Oct 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is one of my favourite time of year, not only because I can wear as minimal clothing as a like and avoid catty judgments and the cat calls are minimal (well that's not entirely true, but they're dispersed evenly throughout all the other woman, and men dressed up in costumes), but also because I've got a theatrical heart, and during Halloween you can be whoever you want. Every year I seem to want to be the same collection of people, usually Disney based, Alice, Snow White, Dorothy, Marie Antoinette (with petticoats and bustles and bustiers, oh my!). This year was no different, as I've already expressed, I wanted to dress up as Alice in Wonderland, but I could not for the life of me, find an Alice costume I liked, and I didn't find I had enough time to make one myself. Fortunately, on Saturday afternoon (October 30th), I found my costume: Minnie Mouse! It makes sense since I love all things Disney that I may as well dress up as the indirect matriarchal symbol of the brand I love.

I had a fun night, although I've had some issues plaguing my thoughts, but all was set aside to focus on finding and accessorizing the right costume. As fun as that search may be, it can also be quite stressful, so my friends and I have decided that next year we're going to have a costume swap! We're all relatively similar in size, and would have a large pool of costumes to choose from. I'm excited already! In the meantime I'm looking for Halloween costume sales now, because as Ministry said "every day is Halloween," or at least it is for me, behind closed doors.

Oct 26, 2010

Lykke Li - Get Some (Video)

You can never go wrong with Lykke Li, so when I spotted this over at 2Dopeboyz, I became overfilled with (tired) joy; and of course I knew I had to share. I wonder what she's singing about,
"Don't pull your pants before I go down/Don't turn away, this is my time/Don't make demands, I don't take none/Just say a prayer that it gon' get done/Like this shotgun needs an outcome/I'm your prostitute, you're gon' get some"
It's not very clear, I'm really puzzled over the content of this song. While I mull it over, you can download the new single from Lykke's website, for free! Enjoy.

Oct 25, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance Canada Winner!

Congratulations to Denys Drozdyuk, the Ukrainian-born winner of Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. He's a great talent, with a very dry and reserved personality, that I actually found charming myself, I am shocked however that the Canadian nation felt the same. Actually, I shouldn't be that surprised, we are Canadians, we're a dry bunch. The American population would probably not have warmed up to Denys, and he would have been voted off weeks ago, so I guess it's a good thing he left NY after graduating Julliard to audition for Canada's SYTYCD season instead of the US.

I admit, I was disappoint to see Danielle and Mackenzie leave, since they were my two favourites, but for the first time in a while I am not in complete disagreement with the winner. Denys was my next favourite and was definitely one of (if not the) best dancers on that stage. My only commentary that could be taken as a negative, is that I find it somewhat ironic that the winner of a SYTYCD Canada was not actually even born in Canada, nor have they lived, nor studied in Canada for very long. So truthfully, he barely represents this country, and yet he holds the title of "Canada's Favourite Dancer." Fortunately for him, we're a mosaic and welcome all nations into our country, onto our stages and into our contests. Denys is now $100, 000 richer (and it's tax-free, can't get that in the US) and is the proud owner of a... car.

As a conclusion I just need to mention Nico Archambault, season one winner of SYTYCD Canada, for no other reason than to basque in his talents, accent and face. And why not compare a video of the Season 3 winner dancing salsa versus Season One.

Denys with Amanda,

Nico with Arassay.

Who's performance do you prefer?

Oct 20, 2010

Going to the Movies: Fashion Films

I realize that Sex and the City 2 was only in theatres a mere 4 months ago, but I am in need of another fashion inspiration film! I was in horrible mood all week, but especially last night, so I fell down my stairs on my way to the elliptical (yeah it was that kind of day), and slipped The Devil Wears Prada into the DVD player. After about 10 minutes I was starting to feel better, thanks to the rush of exercise endorphins, and then suddenly, my mood was lifted! Why you ask? Well my favourite part, the makeover/coat montage, began. A little Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Blahnik, Nancy Gonzalez, Narciso Rodriguez and of course in desperate need of Chanel, as Madonna's "Vogue" plays, it doesn't get any better.

By the time Andy was in Paris and I hopped off the elliptical with some bounce in my step and in a much better mood. Then it hit me, I need another uplifting fashion film, and fast, because I'm sure I'll be in the same cranky state in no time. So until they make the movie of Chasing Harry Winston or Bergdorf Blondes, I've compiled a list to hold me over.

In the past we've had the Material Girl herself in Desperately Seeking Susan, offering us large bows, white lace, cropped tights and jackets. It was all that I wanted to be in the 80s, Madonna was my hero, and her DSS look is what I emulated. Bangles up one arm, a sheer scarf tied in my hair, opaque white tights on my legs; Oh how I'd like to give little Aleashia a hug right now, 'cuz she was so darn adorable!

Even further in the past, was Madonna's main influence, Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes alongside Jane Russell. Most memorable was Marilyn's iconic hot pink satin, strapless dress (which Madonna emulated for her "Material Girl" video) during her "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" number, but overlooked are all both the ladies' everyday fashion. The navy blue sheath dress Marilyn wears at the train station, accessorized with the leopard muff, Jane's halter maillot.. It makes me want to dress like a lady and show off all my curves.

Another musical whose fashion encourages you to embrace those curves, Grease had both the voluminous poodle skirts and the body hugging pencil skirts. And who hasn't wanted a Pink Ladies jacket or skin tight satin pants? I lip-synched Olivia and John's "Summer Lovin'" during a drama class performance. The guys kept the 50s greaser look, but we ladies decided to duplicate the pink jackets, 90's grunge style, with matching plaid shirts. Looking back on it now, I see where we went wrong and how we did this stylish movie an injustice!

And to end this list, as we began, with a Anne Hathaway film; recently we were blessed with an unexpected fashion film, Alice in Wonderland. Alice has already inspired photo shoots (Vogue 2003) and infamous designers (Galliano) in the past, but as I've already described my affection, the costuming of Tim Burton's adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic fused the line between modern and traditional. It has inspired me so much that my dog is dressing up as the White Rabbit for Halloween, and you'll never guess who I'm going to be...

Oct 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Nintendo Entertainment System

I should say Happy Belated North American Birthday; yesterday October 18th the Japanese game system turned 25 years old. I remember when it first came out, and a ginger friend of mine who lived down the block got one. At first, I wasn't overly intrigued, since I had experienced my step dad's Atari and wasn't overly impressed (Spider-Man was the only game we had. I had no idea what to do with it, so I would just climb up walls, perhaps I'd have the ability to jump from building to building, but the fun ended there. I had no idea how to proceed in the game nor what the purpose of it was). One day, her older brother finally stepped away from the basement and the game console and I was introduced to Duck Hunt. Being a little girl who had been going target practicing since I was 6, I loved Duck Hunt! It allowed me to practice my shooting, without having to wait to be taken out in to the country, plus I was a bit of a show off- I had excellent aim. After that I became a little obsessed with obtaining a Nintendo game console of my own; did I? No. I was given a Sega. A few years later, a Sega Genesis. All I wanted was to play a little Super Mario Bros 3 on my own! On a positive note, at least my sister has a Wii I get to use (to weigh myself), and my cousins also have a Wii which we use to play Tennis & Dancing with the Stars

I've never been a major video game player, I lose interest quickly and get easily frustrated if I don't succeed, plus I press the controller too hard and get video-game-thumb, but I still have very fond memories playing on a Nintendo system with friends. So Happy Birthday Nintendo, may you look as youthful in another 25 years!

*Oh did I say "I remember when Nintendo first came out?" Err.. How silly of me! I meant to say, I remember when Nintendo came out...ten years later; Since I am not old enough to remember that day, clearly I was not born yet. I swear! Have I just dated myself?

Oct 17, 2010

R.I.P. Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen

"Real life is lost, and in a bottle he tries to find it. "It's not fair", he mumbles through a nightmare."

I received this saddening news earlier today, and was in shock. For those that are not familiar with the name, Eyedea was the lyricist half of the Minnesota hip hop duo Eyedea & Abilities. He was a talented emcee with impressive freestyling skills, and an incredible flow. I've been a big fan of his voice for over half a decade, and this news affects me personally. There's something about artists we relate to and admire that encourages a sense of attachment; I find that sentiment is heightened when dealing with the loss of "underground" artists, artists that have not given their lives to the masses, those you feel are yours alone. Eyedea is one of those people. Not everyone will be affected by this tragic loss, but the small community that was lucky enough to have been introduced to his talents.

No details about Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen's death have been released as of yet. There is a memorial fundraiser page on Facebook, however, for those who would like to pay their respects by donating to his funeral.

Photo Credit: Rhymesayers.com

Oct 16, 2010

Fitness Friday: Relieving Tension

After a long day at work, and a commute home that felt like an eternity (thanks in part to the train stopping for 20 minutes, for reasons unknown to me), I really didn't see making my way to the gym for a full body weight session to be all that feasible; even though I brought my gym clothes to work. Not the best way to end your day, nor your work week-- in a foul mood. After an hour of recuperating and gathering my strength (ie. Drinking Red Bull), I put on my sports bra and runners, and heading downstairs to hop on the elliptical for 45 minutes and watch back to back episodes of She-Ra: Princess of Power. As you may have already guessed, it helped. My mood was restored to a more balanced level, as I noticed it continues to level out or raise significantly after a good workout, and I was in a generally better mood. The moral of my story? No matter how tired or sore from a long (15.5 hour) work day you may be, hitting the gym or doing some kind of physical activity really helps alleviate that stress and tension, and helps keep you fit all at the same time.

I need to remind myself of this daily, since I've been a very cranky girl lately, mostly because I don't feel like I have enough time to actually go to the gym and workout, but also thanks to early mornings and long commutes. But no matter how much time I feel like I don't have, I need to ensure I do something, anything, to release some of that pent up frustration and tension.

This week, I dusted off the cover of an old Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine, from April 2003, and pulled out their featured full body workout. The routine calls for 3 full body workouts a week, along with 2 cardio sessions daily. Clearly, I'm unable to adhere to both cardio workouts thanks to my lack of time and lack of sleep, but I can certainly squeeze in one cardio session and follow all 3 unique body plans. Depending on the day I may be doing supersets, which involve doing one exercise for one body part, and immediately follow up with another set for an opposing body part. Example: Tricep dips, followed by preacher curls; Compound sets consist of following your first set immediately with another exercise that hits the same muscle group. Example: Push ups followed by a dumbbell flyes. The last full body routine is a high powered circuit, which only allows 25 seconds per move before moving to the next station, and aiming to complete 45 total reps by the end of the circuit. I'm clearly excited to try something new, and while I was in the zone to take on the unknown, I've begun reading Oxygen columnist, Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Recharged! I have yet to full apply the principles of the first step of her plan, due to it restricting dairy and me not wanting to waste all my delicious goat, cottage, mozzarella and cream cheese, but I will. As soon as my dairy farm supply runs out!

Oct 14, 2010

Lauren Conrad's Busy Month

The third and final installment of Lauren's L.A. Candy novel triology, Sugar and Spice, found it's way to bookshelves this month on October 5th. That same day, you would have been able to find Lauren Conrad's name in another section of your bookstore, with her book Lauren Conrad Style, which as you can guess is a style guide co-written with Lucky Magazine editor-at-large Elise Loehnen. Tomorrow I'll be stopping by my local Indigo to pick up High-Powered Investing for Dummies, but don't be fooled that I will pass up picking either of these two books. First off, I read the first two novels of Lauren's triology, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them and how easily read they were. Lauren has a very smooth and simple writing-style, which was perfect for the novels' subject, loosely based on her own life, and perfect for summer reading. While I don't feel as if I need a style guide, I can't help but collect them, and I'm a fan of Lauren's no-fuss, polished California girl-chic choices, so I'm definitely interested in reading about her style motto's.

I absolutely loved Lauren's white lace Notte by Marchesa sheath mini, she wore to a book signing.

Lauren continued to look flawlessly chic during her book tour, in this navy blue BCBG Max Azria draped mini, with matching patent belt and pumps.

Looking chic yet casually cool in Amanda Uprichard's "Ella" dress,

In a favourite of mine, Halston Heritage's bohemian "Night Fever Cape Dress, " now that's some great advertising for both the book and HH!

I'm even more interested in Lauren Conrad Style, especially since when Lauren first started out on The Hills, she was stretching out a Forever 21 wardrobe to look great on camera, without any repeats. According the reality star, the book is about building around key fashion items, advice every girl could benefit from and save their wallets from emptying too quickly and their closets from being over-stuffed...ah-hem.

On top of all of this, Lauren begins filming for her new TV show next week! Busy girl! She claimed on "Regis and Kelly" that this show will be nothing like The Hills, and instead of "reality" drama, it will be more of a documentary of the starlets work-life, and getting her and her two best friends' new fashion line Paper Crown off the ground. I can't wait to see how this goes, this new show will apparently be all that extra stuff that The Hills left out... the reality.

Oct 12, 2010

Courteney Cox, "Dancing in the Dark," Alone

While former Friends cast mate, David Shwimmer married his British girlfriend Zoe Buckman, his TV sister Courtney Cox and her husband David Arquette announced their separation after 11 years of marriage. Say it ain't so! I have a large admiration for Courteney Cox, it originated from her character, Monica, on Friends, whom I found hilarious, then my affection of Ms. Cox only grew more and more each year. A lot of it is related to her beautiful face, some of it her cute little dance on stage for Bruce Springsteen, and of course her acting talents, especially her most recent TV series, Cougar Town which I also find hilarious... and it encourages me to drink more wine, which I enjoy. I even like the name of their company, which is a combination of both their last names, and makes up one of my favourite words, Coquette Productions. Because of this I am actually personally affected by this news!

I enjoyed the odd pairing of the two, I love when opposites attract, or relationships you wouldn't predict in a million years and yet they seem perfect together. Jesse James and Sandra Bullock couldn't beat the odds (and not skank around), so all the odd couples of the world were relying on Courteney and David! Who will we turn to for inspiration and encouragement? Even Christina Aguilera and her oddly matched husband Jordan Bratman have announced that they're separating today, and she dedicated an entire album to him, proclaiming herself the luckiest woman in the world.

I find it ironic that the couple, who met and fell in love in 1996 on the set of Scream, one of the only horror films I can watch and enjoy (which my ongoing, teenaged obsession with Drew Barrymore is partially responsible for, but she divorced Tom Green years ago, so she has no place in this post), are separating shortly after the production of Scream 4, the 10 year reunion installment, has ended. Since the Scream franchise was originally intended to be a triology, and this new film, in theatres May 15 2011, is expected to spark a new triology, perhaps by Scream 6 the couple who once believed in making "an effort to stay connected" will be reunited.

On a plus side, I can now mourn the demise of this relationship with a giant glass of wine, while I watch Dewey and Gale indulge in coquettish exchanges. Do you think Courteney has to give up her cougar status, now that she's no longer involved with a man 7 years her junior? Looks like Courteney's going to have to start her own fire, and she'll be dancing in the dark, all alone. See what I did there?! Puns galore.

Yes, Courteney is that cute little boy at the end.

Oct 11, 2010

Music Monday: Shakira - Islands

Shakira performed a cover of British trio The xx’s “Islands” at the Glastonbury Festival, this past June. And now the Colombian/Lebanese singer has included an upbeat studio recording of the originally shoegazer-esque track on her upcoming album Sale el Sol. The album doesn't come out until this Friday October 15th, but you've got a chance to download Shakira's version of "Islands" below.

After you listen, compare it to the original,

Shakira made it her own, by adding a little Latin flair and quickening the tempo, although I'm not quite sure how I feel about it compared to the slightly monotoned original. Which do you prefer?

Oct 10, 2010

Health Rules 6 - Think Thin

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! This past weekend I really needed to put those Health Rules and follow my own advice; besides enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, I also indulged on Friday night during a dinner party for a girlfriend visiting from Calgary for the weekend. Needless to say I overate, and really should have followed my favourite Health Rule, "Stop eating when you're full!" I may not have followed my own advice, but the best course of action is to hop back on the Healthy Horse, and pick up where you left of; and where I left off was sharing the tips from Dr. Judith Beck's The Beck Diet Solution, training ourselves to "think like a thin person."

4. Give yourself credit
Positive reinforcement is key in pumping yourself up to keep pushing through and attaining your goals. A perfect example of a time to give yourself credit, is my current situation: I over-indulged, twice in one weekend! But I still continued my workout routine, and am 100% ready to put the past behind me and start this week anew.

5. Eat slowly and mindfully
You're brain takes approximately 20 minutes to register that you're full, therefore eating slowly helps ensure that you don't over-extend your belly. Also, pay attention to what you're eating; eating while distracted can prevent your brain from registering that you've already eaten and encourage you to eat more than you really need to, so turn off the TV and enjoy every bite.

6. Find a diet coach
Dr. Beck claims this is one of the most important components to her program, since having someone to report back to, someone to share your challenges and successes will help keep you accountable.

7. Create time and energy
This is one I need to re-read for myself, since I've begun commuting 5 hours a day for work and I've lost a lot of my free time and am having difficulties fitting in my usual gym routine and eating as healthfully as I would like. I've found myself exhausted and cranky and eating microwaved meals and take-out foods, things that I normally avoid! I need to reintroduce clean eating into my diet (which is why i just picked up Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Diet), and I need to start planning my time better, including making my meals in advance, starting today! I wonder how many chicken salads I can fill my fridge with...

Oct 7, 2010

Gossip Girl Fashion

I finally caught last week's full episode of Gossip Girl "The Undergraduates," and I could not have enjoyed it more, if I tried! In the episode the characters attend a Fashion's Night Out event, and thank god they did! The fashion was superb, and the cameos from European Vogue's Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles, the incomparable Diane Von Furstenburg, and socialite designer Charlotte Ronson. It was a momentous episode, and has perhaps encouraged additional Gossip Girl fashion posts in the future.

I first spotted this beautiful Reem Acra gown on GoFugYourself and they aptly pointed out that it wasn't exactly the most flattering fit for the actress who recently gave birth. On the show, however, she looked amazing, and that Aurélie Bidermann heart-beaded statement necklace was a perfect, yet unexpected pairing.

But Lily's dress was not the original purpose of this post. One of the reasons, is this fabulous black and white Jenny Packham Fall 2010 with teal blue crystal embellishment at the waist and halter neck. The key hole neckline showed off Blake "Serena" Lively's enviably perfect decolletage, and the bold patterned fit the wild child's personality.

Another major inspiration of this post topic, is Leighton "Blair" Meester's silver sequined Valentino v-neck dress. The icy effect of the silver sequins matched the persona of the privileged character immaculately! And as I've said more times than I can count, I'm a sucker for wearable disco-balls (so shiny), especially when they are executed so elegantly.

Even Clemence "Eva" Poesy, the new kid on the east side block, made her first NYC event appearance looking fabulous in a black and water-coloured Carlos Miele Spring 2010 strapless maxi dress. The French actress plays Chuck Bass' new Parisian love interest, and they've really mixed high and lo appearing fashions with her costuming, I hope she's here for a while.

I was also a fan of the costuming outside of the major FNO event, which included this silk, belted Diane Von Furstenberg batwing dress. This has a very posh yet bohemian feel (what an oxymoron), and is paired with a Nancy Gonzalez glazed python tote and Pierre Hardy peep-toe booties. I wonder if the DVF team had anything to do with the styling of this look, perhaps The City's Olivia Palermo had a say in those accessories?

Photo Credit: wireimage, CWTV, zimbio

Oct 5, 2010

Travie McCoy Fires Back at Katy Perry

First Travie McCoy announces he's coming out with a mixtape entitled "Forgetting Katy Perry." Months later, "Circle the Drain," one of the tracks from Katy's sophomore album, Teenage Dream leaks, and it's quite clear who she's referring to in the bitter stab at a drug-abusing ex. And now the latest installment of the Travie-Katy breakup backlash, Travie addresses the rather spiteful, yet honest, track; "I heard she put out a song that's about me, or about some old habits or whatever. I look at it like this: I'm just stoked that she finally has a song with some substance on her record. Good job." 

I read that, and my immediate, rather mature reaction was this: "Oh SNAP!" Don't get me wrong, I love me a little Katy Perry, but the guy's got a point. "Circle the Drain" is definitely the most substantial song that Katy's ever written; and providing he's still clean (which after his sickly appearance at the MTV VMA's, I question), Travie should take pride that he inspired her so passionately and authentically. The emotions within Katy's "attack" were palpable, I can only hope Travie will mirror that passion with Gym Class Heroes upcoming Papercut Chronicles II.

Oct 4, 2010

Music Monday: Keri Hilson - Pretty Girl Rock

Keri Hilson is definitely on to something here; her ode-to-yourself "Pretty Girl Rock," is the second single off her sophomore album, No Boys Allowed, which is still in progress. The Ne-Yo and Chuck Harmony produced track boasts a smooth, poppy, head-bobbing beat as Keri proclaims, "Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful." 

But don't mistake the beautiful singer as an "ugly" egocentric, the song is not intended to be a very public and vain ego boost, instead Keri's encouraging everyone to take the message of the song to and apply it to themselves, think a more upbeat "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. "Get yourself together don’t hate, jealous is the ugliest trait/I can talk about it cause I know that I’m pretty/If you know it too then ladies sing it with me." 

"Pretty Girl Rock" will be available on iTunes October 12th, but fortunately for you, you're a TMP reader and you can preview it below! While you're waiting for your download to be complete, you can watch a live performance of Keri doing the "Pretty Girl Rock."

Now you can join in,  

Oct 1, 2010

Fitness Friday: Health Rules 5- Think!

You know how they say weight loss is comprised of 20% exercise and 80% diet? Well they forgot to include the most important aspect in losing and maintaining a healthy weight: it's 100% mental/emotional! Fortunately there are cognitive therapist like Dr. Judith Beck who have taken their knowledge and applied it to something that plagues many, weight-loss. The following set of Healthy Goals are from her book, The Beck Diet Solution. It should be noted that although I intend to list as many of the steps listed in the book as possible, this post is in no way a substitute for reading the book itself, and I believe that many people would benefit from it's guidelines and advice.

1. "Record the advantages of losing weight"
Why do you want to lose weight? You hear all the time, "Do it for yourself/don't do it for anyone else," "do it for the right reasons, or you'll never stick to it," well what are those reasons? List them off, write them down. Do you want to look better naked? Feel more comfortable in you're own skin? Fit into a wedding dress? Whatever your reasons are, write them down; and whenever you're feeling disparaged, read those reasons back to yourself to reinforce why you're doing all of this in the first place.

2. "Pick two reasonable diets" 
Dr. Beck recommends picking one diet that counts calories and carbs etc, and one that's a set eating plan you would follow. This way you can find the style that works best for you, since let's be honest, failure is a possibility and you must accept that! It's okay to fail- it's not okay to give up. Which is why you have a backup diet, for when you discover the first attempt doesn't suit your lifestyle. Personally I find I'm more successful on a set diet, there's little room for error and I seem to enjoy the strict and stringent rules of set diets, although I find I often blur the lines between the two. I still end up counting, and will eventually add in things that were originally ommitted, or I add them in ways not prescribe by the diet. My two personal favourite diet and fitness plans are both Jillian Micheals Making the Cut, and David Kirsch's The Ultimate New York Body Plan. The latter, however, is incredibly strict and rigid, so be warned if you decide to try it.

3. "Eat sitting down"
Pretty self-explanatory, but it's an important step that we often forget since we're such a busy on-the-go culture. You'll feel more satisfied, and fuller longer when you actually take the time to sit, eat and register that you are eating. When you're mind's on another task, out bodies have a hard time connecting with our brains that we're full. Which is why you should never eat in front of the TV!

Photo credit: stumbleupon.com
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