Toronto Wins!

2 May

Raptors win, Raptors win!ChawqHOXEAAPhTM

The joy that Torontonians felt last night, after the Raptors beat the Pacers in Game 7, cannot be put into words. Rather, screams, cheers, and even tears, can help paint a more accurate picture of what took place in my living room, Jurassic Park, and the Air Canada Centre.

It was a great week to be a Torontonian: Drake released his highly anticipated album, Views (which was well worth the wait), the Maple Leafs won the 1st overall pick in the NHL draft lottery (I’m not a hockey fan, but this is a win), and the Jays beat the Rays.

To say that the vibe in Toronto was epic is an understatement. There’s something to be said about when a city comes together in the name of sport. My dad always told me, sport mirrors life, and I couldn’t agree more! The camaraderie and friendships that form between fans is so much fun. I can tell you, I have a little  Raptors Twitter family who I engage with during games, and while we might not be at the ACC, we are certainly enjoying the game through a different perspective.

Toronto pride!

Merzybean

Hello from the other side

15 Apr

Hello, blogosphere!

It has, once again, been a while. I just wanted to post a little something to let you all know that I am still here. Here are a few disjointed thoughts that I want to get off my chest, and out of my head! Let’s call it a little bit of Friday inspiration.

  • We are not defined by that which challenges us, rather by how we surpass said challenges.
  • Pain is relative; my bad day does not have to measure up to someone else’s (and vice versa).
  • There is something so beautiful in human kindness. Truly.
  • You do you.
  • The human experience is a dynamic journey.

That’s if for now. Hopefully it won’t be so long until the next Merzybean post pops up!

Xo,

Merzybean

Fashion Picks: Oscar 2015

23 Feb

I love a good Red Carpet and to say that the Oscars host the best fashions of award season is not a loose statement. The stars bring out their best (and sometimes worst) looks to the Oscar Red Carpet. I won’t bother sharing my “worst” dressed list, because I would rather focus on what I love.

I base my fashion picks on the dress (or outfit) first and foremost, but the accessories, hair and makeup play a large role in my overall decision. If you have an incredible dress, but a bird’s nest on top of your head, literally…Iggy Azalea at the Grammys, I just can’t find a place for you on my fashion picks list.

Here are my favourites:

chrissy-tiegen-oscars-red-carpet-2015 margot-robbie-oscars-red-carpet-2015emma-stone-oscars-red-carpet-2015 gwyneth-paltrow-oscars-red-carpet-2015 jennifer-anniston-oscars-red-carpet-20151 lupita-nyongo-oscars-red-carpet-2015  reese-witherspoon-oscars-red-carpet-2015 zoe-saldana-oscars-red-carpet-2015

I also love to see what the stars change into for the after parties. The Vanity Fair Oscar After Party always gets the most buzz. The who’s-who of celebrities are always in attendance, whether or not they attended the Academy Awards.

Here were some of my favourite looks:

jennifer-lopez-vanity-fair-party-oscars-2015-academy-awards1gigi-hadidhannah-david  zoe-saldana-vanity-fair-party-oscars-2015-academy-awardsamy-adams    sofia-vergara-vanity-fair-after-part-2015-oscar lady-gaga-vanity-fair-party-oscars-2015-academy-awardsI would love to hear who your picks were for best dressed at the Oscars, last night! Leave a comment and let me know.

Xoxo,

Merzybean

[All Oscar photos were sourced from Hollywood Life and Vanity Fair Oscar Party photos were sourced from NY Daily News]

Fashion Picks: Grammys 2015

9 Feb

Here are my fashion picks for the Grammys 2015.

Gwen Stefani stole my heart with the look of the night.

As for Kim Kardashian-West and Rihanna, these outfits may not be my favourite, but they certainly had the world talking.

My two favourite looks from Grammy After Party Events go to Kendall and Kylie Jenner. These girls are so on trend right now.

gwen stefaniKaty Perry GrammysgagaJessie JSwift GrammysBeyonce Grammys

kendall-jenner-grammys-2015-1423491026kylie-jenner-grammys-2015-1423491028

Kimye Grammys Rihanna Grammys

You wanted to shine bright like a diamond? I wanted to look like cherry chapstick!

Who wore your favourite look of the night?

XO

Merzybean

Where has Merzybean been?

30 Oct

I feel like I have written a few justification blogs, explaining my lack of presence in the blogosphere. I guess I don’t really owe anyone an explanation, but how can I expect to have a loyal readership if I have been MIA.

Truthfully, there isn’t one particular reason as to why Merzybean hasn’t been buzzing. Is “I’m tired” not good enough? Well, that’s the truth. I have not felt inspired to sit down and blog because there has always been something that takes priority over writing and once I have cleared my to-do list, I have no energy to write.

However, I want to get back to writing and putting my thoughts out into the universe. Not that what I have to say is all that important, but I just love to share my passions with others.

Hopefully this is the first of many posts to come in the near future. I have some ideas brewing, so stay tuned!

Thanks for all of the people who have been visiting Merzybean all along the way, even during my “blogging hiatus”. It makes me happy to see and it inspires me to keep on plugging!

Until next time,

Merzybean

Have Your Donut, and Eat it Too!

6 Jun

donut
Happy Donut Day? Why not!

There seems to be a day for almost everything. But then again, who doesn’t love a little piece of heaven with a hole in the middle? Donuts are a tasty little treat, with a variety of flavours to choose from. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but there’s just something about a donut!

So if you’re celebrating National Donut Day, enjoy your delicious goody of your choice.

Have a great weekend,

Merzybean

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Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

28 May

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

I was devastated to hear the news of Maya Angelou’s passing, this morning. Angelou’s words resonated not only within me, but around the world and across generations. The prolific author, poet and civil rights activist managed to string words together in such a way that one couldn’t help but be both intrigued and inspired.

quote maya angelou

Angelou’s highly acclaimed poetry truly inspired me in high school and throughout university, as both a student of literature, and as a woman striving to be intelligent, courageous, and loving. Angelou’s words spoke to me in such a way that no other did.

I thank Maya Angelou for being brave enough to bare her soul through written word.

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May you rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Your words will live on!

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Merzybean’s Year in Review: 2013

31 Dec

It feels as though the end of the year is always an appropriate time for reflection. This December 31st is no different. 2013 has been one hell of a year.

Last year, I blogged about whether or not New Year’s resolutions are worthwhile, or simply a waste of time.  While I still hold onto the belief that it is always acceptable and encouraged to take a retrospective approach to an upcoming year, the ideology that a new year brings new opportunities and fresh beginnings is often a little bit idealistic (I’m not jaded).

Why must we wait for a new year to make a change in our lives? I am going to take the opportunity this New Year’s Eve to reflect on my past year’s triumphs and challenges, rather than set myself up for failure with resolutions that I may or may not commit to. I think that resolutions encourage positive change and am not discouraging any of you from making a resolution or two for yourself. I just want to make changes in my life as I am mentally and physically capable of doing so, on a day to day basis, rather than mapping out my entire year before it has even begun. 

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I do think that it is important to look back on the year, however. I learned a lot about myself this year. I shall share, without going into too many personal details:

  • I am more capable of overcoming obstacles than ever before
  • Family is everything
  • Friends are family that you choose to have in your life
  • I strive to be the wife that my husband deserves
  • Teaching is truly a vocation in my life (far beyond a career choice)
  • Kids really do say the darndest things; especially my grade 7s
  • Photography is a passion that I definitely want to pursue further
  • Procrastination is my biggest enemy
  • Turning 25 makes me feel like a real grown up
  • I have a backbone and deserve to stand up for myself

Today-is-a-New-Day

I wish all of my readers and friends a safe and prosperous New Year. I hope that you spend the evening with loved ones and I look forward to sharing more posts with all of you, here on Merzybean, in 2014.

See you next year,

Merzybean

Savannah’s Smile: Light the Night Walk

26 Sep
savannah

In loving memory.

Savannah H. Munoz had the biggest and brightest smile that truly could light up the night. It breaks my heart to say that Savannah had to battle against cancer as a beautiful young child. I had the pleasure of watching this beautiful little girl grow into her giant smile and while she is not physically with us, her spirit lives within us.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s (LLSC’s) Light The Night Walk is an event that brings help, awareness and hope to people battling blood cancers. It is always comforting to know that fundraising events actually put the money to good use! The Light the Night Event proudly states on their website that funds raised offer real help that include:

  • Valuable information for blood cancer patients and families
  • Support programs for patients and their families
  • Education on the latest medical advances for healthcare professionals
  • Advocacy efforts that draw government attention to cancer-related issues
  • Grants for leading researchers across Canada who are working to cure blood cancers

Now that you have a better idea of what the LLSC aims to achieve with its fundraising, let’s get back to Savannah’s Smile.

Savannah’s mother beautifully shares her story that led her to finding the strength to put together a team to raise money for LLSC research and to talk in Savannah’s honour. She goes on to candidly share that “A couple of years ago, Savannah and I watched as Light the Night 2008 lit the night from the Sick Kids Hospital lobby. She really wanted to do the walk but because of the cold weather and recent treatment, we were not able to. As we watched the people walk by, I promised her we’d do it together the following year. In my mind I pictured us walking with white balloons (symbolizing survivors) because I always believed she’d pull through with a full recovery….

I’ve finally found the strength to form a team and do the walk holding our gold lanterns in her memory….”

Savannah’s family and friends will be walking proudly on October 2nd in honour of her lasting memory. It would mean the world to the team (and me) if you could donate towards this incredible cause. You can find Savannah’s Smile team page here: Savannah’s Smile.

All donations, no matter how “big” or “small” would be greatly appreciated by the team and those thousands of Canadians battling leukemia, lymphoma , myeloma and other blood cancers.

Passing the light on,

Merzybean

Interview: Art by Steve Khan

1 Sep

It is my pleasure to introduce to my readers, Steve Khan. Not only is Steve one of the most generous, gentle souls, he is an incredible artist in all senses of the word.

“Steve Khan is a visual artist and a poet. He is originally from Vancouver, but has lived in many places across Canada. Although his diverse ethnic background allows him to ‘belong’ to many different boxes, he prefers to make his own new space.

He is a graduate with distinction from the joint Art and Art History Program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto with a Minor in Women and Gender Studies. He has recently won the Canadian Art Foundation Award for community development in the arts, and a nomination for the 2010 Mississauga Arts Council Volunteer of the Year Award.”

Steve Khan

MB: Tell us what type of artist you are.

SK: A relatively unknown one, but this interview will change that.

I draw things well, usually portraits. I have painted, sculpted, designed, and crafted art objects, but now also enjoy using text. My current work combines aesthetics with a particular medium to emphasize a concept. Even when words are conspicuously absent, they still influence what I make.

Side note: I have seen art change the world I live in, and still believe it can- so I’m quite romantic.

MB: What is your first memory of art?

SK: That’s tricky because my memory often fails me.

One of the first paintings I made in kindergarten hangs framed above my bed wherever I live. It uses the song ‘To sing a rainbow’ to illustrate a concert I sang very badly in when I was five. Myself, my sister, my mother and my kindergarten teacher are more important than everyone else, so we are much larger and in detail.

My favourite memory of art was Tino Seghal’s ‘conversation piece’ at the Guggenheim in New York. It taught me a viewer could be the subject of a work.

MB: What do you hope to achieve with your art?

SK: A comfortable living would be nice, but I will settle for infamy and gallery representation. Till then, I am compelled to make things without financial gain.

Leslie Dick explained it with these words: “You are materializing- taking something from the inside and putting it out into the world, so you can be relieved of it.”

In terms of intent, I use humour to incite conversation, usually about something unspeakable, with the hope that once spoken out loud, it can change.

MB: What is your favourite medium to work with?

SK: Currently, words.

MB: What has been the most difficult part of your journey as an artist?

SK: Since I was taught say nothing when you have nothing nice to say: first, learning where I want to belong (as opposed to fit) in the art world. A close second is getting used to rejection. The hardest lesson is grasping John Baldessari’s overused quote that “Art comes out of failure”. I let go of making only the ‘right’ choices when I realized my mistakes teach me more.

MB: What advice do you have for other artists?

SK: Debbie Fields (creator of Mrs. Fields Bakeries) said: “. . . the greatest failure is not to try”.

Make things for yourself and things your collector will buy.

Gurpreet Sehra told me : “Take risks. Make work that pushes beyond what you are comfortable producing”.

Since critics will tear your work apart with them, learn how to defend your (self and your) work with words.

Silence is not necessarily a bad reaction; it could be delayed gratification.

Without constant rejection, acceptance (or recognition) wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying.

To avoid learning you inadvertently stole someone else’s idea, read about art a lot.

When you don’t feel like making anything at all, try to remember how you felt when you finished something. Preferably something you liked.

Art school will teach you things you can’t learn by yourself. However, if you find someone who curbs your need to make things, don’t hang around them too long.

Besides that, no matter what anyone tells you, you are still an artist.

MB: Are you working on a current project you can share with us?

SK: One uses pennies, one uses fruit and the third uses vinyl. Sorry, but no more clues til they’re finished.

MB: Is there somewhere that you dream of showing in?

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal– slightly more ambitious than the wall in Shopper’s World my dad keeps encouraging me to apply to.

MB: Who or what inspires you?

SK: In no particular order: you; Gurpreet Sehra; my mother’s writing; Tino Seghal; my sister; The Permanent Longing for Elsewhere– a screening curated by cheyenne turions; Darren Bader; Andrea Levy’s Never far from nowhere; my father’s criticism; Manhattan; one or two night stands; Divya Mehra’s interview in C Magazine and text pieces; Montréal; Zadie Smith’s essays and novel White Teeth; Breann Ritchie; food- though I have an intense allergy to anything bland; Mark Crofton Bell; Camella Da Eun Kim; Jean-Michel Basquiat; artist quotes that attempt to define art; the sublime; Alejandro Cescarco; Emma Donaghue’s Room; Margo Thomas; William Kentridge; Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy; beauty; the Guerrilla Girls; male hipsters; Zacharai Logan; Laura Chiovitti; Javier Fuentes-Leon’s Contracorriente; Francisco-Fernando Granados; Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz; Andy Warhol’s quotes; Martha Rosler; Irmgard Emmelhainz; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun; Hennessey Youngman’s Art Thoughtz; dancers; Thomas Ruff; Asal Aslemand; William E. Jones; Simon Paul Black; Surasi Kusolwong; music mashups; James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room; Janet Cardiff and not George Bures Miller; Kent Monkman’s Group of Seven Inches; Sarah Waterfield; Samuel Delany’s The Motion of Light in Water; Amin Rehman; loss; Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World; Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Simon Fujiwara; critics who probably never were artists but find just the right words to describe them; Xavier Dolan’s les amours imaginaires; and me. Perhaps more interesting than who/what is my list always grows.

MB: One word to describe your relationship with art?

SK: Co-dependent (which is defined as an unhealthy psychological reliance of one person on another)

Picture 1

If you are as mesmerized by Steve as I am,  make sure to hit him up on the below social media outlets:

Twitter: @stevekhan
Until next time,
Merzybean

 

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