Real Beauty: Trends Toronto

Fashion find Wednesdays

February 17, 2011
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Mm. I am obsessed currently with good stripes.

the look has been around since…Audrey Hepburn (my fashion hero, and a style icon in her own right)

Audrey in Stripes

Coco Chanel (another major fashion icon) was similarly enamoured with Stripes…

Tops from Joe Fresh (Check it out: $10 a piece) seem to be exactly what I want! Something about the simplicity, and yet bold, multi-purpose nature of stripes. And the boat neck is one of my FAVORITE necklines. Elegant, understated, classy. Mm. A Fun Fashion Find indeed!

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friendly interrogations

March 13, 2010
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since we just talked about premarital sex, let’s think about…cohabitation…

I have a really good, dear friend who often tells me I’m silly, ridiculous, insane for believing that you can love someone and have a successful life-long monogamous relationship without first having lived together.

Yet I could never accept that view, seeing as 1) I don’t feel silly (ah but that’s neither here nor there given silly people don’t often self-acknowledge. Much like losers. But I digress…) 2) statistics back me up, 3) love is about lasting commitment and authentic self-gift, and 4) cohabitation has a harmful effect upon any children involved.

I won’t spend time on 1, but here’s my take on 2 and 3. According to a report in USA Today, cohabiting couples have twice the break-up rate of married couples. Studies also say that only 50 to 60 per cent of cohabiters marry their live-in partner and 76 per cent of common-law couples report planning to marry their partner but only about half of them do. Stats Canada calls this the “cohabitation effect.”

The facts indicate that cohabitation has a destabilizing effect on marriage and family. One of the top 10 reasons why men said they are reluctant to marry is that they can simply live with a woman and enjoy the same benefits. Twenty-one per cent of cohabitating couples simply remain cohabitating, even after five to seven years. The commonly accepted notion that cohabitation leads to marriage seems less convincing in light of such findings.

As for 4, the federal government’s analysis is that cohabitation leads to poorer economic situations than in marriage. Sociological studies done in the late ’90s showed that  the share of households unable to meet their basic expenses ranged from 30 per cent to 36 per cent for cohabiting and single parents, to about 15 per cent for married couples. Often this is due to the fact that married couples have a stronger support system from their families and a stronger sense of duty from both parties involved to commit wholeheartedly to the good of the family unit.

Lastly, let us question the reasons for cohabitation. Most people today find it sensible to live together first — a “let’s give the car a test drive before we buy it” sort of mentality. It seems we are indeed terrified of risk.

For this I turn to G.K. Chesterton, who said: “When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy tale.”

Chesterton writes that the real romance of the world is in being in it. Being born into it, being able to discover everything of it. Let’s admit that we have uncertainties and risks in life rather than trying to minimize these through unstable and unsuccessful shortcuts such as cohabitation. We can spend some time celebrating the romance and the surprises of a relationship based on mutual respect and sacrificial love. Finding ourselves in the difficult, growing in the challenge, it’s all part of the package. Life is as we live it.

Life is a long, lovely, comforting and afflicted fairy tale. And what fairy tale isn’t riddled with challenges and risks for its heroes and heroines? It’s what makes the magic, well, magic.

And with that, I hope you have an awesome weekend! Thanks for reading and commenting!


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Silly! Take your spouse for a test run first!

March 12, 2010
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My friend Blaise Alleyne (of blaise.ca) is guest blogging today! He is one of the friends who made this blog happen. I was so excited about this one entry he wrote I asked if we could post it on here. The question remains: Aren’t you insane for not testing the love of your life first?

Jessica Valenti, author of The Purity Myth, wrote about why everyone should have premarital sex on Feministing yesterday.

Let’s face it – if you’re going to commit yourself to someone for (presumably) the rest of your life, it’s probably best if you know that you’re sexually compatible. I don’t think this is particularly radical thing to say; in fact, it seems quite logical to me. But somehow, if you suggest that pre-marital sex is a good and maybe even necessary thing (especially if you say those things while being a feminist) you are an evil, evil whoremaker.

Do I think that people can have perfectly wonderful satisfying relationships without having had sex before making a commitment? Sure, I’m positive that happens often. But considering what a huge role sexuality plays in our lives and relationships…well, I’d rather be super duper positive.

What a tragically narrow vision of sexuality! Sexuality is reduced to an action. It’s not just Valenti. Films become rated R: “contains sexuality.” The example that will always stick out in my mind is Nick Carter asking in Backstreet’s Back, “am I sexual?” (Yes, Nick, you are a sexual being.) As wonderful as sex (the act) is, sex (-uality) is so much more than that. It’s especially ironic considering Valenti is trying to reclaim a more nuanced vision of sexuality from “the virgin/whore binary,” yet her nuanced vision remains so narrow. Sexuality isn’t just having sex. It’s about being created male and female, about our entire being, not just our genitals.

More importantly, I’ve become increasingly skeptical of the “test-drive” approach to love. Yes, of course you want to get to know your partner before you make a longterm commitment, but suggesting that means you ought to take their body for a test drive is a bad, bad way to approach that commitment.

It sets up the spousal model all wrong.

I’ve come to refer to this as the “pleasure and duty” ethic. If people consent mutually to the use of their bodies for pleasure, what’s the problem? Look at the model: Pleasure is the end goal, and consenting to the “use” of your body parts is the means of attaining it. Fluffy feelings of bonding might be a nice side-effect. Orgasm is the intent. The other person becomes a means of achieving your orgasm, and you become a means of theirs. This is objectification by definition, even if it’s mutual and consenting. On top that, pleasure is the metric of success. That is, a successful sex act is one that brings about pleasure. The act of sex becomes, at least in part, an economic transaction where you trade access to your body in exchange for pleasure. And that’s not always going to be a fair trade — and you may evaluate the quality and the fairness of the deal. After all, we test drive cars. And we also sell and replace them when they no longer serve their purpose.

I have a crazy idea: What if the goal of sex is self-giving rather than pleasure? What if the idea was to come into ultimate union with another human being, and the means of attaining that was complete and total self-giving and affirmation of the other as other? I have a feeling that the pleasure factors in as a side-effect, without “driving” the entire experience.

I don’t feel the need to take my future spouse for a test drive. I’m not marrying a car.


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People matter too

March 11, 2010
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This keeps coming up in the realm of reproductive rights. We should have less children. A declining population is acceptable because that’s what the world can deal with right now. I wrote an article a while back that I’m re-posting on this. It was inspired when one environmentalist (just for the record, I myself recycle, and you know, care about reducing waste, if for no other reason than I resent waste… Just not at the expense of uh, you know, future generations).Yes. The Earth is beautiful. But so, my dears, are YOU. People Matter Too. Maybe, dare I say, they matter more…

(Note: There’s t-shirts you can buy here!)

So here we go…

This just in folks, children are bad for the environment — because humans are bad for the environment. But of course! I guess that makes some sense if the environment is the universal ultimate good of the world. And is that so? Do we value the world more than we value human life?

Even if the environment is the ultimate good, how does this argument work? Jonathan Pitt, the UK government’s Sustainable Development Commission chair, states that “Couples who have more than two children are being ‘irresponsible’ by creating an unbearable burden on the environment.” He, of course, leads by example, and has only two children. The assumption is that every couple with reproductive capacity will have only two children and thus this reaches, apparently, the level of replacement for the world population.

Well, this clears up why in Western countries, birth rates are on the decline and governments of economically advanced countries are paying families to have more children, doesn’t it? But it does not account for the vast numbers of infertile couples, nor the couples who have no children at all by choice. Or the women who don’t have children for whatever reason. So, aside from assuming every couple does have two children (while clearly dismissing real data proving otherwise), let’s look at what’s wrong with this theory itself.

Foundationally, this mentality leads into a gradual escalation. Abortion, often in practice used as emergency birth control, can be seen as a means to be “eco-friendly.” Which doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? Because of an arbitrary line drawn at two children only, should families have abortions and limit the size of their families, whether they want to or not? What have we come to now if not a more polite form of China’s horrific one-child policy? ( Note: and how’s that working out?  read it at the Economist).

Why should human potential be limited to our current standard of resources? Who can say technology is not going to significantly improve resource allocation and the functionality of our resources to a level where there will be provisions for all? How odd that the respect for human creativity and innovation is such that people are no longer expecting or anticipating technological breakthroughs that could make a world of difference. Didn’t mankind set out to conquer space, just because it exists? What world would it be if we reached the maximum level we seek to achieve at the present moment? The problem with this is it does not allow for the possibility that these new human beings that are being born into the world will contribute invaluably to the world’s productivity. And it would be a sad world that rejects the potentiality of human life. Just look at the people in positions of power, working to make change in the world. The most obvious example may be U.S. President Barack Obama. He grew up with a single mother abandoned by her husband.

However, the unpredictability of human life potential is exactly this: It does not matter where we come from, what does matter is what we do, wherever we are. It’s so ironic that this theory insists humans produce the waste that pollutes the world, therefore doing more harm than potential good. Perhaps a more effective solution would be better stewardship of the Earth and its resources, and of course, human innovation. This is not to downplay the human ecological footprint on the world, but rather the approach that the footprint must be diminished and destroyed. Perhaps a better, more creative way would be to better manage that footprint. A better solution would be to stop living lives of wasteful luxury at the expense of others.

It is wholly destructive to devalue human life because the idea of conserving the environment is posed as contradictory. I hope Jonathan Pitt can look past personal judgments of families with more than two children and consider their motivations stemming from their love of children and life, and an openness to the idea that humanity is a creative resource for bettering the world, not an inhibition.


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Don’t have sex with losers

March 10, 2010
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Look. The video is very explicit and crude (it’s from a show, www.sexreally.com, “an initiative for 20-somethings to discuss relationships, sex and love”), but the ending is what intrigues me. The girl in the relationship believes her boyfriend is “so sweet, would make such a great dad and husband”. What? I had hoped maybe she was with another guy (even better, one who’s not in the conversation period.) But nope, she was talking about one of those guys, as they objectified women and used them for sex. So you see, don’t have sex with losers, is tricky because you can’t always identify the losers. The only part you can be responsible for and change, is not having sex with anyone. Rationally determine they aren’t losers, without the effects of having had sex with them and bonding with them via oxytocin and generally deepened emotional attachment. While we can’t control who we fall for, we can definitely control what we do. It’s just one of those things. And determining the investment of your time and love, well, that’s not something we take lightly. Why do so with a loser? And I know, they don’t APPEAR to be losers. That’s true. But wearing rose-coloured glasses (which sex makes you do) isn’t the brightest idea about this either. Just a thought. Losers, definitely use you for self gratification and pleasure. They don’t terribly care what’s best for YOU. And that’s not love at all.

Friends tell me I’m not reasonable to expect self sacrificing love. That Mr Right for Now, is just fun. Sure. Fun at the expense of self respect, humiliation, time. Sounds pretty fun doesn’t it?

title phrase: by Lena Schuck. We love her much.


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International Women’s Day

March 8, 2010
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Happy International Women’s day blog readers!

The struggle began in the 1900s when women had no voting rights, equal pay for equal work, ability to own property.To pursue an education, be free of discrimination, etc. And we did succeed, in that regard. Woe behold any employer who discriminates applicants on basis of gender. I can’t imagine anyone being paid less on the basis of being a woman. There are more women in university today than men, and ever before, for that matter.

Today the fight is a little different in the developed countries. But in many ways it is the same. Post-sexual revolution, women are dealing with the lie of free love.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1232485/My-generation-created-sexual-revolution–wrecking-lives-women-since.html

That got me thinking. People attribute failure to personal behaviour, but a good society fosters good behaviour. And part of it too is that consequences are inflicted by others. We don’t exist in vacuums where we aren’t influenced by popular culture. Sure, “sexual freedom is a beautiful thing to be celebrated”, but how? Not carelessly. They may hand out condoms for “safe” sex, but there’s no safeguard for the heart, and no taking back mistaken lust for love. And is the sexual revolution a win for women? Is that what we are defined by? Who and how often we have sex means liberation? How very dull.

So really, how much has really changed that benefited women? Guess we have equal pay, but do we have equal respect? It’s great to be rewarded for hard work, but how much of it translates to actual equality? Isn’t it true that men are benefiting from the fact that women are having sex with them before any and all serious commitment or love? Have we just made ourselves doormats?

What we want is respect for the dignity of simply being ourselves. Femininity should be celebrated. I concluded that maybe the only way to get THAT, is to earn it ourselves. I don’t really know that we should even have an international women’s day. What am I supposed to do differently on this particular day that I shouldn’t do every day?


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Lady Gaga

March 7, 2010
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http://www.exposay.com/v/36185/lady-gaga-celibacy-good

Lady Gaga says Sex is between two people in love. It’s true. Otherwise, it’s meaningless, harmful, and really, a bad idea. Love is something you have to work on, it is a choice you have to commit to in order for it to foster and grow, to be really special.

The ‘Poker Face’ singer – suggests girls should save themselves for someone special. That’s exactly how I feel about it. “Why would you have sex with someone who doesn’t understand you?” Lady G also adds, “in this day and age, we have to grow up and we now know that we can’t be that free with love.”– Love flourishes and truly comes to life in a committed, mutually respectful relationship.  And a truly free love is one that is given without any conditions. Sex as exchange for love, doesn’t make it love at all.

Where Lady G and we disagree however, is that we believe marriage is how we determine that special someone to be worth sharing sexual intimacy with. Otherwise ladies, he’s just not worth our time and effort.


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About author

This blog was inspired one day when a couple of girls sat down together and thought about life. The blog was spurred into existence and is currently in infancy, as the girls are learning about wordpress, reading articles and trying to piece together an understanding of the world, that the rest of the world can understand.

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