A Little Something Special

Inspired by the glorious sun that came out on the West Coast today I had intended to put up a summer playlist.  However, after scouring through my iTunes library for good tracks I wound up with 350 songs... a little on the long side.  Anyway, I'm going to break it down a little further by tempo, but hopefully in the next few days you'll be able to get the whole deal, bit by bit.  I'm pretty excited, hopefully so are you.


Listening To: Holier Than Thou Playlist

You can say what you want about Lady Gaga - love her or hate her - but you can't deny she makes pretty catchy music.  I was recently inspired by her latest hit, "Judas", to make a biblical-themed playlist.  I did my best to create some flow, but I confess the genres of music vary widely.  I spent a good hour or two on hypem just searching things like "Mary Magdalene" and "Apostle", but it was pretty hit and miss so that's why the playlist is on the sparser side.  Anyway, let's kick things off Old Testament style.  Enjoy.

Shopaholism Strikes Again

I blame my sister.  After pulling double-shift I arrived home with diminished resistance to all things shiny and she showed me the most beautiful shoes, on sale for 53% off on Haute Look (if you don't already know about Haute Look you should).  Now normally I don't buy shoes online because you can't try them on and that's important.  However, as luck would have it sister dearest has some boots by Pour La Victoire (the brand in question), so I was able to try them on and determine my size.  Between that and my general addiction to flats - which I really do spend my life in - there was no chance I could say no.  Plus, I can wear them to work in Germany, so it's totally practical....  So, in a few weeks' time (maybe a month, their shipping takes FOREVER), I'll be the proud owner of these beauties:


Product Review: Lise Watier "Teint Bora Bora"

When I started this blog one of the things I intended to do was product reviews.  Part of my growing disillusionment with magazines is the degree to which the copy is influenced by advertisers, so ultimately the advice is unhelpful.  Anyway, while I have lots of products I love, I just hadn't gotten around to doing write ups yet.  However, I was jolted from this indifference recently when I bought some Lise Watier self-tanning gel the other day.

Anyone who knows me will be familiar with my slightly obsessive dedication to sunbathing.  While I 100% recognize how irresponsible this is (especially given the predominance of cancer in my family) I can never resist the draw of the sun, and I do love to get some colour.  Consequently my skin tone goes through dramatic changes.  For example, just a year ago during a check-up at the doctor's the doctor observed my pale skin and declared I looked anemic, proceeded to do blood tests which came back negative and so concluded I just looked unhealthily pale.  In contrast, during the summer my family introduces nicknames such a "Senorita Brown" and "Brown Town".  But I digress.  The point is, I am currently sitting at the "sickly-pale" end of the colour scale, and am desperately seeking colour despite the cloudy and uncooperative weather.

I have tried tinted moisturizers before, namely the stuff that Aveeno makes.  My experience was that you have to apply it every day, and even then it takes a while to build up some colour, it comes off on your clothes, and it pretty much disappears as soon as you shave or exfoliate.  The colour was alright, but unconvincing, especially in photos.  So, I wound up using it infrequently at best.

Then I saw the Lise Watier stuff on sale at London Drugs and figured I may as well try something new.  I also wanted to see if the more expensive stuff was any better than the cheap product.

Well, I couldn't be happier.  It was absolutely worth paying extra (Aveeno sells for around $15, Lise Watier is approximately $30 after tax)!  I followed the instructions and applied it all over after exfoliating, then repeated the process for the next two days.  Note: with all sunless-tanners you need to be careful about applying the product evenly and blending down your wrists and feet.  Anyway, After the first application I had a nice glow, by the second I had a sun-kissed golden tint, and by the third application I have the kind of golden-honey colouring usually reserved for mid-August.  The tan is 100% believable, doesn't come off on clothes and blends beautifully.  It works equally well on face and body (although I recommend using it extremely sparingly on your face) and it has lasted well.

I am delighted because now I can get the summer glow I so desperately crave without risking sun damage or skin cancer in the outdoors or in tanning beds (gross).  Anyway, I just thought I'd pass along the recommendation, hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

"The American Nightmare"

Alright, so I found a few extra hours off today and couldn't resist sharing this article, "The American Nightmare".  The article, from Psychology Today, examines the rising rates of depression within the United States and the way in which the unrealistically high expectations of The American Dream set the culture up for disappointment.

A Canadian myself, I had never really considered The American Dream as something that applied to me.  Having read the article, however, I can see many parallels between that sense of entitlement and expectation and my own goals in life.  While I'd like to say that my own perspectives are just positive thinking, that would probably being erring on the side of naiveté.

The article breaks down the parts of The American Dream and the ways in which its components encourage us to engage in self-defeating behavior.  For example, it discussed how the choice to move to the suburbs (for a larger house and a sense of community) ultimately made residents more miserable through the commute and the suburban sprawl.  The article also addressed Americans' attitudes towards child-rearing, work, and marriage.  "The American Nightmare" contextualized its findings by comparing them to conditions in Europe, which made for an interesting comparison.

At four pages long it was a digestible read and the language was accessible enough for anyone to understand.  Read it!



Alright, I am officially waving the white flag of surrender... temporarily.  I have been a terrible blogger lately and there isn't much chance of improvement in the near future.  My (short version) current to-do list includes:

- Get more hours at work!
- Try and fit in a little exercise each day
- Sort out work visa for Germany (which means getting new passport photos, getting a doctor to attest to my health so I can enter the country, getting a letter of intention from my prospective employers, and filling out impressive amounts of paperwork - then paying for it!)
- Learning German with my recently purchased Rosetta Stone package.
- Put together final last-minute details for my upcoming Convocation
- Sort out details of my internship, including where in the hell I'll be staying, how I'll be getting there, etc.
- Brush up on my graphic design skills with the Adobe programs (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator)

So, between prepping for my first adventure on my own outside of my home country and learning a whole new language while desperately trying to save some funds there is just NO TIME for blogging.

This isn't the end though - far from it.  I'm just going to be taking some official time off until I head out and get myself together in good old Deutschland.  Once things are a little more together I will resume blogging with my old fervor and plenty of new material.  If things all go well then hopefully that will be around the beginning of July.

Until then, I encourage you to check out the Favourite Things tab for sites that can entertain you in the meantime.


Quick Update

I know, I know, I've been a terrible blogger lately.  I won't bore you with excuses.  Instead, I'll just say that I now have a bio up on My ETV Media!  You can find it here (right between Bryan Bevier and Caroline Sues).  Provided I don't get called in for extra shifts at work I may be getting out to the DOXA Film Festival (a documentary film festival) so you can probably expect some reviews either here or on My ETV Media.


Zebra Strikes Again

One of my favourite friends has been up to visit for the last few days, and today we (her, my sister and I) got together for a good old-fashioned nail painting session.  Serenaded by such musical heroes as Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Shawn Desman (my "Shame" Playlist) we got our paint on.

I have what appears to be an enduring love for zebra print (and many animal prints in general) so today I decided to go for a "Silver" Gosh base with hand-painted black zebra stripes (Sally Hansen nail pen).  For staying power I finished with two coats of Seche Vite.

As promised I said I'd deliver a verdict on the efficacy of Seche Natural, a new base coat I'm trying (instead of my usual Seche Clear).  After having used it for my last few manicures I can say while I haven't noticed any huuuuge changes my nails do seem to be in better condition (less flaking and chipping, less staining).  I would definitely recommend it!


Facebook Find: Sometimes Democracy Sucks

The majority of you will be aware that Canada recently had yet another election after a vote of non-confidence toppled the Conservative party that headed a minority government.  While it seems excessive to have had so many elections in the last few years I was fairly excited to get rid of the Conservatives.  I find their politics morally reprehensible, which is ironic given they like to parade themselves as morally upright.  A short list of the Conservative Party's MAJOR shortcomings includes:

- They aim to make it more difficult for women to gain access to abortions
- They have a history of removing services intended to help the Indigenous community and have a pathetic attitude when it comes to issues such as the Highway of Tears
- They aim to reverse the legalization of gay marriage in Canada
- They want to give more tax breaks to major corporations and to wealthier families while systematically offering fewer social services, increasing privatization of healthcare and minimizing retirement aid.
- They want to align us more closely with the United States' economy (which seems ridiculous seeing as it just tanked HARD)
- They want to sustain an overseas war that no one wants
- They want to spend more money on the military and expanding the prison system (crime rates have been falling for years) instead of important things like our struggling educational system
- They have no plan and no interest in making plans to deal with environmental concerns.  In fact, they seem to take the stance that the environment is just fine and that all this concern is over nothing

And like I said, this was the short list.  At this point I didn't even much care which party replaced the Conservatives, I just wanted Stephen Harper out.  In the days leading up to the election I was so excited to see people my own age showing an interest for once, and really believed we might be capable of change.  So I went out, I voted, and then I waited for the results.

The Conservatives now have a majority government.  I can't believe it.  REALLY Canada?!  On the bright side, it was a historical election in that the New Democratic Party is for the first time the official Opposition, and we have elected our first Green Party Member of Parliament.  These can be fairly called great leaps forward, and in this sense I'm proud of my countrymen.  But I am not proud that I'm going to have to deal with Stephen Harper's bullshit for the next four years.  It makes me so happy I'm headed to Germany, and hell, maybe I'll just try and stay there.

While I would never deny it is a huge privilege to have been born in a country where I have the right to vote and am able to exercise that right, I find our political system hugely frustrating.  In a first-past-the-post system the majority of the country can have voted for the losers (like in this case, when 60% of the country voted for NDP, Liberal, Green, or Other) but regardless the party with the most votes wins (the Conservatives with 40% of the country).  In this sense I envy the United States.  Their political system may have some serious flaws but at least they can have a party that the majority of the country is actually behind.

You may be wondering why this was filed as a Facebook Find - it's because that picture was posted on my newsfeed and it seemed to perfectly encapsulate the situation.

Canada.... today you disappointed me.


Manicure: She Sells Seashells by the Sea Shore

So to my great dismay my royal manicure didn't last very long... though neither did the dismay, since it meant I got to give myself a new manicure.

There are few things I love more than a nice neutral palette - I seem to live in them.  A favourite colour combination of mine is a soft pearl gray with a shell pink (hence the title).  Surprisingly this is a pairing I have yet to try on my nails, and admittedly I stumbled upon the idea by accident.  I'm definitely pleased with how things turned out, though I do wish the Icing by Claire's polish's sparkles were rainbow like all the others - I used four different kinds of sparkles: Icing by Claire's in "Sparkle Me Happy", Revlon's "Belle", Sally Hansen's "Disco Ball", and China Glaze's "Fairy Dust".  I layered them over "Silver" by Revlon and "Hopelessly in Love" by OPI.  Hope you like it!