March + April 2017 Behind the Scenes

Posted on April 29, 2017 under Life

It’s time for another Behind the Scenes post already! 2017 really is flying by. Last week marked a year since I’ve been back in Toronto, which seems impossible. It’s only a few months now until I’m off to the UK. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Went to driving school

I don’t think I ever actually mentioned this on my blog, but I got my G1 license back in June. The G1 consists solely of a written test, and I have to pass a road test to get my G2 license, which allows me to drive with almost no restrictions. I finally went to driving school in mid-March. Because of my work schedule I had to do a four-day intensive course over public school March break, so about 85% of the people in my class were teenagers. I got 103% in my in-class course! I’ve also been doing driving lessons, and so far so good. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m managing. Although I’m sure you’ll understand the utter panic I felt when my first lesson involved going forward and reversing up and down the same 20 feet of my street and my second lesson was driving on main streets in downtown Toronto. Prior to my first lesson I had never so much as touched a steering wheel, so when my instructor said we’d be doing main streets for day two I was like, “Excusez-moi?” But I pretty much have regular driving conditions down and I’m not half bad at parallel parking. Driving in the city is a bit nerve-wracking, but I figure if I can do that I can do anything. I’m not ready for my road test yet, but I’m hoping to pass it before I leave for the UK in September.

Went to Montreal

I was just in Montreal at the end of February for a girls’ weekend with my ladies, but I went back again at the end of March so I could see Green Day with my old roommate, Katie. I saw Green Day in 2010 when I was 16 and it was awesome, and Katie and I had been saying forever that we had to go together. I paid $311 for our floor tickets, but it was totally worth it. I’ve been a Green Day fan for half my life and getting to experience it with one of my best friends was a joy! I wish they’d played more of their old stuff since I don’t care about anything they’ve released since American Idiot, but you can’t have it all.

Went to Kentucky

I went on a quick trip to Kentucky at the end of March/beginning of April. I’ve been to Kentucky three times since August 2015, all for memorials for family members, so they’re not exactly the happiest trips. Kentucky really is such a physically beautiful state, though. Not so much politically. Check out what I found at Liquor Barn:

Yes, when I opened the card my jaw literally dropped in the middle of an empty aisle and I ran, hyperventilating, to find my parents to show it to them. Although I have to say I’m not sure if the message or the terrible rendering of Joe Biden is more offensive…

However, I did find a bakery in Berea, KY which bears my name, which was cool:

Got a haircut

My hairdresser needed a hair model last minute, so I agreed to go in and get a few inches lopped off. I’d been debating a cut for awhile, and I’m glad I went for it. My hair is a lot healthier now, and I do enjoy it at this length. Sometimes I miss being able to do high ponytails and buns at the top of my head, but at this point my hair is so damaged that it does a lot better when it’s well above my shoulders.

Hosted a friend in Toronto

At the end of March, I visited Katie in Montreal, and at the end of April she came to see me (and our other friends) in Toronto! She just finished her degree, so she took a quick little trip now that she’s free. It’s a running joke in our lives that even though we’ve known each other for over three years there are no pictures of us together in daylight, and we continued that trend this time around. It was a really nice visit, though, filled with good food and lots of time spent with our friends.

The weather’s been really nice this month, and I have to say that overall March and April were very pleasant months. I don’t want to jinx it, but now that we’re a third of the way through 2017 it’s looking a lot better than 2016. Hopefully the momentum continues!

January + February 2017 Behind the Scenes

Posted on February 28, 2017 under Life

Last year I decided to try doing monthly Behind the Scenes posts and managed to only do one, in January. I thought I’d bring this back and do a post every other month, so here’s what I got up to in January and February!

Saw the Chihuly exhibit at the ROM

My parents have a membership to the ROM, and occasionally if there’s a cool exhibit I’ll accompany them. (Don’t tell anyone, but my student card expires in August, so I get the discount even though I’m not in school right now…) Well, I had to see the Chihuly exhibit, especially after my former roommate Katie visited Toronto and raved about it. It was every bit as spectacular as I hoped it would be. Every section was more incredible than the last. I only wish I had the type of cashflow that would allow me to buy some of his pieces…

Became a skinny pig aunt

My brother and his girlfriend adopted a hairless guinea pig in mid-January. My brother and I both live with our parents, so I get to see baby Cassius (aka Cash, Cashy, Cash Money, Cash for Life, and Cashew Nut) every day. We loved him so much that three weeks later, we added Wally to the mix on February 8. Cassius is about 5-6 months old now and Wally is around 3 months old. They’re ugly and wrinkly and, in my opinon, adorable. (A lot of my friends do not share this opinion…) Cassius loves carrots (and eating in general). Wally loves having his butt rubbed. I love them both. (Also, see the grey scarf Cassius is poking out of? I knit that. It’s actually in the picture on my sidebar.)

Knit a sweater

I learned to knit when I was about 10 and have done it on and off since then. In my time as a knitter, I’ve managed to make several scarves, a lot of stuffed bunnies, a hat, and some baby booties which I’m pretty sure no baby ever wore. (See above re: the scarf I’m wearing in my sidebar picture.) I’ve finished quite a few projects but never made anything really big. In early January I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to knit a cobalt blue sweater, so I scoured Ravelry for patterns and finally decided on Flax Light. (I did modify the sleeve length as I always roll my sleeves up to my elbows anyway and didn’t see any sense in spending time knitting them all the way to my wrists.)

It’s not perfect, but for my first sweater I’m really happy with it! I messed up the sleeves (there’s supposed to be a straight panel down the middle and mine comes out at the sides too), I used too big needles on the neck so it’s wider and looser, and there are a few dropped stitches here and there. I also haven’t blocked it yet or sewn up the armpit holes that you can see. However, not only was it my first sweater, it was also my first time using circular or double pointed needles. I really enjoyed the whole process – I find knitting soothing, and it gives me something productive to do when I watch TV. Plus, I have an attention span typical of a millennial and find it hard to just watch TV. Usually I play a game on my phone while binging Netflix series, but now I can do something that I feel good about and solve that attention span problem. Now I’m just trying to decide what to make next!

Got new glasses

Both my frames broke within a month of each other, so I took it as a sign to switch up the style I was wearing. (Most of you probably have no idea what my old glasses looked like anyway because I only post glasses-less pictures here because it shows my makeup better…) I’ve been toying with the idea of getting clear frames, but I wasn’t sure if they would look weird on my face. When I saw the Escapee frames from Eyebuydirect, I fell in love instantly – they still have the trendy clear part, but the black top anchors them to my face. I’ve had a lot of compliments on them and I love them!

Went to Montreal

My friend Anna came to visit from Halifax, and while she was here we went on a little road trip to Montreal to visit my old roommate Katie and her current roommate (and my friend from way back) Bec. There were six of us crammed into my old two-bedroom apartment, but lack of space to move aside, it was a great time. I always love hanging out with all my friends for a few days because it’s nonstop fun. One of my favourite parts of going out with my friends is everyone dragging their makeup into the living room and getting ready together while we listen to an awesome playlist. I have no pictures from our trip because all we did was eat cheese platters during the day and go out until 4am, but you can use your imagination.


Yes, it’s not glamourous, but it’s reality. I’m coming up on 3 years at my job in May. I’m very comfortable there and love the people I work with. Cosmetics retail isn’t my long term plan, but it’s fun for now. I’ll be happy to get back onto a schedule that’s a little more regular – right now I’m working until midnight three days a week and opening the store two days a week, including weekly Saturday/Sunday clopens. It makes it hard to keep a consistent sleep schedule, but I’m grateful for a fulltime job in an industry that interests me working with people I love! Retail is retail; there’s a lot of cleaning and organizing, a lot of emotional labour, and a lot of annoying or downright shitty customers. It’s the people you work with who can make or break a retail job, and luckily I work with some damn fine people.

Books read: 8.5
Beauty products purchased: 23 (Oh god, that seems like a lot, but I swear most of it is replacements and boring stuff like shampoo!)
Episodes of Glee watched in a stress-filled regression to my 15-year-old self: 83 (and boy do I wish I were joking)

2016 recap + 2017 goals

Posted on January 01, 2017 under Life


Hello, everyone. It looks like we’ve come to the end of another year. I won’t lie: 2016 was a rough one for me. Four people I know died, three of them family members, including my beloved grandfather. And although I know my decision to defer grad school for a year was practical and prudent, I’ve missed being in school since I finished up my undergrad in April.

But I suppose 2016 wasn’t all bad. I graduated university, for one thing. I also finally got my G1, which is the first step towards being a fully-licensed driver in Ontario. I had some great times with friends and family and I have been doing well at work. Still, I won’t be sad to say goodbye to 2016. This was a rough one, and there are some cool things on the horizon for me in 2017.


But first, I must tell you how I did with my 2016 goals, in order to humiliate myself publicly!

  • Continue to interact with more bloggers and make blog friends: I really kicked this up a notch in the last quarter of the year and enjoyed it a lot. Overall I didn’t do a great job of shedding my lurker tendencies, but I’m hoping I can continue on with this momentum in 2017.
  • Post at least once a week: There were a few months where I barely posted at all, but I did post 52 times in 2016, so… I guess I did it if we’re just going by averages? I’d like to be a little more consistent in 2017. Luckily my work schedule, which was hectic until September, has settled down and I have more a regular routine, which will really help when it comes to posting regularly.
  • Diversify content: I did okay with this, I think. I started posting about books here, with occasional life updates. I like the content balance I have pretty well, so I’ll probably continue on with the “primarily a beauty blog, but more than incidentally about other subjects” thing.
  • year-in-review-3

  • Quality over quantity: I think I did a good job of this, overall. I bought some cheap shit, but I really cut down on what was coming into my possession. In 2016 I bought several things that were at the upper limit of my (small) budget, but I probably spent far less overall because I hardly ever succumbed to impulse buying habits. I am becoming more attuned to what I genuinely like and will get a lot of use out of, with minor slip-ups here and there, so I’d say this goal was a success. (Perfection doesn’t seem like an entirely reasonable goal!)
  • Get into and start grad school: I did get into grad school. I did not start. I still consider this a success, though. Actually, I’m really proud of myself for making the prudent but displeasing decision to defer for a year to save up for it. I really wanted to be in Scotland by now, but it was absolutely the right thing for me to do. And hey, there’s something to be said for getting into the only graduate programme you applied to three days after submitting your application!
  • Read 25 books, 75% by marginalized people: I hit my book target with 29 read in 2016. By around May I’d decided that trying to quantify diversity was silly. But, for the record, I only read 5 books by white men that were not required for school. I did naturally gravitate towards books written by women. This coming year I’d like to mindfully focus on adding more diversity in terms of non-white and LGBTQ voices. It’s very easy for me to read many books by women, but most of them ended up being white and straight and that’s not necessarily a trend I’m thrilled with! I won’t quantify it, though I’d be thrilled to read more marginalized voices than white men (and probably will). I’m also going to focus on (some) of the classics. My alternative high school skipped over a lot of the usual suspects in favour of Canadian and postcolonial lit, and I didn’t read many novels in university. I’m really quite anti-canon in a theoretical way, but in a practical sense it helps to speak a common language with others. So I guess this year I’m going both canon and deliberately anti-canon!
  • Learn to wake up earlier: Shift work, including working until midnight, rendered this goal pretty difficult. It’s something I still want to work on, but it’s off the table for now until I have a more regular schedule.

Not a rousing success, but my goals rarely are. Yet I’m still setting some for 2017!


Blog at least five times a month

This time I want to make sure I’m actually blogging consistently, so if I have a month where I post less than five times I’ll fail this goal automatically.

Read 50 books

In 2012 I read 100 books and in the four years since then I have read a total of 87 books. 100 books is too ambitious this coming year for two reasons. First, I tend to read longer and denser books now than I did in 2012. (I read a lot of YA dystopian back then!) Second, I will start grad school in September, which I imagine will eat into both my free time and my desire to read for fun. 50 books is still a stretch goal, but one that I think is doable. I haven’t added a diversity quota, as outlined above. I’m pretty confident that I’ll manage to read widely without it.

Be tidier

I’m not naturally a tidy person. I’ll just blame it on being a Gemini, because that’s easier than admitting it’s a personal failing. In recent years I have become better at not letting my living space descend into utter chaos, but I’m still not as neat as I’d like to be. I’m going to start using the two-minute rule, because my biggest issue is not putting things back where they go immediately. (It genuinely did not occur to me that I could put away that day’s clothes as soon as they came off until I was 20.)



I will be moving to Scotland in September, by air. (I mean, obviously.) I’ll probably fly Icelandair because they have very generous baggage policies, but, still: my worldly possessions in my new home will be limited to what I can fit within two checked bags and two carry-ons. So I will need to whittle down my possessions considerably. The last time I lived in Scotland, for the 2014-2015 school year, I left quite a lot of my clothes behind. This time, anything that I don’t pack is getting donated. If it’s not good enough to accompany me overseas for at least a year, it’s not important. This doesn’t go for all my possessions: I’m going to be keeping my books, as they are dear to me, but not transporting them overseas at this point. That said, I will still be getting rid of a lot of stuff, because I don’t want to have a massive pile of things to leave in Canada. (It’ll probably be mostly the books.)


Be mindful about new purchases

I’m not going to go on a no-buy because that’s unrealistic for me, but I’m going to try to continue with my shift towards mindful purchasing. I was pretty good at this in 2016, but I did make some impulse buys and, unsurprisingly, regretted most of them! So this year for clothes and makeup I really want to focus on upgrading what I already have and not on adding too much that’s truly new. I’m not going to institute a strict “one in, one out” policy, but I’ll be trying to go more that route than “one in, one in, one in…” I’ll also be keeping track of all my makeup purchases this year because I’ve never done that and truly have no idea how much I spend on makeup on a yearly basis!

These pictures are all from my Instagram, and and are in chronological order. As you can see, my year was not the most exciting, but I managed to squeeze out a few nice photos.

Happy 2017, everyone!