Monday, July 18, 2011


The last few months have been a whirlwind! 

1. Engaged
2. Pre-wedding trip to NYC
3. Wedding
4. Honeymoon to Hawaii

Engaged in February, and married in June .... planning a wedding long distance on top of working full time is not an easy task. Alas, both of us wanted a simple wedding ... with only one objective:

To be married to one another and to just have fun.

Simples, right? Well, not exactly. Name one wedding you have been a part of or have been to where there has not been some sort of drama. Or that sometimes, decisions were made to make other people happy ... or that the wedding itself just gets out of control? We figured, the simpler and shorter the wedding, the less time there is for stress and more time for just being with each other :)

We were able to pretty much break even with the generous gifts from our friends and family. It also helped that my dress cost less than $80 to make! D's suit cost more than my outfit! We also made our own bouquets and ended up paying a third of the price quoted to me from florists.

The icing on the cake was the one-of-a-kind fascinator made by the fabulous Misty Greer of Trunkshow fame. You can also find her designs at Scout Boutique just off Main on 8th.

All in all, I'm so happy to say this wedding was very "us". The details took no time to figure out, as long as everyone showed up and preferably wearing some happy colours the day of, we were happy campers!

Pre-wedding trip to NYC
At the house before the wedding.
D's mother's gorgeous ring is everything I imagined my ring would be like!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What happened on March 26th?

Once in a while I get nostalgic, simply because I have loved so many moments in my life. While I don't dwell on the past, I definitely try to stretch the memories for as long as possible. I never want to forget any events which have shaped me.

March 26, 2010
Jonsi - Live dress rehearsal at 3 Mills Studios, East London

Unbeknownst to us, we answered an ad to be an extra in a Jonsi music video and instead showed up to a private show! There were only about 100 of us, all in some sort of animal dress, as encouraged by the vague email. Show up here, this time, wear a costume. I didn't care, anything to do with these Icelandic greats, I was game! We were treated to some wine, some crisps and the first dress rehearsal of Jonsi's world tour. Amazing. Speechless.

This performance has since been released as a DVD entitled "Jonsi - Go Live". Pay close attention and you will see Miss Ray Louise Coyle and I near the front, on the right hand side of the stage :)

It's only my back but I made it on film!

Screen cap from 'Go Live DVD'

Screen cap from 'Go Live DVD'

I was able to film a bit that night but was too entranced throughout most of the show so this was the encore. The drummer, though not Samuli  Kosinen (from Mum and the drummer on the album), he was equally talented. I could stare at him all night!

March 26, 2009
Wellcome Collection - London

I passed many evenings strolling through London's finest museums. Tonight, I picked the Wellcome Collection which was on the way home by Euston Square. Free and delightfully informative, the Wellcome Collection highlighted the sciences and medicine, two of my favourite topics. From Malaria to the Human Genome Project, I was able to immerse myself for a couple of hours in some of today's hottest issues.

The Human Genome Project - pages & pages of DNA ...

March 26, 2008
Bologna, Italy

Before I settled in London, I went on a bit of a European jaunt. For the Italian leg of it, I was joined by my lovely bestie Becky and her equally lovely then sort-of bf and now definite-Fiance. We stopped by Bologna on the way from Venice to Florence.

Credit to some of the photos (the lovelier ones, go to Matt!)

March 26, 2005
Easter Preparations in Helsinki, Finland

So what does one do to prepare for an Easter away from family? You make the best Easter with your fellow orphans! Some of the erasmus students we lived with never had an Easter egg hunt and we thought that was highly unacceptable. We went to the shop, got side-tracked shopping for wacky shoes, loaded up on booze and started a bake-a-thon. We lived with a Polish girl. If anyone would know how to do Easter, it would be the lovely Anja ♥

We must have ventured off the path to the grocery store...


OK back on track, we loaded up or cart with the quintessential Easter supplies: flats of cheap LIDL beer and 35cent Orange juice!

Back on track, we finally produced some fine baked goods, boiled eggs and sorted out all our candies and chocolates in preparation for the next day's festivities.

And just to be fine examples of the studious exchange students that we were, we capped the night off at Umo Jazz club in downtown Helsinki. Great memories indeed!

Melissa, me, Pedro & Alvaro ♥

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Why am I so fabulous and dare to toot my own horn?

Frugal - who would have thunk it a few years ago but now I've listened to my mum and know that being frugal = getting more in the end ;)
Attention to detail ... or some may call it being nosey. Either way, I'm always accurate and meticulous. You can trust me to do a good job always!
Banter - I'm all about it. If my job didn't involve actually doing work, I could actually banter with our clients all day long!
Ubiquitous - I'm fab for simply loving this word and being able to FINALLY use it. Thanks Fabulous Savings for giving me the outlet :)
Live Love Laugh - wow, I should get bonus points for THREE L's :) That's a motto I live and breathe by, not just a cliche. I swear.
Overseas, overzealous, OTT. wow I'm really getting into this now ... I am beyond excited about exploring the world overseas and have been fortunate to live abroad. It's changed my life forever and I highly suggest it to anyone :)
Understated - I'm not one of those OTT people, but that doesn't mean I don't always give and live 100%. I just don't scream at the top of my lungs and brag about it ♥
Sick - I haven't heard anyone actually use that term to describe me but as I pat myself on the back, I think I'm pretty sick. Even maybe ill.

Wow, I sort of went off on a tangent there. Not sure if I actually did what I set out to do, which pretty much contradicts "A". Oh well :)


Monday, March 21, 2011

♥ Embracing Ellie ♥

19 Days until Ellie Goulding's live show at Venue and already I cannot listen to anything else. Finally, one of my favourite Brit artists on my home turf! This will also be my first time seeing her with her live background vocalists. (Her pre-recorded backing vocals used to always throw me off!)

Ellie Goulding - Live at  Heaven - April 15th, 2010
With the re-release of her debut album, Bright Lights come my 3 favourite songs: Your Song, Human, and Lights. It's been over a year since Goulding has been tipped by BBC as the sound of 2010 and she continues to gain momentum. Sometimes being critically acclaimed can backfire, as did in her case. Most music loyalists were afraid of yet another fit blond girl, singing catchy songs. The key to Goulding's growth is her repeated reference to her days songwriting in her pajamas before her record deal. It reminds us of her raw and humble beginnings and as a result, we can relate to her.

Watching her perform also reminds me of how out of shape I am! Goulding was sponsored by Nike last year during her UK tour, during which she did runs around the cities she was performing in with fans. I of course, entered to win the chance, failed to win, but was glad in the end as I am sure I would not have kept up along the Thames of London! I always watch in awe when she bangs away at her drums or strums heavily on her guitar. That girl is fit!

Ellie Goulding - Brighton Great Escape Festival - May 15th, 2010

From a fashion standpoint, I'm fairly sure Goulding has paved the return of shorts with tights. Her most notable tights have been the House of Holland 'London' tights (which I coveted so badly but settled for the knee-suspender tights). Tights are something I LOVE ... and why I love Fall/Winter so much just so I can wear them everyday!

So where does Goulding go from here?  If her recent collaboration with Tinie Tempah on Wonderman is any indication, she is destined to capture the attention of many genres of listeners. She is ultimately pop, yet so cool in hip hop and when stripped down to just her and her guitar, she is bordering on folk. I am upset even thinking about missing the UK Festival season this summer but there will be many more. And trust me, I will make up for it ;)

And in her fabulous London tights at the London Hammersmith Apollo:

♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Just Had Sex (feat. Akon)

I am almost embarrassed to classify this under 'Music' on my blog but with 62 million views, I guess I am not the only one who cannot get enough of this video! Guest stars include the ever lovely Blake Lively and Jessica Alba.

Highlights include:

  • Akon miming the lyrics and not able to keep a straight face
  • The quintessential key-change
  • I'm so humbled by a girl's ability to let me do her 
    'Cause honestly, I'd have sex with a pile of manure 
    With that in mind, a soft, nice-smellin' girl's better 
    Plus she let me wear my chain and my turtleneck sweaters 
  • She kept lookin' at her watch (Doesn't matter, had sex!)
    But I cried the whole time (Doesn't matter, had sex!)
    I think she might've been a racist (Doesn't matter, had sex!)
    She put a bag on my head (Still counts!) 

Thanks to Ray Louse Coyle for sharing her love of Akon. Feel free to follow her blog for her musical musings as well!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Erik Hassle - A Swedish Gem

The other night while watching Gossip Girl (one of a handful of shows I can never miss), a song peaked my interest during the climax of the episode (Season 4, Episode 16: "While You Weren't Sleeping"). I could sing along to the words so I knew the song was part of my collection. It was none other than Erik Hassle.

A stunning song featuring haunting piano riffs, "The Thanks I Get" is one of my favourites from his debut album Pieces. Now this is the bit that gets confusing. The first version of the album, called Hassle, was originally released in Sweden in 2009. After much success there, Erik went on to release his album in 2010 in the UK.

Erik Hassle - The Queen of Hoxton
August 20, 2009
Much like other artists, I can never pinpoint the moment I discovered him. I won tickets from a website, and went to see Erik play at The Queen of Hoxton on August 20th, 2009 in London. In this intimate venue, his voice was clear, confident and addictive. I wanted to see more.

One of the things I love most about London is the accessibility of many musical artists. If you miss one at one gig, surely there will be another at a different venue a night shortly thereafter. In a city so big, most artists do multiple shows to keep up with demand.

Sure enough, a few days later on August 24th, 2009, Erik played a promotional set at 55DSL on Carnaby Street. Due to the restrictive size of the "venue", Erik and his bandmate Viktor performed acoustically. Music to my ears! To be able to perform spontaneously and acoustically is the true test of an artist and Erik excelled.
Erik  Hassle - 55DSL
August 24th, 2009

My memory evades me as I cannot remember through who I was invited to this intimate event by. Whoever it was, also introduced me to Erik himself. I would also like to note, completely off-topic, that this was one of the first times I embraced beer. It was so bloody hot in there, it was either drink nothing or drink beer. Which reminds me, I also miss the free booze at events in London!

Erik Hassle - The Gap 1969 Launch
September 11, 2009
As if this was not enough stalking on my behalf, I went to see Erik again at the launch of The Gap's 1969 pop-up store in Carnaby street a few weeks later on September 11, 2009. I had to see as many performances (of any artist for that matter) when I can as you never know when and if they will be in your neck of the woods again. I can never turn down a free gig.

The set was short and sweet as the boys were off to Sweden to play more gigs. By now, I started to recognize the same people repeatedly showing up at his gigs. I was hesitant to think they were starting to recognize me and then wrongfully thought of me as a fellow stalker!

Erik Hassle - The Flowerpot
October 7, 2009
When I heard Erik was playing at The Flowerpot, below my first London flat on Kentish Town Road, I had to go! It was strange to have Erik playing right below my old kitchen ;)

Erik worked hard at practicing and promoting himself through the London gig circuit. He deserves recognition but maybe it was not the right timing, I cannot be sure. From his Tweets and his Facebook updates, it appears he is working on new material. I know that with new material, his career will experience a revival and hopefully catapult him to the next level. Being featured on an episode of Gossip Girl, I'm sure, has helped his cause.

Erik Hassle - The Slaughtered Lamb
November 4, 2009

Erik Hassle - The Enterprise
November 9, 2009

Here is a collaboration with one of my favourite Brits Ellie Goulding covering Robyn's "Be Mine". Absolutely stunning and raw.

Here's to success for Erik Hassle in 2011!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Current Read - Hello Dubai

Continuing on my non-fiction phase (one which has lasted over 3 years), I am halfway through Hello Dubai by Joe Bennett.  Anyone who has ever watched a movie with me knows that I struggle with things that do not make sense. I always want to know "why" and "how"? This also applies to books. Don't get me wrong, I love fiction as well but for now, I am far too curious to want anything other than non-fiction. Told in first-person, this book uncovers the story of Dubai in a casual, raw and honest way.

Boom town, modern marvel, commercial hub, where middle-east meets wealthy west, playground for tourists, crawling with ex-pats, built by Indians, owned by Arabs, Dubai has risen from next to nothing to an awful lot in little more than thirty years. How? And can it go on? Has it sold itself to the corporate dollar? Is it anything more than a mall in the desert? Will the sands return? Joe Bennett goes to find out. (From Simon & Schuster UK)

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Year Ago Today - January 10, 2010

Winding down my time in London (only to be back in March), Darren and I headed to one of our favourite restaurants in London: St. John Bar and Restaurant SMITHFIELD

26 St. John Street
(1 Michelin Star)

If you like game like us, you will love this nose-to-tail eating establishment. Fresh sheet everyday, baked goods made on premises. You MUST try the madeleines!

Chorizo and snails; Welsh Rarebit; Chard
Outside, we bumped into our good friend Emma! What are the chances in a large city such as London.
P.S. We have a slice of chocolate cake in the bag for takeaway :)

Primark - Spring 2011

I can no longer say it's a Spring "preview" as some of these pieces are hitting shop floors this week. Needless to say, I am in Vancouver shedding a few tears as I will be missing one of my favourite hobbies: shopping at my beloved Primark!

For the last two/three years while I was living in London, Primark was my saviour. With a population of over 7,000,000 people in Greater London, mass market high-street apparel has a way of looking unique and somewhat unidentifiable [as Primark]. Women across the country may wear the same dress but the styling possibilities are endless!

Many of you often ask where I buy my dresses. If they are not homemade, from vintage/charity shops, or eBay, chances are good they are from Primark. Since I have relocated back to Vancouver, I still save all my money and do big shops when I am in London instead. Prices at Primark (or what we lovingly call 'Primarni') are comparable to the lower end prices of Forever21. Forever21 was once a fun, go-to destination for disposable clothes but has now become over-priced and of poor quality. At least with Primark, you get what you pay for, with a load of European flavour thrown in for free!

You may recognize Jade McSorley as the second runner up in Season 5 of Britain's Next Top Model (Click on her name to see her Models1 portfolio). She was my favourite from the get go yet she was criticized and later eliminated because of her slim frame. McSorley is no longer a "New Face" of Models1 and is now featured amongst models such as Agyness Deyn and Alessandra Ambrosio.

(All photos courtesy of Primark)


I'm in love with the tan faux leather and flower print bag
First delivery is Mid-January with the second and third deliveries in February and March respectively. I may have to put an order in!