December 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
Happy New Year’s Eve! As Nick and I prepare to do our traditional New Year’s watching of “When Harry Met Sally” and make/share our lists of goals for 2012, it seems like a perfect time to look back on 2011. Even though this year seemed to fly by, so much happened!
– After the holidays, returned to work at Insound to find approximately a trillion online orders for the new CAKE album that had to be processed and sent out
– It snowed and snowed and snowed
– I spent most of my mornings holding on to the iron gate below so I wouldn’t slip and fall on my way to work
– Nick and I attended our first New York Knicks basketball game, which was a ton of fun.
– We celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple at – where else? – Peter Luger!
– I changed positions at Insound from White Label to Fulfillment.
– The Japan earthquake and tsunami bummed me out
– After a few weeks at my new job, I started to experience serious leg pain. Turns out, my hips and knee joints were inflamed from over use. My body was very unhappy with my new job, working in a warehouse and running around all day. I started to get hives and thought I had shingles!
– Needless to say, I gave my resignation. I need legs more than I need discounted records.
– I planned a trip home to Canada the weekend after my last day at Insound. I needed some family, friend, and Canada time, big time!
– Coincidentally while in Toronto, my old employer of 6+ years, The Agency Group, was throwing themselves a 15th anniversary party! I was invited and of course I went.
– An old coworker from The Agency Group who now manages bands got a hold of me and hired me to do design, web, and social media for one of her clients, USS!
– I also started doing a freelance wedding planning assistant job for an older couple from New York
– By April, my freelance work was really coming along and keeping me busy. I stopped applying for other jobs.
– Experienced the best “April Fool’s Joke” ever – Elvis Costello playing three of his best songs before The Strokes hit the stage at Madison Square Garden!
– Nick and I moved into a fantastic new apartment, just one block away from our old one. Check out our sweet “box blinds” above!
– I attended my first of many Creative Mornings in DUMBO
– Started doing Ashtanga yoga, instead of the usual Vinyasa, and fell in love with it. Have been practicing 2-4 times a week ever since.
– Celebrated Cinco De Mayo with Kate and some Mexican wrestlers
– Kate & I continue our fun by attending a Seychelle’s party. We drink free vodka, eat a free dinner, then later pay $25 for a glass of champagne, justifying we would have normally spent more than that anyway!
– My sister, Jenn, comes to visit for a weekend. I take her to Babycakes for gluten-free treats, Risotteria for gluten-free dinner, then help this hard-working mom get drunk for the first time in 7 years on red wine!
– I attend Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and fall in love with all the food stands
– June’s Creative Mornings helps get me a few other jobs when I meet Mark from BCS Interactive while waiting for the lecture to start. We nerd out on fonts, design, and then he and his partner Lou hire me to do Social Media for some of their accounts.
– Julia and Jay visit, Nick and I get to feed them all our favourite things. Of course, this includes another trip to Smorgasburg.
– Nick and I spend the 4th of July weekend in Lancaster, PA with Nick’s Dad
– Went to the beach in Long Island a few times and actually got a tan
– Nick and I fly up to Toronto, just in time to experience the hottest day ever! Luckily, we later go up to my parents’ cottage and swim in the river under the shady trees for relief.
– While in Toronto, we celebrate our first wedding anniversary
– Canada’s NDP Leader Jack Layton passes away
– Courtney and Jesse move away to Atlanta
– In preparation for mine & Nick’s trip to Europe at the end of August, I read an entire guide book on Paris and create the most-organized and complete trip itinerary of my life.
– Attend limited-time dumpster pool party “The Palms” in Long Island City with Olivia.
– I read most of The Girl Who Played With Fire on the plane, train, and our Parisian balcony and decide there’s something to this novel series.
– Nick goes on his yearly “man beach trip” with his best friends so I decide to treat myself to a bonus Canada visit
– Get to attend Julia and Jay’s engagement party while in Toronto
– I manage to get a ticket to one of the unattainable, sold out in 31 seconds Radiohead shows in New York. Go to the show solo, but end up chatting with Rolling Stone’s David Fricke.
– We mourn the death of Steve Jobs
– Julia and her two other bridesmaids visit, I finally have an excuse to go to Lovely Bridal shop and watch her try on dresses
– I luck out and get another trip to Toronto! My fourth of 2011. It’s a quick one though, just two days, but still enough time to see two shows, friends, and a family dinner at a steakhouse.
– While we’re in Toronto, New York gets a freak snowstorm! The snow melts in approximately one day.
– Nick and I finally try out the Grand Central Oyster Bar
– I take part in a Rainbow Parade
– We finally get to see Louis CK do standup live during the New York Comedy Festival
– We spend Thanksgiving at home, celebrating with a trip to Central Park, another Jim Jeffries comedy show, and turkey tacos for dinner
– I realize now that I work freelance from home, I have no Christmas parties to go to! Then I get invited to The Agency Group NY’s party. Phew!
– Nick and I go to Lancaster for an early Christmas to visit his Dad. We scope out the mall, find Simpsons DVDs on sale at a music store, and the biggest assortment of gummi candy ever!
– We go see the Rockefeller Center tree a mere 3 days before Christmas and it’s a mob scene!
– Fly up to Canada for Christmas with the family. Spend 4 out of 5 days living in a cabin in the woods and have 5 moose keep us from being able to get to the grocery store.
How was your 2011? What was the best part?
Feeling nostalgic? Check out:
December 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
Nick and I flew up to Canada to see my family for Christmas last Friday. We drove up to my parents’ cottage that evening and saw snow for the first time since that weird storm in October. It was lovely and oh so very Christmasy!
When we got inside, my parents showed us their tree (below). It actually volunteered to become a Christmas tree by falling on my Dad’s Jeep. It’s a little scraggly, but the pile of presents in front of it help.
Christmas Eve night was spent at Jenn and Ryan’s brand new house in Oshawa! It was great to see my sister and her family and they did a great job hosting their first Christmas dinner.
We all did our part to tire out the kids so they’d sleep that night, even though Ben is now old enough to know about Santa.
Ben loves to help clean!
Hello Kitty PJs and ice cream cone toys.
I think Jillian has a crush on my husband.
After the kids (and Jenn) went to bed that night, us adults exchanged presents and played Apples to Apples til after midnight. I love that game! Oh and the box above was part of my brother’s gift wrapping skills.
We got up before 7 am Christmas morning to watch the kids open their presents. Ben was up bright and early, but Jillian wanted to sleep in. Toys helped get her in the Christmas spirit.
The rest of the visit was spent at the cottage. It was nice to have some quiet time with my parents and Nick, but it was great that my Grandparents, Ryan & Suzanne, and Jenn & Jillian all came for visits too.
Lots of food was had, Canadian beer drank, and most importantly, family was around. What more do you need at Christmas? Oh, there were also multiple moose sightings up in Fenelon Falls! My American friends would have had all their stereotypical Canadian suspicions confirmed if they were with me.
How were your holidays? Did you travel?
December 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
I just got the chance to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo this afternoon, and after confirming that it was in fact as fantastic as it looked, I can post my last Best Of List for 2011! So here we go, in no official order, my favourite movies of 2011:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Fantastic, dark, intelligent and appropriately violent! David Fincher did a great job turning this book into a movie. He makes the lead character, Lisbeth Salander, more instantly likable than the books did and cut out some of the unnecessary meanderings of the novels. I hope he makes the other two. Until then, I’ll be waiting anxiously.
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
My favourite book-to-movie series every, the 10-year Harry Potter movie theatre reign came to a bittersweet end this year. Bittersweet because the last two movies were great, but now there’s no more to look forward to! However, I did take solace in knowing they were all made well and that I never lost interest. Thanks for everything, Harry!
Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen’s love letter to Paris in the form of a film was the final push Nick and I needed to decide to visit the city this summer. The movie tells a funny and unique story while at the same time showcasing legendary writers and featuring gorgeous Parisian landmarks. What’s not to like?
Funny, sad, and beautiful all at the same time.
Just plain funny.
Bill Cunningham: New York
A must-see documentary for any lover of New York or fashion. The 82 year-old New York Times fashion photographer leads a simple, yet full life specializing in candid and street photography and scoots around Manhattan on his bicycle.
What was your favourite movie this year? Did I miss anything great?
December 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
Nick and I head up to Canada for Christmas tomorrow so we had our own little Christmas tonight. It included a gift exchange (Nick did very well!), a trip to see the Rockefeller Centre Tree, and a dinner at one of our favourite neighbourhood spots.
Tomorrow we fly up to Canada and I’m sure we’ll be busy with family and nieces and nephews so you won’t be hearing from me again until next week. Unfortunately, this Canadian visit won’t include a trip to Toronto, but I hope everyone has a great holiday and I can’t wait to see everyone in the New Year!
December 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
Sure, Mad Men couldn’t get it together to have a 2011 season and I still haven’t gotten around to watching Game of Thrones, but here’s a list of the shows I did enjoy this past year.
30 Rock (NBC)
My favourite TV show of the past 4 years. Thank you, Tina Fey, for knowing exactly what I find funny and putting it out there for everyone to see, no matter how weird.
Bored To Death (HBO – cancelled)
Unfortunately, it was announced today that Bored To Death has been cancelled by HBO – what a bummer! In my opinion, Bored To Death showcased New York in a way no other show ever has. Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galafinakis, and Ted Danson are hilarious, but half the fun was spotting familiar locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Up All Night (NBC)
This brand new show takes cues from 30 Rock, but deals with a more relatable topic – parenthood. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett star as new parents in their mid-30s. Applegate’s character goes back to her job at a daytime talk show after maternity leave, leaving Arnett to be the stay-at-home-Dad. I am a huge fan of Arrested Development and Gob, but I have to say that Applegate is the real funny one here!
Breaking Bad (AMC)
I always forget how much I like this show. Even though it’s hard to watch at times and very dark, it’s so well-written that I find myself on the edge of my seat at the end of most episodes. Bryan Cranston is amazing and how about that season finale???
Louis CK was a big part of 2011 for Nick and I. We watched all his stand up specials, Youtube videos, Netflixed his old HBO show Lucky Louie, and saw him live at the NY Comedy Festival. Then we started watching Louie. With all his bizarre situations that seem mundane at first, crazy humour, and intelligent commentary on life, it was surprising this was as much of a success with the mainstream as it was. But thank goodness, because it should be coming back for another season. Bonus: he filmed the first season (shown in the clip above) in our apartment building!
The Walking Dead (AMC)
The first season started off great – zombies and gore everywhere! Then the second season started and I was unsure of where it was all going. After watching the mid-season finale, I understand it’s all a matter of good vs evil, right vs wrong and sometimes having morals is not easy. The clip above shows the intense last few minutes of the finale, and it is not for the squeamish!
Let’s lighten it up with Archer – the over-the-top ridonkulous cartoon on FX. Based extremely loosely on James Bond, Archer is a secret agent/spy who works for his mom, played by Jessica Walter, who’s personality is so loud that even the cartoon version of her looks like Lucille Bluth. Archer is full of hilarious voice actors and semi-offensive humour. Perfect.
Best old show I somehow never watched until now: Twin Peaks
Worst letdown/Twin Peaks rip-off of the year: The Killing
December 16, 2011 § 3 Comments
The year-end best of lists continue with My Favourite Books of 2011. Sure, most of these books didn’t come out this year, but these are the best books I’ve read the past 12 months.
In The Woods – Tana French
I almost picked up this book so many times, just because of the cover art, but didn’t actually read it until last month when someone from my favourite book store recommended it. Great Irish mystery, impressive character development, and not at all cheesy. Now I’m reading the second book in the set, The Likeness.
Bossypants – Tina Fey
Tina Fey is a comical genius. I mean, her sense of humour is perfect! While reading this book, I felt like I was hanging out with her and she was regaling me with the funny stories of her life. The only problem: it’s not long enough. Fingers crossed for a second book!
Just Kids – Patti Smith
Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” was my favorite Summer read. I’d sit on my balcony with a beer or glass of wine, and imagine what it would be like to come to New York with nothing in the ’60s then end up meeting and befriending some of the most influential musicians, artists, and poets in America at the time, possibly of all time. Now it’s becoming a movie!
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series – Stieg Larsson
Initially, I wrote off this novel series because I thought it was just silly airport reading. Now I know that sometimes books are popular for a reason! Although it takes a minute to get into the story and it’s often times hard to keep all the characters straight, it’s a heavy, entertaining, dark read. My favourite book was definitely the second, The Girl Who Played With Fire.
The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
Again, many book snobs would snicker at a Dan Brown novel, but this book was great. My husband’s a big fan and convinced me to read it after he enjoyed it. Great story, and you gotta love Robert Langdon (or as we all know we picture in our heads now, Tom Hanks).
What was your favourite read of 2011? I need some recommendations for 2012!
December 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
For those of you who don’t know, I love Dalaga. I do almost all my clothes shopping there, quite often while wearing clothes I’ve bought there in the past. They have the sweetest owners, sisters Michelle and Mary, and adorable, helpful staff members who also wear mostly Dalaga clothes so they can give you honest recommendations on the comfort of shoes, pants, and whatever else you might have questions about.
It’s about time this shop has been recognized on a nation-wide level. I just hope they don’t get too big for Greenpoint and move to Manhattan! ;)
Congratulations again, ladies!
See more photos of their What Not To Wear shoot here.
December 14, 2011 § 3 Comments
It just dawned on me that December is almost halfway over – that means it’s Year-End Review Time!
Let’s start this off with the most commonplace of all year-end best of lists: My Top Ten Records of 2011.
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream & Gish reissues
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if Smashing Pumpkins would ever make a contemporary Top 10 list of mine again. Then this happened. Great packaging and content and even a few songs I hadn’t already had in my collection! Thanks, Billy.
Radiohead – King Of Limbs
It took me a minute to get this album, but after seeing them live in September and discussing the record and its recording process with David Fricke (yes, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Fricke), I was hooked. Radiohead is one of the most forward-thinking bands out there today, and my favourite current band. We can only hope they keep trying new things! Bonus points for great packaging and custom made newspaper.
Adele – 21
The album that made absolutely everyone’s Top Records list this year, and for good reason. Adele is so talented that she actually makes you believe, when you’re singing along to this album, that you could pull off singing her songs. You are wrong, of course, but it’s fun anyways.
The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
A great, short, and sweet pop record. The Vaccines will forever remind me of being in London this summer for the Reading Festival (even though I missed their set).
James Blake – James Blake
Melancholy and beautiful.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
More beautiful moody songs from Bon Iver, plus a weird, 80’s synthesizer tune at the end.
Chad Van Gaalen – Diaper Island
A new album by my favourite Canadian weirdo who recently became a dad, hence the album title.
Future of the Left – Polymers are Forever
Super catchy, smart-ass lyrics from a reincarnation of one of my all-time favourites, McLusky.
Raveonettes – Raven in the Grave
Raveonettes make music that can be both calm and soothing and at the same time, a sound that is so rich, full, and loud, you can drown out crying babies on European trains with this album playing in your headphones. And really, what more can you ask for from your music?
Tune-Yards – W H O K I L L
The new record from one of my other favourite weirdos. This record continues where “Bird Brains” left off with heavily-layered instruments, yodeling, ukeleles, and impressive vocals.
What were your favourite records this year? Did I miss anything obviously amazing?
[Update:] Still want more? Check out my good friend Eli’s Top 100 Records of the Year (and then some). He always puts so much work into this list, and I take cues on what to listen to for the next few months!
December 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Toronto’s talented couple Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey posted their first video in their new series “Shit Girls Say”.
Originally a Twitter feed, the first video features Juliette Lewis, who was one of their more enthusiastic Twitter followers.
Do you find yourself saying one or more of these stereotypical girly phrases?
December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
The New York Times has a really great online feature right now, called Touch Of Evil. This video gallery of cinematic villainy consists of 13 very short films starring 13 of the year’s best actors, inspired by “nefarious icons”. All 13 of them are silent, set to very moody, fantastically classic horror film music.
I declare Brad Pitt and Gary Oldman’s pieces to be the creepiest, but the women are great as well. Watch them online here.