Monday, October 29, 2012












The third batch of rules. Again, some of these are new for me - Like resolutions, I've got some new goals. #25 is big, and in a couple of very specific instances, I already feel the impact of gossip-removal. Try it for yourself. (And then try again when you inevitably fall of the wagon.)



21. CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT FOCUSED ON SUCCESS. Be it at work, home, or in your artistic endeavours, always play to the strengths of those around you. Remind yourself that supporting others won't diminish your own success. Create an environment where each person can be at their best.

22. IF YOU'RE VOTING FOR ROMNEY, go ahead and unfollow me, too.

23. NEVER WRITE AN ANONYMOUS COMMENT ON THE INTERNET. EVER.

24. BE PUNCTUAL. There's no excuse for lateness. It means you didn't want to stop doing whatever it was you were doing when you knew you should stop doing it in order to leave the house on time. Selfish + Rude.

25. NO MORE GOSSIP. It rarely serves to do more than make you feel better or more-accomplished than the ones you're slagging. Comparison is death. If somebody is shitty enough to talk shit about, they're probably toxic, so just stop thinking about them altogether or ask yourself why they affect you so deeply.

26. Wine Rules: IF YOU WOULDN'T DRINK IT, DON'T COOK WITH IT.

27. "FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES".  Learn it.

28. ELIMINATE SARCASM FROM YOUR CLOSEST RELATIONSHIPS. Iyanla Vanzant says: "Don't drag around your baggage and your ugliness and call it 'personality'". So stuff like sarcasm isn't really funny and isn't "just part of who you are". It's almost always steeped in anger, self-loathing, defensiveness or deflection. (Removing sarcasm from my relationship with Jeff has been the best thing we've ever done. Seriously.)

29. ADVANCED POLITENESS: If you crack into a pack of gum upon descent in an airplane, share a piece with the stranger next to you. Why not? It's courteous.

30. Know how to make ONE REALLY GREAT MEAL. 



Success: Expedited Delivery. Illustration by Sandi Falconer.




30 RULES
Part I
Part II


Sunday, October 28, 2012












As the weather heads toward cooler days, so do my drinking habits. When I'm in Toronto I start to lean away from margaritas and bright, cucumber-laden gin and mix in more seasonally-appropriate drinks like red wine and Old Fashioneds. 

Maker's Mark is a good choice where bourbon is concerned. With a smooth sweetness, it's perfect for cocktails. (If I'm drinking it on the rocks, I go for Woodford Reserve.)

DRINK IT RIGHT

There are as many Old Fashioned variations as there are bourbons on the market. Sugar options, soda vs. still, cherries and other garnishes - But I know how I like it.

The Old Fashioned

In an Old Fashioned glass (typically a squat tumbler or rocks glass; often cut crystal or somehow fancy) place a sugar cube. Hit it with 3 or 4 dashes of bitters. Allow the cube to absorb for a second before crushing it down with a muddler. Toss your sliver of orange rind on top and muddle some more, squeezing out the oils. Add 3 ounces of bourbon and a splash of still water. Drop in a fancy ice ball (Check these out! The more surface area, the longer your ice will last. And they're a great conversation starter.) Stir and garnish with a sour cherry. (I soak mine in cognac for a while first.)

The Mint Julep

3oz. bourbon
2 tablespoons mint syrup
Garnish with a mint leaf

Mint Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Several sprigs of mint.

Boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Pour over the mint in a bowl, gently crushing the mint with the back of a spoon. Chill, covered, for 8 to 10 hours. Strain, discarding the mint.

Juleps need crushed ice! Fill a glass or julep cup. Add syrup and bourbon and stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of mint.



(Image from the internet.)



BUILDING A LIQUOR CABINET
Tequila: The Classic Margarita
Gin: Tara O'Brady's Plum Ginger Gimlet





Friday, October 26, 2012










My friend, and reformed blogger, Ryan Marshall recently hatched a secret plan to get me to Orlando for a visit with his pregnant wife Cole and their family. He was in the mood to surprise her, and I think it worked. 

So this weekend I'll be hanging with the Marshalls in sunny Florida. He's threatened to take me to a swampy spring for canoeing and alligator watching. Very little of this entices me, but I look forward to a few days with the greatest family in America. 

And click below for a walk down memory lane, some Florida posts from days gone by.


(Photo taken in January 2012.)


YOU MIGHT REMEMBER
Summer Style (February 20, 2011)
Tropical America (May 24, 2011)
Courting the Marshalls (January 21, 2012)
Notes on Tessa (January 26, 2012)
Instagrammar School: As Travelogue (September 23, 2012)


And I hear it's raining cats and dogs in Toronto, so a playlist from last year to soothe you.
November Rain (November 29, 2012)




Thursday, October 25, 2012








A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I POSTED THIS PLAYLIST. They still hold up, so I thought they deserved another spin. I'm hoping we see new albums soon from people like Neko Case and Dan Auerbach; for now, these will have to do. They're perfect for this time of year, when you want to hunker down and hide, but also run away.








PLAYLIST: 
How We Exit 
 
  1. Heartbroken, In Disrepair - Dan Auerbach 
  2. We're in a Thunderstorm - Gentleman Reg 
  3. Free - Cat Power 
  4. Pearl's Dream - Bat for Lashes 
  5. White Tooth Man - Iron and Wine 
  6. I'm an Animal - Neko Case 
  7. Icarus - White Hinterland 
  8. Relief Next to Me - Tegan & Sara 
  9. Time of My Life - Patrick Wolf 
10. How We Exit - Gentleman Reg
11. Beleriand - The Middle East 
12. Swanlights - Antony & The Johnsons 
13. We Put a Pearl in the Ground - St. Vincent 
14. Landmines - St. Vincent 
15. The Owl and the Tanager - Sufjan Stevens 
16. Gossip in the Grain - Ray LaMontagne 
17. Honestly? - American Football 
18. Tryin' My Best - Jenny Lewis 
19. I Was Young When I Left Home - Antony and Bryan Desser 
20. Goin' Home - Dan Auerbach

DOWNLOAD.






Wednesday, October 24, 2012











JUST BECAUSE IT'S OFFICIALLY FALL DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO SHY AWAY FROM CERTAIN FOODS. Your pantry can pack a punch year-round, if you do it right. Every kitchen should be stocked with go-to's which can be pulled together on a moment's notice and turned into a great meal, regardless of the weather. Sometimes all you need is a 30-second pit stop at your local produce stand and dinner can be on the table in minutes! 

Ash Denton, friend and brilliant food stylist, has this to say about a well-stocked pantry:


1. TETRA PAKS OF CHICKEN STOCK - I always have plenty on-hand to make risotto, flavour regular rice, or make a quick soup. 

2. CANNED TOMATOES - Either whole plum or stewed. You can use these to make a quick pasta sauce or chili. 

3. GOOD SEA SALT, like Maldon. 

4. THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE SALAD DRESSING: dijon, olive oil, a jar of minced garlic.

5. FRESH CITRUS - Not really a pantry item, but a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or zest is a a great addition to salads, fish, dips, and dressings. Just get in the habit of keeping lemons and limes on-hand. 

6. CANNED CHICK PEAS OR WHITE KIDNEY BEANS. Pureed in a food processor with garlic, lemon and oil, they make a perfect dip. Added to curries or chilis. 

7. AND I ALWAYS KEEP A WELL-STOCKED BAKING CUPBOARD: Flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, are always good for that spontaneous batch of cookies or a loaf of some kind.


And so, grab a can of San Marzano tomatoes (arguably the best tomatoes available, in-season or not) and a hunk of fresh ricotta, a bunch of basil and some pasta. Ash made ours from scratch (instructions and can be found on The Bay's website) but dried works too!




Photography by me for The Hudson's Bay Company. More images there. Food Styling by Ashley Denton.





Monday, October 22, 2012










THIS SERIES HAS MADE ME (EVEN MORE) AWARE OF HOW MANY SPECIAL PEOPLE I AM LUCKY TO CALL FRIEND. Kris Knight is an artist. He's a sweet and funny man, who, at first glance, seems intense and too talented to approach. But he's easy and has the face of an 80s-era cartoon superboy. We met through the small town that is Toronto more than a decade ago and have been friends since. He too grew up in the rural heartland of Ontario, so we share much in common; we understand each other on a deep, formative level.



Kris has been a successful working artist since he finished school in 2003; he's never had a full-time job. Since the age of 13 he worked in restaurants, and only two years after graduating from OCAD, Kris secured an art dealer and began to rely on painting to support himself. "I always had to work hard," he says, "I was raised to be a workaholic. My family went back and forth between small towns and working farms. All my aunts and uncles and grandparents are all farmers. I had chores after school, and, after I turned 12, anything besides socks and underwear was up to me to buy." 

He has been propelled by this expectation. "I'm not a Boho," he insists, "I don't like the idea of smoking and drinking and living in a dump. The whole romantic artist doesn't exist in this time. If you want to make a business out of it you have to be a business person. I can hold contracts, I have three art dealers, I can spend half a day doing admin."

"Creative people need to be restrained. If you give artists too much freedom, it stops working. If I didn't have deadlines, I don't know," he trails off, "I think I'd be a bit of a mess. I'd have lots of self-doubt, and I wouldn't see things through to the end. I need people telling me things are due. And that's a kind of restraint. I don't have endless time to make a show. I have to be very thoughtful about what turns into a painting." 

He knows that self-reliance and the freedom to work for himself is a privilege. "Being able to do this all day long, and the fear of someone taking it away - I mean me, by messing it up to the point that I'd have to go work for someone else - is the motivation. This is a gift. In Canada, you can start off really strong as an emerging artist, but it's really hard to maintain a mid-career. And lots of artists plummet then. So for me it's fear of losing this; I work really hard. I would hate not doing this every day."










Art has been part of Kris' life since a very young age. "When my parents figured out I could colour within the lines, I got crayons. All my gifts were paints and pencil crayons. Paper. I started painting in high school. Always people. I do one landscape per show, now, but I treat it as a person. A thing, a place, something that means something to me. Memory-based. And it has to work with the figures." His parents were always supportive, but he says, as the years have passed, that his art work has meant a lot to them. "I was a quiet kid. A quiet, angry teenager. I think my parents learn more about me through my artwork." 

He always starts with a narrative idea, rather than a visual direction. He says he's not a sketchbook kinda guy. "Every image is mapped-out in my head and lives there until I start to put it down." He'll write down titles, and the images in his mind are linked to those words. "I don't forget them." He also points out his desk, covered in brown paper, with notes scrawled all over it, "Song lyrics, notes, words that relate to the work." 

Right now he's preparing for a show in Miami, where his paintings will stand alongside ceramic pieces by another artist. "I like softer stuff right now. Pastels. Porcelain. These will be about gay guys who are afraid of sex, in terms of disease. They'll have a very virginal look. So I'm experimenting with a fleeting, fragile thing lately." 

Only a couple days into painting the new series, Kris says it'll only take a week or two to be surrounded by new work. "I'll do a layer on one painting, put it down, grab another and do layer. I work in a circle, several paintings at a time. Rather than toil at something. Without that deadline, I'd work on one thing for three months. Overwork it."

We talk about the china-faced boy on the wall now, part of the porcelain series. "That's two hours' work." To my untrained eye, it's beautiful and near-complete, though he says it's a tiny fraction of the way there; layer upon layer to go. I suggest a time-lapse video, showing his progress, "But then you'd see the temper tantrum in the middle," he laughs, "Like, 'Where'd the painting go?'" 

I'm surprised to hear that he lashes out at his work, sometimes even tearing something into a garbage-can full of pieces. He says he started out even angrier, "At the beginning of my career, everything was very dark, tonally. Angry. I was a little ball of gay rage. But if I have a bad day and rip up a bunch of paintings, the next day I'm always really eager to start over again. Everything is released." 

And while, in the early days, his palette and emotions were "angry", he says the work now just seems vulnerable, "I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back I see that my early paintings were really sad. Not so much angry." 

While he's learned a lot, he says there are still things to remember. "I don't have a lot of work on my walls at home. But I do have a commission that's gone wrong. I keep it as a warning, a reminder to be less polite and get payment up-front." He is, after all, a business man

His commitment has made him an extremely successful emerging artist, though now he's made the shift into a new part of his career: the Mid-Career Artist. I ask what's next, "Established. And then dead." But he says his sweet spot would be cult status. "You know when you love someone so much you don't want to share their work with anyone? I'd be happy there." The worst place, though: "Forgotten," his eyes seem to glass over, "No artist wants that."



(Pirate illustration done by Kris several years ago for a series. It sits proudly in my home. Kris shot on location in his studio on October 18, 2012.)



OUT OF CONTEXT FOOTNOTE:



BONUS
Kris said he's been listening to L.A. musician Chelsea Wolfe lately. I dug her up and have to agree - She's neat. Spooky and moody and perfect for the end of October. Here's one from her and a handful of songs inspiring him now.


KRIS KNIGHT'S ESSENTIAL 5-TRACK

1. Oh Yeah - Bat for Lashes
2. Something Good - Alt J
3. Kill My Blues - Corin Tucker Band 
4. The Blue Dress - Wild Nothing
5. Flatlands - Chelsea Wolfe



Check out Kris' work.





Friday, October 19, 2012













TYPICALLY I REACH FOR HEADPHONES WHEN I'M LISTENING TO MUSIC, particularly if it's my first run at something. I want to hear it and get close. Aside from dissecting lyrics and vocals, I'm also digging into the production and other less-pronounced elements with nearly as much fervour. 

Twice lately, though, I've found myself unplugging and looking to blast music through speakers, out into a room. Unencumbered. Newcomer Jessie Ware (as featured on a couple of recent playlists) demands some space and a good subwoofer; her music feels visceral and live. Her debut, Devotion, hasn't left regular rotation in weeks. Only recently has something usurped her place, and it too asks to be blasted. 


Bat for Lashes' new album, The Haunted Man, is bassy and waily and actually sounds better with a bit of distance from the ear. Where you typically hear all the production tidbits better through headphones, I find myself zoning-in on new things each time I let it loose in my living room. A forest-for-the-trees scenario if not given a bit of geography. 

She opens with "Lilies", a huge song that feels potently joyful. She sings "I begged the thunderbolts to strike and mark me as alive," and I can only imagine how big it'll be on tour. Forty-five seconds in we get stompy synth and drum machines, begging for big speakers and bass beyond standard-issue headphones. When she bellows "Thank God I'm alive!", it's a borderline religious experience. The track is reminiscent of Björk in her hayday. (Remember when her music was listenable?) 

On a few tracks, things almost get a bit muddy, but it feels purposeful, the tones telling something of the subject matter. On "Oh Yeah" drum tracks, synth and swirly pianos, plus her voice, guitar riffs, group vocals and a boatload of reverb verge on uncomfortable through headphones, requiring a palette-cleansing follow up on "Laura". Throughout the album she employs a lot of instruments which lack clear edges: Timpani and soaring French horns, pan flutes played in ultra-low registers, cellos so far down they're almost undetectable, instead eliciting just a feeling. So many of the tonal choices are amorphous in a way, cloudy and indistinct. 

Two thirds of the way through, on the title track, she hits us with a snare drum (as if she knew our ears would need something to attach to) before "The Haunted Man" opens-up into more layers than The Rachel Cut, circa 1996. It's music that feels laboured and organised, thought-out, yet when listened to loosely, feels organic and happenstance. It isn't fussy and lacks the ornamental qualities of her earlier work. Less costuming, if you know what I mean.

The new album is missing a "Daniel", something as instantly kicky and poppy. Where Two Suns could work as gym music, The Haunted Man feels more personal and moodier, less polished and produced. It sounds way live and, at times, rough in its delivery. With this, her third terrific album, I think she's officially here to stay.


THE ESSENTIAL BAT FOR LASHES 5-TRACK
1. Lilies
2. Sleep Alone
3. Sad Eyes
4. Daniel
5. Moon and Moon

DOWNLOAD.




Thursday, October 18, 2012












DONOVAN WOODS IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST PEOPLE I KNOW. One of those people I can shoot the shit with for hours at a time. Like me, he can meander through a hundred subjects, talking about nothing and everything all at once, without worry or concern about losing track. For a gifted songwriter, he can forgo structure like nobody else I know.

He turned 32 this week and in the last 8 months his life has changed in a few significant ways. After he and his wife bought their first house (in Toronto's Bloor West Village) they prepared for the birth of their son, Porter, now just six weeks old.

Donovan's seen varying degrees of success in music, from hometown concerts and fans who tattoo his album art on their bodies, to songs on Degrassi Junior High and the Season 3 DVDs of Felicity. A few weeks ago he stirred up some local controversy when he was asked to write the satirical would-be national anthem of Toronto (notorious for its centre-of-the-world self-aggrandizing) if we became our own Republic.

This song, oddly, feels more like the Donovan I know than his recorded catalogue. His in-person energy is electric and rapid-fire, jokes constant and his intelligence always on clear display. He puts on voices and gesticulates wildly. His album (The Widowmaker, 2010) is decidedly measured, musically and otherwise, by comparison. While there are currents of his signature deadpan throughout, his music feels quite serious and earnest. But I'm not afraid to tell you, he's something of a wisecracker in real life. I feel lucky to get both sides of Donovan on a regular basis. (Gross.)

Most-recently he's been jetting to Nashville for country music songwriting sessions with some of the industry's major players. With songs in "the demo phase", he might soon be responsible for a music star's next big hit.

We talked about all this, the problems with the Canadian music industry and how a Rihanna song gets written. Below are out of context moments from our 2 hour conversation.


When he came out alive it was an unbelievable relief. AND I THOUGHT: 'I GET IT! I NOW UNDERSTAND OLD PEOPLE!" They live on this teetering edge of fear about their kids being healthy and alive every day, even as adults. As soon as they handed him to me I was like 'I get it, Mom!! I get it!'

Executives make changes to songs. And they can be good changes. I have a running joke that ALL MELISSA ETHERIDGE'S SONGS ARE ABOUT EATING PUSSY AND THE LABEL WENT IN AND CLEANED THEM UP. [puts on an executive's voice] "Okay, okay, Melissa, we love the song, the melody is great! But instead of 'I wanna eat pussy', we're gonna say 'I wanna come over,' and you know, if you eat each other's pussies when you get there, that's great!"

I QUESTIONED MY SEXUALITY IN HIGH SCHOOL. I was a theatre kid with a magazine subscription to Wallpaper*. When I discovered I was attracted to women, I was like, "Okay. I guess that's that."

YEAH, MY NEXT ALBUM WILL PROBABLY BE COUNTRY.

If you're in the room, EVEN IF YOU JUST CONTRIBUTE TO THE MOOD IN THE ROOM, you should get a writing credit. The vibe is as important as what people come up with. If you were there, you contributed to it. And it's true, but there's no way to describe that.


Rihanna songs are written by a producer with a beat and then A PERSON CALLED THE TOP HOOK LADY COMES IN AND LISTENS TO THE BEAT AND [assumes the affectation of a Christina Aguilera-type] STARTS VIBIN' ON IT AND COMES UP WITH THE HOOK! Like "Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-i-ife?" - That's her. All those Rihanna hooks. Amazing.

THERE'S NO HOPE FOR CANADIAN MUSICIANS. I hate to say it. But there's nothing. The people at the Canada Arts Council and Factor [who give grants and loans to record albums and go on tour] keep their jobs by showing that grants lead to sales, so they continue to fund acts that are selling records. They need to be sure-fire bets. They still give grants to people like Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado, Feist. Multi-millionaires. It's fucking ridiculous, obviously. It's totally depressing.

I know my songs are good and I know I'm a great songwriter. But I also know what I look like. The people want waify music stars. The people who control the huge machinations of celebrity know what can be famous. I'M NOT UNDER ANY ILLUSIONS THAT I COULD BE A MUSIC STAR. So I need to monetize what I can. 

I KNOW A LOT ABOUT COUNTRY MUSIC RIGHT NOW. It's all I'm listening to. There are some really great country songs. Most good songs are written in Nashville. R&B, pop songs. When a pop star needs a song, they go to Nashville.




I DON'T REALLY LIKE CONCERTS.  I would never go to a big arena show. I don't like being in large crowds. If I'm performing at the front of it, it's okay. 

Some people produce sonic landscapes, and, don't get me wrong, I like sonic landscapes, but I prefer songsKATHLEEN EDWARDS WRITES SONGS. She's brilliant. In terms of Canadian songwriters, she shits all over everyone. 'Here's the melody, I'm gonna fill it in with great words. Verse/Chorus/Bridge.' She writes songs and she's fucking good.

EXCLUSIVE:
Here's Donovan's cover of Sufjan Stevens' "Romulus". (Performed with his pal and Toronto music scene stalwart, Jon Hynes.)
DOWNLOAD.

And buy Donovan's music here.


(Shot on location in Donovan's home on October 17, 2012.)



Tuesday, October 16, 2012













I'M GLAD YOU ENJOYED THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF 30 RULES. While I don't want to come off as holier-than-thou, I do think a quick reiteration of some basics is valuable and, it should be said, these are things I remind myself of often. Sending a thank you note is not (as our grandmothers would have us believe) second nature, so try to practise and turn these things into a habit.



11. STOP TWEETING ABOUT HOW "BUSY" YOU ARE. It's so boring. (And obnoxious.) No one cares how full your inbox is. If you owe someone an email (or a very tardy apology) get on with it and keep your transparent excuses off of social media. Furthermore, this kind of admission only serves to demonstrate your flagrant inability to manage your time, which isn't something to gloat about.

12. THE ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE IS: "Just fine thanks," when a coworker or casual acquaintance asks about your current state of being. No more. If you're unsure of your level of friendship, err on the side of caution. There's nothing so uncomfortable as sharing too deeply with non-friends.

13. YOUR HOST ISN'T OBLIGATED TO SERVE ANYTHING YOU BRING TO THEIR HOME. Never assume they will, expect them to, or be offended if they don't. A menu or arrangement of items is planned and in-place before guests arrive, so unless it's a potluck, bring items as gifts, not as contributions to the experience.

14. SAY "THAT HURT MY FEELINGS" WHEN EVERY OUNCE OF YOU WANTS TO SAY "FUCK OFF!" INSTEAD. Because it's almost always more true and definitely more honest.

15. BAD HOST GIFTS ARE THOSE THAT REQUIRE DISPLAY. Unless you know your host very well, avoid gifts that demand prominent display in their home. Generally speaking, no artwork of any kind whatsoever. Remember function: kitchen gadgets, tea towels, candles, soap or booze are good examples.

16. CHILL YOUR RED WINE. Just slightly, but it shouldn't be room temperature.

17. HALT! HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, TIRED. Never engage in potentially-tenuous conversations when you are any of these things. You aren't operating from a rational emotional state and should shut. it. down. (This one is courtesy of my therapist. She looks like Sally Struthers.)

18. STOCK THE SIGNATURE BEVERAGE OF YOUR TOP 10 FRIENDS. Nothing says good hosting like keeping your friends' preferred booze on-hand. Even if a bottle of spiced rum sits idle for three months, it's a nice touch.

19. NEVER (EVER) USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE INTERACTING WITH A CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON. That's it. Just put it down and look at their face for 17 seconds. It's the least you can do and will make a difference in their otherwise monotonous day. Advanced: Ask "How are you?" because seeing their face light up with surprise will do as much for your mood as theirs.

20. RESENTMENT KILLS. Decide what's more manageable: Harbouring heavy feelings about somebody which cause tension and anxiety, or sitting down with them to spend a few minutes being honest. One is difficult forever, the other only for a second.





SQUAWKING TWEETER Illustration by the on-the-pulse artist, Sandi Falconer. Thanks to her.




MORE 30 RULES
Part I (October 10, 2012)





Monday, October 15, 2012










I SEEM TO BE LISTENING TO MUSIC BY THE 5's LATELY. 'Tis the season for new albums, with many of my favourites coming out of the woodwork. Martha Wainwright's new single, "Proserpina" is the last song her mother ever wrote, and it's duly gut-wrenching. (It should be noted, the rest of the album doesn't quite stand up to this track.) Sia wrote "My Love" for the Twilight soundtrack, though it stands on its own as some of her best songwriting. Also, Ellie Goulding's new album has been playing constantly; more consistent than her last, Halcyon is heavy and pulsating, its title a bit of a misnomer. "My Blood" is a good representation of the album's tone, which is hardly peaceful. And Bat for Lashes released her third album this week. Included here is "Oh Yeah", but look for a more in-depth review of The Haunted Man soon.

But it's Loreen I want to talk about. If you haven't heard of the former Swedish Idol contestant (but don't let that stop you) she's neat. Dance music with a soul, this girl can saaaang. Her parents are Moroccan, but she was raised in Sweden, which lends itself to this moody, sexy, beats-laden aesthetic. It's kind of indescribable. She's something like Jessie Ware and Sade and all that kind of pulsating electronic/dance/soul/R&B thing. See what you think, cuz I dig it bigtime.


Just a handful. Enjoy.

1. Proserpina - Martha Wainwright
2. My Love - Sia
3. Everytime - Loreen
4. My Blood - Ellie Goulding
5. Oh Yeah - Bat for Lashes


DOWNLOAD. 




5 TRACKS
Shine Bright Like a Diamond
A Knack for Holding On




Thursday, October 11, 2012












At a certain point in the year, the body wants what the body wants: Bread. Cheese. Wine. Did I say bread? It doesn't have to be fancy. It's not for foodies, not Michelin-rated or listed anywhere.

But none of that matters, because it's perfect and it's decadent and it's the best thing you could ever eat. 

Grilled cheese sandwiches.

Whether you stuff them full of Gruyère and Beemster® and smash between the grills of a fancy panini press or you melt something fluorescent orange in a pan on the stove, there's nothing so satisfying. Paired with a piping bowl of tomato soup, this too can be a dinner party.

As the weather cools, crack a bottle of wine and cosy-up around the table with friends. No need to be fussy. Take a spending-break just as the most expensive part of the year ramps up (parties! presents! new outfits!) and keep it simple. When you're with friends, dinner doesn't have to be 5 courses, pressed linens, and best-behaviour. It can be the opposite of all that. And it can be wonderful.

Other Cheap Eats: Taco or Fajita night. Spaghetti and meat balls. Homemade pizza.




(Photo by me. Loose, impromptu styling by Ash Denton before we scarfed these mothers down.)




MORE, ON CHEAP EATS:
Falling Into Food (September 19, 2012)
From Scratch (January 31, 2012)
Chickening Out (March 7, 2012)