Mysterious Size Chart

I have recently indulged my internal fashionista in a wave of online shopping in the past year and it has truly been a wonderful experience. I do love the worldwide reach, and I love that I can sift through pages and pages of beautiful seasonal prints, shoes, bags, and all of them relatively affordable and different than anything I could find in the stores nearby. I love it, I do, but I have a small qualm.

I have an average sized, short, strong body, and I love it, and appreciate it and am grateful for everything it gets me through. I treat it well with daily activity, yoga, and eating relatively well with sprinkled tasty treats and glasses of wine. I try to dress it comfortably but also nicely, a smart yet colourful palette, and I wish it the best while I am sleeping so it can grow and rest. But it exists, and it is not as small as the models I see in Vogue, and it is not as toned as I would like it to be sometimes, but its all I got.

And sometimes I buy clothes online and they come in my size and they are not fitting the way that I had hoped. In my case right now it is a tartan printed pair of coveralls that were inexpensive and from the UK, and they are so quaint and lovely that I just couldn’t resist. They came in last week and I tried them on and they just weren’t what I had expected. I tried them again a few minutes ago and realised that it is my thighs and butt that aren’t getting into them. I feel no shame in admitting that, I love my legs and bum so I don’t care if I have to buy larger sizes to fit them in, I’d rather they be covered than hanging out, but this was discouraging.

I think I am going to keep them and not return because I am not sure about the online store’s policy and they fit enough that if I just wear them as shorts then they won’t look strange. But I just wish that clothes were made for me and not clothes that I had to look in the “curvy” section for. I know that it is an unrealistic dream to think that bras, pants, dresses and shoes,a ll things that are extremely unique to each person and enough so that there should be different dimensions than “S-M-L,” or the “by-twos” sizing systems.

I argue for those of us who are too big to fit into the D-dimensions in the local bra store and the friends I have that struggle to fit their legs into the jean sizes that do not accommodate for tall and thin-hipped women. We are women, we are humans, we are not dictated by sizes told to us by the corporate clothing companies. HEAR US ROAR. And for the love of pete give us some clothing that can let us do us and just be already.

Xx Jess

Sangria-Sunsets

When I was a young warthog (girl) I used to have my friends over for sleepovers and we would have snacks. Usually some kind of chips and soda or hundreds of water bottles. In the morning we used to have french toast and juice, and the entire night would be a whirlwind of giggling, too-grown-up movies, and late night talking into the morning.

Growing older now sleepovers are a little different. Not as many late nights, more just talking with snacks, and something that I’ve grown very fond of is sangria. Red wine, ginger ale, fruit, lime and a lemon. Something about the mix of nostalgia and alcohol gets everyone talking, comfortable, and smiling. Is this the new recipe for special grown up sleepovers?

It isn’t a requirement, but it sure makes everyone feel good. I think what I like most about it is the idea of making it a few hours before the festivities begin and putting in the effort and knowing that it is going to be appreciated and liked and successful in its purpose: bringing together.

The various tastes, the sweets and sours, the alcohol and sugary juice all comes together to percolate together in the fridge, and they all come together into something bright and bubbly. Like the pending sleepover which could go many ways, the sangria brings people together into comfortable, supportive arms. Maybe I am too oprtimistic for such a drink’s ability and power, but it hasn’t failed me for a good time yet.

xx Jess

My Twenty-Something Life in an Evening

I wrote a blog last year during my 365 project about how I strive on a daily basis to feel the age that I am. When I was a teenager I wanted me room to reflect it, to have cds and magazines stren everyone, to have posters, to have a group of friends who snuck coolers from their parents and went to horror movies and spent hours at the mall. In hindsight, I had that, albeit a little skewed by a degenerative eye disease, but I was a normal teen. Through university I came to accept that my university life was a bit different than the “normal” because I tried not to binge drink and house party as much as my peers seemed to do. But my life reflected my age quite literally: travelling, finding myself, yoga mats, kraft dinner, grilled cheese at midnight with roommates, staying up all night with a best friend talking with wine, its all there. I tried to evade the cliché but at the same time craved it. My life came out in a sort of balance.

So now, in my mid-twenties out of university and still trying to “find my place” in the world I found myself really seeing the cliché and the untraditional last night. Here is what happened.

After dinner I snuggled into pyjamas which were thin, ripped, old leggings; my boyfriend’s tshirt and a big oversized sweater. I made some tea and turned on BBC Radio 2 to listen to the evening/midnight tunes. My room is very clean, and I lit some candles and turned off the overhead light and only had one light on in the corner. I spent a good while doing research for my theatre project and my blog but also some networking and emails. Things I would usually do in the middle of the day but it seemed…right to get to. After which I got more tea, read some blogs and spent the rest of the evening laughing, enjoying Sex and the City, and finding different things to add to lists and shopping and other things that are usual to a twenty something these days. Online shopping, twitter, Vogue, giving best friends advice, laughing at old photos but planning a vacation. It all just came together in a cosy, beautiful environment.

And what you may have guessed from my blog name: I am ALL about the cosy-ness.

So last night was perfect for me. I felt comfortable, and right. Autumn and the next four months are my favourite times of the year through the holidays and the weather, the music, the knitting, and to me this is what it means to feel twenty-something. Given I am only in my early side of the spectrum, but I am so into the idea of my twenties and needing to be free, fun, and cosy.

Xx Jess

Writer’s Block Poetry

Are you interested in my poetry? I am not really interested in it either, but this evening I found myself stop-starting writing through a new idea and had a short break to place down some serious thoughts on what it feels like to finally get a good idea and yet having no way to use it. Here is that poem:

My brain is a hamper of thinly sliced potatoes
Awaiting patiently for their turn
To be dipped, prodded, shuffled, stacked
And fried
In hot grease.
Every passing thought of an idea fighting for a chance encounter
With some ketchup,
As each is granted an audience with
Ample amounts of salt,
Only some will be drowned in vinegar,
Only a chosen few will burn as if fired,
And only a hero will land lost on the floor
Out of the hamper
And brilliantly obvious on the linoleum,
Demanding to be noticed, attention,
And is given time to grow,
Until I find it purposefully sitting alone
So I can pick it up
And throw it out.
J

If anyone else is struggling with a new idea or even just getting focused, I feel you. If I am working on a specific project or goal then bam things come and go but when it is something so new and I am doing solo it feels like a sputtering start. I am dedicated to it just as much but it is just that much harder to get things out of my head. This is why I am SO interested in alternative venues for creation. I hope to pursue this idea in the future and am grateful for the various professors during my undergrad (Alan Filewod, Judith Thompson, Mark Fortier and Sky Gilbert) for introducing me to, pushing me towards, and challenging me to think outside of the cliche and traditional box.

Hope you’re well and having a lovely evening/day/season.

xx Jess

The Science of the Lookbook

In the midst of the elusive New York Fashion Week I have been trying to think of something to talk about fashion that I haven’t already read somewhere else. The thing about fashion is is that it is intentionally public and intentionally media-oriented. Fashion does not exist without photographs, magazines, runways, hell even Twitter relies on the industry in order to circulate and advertise these days. There is this neat phenomenon through Fashion Bloggers called the “Lookbook,” and I want to hammer out some things about them.

A fashionista creates a Lookbook to advertise their style for a specific reason like the upcoming season or a specific event. There are a few things that bother me about seasonal lookboks for simple reasons. Usually bloggers will create these lookbooks midway through or after the season has occurred, meaning that their advertising is ultimately useless. I was watching a Vlog this afternoon about the lovely Tanya Burr talking about choosing her picks for November early because she writes for a magazine and they do things in advance. Well, that’s sort of how fashion works, doesn’t it? The NYFW shows are for the next year’s fashion. When you hear about a new collection coming out it is never referring to the month that you are sitting in now, but always the spring of next year, etc. etc..

Event lookbooks are rare I admit but I consider them a lot more useful. Halloween is a big one, or the Oscars, Christmas, those kind of events are attractive to fashion bloggers because they depend on the fashion-based shopping hikes that attract a variety of people in waves. These lookbooks, however, are few, due to the lack of accessibility to such events. Sometimes there is a “Get Ready With Me”-type post, but most fashionistas feel guilty for posting pictures of themselves in couture and designer clothings because their readers (or the majority of them) can not afford them. But I say, why buy Vogue?

Many Beauty creators these days show the clothing and products that they love and then provide an affordable, High Street/Drugstore alternative that is similar, affordable, and just as cute. Fashion is so silly this way. It reminds me of Meryl Streep’s monologue in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway thinks that her world isn’t affected by fashion but in reality “High Fashion” dictates colours, prints, styles, cuts, and a multitude of other things that drip into the “affordable” and “low” Fashion stream that you and I can buy ourselves.

So….why does it matter? Good question. Fashion seems to be useless ot a lot of people, but when I see a dress that I like on my favourite character on tv or while window shopping down Queen st. in Toronto I don’t think to myself “wow all of my personality traits lead me to love that dress,” neither do I think “I have been so heavily influenced by mainstream media advertising and the high fashion magazines I splurge on to make me love that dress,” but something in between the two: “That dress looks like it would be good to express myself.” The funny thing about expression is that it is so subjective that we can decide for ourselves what works for us.

I personally love lookbooks because I love to be inspired. I have a hard time sticking to the patterns, cuts, jewellry and colours of the seasons because I love classic prints, cuts, etc., and I also love the idea of having a totally unique style with the colour that fits for the season. Should we be so heavily influenced by anything? I personally don’t think we would make any decisions without even the tiniest bit of influences. I think that we depend on other people’s opinions to find out what we ultimately like, and what we can pass on to others.

It’s all about knowing ourselves and respecting that our influences are there to guide us to find ourselves further, or to find that perfect Gingham dress for fall.
Xx Jess

A Creative Solution

When I go to a family gathering I do a few routine things. Hug the family, steal a pickle, beg for a tea and an illustrious “foldover” special, and do my rounds. I check that everything has stayed the same since I have last visited my grandparents’ house. The secret passage is still working, the cuckoo clock still rings at eleven and not twelve, and the toys that they still keep despite having grown up grandchildren stay in their rightful places.

One toy in particular that I double check and then lust after playing is the lego that my Grandma still keeps in her tv cabinet. They are kept in a small tub and the pieces can’t be bigger than my fingernails, and yet if I find myself alone in that room I will sit cross-legged on the floor and twirl the pieces in my fingers, and remember the times I used to build houses, cars, hotels, islands, Hogwarts and a variety of other things that my mind could come up with.

My uncle is an engineer and loves to receive lego architecture sets for Christmas. My brother loves the pirate ship legos and my dad has always put them together. Call it nostalgia, but I think that the obsession with lego that some grownups has comes from craving for a creative outlet that was once accessible to them during childhood.

I remember the phase well when it became lame to play with toys or imaginative games. I remember asking my best friend if she wanted to play school (a game where she was in her bedroom and I in her sister’s and we would hardly speak to each other as we taught our respective classes various elementary topics. It was riveting) and she said that we were too old for that now. I secretly still played with my elggo, doll house, and make believe games when I was alone. To be honest there are still times of complete stress that I lose myself in my own imagination. Why is it so taboo to play?

It seems that lately the only times that I am asked to publically play is during “Ice Breaker” games during the first class or at a theatre workshop where we are meant to let go. I love the idea of rehabilitation through play, and how stress would be such a small thing if we all could “let go” and play more, play and allow ourselves to be creative. There is this stigma surrounding creativity that contrasts with structure, with facts, with research, but where did all of those things come from? Problem Solving could be renamed as Creative Thinking, and yet the scary C-word seems to disappear from required skills lists everywhere.

I vouch that we all go out and buy the newest lego set and set aside a half hour, maybe the half hour after the gym that we all tell ourselves we HAVE to do, and build our dream lego house, or our dream lego zoo’s, and forget our desks our tweets and our work, because if there’s one thing we know that creativity both enhances and also helps deal with mental health. We need a balance, but we also need to nurture that imagination that sprouted in youth and got told through education to hide away.

Xx Jess

PRIDE: Modern Activism and a Film About People

It is very rare for me to justify standing and applauding at the end of a performance unless I do it without thinking about it. If I have to question the standing ovation then it is not needed, simple. Pride at the Toronto International Film Festival was a standing up occasion, so much so that we were covered in tears and smiling and not second guessing the fact that the film we had just seen was not only incredible but…awe inspiring.

The plot followed a small Kesban and Gay group who wanted to support a small Welsh town during the Miner strike in 1984. The humour was natural, genuine, not forced not funny but small and quaint. The emotions were real, three dimensional, not forced. This film was not forced. We were lucky enough to be at the North American premiere and heard the director, the cast, and some of the real people the story was based off of speak at the end. It came up that modern activism was represented in this film not by riots, not by ALS Bucket Challenges, not by a surge of social media following, but by actually physically supporting and being there for one another, and that this is the way of the future to make change.

That touched home for me, in the midst of writing a speech for the Night Steps fundraiser that I am walking for Canadian National Institute for the Blind later this month but also speaking and acting as an ambassador for the organisation. I want to be around people who work towards a common goal, and get excited with them, feel the passion from their voice and the touch of their hands. Modern Activism means awareness through contact, through passion that is directed through in-real-life contact, in-real-life IMPACT, those are the things that make a difference.

PRIDE brought people together, brought an audience to joyeous, loud laughter and tears through smiles. Everything about this experience moved me, and in a way prompted me to challenge myself to DO. To BE with people, to MEET new people, and to TRY. What do I have to be ashamed of? Be proud of the things that you believe in, don’t hide the, don’t hide yourself, and MAKE IT HAPPEN.

I am only seeing one film at TIFF this year and I am incredibly thrilled that it was PRIDE, which brought me to my feet to applaud not the acting, not the depiction, not the story, but the commitment to respect and the message of support and passion.

See this film. It is coming to the Princess Cinemas in Waterloo, I will be going again (this October) and make an effort to support people today, be there for them, and put down your cellphone and visit people more. There is nothing like seeing someone in the flesh and affecting change in each other.

Xx Jess