Friday, 15 November 2013

VIDEO: E+E Do Paris

I know I haven't been around much, as of late. Things have been busy and weird, and life has changed a lot in the last little while.  All things I will elaborate on in the coming weeks.  Anyhow, though I needed some time offline to sort things out, I'm looking forward to getting back at this blogging thing.

As per one of my goals for 2013, Ephraim and I took a week long holiday in Paris last month.  I haven't had the energy to sort through the photos to post them (there are over 500.  gross.), but Ephraim and I put together this short travel video instead.  

I have to say, working together on something creative during our vacation was a LOT of fun!! We each had such different ideas, and different styles, but I think we edited together a cohesive look at the highlights of our trip very effectively.  Music is Comme Des Enfants by Canadian homegirl Coeur De Pirate, who is super popular in France (and in my heart).



*** The imbedded video has been removed due to technical issues.  Please use this handy dandy link instead***

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

O.O.T.D: His and Hers, Welcome Home Edition

Sometimes, you're walking around and the light is just right.  Sometimes, your boyfriend has dressed up super cute and you just really want an excuse to take his picture a few dozen times.  Sometimes, the light being just right is... just the right excuse.  So it was this day, just after I moved home to Toronto.  Ephraim and I were taking a stroll around a couple neighbourhoods we don't check out often (turns out that Mondays are the worst day for the Junction and Roncesvalles... all the cool shops are closed!), enjoying the weather and the warm glow as the sun descended.  We popped into an alley to take these photos, because Ephraim's outfit was so snazzy.  

Really, I think I happily could have stayed out of the model portion that time around, but I do suppose y'all might like my sweet vintage blouse and a super casual outfit.  

The Deets
Hat: "I found it under my bed.  So, uhm, vintage I guess?"
Shirt: Levi's
Vest: J Crew
Cardigan: Thrifted
Pants: J Crew
Shoes: Thrifted
Watch: Vintage, family heirloom
Belt Buckle: Paradigm Designs
Bag: One of a Kind Show

Cardigan: J Crew (Ephraims...haha!)
Blouse: Vintage
Pants: Anthropologie
Booties: Vintage.  Toronto Clothing Show.

Personally, I just want more chances to photograph Ephraim looking so dapper.  I suppose that's one of the perks of living with him, now.  Model time is all the time. I can't WAIT for Decembeard!


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Thoughts on Vegetarianism or: Rejoining the Omnivores

Howdy all.

Some time ago, I became a bit obsessed with the idea of meal planning and food prep once I move in with Ephraim.  I have been a vegetarian for nearly ten years, and Ephraim is a happy omnivore.  I began thinking a lot more about meals that we could make that would satisfy us both, as our eating habits stood.

More than this, though, it brought to the surface a bigger issue I had been toying with but didn't feel ready to commit to: getting back on an omnivore diet.

Now, any of you who are, or have been, vegetarians, know that there are many reasons why may choose to make such a drastic change to their diet.  For me, it's always been health motivated.  Hell, I always said that if I started eating meat again, I was going straight to a KFC for some fried chicken.  

So why, if eating meat was never an ethical issue for me, did I find the idea of eating it again to be so difficult to... (forgive me..) digest?

I think it really all came down to two things I fixated on.
1) why was I making the change, and was it for the "right" reasons?
2) what were other people going to think?

Now, I admit readily that worrying about what other people think about what I eat is ridiculous, and it frankly annoys me that I even considered it, let alone worried (and worry) about it as much as I do.  But the fact is, people fucking love to bother vegetarians about why they eat how they eat, and even if that person may not project any thoughts of being morally superior for their eating habits (bullshit, really), it seems like people do so love to see the mighty fall.  
On a more personal note to this point, it took about 2 years for my mother to quit offering me meat at dinner, and about 4 years to accept (at least aloud) that I wasn't about to start eating meat again.  

Frankly, I don't want one of the biggest decisions in my health to be chalked up to a phase, especially by her.  Whether she admits it or not.  At this point, my vegetarian diet (which I might add is as of yet unbroken, this is not past tense reflection) has lasted longer than many marriages.   Shit, at this point I've lapped Britney and K Fed like 3.5 times.  

But I digress.

Cutting meat out of my diet was always a health based decision.  And, indeed, adding it back in looks like a health based decision as well. 

I've always been a fan of simple cooking, and frankly, I am getting tired of vegetarian options being loaded with crap I don't want.  If I can substitute a soy/wheat protein/godknowswhat lump for chicken, I'd feel better about it.  I'm needing more protein in my diet these days, and this road I'm on just isn't going to get me there (or is sure isn't going to be any fun).

It funny, I mean if cutting meat out was never an ethical question, you'd think it would be an easy decision to add it back in.  But after 10 years, these choices we make become a big part of you.  It becomes harder and harder to walk away from something, even if you know it isn't really working anymore. 

If we are what we eat, is changing our diet truly fundamentally changing ourselves?


Friday, 30 August 2013

Let's Go To The Ex Pt. 2: The Food Building

In today's coverage of the Canadian National Exhibition, I'm going to talk a little bit about everyone's favourite part of the CNE: stuffing yourself stupid in the food building.  Yes, The Ex has a whole building dedicated to nothing but food.  Indeed, everyone who I spoke to about going to The Ex had the same goal in mind, "to eat all of the fried things".  Word.  For.  Word.  ALL  of the fried thingsFriends, that's a goal we can achieve, but the biggest obstacle to overcome is the daunting task of having to choose from the extraordinary amount of variety of deliciousness that shouts at you from every possible vantage point.

To illustrate how insane the food building is, I present to you, a panoramic shot of roughly 1/6 of the food building.  Open this puppy full size, and just let that all sink in.  You too can eat this much (if not this WELL) at the CNE.

This was my first panorama attempt, and except for Oriental Express and the now headless guy in front of PULL'D, I'd say it came out smashingly!
It really is a tough choice to make, though there are no bad decisions here (well, relatively speaking.  EPIC Burgers and Waffles did give dozens of people food poisoning with their cronut burger, and none of the food in this building is likely any good for you whatsoever.  Tread lighly, dear friends.  Pace yourself).  Personally, I opted for a couple veggie samosas from Ghazale, while Ephraim enjoyed a lobster roll.  I refused a blooming onion at the time, and I have regretted it every day since the fair.  Next time, I'll wear my eating pants, and not a high waisted skirt.  How foolish of me!

For dessert, we enjoyed the carnival staple, funnel cake.  If you're not familiar with funnel cake, I'm so sorry, and this is what it looks like:
It's basically deep fried dough with some sort of "fruit" topping, and icecream.  Funny story about funnel cake, years ago my family went to Canada's Wonderland (an amusement park, that has nothing to do with Canada at all) and ordered funnel cake with strawberry topping.  My step mother asked the man at the funnel cake stand if it was made with fresh strawberries.  We all laughed at her. I mean, all of us.  My dad, my brother, myself, the guy running the booth, we all just laughed.  You do not eat funnel cake for the fruit.  You eat funnel cake for the high you get from cheating death when you finish the thing and you haven't had a heart attack yet.  

And really, that's what the food building at The Ex is all about: eating really, really badly for a day, and loving every minute of it.  Enjoy all of the fried things, and feel accomplished when you manage to eat more than you thought humanly possible.  Because the CNE happens but once a year, and you aren't braving these lines twice.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Let's Go To The EX pt. 1: The Flower Competition

Last weekend, Ephraim and I went to The Ex, a.k.a. the CNE, a.k.a. the Canadian National Exhibition.  Think of it as a massive carnival, taking place for the last two weeks of August, every summer.  I (and many) think of it as an excuse to eat "all the fried things", and take a turn on some intensely overpriced rides.  You know, good clean family fun.  The CNE is more than just a carnival, with Dog and Horse shows, Acrobatic displays, food and tchotchke vendors from around the world, and one of my favourites, the floral competitions.  It also tends to be one of the only quiet areas of the CNE, so it's a perfect spot to relax a moment, enjoy the air conditioning, and take gratuitous photos of beautiful flowers.

Who am I to refuse? Enjoy the gratuitous pretty.

This first place arrangement incorporated my favourites of the winning flowers.  Plus, it's in my favourite colour scheme! I told Ephraim to feel free to think along these lines next time he wants to buy me flowers... haha, yeah, right!
After spending all that time walking through the competition, and going through my photos afterward, I feel it's really confirmed for me that when we do manage to clear a sunny patch in Ephraim's front yard, I'd really love to plant some Dahlias.  They're so gorgeous, and come in amazing sherbert-like colours!  At least, that's where my mind goes.  Straight to rainbow sherbert from Baskin Robins...perhaps the only food vendor I did NOT see at the EX.  But the food building is another story, saved for another day!


Saturday, 24 August 2013

2013 Goals Update

I have been horrible about keeping up with some of my goals lately.  To set me on the right track again, I'm doing an update.  I hope this helps motivate me to refocus on those goals I am still lagging behind on (or have forgotten about alltogether).

  • blog 4 times a week
  • complete my 365 Days of iPhone Photos project 
  • complete one photo-an-hour post for each month Okay, I keep starting these the last few months and forgetting half way through the day, or going to a movie, or something else I can't photograph.  But what can I say, most likely that day there was ihop, thrifting, a movie, and some kind of beer.  I'm cool like that.
  • save my pennies and purchase a new laptop to replace the 8 year old glorified paperweight 
  • take a trip  Guess who booked A WEEK IN PARIS for this October?!?! I am insanely excited.  I just found out yesterday that Montmartre, where Eph and I will be staying, is holding their annual wine festival over the first few days we will be there.  Concerts and fireworks at the Sacre Coeur! 
  • create more, and consume less Netflix (or knit while I watch!) hahaha! Well, I did paint some super sweet costume designs.  And to be fair, Civilization V has been preying upon my free time worse than Netflix, these days.  
  • read 6 books (this makes me sad.  how did it come to this?!) I read The Walking Dead compendium 1+2 over the last couple months (devouring each in a matter of days, to be clear).  They're over 1000 pages, containing 8 volumes each, so I am hesitant to call them each one book, or each of them two.  Let's say between the two, I have covered three books, okay?  I have 4 other books on the go right now.  I keep putting things down for too long that I get disinterested.  Slap me on the wrist.
  • create an online portfolio No, but I did redo my hard-copy portfolio over the weekend.  Then went to an Anthropologie store that was looking for a new display coordinator and sat on a couch until their visual manager would see me.  Too bad they were already in process of hiring someone else, but I think I made a good impression. 
  • look into continuing education After significant research, I decided the program for me is Yale's masters in visual design.  Now, I just need to get a truly impressive portfolio together, because no way can I go to Yale without a significant scholarship. 
  • take my camera with me more (and invest in a serious camera bag) I did indeed pick up a sweet camera/laptop bag for my birthday, and more recently, invested in a new camera as well! I made the upgrade to full frame, and I am so glad I did, even if my own father said it was ridiculous.  I've been loving the shots I'm getting with my new camera, the fact that it has video capability, and the learning process of moving beyond and entry level camera.  Growth!
  • invest more time and effort into friendships, old and new I'm trying.  I need to move back home.  
  • send 6 pieces of snail mail 3/6.  I need to write some letters.  I know a certain lady in a small town in Alberta I miss like the dickens who I seriously owe some correspondence. 
  • build a small business I honestly didn't think this one through enough.  I started a side business when I didn't have the time and energy to properly devote to it.  I've got saved up stock and other pieces midway through being produced, and I will reopen when I have my head on straight. 
  • exercise twice a week  I was doing so well, then I got sick and very busy with The Lover, missed a few weeks, and somehow psyched myself out of going back.  I'm working on it, and doing some reading on weight lifting while I'm still chicken shit.  
  • take life drawing classes Classes are sadly not offered during the summers here.  The ONE TIME we wouldn't need a space heater and warming lamps to keep our model from freezing in the art centre.  *Sigh*
  • get a car

Friday, 23 August 2013

Stash Bustin' DIY: Button Push Pins

If you're anything like me, you have more fabric and craft supplies than you actually have projects in mind.  You see something that sparks your interest, and you have to bring it home and save it for a rainy day... and you seem to find such goodies faster than the rain seems to come.  Fret not.  We're going to take care of a little bit of that stash today.  So, get your jars of buttons out (you know, the ones you snipped off sweaters long since donated) and let's get to it!

You will need:
  • Buttons!
  • Brass Tacks
  • Contact Cement*
* always read the warning labels on products.  This contact cement has highly toxic fumes and should only be used with proper ventilation.  Proper ventilation meaning use a respirator, or go outside! Safety first!

Step One: Sort through your buttons! I had several jars worth, as a desk I recently bought had drawers full of sewing supplies
This is a good time to sort out things that aren't buttons from your buttons! I found 2 marbles, 2 clip on earrings, 2 vintage belt buckles, 2 strings of beads, a die, and a human molar.  Yeah.  There was a tooth in there.  And let me just say that somebody was not a diligent brusher!

Set aside the buttons you will use as you go.  I put any sets of 3 or more back into the jars, as they could still be useful for their normal function (and are super sweet buttons!).  Optional: organize them by colour. Some of my buttons were grungy so I gave them a quick wash with some soap and water.
Step Two: Put a bead of contact cement on the head of your pins, and the back of your buttons.  Set each pair of tack and button aside as you glue them, but keep them close together so you know which tack had glue applied at the time of which button.  Repeat for all buttons and tacks.     Step Three: Wait until the cement has partially cured, usually 5-10 minutes.  Your mileage may vary.
Step Four:  Once the glue is partially cured, press the gluey sides of the button and tack together.  Set them aside as you go.  Repeat for all pairs of tacks and buttons.   Step Five: Let glue completely cure for 24+ hours.  Some glues take up to 72 hours to completely cure.  Patience!!
Step Six: use your completed pins to hang reference materials, photos, cards from blog buds, whathaveyou!  Enjoy the tactile Pinterest.  It's awful pretty!  
There you have it! This project was inspired by a set of pink button tacks I found at Staples.  For the $.69 it cost me to pick up some brass tacks, I busted a bunch of my craft button stash (I sorted out some things to donate!) and made use of old things I had laying around.  Plus, these are WAY cuter than the $20 for 14 pins I found at the store!  And that's a good thing. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Peach of a Day: NotL Peach Festival and Classic Car Show

A couple weeks ago was the Niagara on the Lake Peach Festival! While the festival itself is unfortunately pretty lame, with $6 peach ice cream cones and tourist souvenirs sold on main street, it was also the day of the major classic car show in town.  Ephraim and I made a day of eating peach pie in a graveyard, and checking out some sweet rides!  Here were my favourite cars this year.

We even got a cool piece of local history, with an old firetruck of the town's being displayed.  Super neat!!
If you'd like to check out my favourite cars from last year, you can check those hot rods out here!


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Neil Hilborn's "OCD" : A view from the other side

If you've had a pulse and been on the internet in the last week, you've almost certainly seen, or heard about, Neil Hilborn's heart-wrenching poem "OCD".  If not, here it is to get you up to speed (or refresh your memory if you've seen it).

I reacted very strongly to Hilborn's poem when I first saw it, and the several times I have watched it since then.  Perhaps more jolting for me than the poem, however, is the immense reaction I have seen to the poem; and the - jokingly or not - demonizing of the woman Hilborn is talking about in the piece.  We do know that the work is based on real life, as Hilborn hosted an impromptu Ask Me Anything on Reddit when his poem suddenly went viral (after having been performed for over 3 years).  Indeed, the tics in the performance reflect Hilborn's own tics from when his disorder was at its worst, when he was a teenager.  

As someone who dated a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for over a year, I was shocked to see people react to this performance and say things like "how could she leave him?!" or how lucky she was to be "loved so much" and was foolish to give that up.   The thing is, most relationships that end, do so blindsiding one member. Often we break the hearts of someone who loves us fiercely.  Hilborn himself acknowledged that while OCD played a part in the breakup, that the pair broke up for the normal reason: they just couldn't make each other happy anymore. 

I find myself thinking that people who condemn someone for getting out of a relationship that wasn't working for them, have never been in a similar situation - or simply aren't thinking about the situation as being not really so different from any other relationship that doesn't work out.   I remember so vividly the difficulties that dating someone with a severe anxiety disorder brought not only to the relationship, but to my own life outside of it.  I have to think that these people who would speak against this woman, they just don't know what they're saying.  They don't know what it's like to know that you will always be asleep long before your partner makes it to bed, because all of the doors, windows and ovens in the house must be checked three times before they can go to sleep.  They don't know how frustrating it is to have to circle the block every time we hit a pothole, to check and be sure that we hadn't hit a person (never mind that I would be SCREAMING if we had hit someone).  They don't know how it feels to beg someone to see their therapist because you see them slipping, and it somehow seems that you want them to be well more than they want themselves to be.  They don't know how helpless it feels to know that you cannot help someone you love; that you cannot make them feel at ease, you cannot give them the peace that they need.  That you cannot make them happy anymore.  That they need something that you just can't give them.  

Like Neil Hilborn and the unnamed lady, my relationship broke apart for many reasons. In all honesty,  when it came down to it, I couldn't really imagine those quirks becoming part of my every day life.  I, like the woman in the poem, told my partner that these things didn't bother me, but over time, I suppose that we both just lost our tolerance to them.  At some point there was a shift, and those quirks seemed so much bigger than they every had been before.  Even now, years later, the word quirk just seems too mild, complication too severe, annoyance too hurtful.  It's a terribly conflicting way to feel about your partner.  Just like any other reason to end a relationship, it isn't really for others to condemn or condone.  We all live with what we can, and we don't with what we can't.  When we have the freedom to make the choice, we should make the one that makes us happier.  I'd hate to think that because of the circumstances of that relationship, that anyone would think less of me. But then, he wasn't a(n internet) famous poet.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Designing a Debaucherous Duo: Part ?, Production Photos (IT'S OVER!!)

When you're working on a show, it can feel like you're neck deep in the thing 90% of the way through it.  At a point, just about before you go into tech week, you start feeling that work creep up a little higher around your mouth, and you think you're probably going to drown.  "Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is that pre-death vision people get?" "When I die, what will happen to all my fabric?" Those kinds of thoughts are just the regular, when you work in theatre and life is always crazy.  You just kind of forget that there comes a time when it's over, when the stress breaks and you get to enjoy something for a quick moment before it's on to the next. 
 Though I am already on to the next (I had a design presentation for two one act plays I am desiginng for the Shaw this week), the short short run for The Lover went fabulously well and opening night, rainy though it was, was a relief and surprisingly a joy.  And now... it's over.  all the costumes have gone back to their rental houses or on to new homes, and I'm back in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  But we always have the photos to remember the crazy times before it all settled down.  And with that, here are gratuitous photos of The Lover.
Nicole Buscema as Sarah, Stephan Ermel as Richard/Max, Ed Hillier as John, Directed by Peter Wylde.  Set Design by Michelle Ramalho, Costume Design by Erin Gerofsky, Lighting Design by George Quan.  Photography by Erin Gerofsky.

A big thank you again to all who worked on the show, and everyone who came out to support it! We had some strong responses from Mooney on Theatre and NOW Magazine (for all you Torontonians), and I sincerely hope it isn't my last project with Three Peasant's Theatre.  Good thing the Artistic Director and I go way back, hah!