Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Season of the Witch

Maybe it's just all the new supernatural tv shows this Fall, but I'm really into the idea of taking it back a few years (or centuries) and dressing up like a witch for Halloween. 

I'm going to try to avoid the silliness of Hocus Pocus, and the goth-cliché of The Craft and go with something a little more glamourous. I'm thinking long dark skirts, some choice jewelry, sky-high stilettos, and of course a classic pointed hat. Too bad neither of the dogs is well behaved enough to masquerade as my familiar for the evening...

Though, clearly the witchy attitude is the most important part of the equation. 
Bitch is the new black, afterall!

images from Tumblr

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Are You Afraid of the Dark?


When we’re young we all have things that we’re terrified of: clowns, creepy crawlies, that old lady with the evil eye. But as we grow up, we begin to understand that these fears are irrational; the clowns become more annoying than scary, the creepy crawlies get squished underfoot, and we discover that the old lady just has a case of “bitchy resting face.” But are we capable of conquering our fears as we grow up, or do they just evolve into more complex conditions?

When I was young I had a terrible fear of the darkness. I slept with a nightlight for a really long time, and even when I gave up the nightlight I preferred not to sleep in pitch darkness. My rational mind knew that there wasn’t anything lurking in darkened corner, but I guess reading too many scary stories gave me an over-active imagination. As an adult, a dark room doesn’t bother me, but I often identify this fear of the dark as being a precursor to the more adult condition of a fear of the unknown. The future can’t be predicted, so every grown-up has to face up to their fear of not knowing where their life, careers, or relationships will take them.

I also had some pretty major fears of abandonment as a child, all due to the one time that my mother accidentally left me by the bacon in the Overwaitea (the precursor to Save On Foods). No seriously, she did. Not on purpose, of course, but I still remember the fear of being lost and not knowing where my person had gone. Most children get scared when they get separated from their pack (it’s an tribal instinct), but when the same pattern is repeated by untrustworthy friends, lovers, and authority figures an adult develops a sense of mistrust in their social surroundings. Whether we cling to our groups of friends (guilty) or push people away (even more guilty) we are playing up to the same fears of abandonment that we felt as a child.

Ironically, I was never scared of bugs when I was a kid. I would play with ants, collect pill bugs, and be fascinated by wayward spiders. Of course, most of these were harmless bugs (bar the 2 breeds of poisonous spiders found in Kamloops) – and my youthful mind had no idea that not all bugs were fine and dandy. And then I started watching House. I was drawn in by the sarcastic lead doctor (who doesn’t love a cynical lead character), but my love affair with the show ended abruptly during the episode where a woman got worms in her brain from eating bad pork. Yeah, that’s a deal breaker for me. Maybe it’s just a healthy dose of paranoia that stems from a survival instinct, but there are too many freak stories of parasites for me to ever be friends with most bugs again.

So now that I’ve shared some of my childhood trauma, it’s your turn. Do you see any connections between your childhood fears and your grown-up anxieties? Or are we all still scared of snakes? Actually, I’ll give you that one… Snakes are scary!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Break it Down & Build it Up: a Sunday Shoe Story

Sometimes we have to destroy the past if we want to build something new. Rubble, like our memories, can turn to dust or be built into something new. It just depends on how we view the chaos that ensues; as a cracked mirror to madness or the building blocks towards inspiration.

Which choice will you choose when your life is in shambles, and all you can see is broken pieces? Will you continue to burn or will you rise from the ashes?

*shoes "Naima" by Rachel Roy

Friday, 18 October 2013

Maximal Fur

Maximal Fur

I may not support the animal cruelty part of the fur industry, but what's the harm in making use of a family heirloom fur coat (that I finally managed to talk my mother into letting me have on a permanent basis)? It's over 50 years old, and it comes with a rather amusing anecdote - ask me in real life some time - so I'm glad that the weather is chilling down enough that I can almost justify wearing it. Bring on the cold weather; my fur coat and I are prepared!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Go Big, or Go Home


I’m the kind of person who always has a “To Do” list (actually it’s three lists), so when I finished my Master’s degree this Spring I felt sort of at sea. Sure, I still had everyday goals (go to the library, groceries, clean my apartment), but the largest goal in my life had been completed.

So I asked myself: what next?

Being the Type-A control-freak list-wizard that I am I came up with two plans related to my career. The 5-year plan (with no reference to Stalin’s USSR) was to get a job on the West Coast, and the 10-year plan was to get a job in the United Kingdom. Clearly my 5-year plan went out the door when I got offered and accepted a summer job in Whistler, but I began to question my 10-year plan. I undoubtedly still want to move to the UK (Scottish manor houses, boys with accents, the Book of Kells, and red double-decker buses – yes please), but I feel like bumping this plan up to the 5-year deadline is a little too much.

So instead I’m making a whole new plan. A 7-year plan. It’s a lucky number after all, and I figure that it’s a reasonable timeframe to get a cross-Atlantic job, buy a house/condo, buy a car, and adopt an adorable dog (preferrably a Great Dane, whom I shall name William).

Oh, and pay off my student loan, while I’m at it. Pretty sure they won’t let me leave the country on a permanent basis unless I do!

So what’s on your 7-year plan? Or are you one of those crazy people who just flies through life by the seat of your pants?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Minimalism: a Tumblr Query

When there's so much colour in the world, why are we drawn to minimalism? Minimalism is a difficult theory to grasp when you tend towards all-things sparkle infused (like I do), so I took to Tumblr to see minimalism meant to others. I found some things that I expected, but many were a little more ethereal and subconcious than "dress simply." 

Having style is not about trends. Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame, and who's fabulous book I just read) and many other style-influencers have re-iterated this point time and time again. Style is about knowing what to wear and investing in pieces that are multi-functional, as well as multi-seasonal. The all-black look is one that never goes out of style, since the pieces that make up this outfit are simply chic and can be dismantled and reassembled with other pieces of clothing. 

Minimal living spaces seem to follow the same idea as my previously mentioned point: things are functional and have an essence of longevity. I find it almost impossible to even consider living in a minimalist environment because my walls would quickly be covered with bookshelves (which are never minimalist unless you buy matching books, and who does that?) and paintings (Andy Warhol and the Beatles for the den, vintage knights and faeries for my library room, and Piccaso's Starry Night for the bedroom), but I love the modernist themes of minimalist design. Natural wood, glass, and concrete can easily be jazzed up with an ever-changing colour palette, and the white walls hold an endless possibility. 

Minimalist design aesthetics can be tricky, but it's no wonder that they become icons of an era. I feel that companies who adopted a Zen-aesthetic in their design principles (like Leica, pictured below, or Apple) chose well; their products are often the choice of artistic professionals because the object creating the art is art itself, while not deterring from the principle of the artist themselves. In turn these devices have inspired many through their provision of a neutral palette. 

As a librarian, silence is the ultimate minimalism, and very little is more precious to me than the time I can spend in the solitude of my own mind. Silence can, of course, be a mental state as well, so I found this clever piece of art - which implies that silence is a product to be bought - rather ironic. 

Maybe minimalism is just a frame of mind. A way to reset at the end of the day, after having fought another round against the only real foe we have - the reality of our lives. Sometimes that white wall that we start with when the sun rises is splattered in blood by the time the sun sets, but it's our blood and our creation on the blank canvas that is the world. We know what was there the night before - we cleaned it up afterall - but that memory is all that needs remain.

*all images from Tumblr

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Minimalism: a Theory about Purses

To say that minimalism does not come naturally to me is an understatement. I may appreciate elegant Sans Serif fonts, Zen-inspired living spaces, and one-dish meals, but trying to get me to buy a dress that’s not covered in glitter is just not going to happen. The only place, in fact, that I can get minimalism to stick when it comes to my wardrobe is in my purses.

Clearly I don’t mean the purses themselves. Have you missed the amount of love I have for my Louis Vuitton-monograph-emblazoned collection?

Most women opperate under the “just in case” rule when it comes to filling their handbags. They carry everything that might possibly be needed in the event of a nuclear holocaust – miniature versions of their favourite make-up, bottles of water, compacts, perfumes, the entire stationary aisle, bandaids, snacks, cellphones, chargers for their cellphones, iPods, computers, a novel (or two), hair products, and miscellaneous detrious.

I used to be the same way, and would haul copious amounts of stuff around with me all day. But then I ran into problems when I wanted to switch to a smaller purse that weren’t so akin to a carry-all. The choice would become: to carry a purse that didn’t go with my outfit, or to eliminate some of the contents. Obviously I opted to eliminate items, since there’s nothing worse than carrying around a ruck-sack while wearing a party dress.

As time went on I realized – elimination after elimination – that the items that I was consistently leaving out when I downsized were not actually essential in my everyday life. I didn’t need to carry glasses or my contact lens supplies, because I was comfortable wearing contacts without a safety blanket. I didn’t need to carry a book all the time, because I wasn’t spending copious amounts of time waiting around. I didn’t need to carry snacks or water at all times, because I don’t have blood-sugar issues and I can usually find something if I really need it. And having duplicates of my make-up or transferring things constantly was a waste of money and time.

I’ve gotten so efficient in my purse-packing strategy that I only ever have 6 constants: my wallet, a compact mirror, lip balm (right now I'm really into Burt's Bees - mmm peppermint!), a pen, a hair elastic, and my iPhone (featuring an adorable Andy Warhol case this month). Things are added based on where I’m going (a water bottle for a road trip, a novel & notebook for classes, a re-usable shopping bag for the library), but my overall purse-mantra is simple: if it can’t fit the smallest iteration then it’s not essential.

Where do you fall on the purse-contents spectrum? Are my readers a bunch of “just in case” enthusiasts, “essentials only” minimalists, or maybe somewhere in between? Upload a picture of your purse contents and tell me your story!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

7 Reasons Why: a (Birthday) Sunday Shoe Story

Because in the beginning, when I refused her Skittle, she didn’t take no for an answer.

Because of this song. 

Because she talked me into skipping study hall and going shoe shopping, and would always talk me into buying strange and outlandish outfits. True story: I blame (and applaud) her for the red velvet leopard dress.

Because when I wanted to do an impromptu fashion photoshoot at the nudist beach she didn’t say no. In fact, she drove. 

Because she has never missed a birthday, and her presents usually come filled with glitter. I almost don’t mind the mess that said glitter leaves everywhere.

Because she didn’t strangle me when I scooped this vintage pair of Carlos Falchi heels right in front of her on a thrifting adventure.

"'Carmen" by Carlos Falchi

Just because. Some things change, but my Aina will always be the same. Maybe an older and more fabulous version, but still the same. Happy birthday Duck, and here’s to the next 25!