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Decorating Tips For When You’re Renting

Decorating Tips For When You're Renting

I’ve had this blog post brewing for a bit now, and given this is our last week renting (yay!!!) I thought I should post now before the move!

Since leaving home I’ve moved around a lot, living predominately in rented accommodation be it university dorms, apartments or houses.

Though renting can give you the flexibility to not be tied down, or save you some of the headaches associated with home ownership (repairs, taxes etc), it also means you’re limited in what you can do to the property you’re living in.

So if you can’t plant a garden or paint the walls black, here are a few ideas as to how you can make any rented accommodation feel like home. A lot of these suggestions are no brainers, however when you start to thoughtfully pull together all these different elements; you’ll be surprised how easy it is to create a cohesive look for your living space (even if you can’t alter the structure itself) with these decorating tips.

WALL DECOR

If painting is a no go, there are other options for decorating your walls: tapestries, posters, framed art prints or photographs, vinyl wall decals (be careful with this one and do your research first on ease of removal!) and more.

TAPESTRIES

Have a huge ugly ass wall you need to cover up? A tapestry will do the job. Lightweight, available in a range of different sizes, and pretty much in any design or motif you could dream up.

I’m a big fan of tapestries, we’ve used a tapestry (actually the Foggy Forest Creek one shown below) to breakup the varying shades of brown in our bedroom and to create more of an ‘us’ vibe in the space.

Decorating tips - using wall tapestries
1. Mudcloth Textile Tapestry 2. Foggy Forest Creek Tapestry 3. Find Me Among the Stars Tapestry

It was super easy to put up as well. We used very small nails in the corners and a few running across the top, and it’s stayed put without issue and will be easy to remove without damage to the overall paint job in the room.

POSTERS

The cheap and cheerful option beloved of many a college or university dorm room. If you’re concerned with this looking too juvenile, opting for well designed posters will help you avoid looking like you’ve torn apart the pages of Teen Beat magazine (OT: The Teenage Bedroom Tumblr is the best. Must dig up some of my 90’s photos of my room and submit!)

Anyway, I really love re-imagined film posters like these Studio Ghibli ones –

Decorating tips - Studio Ghibli minimalist posters1. Howl’s Moving Castle 2. Spirited Away 3. Princess Mononoke

As for how to put posters up – Blu tack can be a decent option to use, but be mindful – it can sometimes leave a slight stain, which depending on how long ago your walls were painted, can range from easy to pretty involved to remove.

Whatever you do though, above all AVOID TAPE!

It may seem like a super easy way to put up posters or photos but you’ll save yourself a ton of grief if you don’t use it from the get go. No matter how carefully you intend to remove it later on, tape can and will destroy both painted or wallpapered walls.

Losing a damage deposit because of accidentally peeling off paint or ripping wallpaper sucks. Trust me on this one!

FRAMED PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS

I upped my game and traded in posters several years ago for framed prints and photographs and haven’t looked back. It instantly makes where you’re living feel more permanent and grown-up. Interesting second hand or vintage frames will also lend a ton of character to any dwelling.

Decorating tips - use framed art prints1. Joan of Arc 2. Warrior 3. One Step

In North America, it’s pretty standard that apartment walls are generally given a fresh coat of paint when a tenant moves out, but you’ll still want to be careful not to create massive holes in the walls when you put your pictures up. There are other options like command stripes, but having never tried them personally I can speak to how well they work.

LIGHTING

Depending where you’re renting you might be able to change the light shade on ceiling lights easily. If not additional floor lamps or room lighting of your own can help alter the ambience, as well as candles (plus they smell amazing if you get scented ones).

FURNITURE

Decorating tips - unique furniture1. Cirrus Pacific Blue Sofa 2. Diamond Pacific Blue Ottoman 3. Lignum Walnut Shelving Unit

If you’re not planning on any huge out of the country moves, investing in interesting pieces of furniture as you go a long can be a great way to define your style in your home. Whether saving for a piece from Restoration Hardware or refurbishing a second hand find, this is an excellent and practical option.

TEXTILES

That rug really tied the room together, did it not?

the rug really tied the room togetherI’m pretty obsessed with the Big Lebowski, so rugs have become an essential piece in our home (great to hide odd laminate flooring or disguise groddy carpets).

Other textiles fantastic to add character and easy to move with: interesting blankets, vibrant duvet covers, unique pillows, weirdy throws and more.

Moon Child Pillows1. Moon Child Pillow Cases 2. Magical Thinking Rag Rug in Navy

These are just a few decorating tips and ideas to get you going. I always found it kind of weird and comforting at the same time with being able to reassemble my home no matter where I went because of the textiles, prints and other items that would come with me – making home where ever I might lay my head.

Beauty & Style

Hit the Pool – Vacation Swimwear

Hit the pool

We’ve slowly been packing up the house for the upcoming move, so I took the opportunity to go through my wardrobe again while doing so. With an upcoming girlie trip to Vegas in June, I decided to try on my old swimsuits in advance and I’m glad I did because – Boobsapoppin. ARGH. They fit *everywhere* perfectly except in the bust, so time to try and find some new swimwear.

I hate shopping for swimwear. And not because of any supposed body issues but just because the whole process is so awkward and uncomfortable. I always find myself falling over in the change room or panicking as I somehow get myself stuck in a swimsuit or any number of cringe worthy Seinfeldesque type scenarios.

The options at the local mall here are pretty slim but I decided to give it a go.

The first place I headed caters to an age demographic probably 10 years younger than I, but they have nice stuff with a bohemian/beachy vibe so what the hell. I found several different options, off to the change room I went and so the pain began.

Again nothing fit, their cuts were too young and apparently for women without boobs it would seem. I think I shocked the sales girl – who most definitely was born AK (After Kurt) – when she came back a third time to “see how I was doing and whether I needed a different size”, I flat out told her my tits were escaping all the swimsuits and that I had the largest size, so no go.

Cue tumbleweed and awkward “Oh, uh, uhm ok” from said sales girl.

I was dying with laughter at this inside the change room while simultaneously wanting to launch the bikini’s into the air sling shot style. But I’m Canadian so of course didn’t do this.

Onto several other shops, equally frustrating and no luck. The final place I hit I knew catered to more mature women so I excepted would have cuts suited to bustier figures, but the styles and designs were beyond matronly and I’m not dead yet so I finally exited the mall, accepting the ‘Faily McFail Fail’ of the day.

To the interwebs then…

I decided after trawling through reviews to try an Esther Williams swimsuit. ModCloth currently have a promo on now for 30% off all bathing suits – Use Code SUNDERFUL (Ends 05/19 @ 9 am EST) and they stock a ton of different Esther Williams swimwear so I ordered from them.

I haven’t received my order yet, but will post a review later on once it arrives – I picked up an Esther Williams Bikini as well as a one-piece. Hopefully both are awesome, but at this stage I’d be happy if just even one of them worked. Fingers crossed!

I tend to like prints for my swimwear – not exactly the most goth – but give me a floppy hat and a margarita poolside any day! Here are a few of the Esther Williams one-piece swimsuits I’m  currently digging.

Vacation Swimwear

Vacation Swimwear - Beach Blanket Bingo One-Piece Swimsuit Vacation Swimwear - Modcloth One Piece Swim Suits1. Polka Dot Beach Blanket Bingo One-Piece Swimsuit  2. Midnight Garden Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit 3. Tropical Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit 4.Swirls Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit

Photo Credit: ModCloth

**This post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. For more on this please see my disclaimer.**

Musings & Life

Don’t Tell Mama: How To Plan A Destination Elopement Part 2

Rock N Roll Bride magazine

💘A DIY Guide to Planning a Destination Elopement for Alternative Brides💘

So part 2 in my series on how to plan a destination elopement couldn’t have come at a better time, as Issue 8 of Rock N Roll Bride’s print magazine has just hit stores across the UK (also available to order online for those worldwide) AND our elopement is featured in it!

Eiii!!!

Dreamy Desert Elopement - Rock N Roll BrideA copy arrived in the mail today, and we’ve been seriously kirking out over it. Very surreal to see in print and quite an honour to be featured, given how much Rock N Roll Bride’s blog and magazine inspired and helped us with planning our own day.

So – get yee to WH SMITH‘s or Sainsbury‘s for a copy if you’re in the UK or order online 😀

Now onto Part 2 of How to Plan a Destination Elopement!

Finding Inspiration, Research, and Spec’ing Out Your Trip Options

finding inspiration for your destination elopement

INSPIRATION

By now, you can probably guess where we turned to for a lot of our wedding inspiration, and that was indeed Rock N Roll Bride. Kat’s blog is an absolute go to for alternative weddings. A wealth of information, inspiration, guidance, and just a plain old fun in general can be found within it. Kat’s an original, and has been at the forefront of offering up a different viewpoint than that usually  found in the conventional wedding industry. A champion for unique weddings, reflective of a couples individuality, if you’re looking for somewhere to start from I highly recommend Rock N Roll Bride.

Finding inspiration, was my favourite part of planning.

A great way to dip your toes in, is to see what other people have done, and there’s a vast array of wedding blogs out there that help you do just that.

A few of my favourites are listed below:

WEDDING BLOGS

Now, don’t get too bogged under with this though! It’s NOT a competition. This day is about *you* and *your partner*. Comparison can kill, draw inspiration and get ideas but leave it at that. A positive of eloping should be avoiding the stress of trying to live up to other peoples wedding expectations. So don’t turn around and stress yourself out with trying to one up someone elses wedding or shooting for absolute perfection.

With this in mind, get digging into some wedding blogs to see what  other non traditional weddings have entailed to help brainstorm possible options. You might surprise yourself in being attracted to a few traditional options as well. And for as much inspiration as you’ll  find in other weddings, you’ll also probably dislike a number of thing as well. And that’s fine! Knowing what you don’t like is as useful as knowing what you do. This’ll help you begin to get a clear idea of what you and your partner want and what really resonates with you.

Gather & save things to (yes I’m going to say it, but it’s true and does help) a Pinterest board. After a bit you should start to see a theme beginning to emerge with what you’ve been drawn to pin.

And inspiration doesn’t stop at wedding blogs either – look to your favourite music, films, art, personal interests – hell anything and everything can help inspire you in crafting a day all your own.

Research your destination elopementRESEARCH

You’ve begun to gather inspiration and are now starting to get a better idea of what you want your day to look like. You’ll want to put this to the side for a little bit now and start doing some logistical research on the options available in your top 3 destinations (see part 1 on this).

Doing this will help you now in two regards.

1. You’ll discover what’s available to you in each location for your day.
2. From this, you can begin to narrow down where you want to elope.

My suggestion first and foremost is to look at the available Wedding Photographers in each location and start to make a short list of the ones whose work you like.

Talented Wedding Photographers are in demand and can be booked up well in advance. Reach out to the photographers you’ve short listed with your wedding date (be sure to advise if your date is flexible or fixed), and also enquire as to pricing at this time.

And as with researching photographers in your top 3 locations, also take a look as to what’s available for Hair & Make Up Artists, Florists, Transport, Venues and anything else specific to the day you’re wanting to plan at this time.

Search for wedding blogs specific to your location options. We found this *incredibly* useful in helping to decide where to elope and with the actual planning. The Little Vegas Wedding blog was so helpful in spec’ing out all the different options available in and around Las Vegas for our day from officiants to venues to hotels to other super useful information from someone on the ground.

our destination elopementTRAVEL OPTIONS

So apparently 54 days before your trip is the best time to book your flight.

That doesn’t stop you from checking out what the current prices for your dates and locations are though.

Do a comparison of your three and take note of the prices. Also start to scout out potential hotels.

Have a play around with your dates a bit and you may find prices drop drastically give or take a day. Also when booking optimal days of the week are supposedly Tuesday, and also over the weekend as there are less business travellers looking then so prices can be lower. We booked the main part of our trip through Expedia and because we bundled our hotel and flights together the price was discounted.

Airbnb is a great alternative as well for accommodation. Often it can be a lot less expensive than a hotel, and you can find some truly unique and intimate places to stay.

Now’s also the time to make sure both your passports are up to date and won’t be expiring within 6 months of your trip. The last thing you want is to have to be rushing a passport renewal so get it sorted now.

As well, depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you may need a Visa to enter a different country. Factor this in and make sure you allow ample time to apply and for the visa to process if this is the circumstance you find yourselves in.

Additionally, everywhere is different, so you might also need to be physically present somewhere for so many days before the actual wedding to be allowed to get married there. Find this out in advance and plan accordingly!

Don’t forget about vaccinations if you’re going somewhere which requires additional shots than you might already have. You definitely don’t want to be sick on your wedding day.

QUICK RECAP & TO DO’S:

  • Get inspired – check out wedding blogs, discuss with your partner what your ideal day looks like for both of you, what you both envision wearing, what themes appeal to you, and start saving visuals/collecting things which resonate with you.
  • Research – find photographers whose work you adore in your destination options. Go through their portfolios and read up on them to see if they’d likely gel with your style and what you’re envisioning for your day. Start to reach out to them to enquire about availability and pricing. Do this as well with anything else needed for your elopement in your location options.
  • Cost out your travel – take a look at your dates and how much it’ll cost roughly to get you to your destination options. Look at what you need to get there (passports, shots, visas etc). If the prices are astronomical for one location that might knock it out of the running depending on your priorities and flexibility of your budget.

TIPS & TRICKS

Again – stay organized and keep track of everything with Google Docs & Google Sheets.

Get yourself a Pinterest account, start exploring and pin away!

Try making a mix of songs which remind you of each other. I love using 8tracks. Listening to this might help further inspire you as to themes for your day. It’s also pretty sweet and romantic to put together.

UP NEXT IN THE SERIES: Elopement Style.



Tattoos

May The Fourth Be With You – Star Wars Tattoos

Leia & Han. I love. I know.

You’re a girl. You can’t like Star Wars!” was frustratingly something I heard often from other children when I was little.

Happily my parents disagreed, and both my Brother and I grew up on a healthy diet of Star Wars. I’m also glad to be of an age where I was young enough to love the Ewoks (I don’t care if they look like little bears on crack, they’re my bitey furry friends!) Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure always had me wishing my curls were blonde or that I had a snazzy white headband like Cindel too. And the Droids cartoon was an absolute classic.

I still love the films and was so excited to to see the new one had such a strong female lead with the character of Rey.

And yes though The Force Awakens may be derivative of A New Hope, that doesn’t make it any less of a fun film, and also, what feels like an apology to fans and a promise that this trilogy of films will not be like the prequels.

So, here we are another May The Fourth, and what better way to get your geek on this Star Wars Day then with a round up of some fantastic Star Wars tattoos – all of which have been created by several highly talented lady tattooers! And if you’re on Instagram and love tattoos, be sure to show your support and follow these artists as well!

Star Wars Tattoos

A photo posted by Suspiria (@suspirialand) on

A photo posted by Jenn Siegfried (@jenderella) on

A photo posted by Sadee Glover (@sadee_glover) on

A photo posted by Tara Timoon (@taratimoon) on

A photo posted by Rizza Boo (@rizza_boo) on

A photo posted by Annie Frenzel (@anniefrenzel) on

And for some killer Star Wars inspired flash, be sure to checkout Parlor Tattoo Prints (the artwork pictured at the top of this post of Leia & Han is from there) by the talented Quyen Dinh!

Musings & Life

Speed of Life

wee haus

Since the car accident, I’ve found myself rather distracted (yes, yes more than I normally am). Life is simultaneously crawling at a snails pace and speeding by.

In less than a few weeks we’ve found ourselves as new car owners (gah) and home owners. I miss the European lifestyle of not needing a vehicle, something which is a near impossibility living in Northern Ontario with how spread out things are and of course with our winters to rival those in Game of Thrones.

So wheels are acquired, and I find myself nervous and bracing when other cars cut us off or we turn sharply, painfully aware of my own mortality and how quickly (and easily) something could happen. I need to get over this, or through this, or whatever the hell – summer is coming (see what I did there?) and with it road trips which I’d once be so excited for, but now feel a sense of dread and impending doom in the pit of my stomach as they approach.

A matter of time, I suppose.

And while my wee head is still reeling from that, we’ve also just bought our first home! Something I never thought would really be possible, but with housing prices so affordable in the North and enough for a down payment saved, our mortgage will be even cheaper than renting here!

So while this is fantastic, waiting to move at the end of the month is driving me nuts.

It feels like our upstairs neighbour has amped up his weeknight partying and random clomping about, like he almost knows we’re going and is revealing in the fact with making our walls shudder and waking us up at ass o’clock during the work week.

I don’t sound very “Rock N Roll” here I’m aware, but seriously, I’m really envisioning something like this going on upstairs:

It’s not that their music or talking is crazy loud, all of that is pretty muffled, and we can drone out, it’s the jumping which is making our light fixtures and ceiling shake and our cats freak out. Like is there some intense Wii-playing going on up there? Wrestling? It certainly isn’t Dance-Dance-Revolution or amateur Stomp (not rhythmic enough). Just…WTF?

We opted to be passive aggressive instead of going upstairs and knocking on the door at 2am (I don’t think I’m quite ready for that). We can tell said neighbour probably has little speakers attached to an iPod or something vs…well Jeff’s a nerd and we have a proper sound system, so we threw on some aptly named ‘Death From Above 1979 (all bass and drums) and played the album in it’s entirety really loudly. It’s quite a beauteous thing to hear coming out of a pair of decent speakers I have to say.

Are we childish? Maybe, but it got the point across that we can ‘party’ as well, and equally if not more so, louder. The stomping ceased and we didn’t have to go upstairs and feel like Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in Neighbours. They’re still having wrestling sessions from the sounds of it at times but at least it’s not at 2am. Still bloody annoying.

Man I am so ready for us to have our own home. And not just because of of the neighbours.

My adult life has been rather nomadic, always packing up and unpacking somewhere new it seemed. I think I’ve moved 19 times in the last 15 years, so this is a change I’ve been wanting for some time.

I’ve started going down a DIY blackhole – binging on HGTV – the tiny houses, the home renos, house hunters, and OMFG LOOK AT THAT KITCHEN BACKSPLASH!*)(@&#) Uhhhhhhh….so…very strange. I feel like I need to detox from that stuff for a bit now.

So that’s where I’m finding myself currently, counting down the days till we’re finally in our new home together, and listening to Death From Above 1979 ;>

Beauty & Style

Gypsy Warrior Review

YRU Laso Boots from Gypsy Warrior

I was first introduced to Gypsy Warrior a few years ago by a work colleague with killer style. I’ve followed the company ever since – part professional interest (back when I was an E-Commerce Manager) and part personal interest – but had never ordered from them previously.

I’m always a bit nervous with online ordering from a company whose fit are an unknown to me, regardless of all the detailed size charts or what have you. But a recent “Curvy Warrior” blog post on Gypsy Warrior caught my attention and I decided to hazard an order.

And I’m very glad I did!

Confession time – as soon as I get home I strip off and jump into jammies. This isn’t a new thing, hell my friends at Uni used to call me ‘Jim-Jam-Jamie’ because of this. I don’t know what it is, but something about getting home, into my own house, makes me want to launch my bra across the room and fling my jeans out the door.

Subsequently because we’ve become homebodies living out of the city, I’ve been in my jammies a lot more and it’s been making me feel kind of down for being so sloppy (yes I know I could easily put my bra and jeans back on but honestly screw that). SO! I’ve been on the look out for comfortable weirdo stuff to wear at home. Enter stage left Gypsy Warrior’s joggers and muscle tanks.

I’m curvy and spanning the L-XL-1X clothing range these days so really had no idea how I’d fare with ordering all Larges for the following:

Gypsy Warrior Haul

Snake Eye Joggers | To The Extreme Hi Low Top | Laso Harness Bootie | Hell Bound Muscle Tank

But everything worked out excellently. For reference, I’m normally an XL, these Larges fit fine!

Also, I’m not really a fashion blogger, as you can probably tell:

Not a Fashion BloggerGypsy Warrior Clothing Review

Anyway – the muscle tank and joggers fit perfectly – ridiculously comfortable and weirdo-rific with no sense of wearing jammies. The Hi Lo Top is great to wear over sleeveless dresses so as to be work appropriate and cover tattoos. And I can’t squee enough over the YRU Laso Booties which are vegan and hella comfy as well. I range between a size 7-8 as I have wide feet, and I ordered an 8 and these fit excellently.

Vegan YRU Laso BootsGypsy Warrior Snake Eyes Joggers

The joggers do tend to attract a ton of cat hair (but whatever), the fit’s great, love the design and no complaints. Overall, an excellent experience, love the products, great customer service and quick international shipping (I’m in Canada). I’ll be ordering for sure again in future! And this is *not* a sponsored post, I paid for these products with my hard earned loonies! So top marks for Gypsy Warrior – and keep at it with the fantastic Curvy Warrior posts, they’re stellar!

Gypsy Warrior Relaxed Style

Link Love

Link Love Vol. 3

Grimes

STRONG WOMEN

As part of the What’s Underneath Project a recent feature on Diane Goldie: I’m a larger, menopausal, 51-year-old woman. I am not invisible, really struck me regarding self acceptance and previously held self perceptions – “I thought that was my identity, the damage was my identity” [NOTE: TRIGGER WARNING for survivors of abuse]

Great Moments In Historical Sluttery: Vali Myers, Wandering Nature Spirit.

PJ Harvey Criticized by D.C. Politicians Over “The Community of Hope. Dammit do I love PJ.

A thoughtful piece by Marie Southard Ospina – Why We Should Stop Saying “You’re Not Fat, You’re Beautiful” For Good.

MUSIC

Sean Lennon and Primus’s Les Claypool Announce Album as the Claypool Lennon Delirium, Share “Mr. Wright”. Or as I like to call these two wonderful gentlemen “The Weirdy Beardies” 😉

Loving this podcast – La Mystique Féminine Vol. 2, of Frankie Teardrop’s favorite archives, the second in a regular series which “focuses entirely on female-fronted projects, running the gamut from experimental industrial dirges to minimal post-punk, jumping between countries and continents with only the feminine mystique to string these songs together.

Ooooh! A new song from Metal Mother up on SoundCloud now – ‘Insider‘.

And if you haven’t heard any of Taara Tati’s stunning work previously, might I direct you to one of my favourites, her full length album IONIKA:

I PROMISE NOT TO SELL YOUR PERFUMED SECRETS

The absolute Queen of Fragrance in my mind, with an excellent knack of capturing beautifully in words what varying scents smell like – Sarah Elizabeth; writes further on the subject in “A Year in Fragrance: Witch’s Workbench“.

Grimes is the face of Stella McCartney’s new fragrance, an environmentally friendly fragrance, called POP. Interested to see what this smells like.

Sometimes I find it hard to try new things when I feel like I’ve found perfection (I’m speaking for my love with pretty much everything Beth & Ted of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab do perfume wise), so I’m surprised to be currently really hooked on OLO fragrances. Particularly Victory Wolf and Dark Wave. Both you might clock have woody notes in them, Victory Wolf is much smokier whereas Dark Wave has notes of Cardamom, Indonesian Vetivert and Wood and is meant to “envelope you”, which I find it certainly does. Just love it!

Additionally I’ve been meaning to try LVNEA’s new(er) range of scented bath & body products (ooh, also candles!)

I’m not overly huge with most floral perfumes, but one floral scent I adore in spades is lilac. EauMG’s Guide to Lilac Perfumes is an excellent place to start for lilac scented recommendations.

When I was in Junior High one of the stoner kids in class used to always have a giant ass bottle of CK One on him. I remeber one day when the effect of a lit lighter with a spray of cologne was discovered. Soon thereafter other kids were bringing in bottles of CK One and making their own lighter blow torches. Stoner Kid eventually got caught doing it *in class* and had to write a speech and deliver it in front of everyone about “Fire Safety”. When I read about a TTC rider’s hair set on fire, another sprayed in face with perfume, my first thought of was of that fire safety speech and how it’s lucky the assailant hadn’t been in my grade 8 class or it could have been a lot worse.

STYLE & BEAUTY

Shirley Manson on Her Beauty Philosophy: ‘I Wear Makeup Not To Attract But To Repel’.

Bloody Mary Metal have recently launched their new Outlaws & Bandits collection, and it’s fab! I’m especially loving ANNORA necklace and the MAVERICK ring. [Part of collection picture below. Photo Credit: Bloody Mary Metal]

Bloody Mary Metal Outlaws and BanditsCurrent style crush: Jag Lever. I love a woman that knows how to rock shorts & tights together, frankly I look like an idiot and can’t pull this look off, so appreciate it when others do so adeptly. Particularly digging this recent leather & red dress look of Jag Lever’s and this sweet little New Year’s ensemble.

Also. Naelle Devannah. Oh my goodness do I ADORE beautiful curls and unnatural hair colour. And that eye make up! Just smashing <3

I’ve been looking for a really smart vegan leather jacket for some time and came across Straight to Hell Apparel. They offer both regular leather and vegan leather coats and vests for men and women. Currently eyeing up their Lady’s Vegan Jacket Commando, just need to hunt down some further reviews regarding fit, always have issues fitting my big ‘ol biceps. Have any of you tried Straight to Hell products before?

TATTOOS

A few favourites spotted on Instagram this past month, eiii the ink envy!

Better photo from the other night. #queenofhearts

A photo posted by Yvonne Kang (@yvekang) on

💗💙💚✨

A photo posted by bDC◼️🍿◼️ #288 (@chelseytattoos) on

GOTHY MCGOTHFACE

31 years ago on March 11 Sisters of Mercy released the now classic ‘First and Last and Always‘.

And speaking of SOM, Wayne Hussey will be playing this years Whitby Goth Weekend Apr 22nd – Apr 24th if you happen to be North Yorkshire way.

Handmade Winklepickers anyone? Try the Gothic Shoe Company.

‘When They Invent A Darker Colour’: Black Skin versus the Pale Aesthetic – an interesting guest post on the Blogging Goth from Jacqueline about her experiences as a minority in an alternative subculture.

And just because I love this version so much:

CATS

So….

Vertical Cat Fort

A vertical cat fort is a total necessity for a house right? yes?

And this little gem. I’ve been killing myself laughing at this video, and now we’ve started saying HEY around the house like this whenever Lemmy starts meowing at us.

Musings & Life

Time Out of Joint

divergent timelines

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog for the past few days. I’m afraid some posts I’d planned to get up (March Link Love etc) have been a bit delayed.

Trying to process some recent events that have had me feeling really out of joint. Jeff and I had been heading to Ottawa via North Bay last Thursday for Easter and my Birthday, when the weather got bad very quickly. Snowstorm with white out’s and poor visibility to say the least, we hadn’t expected it to hit so soon, and based on weather reports it wasn’t even forecast to hit us at all.

But it did, and it felt like it was just us and huge transports on the highway. There wasn’t anywhere immediate where we could pull off, and when the highway curved around we hit an icey patch and lost control of the wheels. We started to fishtail, the jeep spun around as Jeff tried to regain control to no avail. I remember him calmly saying to me “Hold on, we’re going in”. And then the next thing I knew we were upside down rolling.

Everything slowed down, we just locked eyes while we and everything in the jeep was tossed around as though we were in the inside of a tumble dryer. Mini cream eggs and large glittery plastic eggs escaped from the baskets we’d put together for our nieces. Our practically full coffee cups departed their cup holders and I remember Jeff trying to grab them and knock them away from me so I wouldn’t get burnt.

So many things went flying through my mind.

And suddenly we landed and normal time started again.

We stayed calm, confirmed neither of us were hurt or bleeding, looking around while strapped in and trying to quickly ascertain the situation.

It’s weird the little things that never would occur to you about car accidents, like turning the car off – there was an insane whirring sound, and it took a moment after we landed to realize it was the engine and the wheels were still going.

We landed on the passenger side, windows against the ground, in a ditch off the highway. I unbuckled and got back in the jeep so Jeff could get down as he was held in by his seatbelt hanging sideways. The back window in the jeep had popped open so we got out that way, gingerly stepping on the windows, a sideways world and finally out into the open air.

We were unscathed and walking away from a complete roll over off the highway. No oncoming traffic, no broken glass. I didn’t know what to do next, we stood there with our cellphones out. My initial thoughts given we were ok were: Was this an emergency? Do I call 911? I don’t want to be a bother! My friends Califia and Diana have since said that it was the most Canadian/English reaction ever. The answer is yes, of course, call 911, report the accident to the police.

A retired Officer was driving by and pulled over, called the accident in and helped us. Stayed with us and drove us home as he was going into the city. The incredible kindness of strangers just staggering.

We opted not to retry our road trip when the weather got better but to just have a staycation instead. Since the accident some stunning bruises have appeared and we’re pretty sore, but I think that’s the extent of it and it’ll just take a little bit of time to totally feel better.

We always have music going the whole time when we’re driving, usually mixes, but this time had thrown the radio on. We lost the signal shortly before we crashed. A little thing, but as music nerds we’re thankful not to have a soundtrack for this event.

And the other weird thoughts that passed through my mind before we even left…all the snow had melted and was gone, but I thought I should still wear a winter coat “in case”, and even changed out of a fancy dress into more practical yoga pants and a Part Wolf graphic tee and hoodie. Sure you could argue that it was just sensible given we were about to hop in the car for several hours, but I’ve never been the best at being a practical dresser.

I keep thinking about how it could have gone…and about my friend Sarah who died three years ago in a crash in San Francsico. I feel guilty that somehow I’m still here, and she isn’t. Which I know she would smack the shit out of me for even thinking that, so I’m trying my best not to let those thoughts creep in.

Since the accident, I’ve been reading a bit about time perception, slow motion time distortion, and tachypsychia. I’ve experienced time slowing down once before when I was 4 and almost drowned. I always just assumed that was part of the sensation of near drowning until this car accident. As cliche as it might sound, everything did slow down and was hyper vivid. It’s pretty fascinating stuff –

When a person is scared, a brain area called the amygdala becomes more active, laying down an extra set of memories that go along with those normally taken care of by other parts of the brain.

“In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories,” Eagleman explained. “And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.”

Eagleman added this illusion “is related to the phenomenon that time seems to speed up as you grow older. When you’re a child, you lay down rich memories for all your experiences; when you’re older, you’ve seen it all before and lay down fewer memories. Therefore, when a child looks back at the end of a summer, it seems to have lasted forever; adults think it zoomed by.”

The past few days have felt like a weird, divergent time line.

I’ve been waiting for Tuesday to hit, because in this “alternate reality” of us not crashing, this is when we would be getting back home.

What a crazy ride. I’m just so damn glad we came out of it ok. Now to rejoin my proper timeline xx

Oh! You Pretty Things

Black Accessory Essentials

black accessories

I’ve been on a bit of a colour binge (well for me) as of late, but nothing beats perfect all black accessories. By this time of year I’m always in sore need of new shoes, a new handbag, and new sunglasses – mostly because I’ve lost or broken my existing ones.

Here are a few black accessory essentials I’m digging as of late –

perfect black accessoriesWild West Bootie in Onyx | Laso Harness Bootie | Canton Booties

Kitti Sunglasses in Noir Crazy Train Sunglasses | Wolves Sunnies

Crazy Hart Tote | Waxed Canvas Tote | The Muse Fringe Bag

Musings & Life

Big City Girl, Little City Lights

little city lights

For most of my life I’ve been a big city dweller or lived within very close proximity to a major urban centre. Born in Calgary in Western Canada, I grew up in the suburban sprawl of the nations capital – Ottawa. At age 18 I moved across the Atlantic to the UK and spent the next ten years there hopping around London and the Southeast, always 10 minutes away from a city at most. And when I finally headed back to Canada, my destination was naturally Toronto.

I’d always assumed I would live in a really large city, yet here I am in a much smaller community in Northern Ontario. The closest city with a population over a million is 8 hours away, and the next biggest city with a population over 100K is just under 4 hours from here.

big city aerial viewSo what has it been like to move to a little city?

It’s been an adjustment getting used to living somewhere smaller. After the initial excitement about being somewhere new passed, I was struck by how much I missed certain aspects of city life that I’d taken for granted. Sure I expected to miss my friends, but I was surprised by how much I associated who I was, with where I lived.

How could I be me, if my identity was tied to the lifestyle I led in the city; a city in which I no longer lived?

As ridiculous as the above concern might seem, it bothered me. Was I defined by where in the world I was? It took a bit to work through but I eventually got there. Simply, I am who I am, no matter where I might rest my head. It’s strange how something so seemingly trivial can weigh on your mind, and what a relief it when you figure it out.

Small city, big city, suburb, whatever – my interests are the same, my core self the same. Sure I might not be able to go record shopping every weekend with a plethora of brunch spots or dive bars to choose from, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fundamentally different person.

Big City Girl in the Wild - The Move To A Small CityFinally recognizing this has helped me to relax a lot more. That energy previously spent questioning my identity in a small town can now be spent on simply enjoying the moment and my surroundings. After so many years of a pressure cooker existence, I don’t think I really knew what the hell to do in a calm environment. My hyper active mind just overthinking everything.

So why did we opt to move so far away from a major city in the first place?

Well, for as much as I love a lot about city living, we were getting really fed up and burnt out by all the negatives that go a long with it. The high cost of living and the overcrowded commutes of doom were especially adding to this sense of wanting “to get the hell out of dodge”.

One of the major reasons leading me to return to Canada was the opportunity to be able to afford my own home. Something I couldn’t even begin to dream about doing in London. Frustratingly the housing market in Toronto over the past few years has blown up, prices have surged and the likelihood of being able to afford a house in the city are now next to nil for us. It’s a challenge many are experiencing, so we started to look at several possible options:

  1. Stay in Toronto and resign ourselves to renting for the rest of our lives.
  2. Stay in Toronto and buy a condo.
  3. Buy a house in Hamilton, commute into Toronto.
  4. Look to relocate elsewhere in the country.

We quickly crossed #1 off our list, as owning a home for both of us has always been a dream. Going the condo route in Toronto, though still affordable, rising condo maintenance fees on top of a mortgage are a cause for concern. Commuting in from Hamilton seemed like a solid possibility. Then I started to remind myself of how much I hate commuting. Living in Hamilton would mean I’d be looking at 2.5 hours of travel time twice a day to and from work – and that’s on a good day without delays.  Also looking at commuter images on This Crazy Train had me cringing and raging at the same time. So…relocating?

Always open to new experiences, we decided why the hell not? If it didn’t work out we could always move back to Toronto, so when job opportunities in Northern Ontario presented themselves we decided to take a chance.

northern-aerial-viewNow I’m not advocating one place over the other, because everyone is different. Had I still been a single 20-something I might not have considered moving somewhere smaller. Given I’m married and my clubbing days are behind me (tacos & tequila at home with a few friends is much more my jam these days) a smaller city was more appealing.

If you’re thinking of moving away from the city, here are a few of my pro’s and con’s that might be relevant to you as well in your consideration:

CONS

  • It can feel isolating when you first move, as it can be harder to break into tight knit groups with a well established history.
  • Where my weirdos at? (I guess the interwebs…)
  • If you’re used to being incognito, ie: no one *really* looks at each other in the city, it’ll seem in comparison like everyone’s staring at you, even if you’re not in full weirdo mode. (interestingly often because they’re actually just trying to see if they recognize or know you to say hi).
  • Limited options for shopping, restaurants, bars, culture etc.
  • Additional travel costs & time as few direct flights.
  • Less job options, whereas it’s easier to jump around in the city.
  • Not as cosmopolitan, as there’s not the same variety of people you’d find in larger centres.

PROS

  • Very affordable housing.
  • So affordable you could own a detached house, and not just a small condo.
  • Incredibly clean.
  • Massive amounts of space in comparison to packed cities.
  • A real sense of community.
  • Little to no commuting time (for me it’s 5 minutes or a 20 minute walk!)
  • Overall a less stressed & hectic environment to live in.
  • Small businesses are supported, and smaller communities can foster an entrepreneurial spirit (with opportunities that could lead you to even open your own business!)
  • You’re closer to farms – fantastic fresh food that is locally produced and excellent farmer’s markets.
  • Nature! Wilderness! Green space!

flying to a small town over the lake
So while in all honesty I miss a lot about Toronto, I’m also loving where I’m living now. In my experience it generally takes two years for a new town to feel like home, and it’s a wonderful feeling when it does.