Saturday, June 2, 2018

Garden 2018

Note: Rocks look darker in the first pic because I took the photos at different times!
Still though, you get the idea. ;)
Well here we are into June! Sorry I haven't blogged very much. I have a lot going on and every time I sit down to write, I just draw a blank of where to start.  I have topics I want to write about and give my readers some updates, but i'm not quite in that mode. I think we've all been there, so I appreciate the patience and understanding.

On another note, here is the start of our little front garden. Flowers don't last, the squirrels and other creatures seem to bite off the bulbs right away and so it's a futile effort. So we're sticking with the garden o'rocks and just added some greenery. This flower/plant in the middle (transported from the large planter) is going to get taller than the mirror. lol Still nothing has bloomed though from it, so i'm not sure if anything will.

We put in some new decorative fencing as well, since the other ones pretty much were falling apart and Bill thought the mirror would add something unique, which I was uncertain about, but it looks great, so I shall never doubt him again. Hehehe...

Also added our "Serendipity" slate in the center that I made years ago. I love the sound of the word and on a spiritual plane, the meaning of it has really guided my life. It's an important piece in my puzzle. I think I want to change the sign to create something prettier, but for now, it works.

Our garden, including the little shrubbies with coloured glasses (Bill is in the blue and of course, I am in the purple!) seem to be getting a lot of positive comments from neighbours and other people passing by. You always know which place is ours!

Got any gardening tips that will make our spot pop? Leave comments below or you can always e-mail me!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Celebrations in Colour

Mother's Day is coming up and my Dad's birthday is literally the next day, so I thought I would surprise them both with these intricate art designs that I have spent a lot of time and effort colouring.

Thank you to Bill for making the sheets fit properly in the frames!

*Update: They loved them!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Crazy Beautiful Life

Hearing this song and lyrics could not have come at a more pivotal time.

I am really shocked that this particular track doesn't have more views because it is achingly beautiful on so many levels.

đŸŽ¶Whatever you got, whatever you give, you make it a beautiful life to live.đŸŽ¶
Thomas Hien & Scott Chesak - Crazy Beautiful Life
from "Why Him?" soundtrack.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Many Faces of PTSD: Stéphane Beaudin Speaks Out

 Curled up around his shoulders is StĂ©phane's "Angel" cat LĂ©opold.
"He knows my schedule, and waits for me by the door.
He sits next to the tub while I take a shower and lays beside me at night."

We have all experienced traumas in our life, from a sudden illness that knocked us off our feet for a while, to dealing with some level of abuse from loved ones or even friends. Other times, we take on jobs or embark in careers that come with high amounts of stress or where one has to look death straight in the eye on a regular basis. Over time, we heal. However, some of us don’t and that’s where it gets complicated.

Try functioning “normally” with sleep-deprivation, agitation, feeling disconnected from your own body and thoughts. All those strange and usual sensations can inhibit your ability to have a fulfilling relationship or even find decent employment. Your support system can also wax and wane, leaving you feeling very isolated. These symptoms and much more can go on for days, months or even years.

Say hello to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

I would like to introduce you to Montreal-born, StĂ©phane Beaudin. He’s just your average guy, loves his family, full of community-spirit, and has a soft spot for political advocacy. What you don’t know is that StĂ©phane has a shadow that looms over him and that shadow is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (otherwise known short form as PTSD).

Stéphane has lived a tumultuous life, moving from Montreal to Windsor at a very young age, dealing with abusive relationships, bouts of poverty and more than most people could wrap their heads around. Although there were some very dark days (thankfully manageable now), these circumstances have not stopped him from fighting hard to overcome the hold that PTSD tries to grip many of our lives.

Below is my Q&A with StĂ©phane. 

1. Our society seems to be on stress-overload, yet it’s pretty amazing how some people are able to manage and are more resilient, while others just cannot cope and encounter debilitating anxiety and struggle with mental health conditions. When was the moment you realized that you were out of control and PTSD was taking over your life?

I’d have to say there were many indicators that I ignored for a long time. As a child, my step-fathers were very authoritarian and abusive. I was regularly “punished” for things as simple as leaving a glass on the counter. When people did things that were “against the rules,” I would fly into a rage, especially if they were not “punished” as I was. I’m not saying this on-going abuse was the only cause of my PTSD, but it surely didn’t help.

At 17 years old, I was enlisted into the Army. My mom signed me up and I was a tank driver, and armoured reconnaissance. I was trained to locate and destroy enemy targets. During a training exercise, on of my Captains who recently got back from Serbia started to display mental health problems and became very unstable. He ended up by accident, injuring me. I decided after that incident I would become a medic. I wanted to help people like him transition back to regular life. I guess that’s when I realized what I was going through and when the healing began.

2. What barriers have you faced in your professional and every day life and on the flip side, what strengths have you gained with having this diagnosis? 

No one knew until now what I was going through, and still dealing with on a daily basis. As one friend put it, “I put on a good show,” to which I reply, “fake it till you make it!”

It’s been a while since I left the army, but I still think like a soldier. I can’t let it get the best of me... that’s reserved for my family and friends.

I have lost good paying jobs and people sometimes think that I’m just an awkward guy trying to make friends. Truth be told, yes I am a little awkward, but that’s not always necessarily a bad thing. I do get discouraged sometimes and shut down, or become self damaging. As soon as I start to notice this pattern, I tell myself to do the opposite of what I want to do. It does help, but I find reaching out to my few close friends can really make a big difference.

3. What are the most troubling symptoms that still occur for you and how do you deal with them?

Here’s where it gets a little dark, but this is the reality of living with PTSD. I tried to hurt myself. Not once, not twice, but three times.

First time was at the age of 16. I tried to hang myself. Before I did it, I said to myself that if there is a reason for me being here tell me now. There was no reply but the rope snapped. The second time, was a repeat of the first and happened in my early 20’s. During my third and final attempt, my cat LĂ©opold ended up saving me. I actually hated cats, but obviously from this experience, I feel different. This little guy will be 14 years old this year. He is truly my angel.

On the days when I feel hopeless and worthless, like I can’t do anything, l I think about that day, as well as my wife and kids. It helps me get through.

4. People who suffer with PTSD often describe some of their sensations like a TV remote that is constantly switching channels in their brain. The painful memories can often be distorted yet feel like the encounters are happening all over again. What kind of strategies do you use when you are having an attack? 

You’re right. For me, it’s like a TV show where I’m the star... the ratings are bad and some of the episodes should have never aired, but they are there, and I am playing it out, over and over again.

I found taking up different hobbies helps. Anything to get out of your head. I love gardening, and wine-making. I also like painting and enjoy volunteering my time. Of course, physical activity is really important for me, so going to the gym to workout and maintaining a proper diet really does wonders.

Another step is having someone to talk to when you see the dark cloud coming. For me, LĂ©opold fits that category. He’s a good listener and doesn’t want to compare battle scars.

5. What is one misconception about PTSD that you would like to put to rest? 

Well, it’s not just first responders that suffer from PTSD. The average person who has never even been to battle can suffer. We don't always need to be medicated, we need proper outlets to deal with it.

6. What makes life worth living for you? 

My wife and kids are my world. I feel blessed to have them in my life. I will also include other family, like my aunts, uncles, siblings and parents. As I stated above, my hobbies (yup, I love my wine! Lol) and LĂ©opold hold dear to my heart.

Thank you Stéphane for opening up and sharing your journey with PTSD. I hope that others will have the courage and strength to keep fighting like you have in your life.

If you or a loved one is in crisis or require help in the Windsor-Essex County area, please contact any of the following:

Monday, April 2, 2018

MAD about Fashion!

Hey fashionistas!

Do you find shopping at the mall a daunting task? You go through racks of clothing, only to never find the right size because you’re either swimming in it or you literally can’t breathe because it’s so tight. This is me, all the time. Oh and of course when you do find something you like, it’s always the LAST one that the store has in stock and the salesperson breaks the news that they won’t be getting that item in anymore.

I love the idea that customized options are out there now that don’t cost a mere fortune. I know that the fit will be just right for me and I'll get exactly the design look and feel that I want. 

I wanted to share a little Q&A that I did with a multi-award winning, fashion designer and illustrator, Maxine Archambault! She is based out of London, Ontario, so just a few hours away from my city here in Windsor, Ontario. 

1. As a fashion designer and business owner, you certainly wear a lot of hats (hehe fashion pun!) in this career. Can you walk me through an average day.

I wake up at 5:30AM and get ready to go to work at Vaughn Custom Sports. This is where I make all the patterns using my own home system called Gerber. After that, I complete cut sheets and markers for all the orders that come in. After work, I go home and start working on my other job – my business. My planner is a life saver! I will usually work out my weekday appointments on the weekends, so I can make sure I get everything done I need to for the week. 

Every day I do something different from making patterns to cutting out all the samples and sewing them. I often make myself a sewing sequence by walking through the patterns in my head. Once I have a good idea of what I want the finished product to look like, I start sewing a sample, which I try on my mannequins at home.

After I have a finished product, I get a photo shoot done of the products for my shop. Aide from making new products, I also complete orders that come through on my website. Before any of these steps can be done though, I have to come up with the designs. It will usually take a day or two if I’m only designing one product at a time. If I’m working on a collection, that will usually take a couple weeks, as I want to make sure all colours and styles work together and can be mix and matched. 

As a matter of fact, I’m working on a collection right now for Summer 2019 – anyone who knows the design process understands the importance of working a year ahead to ensure everything will be completed and to match the trends for the following year. 

After a full day’s work at Vaughn and a full night of making new products for my shop, I like to go to sleep around 11 pm or at the latest midnight. It takes me some time to wind down as I have a thousand things going through my mind from cool new design ideas to my huge to-do list for the next day! 

2. On your website, you have beautifully crafted kimono’s, swim wear, dresses and more. What is the most challenging aspect of designing a piece of clothing? 

The most challenging part for me is the actual sewing process. The designing part comes naturally, I usually just find a bunch of photos of pieces I like and then I will incorporate a whole slew of them together to create a new design that follows the trends and is also something I would wear myself. 

Most of my inspiration comes from nature and the beach for swimwear. My design journal is full of pages and pages of ideas for completed garments and even some that might eventually be used in one of my pieces. It even has some pages of just pictures of shells, water, fish and mermaids – all of which are used as inspiration for fabric and new swimwear ideas. After the design process, the actual sewing to get that perfect fit is really what takes the longest, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist and want every creation to fit beautifully and coincide with the vision that is in my head.

One of many beautiful designs from Maxine

3. What materials are the easiest and most challenging to work with? 

For me, chiffon and nylon are the most challenging to work with. Polyester chiffon is easier to work with but silk chiffon, it just does not want to cooperate at all and will move in every direction while you’re cutting, sewing and even ironing it. Nylon was in my old lining I used for my swimwear pieces, but it’s just so thin and moves around just as much as chiffon. It also likes to pucker when you’re sewing with elastic, so I try not to work with nylon lining.

Gorgeous flowing cover up and flattering swimsuit.

Now I use a thicker lining that still has a bit of nylon for breathability, but not as hard to work with. It also looks good for high end pieces too. When wearing it, this lining feels so smooth on your skin and actually is more comfortable. All my swimwear is completely lined – this allows for a higher quality product and a longer lasting and comfortable swimsuit. 

4. Eco-fashion seems to be an important factor now with the growing concerns of protecting the environment. How do you ensure your materials are made from sustainable and ethically sourced materials? 

I am actually just starting out my swimwear business venture, so that will be something to consider. I do try to stick with one buyer for all my materials, which is a family-owned, local fabric supplier. I also make everything myself so there are no manufacturers or unethical labour practices involved at all. 

5. It is great to see the wide range of sizes that you cater to, from XS to 3XL. How does someone figure out what is the best size to order and are there any exceptions when you would suggest going one size larger or even smaller? 

I always provide a measurement sheet with each listing for buyers. This page will show bust and cup size, as well as waist and hip measurements. In order to figure out your size for bikini tops, one would stand with their back straight, for a more accurate measurement, wrap the tape measure around your fullest part of the bust, under your arms and around the back. The tape should stay parallel with the floor. You would then compare your bust measurement with the Tops chart provided on each listing.

For bottoms and one pieces, one would follow the same directions but with their waist (narrowest part between the bust and hips) and hips (the widest part of one’s pelvic area). If you are between 2 sizes, I always suggest to go with one size up for a better fit. If you are still not sure after measuring and you can’t figure out your size, I’m always available to contact and I will help you out. I can even make you a completely custom size that is made just for you, at the same price of any of the standard sizes.

6. If you could design something for any famous designer(s) who inspired you throughout your career, who would you choose, and what would you like to make them?

No famous designers, but a few celebrities have inspired me. AnnaLynne McCord in particular has been a huge inspiration for me. As a teenager, 90210 The Next Generation, was my favourite show and I watched it religiously. I own all seasons on DVD and truth be told, I could probably rewrite the whole script from start to finish. AnnaLynne’s character named Naomi had such an amazing style and her fashion was what really inspired me to want to pursue fashion in the first place. Specifically, in Season 4, Naomi went on Project Runway and it just fuelled my passion even more to become a fashion designer. In real life, Naomi has such an elegant and unique style that I love. If I was to design a resort wear piece for her, I think I would make a one-piece bathing suit with a long coverup, just like the one I had made for my capsule collection during my college years.

Thanks Maxine for a great interview!

If you’d like to get in touch with a creative entrepreneurial spirit like Maxine, contact her at:

Make sure to “LIKE” on Facebook

Follow on Instagram

Find her creations at the Etsy Store

Check out her awesome website for all your customized design needs:

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Whole Lotta Love For Our Little Planet: Love Beauty & Planet Review

 Love Beauty and Planet is certainly taking the natural beauty care industry by storm!

As a ChickAdvisor, I received this amazing complimentary package of body wash, shampoo and conditioner that I wanted to share my honest thoughts on.

Body Wash (473 ml)
  • Heavenly scent with the combination of shea butter and sandalwood. 
  • Love the pump format. 
  • silky texture when applying 
  • no residue left on the skin after rinsing off
  • clean and nourishing
  • no irritation (so far!)

Shampoo/Conditioner (400 ml) 
  • Again, the scent is wonderful. I never really used anything with sandalwood but you literally feel like you have stepped into a spa when you open up the bottle from this particular line.
  • Wish it came in a pump format
  • Both products have a nice light texture
  • Easy to rinse off
  • See ya dry hair - this conditioner leaves your hair touchably soft
For the packaging overall, I like that the bottle is 100% recycled plastic, even though the cap nor the pump are. With the on-going environmental issues with plastic, it would have been better to have it in a glass bottle that could be reusable. Maybe something to think about in the near future.

The sizes of the bottles are great! A lot of other brands have dinky sizes that may be awesome and effective, but only last a very short period of time. They stand by their cruelty-free and plant-based mantra, yet charge way more! Sorry, i'm still a bit of a budget shopper, so if I am going to pay more than usual for a product, I want it to last! These will be used quite a while in my home and so although it runs a bit higher in price, you do get a lot of product and value!

Other great things about the brand that you may resonate with:

Vegan, cruelty-free, ethically-sourced and plant-based ingredients.

Check out their other product lines:

#tryLoveBeautyPlanet #gotitfree

Love, Beauty and Planet get 4/4 Muse's! 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Colourful Adult Life

I remember back when...  Oh why do we always start sentences like that? As we write those four words, there is an immediate wave of emotion that hits us, well, it does for me. I sigh, get a little weepy and then realize it's OK to long for the past, especially when these moments were really pleasant. I just know that I cannot dwell on them because no matter what Zoltar fortune teller machine (remember the movie BIG?)  I wish actually existed (obviously in the opposite way to stay young!) or the countless times I could chant what age I want to be again, like in 13 Going On 30, reality sets in and I cannot turn back the hands of time.

It's refreshing that in adulthood a lot of us can enjoy the simple pleasures of colouring, drawing, and even playing with Legos! There's no "right" age for anything, although it's funny when suggested ages on toys or colouring books state "ages 5 and up" and here I am tickled pink that i'm enjoying them too at age...37! 

I realize that for a while and still today in 2018, the adult colouring book is a very "trendy" hobby. I dislike some trends to be honest because they can be so disposable. Once it becomes "uncool" to do something, to wear a certain style or to eat a particular food, there is this sudden amount of guilt that you need to change and not like these things anymore. Why? Who made those rules? Oh ya, society. If i'm into something, why do I have to just pretend it doesn't exist or add value to my life?  Well hate to break the news to ya, but i'm not going to wear triple high-waisted jeans, i'm not going to brush my teeth with activated charcoal, nor am I going to start drinking kombucha with every meal.  Now in case you are starting to get offended or already feel offended, try to step away from that frame of thinking for a moment. These are current "trends" i'm mentioning, so if you love your triple high waisted jeans, wear them with pride! 

Back to colouring.  Recently while going for a trip to Dollarama with Bill, we were walking around and just needed to pick up "a snack." This of course usually turns into a walk-about throughout the store.  I didn't buy the colouring book on the basis that "everyone is doing it, so I should too," but for the simple reason of trying to add more self-care into my life. The last few months have been difficult. February was quite a bit of a sh!t storm to say the least, and sadly I am dealing with some pretty persistent nerve discomfort/damage along my spine and neck, which has come with an array of symptoms, so managing my stress has been paramount.

Adult colouring does have some scientific evidence. As always, not one hobby fits all. If you recall, when my dad got sick, adult-colouring was recommended to help in his recovery. He tried it a few times, but I honestly don't think it meshed with his interests. Here are a few benefits that have been noted though:
  • Helps to relieve anxiety and stress (who couldn't use a bit of that?) 
  • Promotes concentration
  • Allows you to be "present" in the moment, similar to meditation 
  • Relaxes the amygdala  due to the repetitive motion
I've been setting aside time away to do a little Colour Therapy. I find it quite enjoyable and it does help to a certain extent for me to get out panic mode and be in a calmer state. This is the first book I'm working on:

Book and coloured pencils
All finished

Working on this one now

You can  find hundreds of different books online at Amazon and other retailers. Also, just Google "adult colouring sheets" and if you prefer, you can print them out as well.

Feel free to e-mail me some of your lovely colouring creations, or just leave me a note on my blog, letting me know what kinds of hobbies you enjoy to tackle stress and how you find a bit more peace in your everyday life.

Happy colouring! 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The human touch of VNV Nation - Victory Not Vengeance

Photo Credit:

Last night, I was listening to In Defiance, one of my many favourite songs from VNV Nation's Of Faith, Power and Glory album.

Other personal favourites are  Illusion,  PerpetualGratitudeBeloved and Arena.

Within a moment, I was transported back to my days at University, where I took an intro music course. We listened and analyzed music from the tin pan alley era, all the way to electrifying sounds of Led Zeppelin. Our final assignment was to choose any artist/band from any era, and explain why/why not we would consider them a hegemonic force in the music industry. Many students chose icons like Elvis, Madonna or The Beatles. Of course, I chose something rather different; VNV Nation.

I kept this piece of work that I wrote around 2007 and wanted to share on my blog because I was really proud of it. You can see how outdated it is, as I mention "MySpace" but at the time, it was a very powerful media tool.  I also sent a personal note, as well as this enclosed essay to Ronan Harris (lead of VNV Nation) and his partner at the time, Mark Jackson, eons ago, in hopes they may have read it. I'm not sure if it ever reached either of their hands, or it was stacked in the PR bunch.  I'm sure like most artists are sent thousands of e-mails, letters, essays, photos, and more notes of appreciation and gratitude that they could even sift through. However, you know me, i'm that letter-writing kind of muse, so I like to express myself through words and without getting into all the gory details of my battles an traumas, Ronan left a rather large imprint in my heart, in you know.... that life-altering way.

I could blabber on, but I think I will end this here. Below you can read my essay, if you wish to! PS. I got an A from my prof at the time. ;)

A hegemonic force: VNV Nation 

VNV Nation may not be a well-known mainstream band, but they have taken a path on which many other groups have been afraid to travel given the competitive nature of the music business.  They have gone their own way by structuring innovative approaches to success.  For this reason, I have chosen them as my essay subject.

Antonio Gramsci’s argument about hegemonic forces states that “new technologies and structures of control by the state and entertainment industries also generate new forms of cultural and political opposition.”  Using his concept, VNV Nation would be considered a hegemonic force.  While they were a part of the entertainment empire at the beginning of their career, they rebelled and are trying to create a new form of musical leadership.

In my analysis, I will look at a number of factors that support my position.  The group name itself has become their signifier of change. I will discuss the creation of their own record label and the musical genre known as Futurepop.   The polysemic nature of their lyrics has allowed powerful messages to be included in their songs that can reach audiences directly through advances in the use of Internet technology in distribution.

VNV Nation is comprised of Irish born-Ronan Harris who is the lead vocalist, composer and lyricist while English born-Mark Jackson played live drums.

VNV Nation's motto itself is their mission statement. The initials of the band stand for “Victory Not Vengeance.” According to their official website, the phrase demands that “one should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.”  The use of the word “victory” is very significant.  It brings forward the image of a war-like battle in which they are empowered to change the music business using their new ideology.  They are casting aside the traditional recording industry approach to end the dominance of the cultural industry.

Like other musical artists and groups, VNV Nation relied at the beginning of their career on record companies to distribute their music. It is very difficult for an artist to develop a unique identity other than the prevailing one or to maintain a high quality level because of the structure of the music business and the necessity to conform. “Major labels work like a stock company to deliver a product which means you're not there to be creative, you're there to produce hits that sell and unless you sell over a certain amount, they dump you.”

The industry is a business after all and there is a need to generate profit by minimizing risk. As their career progressed, VNV Nation became unwilling to conform to mainstream beliefs, values and aesthetics or to be under the control of the musical “gatekeepers” who were interested in a manufactured sound and image. They felt restricted in their ability to express their musical talent.

Over time, VNV Nation developed a different philosophy. “Our aim was to reach people in our own way, not by compromising or selling out.”   Previously, they signed on to record labels such as a German label, Off Beat, and subsequently to Dependent Records. The irony in that Label’s name is obvious.  Dependency was something that VNV Nation wished to avoid.

 In 2002, VNV Nation reached a climactic point in their career when the contract with Dependent ended.  In 2003, they formed their own label called Anarchron Sounds where they gained creative control of their music and accomplished their goal of becoming independent.   They could now determine for themselves how the music would sound, what the lyrics said and what would be shown on album covers.   They could become trend-setters instead of followers as their producers and the record companies wanted them to be.

The conflict between the old regime and the new is pointed out dramatically once again, by the use of language by VNV Nation. Their old record label explained the breakup by saying that they elected “to place the professional and personal integrity of the label and management first.”  VNV Nation entitled one of the songs with their new label, Honour.  Ronan wrote in the lyrics:

“The way was clear to rebuild this land
Shall I call on you to guide me well?
To see our hopes and dreams fulfilled?”

VNV Nation have been influenced by many bands such as Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Human League as well as classical music and Irish folk songs which are part of Ronan's heritage. The earlier sounds of synth pop and electronic incorporated synthesizers and technology to enhance a new quality of vocals and replace the traditional instruments that were once used.  The sound of electronic music had “opened the minds to the possibility that supposedly dehumanizing machine might actually make us more human.”  Initially, VNV was categorized as part of the popular genre EBM – Electronic Body Music. But that did not satisfy them.  As the new sound evolved, Ronan wanted “to call this music something else than EBM.”   He wanted to create for VNV Nation a futuristic sound. With this idea in mind, he coined the term “Futurepop” which brought a new following and genre to the music scene.

Lyrics need to move people in emotional ways.  “Musical instruments are merely tools used to produce sounds. It is up to the artist to do something musical with these instruments.”  The interpretation and powerful messages in VNV Nation’s lyrics signify spiritual personal growth and social empowerment for those who are tired of being dominated by mainstream society.

There is great debate about what the lyrics of VNV Nation represent.  Some people believe that the common thread in their music is issues about war, politics and social justice. That would be too simplistic and superficial a view. “Hardship is always going to be the best stimulus for great music.” Ronan goes beyond the surface with symbolism and spirituality, which are woven through each song.  A common theme is to find one’s way without losing one’s own sense of self. This can be accomplished through internal change or rejecting the forces in society that seems to have a hold on one’s happiness.

The lyrics in their song “Fearless” are a prime example:
“I am not alone. I am not afraid. I am not unhappy
Such a stupid ritual to have to say to myself everyday
I'm not alone but I found my answer and set myself free.”

This language conveys the thought of being forced to adopt an ideology that one does not believe in but is forced to accept on consent.  Finally, the individual breaks free.  This can be viewed as an analogy for VNV Nation's struggle with their record label and being unable to express themselves in the manner they wished. They found their answer by forming their own label.

In another song,  “Nemesis” from the album Judgement, released in 2007, the lyrics represent the way the world is seen through someone's eyes, and the idealism of the way that individual would like it to be.

“I want justice for a voice that can't be heard
Vindication for every suffering and hurt.”

VNV Nation has a strong message for people to speak up and follow their hearts instead of being afraid of making changes that and conforming to what is expected of them as members of society. Finally, in order to promote their music to fans commercially yet to maintain their independence and avoid being part of the multi-national music corporation distribution networks, VNV Nation also uses a different approach to get their name out and their music heard. VNV Nation promotes their music using Internet technology.

Reaching their fans in this innovative digital manner, called the information age, is a  low-cost and cost-effective way to do so.  Like other artists and bands, their fan-base and even new comers, can be provided with up-to-date information on upcoming concerts, new releases and media events instantaneously through the promotional tools of mass emails, newsletters, and their official website which is maintained on a regular basis.   VNV Nation has taken it a step further.  They use social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The posting of their videos on YouTube by their fans is the essence of viral marketing.  It is taking word-of-mouth marketing to a higher level.  In effect, fans become their Marketing and Public Relations departments to assist in the distribution of their music.  People who otherwise might never hear a band like VNV Nation on a Top 40 radio station since many of the songs would exceed the limit for air time play can now be exposed to their music 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.

In conclusion, there is a powerful aura that surrounds VNV Nation that has allowed them to become successful without a big prestigious label attached to their name.  They have been able to create a new music genre that has gained a respect for them in the electronic industry.  The ability to create beautiful digitally enhanced songs with meaningful lyrics that provoke people to seek change and embrace their individuality requires a hegemonic force like VNV Nation. Lastly, they have demonstrated the ability to display a unity with their fans,  “We are at the end of the day human and that is what we're here to remind people.”


Balliger, Robin.  “Politics,” in Key Terms In Popular Music And Culture, edited by
Bruce Horner and Thomas Swiss, 57-70.  Malden: Blackwell Publishing
Ltd., 2006

Carlsson, Johan. “Spotlight: The Story of VNV Nation.”  Release Music
Magazine. (accessed July 18, 2007)

Dependent Records.  “News [01.02.02].”  Dependent Records. (accessed July 18, 2007)

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Update 2018:

Talking about life, Ronan's words of wisdom:

Exercising & Recovery with VON Erie St. Clair Services

Many of you know what happened to my Dad 3 years ago. Life changed dramatically for all of us, but with the amazing on-going care of countless doctors and specialists here in Windsor, as well as the enormous outpouring love and support from our family, friends, and even the kindness of strangers, he beat the odds!

If you click on the link, you can hear some of my Dad's story and how VON Erie St. Clair has helped him in his recovery!

The VON SMART Program (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) is a research and evidence based exercise and fall prevention program provided by the VON Erie St. Clair. SMART is designed for community members 55+ who, regardless of current levels of ability, wish to maintain or are deficit in one or more of the following areas: upper/lower body strength, balance and flexibility. The SMART program is ideal for individuals with barriers to traditional exercise groups due to health issues, mobility restrictions and/or chronic disease.  All of our programs are client-focused, and tailored to the needs of participants.  We include an educational component within our exercise classes detailing falls prevention strategies and interventions to help reduce fall risks. 

If you or someone you love is in need of care and support, contact VON in any of the following areas: Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Belle-River, Sarnia-Lambton, Pelee Island areas.

Please feel free to share.

*Video credit: Marvin Edward
Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy Assistant
TEAM LEADER for SMART Exercise & Fall Prevention Program
(Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together)
VON Canada
400 - 4520 Rhodes Dr.
Windsor, ON   N8W 5C2
Office: (519) 254-9301 Ext. 6240
Toll Free: 1-866-354-4866 Ext. 6240

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Everyone has their own unique recipe for love. 

Simply put, every day is Valentine's Day when you love someone and they love you right back.

Bill, I am so happy we found each other.