Monday, May 28, 2012

Gettin' Jiggy Wit It

Thanks, Will Smith, for making my day twice, in completely unrelated ways.

This first – this quote from an interview with Parade:
"We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that it is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”
I love how much he wants to empower his kids. I love that he's trying to create individuals who learn how to make actual choices. And I love that he wants his daughter to be a strong woman, who doesn't just replace her dad with a partner one day.

And secondly, for this moment on the Graham Norton Show (thanks for the tipoff, Karen):

Yeah, I sang along too.

Also note: I can't think about Will Smith anymore without thinking of this stellar Grantland article Bill Simmons wrote about a year ago called "The Movie Star", about how Will Smith is the only true movie star working today, and how that has been his dedicated goal above all else. It really is a fascinating look into how success works, and how Smith was able to essentially game the Hollywood system. I mean, the mere fact alone that I remember an internet article from a year ago speaks to its potency.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hair DIY: Alice Dellal-inspired hair

I frequently lament having boring hair. It's blonde, it's generally all one length, and it just kind of sits there—after years of mistreatment, I'm too attached to it to make the plunge into any kind of coveted edgy style. I'm always playing around with ways to make my hair look a little different day-to-day. Enter Alice Dellal. I've been drooling over her hair since she came into my consciousness—the colour, the waves, the shaved side—and I wanted to share a way to imitate her look without fully taking the plunge. So here is my first solo video hair tutorial! (What, you think I'd let Amanda have all the fun?)

You'll need:
bobby pins
comb, for teasing

To make this style last you should use a strong hold hairspray—it'll keep your inevitable side-frizzies away. You can also mess up the fuller side of your hair by scrunching it up with your hands and adding some more hairspray to the bulk. The messier the better. Alternatively, you can give yourself generous waves with a flat iron and a good faux-finger waves tutorial

Pair this style with heavily lined eyes, and a dark lip, and you'll have the look down pat. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer Statement Pieces

Now that it's May I think we can finally count on the warm weather being here to stay—and with warm weather comes the excitement of summer shopping. You're probably ready to spend your pennies on pretty things that will make you feel alive after being bogged down in wool all winter. Summer wardrobe shopping is the most rewarding (other than that now elusive back-to-school-shopping) simply because it's not about practicality, but the dream of patio drinking, bike riding, laying around, and staying outside all day. With those ideals in mind, take a look at some of my top picks for the coming months.

Handpiece by Need Supply

Neon Crochet Tail Top by Nasty Gal

Pastel Blazer by Nasty Gal

Metal Brow Sunglasses by Unique

Floral pants by Topshop

Print shorts by Forever 21

Floral Cap by Karen Walker
Drawstring Dress via Dusen Dusen

Sequin Clutch via Scout & Catalogue

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Uncommon Fruit

Fact: avocados are technically berries.
Fact: their skin looks like dragons.
Fact: they are really good for you –
rich in potassium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and fibre (also, monounsaturated fats, which are the good kind that lower cholestreol).

Fact: these are all just preamble to the fact that they are crazy delicious, and the perfect, refreshing sort of food for these warming days. I usually eat them raw, sliced on top of a sandwich or taco, or even spooned out of the skin with just a touch of salt sprinkled on top. But recent recipes have got me thinking I my need to upgrade my preparation methods.

This Avocado Pesto Pasta from A Cozy Kitchen looks like straight-up goodness. Basil, lemon and almonds, diced up with some of everyone's fave green fruit? Too, too much. I was sold at "vegan comfort food."

Or, you know, there's this Stovetop Avocado Mac & Cheese from Two Peas & Their Pod which look fucking phenomenal (and also, not too difficult to make – no prolonged bake time!). The avocado sauce has lime and cilantro in it before being added to a cheesy base and OMG I KNOW.

Avocado Egg Salad two ways: the first, from The Pioneer Woman.

Creamy and cool, this classic sports old-school chives and a smooth texture.

Or maybe you'd rather try this new take:

This one from Honey, What's Cooking? boasts a chunkier texture, plus has the addition of watercress for a little peppery flavour. Hot damn, don't that look mouthwatering?

There's also this Nacho Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Guacamole from the Tastespotting blog. No big, right? Just a hand held version of everyone's favourite bar food, right? No big.

Eggs in Avocado Slices from Apron Strings looks like the perfect way to start any day.

And Just A Spoonful Of... updates a classic Caprese salad with added avocado.

I have to stop, guys. I'm too hungry now.
What are your favourite avocado recipes?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Move Without Going Crazy

via HomageNews

Moving—even the word strikes me with that familiar crippling fear of change and uprooting. And yet I have moved (on average) once a year for the past five years. I have picked up all of my belongings (usually with the help of a boyfriend, brother, and strong male friend) and put them in a new apartment, house, or building. Each time I think that it'll be a while before I have to do it again. But, you see, I've got wandering eyes when it comes to the apartment market. There are so many possibilities in what is out there—new neighbourhoods beckon, cheaper rent would save me so much money, and a backyard or balcony would be oooooh so nice. And yet there are so many risks involved with getting a new place—at least there are if you are as comfort-driven and neurotic as me. 

I've just settled into a new place. I've now had three sleeps in a new apartment and my stomach is finally unknotting itself and I'm starting to relax into the idea that I won't hate it here. Isn't that a terrible thing to think? But moving is scary and can be very stressful—you don't know how you are going to feel about a place that you've signed a lease for until you sleep in the place for at least one night. 

via Ponita

Some of the biggest stresses about a new apartment are things that you have very little control over where you're going to be until you're past the point of getting out of it. That being said, you can increase your chances of finding a good place by doing some research and by knowing exactly what's important to you. Need lots of natural light? Don't care about access to an outdoor space? Know these things before you look. Here's what I've learned (through much trial and error) is important to me.

1. Neighbourhood, and proximity to life

I'm now living definitely off the beaten track, and I think I'm okay with that. It's not in the middle of nowhere, and it's really close by to some of the coolest people I know, but it's not downtown. I look out the window and I can see the buildings of the city and I think I am in the middle of nowhere but I know that really I'm not. I'm not even as far as the Junction, and lots of people live there! I'm takings walks around the neighbourhood to get to know the place a little bit, and feeling kind of proud that I'm not basing where I want to live on where is popular with other people but where there is reasonably priced rent, a bigger apartment than I'm used to, and lots of interesting things to discover.

2. Noise

The apartment I just moved out of was the first floor of an old house that was connected to the houses on either side. The floors, walls, and ceilings were so thin that I could hear everyone around me at all times—I could hear their conversations, and feel the bass in their music. It really sucked. My new building was made for lots of people to live in, and the noise is so much less of an issue. I still worry that my neighbours can hear my late-night movie watching or 24/7 Patsy Cline records, but since I can't really hear them I'm realizing that it's not going to be an issue.

3. Landlords

I've been pretty lucky when it comes to landlords, but I've heard some real horror stories. Having a good landlord is really important, when you get a leaky ceiling, a broken fridge, or bedbugs (which we will all have gotten soon, if we haven't already) you need someone that's going to be on your side and help you out. A Google search is usually all it takes to unearth the really bad ones, but if you have a good landlord it's kind of invaluable.

4. Windows

It's been about three years since I've been able to lay in bed and look out the window, and I'm totally obsessed (in fact, that's what I'm doing right now). I love that I can see the sky, the CN tower, birds, a giant sign for the Brick, a couple billboards, and the backs of lots of houses. I have window sills that I can sit on and look dreamily out of and watch trains go by. I'm only on the third floor but I can see the city. It's very cool.

5. The perfect place for the cat's litter box.

A good little nook or cranny to stick that stinky box is so important—you don't want it just sitting in the middle your living room or bathroom. Find the perfect space for your cat to shit and you might just find your dream apartment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: April Luxe Box

Just in the nick of time, I received my April Luxe Box on the last day of the month. You know the drill by now – black packaging, personalized sticker, yadda yadda yadda.

Our first glimpse at the goods!

First up, LB sent this little daffodil pin in honour of their partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society. They made a donation on behalf of the Luxe Box community, which is great, but the pin isn't really my cup of tea. I'll pin it to my bulletin board for a bit of extra colour, I guess.

Hey! It's one of my favourite products ever! Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is one beauty item I use all the time and recommend to anyone who'll listen long enough. I find it really prolongs the life of my mani and dries my nails to the touch in about a minute. It really is great stuff – I have a full size already, so I'll probably pass this on to a friend to share the gospel. (Note: the little LB card said they's included a full size bottle, but as you can see, a full-sized product this is not.)

Next up, I got this sample of Fekkai Salon Technician Color Care Rapid Results Moisture Mask, which, let's be real, is a mouthful to say. It claims to restore just-coloured silkiness and increase colour longevity, which is always good for gals like me who colour their hair often. Haven't tried this yet, but likely will soon, because "just-coloured silkiness" is just the kind of claim I find difficult to resist.

Lastly, I got these generously sized samples of Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Shampoo & Conditioner. They claim to offer weightless, silicone-free nourishment for your hair, and that you can "feel the difference with one use". I tried them out this morning, and sure? I guess? My hair feels pretty good today, but I actually took the time to blow dry it, so that could account for the difference. It's definitely not a vast change, but at only $6 a bottle, this probably stand the best chance of being an actual purchase I'd make.

Oh, and Charlie approves.

The only thing left is my First in Line Program pick, which is a pair of underwear from a company called Panty By Post. I really liked that this was included as a First In Line choice, and that we were able to select our size and style (between hipster and thong). I picked hipster and I'm not sure which style I'll be receiving, but it doesn't really matter – based on their photo gallery, they're all pretty cute, and priced at $25-30 for a single pair, it's a really good deal. I should be getting these sometime soon.

And that's it! Overall thoughts? Decent box. I'd probably be disappointed if what I received was all I was getting, but the addition of the underwear really caps it off, and means I'll have a second surprise later this month. I really prefer getting hair products to skincare ones because I have such sensitive skin, so spreads like this are pretty ideal for me. A lot of other reviewers seem to be hitting Luxe Box fatigue, but I still enjoy receiving mine every month. 

If you would like to try Luxe Box for yourself and enjoyed reading my review,
Charlie would love it if you'd use my referral code.

Previous Luxe Box Reviews