Wildly Creative Wintertime

February 13, 2015 by  Patty Lowry

Dark, dreary, slippery, slushy, bitter, bleak, nostril-freezing, freckle-biting cold. Winter sucks.

Chill out folks!

Every season offers up a plethora of scenic exploration, revelation and inspiration to kick your creativity out of hibernation.

Wildly expressive and naturally beautiful, nature’s gift of abundance presents a phenomenal landscape of diversity, ranging from the strangely abstract to breathtakingly real. A blank canvas of white, the shadows of light contrasted against peeks of colour – all stunted by the cadence of time as the earth sleeps.

As a lover of nature, and creator of art, I find enormous inspiration in the great outdoors, with some of the most original, natural examples of artistry during the winter. Consider the beauty in dangling icicles, intricately frosted windowpanes, the exquisite anatomy of a snowflake and even funky, friendly snowmen, women and creatures!

One of my favourite local places to explore is the Leslie Spit. An urban wilderness, home to a great variety of wildlife, and during winter, becomes a frozen landscape of magic. A photographer’s dreamland, wander the bramble paths to uncover some new friends, and take a stroll along the beach where the waves and abandoned rubble meet and transform into icy visions of grandeur.

But of all the places that nature’s voice calls – my cabin in the woods is my most sacred portal for creative inspiration. An hour’s hike in on snowshoes, dragging a sled stocked with water, whisky, wine and grub, brings me to a wonderland of deep woods.

First stop, The King’s Throne (a 60 ft. rock face) stands proudly in his majestic robe of ice. The evergreens banter in playful pillow fights of fresh flakes, while my kaleidoscopic river presents a palate artists dream of.

To honour this magical wilderness, every season I embark on an artful expression as a gift back to nature. Sure this may sound weird to some, but for me, it’s a ritual and rite of passage from one season to the next. Inspired by my intentions for the season and whimsy of woodland animals and elements, I design a costume that morphs the human and nature spirit for a wild photo shoot in my woods. I’ve been everything from a dragonfly, snake and mermaid during summer months, to the wind, raven and deer in winter.

This winter, I am embodying a silver fox. The fox totem represents the energies of mischief and opportunity – a playful sprite full of curiosity, cleverness and charm.  At least that’s what the fox says!

So in the spirit of all the wonders of winter, I encourage you to embrace its awe-inspiring surprises and let your imagination go wild!


Setting the Gold Standard for Smart Commuting

February 12, 2015 by  Top Drawer Creative

We’re so pleased to announce that we’ve been certified as a Smart Commute Gold Workplace for 2015.

Those of you who know us well likely know our commitment to a better, healthier commute through our paid cycling program. But you may not know the champions of our program, like our office manager, Jenn Yee.

Upon receiving this designation, we wanted to take the opportunity to tell Jenn’s story, and thank her for helping us maintain a healthy, active and environmentally friendly workplace!

When Jenn Yee got married in 2011, she and her husband used their wedding gift money to buy two bikes. They were frustrated by the TTC and had promised to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Her husband had to teach her how to ride, literally running next to her as she learned to balance.

Jenn was hooked. Now she cycles everywhere – including the two and a half hours to the burbs where her parents live, even in the winter.

When Jenn left her previous job in 2012, it was her mandate to work for a bike-friendly company. Finding Top Drawer Creative was serendipitous.

With her arrival at TDC, Jenn became a cycling advocate. She oversees and encourages participation in our Smart Commute program. As the office manager and “bike girl” in the office, Jenn leads our bike to work program and now, our Smart Commute program. She provides orientation on each new employee’s first day.

Her first question for new employees is, “Where do you live?” followed by, “Have you ever thought about biking to work?” She explains our bike to work program and identifies barriers to cycling. When our copywriter wanted to give cycling to work a try, Jenn rode to her house and showed her a safe route. She organizes “ride homes” so staff can cycle together. On the road, if she sees a cyclist in need, she always stops to help. She carries emergency tokens for cyclists to get home safe and at the office we have a well-stocked bike kit where she can help employees make repairs to their bikes.

Jenn’s attitude is infectious when it comes to cycling. To further demonstrate her enthusiasm, check out Jenn’s interview on The Weather Network on Bike to Work Day (her favourite day of the year) last year.

Thanks Jenn, and thanks Smart Commuters!

SAIL-Facebook-472x394-v1a2015-01-26-01-34-07-Staff-at-beachScreen shot 2015-01-21 at 2.48.13 PMPhoto credit: Malina Kaija. Copyright Top Drawer Creative.
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