Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#Reverb14: Big (or Small) Goals

What’s on tap for next year? Share your big (or small) goals with us. Why did you pick those goals? Are these things you’ve always wanted to do? How are you going to get them done?

ah, i see that "goal" is the new word for "resolution" these days. buzzwords!

beyond the typical professional career goals (namely, get a career), i want to make a personal goal of being less flaky, and also putting more effort into things. i think these two things definitely go hand in hand, because it's just so easy to flake out on people/things/plans if you don't feel like putting in the effort to get off the couch and leave your apartment. let's face it: not doing stuff is way easier than doing stuff. and for me, 2014 was a lot of not doing stuff simply because i felt i couldn't be bothered to. i figure it's alright to be lazy and unmotivated sometimes, but when it begins to rule your life and override your better decisions, then maybe not.

i'm aware that this isn't a unique problem; a massive number of my generation suffer from ennui/apathy/laziness/what have you, and oh man am i ever right up there with the best (worst?) of 'em. plus, i feel like it's only getting worse as i get older -- i start making more excuses for feeling "burned out" and not wanting to bother going out to the bars to see friends, or putting makeup and/or pants on, or what have you. so in 2015, i really want to try and reverse this downwards trend. i need to start telling myself that for all the herculean effort it takes, i do enjoy myself once i get out there, i do feel better about myself when i have makeup and/or pants on, and boy howdy do i feel that much happier when i'm hanging out and having a laugh with my friends. i can't keep up with this dumb shut-in life forever, and all the telling myself that "whatever, it's fine, i had my fun in my twenties" won't change a thing. must fix before i become a creepy eccentric who never bathes or cuts her fingernails.

anyway, i'm off to spend new year's eve with these three beloved things:

see ya, 2014.

[ music | last lynx, "curtains" ]

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#Reverb14: Creative Spark

What does being creative mean to you? How do you express your creativity?

to me, being creative is what artists do, not necessarily what i do. if i wrote, say, fiction ("creative writing") then that would require me to be hella more imaginative and pull a lot more things into existence than i do now. as it is, i write nonfiction and about my dumb little life, and i'm always truthful about it, so i've never found that to require much creativity.

but to some, the act of even being able to put one's life down into words requires creativity in and of itself, so whatever, i'll go with that for now. i find i'm most creative at one of three times: early in the morning (if i get some writing done first thing, i'm basically propelled to be productive for the rest of the day), when i'm out walking, or after i've been reading a book. that last one has always interested me; it feels like i've absorbed some of the author's narrative tone when i read, and then bits and pieces of it creep into my own when i write afterwards. it's like i'm trying on someone else's clothes, seeing what works and what doesn't, and what i should try and implement for myself in my own writing style. i guess that makes my writing a bit bespoke, but fuck, if that doesn't sound creative, what does?

(other things i draw inspiration from: people who write about taking long, soul-discovering journeys; the view of lit-up city skylines at night; the life of leonard cohen.)

[ music | seekae, "another" ]

Monday, December 29, 2014

#Reverb14: Welcome Home

Tell us about what home meant to you this year. Are you a homebody? Did you do a renovation? Move? Redecorate?

oh god, i am a home nerd. i don't know how else to describe it other than that i have a deep, abiding love affair with my apartment. it is legitimately all i've ever wanted in a place of my very own. i've been here for two and a half years now, this being the first apartment i looked at. after i saw it, i knew it was the one i wanted. and sure, i did move in here being well aware that it would take at least six months before i fully settled in and had everything organized and decorated the way i wanted it, but once that was managed, i realized that i'd put together a lovely little sanctuary that i never knew i needed so badly.

i know i've posted a few of these photos before, but whatevs, indulge me:

you know how you tend to have nightmares about the things you're scared to lose? i have nightmares about being forced to move out of this apartment.

so with a place like this, then yes, i am a homebody. i like being here. it's my refuge, the place where i feel safe and the place where i recharge my batteries. i don't much like leaving, which is kind of sad when you think about it, but i do force myself out at least a couple times a day. going away always makes me appreciate it that much more when i come back to it.

in terms of the metaphysical concept of "home", 2014 was the year that - after 12 years - i think i really accepted toronto as my home base. i mean, i finally spent a christmas here instead of in kingston, and the boy and i are both quick to correct each other whenever we refer to the places we came from as "home". nope -- this is our home now. this is where we belong. and while there's tons of places i miss - chicago, montreal, vancouver, new york city - i'm pretty sure i couldn't leave here again. especially not with this bitchin' apartment.

[ music | fitz and the tantrums, "moneygrabber" ]

back to reality

christmas round-up! because i've been slacking on #reverb14 lately, bah.

kingston was nice (despite the look on my face in the above -- i was cold). kingston is pretty much always nice. it's a little break from my usually-hectic big-city life, and i'm sure everyone can relate to the relief that's being able to sit back and let your parents take care of everything. sure, i wouldn't be there for very long - only from friday night til monday evening - but i figured that was enough time to give presents, collect presents, see my family, drink a lot of wine, and so on.

oh, and as i mentioned before, rogers hometown hockey was happening all that weekend, so i headed downtown to check it out:

probably the most excitement ol' k-town's seen in a while, that's for sure. (also, random: i was watching dougie and wendel being interviewed onstage when a girl politely tapped me on the back and presented me with a plain box. she explained that she was from lululemon and that they were surprising people with random gifts. i was a little baffled, but still took the box, and upon opening it later found that it contained a sweet pair of running mittens! incredibly random indeed, but i'll take cool free stuff any day.)

as always, made sure to snap a few decent shots of my hometown as i walked back to my mother's house from downtown:

oh and this little story i tumbl'd about my first-ever kiss. haha, errrrr.

but i mean, yeah -- this is a really great place to be at christmastime:

however, i was due to leave on the evening of monday the 22nd, and even my stepdad commented on how weird it felt to be dropping me off at the train station long before christmas eve. and it did feel a little weird to be coming back into the city with everything still lit up for christmas; i'd never been here in the days leading up to the big holiday, and it was actually surprising to me to notice how many cars were out on the streets and how rushed - and stressed out - everyone was in the stores. ugh, no thanks.

i put on a zen face for christmas eve day, and somehow survived last-minute trips to both the supermarket and the liquor store before settling in by the little christmas tree at my boyfriend's place for a quiet evening in, waiting for him to get home from a busy day at work. six hours, two whisky & eggnogs and three netflix rom-coms later, the boy got in at around 12:30 in the morning and promptly declared that we should open our stockings (i think he was feeling guilty he'd left me waiting for so long). once that was done (and we mutually agreed that we'd knocked it out of the park with each others' stocking stuffers), he mused on the idea of just going ahead and opening our presents, which is how i ended up opening my gifts at 1 in the morning on what was technically christmas day. i tell you, my impatient childhood self loved this idea. (my current-day still-impatient self didn't think it was too shabby, either.)

i won't do a full public inventory of my christmas presents because i've always found that to be rather tacky, but here's a few pics of some of the wonderful things my import boy and his family spoiled me with:

from my own family, i got such wonderful things as a portable battery pack for my apple products (which i keep stored in the above cellphone purse), two books, more of the absurdly expensive shampoo & conditioner i use, a monogrammed cheese board, new winter boots, various gift cards, and so on. in short, i made bank. well, gift-wise.

opening the presents early (way early) was actually a decent idea, since it allowed both of us to have a good long sleep-in the next morning without having to wake up to open gifts. instead, we got up at a leisurely 10 a.m. to lie in bed and drink coffee for a bit before getting in touch with our respective long-distance families (though his are much further away than mine, being back in england and all) and putting together a ramshackle - yet still tasty - brunch-type meal:

the rest of the day? we did nothing. absolutely nothing. well, we watched a couple movies - love actually (he'd never seen it and was surprised by how much he enjoyed it) and the first lord of the rings movie (i'd just seen the last hobbit movies in theatres with my dad on monday, so i wanted to start the original trilogy again) - and tuned in to some favourite youtube channels, ordered a pizza because swiss chalet was closed and we couldn't get festive specials, and ended up talking until 2 a.m. those are my favourite nights, for reals.

then: life, back to normal, but with the addition of cool new material objects! i love free shit, seriously.

now there's nothing left but new year's eve/day, which the boy and i are planning on spending by watching hockey and drinking before sleeping late and having a chill day of whatever. we're both pretty much homebodies, having gotten our kicks in our twenties and now both preferring a quiet evening in, so that works out quite well. i haven't been big on giant new year's eve bashes in the last few years, even when i was single, so i'm glad to have attached myself to someone who also agrees that drinking champers and yelling at hockey on tv is a much better way to spend an evening. suck it, party scene!

a'ight, i'm out. happy monday. (btw, the two books i got for christmas? stephen king's revival and amy poehler's yes please. both awesome, highly-recommended reads.)

p.s. new ipod means new music -- feel free to recommend some good shit to christen the current machine with!

[ music | stone roses, "i wanna be adored" ]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

#Reverb14: Stuff and Things

What products have you discovered this year that you love?  Tell us all about them, and why you love them.  Become the celebrity spokesperson of whatever it is you like!

...aka please let these brands be reading this and give me free stuff. hello!

(also, if the "stuff and things" title is a walking dead reference - stuff and thaaaaangs - then 100 kudos)

i mentioned it in an earlier reverb14 post, but 2014 was my year of frantically buying anti-aging creams and serums to try and stop my face from collapsing (apparently this is a valid concern if you're 31 and me), and now i'm more or less in the "swear by 'em / can't live without 'em" phase for numerous products. these include lancôme's advanced génifique face serum, kiehl's powerful wrinkle reducing cream, and balea's fine line reducing face masks. again, i'm never entirely sure if these costly tinctures are working, but i don't want to quit. you can't make me!

this was also the year i went in hard on philosophy's bath & body line -- nice on the olfactory units, not so much on the wallet, but eh. i currently have four of their shower gels, one body lotion, and two awesome lip glosses, all in ridiculous sugary dessert flavours/smells. i am not overly girly, but i'm unable to say no to cookie-scented shower gel.

on that same note: bath & body works, but only for their coffee scented candles (and their "london calling" tea & lemon candle, back when they still stocked it). everything else there just makes me nauseous.

that's about it? oh and maybe this stuff, i guess:

hell yes, this stuff.

[ music | none ]

Friday, December 19, 2014

christmastime in the city


am writing this from train #650 en route to kingston, where i'm going to be spending the weekend merry-making with my family. as i mentioned before, i'd long since decided to spend christmas with my boyfriend in toronto but, to appease my parents, i agreed to come to kingston for the weekend before the holidays so i can at least see people, drop off/pick up presents, get drunk around the tree, etc. so: here we go. limestone city awaits. then i come screaming back into toronto late monday night before running around the city for a couple days of final pre-holiday madness; christmas eve will be spent getting hammed with friends at a bar in the east end, then waking up with my import boy in the morning for presents and mimosas and playing retro playstation games all day. a plan!

in the meantime, us christmas nerds have been soaking up the seasonal atmosphere around the city, despite the sad lack of snow:

toronto christmas market! it'd been a year since i'd been, and sean had never ventured to the distillery district before, so it was a nice little trip despite being grey and pissing rain all day (sean informed me that this kind of weather was referred to as "grizzly" - presumably grey + drizzly - by the british). too bad there wasn't a whole lot happening down there on a wednesday afternoon. i wanted boozy drinks and free samples, damn it.

still, tcm always manages to go big when it comes to christmas trees. i could even see this one from the train as we passed by the district on the way out of the city earlier.

speaking of going big: the christmas "tree" at brookfield place, where we stopped by later to hit up the hockey hall of fame in search of the mythical gingerbread zamboni (no luck, sadly). brookfield is always done up with art installations and cool stuff - sean used to work there, so he's seen pretty much all of it - which is definitely more of a draw than the insanely expensive marché in the background, there.

see? art installation. or maybe it's just a fuckton of christmas lights, i dunno.

if the above pics aren't any indication, i managed to revive my instagram after half a year -- it's mostly my weird attempts at "artsy" photography, but there's an occasional dumb selfie or #tbt in there, so follow along if you'd like. the new phone has a most excellent camera, and i'm enjoying it immensely.

oh yeah! new phone. i chronicled a bit of the saga over on my tumblr, but basically, the iphone 4s i've had since march 2013 has always been kinda fucked up -- as in, it was never able to connect to wifi. the option was just greyed out. i didn't think that was a fundamental problem until recently, when my stepfather confirmed that no, that was not normal, and after having it confirmed from the apple store that it was a hardware defect, i cashed in on the smartphone insurance plan i pay into monthly. (the increasing amount of structural damage on the front of my iphone spurred this decision as well -- it was just becoming a web of cracked glass) lo and behold - and $226 later - i received this beauty in the mail the next day:

but it never goes that smoothly, does it?

first off, the new replacement phone was an iphone 5s, and the sim cards from the 4s don't fit in that model. new replacement iphone 5s did not come with a sim card of its own. so the next day, i had to trek all the way downtown to a rogers store to get a new sim card and transfer all my data over, then back home to transfer my files and everything to the new phone. with that done, all that was left was to wipe my old iphone 4s of my personal data -- and i had to do that quick, since it needed to be mailed back to the insurance company within 15 days, or else they'd charge me $400.

here was the problem: the phone wouldn't let me wipe it until i logged in to my apple id. the phone needed to be connected to the internet in order to do so. it wouldn't connect without a working sim card in it (remember, my new phone had the now-active sim card) -- okay, so just turn on the wifi and connect that way. no problem, right?

remember why i traded in the old phone in the first place -- it couldn't connect to wifi. i was essentially fucked.

so what did i do? basically the only thing i could do, which was painstakingly delete everything by hand, log out and erase all social media accounts, and scrub the entire phone save for the stupid apple id login. oh sure, i called the insurance company to confirm that not logging out of my apple id was okay and that my info wasn't going to be stolen by warlords or whatever, and they patiently explained that they wiped and recycled all defective devices they received. which is just common sense, i guess, but i get paranoid about cyber-security, even though i'm well aware that nothing is ever 100% secure online. i used to work with a semi-black hat dude. i get it.

but yeah, i think it'll be alright. i mean, if i couldn't log in to my id, then i don't think anyone else could (it doesn't automatically log you in, either -- it prompts you for a password right off). i'll just have to trust the fact that the stupid broken thing will be mulched as soon as it gets back to the insurance company. sigh.

at least i've got a super cute iphone case on its way to me:

i'm not quite girly, but i do have a weird affinity for flowers.

alright, kingston awaits. rogers hometown hockey is being broadcast from there this weekend, so keep fingers crossed i don't do anything dumb on national television. er, again.

[ music | bat for lashes, "what's a girl to do" ]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#Reverb14: 1000 Words

There’s the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact that sums up some significant event of your 2014.

[ music | none, sean's still asleep ]

Monday, December 15, 2014

#Reverb14: Soul Food

What food did you discover this year? Or maybe you discovered a new way to prepare your favorite food. Or a new cookbook. Or a new restaurant. Tell us about your culinary adventures.

oof, get ready for a bunch of photos with this one.

one of the fun things about a new relationship is that (hopefully) the other person introduces you to all kinds of delicious things you haven't tried before, or else haven't eaten in years. as i mentioned before in the small pleasures post, the import boy took me for my first korean food experience (he loves it, kimchi especially), and now stone bowl bibimbap is the only thing i crave when it's cold and grey outside. also, crumpets (which i've had before, but not expertly prepared by an actual british person) -- pretty much the best when they're perfectly toasted and soaked in butter. sure, i have to hit the gym pretty much immediately, but it's worth it.

other british things i'd never experienced before this year: percy pigs, pimm's cup, hobnobs and jammie dodgers ("biscuits").

oh, and rarebit, though i suppose that's usually welsh:

another fun thing about a new relationship is that you have a partner for eating out at restaurants (i know there's nothing weird about going out to eat by yourself, but i don't like it), which makes breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner dates a staple -- and we both love all of those things. for our part, our staple going-out food is usually diner breakfasts (flo's and avenue diner are our regular hangs, and sometimes pour house):

this is sean's photo (that's me & my brunch sitting across from him) - i'm stealing it, shhhhh

or sushi:

plus gelato. so much gelato consumed in 2014. again, always worth the extra gym time.

also, in honour of the boy's homeland, we did high tea at annona in the park hyatt back in august, which was a delightfully twee experience:

for my part, i introduced him to a ton of favourite toronto restos, from the stockyards (ribs!) to sneaky dee's (nachos!) to c'est what (beers!) to swiss chalet (festive special!) to the wonder that is the better life plate at mystic muffin:

what can i say, we're not rich but we do eat well. it helps to have lived in the city for so many years (12 for me now) that you know where a lot of the best cheap eats are located. also, again, it helps to have a partner who's about as much of a foodie as you are, and willing to try whatever you're in the mood for. the way to the heart is through the stomach, indeed.

[ music | yeah yeah yeah, "phenomena" ]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

#Reverb14: One Little Word

What one word could describe your 2014?


Note that "surprising" doesn't hold positive or negative connotations exclusively; it can be used for both. And yeah, my whole 2014 was full of both good and bad surprises. A lot of stuff happened that I didn't see coming. But if anything, having a year full of surprises teaches you to sit back and go with it. You're just here for the ride, after all, and how you deal with the unexpected can really say a lot about a person. So, having a surprising year ultimately means that you learn to roll with the punches, to celebrate the sudden moments of happiness, and that you can survive anything.

[ music | moderat, "last time" ]

Saturday, December 13, 2014

#Reverb14: On Writing

Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing. Or at least want to like writing. Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. What do you do every day to hone your craft? Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?

the concept of writing being a muscle - and me feeling like i was losing it bit by bit - is totally why i started blogging again. i took a pretty long break there, but as always, i keep coming back because i miss being part of conversations. i miss having something to add. sure, i could write stuff for myself (and i have, in the past; i've got tons of private & paper diaries stashed away), but i do prefer writing for a wider audience, and i think being able to write for the internet is a skill in itself. so, aside from scribbling bits of things that may or may not eventually become blog posts, i like to read a lot of stuff online -- articles, thinkpieces, reviews, whatever. it gives me a good sense of how other people write for the online audience, and how i can keep bettering the way i tell a story.

oh, i also read a lot in general. every goddamn day. i still try to read books, physically or electronically, because i feel like it helps me absorb different writing styles that i can alter or apply to my own. i've always been a voracious reader, and i can solidly kill a new book within a day. kind of harsh on the bank account sometimes, but i'd give up a lot of things before i'd give up books. (recent reads: symbiont, by mira grant; the intimate adventures of a london call girl, by belle de jour; rules of civility, by amor towles; and i've asked for stephen king's revival and amy poehler's yes please for christmas. great writers, all.)

[ music | phoenix, "entertainment" ]

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#Reverb14: Small Pleasures

What small pleasures did you discover this year?

ooooh, i like this one.
  • day trips to toronto island
  • face masks
  • watching marathons of border security
  • bath & body works coffee candles
  • perfectly toasted/buttered crumpets
  • watching youtube videos and drinking tea with my boyfriend
  • sleeping in til 10 a.m.(!)
  • headscratches
  • dual crossword solving
  • a french press of coffee and a good book on my balcony
  • hoodies with thumb holes
  • bibimbap

also, see last post about self-care -- there really is something just awesome about drinking champagne while taking a bubble bath. trust me.

[ music | coconut records, "west coast" ]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

#Reverb14: On Self-Care

It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others. How did you take care of yourself in 2014? How will you take care of yourself in 2015?

first off, i totally subscribe to the thought that "self-care" is wayyyyyy overused these days; namely, it's the perfect excuse to indulge in something you shouldn't or buy something you can't afford, all in the name of "oh, this is self-care, i need [______] to make myself feel better". uh, not really how it works, and it can spiral out of control from there and lose all meaning.

that said, i can get down with self-care when absolutely necessary, and if you remember me back in the beginning of 2014, you know i didn't have the easiest start to the year emotionally. so, i gave myself permission to do whatever was necessary to keep myself out of the black hole of depression, though that mostly just amounted to buying too many expensive things from sephora and eating too much sugar (see what i mean about spiralling out of control?). when i got to a better place - and i did, eventually - i re-regulated self-care to times when i'd had a particular amount of undue stress and needed to re-align my stupid brain. i still do believe in things like massages, small fun purchases, and doing what you want simply for the sake of "it'll make me happy" (in moderation, obviously).

here is a perfect evening of me taking care of myself:

aw yiss.

[ music | laura veirs, "america" ]

Monday, December 8, 2014

#Reverb14: Victory Laps

What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

i mentioned this already in the "i meant to..." prompt a few days ago, but i'm still pretty proud that i managed to actually pitch a couple writing ideas to editors, have them approved, and then get the finished pieces published. pitching is something i've always had a hard time with, and i'm glad i managed to break out of my comfort zone and just fucking do it, you know? it was definitely worthwhile and, as i wrote before, it's something i hope i can do more of in 2015.

also, contrary to what my left arm's tattoo may say...

...i did have a victory in the love department this year. i got me a boy, and he's a great boy, and he has been so worth everything. finding a compatible, wonderful partner is something i consider a major win in the life department.

[ music | fitz and the tantrums, "moneygrabber" ]

Sunday, December 7, 2014

out in the silence

taking a little break from the daily self-reflective blather to talk about your favourite subject and mine: music. specifically, underrated and/or under-the-radar tunes.

i did this blog post a couple months ago to highlight some of my current favourite tracks that you might not hear on conventional radio, as well as bands that you may not have heard of before. like i wrote in the intro of that post, i've been pretty insular in my music-listening choices for many years, so it's been a pleasant change to start tuning in to music and bands that are relatively new to me. so now i'm sharing them with all of you, because i like spreading the good word, and i like writing about music. it's sort of my thing. (many of these tracks - and more! - can be found in my ongoing spotify playlist. i'm continually adding to it so feel free to subscribe. also i tend to catalogue good tunes over at my tumblr under the "song" tag, so there's more listening if you so desire)

here's the second edition:

haerts - "wings"

nice uplifting track with pretty female vocals and something about it that weirdly reminds me of fleetwood mac (the vox are very stevie-like). melodic and with solid harmonies during the choruses. this is haert's first official single out this year, and there's definitely more than a touch of brooklyn sound in it. like it.

golden coast - "break my fall"

seriously, i dare you not to smile - or start dancing in your chair - when you put this song on. upbeat little slice of synth-pop, catchy as hell and with a hook that'll be stuck in your head for days. this one's got a nice summerfeel that'll brighten up a winter day, no matter how grey and crappy it is outside. fuck yeah, golden coast.

holy ghost! - "okay"

one thing i've learned from putting together this second list: right now i'm really, really into synths and electro-rock. holy ghost! is the perfect example, and i especially like this song -- it's like an edgier cut copy. the track "bridge and tunnel" from the same album (2013's dynamics) is also great.

moderat - "last time"

come down from the dance party with some moderat! this hazy tune is relaxing to the max. i actually had the first two lines stuck in my head for a few days and it took me all night to find out just what song it was, so here, you're welcome. again with the dreamy synths and slow loops; i guess maybe it says something about how i feel about musicians when i'm starting to prefer the robot versions. ha, ha.

wild nothing - "paradise"

this song is from 2012, so i'm totally on the ball here, you guys. but whatever, i'm pretty sure wild nothing has gotten more press than just tiny blogs (i really want to say they've provided music for car commercials but i might be thinking of the inevitable capital cities); still, "paradise" is a beautiful little piece" of synths and deep baritone vocals. perfect example of current indie pop, even if it's from two years ago.

white arrows - "we can't ever die"

now this one is a suuuuuper current single (september 2014!) that i just started hearing on the radio last week. i was sucked in by a sharp bass line (my weakness) and ended up staying for the weirdly timberlake-esque vocals over electronic beats and good guitar lines. there's definitely talent at work here, and i bet we'll hear more from these guys in the near future.

ásgeir - "torrent"

there's a lot of bands with weird symbols in their names in my playlist, but to be fair, iceland's ásgeir comes by it naturally. like the bon iver of the way, way north, this track opens with a delicate piano backbone and syncs in with soft vocals. even cooler is the fact that "torrent" (and all the songs off in the silence) are a translation of one of his previous icelandic albums. neat stuff.

lightning dust - "loaded gun"

one more synth-heavy piece to close it out: another jagjaguwar band, lightning dust gives us this cool, creepy-ish tune that combines dark warbling electronica with haunting female vocals. also: they're canadian! (lightning dust is a side project of two members of black mountain, a vancouver psych-rock band) very accomplished.

holy fucking shit.

....and that's it for today! tune in probably some other time for a new batch of semi-new tunes to introduce to your earholes.

[ music | none ]

Saturday, December 6, 2014

#Reverb14: Cha-ching!

Where did you spend your money this year? Did you save it instead? What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?

ooof, this was the year that i full-on went in at sephora - vib member, bitches! - so clearly that's where all my savings were drained into. since i was fully into the third decade of my life, i somehow got it into my head back in january/february that i really needed to start making my face an investment -- y'know, to keep it from collapsing. since this fear had already made me quit smoking, i felt like it was time to begin doing research on what high-quality items i should use in my regime to preserve my dumb face skin.

a few hundred dollars later...

my birthday package to myself: a whole heap of anti-aging creams and serums. plus shave cream for my boyfriend.

no, seriously, that's approximately what it costs for good anti-wrinkle creams and face serums. (i will completely admit to the fact that a small-ish bottle of the serum i use costs $96.) i've had to make two orders total of this entire regime throughout the year -- though to me, having a pot of face cream that lasts me eight months is a pretty good deal, honestly. has it made a difference? who knows. but really, at the very least, i do believe i'd look worse without it. it's like how my mother feels about vitamins: "you can't tell if you're any better or worse for taking them, but it's certainly not going to hurt."

but yeah, whether it's my imagination or not - or whether it's something as simple as staying out of the sun, wearing sunglasses and a good spf on my face, or just eating right - i really do think i've held up pretty well and i look a lot better than some other women my age. sure, i've got laugh lines and little lines around my eyes when i smile, but they're not aggressive and you can't really see them when my expression is neutral. not to be a doom-monger, but i definitely have noticed changes in my face and body since i hit the big 3-0 last year, so i'm just racing to preserve what i've got and as naturally as possibly.

it does hurt the bank account, though. perhaps in 2015 more saving ought to be in order, but sorry not sorry -- my stupid expensive regime is remaining intact. at least, until i end up living in a box on yonge street because i'm broke. oh, well.

[ music | the boxer rebellion, "step out of the car" ]

Friday, December 5, 2014

#Reverb14: Let It Go, Let It Go

For next year, I’m letting go of...

(fun fact: i've only seen frozen once, and it wasn't until, like, two months ago when it was on tv for free. the small joys of not having young children.)

this is an interesting one because it makes me think of what i let go of this year: a large part of my past, and the belief that i somehow needed to relive it. i mean, sure, i still reference my old life on my tumblr now and again (usually under the "tour life" tag), but it's really been the realization that no, i don't have to keep up with old appearances and former hangouts and previous beliefs & life goals. that doesn't always stop me from being nostalgic for the good ol' days, but it can definitely be something of a balm to know that i don't have to live up to anything anymore. i like who i am now. i like my life now. it's nothing grand or exciting, i know, and you could likely apply the "settled-down" tag to me at this point, but what the fuck ever. i had my fun. these days, i'm totally okay with owning it and being alright with staying in on a saturday night. there's just so much that i don't need anymore and so much that i've let go of.

so i guess that's my continued goal for next year: keep on keepin' on. just be happy with who i am now in the present, and understand that i can't be 21 forever.

[ music | tove lo, "stay high" ]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#Reverb14: I Meant To...

Coulda woulda shoulda: What didn’t you do this year because you were too scared, afraid, unsure?  Are you going to do it next year?  Or maybe you don’t want to anymore?

probably this ties back quite well to my writing, and the fact that i suffer from the same lack of confidence that many writers do. i'm never entirely convinced that i could make a decent living with my writing alone (and i'm definitely just getting by as it is), and i'm not very good at pitching ideas or stories; i always think that if i could just have the imagination to come up with story ideas and the confidence to pitch them, i could be a much, much better journalist. if i could work on that next year, i might actually be able to get somewhere with the career i've been working towards since i was 19, but this year was a bit of a wash.

it wasn't all bad, though - i joined some writing groups online, i made the independent effort to attend webinars and training sessions, i bought a freelancer's kit, and i did pitch & write more than a few pieces. so it's all something to work on, i suppose.

so yeah, that, and the fact that i didn't start my book this year. not sure if i'll ever get around to that, really, but so many people seem to be after me to write something that i'm sure it'll happen one day. and then, all will fear me. mwahahaha.

[ music | some kind of trap/dub mix sean's listening to ]

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#Reverb14: Gorgeous

When did you feel beautiful this year? Why?

oooof, that's a tough one for me. it's no secret that i'm not the best person when it comes to self-esteem, and i'm a lot more likely to shit on my appearance than feel good about it - especially now when i've hit that life point where things are more likely to sag and crease. blechhh.

so it probably says something that i actually can't really recall a time this year when i thought i looked gorgeous - my default setting is more a weirdly surprised "oh hey, i actually don't look that bad." i had a couple occasions of that this year, though the only ones i can definitely remember were for my mother's birthday party:

and this outfit for the second day of riot fest back in september:

but yeah, no. "gorgeous" isn't in my personal self-lexicon. there are some days when i have more confidence in my appearance than others, but on the whole i'm just pretty "meh" by the whole thing. aim low and be surprised when you hit above the mark, i suppose.

that was vaguely depressing. and only on the second day of reverb14, too. here, have a picture of the definitely gorgeous christmas tree sean and i decorated last night:

[ music | none ]

Monday, December 1, 2014

#Reverb14: At the Start

Where did you start 2014?  Give us some background on this year.

my 2014 didn't start out very well. i can admit to that now. sure, january 1, 2014 was a decent day in and of itself - the leafs beat the red wings in a beautiful outdoor winter classic game, i spent the day drinking leftover champagne, and later got retweeted by gary roberts for saying something about getting kale on my #7 jersey - but yeah, no, i wasn't very happy with anything in my life. i was supposed to have gone out the previous night to a house party with my friends, getting drunk then continuing on to any number of bars on queen west, but i just...didn't go.

instead, i spent the night at home alone in my apartment, baking banana bread and watching les miserables. really not a terrible way to spend one's new year's eve, but i was keenly aware of feeling paralyzed against going out, because i couldn't deal with being around so many happy smiling people when i was just feeling black and empty inside.

so yeah, i had always known that i'd been dealing with a low-grade depression for the entirety of 2013, but that was when i realized that this massive hollow feeling was a problem. i worked on it, and i'm still working on it. it's a process. but i'm in a far better place now than i was in early 2014 - a far better place than i've been in years and years, actually, somewhere where i finally feel valued and loved and secure - so that all helps.

and it really was a great win by the leafs, too.

[ music | none ]

sleigh bells

i am a christmas nerd, it's true. and not even in a post-ironic hipster sense. i just really, truly love this season, and i get stupidly jazzed about it every year.

i think it's the sense of homecoming that does it for me. i wasn't as big on the holiday season when i lived in kingston with my family all the time; it came to mean a lot more to me once i'd moved away and was spending all my time alone in the big city. whenever the garish decorations started to go up and the crass materialistic commercials came on (pretty much right after halloween was over, let's be real), i was able to breathe a bit easier, knowing that soon school would be over - or i'd have a work vacation coming up - and i could go back to kingston to relax, eat mass amounts of chocolate, drink baileys in my coffee every day, and give fun presents to my family members. (also receive nice stuff from family members. who am i kidding? free stuff is the best.)

but i haven't had much of the holiday spirit leading up to christmas in the last few years. probably a combination of things; a lot of work to focus on, a messy home life (my former boyfriend was emphatically not a christmas fan), and all kinds of factors that conspired to make december feel more like a marathon, with me gasping to reach the finish line at the end. but this year, things are actually different for once -- i'm a lot more free to enjoy the season, take in the lights and the decorations, wander through christmas markets with my holiday-loving boyfriend (he even has a mini-tree at his apartment), get all my shopping done, and just generally take in the season in the city that i love.

oh yeah, and i might have mentioned before, but i have extra-special fuzzy holiday feelings this year because it will be the first christmas i spend in toronto. ever.

this is just the way it's been for me every year since i moved out when i was eighteen, even the year i was living in vancouver: always go back to kingston at christmastime, usually the 21st or 22nd. stay until the 27th or 28th. spend christmas eve having dinner with my father and stepmother. go back to my mother and stepfather's later that night along with various adult siblings to watch a double bill of love actually and die hard as we all get drunk around the christmas tree. stay overnight along with various adult siblings (whichever ones don't have their own apartments at that point, anyway); wake up on christmas morning, open my stocking that's been hung on the guest bedroom door, then head downstairs to drink mimosas at 7 a.m. and open presents with family (always quite the undertaking, as there's six of us and we all tend to do very well by santa). spend the rest of the day messing about with new gifts, watching movies, eating snacks, drinking, and waiting for the big christmas dinner that night. and that's christmas. that's been my christmas every year for as far back as i can remember. (well, minus the booze and such when i was a teenager, but whatever, close enough)

look, you don't need to tell me that this movie is terrible; i know it's terrible. it's just become a december tradition.

this year, for the first time, i get to do it all differently. i'm not sure yet how it's all going to go, but i have a rough idea: drop off/hide christmas presents at sean's on christmas eve day, spend the evening drinking with katy & tony and their friends at the only cafe, back to sean's to spend the night there, wake up christmas morning and open stockings & presents in our underwear, then spend the rest of the day still in our underwear while eating snacks and watching netflix and skyping our families and ordering the dirty bird christmas special for delivery. it's going to be super chill and full of good feelings and probably booze. (to placate my parents - and okay, probably my nostalgic feelings as well - i'm spending the pre-christmas weekend with them in kingston, so i can at least see my family and drop off presents and eat all the leftovers and such. they were bummed out that i wouldn't be there christmas eve or christmas day, but they seemed happier after i decided to come down beforehand.)

also, warm fuzzies because it's the first christmas of my own, one that i get to spend with my significant other doing whatever we want. it's getting to make my own holiday traditions with the person i love, and that's pretty goddamn rad. i didn't have that at all in past relationships, nor did i really want it. right now, with this one? i want it. and i'm so, so looking forward to it.

so! i wanted to get this blog post done first because later today, i'm going to be starting reverb14. i've done reverb10 and reverb11 in past years, and i've found that having a daily writing prompt is a decent way to keep me writing each day. so i'm going to attempt to keep up with that every day (minus the days i spend with my boyfriend because those are important), with a few miscellanious other blog posts scattered in here and there. keep an eye out for that, or something.

shower now, more writing later.

[ music | none, no streaming til thursday ]

Saturday, November 29, 2014

black out days

one more blog post to close november, once more unto the breach, etc. etc.

so, my internet's off. well, not like it doesn't work or anything -- it does, but since i've gone over the monthly usage limit (oops), it works at an additional rate of $2.50 per gigabyte. my usual daily usage is around 1 gig per day, and i still have until december 4th before i start on the next month's billing cycle. yeah, big oops. so for a week, i have to find other things to do with my time at home, which has mostly amounted so far to 1) reading trashy chick lit, because i can consume it quickly and mindlessly like i do the internet; and 2) watching border security, the only reality show i actually enjoy. and man, do i ever enjoy it. nothing warms my cold black heart like seeing stupid people get caught for doing stupid things. (the canadian version of the show is my favourite, obviously, but i like the australian version too because it has more serious crime busts)

so there's that, or there's going to the gym (probably not the best considering how i think i busted my foot about a month back) or going on long walks (see previous comment), or hanging out with my boyfriend (time at a minimum though, given the retail insanity of this time of year), but that's about all for cheap thrills. i really have to bear down in this coming week especially, since i'm scarily low on funds, mostly due to spending far more than intended on christmas gifts for the fam this year (at least...all my shopping is done early?). money worries are going to be the death of me. great to know that, according to my mother, this does not change through one's adult life. balls.

oh! but my mother and stepfather came up to toronto last weekend (stepdad had a work conference here), and my mother took me shopping, bought me two tops and a pair of running shoes as early christmas gifts, gave me wine, took me to the conference reception party where i think people mostly assumed i was a student (i was wearing my varsity jacket), then we went out to a late dinner where mom & stepdad finally met my boyfriend of almost nine(!) months. i was pretty trashed at this point and remember very little. oh well, i think it went okay.

one of the tops i got at express. my mother gave it a leery eye at first, then just shrugged and said, "it looks like lingerie to me." me: "i think that's the point, mom."

the new shoes! they are ridiculous and i love them. much needed especially given that i'd worn a hole right through the heel of my other gym shoes.

shook off my hangover the next day for a late lunch with sean at mystic muffin, then a showing of big hero 6. great movie, aside from honey lemon's voice actress obnoxiously putting on a japanese accent to say "hiro" (when no one else did). little things like that bug me with non-native speakers. bah.

mmmmmmmmmyes. mystic muffin for life.


last stop on the fun-date ride: the j.p. wiser's sprots 2.0 event on wednesday!

weirdly enough, this wasn't my first whisky tasting - the perks of being a blogger semi-notorious for her drink intake, i suppose - but it was a great time nonetheless and i was very lucky to be invited. it was a small group (i brought my friend katy who, like me, enjoys a tipple), and we got seated in a nice little area at the shark club as the various whiskies were being poured in preparation for the guided tasting. (i started drinking mine immediately. i ruin everything.) ryan, the whisky ambassador, took us through each of the types of whisky, giving us instruction for how to best get all the flavours and scents. he also imparted knowledge on the history of whisky in canada, which was interesting since the other whisky tasting i did was for a scottish whisky, so the story was a bit different. plus: lots of cool bottles.

this one was my favourite -- the wiser's spiced torched toffee whisky. as i am a well-known aficionado of flavoured liquors, this hit all my sweet spots. especially when ryan suggested it be mixed with eggnog this holiday season. holy shit, yes.

then the leafs game was on for us to watch, and massive platters of free snacks were brought out for us to enjoy as well as any wiser's cocktail we wanted. i mean, damn good night. (the gift bags at the end were incredibly generous and wonderful as well. big plus to wiser's. you can win me over with a swag bag any day.)

okay i'm going to get off the internet now before i end up having to pay another billion dollars on top of what i already pay for a busted phone (more on that another time) and hundreds of tv channels that i barely ever watch (unless they're showing border security). see you in december!

[ music | none, can't stream music or else $$$$$ ]