On the day I was set to take the train from London to Edinburgh, my friend and I stopped near King’s Cross for lunch. We were late and rushing to the station for me to catch my train when I saw the Muji store. All of a sudden it didn’t matter if I was going to be late, I had to check out this store! Once I walked in I was enamored with all of the products offered, the packaging (or lack thereof), the store layout, and the question: “How much of this could I stuff into my luggage?“. While I didn’t have much room, I managed to get a few things:

Look at these toothbrush holders! They are so minimalist and so cute. Due to my fear of poop germs, I didn’t want to use it to hold my toothbrush out in the open so I use one as a pen holder, and the other for my awkwardly shaped lipstick. I love the simplicity, the shape, the color, and the dainty little label underneath.

Secondly, I got these face towels. As part of my SkinCare routine change, I wanted to get some nice, soft face towels. And these are so soft! They’re soft, but not fall-apart-soft. And I like the color since it will camouflage any makeup stains I may will make.

Muji carries stationary, home organization, skincare and clothing items, depending on the store. What I really liked about their organization items was that they were meant to be minimalist and almost invisible when they are being used. I usually go for loud, bold pen holders, folders, and mini drawers, but seeing these made me picture a crisp, clean, empty working space for myself and it does seem nice – though I don’t think it would last very long for me.
They have started opening stores in Canada and I cannot wait to go check one out and get some more face towels!
“Clean as you go”…yeah, never going to happen. 😛

 

I can’t exactly remember why, but before I left for Europe I started reading a lot into skincare, specifically through /r/SkinCareAddiction, and to a lesser extent /r/AsianBeauty. My skin has always been decent, but I always wanted to have better skin. In the last few months it has been causing trouble, with extremely oily patches and extreme dry patches, wrinkles (!) and freckles becoming more apparent. I eat quite healthy, drink tons of water, sweat regularly through yoga and cardio, so I figured my skin issues had to be coming from my skincare routine itself.

So here on the blog, I will be sharing my skincare transformation and products, information and tips that I’m learning along the way. I’ve already learned so much already, it is as if a whole new world has opened up to me!

Here is my BEFORE profile:
Skin: Combination. Extremely oily and extremely dry/scaly patches. Shallow forehead and laugh line wrinkles. Skin often feel tight, dry. Skin texture is bumpy, scratchy, rough. Overall appearance is dull, blegh (is that a scientific term?) Problem areas include enlarged pores, blackheads, redness and brown spots, and dark undereye circles. Also look how dry my lips are…urgh.
When introducing new products, it is important to wait a few weeks before starting a new routine or adding a new step; I will be taking photos and keeping track of what works and what doesn’t, and how my skin is improving.
I’m excited to say I’ve already made some progress which I will share in my next Skincare post : ) Here’s to a new face ; )

img_6866-sfwEarrings are my favorite accessory (I’m guaranteed to have mudflap earlobes when I’m old #yolo) and for the longest time they were just in a big heap in a plastic bin on my dresser. Not very chic, and certainly not very organized; to find a pair, I had to sort through lumps of hooked-together earrings, and even managed to break a couple in the process.
In the past I made a earring holder by drilling holes in a clear picture frame, but this works best for studs, and since I am striving for Dumbo-sized geriatric earlobes I go for big chandeliers. I came up with the idea of using an old picture frame a while ago, and was just waiting for the right frame.

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I saw this at Salvation Army (which really is my biggest source of Salvation) and knew it would be perfect for the DIY. It had an easily removable back (in fact in came without any back at all), a very cool shape, and was just the right size – and for four dollars! What a titillating find.

Here’s how I transformed this non-functional picture frame into one of my favorite DIYs yet:

 

You’ll need:
-Picture frame: when picking a frame, think about size, shape, and material. How many earrings will you need to fit? What kind of style are you looking for? I liked the wooden frame because I could hammer the nails into place – if you use a metal frame, you always use glue!
-Wire (20 gauge works well)
-Needle nose pliers
-Small, short nails (or glue)
-Hammer
-Paints for decoration

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How to do it:
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I found the easiest way to hang the wire using the hammer-and-nail method was to first make a wire loop with your pliers. Then slide the nail through the loop and hammer into place. It was much easier to do this then to hammer in the nail, then try to loop the wire around it.

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When placing your wire, think about the length of your earrings. Looking back, I should have accounted for my larger earrings and placed the bottom wire higher so they could fit in the frame. The wire should be fairly taught but having a bit of a curve to it gives a nice shape.

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Finally, I painted mine with some Indian-inspired pointillism designs in white and gold. I loved the color of the wood and didn’t want to paint the whole thing.

Tip: When I first hung my earrings I noticed that they would slide down towards the middle of the wire. To fix this, I used a hot glue gun to add little beads along the wire. This way the earrings didn’t slide around and each pair had their own little spot 🙂

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And there you have it! It’s really a very simple DIY; what takes the longest is finding the frame that you like best – but there is never a shortage of picture frames at any of the thrift stores I visit, so just keep an eye out and you will surely find something 🙂

 

A Tribe Called Red, concert
photo via Urban Native Girl

A Tribe Called Red are one of my favourite music groups, and if you’ve never heard of them…you’re welcome in advance.

I could try to sound like Pitchfork or Rolling Stone when describing their music, using lines such as “opting for heart-swelling neoclassical [electronic music” (Pitchfork’s Hudson Mohawke review), “assembles an army of 8-bit synths, then runs them through a quick, showy drop for a cheap but mercenary thrill” (also Hudson Mohawke), or “stuffed with sugar-rush beats that are fun, even  when they blur together” (Rolling Stone’s Zedd Review). But I am no music critic, I just love this group and everyone I have showed them to have loved their unique and energetic sound.

ATCR are a Canadian electronic music group made up of three DJS, and fuse electronic music with First Nations and Indigenous beats and chanting, and the mix is downright amazing.

A Tribe Called Red
Photo via Travis Ross

A glorious introduction to their music would be “Electric Pow Wow Drum ”, off of their self titled album, released in 2013.

When plenty of musicians, especially electronic artists, add “exotic elements” to their music for added beats and kicks, A Tribe Called Red are Indigenous artists using Indigenous music in a new way.

From their earlier album, Nation II Nation, is a song called Sisters featuring Northern Voice, and is actually the first song of theirs that I heard:

About a month ago they released a new song called Suplex which, as I’m sure you’ve gathered from the vibe of this post, is awesome.

They’re almost always on tour in Canada and the US, and have several international shows. I’m hoping to check them out at this year’s Osheaga Festival, or when they return to Quebec a few weeks later.

Check out their soundcloud, and prepare to get hooked!

 P.S. if you’re interested in other Indigenous artists check out Frank Waln and Inez Jasper

cronut, dessert, pastry, food

It’s a donut made out of croissant dough. Enough said.

The Cronut has been rumoured to exist since 1991, but was officially trademarked in 2013 in NYC with people lining up around the block(!) to get a taste of them. In 2013, Time Magazine named it one of the best inventions of the year, alongside the X-47B drone, artificial memories, and the Artificial Pancreas (which you will need for the amount of sugar in this thing), so you could say it’s quite the breakthrough. I feel the need to capitalize the ‘C’ because of it’s importance, and because it’s trademarked and I can’t afford a lawsuit.

cronut, dessert, pastry, Montreal

Last week I was on Google looking for the best cupcake place in Montreal, when Simplement DLiche (French for ‘simply delicious’) came up. They have 8 classic flavors of cupcakes available daily, including coconut, chocolate peanut butter and red velvet, and their location was only 10 minutes away! How had I not heard of this place before??

Within 5 minutes I was out the door and on my way. I naively told myself I would buy the cupcakes then take some photos for the blog. I decided on the chocolate peanut butter and the coconut when I saw that they sold Cronuts. THE Cronuts. I picked one up as well. And Oh. My. God.

dessert, cronut, pastry

Yes, yes, the cupcakes were phenomenal. But the cronut…there have been three times in my life when I have cried because the food was so good (I’m not even kidding – once was on a second date), and this was a close fourth. They are filled with a vanilla custard that explained why it weighed close to two pounds. The dough was flaky and soft, yet fluffy like a donut, fried and glazed.

cronut, dessert, pastry

There. For $5 it was a bit more expensive than most donuts, but I see at as an investment into my sanity and well-being. I ate less than half because it is just so rich and I was so full from already eating both cupcakes (oops) put it in the fridge so it wouldn’t melt in the heat. 7 minutes later…I finished it. So much for pictures for the blog. Too bad, I would have to go back and get another one. So these pics are from Cronut Round #2. I had planned on taking a nice photo of it cut open so you could see the custard goodness, but I only remembered that halfway through eating it. So you get this photo instead.

cronut, dessert, pastry

Hope you’re hungry.

 

I call this post a “Show Off DIY” since this is where I show a DIY I’ve made where the supplies are so obscure it would be unhelpful to do a step-by-step instructional post, and instead is meant to give some DIY inspiration for whatever supplies you come across.

This desk game started off as a spice jar holder I bought from a garage sale. Each hole had a container of spices in it. I took the containers out and used them for bead storage, and was left was this.

diy, desk game, game, board game

I decided I was going to turn it into a desk-sized throwing game. I spray painted the wood white, added red accents, and drew on some points for each target (when you’re playing by yourself the points are pretty arbitrary).

diy, desk game, board gaame

I used pom poms to toss since they won’t make noise when they hit the desk and won’t roll away. It’s a nice way to give myself a break when studying or working that doesn’t involved Facebook or getting sucked into the vortex of the internet.

diy, desk game, board game

diy, desk game, board game

Top score: 150. That’s Olympic level stuff.

 

 

Whenever I make a DIY post, there’s a lot that goes into it – taking photos of the ‘before’ version or of the supplies, taking pictures through each step (which is annoying and time consuming trying to angle the tripod just right, setting the timer, etc), and pictures of the finished product. While I love being able to show people how I make things, it’s not condusive to a spur of the moment craft inspiration where I have to just make it to keep the creative juices flowing.
And because I use mostly vintage and upcycled supplies, most of my ideas come from looking at my pile of supplies and asking what can I do with it? This means that creating a DIY post where you need 5 vintage pink feathers, 20 oversized red beads or in this case, vintage green wood shower rings wouldn’t be that helpful to the average crafter.

While you probably won’t be able to find vintage green wood hoops to work with, you can use the style I created with an old pair of gold hoops or other circle shaped earrings or pendants.

DIY Vintage Wooden Hoop Earrings, Vintage, Wooden, Boho, Anthropologie, Earrings, DIY, craft, beads

The vintage shower hooks I bought at (say it with me) Salvation Army, and the gold teardrop charms were from a broken pair of earrings I had. The embroidery thread I had bought a while ago and the beads came from god knows where from who knows how long ago.

The earrings were super simple to make – all I did was wrap the thread around the green hoop and added the beads and charms as I went. I finished the pair in about 15 minutes.

DIY Vintage Wooden Hoop Earrings, Vintage, Wooden, Boho, Anthropologie, Earrings, DIY, craft, beads

I love the earthy yet chic feel they have, and the neutral tones of the burgundy and dark green with the gold. They are super lightweight since the hoops are made of wood, and have a lot of free movement when worn.

DIY Vintage Wooden Hoop Earrings, Vintage, Wooden, Boho, Anthropologie, Earrings, DIY, craft, beads

DIY Vintage Wooden Hoop Earrings, Vintage, Wooden, Boho, Anthropologie, Earrings, DIY, craft, beads

Lol at this photo of me – I was making curry earlier in the day and didn’t notice until after I took all the photos that I had turmeric smudged in between my eyebrows : P

I still have a bunch of these green rings left, I already have another idea in mind for a pair of earrings, and maybe a necklace. Ah, the possibilities!

I love a good vintage bag revamp (see my beaded purse revamp and my Kate Spade DIY clutch), and I’ve got one more to show!

leather purse, vintage, upcycle, makeover, DIY, leather, clutch

I found this leather purse at my trusty Salvation Army. I loved the stiff rectangle shape, and the diagonal detail was perfect. However the straps were too short and dated it back to the 90s, and the leather was dry and very thirsty.

I knew I wanted to stain the leather a darker, richer color, but leather stain can be pricey. I wondered if I could use simple wood stain to color it. After doing some Googling, it seemed that untreated leather takes wood stain well as long as it’s not oil based; if you are unsure if you have untreated leather, if you can scratch the material and it leaves a visible mark that is lighter than its normal color, it is most likely untreated. And good news! The bag’s leather was able to be stained with wood stain!

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Four bucks later, and some staining I had a beautiful dark leather purse. I cut off the straps to turn it into a clutch, and then used my mink oil shoe polish on it to give it a healthier, shinier look. And ta-da! It looks like something that could be sold at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, but only cost me $3.00 plus the $4.00 varnish (which I’m going to use for another DIY anyways).

Vintage Purse, Leather Purse, Upcycle, Makeover, DIY, Clutch, Stain, Wood Stain

Leather Purse, Clutch, Leather, Wood Stain, Stain, DIY, Upcycle, Makeover, How-to

Now I need to find places to go to make use of all these clutches I’ve been making lately…