(End Of) Summer Favourites

We make another glorious return to the pages of this blog to celebrate the things I’ve been enjoying over the summer!

As we come into the beginning of autumn (despite the insane heat happening in Ontario right now) I always like to change up my daily routines, whether it be skincare, cleaning, morning or nighttime. Because of that, I thought it best to give a shout out to everything I loved and frequently returned to during the summer months.

Fashion

(I only have two fashion shout outs bc let’s be real, I always just cycle through the same three outfits when it’s hot out.)

Kimono

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I swear I was so not a Kimono gal before working in fashion retail. Now, I work at a store that always has gorgeous layers available and its made me rethink my stance on the matter. When it’s too warm for a sweater but cool enough for a little something-something, a kimono is the perfect median. Also, this one from Anthropologie gives me awesome Stevie Knicks vibes, which I’m always trying to emulate.

Red Sunnies

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Going on my 1970s, Stevie train, I wanted to find a sweet pair of coloured sunnies that actually look good on my extremely round face. I found these guys at a vintage shop here in Toronto called Mama Loves You, and immediately knew I had to get them. Since then, I’ve been wearing them outside, inside, during the day and during the evening because honestly, I feel pretty dang cool when I have them on.

Beauty

MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Skin Tint

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I straight up don’t want to wear foundation in the summer. Ya girl sweats and her pores get clogged and it’s a damn mess. I like to go for BB creams or titled moisturizers in the summer, and I’ve jumped between a few brands in the past before I found the Sunshine Skin Tint from MILK. This is a skin tint like most other skin tints, meaning it has very light coverage and can be applied just with your fingertips. What I loved about this one is the scent, the smooth formula and the addition of nourishing oils within the product. While I would hesitate to recommend this skin tint to those with oily skin, I would say to give it a go if you’ve been looking for something to wear on those no-makeup-but-still-a-little-makeup days.

BH Cosmetics Solar Flare Palette

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Who doesn’t love some sparkle and outrageously bold warm tones during the summer months? I came across a Facebook ad (of all things, I know) for BH Cosmetics’ newest baked eyeshadow palettes. The palettes are spaced themed, so obviously I knew I needed to get them. I had never purchased anything from BH before. I was pretty intrigued by the low price point (one full palette was about $25 Canadian) but was wary about the price versus quality conundrum. I ordered the makeup anyway and was pretty chuffed to find out the quality was fantastic upon arrival. The colour payoff is just ridiculous and they shadows blend well. The first few days I had makeup looks from the palette, everyone asked me if I had the Heat palette from Urban Decay, so consider this palette a good dupe.

Smashbox 24 Hour Eye Primer

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Due to unforseen circumstances, I had been in need of a new eye primer back in June right before I left on two-week road trip to the States. The only place I had time to go was Shoppers Drug Mart, where only a few brands have eye primers available. I picked up this Smashbox one on a recommendation, and discovered my new favourite. This stuff is the shit. It’s so good. I gotta say, maybe even better than the Urban Decay primer. (This post is so not meant to be anti-Urban Decay it’s just kinda coming out that way BUT I LOVE YOU UD.) I’ve had this one underneath my makeup in 30 degree heat, during a 20-hour day and during a flash thunderstorm, and in all those moments, my eye makeup held up surprisingly well. If my eyeshadow can stay glittery in the Montana climate, I’m probably good for anything else that comes at me.

Miscellaneous

Cracked Movie Club Podcast

I love movies – both watching them and learning everything I can about their behind-the-scenes action. This podcast, a relatively new kid on the block, is hosted by two guys, Abe and Tom, who focus on a particular director every month and examine their hit movies in fascinating detail. Some of the things I’ve learned on this podcast have both ruined certain movies for me and made them better.

The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

This album doesn’t necessarily count as a summer favourite as it’s a new release, but I have been listening to it obsessively over the last two weeks, so I’m putting it in because this is my blog and I do what I want. I’ve been a War on Drugs fan for years and my anticipation for this latest release was not for nothing. A Deeper Understanding is a gorgeously crafted album. Every song feels like a story and every note is near-perfect. Honestly, I haven’t really been listening to anything else lately.

Top tracks: Thinking of a Place, Strangest Thing, Pain

The Keepers

This Netflix documentary series was one folks around me had been telling me to watch for a while, but it wasn’t until August that I finally delved into the story about the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik. Stories of sexual assault and violence against women such as this one anger me to no end, but it’s also important for these stories to be told, and their morals discussed. It’s a fantastically gripping series, with every revelation coming at you like a cannonball. However, I would advise against binging – for me, this one was best taken in episodic doses, to absorb every detail and part of the story.

 

The Witches of New York

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I’ve made a pact with myself to read more books this fall, and to start myself off towards the end of the summer, I picked up Ami McKay’s The Witches of New York, a novel about three women in New York in the late 19th century. I won’t say too much about the plot, other than the book combines some of my favourite things: feminism, witchcraft and a championing female friendships above romantic relationships. 10/10 would recommend to anyone shopping for a new read.`

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday.

All I can think about is that one Britney song “Not a girl, not yet a woman.” In my mind, hitting 24 and 25 is when I’ll truly need to start having my shit together. Whatever that means. My dad likes to joke that I change the year as I approach it. Before soon I’ll be saying, “79 is when I’ll really need to start getting my shit together.”

Little more than a week ago, my sister turned 27 and I asked her how she felt. She told me about how she was excited to get older, how aging doesn’t freak her out the way it does some folks (myself included.)

I envy my sister that, her excitement for her 30s and for the decades after that. I have, completely unsurprisingly, a lot of anxiety about getting older, but it’s not necessarily about aging. It’s about wondering when I’ll finally land a big girl job, if I’ll ever achieve all the goals I’ve laid out for myself, if I’ll ever get a dog. Responsibility is a weight I doubt we ever fully become accustomed to. If I’ve learned anything from my parents, it’s that even grown ups have their days where they’re not entirely sure what they’re doing.

So I’ve got worries. But I also had a nice train ride to Kingston to think about the other side of aging — to look at how much I’ve grown in the last few years.

When I think about how I was in high school, even at the start of university, it seems like the Natasha of then is a completely different person. If you can believe it, she was even more insecure and prone to pigheaded-ness.

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I’m half-kidding, but there are a lot of changes I’ve noticed in me. I mean, yeah, I know how to dress now, or at least, I know how to dress in a way I feel good in and think works for me. I’m way better at makeup than I was. Those are only the superficial things, but since my journey in how to dress myself led to a love affair with fashion, it’s important to note.

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I’m more self-aware. I’m better at considering the consequences of my words before I speak. Better, but not perfect. I value my friendships so much more now that I’ve moved. I’m a little more open towards others and a little more forgiving towards myself. I care less and less what people think of me every day. Maybe I’m happier, I don’t know.

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In short, every year that passes brings more changes, physical and otherwise. Looking back at myself, even when I was eighteen, nineteen, I see how everything I’ve experienced has shaped me a little differently, how every person has left an impression. I have anxiety about getting older, but I also have some excitement on how I’ll look back when I’m 27 or 28 and see how much more I’ve changed. It’s cliche, but it’s a bit comforting to know that there are so many more people to meet and things to experience.

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For now, I’m 23. I’m 23 and I went to Ottawa for a weekend to celebrate with some pals. We took poorly-lit basement photos and get uproariously drunk. As my esteemed colleagues Blink-182 say, nobody likes you when you’re 23. You’re still so young, but you have a lot of the responsibility of a full adult. All we can do at this weird crossroads, when we’re not kids but not quite grown-ups, is do our best to be kind to ourselves and the people around us. And, if we can, try not to fuck up too much. At least not more than is necessary.

Latest Faves: Spring Edition

Now that it’s the end of April and we’re finally getting some sunshine and days where a jacket isn’t a requirement, I thought it was a good time to do another round of what I’ve been discovering and rediscovering the last couple of months.

Fashion

For my clothing pieces this time around, I decided to style an overall look with the things mentioned in my favourites, since they’re all more general than specific things. Think of it as conceptual faves.

Denim Jackets, Mom Jeans and Vintage.

The perfect transition weather piece, right? And in Canada, transition weather essentially lasts until July and then it’s so hot you have trouble even thinking about putting on clothes, so it’s wise to invest in some ~light jackets~.

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Denim is really big right now, and I used to be so steadfastly against the denim-on-denim Canadian tuxedo trend that has risen from its early-2000s grave. Now that it’s back, I gotta say, I’m kinda into it. (And yeah I’m probably just a trend sheep. A treep.)

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I unearthed these American Apparel (RIP) mom jeans that are a perfect light wash for summer, and actually paired them with a vintage denim jacket. I’ve been wearing these jeans all the time lately. They are by far the most comfortable pair I own and there’s something a bit nostalgic about the wash and fit of them.

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My last fashion favourite is, again, a bit general. I’ve always liked wearing vintage, but lately I’ve been on a huge vintage kick. Browsing packed racks full of weird stuff and finding items that are magically able to fit me is my favourite hobby. I love the treasure-hunting aspect of it, especially if you dedicate the proper time sometimes required to find the good stuff. I’ve found pieces in my hunting like this button-up that are a bit strange. This top I found in the $5 bin at Mama Loves You, for example, has a car pattern on it and, inexplicably, blue heart buttons. I like the humour in a piece like this and I like the uniqueness it adds to my wardrobe.

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And anyway, who doesn’t like being able to say “it’s vintage” when someone asks you where you got something?

Converse

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In the spring and summertime, I live in my sneakers. I tend to walk everywhere in the warm weather, so I need something comfortable. More than that, I just feel like they go with everything. My only lament is how much I love the white converse and how easily I get them dirty.

Mules

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It’s a blessing that these types of shoes are everywhere right now, because ya girl cannot do a stiletto heel to save her life. I love the lower, block heels of these shoes. I love their simplicity and how easy they are to style. I am here for the mules.

These ones are from H&M, but I’ve seen similar ones in almost every store.

Mini Backpack

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And yet another 90s comeback trend I caved for. But, come on, this backpack from Urban Outfitters is so cute. Also I can fit a surprising amount of stuff in it.

Beauty

Milk Makeup

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I’ve only tried three products from Milk Makeup, but I love what I’ve tried. This is a brand I’ve heard a lot of hype about in the blogosphere and I was so excited to try it. Firstly, I’m a fan of the concept: makeup that you can apply with your fingers on the go. I also love the simple packaging and the products themselves, or at least the ones I’ve tried, have more than met my expectations. Catch me at Sephora raiding their selection the next time they get a restock.

The items pictured are (L to R): Eye Vinyl in “Bridge,” Liquid Strobe in “Ultraviolet,” Eye Pigment in “After Party.”

Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in “Moonlight Pink”

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I’m not going to lie to you, I bought this product years ago with straight Optimum points. If you’re not Canadian/don’t know about Shoppers Drug Mart, just know it’s a point system at a drug store chain than be redeemed on almost anything they have available. Naturally I went straight for the pricy makeup. I rather doubt I would have this product if I didn’t get it for free, because you can similar items from MAC and Maybelline, but I will say, since I do have it, I love it. The colour is beautiful and it works really well all over the eye or faintly as a highlighter. Since I’ve been favouring more simple makeup lately, my go-to is slathering this all over my eye and piling on mascara. It’s glam.

Too Faced “Papa Don’t Peach” Blush

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I raved about the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette in my last favourites post, I believe, and here I am back with the blush. Honestly, I love everything from this collection. I like the smell of peaches and I’m easy prey for cute, gimmicky stuff. The thing about this blush is it’s ridiculously pretty on. I love it. Lately I’ve just been wearing this blush without a highlighter because it has a bit of shimmer in it. I already know this will be my ride or die through the summer.

Books

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Ross King – Mad Enchantment

I received this book as a Christmas present from my parents but had a huge delay in reading it, not because I didn’t want to, but because I got caught up in other reading material on my list. Now that I’ve properly dived into it, I can say I think it is just the most wonderful book. Monet is my fave historic painter, and this book shows him to be the sassy mofo he truly is.

V.E. Schwab – The Shades of Magic Trilogy

I had, in the tail end of winter, been looking for some transportive fiction I could really sink my teeth into. On a recommendation from a Chapters employee, I tried the first book in this trilogy and was immediately hooked. It’s got a lot of magic, action and some really interesting characters with a lot of depth. Highly recommended to anyone looking to be sucked into another world.

Music

Jay Som – Everybody Works

Okay, I learned that Jay Som (real name Melina Duterte) not only played all of the instruments on this album, but she recorded it in her bedroom. That blew my mind. It took an already cool album to ridiculous levels of coolness. Her sound is a bit like if the sun-bleached guitars of Real Estate had a baby with femme garage rock. You get me?

Fave tracks: Baybee, 1 Billion Dogs, Take It

Khalid – American Teen

This album kinda makes me wish I was a teenager again, but then I remember what being a teenager was like and I’m like ‘nah.’ Still love this whole album, though. Khalid’s sound is really laid-back with a touch of 80s inspiration. Summer soundtrack for sure.

Fave tracks: American Teen, Young Dumb & Broke, 8TEEN

Gorillaz – Humanz

GUESS WHO’S BACK. I just about lost it when I heard Gorillaz was putting a new album out on the 28th and I’ve been obsessively playing their early release tracks since. It’s always been difficult to pin down Gorillaz’ sound and this record is looking to be no different. Their songs can be so different from one another but somehow I’m into every one??? Magic.

Fave tracks: Andromeda, Saturnz Barz, Ascension

Miscellaneous

SKAM

Speaking of things that are back… I have most definitely talked about SKAM in a favourites post before and now it’s back for another season and I’m still obsessed with it, so here I am talking about it again. Each season focuses on a different main character in the same friend group and the one for this season is Sana, a Norwegian Muslim girl trying to make sense of her religion, herself, her friends and boyyyyys. All I can say about this show is its painfully relevant and relatable.

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This show is just so goddam funny. If you haven’t seen it yet (it’s on Netflix) please consider giving it a go. Really, I laugh out loud at least twice an episode and some really interesting topics are covered in really hilarious ways.

Terrible, Thanks for Asking Podcast

I discovered this gem on a recommendation from my friend Clare. Hosted by author Nora McInery, this podcast that aims to talk honestly about pain, awkwardness and other uncomfortable human topics. The last episode I listened to, I cried. In the middle of Queen St. This is such an amazing podcast with the potential to help a lot of people.

 

My Top Fall/Winter 2017 Shows

Even for those of us who don’t attend the shows, Fashion Month is a wild ride. There are so many shows to witness, so many looks to covet, so many underhanded comments to make and just so much darn fashion.

It is, at some point, my goal to be able to actually attend the shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Alas, I am definitely not there, and continue to obsessively check online to see the photographs and show reports come in.

This season there were definitely some collections I was not too keen on, but there were also those I loved, and it was pretty difficult to narrow this list of favourites to nine shows, but I’ve done it. In no particular order, and for various reasons, these are my favourite shows from Fashion Month.

Area

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All Photos from Vogue Runway

I’ve had a little obsession with Area blooming ever since I saw their Pre-Fall 2016 campaign a while back. There was something about the styling, the lighting, the photography. It was such a throwback to 70s glam and I couldn’t handle it. I just couldn’t. Since then, I’ve been keeping tabs on the brand, to see their latest work and ad campaigns. Their most recent collection definitely did not disappoint me. Glimmering jewels, silky jumpsuits, bell bottoms; it was just so good.

Nina Ricci

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Nina Ricci’s collection was one of those that showed me how I wished I dress. Every look that came down the runway, I went, “Yeah. Yep. Okay.” Every model looked chic, but like it came naturally to her. That’s down to some pretty A+ styling, but the clothes themselves are beautiful. I love the dusty pinks and muted yellows and beiges used – it gives the whole collection a “Parisian in the fall” type of vibe. I am not opposed to this type of vibe.

Off-White

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To be honest, I haven’t paid too much attention to Off-White in the past. It just really wasn’t on my radar. I came across their Fall/Winter 2017 show by happenstance, just scrolling through the Vogue app. It was the runway that caught my eye, covered in brown-orange leaves and eerily lit. Pathetically, it reminded me of Stranger Things. I was intrigued by the set, so I checked out the collection and was immediately smitten. Again, there were those dusty pink tones I am loving lately, and I could see myself wearing every look. (As in, I could daydream myself in those looks, not actually afford them.)

Celine

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Celine was another one of those collections showing me how I want to dress, or how I should dress. The brand, in my mind, is inherently associated with simplistic chic. The style is underrated, maybe, not too outlandish or headline-grabbing, but it’s always elegant and always beautifully tailored. Classy AF. Though, I imagine a Celine-wearing woman probably wouldn’t say “AF.”

FENTYxPUMA

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Think of the coolest person ever. You’re probably thinking of Rhianna. Having become a style icon in her own right, Rihanna now designs in collaboration with Puma, starting with an initial capsule collection and now doing full-on shows in Paris. And just like it’s maker, the latest FENTYxPUMA show was ridiculously cool, featuring the raddest and likely most unattainable athleisure wear ever. This is the type of stuff I would absolutely love to wear, but I am certain I would not be able to pull it off.

Miu Miu

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Miu Miu. Miuuuuu Miuuuuu. I adored this show. I absolutely adored it for three reasons: the use of colour, the textures and the accessories. This collection is s whirlwind of bright furs and suits, of punchy patterns and eye-grabbing details. If Celine is understated, Miu Miu is slightly overstated, but man, it works so well.

Mulberry

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In the past, Mulberry’s clothes were low on my radar. Like many others, I was all about coveting their bags. With their latest show, however, I found my gaze shifting to their apparel. This fall collection, in my opinion, was stunning. Sure, there were some “Look, we’re British” plaid moments, but there were also some interesting colour blocking moments and dramatic silhouettes. Some of these looks were way metropolitan, while others were a bit Scottish moors-meets-hunting chic. Not a bad look for fall.

Rachel Antonoff

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Rachel Antonoff’s latest collection is fun. It’s fun, it’s insanely wearable and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are some killer wide-leg pants, a matching dark green velvet set, as well as this “Daddy” tee that I absolutely need to find out where I can cop. The use of graphics and prints is insanely good. Plaid is present again, but not in an overpowering way, and the fallopian tube sweaters and probably the best things I’ve ever seen. Basically, I need all of it. (Likely won’t get any of it.)

(@ Rachel Antonoff, please sponsor me.)

Burberry

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I had to talk about Burberry because it’s one of my favourite fashion houses of all time and I’m generally obsessed with most things Christopher Bailey puts out. This collection was another one of their “see now, buy now” releases, which I think may have something to it, but that’s a whole other article. As I’m sure you’ve heard, this Burberry collection was inspired by the work of Henry Moore, which is so easy to pick up in the muted colours and vague-yet-feminine shapes. This collection was beautiful. The craftsmanship of some of these pieces make them works of art on their own, and the idea you can buy them off the rack is honestly wild to me.

 

Latest Faves: Winter Edition

Here we are again: I’m still enjoying things and still trying to let everyone know about these things I am enjoying.

As usual, there’s a mix of fashion, beauty and other miscellaneous whatnots that have been on my radar lately.

And if you would like, let me know what you’ve been enjoying this winter too!

Fashion

Urban Outfitters Hoodie

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In the winter, when it is miserably cold and dreary outside, there is no greater pleasure than putting on your warmest clothes and bunkering down indoors with a cup of tea and a Netflix queue. That was the destination in mind when I picked up this hoodie from the Urban Outfitters men’s department. Cozy living central. I even got it in a medium so it would be extra snuggly. The last few months I’ve definitely used it for its intended purpose, but I can’t pretend that I haven’t also worn this guy outside layered under a jacket. It’s honestly just the best thing for those days when I want to be comfortable, warm and feel a little bit like hiding away from everyone.

Plain White Tee

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An American classic. I mean, yes, I am Canadian but think of every iconic White Tee™ moment and you’ll probably come up with Grease, A Streetcar Named Desire and Rebel Without A Cause. It is an unfortunate truth that I cycle through white t-shirts at an alarming rate. It’s a messy life. I do always like to have one on hand that I can trust. If I’m stuck on a top and running low on time, a white t-shirt is my go-to. Tucked into a skirt or jeans or under a jacket, it’s the ultimate staple piece. So I‘m a frequent sport-er of the white tee on a good day, but lately I’ve found myself wearing them all the time on weekends and casual days. If you find a soft, well-made one like mine from Anthropologie, I guarantee you’ll be reaching for it all the time.

Topshop Embroidered Mom Jeans

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I can’t even tell you about the saga with these jeans. I was so back-and-forth over them for so long. Initially, I was convinced they weren’t “me” and I was just being a slave to trends and Instagram, But I couldn’t stop thinking about them. This obsession was akin to when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean and was in love with Orlando Bloom for a solid week. I gave in and got them, and now wear them all the time, usually with a simple sweater or the aforementioned white tee. The fit is slightly awkward because the jeans have absolutely no stretch (re:sizing up to fit my behind and always having to belt them because they’re too big for my waist.) Alas. That being said, these are serving me very well, and I know they’ll continue to be a staple in my wardrobe all the way into spring.

Beauty

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer

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I’m always up for trying new foundations. Usually I work off of recommendations from my friends and the vast knowledge base known as the Internet, but lately I’ve narrowed down my foundation search to only those with light coverage. Heavy coverage, especially those with oil, I find do more harm than good to my skin. When I heard about this Clinique foundation and concealer, I knew I had to try it. I love the applicator, which is similar in shape to a concealer wand, and the formula is lovely. The foundation blends really well and leaves a dewy finish on my skin. My only note is I do still use a concealer with this foundation since my under-eye circles can be truly frightening. If anyone’s wondering, I have the foundation in the shade Breeze and it works perfectly for me.

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eye Shadow Palette

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When this eye palette first came out last summer, I wanted it to so badly, but didn’t get to it in time before it was sold out. Naturally, when I saw it make its glorious return this winter, I was on that shit in a hot second.

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Generally, I like the formula for Too Faced shadows and I loooove the shades in this palette. Perfect for spring and summer, no? As a side note, the shadows smell like fuzzy peaches too. Is it weird for my eyelids to smell delicious? Probably. And yet, I’ve been wearing these shadows nearly everyday since I bought the palette.

Albeit Shimmer Stick in Champagne

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Since the winter was so cloudy and dark, I took extra care to find that glow this season, and I came across it with a highlighting stick from Albeit, Anthropologie’s makeup brand. The highlighter comes in three shades, one a bronzer, one more of a blush and this pearly shade. This highlighter is referred to as an “all-over” highlight, but it doesn’t mean I’ve applied it literally all over, à la Hourglass Ambient Light powders, but I do use it to highlight specific areas of the face: cheekbones, forehead, tip of the nose and cupid’s bow. When I apply it, I usually blend it in with my fingers to make the glow more subtle, and the effect is gorgeous. Sometimes I catch my reflection during the day where the light is hitting just right and I think, hell yeah, check that glow. (It’s also recommended to use the simmer stick on the body and I’ve yet to try this, but I’ve got a feeling it could provide some sick cleavage highlighting.)

Drybar Southern Belle Volumizing Mousse

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Since I cut my hair short back in November, I’ve been discovering new ways to style it, to make it look more free and beach-y and less like a helmet or a not-chic Anna Wintour cut. This mousse from Drybar was purchased off of a recommendation from a Sephora employee and it definitely did not disappoint. I immediately noticed a difference in volume when I used the mousse and blow-dried my hair, and the product also didn’t leave my hair feeling crunchy, which can often be a big problem with mousse because I have such thin hair. I’ve styled my hair with this and then proceeded to not wash it for three days, and my texture was still good. 10/10.

Miscellaneous

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

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I’ve loved Ruby Etc.’s comics for a while, so to say I was excited when I saw she had a book is a slight understatement. Her comics are hilarious and often painfully relatable. Her book contains selections of comics ranging such topics as depression, adulthood and creativity. Ruby’s comics crack me up like nothing else and I’m aways shoving her work in my friends’ faces, trying to get them on board as well. If you want to see some of Ruby’s work, check out her tumblr.

Shura – Nothing’s Real

Shura’s 80s-inspired, dreamy synth pop is exactly the type of vibe I want to have going this year. If you know me at all, you’ll know this is exactly the type of music I go for. Not to mention Shura’s songs remind me of being horribly awkward and in love in high school (still awkward as an adult, just not in love) and make me feel a little nostalgic for the crushes I had when they were just for the sake of having a crush. If you want to feel a little dreamy and floaty, this is the right album for you.

Favourite tracks: What’s It Gonna Be?, Make It Up, 2Shy, Tongue Tied.

Banks – The Altar

Completely different from Nothing’s Real is The Altar, a gorgeous and haunting album by the one and only Banks who, in my opinion, is Queen of the “I will make you fall in love with me and then eat your heart maybe literally” aesthetic. Banks’ vocals on this album are just ridiculous. At any given moment she can sound alluring, innocent, cunning or vicious. I love this album, and the thing I love the most about it is it’s a little creepy. There’s something eerie about Banks’ voice mixed with low-key production and lyrics that linger with you long after the song if over.

Favourite tracks: Fuck With Myself, Lovesick, Poltergeist.

Riverdale

This is my new obsession. I was so stoked when I heard a TV show was going to be made based off of the Archie comics and even more stoked when I heard it was going to be a murder-mystery type series. I’m always open to new interpretations and was really curious to see what it would be like seeing these iconic characters in a modern context. This is not a show without flaws and it does differ hugely form the comics but man I love it. In my opinion, the casting is amazing, the storyline has enough plot twists to keep it interesting and the drama is intense. The show also manages to touch on some pretty important topics (slut shaming, racism) without overstepping. (The boys on the show are also a little easy on the eyes, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Luuuurve

I know very very little about love. Everything I know about romantic love, for example, I learned from romantic comedies, YA novels (specifically Sarah Dessen that shit was my jam) and via proximity to my friends’ relationships.

I used to whinge non-stop when I was in high school about the fact that no boys liked me. Where was my dream boyfriend? Where was he?? Never mind the fact that I had to continuously face the extended-family line of questioning on holidays. (“Still no boyfriend?” “Noooope.”)

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When I went to university, I became a lot less focused on getting a boyfriend. I was busy with school and new friends and honestly, didn’t need that drama. I got enough of that by listening to my friends’ relationship problems. I would be asked advice and, knowing absolutely nothing about dating, would always answer pragmatically, logically and clearly ripping off dialogue from Degrassi.

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To this day, I’ve never been in a relationship (save for one two weeks long in the 9th grade which I don’t really believe counts). I’ve spent every Valentine’s Day alone or with friends. And I’m absolutely fine with all of that. Sometimes, particularly when I’m cold/hungover/watching a cuddly-type movie, I do wish I had someone to cuddle with and kiss and junk. That feeling is always outweighed by the fact that, like every other woman, I have bigger goals for myself than just getting into a relationship.

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There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s normal to seek out human companionship in a romantic way. But sometimes the fear of being alone overshadows the actual feelings one may have towards another. To put it simply: dating for the sake of dating. I had a friend in high school who did this all the time. To me, it’s just too much effort.

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The thing is, pop culture has a habit of singling out romantic love as the most important kind. Magazines geared towards teenage girls put getting a boyfriend above all other priorities. And that’s ridiculous. There are so many other types of love that are just as important: love for the world around you, love for your family, love between friends and self-love.

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Self-love and friendship are the two types that I find are sometimes the most elusive for young women. There are industries built on not liking how we look. There are such high standards for appearance that feeling comfortable in your own skin is a rarity. And never mind trying to figure out if you actually like the person you’re becoming.

The classic narrative of girl vs. girl over boy puts romantic love above friendship. Its a cop-out to say things like “girls are mean” and “girls are catty” when more often than not, I’ve discovered other girls are friendly, insecure and want to be accepted and loved just as much as I do.

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Whether you have a partner or not, embrace these types of loves. Love yourself. Take time to appreciate yourself. Love your friends. Let them know how much you care about them. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to be alone on Valentine’s Day because you won’t be. You can organize a classic Galentine’s Day filled with chocolate and movies (my personal fave for V-Day is horror movies.) You can take yourself on a date; buy yourself a coffee and cupcake, sit down and enjoy being in your own company.

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Either way, there’s a whole lotta love everywhere you look and while Valentine’s Day is the official day of love, it’s something that you can celebrate every single day.

Since it is Valentine’s Day, though, I styled a look that I would wear out on a V-Day date (to a more casual setting) or on a Galentine’s day/night out. Like to mix up the female and masculine, and combining a pink romper with a black leather jacket seemed like a good way to do so.

OUTFIT DETAILS

(Fake) Leather Jacket – Zara

Romper – Urban Outfitters

Boots – Topshop (Similar)

Necklace – Anthropologie

 

My Favourite Toronto Shops

I am, by no means, an expert on anything Toronto. I still take transit like a tourist, have no idea how to interpret true Torontonian directions (North-West?? The hell??) and don’t know any of the cool bars nearby.

However, I have lived here for about seven and a half months now, and naturally one of the first things I did upon arrival was to discover all the cool independent shops Toronto has to offer. (To compare, I grew up in Kingston, where it was a massive deal when we got an Urban Outfitters.)

If finding alternatives to chain stores if your thing, then Toronto has seemingly endless possibilities. From local zines to  menswear to accessories, we’ve got it all.

And while it will take me a long time to visit every small shop and boutique around, I do have a list of the favourites I have managed to visit in my short time here.

(A lot of these places are in the west end, solely for the reason that they’re near my neighbourhood.)

Victoire – 129A Ossington Ave.

I was introduced to Victoire back in Ottawa. I stumbled across it entirely by accident while traipsing through the Byward Market and I fell a little bit in love with the gorgeous clothing and jewellery. Not to mention, Canadian content.

Victoire sells womenswear and accessories designed by independent Canadian designers and most of the products are manufactured in Canada. Because of this, the price point is higher, but you pay for the quality and source of the items.

Birds of North America, Darling and Stay Home Club are just a few of the dozens of Canadian brands they carry.

The store in Toronto on Ossington in particular, is on the cutest little strip with ridiculously hip shops and restaurants. Arguably too cool an end of town for me to enter.

Tribal Rhythm – 248 Queen St. W

I. LOVE. THIS. STORE.

Let me break it down for you: vintage stores are either like entering an eccentric aunt’s car trunk or your grandmother’s walk-in closet. Both of these options are appealing to me for different reasons and Tribal Rhythm is definitely the latter.

The store is carefully curated, so instead of picking through a massive store for hours to find the best things, the best things are already set aside for you. I have had some sick finds here, including a Clueless-esque plaid blazer, a vintage Lacoste jacket and a hilariously inappropriate anti-drugs t-shirt. There’s also a selection of gloriously luxe faux-fur coats that I moon over every time I’m in the store.

There’s mens and women’s clothing, accessories and a selection of dresses specially set aside by decade. There are dresses from the 1940s. I shit you not. I would probably own all of them if I had a tiny waist. Alas.

Black Market Clothing – 256 Queen St. W

Black Market is the other option of vintage store. You know, aunt’s trunk. Or uncle’s.

I did just talk up the fantastic curation of Tribal Rhythm, but there’s also something to be said for getting lost in the massive basement that is Black Market and somehow spending hours looking through endless racks of clothing.

And everything is ridiculously cheap. I’ve found leather jackets there for $10, and they only had one small rip in the lining each. I’ve bought t-shirts for a couple of dollars apiece. And there are so many mom jeans. Mom jeans as far as the eye can see. It is truly beautiful. There’s also a barber shop in the back, which, when I first saw it was so odd and out of place that it just somehow worked.

Basically, Black Market is the best and I know if I had grown up in Toronto, I would have lived in this place throughout high school.

Likely General – 389 Roncesvalles Ave.

Likely General was another place I stumbled across completely by accident.

Here’s the situation: I had been sent down to Roncesvalles by my mom to pick something particularly festive and German from a particularly German shop. (The Old Country Shop, to be specific.) While I was on this mission, I realized that section of Roncesvalles was another delightfully quirky Toronto strip filled with a variety of national cuisines, a Church and the Likely General.

Just looking in the window I thought that this store would be my kind of place. Upon entering, I was greeted by a massive, smiley dog and I knew for sure it was my kind of place.

Likely General is another small store filled with local goodies. From zines to tees to tarot cards, the majority of the merch is Toronto-based and everything I came across had a bit of a feminist flair to it. It truly was my kind of place and honestly, I can’t wait to go back. Firstly, to spend more time checking out the zines and secondly, to pet that dog.

Outclass – 1122 College St.

Outclass is the type of menswear brand that the really cool guys wear. Their shop on College is the type of store where, if I had a boyfriend, I would either make him shop there or buy him gifts only from there.

The brand Outclass is sold at a number of locations in Toronto and across Canada, but the small boutique on College is a pretty sick place to pop into.

To put it simply, it’s the goddam coolest menswear store I’ve found yet. I can’t say too much else about menswear, but I desperately need an excuse to shop there, so fellas hit me up.

Northwood General Store – 800 Bloor St. W

Northwood General Store is quintessential Canadiana, but the hip, stylish version. Outdoorsy, minimalist, leather (or faux leather) goods and some awfully covetable accessories.

Not everything at the Northwood General is Canadian-made, but the selection is just so good. They’ve got Matt + Nat, BauXo and No Fun Press, who, by the way, have made one of my favourite t-shirts of all time.

If you’re in desperate need for some quirky and cool gifts for your quirky and cool friends, this is absolutely the place to go.

The Dot – 687 Bloor St. W

As I write this, I’m starting to realize I stumbled across most of these places by accident. The story with The Dot isn’t super glamorous, but it is absolutely true.

One night I walked home from an evening of sweaty dancing at Dance Cave. It was around two in the morning and it was during the summer. Kids, don’t do this unless you have a buddy with you.

The point of this story is I passed by The Dot and saw some hella cute stuff in the window. I made a mental note and also an actual note in my phone of the address so I could check it out later.

The Dot carries the clean, minimalist womenswear style that I’ve been trying to achieve for years. The clothing is structured and simple and the accessories are equally minimalist and beautiful.

If you’re looking to update your look to something fresh, this is a pretty good place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

My 2017 Style Resolutions

Is this a thing? I’m making it a thing.

  1. Go with your first instinct. Stop second guessing every single outfit and learn to be confident in your own taste.
  2. Invest in good pieces. Start saving up for well-made core pieces of clothing and accessories instead of continuously buying cheaply made renditions. And to follow up on that:
  3. Stop buying things just because they’re on sale. Why do you do this??? Why??? YOU WILL NOT WEAR IT. EVER.
  4. Wear primary colours. Match a bold, medium blue with a red. Wear yellow and blue together. Who gives a fuck.
  5. Stop hoarding clothes you never wear. Honestly. Why do you always say, “I may need it sometime.” You haven’t needed it yet, and you’ve had it for a year. Donate it, sell it, give it away, just get rid of it.
  6. Completely ignore “dressing for your body type” articles in magazines.
  7. Find jeans that actually fit.
  8. Don’t try to pin your style into one category. Just wear what you like and take it from there.

A Little Red Lip

While I absolutely condone the use of red lipstick year round, there is no better time to put on a red pout than during the yuletide.

It’s the ultimate go-to party look. It’s the iconic Christmas look. You can’t go wrong with that bold, beautiful, bright lip colour.

Think Marilyn Monroe. Think Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. Think Jessica Rabbit, even. Femme fatales everywhere unite.

And you can definitely go simple on every other aspect of your makeup and focus on the lip. Or you can go with a full dramatic eye as well. Screw the rules. Wear your red lipstick however you want to.

Lately, though, my favourite makeup to do on the daily is a basic face with minimal eyeshadow and then that bright lip. It’s quick and festive, so I can get ready for work in minimal time but I can also show up looking like I put in a ton of effort.

The secret with any bold lipstick, of course, is practice to get those precise edges. But let’s be real, I don’t have the skill even with practice, so I rely heavily on lip liner, makeup remover and concealer. In that order. While I said a red lip is quick for me now, it is always a good idea to leave yourself some extra time if you want to get it perfect. Just like with eyeliner, yanno?

Given that I am rocking a red lip rather frequently as of late, I thought I would compile a short list of my favourites at the moment. These are lipsticks that have great colour payoff, are easy enough for me (a non-expert) to apply and have each lasted a 6-hour shift at work.

stila All Day Liquid Lipstick in “Beso”

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As far as liquid lipsticks go, this is a good one. It has a wand application, which is easy enough to deal with, and the colour is ridiculously rich. Keep in mind, once this liquid lipstick is on, it is on. There is no going back unless you want to redo your whole face of makeup.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in “Olivia”

 

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This is the only NARS lipstick I own and I’m really not sure why. Frankly, it’s fabulous. The  formula is rich and moisturizing, and when I reapply throughout the day, the new layer still goes on smoothly, not like other lipsticks where reapplication becomes really cakey and gross. (“cakey” and “gross” being the technical terms)

Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in “Rose Hip”

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Bite Beauty is my everything lately. A Canadian, female-run, cruelty-free beauty company with good products? Sign me tf up.

This lip crayon is a bright, pink-based red that goes on so smoothly. It’s similar to a lipliner, so it has decent staying power, but it’s also easy to remove, meaning if it gets really messed up halfway through the day, you can wipe it off and start from scratch. This is the red lip I can get nearly perfect in under five minutes.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in “Mistletoe”

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Did I say I liked Bite Beauty? Because I really do. This lipstick is a Christmas edition, and as soon as I saw it, I went, “Yep. Need that.”

This lipstick is super moisturizing, but I wouldn’t recommend applying it without a liner first. Since I don’t have one that matches perfectly, I’m currently using an old Sephora brand lip liner in a generic red just to get the shape down, and so the lipstick doesn’t bleed out at all. Once that’s done, though, it’s straight to those mysterious, femme fatale vibes. But also festive, of course.

My Favourite Christmas Movies

I was originally going to call this, “The Best Christmas Movies” or “The Definitive Ranking of Christmas Movies” but then I remembered that taste is subjective, and I think we all forget that sometimes.

ANYWAY.

I’m a big Christmas movie nerd. In my time, I’ve seen my fair share of them, both popular and not-so-popular, and while I’m always looking for new ones to watch (in desperate times I HAVE watched Hallmark movies, but I need to be in the right romantic, weepy mood) I do have those Christmas movies that I return to time and time again.

Remember what I said earlier about tastes being subjective? My tastes are definitely not everyone’s. For example, controversial opinion here, but I don’t really like It’s A Wonderful Life. Like man, that’s hard for me to sit through in its entirety, as much as I like James Stewart.

Also, I like kids’ movies. And animated movies. Christmas is kind of about being a kid again anyway.

Now, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my favourites:

A Christmas Story

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This movie is a runaway classic, with enough mishap and mayhem to make the family at its centre believable. Amazing cast all around, with the same type of overly-dramatic flair we’ll all recognize from when we were younger.

What’s it about? One boy with a dream: a dream to get a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas. Never was a dream so unattainable. Chaos ensues, but the type of holiday chaos you can really identify with.

The first time I saw it – I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, and I remember thinking: how have I never seen this before? My life was forever changed.

Love Actually

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Right, so the thing about Love Actually is, even if you consciously don’t like it, if it’s on during Christmas, you’ll probably watch it. Overrated? Absolutely not. Overplayed? Probably. Still amazing? Definitely.

Every year I forget how much I love this movie until I see it, and then I’m gushing about Colin Firth all over again. (Honestly, the movie needs to be seen for Bill Nighy’s performance as an aged rocker alone.)

What’s it about? A collection of sometimes related-sometimes not stories about Brits that all play out in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Ridiculously sweet and at times heartbreaking. Also, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman are in it.

The first time I saw it – Probably was waaaaaay to young to be watching it, especially during the body double sequences. (You know what I’m talking about.) The whole movie gave me the warm and fuzzies, even if I couldn’t fully grasp some of the concepts that I am (unfortunately) familiar with now.

The Polar Express

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FOR SOME REASON every time I mention that I like this movie, someone goes, “Ugh.” WHYYYYY. I get it, okay, it’s pretty strange to adapt a children’s book into a feature-length film, but while some of the action sequences run long, I think a decent job was done. I like trains and I like Christmas. Done and done.

What’s it about? A young boy beings to doubt the existence of Santa, so in the middle of the night, a mysterious train comes to take him on a trip that will change his mind. Based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

The first time I saw it – In theatres with my mom, which seems like an age and a half ago now. (2004!!!) It was long ago enough that I was amazed by the animation, and to be quite honest I still think it was pretty dang good for the time.

A Christmas Carol

OKAY BUT THERE ARE TWO VERY IMPORTANT ADAPTATIONS OF THIS STORY:

  • The 1951 Version

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Why? Because it is amazing. It’s the best no-frills adaptation ever done. Alistair Sim IS Scrooge. The first time I saw it, I only saw the ending. I walked into the living room during the scene where Scrooge wakes up a changed man after his dream. To this day, I think that entire scene is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a film. It made me so inexplicably happy, and I now watch this version every year.

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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Why? Do I really need to say? This is the version of the Dickens story I grew up with. I loved it, but I was scared of the Ghost of Christmas Future. Though, I think everyone is a little bit. A little creepy, a lot heartwarming.

The Holiday

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I know, I know. Max cheese. But it’s so good. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, my people. Also, can we talk about how Jack Black is actually pretty fantastic in this? While it is a bit predictable, The Holiday is also really, really sweet. It has no ulterior motives other than being about people falling in love, with each other and with themselves.

What’s it about? An American and a Brit swap houses for Christmas, and wind up becoming involved in way more than either of them imagined. Jude Law (who is weirdly tan in this by the way) is there too.

The first time I saw it – With my sister, and now it’s a tradition for us to watch it together because we’re both secret soppy messes who love this type of shit.

Christmas in Connecticut

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THIS MOVIE. HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED. Literally – a zany comedy with Barbara Stanwyck’s amazing wardrobe, Sydney Greenstreet doing his thing, an I-love-to-hate character, a few classic Christmas mixups and the most stupidly handsome, stupidly nice, piano-playing sailor you’ve ever seen.

*pauses for breath*

What’s it about? Elizabeth Lane, a writer working with a pen name and a pretend life, must scramble to convince her boss and a war hero that she is an an amazing cook living with her husband and child in Connecticut when she is, in fact, none of those things.

The first time I saw it – I was with my mom and I was melting into a pile of festive goo every time the sailor, named Jefferson Jones, naturally, did anything on screen.

Home Alone

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A great movie with a great cast and, interestingly enough, a pretty good sequel. I won’t speak for the 3rd, but Home Alone 2 is just as good as the first. Chalk it up to a winning formula of Christmas, physical comedy and Macaulay Culkin when he was still an adorable kid.

What’s it about? Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is left behind on his family’s Christmas vacation to Paris. At first it’s his dream come true, but trouble arises in the form of the Wet Bandits: two crooks out to rob every empty house in Kevin’s neighbourhood.

The first time I saw it – I think it was at a friend’s house, at a sleepover around Christmas, all of us cracking up at the traps set for the burglars. This was, of course, one of the Christmas movies at the time, and I think can be comfortably moved to the category of contemporary classic.

Arthur Christmas

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According to my sister, I am obsessed with this movie. And yeah, I more or less am.

It’s just so excellent. The animation is great, the jokes all land, the storyline is genuinely sweet and there is no. unnecessary. romantic. subplot.

What’s it about? The current Santa Claus, in a long line of Claus’, is on the brink of retirement. His older son Steve, a corporate militaristic type is set to succeed him, while the younger Arthur seems set to spend the rest of his days in the letters department. OR SO WE THINK.

The first time I saw it – About three years ago, putting off studying for exams by wrapping presents and watching a movie. In that moment, sitting on the floor of my room with tape all over my hands and this movie on, I felt so ridiculously Christmas-y. I still love to put this movie on in the background when I’m doing any kind of Christmas-realted activity.