Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A letter to my first heartbreaker.

Yes, I'm fully aware it has been several months since I posted anything about anything, and though I can't deny the fact that I get lazy (because that's 90% of why), the reason why I got lazy and too unmotivated to do anything is simply this: my heart was broken.

No details are necessary, and though I'm doing my best to move on, the light at the end seems to keep getting further and further away. But having my fantastic support system that I wouldn't trade the for the world, days are a little bit easier, and a little more bearable.

Back to the point. I've been told by a couple of people that to help myself move on, I should write him a letter. Now, writing this (pardon my French) royal douchebag (I'm usually better than that, but you didn't know the guy!) a letter and sending it to him is out of the question (when you've decided to cut him out of your life, you don't go back). There's no shame in writing him a letter and not sending it to him, and what better way to be passive-aggressive about it than to post it on a public blog of mine?

Not only will this help with my healing, but I hope that any of you out there, man, woman, boy, or girl alike, who can or may relate completely to what I went through and am currently going through, will realize that you are not alone. We all go through this, some worse than others, but the key thing is: you are not alone.

And here's the beginning of my letter:

To my first love;

There are so many things I want to say to you. First I want to say how much and why I love you.

I love you more than I've ever loved any other person on a romantic level. I have never felt this way before, and though it scares me, I know 100% that I always will love you. No one can move on from this strong of a feeling, and you know what, I don't want to. We connected (whether you believe it or not) on so many levels, and there will always be something there between us, and you know it can't be let go. As hard as we both try, we will never let go of that. And that's okay by me.

I miss you. I miss how nervous you were around me; I miss how you didn't know how to ask me to hang out. I miss how often you'd tell me how beautiful I am. I miss just being with you, hanging out, listening to great music that you'd introduce to me, hoping that I'd like it too. I have enjoyed every single song you've played for me (with a select few strange ones I just never understood...), and I still listen to most of them. It hurt to hear these songs for a while, being reminded of you and the way you'd sing or rap to me, looking deep into my eyes and genuinely excited to share this one part of your personality with someone like me. I miss going for hikes and being outdoors and enjoying fresh air with you. I miss driving you around this city and showing you some of the best spots that I know. I miss finishing work and seeing a message from you on my phone, wanting to hang out with me. I miss having talks about our pasts and reminiscing about mutual childhood memories. I miss dropping you off and watching as you wondered if you should kiss me goodbye or not. I miss when you'd be genuinely upset if I couldn't hang out with you because of work or whatever the situation was. I miss the fact that I was not comfortable with my own crazy until I met yours and was free to be or do whatever I wanted with no judgement. I miss those looks where all you wanted to do was make me smile so you tried joking, or magic tricks, or dancing, just to see me crack a smile. I miss you, and I miss us.

But I also hate you. I hate the fact that you lied to me. You had such little respect for me that you couldn't even have the decency to tell me you've moved on and you've grown tired of whatever we had. I hate you for being an asshole to my friends. I hate you for being the biggest jerk to me whenever I wanted to be real with you. I hate you for every time you made me cry. I hate how you turned from being the sweetest, happiest, most genuine guy to me, to a scary, menacing, evil, manipulative shithead so quickly. I hate you for showing me that guys can be selfish, ignorant, arrogant assholes, but lie to you to get what they want. I hate you for making me feel so good about myself and then shutting down every fucking word I say or thought I have. I hate you for blinding me enough that I could only see the good side because I loved you so much. I hate you for scaring me into thinking that if I admitted to you how I really feel, it would be shut down and I would lose the one person I would be heartbroken over losing.
I hate you for being my first love. I hate that it had to be you. I hate it.

I want to thank you. I want to thank you for bringing me out of my shell, and making me see that even though I already find myself beautiful in many ways, there are many ways I don't realize how beautiful I am, but you saw those things and opened my mind to those things. I want to thank you for the positive changes I've made in my own life after meeting you. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the harsh reality of where people come from and what makes them who they are. Thank you for showing me that I can be loved, and I can fall in love. Thank you for helping me to realize that you are not the be all and end all of love for me.
Thank you for breaking my heart so that I could find the courage and strength to put it back together; it has made me connect with myself more than I ever have.

Everything happens for a reason, and I have zero regrets. I've lived, I've loved, I've learned,
and I'm living one more time, and I will love again. Thank you, you beautiful asshole, for breaking my heart.

**first photo is of an art piece and a skateboard belonging to (and painted by) the beautiful asshole. second photo is a quote I like to live by (not sure where I found it). third photo is the top of a pizza box I painted on. and final photo was graffiti also done by the beautiful asshole.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sing us a song tonight, well we're all in the mood for a melody, & you've got us feeling all right.

So it's been a while, I know. So much has been going on, what with getting a second job, having barely any time to myself, and having no internet for a solid couple of weeks. All factors as to why this blog has not been updated in... an entire month?

But that does not mean that it is going to end - no sirs and madams. That just means I'll come back stronger with more hard-hitting journalism and real life issues and real world struggles.

Or I could just continue talking about the kind of things I've already been talking about. Because it's what I know. And you should always write what you know.

So we're going to talk about singing. Yeah, singing. Don't care about it? THEN DON'T READ ANYMORE OF THIS BLOG. (Kidding, please continue reading.)

I have been singing since I can remember. Not professionally, obviously, and I'm pretty sure most people will say the same thing. I remember singing Disney hits as a child, rocking out to some Raffi and Eric Nagler and Fred Penner and Charlotte Diamond and Sharon, Lois & Braham. Then I got my first Spice Girls cassette tape (yeah, the 90's were awesome), and all hell broke loose.

Kidding. I wasn't a crazy obnoxious singer as a child; I mostly had dance parties and rock shows in my room by myself. I never had the confidence to sing in front of anyone - not even my family. Granted, there were times my dad would play some old Scottish and Irish drinking songs and folk songs and my brother and I would listen and occasionally join in, but I can't recall ever singing for my family.

But let me tell you, ever since I started attending karaoke at a local bar with a very close friend of mine, I can honestly say I don't know why I was ever too shy to sing in front of people. The rush I get every time I take the microphone in my hand and wait for the song to start, which is only comparable to the rush I get when the song climaxes and everyone cheers because I did a great job - ladies and gents, these are such natural highs it's insane.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how good it is for you to just sing. So I started looking up some articles on the benefits of singing.

And, I'm sorry, let me pause for a second. I'm not saying you have to be a good singer to understand the rush of performing. I wouldn't say I'm a great singer; I can hit notes and I have a different tone, I guess, but people aren't lining up to ask me to join their band or choir, or to ask me for my autograph. You could be tone deaf, or not know any of the words to any song, or not remember any words, it doesn't matter. All that matters is how much enjoyment you get out of it. If you're having fun, who cares that you're so out of key you're voice has literally left your body and left the building? I don't care, and neither should you.

Having said that, let's move on.

There's this article from Time Magazine's website (click here to read it) entitled "Singing Changes Your Brain". The article starts out by saying that when you sing, "musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape". Deep, right? But studies are being done on group singers (choirs, glee clubs, etc.), that are showing lower levels of stress and anxiety, due to your body's release of the hormone Oxytocin, as well as endorphins, which is another hormone released when singing, and is associated with feelings of pleasure. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which is also why studies are showing that singing diminishes the feelings of loneliness and depression. (Basically, if you're depressed, join a choir! Or get some friends together for karaoke! That's how I do it.)

Also (just to solidify my earlier point):
"It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards.  According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”"

So hey, all you beautiful people who may be feeling a little down in the dumps, or even feeling extremely lonely, I challenge you to sing. Sing to your heart's content!

I have a plethora of songs that make my mood spike in a positive way probably at least 75%. I'd love to tell you all of them, but just for ideas, I'll list my top ten. If you feel like listening to them, OMG do it. I recommend them.

1. Shut Up and Dance - Walk The Moon. (Absolutely no fail with this one.)
2. Wherever This Goes - The Fray (Honestly, anything by The Fray. They're my favorite.)
3. Honey, I'm Good - Andy Grammer. (I've got to bid you adieu, to another I will stay true.)
4. Kiss You - One Direction (And yeah, basically anything by One Direction too.)
5. Hey Jude - The Beatles (My all-time favorite song ever. Take a sad song and make it better...)
6. Wild World - Cat Stevens (It's hard to get by, just upon a smile.)
7. Bounce - Iggy Azalea. (Shake it, break it, make it bounce.)
8. Want To Want Me - Jason Derulo (Yes, I do love Jason Derulo. He is one talented sonofabitch.)
9. Vienna - Billy Joel (Slow down, you crazy child.)
10. Is This Love - Bob Marley (I wanna love ya, and treat you right.)

Think of songs that make you smile, and bring your mood up, and damnit, sing until your lungs give out! Tell me it doesn't make you feel better. I dare you.

Also, hopefully this could motivate you to sing as well. It's just me singing, not a big deal. Listen!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.

Okay everybody. I have a little speech about myself.

Yes, I've said a few times that turning 25 is rough. I'm not lying. It's a hard hit to your emotional well-being and your mental stability. I've hit as rock bottom as I've ever hit (I don't think it was actually as rock bottom as I could go, but damn it felt low), and I went days where I'd sit in my bed or on my couch and just cry. Maybe an emotional commercial triggered it, or something heart-warming happened on a show, but eight times out of ten, it was for nothing. No reason. Just a giant lump in my throat, tears rolling down my cheeks, and my heart ripping all over, because something was happening to me. I didn't know what to do; I felt lost and alone, even though I have a great support system. I was stuck.

I started to make changes in my life. Hard, yes, everything I've done lately is hard. Just getting out of bed and being productive with my day is hard. It still is. But I started thinking of things I wanted to change in my life. What about me don't I like, or what about my life can I change for the better?

The first attempt was my career. I tried another job in my industry, only for a day (gave them free labor... YOU'RE WELCOME), but it made me realize how much I didn't want to do this anymore for a career. I need to seriously look at myself and my life and re-evaluate everything.

So clearly my career is something way more serious that needs a lot of my focus and attention. But what else did I want to change? Money problems are more than just taking a step to change them (yes, I know, I could find a second job just for some extra cash, but let's be honest - I'm lazy), so I can't do much about that. What else though? What has made me unhappy for a while that I can take it upon myself to change?


Don't get me wrong, ladies and gentlemen, I love my body. It keeps me alive, has killer lady curves, and I wouldn't even exist without it. There's nothing wrong with being a big beautiful woman, especially if you really own it, so I didn't want to change my body because I hated it, I wanted to change it because I was living a really unhealthy life. Pizzas and pastas and so much bread - I was gaining weight and it wasn't making me feel good about myself. And if you aren't feeling good about yourself, you need to change that.

Because everyone is amazing, in different ways. If you don't like yourself, or you don't feel amazing, change it. Not because I'm telling you to, because you want to. K? Glad we are all in the same boat with this.

So I began kicking bad habits. No more sugar in my tea (was that ever hard), no more binge-eating candy or chips or pizza, not eating white bread anymore, and no more ignoring what was in everything I ate. Holy crap, guys, was it ever hard.

I have a coworker who is all about fitness and eating clean and healthy, and she gave my roommate a meal plan, so I consistently (and annoyingly) asked for one for myself. I'm sure it was difficult to make (I can't eat a lot of fresh fruit, or garlic, or turkey), but when I received it, I couldn't wait to start it. I was finally taking the steps I needed (and let's not forget, the steps I wanted) in order to really jump start my new healthy lifestyle, and let me tell you... every one of you... it's already so worth it.

Lately, I've been weighing myself more because I'm no longer scared of the result, and I've found that I've lost a whopping 32 pounds. How cool is that, right? Just from eating healthy. Guys, I'm lazy, I barely exercise. Just cutting down on sugars and watching portion sizes can make this much of a difference:
Right? That's what losing 32 pounds looks like. I've never been happier or felt more accomplished about anything that I can think of really. It's amazing what you can achieve when you really set your mind to it.

Sure, I've still got thunder thighs, covered in stretch marks and cellulite, and I don't care. I'm not stopping until I get to my healthy goal weight - and I've only got 20 more pounds to go!

I just had to brag about myself, because of how ecstatic I am. I hope this is motivating to anyone that reads it, because if I can do something this life changing, and only by taking a few steps and staying determined, then I believe anyone can.

It does get better! :D

Saturday, March 21, 2015

All you've gotta do is call, & I'll be there - You've got a friend.

They say (you know, whoever they are) that we all have friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime. I have always stuck by this because I believe the hell out of it.

So if you couldn't tell, this post (sorry it took so long for a new one) is about friends. As cheesy as it sounds, I have realized, as of late, how much I appreciate my friends.

Let us expand on all this. Friends for a reason, what does that even mean?

From my understanding, friends for a reason would include people that are only friends of yours because of something like work or school. Friends that if you left your job, you wouldn't really hang out with them, because you actually don't have anything in common, in the real world, really. I've had, and probably currently have, lots of friends for a reason. Not exactly do in involve them in a lot of my personal life, but we definitely enjoy each others company or conversation, especially at work. These are the sort of friends you invite out for drinks or to a party or what have you, and you have a great time, but after you're not in each others lives, you don't really make a point of keeping in touch. And that's okay. Who needs a million friends anyway?

Now, friends for a reason and friends for a season are kind of interchangeable to me. Obviously, as in it's title, friends for a season means exactly that. Someone who came into town for the summer and you hit it off from the get go, but then leaves after the summer. Someone who came to visit the ski hill in the winter, and you definitely go down the slopes together, but then leaves when the weather starts to get warmer. Sometimes you keep in touch with these friends, but not often. And that's okay. Sometimes you just need a friend for a little bit of time. Think of the memories.

The problem with these two kinds of friends, is that sometimes the friendships end badly. I had a friend (we both thought we'd be best friends for a lifetime) who got married last year, and beforehand she stopped talking to me, removed me as a friend on Facebook, and I didn't notice until a mutual friend was tagged in pictures from her wedding. I was meant to be a bridesmaid, but then the dress she wanted for the bridesmaids wasn't found in a plus size, so she didn't want to change it just to let me fit into it, so she asked me to play piano while she walked down the aisle. I was uncomfortable with that; I hadn't played or practiced my piano skills in a couple years, I was way too rusty. But really? Just cause I couldn't fit into a certain bridesmaid dress? I didn't end the friendship because of that, SHE ended it because she came to visit me and I was too tired from a stressful weekend at work to meet her and her other friends for a dinner. And I'm the bad guy??

Okay, rant over. Clearly this girl was a friend for a reason. What that reason is, I'll never know. But she did help me get through high school issues a lot, and we supported each other with almost everything we did. I don't regret our friendship at all, and it's probably the biggest friend loss I've ever had, but I don't let it get me down. Ever. Well, anymore.

Let me just tell you, I'm so damn lucky to have found plenty of these little bastards. Two of my best friends from middle/high school, I still consider my best friends. I've known them since I moved to town about thirteen years ago. One of them, we've had our ups and downs for sure, but we're always there for each other; she talks me through a lot of stuff, and I help her out as much as I can. If we haven't seen each other in a bit, it's like nothing changes.

My other best friend from when I moved here, we have never fought. Ever. I can't recall any time we've been mad at each other. Sometimes we go for weeks without seeing each other too, and again, it's like nothing changes. I can completely thank her for so much of my confidence. She brings me out of my shell so much more than most of my other friends, and I can trust her with absolutely anything. She is my rock, and I never want her to leave my life. Ever.

Now, my most recent friends for a lifetime, I've met them through my job. The first fantastic girl I've met, turned into my roommate, and then proceeded to become my boss. Though we have had troubles in the recent past, we work our way through them. I couldn't imagine a life without her. The amount of care this girl has for her friends is immense, and I love her for it.

Two ladies that I should hope are friends for a lifetime, I met most recently, and my god I adore them. One girl pumps me up so much, and wants to see me happy (though I think that's true for all of my friends), and the other girl just... connects with me. We joke around and make fun of each other, but it's all out of love.

My goodness I have a lot of friends for a lifetime...

Another girl, who I met through school, may live on the opposite side of the province as me, and we still are thick as thieves. We support each other, and if either of us are feeling down, whether it be a little bit or extremely low, we talk each other through it. She's one of the few people in my life that literally would drop everything she's doing to go for coffee with me, or hang out with me, or just listen to me cry about some sort of problem I may be going through. She's seen me at my best and at my worst, and is one of the greatest friend a girl could ask for. A lot of friends of hers take her for granted, and I think they're crazy.

As amazing as all my ladies are, and I wouldn't trade them for the world, there's this one kid... whom I adore. He's my soul mate, and he brings me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I can thank him for a lot of my confidence as well. We help each other through so much, and even if we slightly get into a small little fight, or even a big one, we deal with it immediately and understand each other so much.

So these crazies are my support system, my friends, everything about me and my personality I owe to them, and thank them for helping me realize that there's nothing wrong with being myself. My little minions mean the world to me, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.


How many friends for a lifetime do you have? Do you have friends for a reason, or friends for a season? Think about it, and I mean really think about it. Of all the friends in your life, right now, which ones can you trust with anything? Which ones are worth your time? Cause if they're not worth even a minute of your time, they're not worthy of being your friend.

It's a thing, nowadays, that I've noticed, that some people don't know who their true friends are, and I'm ridiculously lucky to have found mine. Don't waste time on people who wouldn't give the world to spend time with you.

*Shoutout to any friends I've made through any job I've had. You guys help me get through every difficult day - I owe you so much!*

Friday, March 13, 2015

I've been a wild rover for many a year, & I've spent all my money on whiskey & beer...

Okay guys, let's get down to business. Enough of the fluff and the pretty feminine posts about makeup or whatever. Let's do something serious. I want to talk about beer.

But not just any beer, one in particular. Not deliciously smooth Stella Artois, not aggressively crisp Heineken... no. I'm talking about the wonderfully bold beast...
You guessed it, the ever so dark and rich Guinness. And no, this isn't just about St. Patrick's Day coming up (Tuesday, March 17th, for anyone who may not remember), it's also because there are real benefits to drinking this glorious beer. Actually, there are. I've looked them up. Don't believe me? READ ON, MY FRIENDS, READ ON.

Let's start with a brief history of Guinness. In 1725, Arthur Guinness was born in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. His godfather was Rev. Arthur Price, who, in 1752, passed away and left Arthur Guinness £100 (which is under $200 CAD), and three years from that, he set up his business as a brewer a short distance outside of Dublin. In 1759, Arthur signed a 9,000-year lease on a disused, four acre brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, which is where he began to brew porters and ales. In 1769 was when Guinness was finally exported for the first time to England. Due to the popularity of Guinness, in 1799 Arthur decided to focus solely on brewing porters, and discontinued brewing ales. In 1803, Arthur Guinness died, and that's when his son, Arthur Guinness II inherited the brewery. Though Guinness was shipped to many other countries before this time, in 1840 is when a shipment finally made it's way out to New York.

And there you have it. The rest is history (hah...). Now moving on...

Why on Earth would Guinness be good for you? Some may ask. Just simmer down, I've done my research, you have nothing to worry about from here on out.

I was at work one day, just having a chat with my boss, and the topic of how I'm low on iron came up and he said "Doctors told my mother, who was also low on iron, that she should drink a Guinness a day. It's especially good for women who are low on iron to drink a Guinness a day." Don't get me wrong, if I had more money, I wouldn't hesitate. It would happen.

But it got me to thinking, is this legitimate? Yes and no. In the 1920's, Guinness came out with a slogan that said "Guinness is good for you!", which was based on market research that found that people would just feel better after drinking a pint. Well obviously...
It was later discovered that another reason for the ad campaign was that Guinness contained iron. Apparently pregnant women were even encouraged to indulge in a pint occasionally. To actually reap the iron benefits of this porter, one would have to drink approximately 12 pints a day, and therefore the alcohol and calories (only 210 in a 20-ounce pint) in a pint would cause more harm before the iron had any effect. But like, I wouldn't complain....

The actual health benefit of Guinness is similar to that of red wine. It is high in antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, just like red wine, tea and chocolate. These can reduce the risk of blood clotting, which in turn reduces the risks of heart attacks. (I'm thinking though if you went with the 12 pints a day, it's not the heart attacks you'd have to worry about.)

FUN FACT: In 2003, researchers at the University of Wisconsin performed a laboratory test on dogs who had clogged arteries. They were comparing the effects of Guinness, a dark porter, and Heineken, a pale lager. (Both are great, though.) Only the dogs fed Guinness were found to be the ones with reduced clotting.

So ladies (and gentlemen, too), give the wondrous Guinness a stab. I promise you won't be disappointed. (Unless you already don't like it, in that case I don't get you.) And what better day to begin drinking it than St. Patrick's Day? This Tuesday. Do it. Drink Guinness.

Or bake with it! There are so many Guinness cakes and cookies and brownies that can be made, as well as Guinness stews (it is Irish, after all).


So like where did my research come from? I'll tell you:
History of Guinness - http://www.guinness.com/en-ca/thestory.html#
Health Benefits of Guinness - http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/is-guinness-really-good-for-you-54943899/?no-ist

Friday, March 06, 2015

I'll teach the birds such lovely words & make them sing for you.

Ladies and gentlemen... Turning 25 is rough. You don't feel like your life is together, you're stuck somehow and really don't know what the future holds. At least that's the case in my situation. This whole quarter-of-a-century time in my life is so far not a good time (and I've been told by a very close friend that I am not alone, she as well went through this slump when she turned 25).

Though I don't know this for sure, damnit, it will get better.

So lately, since none of my serious, adult life experiences (finances, my future, etc...) have made me even remotely happy or excited to be an adult, I've had to resort to other methods. (I don't know what you may be thinking of, but stop thinking it, because you're probably wrong.)

No, it's not making goals for myself (though I already have 2 achievable goals for this year), it's focusing on things that I love (or am learning to love), and therefore, focusing on how or why these things make me so happy.

I have made a list. Wait a minute, I might be getting a little ahead of myself...

What makes me happy at this point in my life? What should I do to bring up my mood and 'tude? What makes me beautiful? (Threw in a little One Direction. Just keeping up appearances.)

I feel most beautiful, happy, confident, and any other synonym for happy, when I feel classy and sophisticated. (When I think I'm pulling off a Parisian woman look. Key word: think.) But there is so much more than just how I look when it comes to feeling sophisticated.

So to bring up my earlier point, I have made a list.

Alison's Sophisticated List:
  • When I wear lipstick. Not just any kind of lipstick, the kind that really complements my skin tone and pulls my whole look together, while also making me look like I actually have figured my shit out.
  • When my bra and panties match. It can't be matching in the sense that, say, the top is a pattern, and the bottoms are a solid matching colour, or vice versa. They have to be a set that go together. If my undies are matching, I feel like I can really conquer my day. Try it out, you won't be disappointed.
  • Watching old films. Black and white, romantic, and if it has subtitles, it's a bonus. Granted, I haven't seen many, but of the ones I've seen... They don't even need to be black and white. Old movies are warm and classy, and I love watching them every once in a while. Some examples of ones I've seen and enjoyed are: The Court Jester, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, To Kill a Mockingbird (Gregory Peck though...), City Lights, and To Have and Have Not (Lauren Bacall though... Adore her).
  • Drinking wine, especially of the red variety. I'm a huge red wine lover. The boldest ones too. I don't mind white, but greatly prefer reds. The merlots, the cabernet sauvingons, cabernet merlots, cabernet francs, syrahs, shiraz... If they're bold, keep 'em coming.
  • On the alcoholic train, enjoying a before dinner drink, or aperitif. Dubonnet Rouge is my go to. On ice with some lemon zest - the cat's pajamas.
  • As well as my choice of tequila. Don't get me wrong, if I'm looking for liquid courage to sing some strong karaoke, or looking to be a classic "woo girl" with my friends, I'll go for the cheapest out there. But when I'm feeling sophisticated, I enjoy Patron. It glides, my god does it glide, and gives no gross mouth puckering feeling like our old friend Jose Cuervo.
  • Wearing my hair in a low, side ponytail. It pulls hair away from my face (and I love showing off my face), while also showing the length AND looking classy as hell.
  • Jazz music. I know it makes everyone feel sophisticated, so I'm not very original, but I refuse to exclude it from my list, so you just sit down and keep reading. I love some big band swing and jive music, but some slow jazz... makes me feel like I should have dinner parties literally all the time. Love some Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones, Nikki Yanofsky, Melody Gardot... the list goes on. And although she's not jazzy, Edith Piaf is also amazing. Check her out if you want to listen to some pull-on-your-heartstrings French music. You won't be disappointed.
  • Last, but certainly not least, wearing scarves. I've been very lucky and have incredible friends who know my scarf obsession, and have bought me some beautiful scarves that I love. I'm also very lucky to have a couple of great parents who buy me some gorgeous, soft, colourful scarves. I love all my scarves, and wouldn't give any of them up even for money.
All of these things make me forget (but not forget TOO much) about my issues. Instead, I go about my days with a more positive outlook and perspective, because inside my mind, I feel like I've got it all figured out. Even if I don't, I can fool some strangers into thinking I do, and that's pretty fun.

What sort of things make you feel sophisticated? Think about it, make a list, and do all the things to class your life up. Because, my darlings, isn't that what's fun about being an adult?


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bewitched! Bothered, & bewildered am I...

Ladies... (and gentlemen), today, let's talk about books.

Right? I don't ever read, so why the hell would I, of all people, talk about books?

Now I'm going to start off by saying, though I've never been a reader (in fact, I actually would hate the idea of sitting down with a good book and relaxing), after knowing me for a little bit, most people around me think I'm an avid reader. I'd like to think it's the weird grammar gene that runs through my family which would make other people think that. I get this sick pleasure in editing essays written by friends, or really editing anything written by friends.

But I digress. Books. When I was younger, I did read a bit. Mostly in the summer, you know, when I had no school and no job. I was a kid, give me a break.

I was really into those young adolescent female books that most girls read before they became teenagers. Books like Alice, I Think by Susan Juby, Girl, 15 Charming but Insane and Girl, Nearly 16 Absolute Torture by Sue Limb, The Saddle Club series and the Pine Hollow series written by Bonnie Bryant, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, and mystery novels by Canadian author Eric Wilson (the best ones being The Ice Diamond Quest, The Green Gables Detective, and The Kootenay Kidnapper). All great books, all for preteens/teenagers. They deal with the issues that all of us have dealt with at those ages (and Eric Wilson deals with kidnapping and robberies etc... so you know, everyday kid stuff).

My biggest problem was finishing books. Yes, I'd start them, and sure, sometimes I'd make a good dent in them, but it was rare that I finished books. I always felt that the reason I couldn't finish any books was because I was so disinterested that I never cared what happened to the characters anymore. I invested absolutely no interest in their lives, which is not what reading is about. So it deterred me from reading again.

It wasn't until high school that I started to gain interest in classic novels. The kind of novels we're all forced to read in class and never really enjoy. Well don't get me wrong, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and Animal Farm by George Orwell were not my idea of a good relaxing read. Boring, boring, and boring, in my opinion.

I guess you could say that this era in my life was when I started to like non-fiction, as well as period fiction. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is my all time favorite book. What I liked most about it was the fact that it was narrated by the naive and curious Scout, who was a child. She didn't know the world or how the law worked, but she observed and questioned everything that came her way. And we all know that I always question things, so I guess I related to her on some level. Plus, Atticus Finch is the man we all secretly wish was in our lives in one way or another. To Kill A Mockingbird also taught us all (in a very convoluted and poetic way) to not judge a book by it's cover. Even just in the title.

Some of my other favorites include Marley & Me by John Grogan (If you're down for a good cry through pretty much the entire book, READ IT. Don't watch the movie until after. And even then, if you're down for a really heartbreaking cry, watch it.), Holes by Louis Sachar (Really helps put things into perspective in life), The Black Stallion by Walter Farley (Just a really good read), Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (If you're feeling beaten down, this will help pick you right back up), Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I don't care if you don't like Victorian literature, this coming-of-age story grabbed me and made me idolize Jane - what a woman), The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Who doesn't love this story of the greasers and the Soc's battling it out to decide who is the better group of kids? Stay gold, Ponyboy), Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (A non-fiction terrifying story of a fatal-for-some climb to the top of Mt. Everest in May of 1996 - seriously, if you can get through all the back stories and aftermath stories, this is an intense read), and of course, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Which is the heartbreaking true story of Christopher McCandless and his lone journey from Georgia to Alaska, without the use of his car and with minimal amounts of money. My soul gets butterflies when I think about this story).

Having listed my all-time favorite novels, I should add that yes, I love the Harry Potter series as well. I also have many books and magazines about The Beatles (which are all so worth it if you love them as much as I do).
I also have a list of books that are a must read for me this year. I've started off with French Toast, a Memoir by Harriet Welty Rochefort, which is about "An American in Paris celebrating the maddening mysteries of the French", and for someone who is obsessed with traveling to France and knowing the Parisian way, I have a hard time putting this book down. The next few on my list are as follows:
  • It's All Greek To Me! by John Mole, which is "A Tale of a Mad Dog and an Englishman, Ruins, Retsina - and Real Greeks".
  • The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. "Flinn's take of chasing her ultimate dream makes for a really lovely book-engaging, intelligent, and surprisingly suspenseful." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I've read so many other classics, why stop where I am?
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. If I could get through the first damn chapter...
  • Stephen Fry's Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music, as told to Tim Lihoreau. Hey, Stephen Fry is a funny man, and I was classically trained in piano, so I know a bit already. Having a comical spin on it might actually make it interesting to those who don't find it as thrilling as I might.
  • Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? Stephen Tyler's Rock 'n' Roll Memoir. Because I love Stephen Tyler. That is all.
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I've seen the recent movie and know all the songs to the Broadway show, why not read where the story came from?
  • And Finally, Monsiour Pamplemousse On The Spot by Michael Bond. I'm already a decent way through this, I just have to finish it. It's a gastronomic mystery where "If the famous souffle does not rise, France will be in the soup!"
So if you're looking for a book, and have found at least one (hopefully more) in this post that sparks your interest, READ IT. I RECOMMEND ALL THE BOOKS.

As well as if you have any to recommend for me, let me know (however you can let me know... though I have quite a few to get through before adding anymore to the list).

Get reading, ladies and germs! It wakes up the intelligent side of your brain (#intelligenceissexy), that for some of us may be sleeping almost everyday. (Yes, it naps a lot for me too.)  How about you enjoy a nice hot cup of green tea whilst reading a glorious book? I know I sure will.