Friday, October 25, 2013

The Door Swings To A Passing Fable, A Fate We May Delay

Well, Halloween is a-comin'. I've heard that it happens every year around this time.

While I don't yet have a costume planned, and I don't yet know for sure how exactly I'll be celebrating, I do know that I'll be in St. Catharines with some of my favourite Halloween-freak people. So if you're in town next week, get in touch & join us.

As I rack my brain and scour the internet for a fairly easy and inexpensive costume, I'm reminded that I end up with this conundrum just about every year, and always last-minute. A few key costumes I've always wanted to plan out never come through, even though they've been at the top of my list for years. Instead, many costumes have been half-assed or far too easy.

Yeah, it just means I'm lazy. I admit it.

Dog costumes are much simpler. (See? Daisy is me. A pissed off version of me.)

So, if you have any suggestions for this lazy & old chick, throw 'em at me.

In exchange, Tempt Cider & I have a Halloween giveaway for you. 

Tempt Cider is a tasty brand of alcoholic cider that "combines the sweetness of strawberries with a subtle hint of tart lime". It's also oddly pretty packaging for a drink, and I dig that. (See, sometimes I can be girly.)

The $150 prize pack includes:

- a case of Tempt Cider (24 cans)
- a $50 Victoria's Secret gift card
- Two Tempt Cider branded glasses
- a tempting masquerade mask
- a Tempt Cider Branded iPhone case
- a Tempt Cider branded chapstick

So enter below, & good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Together We Stand, Divided We Fall

I've seen an article that's being shared a lot online, where someone defends Toronto against the usual complaints and attacks on the city. There's always a few of those going around, and as I read them I have the same reaction - I go back and forth between wanting to defend the city I live in, and agreeing with all the negatives about it.

I have a love/hate relationship with Toronto.

The Good - High Park (I took this recently)

Now, before all my fellow Torontonians start calling me names, my feelings don't actually say much about the city itself. It's more about me. Toronto is an awesome place. I love our different neighbourhoods, as each has its own style and distinctive feel to it. I love the opportunities, I love that start-up culture is celebrated, and I love that you can pretty much do anything here. Seriously. Anything. We have cultural diversity, fantastic businesses, art, entertainment, sports (don't laugh - Leafs are winning), and one of my favourite parts - great bands playing everywhere, on any given night.

But, Toronto isn't for everyone. Some days it can be a very cold and impersonal place, a sea of anonymous faces in a concrete jungle. (Can you tell that I like to avoid the downtown area?) It's overwhelming. There are off-putting things about this city that I can't quite put my finger on - something besides the traffic, the high cost of living, and the notion some people have that Toronto is better than everywhere. We'll chalk it up to a random feeling.

The Bad - Rob Ford
So I love it. But I also hate some of  it. As Masuka, who recently fled the city, says: "it's a soul-sucking place". For now, I deal with that by living in a neighbourhood that I absolutely adore; that feels like a small town (nature! families! quiet!) while still technically part of this huge city. I consider it the best of both worlds. But eventually, when I own a car again, there's no telling where I'll end up - part of me wants a home in the country and an office in the city. I'm constantly torn between the two types of living. How do I balance a simple way of life with the business opportunities I need? It's tricky. And it may one day change.

All that said, I tend to be somewhat defensive of where I live and also where I come from. I was born & raised in St. Catharines, after all. And since moving here, I've gotten mixed reactions when people have asked where I hail from. One such reaction includes the "Oh. Sorry to hear it". And that's when my defensive wrath kicks in. Yes, I left the place. But it's my hometown. It's where my family and friends are, and where I still go to escape this city. And if anyone wants to trash it (even when certain points offer definite validity - it's a college/university town, after all), I am liable to yell & demand that you take back any negative words about one of my cities. It's a personal thing.

The Ugly - The Gardiner falling apart (via
As it stands, I'm currently in Toronto and fine with that. By deciding that I have no strict ties to any location and the future can involve anywhere I see fit, it helps me to breathe easier. Things change. So do people. There was a time I would've never wanted to live here, and yet another time that I thought it was the only place I could ever thrive. Both times I was right. Now I like knowing that I have options once I decide to start a family someday. Or join a convent, whichever comes first. See? Options!

Since I started it, let's further pry open the proverbial can of worms here - Toronto: love it? Hate it? Indifferent to it?

And why?

Friday, October 18, 2013

In A State Of Mind I Could Call Mine, That Only I Could Own

To go along with my newfound need for new experiences, I'm adding "learning new things" to that list. Aside from boring work-related courses I plan to eventually take, I also want to learn fun things. Because there sure is a hell of a lot that I don't know (shhh, don't tell anyone).

As you all likely know, I'm a beer-lovin' and/or rye-drinkin' kinda chick. While I do drink wine more often than most people would assume, I have to admit - I know literally nothing about it. I know there's red. I know there's white. I know red can make me feisty, and white can make me happy.

That right there is the extent of my wine knowledge. Impressive, no?

So, when iYellow Wine Club asked if I wanted to check out a chardonnay class, I thought it would be a fun opportunity. So I brought along my sister, who actually knows about wine, and off we went to learn at the Ritz-Carlton.

I had been a bit worried that I'd come off seeming like an idiot, since I don't know the first thing about wine. Not even how to properly hold a wine glass, as you can see in the photo above.

I assumed most of the participants would be well-versed in all things wine, and I would be the one ignorant girl who had no idea what we were talking about.

Luckily, that was not the case. We tried a few different types of chardonnay and learned the difference between them all. I learned how to "paint" the glass with the wine to read its legs and gauge alcohol/sugar content. I learned about lees, oaking, and how oxygen colours the white wines. I also learned that I really like Southbrook wine (Southbrook, I'm comin' for ya).

Before this, I would've identified malolactic fermentation as "some form of coffee with milk, awesomely Irish'd up". But now? Now I know better. I'm learn-ed.

So there ya go. Learning can be fun - and the addition of alcohol and food can't hurt, either.

For more info, visit & get wined.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

May Not Live Another Life, May Not Solve A Mystery

It's the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving long weekend. If you're Canadian, you don't want to think right now. You don't want to be at work, you don't want to have to function - hell, you can't function. You want to sleep off the 4 turkeys you had over the weekend, and try to forget about how your Aunt Marge called you "handsomely pear-shaped".

While I'm not your boss and I can't allow you to fall into a tryptophan-induced coma at your ergonomically correct desk, I can share some new music with you to at least help you through the day.

And that's somethin', right?

First up - PJ fans rejoice (because if you didn't know, Pearl Jam has the most supportive/diehard fans ever. Right, Ten Club-ers?), their latest studio album is officially out.

It's been on iTunes for awhile now, but today was the official album drop. And for those wondering, Lightning Bolt is not on Rdio just yet. Soon, my pretties. Soon. [Edit - as of today (the 16th), it's up!]

I've been reading some very mixed reviews, as it seems people don't quite know what to make of this album. I'll admit that I haven't yet listened, but as usual I'll be my own judge. I tend to have faith in Eddie & co.

What did you think? (Listen here.)

Next, we're getting a lot more local.

If you'll recall, I've mentioned A Book For Wanderers on the site before, with the album release. Well, there's a new song out now, featuring another name you've seen on here - Serena Pryne, from The Mandevilles.

That's like two awesome local bands for the price of one.

Give the song a listen, and stay tuned for a second album release in the near future. Also check the Facebook page for tons of upcoming shows.

What are some other new tunes you've been listening to?

Friday, October 11, 2013

I've Lost It All, I'm Just A Silhouette. A Lifeless Face You'll Soon Forget.

Recently, in a conversation about getting older, someone said to me, "Ugh, don't you just wish you were 24 again?". I had a knee-jerk response and was surprised by the immediacy of it, so I thought about the pros and cons to figure out why I was so automatically sure of my answer. Did I want to be 24 again?

Nope. Hell friggin' no.

Me and my Leah at 24. Classy and sophisticated. This must be at a gala.

I don't want to be 24.

I don't want to spend too much time in bars, with 5am being a normal bedtime.
I don't want to be living with my parents, not yet properly able to appreciate how much they do for me.
I don't want to be dealing with (or crying over) boys who were so very wrong for me.
I don't want to be in a rut, and make the wrong decisions as a result.
And most importantly, I don't want to have to go through all the same things in the 6 years since then.
That's exhausting. I've done it.
I want to be 30.

I want to be independent, responsible for myself.
I want to spend my Saturdays exploring the city & taking long walks with those I love (instead of hungover).
I want to have a Friday night at home, without the fear of missing out.
I want to run my business and work my ass off toward my goals.
I want nights out with friends, without the 20-something drama.
I want to do shit my way, on my terms. All the time.
Cuz I can.

I want to be what I am. And I'm 30.

At 30. Tongue in mouth, dog on lap, dinner on stove. Cuz at 30, we cook.

The idea of going back and getting a second shot has always been appealing to me, truth be told. If we could go back and fix mistakes we've made & regrets we may have, I'd be pretty happy. And 24 would be a key year in that respect. But for the sake of this conversation, it wasn't about fixing anything - it was just going back and living it all over again. Although 24 held some of my favourite times with amazing people, I don't need to re-live it or the following years. (Fun fact - I was 24 when I started this blog. Yikes.)

Whoever the hell I was then is partially responsible for who the hell I am now. And in those 6 years, I made many mistakes, had many regrets, and learned way too much to just suddenly forget it all.

So if you want to go back to your twenties, more power to ya. I'll stay right here.

(But if I can somehow harness my 24 year old self's metabolism & ability to exist on hardly any sleep, that would be real peachy. Thanks.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kinda Drifting Into The Abstract In Terms Of How I See Myself

This past weekend was a busy one, but in the best way possible.

Friday was spent in a private box at the ACC for my first-ever Nine Inch Nails show, with some great people. 

As usual, my photos make it look like we couldn't see anything - but watching from the box was a pretty great view, especially with the light show NIN is known for.

My love for Trent Reznor seems to grow as time passes. He gets better with age.

I took videos, but won't ruin your ears by posting them -  you certainly don't want to hear me singing "Head Like A Hole", or the girl in the box next to us screaming drunkenly during "Hurt". But in these videos, other crazy voices aside, Trent is spot-on with his singing.

It was a pretty good mix of old and new tunes. A surprising number from "The Fragile". But, lucky for me, they played what I constantly say will be my wedding song (once I trick a dude into sticking with me) - "A Warm Place".

Don't you look at me funny, it's a beautiful song. Good for some aisle-walkin'.

Amazing concert.

Next night? Nuit Blanche with my rowdy group of awesome folks!

Luckily the wonderful Mark Sylvain took better photos than I did (especially after my phone died), so here are a few of his shots:

The group, ready to go.


Apparently you could go inside, but we didn't want to wait in line. We wondered if there was tea and crumpets. Or beer and poutine.

Swoon. No, that's the artist. Swoon.

Lotsa love to Laura, who knows everything about art and guided us through.

Michelle & I, showin' some love to Glenn Gould.

Snow machine under the Gardiner.

Yes that is my hand. No it didn't freeze.

The trek continues.

Fireworks? What fireworks?

Surely there were no renegade fireworks in Trinity Bellwoods from a group of happy wanderers.

Nope. None.

Ai Wei Wei's 'Forever Bicycles'.

 A couple of drenched Nuit Blanche-ers. We forged through the rain... right to a McDonald's.

I think I'm too damn old for these really late nights. But all in all, that was a good weekend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Consider Your Position, Framed To Be Consumed

People often talk about their "Bucket Lists" - that all-important list of the things you want to do before you die. I'm sure we all have some ideas of what we'd fill that list with, though I wonder how many of us actually cross any those things off.

Will you jump off the Brooklyn Bridge before you take your dirt nap? Likely not.

Homer knows.
Instead of a Bucket List, what I have is more of a to-do list of things that I want to conquer in the short-term. Not that I need to do them before I die, just that I need to do them whenever I can. More for personal growth than anything else. Fairly attainable things. They're Life Lists.

Take this for example - I posted one such list on the ol' blog in early 2011, right after I moved back to Toronto. The things I wanted to do were: learn how to skate (didn't do it); how to play my guitar (did it, & am doing it); how to cook better (done & done. I now know what a vegetable is!); how to run in public (partially done... still awkward. But that's just me. Awkward.).

Das lessons. Crossed off the list.
You get the idea. These aren't huge life-altering things. It's just a to-list of awesome junk I'd be real keen on doing.

My current Life List looks something like this:

Take a beginner rock climbing class: I've been scared of heights forever, and I think this will help push me out of my comfort zone a bit. Was supposed to do this in the summer, but other things got in the way. Soon. If you wanna join me, let me know. There may be screaming.

Find a guitarist: I've been working on a bit of a music project for the past few months (with the help of a couple of awesome friends), and we need a fitting guitar-man to be a part of it. Somehow this has been extremely difficult, but I'm determined to find the right one. Where are ya, dude?

Grow my business: A no-brainer, obviously. The more The MediaHaus evolves, the closer it is to where I want it to be. So many goals, so little time.

Chill the hell out and be more friggin' awesome: Some days, because of roadblocks, I feel as though I'm less awesome than I can be. Maybe less awesome than I used to be. So please, join me on my journey of awesomeness. Not unlike She-Ra, I have the power. (complete with sword and badass metal breastplate.)

My spirit animal.

Take over the whole damn world: This one is more long-term. I currently can't divulge my process. Forget I mentioned it. Nothing to see here.

What's on your current Life List? Sharing is caring.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bow Down Before The One You Serve, You're Going To Get What You Deserve

With my first-ever Nine Inch Nails concert coming up on Friday, it has me realizing just how long I've been listening to this band. Since that first album came out in 1989, this chick would've been a 6 year old likely singing along to tunes from Pretty Hate Machine on her swingset  ("Head Like A Hole" was my favourite to sing, and I'm certain the neighbours just loved hearing a tiny female Trent Reznor-wannabe, screaming along.).

24 years. That's a long time.

My sister was the reason a little version of me was listening to a band like NIN - and while I've blogged about my musical tastes being shaped by my parents and trips up north, my sister is responsible for all the rest. From a young age, she would make me mixtapes full of whatever she had been listening to at the time. These became my most prized possessions. I soaked them up; consumed them. Memorized every word to every song.

I'd get on my swing for hours every day, listening to these songs and hiding away from other kids as much as possible. I was timid and kinda different, so other kids didn't always "get" me (which often made me a target) - and my taste in music likely didn't help that. But it was my absolute favourite thing. Music was my best friend, and my sister's tapes were the medium.

To this day, when I listen to a song that happened to be on one of those mixtapes, in my head I automatically hear whichever song came immediately after on the tape. Because of this, my Rdio obsession has come in handy - I've been curating a playlist (called "Mixtapes & Swingsets") with some of the songs my sister had put on my tapes. The songs that take me right back to my favourite place.

I still listen to a lot of these bands, as you can tell. And these mixtapes from my sister made me adore playlists. If you look at my list on Rdio, I have a playlist for every mood. They're still important to me - my digital mixtapes, my best memories.

So at the Nine Inch Nails show this Friday, it'll be somewhat celebratory - for a 30 year old lifelong fan, but also for a little kid on her swingset, singing along with a mixed tape to shut out the world and feel ok.

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