Yellowstone, Katabatic Brewing Company, Marks In & Out in Livingston, and some other moments from our early May summer in Montana.
Feeling really homesick for the good souls I love so much.
My father came up on the Port Angeles ferry for 3 days of sunshine filled Victoria time. We ate a lot, walked even more, and had a blast. Below you’ll find a list of places we ate, my opinions, and lists of activities we did. Note: I had a father figure patronizing the food adventures. These are not necessarily grad student budget friendly places- I had a patron.
Omakase Izakaya on Blanshard: We had a blast eating there. We went for the omakaze option, so the chef/owner ended up making us about a 6 course meal. We were the only ones in the place, and it was amazing. We shared a little ceramic flute of warm sake, ate some amazing food, and left satiated in our hearts and stomachs- the perfect combination.
Ayo Eat in Market Square: Epic, cheap, delicious Indonesian food from a little tucked in food stall. We had the pickled egg dish which was delicious! The guy who runs it is super friendly and Market Square has some benches and places to hang out and seat yourself.
La Tana outside Fan Tan Alley on Pandora: OH my god. This brought back so many memories of Italian bakeries and eating delicious panini when I lived in Lugano. (It doesn’t hurt that the owner, Claudio, is from Milan, only an hour from my little city!) Amazing baked goods, cheap delicious sandwiches, excellent Illy coffee (americano or espresso are your two options) all in one wee little shop. I’m going back- it fits my grad school budget and brings me right back to the best parts of my past in Ticino.
Pho Vy on Fort Street: Pho Vy is my favorite place to get pho. My dad had not had proper pho before, and it was delicious (per usual). I go here probably 2x a month and every time it’s delicious.
The BeaverTails Stand on Broughton Street: Cheap, perfectly decent Canadian dessert spot. Their gelato is amazing, the BeaverTails always awesome (and they can be cut in half if you can’t eat a whole one!), and the gentleman who runs the place has, ever since I moved to Victoria, been a really positive and friendly human.
The Royal British Columbia Museum: A really lovely museum that houses one of the most thorough First Nations exhibits I’ve ever been to. (Not without its criticisms, but still worthwhile!) They have amazing traveling exhibits that come in pretty frequently, and even though I’ve been now close to a dozen times, I still always find something I really enjoy, be it the replica theatre that shows Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush over and over again or the weird but still awesome replications of salmon canning operations in British Columbia.
Ogden Point: A great place to go for a walk in James Bay! Great views of the Olympic range across the strait, and good for people watching. I love taking people there and it feels less crowded than other parts of the main city.
Beacon Hill Park: While the rose bushes aren’t in bloom and things are quiet, the park will always have some beautiful, rambling paths to meander around. The park itself is pretty large so you’re guaranteed to find some spaces to enjoy.
All around downtown: My dad and I spent a lot of time just weaving in and out of slow moving tourists going around the historic downtown area. We grabbed coffee at a few places and I showed him some of my favorite buildings and historical spots.
If y’all are in my beautiful town and are wondering where to go, any of the above places are highly recommended! Check out my Victoria tag for more ideas as well. I’m headed to Mystic Beach tomorrow, so hopefully it’ll be lovely! Packed a bunch of film and a few cameras, I’m excited to get outside into the nature!
To follow up with my skincare post I thought I would share some of the beauty products I love and use regularly!
There are lots of great beauty bloggers out there who focus on using more natural/organic based products and others who focus on luxury products or more high-end. I’m from Montana, where my access to high-end makeup shops was super limited growing up, so I always used drugstore products. Now that I live in Canada and beauty products cost so much more, I have also consistently stuck with using drugstore products.
Again, I am poor and I am lazy. I love trying new products but because my look is pretty consistent, if products don’t fit into my routine well enough they get reserved for special events or for when I’m feeling creative. This is my super pared down, every day routine.
CoverGirl Perfect Blend Eyeliner in Mink
Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Soft Brown
I fill in my eyebrows with this eyeliner- I’ve been using it for years. The formula feels good on my skin, the color matches perfectly, and it stays on for a long time, yet comes off with micellar water easily.
I know that a lot of people were on the fence about the weird looking Maybelline brow mascara but I personally like it. It speeds up the process of shaping my brows a lot. I abandoned the Nyx Tinted Brow Mascara because the packaging breaks apart SO QUICKLY (seriously Nyx get your shit together- it shouldn’t be so fragile!). As somebody who needs to be able to throw things in my bag, the sad packaging of Nyx products have made me stop using most of them.
L’Oreal Paris Silkissime Eyeliner in Black
CoverGirl Perfect Blend Eyeliner in Mink
I blend both eyeliners on my top lash and use 2 coats of the mascara. All of these products last a long time, and the mascara stays on despite the humidity and frequent rain here without giving me under-eye raccoon vibes!
On to my favorite part: Lipsticks! I have become blatantly obsessed with the Maybelline Color Sensational matte lipsticks. The formula stays on for hours, is easy to apply, and the colors are fucking gorgeous. See photograph below! Gahhhh.
From top to bottom on the swatch:
–Raging Raisin makes me feel like wearing all black, spending time with a resurrected Humphrey Bogart, and heading off in a 1930’s coupe to go day drink and banter.
–Touch of Spice warms my skin tone and makes me think of the 70’s in the best ways. For some reason it also makes me want to read in brightly lit cafes and it vaguely reminds me of traveling around Italy.
-Toasted Truffle is a no-nonsense deep brown that makes me feel intimidating and invincible, as well as sexy in an aggressive way that I like. It’s a peculiar color in the best way!
-Lust for Blush is a 1950’s garden party sort of lipstick, the kind you’d wear with a vintage Christian Dior dress and with a perfect martini in your hand as you think that your life is perfect but the patriarchy is really limiting your options.
And there you have it! The products I come back to time and time again on my limited budget and my impatient habits. Happy trails y’all! Tell me some of your favorite products you come back to again and again!
Thrift stores are a gold mine of glorious potential. I have found luxury leather bags, exquisite vintage coats, jewelry, and my fair share of amazing/weird things.
I mostly trawl mine these days for forgotten cameras and film. Many people donate film to thrift stores- much of it expired- and for a fraction of the cost I’ll shoot it.
As you can see, most expired film gets grainy and can’t handle dark light at all. Colors are a bit off, too. However, when I found 4 rolls of Kodak Gold 400 speed film for $2.00 I definitely went for it. When I got the developed roll back from the shop, though, I found I only had about 12 usable frames- mostly because I had tried taking photographs at night, which on this expired film was nearly impossible.
Note to self with my remaining rolls: Be generous with daylight.
The Parrot has been a refuge of sorts for me for years. I’ve written diary entries, finished and ended books, held hands, had serious conversations and said goodbyes here. I’ve consumed way too much coffee in the booths, I’ve even cried in them. I lost my wallet once and found it there, in the hands of the staff, who kindly kept it for me behind the counter.
The Parrot in Helena, Montana, has been a place for me to love going to since we moved to Montana in 1998. It’s always felt familiar. Some new owners just bought it and I quietly fear that it will change, though they have vowed not to change a thing. Helena’s had this marvelous staple around for over 90 years, and I hope that when I am old and brittle I can still slowly make my way through the screen door and hear that bell ring and settle into my booth, with a piece of honeycomb chocolate and a cup of cheap coffee.
My sister adopted the most beautiful little hairball last fall and I didn’t get the chance to meet her until last week! Co likes to sleep next to your face and makes lots of chirps all the time. She doesn’t like to be picked up and she’s surprisingly small for being so hairy!
Having not been to Bozeman for some time, Em and I attempted to find a cozy nook to settle into and catch up. Unfortunately, every such place was quite crowded. Nonetheless, we eventually found ourselves deep in conversation, talking about anything and everything in the way only sisters can.
Sisters and cats can cure any amount of the blues, it seems.
Home means darkness. It means short days, beautiful sunsets, and lots of layering (even for the dogs!).
Kitty and I went outside one morning to play on the ice. She is almost too fat for her coat but we got it on her nonetheless! She and I ran out in the freezing weather, the snow squeaking and flying around us. No mice prints, no bird prints- it was too cold for animals to be out and about. The sun had not yet risen and we got out onto the ice.
I have always loved the way that ice looks- all the trapped air bubbles, cracks, and other imperfections that become trapped for weeks or months at a time. Ice moves slowly, so slowly that you don’t know it, but occasionally a large, ominous BOOM echoes across the lake as large sections encounter one another.
We didn’t stay outside too long, as it was very, very chilly, but we both got some much needed fresh air and feel the cold air surround us. I am already getting ready to go back to British Columbia and it has been fantastic to be home. How lucky to be able to come home and spend time with loved ones and exist outside of my writing for a bit.
I have been with the ones I love and it has been marvelous. We’ve been cooking pizzas, lasagnas, pasta dishes galore. Hot tea and coffee have been staples. There is snow, so much more than I thought there would be!
I start work this week for a few weeks of money making. My heart is so full right now in the best way.
A few bits of home. Christmas tree cutting, petting my old dogs, making prosciutto, arugula, and mascarpone pizza, going to research at the Historical Society, and generally feeling quite content.
Moving is a right pain, and I will likely not be posting for a few days until I am back in the motherland and done with such tasks!
I’ve also got piles of grading and appointments so please wish me luck that when I fly home on Saturday I’m still about 63% human.
Tonight, millions of Americans failed their fellow Americans. They voted for a President who incites hate and fear. He encourages bigotry, sexism, racism, and ignorance. He represents the worst of us.
What will happen now?
Those of us who have been under fire as long as we have known will once again put up defenses. We will support and love each other. We will be more vocal than ever. We will protect each other and try to weaken each blow that comes our way. We will call our representatives and senators and try to do our damned best to not let this complete travesty effect our lives any more than it has to.
This is fucking awful. I’m sorry, world.
I love how Manet consistently used colors to embody luxury and how he used light to enhance everything. The dark backgrounds with bland colors set his subjects in contrast, making them more illuminated and glowing. I love how delicately he does hands- they don’t look stiff or too formal at all. The tiny peeled lemon he leaves in the bottom right corner of the painting make it both a portrait and a still life. I love how quick and easy his brushstrokes seem. Manet was a passionate creature, and his paintings and pastel works are infused with emotion. There is no passivity in his creations, no pauses, but they are not rushed works. Purposeful, clever, and exquisite, Manet’s portraits are some of my favorites to observe.
Intermittent crying regarding frustration finding sources because archives are hell and horribly organized and nobody gets back to you.
Somebody suggests you might actually need help on the damn thesis but you’re feeling hostile and defensive so you ignore their advice and later collapse even though you are actually a nice person underneath it all.
Ravenous bouts of hunger that make you feel productive because at least you’re fueling your next bout of angst and guilt-filled procrastination that will end with you falling asleep reading a source at 3 am.
When you think you’ve been really fucking productive but then realize how much more is left to do.
When you try to do things you enjoy like beach walks and making photographs but are consistently hounded by the reality that you’re not working on the thesis and you suck and it’s all futile and life is cold and the universe indifferent.
Trying to explain to your family who doesn’t really get it that this is really really hard and that all of these problems actually matter.
More sobbing because for some reason Andy sobbing matters a lot and feels relevant because he’s so pure and good and at one point you probably were too.
At some point you’ll reach the stage where you feel cold and emotionless and more like a shell of a human. But since you have good skincare routines and a decent sartorial sense you’ll at least look decent.
Source for all photos.
When life is hard and you want cheese and have none and there’s ALL THE RESEARCH and anxiety breathing down your neck what better way to avoid responsibility and create more self loathing than waste time looking at pictures of adorable baby bats in Australia?