Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Is So Cute!

Madagascar 2 is about to be released in Hong Kong, and they hired Jin Au Yeung to do the end-credit song for the film. He's a Chinese-American rapper whose career I've sort of been following ever since he won seven battles straight on the Freestyle Friday segment of BET's 106 & Park and entered the Hall of Fame. Any kind of improv just blows my mind.

Shortly after kicking ass on BET (clip below), he had a brief stint with Ruff Ryders, and then was featured in my dream man Lee Hom Wang's song, Heroes of Earth. Then he made an awesome Cantonese album independently and signed on with Universal Hong Kong this year.

Apologies to anyone who doesn't understand Cantonese - in the clip above there's about three English words, more for the rhythm than anything else. Anyway, he basically says over and over, "Move your body, twist to the left, twist to the right." Hope this dampens your Sunday Blues! :D

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and a huge Happy Birthday to the original Shoe God, Manolo Blahnik!

As you may or may not have noticed, I added a Twitter column to the right. It's something of an experiment. You see, I'm a huge fan of all forms of social media, but sometimes, the trend just hasn't picked up where I live yet, or within my circle of friends - MySpace, for example, never really caught on. Now with Twitter, only maybe two RL friends of mine have it, but they've stopped using it months ago probably because there wasn't enough of a network for them to build on.

So! I'm going to give it a test run for a month and see how things go. If you're a Twitter (or a LinkedIn) user, feel free to add me, ok?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One of A Kind: Golden Goose Natural Products Co

Today is a day for shameless self-plugs - forgive?

My last pick for my One of A Kind series is, of course the one that's closest to my heart - my mom's all-natural, handmade toiletries business, Golden Goose Natural Products Co.

Shortly after emigrating to Canada, when I was just a baby, I developed this really uncomfortable and unsightly skin condition called eczema. We suspected that this was probably due to a combination of genetics, the sudden change of environment, and the dry Canadian weather. The doctors assured us that I would eventually grow out of it, just like most people.

But when I showed no signs of doing so, even after going to every kind of doctor imaginable, my mom started doing a lot of research to see if there was anything that might make me feel better, since the products out there on the market clearly weren't helping me. In fact, I developed an allergy to oatmeal because over the years, all the dermatologists I'd seen made me use the full range of Aveeno products, and I guess my body had had enough. I can't eat or use any products with oatmeal in it anymore.

Anyway, so my mum read somewhere that handmade soaps are much better for you, especially for people with eczema and psoriasis, so she set out to make her own soaps. Using family and friends as guinea pigs, she got a lot of positive response. Best of all, it was the first soap I'd ever used that didn't make my skin feel tightly stretched and dry. That's because she doesn't skimp on her ingredients - all of our soaps are genuine castile soaps, made of 100% vegetable oils, with the main ingredient being olive oil. Thus, the idea for her company was born.

She did her first craft show in 1997. Over a decade later, we're still going strong, and my mom is a proud vendor at the One of A Kind, the biggest and most presitigious craft show in Canada. Now, she's expanded the company's lines to bath bombs, bath salts, soy wax candles, and more.

By the way, I adore our candles - they're probably my favourite product. They're very environmentally-friendly because they are made of soy wax, which is a renewable resource, and natural, lead-free cotton wick. They also burn clean, so they won't soot up your ceilings and walls. They're scented with essential oils, and because the burning temperature of soy wax is lower than, say, beeswax and paraffin, the scent of the essential oils don't burn away as easily and can gently permeate a closed room quite nicely. Besides all that, they are aromatherapeutic and they are super chic, since they are uncoloured and are only decorated with a kiss of botanicals at the top. And each of the big ones shown here can burn at least 35 hours.

If you go to my school, please keep an eye out for my article on eco-friendly soaps in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of The Style Review, our campus fashion magazine. I'll also have a cultural profile in there on the city of Nice from a student's perspective!

And of course, don't forget to go see my mum and smell our products at Booth E-38 at the One of A Kind, which opens tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One of A Kind: Domistyle

I'm going to come home a slammin' cook - not so much because I'm so inspired by all the gourmet French cuisine I get to sample all the time, but more because I'm dirt poor living in glamorous poverty and can't afford to go out, like, ever, which necessitates excerising my culinary muscles chez moi. My brother was complaining that I have no pictures of food in my photo albums (he thinks I'm eating like Jeffrey Steingarten or something just because I'm living in France now), but I told him that he'll have to content himself with pictures of my cooking, because it's way too expensive to eat at restaurants.

However, I have this charming habit of cooking in my jammies, which I find dramatically increases the frequency of my having to do laundry, so I finally decided to look for an apron - and, my goodness, how I wish I could get a Domistyle apron here! They're the cutest. I think every woman should have two - one to cook in, and one to entertain in. My top choices are the ones in the pictures above (the one on the left says "will cook for shoes" - hee!).

Domistyle was founded by Jessica and Vanessa (Jess and Ness!), a pair of childhood friends who wanted to don cute aprons at a get-together they were hosting together. When they couldn’t find anything, they decided to start their own business, and they’ve become the rock stars of chic-apron-dom. The pictures are hand-drawn and silk-screened onto their products, which are made of a poly-cotton twill. These aprons make the perfect gifts, because they're gorgeous, they are low maintenance since they're machine-washable, and they're one-size-fits-all, so you can't go wrong. Their designs also range from elegant to funky, so there's a lot to choose from, no matter who you're shopping for. They also have an adorable children’s line that caters to both boys and girls and is as chic as their grown-up counterpart.

Domistyle aprons can be found in stores all over North America and at a number of online retailers. To see a store list, pictures of other designs, or just for more information, visit Also, remember to go check them out at Booth C-10 at the One of A Kind!

And below is a photo of my famous white wine seafood pasta in tomato cream sauce, which I'm really proud of, because it's better than a lot of pastas I've had at restaurants! Trust me, if you could only taste it, it would totally rock your world.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One of A Kind: Rustichella

Last year at the One of A Kind, my best friend J told me that I “absolutely have to try something!!!” Prone as she is to the occasional passionate outburst, I wasn’t particularly excited, but I followed her insistent tugging on my arm, anyway. She took me to this simple, but elegant booth that featured bottles of brown and green stuff, where there was a mini gazebo-like structure at the front with a table full of tiny paper cups holding drops of brown liquid. She took one and shoved it in my hand, commanding me to sip it. I asked her what it was, and when she told me that it was balsamic vinegar – I won’t lie, I was skeptical. But being the fervent believer that I am of the One Bite Rule (meaning you’re not allowed to write new foods off without at least trying one bite of it), I tasted it, and oh, Cosmos...I was so gone. I was instantly, helplessly and irrevocably hooked to Rustichella’s infused balsamic vinegars.

Rustichella offers 12 flavours (and counting) of infused extra virgin olive oils as well as balsamic vinegars. I like the oils too, but I especially love the vinegars because they’re so delicious you can actually drink it – slowly, of course. Last year, they had a cranberry one, a fig one, a smoky-flavoured one, and maybe one or two others that I can’t remember. I convinced the best friend to get the smoky one, and I wanted to get the fig one because the flavours are really intricate and multi-layered, but I ended up getting the tangier, sweeter cranberry balsamic because my mum likes it better. Either way, all three are so, so good. I want a fig one this year though, and I’m putting in my order so someone at home can get me a bottle. The one inconvenience is that they don’t have any stores, retailers, or a web site and they do the One of A Kind exclusively, so there are only two opportunities a year to buy their products which means you have to stock up.

The kind gentleman who sold us our vinegars also gave us a hand-written brochure full of creative ways to use the product, besides the traditional salad dressing and bread-dipping. You can use it to marinate or cook meats, mix with fruits (I like to use strawberries, but I was told that Italians traditionally like to use watermelons), and even drizzle it over vanilla ice cream. That last one sounds iffy, but I promise it’s really tasty because the dairy in ice cream mellows out the tartness of the vinegar, and the infusions just bring a whole new dimension of flavour to the palate. And I find that it’s always a treat to use it on meat (especially pork chop!) because it just makes the dish taste a little more spectacular. I especially like how the sugars caramelize as the meat gets cooked – divine.

Be sure to try a sample at booth C-20!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One of A Kind: Barbie's Basement Jewellery

“I’m so gay, I sweat glitter,” says my favourite fashion blogger, the fabulous BryanBoy. As a gay man in a woman’s body, I can kind of relate. There’s just something about sparkly things that gets me right there, similar to the effect of the colour pink on me. That’s why every year, I’m inevitably drawn to the Barbie’s Basement Jewellery (BBJ) booth at the One of A Kind.

BBJ is run by this really nice couple, Robin and Ange, who’ve been together for absolutely ever; I remember seeing them at my very first One of A Kind Christmas show! Some years ago, Robin was facing a possible layoff at her really boring full-time job, so she decided to turn her hobby, jewellery-making, into a business. She sold beaded jewellery at first, but then she conceived the idea of making glass bubble rings with a piece of text underneath over a bed of glitter. Later, she came up with the idea of featuring pop culture images in her jewellery, and another line began. Then in 2000, her partner/future wife Ange hurt herself badly at her day job, and when she was recovering, she decided to join BBJ as Production Manager in 2001. Since then, they’ve expanded to making cufflinks, magnets, key chains, belt buckles and lots more. Their belt buckles are particularly popular and Jessica Alba wore one in the movie Honey. Robin and Ange’s work has also been featured in a bunch of magazines.

My favourites are the glittery pieces, of course, which I really wish I could find a picture of so that I could show you. I got my first one from them a few years ago, and I can’t even tell you what a hard time I had picking something out, because I always just want to bring their whole booth home every time I see it. I ended up choosing a bright red glittered ring with the word “rebel” in it. The following year, I began eyeing these two supercute necklaces – one that says “uptown” over light pink glitter and one that says “downtown” over hot pink – get it? At the last Christmas show, I decided that I was going to get one, and I decided to get “downtown”, despite the fact that I’m really an uptown girl, just because I liked the hot pink better. But there weren’t any more necklaces in the style I wanted, so Robin, who is super sweet, custom-made my necklace with exactly the shade of glitter I wanted, despite the fact that she was in the middle of the demanding show and was probably really busy. The next piece I’m aiming for is the charm bracelet, with five charms on it! I just have to decide exactly which charms I want, which will be a challenge...

Go check them out at the One of A Kind beginning next Thursday at booth N-48! You can also find BBJ products at retailers all over North America, at their secure online store, and at Best of all, they welcome custom orders if you’re looking for something specific!

For more information, visit their website at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One of A Kind: Karen Wilson Hand Bags

Hello, friends! Please pardon my week-long hiatus – it’s been a tough one. A friend in my program just received some very bad news from the doctor and has to go home. I hope she gets well soon – and that she drinks a ton of Second Cup Green Tea Chillers (or Lattes) for me when she gets home. The last time I hung out with her, she was telling me how excited she was to read my One of A Kind series because she loves going to the show with her stepmom every season, so the following series of posts is dedicated to her. XOXOXO, girl!

You know how there was this air of finality when Anna Karenina threw her beloved red velvet handbag into the railroad tracks? A woman who throws away her favourite purse and banishes it to the dirty ground evidently has lost the will to live. This perfectly describes the sacred relationship between a woman and her handbag.

Unlike Anna, however, I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is The One. I’ve long since decided that a harem full of gorgeousness is much more suited to my depraved appetite for prettiness. And the bag I have my eye on for the next addition to my bag harem is a Karen Wilson original.

Every year, Fashion Girl and I make at least one trip over to Karen’s booth at the One of A Kind to stare admiringly at the newest collection. I can’t be there in person this year, but I’ve checked it out online, and let me tell you, Fall/Winter 2008 looks divine. Each season, Karen Wilson Hand Bags releases a new collection of beautiful purses in the 10 styles she’s known for, including functional market totes, elegant gathered frames, fun evening bags, and more. Her pieces are especially well-made and every design is made in limited edition, to keep them special and exclusive.

Go check out Karen’s work at Booth J-25 at the One of A Kind, opening next Thursday, November 27!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

LinkedIn: Facebook for Grown-Ups

I just discovered the awesomeness that is LinkedIn, which is basically Facebook for professionals, for the purpose of networking - which means that you're allowed to care about it and spend time on it. Cool, right?

Your profile on LinkedIn is basically your resume, and it's really user-friendly to format. Instead of posting on people's walls, you can write each other recommendations. And it's much more secure, because they really encourage that you only add people you know, and they ask for your password whenever you make any major actions. There are even groups (although they're all closed groups that you have to be approved to join) and applications that you can add, although I haven't looked into them yet. But one of my favourite features is seeing people's connections (aka friends list) because it's really useful for networking, although there are people who make it private so you can't see.

Plus there are job listings, and my brother told me that he's gotten job offers from people on LinkedIn before. As a matter of fact, there were more people than I'd thought I knew on LinkedIn, including my Aunt Karin, who has no time for anything, so I'm assuming this must be useful in some way. And I found my long, lost Uncle Kevin on it. You see, one night, when I was taking a break from writing my essay, I decided to search all the working people I could think of. I found someone with my uncle's name in his general area, but I didn't know if it was him because it was at a different company. So I went into that firm's website, which thankfully had a database of profiles for all of their lawyers, and when I searched for him, there he was! Super cool.

So! I highly recommend every to get on LinkedIn, because it's a really useful career tool. And if you know me, please add me! Just search for my "real name."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Forgotten Holocaust

“You’d think they’d make a bigger deal of it, since it all happened here,” a classmate said to me, regarding the comparative lack of fanfare (most notably, the lack of poppies) for Remembrance Day, or as it’s called here in France, Armistice.

Um, no – it didn’t all happen here. It happened everywhere. That’s why it was a World War.

I’m not saying this to disparage her, because it’s really not her fault. From my experience, I find that the history program of the Canadian public education system (at least in Southern Ontario) is severely incomplete. We’re pretty much taught that the World Wars centered in Europe, and then North America reacted in support. That’s such a limited view of what happened.

All the way on the other side of the world, in East Asia, lives were equally affected and devastated. There was a massacre in Nanking (what has been dubbed The Forgotten Holocaust) – a veritable genocide, where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed in the span of six weeks. All kinds of atrocities took place beyond that city as well. Civilians were killed, raped and tortured in the most gruesome ways. My grandmother told me how she and her sisters had to cut off all their hair, smear their faces liberally with dirt and dress like boys on the very rare occasion that they absolutely had to leave their hiding place, for fear of being captured by invading soldiers to be used as comfort women. My grandfather had a brother who disappeared one day during the war and resurfaced three days later, insane, after being tortured by soldiers.

But unlike the Holocaust in Europe, what happened in Asia was never apologized for. In fact, to this day, there are still government officials in Japan and other authority figures who denied that it ever happened. They’ve even gone as far as writing the entire event out of history books and downplaying the death rates, despite the efforts of lobbyists all over the world, including local Japanese groups.

Like I said, in North America, what happened in Asia during WWII hardly gets mentioned, especially in mainstream media. There are people who think that the movie Lust, Caution was all about sex. But we’re making progress, and I feel optimistic.

I’ve been told that material on WWII in Asia has been approved and added to Canadian textbooks and that there are tours now taking teachers to Asian countries to educate them on the subject so that they can teach it. That’s a huge step in the right direction. Then maybe future parents won’t feel the need to do what my mother did – she gave a copy of Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanjing to my teacher when I was in grade five because she thought that the scope of what I was learning from history class at school was too narrow.

So today, let’s remember the World Wars for what they were – events that devastated the entire world – so that we don't downplay the suffering and the courage of millions of others.

Lest We Forget.

Friday, November 7, 2008


A child hit on me today. I sh!t you not.

My mum insists that I have a baby face, and I always thought that that just means I have to be careful about perverts with Lolita fetishes, but apparently, that's the least of my problems.

I was contemplating the all-important matter of what kind of pasta I should get, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw that someone wanted to get by. Since the aisle was kind of narrow, I tucked myself against one side to let them through, but this boy of no more than 12, I'm positive, stops in front of me and says, "Bonjour!"

I respond in kind to be nice, but instead of passing through like I expected him to, he looks me up and down and tells me, "Vous êtes très belle."

Well, I certainly don't hear that every day. I definitely wasn't trying to look attractive and I knew I didn't today - trust me, I know when I'm hot. Besides that, I'd just eaten a pissaladière and probably reeked of onions. Slightly stunned, I paused for a moment and thanked him hesitantly. Then he looks me over again and says, "Superbelle."

Totally uncomfortable at this point, I give him a tight smile and start inching away. He makes a show of looking at the shelves mutters, "Couscous..." and then he turns back to me and asks me if I knew where the couscous was. Well, it was right in front of him, and I pointed at it. He thanked me enthusiastically, and with a quick "De rien!" I got my ass outta there.

I have two theories for why this could have happened:

1.) I was wearing a short skirt. It's not even that short (it's mid-thigh), but all the local women were bundled in woolly sweaters, boots and various winter accessories, so maybe it looked like I was trying to get attention? It was a balmy 18 degrees today though, and totally comfortable enough for a Canadian girl to rock a denim (not that) mini, tank top and a boyfriend cardigan with ballet flats.

But I find that French guys tend to fall at your feet if you're wearing a short skirt, even if your legs are average at best. I mean, my legs are fine, but they're not really that spectacular, and they were really dry today.

2.) Prepubescent kids just think about sex all the time anyway, but Europeans are more up front about it. My Auntie's godson (of sorts), who I met in Germany, substantiates this. I was at their apartment, and Auntie was forcing the poor kid to entertain me. He's not quite 15 years old and too cool for school. We found that we have similar musical interests (rap) so he showed me his iTunes. When I saw that he has Gasolina by Daddy Yankee, I asked him if he speaks Spanish. He said that he didn't, and I think it's stupid to be grooving to something you don't understand, so I explained the gist of the song to him - Gasolina is a euphemism for sex, of course, and the song's all about the singer pursuing a woman who's taken.

I also saw that he had the clean version of Akon's I Wanna F*ck You, and I asked him if he'd heard the original before. He had no idea that he was listening to the clean version, so I told him the real name, in case he wanted to YouTube it or something.

He looked at me cheekily and asked, "Are you having sex?" spoken very clearly, despite his self-proclaimed poor English. I told him with what I hope was a kind smile that it's none of his business, and he dropped the subject. Then I told him that I'm 21, and he knocked his head against his own desk.

Let's hope I start attracting guys who are at least legal!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Congratulations & Making Babies

Congratulations to the States!

Regardless of your political views, history was made, and this marks a huge step in the Civil Rights Movement. I was a little bummed out that I couldn't park my butt in front of the TV with munchies to watch it go down live à la ANTM finale (except you're allowed to care about this) due to time zone issues - plus I had a paper to write - but it was nice to wake up to the good news, anyway. I switched on my computer even before I brushed my teeth and frantically pulled up CNN's site to see the results. I wasn't surprised at all, though I'm glad.

On a different note, I was just getting my daily fix of the fabulous and incomparable BryanBoy, when I came across his post about his possible offspring, and of course, I had to give it a try. It's a face-reading/melding program that Volkswagon is using to promote their new minivan, the Routan. The program itself is called the Routan Baby Maker 3000, and it's one of the better baby-making programs (hee!) that I've encountered because the faces generated are way more normal-looking, even though they don't really seem to be based on the photos submitted (after the fourth or fifth one, they all start to look the same - although that could just be a reflection of real life too, haha). The Baby Mama movie baby maker made really hideous babies and almost scared me from planning to procreate.

The sad thing is, this worked really well with celebrity pictures, but the baby it generated with a picture of the boy I love in real life looked really unfortunate. And the kicker is that when I made one with a picture of an ex, the kid turned out adorable! So I’ve restricted my cyberbabies to be the offspring of me and celeb crushes only. I really wanted to make one with Johnny Depp, but I couldn’t seem to find a good portrait of him with no hair or glasses on his face, and I didn’t want to have a hairy-faced child with rings around its eyes. So here goes!

The baby daddy for my first two kids is the Lead Husband Alpha Man of my harem, Dean Cain, who is the first man I've ever loved, physically my ideal male, and who I will love forever. Behold my firstborn, Desmond!

My second child with Dean is so cute, the sight of her makes my uterus quiver with glee. She's got my pout! This is Carys.
Then I decided to put the other guys in my harem to work. This one is courtesy of Takeshi Kaneshiro - his name is Ethan.

The next one is an example of what could happen if Brad Pitt suddenly decided that he prefers dim sum - her name is Teryl.

And last but not least, this one is mine and Keanu's. His name is Silas.

I think I make pretty babies - you?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet November!

With November always comes three happy occasions: post-Halloween chocolate sales, the birthday of my mom, who is my personal icon in every way (Happy Birthday, Mommy!) and the One of A Kind winter show.

I’m a great admirer of handcrafted things because behind every single unique piece, there is such creativity and care and time involved. I started getting into the craft circuit just over a decade ago, when my mum first began her business. Since then, working at and attending craft shows has become a way of life and it opened my eyes to a whole new side of the world, beyond the homogeneity of the McProducts that our commercial scene is so saturated with, especially in North America. Case in point: you can go to virtually any mall in the States or in Canada, and it’ll probably carry the same maybe 40 brands we see all the time. And it’s not restricted to low-end shopping, either, because if you think about it, Sunset Boulevard, Fifth Avenue, Bloor Street West, Las Ramblas, the Champs-Élysées, and so on and so forth all carry the same few stores with basically the same collections. It’s all the same everywhere – what happened to originality?

Don’t get me wrong – I love my Hermès. And I guess it’s convenient that, when I eventually come to be able to afford one of their pieces, I’ll be able to buy it in any major city (except perhaps the Birkin or the Kelly in more exclusive skins). But what happened to select shops? What happened to buyers going out, and even travelling around, to find special products to sell in their stores? Select shops have so much more personality than chains, and they’re some of my favourite places to shop in.

Craft shows hold the same appeal to me, because most crafters own small businesses and their products really are original - you wouldn't be able to find it anywhere else. That's why every winter, I really look forward to the One of A Kind Toronto show - it's the largest craft show in Canada, featuring hundreds of artisans from all over North America. It's been around for over 30 years and as usual, it's taking place in the Direct Energy Centre of Exhibition Place in Toronto. This year it runs from November 27th to December 7th, from 11am-10pm on weekdays, 10am-9pm on Saturdays and 10pm-6pm on Sundays. It's the most intense, delightful shopping experience - this month, I will be introducing my favourite crafters, who I'd be visiting at the OoAK if I were home, like Brook of Brook's Delectable Chocolates. If you go, be sure to say hit to my mum in booth E-38!