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Buying presents for parents is hard. Like, trying-to-decide-what-to-watch-on-Netflix hard. Like, 2048-hard. Like, Ryan-Reynolds’-body hard.

(May or may not have spent too much time picking a shirtless Ryan Reynolds picture.)

(May or may not have spent too much time picking a shirtless Ryan Reynolds picture.)

While buying presents for parents is hard, it’s always worth it when you find the perfect gift. Perfect gifts in general always feel like a lightning-bolt to the head, and you just know. After seeing different “childhood photo recreations” on my perpetually repetitive Facebook newsfeed, I couldn’t stop thinking about how hysterical some of my childhood photos are, and how hard my mother would a) laugh, and b) cry… well, I couldn’t resist. My amazing mother retired from CIBC after 38 years, and even though she said no presents, who ever listens to their mother? (Truth: I do. Just not this weekend). She’s the most supportive, generous, kind person and making her cry-laugh through a dozen photos is the least I can do to make her as happy as she’s made me.

I got back to Windsor on Wednesday morning, and spent the next five days scrambling and lying (pooooooorly) to try and get to the different locations, people, and items in the pictures. I’m pretty proud of the result, and can’t wait to recreate the recreations 20 years from now. Love you mama.

Homemade Dixie cups? Check.

Homemade Dixie cups? Check.

Thankfully, we only moved houses once.

Thankfully, we only moved houses once.

Guess whose shirt is actually a pair of tights?

Guess whose shirt is actually a pair of tights?

19 years later (and Jenn looks the same).

19 years later (and Jenn looks the same).

Just wait for the blooper reel.

Just wait for the blooper reel.

Two bite brownies, chocolate sauce, strawberry jam, and green food coloring. Creativity, man.

Two bite brownies, chocolate sauce, strawberry jam, and green food coloring. Creativity, man.

We even found a boat.

We’re on a boat.

Born to ride.

Born to ride.

Half-inflated water wings because no way are those getting past my wrists otherwise.

Half-inflated water wings because no way are those getting past my wrists otherwise. Other than that though, nothing’s really changed.

The MOST coached photo, for sure. "LEFT ARM! OTHER LEFT!"

The MOST coached photo, for sure. “LEFT ARM! OTHER LEFT!”

Propped on a pillow, balanced under a garment rack serving as the backdrop, laying across a chair and a bowflex machine.

Cheeky baby.

One of my favourite pictures ever.

Personal verdict: flawless.

Twenty years later.

Twenty years later. Again, look forward to the blooper reel.

Finalement.

Finalement.

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I don’t know if it’s a joking-is-easier-than-acknowledging-something-uncomfortable thing or what, but I’m a little scared of people lately.

intervention

Several times in the past week, I’ve shared a story of street stalkers, bar creeps, and cat callers to a different person or group of people, and received very different reactions from each. One thing that scared me, however, was the general response from my male friends.

“What are we supposed to do?”
“What do you expect?”
“Well, that’s what you get for being a hot girl”

are you fucking kidding me

Now, I’m friends with good people. I associate myself with people I respect and enjoy, and these sentences without context seem pretty severe and unkind (to me at least, but apparently I’m in the minority here), whether purposefully or accidentally.

But seriously?

“What are we supposed to do?” WALK THE FUCK BY. You can check someone out and think all the nasty things you want, but are you so uncontrollably motivated by aggression that you can’t keep it to yourself? You don’t know what else has happened that day, that week, or over their life, and there’s no reason to push a stranger’s buttons.

“What do you expect?” This one is almost my favorite. What do I expect? This seems like women should expect men to be inconsolably unpleasant and degrading, captives to their testosterone and nothing more, and that you’ve accepted this as well, and that’s about the saddest thing for the future that I’ve ever heard.

“Well, that’s what you get for being hot…” Yeah? We’re going down this road? This feels like dangerous territory, entering into slut shaming and “asking for it.” One thing I will say is that nobody deserves to feel any shame for calling people out. Control and free will are nothing to be ashamed of. This is not any sort of request to watch what you say around women; changing relationships and walking on eggshells isn’t a solution. The point that needs to be acknowledged is that it shouldn’t be a reflex to slut-shame in the first place.

STOP

Nobody understands being a woman and you don’t have to, you just have to understand how to be a decent human person to the rest of your species. A good start would be to replace the offhand twistedly backhand compliment remarks with ANYTHING ELSE. There are less insulting ways of trying to compliment a girl than telling her she’s worth a stalk or a rape.

By calling people out on offhand reactions that aren’t okay, even just once, a thought is instilled in the mind of the uninformed, and a step is taken in the right direction.

Rather than teaching your kids not to go out late at night for fear of rapists and muggers and crazies (oh my), teach them that people shouldn’t attack people at any time of day. Teach them respect, for both men and women and personal humanity. Raising a new generation of genuinely good people, even if it’s just in your own family line, could change the world.

 im just sayin

Be happy, be free,

Sydney

1. Cleaning up shit. Dogs, babies, I’ve avoided it all thus far, lets go for nineteen more years!

2. Paying fees that I don’t have to pay because I’m a student. Man, my last year of school is just going to be a money drain of last-ditch-student-discount-advantage-taking.

3. Watching celebrities age badly. I don’t like seeing Matt Leblanc descend into senior status any more than the next Friend, but I’ve already had to watch the advanced aging of Lindsay Lohan, the bloating of Vince Vaughn, and the microwaving of Keith Richards. There’s only so much a girl can take.

4. Taxes. I was blessed with having one of the top five financial advisors in the country (woop woop!) as my mother, and she has done my taxes, her parents’ taxes, and the taxes of every person in our family, as far as I’m aware. Frankly, I could go my whole life not dealing with banking at all, but I feel like I should figure out at least the basics.

5. Dealing with curly hair. Honestly, everyone battles back and forth with wanting whichever hair genre they weren’t blessed with. I’ve had pin straight hair all my life, and I will enjoy it until the moment my hair changes its mind and finds its way back into my mother’s genes.

6. Understanding pensions.

7. Remembering what day of the week recycling/garbage is. Seriously, no idea. Does it change between cities? My neighbors do it.

8. Dealing with the financial consequences of my friends and family growing up and getting married/ having kids/ being classy people who bring wine and things that cost money places. I’m gonna enjoy it, but financially, I will acknowledge nothing. #ignoranceisbliss

1. Do the people downstairs play shitty music at all hours of the day? At night too? Sick.

2. Do you know where the fuse box is? Oh, you don’t? Okay, well figure it out before it’s 10PM and my power goes out, thanks!

3. How’s the wildlife? Oh, raccoons and mice? AWESOME!

4. So, if my bank account gets hacked and frozen, and the cheque bounces because it’s entirely the bank’s fault, you won’t charge me, right? Okay, sounds good. Oh, wait, you’re charging me anyway? Sweet.

5. Is there anything like, really shitty that I can’t see right now because it’s [insert current season]?

6. Do these carpets ever look… clean? No? And… oh, gross, hair clumps up and collects in the carpet? Nice.

7. When’s garbage day?

8. When’s recycling day?

9. Is there a compost day?

10. If I try and drill into the ceiling, will all the wood in the ceiling be rotted and unusable? So I shouldn’t bring a big hammock four hours on the train? Ah, good to know.

11. So, when you said “gender neutral” colors, you didn’t mean lime green and sunshine yellow?

12. Do you ever answer your phone? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

13. Are all the taps hot-and-cold reversed, or just all the bathrooms? Oh, it changes? Great.

14. So, if I don’t want to live here after this lease is up… how do I go about that?

5. Jennifer Aniston.

aniston

I don’t care if she’s cute Rachel in the 90s, classy Rachel in the 00s, or a rampant slut in Horrible Bosses, I love Jennifer Aniston. She hasn’t aged a day, she stays sleek and sexy in anything, and her love life is so painfully boring and entertaining at the same time that you can’t help adoring her. I’ve always been a Jen over Angie girl, and I’m standing my ground. My lady-boner for Aniston is unfailing and strong, like the woman herself. Plus, remember when she was naked on the cover of GQ?

4. Anne Hathaway.

ANNE HATHAWAY in Glamour Magazine

Short hair, long hair. don’t care. Anne Hathaway is a boss. She’s played iconic roles like Jane Austen, Agent 99, Catwoman, and others (Les Mis, anyone?) for over a decade now, she’s secured herself a spot and respect in Hollywood, with no danger of plateauing anytime soon. She’s not afraid to bare it all (fun fact: Brokeback Mountain has boobs, too!) or take a risk (shaving her head, losing 25 pounds for Les Mis). Since she stole my heart in The Princess Diaries (brb flashback), she’s just been growing stronger, and getting hotter. Her short hair looks totally cute, and her style on this month’s Glamour -paired with Les Mis Oscar buzz – has pulled her back into the spotlight, and made everyone forget about Bride Wars.

Remember when her and James Franco hosted the Oscars and it wasn’t that good but it still made me happy?

1. Mila Kunis

kunis

Jackie grew up. Have you ever seen the video of her telling off a reporter in Russian? It’s one of those fantastic videos from her and JT’s Friends With Benefits press tour, where every interview was gold, solely because mmmmmmmmmmmmmm JT and Mila Kunis in one room. And movie. The video is below if you haven’t seen it; it chronicles one of the millions of reasons Mila Kunis is fucking awesome. She doesn’t take crap from reporters, she’s driven and has initiative (lying about your age to get the job that catapulted your career… pretty ballsy). She grew into herself perfectly, from a cute-but-irritating fifteen year old on That 70s Show, to a sexy, vivacious woman in films like Black Swan, Max Payne, Ted, and the upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful. Plus, she’s Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive. I feel like that’s a pretty solid ego boost.

1. Jennifer Lawrence.

jlaw car

I just love talking about Jennifer Lawrence. She’s just so fabulous. The world just needs more Jennifer Lawrence. Read my Silver Linings/Jennifer Lawrence post here.

1. Anna Kendrick.

Toronto Filmfestival 82nd Academy Awards, Arrivals

I’ve been drawn to Anna Kendrick since her role in Twilight (what?) as the breath-of-reality-in-a-hopeless-place, Jessica, friend of Bella. While that role may not have catapulted her to stardom, the roles that followed have. Working with George Clooney on Up in the Air, finishing up the now-massive Twilight saga, acting as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s adorably underqualified shrink in 50/50, a bit in Scott Pilgrim, and a dozen more notable roles have given her staying power. In addition, she got to show off her pipes as the moody protagonist in the hilariously-underrated-but-not-really Pitch Perfect. She’s the second-youngest Tony Award nominee ever, she’s done Carnegie Hall; the girl is talented. Plus, the next movie she’s got coming out is a post-college comedy with Bryan Cranston and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. McLovin, Walter White, and my ultimate girl crush? Say no more.

Plus, she’s fucking hilarious:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>Ugh – NEVER going to a Ryan Gosling movie in a theater again. Apparently masturbating in the back row is still considered “inappropriate”</p>&mdash; Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AnnaKendrick47/status/290892494152028160″>January 14, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

And one of her best moments from Pitch Perfect:

Oh, I love Rebel Wilson too. Just saying.

If you’ve seen the movie, here’s a live cover of her “Cups” scene on David Letterman.

kedir

Follow Anna on Twitter here.
Follow me on Twitter here.

The word “slut” has gotten so diluted over the years, used for so many different meanings, it’s hard to know what it means anymore. Most people hear “slut” and go straight for the negative, a trampy girl who has slept around. UrbanDictionary’s top definition defines slut as “a woman with the morals of a man.” Women everywhere are taking back the word “slut” for themselves, and as a fellow slut, I’ve joined the fight.

On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police stated: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Come again? NOTHING, no matter what she was wearing, where she was, or what she was doing, justifies victimization. Slutwalk Toronto is a group put together of people who have had enough, “moving away from intolerance, and toward education.”

IMG_1858

Slutwalk is a movement of people taking back their sexualities, and taking back the word “slut.” People should be able to wear what they want, when they want, without having to worry about violence or being taken advantage of. The walk was organized in 2011 to fight back against the shocking remarks made by a Toronto law official, but has grown to so much more. When I attended in 2012, the amount of support and love around you was incredible.

slutty

Personally, I attended the walk as a victim. I am finished with shame and I am finished with victim blaming, and the walk was my first step toward fighting back. I was raped when I was fourteen and it was not my fault. I did not ask for it, I said no, and it still happened. People always apologize, can’t believe something like this could happen… but it still happens, every day, and doesn’t get reported, acknowledged, or often taken seriously at all. It’s all attitude, and that’s why I’m writing.

slut2

Take a movie like Silver Linings Playbook (no spoilers, I promise!). One of the main characters is constantly referred to as a “slut,” as she had an admittedly promiscuous past. Rather than apologizing or letting herself be shamed, she takes hold of her sexuality, saying “There’s always going to be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that, with all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself?” Having control and free will is nothing to be ashamed of (Yet another reason to LOVE Jennifer Lawrence – proud slut).

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Allegations have been made that men cannot control themselves, and should simply be blindfolded around women as a solution. Sound ridiculous? It’s just a ridiculous as blaming a girl’s outfit for getting her raped, and that’s not as uncommon as it should be. Limiting the freedom of men is just as useless as limiting the freedom of women, and claims like this are obscene. Women should be able to act and dress as they please without fear of assault, and men should be able to accept “no” under any circumstances. Men are not clamorous savages, they understand and function as humans do, and they cannot be blameless because “she was asking for it.” Sit in on a single guest speaker at the Slutwalk post-walk, and you’ll understand. People have been through absolute hell, and people can’t keep letting it happen.

IMG_1848

My story is one of request. A request to attend this year’s Slutwalk, to give it a chance. A request to men, to think before you act. A request to women, to remember that you do have control. And a request to the general public – rape jokes aren’t funny. Next time you make one, look around. There’s at least one pair of eyes on the floor, probably the eyes that need the most light.

Follow me on Twitter @sydney_neilson for updates, posts, and more.
Follow @SlutWalkTO on Twitter and Facebook for walk updates, info and more.

#realmendontrape
#consentissexy
#slutpride

May the holidays bring you egg nog and beer,
All the food you can eat, and holiday cheer.
May your travels be safe, no matter how far,
Whether airplane, a greyhound, a train, or a car.
This holiday season and this upcoming year,
Please be kind to others, and hold your friends dear.
Make yourself happy and never forget,
2013 could be your best year yet!

much love,
merry christmas,
happy holidaze,
and a muchas buenos 2013!

-below is a video I put together over the course of December with footage I shot during the past few months, and a taste of Christmas in the city! Merry Christmas, and enjoy! (Initially meant for family, explains beginning a bit)

And yes, TiTs. That is my new lazy-slang for my blog. Merry Christmas, Internet. Verbally, it will sound like the word tits. And, I’m okay with that. I think it’s hilarious and a little vulgar but totally appropriate and actually a little clever, kind of like me. So don’t forget to check out TiTs in the new year! #resolution?