Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Treats of the Week - So, why a lobster?

It's been a minute since I've blogged.  Call it summer vacation, call it blogger burnout, call it laziness, whatever.  I just haven't felt like doing the blogging thing.  My internet has been spotty lately (thanks, Rogers), freelance work has been busy, and it's been too hot to do anything but go swimming.  But my Grandma Millie is my number one fan and has been asking where the blog posts are, and we can't disappoint Grandma!  Here's what's been going on the last couple of weeks.

  • Dustin and I had a wedding to go to, which meant I had a meltdown about what to wear.  I frantically ordered a bunch of dresses which didn't arrive in time, but managed to find this little number at Winners on clearance for $38.  It's a really great dress that was perfect for the wedding and will transition well come boots and tights time!  Plus it passed the all-important fitting room Jenn test.

  • I went for my free tattoo in Toronto and it was a really great experience.  My artist, Katrina, is incredibly talented and I'm so happy with the result.  So why a lobster?  I just like them.  I've always been drawn to their image and I like their ties to surrealism and Salvador Dali.  This dude has healed up super nicely - she put a weird wrap on it that's used on burn victims that really helped speed the healing.  I'm all done with the peeling and everything now and it's healed much lighter than in this picture.  Can't wait for the next one!

  • Back to school shopping is underway for Vivian and myself!  I'm not taking any courses this fall (but I might in the winter) but that doesn't mean I don't need new pens.  I got myself a Parker, just a cheap Jotter.  I've always wanted a really nice pen but I'm afraid I'll just lose it.  This Parker can be my training wheels to see how well I do.

  • I'm loving my favourite summer guilty pleasure of Big Brother, and this summer Vivian is watching along with me!  Paulie is basically the worst, and I want to see Natalie and James go to the finish!
  • I went to Value Village the other day (too hot to walk outside on my lunch break) and was greeted with dozens of elephants.  It was so bizarre, and kind of sad.  In my mind they had to clear out someone's house who collected elephants.  They were everywhere I looked!

  • I also found a complete set of Out of this World, which I realllllllly wanted.  But when they're priced at $4 each and there's 24 of them...even when every fifth book would be just wasn't happening that day.  I did consider buying a couple of random ones just to ruin the set for someone else though, because I'm spiteful.

  • I just can't help myself sometimes.

  • This crazy heat we've been having has been unbearable and makes us appreciate the pool at mom's house even more.  It's been so nice to have it for nighttime swims, and is so much easier then trekking out to the beach!  My back is crazy tanned - I'm loving having this pool around!

  • On Monday mom and I ventured on the GoTrain with five kids for a day in Toronto.  We hit up the aquarium, which is not for the faint of heart.  The kids had a great time, but holy cow are the adults ever terrible at places like this.  The kids were getting shoved and bumped around, and often couldn't see anything because of adults standing right in front of all the displays.  Call me crazy, but maybe you don't need to take 20 pictures of the lion fish when there's a four-year old who just wants to see them.  I took to just saying, "Go ahead kids, get up there close.  Adults don't need to see," quite loudly.  Dustin figures I could get a solid 5 minutes of stand-up out of the experience.  My favourite part was this sawfish who was just chilling on top of the tunnel.

  • But hey, the kids had a blast.

  • The trip was a success - we had all the kids carry their own backpacks and they did so well with all the walking.  Vivian was clever and used her chest strap on the backpack as a makeshift holder for her penguin buddy, Waddles.

  • Like I mentioned, my Grandma Millie has become a big fan of the ol' bloggy blog.  She dropped off this bag of goodies as donations for the blog - lots of tins, pins, and other cool stuff.  There was even a small wooden box that my Great Aunt Vivian brought back from Germany.  

  • Those pins she gave me got added to the collection.  Now that people know about the pin thang they pass along their old pins that are ratting around in drawers.  Dustin's mom was kind enough to give me some of hers - I'll definitely be wearing that Tragically Hip pin on Saturday while I watch the Kingston concert!

  • I'm off again today - a little mini staycation.  It's been nice to just be home for a couple of days.  I asked Vivian this morning what she wanted to do today and she said she said she just wanted to stay at home all day.  Works for me, that's what we did yesterday.  This is how we ended our night last night, with Vivian falling asleep in my lap while we watched My Little Pony.

I'll try to do some more regular blogging soon - my annual closet post is almost due and I have a conspiracy theory that I've been working on to share with you guys...

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Treats of the Week - Done-Zo

I took a bit of an impromptu but much-needed break from the blog last week.  It was a crazy busy week and I'm so glad to have it over with!  My major research paper was due on Thursday, and true to form I was writing it the day it was due.  Of course I had completed all my research and had written an outline and had a plan of attack beforehand, but I didn't actually start writing it until the day of.  It worked out really well though - I took the day off and just worked away at it.  It came together pretty easily and now I'm just so glad to have it over!  While I was working on that I also had a massive transcript order to put together - it was over 2500 pages (mostly copies) that had to be assembled and shipped (it ended up being 30 pounds of transcripts).  So it was a crazy busy but very productive week which led into a very relaxed and extra-extra long weekend!  I feel so much better having the program over - it was a really busy year.  I definitely don't regret doing it, and have plans for more education in the future, but I'm planning to take at least a little bit of time off in the meantime!

So let's get to some of those backlogged treats!

  • I went to see House of Pain!  And it was the BEST!  So many people were teasing me about them being a one-hit-wonder group but seriously, the show was so awesome.  

  • I saw a car with a Charlie-series licence plate the other day (the sequence began with a C) for the first time.  It made me oddly happy.
  • I've been keeping an eye out at thrift stores for interesting vintage paperback books, because obviously I need something new to collect.  This one is definitely a winner.

  • Vivian and I took a trip out to the campground last week to visit my friend Amanda and her crew, along with a bunch of other families who were camping together.  Vivian had a blast running wild with the kids and swimming in the pool.  I'm not a big camper, but it definitely seemed like fun to hang out with such a big crowd of families like that!
  • Last week also had a trip to Toronto on Monday night to see David Cross at the Danforth.  It was a great show - super dark and very political.  I love seeing live comedy - just bough tickets today to go see Eric Andre at the Danforth next month!

  • We have a wedding to go to on Saturday, so Jenn and I spent the day this past weekend shopping for something for me to wear.  I came up empty handed though - so I'm still on the hunt this week (and just frantically ordered a bunch of options online).  I did, however, find this awesome fringe bag for 50% off at the Banana Republic Factory Store, so I'm hoping I can just assemble a dress around it or something.

  • Like everyone else, Dustin and I powered through Stranger Things and loved it!  I can't wait to cover myself in Hawkins swag now - I definitely need a Hawkins Power and Electric shirt and have my eye on a Hawkins AV Club pin online!
  • I got Vivian all registered for dance in the fall - we decided to go with the full-time competitive team!  It's going to be a fun year with more dance and more competitions, but I'm ready and so is Vivian!  We got the recital DVD from last year and Vivian's been watching it constantly.
  • Scary Movie in the Basement Night is still going strong - we've been working on a list of movies both classic and modern.  The biggest surprise so far has been Grave Encounters, which was so great.  It starts out really predictable but ends up in a pretty surprising place.  Amazingly, the sequel is super smart and entertaining too!
Hopefully now that I'm not so crazy stressed out and busy all the time I can get back to blogging a bit more regularly, although I'm definitely favouring Instagram more and more these days!  This is a short week - I'm off on Thursday to go to Toronto for my new (free!) tattoo so be sure to check @ashlie_nonsense on Instagram for the update there!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Treats of the Week - No Phone, No Fun

You know how people say if you just put your cellphone down you'll remember how nice it is to be without it?  How freeing it can be to just exist without a cellphone?  Well on Sunday I found myself out for the day and I had forgotten my phone.  I NEVER forget my phone.  I take it downstairs with me when I change the laundry.  But there I was, out for the day with my mom and the kids and I had no cellphone.  My steps weren't being counted.  My meals weren't being diarized.  I had nothing to distract me during the super boring children's ventriloquist act.  It was terrible, and my mom mocked me.  Somehow, I survived.  #sobrave

  • I've been paying closer attention to the book section at thrift stores lately - a dangerous pursuit.  This novelization of Space Balls was definitely a great find though!

  • While I still love my enamel pins I've been checking out patches more and more lately, but don't quite know what I want to do with them.  These new stick on patches from Tuesday Bassen are very intriguing - it's like a sticker and a patch combined!

  • I took Vivian to see Ghostbusters tonight and while it was a little scary for her in some parts (she watched a lot of it from my lap) she ended up really liking it!  She even cut out their picture from the magazine when we got home because she wanted to hang it up in her room.  Proud feminist mom moment for me!
  • It was Lucas' birthday party on the weekend and even though I'm a grownup, Lucas picked out a Teeny Beanie Boo for me like I'm one of the kids.
  • Friday night was one of those lovely leisurely summer nights.  Dustin and I ended up walking about 17 kilometres taking in the Home County Folk Festival, checking out two gallery shows, grabbing some cheap dinner, and finally lounging on a picnic table with our spiked dollar drinks while we listened to Nelly at Rock the Park.  
  • The best treat of the week was when I went to pick Vivian up from my mom's place yesterday and found this going up in the backyard!  If you need me, I'll be stealing my mom's beers and hanging out by the pool.

It's a hectic week - my major research paper is due next Thursday and true to form I've left too much to the last minute.  I'll pull it together though - I always do!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Treats of the Week - Sunfest, Sneezes, and Scary Movies

Yes, it's true that it's not Monday.  I've been lazy lately - a bit of a summer cold has had me snoozing on the couch in the evenings and terribly unmotivated.  I'm also becoming acutely aware that I need to book some time off work, if only to have something to look forward to.  It's only the middle of July and summer is getting to me already.  Too much work, not enough play!  Plenty of treats though!

  • The BEST news of this week is that I won a free tattoo!  I entered one of those Facebook like/comment kind of contests and my name was drawn for a free tattoo with an exceptionally talented artist!  I'm going to Toronto on August 4th for my session with Katrina Thibodeau.  She specializes in black and grey realism, and while that's not my preferred style I'm really excited to see what she comes up with!

  • Holy crap - are you guys watching the new HBO series "The Night Of"?  The first episode was riveting - I can't wait to watch it all unfold.
  • The nicest part of being sneezy is having strangers say "Bless you".  It always makes me smile, although I would prefer it if people had latched onto that Seinfeld "You're so good looking" thing.
  • Jenn and I ventured out for an evening adventure on Friday - a perfectly lovely trip to Sunfest for dinner followed by Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.  The movie was perfect for what we wanted - although I dock it some points because Zac Efron only takes his shirt off ONCE.
  • I did some buckling down on the weekend and got some work done - always hard to start but feels great once I get it done.  Still have lots more to do before the end of the month (my final paper deadline is looming) but I feel like I'm on track.
  • Vivian has started her Sunday night sleepovers at my mom's house.  It's awesome for her - she gets a sleepover and a day at Best Start on Monday and I get a little bit of time to get things done.  This week she even decided to stay an extra night at mom's - I was soundly rejected when I went to pick her up.
  • Dustin and I have started a fun new routine - watching scary movies in the basement.  It's been really fun to head downstairs with a blanket and a bottle of wine, turn off the lights and watch something spooky.  I rarely use the TV in the basement so this has been a really nice way to get some use out of it.
  • Old Navy had tank tops on sale for $3 on the weekend.  You know I stocked up - I have a concert next weekend which obviously demands a custom shirt.  One can never have enough black tank tops.

Take a page from my book - beat this heat by hiding in a nice cold basement with a scary movie!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Dance Bag Essentials

Vivian has been dancing for a few years now and I feel like with every competition and recital that passes I learn some new trick or essential item that I need to have in our dance bag.  This dance stuff is serious business, yo.  I thought I would do a little post of what I like to make sure is in our suitcase when it's time for a dance competition - please let me know if there's anything else I should have!

Competition make up is NO JOKE.  Seriously, nothing is stranger than putting heavy makeup on a 5 year old, but that's the way it goes.  It's important that the kids all look the same and that they stand out on stage.  Without makeup they end up being totally washed out.  The look for our dance studio is black winged liquid liner with dark blue eye shadow, black mascara, rosy red cheeks, and red lips with an exaggerated cupid's bow.  False lashes aren't required, but they are suggested.  I haven't mastered getting them on Vivian yet, but we have them in the bag.

Here's what our dance makeup kit looks like.

Yes, it's a cliche but that pink Maybelline mascara is the best stuff there is.  I don't like to have a bunch of expensive stuff in the dance makeup kit since it is easy to lose it in a dressing room so that mascara is perfect.  The dark blue eyeshadow is a Smashbox shade that I already had and I use Q-tips to apply it to get it on nice and dark.  I have a small sample size of Urban Decay eye primer that works really well to make sure nothing rubs off once I get her eyes all done.  I try to keep everything compact in the kit so having a sample of it is perfect.  I also use a small Kabuki brush for her blush since it goes on nice and bright and is compact.  Having a blush brush with a cap on it makes sure that it doesn't get all mangled in the bag too.

My real trick in the bag is the lip stuff.  I have a lip liner for her, but I'm not crazy about it.  I started with lipstick for her but found she was constantly rubbing at it or it would wear off too quickly.  then I found this Elf Lip Stain at Old Navy.  It's the BEST.  It's basically a red magic marker for lips and it costs like $3.  I grab one pretty well every time I'm at Old Navy so I can make sure I have one with me for dance all the time.  This is what I keep in my pocket so I have it for backstage touchups on Vivian.  It stains their lips a really nice bright red and stays put even when they drink.  No more rubbing it across a cheek right before they go out on stage.

For her eyeliner I like these double ended deals.  This one is by Annabelle and it works really nicely.  It's what I use at home too.  One side has a Kajal end so it goes on really smoothly and evenly.

The other side is liquid liner that again is basically a black Sharpie.  It's got a nice felt tip that makes it easy to be precise.  I use the Kajal if I'm in a rush and the liquid liner if I have time to be more careful.  You never know with wiggly kids how much time you'll get so it's nice to have options.

Her blush pallette is another cheap find from Elf at Old Navy.  Seriously, their makeup is perfect for something like this.  So cheap and the colours are nice and bright.  Not for me to wear everyday, but great for kids.  As you can tell I favour the reddish gold colour in the bottom right corner - perfect for those apple cheeked kids!

I like to keep her makeup in a clear bag so I can tell right away if I'm missing something.  I have a habit of putting things in my pocket so this cuts down on digging time.

Another important item for our studio are eye gems.  The kids wear three small eye gems at the corner of each eye and then larger gems stuck on their ears.  These are just plain rhinestone stickers from the dollar store - another thing I grab every time I see them.  These get passed around the dressing rooms like crazy - there's always someone who needs some eye gems!

Other makeup essentials?  Bobby pins, safety pins, cotton pads and sponges.  I keep wet wipes and makeup remover wipes in there too to fix anything up and I should pick up a small sewing kit to keep in there.  I also have a baggie with small rubber elastics which are essential.  Our kids wear cornrows for their competition hair.  It's complicated, but it works really nicely to be able to quickly pull the rest of their hair back.  Having the front in braids also gives a simple place to be able to secure any hair accessories.

Other things I like to have on hand?  Water bottles, simple snacks, extra tights (always have a spare set of tights!), warm up clothes, and shoes that are easy to slip on and off for backstage.  Vivian also wears a hairpiece for routines which I like to keep in a large Ziploc bag.  Any accessories she has I keep grouped in large Ziploc bags as well - labelled with her name and the routine name.  For her recital she was in four separate routines so having all accessories in a bag that was clearly marked with her name and which routine was essential for getting costume changes done quickly.  

I don't know how some parents do it with the number of routines their kids are in.  Vivian hasn't quite graduated to needing a dance suitcase like this yet, but I know that day is coming!  Any other tips or tricks are much appreciated!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Treats of the Week - Crashing Halt to the Long Weekend

What started out as a great long weekend came to a sudden stop around midnight last night when Vivian suddenly came down with...something?  The flu?  Too much fun?  Who knows.  All I know is neither of us got any sleep last night and I was doing laundry until 4am.  Luckily I already had the day off today so we could sit around and just relax.  She was in Toronto for the weekend so maybe her little body just had way too much fun.  Today was also marred with emails I could have gone without receiving, news about friends that isn't the best, and a general air of anxiety and nerves that left me puttering around the house unable to finish things.  Topping it all off was my computer shutting down in the middle of something I was working on and I lost about seven pages of typing. can only go up from here I guess?

  • Vivian did finish SK this week though - on to Grade 1 next year!  She is already saying that she's nervous for Grade 1 but I think she'll do just fine.  Her school didn't do a kindergarten graduation, but I kind of think that passing kindergarten is an expectation and doesn't necessarily warrant a party.

  • My Canada Day was spent at a wonderfully reckless fireworks party where miraculously there were no severe injuries.  It was a great time - but if they do it again next year I kind of want some Pharaoh's Serpent there.

  • While wandering the mall I wanted some juice but their stupid debit machine would not swipe my card.  Eventually the kid just got frustrated and asked if there was another way I could pay and when I came up about $1 short in change he said he would just pay for the rest.  Score!
  • I was super excited to find Two Guys and a Girl on DVD finally!  Not that I'm going to pay for it, but I'm excited that it exists in the world.  Fingers crossed it lands on Netflix.

  • Vivian and I had to go shopping for a birthday gift, which of course turned into her needing a new toy as well.  Funny how that works out.  Once she saw the display of toys for DC's Super Hero Girls I couldn't say no!  She loved all the toys - I was so glad to see so many of them on the shelves.  She picked out a new Wonder Woman doll and is so happy with it.  She was a little disappointed that she didn't come with a lasso but we made one out of a gold pipe cleaner.

Keep your nose clean, kids!  I already can't wait for this week to be over.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Treats of the Week - Ready for a Long Weekend

You guys - this week is going to take FOREVER.  I just want it to be Friday and enjoy my long weekend - made even longer by the fact that I took next Monday off.  I am ready for long nights that are warm and days that are young.

  • I have been enjoying having Shomi in addition to Netflix, but hated how it didn't have the feature where it would automatically start the next episode.  Doesn't make for good sleepytime tv.  BUT they have listened to the masses of lazy people and now it autoplays - thank the tv gods!
  • I have had a terrible bed for years.  Like my bed was far older than I am.  When I got it handed down it was only meant to be for a year or two but I think I've had it for close to 10 years.  I finally got a "new" bed on the weekend thanks to my mom.  People she knew were downsizing and had this awesome king sized bed with memory foam topper that was barely used and needed a home.  Magically, the thing fit in my small bedroom.  It is soooo comfortable - hopefully now I don't throw my back out anymore!

  • Vivian  loves having her hair in cornrows for dance and this time she managed to make them last for eight days!  Any other time she has gotten bored of them and wanted them out right away but this time she really liked having them in.  They make it so much easier to do her hair and get through bath time - I would be okay if she had them all summer!
  • My mom made homemade strawberry jam so I'll be eating nothing but peanut butter and jam sandwiches until future notice.
  • Friday night was a fun night out for drinks on a patio and a retromania movie at the Hyland.  Dinner was this, which was freaking incredible.  Always poutine the fries.

  • I'm kicking myself - I found this dope unicorn picture that I was going to give to my brother but then got to the register at Value Village and realized I had forgotten my wallet.  Ugh.  Back to hunting.

  • I also found this beautiful and heavy-duty set of pots and pans but each piece was over $20 - too rich for my poor ass.

  • My neighbours seem to be building something in their yard - I'm holding out hope that it will be some sort of fence-like structure so I don't have to get mine fixed.  

  • My sweet Grandma Millie has been learning her way around the Interwebs lately and has started reading my blog (Hi Grandma!) now that she's getting an idea of the kinds of random things I collect she's been sending things my way, which is how I became the owner of another old typewriter and this cute brass crab ashtray!

Enjoy the fireworks this weekend, guys - be safe!