Thursday, 21 May 2015

River Valley Walk

We currently have a heat wave! Right now Edmonton is warmer than L.A, New York, Toronto, Vancouver, and London. Just thought I'd brag for a second. We'll be enjoying weather in the high 20s and low 30s for the next few weeks! I am a worshiper of the sun and could happily live in +35 all year long, so absolutely NO complaints from me about this glorious weather. Today I took advantage of my free day which happened to coincide with my mother's day off, so we grabbed iced coffees and walked along the river valley trails for a while. It was glorious. I love my city this time of year! My dress is by Cath Kidston, picked up on sale over Christmas overseas, and has a comic book print. Perfect summer cotton dress! 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Annie Hall and Sally Albright

Lately I've been wearing trousers more, and drawn to the somewhat masculine, seventies-does-forties aesthetics a la Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, and Meg Ryan's character Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally. If I am going to wear pants, they'd better be high-waisted and pleated. I took these a few days ago on a glorious spring evening right in the golden hour by the junior high school near my house. I forgot how much fun outfit blogging can be sometimes, and even though the whole fashion blogging community has completely evaporated, I'm feeling inspired to post a little more and to write about things I find important or interesting. I am excited about this summer and sharing the things I get up to. Until next time, pals! 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Saturdate

Hello online pals, 

It certainly has been ages! LOTS has been going on behind the scenes, some big, some small, and all to be revealed in due course. I will be in for some major life changes in the coming months, and right now I am making an effort to enjoy life to the fullest day to day. I'll share more more in detail later and when it's relevant, so for now here's a quick little post from a lovely Saturday. I met up with pals Chelsea and Remi for brunch at Under The High Wheel (it was AMAZING), did some shopping at Royal Bison, a great biannual craft fair, and came away with some prints from Where We Are From and some fancy handmade soap. It seems like summer came in a flash and the warmth and vitamin D certainly has made me feel energized. 

Here's what I wore today, a denim dress from one of my favourite Canadian designers, Birds of North America. I actually got this dress back in Toronto in September, but my weight really fluctuated this year and it didn't fit for ages. I took the advice of my mother and fitness trainer friend and switched to a high protein diet, and I kid you not the pounds literally fell off of me - while still eating things I love such as pad Thai and eggs benedict! No calorie counting for this food-lovin' lass. Rather than calories, the only thing I tracked was my protein intake, eating roughly 60-100 grams of protein a day. Healthy, conscious eating (but NOT dieting) and consistent exercise really are the keys to getting fit - never fad diet!!! 

As an aside, gaining what felt like a ton of weight earlier this year was a good lesson for me in body confidence and self love. I feel like it once and for all made me face up to a lot of insecurities I wasn't dealing with. Even when I was wearing a size 2 and had a 24.5 inch waist in my mid twenties, I still always felt like I had to lose five pounds. I was crazy! So crazy!! I clearly had internalized some sick societal body standards far deeper than I ever realized until this year. I view my weight gain this past year as a blessing in disguise. While it's obviously bothered me enough to make an effort to get back in shape and fit my old clothes, realizing I had a very unhealthy body image and learning to love the skin I am in is priceless to me. I will never even DARE think I am fat ever again. Sexy, pretty, et cetera, are states of mind not a dress size! I am feeling the most content with my appearance I have felt ever. Sad it took me twenty-eight years to get here! 

But anyway, this dress makes me feel like a million bucks! I love the curve adorning dark stretch denim with 40s style detailing. 

Here are some iphone photos of our brunch! Yuuummmmm! 

Until next time, y'all! 

Charmaine x

Thursday, 2 April 2015

March Forward

Well it's April and that means my least favourite month of the year is finally over. I've always hated March. It's always such a wild card month in terms of weather, a rush to get your taxes filed, preparation for spring, and if you're a student in Canada, March is the busiest most stressful month of the winter term outside of finals. March was both busy and quiet for me at the same time - if that can happen. Insanely busy between work projects, school deadlines and helping out my dad. I've retreated a bit socially this month and really enjoyed plugging away at my reading list - amazingly I am on track with my book-a-week goal! I am currently finishing up the His Dark Materials series, the Scott Pilgrim Series, and have Allegiant left to read from the Divergent series. I find reading fantasy/Y.A/Escapist literature is a really great stress reliever. Sometimes reading capital L "Literature" can feel like work in itself. I also have out Revolutionary Road, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking currently out from the library, so lots of reading material to devour over the next 1-2 months! So pleased I feel inclined to read lately. I think I was so burnt out after my B.A that I couldn't concentrate on reading for a long time, but that avoidance seems to have finally waned. Yay! 
A big theme for me last month has been finding ways to relax and go with the flow. I've been making an effort to eat well, exercise, see friends when I can, and know when to say enough is enough. I take on way too much all the time and often end up burnt out. It's ok to step back, shut shop for the evening and relax. I am trying to live in the moment more and not stress out so much about all the things I have to do: they will get done. I am also debating whether I will stay in Edmonton this summer. Summers here are A-MAY-ZING but summers in Toronto are also pretty damn spectacular and I know that is where I want to live again one day. The music festivals alone are a huge draw for me to return. It's been on my mind like crazy over the past couple weeks! I am doing my best not to over think everything and just take my decisions day by day. Stop rationalizing scenarios or make capricious decisions. The answer will come when it comes, everything will work itself out the way it's supposed to and I need to just let things happen naturally. Now that it's a new month and winter really does seem over (knock on wood) I am marching forward into April with a more laid back attitude and taking things day by day. 

Here's an outfit from a couple days ago! All items I've owned for ages. I took these under the tree in my front yard with my tripod. I am feeling interested in blogging again, so this site will be a bit more lively I hope, not just filled with catch-ups and work parties. 

Have a great Easter weekend, all :)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Inspired By Exhibition Opening Party

Hey Y'all, 

It's been real quiet in my corner of the internet, as life behind the scenes has been busy and stressful between university assignments, volunteering, work projects and adapting to life as my dad undergoes chemo and radiation. He's doing great and my mother and I are adapting just fine, despite it being a never ending stream of hospital visits and medicine. In other news, I coordinated another exhibition for my job at the students' association, called Inspired by Edmonton. All the works have Edmonton as a theme in obvious and not so obvious ways. I was really pleased with the quality of the submissions and the effort all the artists put into their artist bios and artist descriptions. Here are some shots of the art and the opening party which took place last Thursday. We had retro tunes and pop-up poet C.M. Matty writing guests beautiful words right on the spot. All you had to was give him a word, image or thought. My word rather unoriginally was "cheese" because it's my favourite thing! The poem started out "what stinks?" I love it! It was a nice evening with friends, co-workers, classmates and faculty. 

My poem. 
My instructors. 
My classmate Meredith who looks shockingly like Liv Tyler! 

Anyway, thanks for stopping in - hopefully as term winds down and spring comes in full force I'll feel more inspired and actually have some time to dedicate to this here site. 

Until then, stay cool, comrades. 

Charmaine x 


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Throwback: Eurotrash 2010

While we here in Edmonton have been blessed with a relatively mild and pleasant winter aside from a few very cold days, I still find myself obsessively looking at the long range forecast, impatiently waiting for spring to arrive and dreaming of emerald green lawns, reading outside, drinks on patios and long bike rides. As usual, travel is on the brain as I plan hypothetical trips to new destinations. Wanderlust is a definite intoxication of mine, taking up most of my savings year after year. I really do believe travel is the best education out there. The things you learn about yourself and other cultures, and skills you build, are incomparable to lessons learned in the classroom. Truth be told, I am craving a solo trip somewhere new and different. There is more to see in the world than Europe and the United States - the places I personally find myself visiting over and over again.
 Depending on where I am and what I am doing this spring, since I am currently applying for jobs all over the country as a part of a student summer job program funded by the federal government, and could be anywhere from Toronto to a small town somewhere completely random. I am currently contemplating a visit to India to visit a friend there while she's doing her PhD field work, as well as a a few other places in Asia. I've heard Viet Nam and Thailand are quite safe for women traveling alone these days, especially given the amount of Westerners visiting that part of the world in recent years. Cuba would also be amazing! 
Also related to travel, I've been thinking a lot about how my traveling habits will change in the future. Rather than rack up impressive numbers of the amount of places I've been, I want to see new places more in-depth, rather than just capital hopping. Sure, I've been to Budapest but is that all of Hungary? No. In the future, whenever I visit a new country I wish to visit at least two places on my visits, if not more. I've been to sixteen countries in total now, and of those I've really only visited a few extensively. Canada, the USA, Scotland, England, Germany, Spain, France and Japan are places I have been to three or more places or visited more than once - even though Japan was over then years ago already!! As I travel in the future, I want to focus more on quality rather than quantity, though admittedly I would like to hit that twenty country mark sooner than later. Goals for the next two years. If I am working all summer in Canada, sadly I will not be going anywhere outside North America, although Cuba and Mexico would be amazing, and I really would love to visit a few places in Texas, Chicago or New Orleans. 

Anyhow, here are some photos of the last time I went on a massive backpacking trip. It was almost FIVE YEARS AGO already that Kristena and I bashed around Europe, and just one year before I started blogging. Wish I had done so back in 2010, we made so many memories on this debaucherous, crazy trip. There's LOTS of photos - sorry! I couldn't choose which ones to leave out. 
London: 

Paris: 

Madrid: 

Berlin: 


Amsterdam:

Excited for more travel memories!