Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Dog Sitting

Last week, I was dog sitting while my parents were on vacation.

Our family dog, Bailey (also known as Bilu) arrived to my apartment so white that people would stop me on the street to ask how I kept him so clean.

"He's a suburban dog," I said.

B hates rainstorms, being alone and loud noises. He's scared of plastic bags, or the sound of my camera clicking. When I would leave the apartment, he'd scratch the door, until the paint chipped away. I could hear his nails clawing at the wood, all the way down the hall by the elevator. I became those crazy dog people who'd shout down empty corridors.

"I'll come back soon! Be a good boy."

Bailey has no shame in wanting to be loved, every minute of the day. He wants to be near you when you watch television, brush your teeth, type on your laptop, make dinner, or stand around naked and decide what to wear. He doesn't judge, or care about mood swings, or clothing choices. He'd want to sit beside me in a $2000 dress, or a sports bra full of holes.

When I'd take him for walks, he had no qualms about rubbing his white furry body up against filthy lamp posts, and cement walls. By the end of the week, he was the colour of a used Swiffer pad. I was getting used to a busy routine with a pet, until I went from writing blog posts, to helping edit an obituary for my uncle who passed away last week.

When someone passes away, everything stops. What remains is how important it is to show love to those around you, and to take care of those who need to be taken care of.

On my last dog-sitting night, I decided not to freak out when my now dirty, city Bilu moved from his blanketed spot on my bed, to my bare sheets, to snuggle up beside me. That's what he needed to feel safe, and I realized I needed the same thing.

This week's mantra is from children's author Shel Silverstein. Enjoy.

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live 'em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give 'em.” 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Experience: The Lingerie Fitting

Image La Perla F/W 2014 campaign via Pinterest
I'd never been properly fitted at a lingerie store before. 

I mean, I've been measured for bridesmaid dresses a million times, and I've had my bust measured to figure out my bra size as a teenager, but that's about it. I arrived to Avec Plaisir, an upscale lingerie shop in Yorkville, a bit nervous about the whole thing, until I met Vasilia. 

Vasilia Panagakos, the owner of the shop, immediately made me feel comfortable. She was warm, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable on every aspect of lingerie. I'm not someone that does well with exhibitionism, or talking about my body, but Vasilia knows what she's doing. Within half an hour, I was in a tiny change room with her, topless, asking twenty questions about the new bra I was wearing. 

"Lingerie is your foundation. It makes your clothing. It doesn't matter if you're wearing a t-shirt, or a ball gown, you have to have the proper bra," she said. 

Vasilia knew my bra size without using any measurement tape. She conducts all of her fittings with her eyes, which she says is how a proper fitting should be done. I was impressed.

Her clients range in age from 14 to 80 years old. The shop has everything a woman could need from pajamas to corsets. She carries a lot of European brands, and says her shop is reminiscent of the lingerie shops in France. 

All of her staff goes through intense training to be able to work with customers and provide fittings. She told me that every woman can look beautiful, and to ignore the photos of women in lingerie, because even those women don't look like their photos. 

She also debunked a myth that I heard once, and always followed. It's that you have to wear your bra on the middle hook. Apparently this is bogus, and if you have a well-fitting bra, you can wear it on any hook you like. Anarchy! 

Afterward, I left with a new black lace bra and underwear set from Simone Perele, probably the most beautiful set I've ever owned. The next day I wore it around my apartment and I swear, my ratty university sweatshirt never looked so good. 

To have your own fitting, visit Avec Plaisir, 136 Cumberland St, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Finding Balance

image via thecareco
Last week on my walk home from my ballet barre class, I bought a bag of Twizzlers.

Instead of ignoring my craving for high fructose corn syrup, or beating myself up about it, I gave in. I bought the pack, and ate a few chewy strings on my sweaty walk home. To me, that is balance.

Lately, I'm trying to balance a lot of things.

The list ranges from working long hours, writing, blogging, freelancing; maintaining some respect of a social life; living healthily, and having some fun along the way. Fitness seems to be the cornerstone of balancing stress and all that sticky stuff that gets caught in my brain and tells me to obsess over one thing, or that I'm not good enough.

It's blasting Ariana Grande while reading a book about grammar.

Last week, the blog took the balance hit, with none of my posts going live. I've had the chance to interview and meet so many great people for Not A Model, so stay tuned.

The important thing about balance is that it looks different for everyone.

You need to find the groove that makes you feel good. You need to walk the line of discipline and enjoyment. You have to listen to what your body needs, to what your mind needs, and make time for people who matter.

It goes: health, family, friends, inspiring work, and of course, Twizzlers.

Happy second day of September!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What to Read: The Goldfinch / The Vacationers

With summer winding down, people either ramp up the activities, or savour whatever leisure time they have left. The weather seems to have an early, damp chill in the air telling us: SUMMER IS ENDING! GRAB YOUR BLANKIE! REUNITE WITH YOUR LONG LOST COUCH!

Below are two books for that last summer long weekend.

1.     2.

1. The Goldfinch - The first thought I had while starting The Goldfinch is that I never want to read anything again unless it's written by Donna Tartt. Her prose is like reading a photograph, with every square inch, colour, smell, and movement described. The premise? The story follows 13 year old Theo who survives an accident in a museum. (That is the most I'll say). I haven't finished it, but I'm taking my time (it's also 700 pages). The novel won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and word has it, the movie version is on its way.

2. The Vacationers - Since the sun is leaving, try The Vacationers. I started reading this book on vacation (fitting) and finished it in under a week. At the time, I read a lot of press about the author, Emma Straub, and was seduced by the cover of this book. The story follows The Posts, an American family trying to create some togetherness on a family trip to Mallorca, Spain. Each member has a story, a secret, and something they need to resolve. I started to empathize and care for each of the characters, always returning back to the book to see how far they've come.

image credit 1. wikipedia / image credit 2. amazon

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Here We Grow

Thessaloniki, Greece

I have 32, 883 words of a young adult novel that I've been writing.

According to Writer's Digest, the average young adult novel is between 55,000 and 69,999 words, which means that I am halfway to completion.

Will I finish it? I'm not sure. Do I want to finish it? Of course! Sometimes I look for inspiration in photos or words to remind me that all projects (personal or professional) take time.

Above is a photo I took in Thessaloniki of my favourite sculpture in the city. It's called Umbrellas, and the beauty of it made my eyes tell my brain to stop thinking for a moment. I wonder about the sculptor, Giorgos Zogolopoulos. I wonder how daunting this project must've felt at first, and how many people told him it wouldn't make sense.

Lastly, below is a quote from author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin that I also found inspiring and relevant. Enjoy!

"Great projects start out feeling like buildings. There are architects, materials, staff, rigid timelines, permits, engineers, a structure.

It works or it doesn't.

Build something that doesn't fall down. On time.

But in fact, great projects, like great careers and relationships that last, are gardens. They are tended, they shift, they grow. They endure over time, gaining a personality and reflecting their environment. When something dies or fades away, we prune, replant and grow again.

Perfection and polish aren't nearly as important as good light, good drainage and a passionate gardener.

By all means, build. But don't finish. Don't walk away.

Here we grow." - via sethgodin.typepad.com 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Greece Travel Diaries: Mykonos

I couldn't help but think about that Fleet Foxes song, Mykonos (which was sadly missing from my music playlist) during our four-hour boat ride to the island, from Athens.

Mykonos, the dry island as they call it, didn't have the lush landscapes that I was used to during my time in Northern Greece. It did, however, fulfill the exact fantasy that I had about Greece from watching films. Blue and white homes sprinkled everywhere; candy-coloured lacquered shutters; cobblestone hills and streets; evil eyes in store windows; and tourists, tons and tons of tourists.

Mykonos is where people go to have a good time. Maria and I would spend the day at the beach, head back to our hotel, change for dinner, and then after dinner head back to nap, before heading out again after midnight.

As I get older, I seem to be less inclined to stay out crazy late, or find the most raging party on vacation. Instead, I prefer night strolls, one cocktail, and chatting about plans for the next day. In Mykonos, sleep is for the weak, and let's just say, I tried my best to stay strong.

One of my favourite sights were the Mykonos windmills that overlook the sea, and at sunset draw crowds of people to take photos and sit by the ledges.

Below are a few photos I took! Enjoy.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Try something different

Sometimes I create change through making small decisions.

Things like buying a new couch pillow; choosing a book genre that I never read, or getting a hair cut. I've mentioned before without getting into too many details, that my routine looks nothing like it did a month ago. These days, I don't have anything in my life quite set. My schedule is made on a weekly basis, and I even work nights. While this change has been significant, I still find myself seeking other ways to alter my surroundings.

I got in touch with Elena, the amazing graphic designer who helped with my blog's redesign last year. I asked if she could send me some of the other logos she made, before I originally picked the final one. She sent me the jpeg, and I immediately changed it. (*Look above! I hope you like it)

Sometimes making a quick change, without focusing on the previous attachment, makes me feel like I'm moving forward in a way. While this blog isn't famous, or read by thousands, it is still a piece of me, and if I'm changing, then this space must also evolve.

For anyone else who's starting over, or contemplating finding a new routine, this week's mantra is for you! x

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Greece Diaries - Athens

I love big cities.

Throw me in the middle of New York, Toronto, Paris, Chicago and I tend to thrive.

But Athens, please don't bring me to Athens in July.

There was something about Athens that just didn't jive with me. Maybe it was the 45 degree weather, the lack of shade, anywhere, or the fact that I decided to visit the Acropolis of Athens on one of the hottest days I've ever experienced.

I nearly melted after climbing up alone (Maria chose to stay behind as she's visited before). I wasn't used to the influx of tourists, a crowd that was denser than the heat that followed me around like a Charlie Brown cloud.

But I kept going. I didn't come all the way to Athens not to see one of the most historical monuments of Greek history. On my way down, I got really lost. I couldn't find Maria. I somehow ended up on the other side of where I entered. I bought a litre of water, and downed it in five gulps. I started to panic.

When I finally found Maria, she was relaxing under a tree, texting. I begged her for shade and food, in that order. We found a cute Italian restaurant called School, hidden amongst the crowded streets. We ordered the largest margherita pizza I've ever seen, and I ate enough slices to almost revive me back to a chipper state.


Below are some photos I took while in Athens! Enjoy.