weekend.

When my head feels too full, and I need to put myself in a grown up time-out, the best thing I can do for myself is to get in my car, put on an audiobook or some good music, and drive. I don’t need a destination, I just feel like it’s the ultimate in alone time and space.
So last weekend I got in the car, put on some Halsey and drove out of the cell phone service area. I ended up in a small valley town about 45 minutes from where I live. It’s a sleepy town with buildings that obviously haven’t been renovated since the 1940’s (and I’m being generous here). It kind of has a horror movie feel to it – like if I stopped at the (out of service) gas station at the wrong time of night, I’d absolutely get murdered by a crazy guy in a hockey mask.
I was driving along the curving highways, thinking this was a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon. It got even better when I pulled over into a teeny shale pit off of the highway. I parked my car, pulled out a book and sat on my truck reading for hours. I was fully submerged in my book, until a cricket jumped up on the page and scared the hell out of me. Before heading home and getting away from the damn cricket, I decided to document my peaceful weekend getaway.

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You don’t need to travel far to get away – sometimes, the best ways to clear your head are close by. Explore your own back yard.

Oh, and of course, here’s a BTS look at my super professional photography setup:
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autumn (almost).

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Tea, falling leaves, sweater weather, knit beanies, knit scarves, knitting in general, really… Booties, apples, cinnamon. Oh, and of course, pumpkin everything. Aside from being the main points in my favourite bit by my homegirl Iliza Shlesinger, these are the main staples of Autumn. While I have vehemently expressed my dislike of cold weather, I must admit that, like every other girl between the ages of 15 and 28, I f*cking love Autumn. I love dressing for Autumn – boots, layers, leather, earth tones, sweater so ugly they’re considered fashionable – I’m all about that. As the weather stands right now, it’s not quite cool enough to be in full Autumn mode yet, but I’m preparing. This outfit was a baby step, but I’m so ready to go full force. This black baby doll dress is the most perfect starting point for a million different outfits, and can be taken in so many directions. The long gray duster sweater has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe, and I have loved putting it over nearly every outfit I’ve worn in the last 2 weeks. And those boots – those boots have been with me for many years, as you can tell by the scuffed toes. I paired them with this outfit because they add a slightly grungy vibe, without being overpowering or feeling out of place.

When it comes to seasons in regards to makeup, Autumn reigns supreme. Smoky shadows, intense contour, and – my personal favourite – incredible lip colours. This one in particular is a combination of MAC’s Heroine and Beet lip liners, Revlon’s Black Cherry lipstick, and the new Maybelline Color Blur lip crayon in Berry Misbehaving. In all honesty, I think I could sit at my vanity and play with lip combinations all day.

Happy almost-Autumn, everyone. Sip on that hot apple cider, eat pumpkin pie to gain your winter insulation, and get cozy if it kills you, dammit!

Photo Diary | July 2015

It is insane how easy it is to not do something. To procrastinate and put it off until you almost don’t even want to do it anymore. Of course, I am talking about me and what a lousy blogger I am. I kept making excuses for not posting and blaming my sudden lack of creativity, or the fact that it’s summer and I’m too busy having bonfires and drinking beer to write a blog post.

So now that it’s almost mid-August, I thought it would be supremely appropriate to post a bunch of photos from the month of July… starting with one from June, obviously.

001 June 26 | My baby brother graduated high school
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002 July 1 | Happy Canada Day
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003 July 4 | Girls night ft. sushi
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004 July 4 | Girls night continued ft. Magic Mike + so much wine
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005 July 9 | Boardwalkin’
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006 July 14 | The prettiest sunset you ever did see #nofilter #forrealzies
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007 July 16 | Concert + rain
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008 July 18 | I drove and drove, but I couldn’t find the end
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009 July 24 | What does it mean when people compliment “my aesthetic”?
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010 July 28 | Even the worst storms gotta end
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I’m going to make a real effort to be back, and post regularly. I have lots of ideas, I’m just bad at follow-through sometimes.

See you soon, blog.

Grandpa Cardigans: A Love Story

01I love rainy summer evenings, because it means I can break out my cozy autumn sweaters, and not feel ridiculous about it. Summer is incredible, with the sunshine and amazing smells and general feeling of freedom and happiness, but there is nothing like being wrapped in an oversized sweater that feels more like a blanket than an article of clothing. This particular blanket-sweater was recently thrifted, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited about something that I purchased for $5. It’s quite a thick knit, but these adorable shorts and simple tank top made it the perfect selection to ward off the chilly breeze floating through the air.

PS – bonus photo of my dogs crashing my photoshoot.

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F A V O U R I T E S

Unless you’re a YouTube beauty vlogger, no one ever asks you, “Hey, what’s your favourite stuff right now?”, which I think is completely unfair. The amount of times I text people about insignificant things that like, ‘totally changed my life for reals though’ is ridiculous. So, while I sip wine out of a My Little Pony mug, here, have a blog post. IMG_5288Just Peachy by David’s Tea
 This tea actually came out last year in David’s Tea’s summer collection. Iced peach tea is my favourite thing to drink in the summertime, like, I can’t even tell you how much of this I could drink in a day. I was really bummed when they decided not to bring it back this year, but by some miracle 2014 Stephanie must have known this would happen, and I discovered a full cannister last month! So now I can spend another summer sipping on this and I’m probably more excited than I should be. IMG_5285Glamoflage by Hard CandyReady, Set Gorgeous by Covergirl, and Smooth Skin BB Radiance Powder by NYC
After roughly 10 years of doing makeup daily, I have finally discovered my number one, holy grail foundation combination. Despite the ridiculous names (I mean really, Glamoflage? Ready, Set, Gorgeous? Where are your standards, cosmetics companies?), I’m obsessed – for real, not in a ‘OMG I’m obsessed JK I’ll forget about this in a week’ kind of way. I have never used a better combination of foundation products – it’s not heavy, it lets my skin breathe while still having enough coverage to even out my skin tone, and the colour basically melts into my skin. It’s amazing. The best part, though? All 3 of these products can be purchased at the drugstore for under $17. Insanity! IMG_5283Mint Cocoa Crunch Mints by Saybon
Let me preface this by saying that I think the combination of mint and chocolate is straight out of hell. It’s just so wrong. These, however… I honestly don’t know what it is. These are so good. I can’t stop; We have a dish of them sitting in my office and it’s right next to my desk -the struggle is real, let me tell you. IMG_5289Romper by WalMart (I know, I was surprised too)
This is not new or revolutionary. It’s summer, it’s the season of rompers. I’ve struggled with this trend since it’s conception – I liked the idea but couldn’t get past the fact that it reminded me of a baby’s onesie. The fact that I’m 5’0 on a good day and have enough trouble looking my age is it is lead me to decidethat this trend wasn’t for me. However this year, I tried a few and was disappointed – they all seemed to be too small in the shorts-part and too poofy in the top part. But then one day, strolling through WalMart aimlessly, as you do, I happened upon this one. It was a different style from the ones I had been trying so I figured, “hey, it’s $12 – what’s the worst that could happen?” So I took it home with me and guess what? Now I have a romper that works on my awkward, boyish body. Now if I could just figure out a simpler way to pee while wearing it…IMG_5308Overcast
I’m just gonna come out and say it – I hate the iTunes podcast app. I hate it. It’s not user-friendly, and it does this thing where it will start playing the podcasts, but with no audio. What?! That’s the whole point! This app has been a lifesaver – Maybe not literally, but I love my podcasts so it’s definitely been really great to have. It works with iTunes so it has all the same podcasts, and gets new episodes at the same time, it’s just a different interface. Since switching to Overcast, I haven’t had any issues. I filed away the iTunes podcast app in my “stupid” folder and haven’t looked back since. IMG_1793Imagine Dragons
Earlier this month, I had the absolute pleasure of taking my brother to see his favourite band live. Walking into a concert venue and feeling the energy in the building – that’s my happy place. That’s the best moment to be in, no matter the band that’s playing. If you have the opportunity to go see Imagine Dragons live, take it. Even if you don’t really like them, just go. It was a mind-blowing concert. They perform so well, their light show was absolutely incredible, and I have dubbed them the Unofficial Kings of Drum Solos (a very prestigious award in my world – drummers are my favourites). Not to mention, Dan Reynolds got that white boy groove so, you have to go just to see him dance around during Shots.

There – my favourites. Thank you for letting me be narcissistic and talk about the random crap that I think is interesting.

Hey There, Stranger

Hi Blog, it’s been a minute.

I was computer-less for a few weeks, and therefore unable to tend to the blog. Not being able to hang out here and post honestly made me really anxious, and I didn’t like it! While I could still check in and read comments and stuff, it’s not the same as sitting down with your laptop and actually being able to write a post. That said, you would think I used my computer-less time to draft up a bunch of really awesome blog posts, wouldn’t you? The answer to that would be, uh… no. Oops!

To ease myself back into the wonderful world of blogging, I thought I would start with something easy – a Project 10 Pan update, as I have actually made some decent progress!

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L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Eye
Status: EMPTY
Conclusion: Does this product actually do anything? I should read some reviews and see if people actually saw results. Perhaps it’s just not meant for a person with my skin type? I’d be curious to know.

OSiS+ Dust It Mattifying Powder
Status: EMPTY
Conclusion: I think it would be a lovely product for someone with thicker hair than me. While normally, I don’t get a lot of product build up, this powder made my hair feel gross after a single use. Again, I think it’s just not targeted towards someone with my particular hair type.

NARS Orgasm Blush
Status: EMPTY
(I will admit, it broke. I went on an overnight trip last weekend, took this with me, and when I got home, most of it was shattered. I finished off the last usable pieces this week.)
Conclusion: I’d give this product an obvious 10/10, as most people have. But I won’t purchase again. It’s very expensive for a product that I didn’t find myself reaching for very often in 5 years.

Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser
Status: EMPTY
Conclusion: I discovered that when used in combination with an exfoliating scrub, there is no deeper feeling of clean. I may purchase this in the future, as it was quite a nice product. It just wasn’t something I reached for very often, as my collection of face cleansers is currently ginormous. Perhaps after I widdle it down a bit, I can revisit this one.

As for the rest of my P10P products, I’m hoping to finish them up fairly soon…ish. Hopefully. That MAC lipstick is really going to hold me up though. I’m not sure what I was thinking with that one… I actually just don’t like it on myself. I might just have to cut my losses on that one and switch it out with another product or something.

The Purest Love

One of the very first thing people learn about me is that I love my dogs. Scratch that – I love all dogs – most dogs – but especially mine. Remember that video from a few years ago of that lady on eHarmony talking about how much she loved cats? And she was crying because she wanted all the cats and was going to put bows on them? That pretty accurately sums up how I feel about dogs – except I’m not joking. I instantly fall in love with any dog I pass on the sidewalk, and I genuinely miss random dogs I happen to meet. I can’t help it, they just have such an infectious happiness that makes everything seem so much brighter.

Today, I want to talk about my dogs a little bit – I treat my dogs like most people treat their kids. I take a thousand photos, I work them into every conversation I can, and I’m constantly telling stories about the funny, cute things they do even though honestly? No one cares to hear them. Basically, I’m that annoying girl you went to high school with who floods your Facebook feed with 1000 photos of her kid that all look the same, and you’re pretty sure she forgot that she like, existed before her kid was born – except my dogs are cute than babies. #SorryNotSorry.

 

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This is Chloe. Chloe is a white Labrador Retriever, with like, 10% pit bull mixed in. My family rescued Chloe from a shelter when she was 6 months old. When she came to us, she was terrified of …well, everything. People, water, stairs, doors, black clothing, noise, everything. The only source of peace she found in our house for the first little while was her kennel. She slept in a nice, big kennel with a fluffy bed (that she promptly ate), and she loved it. In fact, 4 and a half years later, she only just recently stopped spending nights in her kennel. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to rid Chloe of her demons – we think she was abused for the first 6 months of her life, before we got her, and that’s why she was so afraid of her new home. All these years later, and we still can’t get her anywhere near running water, and she still doesn’t get on well with strangers, mostly strange men. She’s full of love though, and always wants to be touched, pet, and snuggled. She’s a wonderful guard dog, she’s insanely lazy, and sometimes I think she doesn’t like me very much but I can’t imagine not having her around.

tucker

This is Tucker. Tucker is a… Well, I was told that Tucker is an American Bulldog, but she’s growing up to look more like a Boxer. She is a registered American Bulldog though, so who really knows. Tucker came into my life at a time when I needed her a lot. My dog Ben passed away while I was on a trip last summer, and I was devastated, as you can imagine. Ben was such an amazing part of life; he comforted you like a brother, played with you like a best friend, and had the personality of your favourite grandfather – a little grumpy, sometimes unintentionally hilarious,  but mostly incredibly sweet.
The first time I met Tucker was 4 days after Ben was put down. She was this crazy, wiggly little ball of energy. She immediately jumped on me and knocked me over (at 3 months old!) and wanted to play so badly. I started crying right there, because I missed Ben so much. But I don’t think I’ve had much of a chance to miss him since Tucker’s been around, to be honest, because they are so similar. She has the same funny habits and quirks as he did. She does the same things that he did when she wants attention, food, toys, anything. If I believed in reincarnation, I would absolutely say that Ben’s soul went into Tucker’s body, because this dog has never felt like a stranger. She was never intended to replace Ben’s spot in my heart but she’s certainly done an amazing job of filling the hole that he left behind.

These babes are a big part of what makes my world go ’round. They’re a bright spot in my every day, and even when I’m angry with everyone else, I know these two are always on my side.

Look Ma, I Cooked! | pt 2

(Note: I’m debating calling all of my cooking/recipe related posts a series, and naming it “Look Ma, I Cooked!”, a) because I think it’s a cute title and b) because it really is that shocking. Who knows! We’ll see!) A few days ago, I was craving wonton soup like none other. Only problem? I live in a small town, where my restaurant options consist of chain burgers-n-fries type places, or menus full of traditional Mennonite dishes. There’s not a lot of diversity here, so as someone who just loves food, you can imagine where I have issues. Asian dishes in particular have been a longtime favourite of mine. I mean really, there is no better pick-me-up than a big ol’ plate of chicken lo mein and egg rolls, amIrite? I’m right.

Anyway, back to this wonton soup craving. While there are a couple decent Chinese places in my area, they’re pretty lacking in the soup department. I mean, I know everyone loves a good consomme, but there’s so many more options! The nearest restaurant that would serve a good wonton soup was an hour and a half drive – Maybe I didn’t want it quite that badly. So I said “@!$% it, I’ll make my own!”

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This was the result, and this photo is making me drool. It was so delicious, and because it’s Friday and I’m a nice person, I’m going to go ahead and share the recipe as best as I can remember it. You’ll have to forgive me if it’s a little vague – between my Mennonite upbringing where recipes had measurements like “a little bit” or “some”, and my chef boyfriend who just tells me to add “enough” to a recipe, I’ve adopted the same style of cooking. It’s actually very annoying, but here goes!

What You Need:
1/2 an onion
4 large carrots
3-4 celery stocks
Soup broth
Wonton wrappers
Filling (I like chicken, but  you can also use pork, beef, veggies, etc)
Hoisin sauce
White pepper (or cracked black pepper)
Salt

What You Do:
Saute 1/2 an onion, 4 large carrots (shredded), and 3-4 chopped celery sticks in vegetable oil.
Slowly add soup broth – add an amount that looks good to you (I told you it would get vague). We did a chicken broth, since we were filling our wontons with chicken. My favourite is the boxed stuff from Superstore, but you do you.
Once your soup is underway, turn your attention to the wontons. We used some leftover roast chicken and diced it, then mixed it up with some Hoisin sauce, salt and pepper.
Put about a tablespoon of your filling mixture in the center of your wonton wrappers.
Fold the wrappers in half, from corner to corner so that they formed a little triangular pocket.
Using water, seal the corners and edges of the wonton shells so that they don’t pop open while cooking.
While your soup is still simmering, slowly add the full wontons into the pot. Once they’re floating on top, you’re good to go! (Side note: I recommend only putting in as many wontons as you want to eat at the moment. Once they’ve sat in the soup for a while, they get slimy and hard to pick up with your spoon.)

Oh my, I feel like Martha Stewart or Paula Deen – minus the racism though. So maybe I feel like Rachael Ray? I’m not mean enough to be Gordon Ramsay… I don’t know, who are some famous cooks? Either way, if you’re like me and love soup, Chinese food or just… food in general, give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

Have a lovely weekend!

summer, please | OOTD

You guys, it was warm and wonderful enough outside yesterday to wear shorts. SHORTS.  Do you realize how exciting this is?! Of course, today it’s cloudy and cold and rainy, but still – I wore shorts outside yesterday!

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While I silently judge people who wear their pajamas as real-life clothing outside the house, I’m a big fan of clothes that look and feel like cozy jammies, but clearly are not. These shorts are exactly that – soft, loose, uber comfy, and have a drawstring and elastic waistband, so they’re really great for Game of Thrones feast nights.
This sweater also fits the theme of not-pajamas clothes. It’s my personal favourite, and I’m actually shocked that I don’t wear it every single day. It just goes with everything, and it always adds that carefree, “I don’t give a @#!$” vibe that I dig.

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I was really digging on my makeup yesterday, so here, have a complementary selfie, complete with a product list:

Eyes: Maybelline Color Tattoo Metals in Barely Bronzed as a base, L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush, and the Maybelline Nudes Palette. Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in Dramatic Black  as eyeliner. Urban Decay Supercurl mascara.
Face: Maybelline Fit Me matte + poreless foundation. NARS Orgasm blush. Wet n’ Wild Reserve Your Cabanada highlighting powder.
Lips: Wet n’ Wild lip liner in Naughty Nude. Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Nude List.

intent vs words.

The biggest problem that I see with so many people having the opportunity to share their voice on the Internet is that they often get criticized for things that they never actually said. Tone has always been something that’s hard to convey via text – from junior high arguments being started by a sarcastic remark on MSN Messenger, to public figures getting decimated in the news for a tweet that was meant to be a joke. Before you attack a person for something they said (or something you think they said), I would recommend that you take a moment to consider what they meant by what was said. Sometimes, there’s a difference. The speakers’ intent isn’t always reflected in their choice of words – or sometimes the audience chooses to project drama and negativity onto what the speaker was trying to get across. And in a world where you need to get your point across in 140 characters or less, your intent often gets lost.

This is something that’s often been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve always been pretty good at reading between the lines and understanding the thought process behind what someone was saying. In high school, I got caught in the middle of arguments between friends a lot because I was able to grasp both sides when they didn’t understand each other. I got high marks in English and Drama classes because I could see past written words and delve into how the author wanted their work to be read and understood. And more recently, I’m able to sympathize with public figures who say things that might not be as “politically correct” as our society demands as of late. In fact, this whole post was inspired by recent tweets from a singer named Jennel Garcia.

jennel

Jennel wasn’t implying that social anxieties aren’t real – obviously that would be an ignorant and plain ol’ incorrect statement to make. However, Jennel has a fair point: People, especially young people, use labels like “anxiety”, “depression” and “mental illness” as a crutch. These conditions are very real, and can be crippling – no one is denying that. While I know this and have experience with it, I also know that not everyone who says they have a mental illness actually has one. “Anxiety” is not a synonym for “shyness”, “depression” is not the same as “having a bad week”, and “mental illness” is certainly not parallel to “feeling off for a little while”. People say things like, “Oh my god, I’m so awkward, I don’t know if I can deal with this party,” because they’d rather be at home on Tumblr than go to the party. Honey, you’re “awkward” because you’d rather experience life through fanfics and text posts than actual social experiences. I know it can be hard – I mean hell, I’m 23 years old and I still don’t like showing up to social events alone because I’m afraid of feeling – you guessed it – awkward. But you’re never going to get past it if you don’t do it. Just do it.

I felt really sorry for Jennel while I was scrolling through the replies to that tweet. People didn’t understand that she wasn’t being ignorant or rude, she was trying to call out the fakers and say, “Hey, it’s not cool that you’re taking this very real thing that effects a lot of people, and using it as a trendy accessory.” If the people who saw that tweet and reacted negatively had taken a minute to see the tweets that came after, or the types of things she was replying to regarding the topic, they would have realized that she wasn’t being malicious, and in fact is very passionate about having honest conversations about mental illness.

I just think it’s something we should keep in mind – people deserve a chance to explain themselves. People deserve more than 140 characters to voice their opinion, but since that’s the platform we use the most, maybe as an audience we need to take a breather and think about the intentions behind what people are saying – most of the time these statements aren’t being made by bad or ignorant people, so why are we so quick to assume they’re being bad and ignorant? I’m sure we all know what it’s like to have something we’ve said taken out of context, and get a lot of shit for it. We don’t like it, so maybe stop doing it to other people, okay? Okay. I’m glad we’ve come to an understanding, People of The Internet.

(Hoo boy, I wish it was that easy to come to an understanding with the People of The Internet…)