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5 Tips to Make Your Space More Creative

Posted on March 31, 2016 by

In my experience, by the time you look around and realize that your space may be hindering your creativity, the problem has probably been going on for a while. Everyone is different, but these 5 tips help me set up and maintain a space that helps me think and work creatively.

  1. Get a Plant

At home, I like to have small, low maintenance plants in corners and empty spaces. Being around something green and living helps me feel awake, and it helps me keep up my energy all day. If your desk or workspace doesn’t get enough light for a real plant, consider a nice photo of a plant of an earthy screensaver instead.

  1. Limit the Clutter

Sometimes a little clutter is unavoidable, but if you can keep it contained to files, folders, or a dedicated drawer, I find it’s easier to keep the rest of your space neat and open.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Eat

Working where I eat and eating where I work makes it hard for me to focus on one thing, especially when smells linger. Nothing gets me down creatively like the smell of stale Pad Thai.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Sleep

Working in my bedroom or bed makes me so sleepy, and it’s hard to get going when everything around me reminds me of naps and rest.

  1. Keep Personal Items On Display

Looking at things I like helps me to think about things I like and keeps my mood up. Making my space familiar and comfortable is really important for me to be as creative as I can be.

If you’re like me, your space has a lot to do with how you feel and how you think. I hope these tips help you create a space where you can think and work smarter.

Extra Tip: Lovely little plants like the one pictured with this post are available at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market!

Hashtag’s Excellent Adventure

Posted on January 22, 2016 by

It takes a lot of work to be a Hedgehog, especially here at zag. They gave me the title of Director of Human Resources so there is a lot of human stuff I have to do. As part of my role, I have to let these humans pick me up, give me baths, clip my nails (I DO NOT like that) and in return, I let them hang out at their desks with me, cuddle me and show me off to more humans that come by to see me. Occasionally I show them my softer side.

Sure, I put on a show. I like to play shy and nervous. I like to play “ball” and I also like to play “who can snort the loudest”. My favorite games though are “who can sleep the longest” and “cactus”. I usually win.

For a really special treat, I like to pee on them.

On the weekends, I usually hang out with Hannah but she had some things going on last weekend so I just hung out at the office. I got a little ambitious so I thought I would clean up my pen, pushing my blankets and papers to one side. Well hot diggity, what do you know? Maybe I should get a license for these guns. Turns out I’m SuperHedgie. I was able to push open the door of my pen and lo and behold – Giddy up! I was out!

I should have worn my Hedgeometer because I sure put some miles on that day during my excellent adventure.

Those humans are sure thoughtful. Stephan left some lunch on the ground for me to partake. Kara had some papers for me to roll in. Matt left a Red Bull for me to try. Hannah left her shoe for me to nuzzle and take a nap in. Marilee shared her chips with me. Kat lent her fancy pen to me. Elliott shared his headphones and killer tunes. Ashley left me a nice big glass of water. Megan’s phone cord was fun to slide down on. Emily’s glass desk was fun to smear my nose on. Ronda’s family pictures were sure cute to look at and Alyson’s dog bed was some comfortable. Trina’s snack jar is now empty. Oh, and I got nothing but the warmest welcome after my trek to Calgary to visit Jamie.

Phew. I think it’s time to play “who can sleep the longest” again.

(Oh, and special thanks to Ronda for helping me put my thoughts to paper)

You Butthurt, Bruh?

Posted on September 3, 2015 by

Oxford Dictionaries recently added a smorgasbord of new words to its online dictionary of current English. The guys over at this branch of the Oxford Family (I can’t help but think they’re like the Prince Harry of the Royals) keep track of modern lingo usage reflected in our ever-changing cultural, political and social norms.

There’s no arguing that the latest inclusions showcase just how clever our vernacular has become. Take wine o’clock for example, n: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink wine – something everybody at zag is very familiar with. Or cat café, n: café or similar establishment where people pay to interact with cats housed on the premises. Note that just because this word has been legitimized, doesn’t mean it’s socially acceptable to partake.

See below for more slang now recognized by the world at large via Oxford Dictionaries’ blog:


awesomesauce, adj: extremely good; excellent

brain fart, n: a temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly

bruh, n: a male friend (often used as a form of address)

butt dial, v: inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket

butthurt, adj: overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful

cakeage, n: a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake they have not supplied themselves

deradicalization, n: the action or process of causing a person with extreme views to adopt more moderate positions on political or social issues

fast-casual, adj: denoting or relating to a type of high-quality self-service restaurant offering dishes that are prepared to order and more expensive than those available in a typical fast-food restaurant

fat-shame, v: cause (someone judged to be fat or overweight) to feel humiliated by making mocking or critical comments about their size

fur baby, n: a person’s dog, cat, or other furry pet animal

glanceable, adj: denoting or relating to information, especially as displayed on an electronic screen, that can be read or understood very quickly and easily

hangry, adj: bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger

manspreading, n: the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats

mic drop, n: an instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive

Mx, n: a title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female

rando, n: a person one does now know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behaviour

skippable, adj: (of a part or feature of something) able to be omitted or passed over so as to get to the next part or feature

social justice warrior, n: a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views

snackable, adj: (of online content) designed to be read, viewed, or otherwise engaged with briefly and easily

weak sauce, n: something that is of a poor or disappointing standard or quality

The Art of Email

Posted on February 6, 2014 by

Something has been on my mind lately.
Maybe it is because of the thousands of emails that I get in a week. Or the thousands I send. Maybe its because of all the people that I never talk to anymore as we communicate electronically. Whatever the reason, the art of email I find is really lost.

Although I am totally an offender of this – and I know I am, I would like to share some things about email that I think are important notes to make. It is a great reminder for me as well.

1. When you are replying to an email, even if you are trying to get it off your plate, take a second to double check you answered and addressed everything in that email. Please don’t cause 4 more emails with answering only 1 of the 2 questions, or answering a completely different question. In the long run, its more efficient than rushing it out – trust me.

2. If you are replying to an email from a smartphone, or late at night after a few beverages, please see 1. and triple check.

3. Sending emails that are more than 1 or 2 small paragraphs is insane. Pick up the phone and make a phone call. Exception to the rule, you are sharing important information with a group of people that you can’t communicate with otherwise.

4. Don’t use email for passive aggressive commentary or venting. See 3. Phone or in person is always best. Way too many say things in email that they wouldn’t dream of saying on the phone or in person to someone.

5. Check who is cc:ed on the email. If someone was cc:ed, they should probably be cc:ed on your response as long as it is appropriate. Use your common sense on this. Exception to the rule – no need to respond to all with a Thanks! or a Will do! It just adds to the email clutter in everyones inbox.

6. Lastly, if you are sending an attachment, double check that it is there.

Now, I am going to go check and send some emails.

| February 2 | Writing
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Professor Spellergrammar

Posted on January 20, 2011 by

It’s learning time.  As I read a lot of copy on a daily basis, I thought I’d put together some common errors and things to avoid so that next time I read your copy it’ll be a little less painful.

Its and it’s

It is amazing to me how many people either don’t know the difference between the two or are just lazy punctuators.  “Its” signifies belonging/ownership. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

(I’ve blogged about this before but I see it so often I felt it was worth repeating)

Could of

I don’t even know why this one happens.  It’s either “could have” or “could’ve”.  Same rule for should and, yes, would too.

Me and I

The easiest way to determine if you should use “me” or “I” is to say the sentence without the other person/animal/whatever and see if makes sense.  You wouldn’t say, “Stop by to see I.” So you wouldn’t say, “Stop by to see Bob and I.”


The best rule of thumb for exclamation points is to try to avoid using them.  If you must, one will suffice.

A lot

A lot is two words.

| January 1 | Writing
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Overused Buzzwords

Posted on July 22, 2010 by

So I was online (some might say I was surfing – I, however, am not one of those people) and I came across a list of the 98 Most Overused Buzzwords and Marketing Speak in Press Releases.  It was compiled by a man named Adam Sherk, a Search and PR Strategist.

The list featured many expected words like “award winning”, “unique”, “top”, “cutting edge”, “exclusive” and “dynamic”, with “leader” being the number one word.  There were also some funnier ones like “perfect storm” and oddly, “secret sauce”.

Admittedly, I am guilty of also using many of these words, except maybe “secret sauce”. They are not bad words, just not original words. “Original” didn’t make the list by the way.  So what’s a marketer to do?  I think we may need to come up with some new words.

I vote “sweet action”. Make it happen people.  Make it buzzy.

For a peek at the list, how it was compiled and who the heck Adam is, visit Adam’s blog.

| July 7 | Writing
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Things That Bug Me

Posted on May 20, 2010 by

While there are a ton of things that bug me such as people who yield in the free flow lane (a personal blood boiler for me) and the neighbour’s yappy little dog (who always seems to be outside at 6:00 am on a Saturday), I’m going to share some word-y things that set my teeth on edge.

It’s pique your interest not peak

It’s (a contraction for it is) and its (possessive version of it) – they are in no way interchangeable

There (location), their (possessive version of they) and they’re (a contraction of they are) – again, they’re not interchangeable

It’s “please advise” not “advice”

i.e. means in other words while e.g. means for example

The over use of uber and epic – not everything is uber or epic

Irregardless – Come on people that’s just a stupid thing to say!

Some sound-y things:


Ruff (roof)





By the by – Why not by the way?  What does by the by even mean?

Squaring the circle – Uh, what?

At the end of the day – I’m guilty of saying it but it doesn’t mean I like it.

In closing, there is no such song as Cat Man Joe.  It’s Cotton-Eyed Joe.

| May 5 | Writing
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