To You,

On April 17, 2016, Patrick and I renewed our vows in a wedding and post-immigration celebration in front of our family and friends. We originally married on February 13, 2014 which commenced a whirlwind of immigration processing, and so this year we were finally able to round up the troops to celebrate in proper fashion.

With 52 of our closest family and friends who were able to attend, we held a ceremony and reception at the Strongwater Food & Spirits in Columbus, OH. We had guests travel in from the Midwest, East coast, West coast, Canada, England, and Australia for the occasion and I could not feel more blessed by the love and support of these few. To have my family in attendance was more than wonderful. To see my childhood friends in attendance was wonderful. To see my support group from my old workplace in attendance was wonderful.

There were many tears, lots of laughs, and good memories all around. And here are some pics that we’re finally able to share 🙂

Thank you to everyone,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Photographer: David Morris, Indianapolis
Dress: Vera Wang White Collection purchased off TradesyVeil: Melinda Rose Designs, Made in the USA
Groom’s Suit: Custom design from Surmesur in Toronto
Bridesmaids’ Suits: Custom design from Surmesur in Toronto
Shoes: My mother’s wedding shoes
Jewelry: Family jewels lent my by family
Venue: Strongwater Food & Spirits in Columbus, OH
Flowers: Rose and Bredl in Columbus, OH
Hair & Make-up: Stylists from The Salon and Salon You in Belleville, ON

I Am a Girl and I Get Cheery Over Silly Things

To you,

So I’ve been down and dumpy lately, and I think the weather gods read this as they provided me with a nice grey, rainy day today. There are some days when a cloudy, drab day soothes me – I think it’s because everyone’s sheltered under their umbrellas, and I can wander to the coffee shop without feeling like my dumpy mood is as obvious as a picket sign plastered to my forehead. I’m still a bit down and reflective, but only amidst my own solitude, so it’s manageable.

Anyways, the silly girl in me has been cheering myself up by looking at pretty things, trying on old clothes to see how they match-up with this and that, and peruse online danger hot-spots of fashion and glam. I’ve come to love ‘experimenting’ with beauty products – and I use that term lightly as I am rather sensitive to chemical blends and fragrances. When I lived in the U.S, I subscribed to a fashionable company called ‘Birchbox‘ where with your monthly subscription, you would receive a pretty little box in the mail filled with a surprise assortment of beauty samples varying in purpose – nail varnish, cleansers and peels, toners, sun protection, perfumes, etc. -(They also have subscriptions available for men who like the finer things, but hate shopping for them.)- It’s actually how I came to discover my lusty perfume and the one I’ve stayed true to. Before moving over the pond to the lush green pastures of English countryside, I packed up my sophisticated array of unused samples and they filled my medicine cabinet, all snug and tight. And a few months ago, I grew curious and thought I should probably try a few of them out… and coming to love almost all of them, that’s when I sought out a similar brand in the UK and found GlossyBox, whose first package of many I received about a week ago. It’s a fabulous deal for the person who loves finding new products to suit them that are not mass produced in your local pharmacy, and more likely to consist of organic blends and natural scents. Noteworthy is their quality – these are lush brands parceled up in these sweet blissful boxes, and so much less harsh to the skin and hair than what you would perhaps typically purchase.

Products I’ve come to love thanks to these two companies vary from the following:

HD Brows: Brow Beater

I said I got cheery over silly things, and this is one of them. I am rather finicky about my appearance sometimes, and when I want to look really clean and polished, this product is rather sweet. It’s a clear gel that you comb over your brows and it neatly tidies them, and keeps them in place. Some girls like to pluck, and this merely polishes the shape of your brow when you choose to. I know, some may view this as obsessive, but again, it’s the silly little things. It’s light, not sticky or hardening.

Collection: Lasting Eye Colour Gel

I know there are similar products in the market, but personally I’ve tried a few and they’ve not worked. They were clumping, hard, the pigment was rather transparent, and I found this gel to work simply and smoothly. The pigment is rich, and that’s what I like, because I do not enjoy plastering make-up on, especially around the eyes. I like a couple products (3 at most) and that’s it. Quick and easy applications make me a simply happy lady.

Pangea Organics Facial Toner

I have come to love this product over the past two weeks. After I get out of the shower, I spritz it a few times over my face and neck, and it refreshes my skin nicely. I’ve tried other toners before and they merely opened my pores, which defeats the purpose of using a toner as it’s meant to tighten them. I love finding organic products – especially one that works! This one was a nice addition to my daily routine, and had been sitting in my medicine cabinet for months without being touched as I was always scared of using toners again (yes, I had tried quite a few as recommended by numerous individuals).

Amika Oil Treatment for Hair

This is one of my new favourites. It’s a lightly fragranced oil treatment for your hair that you apply after a wash or before and/or after heated treatment (blow drying, straightening, etc.). The aroma is lovely, and it all you need is a small amount in your palm, rub your hands together and apply to your hair. I’m still using the 10 ml sample bottle I received, and I am definitely planning on purchasing a full-sized portion when I finish with it.

Philosophy Purity Facial Cleanser

This I recently purchased after going through my sample sized gift. It is a creamy, non-soapy cleanser that works delicately, yet oh-so-efficiently at removing make-up and cleansing your pores without over-drying your skin. It works brilliantly on eye make-up without harshly drying out that delicate skin. It’s non-perfumed, and maintains balanced pH levels of your skin. It really is simple and lovely. Honestly, the first time I used it, my skin went a little red, but I do have very sensitive skin and I had been using basic soap cleansers for years, and so I take it that my face was just adjusting to a new product in general. The second time (which was the following morning), I had no reaction and I’ve been using it ever since. I tend to have combination skin, and therefore slightly prone to acne if I use the wrong products. I hesitantly tried this one, because as I said, I had been using the same product for years. The other one worked, but I was looking for something a bit more delicate. For me, this is lovely.

Thus far, these are my fave finds from my subscriptions to both Birchbox and GlossyBox. Other products I’ve come to love range in the following – and these are department store finds:

Marcelle BB Cream – I’ve not tried other BB cream brands yet, but this Canadian brand was a good start for me. It has a slight yellow-tone, but for my biracial skin tone that’s actually a perfect find as my complaint is usually that the tone is too ‘pinky’. Downside, there’s no SPF, however my moisturizer has SPF and I usually plop on sunscreen no matter if my make-up provides it or not! Downside again – the price. This is the most I’ve ever spent on a beauty product, to be quite honest. But sadly, I find with my skin I have to spend a bit more cash sometimes otherwise I break out in mini hives 😦

Maybelline FIT ME Foundation – light weight, smooth, and a good coverage for foundation. I’m not a powder-faced person, and to be honest, I’d much rather have little ‘flaws’ showing through rather than matte perfection. For everyday use, the lighter the better, and I use this alternatively to my BB cream some days as it’s cheaper and more accessible at the drug store. For me, face make-up is merely to balance out some redness, and prevent my skin from becoming oily throughout the day.

Vaseline Rosy Lip Therapy Tin – I love Vaseline petroleum jelly. I used to use it as my eye make-up remover, and I’ve always relied on it as the best light lip gloss. This tin goes with me everywhere. Simple, basic, cheap brand and product that I love. And the rosy tint adds a nice little pinkiness to the lips, but it also comes in clear, which is just as nice 🙂

Anyways, that’s me for today – a rather big contrast to my previous posts, but I felt like a distraction. And I do have other products that I am devoted to and have been for years for bodywash, scrubs, shampoos and conditioners, but I felt like I may end up boring people more than what I’ve already accomplished.

It’s funny when I think about it, but I think much about me is contrasting because it’s posts like these that make me realize how much ‘girliness’ I have in me as I do find pleasure in products that don’t destroy my body. I do enjoy sophisticated products as well, and my subscriptions to companies that provide mini-sample sizes have suited me well, because even the sample sizes are typically large enough for me to try out for a decent length of time to see results. But yes, I am the chick at the bar who can talk your ear off about the latest fashion trends on the runway whilst wearing my stilettos or converse, and intermittently scream at the television as my sports team screws up another defensive play, and then will stare off briefly at another screen as they update me on the most recent international affairs overseas.

My boyfriend once told me as I sat at the bar while he served that he was happy and found it funny that out of the massive crowd sitting at the bar, his girlfriend was the one sitting at the end on her lonesome reading a book on political theory while munching on chips and drinking a pint of water.

I am an odd one.


Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

To Perma-Artistify, or Not? La Question de Mystere Pour Ce Soir (and a class photo “I Spy” challenge)

To you,

I sit tonight in my flat, checkered button-up, skinnies, and knitted vesty, in front of my faux fire-place amongst a pile of papers, mags, shoes, and tea cups. The air above is chilled as for some odd reason the radiators have not kicked on. Laundry needs to be folded, things need to be tidied. With it being my first day off this week, and my only day off for the following, I have been sitting amongst a variety of thoughts, each lingering possibilities unknown and mysteries uncertain. From essay topics, to letters, to art projects, to struggling endeavours of the heart-felt and professionally inquisitive kind, I am sitting on a heap of enquiries.

In relation to this blog post’s title, yes, I have again started to linger upon the question of permanent artistry done to the human body. A.K.A – tattoos and piercings. I think, yes quite possibly, I am ready to embark on said actions. Not merely to follow a trend – although let’s admit, that cannot be avoided entirely – but I’ve always wanted a tattoo, have just not come up with the engravings as to which I would ‘artistify’ my body with. Yes, I am taking that step in making up words again to explain my thoughts. In regards to piercings – I have never been pricked with the needle of a piercing artist, and have never truly wanted to. But tonight I thought, hmm, why not? Nothing huge, nor heavy, just a hole punched in my face. Sounds awesome, right?! Not ear lobes – I like my ear lobes soft, smooth, and pure. Perhaps nose? or eyebrow? Or perhaps nose to eyebrow chain? Okay, so not serious on that last one. I’m leaning nose, just something small on either of the sides. My only question which shows my naivety in the matter – when you have a cold or allergies, how do you blow your nose without ripping the interior walls of the nasal area?? 🙂

For the tattoo – a much more serious game than the prior. A piercing can easily be removed, whilst leaving a small scar of sorts, but nothing obstructive. A tattoo however – well its permanency is something of which intrigues me and deters me simultaneously. And the decisions are endless – where? what? symbol? text? colour? black? size? significance? I have been thinking about this tonight, and have some ideas in mind. I would love to go about this with the standard and somewhat douchey approach being “Go Huge! Or Go Home!” but alas, I think not. I love sleeves and half-sleeves, but perhaps quite a lot for the apprehensive. Hands, I quite enjoy especially when included within the cultural context of such. Shoulder blade I like as a blank plate for simplicity – almost like carving text into a stone slate. Neck, possibly, but would have to fit into context for me.

So apparently this is what creeps into my mind when I have the time to do so – I’m quite at peace right now – some worries, but I’m okay with that. And you know what – its thoughts like these that remind me that this is just me. I’m weird and at times extreme, but still rational and chill. I love to engage in adventures such as bungee jumping and sky diving, but I like to sit inside on a Saturday night with a cup of tea and an art mag; I love to travel and get lost, and run after trains and planes before they depart without me, but I also like to walk the hidden paths amongst the breeze off the sea and the grass the most luscious of greens; I love to snowboard, long board, and blade, but I also adore tennis, basketball, soccer/football, and squash. Do I want a motorcycle license? Yes. Do I like going to the shooting range? Sure do. Do I also like staying in and eating toast? Absolutely. I’m an odd ball, and you know why? Because my mama raised me right. 🙂

Any tips or thoughts on the above, send ’em my way!

Peace and love.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

p.s – and as promised, here is my ‘class’/college photo. I’m holding it a bit back from the camera, but if you cannot guess which one is me even from an obscured angle, well then, you need to get to know me and my reputation better. 😉

I spy with my little eye... something that stands out from the others.....

Golden Hues and Brown Leather Shoes

Fall Fashion has arrived back in my life!

Silk yellow pencil skirt, ruby wool tights, brown leather oxfords. Fall Fashion has arrived back in my life!

To you,

I spent my early teatime afternoon in the cafe today. Nothing gets me more in the mood to be productive than sitting in the back of a cafe, in a brown leather brass buttoned chair, sipping on a latte and eating a pain-au-chocolat pastry. I sat with my necessary tools laid out in front of me and worked for a good three hours or so. Post leisurely productivity, I caught up on groceries and walked home. This is what I am adoring the most – walking. I’ve used public transport minimally within the city, and I have no complaints on the 20-30 minutes walk to and from work and school. The university sites are beautiful and peaceful, and even the busiest of roads of which I walk along are not jammed with honking traffic jams. The air is fresh and the colours of autumn are reminiscent of flickering candle flames and lush Tuscan yellows. Tonight, I head to a public lecture series and walk to the Castle to retrieve my pre-matriculation ‘class’ photograph of all the Castle Postgraduates. Will post when I am able… no surprise, I stick out quite vibrantly.. that’s your hint on finding me 😉

Au revoir pour ce soir.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I Be-ith Matriculated! (However An English Major, I am not)

To you,

So today was the day of all things formal and official. I started my day off lovely lovely 🙂 After some tea and breakie, I ventured to the Sports Fair where I signed up to learn about a few of the clubs and societies – all very exciting as I am a nerd and wanting to get involved wherever I am able to. After such business, I came back to me flat and got all gussied up for the official Durham Postgraduate Matriculation Ceremony, something of which being from North America, I am very unfamiliar with. At 12:15PM I walked down and up the cobble stone roads (please don’t think this would deter me from wearing my 3″ heels) over to the Castle where a few members were gathered in the M.C.R (Middle Common Room) and there I collected my black gown to wear for the ceremony. After chit chatting, we walked through to the courtyard with winds diminishing everyone’s appearance as neatly pleated dresses became creased, and carefully set hair-dos became tangled manes. Eventually, we lined up together and were setup on the Castle’s steps where our photo was taken as the official 2011 Postgraduate entries within the University College membership. Shortly afterwards, we all marched into the Cathedral, something of which is a grand sight in itself. Reputed as one of the greatest cathedral’s in the world, it did live up to the standard such a title would hold. As I was seated, I was amazed at the size of the Postgraduate class of Durham’s student population, as we easily filled the Cathedral. The Castle’s graduate student population was in itself at around 150 students, which is their largest class yet. Quite impressive, really.

All in all, I think today was a true introduction as to the culture and atmosphere of Durham University. Something of which I am highly appreciative of is the tradition of community supported organizations. For instance, when I use the term ‘College’, this basically is an organization of sorts of which you have chosen to be affiliated with as a permanent member. You have access to this building’s societies, facilities, and events, and are joined by undergraduates and postgraduates of all departments. Durham, Cambridge, and Oxford are traditionally known for these types of settings, and I actually really enjoy it! Not only am I a member of the Castle (yes, it is an actual Castle), but I can affiliate myself with students of all study backgrounds rather than just my department of Government and International Affairs. In addition to being introduced to the College setting, the Matriculation Ceremony in itself is highly formal. All the men wore suits and ties, and the ladies, dresses and blouses. The Deans of the Cathedral and of the University made speeches, and as the ceremony ended, it was officially announced that “the postgraduate Matriculation ceremony of 2011 has concluded.” Again, the Matriculation tradition is mainly known through Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham universities being the three oldest universities in the United Kingdom, and all holding very high standards. Coming from North America, this was definitely an eye-opener and wonderful cultural introduction to the history of the area and university itself. In the evening, a nice dinner Social was held at the Castle of which I ate, drank some juice, and stood wide-eyed at the ancient structure of the rooms and hallways.

So there you have it – no trips, a few giggles, and my seat almost collapsing underneath of me during the ceremony. Oh, and a slight choking on my food at dinner. Nothing out of the ordinary for me, really! Tomorrow, I get to ask a few questions regarding registration and perhaps attend some athletics in the evening time. Will update again shortly, but for tonight I am spent! A full day of official Postgraduate events has got me knackered out!

Night night!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo