Aug 31, 2010

Shing Shing Regime - We Strive (video)

Today's Music Monday, may come late, but it's also coming from my teenaged hometown, H-town! Better known as Hamilton, Ontario, also better known as Steel City (we've got two steel mills, both Stelco and Dofasco), or Donut Rock Central (we have a lot of Tim Horton's...on every corner). The group is called Shing Shing Regime, and the sad thing is, I have never heard of them until today. The sadder (yeah, I used it) thing is that it was a West Coast American who informed me of this group.. from a city I reside in part time! Am I really that out of touch? Clearly I need to go out and experience more local music shows! I'm using SSR's "We Strive" video as inspiration, with all of it's Hamilton-landmark imagery,

Formed in 2007, Shing Shing Regime consists of its 2 founding emcees Born Truth and Cee Self 7 and newest addition to the regime, DJ AKiiN (a.k.a. DJ TA-VU), originally from Ojamanu Sound. I'm definitely interested in hearing more from this trio, perhaps I'll run into them while I'm scouring the streets of H-Town looking for local musical talent!

Aug 29, 2010

Blake McGrath & SYTYCD Canada

To close out Music Week, and pay homage to Fitness Friday, I bring you Blake McGrath and some of the dancers from So You Think You Can Dance Canada which just begun the competition last week. The Mississauga (Ontario, Canada from those who think I misspelled Mississippi or something), native went from being a contestant and 3rd runner-up on the American leg of So You Think Can Dance, to joining the Jennifer Lopez produced reality series DanceLife, to reconnecting with the SYTYCD family as a judge and choreographer in the Canadian series. And now he sings? Apparently. 

Regardless of the success of Blake's musical career, he's a great dancer and has an inpirational dancers body. How I wish I stayed in dance my whole life, for both the talent and the physique. Dance is one of those things that really touch me and bring tears to my eyes when I'm faced with true, raw, beautiful talent.. but I digress. While we're enjoying the body and possible talent of Blake, let's also enjoy the talent, body and face of SYTYCD Canada's Season 1 winner, Nico and his partner Allie:

And one of the most inspirational female bodies on SYTYCD Canada, also from season 1, and also dancing with Nico (coincidence? I think not), Natalli:

So You Think You Can Dance Canada airs every Monday on CTV, and I swear everyday on Much Music.

Aug 26, 2010

Taylor Swift - "Mine" (Photos)

Tomorrow at 8pm ET, CMT will be premiering the video for the first single off Taylor Swift's upcoming album Speak Now, in stores October 25th. Directed by Roman White, "Mine" marks the third collaboration for VMA-winning duo. The video for "Mine" shows the growth and maturity of the 20 year old singer, depicting the trials and rewards of falling in love, getting engaged followed by a wedding scene that created some buzz back in July when photos leaked.

The love interest in the video, Toby Hemingway, is rumoured to be Taylor's real life love interest. On a sidenote, I could see Taylor actually getting married in her Reem Acra princess gown, it looks lovely on her.

The video was shot at a private estate in Maine, equipped with a private beach, which were used to show the tender moments of the couple falling in love,

Roman White describes the beach shot as being mostly "walking hand in hand along the coastline, and then later on in the video, we kind of mimic that same beach. But it's Toby and older Taylor." Only one day until we get to see this "new" mature Taylor, I'm certain I'll be a fan.

Photo Credit:

T.I.'s Return Performance in NYC (videos)

Spotted over at 2Dopeboyz, high definition videos of T.I.'s secret show at Capitale in Chinatown last week, that I was lucky enough to be in attendance, (I will mention that as often as I see fit, for the record). I've already mentioned one of my favourite performances of the night, and now you can see it almost as vividly as I did, "Got Your Back" with Keri Hilson, followed by "Yeah Ya Know", "Swing Ya Rag" with Swizz Beatz, and one the evening's closing numbers "Whatever You Like," which should be noted was performed immediately after his ode to Tiny, with Ms. Hilson.

Aug 25, 2010

Remembering Aaliyah

It was nine years ago today that songstress Aaliyah Dana Haughton died in a fatal plane crash in Barbados, at the young age of 22. Aaliyah's memory has lived on through her friends and colleagues, such as Missy Elliott and Timbaland; through the new artists she had inspired, Ciara & Ashanti; and of course, through her music videos and movies.  To help remember Aaliyah today I wanted to share with you a couple of my favourite Aaliyah videos.

"Rock the Boat," one of my favourite tracks to sing from the departed singer.

"One in a Million" marked the beginning of the highly successful and complimentary partnership and friendship of Aaliyah with producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott.

"Back and Forth" was Aaliyah's first music video, and I still catch myself singing it randomly 16 years later. I'd love to hear what you're favourite Aaliyah track of video is, including her scene in Queen of the Damned where she rips out that guys heart!

Aug 24, 2010

B.o.B Live in NYC

My week in New York, filled with all the good times and good music, has inspired a new topic week. Thanks to the horribly chilly and grey day the east coast experienced yesterday, clearly Beach Week is over, but thanks to the help of T.I. and all his special guests, Music Week has just begun! The following day after watching Bobby Ray and Playboy Tre support T.I.'s "comeback" performance, Mr. Vegas and I made a trip down to Union Square to watch them work the crowd on their own at the historic Irving Plaza.

We were fortunate enough to watch the show from the 2nd level VIP area, until the industry folk-the best viewpoint seats were saved for-showed up, then our view was obstructed and we decided to head back downstairs, into the crowd, where we usually enjoy a show. Unfortunately getting through the crowd was impossible! The sold-out show was packed, and the crowd was shoulder to shoulder, so we just hung out in the back and enjoyed the sound. The performances were great, and the energy was high, but one of the unexpected highlights of the evening were getting to chat it up with Playboy Tre, and step on to B.o.B's tour bus for a chance to meet the headliner himself. No, none of that groupie/band-aid shit either; they were both very cool, down-to-earth dudes, it makes supporting their craft all that more worthwhile. So while I'm at it, visit 2Dopeboyz to download a recent track that B.o.B is featured on, along with Playboy Tre's track "I Don't Care" off his upcoming mixtape, The Last Call.

Aug 20, 2010

Music Monday: T.I.'s Secret Show in NYC

I have been absent, and I'm deeply apologetic, BUT I have two good reasons; I was in New York all last week, and before that I was not only preparing for my trip but also getting to know my brother, for the first time in our lives! Pretty exciting and nerve-racking stuff! On the plus side, my brother and I got along famously, and I had an amazing time in NYC.  First there was the "Pre-Game Party" at Stay Lounge on Friday night, filled with an open bar, good music and lots of dancing, followed by the highly successful 2Dopeboyz BBQ, which raised money and school supply donations for kids in Haiti, and then there was T.I.'s secret show at Capitale last Monday.

We get to the very regal location, which if I'm not mistaken was once a bank? Are able to by-pass the line-up, grab our tickets and become even more overwhelmed by the buildings decor and architecture. Then I find out it's open bar! Cha-ching! I've been in a drinking mood lately, even though I know I should be avoiding alcohol, (it's a bloater and a weight loss hinder) I was happy to hold my dirty martini in my hand-until I realized it just wasn't dirty enough (plus  it was served in a plastic cup, it's just not the same), I switched to patron & pineapple- a perfect compliment to the evening's entertainment, not to mention the delicious hors d'oeuvres being carried around (yes I was an indulgent girl that evening!).

As for the entertaining, Mr. Clifford Harris was on point for his first big performance after being incarcerated; and then he took it a step further, and further, and further with his special guests. All of which were a surprise, I honestly thought since it was a free show, T.I. would perform a few songs, thank the crowd and be off. Clearly I was sorely mistaken, thank the music Gods! The first guest was the T.I. proclaimed "King of Brooklyn," so the group of us were shaking our heads in excitement, expecting Jay-Z to walk on stage. Jay-Z did not. Maino did, naturally disappointment crept its way into our psyche, but that did not last long! T.I. was then joined by none other than Mary J. Blige, someone I was excited to get to listen to live, then there was Vado, B.O.B., Trey Songz, Playboy Tre, Mr. Alicia Keys - aka Swizz Beatz, Cam'ron, and Keri Hilson! Not bad for a night filled with an open bar and free food! 

It was Keri Hilson's appearance that I enjoyed best. First off she's beautiful, second her and T.I.'s track "Got Your Back" is great song, with a very personal message from Clifford, plus the hook is contagious. I've been singing, quoting and listening to that track on repeat ever since witness their performance! 2Dopeboyz offers you a chance to watch the exact same performance I witnessed here,  along with some additional guest performances. But before you venture off, enjoy the official video for "Got Your Back," featuring a cameo from T.I.'s wife Tiny (whom he married three times two weeks ago!) below.

Just wanna let you know that we appreciate 
Everything you do for us on a day to day 
And I know we don't show you all the time but we lucky that you ours 
No bouquet of flowers could ever show how much we know we need you 
We do all that's in our power just to please you 
See boo, fuck them girls I would leave the World 'fore I leave you 
Make God say even Eve and Adam ain't got shit on these two 

We were high, 
We were low, 
but I promise I will never let you go. 
Said I got I got I got I got your back boy. 
I got I got I got I got your back boy!

Aug 15, 2010

Music Monday: New Katy Perry (single) - Circle the Drain

Katy Perry's latest single, "Circle the Drain" is probably the most personal track she's ever written, about an ex downward spiraling through addiction. With lyrics like, You say you have to write your rhymes/Whatever helps you sleep at night/You've become what you despise, /A stereotype/You think you're so rock and roll, /But you're really just a joke./Had the world in the palm of your hands, /But you fucking choked/ "Circle the Drain" was obviously inspired by her former fiancé Travie McCoy.

Put aside the line "You say you have to write your rhymes," it's no secret that the Gym Class Heroes frontman struggled with addiction, in 2008 he confessed to his own struggles in his battle to get clean on his blog. Add that to the clever use of the word "choked," clearly playing on the Gym Class Heroes song, "Cupid's Chokehold" a video that Katy made a cameo in, as Travie's girlfriend. I guess this is Katy's way of explaining to Travie, and the world her side of their breakdown, and she goes in! You fall asleep during foreplay,/'Cause the pills you take, are more your forte. /I'm not sticking around to watch you go down. /Wanna be your lover, not your fucking mother. /Can't be your saviour, I don't have the power. /I'm not gonna stay and watch you circle the drain,/ Katy's not holding anything back! I love when formerly engaged musicians use their music to take stabs at each other, it adds a new layer of entertainment to the songs! Plus it makes me feel like an insider, like I'm part of the circle (pun, fully intended)!

Aug 6, 2010

Fitness Friday: Fit-spiration, Jessica Biel

We're nearing the end of Beach Week, which is even more depressing because it's actually getting a little chilly, so it feels like the end of, not only Beach Week, but Beach Month, better known as summer (holy commas! Those were not all necessary!). But a little wind and dark ominous clouds aren't going to stop me from laying on the sand or swimming in the now perfectly temperate waters. Which was the case today, oh yes we went to the beach today, planning on a little sun time filled with brief conversations and summer reading, then I decided to go for a swim (alone). I swam as close to the buoy as I could get without getting freaked out by the seaweed that would lightly brush my exposed skin, then would return to a spot where the sand wasn't too mushy and repeat. Yes, I'm afraid of seaweed and mushy sand- I always think a crab or some sea creature has just emerged from the otherwise firm lake bed. While getting a little fitness in with my Beach Week fun, I noticed a grey cloud slowly coming over the sky, but keeping my faith in Beach Week, I continued my back and forth swimming routine until I finally noticed the sun was gone and the sky was taken over by the giant grey cloud, I swam back to shore only to find my friends in sweaters and packing up!

Even though it was a short beach visit, I still made sure to squeeze in some abs after yoga, and have been very conscious about hitting the gym on schedule. I've turned to my latest Fit-spiration to help inspire me to get to the gym when all I want to do is laze around, Ms. Jessica Biel. I even think of Jessica to push me harder while at the gym, "What would Jessica do?"

Jessica would push harder, lift more, go stronger, that's what she do! She may have attempted to convince the world that she's a "normal" girl and hates working out, but I don't believe her! Nobody looks like that without enjoying what they're doing. I love going to the gym, I love working out, I just hate that I feel I have to do it.

But in order to feel as confident as Jessica looks, I must, I have a goal! And my goal includes duplicating Ms. Biel's tan and abs (and butt, and arms...etc)!

Photos from GQ Magazine

Aug 5, 2010

Spine to Spine: Perfect Beach Reads

There are a few places that I do my best reading, I'll only name two however, one is on the bus. Yes, public transportation is one of the best places to read, which I discovered in University, thanks to many mornings of "cram reading," and due to my inability to actually study/read at home. Besides not having anything better to do while you sit there, I find a book is an excellent way to drown out the teens, the crazies, the babies, although sometimes you may need some headphones to really drown them out, but the book remains present (note: It's also an excellent way to ward off unwanted conversation. I'm not saying I'm anti-social, on the contrary, but sometimes I just don't want to talk to you... Unless of course, you're batshit crazy, and in that case, I'd love to talk to you and have used such conversations for a writing assignment). The second, I've recently discovered, is on the beach (or in my backyard) laying in the sun. Since the summer began, I've exceeded my "Book a month" resolution, and am working on my 5th summertime novel. It began with Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy, which I enjoyed more than expected, so naturally I moved onto installment number two of Lauren's "fiction" trilogy, Sweet Little Lies.

Sweet Little Lies picks up where L.A. Candy left off, and as each character develops a little more, thanks in large part to the author switching between narrators and you become privy to what a select characters are thinking, you can't help but dissect who's portraying who in Lauren's real on-screen life. I originally thought that Jane's ex-boyfriend Caleb was Jason Wahler and her first love interest/but he has an on-off gf so they're just friends Braden was Brody, perhaps due to the shared first initial. Then I decided halfway through L.A. Candy that the character inspired by Brody was Jane's bf Jesse, since Jesse's famous "for being famous" and is a definite ladies man (which if there were any doubts about Brody's "lady skills," the episode of The Hills in which Lauren goes through Brody's contact list, eradicated those!). It wasn't until reading Sweet Little Lies that I discovered that Jesse had a major drinking problem, was a complete ass, on a downward spiral, and Jane let him crush her. Then I realized Jesse and Jason (there's that shared initial again) are one in the same, and Caleb had to be Stephen. Piecing together the fiction with the reality is probably my major draw to this trilogy, it's as entertaining, if not more, definitely more, than the show it was based on, and I can not wait to read the conclusion.

My follow up read to Lauren Conrad was Candace Bushnell's latest, The Carrie Diaries, which centers on... You guessed it, Carrie Bradshaw. This is not the Carrie we all know and love, however, this is Carrie before she was Carrie, pre-Sex and the City...actually, pre-sex in general. The Carrie Bradshaw we meet in The Carrie Diaries, is a 17 year old high school senior, wanting to pursue a writing career, dealing with the relationships with her friends and clashing with "popular" girls, and falling in love. It's an entertaining portrayal of how the Carrie we've come to know as an adult became the love-searching, shoe obsessed, fashionista columnist in New York City, before Miranda and Charlotte and Samantha (well...never mind). And although I can't really relate now as a full grown adult to the drama of a 17 year old girl, my inner teen can. It's also enjoyable for a over-thinker like myself to contemplate events in her past that helped mold her into the woman people see today. Who can resist an entertainment novel that encourages a little self-reflection and self-awareness? Or better yet, who would want to?

Aug 3, 2010

Lauren Conrad Designing Another New Line

Beach Week continues with news from the epitome of the "California Girl" Ms. Lauren Conrad. After a failed signature line, The Lauren Conrad Collection debuted in 2007, followed by a much more successful partnership with Kohl's offering a lo-end LC by Lauren Conrad Collection, LC is taking another stab at a boutique price point with a contemporary line, which she explained to People will be more "specialty basics," as opposed to her more affordable line at Kohl's which is more day wear basics. Lauren's new line has her partnering with several of best friends (I wonder if Lo is one of them^), and is just in the beginning stages, but she sounds rather excited about the new venture, “It’s one thing to work with a huge retailer like Kohl’s and there is so much you get to do, but there is a little more of a thrill of doing it on your own. It’s a lot more work, it’s a lot more stressful, but it’s something I love doing so I’m really looking forward to it.” Well I'm a little excited myself. Although I was never an actual Lauren Conrad Collection customer, it was just a bit too costly for simple jersey party dresses carrying the reality starlets moniker; I was a fan of the styles she offered, so I'm interested in seeing what she'll attempt the third time around, and maybe I'll finally own a piece of LC's fashion myself.

Photo Credit:

Aug 2, 2010

Music Monday: Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are

To explain my delay in Music Monday, I will cling to a favoured excuse, "What? It was a holiday!" As for my excessive absence this past month, I turn to "What? It's the summer!" I've been spending many of my days at the beach (including yesterday, but unfortunately it was a wasted day: major overcast), and it is because of this I have decided to bring you Beach Week. Ironically Beach Week is taking place during the same time as The Discovery Channel's "Shark Week," but I hope that doesn't frighten you away. I swim in lakes, Lake Erie mostly, to be precise, so no shark attacks for me!

For the start of Beach Week, I bring to you a voice you should already be familiar with this summer, thanks to him lending his super smooth vocals to B.o.B.'s "Nothin' on You" and Travie's "Billionaire." Bruno Mars is responsible for some of the catchiest hooks I've heard this year, and is hoping to keep you hooked with a forthcoming album, the first single being "Just the Way You Are" released July 19th. "If perfects what you're searching for, then just stay the same." Love it. As an added bonus, I also included "The Other Side" featuring B.o.B. and Cee-Lo off Bruno's May EP It's Better if You Don't Understand. Enjoy.

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