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Friday, August 31, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

niagara lately: volume II.

i love the way the light filters through the canopy onto the forest floor,
 the way it sounds, the way it feels, how it keeps me longing for more.

i love how the clouds make the sky look ever more blue,
and the way the trees seem to frame off the prettiest of views.

i love the way the tall grass sways in the smallest of breezes,
the way it dances across the landscape, how it moves, how it teases. 

but what i love the most about being deep within the heart,
is how it has the most beautiful way of bringing me right back to the start.
-- just me

Monday, August 27, 2012

30 by 30 toronto island love.

with pretty well a month of summer to go (i love being out of school and getting to enjoy the summer all the way into the end of september - none of this labour day signifies summer is over bullshit) i snatched up the opportunity to spend the day on toronto island (one of my 30 by 30 items) when last minute plans to make the short trip up to toronto were made. my good friend cass/cashie and i were on the road bright and early saturday morning, and on our way to stay with our girlfriend neena. we're a dirty little threesome, and always have the best time together, usually including the most girlie of things like raiding neena's stellar closet, having her do our hair and making pretty breakfasts. i always leave a visit with neena feeling extra inspired and aware of how lucky i am to have them both in my life. as a freelance hair and makeup artist, she was committed to working that afternoon, so she dropped cashie and i off at the waterfront, to grab a ferry to the island.
the ferry rate was on target/tarjay as they are coming to canada and were doing a butt load of advertising for it, so everyone had target swag and the ferry's were decorated to the tits. within a half an hour we were on the island and ready to explore. neena had mapped things out for us, explaining which dock to get off on to see the neighbourhoods, and which beach we should go to. i had heard how adorable the cottages on the island were, so we took a stroll through the sweetest little neighbourhood i have ever seen. rumour has it the wait list to obtain a property on the island is around 10 years, and i can see why -- each cottage is completely unique from it's neighbour and utterly charming; gingerbread details, bold bright colours, pots of flowers and so much character, it felt like a perfect little piece of cape cod.
 by the time we made our way down all the paths and "streets" (cars are not permitted on the island, so everyone gets around on bicycles) i had decided which cottage i wanted and what colours i would paul would paint it. as adorable as the little blue number below is, if mine, it would be mint green with baby pink trim in a heartbeat. complete with lace curatins and a garden full of flowers, ferns and a magnolia tree no questions asked. swap out the interlocking brick path for a more natural flagstone number and a canadian flag off the porch and i would be happier than a pig in shit. yes, that's all i ask.
after our self-guided neighbourhood tour, we were sweating like hookers in church and were ready for the beach and picnic we had packed. the 6 hour walk (maybe more like hour and a bit) from one end of the island to the other damn near killed me, but was worth it all day long. we walked along the boardwalk past the most amazing tall ships, random small beaches and took a few breaks to enjoy the shade.
at certain points, it felt like we were walking through central park -- as i specifically remember how it had the most incredible way of fooling you into feeling like you weren't in the middle of a concrete jungle. randomly getting to catch a glimpse of the cn tower popping up from among the tree line, it was like that little reminder that we were in the big city, just when you felt like you were away on vacation somewhere perfectly beachy and rural.
once we finally reached the beach suggested by neena (which happened to be a clothing optional beach, however clothing is never optional for me, mostly required, especially in public, because i'm a giant pussy), we were ready to veg out and enjoy the rest of the hot afternoon sun. the water sparkled and people jumped off boats that were docked in the shallow shore. we sipped on pink lemonade and vodka, chat chitting away with the most hilarious girl nestled in what was clearly her usual spot. nicki, "like minaj only without the fame or money" was how she introduced herself, offering to share her snacks/joints/ipod stocked with marley with us if we wanted it, she knew almost everyone who stepped foot on that beach, and was the perfect stranger to share our 30 by 30 island day with. at one point during one of her stories, she said "you gotta be good to people, you have to be nice. if you're good to others, it will come back to you, i promise you that hon-nay". 
and you know what? she's absolutely right. 

nicki, cashie & neena, and the island were a perfect reminder of all of that. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

on becoming a lady.

marilyn photographed by milton greene.
{image via}

"i'm not a girl. not yet a woman". 
ew. why did i just write that?

very recently, while talking to a sales manager at work, (a handsome middle aged silver fox mind you) i choked on a mint and it got stuck in my throat. at that moment i threw my hands over my mouth and went over my options quickly in my head: hork it up in front of him as ladylike as i could? say a little prayer and swallow that shit down? the latter proved to be the smarter decision, when an hour later it slowly made it's way down my esophagus and into the abyss that is my stomach. leaps and bounds above the choice i made in high school to hack up a jolly rancher in mr. mckenna's geography class, or the time i spent an entire evening trying to get a piece of a meatball out of my nasal cavity, that had accidentally laughed it's way up there while eating a sub for lunch earlier in the day. why am i telling you all this? 
why am i admitting how disgusting of a human i am? 

because it has me thinking.

at 28 years of age, i am still learning the ropes when it comes to 'becoming a lady'. in moments of asphyxiation, i contemplate the most polite way to get myself out of the situation, not necessarily the easiest way. and it's not just in moments of panic that the "how to be a lady" rule book comes into play. i find myself wondering how many glasses of wine is too many at a dinner party? is it appropriate to swear because i'm an adult and can't be told not to? is going bra less justifiable when the dress you are wearing is opaque? maybe. sometimes. but not always. how am i supposed to know these things? i'm just learning. the truth is there is no manual, no handbook given out the day you put that big girl bra on and start wearing full bottom panties instead of thongs because they're a hell of a lot more comfortable than those effing thongs eye patches you've been wearing because your boyfriends liked them. you start wearing underwear for you, and no one else. 

i like to think that my nail polish wearing, drawing hearts in my agenda, never ending celebrity boy crush ways have launched me into a girlieness that can only blossom from here. but then i sit and think about it, not for very long either, and i realize that all of those things aren't the beginnings of my womanhood, rather they are remnants of my youth. it's like being on the last clasp of that training bra i am yet to take off, the first box of tampons i purchased, the moments before my very first kiss -- things i am not ready to let go of, and to be honest, i may never be. why should i? i should be allowed to carry that through with me my entire life -- i want to be old and grey and have hot pink toenails. that's me, and i'm ok with it. actually, i'm more than ok with it. 

maybe the biggest lesson i have learned through these transitional years from girl, to lady, to one-day-woman, has been that perhaps the definition of a "lady" has changed since the days of marilyn and audrey. changed enough that we can be who we are, at whatever stage in our lives, and still look and feel like a lady. the bones and basics are still there, just a new and improved version of it. one that continually evolves, and forever goes against the grain; swears when it's appropriate, doesn't take shit from anyone, and dares to sit legs open in a dress, even just long enough to catch a breeze if you need it.

maybe i do have a lot left to learn. and maybe, just maybe, i'm exactly where i'm supposed to be.

Monday, August 20, 2012

because words mean everything.

with the recent addition of the "quotes" category, pinterest has been successful at totally melting me over the last few days: it was basically the last thing i needed them to do, to confirm my teensy, tiny obsession. throughout my searching, i love discovering a new poet, or writer, and then researching their works. it's always interesting to see if it was that one particular piece of theirs that i made a connection with, or if their entire collection is something i need to be aware of. here are a few of my favourite little discoveries.
happy new week.
this last note is my favourite. 
although sometimes, wether you believe it or not, 
your world and his world are the very same thing.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

diy quick & easy gradient nails.

 for the last few weeks, i haven't wanted to do anything on my nails other than this gradient technique. it's easier to do than it looks, always ends up really pretty, and i have enough polishes in my collection to pull together some perfect colour combos. i have been asked a few times how to do it, so i thought i would share a quick step by step for my new favourite nail treatment. i can see the options for fall now -- greys, browns, reds and pretty well whatever the hell you want.

how we do: gradient nails
you will need:
clear base coat
clear top coat
4 polishes in the same colour family
cosmetic sponge
q tips
nail polish remover

i start by shaping and filing my nails to prep them, for the 2 minutes it takes, this makes all the difference in the end. what's the point in having pretty nails, when they look like those stick on glow-in-the-dark beauties you wore with your witch costume for halloween when you were 8 years old. once your nails are prepped and ready to go, you can do two coats of your base colour, which would be the lightest shade of the polishes you are using. i went with purple, and used the lilac as my base. 2 coats was enough for even coverage, and was obvious enough that it was there.
 once your base coat dries, you can get your cosmetic sponge ready. i cut my sponges in half a) because i have some dutch in me, and this doubles my sponges and b) it creates a narrower width for applying, which means less polish ends up on the skin around your nails. add a line of your second lightest shade a bit above the base of the sponge, and layer it a few times so your polish soaks in. do the same with the third shade, and then the fourth at the top. i leave a space above and below the colours to avoid getting the polish on my fingers, and to ensure the base colour i did has the chance to shine through at the bottom. clear as mud? or am i speaking french right now?
now for the fun part. before you start to stamp the sponge on to your nail, blot it on a paper towel to remove any excess polish, and then starting at one edge of your nail, begin lightly pressing the sponge down. you are going to get the polish on the skin around your nails, so get over it now and make sure you get it all the way from one edge, working your way across the nail bed to the other side. try and keep the sponge in the same position, to ensure you have a clear definition of the shades you are using. do this in as little 'stamps' as you can -- the more you do, the less clear it is to see the number of shades you used.
once you have achieved the look you are going for, make sure you have applied the colour into the edges and corners of your nails. go over any areas you make have missed, or are lacking consistency, and then step away -- it's very easy to go ape shit with the sponge, and when you finally have the strength to stop yourself, you have basically blotted yourself a muddled, solid mess. if you find the polish has bubbled, a few layers of top coat will smooth everything out beautifully. i usually do one thick layer, allow it to dry, and then do one more thin layer to ensure it's smooth. once it's all dry, you can use a q tip dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any edges and tidy everything up.
now i have to admit, this purple variation is my least favourite of all the colour combos i have tried thus far, mainly because i don't really care for purple, and the shades i chose did not vary enough that the end result was as dramatic as i prefer. a few days ago i pulled out a coral number that ended up looking so good, it looked airbrushed. the key is to use a base colour that is as opposite from the darkest colour you use as possible. and although the technique is quick & easy, the more you practice, the better you will get, and the prettier the results will be. i have a few colour options i am excited to try, and want to give a matte coat option a whirl as well. i bet you won't be able to pay for something at the grocery store, or pick up your timmy's drive-thru without someone asking you about them at least once.
left: 'peach gradient' using pastel peach, melon, coral & red.
right: 'sunset gradient' using yellow, orange, coral & red.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

the civil wars: barton hollow.

 a friend of mine has me straight up loving 'the civil wars' right now, and as far as country goes, this is the limit pushed to the max. i love their voices separately and even more combined. he reminds me of a mix of johnny depp and jack white. she -- well she is just lovely. the whole album is perfect for anything from working around the house to a road trip to just about anywhere.

{view on vimeo}

Sunday, August 12, 2012

take your pants off grilled cheese.

while at the cottage last week, we took our traditional afternoon trip into town. one of our stops was empire cheese, a local cheese factory with a small store front, where paulie picked up a brick of creamy jalapeno havarti that was so good, we used every bite of that shit making grilled cheese sandwiches by the end of the week. since we've been home, i have been talking about wanting to experiment with different combinations to make the perfect grilled cheese -- and as much as i love the traditional cheese slice and white bread combo, the sammy we pulled together is a serious contender for my new favourite.

how we do: cheddar, bacon, avocado & chili grilled cheese
{makes 1 sandwich}
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
eating time: before your tomato soup has a chance to cool

you will need:
2 slices of fresh italian bread
cheddar or marble cheese
3 strips of crispy bacon
3 slices of avocado
1/4 chili pepper
1 tbsp butter
start by frying your bacon until it's perfectly crispy and allow any excess grease to absorb on a paper towel. prepare the rest of the ingredients by slicing the avocado into nice sized wedges, and finely chopping your chili pepper. i used one from my nonno's garden, and it packs a mean punch let me tell you. 1/4 of that thing, and your mouth is straight hummin' for the rest of the day -- in a good way of course. i used 1/4" thick slices of marble cheese, cut from a brick. you want your bread a nice thickness as well, as it needs to hold everything together without getting sloppy.

the rest is self explanatory. assemble your sandwich (i did cheese, avocado, bacon and the chili scattered on top), butter the outside slices of your bread, and get that thing in a frying pan on medium heat. because the sammy is pretty thick, cooking it on medium heat with a lid over it ensures the cheese melts and the bread gets golden and crunchy. we paired it with good ol' fashion campbell's tomato soup (what else could you eat with grilled cheese on a rainy sunday?) with lots of parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper sprinkled on top. it was a perfect mix of chewy, cheesy, creamy and spicy, with the crunch of the bacon and italian bread, and the coolness of the avocado to even everything out. and because i'm a typical woman, i'm already trying to figure out the next combo of flavours to use.

oh, and i'm calling this 'take your pants off grilled cheese' because it makes you do just that. with the heat of the chili, and how effing tasty it was, i had to take my track pants off while i was slamming this thing back. basically, don't eat it in front of anyone you aren't 
willing to get down into your panties with.

Friday, August 10, 2012

cottage life: a hammock view.

considering this is my 100th post, imma go ahead and fill it with photos, videos and words. and shit.

for the 6th glorious summer, a point has been made to come together as a group, and make the cottage happen. plans start while winter is still heavy, and i can feel the spark that ignites the joy of a week of pure bliss in my belly undercarriage. in the weeks leading up, firmer plans are made; what to eat, who will drive,  and how long can we possibly stay. and when the day comes that we pack the car to the tits, and we pile in for the 3.5 hour drive, everything becomes real, and the butterflies in my stomach are a symphony of excitement. pure, piss yourself, joy.

the anticipation of driving down the dirt road that takes us to our simple summer cottage abode, is the best feeling i get all year. it means i get to spend an inordinate amount of time with some of my favourite humans--people i would spend every day with if i could. it means i get to see that silly smile on india's face. it means i get to eat s'mores every night, and not feel bad about it. it's a week of bare feet, evening sunshine through the trees, napping in the hammock and score settling rock, paper, scissors. 
it's actually pretty perfect.
before heading up, i made it a goal to take as much video as i took photos, and i am shocked to say, i actually friggen' did it. a mix of some of my favourite moments, it's by no means perfect, but it makes me feel like i'm hanging from the trees, smelling of campfire and soaking up the sunshine. ps-the song is "who knows who cares" by 'the local natives', and it's 100% my go-to summer song. even after 4 hours of editing this bitch, i could put this song on repeat and still love every second of it.
"summer afternoon -- summer afternoon,
to me those have always been the two most 
beautiful words
in the english language."
 --henry james

Saturday, August 04, 2012

if anyone needs me.

tough titties.
i'll be at the cottage baby!
yeee hawww.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

dîner en blanc. well la dee fucking da.

a few weeks ago, my friend nataschia emailed me and asked if paulie and i wanted to join her and some friends for a special evening in my favourite little town, niagara on the lake. happening only for the second time in the history of the town, 'diner en blanc' started in paris in the late 80's and slowly made its way from country to country and eventually across the pond to south america, up into new york, los angeles, montreal and into the heart of niagara. organized through the chamber of commerce, guests reserve a table of 8 for a small fee, which guaranteed a place in the picnic and the cost of your table and chair rentals. each table assigns a captain, and decides who is bringing what to dinner, the decor and florals, linens, candles and anything else you may need. an extensive wine list is sent out before hand so each table can pre-order bottles of local wine, which get delivered to the table before dinner starts. each guest is 
encouraged to dress in all white, and an award is given to the best dressed table.

basically, it's a fabulous excuse to dress in all white, stuff your face, drink good wine and picnic with hundreds of beautiful people in the middle of the prettiest town in canada. i was in. hands down. nataschia had asked if i would be interested in doing the decor and florals for all 3 tables, and i couldn't have been happier to say yes. a little intimidated by the fact that the owner of mimosa flower studio would be sitting at our table, i did my best and am very happy with how everything turned out. a hearty collection of milk glass vases filled with hydranges, roses lisianthus and mums, lace tablecloths, paper heart details, tonnes of candlelight and mason jar bud vase place cards, everything came together beautifully-- it was a rustic, vintage, white on white dream.

i was a bit apprehensive that we wouldn't get everything set in time to eat dinner when everyone else was, but it was amazing to see how everyone pulled the look together exactly the way i had been picturing it in my head. it was the perfect way to meet everyone, and 
make some new friends along the way.
because there were 3 tables of us, the decision to have our food catered was brilliantly suggested, so chef erik peacock of wellington court served up stunning platter after stunning platter of the most delicious salmon, chicken, fresh veggies and sauces. eating family style only played up the picnic vibe of the whole night, and we each took turns trying and sharing everything. we literally broke bread and sopped it up 
with olive oil and fresh sea salt. i could eat that shit errrryday.
my favourite part of the event was getting to walk around and creep everyone's tables for ideas. it was amazing to see how much thought and effort was put into planning and designing each and every table. being smack dab in the heart of the town, we were in our own little pocket of white, and as the evening turned to night, everything became even prettier with all the candlelight and the presence of a big, fat, juicy full moon.

we munched on cheese, fruit and nuts for dessert, and fresh local peaches were given out to each guest. at a little after 10pm, each table was given a packet of sparklers to light for when the clock hit 10:15. some of us jumped the gun, some of us held out...and others were a little late to the party. even still, 1000 lit sparklers is a seriously pretty sight.
when the event happened last year, i was kinda bummed that we missed out on the chance to experience the first time it would take place in niagara on the lake. i knew when the time came that the event would roll around again, i would try my best to be a part of it. it was everything i expected it to be, and was an incredible opportunity to get dolled up, spend a perfect summer night outside with friends, 
and do what niagara does best: drink a shit tonne of wine.

you know the saying "you can dress her up, but you probably shouldn't even fucking consider taking that broad out"? 
i have a feeling i may be the epitome of that phrase. 

my biggest fear the entire night, was that i would either spill red wine all over myself, or worse, get a surprise visit from aunt flo. i seriously worried about this so much, that i came fully prepared, and stayed away from anyone drinking red wine. never in my wildest dreams, did i expect that during the hustle and bustle of getting the tables dressed, would one of my chicken cutlets slide down my dewy-with-sweat body, and out the bottom of my dress. luckily, i knew it was happening before it had a chance to hit solid ground, and was able to have my dear, sweet friend nataschia, catch it for me, and put it in her pocket -- in that moment, we took our friendship to a whole new level. to keep me from feeling lopsided all night, i ripped the other one out (in front of everyone) and threw it in my purse. i was free as a bird. if that's not an icebreaker, i don't know what the hell is.

note: i was only wearing those bitches because i saw them in my vanity drawer as i was getting ready, and thought i would get the girls pirky enough to keep paulie's attention all night. i purchased them as part of my jessica rabbit halloween costume two years ago, and haven't worn them since -- until last night that is. they are going in the garbage, never to see the light of day again.
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