Monday, October 29, 2012

nights on fire

welcome to a good-times-extra-long-weekend picture post! (also known as "see, mom, i do have a life!")  this is also mostly a rehash of the stuff i toss up on my social networks, so, y'know, sorry if you're seeing these pics twice, or for the third time, or whatever. (and uh, thanks for taking such a vested interest in my life?)  let's call it a "recap" for brevity's sake.  so, here's what went down over the last few days of halloween merrymaking:

internet friend-turned-real life compadre jason had an extra ticket for friday night live at the royal ontario museum, which was awesome because i honestly don't think i'd been to the rom since i was maybe six years old. (also ironic considering i lived across the street from it for two years.)  because it was the all hallow's eve edition of the event, there were plenty of costumes to go along with the dino bones, djs and booze.

t-rex hates doing shots. tiny arms make it so hard!

jason as the most interesting man in the world, yours truly as little red riding ho. (as i said on twitter, i mostly loved this costume because it actually made me look like i have boobs.  i do not really have boobs.  stupid 36As.)

posing with my friend, mr. wolf.  fishnets!  knee-high boots!  heavy makeup!  boobs!  i did halloween right.

this geode is only half as interesting as the most interesting man in the world (who brought dos equis labels to stick on his cups of beer).

though i am very down with cool gemstones.  random fact: i collected gemstones when i was a kid; had a pretty display box for 'em and everything.  but then one day i brought it in for one of my elementary school teachers to use in a class, and he just...never returned it.  literally, i never saw my goddamn collection again.  the teck room at the rom brought back all my sads.

and then, you know, penis-shaped rocks.

pagoda power!

all in all, it was a super fun way to spend a friday night (especially because of delicious food-truck caterers and lots of costumed dancing) -- i got to see some really cool parts of the huuuuuge museum, and take my halloween costume for a test spin as well.  and yeah, seriously, there's no better way to thumb your nose at childhood than by getting drunk on wine and running amok around dinosaur bones.

the fun continued saturday afternoon with a "nightmare on st. clair" party, hosted by good friend brad and his lovely lady vicky.  pumpkin-carving was the name of the game (along with day drinking):

spooky! scary!

wendy, dressed as "life" (she gave out lemons to all the party-goers), shows off her bat pumpkin.

dexter the schnauzer was not so thrilled with his costume.  he mostly just moped around looking forlorn.

case in point.

captain hook (aka hostess vicky) putting the moves on red.  i don't quite know what's going on with my left hand there, but brad jason was pretty correct when he said that there was "a definite pimp vibe to this photo."

then, from house party to pub party -- off to the central for more halloween-y madness with friends:

the incomparable captain allegra and her boyfriend sean do it up right as jesse and james of team rocket. literally, i'd kind of forgotten all about team rocket until saturday night (though there were at least two pikachus), and i basically kept squealing for at least ten minutes.

then i tried to fight james/sean. (this was, i believe, right before i flashed my ass at my friends, who then took turns grabbing it. halloween drunkenness, it is apparently a thing.)

lastly, a couple shots from the dia de los muertos festival at wychwood barns on a very cold and rainy sunday afternoon:

traditional altar for the dead.  here ghosts, have some fruit and flowers.

dios mio! (i mostly wanted churros.)

so, that's it for my three-day weekend of madness and fun. and it's not even the actual holiday yet! kinda sucks whenever halloween falls on a weekday (especially when the weather's going to be ass), but i've at least got fun plans -- it's spooky movie night at my crossfit gym after the day's last workout, so i'm baking up a batch of paleo pumpkin bars and bringing my achy muscles back to "the box" for scary good times.

hope you all survived the heavy-partying weekend intact, and that hurricane sandy isn't flooding your basements! (i have never been so thankful that i don't still live in a basement apartment. no flooding on the 18th floor, whew.)

[ music | kasabian, "days are forgotten" ]

Friday, October 26, 2012

keep myself awake

although i delight at the latter half of october - halloween, the best holiday! - all i can think right now is ugh, november.

i've always had a hard time with november. me and the eleventh month of the year, we don't get along so well. in the past, it's typically been the month when i get hit with seasonal affective disorder (though it's not always a sure thing), and with all the changes and upheaval in my life this year, i've been more than a bit wary of november 2012. i really just want to get it over with so i can get to december (because i like christmas, and i like snow).

also, i mean, really -- it's november. it's the transition month between pretty autumn and long dark winter. it's gray. it's cold. it's full of dead leaves and barren trees. there are no fun holidays or anything to look forward to (aside from getting an hour back through daylight savings time). november fucking blows.

...thus, i am making a concentrated effort to line up things every week in november that i can look forward to. these include: a halloween-themed strip spelling bee next friday (yes, you read that right; yes, it is exactly what you'd think it is; yes, i will probably take my clothes off but only down to my underwear), hosting a nail-biting u.s. election night get-together with my friends on the 6th, taking a weekend in chicago (more on that in a bit), getting my other forearm tattooed, possibly going to see another marlies game, and so on. among all that, there'll be crossfit twice a week and karaoke nights on thursdays, so i'll be keeping up with my respective social communities, and making as much of an effort to see my core friend group besides.

on the solo front, i plan on many nights of gym cardio, long hot baths, cups of tea, and snuggling under my fuzzy throw blanket as i watch terrible movies. all of this combined, i hope, will be enough to keep the november blahs away. no more shitty novembers!

but yeah -- chicago. and soon.

flying in the morning of thursday the 8th, taking the midnight bus back on sunday the 11th. (i only had enough flight credit to cover one way, but that's fine because i've never minded the overnight bus. the border is way faster at 6 a.m. when there's like six people on the bus.) yes, this trip is happening for real this time, unlike my aborted attempt to go to chicago back in the summer (ha ha). i decided i definitely didn't want to spend my november weekends brooding around my apartment being bored, and i still had flight credit, so hey, why not just go to chicago for a weekend? why not, indeed. so now everything's booked, i got the time off work, i've got my (very lengthy) binny's and trader joe's shopping lists ready, i'm stoked to see adam (though not so much for the plane ride there, however brief it is), and so much more. so much! excited, excited.

oh, and i'm getting yet another tattoo done while i'm there. it's going to be this, the chicago city flag:

on my right shoulder blade. it actually hit me that it's a very appropriate spot -- it lines up with the kill hannah logo tattooed on my upper right arm, kh being a chicago band and all. (also, extra-weird synchronism: my left shoulder blade's tattoo is the moist logo, and my upper left arm's tattoo is the bass line from their song "believe me". it all comes together!) but really, i want it done because for me, all roads lead back to chicago. i wasn't born there and i've never lived there, but there's no place i feel more at home than chicago, illinois. it's weird, but i know it works -- and so i want to get the ink done while i'm in chicago itself. it'd only be appropriate.

(hah, and then i go home and get my left forearm inked up the following week. three tattoos in less than two months! i've suddenly got the drive to piece it all together, i suppose.)

so! those are all the plans. with any luck, i'll march into december 2012 twice-newly inked, well-travelled, and in high spirits. and then the world will end on the 21st or whatever, but hey, at least i'll have gotten my kicks in.

but first: october's not over with yet, and i have a litany of halloween-themed parties to hit up over the next few days. in case you missed my slew of social-media style narcissism, here's what i'll be donning tonight and tomorrow and for the strip spelling bee (well, until i take it off):

oh you know it.

have a safe and happy weekend, friends!

[ music | none ]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

courvoisier collective's culinary masterpieces showcase

so it really isn't a secret that i heart booze - like, a lot. another one of my great loves is cooking, so when you combine alcohol and culinary wizardry, i'm basically set for life. which means that when i got an invite to the courvoisier collective's culinary masterpieces showcase event last night, i hit rsvp so hard i think i nearly broke a finger. yes please. give me all of your delicious boozy food and open-bar goodness.

i covered the courvoisier collective gallery opening last summer, and this summer, the program extended out to would-be chefs to create dishes centered around courvoisier cognac. you can currently see all the finalists in the program on the official website, complete with photos that i shouldn't be looking at when i'm hungry.

anyway! the event at maison mercer on wednesday night featured the final six nominees - three culinary students and three at-home chefs - providing samples of their goods, as well as a whole ton of glasses of free cognac. also, the same delicious courvoisier punch offered at the last event:

jenna, my ladydate for the night, was pretty stoked to be handed a glass of punch as soon as we got in the door. (not so stoked for me to be snapping photos of her, but such is the terrible price of being my +1, hah)

the place was already filling up by the time we got there, too:

interesting mix of suits, hipster food bloggers, and old people. then me, running around attempting to carry as many plates of samples and glasses of booze as possible.

although there were no vegetarian options among the nominees (sadface), there was a very large table of various veggies, dips, crackers and cheese, so jenna was able to make do. (also, big ups to erica guidi for giving jenna a portion of her dish's forest mushroom quinoa, sans pork chop.) being a voracious meat eater, i was quite pleased with my number of choices. there were a surprising number of duck dishes (i'm not a fan of duck, though) and even one involving rabbit (which i didn't try, oops), but ici bistro's the drunk lobster with potato risotto had the longest and most consistent lineup of the event by far. pretty presentation and delicious flavours.

though this one was my favourite of the night -- don chow's red miso beef ribs with mushroom cognac sauce. i may or may not have gone back for a second helping. er.

that brings me to my only other peeve: the fact that although there were forks in abundance, there were no knives. hence me having to gnaw on my food like a savage. can't wait to see if i'm in the background of any of the event photos looking like a food monster.

it was a lovely space for an event, though, with a pretty cool setup on courvoisier's part -- not only did they have free cognac tastings prepared along the bars (see above), but they also had an olfactory station where you could smell the different essences that went into each type of courvoisier.

little too dark for a proper shot, but i kind of like the artsy-ness of it.  pretty jars.

kary osmond (who hosts best recipes ever on cbc) was the emcee for the judging portion of the night; three celebrity chefs had the tough decision of picking two winners (one culinary student and one at-home chef). in the end, steve cylka won for his duck breast with duxelle ravioli, and doug burke won for his lobster corn chowder (neither of which i tried, unfortunately, since i was long since stuffed -- never let jenna nor i near a cheese plate).

then we hung around the bar until we were able to finagle two more glasses of courvoisier punch, and headed off into the chilly night, happily warmed by the cognac in our bloodstreams.

thanks for another awesome night, courvoisier collective! also, big ups to matchstick for extending the invite. good times, all.

Friday, October 12, 2012

on the uptake

and now, back to the big city.

it was a good birthday in kingston, overall; had a relaxing day at my mother's house, received many, many well-wishes from friends over facebook and email and text message, went out for lunch with my father, and so on. ended up with gift cards to the liquor store (yessssss), a book on mixology, and money for this new winter coat, among other things. my dad also took me to a kitchen supply store, armed me with a gift card, and let me run wild. just like when i was a kid at toys r' us! (except this time i came out with a springform pan and a spice grinder.)

my birthday cake: banana cake with chocolate glaze. yes, i baked my own birthday cake because for one, i love any excuse to bake, and for two, i'd been eyeing that recipe for ages now but had no reason to make it. (also, i didn't want a layer cake sitting around my apartment. no no no, says my hips.) would much rather have it in an environment where i could share it with my loved ones, and then thankfully leave the leftovers behind.

my mother actually managed to fit 29 candles on there. geez.

also, new tattoo plans hatched on the train ride home! as i mentioned briefly in the most recent survey, i've already got my next one planned for mid-november, and i'm thinking ahead to the rest of the work i want done. like i said, i'm big on symmetry (my tongue and labret piercings lined up with the center of my face), so i want to "even out" the ink i've already gotten. i've checked it out in the full-length mirror in my bedroom, and it's actually going to look pretty goddamn cool when i'm finished.

when all's said and done, i'll have the following inked on my body forever:

- left shoulder blade (done - moist logo)
- right shoulder blade
- upper left arm (done - bass line for "believe me")
- upper right arm (done - kill hannah logo)
- inner left forearm
- inner right forearm (done - line from "teachers")
- back of neck
- lower back (done - tribal-style tiger)
- abdomen (done - black halos song title)

they all have particular meaning to me, of course, and the remaining three - whatever they end up being; i have the one planned, and one tentative, but not the third - clearly will as well. getting tattooed really is as addictive as they say, by the way -- i can remember getting my first one done (the left shoulder blade) and immediately wanting my next piece, like, right away. it's a thing.

now, for the weekend -- home decoration, cooking, lots of walking, hitting up some shows with my ladyfriends, and marlies game on sunday because oh my god do i ever need a hockey fix. even the baby leafs will do. then more events and fun things going into next week! roll on with the good times.

and lastly, to sum up the last seven days:

feels good to feel okay. yep.

[ music | rilo kiley, "the moneymaker" ]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

one year older

it is my day of old! this cat is how i feel right now:

so i'm now 29, officially(?) in my 30th year. and it's not even hyperbole to say that, ten years ago, i couldn't even conceive the idea of making it this far. not to say i thought i'd be dead by now or anything; i just couldn't contemplate the thought of being here. i literally had no ideas or plans of what my life would be like at almost-thirty. i think i figured on having a career-job (check), a nice apartment (check), and a steady relationship (errrr hold please), but beyond that, i just didn't think about it. that's probably for the best, though -- no expectations of life plans means that i'm not feeling let down by anything, or inadequate in any areas of my life. which is a much better way to be, i'm sure.

no really, all i wanted - all i still want - is an awesome, epic life that's a story worth telling. and yeah, i'd be lying if i said that wasn't part of my motivation in shaking up my life back in the summer. (though "shakeup" probably isn't the word i'd use -- maybe something more like "wait, wtf?")

on that topic, a lot has changed in my life since my 28th, and it obviously hasn't all been rainbows and sunshine. two of my grandparents died. i went through the breakup of my five-year relationship. my stepfather had to have a tumour removed. my personal life was a goddamn rollercoaster. but in the end, i kind of feel like i was overdue for a year of chaos and downturns, especially since i was basically doing my damndest to shake everything up. what can i say -- the last couple years have been so pedestrian and stable and, well, boring. nothing was really changing from year to year. so, i decided to incur change. necessity for personal growth. (though that doesn't make it any less scary.)

but here is what i keep in mind, today and every day in this coming year before my third decade: i have a lot to be thankful for. i have a lot to be happy about. i have so much to look forward to. and you bet your ass i will.

then this, from thanksgiving sunday:

whatever will be. (maybe it's time i finally learned this concept of "patience".)

with that said, i'm off to continue my yearly tradition of going to the gym on my birthday. no rest for the determined-to-stay-in-shape.

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "driven like the snow" ]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the little things

now, for all of the good/better/best things:

i did power ballad karaoke last week! and though i could never profess to being one of the best singers in the bunch, i feel glad that i'm actually getting my vocal lungs back. i hope my old voice teacher would be proud. anyway, i picked guns n' roses' "sweet child o' mine" this week and had a grand old time with it. (the "where do we go now?" breakdown towards the end is basically the best ever.) not quite as hilarious as hitting every word on beastie boys' "intergalactic" the previous week, but pretty decent anyway. just more cementing of my enjoying #loserkaraoke thursdays. it's nice to have somewhere to consistently go to see friends every week.

i got a houseplant! this is a gigantic variegated golden pathos, a genus which i've had an affinity for since i grew one from a baby plant when i was a kid. (i had a very large terrarium built from an old fishtank.) there might be issues with me keeping it if/when i do end up getting a kitten (it's poisonous to pets, which i totally forgot about before i forked over the $50 for this monstrous thing); still, right now it's all in the pursuit of making my apartment my genuine home. there's an imaginus poster sale down on campus next week, and you can bet your ass i'll be hitting it up to get some things to help decorate these boring white walls.

i saw change of heart (again)! i think i liked the hamilton show(s) just a little bit more, but this one was still mind-melting and insane. my ears were ringing for hours afterwards, but that's what i get for standing keys/bass side. a good live show revives me like nothing ever could.

i got new ink! this one - my sixth piece, on my inner right forearm - was a long time in coming, but took some deciding first; the placement, sure, but absolutely the design itself. i ended up choosing the above -- my favourite line from my favourite poem, leonard cohen's "teachers". full stanza:
Some girls wander by mistake
Into the mess that scalpels make
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to break.
(it's a badly-kept secret that "some girls wander by mistake" is also the title of a sisters of mercy album. so, i essentially got a hybrid cohen/sisters tattoo. i am 100% fine with that.) i've already decided it'll be half of a match set -- i'm going to get "love is not a victory march" (my favourite line from "hallelujah") down my inner left forearm, probably next month, once i'm done dealing with the healing process for this one. crazy fun facts: this tattoo was done almost ten years to the day of when i got my very first tattoo (at the same shop), and the girl who inked me yesterday apprenticed under the guy who did my first tattoo. weird.

i've had awesome friend hangs! it's been a good week altogether for hanging out with my rad people. between sushi + looper date with jenna to the aforementioned karaoke night to liz's homecoming at sneaky dee's last night (soooo many nachos), it's all been a great reminder that i do have some incredibly awesome friends in two different, varied social circles. these are people that i genuinely enjoy hanging out with, and i would believe/hope vice versa.

i'm off to do thanksgiving x 2 with family! my train to kingston leaves later this afternoon, and upon arrival i'm immediately off to my father's for thanksgiving sunday dinner (which includes my favourite montreal uncles!). then it'll be my mother's for thanksgiving monday, then my birthday on tuesday (i plan on baking my own cake, just for the hell of it), then back to toronto on wednesday night. i feel like that'll be the perfect amount of time to 1) get me out of the city for a break and 2) get me back to the city before kingston drives me insane with boredom. my threshold for being in kingston is generally four days maximum, so this works. also, you know, family times and holidays and birthdays and stuff.

this was a lot of bolding and exclamation marks. but i am good, i am happy, and i am possibly overcaffeinated right now. off to the gym -- i have this fantastically slutty red riding hood costume (little red riding ho?) that i have to fit into by the 31st:


[ music | porcelain raft, "drifting in and out" ]