Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Beautiful Shoes from Upper Street

My creation - Coy Zebra
     At 2am last night, I clicked Buy and therefore committed to the very first shoe I have ever designed!
     Courtesy of Keynoir London, I was given the chance to have my shoe design handmade by Upper Street; every girl's dream right? The task was arduous as half the fun of shoe shopping is getting to slip into a brand new stiletto and having my breath taken away. The other half is being able to feel the shoe and study the fine craftsmanship.

     It was difficult to know what fabrics and colours complimented each other. I did not want to go overboard, but I also wanted something whimsical and not available on the high street! Alas, I was up to the task and here is the creation that is due to arrive in 4-6 weeks!

     The body of the shoe is a black satin, with hot pink satin accents. The heel and base are a zebra animal skin of some sort, as is the strap. These will go perfectly with my dress-predominant wardrobe. (Who am I kidding I pretty much ONLY wear dresses so I can wear fabulous shoes!)

My competition entry

     This is another design I did for Upper Street's Facebook competition. I never expected to be shortlisted to their Top 20 designs! The shoes were inspired by the Fall 2010 trends as shown on the European catwalks. Animal prints are back, as are rich metallics. I suppose these two trends have never faded into obscurity but instead are more featured this upcoming season. I have always considered both of these trends to be timeless staples!

     I hate voting competitions as I do not like getting my friends involved in my hobby of comping but if anyone feels inclined to, you can vote for my design here until August 31st, 2010 :)

Live at Squamish & Random Canadian Music Ramblings ...

     With under two weeks until the Live at Squamish festival, I have begun my preparations by perusing the MySpace pages of the artists. Anyone who has ever been to a festival knows that a plan is necessary to ensure no great music is missed. Take for instance Field Day 2008. We managed to catch 1.5 bands and by the 0.5, I mean we made it to the tent but were distracted by the downpour all around us so we didn't actually savour the music! Field Day 2009 was a bigger success, as we managed to see Little Boots, Mogwai, The Temper Trap and more :)

The artists I am most looking forward to at Live at Squamish are:

     I went to high school with Roy and even then, he was distinctly a talented percussionist. They have had success touring Canada and as with any other homegrown band, I hope they cross the pond more often and explore a different market. Dan Mangan has done amazingly overseas :)

     I discovered this 3-piece from Kelowna while Googling for new Canadian artists. After listening to their entire album as a stream on their website, I am convinced they have the potential to be revered as one of Canada's best new bands .

     This guy still needs to redeem himself for his act of arson during a show at The Commodore over 10 years ago. I was not impressed when he lit an unsuspecting plush panda on fire during the show :( It was the most adorable thing, until it engulfed in flames and died a slow, miserable death! All that aside, I remember having a great time that night, but it has been too long! Another local GVRD boy who has had a commendable international career. 

     As you may have noticed, I am going to Live at Squamish to see the Canadian artists! As a supporter of home-grown music, I must mention Canadian Blast.

  Canadian Blast is an organization dedicated to promoting Canadian music around the world. I have met their representative, Shaun, in London and I am thrilled Canadians are getting this exposure, with support from the government!

     At one of their many showcases in London, I discovered Nova Scotian Rich Aucoin. He absolutely brought the audience at Pure Groove Records to their feet when he performed on a Canadian Blast night a few months ago. Even the reluctant wallflowers found themselves singing along to the lyrics and joining Rich's team huddle. You have to see it to believe it, although be forewarned, he may alienate those who like to stay out of the action ...

The crowd getting involved at Pure Groove (London, May 2010)

     Can I digress and say Bryan Adams was amazing this weekend at Empire Field? Talk about a successful Canadian! I should have known better and stationed myself at the front so I could have been picked to sing When You're Gone with him. I forgot that he always chooses an audience member at every show. Here is an extra special performance of that song with THE Mel C in London, November 2008.

O2 Arena, London, November 2008
    And while I am celebrating Canadian musicians abroad, there is a photo of Dan Mangan performing an acoustic set at The Lexington in Angel.

Dan Mangan, November 2009
     Clearly I am too musically excited to focus on a proper update today. Sorry for the random digressions! There are not enough hours in a day for me to rant about my lovely musical experiences :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Current musical obsessions ...

Every once in a while, I get an itch and have to hit up the trusty iTunes to buy some new albums. Lately I've been saying "OMG that's an amazing song! I need to get it" way too often yet not remembering to get it right away.

Erland and the Carnival

     Intrigued by the name, we checked out their set at The Great Escape Festival. Pretty impressed by their sound, not to mention, their lead singer was pretty fit. Well, at least in the dark and from the back of the room :) This London band was formed by Simon Tong, formerly of The Verve and played parts with Blur and the Gorillaz.

One Republic - Wake Up 


This is one of the best under-rated bands! I was at The Forum in September of 2009 when they debuted some of the new songs off this album before it was released. I saw them again a few months ago at Shepherds Bush Empire and once again, a polished, international-level show. Sometimes I wonder how Ryan Tedder ends up saving all his best musings for One Republic and not spend them on his other ventures (his Production Credits here). The band has a very European sound, which make sense because they spend more time in London/Europe than their own native USA.

Jónsi - Go Do
     Both Jónsi and Sigur Ros somehow turn everything they touch into musical bliss. I'm not sure how they do it! Although their sound is not typically mainstream and rarely, if ever, makes it into the charts, ask anyone and they will say they have heard of them. And if you haven't, you actually have, you just didn't know that was their music! Rachel and I were fortunate enough to see Jónsi live at 3 Mills Studios in East London when we answered an advert to be an extra in his second video. Dressed like animals as requested, we showed up only to discover we were going to be a test audience for his new tour! Pure bliss :)

March 2010 - 3 Mills Studios, London

Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke
     I discovered her when I was shopping at Hollister (gasp!) and couldn't get this song out of my head for days. When I like a song, I have to find out what it is and after searching high and low, I stumbled upon a website for Hollister in-store playlists. Very soulful and very reminiscent of my other favourite, Paloma Faith, I find her sound intriguing and hope to hear more from her in the future.

Next up on the list: She & Him: Volume I, and Goldfrapp - Rocket.
Oh, and the new Arcade Fire ... check out what the hype is all about :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Helsinki 2005 - A Walk Down Memory Lane

     I did a bit of cleaning up and I stumbled on some photo CDs! Imagine that, I haven't used a photo CD in years ... so I decided to back them all up onto my trusty hard-drive. I ended up flicking though a lot of the photos and I thought I'd post a few and share the memories of a time in my life that I will hold close to my forever. While most people settled down and got proper jobs, Melissa and I embarked on a journey halfway across the world to experience something most people never get to experience: living, loving and most of all laughing (all the while completely confused as we spoke not a word of Finnish).
     OK, we knew how to say "Little Boy" (pieni poika) and surprisingly, that came in handy numerous times! 
     Also, one random memory that just came to me was the first time we went to the supermarket in Helsinki. We were looking for something as simple as salt. But when you're in a foreign country with packaging in languages you can't comprehend (Finnish or Swedish), finding salt can be the most challenging thing. After about 5 minutes of debating a) which one is salt and b) what the different coloured labels are, this random dude from another aisle casually walked by and said "that one"! Well that sorted us out! That was also the supermarket that taught me cilantro and coriander are virtually the same thing. I looked around and around for cilantro, only to "settle" for coriander because it smelled the closest thing to cilantro .. doh!
At the Pasila train station after a night out at Amarillo ... it was so fun we even took their sign home!
Yes, we went to class (sometimes!) Here is Mauri working hard on his screen printing.

The Italian leaving do ... we came, we stayed until sunrise on a school night, but no, we did not conquer!
Spring cleaning, or rather our one and only ever flat cleaning! Look at all the crap we found in our "Crack room"
You know it's serious when you make Sangria in a bin and stir with a bottle!
We lived in the same building yet for some reason, it's easier just to all crash at ours ...
Easter Preparation Part I
Easter Preparation Part II
Helsinki, I will love you always, even when you are freezing cold...because you're beautiful!

     So all the photos above are from March 2005. Wow, in one month, I lived a lot. And that's how life should be ... Hope to find more and immortalize them in the Blogosphere!