May 9, 2018 § 2 Comments
I’m back after a long blog hiatus because of two of my favourite things: Harry Potter and Henry.
This morning at breakfast, Henry asked me if Dumbledore was a “good guy”. He had been playing a LEGO Harry Potter video game at his friend’s house on the weekend. Also, at Henry’s age, he and his friends are very into “good guys” and “bad guys”. I said, yes, he’s a good guy and a great wizard in the books. Henry asked who the bad guy was, so I reminded him about Voldemort. (We haven’t read the books yet, but of course, I love to tell him anything he wants to know about Harry Potter whenever he asks ;) )
Henry’s next question was a good one and proof that kindergarteners can really make you think sometimes: why is Voldemort bad?
In school this year, Henry’s really paying attention to the other kids’ behaviours and trying some of it on for himself, experimenting with what behaviour gets what kind of reaction, but in the end, Nick and I like to remind him that we like Henry the best, and he’s back to himself shortly after. He tries to tell me that some kids are bad, but I like to ask him questions about why he thinks his classmate was acting that way. Were they sad or tired or grumpy? Maybe they were having a bad day. Can he remember a time he felt like that?
So I was faced with this question about Voldemort that I’ve never really stopped to think about before, despite being a huge Harry Potter fan. In a movie or book you just accept that the villains are the villains and the heroes are the heroes. But I wanted to give an empathetic answer, so I told him how Voldemort had no parents and no friends and maybe that just made him a sad and angry person. Then I told him how Harry actually told Voldemort how he felt sorry for him because he will never know love or friendship in the big fight scene at the end of The Order of the Phoenix. It sounds so cheesy, but it really is what life is all about and Henry got it immediately. He teared up and came to me for a hug.
Four year olds ask the best questions sometimes. And I cannot wait to read these books full of great life lessons to Henry and Charlie.
December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
For the past few years, I’ve set reading challenges for myself on Goodreads and this year I thought I’d play it safe by setting 15 books as my goal. Now – thanks to breastfeeding + my Kindle being best friends – I’m about to finish my 22nd book of the year.
I may not have had the chance to see many movies in the theatre this year, or even listen to enough new albums to be able to tell you which ones were “the best”, but one thing I did get to do a lot of this year was read. That’s why I feel confident enough to compile this one Best Of List this year.
#1 was released last year and #5 is a classic, but the rest were published in 2014. Here’s my Top Five:
- The Goldfinch – I recommend this book to everyone who asks me what they should read. It’s almost 1000 pages long, but I wished it were longer. An epic, beautiful, sad story.
- Station Eleven – A post-apocalyptic novel, partly set in Toronto. All the characters are tied to the one who dies in the first few pages. I was inspired by human nature’s desire to survive and looked at all my every day modern conveniences with new appreciation while I was reading it.
- The Silkworm – The second murder mystery novel by JK Rowling’s alias. Her talent for detail and character lives on in a very different way.
- The Secret Place – The new release from one of my favorite authors, Tana French. After many novels written with the same formula, this one was refreshing in the way that it played with time and the detective narrating the story wasn’t necessarily the main character.
- To Kill A Mockingbird – I didn’t read this one in school, but I wish I did so I could have written an essay on it. The sort of book that really sparks a discussion and makes you think. Written in 1960, but still appropriate for today.
What were YOUR favourites??? (Really! I am always looking for recommendations!)
December 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
Can you believe there’s only a few weeks left of 2013? You know what that means: time for a recap!
Before I do my personal Year In Review, I like to do a round up of my favourite things of the year including books, music, and more. I know, I know, usually they each have their own post, but I’m a mom now and don’t have time for such things. So let’s get down to business.
Atoms For Peace – Amok
Lorde – Pure Herione
Grouplove – Spreading Rumours
Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana
Baths – Obsidian
Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
On And On – Give In
Young Magic – Melt
BOOKS (not necessarily released in 2013, just read in 2013):
Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple
This Is The End
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
(Note: In my opinion, this year’s offering of movies was pretty dismal. I’m guessing my actual favourite movie of the year is still to come. Possibly Anchorman 2 or Her.)
30 Rock (for the series finale alone, which made me cry. Why did it have to end at all?!?)
Breaking Bad (ditto, minus the tears.)
House Of Cards
Big Bang Theory
Orange Is The New Black
October 9, 2013 § 3 Comments
Although I was invited to watch a black metal band with my husband last night in Manhattan, I opted for something much more suited to my interests, and right down the street. I went to a book launch and discussion with Matt Zoller Seitz, who just released a huge and beautiful hardcover book on Wes Anderson‘s movies at my favourite neighbourhood bookstore.
It was simply an hour of listening to his in-depth observations on Wes’ super detailed movies and then a Q&A after where he knew the answer to every question. He said he could have spoken about the music chosen for the movies for an hour alone (and I wish he would have!).
Matt was one of the first journalists/critics to embrace Wes Anderson’s movies, back when Bottle Rocket was struggling to find a distributor and couldn’t get into any film festivals. Since then, they’ve run into each other throughout their lives many times, including one morning in Brooklyn while on his way to work, Matt realized The Royal Tenenbaums was being filmed on his street.
Although the book was Matt’s project, Wes worked on it with him, providing him with a ton of behind the scenes photos, storyboards, sketches, and lengthy interviews about each movie. Here’s a peek inside…
This was the perfect birthday gift to me, from me :) Highly suggested for any Wes Anderson nuts out there!
December 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
I am proud to say I met my goal of reading 15 books this year! Of those 15, here are my favourites, not necessarily released in 2012.
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
This book was great. Almost a Japanese Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but with Fantasy and Science Fiction mixed in. Although I wasn’t very happy with the ending, the entire 900-page collection of all three books provided a great ride and really original story.
Broken Harbor – Tana French
I read the first three books of the Dublin Murder Squad last year and couldn’t wait for the fourth to be released! I mean, I was so excited, I forgot to check which Kindle I was downloading it to the day it came out and accidentally sent it to Nick’s. Oops.
Each of Tana French’s novels features a characters you met in passing in another book and tells the story from their perspective. If you’re a fan of mysteries and thrillers, this page-turner is for you.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
After voraciously reading Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books, I wanted more mystery! The cover of this book grabbed me, and then I saw that Tana French herself gave it a glowing review. What an interesting story with a great twist. All the Best Of lists this year are right – definitely recommended.
Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
Don’t even bother with the Robert Pattison movie – Sara Gruen’s novel is fantastic and all you need. Water For Elephants was the perfect book to read in two sittings, on the plane ride to and from London this Spring. The characters are lovely and the story grabs you.
Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
If you are a techie or an internet lover, you MUST read this book. Learning how much of a ridiculous person Steve Jobs actually was – how he’d actually cry and throw tantrums to get his way, how he created a “reality distortion field” to convince himself his daughter wasn’t his own amongst other things, how he refused to wear shoes and decided he didn’t need to shower because he was a “fruititarian” – was eye-opening, but also makes me respect him even more for allowing these things to be printed and made public knowledge. I’m not old enough to remember the first launches of Apple products in the 80s, but everything is so interesting to read about, especially the product launches for items like the iMac and iPod. I can’t wait for the movie!
What were your favourite books of 2012? I’m always looking for suggestions on what to read next!
July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments
Like restaurants, New York has countless stores. Some people come to New York just to shop! With all the choices you have out there, sometimes you need a little guidance, someone to point you in the right direction. If you have taste similar to mine, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my Top 10 Places to Shop in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1. Uniqlo – Manhattan
This store makes New York the envy of every other North American city. Well, maybe it’s just one of the reasons. Really though, with their incredibly affordable basics and great jeans, I can’t begin to tell you how many Canadian friends ask me to buy them things here to bring home when I visit. Do yourself a favour and make sure you hit up one of their three NYC locations when you’re in town and stock up on your favourites!
2. Strand – Manhattan
This legendary bookstore is a must-visit for bookworms visiting New York. It’s full of new and used books as well as great Strand and NYC merchandise.
3. Dalaga – Brooklyn
My personal favourite clothing store for the past three years. This boutique is owned by sisters Michelle and Mary, but every lovely lady who works at this store is friendly and helpful. Have a question about how comfortable that shoe is? Chances are, one of the girls working there is wearing that pair and can tell you all about it. The best part is that the clothes are gorgeous and unique, but are still affordable. I love to bring friends visiting here and watch them buy half a new wardrobe.
4. Catbird – Brooklyn
The mecca for cute, beautiful, and unique jewelry. Much nicer than costume jewelry, but it won’t break the bank. They also sell letterpress cards, Saipua soap, and summer hats.
5. ABC Carpet & Home – Manhattan
A perfect destination for window shopping, interior design lovers. Even if you can’t afford that $1500 end table, you will be inspired by their displays and merchandise.
6. Journelle – Manhattan
This lingerie shop is the anti-Victoria’s Secret. Find pretty underthings from Eberjey, Elle Macpherson, and Fortnight that make you feel beautiful instead of like you’re some kind of unfamiliar raunchy version of yourself.
7. J. Crew – Manhattan
I love J. Crew’s new, fresh, colourful, and fun looks these days. Great for bright jeans, cute tops, purses, shoes and more. A great place to go just to get outfit inspiration.
8. Madewell – Manhattan
Sometimes called “J. Crew’s little sister”, Madewell is a chain that’s clearly in-tune with the latest fashion trends. The store in Soho can be a little overwhelming as it fills up fast on the weekend. Just take your time and try to shop through all those racks of cute stuff while dodging people!
9. Word – Brooklyn
I’m lucky to have my favourite bookstore right in my neighbourhood! This shop is cozy and on the smaller side, but this just means quality over quantity. The staff gives great reading recommendations and their comment cards provide the perfect opportunity to get rid of your “reader’s block”. I buy almost all of my greeting cards here too.
10. Eastern District – Brooklyn
This beer and cheese shop is such a treat for food lovers. Order a turkey sandwich with gouda and bacon marmalade on fresh bread, pick up some tasty cheese, try some new craft beers, or take home some tasty treats (anything from chocolate to honey to pickles). You’ll be glad you did!
(photo: Benjamin Lozovsky)
July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
I read an article today that I really identified with. The author visits the topic of friendship as it applies to age and reaching certain points in your life. “Why is it so hard to make friends over 30?” he asks. Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who ponders this question!
After moving to New York from Toronto two years ago, I found I had a few American friends, but mostly, as the article calls them “kind-of-friends”. I came straight from spending the majority of my twenties in Toronto, where I met countless amazing people through mutual friends, my ex-boyfriend, and work. Not everyone was in a relationship or even felt the need to be, and we all spent time together at house parties, bars, parks, concerts, cottages, and the occasional planned food fight with little to no drama and everyone got along.
Now that I’m married and 30, I find my standards for friends are higher and the frequency of cravings to go out every weekend are lower. Luckily, I’m very fortunate to have a great husband who would rather spend time with me than anyone else and I’ve managed to make a few great NYC friends. I’m also happy to keep up the relationships I treasure most in Canada, but I now know that the volume of friends I have there will never exist here. And I’m okay with that because I’ve finally realized I have new things to look forward to.
As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.
Read: Friends Of A Certain Age