Thursday, September 28, 2006
I wandered through the mall, stopping at Aritzia where I tried on a cream-coloured Mackage coat trimmed in leather that I first saw a couple weeks ago. I was soo tempted to buy it the first time around, but my friend talked some sense into me, telling me I should wait since it was still technically summer.
Now it's no longer summer, it's fall...and the reasonable, rational part of me thinks it's still too soon to be buying winter coats, but the savvy shopper in me knows that this coat ain't going on sale...if anything, it'll be sold out, so I best buy it now...I refrained though...only because the teenaged sales associate was so irritating. She kept referring to the coat as beige when it is so clearly cream. And she kept going on about how I'd regret it if I bought the black one instead of the beige one and that the beige one really looked good on me but so did the black one. I just wanted her to shut up...but I kept the bitch in. I ended up buying a fudge-coloured tna zip-up sweat instead, which I didn't even need, but it was so comfy.
Then I walked into Birks, just for fun and ended up trying on this fantastic right hand ring, which is rather reminiscent of Tiffany's Bubbles ring. I love the look of Tiffany's version but it makes my finger look stubby. Birk's version looks perfect on my finger...and the price is certainly friendlier, too. Of course, I was only turned onto this style of ring again after seeing an ad for Fortunes Fine Jewellers in the latest edition of Toronto Life. How beautiful is this ring here:
I'm guessing the price point will be closer to Tiffany's than Birks given the number of diamonds in the band, which is definitely more than I am willing to spend on a piece of jewellery at this point in time. This is a ring that makes a statement...and the thought did cross my mind tonight as I was fantasizing about buying it whether it would scare a guy off. You know, same reason my mother was wary of me buying my own place: "If you have your own place, you may intimidate any guys who would like to get close to you because guys want to feel needed, that they can provide for you. If you can so obviously take care of yourself, you may end up having to do so forever."
But come on, it's the 21st century after all. Guys aren't really intimidated by girls who can take care of themselves...are they?
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
And just when I thought that yawn of a task was behind me, I was asked to review the transcript for a symposium in which the president of said competitor spoke. It was a more painful read than the annual report because it was a word-for-word account of the panel discussion.
Can I just say that, like, you know, it's amazing what people actually say in speech if you, like, really listen to what it is they're saying? Because, you know, it really doesn't make any sense. It's, like, complete bullshit half the time, and they throw in big words to distract you into, you know, thinking they're telling you something really important, when, you know, they're really not telling you anything of consequence.
Seriously though. I am so distracted by poor grammar that the message is often lost on me. And that was my problem today. There were 2 paragraphs that I read 5 or 6 times and I couldn't decipher what was being said. I thought maybe I was trying too hard...perhaps I just needed a fresh pair of eyes, so I asked my manager to review it too, and he had the same issues.
It was torturous and frustrating and I complained somewhat bitterly about it. And then I made him promise to never do that to me again.
"Too little testosterone is bad, too much is bad but the right amount is perfect," said Barbara Ehrlich of Yale University in Connecticut, who led the study.
Um, duh. How banal is that comment?
Anyway, to prove that they weren't being sexist or anything, the researchers did similar tests on estrogen and discovered that "estrogen is neuroprotective. If anything, there is less cell death in the presence of estrogen."
Hmm. Interesting that even at the hormonal level, the stereotype of women as more nurturing and caring than men holds.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I used to dread going to Chinese school on Saturday mornings. When other kids were home watching their Saturday morning cartoons, I was sitting behind a desk in a classroom learning to read and write Chinese. This lasted until the 8th grade, which was just about the time of the arrival of the first wave of immigrants from Hong Kong who were escaping the big hand-over to China. For some stupid reason, their parents enrolled them in Heritage Language classes, meanwhile, they already knew how to read and write quite fluently.
The irony of giving up my Saturday mornings at this late date to go back to Chinese school of my own volition has not escaped me. The difference this time around is that I’m listening to CDs and learning Hanyu Pinyin—at least until I recognize all the radicals and am able to read Chinese.
I decided to learn Mandarin, partly because I was bored and wanted to learn something new, and also because I figure it’s a good skill considering the growing importance of China on the world stage. I have no desire to move to China to work or anything…I’ve visited a couple times and it’s so not where I see myself living…but again, who knows?
I’m happy to discover that I’ve retained quite a bit from all those awful Saturday mornings. I didn’t have to cheat and refer to my text too often in translating:
A: Is he your older brother?
B: No, he’s my father.
A: How many older sisters do you have?
B: I have two older sisters.
Of course, translating from English into Hanyu Pinyin is another story since I haven’t been diligent about studying the text and as a result, get the tone marks wrong half the time.
I've interviewed with another company in a different industry for a similar role, and it sounds very promising...but so did this job. And while I believe I have a really good chance given that I was referred so highly, I can't seem to muster up suitable enthusiasm.
I've been half-heartedly scanning the job postings on Workopolis but am being very choosy about what I want to do next. Most of the openings out there seem to be in Finance, and to date, I've bypassed those postings completely. I'm not exactly keen on going back there. So why do I find myself interested in just such a role after reviewing the posting last night?
Could it be the promise of being consistently busy doing relatively routine work which, until very recently, was anathema to me? I've been rather bored the last couple weeks: with the M&A project I was working on sort of on hold until the execs decide what they want to do, I've been keeping busy reading the annual report of our competitor, which isn't exactly a scintillating read. So the prospect of going back to the staid banking world and putting together P&Ls is looking pretty good right about now.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
When we first moved in 20 years ago, we had 3 TVs for our household of 5: a TV in the family room, another in the basement rec room, and one in my parents room. Now, there are 3 in the basement alone: 2 are my brother's--one in his bedroom, which my sister left behind when she and her fiance moved to Vancouver, the other in his living room--and the third is sitting unplugged...so maybe this one doesn't really count...
We have 2 on the main floor, soon to be 3: the first in the living room, which used to be in the family room and the second set is in the family room, which we only bought because we thought the one now in the living room was broken, but it turns out it wasn't.
My mother only began coveting a TV for the kitchen when she saw this one in a condo model suite we were visiting. So we got her the same one for Mother's Day this year. It's actually more function than she needs as it plays CD/DVDs and comes with a radio tuner, when all she wants is to be able to watch her Chinese programming on Fairchild while working in the kitchen. If this convenience makes my mother happy and comfortable, than that's fine by me because she deserves it. Of course, the thing isn't hooked up yet because we've been in the throes of a renovation and the kitchen walls were only just painted yesterday, but that's besides the point.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
After sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a month, it was weird to see it on a bed. It seemed a little too high up off the floor...but how happy am I at the prospect of sleeping in a proper bed tonight?!
It will take me all weekend and then some to move all my things back upstairs but it's one chore that I'm actually looking forward to!
I just finished making my bed, and with the newly painted celadon walls--CIL's Pine Scent--the pale quilt that used to pop against the deep rose-coloured walls now looks lacklustre. :(
Hmmm....looks like I have an excuse to go shopping.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I love his writing style; I have ever since reading Essays in Love, his first work of fiction which is still my favourite. I've since read all his other fiction and most of his non-fiction and he never fails to impress me with how he is able to weave philosophical concepts effortlessly into an anecdote or story to get his point across. (His lyrical style is akin to Diane Ackerman's.)
I must admit that I'm a bit apprehensive about hearing him speak in person. I love his voice on the written page and I'm worried that it won't translate well in real life. I've been known to re-read favourite books before and I'm concerned that if the real him is disappointing, it will colour my feelings towards his writing going forward.
And that would totally suck because I think he's brilliant...and cute in a bald-geek-chic kind of way, donchathink? I suppose there's nothing to do now but wait and see if the appearance lives up to the reality.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The sad thing? My trusty Conair Pro Styler 1600 which has been with me since first year university finally bit the dust. There was a spark, followed by smoke and then it was gone. I'll miss it. Even the ghetto- looking detachable air filter which was cracked and taped up with electrical tape. It was so key to smoothly-styled hair.
I've been reading about this new ionic technology that's anti-frizz...maybe I can get this purple(!) one that's ionic AND ceramic! Too bad, so sad....
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Our centre hall/foyer is still a work-in-progress though (as is the staircase and kitchen, but one thing at a time...) If we had stuck to our original plan of replacing the hardwood there, we'd be done. But since my mother changed her mind and decided to go with tile, we're behind schedule. Our contractor literally just finished putting in the grout for the tiles in the foyer/centre hall, but because the tiles are a glossy white/grey, the present paint colour on the walls makes the room look rather cold and institutional so the walls need to be re-painted to warm it up.
We had also planned to leave the powder room on the main floor untouched, but the last few days my mother has been making noises about replacing the tile there. To date, my mother's made changes there in a piecemeal fashion: the tiles were replaced about 15 years ago, the toilet and sink more recently, yet, no thought was given to how the pieces relate to each other. The result? A mismatched powder room that is now an eyesore given the improvements on the rest of the main floor.
Our powder room now: pink tiled floor, beige toilet, peach sink and cream cabinets original to the house...what here belongs together?
She seemed fine with leaving the powder room as is, but seeing the new tile on the floor, she's decided that she wants to re-tile after all, and she had to wake me up at 9 o' clock this morning to tell me so. Me, being grumpy from sleep, told her that if she was going to do anything in there, there was no point going about it half-assed.
After spending the day thinking about it, she's come around to my way of thinking and told me this afternoon that she's decided to go ahead with a complete renovation of the powder room(!) Normally, I'd be bothered by this flip-flop on my mother's part, but because this doesn't affect our daily living, I'm all for it. And, it seems I have carte-blanche design-wise. I ran the idea of putting a dark colour on the walls and she seemed OK with it, so now I'm really excited!
I started leafing through the clippings of bathroom ideas in my design folder and I'm torn between deep drama on the one hand and refined elegance on the other. The former because I love the new Ralph Lauren Regent Metallics line of paints and the latter because the colours in the rest of the house are more refined and subdued. Whatever the mood, I quite like the idea of having a bath console that looks like a piece of furniture, similar to this one to the left from the Pottery Barn.
I have a few weeks to bring my design ideas into focus though as the contractor we have in mind for the job won't be available until mid-October. It looks like there's more Depot in my future...
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I've been thinking about it a lot and I suspect the culprit is my skin care regimen: I've been using Clinique's Turnaround Concentrate since May as I got a sample with my bonus while in London. It was featured in In Style and Fashion magazines as this great product for oily/acne-prone skin so I decided to give it a try. I had good results in the first couple weeks using the sample as it seemed to smooth out my skin, so I forked over the $50+ for the full-size product. After a while though, I noticed flaking and just attributed it to the "visible" effect of the skin renewing itself. Now, I think it's just too strong a product for my skin--so much so that the dry skin is clogging my pores and causing break-outs. So good-bye Turnaround Concentrate and hello ???
I've never been the kind of girl who was really into beauty products and make-up--maybe it comes from not having girlfriends who are particularly superficial that way. When I find a product I like that works, I generally stick to it. And because my skin care products have often been recommendations by aestheticians, the idea of going to beauty counters to find new products is rather foreign to me. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
I was at the Kiehl's store a few weeks ago and picked up some samples there, including the Sodium PCA Oil-Free Moisturizer, which I find has just exacerbated the problem. I read the reviews for the other Kiehl's samples I got on MakeUp Alley and given the mixed reviews, I am very wary of giving them a try, so back to square one.
I went to the MAC counter after work yesterday to pick up some StudioTech (my all-time favourite make-up to date!) and ended up with some skin care samples, including their Day SPF 15 Light Moisture and Studio Moisture Cream for night. I knew that they had a skin care line but it's their cosmetics that are top-of-mind for me so I had no expectations for their efficacy. Imagine my surprise upon reading the great reviews for these products online--80+% would buy again! Now I'm hopeful that these will be my HG.*
To hedge my bets though, I stopped by Sephora and scored some samples there too, including Dr. Brandt's Poreless Moisture and Philosphy's Hope in a Jar. These latter two products weren't as well-reviewed so I'm not as keen on them. (Although I'm as much a sucker for good marketing as the next person, and I've always loved Philosphy's branding so I almost wish Hope in a Jar will live up to it's name.)
Keeping my fingers crossed....
* HG = Holy Grail as per MakeUp Alley.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I was all psyched to start the program since I spent part of my Saturday afternoon getting fitted for a proper pair of runners. This was a shoe-shopping experience unlike any other because for the first time, I went in to buy a pair of shoes for a purpose. I explained my feet issues and that I wanted to start running, so the salesperson proceeded to ask me to walk the length of the store for him and then to run so he could analyse my gait. That was a first! Then he sat me down and started bringing out shoes.
I must have tried on 6 or 7 different pairs before settling on the first pair I tried on: a pair of Brooks that are white with metallic orange trim(!) Needless to say, I would never have picked these shoes out from a line-up, but they were the most comfortable to wear.
The funny thing for me was that he kept asking me how the shoes felt, and this probably sounds dumb, but I wasn't sure how they were supposed to feel. I wear shoes on my feet every day but I was stumped to articulate myself. I could tell that one was a little too tight in the toe box...and another wasn't deep enough in the heel for my orthotics to fit properly so that I felt like my feet were falling out of my shoes. He was great because he asked me all the right probing questions.
I tried them out at the gym tonight and I must say that they were really great to run in. There's lots of cushioning for the balls of my feet and there's support in my heel and my arch where I need it.
While I was at the store, I bought a yoga mat for class. I've been thinking of getting one for a while and they just happened to have a pretty purple one on sale, so I thought, why not? I'm all set for my weekly routine now: running M/W/F and Bodyflow T/R. That's just my workout routine though. I have to schedule time to practice mandarin during the week to prepare for my class Saturday mornings--I already have a quiz scheduled this week but I can't seem to find my textbooks, which are packed away somewhere, so I have to spend tomorrow unpacking some stuff so I can study. I'll be busy, which is just how I like it.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
The big 3-0.
I'm not sure what I was expecting but it doesn't feel any different. I'm still the same person I was yesterday and with everything that's been going on the last couple weeks, the annual birthday blues haven't had the chance to hit.
My friends took me out for dinner last night at George, which was just as yummy as I remembered from our visit there for my last birthday. The service was fantastic, and the decor was suitably luxe but not stuffy.
Our server was a cutie...actually, come to think of it, there were a number of very attractive servers there, and I'm not just saying that because they were dressed in crisp, handsome purple dress shirts.
I started with a glass of Strawberry Bubbles, a lively libation made of fresh strawberries, mint and orange blossom, cointreau and cava which was just perfect. We each ordered a first, second and third, as well as dessert. I went with the poached lobster to start, and since we ordered a bottle of the Pirramimma Shiraz from McLaren Vale (my friend's fave), I followed that with the Ontario lamb tenderloin for my second and the beef tenderloin for my third. All very tasty. Dessert was a raspberry lime tart, my favourite part of meal because it was so light and just the right balance of sweet and tart.
Today was low-key too. I was woken up around noon by a call from my sister in Vancouver wishing me a happy birthday. I spent the afternoon with my mother checking out blinds: After visiting The Home Depot, which everyone knows is my new favourite store, she decided to go with Blinds to Go afterall.
We then went grocery shopping for my birthday dinner at home. I had requested a seafood feast, and my mother did not disappoint: there was lobster, crab and prawns. I haven't yet tasted better lobster or crab then my mother's. The lobster was baked Western-style with butter and garlic, and the crab was all Chinese-style with ground pork, green onions and ginger.
My brother's a lazy butt when it comes to eating crab, as is my mother, to a lesser extent. If my sister was here, we would have been sitting at the table, the two of us, patiently picking out the crab meat, but because she's not, I had the crab pretty much all to myself. Fantastic, is all I gotta say about that. :)
I checked the horoscope for today's birthday. Apparently:
Lamenting over missed opportunities only makes matters worse. Everything happens for a good reason. The time wasn't right for a certain plan, but this year will allow you to capitalize on an even better chance.
Interesting. The first thing that came to mind was my ex, since he recently sort of re-appeared in my life...and then left again...our timing was off from the very start...but I think that's done and I'm determined to put it behind me once and for all.
I love this kawaii not comic. It reminds me of my grandfather, who thinks I should hurry up and get married before my looks fade because no one is going to want me if I get any older. I tend to turn a deaf ear to this kind of talk. I don't think relationships can be rushed...and I have no intention of settling.
Coincidently, it's also Colin Firth's birthday today. He's 46.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
However, it is now after Labour Day. If I follow traditional fashion rules, I really can't wear it, as it's a cream-coloured cotton so thin that it's made of 3-layers to preserve my modesty.
I posed rather like the lady in black over here, only, without the hat, gloves and scarf...and my dress wasn't black it was cream. Alright. I really just like the glam "I'm fabulous and I know it" attitude the lady in the mirror exudes and just wanted to use the graphic in a blog entry, so there!
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Anyway, my point is that it's encouraging to know that my work is being recognized. There's something to be said about flying in under the radar...Now back to preparing for my interview tomorrow.
Monday, September 04, 2006
I loved to go back-to-school shopping: a fresh pack of Laurentian 24s, new binders, pens and pencils, 200 sheets of lined paper and a blank student agenda. And because it was my birthday too, I'd work it so that I could handpick my own gifts. That's how I managed to get my first bottle of designer perfume in my 13th year (Poison, because I really liked the purple bottle); new clothes from Jacob, which was my absolute favourite store in high school; and an Alfred Sung men's leather wallet, which I still use occasionally today.
Ever since finishing school though, I've noticed that I settle into a bit of a funk which I call the birthday blues. Maybe it's the disappointment of not being able to go back to school...I was in such a rush to graduate that all I want to do now is go back and live those carefree student days again.
The birthday blues for me involve a period of self-evaluation. In years past, I've always been a bit down around this time. I think about where I am in my life and about what I feel I should have accomplished by this time. The common themes have always been career and love. What else is one supposed to think about at this age?
Last year, I was happy in what I thought at the time would be a lasting relationship. And I was content career-wise because the work I was doing was interesting and challenging. This year, I find myself single and at a crossroads in my career.
Oddly enough, I'm not so concerned about the lack of romance since I've never been the type to be in a relationship for the sake of it. I'm not particularly interested in another relationship now, because it occurred to me very recently that I'm still quite angry with my ex and until I get over the anger, I couldn't be happy in another relationship anyway. So alone I shall remain.
As for my work life, it looks like it's time to move on from my current position given all the changes that will be coming down the pipe. And just as this is happening, a very promising opportunity has come my way. I haven't started job hunting in earnest yet...I've re-started my career alerts from workopolis.com but I haven't looked at any of them, and I haven't yet called up any of the headhunting agencies that I've worked with in the past. I figure I'll see what comes of this opportunity, and if I am offered the position, fantastic, if not, I'll start looking actively. My job now isn't so bad that I am desperate to leave after all.
And with every new year comes a resolution. Mine has always been to live and eat healthier. I am going to re-commit myself to regular work-outs at the gym. I was pretty good at going regularly 3 times a week until the renovation threw my whole schedule out of whack. My regular work-outs turned into regular visits to the Home Depot.
This year, I am going to learn to run. I have a plan from Running Free that I mean to follow and I am going to finally get myself fitted for proper running shoes--no more buying Nikes just because they're some shade of purple.
Happy New Year to Me.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Yesterday morning was all about errands: I renewed my driver's license and drove around town sourcing additional crystals and findings for a necklace I'm making for a girlfriend. While out and about, I stopped by the site for my condo and the hole is deeper. I'm anxious to see something besides a big hole though...like maybe foundation being poured! Now that would be exciting!
I met up with S today to check out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the AGO. I wouldn't call myself a Warhol fan, nor a fan of David Cronenberg since he guest-curated the exhibit, but I had filled out an online survey for the AGO and received free admission for 2 in return, so figured, why not?
It was a small exhibit of about 30 pieces. I normally eschew audio-guides, partly because I'm cheap, and partly because I prefer just experiencing the art on my own, but we were given free audio-guides narrated by Cronenberg which I found really interesting and helpful in understanding the personality that is Warhol.
My knowledge of Warhol prior to this exhibit pretty much starts and ends with the iconic pop cultural images of the Campbell's soup can and the colourful screen prints of Marilyn Monroe. I didn't know he did a whole series of disaster pieces. The most bizarrely funny one was Tunafish Disaster (pictured below), in which he silkscreened a can of tuna fish that was recalled and juxtaposes it with pictures of the two housewives that were poisoned by said can.
I learnt that he wore a wig and never took it off, not even to sleep, and that he was painfully shy; all of which I'm sure will come in handy when next I play Trivial Pursuit.
We followed up our gallery visit with a trip to Ikea, which, duh, was a bad move on our part given that it took us a good half hour just to make the left turn off Sheppard Ave. S needed to pick up some stuff for her apartment and I wanted to get the Tanja Brodyr quilt cover in purple, so off we went without even thinking about the zoo that is Ikea on the weekend, let alone the weekend before everyone heads back to school.
Luck was on my side though as I managed to find a parking spot in short order. We breezed through pretty quickly, checking in and out in about an hour. We stopped off at the Tim Horton's on the way home since S was craving a donut, a rare delicacy in London, where she'd been living for the last year.
That's it of my gloomy, wet weekend so far. Sunshine is expected tomorrow and I have plans to meet an old friend who's in town from Denver for lunch. I have an interview(!) this coming Friday afternoon to prep for, so it looks like this last long weekend of the summer will be a productive one...
Normally, thinking’s a good thing. I would even venture to say a great thing. But when my mother starts a sentence with “I’ve been thinking…” I’m filled with a mixture of dread and frustration because ever since we started this home renovation, these 3 innocent little words have meant she’s about to change her mind and flip flop on a decision already made.
Most recently she’s decided to tile the central foyer after all, which necessitated trips to various tile stores all weekend to find the right tile. The latest bee in her bonnet is to get blinds from Walmart because “they’re only $15 each” instead of the $70 we’ve been quoted.
Let me back up a bit. Since the renovations are supposedly expected to be done by the 20th*, we’ll be needing window coverings soon. We’ve gone to a few places to get quotes for various window coverings, including cellular blinds, wood blinds, mini-blinds, and window shadings, and received quotes ranging from about $2,700 to $3,800 given different combinations.
In the interest of saving money (which I completely understand), my mother is considering getting blinds from Walmart. Perhaps I’m being unreasonable for dismissing this idea out-of-hand, but these blinds are $15 for a reason: Somehow I don’t think Walmart will cut the blinds to fit the dimensions of the different windows we have—they’re known for being excellent operationally and not for being customer intimate—but my mother thinks it may work. So I’ll let her figure it out.
I probably shouldn’t be as particular as I have been about the design decisions—after all, I’ll be moving out next year when my condo is ready anyway. But still. I want the house my mother plans to grow old in to be not only comfortable for her, but aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps we have different ideas about what the latter is…but so far, she’s always come around to my way of thinking eventually, if in a round-about way, so I suppose I’ll just have to be patient—which, goodness knows, has never been my strong suit...
Meanwhile, the hardwood floor is taking shape on the 2nd floor and the red oak looks great!
* I'll believe this when I've moved back into my bedroom and the house is in some semblance of its former (dis)order.