Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunny side

Today is the first day in about a week and a half that the sun is shining here. It lifts my mood so significantly that already I can tell it's going to be a fan-freaking-tastic day. The sky is so clear and blue, the air is crisp, the leaves continue to grow deeper and darker each second. This day, right here in front of us, is what they call a perfect Fall day. 
I got up early this morning and went to the gym, came home and had coffee while reading the September issue of Vogue. Then I had breakfast with the Roommate. The sun is streaming through the windows. Already this day has been close to perfect.
In fact, I was in such great spirits this morning that I gave up the two perfect eggs without a fight, selflessly accepting the broken yolk. That, my friends, is a crazy little thing they call love. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

A few of my favourite things

Sitting in the apartment this morning having coffee, I'm looking around and realizing how cozy it feels. It's a place I truly feel good about coming home to. When I moved in about 5 months ago, I wish I had taken some Before and After shots. It truly was a man's apartment - dark walls, hockey paraphenelia everywhere, nary a flower to be found OH FOR SHAME!

Now it's all girl-i-fied and cute. Here, let's have a look-see at some of my favourite things. And let me point out that there is NOTHING expensive about the decor. Most of the stuff is from one of only a few places which include but are not limited to Wal-Mart, Ikea, or my Dad's storage shed. I'd love to say that a lot of the stuff came cheap because this is only an apartment and we're saving ourselves for our future house, but as my charming fiancee so often points out, I have "cheap taste." See? Charm-freakin-ing. 

This is the "Sitting on the couch having coffee" shot that started it off. The little green crushed velvet chair was my Nana's, and it's always fit perfectly with my style. Striped pillow was like $2 on sale at Tweed and Hickory. Black and white photographs were taken by my sister and given to me as a gift. The grouping of the other three photos is 1. little red frame from Ikea (like $2.99), 2. Seurat print my sister brought back from the National Gallery in London and 3. framed photograph of the roommate and I at a wedding this past summer. My sister's always been a fan of photo groupings and I've grown fond of it myself - it's something that can fill a bigger space without having to buy a huge piece of art.

Here's a shot of the living room from the porch. Right now my favourite piece is the rug we picked up at Ikea. I love the bold, graphic pattern. I know we have two couches in the living room (not exactly 'zen', although I'm not quite sure that means), but they come in really handy on Football Sundays and Girls' Wine Drinkin' Nights

Another of my most favourite things is my antique map of the world. Last Christmas, when the roommate asked me what I wanted, I said "an antique map of the world." I in no way, shape or form thought he would be able to find/purchase/wrap/surprise me with one. But Christmas morning, out he came with it. I've always imagined it decorating the walls of an office, but we're not there yet.
The schoolhouse clock was another Ikea purchase, and another of my faves.
Every so often, my Dad will go through a box of old things in the shed and pile it on the table. "Go through that," he'll say. "Take what you want. The rest is going to the dump." That explains my love of purging, and also? Gets me some really great (read: free!) stuff. The picture here is a reproduction of a Group of Seven painting (I think) that was in a box, painted on a piece of cardboard. I framed it with a frame I already had and voila! Free art.

Another grouping, featuring the roommate's family portrait, my sister's photograph, and a photo of my mama. The piece on the far left side was a frame I didn't know what to do with, so I printed out some of my favourite passages from novels. I like how it looks graphic-y and still has some meaning. (Passages are from The Lovely Bones, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Charlotte's Web.)
This is the entrance way, which like the living room, I painted a very light grey. The hanging lantern is from one of my Dad's purge-fests, bottle and bamboo is from Ikea, shelf from HomeSense, and print from a trip to New York City. 
The print will always remind me of wandering around Times Square with one of my best friends, in awe of the energy that city radiated. I'm pretty sure we stood in the middle of it, looking up, spinning slowly in circles with our mouths hanging open for about half an hour. One of my favourite trips ever.
These 4'x6' cards are from Ikea, and while they had no real sentimental significance, I thought they were super adorable. A flapper Grizzly bear? MIND. OFFICIALLY. BLOWN.
I thought this ceramic owl from Wal Mart would serve a dual purpose in being really cute and keeping the vermin away, but LOOK! A RABBIT CHEWING ON THE TV CORDS! Come on Mr. Owl. Step it up.
If you ever have an empty space on a shelf (like I did) and are at a loss as to what to put there (like I was) just take the jackets off some hardcovers and pile 'em up. The hardcovers of hard cover books are usually really pretty!
This was a bathroom DIY project I was kinda proud of. I found this wooden spice rack in one of my Dad's purge-sprees, and painted it white. Instant extra bathroom storage. (Please disregard the blue appliques on the medicine cabinet. I didn't do it and I am forbidden from painting over it.)

That's about all I can take today - mostly because the other rooms in the house are too disastrous to take photos of right now. 
Like I said, most of my favourite items are a) really cheap, b) second-hand steals from my Dad's garage and c) hold a lot of sentimental value. I never claimed to be Sarah Richardson (althrough I do often wish I were friends with her,) but I love the apartment with all its personal, girly touches.
What are some of YOUR favourite things from around your house?

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I pick up the phone and say hello. Right away, I can feel the heaviness in her voice.

"I am sad," she says, and starts to cry. I start to cry too. She cries so very little that when she does, it affects me deeply.
Our family is going through a tough time right now. I am eight hours away from most of them, and as I talk to her, I feel so helpless. I wish I could just run across the street and hug them all.

I know we take a great deal of comfort in each other. It is rare for a day to go by without us speaking. When I need advice, when I am angry, when I am sad, I call. When I got engaged, she was the first person I wanted to call. It didn't feel complete until later that night when I talked to her. 

I know this feeling runs both ways. So, the other night, when she called, I knew it was my turn to do the comforting. We talked, we cried, we even laughed a little here and there. After 45 minutes, we were spent. There was no more news, nothing more to say.

"I'm gonna go get ready for bed," she says. 

"Ok, me too. But wait...there was something I wanted to ask you. I forget now."

A couple of silent seconds pass. 

"Oh yeah!" I burst out. "You know for New York Fashion Week? Do you have to be invited? Or can anyone go?" 

"Hmm. I don't know," she answers. I can tell she's really considering this random, stupid, out-of-left-field question. After the serious conversation we just had, I can't even believe I'm thinking about New York Fashion Week.

Not only does she humour my silly question, but she takes it one step further. She doesn't say "what made you think of THAT?" or "that is SO random." She legit thinks about the question. And I can tell she's thinking about the question.

"I think you can buy tickets to different events. Different shows. All of the fashion bloggers we read are there right now eh? They probably get invited. But I'm pretty sure anyone can buy tickets and go."

She's one of the only people who truly gets how my weird little mind works. Because hers works the same. Once, at a party, some guy was making fun of us because we 'only laugh at each other's jokes.' Which only made us laugh harder.

There's no one in the world like her.
I love my sister.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vent, vent, venty vent vent VENT!

This Fall marks a lot of firsts. The first Fall that I have lived with a boy. Specifically, a boy who thinks having the temperature of the apartment hover around 14 degrees Celsius all winter is comfortable. 

It's the first Fall where, when my nose is an icicle and my feet are frozen blocks, I can't just go back to my apartment and crank the heat. What is this thing called compromise and how can I get out of it? 

It's the first Fall that I predict I will be sleeping in my wool socks and wool sweater. Last night was the first night of bundling up before bed, and it's only the beginning of September.  

I think this will also be the first Fall where I hang out a lot in my car. Just parked in the driveway, with the music blaring. Or maybe I'll grab a coffee and read in there. The extra gas money will totally be worth it because there, in my own little personal bubble, NO ONE WILL FORBID ME TO TURN ON THE FRIGGIN' HEAT. 

I know what you're thinking. "Wow, this has got to be the most dramatic women EVER." And maybe you'd be right. But also, maybe you won't be laughing when they find me curled up in the corner, covered in a thin layer of frost, my teeth chattering, mumbling to myself about that trip I took to Cuba where it was hotter than the sun and also my favourite place on earth.  

I'll be sending out my petition to free the furnace shortly. I hope I can count on your signature. 

Update: After reading this post, the roommate gave me the green light to turn on the heat. The sweet smell of furnace is in the air, and look out world, 'cause I am DRUNK WITH POWER. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Falling in love

I came across this article here and although I wouldn't expect anything less from a man so poetic as John Steinbeck, it made me want to go out and read all of his books over again. 

It's a letter from John to his son Thom, who wrote home to tell his parents he was in love for the first time.  

Such great advice. 

New York
November 10, 1958
Dear Thom:
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A farewell to Summer

The September long weekend is often touted as the last weekend of Summer. The focus shifts to a cozy Fall wardrobe, the days get shorter, the kids try and soak up every last ray of sunshine before going back to school. 

We spent the last weekend of summer at my Dad's place at the lake, and the Northern Ontario weather didn't disappoint. By that, I mean it was uncharacteristically warm, and we, like children going back to school, soaked it all in. 

I got to spend the weekend with some of my favourite people. 

My cousin, the 17 year-old wonder boy, flew my sister and grandfather up North for the weekend. I was at work when he landed at the airport 10 minutes from my Dad's place, but when he took off Sunday morning to go home, we all went out and stood on the runway in our pajamas and sent him off. 

Watching the cousin I held as a two-week old, babysat, teased, and cuddled get into a plane and take off was surreal. The pride bubbled up inside of me and came pouring out of my eyeballs. 

It was the perfect weekend to be at the lake. And we weren't the only ones who felt that way. We visited with lots of old friends who dropped by for a dip. 

We said goodbye to a good friend, Cec, who at the age of 89 is starting a new adventure in Southern Ontario. With the hustle and bustle of a cottage weekend, I'm feeling a little sad that I didn't get any one-on-one time with Cec, but I'm sure all of the visits, Oscar nights, and Chinese food dinners over the years made up for it. I know she understands that we love her and that we'll miss her very much. 

Although the weather gave off vibes of a perfect summer weekend, there were subtle signs that Fall is creeping up, a mist slowly settling in. 

The leaves have begun to change, the school buses are again rumbling down the streets in the early morning glow. 

While I'm looking forward to the new season, I'd like to take a moment and remember the Summer of 2012. An amazing time. Definitely in the running for the best Summer ever.