Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't the best of them bleed it out

The first time that I saw Alanis Morissette perform live in concert was back in 1995. I can remember at that time being quite taken by the drummer behind her. An electrical fan sat beside the drumkit, blowing his blonde locks around like crazy as he played. This man, Taylor Hawkins, had an energy and a passion about him that I was drawn to. A crush was born immediately. I can remember watching the Jagged Little Pill Tour video over and over again. That funny, talented drummer was just so adorable.
I couldn't have imagined then that thirteen years later, I would be watching Taylor play with one of the most dynamic rock bands of my time.

Fast forward to last night's Foo Fighters concert at the Pacific Coliseum. I've been a fan of these boys from the beginning, despite not ever having seen them play live. Their hilariously artistic videos, quirky personalities and sweet sounds have been rocking my world for years. I certainly had some high hopes for the evening. Let me start by saying that if you were not a Foo fan going into the show, you sure as hell are now. It completely blew my expectations out of the water. To say that live is where their songs become more than mere "hits," would be an understatement. The show was, in a word: incredible.

Dave Grohl is absolutely brilliant. He went from drummer in what is considered one of the most influential bands in history, to guitarist and creative force behind a phenomenally successful power group. Grohl has done a masterful job for himself and his quaint four piece outfit. Their impassioned live performances make the Foo Fighters one of the most amazing acts on today's music scene. It is clear that Dave Grohl leads his band with passion, holding nothing back, pulling out all the stops, giving all there is to give, pick your show biz cliche. The disarming goofiness that Grohl exhibits in interviews and on stage banter sessions belies his passion as a musician. A ceaseless dervish of energy on stage, he led his mates through each song with ferocity and commitment last night. The standing ovation that seemed to go on forever part way through the show quite literally sent shivers down my spine.

It was a perfect show and a perfect night. Plus, Taylor is still total babe. In the words of the lovely Keira-Anne, "I want to hump that man 12 ways to Sunday."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Naked Friday

I decided that sitting in a lonely apartment all night would do me no good in the state that I was in. So instead, I opted to join a group of ladies who were planning to attend an art show being held at Chapel Arts. Located in the downtown east side of Vancouver at 304 Dunlevy, Chapel Arts is one of the city's most unique galleries/venues. A former chapel and funeral home in the Art Deco style, it has been transformed into an exquisite space for events. The elegant interior boasts grand parlours, galleries and a main room featuring a performance stage.

The show that we went to last night is called NUDE: a collaborative look at the figurative process. It was the opening night of the exhibit, which runs through until the end of April. A friend of a friend was actually one of the models who posed for a painting featured in the show. Being that she hadn't seen the painting of herself yet, it was quite exciting for her to see the finished product for the first time. There were so many incredible creations on display. We wandered around and examined the pieces, looking closely at what materials were used to create each masterpiece.

I have talked at length on this blog about my own issues with body image and the struggle to feel content, or even comfortable with my body. There is a great power in being uninhibited enough to shed your clothes and allow yourself to be painted, or photographed. I was reminded last night that every woman's body is different and beautiful in its own way. It was refreshing to see these paintings of real women-flaws and all. To see full breasts, dimpling and puckered flesh represented in this way is a departure from the photoshopped images that I am used to being bombarded with every time I open a magazine.

I always enjoy attending events like this, mostly because I find them inspiring. I also usually dig the crowd. Everyone seems quirky and interesting. If there's one thing that I've realized about myself, it's that I love the quirky ones the most. Shando and I have resolved to make it a point to attend more culturally rich events and participate in creative activities on a regular basis. Last week, we rounded up the troops and checked out the Interior Design Show. Up next? Who knows. I think one of the most important contributors to success and happiness is the ability to see qualities in others that make you feel good and make you want to do better, work hard and have the courage to try new things. Where do you find inspiration? That's the best part... it's everywhere! The question is, are you open to being inspired? Being open to inspiration is an attitude that you take on when you start your day. This an approach that I am consciously trying to apply to my life. Inspiration is everywhere when you take the time to look.

Friday, March 28, 2008

You got your troubles, I got mine, on a clear day I can read your mind


Shando e-mailed this photo to me at work yesterday and I love it. Rilo Kiley has some damn good style. Jenny Lewis may just be the cutest little thing ever. It's true, our desks are merely across the office from one another, but Shando and I tend to e-mail, buzz and visit one another several times throughout the workday when we're both in the building. Working with one of your best friends is pretty fantastic. When I'm feeling low, totally grumpy, completely unproductive or when ADD kicks into high gear, I can always count on Shando to make me smile, give me a jump start in the motivation department or just distract me for a little while from the mundane tasks that await.

I've been feeling emotional today-not only am I under the weather with a head cold that will just not beat it, I got some news last night about a close relative who is not well. It's shaken me up, to say the least. This evening I downloaded a ton of Rilo Kiley, noshed on take out sushi for one, drank several pots of tea and I am now contemplating joining Shando and company for an art show in a few hours. I should go. I really should.

As I gear up for my next selling season, I know that the month of April is going to be absolutely insane. At least this time around, I know what to expect (for the most part). Oddly, I have a sense of peace and clarity surrounding me. It's a feeling I'm not sure I've ever felt in my life. I'm excited about the changes I've made toward living the life I've always dreamed of living. What I know now is how important it is to be the most "you" that you can be. I discovered that it's essential to let people leave their mark on you, even if it scars. As I go through life, I find myself more and more attracted to people who believe that anything is possible, because it is...I like the upside down, open minded, sideways looking people...the ones who draw clouds on windows. I have collected a lovely group of these types of people in my life. These are the people who inspire me. Some things will never make sense. I spent far too long looking for perfection, only to realize that all I really need is just a little bit of balance.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Artists, Activists, Believers- Quiksilver women

How does a brand continue to serve its most passionate core customers and still expand into new markets? It seems to be quite a challenge in today's competitive marketplace; however, it looks like Quiksilver may have found an answer. The company has launched a new 20-something women's clothing line that is all about lifestyle but not directly linked to what has been perceived as the brand's main reason for being- surfing. The collection will be designed for the edgy, independent young woman whose creative approach to fashion appears effortless. Having had a sneak peak at the Fall 08 Collection a few months ago, I can tell you that the clothes are absolutely beautiful. Roxy is all grown up and she's got some serious style.

As part of the introduction of this new line, Quiksilver has chosen six independent and creative young women to be Visionaries in residence at Quiksilver's siteLA, a communal work and exhibition space in Los Angeles, California. The program is a year-long engagement for women working in and across creative cultural fields. Like the Quik sponsored athletes, their personal passions echo the Quiksilver spirit: progressive, creative and confident. Although they have been selected for their independent projects, they share a workspace and spend time creating public programs and hosting special events. These women will benefit from Quiksilver's vast network of resources and will have access to tangible and promotional assistance, as well as mentors who will help them pursue their passions and expose their personal projects. Instead of waves, these babes are riding the currents of art and activism to make creative changes to their communities.

A lucky few will be able to catch a glimpse of the collection next week at the fashion show being held in Vancouver as part of BC Fashion Week. Stay tuned. More details to come.

To get a feel for the vibe of this amazing new line, please check out this video courtesy of YouTube:

I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is giving the peace sign

Photo: Don Decoud on Flickr

There is too much to write about and too much in my head. It's kept me from writing anything at all for the last few days. Sometimes it's hard to get it down and out. I told my best friend that I am happier than I have been in a long time and it's true, though I'm not exactly sure might just be the feeling of really living. "It's all happening!"

There are these phosphorescent eyes that I keep looking into. Is that the right word to use? Phosphorescent? I think so- the light wavelengths and all that. I can see right through them and they scare me. They make me feel comfortable, and weak, and smart, and heard. I'm enjoying that, for once. Something is missing (or just misplaced) but I am happy. I can't wait for a slow month to let my life catch up again. The slow months are fewer and father between now. In these busy times, it becomes more and more important for me to take care of myself and keep myself grounded.

Some of the best suggestions come from fellow bloggers, I tell you. Keira and Phaedra have made what sounds like a phenomenal discovery: Radha Yoga and Eatery on Main Street. I followed the link from Keira's entry and was delighted to read that they even have classes that combine yoga and writing, to which you bring your journal along. That sounds like absolute perfection to me. I can't wait to check it out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Everywhere you look...

I haven't talked fashion here much lately, and being that I'm fresh from viewing the upcoming styles for next winter, I feel inspired. Today, I'd like to highlight a little lady who I think has exquisite personal style: Ashley Olsen (no eye rolling, please). As a former intern to one of my favourite designers, ZacPosen, it is obvious that this budding fashionista takes her cues from the best. I happen to think that Ashley is absolutely adorable and although the twins have been known to go overboard at times, I think she almost always looks cute. Admired for founding the luxury brand The Row, Ashley Olsen is a designer, entrepreneur, actress and style icon, not to mention one of the most influential young women in the fashion and entertainment industries. The Row, launched in 2006, was quickly picked up by high end retailers globally. Following on the heels of its success, Ashley ventured with her sister Mary-Kate into the contemporary market with the Elizabeth and James brand. Ashley was recently named "Fashion's New It Girl" by Harper's Bazaar.

The twins are currently writing a coffee table book together called Influence that will feature artists and fashion designers who have inspired them, as well as exclusive photographs and never-before-seen materials.

Oh, and despite someone's thoughts about the return of skinny jeans, I happen to like them- and Ashley certainly knows how to wear 'em. They've become a trademark for her, along with sunglasses, button up shirts, big scarves, designer bags, fun footwear and huge Starbucks coffee cups.

I suppose it makes sense that my "style idols" are women whose outfits I am envious of on a regular basis, whose clothes I would wear myself. That being said, Ashley Olsen fits into that category like a glove.

**Photos are not property of Work In Progress. All images in this post have been taken from various websites and stockpiled in the "style" archives over the years. If your photo has not been credited and you would like it to be, please e-mail me.**

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy to be back at sea level

The mountains of Colorado are among the most beautiful parts of the United States. I have been looking forward to my trip to Keystone this week for what seemed like ever. When I received an altitude sickness warning via e-mail before we left town, I was all,"pshaaw, whatever, like that will affect me." Holy shit, was I ever wrong. Altitude sickness (also known as Acute mountain sickness) is a condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure at high altitudes and reduced partial pressure of oxygen. I certainly had no idea how much it could affect a person. Just to put things into perspective- Denver, Colorado (where we flew in to) is at the same altitude as the highest peak of Whistler. We drove 2 hours up to get to Keystone, which is at an elevation of well above 8000 feet.

Upon arrival, we all noticed that it was harder to breathe. A short walk up even a couple of stairs resulted in a pounding heart, and left us completely exhausted and out of breath. Breathing in general was faster and deeper. I could also feel my head pounding, and a pressure behind my eyes, but figured it was because my travel day had begun at 4am and must just be tired. The guys, who had arrived a day earlier spent their first night vomiting like crazy. They had chalked it up to the hamburgers they'd eaten for dinner being bad...not so, it seems. Rather, it was the result of altitude sickness.

I felt alright going into dinner, a little headachey but no big deal. As the food arrived at the table, my stomach started to flip a little bit. Two bites into my steak, I had lost my appetite completely. I couldn't eat another bite. My face went from ghost white to green, green, green. I had to excuse myself from the table. After "losing my cookies" so to speak, in the bathroom at the restaurant, I went back to the condo and spent the remainder of the evening violently ill, cuddled up with the toilet and near tears. A couple of chewable gravols helped me fall asleep, only to wake up just about every hour on the hour until it was time to rise and shine at 6am. There was no shining, that's for sure. All of us were pretty out of commission and totally blah for the next two days. Marcus bought a bottle of oxygen, which many of us took turns with. I'm not sure it did much to help anything, but it made us think we felt better for a minute.

Common symptoms of Altitude sickness are:
It's insane. Seriously. I had no idea. I can tell you that honest to God, all of us experienced every one of those symptoms, some of us to a worse degree than others. As beautiful a place as it is (the resort was beyond amazing with a huge ice rink for skating on in the middle and a killer spa) and as fabulous as the group I was with was...I must admit to being quite happy to be back in my apartment, comfortably at sea level this afternoon. The trip, on the whole, was still super fun despite the fact that we all felt like hell. But I'll tell you right now, I'll take riding in Whistler over Keystone any day of the week.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Streets are filled with broken hearts

My mind is back and forth these hours, days, this week-back and forth between lightheadedness, laughter, hunger, too much you want to say so you say nothing at all. Back and forth between needs, wants, eyes and hips- memories and now, now, now.

This escape is coming at exactly the right time for so many reasons.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's a tempest in a teapot

I've had such a great mindless weekend. New dress, new tights. We wandered with silly feet down cobbled streets, clinking with ice in our cups. We giggled senselessly, we huddled close, forgetting our state of mind. We skipped and tripped and fell behind...we had so much fun. I have the best friends and family that a girl could ask for; that I am sure of.

Still, tonight my mind spins. And it's too old for spinning. I'm too old for caring this much and being too stupid to make it ok.

-Jeff Tweedy said:

"These solitudes exist so far from each other in this sea of white noise and information. And the beautiful thing is they keep transmitting to each other in the hope that somebody is going to find them. And the beauty is that people still do, still find some meaning in another person, in a relationship, find some way to communicate, even though, more often than not it's in a way that's not what they intended. Because some communication is better than giving up or not communicating at all."

I'm not exactly sure why I like that so much. Maybe it's just Jeff Tweedy. I guess I get it, in my own way...and it helps me for now.

Living The Fabulous Life?

In case you haven't already heard, much to the dismay of those of us who were greatly anticipating it, The Fabulous Life ended up being a complete bust...unless you think waiting in line with 500+ people for the one girl at the door to check your id is fabulous, that is. It turned out that the so-called "red carpet" was more of a little, red area mat. The entire scene felt like a gong show. I even got elbowed in the head by some girl who was putting on a serious full court press in an attempt to get her hands on a cupcake. There's nothing fabulous about that. The fashion show itself was difficult to see, as they didn't have a raised catwalk, and the commentating was muddled and difficult to hear. I have attended many events of this nature over the years and this was by far the most poorly organized one I've ever been to. I was happy that I got a chance to chat with Keira and Rebecca-who are both just delightful. They, of course, shared my sentiments with regards to the mayhem that was The Fabulous Life. Keira was kind enough to offer some words of advice for the organizers in her entry How Not To Hold A Fashion Show.
With Vancouver Fashion Week coming up next month from April 17-20, I am looking forward to having the opportunity to attend some well put together fashion shows featuring some of Vancouver's hottest up and coming designers.

Last night was my beautiful friend Shawna's birthday party and another chance to get all dolled up. After a pre-get together at her apartment (including wine and pretty girls running around in their underpants, trying to decide on hot outfits), we gathered at the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown where we met up with forty of Shawna's closest friends. We noshed on yummy cheese, small-batch cured meats, and drank copious amounts of pinot noir. It was an utterly perfect evening at a sensationally cool eatery in a dark, cobblestone alley. If you haven't checked this place out, you ought to. Beautiful dinners of connection, of interaction... candles and bottles of wine. It just doesn't get much better than that. Today I would like to wish a very happy birthday to one of the coolest people I've ever met. Happy Birthday Shawna!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Calling all fashionistas...

On Friday evening, I will be joined by a group of the loveliest ladies I know on the red carpet for The Fabulous Life fashion show at The Bay Vancouver. The Style Spy crew is presenting this stylish event, which promises to be a super fun, girly night plus a chance to win some seriously awesome swag. The show will feature designs from Kensie, Vero Moda, Rebecca Beeson, Bench, Kersh, Perameter, Full Circle, Coco & Tashi, Tavan & Mitto, Guess, Chulo Pony, Lady Dutch, Ben Sherman and more. I was stoked to find out that two of my favourite fabulous bloggers will also be in attendance and of course, I can't wait to meet them. For complete event details, click here.

She wasn't a fool that glittering girl

Is it possible to feel both pure sadness and pure happiness at the same time? To feel like some strung out whore on the street grasping at her strands of hair, and still take a polaroid that resembles something off a Paris runway?
Indecisive. Afraid to be vulnerable. So many insecurities I could pile them into a bag and sling it over my shoulder, out of reach. Then I take a look in the mirror, it is finally clear and flawless like it always should have been. Piles of photographs and a nectar laugh. Running wild, painting the town red. I thought I hoped we could always keep this - lock it up in a locket that I'd hang from my neck. I'd sit at a distance and say it as loud as I could but you'd never hear it. I can not return to an empty future of memories. Bittersweet. Dreamlike and endless. Memories that I will never wish away and a state where I could be asleep. Never awake. How I hope that everything I have dropped is worth this cool pebble that fits so well in the palm of my hand.
Definitely time for some fresh air.


Oh, give me a reason to be beautiful

I'm not having a good night. I feel fat and hideous. What I would give to feel content for longer than a minute... I hate to admit that I am affected by it. There are so many important things to worry about in the world and this is hardly one of them. I am well aware of that. I am well aware of the hypocrisy. I also know that being bombarded with images of so-called perfection on a daily basis has a way of making a girl feel like she should be thinner. Perhaps comparison is inevitable? I can't seem to control my mind. As much as I know that the woman I am is not defined by what I look like, I'm not going to lie, I worry. Man, I have big boobs, my arms are a little chubby, I don't have 5 inches between my thighs, and my stomach isn't immune to bloating. My awareness of these facts makes my body a backdrop for my everyday life. My stomach, back, butt and hair are in my peripheral vision, not my sole focus, but definitely tickling at my consciousness. I try to remind myself that healthy girls don't envy other women's small frames or sunken cheeks. They don't feel guilty for not being as thin, or muscular as a magazine clipping. But here I am, insecurity-laden, nervous and wishing that I could become Miss Skin 'N Bones. Here I am, flipping through Victoria's Secret catalogues wishing that I could order the bodies instead of the clothes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Raves of the day

  • Burgoo Bistro on Lonsdale in North Vancouver has quickly become one of my favourite spots. Whether meeting friends for lunch during the week, enjoying a tasty brunch on the weekend or hooking up for appys or dinner and drinks in the evening, Burgoo has a warm, friendly atmosphere and a menu that's just exquisite. It features "comfort food" from around the world. The brie fondue is exceptional- made with roast garlic, honey, thyme and white wine served with red grapes, cut apple, grape tomatoes and crusty bread. Make sure you stop by on a Sunday evening to enjoy the live music. For you winos (myself included), a satisfying wine list of economical picks with a pleasant Fossi Rosso from Italy or the Hester Creek Pinot Blanc from B.C. Plus, the sangria is absolutely divine. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, I highly recommend the chocolate banana bread pudding, which is topped with vanilla ice cream in a big, mocha cup. It is pure decadence.

  • I have to tell you all about my latest purchase: Cheap Monday skinny jeans. I kid you not, these are the best fitting skinnies out there. They don't bag out at the knees, feel like a second skin (they're as comfy as Lululemon pants) and are available in a whole array of washes. The best part? They won't leave you with an empty wallet or a maxed out credit card...unlike the True Religions of yesteryear, these babies will only set you back 70 smackers. I have a new favourite pair of jeans, people.

  • Everybody loves a sale, right? You must check out this new website with an online sample sale store called I Love Sample Sales Online. No need to wait in long lines for the fitting room. You won't even have to elbow the girls next to you or rifle through the racks. Now, sample shopping can be done in the comfort of your home and fantastic bargains are just a few mouse clicks away. Currently, you can get your hands on women's Diesel jeans in a variety of sizes at 60-75% off. The idea is that new brands will be brought into the store on a regular basis and sold for a limited time. There's even an option to sign up for regular e-mail notifications to both online and local sample sale events. That means, if there's any brand or store doing a sample sale in a city near you, you'll know about it first. I Love Sample Sales lists local sale events in 6 cities in the US and Canada: New York City, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Los Angeles. Click here to see which sales are coming up in the Vancouver area. Shopping is being made easier for us all the time. I think this is an absolutely awesome concept.