Tuesday, February 28, 2012

girl crush

Just when I thought I couldn't have more of a girl crush on Emma Stone, she went and pulled this out of her hat at Sunday's Oscars:

(forgive the crappy quality - it's the best I could find)  

This cracked me up, which was refreshing since (frankly) I found most of the show to be quite boring and awkward. I love that she made fun of Ben and (arguably) Anne Hathaway's fake over-enthusiasm at last year's ceremony but in a very goofy and non-threatening way. This routine really injected some much-needed fun and silliness into the broadcast and I am thankful to her (and Ben) for that. 

I have had a little girl crush on Emma since I saw her in Superbad (that glossy hair! Jealous!), but that crush has only grown watching her career take off the past couple of years. 

For one thing, she is gorgeous but not intimidatingly so - I could see myself sitting next to her in class or something (could you see yourself sitting next to someone like Angelina Jolie in class? Yeah, don't think so. She would burn little holes into the side of your head if she ever lowered herself to turn and look at you). I also have a mild obsession with redheads because I have a secret wish to have natural ginger hair. So much more exciting and vibrant than boring brown (don't we all want what we weren't born with, ladies?):

I mean, look at the colour! So vibrant and rich!
Aside from her looks, her personality is just so approachable - she seems like someone you would want to be friends with. She seems like the kind of person who would sit up until the wee hours listening to you blab on about your boy troubles and would say exactly what you want to hear - good advice but sugarcoated just enough to still be "on your side". She seems REAL. Genuine.

At the same time, I get the sense that she is someone who would always be up for a good time. She would likely spontaneously drag you out dancing just to make you feel better about a breakup. I'm sure she would spend an hour curling your hair just the way you want it and would let you borrow her new leather boots so you feel extra sexy. I bet she would make you laugh your guts out by making entertaining, sarcastic comments about everyone in the bar and would be the last one on the dance floor with you. She would also protect you from creepers - an essential quality for a bff (trust me, I know from experience).

She remains poised and down-to-earth although she is smack-dab in the middle of the Hollywood "machine", all the while appearing as though she finds it all rather amusing (and some of it silly). She gives off the vibe that she is just enjoying the ride.

She and I need to go shopping.

Besides, she made out with Ryan Gosling! If we were friends, she could tell me all about it and I could live vicariously (until he comes a-knocking on my door, of course...one day).

Do you have a celebrity "girl crush"? What is it about her that makes you love her so much? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

'gogh' rodarte

A design duo that consistently puts out beautiful collections is Rodarte. I was excited to read in the February issue of Vogue that their Spring 2012 collection was based on Van Gogh - my favourite artist!

Starry Night is my favourite painting of all time (I have it hanging in my bedroom, in fact). I also have a bag, pillow and laptop skin with the painting printed on it. Anytime I see anything with this painting printed on it, I feel compelled to buy it...

Ok, so I'm a little obsessed with Van Gogh. But how could you not be?!

I mean, look how gorg?!
Blue and yellow are common colours throughout VG's work, and this is my favourite colour combination of all time. When I was entering young adulthood and wanted to change my bedroom from its childish pink and white theme to something more "stylish", I couldn't wait to cover everything with yellow and blue. I'm pretty sure my wedding is going to include some combination of blue and yellow as the predominant theme (and sunflowers. VG and I both love sunflowers). 

Anyway, Kate and Laura's VG inspired collection is like this colour obsession of mine made real:

So many gorgeous sunflower prints. This is the perfect theme for a Spring collection because what says 'Spring' more than sunny yellow blooms and clear sky-blues?

Not all of Rodarte's pieces are exactly things I could wear to the office, even if I could afford them, nor would many of the shapes be flattering on me, but I love to look at them. They always create the most beautiful prints and their pieces are a great mixture of soft and sculptural. I mean, just look at this wheat-print dress from their Fall 2011 collection (you can almost feel the wind whispering through the stalks):

Plus, they are always collaborating outside the fashion world with the most interesting partners - they designed costumes for the movie Black Swan, and for a real-life ballet (One Thing Leads to Another), produced an art book with photographer Catherine Opie, and they are designing the costumes for the LA Philharmonic's production of Don Giovanni (Frank Gehry is designing the sets). I love that they are always pushing for inspiration while still staying in touch with their California-girl roots.

Thanks to the Rodarte sisters, I will go to sleep tonight with swirls of colour dancing through my head. Starry, starry night indeed.

*All images via Vogue

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

pumpkin bread

I love discovering new blogs to read, especially ones that give me great ideas for things to try (although now that I am addicted to Pinterest, it is slowly taking over in that department). One of the funniest blogs on the Internet is Nicole is Better so when I discovered she now has a food blog, I got irrationally excited.

It's called Get This In Your Mouth (which is the best name for a food blog ever, wouldn't you say. Shut up, it is).

I printed off a recipe from this blog a while back, planning on baking it "sometime" (you know those things - I have a rather large "to do sometime" pile, if I can be completely honest). I finally had the chance to try the recipe out on Saturday when I was tasked with bringing a dessert to a friend's potluck.

What was this dessert I couldn't wait to make, you ask?

Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling. I love anything sweet and anything pumpkin, which is why this one caught my eye. I have never made a loaf or bread before, so I honestly had no idea what to expect.

Well, it turned out very tasty, if I do say so myself! The recipe made a huge amount of batter, so I ended up getting 3 small loaves out of it (one for the potluck, one for me, and one for choir practice Wednesday evening...gee, thanks to you planets for aligning so nicely). I have to confess - I didn't make the homemade cinnamon cream cheese icing - I bought a container of icing at the grocery store and just added the one tsp of cinnamon and one tsp of pumpkin pie spice. I know, lazy, but I just didn't have everything to make icing from scratch (nor the time).

Hi, I'm Kim and I'm sometimes lazy. Deal with it.

Anyhoo, I was worried about overcooking the bread and making it dry but it turned out perfectly moist! Love! And it really wasn't hard to make. It does take a bit more time than your average cookie just because the loaves have to cook for close to an hour, plus they take a while to cool (or at least they did for me) so it's not exactly something you can whip up at the last minute. I made the mistake of putting the icing on while the cakes were still warm (I was in a rush), and it got very melty and messy. Lesson? Make SURE the loaves cool COMPLETELY before putting the icing on, and just a tip: this cooling will take probably an hour or two.

All in all a good dessert experience, and definitely something I will make again (it was a crowd-pleaser!).

I am the first to admit that I do not love cooking - I have to force myself to do it most of the time so a recipe has to be fairly quick and easy for me to try it out - but I do feel I become more confident with every recipe I try out and find success with. Thanks Nicole - I'm glad I got this pumpkin bread in my mouth!*

Tried any cool recipes lately? Do you like to cook? Where do you get your recipe ideas from?

*Unfortunately I was not able to track this recipe down on the blog or through searches because apparently I'm a total dolt!! I printed it off so long ago I honestly don't remember how I found it the first time. However, I'm sure if you email Nicole, she could send you a copy no problem. Sorry, I don't have time for that bidness*
**PS: do yourself a favour and do a Google Image search for "Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling". Commence drooling*

Friday, February 17, 2012

best in show

The Westminster Kennel Club has officially crowned "best in show" for 2012.

Internet - meet "Ch Palacegarden Malachy" a.k.a. "Malachy,":

Just look at that gorgeous fur. This little guy is proof that good things come in small packages (ok, I'm biased since I myself come in a small package, but that doesn't make it any less true).

I really don't know anything about dog breeding or dog shows. Heck, I don't really know much about dogs period (I'm really more of a cat person *gasp* -don't tell-). But I love this dog show!

Why? It is silly and pompous in a delightful way. I mean, that dog's name! It is just so long and weird it's hilarious. What is he - half Chinese, half Irish?! And how are you supposed to fit a name that long on a dog tag? It sounds like he should be a character in the movie Clue.

(Obviously kooky names are the norm for this show though - one of the other top dogs was a German Shepherd named Captain Crunch. I can't even explain to you how awesome that is).

And it's not only the names, but these dogs are more groomed and primped than the contestants on Toddlers and Tiaras.

Whaaaaaaat? I always knew Snooki was a dog (oh snap). That is one wicked pouf. Can dogs use Elnett?
How many times a night do you think the owner of lil' Malachy brushes his/her*fur? I am guessing they (and it) are about as vain about that mane as Marsha Brady. I mean, seriously, that is some glossy fur (I want to reach out and touch it, is that creepy?). These doggies prance around with their perfect hair and their noses in the air like an animal version of Miss America (if only the bikini-barbies on MA also didn't talk-that spectacle might actually be tolerable to watch).

I also love this show for the things it has taught me - for example, did you know that the "Toy" category (where Malachy competed) is the most competitive? Makes sense, I guess, those little dogs are always the most scrappy.

Know what else is cool? The head judge of this year's competition sits on the Board of Trustees for Take the Lead, which is a foundation that "provides direct services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer the devastation of life-threatening or terminal illness."

What a cool organization! And I would have never known it existed had I not decided to write/research this blog post.

So, thank you WKC and Malachy for providing me so much amusement via your slight ridiculousness and pomposity, and most of all through your enduring love and respect for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Dolla dolla bills, y'all
 *the WKC website lists the gender as "Dog". Very helpful, WKC, very helpful
**Oh, by the way, the WKC is on Twitter! You KNOW you wanna follow them)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hidden Gems: tommy mcculloch

This post is part of my Hidden Gems series. To read up on what this is all about, check out this post.

For this week's HG, I wanted to highlight a cute little place that I walk by every morning on my way into the office. For those of you that don't know, I work at a large University in my home city and in order to get to my office in the administration building, I have to cut through the Life Sciences Centre.

Tucked into a connector section between the two buildings, enclosed in a glass "box" is the Thomas McCulloch Museum. I never realized this place was here until I started commuting to my current job and I barely noticed its presence during the first few weeks. Well, I did notice it but in kind of a subconscious way. Mainly I just saw the glass display cases holding lots of bizarre things like taxidermy, mushrooms, bones and shells and thought "hm, why is all this stuff here? Weird". Then kept walking. 

One day I decided I needed to learn more about this odd and nondescript place - it seemed so wrong to walk by it every day and not know anything about it (you know in Love Actually when Hugh Grant tells Natalie that he wants her to tell him about herself because working alongside her every day and knowing so little about her feels elitist and wrong? Anyone? Bueller?...just me? Ok, moving on...)

From the Museum website:

Thomas McCulloch was a Scots Presbyterian minister, an educator and a political reformer. He came to Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1803 from Scotland at the age of twenty-seven. His controversial views and opposition of the establishment left a lasting impact on Nova Scotia and eventually on Canada.

-          He arrived in Pictou when the colony was growing and in need of education and change.
-          He became a missionary and a minister of the First Presbyterian Church.
-          The founder and principal of Pictou Academy.
-          He was ordained in the Secessionist Church.
-          The first principal of Dalhousie College in Halifax in 1838.
-          He created the Audubon mounted bird collection in the McCulloch Museum.
-          McCulloch sent a collection of Nova Scotian insects to the University of Glasgow who in recognition of the gift awarded him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1822.
-          McCulloch had a profound belief that education should be liberal and available to everyone. Therefore he felt his greatest work was the creation of Pictou Academy which manifested these beliefs. He was met with a lot of opposition from the officials of the time.

 Cool, huh? McCulloch came to Dalhousie in 1883 and taught Logic, Rhetoric and Philosophy for five years. He also developed a series of scientific lectures which he took on tour throughout the Maritime provinces, which supposedly greatly piqued the public's interest in and knowledge of biology.

The highlight of the museum is McCulloch's preserved bird collection - 22 cases altogether! All Nova Scotia birds mounted in natural settings (according to the Audubon style). The museum also includes a mushroom collection, coral and shell collection, and butterfly and insect collections - all contributed to by life science professors at Dalhousie.

You can visit the museum for free daily between 8:30am and 4:30pm and classes are often held here. 

Ok, I know some of you are thinking "This place is just a bunch of dead/stuffed things in cases...how boring is that?". But I think it's fascinating that this man took the time to amass so many specimens and that there is a free space just steps from my office that I can peruse anytime I like and learn about species I have never even heard of. The natural world is so fascinating and complex; there is so much to learn about it and I feel the only way to really have full respect for this world is to educate ourselves as much as we can. That is why I think this museum is cool. 

Plus, it's sort of quirky and a little weird, and I always love things like that. And it's always nice to learn a bit more history about the storied institution where I work (I think it makes me appreciate it more). 

And to think most people just walk right by this museum with barely a second glance. I'm glad I took the time to learn more about this hidden gem. 

Do you know of a person, place or thing that you think is really cool but is not very well-known? Are there little pieces of paradise in your city/province or in cities that you have visited that are off-the-beaten-path, but you think everyone should know about them? Well, I want to post about them on Gathers No Moss! Email me, tweet @KimHumes or leave a comment and I'll share it in an upcoming post! Here's to celebrating the little things! And exploring off-the-path to find them!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

downton abbey

You guys, I have a new obsession and its name is Downton Abbey.

As is the way with many things I become obsessed with, I kept hearing about this show and how great it is from everyone around me, so I decided I needed to check it out too. Gosford Park is one of my favourite movies and I knew the concept was similar so I figured I would like it.

Well, needless to say I bulldozed through Season 1 in rather quick order and I am now downloading Season 2 (which is in progress) and I literally cannot wait until I see the next episode. Once I catch up I will be very sad at having to WAIT for new episodes (and even more sad when the season ends entirely and I have to wait several months!! AH #thehorror). 


First of all the setting in the English countryside is just beautiful. Heck, the entire styling of the show is great, from the costumes and sets through to the props. It all feels very authentic. And, the servants are very believable in their roles - you would think they had been doing it for years!

The women on this show are always wearing the most beautiful dresses.
Secondly, there are so many different characters and each has their own unique storyline. Obviously some characters are featured more often than others but you pretty much see every character at least once an episode and they each have at least some small part in the plot. And the more prominently featured characters are so multifaceted! I am pretty sure each one has a secret or a past they are carrying around and  they each are constantly surprising me by their actions, words and decisions. These characters are not boring or flat by a long-shot.

I think it's safe to say you are carrying around one of the biggest secrets of them all, am I right Lady Mary?

It's particularly refreshing to see such complex and fiery female characters, especially for a series set in an era that dictated very stringent societal rules for ladies (particularly wealthy ladies). Emersing oneself into the lives of these women really reminds you at how few choices they had back then, and how little was expected of them. Most of the rich ones basically sat around and waited to be married off, then spent their married years devoted to their husband's pursuits instead of her own. Most of the poor ones just went to work as soon as they could and spent their life scraping by, also not able to have their own lives due to circumstance. 

The show in general is set at a very interesting time in history, starting off just before the outbreak of World War I and the start of the suffrage movement. I find it interesting that this era was still connected to the traditions of Victorian times, yet was on the brink of some major shifts in thinking and living. It must have been an incredibly exciting yet scary time - for people rich and poor.

Speaking of rich and poor, I love the honest and close depiction of the lives at each "level" of the house - upstairs and downstairs. I like that the focus isn't just on the wealthy family who owns the house but also on the people who help keep it running. The house essentially has two separate worlds coexisting (in a manner of speaking) inside it and we get to see the ins-and-outs of each one but also how the two occasionally collide. 

I actually find it refreshing that the Earl and his family (for the most part) are very kind and generous to their servants. I am sure this was not the case in all households back then, but I think the common stereotype about wealthy manor and land owners of the time is that they were often domineering, abusive and unfair toward their staff. It's nice to see a family that, even though there is a clear class distinction between them and the servants, obviously cares about the well-being and contentment of everyone in the house. (The perfect illustration of this is the scene in one of the last episodes in Season 1 where Lord Grantham asks Sybil, "Are you saying that I cannot enter my own Library because one of the maids is interviewing for another job?!" then just walks away like, "Ok, that's cool. I'll wait." lol. Hilarious). I was surprised by this dynamic and I guess that is why I like it so much.

Speaking of Sybil, is she not gorgeous?! 
The show is very educational of course, and very proper and serious on one level, but it still has enough soap-opera-esque drama to keep you laughing and on the edge of your seat! There is a nice helping of lying, backstabbing, secret love affairs (acknowledged and not) and gossiping. There are also lots of hilarious one-liners, mainly courtesy of Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess. She certainly says what she thinks - it's awesome!

Now if you will excuse me, I must go start Season 2. I should re-emerge in about a week. 

Monday, February 6, 2012


Well, it seems the Material Girl (although she's far from being a Girl now) is who everyone is talking about this morning. See there was a little football game on last night called the Superbowl...

The grand entrance of Her Royal Empress of the Roman Empire
...don't ask me! I only watched for the anthem (Kelly Clarkson KILLED it), the commercials and the halftime show - I really couldn't tell ya what went down on the field. I can't say I was excited about seeing the halftime show, but I was intrigued. In the end it was only "meh" for me. This is fitting considering I'm basically "meh" about Madonna in general. 

She's a very polarizing person* (at least judging by the live tweets of her show last night) so it's fitting that my opinion of her is also split. I don't dislike Madonna but I don't particularly like her either. 

I think I like the Madonna of the 80's and 90's better than the one of the 2000's. I respect her as a powerful woman who has forged her own way in a fickle industry (partially through a bunch of shrewd business decisions) and as someone who has blazed a trail for a lot of other female pop stars. In a way, she is the original female pop star and she definitely deserves props for that. She was always pushing the envelope and being provocative and I give her props for that too. 

However, it seems like she has either lost that spark of provocation or she is trying too hard to continue to be provocative in a world where provocation is almost mainstream. You have to try pretty darn hard to be provocative nowadays because it has all been done before. Being political and pushing buttons may have caught attention 20 years ago, but it is sort of old news now.

Where is a trailblazer to go when most of the trails have already been blazed? You end up circling back on trails you went down a long time ago and repeating them and suddenly you are behind all the others rather than in front. All of a sudden you are no longer relevant and you actually are kind of a joke. 

This is how I feel about Madonna - I feel like she's almost become a caricature of herself, playing a part.

And I would probably have more respect for her if the music she has produced in the past few years was actually good. So much of it is the same ol' pop/dance tracks we've heard a million times before with guest spots from hot, young artists in an attempt to give them more hipness (almost as if they KNOW the song is not hip otherwise). Nothing special. Madonna's best music? Her 80's and 90's stuff...the songs she produced in her hey-day. Her music has always been pop, but at least her old stuff had some "spice" to it - some uniqueness and substance.

Aside from the music, it seems like she has become more and more egotistical over the years as well - attention-hogging with silly antics like her promotion of Kabbala, parading her daughter as arm candy around the social circuit, and vanity project after vanity project (and continuously going around talking about how great each of these projects is). And don't give me that "oh she's a legend, she's earned the right to brag" crap. Just because you are one of the most famous people in the world and are a pop culture legend doesn't mean you have the RIGHT to act like a jerk. 

I am so sick of the argument about her looking so good for her age too - she absolutely does (there's no denying that) but that is also not an excuse to be BLAH. Just because you are 53 and look 33 doesn't mean you get a free ride to "do whatever you want-ville". I'm sorry but I don't care how old you are or how good you look in thigh-high boots, you still have to bring something more to the table to impress me and make me look up to you.

Anyway, bottom line is I don't dislike Madonna, but I don't particularly like her either. And I thought her Superbowl show was...not bad - again, didn't love it, didn't hate it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if she had just stayed home and let M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, Cee-Lo and LMFAO take over.

Regardless of the Superbowl show, I think if Madonna actually showed more personality, uniqueness, humility and some of the old spark she used to have, maybe I wouldn't be so 'in the middle'. 

*of course, I'm sure she enjoys being polarizing

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Ok, it's official - I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. It seems like everyone and their dog has been talking about this site lately and I am not normally one to jump on bandwagons right away, but I thought it couldn't hurt to check it out and see if I liked it.

This is what happened with Twitter. I thought Twitter was so dumb, then eventually got so curious by all the talk about it that I just said 'screw it' and joined. Now I am obsessed (ok not quite, but I do love it alot).

I just joined Pinterest like a week ago and I already have 193 pins. Yes, I realize how sad that is.

But that's the thing with these Internet searchy thingys - you search for one thing, then that leads you to something else, which leads you over here and pretty soon you realize two hours have gone by, you have a major kink in your neck, and your kettle has boiled dry waiting for you to unplug it. However, you at least have lots of pretty pictures to look at once you get off your ass, make your tea and come back to the couch (because, let's be honest, that's exactly what you are going to do).

Anyway, Pinterest seriously is a really useful tool - I am ALWAYS finding cool recipes, hairdo ideas, decor and event planning tips, etc, and I am the type of person who has to have everything in one place, easily accessible. So, this tool is perfect for me. I love that I can categorize things however I want and then when I need inspiration, I just have to go into my boards and peruse a little. I admit it, it's handy.

I have been particularly interested in pinning in certain categories lately - including wedding ideas, dream house decor, and outfit inspiration. Yes, I also realize how sad it is that I am this obsessed with pinning ideas for my wedding and my house when I am neither engaged or a home owner, but I can't help it! So. Many. Pretty. Things!

Anyway, I may not be able to use all of these ideas now, but they are there for when I want them later!

Sigh, as if I needed ANOTHER procrastination tool. Unfortunately this one seems to be the worst one yet. And that's saying something

Here are some of my favourite recent pins:
(wanna check out ALL my pins? Follow me here)

Wedding Ideas
Wedding Mad Libs! Such a fun idea for tables as an activity for guests between courses
I would love to have my wedding ceremony outdoors - this forest setting is beautiful
DIY 'lamps' using wine bottles and Christmas lights! So lovely for a patio/outdoor reception

My Style (aka fashion inspiration)
I love everything about this outfit - so cozy and great colours
I love anything with elephants 
This is the kind of outfit I wish I could pull off on a daily basis - cute, quirky, colourful yet polished
And this is just funny. Sometimes that's all it takes to warrant a pin!

Are you on Pinterest? Do you like it? What things are you obsessed with pinning?How do you keep track of the things you discover and like?