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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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.

Fifty Shades of Fucked Up

So I finished part one of the Shades of Grey trilogy. And obviously I’m quite traumatized. My dear friend Ahmed told me I wasn’t allowed to read the books because I’m too innocent. He may have been right!

I have a long list of problems with this book. Too many to name really, so here is my condensed version.

1. How is E.L James getting away with clearly plagiarizing Twilight. I know the series was originally Twilight fanfiction. But come on she could have done more then just change the names, she should have changed character descriptions. They are still clearly the Twilight characters. Christian is a perfect controlling god just like Edward. Brunette and clumsy Ana is clearly Bella. And maybe the worst is Jose as Jacob. Just because Jacob is Aboriginal doesn’t mean Jose has to be ethnic too. It’s kind of racist and offensive.

2. This goddess person that Ana always refers to is weird. Who sees another form of themselves commenting on their decisions. No one. Well actually one person, Lizzie McGuire. But the state of Hilary Duff’s career is evidence why an alter-ego on your shoulder is a bad idea.

3. The references to classical novels drives me up the wall. Mainly because they distort what the novels are about. Tess of the D’Urbervilles is not romantic at all. Tess is raped, ruined, gets married, gets abandoned by husband because she isn’t pure, becomes rapist’s mistress, hubby comes back, and then she dies. It’s not a happy story and I don’t appreciate it being portrayed as a romance. This is my problem with Twilight as well. Stephanie Meyer uses Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights as love stories that Bella and Edward emulate. But they’re not love stories, the main characters all die! Heathcliff digs Catherine up out of her grave so he can die with her. That’s not romance. Also these authors have clearly read classic literature, yet they are such poor writers. How does that occur?

4. My mom has read them. Yes to my horror my mother has read all three books and loves them because of the storyline. My mom is very sweet so I believe her when she says she just likes the storyline. But still how gross is it to know your mom has read about spanking for pleasure, bondage and weird vaginal balls. bleh!

As disgusted as I am I still can’t wait to read the next book. This is what I don’t understand, why am I addicted to something so weird. But maybe that’s why Ana lets Christian be her dominant, it’s horrible but inexplicably you want more.

Surviving Summer Stress

So it’s fairly obvious I have failed to update my blog in awhile. Journalism school is kicking my butt. The hours are long and by the end of the day I have just enough energy to fall into bed.

Something needs to change because living like this is going to kill me. Plus it’s not fun going to bed at 8pm like a grandma. I want my life back.

So I made a list of things I want to do this summer. This way I can actually enjoy my summer. And I can feel more fulfilled because as I’m learning marks are far from fulfilling. Actually they suck.

Here is my list…

1. Take an art class…I use to be creative and I seem to have lost that.

2. Make my own art for my apartment…getting back my creativity

3. Read 50 Shades of Grey trilogy…don’t judge me. The book is so popular I need to see what all the mommy porn fuss is about. Of course I will be doing so in the privacy of my own home where no one can see what I’m reading.

4. Go to a concert in London…I am failing at exploring my new city.

5. Explore Toronto…There are so many art events I always want to go to and I never find the time to go. So this summer I will go the Picasso art exhibit and the new exhibit on Ballet Costumes.

6. Make my own popsicles…who doesn’t love a summer treat. Plus I read a delicious sounding recipe with lavender and apricot flavoured popsicles. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

7. Take a mini road trip…I am broke so this will be a very mini trip.

8. DIY denim shorts..my favourite jeans ripped. They will now become my favourite shorts.

9. Baking experiment…I once made cupcakes explode in the oven. Not on purpose of course. This summer I will try to become a baker. Clearly I will attempt the popsicles first and judge my proficiency from there.

10. Hair Makeover…my dear friend calls my hair Medusa, so I am going to make an effort everyday to do something fun with my hair. Can you say hair accessories crafts!

And the best part is I’m going to blog about each of my experiences! It’s almost July 1, so two months and counting to finish all ten tasks. Let the mayhem begin.

The Case of the Missing Sugar Packets

I watch a lot of TLC…that will be the topic of a future post. One of my favourite shows is My Strange Addiction, it’s hard not to become mesmerized at people addicted to sleeping with blow dryers or eating dish detergent. I always joke that I should have my own TLC show, but I would cringe if I was on this show.

But today I realized I could be on My Strange Addiction because I, Alyssa Ashton, have an addiction to stealing sugar packets.

Borrowed sugar from various places…I can’t reveal my sources.

I’m not cheap, but I refuse to spend money on buying a bag of sugar. So instead I steal sugar packets. Like a thief I check all around me before grabbing a handful of packets and stuffing them into my purse. Unlike a normal thief I don’t have to run away because there is no detectors for stolen sugar.

I pathetically even steal sugar from work. My old workplace use to get coffee delivered once a week. I never drank the coffee but I did pilfer many bags of sugar. I mean it was a huge container full of sugar packets that no one used, I was just doing my citizen’s duty to ensure nothing went to waste. You know the landfills are filled with waste already, we must control our garbage levels.

I even make friends get in on my addiction, requesting they ask for extra sugar packets when we go through the drive through at Tim Hortons. I’m surprised the Tim Hortons servers don’t question why we ask for two sugars in the coffee, plus five bags of extra sugar. Or that they don’t call an ambulance since clearly this would send us into diabetic shock if we consumed SEVEN bags of sugar.

Now people, mainly my old housemate, ask me why I don’t pay the $3 for a bag of sugar. My response, because this is free. Plus it allows for portion control. The other day I was making a glazed balsamic sauce and I needed one tsp of sugar. So I poured my sugar packet into my tsp and guess what, it was exactly a tsp. What luck and now I know how much sugar goes in my tea everyday.

I realize this may not be a strange addiction, maybe my pathetic addiction is a more apt title for my disease. But no matter how pathetic it is I will still continue to borrow sugar packets from whatever coffee shops I frequent.

Awkward Alyssa

Do you remember back in elemntary school – and unfortunately sometimes in high school and university – when they made you go around the circle and give an alliteration for your name. Like Magic Mark and Nice Nicole.

I always struggled with this game…what A word suited me best.

Amazing – Not a great first impression if I said this about myself. I would be that full of herself girl for the entire year.

Artsy/Artistic – People would expect me to be good at Art, which I’m not. Those who can’t do, write about it.

And these were the only two A adjectives I could come up with. But as I grew up and endlessly tripped over my own feet, giggled at inappropriate moments and failed at having normal conversations, I realized I had the perfect word for me. AWKWARD

So that’s what this blog is about, all the awkward things I do.

What’s to come: that time I fell over on the bus on top of a girl and why I don’t like balls.