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halloween art

Halloween Art Trends: Spooky Fun for the Whole Year

I believe in artists supporting other artists; that’s why when I see art I love, I’m going to share them with you all in an art trend roundup so that you can consider purchasing their work too.

I love any excuse to eat excessive amounts of chocolate and candy, thus Halloween is one of my favourite times of year; celebrating the occasion this year will undoubtedly be much different this time around (RIP big Halloween parties), but that doesn’t mean you should forget about having fun altogether. Decorating your space with motifs of the season is a great way to embrace the fun and keep the vibe going throughout the year. Purchasing things that only look good during a particular season isn’t really financially or environmentally viable anymore, so I’ve put together this list of products that will make sense for any time of the year. The key to keeping that Halloween spirit around your home at any time is to make use of the spooky motifs, like black cats, witchy tools and candy, but avoid anything overly festive or a colour scheme that makes it look tacky adjacent.

Art Prints

Black cats paired with luscious green plants tie the fun and spook of Halloween vibes with great home dΓ©cor. Each of these wonderfully illustrated art prints have a pop of orange that nods towards the fall season.

It’s A Cozy Night, Small, US$ 40, liviafalcaru
mystical cat, Medium, US$ 30, Anyuka

Posters

If you’re looking for a similar black cat and foliage aesthetic, but with a cheaper price point and more wall coverage than a classic art print, these posters are adorable and look incredible on shinier paper.

Witchy Woman, 18″ x 24″, US$ 20, Alja Horvat
Botanical and Black Cats, 18″ x 24″, US$ 20, Huebucket

Tote Bags

A Halloween colour scheme doesn’t always need to be about the doom and gloom; these bright and colourful candy inspired tote bags offer a fun new take on the fall season. Maybe by next year, a child in your life will be able to go trick-or-treating with one of these bags!

Candy Eyeball, 13″ x 13″, US$ 25, evannave
Candy Pattern, 13″ x 13″, US$ 25, michaelpilon

Tapestries

Either bubblegum pink or black and white are great colour scheme options for creating a modern witchy vibe in your space. I’m especially loving the uniqueness of some of the motifs on the pink variant, like the rock candy and the latte art.

Moon Altar, Medium, US$ 66, Camille Chew
Millennial Witch, Medium, US$ 66, Angela Rizza

Here’s 4 Whimsical Accessory Brands Bursting with Colour

Even though you might have been stuck working from home the past little while, with nobody to see the looks you’ve put together, there’s no reason you can’t have a little fun with your accessories just for your own enjoyment. Playfully quaint pieces are a great way to add some fashionable humour to your personal style, and they’re sure to start a conversation on your next Zoom call. These four accessory designers are a great place to start your search if you’re looking to add some bright colour and fun to your wardrobe.

Pura Utz

Pura Utz definitely has some of the cutest beaded fruit accessories around, and they’re also a brand with a strong message and purpose. Each of their pieces is made by a team of women in Guatemala and honours the Mayan weaving tradition, which not only creates sustainable income for these women, but also helps them to feel reconnected with the rest of the world.

BR Design Co.

This brand isn’t afraid of using bright bold colour in their handmade clay accessories, and with so many different options you’re sure to find a piece that speaks to you. There’s something so special about knowing that the colouring on your clay jewelry is unique. My favourite is these autumn print beauties currently available for purchase.

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Fall coming in strong!

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Susan Alexandra

Seeing Susan’s pieces invokes an almost childlike wonder from within you. She uses colourful plastic and beads to construct her accessories, like her viral beaded bags that are so charming, to pull you into a world full of whimsy and fun. The price point is a little on the high side, but it’s totally worth it; there aren’t many accessory brands out there that can achieve exactly what she does.

Chungawawa

Chungawawa is a bold accessory brand full of fun motifs like flowers and smiles, and all the products they sell are designed and handmade in France. Another bonus is that they only use plastic free and 100% recyclable materials when packaging their products. Having fun with fashion while reducing the ecological impact of capitalism β€” count me in!

Autumn Art Trends: Warm and Colourful

I believe in artists supporting other artists; that’s why when I see art I love, I’m going to share them with you all in an art trend roundup so that you can consider purchasing their work too.

This fall season is all about cozying up, building new ways to enjoy your space, and finding comfort in the little things that help make life great. These are some of the perfect products to brighten up your home, and they’re sure to help you savour the upcoming fall season.

Art Prints

These autumn art prints both offer a bold take on fall colour while using circular patterns, and would add instant interest to a room. The first is much more busy, which makes it perfect for a living room or bathroom. The second has a much more simple vibe β€” great for setting up a relaxing atmosphere at your workstation or bedroom.

Vintage Fruit Pattern XXV, Medium, US$ 31, Burcu Korkmazyurek
Missing, Small, US$ 25, Sabrina Khadija

Phone Cases

Phone cases are the perfect accessory for showing fun and flair β€” they’re always on you, easily changeable based on how you’re feeling, and you can slap on some stickers to show even more of your personality. They’re the perfect place to showcase a bright and bold pattern. These ones here are available for almost any iPhone or Android phone.

Brunnera Pattern, US$ 36, michaelpilon
Lovely Tiger, US$ 36, the COZY HOME

Throw Blankets

Make yourself a tea, grab your newest book, and cuddle up on the couch with one of these cozy throw blankets. I’m loving this first bright print that almost looks like you’d be wrapping yourself up in an exquisite rug, and floral patterns are always a great choice for making your home feel more natural and comforting.

Symmetrical Pattern II, 68″ X 80″, US$ 80, Alisa Galitsyna
Watercolor Daisy Flowers, 68″ X 80″, US$ 80, ayeyokp

Wall Tapestries

A beautiful tapestry can instantly change the whole vibe in your room; I like to hang mine behind my bed for an ultra relaxing atmosphere. You can even use them as a picnic blanket or table cloth if you want.

Vintage Marble, Medium, US$ 66, sunshinecanteen
Orange California Poppies, Medium, US$ 66, ChrissyInk

How SZA’s “Hit Different” Resurfaces Past Fashion Trends

For everyone like me who has been eagerly awaiting new music from SZA since her last album, Ctrl, released in 2017: the time has finally come. She just surprise dropped her new single called “Hit Different,” and paired it with a self directed music video that shows just how dreamy and fashionable this songstress can be.

Alongside already being recognized as one of the most soulful and emotional musicians currently around, SZA is quickly securing her spot as a style icon with her looks in this video. The whole production has a laid-back and comforting vibe, and the clothing in the video nods to past trends that are on their way back into the fashion conversation.

She opens the video wearing a dusty orange baggy pant and crop top combo, with her backup dancers all matching, and beautifully combines the Aaliyah inspired reference with modern streetwear. Next she’s dancing on hay bales in an oversized tie-dye shirt that looks so natural and carefree. Oil paintings printed onto fabric is also having it’s fashion moment β€” here SZA pairs a renaissance inspired printed button down shirt with a colourful bra. This style is the epitome of putting in so much effort, but at the same time looking so effortless.

SZA’s beauty game is also on point in this music video; shots of her in a field covered in nothing but bloody red paint are both artful and striking, and her Cleopatra inspired hair and makeup in the final minutes of the video might just be the most beautiful her face ever looked. The glossy lip and eye combo do wonders for her features.

SZA’s music always lulls me into a place of introspection, and with lyrics like “all I know is / mirrors inside me / they recognize you,” this song is no exception. Watch the full video and drift off into dreamland yourself:

denim on denim mens jacket

Denim on Denim: How to Wear the Canadian Tuxedo

As we move into fall, our wardrobes need to change with the coming chill. I’d like to posit one of my favourite looks for you to try: the Canadian tuxedo. Denim on denim is one of those pairings that shouldn’t make sense, but isn’t it magic when the combo is done so right that you can feel the confidence radiating from someone wearing it? I’m here to show you all about how to wear denim on denim to achieve that confidence yourself, without looking like Justin Timberlake at the 2001 American Music Awards (Britney Spears looked amazing though).

Remember that you don’t need to go out and shop to get this look; find that old denim jacket in your closet that you forgot all about, or those light wash jeans that you haven’t got around to donating yet. The narrative for fashion trends in 2020 and beyond, in my eyes, is all about developing your own individual style without needing to constantly shop.

Combinations That Work

Okay, so you’ve decided you want to live life on the edge and try a denim on denim look. What’s next? The best place to start is to figure out which style of garments you want to wear. A tried and true garment combo for this kind of fabric is a denim jacket with jeans; it’s an instantly recognizable look, and it also gives you the room to add a fabric different than denim with your top. I paired my double light wash denim look with a striped shirt and sneakers for a carefree and stylish vibe.

denim on denim look, men's denim jacket
Photo taken by Tyler Talbot

The Wash Can Make It or Break It

You’ll need to figure out what colour of denim you want to wear next, and there’s a couple of things you should know about how the different washes will look on your body. Light coloured fabrics will almost always pull the viewer’s focus and accentuate the body, while darker colours will slim and hide the body. Because I wanted a bold and in-your-face denim look, I chose to use two light wash denim garments. If you, hypothetically, wanted to slim down your upper body and wanted to bulk up your legs, wear a dark denim button down with medium wash jeans. There are so many combinations and tricks you can use with light and colour!

Most other articles online that talk about wearing denim on denim will tell you not to wear the same colour wash on the top and bottom of your outfit. I’m here to tell you that’s wrong β€” with a caveat. As long as you style the garments without looking like you’re trying too hard to match, and you feel great wearing the wash, you can get really adventurous with your double denim look and radiate confidence (without feeling like a try-hard).

Try a Pop of Colour or Print

A good way to avoid looking like you’re trying too hard with this look is to add an interesting colour or print into the mix. If you’re wearing a light wash denim jacket and matching jeans, for example, wear a button down shirt with a pop of lavender for an airy vibe. With a jet black denim jacket and matching jeans, a colourful floral print would elevate the look. If you’re wearing two different washes of jean, I would aim to add colour with an accessory to tie the look together. If you truly love colour, don’t be afraid to use it anywhere you can! You can even find jeans dyed a rainbow of different colours (or dye them yourself for a fun quarantine project).

denim on denim, denim jacket
Denim jacket collage by Michael Pilon

Takeaway

If you take away anything from this article, I hope it’s this message: you should allow yourself to have fun with any look you want to pull off! Denim on denim looks can be challenging to feel fully yourself in, but if you’re in the uncomfortable boat and you really want to wear this look, I encourage you to add your unique flair and personality through your accessories. Play dress up at home in your mirror until you’re feeling yourself. If you think an outfit looks good and you feel great while wearing it, do it up β€” even if fashion designers and publishers say it’s wrong. The rest of the world will catch up to your confidence soon.

how to make iced coffee

How to Make Iced Coffee Using a French Press

Summer might be almost over, but there’s never a wrong time to enjoy homemade iced coffee. You can find me with one in hand year round β€” including in the middle of a blizzard. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they prefer to order this frozen delicacy from a coffee shop, because they struggle to make a really good iced coffee. I’m all for supporting your favourite local coffee purveyors but sometimes you just really don’t want to leave the house. If you’re one of those people, I put together this guide for you! My personal favourite brewing method is with the french press, because it retains the most amount of flavour from the bean, but you can use any method you’d like. Even instant will work if you’re in a pinch!

The Beans

You need to have good quality coffee beans in order to make a great tasting coffee. Look for a blend that’s made from 100% arabica beans, as opposed to robusta. Arabica beans have a more developed flavour and acidity than their counterpart. Other than that, there is so much fun to be had in trying out new blends! Just like wine, each one will have their own flavour profile based on their growing regions and conditions. Try to find the flavour combinations that speak to you β€” I personally look for blends that have notes of floral, fruit and citrus, and avoid the ones that are listed as earthy or herbal.

The Grind

Coarsely ground whole bean coffee is king for the french press, which will be a 7 or 8 setting on most grinders. Your coffee grounds should be roughly the same size as coarse sea salt. You can use pre-ground coffee if you don’t have a coffee grinder, or always find yourself in a rush, but once the coffee bean is ground it ages quickly and will lose a lot of its flavour. Freshly ground coffee is always the best way to go, as long as time and convenience permit.

The Water

Most french press guides will recommend that you use a 1:15 ratio for coffee grounds to water, which translates to about three tablespoons per cup of boiling water. The most important thing to know about the process of making iced coffee is that it needs to be brewed almost double strength. If you use the same proportions as hot coffee, your coffee will just taste like water when all the ice melts. Not very tasty! Brew your coffee using just about double the amount of coffee grounds to even out the dilution. To get the perfect ratio for myself, I use four heaping tablespoons per cup of boiling water in my iced coffee brews. You might need to tweak this amount if you like a stronger or weaker coffee.

Today was a perfect day for iced coffee out on my balcony.

Making Your Iced Coffee

Here’s a step by step guide if you’ve never brewed coffee using a french press before:

  • Fill your kettle with fresh (ideally filtered) water, and set it to boil.
  • While your water is boiling, grind the amount of coffee beans you need for your brew, and put the grounds into your french press.
  • Once the water is boiled, pour your measured amount into the french press, making sure every bean is coated with water. Give it a stir.
  • Put the lid back onto your french press (without pressing the plunger down), and set a timer for four minutes.
  • Grab your favourite glass and fill it to the top with ice.
  • Once your timer goes off, plunge the top of the french press all the way down to stop the brewing process.
  • Pour your brewed coffee over the ice to the top of the glass, leaving room for milk if you desire.
  • Add your favourite mix-ins and toppings. Pop in your metal/reusable straw, and give it a good stir.
  • Take your first sip, and enjoy!

Personalizing Your Flavour

There are so many flavour combinations you can create using iced coffee as a base β€” listen to your heart and add whatever you’re craving. You can’t really go wrong if you choose flavours you love. Here are some ideas for inspiration to get you started: honey with a good amount of soy milk, brown sugar topped with cinnamon and nutmeg, just black with a sprinkling of cardamom, and vanilla syrup with a splash of cream. As long as you mix your coffee with some form of sweetener, dairy, and/or spice topping that you enjoy, you’ll be good to go.

Bonus Tips

If you’re using a sweetener that’s hard to blend into cold drinks, like granulated sugar or honey, I recommend mixing these ingredients into the coffee while it’s hot to help the process along, before you add the ice. The heat will help the sugar crystals blend more smoothly into your drink.

You can also make this ahead if you’ve made too much coffee; pour any that’s leftover into a mason jar, and keep it in the fridge for later. I try to drink it within a day or two.

If you feel like you don’t have the time to grind your coffee and prepare a whole french press every time you want to have iced coffee, I’ve had more success using instant coffee than using pre-ground beans; just mix double the amount of instant coffee you normally would into hot water, and then pour that over your ice. It won’t be as delicious as a french press but hey, it’s still iced coffee.

Now with this guide in hand, go forth and create the iced coffee of your dreams. I’d love to hear what flavour combinations you come up with, please comment your fave flavours below!

starface reviews space wash

A Starface Review: Space Wash

The Brand

Starface is changing the conventions around how we see acne β€” by covering it up and making it fun! They’ve been making waves in the beauty scene with star-shaped patches that you put on top of your pimples, and are designed to both stop you from picking them and to draw out the oils. They’re quite subversive as a concept, because everyone knows that there’s a pimple under there and there’s no real attempt to shove acne under the rug; wearing them toys with the idea that people see acne as an imperfection. The result of having a face covered in stars is just pure fun, and you also get THE most Instagram-able look without even slapping on a filter. Will I ever have the confidence to actually wear these stars out in public, instead of just in Snapchats? Time will tell, but I’m sure some of you readers have that inner confidence. I should also quickly mention that this article doesn’t contain any product that was sent to me, I purchased them myself, just like you would!

Space Wash

While the stars fascinate me, the product that I was most impressed by and will definitely purchase again was their facial cleanser, which they’ve called “Space Wash.” If the delightful branding wasn’t enough to pull you in, it’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and non-comedogenic. There is so much right about this cleanser, which starts out as a clear medium-thick gel and turns into a luscious foam as you’re washing. The ingredient list is incredibly short (no, it doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate!), and it’s full of natural extracts like white willow bark, holy basil leaf and calendula flower. The best part? There’s no fragrance added! Too often I lather a new cleanser on my face, only to realize it smells like chemicals and cheap perfume. This one has a faintly leafy scent when you smell it from the bottle, but it’s not something noticeable at all during or after washing.

starface space wash review
Starface Space Wash, $22, starface.world

My Skin and Results

So my skin is pretty oily in general, except that I have rosacea on my cheeks, which makes them red and quite dry. My fear with a lot of cleansers is that it’ll either cause an acne breakout on my forehead that I can’t control, or dry out my cheeks even more. That wasn’t the case with this one; I could tell after a few washes that my forehead was much less oily, and the redness in my cheeks evened out (I’m wondering if that’s from the safe leaf and calendula, which I’ve read can reduce irritation?). I will say that I did notice my skin drying out a little after a few days of using this wash, despite soothing the redness, but that was easily fixed by using a little bit more moisturizer than normal. Now my skin is soft and glowing, and so much less red than before (more expensive cleansers couldn’t even help me with this!)

Should You Try It?

If you have oilier skin that’s prone to acne like me, you should go for it! I could see how this wash might be a little bit harsh for those with extremely dry skin, but for me it worked like a charm. Because of the lack of harmful ingredients, this product is also definitely suitable for those with sensitive skin. I also really recommend trying the star patches if you’re uncomfortable with your acne. They give you a feeling of fun that everyone should experience at least once in their life β€” and if you’re used to thinking that pimples are imperfections, they’ll help you challenge that idea.

michael pilon beginnings

Beginnings

The beginning stage of a project is always the hardest step for me to get through. I’m generally full of bright ideas, but I tend to have my head in the clouds and it’s really hard to get them onto paper β€” that’s about to change with this blog. Creating a space to talk about my experiences with fashion and lifestyle has been on my mind for years, but choosing this specific time to actualize my vision was really a no-brainer. There is no more time to sit and dream when there is a system that needs to be altered. Now more than ever, we need to recognize diverse brands and independent voices, and there are stories that I would like to do my part and amplify. I have hope that the fashion system itself, with its cyclical and often frivolous wants, will have a new beginning, and lean more towards ethical production, sustainable practices, and diverse representation.

As all beginnings go, I think it’s appropriate to have a little introduction about myself and my background on the blog, so hello! My name is Michael, and I’m a queer Turkish Canadian who loves to write and draw. My creative inspiration comes from design that is fun at heart, but at the same time challenges the status quo. I recently graduated with an M.A. in fashion, and I also have a B.A. in English and media studies. My main goal during undergrad was to hone my writing and research abilities, and I put those into practice during my masters thesis, which was based on diverse representation in zines. I also had the opportunity to intern at a fashion magazine, where I really learned the tools for how to put this space together. Now I’m just floating around, hanging out with my cat, and writing and drawing as much as I can until the COVID madness is over.

Every article in this space will be written by myself, for the time being, and every illustration will be by my own hand. Once I establish a larger platform (and have enough financial stability to provide appropriate pay) my goal is to feature other POC and queer writers and illustrators in this space. I hope that you’ll come along for the ride with me, and that we can put more ethical ways of thinking into practice together. You can expect to see articles from me about fashion, lifestyle, think pieces, art exploration, how to style clothing, product reviews, brand spotlights, wish lists, book reviews, and everything in between. Welcome to my journey, and (fingers crossed!) to the new beginnings of the fashion industry.