Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beauty Tuesday: Base Camp

Do you ever have this problem?: You run out of foundation and when you go to the store you either forget to bring the empty tube with you or the beauty company has revamped the line and now you have to start from scratch, trying to remember what shade you are. The problem is that many lines have gotten so precise with their shades that they all are just slight variations on themselves.

I have this problem every time I go to the drugstore. Am I a Fair? Ivory? Light Ivory? Light Beige? Light Cream? Vanilla?

And then, of course I just start thinking about ice cream and how, with ice cream it doesn't matter which flavour you choose because there's no wrong flavour. They all taste excellent on a hot summer day.

This weekend I ran out of my favourite foundation - Clinique Super Moisture Makeup.

It's light but creamy, and provides full coverage of any redness, pigmentation or uneven skin tone yet lets your own skin tone shine through - so you don't look like you're wearing any makeup at all. It's realliy a dream.

I'd planned just to go to Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up a new tube, but since we were near Holt Renfrew, I decided to just stop in there instead.

I have never bought foundation at Holt Renfrew. I don't know why. I can't explain it. But it was one of the best experiences of my beauty shopping life. No joke.

I went up to the counter - and unlike in some other large department stores where employees seem to be working 17 different counters at once so you have to wait and wait and wait to be served - at Holt's there were FOUR estheticians working at the Clinique counter. One of them smiled at me and immediately asked how she could help. I told her my catastrophic problem. I didn't know what she'd do but I just assumed she might look at my face and then suggest the shade she thought would work best. And then I would buy it and hope for the best.

Instead, she told me to hop up on the stool beside the counter. Within minutes she'd tested five different shades on my jawline, found the perfect one, blended it into my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, then handed me a mirror so I could see, wrapped the foundation up and sent me on my way.

It almost made me happy that I have to wear foundation. Almost.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Reading List

I've drafted my Summer Reading List. It's not final. It's not laminated. It's a work in progress. Because the thing is, you have to leave some room for the possibility that when you open the book up and start reading, you just might totally HATE the story (er...  think that it's not quite right for you) and want to stop and move on to the next book in the list. Also now that all of you have been emailing and posting your own summer reading lists, I'm finding out about books I didn't even KNOW existed – and wanting to add them to my own list. I may need to quit my job to make more time for reading. 

Disclaimer: These are not all new books. Actually, many are books that I have wanted to read for years but never got around to, but thanks to BookMooch, I have now acquired them and they are all sitting in a pile in my office, waiting to be read. So please don't laugh at me when I divulge some of the books that NO, I HAVE NOT READ and YES I REALIZE I MAY BE THE ONLY PERSON ALIVE TO HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK YET. I'm just going to pretend they're new books though. I'm going to synch my iPod accordingly so that I feel like I'm reading the book in the moment. Feel free to do the same. Donning stirrup pants or feathering your hair is not required.

1. The book that would've kicked off my summer reading list, had I not read an ARC of it, would've been Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With. 

2008 iPod song: "Violet Hill", Coldplay

Note: If you haven't read it, you have to pick it up. If you've loved her other books, you will love this one even more than you thought possible. Or maybe you won't. I'm not going to tell you how to feel. If you do love Emily though, she's coming to Toronto! She'll be signing books at BookExpo Canada the weekend of July 14 & 15. You have to be a bookseller or an author or have something to do with the book industry to go to this, but stay tuned -- because maybe she'll also be doing a signing at Indigo while she's here? If she does, I'll post it. 

2.. Jane Hamilton: Disobedience

2000 iPod song: "What a Girl Wants", Christina Aguilera

3. Nick Hornby: A Long Way Down

2005 iPod song: "Hollaback Girl", Gwen Stefani

4. Alice Sebold: The Lovely Bones

2002 iPod song: "How You Remind Me", Nickelback

Note: I know, I know. Everyone's read this and raved about it so why haven't I read it? I don't know. See the disclaimer. I warned you. 

5. Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

2003 iPod song: "I Miss You," Blink-182

Note: We'll see if I read this in a day. 

6. Carson McCullers: The Member of The Wedding

1946 iPod song: "The Girl That I Marry," Frank Sinatra

Note: Ditto on the comments. PS: Carson McCullers is actually a woman. Her life is fascinating (both she and her first husband had gay affairs); her second husband committed suicide; she was close friends with both Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote...

7. Heather O'Neill: Lullabies for Little Criminals

2006 iPod song: "Too Little Too Late", Metric

Note: I've started this one already. So clearly this list isn't in order. Call me crazy.

8. Tish Cohen: Town House 

2007 iPod song: "Makes me Wonder," Maroon 5

9. Cormac McCarthy: The Road

2006 iPod song: "Dani California," RHCP

10. David Sedaris: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

2004 iPod song: "Take Me Out," Franz Ferdinand

11. Mark Haddon: A Spot of Bother

2006 iPod song: "I don't feel like dancing", Scissor Sisters

12. Nicholas Sparks: The Wedding

2003 iPod song: "Crazy in Love," Beyoncé

13. Judy Blume: Smart Women

1984 iPod song: "When Doves Cry," Prince

14. Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveller's Wife

2003 iPod song: "Stacy's Mom", Fountains of Wayne

15. Madeleine Wickham: Cocktails for Three

2004 iPod song: "On Top", The Killers

Speaking of cocktails, I need one after this post. Feel free to continue to post your summer reading lists below!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You wanna live in the zip...

You gotta live in the code.

Are you losing it? It's like Beverly Hills meets The OC. This is going to be the longest. summer. ever.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Summer reading!

This weekend, I picked up the latest issue of one of my favourite magazines, Real Simple, because it promised a feature on Favourite Authors' Favourite Books. The article was broken down into sections:

Books to Dip in and Out of
Books to Savor all Summer
Books for a Long Weekend
One-Day Reads.

Let's talk for a moment about One-Day Reads. I have never read a book in one day, unless we're counting the types of books I read in the third-grade in an attempt to read the most number of books in the MS Read-a-thon. But maybe the problem was, I thought, that I'm reading the wrong kind of books. Sophie Kinsella chose The Curious Incident of a Dog in Night-Time.

Augusten Burroughs chose The Member of the Wedding.

Both of these books are supposedly fairly short. While I would still not likely finish these in a day, I might finish them in a weekend. I can admit I'm a slow reader. I would actually like to take Speed Reading 101, but appparently, the instructor who is teaching this at The School in My Mind That Does Not Exist In Real Life also teaches the Shorthand 101 course that I want to take. And she's on mat leave. For like, life. Which is okay, I think, because while speed reading has its benefits, is it really for leisure reading? After all, isn't leisure reading supposed to be pleasurable? So right, I can accept that Augusten and Sophie are able to read their one-day novels in a day but as for Danielle Steel's choice, I don't buy it.

She chose "Anything by Jodi Picoult."

To which I say, Come. On.

Actually, Ms Steel could've chosen anything by Jodi Picoult, any book at all, and I would challenge her that she could not read it in a day. While I love Jodi Picoult, her books are like the Bible: Sacred but Monstrous. I mean, they clock in at about 600 pages. I think I can read about a page every 2 minutes. So that would be 1200 minutes or 20 hours. Is that math correct? I don't have a calculator handy, but let's assume it is. So then, on the day I'm going to read a Jodi Picoult novel, I can only sleep for 4 hours. So then, I'd have to spend the rest of the weekend sleeping just to catch up after reading my One-Day Book. But what about eating? Of course, I bet Danielle Steel has a personal chef, so she doesn't need to make her meals herself. Or maybe she can read a page in less than 2 minutes.

Anyway, the other category I found interesting was Books to Dip into and Out of. As you may recall if you've been reading my blog for a while, my New Year's Resolution for 2007 was To Finish Books I Start Reading. This lasted a whole 2 days until people whose opinion I value naysayed this resolution, saying that there are too many books in the world and that if you spend time agonizing over a book you loathe you may never get to one that you'll love and that if a book can't hold your attention it's not a book for you. (Actually, I think the person who said the last comment actually said, verbatem: "If a book can't hold your attention then it's a bad book", but as an author, I can't bring myself to really call any book BAD because someone probably likes it (at least, the author's agent and editor did) and any book -- good or bad -- takes days and weeks and years of hard work).

Anyway, after deciding that I would succumb, I mean, subscribe to the No, I Do Not Have To Finish Every Book I Start school of thought, this whole category throws me for a loop. Because I don't typically like to read too many books at once; otherwise, I lose interest, and inevitably, stop reading. But now I wonder, are there some books that are better for poking through over a long period of time, like catching up with an old friend every few months, rather than rushing through in one sitting?

Sophie Kinsella chose The Portable Dorothy Parker as her dip-in-dip-out book.

Augusten Burroughs chose The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Danielle Steel chose "Anything Religious." I think I'm on track with Ms. Steel on this one. I mean, who wants to read The Bible in one fell swoop? Or maybe, she just means any Jodi Picoult book. And I could definitely get behind that.

So what's on your summer reading list?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Breaking news! NKOTB!

So this morning NKOTB were on the Today Show - did you watch it? So good. At first, I wasn't that impressed with the boys' dance moves. They were really tentative and I get that they might not have danced in 15 years but when you decide to reunite you get a team of chefs and personal trainers and stylists and all that so that you can look hot so surely, wouldn't you also get an army of choreographers, who would ramp up your dance moves? I have no idea. I have never been famous nor made a comeback, but I'm just guessing. So why the slowpoke shuffle? I was thinking. And then I realized that it was pouring rain and the stage was more like a Slip n' Slide, so I cut them some slack. You know, because my opinion matters. 

What I couldn't get over though was when Jordan came out with his sunglasses on. I was like OH-NO-he-does-NOT-have-a-drug-problem-and-his-eyes-are-bloodshot-and-so-he-is-forced-to-wear-sunglasses-at-8:30-a.m.-how-lame-is-that-why-did-I-ever-like-him-best?

But then, he took the glasses off halfway through the first medley and the whites of his eyes were white and I breathed a sigh of relief. I mean, it's not like I couldn't understand if he WAS a bit down in the dumps the past 15 years ... since he hasn't really done that much, but now would be NO time to continue the drug addiction! They're going on tour! People waited outside for hours to see them even though it was raining, and two BFFS drove all the way from Toronto and waited in line for THREE days. They were super cute and so the Today Show gave them free tickets to the Toronto show. Personally, I'd rather have gotten the chance to touch them, but maybe that's a little creepy on the block.

Happy Long Weekend!!

Kelly Taylor!

Did you hear? It's confirmed: Jennie Garth is joining the cast of CW's Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff, as a guidance counsellor. I can hardly stand it. Kelly was always my favourite.

And she went to college for psychology, so she's totally going to "get" the students, and hopefully, help the new twins adjust from Des Moines or St. Paul. Just kidding... But still, remember when Emily Valentine...

started at West Beverly and Kelly had her baby doll dress in a knot because Emily was hanging out with Brandon AND Dylan and then Emily said "They should have given me a score card instead of a class schedule, so I can keep track of everyone's boyfriends."

Kelly should consider doing that for the new class. It would be like, totally helpful.

Anyway I can't wait for the new generation. I was a bit worried that the kids would be too young, but I didn't need to worry. In true 90210 fashion, we've got 22-year-old Jessica Stroup (of The Hills Have Eyes, Reaper and Prom Night) ...

AnnaLynne McCord, who's 21, and really the cutest! I bet she's the new Kelly.

Dustin Milligan (23) from Yellowknife...

You're not going to need that jacket in Beverly Hills, Dusty. Unless of course, you have the top down on your Porsche.

In other boy news, we've got Michael Steger (of Hannah Montana fame), whose age is nowhere to be found, which means he's either super old (and didn't want a Felicity-type scandal when the show found out he was actually 30) or super young. Like high-school age.

In any case, he's going to be the high-school politician. Or, the new Brandon.

There is one high school age actor: 18-going-on-19-year-old Shenae Grimes (from Toronto!), which makes her the Donna Martin of the show. But we don't have to worry about her graduating, because she already graduated from Degrassi: The Next Generation!

You know who else already graduated? The hottest guy on the show: Ryan Eggold (who's in Johnny Drama's show within a show "Five Towns" on Entourage and on Dirt).

He'll be playing the English teacher. Sigh... I can't wait to go back to school in the fall.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Getting Un-Stuck

What could be more perfect to talk about here than a bunch of women looking to get un-STUCK?

Tonight the latest reality show, Stuck, airs on W. One of my funniest freelancers, Bonnie Staring, stars in this show.

I first met Bonnie through my friend Janine, who has a super fun all-beauty-all-the-time (except when she talks about other important issues like pink umbrellas from H&M and working out) blog. Janine is the former Beauty Editor at Canadian Living, and a few years ago, she received Bonnie's story pitch about her Style by Jury makeover. I LOVED the story and we ran it in Elevate.

Did you follow that? 

Bonnie's funny, articulate and so, so talented, which is why I was so thrilled when she became a regular freelancer for us.

I'm sure all the women are going to have great stories to tell, but of course I'm rooting mostly for Bonnie (although, I suppose, this isn't like Survivor - no one's getting booted off Stuck Island). Anyway, here's her bio:

Bonnie: STUCK in a solitary, sedentary lifestyle
Bonnie, 40, is a quick witted writer living with diabetes. To live a long, happy life, she needs to get active now - but she's a self-professed "gym loser". An only child who now works alone from home, her first hurdle is overcoming the anxiety she feels in a group setting. Haunted by memories of being picked last in gym class, Bonnie’s focused on conquering her fears and achieving significant results.

If you're, like me, running out of reality shows to watch now that The Hills and Fashionista Diaries are over, then we should watch this show and then we can discuss it here afterward -- or head over to Bonnie's blog where she'll hopefully be recapping with all the behind-the-scenes juicy details after each episode!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Is Strata so Seventies?

My stepmom came over for brunch yesterday for Mother's Day. My favourite brunch item is quiche, but I've been making it a lot lately so I decided to mix it up by making this Strata.

When I told one of my girlfriends, she laughed.

"It's really not that different, is it?" I confirmed with worry.

"It's like crustless quiche."

For me, the best thing about quiche is the filling. The pastry's really just a vehicle to hold it all together, isn't it? So what's so bad about crustless quiche?

Of course, my one error (okay I admit it, the first of two) was that the recipe called for "day-old" bread. But if you don't have bread, what do you do? All bread at the grocery store is at least a day old, but it's meant to last until the due date so is it really as "day-old" as it needs to be? I finally settled on a French loaf that felt slightly crustier than I otherwise would've been happy with if I'd wanted baked-fresh-today bread. I figured it would have to do. The other mistake was that even though I'd written down that I had to buy cream, I forgot, so I had to improvise with skim milk I had in the fridge. But that just made it healthy, right?

It turned out just fine (how can a casserole NOT turn out, really? It's not like it has any sort of shape to start with, but whawtever). I loved it (what's not to love about bread and cheese melted together?) and took about 10 minutes to make. AND you can make it the day before and just cook it right before you want to serve it. So why does anyone make quiche instead of strata?

And then it dawned on me.


Am I stuck in the wrong era without the right waistline on my apron?

I can't recall the last time Rachel or Martha or Nigella made strata.

Thankfully, I was making it for my stepmom and dad, who are always so appreciative (or rather, shocked) when I manage to cook something that's edible. They LOVED it. Although they did refer to it as Frittata not Strata, which really IS a crustless quiche (without the crusty bread cubes). I wasn't sure if they were trying to make me feel like I hadn't made a Seventies Strata or if they believed it was a Frittata and I KNOW Frittata's still relatively in this decade. Either way I went along with it and pretended it was even healthier without the added carbs that were actually inside.

What's your take on strata? And what did you do for Mother's Day?

Friday, May 9, 2008

African Lion Safari...without the lions.

I'm back from San Diego with all my digits in tact. That's what happens when you visit animals in a zoo rather than in the wild where there are SHARKS. The only shenanigans the zoo animals get up to are with eachother.

First, there was a little sex on the beach...

Then, some sex (or attempts) in the pool...

Some of the animals were quite successful at the sexy sex. Like this ape-mama, who was with child.

Her father was quite proud. As he should've been -- since he'll also be the father of the mini-ape. What a multi-tasker!

Everyone kept telling me that San Diego is the safest city in the U.S. I'm assuming they were not referring to sex, since I didn't see any sort of prophylactics being used. I'm just not sure how you can call a city that has SHARKS on the loose safe. 

Thankfully, just like in the photo I found on the internet..

The sealions were hanging out on the beach, away from the SHARK.

Still, with all the stress of steering clear of the SHARK, I was exhausted when I arrived home, and in need of some good comfort food. Last night was my bookclub meeting, and we read 
What is the What, which takes place in Africa. 

If only I'd gone to the African Lion Safari, I could've picked up some tips on what lions eat in Africa. Unfortunately, at the San Diego zoo, there were no lions. Or tigers. There were, however, bears. Like this polar bear, only he was eating something that didn't seem native to either Africa or the Arctic...

Anyway, throughout the course of the story, our main character, Achak, walked through Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Can you imagine what his feet looked like in the end? Clearly in dire need of a pedicure. 

At 12,837 pages, it was no cakewalk to read, but I suppose, easier than living through it. What was  a breeze was the African curry recipe I found to make!  In the course of one episode of Ellen, I prepped, cooked and cleaned up. That's my kind of meal. 

What is African curry and how is it different from Indian curry? I'm not sure. It may have been a typo on the recipe, actually, which is why, it's best to refer to it as Somalian Stew. Or Ghana Goulash. It's much more impressive that way. 

Monday, May 5, 2008

He's a maneater...

I'm in San Diego. And you know what that means: SHARK.

When I booked my trip, I immediately began looking into scuba diving with the sea lions. It's one of the few places in the world where you can dive or snorkel and be guaranteed to be surrounded by swarms of cute lions of the sea. Who wouldn't want to do that?


But then, I read this in the paper last week:

A shark today attacked and killed a 66-year-old swimmer who was training in the ocean with a group of triathletes, authorities said.

Dave Martin, a retired veterinarian from Solana Beach, was attacked by what authorities believe was a GREAT WHITE SHARK
at San Diego County's Tide Beach around 7 a.m. local time, authorities and family friend Rob Hill said.

Apparently, the shark may be 17 feet long. Which means, it could fit THREE of me inside, no problem. Of course, they're not SURE how big the SHARK is, because they CAN'T FIND IT.

The Hubs was very nervous. He didn't want me to go diving.

"It's fine," I kept trying to reassure him. Because the thing is, the shark attack was VERY rare. The last fatal attack in San Diego happened in 1959.

"Just ask," The Hubs insisted. "Find out if they caught the shark before you go."

I promised I would.

Last night, I flipped on the TV. On Animal Planet, the episode was called "Maneaters: Killers in the Water".


Also, apparently the sharks are getting confused and leaving their normal habitat and heading to other areas, like SAN DIEGO.

So then I did a Google search to find an update on the shark.

"The shark is still in the area. We're sure of that," Solana Beach Mayor Joe Kellejian said.

And then, on CNN, they said that even if they find the shark they're NOT GOING TO CAPTURE OR KILL IT. What??

And then, I read this warning:

"Don't go in waters occupied by large numbers of marine mammals, such as sea lions. Wherever there are marine mammals, such as in a rookery, these sharks are going to be nearby because that's what they're built to eat."

THEN, this morning I turned on the Today Show as I was getting ready and they interrupted regular programming to say that a man has been KILLED in San Diego at the beach ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOTEL. They're about to do an autopsy to see if it's SHARK-related.

In the hotel lobby, I heard some people say that they're going to go kayaking instead - because it's another very popular way to see the sea lions - and safer, because you're not IN THE WATER. With the SHARK.

I don't think so...

So, apparently if you go to La Jolla at sunset, you can see the sea lions frolicking on the beach. From a walkway far above the sea. Like these people. Who are NOT getting eaten by SHARKS.

I think that's what I'm going to do today. Wish me luck. If the SHARK doesn't get me, I'll report all tomorrow.