Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Geek'd: online dating is hokum

So I'm currently attempting the trials and tribulations of the online dating world. Partially out of boredom, partially due to the fact that I work in a career that doesn't allow the luxury of going out at night very often, get a bit drunk and meet new people.

So the first thing that I learned when I got online is that I'm an utter idiot when it comes to online dating.

But I'm learning quickly.

For one thing, I learned that while it's a nice, somewhat considerate thing to send every guy that sends you a nice, well-thought out message a little message back, it's a bad idea. Guys treat responses to messages like bits of hope that maybe the girl actually is interested in him ... at the very least. And they cling to that belief until the girl shoots him down... in which he then becomes offended and sometimes nasty.

Better to hold your silence for guys that you believe may actually peak an interest in you. It saves you a lot of trouble and a lot of grief on both ends.

Also I learned that to treat a profile as if it can tell you everything you need to know is insanely retarded.

And so I take you to the story of a guy that turned out nothing like his profile. Instead he was every bit the kind of person that pisses me off the most.

So I met this guy, lets call him Jimmy (not his real name though). Now we've been talking for some time online and via text message. He seemed okay, but nothing inherently special from our conversation, but I didn't get any bad vibes off of him which was why I agreed to meet him at some point. Some people are just better to deal with in person after all.

But it was right after I agreed to meet him that he starting blowing up red flags.

For one, we were conversing on our favourite hockey teams and he happened to claim that he's a die-in-the-wool Leaf fan who happens to also cheer for the Montreal Canadiens.

For context, that's like claiming to be a Yankee AND a BoSox fan; it's just not done. You can be one or the other, but not both in this world. Otherwise, you're not a "true" anything.

So I asked him to justify being both and yet calling himself a "true Leaf fan". And either he misunderstood me or whatever but after nailing him to justify his stance he got really offended and upset over the line of questioning saying, "well I AM a die-hard Leaf fan and I'm insulted that you're saying I'm not."

I actually had to tell him to take a chill pill. First warning sign.

And then later that week, I revealed to him I have two male roommates, and his next text was "have you dated any of them??? lol"

Second warning sign.

Then after the whole "chill pill" incident he kept texting me something like every four hours asking if we're still on for our getting together thing right up until we meet.

Really I should have just ditched the guy after the second warning sign and cut my losses, but I'm a person of my word and I'm not about to leave a person hanging just because I was getting a bad feeling from text messages from him.

So we met.

Now I admit, I went into this with a rather negative opinion of him after the whole mess of text messages. By the time we said hello in person, I had in my head that he was an overly-sensitive and insecure individual. Not that I told him that, for those reasons.

And nothing he did in that meeting changed my mind about it. In fact, he continued to demonstrate his over-sensitivity to most things by taking way too much shit too personally and making excuses for just about everything.

And I felt pity for him.

And because he was an overly sensitive idiot, I couldn't bring myself to tell him anything close to the truth. That he was overly sensitive, that he took shit too seriously, that I worked in a male-dominated environment filled with men and all my best friends are guys. Shit like that.

And that also irritated me. To the point that even I knew I was becoming more and more bitchy the longer we talked. To the point that it made me feel bad for him, honest to goodness bad for him.

And I felt bad for him when I said I don't think we should see each other again, although I couldn't exactly tell him why in any honest fashion for fear of his hurt feelings, being that his attempt to hide his insecurity through terrible jokes and his takes-shit-too-personally attitude drove me utterly up the wall and brought out the absolute worst in me. The bitchy, impatient, want-to-slap-you-in-the-face-for-being-an-idiot side of me.

After it was all said and done, he showed his true colours. He sent me a nice little message, basically blaming me for how it went down. And there I realized. He was a guy that always blamed everyone else for his problems and never looks at himself as an issue in of itself.

So what'd I learn from that?

I'm more upfront with the fact that "I WORK IN A MALE-DOMINATED ENVIRONMENT" on online dating sites as a method of weeding out guys that frankly can't handle that. And for guys who seems to gloss over that fact because they see a pretty face, I've decided to be more brutally honest about my life before meeting people in person. Also, more brutally honest about whether things will work.

I'm still an idiot when it comes to online dating sites. But at least by doing that much, I can at the very least keep special guys like "Jimmy" from being that much of an issue in the future.

Still, I absolve to Sheldon Cooper's line of thinking when it comes to online dating. It really is a load of hokum.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Geek Style: butterflies -- spring is coming

Watching some spring training Blue Jays baseball put me in a bit of a spring is coming (soon) mood today, and therefore, out comes the ultra-feminine butterfly top for work today!

I actually purchased this lovely blouse piece from Ardene (who is currently running a 3 day sale people -- Free shipping + $10 gift card for every $50 purchase) way back in November of all months for around $20 dollars.

It's a sheer chiffon (which seems to be all the rage in fashion then and now still even) -- which means you need to wear a camisole beneath -- and has three-quarter sleeves.

The fabric is also just cheap enough that you risk having to deal with some unpleasant static if your not careful (or wear it with a wool button-up on top). Also, the buttons along the top are really cheaply and loosely attached. I've already sewn one back in, and three more popped off on its second wear (and one of them became lost unfortunately)

But it is a beautiful pattern -- one that I have yet to be able to replicate -- and a really amazing combination of colour and works well with a dark grey jean or trouser. Keep the stuff with it plain, because it is a very busy pattern.

And more on Ardene -- I generally only go to that store to find accessories or cheap shoes. But I've discovered that they actually have a very solid line of apparel that isn't all catered to the tweener generation. It takes some selective picking and choosing, but their clothes sometimes are much better than some of the other offerings at Forever21 or H&M.

You just have to be careful of how cheap it sometimes can be... but then again, same goes for both of the other cheap chic boutiques I just mentioned...

This shirt actually doesn't come out as much as I'd like it too. For one, it's super-feminine meant for days when I'm in the mood for being feminine, which when you work in sports, isn't often.

But spring is in the air for me... and that was enough...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Geek Looks: beauty works at night

One of the things I've had to actively work on and incorporate into my life over this winter is a "night-time beauty" routine.

Part of it was out of necessity of late; winter has made my skin so dry and discomforting that my skin broke out into a giant rash due to an allergy that rarely rears its ugly head.

Another part is that in order to easily fall asleep, it is best for you to have an easy and recognizable routine every night that tells your body to fall asleep.

And a really big part is that when you have to wake up early some mornings for work - and you're not a morning person - it's good to at least be able to take care of your body at some point between asleep and awake.

So this is my beauty routine... at night!

1. e.l.f. Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths

It isn't always nor does it have to be these cleansing cloths that I use for this important step. Really, any generic brand that you can get at any drug store works just as well. Also, if the inherent wastefulness of these wipes is a concern for you, a regular bottle of make-up remover solution or just sticking to a decent scrub of your choice of facial cleanser can also substitute.

 Really this is just an expression of the ever important step of removing the day's make-up and grime from my face as a means to start fresh.

But what I do like about e.l.f. make-up remover cleansing cloths is not just how the solution so gently and easily removes all the gunk from your face, but all for an increadibly affordable $3 CDN! Good for all budgets!

Plus, with the resealable plastic top, it's very easy to bring with you when you travel and it's less likely to dry out over time.

2. Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion

A relatively new addition to the routine, but it really is the most important one and one of the primary reasons why I've decided to stick to a routine.

I've previously been plagued by dry, itchy skin over the winter, but this year has been downright the worst for it, to the point that I've had severe skin allergy reactions because of it. Since the enormous breakout, I've made it my business to minimize its impact on my life (and it really did, and still does, make life very uncomfortable) by making full use of this lotion.

One of the great things about this is that it is made to relieve itchy, extra dry skin and keep the skin moisturized for 24 hours. With both natural colloidal oatmeal, a proven ingredient that relieves itching, and also a cooling menthol that also helps relieves itching, it makes my nights easier to deal with.

And it's not that expensive. This can be found at any major drug store at less than $10.

3. e.l.f. Studio Lip Exfoliator

This was one of the first things I purchased from e.l.f and I think it's brilliant. Made from a "sweet sugar and smoothing sensation, infused with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Avocado, Grape and Jojoba Oils to nourish and protect" your lips by removing dry and chapped skin. It feels great when I use it and makes my mouth feel that much better after enough exposure to the cold air in Canada.

It's also a wonderfully affordable $3 via their website, or I assume any place that carries e.l.f. cosmetics.

 It also goes well with this next step.

4. Sally Hansen Overnight Lip Recovery

This was actually something I found at my local Dollarama (for $2), but I assume this can be found at any drug store as well.

It's a little bit heavier and harder-core than a regular chap stick, which I guess is something that can also be used in place of something this specialized, but with how the weather has been going and how much I hate chapped lips, I made this a part of the routine.

It works like a gloss actually, and feels like a gloss, but it is a little more 'jelly' than gloss too, if you know what I mean.

5. UNT C*Clarity Ascorbic Brightening Serum

Now this is probably the most specialized of my routine as this was purchased specially for the fact that according to the UNT website when I bought it, it was made to be applied at night. It also closed a significant gap in my fight against dark spots.

This serum contains 20% L-ascorbic Acid, which is the maximum that your skin can absorb at once, to supply your skin with a large amount of highly concentrated vitamin-C which in its purest form, helps brighten your skin and smooths the complexion. It's a bit on the pricey side, coming in at around $25 CDN but for what I'm working towards I'm willing to swallow the price.

As for the link, it's Amazon, because for some reason, it's no longer available through the main UNT website from which I originally purchased it. Huh.

Now I can't tell you how well it works, but it is a runny and oily product. And from time-to-time it can feel a little too harsh for my skin. Which is why I incorporated the next step in my routine.

6. Neutrogena Light Night Cream

Despite my recent issues with dry, itchy skin, one thing I can be glad for is that my face has remained relatively safe of the same consequences. It is neither overly dry nor is it overly oily in its most natural state.

Which is why I chose a relatively light night cream to deal with my face when it does need some TLC, and even then it feels like too much or too heavy for my skin, which is why I sometimes restrict its use to my cheeks, which is at the greatest risk of drying out.

At around $10 from any local drug store, it is my chosen brand until I run out of it for now in any case.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Geek Style: a winter wonderland inspiration board

Canada has suddenly remembered that Toronto is in fact a part of the Great White North.

For the last week or so, we've experienced an extreme cold we haven't seen in recent years. It's not just the cold air too, it's also the windchill impacting the city, making even sticking your hand out to the exposed air a difficult endeavor.

So in tribute to the extreme cold, here is a winter inspiration board on the weather.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Geek Media: les miserables -- and the song every girl wants to sing

Susan Boyle may have turned Les Miserables "I Dreamed a Dream" into the most successful song from the musical when she took it and stole the heart of the world with it.

But ask any girl that loves musicals, performs in musicals or wishes to perform in musicals. It is nothing compared to the other tragic anthem of the international renowned stage show.

Because when it comes to a heart-breakingly beautiful and haunting melodies of lost dreams and shattered hopes, On My Own truly is in a class of its own.

On My Own is a song that every individual can relate to. It is a song of unrequited love, of a lost and lonely heart, of being ignored. It is a song of heartache, of the bitter pains of finding love and realizing that it is one unrealized in full.

Every word is a tragedy in colour. Every verse is another tear. In the rainfalls of a Paris street, a waif of no significance cries out against her own fate of irrelevance.

In so many ways, it is one of the musical's most powerful number, sung to a powerful tune in a powerful voice that rings out its injustice, its pain. It can make or break the character of Eponine. For it is this tune that makes her one of the most beloved and most desired of all characters in Les Miserables.

Small wonder that when the movie version of the musical was announced, every sort of actress or pop star - from Scarlet Johansson to Taylor Swift - scrambled to try and grab the coveted role, and by extension, the opportunity to be immortalized by immortalizing this song.

However, once it was not so popular a part with fans.

One only has to look back and see. In its original incantation, it didn't have that same strength, that same tragic beauty. Instead, it was far more insipid, whiny even (no fault to the original performer may I add).

In truth, perhaps that was how it was supposed to be. One only has to read the books to understand that for Eponine while tragic in the books was not a really likable character based on the personality she truly had.

And so it was, until the day Lea Salonga seized the role.

Her loneliness was palpable. And so her powerful eulogy to a lost love echoed through the auditorium, every feeling wretched from the song. She sang it with power, with bitterness.

And that was when the world began to care, began to relate and so began to love. Suddenly Eponine had a soul, she had depth and she had life.

Salonga re-invented the character not just in a song, but in how the song was sung.

And has been sung ever since.

 No other song in the musical realm has come close to truly matching the feelings or power that this song creates. Nor is there a song that so easily overwhelms and imposes a truly secondary character into one of the story's most beloved and most desired.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Geek Style: getting involved in the floral denim fad

You can thank the celebrities for this.

Last year evolved around the emergence of the floral patterned tights. This year, it looks as if floral (or really, simply multi-patterned) denim is going to be the big fashion hit for this season. You simply cannot walk into a cheap chic store like Forever21 or even Bluenotes without seeing something that has some kind of vibrant pattern of some sort.

Throw in the popularity of neon colours this year iton it and you've got a real cacophony of multi-patterned/coloured pants all waiting for the warm weather.

Now generally, I don't usually care for these transitional fashion fads and there is no way to describe these multicoloured things AS a fad, one minute there, the next in the nearest Salvation Army.

But while flipping through a copy of People's Style Watch that I picked up between working at one job before heading to the other and found these floral printed jeans in there.

And I realized that I really really wanted them.

They're called the Black Orchid Black Jewel tencel skinny denim. And I thought the pattern was in style, but highly subtle in the sense that they don't overpower the pants and is a softer pattern than some of those I've seen around.

And I thought it suited me.

But in the magazine, they were advertised as being $168. In American. That's a lot of money for a fashion fad if you ask me.

(And while I can see that the link indicates that they're currently on sale for $16.80, they only ship within the USA. So yeah)

I did however find a relatively similar pair through Forever21 called Life in Progress Rose printed skinnies.

They lack the variety of colour that the Black Orchid version does - it is very black and white as opposed to including a touch of green and pinks in a greyish-white colour - but the pattern is there and the subtlety still exists, which is what I really liked.

They're easy to dress up, or dress down and is also appropriate (within reason of course) for where I work. Which is a huge plus.

In terms of how I'd wear them, it can be clearly seen in the above picture of celebrities wearing the pants, avoid other patterns. The pants are obviously the statement piece and therefore other patterns added in will overwhelm the look and you.

Don't shy away from colour, but be mindful of what works with the pattern. Luckily, because of its neutral colourings, they will and do match just about anything and any colour, so in this particular pair, I don't have to worry too much.

It'll be harder to maintain because the colour is so stark white and therefore will get dirty far more easier than say a dark wash jean (and trust me, I am a klutz when it comes to this kind of thing), but in the end, they look and feel fantastic.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Geek Media: failing to not like thorin oakenshield

So, how awesome was Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Seriously, I never in a million years would have thought I'd be able to call a dwarf sexy.

And yet, he managed that in spades (frankly though, so did Kili, which I have already discussed) So much kudos to Richard Armitage for the solid acting and really creating a solid character.

Because honestly, I tried my damndest to hate that character.

(WARNING: Major spoilers from this point onward for the Hobbit. If you have not read the books, proceed at your own risk!)

Now don't get me wrong, he is everything and more that Armitage depicted Thorin in the movie - strong, steadfast, loyal, a great and immense warrior and a legend in his own right, intelligent and thoughtful.

But by the time he arrived in the Hobbit, he really was more the other guy that you saw of Thorin as well from time-to-time in the movies - bitter, world-weary, proud and even a little hateful. But really, way more of the bitterness.

Perhaps it was the style of writing that the Hobbit has, or perhaps it is simply because Tolkien wrote it from Bilbo's perspective, but Thorin was not a likable character in the book. He felt distant, rude and ... well, like a dwarf with little respect for anything at all. None of the more admirable qualities of him was all that self-evident. Certainly it was there based on the loyalty his fellow dwarf companions had for him, but it wasn't outright stated and so somewhat got lost in his stubborn, obstinate behaviour.

What ultimately ruins the whole character for me was that by about page 250, he gets downright insufferable. That base and totally illogical greed of his (illogical because he never ever bore a Ring of Power - according to lore, the Seven increased a dwarf's greed and reliance on defining one's worth by their wealth) takes over upon seeing the vast treasuries of gold in the Lonely Mountain.

For no other reason than that is why he nearly caused a war against Men and Elves! Illogical, stupid, self-absorbed, baseless greed!

In that moment, he goes from being just a mean dude to an evil one ala Boromir from the Lord of the Rings.

Granted, he redeemed himself much like Boromir does at the very end by dying in the Battle of Five Armies defending the Lonely Mountain itself as well as all those that fought in it, but his death simply wasn't as tragic feeling in the book as Boromir's was.

He never did redeem himself into a likable character in the book in my eyes. In some ways, the grudge over his greed and stupidity never faded in my eyes.

Granted, it has been some times since I read the Hobbit and I haven't exactly given it a deeper look in order to thoroughly break down Thorin's psyche from within the narrative or anything... but the countless times I have read that novel, I never walked away from it having liked the dwarf.

And yet, here I was, after movie one-of-three, really, really respecting Thorin and his loyalty. Even his grump and stubborn streak appealed to me in that it simply demonstrated another part of his strength.

All of a sudden, his fallible nature that so repelled me in the books made him someone that I wanted to embrace and to accept. I loved the character and the personal struggles and demons he dealt with. And it actually made me sad, knowing that his end is only two more movies away and that I would actually be very upset at seeing it.

I tried really hard to dislike him, in order to make his passing less tragic. And it won't be so...

Either Richard Armitage is a genius, or I've been duped by Peter Jackson.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Geek Style: the unnecessary necessity of having to wear a bra

Sometimes, being a woman sucks.

I mean, when you go shopping for stuff like, pillows, pillowcases and underwear, logic would dictate that the pillows should be the more expensive purchase of the two. Nope. My lingerie haul was nearly twice what I spent for two pillows and two pillowcases at Sears.

And it's not like it's a large underwear haul either. Well actually, it was... but it was out of necessity.

See, La Senza was having an amazing clearance sale in which bras were going for $9.99 a pop, which was awesome especially since I REALLY needed bras after having thrown away two or so of 'em because those were falling apart after years of service. So I got five of them, figuring that that would hold me down for the foreseeable future.

I hate having to buy bras. And every time I go shopping for them, they're often going for at least $30 a pop for me and it's just so hard to swallow spending that kind of money on something that no one sees... that is if you don't dress like a skank or something (not that everyone who flashes their bra to the public are skanks... but let's just say, if it ain't work-safe, you're going to get judged as one!).

I mean, 30 dollars can get me three solid books to read! Or a REALLY nice top from H&M or Forever21. Something I can actually show off, rather than hide under my not-as-expensive shirts, tops or buttondowns.

I get that it's another thing that makes YOU the individual happy having some secret, sexy under-thing on. It's a self-esteem thing to be able to wear something that a guy would look at and oogle over. And really, isn't that all Victoria Secret sells itself on anyway? This image of self esteem in sexy underwear?

But the price tag hardly makes it worth it in my eyes. One time I walked home having spent $60 dollars on two bras (and the second was half off!) and after maybe the first time I wore it, I barely paid attention to the fact it had a nice colourful pattern or lace or what-have-you. At some point, it's about the fact that the straps twist easily, it doesn't wash well and the strap slips off your shoulder too easily and you're constantly having to adjust the goddamn thing!

Problem is it's one of those necessities that women need unless you plan to have people see the shape of your nipples every day or really know how low they go. Although for me it's more the nipple thing as really, I don't have boobs that hang low anyway. I'm still young after all. And childless.

And really, I don't consider covering my nipples with stickers as a cheap alternative. Mostly because that can be even more uncomfortable than wearing a bra. Mostly the chaffing.

And by the way... today I totally bought TWO lacy pieces. Because even I need a self-esteem raiser underneath my button-down shirts and jeans.

Geek Living: bedding upgrade

Last month, I moved.

As in I went from my lonely and not-so-private bachelor to a three-bedroom apartment with two other guys (Yes, guys. If you knew me, this decision would make perfect sense). It meant an upgrade in kitchen size (which is nice) but a downgrade in actual personal living space, in part because as part of the deal of me taking mostly sole possession of the extra small bathroom, I take the smallest room.

Which is totally fine for me... except one thing.

Somehow, this room is FREEZING COLD compared to the rest of the apartment.

Like, I go to bed in fleece pyjama pants, a cotton long sleeve shirt AND a sweater, and under two duvets AND I'M STILL COLD IN THE MORNING!

Amazing how small my twin looks in this picture. Also, please note that the fleece blanket is there only because when I took the picture, I was also recovering from a vicious cold...

Now part of this may be because it's the middle of winter (in Canada), and it probably wouldn't be such a bad thing in summer (although watch, as soon as summer hits, this will go opposites and become the warmest room) but it really did make me rethink my bedding.

College Fashion touched on it a week ago and they made a good point, you spend a lot of time on your bed.  I spend even more since this is what is essentially my office. I'm on my laptop in bed all the time, as you can tell from my laptop being positioned there in the picture.

So why do I only own one comforter and one (and a half I guess... the second one is so flat it's close to dead) pillows?

Also, I'm finding my colour palette and style has changed a bit since I bought my first duvet cover, which is a sort of neutral grey. I don't know if it's because I'm a chick living with two guys or what, but I've been craving more colour... feminine colours. And with my bed being the biggest piece of furniture in the room, it'd be one of the easiest ways to really make a statement.

So first I looked for inspirational pieces.

This board was made with a few things in mind. First is Penny's bed from The Big Bang Theory. I enjoyed the feminine appeal of it, but it also served as a large reminder to stay colourful and cheerful. Mix colours with bedding and keep it bright.

The vines, tree bedposts and picture of Rivendell are all reminders to keep things natural looking. It mostly is due to my hopes and expectation of possibly getting a "summer look" for my bedroom that is more... elvish in nature... something with a vine pattern.

Now it took some time, research and a lot of hemming and hawing, but I selected and purchased my duvet/comforter set on the right.

It's from Blancho Bedding (which ships out of Texas apparently) and I ordered it through Amazon. It's not here yet... but hopefully it will be as the projected time is now within the next week or so. This was step one.

(And may I add, they have a really fabulous selection of colourful, bright and patterned duvet covers and bedding that would brighten any room. Would recommend a good look at their stock)

The other steps?

Two more puffy, comfy "sleeping" pillows for when I feel like relaxing and bright coloured pillowcases... preferably in light blue. A second comforter. And a BRIGHT but solid coloured duvet cover (or with a mild pattern... like my current grey one... but with colour) for it so it can double as a sheet without actually being a sheet! (sheets being too flimsy and troublesome for me)

And a throw pillow for decoration and sham for the really cold nights.

Quite a bit eh? All for an upgrade on a more comfortable bed. But let's be honest, when I finally set it up (and place the decorations and what have you around it) it will be worth it.

Stay tuned...