This made me really happy.

So peaceful.

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Categories: Uncategorized

untitled for now

My eyes have been opened wide recently. I have a friend that I grew up across the street from, who no longer lives in the same province as  me, so I only get to see her for a few periods of time each year, but when I do she always seems to fill  me with knowledge and make me think, in good ways. She’s been talking about how recently she’s been making changes in her life when it comes to consumption. I’ve always been aware of sweatshops, and I’ve bought fair trade products whenever I could, knowing that I’m not paying to keep a sweatshop operating.

But what I never thought too in depth about is what I buy that’s NOT a fair trade product.  It’s disgusting how many products sold in North America are entirely or partly made in sweatshops. In case you didn’t know, in an average sweatshop, young workers work about 60 hours a week for around $50 a month, working with potentially unsafe machinery in cramped, unsanitary factories without days off or breaks. Just so national and multinational corporations can sell these products for far more than they cost to produce just to keep a large portion of the profit so they can expand. And I’m not saying “YOU’RE DISGUSTING BECAUSE YOU BUY PRODUCTS MADE IN SWEATSHOPS” because it’s hard to monitor and look in to. I’ll admit, the socks, pants and shirts that I’m wearing right now … I have no idea where they came from. Along with a good portion of my wardrobe. Fair Trade stores are rare, but it’s not only fair trade stores that are sweat shop free. There are lots of brands whose products are made sweatshop free in the USA and Canada, and there is also a union called Unite Here, that ensures that all workers for their brand have a voice, and fair working conditions. “They’ve negotiated an enforceable contract with their company that covers wages and benefits, safety on the job, and production standards” – Green America. The “UNITE” label on clothing is more reliable than “Made in U.S.A” because illegal sweatshops may be operating in the USA, or finishing touches to a sweatshop made product could have been done locally. Still, the union-made apparel directory remains too short, in my opinion.

Now, there’s two sides to every story. The people working in sweatshops are poor and do it because they have limited options to support themselves. If we all stopped buying sweatshop produced products, these sweatshops would be put out of business leaving many struggling families unemployed. In a perfect world, sweatshops workers could leave and get hired by a unionized company, or have talents to sell their products to a fair trade seller. But that’s not how North Americans have been raised to consume, making the issue complicated and unfortunate.

Sometimes I feel like a bad person for being born in North America. It’s not fair that people who are equal to me work in horrible conditions to provide a shallow life of luxury for my generation. I have daydreams of dropping out of school and moving to a developing country and just experiencing how they live, away from the North American life of mindless consumption. It’s one thing to live in North America and work for an organization that’s trying to improve third world human rights, and a totally different one to experience it first hand (at least I think so – I haven’t done either ..) We can work in an office, writing for a human rights magazine or blog or whatever (I would love to do that), then go home to their fully furnished home to a huge selection of what to have to dinner, but no, we’re too tired to cook so we’ll spend money on take out. Then go to sleep on our fresh sheets that someone in another country worked with unsafe machinery in an unsanitary factory making less than minimum wage. They’ll go home starving but can’t eat tonight because they can’t afford it. Or heck, we can go to a third world country and build schools for a month, then return home to tell everyone it was a “life changing experience” as we return to life as normal. We’re raised to consume things just because they’re there and available without thinking where they came from. And it scares me that I never thought about this until recently – because I was raised to be brainwashed by these multinational corporations that it’s good and normal to just keep on consuming.  When I step outside of that mindset, it’s like stepping in to a whole new world that not a lot of others have discovered yet.

I’ve owned about 9 different iPods in my life without knowing that many workers for Foxconn, a company that produces electronics such as Apple products runs “sweatshop like” factories have committed suicide over the working conditions. After reading this, I realized that many companies that aren’t sweatshops are still just as awful. So now I don’t even know WHO to trust.

Buying Fair Trade/Organic products is considered to be becoming “trendy,” which I thought was a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with supporting human rights and local products. But people are being judged for it, and it’s coming across as “snooty.” I own the book “Stuff White People Like” and it’s hilarious and stereotypical. But it makes white people come off as shallow for buying organic, being vegan, supporting fair trade, claiming that we just like to brag about what we’re doing to help. Which is true for some people, but they’re still helping a cause and getting critisized by people who are not.

I read this quote online and nothing has ever pissed me off more

“Fair Trade Apple products would make the fanboys even more annoying. They’d be walking around, their noses in the air, exuding moral superiority from every pore, and their farts would smell better than roses. It could become suffocating if you were caught in a confined space with one of them.”

Are you kidding me? Fuck you. You know what? If someone buys a fair trade product they have every right to feel good about themselves. They’re deliberately not supporting the violation of human rights. Who the fuck cares if Fair Trade Apple products would make a “fanboy” annoying. That’s not what the point of them is. These “fanboys”, whatever the fuck they are have a heart, and would love if you indulged in a fair trade iPod. It’s gross that someone needs to feel better about themselves for not supporting fair trade to the point where they judge people who have good intentions.

I hope I don’t sound too hypocritical because I’m a pretty civilized North American that has been taught to consume, consume, consume, and I’ve never been to a third world country or worked for an organization trying to help problems. I’ll probably never permanently live in a third world country, I’ll probably do the whole North American trip for a few weeks to do what I can for a country in need. I’m not here to say “hey look at me I’m solving all the worlds problems and judging the country I was raised in!” I just wrote this as an outlet for myself to make sense of all the thoughts in my head.

Categories: Uncategorized

Flipped

 

Okay, I’m just going to say I don’t really like reviewing or writing about movies. Usually a movie can speak for itself. I watch a fuckton of movies, I’ve gotten into a routine where I’ll watch a movie every night before I go to bed so there’s no way I would even write about half of them. But some movies just tug on my heartstrings, and Flipped is one of them. Wow.

It was released earlier this year, based on the book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. Directed by Rob Reiner and set in 1968, Flipped is about a young boy, Bryce who moves in across the street from Juli, a girl the same age. The fact that they are in the same class at school and live on the same street is about all they have in common. The movie shows the various events that happen to Bryce and Juli as they grow up, first through Bryce’s point of view, then the same scene is shown again through Juli’s point of view. First person narration from each character is used to emphasize this effect, with each point of view usually completely different. The entire movie leads to a beautiful moment at the end where both of their points of view match up.

Honestly, watching it, I thought I knew where the movie was going the whole time. Some parts were predictable and I felt that some parts were uneventful, especially showing the same scene twice. But once that moment at the ending hits it’s like DAMN. The whole movie suddenly makes sense and is so meaningful and perfect.

Watch it. Seriously.

Watch the trailer

Categories: Movies

Favourite fall/winter trends 2010!

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Toronto for school was damn, these people can dress. While a typical university campus may consist of school sweatpants or jeans and a t-shirt, getting dressed for class in the city is a big production. I’ve noticed a lot of re-occurring trends throughout my campus and the city, here are some of my favourites!

Lace up boots

I’ve honestly never seen an outfit that these boots don’t look good with. They work with any jeans and any tights and can change the whole dynamic of a drab outfit. The ones with fold-over cuffs are to die for.

Brown: Eylenga: $120 – Aldo

Black: Lecaros -$140 – Aldo

 

Blaise D. from Lookbook

Circle Scarves

I first saw these in stores around this time last year and thought they were strange, but this year I saw them being worn, and worn well! They work best in neutral solid colours and can help balance out a loud pattern, or add to a more classic outfit. Plus, they look super warm.

$36 – American Apparel

Lydia Lucia N. from Lookbook

Floral Patterns!

Okay, I know florals have been in style for quite awhile now. But anyone that knows me know that I love a good floral pattern. I adore how floral patterns are still being worn throughout the winter when it’s typically a summer trend. A floral dress or skirt paired with black tights or pants with a neutral or solid coloured cardigan or jacket over top is my ideal way to wear it, and I’m refreshed seeing other peoples creative ways of making florals work for winter.

Forever 21, $10.80

 

Kerti P. from Lookbook

 

Coloured Tights

Because black/gray/white tights are getting boring. As an avid wearer of tights myself, I must say I’m a sucker for coloured tights. Wearing them honestly just makes you feel good. They’re a good way to liven up a plain black dress, or any darker dress. Tights come in basically any colour these days so the boldness of the colour and style is all up to you!

American Apparel – $18

“The Clothes Horse Roe” from Lookbook

Lacey/Patterned Tights

They can make a skirt, dress or shorts look a lot chicer, instantly! These tights are a lot of fun and they come in tons of patterns. They’re really amusing to look at, and can make an outfit look incredible.

Forever 21 – $7.80

Taylin Elisa Yasmin K.

 

Knee high/Thigh high socks

These are really wintery when layered over tights, and look fantastic with boots as well. I’ve seen them worn with heels which is an unexpected but pleasant compliment to an outfit. They’re comfy and cute, it’s a win-win situation.

American Apparel – $10

Frida J from Lookbook

 

Knitted mittens

They’re just so cute and warm! Bold colours can also instantly liven up a classic outfit.

Urban Outfitters – $24

Laura K. from Lookbook

Animal Prints

I’ve noticed that animal prints are everywhere these days, and their popularity keeps growing, specifically leopard print. You can buy ANYTHING in leopard print now. Coats, scarves, hats, bags, blouses, cardigans, skirts, pants, shoes … honesty everything. It’s a funky trend that’s easy to wear if you pair it with neutral colours.

Zara – $59.90

Andy T. from Lookbook

Metallic tights

So it’s obvious by now that I’m obsessed with tights. Metallic tights are an edgy way to liven up a plain outfit. I love them with animal prints, or even a solid, bold coloured shirt! There are tons of styles and ways to wear them. They’re another one of those refreshing substitutes for plain tights.

American Apparel – $34

Kaylie B. from Lookbook

Wrap/”Tulip” skirts

As an avid skirt wearer, I have experienced how the same styles of skirts get boring, fast. I absolutely love the style of wrap skirts. Another refreshment from seeing the same thing over and over. They look great with tights and boots!

Forever 21 – $27.80

Natascha from Lookbook

Faux leather pants
Super edgy and can look brilliant with almost anything! Also, the fact that it takes confidence to wear these makes them so much more attractive!


Urban Outiftters $88

Carolina E. from Lookbook

Shorts with tights
A really chic way to wear shorts in the winter. Looks absolutely beautiful with black patterned/lacey tights and high waisted neutral shorts.

Shorts: Forever 21 – $23.80

“Goldfox” from Lookbook

Lace tops

These are super classy and work in most colours. You can wear them casually during the day with pants and a cardigan, and more dressy at night with a skirt.

American Apparel – $45

Saige W. from Lookbook

Padded/Poufy Shoulders

A blast from the past trend that can liven up the most basic t-shirt. I absolutely love extravagant shoulders in clothing because you can honestly wear a shirt with padded shoulders with anything, since in moderation it’s not too out-there.

Tahti S. from Lookbook

 

Faux Fur

It just looks so soft and cozy, and comfort is oh so attractive. It can be (but doesn’t have to be) an extravagant BAM center of attention piece of an outfit. Fierce.

Forever 21 – $35.80

Adeline R. from Lookbook

Bold peacoats and blazers

Peacoats and blazers in their typical navy, black or gray colours. They’re an excellent classic piece of clothing, but this year I’ve been seeing them in a variety of colours like bright reds, blues, greens, purples and even yellows. It’s a modern refreshment to the classic peacoat or blazer. I find it always makes the wearer look powerful. I’m also really digging the trend of wearing a blazer casually with jeans and a t-shirt.

Urban Outfitters – $48

Olivia M. from Lookbook

Categories: Fashion

Dan Levy’s “Holido’s and Don’ts”

Former host of MTV’s The Aftershow Dan Levy talked about his holiday do’s and don’ts on his holiday special “Holido’s and Don’ts” on MTV earlier tonight.

He looked adorable and witty as always in a classic cheesy variety of Christmas sweaters and his signature big glasses.

His quirky humour was captured as he joined a family of strangers in their Christmas picture and tried to cook a turkey, realizing how disgusting it was. “This is fucked! I don’t want to do this anymore.”

He showed off his cooking skills throughout while making a holiday meal, burning the bread for the stuffing and being too grossed out by directions to “remove feathers” from the turkey, ultimately ending in him ordering takeout.

A Rolex and a Mercedes were among his suggestions when giving tips to children about what to put on their Christmas list.

Eugene Levy, Dan’s father made an appearance to discuss his feelings about Christmas sweaters and how it’s okay to wear them to spread holiday cheer!

He also had Amy Sedaris as a guest to teach us how to make some holiday crafts, like marshmallows with decorative toothpicks.

Some of his holiday tips:

Do: replace the price tag on a cheap gift with a more expensive one so your friends don’t realize how broke and cheap you are

Do: Eat a raw chicken sandwhich to cause food poisoning in order to get out of boring family dinners.

Don’t: UN-ironically wear a holiday sweater.

The show ended with a music video for Dan’s Christmas hit “Lonely Christmas,” some of it filmed at the Johnny Rockets a block away from my rez 😉

Categories: Pop Culture

All I Want For Christmas Is Yoouuuuu

Mariah Carey’s Christmas concert, recorded in Los Angeles aired on ABC earlier tonight.

She initially appeared in a festive red dress with white trimmings, showing off her new fuller pregnant figure. She later changed into a classy, glitzy black dress and looked gorgeous.

She performed classic Christmas songs as well as many songs from her new Christmas album “Merry Christmas II You” which came out in November.

We all know the girl can sing. The concert confirmed that yes, even at age 40 she can still belt. But for that reason, I’ll admit I was expecting more. Mariah Carey’s performances are always great, but when it’s the same thing over and over again it loses its touch.

Even the cheesy dancers in elf and cheerleader costumes didn’t win me over (what do cheerleaders have to do with Christmas?)

Mariah has pure talent which didn’t fully shine through with the cheesy glittery props, live band and chorus as distractions. I would have preferred a raw, real performance focusing on her talent as opposed to this whole over the top, glitzy Christmas production. If it was a younger, up and coming artist then the props would be acceptable. But not for a 40 year old singer with an established, successful career.

The audience seemed a little TOO in to it as well. Staged much?

The highlight for me was when Randy Jackson made an appearance! He is the definition of class and balanced out the cheesiness that the rest of the concert was.

Categories: Pop Culture

My favourite 2010 music

I’m not going to lie, at the beginning of the year I really wasn’t feeling any of the new mainstream music that came out, but since September my iTunes library has expanded with some genius new albums. Lots of collaborations between combinations of Kanye, Enimen, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are a refreshing addition to my music collection of Phil Collins and Elton John that I had resorted to listening to.

Rihanna – Loud

Rihanna definitely redeems herself from her previous album Rated R with Loud. I’ve been hooked on her collaboration with Drake, “What’s My Name” since the first time I heard it over a month ago. This album contains part 2 of “Love the Way You Lie” with Eminem as well as songs that will make you dance, songs that will make you nostalgic and just overall feel-good songs. Loud includes collaborations with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Eminem. Amazing.

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

I surprised myself by being so addicted to this album. I’m not usually in to hip-hop music, and I always thought Nicki Minaj gave off a kind of sassy vibe. After her appearance on this years MTV VMA’s and hearing good reviews of her album, I gave in and discovered that yes, Nicki Minaj is sassy but in a good, empowering way. Her attitude expressed in this album is that she won’t take shit from anyone, which is enlightening. Pink Friday is a super addicting album, with tons of fun collaborations including Natasha Bedingfield, Rihanna, Kanye, will.i.am, Drake and Rihanna. Each song is unique and will make you feel amazing after listening. So do it.

Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

When I heard Katy Perry’s first single “I Kissed a Girl,” I absolutely hated it. It eventually grew on me though, and I could tolerate her music. Teenage Dream however, I’ve loved since California Girls. Though that single was eventually overplayed, this album is filled with a lot of fun songs and you can tell that Katy was having the time of her life while making it. From quirky lovey songs like Teenage Dream to empowering songs like Firework and slow ballads like Not Like The Movies, this upbeat album has it all.

Eminem – Recovery

Back in my grade 6 days, I was obsessed with Eminem. Completely obsessed. My friend and I would sit around bored, listening to Eminem all day long. I outgrew the obsession as Eminem kind of disappeared. When Recovery was released earlier this year, my obsession was rekindled. This album is absolutely incredible and showcases Eminem’s ability to pour all his emotions and the struggles he’s been through into his raps. It has a “you know what life, you haven’t been that nice to me, but look, i’m a successful rapper and you still haven’t phased me” vibe. He has songs with P!nk, Lil Wayne, Rihanna and others. Go listen!

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I don’t even know what to say about this album. It’s genius. The instrumentals are so original, unique and effective. And a musical genius collaborating with other musical geniuses like Elton John and John Legend is incredible. This album just blows my mind every time I listen to it. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out on brilliant music.

Tokyo Police Club – Champ

This feel-good indie album may surpass their previous album Elephant Shell in my opinion. Maybe. They combine unique, catchy instrumentals with smart lyrics to create an overall really great sound. TPC has a very distinctive sound which shines through in Champ. They’re also amazing live artists!

Marina and the Diamonds – The Family Jewels

I don’t think I’ve ever been as addicted to a song as I was with “I am not a Robot” and I promise the rest of the album is just as good! Marina has one of the genuine singing voices I’ve heard in awhile which is refreshing. Song after song, the album just makes you feel happy and calm inside. Her lyrics are real and true, overall it’s a peaceful, happy album. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel pretty and motivates you to dance around by yourself in your room.

Deadmau5 – 4 x 4 = 12

I give huge props to all electronic artists, they always seem to just know what will sound good together. I have no idea how they do it, and I’m always blown away by anything Deadmau5 produces (he lives in a building across the street from my rez by the way!). If you ever need to be pumped up before a party, workout or whatever, nothing will get you in a better mood than 4 x 4 = 12. It’s even a good album to just drive around aimlessly while blasting. He combines such unique sounds and somehow manages to add his own touch to simple beats, sounding amazing.

Drake – Thank Me Later

Blown away is an understatement to describe how I feel about Drake’s music. My initial reaction when I found out that the Degrassi actor was coming out with an album was “oh, another actor that thinks they can sing … ha!” But Drake has already made it in the music world in my opinion. His songs are catchy, lyrics are witty and his voice is incredibly soothing. Everything you need to make a good album. mmm.

Other amazing albums of 2010 that are great but not enough to right a blurb about:

Keith Urban – Get Closer
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Vampire Weekend – Contra
A Day To Remember – What Separates Me From You
MGMT – Congratulations

Categories: Music