Last week I dreamed that I peeled a thin layer of skin off my face.
It was an odd sensation, though not entirely unpleasant, as it just seemed to be dry and ready to fall away like I was a snake, shedding her skin. It came away almost in one piece to reveal fresh new skin underneath.
Shedding my skin and taking off a mask.
Seems about right.
The past year has seen me really question a lot of things I thought were certainties and a lot of things I took for granted about myself and my life. Compared to the year before of course, it’s been a quiet year. No whirlwind engagements or core-shaking, heart-breaking breakups.
Nonetheless it’s been a year of re-building, of taking stock of what was left when the dust settled and shifting of expectations and beliefs to fit the picture I was left with. Quiet, internal changes made no less monumental by their invisibility.
It’s always so strange to have a moment or a dream make you suddenly aware that you’re changing, growing, stretching beyond your capabilities and limits and what you new before. Usually you don’t know you’re changing until you look back.
Or maybe it’s just a sign I’m due for my first chemical peel.
(and by “first” I of course mean, I am never doing that)
I think it’s so fascinating that even when we shut everything else down, our brains are left to wander and sometimes to try to continue to puzzle out the challenges we face when we’re awake. How sometimes they make us aware of things we’re too busy to think about in our waking life.
What have you been dreaming about lately?
I grew up in a house with a slightly wild, definitely beautiful garden. Some of the first words I spoke as a baby were the names of plants and flowers (and animal sounds). I used to love make believing I was living off the land. Munching on fresh rhubarb and blackerries, currents and chives, as I tromped around the backyard looking for fairies.
I have yet to finagle myself into an apartment with access to a proper garden, but am lucky enough to have the luxury of a sunny balcony I can grow a few things on in the summer months (ah summer months, remember those? I’m not totally sure I do. I’m starting to feel like Jon Snow on that damned wall of his lately).
I’m not the greatest green thumb. In fact I own possibly the saddest looking ficus anyone has ever seen, BUT I absolutely love growing fresh herbs and lettuces (I tried tomatoes but the squirrels and raccoons stole every single one) and cannot wait to get my hands back into some sun-warmed soil to plant delicious and fragrant basil and rosemary and dill this spring!
Do you guys grow anything? And do any of you know how to keep a ficus from looking like it has mange? Let me know in the comments!
So this is vlogging. I’m still not sure how I feel about the medium, or at least about myself sitting in my apartment rambling at a camera. But try anything once, right? At least I’m in good company on the LXL channel!
Do you guys vlog or watch vlogs? What are your favourites? I could definitely (clearly) use some inspiration!
I’ve been fighting off the threat of a cold/fever for weeks now.
You know that feeling where you start to get fever chills and your throat has a distinctly raw quality to it and your neck is sore? I’ve felt it coming on strong at the end of the work week for the past couple of weeks but have managed to squash it (or so I thought) in order to do the weekend overtime hours I crazily signed up for or to run around the city eating dumplings and singing karaoke.
Really what’s happening is my body is telling me, “slow down” and I’m (oh-so-maturely) telling it “Shut up! I’m going to spin class!”
I’m starting to run out of home remedies to buy me more time before I’m laid low by some inconvenient virus, but I have to say, there must be something to all these things for me to have managed the past couple of weeks without winding up completely incapacitated yet.
So I thought I’d share some of the remedies keeping me going just now.
1. Frankensoup – my ex-boyfriend’s invention, frankensoup is really just chicken noodle soup – but disgusting. You add as much raw garlic and hot pepper flakes as you can stand to the pot and then just eat the whole pot and sweat everything out. It’s also great if you’ve grown out of your love for Edward Cullen or Bill Compton and would like to move on to someone less angsty and more alive-y.
2. Extreme ginger tea -I just chop up some ginger and throw it in a teapot with hot water and lemon. I add some honey and down it by the pot-full.
3. Oscillococcinum – My mom always gives me these weird little plastic capsules of homeopathic globules (I’m not just calling them that, it actually says globules on the package) when I feel the onset of fluey symptoms, though I’m not sure either of us it totally convinced they aren’t just wildly overpriced sugar.
4. Emergen -C – I was turned on to this stuff when I was doing Bikram yoga for a while. The instructors swore it helped you get through a 90-minute class and I don’t know if I was just (basically literally) drinking the kool aid, but I found it really worked. I’ve also found that drinking a tall glass of water with it before bed helps ward off a hangover better than just the water alone.
5. Oregano oil – this is a recent addition to my illness-fighting utility belt. I have a couple of friends who swear by the stuff, so I’m giving it a shot. So far all I know for sure is that it tastes fairly terrible but makes you smell like a pizza. So, comme ci, comme ça.
Do you guys swear by any flu-fighters besides plain old R and R or do you think home remedies are usually snake oil?
Hand in Hand is an expensive brand as far as bars of soap go.
But these beautiful, fragrant bars do a lot more than just froth up into a luxurious lather in your at-home spa (cough- bathtub-cough).
For every fair trade bar purchased, Hand in Hand soap donates a bar and one month of clean water to an orphan in Haiti.
I mean, come on.
And as if that weren’t enough, their soaps are cruelty-free and environmentally friendly, with ingredients ethically harvested from sustainable resources.
They first caught my eye because of their oh-so-pretty packaging, and I thought they’d make lovely little host/hostess gifts the next time I go and stay with someone, but I couldn’t resist opening one up to try it myself, and I loved it! It lathered up so nicely I could use it to shave my legs, and it didn’t dry out my skin, which is always a challenge with solid soaps for me.
So I’d definitely call this little luxury a win-win.
And speaking of winning, today is the final day to get your comments and tweets in to win a pair of last week’s little luxuries feature: beautiful studs from Moonlight for Violet!
When she’s not busy being a paediatric researcher (! – also, let’s never discuss how many tries it took me to spell “paediatric” correctly), or travelling to gorgeous locales around the globe and taking seriously beautiful photos, the talented and stylish Katie Appleyard writes lovely, engaging and relatable posts on her blog, Sweet Apple.
I feel like she and I are kindred blog-spirits in that we both float back and forth between lifestyle and personal blogging. I think she’s struck the balance perfectly.
She also recently launched Rosebud, a complementary style blog where she posts all manner of beautiful, pinnable style inspiration.
Katie was kind enough to answer a few questions to help us get to know her and her wonderful blog a little better.
I know when you read her thoughtful answers you’re going to want to read more (and maybe become best friends with Katie), so be sure to check out Sweet Apple!
What is the concept behind your blog and how did you come up with it?
Sweet Apple started as a place to connect with my friends who live all around the world. It quickly became a projection of what was going on inside my head on any one-day, week or month. So the content and the concept tend to change and grow with me. I have a very curious and observant mind so I write about the thoughts in my head that make my tummy flutter. That flutter usually means I have something to share. On other days, when I’m tired of being so open, I just share style tips or internet links. Things that don’t matter much, but make me smile.
How do you define success?
Very differently now to how I did three years ago. Success used to equal perfection, the admiration of others and never disappointing anybody. However, I grew weary. These days, my idea of success is a day spent cultivating self-love and the rewards that come from that way of life. Doing work that I enjoy and feel is valuable; always creating; surrounding myself with those who support me, or otherwise teach me; filling my body with good food and the occasional block of Lindt mint chocolate. Success to me is having the guts to know what I need, what is right for me, and living for myself, not anyone else. Some days I win and some days I am still learning.
What has been the most rewarding/exciting thing about blogging for you so far?
Developing the habit of removing the thoughts from my head and putting them on paper. Although blogging is not essential to this process, it requires me to be brave. I have had to learn not to worry so much about what people think of me and follow my intuition instead. To write well means being honest with everyone else and with yourself. And learning to be honest with yourself is the most valuable lesson you can ever learn. It’s the key to happiness.
How does blogging fit into the schedule of a paediatric researcher?
It’s not easy! I used to write in my lunchtime and late at night. Luckily for me, most of what I write comes out like a waterfall. It is absolutely necessary for me to write and take photos. It is how I make sense of the world. I share these creations whenever I get the time. I am currently writing up my PhD thesis, so the posts have become sporadic of late.
Who are your style icons?
Lately, my inspiration has come from the street, not magazines. There are those who are ‘fashionable’ and there are the others. Like that girl you see who is sure she was a French actress in a past life. She wears her cardigan buttoned back-to-front, her pants are tailored and she darts in front of your car at the lights in the most perfect pair of nude-coloured ballet flats. These days I try to dress how I feel, rather than following trends. Style should be an expression of what’s inside, not what’s on everyone else’s outside. I do love the simple and interchangeable style of the Emerson Fry range. We don’t have anything quite like that in New Zealand.
If you were a Golden Girl, which one would you be?
Great question. Probably Rose. In my daily life I can be easily excitable, idealistic, gullible and a little naïve. I have the mind of a child.
Is there anything you don’t blog about but wish you could?
Love. This one has been a struggle for me. I didn’t want people to know my little secret….that I really hope to find my big love one day, the real deal. The love that shines from somewhere within, even when my hair is grey and my hands are wrinkled. It feels much more sexy and powerful to act as though it isn’t a dream, or a human need. But I’m transparent and my secret is well and truly out. Love is the quiet undercurrent in everything I write.
How do you deal with writer’s block? What inspires you to keep writing through it?
If I have writers block, then one of three things is happening. 1) I’m distracted by some other passion in my life and I don’t feel as though words will do it justice. 2) I am stagnant and I’ve stopped reaching for the bigger things. 3) I’m too worried about what people think of me.
If the reason is 1) then I just enjoy the hiatus. Life is about following your excitement. If something is too beautiful to be written about, then that moment should just be lived. If the reason is 2) I acknowledge that it might be time to face my fears and change my comfortable situation. If the reason is 3) I pour myself a wine and remind myself that nothing worth doing ever came without risk of embarrassing oneself.
I also find that putting my headphones on and playing a piece of music that makes me feel something helps to get creativity flowing. Beauty and creativity are intricately laced.
What piece of writing on your blog are you the most proud of? Why?
Of late, probably ‘What Does it Mean to be a Woman’. This post received a lot of positive feedback on Facebook and it was nice to see a piece of my writing cause so many others to really think about their own relationship with femininity.
What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
This is a hard one! I laugh a lot and always very loudly. I think my last good laugh was when my best friend and I of 14 years were recalling a story of our ‘younger days’. We decided to attend a foam party at a bar (yes, I know). We were dancing away and all of a sudden I turned around and she was gone. Little did I know she had slipped off the step and disappeared under the bubbles. Remembering her shocked face popping up through the foam was enough to have me rolling around on the couch in hysterics.
Congratulations on your 80th year on Earth (God, I really hope people still live on Earth -I can’t imagine you’d enjoy space travel).
I hope you are rocking some elegant, long black dresses and a messy silver bun with crazy headscarves, prompting the neighbourhood kids to whisper about whether you’re a good or a bad witch.
Did someone develop a miracle cure for your chronic DVT so that you didn’t wind up wheelchair-bound? That would be grand. Hopefully either way you’re still finding ways to stay active and healthy.
Is it too much to hope that you found an amazing, kind, smart, funny and deserving man to fall madly in love with and raise a tiny army of environmentalist, feminist, activists with?
Well, if it didn’t work out quite that way, I hope you didn’t spend too much time waiting around for that kind of lightning to strike. I hope you took chances on imperfect love so that at least you got to feel it now and again, even if it wasn’t for keeps.
Most of all though, I hope that whatever else has happened, your life has not become too small. That you haven’t become resigned to dull isolation because it’s easy and safe. I hope you haven’t allowed your life to fold in on itself.
I hope that you haven’t stopped making new friends and smiling at strangers.
I hope you’re still curious about the world around you and about human nature. I hope you always have a book on the go.
I hope that you are still exercising your voice and that you still take the time to educate yourself about the day’s events.
I hope you still volunteer, that you’re still optimistic, that you still challenge the status quo.
I hope you still see the humour in life and laugh out loud at it whenever the mood strikes.
I hope your calendar is full of lunch dates with friends and family. And if it isn’t, get on the phone, girl! None of you are getting any younger!
I hope that you never stop learning and growing and trying new things.
I hope you sleep well and that your heart is full.
So much love,
What are your hopes for your 80-year-old self? Leave them in the comments below or write your own post and link it up in the comments on my Steal My Ideas board on Pinterest!
What’s more luxurious than picking up a new pair of pretty earrings to adorn your pretty ears?
Why, I’ll tell you dear readers, it’s adorning your pretty ears with a free pair of gorgeous studs from Moonlight for Violet.
I recently came across these awesome little gems at Risque on Bloor West and was so enamoured with them that I couldn’t choose between these three pairs. I had to take them all home with me!
I got in touch with Shannon Keheler, the talented, Toronto-based creator of Moonlight for Violet to let her know how much I love her stuff and she generously agreed to give away two pairs to two lucky Metamorphocity readers.
For a chance to win, visit Moonlight for Violet on etsy and let me know which pair you’d like to win in the comments below.
For an additional chance to win, follow Metamorphocity on twitter and tweet “Hey @metamorphocity, I’d love to win a gorgeous pair of @MoonlightViolet studs! http://wp.me/p3hxtl-D0 #giveaway” (you can of course still tweet and gain an entry if you’re already a twitter pal)
I’ll announce the winners at the end of next week.
This contest is now closed. Congratulations to winners Becky Berry and Emily Finta!
“I mean, figure skating isn’t a real sport. It’s athletic and beautiful, but it’s not a sport”
The words sliced through the lunchtime din from across the restaurant and made me look up from my own conversation as they emanated loudly from the lanky fiftyish grey-bearded, gentleman leaning back against the wall at a table ten feet away.
“Great to hear your thoughts on the matter,” I muttered inwardly, rolling my eyes outwardly.
I tried to concentrate on my meal and my own conversation, but couldn’t help but hear where this guy’s broadcast went next: from skating to skaters.
“…I mean, from the neck down, she’s great. She’s got the whole package. But I’m sorry, you’re never going to attract me with a boy’s haircut. Short hair on a woman just isn’t sexy.”
His friend nodded in agreement.
Never have I had a stronger urge to walk over to someone, chop off my long locks and sprinkle them all over their lunch. My dining companion felt the same.
Yes, these were just two arrogant, misogynistic jackasses, maybe not even worth writing about.
The fact that the loud jackass felt secure and comfortable spouting off in public about what he thinks women should look like was just a reminder to me of some things I sadly know all too well already, because these ideas are reinforced in more or less subtle ways every day in our culture, ensuring that this breed of jackass never need feel alone in his misogyny.
The idea that a woman could have the whole package WITHOUT HAVING A HEAD was a pretty clear indication of what this guy thinks a woman is for. Who needs a brain or even a face really, as long as you’ve got a tight bod for the hetero men-folk to ogle, right, ladies?
The “boy’s haircut” comment was typical of someone living in a society still far too caught up in restrictive and damaging gender roles and stereotypes.
And finally, the man assuming that women cut and style their hair with the primary objective of attracting men, never considering that long flowing locks might not actually be the most practical thing to cultivate as a professional athlete, or that hey, some of us don’t have the time, energy or inclination to take care of a long mane BECAUSE WE HAVE OTHER STUFF GOING ON, JUST LIKE MEN DO made me want to take an angry nap, because that kind of arrogant ignorance just exhausts me.
And so, I resisted the urge to start an all out brawl in the restaurant, because this guy clearly wasn’t about to transform into an enlightened being in the ten minutes I had left to finish my food, and frankly, I just didn’t have the energy to try discuss why his loud comments were offensive and harmful calmly and rationally with him.
So I just glared at him really hard.
Though, now that I think about it, he probably thought I was flirting.
Oh, and the kicker? This expert on how women should wear their hair didn’t even have any.
Do they give out Olympic medals for balding jerks?
Because I think I’ve found a contender.
Between my full-time job, my part time job, my volunteer job and this blog, a gal can get mired down and lately that’s just how I’ve been feeling: trapped in one place while my feet do a Flinstones run underneath me. There is never enough time to do all of the things I mean to do or see all the things I mean to see. There certainly isn’t time to slow down long enough for proper R&R.
That’s why I was SO grateful to my past self for scheduling a mini-escape this long weekend. That woman damn sure knew what she was about. Of course, she couldn’t resist a little multitasking, so it wasn’t just me heading home to visit my family, but a little flock of my beautiful pals. Apparently, after last May, they can’t get enough of the place.
We spent a beautiful couple of days being spoiled by my parents and my brother, who cooked us gorgeous, energizing winter feasts, and getting our fill of (freezing) fresh air, sunshine and of course, Rheo Thompson chocolate.
It reminded me just how important it is to hop off the treadmill every once in a while and clear my head.
And how important it is to wear appropriate footwear to my hometown.