Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The List - Moments

If you've been following me on Instagram, you may think that all I do is go to weddings, baptisms and family functions. You may be right. I've been running around for the past few weeks gearing up for weekends full of milestones.

Below is a round up of my latest moments, the kind that you spend with only the best people in your life. Enjoy!

1. No, I'm not going to prom. This is me before my friend's wedding. I stopped by my parents' house to drop off a bag, and they came running down the stairs with their phones and assaulted me with camera flashes. (All while my ride watched in the driveway)
2. I was recently a bridesmaid for one of my best friend's weddings. I stood by with the friends I've known since grade six, and quietly marked the official end of childhood.

3. In cooking moments, I can admit that I've lapsed on making proper meals. With an evening job, I find myself eating granola bars, or anything that can fit in a Ziploc bag. Last week, I found myself with a night off so I made a simple rice dish, using my mom's homemade tomato sauce. For Thanksgiving, I made a beet and goat cheese terrine. I found the recipe on The Chalkboard Mag, via British sisters Hemsley and Hemsley.

4. Families that selfie together...stay together? Inspired by Ellen's Oscar shot, my family did our own Thanksgiving selfie. My favourite are the two baby expressions at the bottom. They must be thinking, What's wrong with these people? 
5. I love taking photographs, and it seems that I am now the unofficial photographer at family engagements. While I'm an admitted amateur, the best feeling is scrolling through your photos and finding the perfect shot. The photo below is from Baby Kate's baptism. It captures the love of her (ridiculously attractive) parents, and the curiosity of this beautiful baby girl.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Freedom vs. Confidence

Confidence seems to be the easy answer to everything.

Magazine editors, actors, models — they all love to tell us that confidence is what makes a person. My favourite beauty site, Into the Gloss and their founder Emily Weiss wrote the following quote this week, and I loved it.

I like her view on being fearless, even if things aren't where they are supposed to be. Enjoy. x

"Freedom and confidence are two different things, in my book. Confidence is overrated—it can be faked, whereas freedom is fearlessness. Freedom is being more or less okay with wherever you’re at, at any given point in your life or your day or your hour, be it really sucky or really great or somewhere in between (and there are a lot of in-betweens.) The single guiding principle that I try to follow, assuming blindly that the rest will fall into place, is to operate squarely in the present. I think it’s one of the most difficult things for anyone to do." 
- Emily Weiss via  via Into the Gloss

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book Club: Gone Girl

I read Gone Girl in six days.

With my best friend's wedding this coming weekend, four different freelance deadlines, and my evening job, I barely had time to make sure my shoes match, and yet..

For the past six days, I couldn't put it down. I'd give myself rewards to get back to it (write 500 words, finish that press release and you can read a chapter). I'd tell myself I'd only read for half an hour before bed, and then I'd be up, wide-eyed till 1 a.m.

I'm not someone to read anything that causes distress. I have a strict no-murder, no horror and no mystery rule when it comes to books and films. I've always been like this. Why pay $12 to sit in a theatre and feel on edge for two hours? Also, living on my own, I'd rather not be terrified while taking a shower.

But Gone Girl was recommended by friends, and the movie trailer with Ben Affleck's creepy smile kept popping up in my feed. I now know why. Author Gillian Flynn nails it. Every twist, every mind game; she grabs you. Also, her description of The Cool Girl is brilliance all on its own.

Quick premise: Gone Girl is about a couple, Amy and Nick, who are having marital troubles when Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary leaving Nick in the spotlight. (That's all I'll say). The film is out tomorrow and I heard that director David Fincher changed the ending, which I'm quite intrigued about because I absolutely hated the ending of this book. And while I have zero free time this weekend, you bet I'll be sitting in a theatre soon, with one hand over my face, half-smiling, half-horrified. Sleep with the lights on.

/image source: Wikipedia /

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The New Vision: Fall

I'm not a very fussy person. 

While I like my space to be (hygienically) clean, I don't mind a bit of clutter. 

I like things strewn around my apartment; I believe it adds character, my character. I let piles of things grow on my desk like moss in a humid forest, until all of a sudden I have no idea why I've kept so many receipts, magazines, and old gift cards. 

While I can deal with clutter, and the organized chaos, sometimes I hit a moment when I have to organize, and rearrange. A few weeks ago, I found myself tearing everything off of my bulletin board. I sat on my carpet and flung off every scrap of paper until I could see the cork again.

It was approaching a new season, and I needed a new vision.

This time, I positioned everything a bit neater than the way I sloppily tacked things on during spring. I found new photos; I gathered new items that were speaking to me. Black and white is the theme; everything is a bit moodier, and more serious.

During summer, I embraced a different kind of me. I was a loosely based version of myself, like reading a book and recognizing someone, but realizing that the name has changed, and maybe the mannerisms, but you can swear you know who they are talking about. The change wasn't bad, it was different. Probably the most different I've felt in years. All summer, I floated around like a large fish that was brought home from the store and had to make decisions based on the size of its tank.

I'm ready to get back to the ocean.

Below is this week's mantra and focuses on the new season. Enjoy!

"That whole time of year, autumn, I find exhilarating. A passionate season. The others are so bland. In the fall, you see opportunities for change. Real change. Possibilities present themselves. None of the renewal and redemption cliches of spring. No. Something darker and more primal and more important than that.” Alice LaPlante via Goodreads

Friday, September 26, 2014

The List: Things I Don't Want to Admit...

Things I don't want to admit... (and other things I've liked this week)

1. Having a cold turns me into a six year old. All I want to do is call my mom and talk in a baby voice, and mummify myself with a blanket on the couch. No inspirational mantra here people.

2. More times than not, spoonfuls of nutella, jam or peanut butter is my version of dessert. Suzy Pinterest avert your eyes!

3. I am STILL reading The Goldfinch.

4. The best run I had this week was to the new Tim McGraw album. Nothing against Tim, but I never thought I'd run to country music.

5. My best friend started working at a new coffee shop called The Tempered Room in Parkdale, Toronto. It's bursting with homemade french pastries, and cute men in plaid shirts. (Okay, that last part was only one time)

6. This New York Times article about Italian socialite Marella Agnelli, wife to the chairman of the Fiat empire intrigued me. I especially enjoyed the line, "It was time I learned the “three-S rule”: “sogni,” “salute” and “soldi” (dreams, health and money). These were the subjects, she explained, one should never discuss in public." On that note, please forget #1 on this list.

7. Lena Dunham's advice videos "Ask Lena" on Nymag, gave me a good laugh.

8. Spending time at my best man since birth's apartment brightened my entire week. His eye for decor is unparalleled. He can put feathers in a box (and he did) and make it look cool.

9. Lately, a "wild night out" is going for dinner and watching my friends fall asleep on my couch at 11 p.m.

10. Here's to the weekend. Stay healthy, and happy. x

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Emma Watson

image source Getty Images
I remember getting into a debate with a guy I was dating over the word "feminist."

He started off the conversation with, "You aren't some bra burning feminist are you?" I remained calm, but responded that yes, actually I am (but minus the bra burning because bras are expensive, and I need them).

This past weekend, Emma Watson spoke at the United Nations as she is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.

Her speech was about feminism, and while it did focus on women's equality, the speech also focused on opening up the stage for men and boys.

The HeForShe campaign is a call for men to be vulnerable, and to be free of gender stereotypes. It is a platform for men to stand up for feminism, because they also believe in the rights of women.

I thought her speech was brilliant, and wanted to share it with you. This week's mantra comes from her, and if you haven't already, watch the full video here. Enjoy!

"My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn't assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those. If you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It is the idea and the ambition behind it because not all women have received the same rights I have. In fact, statistically, very few have." - Emma Watson

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Health Spotlight: That Clean Life

Baked Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal 

I've been following Abigail Keeso for years on Twitter, and recently got in touch with her when I started hearing and reading all about her new health initiative called That Clean Life. My social media feeds were buzzing with people tweeting about her healthy meal plans and recipes.

Keeso is also a registered nurse and her e-books include meal plans, recipes, grocery lists and photos.
I was part of her summer beach body group, and I loved having the itemized grocery lists. Her e-books are easy to follow, and really help people on the go, make quick and fresh meals. They are also affordable, ranging from $7 to $35. She also has a great health blog with tips on everything from exercise, to natural beauty products.

Below is my interview with her. Don't forget to sign up for yourself.

1. When did you decide to start That Clean Life?

The idea originally came about when a friend at work was always interested in what I was eating and asked me to make her a meal plan so she could start eating healthy. While in the process I thought, “Well if I’m designing a meal plan, I might as well share it on my blog”. I created a sign up form and had over 500 people download the plan within the first week. That’s when I knew I was onto something.

2. How do you want people to feel after they join your program?

Excited. So many people associate eating healthy with dieting, aka feeling hungry and deprived. My plans prove to you that it doesn’t have to be this way. My plans have changed lives for the better and that is something worth getting excited about!

3. What advice would you have for people who say they don't have time to start a program like this?

If you really want to change your mind, body and soul - you have to make the time. Yes, it’s a challenge but as the old saying goes, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” Commit to the challenge, follow the plan and get on the path to better health. Life’s too short to feel crappy in your own body.

4. Who or what is your greatest inspiration for living a clean lifestyle?

I’m addicted to feeling great. I’ve come from a place of being sick and tired all the time. When I discovered that what I eat has such a huge impact on how I feel mentally, physically and emotionally I committed to making some serious changes. Looking back and seeing how far I’ve come is what inspires me to continue down this road to That Clean Life.

5. Finish this sentence. That Clean Life is… 
...a life-changing lifestyle.

/ all photo credits attributed to That Clean Life

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.”