Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bidding Adieu

A couple years ago, I bought a pair of the most beautiful pumps I've ever seen.  Five inch heel, patent leather, perfect curvature of the toe, soft cream-colored backing...they were (and still are) exquisite. I bought them around the winter holidays, and I remember running around town trying to find them in my size. I had bought the last pair and though they were a little tight, I was so high on the adrenaline of having found them that I felt nothing but elation. Through the weeks that followed, I realized they were actually extremely painful to wear.  So much so that after slipping them on for a dinner party, I had to slip them off just an hour later.  I didn't want to believe that something so beautiful could bring me so much pain, so I kept them in my closet and admired them, constantly making excuses not to wear them.  Finally, a few days ago, I realized I was running out of space for my new acquisitions, so I knew it was time to let them go.  I had been lying to myself for years, but the truth was that these shoes just didn't fit. Truthfully, I had attempted to sell them once before, but shortly after photographing them for the advertisement, I realized I couldn't go through with it and put them back on the shelf. This time, though, I knew I had to be strong, and I knew it was time to say good-bye.


Wrapping them was an emotional experience. I had so many plans for us, so many cobblestones to cover...but even as they lay in their shoebox, they seemed to smile a shiny, innocent smile that said hey, we'll remember you too. Will they?

The person whose bid won the shoes lives in the Netherlands, and I imagine she is a very nice girl who will give my shoes something I never could: the right feet.  I hope she washes them after a long night out, and gives them their very own spot on the shoe rack. I hope she wears them on first dates, and to evenings out with the girls, where someone will say "nice shoes!" in Dutch, and she will look down and smile at them the way I've done countless times.  Most of all, I hope she loves them.  Or actually, I hope she hates them and sends them back, but that's beside the point.  I wrote her a little note in Dutch extending my gratitude for her taking them in and my hope that she enjoys them.

Maybe something will get lost in translation and she'll read something along the lines of these shoes must be sent back immediately. Or maybe she doesn't speak Dutch at all, and all of my intentions will forever remain solely in my heart.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Caramel Saturdays

My weekends usually rush by because I somehow manage to have a million things to take care of, and I am almost never home- at least not in the daytime.  However, I've been reading a wonderful book by Osho in which it's said that down time is no less important than running errands, and absolutely needs to be scheduled in every now and then.  With that in mind, I baked some Caramel Peekaboos (Caramilk chocolate bar squares embedded into chocolate cookies) and mixed together a hazelnut latte, in preparation for the laziest Saturday I've had in months. The only decision to be made is whether I want to catch up on fashion reads, or re-watch SATC for the hundredth time...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I feel like most of my life is spent explaining to everyone why I love autumn (see BeSleek columns here and here) and quite frankly, I'm not about to stop.  What I will do, however, is limit my gushing to one small three-letter treasure: Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  The PSL is wonderfully multi-functional: it's the surest sign of autumn (so throw away that Far Side calendar), the best thing to sip on while catching up with girlfriends, and one of the best things to look forward to on a Monday morning.  I personally prefer Starbucks for these (and for all dessert coffees, really) but Second Cup does a nice attempt at it too :)  Here, the elements of a perfect fall day, with the Pumpkin Spice Latte as a delectable headliner.

Unapologetically Bling-y Michael Kors watch...yes I finally caved into the trend, and I love it!

Amazingly comfortable furry loafers!

I'm also really loving the high collar these days. This Jacob blouse is just the perfect level of crisp-ness to pull it off - the important thing is for the collar not to be droopy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When you find the right ones, you just know

I'm definitely not a pro when it comes to wearing heels..grace is not my forte with an extra five inches added to my height. Still I try to put the effort in and be a girl once in a while, and being a girl often involves creating the illusion of accentuated height.  I've been looking for ankle boots for a while now and nothing seemed to work until I found these incredible beasts at Michael Kors.  I still feel slightly wonky when walking in them, but they're perfect for standing in or ...spinning long wisps of chiffon.  They also look super fun with neon socks..

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cupcakes, Round Two

It's been a while since I've wanted to kill myself, so I thought another baking project was in order.  This year I'm team captain for our charity fundraiser drive - a position I occupied primarily for the excuse it gave me to eat cupcakes. With the help of some phenomenally useful co-workers I threw together a bake sale, and set out to bake four dozen cupcakes the night before.  I won't go into the details of what the feat entailed, but the important part is that the task was completed and the cupcakes were enjoyed (hopefully).  Only some of these cakes are vegan because most government employees shudder at the sight of anything non-meat/dairy, but all were certainly made with love.

Maple Vanilla...

And my very first attempt at a completely new concept: the Red Velvet...

Also, if you let the edge of the roll of aluminum foil bunch up and unfurl, it looks like this...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


This year, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect long weekend for Thanksgiving: 26 degrees and perfect amber sunshine.  Not straying too far from the norm, I spent the days eating the mass equivalent of a fat baby, but this time around I managed to find time to go on two walks in the Gatineau hills- one with a wonderful friend of mine, and one with my equally wonderfully family.  The first walk was a little intense - we accidentally strayed onto an uphill trail (which my friend, being a boy, was delighted by)  - but at one point it led me to the sight below, which made me think about everything else I've got, to be thankful for.  

1) Being able to see Ottawa from so far away...(there it is, past the mountains..)

2) My fantastic family...

3) The awesome people I work with...

Eric's birthday fritter

Fabulous chocolates from my boss

A cheer-up honey cruller from George...

Words of encouragement from Lindsay, which I proudly printed and displayed on my wall (which just can't be true if I ate even half of the gifts portrayed above...)

Uhh, well, just about the sweetest birthday gifts to find on one's desk ever. Courtesy of Silvia and Amy. 

4)  My hilarious friends, who send me hilarious texts for which I am eternally grateful...

5) The knowledge that somewhere out there, there is Paris, and somewhere in Paris, there are macarons, and given that, things can't be that bad no matter what...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nothing Worse That Bugs Me More

I was standing at the bus stop on a rainy Monday evening having just finished my class and wanting nothing more than to go home, when Ottawa pulled another public transit special and delayed my bus yet again. I didn’t mind waiting, but this was definitely going down in my book of things I hate about this city.  I was thinking about the best way to describe the general transit service of the nation's capital when seemingly out of thin air, I heard: “Damn asshole!” 
It wouldn’t be the first time my attention was beckoned by such words in that particular area of town, so I assumed the next statement would be a polite inquiry as to the possible provision of small change. I removed my headphones and turned around to find what I would hesitate to call a woman, sporting a pair of black slim-fit jeans, a puffy light blue baseball jacket with the words “LOS ANGELES” embroidered on the front, sleeves, and back- the kind you’d imagine Danny Devito wearing- and a braid of red hair hanging limply to just above her coccyx.

“Bus ain’t comin’, eh?” She asked. I answered something about how long I’d been waiting, and she shook her head, “He’s probably around the corner picking his ass, or his dick, or his balls.” 
The certainty behind these options led me to believe she had been a witness to these activities in the past, and could guarantee the bus driver engaging in at least one of them, with the only remaining question pertaining to its identification. I nodded, mainly because I didn’t want her to explain how she knew, and wondered about the possibility of more than one option being valid at once.  “You from around here?” she asked me and I shook my head no. “Yeah, you from around here,” she said. “Don’t lie. I seen you.”  I laughed the kind of laugh you laugh hoping some passer-by might hear and come to your immediate rescue, but alas no one was around.  The bus was now half an hour late, but the announcement kept repeating five minutes to arrival. I figured the silver lining was that at least in a few hours my corpse would be found and then maybe the bus system would be guilted into functioning properly. “Cause I was gonna say,” my fellow traveller interrupted my fantasy, “Me I take care of my neighbors. A guy ever tell ya sumping ya don’t wanna hear, ya tell him to go shove his nose in a pipe. Tell him ya mama said so. That’s me- Mama.”  With those words, Mama pulled out a carton of DuMauriers and wedged a cigarette between her lips. She took four steps away from me as she lit up, which pained me as I realized that a woman with missing nails had more manners than the typical downtown businessman.  I considered the idea of not judging a book by its cover while we waited, in silence, until a few minutes later she started pacing again. “Wait 'til that damn asshole come round the corner. I’m gonna jump that fucker,” she took a drag of her third stick, and then turned to me with widened eyes, adding: “Or could it be a her?” I couldn’t think of anything equally insightful to add, so I said, “Maybe”.  I was also terribly hungry and worried that with every word, my energy was depleting which would eventually lead me to faint, which, in turn, would undeniably lead to Mama dragging me home to 'take care of her neighbor' with nightmarish remedies – namely Wonder Bread and Sunny Delight. I looked away and to my personal delight, saw a man coming our way.  He stopped beside me and pulled out his phone, dialing the bus number. “Five minutes!” he announced.  I didn’t want to scare him off by telling him it's been 'five minutes' for the past thirty, so I feigned enthusiasm with an “Oh great!” and pulled my transfer out of my pocket excitedly. Mama was now looking down at her hands, fingers spread out and catatonic. “Un, dos, tres, cinco, ocho, nueve…”  she counted on her fingers, "Un, dos, tres, cinco, ocho....nueve..." upon realizing she had made a terrible mistake leaving a bunch of fingers unaccounted for, she suddenly yelled “No!” and kicked the bus stop pole.  I looked down.  The man beside me whipped out his phone again in an attempt to look unfazed, but I could see the little flame of fear igniting at the pit of his soul.  The good thing was that there were two of us normal people now. The bad thing is that there could’ve easily been at least one extra person inside her jacket. Two, if on the smaller side. 

An elderly man rode by on a bicycle, smiling. "Turn your strobe light off, motherfucker!" Mama yelled. Then she turned to me and explained, "There's nothing worse that bugs me more." The man turned off his light obediently and began to pedal faster. I thought about walking home, but by this time, there was probably a street full of like-minded individuals awaiting my arrival.  Once, I walked down that road in broad daylight and felt the cold hollowness of a beer bottle grazing the back of my head. I imagine these tools become heavier at night, and there’s a chance their aim becomes better, as well.
“Hey, one time I dropped a tub of cement on my foot. I yelled ‘Help! Help!’ but everyone just drove by and laughed.” Mama pulled out another smoke, but this time more slowly as if to signal the beginning of a serious conversation.  The man took a few steps away from me, leaving me to steer the conversation away from the general topic of murder, so I said “Oh, that’s terrible. What did you do?” to which Mama answered: “I said to myself I gotta take care of this shit cause ain’t no motherfucker gonna help, so I put away my anger and lifted it off. Was heavy, I’ll tell you that, but I did it.”  

As I thought about these words, the bus suddenly appeared and pulled over. We stumbled on, and I let Mama pick her seat so that I could ensure I sat far away from it. She chose to occupy two of the front seats for the elderly and handicapped. From where I sat, I could see her wrapping her arms around a mentally challenged man just before announcing: “Stephen Harper? Yeah I know him well but that motherfucker can die”.   I could barely hear her over the words she had shared with me just moments before we parted ways, and it was all I could think about on my walk home later that night.  I wondered if we're all just waiting to be saved -by a moment, an event, or a passer-by, perhaps. Are we waiting for life to become something else, something better, and for someone to finally lift the weight off of not only our foot but our conscience? If so, maybe it’s time we all put away our anger, or fear, or expectations, and just save ourselves, because quite often in life, ain’t no motherfucker gonna help. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

And Another One...

Several months ago I bragged about one of my photos being up on The "Blog" or "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks and look at that, another photo made the cut! I snapped this one in my mother's neighborhood, found in the window of a dying diner, clinging to every last bit of hope.  The diner in question shall remain anonymous, and even if I wanted to identify it I'd have a bit of trouble considering three of the letters in its sign have fallen off (and may or may not have murdered pedestrians in doing so).  Regardless, I still can't figure out what the purpose of these quotation marks is, but the letters A, R, and E that's a statement.