From the bathroom floor to the dance floor

Right now is an insane time in my life–my little sister is getting married, which means as the resident MOH I’m up to my ears in wedding details. So I need a break and when I need a break I turn to my glue gun and box of ribbons, beads and FUN!

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I have had this bag for a while now. It’s actually a toiletry bag that came with a bunch of lotions from the Body Shop. But I think it’s too pretty to hold my toothbrush and make-up remover, but not pretty enough to hold my make-up and cash on a night out. It needed a little DIY.

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I bought these beads from the Dollar Store and decided that a mix of light gold, dark gold and mauve would be the perfect accent to the gold flecks in the bag. I mixed the three colours together in a Ziploc bag.  Then I grabbed some Elmer’s Precision glue and got to work adding beads to the top of the purse. I put the glue down in small sections and then poured the beads on top, using my finger to lie them down flat and spread them out. The great thing about the Precision glue is it has a fine nozzle so I was able to go back after the beads dried and glue more beads into the tiny crevices that needed more sparkle.

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After letting the beads dry, I realized the bag was still missing something. Luckily I had leftover gold-coloured string from another project. I grabbed my precision glue and put the string around the edges of the beadwork. It added the perfect framework to the beads and made the bag look complete.

Then I just needed a fun pendant to put on the zipper. I always save extra buttons and found this great little pearl that came with a sweater I bought three years ago. I think the pearl gives a little splash of class to the dazzle of beads.

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And here’s the finished product! I even have the perfect outfit to showcase my new purse. The only problem is that my life as a recent grad on the job hunt means I have nowhere to go in my new outfit. For now my bedroom will have to do.

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Details on my DIY Purse

Beads: $1.25 from the Dollar Store
String: $1.00 from the Dollar Store
Bag: Already Owned
Pearl pendant: Already owned
Elmer’s Glue: $1.00 from the Dollar Store
Total Cost: $3.25
Duration: 2 hours
Soundtrack: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke

A modern day jewelry box

Growing up I always wanted a beautiful jewelry box that I could keep all my treasures in–which at that time would’ve been my Spice Girls necklace and whatever ring I had recently gotten out of the 25 cent candy machine. 

Eventually I got a beautiful pine one that had three drawers to put my jewels in and a mirror on top so I could ogle myself in my fake gems.

Like all things from my childhood, I outgrew my jewelry box. It just didn’t work in my grown-up life.

The problem with jewelry boxes is they don’t show all the jewels you have. And so you forget what you have and never wear it. Luckily, I have found some easy ways to display my jewelry, that is not only functional but adds some sparkly décor to my bedroom.

About a year ago I bought one of those pretty earring racks from Urban Outfitters, you know the ones that look like a bird cage. But then in the process of moving from Kingston to Mississauga and then to London, I lost it. Though I suspect someone stole it…you know who you are and the jewelry Gods will spite you forever.

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I refused to spend $30 on another one so I improvised. I took a bronze-coloured piece of string from the Dollar Store and used two pins to string it across my wall. It’s simple, but it works. Plus now my earrings are the first thing I see when I wake-up. There’s nothing better than chandelier earrings at 8 a.m.

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For my necklaces I used a yellow fabric covered bulletin board. I think my mom bought it years ago for my bedroom. But I don’t use it any more, so I threw some push pins across the top of it and let my necklaces hang. I only hang one or two necklaces on a pin so my necklaces don’t get all tangled up. Plus, the top of my dresser looked a little boring, so instead of putting my Hugh Dancy poster above it, I put all my necklaces. Though some days I miss drooling over Hugh and his dashingness.

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My bracelets stumped me. I just kept them in a box for the longest time. Then my Farmstand Apple candle from the Bath and Body Shop was all burned out and I realized I had found a great bracelet jar. I cleaned out all the wax from the candle using this lovely guide from Aunt Peaches http://www.auntpeaches.com/2012/09/how-to-remove-candle-wax-from-glass.html

It was so easy to do and looks so cute that when my French Garden candle runs out, I will use it to hold my sunglasses.

My modern jewelry boxes perfectly reflect my life now–a poor student who has to be crafty. Now I need to pass on my old jewelry box to another little girl, but she can’t have my Spice Girls necklace.

Oh hey mason

So for the past couple months I’ve been inexplicably saving mason jars. I use a jar of spaghetti, clean it out and then stick it in my cupboard for no reason. It’s a bizarre thing to hoard, but lately I’ve been finding decorative uses for all these jars.

Two weeks ago I showed you my gratitude mason jar. It is slowly filling up. In fact the other day I said something negative about myself and my friend said “Where’s your mason jar, you need a travel one for cases like this.” So maybe next I will make some sort of travel mason jar or just keep post-its with me at all times in case of emergency.

I’ve also been using mason jars as candle holders. I painted them and they add a nice bit of colour to my all white living room–student life means no painting your walls, the HORROR.

This is how I made my candle holders…I feel a bit like Pippa Middleton explaining such a simple craft, but if Pips can get away with it so can I. Well my butt looks nothing like hers so maybe I can’t get away with it. But here it is despite my lack of Pippa bum.

1. You need to clean out any sauce remaining in the jar. Then you have to scrub off any labels. I found the best way to do this was running warm water over the label while simultaneously scrubbing at it with a sponge. 

2. Find a colour you like to paint the jar. My  white living room is accented with burgundy and turquoise so I found some dollar store paint in those shades. Then I painted away. You will need multiple layers. I did three and still stare at the mason jars and find spots that clearly need a fourth coat of paint.

3. Stick a ribbon on it because it’s pretty.

4. Add a candle.

Now you have a mason jar doubling as décor and the perfect ambiance setter for a night at home with a glass of wine and a book.

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Why you gotta be so mean

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re ridiculously mean to yourself? I had one of those this week. My internal monologue sounding something like this “You’re stupid, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you will die alone surrounded by too many cats.”

And as I sat at home wallowing in these hurtful thoughts, I got a text from my friend Jess who saw a self-loathing tweet I had wrote. She wanted to know if I was okay and as I told her  about my crappy day and how crappy I was feeling about myself, she told me she had some stuff to send me. Into my inbox popped multiple empowerment links. As I read them and watched them, I realized these people were right. I need to stop being so mean to myself and instead start being grateful for me and what I have.

So I decided to make a genuine effort to be more grateful, which reminded me of a Pinterest idea I saw. The user used hot glue to write inspiring words on a mason jar. I quickly plugged in my hot glue gun and went to town, writing “live” and “love” on my jar…those felt like inspiring words to work towards. Then I painted the jar over in white and stuck a ribbon on to add some prettiness. Now I had the perfect jar to hold my gratitude.

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Every time something good happens to me or I feel grateful for someone I am going to write it down on a post-it note and stick it in the jar. Then when I have one of those moments where I’m incredibly mean to myself, I can read all the posts in the jar to remind myself why I’m not some ugly duckling with a zero IQ.

I am of course a realist who knows that I will not all of sudden be some really grateful Oprah-like person who is always happy and sees the silver lining…I think to be like Oprah you need her money. But this is a small step to make myself a little less mean and a bit more grateful.

Today I put my first post-it in the jar and it was easy to know what I was grateful for…the amazing person who inspired this idea.

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P.S. For you own empowerment check out these links. The kid is right, if we didn’t have Michael Jordan we wouldn’t have Space Jam and that would be TRAGIC! And a little T-Swift, which all my friends have been singing this week and makes me smile.

You can hang with me

As a lover of all things pretty, I have a long list of clothes and accessories I want. But as a student with limited funds, I spend my money on edible goodies, not fashionable ones. So I decided to start DIY-ing accessories. Lately everyone has collar necklaces, but I cringe at the price of them–really $20 for that! So I decided to just make my own.

What You Need:

Fabric: I used a leather skirt from a Shania Twain costume–you know circa “Man I Feel Like a Woman.” I got the skirt for $5 at Value Village.
Ribbon: $1 from the Dollar Store
Collar Template
Decorations: I used pearl halves from the dollar store.
Hot Glue
Scissors
Time: 20 minutes
Cost: $7
Playlist: Robyn “Hang With Me” over and over again. I would apologize to my neighbours for making them listen to this so many times, but they should thank me for adding this song to their lives. This song lets you dance and decorate at the same time.

1. You start by tracing a collar from one of your shirts so you have a template.

2. Then you use the template to trace the collar onto the leather. Make sure you flip it over when you trace the other side of the collar. If you don’t, you are like me and end up with two of the same sides of the collar…oops!

3. Cut the collar out and glue the tips together.

4. Now is the fun part, you decorate. You can use beads or pearls or paint in whatever design you please. I liked the contrast of tough leather with delicate pearls. I just eye-balled how far apart to place the pearls, there was no measuring the distance between pearls here. I like things that are imperfect. I used hot glue to stick the pearls on, then used tweezers to pick off the fly away strings that come with using hot glue.

5. I glued black ribbon onto the back of the collar and put a few stitches in to make sure it’s sturdy.

Voila, my own unique collar necklace. Don’t you love it?

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The dumb fashion girl fights back

I try not to ever write from a place of emotion. As a journalist I know that makes pieces biased. But I have gotten to the point where it’s a daily occurrence that I come home from school, curl up in my bed and cry. It’s hard to write unemotionally when you’re emotional all the time.

I am teary as I write this because I think I made a mistake coming to grad school. I don’t regret pursuing journalism as a career path, but I do regret choosing to get to that career through journalism school. I want to be a fashion journalist. But everyday I hear one of my professors act like fashion isn’t a real type of journalism.

Yesterday my prof said reading fashion magazines turns your brain to mush, it’s like eating candy. Last semester a prof told us she didn’t want to hear story pitches on fashion because those aren’t real stories.

I sit there in all my fashion loving glory and feel stupid. Then I get angry because following up these statements is praise for sports. Writing about sports is legitimate journalism it seems. The world respects athletes who punch each other on the ice, yet there is no respect for designers who send intricate designs down the runway.

This, to me, is incredibly sexist. We see sports as a legitimate passion because it is an area dominated by male athletes and a passion held predominantly by males. But fashion isn’t legitimate because it’s an area of interest for females, who clearly only care for frivolous matters like clothing and hair.

My professor didn’t say that the people in my class who watch TSN nightly or read the Sports section daily are turning their brains too mush. Just people like me who have subscriptions to Flare, InStyle and Fashion magazine.

I didn’t realize we still lived in the 18th century, but apparently we do, where women’s interests are meant for the private space of the home and men’s interests dominate the workplace and the public sphere.

To me sports and fashion are no different– they are both areas of special interest. But in my program internships at sports magazines or  sports shows are acceptable. Fashion internships are not.

Quite frankly the reason I cry everyday isn’t because I’m not getting to report on what I want in my program. I cry because I feel dumb. I feel dumb for enjoying discussing what celebrities are wearing, for indulging nightly in the latest shows from Fashion Week and from wanting to pursue fashion journalism as a career. I feel my program is deeming me the class idiot because I don’t want to report on politics or crime or even sports, which to them are legitimate areas of journalism.

I went into this program because I wanted to learn about writing a wide variety of stories. And I love getting to do that. I just didn’t expect that in the process I would learn my interests are an inferior type of journalism.

But I am not going to quit. I want to, but I won’t because I am going to show them I am not dumb. I am going to show them fashion isn’t a frivolous passion. And most importantly I am going to do what I can so that no other aspiring fashion journalist has to curl up in bed and cry because their program makes them feel inferior.

A Sort of Reformed Shopper

Every year I look forward to going back to school. Not because I particularly love school or enjoy getting up early. But because it means back to school shopping.

This year my mom said she would buy me a few items since I am a poor student. So I decided I would be very picky with what I got this year—I had to make my choices count since these are likely the only new clothes I will get for a while.

Many magazines recommend making a list of clothes you want or need before you go out shopping, that way you only buy those items. I always cringe at this idea—why would I want to take the spontaneity out of shopping. That’s where the enjoyment comes from, the not knowing what great items you will find.

Then I became a Grad student with no money and realized why making a list is a good idea.

So before hitting the stores I made my list. I started by flipping through old issues of InStyle. I knew there was a reason I had been saving three years worth of subscriptions. I now had a plethora of style inspiration.

I cut out pictures of clothes and outfits I liked and pinned them to my bedroom wall. I now have clothing ideas every day when I get dressed. This also gave me a list of the clothes I wanted to buy; a pleated skirt, a tweed jacket and a blouse.

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Then I hit the stores.

Having the list made shopping so efficient. If I walked into a store and they had none of the items I wanted I walked out.

But going into H&M nearly killed me. There are so many delectable clothes there and I wanted them all. I saw the most adorable 1960s inspired dress with black polka dots. I needed it and snuck it into the change room to try on.  I was the girl in the change room feeling ashamed not because I was shoplifting, but because I was veering from my sacred list.

The funny thing is in the end I didn’t buy the dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “You don’t need this, take it off and walk away. Well first put clothes on, but then walk away.”

The list really worked, I only got what was on it. I now feel good about my purchases and know I really will wear them. Plus I have my style board for daily inspiration of what to wear with the clothes I now own.

Alright I should confess I did buy one thing not on the list–a pair of hunter green jeans. Come on, who could resist 50 % off. And they are green, which matches my eyes. So really I couldn’t not buy them.

Maybe I am not as reformed as I hoped, but I think I did pretty damn good for my first attempt.

Ode to My BDGs

In April tragedy struck me.

It was an average day on a routine trip to the grocery store. I loaded my groceries and got into the car with my sister. Then it happened–the horrifying sound of ripping as I sat down. I looked and there was a large tear in the upper thigh of my beloved BDG jeans.

As I held back the tears, my sister cried with laughter. She didn’t realize the enormity of the situation. My favourite jeans, the jeans I wore when I felt a fat and wanted to be comfy but still have a perky butt, had just become unwearable.

I had bought the jeans on a whim. I didn’t need them, but they were cute and on sale–which in girl world means you must buy them. So I did. Then my dear friend Jess who worked at the store said “The salesperson told you to buy them skin tight right? Because they get really lose when you wash them.”

I told her I hadn’t bought them skin tight. She gave me that look, you know the one where someone doesn’t want to tell you that you just made a mistake because they love you and don’t want to make you cry. Yeah she gave me that look.

I thought about exchanging them but I’m glad I didn’t. The jeans did sag once I washed them, making them the comfiest jeans ever.

But after two years of loving them they had died.

Then my genius friend Meg suggested we make DIY jean shorts together. We never had time to actually make them together but she inspired me to turn my favourite jeans into my favourite shorts.

I’m sure most people measure their jeans and are very precise when cutting them. That’s not how I roll. I got home from grad school for a three week vacation. I was leaving early the next morning to head to Kingston for a music festival and what better attire for a festival then denim shorts. So in a hurry I just started cutting.

My mom said I was going to look a little bit skanky since I had to cut the jeans really short because the rip was so high in the thigh. But in the end I looked more classy slutty than actually slutty. I then threw them in the wash to make the ends fray.

The best part was I found some old ribbon from a childhood hippie costume. I sewed it onto the back pockets to give my shorts more character. Though I got a little caught up in my Martha Stewart sewing prowess and sewed the one pocket shut. Oops. But really who needs more than one back pocket anyways.

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Martha’s job is probably safe from me but I did make a cute pair of shorts at no cost. Plus a flowy top, feather earrings and my beloved ampersand necklace paired with the shorts made the perfect festival outfit.

Stay tuned to find out how I made use of the leftover legs from my jeans…and no I did not make legwarmers, at least not yet.

Make-up sex requires actually making up

I finished the Fifty Shades Trilogy a while ago. But I needed some time to let my thoughts simmer on the many degrees of fucked up these books present.

My first issue with the series is the way they present sex. Sex can be a positive thing, but in these books sex is not only a form of punishment but a way to escape a fight. This is not healthy. Having sex once to fix a fight is a way of getting out pent up emotions, but using sex to solve every single fight is not okay. Christian seduces Ana every time they fight. They never solve an issue and he never hears her grievances with him—and she has a lot of grievances. As the title of this post shows, make up sex actually requires making up, something Christian avoids because he doesn’t like to deal with his 50 shades of fucked upness. I know this book shouldn’t be an example to anyone of a healthy relationship, but I’m sure some women are using it as one. And that is terrifying to me. Couples may be having a lot more sex as a result of this book, but I’m sure divorce rates will increase too!

My second problem with the trilogy actually horrified me. 50 Shades Freed is dedicated to “my beloved Father. Daddy, I miss you every day.” This was sweet and made me tear up. Then you read a couple of pages of the book and there are anal plugs and bondage during pregnancy—not something I would ever want my father to know I do (I don’t for clarification!), let alone think about.

My dad is the smartest man I know and I would certainly dedicate a book to him. But if there was even a kissing scene in my book, I would not dedicate it to him. I’m his little girl; he doesn’t want to think of me kissing boys. I think he would genuinely have a heart attack if he found out I wanted a red room of pain!

No offence to E.L. James, I think the dedication is lovely. But is this trilogy really the appropriate place for a heartfelt dedication? Do you want people to connect this book and your father? Freud would have a field day with the connection between daddy issues and S&M.

A lot of people have taken offence to the poor writing in the books. There is a lot of it. But my bigger issue was with the connotations some of her phrases create. I have already complained about my beef with Ana’s inner goddess—Lizzie McGuire anyone. But I really got annoyed every time Ana called Christian “her Fifty.” It is the plague of my generation that someone says fifty and I sing “Go shorty it’s your birthday, we gonna party like it’s your birthday.” Ana screams out Fifty and I am thinking of 50 cent, a tattooed rapper with a lot of gunshot scars and a speech impediment. Not romantic and certainly not any women’s –excluding Chelsea Handler– idea of the perfect guy, which is what Christina Grey is suppose to be.

Though the more I think about it 50 Cent and Christian Grey have a lot in common…they will both take you to the candy shop and let you lick the lollipop. Both are PIMPS. Maybe James was onto something.

Another frequently used description was calling the red room of pain the playroom. I’m sorry but equating anything childlike with weird sex is not okay. I worked in a daycare so I hear playroom and I imagine blocks, a craft corner and giggling kids. After reading this trilogy a playroom brings about images of nipple clamps, spanking with a riding crop and submissive women. Not okay, now okay at all.

As an English student my brain is going in overdrive thinking about what it means that James connects playrooms with sex and a story of a dominant man with her father. But I graduated four months ago and don’t plan on writing a literary essay ever again. So it’s my present to you to analyse what this means to your heart’s content. Enjoy!

That is one more thing crossed of my list of surviving summer stress. I’m not sure if reading this trilogy improved my soul, but I certainly forgot about the stresses of daily life.

Checking things off my list thanks to Bravestation

Well I checked off my first task on my list of Surviving Summer Stress. I saw my favourite band on Tuesday night in London.

I first came across Bravestation in September 2010. I was given an assignment to review three bands at the Mansion in Kingston. It was the first time I had ever done a concert review so I was petrified. I was the shy girl in the corner who didn’t feel cool enough to be at a concert.

But I left the show irrevocably in love with Bravestation. Ironically I was there to cover one of the other bands playing that night. Sometimes you can’t help where your music loving heart takes you.

The band was in Londonto play tunes from their new album, Giants & Dreamers. I am loving their new album, it has an infectious Caribbean feel that makes me think I’m on the beach with an umbrella drink in my hand. In reality I’m in crappy London, but at least them usic takes me elsewhere.

They started off the night with their new release “Western Thrills,” an appropriate choice since London is the home of Western University. I adore this song, it has quickly become one of the top played songs on my iPod.

I constantly describe the band’s sound as infectious but that’s the only way to describe it! They just make you want to dance down the street as you listen to them on the way to class…though I try really hard not to dance walk to class. “Western Thrills” makes that a hard thing to do.

They ended the night with their song “White Wolves,” from their 2010 EP. Now this song is my absolute favourite song. It is the song that made me fall in love with them in the first place and it’s the song that I still go to as a pick me up. I may have deafened my friends with my scream when they said they were going to play this.

The only disappointment of the night was the turnout, about a dozen people showed up. In Kingston shows were always packed and there was such an energy from the crowd. The past two shows I have gone to in Kingston for Bravestation have been packed. But Londoners don’t seem to have the same passion for music. Their loss!

As the band was graciously thanking everyone for coming, they said cheers to the people who want to be here. I have to say wherever Bravestation goers, I willingly follow.

If you’re inToronto tonight you should check out their album release party for Giants & Dreamers at the Drake. Or buy their album off ITunes on Tuesday. Trust me when I say this band wiggles their way into your heart and has you embarrassingly dancing on public transportation when you hear their music.