Joyeux Anniversaire: Celebrating ebbony&lune’s First Year

Happy 1 year blogiversary, ebbony&lune!

est. June 20, 2017

About year ago, I was in my student apartment bedroom, fairy lights on, candle lit, sitting on my bed with a pen and notebook in hand; it was way past midnight (2:30AM, to be (almost) exact), and I was pulling out hairs trying to come up with a focus for my new blog... and more importantly, a name. I wanted this blog to be professional, something relevant to my music therapy work; I wanted it to be a creative project, to be casual and readable, and I wanted people to enjoy it; but mostly, I wanted it to embody who I am, a place to share my experiences and interests with others. A week later, I had purchased my domain. Sitting on a couch at the end of a university dorm's hallway, in the middle of the night (I had an overnight shift to make sure none of the campers did anything crazy), I found myself typing away at my laptop, writing up new ideas and content for my soon-to-be-launched blog. 

Now that ebbony&lune has reached its 1st blogiversary, I wanted to share a collection of some of the posts fro this past year. Looking back, I do wish I spent more time working on building up my "brand" and online presence, but I had other more pressing and time-consuming things to worry about (like my last term of school, and my internship, among other things). But, it's definitely come a long way, and I will do my best to keep posting regularly.

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According to my analytics, these are the most popular, most visited posts of the year:

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1/ The Kitchen Party Playlist: Songs from Newfoundland

"We went to a couple dinner theatre shows, and even a shed party (larger version of the kitchen party), where multi-instrumentalist musicians performed traditional and popular Newfoundland & Irish tunes. Here are some of our favourites. Note: listen to the lyrics - they tell stories!"

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2/ 21 Apps Every University Student Should Download

"I thought I'd put together a list of some handy apps every university student (or any student, really) should download onto their phones, pronto! These apps will will help you stay organized, boost productivity, and protect your health and wellness."

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3/ Lavender's Blue, Dilly Dilly: Visiting Terre Bleu

"Terre Bleu was established in 2011 by the Baird family, and has since been recognized as a popular agro-tourist destination as well as the largest lavender farm in Ontario, with over 30,000 plants."

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4/ Natural Beauty Goodies + How To Use Oval Brushes

(This post got featured on Uni+Koncept's website!)

"These brushes allow you to apply your makeup with such ease and precision, and the bristles are like velvet, super soft to the touch ... [They] work wonders for face makeup (i.e. foundation, contour, highlighter, blush, etc.) as well as for blending, but I still prefer using the traditional brushes for the eyes." 

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5/ Happiness Is... The Simple Things In Life

"Their concept of happiness, as well as self-efficacy and sense of independence, are so simple; their minds are so beautifully simple... [this] just made me want to re-evaluate the small things that make me happy; the simplest of things. Happiness in experiences rather than material goods."

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6/ Depression: The Silent Killer

"it is imperative we treat everybody with kindness, respect, understanding, and love. reach out to others with no judgment. let them know that someone cares, and that they are never alone. just one loving person is all it takes to save a dear life. be that person, be that support."

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7/ Free Your Wandering Mind with Box Breathing

"Deep breathing helps you regulate your respiratory rate, as well as allows for more oxygen to flow throughout your blood and body. The eye scanning portion is an added technique to box breathing, and encourages you to regain awareness of your surroundings, thus promoting mindfulness and consecutively, relaxation and grounding."

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8/ The Essentials: Saje's 'Pocket Farmacy' and Vitruvi's 'Sleep'

"Our culture is seeing a rise in natural, holistic approaches to healthcare, and a surge in all things healthy and vegan, so naturally (pun intended), essential oils have started to become more popular. No, they cannot completely replace medicine in large cases such as cancer treatment, however, they are a great quick remedy for something small, like a headache, heartburn, or even muscle tension. Not to mention they also help people calm."

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9/ I Finally Saw My Favourite Band!

"I think I was too mesmerized by the presence of Coldplay right in front of my eyes to even scream... I caught myself just staring, completely 'Hypnotised' by their music and their spectacle of a show. They were so fantastic live - honestly sounded even better than the recordings. And they completely owned their show, restarting songs to get fans to put down their phones and get up on their feet, and giving lighting cues for a more intimate 'breaking-down-the-fourth-wall' atmosphere."

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10/ A Music Therapist's Holiday Wishlist

"Christmas is just around the corner! And it really is true when they say that every Christmas, birthday, holiday, etc., a music therapist will be asking for musical instruments to add to their collection... So, if you have a music therapist (or any musician) in your life, here are some great, useful gifts you can send them for the holidays."

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Some of my favourites that didn't make it onto the 'Top Posts' list:

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1/ ebbony&lune: The Story Behind the Name

This one tops the list because it is essentially the origin story.

"To add on to the whole wave thing (going to go a little science-y on you here), tidal waves are formed by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon on the earth. Also, the moon is white/ivory in colour, which is the other half of the ebony to my piano keyboard."

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2/ This Is For You

Probably the most personal (and sentimental) post I've published so far - a tribute to my family and friends, a thanksgiving gift for all their continual love and support.

"People come, and they go, but they will always leave a footprint on your heart... I love each one of you, and I hope I can soon find the time and/or courage to let you know, in person, just how much I appreciate having you in my life."

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3/ 6 Ways to Use 'You Are My Sunshine' in Music Therapy

My first post giving readers a small glimpse into the life of a music therapist - what it is that we do, and how we do it using familiar music.

"You Are My Sunshine is among the most popular songs used in music therapy sessions with older adults and with dementia. Now of course, I don't sing it without reason; I've found it to be effective in engaging groups/encouraging participation, helping with mood, and of course, reminiscence (or if my clients specifically request it)."


4/ Never underestimate the power of music: Disney-Pixar's 'Coco'

Drawing connections from last year's Best Animated Feature to my own music therapy practice working with individuals with dementia/memory loss, and in palliative care.

"Initially, I was a little wary and nervous about working in palliative care due to some recent personal losses, but I have found that this opportunity is something so much bigger than me; it is not about me, but about how my music - my playing, my singing, my being - can do something for others. Music is the tool, I am the vessel. It is definitely a very rewarding experience, being a light to someone in their final moments and learning from them what life is all about."

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5/ Adventure #3: Newfoundland

Not a written post, but a travel vlog, but I'm just really happy with how the video turned out. P.S. watching it in HD on the big screen is GLORIOUS!

Link to the video

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6/ Polka Dots and Infinity Mirrors

Spent a lot of time researching (and formatting) for this post, and it made me appreciate her art more; it made up for not experiencing it in person.

"What do you see when you look into a mirror? Through Infinity Mirrors, Kusama creates an illusion of infinite space, celebrating human life and its aftermath."

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7/ 30 Jungian Quotes for Thought

A different format for this one, with an image grid. The quotes made me think in another perspective, plus I really like the aesthetics of the post - it's very pleasurable to the eye.

"A dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was the conscious ego." - C. Jung

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8/ 12 Things I Learned As A Music Therapy Student

My official blog launch post - published exactly a year ago today - highlighting some of the things I have learned (so far) about what it means to be a practicing music therapist (to-be).

"Last but not least, remember that music - whether used therapeutically in a clinical setting, or casually - is life-changing. And remember that you have the best job in the world because you are making a difference in people's lives through the natural phenomenon that is music. You have such a powerful tool in your hands, so make it count, and enjoy the surprises that life brings you."

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9/ 16 Airport Hacks for Smooth Travelling

Some practical tips I've gathered throughout my many years of travelling, and hoping that they will help with a stress-free flight experience.

"Don't you just hate it when your ears start plugging up during the descent, and then once you land, start popping? It can get pretty painful. A flight attendant once taught me to use Tiger Balm, or any other 'refreshing' essential oil (such as eucalyptus and menthol/peppermint), to relieve that pressure. Apply some behind your ears - just below the lobe - and allow it to work its magic. Since I've started doing this, I've never had to experience the unwanted ear pressure again."

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10/ When the roses bloom

I don't usually write short stories, but I quite enjoyed this Writer's Craft assignment from a couple years back: writing a story based on photos we were given. It's a little scary putting my creative writing out there for all to read, though.

"Sea birds swoop overhead, shadows in the ochre sky. Waves pull back, retreating from the shore as if to shame the figure slumping over the sand. Here, a man sits; an empty bottle nearby, traces of rum line his unshaven jaw. His navy coat is strewn across the land, lost to the depths of the earths. A red bandana sleeps on his head buried deep into his scarlet chest. Here, a man sits, swallowed by guilt, branded by sin. Here, a captain mourns the loss of his ship, himself to blame. The honourable, he is no more."

Which posts did you enjoy reading the most?

Any of your favourites didn't make the lists - share them in the comments! Thanks for swinging by! 😊

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