the friend ratio

Have you ever thought about your guy/girl friend ratio? By that I don’t mean boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m literally talking about the number of male friends you have vs. the number of female friends you have.

I started thinking about it a few months ago because it occurred to me that I have many more guy friends than I do girl friends. The ratio is something like 5:1 (5 guy friends to every 1 female friend). To be more accurate, I’m only looking at the people whom I interact with on a somewhat regular basis (so no facebook friends or old school buddies whom I don’t talk to anymore). I’m curious to know what the norm is because this was not always the case for me.

Up until the end of high school, the majority of my friends were females; I always hung out with the girls at school, and through all my years at dance class I was always among girls. You can pretty much say I grew up with mainly female friends. After high school, though, that seemed to change completely. I became better friends with more guys than I did with girls.

It took a while for me to figure out what might possibly be the reasoning behind this great shift in gender when it comes to friendships. I found that as we got older, some girls became more judgmental and materialistic. There would often be some sort of subliminal competition between girls; who has the nicer hair, the cooler clothes, the cuter boyfriend. Sometimes it would turn into jealousy which, in my opinion, should not be present in a real friendship.

With my guy friends, I can very easily get along with them because there is NEVER any kind of competition. I’m able to talk with them about almost anything and I don’t have to worry about them judging me in any way. It’s even better when my guy friends have girlfriends because then I also don’t have to worry about them getting the wrong idea. People sometimes worry about being friends with the opposite sex because it often comes off as flirting. If it is indeed just about being friends, I always try to make it clear that my friendship is sincere and that it’s not meant to be mistaken as wanting a relationship.

To be fair, not all girls are as bad as I might’ve described them to be. I do have a good handful or two of female friends who are really close and dear to me. All of them share the same values as I do and we get along really well (so no cat fights lol). Most of the girls I choose to become friends with are real; they’re straight forward and don’t sugarcoat things. I actually prefer being around people like that, but I guess I just happen to know more of them in male form.

All in all, no matter if they’re guys or girls, honesty and sincerity from my friends are extremely important to me. As an only child, my friends make up the family I choose and, in turn, they make up who I am.

and down it came…

You might have heard (from my tweets and what not) about what happened in my backyard after the storm yesterday evening. Well, here are some visuals to give you a better idea of what it looks like after a heavy branch of a very tall tree falls onto your garage and into your backyard.

Our next door neighbour called us to tell us a tree had fallen into our yard. We looked out the window and this is what we saw. Looks a bit like a jungle, doesn’t it?

It turns out the big branch came off our neighbour’s tree, with the heaviest part of it landing on the roof of our garage. The smaller branches draped off the garage roof and filled half our yard. It missed the house by just over 3 feet.

Looks like a skinny branch eh? Don’t underestimate its strength though.

That branch was longer than our garage!

It didn’t look like it was that bad at first, but let’s have a closer look…

As you can see, part of the roof is slightly caved in. According to the guys who came for emergency removal of the tree, the roof of the garage has been badly damaged and will need to be replaced completely.

When we went to speak to the owner of the property in which the tree was on, we saw this on the street behind ours…

Just wanted to share some of those pictures :) Will post more when I have more time.

oh blissful days

As mentioned in my previous post, May was an extremely stressful month for me. On a few occasions I actually thought I was going to lose my sanity. Luckily I have some really good friends who never fail in picking me back up when I’ve fallen. Thanks to them, I’m able to slowly regain my pace.

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is go for walks along the lake and watch the airplanes take off and land at Billy Bishop. Wednesday afternoon saw me doing exactly that. After work, I went for a long walk to the lake with my co-worker friend, Steve. He is like my shrink most of my the time, so it was nice being able to sit under the sun and just get out a lot of the things that have been stressing me. However, I did go home with a sunburn on one arm, one side of my neck and both legs. Reminder to self: WEAR SUNSCREEN NEXT TIME!

I’ve always said that my friends are very important to me, so being able to spend time with them is crucial to my well-being. Since I’ve been fairly busy over the past 2 months, I haven’t had much time to see my friends. I’m glad I was able to finally do some catching up with some good friends over the course of this past week, like lunch with Edison & Kevin last Saturday, dinner @ Moxies with my Bayview friends on Tuesday, and a fantastic night out with my good buddies on Friday.

My plans for dinner with Adrienne, Robin and Danny on Friday night were quite last minute, and I was surprised that we all happened to be free that night for what seemed like an overdue dinner. I think the last time all four of us hung out was for Winterlicious back in February (Summerlicious is just a month away!). We wanted to get in some patio time since it was so nice outside, so we met up at 10 Dundas East and winged it from there.

Considering it was a Friday night, we figured patios everywhere would be packed. The battle was between Milestones (est. 25-30 minute wait) and Jack Astor’s (no given wait time); we waited to see which would have a table for us first. Milestones ended up beating JA by about 5 minutes, with the wait being about 20 minutes. Not too bad for a Friday night, eh? The patio at Milestones was alright. Its view is nothing compared to what Jack Astor’s has to offer, but the company more than made up for it :)

After some catching up over dinner, we walked up the street to Bar + Karaoke Lounge near Yonge & Gerrard. It is possibly one of the best karaoke bars in downtown Toronto, at least from my knowledge. The rooms are surprisingly clean and they have a good selection of songs. We spent 4 hours there singing our hearts out. By the time I got home, it was 5am. The last time I got home THAT late (or early, depending on how you want to look at it) was last June when Far East Movement was in town for the very first time. Yeeeeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a good night out :p

Speaking of Far East Movement, it has been confirmed that they will be in town again to perform at this year’s MMVAs! Ha, didn’t I call that one in this post? It’s going to be a crazy amazing MMVA. They’ve got FM and Bruno Mars in their line up! You know I’m going to be glued to my tv on the night of June 19th :D

yeah, i’m still alive

Anger and frustration. Those are perhaps the two emotions I’ve experienced the most over these past two weeks. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good night’s rest where my mind isn’t tormenting me. I feel like this overwhelming amount of stress is killing me an inch at a time, and I have to keep fighting back to prevent it from killing me entirely.

I know for most of the time, my life is an open book; I reveal a lot of personal things in this blog as it is my mission to encourage open thought and the sharing of life experiences. But for once, I can’t openly share what is stressing me. I can’t do anything about it, nor can I change the situation. All I can do is reframe my thoughts and try to get through each day as best I can. With all different kinds of thoughts in my head right now, you can expect there to be some thought-provoking posts in the next few weeks.

Amidst the stress, I was able to catch up with two good friends this weekend. It’d been quite some time since I last saw my bro Edison and our friend Kevin, who’s been working in New York and was back for the week. With all the stress I’d been dealing with lately, catching up with some good friends really helped calm my soul. We had lunch at Wonderpho, which is owned by Kevin’s family and managed by his brother who took good care of us while we were there. The food was good and the service was superb. It’s a cozy spot that gets two thumbs up from me :)

After lunch, we decided to go see a movie. It was a debate between Bridesmaids and Hangover 2. We ended up seeing Bridesmaids simply because of better timing, but I think it would’ve been the better one to see anyway. Like Kevin said, you know it’s going to be funny when you start off with a sex scene haha The movie was super hilarious, even during those few disgusting moments. I highly HIGHLY recommend this movie!

what a depressing month

After nearly a week without the internet, the WWW finally sees my return!

I’ve been MIA lately thanks to the failure of my Time Capsule. Its power supply died on me, which I guess was more or less expected. What surprised me was the fact that it lived as long a life as it did considering I had read about capsules only having life spans of about 18 months. Luckily, my AppleCare Protection Plan covered the problem and they promptly sent me a replacement Time Capsule. The only down side was I had to send them back my old one. That meant losing the 500GB of data I had on it. The guy I spoke to for tech support told me I shouldn’t keep anything important on the Time Capsule, and thankfully I hadn’t. But then it makes me wonder…if the Time Capsule is unreliable like that, what’s the point of it being marketed to backup your system? Let me just say I don’t plan on getting another Time Capsule if this one breaks down on me again.

If this had happened 5 years ago, I probably would have freaked out. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine a whole week without the internet back then. But I guess I’ve grown older, and with time I’ve come to learn that there are many other things I can occupy my time with. So during this particular week, I used my “online” time to reorganize all the music on my MacBook. By the time I was done with it, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. For anyone who spends endless amounts of time on the net, I recommend trying to go a day or two without it. You might be able to learn a thing or two about yourself from it.

I did some cooking again on Mother’s Day for my mom and my family. My co-worker gave me instructions on how to make a pan-seared salmon, but I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t turn out properly since it was my first time making fish. Thankfully, it turned out pretty well and everyone loved it.

Along with the salmon, I made lots and lots of veggies. It turned out to be a really quick, simple, cheap, and healthy dinner that got props from even my dad (who is usually pretty hard to satisfy). Looks like I’ll be making that meal again in the future.

The May Two-Four long weekend is coming up again. For me, it’s a time when old memories come creeping back into my head and it reminds me of how quickly time passes by. What are you all going to be up to? Anyone going to see fireworks? Well, I guess there won’t be any fireworks if this depressing rain keeps up. I suppose it’s not too much to ask for some sunshine this weekend, right?

make-up & pretty things review #1

As previously mentioned, this post is dedicated to reviewing beauty products (sorry dudes if this bores you). When I started compiling my stash of products to review, I realized there were a lot more items that I wanted to talk about than I initially thought. So to prevent from boring you all with lots and lots of text, I figured it would be better to concentrate on no more than 10 items per review, and aim for 1 review every week or two. I’ll also make a note now that I’m no make-up guru, and everything I review are based on my personal experiences and my personal opinions.

Let me start off with a bit of background info. I only really developed an interest in make-up back in September, when I turned 26 realizing I was getting older (not old haha) and should probably brush up on my make-up skills in case I ever wanted the option to create a different look for a night out or a special event. Since my everyday look is pretty basic (eye liner, concealer, blush and occasionally lip gloss), I wanted to figure out what other looks work on me and, perhaps more importantly, what looks don’t work on me.

With that said though, I was never a stranger to make-up. In fact, I was exposed to make-up very early in life because of my dancing background. I started wearing make-up when I began performing at the age of 3, and was putting on my own make-up by the time I was 9. Even though I only wore it for performances, I knew then that I was never going to enjoy the feeling of having make-up plastered all over my face. That is why to this day, I very rarely wear foundation on my face.

One of my biggest problems is I can’t wear a lot of eye makeup. I’ve played with different coloured eyeshadows in the past, but colour just never seemed to work on me. I eventually learned that having big eyes was my problem. Unlike most people who wear eye make-up to draw attention to their eyes, I can’t wear a lot of eye make-up because anything in excess would accentuate my eyes too much. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that a bit of eye liner, concealer, natural colour eye shadows and some blush is good enough. With some mascara and lipstick to finish the job, that’s it for my makeup routine.

This is so you understand why my makeup reviews are on simple products and natural colours. Not everything works on everyone, and just because certain colours worked on one person it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on another. With that said, the products that I review here are based on what works for me and should only serve as your reference. Go out there and try things out. See what works for you and remember…sometimes, less is more.

My first “investment” was in these Sigma Makeup Brushes. I had seen a lot of good reviews for these brushes so I ordered the Naughty in Black Travel Kit to try them out. I picked this set because it had the most eye brushes that I wanted. It came with 7 brushes + a bonus F50 brush (not shown in above picture).

Sigma brushes are known to be most comparable to the quality of MAC brushes, except they are a fraction of the price. About 7-8 years ago, I bought the MAC 150 Large Powder Brush for $40 (or was it $50, I don’t remember). Here we have the most expensive Sigma brush for $19. Quite a difference eh?

Quality wise, they are really good for what you’re paying for. They are really soft and feel very nice on the face. Depending on the type of brush, they do come in natural and synthetic bristles. I actually prefer the Sigma brushes because I think they are slightly smaller than MAC brushes, which is great considering I have a small face. For anyone who wants a more in-depth review of the Sigma brushes, I am going to do another review on them later on. So stay tuned…

When you have good brushes, you need to take good care of them by cleaning them regularly. One of the important steps in brush cleaning is actually drying them properly. For this purpose, I found this nifty little gadget online called The Brush Guard. It is a flexible tube that is used to hold the bristles of the brush together when it dries. You insert the handle of the brush through one end of the tube and then pull it through to cover the hairs of the brush. In doing so, it keeps the hairs together so the brush retains its proper shape. Thus, it prolongs the life of the brush.

Before I physically saw the brush guards, I thought they were going to be of light foamy texture (like the protector thingys you sometimes see on pears at the supermarket). When I received my actual brush guards in the mail though, I was pleasantly surprised by how durable they were. They almost looked like they were made with fishing wire. That makes stretching them out to fit around the handle a little bit more difficult, but it definitely holds better. I really like the fact that the ends are glued or burned together so the “wires” don’t come apart easily.

The brush guards come in 4 different sizes. Shown above are the brush guards from the variety pack. From left to right, you have a large one (for powder/kabuki brushes), 2 medium ones (for foundation brushes), 2 small ones (for blush brushes), and 1 extra small one (for eye liner/shadow brushes). Besides the variety pack, you can also get packages with specific size brush guards. I picked up a package of each except for the large ones since I don’t own very many big brushes.

Price: Each package is US $5.50 + $2 shipping per order (to Canada).
Where to Buy: Online @ thebrushguard.com

One of my favourites from this batch of products is the Travalo, a mess-free and travel friendly atomizer. Instead of carrying a whole bottle of perfume/cologne with you everywhere you go, atomizers let you take out small amounts of perfumed liquid. Back in the day, I used to use the Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Refillable Travel Spray, or “the bullet” as I used to call it. Buying the refills got really expensive, which is why I’ve stopped using L’Eau d’Issey.

I’ve also tried the atomizers from Sephora, but they leaked and were difficult to fill without a mess. This is exactly why I love the Travalo. At the bottom of the pocket-sized spray bottle is a pumping gadget. All you need to do to fill the Travalo is take your fragrance bottle, remove the nozzle, insert the little tube into the bottom of the Travalo and start pumping.

On the side of the bottle is a contents window that lets you see how much fragrance you have left inside it. This is also useful for when you are filling it so you know how far along you are. The little container holds about 50 sprays which, for someone like me who uses it only on occasion, can last a few months. When you’re done you can easily refill it again.

Price: Mine were $12.99 each.
Where to Buy: I got mine at Shoppers Drug Mart. The ones with the beauty boutiques should have them on circular displays where impulse items are featured.

When it comes to coverage for under the eyes, Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat is by far one of the best, most popular and highly reviewed products. But at close to $50 a pop, concealing those under-eye dark circles can get very expensive so I tend to reserve mine for special occasions. For regular daily use, the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector is a very good alternative. It’s the cheapest concealer I’ve used, but it’s also one of the best. Its fluid-like texture makes it easy to blend into the skin without making it look cakey, while providing good coverage at the same time.

Price: Anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99, depending on where you buy it from.
Where to Buy: Shoppers Drug Mart, Rex-all, Wal-mart or any supermarket that sells make-up.

In the last 8 months or so, I’ve developed quite the obsession for lipsticks and have tried a plethora of them. I have found that certain brands and colours work better for me. Tried and tested, here are my top 3 favourite drugstore lipsticks:

Rimmel Lasting Finish Intense Wear Lipstick in Airy Fairy ($4 – $7)
A lovely pinky mauve that compliments my skintone. It glides on very smoothly and doesn’t dry out my lips. I like that I can wear this with or without lipgloss on top. The packaging is simple but nice in its dark purple tube. My only problem is the cap falls off easily, but it might just be the one I happen to have. I bought 3 backups of this one so we’ll see what happens when I get to them.

Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Sugar Plum Ice ($4 – $7)
This is by far my most used lipstick. As the name suggests, it is extremely moisturizing. Although it is fairly close to my natural lip colour, it provides a very nice glossy finish which is great because I don’t have to bother with a lipgloss on top of it. It goes with almost anything and I pretty much wear it everywhere.

Revlon ColorBurst™ Lipstick in Soft Nude ($7.99 – $11.99)
This is one of the best nude lipsticks I’ve found for my skin tone. I love it for its creamy formula because it doesn’t dry out my lips. I like to wear one layer of it with a peachy pink lip gloss on top. Since it is quite pigmented, one layer is enough for me. Overdoing it with a nude lipstick like this one will make you look ill. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the matte black packaging with the quilted detailing on every other side of the lipstick. It’s so chic! I wish every lipstick came like this.

Where to Buy: All 3 of these brands can be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, Rex-all, Wal-mart or any supermarket that sells make-up.

First of all, I’m not a fan of the packaging of this lipstick. Don’t like the wild animal print and I’m not crazy about the gold casing with the florescent pink. It’s also light in weight compared to all my other lipsticks so it takes a bit of getting used to. Now besides all that, the Victoria’s Secret Love Me Wild Limited Edition Lipstick in Instinct is a great lipstick.

It is possibly the creamiest lipstick I’ve ever used, which means it feels really nice on the lips. The colour works for me too. I think of it as a combination of Airy Fairy and Sugar Plum Ice. It’s not super pigmented, but it does give a bit of a frosty finish.

The only real downside to this lipstick is the price. At $18, it is 50 cents more expensive than a MAC lipstick. For me, it’s easier to justify paying for a MAC lipstick than one from VS at that price. However, I did use my $10 gift card for mine so I only paid $8 instead. (I did go back later with a 2nd $10 gift card to buy a backup of this lipstick.)

Where to Buy: Victoria’s Secret

fm x cooking x bm

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Far East Movement (or blogged in general) so I’m going to start off with them. They were in town for a few days prior to their gig on Tuesday, which I thought was interesting that they happen to be playing at Kool Haus. When I met them last June during their first visit to Toronto, we were chatting with Kev after their show at Tattoo and he had asked if artists usually play at clubs like that one. We told him some artists play at clubs; those who’ve gained more popularity will hit up Kool Haus. At the time, not too many people in Toronto had heard about FM yet. In fact, I think it was shortly after that night when “Like a G6” blew up on the radio and everyone here started bumpin’ their music.

It’s evident how far they’ve gotten since my conversation with them 10 months ago. They were guests on MuchMusic’s New.Music.Live (formerly known as Much On Demand) yesterday. It’s funny ‘cuz I remember my one and only time on that show was during the summer of ’09. It was Keri Hilson’s first visit to MuchMusic, so of course I wanted to be there. I actually remember sitting in the audience and thinking…”Far East Movement’s going to be here getting interviewed one day. I can feel it. It’s just a matter of time.” And now look! I really regret not being able to be on the show to witness that moment in history, especially considering I worked literally half a block away from the building just hours ago. But there wasn’t much I could do about being 2 years over the age limit to be in the audience of NML. Boooooo to that! Seeing FM’s success with their Free Wired album, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they return to Toronto again in a few weeks for the 2011 MMVA. Hopefully I’ll catch them next time they’re in town.

Be sure to check out FM’s video to their new single. I would, if I was you…O.M.G.

So how did everyone enjoy their long weekend? I had a full 4 days off which is practically unheard of in my world. After working 40 hours in 4 days last week, I really needed some time to catch up on some sleep and rest. However, I did spend my Saturday afternoon grocery shopping and cooking for my family. Even though it’s rare to see me cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I actually quite enjoy cooking when I get the chance to. It’d been over a year since I last cooked so I was feeling a bit rusty. Besides accidentally pouring in too much basil into the pasta, I think my rather simple meal turned out okay.

I used a recipe that my co-worker gave me to make a Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, and I used another recipe from another co-worker for my favourite Cranberry BBQ Sauce Meatballs. Of course we had to have some veggies, so I steamed up some broccoli and carrots. Voila!

For dessert, my cousin and I enjoyed one of my favourite Italian desserts: tartufo. Although it was store-bought, it was still quite heavenly.

I’ll admit most of my long weekend was spent sleeping and lazing around. I truly believe those lazy days are (sometimes) necessary. And the perfect song to play on one of those days is… lol

*Beauty product review post will be coming soon. I’m sorry for the delay!

time to catch up

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been on a blog hiatus for the past month and a half. A lot has been going on for me during this time, both in and out of work, so I haven’t had much spare time for anything besides rest.

I had mentioned in my last post that March would be a pretty crazy month for me, and sure enough it was. At the beginning of the month, I was stressed over my dad’s surgery. When that was done and things turned out fine for him, I found myself even more stressed over having to clean our house in preparation for the new addition to our family. For a week and a half, I was only doing 4 things every day: work, clean, shower, sleep…repeat. Believe me, it was intense!

So to relieve some of that stress, I decided to spend a bit of time the other day doing something that didn’t involve cleaning or physical labour. After work, a bunch of my co-workers and I hopped over to the Corned Beef House for our first knitting club meet. My mom taught me to knit when I was in elementary school and I’ve made a scarf, but I haven’t knitted since then. I’m glad that we have a knitting club now at work so I can get back into the knitting thing and learn some new skills from others. Hopefully, I’ll have a scarf made by next winter.

Speaking of the Corned Beef House, I must tell you how great this place is. It’s a small cozy restaurant/bar with amazing food. Their plates are SO BIG it’s ridiculous! Sadly, I haven’t tried their corned beef sandwiches yet. Instead, my co-worker, Iman, got me into their Smoked Meat Poutine. It is SO GOOD! Definitely two thumbs up from me. The owner of the place is a cool guy so you always get great service. Check out the Corned Beef House at the corner of John & Adelaide.

For my next post, I’ll be reviewing some products that I recently purchased and are really enjoying. For example, featured in the picture above are my new make-up brushes from Sigma. Will write more about them in my next post. Most of the reviews will be on beauty products so girls, stay tuned.

And before I go, I’ll leave you all with this video. I’m lovin’ the beat to this track. Awesome collabo…Jin x Dumbfounded x Traphik. (By the way, I’ve got Jin following me on Twitter!!)