Month: November 2013

why i love my agenda

I thought of calling this post “why you need an agenda” but I’ll let you make your own decisions. I know that my phone and computer can keep my calendar, and can colour-code it as well but I just prefer having a hard copy of it. I can’t explain it, but it helps me stay organized and I need it. 

Those who use a paper agenda, they know that the selection of the agenda is a huge deal. You make a commitment to a way of life for a year. A bad agenda can spell disaster. I’m usually weary of buying one online because I like to get a feel for it but I couldn’t find one that I liked. I’ve seen reviews for some pricey agendas online, which I wouldn’t mind too much except the shipping was almost just as much and I just couldn’t justify that. But regardless, this year, I took the plunge and purchased one online from Etsy. This came from a shop in Lithuania (of all places) and I was really impressed with my first Etsy purchase from The Big Calendar. I purchased it on the 20th and it arrived today and the shipping wasn’t too expensive (it was actually cheaper than some of the shops in the states!). The shop I purchased from had a number of covers to choose from. The only thing I would have preferred for the cover is that it was a little more rigid. The agenda was $24 USD and shipping was $8.65 USD. 

I use my agenda for everything- personal, school, blogging, work and money. I also started colour-coding, circling everything in specific colours. I would prefer an agenda with a full month view, it’s hard to find so I’m getting used to just the days. I don’t need a page for each day I find it a bit much. I also don’t need the times, my agenda is mostly for reminders and planning, like parts of an assignment or blog posts. This calendar also had notes on a few days each week, some of them were holidays and some were just funny little notes, like “Vegan Friday”. I’m not sure if that is actually a thing but it could be and maybe that Friday, I’ll eat vegan. Probably not, but maybe. 

I know that the paper agenda is not for everyone but neither is the electronic calendaring. I know a number of my friends have decided to go to paper in 2014 because I’ve been fairly successful with mine. People know that I don’t commit to any plans without having my book. I love the way I can visualize my tasks and the satisfaction of crossing things out when they’re completed with my red pen. I find with the electronic versions, things don’t get updated, things go missing, and it’s hard to keep track of all my calendars efficiently. If you feel like you’ve struggled with staying organized and want to make it better in 2014, I would recommend buying a paper agenda. You don’t need the most expensive one to figure out what works for you. Even though I will start writing in mine tomorrow, you can wait until they all go on sale in the first week of January. 

Stay organized, my friends. 

November 29-December 1: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend

December is this Sunday and that means Christmas events galore in Toronto. Here’s what’s kicking off the 12th month in the city.

Do: This event could literally fall under any category and fit perfectly. The Toronto Christmas Market starts this weekend, running until December 15th. Go back in time at the distillery district,  with Santa’s village, shops, food and licensed areas. Its beautifully decorated, lots of things to do and a great way to get into the holiday season.

See: Cavalcade of Lights is Saturday night at Nathan Philips Square. It is the official lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. There will be musical performances, skating and fireworks. Another great event to kick off the season.

Eat: Swine ‘n Dine is happening this Sunday, it’s an all-you-can-eat hog roast. For $25, you get your swine, potatoes, cabbage and a pint of beer. Be sure to call to reserve your spot, it will likely fill up. 

Drink: Sunday is the Canadian Artisan Tasting Fair. From 11am-4pm at the Wychwood Barns, there will be samples of local cheese, charcuterie and freshly baked goods. The event will feature a number of craft breweries and your $35 ticket includes samples, coupons and take-home environmental products. 

thirsty thursday: rolling rock

It is know that I am a beer lover. Tonight I am going to a kitchen party. For non-newfoundlanders or non-maritimers a kitchen party is basically any gathering of people. When maritimers get together for any type of party, it always ends up in the kitchen. Possibly because that’s where the food and beer is, so why would we need to move? Well this evening I’m going to a large-scale kitchen party, the Great Big Sea concert. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times I’ve seen them so when my friend said she had an extra ticket I said yes of course. So this evening’s thirsty thursday is rolling rock. Sorry, I know it took me a while to get there but you had to understand kitchen party. 

Rolling Rock is actually an American beer. I first started drinking it when St. Louis had them in a mini-pitcher special. That was a while ago but I still drink it. It’s a nice beer that isn’t too strong. It also isn’t too weak, it’s 4.5% so I wouldn’t consider it a light beer. I’d consider this beer a people-pleaser. If you’re looking for a nice beer that isn’t as expensive as a heineken or stella but will be easy to serve at any party. 

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans, Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating and be safe on Black Friday. 

guest post: december in montreal

This week, Christerline from Montreal will be giving us some ideas on what to do in Montreal this winter. Many people will be traveling throughout December, here’s a few ideas if you are planning a quick getaway to Montreal.

November through January is such a magic moment in Montreal. The snow start to fall , Christmas lights starting to come up. Everybody is  in a great mood and of course there’s is plenty to do in town. Here’s some easy ideas.

1-Santa Claus Parade : This year will be the 63rd edition of the Destination Centre-Ville’s Santa Claus Parade. This parade is a big deal in Montreal for kids and families. You can see Santa Claus and there’s about 20 floats of elfs and fairies.  From the Corner of Ste-Catherine Street from Fort to St-Urbain. Come early if you want a good place.  Saturday November 23 at 11am

2-The Nutcracker: The Nutcracker is such a classic holiday tradition here in Montreal. I remember going with my parents and sister for almost every year. If you haven’t yet you have to go see the ballet from Les Grands Ballets Canadien de Montréal at the Salle Wilfrid Pelletier. December 12 to 30
3-Nutcracker Market :  This event is to help you get yourself into the Christmas spirit. You can buy toys, gifts of all kinds like skincare product, jewelries, etc. 10% of all the proceeds will be going to the Nutcracker fund for Children which help underprivileged children. The Nutcracker Market take place at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal and the admission is free. November 28 to December 8
4- Place Ville Marie Christmas Tree: It’s a Montreal Tradition since 1962 that marks the beginning of the Holiday season. The tree -build in New York – measure 63 feet high and 26 feet in diameter and  is decorated with almost 13 000 lights. This Tree reminds of the one  from the Home Alone movie and the one in reality too of course. At the Place Ville Marie from November 2013 to January 2014. 
5-Telus Fire on Ice : Every Saturday of December, in the Old Montreal at the Bassin Bonsecours the sky lights up to the sound of  movies soundtracks for 15 minutes. The fireworks usually starts at 8pm except for Christmas Eve where it starts at midnight.  You can also ice skating during the fireworks. Rentals are available.  6- While you are in the city and want to get your shopping on, go through the McGill College Avenue with thousand of beautiful lights. There’s is hundreds of fantastic stores and also the Ogilvy Department Store which will enchant you with it’s Christmas windows. 

© Marie-Reine Mattera - TELUS Fire on Ice
Telus on Fire

About the Blogger: Christerline is a blogger from Montreal writing over at LightsFashionBeauty. She mostly blog about beauty and fashion related things. Helping others by giving them tips and trick. 

planet in focus film festival

I spent the weekend at the Planet in Focus film festival. I saw over ten films this weekend and they were all really well done. I found they all had varying degrees of relation to the environment and their messages were quite varied. I saw a number of films about our food supply, I’ve never been one to think too much about my food but this weekend really opened my eyes. Other films were about the destruction of wild life and natural resources around the world.

There was one thing I really liked about this film, often times with documentaries, regardless of their topic, you can often feel helpless after watching them. The filmmaker has done an excellent job of explaining the problem but sometimes the answers on the solutions may seem unfathomable. It can seem like we are powerless against the issue but Planet in Focus did a great job of empowering the audience. On their site, each of the film’s have their own page, and on this page there are action items. Each one has one or two items you can do to help the problems addressed in the film, it can be signing a petition, or join an organization. It was a great way to engage the audience without everything seeming so hopeless. It is also a great way for you to get involved if you missed the film but are still concerned about the issues addressed.

If you would also like to get involved in the film festival throughout the year, they are offering a membership to their “Salon Verte” screenings that occur every month at the AGO. Memberships start a $50 and help bring environmental film to schools.

I really enjoyed my weekend at the film festival, I would really recommend checking out this amazing program in Toronto.

November 25-28: what to do/see/eat/drink this week

Somehow we’re in the last week of November. Here’s a few events happening this week in Toronto before we start December!

Do: Cardinal Rule has you covered again this week with another weekly event. Wednesday night is trivia. This is a general trivia so no need to memorize tv and movie quotes. They have drink specials (sometimes the best part of trivia) and prizes so be sure to test your knowledge. As Cardinal Rule says “Its not what you know, its what you learn along the way”. Don’t forget, they also have a huge selection of gluten-free and vegan options.

See: It’s the last week of “David Bowie Is” at the AGO. This exhibit features interactive performances as well as his diary, set lists, stage costumes and instruments. 

Eat: If you love the oysters, the Windsor Arms has you covered every Tuesday night. If you order a dozen or more, your oysters are only $1.25. Great date night? I think so. AGO advises visitors to book their timeslot in advance as it could sell out. 

Drink: Located near Queen and Dufferin, The Beaver has you covered for cheap drinks on a Tuesday night. Every Tuesday night they offer $4 well-drinks between 11pm-2am, so if you’re looking for a late-night weeknight bar, here is your option.

rosie the rebel: adorable shop in bloorcourt

In September, I went to Just for Laughs and found an adorable shop on Bloor near Ossington. Rosie the Rebel is run by Elle and specializes in retro-inspired style. We walked in and I honestly expected the prices to be way out of my price range and I fell in love with a coat, I was worried. I walked up to this beautiful coat and flipped the tag and was actually presently surprised, it was only $125. I don’t normally spend a lot on my clothes but this coat was worth it, plus, we live in Canada, it was a reasonable investment. I asked Elle a few questions about her store and the retro style:

What inspired you to open the store?
Opening a store has always been my dream. When I was about 10 I walked in to a shop in PEI called “the mad hatter”. The owner (I assumed) was sitting behind the desk hand sewing something and looked so happy, I fell in love with the idea of being a shop owner at that moment. A lot of people ask me this question, as if opening a store is something I just thought of one day, but it’s the only thing I dreamed of in life and i truly feel like one of the lucky ones to be able to live out my dream. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of fun ‘ups’ and unexpected ‘downs’, but I think that struggling to achieve what you want in life makes it that much better once you have it. 
My best advise for anyone who wants to open a shop is: just do it! Don’t “what if” yourself into not doing it. The only thing that separates business owners from those who work for others is they go for it, they take the risk, just believe in yourself and give it a try. 

Where do you get your style ideas?
I started collecting vintage when I was about 12, I had an obsession with 20s and 30s, especially Louise brooks. My collection consisted of mostly accessories but I always had a keen eye, even at 14,15,16 I was picking items that I later found out were collectors items.
My grandmother Doris was also a massive inspiration, I can still remember going through her closet with her excitedly dreaming about someday being able to dress that way myself. My personal love for vintage evolved into 40s and 50s style when I started doing costume design for Toronto burlesque dancers around age 23. My vintage collection at this point had grown so large that I had to rent a two bedroom apartment, one room just for my vintage. 
Even now I continue to obsess with anything vintage pre-dating the 1970s and it’s that obsession that allows me to pick great classic funky and alternative pieces for my boutiques, and having spent my life fluctuating from S-4X and back again means I understand all body types when I’m buying. 
On top of being inspired by what was, I’m also inspired by what’s current, I love people watching on queen west, seeing unique styles emerge and start to be a trend. 

Why do you think the 50s style has proven to be timeless?
50s is timeless because of the body type it caters to, a classic womanly hourglass. And if you don’t have an hourglass, these garments can create one for you. Most decades were hit or miss, the drop waist of the 40s or the shapelessness of the 60s, but the 50s hit the nail on the head. Pulling out if WW2 the ‘new look of Dior’ in 1947 really defined what we now know as “50s”, a cinched waist and an exaggerated hip creating a perfect hourglass, a silhouette that hadn’t been praised for decades. 
Style icons like Audrey Hepburn really sealed this look as ‘classic’ because it showed the womanly figure in a confident-classy way, and who wouldn’t want that look?      

What would you consider (two?) staples to creating a vintage look?
A swing style dress and red lipstick (I’d recommend sephora cream lip stain in ‘always red’ for a perfect matte look and ultimate wearability) 


I would definitely recommend checking out this store, the styles were amazing and the prices were very reasonable. I was also very happy that Elle shared the same love I have for the sephora cream lip stain
Hell Bunny – New Millie Coat (GREY)
the very beautiful coat I bought, still available on their site

ten things you never expected to make you happy on a friday night

As I was coming home from the film festival tonight, I saw a group of people obviously going out for a night on the town. It was a little after 11pm and I felt a little sad, because it felt just yesterday that would have been my friends and I. After I shook my head, I realized I was happy to be heading home and I felt I needed to share this with my fellow twenty-somethings who may have felt sad too.

1. Being Sober

There may have been a time where a sober Friday night meant a complete Friday-failure. Little did you know, that there is something to be said about coming home and knowing where your keys, phone, wallet and dignity is. You’ll wake up tomorrow at 8am to go to yoga, or 9am to go to breakfast or 10am to do nothing, regardless, your head won’t hurt.

2. Heading Home at 11pm
This used to be the time you would just be getting into a line up of people to get into a very crowded and very loud club. Luckily, coming home this early, you’re like in great shape to be amused by the embarrassing people on the subway, instead of being one of them. Plus, nothing good ever happens past 2am. Fact.

3. Being Home at 11pm
Maybe you didn’t even leave the house after work tonight. There is nothing to be upset about. Your wallet and liver thank you. Plus, you’ll get to see the Top Ten before it’s available on YouTube tomorrow.

4. Wearing Sensible Shoes
Maybe you did go out tonight, to the film festival, a play, dinner with friends or shopping but wherever you went, you did it in sensible shoes. You could not be bothered to put on 5-inch stilettos only to not feel your toes by midnight, I’m no podiatrist, but that can’t be healthy.

5. No One Took Your Picture
Maybe you stayed home tonight, or maybe you had a glass of wine with a girlfriend, either way, your make-up was off and your hair was in a top bun. Not a nice top bun, a proper, I’m here to relax top bun. And that was ok because you didn’t need to take 50 pictures to remember the night.

6. You Slept in Your Own Bed
Of course you’re always welcome to crash at your girlfriend’s place, that was never a question but there is just something wonderful about getting to your own bed and sleeping there until you’re ready to get up. It’s also way better than sleeping in questionable places people have been found before.

7. You Didn’t Eat Anything Off A Value Menu After Midnight
That’s really the only time a McChicken or a BigMac or streetmeat is after midnight. You regret in the morning and you definitely didn’t need the calories but you ate it anyways. When you have a reasonable night, you don’t even consider having that at any time.

8. Taking Off Your Work Clothes and Putting On Your Pajamas
It is a tremendous feeling to take off your tight pants, or tie, or pantyhose and putting on pants that are way too big for you and a cozy soft t-shirt. That is not something you can do if you’re going back out at 11pm.

9. Turning Your Phone Off At 11pm
There’s a great feeling of waking up in the morning and knowing that you didn’t send a stupid text message, you didn’t call someone you shouldn’t have and you know where the phone is to put it on silent. Embrace it.

10. Shark Tank
There’s a great feeling of judging other people’s inventions, judging people’s business decisions and wondering about what you’re doing with you’re life. Maybe you will start that blog, or write that movie, or pitch that crazy idea. Why not? These people are doing it. And Shark Tank provides that (or Dragon’s Den if you PVRed it).

So don’t feel bad that you’re already asleep at the time I’m posting it, embrace it. It’s maturity and happiness, at least I hope so.

November 22-24: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend

It’s the weekend again and there’s so much going on in Toronto. With the holiday season just around the corner, the events and activities are really getting into high gear.

Do: As mentioned, there’s no getting around the fact that Christmas is fast approaching. This weekend, everything for Christmas decorating and gifts will be part of the Seasons Christmas show. This show runs Friday to Sunday, tickets start at $12 online and they will accept donations of prepackaged diapers at the show to be donated to Peel Children’s Aid. 

See: Planet in Focus is happening this weekend. It will be a great selection of movies happening at two awesome venues in the city. Tickets are still available for films and fest forums. Be sure to also follow the blog and twitter for updates happening throughout the weekend. 

Eat/Drink: Ice, Wine & Dine is a fun event happening tonight near Yonge-Dundas Square. It is part of a series in Winter Magic with a variety of community events celebrating the holiday season. This event runs from 4pm-10pm, there will be food samples as well as licensed patios for wine and cocktail tastings. 

thirsty thursday: proper snakebite

A few years ago, I had the amazing experience of living in Australia. It was while living there that I learned about the “snake bite”. When I came home, I obviously wanted to have it again. I’d order it in a number of places and it was never quite right, particularly the time the bartender gave me a shot of tequila and jack daniels mixed together (I may have given it to an unsuspecting friend). After so many failed attempts, I excited to find that Hemingway’s in Yorkville would make me a snake bite the way I want it.

The snakebite I know is:
Half cider of your choice
Half beer of your choice
And a splash of grenadine (usually the missing ingredient)

You could obviously make this drink quite easily at home, but its still nice to be able to buy it in a bar and not get a crazy look.