New York, I like you

Posted on Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I had been planning to attend The People's Climate March from the moment I heard about it. For a long time I have been interested in environmental concerns and activism but never really knew how to help, what to do and how I could make a difference? I still don't know and am constantly challenging myself to make changes but I was tired of just talking about it and wanted to really do something, so I went to New York and marched! This trip was part film project (more on that in the coming months) and part need to feel a part of the solution. The adventure consisted of my friends and favourite married couple Christoph and Katie and myself, all crammed into my little Volkswagen golf departing from Hamilton at 1am. We drove through the night, essential and was better in theory, not ideal in reality. We arrived in Brooklyn in the morning, stopped off at our airbnb, tried not to wake the punk rock group that had rented the airbnb from the night before, I put on some makeup to conceal the bags under my eyes and we hopped on the subway for the march. No rest for the artist activist. 
When we arrived at the march location, I could feel the energy shift and see the magnitude of this event - we were going to make history. There were so many streets in downtown New York blocked off, barricades and streams of people filling every inch of the streets. We entered one part of the march, there was no way to really know which part you were a part of and it really didn't matter, every group was welcoming, everyone in high spirits. There was dancing, clever chanting, ever more clever signs, and pure merriment as people banded together all for one cause. It was incredible to see the dedication and the hope that exuded from every single person. There were children marching for their future and grandparents marching for their grandchildren. This was a march for all people and included all people. I felt proud to be marching among them, the whole experience left me with a great deal of hope. It also showed me that everyone can do something, even if you think its small or wont make a difference, it does! We need small differences, the world depends on it. 

We completed the march nearly 4 hours later, a little tired (ok A LOT tired) but it was all worth it. Heading back to Brooklyn only one thing was on our We had the best dinner at the famous Roberta's, rustic interior, hipster servers, craft beers and awesome pizza. Still running on no sleep we mustered up enough energy to go out for the evening because how often do you get to run off to New York for two days? 
We finally got to sleep that night and in the morning I felt like a human again. It's amazing what a difference sleep and a good shower and a good coffee can do. We packed our things and said goodbye to Robert our wonderful, musically gifted (he serenaded us with his banjo) host and his charming dog momo. One last stop before exploring upstate New York, lunch at Pies n Thighs. As we waited for our table I glance across the street and notice a beautiful macramé hanging in the store. To my surprise it was the store I have wanted to visit for such a long time now called Species by the Thousands. That's the power of being exactly where you should be, without even trying I found the store I wanted to go to! After a quick shopping spree I joined my travel family and had the best chicken sandwich of all time. Their poultry is air-chilled from a local farm, humanely raised and handled and have no antibiotics or hormone supplements, the way chicken should always be! I was eating a chicken from a happy farm, the only way I want to eat it from now on. 

We continued our road trip to Phoenicia, New York. Katie and I had a fun time trying to pronounce the town name, we still can't do it. I heard about this beautiful wooded escape from the power of instagram (thanks Fitzroy Boutique). It was as charming as I imagined. A perfect escape for anyone that loves quiet nights on the porch, morning hikes and beautiful camping locations. We were most excited to check out the famous Phoenicia Diner because it looked perfectly retro and the menu is heaven. We arrived at the diner 5 minutes after they closed because unlike the hustle of New York, places in Phoenicia close at 5pm. We decided to do a quick photo shoot instead and continued our exploring of the town. There is a unique charm about this sleepy town that I cant really pinpoint, maybe its just a safe and cozy feeling I get while walking around the streets. Those who want to disconnect from technology, this is the place! We couldn't get the radio and there was no cell service, we were happily in the twilight zone. 
This was a special trip filled with hope, determination, creativity and love. Travelling with Christoph and Katie made me really excited for marriage one day. The way they support each others dreams is so beautiful, they are true companions that compliment each other in the right ways. I never once felt out of place, just a sense of ease with them. They really inspire me in so many ways and I am so grateful to have had this experience with them. 

It is so important to run off, away from your comfort and follow your heart. It will always lead you to unexpected but magical places, like finding a charming mountain town...catskills mountain I will be back again some day. 

summer's end

Posted on Thursday, 18 September 2014

"Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the grey mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions." 
- Carl Sandberg

There's this moment where the fall breeze comes in and the sun sets a little bit earlier, the first signs of fall washes over. This transitional time brings renewal and comfort. The hazy days of summer are coming to an end and there is so much hope for this new time. Just like the harvest moon, golden and mystical, reminding me of a simpler time, where farmer's can work late into the night by the light of the moon. Candlelight seems more appropriate, the smell of apple pie brings joy, and the dusk light is more colourful and precious. 

Oh to live by the sea during this time, to watch the moon dancing over the water and feel that sea breeze a little bit stronger. The ritual of the tide, the cooler nights on the dock and the romantic stillness only fall can bring.

monday mantra ~ just start

Posted on Monday, 15 September 2014

We all have a personal legend. This knowing is echoed in the book "The Alchemist" and was once again reminded to me after watching an interview with Paulo Coelho and Orprah which you can watch on her Super Soul Sunday show. So what is this personal legend? I believe and have experienced that it is that little voice within speaking from your heart and telling you exactly what you are meant to be doing. We can ignore it and many do and we can claim to not hear it as many do. The ignoring and the not hearing comes from a place of fear, the fear that we have learned from our surroundings, the long list of fear that we cannot amount to the thing we cherish the most. But we are the creators of that fear, we put them in our minds which means we also have the power to eliminate them and to not believe in them.

It is our only duty in this life to fulfil our personal journey, that I know for certain as I continue with my own personal journey. It is the thing that brings me the most joy and the thing I know for certain, no doubts and only pure faith. Many believe that you must be great in order to start but in fact it's the other way around. You must start and you will fail and you will have obstacles take you off track but your personal legend will always bring you back. I would rather fail and know that I tried, instead of never trying because well that in itself is failure by default.

Just start...

fashion fridays // feeling fall

Posted on Friday, 12 September 2014

I am never one for trends. I just wear what I like and it seems to be consistent each season. Even though I love the summer, fall brings a crisp and focused spirit. I love cozy sweaters, hoodies, felt hats, boots, ripped jeans and pretty much all fall styling. All I need now is my pumpkin spiced latte and a trip to the antique flea market and my fall is complete. Here are some of my favourite looks. 

girls gone nashville diary 2: nashville

Posted on Monday, 8 September 2014

This whole trip feels like a well planned and meticulously arranged soundtrack, where the mood and the vibe of the song determines its placement. We start off with the twangy and country sounds of Shovels and Rope, mix in the nostalgia of Tom Petty and Elton John, roll into the classics with our boy Johnny Cash and then end with some new Americana: The Wild Feathers, The Head and the Heart, Ryan Adams, Saintseneca, The Lumineers and Rayland Baxter. Ohio was classic and country, the stillness and beauty captivates even the most wild of heart. A much needed recharge and burst of creativity, completing two of our major photo shoots. The road was calling and Nashville was our destination. So on we went, cementing our bond sharing stories and sing-a-longs on the road, anticipation seeping through our veins as our destination grew closer and closer. 

The sun setting on our second day and we finally reach the city landscape of Nashville! Billboards of every major country artist adorn the city view and we continue on the highway until reaching our rural exit. After our long drive we stop first at Trader Joes with 10 minutes remaining until its close. We rush through the brightly lit grocery store in a tired "drunken" daze, passing smiling hipsters stocking up for their nightly musical porch hang outs. Finding everything we needed for a gourmet salmon BBQ meal (minus the lemons) we check out and greet the first of many musicians we meet moonlighting as store clerks, bartenders, coffee shop connoisseurs etc etc. 

We settled in for the night at our second airbnb rental with the most beautiful wooded view, most gracious host and access to the back porch where we grilled up the BBQ and ate the most incredible organic and healthy meal from our road trip chef Sarah. A bottle of wine was had, ok maybe 2 and we shared stories with our host Jeremy, talking about our creative endeavours, his journey to Nashville from Canada and our travels thus far. Community was a very present theme on this trip, the airbnb community of people sharing their homes and stories, the Amish community and their traditions and finally the community in Nashville, where playing music everywhere and anywhere is the norm and community is integral to everyone, borrowing sugar from your neighbour actually happens and in our case: lemons. 
"I may leave tired, but I ain't leaving with unfinished business..." Travis Meadows

We didn't have much time to explore Nashville but we packed in as much as we could. Some of our favourite spots included Crema coffee shop for their exceptional brews, Barista Parlour for their exceptional eye candy (beards and man buns around every corner with a capo sticking out of their back pocket) Broadway for its country shops and honky tonk bars, Earthbound Trading co for its jewels, scents and seance kit (more on that later) and Mas Tacos for well the best tacos in town! 

We continued our exploration into the night, planning the perfect southern outfits for an evening of blue grass. Scarlet scored us some coveted tickets to the now infamous (thanks to one of the best shows 'Nashville') venues: The Bluebird Cafe. We didn't know the musician we were seeing but that only amplified our experience. A packed house in a tiny bar, the host took the stage to kindly ask everyone to turn off their cellphones and listen to the music we were about to hear. No instagrams were needed, no chatter at the other tables, no camera lights flashing, just silence and full attention on the musician, the way music was intended. We were left speechless by Travis Meadows' set, his funny interludes were perfectly juxtaposed with his poetic and vulnerable lyrics, leaving no emotion unexplored. His musician friends were in the audience that night and he welcomed some of them to take the stage, a man that clearly loved to share his music and his stage. He thanked us for being there and proudly told us it was a dream for him to play at the bluebird and you could see that no amphitheatre could compare to that intimate experience. 

After our musical palate was expanded, we headed to Pinewood Social where we were promised bowling and babes, both were found. We sampled some of the local brews and a celebratory whiskey shot was had, when in Nashville...A search for burgers was a must post alcohol consumption and thankfully we had our responsible driver for the night, Genevieve, who loved our rendition of 'Ho Hey' in the backseat. Only pizza was found and pizza flirting may have occurred, when in Nashville... 

We concluded our night in true sisterhood fashion, a modern day seance. I was telling the girls on our drive up that I wrote a detailed (very very detailed according to my roommate) list of my perfect mate. I have heard of this manifesting trick many times and decided to also give it a go. So without my knowledge a seance kit was purchased and then brought out at the perfect time, when we came home from the bar. Note to self: never ever play with fire after having a couple drinks or some flames might land on someone's boob (I am truly sorry Sarah). So now my perfect man has been released into the universe complete with long hair, beard and a why did I leave Nashville?
We spent our last day having an essential breakfast at Frothy Monkey and then perused the most beautiful shops in trendy 12 South. Stepping into Imogene + Willie felt like stepping into the centrefold of a Kinfolk magazine, every piece was gorgeous and hints of rustic and americana charm were sprinkled throughout. We then checked out White's Mercantile, a trendy general store with organic local soaps, greeting cards, vases, baby clothes, jewellery and the most incredible felt hats to name a few. It took every ounce of willpower for me to not buy the things for sure Nashville has style or at least the kinda style I love. 

We packed up our things and said goodbye to our lovely Nashville oasis. The cat that took refuge in my blanket all week was not impressed that I took her favourite new thing with me. On the road again, stopping an hour outside of Nashville in Old Hickory. This was the home of the perfect retro pink trailer we found for our final photo shoot. Before the trip I envisioned and planned a cool retro look for the styling, sifting through my personal vintage collection and finding three perfect dresses. But as was the theme for our whole trip I had to make a last minute creative switch in the styling because it was so damn hot! I knew dresses were not an option as they would stick to our sweaty bodies and found barely there pieces that somehow made a cohesive story: we were now going dirty south. Because we were never stuck on one vision we were always able to use our surroundings to our advantage and I think our shoots were better than expected. That's the magic of the moment, that's letting life carry you and just enjoying the ride
After a sweaty and mosquito filled shoot we were off, leaving our hearts and stories in Nashville. I always find it amazing how I can travel to a new place and immediately feel a part of it, forgetting the struggles from home, forgetting the tasks of my future and just being in a place. The one thing I felt the most about that city was the community of artists, a whole city built around the experience of music. To see that passion and fire was inspiring. It took us 12 hours of driving to get home and at the end of our drive we witnessed one of the most colourful and beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. It was the second time that week I saw the sunrise and I just couldn't help but think: when you pay attention to it life can always be good. 

Photos by Ana
4th photo down by Scarlet O'Neill
leopard dress by Jordan de Ruiter, white dress by Jordan de Ruiter, floral dress by freepeople, white top by Aritzia