nap” than to stay awake. I think I’ll start reading instead and keep myself occupied. It will also maximize my productivity while travelling. Yay me!

Approaching downtown Toronto!

Approaching downtown Toronto!

When I got off the train, I didn’t even have to question where I had to go. I just followed the huge stream of people towards the exit and BOOM I found myself outside the station. Now here comes the confusing part: there is a lot of construction going on around Union Station for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I was lost like a confused puppy. I’d like to say that I have a pretty good sense of direction so I quickly oriented myself and walked to my streetcar stop to get to work.

The streetcar isn’t so bad in the morning, but after work around 5pm is a completely different story… People. People everywhere.

I got to work early which I didn’t mind. I like making a good impression on my first day and prove that tardiness is non-existent on my list.

My work day went swell. I really enjoy working at startups because of the close knit culture it fosters. Startups are fast-paced and allows room for creativity because nothing is set-in-stone – exactly how I like to do work. I got to meet the team and the rest of the company. I was in meetings with different people most of the day just to get the gist of the company objectives and goals. I even wrote my first email blast today internally for the company which I felt extremely pressured to do since it was only my first day, but at least I got a taste of what to expect for the rest of my time here.

A small section of the office area that I work in. The sales team shares this area with us, the marketing team.

A small section of the office area that I work in. The sales team shares this area with us, the marketing team.

If we get tired of sitting at our desks, we have the option of sitting at the bar or even on the couches!

If we get tired of sitting at our desks, we have the option of sitting at the bar or even on the couches!

I work closely with another co-op student, Shivani. Her and I were actually friends before starting to work here together, and we had no idea that we would be together! I feel extremely lucky though. Shivani and I get along really well and today we proved that by collaborating on a project! We’re off to a great start and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.

#selfie with Shivani

#selfie with Shivani

One of the perks of working here is that we get a catered lunch every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for employees. Which means that I will be able to eat decent food for once unlike when I lived by myself. And now I have no excuse not to eat during lunch. Today’s lunch was really yummy. It was from Ali Baba’s and it consisted of rice, chicken, and salad.

I’ve heard from many people that while I’m in Toronto, I should be trying food that I won’t be able to get from living in the suburbs. Hell yeah I’m going to take advantage of this foodie adventure.

Lunch provided by Ali Baba's.

Lunch provided by Ali Baba’s.

I was bombarded with so much information and so much work during the entire day. I could sum up this day with one word: overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good first day. But it was just a lot, you know? I’m really bad at remembering names and faces and there are a lot of people at this company. In a perfect world, everyone would be walking around with name tags on their foreheads. But sadly the world doesn’t revolve around my wants and so I must deal with the awkward hellos and remembering names for these next few weeks. It’s also hard to fill in someone’s shoes after they left such a big impact on the company. The previous marketing co-op has done a lot, and I just hope that I can live up or match what he has accomplished during his time here.

My commute home wasn’t as bad as I thought. I wasn’t on my phone at all during the work day so I used my commute home as a time to catch up on my social media and answer messages.

Heading home after a tiring day.

Heading home after a tiring day.

This will be an exciting work term. I just know it.