Featured

August 11th, 2017

Post #17: 19 years of age

It’s already been a year. One year ago today, I started this blog and began my steady journey into womanhood.

In all this time, I managed to start and finish a year of university; subsequently completing all of my certificate requirements. My classes, as well as various volunteering opportunities, have allowed me to meet some amazing people. More than anything, they reminded me of the significance of doing what you love. I have also continued to bond, and made new connections with my coworkers, who constantly remind me that one should never completely grow up.

Above all, as I have begun to take steps in the adult world, making my own decisions, plans, and standing my own ground, I have come to truly appreciate how important it is to take time out of your busy schedule to talk and spend time with the ones you love.

To reflect on what I said in last year’s post, I will continue to remember to try and find the beauty in the little things, and the joy in everyday. Like finding happiness in taking a trip to the farmers market, eating Vietnamese food, and of course cake, on my 19th birthday for example.

I know that the next year has even more surprises in store for me than the last. I can’t wait to see what’s around every corner as I grow and develop myself as a person, go on realizing who I am, and what it means to be me.

IMG_1640

Advertisements

Music Monday: July ’18

I am moving today, and over the next few! By moving I mean moving to a new city, in a new province, to start a new life. My parents and I have been planning this trip for years, and are both excited and terrified of what is to come.

Due to my absolutely crazy schedule, this month’s Music Monday is not of the ordinary. Moving with my parents means that while we bounce between the road, hotels, and a vacation home, whenever we want to listen to music we will need to listen to tunes that we all enjoy and can keep us motivated during these stressful times.

If you are anything like the three of us, who take pleasure in listening to classic tracks from the 1970s and 1980s, look no further than this playlist!

Here are 16 songs (for our moving day: July 16th) from the 70s/80s to keep you going.

IMG_6704

Get Moving [70s/80s]

1971

1. Ain’t No Sunshine / Bill Withers

1972

2. Stuck In The Middle With You / Stealers Wheel

3. Summer Breeze / Seals and Crofts

1976

4. Rich Girl / Hall and Oates

5. Breezin’ / George Benson

1977

6. The Chain / Fleetwood Mac

7. Solsbury Hill / Peter Gabriel

1978

8. September / Earth, Wind & Fire

9. What A Fool Believes / The Doobie Brothers

1979

10. I Can’t Tell You Why / Eagles

1983

11. Wrapped Around Your Finger / The Police

12. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) / Eurythmics

1985

13. Everybody Wants To Rule The World / Tears For Fears

14. Holding Back the Years / Simply Red

1986

15. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes / Paul Simon

16. The Way It Is / Bruce Hornsby


Playlist available on Spotify: Get Moving [70s/80s](07/16/18)

Music Monday: June ’18

Majid Jordan

The fame of Toronto based singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman; (formerly known as Good People) Majid Jordan, grew tremendously following their feature on Drake’s 2013 hit, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. New artists with OVO Records, the two gradually transformed into R&B sensations, and with additional production help, continued to develop their smooth sounds. Gracefully, they combine many electronic styles with strong, direct, moody lyrics that revolve around heartache, longing, and all the uncertainties that surround love and relationships. Though the lyrics may include cliches, Al Maskati’s powerful voice, and the balance between it and Ullman’s diverse sounds, captivate and pull you into an often relatable atmosphere that may have you dancing around, or tearing up.

 

IMG_5969
June 4th, 2018

 

“I’ll keep you warm like you know you want to be kept…”

-“Warm”

Majid Jordan’s self-titled, intimate debut album is a collection of often ambient tracks that are perfect for late-night listening. “Warm” is a subtle tune that showcases seductive lyrics, sung in the alluring voice of Majid Al Maskati, over a steady and bass ridden rhythm.

 

IMG_6141
June 11th, 2018

 

“All the things that I put a hold on, all for you to hit me with a “hold on”.”

-“My Love” (feat. Drake)

“My Love”, featuring Drake, is a fiery track that finds Al Maskati’s considering his personal relationships and begging for the truth as his fame leads him to question their authenticity. Personally, this is a go-to song when I’m feeling angsty.

 

IMG_6350
June 18th, 2018

 

“I’m hoping, I’m not the only one that keeps recalling…”

-“U”

The duo’s “A Place Like This” EP, released ahead of their debut album, seems to follow the evolution and slow decay of a romantic relationship; beginning with a man happily in love and ending with a breakup. “U”, reveals a somber Al Maskati as he considers love over a background of gentle synths.

 

IMG_6416
June 25th, 2018

 

“My heart’s taking me to different places.”

-“Phases”

Majid Jordan’s latest album, The Space Between, continues the duo’s exploration of romantic uncertainties, yet in “Phases”, Al Maskati studies his personal identity and experiences as an immigrant, on top of a fast-paced and high energy sound.


Previously mentioned:

Tuesday Tunes #2 – Her by Majid Jordan

Tuesday Tunes #40 – “One I Want” by Majid Jordan (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)

Music Monday: May ’18

Xavier Omär

Xavier Omär, previously known as SPZRKT, started in his San Antonio bedroom, and over the years, has spread his artistry and R&B rooted music to hundreds, via both the internet and live performance. The singer-songwriter combines R&B with many other genres, including pop and jazz, to create absolutely captivating sounds.

Many songs on the charts today may be considered misogynistic. Omär’s music stands out for many reasons, but the respect he has for women that he makes a focus point, and the honesty expressed in his lyrics, are what really make him different. Omär says that he is “just trying to make music that I wholeheartedly believe in and something that I know people can play for anyone.”

 

IMG_4879
May 7th, 2018

 

“I’m so afraid of hurting again.”

-“Afraid”

Since moving on from his alias, Omär’s music is seemingly even more intimate, honest, and impassioned. Throughout his single “Afraid”, the track’s production creates a calming background for an emotional and captivating display of vulnerability. Omär’s lyrics recount how our insecurities and pains of the past may distract us from the beauty of the now. Xavier has said that: “This song is the beginning of honesty with myself.”

 

IMG_5010
May 14th, 2018

 

“Just to make you smile, that’s the motive.”

-“The Motive Used to Be the Melody” (& Sango)

Xavier Omär and Sango first collaborated several years ago, and have since contributed to the expansion of R&B, as Sango is known for blending his beats with various genres. “The Motive Used to Be the Melody” is one of the ethereal and sensual tracks that form their album, Hours Spent Loving You. The album showcases relatable lyrics that demonstrate love in all forms, and relationships both earthly and heavenly.

 

IMG_5057
May 21st, 2018

 

“Sometimes I’m selfish, I could love you more…”

-“Do Not Disturb”

Omär’s album, The Everlasting Wave, explores the thoughts and feelings that one may experience through the stages of a relationship; through love gained and love lost. “Do Not Disturb” shows the downside of working too hard and considers how to mend a relationship that has been neglected. The low toned track also features an anonymous female.

 

IMG_5167
May 28th, 2018

 

“I’m a sinner, I’m a thief, all I ever gave was grief…”

-“How Do You Love Me” (& Sango)

Another atmospheric track from Hours Spent Loving You, “How Do You Love Me” presents Omär amazed by God’s unconditional love. Omär admits his imperfections, confesses to feeling anguished, and begs for mercy.


Previously mentioned:

Tuesday Tunes #25: “Middle of Things, Beautiful Wife” by Sango (feat. Xavier Omär)

Music Monday: April ’18

On the one year anniversary of sharing my first public playlist (Relations), I started my next series of weekly Instagram posts. Throughout “Music Monday”, every month I will feature a unique artist, sharing different songs and lyrics each Monday of their month. At the end of each month, I shall write a quick review of the artist and the songs I have featured.

Erik Hassle

April’s featured artist is Swedish singer/songwriter Erik Hassle, whose sound fits perfectly into that of which was collected in my first playlist. Hassle combines Soul, R&B, Pop, and elements of many other music styles to create powerful tracks that explore the timeless topics of love, sex, and heartbreak. His falsetto vocals and emotive voice deliver eloquent mournful and/or passionate lyrics.

 

IMG_4502
April 9th, 2018

“Once I was shattered, once you were broken, we’re coming together…”

-“FTPA” (feat. Gorgon City)

Brooding and explicit, “FTPA” is a smooth, jazzy, R&B track that showcases Erik gently pleading with his lover. Co-written with Gorgon City, musical talents come together flawlessly in this song to create something undeniably sexy. Between Erik’s low and gentle voice and the trumpet solo at the songs end, it’s impossible to determine a favourite element of the track.

 

IMG_4529
April 16th, 2018

“Dreaming of you, or the person I made you up to be…”

-“Silver & Gold”

“Silver & Gold”, combines an upbeat rhythm and bounce with seductive, airy vocals. The lyrics delivered on the track are some of the best off of Erik’s Innocence Lost album. My words can not give it justice. Listening to this track is essential.

 

IMG_4597
April 23rd, 2018

“No matter how dark it gets, I wanna go deeper still…”

-“Natural Born Lovers”

“Natural Born Lovers”, a single from 2015, showcases “free love and a simple celebration of life” according to Hassle himself.  The soulful pop track is passionate, energetic, and full of swinging synths. The single comes complete with a steamy video in which, against a backdrop of neon lights, we watch as couples of various races and sexual orientations share intimate moments in motel rooms, while Erik dances at a gas station.

 

IMG_4649
April 30th, 2018

“All these smiling faces don’t know how to shut up.”

-“Ready for You”

Charged with angst and heartache, Erik’s utilizes echo in “Ready for You” to create a feeling of anguish that is almost palpable. Atmospheric sounds joined with heavy bass, and a constant underlying beat, drive the song through valleys and peaks of emotion.


Previously mentioned:

Tuesday Tunes #3: “Talk About It” by Erik Hassle

January 1st, 2018

Post #20: Journey around the sun

Another trip around the sun; what a whirlwind it has been. In hindsight, it seems like it was simultaneously longer and shorter than a year. I have spent this past year learning so much, and meeting so many people. I watched incredible artists make music, worked and volunteered along side wonderful individuals, and studied at 3 different universities; earning two certificates and completing my first online semester. I created art in many forms, researched for hours on end, wrote more than I have in a while, ate good food, and made good food. I voted for the first time in a municipal election, and am gradually growing into other adult responsibilities like constantly doing the dishes. I can’t wait to see what this next journey around the sun has to offer. I know that this year has even more craziness in store for me than the last.

Here’s to 2018! Let you offer us all love and laughter.

IMG_3022

Recipe: Shortbread Cookies

Today was Foodie Friday number 29! It has been a few months since I posted a recipe, so I thought I would make sure that the last recipe of the year was special. I have been working at the same place for the last three years, and tomorrow is my last day. This week’s recipe was adapted from a cookbook I bought from work, and is an absolute classic around the holidays.

This Shortbread is deliciously buttery, while keeping the traditional flavour. With the wonderful melt in your mouth texture, comes the possibility of broken cookies. Trust me, they are worth it, and the pieces taste just the same. For a little extra goodness, baked cookies may be carefully dipped in melted chocolate.

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.45.59 PM

December 21st, 2017

Post #19: The Summer of ’17 – Part 2/2

As the year begins to come to a close, I continue to reminisce on previous months. Summer continued into August, and the first Sunday of the month found me at a folk music festival. This turned out to be another highlight of my summer. Standing underneath the branches of a tree near the back of the crowd, (ironically next to my elementary school music teacher’s family) I munched on delicious food truck grub, while listening intently to number of artists including, Oscar Lopez. Though he may not be too familiar to a lot of you, back in the second grade I absolutely loved him. Getting to hear him play my favourite song of his live was a small dream come true.

The following Friday was my 19th birthday, and the Saturday was my birthday party. By Uber or taxi cab, a few of my friends and I made our way downtown to a Prohibition era style speakeasy. There, we found ourselves sitting on velvet furniture, listening to jazz music, and drinking. The place was relaxed, beautiful, underground, and while we were there we were temporarily transported to another world. Once we emerged, we went for food down the street at a burger restaurant, where unexpectedly the entire staff, along with the customers, sang me the birthday song. A memorable night to say the least.

The rest of the month was split between work and visiting other family or getting dinner/coffee with friends. My Aunt came to visit from across the country, and brought with her my baby cousin. Seeing her for the first time was heartwarming. She was so innocent and so determined to stand up on her own. She only had smiles for all of us.

Two days later, my best friend’s family came over in the evening to share conversation, dessert, and a board game. Getting together with them the few times a year we do, is something I wish we could do more often. Family is not always determined by blood, and to me they are more family than friends.

Before I could stop to think about it, August turned to September, and as I worked through the beginning weeks, I also returned to school. The summer was over but my adventures continued.

IMG_2913