Friday, January 25, 2013

Geek Style: a winter wonderland inspiration board

Canada has suddenly remembered that Toronto is in fact a part of the Great White North.

For the last week or so, we've experienced an extreme cold we haven't seen in recent years. It's not just the cold air too, it's also the windchill impacting the city, making even sticking your hand out to the exposed air a difficult endeavor.

So in tribute to the extreme cold, here is a winter inspiration board on the weather.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Geek Media: les miserables -- and the song every girl wants to sing

Susan Boyle may have turned Les Miserables "I Dreamed a Dream" into the most successful song from the musical when she took it and stole the heart of the world with it.

But ask any girl that loves musicals, performs in musicals or wishes to perform in musicals. It is nothing compared to the other tragic anthem of the international renowned stage show.

Because when it comes to a heart-breakingly beautiful and haunting melodies of lost dreams and shattered hopes, On My Own truly is in a class of its own.

On My Own is a song that every individual can relate to. It is a song of unrequited love, of a lost and lonely heart, of being ignored. It is a song of heartache, of the bitter pains of finding love and realizing that it is one unrealized in full.

Every word is a tragedy in colour. Every verse is another tear. In the rainfalls of a Paris street, a waif of no significance cries out against her own fate of irrelevance.

In so many ways, it is one of the musical's most powerful number, sung to a powerful tune in a powerful voice that rings out its injustice, its pain. It can make or break the character of Eponine. For it is this tune that makes her one of the most beloved and most desired of all characters in Les Miserables.

Small wonder that when the movie version of the musical was announced, every sort of actress or pop star - from Scarlet Johansson to Taylor Swift - scrambled to try and grab the coveted role, and by extension, the opportunity to be immortalized by immortalizing this song.

However, once it was not so popular a part with fans.

One only has to look back and see. In its original incantation, it didn't have that same strength, that same tragic beauty. Instead, it was far more insipid, whiny even (no fault to the original performer may I add).

In truth, perhaps that was how it was supposed to be. One only has to read the books to understand that for Eponine while tragic in the books was not a really likable character based on the personality she truly had.

And so it was, until the day Lea Salonga seized the role.

Her loneliness was palpable. And so her powerful eulogy to a lost love echoed through the auditorium, every feeling wretched from the song. She sang it with power, with bitterness.

And that was when the world began to care, began to relate and so began to love. Suddenly Eponine had a soul, she had depth and she had life.

Salonga re-invented the character not just in a song, but in how the song was sung.

And has been sung ever since.

 No other song in the musical realm has come close to truly matching the feelings or power that this song creates. Nor is there a song that so easily overwhelms and imposes a truly secondary character into one of the story's most beloved and most desired.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Geek Style: getting involved in the floral denim fad

You can thank the celebrities for this.

Last year evolved around the emergence of the floral patterned tights. This year, it looks as if floral (or really, simply multi-patterned) denim is going to be the big fashion hit for this season. You simply cannot walk into a cheap chic store like Forever21 or even Bluenotes without seeing something that has some kind of vibrant pattern of some sort.

Throw in the popularity of neon colours this year iton it and you've got a real cacophony of multi-patterned/coloured pants all waiting for the warm weather.

Now generally, I don't usually care for these transitional fashion fads and there is no way to describe these multicoloured things AS a fad, one minute there, the next in the nearest Salvation Army.

But while flipping through a copy of People's Style Watch that I picked up between working at one job before heading to the other and found these floral printed jeans in there.

And I realized that I really really wanted them.

They're called the Black Orchid Black Jewel tencel skinny denim. And I thought the pattern was in style, but highly subtle in the sense that they don't overpower the pants and is a softer pattern than some of those I've seen around.

And I thought it suited me.

But in the magazine, they were advertised as being $168. In American. That's a lot of money for a fashion fad if you ask me.

(And while I can see that the link indicates that they're currently on sale for $16.80, they only ship within the USA. So yeah)

I did however find a relatively similar pair through Forever21 called Life in Progress Rose printed skinnies.

They lack the variety of colour that the Black Orchid version does - it is very black and white as opposed to including a touch of green and pinks in a greyish-white colour - but the pattern is there and the subtlety still exists, which is what I really liked.

They're easy to dress up, or dress down and is also appropriate (within reason of course) for where I work. Which is a huge plus.

In terms of how I'd wear them, it can be clearly seen in the above picture of celebrities wearing the pants, avoid other patterns. The pants are obviously the statement piece and therefore other patterns added in will overwhelm the look and you.

Don't shy away from colour, but be mindful of what works with the pattern. Luckily, because of its neutral colourings, they will and do match just about anything and any colour, so in this particular pair, I don't have to worry too much.

It'll be harder to maintain because the colour is so stark white and therefore will get dirty far more easier than say a dark wash jean (and trust me, I am a klutz when it comes to this kind of thing), but in the end, they look and feel fantastic.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Geek Media: failing to not like thorin oakenshield

So, how awesome was Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Seriously, I never in a million years would have thought I'd be able to call a dwarf sexy.

And yet, he managed that in spades (frankly though, so did Kili, which I have already discussed) So much kudos to Richard Armitage for the solid acting and really creating a solid character.

Because honestly, I tried my damndest to hate that character.

(WARNING: Major spoilers from this point onward for the Hobbit. If you have not read the books, proceed at your own risk!)

Now don't get me wrong, he is everything and more that Armitage depicted Thorin in the movie - strong, steadfast, loyal, a great and immense warrior and a legend in his own right, intelligent and thoughtful.

But by the time he arrived in the Hobbit, he really was more the other guy that you saw of Thorin as well from time-to-time in the movies - bitter, world-weary, proud and even a little hateful. But really, way more of the bitterness.

Perhaps it was the style of writing that the Hobbit has, or perhaps it is simply because Tolkien wrote it from Bilbo's perspective, but Thorin was not a likable character in the book. He felt distant, rude and ... well, like a dwarf with little respect for anything at all. None of the more admirable qualities of him was all that self-evident. Certainly it was there based on the loyalty his fellow dwarf companions had for him, but it wasn't outright stated and so somewhat got lost in his stubborn, obstinate behaviour.

What ultimately ruins the whole character for me was that by about page 250, he gets downright insufferable. That base and totally illogical greed of his (illogical because he never ever bore a Ring of Power - according to lore, the Seven increased a dwarf's greed and reliance on defining one's worth by their wealth) takes over upon seeing the vast treasuries of gold in the Lonely Mountain.

For no other reason than that is why he nearly caused a war against Men and Elves! Illogical, stupid, self-absorbed, baseless greed!

In that moment, he goes from being just a mean dude to an evil one ala Boromir from the Lord of the Rings.

Granted, he redeemed himself much like Boromir does at the very end by dying in the Battle of Five Armies defending the Lonely Mountain itself as well as all those that fought in it, but his death simply wasn't as tragic feeling in the book as Boromir's was.

He never did redeem himself into a likable character in the book in my eyes. In some ways, the grudge over his greed and stupidity never faded in my eyes.

Granted, it has been some times since I read the Hobbit and I haven't exactly given it a deeper look in order to thoroughly break down Thorin's psyche from within the narrative or anything... but the countless times I have read that novel, I never walked away from it having liked the dwarf.

And yet, here I was, after movie one-of-three, really, really respecting Thorin and his loyalty. Even his grump and stubborn streak appealed to me in that it simply demonstrated another part of his strength.

All of a sudden, his fallible nature that so repelled me in the books made him someone that I wanted to embrace and to accept. I loved the character and the personal struggles and demons he dealt with. And it actually made me sad, knowing that his end is only two more movies away and that I would actually be very upset at seeing it.

I tried really hard to dislike him, in order to make his passing less tragic. And it won't be so...

Either Richard Armitage is a genius, or I've been duped by Peter Jackson.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Geek Style: the unnecessary necessity of having to wear a bra

Sometimes, being a woman sucks.

I mean, when you go shopping for stuff like, pillows, pillowcases and underwear, logic would dictate that the pillows should be the more expensive purchase of the two. Nope. My lingerie haul was nearly twice what I spent for two pillows and two pillowcases at Sears.

And it's not like it's a large underwear haul either. Well actually, it was... but it was out of necessity.

See, La Senza was having an amazing clearance sale in which bras were going for $9.99 a pop, which was awesome especially since I REALLY needed bras after having thrown away two or so of 'em because those were falling apart after years of service. So I got five of them, figuring that that would hold me down for the foreseeable future.

I hate having to buy bras. And every time I go shopping for them, they're often going for at least $30 a pop for me and it's just so hard to swallow spending that kind of money on something that no one sees... that is if you don't dress like a skank or something (not that everyone who flashes their bra to the public are skanks... but let's just say, if it ain't work-safe, you're going to get judged as one!).

I mean, 30 dollars can get me three solid books to read! Or a REALLY nice top from H&M or Forever21. Something I can actually show off, rather than hide under my not-as-expensive shirts, tops or buttondowns.

I get that it's another thing that makes YOU the individual happy having some secret, sexy under-thing on. It's a self-esteem thing to be able to wear something that a guy would look at and oogle over. And really, isn't that all Victoria Secret sells itself on anyway? This image of self esteem in sexy underwear?

But the price tag hardly makes it worth it in my eyes. One time I walked home having spent $60 dollars on two bras (and the second was half off!) and after maybe the first time I wore it, I barely paid attention to the fact it had a nice colourful pattern or lace or what-have-you. At some point, it's about the fact that the straps twist easily, it doesn't wash well and the strap slips off your shoulder too easily and you're constantly having to adjust the goddamn thing!

Problem is it's one of those necessities that women need unless you plan to have people see the shape of your nipples every day or really know how low they go. Although for me it's more the nipple thing as really, I don't have boobs that hang low anyway. I'm still young after all. And childless.

And really, I don't consider covering my nipples with stickers as a cheap alternative. Mostly because that can be even more uncomfortable than wearing a bra. Mostly the chaffing.

And by the way... today I totally bought TWO lacy pieces. Because even I need a self-esteem raiser underneath my button-down shirts and jeans.

Geek Living: bedding upgrade

Last month, I moved.

As in I went from my lonely and not-so-private bachelor to a three-bedroom apartment with two other guys (Yes, guys. If you knew me, this decision would make perfect sense). It meant an upgrade in kitchen size (which is nice) but a downgrade in actual personal living space, in part because as part of the deal of me taking mostly sole possession of the extra small bathroom, I take the smallest room.

Which is totally fine for me... except one thing.

Somehow, this room is FREEZING COLD compared to the rest of the apartment.

Like, I go to bed in fleece pyjama pants, a cotton long sleeve shirt AND a sweater, and under two duvets AND I'M STILL COLD IN THE MORNING!

Amazing how small my twin looks in this picture. Also, please note that the fleece blanket is there only because when I took the picture, I was also recovering from a vicious cold...

Now part of this may be because it's the middle of winter (in Canada), and it probably wouldn't be such a bad thing in summer (although watch, as soon as summer hits, this will go opposites and become the warmest room) but it really did make me rethink my bedding.

College Fashion touched on it a week ago and they made a good point, you spend a lot of time on your bed.  I spend even more since this is what is essentially my office. I'm on my laptop in bed all the time, as you can tell from my laptop being positioned there in the picture.

So why do I only own one comforter and one (and a half I guess... the second one is so flat it's close to dead) pillows?

Also, I'm finding my colour palette and style has changed a bit since I bought my first duvet cover, which is a sort of neutral grey. I don't know if it's because I'm a chick living with two guys or what, but I've been craving more colour... feminine colours. And with my bed being the biggest piece of furniture in the room, it'd be one of the easiest ways to really make a statement.

So first I looked for inspirational pieces.

This board was made with a few things in mind. First is Penny's bed from The Big Bang Theory. I enjoyed the feminine appeal of it, but it also served as a large reminder to stay colourful and cheerful. Mix colours with bedding and keep it bright.

The vines, tree bedposts and picture of Rivendell are all reminders to keep things natural looking. It mostly is due to my hopes and expectation of possibly getting a "summer look" for my bedroom that is more... elvish in nature... something with a vine pattern.

Now it took some time, research and a lot of hemming and hawing, but I selected and purchased my duvet/comforter set on the right.

It's from Blancho Bedding (which ships out of Texas apparently) and I ordered it through Amazon. It's not here yet... but hopefully it will be as the projected time is now within the next week or so. This was step one.

(And may I add, they have a really fabulous selection of colourful, bright and patterned duvet covers and bedding that would brighten any room. Would recommend a good look at their stock)

The other steps?

Two more puffy, comfy "sleeping" pillows for when I feel like relaxing and bright coloured pillowcases... preferably in light blue. A second comforter. And a BRIGHT but solid coloured duvet cover (or with a mild pattern... like my current grey one... but with colour) for it so it can double as a sheet without actually being a sheet! (sheets being too flimsy and troublesome for me)

And a throw pillow for decoration and sham for the really cold nights.

Quite a bit eh? All for an upgrade on a more comfortable bed. But let's be honest, when I finally set it up (and place the decorations and what have you around it) it will be worth it.

Stay tuned...