Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Caroline Burke

I truly believe variety is the spice of life. This Writer Wednesday series is to showcase people from drastically different backgrounds and see what we can find when we go into interview mode.

That said, as a reader, I also enjoy reading different types of things because I believe that one should know a bit about everything and a lot of what we’re passionate about. That’s why I’m a fan of Stumble Upon and why my research is so random. I love to read about anything that’s well written, because if a person has talent, is genuine and has spark, then I definitely have time for what that person has to say. Caroline Burke has all of these characteristics and runs a fashion blog with enviable design and wonderful tips for your home and fashion. Apart from being a lovely person, she has talent and who am I to not spread the word?

1. Firstly, thanks so much from taking the time to answer these questions. So first things first, who is Caroline Burke, what does she do for a living and how does that vary from what you do on your blog?

​Well she's pretty darn similar to the person you see on my blog. Blogging has taken over my life so I spend all my time working on new projects. I'm not sure where Caroline ends and Burkatron begins anymore!​ Outside of blogging I'm an artist by trade who also dabbles in the bioscience industry so I'm a bit of a mixed bag!

2. What was your inspiration for the Burkatron blog and how has the experience been connecting with people through different social media platforms?

​My inspiration is really my desire to share with people and hopefully inspire them to be creative! When someone recreates one of my DIY projects or tries their hand at one of my nail art's it's so rewarding! Connecting with likeminded people on social media is definitely one of the highlights of blogging, I've made friends with people in other countries and connected with readers in a way I never knew was possible. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram are so rewarding and utterly addictive! I genuinely feel like I have friends out there typing away behind their laptops :)

3. Ok, where does the name Burkatron come from? It’s like your superhero or Godzilla fighting robot name and it’s also quite catchy. :D

​Haha! Well I'm not sure if I'm ready to come out of the superhero closet yet. I'll stick with the more mundane explanation ;) It's a nickname my boyfriend gave me! When I started blogging, I wasn't sure what to call my blog so Burkatron it became :)

(Although I'm pretty certain I'd be a kick ass fighting robot should the opportunity arise)

4. What are the main messages you want to communicate with what you do?

​To experiment and be playful. Nothing on my blog is too weighty. I think real life is serious enough- my blog is my place​ to be creative.

5. Most people would be happier if they did these 5 things.

Say no more.
​Love recklessly.
​E​mbrace their flaws​.
​Write a list (this always makes me happy haha!)​

6. What is the best gift you’ve ever gotten?

My kitten, he's called Kipper and he is an absolute rascal! Whenever I'm feeling stressed he curls up around my neck like a little scarf and somehow all is right with the world again :)

7. A super hero emails you that they need an outfit and has no idea how to make one. They have all sorts of materials in their home, how do you help them make the perfect super hero costume with easy to follow DIY tips?

​Well every superhero needs a cape right? I think that's where I'd start! I imagine they wouldn't have much time on their hands (with saving the world and all that jazz) so I'd keep it simple​!​ I think an old sheet would be good cape material. Add some Velcro on the shoulders to keep it in place ​and voila... instant superhero chic haha!

8. A family of dolls is in dire need of their doll house to get a makeover, what would you recommend?

Well if their house looks anything like my old doll house it's very cluttered haha! I'd recommend a minimal approach, nothing beats a fresh coat of paint so I'll go with a white colour scheme on the walls and cut back on all unnecessary clutter (apart from the tiny toys, the kids will need those!) Add warmth and colour with paintings, family photographs and soft furnishings!

9. What’s currently on your musical playlist, movie queue and reading list?

Current Music -Lana Del Rey, John Legend, Radiohead and George Ezra​

Movie queue -Foxcatcher, The imitation game and The theory of everything

Reading list- Gone girl, The book thief, Girlboss.

10. Where can people find more things Burkatron?​ Well you can find me chatting here:

on Twitter @burkatron and of course at the mothership ​ :)

- - - -

As I mentioned at the beginning of this Writer Wednesday, I love variety. I think knowing a little about everything equips us to express ourselves creatively and that said creativity is a healthy outlet to get more out of life. It also goes to show that guys can also enjoy the finer things in life without fear towards their masculinity because hey, if there’s anything I can guarantee from the Burkatron blog is that if you’re a guy and want to impress your significant other, there are PLENTY of ideas to surprise and give something double special. In addition, by trying new things, we lose the fear to express ourselves creatively… and in life, freedom does tend to bring along happiness. So by all means, fellow humans, let us create!

Once again, thanks to Caroline for the fun answers and for showing that there’s no need to fear when it comes to DIY projects. Just have fun. After all, life is a ride and we should enjoy it.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Surprises aren't meant to be ruined

“Spoilers are the best thing ever.” – said no one, EVER

I’ll admit it… I hate spoilers. I’m not a fan of having a surprise ruined so naturally I’m also not big on trailers that are too long.

I want to be intrigued, surprised and convinced to watch or read something. I don’t need ANYONE revealing key plot points that are essential to enjoying the experience.

The word spoiler says it all... it spoils. Putrefies, decays, rots and ruins. That’s what a spoiler does to your experience. It robs you of AHA moments and replaces them with lame, "oh yeah, like we saw in the trailer."

There is an unwritten rule that you simply don’t offer me any spoilers UNLESS I ask something directly.

“JD, you HAVE to watch THIS movie.”

If I’m suspicious, I ask if X or Y happens because there are certain things I’m not interested in seeing or reading about, I’ll admit. And there’s been plenty of movies I haven’t nor will ever watch because I’m just not good with certain types of suffering, especially the animal kind. I could give you a long list of movies I won’t watch, except that putting them on a list will tell you that something bad happens, THUS ruining it. So I’ll abstain from mentioning any movie that might make it on that list, in case you’re cool with it because you might enjoy it.

That said, a guy I met a while back actually ruined one of the most powerful Dr. Who moments I’ve ever watched. Even knowing what the Doctor would say, the line hit home... though I was robbed of having that line hit full force. He told me this 10 months before I watched the episode where it appeared... and I didn’t forget.

That’s the thing, if you share a small detail, many of us will remember... some people forget and although it sucks, I’m happy I’m not that lucky. Still, I will never rob anyone of their AHA moments. Because that’s the magic of a story. That moment where you’re slapped across the face and shown something you’ve never seen before. Certain movie endings, TV lines, music appearances and cameos ALL make it worthwhile, and that’s just me referring to TV and movies.

I’ve had people almost ruin part of a book and I’ve silenced them time and time again. It’s just that some people can’t help themselves. To me it is a selfish act because that magical moment when you read a line that hooks you and you’re swallowing and holding your breath for pages at a time... that is lost once you hit upon a spoiler.

So be kind to your fellow readers/watchers/friends... and keep the spoils under wraps, before you stink up the place.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Wilt or Weather

Life has challenges.

Life will shower you with frustrations from time to time.

Things will happen and you have two choices in the matter:

Wilt or Weather.

On the one hand, you can cave in; temporarily or just throw in the towel. For however unsavory that action is, always remember, it is an option. I know people who have been in a job for fifteen years that doesn’t inspire them.

“It pays the bills”

“I have job security”

“You shouldn’t let go of a good thing”

These are all sensible thoughts and opinions and in the end, we are all entitled to choose the path we think is right. Wilting need not be hitting rock bottom. The example above is not someone who lives under a bridge, but it is someone that settled. It is someone that came up with such a logically powerful argument that it becomes the reason for not pursuing a dream. And yes, even if it doesn’t seem that way, said person may have wilted. Call it what you will, the safe bet, the easy route, or ensuring your wellbeing... there is an element of wilting in those actions or lack of actions and denying it will only be a disservice to you, your dreams and your potential.

That said, wilting is not a bad thing. There are people happy to conform. There are people who are happy to hit a single. There are those that don’t need to push their luck.

Still... there are others who don’t.

There are those whose day-to-day life drives them insane. Who don’t want to settle. Who can’t bear the mere thought of retiring from their current place of employment. Those are the people who brave life to weather the storm.

Weathering a storm means looking ahead, past the storm. It means you won’t always be where you are and that you know it for a fact. It means that the waves crashing on your vessel are a test, not a lifelong imposition. It means that if you press forwards and insist, sunshine awaits.

So here’s to weathering or wilting for the decision is ours to make. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Smiles never hurt

Since I was a kid, I would smile to everyone. From sweet old ladies to thug-looking guys, I would acknowledge people because that act can actually make a positive impact to the point of helping shake people from their funk. 
Often times when I’m in a bank or long line and people are getting antsy and leaning towards the side o P.O.dness, I engage in small talk, smile to people, make random comments or do what I can to deactivate the ticking time bomb of impatience. When I make eye contact with someone, 9/10 times I’ll flash a smile because again, small acts can make a big difference.

All of this is because I’ve seen people’s shoulder go from sagging to a little more uplifted by just smiling at them. A good morning also does wonders and a kind asking how they are even more so.

All of these actions are basically my way of telling someone, “you’re not alone, it’s Ok to smile and it’s Ok to believe that things will pass, because they will.” 

A smile costs nothing yet too many people are too focused on their Candy Crushes and statuses to give a damn and although I do look at my phone more than I probably should, I still connect plenty, say good afternoon, good day, hello, how are you, have a nice day, and other such pleasantries because as the word implies, I prefer when we help make things more pleasant.

You want grumpy people, you want bad news, you want fear? Turn on the news.

If instead, you want to make a difference. Start by giving a stranger a smile, just because. No intent, no desire, no interest in how they can help you, just one human smiling to another as we briefly cross paths in our rides in life.