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Showing posts from February, 2014

my sci/art project

some of you may remember that last year, i embarked on a study of seasonal colour analysis. not having a whole lot else to work with, i used myself as my model. then i used dom. i found it easier to look at dom's colours objectively, because i'm actually capable of being somewhat objective about the way he looks. doing this for yourself is hard, which is why you're not supposed to. someone who's gone through training and knows what to look for is supposed to do it. this whole exercise feels like i just optimistically started trying to fix a small leak and now i realise i've torn out all the plumbing. i can't just leave it like that.

at different times, i've thought i might be at least half of the available twelve sci/art seasons and, truth be told, i'm probably more confused than i was going in, but i think i'm confused in the right direction. what the hell does that mean? it means that rather than making assumptions about what colours i can and ca…

culinating :: the healthy trap

i'm enamoured of dishes that contain everything you need in one nice little package. the advantages are obvious. you get to cook one thing. you get to dirty one pot. you only have to put it in one container afterwards. everybody wins, especially you.

there's a lot of debate over what comprises a healthy meal, because every time you get a chart to tell you what percentage of your plate should be taken up by what ingredients [there are dozens], you find out that the choice was influenced by one or many interest groups who want to promote their particular products. the meat and dairy industry are well-known for having voices to which governments will listen, but don't think it stops there. grain and wheat have their advocates. so do fruits and vegetables. in fact, there are groups lobbying for their place on the government's healthy plate diagram all the time. that's not to say that the information isn't correct, but if it is, that might be a happy accident.

furt…

making faces :: spring's wood nymphs abound

i do this every year. we get a few days of nice-ish weather in february and i get all "we made it! it's over! spring has arrived!" and then i feel like it's a personal affront when the next week [which would be this week], temperatures dive once more and it's back to six layers of clothing if you want to make it to the corner alive. this condition has actually gotten worse since i've started following makeup collections, because spring's colours arrive on shelves in early february. dudes, do you even canada?

the fact is that we're likely to have a healthy coating of snow and ice until late march assuming that we're lucky. yes, there are parts of the country that are welcoming crocuses, but they're stuck at one end and most of us don't consider them fully canadian anyway. [ok, before my vancouver friends burn me at the stake, that's a joke. i joke. put down the pitchforks already.]

nonetheless, it is fun to wallow in whatever hints of …

the style fyle :: berserker

i did say that i was going to post more clothing-related material, since my initial post on the subject was one of the most viewed from 2013. i feel like i need to own up to the fact that i'm typing this while wearing a tank top, cotton shirt and yoga pants, none of which are particularly fashionable, so we all have our off days.

most of the time, though, i like to think that i have my own peculiar style.

one of the things that i think marks my sartorial idiosyncrasies [aside from loving the word "sartorial"] is a passionate desire to search out local designers in the areas where i live. i've done a lot of that in montreal and toronto, not so much among the high end/ haute couture designers [although i'm aware of them, i can't afford their wares], but among those who are just doing something different and unique. so i thought that i'd take a moment to introduce you to one of them.

a favourite of mine when i was living in toronto was a shop on queen street…

sometimes literature teaches us about the virgin mary in the bathtub

tonight i finally made a point of going out to a poetry and prose reading. i get invited to these things fairly often, but i never end up going because i'm usually beat by the end of the day and feeling much to grumpy to deal with people other than dom, who has end-of-days kate inflicted on him on a regular basis. however, since i'm no longer office-bound, i figured that i have no excuse and, more importantly, i think it would make me a better writer to have contact with other people who have been doing this longer or more successfully than i have.

the reading that i attended is one of a series held at the yellow door, which is sort of an underground [literally and figuratively] montreal institution. readings are held there once a month or so and feature poets, prose writers and musicians performing for friends and curious strangers. tonight's reading was mostly poetry, although there was some prose and just a hint of music, along with what could more accurately be termed…

mental health mondays [revisited] :: what we aren't talking about is killing us

i was going to do an olympic-themed post on sport psychologists, which apparently almost every single olympian must have, or else their brains will be crushed by the pressure to perform at the games. i actually heard about this when i saw a piece on one canadian athlete at the current winter games, a medal winner who, a colleague said with evident shock had actually never had his own sports psychologist. this was considered shocking in the world of sport, although the only thing shocking to me is that we consider it good to send young men and women into a forum where it's pretty much assumed that they're going to need psychological help. i think we all need to calm down a little. 
unfortunately, as interesting as the subject is, i didn't do the requisite background research i thought that it needed. i meant to do it last week. i meant to do it this week. i'm a bad, bad blogger. [what's worse, i don't even have particularly good reasons for not having done this.…

making faces :: wherein i meet my vampy lip match

if you've read through the beauty posts on this blog, you'll likely have gleaned that i have a bit of a thing for dark, dramatic lips. yes, i adore my reds and berries, but i am forever in search of the ultimate dark lipstick. i've already done a post on what i consider to be some of the "classics of the genre" and i stand by those. but recently, i met up with something that may in fact be the end of the proverbial road when it comes to the vampy lip. it may simply be impossible for things to get more intense without moving into purely black territory.

le metier de beaute lipstick in "bali" is truly an awesome thing to contend with. i've talked before about how the perfect vampy lipsticks are a combination of red, purple and brown held in balance and while "bali" has these elements, what's truly impressive about it is how intensely, powerfully dark it is, while not looking black. it's a rich, deep, blackened red with definite hints…

making faces :: a valentine's look with ellis faas [and friends]

ok, first of all, i'm sorry about my expression in these pictures. i know i look like someone who's just been sentenced to jail time, but, really, i was in a good mood. for me at least. if my mood gets too good i can be dangerous, so it's better to keep a cap on things.

second, i decided to go ahead and post this without doing a complete review of the brand new product i'm featuring, because i did think that it fit with the overall theme of the day, although i was actually wearing it yesterday. i'll be posting a review of this and more from ellis faas in the very near future.

the new thing is, of course, one of ellis' new "hot lips" lipsticks. these new, creamy, satin-matte shades get away from the brand's emphasis on "human colours" [i.e., colours found already in the human body]. at least, i think it gets away from that. or dutch people look significantly different than i'd been led to believe.

each of the shades is very saturated …

poetry corner :: those people are not your friends

this is a first whack at something. it sort of tumbled out of me while i was relaxing and having coffee the other morning and enjoying the fact that i hadn't had horrifying nightmares, which marks an exceptional night for me. as in "the exception to the rule". if anyone knows how to stop ongoing nightmares by the way, i'd be super-appreciative and so would dom and my neighbours and random people passing by my building late at night.

on the other hand, it is kind of a product of some of those nightmares, as well as some of the waking-life stress i've had lately that has probably caused them. let's hear it for night terrors, the great cesspool of creative output! hurrah!

the name i've given it is tentative. it's obviously just the first line of the poem, which is kind of the sucker's way of naming things. if all poets were so slack, we'd have "for god's sake hold your tongue" instead of "the canonization" by john donne, w…

i would like to not talk about my bum

i mostly just tune out advertising when i watch television. although i'm sure it makes some impression, i mostly perceive as background noise. i'm sure i couldn't tell you what products most of the ads were for, because it's all a jumble of cars, insurance, travel sites and stuff that you need because you have children. for me to remember an ad takes something pretty special.

a couple of years ago, for instance, fed ex had an absolutely adorable ad with animated singing frogs and scenes from a happy forest that talked about the company's efforts to reduce emissions and their carbon footprint. aw. that was cute.

more recently, however, i've been haunted by the spectre of a perky blonde woman with a british accent demanding to talk about my bum. i don't know her and i don't know why my posterior should be of such interest to her, or what she's getting paid to be forever tagged as the woman who's obsessed with ass-chat, but one thing has become cle…

making faces :: daytime dramatic

it's not fair. when i was younger, i went out at night a fair amount. i could have worn whatever craziness i wanted on my face, but i generally didn't because i had less makeup and even more because i had absolutely no idea what i was doing. it was a very long time before i realised that you could put eye liner on your upper lids. i'm not talking as a teenager, i'm talking about when i was in my mid-twenties. mid-to-late. and the first few times i attempted it i just sort of smeared a circle around my eye, which didn't make me too confident about trying it out a lot.

now, i've picked up a few tips and can do more interesting things with makeup brushes, but i don't have a lot of occasions to use them, because i just don't feel the impetus to go out as much as i once did. i'm not a complete homebody [yet] but it does take a fair amount of pressure to convince me that i'd be better off heading out at night than sitting at home with a book, a film …

this is only the beginning...

it's been a while since i've shared a piece of writing, probably because it's been a while since i've really worked on a piece of writing. i'm aiming to correct that problem and in the interests of moving forward, i thought i might share the beginning of a piece i've started working on. it's actually inspired by a series of dreams, but it takes the form of a crime story, something i've never attempted before. and to keep it fairly compelling, i find that i've adjusted my style to be a little more accessible than it has been at other times.

feel free to give me feedback on this, the opening section of my latest project. more to come? i don't know if i'll be posting this one on the blog or not. regardless, it's something that i want to see through to its conclusion, which i already know. i just have to work my way through.

warning :: even in this brief segment, there is some adult language and content.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED...


making faces :: viva viva glam!

in the last few years, i've gone from being a mac super-fangirl to being a mac skeptic. their increasingly sub-par collections and their deliberately restricted stock on limited items have made the experience of buying from them frustrating to say the least. but i have to salute them for their continued dedication to the cause of eliminating aids and promoting education and safety to control its spread. every year, mac introduces new products- generally a lipstick and a lip gloss- with a celebrity spokesperson to raise money for the campaign and every penny that's raised goes towards the cause.

the shades have ranged from the nearly universal to the borderline wacky- last year's second collaboration with rapper nicki minaj was a white-based lavender that looked beautiful in the tube, but was extraordinarily difficult for most complexions to pull off without calling a lot of attention. [hey, sometimes that's what you want.] my personal favourite has always been "vi…

and that's why people don't talk to us very much

scene :: dom and me in our living room, each occupying a sofa and being occupied by at least one cat. dom gets up [annoying the cat] and places blu-ray in blu-ray disc player, because dvd's are so 2002, although to be honest, i had to stop myself from typing "video", which i think is now considered an archaic term, like mickel or hende. [shut up, spellcheck, they are so english words because middle english totally counts.]

me :: are you putting in a movie? [as opposed to "are you sliding a ham and cheese sandwich into the blu-ray player to see what happens"? -ed.]

dom :: yes, i thought we could watch casino.

author's note- we'd been talking about doing this for a long time, because we've been re-watching seasons of the original csi, which is the only csi you need to be bothered with and it definitely owes a debt to casino in its portrayal of las vegas. i'd never actually seen it and dom had never seen csi, so we thought of it as a sort of cultu…

making faces :: i am curious, yellow

last year, when i started looking into colour analysis, particularly sci/art seasonal colour analysis, i believed that it would probably tell me that i was best suited to a softer, understated palette. my natural colouring [if i can remember my natural hair properly and if it hasn't changed too much in the ten years or so since i had a good look at it] seemed soft and dusty, my eyes were pale... it just made a kind of sense that something more subdued would be a perfect match. as it turns out, while i haven't made a categorical decision about what makes me look best, it seems like the exact opposite is the truth. my complexion benefits from having saturated, strong colours around it. my lifelong attraction to pucci-style prints and shocking shades of magenta and lime green was i was nonetheless convinced i couldn't pull off may actually have been a subconscious realisation of the truth of my inherent colouring.

i was also shocked to discover that my lifelong assertion that…

mental health mondays :: aftershocks

although i read up a lot on mental health issues, i have to admit that one that i've studied very little is post-traumatic stress disorder, or ptsd. there's no particular reason for the avoidance, although i suppose it's partially because the term is quite self-explanatory. it falls within the anxiety spectrum and is the result of an event that caused a fear of imminent death or harm to oneself or others. but i thought that i would write something on it this week after a preliminary investigation turned up an absolutely horrifying statistic from the canadian mental health association: ptsd is believed to affect 1 in 10 people and is one of the most common forms of mental disorder.

i beg your pardon cmha???

perhaps i'm the only person to think this way, but that ratio seems unacceptably high. how many of you know ten people? statistically, it is likely that at least one of them have suffered from ptsd at some point in their lives. that's not just a matter of having …

making faces :: groundhog day

in honour of the day that recalcitrant rodents are supposed to predict the weather, i thought i'd try something a little hopeful, something indicative of my hope that we are not due for another six weeks of winter weather. i'll admit that this is improbable, given the fact that this is eastern canada and having winter until mid-march is something we should just expect, but you can't blame a girl for trying out her optimism...

although many people like to avoid them, i've always enjoyed a positive relationship with shades of pink around the eyes. in fact, pinks or anything with a lot of red pigment that can be worn around the eyes are a comparatively recent development. maybe people just need a chance to get used to them and in twenty years, when i've finally become the eccentric old lady that i'm meant to be, they'll be more accepted. there's no arguing that, done wrong, they can create the impression that you have some kind of unfortunate condition, bu…

well lit :: when a book is trying to tell you something

thought i'd share another of my experiences with books...

many years ago, i made a decision to read my way through the works of f. scott fitzgerald, more or less in one extended run. i'm not sure why it occurred to me to do this, other than the fact that fitzgerald just doesn't have that many books, so it wasn't like trying to read through the entire oeuvre of stephen king. also, fitzgerald tended to write shorter novels, which meant it was pretty quick gratification. a couple of good reading sessions and you were almost done.

i was going to go in order, but ended up mixing things around and the last one on the list was tender is the night. i can't remember anything else about the order, but i know that one was last because, just short of my goal, i had a rather traumatic break-up and put the book down while i paused to lick my wounds. afterward, of course, i was a little hesitant to pick the book up again because it was covered in break-up germs.

several years la…