The Birthday List: Watch Psycho.

psychopsychopsycho3I’m far from a film buff. If one of my favourite authors is releasing a book, I’ll pre-order it on Amazon but I’ll often give new blockbusters a pass at the cinema, presuming that I’ll catch them on “video” before forgetting about them completely. And growing up I usually watched the same films over and over again (hello Peter Pan, Bambi, and Dumbo as a child and Empire Records, Clueless, and Fight Club as a teenager).

Needless to say there are more than a few classic films that I’ve never seen. So when compiling this year’s birthday list and thinking about what new experiences I wanted to have, I decided to watch a classic film that I’d heard referenced countless times without ever seeing for myself. I chose Psycho. I’d only seen three Hitchcock films previously, so I knew some serious catching up to do.

Luckily Matthew has a copy on DVD. One evening we cuddled up in bed to give it a watch. We actually ended up watching it in two parts – because that’s what happens when you put on a film right before bedtime.

In case you’ve never seen it, Psycho is the story of Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from her employer and goes on the run. She disappears after checking into the Bates Motel and having an encounter with its propietor, creepy mama’s boy, Norman Bates. Marion’s sister Lila and boyfriend Sam Loomis, along with Detective Arbogast, set out to find out what’s happened to her.

I’m surprised that years of pop culture references hadn’t spoiled the ending for me. And while the film wasn’t quite what I was expecting (that shower scene is way overhyped!), I really enjoyed it. Psycho has that unsettling suspense that builds slowly (very slowly sometimes) and there was at least one moment near the end that almost made me jump out of my skin.

Have you seen Psycho? What classic film is on your must-watch list?

Love, thunderstorms, & the silver screen,
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The Expat Diaries: My 1st Londoniversary!

2014-07-17-09-50-36_decoLast Thursday marked one year since I landed at London Gatwick, lugged my suitcases to a hostel in Hammersmith, and set about starting my life in England.

This seems like an important milestone to stop and reflect on because my life has changed in so many incredible ways in the past year, and my decision to move to London is no small part of that.

London isn’t for everyone. She’s too busy. Too crowded. Too big. Too much.

But, as I’ve written before, coming back to London feels like coming home.

For me, she has all of the electric buzz I love about NYC, but with an old soul. That’s something I can relate to.

I take solace in her winding streets and historic buildings. I get inspired by the endless list of things to do and the countless people making this city their own and bringing their dreams to life. My heart lights up knowing that all of London stands outside my door, beckoning me to explore it.

Any day I can get on a train that will drop me outside of Buckingham Palace or around the corner from the Tate Modern or down the street from Hampstead Heath. That’s not to say I go to these kinds of places everyday. But living in London reminds me of what’s possible. It reminds me that I live a miraculous life.

It took courage and a sense of adventure to decide to move across the world. And living in London has only made me more courageous and adventurous. Being surrounded by a city that constantly lights me up has inspired me to dream bigger and do more. It’s a testament to the fact that when you find a place that just feels right it’s worth fighting to get there, even if it seems illogical to everyone else.

londonLiving in London has taught me that we truly have the power to create our lives.

It’s taught me that we have the choice to be calm, even when everything around us seems chaotic (hello, early morning commutes!)

It’s taught me that people are essentially helpful and kind and totally willing to go out of their way for a stranger in need.

It’s taught me that we all have a tribe out there waiting for us to find – and maybe even connect – them.

Living in London has taught me that no dream is too big.

Every day I spend here inspires me to connect more deeply with myself, to figure out exactly what kind of work I want to create, and to consciously create my life in every moment.

For some, London is just a place to visit. But for me, it’s truly become my home. And I was so happy to celebrate last Thursday by moving into a house that also really feels like home.

This year has been challenging, but mostly it’s been wonderful and I can’t wait to see what adventures the next 365 days of expat life have in store.

Love, bear hugs, & butterfly kisses,
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Top photograph by Soops.

Beetroot and Halloumi Burgers

IMG_5394“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”               -          Tom Robbins

When I hosted my blogiversary giveaway and asked you what you’d like to see more of, a lot of people asked for recipes of the delicious veggie (and mostly healthy) food I like to eat.

Well, ask and you shall receive! And today’s recipe is an especially good one.

I rediscovered my love of beetroot when I read Jitterbug Perfume in 2008 and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

I often get into food ruts – eating the same meals week after week because it’s easier when I’m pressed for time and trying to eat on a budget. But lately I’ve been craving new flavour combinations and itching to try new recipes. So when I saw a recipe for beetroot and halloumi burgers, I decided to make it my own by adding fresh mint for a fresh, zingy flavour to accompany the earthy beets and salty cheese. The result was absolutely delicious.

IMG_5389Beetroot and Halloumi Burgers

Adapted from Wanderlusting

3 small steamed beets, grated
125g (half a block) of halloumi, grated
half a cup of quick cook oats
1 large egg, beaten
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (for frying)

  1. Mix all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a bowl.
  2. Divide the mixture into four and form into patties. Set them on a plate and put them in a fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, lightly line the bottom of a frying with olive oil and place over medium heat.
  4. Fry patties until golden brown and then flip. Approximately 3-4 minutes per side.

IMG_5397These burgers are great on a bun with all of the traditional fixings, but I loved them even more on a bed of lettuce topped with smashed avocado and served with a side of roasted sweet potato fries. Mega yum!

Now I can’t wait to concoct all sorts of other burger recipes. Sweet potato, cheddar, & jalapeno. Chipotle, chickpea, & kale. Mushroom, walnut, & sage. The possibilities are endless!

What’s in your favourite burger?

Let me know if you decide to give these ones a try!

Love & foodgasms,
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Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Missy Rhysing

Missy-Rhysing1Missy Rhysing, 37, Ritual Tattoo & Gallery in Denver, Colorado

I recently won an Instagram contest for one of Missy’s prints (squee!) and decided it was the perfect time to ask her to be interviewed for this series. I love how she incorporates her inspirations, like traditional tattooers and the work of Emily Rose Murray, into her work while making each piece distinctly her own. Her story of becoming a tattooist is really inspiring for anyone who has a big dream but faces major obstacles or doesn’t think they have the skills to make it. She’s been kind enough to chat about it a little bit today.

How long have you been tattooing?
13 years

How old were you when got your first tattoo & what was it?
I was 23 when I got my first tattoo. It was Tibetan stylized clouds on both of my wrists. It was shortly after the birth of my son and I didn’t want to go to my husband’s shop so he did them right in our house! I loved them so much – it was a magical experience for me, very transformative. I immediately wanted more!

Missy-Rhysing2Do you have a favourite tattoo of your own (ie. in your collection, not that you’ve tattooed)?
My favourite tattoos right now would have to be my hands, recently tattooed by Tiny Miss Becca out of Essex, U.K. She is a huge inspiration to me and it was a lovely experience getting tattooed by her. I originally was going to just get one hand done, and asked her to draw either an ornamental Victorian heart or a chihuahua head. She ended up drawing both so I asked if she might be able to do both hands, and she moved her schedule around a bit and made it happen. I love them so much!

How did you get started in tattooing? What was the journey that brought you from there to here?
I started wanting to learn to tattoo when I moved to Maui in 2000. I just loved the experience of getting tattooed and wanted to do it myself, but I had never drawn anything in my life. I started studying what other tattooers were doing and trying to draw like them. It didn’t turn out so hot! I studied Sailor Jerry and found that style to easier for me to work in; it seemed to come a little more naturally to me. I tried to get an apprenticeship in Maui but the guy I wanted to learn from told me that he “would never teach a woman, there’s something about women, they just don’t make good tattoo artists.” I was like umm, ok. I ended up moving back to Minneapolis, my hometown, and getting an apprenticeship at a really great shop under many excellent tattooers. I was very lucky.

Missy-Rhysing3Did you have an artistic background before you started tattooing?
I had no artistic background at all! My family wasn’t artistic, I was not exposed to art in any way growing up. Tattoos were my first exposure to art, which is probably why they seemed so magical to me. I learned about tattoo art as I was learning to draw, which is probably why my work is so readable. I learned that there are some things in art that just cannot be tattooed, and ways to make art pieces tattooable. Now almost anything can be tattooed it seems, but I will always go back to my traditional roots in tattooing, I believe that style persists best over time and stays beautiful forever.

Missy-Rhysing4How have your thoughts about tattoos and being tattooed changed over time (if at all)?
Tattooing has changed a lot since I started. It seems there are almost no limitations anymore and I think it’s incredible. Artists are doing innovative things every day. I love that tattooing is heading in the way similar to art collecting. I have people who travel to me to collect a tattoo and that is amazing. It’s so different than when I started and people were picking flash pieces off the wall. I know people were doing innovative things back then as well but it amazes the direction tattooing is going right now.

How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Most people classify my style as neo-traditional or new traditional. It is based in traditional as far as the principals go – clean line work, simple design, simplified shading and color. But I add in multiple line weights, fresh palettes, and new subject matter. I loved tattooing only traditional, old school work for my first 6 years or so but got bored with it so this keeps my interest and keeps things fresh and new for me.

Missy-Rhysing5Who or what influences your work?
I was first influenced primarily by my teachers and by a few people who I feel really started new traditional, such as Seth Ciferri and Adam Barton. They were doing innovative things with traditional work in the early 2000′s and continue to influence me. I am heavily influenced by many European and Australian tattooers as well- namely Lus Lips, Jasmin Austin, Emily Rose Murray, and Eckel. I think these artists are influencing the world of tattooing right now to be honest. I also love the photographer Francesca Woodman, and am inspired by Victorian photography and have amassed a very large collection of turn of the century cabinet cards, cdv’s and antique photos.

I was shocked to learn that Missy hadn’t drawn before she started her journey of becoming a tattooist; all of her work is so beautiful and intricate. It really goes to that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Thank you for sharing your story, Missy. You’re such an inspiring woman!

Love always,
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I’m a Feminist Babe.

IMG_5225I used to absolutely love debating. So much so that even though I abhorred most extracurricular activities in high school, I was the president of the Model UN Club. And I absolutely relished the mock trials in my grade 11 law class. I remember arguing vehemently in one of these classes that there was still a need for affirmative action programs in some industries. One of my male peers stopped me and said, “Well of course you think that, you’re a feminist.”

It sounded like an accusation and I was instantly indignant. Of course I wasn’t a feminist. At the time I believed feminism was the equivalent of man-hating. I thought it meant subscribing to a very specific set of beliefs that would limit the way I could dress and what I could be interested in. I wasn’t a feminist. I just believed that men and women should have equal rights, have equal access to opportunities, and be treated with the same level of respect as one another.

*record screeches to a halt*

Hold on a tick. That’s exactly what feminism is all about.

Luckily I’ve learned a lot about feminism since then. In fact, this blog’s name is inspired by one of my favourite feminist essays. It’s a nuanced movement as diverse as the men and women who identify with it. But at it’s core is an understanding that patriarchy, gender-based oppression, and gender norms hurts all of us. Both men and women.

You probably know that Emma Watson recently gave a speech at the UN to launch the HeForShe campaign. It was poignant and emotional and, not surprisingly, went viral right away. But the backlash she received makes it clear that the work of feminism isn’t done. That it’s so important to identify as a feminist and to work towards gender-based equality every single day, whether it’s by speaking up when you hear someone utter a sexist slur or by refusing to limit what you do, wear, say, or achieve because of your genitals.

These days I couldn’t imagine not identifying as a feminist. It just seems like common sense. Rather than shying away from the term, I choose to celebrate my feminism. Last week I even decided to express it sartorially.

IMG_5218IMG_5226IMG_5227IMG_5229IMG_4645IMG_5223I’m wearing a custom t-shirt c/o HiCustom.net, a gold Nicole Millen cardigan from a charity shop, a Louche skirt from a charity shop, black tights from Boots, United Nude flats c/o AllSole, a vintage belt, and a custom ‘feminist’ necklace c/o PunkyPins.

On a completely different note, can we talk about these shoes for a minute? Because they’re amazing. The AllSole website is chock-a-block full of temptation for a shoe lover like me. But I knew that it was these fuchsia, faceted  flats from United Nude that had to be mine. The laser cut rubber reminds me of a sparkly gemstone and they add a playful pop of colour to any outfit. They’re actually quite comfortable and because of their unique construction, they tend to garner many compliments whenever I wear them.

I have to admit that it’s a relief to be able to be a feminist and also love shoes and pink lipstick as much as I do. Because feminism isn’t about limiting our choices; it’s about freeing us to live whatever life we choose.

Love, heart-shaped sapphires, & riot grrrl anthems,
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