Archive | September, 2011

ANTM swaps Andre Leon Talley for Kelly Cutrone

29 Sep

Replacing judges on Americas Next Top Model (ANTM) is nothing new.  Aside from the show’s creator, Tyra Banks, who has appeared on every season, there has been a pretty steady turnover of judges during the show’s 17 (you read that right… 17) seasons – or as they say in ANTM-speak ‘cycles’.

With fan-favorites such as Miss J. Alexander and the bald and beautiful Nigel Barker on board to temper the hurricane of narcissism that is Tyra Banks, it seems that ANTM usually tries to bring on one judge that will be the “bad guy” (ie: the judge who will act in a more insane/detestable manner than Tyra – for a prime example, please see Season 1-4 judge, Janice Dickinson.)

In Season 14, we were introduced to Andre Leon Talley, former editor-at-large of Vogue, and connoisseur of caped garments.

Drink in the splendor of the A.L.T. black-tie... errrr... black-cape ensemble. Who doesn't want to be friends with this man?

A.L.T. swiftly gained a huge fan-base and brought out some ensembles that made Tyra’s couture-duds look like a ratty sweat suit.  He was too over the top not to like. But alas, after his 4th season, he’ll be parting ways with ANTM. The word isn’t out as to exactly why A.L.T. is leaving Top Model, but my guess is he has better things to do… like discuss the merits of multi-toned furs with Anna Wintour.

However, it also may have something to do with the fact that he’s simply not villainous enough. Despite his coinage of the unforgettable term ‘dreckitude’, his over-the-top style and demeanor can’t seem to distract audiences from the unfortunate truth that Tyra Banks, for all her business acumen, is insufferable.

Enter Kelly Cutrone. We first met Kelly on “The Hills” and “The City” where she played the role of was Whitney and LC’s fashion-publicist boss/mentor at People’s Revolution. While most of the characters in these reality shows seem to have jobs that are more like hobbies, and incomes that are more like trust funds, it was nice to see a real business person with her head screwed on straight. She just didn’t take anyone’s shit.  However, compared to everyone else on the Hills and the City, Kelly Cutrone also seemed like the single meanest person in LA and/or New York. But although she was scary as hell, she was also somehow very likable.

In addition her personal success, she also released her memoir in 2010, titled “If you have to cry go outside: And other things your mother never told you.”  I think we can all agree that’s one of the best book titles ever. But I digress… based on what we’ve seen from Kelly already I can only imagine the absolute spectacle that we will be privy to when she is faced with the girls in the top model house on a regular basis. Tears will be shed, egos will be deflated, and Tyra may just end up looking likable. But hopefully, with Kelly on the judge’s panel, the viewers of ANTM (and not just the jaded 20-somethings, but also the impressionable young ones) will get a to hear that it’s not just about being pretty, but also having a work ethic and some brains in your head. So while I will absolutely lament the loss of Andre Leon Talley, I welcome the addition of Kelly Cutrone. And I won’t be crying about it.

Fashion Week – New York, London & Milan

27 Sep

Today’s post is brought to you by @kathryncarver1, she has been offering fashion advice since the age of five, and has a closet any girl would kill for.

September is the most exciting time in the fashion world. It is September, and not January, that begins a new year. September is the when the holy grail of all fashion bibles, the September issue of Vogue, comes crashing down on every fashionable persons’ doorstep, or grocery store checkout. September is when the pretty people descend on the streets of first New York, then jet off to London, Milan and Paris for Fashion Week. September is the time of year when the weather is the perfect temperature for the perfect outfit. The blending of your favourite summer pieces that you aren’t just yet ready to put away, and integrating your new fall purchases. The fashion industry does this better then anyone, and this is why the Spring fashion shows aren’t the only thing that makes Fashion Week’s in September so exciting, the Street Style has become almost as crucial a part of Fashion Week as the shows.

But I digress; let’s start with New York. Many of the shows in New York saw a few themes, the resurgent of the skirts, a focus on the waist with many designers pulling the waist down, a-la 20’s flapper style, a 60’s mod theme, as well as athletic chic. Yet with all of these themes, on thing stood out among all the shows; the past trend of colour is here to stay!

Zac Posen

Zac Posen is definitely feeling the corset look with a lower waist; a red strapless knee length dress is my favourite from the show.

Alexander Wang is consistently downtown cool, and is clearly feeling the athletic chic, yet mixing mesh and other fabrics into his designs.

Alexander Wang

Alice & Olivia

Alice & Olivia had many super cute, bright and 60’s style clothing, though with this trend, it is best to mix and match with other items. Marc Jacobs, a favourite of mine, showed a varying mix of dropped waisted items, denim and sporty items. I also have to mention JCrew, for the first time, JCrew showed at New York Fashion week, it was a great collection of bright pieces, amazing striped shirts (I love a striped shirt almost as much as my sister’s Scottish Terrier Mr. B!), and longer skirts. The fashion crowd is definitely in a love affair with the Crew that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight! Jason Wu showed another strong collection, maintaining his pretty and proper style, which is bang on right now.

Marc Jacobs

After a whirlwind of great shows in New York, and a great Fashion’s Night Out in New York, it is off to London. The standout shows in London would have to be a favourite of mine, Jonathan Saunders and Burberry. Saunders is spot on lately, amazing prints, bright colours and incredible dresses and skirts with an early 60’s housewife, Betty Draper anybody, style. I was in love with the whole thing! Burberry showed amazing outwear, like always, but also showed great clothing with amazing detail and craftsmanship. Christopher Bailey took themes of handcrafts and added it to the signature Burberry look. It was a smash hit among the crowd.

Jonathan Saunders

What do you need to know about Milan? The only thing you need to know is Prada. The Prada show brought back something that can often be considered a dirty word among women in the fashion world, sweetness. But that is exactly what the Prada show was all about. Women looking pretty, sweet and lady like, yet with a mix of leather thrown in for good measure. A huge, huge hit, and considering how much influence Miuccia has over the fashion world, I think this will be a trend we see quite a bit of from other designers in the seasons to come.  Milan saw plenty of colour, a similar 20’s theme and of course a special attention to body conscious skirts and dresses. Versace showed a great collection with many sea-worthy pieces.

Fashion Week, regardless of the city, is all about having a good time, seeing great shows and spotting your favourite street style look. For the best coverage of all of the Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear collections, get yourself over to http://www.style.com and http://www.vogue.com for up-to-date reviews, complete collection shots and everything else fashion.

Burberry

 

Prada

Wednesday Weeping – The Bra in the Classroom Incident

21 Sep

Middle school is just the worst. It’s when Mother Nature rips everyone a new one, whether you wake up one day with boobs that apparently grew overnight or you wake up every day hoping to find boobs and realizing, once again, nothing has sprouted. Everything that used to be comfortable and familiar is suddenly terrifying and awkward. Seriously, becoming an adult is the worst thing ever.

Grade 5 was the year the little girls in my class started wearing bras, whether they needed to or not. I, being a famously late bloomer, had no such underthings in my possession, which made me a bit of a freak show when it came time to get changed for gym.

I went to my mom and told her I wanted a bra. She laughed at me and said “What for?”

Then she told my father over dinner. “Do you know what Amy asked for? She thinks she needs a bra.”

My dad laughed too. “What for?”

Assholes.

After the hysterical laughter died down I was told I didn’t need a bra *yet* but I could get one in Grade 6. I slunk away from the dinner table, defeated. Basically I was social roadkill now. I might as well start hanging out with the kids that brought their stuffed toys to school.

A couple weeks later one of my friends who was (I swear) flatter than me came to school and it was obvious she was wearing a bra and flaunting it to make sure everyone noticed, adjusting her stupid straps and whatnot.

“Good for you,” I hissed at her at recess. “It’s probably uncomfortable anyway and it’s stupid to waste money on something you don’t need.”

“No, it’s actually really comfortable because IT PROVIDES SUPPORT,” said my 25AAAAA-cup friend. “You can try it on if you want. SINCE YOU DON’T HAVE ONE OF YOUR OWN.”

“As if,” I said. (Well, I probably didn’t say “as if” because Clueless wasn’t out yet.) But the seed had been planted and all through the rest of the morning I wondered what it would be like to wear one of those forbidden undergarments.

At noon, I sidled up to her in the lunchroom. “Can it try it on?” I whispered.

“I guess so,” she said. “Where do you want to go?” We decided on Mrs. Hopkins’ empty classroom, which would be more private than the girl’s washroom.

I stood guard by the door while she got changed, then she “stood guard” while I attempted to hook up the mess of straps, two tiny white triangles and a ridiculous pink bow in the middle of it all.

I was mid-hook, shirtless and sweating from the effort when in walked two other girls from our class to get something out of their desks.

They gaped at me.

“I’M GETTING CHANGED!” I screamed.

I have never seen two girls exit a classroom faster in my life. I wondered if maybe they hadn’t seen anything.

But word got around. It always does.

Thankfully, some other kid got her period the next week and my bra fiasco was quickly forgotten. And yes, I waited until Grade 6 to get a bra of my own. And I hated it.

The Bachelor – Recipe for love or insanity?

19 Sep

For years now I have been hooked on what I consider to be one of the smuttiest series on TV. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Season after season I have resisted and then caved and watched people’s relationships go into flames.

Who would have thought that dating 25 people at once, going on the most insane and unrealistic dates of all time and not having to worry about work, buying groceries, looking after your pets, kids, and family members would give you the wrong impression of someone! So far after 21 seasons, Trista and Ryan from the first season of The Bachelorette are the only couple to get engaged on the show, get married and stay together.

As if The Bachelor / Bachelorette wasn’t enough, last year The Bachelor Pad was introduced. Memorable personalities from various seasons of the existing shows were brought together in a house Big Brother style. You can only image what went down in house full of super hot people crazy enough to go on TV to find love in the first place. It was insanity.

The finale of the Bachelor Pad aired one week ago Monday, and I got to thinking – how do these people seem to fall in love so quickly? And also how does Michelle Money have SUCH GREAT HAIR?

The second question will likely remain a mystery, but seriously. I’m not hating on falling in love at all. In fact I’m quite a big supporter of finding a great partner to share your life with, but I can’t wrap my head around what I saw go down on The Bachelor Pad this season.

Let’s take  a look at Holly Durst for example. Holly was first a contestant on The Bachelor, then she met former Bachelorette contestant Michael Stagliano, they fell in love, got engaged, broke up, got back together, broke up again and then 3 months later, both ended up on this past season of Bachelor Pad.

It looked like there was a chance that Holly and Mike would get back together, but alas, Holly fell for Blake instead. On the finale of Bachelor Pad it was revealed that Holly and Blake got engaged.

Some quick math – Holly and Michael break up 3 months before the show, the show films for TWO WEEKS ( yes TWO WEEKS), and then there is like a month or so before we see the finale. So in the matter of five months Holly went from being engaged from one guy to another. How the hell does this happen?

Then there is Ames, a fan favourite from Ashley’s season who on the finale tells the audience that he has broken up with Bachelor Pad cast-mate Jackie that he had sacrificed the $250,000 prize for. Ames talks about how dating in the real world made him realize that Jackie was not really the one for him. Jackie tells Ames she didn’t leave her room for a week when he dumped her. Everyone boo’s poor Ames for being honest – but why?

In real life, if you dated someone for a week and they never phoned you again you wouldn’t even think twice. If I walked around talking about how after my week long relationship ended I was so upset because I thought I would marry the guy, my friends would check me into the looney bin without a doubt.

And it’s not just Jackie and Holly, there are countless others every season who fall in love at light speed and then can’t understand why it just won’t work out.

Is The Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad truly a place to find love, or is it merely a clever ploy to get those who love love more than the rest of us all in one place so those of us at home can watch them self-destruct?

Saving Bonehead

15 Sep

Over the past few months Twitter has continued to impress by breaking news faster than any other medium. Beyond spreading the news of things like Beyonce’s pregnancy and Kardashian weddings, countless animals have been saved by people sharing their stories on Twitter. Just a few months ago hundreds of people walked the streets of Halifax after finding out on Twitter that newly rescued Greyhound Bella had run away. Tweet by tweet we stayed connected on our search through Twitter and cheered as Bella was returned to safety.

Thursday night around 4pm I caught wind of some action on Twitter talking about a cat in distress who was stuck on a roof and couldn’t seem to get down.

The thing that really struck me was that the person behind the tweets, Seth Graham aka @brinkofink, wasn’t even the owner of the cat, just a good neighbour who had noticed that the cat had been stuck up there for quite some time. Seth’s concern was growing as the day was getting hotter and the black shingled roof was no place for a cat to be – especially without any food or water.

The tweets kept coming and before I knew it my Twitter feed was full of people trying to figure out what to do to help Seth save this cat that none of us even knew.

The problem was that beyond being stuck on the roof of an apartment building, the roof was incredibly steep making it un-climbable for someone with just a ladder and no proper equipment.

Soon Boneheads BBQ in Halifax stepped up and had a truck with a lift brought to the building. Our hopes all climbed and were quickly dashed as we learned that the lift couldn’t go to the roof because of power lines that were in the way.

Hour after hour, tweet after tweet people rallied together to try and get this scared and potentially dying cat off the roof.

Oddly enough, the SPCA and Animal Control wouldn’t or couldn’t help. The Fire Department was unable to assist as they need to be on call in case another more urgent situation were to present itself.

So it was up to the people of Halifax to save this little guy, who was dubbed “Bonehead” on Twitter. Soon #savebonehead

Bonehead - safe and sound with Seth Graham. Kudos to Nick Calder for the sweet and timely photoshop!

was trending and people from all over the place were making calls, finding equipment and the right people to help.

As it got darker outside it became more dangerous to get Bonehead down, and the hope that the cat would be saved was quickly disappearing.

But just as things were looking grim, Boneheads BBQ struck again, asking Five Star Roofing to try and help. Around 9pm, two men bravely scaled the roof in the dark coaxing a very scared cat into a carrying bag and bringing him down to safety. Within moments of Seth announcing Bonehead’s exciting rescue hundreds of tweets came flooding in – obviously people who had been glued to Seth’s live tweets all night.

Once safely inside, Bonehead took in some much needed water and TLC. We are unsure of who Bonehead belongs to, but should he be a stray Seth has lovingly agreed to take in his new friend.

Without the incredible kindness of Seth Graham, and some amazing people on Twitter who knows what might have happened to this poor little cat!

Wednesday Weeping – The Spring Fling Incident of ’94

14 Sep

Readers – This guest post has been brought to you by @mcmeganpei, seen here in this recent photo. You are likely wondering why I am attaching a photo, you will not be wondering this after you read the post.

With Chaz Bono’s dancing shoes firmly laced, issues surrounding gender identity are at the forefront of news publications, trade rags and blogs. First, let us clarify for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, the Wiki definition of Transgender:

Transgender is the state of one’s “gender identity” (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s “assigned sex” (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex).[1]

But let us, for a moment, ponder the flip side. What of the individual with a gender identity that matches their physical/genetic sex but who’s physical appearance (perhaps due to an ill-advised haircut – that’s right I’m pointing at YOU Mom) causes the general public confusion? I’ll tell you what happens – my childhood from the age of 6 – 13. Yeah, that’s right. All of you out there hiding those awful awkward teen photos – “oh no, no, no, puberty was not kind to me”. Are you kidding me? My whole childhood was unkind – puberty was a GODSEND! Finally an end to the anxiety caused by having to meet new people who would politely play detective asking pointed questions that they prayed would ultimately lead to uncovering my gender. Children were the worst though – no beating around the bush there – “HEY! Yeah, you! HEY! Are you a boy or a girl?” Me: “I’m a girl.” Evil Child: “Are you sure?”

UGH … as such, you would think the “Spring Fling Fishpond Incident of ‘94” wouldn’t have cut so deep. This wasn’t my first time at the gender confusion rodeo, but it would serve to be my most shameful moment and the catalyst to a painful process of taking my mushroom cut to a Dorothy Hammel – esque bobb, to what I like to consider my personal tribute to Kurt Cobain – to what was finally without a doubt, long, flowing, GIRL hair.

Let’s head back to 1994: (cue Wayne and Garth doodley doodley doodley)

The Sackville Spring Fling held at Salem Elementary School in Sackville, NB (population 5,411) was the social event of the year and I wasn’t dicking around that day. Nope, a sunny Saturday afternoon, the air finally warm enough to leave your jacket at home – I was pulling out all the stops – pleated jeans with the cuffs turned up to reveal gorgeous plaid lining and a red esprit mock-neck (that’s right bitches, a mock-neck long sleeved t-shirt) and some kick ass penny loafers. Don’t even try to tell me I didn’t look good. Riding the high of high-fashion I gamely headed to the “Nail Art” booth to have my nails painted. This went as follows:

Nail Skank: “Ewww like how can I paint designs on your nails if you don’t have any”

Me: “well they’re not that short I was just really busy tree climbing this morning and didn’t get around to buffing them”

Nail Skank: “Whatever just pick two colours and I’ll paint them like half-and-half”

With my new pink and red nails I was now on top of the world – my fall from grace would be tragic.

I take you now to the “Fishpond.” For those of you unfamiliar with this carnival game it’s beyond simple – apply blindfold, throw the line of your fishing rod over the edge of the table blocking the classroom door and wait for the tug on your line that indicates your prize has been attached, reel up your winning as quickly as possible and enjoy! UNLESS you’re me. You see, in the interest of providing great prizes, the asshole running the fishpond would ask your age and then inform the prize giver of your age and gender in order to ensure you received an age and gender appropriate prize. Note they do NOT ask your gender, it is assumed one can tell by looking at the child whether they are a boy or a girl – WRONG.

I gamely stepped to the plate, confident that I was about to receive the greatest prize of my life:

Fishpond asshole: “How old are you?”

Me: “Eleven”. I applied my blindfold with confidence and tossed my line into the abyss anticipating the glory of a new toy just seconds away.

Fishpond asshole: “ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY! We have an ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY! ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY HERE!”

Where the hell was this prize wrangler located? Down the freakin street?!  I at once wished that my blindfold yielded me invisible as the hot flush of shame turned my face the same red of my stylin’ mock neck. Head hung low, I rushed to find my older sister – it was time to leave, a blue toy truck clutched in my hand – a gift for my little brother that would forever serve as a cruel reminder.

Big Day Downtown – Take 2

11 Sep

Because we at This Needs to Stop are super awesome at sharing we decided to make the most of our Downtown Halifax Visa and make this a two part challenge. Leslie and Sylvia had a great time cooking and crafting, but sadly Joel and I are not allowed to do either of those things unsupervised, or supervised for that matter. We decided that we would hit the town on a Friday evening and see what kind of non-flammable trouble we could get into. And we even made a for you to enjoy, so please enjoy it.

Our first stop was Argyle Fine Art, we had a great time checking out the 3D art, and the Scrabble pins. There is a lot of wonderful pieces there, and they are all the works of local artists. We both found some really great pieces to purchase and both plan to return very soon for some others.

We then found ourselves at Boutique Joliette, a fabulous boutique that offers pieces from Canadian designers, unique styles and vintage finds. The store has so many interesting and unique pieces. I fell in love with a necklace by Hawke Originals, it was handcrafted in Nova Scotia, and I am hoping it might find its way to me this Christmas. And I think it is safe to say that Joel’s lovely girlfriend Leah may find a box or two from Boutique Joliette under the Christmas tree this year. We decided to purchase a hair pin from the Lou Lou Bell line, it was very pretty, and we decided that it would be the perfect thank you gift for our camera person. She was thrilled with her new accessory.

Our last stop of the night was at JWD Books, where we could have spent hours and hours browsing the stacks, as there is an endless selection of some fantastics titles. Joel went for a book he had never read and I went with an old favorite. The store has a title for everyone and is a great place to go if you are looking for hard to find or out of print books.

We had a great time on our Big Day Downtown and would like to thank the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for including us in this fantastic promotion. There is lots to see and do here in Halifax, and we encourage everyone to do their own Big Day Downtown!

This Needs To Stop – Check-out Ignorance

7 Sep

Look how happy this lady is. Clearly she's never been in my check-out line.

If choosing the slowest-moving line at the grocery store was an olympic event, my apartment would be full of gold medals. I am the god damn Michael Phelps of inefficient grocery line selection. If you ever see me at Sobeys or the Superstore and I start moving towards one of the lines, even if I am the only person in that line and every other line is 20 people long, save yourself – DO NOT GET IN MY LINE!

This unfortunate affliction is something that I have had to come to grips with over the years. Trainee employees – my specialty. Extreme couponers – my habitual line-mates. People paying in pennies – my everyday grocery experience. While these characters don’t necessarily expedite my food-shopping habits, they are not the subject of today’s rant. No – this one goes out to a very special guy (who represents many just like him) – the ill-prepared grocery shopper who exists in blissful ignorance of other shoppers and their lives/schedules.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was in the line behind a young man. He had a fair number of groceries to purchase. He stood there staring in to space as the cashier rung his items through. He did not put the grocery separator at the end of his pile (a red flag moment).  As the last of his items were scanned, it occured to him that he needed another item. “Oh one minute,” he grumbled. “I need to get something else.” The cashier started blankly. Those behind him in line did a simultaneous eye-roll.

I’ve been in his shoes before,  realizing that I’ve forgotten an integral grocery item after I’m already in the line. In this case I either a) run like a crazy woman and grab my required item in record time, returning to the check-out before the last of my items is scanned, OR b) just accept that I screwed it up, and come back for that item later. The problem was, this guy’s stuff had already been completely rung in. He left the line anyway, perusing the aisles in search of that one last product. I assumed that whatever he was going back for was an essential ingredient. A minute passed. 2 minutes. 3 minutes. In the context of a grocery store line, this is a very long time. He finally came back, and placed his can of Pringles with the rest of his order. The cashier rung them in. Then he opened his mouth again.

Oh, I’ve got some coupons.”

Um…Ok,” muttered the visibly frustrated cashier.

They’re in my car. I’ll go get them.

ARE YOU F%$#ING KIDDING ME?! He took off towards the parking lot, appearing to be in no particular rush. A few minutes later he returned with a handful of coupons. He turned to me and laughed, “You guys probably hate me right now huh?” Oh buddy. You have no idea. Based on the absolute effery of this dude, the line behind me had thinned out. In all my years of grocery shopping I have never felt quite so homicidal.

If going back for the Pringles meant that you might get swarmed by a mob of angry grocery shoppers, would you do it?

Finally he paid, grabbed his bags and exited the premises. I purchased my items with no further incident and started walking home. As I headed up the hill, long-awaited groceries in hand, I watched as this guy drove away in his shiny sports car. I should have said something to him, or thrown something, but my rage consumed me. So for this young man, and the people like him that I’m sure I will continue to encounter, here’s a little cheat-sheet for you on grocery check-out etiquette.

#1 Make a list. Figure out what you need. Put it in your cart. Buy it.

#2 If you miss something on the list and you don’t realistically have time to go back and get it without seriously putting the efficiency of the line in jeopardy, come back and get it later.

#3 Ask yourself this question – “If I was the cashier, would I want to punch a customer in the face for this behavior?” If the answer is yes, cease that behavior immediately.

#4 Other people have lives too. We are all on a schedule. We all have places to be. Your time is no more important than anyone else’s. So please, grocery shop accordingly.

The Bees Knees – Big Day Downtown – Part 1

2 Sep

Thisneedstostop.com is a team effort. When we were asked to participate in Halifax’s Big Day Downtown, and given $100 to spend at downtown merchants, we decided to see how far $100 could be stretched and try to accomplish as much as possible.

For the first installment of our adventure, Leslie and Sylvia decided on a do-it-yourself day, for hungry and crafty bloggers on a budget.

Part 1: Pizza-Making – total expenditure: $6

Morris East is one of the best pizza places in Halifax. Its popularity means that there isn’t always a table ready for you, but fear not – we’ve got a solution to your problems. You can buy pizza crust from them and make your own pizza at home! We tried to do this. It worked (kind-of).

Calzoney goodness

Sylvia – We were 100% prepared with delicious toppings, hungry bellies and good intentions. Getting the dough to do what we wanted was a bit tricky. It was a ridiculously warm and humid day so I’m not sure if that makes dough tossing tougher for the average joe or not. The pizza crust and I battled it out and I ended up making a calzone instead of a flat pizza. The result was delicious carby goodness.

Leslie – Well, I won’t be listing ‘pizza-tossing’ on my CV under my marketable skills any time soon. However, I’m a very accomplished pizza eater, and other than the charcoal quality of the bottom of my pizza, it was quite delicious. Apparently Sylvia’s calzone method was more effective and considerably less messy. Next time we’ll be better prepared. But anyway you slice it, $3 for a restaurant-quality pizza crust is a steal of a deal.

Despite a burnt bottom this baby sure looks good!

Helpful hint to those of you embarking on your own pizza making adventure – prepare your pizza on a well greased cookie sheet and slide it off the cookie sheet directly onto the BBQ. Make sure to keep the temperature fairly low to prevent burning.

Be sure to check out the Morris East instructional video before you get started!

Part 2: Craft-Making – total expenditure: $44.08

There are lots of great places downtown for the creatively inclined, but DeSerres on Barrington probably has the best selection of supplies. Since there is a wedding on the horizon for Sylvia, we decided to put our money to semi-practical use and get the necessary tools for some DIY ‘Save the Date’ cards.

Sylvia – Being completely new to wedding crafting, this was a fun undertaking. It’s amazing how many crafting supplies there are geared towards such a day and how incredibly overwhelming it can feel when you have something in mind but can’t seem to find it. Lucky for me my partner in crime kept her eye on the prize and we came up with some awesome ideas!

Craft supplies: $40. A crafternoon with a good friend: priceless.

Leslie – My craft-making skills may not be on par with those of my fellow-bloggers, but I’m always up for a new experience, and what better time to get crafty than during the furious downpours of Hurricane Irene? I didn’t realize how huge DeSerres is inside. You can get any/every kind of crafting tool you can image, except what we were looking for… a nautical themed stamp-kit. Luckily, Sylvia and I are both project managers by trade and well-accustomed to having to adapt our plans on the fly. The staff at DeSerres was very helpful and friendly, and seemed to know precisely where everything was (that’s no small feat in a store of this size). Perhaps the highlight of our in-store experience was when a woman (most certainly a regular customer) pointed us in the direction of the sale items while simultaneously bestowing a collective pet-name on us… “They’re over there, Sweeties.

Sylvia – Once us “sweeties” were armed with the supplies we needed, we hunkered down and got to work. With our stash of craft supplies we came up with the overall layout for the save the dates. We attempted to lay out with words with a previously purchased stamping kit – but this proved to be a very complicated way to get text on the paper. So while we don’t have a finished product yet – we have (among other things) hand-crafted boat and anchor stamps, lots of paint, and some sweet ribbon as a finishing touch. Another stormy day crafternoon will get this project wrapped up.

Leslie – Since we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, we got extra crafty and crafted our own supplies with which to make crafts. (Did I just blow your mind a little bit?) Making/carving out your own stamps is an extremely satisfying experience, even if they don’t turn out completely professional-looking. Next time I might try something a bit easier (like a star or a heart) instead of going for a boat on my first attempt. But it was a learning experience. And a great way to spend an afternoon!

A huge thank you to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for letting us be part of Big Day Downtown!

Stay tuned next week for part 2 of our Big Day Downtown when Sarah and Joel take on the city!

The Bee’s Knees — Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank

1 Sep

Joel’s girlfriend Leah shares her thoughts on experiencing the joys of buying school supplies after you’ve finished school.

After reading last week’s Wednesday Weeping about the joys and nostalgia of back-to-school-shopping I got to thinking about my experiences of going back to school as a young girl.

The final haul.

I was extremely lucky to have parents who could afford to take me on back-to-school shopping trips. A new pair of jeans, maybe a pair of new shoes and all the supplies a girl could need for another educational adventure. But I realized then, and appreciate even more now that I’m out on my own, that I was part of a lucky few.

I went to a great elementary school, but it was considered an inner city school. Most of my classmates could not afford new jeans and sneakers each September, and for many if not most, loose leaf and new pencils was a sweet haul for a new year.

Back then, my mum (a teacher) made sure that I had a couple extra packs of loose leaf, pencils and Kleenex boxes for “class supplies”. That simple gesture of ensuring every kid in the class had access to some of the supplies they needed has stayed with me all these years.

So, after reading the back-to-school post last week, I stopped and thought, “yeah, back-to-school shopping is awesome and I can still do it now!”

Tuesday evening, Joel and I set out for Staples. Basket in hand, we frolicked down the aisles, gleefully selecting an array of fun and funky items (and, of course, all the necessary stuff). Twenty minutes and well over $100 later we were done and had five bags brimming with binders, protractor sets, pencils (even the clicky kind), pencil crayons and markers and more duo-tangs than a 4th grader could handle. We even got wicked Spiderman and Transformers pencil cases (which I’ll admit, I kind of wanted to keep).

Wednesday, we took all those supplies to the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank – an incredible community centre that offers families in need essential supplies. This year, they’ve got a huge drive on for school supplies. (Many of the families they help are facing the choice between rent or school supplies for their kids.)

The appreciation and love at Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank is incredible. Our small gesture made a real difference to them and to some kids who will now have the necessary tools to succeed this school year.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

So, if you’re like us, and want a chance to do some back-to-school shopping as an adult but don’t have a need for Hilroy notebooks anymore, then I encourage you all to get out there and donate the supplies to kids in need.

The Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank is on Maynard Street in the North End of Halifax. They are accepting school supplies and they told us that they are in real need of backpacks.

So have some fun back-to-school shopping and help a kid experience that joy you felt all those years ago.