Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Questions (via Amarixe)

1.) Mood: Currently in a great mood :) I just finished watching Freaky Friday with my mom. As cheesy as it sounds, I love watching mother-daughter movies with her. Also that movie's a classic.

2.) Do you wear a piece of jewelry that you never take off? I have a bracelet that my mom gave me almost 3 years ago and basically, I made a wish, she tied it around my wrist, and the concept is the wish should come true once the bracelet falls off. The wish already came true so I keep it on for good luck!

3.) If you had a free year to do anything you wanted (with unlimited funds to do so), how would you spend it? I would move out, get an apartment in the city, and spend the whole year furnishing and decorating. I'm dying to do that kind of thing.

4.) Current nail polish: Ombre purple-to-pink! It's a little sloppy because it was my first time trying it, but I think it's pretty cool.

5.) Have you been watching the Olympics? Yes! I'm more into the Olympics than I thought I would be, actually.

6.) Current outfit: Pyjamas haha.

7.) What are your favorite pizza toppings? Plain cheese. I'm boring.

8.) Who is your favorite Disney character? Oh MAN. This is the hardest question ever. I never really liked the princesses... So probably Woody?

9.) When it comes to shoes, flats or heels? Flats all the way. I just can't seem to find a pair of comfortable heels.

10.) Weekly goals: Read my driving book and take the online quiz (aka prepare myself for the exam), clean my room, and  put up my new curtains!

Most Worn Tag: Summer 2012

Hey everyone! I got the idea for this post from Missglamorazzi on YouTube (LINK), and since I don't do YouTube videos, I decided to make a post on it :) I really enjoyed Missglamorazzi's video and thought you guys might like to see how I would respond to the tag as well!

(Click the photos to view them in HD)

1) Most worn nailpolish:

To be completely honest, I change my nailpolish incredibly often, especially during the summer! My two favorites, however, have been this amazing, glowing pink color from Kiko Makeup Milano, and L'Orange by L'Oreal. They're both really vibrant and look great with a tan! Unfortunately, the Kiko polish doesn't have a name, but in case you're interested its number is 03507.

2) Most worn hair product:

In the summer I tend to use less hair products because I let my hair air-dry and I don't use too much heat on it. I got this sample-sized product from Canada's April Glossybox and have been using it ever since. Whenever I feel like my hair is getting a little dull, or rather needs an extra bit of "oomph" (for lack of a better word), I run a dab of this through my hair (avoiding the roots). It gives the hair some shine and smoothness. As you can see, I only have about two more uses of this product before it runs out! :( As soon as I find a place that sells Wella products (I think some salons do?), I will definitely be re-purchasing it. Also, it smells DELICIOUS. So many people compliment the way my hair smells whenever I use this.

3) Most worn bag:

I picked up this bag when I was in Italy and I absolutely love it. It's the perfect size for everyday use. It's larger than the cross-body I use to go out at night, but smaller than the tote bag I use for school. It fits my wallet, a small make-up bag, and even my iPad. Also, I think the color is very versatile, so I definitely see myself wearing this into the fall. The brand is Carpisa, by the way.

4) Most worn shoes:

My most worn summer shoes are by far this pair of flip flops from Abercrombie & Fitch. I don't tend to shop at Abercrombie but I bought these with a giftcard approximately 3 years ago--and let me tell you, they've held up reeaally nicely. I probably need to get myself a new pair sometime soon but these are perfectly broken-in, and generally very sturdy. I wear them almost every day, every summer since I've gotten them.

5) Most worn accessories:

My most worn accessories are these adorable, leather bow hair clips. I picked these up from a leather boutique in Italy but I can't imagine similar ones would be too hard to find. I love these because they pull the hair away from my face which is a must for me during the summer!

6) Most worn clothing item:

My most worn clothing item is this dress that I picked up from H&M. It's just a plain, casual white tank-top dress. I love it because it can be worn in so many different ways depending on how I feel. If it's a little cooler I can throw a light cardigan over the top, or a cropped vest if I don't feel like being too bare-shouldered. Also it's a little long (a few inches past the knee), so sometimes I bunch up the bottom and tie it to one side which is also cute.

7) Most worn foundation:

My most worn foundation is a year-round one. I've been using this foundation all my life. I go a shade darker during the summer months because I tend to have more of a tan. I paired my foundation with Urban Decay's De Slick. Basically, I spray it before putting my make-up on, and afterwards. It removes  excess moisture and allows my foundation to stay on even longer! Seriously, it works. Sometimes I forget to spray it and I notice a difference as soon as I step outside. My face is already naturally oily but with the added sweat of summer my make-up could potentially slide right off... Not good! I love you, De Slick!

8) Most worn blush & bronzer:

My most worn blush is MAC's Pinch o' Peach. To be quite honest, it looks extremely pink in the pot, but on there are definitely noticeable hints of peach. It's a really pretty pop of pink to the cheeks and I think it's really light and summery. My most worn bronzer is NARS Laguna. This is my absolute favorite bronzer. I just think it warms up the face beautifully and the effect is very "sun-kissed". This is definitely my go-to summer bronzer because it also has flecks of shimmer in it which looks awesome in the sunlight.

9) My most worn lip product:

Lately I've been really loving this Korres Lip Butter in the color Wild Rose. It's a very pretty berry color and really enhances the natural color of your lips. It seems a little dark in the packaging but it goes on quite sheer, yet it's buildable. Also, once the initial sheen fades away, your lips are left with a slight stain that looks really natural. I love it :)

10) Most worn mascara:

I received this Marcelle mascara in my May Glossy Box but haven't used it until this summer. I think it's just a really decent mascara! I mean, it's not the BEST I've ever used, but it does the trick! It coats the lashes really nicely. Can't complain!

11) Most worn eyeshadow:

My Naked palette is my go-to. Lately, I've been using warmer colors and combining shades such as virgin, sin, and toast. I love a nude eye with full, colorful lips. That eyeshadow combo looks really nice with my Korres Lip Butter and some Laguna bronzer :)

(Oh hey!)

That's it!!! Hope you enjoyed! Here's a bonus Einstein for your viewing pleasures:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gun Violence: What's Next

Hello blog friends! I wanted to write up a post on something that's been on my mind a little as of late, considering I haven't posted anything on the matter on my Twitter or Tumblr. I know I'm due to write up the second part of my Italy vacation posts but I wanted to address this first.

As we're all well-aware, an atrocity took place at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado recently. A gunman entered the theatre and opened fire on the audience. I haven't been following the case too closely, but I am confident this man will receive an appropriate punishment. That said, the incident brings up an issue the western world has been dealing with for years: rogue gunmen putting innocent lives at stake.

I live in Montreal, and as a Canadian, I can say we too have had our fair share of these kinds of horrific events. Years ago, a man opened fire at the entrance of a local college, wounding many and killing one. A few weeks ago, a similar incident occurred in Toronto at the Eaton Centre foodcourt. It has come to the point where we can no longer feel safe attending classes, going to the mall, or seeing a movie. It seems to me there should be a solution to this. And in my eyes, this solution is simple enough.

Based on my understanding, the notion that a person needs to possess gun in order to feel safe is one that is ever-prevalent in North American society. I am initially inclined to label this phenomenon as strictly American, but I am not entirely sure that's the case. In my opinion, procuring a gun for any reason is unfathomably inappropriate. Personally, I never would... But maybe that's because my life has never been threatened in such a way that I ever had to defend myself to that extent.

Consider this story my father told me... He was discussing the Dark Knight situation on the phone with a friend of his who lives in Kansas, and in response, his friend recounted the following story. He was dining out at a restaurant one night with his wife and three year-old son, and he noticed a couple of men walk into the restaurant and linger at the entrance for a little while, watching him pay his bill. When he and his family got up to leave, the men were no longer at the entrance. As they were walking to his car, he felt like he was being followed--and sure enough, he was. Before he knew it, the two men from before were holding him and his family at gunpoint, demanding their wallets. Keep in mind he had his three year-old son with him. He handed over his wallet and the men were on their way. In response to this, my dad's friend from Kansas went out and bought a gun (legally, if that makes a difference), and took the necessary classes to learn how to use the gun responsibly. He claims that the gun would not serve as the ultimate solution should he ever find himself in a similar situation again, but rather as an "option".

My father retold this story to my aunt, uncle and myself during dinner. My aunt and uncle, initially against the procurement of guns as means of safety, were quickly warming up to the opposing point-of-view. After-all, this man's son's life was at stake. So, while a tale like this can be relatable and persuasive, I remain unconvinced.

Purchasing a gun to defend oneself against someone with a gun seems way to much like fighting fire with fire. I don't suggest talking yourself out of a situation like the above, but brandishing a gun surely won't make the situation much better. If anything, it seems to me like your opponent will feel threatened and although that may be the response you were hoping for, it might cause him to make an extremely rash decision--like attempt to be the one to shoot first. But besides all that, the entire weight of the situation now shifts onto you. If we strip the situation down to its bare minimum, we have two men standing in front of each other, bearing an armed weapon that could potentially kill. Motives aside, two lives are now being put in danger. Two men equally deserving the right to survive. The man you point your gun to is not simply a hollow being; he has a personality, he has relationships, he has a history, and prior to this moment--he had a future. Jeopardizing a person's future... Personally, I could never forgive myself.

Here's my suggestion: let's stop using guns. Let's stop selling them (first 'legally', and then we'll work on 'illegally'). Instead of telling people they need guns to be safe, let's discourage the use of guns altogether. If people believe they don't need a gun, they won't buy one. If there are less guns out in society, there are less opportunities for killing. I don't care if this opinion is naive or impossible or what have you. If someone can legally buy arms at the click of a mouse, something needs to change. Our lives are not action movies. Our lives are real and our lives are precious. We don't need guns. End of story.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vacanze Italiane Part 1!

Hello blog friends :) I mentioned in my last post that I was going to blog about my trip to Italy and I figured I'd finally get around to doing it. SO! Without further ado...

We started the vacation off way in the south of Italy in a small town called Agropoli located in the Salerno region. If we're to picture the "boot", Agropoli is on the arch of the foot. We spent a week here just shopping, going to the beach, chilling by the pool, and eating. Our hotel (Hotel Mare) was right on the beach which was really nice. To be quite honest, I'm not the type of person that can spend hours laying on scorching hot sand in the heat of the day... But my mom is. So I did that. I got a bit of a tan too except it's starting to fade which is a little disheartening. But I'll survive. We made our way up to the medieval town in the mountain a couple times to do some shopping and it's really lovely up there. The lower part of the town has been renovated and it's filled with cafes and shops, but if you take the hike up to the peak (I think it's well worth it), the buildings do date back to the Middle Ages. I can't quite remember the history of it, however the town is set up in a way that's meant to ward off pirates/on-coming attacks. The buildings are very tall and the walk up is a little lengthy. There's an old castle way at the top and it's stone walls are still standing. What I love about Italy is that it can be both a relaxing vacation as well as a cultural experience. I guess that can be said for mostly all of Europe but I feel like Italy is a special case.

Here's a shot of the lower part of the town in the mountains. You can see the modern restaurants on the side, but if you keep walking along this path, you'll hit the really old section. Also, literally every guy in this place was wearing shorts like that (short and bright-colored), but I guess Italian fashion is a whole other conversation.

All of the buildings are incredibly charming. I love the old brick on this one, the contrast of the fuchsia flowers, and the shop sign ("Cose Inutili", which translates to "Useless Things").

Another thing my mom and I did while we were in this Salerno area was take the train to Paestum. Paestum is a location that dates back to "Before Christ" times, making it incredibly, incredibly old. Here, you can basically find a series of three temples dedicated to various Greek deities (one to Poseidon, one to Athena, and one to Hera). The Romans took over the area in the year 274, and built a village surrounding the temples, of which only the ruins can be seen today. The only place is very fascinating and we spent about 3-4 hours wandering around, checking out the sites, and visiting the accompanying museum.

This is the temple dedicated to Athena, the first of the three. (That's my mom in the pic, lol)

This is the temples dedicated to Poseidon. Although this was the largest of the three temples, it surprisingly wasn't the "most important". The most important temples of the three was the only dedicated to Hera, wife of Zeus (which I conveniently don't have a picture of). The temple dedicated to Hera was where they would keep the treasure and all that.

The last little excursion I'm going to mention for this part of my trip is the "Enogastronomical tour" that my mom and I took. The day started off visiting the factory where mozzarella di bufala is made. We got to hang out with the buffalos and I actually really enjoyed myself. The buffalos looked really comfortable (despite living in a factory), and I got to pet a few of them which was fun. They are massive creatures though. The factory, called Vannullo, claimed that the only way to achieve quality mozzarella is to keep the buffalos happy and serene. They therefore played Mozart for them every morning and set up a station where they could get massaged... Not bad!

Next, we were off to an amazing vineyard in Agropoli. It was a private-owned vineyard and winery where we got to taste some great wines. If I wasn't a fan of wine before this trip, I definitely am now lol! They also had a ton of olive trees and made their own olive oil as well, which we got to taste on some of their home-made bread. Really yummy!

For lunch, we went to a tiny town located way up in the mountains called Castelcivita that also dates back to the Middle Ages. And when I say mountains, I mean WAY up in the mountains. It was a quiet, quaint little village--mostly attributed to the fact that the only people who still live there are 80+ years old. All of the young people in the town have moved out and gone to the larger cities. Anyway, it was really fun to see and we had dinner at a lovely restaurant that served locally-grown foods only. To be honest, I'd be incredibly happy living up there. Maybe I'd get a little city-sick once in a while, but it's got way too much character and life not to be appreciated. I don't know. It's really a gem. 

This was the view from the restaurant we had lunch at which was located a little further south from the major part of the town.

That pretty much wraps up the first week of the trip. Next on the agenda was four days in Monopoli, a city on the outskirts of the Bari region, located on the ankle of the boot, which means 6+ hours of train rides from Agropoli to there... Not fun considering my luggage weighed a million pounds. But hey. Once we got there we met up with my mom's friend Mariangela who invited us to spend our time there at her mother's house in Monopoli. My mom had already spent time with them last time she was in Italy but it was going to be my first time ever meeting these people so I was a little anxious, but they were so friendly and affectionate and caring and cooked the best food. Also, Mariangela had a niece my age named Francesca who spoke English so I spent a lot of time with her and her friends & family as well, which was nice.

They have these special cucumbers that grow only in the Monopoli region and they were SOOO good! Best spherical cucumbers ever!

One day we were driving around and came across this tiny beach... But have you ever seen water so stunning?!

I'll just quickly go over some of the things we did in Monopoli now... The first night I went to the beach with my friend Francesca and her friends. I was a little nervous, again, considering I didn't know these people and they didn't know me... But the whole thing turned out to be a lot of fun, even if I didn't really understand them since they spoke mostly Barese dialect (which is basically a whole other language. Seriously. It can't be Italian.). Anyway! Francesca's friend Davide picked us up in his silver convertible and we went to meet Francesca's other friends at a little shack by the beach where we picked up some beers and pizza. All of her friends were extremely friendly and all took the time to introduce themselves to me, and one bought me a beer which was cute. One thing I noticed, though, is that at least Francesca's group of friends (not sure if I can generalize this to "all Italian teens") drink much less than we do here in Montreal. Just an observation. But I think it goes to show that they genuinely just enjoy one another's company and aren't worried about not having a good time without drinking. It was refreshing. I'll try to describe her friends a little more...

One thing to be said is that Francesca is an activist for all different types of causes, from animal to human rights--the whole spectrum. And so are all her friends. I don't know if this is why, but I found them to be the least materialistic group of teenagers I've ever met (maybe besides the silver convertible, however I later found out it was environmentally friendly AND not to mention it had a WWF bumper sticker). Also, none of them were self-conscious whatsoever. All the girls were wearing bikinis and as soon as we hit the sand they all bolted straight to the water.

One of her friends brought his guitar along and made a very futile attempt at playing songs I might recognize (aside from some Beatles, they seemed to be really into Norah Jones... Really?). Davide let me flip through his iPod. I don't know why that surprised me. It was chock-full of Oasis-esque bands and classic rock. Later one of her friends was telling me he was in a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, lol. Anyway, everyone sang and danced and talked all night.

This wraps up part uno of my blog posts on my Italian vacation (I honestly didn't think it would be this long and I'm tired)... So the rest will be up soon!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Little Writing Kickstart

So basically, I really feel like writing again and since this is my blog, I feel like this is the place to do it. I recently was in Italy for 2 weeks and a bit, and I would like to write down my experience but my writing skills are a little rusty and it's going to take quite a bit of time to get everything down. I figured I would do this little activity as an exercise of sorts... I found it while browsing Allison's blog (Amarixe).

1.) Mood: I am currently in a great mood. I'm still on vacation mode and I feel like I've not got a care in the world. I have a nagging sense that my happiness will soon dissipate considering my parents have literally not waited a day to start pushing me to find a job. The prospect is a little depressing.

2.) Did you do anything fun this weekend? Yes I did! Like I mentioned, I was Italy (Florence and Rome specifically for the weekend). I'm going to write a detailed blog post on my trip, so yes, stay tuned for that.

3.) What is the closest object to you that is pink? One of the 17 nail polishes I bought in Italy. (Yes, seventeen... That isn't a typo. More on that later.)

4.) Current nail polish: My current nail polish is what I've decided to describe as a neon creamsicle color (orange, that is) from Kiko Makeup Milano.

5.) If you could snap your fingers and be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? For me to do this would be a little greedy considering I spent the last 2 weeks on vacation in a foreign country... But I would have to say Los Angeles. My answer will likely be Los Angeles every single time someone asks me this.

6.) Current outfit: Army green floral American Eagle shorts and a long-sleeved Michael Kors t-shirt with buckles on the front (in a similar green as the shorts).

7.) What is the last movie you saw in theaters? I believeee the last movie I saw in theatres was "What To Expect When You're Expecting".

8.) If you could only be one age for the rest of your life, which would you choose, and why? I feel like this is a bit of an unfair question considering I haven't even lived half of my life yet. For now I'll say seventeen.

9.) When is the last time you played on a swing set? Wow, um, I'm really not sure. I'm sure it hasn't been very long ago, though.

10.) Weekly goals: My goal this week is to film a video. I really want to start getting myself on YouTube. And honestly, it's not because I expect to be incredibly successful there, but in September I'll be starting a university major that involves some video editing, which is something I don't know how to do. I figure I should start familiarizing myself with some programs as well as get used to seeing myself on camera!