Winter is Here

style

I’m denying the reality of temperature and time. Rocking a vintage blouse, from my mom’s closet, insect earrings, distressed denim and the laziest hair, feels just right for a brunch celebration with friends.

Before the New Year drops, take stock of the things in your life that you want to hold on to: that family hand me down 80s power blouse, and good friendships – of course.

lazy bun and leather (jacket from Zara, boots Timberland, blouse and jeans vintage)

Let go of the things that no longer earn your loyalty or warm your heart.

What are you keeping? What will you let go?

To the “Canadians” Who Hate Immigration:

Uncategorized

I get it, we have people on welfare, we have soaring housing prices, we have joblessness, we have people that aren’t ourself taking ‘advantage’ of healthcare that is paid for by all Canadian citizens (rather than the obviously preferable state of people languishing in illness, sprawled on sidewalks) and the crowds in Canadian cities and small towns don’t look as homogeneous as they used to. I get that it’s easy (don’t worry, I didn’t say racist, Islamophobic, Xenophobic, or ignorant… gasp) to blame a vulnerable, marginalized population for problems that existed long before these individuals actually arrived… but really, have you considered what our country would look like if you ended immigration and pulled back the welcome mat that has long been extended to many refugees to our country?

Today on Global News, there was an article called: What Will Canada Look Like in 2036?

170125_immigration.jpg

Sparked by the shock (I don’t know why I was shocked) of reading this article and seeing the comments (90% of which were anti-immigrant and anti-helping-anyone that-isn’t-directly-related-to-you/like you) I got to thinking… what would the average internet commenter’s life be like, in Canada, if we just got rid of all these immigrants and refugees? Because let’s not be mistaken for people who want to do the right thing even if it’s hard, or has a price tag, or means we have to question our privilege… and let’s instead take a look in a mirror that reveals we’re more self-interested than most of us are comfortable with. Even if those others hadn’t been shown, statistically, to be highly resourceful, persevering individuals, who have worked tremendously hard, courageously overcoming many life-threatening situations, forging ahead for the betterment of their families and often bringing expertise and money into our economy and workforce, seldom expecting handouts, leaving behind family, homes, money, memories and degrees, to try and begin anew… why should they get the same chance YOUR family had, generations before now…?

In this baby-nation, with a declining birth rate, just about to celebrate its 150th birthday…What trumps caring about others more than thinking only about our own interests?

How would your life change if we made good on your plan/dream to ban immigrants, refugees and itinerant labourers? 

  1. You’d have to stop Instagramming about the new Sushi place you discovered. And the Indian buffet. And the roti. And the Jerk Chicken. And the bao. The Dim Sum. And even the tacos. Oh, Shit. And the Bubble Tea.
  2. You’d have to pay your white neighbours’ 12 year old $20/hour to babysit your children, instead of underpaying a live-in domestic from a developing nation who is sending 3/4 of her paycheque home to her own family.
  3. Your cheap wine would cost 4x as much, because Canadian college students would work summers in the vineyards (and not leading wine-country bike tours, swirling glasses for tourists)… picking and hauling grapes, seasonal produce and all of the other back-breaking jobs currently held by seasonal workers who do not get benefits, pensions, job security or adequate pay for the dangerous, specialized jobs they do.
  4. You’d have to ride in taxi driven by a high school graduate named Jake, not a driver who was a doctor in Sri Lanka, before he came here… whose license and schooling our country won’t recognize, but which is super convenient in case you have a heart attack while you are a passenger in his cab, or go into labour en route.
  5. You’d be able to applaud your daughter Stacey’s graduation from wherever, with the highest mark in her class – made possible by the fact that the class average is low… because all of the high-achieving, diverse kids from immigrant families, trying to make good on the opportunities their families scrimped and saved for are no longer making it a challenge for Stacey to come out on top, even though English is Stacey’s first language and she started in Montessori before she could walk.
  6. On the upside, you’d be able to wear any old culturally appropriating Halloween costume or festival outfit you want, because no one would complain about how offensive it is. On the downside, there’d be no teenagers buying costumes, cause they’d all be working at Party City and every other minimum wage-paying job … because there’d be a lot of job vacancies. Also, there would be pretty lame festivals, because every band would sound like Nickelback (I don’t have any real support for this… it’s just a hunch).
  7. People who like Nickelback would be the majority.
  8. Your vacation photos would look way cooler, because you’d be the only person on your block who had been there, because the cool, diverse families wouldn’t be here anymore and that jerk who keeps one-upping you by talking about his childhood in Ghana would be gone. Phew.
  9. You’d be the immigrant. Shit. What? That’s right. If there weren’t people newer than you here, some of the folks  – with names like L. Zeumer, and J. Sikorski (who had some pretty intolerant things to say on the Global News comments) – would be the freshest immigrants here. We all would.  My family has been here for generations (many) and I have no more right to be here than anyone else. Because the only people that aren’t immigrants to this country are the Metis, Inuit and First Nations people. But they’re often targeted by the same people who blast immigration. Pretty horrific. I have benefitted from being born in Canada, as a queer woman, more than I can possibly explain, but I did nothing to deserve that. This privilege is completely unearned. So, I’d love it if -instead of turning their rage against immigrants – those who ignorantly despise newcomers would ask themselves, what do I actually know about immigrants? Stats? Policies? and…If I were at the door, asking to come in… what do I really bring to the table that would make me a welcome, deserving new addition to this country? Good thing we’re a multi-cultural mosaic, ’cause it means there’s room for all kinds – even intolerant bigots.
  10. The landscape and history would look completely different if you were the one being considered a newcomer. As Jef Cronkhite wrote, quite insightfully on the Global News comment page, “Change the names of the countries, and it was the same thing 100 years or so ago. The only difference, is that back then, immigrants came from France, Ireland, Scotland, Portugal and Italy, primarily.”

I want my country to be our country. I want it to stand for the things I was taught as a child to be proud of. Closed-fistedness and closed-mindedness are not traits to be admired and if we know and have learned anything from our past – it’s that Canada aspires to be good, kind and inclusive. It hasn’t always done well. We have major reparations to make for our past, but we will get there faster, better and stronger (sorry Kanye) if we empower all Canadians, new and old, to work towards a goal where our diverse talents, voices and skills make the country ‘strong and free’ for all. That doesn’t mean it will be a free-for-all, as some fear, but it sure would be a good start if we could become a place where the only time we ‘immigrants’ being stereotyped, or disparaged is in a satirical blog post that calls out behaviours that are antiquated, backwards and just plain wrong.

*** Just in case you missed the sarcasm, my black, Jamaican-Chinese-Indian, lesbian wife thought I should include a little disclaimer that this is a satire. 

One of a Kind Christmas Show

Art

If you can get to the #ooak2016 #ooak_toronto go check out the beautiful jewellery and sleek new booth at @wfdjewellery Breanne is so talented. I thoroughly enjoyed working the show with her and seeing people react to her work with much love. 

Breanne is so down to earth and works so hard as an entrepreneur, artist and a mom. That’s her smiling face, below, just a few days in to a long haul show. The OOAK is open from November 24- December 4. You can see more details here: website


Breanne’s jewellery is so striking. Check it out for yourself at her online store. Stay tuned over the next few days for my pics and picks for favourite artisans from this years 2016 One of a Kind Show. 


Tell me, what are you buying this holiday for the people on your list? Or as a treat for yourself? 

Lisa Ray, Fusia and… Me?

style

My wife recently attended the launch party of the newest issue of Fusia magazine, which stands for Female – Fusion – Asia. (www.fusia.caThis Canadian magazine, pioneered by the innovative and talented Meera, is a fresh perspective on South Asian Women’s culture and fashion and it is produced right here in Toronto.

One of Fusia's beautiful, glossy covers.

One of Fusia’s beautiful, glossy covers.

At the launch party of the most recent issue, the spectacular, gutsy actor Lisa Ray was in attendance and the crowd came together to celebrate both the magazine and Lisa Ray’s inspiring contributions to it. Amidst incredible performances by singers and messages from the magazine’s creative team, Lisa spoke about her battle with cancer and overcoming it – a story full of hope. She has long been a visible face of South Asian women’s style, and her choice to pursue inclusive, challenging roles, like the leads in I Can’t Think Straight and The World Unseen, makes her a role-model for those of us who have been yearning for more diverse representation of culture and sexuality in our media. Check out her interview on SheWired (http://www.shewired.com/box-office/lisa-ray-playing-it-gay-twice).

The magazine is exceedingly well put together and betrays none of its humble roots as a labour of love, produced as a passion project by a full-time working mom.

The magazine is exceedingly well put together and betrays none of its humble roots as a labour of love, produced as a passion project by a full-time working mom.

With all this said, imagine my surprise as I perused the issue, brought home by my wife, Allia, and found that our friends’ jewelery line was featured, and by extension, so was my face (bottom right).

YYZ Imports and yours truly. http://www.yyzimports.ca/

YYZ Imports and yours truly. http://www.yyzimports.ca/

By her own report, Allia says the night was dazzling, sleek and intimate, filling The Berkeley with beautifully dressed, impeccably-styled women – exactly the kind of crowd to inspire and be inspired by Fusia Magazine. 

Lisa Ray, on stage at The Berkeley

Lisa Ray, on stage at The Berkeley

Opulent interior and pre-crowd venue.

Opulent interior and pre-crowd venue.

Jess and Bern of YYZimports celebrate!

Jess and Bern of YYZimports celebrate!