when the rain washes you clean, you’ll know

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Maxi Dress: Free People (similar) | Sunglasses: Nordstrom 

About two weeks ago, while on an evening walk around the neighborhood, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon the prettiest back entrance/garden to this hidden mansion which is now used as a banquet hall for weddings and anniversaries. I had heard of this facility before, but driving past it on the daily to work, I was never able to actually see the mansion as it’s hidden behind a huge stone wall. Unexpectedly on one random weekday evening during our walk, we just happened to end up behind the mansion! The garden  is beautiful especially with the mansion made of stone as the backdrop, and even though we couldn’t get too close because it was fenced off, I still thought it would be such a stunning location to take some photos. So of course as the weekend rolled around, we went back and ended up doing just that.

I put on a floral maxi dress because 1), that’s pretty much all I own and wear in the spring/summer, and 2), I just thought it would go along with the feminine and somewhat fancy vibe of the location. Funny fact: I was literally DYING in the heat while taking these pictures because of all the fabric in the dress. With maxi dresses, I usually prefer short sleeves or sleeveless because it can otherwise look like too much and drown you out (especially if you’re shorter like me). I really loved the lighter colours in this dress though, and the mix of the floral and paisley patterns are so unique. This is probably one of the only maxi dresses I own with full-length sleeves, and I know it’s not the most practical for everyday, but for a special occasion to prance around to in a pretty garden, I think it’s quite alright.

As soon as I put this dress on, it immediately made me feel like the OG boho queen herself, Stevie Nicks. She is literally the embodiment of bohemian – travelling around the world singing songs that warms the hearts of others while wrapped up in her staple uniform of platform boots, shawls, and maxis. Her free-spirited style is just an extension of her spirit and creativity. Since I felt like I was channeling my inner Stevie Nicks in these photos, it only makes sense that this week’s song is none other than Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.

I’m sure all of you know this song, probably from our parents playing it when we were kids growing up, bu if you haven’t, definitely take a listen to it below. It’s a classic!

when I see your light shine, I know I’m home

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Blouse: Free People Smell The Roses Dot Top, Mom Jeans: Topshop, Booties: Topshop

Slowly but surely, the weather is finally starting to warm up here in Toronto. I don’t know how I did it over the winter, taking pictures outside in the freezing cold. The pictures this week were taken on a sunny, slightly warm (but still a bit windy) day, and it made me appreciate the feeling of the warm sun just shining down on me as I sat on the railroad track. I forgot how nice that feels. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to be outside without a jacket on for more than 5 minutes at a time!

For this week’s outfit, I decided to pair this polka dot blouse with my standard high waisted mom jeans. This top is amazing – the style of it with the ruffles and voluminous, banded sleeves gives it such a Victorian feel, but the cropped length keeps it looking modern. As for the pattern, let’s just say that polka dots are gonna be HUGE for this Spring/Summer. I prefer smaller polka dots like the one on this blouse because I find that larger polka dots tend to look a bit clown-ish. However, smaller polka dots are just so darn cute, delicate, and much more wearable. I’m sure we all have something polka dotted in our wardrobe as this is such a classic pattern, so now is definitely the time to take it out and rock it! If sporting an entirely polka dotted piece is too out there for you, definitely try incorporating it through an accessory. I’ve seen polka dotted headbands, scarves, and even shoes! Such an easy and subtle way to rock the trend, while adding that little special touch to spice up your outfit.

If you do decide to try a polka dotted blouse (or perhaps polka dots on the bottom), be sure to pair it with a solid colour on the other half of your body to balance it out. We all know that black goes with anything and everything, so with this blouse, I decided to pair my favourite washed black mom jeans since it’s not yet warm enough for shorts. But once it is, I can definitely picture this top with vintage black Levi’s cutoff shorts, or even a light washed blue denim shorts and some easy slides on the feet.

So I didn’t just pose on this railroad track for no reason.  For me, railroad tracks always remind me of returning home to family/loved ones and so I wanted to incorporate a song with that theme. I feel like there are so many songs out there with that theme, but for some reason I had such a hard time thinking of one. Then I started listening to Vance Joy’s new album Nation of Two. Even though it was only released a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Especially the song We’re Going Home. And that’s when it clicked – this song would be perfect for this week’s blog post! I believe this song was previously released as one of the singles off the album. Perfect timing because this is such a dreamy springtime love song! I just imagine it playing in the final scene of the movie where the girl is staring out the train window after deciding to return to her lover, with the sun halfway shining on her face (coincidentally very similar to the opening scene of the music video). I’m sure the majority of you have already listened to it, but if not, check out We’re Going Home below, as well as the rest of the album.

i can learn to lose you, toying with our used youth

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Midi Dress: Reformation Salem Dress, Necklace: Etsy, Booties: Topshop

Another week, another blog post, another checked patterned outfit?! Two weeks ago in this blog post I promised you guys I would have another outfit up soon with this menswear checked pattern that I’m clearly obsessed with currently. As you can tell, throughout the last few months I’ve been wearing this pattern and it’s not going anywhere. Even into the warmer months, this pattern is here to stay.

So as the weather starts to warm up with Spring finally here, I wanted to show you how you can rock this pattern in a more lightweight material. And this dress from Reformation is the perfect example! It is made from 100% viscose, and according to the Reformation website, is a “lightweight georgette fabric with a dry handfeel”, but to me and put more simply, feels like a chiffon.  Usually with this menswear checked pattern, you see it on heavier fabrics like wools or flannels used to make blazers, coats and trousers. Seeing this kind of print on such a sheer and light material is rare, so I knew I had to have this dress for my Spring wardrobe as soon as I saw it. The great thing about Reformation is that they tend to make several different styles with the same pattern and fabric. This particular checked pattern is called “Aberdeen” and if you like it, definitely check the Ref website since they have a few other pieces made in it too (you know I copped another dress already lol!).

To properly showcase the beauty of this dress, I wanted to shoot in front of a more plain background. I knew it had to be something more subdued yet still strong to go along with the vibe of this dress. That’s why I thought the Aga Khan museum was perfect! The museum houses Islamic and Iranian art in this beautifully modern and clean building. I mean just look at this architecture. I’m so happy with the way these pictures turned out! The subtle checked pattern of the dress makes it look more gray from far away, blending perfectly with the white, silver and gray colours in the background of the museum.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I usually love shooting outdoors surrounded by trees, grass, snow, the lake and flowers. Taking pictures in front of nice buildings and architecture is quite rare for me, but maybe I’ll try to scope out a few other places to feature.

You know what’s even more rare? For me to feature an electronic song on this blog! Funny because I’ve mentioned before that I actually listen to a lot of electronic music, but for some reason rarely feature it. Well this week it all changes. This is the first time I’ve ever featured an electronic song, but I’m SO excited for you guys to hear this one – Aldrig Mer by Kasbo! I came across this Swedish producer randomly on a Spotify playlist, and then realized that they’re signed to Foreign Family collective, the record label founded and curated by Odesza, who just happen to be one of my favourite electronic duos. Kasbo just released his debut album Places We Don’t Know last week, and Aldrig Mer comes from that album. It was previously released as a single prior to the release of the album, and literally the first time I heard it, I was blown away. I proceeded to listen to it again, then again, then again. And I’ve pretty much had it on repeat ever since.

Aldrig Mer is super catchy, so much so that when you initially listen to it, you may believe that it’s another summer love song. But it’s actually quite the opposite. Aldrig Mer translates to “no more” in English, and the song is about getting over an old love. Someone in which you know you cannot love them the way that they deserve to be loved anymore, which is probably something that the majority of us have related to at one point or another. Who knew that a song so upbeat would actually be about a less than ideal point in most of our lives.  Definitely check out the song below, and if you’re into it, make sure to catch Kasbo live as he is doing a North American tour in April! You’ll know where to find me.

you are alive, but are you living?

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Dress: Motel, Jacket: H&M, Booties: Topshop

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I decided to stroll around the Distillery District in Toronto before catching the last weekend of the Light Festival once sundown came. Lining the Insta-worthy cobblestone streets of the Distillery, there are several trendy bars, restaurants and shops to check out, as well as several art galleries if that’s more your thing.

On our little adventure in the Distillery, I paired this dark floral dress with this oversized moto jacket (also worn here). It was actually freezing cold out once it became dark, so I had the jacket zipped all the way up (not cute paired with this dress haha), but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I purposely wore this dress to show that florals are not only reserved for spring/summer (I know it’s officially spring now, but it’s still cold out so it’s not spring yet in my mind).  Florals can definitely work in the colder weather too, especially when it’s printed on a dark background like my dress. Just layer it with a jacket, tights, and boots and you can easily winterize an otherwise summery piece.

So this week’s song is another one by The Maine. I know I’ve already featured them twice on this blog, but I can honestly say that they’re the one band who’s music I feel like I can relate to like no other. This week’s song is called “How Do You Feel?” and it comes off their latest album release. I’ve had this song on repeat quite a lot over the last two weeks, and the line “you are alive, but are you living” in particular reminded me of how lucky I am to be alive on this planet.

In particular, once I heard this, I also remembered something I read in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. In his very first passage, Nepo reminds us of what a rarity it is that we are all alive as human beings in this universe. Out of all the millions of different species of animals, plants, and minerals, how often is it that we get to be alive on this planet with the consciousness that we as humans are so blessed to possess? If I wasn’t a human being, I could have been a mouse, or an ant, or a cloud. So what a miracle it is that I’m here, alive and able to write blog posts about my style and music, and other human beings like yourself, are able to read and react to it. Tomorrow I could be dead and become an ant, but right now, I’m a healthy and alive human being.

It’s so important that we take advantage of this rare opportunity, making sure that every moment we’re here, we spend doing things that are fulfilling for our souls.  For me, that includes things like meditation and yoga, eating carbs more than once in a while, listening to and discovering new music, writing this blog, and going after my dreams.  In doing all this, I have found myself to be more grateful of the opportunity I have here on earth, simply by making the conscious effort to do the things that make my heart sing.  I think we all owe it to ourselves to make sure we’re living the best possible life that we can for ourselves. Because what a shame it would be if we weren’t.

well you’re the best man, so what’s the plan?

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Bodysuit: American Apparel, Skirt: Reformation, Leather Jacket: Zara, Booties: Topshop, Necklace: Etsy

If you’ve been seeing this menswear check pattern around everywhere, it’s because this trend is still going strong! I did a post on this pattern a while back (check it out here), but I have become even more obsessed with it over the last few months and acquired even more checked pieces in my wardrobe since then. This skirt from Reformation being one of them. I snagged this about two months ago when they had their massive semi-annual online sale. For only $65, this was such a steal. It encompasses everything I look for in a skirt: high waisted, maxi length, and a stylish pattern. The buttons on the side add to the appeal of it even more.  If you haven’t yet, definitely  try adding some of this classic menswear pattern into your wardrobe. It’s definitely still going strong and will continue into the spring in more subtle ways (will have another blog post very soon on this – told you I’m obsessed!).

For the rest of the outfit, I decided to keep it simple in all black to let the checked pattern be the focal point. The deep v-neck on this bodysuit balances out all the fabric on the bottom half, and the leather jacket adds a bit of edge to the outfit, perfectly contrasting the more formal pattern of the skirt.  On my feet, I wore these black sock booties that I wear with practically every outfit.  I love them cause they are the most comfortable and flattering shoe I own! And to finish it all off, I have this beautiful gold plated zodiac necklace on.  Definitely my new favorite jewelry piece right now.

Since I clearly am in love with this whole menswear pattern, I decided to feature a song this week by the same name – literally.  First and foremost, anyone that knows me in real life, knows that The 1975 is one of my favorite bands. And their song Menswear also happens to be one of my faves, and in my opinion, also one of their most underrated.

I love that this song starts off slow with light instrumentals, teasing the listener by making them wait for the vocals. The vocals don’t start until about halfway through the song, so I can understand why the beginning of this song may seem a bit boring if you’re typically someone who enjoys the singing part of a song. But trust me, this song is well worth the wait and needs to be listened to wholly.  I think it just makes you appreciate what comes next even more.  If you’re unfamiliar with The 1975’s signature sound, the beginning of this song gives you a little glimpse into it with the melancholic, atmospheric, synth-driven beat.  Soon the tempo quickens and the vocals kick in and all the while you’re straining to make out what lead singer Matt Healy is saying through his thick Manchester accent.  Now you’re tapping your foot along and bopping your head to this catchy as heck song, even though you don’t really understand what’s going on. And that’s the beauty of The 1975. Definitely give Menswear a listen below!

when you’re living in a dreamworld

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Jacket: old (similar), Dress: Free People (similar), Over-the-knee boots: Carlos Santana (old)

Although the weather has gotten a bit warmer over the last week or so, there’s no denying that it’s still the dead of winter here in Toronto. Mother nature loves to play tricks with us by giving us a few days of sunny, 15 degrees Cesius weather followed by a snow storm. Typical.

I’m not gonna lie, this outfit was definitely not the most appropriate to be wearing outside in the middle of winter with all the ice and snow on the ground. But I didn’t care. Putting on this fluffy white coat made me feel like I was sleeping on a soft cloud, and I love how it paired with the ethereal and dreamy vibe of this dress.  Because this dress is so short, I had to pair it with over the knee boots to keep myself more covered up (and also to keep warm!).  All in all, this outfit is SO my style. So much so that I would say that it’s probably my favourite outfit that I’ve featured on this blog so far. I’m obviously in love with anything bohemian, but I also love how this outfit plays with different textures – the fluffiness of the coat, the gauziness and lightness in the material of the dress, and the suede material of the boots.  As soon as  I put on this outfit, I felt 1000x better and just more myself.  I guess in a way, just like how music can automatically change our moods and make us feel better, fashion is also a form of escapism for me. Despite the current situation whether it be the crappy weather or if I’m just having a bad day, putting on a fabulous outfit always helps to lift my spirits and put me in a better mood.

Speaking of escapism, that’s the central theme of this week’s song – Dreamworld by Rilo Kiley. Do any of you guys remember Rilo Kiley?! I found myself randomly listening to them again this past week, and I’ve never felt more nostalgic. You may not be able to tell from my musical tastes nowadays, but back in late elementary school and middle school, I was really into emo pop punk (because who wasn’t), and a bit of early 2000s R&B and hip-hop. Come high school, I started discovering more indie/alternative artists, and Rilo Kiley actually happened to be one of the very first bands of that genre that I ever listened to. Anyways, I found myself listening to them again recently and I’ve fallen in love with them all over again.

Dreamworld is from the last album that Rilo Kiley put out in 2007, but is one of my faves from them. The song explores a “dreamworld” state, a state that I think most of us find ourselves in sometimes. When we are in a less than pleasing or uncomfortable situation, we find ourselves ignoring the reality of it and instead, pretending to live in this better world that we have fantasized about in our minds.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to live in this dreamworld, because I believe it’s a representation of our hopes and aspirations. As long as they do not simply become just our expectations (and we can still distinguish between what’s real and what’s not), we cannot be disappointed.

But if you’re ever just having a bad day and need a little distraction, just try listening to music that you enjoy, watching your favorite movie, or putting on your favorite outfit! Guaranteed that this simple form of escapism will make you feel 1000x better too!

my top 5 concerts of 2017

As promised last week when I posted my Top 5 Albums of the Year, this week we’re talking about my Top 5 Concerts of 2017! Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m an avid and very frequent concert-goer. I mean, it’s the only way to FEEL the music you love, up close and personal with those who make it, while being surrounded by those who love it just as much as you do. In 2017, I was lucky enough to have the chance to see so many amazing artists and bands that narrowing this list down to only 5 was quite difficult. These five shows are the ones where not only did the band put on a performance worthy of a standing ovation, but also helped to cultivate a warm community at the show and made me feel the most sense of belonging.

5.   Alt-J @ Massey Hall, October 2017

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Alt-J’s tour this year was in support of their newest album, Relaxer. Although this album was a bit disappointing for me compared to their previous releases, their show made up for it. They played all of their most popular songs including Fitzpleasure and Breezeblocks, but what really made this show stand out to me was the lighting. I would even go so far as to compare their light show to that of Sigur Ros’ (whom I have also had the pleasure to see live), which says a lot, seeing as how Sigur Ros has won an award for Best Lighting at the Knights of Illumination awards in London.  Nonetheless, Alt-J sounded amazing live like I knew they would, and the lights contributed to the dark and mysterious ambiance. How fitting, since the show took place over Halloween weekend.

4.   Third Eye Blind @ Echo Beach, June 2017

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Ahh, what an exciting way it was to kickoff this past summer, with none other than seeing my favorite band of all time play their self-titled debut record live from front to back, for their Summer of Gods tour. Third Eye Blind being my favorite band automatically means that I go to every single show of theirs whenever they’re in town, and this year it was no different. Their Summer of Gods tour was to promote the 20th anniversary of their self-titled album in which they played the entire album from front to back, something that they’ve never done before. For me, this was so exciting, given that this would be my first time hearing them play some of my favorite songs live, songs that they don’t normally play live! Pretty sure I was almost in tears as soon as they played “I Want You” – this is a song that means the world to me, so much so that I even had part of the lyrics tattooed on my back. Of course, they also played their hits off the album such as Semi-Charmed Life and Motorcycle Drive By which had the crowd in such a good mood, singing along at the top of their lungs. You can definitely say that this show was more for nostalgic reasons, but still hands down one of my favorite 3EB performances ever.

3.   Benjamin Francis Leftwich @ The Mod Club, February 2017

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BFL is someone that I have listened to for many, many years, but for some reason, never had the chance to see live. This year it changed though. We saw him play on a cold winter day, but the show itself was anything but cold. BFL’s performance was simple – no fancy gimmicks, backing band, or even a backdrop at his show, it was just him and his guitar, and he rocked it. I love it when artists do stripped down shows because it really shows off their talent – raw and heartfelt, the way their music was meant to be heard. BFL has one of those soothing, smooth, deep voices that I feel like can cure almost anybody. That voice with just his guitar made it such an amazing and intimate performance. There was a point where he even jumped into the crowd and sang and played, with everyone just circling him. You could make out the crowd singing along, low under their breaths. BFL was definitely one of the most raw and beautiful performances of the year.

2.   Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness @ The Opera House, April 2017

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Andrew McMahon is hands down my favorite musician to see live. He has this way of making each and every one of his shows so upbeat, positive and full of energy that it’s easy to leave all your troubles at the door. I always have the best time at one of his shows.  This time around when I saw him back in April, there was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life, stuff that made me anxious and uncomfortable. But that night, it felt like I had no care in the world for any of that. I felt free and happy, singing and dancing along to all of his songs, just like everyone else in the crowd. Not once did those things that were bothering me even come to mind that night. At one point, Andrew even rode on top and through the crowd in an inflatable duck – something so fun, unique, and interactive that only he would come up with and only he could get away with. The majority of the show had Andrew playing a ton of songs off his new record which also came out in 2017, but also some old classics from his Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate days as well. You may remember from an older blog post (read it here!) how much Jack’s Mannequin’s music has meant to me over the years, especially during my high school days. Every time that I see Andrew McMahon live, it literally makes me feel like I am back in high school, young and free spirited with still an entire world out there just waiting to be discovered.

1.   Local Natives @ The Danforth Music Hall, March 2017 & Osheaga Music Festival, August 2017

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This may seem a bit biased and perhaps it is, seeing as you all know by now how much I love Local Natives. But aside from creating great music, these guys also create an amazing, dream-like show. This past year I was so fortunate to have the chance to see Local Natives twice – the first time at the Danforth and the second time at Osheaga music festival. Prior to this year, the last time I had the chance to see them was in 2014, so it had been a long time coming, also making it one of my most highly-anticipated shows of the year. And boy they did not disappoint. What makes a Local Natives show amazing is their synchronized vocal layering – something you hear in their songs, but is even more impressive and beautiful when heard live. On top of the great energy that they clearly have with each other and on-stage presence, it’s just not possible for these guys to put on a bad show. I remember at Osheaga while we were waiting (front row, of course) for Local Natives to come on, the couple beside us asked if we had ever seen them live and if they were any good. I excitedly told them that they are amazing live and that they would LOVE it. Right after Local Natives ended, the couple turned to me and said, “You were spot on. Those guys were awesome!”. I could not have agreed more, even telling some of our friends afterwards that I wish that I could “just die and live in that moment with them playing, forever and ever – my version of heaven.”

What a wonderful year of live music. I am so excited for all the upcoming shows and music festivals in 2018. What was your favorite show of 2017? I would love to read your experiences too!