The Down Side of Online Dating: 3 Things That Do Happen

 

online-dating-570216_1280As a single millenial, I have spent my fair amount of time perusing the various online dating sites and apps available. I have encountered some nice and decent people and others who, well, I wouldn’t want to come across again.

These aren’t experiences from just one site. I have spent time on eHarmony (paid membership,) Tinder, OkCupid, POF, Zoosk, Match along with a few others. Many of my friends are also registered to some of these services and have had other experiences, some better, some worse. However, these are the 3 things I have had happen to me personally and have heard of happening to others the most.

I have to say, while all these sites do offer different services and have different people registered, I would generally get bored with one and move on to another.

Catfish

Let’s start with catfishing (and no, not the one that swims.) Catfish, in this instance refers to someone pretending to be someone they aren’t online.

channel-catfish-86584_1920Yes, it is real, and not just on TV like the popular show Catfish. I had it happen once, that I made plans to meet with someone I had been chatting with online for a while. I made my way to the meeting place to find out the person wasn’t who I thought I had been talking too. He had used pictures of one of his friends and lied about most his interests. Needless to say I ran out of there pretty quickly.

As you can tell, the catfish isn’t exactly the most attractive creature on the planet. (Urk!)

Ghosts

Have you ever started to see someone and take a bit of a liking to them only to have them completely stop responding to you without any rhyme of reason that you know of? It is quite common. Ghosting is something that has happened to me, my friends and I am not proud to admit, but I have done it before too. I don’t want to excuse the act, but usually if I stop talking to someone it’s because something about the way they talk gives me the creeps.

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Stood Up

Similar to ghosting, but this one feels a little more personal. I have arranged to meet someone before but the guy never showed. I waited about a half-hour before he messaged me saying he was stuck at work and couldn’t make it. We arranged a second meeting time and once again he didn’t show, only this time there was no message. When I tried to contact him, I never received a response.

I think I’ll stick to meeting people the old fashioned way from now on, maybe experience a meet-cute like in the movies. 🙂nature-1790142_1920

*All pictures used under the creative commons CC01 License.

Facebook:

Do you ever wonder about online dating? Will you meet the right person, will there be a creep on the other end or will it lead to absolutely nothing? Click here to read about 3 things that can go wrong.online-dating-570216_1280

Twitter:

Online dating woes? Click here to read about common misgivings of the phenomenon. #onlinedating #nope #ghost #catfish #datenight #alone #foreversingle

#Instapet: A Pet’s Journey to #Instafame

img_0835How many hours have you wasted so far this week scrolling away the hours on Instagram? What were you looking at: cats, dogs, food, DIY, travel landscapes or endless selfies? I have easily lost 2 or 3 hours on the application in the past few days. Have you ever clicked on any pet profiles to find an insane number of followers? I have.Presenting @littleleothemorkie a little 5lbs nothing dog with 158k followers, and my good friend’s dog. Through the account, she promotes various products which she is given for free including watches, dog clothing lines, and headphones and is paid to include discount codes for monthly boxes on the profile. All this because the profile has garnered so much attention that it has been featured in magazines, news articles and on TV.

I first met Leo a little over 3 years ago, thanksgiving weekend just shortly after he had been brought home as a puppy. At this point in time my friend had not created the account. A few weeks later she sent me a screen grab of the account which already had several hundred followers. That number quickly jumped to the thousands and entered the realm of 100k. I was amazed.

I thought: can I replicate this with my own little ball of fluff, Baby?

Turns out, it’s not so easy. I created the account @babyboytabby and started posting pictures.

img_0850I didn’t realize just how much time my friend put into cultivating the online presence of her little dog. I was posting pictures but this led to few followers. My friend told me I will gain followers if I go on liking sprees. This has to be done right however, if you go too quickly Instagram will block the action for an undetermined amount of time. I learned this little tidbit of information the hard way… repeatedly. It’s not only about the liking sprees, but the content of the pictures. Candid shots are good but when it comes to animals, dressing them up and posing them seems to work best, however I don’t think my cat would appreciate wearing a tutu. I decided not to dress him up.

Not too long ago, I was supposed to be getting a second cat but he was adopted by another family. I took down all the previous pictures from the account. However only this past week I started posting to the account again and have already increased the number of followers by 200. I was shocked as to how quickly the numbers were going up.  I kept liking and the number went up another 100. Granted, the number of followers this account has isn’t even close to the 158k. I have yet to hit 1500, but I am working at it and hope to reach atleast 10,000 someday.

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#Instafamous #Instapets? Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd #instafame #instagram #cat #catsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #dog

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Have you ever wondered about famous pets on instagram, and no not one of Paris Hilton’s tiny dogs? Rising to fame on social media isn’t as simple as you think. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2lE5Bvd

Mental Health: Is Social Media Making You Ill?

human-1138001_1920On January 25th, 2017 I was a camera operator for an event for Bell Let’s Talk for the federal government which was broadcast live on Facebook. A panel shared their personal experiences with mental health and answered questions from the audience in the room. As advertised, Bell Let’s Talk is an annual campaign where Bell encourages people to text, tweet post and share using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. For one day a year, every time the hashtag is used, Bell donates $0.05 to mental health foundations in Canada.

Bell encourages the use of social media on this one day, but I wondered, what are the effects of social media on mental health? I wanted to know how spending so much time in front of a screen, regardless of the device, affects our well-being as individuals and as a society?

Why Did I Wonder This?

girl-1098610_1920One in five Canadians suffers from mental health issues throughout their lifetime. Think about that, 20% of the population suffers from mental health issues. That means you interact with at least one person every day that suffers from mental illness, whether that be someone in your family, a friend, a colleague or other. So many people suffer from mental health, myself included. I couldn’t help but want to know if the time I had spent on social media as a teen and the time I spend using the websites and apps now have impacted my mental wellbeing at all.

I was certain they had.

For more information on mental health in Canada please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website.

The Teenage Brain

I was a teenager when all these new means of communications were emerging. I was 16 when I created my Facebook account to share pictures from a trip to Europe with friends, I was 17 when Twitter became all the rage and Instagram only became popular once I was in my 20s. In high school, my evenings were spent in front of my laptop on MSN messenger chatting with friends, I had just been with all day, always using the limited number of silly emojis available at the time. worried-girl-413690_1920I turned to my good friend Google in order to find out what sort of impact social media has on teens as that is the stage of life I was at when it emerged and found an article published to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families opened my eyes as to what has happened to society since social media broadened our horizons.

parentingUsing social media at a young age has both its benefits and its downfalls. The article greatly emphasized that using social media enables youth to learn how to use social media sites, navigate the internet and use technology such as computers, tablets and smartphones. All skills that are necessary in todays modern work environment. However, it also noted that it caused self-esteem issues, anxiety and could lead to depression in severe cases. The study also highlighted that the use of social media led to a sense of disconnect from one’s family and friends on an emotional level.

While it was what I was expecting I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around social media having such severe symptoms. My mind automatically wandered to the thought: what if using Facebook, MSN and others at such a critical point in development affected my own mental health? I remember being in college looking at Facebook and seeing pictures of people I had known in high school going to parties or travelling the world, meanwhile I was sitting in my dorm room comparing my life to theirs.

Is Social Media Failing Us?

The next article that interested me was Online Social Networking and Mental Health published to Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking took a different approach to the issue of mental health and social media. Many stuwoman-1987223_1920dies have been conducted most pointing that social media sites such as Facebook to lead to a drop in self-esteem, depression and even addiction. However, none of the studies were proven to be conclusive as the topic is still new in the world of psychology. 

As I read the statistics presented time and time again saying that a study showed that Facebook use could lead to addiction, or depression and self-esteem issues, I became more and more frustrated with the repeated use of the phrase “nothing conclusive has been proven.”

I am curious to see where the studies on the topic lead in the coming years, as social media develops further and new means of connecting pop up in the online verse. Primarily, I want to know if social media is leading an entire generation into a battle with mental health.

Despite the effects of social media on mental health, I do believe that #BellLetsTalk is a great event every year which raises money and awareness towards a great cause that needs to be talked about and not shunned. 

What is your take on social media and mental health? Post your thoughts to the comment section below. 

*All images used in this post are used under the Creative Commons CC0 License.

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Have you ever wondered how social media impacts mental health? Click here. #BellLetsTalk #SocialMedia #MentalHealth 

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Social media has affected individuals and the way society functions as a whole, but how much does it affect children and teens? For more click here. #BellLetsTalk #SocialMedia #MentalHealth

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Decorating on a Budget: 4 Tips and Tricks Pinterest Taught Me

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It’s a challenge we all face at some point in our lives: making our place of residence feel like home on a tight budget. For me, that reality hit during the fourth and final year of my degree. I was moving out of the three bedroom apartment I had lived in with roommates for two years and into a bachelor apartment alone with little funds to decorate or spruce it up. Needless to say, with beige walls, beige cabinets and parquet flooring the unit didn’t exactly scream personality or feel like home.

About a year prior to the move, I had discovered Pinterest; oh boy, did that get me into trouble. Upon entering the apartment, I began to fantasize about what furniture would look great, how artwork would complement the space and create great focal features. I knew I needed to do something or I would go crazy living there for the next 8 months. I turned to my blogger friends I had found on Pinterest in order to make my student living a personal space I could call home. Here are some of the tips and ideas I came up with.

1. Make What’s Old New Again

I was no stranger to altering something to personalize it. However this was an idea reinforced by numerous Do It Youselfers.

chair-originalWalking down the street one day I came across a set of old patio chairs ready to go to the dump. The seat cushions were ripped and stained, the feet were missing half of their plastic covers, but I didn’t care. I saw potential. Potential for these chairs to become something one might see in a French café lining the streets of Paris. I knew that reupholstering these chairs would be far less expensive than going out and buying a new set, and I already had a table so I had nothing to lose. After selecting the fabric I wanted to use I got to work. Removing the old fabric, thoroughly cleaning the foam cushions, bleaching the wooden seat bases. I thought the tough part was over with… WRONG! Ladies, if you need a good arm workout, nothing works better than trying to use a staple gun to attach fabric to a piece of ply wood. I made it through the agonizing fight without any bloodshed (thankfully! few!) and am quite proud of the finished product. chair-reupholstered

I had a boring cabinet that was now the first thing you saw when you walked into the apartment, but was necessary because the apartment had limited storage. I turned to Pinterest to find a way to refinish the laminate brown woodgrain and wasn’t disappointed. I found a post by Terry M. of Forever Decorating who had a featured post on Home Talk, a house and home blog. She had refinished a dresser using book pages and mod podge. The idea of ripping up a book for decorating did seem appalling considering how much I love my books but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for the space. I went to the Goodwill around the corner from my apartment in Toronto’s west end and picked up an old book that was falling apart and took to shredding the pages in order to make this ugly cabinet a one of a kind piece of art. A collaged the two doors to the cabinet with the paper books and painted the sides and interior in a glossy black.

To read about the inspiration, click here.

2. Find What You Can At Thrift Stores

I had an empty space in my apartment where I had a few chairs setup which I dubbed my reading nook, however it was missing something, either a side table or small bookcase to store my “to be read” books and place my cup of tea on while I read. All the articles I’d read about finding inexpensive furnishings were lost on me. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to find anything but made my wreading-nookay to the Goodwill once again and came across a small bookcase that was priced at only $5. I couldn’t believe it. I also found a set of glass customizable coasters and a few picture frames.

I took all this home and the book case fit perfectly in between the two chairs. I filled the frames and coasters with pictures from a few of my trips and the reading nook was complete.

Thrift shopping is something I had read countless times on blogs but had never put into practice. I’m sure glad I decided to have a look at the thrift store. I think my little reading nook looked great!

3. Use The Souvenirs Cluttering Your Closet

I have quite the collection a travel souvenirs cluttering up my closet and drawers from the various trips I’ve taken; boarding passes, show tickets, museum tickets, postcards and keychains, miniature landmarks and themed picture frames. I turned to Pinterest to find something to do with my momentos.  I came across a post on Popsugar: 17 Ideas to Organize and Display Your Travel Souvenirs. I loved everything they had suggested but my favourite was by far the momento shadow boxes as pictured here: 

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Image source: Design Aglow via Popsugar.

I took to creating my own version of these shadow boxes. I purchased inexpensive frames from the dollar store and created the backgrounds with the city names using Photoshop and pictures I had taken in the featured city. I then gathered the souvenirs from each of the cities and laid them out esthetically within the frame.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative

paper-butterfliesAs every Pinterest addict knows, there are thousands of DIY blogs out there from home renos, to clothing, to decor and furniture. I had left over book pages from my mod podge cabinet collage and decided to get creative myself.

Paper flowers.jpgI got to work cutting out butterfly shapes in different sizes and glued them to a canvas I had painted black in order to create the fluttering butterfly piece pictured here.

With the remaining pages I created paper roses. It took a long time and was quite meticulous curling each petal and shaping it to replicate a blooming rose. Not only was the work tough but my fingers were constantly a victim to burns due to the hot glue gun, however I created the below finished product.

There they are, the tips and tricks I picked up from Pinterest on decorating on a budget. I have read hundreds, maybe even thousands of blog posts not only on decorating but for recipes, healthy habits and exercise and so much more. Pinterest opened up my world to so many sources of information out there I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. What inspiration will you find on the famous pinning site?

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Need to decorate? Here are 4 tips and tricks to makeover your space on a budget! http://bit.ly/2kb3O0D

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Are you a student low on funds but want to decorate your temporary apartment? Here are 4 tips and tricks I learned from Pinterest about decorating on a budget. http://bit.ly/2kb3O0Dapartment-text