cookieOptions = {...}; secondhand rose

Saturday, 16 December 2017

BIRTHDAY POST/ advice for my younger self

I'm turning 26 today.
But I don't feel 26.

When I was a teenager I thought that by the time I was 25 I'd have everything figured out. I was supposed to be in a longterm relationship by then, I was supposed to be finished post secondary, maybe have a house of my own, definitely a career and a couple of pets.

But my life didn't work out that way.

And at first I was ashamed of myself. For many years I saw the people around me graduating school, falling in love and crossing things off their life's to-do list as I sat and stared at the unchecked boxes on mine. I felt like my life, and certainly my youth, was slipping away from me.

Looking back and sitting where I'm sitting now, in a life that I'm happy with, I'm realizing that I wouldn't have been happy with the life that I thought I was supposed to live. I knew deep down in my heart that wasn't something that I really wanted so quickly. I'm a Sagittarius, I like to explore and I want to experience everything to its fullest. Settling down wasn't in the cards for me, and it looks like it still isn't, but I'm okay with that. We're told that we have to do certain things by a certain age and that if we don't keep up with the status quo we're falling behind but that really isn't the case.

Here's some advice that I wish I took to heart when I was younger: Do things at your own pace. Timelines mean absolutely nothing when you're trying to get over or through things. Do things that you're comfortable with, when you're comfortable. Try not to compare yourself to those around you - you're all going through different things. Lift each other up and try to ask for help when you need it. Live your life for yourself and take care of yourself the best that you can. 

And here's another bit:
It's never too late.

Today I'm 26 years old. I'm writing this blog post from my apartment in Toronto. I moved out from my parents house a couple of months ago and I'm finishing up my first semester in a post secondary program. I've tried college twice before, but it wasn't for me. This time it feels like it is. I wasn't ready then but now I am and that's okay. It's all apart of my journey and I'm ~hashtag blessed~ to have you all along for this portion of it.

DRESS/ H&M+ LEGGINGS/ H&M+ BELT/ Addition Elle 
BOOTS/ Dr. Martens HANDBAG/ Alexander Wang 'Mini Rockie'
Photos by Jessie Larabie

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


KJ is the creative mind behind Lucky Little Queer. We've known each other for a couple of years now and I'm constantly amazed by them and their creativity. 

Lucky Little Queer's art really speaks to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again, feminist art is my favourite kind of art. Their pieces are absolutely beautiful and they all come with important messages. I have a floral piece that says 'girls supporting girls' proudly hanging in my room; I'm looking to grow my collection and I'm hoping to commission a tattoo from them in the near future. 


They were kind enough to answer a couple of questions about Lucky Little Queer - they talk about where the name came from, what inspires them and where you can find them:

I started selling my art as Lucky Little Queer late December of 2016, so almost a year ago.

I’ve always been passionate about art and I’ve always had a drive to create, but until I started Lucky Little Queer I only tended to use it as an outlet for the things I was experiencing growing up, like working through trauma, discovering my queer and trans identity, and being mentally ill. I found creating art to be very healing for me, but I wanted to create positive, affirmative pieces that I could use as a tool to bond and connect with others. I realized that there really isn’t a lot of public art that is relatable for folks with identities similar to mine; I never really saw positive messaging surrounding nonbinary and gender-diverse identities, and a lot of common queer rhetoric focuses only on our struggles and social challenges we face. I started posting my own pieces online that featured positive messages surrounding queer identity, with flowers and bright colours being a main focus in my work. I saw that there seems to be a want or a need within our community to celebrate who we are, so my drive tends to stem from that.

I named my art business Lucky Little Queer because I seriously am a lucky little queer. I consider myself so blessed to be where I am in my life. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I have such strong supportive figures surrounding me, and I am so lucky to be able to do the work that I do and have the encouragement of my community around me. I’m also just queer as fuck and want everyone to know.

You can find me on Instagram and Facebook at @luckylittlequeer. I sell existing pieces and I also love doing unique commissions so I would love to hear from you! 


Lucky Little Queer will be selling their pieces at Happy Goat in Sandy Hill (317 Wilbrod) this upcoming Thursday (December 14th) from 3 - 8PM at the Straight GOODS Year End Art Sale.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

PLUS SIZE WINTER COATS/ fashion & function

Winter where I'm from chills to the bone; it's not uncommon for my hometown to get temperatures down to -30 degrees celsius. Canadian winters can feel absolutely unbearable at times and they seem to drag on and on and on.

I have exactly four winter coats in my collection and I've had them for years - only one of them is suitable for extremely cold days and only half of my collection have hoods. Finding outwear pieces suitable for horrible Ottawa winters, especially when you're plus size, is beyond difficult.

When I'm shopping for a new winter coat I look for a couple of things:

1) a cold rating - a lot of manufacturers will add a cold rating showing that a piece is suitable down to a certain degree
2) if it has a hood - very important for when you forget your toque
3) if it's waterproof - things like freezing rain and snow storms happen, unfortunately
4) the length of it - I feel more comfortable if more of my body is covered but not too long where it would make it difficult to walk
and last but not least...
5) if it's something stylish enough that I can bare to wear for the next 4+ months

My last couple of heavy duty winter coats have all looked the exact same - they've been army green parkas. The army green colour isn't as boring as a black or a grey but it still goes with everything, and I love how parkas aren't as bulky as a puffer but they're still warm. My current one (I blogged about it here) is from Eddie Bauer and I've worn it for the last two winters. It's definitely my favourite and it keeps me warm on those bone chilling winter days.

I'm lucky to now live in a city where winter doesn't hit as hard as it does in my hometown, but I still live in Canada so winter is something I still have to prepare for. Here are some stylish winter coat options available in plus sizes - I have them in two different categories, fashion (lighter weight) and function (for Ottawa-like winters), to help you find what you're looking for with ease.

These are all styles that I would personally rock but it's also worth taking a look at outdoor brands and department stores to see what they have available as well. If you're looking for something super warm - down filled is always a great option but parkas, like I said, are my personal favourite.

* the images below are linked to affiliate links 



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

PERSONAL/ Ontario College Strike 2017

I wasn't going to talk about this on my blog because I couldn't find the words to explain my feelings toward this situation.

I'm still finding it difficult, but I'm going to try.

I moved to Toronto in September for college. The college that I attend, and the rest of the colleges in the province of Ontario, have been on strike since October 15th. It has been an entire month.

I quit my job and left my stable life in Ottawa to start over. I knew that going to school would help me succeed so it was a step that I was eager to make. I thought that all of the sacrifices that I had to make would pay off. I chose a program in Toronto because it was exactly what I was looking for and I knew there would be more opportunities for work in my chosen filed once I graduate. Toronto is a city that I adore but it is an expensive one - it is a city that I would never be able to afford to live in without the help of either student loans or a well paying job (that I'm hoping to work toward with the help of a post secondary education and the connections that I'll make in college).

I calculated how much I've spent since moving to Toronto. This includes my tuition for the semester, my rent until December (which is supposed to be the end of this semester and including the last month's rent that I had to pay upon signing my lease) and the metro passes that I've bought so far (because school can resume at any moment and I'll need to get there somehow) - that number is $5721.29. That's not including actual moving fees or the price of laundry/food/day to day expenses, the lost wages from my quitting my job to move here or the monthly fee that I pay for my Adobe Creative Cloud that I'm supposed to be using for schoolwork.

$5721.29+ is a lot of money for me personally to lose out on if the semester ends up being completely lost (I'm hoping that it's not) and it's difficult for me to not feel bitter about this. The whole issue of not knowing a firm date on when we will return to class is wreaking havoc on my mental health; my anxiety is sky high and my depression has hit a low. I know that this is something that I have to live through and I'm trying my best to make it through but it is hard. It's overwhelming, it's exhausting and it seems to be the only thing that people want to talk to me about. And I hate talking about it. I never know what to say about this situation. I'm not even going to get into my past experiences with post secondary education because that's a story for another time, but being out of school this early on in the semester is bringing up a lot from my past and it's draining. My emotions are all up in the air and my thoughts on this subject change constantly; one second I support the strike, the next I'm upset about it. There isn't much that I can do about this situation and I can't stand the feeling of not being in control of this part of my life.

I encourage other students that are affected by this strike to speak out and share their stories as well. I have read a lot online about the faculty and what they are fighting for and against - but I haven't read much from the students or about what we are currently going through. Our stories matter. There are 500,000 students that are affected. We have to have our voices heard.

I empathize with the faculty who are striking and at the end of the day I do support them but the students are losing a lot. It feels like we are forgotten in all of this. None of this is fair for any of the parties involved and we all deserve better than this.

Current reading (15/11/17) and more information about the strike:
Students start class-action lawsuit against colleges over ongoing strike
ODESPU urges Ontario colleges' striking faculty to reject offer as vote set to begin - general information on why they're striking
OPSEU (the union's) - information on why they're striking and they're actions

This started out as a Twitter rant today but I decided to chronicle this in my blog because I'm hoping for my blog to be more of a reflection of my life. And this is my life. Since this technically is a fashion blog I'm going to be adding in some outfit pictures at the bottom of this page. This is a dress that I bought while on strike and these pictures were taken in my hometown of Ottawa when I visited during the start of the strike. I'm writing this blog post from my bedroom in Toronto.

HANDBAG/ Rebecca Minkoff SHOES/ Vans

Photos by Laura Kidd and Michael Tundo