Happy Birthday To Me

October 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lucky number thirty-three! I’m on a plane to spend my birthday (and Nick’s on Saturday!) with my family for the first time in five years. We’ll also be celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving while we’re there. I can’t even wait to hold my new niece and nephew!

Smell ya later, NYC.

2012: A Year In Review

January 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

2012 was “The Year Of Yes” for Nick and I. We wanted to make it the best possible, doing what we wanted when we wanted, within reason, of course. This attitude led to some pretty great moments and incredible experiences. I also fell even more in love with yoga, specifically Ashtanga, and turbocharged my practice into a 4-5 times a week affair which led me into new poses I never expected to be able to do. There were sad moments this year too, especially in February, but overall, 2012 was the best one I’ve had in years.

JANUARY

– On Friday the 13th, Nick & I went to see/experience the incredible Sleep No More.

– That same morning, I danced my heart out before 10am at Creative Mornings with Girl Walk All Day.

– Filed for an LLC and made my business official. No more freelancing for me!

FEBRUARY

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– The beginning of the month, my family faced a tragedy. Jenn’s nearly full-term baby suddenly passed away a week before her due date. We’ll always remember Everett, even though we didn’t get to meet him.

– Nick and I met my parents in Jamaica for a sunny vacation.

MARCH

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– I flew to Canada for a week-long visit, where I stayed with Jenn and her family. This included lots of playing with their new puppy, Biscuit.

– I tried an incredibly challenging Soulcycle class – right after Jake Gyllenhaal worked out in the same room.

– Mad Men season 5 premiered and I fell in love with the show all over again.

APRIL

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– Flew to London for a long weekend. We got to see Nick’s client Frank Turner headline his first arena show and Abbey Road!

– I helped set a record at the World’s Largest Rainbow Parade RecordSetter Event.

– Finally bought a bike worth more than $100. What a difference!

MAY

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– Spent a weekend in Ohio for Alex and Erin’s lovely barn wedding.

– Started a subscription to Lancaster Farm Fresh weekly vegetable share and farm fresh eggs. Best decision of 2012!

– Had a quick trip to Toronto to see Frank Turner and Baroness, along with some friends and family.

JUNE

Kate, Jenn & Lisa at Risotteria

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– Saw an amazing Radiohead show in Newark.

– My sister Jenn came for a weekend visit!

– The first Long Island beach visit of the year with Kate.

– Gave a sweaty-faced testimonial in a video for my favourite yoga studio.

– Went to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island solo, but met up with many ex- & current TAG friends and my good Torontonian bud, Travis Bradley!

JULY

Kate, Bryan and Nick

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– Took a weekend road trip to Baltimore with Kate and Bryan. Survived the worst thunderstorm driving conditions on the way there so that we could see fish in their aquarium, go to a baseball game, and eat at a Brazilian steak house.

– Celebrated our second wedding anniversary with Nick by getting massages. So goooood.

– Rewrote my NYC + Brooklyn City Guide, complete with different categories, to appease all the NYC visitors!

AUGUST

Me, Mike, and Nick

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– Went to Massachusetts to visit Nick’s best friend Mike, but we also went WHALE WATCHING! I saw humpback whales for the first time and it was one of the coolest moments of my life.

– Finally upgraded from a Blackberry to an iPhone.

– Collected a ton of paperwork and “proof of relationship” to renew my green card and have the conditional status of my permanent residency removed. Filed it myself and felt very accomplished.

– Flew to Toronto for a 10-day visit that started with a Bachelorette Party Cottage Weekend for Julia! Was so incredibly happy to spend 4 days in a cottage with some of my best friends that I only get to see a few times a year.

SEPTEMBER

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Julia and Jay got married! I was so happy to be able to celebrate with them and stand up for Julia as a bridesmaid. I was also pretty happy to partake in the best dance party in years at their reception.

– Finally succeeded in doing headstand in the middle of the room! I have still never fallen (knock on wood).

OCTOBER

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– Celebrated a great 31st birthday.

– Helped Nick celebrate his birthday and had our first joint birthday dinner ever with some of our best friends.

– Went to Chicago to see Smashing Pumpkins in their hometown!

– New York got hit by Hurricane Sandy. We hunkered down, but were very very lucky to not have any damage.

NOVEMBER

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– My parents came to visit us for the first time since we got married!

– Went to a special Creative Mornings talk by George Lois at the Met.

– Kate and Bryan got married at city hall!!! They were engaged for over 3 years before finally tying the knot at Manhattan’s city hall and now they are pregnant!

DECEMBER

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– Saw Neil Young & Crazy Horse with Patti Smith at Brooklyn’s new venue, Barclay’s Center.

– Nick and I flew to Sweden for a long weekend to see his band Ghost. We were so happy about this opportunity, even though it was a whirlwind trip!

– After a few months of practicing, I was finally successful in doing a real Ashtanga back bend!

– Celebrated Christmas with my family in Oshawa and Fenelon Falls.

– Flew home from Canada on Boxing Day then flew to Paris less than 2 days later! Celebrated New Year’s Eve by adding a love lock to Pont de l’Archevêché. Romantic!

If you finished this post, I applaud you! How was your 2012?

The Best Records of 2012

December 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

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It’s my favourite time of the year for blogging you guys, it’s List-Making Time! We begin with one of my favourite things to compile on a yearly basis: My Favourite Records of the Year. These are in no particular order and I even break a rule with one, so enjoy and let me know if I missed anything you think I’d enjoy!

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Cat Power – Sun

What a gorgeous record. I absolutely could not stop listening to it for about a month after it was released. Every time I sat down at my computer, I’d try to listen to something new, but would eventually give in and put this on since it’s what I wanted to listen to anyway.

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Feist – Metals

Another beautiful record by a beautiful singer. My favourite Feist record to date. Just try not to sing along, girls.

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Japandroids – Celebration Rock

The catchiest record of the year? I think so. Two Canadian boys haven’t made this much noise since Death From Above 1979!

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Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

This record summed up in three words: perfect grungy sound.

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Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense

If you miss Mclusky, you’ll be happy to know Future of the Left has made (in my opinion) their best – and longest – record yet.  One song entitled “Robocop 4 – Fuck off Robocop” was clearly written for me, mentioning both Voldemort and Billy Corgan.

I was so lucky to see this band live four times this year, especially because they’re from the other side of the Atlantic. I highly suggest you rock out to their heavy, quirky, and snarky songs now.

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Grimes – Visions

It surprised me how much I liked this record. That just goes to show you, don’t judge a record, or a musician for that matter, by its cover. The songs are actually delightfully mellow, perfect to listen to while you work on repeat.

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Metz – Metz

Who would have thought I’d be including my ex-boyfriend’s band in my Top 10 list? That’s how undeniably good this record is. Sub Pop has put all their efforts behind this release to spread the word of Metz to the world. It’s time you listened.

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Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania

This is the first Smashing Pumpkins record that’s made my top list since… Adore? I don’t know, but it’s definitely an improvement of all of the band’s (by which I mean, Billy’s) work. It’s been said the sound is in the same vein as the songs from the 90s, and that’s exactly what any SP fan wants. Keep putting yourself out there and getting your heart broken, Billy! As much as I love you, being happy does not make for good songwriting.

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Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness and Pisces Iscariot Reissues

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Look at all that loot!

The reissues for Mellon Collie and Pisces Iscariot were released this year and came with unreleased songs, DVDs of old concerts, postcards, giant lyric booklets, and full color books about the making of the records. My Mellon Collie deluxe set came in the mail last night and I couldn’t help but wish I could somehow send this box of delight back in time to my high school self – I would have slept with it under my pillow.

Definitely worth splurging on for any major SP fan.

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Tom Waits – Bad As Me

I know, I know, this was released in late 2011, but I feel like I didn’t get the time to spend with it to full enjoy it until 2012. If you like the weird, jangly Tom Waits accompanied by a quirky horn section, this is for you! Want a preview? Check out his awesome video for Hell Broke Luce.

Smashing Pumpkins Homecoming

October 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

If you know me at all, you know that Smashing Pumpkins have been my favourite band since I first saw them live in 1996; my first concert ever. Since then, I have seen them in many incarnations: Billy, James & D’arcy; Billy, James, Jimmy & Melissa; Billy solo; Jimmy’s jazz band; Zwan; Billy reading poetry in a church; and Billy with a band full of hired musicians who called themselves Smashing Pumpkins. This however, was the first time I was able to see them in Chicago, their music-rich hometown that I’ve always had a soft spot for.

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Nick’s band Anberlin was opening for them this leg of the tour, so we flew out on Friday afternoon for the show that night. Arriving on a windy and rainy day (miraculously) without any problems, we checked into our hotel and did a bit of work and ate some dinner before heading over to the Allstate Arena.

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Now, I’m a 31 year old former-music industry professional and have been around many rockstars in my time, including Billy Corgan, but I still get a little silly from time to time. If you’re also a fan, you’ll appreciate that my flight number was 3-33 and that there were porcelain pumpkins sitting on the counter at our hotel’s check in desk. IT WAS MEANT TO BE, YOU GUYS.

When we arrived, Anberlin’s lovely tour manager Andy had these waiting for us.

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Then I found out there would be a VIP pre-concert mini show in the room right across from Anberlin’s dressing room. YES! I was so happy they left the door open for the first song, so I could watch Billy’s entrance. Even after the door was closed, I listened to all of the short set, including a rendition of Plume from Pisces Iscariot. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one live before!

Anberlin were great! I don’t think I’ve seen them in years and years. Nicest guys ever. They were the only opener since SP played for almost 3 hours.

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Their stage show included an enormous orb, used as a film screen but as a complete sphere.

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They played Oceania in its entirety.

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Then they rolled out the hits including XYU, Cherub Rock, Mayonnaise, Stand Inside Your Love, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Tonight Tonight, a cover of Space Oddity, and more.

Tonight Tonight video playing on the orb

The performance of Tonight Tonight was almost out shined by the projection of the video on the sphere. It was so cool to watch all warped!

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Friday night was one of those amazing moments in life where I had to sit back and remind myself just how great what I was experiencing was. One of those times where you feel like you must have done something right to be in the situation you’re in now. In short, thank you Nick and Anberlin for crossing another “must do” off my list of life goals – watching Smashing Pumpkins live in their hometown.

(P.S. Click on the photos to see them larger on Flickr – they look much better that way!)

My Favourite Records of 2011

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!

15 years ago today

September 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

On September 24, 1996 I went to my first concert – The Smashing Pumpkins at Winnipeg Arena.

I don’t remember many details from the concert, but I do remember being 15 years old, impressionable, blown away, and instantly catching the music bug. I began playing bass. I made new friends whose lives also revolved around music. I joined a band. I met other bands. I got a job in the music industry where I met my husband and the rest is history.

So thank you, Sylvia Wollman, for getting me into that show 15 years ago and to the Smashing Pumpkins for making high school – and probably my whole life – much more interesting.

P.S. While google searching for an image for this post, I found a live recording of the concert, which I’m listening to now. The internet was barely around back then, how does it do these things!

P.P.S. The 6th result for “Smashing Pumpkins Winnipeg 1996” was a link to the concert review on my old music page from the 90s! Hilarious.

Melissa Auf der Maur: Girl Crush

March 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

How cool is Melissa Auf der Maur?


Having been both a part of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, she’s one of the true lady rockstars left in the world. She’s also managed to develop her own identity while playing bass next to enormous personalities like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan by always pursuing new projects, meeting and collaborating with other musicians like Ric Ocasek and Rufus Wainwright, not to mention her efforts in photography, comic book writing, and fashion.

Despite Melissa’s impressive resume and history, she is also a truly sweet and friendly person. Maybe that has to do with her Canadian heritage ;)

At her March 3 show in New York, I felt like I was at a fashion party. Everyone around me was 6+ feet tall and gorgeous, boasting an effortless fashion sense. They also all seemed to know each other, and at the end of the night, Melissa. Her personality seems to be one that invites everyone inside to talk about anything. The first time I met her, the conversation managed to take a most ideal turn: mid-nineties Canadian rock reminiscing. What could be better? (Besides intimate stories about being on the road with Smashing Pumpkins, but some things are best left to the imagination.)

Melissa Auf der Maur is truly girl-crush worthy and I hope she continues her efforts in all applicable areas. The world needs not only more rockstars like her, but also people.

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