hamilton hour

Yesterday, I was perusing through some architecture schools, and before I knew it, I was on the streets. Okay, before you panic, let me clarify – I am not suddenly homeless. Nor am I a busker. Rather, I was drawn into the streets (in the most poetic sense of the word), camera in hand, ready to capture what makes the city I’ve been living in for the past few years so captivating.

Quite simply, the architectural beauty that fills the humble streets of Hamilton demanded to be documented.

This city and I, we know each other pretty well by now. My friends and family back home in Vancouver practically guffawed when I said I’d be heading to Hamilton for school. “Good luck with those winters.” “Steel city, eugh.” And just the simple, “Wait, why on earth are you-“. But ever since first year, I’ve been acquainting myself with the many, many pockets of this city that have been virtually untouched by its industrialism. The streets are dripping in history, every ornate architectural facet speaking to a time long gone. Yes, the grizzly sides of this place really are grizzly. The stench of smoke permeates the downtown core, and it’s completely likely you’ll walk by a number of individuals struggling with a crippling addiction, but that side of the city doesn’t illustrate its potential. In fact, Hamilton has acted again and again on its potential. This video articulates what I want to say in epic proportions, and drums up serious Hamiltonian pride. 

The grizzly sides, yes, they’re evident. But they’re also just one side of Hamilton. Look around for just a day and you’ll see what I mean. Hamilton’s best sides – the charming, vibrantly creative, and academic angles – are often left out of discussion. And let me be clear: the best sides of a city aren’t necessarily the “photo-ready smiles”, if you will. Catch Hamilton in candid form, and you’ll see young women draped in vintage coats, old men with Dumbledore-esque beards (even one or two literally smoking a pipe), and snappy young folks lingering in some of Canada’s most charming coffee shops. You’ll see a city that is the definition of untouched beauty. And you know what? I think the fact that this city has so many untouched parts to it is what makes it so entrancing. So absolutely vital to catch on camera. It’s as though Hamilton is an old woman who has wholeheartedly embraced her wrinkles as a part of who she is. Every crease that tells a story is so much more beautiful than a woman who has resorted to artificial means to stay up to par to what society expects of her.

And so I did try to catch the worn out sides of Hamilton. That aged quality is unattainable in so many cities today. It’s being wiped out in favour of modernism at every corner. But today? I’m sick of perfection. I’m ready to embrace the untouched world. Here’s a snippet of what I mean.IMG_8314IMG_8294IMG_8300IMG_8321IMG_8325 IMG_8326 IMG_8329IMG_8338IMG_8340IMG_8343 IMG_8345 IMG_8346 IMG_8347 IMG_8353 IMG_8296

gallery craving

My lack of a headboard may earn the badge of “Most Unnecessary Source of Minor Anxiety” but it’s still wreaking some serious inner turmoil. Every morning, I grab my cup o’ joe, settle in with some steaming oats, and open up Pinterest. This is where my eyes turn a subtle shade of green and my student-sized bank account starts to really grind my gears. (Do I hear an “amen”?) Every other gal in the world seems to be wearing crisp white boyfriend shirts and red lipstick, leaving their elegant stains on espresso cups at their local coffee shop, and curling into a bed with an elegantly distressed headboard behind them after a day of work. That last bit, that gets me. Because as a student, there are no funds left to squander on a headboard, no matter how dreamy it may be, and as a renter, I face limited options in putting up a fancy-shmancy art installation behind me. I am, however, on my way to curating a gallery in place of a headboard (even though I might be terrified of getting knocked out in the middle of the night thanks to only having “extra-strength” adhesive strips doing the job).

So, I’ve purchased some IKEA frames of various sizes, obviously intent on recreating some of Pinterest’s Scandi-cool scapes with framed minimalist quotes and red lipstick stains. But I also recently found a sweet assortment of vintage frames, each with knicks and scratches on the ornate wooden designs, and I’m now tempted to leave my IKEA frames under my bed permanently. (Shh.)

But here’s my biggest problem. I don’t have any flippin’ art to put in any of the flippin’ frames. Yeah, it’s a flippin’ problem. (Almost as big of a problem as my desire to say “flippin'”).

In the meantime, I’ve found a collection of galleries that I’m aspiring to. Maybe if I stare at them long enough, this will be the time when dreams come true. When all my wishes on so many stars, even an airplane or two, will just break through into a blissful reality.

Okay, getting some more coffee. Need a caffeine-induced reality check.

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This is what the collection of vintage frames I found look like. Swoon, baby, swoon!

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Look, ma! These are all my friends I made in university! Framed! They’re more fun when they have a drink in them.

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EGGS! Breaking out of the rigid frames is an excellent idea, actually.

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*m

who’s enthusiastic about objects?

 

I recently shook virtual hands with the object enthusiast on instagram. And by that I just mean I went on to “heart” nearly every photo she has up for us to ogle at. Emily Reinhardt’s collection of ceramics injects the perfect dash of dreamy metallics and unexpected shape into everyday objects, so that we casually leave our vases on display long after the flowers have run their course.

I can imagine her work on Brooklyn street corners or African markets, on every surface in my house or artfully curated on West Elm’s store counters. I’d pluck fresh flowers daily for the sole purpose of keeping my ceramics looking as pretty as they’re meant to be. Because it’s a rare feat when the flowers look just as darling as the vase. Usually the vase is just a means to an end, but not with Emily’s feminine-meets-funky masterpieces.

Quite simply, the object enthusiast breathes new enthusiasm into the everyday objects we surround ourselves with. And to that, let’s drink (tea in a beautifully speckled pinch bowl)!

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In other news, this weekend I’ve had Prinze George’s Victor and WET’s Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl on repeat. Both vocalists have these ethereal, feminine voices and I just ache (in a non-painful, this-is-so-good kind of way) while listening. Highly suggest checking them out for your (hopefully lazy) Sundays. I’ve also managed to do zero work since Friday afternoon, which is both depressing and impressive all at the same time. The remedy? Doll yourself up and coop yourself up in a coffee shop, of course. ;)

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short & sweet: wrist crowns

Komono, an avant-garde Belgian accessories line, has recently collaborated with the estate of late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to release six watches that muddle the distinction between traditional and experimental. While Basquait’s signature crown is etched into every darling retro watch face, the wristbands rep a unique sliver of one of his iconic paintings. In other words, no two watches are the same. We are all special flowers.

But originality doesn’t mean paying an arm and a leg, although some might give both for a watch that looks this good (seek help if you are one of these people). A notable tenet of Basquait’s philosophy was marrying street art and high art, ergo Komono aimed to maintain this ideology by developing an affordable line without sacrificing quality or originality. But you know what? Every Komono watch maintains this principle. They channel Basquait every damn day.

My personal faves:

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Wizard print series: Flemish baroque

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Wizard print series: Wild Hares

Basquait pick: Untitled

Basquait pick: Untitled

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Basquait picks: Magnus, Philistines

 

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BAM! Wizard Print Series: Expressionist

Pce n’ luv,

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take a moment to marvel

I’ve always had a knack for standing still. With the likes of that skill, you might think I’ve already paved a very successful future for myself. A mime with a single pose, an FBI agent who excels at eavesdropping until the guy leaves the room, one of those silver-painted humans downtown who think they’re statues. My options were endless from the beginning… And even if that doesn’t become my life’s passion, standing still makes for some excellent entertainment. For example, sometimes I pretend to freeze on Skype. Throwing in a good ol’ mime act in the middle of a conversation (most likely a virtual conversation, but if you do so in real life then you are the most excellent human being I know) offers up some serious bonding with me, myself & I as we all wait and see if our mime act is so good that they hang up on us. Ah, the only time being hung up on is an unmistakable victory.

So that’s what I do for fun! What do you do?

I kid, I kid. But I do enjoy, in some weird way, seeing life as though I were frozen, while the rest of the world continues. It’s a bizarre version of the classic aspiration to put life on pause – where everyone else around you is a mime in a single, generally mundane pose – and you go on your merry way for an hour or two to travel the world, see the Eiffel Tower, shave Kim Jong-un’s hair off, and sift through your enemy’s garbage can. But this doesn’t interest me as much. Seeing the the world around me in a motionless, robotic state would be paralyzing as it is. If I were the one person on Earth who still had some remnant of life in me, well, the world’s outta luck because I’d join them in their paralysis.

There is, however, a subtle fascination with the world’s resistance to stopping when I do. Yes, I just realized this. I’m not the center of the universe, someone pinch me. Okay, thanks for the pinch – the hard truth has been swallowed.

What I mean is that we don’t often contemplate, or contemplate enough, the world’s ignorance to us – these tiny little human beings motoring around, laughing at bad jokes, gossiping, making love, picking their noses. Just as we don’t contemplate breathing or an occasion of rain as anything more than a fact of life. Recognizing this ignorance, as scary as it is, grants you the most genuine form of modesty and brings you back into reality, in that you are not the centre of the world and the world will most literally keep spinning without you. The clocks will continue ticking, rest assured.

Does that scare you? Perhaps. But should it scare you?

Let’s pause for a moment. Take a breath, and be completely still. Your eyes alone scan my words, your chest rising like the tide in tune to your breath. Register the fact that everyone else around you – every human, every bird, every slug – is continuing on, ignorant to your stillness. You are not the sun, you are not the moon. You very well may be to your loved ones, but to 99.99999% of the world, you’re as pivotal as the slug on your sidewalk. Your time spent on this Earth is for you. Your time is no one else’s.

For me, I use the power of time as motivation. Or at least that’s what I strive to do. Because time shouldn’t need to scare us. As a child, I remember my mum once told me I was given thirty seconds more to play on the playground and I distinctly remember thinking, oh my gosh, what is my mum thinking? That’s so much! What will I do with all this time? And I ran like a mad-woman in the body of a seven year old up and down a slide, through the monkey bars, and underneath the ladder until she said it was up. That time was glorious. Time empowered me then, and it can empower me now.

The perspectives we have as children are valuable. We may grow older, we may grow wiser, but if only we could harness some of that innate optimism we had as children. To marvel at the world around us and recognize joy in the little things is momentous; It’s those moments of marveling that slow down time and center us in the present, and allow us to recognize just how much power we do have over time. Because it’s you who chose to pause and it’s you who chose to marvel. No one else.

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The following series of photographs evoke that sense of wonder in the little things. A brilliant collection by Christopher Boffoli entitled Big Appetites. Feed your eyes some serious whimsy with these shots, and please let me know your favourite!

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tuesdays are for poetry

mirandababbittt:

It’s comforting to know that I once sat next to this burgeoning poet of the century for many hours at a time (thanks to exhausting, sometimes delirious production nights for my campus newspaper). Bahar’s words sometimes want to make me weep, smile wistfully, and every single time they stir some sort of emotion I don’t even have words for… hopefully with enough reading I might just be able to put my finger on it.

Originally posted on :

but what about tomorrow? 

Today
I am quite pretty
I keep my hair long
Almost past my waist
Brush it and touch it like a precious persian rug
Many mornings I am free to run
Run towards something, a vast somewhere
And dresses, they look alright on me
I don’t have many scars yet
Not a lot of maps on this skin
All of it smooth
Smooth like sand or snow
No footsteps yet.
Only a few small dents
For slaps and past-lover kisses that I can still
Turn to poetry.

Today
There are many ways into my heart
Through windows of funny anecdotes
Through archways made from touching tales
There are even curtains, blowing, careless curtains
That with one whiff could fly away
And you can sit inside, between all the deepest walls
Meditate against the steady beats
My heart has hundreds of thousands of openings
Nooks and crannies…

View original 311 more words

yellow ostriches have feelings too

insta insta @yellowostrich

insta insta @yellowostrich

A couple weeks ago today, at 9:53pm (give or take), I was  swaying to the tune of “Ghost” by Yellow Ostrich in a sea of Antlers fans. And at 9:55 pm that night, I declared my devoted fandom. I wanted to catapult my body on stage and just jiggy with them, because I was feeling them, man. A few strums in and a couple lyrics out and I was making a sign at the back of the crowd saying, “I <3 U YELLOW OSTRICH.”

Now their song “Ghost” and I have met once before. ‘Twas a passing meet-and-greet on Songza’s playlist Tar Beach Lullabies, but they still offered a humble & charming wave in between the string of underground indie bands. In hindsight, Yellow Ostrich actually left quite the weighty impression on me – at least enough to strike a chord of nostalgia as soon as frontman Alex Schaaf’s sweet hymns coated the air. Once Michael Tapper’s pointed drums pierced through the words don’t remember your face, I knew I’d inadvertently stumbled upon the song that made a stellar first impression once before. I’m telling you – my fandom was instant.

But as a new fan, I’m not here to talk about the indelible and ardent concert they gave, nor their charming stage presence (which was somewhere in between the “original” variety of hipsters and teenagers jamming in their parents’ garage), and not even the fact that I met Alex Schaaf afterwards and was weirdly starstruck (I hadn’t even heard of the fella before that night and here I was mumbling with big ol’ animated stars in my eyes). First and foremost, I’m here to bring you “Ghost”, because everyone needs to hear this song at least once. Secondly, I’m here to share my feelings on the song because that’s what blogs are for because this is a song that makes me stop speaking, writing, thinking, really functioning whatsoever as a human being for the 3 minutes and 46 seconds it’s playing. It’s hypnosis, stirring my heart round and round in its wake.

At it’s core, I think “Ghost” is a love song, but it doesn’t follow the rules of Love Song Writing 101 (and that’s precisely why I love it). There’s no “I want you back” or “take me back” or “I regret this, I regret that.” It’s a love song lamenting the difficulty, and ultimately the impossibility, of forgetting an ex-lover; the thousands of blinking memories playing themselves over and over in someone’s head act as constant reminders. And not the memories one would expect to remember, either. They’re not from a high school dance, or a fancy dinner out, or a big meet n’ greet between friends and family, or any “milestones” in the relationship. They’re memories of a pair of hands sneaking around your waist, or how you felt following in their footsteps on a sunny, ordinary walk to the grocery store, or the tickle of their eyelashes on your collarbone. “Ghost” depicts the intimacy between two lovers as a result of knowing that person better than anyone else, and how the memories forged into your mind reflect that familiarity. In conclusion, this means that a part of that person, no matter how small, will always impose some sense of influence on your life’s direction (and I can’t decide whether this is heartbreaking, uplifting, or merely touching).

Consider the line, “I remember the way you move, the taste of you and your eyes – green or are they blue?”

I ache at these words. These are the words that leave me still, contemplative in the very definition of intimacy that society imposes on us. Instead of painting intimacy in a blinding light of sexuality, we’re introduced to an alternative “taste” of it: the taste of someone’s eyes. See, eyes are inherently intimate already. Relationships have been made and broken by certain looks. One pair of locked eyes can be enough to ignite an electric connection, while other times a fleeting glance can be taken to betray someone’s words and reflect their true thoughts & feelings instead. They carry the nuances of someone’s personality, and deliver the punchline to a joke on their own. In time, eyes become more than the staple of that first pick-up line. They become your support system, and they share whole stories in seconds. The “taste of someone’s eyes” shows just how intimately two people know one another; it shows that you know the true quality of someone. You crave them not because of their physical attributes, like their “dreamy ocean-blue eyes”, but because of the quality of their soul. Everyone can know the colour of someone’s eyes. One glance at a driver’s ID will tell you that. But when you look into a lover’s eyes, you get the taste of who they really are. You get whole stories back. You get their fears and ambitions and clever observations back. You get their soul looking back at you – fearlessly and trustingly.

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But then, after a breakup, those eyes and all that they can reveal become nearly cruel. Because you’ll still get stories looking back at you, but you have to pretend you don’t. Small talk trumps opening up because, maybe, it’s too hard to dabble on that side of the relationship again. Maybe it’s all or nothing. But here they are, back to strangers. Back to small talk. In fact, come to think of it, this song reminds me of a quote I heard a bit ago.

Strangers, friends, best friends, lovers, strangers.

To see the cycle of broken relationships in this sordidly simple way is devastating. I’m sitting happily in the fourth stage (and I do feel blessed), having never experienced a breakup. I can only use lyrics, poems, stories, eavesdropped lines while waiting for coffee as my way of experiencing mere fragments of what others have felt. And perhaps this is why “Ghost” tugs at so many heart strings that haven’t ever been plucked before.

“I’m so tired of you, I can see the way the clouds move. I’m so tired of you, I can see the way your legs move. I’m so tired of you, but I’ve got no one else to talk to.”

The words manage to invoke a sense of hollow weariness inside me; I can imagine the emptiness of a heart that once felt it belonged to two. The exhaustion of seeing memories of an ex-lover continuously coming into your life, unannounced, seeking to fulfill the imprint they once left on your mind. And see, I don’t think you could ever be “one” again – not with someone’s memories and thoughts and taste so tirelessly infiltrating into your mind. Yet, you cannot be two either; the other half of them are broken fragments that haven’t been swept away. There will always be a few left in your mind – to poke you, to hurt you, to reflect certain things when you least expect it.

I imagine a break up to feel like this: a vase of flowers that has been broken. Once upon a time, it was a thing of beauty. Friends, loved ones, even a couple of strangers on occasion would remark how beautiful the flowers look together, how naturally they fall into one another, how they’ve lasted so long. But as life gets busy (isn’t that what they always say?), the flowers are no longer as lovingly nourished as they once were. The radiant colour is no longer exceptional – it doesn’t stop them in their tracks. They pick at the wilted petals, deplore the delicate nurture it requires, yet put off throwing out the whole batch together (they have a few more days in them, don’t they?). But this leads to murky waters. Friends and loved ones remark how it’s time for it to go; after all, it pains them just as much. Finally, the wilted, deprecated bouquet is thrown out altogether. But what is there to see now? Filthy waters? The vase is stained anyways. A favourite vase. The only vase.

You wipe it off the table immediately, propelling shards of glass into every corner of the room. That felt good, didn’t it? But where do you think those shards of glass fell if not for under the table, behind the curtains, lingering underneath the rug? Even with a thorough sweep, there will always be that bittersweet reminder of bygone beauty.

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***

I may have gotten away with myself during that last analogy. I just ran with it. To be completely honest, writing about this makes me so weary. Genuinely, it leaves me mentally exhausted. I find myself so quiet after, my thoughts a little tinged with melancholy even though I am so madly and deeply in love right now. I’d say this weariness is justified though; the mindset is not a happy place. And then again, “Ghost” is not a happy song. There’s no conclusion of acceptance in moving onto another stage in life. The only conclusion I can come to is that ex-lovers permeate through your mind long after they’re gone. This young man, or whoever Alex Schaaf is imagining as the narrator (himself?), is deep in the throngs of desolation not because of the breakup, but because of the realization that so much of that person will never leave him. It’s a whole other type of grieving, and one that I’ve certainly never contemplated. The imprint of those who have touched you, and just how profound that imprint is.

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p.s. I’m thinking now perhaps I should write a follow-up song. I can be the one to write in acceptance for this grief. Remember, to be madly in love is a blessed, beautiful thing, but make sure you are always just as kind to yourself, and look into your own eyes with just as much love. You deserve that, more than anyone.