Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holy Grail

I may or may not have spent thirty dollars on an eye shadow the other day.

I spent a lot of time cruising around Any time I'm in the market for makeup (or any beauty products) I try to go on there to see how people have reviewed whatever it is I'm thinking of buying. People on there have their own language, and one of the first terms I deduced the meaning of was HG. Holy grail. As in, this is the best blanketyblank I have ever used and I will keep buying it for the rest of my life. Before yesterday, I had never had one of those moments.

Enter Shu Uemura eye shadow in ME Brown 850. (Choir of angels sings here.) It has an overall rating of 4.9/5. I somehow discovered it on the internet and decided I had to have it, so almost two months ago I went to the Shu Uemura (I love saying that name) counter in Holt Renfrew and asked about it. They put me on a waiting list. A waiting list. It came in on Sunday, I picked it up. It cost thirty dollars (with tax). I was a little overwhelmed. I brought it home. I put it on. Holy cow. Holy grail. It is the most perfect eye shadow I have ever worn. A shimmery taupe with the faintest hint of violet that brings out the green in my eyes. When I put it on, it makes it look like I have naturally beautiful, shimmery, colourful eyelids. Tasteful. Lovely. All the boys will like me.


Alright, so it probably won't change my life, but it does make me feel nice. And, while lots of people my age easily spend $30 in a bar every night, I rarely do. So I don't feel too bad for spending it on an eyeshadow once in a while.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here's a book I took out of the library today based solely on the gorgeousness of the cover.

It must be good.

Monday, July 28, 2008


So I've started to pack for the East Coast, and I can't find my parka! I need it!

We're all just people

These photos, by Stephanie Sinclair, are so intriguing. A mix of mundane and gorgeous, they profile the F.L.D.S. (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) community, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. Found via an article on Jezebel. Unsettling and telling is right.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer days

I feel a little overwhelmed by all the awesomeness of this weekend. No camera, sadly, but still, awesome.

Go Fish, a little fish shack on the seawall between Granville Island and Kits beach, with the most delicious beer battered fresh fish with lovely chips.
A long walk along the seawall to Mario's for really deliciously rich chocolate ice cream (but I wanted two flavours. They won't do it with one scoop, and two scoops was six dollars!! No way!).
Then back to Xine's house to watch a girly movie. In this case it was Definitely, Maybe. Cute. Interesting dynamic between father and daughter. I liked that it was a romantic comedy about a dude. 3/5 stars.

Poppy seed bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese and a cup of coffee with Xine at Solly's. I love Solly's.
THEN! Lunch with Sally at Szechuan Chongqing, which was fully delicious. I went at Lesley's behest, and it was delightful. She recommended the crystal shrimp dumplings, the deluxe tan tan noodles, and the fried canneloni with soy sauce. So much carbohydrate! So satisfying! The shrimp dumplings were huge and delicious, the noodles were the perfect spiciness, and the canneloni were the most perfect texture. Yum! Sally's first dim sum!

pretty kitty photo from Anna's foto's

Walking along Commercial Drive, there was a tiny grey kitten in the middle of the sidewalk. A little girl was playing with it, and a man and woman stood behind her. Sally and I couldn't help but stop. "Is it yours?" I asked. She shook her head. For a minute I thought it was abandoned and alone, and I wanted to pick it up and take it home. "Who's is it?" "His," she said, pointing to the man. Sally held it for a second, and I petted its sweet tiny head. We kept walking, cooing about how much we both wanted a kitten, about how it had been so small that it couldn't even be called a kitten, but a kitty. Just looking into its perfect kitty eyes and touching it's little head touched a place in my heart that I wish were touched more often, and I said so. Saying it aloud made me feel silly, but it's true. It's the one reason I'm slightly sad that I'll be living in a residence next year: no pets. I've never had a cat, and I've always wanted one. A short haired grey girl-cat named Tsunami. I think I'll be a good cat-mummy one day. Sigh sigh.

... I leave in three weeks. I'm fitting in all the awesome Vancouverness I can (especially when it comes to Asian food; I'll go for dim sum at least once more, probably twice). Sigh sigh again.

Oh, and tomorrow = Batman. In Imax.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Word Nerd

Every book on writing I have ever read names The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, as the Holy Grail of books on writing (they'd probably all get mad at me for having the phrase "book[s] on writing" in this sentence twice). I bought a copy a few years ago, and it's great. Full of perfect tips for clarity of expression in writing. I recommend it highly. So highly that I now have a second copy, but that is more to do with the fact that this version is GORGEOUSly illustrated (by Maira Kalman). I saw it on the shelf and had to have it. I try to live by the adage, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." More often though, I like for things to be both; here's one for that pile.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So I started googling (I love the word google as a verb) movie recommendation websites, and came up with I enjoyed it because it opens with a kind of personality test of what kind of movie experiences you like. I lean more towards "drinking wine while watching depressing foreign films" or something like that, so the movies it has recommended that I haven't seen are: Chunking Express, Volver, Raging Bull, The Deer Hunter, Cradle Will Rock, The Five Obstructions, Citizen Kane, and Quills.

That said, I'm going to watch a comedy tonight. Tootsie. Somehow I've never seen it. Could be because I was about eleven months old when it was released.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Um, Death Race

So this is a little bit uncharacteristic for me, but I was totally psyched when I saw a preview for Death Race when I went to a movie recently (Hellboy II, 3/5 stars, visually stunning but a little lacking in emotional depth). I turned to my dad and whispered, "This movie looks absolutely ludicrous and awesome." The cast is amazing!

Also, I know Batman is out, and I know I haven't seen it yet. I've decided I need to trek out to Richmond to see it in Imax (and maybe get cream puffs), so I have to wait until next week. Sigh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


So I spent an hour or so going through my photo library, editing out all the not great photos. I got rid of over 2000 or so, and simultaneously realized how hot I was when I was young and blonde. So I decided to give you a glimpse of my self-involved, self-portrait loving self (lucky ducks!).
Me circa 2004?

me again circa 2004?

I took this amazing photography class in 2005 at UBC, and the theme of the course was "the constructed image".I had a series of images that were all related to books. They are a tiny bit pretentious, but I still really like them, and am a little bit proud of them. I need to start making ART again! (And yes, I like Cindy Sherman very much, thanks for asking.)

And then I decided to take a picture of me today. Actually I took 66 pictures, and this is the best one:
My hair is getting close to bombshell length! It's the longest it's been in years! I'm so excited!

The Double Life of Veronique

Wonderful. I started thinking about this word today, about how it really means full of wonder. I am going to start thinking of it that way more often, and using it that way. The world is wonderful. This was the perfect (wonderful) film to make that point clear.

The shadow of lace curtains cast against a sleeping body. A teabag spinning in its cup. If you notice things like this, the tiny miracles of living, you will at least like (if not love) this film.

The Double Life of Veronique
is by Krystztov Kieslowski, whose Blue, White, and Red I've been meaning to see for years and years and years (even more so now that I've seen this one). It was released in 1991, when I was nine, so I will forgive myself for not seeing before today. It is the story of a woman who is, somehow, simultaneously living two lives (I think the mechanics of this are left up to the viewer, as to how and why this is possible, or if it even is), one in Poland and one in Paris. It is also a love story, and in this aspect it reminded me a lot of Amelie (although I suppose it should be the other way around, as this film most definitely came first). This is a quiet, beautiful film about the wonder of life and love, and about looking at the world in slightly different ways in order to really see it.

4/5 stars.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The History Boys

I feel about eight times smarter than usual, and painfully undereducated, after watching The History Boys. It is one of those rare movies that is based on a (tony award-winning) stage play, but doesn't feel stagey or awkward in its transition to film. About a group of students trying to pass Oxford's entrance exams, it explores ideas of sexuality, boundaries, education, youth, age, and so much more. The cast is astoundingly talented, and I believed every character and everything that happened to them. I've been feeling deprived of wit lately, but the brilliance of this script pretty much drilled a hole straight into my brain and funnelled in an abundance of intelligence and irony. It was funny, and so so so enjoyable. Not at all heavy-handed, but still substantial. Brilliant!

4.5/5 stars.

Being psychic

I'm psyched (and apparently psychic) right now. It's a tiny thing. I was chatting with someone online, and was getting annoyed, and wanting to go to bed, and he is a person who tends to spout nonsense so I thought I'd spout some too, so I said, "Alright, I'm going to bed. Have fun with your vinegar." And he said, "I'm drinking some balsamic right now." And I said, "Are you really? Because that would be funny." And he said, "Yes, leftover from a salad dressing. If I had a camera I would show you." So apparently I'm weirdly psychic, which is exciting.

If you have an affinity for weird new-age-ish babble the way I do, I highly recommend Sonia Choquette's The Psychic Pathway: A workbook for Reawakening the Voice of Your Soul. Maybe I should read it again, start seeing auras or something like that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer lunches

I had a really delicious, two part, four ingredient lunch the other day, and one that was decidedly summery (though lacking in significant vegetables).

Fresh, local strawberries, sliced up and mixed with yogourt.

And a half a brownie (that was too sweet for me on its own; I prefer my brownies dense and dark) with a dollop of the peanut butter I keep in the staff fridge.

All eaten al fresco.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Eep. This movie is adorable. I cried. In a good way (that's pretty much the only way I cry at movies, not because they're sad but because they're happy). It was a beautiful film, and I highly recommend that people see it in the theatre, because the visuals are so wonderful. I don't usually run out to go see animated films, but a girl at work sold me when she said it was one of the most beautiful love stories she had ever seen. Plus, I love robots. Especially when they're sweet, lonesome, soulful ones, like WALL-E. Loved it.

4/5 stars.

Dim Sum in a classy joint

I had a lovely trip to Coquitlam this weekend, where Ana and Kay treated me to Korean barbecue for dinner. (Did you know they use metal chopsticks in Korea? I felt like a toddler, trying to use them. I've been using chopsticks since I was seven! I should be a pro! The Korean ones were so thin, but so heavy. I felt like a clumsy oaf of a girl.) Then, for breakfast the next day, we went for dim sum. I love dim sum. My favourite is Pink Pearl , but mostly because I've been going there since I was about three, so it tastes like home. I've tried other places, but I usually end up back at Pink Pearl within a week or so because I'm still craving my favourites. I have to say though, this place impressed me (except for the deep fried squid, which is pretty much the one dish that no one but P.P. seems to do right). The food was yummy, and the quality was pretty good (as was the price). The best part, however, was the decor.
It took me a surprisingly long time to figure out that blinds were printed with a faux-view, and that we weren't really in the Chinese countryside.

Gratuitous food shots now:

Hey guys...

It's summer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If anyone loves me one thousand three hundred and ninety dollars worth

They can get me this ring for a present. Sigh. Rich (and otherwise awesome, kind, funny, smart, cute, etc etc) boyfriend, where are you?

Love + Sex With Robots

I had one of those conversations today that I sometimes feel can only happen in a library, surrounded by books and information and ideas. It started innocently enough, with me saying that I was kind of interested in getting some of that software that writes out what you say aloud. "Yes," said James. "But I think it might feel kind of weird to be talking to a computer at first." I thought about it. "I think it would be awesome," I said. "Like having your own robot friend."

This reminded me of one of the books that I've noticed on the New Book shelf lately. "Have you seen that book, Sex with Robots, or something like that?" One of the librarians (who we hadn't realized could hear us) piped up from her office, "What do you guys think about that? I saw the author on Jon Stewart."

I hadn't read the book, but my first thought was that it would be an alright alternative to human prostitution. I find the idea of having a robot friend even weirder than having a robot lover, buying a piece of metal and plastic that agrees with you, and makes you margaritas on Friday after work... huh.

All this made me want to write some Science Fiction. But not boy Science Fiction, with guns and action (not that it's just for boys... you know what I mean). Just a regular novel, with regular characters, who fall in love, get married, get divorced, rob banks. With robots. Just some characters who are robots. I think it would be pretty great.


This is a really nice movie. Set in Quebec, between 1960 and 1980 (ish), it follows Zach Beaulieu in all of his sexually confused, David Bowie-loving glory. It is a movie about love, family, music. There are lots of charming, surreal touches that don't come across as heavy handed. It was heartwarming while not at all schmaltzy. Very real. Very honest. Very good.

4/5 stars.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

She & Him

I first fell for Zooey Deschanel's voice when I heard her sing in Elf. She has such an old fashioned, amazingly-textured timbre. I've been figuring out Google Reader over the last couple of days, and going over some of the back-(b)log I haven't seen before. A Cup of Jo post from March sent me skipping over to the Merge Records site where I could listen to Miss Deschanel's project with Matt Ward, She & Him. I'm pretty in love with their first record, Volume One. Pretty! Pretty awesome!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Seattle recommendations

So I'm going to Seattle for a couple of days in August with my mum and my "Auntie June" (my mum's friend who I love), and I need some recommendations. We'll only be there for a Sunday and a Monday... what should we do? Where should we stay? Where should we eat? If you've been, or live there, or have any recommendations at all, let me know. Top picks! What would you do if you only had two days in Seattle?

Do you like puppets?

I think this will brighten your day, even if it's already sunny and warm like it is where I am. Youtube won't let me embed it, so you'll have to take one extra step and follow the link. It's from Avenue Q, a puppet musical with songs about internet porn and racism, and it is delightful. I really wanted to see this when I was in New York (insert choir of angels singing "aah" here), but I didn't. So instead I watched the songs on the internet. I guess it's not only for porn.

Making movie magic

I spent the day helping a friend of mine on his film. In exchange for dinner and a ride home, I painted fake octopus tentacles for hours upon hours. I gave up on this kind of work ages ago, but he was desperate, so I decided to revel in the glory of film-making (ha). I was surrounded by eager young film students trying to make it, and, as usual, we spent most of the time talking about movies, comparing favourites. Here are my top twenty favourite movies. It's not very "cool" or "indie" or "film school-y" for the most part. Even though I was a film student, I am most definitely not a film snob. It is maybe a little heavy on the romantic comedies, but heck, I like romance (and comedy). These are all movies that I watch again and again, and they all leave me just a little bit more in love with the world.

20. Dazed and Confused
19. Bridget Jones' Diary
18. Heathers
17. Microcosmos
16. Boogie Nights
15. Crybaby
14. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
13. Kissing Jessica Stein
12. Batman
11. Beetle Juice
10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
9. Braveheart
8. When Harry Met Sally
7. Monsoon Wedding
6. Amelie
5. Big
4. Labyrinth
3. Strictly Ballroom
2. It's a Wonderful Life
1. Annie Hall

Face Hunter

This is not me. Sadly.

I go back and forth in life between wanting to look effing cool (like, you know, art school dropout mixed with Scandinavian heiress) and just wanting to wear a uniform of, say, jeans and a white t-shirt and ballet flats every day. I usually lean more towards the latter, because as an Aquarius (yes, I'm blaming astrology here) I like to move on to the next thing very very often, so if I shop according to my whims I am left with bags of fuzzy brown sweater dresses and lime green elbow gloves that all make their way to the clothing drop off, having wasted some hundreds of dollars in the process. So most often I go very very simple in my clothing, and keep my varied tastes aligned to things like movies, books, and food.

But. I can appreciate amazing style, and amazing fashion, and I love other people who look effing cool. You can find many of them here.

(This blog came by way of (Into) the Fray, where Lady Smaggle commented, and I followed the link to her blog, where she led me to Face Hunter. Just in case you wanted to know.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thomas Haas

Caramel Pecan with fleur de sel - dark chocolate ganache with roasted pecans and soft caramel, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with a touch of fleur de sel from Brittany.

Balsamic Honey - soft caramel with rare firewood honey and aged balsamic vinegar.

Pistachio Marzipan - delicate almond marzipan with pistachios from Sicily and a hint of kirsch.

Thomas Haas. I have heard time and time again that they have the best chocolates and pastries in the city, but they are closed on my days off, and they close at five thirty the rest of the time. Ana and I finish work at five on Saturdays, so on the way home we decided to have an adventure. Even though neither of us knew exactly where it was, Ana must have some kind of psychic chocolatier sense, and we pulled into the parking lot at about five twenty-four.

The delicious sounding things at the top of this post were the three chocolates I chose ($1.05 each, but soooo worth it). I also got a twice baked almond croissant, which was dense and chewy, with a gorgeous crusting of roasted almonds. I brought them all home to have a semi-balanced dinner of salad, croissant, organic homo milk (oh wait, they don't call it that anymore, it's 3.25%), and my lovely little chocolates. It was delightful. If you are in Vancouver, ever ever ever, I highly recommend it. North Vancouver, actually. You'll need a car. It's almost enough to get me to drive.

I really want to try the Aztec hot chocolate mix.

Things I love

  • seeing things made by nature in the shape of hearts, like leaves and petals.
  • the sound of rain outside my window.
  • a really great doughnut
  • coffee with cream
  • the word Bali
  • watching kids dance
  • TV on DVD
  • going to see movie matinees, alone, especially on a weekday
  • harmonicas
  • the movie Nashville, by Robert Altman
  • 50s rock and roll
  • almond croissants
  • the colour teal
  • zen circles
  • black dresses with kimono style sleeves
  • things made of cotton
  • flannel sheets

Friday, July 4, 2008

How the Light Gets In

I am really loving this book so far. Here is a passage:

I wish I had met Jim Henson. Ask me who I would bring back to the earth if I only had one choice, and it would be him. I'd ask him if he could take me to his muppet studio and I'd watch him work. If he liked me, and we got along, he might give me a muppet that I could be the voice for. He would teach me to work and he would give me a job on "The New Muppets Show: A Revival" looking after some of the smaller muppets, thinking of story lines and song lyrics.
The only problem is, I'm not that good on voices, but I could think of muppet scenarios. I'd love that. Maybe I should write to Brian Henson. Maybe he'd be interested in some of my muppet scenarios for whatever muppet programs he's putting together.

How the Light Gets In is by M.J. Hyland, and is the story of a sixteen year old girl from Australia who is on a year long exchange to the US, just outside of Chicago. She thinks the new life will be the answer to all her problems, but she's wrong. With a burgeoning alcohol habit and awful communication skills (though she writes wonderful notes to her host family members), the year is a trial.

I'm only halfway through, so I don't know how it ends, but I love it. I love the voice of the narrator, Lou.

Amanda, I think you would like it.

How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors

I work in a library. This can be dangerous, because I am also a book person. Once in a while (although if I'm not careful it can happen five or six times a day) I will pick up a book that makes me want to put everything else down, curl up in one of the chairs in the corner of the library, and just read. Yesterday, that book was How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors. The book features pages and pages and pages of different authors talking about their talismans, the things they keep with them when they write. For Douglas Coupland, it is chocolate chips. Apparently they speed the release of endorphins when you exercise. I have no idea if this is true, but I hope it is, and I think I'm going to try it. (Why this makes a difference with writing, I have no idea, but apparently it cured his writer's block.)

I wish I could reread my favourite Douglas Coupland novels for the first time. My picks: Microserfs and Girlfriend in a Coma.

p.s. I saved the book for my break, don't worry. I won't get fired. Hopefully.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Flight of the Conchords 2.0

I swear this isn't going to turn into the Flight of the Conchords blog. I promise. But someone told me that their live songs are even better the show, and it turns out they're right. The songs are the best parts of the TV show, but when it's just the two dudes on their own, on stage, the humour and brilliance of the lyrics and delivery really shine through.

I love them. But I will never talk about it again because I don't want to become known to them as a crazy stalker fan.

They're alright, I guess.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Or are they paintings?

I've been itching to do something with watercolours recently, so the other day when it was super sunny I pulled them out and sat out in the back yard in the grass, doing little paintings. I quickly realized (as I do every time I try to paint) that realism is not my forte, and I am more of an abstractionist. So I just played with the colours. When I brought them inside I decided to trace all of the shades with black pen, because in my world almost everything looks better with a black border. I kind of like how they turned out. They remind me of maps of imaginary places. This one is my favourite.

Canadian Cream Puffs

In the oven.

Almost in my mouth.

I've been bugging my mum to make cream puffs for what feels like decades. They are my favourite dessert. These cream puffs aren't distinctly Canadian, they are actually from a New York Times Cookbook from 1961, but we ate them at our Canada Day barbeque, and they were delicious.

Here is the recipe (my first recipe! I'm so proud):

Cream Puff Shells

When cream puff paste is baked it is one of the apparent miracles of cuisine. The paste expands to many times its original size and a mass of air occurs in the center. Nonetheless, it is one of the easiest of foods to prepare. The only "secret" is to add the flour all at once and fearlessly to the water-butter mixture. Cream Puff paste is not only baked; it may be deep fried to produce air-filled beignets souffles.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to hot (450 degrees F.)
2. Combine the water, butter and salt and ring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball around the spoon. If a ball does not form almost immediately, hold the saucepan over low heat and beat briskly a few seconds. Cool slightly.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, an dbeat until mixture is smooth and glossy after each addition.
4. Drop the mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, leaaving two inches between the puffs to permit spreading.
5. Bake fifteen minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to moderate (350 degrees F.) and bake until no bubbles of fat remain on the surface and the sides of the puffs feel rigid, about thirty minutes longer. Cool. Cut a cap off each puff and fill with pastry cream. Replace the cap.

That's the end of the book's instructions. Instead of "pastry cream" we filled them with strawberry whipped cream (which is my absolute favourite). To make this you whip cream with a little bit of icing sugar (this is always a point of contention in my house, I only like a very little, others like a lot). Drain a package of thawed frozen strawberries (in syrup) and mix only the berries (not the liquid) with the whipped cream, folding them in.

Oh, the recipe book says this will make 10 large puffs, but we had a bunch of people coming over so we made smaller ones, baked them for a shorter period of time, and ended up with 25 small/medium puffs.


Happy Canada Day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My someday wedding

If I'm lucky enough to someday get married, it will be to someone with enough of a sense of humour and awesomeness to hire a Huey Lewis and the News cover band to play the wedding. I think the first dance would be to "World to me", but I guess "The Power of Love" would be okay.

When I was a kid, my mum seemingly only had one tape that she listened to in the car. That was Huey Lewis and the News, "Small World". So today, as we played in the kitchen (more on that later), I put the CD on. I still know all the words. I love it. Not even ironically.


What do you get when you have a psychopathic serial killer who only murders other serial killers? A creepily awesome (or is that awesomely creepy?) TV show.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to start watching this show. I've been looking forward to it for so long, and now, in the damp heat of the long awaited Vancouver summer, I've gotten started. I made the mistake of watching the first episode right before bed last night, totally creeping myself out, but today, when it was too hot to go out into the real world, I spent the afternoon watching episodes in bed with the fan on and the covers off. Alexandra told me a while ago that the show involves lots of awesome food shots. It makes me hungry. But then, you know, the murder scenes kind of curb my appetite. It's confusing. But I like it.

Watch the opening credits. They are so good.


Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
My photo
Toronto, Canada
I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.