Spring notes

Just enjoying my last days in Ottawa.

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Read the pain away?

Well if you haven’t looked out the window yet, don’t bother. Winter continues to remind us that she’s still here, despite what that rodent told us months ago, and spring is certainly not invited to the party.

So you probably won’t be spending any quality time outside, but it’s okay! It happens to be National D.E.A.R day (Drop Everything and Read), so you should probably just stay inside and read anyway. I will settle for my couch even though I was reading in the park with a latte just a few short days ago.

I just began reading Nemesis, by Philip Roth.

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What will you be reading today?

M

An evening with Purity Ring

When I first heard “Crawlersout” last year, I became addicted to Purity Ring. The addiction lives on, and now I can say I have had the chance to enjoy them live.

It makes me really happy when I enjoy a band and then discover that they are Canadian. This has been happening a lot lately, and I have to say our home grown talent is always getting bigger and better.

Purity Ring hails from Edmonton, Alberta. An electronic duo with a radical on-stage set up, the beats will get you moving and Megan James’ voice will truly mesmerize you. I find a lot of the songs to be really dreamy and their unique stage presence makes the show unforgettable. It will probably haunt me for awhile, but only in the best of ways.

The last time I went to Ritual Nightclub, we faced a rather small crowd while waiting for Trust to play. I wasn’t sure what to expect last night, but the sold out show was packed way before the main act even hit the stage. This was the first night of the tour, and if last night signals anything, the rest of the tour is going to be amazing.

The night started out slow, at first there was plenty of room to twist and mingle with others. It was obviously a night of electronic duos, as both bands that hit the stage prior to Purity Ring were small in size but big in sound. The first band confused me, and they didn’t say much. However the singer did proclaim “We are Space, we are Time. We are Space and Time.” He then laughed and I realized this must be their band name. The music was cool, but upon returning home I was disappointed that I was unable to figure out exactly who these guys are, or where I can find their music. (Note: If anyone reading this does, let me know?!)

In any case, it was oddly tropical, hip swaying, and enjoyable.

Blue Hawaii came onstage with a full house staring back at them. This would probably seem intimidating to most, but they took it in stride, and were amazing. By the end of their set the audience was begging for more.  It’s also fun to note that these two are Canadian – from Montreal. They promised a dance party, but started it out slow. Easing us in. It was gentle and fun, and her voice echoed around us. The beat grew faster. We pushed forward. We danced. I’m sure it was overwhelming for them, because I heard her giggling at the end, telling us our favourite band would be coming on soon.

But I have to say, if I ever hear that this band is around again, wherever I may be, I will have to see them. Truly awesome, and I’m not even sure how to describe them – but their experimental nature is enthralling and certainly doesn’t fit any typical musical description.

When Purity Ring finally came onstage, everything became tight and hot. Everyone was eager to push their way forward to get a glimpse. Of course, the stage set up is incredible, with bee-hive like lights strung about us, flickering with the music. That was the most impressive part, how they make their music and their lights one, tapping little lamps to create a sound while simultaneously creating a glow.

They perform so nonchalantly, and the audience in return sways, but we were calm for the most part. Mostly caught up in the music, the crowd was pulsing together like one giant heart.

It’s shows like this that give me hope for the future, when people can safely cram themselves into a small space, holding one another up and letting the mood take over. Happiness radiating from all around, we are just here to listen to bands play awesome music, and maybe drink a few beers in the mean time.

TRUST

I had the fortune of seeing TRUST last night, a Canadian band from Toronto.  My sister introduced me this past fall and we have both since fallen in love.

Yes, you might notice the music makes you want to brood and probably drink hard liquor, but that’s exactly why I dig it. Something about it reminds me of the 80s, and  if you know me you will know that I happen to love the 80s.  It’s probably something to do with the poppy nature of the beats and the synthesizers. I find myself bobbing around melodically, but there is a serious darkness about the music. I’m sure you have heard of the term “chillwave”, with bands like Toro Y Moi and Washed Out being labeled as such. Well this is considered “Darkwave”, so make of that what you will.

The show was not as packed as I had imagined it would be, but this actually made me feel happy more than anything. I have grown tired of being shoulder to shoulder, so this was a nice break. I actually found I was cold  – this almost never happens, especially at Ritual, where most kids can be found dancing and sweating profusely on a Friday night.

I just caught the tail end of Death Ledger‘s set, which seemed to combine hip hop with heavy bass, hard hitting drums, and a darker demeanor. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The faces of the musicians were shrouded in darkness, the only light coming from the back by the bar and some deep red lighting on stage. This was a theme for the night though.

I really enjoyed ERAAS, a band from New York. The singer’s voice really made me think of Health and Placebo, but he was using his pipes in a different way. Definitely experimental, the songs had great flow and I was mostly mesmerized by the way they would switch up instruments and continue into a new song so gracefully. It wasn’t conventional, but then again I think that’s what makes them so talented. It was raw and not perfected, it made me feel happy.

When TRUST finally appeared on stage, that’s when people finally had the courage to step a little closer to the stage. Before this most were keeping a distance of at least five feet. Of course, the crowd was still small, it was personal, like a house party. Smiling at strangers who felt the same way about being here. It was dark, and Robert Alfons stood above us like a tall shadow. His voice is amazing, I found it strange that it was actually real, but I guess men sometimes have that lucky fortune of having such a huge range of notes they can hit.

There were a lot of colours happening, and the strobe lights came on every so often making us feel like we were living in slow motion. The more they played the more everyone grew more comfortable, swaying turned into full on dancing at long last. Of course, upon hearing the opening of “Heaven” people started to go a little crazier.

The show ended five minutes before midnight. I sensed disappointment it was over but I’m sure their lack of albums might have had to do with this. They did play one new song, though, so this could only be a sign of more good things to come.

Fabulous finds: thrifting in Ottawa

One of my favourite things to do when I have a little spare time is to check out the local thrift shops. There’s something magical about the hunt, and it only gets better if you manage to find a great vintage piece. I have learned that in Ottawa, certain shops are better than others. I usually skip on the VV located in St. Laurent and take the long trek south. I am rarely disappointed, so of course the trip is always worth it.

On one of my latest trips, I stumbled upon a few things that I just couldn’t resist. One of my first discoveries was this cute little box. I wasn’t sure what I would use it for, but come on, it’s adorable. I love the colour and all of the little details, especially on the handle.

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Of course my favourite section to browse would have to be sweaters. There’s something about finding a cozy and unique knit that makes me feel less terrible about living in such a cold climate. On this particular day, I must have been having some serious thrifting luck. As I flipped casually through the sweaters looking for one that might suit my fancy, I struck gold. Well, I struck Dior. I actually had to look around and check if anyone else was seeing this. Anyone’s first reaction would be to snap it up, which I did rather quickly.

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I also found a great purse with a little bit of Scottish flair. The accessories area is always full of surprises, ones that may have been hiding in someone’s grandmother’s closet until not too long ago – but we all know that those places are gold mines for awesome vintage finds. So many great scarves to find! That’s one thing I probably don’t need more of, but I just can’t seem to stop.

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Now I am suddenly feeling as though a shopping trip is needed, stat.

There’s also some great vintage shops downtown and in Centretown. My personal favourite is Young Janes, a cute local place you can find on Dalhousie. I wrote an article about this shop last year, actually. It’s definitely one of those places I will think about and dearly miss when I am no longer living in Ottawa. But hey, I’m looking forward to some great finds while abroad! There’s a lot of great hidden gems out there, what are some of your favourite places to thrift?

M

Summer shopping trip

When it’s hot out, I like to visit air conditioned places. Yesterday we thought the mall would be fitting. After a quick puppy dip with Eli in the fountain, we indulged in a little retail therapy. Summer essentials were at the top of my list, such as plain tanks for the days when you are sweating despite the fact that you are doing nothing.

I also managed to find some sweet deals on some really awesome pieces!

Find number one was a sheer gold tank at Banana Republic. I’m really feeling these colours.

Banana Republic

I then stumbled upon an awesome wallet. Now Erin and I have matching ones, but hers is purple. The only downside is when you open the change purse is spills a tiny bit. Cuteness factor overrides this.

Danier Leather

Danier Leather

My last two finds were surprising. I love maxi skirts and I saw this at Forever 21. I thought it had an odd look to it, but I ended up having that moment where I just had to have it. It has the cutest buttons all the way up the front.

Forever 21

Forever 21

And finally we entered the store that seems to suck us in every time. We hate it but we love it. Sirens. I always find something there, no matter how much we hate to admit it. I was really into this lower-back baring top. I never buy pink things, but I guess it was my day.

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Care to share any of your own sweet summer finds? The sale racks are on fire!

M

Three wonderful things to bring back for spring!

Seeing as the past few days have been so sunny, I have decided it’s time to really bring out the spring wardrobe favourites. Today I brought back the following, and it felt so good!

1. Despite my inability to give up my favourite black pants (which ripped the other night while on a dancing spree with Justine, but were quickly replaced), I am happy to bring out the floral prints! A floral print skirt is always a good option.

Of course, I am a picky girl, and a print has to be JUST right. Otherwise I will have no guilt when I say “that’s tacky.” Truth. Floral is tricky, and I’ve seen it done wonderfully…and terribly.

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2. Denim jackets. This also goes well with a floral skirt! One of my favourite things is a solid denim jacket, you really have to have one. I don’t see any other way to live.

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3. I love a classic sneaker. Keds and Converse are an ultimate favourite, and I have been overjoyed by wearing them both this week! Keds can also work well with a cute dress/skirt when you’re not feeling flats or heels. They come in a ton of colours, but lets be honest, I can only deal with red, white or blue.

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What are you bringing back from the depths of your closet? It’s been a long winter!

-M

Off the runway at OFW


Backstage at OFW

Obviously there was a ton to see ON the runway at OFW this past weekend, but what about off the runway?

I was impressed with those of you who decided to strut your stuff.

Here are some of my favourite fashionable attendees!

My partner in crime, Justine. (Fashgasm)

Sid Cratzbarg, looking awesome of course!

James Jefferson of Blackbook Lifestyle rocking some amazing fur

Awesome hat on this guy!

The lovely Jenn Schad

Loren and Julia

That almost concludes it, I had a blast!

M