I mean, I don’t exactly leave the house with the intent of buying jewellery - it just sort of happens that way. I bought stuff from Reitmans, Smart Set and H&M and unfortunately, I don’t remember the pricing for any of it! All I know is that everything was under $10.
I’m telling you guys, if you want pieces from an uncommon shop, go to Reitmans and Smart Set! Growing up, those two stores, to me, were seen as granny stores. Oh, how wrong I was! These stores are fly. I like Reitmans for jewellery, shoes and some clothes and Smart Set for absolutely everything. Check them out.
This is by far the most girly bag I’ve probably ever purchased in my entire life.
Despite having a ridiculously large purse collection, one of which not even half gets used, the majority of them are my favourite colour - black.
But when I walked into Smart Set the other day, something attracted me to this beautiful, cream coloured stunner. I don’t know, maybe I was feeling Kardashian-esque or taking fashion cues from AprilAthena7 on YouTube whose vlogs I’ve been watching non-stop.
It’s just so cute and dainty! I almost feel like I’m carrying around a cute, little puppy when I wear it. Also, I don’t own anything rose gold (I know! Don’t kill me!), so the rose gold hardware was a plus.
You’ve peeped the red tag, right? Good, because you know this girl loves her a bargain! The original price was $34.99 and with an extra 40% off, it was only $20.99. WINNING.
…Now I’m back with the jump off. LOL, that song is my jam!
But seriously though, I literally haven’t posted anything on this site for over a month now. What on earth is going on??!
I’m not going to lie, a lot of it has to do with straight up laziness. I’ll go to work, I might pop in the gym, hang with a friend, come home and be extremely tired. I’ll wake up the next time morning and fully have time to post, but I won’t - I’ll do the same mundane routine all over again. On the days I’m not scheduled to work I’ll make a promise to myself to dedicate that entire day to my blog. And then I’ll watch this YouTube video, or I’ll catch up on this show and before I know it, half the day is gone and I have nothing accomplished.
I’ve also used part of this ‘down’ time to just enjoy my summer, to be honest. This summer has literally gone by so fast and as I type this, it’s practically over. Although I haven’t really gone anywhere or done anything, I’ve been spending time with friends and just liming. I’m such a homebody, naturally, so I never do much of anything, to be real. I think that’s partly why I struggle balancing work (my website/brand) and play. If a friend asks me to do dinner, of course I’m gonna be bout it, bout it. YOLO, right? (Please be well aware that I use that term in the highest joking manner you can possibly think of!).
But wait! It’s not just ALL laziness!
Back in June when I shot at NXNE (click uno, dos, tres) and saw how great my photos turned out, it sparked a fire in me.
In the last year or so I’ve taken somewhat of an interest in photography. I would shoot at events or find certain areas in the city to take photos, just to get a feel for it. This year I noticed I’d been slippin’ when it came to taking pictures so I made it a point to attend the NXNE hip hop show. Wait, I swear this is about to go on forever now - this is why I need to get that YouTube channel going!
Long story short, one of the performers, Deniro Farrar stood out to me the most out of ALL the performers. Once the show was over, I was actually stressed because I knew I wanted to make it a point to do a lil’ write-up on him and check his work out further. Well, I did the write-up and to my surprise, the photos I snapped of him turned out great also. I decided to link the post to his Facebook page, just so he could see he’d made a fan in Toronto and he loved it. He re-posted the link on his Tumblr and added my photos to his Facebook.
So I thought, 'Wow, if an artist all the way from North Carolina likes MY photos, then maybe I should consider taking it seriously.' I mean really, not even people from my city or friends alike have supported like he did. Mind you, it was a photo of him, haha. But still!
I needed to find a new outlet to post my photos on and I wasn’t about to start posting them on here so I started Alicia Takes Photos. Why not Alicia Bee Photography? Because quite frankly, I don’t consider myself a photographer. I’m still learning, I learn every day. I just take photos… simple, right? So that is what I’ve been investing my time in lately. Please take a look and follow! It’s just one simple click.
But basically, I’m back! Prepare yourself for a million blog posts.
[Steele of Smif-N-Wessun’s Timberland-up feet while performing at NXNE live at Dundas Square.]
Now I know you guys were probably wondering where all of those hip hop posts came from, but 'Surpriseeeeee!'- I’m a hip hop head.
A few weeks ago, I heard Joey Bada$$ was coming to Toronto and I wanted to make it a point to go and see him. The news got even better when I found out it was a free concert and other artists were going to be performing as well. It was all a part of NXNE (North by Northeast Festivals and Conference), a festival similar toSXSW, and one I had never been to before.
I really enjoy taking photos and thought it would be cool if I could get some good shots of all these artists at the show. I mean, watching several performances live and getting some good photos in? It just seemed like a win-win situation!
The only problem was all of the artists I wanted to shoot were performing later on in the evening. Smif-N-Wessun was at 7PM, Joey Bada$$ was at 8PM and Ludacris was at 9PM! But the entire show started at 2:00 in the afternoon! That meant your girl had to make sure she staked her position dead smack in front of the stage (but behind the media pit) as early as possible. To say I was stressed is an understatement.
I already knew downtown was going to be a zoo because the MuchMusic Video Awards was taking place a couple of blocks up the street at the same damn time the NXNE concert was gonna go down. But I had no choice. There was no way I was going to be able to take any decent photos if I arrived at Yonge-Dundas Square at 7PM.
I got there around 3PM and at that time, the square wasn’t really packed at all - at least not by the stage. I was actually able to get the spot I wanted! Standing right next to me was another young photographer who was shooting video and taking photos of the show. We ended up talking the entire day and he gave me some really good pointers on shooting at concerts. We totally watched out for each other - it was great.
It was an extremely hot day though. Not hot, but hawt… like totally ridiculous. By the time Smif-N-Wessun performed, the entire square was filled with people. It was becoming impossible for me to duck down and grab a bottle of water from my belongings that were being guarded between my legs on the floor. I made sure to eat before the show, but from 3PM to 11PM I ate nothing.
I was proud of myself though. I wanted to take photos and enjoy a good show so I went down there solo dolo, sweated it out, took photos non stop and left once it was over in the wee hours of the night.
Concert photography is interesting - especially when it comes to rappers. They don’t stand and pose for two minutes at the end of a song like Lady Gaga or Beyonce might. They are constantly walking back and forth. They’ll be on stage one minute and then off the stage jamming with the crowd in the next. I took a million photos that day but only a handful are up to par with my photography standards, haha. But that’s just how it is.
I’m pretty much hooked. I can’t wait to shoot at more shows.
What can I say about Luda? I mean, he was totally on point. But to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that excited to see him perform. It’s a shame the enormous crowd behind me filled with screaming preteens didn’t feel the same way! I could barely hold my camera still to take a picture.
Ludacris went through several of his hits with the help of Lil Fate from DTP. Some of those songs included "Stand Up,""Move Bitch," "Area Codes,”"Get Back" and "My Chick Bad." All was well in my world when he finally started performing tracks from his first album, Back for the First Time, like "What’s Your Fantasy?" and "Southern Hospitality." It just reeked of my first year in high school - but a good stank, you know? Luda also performed "Helluva Night" off of his new mixtape, #IDGAF.
Among them was Deniro Farrar, a ridiculously talented rapper straight out of North Carolina (Petey Pablo, what up!). Fortunately or unfortunately I missed Mickey Avalon’s set so the first artist I got to see was Deniro Farrar. To say I was impressed was an understatement.
Never in my life have I heard this dude rap, but the minute he opened his mouth I was a fan. You could just hear the passion in his voice and every word that came out was filled with conviction. Whether you knew him or not, you had no choice but to listen to what he had to say.
He didn’t roll up on stage with a hype man, he totally held his own. He spoke to the crowd, made them laugh and engaged a sea of people who like me, probably didn’t know who he was beforehand.
In the beginning of his set, Deniro made it a point to tell everyone he’s real, repeating it like it was some sort of a mantra. Except he wasn’t being cocky, he was telling the truth. It really doesn’t get realer than this. He was humble as ever and thanked the crowd for “tolerating” him. I don’t think they were tolerating him, I think they were mesmerized.
I’m about to put everyone I know onto Deniro Farrar! Join the club, don’t be late.
I’m telling you, this guy doesn’t have heart, he has HORT. The love he has for his music is real.
[Deniro took a real liking to this kid and spent some type spittin’ a few verses off to him]
I can’t even lie - out of all of the artists performing yesterday, I was most excited to see Joey Bada$$. In fact, Joey’s appearance is what brought me to attend the show in the first place.
I’ve been hearing so many good things about this kid since he dropped his debut solo mixtape, 1999. I’ve watched a couple of his interviews, listened to a bit of his music, but I’ve never fully taken him in. Yeah, I know. 'What chu want me to do?! I'm sorry!'
Despite my miseducation, the one thing about Joey that did stick was his love for ol’ school hip hop. How the hell does a guy that was born in 1995 have so much knowledge and appreciation for nineties music? It’s just ridiculous!
Watching Joey’s performance, I saw Method Man in his prime - not in the lyrical sense, but in his stage presence. The way Joey sways and gets all into his music is classic Meth back in the day. Meth was raw, hungry and extremely talented and that’s exactly what Joey Bada$$ is.
Maybe next time I’ll think twice about sleeping on an artist that everyone is clearly crazy about.
Breaking news! Alicia Bee has finally found not one, not two, but three lipsticks she can hang with!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lipgloss girl. I mean, I even used to put Vaseline on my lips and buy those roller ball glosses from the dollar store. But that was in high school - when walking around like you just swallowed a bottle of canola oil was hot. By the time I entered college everyone was into wearing lipstick. Everyone but me! I just couldn’t fathom the idea and besides, a girl with zay-ro (zero) confidence wasn’t about to plaster any type of colour all over her lips. So I stayed away from it like the plague.
Once I left college and grew older, it was a done deal that lipsticks were here to stay. My friends were deep into MAC products at that point and their lipsticks were all the rage. Although I always wondered how they would look on me, I never bothered giving them a try. I was still learning how to give good face and adding lipstick to the equation would’ve been a hot mess.
2010 is when I really started to take makeup seriously, but out of everything, lipstick is what I had trouble with the most. I would scour through the drugstore makeup isle hoping and praying to find a colour that actually worked for me. I would even ask the beauty attendants for help but they could never find the right match.
I recently came to the realization that I have somewhat dark lips, therefore, the best shades for my lips are dark. I tried wearing the lighter shades my friends would rock, but on my lips, the colour would just bleed through.
This week at Rexall, Revlon lipsticks were only $3.99 so I made a trip to the store and prepared myself for another long experience in the makeup isle. But this time, it was easy as pie! I just aimed for the dark colours and walah - magic!
Self-doubt will get you killed. Not literally. That’s just a figure of speech in these streets, haha. It just means self-doubt will hurt you more then you know.
Yesterday a friend of mine randomly asked me if I wanted to manage a particular store location for the company she works for. Just like that. And the crazy thing is, I didn’t say yes or no. I was just there… like blahzay.
I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life working for a company that offers no room for growth whatsoever. There is no ‘five year plan’. People are not interested in the skills you have to offer. Regardless of your abilities, you will remain stagnant forever and that’s just the way it is.
I micromanage the department I work in. My managers rely on me to get the job done. I’ve been told by fellow employees I would make a good manager - somewhere. I applied for a management position for a different company once and they turned me down.
And here this wonderful friend of mine was offering me a position to manage a store through the company she works for and I couldn’t come up with an answer? But that doesn’t make any sense.
Well now it does. It was the self-doubt that kicked in. I guess I didn’t realize it, but in my mind, at the time, I came up with a million reasons as to why it wouldn’t be right for me. Why it wouldn’t work out and why I shouldn’t do it. I thought nothing positive at all.
Self-doubt is a killer. It brings you down and gets you nowhere. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? You have to be your biggest advocate, not your biggest critic. It’s a cold world out there. No one will go harder for you than you.
I’ve missed out on plenty of experiences that could’ve been potential career opportunities because self-doubt got in the way. I can’t describe the amount of job listings for great positions I’ve seen in the past couple of years that I couldn’t bring myself to even apply to.
It’s so important to think positive. If you’re negative about every opportunity that arises, you’ll never get past the front door. Take risks, get out there and show them what you’re made of. Have faith and trust in yourself.
Late last year I moved to Ajax, Ontario with my family after spending the last 10+ years of my life living in the City of Toronto (Downtown, Toronto).
I didn’t realize what a trip it was before because it was winter. All Canadians do during the winter is hibernate! And besides, I worked (and still work) in Scarborough, so the move just didn’t seem like a big deal to me. It didn’t truly have an impact until yesterday.
Yesterday I had an appointment somewhere in Scarborough so afterwards I decided to visit my friend who I haven’t seen in forever. He lives downtown and in order to get to his place, I had to drive past the area I used to live in.
I used to live at Broadview and Danforth, which was central to absolutely everything. Broadview Station was right there, the DVP was right there, the Danforth Music Hall was right there, Greektown was right there! A simple streetcar ride would take you straight to Dundas Square and on your way you’d pass Riverdale Park (which has the best view of the city’s skyline) and East Chinatown. Back at Broadview and Danforth, if you crossed the Bloor Viaduct, you were basically in Downtown, Toronto - moments away from Bloor Street. I drove past Bloor to get to my friends place all the way until I got down to Christie. I passed Yorkville, the ROM, Honest Ed’s - I mean, it was just crazy.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to see so many people with places to go and people to see milling about around the city. There were cars… and a lot of them. There were taxis, streetcars and cyclists everywhere. Tons of little shops bordered the streets and people were spilling in and out of them. There were huge buildings towering over everyone. There was traffic. There was chaos and commotion. There was life down there.
And then there’s Ajax.
I love the peacefulness this town has to offer. I like the sound of birds chirping and cars driving by. I love the big, beautiful house I live in and I absolutely adore my bedroom. I enjoy looking out of my window gazing at the nothingness of my non-busy street. I like the people here too. They’re friendly. I like the fact that I don’t have to pay for parking and there are tons of stores at my leisure only minutes away by car.
But there is something about the city I was born in that I will never let go of. I was raised in Scarborough and spent my teen/adult life living in Toronto.