Instagram Favourites

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Instagram has become my favourite social network. I love being able to quickly share a snapshot of my day and to get a peak into other’s lives as they do the same.

I try to keep those I’m following to a mangeable level, but it’s hard not to stock my feed with friends, strangers, and celebrities.

Here are a few of my favourite instagrammers:

Though I’ve never made any of her recipes, I love Joy the Baker‘s blog. She’s super funny, down-to-earth, plus she has a way with food styling.

The owners of local stationary shop Tiny Feast have an instagram account dedicated to their dog, Sammy who is small, foxy, and super adorable. I think he’d make a good pal for Oscar.

Nothing but cute cats. Is there more to say than that?

Ashley is one of my favourite beauty vloggers. She often focuses on natural or green products and pretty much seems like the nicest person ever. Her instagram often features beautiful things arranged in a beautiful way.


Review: Schmidt’s Deodorant

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I heard that Schmidt’s deodorant was among the best of the natural deodorants, so it’s the first one I’ve tried in my quest to find a chemical-free option.

I have hyperhidrosis (i.e. I sweat a lot), so the best I can hope for with any non-prescription product is that it will keep sweat at bay and prevent odour. The Schmidt’s deodorant does exactly that.

I picked up the Bergamot and Lime for myself and the scent is lovely, though I wish it smelled more like the former than the latter. I got the Cedarwood and Juniper for my husband, but the smell is definitely something both sexes could get away with.

The one downside of this deodorant is in the application. It comes in a tub, rather than in a traditional roller, and you use it by scooping up a little of the product with the included spatula, warming it up between your fingers, and then slathering it on your armpits. It takes probably three or four times longer to apply than traditional deodorant, but 2 minutes really is not a huge inconvenience.

Next on my list of natural deodorant to try: Lavanila and Siglarr brands. When I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I might even try to make my own.
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Days of the Bagnold Summer

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I am in Morocco! So here is another instagram book review.

Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart. A beautiful graphic novel that tells the story of the Bagnolds – mother Sue and teenage son Daniel – during an uneventful summer. Sue, a library assistant with a tragic past, is desperate to find a way to connect to the increasingly apathetic Daniel whose interests lie in heavy metal music and his loser friend, Ky. Quietly heartbreaking, this story made me look back regretfully on my selfish teenage years and want to call my mother. Ten black hoodies out of ten.

For more reviews, or for a peek into my Moroccan adventures, follow me on instagram @toby_ann.

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Bits and Bobs (and a Giant Bug)

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Can you believe that bug? I should have put something beside it to gauge it’s size, but it was at least two inches. I found it outside of the mall on Thanksgiving and some Googling revealed it to be a giant water bug. I had no idea bugs of that magnitude existed in Canada. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it!

My husband and I went to see Ryan Adams this past Sunday and it was a great show. Adams is pretty weird, but he may have just been very stoned. He played this as his encore, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop since.

I’ve been reading Wear No Evil: How to Change the World With Your Wardrobe after finding it in the new book display at the library. It’s about how terrible the fashion industry is on the environment, people, and animals and how you, as a consumer, can make better choices about what you put on your body. While I don’t know how much I’m going to change in regards to my shopping habits, this is still something that is important to be aware of. I seek out local, organic, and sustainable food; I’m concerned with the ingredients in my soaps, moisturizers, and make-up; and yet I’ll peruse The Gap or Joe Fresh or Zara without a thought to the child labour and/or the terrible pesticides that were used to grow the fibres and/or the toxic dye that was used to colour the fabric, etc.

I doubt I’ll have time to blog again before Thursday when we’re off to Morocco! I’ve scheduled some posts and can’t wait to catch up when I return.
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How to Be Happy in One Easy Step

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You’ve probably seen that meme going around Facebook where, for a week, individuals are postings things they feel grateful for.

Gratitude seems to be popping up a lot these days. I keep hearing over and over again how voicing your gratitude can actually make you happier.

Then I read s a recent Metafilter thread on how to cultivate a better relationship with your partner, and a commenter had this to say:

My husband and I end each day doing what we call “What did you like today”. What happens is that at the end of the day when we go to bed we snuggle together, and we each take turns listing off everything we liked that day.”

This appealed to me as a more individual, private, and specific version of the meme and I instituted it at home. It’s a great way for my husband and I to learn about the highlights of each other’s day and it’s nice to fall asleep with these happy thoughts floating in my brain. Will it make us happier? Perhaps. But for now, it’s a nice little bedtime ritual just for the two of us.

Do you practice any form of gratitude?


Bags, Bags, Bags

My good ol' trusty MEC bag that has been all over the world with me.

My good ol’ trusty MEC bag that has been all over the world with me.

My cheapo ASOS bag broke this past weekend and now I’m back to carrying my utilitarian MEC bag while I search out a new one. I think I need to up my budget and get one that lasts. I also think I’ll need two: one for my everyday about town bag, and one for work. For the former category…

  • I’ve always coveted a Rebecca Minkoff handbag, but can’t decide whether I like the M.A.C. or Hudson Moto better. And would I get the mini or the full-size? Decisions decisions.
  • Love the simplicity of this Annabel Ingall JoJo Crossbody.

And for a work bag…

  • Totes are big right now. This Madewell one is a blogger favourite. Everlane has one that is similar and looks like it could hold everything I own.
  • Also really like this simple one from Matt & Nat.
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Odds and Ends

  • My husband and I have always been surprised, that for a city with so many Jews, Winnipeg does not have good bagels. He has decided to take matters into his own hands and made a pretty decent first batch of Montreal-style bagels.
  • I leave for Morocco in 12 days! I’m so excited to get out of the country and experience a place totally different from home. Wishing I could look forward to a travel experience like this one.
  • Just finished Ann Patchett’s book State of Wonder and love love loved it.
Local bits:
  • Before I leave, I need to remember to vote. It’s exciting that we will be getting a new mayor soon, I just hope we get a good one.
  • The husband and I were super excited that The Tallest Poppy was going to re-open in a new space in West Broadway and tried it out as soon as we could. Unfortunately, it was sort of mediocre. The space is awkward, and the meal was just so-so. I’ll give it a few months before going back and hope that they get their shit sorted out.
  • I’m excited that a new music venue, The Good Will, is opening soon. There hasn’t been a good, small venue since the Lo Pub closed down and I have high hopes for this one.
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Meet Oscar

I’ve shared quite a few pictures of my cat, Oscar, on this blog, but I thought it was time to introduce him more formally. Oscar is a LaPerm, a relatively new breed of hypoallergenic cat.

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My Mom found him in Alberta. A breeder was giving him away as he had been used as a stud and was getting too old for the business.

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The fur on his back is quite coarse and the fur around his neck, chest, and throat is curly. True to his breed, he is super affectionate.

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I know everyone thinks they’re cat is the best, but really, my cat is the best.

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Sicky McSick



I am sick and it is the worst, especially since I’ve had to work and Winnipeg has been experiencing a surge of beautiful weather.

There are three things I turn to when I have a cold to lessen the duration and severity:

  • Cold FX. Just some expensive vitamins, and maybe it’s psychosomatic, but something about it works.
  • Fluids, fluids, fluids. Water and tea, mostly. I stopped by David’s Tea and picked up some Cold 911, which is mostly peppermint and juniper berry, and Super Ginger, a rooibos with ginger and pink peppercorns that is super delicious.
  • Neti-potting morning and night. I boil the kettle, put the hot water into my neti pot with a bit salt and baking soda, let it cool, and then irrigate my sinuses with it. It’s kind of gross, but also the best.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting over a cold?

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The Final Member

final memberHave you seen the movie The Final Member? It’s a documentary about the world’s only phallological (i.e. penis) museum in Iceland. The movie is populated by weirdos among which are two ‘gentleman’ – one a famous Icelandic philanderer/adventurer, the other an American obsessed with his penis – who are vying to be the museum’s first human specimen.

Here is the trailer.

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