Tuesday, July 07, 2009


The streetcar was filled with teenagers tonight, drinking vodka from paper bags and chasing it with orange juice straight from the carton, flipping their hair and heading to Trinity Bellwoods park to spend their first days of summer freedom. I couldn't help but think of the words that passed my lips today:

"I was going to go to a Fringe play last night, but decided that I was way too tired after my long night of couch shopping at Crate & Barrel."

I really didn't know it was going to happen so fast.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Tonight was the book launch. The book was not my own, but my name is there, neatly typed, on pages 85 through 89. And my words are there too, written over a year ago, submitted, but really only to meet the requirements of an assignment for my fourth-year magazine writing instructor.

I think they're important words. They're the kind of words that might have made it all easier. They're the words I would give to my teenage self.

But who am I to try and sum up my entire high school experience in 1,500 words or less? Who am I to sandwich every major relationship of my formative years between semi-colons? Who I am to subject their secrets, my memories and my words to a third-party editing process?

Tonight, it became clear: I might be the kind of person who wants to hide behind their words.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tristan-isms #1

"Man, I hate trying to pick up chicks. It's just like applying for jobs."

-Tristan, my unemployed roommate

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


First Wedding of the Season.

First Haircut in 15 Months.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Equality for All

After years of only having female roommates, I've now found myself living with two guys (three, if you include the boyfriend who is here five nights out of seven). Which only leaves one question--are they annoyed that they haven't trained me to leave the toliet seat up, yet?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Not too old to make dinosaur noises

Two key things happened today:

1. I tried on a shirt that I used to wear all the time when I was 19. It didn't fit over my breasts, and only reached my bellbutton. Examination of photos from this time period demonstrates that my breasts were, in fact, substantially smaller.

2. While sitting in my empty solarium, waiting for Tristan to arrive (our subletter for the summer), I noticed that I have cellulite on my inner thighs. Until this year, I didn't even know what cellulite was--and today I saw a living, breathing example.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Stagnation: The Quarter-Life Crisis

"I really hope you write your memoirs one day," my co-worker told me at lunch today, after I finished telling the story of that one time when I tried to get a Polish visa in Prague. (In which the direction-challenged protagonist loses her way to the embassy and instead finds herself in what appears to be a high security priest training facility, followed by wandering into someone's home and being attacked by a very large dog--only to arrive at the embassy 20 minutes before it closes to discover that it has closed early for the day.) And this comment was coming from a guy who, along with the most impressive resume I've ever seen a 20-something possess, has spent time travelling with the Governor General all of Africa as part of her delegation.

What would I write about this time in my life, though? For a long time, my life felt like it was being propelled forward by forces out of my control. There were endless possibilities, open opportunities, and strangers suddenly became friends in the flash of a smile. There were spontaneous road trips, epic singalongs, photoshoots, interview subjects and mornings waking up in the next province over. There was no money (not that there ever has been or that there will be for a while), but there was never a lack of stories.

And now, for the first time, I feel like I have complete control and power. There's no longer that sense of the exciting unknown. It could all be planned, if I wanted it to be. Condo living. Friends. Work. Grad school.

So how do I get control over not having control? How do I get back to where I was?

I'm hoping it starts with Croatia. And if not, summer always seems to work its magical ways.

(Chloe, my partner in crime circa 2002-2004, is doing an internship in Toronto, so the memories are always at the tip these days. Maybe I just miss being 19--although I definitely don't miss the hangovers. Let's just call this my own quarter-life crisis.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tough Choices

After my month-long blogging absence, only one question remains: Croatia or Malta?

I guess I'll have plenty of time to think about it while I'm working 12-hour days this weekend at part-time job #1 and part-time job #2. Being excessive isn't free, after all. (You can find me at the Green Living Show in corporate swag and bright pink Ked's. You won't, however, be able to visit me at Hidden Lounge's monthly dinner party--it's sold out. Guess they heard that I was gracious.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Beacon of Productivity

If I were going to write a letter home, it would probably read something like this:

Dear Mom and Dad,

As of late, I've been a beacon of productivity. Work is going well. Last weekend, I went to the Distillery District to represent my organization at Timeraiser. The poutine was awesome, and the free drink tickets didn't hurt, either.

While the Timeraiser was all about getting other people to become more engaged in their communities, I decided I needed to do the same. So my friend Sarah and I volunteered at jhr's Night for Rights on Friday.

This past weekend, I also managed to clean out my storage closet, where I found (at least) four-year-old household garbage, giant spiders, mouse droppings, the grill from a GMC truck and enough clothing from 1997 to clothe a small developing nation. I only wish I was joking.

And then, instead of spending money on alcohol, I spent my Saturday night helping Sasha and Courtney work on their eco-friendly Cradle-to-Cradle fashion collection for Alternative Fashion Week. I plan on spending some more time in the coming weeks in the fashion lab helping them out. They're joking that I'm their "intern."

And in between saving the world, I still found time to serve at Hidden Lounge's new location.

Needless to say I've been keeping busy. Will write again soon!

Love lots,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Other Addiction

Check out these insane chocolates I received today for presenting to a class on sustainable community development:

I know. Insane.

Part of the reason I find it so challenging to blog lately is because I have two steadfast policies when it comes to my online persona: 1. no blogging about professional employment and 2. no in-depth blogging about my personal relationships. (Y'know--apart from quite publicly accusing my significant other of infecting me with fleas.) It's too bad that 70 per cent of my waking hours are spent at work and, as of late, the other 30 per cent are spent with the manfriend. (Who, for the record, is, and probably always was, flea-free.)

Besides, my days are relatively mundane. Here's an example:

Today was the first time that I've been back at Ryerson since the fall awards ceremony. At the eyeopener office, Carla was running late, so I chatted with the eye staff who were kicking around the office. "What year are you in? I'm guessing second?" one of the guys asked. I had to laugh--especially since I was trying to look the part of young professional. (I had thrown on a pair of black peeptoes before I left the office in an effort to look a little less student.) Carla says it's because I looked wide-eyed and bushy-tailed instead of worn down by term papers. (And it's true--my favourite part of nine to fiving is the fact that weekends and my evenings are my own.)

Half an hour later, at the front of the class, I hoped that my heels were working their magic. That it, until I realized the effect was completed negated by the fact that I stood behind a podium for the entire presentation.

The End. (Good story, hey?)

Want to read a genuinely good story?

"The modern individual, then, seeks relationships that are essentially “parasocial” — the term social scientists use to describe the one-sided relationships we have with celebrities, in which we know everything about them, but they don’t know we exist. Social networking scholar danah boyd has argued that this flow of detailed information is creating a new class of people in our lives — people we follow closely online and come to know intimately but voyeuristically, without any need for genuine interaction." Read More Here
-The Other Porn Addiction, Hal Niedzviecki, The Walrus, April 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009


I don't think that falling asleep at 10 pm is voyeur-worthy or exciting enough for public consumption.

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Value for Money

One Thursday night, I took the man friend out for dinner. Nothing too fancy--he had a beer, I had a wine, we each had an entree. The bill came to $57. No big deal, right? But the man friend balked when he saw me laying my money on the table. I constantly complain about being poor, yet I don't equate spending $65 to being an expense. So what gives?

Since everyone is talking recession, I might as well bend to market trends. In times like this, it's suddenly evident what people attach value to. Here's my list:

I'm Willing to Go Further Into Debt For. . .

Eating Out: I pack my lunches and make muffins twice a week so I always have breakfast. But I won't hesistate to spend money on brunch every weekend. What can I say? I'm a little bit of a foodie.

Clothing: I don't buy clothes often, but when I do, I'm known for my expensive taste. But there's a method to this--I would never spend $100 on five poorly-made shirts from H&M, but I will spend $100 on a one-of-a-kind shirt made of recycled materials by Canadian women in a sweatshop-free environment. And for everything in between, there's Winners and Value Village.

Travel: When I complain about getting paid in high-fives, I'm instantly criticized by friends for failing to buy groceries, but somehow managing to jet off to tropical locations. In the last year, I've been to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Alberta and Nova Scotia (twice). Want to know a secret? I only paid for two of those trips. But it doesn't matter. For me, life isn't worth living without travel. So dropping money for planes and trains isn't a luxury--it's a necessity.

Time Spent with Friends: When I had my eye infection last year, I saved a ton of money by never leaving my house. However, I was a downer. Like, always. I cried. A lot. And I was boring. And since then, I can never turn down a social invitation.

Money is for Fun. Not for stuff. I won't pay for. . .

Services: If I can do it myself, I'll do it myself. Dryclean only? I'll handwash it, or just not wash it at all. Heating? It's all about layering. And during the summer I don't even acknowledge the fact that I have air-conditioning. (I don't sweat, I glisten.) Haircuts? I estimate that I've saved $800 this year by trimming my own hair. I've also stopped dying it, so I don't even have to pay the $10 every two months for a box of hair dye. Cable or Internet? I don't pay for either. I have a coat hanger sticking out of the back of my TV and pray that my neighbours will keep their wirless unsecure. Even rent? I may live in a seemingly nice apartment, but it's drafty, nails stick out of the carpet, I have mice and my Dad is pretty sure there may be dead bodies in my hallway at one point in time. But the rent is cheap, so I'm happy.

Home Furnishings: You all know people like me. We scour sidewalks for bedbug-free furniture on the first day of every month. When Natty moved out, I literally owned nothing. Since then, I've managed to pull my apartment back together for the low, low price of roughly $100. (I was too cheap to even buy dishes from Value Village, but managed to get a really nice donated set from Sophie and Karol.)

Electronics: I refuse to buy-in to the mantra of bigger-newer-better. My TV is small enough that renting subtitled foreign films requires serious consideration and commitment. My cell phone finally died for good on Thursday night, but I refuse to pay the $150 for a new one. (I'm living in isolation right now, but I'm sure a free cell phone will come my way. Who wants to contribute to e-waste, anyway?) And five years later, my computer is on its last legs, but I'm not going to get a new one until the day this one refuses to turn on.

Transportation: Can I walk, run, hitchike or bike there? Then I'm too cheap to pay for public transit. Can I get on the back of the streetcar during rush hour without paying? This is the only time I'm a law-breaker.

Alcohol: Pre-drinking is my friend. As are road-pops. Court and I cheersed to the first "road pop" of the season last night, then realized we were being followed by cops, then both tripped in efforts to conceal our liquor. Classy.

The Bottom Line?

I guess it's always been ingrained in me that money should be spent on activities and on living, not on stuff. I know it's cliched, but it's also true--you can't take it with you.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Summer Solves Everything.

I never knew I'd take so much pleasure in being so exorbitantly boring.

Each day is a repeat of the one before and I don't really give a shit. Nine to fiving, showering, hitting send/receive, reading celebrity gossip sites, running errands, cleaning, paying my bills, making myself dinner, listening to the same music on repeat.

It's all about waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and knowing that summer solves everything.

So let's fall into bed, live the same day over and over, make a buck, carry packed lunches and coffee in a Starbucks mug. Let's have brunch every weekend and a nap in the afternoon and let's spend each evening night in front of the tv, adjusting the coat hanger attenna. There's no tiptoeing left.

I'm going to write a million words, none of which are for him or her or them, few of which are for me, and all of which, by proxy, are mundane and not even worth being reduced to zeros and ones.

It's just the same pictures over and over and over again. Smile, flash, repeat. And I'm waiting. I'm slipping and I've slid, and thenextthingyouknow, I'm a house in the suburbs and subscriptions to gardening magazines.

Monday, February 23, 2009

All of the above

Do I sound ignorant, shallow or just plain honest when I say that I'm so ridiculously bored of the recession? Seriously. Talking about the recession is about as interesting as talking about the weather. It's something we all have in common, but unless you're an economist or have some sort of expertise (like, suppose you work for the Canadian Mint), I highly doubt you have anything new and insightful to add to the dialogue.

And if we're talking about it without getting the juicy details about a much-hated or admired former classmate's layoff, chances are, we probably have nothing better to talk about.

Gawd. The recession is just so boring. (There, I said it. Can we go back to talking about how winter is cold now?)

With that being said, pictures of margaritas and mariachi bands are in order:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two's Company

1. Adam, Cold Lake, December 2001-June 2002
2. Andrew, Edmonton, September 2002-March 2003
3. Sara, Edmonton, September 2002-??
3. Jessica, Edmonton, September 2003-December 2003
4. Courtney, Toronto, September 2005-April 2006
5. Sasha, Toronto, September 2005-January 2007
6. Brie, Toronto, September 2005-April 2007
7. Katrina, Toronto, September 2005-April 2007
8. Ivonne , Toronto, September 2006-April 2007
9. Karen, Toronto, May 2006-April 2007
10. Natty, Toronto, September 2007-February 2009
11. Brooke, Toronto, September 2007-October 2008, June 2008-August 2008
12. Alex, Toronto, January 2008-March 2008
13. Nadine, Toronto, August 2008
14. Steve, Toronto, September 2008-December 2008

Whoa. I've had a lot of roommates. (And I feel like I'm forgetting some. Like, what about Helka? We backpacked together from April until June 2003. And Jo? We lived together in Vanuatu and then Australia from June until August 2006.)

Did I mention that the latest roommate is a guy? It will be the first time in seven years that I've lived with a guy who isn't my brother or a significant other. I didn't think it would be really that different, but I'm already seeing the signs. Evidence? These are my shelves in the bathroom.

His shelf in the bathroom.

True story.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Hola girlie. You want to fly like a birdie?"

It wasn't waking up to fresh snow on my balcony this morning. It wasn't putting on a scarf or a toque, or even sitting at a desk all day, feeling the ancient heating system sucking my skin dry. No, it was something else altogether--it was the sudden realization that scrunchies may just be making a comeback.

I'm going to Brie's to eat a cupcake now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm pasty.

I feel the need to report on things that have passed, and those that will come to pass, but all I really have to say is this: I'm being whisked off to Mexico for a much-earned vacation for the next week.

It's a strange time, this--this stage between being an adult and being a--I actually don't know what. What does one call the life stage directly before being an adult? You know the one?

I mean, it's strange being at this place in my life where I can only afford to buy groceries on a monthly basis--and yet, when asked if I'd like to go on my second tropical beach vacation of the year, I can't help but say yes. And although I may have been eating grains for the last two months (very reminiscent of my Vanuatu diet), I can still afford to shell out $40 for a new bikini at Winners.

Yes, it's rough times at the ranch, indeed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We've made it.

Despite my love of all things glossy and monthly (I did major in magazine journalism, after all) fashion magazines aren't often high on my list, with shopping magazines ranking even lower. But just this once, Glow Magazine did something very, very right:

It's Brie! Page 118. Hot!

On the downside, I think I have fleas. (Or hypochrondria. One of the above.) More specifically, I think my boyfriend's bed has fleas.

(And yet, I don't know what's more alarming about that statement--that I may have contracted fleas from my boyfriend's bed, or the fact that I'm using the phrase "boyfriend" in a very public capacity, when I never even say it to his face.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm kind of a big deal, you know.

Something that I wrote is being published.

In a book.

Okay, okay. I'll admit--it's an anthology. A feminist anthology. And it's pending publisher approval.

But something that I wrote is being published. In a book.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defying Expectations

Fun fact: Apparently if you google "necrophiliac rash" it leads you to my blog. Winning!

With that being said, I'm about to say arguably the most controversial thing I've ever said on this blog:

I remember sitting in a first-year journalism class and having an instructor lecture us on the moral danger of having a Shopper's Optimum card versus an Airmiles card. "Airmiles sells your information to other companies," she told us, outraged.

Uh, so what? Why should I care if my information is being sold? If it results in me getting free stuff, sell away!

Same goes for Facebook. You're tracking my demographic's preferences and trying to figure out how to best market products to us? I'm all for it! Sounds crazy, maybe, but at the same time, I'd rather have targeted marketing directed at me, instead of companies trying to sell me useless shit.

Seriously, what ever happened to being an informed consumer? Are we really that complacent? (Then again, maybe there's something telling in the fact that over 4 millions snuggies have been sold since September.)

Anyway, I was sent another swag package this week, this time by L'Oreal for Double Extension Beauty Tubes. Free makeup? Yes, please! The fact that the product actually works is only icing on the cake. (Seriously--I thought the line about creating "tubes" around your eyelashes was ridiculous, and a little redundant, because isn't that what all mascara does, technically? Turns out I was wrong. This stuff actually does create tubes around your eyelashes. It was pleasantly weird to have my skepticism proven wrong for once.)

Thanks L'Oreal! My only complaint? I got mascara all over my glasses before I went to work this morning. Effective, but not condusive to working at a not-for-profit desk job, where I already wear more makeup than anyone else in the office. I felt a little bit like a drag queen going in to work with insanely long eyelashes.

In closing, I love Lil Bow Wow. Even if he's not so little anymore.

(Also, if anyone can find me a vinyl copy of "Fela-Ransom Kuti and the Africa '70 with Ginger Baker: Live!" I will be forever indebted. It's strange how obsessive I've become about finding an album that only has five songs on it.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Conflict Resolution

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems to just pick up where I left off.

I didn't stop writing. That's not what happened. It's just that I had to start writing for myself again. Everything else that I was writing here was too close to being personal, too close to the surface.

But then again, that's supposed to be the whole point, right?

So here goes:

Immobile--my journals for the last eight months are filled with this word, underlined, bold, repeated on every page. It was the breakups--and there was more than one. It was the decision to put journalism on hold. It was the debt that's still holding me in place. It was the eye infection, and the skin condition, and every other physical manifestation of the schizophrenic ball of nerves that I had become.

And it was the fear, the absolute paralyzing fear, that somehow, somewhere along the way, I'd forgotten everything except my own motives. "Am I a bad person?" This was the phrase that came out of my mouth on an almost daily basis. This was the question that monopolized every conversation I had with friends for months--because really, who was ever going to answer yes?

The question is still unanswered--somewhat. I really don't know what changed, but maybe I can just chalk it up to this: I went home for a week, remembered where I came from. And I realized that the problem is probably the opposite of what I feared--the problem is that I probably care a little bit too much.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Collecting Interest

Relationship-wise, I've never really considered myself commitment-phobic.

Sure, I don't think that married couples need to live together, let alone in the same country (except, you know, by law. . .I think.) Sure, the idea of marriage makes my chest feel tight. And sure, I tend to test the guys that I'm dating, just to make sure they want to stick around. (Most recently, I believe this is what has earned me the endearing nickname "Jerkface.") But I have never been one to hold back from enjoying a person in every capacity for simply who they are--and I've never held myself back from daydreaming about that enjoyment being a lifelong thing. (Execution, on the other hand, will never be anything more than a daydream.)

But after nearly five years of living in Toronto, it's only now clear to me what a commitment-phobe I truly am. Natty's moving out at the end of the week, taking most of her belongings with her. Since I work in an office where I essentially get paid in high-fives and the occassional thumbs-up, my co-workers have been eager to help me out in these financially-trying times. "Let us know what you already have, and we'll see what we can give you."

That's just it, though, I explained to them. I don't own anything. After nearly five years of living in Toronto, I don't even have a fork to call my own.

My policy has always been that as long as my total possessions are capable of fitting in the flatbed of a truck, that I'd be good to go--literally. (It's hard to take off and move when you have stuff.) But it's clear that I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. It's also clear that being able to use something other than my fingers to eat probably falls into the basic necessities category.

So when I returned to Toronto after Christmas holidays, I made the ultimate commitment--in the form of a turntable. Because really, what says commitment more than a vinyl collection? (Although, I have to admit, three weeks later, the "collection" stands at four records that were donated to me by the office intern. I haven't been able to bring myself to actually buy anything yet.)

So Toronto, for now, I'm committing to you. I'm committing to my job, I'm committing to my apartment, to my friends, and maybe even to my relationship.

I'm committing.

At least until something better comes up.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Seize the Cupcake

If there was ever a reason to blog again, it is hands-down today's post-brunch field trip to Cupcake Camp on Queen East.

For $5.00, we were given access to all-you-can-eat cupcakes. Well, kind of.

Here's how it worked: There were two different groups. There were tasters, and there were bakers. The bakers brought their cupcakes and were each scheduled in for a time slot. Throughout the three-hour period, different cupcakes would be released ever 15 minutes, and each baker would have an opportunity to describe their creation. The only catch? It was "first come, first serve" and there wasn't a lineup.

With over a hundred people at the venue, and only a few dozen cupcakes coming out every 15 minutes, it was clear that we needed a strategy in order to maximize our cupcake intake. We got our games faces on.

Canice and Nina were designated as the official cupcake grabbers. (Unfortunately, Canice didn't show up until later, so lost her spot on the team.) The plan was that Nina would use her height (or lack thereof) to weasel her way as close to the table as possible. Using her Red Bull-fuelled hands, she would then grab a cupcake and bring it back to the group for consumption.

Once the designated cupcake grabber returned to the group, we would cut up the cupcake equally for two purposes: to ensure that others in the crowd also had access to cupcakes, but also to ensure that we didn't become too full so that we were able to eat as many cupcakes as possible.

It was past 2:15 when the first cupcakes were released. The crowd was tense in anticipation, developing their own game plans and murmuring amongst themselves about whether or not they would be one of the lucky few who secured a delicious treat.

The first baker went up to the microphone, and the crowd was silent for a brief moment while she described what she had baked. Then the tray of cupcakes was set down on the table, and the crowd erupted. They surged forward and we could only hold our breath for our forward-player, Nina.

But sure enough, it was only moments before Nina emerged from the crowd triumphant, a cupcake held over her head!

It was the first of many cupcake victories to come.

Carla with Cupcake #1.

Sarah and I revel in Cupcake Victory #1. Envious bystanders looked on as we enjoyed our winnings.

Nina missed out on round #2, but Sarah come up as a suprise cupcake grabbing superstar. Putting aside her small-town demeanor, Sarah used the patented "orangutang arm claw" strategy to secure this cupcake from the back table. Sarah reached up and over the crowd, lowering her arm into the tray like a toy machine claw, grasping at whatever she could grab. Success!

Carla also had her moment of glory when she secured this neopolition cupcake. While the rest of us waited for the cupcakes to arrive, Carla eavesdropped on a nearby conversation that revealed that the cupcakes may not even make it to the table. Following the hot tip, Carla edged closer to the tray that was moving through the crowd. And when it was lowered prematurely--she was there!

All-in-all, we sampled enough cupcakes to leave my hands shaking and my head light.

The only problem with Cupcake Camp, is that really, we were just too good at it.

It kind of makes me wish that Cupcake Camp was a competitive sport--because if it was, I feel like it would be the first time I would feel like a winner.