alexa meade redefining still life

Confession of the day: I really enjoy watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. Next confession: I never actually do these tutorials. For me, it’s like watching a magic trick, a bewildering series of transformations. Cheekbones emerge from thin air; full, pouty, red lips adorn smiles; eyelids turn into a canvas of shimmery depth; their skin becomes a dewy, golden landscape.

I think it’s easy to think of these young ladies as airheads, publicizing their vanity for the world ten minutes at a time. But I, for one, am so humbled by them. They break down the idea that perfection greets certain people in the morning. They wipe their faces clean, exposing the blank canvas. Every single technique is voiced over in obsessive detail, letting virtually anyone follow along.

Even better, the “imperfections” in the before shots are called out for what they are: reality. For those struggling with acne, there are hoards of videos of young women showing their own skin’s turmoil to literally thousands of viewers. And as someone who has had her fair share (well, it’s never fair, is it) of skin issues, I just think: if that’s not humbling, if that’s not courage, if that’s not something we should all bow down and raise our hands to in a time when the only faces you see are those that have been airbrushed or already guised in a thin (or excessively thick) layer of concealer, I don’t know what is.

So this led me to a cheesy albeit vital conclusion. Every blank canvas is different, but every blank canvas is beautiful. No matter what you do with your canvas, holy bejeezus, you’re beautiful. Whether makeup is a minimalist endeavour, or a full expedition across the seven seas, the face that awaits you on both sides is beautiful.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a mantra most of us are familiar with. Sure, we’ve heard it in magazines, and corny blog posts (*cough* yay me *cough*), but very few are blessed with toting around this message in their head all day. After all, how we feel about the canvas we’ve been given can change daily, or by the minute. Sometimes I look in the mirror with no makeup on and offer myself a proud salute, but other times I shrink back, or avoid meeting my eyes at all costs. But guess what? That happens with or without makeup. Makeup doesn’t solve self-esteem issues or confidence. In some ways, it can exacerbate low self-esteem.

One easy example is when you forgo eyeliner and someone swoops in and offers their “sympathies”: Wow, you look so tired today! Get much sleep? In fact, I had a beauty of nine hours, but I’ll go along with you anyway due to your genuinely pained expression and say, Oh, man, yeah, brutal night *fake yawn blended with the fakest of fake laughs*. In this case, makeup kind of sucks. But there are other times, perhaps when you applied a touch of creamy foundation with some blush, and someone says, Wow, your skin is looking radiant! And you proceed to bat your lashes and say aw shucks, the cloud beneath your footsteps remaining there all day. That’s kind of magic.

But here’s the thing. Makeup alone is not a magic trick. When you have nothing on, and someone says you look *cringe* “really tired”, a dose of confidence can rid that remark of condescension and you can instead look at it from a good humoured perspective. A joke between you, yourself, and your lack of makeup. On the other hand, if you receive a compliment for your radiant skin and low self-esteem snarls, It’s just because you have makeup on, that feeling of walking on cloud nine will likely dissipate.

Makeup doesn’t work magic on its own. Makeup works magic with you. In fact, it needs you. Because guess what? Makeup needs that beautiful face of yours to do any magic at all. Makeup can put a smile on your face, give you an extra kick in your step, or make you feel like you would be one of those people who didn’t look ridiculous doing a “sexy meow/growl.” That all feels a little magical. But when someone compliments you, they’re complimenting you, not your makeup. Bobbi Brown Foundation isn’t the subject here. You are. Bobbi Brown Foundation on its own is just a puddle of cream. You, though, you’re the masterpiece people want to see.

Now I know you’re probably tired of me jabbering on about how we’re all beautiful inside and out, with or without makeup (we all have to hear it!), but I thought this bad-ass painter, Alexa Meade, was kind of unreally perfect for what we’re talking about. Alexa takes real people as her canvas. Real people. She then picks up her magic paintbrushes and drapes them in colours, shadows, light, and texture so as to transform three dimensional humans and environments into two dimensional paintings.

The results are nothing short of holy shit. 

So really, Alexa demonstrates the irony of our perception of art. Art evokes feelings, sensations, desires, and that unnamed sense of something novel stirring in our stomachs and chests. We look to art for a reaction, for a connection with something or someone beyond our grasp. Yet, aren’t we doing the same when we look to each other? Our interactions with someone are really with the image they have shaped of themselves over time, the image they feel comfortable with the world seeing.

When Alexa paints onto her human being canvases, we begin to look at them as the art projects they really are. The woman we crossed on the street is just a fleeting image of who she really is. Some of our perception of her is coloured by our own experiences, our own random mood at that moment, but some of our perception is shaped by the very way in which she has presented herself to us. And in a beautiful yet somewhat heartbreaking way, the humanity of Meade’s subjects, that truth lying open on the blank canvas beneath the layers of paint, is more exposed than ever before. Meade’s work demands a reevaluation of how we perceive others and, ultimately, how we judge others.

After all, isn’t everyone just a work-in-progress offering themselves to the world as though they’re a finished product?

invite me over: Sherlock meets Waldo

 

To some, having a desk at the end of their bed might look like a pair of handcuffs. And I totally get that. We all want to wake up and pretend, just for a brief, glorious moment in time, that our lives really do just consist of solo coffee dates, lengthy bubble baths, and perhaps, if we’re feeling particularly motivated, matinee movies.

But if we must work, then we must do what we love (or so everybody likes to muse as though they’re telling you this information for the first time). And the fella that lives here? He’s an art expert, world traveller, and interior designer. Meet Rodman Primack. Or meet the man that leads the life we all wish we had.

Below, a peak at his enviably cultured apartment in NYC, courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Yes, we’ve seen that gnome before… this week’s Wednesday Feast was teasing you and you didn’t even know it. 😉

It’s hard to put your finger on just where in the world his style is coming from. I see Spain, Morocco, France, Belgium, even the otherworldly (I’m looking at you, gnome boy). Yet everything comes together with such clarity. His galleries are a masterfully curated example of this, featuring each corner of the world all at the same time so that we witness one fantastical scene of cultural diversity.

Primack’s playfulness with proportions seems to come naturally to him, too. Where we might expect smaller accents of color, we see paintings, plants, and light fixtures dominating the scene, unabashedly testing our limits.

The result, of course, is an apartment that sacrifices our expectations for relentlessly eclectic fun. Sherlock-meets-Waldo kind of fun. And what’s more fun than that combo?

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend! Does anyone have any family/solo traditions for celebration? I’m really curious because sometimes they’re straight up hilarious/ I would like to live vicariously through you. For the past three years, Easter has been something of a semi-sweet occasion for me. On the one hand, I have the whole house to myself as my roomies flee to their respective homes, and on the other, I just think about how awesome it would be to have my seat back at home, a huge chicken and mashed potatoes filling my plate as my eyes grow four times their normal size in anticipation of eating.

Regardless, everyone seems particularly chipper during Easter weekend. Tulips, pastel colors, maybe the appearance of sun dresses if the weather permits – Easter really just doubles as one big celebration of spring, baby!

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wednesday feast 2.0

Happy wednesday, folks! If your week isn’t going the way you want it to, press the reset button. Wake up on the other side of the bed. Drink mint tea with lemon & honey instead of coffee. Dab on some red lips. Sprint for two blocks to feel like superwoman. Do a jig to your guilty pleasure on YouTube and then tackle the scariest thing on your to-do list, even if it’s just thinking about it.

Or, enjoy some mid-week inspiration with your wednesday feast.

*dezignnn*

Gnome, gnome, gnome, gnome, I repeat, gnome in the house

This space is so deliciously lived in. And I love that, because it’s so rare to see.

My instagram feed is stuffed with photos of perfectly curated lives. I trick myself into thinking that this is a reality, and, on some days, that’s nice! But on others, I need a dose of reality that looks more close to home.

I’m not saying this European sun-kissed bathroom looks anything like my reality (maybe it will one day), but it looks like an honest depiction of someone else’s. And that, my friends, is as soothing as that deep, sumptuous bath.

studded hearts/what should i eat for breakfast today/pinterest/the design files/honestly wtf/pinterest

*fashunnn*

zara/whowhatwear/unknown/the sartorialist/madewell

*podcast*

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If you are ever in need of girlfriend chats on the way to class, work, coffee, breakfast, ballroom dancing, get on this podcastI want to be friends with the hosts so bad – they are equal parts hilarious, witty, and feminist. Friend crushing hard.

“Multiple glasses of wine, chatting both confidence and thigh gaps plus menstruation in space. Where have you been all my life, Call Your Girlfriend?” –Holly Gordon (It’s true. The pilot episode features lotsa wine n’ giggles.)

*dessert*

Airbnb is the new food gawker. Okay, so, up front, not at all. But it is safe to say that airbnb is the foodgawker for interior design & travel. I recently found this Victorian gem in San Francisco and now fully plan on trying my hand at the aristocratic life (read: Downton Abbey life) some time.

 *receipt treat*

This illustration brought to you by a mysterious Asian pinterest board-like platform that is only for drawings and illustrations like this! Oh what you can find on internet travels.

*m

wednesday feast

Some people might call Wednesday the mid-week slump. I call it the mid-week pick-me-up. By Wednesday, the weekend’s plans are filling themselves in (even if that looks like no plans whatsoever, which is a bonus), I only have two snooze buttons left, and I’m comfortably situated in whatever chaos the week held.

But… it’s still Wednesday.

That’s why I’ve officially started wednesday feastsIt’s a multi-course meal of inspiration to start your day off with a pick-me-up. You start off with five-ish delightful samples of interior design that are leaving me drooling (not on your plate, don’t worry), followed by two-ish slices of fashion and a podcast to feed your brain.

Then dessert! Which can be anything, but generally a taste of another blog around the internet. And let’s be honest, we always want more dessert, so just click on the blog to keep on indulging.

And of course, a treat receipt in the form of an illustration.

Bon appétit!

*dezignnn*

living room

Funky and modern, yet oh-so-cozy.

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*fashunnnn*

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*podcast*

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NPR Invisibilia is the best. Alice and Lulu, quite simply, explore the invisible forces that shape our lives. Okay so perhaps not so simply but the way they deliver these podcasts is unlike any podcast out there – you feel like you’re right there, having a super deep but funny conversation with old friends.

So get ready for a dose of the existential.

I recommend The Power of Categories to get you started, which digs into the nature of categories and our absolute and utter dependence on them to navigate this world.

*dessert!*

The Socialite Family recently featured Charlotte & Hugo, a pair of lovers/interior architects/designers. Don’t their names alone already sound unfairly cool? But just wait until you start scrolling. Then tell me about unfair. I mean, just look at Charlotte reclining in that chair, so minx-like, and Hugo striking a pose so nonchalant you could’ve sworn you really did just interrupt them modeling.

Charlotte & Hugo’s home needs no introduction though. After all, this is the first home I’ve seen in a while that makes me want to inappropriately move in with a couple I don’t know just to be like, hey, I’m cool too. And I know I won’t be alone on that one.

The Socialite Family has a knack for tapping into the lives of the coolest families on the globe. Check out the crazy eclectic abode of Mathilde, Jerome, and their little cutie Charlotte here, as an easy example. (Although I think I’d be lying if I said these French names didn’t add a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to their home, too.)

*treat receipt*

*m

a little tour

chezadriennetitle Everybody has that friend who defies all previously held notions of “effortlessly cool.” You know, the one who wakes up in the morning, picks out any of the perfectly classic numbers hanging in her closet and spends a little under five minutes preparing her face for the world. Everything just clicks. They just seem to get things.  For me, that friend is Adrienne, the bold-browed beauty smiling coyly below. We’ve been best friends going on a decade, which is half of my life thus far (winning at friendship, to put it bluntly), and she only embodies this stereotype more and more with each year. Should I be resentful? Hell, no, because she imparts her wisdom and unbridled inspiration on me every time I see her. This past weekend, though, my whole idea of my best friend just catapulted out of an ornate ceiling with stringed lights draped from an archway. In short, I visited her house and quickly died, went to the heaven reserved for vintage wares, crisp white walls, fireplaces-in-bedrooms, and historic architecture, and then came back to go for waffles. Her apartment almost brought tears to my eyes. So what kind of girl would I be if I didn’t share with you a home so perfect that I almost cried? Not an effortlessly cool one, let’s say that. chezadrienne

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An Etsy find from her sister, this clock was made out of recycled wood that has been stained and repurposed. This piece singlehandedly defines the room’s vibe for me. Hung just above a perfectly proper fireplace, Adrienne’s aesthetic of funky vibes mingling with opulence is the perfect greeting into her home.
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On asking why she chooses to have her (sweet n’ stylish) clothes on display: “It was originally something I bought out of necessity, but I ended up loving the way it brought colour and texture to the space; so much of what I gravitate toward is grey and boring, so having it all exposed forces me to have a little life in my room. It also makes what I own so visible – not just in the literal way – it makes me realize how much I have. It’s terrible how easily I can get caught up in feeling like I need to have new and trendy things (boo consumerism), but having it all on display is such a strong reminder not to be wasteful.”
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On what her favourite part of her room is: “I think my favourite part has to be the archway. As much as arches typically add ornate detail to a room, this one is actually pretty tacky and silly, and I love it. The original wood design was apparently so delicate that it just sort of fell apart with age, so the details were all redone in the 80s – hence the weird and silly retro spheres..”
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Galleries are so daunting to me, I don’t know why, mostly because I’m under the impression that you need real ART. Adrienne scored some vintage frames and record covers and suddenly I am rethinking my whole conception of what makes a “good” gallery. Personally, bringing in a level of intimacy and personality by displaying bits and pieces of your life – be it photos or album covers you’ve always had lying around – is much more interesting.
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“The vast majority of the items in the room are actually heirlooms and trinkets from the Granny, who passed away a few years ago. She was an incredible world traveller and collected a huge array of unique items over the years. When she died, she left all of them to my sister and I. We were all very close,and used to go over to her apartment and play dress-up with all of her costume jewels, or have fake tea parties with her ridiculously fancy silver and crystal tea sets (which I’m still not sure why she ever let us touch).”
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“The pearls, the tray, the lantern, and nearly all of the little things on the shelves belonged to her. I love having them around. It’s really comforting to come home and see little reminders of people you loved, especially in your own room. It really makes it feel like a sanctuary.”

IMG_8646 IMG_8614IMG_8641IMG_8650   Thank you, Adrienne, for letting me share your beautiful home with the world! It’s almost as cool as you are. (Yay, cheese!) Signing off, *m

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. 😉

*m

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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Lingering upon Alice Gao’s creativity

Today, I thank the world for photography. Correction, Alice Gao. Because, unfortunately, under the realm of photography is the likes of selfies, and so I can’t say I thank the whole world.

But I’m just gonna come clean and say it – selfies are such a gift. Come on, they’re super liberating. You have all the power in the world to be as pleased as you like with your photo, rather than having your face’s fate quivering in the hands of that stranger at the party who snapped you and a friend out of the blue, leaving you like a couple of deer in headlights with excessive makeup on. (What an image. I enjoy it.)

So on second thought, yes, I thank the world for photography and selfies.

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Alice Gao, though, really must be the reigning queen of this world. Or at least for me, on this day, and since I’ve found her. For example, I can’t decide whether or not I’d like to hang the finished painting alone or the photo itself of the painting still dripping from the creative process. As in, with the palette still fresh and the bottles looking as if they have given every last drop of their creative juices to the canvas at hand. And the strips of moody navy, slowly peaking towards the colour the artist was looking for. She makes her photo a piece of art, when it is itself featuring a piece of art. Now that’s ingenuity.

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And here, although these flowers look as though they’re fit for a palace or among tight circles serving high tea, the griminess of the sink and the crossing strips of metal on the window serve as a humble stage for the royally strewn stems.

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Caught mid-packaging, I see every bit of the efforts we take in creating something beautiful from head to toe for a recipient we care about. Cut string, labels messied about from choosing just the right one, stamps even. It’s as if Gao is floating in and out of our lives and pauses these moments in the most unexpected lights.

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Ah. This I adore. The composition has allowed for an immense dark sky to hover over the vibrancy of the flowers, the normalcy of morning tea. But this colour to me is not laden with grief or gloom, but blanketing comfort, lifted just enough so that we can see the light she has captured.

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I almost feel as though I’m viewing more so a portrait of a portrait than a scene of an apartment. The framing of this portrait, however asymmetrical, focuses the lady staring right back at us. The to-die-for gold and marble end table elevates her to a point of eye-level, as if we’re about to enter into an enlightening conversation with the woman before us (who I have no doubt has some bad-ass stories to tell).

ps. white brick wall alert. yes, i am swooning.

And oh my golly gee willickers, I just found her blog, Lingered Uponand I did a helluva lot more than just linger. I think I just moved in unannounced. Here’s a sneak peek of her posts, slash justification of my rudeness:

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Just everything about this outfit makes me feel like a savvy, stylin’, successful photographer.

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And just everything about this makes me want to just be her for a day. Those boots. That espresso. That style.

*m