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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

Art & Culture Tattoos

Killer Style, Crazy Love: The Rock N Roll Bride Life

Rock n Roll Bride Kat Williams

[This interview was originally published on Tattoo Hero, sadly Tattoo Hero is no longer; so over the next little bit I’ll be reposting a few articles from the Tattoo Hero Blog in order that they might live on elsewhere] 

An Interview with Kat of Rock N Roll Bride

Blogging, Brides & Tattoos – Rock N Roll Bride is dead cool.

Whether you’re looking for wedding inspiration, expert advice on blogging, or running your own business, Kat Williams‘ blog is the definitive go to.

Initially starting out as an outlet to chronicle her own adventures in matrimony, Rock N Roll Bride has since become the sorely needed breath of fresh of air in the wedding industry for many women about to wed – be they ‘Punk Rock Girls’ or ‘Glamour Girls’ (and lets be honest, many of us would identify as both).

Kat curates with care and detail on Rock N Roll Bride some of the most beautiful and unique weddings around, breaking free of traditional modes to celebrate the individual.

Witty, glamorous and well inked – Kat Williams is also one of the brains behind the Blogcademy, a blogging workshop that has been taking the world by storm, selling out classes across the globe. Continue Reading

Music

Return of the Riot Grrrl – L7 Are Back!

L7- Return of the Riot Grrrl

L7 are badass.

While I may have been running around at 14 looking like a black haired mini Courtney Love in baby doll dresses, plastic barrettes and ripped tights, I counted L7 among my favourite bands.

There was something about them to my teenage self that seemed intoxicatingly dangerous compared to other girl groups. They were strong, fierce women and unrepentant of this. I got the sense that if they wanted to, they could really do some damage.

L7 Are BadassAs a young woman having grown up surrounded by saccharine pop ballads and glossy Seventeen and YM mags extolling the virtues of lip gloss and L.A. Looks gel, the Riot Grrrl movement was like finally being able to breathe after having my head held underwater for so long. Breaking the surface, gasping for that breathe of air you need so badly that it feels like your lungs are being stabbed from the inside/out.

L7 Grunge BandThere’s been a resurgence and interest as of late in the Riot Grrrl scene, and I think a lot of this actually stems from the success of The Punk Singer doc on Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna. It’s kinda appropriate that the charge should come again it seems from Hanna’s direction, given she was very much a pioneer and voice for movement. A new generation are being introduced to Riot Grrrl, and an older generation being reminded of it.

So yes, L7.

There’s been speculation over the past few months as to whether they’d reunite after having been on an indefinite hiatus since 2001. A social campaign has been growing after the following request went out on their Facebook page back in December:

Here’s the situation…
They say to raise a child it takes a village, well to get interest from promoters for L7 to do reunion shows it’s going to take an ARMY. An army of you all. No joke.

L7 Band

Here’s what we need…
We need your continued enthusiasm, your spreading the word by “Sharing” our posts and getting your friends and enemies to “Like” our page.

Well, looks like it worked because news hit today that the original line up of L7 are reuniting with a further string of shows to be announced tomorrow.

AND, for doc loving geeks like myself, a Kickstarter Campaign has just launched in support of their upcoming doc “L7: Pretend We’re Dead“.

AND AND AND it’s being directed by Sarah Price, who produced the fantastic American Movie doc.

This is definitely a Kickstarter to back. For pledging $3,000 or more you and a friend will have a SEANCE WITH L7 to conjure the spirit of Harry Houdini at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood? Uhm!!!?@#&#*(% HELL YEAH.

I am so ridiculously excited that these guys are back together and I’ll finally have the opportunity to see them live.

In the meantime, here’s a little vintage 90’s to tide us all over till then:

Musings & Life

Grunge Personal Planner

vintage grunge planners

This year I’m trying to really focus on achieving my goals, and in order to do that, I need to be more organized.

I’ve played with loads of different apps in the past meant to help you plan but haven’t found one yet that really works well for me.

As much as I love tech, there’s something to be said about the tactile contact when you put pen to paper.

A trick I used to employ when memorizing Shakespeare and scripts in general was to write lines out over and over again from memory, until I had them down perfectly. And a bit superstitiously, I would always put the sheets of paper under my pillow before going to sleep too, as if the words would further sink into my mind as I slumbered. Oh actors.

So, if the process of physically writing things down helped me to learn lines, why not to organize my life and remember to do’s better?

I’ve picked up a planner again for the first time in years, really since High School.

And how the hell was High School 20 years ago? This just in. I’m old. Nostalgia hits hard sometimes and I decided to fish out my old High School planners from storage for a kick.

Little 90s Grunge GirlBefore I became a Princess of Darkness – my tongue by the way is firmly planted in my cheek when I write this – I was very much a 90’s alternative grunge kid. Manic Panic hair dye, thrift shopping, Doc Martens, mixtapes, zines and $2 all-ages shows were my life. All this clearly reflected in my High School planners.

I used to nerdily get excited every August to pick up my timetable and planner in advance to the first day of class and start decking them out. Some years my guy friends would grace the cover with an accompanying story. Whatever happened my way was inevitably glued in there. Concert tickets, movie stubs, rehearsal schedules, photo booth pics and fan girl collages of Courtney Love, Bikini Kill, L7 and any other Riot Grrrl images I could get my hands on.

Cut & Paste DIY High School PlannersIt’s interesting to see the evolution of ones style and how quickly my planners start to goth out once Grade 11 kicked in. They’re almost like mini time capsules of those years, an unthinking diary of life events. Friends would often write and draw in them, creating a collective scrapbook. I’m glad I’ve kept them still as a memory of a pretty awesome, carefree time in my life.

Decorated High School PlannerAnd yes, my parents totally let me paint my door purple with Hole lyrics, overlaid with a poster of the band. The door remained like that for YEARS after. Maybe my folks just liked exiting their bedroom every morning to be greeted by Courtney Love’s mug. ~And the sky was made of amethyst~

Planner grunge collage

I’m enjoying my rediscovered love for planners and noticing how it’s helping already. Here’s to letting your younger self teach you a lesson sometimes.

Were you ever (or are you) a planner fiend?

Music

Canada Day Mix Tape

Happy Canada Day! To celebrate (and because I’m totally feeling like Johnny Nostalgia today) here’s an 8tracks mix of 90’s alternative Canadian music inspired from zine days and all ages shows of yore. Featuring Sloan, Jale, Eric’s Trip, Moist, Thrush Hermit, Cub and a ton more.

Musings & Life

fFiction: My Years in Zine-landia

Chris Murphy of Sloan checking out a fanzine in 1995

While packing for a Summer away I inevitably got distracted. At first it was geeking out on Bloglovin’, but then when boxes of half forgotten treasures were cracked open and aired for the first time in years after being in storage, all was lost for any packing efforts. What I rediscovered  in those boxes was a trove of cassettes, gig tees, mixed tapes, old photographs and zines.

Furnacefest in Ottawa, 1994

Furnacefest, Ottawa, Canada. July 2nd, 1994

It’s been almost 20 years since I went to my first concert – a festival in a parking lot in Ottawa called “Furnacefest” (not to be confused with the one held in Alabama in the 00’s). Created by Ottawa band Furnace Face with the intent to showcase local and national bands while getting the chance to headline their own festival, it was a pretty fantastic first concert experience.
Continue Reading

Music

Smashing Pumpkins – Adore

Smashing Pumpkins - Adore

Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Adore
Cost: $19.99 CDN
Found: HMV, 333 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, CANADA.

The first few chords of Siva on mixtape sent to me from an older penpal when I was 11 (we wrote honest to goodness letters and sent mixtapes back and forth!), had me hooked immediately on the Smashing Pumpkins.

The Smashing Pumpkins, or rather Billy Corgan, tends to incite pretty strong reactions from people. But frankly, I don’t care and am unapologetically a fan of Billy Corgan’s work (Zwan however we won’t talk about though).

The Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness Tour in 1997 is my all time favourite gig. Hands down. It was a mix of everything from right time, right place – and simply an amazing performance and incredible visual show to accompany the music. 16 years later I’m still emotionally connected to that moment and the beauty of it. It probably also doesn’t hurt that this was my early formative years of getting into music as well.

The show capped off a very surreal day for me too. I was in High School and we had a day off, and as typical for bored kids from the Suburbs, we were killing time hanging around the downtown core before the concert.

Smashing Pumpkins - Adore Gatefold VinylI used to always take linear notes with me when I went to small all ages shows to get signed, and despite the Smashing Pumpkins concert being at the once called Corel Centre in Ottawa (a massive arena) I had my Siamese Dream CD cover with me that day.

What happened next still beggars belief.

We were walking down the main drag on Rideau, and my friend Hilary pointed down the street and asked if that wasn’t Billy Corgan walking towards us.

Now, I was always the gullible one in our group, and Hilary would often prank me. Including somehow managing to get me to butter my salad in the belief that this was a fine “Yorkshire tradition” and that I was missing out on a part of my Northern heritage. Yes Buttered salad, and ya, I know, I know. Suffice to say, I don’t advise buttering your salad.

Smashing Pumpkins - Adore Vinyl Back DetailFor once in my life, I was wary of Hilary, thinking this was a pretty uncreative joke after the whole “Yorkshire Butter Salad Incident of ’96”.

Very quickly though, I realized it wasn’t a joke.

Walking down the street towards us was none other than Billy Corgan. All 6 ft 3″ of him. I was absolutely speechless as my friends pushed me forwards towards him, all I could manage to do was fumble in my pocket for my linear notes, and ask him shyly if he would mind signing them. I remember reaching up, waayyyyy up (little Friendly Giant reference for the non Canadian’s reading) and just held out my CD cover for him, all saucer eyes.

He kindly signed it and my concert ticket as well. As people on the street got wind that Billy Corgan was out and about in broad daylight and started to come over and crowd him, he quickly made his excuses and swept away with a tide of teenagers following him as he tried to disappear into the city.

Smashing Pumpkins Adore Gatefold DetailIt happened so fast. I often wonder and go over in my head sometimes what I could have done or said instead of being that wide eyed, black haired girl in my Docs and thrifted dress so quiet for once in my life in front of someone I respected (and still do) so much artistically.

And really, I don’t know if there is anything I could have articulated in such a brief and fleeting moment. The enormity of telling someone, a stranger no less, who despite this fact feels like a close friend because of the nature of art as a shared experience. Just how in the world do you even begin to put into words how much their work means to you, in an instant. How do you express that?

After all these years, I still don’t have the perfect words for what I would and could have said in that moment.

They say never meet your heros, but I don’t know if I totally agree with that. Meet them, but realize you don’t own them because of their celebrity, and that they too are human and flawed as well as brilliant for all the reasons you think they are.

Adore Front LPAdore, has one of my favourite SP tunes on it, being “Blank Page“. Beautiful, and haunting.

I found Adore on the off chance in the Vinyl section of HMV a few years ago. The album has since been discontinued on vinyl, but what with the recent reissues of Pumpkins albums on vinyl (I’m loving the MCIS remastered reissue!) it should only be a matter of time till Adore is given the reissue treatment as well.

Till then, I’m quite happy with my copy of the album and the memory of that surreal, incredible day as a teenager years ago.

Music

Ida – Tales of the Brave

Ida - Tales of the Brave LP

Artist: Ida
Album: Tales of the Brave
Cost: $18.99 USD
Found: Bleecker Street Records, 239 Bleecker Street, New York City, NY, USA.

Sometimes random browsing through endless crates of records yields the best results.

While I was in NYC a few weeks ago for the Blogcademy, I found myself at night with a few hours to cram in some brief shopping between the intensive classes each day. Three things I really wanted to try and do while in city were:

  1. Check out the heralded All Saints
  2. Visit Strawberry Fields
  3. Try and hit up a few Record Stores

Despite fighting the tail end of a wicked flu I was happily able to cross all three things off my list.

My record shopping haul was fantastic, even more so given I’d only budgeted $100 to spend on vinyl.

Any record fiend will know exactly how difficult it is to stick to a budget like this when in New York. I managed somehow and came away with some fantastic finds (although I did have to do the record in each hand humming and hawing over which to put back dance at several points).

Ida - Tales of the Brave LP Artwork
The most exciting record I found this trip was also the biggest surprise given I didn’t even know it had been reissued on vinyl. That LP was “Tales of the Brave” by Ida.

It was one of those moments flipping through crates where I stopped dead in my tracks after passing the album. Slowly looking around the store to see if anyone there realized what I had just found. Look back to the record, jaw drop, lift slowly from the crate, hold in hand, stare. And finally breathe again.

Ya, I know, I need to get out more.

Ida Tales of the Brave vinyl gatefold
Browsing through general crates can be pretty aimless but there have been several times in the past I’ve stumbled onto something awesome which would have been missed otherwise. Part of the thrill in searching through record shops is finding those hidden, and unexpected gems. When I was younger and used to thrift for my wardrobe, I’d experience this then too, stumbling over a beautiful, (and forgotten) vintage velvet coat for $5.00 was the best thing in the world.

As much as I’m a huge supporter and fan of online shopping, nothing can beat that tangible, physical experience in a record store or thrift shop and the excitement of finding something you prize.

So a little background on this album and I –

Growing up in the suburbs of Ottawa was boring. My saving grace as a teenager was music and theatre. The summer going into grade 9 I’d started hanging out with an older group of kids I met when rehearsing for a play. They were an amazing group to be hanging around and introduced me to the city’s blossoming All Ages music scene. The early 90’s was a great time to be interested in music with so many independent venues opening up, super cheap gigs, and loads of small alternative bands touring and playing All Ages Shows.

One of the first shows I went to was on a hot Summer day in August,  incredibly humid and sticky. The show was held at a tiny, tiny venue called 5 Arlington, which I remember as a gutted out house that was home to a punk collective that would regularly organize shows and events in the space.

And Ida weren’t even the headliners that day, but a band called Tsunami I think, and another band called Girl Afraid were also on the bill.

I have memories of half finished purple popsicles littering the hot asphalt behind 5 Arlington, sitting on the pavement between sets. When Ida started to play, everyone crammed into that hot little house, the room lit only by the natural daylight streaming in, everyone listening in rapt attention as Ida played their hearts out.

To this day, that concert easily remains as one of my all time favourite shows. It was just one of those perfect, beautiful moments that can be too rare in life.

Ida Tales of the Brave Record Detail
I snapped up one of the Ida CDs brought with them as merch, and for the next year listened to it obsessively in only the way a 14 year old can. It was part of the soundtrack to an incredible year of my life.

To come across that album again well over 15 years later, on my own in a record shop in Greenwich Village was super happymaking to say the least. A little private present from the cosmos.

I held it tightly as I went to cash out, still looking around to see if anyone else had clocked what I had just found. Of course they hadn’t, but that didn’t matter.

A flood of memories in an instant. And as if it were possible, I think it sounds even better on vinyl, but of course I’m biased in my love for the medium.