Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tunesday: History Repeating by Propellerheads ft. Miss Shirley Bassey

Without knowing it, I've loved Shirley Bassey for years. Her powerful voice, her over-the-top dramatic delivery... it's everything I've wanted to be but not been able to express!

If you don't know who Shirley Bassey is, start singing the song "Goldfinger" in your head... yup, that's her.

So throw on a sequined gown and a plump feather boa, elbow-length gloves if you've got 'em, and allow Dame Shirley to envelop you in a fantasy of luxury, stardom, and vocal power, darling. Or, if you prefer, add a glint to your eye and become the sophisticated, criminal mastermind you've always dreamed of being... or globetrotting super spy.... if only for a moment.

If you want the glamorous party to continue, I highly recommend some of her other hits:

As a little bonus, here's my favourite television nerdy brothers, Niles and Fraser Crane being coerced into singing Goldfinger in an empty bar.

What do you think? Was this week's Tunesday a hit or a miss?
Would you rather be a James Bond or a high ranking, sleek criminal mastermind? If you were James Bond, where would your movie take place?

(If you want the villain/bond theme music to continue, check out my other post about Miike Snow's Genghis Khan music video. Not only does it contain diabolical scheming, it comes with a sweet twist and some pretty amazing dance moves)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Three reasons why Minimalists fascinate me

I can't stop watching videos and reading blogs about minimalism:

1. Because of their look book perfect aesthetic.

Whenever I see someone who has that black and white and grey minimalist aesthetic, I envy them because .... damn, they always look good! Aesthetically, if they are a minimalist that follows a minimalist aesthetic (not all do, I fully understand this), they really can't go wrong. Black and white can be casual, it can be professional, it can be sloppy, it can be neat ... and best of all, all of your items will always go with each other! Black and white go together. White and white go together. Black and black go together... it always wins! Your home decor and your closet will always look on point because everything matches, everything is following a theme... People are going to think you live in a lookbook, because everything feels so put together. They are all going to envy you, be inspired by you, and hate you all at the same time.

I personally am torn. I know how much personal enjoyment a house and a wardrobe that look good can be... but I just love colour and pattern so much! I would be so sad if I couldn't wear yellow ever again, or pick up a shirt with a funky pattern on it. At this point in my life, the minimalist black and white aesthetic is not where I'm at... but that may change, and if it doesn't, I know I am going to look fantastic.

2. Because I envy their freedom.

I find that there is nothing that makes me feel like the fattest, biggest, lump of lard than moving house and watching other people haul my belongings around. The idea that you can pack up your belongings into a backpack and just go feels so freeing to me.

When starting their minimalist journey, Minimalists ask themselves "Do I need this?" "If I let this go, can a replace it if I decide I need it?" While I acknowledge that minimalism is a mindset coming from a privileged western position... I also acknowledge that I grew up in, and am still currently in a position of western privilege. I have the luxury of being able to go to the store and replace anything that breaks pretty easily.

I've been asking myself "when was the last time I used this?" "does it spark joy to own it?" If the answer is "I can't remember when I used it last" and "No, It does not spark joy, " I toss it. I have purged quite a lot using this method.

There is something so lightening and freeing about opening a closet or a cupboard and it not being crammed full of stuff. My boyfriend and I downsized our bedroom, moving into the second bedroom, so that we could turn the master bedroom into a study/gym/studio and fully take advantage of the extra space. It quickly became our overflow, junk room and I hate it. I can feel it when I try to work in there. I'm working on fixing this, reorganizing and donating things slowly.

Most of my "toe-dipping" into minimalism has been in this sphere. Thanks to Marie Kondo and her Konmari method I have really cut down my wardrobe to only the pieces I know I will wear. Gone are the frumpy sweaters that I have hung on to because they were gifts. Gone are the shorts that I vow to fit back into one day.

3. Because I admire their "against the grain" attitude.

This is something I'm coming to terms with owning myself; My boyfriend and I became vegan almost two months ago. Sometimes, even though there is no reason to feel ashamed, being vegan can feel like your "dirty little secret". It's a statement and a lifestyle that a lot of people have an opinion about.

From my limited experience "coming out" as a vegan, I have been met with questions and defensiveness. People want to know why I don't eat meat. It seems such a silly question to me, because if you stopped and thought for a microsecond about what needs to happen in order for you to eat meat and animal products, I think you'd have a hard time eating meat, eggs, dairy or honey again too.

The point I'm trying to make is that I feel that Minimalists are like vegans, but instead of animal products, they abstain from consumer products. Just like vegans, the reason why minimalists become minimalist has many layers: ethical (don't want to support factory labour), environmental (don't want to support the depletion of natural resources or contribute to unnecessary waste), emotional (people feel better, less tied down, when they have fewer possessions, and/or their belongings were infused with negative emotional baggage).

Whatever the reason that inspired the lifestyle, you cannot deny that the philosophy of minimalism goes against a lot of what we stand for, here in the west. And anyone who has the nerve and analytical intelligence to observe the world they live in, come to a personal conclusion about it, and act on that new informed mindset deserves much kudos.

And so, to all the minimalists out there, bravo. I am in awe. You inspire me daily.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Perfect for Summer!: Rosehip Green Ice Tea with Lemon and Mint Recipe

It's summer here in Toronto, and while I usually don't mind not having air conditioning in my apartment, there have been a few days where it is been hard to handle the heat.

I like to drink ice water to keep cool, but sometimes you want a little sugary, sweet, summery something-something, yah know?

This homemade iced tea recipe is the result of some improvisation, but it turned out so delicious I had to share it!

Things you'll need:
  • Electric or stovetop kettle
  • Large glass bowl or any metal pot (anything that is heat resistant should work)
  • A juice jug
  • 4 green tea bags
  • 2 tbsp loose rosehip tea leaves
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1/2 lemon (or 2 tbsp lemon juice)
  1. Fill your kettle with as much water as it will hold and let it boil
  2. While waiting for your water to boil, slice your lemon into semicircles/half wedges, like you would find in a restaurant.
  3. Once the water has boiled, pour it into your large glass bowl or pot. I used a regular stovetop pot because I knew it would be able to handle the heat of the boiling water
  4. Throw in your tea bags, loose tea leaves, sugar, and mint.
  5. If you are using a real lemon, squeeze in the juice before adding the lemon wedges to the pot. If you are using lemon juice, add them now. 
  6. Wait. I usually leave the pot to cool down before I'll transport it into a juice container and then put that container in the fridge to get nice and cold. If there is not enough tea to fill your juice jug, don't worry! Just add some cold water from the tap. 
  7. Wait some more as the tea becomes icy cold in the fridge.
  8. Get out your favourite glasses, toss in some ice cubes, a straw...maybe a drink umbrella, and enjoy your homemade summery drink!

My boyfriend likens this iced tea to fruit punch. It's a great way to get that sweat sugary drink you crave in the summer without hundreds of calories. We both highly recommend adding a splash or two of gin, or vodka, if you're in a festive mood. 

What is your favourite summer drink? Is it oppressively hot where you are too? How are you handling the heat?

If you make this tea, please let me know what you think!

Stay cool, everybody! 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Tunesday: Harriet - "Irish Margaritas"

Shout out to Abbie Paulhus for the super cute lemon sketch.  

Will there ever come a day when I stop singing the praises of Spotify's "Discovery Weekly" playlist and it's uncanny way of introducing me to songs I can't get enough of? I really hope not!

Lemme introduce you to this sweet sugary beverage: the Irish Margarita.

The music video kinda looks like something you would find in the graduating show of an art student, but if that kind of 'narrative' isn't your thing, open a new tab and enjoy this poppy synth song and it's tight vocals. The melody is so catchy, I find myself listening to it over and over just for the pleasure of singing along with the "but we're better off alooone" part.

What do you think is in an Irish Margarita? A shot of whiskey topped with lime? Does it have a salt rim? Does it have a zest of Catholism with a hint of peat smoke?

Take a listen! What did you think?
Was this week's Tunesday a hit or a miss? Let me know down below.

Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Take a Free Instant Vacation in Two Simple Steps!

It's summer and you want to go someplace fun and new... but you're super broke, or you're in summer school, or you need to work as many hours as you can in order to pay for university next year. Sound familiar? That's my life right now. I've been feeling totally overbooked and drained from work and school recently and have been craving a vacation hard core.

Never fear, I have found a solution.

All you need is:

  • a computer/phone/tablet (whatever device you are reading this blog on should work)
  • headphones

  • a yoga mat, blanket and/or a soft pillow 
  • a sunny spot (preferable!)

Step one:
Plug in your headphones and pop them in/over your ears.

Step two: 
Go to calm.com. Choose a location of your choice. A lakeside cottage up north? A cosy ski chalet in the swiss alps? Close your eyes and poof! You're on vacation!

It's just that easy! 

Right now I'm writing to you from a sun-kissed beach in Cancun... or at least I'm there in my head!

Earlier today I rolled out a yoga mat in the sun on my balcony, set a "self guided meditation" timer for ten minutes (you can find one on Calm.com - Just click "begin" and scroll down.), popped in my earbuds, lay down and magically found myself transported to paradise.
I used to use calm.com to help me study during my undergrad. I find putting on nature sounds really helps me focus and puts me in a good head state to get work done, which is really helpful when you have assignments and readings you don't want to do. I've used nature sounds to help me fall asleep after a stressful day. I find adding nature sounds to bedtime reading makes getting lost in a good book extra luxurious. 

This post was not sponsored by calm.com in any way (I wish it was!), I just recommend it because the website is so clean it's really nice to use. You can use any nature sound website/app/youtube video, whatever works for you! Calm.com also has a pretty great body-scan meditation that's not "new age-y" and overly spiritual in the way other guided meditations can be. In fact, this site was my gateway into meditation! (I feel a post brewing about meditation, so stay tuned!)

Are you craving a vacation just like me? Where would you go right now if you could drop everything and go on vacation? Have you ever used nature sounds before? If so, what did you use them for? If this post inspired your first time, please let me know what you thought! Where were you transported to? 

If you take a little mental vacation, please don't forget to send me a postcard!

Bon Voyage,

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tunesday: Get Low by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz

Here's a throwback to grade seven.

This little ditty came to me in the shower this morning, and has been stuck in my head ever since. Don't ask me why. It was immediately followed by cringes and furrowed brows at the thought of any 11 or 12 year old kid listening to it... and then grinding at the local dance with a boy she just met. *facepalm*

Funny. My tweens were much more promiscuous than my 20s... (shout out to erotic fanfiction and diiiirrrrty rap songs like this).... and I'm okay with that. Ha ha!

What kind of memories does this song bring back for you? I clearly remember my friend hijacking my computer, putting this song on, and being so worried about my mom hearing it... after all, the song does say "balls" in it! How uncouth!

As a bonus, here's Usher's "Yeah" just for good measure. A good workout has a few sets to it, right? So consider this the mid two thousands throwback workout. Better yet, throw this video on and follow Usher's sweet dance routine and get your sweat on!